Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ok, for the masses who have been clamoring for a completion of the "Top Ten Gateway Movies" list here it goes...

TO refresh you memory if you don't read the blog regularly, back a few weeks ago I posted a list of the top ten movies that I think can aid the beginning of an appreciation of cinema as an art form (and that are on our shelf at Quincy).

The list was:
10. Napoleon Dynamite
9. Little Miss Sunshine
8. The Station Agent
7. Garden State
6. In America
5. Amelie
4. Rushmore
3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. American Splendor
1. La Strada

Last time I wrote up some short thoughts on numbers ten through eight. I have decided that I won't write up all of these movies for two reasons. First, some of the movies you should have heard of, and second, while I appreciate them all, not all of these movies are ones that I personally own, and I don't know of them well enough to really write intelligently on. So, I will be focusing in on the movies that I am most closely acquainted with, and may be a little more obscure.

6. In America

A story of an immigrant family in New York, In America, is really able to take the genera of family drama, and come to a resolution that is both satisfying and lacks the syrupy cheap warm fuzzy feelings that Hollywood can't live without. There are really lots of fascinating aspects that the movie deals with. It addresses questions of grief, nationality, relationship and identity in manner that both makes one think and respond emotionally.

2. American Splendor

One of the most interesting aspects of American Splendor is the way in which it is able to stretch one's conception of techniques that can be used in film to convey a story. The movie is a hybrid between a comic strip, a documentary, and a narrative film. Anyone could just throw different movie styles into a blender and see what comes out, but the genius of this movie is that all of the different techniques are in the service of telling a solid story. The movie is about a real life man, Harvey Pekar, who has a very cynical outlook on his everyday life. He turns to comics as an outlet, or as a way to make sense of it all. However, his comics are deal with his life simply as he sees it. Several aspects of the movie hearken back to the Neorealism movement in Europe in the 1950's, where cinema, and literature were taking a turn to look back at the ordinary circumstances of life, and how to cope with ordinary everydayness.


I will save the best for last, both because of time constraints, and because La Strada really deserves its own treatment.

Nathan C.



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