1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 2)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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domino harvey
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#126 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jun 23, 2008 7:52 pm

It's not an eighties film, but zedz can just either move or C+P his post here.

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zedz
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#127 Post by zedz » Mon Jun 23, 2008 7:55 pm

domino harvey wrote:It's not an eighties film, but zedz can just either move or C+P his post here.
I'm faring pretty badly at this so far! Lucky I wasn't going to vote for it. Will relocate!

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Bete_Noire
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#128 Post by Bete_Noire » Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:40 pm

Since his name has yet to appear, and he was grossly overlooked in the previous 80s list with the exception of Stop Making Sense, I feel I should defend Jonathan Demme's pre-SOTL work. Sure, Melvin and Howard et al. got great reviews when released, but you never hear masterpieces like Something Wild (my personal favorite Demme besides 1977's Handle With Care) or Swing Shift (particularly the hard-to-find director's cut) get mentioned in discussions of the best 80s movies, even amongst hardcore film buffs.

Yet I can think of few American directors post-1970 who can shift from humor to pathos so effortlessly while avoiding the preciousness and ironic posturing that have sadly become staples of American cinema as Demme did during the his pre-SOTL run. I'm referring not only to his overt tonal shifts in narrative, such as when Ray Liotta is introduced in Something Wild, but within each scene as well. E.g. in the beginning Melvin and Howard, look how naturally Jason Robards's emotional palette alters from bemused to disgruntled and then back to bemused during his exchange with Paul Le Mat, and how Demme uses this scene to convey both Le Mat's brash insouciance towards life and the loneliness of Robards's Howard Hughes -- which in turn lends dramatic credence to the entire film. Additionally, he seems to have a magic touch with actors -- if Le Mat, Mary Steenburgen, Goldie Hawn or Melanie Griffith have ever been better outside of their work with Demme, I don't know about it -- and his choice of pop music (the Go-Betweens, the Feelies, X) is impeccable.

Unfortunately, the mainstream success of his weakest films -- Silence of the Lambs struck me as well-crafted but hollow sensationalism, Philadelphia is almost nauseating in its pomposity and self-preening, while The Manchurian Candidate felt largely superfluous in the face of the original -- seems to have damaged Demme's standing amongst many cineastes, rendering him too unhip to attract the cult of a Richard Linklater or an Elaine May. That, and the eclecticism of his oeuvre (from concert videos to political documentaries) deprive him of the instant recognizability of more established auteurs. I would actually argue his closest parallel is Peter Bogdanovich, not only in their overall state of critical limbo, but in their affection for amoral characters, adult whimsy, and subtle handling of standard Hollywood tropes.

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Cronenfly
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#129 Post by Cronenfly » Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:30 pm

I sincerely hope that the release of the CC edition of Mishima coinciding with the '80s list compilation at least gets some more people to see it. Recently having read the relevant passage in Schrader on Schrader, I'm also convinced that Patty Hearst is worth a look, though it's not too surprising that I would think that, seeing as Mishima and Auto Focus (the two other Schrader-directed biopics [though I shudder at categorizing Mishima in particular merely as such]) are my favorite films of his. American Gigolo is a guilty pleasure (although even in that capacity I still think the film is pretty lacking), Cat People I don't feel too strongly about one way or the other, and Light of Day I have yet to see (though it isn't a high priority).

Scorsese's oeuvre from the '80s, specifically the theesome of The King of Comedy, After Hours, and The Last Temptation of Christ (the latter in particular) deserve a second/first look too, IMO. I know Raging Bull and The Color of Money qualify too, but I find myself much less attached to those two as time goes by.

Greenaway will also hopefully get some viewings; The Draughtsman's Contract, A Zed and Two Noughts, The Belly of an Architect (don't miss this one! I avoided it for a long time for whatever reason [perhaps Mertens' doing the soundtrack instead of Nyman], but it really is one of PG's best), and The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover are all very worth taking a look. I can't speak about Drowning by Numbers (having never seen it) but it looks like it's up to the calibre of the rest of his '80s work.

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colinr0380
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#130 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:55 pm

Drowning By Numbers is an interesting film - I wouldn't rate it as highly as Greenaway's other 80s films but then I wasn't that taken with A Zed And Two Noughts until I rewatched it on the BFI DVD a couple of years ago and now that film has become one of my favourites!

I still have yet to see The Belly Of An Architect.

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Zumpano
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#131 Post by Zumpano » Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:40 am

Bete_Noire wrote:Since his name has yet to appear, and he was grossly overlooked in the previous 80s list with the exception of Stop Making Sense, I feel I should defend Jonathan Demme's pre-SOTL work. Sure, Melvin and Howard et al. got great reviews when released, but you never hear masterpieces like Something Wild (my personal favorite Demme besides 1977's Handle With Care) or Swing Shift (particularly the hard-to-find director's cut) get mentioned in discussions of the best 80s movies, even amongst hardcore film buffs.
Your post has somewhat inspired me to break out my "Citizen's Band"(Handle With Care) VHS tape this weekend to see if the tape still works. I sure wish this film would find its way to DVD. I always thought it'd make a great Criterion.

"Melvin & Howard" is a terrific movie, and Le Mat's performance is a major highlight. I haven't seen it in years, but now I will watch it again for the 80's project. Thank you for bringing up Demme.

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Cronenfly
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#132 Post by Cronenfly » Fri Jun 27, 2008 3:10 pm

colinr0380 wrote:I still have yet to see The Belly Of An Architect.
Make haste, good sir! It's probably the most conventional of Greenaway's '80s work, but it's still well worth a look. Dennehy is a powerhouse in it; he takes full advantage of the opportunity to work on something better than the dreck he's been in most of his career. Greenaway well utilizes his Italian locales, and by making the film such a showcase for Dennehy he tones down a few of the tics that seem to grate on non-PG fans, especially with regards to structure (probably the fewest list/number games of all his films). In this way, it may be a better starting place for those just getting into Greenaway (I'm of the mind that all of his '80s work is pretty accessible, but that might have more to do with the way I'm wired than anything else), but I think that a more hardcore PG fan would enjoy it too. It is more mainstream, but I don't feel as though it's watered down. And Mertens' score is fantastic; I almost like it more than a lot of Nyman's work for PG, which is saying a lot.

And I'll have to track down Drowning by Numbers...Does anyone know of a decent DVD available anywhere? It seems to me that there isn't, but I hope that I'm wrong...

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tavernier
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#133 Post by tavernier » Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:42 pm

Cronenfly wrote:And I'll have to track down Drowning by Numbers...Does anyone know of a decent DVD available anywhere? It seems to me that there isn't, but I hope that I'm wrong...
You're not wrong...there isn't.

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#134 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:45 pm

Cronenfly wrote:...he tones down a few of the tics that seem to grate on non-PG fans, especially with regards to structure (probably the fewest list/number games of all his films)...
True - that reminds me that Drowning By Numbers, as suggested by its title, is perhaps Greenaway's most extreme version of this structure outside of The Falls and the shorts (and maybe the Tulse Luper films but I've also not had the chance to see them yet), and it bears similarity to that film in that it becomes almost an endurance test for the audience in the way that the numbering conceit is doggedly pursued to the bitter end (sort of an adult orientated version of Sesame Street's number counting! :wink: ). Not that I'd complain too much about that style though, but I think you are right in that it can be an acquired taste if you are looking for tonal variation in your films!

Oh, and it does have a rather cynical view of women as castrating and cliqueish while the men are weakly submissive, driven by the basest urges and prone to bouts of self mutilation! (Perhaps bearing some comparisons with The Pillow Book, a film I like more as the characters are a little more sympathetic) Disturbingly, the child characters are the ones who are prone to the most extreme types of those behaviours as they seem to be responding and trying to emulate what they have seen of the adult's behaviour.

While I'm not hugely fond of the film I would like the opportunity to upgrade from my VHS of Drowning some time, especially if the deal was sweetened with a Greenaway commentary (hint, hint!)

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Der Müde Tod
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#135 Post by Der Müde Tod » Sat Jun 28, 2008 8:14 am

tavernier wrote:
Cronenfly wrote:And I'll have to track down Drowning by Numbers...Does anyone know of a decent DVD available anywhere? It seems to me that there isn't, but I hope that I'm wrong...
You're not wrong...there isn't.
So the russian DVD xploited has in stock isn't any good?

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Michael
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#136 Post by Michael » Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:32 am

Xanadu will most likely never make to the final list. I was very smitten by this movie, my very first experience in a multiplex when I was a preteen. Coppola's One From The Heart was mentioned somewhere here, I can't remember exactly where but is it worth checking out? Is it like Xanadu?

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colinr0380
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#137 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Jun 28, 2008 10:13 am

There's a good My Year of Flops entry on the Coppola film here.

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domino harvey
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#138 Post by domino harvey » Sat Jun 28, 2008 2:53 pm

Michael wrote:Coppola's One From The Heart was mentioned somewhere here, I can't remember exactly where but is it worth checking out?
I went in with an open mind, but it really is very very bad. The set and stage design is kind of interesting but not as impressive as it should have been for what it cost-- and this is underline the only reason to even see the film. I wouldn't waste your time-- cue rampant defender of the film.

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Cold Bishop
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#139 Post by Cold Bishop » Sat Jun 28, 2008 5:38 pm

But it has a great Tom Waits soundtrack.

The world needs another Tom Waits musical.

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tavernier
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#140 Post by tavernier » Sat Jun 28, 2008 7:20 pm

Der Müde Tod wrote:So the russian DVD xploited has in stock isn't any good?
It's listed as a fullscreen version, which automatically makes it "not good."

(I haven't seen it, though.)

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swo17
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#141 Post by swo17 » Tue Jul 01, 2008 1:08 pm

domino harvey wrote:I don't want to get my heart broken again, so I'm politely asking everyone participating in this list to please see my number-one lock, They All Laughed. For anyone willing to at least give the movie a shot, tell me your presumed number one choice and I will exchange the favor of making sure it gets a viewing.
I'm a big fan of some of Bogdanovich's 70s work (Paper Moon and What's Up, Doc? in particular) and will gladly take you up on this offer. I don't have anything too obscure to recommend, but I would just like to put in a kind word for A Fish Called Wanda, which sadly does not seem to be getting much love from this forum.
Last edited by swo17 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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miless
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#142 Post by miless » Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:00 am

are films made for television disqualified from entry (or are there no official rules, per se)
I am just asking because Alan Clarke's Elephant is definitely near the top of faves from the 80's.

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zedz
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#143 Post by zedz » Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:41 pm

miless wrote:are films made for television disqualified from entry (or are there no official rules, per se)
The rules regarding this will be buried somewhere in the original thread. As I recall, standalone TV films and specials are eligible (thus Elephant is OK), as are whole miniseries (thus The Decalogue and Berlin Alexanderplatz are also eligible), but not entire TV series or individual episodes of TV series.

So in terms of my own predilections, I couldn't vote for 'Yosser's Story', but I could vote for the entirety of Boys from the Blackstuff (or The Black Stuff itself), and I probably couldn't vote for The Day Today, even though it only ran for one series, since as far as I know it wasn't conceived as a mini-series. (I guess you could vote for the pedophilia special of Brasseye but not Brasseye itself, according to these rules.)

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Films from 1980

#144 Post by jonp72 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:07 pm

I've tried to do this year-by-year process of viewing films with the previous decade lists, but I figure that the 1980s is a bit more manageable than the 1950s or 1960s. Anyhow, this is my impressions of the year 1980.

My Top Five (in order of preference)

1. Mon Oncle d'Amerique (Alain Resnais, rental OOP New Yorker DVD, available on R2 Arrow films under the title "My American Uncle") An elder of the French New Wave gracefully interweaves the life stories of two Frenchman (Gerard Depardieu and Nicole Garcia) and one Frenchwoman (Nicole Garcia). It's like watching a master weaver string together the most elegant and intricate fabric. Interspersed throughout the film are two major motifs: talking head footage and voiceovers from the behaviorist Dr. Henri Laborit (playing himself and not "dumbing down" his scientific theories) and snippets of scenes from the main characters' favorite French film stars (Jean Gabin, Jean Marais, Danielle Darrieux). When these motifs are juxtaposed against emotional scenes replayed from the character's lives, the result completely demolishes the myth that the director's trademark formalism and chronology scrambling prevents emotional identification with his characters.

2. The Falls (Peter Greenaway, R1 Zeitgeist DVD), The first full-length feature by Peter Greenaway, it looks as if some twisted British bureaucrat was watching some experimental films by American structuralist filmmaker from the 1970s (most likely Hollis Frampton's Zorn's Lemma), then decided to commission a documentary from that filmmaker that parodically stretches the typical "objective" BBC documentary form to absurd, surrealist lengths (including a 3 hour and 15 minute running time). Greenaway recycles still photos, voiceovers, talking head footage, artificial languages, and arcane listmaking in a manner that I found completely transfixing despite the film's length. This film has the right combination of low budget, high creativity, and epic experimental ambitions that characterized some of zedz's 1970s faves.

3. Atlantic City (Louis Malle, R1 Paramount DVD), Re-watching this film after a long hiatus was like being embraced by an old friend. Compared to other French New Wavers, Malle doesn't seem to be winning many auteurist brownie points on this forum, but I think the auteur theory sometimes overrates the ability of directors to craft a silk purse out of a sow's ear, while ignoring the directors who can magically make a good script great. When I compare Atlantic City to another film adapted from a John Guare work, Fred Schepisi's Six Degrees of Separation, I feel that Atlantic City is a more subtle illustration of "the six degrees of separation" concept than the movie that bears that name. It's one of those "network narrative" movies, but it's done so smoothly and seemingly effortlessly that you hardly notice it. The characters in the foreground are depicted with a mixture almost Renoir-like generosity of characterization and the dying flickers of "classical" Hollywood movie magic (casting Burt Lancaster was a masterstroke), while the background is the shabby glamour of post-Mafia, pre-Donald Trump, pre-gentrification Atlantic City. Malle brings out the lustre of that shabby glamour, but he's realistic enough to know that the glamour will soon die. In addition, the opening scene of Susan Sarandon in a negligee while squeezing fresh lemon juice on her arms is one of the most amazingly sensual images of any 1980s Hollywood film.

4. Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, R1 MGM) I know it's an obvious choice, but when I re-watched it again, it still held up for me. I ranked it lower than Mon Oncle d'Amerique and Atlantic City, because Scorsese doesn't depict sensuality as well as he does violence. One thing that I missed on previous viewings is how well the film links self-hatred, male insecurity, male bonding, and violence to homophobia (e.g., Robert DeNiro baits Joe Pesci into punching him harder by saying "You're hitting me like you're taking it up the ass.") In addition, I think Ebert's review of the film nails it about how the film exemplifies a man with a madonna/whore complex who cannot love anybody who loves him. Another new discovery for me is how, once you look past Michael Chapman's "classical" black and white cinematography, you can notice the film's expressionist use of sound editing (e.g., how non-diegetic noise is used to draw parallels between the boxing matches and outbreaks of domestic violence).

5. Loulou (Maurice Pialat) It's a film about an impetuous married bourgeois Frenchwoman (Isabelle Huppert) who "hooks up" sexually with a lower-class petty criminal that's all brawn and very little brain (Gerard Depardieu). By staging the action in medias res, Pialat makes the viewer feel "in the moment" with the film, experiencing what the characters experience in real time. Better yet, Depardieu has a physicality in this film that reminds me of a French version of the 50s Marlon Brando. When my wife saw the film with me, she liked the "in the moment" feeling of the film too, but she also said, "The sex couldn't be that good. It's not like he took care of her needs. Having a burly guy on top of you might be fun for a while, but the thrill wears off." I conceded her point, but I still think the film is an excellent "what if?" examination of an unlikely relationship that crosses social boundaries, similar in themes to (although I would rank it slightly lower than) Fassbinder's Ali:Fear Eats the Soul. After watching this, I will definitely have to have a look at Pialat's A Nos Amours.

Other Films
Grown-Ups (Mike Leigh, R1 Water Bearer Films), Early Mike Leigh teleplay about Mandy and Dick, a working-class couple in a Canterbury council flat, and how Mandy's frumpy, spinsterish older sister (who is simultaneously more financially prosperous than Mandy but less emotionally stable) gradually drives Dick insane with her unannounced visits and constant emotional neediness. The older sister is played by Brenda Blethyn, in a performance astonishingly different from her more well-known performance in Secrets and Lies. It's British kitchen sink realism, but given Leigh's background then as a director of plays, I found the framings of the shots (e.g., medium-to-long shots of Mandy and Dick's living room) more "stagey" than the Nouvelle Vague-style "realism" in Loulou.

Slow Motion (aka Sauve Qui Peut La Vie) (Jean-Luc Godard, R2 Artificial Eye) I'm sorry I have to break your heart, Domino Harvey, but this narrowly missed my top five. Male artists in the modernist tradition (e.g., Joyce, Picasso) have often been obsessed with prostitutes and how they can serve as metaphor for the artist "prostituting" himself with the capitalist marketplace and the least common denominator, but I felt that Godard did a better examination of this metaphor in his 60s films, such as Vivre Sa Vie, Two or Three Things I Know About Her, or A Woman Is A Woman. I didn't feel that the increased sexual explicitness added much to the examination of the theme. However, I did like the slow-motion passages and how Godard is so self-critical about the surrogate Godard character in the film (Jacques Dutronc), who goes so far as to comment on his teenage daughter's "tits." The only problem is I felt ambivalent about whether Godard wanted to depict this misogyny, critique it, or revel in it. Still, domino, anybody who loves La Chinoise as much as you do cannot be all bad (although we will have to have talk later about your undeserved pan of Distant Voices, Still Lives, definitely in my top ten for the decade!).

Gloria (John Cassavetes, R1 Columbia), I thought the Killing of a Chinese Bookie was a better example of Cassavetes re-working the gangster genre. Sometimes I found the child actor refreshingly real, but annoying at other times. The Bill Conti score also added unnecessary syrup and melodrama. Killing of a Chinese Bookie was better because the plot eschewed melodrama to let the gangster genre plot emerge slowly, "organically" out of the situation of a desperate man in over his head.

Melvin & Howard (Jonathan Demme, R1 Universal), Very good, but not quite making it. Pauline Kael used to think of Demme as having the potential to be an American Jean Renoir, and I can see it here in the generous characterizations and the little bits of character "business" he gives to Oscar winner Mary Steenburgen. (The scene of Steenburgen walking out of a strip club naked is done with much more class and humor than a similar scene in Nashville). A major theme is the quintessentially American desire for the fast track to getting rich and famous, but I still feel Scorsese's King of Comedy is a better and more ironic examination of the topic.

Out of the Blue (Dennis Hopper, OOP R1 Anchor Bay, other low budget editions exist) Definitely deserves some cult following. Hopper's Easy Rider was about hippies vs. rednecks, but here the hippies are the rednecks, or at least get drunk at the same dive bars. The film's "realism" is a combination of Method acting, Cassavetes-style rawness, and the director's fascination with the female protagonist's twin attachments to both Elvis and punk rock. It has a 70s style rawness, but shifts abruptly to an explosive, over-the-top Sam Fuller-style ending.

From the Life of the Marionettes (Ingmar Bergman, R2 Tartan) Filmed for television during Bergman's tax exile in Germany, it is a "whydunit" about a tormented married man who kills a prostitute. It has an interesting blend of German expressionism and Freudianism, but unlike Persona, which used Freudian theory to do structurally interesting things with its plot, the Freudianism here is merely used to provide canned "explanation" for the protagonist's motives. Bergman's love for German expressionism and his skill at staging plays are still redeeming qualities, however.

Les Bons Debarras (Francis Mankiewicz, R2 Distribution Select available from amazon.ca), Highly rated Quebecois film on imdb, but didn't watch the whole way through, b/c I found Loulou a more dramatically compelling depiction of Francophone working-class life. May revisit later.

Zigeunerweisen (Seijun Suzuki, R1 Kino), I've seen it recommended here. I admire Suzuki for not taming his eccentricities, but I missed the fragmented Benihana style approach to narrative editing he used in Branded to Kill. Only watched about 2/3 of the way through. (Any 80s recommendations on Seijun Suzuki that are closer in style to his 60s films?)

Arrebato (Ivan Zulueta, available only in Spanish No subs bootleg on DVD-R), It was described to me as a combination of Buñuel, Arrabal, and David Cronenberg, but I really couldn't see it in the film itself (although that could be due to my fading knowledge of high-school Spanish). Neither as iconoclastic as Buñuel nor as visceral as early Cronenberg. There is a student film director character in the film named Pedro, however, that made me wonder if it wasn't a pisstake of Pedro Almodovar. (By the way, what's your take on Almodovar pre-Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown? Women on the Verge will probably end up on the master list, but the only film earlier than that I've seen is Matador.) Should I check out Pepi, Luci, Bom for 1980 sometime later?

That's my 2 cents. Let's open it up to the floor. What are your thoughts?

Should I Rewatch? The Shining (I'm not as bothered by Nicholson's scenery chewing as zedz, but the endless corridor shots are from Last Year in Marienbad and the scary twins are basically borrowed from a Diane Arbus photo. In addition, Scatman Crothers as the "magic Negro" character bugs me a little.)
The Stunt Man

Still Haven't Seen Yet, Any Defenders for the Top 50? Heaven's Gate, Kagemusha, The Age of the Earth aka Idade da Terra (Glauber Rocha, available on Brazilian DVD with English subs), American Gigolo, Bad Timing, The Long Riders, Altered States, Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears, The Long Good Friday, Forbidden Zone, Pepi Luci Bom, Radio On

P.S. Yeah, yeah, zedz, I'll eventually clear off my calendar for the Berlin Alexanderplatz box set. Don't worry. [/b]

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domino harvey
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#145 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:19 pm

Slow Motion is a film I didn't like much at first. What helped was reading an exhaustive essay on the film's sexual explicitness in a book on Godard and Bertolucci that took a feminist approach to exploring the movie. That helped me to deal with the very misogynistic (even for Godard) elements that separated me from the film. It's grown in esteem in time and I'd definitely rank it among his best films now, but it was a long road to get there-- though that final scene with the orchestra is still unmatched as far as I'm concerned.

Mon Oncle d'Amerique will probably make my list, it's certainly a film that's gotten better in comparison to some of Resnais' other 80s works. I was never quite sure where it was going, which was pleasant enough, and the narrative interruptions made the film-- indeed, there should have been more distancing and less narrative but what can you do

Raging Bull won't be within a thousand movies of my list.

Atlantic City is in my queue and I've definitely been looking forward to checking it out, as is Loulou. You should definitely see A nos amours. I don't know what I was expecting going in but for as much as "French Cassavetes" gets thrown around, it's accurate. Bad Timing is a must and Berlin Alexanderplatz is also quite good (minus the epilogue-- but let's not drag that into another thread).

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Cold Bishop
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#146 Post by Cold Bishop » Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:56 pm

Been postponing posting in this thread until I found something really important to say, however....
jonp72 wrote:Out of the Blue (Dennis Hopper, OOP R1 Anchor Bay, other low budget editions exist)

Zigeunerweisen (Seijun Suzuki, R1 Kino), I've seen it recommended here. I admire Suzuki for not taming his eccentricities, but I missed the fragmented Benihana style approach to narrative editing he used in Branded to Kill. Only watched about 2/3 of the way through. (Any 80s recommendations on Seijun Suzuki that are closer in style to his 60s films?)

Still Haven't Seen Yet, Any Defenders for the Top 50? Heaven's Gate
Out of the Blue is a great film. Definitely Hopper's best (although I am partial to The Last Movie). Leaves Easy Rider in the dust, and I recommend it to everyone contributing a list.

Suzuki never got back to anything approaching his 60s films until 2001s Pistol Opera, even that is more wild and eccentric than anything he ever did at Nikkatsu. Personally, I'm a fan of the full-on "art house" period of the 80s and early 90s. Why you would stop Zigeunerweisen 2/3 of the way through is beyond me. Fine film, as are (more so?) Kageroza and Yumeji (90s list candidate)

Heaven's Gate is one of the great American films of the 80s. Along with Raging Bull, Once Upon a Time in America, and to a lesser extent, Reds, its the last gasp of the 70s aesthetic. Much better than Deer Hunter, and naturally, its incredibly hated. All the more reason to love the film.

I am a fan of Ken Russell so I'll reluctantly recommend Altered States, since it has its fans. I never felt it lived up to his 70s work. Interesting enough however, and I'm sure Cronenberg saw it a few times.

And you should see any Glauber Rocha you can get your hands on. Can't say I've seen this particular film however.
domino harvey wrote:Raging Bull won't be within a thousand movies of my list.
It's not going to make my list, but care to share.

And I don't care for Bad Timing. Uninteresting thriller, touched up by some snazzy editing and Harvey Keitel. Nothing special.

A
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#147 Post by A » Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:45 pm

Hmm... After a few years I finally managed to register on this forum and this is my first post.

I haven't read all the posts in this thread, but I'd like to write about some films which may not have been mentioned much (or maybe not at all?) yet.

Some definite candidates on my Top 50 list:

Don't know if this counts, as it's a film from 1979 in my book (I always try to go by the copyright date on the film print, and not a date of release or Imdb), but Dario Argento's masterful Inferno needs to be seen by a bigger audience. The second in his "Mothers"- trilogy (following the equally mysterious Suspiria from 1977), Argento has tried to display an even more hallucinatory use of colors, framing and storytelling and he succeeded magnificently. Not so much a Horror film, than an allegory on the labyrith of our human society, it is in equal parts an hommage to H.P.Lovecraft as it is clearly inspired by the stark works of Antonioni from the early 60s. Nevertheless, Argentos exuberant use of colour has its primary inspiration in the works of Mario Bava (Bava himself directed a beutiful sequence at the beginning of the film). I was fortunate to see the film at the cinema in a pristine print (the superb new Suspiria print I was able to catch at last years Viennale, actually didn't look that much better), and it was a great experience.

From 1980 I will also include Loulou by Maurice Pialat and Jim Jarmusch's first feature Permanent Vacation (which I think is one of his best).

For 1981 I'd like to mention Andrzej Zulawski's Possession (it's probably well-known around here, but I mention it for anyone who somehow still hasn't been interested in seeing this incredible masterpiece), and even more Bo Derek's much-maligned and incredibly neglected Tarzan, the Ape Man. No, I don't consider this movie trash (though it certainly may have some trash-value if watched from the "right" point-of-view) but an incredibly interesting and daring work about the relationship between nature and civilization. In it's best moments it's on the same level as the last two films by Terrence Malick, only that it's radically naive and philosophical approach to this topic reaches transgressive proportions. The director definitely knows what he is doing (though I'm not sure Derek was aware of all of the films implications), and this is not only far and away the best film about Tarzan (though it is primarily told from the point of view of Jane's character, and thus radically different from every other Tarzan movie I've seen), but also one of the most intriguing visualizations of the story of self-discovery through another person. Add to this playful and inventive photography and scripting and you get a film that is in desperate need of rediscovery.

I guess I'm too lazy at the moment to write as much about all of the other films I'm going to mention, so I'll just list them. But if you have any questions, I'd be glad to tell anyone more about those. I may have to add that I saw most of the films I'm writing about in this post at the cinema, with the prints usually in a very good condition, and this has surely added immensly to my appreciation of them.

Bakuretsu toshi Burst City (Sogo Ishii / Japan / 1982)
Die Erben The Inheritors (Walter Bannert / Austria / 1982)
Moonlighting (Jerzy Skolimowski / UK / 1982)
Der Aufenthalt The Turning Point (Frank Beyer / East Germany / 1983)
La lune dans le caniveau The Moon in the Gutter (Jean-Jacques Beineix / France, Italy / 1983)
Mortelle randonne Deadly run (Claude Miller / France / 1983)
Wu lang ba gua gun Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (Chia-Liang Liu / Hong Kong / 1983)
Klassenverhältnisse Class Relations (Daniele Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub / West Germany, France / 1984)
L' amour à mort Love Unto Death (Alain Resnais / France / 1984)
La pirate The Pirate (Jacques Doillon / France / 1984)
La vie de famille Family Life (Jacques Doillon / France / 1985)
Tenshi no tamago Angel's Egg (Mamoru Oshii / Japan / 1985)
Zina (Ken McMullen / UK / 1985)
Rosa Luxemburg (Margarethe von Trotta / West Germany, Czechoslovakia / 1986)
Les ministéres de l'art (Philippe Garrel / France / 1988)
Wong gok ka moon As Tears Go By (Wong Kar Wai / Hong Kong / 1988)
Arousi-ye Khouban Marriage of the Blessed (Mohsen Makhmalbaf / Iran / 1989)
L'enfant de l'hiver Winter's Child (Olivier Assayas / France / 1989)
Sale comme un ange Dirty Like an Angel (Catherine Breillat / France / 1989)

I hope some of you might have gotten interested in watching a few of those films (most of which i consider to be masterpieces), and I hope I haven't been telling anything you all already know about. I have noticed that many people at this forum are incredibly knowledgable, and I appreciate it.

And by the way - I love the 80s. As every other, this was an incredible decade for movies.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that many of the films (if not all?) are available on mostly subtitled DVD or VHS copies.
jonp72 wrote:Still Haven't Seen Yet, Any Defenders for the Top 50? Heaven's Gate, Kagemusha, The Age of the Earth aka Idade da Terra (Glauber Rocha, available on Brazilian DVD with English subs), American Gigolo, Bad Timing, The Long Riders, Altered States, Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears, The Long Good Friday, Forbidden Zone, Pepi Luci Bom, Radio On
I've seen Heaven's Gate, Kagemusha, A Idade da Terra, and Altered States, and I think all four of them very much deserve to be on a Top 50 List for the 80s. Though I'm not sure if they will make mine (with the exception of Heaven's Gate, which will definitely be on it). After all, limiting yourself to a meager 50 titles is an extremely difficult task...
Last edited by A on Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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domino harvey
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#148 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:54 pm

Has there ever been a release of Ishtar in the proper aspect ratio? I'd really like to see it but I don't think it's out anywhere(?)

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Cold Bishop
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#149 Post by Cold Bishop » Thu Jul 03, 2008 12:05 am

The UK dvd is in the correct ratio from what I've heard, and cheap to boot.

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domino harvey
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#150 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jul 03, 2008 12:07 am

Oh wow! I could have sworn I'd looked around and couldn't find it on DVD, thanks!

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