Friday, June 29, 2007


Writing about the film ONCE brought to mind other one-syllable movie titles. So I thought I’d see if I could come up with another alphabet list.

ANTZ (any movie with Woody Allen and Sharon Stone, even if only voicing cartoon characters, is okay by me)
BURN (one of the great eccentric performances by Brando, in a 19th-Century story of colonialism meant to be a comment on the war in Viet Nam which was still actively being waged when this was made, fantastic soundtrack too)
CRUMB (the disturbing but great documentary on R. Crumb and his beyond dysfunctional family, in a tie with CRASH which still holds up for me)
DAVE (anything with Kevin Kline in it I can get into, he’s always so committed, but I also love these kinds of light romantic fantasies about “what if…”)
ELF (ditto)
FREUD (Just because it’s Montgomery Clift playing him, even if the film is heavy handed, it’s still unique, as is FREAKS, but that highly touted one-of-a-kind film is too dark for me and seems so exploitative, though I’m sure the cast was happy to have the work)
GHOST (another romantic fantasy that I can still watch anytime, which is my requirement for any movie to be a personal “classic”—just as I can’t really watch GREED anytime even though that truly is a film classic—I know others who find GHOST too much, especially Demi Moore, but I think everyone in it did a great job, as did everyone in GO, but that seems a little more dated now)
HELP (not the best movie, or Beatles effort, but enough fun stuff in it, and period nostalgia, let alone some great music, and though I love HUD, it’s just too sour for me to re-watch much)
If…. (actually lower case “if….” One of the few movies to really capture the most sensational aspect of the mood of the 1960s)
JAWS (not because I really like it that much, I didn’t even like it when it first came out, but because I can watch Robert Shaw in anything anytime, and this is one of his classic performances)
KIDS (photographer Larry Clark’s too realistic portrayal—some say exploitative and sensational—of “kids” on the streets of New York c. late 20th Century, as much of a downer as it is, it’s a unique work of art)
LOOT (not a great adaptation of the Joe Orton play, but it has Lee Remick in it, worth watching any film for)
M (the classic German flick that made Peter Lorre a star)
NUTS (If you hate Barbra Streisand, which most people seem to, you’ll hate this, but I can’t help admiring her enormous talent, no matter how much of a diva that has turned her into, and here, for my taste, she kicks ass with the rest of the cast, though I have to admit, I can’t really watch this one again and again)
PI (which was actually the symbol for pi but I don’t have that on my keyboard—as murky and meandering as this movie is, it’s certainly original and well acted)
QUILLS (de Sade as played by Geoffrey Rush, almost a prelude to his role in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, only embedded in a more-or-less true story that’s pretty well done)
RAN (Kurosawa’s brilliant version of KING LEAR)
SHANE (even now knowing how short Alan Ladd really was, it doesn’t take anything away from the allegorical heroics of this classic Western, nor the sadness of Brandon de Wilde’s early demise when he was still in his teens)
TAPS (every time I stumble on this film on TV it grabs me, because the story is compelling and the acting superb, with tons of recognizable faces who later became giant stars, like Tom Cruise and Sean Penn, all obviously inspired by George C. Scott’s usual impressive performance—interestingly the most famous of the young actors at the time was Timothy Hutton, who was so good as a young man I wonder what happened)
U (couldn’t think of any)
V (ditto)
WINGS (very early Gary Cooper, his future stardom clinched with this role)
X (another loss)
YANKS (Richard Gere almost derails this movie in his starring role, not that he isn’t his usual endearing, at least to the women, self, but because his acting seems inappropriate for the period—WWII—but the flick is still worth it for Lisa Eichorn, another actor whose career never panned out the way her talent seemed to predict, and it has Vanessa Redgrave in it, one of my top three favorite actors, and Annie Ross, one of my top three favorite female vocalists of all time in one of her few acting roles)
Z (not as great a flick as it could have been, but a testament to the times and a reminder of the kinds of politically courageous films that should be being made today but aren’t)


AlamedaTom said...

U = Unforgiven. 4 Oscars including Clint as best director, best picture, and Gene Hackman for supporting actor as Little Bill Dagget.

On of THE great westerns and the picture that cemented Eastwood's credentials as a director.

Lally said...

Yeah, that's one of my alltime favorite movies period, but, alas, it isn't a one-syllable title, which was the task I set for myself, compulsively!

RJ Eskow said...

I found the mass killing at the end of "if ..." cathartic at the time, although in Columbine retrospect it's pretty appalling.

Still, it was highly effective - even if they DID lift it from Vigo's "Zero Pour Conduit" (and "Zero For Conduct" is a pretty good title for a film where a student assassinates his teachers.)