Thursday, December 18, 2008

An Alphabet of Elitism and Entertainment

I’ve been watching all my favorite bloggers play the alphabet meme, where they pick their favorite film for each letter, and my own resistance has finally broken down.

There is basically no organizational criteria for listing movies that I won’t get behind. Listing post-apocalyptic films by the number of survivors? Ranking action films by the line-up of bad accents? Categorizing James Spader movies by creepiness level? 1950’s SF by scientific inaccuracy? Italian horror films by zooms? Count me in.

And since the best players have taken it upon themselves to add some clever twists (see Cinebeat’s vampire alphabet or Filmbrain’s hilarious Nikkatsu action film alphabet), I’ve put a spin of my own. I’ve chosen two films for each letter, the first being a “serious” film and the next being a “fun” pick, a way of resolving my Janus-esque love for the both art house and genre cinema.

Titles will be based on accepted English titles with one exception (X is hard!), in a minor violation of the original rules. And I should admit that these are not necessarily my absolute favorites for each letter (which move around a lot anyway), since I’ve shuffled things around to hit an optimal number of my favorite directors and to make particularly absurd pairings. I mean, who wouldn’t want to find out how Munchausen would have dealt with Vietnam or to attend a double feature of “Jules and Jim and Johnny Guitar” or to witness a back-to-back screening of the most disparate medieval combo: “Marketa Lazarova” meets “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

A Apocalypse Now / The Adventures of Baron von Munchausen
B The Battle of Algiers / Barbarella
C The Conformist / Chungking Express
D The Double Life of Veronique / Deep Red
E The Ear / Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
F Forbidden Games / The Fall
G The Godfather / The Great Dictator
H Heart of Glass / Harold and Maude
I I Am Cuba / Ikarie XB-1
J Jules and Jim / Johnny Guitar
K Koyaanisqatsi / The Knack… and How to Get It
L Last Year in Marienbad / The Lady from Shanghai
M Marketa Lazarova / Monty Python and the Holy Grail
N The Night of the Hunter / The Nightmare Before Christmas
O Olivier, Olivier / Once Upon a Time in the West
P Possession / Pan’s Labyrinth
Q Quiz Show / The Quatermass Xperiment
R Rashomon / Run, Lola, Run
S The Saragossa Manuscript / The Saddest Music in the World
T The Third Man / Tampopo
U Ulysses’ Gaze / The Unbelievable Truth
V Videodrome / Valerie and Her Week of Wonders
W Woman in the Dunes / Who Framed Roger Rabbit
X Xich Lo (Cyclo) / X2
Y Yi Yi: A One and a Two / Yellow Submarine
Z A Zed and Two Noughts / Zulu


Mad Dog said...

P and V both seem like genre-driven choices. But I can't argue with the picks in either case!

So would Stargate be a 2 on the James Spader Creepiness Index (JSCI)?

Molly said...

Great list!

Like Mad Dog, however, I am intrigued by this JSCI. I doubt I will ever forget my weekend watching Sex Lies and Videotape and Crash.

Anonymous said...

Holla out Deep Red! That's one of my fave horror films.

Good list- I am a big fan of many of your pics. I'm surprised I recognized so much of your list, but I guess good cinema is good cinema.