Friday, January 4, 2013

A Fistful of Cinematic Resolutions! (Brad's Picks)

Ok folks, this is the post in which I admit my great cinematic shame.  Below are a list of classics that I've never seen before for some reason or another.  Growing up, I was very much a child of the color television.  Black & White was old.  And old was boring.  Sad.  Disgusting.  Ashamed.  Since hitting my early 20s I've been doing my darndest to correct that very childish concept, but I also gotta admit that last year I dragged my heals in consuming the classics.  I did finally see Metropolis (thanks to the AFI Silver), The Great Dictator (thanks to Criterion), and Johnny Guitar (thanks to Olive Films) but I did not stretch my film watching muscles as much as I should.  This year, I'm gonna finally hit those classics I've missed.

5.  Singing in the Rain:  Of all the films on this list this is the one that disgusts my wife the most.  She's a big time musical fan, but it's always been a genre that I've snoozed through.  If you twist my arm and I had to pick my favorites I would chortle The Blues Brothers and Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.  But ya know what?  Besides that image above, I know absolutely nothing about this movie.  I don't know the plot, I don't know the numbers, I don't even know who all the actors are.  And that's kinda exciting.  I'm probably going to hit this one up early in the year; make it a date night at home with the little woman.

4.  8 1/2:  Speaking of films I know nothing about...Federico Fellini is a filmmaker I've never experienced.  And that's a statement I'm probably the most shameful to admit.  There are some film fanatic buddies out there who are ready to gouge my eyes out.  For no other reason 8 1/2 makes the list.  I'm tired of hanging my head in shame when Fellini's name enters the conversation.  Time to join the crowd.  Get me surreal freak on.

3.  Gone With The Wind:  This is the film I always caught glimpses of at my Grandparents house.  It always just seemed to be playing in the background.  And, obviously, you always see clips here and there on AFI type lists.  "Frankly Scarlet, I don't give a damn."  Civil War.  Houses on fire.  That's really all I know about this film.  Time to square away a couple of hours and check this flick off my list.

2.  The African Queen:  Matt has been trying to get me to see this film for our entire friendship.  I don't know why I'm so darn stubborn.  I love Bogart.  Casablanca & The Maltese Falcon (two films introduced to me by Matt) are a couple of my all time favorites.  But I am really not a fan of Katherine Hepburn's acting.  I hear ya, "Blasphemy!" you cry.  I like young Hepburn just fine.  But this is the era where her performance starts to grate on my nerves, and by the time she hit On Golden Pond I really just have an abhorrent reaction to the sound of her voice.  But that's not mature.  I need to give this classic a chance.  World War I.  A gin soaked Bogie.  Steamboats & Warships.  I'm guessing I'm gonna love this film.

1.  Birth of a Nation:  Now here's a film I've avoided for good reason.  Who wants to watch a movie that depicts blacks as monsters and the KKK as heroic knights riding to the rescue of terrified damsels.  Just gross.  And it's a film that had a tremendous negative impact on our nation.  I look at the above image and I get fucking mad.  It was a massive cinematic undertaking for director DW Griffith and it pioneered numerous techniques in movie magic, but the gleeful hatred at its core is despicable and another shameful mark against our country.  Of course, having never seen the film, how can I make such broad statements?  I bought the recent blu ray release from Kino last year, and it's been sitting on my shelf gathering dust.  But listening to a recent interview with Quentin Tarantino on The Root and contemplating his hatred of John Ford, I'm finally determined to eat my vegetables.  I want to see what all the fuss is about.


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