Monday, January 5, 2015

BAB Firsts (Doug's 1st 5X to Love Post): 5 Films to Love

This post was originally published on July 27 2009

I'd like to start a revolving series of posts where Karen and I shoot your way our opinions of multi-media pop culture. Today I'll start with five movies I really, really like -- they won't necessarily be my "top 5 of all time" or anything like that. But these are movies I'll stop and watch when I see them on the telly, or even fire up the DVD player with them on occasion. So, in no particular order...

1. Planet of the Apes, 1968.
I've previously discussed not only this film, but the entire franchise (though not in exhaustive detail -- you can see my musings here: As I commented at the end of the aforementioned post, I caught a few of these films last weekend on the Fox Movie Channel; I also spied the Tim Burton remake on FX just last evening. I started to watch it, and while there is much to love about it (time has been kind in regard to special effects, make-up, etc.), the general story and execution just doesn't do it for me. I think, although grossly different from Pierre Boulle's novel, that the folks at 20th Century Fox created a classic, a masterpiece, back in '68. Heston's melodramatics, Roddy McDowell's coolness, and the emotional acting of Kim Hunter really carry the story -- a morality play in a time when apocalypse in one form or another was (or maybe should have been) on the movie-going public's minds. As I said earlier, Planet of the Apes had a tremendous sense of adventure and even scariness for me as a child that is still there, but to which has been added a sense of appreciation for the larger stereotypes, social mores, and general ecological warnings that have jumped to meet my adult mind.

2. Logan's Run, 1976.
I think I first saw this on network television in the late '70's, although it could have been a bit earlier on HBO. I've only seen the film all the way through once, but have often caught bits and pieces on the various cable movie channels. What I remember is that sense of futuristic wonder at the cityscape and the terror of the premise that everyone had to die at the age of 30. When I first saw the movie, that didn't seem so bad; at the ripe old age of 43, however...
I recall that Michael York as Logan-5 was just studly enough to carry his part, and his range of emotions was strong. Jenny Agutter was of course beautiful as the VERY scantily-clad Jessica-6, as was Farrah Fawcett (lord, how I loved Charlie's Angels!!) as Holly. The scenes in Washington DC evoked the ending of Planet of the Apes, and further cemented in my mind that we all could be going to hell sooner than later.

3. Jaws, 1975
Wow. I don't even care to swim all that much and this movie scared me to death. Perhaps my lasting memory of the movie comes from a trip to Florida when I was 12; trust me, I didn't venture too far out into the ocean! As the film was huge that summer of '75, the various companies that bring book orders into the schools filled it up with books about sharks, shark attacks, ocean adventures, etc. I bought a book called Sharks: Attacks on Man. I read it until the pages came out. I recall that there were some photos in that book, mostly of chewed-up surfboards and people with mouth-shaped stitches on their sides and appendages -- ugh...
Steven Spielberg just did a fantastic job with this film. The characterization is wonderful, and the suspense created by the score is virtually without peer. Think how long it is until you see the shark -- but you know, you just know that it is a beast to be reckoned with. Spielberg got more out of a few notes on a piano... The film also has its memorable one-liners, and my favorite is Martin Brody's subtle announcement that, "You're gonna need a bigger boat."

4. The Empire Strikes Back, 1980.
A few weeks ago Karen wrote of her love of Star Trek. For whatever reason, and I don't have a good excuse to offer, I never got into Star Trek. I can't figure out why -- it was syndicated on television when I was a kid, and while I loved reruns of Batman, Wild Wild West, and the various Japanese imports like Ultra Man and Space Giants, I never watched too much Star Trek. However, when Star Wars Episode Four: A New Hope came out I was hooked!!
The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite in the 6-film Star Wars franchise. From the opening scene with the AT-AT Walkers to the ending scenes on the Cloud City, the film is just a whirlwind of amazing sets, new machines and characters, and growing characterization. George Lucas really made the Star Wars Universe with this film. He showed that his story was an incredibly dense tale that really did occupy a galaxy far, far away. The film ended with a feeling of darkness that left this young viewer yearning for the next installment. Three years would be a long time to wait!
Just as a last note -- I am one who really didn't care for the additional footage that Lucas added to his first trilogy of films when they first were pressed onto DVDs. I felt in some way that it was unfair to those who'd seen the movies at the theater, and although they were released theatrically in their updated versions, it still just smacked of money-grubbing. They should have left it alone -- it certainly wasn't broke!
5. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is one of the "funnest" films I've ever seen! The chemistry between Paul Newman and Robert Redford is out of sight -- the banter, the physical acting, their facial expressions are just perfect. I know I've heard, as you perhaps have as well, that other actors at one time considered included Steve McQueen and Jack Lemmon. I think they made the right choices.
I think my favorite scene in the film is the battle to see who will become leader of the Hole in the Wall Gang -- just classic Newman! Of course the last scene is great, too -- that on-screen chemistry lasted 'til the end.
So that's five for now -- and I haven't even gotten to Rollerball, Animal House, or Caddyshack!


Humanbelly said...

Ooh- great topic. Geeze,I hope I have a chance to get back here some time today-!!


dbutler16 said...

I've rewatched all of these but Jaws (I just never could get into that one) in the past few years. I just watched Logan's Run for the first time in decades last year. Fun stuff. Visually cool, and so 70's!
Enter the Dragon is another one I could watch over and over that has a 70's look to it.

Anonymous said...

Doug, one of the things I got my kids to "gift" me this past Christmas was a set of the original 5 ape movies that I found at Sam's for $10 on DVD. I hope to sit myself down and watch them in order real soon.


david_b said...

Doug, these are pretty much in line with my favs, 'cept for Butch and Jaws (haven't seen either yet.., interestingly enough).

I'd move Trek:TMP, 2001, Alien and Love Actually in somewhere on the list.

Humanbelly said...

ALIEN was the first one I thought of for myself. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE is probably #2. SPIRITED AWAY, definitely (I don't think I ever, ever get tired of that film). After that, I'd have to ponder a bit harder. THE INCREDIBLES and AVENGERS are likely candidates, but haven't quite been around long enough to qualify for me yet. The 1951 CHRISTMAS CAROL (Alistair Simm) is one that sucks me in every time I come across it during the holidays.

Y'know-- this topic could also work for old TV shows, couldn't it? If you see an episode, and you just can't quite let it pass by?


david_b said...

HB, I proposed a similar column a year or so ago in Comments, can't recall if it came to fruition (will have to nominate it during one of the next Saturday DIY's over this month..).

Naming the WORST, absolute laughably WORST television episodes of your favorite show that you absolutely cannot pass by if you're surfin' on cable. Sort of the 'creme of the chicken coop' variety, such as 'Spocks Brain' (which I happen to actually enjoy..), and LIS's 'The Great Vegetable Rebellion'.

I'm always game for it.

Garett said...

Love Planet of the Apes and Logan's Run. They both had an exciting, unusual, and sometimes scary future. Also both dealt with ideas about society and human behavior. Heston was certainly a tougher dude than Michael York, but I'd say York got the better future-babes!

I really liked Empire Strikes Back as a kid, and I was the perfect age to see the development of Luke with Yoda. The wisdom aspect of the show stuck with me, along with the thrilling action and special effects. I went to see it in the largest theatre in town, Saturday afternoon matinee, and was so blown away that I stayed to watch it a second time!

I've tried to watch Jaws a few times, and find it boring. Butch Cassidy is an entertaining show that I've seen a few times. HB's It's a Wonderful Life is one I enjoy. I just realized the start of my post looks like "Love Planet of the Apes"! That's one I think I don't wanna see. : )

I just saw The Imitation Game--excellent telling of a great true story.

Humanbelly said...

Yeah Garett, one wouldn't think that Taylor's experience down the timestream could have been any more horrific, but. . . (Hmm-- "Get your paws off me, you damned dirty ape!" would take on a whole new, seat-squirming significance, wouldn't it-?)

I was remiss in not including RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK in my first round.

Also, there are several Laurel & Hardy shorts (NO feature films, though!) that I can just watch on almost a weekly basis. Which is fortunate, since that's what one of our local stations does. When you get to know the boys a bit better, it completely enriches the experience of watching and surrendering to their brilliant work.

And, as I've said in the past, if I'm walking past a TV with any episode of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND on. . . I'm done for the duration. I simply cannot get away from it. Lowest common denominator-Belly, that's me.


Anonymous said...

I've seen Empire Strikes Back dozens of times and I love it (obviously); I liked the other four, but I think I've only seen them once each (twice at the most).

On my own list: the (original) Star Wars trilogy, Breakfast Club, Princess Bride, maybe the Back to the Future trilogy...probably a few others I'm forgetting.

Mike W.

Doug said...

I think all of the television talk is worthy of a Saturday spent in further discussion. I've slotted a very open-ended TV post for the 10th. Anything you want -- actors, episodes, shows, shark jumping -- you name it!


William said...

For my own list, I'd have to go with.

1. Enter The Dragon
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark
3. Superman 1 (and 2)
4. Star Wars (original trilogy) but especially Empire
5. The Godfather

Those are all movies I can't resist watching if they happen to on.

I liked Butch and Sundance, but I wouldn't consider it a personal all-time fave. I think I've seen it once (maybe twice). And for some reason I never really got into the original Planet of the Apes or Logan's Run movies all that much.

William said...

That one line was suppose to read "…happen to BE on."

Also, I forgot to mention Jaws. The original was great, but it's awesomeness is somewhat diminished by all the terrible sequels.

I'm just shocked they haven't done a remake yet.

J.A. Morris said...

All of those are favorites of mine, with the exception of 'Logan's Run'. I haven't seen it in 35 years.

Redartz said...

Have never seen "Logan's Run", but have enjoyed the others! Especially " Jaws"; scariest film ever. Even listening to the soundtrack can creep me out.

Here are 5 that I can watch 'till doomsday:
The Incredibles
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Most any Three Stooges short (Moe, Larry, Curly and Shemp, if you please).
Some Like it Hot (what a cast!!)

The Prowler said...

"Love Planet of the Apes"!?! Instant classic!!!

If any of y'all remember the old Up All Night when they would run old movie clips and redub the voices, Love Planet of the Apes is crying out for that treatment.

I must admit, I don't recall if I've ever seen Logan's Run in its entirety. I do remember it ends with a room full of cats? And I read the book so there's that.

I have an unwritten list of movies that I'm trying to get in digital form so I'm scanning all the channels during Dish's free preview weekends. I've gotten Soylent Green, Buckaroo Banzai, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Footloose, Risky Business. Still on the look out for Fandango, Wait Until Dark, Butch and Sundance and a few others. BARBARELLA!!! I don't have that movie yet!!! And if you ever come across W C Field's The Bank Dick, it's hilarious!!!

(That's no moon, that's a space station).

Edo Bosnar said...

A few movies I can watch anytime:
The Warriors
Blues Brothers
Quick Change
Midnight Run

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