The project: watch the American Film Institute’s Top 100 films in reverse order of greatness. From Ben-Hur to Citizen Kane, we will absorb the wonders of American Cinema.
The team: me, Wes, Dan, Luke, Hammer, possibly Will, and other people who happen to be at the Marion House when we’re watching a film.
Film #100: Ben-Hur
A Sweeping Biblical Epic, starring America’s most beloved gun nut as a wealthy Jewish guy who does some stuff. Rumor has it this culminates in a chariot race, but I was asleep long before we got to that part.
I actually have very little to say about this movie, because it was insufferably boring and I hated it.
Interesting tidbit: in one of the scenes I did watch, Charlton Heston and some other guy have this weirdly homoerotic reunion. According to Abe, who watched the film with us, the other actor was told to play the scene as though their characters had been lovers but told by the director, “Don’t tell Chuck.” I have no way to verify this is true, other than the fact that Abe is a pretty good guy who probably wouldn’t make something like that up.
Film #57: Rocky
Dan made me watch this – out of order – because it arrived in his Netflix. In 25 years on planet earth, I have never even been tempted to watch Rocky. My instincts were dead on. This film was completely, totally, utterly retarded. There was nothing redeeming about it. I still don’t know who won the boxing match at the end, because no one in the film could deliver their lines intelligibly.
Film #99: Toy Story
Oh, Toy Story. I was thirteen when this film was released, and I still think it’s great. The whole movie is worth it for the little three-eyed aliens and The Claw. It won’t change your life, it won’t end the war in Iraq or elect a Democrat in November, but it is awfully cute.
Also, there is apparently something hilarious about the guy who recorded the soundtrack, but I couldn’t figure out what it was.
Film #43: Midnight Cowboy
It’s an X-rated film about a male prostitute in New York City in the 1960s!
I know it sounds like a good time, but it’s not. Well, it is a great film. But, wow, totally not what I expected. I guess I’ve been spoiled by Jude Law, Ewan McGregor and Leonardo DiCaprio, but I was expecting some crazy shit. Like heroin. And penises. Not so much. John Voigt plays the cleanest and most cheerful poverty-stricken sex worker the world has ever seen. The film insists that he has a crazy violent streak and you really shouldn’t piss him off – this is in some way related to weird flashbacks/nightmares of his creepy relationship with his grandmother and witnessing his girlfriend’s gang rape in Texas, but he never talks about any of it – but he’s so “Aw, shucks, ma’am” throughout the whole thing that it seems out of character when he loses his shit.
At least I learned where Across the Universe got the idea for their Sixties Party Scene.
Also, I love, love, love Dustin Hoffman, and I want to have like 10 million of his babies.