The Twenty Greatest Drive-In Movies

March 20, 2016

Notes on the drive-in movie…

Let’s embrace the low-brow, shall we?  Let us revisit one of the greatest institutions of yesteryear- the drive-in movie theater.  A place where some of us once shared collective experiences- swings and slides for the kids, footage of hot dogs happily marching to the snack bar. and speakers never sounding quite right.   But there was something wonderful about all of it, too.  So, close your eyes, my friends, and return with me to the world of the drive-in movie.

In no particular order…

  1.  “Little Shop Of Horrors”  (1960)  Roger Corman  (A black comedy made cheaply and quickly.  It has achieved cult status, not only as a film, but as a Broadway musical and big-budgeted remake as well.)
  2. “Texas Chain-Saw Massacre (1974)   Tobe Hooper   (A grisly film; it made by jaw drop the first time  I saw it.  And, yes, it was at a drive-in!)
  3. “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman” (1958)  Nathan Juran  (Probably my favorite bad movie.  If there is a feminist meaning to be deciphered from this mess, it is lost on me!)
  4. “Halloween” (1978)  John Carpenter  (The first of the Michael Meyer’s stab fests-and still the best.  It benefits greatly by the superb cinematography of Dean Cundey.)
  5. “Night of the Living Dead” (1968)  George Romero  (Supposedly first premiered at a drive-in in Pittsburgh,the city where it was filmed.  This low-budget shocker is perhaps one of the most influential of films.)
  6. “Black Christmas” (1974)  Bob Clark  (Spooky little Canadian horror film was directed by “Porky’s” maestro.)
  7. “Switchblade Sister” (1974)  George Hill  (A laugh out-loud girl gang saga)
  8. “Death Race 2000”  (1973)  Paul Bartel  (This film is no masterpiece by any stretch, but it has gone on to junk classic status.)
  9. “Rock and Roll High School” (1979)  Alan Arkbush  (Lively teenage musical with the Ramones at their sneering best.)
  10. “Humanoids from the Deep”  (1980)  Barbara Peeters and Jimmy T. Murakami  (Seaside community is invaded by really horny creatures from the deep.)
  11. “Psych Out”  (1968)  Richard Bush  (American International jumped on the bandwagon with this ridiculous psychedelic concoction.)
  12. “House on Haunted Hill”  (1959)  William Castle (Castle’s gimmicks worked better in a theater, but as drive-in fare, this one is pretty tasty.)
  13. “Gidget”  (1959)  Paul Wedkos  (This was a drive-in phenomena, somehow speaking to the teenagers of the day.)
  14. “Masque of Red Death”  (1964)  Roger Corman (Loosely based on a Poe story; this stylish adaption is perhaps Corman’s best film.)
  15. “The Blob”  (1958)  Irwin Yeaworth  (Steve McQueen battles this menacing substance with the help of some bad teenage actors.  Check out the title song.)
  16. “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea”  (1961)  Irwin Allen  (Not in the class of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” (1954), Irwin Allen’s sci-fi is an appealing attempt at the genre.  Frankie Avalon sings the title song.)
  17. “Buckets of Blood”  (1961)  Roger Corman  (I actually like this film better than the well-known “Little Shop of Horrors”  (1960).  Its send-up of hipsters is still pretty funny.)
  18. “Ssss”  (1973)  Bernard L. Kowacski  (How can you resist a film with Strother Martin as a deranged herpetologist who likes snakes a little too much?)
  19. “I Was a Teenage Werewolf”  (1957)  Gene Fowler, Jr.  (Hilarious werewolf film with Michael Landon as a teenager with loads of angst and hormonal surprises.)
  20. “Chained Heat”  (1983)  Paul Nicholas  (Innocent Blair is thrown into prison after killing a man by accident.  What ensues is your usual assortment of brutal beatings, rapes, killings, etc.)

 

The Twenty Greatest “Flights of Fancy”

February 20, 2016

Notes on “Flights of Fancy”

These films have nothing to do with hardware, things crashing, or digital effects; most were made long before that format existed.  They are instead imaginative pieces of work put together with style and verve by skilled artists.

In no particular order… The Twenty Greatest “Flights of Fancy”

 

  1. “2001” (1968)  Stanley Kubrick  (One of the landmarks of cinema-brilliant!)
  2. “Blade Runner”  (1985)  Ridley Scott (Talk about an amazing set!  This downbeat sci-fi has many admirers.)
  3. “Brazil”(1985)  Terry Gilliam (Gilliam’s Orwellian tale is quite disturbing in its vision of the future.)
  4. “The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao” (1964)  George Pal  (Pal’s masterpiece is a seldom seen allegory about a mysterious circus that changes people’s lives.)
  5. “SHE” (1935) Lansing C. Holden and Irving Pichel  ( This is a crazy film-primitive men and women dancing as we meet “SHE”- who must be obeyed!)
  6. “Something Wicked This Way Comes” (1983) Jack Clayton  (Disney went into a darker arena with their adaptation of the Bradbury novel, and, unfortunately, no one saw it.)
  7. “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” (1954) Richard Fleisher  (Perhaps Disney’s best live action film-it does give a real sense of wonder about the sea.)
  8. “The Time Machine” (1960)  George Pal (Though it does have its hokey moments, Pal’s film version of the H.G. Wells classic has a certain melancholy to it.)
  9. “King Kong” (1933)  Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack  (He was actually only 22 inches high, but he looms large in our imagination.)
  10. “Close Encounters of a Third Kind” (1977)  Steven Speilberg (Later films would take the sweetness of this film into a grotesque arena, such as “The Color Purple” and “Jurassic Park”, where sentimentality got the best of his films.)
  11. “Jungle Book” (1942) Zoltan Korda (One of the best adaptions of any Kipling classic.)
  12. “Wizard of Oz” (1939) Victor Fleming (A perfect example of how the artifice of the Hollywood sound stage could create works of art.)
  13. “Mysterious Island” (1963) Cy Endfield (Harryhausen’s incredible stop motion artistry is the real star, but it’s a fun ride nonetheless.)
  14. “Mary Poppins” (1964) Robert Stevens (Popular children’s film was given a lavish treatment by the Disney studio.  It does contain one sequence that veers into the surreal-the “feed the birds” scene.)
  15. “Forbidden Planet” (1956) Fred M. Wilcox (An entertaining variation on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” set in outer space.)
  16. “Lord of the Rings-Return of the King”  (2003) Peter Jackson  (The last of the trilogy, and the best one.  Jackson and company must be commended for creating Tolkien’s landscape.)
  17. “Jason and the Argronauts” (1963) Don Chaffey  (Intelligent rendering of “The Legend of the Golden Fleece” with amazing Harryhausen effects.)
  18. “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988) Robert Zemeckis (This film makes up its own rules; a wonderful combination of live action and animation.)
  19. “The Devil and Daniel Webster” (1941) William Dieterle (Faustian tale, set in rural New England (1840), was put together by some very skillful artists and contains an amazing performance by Walter Huston as the mysterious Mr. Straw.)
  20. “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.” (1953) Roy Rowland (This is the only screenplay penned by Dr. Seuss, and it’s a lulu!- a children’s musical complete with a nuclear bomb and 50’s paranoia.)

 

 

 

The Twenty Greatest Ambitious Films

January 20, 2016

It’s hard to achieve perfection when you’re reaching for the stars.  It’s easy to fall when you’re not sure of your footing.  But, that to me is what an ambitious film is all about-walking the high wire without a net.  It’s hard not to admire these artists for their guts, their moxy.  These individuals are not just content to entertain you; they want to say something with film.  So, let’s give it up for these gamblers, these wonderful risk takers…The Twenty Greatest Ambitious films.

In no particular order…

  1.  “Apocalypse Now”   (1979)  Francis Ford Coppola  (Coppola went deep into his own heart of darkness, ending an era of great personal film making.
  2. “Intolerance”  (1916)  D.W. Griffith  (Talk about your ambitious film!  Griffith took on the subject of humanity throughout the ages.  This film was made in response to the allegations of racism he received for making “Birth of a Nation”.
  3. “1900”  (1977)  Bernardo Bertolucci  (The violence would be easier to take in novel form; this Marxist epic is still shocking after all these years.)
  4. “Day of the Locust”  (1975)  John Schlesinger ( Polarized critics and audiences alike in   with its downbeat surrealism.  It’s amazing that a major studio financed this project- love the 70’s!)
  5. “Looking for Mr. Goodbar”  (1977) Richard Brooks  (Film leaves a nasty aftertaste.  I think the problem is that it tries to say too much and ends up saying very little.  It will make your skin crawl, though.)
  6. “All That Jazz”  (1979)  Bob Fosse  (Fosse’s dance of death was a dazzling display of narcissism -complete with a scene of Fosse’s own open heart surgery…Wow!)
  7. “Pennies from Heaven”  (1981)  Herbert Ross  (It was perhaps too odd for a mainstream audience, but I think this was our last great film musical.)
  8. “Catch 22”  (1970)  Mike Nichols  (Definitely misses the humor of Heller’s novel.  However, it has a surreal quality all its own.)
  9. “The Deer Hunter” (1978)  Michael Cimino  (Epic film of small town people thrust into war.  Flawed, although very well directed.)
  10. “Little Big Man”  (1970)  Arthur Penn  (Penn finally got to do his big epic, taking on Thomas Berger’s satirical novel and telling us some hard truths along the way.)
  11. “Reds”  (1981) Warren Beatty  (Not quite the masterpiece that Beatty had intended.  It’s still an impressive film about early American radicalism.)
  12. “Gangs of New York”  (2002)  Martin Scorcese  (Violent retelling of the beginning of New York’s Five Points.  Flawed, but vivid.)
  13. “Once Upon a Time in America”  Director’s Cut  (1981)  Sergio Leone   (Structured like an opium dream.  This unique gangster film plays with our memory of time.)
  14. “The Mission”  (1986)  Roland Joffee  (Beautiful cinematography belies an ugly historical truth.)
  15. “Wild at Heart”  (1990)  David Lynch (  Epic road comedy is at times too high-pitched for its own good.)
  16. “Greed”  (1924)  Erik Von Stronheim  ( Legendary film was drastically cut by the studio big shots- what’s left, though, is still brilliant.)
  17. “Nashville”  (1975)  Robert Altman  (Altman’s masterpiece is an alarming comment on just how dangerous America is.)
  18. “Tabu”  (1931)  F.W. Murnau  (Murnau’s last film is an interesting mix of  documentary and narrative.  Filmed entirely in Tahiti, Murnau died shortly after the film was completed.)
  19. “Midsummer Night’s  Dream” (1935)  Max Reinhardt and William Dieterle  (Warner Bros. took on The Bard, using many of their best contract players in this imaginative version.)
  20. “The Loved One”  (1965)  Tony Richardson  (After Richardson won an Oscar for “Tom Jones”, he was given carte blanche to do anything he wanted.  He decided to do Evelyn Waugh’s classic, which offended many people at the time…a wild film!)

The Twenty Greatest American Film Adaptions

December 20, 2015

How many times have you heard people mutter, “But I liked the book better!”  That’s because the film and the novel are vastly different art forms.  When you encounter a story for the first time, it becomes a private thing between the reader and his imagination.  It can be disconcerting when the filmmaker’s interpretation differs greatly from what the reader had imagined.  You can feel cheated…almost.  However, some novels are difficult to transfer to the screen; it takes a skillful screenwriter,then, to help with that transition.  No matter what, someone’s going to end up disappointed.  So, with those lofty thoughts, I give you “The Twenty Greatest American Film Adaptions”.

In no particular order…

  1.  “To Kill a Mockingbird” 1962 (Harper Lee once said that she liked Horton Foote’s screenplay better than her novel.)
  2. “Slaughterhouse Five” 1972 (Captures the mood and tone of Vonnegut.)
  3. “Double Indemnity” 1944 (Inspired teaming of Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler on James Cain crime classic.)
  4. “The Unbearable Likeness of Being ” 1988 (Outstanding adaption of a complicated and rewarding novel.)
  5. “Gone with the Wind” 1939 (Big, brassy, entertaining, and a little racist!)
  6. “Silence of the Lambs” 1991 (Ted Tally’s skillful adaption of Thomas Harris’ popular thriller.)
  7. “East of Eden” 1955 (Focuses on one choice chapter of Steinbeck’s novel.)
  8. “Mystic River” 2003 (Faithful rendering of Dennis Lehane’s superb story.)
  9. “From Here to Eternity” 1953 (Powerful version of the daring and popular novel.)
  10. “A Streetcar Named Desire” 1951 (The best stage adaption ever!)
  11. “Rosemary’s Baby” 1968 (Menacing and close interpretation of Ira Levine’s classic.)
  12. “Wise Blood” 1979 (Perfectly captured Flannery O’Connor’s strange world.)
  13. “In Cold Blood” 1967 (Haunting film of Truman Capote’s groundbreaking nonfiction novel.)
  14. “The Dead” 1987 (A triumphant reflection of John Huston’s passion for reading.)
  15. “Naked Lunch” 1990 (Unique fusion of Cronenberg and Burrough’s radical artistic sensibilities.)
  16. “Rear Window” 1954 (A tapestry of character and ambience woven from Cornell Woolrich’s short story.)
  17. “Treasure of Sierra Madre” 1948 (Well-directed adaption of famed B. Traven’s Marxist parable.
  18. “The Grapes of Wrath” 1940 (Misses the power of Steinbeck’s novel but has a grace all its own.)
  19. “Bridge Over the River Kwai” 1957 (The screenwriters Dalton Trumbo and Michael Wilson were blacklisted at the time and could not pick up their Oscar.)
  20. “A Clockwork Orange” 1971 (Still controversial after all these years; the ironic voice over narration pulls you into Alex’s world.)

 

THE TWENTY GREATEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCES (MALE)

 

November 20, 2015

Notes on the Supporting Actor

He can light up the screen in a flicker of time, drawing you in with his eyes, his humor, and even his humanity.  He doesn’t need a long monologue to get your attention.  No, many times he can sum up an entire lifetime with a move, a gesture, or a pause.  For he is our supporting actor- and he’s as important to film as the stock itself.  More times than not,  he’ll be the one you’ll remember when the lights come up. Viva the supporting actor!

The twenty greatest supporting actors in no particular order…

  1.  Fredric March  ” The Iceman Cometh” (’73)  Harry Hope  (A lifetime of great acting, culminating into this final glory)
  2. Robert DeNiro “Mean Streets” (’73)  Johnny Boy (His performance exploded onto the screen.)
  3. Louis Calhern “The Asphalt Jungle ” (’50) Alonzo Emmerich  (He brought a real humanity to his crooked lawyer.)
  4. Peter Sellers  “Lolita” (’62) Claire Quilty (One of the screen’s great comic creations)
  5. Walter Huston “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (’48)  Howard. (The image of him doing an Irish jig in the desert is unforgettable.)
  6. Jack Nicholson “Easy Rider” (’69)  George Hanson  (Our first glimpse of this actor’s greatness)
  7. Robert Duvall “The Godfather” (’72)  Tom Hagen (The scene where he has to tell the godfather that his son has been killed is a master class in acting.)
  8. Gig Young “They Shoot Horses Don’t They” (’69)  Rocky  (The seeds of a soul are there, but this man has long lost his humanity)
  9. Rod Steiger “The Loved One” (’65)  Joy Boy ( Has to be seen to be believed,)
  10. Joel Grey “Cabaret”  (’72)  MC  (Show business sleaze oozes from this cupie doll.)
  11. Jason Robards, Jr.  “Melvin and Howard”  (’80)  Howard Hughes  (He does so much with his face- an astonishing performance.)
  12. Joe Pesci  “Goodfellas”  (’90)  Tommy DeVito  (Yeah, he’s funny alright, but he is also terrifying.)
  13. George C. Scott  “The Hustler” (’61) Bert Gordon  (He plays it with such cold precision.)
  14. Marvin Landau  “Ed Wood (’96)  Bela Lugosi  (A touching and fully realized performance)
  15. Kevin Spacey  “The Usual Suspects”  (’95) Verbal  (A performance that’s filled with colors)
  16. Christopher Walken  “At Close Range”  (’86)  Bradley Whitewood, Sr.  (The most frightening thing about his performance is that you almost like the man!)
  17. Burgess Meredith “Day of the Locust”  (’75)  Harry Greener  (It’s such a pleasure to see an actor find a role he can truly inhabit.)
  18. Dennis Hopper  “Blue Velvet” (’86)  Frank Booth (What the hell is he inhaling?)
  19. Samuel L. Jackson   “Jungle Fever”  (’90)  Gator  (A live wire of a performance)
  20. Eli Wallach  “Baby Doll (’56)  Silva Vicarro  (Very cunning. but also strangely charming)

THE TWENTY GREATEST HORROR FILMS OF THE THIRTIES

 

October 20, 2015

Since time has diminished the impact of these early films, I doubt they are going to scare the hell out of you anymore.  But what they may lack in terror, they more than make up in style and sheer, unbridled imagination. Many of the architects of the German Expressionist Movement, desperate to escape the tyranny of Hitler, came to America and  created some of the most amazing sets ever built.  Through innovative cinematography, these artists produced films that are now regarded as timeless classics of the genre.  So, in the spirit of Halloween, here are The Twenty Greatest Horror Films of the Thirties.

In no particular order…

  1. Mad Love (’35)  Karl Freund  (Grand guignol at its best)
  2. Island of Lost Souls (’32) Erle C. Kenton (H.G.Wells hated it, but it’s one of the best)
  3. Frankenstein (’31) James Whale (The daddy of them all!]
  4. Freaks (’32) Tod Browning (The most controversial of the 30’s horror films)
  5. King Kong (’33) Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack ( Not much more to say about this masterpiece)
  6. The Mummy (’32) Karl Freund (Beautiful and strangely poignant)
  7. The Devil-Doll (’36) Tod Browning (His last masterpiece)
  8. Murders in the Zoo (’32) Edward Sutherland (Depraved early chiller with a sadistic opening scene)
  9. The Black Cat (’34) Edgar G. Ulmer (Crazy ass film that has several perverse themes)
  10. Murders in the Rue Morgue (’32) Robert Florey (One of the most Germanic and wildly sexual of these films)
  11. Doctor X (’32) Michael Curtiz (Two tone technicolor film is quite unhinged)
  12. The Old Dark House (’32) James Whale (Funny film with great ambiance)
  13. The Mask of Fu Manchu (’32) Charles Brabin and Charles Vidor (Decadent and ornate)
  14.  Mystery of the Wax Museum (’33) Michael Curtiz (Long lost film disappointed many)
  15. The Bride of Frankenstein (’35) James Whale (Some regard it as superior to the original)
  16. Dracula (’30) Tod Browning (Stilted version of Stoker classic with a legendary performance by Lugosi)
  17. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (’32) Rouben Mamoulian (The most imaginative and best version of this classic tale)
  18. The Raven (’35) Lew Landers (Second pairing of Karloff and Lugosi-great fun)
  19. The Invisible Man (’33) James Whale ( Extremely entertaining and fanciful version of Wells’ novel)
  20. Dracula’s Daughter (’36) Lambert Hillyer (Lesbian overtones-wow!)

THE TWENTY GREATEST UNDERRATED AMERICAN FILMS

September 20, 2015

What does it mean to call a film underrated?  Does it suggest that it wasn’t properly evaluated the first time around?   Consider a film like The King of Comedy (’83)… Because of the previous associations of director Martin Scorsese and star Robert DeNiro, the expectations were perhaps too high. Instead, moviegoers experienced a film of such irony that it made them uncomfortable. The King of Comedy was dismissed by critics and audiences alike; it is now regarded by many to be a masterpiece.  Is it  possible that the passing of time helps us “catch up” with some films and gives us a chance to re-evaluate them?  Hopefully, my list of The Twenty Greatest Underrated American Films will steer you to some of these extraordinary works that were not appreciated in their time.

In no particular order…

  1.  Cutter’s Way (’81 ) Ivan Passer  (The greatest film you’ve never seen.)
  2. Wise Blood (’79)  John Huston (Faithful adaption of Flannery O’Connor’s novel)
  3. Mad Love (’35) Karl Freund  (Grand guignol at its finest with an amazing performance by Lorre as Dr. Gogol)
  4. Where’s Poppa? (’70) Carl Reiner (Outrageous black comedy)
  5. The Scarlet Empress (’34) Josef von Sternberg (Ornate, puzzling, and visually stunning)
  6. Slaughterhouse-Five (’72) George Roy Hill (Near-perfect adaption of Vonnegut’s novel, financed by Universal!)
  7. Quick Change (’90) Howard Franklin, Bill Murray (Inventive, hilarious dark comedy)
  8. At Close Range (’86) James Foley (Moody crime drama, featuring a frightening performance by Walken)
  9. The Day of the Locust (’75) John Schlesinger (A surreal and downbeat film that alienated audiences in its day)
  10. The King of Comedy (’82) Martin Scorsese (As I mentioned earlier, a truly misunderstood film)
  11. The Night of the Hunter (’55) Charles Laughton  (An audacious film debut by Laughton)
  12. The Ice Storm (’97) Ang Lee (Haunting, spare statement on middle-class angst)
  13. Handle With Care (’77) Jonathan Demme (Funny, lyrical look at the universal need for communication)
  14. 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (’64) George Pal (One of the most imaginative and moving children’s film)
  15. The Seventh Victim (’43) Mark Robson (Val Lewton’s unusual film of infinite sorrow)
  16. The Long Goodbye (’73) Robert Altman Modern day Marlowe tale with a rhythm all its own)
  17. The Other (’72) Robert Mulligan (A quiet shocker)
  18. Night Moves (’75) Arthur Penn (Film Noir as existential dread)
  19. Housekeeping (’87) Bill Forsyth (One of the more haunting films I’ve seen)
  20. The Unknown (’27) Tod Browning  (Chaney’s finest hour in Browning’s sadomasochistic masterwork)

TWENTY GREATEST FEMALE SCREEN VILLAINS

August 20, 2015

Yes, it was harder to come up with this list than the one of male villains, but in cinema history there are some juicy choices, indeed!  I mean, you got your Bette Davis feeding her sister her dead bird in “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” (’62) or angel-faced Gene Tierney letting a little boy drown in “Leave Her to Heaven” (’45).  And if those two don’t tickle your fancy, you have Patty McCormack, an adorable little girl, drowning a little boy in “The Bad Seed” (’56).  One thing all these ladies have in common is that you wouldn’t want to get any of them angry.  So, with those precious thoughts, I give you “The Twenty Greatest Female Villains”. See link to Patty McCormack in The Bad Seed…Classic.

In no particular order…

  1. Bette Davis     Baby Jane     What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (’62) Frightening opening scene
  2. Piper Laurie     Margaret White     Carrie (’76)
  3. Gene Tierney   Ellen Berent Havland     Leave Her to Heaven (’45)
  4. Kathy Bates     Annie Wilkes     Misery (’82)
  5. Katherine Hepburn     Violet Venable     Suddenly Last Summer (’59)
  6. Louise Fletcher     Nurse Ratched     One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (’75)
  7. Glenn Close     Alex Archer     Fatal Attraction (’87)
  8. Jessica Walters     Evelyn     Play Misty for Me (’71)
  9. Sissy Spacek     Carrie White   Carrie (’76)
  10. Angelica Huston     Lilly Dillon.    The Grifters (’90)
  11. Charlize Theron     Aileen Wuornos    Monster (2003)
  12. Olivia de Havilland     Miriam Deering     Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (’64)
  13. Patty McCormick     Rhoda     The Bad Seed (’56)
  14. Faye Dunaway     Joan Crawford.    Mommie Dearest (’81)
  15. Barbara Stanwick     Phyllis Dietrichson     Double Indemnity (’44)
  16. Shelley Winters     Mrs. Rose Forrest     Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (’72)
  17. June Allyson     Ann Downs     The Shrike (’55)
  18. Zoe Tamerlis Lund     Thana    Ms. 45 (’81)
  19. Angela Lansbury     Mrs. Eleanor Shaw Iselin     The Manchurian Candidate (’62)
  20. Shirley Stoler     Martha Beck     The HoneyMoon Killers (’69)

Next Twenty Greatest American Films

 

 

 

 

In response to the comments posted regarding my list of the 20 greatest American films, I realized that I needed to continue my list.  A great film will always be left off when a list is made, since the choices reflect the perspective of the person making the selections.  It’s all so bloody subjective! With that in mind, here is my list of the next twenty greatest American films.  Again, if you don’t agree, feel free to post your own on comments.

    The Next Twenty Greatest American Films

July 20, 2015

In no particular order…

21.  Silence of the Lambs (’91) Jonathan Demme

22.  A Clockwork Orange (’71) Stanley Kubrick

23.  Casablanca (’43) Michael Curtiz

24.  Treasure of the Sierra Madre (’48) John Huston

25.  Fargo (’95) Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

26.  Frankenstein (’31) James Whale

27.  Double Indemnity (’44) Billy Wilder

28.  The Asphalt Jungle (’50) John Huston

29.  Apocalypse Now (’79) Francis Ford Coppola

30.  Taxi Driver (’76) Martin Scorsese

31.  Rear Window (’54) Alfred Hitchcock

32.  Modern Times (’36) Charlie Chaplin

33.  It Happened One Night (’34) Frank Capra

34.  The Wild Bunch (’69) Sam Peckinpah

35.  On The Waterfront (’54) Elia Kazan

36.  Pinocchio (’40) Walt Disney

37.  King Kong (’33) Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack

38.  All That Jazz (’79) Bob Fosse

39.  The Apartment (’60) Billy Wilder

40.  The Bridge on the River Kwai (’57) David Lean

Twenty Greatest Male Screen Villains

June 20, 2015

Notes on Villains:

What is a villain?   Is he a hero who lost his way?  Or a person of evil intent?  Do you like your villains outrageously funny like Bobby Peru from “Wild at Heart”? Or poignant like Perry from “In Cold Blood”?  Or charming like the grinning Irishman Danny from “Night Must Fall”?  The one thing they all have in common is that we can’t keep our eyes off of them.  Brad

In no particular order..

1.  Robert Mitchum           Harry Powell                     Night of the Hunter (’55)                  Charles Laughton

2.  Joe Pesci                     Tommy DeVito                  Goodfellas (’91)                                Martin Scorsese

3.  Christopher Walken     Brad Whitewood, Sr.         At Close Range (’86)                       James Foley

4.  Charles Laughton        Doctor Moreau                  Island of Lost Souls(’32)                  Erle C. Kenton

5.  Dennis Hopper            Frank Booth                      Blue Velvet (’86)                               David Lynch

6.  Scott Wilson                Dick                                  In Cold Blood (’67)                           Richard Brooks

7.  Anthony Perkins          Norman Bates                  Psycho (’60)                                     Alfred Hitchcock

8.  Willem Dafoe               Bobby Peru                      Wild at Heart (’90)                            David Lynch

9.  Robert Blake               Perry                                 In Cold Blood (’67)                          Richard Brooks

10. Robert Montgomery  Danny                               Night Must Fall (’37)                        Richard Thorpe

11. Ray Liota                   Ray Sinclair                      Something Wild (’86)                       Jonathan Demme

12. Ted Levine                 Buffalo Bill                        The Silence of the Lambs (’91)       Jonathan Demme

13. James Caan              Roy Sweeney                    Flesh and Bone (’93)                      Steve Kloves

14. Laurence Olivier        Szell                                   Marathon Man (’76)                       John Schlesinger

15. Anthony Hopkins      Hannibal Lecter                 The Silence of the Lambs (’91)      Jonathan Demme

16.  Richard Widmark     Tommy Udo                       Kiss of Death (’47)                         Henry Hathaway

17. Boris Karloff              Hjalmar Poelzig                 The Black Cat (’34)                        Edgar G. Ulmer

18. Bela Lugosi              Dr. Mirakle                          Murders in the Rue Morgue (’32)   Robert Florey

19. Peter Lorre               Doctor Gogol                      Mad Love (’35)                               Karl Freund

20 Javier Bardem           Anton Chigurh                    No Country for Old Men (2007)     Coen Brothers