Doodad Kind of Town

The 12 Movie Meme
July 31, 2008, 10:04 pm
Filed under: British Comedy, Elia Kazan, Richard Curtis

I’ve been tagged by Rick at Coosa Creek Mambo for the “12 Movies Meme” originated at Lazy Eye Theatre. The idea is to come up with 12 films you would screen if you had your own movie theatre (or the use of someone else’s)

The rules are:

1) Choose 12 Films to be featured. They could be random selections or part of a greater theme. Whatever you want.

2) Explain why you chose the films.

3) Link back to Lazy Eye Theatre so Piper can have hundreds of links and can take those links and spread them all out on the bed and then roll around in them.

4) The people selected then have to turn around and select 5 more people.

Here are my selections – they’re all over the place, but then that’s part of the fun, right? I have six days’ worth of movies, and every day has a theme:

Sunday – “Triumph of the Underdogs” Sports Movies that take place in my home state (Indiana)
Rudy, Hoosiers, Breaking Away

A triple feature, but it’s Sunday, so you have the time.

Besides once I had the theme, I couldn’t bring myself to leave out any one of these. “Rudy” always gets me choked up. “Hoosiers” is dear to my small-town-Indiana, basketball-loving heart. And “Breaking Away” is special to me because it was filmed on and around the Indiana University campus during my sophomore year. If I look real close, I can see myself and a few friends, kind of out of focus and in the background, during the singing of the national anthem just before the big bike race.

Monday – “Television is Evil” night

“A Face in the Crowd,” “Network”

Two great movies about the manipulative, potentially malevolent, power of television. Elia Kazan’s 1957 film “A Face in the Crowd” is a dark and amazingly prescient drama about the rise and fall of a television demagogue. Andy Griffith is “Lonesome Rhodes,” a TV host whose “aw-shucks” folksiness masks his pathological needs for power, control and mass adoration. Strong stuff, great performances. “Network” was similarly ahead of its time in imagining reality television and the decreased significance of network news. And it’s got great, Oscar-winning performances by Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway.

Tuesday – “Overlooked Musicals” night

“Pennies from Heaven,” “It’s Always Fair Weather”

Two good musicals that aren’t often screened or discussed. “Pennies from Heaven” did poorly at the box office and not much better with critics. Despite all the tap-dancing, it was a deeply dark film in which Steve Martin played a less-than-likable character; those who came expecting “The Jerk: the Musical” were left scratching their heads. But I saw it again recently, and it holds up very well. It deserves to be re-evaluated. “It’s Always Fair Weather” was the final Gene Kelly-Stanley Donen collaboration, and the one everyone forgets about. But this tale of three old Army buddies (Kelly, Dan Dailey and Michael Kidd) who reunite in New York is quite delightful. And it’s got Kelly dancing on roller skates 25 years before he attempted it again in “Xanadu.”

Wednesday – “Communists in Love” night

“Reds,” “Ninotchka”

Who but Warren Beatty could make a three-hour drama about the only American buried in the Kremlin into something, well, sexy? (The Russian Revolution is depicted as a montage of spirited political rallies and equally spirited bedroom interludes between Beatty and Diane Keaton; trust me, it’s way more exciting than his character’s real-life book “Ten Days that Shook the World.” ) But it ends badly, so you’ll need to lighten up afterwards.Which is why I’ve chosen “Ninotchka,” the classic Lubitsch comedy in which Greta Garbo’s dour Comrade succumbs to the decadent charms of Paris, champagne and Melvyn Douglas.

Thursday – “Obscure ’80s British Comedy” night

“Morons from Outer Space,” “The Tall Guy” Just because they’re funny, I haven’t seen them in a long time, and I think they’d be fun to watch with a lot of other people. A friend brought over the video of “Morons” to cheer me up when I was recovering from foot surgery in 1989, and I remember laughing my ass off. “The Tall Guy” was the first film written by Richard Curtis (who went on to bigger and better things like “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Notting Hill” and so on.) It’s sweet and goofy, and the highlight is a wickedly funny spoof of the “Les Miserables”-style stage musicals popular in the late 80s: “Elephant Man: The Musical.”

Friday – “Lawrence of Arabia” night

“Lawrence of Arabia”

Because I’ve never seen it on the big screen, which means I’ve never really seen it. And it’s too long to be part of a double feature. It can stand all on its own.

I know that I’m supposed to tag 5 more people, but I’m pretty sure the movie blogosphere is all tagged out on this meme. Thanks for letting me play!


7 Comments so far
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I live in Chicago and they just showed LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in 70mm, along with TRON, WILD BUNCH and VERTIGOI missed all of them and now I’m depressed. Great list!


OMG! I live in the Chicago ‘burbs, and I completely missed out on Lawrence of Arabia? Where was it showing? The Music Box? Kicking myself now.

Comment by Pat

I missed them all, too, but I did see Lawrence in 70mm a long time ago at the now closed McClurg Court Theatre.I like the line-up, Pat, especially your musicals. Dark indeed!

Comment by Marilyn

Great choices, Pat, especially your choices for “Television is Evil” night.Why don’t I live in Chicago? Lawrence in 70 mm. Oy.

Comment by Rick Olson

Marilyn – Someday I will see “Lawrence” on the big screen, too! I will! The only thing I ever saw at the McClurg Court theatre was “Blair Witch Project” on its opening night – the hottest day of the year, and as I recall their air conditioning was not working. Not a good memory.Rick – Yeah, “A Face in the Crowd” is one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s shown pretty frequently on TCM. In fact, I see it on there more frequently than “Network” – I’ve only seen “Network” once in the last 25 or so years.

Comment by Pat

Genius! I am cracking up at your themes for the different nights yet sitting with my mouth agape at how smart and relevant and perfect they all are.*Communists In Love” night especially makes me laugh! Brill!Speaking of Russia-I think I will rent Dr. Zhivago today to watch while I fold laundry. Clean laundry and swooning over Omar and Julie…what’s better?I loved this post!

Comment by Parisjasmal

PJ- You’re going to watch “Dr. Zhivago” while you’re folding laundry? You must have a lot of laundry!! (Isn’t about 4 hours long?) HA!Thanks for the kind comments.

Comment by Pat

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