Monday, October 8, 2007

The classics, part one

So this is going to be a three part post, one today, one tomorrow and one on Wednesday.

I was watching AMC today as I was flipping around channels and the Three Amigos was on, yes that Three Amigos, the one with Chevy Chase, Martin Short and Steve Martin. They were also showing Teen Wolf after that and Sister Act later tonight. Are any of these three films actually classics? I actually like all three, but I am not sure I am going to identify them as classic movies. One of the definitions given by the American Heritage Dictionary of a "classic" is "having lasting significance or worth; enduring" Can any of these films really be considered having lasting significance or worth?

So that got me thinking fifty years from now what will be considered classic films? I wanted to limit my time frame a little bit because well films like Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music and the Maltese Falcon are already considered classics. So I started to try to think about films from the 1980's till now and what will still have a lasting impact fifty years from now. I cheated and used the AFI's list of 100 films to help me start to think about this.

9. Schindler's List- I agree this will last for a long time as this is probably one of the most powerful films I have ever seen.
24. Raging Bull- First I thought this film was made in the late '70s I was wrong there, it was a great performance for Robert Deniro, but will it be remembered 50 years from now I am not sure.
25. E.T.- This is such a great film that I hope it will be remembered not only 50 years from now but 100.
53. Amadeus- I am not thinking it will stand the test of time.
60. Raiders of the Lost Ark- Now I love this film, but does it have lasting significance I am not sure.
62. Tootsie- I have not seen this film so I can't comment.
65. Silence of the Lambs- This will be remembered I think for, if nothing else, the amazing job that Anthony Hopkins does as Hannibal Lector.
71. Forrest Gump- This may serve as a view of American history at some point in the future so I guess so, but it just doesn't seem to have that same everlasting quality.
75. Dances with Wolves- This is a long film and a good one. It also has a view of the decline of the Native Americans that is not often shown, but again is it enduring. Will people 50 years from now still wnat to see it, will I still want to see it fifty years from now.
83. Platoon- I have only seen parts of this film, but I would say that it will last. It will fall into that genre along with Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket as the seminal films on the Vietnam War, at least in my opinion.
84. Fargo- Hmmmm...not sure about this one.
94. Goodfellas- Yes I would say this along with the Godfather series may at some point define the gangster film genre so yes this film could be considered a classic.
95. Pulp Fiction- Yes actually I would say this will be remembered. It was the film that really introduced most people to Quentin Tarentino even though he did Reservoir Dogs first.
98. Unforgiven- This falls into the great Westerns along with many John Wayne films. I am not a huge Western fan, but I can see how this film with endure.

Ok so this year the AFI deleted 23 films and Amadeus, Fargo, and Dances with Wolves were all deleted. These three films seem to fit with my thoughts so I am Ok with them. They obviously had to add films back in so here are some of the new films that have made the list that fit my criteria.

50. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings- Ok I love this series of books and when I do my post on books I will definately include them, but I am not sure the movies will endure, but hopefully I am wrong.
71. Saving Private Ryan- This selection I agree with as it definitely can be considered a great film on war without glorifying it.
72. The Shawshank Redemption- This is such an awesome film, so I am gong to say yes.
83. Titanic- Ok No, not a classic.
89. the Sixth Sense- I am not a fan of this movie, but it did introduce the world to M. Nigh Shymalan so maybe.
91. Sophie's Choice- Never seen so no comment.
96. Do the right thing- Absolutely, great Spike Lee film.
97. Blade Runner- Hmmm...not sure
99. Toy Story- I would say yes as it really was the first film that used a lot of CGI (computer generated images) for the animation which was a true revolution.

So from this list I would say 11 are definate in my opinion: Schindler's List, ET, Silence of the Lambs, Platoon, GoodFellas, Unforgiven, Saving Private Ryan, The Shawshank Redemption, Do the Right Thing, Toy Story and Pulp Fiction.

It is hard for me to think about other films that should be considered classics as there are so many, but I will attempt to list a few other films.

Memento- This is an amazing film with a unique style and I think that in retrospect this film will be remembered as the film that launched Christopher Nolan who directed it and is now doing the new Batman series and has done several other films since. Although, I am a bit biased as he is probably one of my favorite directors.

Reservoir Dogs- I would rather see this on any list than Pulp Fiction, that maybe my personal preference, but I think it is a better film.

The Matrix- I am sure some of you are laughing at this choice, but I really like this film and I think that in thirty years if will be viewed as Star Wars is now, as a classic film with special effects that look amateurish by modern standards, but were amazing for their time. They also created special effects that were never used before and were again revolutionary in their use of CGI.

There are a lot of other films that I love, Ronin, Face/Off, Serenity, The Princess Bride that I just am not sure will last story wise. This brings me to my final point, do or should any of the Brat Pack Films (Pretty in Pink, Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, St. Elmo's Fire) be considered classics. They were films that defined a generation, I think, so is this enough? And do and Mel Brooks films make the cut? I think he is a comedic director genius, but do they become classics?

By the way I just found out there will be a Spaceballs:the Animated Series coming out out on the channel G4 sometime soon I think so that is weirdly exciting for me and Mel Brooks will be directing and voicing several characters.


Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I used to remind people that just because they show it on AMC it doesn't mean a film is really a classic.

FranIAm said...

What Dr Monkey says!

LOL. Sister Act... I needed a positive Catholic moment after the post above.

Seriously though, after your 106 book meme I thought, what about films? And here you are. Thanks!

I need to go give this some more thought. Great post, looking forward to more.

GourmetGoddess said...

I am totally cheating by cutting and pasting, but I actually responded to this same list at another blog, so here goes!

I am really amazed at how few of these movies I have seen. No, I guess I'm not. I grew up 45 miles away from the nearest theater. Our local video rental (actually it was a laser disc rental) was the local gas station/convenience store and they got lots of weird Autralian outback/incest films and B horror.

My first reaction to the list was how many of them are quite macho - lots of war and angst and angry men. Which makes sense as that is a lot of the history of film in America. My second reaction was of how few American films I watch now adays. Anyway, here are my responses to the ones I have seen on the list:

8 SCHINDLER’S LIST 1993 – This film was great, but for me the best films on the Holocaust are European, like Europa, Europa.
10 THE WIZARD OF OZ 1939 – Very nice film, but I wanted to smack the Dorothy character as hard as I could. All that fake eye-lash batting and helplessness.
13 STAR WARS 1977 – This film definitely broke ground and I can see why it is on the list. Great use of mythic archetypes. Empire was a better film.
14 PSYCHO 1960 – As an aficionado of serial killer info (I am from Wisconsin), this paled for me because I knew about the original story first hand. That and I grew up 45 miles from Jeffrey Dahmer’s childhood abode.
15 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY 1968 Compared to the novel, this film – I hated it! Never used the fast-forward so much in my life.
20 IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE 1946 Saccharine sentimental schlock.
24 E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL 1982 – A good film but not great.
33 ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST 1975 – Loved this; Should probably be rated higher.
34 SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS 1937 – Um, why this and not Fantasia?
40 THE SOUND OF MUSIC 1965 – Very good movie. Universal themes. Cute blonde kids. The Aryans defy Hitler!
41 KING KONG 1933 – Such a powerful film. It’s subtext on racism was incredible.
50 THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING 2001 – The greatness of this film is only eclipsed by the greatness of its soundtrack. I can listen to the soundtrack and as soon as the first few notes are played, I am right back in the film.
52 TAXI DRIVER 1976 – Hated it. Hated its themes. Felt like the director kinda wanted to make a statement about violence against women and just didn’t quite make it there.
53 THE DEER HUNTER 1978 – Loved it. Reminded me of my uncle and how even if you come home from war there is a part of you that never really makes it back alive.
56 JAWS 1975 – Ah, the story of Tiamat! The mythogeek in my was entirely too thrilled by this, even if I knew the Great Goddess had to die at the hands of the bumbling patriarchal hero in the end.
57 ROCKY 1976 – An ok film – probably got on the list because the essential American story is all about the underdog victorious or at least putting up the good fight.
66 RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK 1981 – Excellent film.
69 TOOTSIE 1982 – This was really ground breaking at the time it came out. It hasn’t held up as well as others.
70 A CLOCKWORK ORANGE 1971 – Great great movie… should have been higher.
71 SAVING PRIVATE RYAN 1998 – I couldn’t finish it. Didn’t care about any of the characters.
72 THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION 1994 – Too candified from the novella. Needed to be darker.
74 THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS 1991 – This definitely needs to be higher.
76 FORREST GUMP 1994 – Whatever. Boring. Crap. Hated it.
83 TITANIC 1997 – Hated it. I was the only one in the theater begging Rose to LET GO! My mother was ashamed.
89 THE SIXTH SENSE 1999 – I figured this one out in the first 20 minutes. I was bored.
97 BLADE RUNNER 1982 – Director’s cut all the way.
99 TOY STORY 1995 – I don’t think so.

Some films that I would have liked to see: The Blair Witch Project, TransAmerica, Dogma, United 93, Mail Order Wife, The Constant Gardener, The Woodsman, Secretary...

And yes, I know I am totally weird.