26 April 2006

102 films that form our cultural vernacular

via Kottke.org

Film critic Jim Emerson recently compiled a list of 102 movies that you should see before you can consider yourself movie literate:
…they [are] the movies you just kind of figure everybody ought to have seen in order to have any sort of informed discussion about movies. They're the common cultural currency of our time, the basic cinematic texts that everyone should know, at minimum, to be somewhat "movie-literate."

I have to admit, I've not seen most of these. I guess I have something to do this summer. Like Kottke, I am affixing stars to the ones I've seen. (31 32 of 102. Kottke had 40. Any of you?) Looks like I'm off to the the video store after work!

* 2001: A Space Odyssey
The 400 Blows

Aguirre: The Wrath of God
* Alien
All About Eve
Annie Hall
* Apocalypse Now
* Bambi
The Battleship Potemkin
The Best Years of Our Lives
The Big Red One
The Bicycle Thief
The Big Sleep
* Blade Runner
Blowup
* Blue Velvet
* Bonnie and Clyde
Breathless
Bringing Up Baby
* Carrie
* Casablanca
Un chien andalou
Children of Paradise / Les enfants du paradis
Chinatown
Citizen Kane
* A Clockwork Orange
* The Crying Game
The Day the Earth Stood Still
* Days of Heaven
Dirty Harry
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
Do the Right Thing
La dolce vita
Double Indemnity
* Dr Strangelove
Duck Soup
* E.T. — The Extra-terrestrial
Easy Rider
* The Empire Strikes Back
* The Exorcist
* Fargo
* Fight Club
* Frankenstein
The General
The Godfather & The Godfather, Pt II
Gone With the Wind
* Goodfellas
The Graduate
* Halloween
A Hard Day's Night
Intolerance
It's a Gift
* It's a Wonderful Life
Jaws
The Lady Eve
Lawrence of Arabia
M
* Mad Max 2 / The Road Warrior
* The Maltese Falcon
The Manchurian Candidate
* Metropolis
Modern Times
* Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Nashville
The Night of the Hunter
* Night of the Living Dead
North by Northwest
Nosferatu
On the Waterfront
Once Upon a Time in the West
Out of the Past
Persona
Pink Flamingos
Psycho
* Pulp Fiction
* Rashômon
Rear Window
* Rebel Without a Cause
Red River
Repulsion
The Rules of the Game
* Scarface
The Scarlet Empress
Schindler's List
The Searchers
The Seven Samurai
Singin' in the Rain
Some Like It Hot
A Star Is Born
A Streetcar Named Desire
Sunset Boulevard
* Taxi Driver
The Third Man
Tokyo Story
Touch of Evil
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Trouble in Paradise
Vertigo
West Side Story
The Wild Bunch
The Wizard of Oz

8 comments:

kylark said...

You've never seen Wizard of Oz?!?

Fell said...

I know…

I've not seen The Godfather, either! And it's been sitting in our living room for almost a year.

kylark said...

I wanted to ask... is there some Canadian movie that almost all Canadian kids have seen, but is unknown (more or less) to people who grew up in the US?

Fell said...

From the CBC Arts site:

"Ask an average person to name three hit Canadian feature films from 2003 — excluding those by Québécois filmmakers — and you're likely to get a blank stare. While Canadians celebrate the international acclaim for French language features Les invasions barbares and La grande séduction, as well as the documentary The Corporation, English features just aren't on our radar."

If I had to pick some more famous Canadian films my friends and I all grew up on, topping the list would be Hard Core Logo. The punk band Billy Talent took their name from the guitarist from Hard Core Logo, so it's a bit of Canadian culture. There is also the book, and a graphic novel based on the band.

There's also Porky's, Cube, Highway 61, Exotica, Last Night, and Naked Lunch. But their directors are also fairly populur in the U.S.

The big thing for us growing up was what we watched on tv, namely: The Beachcombers, Danger Bay, The Raccoons, MuchMusic, the new music, Kids in the Hall, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Royal Canadian Air Farce, et cetera. Also, growing up on the Prairies, we have a lot of punk and live music here.

Playback lists Canada's Top Ten for cinema, however:

1. The Sweet Hereafter
2. Jesus of Montréal
3. The Red Violin
4. Hard Core Logo
5. Goin' Down the Road
6. Léolo
7. Exotica
8. Mon oncle Antoine
9. Last Night
10. The Decline of the American Empire

Some other popular Canadian films are detailed on About.com, like like The Barbarian Invasions, eXistenZ, Maelström, et cetera.

For the most part, we just produce the bulk of North America's comedic genius (list too long to post here). The same production company behind This House Has 22 Minutes also co-produces most of Michael Moore's documentaries and films.

In all truth, a massive amount of American television is shot in Vancouver, and more movies than we count are shot in Toronto. It's cheaper to shoot in Canada than in the U.S., even for you guys.

Fell said...

This HOUR Has 22 Minutes, I meant.

I am a dyslexic typer; I dunno how I didn't notice typing HOUSE instead.

Fell said...

Also, I have no idea how I neglected to remember these, but my roommate pointed out some classics, too:

Strange Brew

FUBAR

Trailer Park Boys

Fell said...

Wow, I also forgot Degrassi.

We all grew up on that show.

And funny enough, my roommate and I rented Jay & Silent Bob Do Degrassi, which collects the three-episode arch "Jay & Silent Bob Go Canadian, Eh?"

Of course, we grew up with the original series of Degrassi, and the new series, using the same moniker as Star Trek, is called Degrassi: The Next Generation.

I think the first boob I saw outside of my father's Playboy magazines was Caitlin's, on a special episode of Degrassi. Mmm… Caitlin…

Degrassi and Kevin Smith, Wikipedia:

The most notable booster of the Degrassi series is popular director Kevin Smith. His first exposure to the Degrassi series came when he worked at a Quick Stop in Leonardo, New Jersey around 1990. His friend, actor Jason Mewes, who was also his co-worker at the time, became a fan after being introduced to the series by Smith. Every Sunday morning at work, Smith and Mewes watched re-broadcasts of Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High on PBS. Drawn by the drama of the Degrassi series, Smith became an obsessed fan. The climax of his Degrassi obsession was realized when he landed guest appearances on Degrassi: The Next Generation in a 3-episode story arc to conclude season 4 & re-appeared in a 2-episode arc in season 5. Mewes also landed guest appearances with Smith in four of those episodes, three of them as their characters, Jay and Silent Bob. A fan of both the original and current shows (as a teen he was one of the few viewers of the old PBS broadcasts), Kevin Smith pays homage to Degrassi by making reference to it in several of his films. An example of this is when he named a character in the movie Clerks after Caitlin Ryan, his favourite Degrassi character.

Marilyn said...

I've seen almost all of these movies. I don't like his choice of Bunuel films, though, and his list of silents is paltry and expected, at best.

Canadian films I recommend beyond the ones listed in Playback are Ginger Snaps and New Waterford Girl. I loved the TV show The Newsroom, too.