May 26, 2019

Imaginary movie project.

It's possible I'll actually do this. If I do, it will be because I've completely gotten out of the habit of seeing movies. I haven't gone out to see a movie since last summer (when I saw one documentary and considered it worth looking at on television, but not worth putting up with in one long, paid-for sitting), and I can't remember the last time I watched a whole movie on TV (though we joined "Dr. Strangelove" in progress recently and watched it to the end). Maybe the last time I watched a whole movie on TV (other than a documentary) was back in February 2017.

Sometimes I think I should get back to watching fiction movies. I got back to reading fiction books after many years of reading almost only nonfiction. And I've been enjoying that (perhaps in part because it's become harder to believe that nonfiction is nonfiction and with outright fiction I'm choosing the best writing). But it's hard for me to find any new movies that interest me at all (for reasons that I won't elaborate here).

But I had the idea for how I might like to watch some movies. These would all be movies that I've seen before, that I remember reacting to at the time, and where I'm curious about what effect they might have on me now. The idea occurred to me as I was thinking about one particular movie. I want one movie from each year, beginning with 1960, when I was 9. And it has to be a movie I saw when it came out. I'm picking things that I think will be fun to rewatch in part because I'll be able to remember my reaction.

I got this idea as I was out walking and listening to an audiobook that had a passage that reminded me of a particular movie that I'd watched back in 1993:
When we first met, she told me she was studying pantomime. Oh, really, I’d said, not altogether surprised. Young women are all into something these days. Plus, she didn’t look like your die-cast polish-your-skills-in-dead-earnest type. Then she “peeled a mandarin orange.” Literally, that’s what she did....
That made me think of "Bennie and Joon":



I can only vaguely remember how that movie made me feel a quarter century ago and can't know whether watching it again will make me remember much more and whether new contrasting feelings will arise and affect me in an interesting (bloggable) enough way to justify actually doing this project, but I did go through many lists of movies and come up with movies from the 60s through the 90s, which is much easier to do than to sit through all these things. It shouldn't be a chore. Maybe what I liked doing was thinking about the project and doing the intense work of list-making. Actually sitting in a chair staring into the screen for 100 hours... that another matter altogether. Reading fiction is something I do (for the most part) while walking around outdoors. Watching fiction... I don't know.

80 comments:

MadisonMan said...

The difficulty with movies, for me, is that studios blast sound and light. It's as if they're trying to prevent me from falling asleep because there are parts of movies that are slow. This is not a problem if the movie includes compelling characters. Too many movies that I sat through before I stopped watching had nothing.

I really stopped going to movies though when cell phones and their little bright screens started popping up in theaters.

Mike Sylwester said...

Watch historical-fiction movies!

I recommend Starz' trilogy based on Philippa Gregory's novels about the beginning of the Tudor Dynasty.

1) The White Queen, about Elizabeth Woodville

2) The White Princess, about Elizabeth of York

3) The Spanish Princess, about Catherine of Aragon

This is the best drama I ever have watched on television.

SDaly said...

I, too, have essentially stopped watching movies. The other night, though, I noticed "Gosford Park" on Netflix and watched the whole thing through. First time I've done that in several years.

Ann Althouse said...

"The difficulty with movies, for me, is that studios blast sound and light."

Yes, I hate the ugly noisiness and the flashing light (the fast editing). The moviemakers signal their insecurity. They know it's not good. They are constantly telling me that in sound and pictures.

"... if the movie includes compelling characters."

You mean like Batman? He's so complex...

Kevin said...

Or you could just dance around to audiobooks.

Ann Althouse said...

"Watch historical-fiction movies!"

I loathe this genre. So dull. I've been avoiding this category all my life. Never saw "A Man for All Seasons" or "A Lion in Winter" back when they were touted as among the best movies of the year. Meaning lines are crisply articulated and then there are pauses with serious facial expressions and various people in expensive costumes move around fast or slow in cavernous shadowy spaces. UGH!

alan markus said...

I loved that movie. Somewhere I have the DVD in my house. Will have to dig it out and watch it again - have gotten spoiled streaming movies, so DVDs are a last resort to watch something. I think the movie would be "timeless" - guy putting his own love life aside to take care of his younger sister with mental issues after their parents killed in a car accident. An odd character enters their lives - nowadays we would wonder if he was autistic. We would also wonder if the sister's mental issues were due to PTSD or trauma from the parent's accident.

Not really too much tied the era when it was filmed, other than the guy working in a video rental store.

A more recent movie, perhaps inspired by this one is Waiting for Forever

Ann Althouse said...

"Or you could just dance around to audiobooks."

I do. If you consider walking dancing.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I didn't watch a lot of movies in the past, for various reasons. Too busy. It was uncool to do those mainstream movies, Couldn't afford it. No access to theaters (this is way before movies on demand or even VCRs). Not interested in the topic.

However, lately I have been watching some of those old movies that I had never seen. Some are icons and people are always making references to them. Because I haven't seen the movies the references are lost on me. Movies I haven't seen that practically everyone else has....Rocky, Godfather, Love Story and a whole lot more that I can't even think of the names.

SO...I finally watched Saturday Night Fever. Now I finally understand the song by the Bee Gees Staying Alive.

Probably should watch the Godfather next. I think I'd still rather hammer nails into my hand instead of watching Love Story.

Birkel said...

Benny & Joon is quite compelling if you wait years between viewings.
You'll feel differently, probably, because you are different.
But you will feel.

wild chicken said...

I can't sit still for movies anymore either. I haven't been to a theater in 20 years. My best friend pretty much dropped me over that.

Mike Sylwester said...

I watch old movies on the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable network. Because of my blog about Dirty Dancing, I watch especially movies that were made or that take place during the early 1960s.

Recently I watched on TCM the 1967 movie In the Heat of the Night, which takes place in about 1964. I published a blog article about the movie. Although the movie won the 1967 Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Actor and three other awards, I found it to be cartoonish now (I had not watched it since 1967). Nevertheless, watching it was thought-provoking -- because people in 1967 thought it was the best.

In the Heat of the Night is relevant to Dirty Dancing because both movies revolve around illegal abortions in 1963-1964.

The 1987 movie Dirty Dancing supposedly shows how young Caucasians danced in 1963. Of course, practically nobody danced that way in 1963. I have posted a lot of video clips from movies of the early 1960s showing how young Caucasians really did dance -- they danced the twist!

Rory said...

"Saturday Night Fever"

If I see this is coming on, I'll watch the opening credits. Or if I'm clicking through channels and there's a disco scene, I'll watch to the end of the scene. Haven't seen the rest of the film in 40 years, but those bits are mesmerizing.

wwww said...

"A Lion in Winter" is fun if you like Katherine Hepburn. But the movie isn't so much a historical drama as a movie about a cranky relationship between a man and a woman.

We have interests in AI movie recommender systems. But we may be more interested in the systems then in the movies recommended.

EDH said...

"Imaginary movie project."

I assume the project is imaginary, not the movie?

On the subway I try to avoid the people watching the imaginary movies.

Lucien said...

Re-watching “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” a while back I was struck by the fact that Spencer Tracy’s character was out playing golf with “the Monsignor”. Then they came back and had cocktails,and discussed things. I don’t think movies today would have such a character. (He wasn’t alcoholic, didn’t rape altar boys, and wasn’t self righteous.)

Kevin said...

I do. If you consider walking dancing.

Some people walk with enough wiggle to qualify.

narciso said...

I've seen many classic films like sunset boulevard and the sand pebbles on thr movies channel. I saw breaking the curve and American sniper, which were not traditional box office fare.

Karen said...

I had that experience watching the George C Scott movie, They Might be Giants. When I saw it as a young woman I thought it was the most profound thing, but when I rewatched it as a mature woman I could barely sit through it for its stupidity.

Jim Gust said...

You are blessed with a remarkable memory if you can remember your reaction to a movie for each year since 1960. I remember just two, Swiss Family Robinson, the first film I saw in a theater, and Moby Dick, the first film I was allowed to stay up to watch on TV. Recently saw Swiss Family again, and was struck by the cheesiness of things that scared me as a kid.

I watch old movies for the music almost as much as the plot and characters. May I recommend The Mission, with an elegant score by Ennio Morricone?

susan.h said...

Rewatching movies I saw long ago reveal just how much my opinions have changed:
The Last Picture Show
old me: "That little jerk who does he think he is breaking that poor woman's heart".
current me:"Damn that woman, he is in high school and less than half her age, what right does she have to be angry".
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
old me: "Nurse Ratchet is evil but --yay!--the Indian busted loose."
current me:"Nurse Ratchet has a tough job and did what she thought was best in a difficult situation."

Laslo Spatula said...

For those tired of the typical bloated Hollywood fare, I would suggest you instead watch Laslo Films' "Blank Frank".

We premiered it in Seattle two months ago, and it has already been a selection in two film festivals.

Maybe a bit different than you might expect.

You can see it here.

I am Laslo.

cubanbob said...

Althouse, too much over thinking. Movies are just entertainment. Simple rule of thumb ( albeit far from perfect), watch the trailer. If it doesn't interest you in minute and a half to two minutes, give it a miss. If it does, odds are you will enjoy it. Rarely are movies memorable but then most entertainment isn't. Regarding fiction versus non-fiction, fiction has to make sense to be believable to keep your attention. Non-fiction being life doesn't have to. Think about it, who here would have believed Donald Trump would have been elected president five years ago? I voted for him, supported him in the general and am going to vote for him next year but five years ago if there was a legal bookie offering 10,000 to 1 odds that Trump would have been president I would have bought a Lotto ticket instead.

Quaestor said...

It has been 14 years since I yanked the cable.

My brain thanks me every day.

(Blogger is being naughty today.)

SDaly said...

Where does the Murakami tag come from? Just inside baseball for readers who know that you've been reading a lot of Murakami fiction over the past year?

Freeman Hunt said...

I love rewatching movies I haven't seen in a long time. I find I often appreciate (or despise) different things.

SDaly said...

Thinking about this, I would like to watch Hud again. Patricia Neal was great in that.

Freeman Hunt said...

My kids have much better taste in movies than I did at their age, an incident of nurture over nature.

rhhardin said...

I didn't watch any movies until I noticed the DVD player on the computer in I guess 2005. So all experiences are recent.

My bail-out instinct has sharpened greatly though. Sub-difficulties that are too stupid to watch is the primary stimulus. (Takes up drinking; takes advice from friends; etc.) A lot of romcoms are best watched only halfway through.

Action films with the guys too pro-action; oppressed angry women too oppressed; long walks out of difficulty that are too long.

richlb said...

"I got back to reading fiction books after many years of reading almost only nonfiction."

The current state of "non-fiction" books like the works of Michael Wolf and Naomi Wolf sort of blur that distinction, don't they?

iowan2 said...

Dad took myself and two brothers to the neighboring small town movie theater 15 miles away every Sunday afternoon. Mom got 2+ hours of alone time. Didn't matter what was showing. I got my sex education there. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Barbarella, Summer of 42. There used to be some great cinematography in Nature Films. Saw Jack Lemon comedies, Classic Westerns.
Today, Hollywood has locked me out. I am not their audience, I didn't read comic books when I was a Tween, don't want them read to me now.

Bill Peschel said...

My wife and I have taken to watching movies on DVD. Armed with a cheese plate and sometimes a bit of alcohol, we watch a movie on Friday and Saturday nights. Since we work from home, it's one of the few things that signal to us it's the weekend, and to turn our attention away from writing/publishing books.

We also underwent a movie drought for a couple decades, since we pulled the cable plug in 1995. She was raising the kids, and I was working afternoon and eves at the newspaper. Not much movie watching went on, apart from the occasional kids' movie.

Our method of selection is simple: We have a bookcase full of DVDs we accumulated over the years. If we haven't seen a trailer that looked appealing, we'll pull one off the shelf that we haven't seen.

It's been fun. We're looking to be entertained, so "Snowpiercer" was painful (I bailed early, she stayed until the end). "Holmes and Watson" was far more delightful than I expected (I'm a Holmes fan and the trailer looked dire, like a marginally better Adam Sandler movie). They had one obligatory "Orange Man Bad" scene, but considering how good he's doing it caused more bemusement than outrage.

We've revisited old movies, which is risky. I loved "There's Something About Mary" in the theatres, but couldn't finish it today. "Valerian and the City of a Million Worlds" was imaginative the first time, but the second time was infuriating at the Noble Savage motif.

Kurasawa's "Yojimbo" still holds up, thank God. Still amazing.

Best of all, thanks to DVDFab, I can rip the movies I want to see again. Best fifty bucks I ever spent. Thanks, China!

Shane said...

Two words: TCM!

Howard said...

Rewatched "Fight Club" a couple weeks ago. Never realized it is actually a very sensitive love story hidden by dystopian male frustration. Helena Bonham Carter is remarkable in it.

Howard said...

"The Lives of Others" is now on Netflix. A great anti-commie anti-fascist film.

rightguy said...

Ann I think its curious that you both read a lot and watch a lot of entertainment television. I read a bit and watch TV for sports and news. I watch movies at home and am looking for stuff that has the intelligence, wit, and depth of what I read. I end up watching some duds, which I turn off before completion. i.e. last night the forgettable dud was "Intimate Enemies".
But the experience of being mesmerized by a good film for two hours is a memorable one that only a movie can provide. I am very careful not to read anything about a movie before watching it- I enjoy being surprised, and the average New Yorker review will pre-delete all surprises

I don't apply any standards to comedy movies- I can't get past the credits for Easy Money or The Naked Gun before I start laughing out loud.

Hagar said...

The B-52 is a beautiful airplane.

Watching that, I wondered if they could do that with trick photography back then, or did the Air Force accommodate them with having a B-52 flown like that among the mountains of Alaska.

Also Slim Pickens as Major Kong; a long ways from "Stagecoach."
And the young James Earl Jones and his remarkable voice as a very believable bombardier in a way out imaginary tale.

Ann Althouse said...

"SO...I finally watched Saturday Night Fever. Now I finally understand the song by the Bee Gees Staying Alive."

SNF is in fact on my list of 40 movies. It's 1977.

The runner-up for that year was "The Goodbye Girl."

Ann Althouse said...

"One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
old me: "Nurse Ratchet is evil but --yay!--the Indian busted loose."
current me:"Nurse Ratchet has a tough job and did what she thought was best in a difficult situation.""

Yeah. Perfect. That is the kind of thing I'm thinking about, and I agree with you about the movie (even without rewatching it recently).

OFOTC did not make my list. For that year, 1975, I chose "Shampoo."

Yancey Ward said...

I haven't been to a theater to see a movie since World War Z in 2013. I also don't watch many movies any longer on television. The only movie I have watched beginning to end in this calender year was the last Thor movie.

Bill Peschel said...

For that year, 1975, I chose "Shampoo."

Got around to watching that a few years ago. I didn't think it aged well.

Another fun thing about older movies is the inadvertent documentary (stolen from Lileks). Sometimes it's buildings and the way people dressed. Sometimes it's behavior. Watching Bruce Willis on a plane smoking a cigarette and carrying a pistol leads one to ask: What would he be tackled first?

And gas at 89 cents a gallon!

Ann Althouse said...

"Where does the Murakami tag come from? Just inside baseball for readers who know that you've been reading a lot of Murakami fiction over the past year?"

Reread the post and guess. You'll get it right, I'm sure.

Ann Althouse said...

The tags are mostly there for me to keep track of the archive.

Mike Sylwester said...

I've been avoiding this category all my life. Never saw "A Man for All Seasons" or "A Lion in Winter" back when they were touted as among the best movies of the year. ... lines are crisply articulated and then there are pauses with serious facial expressions and various people in expensive costumes move around fast or slow in cavernous shadowy spaces

A Man for All Seasons is a 1966 movie, and A Lion in Winter is a 1968 movie. That was a half-century ago.

Do you judge every movie genre by the qualities of that genre's movies a half-century ago?

I am recommending to you a historical-fiction movie trilogy made withing the past six years. These movies are exciting, and their cinematography is superb.

The White Princess is about Elizabeth of York, who was compelled to marry Henry Tudor for reasons of state. They had to marry in order to end the 35-year Wars of the Roses, but they hated each other. Each of them had lost many close relatives and had suffered many hardships during those wars.

During the years of their marriage, however, they gradually came to love each other and to support each other. This is an intelligent, profound drama about marriage.

Henry Tudor (Henry VII) had been able to occupy the British throne because Elizabeth's two brothers had disappeared -- seemed to have been murdered -- when they were just boys. Then during the middle of this marriage, the younger brother appeared and claimed the throne. Both Elizabeth and Henry came to recognize that this younger brother indeed had escaped from the Tower of London and had survived and so now was the legitimate King of England.

By this time, Elizabeth had two sons of her own, who were in line to become the King when her husband died. This situation was a horrible moral dilemma for Queen Elizabeth and King Henry. Her solution to this dilemma is dramatic and shocking -- and is a plausible history.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann I think its curious that you both read a lot and watch a lot of entertainment television."

I don't watch much entertainment television. I'm in the room when sports is watched often. I've been watching James on "Jeopardy," and I keep up with "Survivor."

I do prefer short things over long things -- movies -- and if I watch a movie it will probably be in at least 2 sittings.

In fact, I tried to watch the movie made from the short story quoted in the post but I stopped in the middle and never went back (even though I paid to stream it).

But I don't really have any short things that I like right now.

I watch some documentaries and some "Great Courses" lectures. Not really what deserves the label "entertainment" unless you want to make it so big it includes anything that's not required for work/school.

William said...

I like Marvel movies. They take a lot of trouble and care with their special effects, and the banter among the superheroes is generally amusing. Star Wars also goes to a lot of trouble with their special effects, but the political correctness can drill your back teeth. The Wachowski siblings can stage an action sequence and the special effects are imaginative, even poetic, but, except for the first Matrix, the plots and metaphysics are silly.

Rory said...

One of the little digital networks edited "To Sir, with Love," for time by cutting out the song, "To Sir, with Love."

Yancey Ward said...

William, you might check out Sens8 on Netflix. Not everyone's cup of tea, but I liked it a lot once I got past episode 3 in Season 1.

Ann Althouse said...

"But the experience of being mesmerized by a good film for two hours is a memorable one that only a movie can provide."

That's kind of a tautology!

But rewrite it —  the experience of being mesmerized by something for two hours is a memorable one that only a movie can provide ...

Assuming one wants a mesmerizing 2 hours... is only a movie the answer? What about live theater? I go to live-theater performances more than I go sit in a movie theater for 2 hours...

There is something about committing to be trapped in the room, submitting to a long performance done without pausing and without breaking your attention. That's why I hardly ever do it!

Ann Althouse said...

"Do you judge every movie genre by the qualities of that genre's movies a half-century ago?"

How can I judge what I'm not seeing? I'm just saying I tend to avoid the genre. I'm not sure what I've ever even seen in the genre. Maybe just clips. I anticipate that things will be slow moving, with bullshit accents, and too much about the costumes. I don't read historical fiction books either. They seem low quality to me.

I saw one of the Elizabeth movies about 10 or 20 years ago. Cate Blanchett maybe or was it Tilda Swinton. Bleh...

Ann Althouse said...

"Henry Tudor (Henry VII) had been able to occupy the British throne because Elizabeth's two brothers had disappeared -- seemed to have been murdered -- when they were just boys. Then during the middle of this marriage, the younger brother appeared and claimed the throne. Both Elizabeth and Henry came to recognize that this younger brother indeed had escaped from the Tower of London and had survived and so now was the legitimate King of England. By this time, Elizabeth had two sons of her own, who were in line to become the King when her husband died. This situation was a horrible moral dilemma for Queen Elizabeth and King Henry. Her solution to this dilemma is dramatic and shocking -- and is a plausible history."

See, this is why "Game of Thrones" doesn't interest me. I don't care who gets the throne. I would watch a serious documentary about the subject of royalty and royal succession but I don't want to watch some actors pretending to be historical figures worrying and plotting endlessly about these things.

That said, I would go to the theater for a high-quality performance of a Shakespeare play based on the travails of royalty.

Ann Althouse said...

"We've revisited old movies, which is risky. I loved "There's Something About Mary" in the theatres, but couldn't finish it today. "

I rejected that as the choice for that year on my list because I didn't think it would be fun to rewatch. The year is 1998 and that actually was one of the hardest years for me to find something that would be fun and rewarding to rewatch. I chose "Happiness," but it's actually one of the least promising choices on my list. I should reorder the list out of chronological and into likely to be rewarding.

Ann Althouse said...

"Got around to watching that a few years ago. I didn't think it aged well."

I assumed that when I chose it. I'm interested in watching it now and remembering how it felt then. It seemed SO good at the time.

It's a great collection of actors. I'm not sure if Warren Beatty is a good actor, but he's interesting to watch and think about, and I wonder if I'll sympathize with his character at all. I remember a scene where he tries to get a bank loan and is rejected because he doesn't have a business plan, and the reaction at the time was sort of that the banker guy was square and Warren was hip. Business plan???!!!! Warren doesn't need no stinking business plan! Today, it will probably be more like, ha, he deserved to have his white-privilege lookism-privileged comeuppance.

rightguy said...

Ann Althouse said...
"But the experience of being mesmerized by a good film for two hours is a memorable one that only a movie can provide."

That's kind of a tautology!

Point well taken, Professor. That's a crappy (and tautological) sentence.



"I don't watch much entertainment television."


Ann, I am under the impression that you've watched American Icon regularly for 20 years. And I have read multiple posts about recent/remote entertainment TV shows that you are familiar with. i.e. Girls/Lena Dunham

rcocean said...

Doing a comparison to what you felt back then and what you feel now is always interesting, even if the movie really isn't.

I've gone back and watched movies that i've seen twice. First when they came out when I was a child/teenager, Second when they came out in DVD in the 1990's, and third, today. I found my reaction today was all over the lot. Some favorites I now dislike, and others I like even more. Mainly, my intense dislike of certain actors or genre's has mellowed over the years. With the exception of Babs Streisand.

Saint Croix said...

I want one movie from each year, beginning with 1960, when I was 9. And it has to be a movie I saw when it came out.

What were you watching when you were 9? Might have to sit through some Disney flicks.

Here are my favorites from the 1960's, none of which I saw in the 1960's.

1960:

Breathless
La Dolce Vita
Shoot the Piano Player
The Apartment
The Bad Sleep Well


1961:

One, Two, Three
101 Dalmatians
Zero Focus
Murder She Said
A Woman is a Woman


1962:

Sanjuro
An Autumn Afternoon
Cleo From 5 to 7
Hara-Kiri
La Jetee


1963:

Donovan's Reef
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Youth of the Beast
The Birds
High and Low


1964:

A Hard Day's Night
Dr. Strangelove
Band of Outsiders
Manji
The Soft Skin


1965:

The Knack...and How To Get It
Battle of Algiers

any random episode of The Avengers
Thunderball
The 10th Victim


1966:

Blow-Up
Persona
Masculin, Feminin
How To Steal a MIllion
Way...Way Out


1967:

The Graduate
Cool Hand Luke
Branded to Kill
Playtime
Bedazzled


1968:

Stolen Kisses
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Party
The Producers
The Bride Wore Black


1969:

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Blind Beast
My Night at Maud's
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
The Wild Bunch

PJH said...

Memorial Day weekend - watch "Taking Chance" (2009) w Kevin Bacon. Available on Amazon Prime.

Bill Peschel said...

"I assumed that when I chose it. I'm interested in watching it now and remembering how it felt then. It seemed SO good at the time."

I like that notion of comparing then vs. now. And Warren Beatty would be an interesting actor to follow. He seems so deliberate in his selection of projects, so cautious. (I'm going by my memory, now). Was he working with any intelligence, or was he fickle and scared of doing something too challenging. Was "Reds" too challenging for its time? I didn't see it, but it seemed to put a halo around him. Or maybe they thought of him as Johnson saw female preachers, amazed that an actor could produce an intellectually challenging movie.

That's the fun of watching movies at home: being able to decide why you're watching them. We saw the first four seasons of "Game of Thrones." The wife was far more interested in it than I was, because I didn't feel like being thrust into the meatgrinder of Martin's seemingly nihilistic worldview. But I liked seeing how these characters engaged us, in a savage world where getting cut off at the knees (or elsewhere) was taken literally.

Can you imagine a contemporary GoT set in the Trump Administration? Without the violence and pron scenes, it would be pretty milquetoast.

Yancey Ward said...

Any Packer fan has to watch There's Something About Mary, if only for Brett "Favra's" cameo.

Bill Peschel said...

Which reminds me: Wolverine is doing a movie about Gary Hart. At the end of the trailer, I turned to the wife and asked why we're following him when he's the villain of the piece. What about the women, Donna Rice and Hart's wife, who had to deal with his cocksure belief that he was untouchable. That would be the better movie.

rhhardin said...

There's a lot of films that are worth watching.

In a Day (2006) and Stranger than Fiction (2006) always struck me as great. I rewatch them even before I've forgotten the plot, wnicn is much sooner than other flicks.

Howard said...

Vice was very good. Christian Bale is Dick Cheney. Saw it on a trans con flight

NMObjectivist said...

I liked "Death of Stalin" (2017) but you need to have some familiarity with the characters. It's black comedy. I didn't think they could pull it off but they did. Steve Buscemi plays Nikita Khrushchev. It's been on Cable recently.

Freeman Hunt said...

The Sixties

1960: This is tough, but you need one that a nine year old might have seen. So probably no Psycho, no The Apartment, no Elmer Gantry, or Village of the Damned. Did you see Swiss Family Robinson?

1961: As a ten year old, I'm guessing you didn't see Yojimbo, so West Side Story, I guess. If you can stand it.

1962: Again, I'll guess that Lolita and Cape Fear weren't big movies for the eleven set, but what about Lawrence of Arabia. I have a ten year old who *loves* Lawrence of Arabia and The Longest Day, but did kids see those movies then? I don't know. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence is a classic. I haven't seen The Music Man, but I bet a lot of kids watched it.

1963: Surely twelve year olds all saw Jason and the Argonauts. My kids used to watch that all the time. (By "all the time," I mean they often picked it for their Saturday morning show. One pick a week. The kids rotate who picks. Yes, we're those parents.) Then again, all of my kids currently love The Great Escape. The Birds would be another kid-possible, iconic choice.

1964: You just watched Strangelove. I would pick Zulu, but there's also My Fair Lady or Fail-Safe, which tends to leave a big impression, especially on teens. For reasons you've already stated, Becket is out. You were probably too old for The Sword in the Stone, though that's a surprisingly faithful adaptation of the first book of The Once and Future King.

1965: The Sound of Music is a big time commitment. Other people, not including me, love Doctor Zhivago. I like The Train, For a Few Dollars More, and Shenandoah. I can't remember if I like The Agony and the Ecstasy, but that's one of those people making serious faces in dark spaces movies.

1966: Kids love Fantastic Voyage, but you were fifteen this year, so I don't know. Blow-Up is interesting but were 15 year olds allowed to see it? Maybe The Professionals?

1967: Cool Hand Luke, The Graduate, or The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

1968: 2001 was, aesthetically, the best movie theater experience I have ever had. I went twice when did was in the theater for a couple days not too many months ago. Not as incredibly on the small screen, but there's always Planet of the Apes (if you dare blog anything about that after Roseanne) or Rosemary's Baby, which I'm guessing you probably saw as a 17 year old. Or you could go weird and watch The Swimmer.

1969: True Grit for one of the most interesting female protagonists. Once Upon a Time in the West for classic cowboy and the end of the west. Midnight Cowboy for avoiding cowboys. The Wild Bunch for violent cowboys.

I left of Kurosawa because I don't know if young people were watching him then. You could drop this whole thing and just watch all of the Kurosawa's movies. Maybe I should drop my movie plans and do that again.

Freeman Hunt said...

The Seventies

1970: Love Story is laughably horrible. Patton. Obviously.

1971: Why did people like Billy Jack? You could watch that as an endurance test. Otherwise and betterwise, you could watch gritty police dramas like Dirty Harry or The French Connection. You could watch Willy Wonka for its iconic performance and its viciousness for a children's movie. If you were watching a lot of sci-fi in 1971: Omega Man, THX, or The Andromeda Strain could be fun, though not as good as other choices. And there's Duel or The Last Picture Show. Lots of choices for this year.

1972: Good luck choosing between The Godfather, Deliverance, and A Clockwork Orange. (I'm guessing you would pick the last one of those if limited to those three. The comparison of reactions then and now might be most interesting for that one too.)

1973: I like High Plains Drifter and Serpico. Other people might pick American Graffiti. It would be odd for a retired professor of law to pick The Paper Chase. They had us watch that in high school, and I can't remember what point they wanted to make.

1974: I think you will pick Young Frankenstein. But there's also Blazing Saddles. Or Death Wish. Or if you want to go to a dark place and feel depressed, Chinatown. I don't think you watched The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.

1975: The most annoying movie ever made came out this year. I will not mention it. Jaws is the best movie of that year, but you already mentioned One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which would probably have better differences of reaction anyway. There's also Grey Gardens and Dog Day Afternoon.

1976: Oh, wow! Rocky, Taxi Driver, The Outlaw Josey Wales, and Network! (Dark horse: Assault on Precinct 13.) But for the best difference between then and now, though not best viewing experience compared to those others: All the President's Men. We watched that recently and were laughing out loud at the depictions of the oh-so-careful press. "Imagine them acting that way now! Ha ha ha!"

1977: Star Wars because I've heard that it was a shocking movie-going experience when it came out in the theater. Otherwise, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (There's one with some difference reactions pre and post kids,) Saturday Night Fever (Way too edgy for today,) or Annie Hall.

1978: Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Only that.

1979: Kramer Vs. Kramer is the best of the year. But there's also Alien (which you won't pick,) Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter (dark!), or The Jerk (which my husband and I watched on our first date, my pick.)

rightguy said...

Interesting sixties list, FH. Thanks for taking the time to compile them.

"1962: ...Lawrence of Arabia and The Longest Day, but did kids see those movies then? I don't know. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence is a classic..."

I watched all three of those in art deco theaters at age nine and loved them. I have watched Liberty Valence several times start to finish since. Yes,its a classic.

rightguy said...

And your seventies list is equally good.

I thought Billy Jack was awful the first time I saw it as a freshman at UNC: massively stupid. ditto Love Story

I would add The Man Who Would Be King to 1975. I re-watched it a few weeks ago and it is as good as I remembered it. I'll watch anything by John Huston.

Earnest Prole said...

The potential for all kinds of interesting, blogable reactions:
What were they thinking?
What was I thinking?
versus
They got it right.
I got it right.

Ann Althouse said...

"What were you watching when you were 9? Might have to sit through some Disney flicks."

I'm starting with 1960 because it allows me to skip the Disney level. The movie for me was "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" -- a Doris Day movie. I remember not enjoying it too much and looking back, I can see that it would have been impossible to understand. It's really about adults, but there are kids in it, and I can see why my mother would have thought here was something we could all enjoy.

Ann Althouse said...

After "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" (1960), I have "West Side Story" (1961) and "The Music Man" (1962). I think all of these would be fun to watch now. If I went earlier than 1960, I would be stuck with "The Absent-Minded Professor" and "The Shaggy Dog" and I don't think I'd enjoy that part of the project. It's not about nostalgia for kid stuff.

Ann Althouse said...

"Here are my favorites from the 1960's, none of which I saw in the 1960..."

Yes, you're naming a lot of great movies and I've seen and liked most of them, but obviously I wouldn't have seen Breathless and La Dolce Vita when I was 9.

The only ones on your list that I saw when they came out were: 101 Dalmatians, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Birds
High and Low, A Hard Day's Night, Thunderball, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Only one of them made my final list: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, I am under the impression that you've watched American Icon regularly for 20 years. And I have read multiple posts about recent/remote entertainment TV shows that you are familiar with. i.e. Girls/Lena Dunham."

Watching 2 hours a week doesn't seem like much to me. It's true that I usually have a once-a-week reality show that I watch for fun, sometimes 2, but that's only 2 hours a week. "Girls" has been off for a while, but it's like a half hour, 10 times a year. I think people who watch "a lot" of entertainment TV are watching something like 2 hours *a day* and more, often much more. People who "binge watch" TV are queueing up hour long things to watch in succession. I couldn't do that if I tried.

"American Idol" is something I watch off the DVR speeding by 90% of it, so I might watch 10 minutes or something.

Some things I've watched because there was a blogging component, like in the early days of "American Idol." I would watch to blog. There were some other people watching and blogging, so it was an interactive blogging activity, not just sitting there being "entertained." It was more of a "Mystery Science Theater" approach to watching TV.

Ann Althouse said...

That said, I do watch Jeopardy and will keep it up as long as James in on. If he goes, I'll probably give it a rest.

Freeman Hunt said...

The Eighties

1980: The Shining

1981: Now you've got your My Dinner with Andre. You could go completely the other way and watch Southern Comfort. Or watch the masterpiece of its type in Raiders of the Lost Ark. And there's Absence of Malice for a more accurate look at the press after the idyllic All the President's Men.

1982: I would watch Blade Runner, The Thing, Chariots of Fire, Das Boot, or First Blood. What an embarrassment of riches! But I don't think Althouse would pick any of those. There are some interesting kid movies in E.T., Annie, and The Dark Crystal, but Althouse probably didn't see those because she wouldn't have had a kid old enough to watch them. The Verdict has one of the funniest traditional-style jokes I've ever heard. Quest for Fire is original. What movie did someone with a toddler watch in 1982?

1983: They made us watch Koyaanisqatsi in high school. Twice! Again, I don't remember what they wanted us to learn from that. I have the impression that we were supposed to think that it was better to like movies like that than other movies. Oh well! A Christmas Story, Vacation, WarGames, Christine... you could watch more movies from 1982. (I'm not writing The Outsiders because that feels like what you're supposed to pick, like how you're supposed to act like you love Koyaanisqatsi.)

1984: Now I would be able to revisit my own childhood with Romancing the Stone, Neverending Story, The Karate Kid, Gremlins, Ghostbusters, Sixteen Candles, The Gods Must Be Crazy, and Splash. I also saw Revenge of the Nerds and Beverly Hills cop as a child. Children of the Corn was big in middle school. Parents of the 80's didn't seem to care what we watched. But if I were going to watch something right at this moment from 1984, I would watch Spinal Tap.

1985: Back the Future, Pale Rider, Amadeus. I remember like Pee-wee's Big Adventure as a small child--talk about a difference in reactions from age to age.

1986: Aliens! (Which Althouse won't pick.) The obvious choice is Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Back to School for a Trump-esque character in the Trump Age. Big Trouble in Little China for something totally different.

1987: The Princess Bride was in the theater sometime in the last couple years. Nice to see it there. Action classic: The Predator. Something about this year is making me feel resistant, rebellious, and refusing to name more even though there are more. The year is annoying me. Good luck!

1988: Remember Beetlejuice? That was huge! Why doesn't anyone talk about it anymore? Die Hard was in the theater semi-recently. Perfectly crafted action flick. Coming to America, Rain Man, Big, Mystic Pizza, and another one like Beetlejuice in that it was huge but no one talks about it now: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Puzzling. I can't imagine being expected to watch a cartoon rabbit and cartoon voluptuous woman in a live action movie for adults these days. But then, back then I never would have thought that the movieplex of today would constantly have at least four theaters taken up by magic people in tights.

1989: Heathers. Or if that seems too dark, Bill and Ted. I remember liking The Abyss and Parenthood. I bet I would still like The Abyss and not particularly like Parenthood. The 80's have this big undercurrent dysfunctional parenthood as though the children and adults move in totally separate worlds and the parents have all embraced fatalism about how it works out. (The ones who haven't are depicted as either obnoxious or malignant.)

On to the 90's....

Freeman Hunt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

1990: If you were doing standardized testing in school, Glory was on the classroom television during the off time. There was a Pepsi version, as I recall, that had the too-violent bits snipped out, and schools played it constantly. My pick would be Tremors. But there's also Home Alone (kids!), Goodfellas (adults!), Total Recall (adults who like space!), and Pretty Woman (girls!)

1991: We watched Robin Hood recently, a movie we were both obsessed with when it came out, and were surprised at how good it was, though there are jokes that would never be made now. (Probably not going to see many movies these days with an attempted rape played for laughs.) Terminator 2 is a favorite. Silence of the Lambs is good. I can't see Althouse picking any of these. Thelma & Louise? Watched that recently too; did not hold up in my opinion. Ah, well. Boyz n the Hood holds up and captures a major phenomenon of its time well. Sleeping with the Enemy was a big one back then that no one mentions now.

1992: Glengarry Glen Ross. Malcolm X and Last of the Mohicans are out due to earlier restrictions. I remember seeing A River Runs Through It in the theater when it came out, and seeing the women behind me all out weeping with Kleenex at the end.

1993: Groundhog Day. People who select for cowboys will pick Tombstone. Kids will pick Jurassic Park.

1994: I think Althouse picked Pulp Fiction. (I should do a whole list of my guesses for Althouse's list.) The directing in Schindler's List is masterful, watching it could be a class in direction. The crowd favorite at the time was Shawshank, but people also loved True Lies. People were worried about AIDS, so Philadelphia was a serious picture you were supposed to have seen. I saw Blown Away in the theater at summer camp and liked it. Wonder if I'd like it now. Some movies are like a box of chocolates with a diagram on the lid; you know exactly what you're going to get. (Oh, did I leave a big one in the box?)

1995: I watched Apollo 13 last Saturday. The Usual Suspects (surprise!), Braveheart (makes men cry), Seven (the talk of the high school), but Clueless is the one I would rewatch to see the difference in my reaction then versus now. People talked about Kids too. Was gross.

1996: If I had to watch one, it would be Fargo, but I watch that fairly regularly, so there could be no reaction comparison. I think Althouse would pick Fargo.

1997: Here I've already done a difference of reaction experiment. I liked The Fifth Element as a teenager, markedly less so as an adult. Starship Troopers would be my best bet for comparison today. Maybe I'll watch it. Event Horizon was the scariest movie I saw as a teenager. Gattaca and The Devil's Advocate made big impressions.

1998: All the movies I liked from this year don't sound appealing now. Do the project and when people ask about '98, mumble and move on.

1999: Fight Club--definitely! People in Washington DC were openly laughing every time the music started playing by the end of Eyes Wide Shut; they were yelling and screaming at The Blair Witch Project. (I wonder if all horror movies might not be better if viewed in a theater where people are responsive.) We were all supposed to have serious thoughts about American Beauty. I didn't see The Sixth Sense until many, many years later, and, somehow, I hadn't heard the details of the twist by that time. Office Space was big for references. Being John Malkovich was definitely original. (Why did the adults in the 80's think of him as a heart throb? Dangerous Liaisons will make you laugh today.) The Thin Red Line, which I saw in the theater, is one that I hated then but like now. My kids love Princess Mononoke, but I don't remember kids being familiar with it back then. Watched Galaxy Quest not long ago, and you'd think it would be terrible, but it's not.

And now it's 2000 when we don't have time for movies because we're zipping around the moon in our flying cars. The end.

Freeman Hunt said...

Movies we've watched by decade since 01/01/19

20's - 3
30's - 16
40's - 22
50's - 18
60's - 10
70's - 8
80's - 15
90's - 4
00's - 4
10's - 12

rightguy said...

FH- mega dittos for The Thin Red Line- I think that is a unique & amazing movie. The depiction of the brutal, nasty combat on Guadalcanal and how a man spiritually transcends the carnage is mesmerizing. And the film is a luminous feast for the eyes. An experience that only a movie can provide.

Freeman Hunt said...

Thanks, rightguy.

I missed Being There for 1979. That's a great one.

Freeman Hunt said...

The list I used to make my list wasn't complete. A Simple Plan for 1998.