filmmaven's coffee chat

a morning discussion of film and popular culture over coffee


May 2016

Its that List thing again ……Rank your favorite top ten is torture

Please put a stop to it. Lists make me crazy. The TOP TEN or the BEST FIVE or the coolest ELEVEN…..are never, ever, really  NEVER, correct. Can’t be done in any category but especially not film.

Yes, someone tried again to rank the ‘best’ top ten films. Its like asking who is your favorite Beatle (Monkey, Bay City Roller, Jonas Brother)? Or, forgive me, your favorite child…Don’t even try to put them in an order of what is the best. It really doesn’t work. The list goes from 1 to 10 until you stop and look at it, then you tweak, add, move something and before you know it you have a top 20…but it will never stop until you have all the movies you’ve ever liked on a list and none of them are in order. You might get a top 25 but not really because the next day you remember that great movie that wasn’t ‘great, great’ but you’d watch it again …….and it has to move up the list a few notches …..

Or is that just me?

My top 3 absolute favorite movies of all time for today, this minute and not what I would say later this afternoon and what I would never answer again tomorrow …but need to declare today as the best 3 movies ever made on a Tuesday are:

Blade Runner (1982, Director Ridley Scott) – Definitely on a list of best movies of all time – taken from a Phillip Dick novel “Do Androids dream of electric sheep?”, this electro pop version of the future shows the human dangerous obsession with creating perfection….visually blending the seduction of the dark shadowy 1940s noir (Sean Young) with the screaming flashing uncontrollable danger of the metallic (Daryl Hannah) that crash against each other until we don’t know what or who is real. This is a film who’s parts; actors, music, scenery, story , don’t fit together but make something beautiful.

The Petrified Forest (1936, Director Archie Mayo) – An absolute perfect film. Porter Hall and Charley Grapewin are consummate stage actors using every bit of the small stage to fill the characters with emotionally worn and decimated lives. A very young Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart and Leslie Howard are quick and nervous in contrast to the veteran actors and it befits the story as they tumble effortlessly around the confines of the set like puppies looking for attention. So much is done here.

Metropolis (1927, Director Fritz Lang) – This third spot was a touch an go, it could have been Nosferatu, Bride of Frankenstein or even Gods and Monsters …ugh many many good choices for the 3rd best film every made….Metropolis has to be here because it really should be in the number one spot, for Blade Runner could not be if Metropolis hadn’t come first …so ….I might have screwed up the list ..and might go back to redo it ….so….so…hard….Again, from the actors to the editing to the music to the sets ..this film has everything and so much more that it is difficult to categorize or praise it high enough. Its social commentary without being too preachy, its beautiful but ugly, its science fiction so far ahead of its time, and all with out color, with out words, with out technology. Yep…Hang on…I insist you read this list backwards …This is the first movie on a list of best movies ever made. Maria is a character you never forget, in a film that stays with you emotionally and brings action and drama to perfection.





Where is the sun? I’m looking for my shadow…

Its been a very grey and blah winter, I’m waiting desperately to have a day with the windows open and to feel warmth on my skin. I haven’t seen my shadow in months…..where are MY creeps going to play? My friend HER WAKING WORLD has the shadow world on notice …but here in Michigan the shadow is elusive…….On the plus side it offers so many opportunities for saying why not spend the afternoon watching a movie? Something in black n white?


Shadow of a Doubt (1943, Dir: Hitchcock) – Joseph Cotton always strikes me as that creepy guy, he is so perfect for everything shadowy and noir in visual story telling. He stands too close, laughs to loud and has this look in his eye like something will change at any moment. Teresa Wright is so beautifully the girl next store, a strong but inviting personality with a smile that lights up the room….but just enough wariness to make you think danger could be afoot. Be sure to watch this one with a friend.

The Shadow Knows (1994, Dir: Russell Mulcahy) – You really should ask, how is that people who can’t act keep getting movies? For sure, I have no answer. Alec Baldwin is the eptitmy of schmarmy charm and while he was delightful in that TV show with Tina Fey and Jane Krakowski, um…oh right 30 Rock……there are too many bad movies with his name on them to justify his always getting another movie ….(think: The Marrying Man …???) ……If you are a movie plus comic plus shadow have to watch this. Otherwise, just go out for some ice cream instead.

Dark Shadows (1966-71, creator Dan Curtis) — What delightful concept for the 60s! A campy soap opera with a vampire ….In the highlight years of the television soap it works. Today it appears slow and overly melodramatic even for soap lovers – but give it a try – lots of fun to see actors you might recognize and get a sense of scene and character development.


A note in closing: the sun came out for awhile today – improved the mood around here! So glad to be rid of all those shades of grey upon grey, even for a few hours.


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