Friday, November 14, 2008

A Tag From Bubs: The Alphabet Movie Meme

Bubs tagged me with the "Alphabet Movie Meme." I love movies and I love a meme, so here goes:

Aliens- I liked Alien, but loved Aliens. It was one of the best movie-going experiences I've ever had. The movie worked on every level-- great story, great characters, great special effects, great script, etc., etc.

Bullitt- Combine a great cast-- Steve McQueen, Richard Vaughn, Simon Oakland, Norman Fell, George Stanford Brown, Don Gordon, Jaqueline Bissett-- with a great story, a great script, a great locale (the Bay area), one of the all-time great chase scenes, and you get an unforgettable movie that bears repeated viewing.

Casino- I know, everybody thought this was "Son of Goodfellas," but I liked Casino way better. Part of it is that I find Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, the mob gambling ace who the main character Ace Rothstein, portrayed by Robert Deniro, fascinating.

A couple of weeks ago, TBS showed "Casino" after a baseball playoff game ended; we had it on at work. It generated a discussion about the merits of "Casino." I came home and checked the New York Times and discovered that Lefty Rosenthal had died that day.

The Dead Zone- Who's creepier-- Stephen King, David Cronenberg or Christopher Walken? Get them all together and you get a movie that is visually arresting and well done.

Excalibur- John Boorman's movies are visually fascinating. This movie is his take on the Arthur legend. Helen Mirren has rarely looked better. Honorable Mention: El Diablo. Okay, technically it's a "D" movie; "el" is Spanish for "the." Robert Beltran, Lou Gossett, Anthony Edwards and a whole bunch of other great actors deconstruct the Western, and are pretty damned funny to boot.

Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas- A book I was certain would not translate well to the screen. Leave it to former Monty Python guy (the lone American in the bunch, BTW) to pull it off. Great performances all around.

Galaxy Quest- This movie is probably only funny if you are a Star Trek fan (guilty as charged!) or know one. Lots of in jokes for Trekkies and Trekkers.

Happy, Texas- Part "opposite buddy" movie, part romantic comedy, all fun. Two escaped convicts masquerade as a gay couple in order to hide out. Hilarity and love-- both gay and straight-- ensue. William Macy is great as a "big-dick" Texas sheriff.

I’m Not There- Kim got this movie for my birthday. As a lifelong Dylan fan, I have to say that this movie captured him in a way I didn't think anyone could explain him.

Juggernaut- People forget what a damned fine actor Richard Harris could be. This movie is a case in point. In this largely-forgotten 1974 movie, which was directed by Richard Lester (A Hard Day's Night, Superman II), Harris plays a bomb defusing expert, a World War II vet with a ghost in his past, who is sent to defuse a bunch of bombs set on an aging ocean liner. Great script, great performances-- Anthony Hopkins, Omar Sharif, Ian Holm-- and a great story.

King of the Corner- An alternately funny and heartbreaking movie that didn't get a lot of exposure. I love Peter Riegert (Boon from "Animal House.") One of my all-time favorite scenes in a movie is the scene at his father's funeral with a rabbi played by Eric Bogosian.

Local Hero- Another great Peter Riegert movie-- one of my top ten. Visually stunning, charming and a nice little message.

Midnight Run-- Deniro is undeniably a great actor, but he has definitely taken some roles for the money. This one was for love. He plays almost a parody of himself. He's a former Chicago cop who was set up for fall years ago by a mobster played by the incomparable Dennis Farina. He's reduced to working as a bounty hunter. He gets the assignment from the great character actor Joe Pantalioni to get "The Duke." The Duke is a mob accountant, played by Charles Grodin, who stole a bunch of Farina's money-- and then gave it away to charity. The prissy Grodin and gruff Deniro make an improbable pair, but have great chemistry. It's one of my son's favorites too.

I've posted about this one, too-- about accidentally walking onto the set in one of the scenes that were set in Chciago, in a scene with hundreds of guns. I thought I'd accidentally walked into a shootout.

North By Northwest- Hitchcock made a lot of great movies. This one is easily my favorite-- Cary Grant, James Mason, Martin Landau and Eva St. Marie are all great. My favorite scene is the crop-duster scene.

Honorable mention, the movie Novocaine, which my friend Karol Kent is in.

Office Space- This movie has generated as many catch-phrases as Animal House:

"That'd be greaatttt...."
"I believe you have my stapler."
"I'm a free man and it's been six months since I've had a 'conjugnal visit.'"

The scene where they destroy the printer that had made their lives hell to some rap song is one of the funniest scenes I've ever seen in a movie.

The President’s Analyst- James Coburn is splendid in this one. I've written a post on this one.

Quadrephenia- I saw this one when it came out at the now-demolished Grenada Theater in Chicago. This was the one good acting role Sting ever had-- as a self-absorbed phony. It was the perfect role for him.

Raising Arizona- This is another one I've written a post on. Great acting, great script.

"Son-- you got a panty on your head..."

Sammy and Rosie Get Laid- From the guys who did "My Beautiful Launderette." I'm still waiting for this one to come out on DVD. It's about a hip London couple in the middle of the Thatcher years. It takes on race, gender, sexuality and class, and pulls no punches. Great performance by Fine Young Cannibals singer Roland Gift

True Believer- James Wood chews up the scenery in this one. He's a former sixites activist/lawyer who is reduced to taking drug cases for rich coke dealers. He rationalizes what he does until Robert Downey Jr. shows up as his young assistant. He takes on the case of a Korean immigrant who's been imprisoned for seven years for the murder of a gang leader.

The Untouchables- When I first got out of college, I was working as a law clerk in downtown Chicago, and I'd see the trailers for the stars, though I never saw any of the stars. The history is totally wrong, but the story is great.

Village of the Damned- This one creeped me out when I was a kid. "I must think of a brick wall..."

Withnail and I- I've posted about this one before as well. It's a sort of buddy movie about two struggling actors in London in late 1969. Great use of music in this one, including Hendrix' "All Along the Watchtower" and "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)", and the Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."

X: The Unheard Music- Great documentary about X, one of my favorite groups.

Honorable evil mention, Xanadu, a horrendous piece of shit.

Yankee Doodle Dandy- I loved James Cagney's gangster movies, but I also enjoyed this musical about the life of George M. Cohan. WGN would show this one late at night a lot when I was a kid.

Zodiac- About the Zodiac killings in San Francisco in the late sixties and early seventies. Great performances and riveting story.

I tag anyone who wants to do this one.


SkylersDad said...

Ah yes, Aliens was much better. "In case you haven't been keeping up with current events, we just got our ass kicked" and "Game over" are two of my favorite lines.

Bubs said...

Bravo, sir. Bravo! I especially liked your pick of The President's Analyst. Classic!

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

The President's Analyst and Excalibur are two of my favorites!

Grant Miller said...

USA Network plays Casino pretty often...Unfortunately, they clean up the language. But some of the dialogue - when cleaned-up - is unintentionally hilarious.

MacGuffin said...

Great picks one and all, Mr. Yen! Esp your choice for N. :)

Dad E said...

No "Casablanca"!. Please explain yourself sir.

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