Monday, April 10, 2006

Request: Classics I Haven't Seen

It’s Monday. Time for the Reader Request [Use comments to request topics for next week] Today’s topic was suggested by Glenn. It’s a humiliating one --thanks. He wants me to 'fess up to the bonafide classics I’ve never seen. At the risk of losing all of your respect here are the five films I’m most embarrassed to admit that I’ve never seen.

The Unseen

The Deer Hunter(1978) & Platoon(1986)
I’ll start with what I like to call my ‘Oscar Goes to Vietnam Double Feature’. Hollywood has visited 'Nam quite often but I usually feign sickness (or maybe I am washing my hair?) when those films open and I have to decline. I don’t count war films among my favorite genres. The serious meditations within the genre depress me. The rah-rah action films in this milieu sicken me. Don’t get me started on Forrest Gump’s “Disneyworld version of Vietnam” (thanks, Nick). And there’s also this: Apocalypse Now (my article) and Coming Home (my review) will be tough to beat as Vietnam war coverage. At least for me.
status: Planning to watch both soon.

I was living abroad when this film opened. Tis my only excuse for having missed it. Am assuming everyone is correct to think it should’ve beat Dances with Wolves for the Oscar. My favorite 1990 film is Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands.
status: Will make a valiant effort to watch soon.

Double Indemnity(1944)
Of the five movies listed herein, this is the one I’m most excited to see. I have been loving Barbara Stanwyck ever since I held the “who’s your favorite actress?” polls at the site. When she made an impressive showing in the finals, I decided that I really must investigate her caree. With one famed exception (Stella Dallas I haven’t been the least bit disappointed. I also am a known fan of the neo-noir remake of sorts, Body Heat (my article). There’s every reason to believe I’ll love this movie.
status: Soon on the Netflix queue.

A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Why do I willfully ignore a film which is, by so many accounts, one of the greatest ever? Two reasons. The first is Stanley Kubrick. He is, apart from Spielberg the most widely beloved auteur to whom I have never fullly warmed. I don’t dislike his films. But neither do I ever seem to fully embrace or buy into their genius. I keep trying though. If he is God’s chosen auteur I suppose I’m in for 72 cold takes of the scene where I request entrance at the Pearly Gates.

The second reason is more sentimental and more truthful as to why I’ve never watched this dystopian flick: Singin’ in the Rain. That film’s titular scene starring a smiling and radiant Gene Kelly is one of my five favorite film moments ever. For those who understand how few the number five is when drawn from 1000s of hours of the great obsession of my life you’ll understand that Singin’ is sacred to me. I’m aware that Clockwork uses the song in a particularly ghastly context. Even this second hand knowledge sometimes invades my thoughts when I’m just trying to enjoy Gene Kelly sloshing about in the studio-generated rain. No thanks.
status: Only if you hold my eyes open with Clockwork Orangestyle metal pincers.

Your Turn: What are you embarrassed to admit you haven't seen? 'Fess up in the comments [And leave a request if you have one]

previous requests: Favorite Animals (for Cal) Cher (for David) and The Sound of Music (for Anonymous)

tags: classics, entertainment,cinema, Oscars, movies


StinkyLulu said...

Jeepers. (I just skimmed the AFI Best 100 Films of the 20th Century...and I'm way behind.)

I guess the film I'm most truly embarassed that I haven't seen is Dr. Strangelove. Others -- like 2001 or Schindler's List -- I'm not proud to have missed.

But hey when one's obliged to watch superdupertrashtastic movies "bonafide classics", there are only so many hours in the day... And given the choice between a Raquel Welch vehicle and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, I suspect you can guess on which side I'm likely to err...

OhMyTrill said...

If its a classic I haven't seen it.

Thank you.

Ramification said...

I have never seen Saving Private Ryan or Apocalypse Now for the same reason, I am not a huge fan of war films.

Jason Adams said...

Haven't seen any of the Godfather films. Always fall asleep in the middle of Apocalypse Now.

I apparently have something against Coppola.

Javier Aldabalde said...

ja, same here!

"A Clockwork Orange" is so much fun, though, you must check it out.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen Casablanca all the way through... I cannot see the fuss over the movie.. and I really love classic films???!!!

NicksFlickPicks said...

I have never seen Searching for Debra Winger. Oh, wait—yes, I have! Countless times! [Whew!]

par3182 said...

excellent topic. of the the five films you listed i'd only want to see double indemnity again.

i'll admit to never having seen casablanca or west side story.

Anonymous said...

My embarrassing admit: The only Hitchcock I've seen is "Psycho" and I didn't even watch it till the end.

Anonymous said...

My jaw literally hit the floor when I read that you hadn't seen Deer Hunter, and then it went juggernauting to the next floor beneath it when I read that you hadn't seen Goodfellas. (Alas there's no basement in my house, so it stopped there, even when I heard about Clockwork.)

I consider all three to be genius, and amongst my Top 100 (Goodfellas particularly so).

I wouldn't get overexcited about Platoon though; when I finally settled down to watch it a couple of years back, I found that it couldn't even place in my Top 10 for 1986, let alone any Vietnam list I'd ever make.

My list of shoulda-seen-but-haven'ts would include: Ben Hur (in my head it lasts for 10 years) (plus Charlton Heston), The Great Escape (the cinematic obliviousness that dare not speak its name in the UK), Edward Scissorhands (generally speaking I don't dig Burton), Broadcast News, Nashville, Deliverance, Patton, The Wild Bunch, In The Heat of the Night, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, 8 1/2, Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, Spartacus...

...Jeez, I need to get busy!


Sam said...

For next week, my request is the great Vivian Leigh. Bette Davis said that her Scarlett O'Hara was the best performance by an actress ever on film (or something like that). Then, she topped it with her heartbreaking Blanche DuBois. Add to that The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, Ship of Fools, and a blazing hot love affair with Lawrence Olivier, and you've got an amazing post. Maybe even a "History of."

NicksFlickPicks said...

I love Sam's idea. I think the only Leigh performances I've seen are The Two that people have generally seen.

John T said...

I've also only seen the two big Vivien Leigh films.

As for a request, I'd like to hear about what your favorite performance ever given by a child would be.

(Oh, and, though I'm ashamed: Jules and Jim, Raging Bull, Treasure of Sierra Madre, Seven Samurai, and La Dolce Vita).

Anonymous said...

In order I'm most eager to see:

1.) The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
2.) It Happened One Night
3.) On the Waterfront
4.) The Apartment
5.) Goodfellas
6.) Strangers on a Train
7.) Notorious
8.) The Best Years of our Lives
9.) It's A Wonderful Life
10.) Fargo

Anonymous said...

I have many that belong on the list, but here goes with just 5:

1) Chinatown
2) Lawrence of Arabia
3) Singin' in the Rain
4) North by Northwest
5) 2001 A Space Odyssey

2001 is the only one i'm not convinced i'll adore, so i'm not sure quite what i'm waiting for on any of these...

Shawn said...

"The Godfather" trio.

Sick, I know.

Glenn Dunks said...

Anon, Strangers on a Train ain't that special to be embarassed about.

On Nat's 5, I've seen Orange (excellent) and Goodfellas (masterpiece). I really want to see Double Indemnity and the other two...? meh. I hired The Deer Hunter out with a bunch of other old titles but the movie is, like,3 hours long and I ran out of time. Platoon I always see on the shelf and pass every time. Meh.

Of the bonafide classics I haven't seen, I'm going to ignore movies that aren't available in Australia on DVD because how can I be expected to see something from the 1940s?

1. Casablanca - but my dad owns it so I'm gonna borrow it soon
2. The Godfather Part II (not III) - i only JUST saw The Godfather so I will see this very soon
3. Lawrence of Arabia - I pray for the day of theatrical rereleases
4. Ben-Hur - Ditto
5. Gone With the Wind - I want to... but it's four freakin' hours long y'all!
(6. Basic Instinct 2 *chortle*)

I feel proud of myself that I have seen 4 of Rights' 5 chosen titles. Go me. I've watched a few classics this past week. The Godfather, Raging Bull, Midnight Cowboy and The Last Picture Show. I also saw Straw Dogs which I had heard rapturous things about, but instead realised it is one of the most horrible movies I have ever seen (grade: F).

I don't feel embarassed at all about not seeing The Sound of Music or Mary Poppins.

Glenn Dunks said...

Oh, I was going to put Schindler's List on there, but it's more recent. I was only 9 when it came out.

Anonymous said...

Oh, but you must see The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. SoM is the better of the two, but excellent MOVIE! movies.

Paul C. said...

I actually have a page on my site to acclaimed classics I haven't seen yet. Some of the more notable ones I've missed:

Intolerance (Griffith)
Shanghai Express (Von Sternberg)
Kind Hearts and Coronets (Hamer)
East of Eden (Kazan)
Ride the High Country (Peckinpah)
The Great Escape (J. Sturges)
Chimes at Midnight (Welles)
A Nos Amours (Pialat- although there's a DVD coming soon from Criterion!)
as well as anything by Mario Bava, Frederick Wiseman, and Cecil B. DeMille (!)

I'm not really ashamed of not having seen any of these though. Only so many hours in a day, etc.

Anonymous said...

Ok, this is too embarassing... I haven´t seen The Pianno !!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I feel like I could pave a street with classics I haven't seen. I'm doing pretty well, but the ones I'm really ashamed about not having seen are:
Jules & Jim
Rosemary's Baby
Andrei Rublev
Born Yesterday (this is out of solidarity with Bette Davis)

tim r said...

Yeah, L'avventura. The Gospel According to St Matthew (though it's just arrived from amazon rental!). Ben Hur is also at least ten hours long in my head. So's, er, The Decalogue.

It Happened One Night, too. Yikes. Too many films, too little time...


Stinky --see Dr. Strangelove. It might be my favorite Kubrick (though I realize that's not saying a lot given what I've said.)

omt -get busy!

ram & ja & javier -see Apocalypse pronto. I don't like war films either and it is very long but it's jaw-dropping. put on a pot of coffee. stay awake.

par -both casablanca and wss are very very hard to resist if you give them a chance.

chris -i'm actually jealous. discovering all of Hitchcock was one of my favorite things about my cinematic obsession.

rob, nick, tim -and anyone else who hasn't seen Ben-Hur. the actual length is closer to 7 hours ;) not ten. Please watch. If Biblical epics bother you just remember there's lots else to recommend this one besides the size. Stephen Boyd is a particular treat with the homo subtext that Heston is unaware of. great.

caleb, nothing excessively violent is shown during the moon river sequence in Bad Education. And I also don't worship Breakfast at Tiffany's so it's not an apt comparison. But come on. you're not playing fair you must have missed something more important than Hatari! ;) oh actually though The Conversation. Genius. See it this week. don't delay

Anonymous said...

it's okay kamikaze camel, i've seen 4 of yours, so I feel good too.

The first two Godfathers are my favorite films of all time, but my guess is you'll like the second one much less than the first upon first watching. It is more subtle, and grows on you with time and repeated viewings.

Casablanca is also great. Ben-Hur and Gone With the Wind, eh. Too long to make it worth it -- go rent Spartacus instead of Ben Hur.

Anonymous said...

I've never seen the Goonies

Anonymous said...

Gone with the Wind. I'm, uh, saving it? As a treat for the end of my Best Picture quest? Yeah, that sounds good.

Anonymous said...

I've never seen CITIZEN KANE! Beat that!

Anonymous said...

Citizen Kane:
Every time I see it I wonder what the fuss was all about. Just cannot warm up to it.
Breakfast at Tiffany's: Another one that doesn't live up to it's reputation. Perhaps it just hasn't aged well? Audrey's character looks wonderful, but I have no sympathy for her. I actually start to find her grating on my nerves halfway through the movie.
Love Story: Love means admitting that this is a piece of tripe.

Glenn Dunks said...

The Magnificent Ambersons is my Orson Welles beauty. Not Kane (althought that too is good!)

Goatdog, see Goonies NOW! It's a manditory viewing experience for anyone below of the age of 15. But... you're probably older than that.

And yes, there are TONNES of classics that I haven't seen, but I just simply cannot see them. Either they're not even out or I just don't have the time/money. I hate Intolerance sent to me in the mail and I popped it in but I thought "I... can't be bothered" and watched Clueless.