Monday, April 13, 2009

Guest Columnist: Gianna picks 100 movies a real film buff should see (10 at a time)

Here's a post from Gianna about some lesser known movies that rel film buffs should see. I mean, if a film buff needs to be told by a list that he or she should really see "Citizen Kane," that person is not really a film buff, right?

In case you're wondering - I've only seen 6 of the first 10. Guess I better get cracking!


A few weeks back, Yahoo compiled a list of the "100 Films to See Before You Die." Many on that list were the same pool of films on every ‘Must See’ list: Godfather 1 & 2, Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia, It’s a Wonderful Life - you know the drill. I decided to compile my own list of films that you should see. Some of these films are brilliant, some are good, some are flawed but interesting but all are worth checking out. I came up with 60 films that tend to fall in the ‘ugly stepchild’ category. They are in alphabetical order and will come in installements of 10. Here is the first group:

Age of Innocence-(1993, Dir: Martin Scorsese, Wr: Jay Cocks) I am at a loss as to why this film doesn’t have a bigger following. Even period drama fiends tend to pass this one by and they shouldn’t. Age of Innocence is a gorgeously shot, lush romantic picture that gives you a glimpse of Scorsese’s wonderful range as a director. (Jami's note....yes, "Range." Let's see Clint Eastwood make this picture!)

Auntie Mame-(1958, Dir: Morton DaCosta, Wr: Betty Comden & Adolph Green) One of the two Rosiland Russell films on my list. It’s a shame that some fantastic actors get forgotten by time. Russell was a brilliant comic actor and Auntie Mame features her best performance. I’ve watched it numerous times and each time I see new details in her performance.

Bedazzled-(1967, Dir: Stanley Donen, Wr: Peter Cook & Dudley Moore) This adorable little comedy features the great comedy team of Dudley Moore and Peter Cook. A reworking of the Faust legend, it is a hysterical, if dated, little comedy.

Bob Roberts (1992, Dir: Tim Robbins, Wr: Tim Robbins) This frighteningly funny first effort from Robbins, is a great indictment of our political system. Though we are all famously aware of Robbins’s own political leanings, I’ve watched this film with conservatives and liberals who both enjoyed it.

Breaking Away (1979, Dir: Peter Yates, Wr: Steve Tesich) This is what I call a perfectly charming movie and those of you who have seen it are probably going ‘Oh yes! I love that movie!’ Wonderful little flick on defining your own path in life, with a fantastic cast.

Champagne for Caesar (1950 Dir: Richard Whorf, Wr: Fred Brady & Hans Jacoby) A forgotten little comedy, it features one of the rare comic performance by Master-of-Horror Vincent Price. Price plays the president of a soap company that sponsors a popular game show. Know-it-All Ronald Coleman, who is turned down for a job at said soap company (for being too smart), decides to go on the game show and take the company for all it’s worth. A true lost gem.

Christmas in Connecticut (1945, Dir: Peter Godfrey, Wr: Lionel Hauser & Adele Commanding) Next Christmas, skip one of your numerous viewings of It’s a Wonderful Life, Christmas Story or Elf and pop this wonderful film in the player. A rather neglected charming Christmas film, it features the wonderful (and also somewhat forgotten) Barbara Stanwyck, as a Martha Steawart-esque columnist, who doesn’t have a Martha Stewart-y bone in her body. (Jami's note: do NOT skip watching It's a Wonderful Life, Elf, or A Christmas Story. Maybe just add this one to the rotation!)

Chocolate War-(1988 Dir: Keith Gordon, Wr: Keith Gordon) This wonderful adaptation of Robert Cormier’s fantastic young-adult novel, was the antithesis of the hip John Hughes-y teen flicks produced in the 80’s.

City of Lost Children-(1995, Dir: Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Wr: Gilles Adrien & Jean-Pierre Jeunet) Jeunet & Caro’s trippy visual feast is a must for fantasy fans. The final film of this French directing team is creepy, humorous and visually stunning.

Cluny Brown (1946, Dir: Ernst Lubtisch, Wr: Samuel Hoffenstein & Elizabeth Reinhardt) I’ll admit, this is kind of a mean one to put on the list. It’s yet to receive a DVD release and the VHS has been long out of print. However, if you can catch it on TV you’ll get to see a gem example of the famous ‘Lubtisch Touch’. A hilarious examination of social and sexual labels.

1 comment:

  1. Auntie Mame is most certainly my top "I couldn't possibly give an exact number of my favorite movies" list. This time period in cinema is not my favorite, and I would love to see the stage version. However, I have had a really hard time introducing others to this movie successfully. I think it's the snappy writing (and execution of dialogue) that really works here. I like Nick and Nora from the Thin Man series for similar reasons. Quirky but quick characters.

    I will agree with Jami about not skipping IAWL...