Saturday, February 27, 2016

Shades of Oscar

I have a love/hate relationship with the Oscars. As a film buff who has been on a years-long quest to see the best films ever made, The Academy Awards list of winners and nominees provide me with a basic road map of that journey. Even if they may not have been the very best of a given year, they are almost always an excellent sampling of the extremely good. Almost. I'm not a fan of either Gone With the Wind or The Deer Hunter, for example.
The difficulty - particularly in the last decade or so - is that the majority of the films nominated were given a very limited release at the very tail-end of the eligible year, so I find myself scrambling to see all of the nominated films so that I can be "in the know" by the time of the awards ceremony. I usually don't manage to swing it, and I won't again this year.
Mad Max: Fury Road and The Martian (two of my favorite films of the last year) were not released in "Oscar season" and were given a wide release to audiences who had an opportunity to (and did) thoroughly enjoy them. Personally, I think that if a movie can can stay fresh in the minds of the Academy's nominating committee for more than two months, that's a sign that it is a superior film.
I saw Spotlight the week it came out. Likewise: The Big Short. (As a side note: if only one-third of the people who Star Wars 7 see The Big Short, I believe that big banking will never pull the wool over the American public's eyes again.) Brooklyn and The Room were gone from the theaters before I got a chance to see them. I caught Bridge of Spies on DVD from the scarlet-colored cube rental machine in my neighborhood. (They aren't paying me to say their name, so why should I?) I think I will try to catch The Revenant tomorrow morning. I've been putting it off, because it looks like the kind of film where you kind of have to steady yourself to watch it. (I'm also not as taken with Leonardo DiCaprio as the rest of the world.) So, once again, I find myself unable to give my opinion of which of the nominated films is the best, because I will only have seen 75% of them by the time the envelope is opened and the winner is announced.
Here's what I can say:
Since the Oscars allows for up to ten films to be in contention for Best Picture, and they have only nominated eight - I can think of at least two films that I saw from 2015 that were left off of the list.
And this is where the #oscarssowhite hashtag comes in. Those two films are Chi-Raq and Straight Outta Compton. (I haven't seen Beasts of No Nation or Tangerine yet, but I know those films are on many others' lips as well. I'll speak only to what I have seen, though.)
The films are not nominated. The directors of the films are not nominated. None of the actors in the films are nominated. Comparing those films, those directors, and those performances to the other nominees in the other categories (those that I have seen), would I say that their omission is unjust?
I would.
Do I think that the nominating committee for the Oscars is racially biased or racist?
The answer is yes to the first and - brace yourself - yes to the second as well. Hollywood, too.
How can I say that?
Simple. I can say it because I am racist. Too.
Now, let's not get too excited here. I'm not a card-carrying member of any racist organizations. I don't even want to be racist. At all. I just recognize that I am. And sexist. And homophobic. Transphobic, too, I expect.
In the musical Avenue Q, there's a song called, "Everyone's A Little Bit Racist," and it's a very funny and clever song. (If you don't know it, Google it now.) People laugh and think, "Gosh, that's true! They sure are!" Nobody wants to admit that they might harbor any racist thoughts - even subconsciously - because they are terrified of being vilified for owning up to them. They probably would be. I probably will be to a degree. (Low readership of my blog may be my saving grace.) We are quick to jump from one outrage to the next, and, while some things warrant our outrage, some may not.
People have been quick to call the Oscars racist, and the Oscars have been quick to flatly deny it. The truth may lay somewhere in the middle.
But it's my blog, so let's get back to what makes me racist. Well, I'm white. (Predominantly. For all intents and purposes.) I have been treated as a white person all of my life. Most of the people I see in the movies and on television over my lifetime have looked like me. (Well, better-looking versions, anyway.) Even though I grew up on the Southern Ute Reservation and went to school with many other students who were Ute, Navajo, Hopi, and Hispanic. My experience as a young, white man was still not the same as theirs. I couldn't say how many of my fellow students were also white without flipping through my old high school yearbook - which I lost years ago - but I wouldn't say we were at all in the minority. My point is: I have been a white guy all of my life, and I have benefited from that pretty much all of my life. Sometimes I was aware of it. Sometimes I was not. When I was aware of it, I felt bad about it, but I didn't very often do anything about it. Sometimes that was because I didn't know what to do, and sometimes that was because I knew my "help" would not have been welcome.
But let's leave my cowardice and inaction aside and actually talk about my racism. Now, I'm not what you'd call actively racist. "Passively" would be more accurate. "Unintentionally" might as well. Louis CK has a bit about "casual racism." You should Google that, too. I tend to pick the movies I will spend my money on based upon my preferences, and I know that those preferences are influenced by my life experience. I am far more inclined to select a film with a white, male, heterosexual, cisgender lead actor/role, because I am a white, male, heterosexual, cisgender person. That is a racial, gender, sexual, cis bias, and - because I am exerting my influence (in this case the dollar value of admission and popcorn) from my position of privilege - that is also racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. It's not overtly so, but it's there. And, if I want to live in a world where everyone is treated the same regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, or gender identity, then I have to recognize that I have certain biases - biases I don't want to have but that I DO have.
I do.
I'd like to get rid of them. I strive to get rid of them. Maybe someday I will, but I need help. And here's the thing: I'm ashamed of my biases enough on my own. I don't need anyone's help in the shame department.
I believe that people should be treated equally regardless of gender, race, gender identity, or sexual preference. I just know that I have some old prejudices rattling around in my subconscious, and - if I don't address them - they can manifest themselves as biases. 
Let's say that each of my biases is like a stain on a different wall in a room. I want to wipe away the stains, but I need to turn on the light to see where to clean. Well, if every time I turn the lights on someone screams "Look at those stains! What a terrible person you are for having stained walls!" I'm going to turn off the lights and flatly deny that there are any stains there. 
Imagine instead if that screaming person stood by and said, "I appreciate that you see the stains and are making an effort to clean them. Good job." And, if they occasionally pipe up and point out when I've missed a spot, I don't need to feel defensive, because I know it's not judgment. It's help.
The Oscars, Hollywood, the movie-buying audience: we all have stains on our walls. They aren't going to go away by turning off the lights and pretending they don't exist. And those of us who are critical of the lack of representation in Hollywood and among the awards need to steer the conversation away from derision and toward awareness.
There's also the old "chicken and the egg" argument about representation in the media: Are there so few diverse films to see, because Hollywood won't make them, or does Hollywood not make them because nobody goes to see them?
Probably both.
So, let me end this post by turning it over to you, dear readers:
What movies or performances did you see in 2015 that should be up for an Oscar but aren't? This discussion has been about representation, but don't necessarily limit yourself to that. Share your favorite movies of 2015. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Brighter Tomorrow

I've been on a hiatus from my blog for a while. I think that I have taken my editing process too far and often talked myself out of posting along the lines of, "Who really cares?" I guess the question is: does one write a blog because they have something to say or because they think it's something people want to hear? (Read. Whichever.) Ideally, I suppose that you would hope that both are true.
I have noticed that my texts to friends are getting longer and more elaborate, so I do at least have something to say. Let's see if any of it's at all interesting. I do have the safety net of having named this blog for the superfluous, so I don't have to bother with being important, at least.
Like many people over the last couple of days, I have been stunned by the attacks in Paris. (And, yes, I do realize that similar attacks have occurred in less iconic cities and the outcry and showing of support on social media has not been equal to that for Paris, and, yes, we should probably reflect on that, but I don't really feel like now is the time when we ought to be throwing guilt upon grief.) Paris is a dream city for so many people - even for those of us who have been there. That a city filled with so much art, history, and culture could be set upon by hateful, armed men whose only aim is terror and death is like a punch in the stomach.
Since the Oklahoma City bombing, I have taken the approach of only checking in periodically when terrible events such as this unfold. I find that there is too much misinformation and speculation from too-eager newsrooms - and now from social media as well - to get anywhere near the truth of what is happening. Even now it will probably be a couple of days before we really know the what and the why and even longer until we finally understand the how.
I logged out of my computer and went for a walk. Then I came back to my apartment, checked in again, logged off again, put on a "popcorn" movie (Enter the Dragon) and went to bed.
The next morning, I checked only the BBC app on my phone for any updates. I decided that I needed more escapism, and I put in the movie that I had rented while out on my walk: Disney's Tomorrowland.
When I saw the trailer for this film originally, I wasn't terribly keen on it: just Disney looking to cash in on yet another "theme park" movie after The Haunted Mansion and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. When I saw that Brad Bird was helming the movie I started to change my tune: I'm a big fan of The Iron Giant and The Incredibles, and I really liked the new trajectory he created for the Mission:Impossible movies with Ghost Protocol. When it was finally released in theatres, and critics began to savage it, I decided that I was going to forego the popcorn and giant soda expenditure and wait until it was available in one of those crimson-colored rectangular machines. (If they want me to say "Redbox," they can pay me to do so.)
Anyway, yes, there are problems with the movie. I think that the two-hour runtime is problematic. Either they should have tried to tell less story and make it the usual 90 to 100 minutes, or they should have told the story they wanted to tell and let it go to three hours. Also, if you're making a family sci-fi adventure, you might want to avoid giving the bad guys guns that obliterate people.
Problematic, however, does not equal unenjoyable. This is a fun film, and the interplay among Clooney, Britt Robertson, and Raffey Cassidey is entertaining. (I did find it interesting that Disney went with the then 24-year-old Robertson to play the teenaged protagonist rather than promoting one of their many tween and teen stars. She's believable and very good. I just think it's interesting.)
The visuals are terrific. I'm sure that there is a term like "Steampunk" for the look of 50s and 60s conceptions of space and the future, but I don't know what is. Whatever it is, I love it, and Brad Bird recreated it beautifully. There is also a Steampunk/Clockpunk scene featuring the Eiffel Tower that is pretty spectacular as well. (That scene, of course, held a different context for someone watching it that Saturday morning.) While some have criticized the "political" slant of the film, I found the message to be a powerful - particularly that morning when I knew that my Facebook feed was awaiting me with more harrowing images from across the Atlantic.
I don't want to give too much away, but the story (somewhat clumsily) introduces an old parable early on: the two wolves. Now I have heard this story for many years. It was a Ute allegory when I first heard it, but then I grew up on the Southern Ute reservation, so who knows its real origin? I've heard it attributed to the Cherokee and the Apache and the Navajo as well. Whatever the actual source, the story is this:

An elder sits down with his grandson and tells him, "Inside each of us is a battle between two wolves. One wolf represents greed, anger, jealousy, fear, hatred, and despair. The other wolf is love, peace, forgiveness, kindness, and hope."
"Which wolf wins?" asks the grandson.
"The one you feed."

Tomorrowland also raises an interesting question: whatever happened to that 50s and 60s vision of the future? In the 60s, Gene Roddenberry told television audiences that, in the future, we would be exploring space as one people - regardless of race or gender. No one would be starving or poor. The only hunger would be for knowledge.
Now, one of the most popular television shows is about the last few humans barely staving off a zombie apocalypse with antiquated weapons.
This is not to say that there aren't hopeful stories of the future now or that there weren't dystopian visions of the future back then, it's just curious to see which are and were more widely embraced.
Which wolf is being fed?
Again, I don't want to give too much away, because - despite a few problems - Tomorrowland is an entertaining film, and I think you should see it. I may have been swayed in my opinion somewhat by a definite need to transcend the world of that Saturday morning and feed a different wolf for a while, but, then: couldn't we all feed that wolf a little more often?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Remembering James Garner, Part 3

Okay, here we go. The Five Quintessential James Garner movies. (This was tough.)

In no particular order:

Grand Prix (1966)
In order to film a great movie about race car driving, director John Frankenheimer and his team had to develop new ways of mounting cameras, obtaining steady shots, and following action at very high speeds. This is an exciting film, and Garner - an avid automobile enthusiast - did his own driving.

Murphy's Romance (1986)
I covered this one in the previous post, so I won't say much more about it here other than that it is one of my favorite romances on the big screen.

The Americanization of Emily (1964)
William Holden was supposedly going to play the cynical but affable hero of Paddy Chayefsky's brilliant screenplay but had to back out. I am a big William Holden fan, but I can't imagine anyone bringing Charlie Madison to the screen better than James Garner. This was Garner's favorite of all of of his films and his favorite movie-making experience.

Support Your Local Sheriff (1969)
I also talked about this one in an earlier post, and I think it a perfect example of James Garner at his best. It is a reflection of his earlier (and later) TV roles as Bret Maverick: Maverick turned the idea of the cowboy hero on its ear. Support Your Local Sheriff then tweaked that ear a bit.

The Notebook (2004)
Yes, this is a pretty sappy movie, but it's also a much-beloved one. I think that what really makes the framing love story work - what grounds it in reality - is the truth that Garner brings to his performance.

Move Over, Darling (1963)
The Great Escape (1963)
Duel at Diablo (1966)
Marlowe (1969)
Victor/Victoria (1982)

Jimmy Carter (not that one) interviews James Garner about acting and actors.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Remembering James Garner, Part 2

I'm not sure how long I've considered James Garner my favorite actor. I think my very first favorite actor was Chewbacca, and that was before I realized it was a guy in a hairy suit. From that point forward as a kid, I think my favorite actor was whoever was the star of my favorite TV show of the moment, so sometimes it was a cartoon. I was aware of The Rockford Files. I really liked the theme song, and I thought the tall guy in the sports coat who drove the gold car was really, really cool, but the plots were a little over my head. It went off the air when I was six. My affection for the show would come through later syndication. I think when I latched on to the idea that I really enjoyed watching this James Garner guy was in - of all things - Tank (1984).

It wasn't a great movie, but I was drawn to Garner's performance. I just had this sense that all of the characters in the movie - except for his Zack Carey - were running around trying to tell this story, and he was just there, reacting to what was happening, doing the thing that we'd expect someone to do when something like that happened. Even when it was as absurd as taking a tank and wreaking havoc, it all just seemed the natural thing to do.
That, to me, speaks volumes about James Garner's ability on both the large and small screens: he never seemed like he was acting.
This was particularly evident when we rented Victor/Victoria (1982) at about the same time. It was this incredible farce, filled with wild and crazy characters, and then there was Garner's King Marchand.

He was every bit as funny as everyone else, but the difference was that they all were telling jokes, and Garner just seemed to be saying the funniest thing he could think of at the time. Again, he didn't appear to be acting.
When I saw Murphy's Romance (1985) a year later, I was sold. I would watch James Garner in anything.

Originally, they wanted Marlon Brando to play Murphy, but Sally Field lobbied for Garner. Their chemistry is incredible in spite of - or because of - them being two very different styles of actors. Sally Field - despite her diminutive size - is a very "big" actor. She's almost like an animated Disney Princess
in her films: big eyes, big voice, big emotions, big movements. Subtlety is not her forté, and that's fine, because it works for her. By contrast, everything that James Garner says as Murphy Jones sounds like he's just responding to the situation he's in, as if he had no idea what was going to happen next. His movements were organic, and no bigger or smaller than they would be if there wasn't a movie camera around for miles. And it's perfect. Luckily, the Academy recognized that there was, in fact, work being done on Garner's part beneath that cool demeanor, and he was nominated for an Oscar for the role. (He lost to William Hurt in Kiss of the Spider Woman, though, so . . . there you go.)
In his book, The Garner Files, he admits that he really had very little training as an actor other than what he received by just working as an actor. He describes himself as more of a reactor than an actor, and said this about his acting style:

"I could never teach anybody to act, because I don't have a clue myself. The class would last about thirty seconds, because I'd tell them to just be yourself. Put yourself in the situation the character is in. How would you react to it? That's all I know."

Now, it might seem that Garner was one of the world's best improvisers, given the natural delivery of his lines. In fact, the opposite is true. Garner felt that the script was very important, and he didn't like to work without one. In his own words: "The script is sacred. I don't improvise, because the writers write better than I do."
He also didn't like it when his co-stars improvised, as Bruce Willis did in Sunset (1988). As a result, Garner didn't rate it as highly as some of his other films. (I still like it, though.)

In the next entry, I'll share my quintessential list of James Garner films. (I'll try to limit it to five. Won't be easy.)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Remembering James Garner, Part 1

I'm sure that I've mentioned here before that James Garner is my favorite actor, so you can imagine how crushed I was 9and still am) at the news that he had passed away a couple of days ago on July 19th. I went back and re-read the last few chapters of his recent memoir, The Garner Files. In the last chapter of the of the book, Garner wrote about how he'd like to be remembered:

I've been asked again and again,"How do you want to be remembered?" I usually say I don't care, but that's not true. I want to have accomplished something, to have made a contribution to the world. It would be wonderful if just one person looked at my life and said, "If he could overcome that, maybe I can, too."
Beyond that, I think an actor can contribute by making people forget their troubles for an hour or two. Call it relief, escape, diversion . . . I think one of the greatest gifts is being able to make people happy. I like to make people happy.
So, if anybody asks, "How do you want to be remembered?" I tell them:
"With a smile."

I can recommend James Garner's memoir, The Garner Files (co-written with his friend Jon Winokur). even if you are not particularly a fan of the actor himself. It is a great insight into the Hollywood system and culture from the perspective of a man who refused to play by rules that didn't make any sense to him. Garner is remembered as a nice guy in the media as a curmudgeon by most of his close friends (and by his own admission). The truth is that both are accurate.
What makes the memoir so incredible for Garner fans, though, is that no one ever thought it would be written. Garner was notoriously private. The few begrudging interviews he gave were generally about his movie and television projects. He didn't talk about his service in the Korean War during which he received two purple hearts. He didn't talk much about his wife, Lois, to whom he was married for almost 58 years. (He died about a month shy of their anniversary.) He didn't talk about his upbringing with an abusive stepmother in Oklahoma. All of this is covered in the book, along with his love of golf an car racing, his battles with the television studios over Maverick and The Rockford Files, and his great affection for creating films and television shows.

I will write more about some of my favorite James Garner movies and television shows in future entries, but today I will leave you with what is maybe my favorite James Garner film. it most certainly is the one I have watched the most. Support Your Local Sheriff (1969) is a Western comedy spoof that I, personally, think is superior to Cat BallouMy Name is NobodyBlazing Saddles, and all other send-ups of the Western genre. It was Garner's first foray into producing as well, and it is a film of which he is very proud.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Movie Guy: AFI Countdown Follow-Up

Okay, as promised, I'm going to offer up some alternatives to a few of the films from the AFI 100 that I, personally, think are a bit (or a lot) overrated. Now, I could just add in another couple of Marx Bros. movies or another Buster Keaton. I could simply put From Here to Eternity or The Third Man or Fantasia back on the list. They were on the list before it was revised in 2007. All three of those are better films, in my opinion, than a few that are on the current list. However, I'm going to try to select films that are of the same genre, from the same time period, and of a similar cultural significance to the four films that I would remove from the current list.

Working from the bottom up, I'll start with Bringing Up Baby. In the genre of screwball comedies, you just can't beat His Girl Friday (1940). It has the same director (Howard Hawks) as Bringing Up Baby, and Cary Grant is also in this film. It has a much funnier script, and Rosalind Russell's sharp-tongued news reporter is a much more effective comic lead than Katharine Hepburn's quirky heiress. I really don't know why this movie wasn't on the list. It did make #19 on AFI's 100 Years, 100 Laughs list, but why only there is a mystery to me. This is a gender-bent version of the play and movie The Front Page (1931) which is also a good film. The Front Page would be re-made in 1974 with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau (which I like even better than the 1931 version), and His Girl Friday was itself updated in 1988 as Switching Channels, which I would recommend avoiding.

Here's another option: Nothing Sacred. This is a very funny black comedy from 1937 that makes me think if the Farrelly Brothers had been around back then, this is a movie they would have made. Dorothy Parker is one of the many uncredited writers who worked on the screenplay, so that should give you an idea of just how biting some of the dialogue is.

Okay, moving on: Easy Rider (1969), as I said, just doesn't do it for me. If we're talking about partly-improvised films that reflect the counter-culture movement of the late 60s, I'd much rather watch Medium Cool from the same year. Mixing fact with fiction, this was shot partly during the 1968 Democratic National Convention and, when the anti-was protests were met with violent reprisal, much of that is incorporated into the latter part of the movie.

Okay, The Deer Hunter is tricky. It was one of the first films of the 1970s to address the war in Vietnam, it just did so with a great deal of "artistic license." I'm going to have to go a little outside the era to 1989 with the second entry in Oliver Stone's trilogy (Platoon was the first). Born on the Fourth of July far more effectively covers the pre-war innocence, the nightmare of battle, and the disenfranchisement and disillusion of soldiers returning home, and, unlike Michael Cimino, the director and screenwriter both actually served in Vietnam. (Not that one has to have been a Vietnam veteran in order to make a good Vietnam film, it just cheeses me off that Cimino misrepresented his own military service to gain publicity for his film.)

For Gone With The Wind, I'm going to focus a little more on the heart of the film, which is about a family's adjustment to a changing way of life amid many personal and financial hardships - with a love story thrown in for good measure. If Gone With the Wind is on the list for its cinematography and scenic design, then there are many films already on the list that did it just as well: The Wizard of Oz from the same year, for example.
I'm going to give you two to choose from here. The first, Mrs. Miniver (1942), looks at the effect of the first few months of World War II on an upper-class British family.

The second option is How Green Was My Valley from director John Ford and starring Maureen O'Hara and Roddy McDowall as members of a Welsh mining family at the turn of the century. I'll admit that neither of these films are quite as lavish as Gone With the Wind, but, frankly, the extravagance of that film at the expense of likable characters or a reasonable storyline is part of what turn me off about that movie in the first place.

Well, that's it: one hundred movies and then some as I reminisced about the AFI Top 100 Films of all time. Were there any there you haven't seen that appeal to you now?
There are a number of my favorite films that are ineligible for the list, because only American-made (or co-made) films can be included on the list. One such ineligible film is The Day of the Jackal (1973), a British-French production based on Frederick Forsyth's thriller about a slick assassin hired to kill Charles de Gaulle. It was very (very) loosely re-made simply as The Jackal (1997) - not a bad film in its own right, but far inferior to the original.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Movie Guy: AFI Countdown Top 5

Here we are at the final five movies at the top of the AFI 100! It's been fun for me. I hope it's been fun for you as well.

Singin' In The Rain (1952)
Okay, don't go digging too deep for a plot with this one, but who cares? Donald O'Connor and Gene Kelly are dancing up a storm with newcomer Debbie Reynolds who is overflowing with charisma. Jean Hagen is in her funniest role ever. This movie takes off like a shot and never really lets up through such memorable numbers as "Make 'Em Laugh", "Good Morning",  and, of course, "Singin' In the Rain." This is one of my favorite films.

Raging Bull (1980)

I am less enthralled with Scorsese's artistic choice for black & white in this film. I understand that he wanted to distinguish his movie from other movies at the time and he was concerned about the fading color of film stock, but, narratively, it just doesn't work for me. I'd much rather have seen the movie in color. I think that the story of boxer Jake LaMotta would have been better served in color. The boxing scenes work well in black and white, but the rest of the scenes feel gimmicky to me. However, the performances overcome the gimmick, and I still really like this film. De Niro's performance, in particular, is a tour de force. He transformed himself physically to be the lean and mean fighting weight LaMotta and then gained 70 lbs to play the older Jake past his prime. If there had been any doubts left that De Niro was one of the greatest actors of his generation after Taxi Driver and Deer Hunter, they were eliminated after this film.

Casablanca (1942)

This one is another favorite. Bogart is at his best as the cynical Rick, an American owner of a nightclub in Casablanca with a dark past and a broken heart. His former lover (Ingrid Bergman) reappears in his life and draws him into intrigue against the Nazis, though Rick has worked very hard to remain neutral. Great film. make sure that you watch it in the original black and white instead of the version that was controversially colorized in the 80s. Director Michael Curtiz created some wonderful noir effects for this film that are somewhat spoiled by the colorization.

The Godfather (1972)

This movie was a hit with audiences, critics, Academy voters, and, as it turns out, many actual members of the mafia as well. This movie marked breakthrough roles for both Al Pacino and Robert Duvall and was a strong comeback film for Brando. This is the first film that looked at organized crime from the inside, and this voyeuristic element may be a big part of what made this film a blockbuster with audiences - that and some truly shocking sequences depicting the brutal code and methods of the crime families. Terrific movie.

Citizen Kane (1941)

Here we are! Number one on the AFI 100 list! The greatest film ever made. . . as far as some are concerned. It is a technically a very beautiful film. Director/writer/star Orson Welles made some very innovative choices in bringing the rags-to-riches story of Charles Foster Kane. The cinematography in this film is incredible. For me, though, if a film is going to be the best film of all time, I should care more about the central character. Charles Foster Kane is interesting, but as an audience member, I just was not affected by his rise or his fall on a visceral level. This is still an extremely good film, but it's not a top 10 for me, because I'm just not invested.

Well, that's the list. Now, tomorrow - as promised - I will take the small handful of films that I do not think should be on this list, and I will offer up alternative films that would better deserve a place on the top 100.

This film is not on the list, and it won't make my replacement list tomorrow for reasons that will be clearer in that post. It is a favorite of mine. You may have seen the re-make/re-adaptation with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale in 2007 (which I also quite like), but I highly recommend that you see the 1957 version in its impeccable noir-Western style. Based on a short story by Elmore Leonard, 3:10 to Yuma is a film that just doesn't get enough love, in my opinion.