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What did we miss? (IE Top100 '05)

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Like I noted in another thread - Donnie Darko.

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Crazy/Beautiful

The Philadelphia Story

The Godfather I,II,III You'd expect me to say this, nevertheless these are great statements of how one can delude one's self into thinking that depravity is just something we can work to rid ourselves of with the right mission statement or business plan.

Alan and others think westerns are neglected. Two of Budd Boetticher's that I have seen would fit well in this context:

Decision At Sundown Great meditation on the futility of revenge for its own sake.

Buchanan Rides Alone Grace, mercy, justice, revenge, and making peace with the past. This flick is a little different.

Ride The High Country This is pre-"screw the producers and backers" Peckinpah. Strong, rigid moral code runs up against cutting corners with old age staring us in the face. Nothing else like it.

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Dead Poets Society (we need a smiley for shaking head in amazement)

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High Noon?

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If people are feeling a Western deficit, and we're still talking "spiritually significant," I reckon SHANE oughta at least be up for consideration.

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And Pale Rider too. One follows from the other, but drives home the spiritual responsibility a little more, wher Shane is just a guy good with a gun who rescues the town. Different angle, I would say.

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Have not had the time to keep up on this discussion as much as I would like so maybe this has already been discussed and I just missed the posts but. . .

there hasn't been any mention of Moulin Rouge? Am I completely bogus in thinking that it is one of the most spiritually profound movies?

(And this is to give a shout out to all the Indiana people. . .If Field of Dreams can make it why not Hoosiers? One of the best David and Goliath stories and a story of redemption and restoration. . .)

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No Levity? :bluehaironend:

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No Levity?  :bluehaironend:

In order to qualify they have to not only be spiritual, but good films too.

-s.

Edited by stef

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That's pretty good, Stef. Still a fan of Whale Rider, are we?

:lsduel:

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Hey...no Michael Mann films???

NO MICHAEL MANN FILMS?!?!

I can't be the ony fan of Michael Mann...

....

8O

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Hmm, forgot about Insider. I was thinking more The Keep and The Jericho Mile...

Hm. Jericho Mile might not count because it was orginally made for TV...

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Hmm, forgot about Insider. I was thinking more The Keep and The Jericho Mile...

Hm. Jericho Mile might not count because it was orginally made for TV...

I don't know those films. Say more?

(DEKALOG was originally made for TV. Doesn't necessarily have to be a problem...)

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Well, The Keep was a flop, but I loved the film and now it's got quite a little 'cult following.' Basic synopsis:

In 1942 Romania, a detachment of the German Army (led by Jurgen Prochnow, IIRC) is sent to guard a mysterious Romanian citadel located on a strategic mountain pass. One of the Nazis attempts to prise out one of the silver cross-like icons embedded in the walls throughout the fortress and it gives way into a huge (like HUGE) chamber within--and 'something' is released. A mysterious stranger (Scott Glenn) senses this from his home in Greece and travels to the Keep to confront it. Meanwhile, soldiers are murdered and the SS arrives (led by Gabriel Byrne, again, IIRC) to deal with what is thought to be partisan activity while a Jewish man (Ian McKellen) and his daughter (Alberta Watson) (who are both knowledgable of the keep) are brought in to find out what's really going on...

The Jericho Mile used to be one of the hardest titles to get hold of: I remember at Scarecrow Video in Seattle I had to put down a $1000 hold on my credit card to rent it.

By Chris Kent:

When watching the 1979 made-for-television movie "The Jericho Mile," most viewers will be impressed by how well the film has aged. Relevant, stylish and intense, "The Jericho Mile" is arguably one of the great television movies in history. Directed by Michael Mann, who would go on the create "Miami Vice" and such A-list Hollywood films as "Last of the Mohicans," "Heat," and "The Insider," this humane film details life in Folsom Prison and the men who scratch out an existence within its cement walls.

"The Jericho Mile" begins with an extraordinary opening montage, expertly edited with the funky riffs of "Sympathy for the Devil" playing in the background. Within their prison, criminals play handball, deal drugs, lift weights and lounge in frustrated boredom. Standing out is Rain Murphy (Peter Strauss), a loner who endlessly runs around trash cans, sweat poring from his body, muscles tense and glistening, escaping the confines in his own, unique way. Serving a life sentence after murdering his father, Murphy obsessively runs on a daily basis. When he's clocked by the prison warden and psychologist one afternoon, they realize Murphy is achieving Olympic-level times.

Murphy has one friend, a black man and cellmate neighbor (Richard Lawson, in a very good supporting peformance) who runs afoul of the white supremacists led by Dr. D (Brian Dennehy, in one of his earliest roles). A murder takes place, leading to a race riot, and Murphy reluctantly finds himself in the middle of inmate tensions. The prisoners eventually bond, building a race track within the prison, thus giving Murphy a chance to make the Olympic team and run for freedom.

"The Jericho Mile" is a brilliant, symbolic story. Filmed on location, using actual prisoners, Mann went to obvious lengths to achieve utter realism. Strauss won the Emmy for his heartbreaking performance, and deservedly so. When he's not running, his character is a walking time bomb, seething with rage, struggling with a tortured past. His minutes-long monologue when he finally opens up to the prison psychologist is brilliant, hall-of-fame stuff. Strauss' character is never very likeable, constantly on the verge of self destruction, pushing away efforts of the warden and track coach as they attempt to give him a chance for glory. Rain Murphy is running from demons, and they could catch him at any moment.

I would love to see "The Jericho Mile" remade today as a major motion picture, though I cannot imagine an actor giving as good a performance as Strauss. Everything clicks perfectly in "The Jericho Mile." It is a poetic, inspirational achievement, marked by excellent visuals, terrific supporting performances, the fluid direction of Mann, and the stunning performance of Strauss. This is a true television classic, deserving of rediscovery and a quality DVD release.

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I'd have nominated KRISTIN LAVRANSDATTER if I'd had a chance to see it. Unfortunately, the DVD only became available last month, and I just got hold of it this past weekend.

Definitely one to put on your to-be-viewed list if the "Top 100" list is revised next year, IMO.

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Powder.

Go ahead, flame away...but I'm serious.

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I just finished my second Apocalypse Now experience, this time the Redux (which i might incidentally note, was a lot like my recent experience with the Tornatore Cinema Paridiso cut, which added some very bland and unnecessary scenes... But that's a discussion for another thread). And my question is this: HOW DID THE TOP 100 MISS THIS FILM? I'm very close to not only admitting that the film is quite spiritual, more so than some that are on the list, but also that this is one of the greatest American films ever made. Period. And that it's certainly Coppola's best. Much better than the nicely done but good for nothing Godfathers. All three of them.

Willard's reflective self-examination in this film is brutal. The first scene alone is more powerful than anything in other films of this type of nature. Americn History X and 28 Days Later were mentioned as films involving similar themes; Andrew referred to them as portrayals "of man's depravity and innately violent tendencies," and that could be a fair place to start here, but it's done so much better here. Sheen is a terror-stricken man who has burrowed down into the blackness that is his soul and has dug up a corpse that is the path he is on. Brando is the towering, overwhelming force of reason, of an evil logic that is carried out to the extreme. He is perhaps the logic of nihilism embodied in one man, as well.

But the film itself is not just another addition to the enormous list of Viet Nam films out there. I wouldn't even say that it's about Viet Nam, and perhaps, just having read Heart of Darkness, i have a little more insight with this screening than i did last time. But as far as Nam goes, i would describe that as the setting of Apocalypse Now, whereas in The Deer Hunter or The Thin Red Line, etc., it can be suggested that the main character is the war itself. Coppola's idea here is to use the war and all of its atrocities to depict something even more horrifying, and that is the obscenity that is the human heart. Especially a heart left without lawful limitations, a heart with no moral restrictions, and one that finds a convenient (and reasonable) method for justifying its wrongfulness.

The pure metaphor of traveling up the river, the journey that is life, that, left unchecked and unrestricted, plunges one into a brooding wasteland -- this metaphor alone should've put the film in our Top 100.

Just what on earth is a Blade Runner, anyway? Someone needs to justify this.

I wish i would've voted for this film, Coppola's masterpiece. Perhaps next year i will. It was overlooked. I am sad, and i, like Willard, am arriving too late to patch things up.

And - Lovers of Apocalypse Now, i am telling you this as a favor: You must, must, must, must see Hearts of Darkness, the documentary made by Eleanor Coppola. The making of Apocalypse Now was an appalling mess. I don't know of a production where the themes they were searching out in the film were so similar to the actual things happening during the shoot (heart attacks, typhoons, a descent into darkness to bulldoze the soul, etc., etc.)... Get this film and see it NOW. It is a must.

Did i mention that it's a "must" see?

-s.

Edited by stef

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Just what on earth is a Blade Runner, anyway? Someone needs to justify this.

Little known fact:

"The title comes from Alan E. Nourse, who wrote a story called "The

Bladerunner". William S. Burroughs took the book and wrote "Bladerunner (A

Movie)" in 1979. Rights to the title only ("in perpetuity") were sold to

Ridley Scott. Similarities between Nourse's "The Bladerunner" and Scott's BR

are in name only. Nourse's title refers to people who deliver medical

instruments to outlaw doctors who can't obtain them legally. [source: Locus,

September 1992: p. 76.] Scott thought the title made a good codename for

Deckard."

In other words, it just sounds cool.

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I wish i'd never even brought it up. You missed the point completely.

-s.

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Alan, given stef's use of the indefinite article, I assume he and (M)Leary are simply dealing with the definition of the term "blade runner" and not with the origins of the film by that name.

stef, I can see your point, though I have to say my last experience of this film was tainted by the fact that it was the inferior Redux version that I saw. Then again, I have always said that you can see Francis Ford Coppola's career burn out over the course of this film -- it starts on a fantastic note and is full of fantastic stuff, but the Brando sequence at the end has always underwhelmed me.

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Nourse's title refers to people who deliver medical instruments to outlaw doctors who can't obtain them legally. [source: Locus,

September 1992: p. 76.]

Now that would be an interesting movie. Think of all the ethical questions.

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I wish i'd never even brought it up.  You missed  the point completely.

-s.

Sorry Stef, I thought you were asking why he is called a "Blade Runner." It is a legit question since it really has nothing to do with the story, but actually has something to do with an entirely different story by a different author and just sounds cool enough to be a part of the Dick story.

I am on the fence with Apocalypse Now. The last half hour of the film definitely gets what Heart of Darkness is all about, and Coppola's famous apology for the film (this film IS Vietnam) makes a great deal of sense in this light. The production of the film itself is far and away a spectacular story, at times much more enthralling than the film itself and is an achievement of genius no doubt.

A few of the scenes in the Redux cut do add quite a bit to the film, but only in the sense that pages 200-400 add quite a bit to Kafka's The Castle. In that work of fiction, Kafka takes us right to the heart of the sort of European angst that led to all of those wars that happened. And it is so long that he actually enacts that angst in the reader as we are forced to sit through it. Same sort of thing with the extended version of Apocalypse Now.

But, I don't buy it. At least at the end of Heart of Darkness there is some sort of image that points outside of the story itself (you may have to refresh me on that). But I was recently reading Walker Percy's essay The Man on The Train in which he talks about "postmodern literature." He talks about several types of this literature, that are all basically designed to deal with what he terms "alienation" as a blanket term for anything that has to do with that existential angst that characterizes our age and the age that produced Apocalypse Now. To make a long story short, there are several types of this literature, one of which leads to what he calls "rotation." If I am reading him right, rotation occurs in one of these narratives because it introduces you to a sort of alienation, takes you through the lengthy process of a certain character experiencing it over time in an interesting circumstance, and then spits you right out in the same place again anyway.

This is what seems to happen in Apocalypse Now. "The horror" is not a place to start or stop and re-enter the world with a more informed human perspective, "the horror" in this film is a stagnant pool of navel-gazing impotency that mires people in its complacency. It is the easy way out that leads to nothing. So nothing really happens in the film.

Other films that deal with what "Kurtz" is calling "the horror" would be things like Klimov's Come and See, Menzel's Closely Watched Trains, Kubrick's Paths of Glory or Full Metal Jacket (just for the image it leaves us with), Leone's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (the Civil War scenes in the uncut version), etc... I would take any of these over Apocalypse Now any day of the week when it comes to dealing with "the horror" of war as a spiritual reality.

Edited by (M)Leary

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After discovering the 2004 list from a link on my blog, one of Doug's Masters of Cinema colleagues posted this:

That's an impressive list, indeed. But STROMBOLI is a glaring omission. It was actually the first film I thought to look for in the list.

This is one of those films in need of a solid DVD release.

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I would have been very happy to include Stromboli, which is indeed one of the most spiritual and most aesthetically intriguing films out there.

Side note: Martin Scorsese's documentary, My Voyage to Italy, is being released on DVD this week, and the Catholic-sensitive Scorsese spends a lot of time covering Rossellini's potent spiritual oeuvre. Rossellini is a favorite of mine, and I'd suggest trying to rent his films before seeing Scorsese's doc, which is full of spoilers, but if that doesn't bother you or if you simply cannot find Rossellini's films, it's really inspirational viewing.

Edited by Doug C

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