Saturday, February 21, 2009

10 Movies

It is Oscar time. I love the movies. Here is a list of some of my favorites.

"The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948) - Interesting fact, John Houston directs his father, Walter Houston, in this movie. His father wins an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Flash forward to 1985 and John Houston directs his daughter in "Prizzi's Honor" for which Angelica Houston wins an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Gotta love the movie that gave us the line "Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!" See if you can spot a very young Robert Blake in the movie.

"North by Northwest" (1959) - Ok this one falls into the category, movies I wish I could erase from my memory and see again for the first time. I think this is first "magic box" movie I can recall seeing. Magic Box movie is a tweak of a phrase I am borrowing from J.J. Abrams and is a movie in which the viewer remains confused, purposefully, about what is exactly going on until well into the movie. What if I told you I had a magic box and on the inside could be anything you want. Once you open the box and find out what is inside, well, the magic is gone. But, until you open the box, that box that could have anything is pretty magical. If you haven't seen it, see "North by Northwest"

"The Big Sleep" (1946) - No movie list could be complete without a Bogart/Bacall movie and this is a good one. First off it is a Raymond Chandler novel with a screenplay by William Faulkner (et. al.). Yes, that Nobel Prize winning William Faulkner. This movie has it all, people making nudie pictures (we call it porno today) , gambling, corrupt police, murder and plenty of witty repartee. It is 20th Century Fox noir at its finest, what else do you want!?!

"My Favorite Year" (1982) - This movie is king of the zippy one liners. Also one of Peter O'Toole's Oscar nominated roles for which he hasn't won an academy award. "I'm not an actor, I'm a movie star"

"Wings" (1927) - What!?! A silent movie? Yes, Wings is the winner of Best Picture Oscar alpha and the only silent film to do so. Only they didn't call it best picture at first, but, still. Check out the air to air film sequences. How hard was that to do with a hand crank camera? All that plus a male on male kiss and Clara Bow's boob. This movie cost two million to make - that is 1927 dollars, my friend.

"In the Heat of the Night" (1967) - "They call me MISTER Tibbs." This movie is gritty and Best Picture Oscar winner. Crime solving in the racist 1960s south. You know, I woke up and unable to go back to sleep one night. I turned on the TV and this movie was starting. How serendipitous . I think really good movies have this quality that make us feel like we have suspended our world and been told a great story. And we are very aware of that as we re-enter our world. Don't let the TV show of the same name color your perception of the movie.

"What's Up Doc" (1972) - with out a doubt, the-funniest-chase-scene-in-movie-history. Way way way funnier chase than in "The Blues Brothers" or "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" both of which are pretty funny. This movie is a loose re-make of "Bringing Up Baby," an hilarious comedy in its own right.

"Airport" (1970) - da, da, da, DA, da. da, da, DA, da, DA, da. As if the campy theme music wasn't enough to love about this film. I admit it, I am an airplane geek and I love the 1970's disaster movies. This is both. But, so much more. Jacqueline Bisset as the other woman now facing a possible abortion. BTW - yes, that IS Barbara Hale, TV's Perry Mason's girl Friday Della Street, playing Dean Martin's wife. This star studded thriller has Helen Haynes winning an Oscar for best supporting actress. Who says campy can't win an Oscar? Trivia: TWA had a long history of product placement in the movies, see if you can spot the never built TWA Super Sonic Transport. Remember this exchange?

Assistant: "The instruction book said that was impossible!"
Joe Patroni: "That's one nice thing about the 707. She can do everything but read. "

"L.A. Confidential" (1997) - this movie is American crime noir for the end of the 20th century. Prostitutes that imitate movie stars!?! Kim Basinger gets an Oscar in this story of crime and the seedy underside of LA in the 50's.

"The Sting" (1973) - If you put Robert Redford and Paul Newman in a film together, many women go see the movie. At least that was the case in 1973. This movie isn't a chick flick, though. It is a fun story of the long con. The Sting won 7 Oscars including Best Picture. this movie is more comedy than not, thus one of the few winners of Best Picture that are comedies. Also, there was quite a Scott Joplin rag time music craze after this movie, thanks Marvin Hamlisch.