Feb 1, 2010

Movie Doctor

Movie Doctor is a new, interactive feature for 24FPS. It will run in two parts, the second will follow on February 28th.

The idea is simple, I’ve seen a boatload of movies, and over the years I’ve been recommending and showing a lot of interesting films to friends and family, so why not extend this to the blog, with some personalised recommendations. In this post I’ll take a look at some of the patient’s favourite films, and, spinning off them suggest a few movies I think he’d enjoy, and perhaps a couple of choices out of left field as well.

Part two of the feature will largely be handed over to the patient, who will hopefully spend the next four weeks watching a few of the suggested films, and then send in some thoughts on what he’s seen, and how I’ve done with my suggestions.

If you’d like to be the next patient send some details about yourself (name, age, sex, favourite actors and directors) along with a list of between five and twenty films you love (they don’t have to be your absolute favourites) and please, try and give me some variety to work with. Thanks, now on to business.

Nick Rees
Age: 45
Married, Father of 1, Welsh
Used to race bikes, Big fan of Queen (the rock band, not the old lady)

The Deer Hunter
The Odd Couple
War of the Worlds (original)
Gunfight at the OK Corral
American Graffiti (probably my favourite film of all time)
The Silence of the Lambs
The Terminator
The Remains of the Day

That’s an interesting list, a nice mix of genres, though with a definite accent towards testosterone driven cinema.

THE PRESCRIPTION [Note: Most recommended titles are clickable to a trailer or clip]
The Odd Couple provides a jumping off point for so many great movies, but one that strikes me as especially underrated is Lemmon and Matthau’s teaming, under the expert direction of Billy Wilder, in The Fortune Cookie (1966). Matthau plays an unscrupulous personal injury lawyer, who suggests to his brother in law (Lemmon) that he should play up a minor injury, in order to get compensation. Separately you might also want to try Charade (1963), which has a similar light comic tone, but a different kind of role for Matthau, along with the added benefits of Audrey Hepburn at her loveliest and Cary Grant at his most debonair. Lemmon is also excellent in Wilder’s more bitter, but still very funny, late period comedy Avanti (1972).

The Silence of the Lambs all but invented a sub-genre, and certainly it has defined the serial killer movie, perhaps the only greater film in the genre is Se7en (1995), but you’ve almost certainly seen that, so try David Fincher’s subsequent serial killer film, Zodiac (2007), in its director’s cut if possible.

The War of the Worlds represents some of the best of 1950’s sci-fi, but the nuclear paranoia films of that time still stand up brilliantly. Among the finest examples are Them! (1954) (surely the best giant ant movie ever made, at least in the absence of Mant!), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and The Thing From Another World (1951). For an affectionate pastiche of these films, which is fun for all the family, you should also try Joe Dante’s wonderful Matinee (1993).

The Terminator is an interesting one, because most of the obvious suggestions you’ll almost certainly have seen. First off, if you didn’t like it, give Terminator 3 (2003) another look. It’s not as good as 1 or 2, but it’s a really solid film in its own right, and THAT ending alone is worth the 90 minutes. Another seriously underrated Arnie effort is Last Action Hero (1993), which is actually really funny and smarter than you’d think. Of course it’s also always worth seeing that other classic 80’s robot movie - Robocop (1987) - again.

I’ve not actually seen Unforgiven (I know, unforgivable), but even though I’m not an Eastwood fan The Beguiled (1971) is definitely a film I’d recommend. Eastwood’s wounded unionist soldier ends up convalescing in a house full of fascinated women, all of whom are loyal to the confederacy, at the height of the civil war. It’s a very unusual film; more like Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) than a traditional western, and genuinely beguiling.

I’m sorry I don’t have anything spinning off American Graffiti, but I haven’t seen that movie in 15 years or more.

If any readers want to chime in with their own advice, that's what the comments are for.

1 comment:

  1. Unforgiven is obviously the greatest Clint-Eastwood-directed Western (and movie). But as well The Beguiled it's also worth checking out Clint's other westerns such as The Outlaw Josey Wales and the awesome High Plains Drifter.

    There is also The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, but that film is so essential I'm assuming you've seen it already.

    As for Gladiator, to appreciate it more it's worth watching some of the older historical epics like Ben-Hur and Spartacus.