Sunday, May 27, 2007

To Die For

Another Saturday night and once again Channel 4 pads out its evening schedule by stripping in yet another list show. This time it was a repeat of their 50 Films to See before You Die.

I missed this when it was originally shown and missed just over the first half this time around. Compiled by experts and critics rather than throwing it open to the great unwashed, each of the entries was supposed to stand as “a paragon of a particular genre or style.”

It made interesting viewing unless, of course, you hadn’t seen the films on the list. Because as well as presenting an overview of every entry they managed to give away not just major plot plots but each film’s ending virtually every time. Good one.

Still, I suppose that gives everyone more time to do other things before they peg it. If you missed it and want to know what the fifty films are...

01. Apocalypse Now

02. The Apartment
03. City of God
04. Chinatown
05. Sexy Beast
06. 2001: A Space Odyssey

07. North by Northwest
08. A Bout de Souffle
09. Donnie Darko
10. Manhattan

11. Alien
12. Lost in Translation
13. The Shawshank Redemption
14. Lagaan: Once Upon A Time in India
15. Pulp Fiction
16. Touch of Evil
17. Walkabout
18. Black Narcissus

19. Boyz n the Hood
20. The Player
21. Come and See
22. Heavenly Creatures
23. A Night at the Opera

24. Erin Brockovich
25. Trainspotting
26. The Breakfast Club
27. Hero
28. Fanny and Alexander
29. Pink Flamingos
30. All About Eve

31. Scarface
32. Terminator 2
33. Three Colours: Blue
34. The Royal Tenenbaums
35. The Ladykillers

36. Fight Club
37. The Searchers
38. Mulholland Drive
39. The Ipcress File
40. The King of Comedy
41. Manhunter

42. Dawn of the Dead
43. Princess Mononoke
44. Raising Arizona
45. Cabaret
46. This Sporting Life
47. Brazil

48. Aguirre: The Wrath of God
49. Secrets and Lies
50. Badlands

I’ve seen 35 of the 50. How about you?


At 1:26 am, Blogger wcdixon said...

40...sigh...that's a lot a movies - not sure if that's something to be proud of.

At 3:34 am, Blogger Ian said...

I can only claim 27. Mind you I'm pretty sure the other 23 are here still wrapped in cellophane in "The great DVD pile that will get watched one day when I have time". Really must stop buying so many.

Did you watch Who tonight? Against all precedent it was actually rather good, and I don't just mean in a "compared to the previous episodes anything would look good" kind of way. A good, puzzling and scary story written by Paul Cornell based on a book he wrote some years ago apparently. Hardly any music (none of that bombastic crap they usually drown everything out with) and some rather good acting for a change too. It's actually got me looking forward to Part 2 next week and is as good as the last Moffat episode in my opinion. Not going to get too excited though: looks like Billy Bunter's back writing the next few episodes :(

At 12:38 pm, Blogger potdoll said...

shit i missed that.

i've only seen 22. some of the others are on my 'list' but somehow i always find myself choosing other stuff to watch. the rest i've no inclination to see.

At 1:01 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

I’ve still got Donnie Darko to watch at some point, which came free with The Sunday Times. Some of the others I haven’t seen because I’m either in no rush or, to be honest, not interested.

Having missed the opening of the show, I’m not sure what criteria these films had to meet to win out over others of that genre. And it was kind of disappointing that only eleven on the list were pre-1970s.

Actually I did watch Doctor Who, specifically because it was an adaptation of a novel - which meant that there would be at least a semblance of a coherent plot. It actually did make me want to watch the second part. Alien invaders aside, there’s always something pitiable about stories set pre-WWI when you know the children are going to end up dead and dying in the mud and barbed wire of Flanders.

The references to To Serve Them All My Days and Dr. Syn were far better than irrelevant contemporary pop culture throwaways. (Although the moving scarecrow on the hill made me want to watch The Singing Detective again). Although the clips of next week’s episode showing the Doctor enjoying the fruits of a human existence strayed a little close to the Star Trek – The Next Generation episode The Inner Light.

We’ll see. And then I’ll try my very best to avoid the rest.

At 1:02 pm, Blogger Lianne said...

29. Like Ian a few of the ones I haven't seen I've got on DVD but haven't got around to watching yet, a few I'm embarrassed not to have seen (no, I'm not saying which ones). I think I can happily die without having seen Pink Flamingos.

At 1:28 pm, Blogger Jaded and Cynical said...

At the risk of pointing out the obvious, that's not a list of films to see before you die. It's a list of films someone at C4 pulled out his ass to fill a gap in the schedule.

Perhaps they'd have included one of the Godfather movies - to pick one glaring omission at random - if they'd been given a free clip.

And as this is the one place we can vent freely about Doctor Who, I agree with Ian's comments. This week's episode was a glimpse at what the programme could be.

At 1:33 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

When the list was first screened it happened to coincide with Film 4 going free-to-air. Mmmm, I wonder what films they had scheduled for that week?

Still, at least they didn’t list Star Wars or any of the Chaplin films. But where was Preston Sturges?

At 2:54 pm, Blogger Ian said...

Funny you should mention "To Serve Them All My Days" as I kept thinking how they'd poached most of the style of the thing from that. One of the few series I kept on VHS for many many years (home recordings since they never released it officially) and was very excited when they finally got round to releasing it on DVD last year (the cover is absolute bobbins, but thankfully the picture quality is far better than my battered old VHS copies).

The actor playing the alien-embodied schoolboy even reminded me of one of Duttine's class members and I thought the director really made good use of angles and the right lenses when shooting him. Good stuff. If only the same could be said for the CH.4 programme, but then whatever list they came up with someone would disagree. Personally I'd like to see a Top 50 which omits any of the execrable "Star Wars" movies. I remember seeing the first one on initial release and being miffed even then, thinking the average "Star Trek" episode (which had taken over from "Doctor Who" at Saturday tea times on the box) had far more plot and invention than the over-rated eye-candy fest.

At 4:00 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Ian, loved To Serve Them All My Days when it was shown back in 1980. We’d already had Delderfield’s A Horseman Riding By a few years earlier.

Brought up Star Wars in the previous post. Yes, I was looking forward to it, pushed on by all the hype, and certainly enjoyed watching it in the auditorium because it was unlike anything I’d ever seen in that genre. But leaving the cinema I found myself thinking, Oh, was that it? I might already have been leafing through Photoplay to see what film I could catch the next week.

At 7:34 pm, Blogger Brian Sibley said...


Mind you, I have something of a list-phobia and this list always seemed a bit hit-and-miss to me...

I say this as someone who was supposed to have been the advocate in the series for 'Heavenly Creatures' and 'Raising Arizona' (with a few side-quotes on 'All About Eve', 'A Night at the Opera' and 'The Ladykillers') and then went and got sick in the week in which I was to have been interviewed...

I know Disney is universally hated, but I find it astonishing that 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' (a seminal movie without which the current glut of animated features might never have seen the light of the projector) or, if you are talking in terms of arty-uniqueness, 'Fantasia', is not on that list -- in fact, NO animation whatsoever - except cgi sfx.

Also, of course, a great many all-time box-office champs were thought TOO popular to be on such an up-its-arse list...

Although to be fair (why??) I seem to remember that the list was voted for by people ringing-in on a probably-rigged phone ballot!!!

At 8:43 pm, Blogger Valentine Suicide said...

32 for me.

Next week, 50 Films To See After You Die!

No.1 Police Academy 5: Assignement Miami
No.2 THR3E....

At 8:43 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Brian, well there is the one animated film. Bizarrely though it’s Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke (at number 43). While I usually like Studio Ghibli’s output I’m still trying to figure out why this film was chosen to represent animation.

Disney as a ugly corporate entity may be hated but the films are magic. Surely the three big ones that took the evolution of animation to the next stage are Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Toy Story. Why not one of those?

Was it a phone vote? You’re right, it’s a completely up its arse in places. But let the plebs vote and it would have absolute nasties like Star Wars.

At 3:13 pm, Blogger Robin Kelly said...

48. But less than 20 of them would go in my own top 50.

At 3:20 am, Blogger Brian Sibley said...

Oh, my God, 'Princess Monoke'! I AM senile! I counted that among the movies I'd seen and then babbled on about no animation... Doh!

But yes, 'Toy Story', at least...

But then this is a list without 'Citzen Kane' or 'The General' or 'Singing in the Rain' or 'Battleship Potemkin' or.....

Oh, for ***** sake it's just a goddam list!

At 1:08 pm, Blogger Piers said...

A rather pathetic 24.

Plus the screenplay of The Searchers. Can I count that?

At 8:59 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Plus the screenplay of The Searchers. Can I count that?

Aaaaaahhhh...... No.

At 1:38 pm, Blogger Piers said...

Bum. 24 it is then.


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