New York Movies

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Having been in NYC a lot over the years, I'm on withdraw now since things are locked down. Selecting movies to watch, I realized that the huge number of New York movies are a genre of their own, with sub-genres like wealth, culture, urban decay, crime, art, sophistication, mean streets, monsters in the sewers, etc. The city is so enveloping that it's like a universe unto itself and a metaphor for urbanism. We all have stereotypes that coincide with one or more of those sub-genres.

For me, last night, it was a recent DVD purchase, a bad horror movie that's a cult classic, C.H.U.D. This flick has it all in the way of 80's urban decay, burnt out cops, perpetually wet streets with steaming manhole covers, corrupt politicians, flophouses and vagrants covered with dirt. And...it has cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers who reach up from those steaming manholes and pull pedestrians down into CHUD hell.

So...what is your all time favorite or most recent of the many versions of life in the Big Apple?




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take a wild guess
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Dog Day Afternoon



take a wild guess
I'm thinking that it's NOT the high life version of the city if Snake is around.



When Harry Met Sally (1989)
West Side Story (1961)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Three Days of the Condor (1975)
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Almost any movie by Woody Allen. Oh, wait a minute no one watches those anymore
Yeah, but they were pretty good when they were still OK and Woody was OK.



West Side Story
The Lords of Flatbush
The Wanderers
The Warriors
The Gangs of New York


Another trend.



A movie that could only be set in New York, My Dinner With Andre, in which two guys sit in a restaurant have dinner and talk a lot.




The Panic in Needle Park
John and Mary
Serpico
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Hannah & Her Sisters

So many movies in NYC ...
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Another favorite was the 2008 Me and Orson Welles, in which a young, idealistic aspiring actor tries out for a production of Orson Welles' famous version of Julius Caesar, set at the legendary Mercury Theater in 1937. It's really a terrific "little" movie, like a moment in time when the kid falls in love with an ambitious actress, gets jilted and works with the bombastic Welles, a moment he will never forget. Christian Mackay does about as much scenery chewing as a human can do and does a great job of conjuring up the egotistic Welles, who is never at a loss to tell anybody what a genius he is. It's a totally likable movie. Most of it was filmed offshore, but some establishing shots are backdated sepia-tinted versions of New York. At the time it was proclaimed as the best movie ever about being in the theater.




A movie that could only be set in New York, My Dinner With Andre, in which two guys sit in a restaurant have dinner and talk a lot.

Always got a kick out of The Simpsons take on that film.

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Here I go again. It's Network, 1979. The concept is completely dated since electronic media has become so ubiquitous that the old-school network news is hardly noticed now, but (a big but), the outrageousness of this movie and it's contempt for the media have never been outdone. It's the origin story of electronic media, reality TV, 24X7 news and everything that makes today's media insane. And...everybody has heard Howard Beale proclaim that he's as mad as hell and he's not going to take it anymore, the mad prophet of the airways. It's set in New York and where else could it be. Nowhere else.




Three gritty street movies that bring out the darker, exploitative side of late 70's/80's NY:
The Driller Killer - Early Abel Ferrara movie (a luminary of New York cinema), and an early video nasty.
Combat Shock - Early Troma movie, before they honed their intentional schlock style (and it's much better for it). I wrote a review.
Street Trash - gooey, very dark comic exploitation. One of my favorites.

... and a mention for The Brother from Another Planet. Far less morbid than the prior three, but has a good street atmosphere.

For me, last night, it was a recent DVD purchase, a bad horror movie that's a cult classic, C.H.U.D. This flick has it all in the way of 80's urban decay, burnt out cops, perpetually wet streets with steaming manhole covers, corrupt politicians, flophouses and vagrants covered with dirt. And...it has cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers who reach up from those steaming manholes and pull pedestrians down into CHUD hell.
CHUD is another old favorite of mine. If you liked it, you should watch it with the sardonic DVD commentary and like it even more.