Re: Education

I’ve got some huge gaps in my film education. Movies I know I’d like that I haven’t seen, movies people tell me I’d like that I haven’t seen and movies that I probably won’t like but should see for educational purposes.  Every once and a while, this bothers me and I spend some time thinking about how important it is for me to correct it.  And every time it’s never quite that important, so I go on with my life, checking out movies when they come up but otherwise leaving said gaps, um, gaping.

I’ve hit that point in the cycle again.  Now, I don’t want to suggest that I’ve gone through life not watching any important or classic films.  My mental film library is just spotty.  I’ve seen Gone With the Wind and Vertigo but not Citizen Kane.  I love 8 1/2 deeply, but didn’t see a second Fellini until this spring when I finally saw La Dolce Vida. I’ve seen a lot of classic Japanese cinema, but have only seen one French New Wave film: Breathless.  Like I said. Gaps.

Until the end of this year, I’m going to do whatever I can to fill in some of those holes.  Without really meaning to, I started this week.  The only “classic” 80’s teen comedy I’d ever seen was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. That was it. No, I’m not kidding.  So yesterday I watched Say Anything.  And you know what? It was pretty good.  Good enough that I might feel safe braving a John Hughes film with Molly what’s her name.  I kept it going today with Full Metal Jacket, a Stanley Kubrick film I’ve had on my shelf for at least two years without ever putting it into a DVD player.  Though I can’t feel too proud of myself; I’ve still never seen Strangelove.

If you’ve got films that you think are important for someone to watch, drop me a line. Put a comment.  Send an e-mail. Whatever. They don’t have to be classic. They can be some 70’s exploitation flick you dig, or some depressing Italian neorealist piece you saw in film school. I’d prefer to stick to things at least 10 years old.  Nothing against new movies, that’s just not the point.

Here are some areas I know I need to beef up on, so if you have good suggestions along these lines, you get a bonus star point or something.

  • French New Wave
  • Non-science fiction 80’s films
  • American 70’s cinema
  • Ingmar Bergman
  • Most anything from China
  • Noir
  • German Expressionism
  • Classic horror
  • Australian films
  • Films from developing nations (like Iran, or any African countries)

And if you’ve got nothing to suggest? No worries. I know I’ve got a pile of things I’ve been meaning to watch for a while to keep me busy.  Like Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Rules of the Game and Where Eagles Dare.  But I’d love to hear what counts as required cinema for you.

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5 Responses to Re: Education

  1. Cool! A few suggestions; not sure if you’ve seen these:

    All Quiet on the Western Front
    Babette’s Feast
    Chariots of Fire
    The Day The Earth Stood Still
    Dirty Harry
    The original Dracula
    The Forbidden Planet
    The original Frankenstein
    M
    The original Metropolis
    Nosferatu
    Things To Come (1936, screenplay by H.G. Wells, hard to find; I have a copy if you want it)

    There are some very good early Tom Hanks movies. Joe vs. the Volcano was quite cool in parts.

  2. saalon says:

    Wow, good list. I have seen none of these. Zero. Got work to do, that I do.

  3. A few more that I thought of yesterday:

    To Catch a Thief
    Gunga Din
    Ben Hur
    Arsenic & Old Lace
    The 10 Commandments

  4. Adam says:

    It’s been too fucking long since I’ve heard from you. Yes, I actually do still read your blog. I do miss you, my friend.

    A few “essentials”:

    -The Godfather
    -The Godfather part 2
    -The Conversation
    -In The Heat Of The Night
    -From Here To Eternity
    -The Verdict
    -Heist
    -Glengarry Glen Ross
    -Witness (a brilliant piece of cinema that no one I know has watched)
    -Ordinary People (it’s become fun to knock this because it won Best Picture over Raging Bull…but I respect how this is a slow burn of a movie, not overly dramatic like it would be today)
    -Beverly Hills Cop (not a “classic” exactly…but far better than the sequels…or its star…would have you believe)
    -Lethal Weapon – same here…if you haven’t seen it…when you watch the original you realize people have forgetten what bite it has. One of Donner’s three best films
    -Amadeus
    -Shattered Glass (we once discussed this…don’t know if you got around to viewing it)
    -Tootsie
    -Manhunter
    -Body Heat
    -Wall Street

    Hope this was somewhat helpful.

  5. Brennen says:

    This is really random – I don’t know if you’ve seen these even though we’ve probably talked about some of them. Just a couple of guesses at things it’d be good to have seen from either a film education or pop culture history point of view that you might have missed…

    The Sandlot
    Sex, Lies, and Videotape
    Risky Business
    Repo Man
    The Natural
    Annie Hall
    The Jerk
    Kramer vs. Kramer
    Network*
    Dog Day Afternoon
    Serpico
    Alice’s Restaurant*
    Billy Jack*
    The Last Waltz
    The Sting
    Don’t Look Back
    Blow Up*

    * Denotes something which may be borderline unwatchable but is at the same time kind of fascinating.

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