The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Saturday, December 22, 2007
10 FROM 77: First I listed my favorite films of
1997, and then I posted the top 10 movies of 1987. You shouldn't have trouble guessing what comes next.

When the Motion Picture Academy looked back at 1977, it gave its Best Picture award to the Woody Allen comedy Annie Hall. Once in a blue moon, the Academy gets it right:

1. Annie Hall
Directed by Woody Allen
Written by Allen and Marshall Brickman

"Why don't you get William F. Buckley to kill the spider?"

2. Equus
Directed by Sidney Lumet
Written by Peter Shaffer, from his play

Sex, faith, madness, and horses.

3. Martin
Written and directed by George Romero

The Equus of vampire movies.

4. The Last Wave
Directed by Peter Weir
Written by Weir, Tony Morphett, and Petru Popescu

One of Weir's early apocalyptic tales, as dreamlike as Picnic at Hanging Rock or Fearless but contained -- barely -- by a pulpy science-fiction plot.

5. Three Women
Written and directed by Robert Altman

An American Persona.

6. That Obscure Object of Desire
Directed by Luis Buñuel
Written by Buñuel and Jean-Claude Carrière, from a novel by Pierre Louys

Buñuel's final film returns to some of his favorite themes: obsession, humiliation, and the strange power one person can hold over another.

7. Slap Shot
Directed by George Roy Hill
Written by Nancy Dowd

Something strange must have been bubbling beneath the surface of the mid-'70s. Just look at this list: It starts with a respectable, sophisticated story about relationships, and then a horde of dreams and demons bursts loose. Even this fun little hockey movie -- the standard by which all sports comedies should be judged -- has violent chaos at its core.

8. God Told Me To
Written and directed by Larry Cohen

Cohen is one of the great B-movie writer-directors, and this Phildickian detective story might be his best film. (It's either this or Bone.) It's filled with low-budget glitches, but they only add to its eerie charm.

9. Take the 5:10 to Dreamland
Directed by Bruce Conner

The Joseph Cornell of the Beat generation.

10. Perfumed Nightmare
Written and directed by Kidlat Tahimik

As a boy in the Philippines, the protagonist wants to westernize himself; when he actually comes to the West, he tries to return to his premodern roots. The movie is often called a critique of globalization, but it's too clearly a product of globalization to be taken on that level alone. Both when he attempts to be American in the east and when he tries to be Philippine in the west, the protagonist is really a hybrid -- just like this elusive, semi-improvised yarn.

posted by Jesse 4:04 PM
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