It’s official: Creativity is on life support. I find it hard to believe that in the 120 years film has been in existence, writers appear to be dangerously close to exhausting new storylines. The result is an increasing number of poorly done remakes, or, God forbid, a sequel (or tw0). And if Hollywood isn’t turning out a remake / sequel, odds favor a comic book brought to life, For the latter, the odds also favor a poor product. Maybe some stories and /or authors don’t translate well. Stephen King is a perfect example. A brilliant writer and a literary chameleon. Any screenwriter would be hard pressed to find a greater body of stories to pull from. But has their ever been a worthy screen adaptation of his work outside of The Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me? I don’t think so.
I prefer comedies or action films. I used to be a huge fan of sci-fi, but that has waned over the years. I find horror films ridiculous: demons, spooks, serial killers, etc. There is so much real horror in the world that replicating the theme in film seems redundant. I rarely watch a drama for the same reason. Comedies and action films give me an escape. And isn’t that what movies are all about?
So on to my favorites. Number one on the list: “The Quiet Man” with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. Frequent co-star Victor McLaglen and Wayne had a great fight sequence in TQM. Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Bm0RIs-VJU&feature=player_detailpage. I’m a big John Wayne fan. Although he is known primarily for his westerns, he could work in any film genre. Of his westerns, I favor “The Searchers”, Rio Bravo” and “The Sons of Katie Elder”. I liked “True Grit” but it was never one of my favorites.
Others on my list: “Some Like It Hot” (Curtis / Lemmon), “The In-Laws” (Arkin / Falk), “Freebie and the Bean” (Arkin / Caan), “Young Frankenstein” (Wilder / Boyle), “The Godfather – Part II” (Pacino). “Stripes” (Murray / Ramis). Most of the Bond movies: Connery in “You Only Live Twice” , “Goldfinger”, “Thunderball” and “Diamonds Are Forever” (his last “real” Bond film – “Never Say Never Again” doesn’t count). Skip Lazenby in “On His Majesty’s Secret Service”, although it also starred Diana Rigg (Emma Peel from “The Avengers – one of my all time favorite TV shows). Roger Moore only in “For Your Eyes Only”. Skip Timothy Dalton. Pierce Brosnan only in “Goldeneye”. I’m on the fence re: Daniel Craig.
Moving on: “Silver Streak” (Wilder / Pryor). “Tears of the Sun” (Willis), a great movie with an accurate portrayal of the Navy SEAL team. Bruce Willis at his best. “Die Hard 1 and 2”. “The Departed” (DiCaprio / Nicholson). A few war movies: “Where Eagles Dare” (Burton / Eastwood), “The Battle of the Bulge” (Fonda / Shaw) and “The Battle of Britain”, the latter for the dogfight sequences only. Epics, i.e. the LOTR trilogy. Brilliant. “Forrest Gump” (Hanks) and “Big” with Hanks as well.
In a big fan of Michael Crichton: “The Andromeda Strain” is one of my favorite sci-fi films. Lesser known is “Coma” (M. Douglas and an early appearance by Tom Selleck).
More to come….