Revising History (Film)

Supreme Court Defends This

Jack endorses Hillary, awaits Pro-Obama video response

This is so ripe for someone to throw together a pro-Obama version.

Liveblogging 'Legend' (Ridley Scott, 1986), the most boring movie I've seen in a really, really long time


I don't know what Gawker is waiting for, but this Ridley Scott movie from 1986 with Tom Cruise and Mia Sara has some amazing lines that could be perfectly recontextualized into video clips of Cruise's descent into madness.

Here is a little though hilarious IMDB gaffe in the film's 'trivia' section:

Indiana Jones is Comfy in Nautica

Scenes from Indiana Jones, set to the music of Panda Bear.

"See ya later, Tobias Fünke!"

Here is the first leaked clip from the new Todd Haynes film "I'm Not There", about the life and times of Bob Dylan. This clip done in the style of the influential documentary Don't Look Back features David Cross as Allen Ginsberg and Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan. Yes, Cate Blanchett as Bob Fucking Dylan.

You know, there are probably a lot more people out there who think this is the role Cross was meant to play, rather than, say, Bob was the role Cate Blanchett was meant to play.

However, watching this you have to consider that if you're a full-blown Bobolator who has always harbored a secret fantasy to fuck your idol, chances are you are in heaven when Blanchett dons a scruffy wig and chunky black sunglasses.

The AFI Reloaded

The AFI’s new list of the 100 Greatest American Movies and the Wednesday night TV special which presented the list told two very different stories. The list itself offered an updated and slightly improved canon of American cinema, suggesting that our collective appreciation of film and understanding of film history has grown in the nine years since the first list. The TV special, on the other hand, suggested the opposite. Filled with poorly chosen clips and inane celebrity soundbites, 100 YEARS…100 MOVIES: 10th ANNIVERSARY EDITION revealed far more about the state of our culture and media industries today than it did about film history.

On the whole, the AFI list got a little better. No seismic shifts happened. Documentaries, avant-garde, and independent films remain grossly overlooked. And none of Cosmodrome’s five picks—MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, HIS GIRL FRIDAY, MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO, ACE IN THE HOLE, and L.A. CONFIDENTIAL— made it into the top 100. However, the AFI did make some positive and noteworthy additions to the list with pictures like SUNRISE (#82), SWING TIME (#90), and DO THE RIGHT THING (#97). Furthermore, the leaps forward on the list of American masterworks like THE SEARCHERS (from #96 to #12), VERTIGO (from #61 to #9), and RAGING BULL (from #24 to #4) represented positive steps forward for the AFI.


[Ed. note: this piece follows up on our recent discussion of what the AFI should add for its updated 100 Greatest. Click here to continue reading this story, or here for the original AFI post.]

L.A. Confidential

In updating their 100 Greatest list, the AFI seems to be acknowledging that (i) they erred in their first list by omitting quality choices and (ii) new movies have come out in the last ten years which merit inclusion.

Or they realized the publicity from issuing a new list was too much to pass up.

Years of lists of movies has left the AFI grasping for straws. After going through Stars, Cheers, Passions, Laughs, and Thrills, rumor has it that 100 Years... 100 Groans was up next. (Robin Williams was set to dominate.) Thankfully, the AFI chose just to redo the Movies list.

Ace in the Hole

On the AFI’s Wednesday night broadcast, multiple movies directed by Billy Wilder are likely to make the new list. DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944), SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959), SUNSET BLVD (1950), and THE APARTMENT (1960) all made it into the top 100 back in 1998. However, one of Wilder’s worthiest films, ACE IN THE HOLE (1951), did not make the list in 1998 and is damn near certain to be shut out again this year. Alternatively known by the title THE BIG CARNIVAL, ACE IN THE HOLE tells the story of Chuck Tautum, an opportunistic newspaper reporter (played with animal energy by Kirk Douglas) who exploits the suffering of a man trapped inside a New Mexico cave for his own personal gain.

If my first pick, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, is unabashedly sentimental in its view of American history and culture, then I offer ACE IN THE HOLE as a brazenly cynical counterpart. And if HIS GIRL FRIDAY (Jon’s selection and truly a brilliant film) suggests that punchy journalism, social justice, and heterosexual romance can all go together hand-in-hand, then ACE IN THE HOLE—which is also set in the world of newspaper reporters hungry for a good story—suggests the opposite. The capitalistic imperative for a newspaper to sell (and earn its star reporter lots of money) will inevitably find itself at cross purposes with journalism’s responsibility to tell the truth and our moral responsibility as human beings.

ACE IN THE HOLE overtly stands as a critique of the modern media, but the film can be better understood as an allegory for the entertainment industry as a whole. Inside the door of Tatum’s editor hangs a framed, embroidered sign that reads “Tell the Truth.” For Tatum, the slogan is just as irrelevant as the embroidery is quaint. “Tell the Truth” the mantra of the journalist, but also of the artist. But what happens in Hollywood—when all works of art must be marketable and commercial? What happens when you see the world with a jaundiced view in which every human interaction might be a story to be exploited? Beyond journalism and showbusiness, ACE IN THE HOLE critiques an egomaniacal culture in which empathy and honesty has been tossed aside for the pragmatic and selfish question of “what is in this for me?”

My Own Private Idaho

If you look at the original AFI list, almost all of them deal, in some way, with what Eric calls “American themes.” Possible exceptions include The Third Man, the David Lean films and A Clockwork Orange, each arguably British, as well as 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is thematically nationless as far as I’m concerned.

Those titles aside, the list is full of movies about the frontier, the road, capital, idealism, greed, as well as classic American dilemmas like interventionism vs. isolationism and the outer limits of democracy.

HIS GIRL FRIDAY: The Screwball Pinnacle

The Screwball Comedy genre lasted for a relatively brief period of time but produced some of the greatest American films: TROUBLE IN PARADISE; IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT; BRINGING UP BABY, and nearly any of Preston Sturges’ major works. I would argue that the Screwball pinnacle is Howard Hawks’ HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940).

Unjustifiably omitted from the AFI’s 1998 list (but ranked #19 on their 100 Funniest Movies list), HIS GIRL FRIDAY is a film that people one hundred years from now will still find funny. Although Sturges’ string of madcap screwballs that followed HIS GIRL FRIDAY are edgier and more modern, HIS GIRL FRIDAY manages to blend its acerbic bite with a surprisingly sensitive heart. This balance is embodied in the character of Hildy Johnson, a strong, no-nonsense Chicago newspaper editor played to perfection by Rosalind Russell. Opposite Russell is Cary Grant, hilarious and classy (as usual). The plot, in brief: Grant’s character, Walter Burns, has been divorced by Johnson and is now persistently trying to woo her back romantically by wooing her professionally. Unusually progressive for its time, the film actually condones Johnson’s decision to stay and work as an editor at Burns’ paper rather than settle down with her fiancée (Ralph Bellamy, straight as they come).

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