Thursday, November 13, 2014

Seen It

I just read Robert K. Elder's The Best Film You've Never Seen, which consists of 35 short interviews with directors discussing some favorite movie they've seen that didn't get the attention it deserved.

In a way, the title is a misnomer.  Several of the film mentioned are quite well known and highly applauded: Breaking Away, A Man For All Seasons, Some Came Running, Trouble In Paradise and Ugetsu.  But to the directors in question (respectively, Richard Curtis, Kevin Smith, Richard Linklater, Peter Bogdanovich, Kimberly Pierce), these films meant a lot, and deserve to be seen by more people.

And that's what the book is really about. Enthusiasm.  Film people telling us which films fascinate them.

Sometimes they pick silly titles--Jonathan Levine chooses Can't Stop The Music and Brian Herzlinger likes Killer Klowns From Outer Space.  Sometimes they go for cult classics--Todd Solondz brings up The Honeymoon Killers.  Sometimes they pick small art films you may have missed--Joe Swanberg mentions Ivansxtc and Alex Proyas The Swimmer. Sometimes they bring up mainstream films that may be forgotten today, or fell by the wayside--Richard Kelly chooses Fearless, Neil LaBute, Blume In Love, John McNaughton, Who'll Stop The Rain. Sometimes they pick films that weren't treated fairly--Jay Duplass feels that way about Joe Versus The Volcano, Bill Condon about Sweet Charity and John Dahl about Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.  Sometimes they pick films that are considered complete disasters, as John Waters does with Boom!. Sometimes they picks curios as Phil Lord does with The Beaver Trilogy.  A couple choose films from the American Film Theatre series in the 70s--Atom Egoyan picks The Homecoming and Arthur Hiller The Iceman Cometh.  A couple pick Orson Welles' titles--Henry Jaglom likes F For Fake and Frank Oz The Trial.

But no matter what the choices, what counts is the animated discussions, as filmmakers get into what they see in other works (sometimes seeing things that may not be there).  I've seen more than half of the titles in the book, and many do deserve more attention, but even for the ones I couldn't stand, it was interesting to hear how someone, somewhere, thought it was worth watching.


Post a Comment

<< Home

web page hit counter