Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The 12 Movies Meme

Ross over at AiP (Anchorwoman in Peril!) has tagged me. As he himself was tagged just like this:

"Tag! You’re it... Or rather I’m it – at least for the rest of this post – because AiP has been tagged to take part in The 12 Movies Meme by Piper at Lazy Eye Theatre. Inspired by Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody’s recently announced programme for the New Beverly Cinema, Piper is asking other bloggers to imagine their own ideal twelve-night movie stint, preferably with some sort of thread uniting the whole thing."

Thanks Ross - I'll pick up the torch then:

As the curse goes, I have to tag five people when my list is done. Otherwise the pentagram will appear not only on my hand when the lunar cycle matures, but on the bodies of those I will kill! My cursed blood-lust must be satiated! So, I hope the five that I tag will comply.

As for my list? It's representative of my tastes in cinema and my personality - speaking generally. Now I'm not Diablo Cody or Satan Duke or Lucifer Magillicutty. I'm just Chick Young, and these are the films I would book into The New Beverly Cinema if I had my druthers.


We'll kick things off with the film that Francois Truffaut claimed was "the most beautiful film in the history of cinema." And, ya know what? I agree. Sunrise is beyond beauty, it is perhaps the purest expression of cinematic "art" one can ever truly find. From the elegance of its simple themes to the sparse use of its intertitles (the film is almost entirely visual) Sunrise is cinematic transcendence - beyond the world of criticism, its a relic of otherworldly riches.

Pair Sunrise with Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (the author's favorite film of all time) and you've got one hot night baby. The film is a perfect synthesis of genuine thrills and solid comedic writing and performance. The monsters play it straight and let Bud and Lou provide most of the laughs; this may well be the secret to its endurance. I want to see legions of new fans flock to this mighty masterpiece!


Here's a melodrama medley. A super soaker full of tragic waters if you will. Max Ophüls' masterpiece Letter From an Unknown Woman and Robert Miller's brilliant The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Ophüls leaves you breathless with his dazzling camerawork and 7 hanky story while Miller's Lonely Hunter gives us Alan Arkin and Sondra Locke - a pair of misfits who find comfort in each other's company. Arkin will have the theater sobbing, Locke's last moments resonate long after the film ends. Incredible films.


"One day men will look back and Say that I Gave birth to the 20th century" Jack The Ripper, 1888.
One day people will look back and say - "Murder by Decree is criminally underrated!" This is an AMAZING film. James Mason and Christopher Plummer simply spellbind. The cast is impeccable and Bob Clark is in his true element. A film I WISH TO GOD I had seen in the theater. Now's the chance kiddies!

Polanski's The Fearless Vampire Killers" is not only one of the most visually sumptuous films he ever made (or EVER made) but a very successful send up of the genre too. To see it on the big screen would be a great experience. Few directors have known how to fill a canvas as successfully and effectively as Polanksi. I would love the chance to see my beloved Sharon Tate dominate a screen once again...


Two of my favorite films. Both films penned by screenwriting tag-teamers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. I love how each film shows us fractured, dysfunctional misfits creating their own versions of patriarchy and familial bonds. Wood and Flynt have a lot to say. Some of it may not be to everyone's liking. Therein lies the beauty at the heart of the 1st Amendment; they still have the right to say it and you can exercise your right to ignore it. Satire is crucial to the vitality of a civil society. Couple of great films that should be introduced to the generation that just missed them.


Super Fun Happy Documentary Tuesday & Wednesday. The Human Condition. Titicut Follies is a symphony in the most discordant tones and most minor key you can possibly imagine. Frederick Wiseman's legendary "observational" fly on the wall documentary is clearly one of the most disturbing accounts ever committed to film. Sadly, the state of mental health care has not progressed positively, or shall I say, in a commensurate fashion since the days of Titicut. Claude Lanzmann's Shoah, is, put simply (because there is nothing simple about this film and Lanzmann has always maintained that it is not a "documentary") the most necessary oral history of the 20th century. Remarkable film. Potent. Unrelenting. A testament to courage and human spirit - when those very qualities are impossible to manufacture.


Ah, the summer of 1986 was dominated by three films for me. I remember each all too well. Top Gun (I just got my drivers license and was diggin me some Berlin!), Aliens (saw that 3 times in the theater) and, everybody's favorite abject film of all time... Ding Ding Ding, Cronenberg's operatic The Fly. What can you say about The Fly? Never enough it seems. I've mentioned before that I keep this film alive and well in my history of film course and watching my students (sometimes there's close to 80 students) react to the film on the big screen in the auditorium - well, I kinda well up, I'm so happy seeing them squirm - and NO FILM makes people freak out like The Fly. Simply Beautiful.

And last but not least, the Big Dawg. The epitome of the Modern Blockbuster. JAWS. Jaws is in my top 3 films of all time. It's JAWS. Anything more need be said? To get a chance to see it on the big screen, listen to Williams score, watch people jump when Ben Gardner's head pops out - well, it's the stuff of dreams. My Dad came THIS close to taking me and my brother to the drive-in to see it. Didn't happen. Instead he bought me the Jaws game (pull shit out the shark's mouth) and my brother The Jaws Diver in the Bottle (he also got me a Mako's tooth and my brother a Great White tooth) - so we couldn't complain too much. We're talkin' JAWS people. That's all.

Well, actually that's not all:

Now then, I'm a big fan of contingency plans: A good business person covers their ass. In case the films are damaged, there's a fire, the reels get lost in the post, earthquake, act of God, whatever. I have two additional titles... JUST IN CASE. I was a boy scout ya know.


L'Avventura is my favorite foreign film of all time. I didn't quite "get it" when I first saw it (I was around 21) but, boy, its ability to entrance became much more profound as I gained a bit more age, wisdom, and experience. It's impetus may have been post-war disillusionment, but I find the film to be even more relevant now - I'd like to share it with the newer generations of film goers. As for Superman? Just to see its 70mm majesty once again - to hear Williams' thunderous fanfare, to see those title credits, marvel at a 30 foot Brando, bathe in Unsworth's cinematography... Someone told me that they re-released it when they did Superman Returns - well, it didn't come my way Dammit! I would've been first in line!

Okay, now I gotta tag some folks - 5 to be exact. I lay down the challenge to:

Ira Gabelsburger at The Gary Conservatory of Music

Bill Courtney at The Uranium Cafe

Taliesin at Taliesin Meets the Vampires: Perhaps he can do an ALL VAMPIRE program, hmm, hmm?

Erik Marshall at A Memorable Fancy (probably be all Woody Allen)

JMR at Always Returning

Gilligan, I left you off the tag buddy cuz of the mammoth meme you've just finished! So are you blokes up for the challenge?


Ross Horsley said...

This is a programme I'd pay good money to see. Maybe even bad money. Either way, there'd be money involved because there's some big stinking gaps in my movie education and this list would fill 'em in nicely.

Silent classics, melodrama, L'Avventura, documentaries fer Gawd's sake; I need to see these films! In lieu of attending your film course, I'm thinking a little Netflix-sponsored film festival of my own might be in order... Thanks for the great suggestions!

JMR said...

i heartily accept your challenge. come the weekend, i'll dazzle you with "joey's ultimate elitist snob film festival".

Chick Young said...

Ross, thanks mate. Those are supremely kind words. I'm very fortunate if by picking some of my favorite films, people would be willing to see them. The same goes for your selections - outstanding choices. I would gladly get in line!

Joey Joe (The box, The BOX!)

Looking forward to your list!! I rather think that BLADE RUNNER will be on there, I almost put Blade Runner on there! Came this close!

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Can I do a whole vampire one? Of course - but wouldn'y you be shocked if I did a non-vampire one. I will give this some thought (and worse will be who to pass this to!)

gilligan said...

What? No Xanadu or Roller Boogie?

In a all seriousness, this is a very interesting list. I have to admit there's more than a few on here that I haven't seen, and your descriptions make me want to plop them into my Netflix queue.

Titicut Follies? What the -? I guess maybe I need to take Cannonball Run II out of my queue and branch out a bit. I've never even heard of this film.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Done and double - a vampire and non-vampire festival going on at the same time. Of course, now I have to send the flying monkeys after you and your little dog too:

Chick Young said...

Tal, I am in awe of your selections. Notify the Barbicon! I'll be there. More at your blog shortly.

Thanks for the kind words. I NEED A COPY of ROLLER BOOGIE!!! And, I have a tremendous soft spot for Xanadu, another fine theater moment of my youth. Bought the soundtrack and everything. As for Titicut, very very disturbing film. A hallmark in the American Documentary canon.

Ira Gabelsburger said...

I heartily accept your challenge and must commend you on your selection. If someone wants to truly know you, you should hand them a list of these 7 pictures as they represent the quirks and inner workings of your fascinating personality! I hope that my selections are up to snuff. I will have them up shortly! Cheers Chick! Oh, by the way, sometime when we actually have the time, we should actually screen these in this order and have a Young-Gabelsberger Film Fest.
See you soon!

Bill said...

I will accept the challenge though I am still away from home and still making the final tweaks on my site. I am on Hainan island and it is hot here and heading inland to Gaunghzhou tomorrow at 5:30 AM... Godd stuff and I will add my 2 cents when I am back and adjusted to being home again...

Bill in China

Erik said...

i have never responded to a meme when tagged, but this one i will. And yes, I could do an all woody allen list, but that wouldn't be any fun. The challenge for me right now will be to remember some non-allen films...

elgringo said...

Shoah...woah. Nine hours in a theater watching a holocaust film? I don't know if I could do it. But you could bet that I'd try.

Great choices.


Chick Young said...

Erik, anxious to see your list.

El Gringo, yes, Shoah would be a true test of a theater's seats. Just how many asses do you suppose would fall asleep during Shoah's massive running time? Somehow, when I watch it however, I can't turn away. It transfixes!