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Philly Cheesesteak

Let's Stray Away from Geek/Genre/Gen-X Faire, Just for a Moment

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This has been a common complaint in the forums:

 

"So far, the vast majority of Canon films have pooled from the reserves of geek, high concept genre or gen-x pop culture staples."

 

If I can recall, recently someone posted in the forums a breakdown of the Canon's films by decade, with the 1980's and 90's taking top billing over every other decade, and most of the films in either era are films the majority of listeners are already intimately familiar with. They're pop culture touchstones.

 

What if we strayed from that, for the moment? We've complained about the lack of "stuffier" and artsier films on the show, and the minimal representation for foreign cinema in the ranks, so why don't we take this opportunity to cite films that should deserve Canon treatment?

 

Let's all pitch in, make our voices heard... all within the guidelines Devin and Amy have established. These have to be films we can all access without, you know, illegally streaming it.

 

And my personal choices?

  • Hero
  • Raise the Red Lantern
  • A Kurosawa would be lovely. How about a Seven Samurai or a Ran?
  • Derek Jarman's Blue
  • Russian Ark
  • Quadrophenia
  • Holy Motors
  • City of God
  • The Conformist
  • Bicycle Thieves
  • Fritz Lang's M (possibly in a versus episode against Metropolis)
  • The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, Her Lover
  • This is Not a Film (we need more documentaries!)
  • Anything by Herzog. Anything.
  • Boyhood
  • F For Fake
  • Julie Taymor's Titus

All off the top of my head, how about you guys?

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If I wanted a list of films like this I'd just go look at the Criterion Collection release list, yeesh.

 

These are all great films, no doubt, but why is a glut of popular and genre movies a bad thing? Classic films already get a ton of recognition and discussion in film circles, let's have a Canon that recognizes that there are more great films out there than what you'll find on an AFI Greatest Films of the Century list.

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If I wanted a list of films like this I'd just go look at the Criterion Collection release list, yeesh.

 

These are all great films, no doubt, but why is a glut of popular and genre movies a bad thing? Classic films already get a ton of recognition and discussion in film circles, let's have a Canon that recognizes that there are more great films out there than what you'll find on an AFI Greatest Films of the Century list.

 

Because a recent criticism of the Canon in these circles is that it's primarily focused on gen-x and geek faire than any other kind of cinema. If the Canon is meant to be some symbolic Noah's Ark for cinema, it's doing a great disservice to the entire medium and its history if we only focus on so narrow a criteria as "films the hosts grew up with."

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I'd like everyone to keep in mind, I LOVE that same geek/gen-x faire! But I also believe we should allow a greater berth of this medium. Even Amy has more than once complained about this.

 

I think it'd be great to branch out, talk about other kinds of cinema. Imagine an episode about Mary and Max, for instance.

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I don't believe there's been a Kurosawa film nominated yet. I love Russian Ark for what it accomplished, but I don't think I'd want to hear a discussion about the movie. I don't really know if it's that great. I watched it once and was amazed at what they pulled off on a single take and it obviously had some influence on Birdman. However, I've never had any desire to rewatch it.

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I don't believe there's been a Kurosawa film nominated yet. I love Russian Ark for what it accomplished, but I don't think I'd want to hear a discussion about the movie. I don't really know if it's that great. I watched it once and was amazed at what they pulled off on a single take and it obviously had some influence on Birdman. However, I've never had any desire to rewatch it.

 

In my defence, it's the first Russian movie that came to mind,

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Little Fugitive is always the movie that comes to mind first when I think about these kinds of movies. It's so so good and incredibly important to the creation of independent cinema. Also agree with the need for more docs. Thin Blue Line, Grey Gardens, Titicut Follies would all be slam-dunk choices.

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Little Fugitive is always the movie that comes to mind first when I think about these kinds of movies. It's so so good and incredibly important to the creation of independent cinema. Also agree with the need for more docs. Thin Blue Line, Grey Gardens, Titicut Follies would all be slam-dunk choices.

 

The Act of Killing would be a slam dunk... And maybe Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse.

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100% agree. I think we're of one mind on this. Just for a little while, let's do some more obscure picks. Let's get some Kurosawa, some German New Wave, or even some modern comedies. I feel like we're gonna get to the point where we're chucking Halloween denying entry into canon out of spite.

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100% agree. I think we're of one mind on this. Just for a little while, let's do some more obscure picks. Let's get some Kurosawa, some German New Wave, or even some modern comedies. I feel like we're gonna get to the point where we're chucking Halloween denying entry into canon out of spite.

 

Absolutely. I'm seeing some discontentment in the fanbase and the forums, and at the same time I don't want to deny there are genuine accomplishments and gems in the geek/gen-x demo...

 

But this isn't strictly a "geek" canon. It's the film canon. We need other voices to be heard, other genres a chance in the spotlight. We need all examples of low, mid and highbrow here. Too much of one thing and it gets a little homogenous.

 

Still, you're right that maaaaaybe this might be compelling some to vote or act out of spite against the geek stuff. That frustration is palpable, I can totally understand it, but I don't want any movies to suffer for it either. We need a balance.

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Great idea, and great suggestions. Here are a few more:

 

- The Seven Samurai vs Ran would break my heart. Maybe something more marginal, like an early Kurosaway? Say Stray Dog?

- Last year's wonderful Brooklyn is a slam dunk. I know, there's the Canon's version of the five-seconds rule to obey...

- Holy Motors is almost too good to ignore.

- Chungking Express is a half-forgotten gem, well in need of recognition.

- It's almost unbelievable that Glengarry Glen Ross has not been mentioned yet.

- I don't know if in the end it isn't an example of what we are trying to avoid in this thread, but The Deer Hunter reeks of inevitability.

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Great idea, and great suggestions. Here are a few more:

 

- The Seven Samurai vs Ran would break my heart. Maybe something more marginal, like an early Kurosaway? Say Stray Dog?

- Last year's wonderful Brooklyn is a slam dunk. I know, there's the Canon's version of the five-seconds rule to obey...

- Holy Motors is almost too good to ignore.

- Chungking Express is a half-forgotten gem, well in need of recognition.

- It's almost unbelievable that Glengarry Glen Ross has not been mentioned yet.

- I don't know if in the end it isn't an example of what we are trying to avoid in this thread, but The Deer Hunter reeks of inevitability.

 

Deer Hunter is one of the quintessential Vietnam movies, how can you ignore it? And I was not in any way advocating Seven Samurai vs. Ran XD Oh, God, no. That'd just kill me right there.

 

Here's a thought: Yojimbo vs. Fistful of Dollars? Same plot, two different movies, launched Eastwood's career, Leone's Spaghetti Western directorial debut, the lawsuit that followed-

 

Ooooh... I have a good one.

 

How about 1947's Black Narcissus? That should bring plenty of interesting content to an episode. What we have here is a film that subtly critiques British colonialism in India... and yet only hired one Indian actor in the principle cast. Sure, there are background extras, but literally every other named character that isn't one of the Nuns is a white person in brownface.

 

Talk about sending mixed signals, eh?

 

But in the history of colour in cinema, it was one of the first British films to be in full colour after WWII, so imagine coming out of the horrors of the bombings to watch a film... whose first opening shot is a field of vibrant and vivid pink flowers? That blew people's minds back then!

 

On top of that, the movie's a psychosexual drama, it may very well have been the prototypical "Nunsploitation" movie.

 

Even better, in accordance with the rules Devin and Amy have set? This movie is accessible. It's on YouTube for free.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GjRnbY0jG4

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Oh, hey, and if Amy was complaining about Wrath of Khan looking like a cheap TV movie?

 

How about a critically beloved, award-winning TV movie?

 

 

We already have very few, if anything, LGBT-themed movies in the Canon. Would this qualify, even if this movie was made for TV?

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Trying to stay away from things that have already been mentioned:

Hoop Dreams

One Day in September

Ikiru

Rashomon

The Hidden Fortress

Sullivan's Travels

The Palm Beach Story

It Happened One Night

White Christmas

Singing In The Rain

An American in Paris

The Wizard of Oz

Casablanca

The Maltese Falcon

The Big Sleep

A Woman Under the Influence

Five Easy Pieces

The Killing Fields

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Persepolis

A Seperation

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Trying to stay away from things that have already been mentioned:

Hoop Dreams

One Day in September

Ikiru

Rashomon

The Hidden Fortress

Sullivan's Travels

The Palm Beach Story

It Happened One Night

White Christmas

Singing In The Rain

An American in Paris

The Wizard of Oz

Casablanca

The Maltese Falcon

The Big Sleep

A Woman Under the Influence

Five Easy Pieces

The Killing Fields

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Persepolis

A Seperation

 

Persepolis would be wonderful.

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Deer Hunter is one of the quintessential Vietnam movies, how can you ignore it?

 

Sorry, I didn't make myself clear.

 

My point is I don't know if The Deer Hunter won't appeal to the exact same people who have Scarface posters on their bedroom walls. De Niro at his peak, Christopher Walken, obvious paralels to First Blood (to me at least)...

 

...but then again, I am not sure those people could put up with a painfully realistic 45min wedding scene in a 3h movie. I honestly don't know.

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Here's a pitch, how about the HBO made-for-TV movie Angels in America? Or The Day After, arguably the single most horrifying and impactful TV movie of the 80's? Both of these offer a glimpse into our recent past, with messages we should still take to heart even today.

 

Now, if they're being TV films disqualify either from canonical candidacy...

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just a note, but many of those movies, if not all, are "high concept" of some sort. certainly in the time that they were made.

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I've been wanting to see a John Waters film in the Canon.

 

His contribution to pop art, independent filmmaking, LGBTQ Cinema etc. And it is a big break from all of these geek genre films mentioned in this thread.

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