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Movies Unlike Any Other

Comment on the Isthmus movie reviews, write one yourself, discuss upcoming flicks, recent DVDs, and other realms in the world of cinema.

Re: Movies Unlike Any Other

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:19 pm

rrnate wrote:"Strange Impersonation", an early movie by Anthony Mann
Yes, love this one!
rrnate wrote:Definitely worth a watch (as are all of the Mann movies before he started going crazy with westerns.)
I loves me some Anthony Mann, but the notion that his westerns are his lesser work is sheer lunacy. Bend Of The River, The Naked Spur, Winchester '73, and The Devil's Doorway (with the uh... let's say "unique" casting of Robert Taylor as an Indian) are not just some of his finest films, but also some of the finest westerns. (I suspect you simply aren't a Western fan, but please correct me if I am wrong.)
Other little know but highly recommended Mann's:
The Tall Target about an assassination attempt on Abraham Lincoln, and The Black Book (a.k.a. Reign Of Terror), a French Revolution noir!

Oh, and speaking of Westerns, Johnny Guitar qualifies for this thread. The story isn't particularly surprising (and was ripped off for Leone's masterpiece Once Upon A Time In The West) but holy crap is it batshit crazy. Must be seen to be believed.

Kenneth Burns wrote:I was very surprised when I first saw The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.
What surprised me most was how unwatchable I found it to be. Didn't even make it to the end. It's been at least a decade, however, so maybe it's time to give it another chance. I certainly loves me my Dr. Seuss!
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Re: Movies Unlike Any Other

Postby dave esmond » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:22 pm

scratch wrote:...but it does have a couple of hidden attractions like Blake Edwards and Tennessee Ernie Ford appearing uncredited. Tennessee Ernie's contrbution is far more memorable.


I like Hoagy Carmichael's part.

I guess if one enjoys Best Years I shouldn't be surprised at affection for Sirk. His version of Imitation of Life, like the earlier version, is on my short list of most excruciatingly painful film experiences imaginable, so perhaps I should absent myself from further discussion.


Nah. Offer something up. I like a LOT of different style movies and I'm always looking for more.

Imitation is probably my least favorite Sirk. It's still just odd enough for me tho'.
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Re: Movies Unlike Any Other

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:26 pm

rrnate wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Donnie Darko: Noted. Should I watch the theatrical version or the Director's Cut?


I'd strongly recommend the theatrical version. Director's cut kinda diminishes some of the movies awesomeness and also switches out a song or two.


I would agree and say it's definitely worth checking out. Great music/sound effects and very simple video effects that make the movie tweaked out and creepy.
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Re: Movies Unlike Any Other

Postby dave esmond » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:28 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:What surprised me most was how unwatchable I found it to be. Didn't even make it to the end. It's been at least a decade, however, so maybe it's time to give it another chance. I certainly loves me my Dr. Seuss!


Couldn't make it thru that one either. Nor the earlier mentioned Moon, both seemed like ones I ought to like but they didn't grab me.

Johnny Guitar gets a thumbs up.

What about something like Kid Galahad or Pitch Black? I guess they're not all that out there but weren't what I expected from either going in.
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Re: Movies Unlike Any Other

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:32 pm

dave esmond wrote:What about something like Kid Galahad or Pitch Black?
I presume you mean the 1937 Curtiz Kid Galahad, not the Elvis one (I decided 20 years to stop watching Elvis movies and I stand by that decision.) If so, hell yeah that's a great movie.
I am completely unfamiliar with Pitch Black.
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Re: Movies Unlike Any Other

Postby dave esmond » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:42 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
dave esmond wrote:What about something like Kid Galahad or Pitch Black?
I presume you mean the 1937 Curtiz Kid Galahad, not the Elvis one (I decided 20 years to stop watching Elvis movies and I stand by that decision.) If so, hell yeah that's a great movie.


Actually both. The Elvis one is oddball for Elvis in that the story and characters make sense. It's odd for Elvis.

If you watch one Elvis movie try Change of Habit with Mary Tyler Moore. That one is whackadoodle even by Elvis movie standards.

In a good way.

Here's the first few minutes. Including a nun striptease and wacked out Dr Elvis appearing to offer a back alley abortion service.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHLm4qB6Weg

I am completely unfamiliar with Pitch Black.


It's not really odd by the standards of this thread. Just a good suspense/sci-fi that surprised me a bit. Kinda an Alien vibe.
Last edited by dave esmond on Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Movies Unlike Any Other

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:52 pm

Change Of Habit is one of the reasons I swore off Elvis movies.
I'm glad it exists, however, because I once saw a pretty cheeky interview with MTM (I really can't remember the source) where she was asked about the rumor that Elvis had slept with all of his leading ladies and she replied along the lines of "All but one."
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Re: Movies Unlike Any Other

Postby Marvell » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:04 pm

The original DOA is pretty much sui generis. Yes it falls under the generic classification of film noir, but it also contains humorous and proto-beatnik elements that make it quite unlike more 'typical' noir fare.

A lot of the 'new Hollywood' movies that came out in the late 60's / early 70's were agressively ideosyncratic - to the point where the non-conformity became almost dogmatic (and yes, I realize I'm skirting the oxymoronical). That having been said, Two Lane Blacktop really is an odd and strangely affecting film; visually stunning and featuring a great, great performance by the late Warren Oates.

And I'm a big fan of John Waters in general, but I think Desperate Living is an overlooked masterpiece. Among other things, it doesn't star Divine, which I think causes some people - for whatever reason - to dismiss it as a lesser work. Nothing could be further from the truth; Desperate Living is one of the most genuinely hopeful and life affirming movies ever made.

And no, I'm not kidding about that.
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Re: Movies Unlike Any Other

Postby minicat » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:11 pm

Head (the Monkees auto-destruct with help from RayBert and Jack)
Two-Lane Blacktop (with James "make it a yard, motherfucker, and you got a race" Taylor and Dennis Wilson)
Little Murders (Jules Feiffer + Alan Arkin = WTF)
The Long Goodbye and Brewster McCloud (Altman unchained)
His Kind of Woman (possibly the longest noir ever, and certainly the most schizophrenic)
Border Incident (well, this is like many other noirs but sort of more gonzo)
Prime Cut (the ending must be seen to be disbelieved)
Little Cigars (somewhat indescribable)
The Devil's Rejects (antisocial masterpiece from Rob Zombie)
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Re: Movies Unlike Any Other

Postby minicat » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:22 pm

one more: The Ballad of Cable Hogue (Peckinpah love story???)
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Re: Movies Unlike Any Other

Postby rrnate » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:23 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:I loves me some Anthony Mann, but the notion that his westerns are his lesser work is sheer lunacy. Bend Of The River, The Naked Spur, Winchester '73, and The Devil's Doorway (with the uh... let's say "unique" casting of Robert Taylor as an Indian) are not just some of his finest films, but also some of the finest westerns. (I suspect you simply aren't a Western fan, but please correct me if I am wrong.)
Other little know but highly recommended Mann's:
The Tall Target about an assassination attempt on Abraham Lincoln, and The Black Book (a.k.a. Reign Of Terror), a French Revolution noir!



Yeah, that's pretty much it - I just tend to not like older westerns, even though Mann's are kinda different. My point was more that he is pretty commonly known these days FOR said westerns and not the really cool noirish stuff he did previously.

That being said, I have had Black Book on my list for a while and will bump 'er up - also, never heard of "Tall Target" but will totally check it out.

Also, speaking of idiosyncratic older movies...

* Unfaithfully Yours (1948) - probably in my top ten of all time. It's a later Preston Sturges movie and is the closest thing I've ever seen in terms of an old movie feeling like a Coen Bros film, more so than "Sullivan's Travels" even, and less well-known.

* Suspiria - I have waded through probably a hundred '70's/'80's Italian horror movies, hoping to find another one as awesome as this one, but no dice. The cheese stands alone!
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Re: Movies Unlike Any Other

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:53 pm

Marvell wrote:I think Desperate Living is an overlooked masterpiece.
I'm really not a big Waters fan, but this is easily my favorite of his ("non-commercial") films. Certainly unlike any other movie I've ever seen, that's for damn sure.

I finally watched Two-Lane Blacktop after years of people telling me what a masterpiece it was and I was bored to tears. Warren Oates = awesome, but I can't think of anything else about it I liked. I think not giving a rat's ass about cars has hampered my appreciation of more than one film. (Also: Suck it, James Taylor. I can honestly say I like his acting exactly as much as his music.)

minicat wrote:Head (the Monkees auto-destruct with help from RayBert and Jack)
Hell yes!
minicat wrote:Little Murders (Jules Feiffer + Alan Arkin = WTF)
Never even heard of this one.
minicat wrote:His Kind of Woman (possibly the longest noir ever, and certainly the most schizophrenic)
So fantastic. Will never be able to thank you enough for showing me this. I'm such a sucker for Vincent Price in comedic roles too. Seriously undervalued actor, that guy.
minicat wrote:Prime Cut (the ending must be seen to be disbelieved)
We screened this for Movie Night a while back and yeah, we were all in agreement that it was one fucking weird ass film. There's been recent talk of a rescreening...
minicat wrote:The Ballad of Cable Hogue (Peckinpah love story???)
Duuuuude! I showed you this movie years ago and you hated it! I believe your words were, "Well that was fucking terrible." Glad to hear you've regained your senses.
rrnate wrote:That being said, I have had Black Book on my list for a while and will bump 'er up - also, never heard of "Tall Target" but will totally check it out.
I can lend you both of these if you need them, although Black Book is public domain, so my copy's a pretty beat-up print.

rrnate wrote:Unfaithfully Yours (1948)
I don't adore this movie as much as you do (there's way better Sturges, IMO), but I definitely like it, and it's definitely unlike any other movie (especially the crappy '80s Dudley Moore remake. Ick.)
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Re: Movies Unlike Any Other

Postby chainsawcurtis » Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:40 pm

Kinda hard to believe you all haven't mentioned "Eraserhead." That flick is certainly one of a kind.
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Re: Movies Unlike Any Other

Postby pjbogart » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:29 pm

I liked a few recent examples, I think following Stephen King's schtick of putting a child character in an adult situation and imagining how they might react. Following the tween uprising we saw in Harry Potter and Twilight, a few movie makers put out disturbingly adult versions, namely "Pan's Labryinth" and "Let the Right One In" remade into the American version "Let Me In". Along the same theme, but perhaps not quite as bold, were "Orphan" and "Kick-Ass".

Kids put into situations where they really can't afford to be kids.
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Re: Movies Unlike Any Other

Postby pjbogart » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:55 pm

As to the notion that a movie can have a huge influence on other movie makers in much the same way that albums represent a turning point in music, regardless of the relative popularity of the album, a few modern movies seem to have represented this type of sea-change in cinema.

"Jurassic Park" came out when I was in college and essentially ended the "rubber monster" era of movies. From then on we got CGI and blue screens, truly a more impressive visual experience but essentially destroying the most dramatic element of most science fiction and horror films: how realistic was it?

Ridley Scott's "Alien" turned horror films into an art form. Rather than simply being a banal collection of scares, they had the option of being story driven, well acted and eligible for awards.

Stanley Kubrick's "2001" and "A Clockwork Orange" had huge impacts on cinema, I think. Careful but odd shot selections, atmospheric music that seemed out of place and overacting (see also "The Shining" for Kubrick's signature overacting) created a sort of dichotomous experience that was adopted by a lot of other film makers. I think his film making had an impact on music as well in the 1980's with happy music juxtaposed with depressing lyrics as the earliest versions of "emo" bands emerged such as The Smiths and The Cure.
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