Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 28- Favourite film from your favourite director

Before 1970: Robert Aldrich. Considering three of his films are in my top ten films of all time, this is a no-brainer. I can't say that for any other director. Several of his other films I'd also rate very highly. Since I've talked about The Dirty Dozen before, I'll go with my second favorite film directed by Aldrich - The Flight of the Phoenix (1965).

"Is that meters or yards, Mr. Dorfmann?"

I should devote a whole post to this movie, but for now, I'll just say that the outstanding ensemble cast and the well-written dialogue just awe me every time. I particularly love Hardy Kruger's Dorfmann and Richard Attenborough's Lew Moran. The scene where Moran goes from laughing hysterically to sobbing is just bloody brilliant. Ian Bannen is another favorite. I love watching Dorfmann butting heads with Frank Towns (Jimmy Stewart). And yet they still get the job done, all tempers and egos, cold practicality and emotions, clashing magnificently, right through to the very end. I always did prefer Jimmy Stewart when he played cranky loner characters to cheerful ones, and in this movie he's saddled with a load of guilt on top of it. I love the moment when he admits to himself in his log that the cause of the accident was "Pilot error."

The movie also has my favorite deVol score, and I'll take his sweeping desert theme over Jarre's Lawrence of Arabia main theme any day.

Post 1970: James Cameron. Also a no-brainer. He's the only modern director that has given me quite a few of my favorite modern films, Aliens, Terminator, Titanic, and, of course, the new one, and my favorite film by Cameron to date: Avatar. Appropriate to be writing this now, as the movie is currently back in theaters for a short two-week re-release. My sister and I went and saw it twice this past weekend, and hopefully we'll get to see it again this coming weekend before it leaves the theater. This is one of those films that must be seen on the big screen, and I love the 3D. We drove the extra distance to see it on an IMAX screen, since I refuse to sit through the Real3D version again. I've talked about how much I love this movie previously, so I won't repeat, but, if anything, I loved the movie even more seeing it again this weekend. Avatar is a particularly immersive, emotional experience (something watching it at home on DVD simply cannot deliver). I always get teary at two parts. Happy parts, actually, not sad ones. Reminds me of the Lord of the Rings movies... I bawl at all sorts of non-sad parts in that one, like the lighting of the beacons in ROtK. Usually those moments are tied up in the music as well, which is the same with Avatar. I'm weird, I know, but that's how I react to overwhelmingly, beautiful things.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 27- A film you wish you had seen in theatres

The movies I'd wished I'd seen in the theater are numerous and I could probably list fifty here right off the top of my head that I'm dying to see on the big screen. I've been fortunate to catch quite a few in the revival theaters over time, though there's plenty I still want to see. Of those, I'm going to go with these two, as I think they're both particularly crying out for a big screen viewing.

Before 1970: Where Eagles Dare (1968). One of my favorite war movies, one the family watched all the time growing up, the story that introduced me to Alistair MacLean, and that introduction, changed my life. This movie has sweeping on-location scenery, and that wonderful nasty cable car journey and fight that I would just love to see in a darkened theater. I'd love to see Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood wreaking havoc big screen. This is a movie meant for the big screen, and if it ever gets shown somewhere, I'll do my darnedest to try and get there for the viewing. (Really, I'd like a triple feature... this one, The Great Escape, and Von Ryan's Express -- three of my favorite war films that all require the big screen for proper viewing.)

Post 1970: Galaxy Quest (1999). Don't ask me how I managed to miss this one, but I didn't discover this one until later, on DVD. The rest of my family saw it in the theater, but for some reason, they just didn't make an impression on me that hey, you don't want to miss this one. It promptly became a family favorite when it was released on DVD and I kicked myself for missing it. I'd love to see it re-released.

Day 26- A film that you love but everyone else hates

Waterworld (1995). LOL! And I do, I love this movie, I really love this movie, and I freely admit it. But I appear to be quite alone in this, even though I don't get the hatred. Even my sister loathes this film! The ocean setting is way cool, the plot is fun and since it's a fantasy, who cares if the oceans really wouldn't rise that high? The action is exciting, the end satisfying, Dennis Hopper as the Deacon (and his Smoker minions) is just the right shade of crazy. This is an popcorn action/adventure, post-natural-apocalyptic film, with characters I cared about. I saw it in the theater when it first came out and, honestly, there wasn't anything I didn't like about this movie (except the score... this is another of those movies, like Tombstone, where the score is better outside and separate from the film than it is in it... though I've come to like it with the movie too). It's like Mad Max on the high seas, though I would rather watch this film than any of the Mad Max movies (and I'm quite fond of the second one too).

Kevin Costner is great in the cynical, tough loner role, the Mariner. His character is more action than words, and he plays it well. His trimaran is one of the coolest boats ever, with a bunch of nifty gadgets to allow one man to run her where three would probably better. That boat makes my top ten favorite vehicles list. I love how he gets saddled with Enola (great name!) and Helen, and how he slowly comes to love and protect the little girl. The scene where he teaches her to swim is one of my favorite moments. The entire rescue scene is my other favorite part. "Why aren't you rowing?"

There's the theatrical version and the longer version, and I love both. I've actually only seen the long version once, but it explained a lot and filled things in, and I need to check it out again. The theatrical version is the one I know best.

So, yeah. Waterworld is the film I love but everyone else hates!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 25- Favourite film villain

These questions are slightly tricky. Not best. Not scariest. Not most evil. But favorite villain. Which is quite different.

Before 1970: Messala, Ben-Hur, 1959. The character who introduced me to one of my favorite themes - betrayal. And boy howdy, he's really got the corner on the betrayal market, and all just to get ahead in the world. Doesn't realize success will only take you so far, and friendship is one of the precious fragile things in life you can't take for granted. He also assumes Judah will think as he does, big mistake, and when he discovers that Judah chooses to protect his people over siding with the Romans, Messala feels a bit betrayed himself. Of course, he set himself up for that fall. I always liked that he investigated the rooftop accident himself, found Judah was telling the truth -- and then did nothing about it. Still miffed and and finding another way to success through Judah's fall. He really is out to win, which is perfectly demonstrated by the ruthless way he drives his chariot in the famous race. And then, he gets the best death scene ever. Judah Ben-Hur's journey through hatred and back would be nothing without a worthy antagonist, and Messala is that and then some. I've loved him since the first time I saw the movie.

Post 1970: Rene Belloq, Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981. Ahhh, how I love Belloq. I'm particularly fond of bad guys who are one step ahead of the good guy, and Belloq was always a smart one. Well, until that minor misconception over what the ark would allow him to do. But the rest of the time, he's often ahead of Indy, and when Indy does slip ahead, Belloq figures things out and gains the upper hand again. I love that. He doesn't like the Nazis he works for, but they're useful, bringing him funding and manpower he wouldn't have otherwise, and so he tolerates them. He's also handsome and charming, something my favorite villains have in common.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 24- Favourite film based on a book/comic/etc.

Well, a lot of my favorite movies are based on books, including my favorite movies of all time, so I'm going to go with movies with a comic book source here instead. And that gives me:

The Rocketeer

This movie didn't do well when it came out, and I've never figured out why because it's a great movie. The only thing I can think is with the period setting and the story line, this is a very old-fashioned movie. Maybe it just didn't jive with modern audiences, where people like me, who love older movies, period settings, and action -- well, this film was right up my alley. I mean it's set in the late 1930s, has Nazis and Hollywood actors and gangsters, a zeppelin, airplanes, Griffith Observatory, a wonderful Rondo Hatton look-alike, Howard Hughes, great costumes, a hero who flies, and a fabulous James Horner score. This is such a fun movie! The cast is perfect, the movie well-paced, funny dialog, the action thrilling. I love this movie.

Cliff: "How do I look?"
Peevy: "Like a hood ornament!"

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 23- Favourite animated film

Before 1970: Fantasia (1940). This is actually the only animation film I own on DVD, though I like most of the early Disney films. There's quite a few of the one in the '60s and the more modern ones that I've never even seen (101 Dalmatians, Jungle Book. etc.) Fantasia, though, is perfect. The animation is gorgeous, lush, exquisite. The music is wonderful. I grew up on classical music, and I'm sure this movie shaped the way I hear music, and even the types of classical music I like. I prefer my music to evoke images. This is also part of the reason I love orchestral soundtracks so much. My favorite segment of Fantasia is Beethoven's 6th Symphony. I love the flying horses, unicorns, centaurs, and mythological setting. The only section that I don't love is the sort of intermission bit on notes/sounds. Though, man, every time I see the Night on Bald Mountain segment as an adult, I'm surprised that it didn't scare my pants off as a kid. It's frightening!

(my favorite moment - brave mommy unicorn)

(exquisite animation)

(Love those water-toting broomsticks!)

Post 1970: Cars (2006). This is my hands-down favorite of the Pixar films. I do not tire of watching this one. You know it's bad when your nephew wants to watch something, and you're telling him "Cars! Let's watch Cars!" just because you want to see it yourself. I find this ironic too, because I don't like car racing generally, and I also cannot stand Owen Wilson in anything I've seen him in -- but I don't mind him at all as the voice of Lightning McQueen. He suits the role. I love the story of this one, the little life lessons. I love love love Doc Hudson, love the whole tractor-tipping, love how the beautiful scenery awes McQueen. Love the town of Radiator Springs and how they spiff it up. Love Mater and Luigi and Guido and, really, all the characters in Radiator Springs. It's just a very satisfying movie, and it doesn't get old. (The Cars dvd also has my favorite Pixar short film: One Man Band. I haven't tired of that one yet either!)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 22- Favourite documentary

Well, this is embarrassing, but I haven't seen any. I've watched a ton of documentaries and science shows on PBS etc., but not actual documentary films. The only one I can even remember is one on the Alamo that I saw on an IMAX screen in San Antonio. I really loved that. The Alamo is one of those moments in history I just can't get enough of. But I'm quite remiss in viewing anything in the documentary film world.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 21- Favourite film from your favourite actor/actress

Favorite film with William Holden? That's easy. The first film I knew him from, The Horse Soldiers (1959).

This is one of those movies I don't really have any memory of seeing for the first time, because it was part of the John Wayne round-up of films we watched whenever they came on TV. When I was little, I loved Constance Tower, in her gorgeous dress, cleverly scheming to find out the Yankee plan. I loved her spitfire attitude, her attempts to escape or warn the Confederate soldiers, how she changes as she witnesses war and its cost. But I never did understand why she fell for John Wayne and not that other guy, the doctor, the one who was so good-looking and willing to go toe-to-toe with John Wayne. That William Holden guy.

I loved his character of Major Kendall. He starts out friendly, here to do his job, but Colonel Marlowe (John Wayne) just lays into him from the get-go. Kendall's not one to let it wash over him, so the animosity between the two men grows. This is one of those movies that even though I own it on DVD, I can't just scene jump to the "good parts" at the end. There's quite a few movies like that, where jumping ahead just ruins the ending, because what makes the ending work so well is sitting through the rest of the movie to get to that point. You gotta have the build up. Like Flight of the Phoenix... I can't jump to the starting of the plane, even though I've seen the movie fifty times. When that engine finally catches, what makes it so satisfying is what you've gone through to get there. Gladiator's like that, and a bunch of others. Payoffs have to be earned.

The Horse Soldiers is that way for me too. My favorite part is when William Holden finally gets pushed too far and dashes his drink in John Wayne's face. And off they go to duke it out. And it gets better when Holden asks him what the rules of the fight will be, and Wayne says "Just make up your own." So Holden slugs him on the spot. Very satisfying. Alas, their fight is way too short, interrupted by battle, but that just leads us to an even better scene, when Wayne gets shot and Holden gets to treat him. Hah. I love it.

The rest of the film has nicely spaced action scenes, cool scenery, a catchy main theme that I will find myself singing for the next two weeks after a viewing of it. I love that the love story is understated, that it just happens quietly, almost in the background, the characters conveying emotions with looks and actions more than words. I love that William Holden stays behind with the wounded soldiers at the end. And I really love the Wayne/Holden actor combo. They sell this story to me.

Day 20- A film you wish someone would make

There's a lot of films I wish someone would make. How about some original films instead of a hundred and one remakes????

But for today, I'd rather like to see an action film starring Daniel Craig, Ewan McGregor, Sam Neill, and Neil Patrick Harris -- with Colin Firth as the bad guy. With no jerky camera movement. With beautiful scenery. And a score by James Newton Howard. I'd be more than happy to write the script.

Yep, that would make me happy.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 19- The most hilarious film you've seen

One of those hard questions for me. I'm not very user-friendly with most comedy. The movies I find funny aren't actual comedies. Hilarious implies one I'm laughing at constantly and I'm not sure I can name one.

Er, this is probably as close as I'm going to get.

Before 1970: I do love It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. And I love What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? I love the Road movies, particularly The Road to Bali and The Road to Rio. The Princess and the Pirate is also highly amusing.

Post 1970: Well, A Life Less Ordinary is right up there at the top of the list, along with Free Enterprise and, I have to admit, Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa. I thought I would rather hate the latter, but after watching it a few times with my little nephew, the sheer absurdity of it won me over and now I love it. The awesome crazy penguins and Alec Baldwin's presence help.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 17- Favourite film quote

"We go on that mission we all get killed. That's what they want, that's what they want! Those idiots in there, they're going to get chopped, every last one of them, they're not even due for hanging. You, you slob, you slob, what do you think you got coming?" --Victor Franko - The Dirty Dozen

Favorite line and most quoted line of dialogue from any movie around the family demesnes, usually just the last sentence, but often more than that.

"And it exploded!" --Teb, Galaxy Quest

I'm not sure what my absolute favorite line is for a more current movie, but this one's right up there. It's also the most quoted line from a modern film around here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 16- Film character you relate to the most

Okay, my answer is probably going to sound really really weird. But I've been thinking and thinking about this question, and I keep coming back to the same answers.

It sort of ties in with William Holden, and why he is my favorite actor. A big part of it is because I relate very strongly to the types of characters he plays, and that is a naturally attractor. I ran through all of Dana Andrews' movie characters, and despite the fact that he's one of my favorite actors... I actually don't relate to any of his characters. Not one. But William Holden... now I can name half a dozen characters off the top of my head, without looking at his filmography, that I can relate to.

There's two, though, that I relate to more closely than any of the others. They're nearly a tie, but as one movie features a love story and the other doesn't, that lets Pike Bishop from The Wild Bunch edge out Capt. Roper from Escape from Fort Bravo.

I said it was going to sound like a really really weird answer, particularly for a girl to choose. But when I finally sat down and watched The Wild Bunch for the first time a couple years ago (I'd only seen pieces of it prior to that), the thing that I liked most about the movie was how much I related to the character of Pike.

From the little things: how he wears two holsters -- a shoulder one in addition to the one around his waist (and tucks away a third and fourth pistol before the end fight) and not that I even own a gun, mind you, but in childhood games involving squirt guns, etc., that's how I did things. The little private thank-you/farewell exit salute he gives the train engine for serving them well, so to speak; I'm always doing that with inanimate objects -- to the way he sits there thinking all the time, to the hat doff salute to Robert Ryan's character, to the things that make him smirk.

To the big things: to the things he believes in, to the grudge about the husband who shot him that he's carried every day after, to deciding to trust the wrong person and getting shot in the back for it, and most particularly: to the plans he makes. Logistically, the character plans and anticipates and safeguards his actions and men exactly the way I would. The first time I watched the film, I spent a lot of time thinking, for example, "you know, the Mexican troops are going to try to take those guns without paying for them, so if that was my gang, I'd rig it so... yep, he just did that." And then nodding to myself, pleased. I'm very much in synch with the character of Pike Bishop. Right down to the ending. He doesn't blame his former partner for coming after them ("he gave his word!"), and he also knows that Deke is probably the one man good enough to catch them eventually. And that, plus witnessing Angel's mistreatment... I'd do the same thing myself at that point. And there's that moment where he's taken out Mapache, and the gang could probably still walk out alive. The Mexican troops are so shocked, they're just sitting there, leaderless and lost. Pike has a choice. Walk out and go back to running from Deke in a world that had no place for him or his gang anymore, or go out, guns blazing, and take some of those troops that have been hunting Angel's people with them. Sort of a community service, if you ask me, as the only "good" people in this film seem to be the mountain villagers fighting to stay alive. I never did want to live forever. I'd make the exact same choice.

So, of all the film characters I've been rattling around in my brain, for better or worse, I keep coming back to Pike Bishop as the one I relate to most.

(Random aside... you think Joss Whedon likes this movie perhaps? There appears to be some Wild Bunch name homage in Buffy -- Angel, of course, and Lyle and Tector Gorch show up in a Buffy ep as well. Isn't the main guy in the Buffy movie named Pike? I think I'll start paying attention, see if there's any more Buffy/Wild Bunch name connections. Or I'll just google it and see if anyone else has noticed that too. Weird.)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 15- Favourite film sequel

Originally, I was thinking Aliens would be my choice here, until Tillane reminded me of some other movies I'd stopped thinking of as sequels. But they really are sequels, and that changes my answer to The Empire Strikes Back. Not only is it my favorite sequel, it's my favorite of the Star Wars films, and it also has my all-time favorite John Williams score.

It's a bit darker, doesn't end happily, has a much bigger light saber fight than the first movie, makes good use of my all-time favorite themes of betrayal and redemption, trust and loyalty, love and friendship. Everyone gets in trouble. There's more quotable lines from this one (including an R2-D2 whistle that my family always imitates, and yes, that counts as a line), more Darth Vader, Yoda is still a REAL creature and has presence, and yes, I prefer puppet Yoda to CGI Yoda for exactly that reason, though they finally started to get the CGI right in Revenge of the Sith. C3PO hasn't been turned into an idiot yet, and he's still quite useful to have around. Same goes for Han (that carbon freezing sure did mess him up). Not to mention the movie could win for the Asteroid field scene alone, and for "No, that's not true, that's imPOSSible!" There's nothing I don't like about this movie except them switching pronunciation of Han at the end... never did understand that.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 14- A film that you used to love but now hate

Nothing so extreme as going from love to hate, but I did used to love Blade Runner, and after a viewing on the big screen, I realized I just really didn't really need to see it again after that. It's not hate or even dislike, because I still like the movie. I was just rather... well, done with it. Satisfied. Complete. Over. Finished. Whatever. (Except for the ending with Rutger Hauer and Harrison Ford. I don't think I'll tire of their cat and mouse chase/fight through that old building.) I've had no desire to see it again since. I really can't explain it, or why seeing it on the big screen just sort of ended it, but well, there you have it.

Day 13- A guilty pleasure

Well, I've been stuck on this question, cuz I genuinely can't think of any movies that fit this category. I even asked my sister what she thought mine would be, and she concluded I don't have any either. But for her, it was cheesy, impossible disaster flicks like Volcano. She says they're awful movies, but whenever they come on, she can't turn them off. Perfect example of a guilty pleasure movie, but I can't seem to find any for me. There's bad movies I've watched once and didn't mind, but I didn't go back to them for repeat viewings. I also tend not to feel guilty for things I do like, so that also makes it hard.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 12- A film that changed your opinion about something

Well, I have only rather lame answers here...

Before 1970: Rain (1932) -- Joan Crawford was pretty! She was also a good actor! And I like her when she's young! So, lame answer, but this film did change my opinion about her.

Post 1970: Kate & Leopold (2001) -- What do you know? I can tolerate, even like some modern romantic comedies. But I like this one mostly because of Liev Schreiber's character, who isn't in it nearly enough, but makes me grin when he is.

Day 11- A film that you hate

Well, I only have one answer for this one. I can think of plenty of movies I dislike, but genuinely, honestly, truly hate? That's reserved for something really special. It takes a lot of energy to hate. And I can only think of one movie I happily will spend that much energy on, hating it.

The Matrix (1999). You know, I don't even think hatred is a strong enough word for what I feel for this film. And a large portion of that hatred is wrapped up in the fact that many subsequent movie fights were ruined by this film. They became exaggerated caricatures of fights. Heavily choreographed, slow motioned, impossible, stupid. Not all films, obviously, but enough to raise my hatred towards The Matrix with every one I saw. Besides that, I just plain can't stand anything about that movie, from plot to characters to everything in between and beyond. It's the only movie I can say that about.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 10- Favourite classic film

I think this prompt means to be magnanimous, designed to allow a modern audience to pick one ol' time movie they like, something Turner Classic Movies would show, presuming the meme writer watches mostly current stuff. But tonight, I'm in an irascible and impatient mood, and I find it a bloody annoying prompt. "Classic" is such a pesky word. It's not helped by the fact that many of the films that are considered famous classics I don't like (movies like Casablanca, The Third Man, Citizen Kane, Dr. Zhivago, Touch of Evil, Shane, High Noon, The Maltese Falcon, Notorious, 2001: A Space Odyssey... yeah, yeah, yeah, it's true. I don't like any of those movies. Shocked? Well, I warned you I was feeling cranky!)

So, to answer the darned question:

Before 1970: Paths of Glory (1957) - Just about the only Stanley Kubrick movie I not only like, but am in awe of it. Powerful, powerful movie with a great cast that just hits me in the gut every time and gets better every time I see it.

Post 1970: Star Wars (1977) - The movie love of my life, that changed my life. There's before-SW and after-SW, but I often think you really have to be about my age to get what that truly means. Seeing those previews on the little tv and going what the heck is that furry roaring creature? and then waiting in huge lines forever and experiencing that film for the first time in the theater, no spoilers, no clue what was coming or even what it was about, and when that Imperial cruiser goes and goes, and then zowie! space battle! and the good guys lose, and then Darth Vader's entrance... holy smoke, there was no experience quite like that one. Or waiting in line during the weeks that followed with two hundred other mom's and their kids, waiting for JC Penney's to open in the morning so you could get in and buy a t-shirt and the newest Star Wars figures. Or having your mom drive you to the department store (!) to meet Darth Vader and get his autograph. While you return and see the movie again and again in the theater because your family just can't get enough, and you know you're never going to see it again except on tv where things are tiny and panned and scanned and you'll miss what's on the sides so you'd better keep going until you have every frame memorized, every sound effect imprinted, all the dialogue memorized, every note of music... (And then, lo and behold! VCRs come out, and then DVDs, and you can see the movie again, and wide-screen to boot, and then Lucas goes and changes the movie you loved with his so-called special editions, "special" my Aunt Jenny's fruitcake, and that's a whole other story, but it doesn't detract from the original experience.)

And how was that for a massive slew of run-on, stream-of-conscious sentences? LOL!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 9- The best soundtrack/score to a film

So, this is asking for "best" not "favorite" -- which is indeed a different thing. Best to me means a score that not only supports the movie, but that if you replaced it with something different, the movie would no longer work. I think there's a reason humming just a few now-famous notes from either of the following scores is recognizable to most people, even when they haven't seen the movie! Both scores are copied, parodied, replayed, imitated, and they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Both are great scores on their own, but play them with their respective films, and they make both these movies even better. There's a lot of fabulous film scores out there, but these two are justifiably iconic and get my vote for best soundtrack:

Before 1970: Psycho (1960) by Bernard Hermann

Post 1970: Jaws (1975) by John Williams

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 8- The best opening/closing credits

I love opening and closing credits. This probably stems from my love of film scores, as in older films, the main title and end credits gave you a chance to hear the score without the talking and noises that would accompany it during the film itself. Nowadays, with the distinct lack of opening credits (which I've already complained about), and the rampant abundance of songs over the end credits instead of score... well, lets just say the art of opening/closing credits is dying. And I hate that, passionately. Right up there with bouncing cameras, choppy editing, and stupidity in plots. They're ruining my movie-going experience.

Before 1970: Opening Credits - Okay, this is nearly impossible to choose from. Most old movies had great opening credits. Great themes and theme songs. There's the straight-forward ones that have something cool about them (Kiss Me Deadly - Nat King Cole song and credits flowing backwards as we head down the highway), or there's crazy, clever ones like Mad Mad Mad Mad World, or cool funny sung ones like The Court Jester, or epic ones like Ben-Hur. I loved when movies had overtures. Opening credits were an art in the old days.

Post 1970: Opening Credits - Big Jake (1971). Music by Elmer Bernstein, and a really nifty history lesson that sets the background for the movie. The juxtaposition of modern advances and civilization with the violence still going on in the Old West sets the perfect tone. And always makes me realize 1909 wasn't that long ago, really. These opening credits just make me smile.

But since 1971 is so long ago, I have to mention The Untouchables (1987) again as well (with Dead Again and LA Confidential right behind it, and on the clever animated level: Catch Me if You Can), because The Untouchables still fulfills everything I want out of opening credits: mood-setting score, nifty visuals, and actual credits where I can see who's going to be in the movie I'm about to watch.

Before 1970: Ending Credits - Well, this is harder, because there wasn't much to end credits in the old days. "The End." Occasionally a cast page after that as time progressed. And I have to admit, I loved that too. As for a favorite? For funny - The Road to Bali, just to watch Bob Hope struggling with that "the End" sign. "Oh no you don't!" For serious, In Harm's Way (1965) would probably take the prize from me. Those crashing waves, that very ominous but amazing end cue from Jerry Goldsmith. Gives me chills every time.

Post 1970: Ending Credits - for fun, A Life Less Ordinary and its wacky claymation is highly amusing. For serious, Star Wars. Those last notes of the movie, segueing into the end credits ... bliss! And it's a prime example of a film of where I settle back into my seat during those end credits just to hear the music.

Day 7- The best plot twist/ending

Before 1970: Vertigo (1958). I'm not particularly fond of twists, but Vertigo just works for me. I absolutely love the ending. Really, the ending makes the movie for me.

Post 1970: No Way Out (1987). I was having a hard time with the modern film choice, so I'm just going to go with this one. It pushes the believability envelope just a bit, but I still love it. It made grin and grin when I got to the end of the movie.

Sorry for the lack of details, but I'm down with a cold and not up to much more right now.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 6- Favourite actor/actress

Hah! Been here done that, answered this before. Favorite actor is still William Holden.

And if I'm playing by my own rules here, then it's Sam Neill for the post 1970 answer to this question. I've loved him since I first saw The Hunt for Red October. And then I hunted up everything of his I could find. The neat thing about liking actors in this era, of course, is that you can watch their career grow, can wait for new movies and shows. It's all brand new and evolving. I remember how excited I was when Jurassic Park came out, because before that film when I said, "I love Sam Neill," all I got was a "who?" response.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Day 5- Favourite love story in a film

Before 1970: Souls at Sea (1937) - Powdah (George Raft) and Babsie (Olympe Bradna). I didn't know what to expect when I watched this movie, but I certainly didn't expect it to include one of the sweetest -- and saddest -- love stories ever. This is a different type role for George, much softer, not so tough, and he's wonderful in it. Watching George woo the gentle, sweet Babsie (and I mean that in the best way, she's adorable), win her, and then lose her. It was so touching. And yes, George Raft made me cry and cry, too (so, pffft to anyone who says he can't act).

Post 1970: The Wind and the Lion (1975) - the Raisuli (Sean Connery) and Eden Pedecaris (Candice Bergen). I've been sharing these prompts with my sister, and she rolled her eyes when I told her this choice for my favorite love story. She called this movie the most frustrating love story of all time. Hee. But what she hates about it is exactly what I love so much about it. I love the relationship between the two main characters, how it grows and becomes something special and wonderful -- without them ever sharing a kiss or bed or anything physical. When he comes and rescues her single-handedly after her escape attempt goes wrong, okay, that's probably the most romantic moment in a movie ever for me. And at the end, after she's returns the favor and rescues him, when he tells her goodbye: "I'll see you again, Mrs. Pedecaris, when were are both like golden clouds on the wind," I almost always tear up. Definitely my favorite love story in a film. It's also my favorite Sean Connery role, and one of the few films I adore Candice Bergen in. The love story is also intrinsically bound up in Jerry Goldsmith's score, which is some of the most sweepingly romantic music, I know.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, so I don't go for typical happy ending love stories. I can't help what I like.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Day 4- A film that makes you sad

Before 1970: Lonely are the Brave (1962). Gah! I love love love this movie -- until the last five minutes. Then I hate it, because my heart aches and breaks, and I'm sad for days afterwards. But Kirk Douglas, that absolutely gorgeous horse, Whiskey, and one of my all-time favorite Jerry Goldsmith scores make this movie awesome despite the fact that the ending kills me even when I know it's coming.

Post 1970: Er... I can't seem to think of one. I can think of plenty of movies with sad moments, but none of them leave me feeling sad afterwards. They ultimately end happy. I can think of several downright depressing movies, but that's not the same as sad. I'm sure I'm overlooking one, but after thinking on this for a few days, I still can't come up with one. Hm.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Day 3- A film that makes you happy

Only selecting one film this time, because while there are lots of films that make me happy, there's really only one film that I'd answer for this question instantly, where the others I'd have to think about. That would be The Dirty Dozen (1967).

This is a film that I can watch at any time of day, any day of the week, heck, every day of the week. If I'm in a less than stellar mood, it'll have me smiling again in just a few seconds. It's impossible for me to watch this film and stay in a bad mood. Just thinking about it makes me happy.

Now, you may be thinking, is she kidding? It's a war movie, nearly everyone dies including my favorite character, for goodness sake, how can this film make her happy? Well, a big part is that it's tied up with my sister and family, and many, many happy times spent watching it together over the years. And the rest of it is because it's simply a really good movie with non-stop great, quotable dialogue, acted by a whole lot of actors I love: Lee Marvin, Ralph Meeker, John Cassavetes, Charles Bronson, Clint Walker, Ernest Borgnine, Jim Brown, Robert Ryan, George Kennedy, etc. And it's funny. The exchanges between characters just crack us up. Honestly, I don't think a single day goes by that a line or two of dialogue from this film isn't quoted between my sister and me. It's that much a part of our daily lives. Even normal stuff, like "Come on," or "Yeah," we usually say with the character's inflections, just to make each other grin.

I don't think there's any other film ever made, not even among my favorites, that puts me in the same Happy Realm ballpark as The Dirty Dozen.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Day 2- Most underrated film

Before 1970: From a 2010 perspective, looking at most modern audiences, almost all classic films are underrated! Hey world, watch more old movies! You're missing out!

Post 1970: The Postman (1997). This movie came out at the same time as Titanic. I saw Titanic first, then The Postman, and I remember thinking as I watched the latter, now this is a movie. Don't get me wrong, I loved Titanic, and I've seen in a bunch of times. But where Titanic was strictly entertaining, The Postman was entertaining and also about something more than that, about a man who inadvertently changes the world simply by fast talking his way into getting a free meal. I absolutely love this idea, how a single spark of hope is enough to ignite a rebellion for freedom. I love watching the seeds of rebellion grow throughout the film, until the finale, where the Postman flings the bad guy's code right back at him and gives the viewer a very satisfying conclusion. I love watching unlikely characters drawn into heroism. I love strong bad guys, and ultimately, stronger good guys. The themes, the action, the conflicts, the characters... this movie is pretty much everything I want in my entertainment.

I just love this movie, but I think unless you're a Kevin Costner fan... nobody ever saw it. They were scared off by the length of the film, or poor promotion, or trailers that didn't really show the heart of it. I don't know, but I rarely encounter anyone who saw it. I'm an unabashed Kevin Costner fan, so I was at the theater practically opening weekend, and I've been in love with the film ever since that first amazing viewing. It's a nearly 3-hour movie, but I did not notice the length of time at all. I've always been fond of long movies anyway, as when they're good, they let me immerse myself in another world for a little more time before I have to return to reality. Another favorite actor, Will Patton, plays General Bethlehem, the bad guy, and, as always, he is just fabulous. He was with Kevin Costner in No Way Out as well, and the two work very well together.

It's a post-apocalyptic film, but not dark and dreary. The opposite, rather. It's a world that comes back to life. The movie was beautifully filmed, with sweeping natural/matte shot landscapes that are just gorgeous. I think I would have loved this movie for the scenery alone. James Newton Howard's score is a perfect match, and still one of my favorite scores by him.

The only thing about the film I don't like is the epilogue. That needs to go. The rest is a keeper, and The Postman is one of my favorite films.