Movie Meme: My Navel Again

I have nothing to say about this weekend so I'll let everyone know the answers to this post in a separate post.

1. Stalker by Tarkovsky. I stopped watching movies as an undergrad and a masters student because even the most high-brow, non-Hollywood stuff coming out of Europe and shown on art house screens in North America sucked. It was predictable and self-congratulatory. And didactic while pretending not to be. Then, the first movie I saw in a course on theatre and film in extremis was Stalker. Nothing happens for three hours and it is perfect. Perfect. Beautifully shot and leaving the viewer to decide everything onn his own. There are no metaphysical judgements made. It made me realize that movies could actually be smart but be "smart" according to the kids at the NYT.

2. Fiddler on the Roof. This is the scene where the girls sing "Matchmaker." The Medley from Fiddler on the Roof was the bane of my existence in high school orchestra. We played it every year and the viola part sucked. But you knew that. That isn't, however, why the movie made it onto the list. My parents had driven to the big city to see the movie when it came out so when a local television station showed it, my dad recorded it and then I watched it. I was in second grade. Having lived in rural Wisconsin and suburban Seattle so far, I had never seen a Jew. So let's just say that although I dug the musical numbers, I didn't get it. At all. The ending to my second-grade self was a let-down. Now, I get it. It's come to symbolize the way attitudes to certain things change as I grow older and know more about the world.

3. Kenneth Branagh's version of Henry V, which I saw something like five times in the theatres when it came out (I was in grade 10) and then demanded as a Christmas gift when it came out on video, was my favourite movie for a long, long time. It jived so well with my grade-ten self. And I was all crushy on Kenneth Branagh. Sigh. And this is the St. Crispin's speech. I memorized it and the muse of fire bit for the hell of it. I like pretty words.

4. Earth by Dovzhenko is one of my favourite movies of all time. I had been searching for the scene when the main character is dancing down the street at night and the dust is rising behind him. It's stunning. Instead, you get a kulak. Dig on it. Dovzhenko trained as a painter first and you can tell. I have a tendency to stare at things in order to memorize them. I want to remember every detail, which is why I like still movies. Also, I can't be a truly pretentious asshat if I like Tarkovsky but not Dovzhenko.

5. Strange Brew I know tonnes of the dialogue off by heart. It is funny and smart and I watched it several times a year when I was obsessed with Canada but had not yet moved there. I still watch if several times a year. I also love it because I had thought that the Beer Store was a joke but no, that's where you buy beer in Ontario. They have the rollers and everything. The colour-scheme is even the same. It was one part of my pre-1994 view of Canada. I have Denys Arcand, Leonard Cohen, and Expo '86 (without which I would never have visited Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) to thank for the rest of it. Um, yeah, my view was skewed a bit.

6. Yes it is Jackie Chan! Supercop to be exact. I am a sucker for martial arts movies. This is probably my favourite because the chick kicks ass too. I'm all crushy on Michelle Yeoh. Ptichka and I still get into arguments over who's hotter: Michelle Yeoh or Ziyi Zhang.

7. Top Gun I loved it when it first came out and I as shocked and appalled when it didn't win any Oscars except for that lame Berlin song. I am kind of embarassed that I thought that it was such a great movie but hey, tastes develop. We can't all be a born Nabokov. And thanks to ABDMom for quoting the dialogue. I had no idea what part of the movie the screen captire was was from.

8. Man of Marble by Wajda. This is another movie that I saw in my in extremis course and I loved it. Ate it up. I cannot get enough commentary on how history is manipulated and culture created. I dragged Ptichka to it when the Cinematheque was doing a Wajda retrospective and she went, "eh." It was like the time I dragged my former roommate to see Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible, Nosferatu, and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. She still refuses to see movies that I ardently advocate.

9. The Distant Path but Alfred Radok. This was unfair because I don't think that it's been subtitled yet, which is a pity because it is one of the best films made about the Holocaust. Ever.

10. Dodgeball, which is one that everyone (all two of you) got. It's my ideal stupid movie. It would have been better with a cameo by Owen Wilson (sigh) but that Lance Armstrong bit was ace. And everytime I hear, "If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball" I lose it. Some sort of Pavlovian reaction, I suppose.

After the first five movies, it was difficult for me to come up with another five. And I kept revising my list. I had thought about Wings of Desire, Tous les matins du monde, and The Dark Crystal. before they were rejected for whatever reason. They each encapsulate a particular period in my life because I tend to get obsessive about things so the movies that I listed are ones that I at least contemplate seeing again, even if I will probably never go out of my way to see Top Gun again.


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