2/26/2010

Top 6 Words: Eyes

Posted in Top 6 Words at 5:00 am by Sam

I’m going to start a new experiment that I hope will be fun. It’ll be a challenge to myself while providing an avenue to discuss some interesting movies. Hopefully it will also inspire discussion from you folks, too, as I’m sure you can think of things I miss.

Here’s the set-up. I wrote a short script to sift through a very long database of movie titles and pick out a single word at random. The word will be one that appears in several different titles but not a great number. Once I have the randomly-chosen word, the challenge to me is to come up with a Top 6 list of movies whose titles include that word. I’ll start out posting these weekly but probably slow down after the first several.

For this first Top 6 Words post, the word I drew was “Eyes.” My Top 6 list after the jump. If you want to play along, try to think of titles on your own before looking at mine. Chime in with your favorite “Eyes” movies in the comments section.

6. The Private Eyes (1981)

Don Knotts and Tim Conway star in this parody of detective stories. It’s extremely silly and far from their best pairing, but the natural comedic talents of the stars mostly works.

5. Eyes of Texas (1948)

Roy Rogers and Trigger save a ranch for boys orphaned in the war. There’s a long lost nephew, a suspicious will, and a murder, but Roy will save the day. Rogers cranked out innumerable short B-westerns from the late 30s to the early 50s, few of them inspired but most of them pleasant. This one is a little heavier than the usual but still recognizably of the same mold that made Rogers such a well-loved star.

4. Mickey Blue Eyes (1999)

This one must have sounded great as a pitch. Prim and proper Hugh Grant has to pose as a mafia gangster for some reason. It doesn’t matter what that reason is, only that there is one. Grant’s chemistry with James Caan and other familiar faces from serious mafia movies lend a suggestion of credibility where there is otherwise none at all.

3. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Enough with breezy entertainments. Here is a film that is anything but. In this, Stanley Kubrick’s last film, Tom Cruise goes through a harrowing and deeply disturbing psychological journey of jealousy and frustration after his wife confesses to harboring an adulterous imagination. Is what happens real? Well, it’s real enough for Cruise’s character, and that’s what matters.

2. Open Your Eyes (1997)

It was remade in Hollywood as Vanilla Sky (with Tom Cruise again), but the Spanish-language original is vastly superior. It’s a riveting psychological thriller that takes us through layer after layer of reality, bewildering us at times but never losing us. Ultimately it provides us with an explanation for the seemingly inexplicable, but for the thoughtful viewer, answers are only the beginning. It takes two viewings and reflection afterward about the human psyche to really appreciate this film, although a one-shot viewer will certainly get his money’s worth: those seeking the creepy, surreal, and surprising will certainly find it. There is a good deal of suspense, too, of the kind built on the psychology of the character rather than upon mechanical action scenes.

Director Alejandro Amenabar proves himself quite the visual stylist with this film, not to mention of writing and music as well — he directed, wrote, and scored the movie. The result is a vision of beautiful unity.

1. For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Regular readers know my penchant for the James Bond franchise. This one is one of the best of the series. While most of Roger Moore’s Bond films had a tendency to indulge strange slapstick humor, this one is more serious and goes to some dark places, while still retaining that Bondian sense of fun. It’s also a wonderful action-adventure movie, taking us down ski slopes in Italy and up cliffs in Greece. Director John Glen keeps the tension wound tight.

4 Comments »

  1. Nyperold (116) said,

    February 26, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I have yet to see any of the films on this list, or indeed, any films with “Eyes” in the title.

    I’ll possibly have to see Bright Eyes someday, but my favorite title is How Mike Got the Soap in His Eyes. It’s about as funny as the film itself probably is!

  2. ThePhan (128) said,

    February 27, 2010 at 12:35 am

    This is a great idea. I’ve missed the top 6 lists.

    It appears I also haven’t seen any movies with “Eyes” in the title, and only two with “Eye” in the title (Eagle Eye and Red Eye, neither of which I was super impressed with). I’m a little surprised by this.

  3. joem18b (231) said,

    February 28, 2010 at 5:23 am

    6. The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) - Makes this list just because I remembered it. Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones, Raul Julia. As Ebert says, “We would not, however, hold its Serious Things against it, if the movie also succeeded as a thriller. It doesn’t, unless your idea of being thrilled is having people leap out of the shadows and then turn out to be friends.”

    5. Bright Eyes (1934) - Shirley Temple lives a couple of miles from here. I’ll tell her that she made the list.

    4. The Hills Have Eyes (2006) - Can’t remember if I saw the Craven original, but this remake wasn’t bad, not least because Morocco stands in for New Mexico.

    3. Eyes on the Prize (1987) - This 360-minute TV documentary series is now so prevalent on dvd in the libraries that I’m counting it as a movie.

    2. Through Your Eyes (2007) - I’m still mourning the loss of David Carradine, who I always thought would appear in literally any project, if only invited (just saw him in Homo Erectus and Hell Ride and he’s great in both). Another joiner: Michael Madsen. Here, the two of them narrate a documentary about triplets who are both deaf and blind. You can hear their work on the Through Your Eyes site.

    1. One-Eyed Jacks (1961) - Ok, I cheated on the “eyed,” but couldn’t resist Brando and Malden on horseback.

  4. amthomas (5) said,

    February 28, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    6. For your eyes only - I have to copy you here on this Bond flick. It’s hard for me to always remember which Bond was which. But, for me all you had to say was, “The one with the Greek chick,” and I would have remembered.

    5. Mickey Blue Eyes (1999) - If movies are about experience this one could take the cake. I’ll never forgot my first kiss which happened during Mickey Blue Eyes. I don’t care that she may or may not have been thinking about Hugh Grant and his English accent. Although don’t ask me what the movie is about…I can’t seem to remember.

    4. Snake Eyes (1998) - My first thriller with a twist ending. I think this movie sums-up Nicholas Cage’s movie career; a man who is confused and trying to solve something.

    3. Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe (2009) - I know I cheated on this one but Snake Eyes was probably the best part of the new G.I. Joe movie. I think that’s because he had no speaking lines.

    2. The Hills Have Eyes (2006) - Just confirmed the fact that I don’t want to vacation in or through New Mexico.

    1. Eyes Wide Shut (1999) - I don’t think I really understand this movie, but every time I watch the movie I like it more and more. So many subtle themes. I think it might be considered a ‘classic’ one day.

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