Thursday, December 29, 2022

No Sight No Sound

Although I've contributed several times to Sight and Sound, I wasn't favored with a ballot for their recent much-discussed poll of the Greatest Films of All Time. Undeterred by this oversight, I proffer here my own Top Ten, along with - it being that doldrum time of year of post-festivity, and what with me being a habitual and compulsive ranker - a bunch of other cinematic lists. 

 

SIMON REYNOLDS
U.K. / U.S.A., Rip It Up and Start Again, Energy Flash, Retromania 
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. Performance (Roeg)

Walkabout (Roeg)

The Servant (Losey)

Blow-Up (Antonioni)

McCabe & Mrs. Miller (Altman)

Point Blank (Boorman

The Dream Life of Angels (Zonca

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (Meyer)

Taxi Driver (Scorsese)

Bedazzled (Donen


There’s a huge number of nearly-made-the Top Ten films, that list is  at the bottom, but first, here's some slightly more unusual lists

 

ODD LITTLE MOVIES THAT AREN’T GREAT - THEY'RE SERIOUSLY FLAWED OR JUST DETERMINEDLY MINOR -  BUT THEY STAY WITH YOU, FOR WHATEVER REASON (COULD JUST BE ONE OR TWO SCENES, A CHARACTER, A CONCEPT OR CONCEIT, OR EVEN A SHOT)

Charlie Bubbles

Le Grand Meaulnes

Diary of a Lonely Girl a.k.a. T.R. Baskin

Accident

Reflections in a Golden Eye

The President’s Analyst

Fahrenheit 451

Duel

Radio On

Dark Star

Hud

California Split

Getting Straight

The Homecoming

I Heart Huckabees

Career Girls

Mikey and Nicky

The Bed Sitting Room

Picnic

Taxi Zum Klo

La Grand Bouffe

Equus 

Diary of a Mad Housewife

Natural Born Killers

Silent Running

Once Upon A Time in America

The Swimmer

Deep End

Oleanna

+ several films that I simply cannot place or find out what they are but distinctly remember from watching them on BBC2 late at night as a boy

 

GREAT / FAVORITE / SUPER-ENTERTAINING MOVIES THAT FEEL A BIT WORN OUT AND USED UP THROUGH OVERWATCHING (BUT OF COURSE YOU’LL ALWAYS WATCH THEM  AGAIN WHEN YOU CHANCE ON THEM ON THE TV)


The Godfather 

The Godfather II

Chinatown

Blue Velvet

Goodfellas

The Conversation

Casino

Heathers

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Being John Malkovich

Sex Lies and Videotape

Blade Runner

Laurel and Hardy pushing the piano up the hill

Bonnie and Clyde

if….

Citzen Kane

Apocalypse Now

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Terminator

American Graffiti

Fargo

La Strada

The Birds

Amadeus

Psycho

Boogie Nights

Groundhog Day

Saturday Night Fever

Hard Day’s Night

Life Is Sweet

The King of Comedy

Alien

The Long Good Friday

Rear Window

2001 A Space Odyssey

Midnight Cowboy

The Graduate

Some Like It Hot

Network

Sense and Sensibility

After Hours

Sexy Beast

Cool Hand Luke

Sunset Boulevard

Annie Hall

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

The Bridge Over the River Kwai

Easy Rider

Get Carter

Pulp Fiction

Raging Bull

The Deer Hunter

Lawrence of Arabia

Kind Hearts and Coronets

A Taste of Honey

Broadway Danny Rose

Barbarella

The Producers

A Room with a View

Billy Liar

Tron

Wall Street

Days of Heaven

Escape from New York

The Silence of the Lambs

Lost in Translation

North by Northwest

Stalag 17

Alfie

Reality Bites

The Parallax View

Videodrome

The Long Goodbye

Dr Strangelove

Sideways

Morvern Callar

Glengarry Glen Ross

Dead Ringers

Slacker

Dazed and Confused

 

A BIT BORING IF WE'RE HONEST

A Clockwork Orange

The Shining

Vertigo

Mean Streets

 

LIFE’S TOO SHORT

Godard

Fassbinder

Pasolini

Cassavetes

Fritz Lang

Bergman (well, the ones I've not seen, which is most of them)

Kurosawa

auteur manga 

Nashville

 

GARBAGE (not a complete list)

M.A.S.H.

Short Cuts

Peterloo

A Quiet Passion

most Tarantino but especially Once Upon A Time in Hollywood

The Wolf of Wall Street (casts a frightful shadow backwards through his uuuurv, don't it)

Bond movies


TIME OUT MOVIES

(movies of the 1980s and 1990s, when I lived in London and would have looked at listings magazines, if not necessarily followed their guidance – Time Out here is shorthand for a kind of well-reviewed quality or ‘art’ – rather often French – movie that “goes down well” at the time but leaves not a trace in your heart or indeed memory. The problem here is not exactly being tasteful or “upper middlebrow”  - the Time Out film can be garish, camp / kitsch, “visionary” as with some of the directors listed here for their complete or near-complete urrrv and who really cake it on the screen)

Betty Blue

Jesus of Montreal

Peter Greenaway (apart from The Draughtsman Contract)

Brazil (in fact the complete Gilliam uuurv apart from Jabberwocky)

Gas Food Lodging

Diva

Withnail & I

How to Get A Head in Advertising

Wings of Desire (most Wenders really)

Thelma & Louise

Angel Heart

Santa Sangre

John Waters

The Piano

Danny Boyle

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Terence Davies

Almodovar, for the most part

Guy Ritchie

Derek Jarman apart from the early shorts

Nearly all Woody Allen after Annie Hall (apart from Radio Days and Broadway Danny Rose)

most Coen Bros

Spike Lee apart from Do the Right Thing

every other Mike Leigh

Jim Jarmusch for the most part

Lars Von Trier for the most part

Everything Nicolas Roeg did after the first 25 minutes of Eureka onwards


so so so many other films I trooped out to see in the 1980s and first half of 1990s and have simply forgotten...  I like to blame Time Out although I don't think I ever read the film section  - it's just an association, not unlike a Peter Travers endorsement for the USA, but slightly more highbrow than that....  the kind of films they'd make a cover story maybe...


RECENTLY SEEN (relatively recently) AND WELL LIKED, BUT A BIT EARLY FOR ADMISSION TO ANY CANON 

(an incomplete list)

Minari

Kajillionaire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Parasite

Under the Skin

There Will Be Blood

Souvenir

American Honey

Get Out

The Phantom Thread

Moonlight

Emily the Criminal

The Master

Force Majeure

We Are the Best

Let the Right One In

The Eternal Daughter

 

CLASSICS RECENTLY SEEN BUT WITH SUCH A HEAD OF ADVANCE OVERHYPE THEY COULD ONLY UNDERWHELM JUST A BIT

Celine and Julie Go Boating


LOOK BUT NOT TOUCHED / SURFACE DEEP

Wes Anderson 


LOST TO TIME

Westerns (nearly all)

screwball comedy (for the most part)

silent film


STAPLES OF YOUTH THAT STIR FONDNESS BEYOND ANY CONSIDERED ASSESSMENT OF WORTH

The Railway Children

Singin' in the Rain

West Side Story

High Society

Jaws

North West Frontier

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Gigi

The King and I

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Jabberwocky

Bugsy Malone

The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory 

the Inspector Clouseau films

movieifications of Britcoms - Porridge, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads

spaghetti westerns 


SECRET WEAKNESSES

romcoms

Ken Russell's composers films


RUNNERS UP FOR THE TOP 10

Gregory's Girl

Summer Hours

Old Joy

Synecdoche, New York

Deliverance

The Hustler

Playtime

Safe

Topsy-Turvy

The Third Man

Sweetie

An Angel at My Table

The Night of the Hunter

The Wild Bunch

The Wicker Man

Two Lane Blacktop

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid

Five Easy Pieces

La Jetee

London

The Manchurian Candidate

Seconds

Rosemary’s Baby

The Tin Drum

Picnic at Hanging Rock

Fat City

Les Enfants Terribles

Modern Times

Suspiria

Witchfinder General

Peeping Tom

The Knack (and how to Get It)

Last Year at Marienbad

The Apartment

Daisies

The Color of Pomegranetes

Valerie and Her World of Wonders

Don’t Look Back

The Man Who Fell to Earth

Bad Timing

Kes

Day for Night

Stalker

Solaris

M. Hulot’s Holiday

The 400 Blows

Beau Travail

Black Narcissus

The Tenant

Moulin Rouge (well, the first half hour or so)

The Sweet Hereafter 

Knife in the Water

Paper Moon

L’Atalante

Les Diaboliques

Fanny and Alexander

Adaptation

The Heartbreak Kid

Riff-Raff

Exotica

Satyricon 



NO, I HAVE NOT SEEN

Jeanne Dielman


ON MY LIST

way too many


FACES + VOICES (a work in progress)

Piper Laurie

James Coburn

Denholm Elliott (voice especially)

Winona Ryder

Billie Whitelaw

William Daniels

Vanessa Redgrave 

Peter Cook

Ann Prentiss

Paula Prentiss

Richard Burton (voice especially)

Eleanor Bron

Dirk Bogarde

Jenny Agutter

Tilda Swinton

1 comment:

Jim said...

I know what you mean about Time Out films and mostly agree with the verdict but Diva is wonderful film despite the Time Out taint, would make my top ten for sure. It also includes this incredibly beautiful Satiesque song https://youtu.be/wQnpAcW-Pi4 I can never get enough of.
Cheers,
Jim