Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Website: Overlooked Films of the 1990s

Prepare to waste some time. The list of 100 movies, assembled by the Online Film Critics Society, can be found here. (All praise to GreenCine Daily for the link.)

There are a few titles that I’ll be adding to my Netflix queue, but it no doubt says something about my taste that I’ve seen most of these movies. Many of them more than once.

The Coen Brothers’ MILLER’S CROSSING deservedly tops the roster. #2 is Todd Haynes’ gut-wrenching drama SAFE. I still can’t fathom that Julianne Moore was not nominated for an Oscar for her performance. Atom Egoyan’s THE SWEET HEREAFTER is #3.

My top two choices, ZERO EFFECT and Neil Jordan’s adaptation of the Pat McCabe novel THE BUTCHER BOY, come in at #19 and 20, respectively. Other personal favorites stud the list: JOE VS. THE VOLCANO, MATINEE, QUICK CHANGE, TOPSY-TURVY. I do have to quibble with the inclusion of GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS. Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie. But I don’t see how you can consider it overlooked when every male under the age of 35 can quote the script verbatim. Will you go to lunch?

Book: The Middle of Nowhere, by Bob Sloan (2003)

This was my first book by Sloan, and I enjoyed it. Lenny Bliss and his family are great characters. The plot revolves around the ruthlessness of upper-crust New York teenagers, a subject Sloan handles with skill.

But it’s also the latest book I’ve read that badly needed a copy editor. There were enough dropped words, incorrect pronouns and switched character names to prove distracting. Then there’s the error that may not be an error. One of the characters compares his life to “Lennigan versus the ants,” a reference to the classic Carl Stephenson story ‘Leiningen versus the Ants.’ We haven’t spent much time with the character at this point, but we get the sense that he’s a buffoon. Maybe his getting the title wrong is another hint. But I’m not entirely sure.

I remember being assigned Stephenson’s story in school and thinking, “A guy fighting a relentless army of insects? This is homework?” Later that year we read Richard Connell’s ‘The Most Dangerous Game.’ Obviously, that class was an academic high point. ‘Leiningen’ was filmed as THE NAKED JUNGLE (1954), one of the many movies in which Charlton Heston wears a neckerchief. All I remember about it, aside from the neckerchief, are the ants.

Magazine: The New Yorker, 8/2 issue

From ZoĆ« Heller’s profile of comedian Don Rickles:

“A video that he released in 1975 called ‘Buy This Tape, You Hockey Puck’ gives a poignant glimpse of his frustrated thespian aspirations. In among excerpts from his Vegas act, various comic skits, and a big musical number with Michele Lee, there is a jarringly sober ten-minute scene from ‘Inherit the Wind,’ with Rickles playing the impassioned William Jennings Bryan character and Jack Klugman playing the Clarence Darrow character.”

I have a new mission in life.

Miscellaneous: Link

At Out of Focus, Aaron writes a love letter to Turner Classic Movies’ August schedule. Which means I don’t have to.