Thursday, December 14, 2017

Does It Register?

The National Film Registry, from the Library of Congress, just announced this year's list of 25 new American films.  Are they worthy, or is the NFR starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel?

Here's the list with my comments.

Ace In The Hole (1951)

Billy Wilder already has a number of films on the list, but I think there's room for one more if it's got dialogue as good as this film. (Which flopped originally, as it was too bitter.)

Boulevard Nights (1979)

By chance I saw this film last month in a theatre with the cast attending. It's far from a classic, though perhaps deserves to be here because it shows the Los Angeles Latino culture of the time.

Die Hard (1988)

Why not?  One off the greatest action films in the last 30 years and one of the most influential. It also saved Bruce Willis's career and turned him into a star.

Dumbo (1941)

I'm a bit surprised it didn't make it yet.  Okay, it's not Snow White or Pinocchio, but it's still pretty special. "Pink Elephants On Parade" still astounds.

Field Of Dreams (1989)

A beautiful film with a powerful final act that deserves to be remembered.

4 Little Girls (1997)

Spike Lee's documentary about the Birmingham church bombing.  Haven't seen it in years.  I don't remember it as a great documentary, but it does get the job done.

Fuentes Family Home Movies Collections (1920s and 1930s)

Never seen them, though I assume they're of historical interest.

Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

An Oscar winner, but not much of a movie.  It took some courage, I suppose, to deal with anti-Semitism in America in the late 40s, though perhaps that's why it was overrated in its day.

The Goonies (1985)

A lot of people love this movie, but not me.

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967)

A big hit back then, but not too good.  Some fine actors, and intriguingly dated generation gap stuff, but the racial angle, which perhaps was powerful then, hasn't dated well.

He Who Gets Slapped (1924)

A pretty good Lon Chaney movie directed by Victor Seastrom (the Americanized spelling of his name).

Interior New York Subway, 14th Street To 42nd Street (1905)

I love old documentary footage like this.

La Bamba (1987)

A slight, if enjoyable, film.  Should it be on the list?

Lives Of Performers (1972)

Never seen it.  Sounds very arty.

Memento (2000)

Back when Christopher Nolan didn't have a lot of money, he could still keep things going with an intricate plot.  And clever to put the audience in the place of the protagonist.  Worth seeing at least twice.

Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

One of Howard Hawks' best, and maybe the best film of 1939.  Surprised it didn't make the list yet, though I suppose that was because they have to have so many other Hawks' films first.

The Sinking Of The Lusitania (1918)

A century later, Winsor McCay's animation is still amazing.

Spartacus (1960)

Okay, but hardly a classic.  Like so many epics, sags in the second half.  The story of how it got made is probably more interesting.

Superman (1978)

A schizoid film (part origin story, part sci-fi, part romantic comedy, part farce, part action), but it plays.  Still the best Superman film (along with its sequel).

Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988)

A fine portrait of a great (and quirky) jazz artist.

Time And Dreams (1976)

Never seen it.

Titanic (1997)

An impressive technical achievement, but I've never really been a fan.

To Sleep With Anger (1990)

I love Killer Of Sheep, but I've never seen To Sleep With Anger all the way through.
Wanda (1971)

Never seen it, though Barbara Loden's very short career fascinates me.

With The Abraham Lincoln Brigade In Spain (1937)

Never seen it.


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