22 December 2008

A to Z Meme

I saw this floating around the net a while ago, but seeing Chad Orzel's version made me decide to just step up and do it myself. It's the A-Z movie meme, in which the idea is to pick a movie beginning with each letter of the alphabet. I'm kind of just going with what sticks in my head first, here, so don't think that I'm picking the absolute best movie for each letter or anything. I'm deliberately picking only movies I've seen, so some of these might be a little weird. Here goes.

A: American Beauty. The first entry on my list is the first movie directed by Sam Mendes (also the first movie written by Six Feet Under's Alan Ball). I haven't seen this since its original release, and the backlash generated around the film is in full force, but I'm guessing that it holds up pretty well despite that.

B: Blade Runner. Proof that a slightly off-kilter plot will never be able to kill a great story. See also The Dark Knight for more evidence in favor of this.

C: Citizen Kane. Cause you just have to.

D: Die Hard. You mean this isn't everyone's favorite Christmas movie? The birth of the modern-day Bruce Willis, as opposed to affable-comedy-guy-Blind Date/Moonlighting Bruce Willis, or (even worse) poor-man's Billy Joel Bruce Willis.

E: Edward Scissorhands. This strange fairy tale may be Tim Burton's best movie.

F: Fargo. This or No Country for Old Men is probably the Coen Brothers' best film. Plus my backyard kind of looks like this movie right now.

G: Ghostbusters. I've seen this movie so many times I could probably reconstruct it scene for scene from memory after the apocalypse.

H: Home Alone. I feel terrible that I can't think of a great "H" movie, but isn't this still the highest-grossing comedy of all time?

I: Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Just finished watching this a half hour ago. A bit dated, but a classic of the genre.

J: Jackie Brown. Underrated Tarantino masterpiece, with great performances from Pam Grier and Robert Forster.

K: Knife in the Water. Polanski's first directorial effort, a low-budget film with only three actors but with enough tension for six.

L: Lake of Fire. Tony Kaye's three-hour documentary about abortion is dispassionate enough to be work seeing no matter where you stand on the issue.

M: Magnolia. Paul Thomas Anderson's third movie, a masterpiece of coincidence, love, loss, and pain.

N: Night of the Living Dead. George Romero's first zombie movie, wildly influential, hugely successful. Invented the modern zombie story.

O: Oleanna. David Mamet's study of sexual harassment, a two-person show that is amazing in its ambiguity. We see everything that happens, but we have no idea what it means.

P: The Princess Bride. I'm sure there are other movies I could put here, but I keep coming back to this classic tale from William Goldman. One of the most quotable movies ever.

Q: Quiz Show. I loved this movie in my late teens -- whether it holds up now is another question. My guess is that seen metaphorically it'd seem remarkably prescient as a metaphor for the loss of national innocence.

R: The Rules of Attraction. Roger Avary's low-budget, deeply strange, widely misunderstood loose adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's novel. Victor's trip to Europe is one of the greatest four minutes or so of film I've ever seen.

S: Six String Samurai. How has this movie not developed a massive online cult following? Just watch the trailer and tell me why.

T: Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Still possibly James Cameron's best film, one of the greatest action pictures ever made.

U: UHF. At first I thought that the only ones I could think of were movies I haven't seen: Unforgiven, The Untouchables, Under the Cherry Moon. And IMDB is no help. But finally I thought of this Weird Al Yankovic vehicle from the mid-eighties.

V: V for Vendetta. Another hard one. It's a great graphic novel that got turned into a good movie.

W: Who Framed Roger Rabbit? A technical milestone and a classic of family entertainment.

X: eXistenz. Yes, I know it's cheating a bit, but this remarkable David Cronenberg flick deserves a look if you haven't seen it already.

Y: Young Einstein. Because no movie list is complete without a Yahoo Serious inclusion.

Z: Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Kevin Smith saves me from having to list Zelig.

Now let's do something a bit different: I'll name twenty-six movies that I haven't yet seen, but want to. This should be a bit easier than naming movies I've already seen.

A: Aguirre, the Wrath of God. Love to see some more Werner Herzog movies.
B: The Big Sleep. Film noir's always in season, right?
C: Clockwatchers. Ebert gave this indie flick three-and-a-half stars -- it sounds like Office Space for temp workers.
D: Dog Day Afternoon. For the Pacino performance.
E: El Topo. Because I'm fucked in the head.
F: Falling Down.
G: The Godfather. That's right, I've never seen the Godfather movies. So sue me.
H: House of Games. David Mamet. 'Nuff said.
I: Intolerance. My knowledge of silent movies is sadly lacking.
J: Jarhead.
K: King Kong. I've never seen the 1933 original.
L: Lolita. Although I'd like to read the book first.
M: McCabe & Mrs. Miller. You can never have too much Robert Altman.
N: Nosferatu. Have wanted to see this ever since I saw Shadow of the Vampire.
O: Once Upon a Time in America. I so love ...in the West that I'm looking forward to seeing this 1984 thematic-follow-up.
P: Pink Flamingos. The film that gave John Waters to the world.
Q: The Quiet American. Both versions.
R: Rashomon. And:
S: Seven Samurai. Because I need to see more Kurosawa movies.
T: Talk Radio. One of the few films of Oliver Stone I haven't seen.
U: Unforgiven.
V: Vertigo.
W: Walkabout.
X: Xanadu. For my gay friends.
Y: You Can Count on Me. For Laura Linney and Matthew Broderick in indie-mode.
Z: Zulu. I've heard it's a great indie film.

Okay, that's enough alphabet for now. I feel like my brain is turning to soup.

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