Best movie ever made? (4 replies and 5 comments)
A good mid week puzzle to ponder just for fun. Not that I'm any authority , just inventive to propose it. I know Roger likes this already from previous forums.
This is different from the greatest movie ever made. Or the most favorite movie. For example, To Catch a Thief is a favorite of mine but I don't put it on any best movie lists. And aren't there are the usuals in the great movie categories but are you like me, you never really feel like seeing them (or see them alot) unless its playing in front of you. A best movie is a movie you're always in the mood for. It never dated and its high in artistry, entertainment, depth, cinematography, acting, drama, characters so fun walk on for 2 minutes that you wouldn't mind having on longer and then cooler characters enter the picture and the meal just keeps getting bigger. Does that even happen much anymore?
What movie just crackles everytime you see it. Everything is on point and skillful in all categories. So good it still hasn't been beat even in a crowded genre, dominating its genre years later even with all the tech, money and fanciness out there. I think I have a pretty solid idea which one it is. In the end, just an opinion. but I think its a shining example. Will post later.
Personally Annie Hall just fascinates me every time I watch it. Woody Allen's views on relationships and love is an amazing theme that runs throughout the film. The characters of Alvy Singer and Annie Hall and their dynamic relationship are a pleasure to watch. Of course not to mention Gordon Willis's first collaboration with Woody Allen helped build a beautiful film, which immerses its audience to a point they forget they are watching a movie. It's long takes and framing are just fascinating to watch.
Annie Hall, yes, perfect example of this sort of thing!
See what you mean about that one. Remember everything flowed and felt fresh to watch with all the characters he had, giving it that crackle along with everything else - esp. his writing and feel for characters.
Had artistry to it but still kept moving , was both entertaining and self effacing. Very different from everything you normally see too. His NYC movie for the ages.
If the word "best movie" is too off-putting...
"one for the ages" works too.
I loved The English Patient, sorry that John Seale didn't talk about that but I just listened to your podcast with him and enjoyed it immensely. One film I find so prophetic is the original Rollerball, most of it has come to pass. My favourite film as a child was The Red Balloon.
Ah yes! “Red Balloon” now that is a classic.
Directors son and daughter are still waiting for their fee!
Red Balloon, Rollerball, English Patient...cool choices! That' what I'm talking about. Even Oscar winners in there.
Like it when the movie at first is something pulpy and dismissive by the usual tastemakers of the time then elevates itself because the creators made it into something more, just going for a concept where other sophisticated fare seems to lose itself in too much self importance to stay interesting.
My choice (coming up) I think is in that vein as well.
Also, I see what you mean about wanting to hear more about English Patient, that was huge at the time as being the event movie, kind of like lDune shaping up to be now. (having those sweeping desert views can do this)
Like you I was hoping another podcast that Neil Jordan would talk about what happened with "Interview with a Vampire", the huge film of his career besides the Crying Game that got him the gig... That buildup to that movie and him directing was a pretty big deal at the time f I remember correctly - a high art vampire film. Now it seems all involved want to forget about it. Think it did well box office-wise but it's strange that there was nothing further, it marked the end of big production vampire movies for like 25 yrs or so . Hopefully he chats about that sometime. I'm curious. ( though he did talk about another vampire film he did later)
Ok, my entry for best movie ever (or in more gentler terms: "one for the ages")
About that, why is there a best director, best actor, best movie, best this & that every year in a dozens of awards and festivals over everybody else and that is not uncouth to bring up? Painters, sculptors, poets & writers don't get that kind of treatment or all the benefits of being stamped the "best". Only Hollywood (& sports stars) get to ride that train..every year..every decade with 5 or 6 months of fan fair and interest of weirdly making one set of creators above all other ones . And it's regarded as a real legitimate title and imprimatur of accomplishment that's rarely questioned.
If that's the sandbox we are playing in, a Best Movie Ever is quite fair to consider. And so here's my pick:
"For A Few Dollars More"
Director: Sergio Leone Starring: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef , Gian Maria Volontè
Cinematographer: Massimo Dallamano
Editors: Eugenio Alabiso | Giorgio Serrallonga
Screenwriters: Sergio Leone (scenario) (screenplay) | Fulvio Morsella (scenario) | Luciano Vincenzoni (screenplay)
Music: Ennio Morricone
Perhaps the ultimate western movie in a sea of fantastic westerns but do they still elevate to this level and stay fresh 50+ yrs later?..with pulp madness, sophisticated yet clear storytelling and superb artistry mixed on top? This movie is special and I think the best of the Dollars films, which might be the only perfect trio of movies out there. Even though I won't argue that Good, Bad & Ugly deserves its status as the great film that its celebrated to be.
It has Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef as two very different bounty hunters with contrasting styles entering the movie in mirror fashion as the two apex predators of the Wild West, Collecting their cash from town to town in high style in pursuit of wanted men with a price on their head. Until they both see the very high bounty for the crazed Indio, the merciless bank robber that was just broken free by his ruthless gang (which also features Klaus Kinski) and now plots the to break into the biggest bank of the West. Then everything builds up to their face off after the bounty hunters as they discover each other and cross paths in El Paso. One in recklessness personified, the other pursues Indio for more soulful reasons besides money and carries around a musical locket to remind him of his mission. The skilled gang is just too many for one of them so a reluctant partnership begins.
To me, Few Dollars is the purest, most reckless and purest of the Dollars film for a guy who made as big a stamp on the genre with the "Spaghetti Westerns" as John Ford did before him. And it's packed with ideas , characters and power that's a bit transcendent of the western genre. We could all live another thousand years and we won't see a Western as cool and as artful as this one again. Where are you going to get another Clint Eastwood/Lee Van Cleef bounty hunter face-off like this with modern actors, it's just not happening. Few Dollars More is just so perfect with build up to that scene as bounty hunters track Indio and then slowly discover each other as rivals in town on the same hunt.
I think one of the reasons this movie excels in a way others don't is because Sergio employed the Commedia dell'arte from his Italian heritage to the max in this movie (learned this from the behind the scenes extras) to soup up the fun and particularities of his Wild West characters.
(from Web: Commedia dell'arte is a theatrical form characterized by improvised dialogue and a cast of colorful stock characters that emerged in northern Italy in the fifteenth century and rapidly gained popularity throughout Europe.)
These episodes use the other characters so well in their own moments to service the main story and protagonists are rarely employed as a device after this, even by Leone who used it less as he got more serious & dramatic when his reputation grew (maybe by the Coens or Woody Allen here & there) The use of characters covering parts of the story and energy that directors today would treat in a more mundane and pedantic way. (tropes, villains being extra fierce elsewhere to establish their danger, jammed in backstory montages) All the scenes with Klaus Kinki's hunchback, Indio's gang, the closeups of the faces, the Inn keeper, the train station attendant, the scrappy older miner, the hotel keepers, the lookout kid, the bartenders- everybody is so different and interesting.that give both comic energy to the story but also build the narrative and world to see more of the depth you don't see in a 2 hr movie usually. Actually a lot of actors are actually speaking Italian and dubbed over but their acting and sense of character is spot on.
And the way it's filmed! The pace, the editing, the Leone closeups and setups, the shootouts, Morricone's fantastic score enhancing everything to perfection. Shots you've never seen before or since. Clint at his peak. The great casting of Van Cleef as his match.The beauty of those Western towns and interiors (shot in Spain or Italy! but picture perfect) and the Leone closeups of those great sculptural heads just reacting.
This is a movie that pulled out all the stops because they just got sued for appropriating Kurosawa's "Yojimbo" for Fistful of Dollars success and they had to show they could do an original story. And For A Few Dollars More is what we got. Everything here is fresh and inspired. It's scrappy but excellent, no pretensions here. And I think a pretty worthy entry for best movie of all time, if that were ever a category. At least its a fun film conversation.
For a Few Dollars More..."The Smoker" (w/Klaus Kinski)
Two great scenes you'll never see shot like this again, always, always rewatchable. And just look at the way its filmed, gorgeous!
Stanley Kubrick was known for hanging on closeups, these closeups are almost like giant Jack Kirby heads that give so much character in one glance. It's the economy and humor of Few Dollars that excels but the way things are shot is worthy of note, look at the all the life & interest in the backgrounds.
For a Few Dollars More (4/10) Movie CLIP - Mortimer Strikes a Match (1965) HD
For a Few Dollars More (7/10) Movie CLIP - You'll Be Smoking in Hell (1965) HD