Let’s face it. We live in an era where the mainstream is something to be feared, and to like the blockbuster is to admit to being the very same “non-person” we all fear becoming. It’s important to look smart and cultured, and so we can’t admit to anything that makes us look too sheltered or nationalistic. We embrace uniqueness or obscurity because it makes us feel like modern day Columbuses…no, strike that. Columbus is too politically incorrect. Continue reading →
One of the great things about studying 1939 is seeing how such a vast enterprise as Hollywood can, at times, seem so small. I feel like I did a pretty good job showing how interconnected the industry was that year in my initial essay on 1939, and how that interconnectedness made Hollywood more a machine than a business. It pumped out films at a tremendous rate—good ones, too. Well, the smallness of Hollywood was at play in the creation of some of 1939’s finest films. Continue reading →
While historical significance certainly plays its role in helping me determine my favorite films (see my “Greatest Films of All Time” list), other factors played equally poignant parts: my own personal bias, the impact of the film upon viewers, film quality and popularity, to name a few. But, insofar as this blog is designed to help the casual movie-goer become a competent one, I must help by making more specialized lists. This particular list looks at historical and cinematographic significance as a complex dual-characteristic: namely, “importance.” Often, lists of this type go by the name of “influential.” But “influential” means important only in the context of history and fad. “Important,” on the other hand, involves the goal of this blog. These films are “important” in that they help create a backdrop wherein one can contextually understand the development of film and the proper languages of film—as André Bazin would put it—which open your eyes to the world of cinema. I wish I had paid better attention to lists like this one in my early days of movie-going. I believe that it would have helped a lot.
The following movies were “influential” to other movies that followed. They are “important” to you and to me, the viewers, in our attempt to become more competent movie-watchers. Continue reading →