SASY Wrap #8 — The Gr8 Escape

Oh boy — where to start? No, that’s the wrong thing to write; more like “What took you so long?”. Our last post was a yammer on Lawrence of Arabia, which only took us about five months, and now we have left ourselves the unenviable task of trying to sort through a batch of 10 movies, the most recent of which we viewed in April. But thankfully this is a particularly memorable batch of films (although in the interest of moving things along we’ll probably cut this particular SASY Wrap short). Our latest slate of 10 movies saw us saying goodbye to the 1940s, a decade of Sight & Sound films that has treated us particularly well. And it has also seen the beginning of an explosion of Japanese films that are going to be a mainstay over the next few sequences of 10. But enough of that, let’s get to our respective rankings of films 71 through 80:

S.

J.

1. Late Spring (1949) 1. Late Spring (1949)
2. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) 2. Seven Samurai (1954)
3. Seven Samurai (1954) 3. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
4. The Third Man (1949) 4. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
5. Spring in a Small Town (1948) 5. Bicycle Thieves (1948)
6. Bicycle Thieves (1948) 6. Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)
7. Sunset Blvd. (1950) 7. The Third Man (1949)
8. In a Lonely Place (1950) 8. Spring in a Small Town (1948)
9. Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948) 9. In a Lonely Place (1950)
10. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) 10. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

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SASY Wrap #7 – Double-O SASY

Activity has been at a bit of an ebb tide at blog central of late, what with new jobs and a lot of traveling for work. So we’re dipping back quite a ways for this SASY Wrap, which covers yammers 61-70. This batch of 10 movies has pushed us over the 25% mark, and it feels great to know that we’re making headway even if things have been a bit slow on the movie yammer front (hey, we got up three posts in just two weeks recently, so we’re getting better!)

This latest round of 10 didn’t have any chronological oddities in it, so we stuck exclusively with films from 1946-1948, with a full seven of the entries coming from either Roberto Rossellini, Howard Hawks, or the wonderful duo of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. However, it was films by John Ford and Jacques Torneur that really rocked our worlds in this set of pictures. But before we break down our thoughts on this block of movies, as tradition demands, we will present our respective rankings of all 10 films in this SASY Wrap:

 S.

 J.

1. Out of the Past (1947) 1. Out of the Past (1947)
2. My Darling Clementine (1946) 2. My Darling Clementine (1946)
3. The Red Shoes (1948) 3. A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
4. The Big Sleep (1946) 4. The Big Sleep (1946)
5. Black Narcissus (1947) 5. Black Narcissus (1947)
6. A Matter of Life and Death (1946) 5. The Red Shoes (1948)
7. Notorious (1946) 7. Notorious (1946)
8. Paisá (1946) 8. Paisá (1946)
9. Germany, Year Zero (1948) 9. Red River (1948)
10. Red River (1948) 10. Germany, Year Zero (1948)

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SASY Wrap #6 – The Unwrapable Sassington

Because we love fun, we always try to shoehorn “SASY Wrap” into the subtitles of these roundup posts, but I’m guessing the reference here is lost on a lot of readers. It’s a reworking of The Unbearable Bassington, a short novel by the early 20th century British writer H.R. Munro, better known as Saki. Though not as good as his short stories, the novel is still a razor-sharp dig at British society — particularly upper-middle class society —  a comedy of manners with some real teeth and heartbreak. And that’s why it seemed so appropriate for this SASY Wrap, as Great Britain finally enters the picture with a bang. Nearly half of the 10 films we will discuss here are British movies that alternately question, criticize, and celebrate Britain. But it is not just the British who are ascendant in this period; in a welcome reversal from our last batch of 10, nine of the films below are not American productions (well, maybe eight and half depending on how you classify Once Upon a Time in the West). Nine of the films below were also made during the second half of World War II, showing that as the Nazis were being pushed back a new artistic flowering was happening across Europe. But before we get into all that, as tradition demands, our  respective (and for once quite different) rankings of the last 10 films:

S.

J.

1. Brief Encounter (1945) 1. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
2. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) 2. Day of Wrath (1943)
3. Day of Wrath (1943) 3. “I Know Where I’m Going!” (1945)
4. Rome, Open City (1945) 4. A Canterbury Tale (1944)
5. A Canterbury Tale (1944) 4. Rome, Open City (1945)
6. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) 6. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
7. “I Know Where I’m Going!” (1945) 7. Ivan the Terrible, Part I (1944)
8. Ivan the Terrible, Part I (1944) 8. Brief Encounter (1945)
9. Children of Paradise (1945) 9. Children of Paradise (1945)
10. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) 10. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

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SASY Wrap #5 – …And a SASY New Year

And so the epic saga continues. We here at Fan With a Movie Yammer are now 50 films — count ’em 50 films — into our experimental plunge into the Top 250 films of all time. That sounded impressive until we realized it means we still have 200 to go. Luckily our interest remains keen and our willingness to flood the screen with pixels remains undiminished. A quick scan through our word counts and a gambol through Google reveals to us that our yammers on these 50 movies are collectively longer than Sense and Sensibility, so take that Jane Austen! We only mention that because we really have enjoyed this experience and we think that tucked away in our small mountain of verbiage are some actual decent insights — hopefully you have been exploring our site and will agree.

But on to films 41 — 50. This most recent batch of 10 saw us thoroughly entrenched in American cinema of the early 1940s, as only one film was not from the United States (and it was a British short documentary, so no subtitles this go round). In this wrap up we’ll express the merits and problems with American cinema of the period, and why we are really jonesing for some European or Asian films right now. We will touch on reputation versus merit when it comes to film and film criticism. And we’ll try to sort out our own puzzlement over the inclusion of some of these films in the Top 250. But first, as tradition demands, our respective (and this time nearly identical) rankings of the last 10 films.

S.

J.

1. Casablanca (1942) 1. Citizen Kane (1941)
2. Citizen Kane (1941) 2. Casablanca (1942)
3. The Lady Eve (1941) 3. The Lady Eve (1941)
4. His Girl Friday (1940) 4. His Girl Friday (1940)
5. Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) 5. Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)
6. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) 6. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
7. The Grapes of Wrath (1940) 7. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
8. To Be or Not To Be (1942) 8. To Be or Not To Be (1942)
9. The Great Dictator (1940) 9. The Great Dictator (1940)
10. Listen to Britain (1942) 10. Listen to Britain (1942)

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SASY Wrap #4 – The SASYs Take Wraphattan

And so we soldier on! We here at Fan With a Movie Yammer have now written up discussions on 40 films (40!) from the Sight & Sound list of the top 250 movies of all time. That’s a lot of verbiage, actually by my count we have now posted over 90,000 words of movie yammerin’ across 40+ entries — and as we move along these discussions have definitely gotten longer and more thoughtful. Hopefully that means we are providing extra insight and not extra tedium — but either way, we’re pretty darn pleased. This SASY Wrap will bring together films 31–40 so we can examine them as a group. Unlike previous blocs of 10, this time we really stuck to watching these films chronologically, with nine of the 10 coming from the 1930s and the one outsider coming from 1940. In this entry we should have some things to say about the genius of Jean Renoir, the rise of the American sound comedy, and how very much we are going to miss the 1930s on this blog. But as tradition demands, we begin with our respective rankings of the last 10 films discussed:

S.

J.

1. The Rules of the Game (1939) 1. The Rules of the Game (1939)
2. The Shop Around the Corner (1940) 2. Trouble in Paradise (1932)
3. La Grande Illusion (1937) 3. La Grande Illusion (1937)
4. Partie de Campagne (1936)
4. Partie de Campagne (1936)
5. The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (1939) 5. Duck Soup (1933)
6. King Kong (1933) 6. The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
6. Trouble in Paradise (1932) 7. The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (1939)
8. Duck Soup (1933) 8. King Kong (1933)
9. Modern Times (1936) 9. Modern Times (1936)
10. The Wizard of Oz (1939) 10. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

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SASY Wrap #3 – Faster, SASY Wrap! Kill! Kill!

Alright, we’ve had the good fortune to make it through another round of 10 films here at Fan With a Movie Yammer — that’s 30 films in total and a tremendous 12 percent of the entire Sight & Sound Top 250. OK, so that really means we still have a ton to do, but we’re pretty pleased nonetheless and eager to jump into our third Sight & Sound Yammer Wrap, covering films 21 through 30. With this last batch of 10 films in the can, we have now put both the 1920s and the silent movie era behind us. From here on out it’ll be sound films only, but thankfully we still have a few decades of glorious black-and-white ahead of us. So join us as we discuss the relative merits of the 10 films we just watched, muse on the unexpected pleasures of silent film, and examine the nexus between politics, economics, and art as revealed by the list films of the 1930s. And because we’ve already been punishing enough, we might even leave poor Scarlett O’Hara in peace during this write-up.

But first, in accordance with tradition we shall reveal our rankings for films 21 through 30:

S.

J.

1. L’Atalante (1934) 1. L’Atalante (1934)
2. Napoleon (1927) 2. Napoleon (1927)
3. City Lights (1931) 3. Metropolis (1927)
4. Bringing Up Baby (1938) 4. Vampyr (1932)
5. Metropolis (1927) 4. Barry Lyndon (1975)
6. Tabu (1931) 6. City Lights (1931)
7. Vampyr (1932) 7. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
8. Barry Lyndon (1975) 8. Tabu (1931)
9. The Gold Rush (1925) 9. The Gold Rush (1925)
10. Gone With the Wind (1939) 10. Gone With the Wind (1939)

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SASY Wrap #2 – Son of SASY Wrap

We’ve made through yet another 10 films here at Fan With a Movie Yammer, which of course means it’s time for another Sight & Sound Yammer Wrap! [wait for applause] Yes, we are now a full 8% of the way through the Top 250, which actually feels like a decent number compared to where we stood for the first SASY Wrap. This latest batch of 10 films was a mixed bag for us, with a few movies we absolutely loved and a couple that really didn’t sit well with either of us. In this SASY Wrap we will do a bit of comparing and contrasting across movies 11 through 20 to pick out what we adored and what we’d sooner forget. In particular we’re going to take this opportunity to examine a key question that has been troubling us since the beginning of our movie experiment: Is innovation equivalent with greatness? A few movies in our second 10 really forced us to grapple with this idea, and it’s about time we sorted it all out.

But first, our respective rankings of the last 10 films:

S. List                                          J. List

1. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) 1. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) 2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
3. I Was Born, But… (1932) 3. I Was Born, But… (1932)
4. The Last Laugh (1924) 3. Sherlock, Jr. (1924)
4. Sherlock, Jr. (1924) 5. The Last Laugh (1924)
6. Earth (1930) 6. Earth (1930)
7. Nosferatu (1922) 7. Sunrise (1927)
8. L’Age d’Or (1930) 8. Nosferatu (1922)
9. Sunrise (1927) 9. L’Age d’Or (1930)
10. Greed (1924) 10. Greed (1924)

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