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Overstreet

Big Screen or not at all

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I've been asked to offer a list of films that absolutely positively must be seen on the big screen.

I'm pretty sure we have a thread for this already, but I couldn't find it this morning. Can anyone find it? If not... what belongs on that list?]

Personally, I think it's kind of a futile exercise. I'm with Peter Bogdanovich, who says that any movie made for the big screen is not the same movie on a small screen... but then, most movies that are pretty much what Hitchcock described as "photographs of people talking" don't really deserve a big screen in the first place.

So, of course, any thread we might have had probably starts with stuff like this:

2001: A Space Odyssey

Lawrence of Arabia

Blade Runner

Star Wars, etc.

Lord of the Rings, etc.

Post-Dekalog Kieslowski

Wings of Desire

Pina

There Will Be Blood and anything else by Anderson

etc

etc

etc

Edited by Overstreet

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Probably AVATAR

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Right now, the number one movie I'd like to see on the big screen is Andrei Rublev. The widescreen DVD image is so small, you almost have to squint to see it.

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I'm glad I saw Hugo on the big screen in 3D.

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Um. Tree of Life.

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Play Time

Edited by Christian

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As the microbiologists say, TNTC (too numerous to count).

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I'll have to think about this. But, off the top of my head:

Every Terrence Malick film that exists or ever will exist.

La Dolce Vita (saw last Sunday).

Melancholia

The Mill and the Cross

Lost in Translation.

I saw The Godfather today on a digital IMAX sized screen. I don’t know if it has to be seen on the big-screen, but there’s tons of moments I don’t think would have near the effect on the small screen.

Edit: I haven't got the chance to see any of Miyazaki's best films in theaters, but I'd hazard they belong there too. I've enjoyed them fine on the small screen, but I can't help but imagine what seeing Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away on a nice big screen would be like.

Edited by Timothy Zila

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I'm with Andrew, there's just too many to count. Which is kinda funny, because with iPads and iPhones, most of the movies I see now are on a 9 inch screen or less...it's so hard to justify the hassle of arranging baby sitting and then taking that time to watch a movie instead of doing something more interactive.

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William Wyler's Ben-Hur

David Lean's The Bridge on the River Kwai

Danny Boyle's Sunshine

Tarsem Singh's The Fall

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Sunshine is best not viewed at all.

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I think a lot of blockbuster action films would fall under this category. A few come to mind...

The Dark Knight Rises

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Die Hard

The Matrix films

The Bourne films

Aliens

None would be quite as exhilarating viewed from an iPad or laptop.

Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams was probably far better in its 3D big-screen version. I only saw it on Netflix Instant.

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While I'm all in favour of seeing films on the big screen if at all possible, I'm not sure there are many films I'd say "Big screen or not at all" to (which is the title of this thread). I think that if you truly love cinema you'd want to see a lot of the films mentioned on the big screen. But if that were not an option, I think I'd rather someone saw most of the films in the best possible manner available to them, rather than not at all.

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While I'm all in favour of seeing films on the big screen if at all possible, I'm not sure there are many films I'd say "Big screen or not at all" to (which is the title of this thread).

While the movie theater is preferable, as a replacement it is not too difficult to arrange to see a film on an excellent wide-screen television with a good sound system and in a dark room. As many of us also have smaller televisions and watch films on computers, laptops and iPhones these days, I think the argument is that it would be a crime to watch certain films (especially if you are watching them for the first time) on a small television, computer, laptop or iPhone.

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Big films, big screen. Intimate films may be ok on smaller screen. Consider Certified Copy. I suppose it is best on a big screen, but I don't think it depends on that.

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Action-packed and/or effects-laden popcorn fare definitely lose a good deal, but I believe that experimental or introspective films lose even more because they require attention, pitch black darkness and a severe silence.

When it comes to a serious "big screen or nothing" attitude, I immediately think of anything by Stan Brakhage and Pedro Costa's Fontainhas Trilogy. I'm thankful to have home media for those through Criterion, but now that I've seen several Brakhage and Colossal Youth on the big screen... I can't go back man, I just- I can't go back.

At some point I want to rent out a place and watch In Vanda's Room. I'd also love to see several more Brakhage films on the big screen, especially my favorite of his, Untitled (for Marilyn). For the reasons I gave above, I'd also like to see Akerman's Hotel Monterey and Bokanowski's L'ange.

One should always see Bresson's work in a cinema, but I don't think his lose nearly as much as Brakhage's and Costa's.

Edited by Pair

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I'll preface this by saying that when I saw 2001 projected on a massive Cinerama screen a few years ago, it was a completely different experience from the dozen times I'd watched it on various TVs and home projectors, so I understand the question, in general, and agree with Andrew that there are too many to count. But I've been thinking about the original question -- big screen or not all -- and the only titles I can come up with are structuralist films that are about projection and light. For example, as far as I know, Michael Snow still refuses to make Wavelengths available in any format other than film, which seems right to me.

By the way, Pair, my first experience of Costa was seeing Colossal Youth on a massive screen in Toronto. I went in without any expectations and spent the next three hours thinking, "I had no idea the cinema could do this."

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I'll preface this by saying that when I saw 2001 projected on a massive Cinerama screen a few years ago, it was a completely different experience from the dozen times I'd watched it on various TVs and home projectors . . .

Yep.

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But I've been thinking about the original question -- big screen or not all -- and the only titles I can come up with are structuralist films that are about projection and light. For example, as far as I know, Michael Snow still refuses to make Wavelengths available in any format other than film, which seems right to me.

Amen. I really want to dig deeper into structuralist film, what I've seen has touched me deeply. I have some Paul Sharits and Kurt Kren under my belt, and though I'm really excited about the Frampton set Criterion has coming, I hope I don't fixate on how much better it would be on a large screen, with the flicker of the film stock.

I seem to remember reading somewhere Lav Diaz only projects his DV work as well, but don't quote me on it, my brain might be making that up. He's another I wish I could sink my eyes into.

By the way, Pair, my first experience of Costa was seeing Colossal Youth on a massive screen in Toronto. I went in without any expectations and spent the next three hours thinking, "I had no idea the cinema could do this."

Beautiful. I saw the DVD first, then saw it on the big screen (not 'massive,' by any means, you lucky fellow). If I was a less deadpan person, I might have wept over how much more I found there, and how much the DVD had cheated me. I still watch it regularly, but I have to make a serious effort to put the difference out of mind.

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I'll preface this by saying that when I saw 2001 projected on a massive Cinerama screen a few years ago, it was a completely different experience from the dozen times I'd watched it on various TVs and home projectors, so I understand the question, in general, and agree with Andrew that there are too many to count.

I'd also echo this experience with 2001, a film I'd seen many times on DVD and VHS before that.

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I thought this might be the best place to ask this... Has anyone here muscled their way through Bernardo Bertolucci's 1900? The restored director's cut, which clocks in at 317 minutes (yep, 5 hours plus change) is playing near me later this month. Bertolucci can be pretty hit or miss (story-wise) as far as my experience goes, but his vision is usually gorgeous, and this is tempting.

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah

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Big films, big screen. Intimate films may be ok on smaller screen. Consider Certified Copy. I suppose it is best on a big screen, but I don't think it depends on that.

You just reminded me of a few weeks ago when I recommended CC to a good friend who is having some marital sadness and she said "I'll watch it on my phone." I had a visceral reaction and nearly shouted "NO!" before I even really knew why. Think of that scene with the motorcycle's rearview mirror. I'm sure it's decent on a smallish TV screen, but it must be nigh invisible on a phone. And the bit with the reflection on the car window. I didn't even notice it the first couple times I watched. It was on my laptop after all, and I wished afterward I had watched it on a much larger screen.

I suppose it depends on the size of the screen - for intimate films, it must be big enough to notice very small details.

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