I have to start this post with a sincere thank you to Turner Classic Movies, without whom I would not have finished these lists. And despite having to wake up two hours earlier than normal, I was able to catch their showing of Wuthering Heights last Friday morning, and with that I have officially seen every movie on both versions of AFI’s Top 100 Films of All Time list.
Even though this stands as a relatively minor milestone, given that there are still tons of movies that I have left to see, it is gratifying to know that I set out to accomplish something and that I achieved my goal. My only regret is having a lack of organization, if I had to do it over again I probably would have arranged to end it with some stronger films. But no matter, what’s done is done, and this project is officially done (every fiber of my being wants to say ‘Huzzah’ but I’ll resist the temptation).
More thoughts on the films:
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans: Clunky title aside, this may be one of my favorite movies on this list. It certainly stands as my favorite silent movie (an easy choice given the still small amount of silent movies I’ve seen). It’s the beautiful tale of a husband and wife rediscovering their love for one another after gradually drifting apart (and an attempted murder). It’s a rare occurence of not being able to describe what’s so great about this film, and also not being able to say enough. It’s a majestic story that needs to be seen by as many people as possible.
Dances With Wolves: On the opposite end of the spectrum we have this outing from Kevin Costner. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call this a terrible movie, but I wouldn’t argue with someone who would. Admittedly gorgeous cinematography was unfortunately not enough to save this movie for me. Costner’s merely competent direction and bland acting style contribute to the most boredom I’ve experienced thus far with this project. The best example of what’s wrong with it is the truly terrible narration, Costner sounds like he’s a kid who’s been called on to read in class. I get that they’re journal entries, but he doesn’t sound at all like he has any emotional attachment to the events that he is describing.
Stagecoach: A movie I was not super excited to watch for one reason or another, but wound up loving. I’m trying my best to come around on Westerns and more movies like this will really help that process along. Pure entertainment value runs rampant through this film and I hope to see more like it.
My Fair Lady: Because why not follow up a John Wayne western with an Audrey Hepburn musical? I don’t know how much weight to assign this film, it’s definitely enjoyable (despite Hepburn’s comically bad Cockney accent) but the movie as a whole is something of a trifle. Mostly solid musical numbers certainly help, though. Also I finally get where Family Guy‘s Stewie got his voice.
Birth of a Nation: Not the easiest movie to sit through, I must admit. A three hour, blatantly racist, silent movie? Sounds awesome, right? Despite all that, though, it is actually a very good movie, you just have to realize that the racism is deliberately over-the-top to point out just how ridiculous the KKK truly is.
Sophie’s Choice: A quiet intensity simmers throughout this film. Eventually it is revealed why. And it is appropriately heart-wrenching. Meryl Streep gives a phenomenal performance as Sophie, and Kevin Kline is amazing in his film debut. My only issue with the movie is not actually a fault with the film itself, but I just can’t look at Peter MacNicol without thinking “Everysing you are doing is bad, I wants you to know zis.”
Wuthering Heights: As stated, this was the film that caused the most trouble, given its lack of availability, and I probably wouldn’t have picked a costume drama to be the movie I end with, but it actually did prove to be a remarkable film. It’s nice to know that that hack Laurence Olivier gave at least one good performance in his life.
The Wild Bunch: This was my first Peckinpah film, and from the opening scene it is easy to see why he is so highly regarded for his action sequences. And what’s truly amazing is that that scene is just the first in a long line of similarly jaw-dropping sequences.
Giant: It’s been called the Gone With The Wind of the fifties. And despite how much I enjoyed Gone With The Wind, that description still didn’t fill me with excitement. But despite a slow start, the movie does ultimately succeed. James Dean gives an astonishingly tragic performance, and the irony of Rock Hudson playing a bigot is enough for me to recommend this movie to others.
Well, to quote a great orator, that’s all folks! I really have enjoyed the heck out of this project, and yeah, I’ve got a long way to go in my film-watching, but I’m going to try to enjoy my success for at least a couple more days. What’s in store for me now? Maybe Yahoo’s lists. Or imdb’s. Any other lists out there?
Posted under Kyle's Adventures in Pop Culture
This post was written by Kyle on July 12, 2010