The 12 Movies Meme

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By Marilyn Ferdinand

Pat Piper over at Lazy Eye Theatre has come up with a new meme and, once again, he’s tagged me to participate. Here’s the pitch:

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 I can have hundreds of links and I 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.

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Lake Placid (1999)/Crocodile Dundee (1986)
Directors: Steve Miner/Peter Faiman

Two ridiculously fun crocodile films that play much better than you’d imagine. Betty White as the innocent-seeming midwife of monster-sized crocs has more fun than a barrel of pythons. Even moving Paul Hogan to Manhattan near the end of Dundee works beautifully (“That’s not a knife. THAT’S a knife.”). These films put me in a good mood.

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Baby Face (1933)/A Question of Silence (1982)
Directors: Alfred E. Green/Marleen Gorris

Barbara Stanwyck sleeps her way to success in a late pre-Code film in which women were never stronger or more sexually self-possessed. The weighty hand of patriarchy would start a squeeze thereafter that has really never let up. One lovely blow against this stifling presence is feminist director Marleen Gorris’ completely satisfying tale of female revenge. I watched both films with relish. I walked out of A Question of Silence grinning malevolently at the men in the aisle. What fun!

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The Perez Family (1995)/Lucky Miles (2007)
Directors: Mira Nair/Michael James Rowland

Two stories about illegal immigration, the first a romantic comedy with uncommon wisdom and knock-out performances by Anjelica Huston and Marisa Tomei and the second a comedy that communicates the desperation of refugees who cannot find a safe haven. Both films make me laugh and think.

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All the President’s Men (1976)/Secret Honor (1984)
Directors: Alan J. Pakula/Robert Altman

The film that launched a thousand journalism careers meets the president whose break with reality gave us the herculean performance of Philip Baker Hall. Both films are important studies of an important time with all the drama any film fan could ever want.

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Days of Wine and Roses (1962)/I’ll Cry Tomorrow (1955)
Directors: Blake Edwards/Daniel Mann

Alcoholics often make compelling, and sometimes repulsive, film subjects. Days of Wine and Roses is a tragic love story as one drunk (Jack Lemmon) converts his naïve girlfriend (Lee Remick) into a bigger souse than he is and loses her down the bottle. It’s a killer. Susan Hayward plays the show-stopping drunk Lillian Roth in a women’s picture of traumatic proportions. Sometimes the film goes over the top, but when Roth is at her lowest, Hayward’s performance pulls the mask off the true ugliness of alcoholism.

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Le Grand Voyage (2004)/Le Fils (2002)
Directors: Ismaël Ferroukhi/Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

Fathers and sons are the subjects of these two films. The first is an unforgettable road trip a Muslim makes with his very modern son from Paris to Mecca. The beauty of their relationship, the experiences they have on the road, and the rarely filmed and wonderful sight of Mecca full of pilgrims inspires awe. Le Fils (The Son) is another one of the Dardenne brothers’ intense portraits of troubled souls that collide. This one has a tension and urgency that make me feel very alive and raw.

I’m afraid my end of the meme stops here. Carry on. l

  • Scott spoke:
    28th/07/2008 to 5:07 pm

    I recently watched “I Want to Live” for the first time and became awestruck by Hayward. I added “I’ll Cry Tomorrow” to my queue…and after reading your meme post, I’ve moved it to the top. Thanks!
    Scott
    he-shot-cyrus.blogspot.com

  • Marilyn spoke:
    28th/07/2008 to 5:15 pm

    Hi Scott. I enjoyed your meme post, too. I Want to Live! is a real favorite of mine. Some people think Hayward was overemoting in I’ll Cry Tomorrow, but there were some scenes I thought were so true and cutting that I forgave a few excesses here and there.

  • Fox spoke:
    29th/07/2008 to 3:00 pm

    “This one has a tension and urgency that makes me feel very alive and raw.”
    That movie kills me. The Dardenne’s are a pair that confound me b/c I can’t quite figure out how they do what they do. They communicate to the viewer such rich emotion and information with such little design or spectacle.
    The scene of the father in his sons empty room is brilliant (I should add here that part of the brilliance is the performance of Olivier Gourmet).
    See, you’ve got me all excited!!!
    Sell me a ticket!

  • Marilyn spoke:
    29th/07/2008 to 3:06 pm

    Would that I could, Fox. Would that more people had seen more of these films.

  • Rick spoke:
    29th/07/2008 to 4:01 pm

    “grinning malevolently at the men in the aisle”
    gulp.

  • Marilyn spoke:
    29th/07/2008 to 4:25 pm

    Hee hee. I wondered if that would make any of my male readers nervous…

  • Daniel spoke:
    30th/07/2008 to 1:15 pm

    Wow, this is a great, fun, diverse lineup. Lucky Miles sounds fascinating, and I just skimmed your review. Odd that didn’t make more of a splash last year.
    Le Fils also sound interesting – plus that poster is absolutely stunning.

  • Marilyn spoke:
    30th/07/2008 to 1:29 pm

    Thanks, Daniel. I’m not sure Lucky Miles got a commercial release here in the States (it’s Australian). I saw it at the CIFF last year, with the director and producer there for a Q&A. Really enjoyed it.

  • Piper spoke:
    1st/08/2008 to 10:24 am

    Marilyn,
    Just know that when you hear Meme and Piper, your name will be attached.
    You add legitimacy to anything I create with selections like Baby Face and I’ll Cry Tomorrow.
    I still want to see Secret Honor and must do so soon.
    Which brings me to um… how do I say this… well… Lake Placid and um…. Crocodile Dundee? Surely you’re not feeling well.
    Thanks for participating.

  • Marilyn spoke:
    1st/08/2008 to 11:00 am

    Piper – I like to have fun as much as the next guy, and those two films are fun!

  • MovieMan0283 spoke:
    2nd/08/2008 to 11:13 am

    Great list, I would definitely reserve tickets, especially since I haven’t seen a good chunk of these. That said, your and my recently-completed list to have one item in common.
    Check it out & comment away:
    http://thedancingimage.blogspot.com/2008/08/dirty-dozen.html

  • Marilyn spoke:
    2nd/08/2008 to 1:30 pm

    Welcome to the film blogosphere MovieMan. I liked your list, too.

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