Monday, February 14, 2011

Graffiti Ash 3

I watched the newest Ebert Presents this weekend on PBS. The regular two critics were asked what are the top five movies that changed your life? It's hard to get an understanding of that question: Are these my top five films of all time, are these films the ones that influenced me enough to start writing about them, are these the films they feel beyond all others that must be seen? So it's sort of an if-y, nebulous question to begin with.

The two critics on the show are:Christy Lemire, an Associated Press movie critic, and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, a thoughtful Chicago-based writer for

Lemire is engaging and accessible, exactly what a wire critic needs to be. Vishnevetsky, who is 24, is a surprise, and although young, evidently well versed in film. So this past week, they were to answer the above question: What are the top five movies that changed your life, and then Roger Ebert, who due to health problems can't speak, but named Citizen Kane as his top film and they ran his comments to the films, which he'd done earlier, I assume it's one of the special features on the DVD. (I'd have to agree with him on that one or it would be in my top five.)

At any rate, here are the other two critic's top five films that changed their life (and Lemire added, "that shaped us.")

Christy Lemire: The Breakfast Club, Magnolia, No Country For Old Men, The Wizard of Oz, and Nights of Cabiria.

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: D. W. Griffith's True Heart Susie (really?), Foolish Wives (another silent film--really, again?), Playtime, Shoah the nine hour holocaust film, and the several part film(s), Histoire(s) Du Cinema or (Magic Lantern) by Jean-Luc Godard.

Now granted I didn't expect them to name off Transformers or Knocked-Up here, and at least I've seen five of the films that they mentioned, but are they being honest here? Wow, I was sort of disappointed for some reason. For one, I thought The Breakfast Club was really just a half-assed 80's teen movie. I like No Country, but if I were to name a Coen Brother's film it might be Fargo. With Magnolia, I was in the camp that thought it was more or less arty pretentious crap to some extent, although I did think Tom Cruise fit his role in that film pretty well, and enjoyed some parts of the film. It's just the overall film for me didn't work. I can go with the Wizards of Oz, I saw it on our black and white Magnavox TV when I was a young child and it did have some impact. With Vishnevetsky's picks I've not seen a one of them, although I taped Playtime some time ago, I've just yet to watch it. And I'd agree with Roger Ebert on Citizen Kane, good film.

So I guess it boils down to taste as always. For the record, mine might look like this: Citizen Kane, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Annie Hall or Manhattan (I think Manhattan is the better film, maybe), Apocalypse Now, and Midnight Cowboy. Those are pretty much just off the top of my head. They'd probably change or be shuffled around overnight once I slept on it, perhaps. I could easily throw out one and add a western or The Godfather part one.

Happy Valentine's Day.


At 9:10 PM, Blogger Mob said...

Odd question: where are you getting the little bits of art that you've been including in your posts? Is it stuff you've done or had access to (IE: A friend's work) or stuff you've run across on the web?

Just curious.

At 6:37 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Yeah, just stuff I run across on the web. I've tinkered with the thought of adding some of my own art, but I'll need a scanner, digital camera, and I haven't gone down that road yet. On one hand I thought I could use it to ways: perhaps illustrate what I'm writing about, or two, just have some nice art up (not related to anything). A new direction I thought I'd try out. I'll probably change it up, like in the Joe Matt posting, it's a mood thing, ya know?


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