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74

GreenCine 100 MVI List
Topic by: Dwoodwoo
Posted: November 25, 2002 - 1:49 PM PST
Last Reply: January 29, 2003 - 10:19 AM PST

page  1  2      prev | next
author topic: GreenCine 100 MVI List
Dwoodwoo
post #1  on November 25, 2002 - 1:49 PM PST  
Okay, start arguing here. :-)
DLeonard
post #2  on November 25, 2002 - 2:17 PM PST  
Well, before I start arguing I have a question.
What does the asterisk before some titles indicate?

Actually, this is a great list. The first page alone has got some of my very favorite films.

Off the top of my head I could make these 2 comments.
1) Lovely and Amazing was a nice film, but I much prefered Nicole Holofcener's first film Walking and Talking. Maybe just a personal preference there.

2) One film that probably deserves to be on any such list of this nature would be Marty, since it was the first break-out film after the anti-trust ruling against the film studios. Basically, Marty was the first American indie.
underdog
post #3  on November 25, 2002 - 2:31 PM PST  
The asterisk denotes films we at GC deem particularly "important" to see. The MVI page is so fresh and new we hadn't even gotten that up there yet. :) whoopsie

Marty is a great suggestion -- we may add that to the Honorable Mention section at least, that does seem like an oversight. I think because it's so famous and was distributed by United Artists we didn't even think about it...

Thanks!



> On November 25, 2002 - 2:17 PM PST DLeonard wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Well, before I start arguing I have a question.
> What does the asterisk before some titles indicate?
>
> Actually, this is a great list. The first page alone has got some of my very favorite films.
>
> Off the top of my head I could make these 2 comments.
> 1) Lovely and Amazing was a nice film, but I much prefered Nicole Holofcener's first film Walking and Talking. Maybe just a personal preference there.
>
> 2) One film that probably deserves to be on any such list of this nature would be Marty, since it was the first break-out film after the anti-trust ruling against the film studios. Basically, Marty was the first American indie.
> ---------------------------------

dwhudson
post #4  on November 25, 2002 - 3:13 PM PST  
DLeonard wrote:

> Basically, Marty was the first American indie.

You bring up a really interesting little problem here, D. What was the first American indie? Technically, both Birth of a Nation and Intolerance were indies, even though Intolerance, if you adjust for inflation, was one of the most expensive movies ever made. But long story short, D.W. Griffith either raised his own money or funded these films through a company independent of what were then "the Big Three" -- and a rather different batch it was, too, that would go on to create the classic Hollywood studio system that would be in place two decades later and have an almost monopolistic hold over the entire production and distribution systems by the 40s.

But it's also a little absurd, isn't it. Back in Griffith's day, the studios were still struggling to get up on their feet themselves, so it was easy enough for us to just leave those two off the list -- nevermind the moral qualms you'd have to deal with in Birth's case.

But all in all, there is no big bold line you can draw on the timeline and say, Ok, from here on in, there were studio pictures on one side and independent productions on the other. Throughout the whole thing, there were always independent productions of one form or another -- which is another reason, one of many, that "indie" is a pretty slippery term.

In general, though, common sense kicks in and so does that well worn phrase, "I know it when I see it."
DLeonard
post #5  on November 25, 2002 - 4:32 PM PST  
> On November 25, 2002 - 3:13 PM PST dwhudson wrote:
> ---------------------------------
>
> You bring up a really interesting little problem here, D. What was the first American indie?

Yeah, to claim anything always creates room for debate. from my college film studies days, I remember Marty as being the movie that paved the way for films produced outside of the major studios to gain distribution to mainstream audiences. Not that Indies didn't exist before hand. They just may have not gotten much exposure outside of major cities or the drive-in.

But now I'm thinking of another film, Apocalypse Now. Wouldn't that qualify, since it was produced by Coppola through his own company Zeotrope?
dpowers
post #6  on November 25, 2002 - 10:13 PM PST  
> I remember Marty as being the movie that paved the way for films produced outside of the major studios to gain distribution to mainstream audiences. <

what's that documentary called. uh, hitchcock, selznick and the end of hollywood. it talks about this. i must have been sleeping when i saw it, i don't remember a damn thing that it said.

but i do remember reading that otto preminger was the "first" mainstream director to act as producer for his own films in america, after the second world war. among the movies he produced are laura (1944), forever amber (1947), angel face (1952), carmen jones (1954), and the man with the golden arm (1955) before marty had been released.

i read an interview with him about this, he said it saved a lot of time and money if he didn't have to negotiate the finances with anyone. very funny person in his own way.
Eoliano
post #7  on November 27, 2002 - 1:33 PM PST  
>>> I remember Marty as being the movie that paved the way for films produced outside of the major studios to gain distribution to mainstream audiences.

>> but i do remember reading that otto preminger was the "first" mainstream director to act as producer for his own films in america...


Paddy Chayefsky's Marty was originally a TV play. Produced in 1953, it originally starred Rod Steiger and Delbert Mann directed both the TV play and subsequent film. Chayefsky, along with Harold Hecht and Burt Lancaster, produced Marty. Lancaster, Hecht and James Hill produced Sweet Smell of Success, and together, or in pairs, worked outside the mainstream during the Fifties and into the early Sixties.

Preminger was quite a tyro, and began producing his own films as early as 1944. It's a shame that some of his films have been neglected and many are deteriorating, especially Porgy and Bess, a film which I have fond memories of when it first was released in 1959. Produced by Sam Goldwyn, MGM has the rights to the film.
dpowers
post #8  on December 1, 2002 - 3:28 PM PST  
good job everbuddy!

okay after looking at the whole list it does seem really good. i found a handful i hadn't heard of, the notes are well done, and there are recent ones that might age badly (memento, you can count on me) to show that it was made from the heart. ;-)
dwhudson
post #9  on December 1, 2002 - 4:35 PM PST  

> recent ones that might age badly (memento, you can count on me) to show that it was made from the heart. ;-)
> ---------------------------------

Hee. What an interesting pair to pluck out of the bunch. Almost polar opposites in some respects.
dpowers
post #10  on December 1, 2002 - 10:04 PM PST  
[dpowers]
> > recent ones that might age badly (memento, you can count on me) <<

[dhudson]
> interesting pair to pluck out of the bunch. Almost polar opposites in some respects. <

oddly the thing i think won't age well about them is similar. they're both stiff, over-cautious. the writing is double-insulated against bad reviews. each has a conceit ("his memory is unreliable"; "the town is good") that it won't examine or put aside. that created an ending in each that looked fine ("thrilling"; "sad") but didn't feel substantial.
winky
post #11  on December 1, 2002 - 11:51 PM PST  
> oddly the thing i think won't age well about them is similar. they're both stiff, over-cautious. the writing is double-insulated against bad reviews. each has a conceit ("his memory is unreliable"; "the town is good") that it won't examine or put aside. that created an ending in each that looked fine ("thrilling"; "sad") but didn't feel substantial.
>

dp, could you elaborate a bit on your thoughts about memento? i found this film extremely, well, memorable and very disturbing. it was -- i hate to say it -- so appropriately post modern and, as such, would seem to have some staying power.

dpowers
post #12  on December 2, 2002 - 1:04 PM PST  
MILD SPOILERS. if you haven't seenmemento, you might want to avoid this?

MILD CRANKINESS. i don't mean this as mean. really really!

> i found [memento] extremely, well, memorable and very disturbing. <

the main concern, about the ruthless manipulation of a person's personal heroic story by forces that are "better briefed" about the situation, it's what, probably one of the big themes of film noir, right? "i thought i was the good guy but i was just another patsy."

among the central questions in film noir are, what is a good act? how can a person perform good acts in an incomprehensibly complicated world? is there any authority that is drawn from actual goodness, instead of, at best, good (rationalized) intentions?

i called memento over-cautious because i don't think it blazes trail. self-doubt has always been part of film noir, big deal, what else ya got. the complexity of appearances? i saw rear window, i saw seconds and double indemnity, what else ya got. subjective point of view? oh, objectivity is a lie, yes, that was the central issue in murder, my sweet -- in 1941. what else ya got.

ah, i see, the new thing is, this all happens in a vacuum, the problem isn't that the hero wants to believe he's part of a whole world of goodness, it's that he wants something "true" only to justify his own actions, he doesn't care what's happening around him. that's new. "oh crap! my actions have consquences and they're bad! i didn't know!" which makes this, what, an investigation of the moral quandaries of a four-year-old? in sweat-o-vision.

okay that's pretty sarcastic. want me to rewrite it so it's more friendly? i could do that.

> it was -- i hate to say it -- so appropriately post modern and, as such, would seem to have some staying power. <

i just didn't feel like it had that much range, more like it had a gimmick that was drawn from theory, to make people happy. i was happy for a little while, then i realized they weren't going to go anywhere new with it, and i was unhappy.

don't give po-mo too much credit. FILM NOIR EXISTS TO EXAMINE THE NATURE OF "TRUTH" as humans can experience it. lacing it up in fancy narrative lingerie to make it sexier for modern voyeurs isn't enough, it isn't enough.

it's not that it didn't catch me, i was intrigued, as i should have been, by the story, though unfortunately i figured out early on that the end confrontation was going to be reserved entirely for resolution of the gimmick and not for at least somehow addressing the alienation of this guy from the surrounding world.

what the rest felt like, images and stories from outside being unreliable, was, "your television is lying to you." was there more? was it important, what more there was? "question authority" is a bumper sticker, skepticism is an informed decision to find out what the hell is going on before you act. i thought memento was in the bumper sticker category, obviously.

maybe.
DLeonard
post #13  on December 2, 2002 - 1:39 PM PST  
> On December 2, 2002 - 1:04 PM PST DPOWERS wrote:

> i called memento over-cautious because i don't think it blazes trail. self-doubt has always been part of film noir, big deal, what else ya got.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

On the issue of not saying anything new, some people argue that the only original stories in Western Civ. has been The Odyssey, and The Passion Play. So, how much criticism can you heap on a film for exploring familiar territory? You bring up Hitchcock, how many times did he explore the familiar theme of "What is innocence?" Like, every film.

Where Memento worked for me was on the surface (storytelling, acting, visuals) and in it's sub-text. It was vibrant, well-crafted, and compelling in addition to having a unique approach. Plus, I saw it as an exploration of self. How much does memory comprise our identity? Without memory who are we? And without shared memory what do relationships mean?

I've only seen Memento once, but I think about it often. Any movie that accomplishes that is a keeper in my book. I believe Memento will have a long life, and it may even overshadow the rest of Chris Nolan's career.
dpowers
post #14  on December 2, 2002 - 4:39 PM PST  
[dleonard]
> On the issue of not saying anything new, some people argue that the only original stories in Western Civ. has been The Odyssey, and The Passion Play. <

they're idiots. though it's certainly hard to tell a story in an individualist society that doesn't follow either of those two models, heaven's against me, earth's against me.

> So, how much criticism can you heap on a film for exploring familiar territory? <

see though, there's exploration, and there's revisiting. people were very, very angry about the last temptation of christ, as both book and movie, i think because it sort of sympathizes with the devil, so to speak. that's exploration. here, in the safety of the film studio, i'm opening pandora's box: what's in here that we haven't seen, or don't want to talk about?

> You bring up Hitchcock, how many times did he explore the familiar theme of "What is innocence?" Like, every film. <

i brought up only rear window, not hitchcock. don't get me started. i have no love for hitchcock's obsessions about people and he was by no means the most insightful of the filmmakers working in the genre. his foregone conclusions about power make me sick nearly every time i watch one of his movies.

> Memento ... was vibrant, well-crafted, and compelling in addition to having a unique approach. <

will those aspects carry memento into the hearts of people in the future? consider, people laugh at the knack... and how to get it now, or just get bored. it would have fit that description pretty well.

> Plus, I saw it as an exploration of self. How much does memory comprise our identity? Without memory who are we? And without shared memory what do relationships mean? <

and that is just one of the aspects of individual and group identity investigated by jim jarmusch's dead man, which could easily have been noir. really my complaint isn't that memento is bad. i think it's good. i also think, because the movie limits its inquiry to those issues directly related to its narrative gimmick, it won't feel true in a few years.

> I've only seen Memento once, but I think about it often. Any movie that accomplishes that is a keeper in my book. I believe Memento will have a long life, and it may even overshadow the rest of Chris Nolan's career. <

i'm sure he's counting on that. it's a great icebreaker of a business card!
Eoliano
post #15  on December 3, 2002 - 1:45 PM PST  

While there may not be much to argue about since this compelling list covers such a remarkable breadth of entries, and whether one likes many of the films or not may seem unimportant, perhaps a few caveats are due. I certainly would have placed Kiss Me Deadly on the list, and not as an honorable mention, and with an asterisk!
And if one considers One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to be an indie, then by the same token, one should also consider Coppola's The Conversation to be an indie because it was one of his few small Zoetrope productions.
dpowers
post #16  on December 3, 2002 - 5:26 PM PST  
[winky]
> memento ... was -- i hate to say it -- so appropriately post modern ... <

went round this this morning. started with, wow, am i arguing against the usefulness of postmodernism itself? if this were a classroom or a facilitated discussion would someone have pointed that out?

then realized, no. the movie doesn't succeed in being full-blown po-mo. the world in the movie is created by an accident (the injury to the protagonist's brain), an intentional separation -- could even call it an expulsion -- from a "natural course of events." by the end of the movie, this new branch has been sawn off, everyone who was intimate with our hero's situation is gone. the cleanup is done for our entertainment, to finish the morality play for us, i think.

okay ... so right and wrong were inverted several times in the movie, but not because of the nature of morality, because of how the story was being told. at the end, when we had "all the information," we got the "right result," which i understand postmodernism to hold impossible.

???
underdog
post #17  on December 4, 2002 - 10:37 AM PST  
Yeah, we realized we may have indeed opened a can of worms (although this isn't a bad thing) when we put Cuckoo's Nest on the list, because then you could make a case for Coppola, too. At the risk of spoiling a surprise, I'll mention that your wish for at least one of those films making the list may come true -- as we need to swap out a title that is not available on DVD.
Smells like victory. ;-)

Cases can be made for a lot of films making this list. Again, the can of worms being opened was one of the initial impetus (er, impetiti?) for concocting such a beast in the first place. :)

Just wait til we spring the Foreign and Docs list on you. Whoo boy.

C/U


> On December 3, 2002 - 1:45 PM PST Eoliano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
>
> While there may not be much to argue about since this compelling list covers such a remarkable breadth of entries, and whether one likes many of the films or not may seem unimportant, perhaps a few caveats are due. I certainly would have placed Kiss Me Deadly on the list, and not as an honorable mention, and with an asterisk!
> And if one considers One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to be an indie, then by the same token, one should also consider Coppola's The Conversation to be an indie because it was one of his few small Zoetrope productions.
> ---------------------------------

Eoliano
post #18  on December 4, 2002 - 12:18 PM PST  
I don't think that you've necessarily opened a can of worms because it's great to have GC open our collective eyes to get a better idea of what is out there. I am certainly looking forward to your foreign and documentary lists too, specially the foreign titles.
dpowers
post #19  on December 4, 2002 - 1:09 PM PST  
docs, huh. a best list of documentaries. that should be fun.

"no way man, shoah was SO MUCH better than the sorrow and the pity."

"nanook! nanook! nanook!"

"my favorite is the one where the bridge collapses."
"forget it. for mass destruction nothing compares to the hindenburg footage."

"nanook! nanook!"

"gimme hoop dreams or gimme death."
"BANG!"
"yeah, funny."

"i'll trade you 4 little girls for 79 springs and the 400 million."
"deal!"
"heh heh heh. two more and i'll have 42 up!"
"you can't play the -ups. you're still in room 666, loser."
"oh yeah? night and fog! i escape, i don't even have to roll the dice."

"people, there's a mingus among us."
underdog
post #20  on December 4, 2002 - 3:29 PM PST  
Hee hee! :-)

Well, we'll be starting out with just an American Docs list, then probably do a foreign docs list later (just to break it out more and to also have more films included). Hoo boy, it's actually tough because it has to be films available on DVD. Anyway, it'll be coming out soon. We look forward to the debate -- which is what it's all about.

I think I sat through Night and Fog too many times in film school to treat it fairly, but when it comes time to the ForeignDocs list perhaps someone else will slip it in there. (heh)

You've already keyed on one film that'll be included -- so hopefully you'll be inuit. (in to it) ;)

C/U

> On December 4, 2002 - 1:09 PM PST DPOWERS wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> docs, huh. a best list of documentaries. that should be fun.
>
> "no way man, shoah was SO MUCH better than the sorrow and the pity."
>
> "nanook! nanook! nanook!"
>
> "my favorite is the one where the bridge collapses."
> "forget it. for mass destruction nothing compares to the hindenburg footage."
>
> "nanook! nanook!"
>
> "gimme hoop dreams or gimme death."
> "BANG!"
> "yeah, funny."
>
> "i'll trade you 4 little girls for 79 springs and the 400 million."
> "deal!"
> "heh heh heh. two more and i'll have 42 up!"
> "you can't play the -ups. you're still in room 666, loser."
> "oh yeah? night and fog! i escape, i don't even have to roll the dice."
>
> "people, there's a mingus among us."
> ---------------------------------

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