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.