I never thought in a million years I’d be writing this. The reason why is that even though I’m not a hardcore Star Wars fan and enjoyed the prequels for what they were (visual eye candy), I understand why there’s been so much animosity towards George Lucas by fanboys.
Every time people talk about The French Connection (1971), they talk about one scene–the car chase scene that takes place under an elevated subway line. But you know what? I couldn’t care less about that scene. Bullitt (1968) did it first–and better.
What I do care about is the delightful scene in which Doyle (Gene Hackman) tails and tries to catch the perp, Frog One, as he boards a NYC subway train. I don’t know why this part of the film never achieved the beloved status of the car chase scene, but it should. Not only is the timing impeccable, there’s a certain charm to it because it’s very reminiscent of something you’d see in a Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton movie.
Recently, for some reason I don’t understand, Vertigo was suddenly declared the best movie of all time. Although I’m relieved that the title was taken away from Citizen Kane, I found this new choice just as troublesome.
I have a confession to make, one that’s bound to cause old ladies to clutch their pearls in shock and make babies cry:
I absolutely cannot stand It’s a Wonderful Life. I never liked it when I first saw it 30 years ago and I still can’t stand it to this day. And no, it’s not just because it eventually supplanted the far superior The Best Years of Our Lives as a movie classic.
Ever have one of those movies that you not only just don’t like but absolutely detest? A movie that you develop such an intense hatred for that you can’t even think about it without feeling the bile gurgle in your throat? I have a lot of movies like that, too, but if I had to pick the one I hate the most, it would be Forrest Gump.
So, when I heard that Jonathan Demme recently passed, I had the same reaction as everyone else: oh no. But then this other weird thing happened. Even though I recognized his name and remembered that he was an esteemed director, it took me a few seconds to remember just what he was esteemed for. That’s when I went, “That’s right. Silence of the Lambs.”
Gravity had all the elements of being a masterpiece. It had mind-blowing special effects, an interesting story line, tons of action–packed sequences and great cinematography. Yet for some reason, a lot of people came away from the movie feeling underwhelmed. I know that for me, personally, the movie–in spite of its beautiful visuals and amazing technical wizardry–fell flat.