Movies

51 Things about 49 Movies

Note: This is a re-post from a few years ago, so you can ignore the bit about it being my birthday. No need to buy me a gift. Unless you didn’t get me anything back then and I’m still waiting on it…

 

For my last birthday, I scribbled out a piece named 50/50, fifty random thoughts after 50 years of life. I still rather like what I did with that, so when I woke up this morning, on the first day of my 51st year, I thought I would continue the trend with a new list of reflections. These are not necessarily the 49 greatest movies of all time, but they are movies where some aspect of them has stayed with me over time. Enjoy.

The Breakfast Club:  Ally Sheedy and the dandruff snow, drifting flakes of awkward beauty…

Ode to Billy Joe:  The moment when I realized why he did it, coming at my own personal time of dealing with some members of “society” who cruelly and easily push others into contemplating the bridge. Forty years later we still have cretins completely devoid of compassion or understanding for anyone different…

Flashdance:  The moment when Richie comes to say goodbye to Alex, they hug, and his hat falls off. Sweet, tender, fleeting…

Cabaret:  The woozy, swirling dance between Sally, Brian and Max when you suddenly understand that things have gotten more complicated than most of us imagined…

Pulp Fiction:  On the soundtrack, Maria McKee singing “If Love Is a Red Dress Hang Me in Rags”… the whistling, the mournful reflection, the power, the fadeout with footsteps leading to a slamming door…

The Mission:  Ennio Morricone’s sublime soundtrack, especially the brief but glorious “The Climb” that says so much in merely a minute and a half…

Two for the Road:  The entire relationship crystallized into the final two lovingly hateful words of dialogue…

Night of the Living Dead (1968):  The easily-missed meat hook in the closing images…

To Kill a Mockingbird:  Boo behind the door, Scout in front of it, smiling…

Grease: The concession stand promo onscreen behind Danny, with the dancing hotdog jumping into the bun. Gets me every time…

Sordid Lives:  The emotional and visual layering of the scene where Sissy finally lights up as the hearse drives by in the background…

Sordid Lives:  Changing the labels on the Big Boy jeans, something all of us have done in one way or another…

Diva:  “La Wally”, the roller-skating, and the concept that recording a live performance removes half the artistry…

The Hunger: Bela Lugosi’s dead…

Deathtrap:  The unexpected kiss, thrilling me, and outraging the rednecks crowded around my seat in a packed Oklahoma theater…

On Golden Pond:  Jane Fonda first appears on screen, glowing, and every gay man in the 1981 audience gasps at how stunning she looks…

Fargo:  The cigarette dangling from the mouth of the killer in the speeding car…

Blood Simple:  The shafts of light coming through the bullet holes…

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof:  The perfection of the dress, and the murkiness surrounding the real reason that Brick drinks…

A Streetcar Named Desire:  The growling heat of an exploding Marlon Brando…

Ordinary People:  The shock of a steely Mary Tyler Moore…

Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean:  The use of the mirror to navigate the story…

Tommy:  Ann Margret wallowing in baked beans and chocolate…

Women in Love:  Oliver Reed and Alan Bates, sweating and wrestling in front of that fireplace while spitting out poetic dialogue…

Koyaanisqatsi:  The entire, mesmerizing, visual depiction of “life out of balance”…

Metropolis (1984 Giorgio Moroder Special Edition):  The “Shift Change” sequence, while Cycle V performs “Blood from a Stone” on the soundtrack…

Repulsion:  Catherine Deneuve, going a little mad sometimes…

Sunset Boulevard:  Gloria Swanson, finger piercing the smoky light from the projector, proclaiming the smallness of pictures…

The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade:  Yes, that’s the official title, although it often goes by Marat/Sade by people who don’t have enough time in their lives to say the whole thing. And no, you’ve never seen anything like it…

12 Angry Men:  The knife stabbing the table…

The Little Girl Who Lives down the Lane:  Jodie Foster serves almond cookies…

The Sixth Sense:  The ring rolling across the floor…

Run Lola Run:  The exhilarating intensity of the action and the ticking clock…

Up:  The concise perfection of the “background montage” that opens the movie, a complete and beautiful story more satisfying than many full-length features…

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?   Elizabeth Taylor and the clink of ice cubes…

Midnight Cowboy:  Jon Voight on the bus and Harry Nilsson’s version of “Everybody’s Talkin’” on the soundtrack…

Don’t Look Now:  Donald Sutherland, Julie Christie, watery Venice, a little girl, and the fluidity of time…

The Mothman Prophecies:  “What am I holding in my hand?”

All That Jazz:  Jessica Lange as the Angel of Death. What more could you want?

Sixteen Candles:  Samantha and Jake kiss while sitting on a dining table, with The Thompson Twins singing “If You Were Here” on the soundtrack…

Lilies:  The hypnotic, surreal pace of the storyline…

Streets of Fire:  The sequence with Diane Lane lip-synching the hell out of “Tonight Is What It Means to Be Young”…

Being John Malkovich:  Cameron Diaz, fearless in that frizzy hair…

My Beautiful Laundrette:  Saeed Jaffrey and Shirley Anne Field waltzing in one room while Gordon Warnecke and Daniel Day-Lewis make out in another…

Maurice:  James Wilby gets a surprise late-night visit from Rupert Graves, swarthy and dripping wet…

The Usual Suspects:  The coffee cup shatters…

Say Anything…   Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” playing on the hoisted boombox…

The Graduate:  The dawning realization at the back of the bus… what do you do once you get what you thought you wanted?..

Singin’ in the Rain:  Gene Kelly, splashing away, effortlessly…

Brokeback Mountain:  The shirt inside the shirt…

Cabaret:  Liza Minnelli, belting out the title number. Because even when life doesn’t go the way you planned, there’s no reason why you should stop singing…

 

Originally posted in “Bonnywood Manor” on 01/26/16. Slight changes made. I pulled this one out of the archives in the hopes that it would inspire me to finally finish THIS year’s birthday post, which is now nearly two months overdue. (I know, I should just let it go by now, but I’m a completist. A lazy and unfocused completist, but still.) As some of you may recall, I came down with The Crud on my birthday and things went awry, yet the post is still in draft form on my desktop, beckoning, half-ass finished and reeking of cough suppressant…

 

31 replies »

  1. Happy birthday, gorgeous… oh wait…

    Can I add:

    Dead Poets Society

    Cemented my long crush on Ethan Hawke and made me absolutely fall in love with the theatre when Robert Sean Leonard masterfully performs the role of Puck. And literally EVERYTHING ELSE about that film.
    You’re so fab, B
    🖤

    Liked by 3 people

    • I must confess that I have never seen “Dead Poet’s Society”, much to the chagrin of several friends who are aghast at such a cinematic faux pas. (Of course, my friends are often aghast at most of my transgressions, but life goes on.) Perhaps I need to track this one down and do a “Sound-Bite Cinema” post?

      Liked by 2 people

      • You haven’t….are you….I mean! Seriously!!!!!!!!!
        B, watch it. Just shush and watch it! Then leave me a comment immediately after!!!!!
        I don’t know what A Soundbite Cinema post is, but it sounds right up my street.

        Also, regarding which posts i like best…I adore the nostalgic ones and the 10 things ones and pretty much anything you pour out in this direction. So… I don’t think I helped much!
        🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Terrific imagery from great films…whenever it’s a bit gloomy and windy, I always remember the soft, haunting music as small leaves rustle across the Lake Tahoe estate of Michael Corleone in “Godfather II”…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One that stands out for me also is the end of 16 Candles. I tend to see that one as definitively 80s along with Bruce Willis in an air vent using a lighter to crawl his way along while intoning sarcastically, “come to the coast, we’ll have a few laughs.” There’s also Whoopi Goldberg trapped in a phone booth that’s being dragged down an NYC street by a tow truck.

    My memories tend toward the silly … 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • This entire blog tends toward the silly, so we’re good. I can’t believe I didn’t think of including “Jumping Jack Flash”. Then again, there’s only so much time in the day. Does this mean we need to do a Part II? Hmm?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am appalled that I have never seen a great many of your features, haven’t ever heard of one or two of them…but you can probably blame some of that on the fact that Utah was never ‘understanding’ about films that show difference…particularly sexual preference. A lot of folks here still tend to hide their heads under the covers and pretend it hasn’t happened. I watched a modern day film that included two lesbians in the plot and I got up to make sure my blinds were firmly closed. But then I did that when I viewed “The Shape of Water” last night and there was nudity! *GASP*…there are folks who would possibly keel over if they realized the world is running around naked under the guises of being fully dressed.

    I think perhaps I’ll go and crank out my top ten movies and a short synopsis of each. Um Happy Birthday again, in case I missed saying that two (?) months ago! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Trust, I had to be very creative back in my Oklahoma days to find some of these films. Luckily, for a few years in the mid 80s, there was ONE movie theater in downtown Tulsa that would play art films on the weekends. (Back in the day when you didn’t go into downtown Tulsa late at night or you could get shanked, which is probably why the protesters stayed away.) It was a glorious time and I greatly relished risking my life to see movies that had actual plots.

      Oh, I see the pingback just below this showing you did your own movie post. I’m on my way!

      Like

    • Bit of Trivia: When I signed up to do the “Don’t Look Now” review for Maddy’s blogathon, I hopped on the Criterion website to see if there was a sale, since I didn’t have a current copy. (I’m not sure how familiar you might be with Criterion, but they produce glorious reissues of critically-lauded movies, featuring sparkling film quality (especially if you get the Blu-Ray, but even regular DVD is much crisper print that you’ve ever seen before) and loaded with extras. Trouble is, these things can be a bit pricey, so you have to watch for sales.) The fates smiled, and there WAS a sale when I checked the website, so I snatched up “Don’t Look Now” and, in a moment of budget-minded giddiness, also snagged Douglas Sirk’s “All That Heaven Allows” and Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz”. (All on Blu-Ray. Woo-hoo!) So this begs the question: Have you seen either of those?

      Liked by 1 person

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