Monday, February 12, 2007

Movie Chat: Oscar Facts, The Unwatched Masses, Lists, and Favorites

Edward Copeland goes to the source to try to clear up some Oscar "fact" confusion. I now hope that Little Miss Sunshine wins Best Picture, just so all those people who got their facts wrong, have their predictions come out wrong, too. (Link via The House Next Door).

I'm a big fans of lists - reading lists, year-end best lists , random lists - so I thought Andy Horbal's idea here was pretty neat. There's also an interesting discussion in the comments about the merits of the list Andy is drawing from. As always, I think the best approach to any list is to treat it as a way to start a discussion, not end one. Here's my own 10 best films I've never seen, according to They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?

8 1/2 *
Tokyo Story
City Lights
La Dolce Vita
L'Avventura **
Andrei Rublev
Au Hasard, Balthazar
Wild Strawberries

*I've seen 8 1/2, but it was so long ago that I don't remember much of it and couldn't, in good conscience, talk about it with any authority.
**I've seen parts of L'Avventura on numerous occasions. I've just never sat down to watch it the whole way through.

Looking through the list a little more, my big blind spots are Bergman, Tarkovsky, Ozu, and Bresson. I'll be watching a bunch of Ozu and Bresson over the next few weeks (treating myself to some classics after spending the last few weeks catching up with 2006 releases for an upcoming "list" party), but I think I'm going to save Bergman and Tarkovsky for when I'm, um, older. The big, forehead-slapping, "Why haven't I watched this yet?"-movie is Ikiru - I've seen just about every other Kurosawa movie, so at this point, it's a little embarrassing that I've left this one so long. (Also, check out Andy's interesting business proposition.)

On a semi-related note: my girlfriend and I sat down to watch the 1931 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde last night and I mentioned that Frederic March was one of my favorite actors. She said that was meaningless because everyone is my favorite actor. She wasn't being especially fair, there are lots of actors whose work I'm cool to or outright don't like, but I do have quite a few favorites.

Most film buffs are like this though, aren't they? We have lots of little favorites - favorite westerns, favorite character actors, favorite silent film directors, favorite horror movie actresses, etc. I could pretty easily start to list off my 100 favorite actors (March would definitely be there), which might seem a little indiscriminate, but I've seen lots of performances from lots of different actors.

Maybe I should just start using more specific language - i.e., Frederic March is one of my favorite old school, Hollywood actors: look for the way he tones down his theatrical style to make it work for the camera - although that might be a little too pedantic.

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