Friday, November 25, 2011

I have moved.

Sorry I didn't update this, but I am now posting on my tumblr


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

731. Pervasive Gender Politics and Sexual Confusion Through Life

…Or Hey! You’re All Gonna Be in This Experiment Film

(the only publicly available video is some shots of the film set to Charlotte Gainsbourg's excellent "5:55")

I am going to put on my pseudo-academic cap for a moment and discuss Je, Tu, Il, Elle, an experimental Avant garde film from Belgian-born Chantal Akerman. She would achieve international recognition for films like “The Rendezvous of Anna” and “Jeanne Dielmann,” (both of which are mentioned later in this list) but her auspicious debut is also a work of major note.

The film opens in the bedroom of “Je” (French for “I”) and features Akerman as the titular character. She is oft-nude throughout the film and examines her own body, its failings, and a recently doomed relationship. Throughout the film, she eats from a bag of sugar and contemplates her failings. The imagery is remarkably melancholy and depressing as she wanders from one part of her single room apartment to another only to return back to her original spot as a voiceover narration details her thoughts and movements. She gazes outside a large bay window but never leaves the confines of her room. The camera is always pointed towards her and looking outside the window so we are always in the same space as the narrator though we never see her view outside the apartment just the extremely poetic vision of her looking out.

The second major section of the film concerns “Il” (“he” in French). She leaves her apartment to hitchhike back to her former lover. Along the way, a trucker picks her up and the servile role she maintained in her apartment carries through to the cab of the truck. She gives the driver oral sex (shown off camera) as Il delivers a soliloquy on love and loneliness. The two characters form an immediate bond with each other based on the nothingness of their lives and hollow relationships. Both of the characters speak towards one another but do not truly converse and form a bond based on isolation rather than a true connection. Also, it would seem that the oral sex was a foregone conclusion though neither character wants to go through with it. It was not an act based on want or desire but from societal expectations. In the end, both characters part ways seemingly forgetting entirely of the other’s existence almost immediately.

The last section of the film concerns “Elle” (French for “her”). As Akerman arrives at her lover’s apartment, we see that her lover is a woman which would suggest that “Je” suffers from sexual confusion. What follows is a tense and at times violent love-making session filmed entirely in one static shot 15 feet from the bed. The passion and intensity in this scene would suggest that “Je” is gay rather than bisexual and the recent sexual contact with a man was based on an opportunity rather than something more emotionally tangible.

Akerman spent the whole film judging herself and basking in her own insecurities and faults though when reunited with her former lover, her life energy returns. She hugs her as if to hold on for dear life and the sometimes violent wrestling might even be allegoric and comparable to Jacob wrestling an Angel; the Angel representing Jacob’s own insecurities and struggles with faith. Though she is still wrestling with her own demons, the battle has become more passionate. However, the film ends inauspiciously as “Elle” leaves for work with the assumption that Akerman will leave never to see her again.

“Tu” refers to us, the viewers, as we watch the filmmaker’s journey through her own sexuality and loneliness. Perhaps Akerman wants us to reflect on the scared malcontent inside of us that exists from the inside looking out at the world. Her journey of self-discovery and love, albeit temporary was fraught with heartbreak, self-pity, wonton acts of forced carnality, and redemption though the films ends as it begins, with “Je” alone.

“Je Tu Il Elle” was a bold movie for first time director Akerman and it wasn’t just the nudity. To be nude on screen isn’t difficult but to allow herself to be truly naked, in the literal and existential sense is an enormous challenge. The movie wasn’t erotic or meant to titillate but to express intense overwhelming emotional desire. A recent parallel of such a role would be Riko Kikuchi in Babel, who was absolutely robbed of a supporting actress Oscar by Jennifer Hudson (whose performance in the truly awful Dreamgirls was passable, at best).

Akerman has spent most of her career making films about gender roles and small character studies of normal women. “Jeanne Dielmann,” largely considered a masterpiece and among the greatest films ever made, is an epic four hour film, shot largely in one room, about the title character who becomes a prostitute to make money to raise her son. No sex is shown in Dielmann and doesn’t need to be, as the statements of female independence from claustrophobic lives are strong enough. For her debut film though, Akerman, laid herself bare and expressed more emotions in 60 minutes than most movies show in 3 hours. It was an excellent hint of things to come and introduced to the world to a great talent and truly original mind.

About the Top 800 Project:

Using the They Shoot Pictures Starting List of 8800 films (LINK) and my Netflix ratings, I sifted through the list and of the 4500 films I’d seen, I selected a random number of films I liked more than the others. The list was about 812 films. I kicked off 12 to get an even 800. The list chronologically goes up to 2009. Each blog entry will list ten films, one of which will be discussed in detail. The ten films will then be posted toThe Top 800 Master List, a Google docs file compiling them. When the countdown finishes in what will be probably be a really a long time, I will begin discussing random films that I didn’t get to before.

Monday, January 31, 2011

745. Sneakers: The Obsession Begins

…or I Should Have Kept My Mouth Shut

It was on a Monday in 7th grade that my science teacher asked our class if they saw any movies over the weekend. Several students responded with what film they saw and if they liked it or not. When it came to me, I got up and proceeded to review a film detailing such features as the script, acting, and cinematography (while I didn’t know what that was, I had read in Premiere Magazine that it was a “coffee table award” at the Oscars). That movie I reviewed Sneakers, with Robert Redford and Ben Kingsley. So out of all the movies on the list, this forgotten and profoundly outdated cyber-crime film from the early 90’s, is the one in which I have the biggest personal connection.

That chance encounter in the beginning of the school year started a trend in which every Monday, I would give a movie review. This meant that I had to watch at least one movie a week and then put some thought into a review. By the end of the year, it was the highlight of my week and I started to write up my reviews for other classes and the school newspaper. Interestingly, I was recently digging through relics of my middle school career and found my English journal from that year. I saw as the focus slowly shifted from mundane details of my life to reviews of movies giving the beginnings of my love affair with film a clear start date.

The oral, weekly movie reviews continued through 7th grade into 8th grade and a few months into 9th grade (when my English teacher put the kibosh on it when double entendres took over for actual content). Though by that point, I had already taken up a column in the school newspaper to complain about the poor quality of films and hail art house and independent cinema much to the ire of my blockbuster loving classmates. Slowly but surely, I learned that I loved being hated for my reviews and that having an unpopular opinion and flaunting it was fun. I was already an unpopular kid and with the reviews, I wasn’t invisible anymore and that I was getting attention for my reviews, albeit negative. My parents tried to correct my shameless elitism but my insecure high school self decided that if I wasn’t going to be loved by all, then I might as well be hated.

Thankfully, over the years, I have since matured and learned to respect other’s opinions and not like independent and foreign cinema just for the sake of liking it but because its well-made and interesting. I have a feeling that my 13 year old self would have loved films like “Rachel Getting Married” and “The Kids Are Alright,” when my twenty-something self cringes at the pompousity of them.

Still, along with the negativity, I was finding that a few people were hearing from I was writing and that I was getting some of my classmates to give indie films a chance. As I continued to write reviews through my teens and twenties, my passion went from irritating others to sharing my love of movies and this is what the Top 800 Project is all about. Not a “look at all the movies I’ve seen!” thing but a “these are some really good movies that I recommend you watch” blog.

This brings us back to Sneakers. To be perfectly honest, if I never reviewed this movie for my 7th grade class, I would have completely forgotten about it and it never would have ended up on here. But this is a list of my favorite movies and many of them have personal emotional ties and this is the magic of cinema. Like a good song, seeing a movie again can you bring back a stream of memories, positive, negative, or neutral. This is why I am not giving straight up reviews of these movies but rather, highlighting something about the film that really grabbed me and drew me into the film even if it wasn’t the film itself! That being said, Sneakers is still a pretty fun movie.

About the Top 800 Project:

Using the They Shoot Pictures Starting List of 8800 films (LINK) and my Netflix ratings, I sifted through the list and of the 4500 films I’d seen, I selected a random number of films I liked more than the others. The list was about 812 films. I kicked off 12 to get an even 800. The list chronologically goes up to 2009. Each blog entry will list ten films, one of which will be discussed in detail. The ten films will then be posted toThe Top 800 Master List, a Google docs file compiling them. When the countdown finishes in what will be probably be a really a long time, I will begin discussing random films that I didn’t get to before.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Quest to Get Lost

On Sunday, May 23rd, 2010 the cultural phenomenon and highly addictive science fiction drama Lost ended its run after 125 episodes of David Lynchian worthy mind games, false starts, fake endings, and general nuttiness. It was a polarizing show. If you were into it, then you were obsessed. If you weren't, you were either turned off by the incessant discussion about it among your friends or checked out of the show due to its inability to provide the viewer with the slightest bit of closure.

I never watched Lost; that is, until the last episode.

After six years of hearing my friends theorize and ponder the shows many twists, I knew that I would have to check it out at some point but the procrastination to do so made diving into it already a few seasons deep a daunting task. My wife felt the same way. So, somewhere in season 4, we made a decision to watch the last episode and if we liked it, then we would watch the entire show. This way, we knew how it ended and wouldn't be disappointed in the result. On the other hand, if it was brilliant, then the surprise would be ruined but that was a risk we were willing to take.

We watched the last episode and became entranced. We loved how sweet the show was and the bonds formed between the characters. It seemed like sci-fi with a heart, something that made shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation enjoyable. The creators said that Lost was a love story and from the last episode, it was clear that it was. At the close of the episode, we were pretty (excuse the pun) lost, but we still decided to add season 1 to our netflix queue and go to town.

Some seven months later, we watched the finale this morning and though we knew how it ended, we were very pleased with our decision to wait. Like many great journeys, the end is nice but the quest getting there is the rewarding part. After all, is there anyone out there who would have not watched Empire Strikes Back if they knew that Vader was Luke's dad? Of course not. Generations have latched on to Empire and the whole of Star Wars knowing the entire story and enjoy it just as much as the those who found out about the twist live in theaters. In cases like these, it's about the journey, not the ending. Plus, disappointment is a terrible feeling.

Knowing how Lost ended, we were able to focus on all the plot twists and not worry about how it ends because we knew that...

Jack dies, there is something called the light that keeps the island together, the island is a portal to another place, the dog survives, all the people from the show find love and end up in a Church NOT on the island and move towards the light, and there is another universe in which some of those people are on a plane and escape

Do I still have questions about the show? Oh yeah, absolutely and while I still have some nagging curiosities (Why is Libby in the mental hospital to begin with anyway?), they aren't really that important. The journey of the characters and their development superseded any loose ends or discontinuities within the show. After all, it is just a show. I think that in order to answer all the questions, there would have needed to be a live lecture and Q&A with Ben Linus, Richard, Jacob, and the Man in Black (not the actors, the characters) and that would not have been very exciting, just informative.

Lost reminded me of "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events." The books, not the "unfortunate" movie made from the first three in the series a few years back. The books themselves involved three orphans, a secret society, and a mounting number of double and triple crossing secret agents, codes, and stubborn riddles. When the final book came out, I knew there was no way the author was going to be able to tie up all the many, countless loose ends so he took a novel approach and he tied up hardly any of them.

Instead, he made the book a meditation about paranoia and living in frightening times. Given that the series of books were begun around 9/11 and that, combined with a few choice political digs, suggested it was a statement on the importance of love, stability, and confidence in an unstable world. I feel these are all also at the heart of Lost.

All the characters find true love and gain the stability and self-confidence that they never had off the island. Jacob tells Jack that the survivors of the crash were all lonely and running away from their lives before they crashed on the island. When the show ended, they walked bravely towards the light. They weren't sure what was waiting for them but they trusted in themselves to go towards it, and with their loved ones among them.

The show was laced in Judeo-Christian symbolism. There was the obvious: Jack's father was named Christian Shephard and guided characters in times of need. There were some subtle ones: Jacob was the island's chosen protector; namely, protector from his brother which might as well have been named Esau, though the Lost character was never named. But in the last episode, during a confrontation between Jack and his father, Christian is standing in front of a Church stain glass mirror bearing the signs of the six major religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism) which suggests that in the end, we all go to the same place, which is a really nice sentiment.

Lost was a great TV show and that is what it was, a TV show. Not a religion or a sacred document, but a really entertaining TV show. After all, seasons 4 and some of season 5 was pretty silly and the entire thing as a whole is completely ridiculous. Still, it must have had something as I watched 125 episodes of it from May until now. Now to quote Marge Simpson, "Let us never speak of it again."


Friday, January 14, 2011

Golden Globe Are on Sunday. Whoop-Dee-Do. My picks

the golden globes are a funny thing. and by funny, i mean stupid and infuriating. they are such obvious starfuckers and with their almost nonsensical nominations and contradictory winners make them a curiousity rather than the Oscar precursor it originally was.

Since it's a foregone conclusion comedies don't win Oscars, I submit to you the last five winners of the Globe for Best Drama: Avatar, Slumdog Millionaire, Atonement, Babel, and Brokeback Mountain. One of a five right is a pretty terrible predictor. Also, every year, their choices in the comedy category continue their quest from quirky and controversial to silly. I think the collective "WTF" moment moviegoers had when they saw that Alice in Wonderland, Burlesque, and The Tourist had been nominated proves this. Not only had all three films garnered attrocious reviews (well deserved in the case of Alice) but The Tourist is not even close to being considered a comedy (IMDB says its genres are action/drama). The Satellite Awards, the awards given by the International Press Academy also have a comedy category and they nailed it, nominating critically and publicly acclaimed films like Please Give, Cyrus, and the eventual winner and perpetual snub, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.

So why am I writing about such a shitty awards show? Probably the same reason I know who all the Jersey Shore people are. It's a trainwreck and I can morally accept devoting a bit of text to picking winners and criticisizing the nominess. So, here we go, my picks for the movie ones. Bolded films indicate my choices for winners.

Best Motion Picture - Drama
Black Swan
The Fighter
The King's Speech
The Social Network

The Social Network is going to win the Oscar for best picture unless Black Swan picks up some major momentum, which I don't think is going to happen. So why Inception? The globes love big movies that make a lot of money (Avatar). Inception is this movie. It's a pretty spectacular movie too so a win wouldn't be a major defeat for anything. I would like to see Black Swan or the King's Speech though, the latter of which was the best out of the lot in terms of story structure.

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Alice in Wonderland
The Kids Are All Right
The Tourist

While I didn't see The Tourist, I can say that none of these movies were all that great. Red was entertaining but as I mentioned above, Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World was the best comedy this year by far. Why the Kids Are All Right? Why not? It was liked by a lot of people though I genuinely despised it and can you honestly envision anything else winning?

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network
Colin Firth for The King's Speech
James Franco for 127 Hours
Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine
Mark Wahlberg for The Fighter

The five nominees are the likely Oscar nominees but the acting awards are usually completely different from the Oscars. While I think that Colin Firth is the likely Oscar winner, I am saying Jesse Eisenberg, the "Michael Cera of Drama" will win here. My personal vote would be Ryan Gosling. That man could do no wrong.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Halle Berry for Frankie and Alice
Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence for Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman for Black Swan
Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine

Never before has an acting race been so predictable. Either Jennifer Lawrence or Natalie Portman has won virtually every actress award. While Ms. Lawrence's performance was outstanding, Portman lost 20 pounds, learned ballet, and was pitch perfect as a tortured, ballerina slowly losing her mind.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture
Johnny Depp for The Tourist
Johnny Depp for Alice in Wonderland
Paul Giamatti for Barney's Version
Jake Gyllenhaal for Love and Other Drugs
Kevin Spacey for Casino Jack

::bands head against wall:: Here is what I am saying will happen. The Depp nominations will split. No one saw Barney's Version or Casino Jack and Gyllenhaal will end up winning. That or Depp will win for Alice in Wonderland in his umpteenth role as a guy with a funny voice in a big hat.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture
Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right
Anne Hathaway for Love and Other Drugs
Angelina Jolie for The Tourist
Julianne Moore for The Kids Are All Right
Emma Stone for Easy A

This one is a little easier to predict. Bening is a shoe-in. She has nailed down awards acting awards early on before Winter's Bone and Black Swan. I would like see Emma Stone win but she is young and talented and will get hers. Easy A was a fun movie though.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Christian Bale for The Fighter
Michael Douglas for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Andrew Garfield for The Social Network
Jeremy Renner for The Town
Geoffrey Rush for The King's Speech

Christian Bale. Nuf Said. He is this year's Christophe Waltz or Javier Bardem. What's with supporting actor being so tied up?

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Amy Adams for The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter for The King's Speech
Mila Kunis for Black Swan
Melissa Leo for The Fighter
Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingdom

Though Jackie Weaver will most likely win the Oscar, Amy Adams is the likely winner here. In a film filled with great performances, Adams and Leo both stood out. Why not Melissa Leo? The Globes have a soft spot for It girls and not veteran extraordinarily competent actresses.

Best Director - Motion Picture
Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan
David Fincher for The Social Network
Tom Hooper for The King's Speech
Christopher Nolan for Inception
David O. Russell for The Fighter

The likely Oscar winner, Fincher is an accomplished director and his undeniable style and ability to get panicked drama out of his actors helped Social Network achieve much of its glory. I would be surprised if anyone else won though Christopher Nolan is not to be counted out. Though with an effects heavy movie like Inception, the look and style was achieved through a cadre of computer designers with Nolan at the helm. Social Network is all Fincher. Though my vote would have went with Nolan...or Aronofsky.

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
127 Hours (2010)
Inception (2010)
The Kids Are All Right (2010)
The King's Speech (2010)
The Social Network (2010)

I don't like that the Globes do not split screenplay into original and adapted. If so, then Social Network would be my pick for adapted and for original, Inception. The former is my pick. Again, I think there is an equal chance that Nolan could win but I remind you all that TSN was written by Aaron Sorkin, an Emmy winner and 3-time Globe nominee. The HFPA might decide it's time for Sorkin.

Best Original Song - Motion Picture
Burlesque (2010/I): Samuel Dixon, Christina Aguilera, Sia Furler("Bound to You")
Burlesque (2010/I): Diane Warren("You Haven't Seen The Last of Me")
Country Strong (2010): Bob DiPiero, Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges("Coming Home")
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010): Carrie Underwood, David Hodges, Hillary Lindsey("There's A Place For Us")
Tangled (2010): Alan Menken, Glenn Slater("I See the Light")

oh who the fuck cares. I didn't know Sia wrote a song for Burlesque. I didn't know she needed the money. Her new album We are Born is outstanding. Buy it. Give the globe to the Disney song and let's all jump off a cliff.

Best Original Score - Motion Picture
127 Hours (2010): A.R. Rahman
Alice in Wonderland (2010): Danny Elfman
Inception (2010): Hans Zimmer
The King's Speech (2010): Alexandre Desplat
The Social Network (2010): Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

While I would love to see "Golden Globe Winner" preface Trent Reznor's name, Inception's South Park parodied score will most likely to win. Here is the parody:
Best Animated Film
Despicable Me (2010)
How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
The Illusionist (2010)
Tangled (2010)
Toy Story 3 (2010)

Do I even need an explanation here?

Best Foreign Language Film
Biutiful (2010)(Mexico/Spain)
The Concert (2009)(France)
The Edge (2010)(Russia)
I Am Love (2009)(Italy)
In a Better World (2010)(Denmark)

This is another interesting year for the Foreign Language film category. Yes, last year was interesting as well with the race between Mikael Haneke's Die Weisse Band and the Argentinian film, El Secreto De Sus Ojos. What? You never heard of them? Oh. Um...both were very good. Ok. Let's move on. I Am Love was an Italian film starring Tilda Swintom and Biutiful is Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu's (21 grams, Babel) latest film and stars Javier Bardem. Though I Am Love is a likely Oscar winner, the HFPA has shown some major love to Innaritu and even though the film has received mixed reviews, that didn't stop Babel from winning best Drama.

so there ya go. stay tuned for an analysis of the ceremony when i rant about how none of my picks were right and why the globes are shit because of this.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

755. Just Like Dr. Strangelove, But Not in the Least

Or…How I Learned to Keep Being Afraid of the Bomb

In the mid 60’s, the US and Russia were at the brink of nuclear warfare and at any given time, a button could be pressed and missles would be launched resulting in a near annilhation of the Earth and its population. Whether by mistake or by a rogue aircraft, the world in a war in which one bomb destroys a nation is serious business and a major concern and source of fear in America. Surely, a movie that deals with it and its consequences is serious business and a movie starring Walther Matthau and Henry Fonda, two established stars, would result in a hit film and win lots of awards. That is, unless a movie is released within the past year that hilariously lampoons this concept and includes a landmark comedic performance by Peter Sellers.

That movie is of course, Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece Dr. Strangelove (Or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb), which will is much much higher on this list. The movie I am writing of in this entry is Fail Safe, an unfairly overlooked Sidney Lumet film that mirrors the plot of Dr. Strangelove, but deals with the topic of nuclear warfare in a serious fashion. When Fail Safe debuted, despite its superior direction and an excellent turn by Matthau, the movie wasn’t met with the gravity it deserved since Kubrick already made everyone laugh quite hilariously about nuclear war.

Does this mean that Dr. Strangelove never should have been made so that Fail Safe could get take its rightful place in the echelon of film? No. Strangelove was one of the greatest satires ever made and its place in film history is exceptionally important. However, perhaps Fail Safe could’ve gotten its act together and come out a year earlier.

I look at Fail Safe with the same sort of eye I give to superior Atomic age parable films like The Day the Earth Stood Still and The Atomic Café. These are all serious film documents that detail on film the national mood on the subject of atomic war, which paralyzed the nation in fear for the better part of two decades.

Where Lumet took a script (based on a critically acclaimed book) and made it a statement on America’s “worst fear,” Kubrick expressed the sentiment that the nation’s leaders were just as clueless as the populace. Social commentary vs. social satire with the same plot, one could say. Though in Fail Safe, there was certainly fighting in the war room. This movie also proved yet again, that no one does smug like Matthau. Even as the world is being destroyed, he is as cynical and sarcastic as ever and he probably made a warhead in that giant nose of his too.

About the Top 800 Project:

Using the They Shoot Pictures Starting List of 8800 films (LINK) and my Netflix ratings, I sifted through the list and of the 4500 films I’d seen, I selected a random number of films I liked more than the others. The list was about 812 films. I kicked off 12 to get an even 800. The list chronologically goes up to 2009. Each blog entry will list ten films, one of which will be discussed in detail. The ten films will then be posted toThe Top 800 Master List, a Google docs file compiling them. When the countdown finishes in what will be probably be a really a long time, I will begin discussing random films that I didn’t get to before.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

764. Hollywood Shoots Up

Or... Old Blue Eyes? More like? Old Golden Arm!

I really want to write about something NOT in the English language. So far, all I’ve written about are movies in English. However, there are quite a few foreign films on here and as the list ascends, the anglo-centricism does inevitably die down. However, given that I just wrote about Requiem for a Dream, I want to bookend that with Otto Preminger’s 1955 film, The Man with the Golden Arm. This is not a Bond movie as I thought it was for many years. Instead, it stars Frank Sinatra as a heroin addict living in the ghettos of Chicago. Between bookies and his crippled wife, he can’t escape this toxic environment or kick his habit and the film details his struggle to get clean.

What impressed me most about this movie was how unflinching it was for its time. In the late 1950’s, the only sort of drug oriented films were sensationalist propaganda (we all remember the landmark 1930's "masterpieces" reefer and cocaine madness!). However, unlike the users in those films, Sinatra is not a babbling idiot. He is a man in trouble looking for answers and trying to make his life better. He is tortured and well developed.

Also, unlike those sensationalist films, he is among the most moral characters depicted. There is a clueless cop, but there is also the sinister drug dealer and the emotionally draining wife which lock him into his heroin abuse. Sinatra is stuck in the middle trying to please everyone and continues to fall back to his old habits.

I can understand how this film, despite the omnipresent Hayes Code, whose censorship encased Hollywood for almost 30 years, had to be released. It was a wake-up call that movies were meant to deal with real life subject matter and that the clunky and outdated Hayes Code was holding back subject matter that people wanted and needed to see. Man With a Golden Arm is a great movie and Sinatra is excellent in it but the lasting effect on Hollywood is ultimately it’s most important legacy.

About the Top 800 Project:

Using the They Shoot Pictures Starting List of 8800 films (LINK) and my Netflix ratings, I sifted through the list and of the 4500 films I’d seen, I selected a random number of films I liked more than the others. The list was about 812 films. I kicked off 12 to get an even 800. The list chronologically goes up to 2009. Each blog entry will list ten films, one of which will be discussed in detail. The ten films will then be posted toThe Top 800 Master List, a Google docs file compiling them. When the countdown finishes in what will be probably be a really a long time, I will begin discussing random films that I didn’t get to before.