Whales Ahoy! That will be the next film I see. But I'll get the rest of my Top 10 out of the way first...
6) The King of Comedy - A dark parody of the politics of show biz, produced at a time when executives at three networks controlled the airwaves. Rupert Pupkin breaks into comedy by holding a corrupt entertainment industry and lazy viewing public hostage, and is later embraced and applauded by them. DeNiro's Pupkin appears to be crazy, but by the end of the film, the audience imagines that others who've made it in show business could only have risen to the top in similar fashion. This is Sandra Bernhardt's breakthrough film, and a scene in which she has dinner with a bound Jerry Lewis is often imitated.
7) Life is Beautiful - Though I am still a childless undergrad, I hope one day to love my child as totally and unselfishly as Benigni's Guido loved his son Joshua. Guido uses comedic elements borrowed from the silent film era to woo his wife Dora, and later, preserve Joshua's innocence while the family are prisoners at a Nazi concentration camp. Joshua's cries of, "We won," from the back of an American tank he thinks is his prize for winning a game invented by Guido to keep him hidden from prison guards, represents the salvation of his family's humanity at a time and place where a plan of unthinkable inhumanity was carried out.
8) Unitl the End of the World - I'll admit that Wim Wenders' vision is sometimes not shared with his audience, but he achieves clarity in this futuristic road film that gives us a day-after-the-bomb worldview that is inspiring rather than disconcerting or tragic. William Hurt's Sam travels the world with a machine that can capture images his blind mother can see, and is spontaneously pursued by a bored jet-setter named Claire. As a nuclear satellite spins toward Earth with consequences no one can predict, Sam has to collect, from friends and family, what images really matter. Claire, on her 30th birthday, finally finds meaning in her life and turns her attention to the most important image, Earth, still in one piece but in need of TLC. Life really does begin anew at 30...
9) Pulp Fiction - Credit Tarantino with the invention of the moebius-strip time line, and with out-gunning his first film, Reservoir Dogs, in every sense. This film's cultural influence rivals another Travolta film, Saturday Night Fever, and captured the 90's zeitgeist without trying to be a zeitgeist film. Pulp Fiction is the Forrest Gump for people who think Abby Hoffman was that Jewish guy who went to their high school in the suburbs. Singling out a favorite scene would be very, very difficult.
10) Fargo - The fact that this story was based on actual events doesn't make it any likelier. North Dakota seems at once close to home and somewhere over the rainbow as we watch Frances McDormand's pregnant Police Chief Marge Gunderson unravel a homocide, and reveal the minds of the poor slobs behind it. Marge, satisfied with herself and her life in a place where it seems the sun rarley shines, is able to rise above the greed and insecurity that have driven others to crime, and, as she tells a survivor of the fumbled plot, not let a beautiful day go to waste. This film is the Coen's best, I hope they can produce its equal in the future.
Well there it is, everything there is to know about me. Now let me get my butcher knife, it's time to review some new films.
Current movie review
Here I go; I have already shared this very review with my personal "favorite" movie reviewer, and he knows who he is. So now I share it with fellow bloggers or anyone who cares to read it. It is the same as I originally penned with the exception of a corrected typo....the one's I have not found, we shall all have to suffer through.
The story is based on a native New Zealand Maori tribe myth of how the tribal leader was carried to their South Pacific Isle from Hawaii on the back of a whale. The story begins with the death of the main character's (Pai) mother and twin brother during childbirth. The grief stricken father leaves on extended travels abroad leaving his newborn daughter with her paternal grandparents. The grandfather, (the tribe chieftain of the Whangara people), initially rejects his granddaughter. He suffers from the fact that without a male heir, his royal bloodline will cease to exist. He grows to love his granddaughter dearly, but never fully "accepts" her. As he seeks to train a crop of preteen boys in the ways of his tribe hoping one of the them will show fledging promise, he continually rejects her anew. Even though she shows all the hallmarks of a leader and warrior she finds only resistance from the stubbornly prideful, patriarchal grandfather she adores. She sets out to follow his teachings semi-clandestinely, in a desperate need to please him.
This is a sort of uphill young female empowerment tale set in a realistic (albeit exotic) environment. A story for the ages in my opinion. (One particular scene, in which the child performs for her absent grandfather is particularly poignant and had me groping for the Kleenex.) Keisha Castle Hughes is the young actress who portrays the eleven year old Pai. She is an amazingly accomplished actress at her tender age. I cannot say enough about her or this very fine film. YOU MUST GO SEE IT, if you haven't done so already. This is one I would have enjoyed seeing with my favorite movie critic. It has to be my favorite of 2003!