Blindspotting in 2014

BlindSpot-AshesAndDiamonds

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Let’s review…This whole idea behind the Blind Spot series (kicked off 2 years ago by top notch Toronto blogger/writer dudes James McNally and Ryan McNeil) is solely meant to poke and prod slackards like myself into finally getting around to those films that we not only feel are classics we should see, but ones we really want to see. Whether the titles are standard “Canon” fodder or some goofy grindhouse flick that you found for a dollar and have had sitting at home for 5 years, the point is to nudge us to watch something that has obviously caught our eye, but keeps getting passed over. Indeed, life is too short to watch something dull/crappy simply to “get through it” and check it off a list, but we’re talking about movies that sparked some kind of interest at some point and now vie for your attention with a vast array of other possibilities. The vast majority of the 44 blindspots I’ve seen and written about over the last 2 years (pairing movies for each post) have been well worth the wait and typically confounded expectations that had been in place for years. Even the ones that didn’t do much for me at least gave me something to consider.

So here is my initial cut at the pairings I’m looking at for 2014 (with me reserving the right to scrap them and alter my choices based on nothing more than a whim). What about you? Any particular film or films you’ve been meaning to see, but keep avoiding?

 

Breaking The Waves (1996)
Shanghai Express (1932)

One of the pairings I didn’t get around to last year, so let’s give it another shot. Almost 65 years separate these two stories of women and their sacrifices – it just takes one of them exactly twice as long as the other to tell its version.

Best Years Of Our Lives (1946)
Ashes And Diamonds (1958)

The other pairing I didn’t do last year was Best Years Of Our Lives and From Here To Eternity (I decided to swap them out for a couple of Westerns). On reconsidering their inclusion again this year, I still wanted to get to Best Years, but this time out I thought I would match it up with another post-war story. I’m expecting the view from Poland to be in sharp contrast to the one from the U.S. though.

BlindSpot-WestSideStory

West Side Story (1961)
42nd Street (1933)

Busby Berkeley’s flights of imagination seem to be a good match for the colour and choreography of West Side.

The Deer Hunter (1978)
Coming Home (1978)

It took awhile for bigger budgeted American films to recognize the Vietnam War, but when they did there was a plethora of titles that rolled out. Here are two of the more well acclaimed ones.

Last Temptation Of Christ (1988)
Last Tango In Paris (1972)

Temptation and sin. This struck me as a decidedly interesting combo.

Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)
Victor/Victoria (1995)

Two struggling female singers find different routes to success, both fraught with consequences.

BlindSpot-36thChamberOfShaolin

The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin (aka Shaolin Master Killer) (1978)
Five Deadly Venoms (1978)

Late 70s kung-fu is still a sadly unexplored region of film for me. I’ve seen a few – some epic and some plain silly – but I’m hoping these two hit the spot nicely.

A Night At The Opera (1935)
It’s A Gift (1934)

I’m still surprised at myself for not having seen this particular Marx Brothers film. I think it’s because it marks the transition to their latter period where they lost some of the spark of their earlier films. I fully expect this to be of equal caliber to those first anarchic comedies, though, so who better to pair up with the brothers than W.C. Fields.

Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)
Lost Highway (1997)

Surrealism, fractured timelines and a world of confusion await me here. I can’t wait.

East Of Eden (1955)
Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf (1966)

Brother against brother, husband versus wife – let’s see how these family battles turn out.

BlindSpot-RideTheHighCountry

Ride The High Country (1962)
Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid (1973)

OK, I’m getting a little lazy in my matchups at this point by simply picking two Sam Peckinpah Westerns. I don’t care – I’ve been meaning and wanting to see both of these for years. Even if Sam isn’t my favourite filmmaker, I have always found his choices to be interesting.

Sansho The Bailiff (1954)
An Autumn Afternoon (1962)

Again with the easy pairing – two classic Japanese films that I’ve oddly not found time for…In truth, I’ve only seen a single Ozu. And though I’ve seen plenty of Mizoguchi by now, I’ve somehow avoided Sansho. Time to rectify this matter.

BlindSpot-LostHighway




15 comments

  1. Of that list I’ve seen:
    West Side Story – It’s pretty much Romeo and Juliet as a gangland musical

    Last Tango in Paris – Three words: Pass the Butter

    Hiroshima Mon Amour – In all honesty, I barely remember the one time I’ve seen this.

    Lost Highway – Not my personal favourite of David Lynch’s filmography, but I do like the dark places it goes into the third act (with a great use of Rammstein on the soundtrack)

    • Yeah, I’ve heard the butter reference before and know what to expect there…

      I’m gonna watch West Side tonight and I’m kinda excited – I’ve always put it off for its length and story (R & J doesn’t overly intrigue me), but looking through some of the images recently for this post and remembering that Jerome Robbins did choreography has got me jazzed for it…

  2. Kurt Halfyard

    I always used to confuse Hiroshima Mon Amour and Last Year At Marienbad. I like Last Year at Marienbad better.

    • Yeah, I dig Marienbad. I’d never be able to explain it to anyone, but I loved experiencing it. I expect Hiroshima will be, um, “weightier”.

  3. Bob – You’re in for a treat with Lost Highway; one of Lynch’s most underrated/seen films that contains one of his best ever scenes (you’ll know it when you see it!).

    • Yeah, I can’t wait for it…I’ve tried to see it before, but every copy I’ve ever come across is in 1.33:1, so I’ve been holding out. Granted, I’ve never really looked that hard, so I will make a point to do that this year…

      • David Lynch apparently admitted once in an interview that, despite there being no direct plot connections, LOST HIGHWAY takes place in the same universe as TWIN PEAKS. Keep that in mind when you see the film.

  4. It’s 1932 and they light Marlene Dietrich like she’s already an icon in Shanghai Express. Wonderfully stylish film.

  5. Rick Vance

    36th Chamber is just as good as the album which is named after it.

    • Sadly, I’m not well-versed in the ways of the Wu-Tang. I should school myself one day, but I’m heavily invested in Post Rock at the moment…

  6. I’ve only seen half of those myself. Sansho the Bailiff is my favourite on there – it’s one hell of a powerful film. It reduced me to a gibbering wreck by the end. 36th Chamber is awesome too for totally different reasons and A Night at the Opera is my favourite of the later period Marx Brothers – it sticks very much to their usual formula, but it’s undeniably very funny. As for the other three films, (Pat Garrett, West Side Story & The Deer Hunter) I haven’t seen them for a long time so can’t comment. I can remember being disappointed in Pat Garrett, but I was probably just too young to appreciate its more unusual style.

    • I fully expect to be a puddle of tears by the end of Sansho. That may be why I’ve held off for so long. But I’m still looking forward to finally getting to it.

      I’m thinking I may have to revisit the older Marx Brothers films at the same time as Opera. I’ve seen Duck Soup plenty, but it’s been awhile for Animal Crackers…

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