November 3, 2010

Cine-Smackdown: #51-#60

The fifth cine-smackdown, chumps! Half-way done, and feelin' fine. Now that the weather's cooling off, I'm seeing frequent moviegoing, movieblogging and movieloving in my future.

51. West Side Story
52. Taxi Driver
The Deer Hunter
54. M*A*S*H

North by Northwest
The Gold Rush
60. Duck Soup

I had not seen M*A*S*H, Rocky or The Gold Rush previous to the blog. Sometimes I think I like to see movies that are new to me more, but it's still fun to revisit the classics.

Of these ten, which would I move further up the list?
It might just be my penchant for lightness right now, but I'm thinking Duck Soup just now. At only 68 minutes, it doesn't have much not to recommend, and doesn't veer off the path too much to stir up much complaint from me. For some of the same reasons, The Gold Rush is probably my second choice.

Of these ten, which would I get rid of?
It might have to be M*A*S*H: there are other films that deal with war more effectively, even comically (see the upcoming Dr. Strangelove), and other Altman films I prefer to this one (Nashville is one, The Player is another that didn't make the list). While I understand its place in American cinema, it just doesn't have as much to recommend it for me as the others here.

Who in these movies do I want as my best friend?
Michael from The Deer Hunter maybe. He goes all the way back to his worst nightmare just to save his friend Nick from roulette doom. Or maybe the Little Fellow from The Gold Rush. He's not super resourceful or helpful (at least, on purpose) but we'd probably have a few laughs after I snapped out of my hunger coma.

Who in these movies do I want to have my back in a bar fight?
Um... duh. Rocky. He's not gonna back down when Apollo Creed comes after me! Also, maybe Eve Kendall (North by Northwest): she's tricky and could probably entice the enemy into giving up.

Who in these movies is your worst frienemy?
Anita (West Side Story): way to betray me just because my boyfriend killed your boyfriend! Or the crazy guy from Jaws. Let's go nowhere near that guy. Or those bitches who blow off Charlie Chaplin for his awesome New Year's dinner-party-stravaganza in The Gold Rush. The Plastics of the 20s.

Who do I take home to Mom?
My mom looks a whole lot like Margaret Dumont from Duck Soup, so my first instinct is to bring home the men of Freedonia, but something tells me I'd just end up with a leg in my hand and my hat on fire. I'd probably have to say the Little Fellow again! That bread roll ballet! My mom would love that.

You're going on a date with these movies. Who do you agree to meet for coffee but never call again?
Rocky. You're all right but I'm not crazy about boxing. Although I admire your stamina.

Who do you agree to meet for coffee, and then say you'll call but never do?
Taxi Driver: you're hot but way too mysterious for me. I like there to be a little less mystery in my romance, and that Herrmann theme is pressing all the wrong buttons ... or are they the right buttons? Whatever.

Who do you agree to meet for coffee, and then not show up?
M*A*S*H: somehow I think Hot Lips has it out for me.

Who do you meet for a first date, ends up staying the night and makes you breakfast in the morning?
Tony (West Side Story) is not only a good singer, but is also Polish: he might have a good pierogi recipe. Be still my heart!

Who do you meet for a first date, ends up staying the night and then leaves in the morning without saying goodbye ... and steals your favorite sweater?
Iris (Taxi Driver): can I really blame her? She's only 12, and she's had a rough life. Someone should really go try to save her from a life of prostitution.

What other questions would you have asked about these movies? I'd love more ideas! Leave your thoughts, reactions, passionate defenses and harsh critiques in the comments!

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