Friday, July 25, 2008

The 12 Movies Meme

I was tagged by the awesome J.D. of Valley Dreamin'. The meme looked like a lot of fun, so I thought I'd give it a go.

According to the Lazy Eye Theatre blog entry, the idea came when the blogger read an article about Diablo Cody getting to choose 12 films to be featured at the New Beverly Cinema.
"The Meme that asks what if YOU could pick 12 movies to run at the New Beverly Cinema?"

1) Choose 12 Films to be featured. They could be random selections or part of a greater theme. Whatever you want.

2) Explain why you chose the films.

3) Link back to Lazy Eye Theatre so Piper can have hundreds of links and she can take those links and spread them all out on the bed and then roll around in them.

4) The people selected then have to turn around and select 5 more people.
At first, I wanted to categorize the movies with really random stuff like, "movies with cool flying scenes" or "movies that deals with gardening." But then the categories just did not sound cool enough so I just thought I'd keep it simple and go with broader subjects/themes.

So I guess my theater is closed on Tuesday because closing on Sunday would be ridiculous and unsound when it comes to the world of the movie theater biz. I picked a lot of movies that I personally want to see in theaters since I've never got the chance. I kind of drowned in rambling for some of the movies I picked since I never really had the opportunity to profess my love to them.

Dysfunctional Sunday

I picked Ordinary People because I love that movie tremendously. It has one of the most powerful ensembles I've ever seen. The performances by Timothy Hutton, Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, and Judd Hirsch are all superb. Plus, first-time director Robert Redford's use of Pachelbel's "Canon in D" makes the film's opening and ending scenes domestic but strangely heartbreaking. It doesn't feature the quirky, weirdo dysfunctional family in the veins of The Squid and the Whale and Little Miss Sunshine (I considered both), but rather in a seemingly "normal" household where the father is utterly confused and the mother doesn't even love her own son. That's enough for me to conclude that the Jaretts has as much problems as their other so-called more dysfunctional cinematic family counterparts. Definitely one of my favorite movies of all-time and I would love to see this film on the big-screen someday.

The Royal Tenenbaums is the quirky, weirdo dysfunctional family that I previously mentioned. It was a choice between this or Junebug, but I just had to settle with Wes Anderson's smart, witty, and touching little masterpiece about the depressing adult lives of genius children. Starring Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Danny Glover, and Bill Murray, that's enough for me to want to watch this movie in theaters (yes, because of that cast). The script is pure wonder--sweet and full of Anderson's trademark deadpan humor. Oh, and how can you go wrong with a kickass soundtrack featuring Nico, The Rolling Stones, and The Velvet Underground? You can't. The movie has a very seventies feel to it, too, not only in the soundtrack but also in the costumes and sets. I'd love to have a The Royal Tenenbaums theater experience.

Unrequited Monday (Definitely spoiler-ish.)

Like I said in my review of Antoine and Colette, I love movies about unrequited love. There is a certain spirit about love unrequited love on film that is unquestionably romantic and powerful. Giant, apart from being a film of epic proportions, is a great story of unrequited love. The way James Dean's Jett Rink declared his love with anguish to Leslie Benedict (Elizabeth Taylor) in an empty hall with Leslie's daughter eavesdropping by the barely-opened door is one of the epic's greatest moments and perhaps even one of the greatest moments in cinema, period. So of course I'd like to witness that on a big-screen. The bigger the screen is, the better, because then it can showcase every centimeter of George Stevens's masterful direction and grand utilization of the widescreen format.

I've said many times that I consider Roman Holiday to be one of my favorite romantic comedies. When I really think about it, Roman Holiday is far from a pure romantic comedy. It has plenty of dramatic moments and it is the dramatic core that makes the film realistic and effective. The last scene where Gregory Peck's good-hearted American reporter Joe Bradley walks out of that hall makes one of my favorite endings ever. It is not an unrealistic cliche, but wholeheartedly bittersweet and memorable. While Audrey Hepburn may have stolen the show, Gregory Peck stole my heart.

World War II Wednesday

Empire of the Sun is one of my favorite movies ever. The gorgeous cinematography, the lush John Williams score, and the coming-of-age story has been charred in my mind forever. This may not be in the same league as Steven Spielberg's other WWII movies (minus the horrendous 1941), but it is all very classic Spielberg. The initial boyish wonder morphs into a gradual descent into the lost of innocence--all that is done with a certain cinematic magic that only Spielberg seems to know how to convey perfectly on-screen. In addition, the film features my all-time favorite child performance of all time: Christian Bale as Jamie "Jim" Graham.

I didn't want to pick another Spielberg WWII film, so I went with "The Movie That Should Have Won Best Picture of 2006 But Was Beaten By That One Scorsese Movie," Letters From Iwo Jima. I actually saw this one in theaters and loved it. The film lacks the lavishness that I like to see on the big-screen, but it's extraordinarily touching in every way. Clint Eastwood's war film is less a war film and more about humanity. The film was made as an afterthought after Eastwood made Flags of Our Fathers but it never feels like an afterthought. It is a brilliant companion piece that surpasses its predecessor in every way.

Gangster Thursday

I just want to see The Godfather: Part II in theaters. It is one of those films that I would die to see in theaters, even more than the other Godfather films. I mean, seeing or The GodfatherThe Godfather: Part III would be super cool, but The Godfather: Part II on the big-screen would blow my mind. There are too many great scenes in the film for me to name, but I'll try anyway: Michael kisses Fredo on New Year's in Cuba, Kay reveals to Michael that she received an abortion (Diane Keaton...whoa), the boathouse scene between Michael and Fredo (just sums up why John Cazale was robbed of an Oscar nomination), when Michael tells Pentangeli that his father's advice (you know which one I'm talking about), young Vito in Italy, with a vengeance...I mean, wouldn't all that just be awesome in a theater? (And that poster above is probably the most effortlessly badass poster ever.)

I needed another gangster film so, um, GoodFellas. But this movie is seriously entertaining. I don't think there is another film that moves faster or crazier. Definitely one of Scorsese's best.

Detective Friday

Dick Tracy is just a lot of fun. You've got Warren Beatty's goofy film-noir imitation of a performance, Madonna's sultry voice added to Stephen Sondheim songs, and Al Pacino's menacing Hitler-like (in looks) villain. Then you have those eye-catching sets and costumes colored with the bright vividness of ketchup red and raincoat yellow.

There are only a few films that gave that rare "OMFG" feeling when I'm finally finished with them, and L.A. Confidential is among those greats. It is what some might like to call a "modern film-noir," but at heart, it's just a smart, suspenseful, and all-around fantastic period piece and crime movie. The film has a great cast, featuring Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger, James Crowell, and Danny DeVito. I love Wikipedia's description of the film:
The story eventually encompasses organized crime, political corruption, heroin, pornography, prostitution, tabloid journalism, institutional racism, plastic surgery and Hollywood.
Yeah, the movie's got everything.

Filmmaking Saturday

When I think of "filmmaking on film," I instantly think of Federico Fellini's weird, wildly imaginative, and moving . Guido (Marcello Mastroianni) captivated me and the artist in me (there isn't really one, haha) I unexpectedly related to him. I guess as a wannabe-writer who frequently run out of ideas after page ten, I know how it feels like to be creatively bankrupt. But not only is Guido creatively bankrupt, there is a lot of pressure for him to churn out an idea. He even has a freaking movie set being built and actors lined up for his next movie that isn't even developed yet. I've always had a love for movies that are semi-autobiographic and personal to the creator's heart, and is in some ways Fellini's David Copperfield, but only expressing a certain feeling of fear and confusion rather than an entire life story. While I'm on the topic of , Rob Marshall's cast for Nine is insanely wonderful in a it's-too-good-to-be-true kind of way. I can't wait.

Speaking of musicals, my last addition is Singin' in the Rain. I wanted to end my "week" with a happy, optimistic film, and there isn't anything as happy or optimistic as Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly's song and dance extravaganza. (Filmmaking Friday would sound nice, though. But I wanted a happy ending.) Besides being a movie musical, it's a clever and funny take on the film industry's transition from silent to sound and even of the Hollywood publicity machine.


I'm tagging recent commenters Shawn of Deadpan, Farzan of At the Movies with Farzan, plus Anil of The Long Take, Kayleigh of Shiny Happy Blog, and Nick of Fataculture. No worries if you don't feel like doing it, I'll understand. But for those who are doing the meme, I look forward to seeing what made your movie list!


  1. Can I buy my tickets now online, or do I have to wait until they're available at the box office? ;)

    Ordinary People is SUCH an incredible film, and it sorta kinda hit close to home for me, which added to it's overwhelming emotional content. Hutton's perf is one of my absolute favorites by anyone ever.

    Detective Friday kicks some serious ass. And I'd LOVE to see Filmmaking Saturday, especially because I (*ahem*) haven't seen either.

    And I appreciate the lying in the opening sentence. ;)

  2. Those are some awesome picks and great films

  3. What an awesome meme indeed!

    Thanks for linking me, my meme is up now too :)

  4. - Haha J.D. Well, currently, they're available both online and at the box office. We try hard to be as convenient as possible :)

    I can't agree more about Ordinary People or Timothy Hutton. I'm so glad the film and the performance received those well-deserved Oscars.

    Oh, definitely see 8 1/2 and Singin' in the Rain someday.

    J.D., you're being way too modest :)

    - Farzan, I'm glad we share the same taste in film!

    - Nick, as I said on your blog, your picks are fantastic. I need to see the ones I haven't seen, though. Like Thirteen, which you've mentioned before on a previous comment on here.

  5. I haven't been over here for a while. I don't think it's my imagination. But BISTF does appear to have a new look to it.

    It's grand.

    But then sites are only as good as their proprietors/owners. Are they not?

    I was over at NICKY PLOWMAN'S blog FATACULTURE and I saw that you had tagged him for one of these lavish never to be forgotten individualized film festivals.

    I left the details of my own personal film festival in that particular thread. I just thought I'd sweep by and see what your picks were like.

    Most impressive, girl...

    I think the choices of ORDINARY PEOPLE, THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, GOODFELLAS and LA CONFIDENTIAL (all of which I've seen in theatres - OP twice decades later, TRT twice and LAC five times) as well as GIANT (ELIZABETH was FABULOUS), ROMAN HOLIDAY, DICK TRACY, SINGIN IN THE RAIN and THE GODFATHER PART II (OF COURSE) are all excellent. They're all decidedly awesome and inspiring on so many exquisite levels.

    As I mentioned to Nick, I have yet to see 8 1/2 in its entirety. But I most definitely will NOW that you two hold it in such high regard.

    So...Nick wants to come to my film fest and I told him I would surely come to his. But it would be endlessly cool to have you come to mine, Marcy. There's always room in my balcony for someone with such exquisite taste.


    Just thought I would pay you a visit seeing as you certainly liven up CP with your brilliant thoughts and passionate opinions.

    Bravo again on your wonderful and fabulous selections, Marcy...

  6. I love your list, and choices. I would so be there for Dysfunctional Sunday and Filmmaking Saturday. Check out mine. =)

    Also, Hitchcock won the director study poll so he will be my first. Spielberg will be very soon though as I was looking forward to him the most. Vote on my new poll if you get the chance. thanks homie.

  7. - Miranda, I'm flattered that you like the new look of BISTF.

    I can't agree with you more about Elizabeth Taylor in Giant. She has such a magnetic screen presence and Giant definitely proves that. Same goes for James Dean and Rock Hudson.

    I envy you, Miranda. L.A. Confidential in a theater five times? That was probably pretty awesome.

    Definitely see 8 1/2. It is one of the weirdest cinematic experiences of my life, but it was worth every minute.

    Your film fest is looking fabulous. Gone with the Wind, The Apartment, Manhattan and films I've always wanted to see? Count me in, Miranda.

    CP is a lovely place. You're an enjoyable host and our discussions are never dull.

    Thanks for stopping by, Miranda! It's nice seeing your around here :)

    - Shawn, I still can't get over your themes. Yeah, I admitted that they're a little lame, but they're also very fun and original. Well, better than mine at least! Glad you liked my picks.

    I can't wait to read your study on Hitchcock. I've already voted on your new poll.