Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ebert's Best: 1972 & 1973

1972

1. The Godfather
2. Chloe in the Afternoon
3. Le Boucher
4. Murmur of the Heart
5. The Green Wall
6. The Sorrow and the Pity
7. The Garden of Finzi-Continis
8. Minnie and Moskowitz
9. Sounder
10. The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid

The Godfather -- I remember a babysitter reading the book and telling me the movie was the biggest moneymaker ever (I read the book as an adolescent, and wondered what my former babysitter had made of the three-page sex scene). Also in '72, my father came back from playing hockey and said a number of his team-mates had seen the movie the night before. Their favourite scenes? The knife through the hand, the bullet in the head and, of course, Mr. Ed in the bed. You'd think these hosers had tripped across a time machine and watched Robocop. When I finally saw it, I was surprised to see it was such an incomparable improvement on a book that had been (sex scene aside) a truly tedious read.

1973


1. Cries and Whispers
2. Last Tango in Paris
3. The Emigrants/The New Land
4. Blume in Love
5. The Iceman Cometh
6. The Exorcist
7. The Day of the Jackal
8. American Graffiti
9. Fellini's Roma
10. The Friends of Eddie Coyl

Last Tango In Paris seemed a little over-the-top and not particularly erotic when I finally saw it, but then I'd already seen Body Heat which drips with a carnal sweat that LTIP only begins to muster. LTIP paved the way, I suppose, so I'll give it that. And Brando's -- sorry: "Paul's" -- meltdown at his dead wife's viewing is harrowing, visceral stuff.

The Emigrants/The New Land
-- I attended a Mennonite high school, and had a grade 11 teacher determined to impress upon his class of horny would-be punk rockers exactly what their ancestors put up with to get us this far. We spent a day watching these films. Wow. Mission accomplished. The scene where a little girl dies after eating dough that hand't yet risen is particularly heart-rending. And that's just the beginning.

The Exorcist -- speaking of harrowing, visceral stuff, this movie still has it in spades. (Hm -- a good year for Max Von Sydow.)

The Day of the Jackal
-- we know how the story ends, and yet the movie's tension is strung to a fine pitch. "Intelligent thriller" need not be an oxymoron.

American Graffiti -- it's hard to believe this movie, which kicked off Happy Days and innumerable other Boomer nostalgia-fests, nearly died in post-production. But then I suppose that remains the occupational hazard of just about any movie (excepting anything under the "Star Wars" rubric after 1977). A deceptively sweet movie with a bitter aftertaste. And I second Yahmdallah's tie-in: be sure to watch Dazed And Confused as a companion movie.

3 comments:

DarkoV said...

When I first saw American Graffiti, I could not stand it. When I next saw it, this time on the small screen, I couldn't believe it was the same film. Still couldn't stand it, but I felt the scope of the film matched better with tv then with the big screen. Now Dazed and Confused, well, that movie I love on whatever screen it was shown. Plus, with the dead spots in the film, if you were watching it on DVD, you wouldn't need to hit the "Pause" button when you went downstairs for refreshments.

But AF, simply a very, very short story drug out extremely, extremely long.

ジョエル said...

I actually really liked American Graffiti. I even saw the sequel "American Graffiti 2" and liked it as well. That probably doesn't speak too well for my tastes

Whisky Prajer said...

No-one has to apologize for their taste on this blog, JS. That would set a very unhealthy precedent.