Thursday, May 21, 2009

Defining the Decades in Film

While I'm waiting for the muse to return from the mall, or wherever it went, I thought I'd pass the time with a few neat blog exercises. You'll learn more about me than you ever cared to, and if you like you have the opportunity to promote yourself. Here's how it will work.

I'll open a topic for discussion, and those of you with blogs who write about the same topic can send me your blog link and I'll post it here. You're not obliged to recip, but of course I'd appreciate it. Today, I am listing here favorite movies by decade.

I don't get the movies as often as I used to, but there was a time (when I had time) when I would rent films by the dozen and watch them over weekends. I would go on specific genre tears - foreign, film noir, collected works of renowned directors, etc. - so I would like to say I'm fairly schooled on cinema. Here, I will attempt to choose one favorite film from each decade, starting with the 30s since I have not yet seen a complete film made in the 20s and earlier - only bits and pieces as seen in documentaries.

Having fun yet? Let's start at the beginning, and at the end...we'll stop. Please note, choose a favorite film from each decade, not necessarily what time dictated was the best movie. I imagine if enough people take this challenge we'll find a vast spectrum of answers.
1930s: Gone With the Wind - For its time, this was truly a cinematic buffet. Incredible set design and costumes, a stirring soundtrack...everything about this spelled epic. When you read about the grueling process of casting Scarlett, you know they got it right in the end. All Vivien Leigh has to do is raise one eyebrow in devious contemplation and you know she's about to own Atlanta.

1940s: Casablanca -We know the lines by heart, we feel the despair of a love that can never be complete. Mystery is my first love, and if needed to research the romance of intrigue this film should be required viewing.

1950s: On the Waterfront - One word: Brando. You watch him bemoan lost opportunities - he could have been a conten-dah - and your heart just breaks. Perfectly realized in black and white to suit the overall tone of the story, with incredible performances all around.

1960s: A Hard Day's Night -This choice might surprise some, but think about it. Who personifies the spirit of this era more than the Beatles? While this film might have exaggerated the environment in which the Fabs lived during their peak (if you read up enough on them, you'll find it wasn't all lovable mop-top madness), it stands the test of time, just as the music has. Day's proves you can make a vanity-style film and do it well - great screenplay, and Wilfred Brimbell as Paul's "grandfather" is a riot!

1970s: Rocky -I know, why did I pick this over more obvious choices like Star Wars and The Godfather? In truth, I just love this movie. It's an oft-told plot, but the execution and acting pull it off in a way that makes you feel like you're ringside. People still run up the steps of the museum to this day, that should say something about this film's impact.

1980s: Moonstruck - One of my favorite movies of all-time. The verbal ping-pong between Loretta and her parents is priceless and real, and the story just flows. Did I mention I once sat on Vincent Gardenia's lap? I was three, but it still counts.

1990s: The Silence of the Lambs -The second that camera pans to Hannibal Lecter, standing with a ghoulish smile waiting to greet Clarice, you get chills. If ever it were considered okay to enjoy a villain so much, he is the one. Gripping thriller.
2000s: The Lord of the Rings - (trilogy) Really, you can't pick just one here. If I could take a day off, I'd site through all 20 hours of this and it would still move so quickly. A lush epic realized with amazing vision. Face it, Aragon's easy on the eye. :)

So there are my choices, what are yours? Comment with a link to your blog or drop me an e-mail and I'll post it.
The list so far:
Nona Wesley blogs her top picks.
Michelle Houston blogs her top picks.
Scott Christmas blogs his top picks.

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