Film | by Shane “I Like American Movies” Hnetka
Another year has come and gone and I don’t know if I saw enough great movies to warrant a top 10 list. But if you’re looking for all-time good movies, the U.S. Library of Congress has 25 suggestions.
Every year the U.S. National Film Registry chooses 25 American films that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” for preservation — and this year’s list is as good a best-of list as any. It’s a pretty interesting group: Atomic Cafe (1982), Ball of Fire (1941), The Beau Brummels (1928), The Birds (1963), Blackboard Jungle (1955), The Breakfast Club (1985), The Decline of Western Civilization (1981), East of Eden (1955), Funny Girl (1968), The Lion King (1994), Lost Horizon (1937), Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912), Paris Is Burning (1990), Point Blank (1967), The Princess Bride (1987), Putney Swope (1969), Rushmore (1998), Solomon Sir Jones films (1924-28), Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928), Suzanne, Suzanne (1982), Thelma & Louise (1991), Time and Dreams (1976), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916), A Walk in the Sun (1945) and Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988).
The most interesting titles to me are The Birds, Lost Horizon, Point Blank and Rushmore — not that the rest aren’t great. The Birds is one of my favourite Hitchcock films and Point Blank is a brilliant adaptation of Richard Stark’s The Hunter. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Rushmore, but I suspect any collaboration between Wes Anderson and Bill Murray is going to hold up.
Then there’s Lost Horizon, an excellent film from director Frank Capra about a group of people who crash-land in the Himalayan mountains and discover Shangri-La, a valley of mystical peace and contentment.
Speaking of Frank Capra…
It’s a Wonderful Ending to a Crappy Year
2016 has been pretty shitty. That said, this month’s installment of Cineplex’s Classic Film series is a great way to end this downer of a year.
It’s a Wonderful Life wasn’t a box office hit when it first premiered in 1946 but since the 1970s, it has become a Christmas classic thanks to annual appearances on TV. It’s playing at Cineplex theatres on Dec. 22 and 24.
“It’s a Wonderful Life sums up my philosophy of filmmaking,” said Capra. “First, to exalt the worth of the individual. Second, to champion man — plead his causes, protest any degradation of his dignity, spirit or divinity. And third, to dramatize the viability of the individual — as in the theme of the film itself … there is a radiance and glory in the darkness, could we but see, and to see we only have to look. I beseech you to look.”
It may be a bit corny but I think folks could do with a change of pace from the mess that’s been 2016.
Shane Hnetka is a made-in-Saskatchewan film and comic book nerd.