The Circle Theater at the corner of 21st and Penn NW. Sometime in the early 1960s. About the time I attended GW.
September 3, 2013

The Story of Film

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has embarked upon a project that involves showing a 15 chapter history of film, and over a hundred movies that range in time from the 1890s and early shorts by Edison and the Lumière brothers to the early 2000s. Over 50 of those will be shown in September. I intend to watch most of the ones in September and October. After the 1960s, which will be done starting in November, I think film declines pretty badly. There are also some films that I simply refuse to watch, for example The Hudsucker Proxy, largely because I find Tim Robbins repulsive, and likewise for The Piano, though in that case it's Holly Hunter and her repulsive squawk.* Some of the movies I've seen at least once, and others, such as The Public Enemy, I've seen several times. So lets get started.

*Admittedly Holly Hunter doesn't speak in The Piano, but I still dislike her. On the other hand Tony Kornheiser did say that the best part of The Piano was seeing Ms. Hunter nude without having to hear her awful squawk.

September Films

September 2, 2013

September 3, 2013

September 9, 2013

September 10, 2013

September 16, 2013

September 17, 2013

September 23, 2013

September 24, 2013

September 30, 2013

Films in October

October 1

October 7, 2013

October 8, 2013

October 14, 2013

October 15, 2013

October 21, 2013

October 22, 2013

October 28, 2013

October 29, 2013

Films in November

November 4, 2013

November 11, 2013

November 18, 2013

November 25, 2013

Films in December

December 2, 2013

December 9, 2013

It's been a long, hard slog. Some of the films that were selected, such as Touki Bouki were unwatchable because of their grossness, and others for a number of other reasons. Most of the really good films, as I expected, were made in the period before 1970. Some from that time period, such as Jaws were surprisingly good, while others, The Message, Yeelen, Funny Games, Gladiator were wretched wastes of time and money. I found little to refute my opinion that much of what passes for film criticism today is largely the exaltation of those directors and artists who either belong to politically correct approved groups, or who hold the correct views, hence Mr. Cousins approbation of hard line left-wingers and old-line Stalinists. In 1939 you could go to the movies and pick from The Wizard of Oz, Grapes of Wrath, Mice and Men, Gone With the Wind, Gunga Din, and dozens of others. In 2009, you would have been lucky to find one picture worth going to see, and in the 5 years since then, it's only gotten worse.

I came across a message I sent a former friend almost 3 years ago in which I said something about Jane Russel: When Jane came on the scene MGM would churn out a picture a week. Not all of them were great, but they weren’t multi-million dollar bombs that you wouldn’t take your pet arachnid to see. I see no reason to revise that judgment now.

Stay home, and watch a good movie on DVD, Blu-Ray, or TCM.

Here's my list of the films that I think are worth owning, those worth watching once, but not films that I love, and films that are lousy, and that you won't lose anything by not watching them. You'll notice that I don't include Mr. Cousins series on any part of the list. Simply put, it is an atrocious series marred by his narration, his pomposity, his political correctness/leftism, and in some cases his ignorance. If you feel the need to improve your knowledge of film history, find some other series.

Movies to Own and Love, Watch Once, or Avoid Like the Plague
Buy Once Don’t Bother
Birth of a Nation Haxan Nanook of the North
Orphans of the Storm The Phantom Carriage I was born but…
Intolerance The Kid Los Olvivados
Way Down East City Lights I Am Curious Yellow
The Wind Passion of Joan of Arc Boy
One Week The Crowd The Insect Woman
Three Ages Greed The House is Black
The General Vampyr I am Cuba
Safety Last Sunrise Black Girl
The Thief of Baghdad The Goddess The Graduate
Battleship Potemkin The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari McCabe and Mrs. Miller
Public Enemy Metropolis Mean Streets
Frankenstein La Roue Killer of Sheep
Gold Diggers of 1933 Un Chien Andalou My Brilliant Career
Twentieth Century Zero de Conduite Picnic at Hanging Rock
Stagecoach L’Atalante XALA
Citizen Kane Grand Illusion The Battle of Chile
The Best Years of Our Lives Rules of the Game The Message
Rome, Open City Bicycle Thief Yeelen
Singin’ in the Rain Pather Panchali Repentance
Double Indemnity Cairo Station Where is the Friend’s Home
Gun Crazy Johnny Guitar Beau Travail
The Big Sleep Winter Light Funny Games
A Matter of Life and Death Johnny Guitar Touki Bouki
Throne of Blood Pickpocket The Hudsucker Proxy
Seven Samurai Cleo From 5 to 7 Gladiator
Rebel Without a Cause The 400 Blows The Piano
All the Heaven Allows Rocco and His Brothers Reservoir Dogs
And God Created Woman Accatone Etre e avoir
Nights of Cabiria L'Eclisse* Climates
A Fistful of Dollars Daisies* Memories of Murder
Breathless Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Knife in the Water Badlands
Andrei Rublev MASH
Ashes and Diamonds Chinatown*
The Last Picture Show Alice in the Cities
Cabaret Zanjeer
Jaws Enter the Dragon
Gregory’s Girl
The Elephant Man
Russian Ark*

*These are really borderline to me. They have some good stuff, some interesting things, but they might not be to everyone's taste. They're good, and I like them, but not quite enough to put them in the category of films that I love.