Undefended: Heresies & Blasphemies

This week, five cinematic blasphemies. Your blasphemies, that is. Five opinions about this or that film, this or that actor, this or that director, whatever you like, which are simply unacceptable within the world of film criticism.

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Rikki Elizabeth Stinnette:

  1. Until the last fifteen minutes, Casablanca is a boring film about whining drunkards.
  2. The Lion King. Great Broadway musical, cliched movie. Beauty and the Beast is the true Disney classic.
  3. Most Alfred Hitchcock movies are too dated for their own good. (I’m excepting Rear Window.)
  4. Critics only adored Shakespeare in Love and Hugo because the movies idolized–whether overtly or not–the film industry. Take away the film references, and they’re stupid.
  5. John Wayne has two emotions: patronizing or grumpy.

Thomas Banks:

  1. ”Rebel without a Cause” is an emotionally shallow and immature film. No one who has grown up in more than a merely chronological sense can take it at all seriously. It is the “Cather in the Rye” of cinema.
  2. Francis Ford Coppola has made exactly two good films, and “Apocalypse Now” is not one of them.
  3. Apart from “Chinatown”, nothing attaching to the name “Roman Polanski” will last, with the possible exception of infamy and disgust.
  4. The ending of “Bonny and Clyde” is not nearly as sad as the filmmakers seemed to believe. Likewise with “Easy Rider”.
  5. ”The Magnificent Seven” is in almost every way greater than its source “The Seven Samurai”.

Thomas Banks remarked: “John Wayne has only two emotions: patronizing or grumpy.” Like Hell, pilgrim.

Remy Wilkins:

Technically 4 isn’t a heresy, but in an empire of lies, truth is treason, you know.

  1.  Meryl Streep is the Al Pacino of Over-actressing (Cate Blanchette runner-up)
  2. The Family Man is a better movie than It’s a Wonderful Life
  3. Empire Strikes Back isn’t noticeably better/worse than the other two in the Trilogy. Same with Spider-Man 3.
  4. Cinematography has nothing to do with how pretty the pictures are.
  5. Tom Cruise is the only actor whose private life may be disengaged from his onscreen personae so that you may fully and guilt free love everything he does.

Thomas Banks remarked: Remy- Good point about Cruise. Maybe in generations past Errol Flynn held that same questionable honor?

Remy Wilkins remarked: I find Tom Cruise to be one of the more creepy/sinister people in Hollywood, but all of that fades away when the room darkens and his cantilevered smile fills the screen. Cary Grant, Rock Hudson, Flynn, Gary Cooper, lots of seediness but difficult to forget in the face of their films.

Joshua Gibbs remarked: I’m feeling that comment about Streep so much right now. She’s good in exactly one movie.

Sean Johnson remarked: The Streep comment is my go-to film blasphemy; back to the drawing board.

James Banks:

  1. Steven Spielberg’s best drama is, by far, Empire of the Sun.
  2. There is much less to Paul Thomas Anderson’s films than meets the eye (and this is particularly true of The Master)
  3. Tom Hanks’s best acting role was in The Ladykillers
  4. Martin Scorsese’s only good movies are Taxi Driver, The Color of Money, Goodfellas, Casino and Hugo. You can skip the rest.
  5. Christopher Nolan’s best movie is Insomnia.

James Banks remarked: I liked this week’s quite a bit, by the way. Perhaps we should name it the “Armond White Dis-honorial List” because of the man’s penchant for idiosyncratic (and, in most cases, wrong) opinions.

Remy Wilkins: I would like to change one of mine to: “James Banks should be guillotined for his opinions of Paul Thomas Anderson.”

Brian Murnion: Remy, you’re gonna hate part of my list.

Remy Wilkins: I’m not a big Darren Aronofsky fan, if that’s what you mean. I only play that up to annoy you.

Sean Johnson:

  1. Every good Kevin Costner movie: good in spite of him, not because of him.
  2. Forrest Gump isn’t great. Mostly sincerity masquerading as profundity.
  3. Chimes at Midnight is almost certainly better than Citizen Kane
  4. Quiz Show is the best film Robert Redford has been in any way involved with.
  5. I don’t feel guilty about the fact that I like Aaron Sorkin largely because he makes me feel clever.

P.S. Double amen to any Meryl Streep blasphemies; they even gave her a lifetime achievement award a few years back and she refused to take the hint.

Brian Murnion:

  1. Francois Truffaut’s best film is not The 400 Blows or Jules and Jim, but The Soft Skin.
  2. Roger Ebert can’t write a review to save his life.
  3. Make a list of the top 500 best films of all time and PT Anderson still wouldn’t make the cut.
  4. Martin Scorsese has made two films worth watching, No Direction Home and Cape Fear.
  5. The last really great film to come out of the Hollywood pipeline was Columbia Pictures’ The Social Network.

Remy Wilkins remarked: I don’t want to hang with you guys no more.

Joshua Gibbs remarked: Brian, you’re just trying to be punk.

Brian Murnion remarked:  Well I was watching Dogtown and Z-Boys when making this list.

Joshua Gibbs:

  1. The greatest George Lucas film of all time is obviously “American Graffiti.”
  2. Katherine Hepburn nearly sinks “The African Queen.”
  3. I had to force myself to be sad at the end of “Bicycle Thieves.”
  4. I’ve seen bad Hallmark Easter cards that are more religious than “Chariots of Fire.”
  5. “Au Hasard Balthazar” is just a little old donkey movie.
Joshua Gibbs

Joshua Gibbs teaches great books, collects records and jogs to work. He and his wife have two children, both of whom have seven names. He tweets at @joshgibbs and blogs for the CiRCE Institute.

One Response to Undefended: Heresies & Blasphemies

  1. I just realized the only reason I’ve never seen “The African Queen” is because Josh said it was boring, and the only reason I wanted to see it in the first place was because it was reenacted in an episode of “Muppet Babies”.

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