All Movie Talk, Special #2

Posted in Episodes at 5:00 am by Sam

In this episode, we try to help movie fans broaden their horizons by recommending good first forays into classic and foreign films.

Show contents:

  • Top 6: Accessible Older Movies
  • Top 6: Accessible Foreign Films
  • Top 6: Foreign Films You Don’t Want To Start With

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  1. Sam (405) said,

    December 1, 2009 at 11:01 am

    In the “Tell No One” bit, I mentioned that I’d seen some other good or great recent French Hitchcockian thrillers lately, although none with as much relentless energy. Here are more of those:

    * The Apartment (1996) - Feels like what Brian De Palma tries to do with his own Hitchcockian thrillers, but The Apartment is more successful.

    * With a Friend Like Harry (2000) - Very, very laid back and low key, building up tension and a great uneasiness quietly. I loved the ending, which is unforgettable and not at all what you’d expect from a thriller — no epic battles on rain-drenched rooftops here. Think more along the lines of Notorious’ walk down the stairs.

    * Red Lights (2004) - Warning: Marital strife may cause DOOM. Alternately harrowing and darkly funny. One memorable scene in the middle is incredibly tense and near impossible to look away from — but all that’s happening in it is a guy making a series of phone calls.

    Claude Chabrol, one of the French New Wave guys who is still making movies today, has apparently made quite a few of these himself recently, but I haven’t seen them yet. I’m also eager for a new one to hit DVD — “Pour Elle” aka “Anything For Her” — which has been receiving excellent word of mouth.

  2. ThePhan (128) said,

    December 2, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Loved this episode! I am a huge fan of older movies but haven’t gotten as heavily into foreign films, although there have been a few I really enjoyed (Amelie, Pan’s Labyrinth, Persepolis, and Wings of Desire being some of my favorites).

    I agreed with every movie you included on the first list, with the exception of Dr. Strangelove, which I have somehow not yet seen. (I tend to be mildly annoyed by movies with an obvious message, even if given satirically, so I keep putting off watching it.) I used to try to show classic movies to my friends in high school - Singin’ in the Rain and Charade (and Arsenic and Old Lace, which was mentioned but not officially listed) were the ones that people consistently enjoyed the most. More film buff-ish friends usually liked Casablanca.

    The General is a GREAT choice - I bought it a year or two ago on DVD for like $3 and my little siblings LOVED it.

    I had seen, I think, 3 out of the 7 foreign films mentioned. Tell No One definitely sounded good and I will have to look into that one, but I’m not sure I’ll search for the ones in the action genre any time soon. (I have enough trouble getting into action movies, period.) But we shall see.

    I had heard of most of the films in the last segment, but I don’t believe I’ve seen any of them, unless I’ve forgotten one. A few of them did spark my interest. I’m usually cool with long, slow movies as long as I feel like it worked in the end. So I may have to Netflix some of those.

    It’s so fun to hear you guys’ thoughts on movies again. Keep sporadically making specials whenever you feel like it :-)

  3. Sam (405) said,

    December 2, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I wouldn’t call Dr. Strangelove a “message movie.” Although I suppose satire, by its very nature, means that an underlying point is being made, the spirit of the movie isn’t so much “Let’s use satire to say something important in a fun way!” so much as “Let’s use satire to make complete and total fun of things!” It honestly doesn’t seem to care about the arms race except as fodder for a comedy of ridiculousness.

    Good work exposing your friends to the classics. It’s encouraging to hear that your experiments turned out well, too.

  4. Stephen (221) said,

    December 3, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    I disagree with you on that one, Sam: I think Strangelove comes from a very serious, concerned, and freaked out place. It definitely cares about the arms race, is deeply troubled by the world, and uses that as the source of its humor. The tone of the movie certainly isn’t moralizing, but I think you can pretty clearly gauge Kubrick’s feelings on several points from this film.

    Strangelove is fundamentally about how nuclear weapons are a pretty horrible idea, and even more frightening than their existence is the sort of people who control them — politicians and generals, two groups Kubrick is never overly fond of. (It’s also a pretty good skewering of the Red Scare: who can forget General Ripper’s insane anti-commie rants?)

    In my opinion, that it manages to be deliriously funny while still making these points is a real plus, even to the extent that I wouldn’t call it a “message movie” exactly. But it’s pretty far from being just a silly comedy.

  5. Sam (405) said,

    December 4, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I dunno. I certainly agree that the movie takes a position — that much is clear — but I question that its motivation is some underlying worry or paranoia. Kubrick himself may have felt this way, but the movie itself, if it can be thought of as having its own agenda, feels more to me like it simply sees the arms race and the people involved in it as the height of ridiculousness and aims to mock that ridiculousness as mercilessly as it can simply because, hey, it’s all pretty funny.

    Thinking about it, though, I suppose my argument is as unconvincing to me as yours, because all I’m really saying is how *I* feel about it. I don’t feel like it’s preaching to me, like, say, its contemporary “Fail-Safe” does, although I do like that movie.

  6. Nyperold (116) said,

    December 6, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Of course, my favorite part of DSOHILTSWALTB is the music montage.

    I find it amusingly appropriate that you can’t tell anyone how much you like Tell No One.

    The lists have now been added to my AMTTop6 list on the Film-Lover’s Checklist at Rinkworks.

  7. joem18b (231) said,

    December 7, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Welcome back, guys.

    Six foreign films that I found entertaining and accessible:

    1. Madeinusa (2006) - (Peru) Remote Andean village where God sleeps from Good Friday to Easter Sunday and anything goes.

    2. Yol (1982) - (Turkey/Kurdistan) Difficult times in the countryside as a village demands that a man divorce his wife by taking her out in a snowstorm without shoes.

    3. Summer Love (2006) - (Poland) Polish spagetti western in which Val Kilmer lies dead in the street all the way through.

    4. Offside (2006) - (Iran) Young women struggle to get into a male-only stadium in Teheran for a world cup match.

    5. Le Grande Voyage (2004) - (France/Middle East) High-school teen drives father from France to Mecca.

    6. 13 Tzameti (2005) - (France/Albania) 13 guys complete in a Russian-roulette contest.

  8. Grishny (156) said,

    December 8, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    I’d gotten The General way back when it was featured here in the Top Six Train Movies in one of the first few episodes. My kids had never watched a silent movie before (and I hadn’t seen any since I was ten or eleven) and they were very skeptical. But they loved it.

    Modern Times had been in my Netflix queue for years, even since you guys talked about it during the original run of AMT, but I’d never gotten around to bumping it to the top of the list; after this episode I finally did and tonight we watched it. This time, having seen two or three old Buster Keaton movies, my boys were a little more enthusiastic about watching it, and they both enjoyed it thoroughly.

  9. Nyperold (116) said,

    December 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Another comment: Whenever I find myself thinking of this episode, I always imagine someone dropping the name “SATYAJIT!!! Ray” into a serious filmic discussion.

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