Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Top 10 Movies I Need To See Before I Can Claim To Be a Film Snob

 If you know me, you probably know that I have an absurd collection of DVDs and fancy myself a bit of a film snob. What you may not know however, is that there are GLARING gaps in my film knowledge. So it is with great shame and humility that I offer the following list of the Top 10 movies I need to see before I can be welcomed into the fraternity of film snobbery.

In addition to the plot synopsis, I'm also going to include a reason why I haven't seen it yet, and the odds that I take the plunge within the next 6 months. Here we go!

#10 Singing in the Rain (Kelly/Donen, 1952)

Plot SynopsisIn 1927, Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are a famous on-screen romantic pair. Lina, however, mistakes the on-screen romance for real love. Don has worked hard to get where he is today, with his former partner Cosmo. When Don and Lina's latest film is transformed into a musical, Don has the perfect voice for the songs. But Lina - well, even with the best efforts of a diction coach, they still decide to dub over her voice. Kathy Selden is brought in, an aspiring actress, and while she is working on the movie, Don falls in love with her. Will Kathy continue to "aspire", or will she get the break she deserves?

Why I Haven't Seen It: I've never really been a fan of musicals. I didn't care for Chicago, and I have no interest whatsoever seeing a Broadway show. With that said, this is very well regarded film and apparently has some pretty gnarly dance moves to boot.

Odds I See It Within 6 Months: 30:1. I don't own the movie, I don't know anyone who owns the movie, and I sincerely doubt I'd go out of my way to download/rent it. A thousand pardons Gene Kelly.

#9. Blue Velvet  (Lynch, 1986)

Plot Synopsis: A man returns to his home town after being away and discovers a severed human ear in a field. Not satisfied with the police's pace, he and the police detective's daughter carry out their own investigation. The object of his investigation turns out to be a beautiful and mysterious woman involved with a violent and perversely evil man.

Why I Haven't Seen It: I had the misfortune of seeing Eraserhead a few years ago (another Lynch film) and have not yet recovered. I also was not very impressed by Mulholland Drive (another Lynch film people are crazy about). On the other hand, I absolutely loved the Elephant Man. Unfortunately, I've heard this is much closer to Mulholland Dr. than Elephant Man. 

Odds I See it Within 6 Months: 10:1. I think I may own this. If I do, the odds increase to 5:1, If I don't they stretch to 20:1. Maybe I can harang Sam into watching this with me some afternoon, otherwise the odds aren't too good. Lord knows I'm not going to subject my girlfriend to this movie on the off chance it has anything as deranged as Eraserhead in it. 

#8 The Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948)

Plot SynopsisAntonio Ricci, unemployed for over two years, is overjoyed when he's finally given a job putting up posters. There's a catch, though - he needs a bicycle as a requirement of the job, so he pawns the family linen to get a pawned bicycle back. He goes off to his first day's work, truly happy for the first time in years - and the title of the film gives away what happens next...

Why I Haven't Seen It: This one's kind of tricky. I know it's a classic, and I know it's powerful, but there's never a convenient time to watch a tearjerker, especially one that's black and white and in Italian. 

Odds I See It Within 6 Months: 4:1. I own this movie. It is less than 90 minutes. Those are two very promising details. One detail against it: I own 300 other movies. We shall see.

#7  Lawrence of Arabia (Lean, 1962)

Plot SynopsisAn inordinately complex man who has been labeled everything from hero, to charlatan, to sadist, Thomas Edward Lawrence blazed his way to glory in the Arabian desert, then sought anonymity as a common soldier under an assumed name. The story opens with the death of Lawrence in a motorcycle accident in London at the age of 47, then flashbacks to recount his adventures: as a young intelligence officer in Cairo in 1916, he is given leave to investigate the progress of the Arab revolt against the Turks in World War I. In the desert, he organizes a guerrilla army and--for two years--leads the Arabs in harassing the Turks with desert raids, train-wrecking and camel attacks. Eventually, he leads his army northward and helps a British General destroy the power of the Ottoman Empire.

Why I Haven't Seen It: The film is 226 minutes. That's 3 hours and 45 minutes. That's a long time. This will become a theme. 

Odds I See It Within 6 Months: 10:1. Barring a bout with the Swine Flu, or a friend of mine specifically requesting to watch it, it doesn't look good. It is cold and flu season though. Better make it 8:1. 

#6 Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)

Plot Summary: John "Scottie" Ferguson is a retired San Francisco police detective who suffers from acrophobia and Madeleine is the lady who leads him to high places. A wealthy shipbuilder who is an acquaintance from college days approaches Scottie and asks him to follow his beautiful wife, Madeleine. He fears she is going insane, maybe even contemplating suicide, because she believes she is possessed by a dead ancestor. Scottie is skeptical, but agrees after he sees the beautiful Madeleine.

Why I Haven't Seen It Yet: This one is pretty inexcusable. I saw and loved Rear Window and appreciated The Birds for what it was. I'm ashamed to admit I also haven't seen Psycho, Rope, The 39 Steps, and most of Hitchcocks other works. I really have to get on that. 

Odds I See it Within the Next 6 Months: 3:1. Simply put, having it on this list really makes me want to see it. I'm going to pat myself on the back now. 

I fully anticipated doing the whole rundown today, but in the interests of suspense, and having a regular sleep schedule, I'm going to post the Top 5 tomorrow evening. Feel free to speculate and/or berate me in the meantime.

Stay tuned. 


1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you say that you fancy yourself a film snob because you definitely lack a basic foundation in middle twentieth century film.

    I love old movies and Laurence of Arabia is one of my favorite movies of all time. It's also really long, unfortunately. Vertigo is amazing with J. Stewart and Blue Velvet is mostly just creepy.

    I'll see all these movies with you if you want. I may even have some of them or have access on Netflix.

    If you also haven't seen the classics like Gone With The Wind, Cassablanca, My Fair Lady, and many others, I'll watch those with you to. It's time to get you educated.

    Side Note: Your knowledge of music is also lacking if you don't follow country . . .