The MoFo Top 100 of the 60s: Countdown

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Master of My Domain


8 1/2 was my #3

I had a feeling that 8 1/2 wouldn't crack the top ten, despite people who love this film really loving, so I'm not even slightly disappointed

When it comes to favorites I tend to write an extra paragraph explaining why I think it's brilliant, but in the case of 8 1/2, sometimes imagery bursting with inspiration and creativity is a bit hard to put into words, so I'll keep it simple.

Our hero is Guido (Marcello Mastroianni), a director who is struggling to create a new film as he has hit a major filmmaker's block. All he does is either wander, go around problems instead of facing them directly, or going into one of his dreams. Mastrioianni was born to play the role, the way he naturally looks at something in an uncaring, calm mood can't help but make you realize troubles are deep inside. Or maybe it's the subtle acting, perfectly playing a director who is out of ideas yet still wants to be in a superior position. Probably both.

Surreal imagery-based movies can get boring quickly, but Fellini keeps hitting you consecutively with precisely constructed worlds that never go out of hand, they simple remind you of another dream, with a bit of wackiness ans beauty. The surrealism is not from a psychedelic roots - that's for other films. Guido is never under the influence of drugs or anything similar, he is constantly getting dragged and figuratively molested by groups of people who are trying to get him over with, and Guido helplessly flails trying to find even the smallest reason to continue within chaos. His wife he can not connect with and his mistress is no help either. The people he visits, to seek help, are interested on what's in for them.

This feeling is contrasted with the movement of other characters, which are pretty much up-beat and dancing in a pleasant way. The music was not post-recorded but played on set, and doing that quiet likely helped Mastrioianni get into his character. Not only that, but there are bands circling around in front of him. Most of the time though, this is part of bone-crushing reality.

8 1/2 isn't much different from other films that study a single character and his surroundings, it's the way Fellini presents the study to the audience that annoys and bores a lot, including a few here on MoFo. Personally for me every single moment is a masterpiece of it's own and you know what I'm gonna replace Oldboy with 8 1/2 in my Top 10 just because I can.

Edit - About Wild Bunch - a deliciously fun Western that used to be in my Top 100 and adored by me but not anymore because, well, I simply realized that there are better films. But it still remains in my heart, I treasure all the character, the insults, and the climatic battle scene is badass.




"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



8 1/2 was 9th on my list, my absolute favourite Fellini film and among my favourite films of all time. In hindsight, it definitely should have been placed higher, but alas, there's nothing we can do about that now. Fellini is only one of two directors to have more than one film on my list, the other one I very much doubt we'll see at this point, but I'll withhold naming them in case they do show up - however unlikely that may be. I generally like to keep lists such as these to one film by one director only in order to keep things as diverse as possible, but in this case I just couldn't leave 8 1/2 or La Dolce Vita off mine, both absolute masterpieces.

I'm a big Peckinpah fan, that being said The Wild Bunch was not in contention for my own list.

8 films from my list have now placed on this list. I'm still banking on that late Putney Swope entry.... it's coming... I'm sure of it.



Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
Judge Judy... so that's what our Polish Judge Anna Maria Wesołowska is ripping off...
__________________
so when will we be free perpetual virgins without memory and who don't speak in search of her who on the sidewalks alternating at each train on the trains the bistros on the road the crowd of all the capitals of Europe and of the towns at dawn behind a girl alone in the waiting room i throw a rock into the pond the stories spiral out upside-down towards the sex i will recapitulate love in the real order of the circles my little girl



As for The Wild Bunch I watched it recently for the list and it kind of disappointed me, I found it to be inferrior to most other 60's western I've seen. Including The Magnificient Seven, The Professionals, Butch Cassidy, Leone films, Corbucci films, etc.
Funny thing is, it's superior to all of those films.
__________________
"Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."



When it comes to favorites I tend to write an extra paragraph explaining why I think it's brilliant, but in the case of 8 1/2, sometimes imagery bursting with inspiration and creativity is a bit hard to put into words, so I'll keep it simple.
My sentiments exactly. 8 1/2 is one of those movies that have to be felt rather than explained or summarized, it's hard to even explain for me what exactly it is that makes it so great, unlike some of my absolute favorites.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Wild Bunch came in at #4 for me. This was the movie that turned me on to Peckinpah as a youngster and you always remember your first time

1. The Great Escape #30
2. Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid #21
3. The Hustler #26
4. The Wild Bunch #15
5. The Lion in Winter #77
8. Le Samourai #24
11. True Grit #72
17. Oliver! #90
22. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf #29
22, Italian Job #85
25. Bonnie & Clyde #45



And that rhymes with "P" and that stands for pool!
Wild Bunch came in at #4 for me. This was the movie that turned me on to Peckinpah as a youngster and you always remember your first time

!. The Great Escape
2. Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid
3. The Hustler
4. The Wild Bunch
5. The Lion in Winter
7. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
8. Le Samourai
11. True Grit
17. Oliver!
20. Wait Until Dark
22. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
23. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
25. Bonnie & Clyde

Is this the movies from your list that made the countdown?

I don't remember Wait Until Dark or It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World making the countdown. Did I miss them?



Judge Judy... so that's what our Polish Judge Anna Maria Wesołowska is ripping off...
Can't be more exploitative than the Russian court room shows
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Yeah, there's no body mutilation in it




8 films from my list have now placed on this list. I'm still banking on that late Putney Swope entry.... it's coming... I'm sure of it.
F*ck ya!

Swan you should check this film out, I think you'll love it, JJ too




Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Is this the movies from your list that made the countdown?

I don't remember Wait Until Dark or It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World making the countdown. Did I miss them?
Or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but they made his list.
oh crap! I thought they did, I better remedy that. Thanks guys!!
I must of skimmed through and somehow mistook conversations about them as actually making the countdown.
Is that all of them i screwed up on?



Okay, The Wild Bunch at #15 was my #16. Things are shaking loose from the 60's movie tree at a great pace now. I swear, therefore, I foreswear!
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"Miss Jean Louise, Mr. Arthur Radley."



And that rhymes with "P" and that stands for pool!
oh crap! I thought they did, I better remedy that. Thanks guys!!
I must of skimmed through and somehow mistook conversations about them as actually making the countdown.
Is that all of them i screwed up on?

Those are the only errors that I noticed. I only noticed those two because I had one of the movies higher than you did, and the other one was one of the very last cuts from my list, and one of the toughest. (I'm surprised that I didn't notice Chitty Chitty Bang Bang too.)



F*** it!!!! I'm not here often enough to change it
I am truly surprised that The Birds made it in. I assumed that if it did, it would have been very low on the list. I'm very happy to see that it made it in, and so close to number one. My favorite Hitchcock film is Rear Window. I love several others as much as I love The Birds, if not more than. There's Rebecca, To Catch a Thief, Strangers on a Train, Suspicion, Rope, Dial M for Murder, Shadow of a Doubt, Vertigo, and so on. Of course I love Psycho. Like that's not going to make the list. Anyway, this film was number four, on my list. I am sure that two more of my movies will make the list, but I'm seriously doubting those other two to five will.

01. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
04. The Birds (1963)
06. The Haunting (1963)
08. Barefoot in the Park (1967)
12. What Ever Happen to Baby Jane? (1962)
15. They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)
16. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
17. The Great Escape (1963)
18. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? (1967)
19. The Sound of Music (1965)



My favorite Hitchcock film is Rear Window. I love several others as much as I love The Birds, if not more than. There's Rebecca, To Catch a Thief, Strangers on a Train, Suspicion, Rope, Dial M for Murder, Shadow of a Doubt, Vertigo, and so on....
Hello, '50s list! As I say, Hitchcock and Kurosawa are going to absolutely DOMINATE the 1950s list. Crush it. Probably five titles from each, maybe even six or seven for Hitch. Kee-RAY-zee, Man.


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"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra



I may have heard of this Wild Bunch that ye all speak of.



No surprise this was on my list. It was just a question of how high it would finish on the collective MoFo list, and fifteen ain't bad at all. My full review can be found HERE (and yes, one day I will get back to actually adding more longform reviews), but since everybody else does it, I'll quote myself...

Unlike the classic Western archetypes, there are no clear "good guys" and "bad guys". Even our anti-heroes, though we root for them and they are played by familiar actors, are murderous thieves. They have a greater sense of honor than the scum around them, perhaps, but are certainly not simple white knights. They did not shoot only when shot at, they have little regard for anybody who gets in the way of their goals, and not only are they in this for the money, but they actually ENJOY robbing and living outside of the law and civilization. John Wayne was reported to have said that The Wild Bunch "destroyed the myth of the Old West". As the Vietnam War raged in Southeast Asia, Peckinpah thought some demythologizing was long overdue. Plus, so much of the popular Western, especially as it dominated the airwaves of the 1950s and '60s, was formulaic and decidedly unrealistic. With the '60s works of Sergio Leone (A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, The Good the Bad & the Ugly, Once Upon A Time in the West) coupled with Peckinpah's, they turned most of those conventions on their heads...and then shot them in the face.

The Wild Bunch, in all of its revisionist, gory glory, is one of the towering achievements of the Western genre, and with its themes, performances and artistry, including Lucien Ballard's elegant cinematography and Jerry Goldsmith's perfect score, it transcends the genre and is a great film, period.
The Wild Bunch, though it made an instant impression on me, was not a favorite the first time I saw it as a kid. It wasn't as fun as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. But as I grew, and certainly after my cinematic palate became both broader and more refined, its powers and pleasures became clearer and more resonant, Peckinpah's brutal poetry washed over me, and as I get closer to the age of the worn out Bunch, I find my appreciation deepens even still.

Peckinpah's masterpiece was sixth on my list, and the ninth of my picks to show...

5. Army of Shadows (#58)
6. The Wild Bunch (#15)
9. Z (#44)
11. High & Low (#23)
13. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (#21)
17. Bonnie & Clyde (#45)
19. The Battle of Algiers (#69)
21. A Hard Day's Night (#53)
23. Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (#29)







As for my obligatory and incorrect guess for the next pair, I'll go with The Apartment and Cool Hand Luke. I figure the top five are some order of 2001, Strangelove, Psycho, Lawrence, and GB&U, but as for the other nine, I have no gut feeling for any of it. Midnight Cowboy could be at fourteen, could be at six. I dunno?