So Brian lobbed a meme this way (by means of film blogger Dennis Cozzalio, Joseph B., and Adam at DVD Panache). Most challenging, for me, is the articulate, intelligent voice Brian brings to his blogging. His esoteric and awesome choices befit someone of his intelligence and cinephilic taste; mine will seem more pedestrian, I’m afraid.
What are 12 Movies I’ve Never Seen and Desperately Want to See?
This legendary exploitation film has been banned, seized, grumbled about, and finally released on DVD. It isn’t a zombie movie, per se, but its status as a key figure in the exploitation horror genre demands that I see it. It also seems to be a precedent for The Blair Witch Project, with the gimmick of the “found cans of footage,” and for xenophobic gore porn like Tourista or Hostel. (To be fair, I can’t bring myself to watch either of those movies, either.)
I’m not so much hesitant about the gore, but am worried about what’s likely to be the most racist film I’ve seen in quite a while. It would be interesting to watch it next to Apocalypto.
I was going to post an image from Cannibal Holocaust, but everything I can find online is so gruesome I can’t bring myself to subject you to it.
The Seven Samurai.
I actually own this movie, compliments of my father in law’s delight in buying me high-end elitist DVDs. There’s no excuse for avoiding it: Kurosawa’s directs with an engaging hand, the story has antecedents throughout American popular culture, there’s cool swordplay and neato costumes.
Given our current military situation, it also seems relevant as a story of the responsibility that comes with military might. If it’s read as an allegory for American foreign policy, though, who would be the Samurai, the village, and the bandits?
The only thing that holds me back is my pedestrian fear of 4 hour sagas. But I just watched all twelve hours of Star Wars. Jeez. Get over it.
A Touch of Evil.
The film’s importance both as a piece of cinema and as a late example of film noir make it an essential for me. I also thoroughly enjoy Welles, and feel like I should take in his bloated performance. It also holds a place in my mind as a metonym for the love of old films because of its place in Get Shorty. For those of you who don’t remember, Chili Palmer asks a friend to join him for A Touch of Evil.
“C’mon, you get to see Charleton Heston playing a Mexican.”
The idea of a movie made about one of the biggest tragedies of the era appearing three short years after the event fascinates me. (Oh wait, didn’t we do that with 9/11?) Thinking about the way that 1953’s Titanic was so appallingly inaccurate, I can’t help but wonder what they did with this earliest film.
Alas, I have no idea if a copy of the film even exists any more. (Related: I’ve always wanted to read Futility: The Wreck of the Titan, a 1898 novel about a huge, unsinkable passenger liner (named The Titan) that strikes an iceberg and sinks in the North Atlantic. Creepy.
I’m simultaneously fascinated and frightened by the aspect of this movie. The setting, 1930s Germany, is one of the most terrifying moments in human history to contemplate, for me. It’s not the war itself, but the hurtling collapse preceding the war, a time filled with fear and viciousness, the height of failure of humankind to do the right thing.
Plus, I’m kinda frightened of Liza Mineli.
Plan 9 from Outer Space.
As a science-fiction / horror film scholar and a founding member of the Bad Movie Club, it seems like I ought to have seen this film. As a bonus, it’s also a zombie film. The use of stock footage, the legendarily terrible plot, the appearance and disappearance of Bela Legosi, and the inept film work also demand that I see it.
Its presence in Ed Wood, of course, also fuels my desire to see it.
But sometimes films that are outrageously bad just get boring. And I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch it yet.
His Girl Friday.
Cary Grant. Witty Banter. I made an effort to see this one time, going so far as to buy a discounted $3.99 video of the film. It turns out discounted $3.99 videos are priced appropriately. Speedy banter and witty dialogue are only as good as the soundtrack on the film. The soundtrack did not meet my exacting specifications and I haven’t been back.
But I really do want to see it.
There’s a sequence in UHF where Stanley leans into the camera and tells the audience that they should go to their windows and shout “We’re mad as heck, and we’re not gonna take it anymore!” I saw that movie when I was twelve. It wouldn’t be until I was in graduate school that I would learn where that came from, and I still haven’t actually seen the film.
But Network also helps stake out a moment in digital culture in which celebrity overtakes content (as if it needed a push) and television comes into its own as a medium.
The French Connection
Of all the films listed in my twelve, this one seems to have the most significant offspring. Every time a car chase weaves in and out of elevated train tracks, or any set of vertical supports, one has to think of this movie. The main character is named Popeye, for Pete’s sake. I know it’s about a police officer investigating a drug ring, but I know almost nothing beyond that. I’m interested to see just what’s going on with this dude getting shot on the stairs.
Heavy Metal Parking Lot
This legendary documentary was shot, as the title suggests, outside a rock concert. It seeks to understand and encapsulate the Heavy Metal fan culture, and has thus become important in fan studies (not really my field) and popular culture studies. It seems like this sort of group-specific documentary has become a mainstay in the years since, with lots of docs about a variety of special interest groups.
But I keep coming across a variety of things referring to this film, so it’s about time I saw it.
I like Clive Barker’s writing quite a bit. His fantasy stories are imaginative and have a strong air of creepiness — Jenny and I wait breathlessly for the finale of the Abarat trilogy. But he got his start, and is still best known, for his horror stories. And the pinhead figure is its most enduring character. It was also made in the height of the 1980s creature/slasher era, so it’s going to have a certain atmosphere that I’m sure I’ll enjoy.
George C. Scott’s famous portrayal of the aggressive, bull-headed general is just one of those gaps I’ve always thought I needed to fill. I can’t ignore the many references to it throughout popular culture, from Homer’s invocation of the “pile of goo that was your best friend’s face” line, to Scott’s own portrayal of the nuclear-mad general in Dr. Strangelove. It would also give me some (if dubious) insight into a figure about whom I know very little.
For instance, what’s with those pants? Did he ride a horse in the war? Seriously.
Okay, so I tag:
Rolfe, Roger, and Andrew