What follows below is meant as nothing more than a way to poke fun at myself and my interests. And while I would hope that any readers may be interested in watching some of what I discuss, my intent is not to “recommend” anything, really, because everyone’s capable of finding out what they like. That being said, if you like Armageddon, well, like, beware.
My annotated Netflix queue is as follows:
Currently at the house:
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 5, Disc 7 — I’ve been slowly moving through this television program since two winters ago. It is by far the best Star Trek, and for all of it’s low-budget-y effects and occasional preachiness, it’s generally a solid 43 minutes of entertainment. And the preachiness is offset more often than not by serious inquiry into a philosophical or political quandary (torture, identity, robotics, destiny, etc.) Also, I’m a nerd.
Ran — Akira Kurosawa’s late masterpiece interpretation of my favorite Shakespeare play King Lear. Notable for its incredible use of color. Guaranteed to be at least two months sitting on my TV stand before I actually watch it (record is still held by Ikiru, which I had for five months).
Call Northside 777 — Missed this Henry Hathaway shot-in-Chicago noir when it played at the noir festival at the Music Box Theatre here last week. Trying to make up for it by watching a very-much smaller version of it in my bedroom, but I have venetian blinds, so it should be okay.
In the queue:
1. Andrei Rublev — This movie is over 200 minutes long. This does not bode well for my ambitions to finally break into the Tarkovsky cinematic world. Nevertheless, I must remain strong, I must remain strong.
2. Judgment at Nuremberg — This addition was most likely inspired by my watching of Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman last year. I probably spent a couple of hours reading about post-WW2 war crimes tribunals and capital punishment.
3. The Defiant Ones — Clearly added immediately after I added #2 because I saw it on the Stanley Kramer list. The real power of the internet lies in this sort of easily accessible association-consumption. Except that netflix is cheap, just like…the internet.
4. In the Heat of the Night — See what happened? Poitier’s in #3, he’s in #4. Guess Who’s Coming to Ted’s Netflix Queue?
5/6/7. Blue/White/Red — Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Trois Couleurs trilogy, each one exploring a different hot French actress. Er, sorry, a different character. Whatever these are about, it will be interesting for me to watch and theorize about why Kieslowski uses these sort of matched sets of films. I wonder if he doesn’t do it to try to encourage the viewers to make comparisons and thus penetrate deeper into all of his stuff.
8-10. The Decalogue – Ten Commandments, nine DVDs. The smart play here might be to slot in some lighter films in between each of these slots in order to break up the Biblical-level art happening at my sensorium, but I think maybe there’s something to be said for just total immersion in the Art Cinematic world of Mr. Kieslowski. Sort of like a brain bath of Polish heaviness.
11. This Is Spinal Tap — I really don’t know why I added this to my queue, for I own this fucking DVD. Clearly, I forgot about this. Seriously, no joke, I just watched my copy two weeks ago. Why is this on my queue?
12. Heat — This has been a long time coming, although I’m less excited now that I just saw Public Enemies and was, well, whelmed. Others (Eric Marsh) insist that the bank robbery in this film is amongst the great moments in film history, though, so, hey, Netflix that shit.
13. Persuasion — All you need to know about this is that it’s based on a Jane Austen novel, and that I secretly love Masterpiece Theatre and most things Victorian England. Please forward all queries regarding this problem/matter to Mr. E. G. Marsh, c/o Running Downhill. He can tell you things.
14. Beast of Yucca Flats — This has less that 2.5 stars out of 5 on the Netflix user ratings. I don’t think people knew what they were Netflixing. Poor poor bastards. The cover alone should be enough to tell you. “Honey, what is this awful movie you Netflixed for us?” “I don’t know, baby; the kid down at Mr. Movies said it was the best thing he’d ever seen.”
15. Serpico — I have no explanation for why Dog Day Afternoon does not immediately follow this in my queue. I may have to rectify that.
16. Bugsy — Probably added after I watched McCabe and Mrs. Miller. That Warren Beatty: he has a way about him, the ol’ rogue.
17. Rain Man — Probably not as good as its critical reception would indicate, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Hoffman, and I’m intrigued by savant qualities ever since I read an article in Minnesota Monthly about a guy who, provided with a date on the Gregorian calendar, could instantly and accurately tell you what day of the week it was.
18. Antz — No explanation. I’m afraid of insects, so this might be a bad choice. I am not afraid of Woody Allen.
19. Army of Shadows — Jean-Pierre Melville is maybe the most underrated director of the French New Wave. Le Cercle Rouge is one of the tightest, most purely filmic films I have ever seen, and so the more Melville I can cram in me, the better, I feel. (Seriously, if you haven’t seen LCR, like, don’t be like me and wait until you’re 25 to see it. It’s a procedural and spare and trim and gorgeous). (If you’re over 25 and haven’t seen it, disregard that last comment, except for the part telling you to see it).
20. The Wild Bunch — Probably needs no explanation, right? Let’s move on.
21. The Raggedy Rawney — This film is directed by Bob Hoskins, and stars Bob Hoskins. It was made in 1988. A VP at my work insists it’s one of the best and most unique films that she and her husband have ever seen. I’m intrigued by things I’ve never heard of, and the premise–a WW2 desterter who dresses like a girl to escape with gypsies who think he can see into the future–well, that sounds like my kind of thing.
22. The Killing Fields — Definitely added after I read about Cambodia in Harper’s magazine. And it’s Roland Joffé.
23. The Warriors — I’m probably the last person in their 20s or 30s not to have ever seen this.
24. Johnny Handsome — Added with The Warriors; Marsh gave me an hour-long rundown of Walter Hill’s style and career one day while at work, and I immeidately added #23, 24, and 25 to the ol’ queue, because Marsh is a trusted cinema source.
25. Hard Times — See #24 plus Charles Bronson, so that’s clearly a no-brainer.
26. The Night Porter — I don’t remember the impulse behind adding this one, but hey, there’s a topless Charlotte Rampling on the cover of the DVD, so that’s good, right? And it’s about WW2, so that’s kind of my favorite thing, and…yep. Basically, if it’s a Criterion DVD, I will give it a shot, because they’re right about 99% of the time. The other 1% of the time, they’re trying to get me to watch Armageddon.
27. Alphaville — Sci-fi directed by Godard? Ok. The only catch here is that I’m worried it might involve time travel, which is usually bad (the exception is Last Year at Marienbad and/or Groundhog Day).
28. WALL-E — Not sure where this one came from. Probably added because Ebert had a huge bone for it, and I’m generally okay with Pixar.
29. Flushed Away — Added because I love Aardman clay. That’s about it. Oh, and it’s about English things and rats.