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The B+ Movie Guide: Part XXIV

In May of 2012, Colin said I should make a list of movies that need to be seen, because he felt there were huge gaps in what he’d seen, and wanted something to do. The idea was that I’d make up a list, as “homework” for him, and he’d use that as things to watch.

So we came up with a giant list of 500 movies that worked, and Colin went about finishing it. And now that it’s finished, we’re gonna write it up. Because you don’t watch a giant list of movies without documenting that you did it.

We’re going through the entire list, little by little, for posterity’s sake. And here’s the next set:

Cleopatra - 41

Cleopatra (1963)

Mike:

This movie is one of those that marks the end of an era. This was a big movie that highlighted the end of the studio era in Hollywood. Here’s a big, lavish studio film that went wildly over budget and over schedule, cost millions of dollars (I’m pretty sure they didn’t earn it all back, though I’m sure this was wildly successful), and marked the end of that bloated studio era before Hollywood reinvented itself. So that’s why it’s big historically.

As a film, this is great. I love this movie. Elizabeth Taylor looks great. Rex Harrison is awesome as Caesar, and you get Burton and Taylor in the second half of the movie. The first half is Caesar and Cleopatra and the second half is Cleopatra and Antony. It’s terrific. It looks great, and there are just beautiful sets and costumes in this movie. I can watch all four hours of this movie without batting an eye. (3)

Colin:

This might be the longest movie on the list. If it’s not, it’s damned close. 248 minutes of pure studio extravagance and Liz Taylor being hot. It’s four hours long, and that’s all I have to say about it. Liz Taylor was hot as hell in this movie. It’ll take up half of your day, but you should just watch it so you know what you were missing. This is the movie for that person whose only gripes with Gone With the Wind are that it didn’t have enough sand and that it was 30 minutes too short.

From Russia with Love - 254

From Russia With Love (1963)

Mike:

I’m putting just about every Sean Connery Bond movie on here. Well, the first four. Because they need to be seen. This one might be the best of all the Bond movies. (#)

Colin:

This one IS the best of all the Bond movies, I’m making that ruling here and now. Well, I’ve made that ruling before. It has almost all of the Bond ingredients, and while you might find it lacking, it more than makes up for those things with pure classiness. For example, there’s not really a Bond car. Oh well. Everything about this movie is spectacularly good, and it came out after everyone thought Dr. No couldn’t be topped. If you don’t like Bond…go away.

The Great Escape (1963)

Mike:

(2)

Colin:

These 60s ensemble movies are so great. The obvious precursor is The Magnificent Seven. It’s a bunch of Allied soldiers in a prisoner of war camp. They try to escape. Things happen. You can’t deny that this movie defines the POW genre even more than Stalag 17, and arguably more than even Bridge on the River Kwai. Steve McQueen totally earns his bad boy image here, too, by being the guy who pisses off the Nazis and gets locked up in the cooler constantly. Seeing this movie as a little kid, I was convinced that McQueen was the coolest person who ever lived from his scene trying to escape to Switzerland on a motorcycle. When I went to the Alps for the first time, that was all I could think of. Total badass, and the perfect score behind it. 

Irma la Douce (1963)

Mike:

Billy Wilder. Screwball comedy. I’ll set it up like this: Jack Lemmon is a straight-laced cop who, through a bizarre series of circumstances, ends up becoming Shirley MacLaine’s pimp. Hilarious, and a lost Wilder treasure. Just as good as his other stuff. (3)

Colin:

This is certainly one that people have forgotten. I’ve mentioned it a few times, and people are constantly going, “Wait, Jack Lemmon was a pimp? Which movie was this? Was Matthau in that? Are you sure it was Jack Lemmon?” Yeah, it was Lemmon, and it was a hilarious movie. It’s not essential, but it probably should be just for how ridiculous that premise is. 

The Pink Panther (1963)

Mike:

You should probably just watch all the Clousseau movies. Peter Sellers was a cinematic treasure. (3)

Colin:

These were on pretty often in my house when I was growing up, and I didn’t know that Peter Sellers was the same guy from all the different movies he’d done. I suppose I just didn’t recognize him because he was such a master of voices and disguises. I think of his performance here and his performances in other stuff — which we’ll be covering, of course — and like to think that asking someone to describe Peter Sellers is like asking them to draw clay. You can’t describe him because he becomes whatever role he’s playing so effectively that the character becomes indistinguishable from the man playing it.

These are also just hilarious movies. 

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Mike:

At this point, this is what I’m gonna do whenever a film speaks for itself in terms of being essential. Because what can you say? (2)

Colin:

This is pretty freaking obvious, no? Speaking of Peter Sellers in iconic roles. This is one of the most quoted, most significant, most terrifying films out there. I think about it every time I replenish my precious bodily fluids.

Goldfinger - 150

Goldfinger (1964)

Mike:

(3)

Colin:

The first complete Bond movie — this became the formula for every Bond movie that followed. Bond meets a girl, the girl leads him to a bad guy, there’s a meeting with the bad guy, he gets captured, there are more women, more bad guys, a henchman, a lair…it’s everything you want in a Bond movie. I still say it’s slightly less classic than From Russia with Love, but that still puts it second for the franchise. Again, if you don’t like Bond, I don’t think I like you.

A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

Mike:

(3)

Colin:

I think I saw this for the first time at my aunt’s house one Thanksgiving when I was a kid. I knew The Beatles and everything, but I hadn’t seen their movies and still only associated them with the radio and my father’s stereo. Seeing them as people here makes you sort of ache to witness the era that they were a part of and the ethos that surrounded them. They’re these quirky characters who make no sense in real life, but that’s the whole point — they’re larger than life. I suppose seeing this for me was a lot like a tween girl seeing the Justin Bieber movie, or something. After watching, I wanted to have their albums and see their other movies and learn more about them. The difference is, this was well done and historically significant. 

Mary Poppins - 24

Mary Poppins (1964)

Mike:

(2)

Colin:

Mary effing Poppins. This and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang are basically required childhood material. This more so. Everyone needs to hear Dick Van Dyke’s British accent because we all need something to laugh at.

my-fair-lady-6

My Fair Lady (1964)

Mike:

I think people should watch both Pygmalion and this version. Same story, just told differently. Both great. Plus, Rex, Audrey — more people will have seen this one. Plus, Best Picture winner. Plus, great songs. (3)

Colin:

Speaking of ridiculous British accents… Mike’s right, everyone should be sure to watch both Pygmalion and this, because I expect that most people will have seen this and not that. This is also the only other Audrey Hepburn film that people can be reliably expected to have seen. I’ve heard people get huffy when I assume that they’ve only seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s, because of COURSE they’ve seen My Fair Lady! But nothing else, usually. This is a joy, for the singing and the color and the sets. And Audrey and Rex. Eh, people have seen it. 

– – – – – – – – – –

Final Thoughts:

Mike:

I mean, yeah, look at these movies. Of course.

Colin:

What did I really have to talk about today? Look at these! There’s nothing to say because it’s all pretty self-explanatory. I had a lot to write about for the 20s through the 50s, but now that we’ve reached the 60s, things basically just fall into place. Maybe you could argue against Irma la Douce, but you shouldn’t be arguing against it. You’ll only show your own ignorance.

– – – – – – – – – –

More movies tomorrow.

http://bplusmovieblog.com

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