writeby

May I recommend...

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For those who haven't seen them, may I recommend:

To Have and Have Not

The Naked Jungle

Suspicion

The Agony and the Ecstasy

Frequency

Love in the Afternoon

The Music Man

Valley of Decision

The Quiet Man

Sabrina (The Original with Audrey Hepburn and Bogey)

Laura

It Takes A Thief

Yankee Doodle Dandy

The Lady Vanishes

Funny Face

Adam’s Rib

All About Eve

The Apartment

The Caine Mutiny

The Searchers

The Man From Snowy River

Witness For The Prosecution

Love Letters

The Maltese Falcon

Desk Set

Woman of the Year

12 Angry Men

Rebecca

Inherit the Wind

Notorious

Separate Tables

My Fair Lady

High Noon

The Miracle Worker (w/ Anne Bancroft & Patty Duke)

Whose Life Is It, Anyway

An American in Paris

Singing in the Rain

North By Northwest

Shane

Gone with the Wind

Spartacus

Sound of Music

Rear Window

We The Living

On the Waterfront

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For those who haven't seen them, may I recommend:

Never ceases to amaze me, whenever I encounter a list like this, that I've seen so few of the films on it (six on this particular list). And I consider myself a big movie buff!

Too much to know and do in one lifetime...

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Never ceases to amaze me, whenever I encounter a list like this, that I've seen so few of the films on it (six on this particular list). And I consider myself a big movie buff!

I've seen them all, and I love this list. I only wish I had the time to discuss each. Hopefully writby will slowly submit individual ones to the Add Movie to Rate forum so I can slowly add them for polls and reviews. Great list!

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Great list, Writeby! Here's mine - we have quite a few in common:

DRAMA

Queen Christina, 1933

Gone with the Wind, 1939

Citizen Kane, 1941

Casablanca, 1942

The Fountainhead, 1942

All About Eve, 1950

Cyranno de Bergerac, 1950

The Quiet Man, 1952

African Queen, 1957

12 Angry Men, 1957

Separate Tables, 1958

The Manchurian Candidate, 1962

The Great Escape, 1963

Doctor Zhivago, 1965

The Sound of Music, 1965

Breaker Morant, 1979

The Right Stuff, 1983

Amadeus, 1984

Tucker, the Man and his Dream, 1988

The Shawshank Redemption, 1994

Courage Under Fire, 1996

COMEDY

Twentieth Century, 1934

Ninotchka, 1939

Looney Tunes cartoons, 19??

Unfaithfully Yours, 1948

"EPIC"

El Cid, 1961

Spartacus, 196?

HITCHCOCK

Dial M for Murder, 1954

Rear Window, 1954

To Catch a Thief, 1955

Vertigo, 1958

North by Northwest, 1959

POSTWAR BRITISH

Life and Death of Col. Blimp, 1943

Passport to Pimlico, 1949

The Man in the White Suit, 1951

Genevieve, 195?

WESTERN

High Noon, 1952

Shane, 1953

The Magnificent Seven, 1960

POWELL AND PRESSBURGER

Life and Death of Col. Blimp, 1943

I Know Where I'm Going!, 1945

The Red Shoes, 1948

DANCE MOVIES, ASTAIRE AND ROGERS

The Gay Divorcee, 1934

Top Hat, 1935

Follow the Fleet, 1936

Swing Time, 1936

Shall We Dance?, 1937

DANCE MOVIES, MGM

An American in Paris, 1951

Singin' in the Rain, 1952

The Band Wagon, 1953

Funny Face, 1957

Silk Stockings, 1957

"DISSECTIONS OF EVIL"

The Godfather, 1972

Goodfellas 199?

Unforgiven, 199?

ETC:

My Cousin Vinny

A Fish Called Wanda

Name of the Rose

Life of Brian

Bridges of Madison County

Hunt for Red October

Glory, Gettysburg

In the Line of Fire

Quiz Show

Life is Beautiful

The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill

True Crime

You've Got Mail

Analyze This

Old School

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Just saw Robert Rodriguez's Sin City.

It is violent and malevolent, but brilliantly executed.

Mickey Rourke steals the show as Marv.  His performance is extraordinary.

The cinematographic style was amazing; I'm sure film students will be studying this for years to come. But I never engaged on an emotional level. It was as if I was watching the film from afar, detached emotionally from what was going on. I hardly cared for the characters and it was hard to root for one over the other. But, I agree about Rourke's performance; it was superb. A shame I could not care much for his character.

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The cinematographic style was amazing; I'm sure film students will be studying this for years to come.

I agree absolutely. I thought I'd seen it all, but this movie managed to strike a few new chords.

But I never engaged on an emotional level. It was as if I was watching the film from afar, detached emotionally from what was going on. I hardly cared for the characters and it was hard to root for one over the other. But, I agree about Rourke's performance; it was superb. A shame I could not care much for his character.

I can see why someone who has lived with a relatively unbreached psycho-epistemology would not be able to connect with any of the characters. (Please do not consider this psychologizing; I am only going by what I know of your accomplishments. To be a rational scientist today, at any level but especially at yours, implies a relentless sense of purpose and a very high degree of benevolence.)

I, on the other hand, am only very recently emergent from what I consider the "dark years." And, because of this, I found that I was able to connect, even if only slightly, with Rourke's and Willis's characters.

************************SPOILERS FOR 'SIN CITY'**********************

Rourke's character, Marv, is a guy who grew up in the roughest of rough circumstances. The world of Sin City is one full of crooked policemen, debauched women, and evil social and political leaders. Marv, being a survivor, makes one early integration which drives his life: kill or be killed. So, he hones himself into a killing machine. What for? Just to survive in this kind of empty world? No. Not merely for physical survival, but to protect whatever remains of the child within him. Unlike many of the people around him, he never completely gave up his soul. His purposeless drifting had a meta-purpose: to find some real (existential as opposed to just psychological) reason to live.

This reason eventually turns up in the person of Goldie, who imbues him with a will to live he'd never before experienced in full. The passion she kindles in him is quickly and easily converted into a passion to find her killers and to make them pay.

That he is good at killing is one reason to root for him; that he values (anything) strongly is another. (Recall the scene where one of his interrogators threatens to kill his mother.)

Willis' character, the only completely honest man in Sin City, too, is tortured. He is an uncompromising cop who is ready to martyr himself in order to see justice be done. And he does.

Willis' death I actually found quite sad because he completely deserved to live. Marv I mourned only a little because I knew that death would set him free; Willis' cop, however, should have lived to a happy ending.

But, a happy ending would have been illogical: the movie is set in a future Dark Ages. If the civilized world were to slip into anarchy, this is how it'd look.

It's a dark, dark picture, which is why I find Tarantino's films (and Rodriguez is a Tarantino protege) sometimes unwatchable: Evil is much too powerful in his universe.

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Mercury, my lack of response to the characters in Sin City was not because they were bad, but rather because they were not bad enough. Sometimes the bad guys are more interesting in films than the good guys. Sad, but true. The thing is, I want a bad guy (just like any character) to be sharply drawn, to be clearly presented. In order for me to react emotionally the character has to be psychologically sensible to me. Although there were some elements of the characters and their actions that provoked something in me (you named a few examples), overall they weren't large enough.

I hope this clarifies what I meant in my earlier remarks about the movie.

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Oh yes, Mercury & Joe, El Cid. Gawd, but Sophia Loren was magnificent in every way in that film.

All of Astaire, natch. Shall We Dance -- the original. Ah yes.

And Hitch.

Tucker, one of my favorites.

Jeez, I'm having to stop my collecting to convert to DVD. Cramping my style.

Awesome list, Joe. Thanks.

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[...]

Gawd, but Sophia Loren was magnificent in every way in that film.

[...]

Sophia Loren.....what can I say?....

Even now, I could still be her Cid.

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Mercury, my lack of response to the characters in Sin City was not because they were bad, but rather because they were not bad enough. Sometimes the bad guys are more interesting in films than the good guys. Sad, but true. The thing is, I want a bad guy (just like any character) to be sharply drawn, to be clearly presented. In order for me to react emotionally the character has to be psychologically sensible to me. Although there were some elements of the characters and their actions that provoked something in me (you named a few examples), overall they weren't large enough.

Mr. Speicher,

But, those were the good guys I described.

Or am I missing something?

The bad guys were the The Yellow Bastard (a paedophile who'd raped hundreds of children and got away with it because his father was a powerful politician); the crooked cops, such as the Benicio Del Toro character and the Michael Madsen cop; the Yellow Bastard's father, Senator Rourke; the Anglican bishop - or was it Cardinal - played by Rutger Hauer; and the meanest meanie of them all: Elijah Wood's evil suburban kid who didn't even scream when he was being cut into pieces, as Marv narrates to us.

So, you don't consider these guys evil enough? Or do you mean that you wanted the good and the bad guys sharply drawn?

If so, I would say I do too, but not all the time. If the millieu is so evil that virtually everyone is a victim of bad philosophy, then a character who doesn't commit any tasteless acts might be out of step with the story.

I agree with you that sometimes, the evil guys can be more interesting than the good guys. I don't know if that owes to Kantian-era filmmaking, which is basically what we've always known, or if it owes to the human fascination with the unknown in nature, which includes human nature.

Still, I would like to hear your full opinion. I'll most likely learn something new, as I've come to expect.

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Mercury, my lack of response to the characters in Sin City was not because they were bad, but rather because they were not bad enough. Sometimes the bad guys are more interesting in films than the good guys. Sad, but true. The thing is, I want a bad guy (just like any character) to be sharply drawn, to be clearly presented. In order for me to react emotionally the character has to be psychologically sensible to me. Although there were some elements of the characters and their actions that provoked something in me (you named a few examples), overall they weren't large enough.

But, those were the good guys I described.

Or am I missing something?

My apologies. What I wrote was too hastily written, and consequently poorly expressed. The last sentence was meant to refer to the good guys, whereas the first four sentences focused on the bad guys. The penultimate sentence referred to both. Utterly confusing.

Anyway, I do not have anything deep to offer here. Basically, I had little in the way of emotional response to the characters -- good and bad characters alike -- simply because I believe there was little there in terms of real psychological characterization. If I had to name the single most important missing part, it would be motivation. Which brings me to ask a question of you. I wonder if you are a fan, or, at least a reader of the comics upon which the film is based? If so, perhaps that might explain some of the difference in our experience of the movie. You might be bringing character context to the film, whereas I know nothing but whatever the film portrays. Just a thought.

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Basically, I had little in the way of emotional response to the characters -- good and bad characters alike -- simply because I believe there was little there in terms of real psychological characterization. If I had to name the single most  important missing part, it would be motivation.

I admit there wasn't enough characterization of all the main cast, but I think the characterization of Marv and Bruce Willis' roles was sufficient. And I outlined what I believed it to be here: .

But, I'll take note of what you mention here and look out for it going forward.

Which brings me to ask a question of you. I wonder if you are a fan, or, at least a reader of the comics upon which the film is based? If so, perhaps that might explain some of the difference in our experience of the movie. You might be bringing character context to the film, whereas I know nothing but whatever the film portrays. Just a thought.

No, not at all. I knew that Frank Miller penned some other comic books and graphic novels aside of Sin City, but I wasn't fully aware of his work until this movie was released.

I didn't even read a formal review before seeing it. I read one interview of Rodriguez online, and from that, all I gleaned was that Clive Owen's character was one of the good guys.

But, I did get the term "Yellow Bastard" from Roger Ebert, whose review I read only after seeing the work on Saturday.

If I brought any character context to it, apart from what was onscreen, it's from my own personal life. Not that I have ever been "clinically-depressed" or psychopathic or criminal in a truly immoral sense, but that there's a lot going on out there; and I happened to see quite a bit of it before Objectivism - and even in my early years in it. Which is what I meant when I wrote about psycho-epistemology here: .

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Which is what I meant when I wrote about psycho-epistemology here: .

I understood what you were saying, but I do not think it is my psycho-epistemology that prohibited me from being able to "connect" with the characters. Rather, the lack of my emotional connection is attributable to their lack of characterization. See, I "connect" with Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs, and it is difficult to conceive of anyone more dark, sick, and utterly horrific. The connection I experienced were all those emotions that reflect that dark, sick, and utterly horrific nature of his character. But the bad guys (and the good guys as well) in Sin City didn't evoke that level of emotional response in me, precisely because, I believe, of their low level of characterization. Hannibal Lecter, by contrast, was fleshed out; I saw and experienced his nature, evil as it was.

And, just to be perfectly clear, my emotional response, or mostly lack thereof, varied among the different characters in Sin City. The most I felt was towards Hartigan, but even there I had a rather limited response. And, Mercury, I am not trying to talk you out of your own feelings. It is difficult enough at times to identify the source of complex feelings we have, much less identify that source in others. So, I wouldn't even try to second-guess the nature of your response. All I can say is that we judged these characters differently, and I can respect that.

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[...]And, Mercury, I am not trying to talk you out of your own feelings. It is difficult enough at times to identify the source of complex feelings we have, much less identify that source in others. So, I wouldn't even try to second-guess the nature of your response. All I can say is that we judged these characters differently, and I can respect that.

I don't mean to come across as a second-guesser. I'm aware that two people of the same philosophy may arrive at different conclusions about art. And I've come to respect these differences too.

It's just my approach to ideas: if I hear someone X who I know has powers of observation and analysis say Y, I'd want to know why X says Y. I won't creep into the person's mind, but I'd definitely use what ever I knew of the person's actions and philosophy in coming to some kind of tentative conclusion.

Alas, knowledge is contextual: I now know your reason for what you said first-hand; I now know more - and better.

I understood what you were saying, but I do not think it is my psycho-epistemology that prohibited me from being able to "connect" with the characters. Rather, the lack of my emotional connection is attributable to their lack of characterization. See, I "connect" with Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs, and it is difficult to conceive of anyone more dark, sick, and utterly horrific. [...] Hannibal Lecter, by contrast, was fleshed out; I saw and experienced his nature, evil as it was.

It is interesting that you bring up Hannibal Lecter. I thought very highly of Silence of the Lambs when I first saw it. I think I must have seen it twice back then. Scary stuff.

But, I saw it again recently. During the movie, I gave the character more consideration and found it striking that this Lecter fellow listens to Romantic piano, sketches Romantic art in his cell, loves beautiful Italy ("Hannibal"), yet finds it in himself to eat other human beings. In other words, the portrayal of seriously-civilized man as beast.

Now, Ellsworth Toohey too "appreciated" the arts, even though he sought to destroy them. But Toohey never ate anybody.

Bearing Toohey in mind, all I could think of whether the creator of Lecter was being sincere in his characterization. Is such a person possible? I don't know enough about criminology to tell.

I know an artist is making his own statement about life, true or false; However, once I I began to suspect that Lecter was an unbelievable character, I began to find the movie slightly amusing and overblown -- in short, a radically different experience from those first sittings.

But, if Lecter is possible, that might change my experience of the movie again.

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Bearing Toohey in mind, all I could think of whether the creator of Lecter was being sincere in his characterization.

Another form of Ellsworth Toohey is exactly how I always saw Hannibal Lecter. What Toohey did to the human spirit is what Lecter did to its physical form. As to whether such men are possible; absolutely. If the essence of good is possible, as embodied in Howard Roark, then so is the essence of evil in the form of an Ellsworth Toohey. Lecter is just a variation on that theme.

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[...]What Toohey did to the human spirit is what Lecter did to its physical form.

This occurred to me earlier today, but I beat back the notion by telling myself that Toohey was a conceptual man, and so, his spirit-eating would be in character, while Lecter was concrete-bound in his actuation of the death premise. But, while reading your most recent post, I remembered that Lecter also attacked souls, such as the way he used to taunt Jodie Foster's FBI agent.

As to whether such men are possible; absolutely. If the essence of good is possible, as embodied in Howard Roark, then so is the essence of evil in the form of an Ellsworth Toohey. Lecter is just a variation on that theme.

Oh, I never doubted that men such as Toohey live. It was Lecter I had questions about, but those questions have now been cleared. Thank you.

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It always surprises me how unaware most O'ists seem to be of the film "Hombre", starring Paul Newman.

Would some of you please watch this film and join me in extolling its virtues? You will be pleasantly shocked to see such a clear and poignant characterization of individualism, self-reliance, anti-altruism, and justice in a film. The name of the film means "Man", in Spanish, and the character's full moniker in the film is "Tres Hombres", meaning he is as three men.

It's not perfect, it's not an "Objectivist film", but it's darned close. The ending might be painful to watch, but the rest of it is worth it.

I look forward to some opinions of it.

CT

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Since this appears to be a thread with many good older movies, I suggest also checking out The Scarlet Pimpernell (1934).

Try also Rio Bravo (1959), the virtues of which Shoshana Milgram made clear in her lectures on Howard Hawks' movies, after which it rose above High Noon in my list of esteemed Westerns.

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