After that unpleasantness with Nman concerning The Passion it is time once again to get back into my list of greatest directors. Today we will be looking at...
#9 John Ford
John Ford was a director active during the middle of the twentieth century, mostly known for westerns, he also directed the screen adaptation of the great Steinbeck novel, The Grapes of Wrath, which I have not seen, nor read. I assume it is a documentary about wine making. That is obviously not why he made the list. He made the list at number nine for one movie and one movie only; The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
Why is this sole entry more worthy than the man who made The Godfather? Three reasons; James Stewart, Lee Marvin, and John Wayne. Had Ford cast two lesser actors the world might have never seen what I have been saying for years, namely that John Wayne is one of the worst actors ever, Keanu Reeves bad. Jimmy Stewart and Lee Marvin put on a clinic and made Marion look like the one dimensional waste of celluloid that he is. The man is a legend based solely on the fact that he was in the right place at the right time, World War II, when Jimmy Stewart was off flying bomber missions and Lee Marvin was getting shot in the ass at Saipan, Wayne was the only semblance of an actor that remained in Hollywood. Stewart and Marvin bring real emotion to this tale and, thankfully, Wayne has little screen time, but just enough for us to realize that the Duke is a Dud. Example: Read Shakespeare's Macbeth, Dostoevsky's Notes From the Underground, and this Blog. I know you all think highly of my writing prowess but when you have great authors to compare me with, I'll even admit it, I'm really shitty. So bravo to you Mr. Ford for showing us what a one note actor, I use the term actor loosely, John Wayne is, and thank you for putting him on screen for just long enough for us to realize it but not long enough for his collective stank to ruin the performances of two real screen legends.
Watch This: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Skip This: Every other film he made with John Wayne
This is the Zodiac speaking…
To Nman in particular I write this diatribe. “As terrible as Christ’s suffering on the cross was, perhaps it was not as great as His suffering in Gethsemane. When he sweats drops of blood as He bore the weight of all the sins of mankind, the great agony of the Atonement took place.” (“Because of His Love,” Ensign, April 2002, p.19)
I am not here to debate religion, just religious films, and fully appreciate the emotions provoked in watching a realistic, brutal torture, and eventual execution. Just like Gibson did in Braveheart. The reason I panned this film is because it wasn’t a film, it was, as I said, torture porn. Crucifixion was a standard way of execution in the days of Rome, so what happened to Jesus, what the entire film focuses on, was a pretty regular, granted, barbaric, occurrence. It was not a movie about the man, it was a two hour celebration of masochism. The use of gruesome martyrdom is nothing new in Hollywood, once again Braveheart, but this is the first one I’ve seen that had no real story other than the pending execution.
Imagine if Braveheart, I know I keep going there but it fits so well with the Martyr/Mel theme I’ve got rolling here, started with William Wallace being led out of his cell into the waiting arms of his torturers and ended with a perplexing scream of “Freedom” as the ax fell. Fade to black. Fantastic film eh? Why not? Wallace is a historical figure. True his life wasn’t anywhere near as romantic or inspiring as the man portrayed on screen. To obscure and idealized a historical figure you say? How about this. Opening credits roll over a silken theater curtain, when it’s pulled back we see the start of “Our American Cousin.” The camera stays on the actors momentarily then slowly starts to pan toward the balcony revealing Lincoln. Fast forward through a gunshot wound to the head, shot in bullet time like the Matrix, and an hour and a half more of 1865 doctors operating, applying leaches, and using other forms of antiquated quackery, only to be found lacking. The music stops, the screen goes black, and we pull the camera back in the darkness and right through the name LINCOLN emblazoned in silver.
My point isn’t against the message of the movie, except maybe the blame the Jews part but I think I was pretty obvious about that, only that it wasn’t a movie. Movies are meant to entertain, enlighten, and impart, not gross you out.
I know this is supposed to be part two (or #9) of my greatest directors post but I have to get my name out there damnit. This is to let all of you know that I am now posting all of my new Blogs on Twitter. Be better than your friends by being the first person to know when I finally get around to writing my next real post. Anytime I post anything new I will automatically update with a link on Twitter, also, I may be so inclined to update my status with other real time posts that actually have nothing to do with this site. Don’t miss out on the madness that is me whenever the Hell I feel like it. @zodiacsword on twitter, follow me, and check out my ads, some of it is real interesting shit.
This is part one of my list of the 10 Greatest Directors of All Time. As with any of these "Greatest" lists, it is open for debate and personal feelings, all except for number 1, which no one could argue any different on. With any luck I will continue on with one director per day, but life, and alcohol, have a funny way of slowing things down. Let's get started, shall we?
#10 Francis Ford Coppola
Part of the new wave of Hollywood directors, Coppola left his mark on the film industry with such titles as Apocalypse Now (The Horror,) The Outsiders (Stay gold, Pony Boy ), and single-handedly changed the way we look at the mafia with the first two Godfather films, (I like to pretend number three didn't exist, and if you've seen it, so do you.) The Godfather Part two was the first sequel to win a best picture oscar, and in my not so humble opinion, was better than the original. Granted, his heyday was in the 70's and early 80's, after that he made pure filth. Even trying as hard as we can to forget that the same man who directed Al Pacino in his greatest role(s) also made the man-child attempt at humor titled Jack. Also I don't think we should just let him off the hook for helping the career of his nephew Nicolas, who in his early career, like uncle like nephew, made some decent movies, Raising Arizona, to becoming an embarrassment with The Weather Man.
My reason for putting him on this list can be summed up by viewing the last five minutes of The Godfather, Michael argues with Kay about the family business, and she watches as the new Don finally sets into his role, as the music rises to crescendo, we realize as an audience that we have just seen his character come full circle. The Godfather reads like a crime drama but is truly a character study, and the fact that most people miss that, speaks volumes for what Francis Ford Coppola can do as a story teller.
Watch This: The Godfather Part II
Skip This: The Godfather Part III
After telling you what the greatest movie ever written was, it would be remiss of me not to tell you the worst thing I've ever seen. Look over at the link to buy it on Amazon. As of the writing of this, the best price is $0.54, that says so much, personally, I wouldn't watch this movie again if they paid me. A stack of hundreds and a hot chick willing to fuck me, its been so long, wouldn't make me... well, all right, I guess I'd watch it again, God I'm so horny. But I wouldn't like the film, even after associating it with mind blowing sex. I lost all respect for Robert DeNiro after watching this, and seeing as how I've never had any respect for Rene Russo, nothing has changed there. PUNS ARE NOT JOKES!!! They are annoying, and just lazy writing. I enjoyed the old TV show when I was a child, and again as a drunk or drugged adult, I watched this one day when I was sober and again when I wasn't, it made no difference. The link to the left allows you to purchase this movie for yourself and decide whether or not I'm full of shit, I recommend that you purchase this if you hate your kids or work for the FBI and want to torture some religious fanatics out of their compound. Otherwise, save yourself the money and time, use it to take up knitting.
It won't take anyone to long to figure out that I am a HUGE Stanley Kubrick fan. This is by far his greatest cinematic achievement ever. Peter Sellers plays three roles, including the titular, in this satirical comedy about the Cold War. Following three groups as they try to prevent, order, and cause a nuclear holocaust, the suspense and humor are rife throughout. Words do little to justify just how great this movie is, so if my advice will ever be worth anything to you, then go watch this movie. As for the ad next to this review, we all have to whore ourselves out sometimes. Get used to it. That being said, I personally own four copies of Dr. Strangelove. Greatest Movie Ever.
This is the first post on my site. I will be blogging my unedited reviews of films, television, and pretty much whatever I feel like writing about. For those of you who just want to read PG rated thoughts, then link on over to America's Hobbies, that's were I write things the kiddies can read. This is all about the free exchange of ideas and comments. So feel free to call me anything you want in the comments section, I will enjoy arguing my sexual preferences with you whenever, straight, by the way.