Friday, April 19, 2013

Netflix This Movie! Vol. 22

Only a handful of suggestions this week, so you have less work to do. You've earned it.

Adam Riske: Roman Holiday (1953; dir. William Wyler) I love the spirit of Roman Holiday. Much of this has to do with the stunning Audrey Hepburn, who is so charismatic that it’s hard to put into words. Hepburn, like the movie itself, can be sweet and fun but then in an instant make your heart ache with melancholy.  Gregory Peck is really charming here, too. He’s almost an audience surrogate (he might as well be film audiences meeting and falling for Hepburn) and you can tell he’s enjoying the hell out of working off of her. Roman Holiday also features one my favorite endings to a movie: 10 minutes of people saying "I love you" without saying "I love you." All Show Don't Tell. It destroys me. Another Audrey Hepburn classic, Sabrina, is currently on Netflix streaming. Both movies are well worth your time.

Heath Holland: Side By Side (2012; dir. Chris Kenneally) Patrick and JB did an entire episode devoted to this documentary about the debate that exists between film and digital. I recently caught it on Netflix and thought that by the time it was over I'd have a clear idea of which was the better medium. When the proponents of digital are speaking, they make an excellent case. Then when the film guys talk, they present a very valid argument as well. The truth is that there is no easy answers for this subject, but Side By Side does a worthy job of presenting both viewpoints in a very easy to understand (but still passionate and intelligent) format. The one confusing thing for me is the involvement of Keanu Reeves. Is this his project? Has he merely been hired for this job? His narration frustrates me because he's so slow and deliberate, and it takes him ages to get a sentence out. My wife, on the other hand, found his delivery to be warm and soothing, and she liked his presence in the film. So that can mean only one thing: a moratorium on Keanu Reeves movies in the Holland household.
JB: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962; dir. John Ford) One of the rare films to receive more than about a 7 on IMDb's user ratings, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is among my favorite Westerns, right after The Searchers and The Wild Buch, neither of which is available on Netflix, the bastards.

Every bad nightclub comic impression of John Wayne featuring the Duke calling everyone "Pilgrim" emanates from this film, in which last-of-the-true-cowboys Tom Doniphon (Wayne) looks after and protects newly arrived lawyer (and Pilgrim, apparently) Ransom Stoddard (Jimmy Stewart). Featuring a great supporting cast: Edmund O'Brien (who gets the film's best line, "This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."), Vera Miles (Marion's sister in the original Psycho), Ford regular John Qualen, soon-to-be Peckinpah regular Strother Martin, and Lee Marvin as one of the nastiest villains in Western history.

Oddly enough the song "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," inspired by the film and a Top Ten hit for Gene Pitney, is not actually featured in the movie. The song is catchy as all hell.

I have always secretly thought that The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance would be much more popular if it were just in color. Check it out for yourself, pilgrims!

Mark Ahn:
Patrick: Drum (1976; dir. Steve Carver) With Django Unchained out on DVD and Blu-ray this week, it's a great time to check out one of the insane slavesploitation movies that clearly inspired Tarantino. Drum, a pseudo-sequel to 1975's Mandingo, is crazy and ugly and tasteless, filled with weird sex and violence with a cast that includes Yaphet Kotto, Warren Oates and Pam Fucking Grier. The whole thing plays like Mandingo in poorer taste, if you can even imagine that. Not everyone will have the stomach for it, but if you loved Django Unchained, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

12 comments:

  1. Heath,
    I just watch Side By Side the other day and would like to second your recommendation. I though it was well done showing valid arguments on both sides of the debate. I also really dug the look at all the tech of the digital format and history of the digital cameras. The camera talk may bore some viewers however.

    The film also made me wonder about the future of the role of the cinematographer. The DP's influence, importance, and power seem to have diminished with the digital format.

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    1. Tom, have you heard the Side By Side podcast for Side By Side from last year? I scrolled through the comments section of that link and you didn't post a comment about it. If you liked "Side By Side" then double your pleasure, double your fun by letting the bad-ass Double Mint twins (Patrick and JB) share their thoughts about not only the documentary but the digital vs. film debate.

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    2. Interesting nickname for Patrick and I... Until I started chewing Double Mint gum, I did indeed possess a "bad ass."

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    3. Also, speaking of "the Side by Side podcast for Side by Side." Have you ever thought about listening to "the Side by Side podcast" side by side with the one you love?

      Just a suggestion...

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    4. ... And by "Side by Side podcast," of course I mean "the Side by Side podcast for Side by Side."

      Sigh.

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    5. In the first line of my recommendation of Side By Side I referenced the Side By Side podcast for Side By Side. So if someone were to listen to the Side by Side podcast about Side By Side while sitting side by side with one they love, then both the podcast and the Netflix recommendation would exist side by side.

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    6. By the way, my comments here should be read in the voice of Keanu Reeves with varying lengths of hair and beard. Perhaps I'm wearing a beanie. Perhaps not.

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    7. Jeez, can't an immigrant with English as his second language be allowed to be human once every few dozen posts? Wowzers! :-P

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    8. *Sloppy wet kiss right back* ;-P

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  2. JB - I've always thought that the stark black and white photography fits The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance perfectly. This is one dark film, perhaps the darkest one Ford ever made. Put it alongside Seven Samurai as movies about the twilight of the warrior age. I watch it, and I start appreciating that great philosopher Huck Finn's warning about those who would "sivilize" you.

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    1. Yes, I have read several theories online as to WHY Ford chose black and white... I just feel it would be shown/discussed/revered more if it was in color.

      It certainly is dark... John Wayne burns down his own house!

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