Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

My Cinematic Alphabet Soup

Two bloggers I happily follow both contributed excellent movie lists to the My Cinema Alphabet meme that’s making its way across the blogosphere. This looked like a kick to do, so I’m joining in on the fun. Spellbound Cinema holds Daniel’s meme answers and you-know-who‘s is over at the Colonel Mortimer Will Have His Revenge blog site. And I wholeheartedly agree with my blogging colleague that it’ll end “... up painting a pretty fair portrait of my general taste in film.

The challenge in engaging, it seems, has to do with the last three letters in the set — a few meme participants I’ve come across offer comments or caveats toward some of their film selections at this end of alphabet. I promise I won’t since I happen to very much like those last selections of mine (just don’t get me started on what the cursed Brett Ratner did [with his hated installment] to a certain superhero film franchise, though). I’ll base my meme answers on the films I never tire of watching (though, this did cause me some tough selections… wait, does that count as a caveat?).

And here we go:

A is for An American Werewolf in London

B is for Braveheart

C is for Chinatown

D is for The Day the Earth Stood Still

E is for Escape From New York

F is for Field of Dreams

G is for Gladiator

H is for Heat

I is for The Iron Giant

J is for Junior Bonner

K is for KILL BILL: The Whole Bloody Affair

L is for L.A. Confidential

M is for Michael Clayton

N is for North by Northwest

O is for Once Upon a Time in the West

P is for Pulp Fiction

Q is for Quigley Down Under

R is for RAN

S if for The Shawshank Redemption

T is for Toy Story 3 (1 & 2 will also do)

U is for Up in the Air

V is for Vertigo

W is for WALL•E

X is for X2: X-Men United

Y is for Young Frankenstein

Z is for Zombieland

24 Responses to “My Cinematic Alphabet Soup”

  1. Daniel

    Great choices, all. Your selection of Heat for ‘H’ had me pulling up my post to remind myself what on Earth I’d picked instead of that…love that movie.

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    • le0pard13

      I very much enjoyed reading yours, too. What can I say, I’m a big fan of Michael Mann’s Heat. Thank you very much for your kind words and the inspiration, Daniel.

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  2. rtm

    Hey there, looks like we share quite a few favorites here, especially the two Russell Crowe movies, Heat and Wall-E! I had just seen North by Northwest recently too and finally saw what the fuss is about, no wonder it’s a classic. Great list!

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    • le0pard13

      Welcome, rtm. I really enjoyed reading your list, as well (and not just because we appreciate many of the same films). I look forward to going back and checking out more of fine content you have on your blog. Many thanks.

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  3. Jeff

    I also did that exercise, a few years ago. This is what I came up with:

    American Graffiti – Watching this movie makes me wonder what happened to George Lucas’ ability to work with actors. The performances are all so natural; so believable. Of course, the real star of the movie is the soundtrack, which remains the best available compilation of late fifties/early sixties rock ‘n roll.

    Blade Runner – Amazing when it was released, even better with the tweaks that have occurred over the years on various VHS and DVD editions. Harrison Ford is excellent, but the movie’s strength comes from the performance of Rutger Hauer.

    A Christmas Story – I’ve never gotten tired of it, and never will. Every year, it feels like we find a new favorite moment. But the all-time highlight has to be Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon as the parents.

    The Dead Zone – Still one of the best movie adaptations of a Stephen King novel, and my favorite performance from Christopher Walken. The scene where Tom Skerritt tells Walken that his power is a “gift from God,” and Walken’s reaction, never fails to send chills down my spine. And a truly chilling performance from Martin Sheen, as a very different presidential candidate from the one he would go on to play 20 years later.

    The Empire Strikes Back – Hands down, the best of the Star Wars films. I saw it, either alone or with my brothers, 8 times during the summer of 1980. Favorite moment? “The force is with you, young Skywalker…but you are not a Jedi yet.”

    Fargo – Just thinking about William H. Macy’s performance makes me want to stick binder clips on the ends of my fingers. And yes, Frances McDormand deserved her Oscar.

    The Godfather – Perfection in every frame.

    Hannah and Her Sisters – My favorite Woody Allen movie. Wonderful performances from Mia Farrow, Michael Caine, Dianne Weist, Barbara Hershey, and Allen himself. I’ve always enjoyed the fact that the story is built around Thanksgiving, and I always try to watch it in November.

    The Incredibles – This isn’t just a great Pixar film – this is a great film, period. Maybe you have to have grown up reading comic books to think so, but I hope not.

    Jaws – When this came out, who knew what was to come from Steven Spielberg? But the moments are all there; little ones, like Brody making faces at his young son, who knows that daddy is upset but is not sure why. And…Robert Shaw!

    Kill Bill, Vol. I – Truth be told, I don’t even think this is Tarantino’s best film (Pulp Fiction wins that contest, hands down), but it’s included here because it filled a very special need at a very important time. I was going through a particularly frustrating and depressing time at work, and skipping out and taking a long lunch to watch Uma Thurman wreak havoc on the world was just the medicine I needed.

    L.A. Confidential – One of my all-time favorite books, and even though the movie made some very important deletions and changes, it was absolutely true to the Ellroy spirit. Coming generations who watch this movie and see Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce will be envious of those who saw the movie when those two were but little-known actors.

    Moulin Rouge – Incandescent; transcendent; wonderful. The moment when Nicole Kidman is lowered, seemingly from the heavens, and the camera zooms in on her face is one of the great moments in cinematic history.

    North by Northwest – Cary Grant, at his most debonair. Need more be said?

    Ordinary People – Great performances all around, but especially from Timothy Hutton. I’ve seen this film scorned because it “robbed” Raging Bull of a Best Picture Oscar, but that scorn is wholly undeserved. This too is a great film.

    Prince of the City – It kills me to leave Pulp Fiction off, but I’ve got to go with my heart – This is the great unsung American drama of all time, and thankfully it is now available on DVD. Incredible, incredible cast, and masterful film-making from the great Sidney Lumet.

    Quiz Show – With a performance from John Turturro that rivals William H. Macy’s “Fargo” turn in its twitchiness.

    The Right Stuff – It’s two completely different movies rolled into one – the Chuck Yeager sections are completely different in tone and feeling than the Mercury astronaut sections. But it all works, and in the end they all feel like heroes.

    Some Like It Hot – Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe, and Billy Wilder; all at their best. A perfect movie.

    To Kill A Mockingbird – An iconic performance from Gregory Peck, and from Mary Badham, the all-time best performance by a child actor. Elmer Bernstein’s beautiful score should also be lauded and appreciated.

    The Usual Suspects – Contrived? Sure. Fun? Absolutely.

    Victor/Victoria – Blake Edwards was on a roll when this one came out, and in my mind it is much underappreciated by the masses. A great comedic performance from James Garner.

    Working Girl – There are so many great lines in this movie, it’s hard to know where to start. Who would’ve thought that Harrison Ford could pull it off? But he does, and Melanie Griffith is just as good.

    X-Men 2 – The best comic book movie ever made, with the possible exception of Spider-Man 2 and Batman Begins.

    The Year of Living Dangerously – You don’t hear people talk about this movie much anymore, but I stand by my original opinion that it’s a great movie.

    Zelig – Sorry, folks. I just haven’t seen that many movies starting with “Z.” But I really did enjoy this one.

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    • le0pard13

      Oh, fantastic! So glad you included your picks here, Jeff. So many of the same films I, too, thought about for this meme. I love your comments about The Dead Zone and The Right Stuff. I’ve promised myself that this will be the year I show To Kill A Mockingbird to my children. Thanks a lot, my friend.

      p.s., I took in Tarantino’s original 4-hour cut (the one he debut at Canne years ago) of KILL BILL last month at the New Bev (QT’s revival theater in L.A.). I hope the studio either releases it nationally or to Blu-ray Disc. I can’t recommend this version enough (check out Mr. Peel’s recent review of what made it definitive).

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  4. dirtywithclass

    Interesting list. You have some good picks here, but i’m not familiar with all the movies on this list.

    I actually remember liking Up in the Air, but forgot about it when making my list(For some reason the site that i was using to find movies for each letter didn’t have that under U, and i saw it a while ago so it didn’t spring to memory when making my list).

    I notice Heat and L.A Confidential seem to be popular choices. I’m honestly not sure if i saw either of those to be honest

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    • le0pard13

      Welcome, dwc. I noticed that, too, regarding Heat and L.A. Confidential and this meme. The two are favorites of mine, and part of my annual screenings. I recommend reading my friend J.D.’s recent examination of the Michael Mann’s Heat. If you’ve seen it, that’ll likely jar the memory. So glad you dropped by, my friend. Thanks.

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  5. Herbster

    African Queen
    Blues Brothers
    Casablanca
    Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo (guilty pleasure, it has a message)
    Easy Rider
    Fellowship of the Ring LOR
    Guns of the Naverone
    The Hot Rock
    Independence Day
    James Bond, Casino Royale (thats cheating, I know)
    Key Largo
    Last of the Mohicans
    The Maltese Falcon
    North by Northwest
    O’ Brother Where Art Thou
    Pirates of the Caribbean
    Quantum of Solace (more cheating, q is tough)
    Return of the King, LOR
    Saving Private Ryan
    The Thin Man
    Unforgiven
    Vertigo
    Wallace and Gromit, Weir Rabbit
    The X-files
    Yankee Doodle Dandy (where’s your patriotism)
    Zorro, the Gay Blade

    Ok, I have a beef. How do you pick between Wallace and Gromit or the Wild Bunch. I might need a shrink. Or write a book titled “How to make a list and learn to like yourself”

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    • le0pard13

      What a list, Herb! [head slap] How could I have forgotten about Unforgiven! I have to admit that a few of these almost made it on to my own list… though not the Deuce Bigalow selection (but only because I’ve not seen it). So glad to see another person list The Hot Rock in their alphabet (love that movie). Thanks for contributing, my friend.

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    • le0pard13

      I guess you can tell I’m an admirer of Kurosawa. Well, I have you to thank for inspiring this. Loved your selections, as well. Thank you very much.

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  6. Novroz

    A very varied list. Glad to see Shawshank in the list.I was thinking about putting it in my list but my all time favorite animation beat it.

    I really want to see the day the earth stood still (the original one) as I really like the Keanu version a lot.

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  7. Naomi Johnson

    That’s a pretty wonderful list. I’d like to try my hand at this meme, but already I come up blank for the EASY letters! This could take me a while, and I might have to steal your answers (except Zombieland, no, sorry. Haven’t seen it.)

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    • le0pard13

      I’d love to see what you’d come up with on this meme, Naomi! BTW, Zombieland is unexpectedly clever. So, I do recommend if the genre doesn’t bother you. Thanks so much for the comment and kind words.

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  8. mummbles

    This is a great idea. I love almost all of the movies you put up here! Great job, I might just have to copy your idea too!

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