Getting back to the truly radical departures, here is my next installment for you to add to your queue.
Up first is a movie that film geeks may be aware of, but regular civilians not so much. Seconds was one of the truly groundbreaking movies to come out of the 1960s. Released the same year that I was born, this story remains as haunting today as ever. Rock Hudson plays a man given a choice to throw his preplanned, mundane, bourgeois life away, get plastic surgery, a new face and identity, and embark on a second life as a free man. When he arrives in this new dream come true he finds it not all he had imagined it would be.
In my view this gut-wrenching masterpiece throws out all the rules and the bullshit too. Gore Vidal penned a cold, brutal vision of ancient Rome, and its most colorful character. This one should be on everyone’s list. Despite being a monster and a psychopath, it was the empire that led inevitably to this barbaric brand of tyranny.
How to Get Ahead in Advertising
Jump cut 2000 years. Our society has its own overarching tyranny, the pervasive, mind distorting reality of ubiquitous advertising. It’s enough to drive one mad.
The Celebration / Festen
My jaw dropped into the popcorn bucket, I believe. This surprising little indie, shot on a digital camcorder, no less, in the Dogme 95 tradition, features a fantastic story. This could have been a stage play, in the same league with August: Osage County, but more haunting.
This twisted, experimental/horror story is perhaps beyond understanding? I’ve only seen it once, and it confuses the hell out of you. Somewhat like Jacob’s Ladder the nature of reality itself is in question. All sorts of Lynchian theories accompany this one, so I thought I’d give it a nod.
This under-appreciated gem has a bit of an unnecessary tangent thrown in, a crime story not central to the plot. The main story is the real meat of the meal. It’s about a comedian who lives in his father’s shadow. Worse, he’s dying. But as they say, dying is easy. Comedy is hard.
A Knight’s Tale
My face lights up at the thought of this film. Real popcorn movie, sports challenge (jousting), Heath Ledger in his prime, Paul Bettany stealing scenes, and a modern soundtrack with Bowie, Thin Lizzy, Queen… say what?
If I had one movie on a desert island, it might be A Knight’s Tale. See you next time.
Gilding the Allegory (Free)