March 27, 2012

Cine-Smackdown: #1-#10

All done! Just one more cine-smackdown to go -- and the hardest one of all, for sure. How do you deal with this line-up!? But I've played this game nine times now, and so this has to be just as ruthless. It's the only way to get it done.

1. Citizen Kane 
2. The Godfather
3. Casablanca
4. Raging Bull
5. Singin' in the Rain
6. Gone with the Wind
7. Lawrence of Arabia
8. Schindler's List
9. Vertigo
10. The Wizard of Oz

Of these ten, the only one I hadn't seen before was Lawrence of Arabia.

Of these ten, which would I move further up the list?
Oof. Well, this is where this gets tricky, because they can't go any further up the list than this. It's funny, I was just arguing against quantifying art. Hmm. Is it cheating to say The Wizard of Oz, since it's at the bottom of these? I arguably consider that film more of a classic than the three directly above it, and that its place in American cinema outranks those others.

Of these ten, which would I get rid of?
There's a couple of ideas here. Technically, Lawrence of Arabia has no business being on a list of best American films since its director, main actor, screenwriter (well, one of them) and production company are all European. That's not to say that it's not a good film, but it's a little meandering even when compared without its heritage in mind. I wasn't as taken by Casablanca or Raging Bull as I was with the others, so I might move those, too. But for argument's sake, let's say Lawrence gets banished to the desert.

Who in these movies do I want as my best friend?
I think it's obvious that in this situation you choose The Wizard of Oz. A legion of straw, tin and cowardly buddies! Also, Melanie in Gone with the Wind: loyal to the end.

Who in these movies do I want to have my back in a bar fight?
Vito Corleone (The Godfather) would have it outsourced, but it'd get the job done. But he and Jake LaMotta (Raging Bull) will spill a little too much blood, even for the situation. Something makes me want to say Cosmo Brown (Singin' in the Rain) since he'd dance-confuse my enemies and then pack a punch.

Who in these movies is your worst frienemy?
Scarlett O'Hara (Gone with the Wind) is the classic frienemy. She basically inspired Mean Girls. End of story.

Who do I take home to Mom?
When I look at this list, the men options are mostly tortured, lonely, egomaniacs or Nazis. I don't know if my mom would want me dating a scarecrow, either. God, it leaves me with Don Lockwood (Singin' in the Rain) -- but boy, what an option!

You're going on a date with these movies. Who do you agree to meet for coffee but never call again?
Lawrence of Arabia: too much sand in my ass. The food was good, though. I have to make that Moroccan winter squash stew again.

Who do you agree to meet for coffee, and then say you'll call but never do?
Casablanca: I would just end up saying something hurtful, like how I didn't give a damn.

Who do you agree to meet for coffee, and then not show up?
Raging Bull. No explanation necessary.

Who do you meet for a first date, ends up staying the night and makes you breakfast in the morning?
Singin' in the Rain would even make me a big star!

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?
Citizen Kane -- and our torrid affair would show up on the front page of the Inquirer. I swear to God, if he calls me a "singer"...

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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