Monday, July 04, 2005

Listmania: Notable films that haven't aged well

Dr. Strangelove
Phantom of Liberty

Seems to be a common practice amongst bloggers to create lists & re-seeing critical faves from decades ago, prompted this posting.

Joan Didion once described Dr. Strangelove as a 1 joke film & once the joke was known the clock started ticking on whether the audience would lose interest before the film ended - easily 30 minutes of filler for a film without that much substance.

Phantom of Liberty created a strong impression in high school - my first exposure to a plotless film that floated from character to character. The scene leaving the strongest impression was an assassin shooting folks from atop building, with the folks dying caused no panic, then the assassin is tried, convicted & set free. Now post-Malvo, it's impossible to find any humour in the sequence.

Nashville's plotless ensemble no longer works. Altman could use that format successfully in M*A*S*H because the war provided the plot - surviving being in Korea was enough - but here Nashville as Altman's Highway 61 drags on without much point. Only the life imitating art aspect of having a glasses wearing character with no real motivation shoot a famous musician adds any poignancy - impossible not to think of Mark Chapman at the end. If you want to remember life in the 70's, this is the film: made in '75 the year the US experienced its humiliating withdrawal from Vietnam; the year before we replaced feckless insider Ford with feckless outsider Carter; the year after Nixon's resignation; the year after the first gas crises....getting bummed just hitting the high points from that era.

Better end with a positive list, so favourite 2 quotes from movies:

The first film's fairly easy to name, but curious if my movieholic co-blogger can name the one on the bottom.

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