Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thanksf'ing #1: Five Movies for Which JB is Thankful

It's November, and that can mean only one thing at F This Movie! -- it's time to celebrate the holiday of Thanksf'ing. Throughout the month, all of the F This Movie! crew will be sharing the movies for which they are thankful. Because the Mayflower.

First up is JB:

1. Singing in the Rain (1952) - Still one of the hap-ha-happiest films ever made; witness that the worst punishment meted out to the "villian" of the piece is that she is laughed at in public. Ouch. Tremendous script. Zippy dialogue. Dancing with no equal. Donald O'Connor singing "Make 'Em Laugh." Great songs from the Freed/Brown catalog. A film that suggests life can be an adventure and romantic love is still possible. Some of my students reject the film on this basis, like a bad kidney.

2. The Graduate (1967) - First semester of sixth grade I brought home the worst report card of my admittedly brief academic career. Mom and Dad were none too happy. They went out to dinner; I watched The Graduate on the CBS Wednesday Night Movie. It made me feel a lot better. Great performances. Endlessly quotable dialogue. ("Oh, no. It's fully baked.") A peak into young adulthood for a boy ready to grow up.

3. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) - Delirious sequel to one of the foundation Universal horror movies-- funny and scary and twisted and profound. This film takes horror cliches and bounces them on their ears. Karloff was never better. Thesiger chews the scenery. Elsa Lanchester as the Bride is still the most iconic female monster in history. . . and sexy.

4. 12 Angry Men (1957) - Still my favorite drama. . . I sometimes wish Turner Classic Movies would not show it so much. Whenever it is on, I drop whatever I am doing to watch it again. Every actor is at the peak of his game. It is probably one of the cleverest police procedurals to not feature a single detective. A profoundly democratic and American film, it suggests that we can get along and work things out, despite our many differences.

5. Anything By Buster Keaton - Love for Keaton is not quite as universal as that for Charlie Chaplin. Buster is an acquired taste, like dry white wine. No other silent comedian makes me laugh like Keaton does. . . or gasp. Thinking about Keaton, so many scenes and shots come to mind: grabbing a moving car and letting it lift him into the air in Cops, the entire front of a house falling around him in Steamboat Bill, Jr, the climactic train wreck in The General. The physics of amazement.

Got a movie or movies you're thankful for? Email us at fthismoviepodcast(at)gmail.com and share. We'll be reading submissions on the podcast all month long. Happy Thanksf'ing!

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