My friend Red Philips asks his FB friends to rate various movie trilogies. I posted a remark:
The same could be said of most of the really popular films of the past three or four decades. As "art," they are worthless, as entertainment, they are degrading, and as a moral force they corrupt our minds and characters, but people who are otherwise sensible--for the time being--continue to follow the Pied Pipers of degrading mass culture.
When someone asked what movies in the past 50 years I had enjoyed, I commented:
I watch fewer and fewer movies made since 1960. They are too bloody stupid and incoherent. Worst of all is the inconsistency of the incoherent characters. I remember being dragged to the theater to see the first Star Wars. Good Lord, it was far dumber than any Flash Gordon and the acting was even worse. I'm sure my reluctance has cause me to miss a few decent films. What I mostly have enjoyed is cheap entertainment. It took me years to resign myself to Bergman, though I liked Fellini from the first.
Here in no particular order are a few I liked: "The Long Riders," "Tombstone," . "Harry, un ami qui vous veut du bien" (With a Friend Like Harry),Michel Gondry's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," and "Be Kind Rewind," the first Tim Burton "Batman" and "Betelgeuse," Tornatore's "Tutti Vanno Bene". (a bit too sentimental), Eastwood's "Unforgiven"--which I would never see again, and maybe "Gran Torino," though it is formulaic junk, the pretentious "Sixth Sense." I thought the Superman movie with Gene Hackman was amusing. "Ghostbusters" was funny and made a good point, "Poltergeist II" was chilling, I'd throw in "The Emperor's Club" if only because it was vastly superior to the evil "Dead Poets Society," "Groundhog Day," "Idiocracy." "Barbershop," "The Royal Tenebaums" (partly from vanity because my children's friends seem to see a likeness...). and "Shaun of the Dead," which I found hilarious. I have a weakness for Jack Black, and enjoyed the silly "School of Rock," but even better was "The Polka King", a biopic about a Polish polka bandleader who runs a Ponzi scheme and goes to jail. When he comes out, he performs his "Polka Rap."
With these afterthoughts:
There is one danger to that movie. My wife was away, I had a few drinks, and I laughed so hard I fell off the sofa and nearly broke my tailbone. I so admired the two Michel Gondry movies I saw that I stupidly rented his Green Hornet. Sometimes, your own private jokes cannot be shared, and pretending--wink wink--that Seth Rogen is an actor is the kind of dumb joke I would come up with after a long evening.
Trip to Bountiful is a beautiful film, excellent cast, and above all a real screenplay by Horton Foote. I think it is less well done, though than Foote's screenplay for Tender Mercies.
I should have added the French Canadian films of Arcand such as the Fall of the American Empire and The Barbarian Invasion. They are more than a little too talky. Oh, and Whit Stillman's trilogy--Metropolitan, The Last Days of Disco, and Barcelona.