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

Monday, January 08, 2024
THE POWER OF THREE: I have listed the best motion pictures of
2013, 2003, 1993, 1983, 1973, 1963, 1953, 1943, and 1933. And now...

...well, now we stop. Sorry: I just haven't seen enough exceptional movies from 1923 to fill a top 10 list. For the record, my favorite film of 1923 is Safety Last! and my favorite from 1913 is the opening chapters of Fantômas. (That isn't a putdown of the later chapters—it's just that they didn't come out until 1914.) Hang tight til December; we'll start on the 4 years then.

posted by Jesse 8:50 AM
. . .
Sunday, January 07, 2024
CLYDE BRUCKMAN REPOSES AT #20: If you've come in late, you can catch up by reading my picks for the best flicks of
2013, 2003, 1993, 1983, 1973, 1963, 1953, and 1943. And if you're already up to speed, keep scrolling.

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences looked back at 1933, it gave its Best Picture award to Cavalcade, which isn't nearly as good as a film based on a Noel Coward play ought to be. Aside from a couple of montages and the song "20th Century Blues," the thing is a study in tedium. These are all better:

1. Duck Soup
Directed by Leo McCarey
Written by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby with Arthur Sheekman and Nat Perrin

A cinéma vérité documentary filmed at the White House during the invasion of Iraq.

2. Zero for Conduct
Written and directed by Jean Vigo

Anarchy in the schoolhouse.

3. Snow-White
Directed by Dave Fleischer

Comparing this to the Disney movie is like comparing an R. Crumb comic to Richie Rich.

4. Land Without Bread
Directed by Luis Buñuel
Written by Buñuel, Rafael Sánchez Ventura, and Pierre Unik

The first great mockumentary.

5. Hallelujah, I'm a Bum
Directed by Lewis Milestone
Written by S.N. Behrman, from a story by Ben Hecht

When Harry Langdon and Al Jolson have their rhyming debate in the park, it's the closest an old-school Hollywood musical ever comes to being Marat/Sade.

6. I'm No Angel
Directed by Wesley Ruggles
Written by Mae West

"I see a man in your life." "What? Only one?"

7. Design for Living
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Written by Ben Hecht, from a play by Noel Coward

"A man can meet two, three, or four women and fall in love with all of them, and then, by a process of interesting elimination, he is able to decide which he prefers. But a woman must decide purely on instinct, guesswork, if she wants to be considered nice."

8. Outskirts
Directed by Boris Barnet
Written by Barnet and Konstantin Finn

Like Dovzhenko's best work, this is part naturalistic, part surrealistic, and part slapstick, sometimes tragic and sometimes comic, while never venturing anywhere near the dogmas of Socialist Realism. Despite the inevitable Bolshevik bits in the final 10 minutes, the politics feel more anarcho-pacifist than Stalinist. It's amazing that someone in the Soviet Union managed to make this as late as 1933.

9. Alice in Wonderland
Directed by Norman Z. McLeod
Written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and William Cameron Menzies, from two novels by Lewis Carroll

There was at least one genius involved with creating this film, and that was whoever got the idea to cast W.C. Fields as Humpty Dumpty.

10. International House
Directed by A. Edward Sutherland
Written by Neil Brant

Fields is in this one too—and so are Cab Calloway, and Bela Lugosi, and Burns and Allen, and Rudy Vallee, and Col. Stoopnagle, and...

Honorable mentions:

11. 42nd Street (Lloyd Bacon, Busby Berkeley)
12. Gold Diggers of 1933 (Mervyn LeRoy)
13. Baby Face (Alfred E. Green)
14. Lot in Sodom (James Sibley Watson, Melville Webber)
15. Is My Palm Read (Dave Fleischer)
16. The Wizard of Oz (Ted Eshbaugh)
17. The Mad Doctor (David Hand)
18. Three Little Pigs (Burt Gillett)
19. The Sin of Nora Moran (Phil Goldstone)
20. The Fatal Glass of Beer (Clyde Bruckman)

Of the films of 1933 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in The Power and the Glory.

posted by Jesse 9:59 AM
. . .
Thursday, January 04, 2024
BIG BANDS AND RATION BOOKS: Our tour has taken us through my favorite films of
2013, 2003, 1993, 1983, 1973, 1963, and 1953. Now let's leap into the '40s.

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences looked back at 1943, it gave its Best Picture award to Casablanca—a great movie but a peculiar choice, since it actually debuted in 1942. Yes, I put it in my top 10 list for that year. No, I won't repeat it in this one.

1. Shadow of a Doubt
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson, and Alma Reville, from a story by Gordon McDonell

Few film experiences are as enjoyably odd as watching Thornton Wilder's sensibility collide with Hitchcock's. Wilder's screenplay is an ode to conformity, and Hitch's picture drily undercuts the script at every turn.

2. Meshes of the Afternoon
Directed by Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid
Written by Deren

The most contemporary-feeling entry on this list: It's easy to imagine a giffable fragment of the film flickering in a tweet, a Facebook status, or an Instagram story, lending its uncanniness to an internet that itself feels awfully uncanny already.

3. Le Corbeau
Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot
Written by Clouzot and Louis Chavance, from a story by Chavance

The Resistance denounced this Vichy-era story of small-town paranoia as an attack on the French people, but in retrospect it looks more like a critique of the culture of collaboration.

4. Red Hot Riding Hood
Written and directed by Tex Avery

The Male Gaze: A Comedy.

5. Ossessione
Directed by Luchino Visconti
Written by Visconti, Mario Alicata, Giuseppe De Santis, and Gianni Puccinim, from a novel by James M. Cain

The first and best of the pictures based on The Postman Always Rings Twice.

6. The Ox-Bow Incident
Directed by William A. Wellman
Written by Lamar Trotti, from a novel by Walter Van Tilburg Clark

Ideologically I have mixed feelings about this noir western: I like its defense of due process, but I don't care for the implication—common in pictures from this period—that lynching was just a matter of mobs' passions getting out of control, rather than something a power structure did to keep people in line. Cinematically, on the other hand, this is practically perfect.

7. I Walked with a Zombie
Directed by Jacques Tourneur
Written by Curt Siodmak and Ardel Wray, from a novel by Charlotte Brontë

Long before Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, this movie gave us Jane Eyre and Zombies.

8. Five Graves to Cairo
Directed by Billy Wilder
Written by Wilder and Charles Brackett, from a play by Lajos Bíró

Like I said, Casablanca isn't on this list. But this sure feels a lot like Casablanca.

9. Day of Wrath
Directed by Carl Dreyer
Written by Dreyer, Poul Knudsen, and Mogens Skot-Hansen, from a play by Hans Wiers-Jenssen

This tale of a witch hunt would make an interesting triple bill with Ox-Bow and Le Corbeau.

10. The Eternal Return
Directed by Jean Delannoy
Written by Jean Cocteau

A fairy-tale romance. Remember, real fairy tales are cruel and weird.

Honorable mentions:

11. Tortoise Wins by a Hare (Bob Clampett)
12. Journey Into Fear (Norman Foster, Orson Welles)
13. Lumière D'Été (Jean Grémillon)
14. Dumb-Hounded (Tex Avery)
15. Stormy Weather (Andrew L. Stone)
16. The Seventh Victim (Mark Robson)
17. The Fallen Sparrow (Richard Wallace)
18. Tin Pan Alley Cats (Bob Clampett)
19. Falling Hare (Bob Clampett)
20. Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (Bob Clampett)

I'll spare you the trouble of counting: 6 of those 20 films are cartoon shorts, all from either Tex Avery or Bob Clampett. I've said before that if I allowed individual TV episodes onto these lists, there are years in the '90s that would be overwhelmed by installments of The Simpsons. I suppose this is the equivalent for World War II.

Of the films of 1943 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in The Phantom Baron.

posted by Jesse 3:36 PM
. . .
Tuesday, January 02, 2024
IKE TAKES CHARGE: So far we've covered my favorite films of
2013, 2003, 1993, 1983, 1973, and 1963. You may have anticipated what comes next.

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences looked back at 1953, it gave its Best Picture award to From Here to Eternity. I like that one, but I like these better:

1. Glen or Glenda
Written and directed by Ed Wood

It draws heavily on found footage, espouses radical sexual politics, and refuses to obey any genre constraints. It jumps merrily from B-movie drama to mock educational film to surreal dream imagery. Unlike all those "socially conscious" liberal studio movies of the '50s, it actually challenges the consensus of its day, sometimes with arguments that adopt the era's assumptions and sometimes in ways far removed from the mainstream. And it casts the guy who played Dracula as God. Isn't it time we recognized this picture as a landmark underground film, as daring and unconventional as anything by Brakhage, Deren, or Conner?

2. Duck Amuck
Directed by Chuck Jones
Written by Michael Maltese

Bugs and Daffy never had much use for the fourth wall to begin with, but in this short they pretty much obliterate it.

3. The Naked Spur
Written and directed by Anthony Mann

There's an intense psychological thriller lurking beneath this cowboy-movie setting, with James Stewart in one of his most complex and morally ambiguous roles.

4. Tokyo Story
Directed by Yasujirō Ozu
Written by Ozu and Kôgo Noda

Self-absorbed adults grow emotionally estranged from their parents. Quiet but devastating.

5. Eaux d'Artifice
Written and directed by Kenneth Anger

Not much happens in this film—there's a woman walking in a garden, and there's water, and there's the color blue, and there's a burst of a different color. As far as I'm concerned, it's Anger's masterpiece.

6. Ugetsu Monogatari
Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi
Written by Matsutarô Kawaguchi and Yoshikata Yoda, from stories by Akinari Ueda

A samurai movie about potters, not a potted movie about samurais.

7. El
Directed by Luis Buñuel
Written by Buñuel and Luis Alcoriza, from a novel by Mercedes Pinto

Sometimes I think Buñuel was never better than when he was helming Mexican potboilers. He certainly had a knack for transforming them into something strange.

8. Niagara
Directed by Henry Hathaway
Written by Charles Brackett, Walter Reisch, and Richard L. Breen

A Hitchcockian nightmare about death and marriage.

9. Stalag 17
Directed by Billy Wilder
Written by Wilder and Edwin Blum, from a play by Donald Bevan and Edmund Trzcinski

I could do without some of the supporting cast, but it's still the funniest movie ever set in a wartime prison camp.

10. Summer with Monika
Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Written by Bergman, from a novel by Per Anders Fogelström

According to Eric Schaefer's Bold! Daring! Shocking! True!, an abridged version of this movie—dubbed into American English, rescored by Les Baxter, and with marketing materials that played up the picture's nude scene—lit up the exploitation circuit while the full film was being screened in arthouses. I like to imagine that somewhere it landed on a double bill with Glen or Glenda.

Honorable mentions:

11. The Wages of Fear (Henri-Georges Clouzot)
12. The Big Heat (Fritz Lang)
13. Pickup on South Street (Sam Fuller)
14. The Band Wagon (Vincente Minnelli)
15. Little Fugitive (Ray Ashley, Morris Engel, Ruth Orkin)
16. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks)
17. Mr. Hulot's Holiday (Jacques Tati)
18. Daybreak Express (D.A. Pennebaker)
19. The Tell-Tale Heart (Ted Parmelee)
20. Eneri (Hy Hirsh)

Great unsung performance: Richard Boone in Vicki.

Worst narration: Apparently, Anatahan was Jim Morrison's favorite movie. Does that mean we can blame Morrison's habit of reciting bad poetry over Ray Manzarek's sometimes-sublime keyboards on Josef von Sternberg's decision to recite his monotonic narration over his own sometimes-sublime photography? Probably not, but of everything wrong with Anatahan—and there is a lot wrong with it—surely the narration tops the list.

Of the films of 1953 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in Roman Holiday.

posted by Jesse 12:55 PM
. . .
Sunday, December 31, 2023
IN ABRAHAM ZAPRUDER'S SHADOW: Having told you my favorite films of
2013, 2003, 1993, 1983, and 1973, I now turn to...well, you know.

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences looked back at 1963, it gave its Best Picture award to Tom Jones—the movie, not the singer. It isn't very memorable, and it isn't on my list.

1. The Birds
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Evan Hunter, from a novel by Daphne du Maurier

If it isn't Hitch's best movie, it's certainly his scariest.

2. Ikarie XB-1
Directed by Jindřich Polák
Written by Polák and Pavel Juráček, from a novel by Stanislaw Lem

My pick for the most stylish space-fiction film of the '60s—and yes, I've seen 2001.

3. The Silence
Written and directed by Ingmar Bergman

The final and finest segment of the Silence of God trilogy.

4. The Haunting
Directed by Robert Wise
Written by Nelson Gidding, from a novel by Shirley Jackson

How I resented this picture the first time I saw it! The campy beginning relaxed my defenses and let me feel superior to the material; by the time its superbly crafted chills were jolting me in my seat, I was too proud to admit I'd been taken in. Forgive me, Haunting: You're a great horror movie, and I regret ever claiming to dislike you.

5. This Sporting Life
Directed by Lindsay Anderson
Written by David Storey, from his novel

The other notable William Hartnell role of 1963. And with its flashback structure, it features several jumps through time. Hmm.

6. The Leopard
Directed by Luchino Visconti
Written by Visconti, Pasquale Festa Campanile, Enrico Medioli, Massimo Franciosa, and Suso Cecchi d'Amico, from a novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

I'm not sure what it says that Burt Lancaster's best performance features someone else's voice.

7. The Great Escape
Directed by John Sturges
Written by James Clavell and W.R. Burnett, from a book by Paul Brickhill

"Perhaps we're being too clever. If we stop all the breakouts, it will only convince the goons we must be tunneling."

8. Scorpio Rising
Directed by Kenneth Anger
Written by Anger and Ernest D. Glucksman

The funniest fetish film ever made.

9. Judex
Directed by Georges Franju
Written by Jacques Champreux and Francis Lacassin, from a story by Louis Feuillade and Arthur Bernède

A semi-surrealist semi-superhero story.

10. Muriel, or The Time of Return
Directed by Alain Resnais
Written by Jean Cayrol

The art of the abrupt edit.

Honorable mentions:

11. Winter Light (Ingmar Bergman)
12. The Servant (Joseph Losey)
13. Méditerranée (Jean-Daniel Pollet, Volker Schlöndorff)
14. Hud (Martin Ritt)
15. Renaissance (Walerian Borowczyk)
16. An Actor's Revenge (Kon Ichikawa)
17. High and Low (Akira Kurosawa)
18. Moth Light (Stan Brakhage)
19. To Parsifal (Bruce Baillie)
20. Charade (Stanley Donen)

Of the films of 1963 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in The Cool World.

posted by Jesse 10:22 AM
. . .
Thursday, December 28, 2023
THE LATE NIXON ERA: I've reeled off my favorite films of
2013, 2003, 1993, and 1983. And now...

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences looked back at 1973, it gave its Best Picture award to a comedy called The Sting. That one made it into my list of honorable mentions, but it didn't crack the top 10:

1. F for Fake
Directed by Orson Welles
Written by Welles and Oja Kodar

A deliberately deceitful documentary, bordering on a mockumentary, about storytelling, filmmaking, forgery, and other forms of fakery.

2. The Long Goodbye
Directed by Robert Altman
Written by Leigh Brackett, from a novel by Raymond Chandler

I have heard this anti-noir condemned on the grounds that no one is less suited to play Philip Marlowe than Elliott Gould. I say that's part of the point.

3. Badlands
Written and directed by Terrence Malick

" is strange."

4. The Last Detail
Directed by Hal Ashby
Written by Robert Towne, from a novel by Darryl Ponicsan

Part of that amazing streak Jack Nicholson had in the early to mid 1970s, when it must have seemed like he was incapable of starring in a bad movie.

5. Charley Varrick
Directed by Don Siegel
Written by Dean Riesner and Howard Rodman, from a novel by John Reese

An elegy for individualism, delivered by one of Hollywood's most individualistic directors.

6. The Friends of Eddie Coyle
Directed by Peter Yates
Written by Paul Monash, from a novel by George V. Higgins

The book is great too, but it doesn't have Robert Mitchum.

7. Mean Streets
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Written by Scorsese and Mardik Martin

An ur-movie whose influence echoes from The Bad Lieutenant to The Wire.

8. Paper Moon
Directed by Peter Bogdanovich
Written by Alvin Sargent, from a novel by Joe David Brown

"We just have to keep on veering, that's all."

9. Day for Night
Directed by François Truffaut
Written by Truffaut, Jean-Louis Richard, and Suzanne Schiffman

There's this whole genre of movies about making movies, from The Cameraman to 8 1/2 to Ed Wood to, um, Hardbodies 2, which isn't any good but it's the first specimen of the genre I ever saw, watching cable one night in my teens, so I'll mention it too. Anyway, this is one of the better ones.

10. Sleeper
Directed by Woody Allen
Written by Allen and Marshall Brickman

They saved Hitler's nose.

Honorable mentions:

11. Scenes from a Marriage (Ingmar Bergman)
12. Don't Look Now (Nicolas Roeg)
13. Wattstax (Mel Stuart)
14. Serpico (Sidney Lumet)
15. Juvenile Court (Frederick Wiseman)
16. Frank Film (Frank Mouris)
17. High Plains Drifter (Clint Eastwood)
18. The Sting (George Roy Hill)
19. My Name is Nobody (Tonino Valerii, Sergio Leone)
20. Hell Up in Harlem (Larry Cohen)

Best montage: It's about an hour into John Milius' Dillinger. You'll know it when you see it.

Of the films of 1973 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in The Mother and the Whore.

posted by Jesse 3:52 PM
. . .
Tuesday, December 26, 2023
'83 AND ME: I have posted my favorite films of
2013, 2003, and 1993. But we shall not rest; onward to the '80s.

When the Motion Picture Academy looked back at 1983, it gave its Best Picture award to an all-star weepie called Terms of Endearment. I think that one's fine, but I like these better:

1. Sans Soleil
Written and directed by Chris Marker

A strange and lovely essay-film about Africa, Japan, festivals, robots, Hitchcock, and much more. No other movie in the world is like this one.

2. Videodrome
Written and directed by David Cronenberg

"It's just torture and murder. No plot, no characters. Very, very realistic. I think it's what's next."

3. The King of Comedy
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Written by Paul Zimmerman

This and Videodrome would make an interesting double bill, especially if you're feeling a little paranoid about your TV set.

4. Tender Mercies
Directed by Bruce Beresford
Written by Horton Foote

Robert Duvall plays a country singer who's down on his luck. If you don't think that sounds great, you might be reading the wrong blog.

5. Zelig
Written and directed by Woody Allen

"It shows exactly what you can do, if you're a total psychotic."

6. Pauline at the Beach
Written and directed by Eric Rohmer

I don't know if honest self-deception is logically possible, but that's what the final scene seems to show.

7. The Meaning of Life
Directed by Terry Jones with Terry Gilliam
Written by Jones, Gilliam, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, and Michael Palin

Palin: What we've come up with can be reduced to two fundamental concepts. One: People aren't wearing enough hats. Two: Matter is energy. In the universe there are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person's soul. However, this "soul" does not exist ab initio, as orthodox Christianity teaches. It has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved owing to man's unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia.
Jones: What was that about hats again?

8. El Sur
Directed by Victor Erice
Written by Erice, from a novel by Adelaida García Morales

"That was the first time Dad left home in the middle of the night without a word to anyone."

9. El Norte
Directed by Gregory Nava
Written by Anna Thomas

I swear I didn't deliberately tweak this so El Norte would be immediately adjacent to El Sur.

10. A Christmas Story
Directed by Bob Clark
Written by Clark, Leigh Brown, and Jean Shepherd, from a novel by Shepherd

Available both as a conventional 90-minute movie and, come Christmas, as an ambient 24-hour experience shared by participating households across the TBS and TNT districts of the global village.

Honorable mentions:

11. À Nos Amours (Maurice Pialat)
12. John Cage (Peter Greenaway)
13. Carmen (Carlos Saura)
14. Trading Places (John Landis)
15. Possibly in Michigan (Cecelia Condit)
16. The Store (Frederick Wiseman)
17. Risky Business (Paul Brickman)
18. Local Hero (Bill Forsyth)
19. Rockit (Kevin Godley, Lol Creme)
20. Smorgasbord (Jerry Lewis)

Of the films of 1983 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in L'Argent.

posted by Jesse 10:16 AM
. . .
Sunday, December 24, 2023
MATT YGLESIAS' DAD BEATS RIDLEY SCOTT'S BROTHER: We've gone through my favorite films of
2013 and 2003. Time to slide back another decade.

When the Motion Picture Academy looked at 1993, it gave its Best Picture award to Schindler's List, Steven Spielberg's attempt to find an uplifting story in a genocide. If you want a great film about life and death under Nazi rule, there are many excellent options, from The Sorrow and the Pity to Europa Europa; I don't think this one makes the cut. And if you want a great film from 1993, well...

1. Short Cuts
Directed by Robert Altman
Written by Altman and Frank Barhydt, from stories by Raymond Carver

Someday I should write a long essay on the links between highbrow hyperlink cinema and lowbrow disaster flicks. For now I'll just call this the best disaster movie ever made.

2. Groundhog Day
Directed by Harold Ramis
Written by Ramis and Danny Rubin

Buddha's favorite romantic comedy.

3. A Perfect World
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Written by John Lee Hancock

The joke goes that this is the picture that proved Eastwood's standing as a great director, because he managed to elicit a good performance from Kevin Costner.

4. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Directed by Henry Selick
Written by Caroline Thompson and Michael McDowell, from a story by Tim Burton

"Haven't you heard of peace on Earth and goodwill toward men?"

5. Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould
Directed by François Girard
Written by Girard, Don McKellar, and Nick McKinney

So much better than a conventional biopic.

6. Latcho Drom
Written and directed by Tony Gatlif

This celebration of Gypsy music is often described as a documentary. But the whole thing was scripted and staged, so it might make more sense to call it a hundred-minute music video.

7. Fearless
Directed by Peter Weir
Written by Rafael Yglesias, from his novel

Someone once told me he saw this on an airplane. Seems unlikely, but I was once on a plane where they showed us Apollo 13—this was back when the whole flight saw the same movie—and they somehow even timed it so that we were making our descent while we watched the spacecraft plunge to Earth, so who knows? Maybe it really happened.

8. Manhattan Murder Mystery
Directed by Woody Allen
Written by Allen and Marshall Brickman

Proof that Allen could be laugh-out-loud funny as late as the 1990s.

9. Dottie Gets Spanked
Written and directed by Todd Haynes

The queer fantasies of the American family sitcom.

10. True Romance
Directed by Tony Scott
Written by Quentin Tarantino

Tony Scott does Tarantino. And a year later Tarantino got to give us his version of Top Gun, so it all evens out.

Honorable mentions:

11. The Bed You Sleep In (Jon Jost)
12. Red Rock West (John Dahl)
13. Mad Dog and Glory (John McNaughton)
14. The Scent of Green Papaya (Tran Anh Hung)
15. The Wrong Trousers (Nick Park)
16. The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (Ray Müller)
17. Body Snatchers (Abel Ferrara)
18. The Junky's Christmas (Nick Donkin, Melodie McDaniel)
19. The Hour of the Pig (Leslie Megahey)
20. Blue (Krzysztof Kieslowski)

Of the films of 1993 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in Exterior Night.

posted by Jesse 10:33 AM
. . .
Friday, December 22, 2023
THE YEAR THEY WENT TO WAR (AGAIN): I've told you my favorite films of
2013. Now let's hop back another 10 years.

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences looked at 2003, it gave its Best Picture award to The Return of the King, a steadily-more-tedious bore of an epic that excises the best part of Tolkien's trilogy to make room for a four-hour sequence of hobbits jumping on a bed. (That's four hours in subjective time, of course. It is possible that I fell asleep during this scene and that the time that actually elapsed was longer.) These are all better:

1. The Wire 2
Written by David Simon, Ed Burns, Joy Lusco, Rafael Alvarez, and George Pelecanos
Directed by Ed Bianchi, Elodie Keene, Steve Shill, Thomas J. Wright, Dan Attias, Tim Van Patten, Rob Bailey, and Ernest Dickerson

Not only do I love the oft-maligned second season of The Wire; I think the union leader at the heart of the story, Frank Sobotka—a tragic hero who thinks he can do good by doing evil, and is brought down by it—is the show's best character this side of Omar.

2. Tarnation
Directed by Jonathan Caouette

By 2003 video cameras were standard equipment for a middle-class American household, and they had been for long enough that a documentary like this was possible. Tarnation takes the video diaries that Caouette started shooting at age 11 and assembles them into something absorbing, unsettling, and visually stunning.

3. The Saddest Music in the World
Directed by Guy Maddin
Written by Maddin and George Toles, from a story by Kazuo Ishiguro

You probably haven't heard of this one, but I swear it's one of the funniest comedies of the 21st century.

4. Osama
Written and directed by Siddiq Barmak

No, it isn't about bin Laden. But it is, in a way, about his mindset.

5. Lost in Translation
Written and directed by Sofia Coppola

If you want to appreciate how good Bill Murray is, watch the scene where his character makes a whiskey commercial. Everyone on the set but him speaks Japanese, and he has no idea what's going on. He tells us this with small movements of his jaw and eyes, and as I watched in the theater every one of those little facial ticks sparked spasms of audience laughter. I'm not an actor, but I'm pretty sure of this: It can't be easy to make people laugh just by moving your pupils slightly to the left or right.

6. Saraband
Written and directed by Ingmar Bergman

The sequel to Scenes From a Marriage is moving, disturbing, bleak; even better, I think, than the original.

7. Kill Bill: Vol. 1
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino

A trash symphony.

8. Good Bye Lenin!
Directed by Wolfgang Becker
Written by Becker and Bernd Lichtenberg

There's a whiff of Ostalgie here, but I can overlook that—the concept is just so deliriously funny, and the protagonists' motive so sweet.

9. Looney Tunes: Back in Action
Directed by Joe Dante
Written by Larry Doyle

Dante dubbed this the anti–Space Jam, and that is exactly what he made.

10. The Same River Twice
Directed by Robb Moss

What The Big Chill was trying to be.

Honorable mentions:

11. The Triplets of Belleville (Sylvain Chomet)
12. Swimming Pool (François Ozon)
13. The Agronomist (Jonathan Demme)
14. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring (Kim Ki-duk)
15. A Mighty Wind (Christopher Guest)
16. Capturing the Friedmans (Andrew Jarecki)
17. All the Real Girls (David Gordon Green)
18. Hurt (Mark Romanek)
19. My Architect (Nathaniel Kahn)
20. Cunnilingus in North Korea (Young-Hae Chang, Marc Voge)

And I guess I should give a shout-out to Dogville, if only because anyone writing about the films of 2003 is probably obliged to take a stand one way or another on Dogville. I am pro-Dogville, mostly. I grant you that it is misanthropic, but plenty of good art is misanthropic. What's less forgivable is that it's too long.

Of the films of 2003 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in The Flower of Evil.

posted by Jesse 9:10 AM
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Wednesday, December 20, 2023
A BAKER'S COVEN: I haven't seen enough movies from 2023 to write a good best-of-the-year list. Fortunately, I've got a while to catch up: The tradition here at The Perpetual Three-Dot Column is to list the best movies of a decade ago, two decades ago, and so on, voyaging backward to the dawn of cinema or til my film literacy peters out, whichever comes first.

When the Motion Picture Academy looked at 2013, it gave its Best Picture award to 12 Years a Slave, a movie I avoided for a long time—all the talk about how "important" and "necessary" it was had me expecting one of those films that's more interested in being good for you than in actually being good. I shouldn't have waited: It turned out to be a riveting story about the ways a system like slavery poisons everyone involved with it. It made it into my top 20. But it isn't at #1:

1. Her
Written and directed by Spike Jonze

Between this and the picture at #3, this lineup of movies has more interesting things to say about artificial intelligence than 90% of the past year's A.I. hot takes.

2. The Wind Rises
Written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki

"Humanity has always dreamt of flying, but the dream is cursed. My aircraft are destined to become tools for slaughter."

3. Computer Chess
Written and directed by Andrew Bujalski

At first, you might mistake this for a documentary. At first.

4. Inside Llewyn Davis
Written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

"If it was never new, and it never gets old, then it's a folk song."

5. Enemy
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Written by Javier Gullón, from a novel by José Saramago

2013 wasn't just a good year for A.I.: This and the item at #9 made it a rich time for doppelgängers.

6. Ida
Directed by Paweł Pawlikowski
Written by Pawlikowski and Rebecca Lenkiewicz

A road trip across an early-'60s Polish landscape, haunted by a not-so-distant Holocaust and by the even closer crimes of the Stalin era.

7. Stoker
Directed by Park Chan-wook
Written by Wentworth Miller

Shadow of another doubt.

8. The East
Directed by Zal Batmanglij
Written by Batmanglij and Brit Marling

Brit Marling specializes in sharply written screenplays about tight-knit cells that dwell in their own micro-realities—the sort of group that outsiders might consider a "
cult." But that's not to say the viewer always ends up siding with the outsiders.

9. Orphan Black
Written by Graeme Manson, Karen Walton, Alex Levine, Will Pascoe, and Tony Elliott
Directed by John Fawcett, T.J. Scott, David Frazee, Grant Harvey, Brett Sullivan, and Ken Girotti

This science-fiction series about assassins, clones, and conspiracies would later fade in quality; I never even finished the final season. But if you treat this year's episodes as an (almost) self-contained miniseries, you won't have to worry about that.

10. The Wolf of Wall Street
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Written by Terence Winter, from a memoir by Jordan Belfort

Early in this movie, a Forbes exposé of the title character's misdeeds ends up serving as an advertisement for the article's target, with a flood of young brokers begging to work for him. On some level, Scorsese must have realized that this stock-fraud Goodfellas would do something similar for Wall Street. But look: We respect talent here, and the quaalude/Popeye sequence alone is great enough to earn this movie a spot in the top 20. The infomercial arrest boosts it into the top 10.

Honorable mentions:

11. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)
12. The Americans (Joe Weisberg, Joel Fields)
13. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)
14. Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-ho)
15. Mood Indigo (Michel Gondry)
16. Frozen (Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck)
17. Upstream Color (Shane Carruth)
18. Twenty Feet from Stardom (Morgan Neville)
19. American Reflexxx (Alli Coates)
20. Skinner Box Head (Sholim)

That item at #12 is a TV show, so the names in parentheses after it are showrunners, not directors. And that item at #20 is a GIF, so the name in parentheses after it is a GIF artist. For years I swore that one day I'd put a GIF on one of these lists, and now I have. We're throwing all the rules out the window, baby!

Of the films of 2013 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.

posted by Jesse 12:07 PM
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Saturday, January 07, 2023
HAS IT REALLY BEEN A WHOLE CENTURY?: I have picked the best pictures of
2012, 2002, 1992, 1982, 1972, 1962, 1952, 1942, and 1932. You have probably anticipated my next step.

Welcome to 1922. We are in the pre-Oscar era now, so I can't start this my usual way by telling you what won Best Picture. I can say that the top-grossing movie in America this year is Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood—yes, the official title includes the star's name. I have never seen it. But I have seen these:

1. Salomé
Directed by Charles Bryant and Alla Nazimova
Written by Nazimova and Natacha Rambova, from a play by Oscar Wilde

Feels more like Kenneth Anger than Oscar Wilde.

2. Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror
Directed by F.W. Murnau
Written by Henrik Galeen, from a novel by Bram Stoker

Dracula, but less suave and more goblinny.

3. Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler, Part 2—Inferno: A Game for the People of Our Age
Directed by Fritz Lang
Written by Lang and Thea von Harbou, from a novel by Norbert Jacques

Tired of superhero movies? Here's a vintage supervillain movie.

4. Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler, Part 1—The Great Gambler: A Picture of the Time
Directed by Fritz Lang
Written by Lang and Thea von Harbou, from a novel by Norbert Jacques

It's good that part two is ranked higher. That means the story keeps getting better.

5. Cops
Written and directed by Buster Keaton and Edward F. Cline

Buster has a run-in with the LAPD—and I mean all of the LAPD.

6. The Blacksmith
Written and directed by Buster Keaton and Malcolm St. Clair

Yes, it's Buster Keaton again. He was having a good year.

7. Grandma's Boy
Directed by Fred C. Newmeyer
Written by Hal Roach, Sam Taylor, Jean Havez, and H.M. Walker

Harold Lloyd was also having a good year.

8. Pay Day
Written and directed by Charles Chaplin

Even Charlie Chaplin was having a pretty good year. I'm not a huge Chaplin fan, but none of my usual complaints about him apply to Pay Day: This is fast-paced, funny, and unsentimental—head-and-shoulders better than anything else the man did before Modern Times.

9. Jumping Beans
Directed by Dave Fleischer
Written by Max Fleischer

A 12-minute tale of space travel and cloning, with allusions along the way to Gulliver's Travels and Jack and the Beanstalk.

10. Witchcraft Through the Ages
Written and directed by Benjamin Christensen

If you don't mind mixing a little 1968 into your 1922, look for the version narrated by William Burroughs.

I haven't got a full list of 10 honorable mentions this time, but I'll give a shoutout to Walther Ruttmann's experimental advertisement Der Sieger. Here we are, barely past World War I, and already ads are absorbing the avant garde—or is it the other way around?

Of the films of 1922 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in Phantom.

I have not watched enough movies from 1912, let alone enough good movies from 1912, to do another top 10 after this one. So this post is where this year's list-fest ends. For the record, my favorite movie of 1912 is Wladyslaw Starewicz's The Cameraman's Revenge. My favorite movie of 1902 is Georges Méliès' La Voyage Dans la Lune. My favorite movie of 1892 is Charles-Émile Reynaud's Pauvre Pierrot. And my favorite movie of 1882—if movie is the right word for it—is Eadweard Muybridge's The Kiss. If you have a brilliant fantascope disc from 1872 to recommend, drop me a line.

posted by Jesse 9:30 AM
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Thursday, January 05, 2023
PROSPERITY IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER: We've listed the best films of
2012, 2002, 1992, 1982, 1972, 1962, 1952, and 1942. Up next...

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences looked back at 1932, it gave its Best Picture award to Grand Hotel, a movie that spawned a thousand imitators (including just about every well-known disaster movie and, indirectly, the whole hyperlink cinema genre). It is, alas, a mixed bag itself. These are all better:

1. Vampyr
Directed by Carl Dreyer
Written by Dreyer and Christen Jul, from stories by Sheridan Le Fanu

Forget Dracula: This is the best vampire movie I've ever seen.

2. Island of Lost Souls
Directed by Erle C. Kenton
Written by Philip Wylie and Waldemar Young, from a novel by H.G. Wells

A mad pre-Code picture based on H.G. Wells' best book, starring Bela Lugosi and the great Charles Laughton.

3. Ivan
Written and directed by Alexander Dovzhenko

Suppose you're a brilliant Ukrainian director working in Stalin's Soviet Union. Your last film upset the art commissars, and you've been assigned to put together a propaganda picture about the building of the Dneiper Dam. And then you turn in this crazy masterpiece. You, sir, have brass balls.

4. Freaks
Directed by Tod Browning
Written by Willis Goldbeck, Leon Gordon, Al Boasberg, Charles MacArthur, and Edgar Allan Woolf, from a story by Tod Robbins

Keep forgetting Dracula: This is Browning's greatest film. Even its flaws work in its favor: Stiff acting usually drives me crazy, but here it actually adds to the movie's mysterious aura, perhaps because it reminds us that these folks aren't actors in weird get-ups but honest-to-god circus freaks.

5. Love Me Tonight
Directed by Rouben Mamoulian
Written by Samuel Hoffenstein, George Marion Jr., and Waldemar Young

As good as a Maurice Chevalier movie gets.

6. Horse Feathers
Directed by Norman Z. McLeod
Written by S.J. Perelman, Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby, and Will B. Johnstone

"You've got the brain of a four-year old child, and I bet he was glad to get rid of it."

7. Boudu Saved from Drowning
Directed by Jean Renoir
Written by Renoir and Albert Valentin, from a play by René Fauchois

The anti–My Man Godfrey.

8. Trouble in Paradise
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Written by Samson Raphaelson and Grover Jones

To see the range of what filmmakers could get away with in the pre-Code era, watch this cheerfully amoral romantic comedy back to back with Freaks.

9. Million Dollar Legs
Directed by Edward F. Cline
Written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Henry Myers, Nicholas T. Barrows, and Ben Hecht

"What a marvelous country. Say, I'll bet you if they laid all the athletes end to end here, why they'd reach—" "484 miles." "How do you know?" "We did it once."

10. Blood of a Poet
Written and directed by Jean Cocteau

Cocteau denied that this was a surrealist film, but that's absurd. It is clearly a surrealist film. Maybe not as surrealist as the Betty Boop cartoons down in the honorable mentions, but surreal enough.

Honorable mentions:

11. Betty Boop, M.D. (Dave Fleischer)
12. Shanghai Express (Josef von Sternberg)
13. American Madness (Frank Capra)
14. Betty Boop for President (Dave Fleischer)
15. One Hour with You (Ernst Lubitsch, George Cukor)
16. Minnie the Moocher (Dave Fleischer)
17. Red-Headed Woman (Jack Conway)
18. Night at the Crossroads (Jean Renoir)
19. Murders in the Rue Morgue (Robert Florey)
20. The Idea (Berthold Bartosch)


Look, I like Scarface, but it's an uneven movie. Now obviously I can forgive a certain unevenness if the high points are high enough: I listed Murders in the Rue Morgue, after all, and in the case of Freaks I pretty much counted the film's flaws as virtues. But with Scarface, I can't get past that awful crime-doesn't-pay lecture that the studio insisted on inserting into the movie.

Yes, I let in Ivan, and it's full of propaganda for a totalitarian regime—quite a bit worse, morally speaking, than telling viewers not to be gangsters. But Dovzhenko played off the material that he was forced to include, made it part of his art, and subverted it. Howard Hawks just walked off the set for a while, let another director shoot the scene, and shoved the ungainly thing in. So the film falls off the list. If you want to imagine that it's at #21, I can live with that.

Of the films of 1932 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in I Was Born, But...

posted by Jesse 8:33 AM
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Tuesday, January 03, 2023
WE ARE ENTERING A WAR ZONE: We have covered my favorite movies of
2012, 2002, 1992, 1982, 1972, 1962, and 1952. Forward, into the past!

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences looked back at 1942, it gave its Best Picture award to Mrs. Miniver. I don't like that one. I do like these:

1. Cat People
Directed by Jacques Tourneur
Written by DeWitt Bodeen, from a story by Val Lewton

The first and arguably greatest of the Val Lewton horror cycle.

2. The Magnificent Ambersons
Directed by Orson Welles
Written by Welles, from a novel by Booth Tarkington

You can tell when the studio's excisions begin, because a perfect picture suddenly becomes a choppy mess. If the director's cut ever surfaces, this movie will almost certainly rise to the #1 spot.

3. The Talk of the Town
Directed by George Stevens
Written by Irwin Shaw, Sidney Buchman, and Dale Van Every, from a story by Sidney Harmon

"What is the law? It's a gun pointed at somebody's head. All depends upon which end of the gun you stand, whether the law is just or not."

4. Casablanca
Directed by Michael Curtiz
Written by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, and Howard Koch, from a play by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison

Whenever I see the beginning of this movie, I tell myself This isn't as good as I remember. By the time I get to the end, I say Oh, right. It is.

5. The Man Who Came to Dinner
Directed by William Keighley
Written by Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein, from a play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart

"I became a nurse because all my life, ever since I was a little girl, I was filled with the idea of serving a suffering humanity. After one month with you, Mr. Whiteside, I am going to work in a munitions factory."

6. The Palm Beach Story
Written and directed by Preston Sturges

"Sex always has something to do with it, dear."

7. The Major and the Minor
Directed by Billy Wilder
Written by Wilder and Charles Brackett, from a play by Edward Childs Carpenter

"Those innocent little panzer divisions in sheep's clothing."

8. La Nuit Fantastique
Directed by Marcel L'Herbier
Written by Louis Chavance and Maurice Henry

A surrealist romance.

9. To Be or Not to Be
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Written by Edwin Justus Mayer, from a story by Melchior Lengyel

Hey, Chaplin: This is how you do an anti-Nazi comedy.

10. The Male Animal
Directed by Elliott Nugent
Written by Stephen Morehouse Avery, Julius J. Epstein, and Philip G. Epstein, from a play by James Thurber and Elliott Nugent

The most political jocks-vs.-nerds movie ever made.

Honorable mentions:

11. The Road to Morocco (David Butler)
12. The Murderer Lives at Number 21 (Henri-Georges Clouzot)
13. Random Harvest (Mervyn LeRoy)
14. This Gun for Hire (Frank Tuttle)
15. Holiday Inn (Mark Sandrich)
16. Went the Day Well? (Alberto Cavalcanti)
17. The Early Bird Dood It (Tex Avery)
18. The Hare-Brained Hypnotist (Friz Freleng)
19. Symphony Hour (Riley Thomson)
20. Headlights in the Fog (Gianni Franciolini)

Of the films of 1942 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in O Pátio das Cantigas.

posted by Jesse 8:29 AM
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Sunday, January 01, 2023
'52 CARD PICKUP: So far, I've blogged my favorite films of
2012, 2002, 1992, 1982, 1972, and 1962. Now we enter the '50s.

When the Motion Picture Academy looked back at 1952, it gave its Best Picture award to The Greatest Show on Earth. That one is a ludicrous, bloated spectacle, and the conventional wisdom these days is to dismiss it, but I have to confess I kind of like it. Still, there never was a chance that it would make it onto my list.

1. Ikiru
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Written by Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, and Hideo Oguni

This would make an interesting double feature with It's a Wonderful Life.

2. The Tragedy of Othello, a Moor of Venice
Directed by Orson Welles
Written by Welles, from a play by William Shakespeare

My favorite Shakespeare movie. Or, at least, my favorite that isn't a loose adaptation set in Japan.

3. Singin' in the Rain
Directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen
Written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green

This might have made it to the #1 spot but for Donald O'Connor, who wears out his welcome awfully quickly.

4. Viva Zapata!
Directed by Elia Kazan
Written by John Steinbeck

"Now I know you. No fields, no home. No wife, no woman. No friends, no love. You'll only destroy. That is your love."

5. The Lusty Men
Directed by Nicholas Ray
Written by David Dortort and Horace McCoy, from a novel by Claude Stanush

The title makes it sound like it's a gay thing, but that's not what it's about at all. It's about a man and a woman who want to buy their own ranch, you see, but then the guy partners up with a rodeo star and enters the older man's footloose, risky, masculine world, and the woman starts to worry that her husband's losing sight of their domestic dreams, and...oh.

6. My Son John
Directed by Leo McCarey
Written by McCarey, Myles Connolly, and John Lee Mahin

There is no other movie like this in the world. It's like someone crossed John Cassavates with Joe McCarthy.

7. Water, Water Every Hare
Directed by Chuck Jones
Written by Michael Maltese

A sequel to Hair-Raising Hare. More dreamlike than the first film, and almost as funny.

8. The Narrow Margin
Directed by Richard Fleischer
Written by Earl Felton, from a story by Martin Goldsmith and Jack Leonard

Do you like movies about assassins on trains? Here's a hell of a movie about some assassins on a train.

9. Rancho Notorious
Directed by Fritz Lang
Written by Daniel Taradash

"I'd wish you go away...and come back 10 years ago."

10. Casque d'Or
Directed by Jacques Becker
Written by Becker, Jacques Companéez, and Annette Wademant

Belle Epoque noir.

Honorable mentions:

11. Magical Maestro (Tex Avery)
12. Forbidden Games (René Clément)
13. Umberto D. (Vittorio De Sica)
14. A Phantasy (Norman McLaren)
15. Bells of Atlantis (Ian Hugo)
16. Son of Paleface (Frank Tashlin)
17. The Beast Must Die (Román Viñoly Barreto)
18. La Jeune Folle (Yves Allégret)
19. Scaramouche (George Sidney)
20. The Happy Family (Muriel Box)

If you're an aficionado of westerns with gay undertones, you needn't stop with The Lusty Men. 1952 also gave us Anthony Mann's Bend of the River, a movie about whether "that kind" can "change." Officially, the line I just quoted is about robbers. But watch Jimmy Stewart flirt with Arthur Kennedy at the beginning of this picture, and see if you don't think something more is going on here.

Of the films of 1952 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in The White Reindeer.

posted by Jesse 10:34 AM
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Friday, December 30, 2022
SIXTY-TWO SKIDOO: We've toured my favorite films of
2012, 2002, 1992, 1982, and 1972. You should be able to guess what's next.

When the Motion Picture Academy looked back at 1962, it gave its Best Picture award to Lawrence of Arabia. I don't think that's a bad movie—it made it into my honorable mentions—but I don't think it's the year's best either.

1. The Exterminating Angel
Directed by Luis Buñuel
Written by Buñuel and Luis Alcoriza, from a play by Jose Bergamin

This was the first Buñuel film I ever saw. A couple dozen pictures later, it's still my favorite.

2. The Music Man
Directed by Morton DaCosta
Written by Marion Hargrove, from a play by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey

A real movie musical, completely liberated from the stage, with a sophisticated score and an anti-bluenose streak.

3. La Jetée
Written and directed by Chris Marker

Terry Gilliam remade/remixed this as Twelve Monkeys. I like that one too, but it can't match the poetry of the original.

4. Ride the High Country
Directed by Sam Peckinpah
Written by N.B. Stone Jr.

"You can have one, because the Lord's bounty is not for sale. The rest are a dollar each."

5. The Manchurian Candidate
Directed by John Frankenheimer
Written by George Axelrod, from a novel by Richard Condon

The book is fun, but it's also a mess. The screen version—or at least this screen version—is much better.

6. The Fabulous Baron Munchausen
Directed by Karel Zeman
Written by Zerman, Josef Kainar, and Jiří Brdečka, from a story cycle by Rudolf Erich Raspe

I'm a fan of Terry Gilliam's Munchausen movie too, but—as with La Jette—I like this earlier take on the tale better. It feels like it's set in a Cornell box.

7. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Directed by Robert Aldrich
Written by Lukas Heller, from a novel by Henry Farrell

"You mean, all this time we could've been friends?"

8. Sanjuro
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Written by Kurosawa and Ryuzo Kikushima

Kurosawa's funniest film, though I wouldn't quite call it a comedy.

9. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
Directed by Robert Enrico
Written by Enrico, from a story by Ambrose Bierce

One of two templates for Siesta, Jacob's Ladder, Lulu on the Bridge, Abre Los Ojos, The Sixth Sense, Vanilla Sky, and Donnie Darko.

10. Carnival of Souls
Directed by Herk Harvey
Written by John Clifford

The other template.

Honorable mentions:

11. Pitfall (Hiroshi Teshigahara)
12. Cleo from 5 to 7 (Agnès Varda)
13. Lolita (Stanley Kubrick)
14. Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean)
15. The House Is Black (Forough Farrokhzad)
16. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence (John Ford)
17. The Trial (Orson Welles)
18. Knife in the Water (Roman Polanski)
19. Hell is for Heroes (Don Siegel)
20. The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit (Gene Deitch)

If you're thinking to yourself, "Hey, didn't Jesse already mention The Fabulous Baron Munchausen when he listed his favorite films of 1961 last year?" then I congratulate you on your capacity for remembering blog trivia. You are correct. Apparently I had the wrong release date. Feel free to mentally revise last year's list by taking out Munchausen, bumping up everything below it, and inserting Jan Lenica's Nowy Janko Muzykant at #20.

Of the films of 1962 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in The Awful Dr. Orloff.

posted by Jesse 9:28 AM
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