Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

Fall Back: Year of Bests – 2016

autumn-rain

A few years back, I did not publish a year-end piece on those articles I most enjoyed reading for the period. Routinely, my online browsing turns up a number authors and write-ups that exceed whatever threshold I have in my head. I promised not to get caught flat-footed again. So, I rectified the issue by gathering them up and presenting each quarterly. This the second to last of such for 2016.

Is that a leaf falling…if so let’s continue, shall we?


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It was a real treat to re-visit one of the highlights from the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival some two months prior when good friend and film blogger Kellee Pratt spoke of it. Whether you’re well aware of the great Marlene Dietrich, or new to her cinematic allure, one look at the above close-up will raise your temperature as well as any this summer. Kellee captured why one of her signature films was the talk of #TCMFF:

The Seduction of SHANGHAI EXPRESS (1932)

“When you consider Marlene Dietrich’s personal life as well as her behind the scenes relationship with director Josef von Sternberg, this performance may not come as a surprise. She was brilliant in understanding how to convey her image on screen in just the perfect light and shadows. That is, she was the perfect student of Josef von Sternberg’s teachings in these skills (skills she utilized the remainder of her life.)”


time-star-trekOkay, it’s the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, so that can be an excuse to cite this. Still, the Aspiring Filmmaker / Chronic Photographer / Armchair Anthropologist that is Neoteotihuacan made an intriguing argument in Medium back in July that this grand sci-fi series has a continuing issue that has to be addressed:

A Unified Time Travel Theory For Star Trek

“Think I’m exaggerating? Think again. There are 56 or 57 Star Trek episodes and films that feature time travel as a crucial story component. The franchise puts forth more than one temporal paradox and has regularly rolled in time cops, temporal cold wars, causality loops, time machines and whatever the hell red matter is. It’s a mess, ya’ll. A mess.”


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No stranger to this highlight reel, Marilyn Ferdinand from her perch at Ferdy on Films blog, warmed this old heart by setting her sights on the type of journalism that seems rare as hen’s teeth since corporate media subsumed the news services. Giving due to something worth preserving by putting a Spotlight (sorry, couldn’t resist) on it through film:

All the President’s Men (1976)

“Arguably the most acclaimed and enduring of newspaper movies is Alan J. Pakula’s All the President’s Men (1976), based on the best-selling book by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, then reporters for the Washington Post, whose investigative reporting on the 1972 burglary of Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. , revealed a vast dirty-tricks conspiracy that eventually ended the presidency of Richard M. Nixon.”


shirley-jackson

Truly, ’tis the rarest of things I highlight what Random House copy chief Benjamin Dreyer did over at Medium. A fine dissection of what created his affection for the first paragraph of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House (one of our Duo Post entries, in fact).

Shirley Jackson’s Sublime First Paragraph in ‘Hill House,’ Annotate

[*] First, let’s hear it for that semicolon, the first of three in this paragraph. Any number of celebrated writers who ought to know better — I’ll name no names — have said any number of foolish, disparaging things about semicolons. Jackson uses them, beautifully, to hold her sentences tightly together. Commas, semicolons, periods: This is how the prose breathes.


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Whenever Rick Ouellette calls attention to a music and film combination over at his blog, REEL AND ROCK, I stop, read, and listen. He always makes a thought-provoking point or two, and this, once again, worth taking in:

A TALE OF TWO WALLS: LOOKING BACK IN ANGER AT PINK FLOYD’S CINEMATIC SICK JOKE

“I realize that The Wall is only one piece of work but all art matters when added in to the great scheme of things. Roger Waters wrote most of the album and is listed as the screenwriter here, so most of the blame game I am about to play is directed at him. When I recently watched this for the third time since ’82, I found it rather more inane than detestable. But in the context of the times, it now seems even more unsettling. Pink Floyd The Wall is just a little too indicative of the narcissism and low-information grievances that have led to recent political instabilities; in addition it has over the years been a flashpoint for some racist groups that have adopted bits of the film’s visual iconography. Nowadays, it’s hard for me to look at this film as anything but one of rock history’s great moral failings.”


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Quite often, the photographer, author, and blogger John Greco and I share a love of the same material. So when he centered upon a famed book and film adaptation on his Twenty Four Frames blog, one that I was lucky to take in again in the Spring with the TCM Classic Film Festival, it was going to get my attention:

The Manchurian Candidate (1962) John Frankenheimer

“Frank Sinatra was never shy about expressing his political beliefs. As far back as 1945, he made The House I Live, an eleven minute short film with a plea for tolerance. By 1960, Frank was back on top of the entertainment world. He was one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood. Still a political liberal, Sinatra wanted to produce and direct a serious film. He chose William Bradford Huie’s non-fiction book, The Execution of Private Slovik (1954), the story of the only American soldier executed since the Civil War. Sinatra hired Albert Maltz, who coincidently happened to have written the The House I Live In script to do the adaptation. Maltz was one of the original Hollywood Ten blacklisted in Hollywood. By 1960, HUAC and the witch hunts were over, though remnants of the stink it created remained. Many writers still could not get a job, at least under their own name. ”


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The American girl in England who likes movies, music and books — nothing wrong with that — known as tableninemutant on Twitter has me as a regular reader. No doubt for her many wonderful top ten lists posted to her Cinema Parrot Disco blog, and this certainly another:

My Top Ten DJs/Disc Jockeys In Movies

“I first thought about doing this list after watching the “meh” movie We Are Your Friends starring Zac Efron as an EDM DJ. But I never got around to doing it. Then I thought about it again after watching Clint Eastwood as a DJ with a stalker in Play Misty For Me. But I still didn’t do the list. Well, I noticed that today would’ve been Robin Williams’ birthday so I figured I’d finally post this list as he was so great as Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning, Vietnam. (R.I.P. Robin Williams)😦”


revolver

Okay, admittedly I can get a tad obsessive with my music listening habits. Still, when I read knowledgeable folk like Bruce Jenkins who keep the light burning Down Under, it’s easy to do. Especially when he has arguably one of the greatest albums ever, by The Lads or anyone, on his turntable and at his Vinyl Connection blog in a two-parter:

STILL REVOLVING

“It is the album that marked the Beatles transition from mop-tops to musicians, from pop princes to progressive boundary-pushers and it has been part of popular culture for half a century. Ringo may well have remarked that ‘tomorrow never knows’, but it actually does. It knows that Revolver was a great album then, now, and probably as long as people enjoy music.”

THEY SAID THEY SAID

“The tape-loop—a length of taped sound edited to itself to create a perpetually cycling signal—is a staple of sound-effect studios and the noise-art idiom known as musique concréte. Pop music, though, had heard nothing like this before, and the loops The Beatles created for ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ were especially extraordinary… The soundscape of ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ is a riveting blend of anarchy and awe [Macdonald, p. 152].”

p.s., and John Hugar of Uproxx would seem to agree as this venerable album we Beatlemaniacs love hit its 50th anniversary this year:

Is ‘Revolver’ The Best Beatles Album Ever?

“Really, it’s hard to find a single weak track. Maybe “Doctor Robert” doesn’t quite hold up to the stiff competition, but it would be a highlight on a lesser album. From “Taxman,” to “I’m Only Sleeping” to “Got to Get You into My Life,” the consistency here is remarkable. Whether it’s their best album is up for debate, but it’s likely their most solid from start to finish. Along with Rubber SoulRevolver was part of the Beatles’ transitional period, which meant that it combined the pop sensibilities of their early works with the creativity and experimentation have become later.”


ipod-classic

Ringer staff writer staff writer Lindsay Zoladz‘s fine tribute piece for a certain piece of music technology highlighted why I still have mine:

“On September 9, 2014, Apple announced that it would no longer be making the iPod Classic. For a seemingly all-powerful corporation, its reasoning was uncharacteristically defeatist: “We couldn’t get the parts anymore, not anywhere on Earth,” Apple CEO Tim Cook later explained. “It wasn’t a matter of me swinging the ax, saying ‘what can I kill today?’ The engineering work was massive, and the number of people who wanted it very small.””


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Another summer movie season has come and got (it’s never really gone, now is it?), with an additional comic superhero film from Marvel’s rather large stable of characters. Keith of Keith & the Movies set out to contain and rank this set that’s spanned a good number of years and studios now (including those who licensed them, and which Marvel so desperately wants back in their fold).

Ranking the Marvel Movies: Worst to First

#8 – “Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011)

Here is another example of a creative team who understands the importance of tone and knowing not to overplay their hand. “The First Avenger” is an origin story that actually feels fresh. It has a ton of heart and creates authentic characters ripe with emotional complexities and all. It plays out in a wonderfully realized 1940s setting before cleverly connecting to the existing MCU.”


westerns3

No surprise the writer, author, and blogger Darren Mooney again graces this highlight reel. Some would say I’m drawn to that famed Irish wit seen regularly on his the m0vie blog, but as Jules (Pulp Fiction) would say, “And I’d like that. But that shit ain’t the truth.” The truth is he offers comprehensive and thoughtful perspective, especially when looking upon us over on this side of the pond. This then, a must-read:

American Nightmares, Part I: Old Frontiers… (The Revenant/The Hateful Eight)

“Britain has knights. Ireland has rebels. America has cowboys. It is tempting to look upon these archetypal mythic figures as something far removed from the modern day, something so far in the distant past that they may never have existed as all. Particularly given the historical decline of the western genre in recent decades, it is easy to consider the cowboy a historical artifact covered in centuries of dust and disconnected from the modern world. Billy the Kid does not seem so far removed from King Arthur, Wyatt Earp from Brian Boru.”


ouatia

Always great to welcome back Richard Kirkham to the fold, as well. Good friend, USC alumnus, and exceptional blogger, we two get to share in some of the same joys offered those who live in the southland. Even if we didn’t see it together at this year’s TCM Classic Film Fest, we certainly experienced a certain Sergio Leone film back in 1984 and through the years of various later versions. His keen review:

Once Upon a Time in America

“The 1984 film about Jewish Gangsters is a multi-year epic, that jumps from the year 1920, to 1968, and then back to the years of 1932 and 33. While there are a number of characters in the film, it is clear that the main protagonist is Robert DeNiro’s character “Noodles”. If you ever plan on seeing the film, don’t think of “Noodles” as the hero of the story, he is a pretty awful human being and we don’t really get why he chooses the path he does but there is a very clear outline of the stages that he takes. There is one early commonality between the two “Once Upon a Time…” films, their opening segments are largely wordless. Except for a couple of lines spoken briefly, each film has a long prologue that is mostly atmosphere, provided by excellent art direction and Leone’s use of the camera.”


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Cinephilia & Beyond always does extraordinary work on whatever they set their sights on. This on the underappreciated auteur, John Carpenter, no exception:

‘BIG JOHN’: A 75-MINUTE PRECIOUS EXPLORATION OF JOHN CARPENTER’S LIFE, WORK AND WAYS

“In France, I’m an auteur; in Germany, a filmmaker; in Britain, a genre film director; and in the USA, a bum. These are the famous words of John Carpenter, one of the most influential horror film directors of all time, whose works such as HalloweenThe ThingThe Fog and In the Mouth of Madness remain an inescapable part of every horror film encyclopedia. A talented filmmaker, a modest, humble and practical man, and, for this occasion equally important, a disarmingly, refreshingly honest interviewee. It was from France, to go back to the quote we started with, that the idea for this rare documentary came to life.”


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Mel Gibson has had a bumpy career of late, most of it his own doing. Still, for those of us who still enjoy his work onscreen — but disagree with a number of his views — finding the out of the way theatre his latest was shoved into (among the very few) came because of reading Chuck Bowen‘s excellent movie review that offered a keen angle for SLANT:

Blood Father

“Director Jean-François Richet and screenwriters Peter Craig and Andrea Berloff add a few amusing wrinkles to the stalk-and-chase plot, recognizing that a vigilante story of an aging white guy battling a Mexican gang near the border might require a touch of cursory interrogation in these sensitive and imperiled times. Unexpected liberal talking points are occasionally landed, particularly when Link and Lydia hitch a ride with a truck of Mexican farm workers who may or may not be in the United States legally. Lydia speaks Spanish with the men, engaging them, wondering how Link could’ve done nine years in the pen without learning a lick of their language—which is even more curious when it’s revealed that Link has ties to a cartel employing the bad guys who’re after Lydia. In the tradition of bitter white men all over, Link says that these people are stealing his jobs. Lydia asks her father when was the last time he, or anyone he knew, actually picked oranges.”


airplane-jesus

If my wife should read this, the above scene from a film we do not share equally will be most appropriate when she sees it. That’s because I’m spotlighting Airplane! here…blame Alex Kavutskiy writing for Bullshit.ist (real site, “…and don’t call me, Shirley”) and inspiring me to read every single joke to see how much we agreed. (I know my dear spouse is shaking her loving head at the moment).

Every Joke from ‘Airplane!’ Ranked

“Things to keep in mind while reading this list:

[…]

Since we only gave whole number scores, there were a lot of ties. In case of a tie, the author of this article took it upon himself to sort the tied jokes in any order that he felt in the moment of typing up the list. He felt that he earned that right since he put in many hours making this list and no one else has editing privilege.”


itfollows3

We all have to realize it’s October in America…during the most bizarre (and frightening) Presidential Election in our national history. So adding an article with horror and its “rules” is likely the aptest reference of this entire Year of Bests entry. Luckily, Darren Mooney once again brings us down to earth:

It Follows the Rules – Horror Movies and “the Rules”

“Indeed, it is quite easy to draw parallels between the War on Terror and the horror movies of the early twenty-first century. The found footage style recalls the images of 9/11 captured by citizen journalists and imprinted upon the public consciousness. The emphasis on torture in franchises like Saw and Hostel reflects contemporary political debates about how best to face the future. The renewed emphasis on foreign countries as inherently hostile in horrors like HostelThe Ruins and Touristas.”


unnamed-3

You can skip this if vinyl only refers to the upholstery in your vintage auto, and nothing musically. But, if you are interested in the latter, pay heed to the good folk over at TheVinylFactory.com for:

THE BEST ONLINE TOOLS FOR RECORD COLLECTORS

Discogs

Discogs is the most essential URL on this list but you probably already know that. Over the past sixteen years, the site has avalanched into a near-comprehensive discography of six and a half million releases; the knowledge stacked block-by-block by a community of 250,000 contributors. That nerve centre now enables three million users to manage their own virtual collections and want lists; and crucially it’s the data source for a revolutionary online marketplace. Now with the new official App, you can access the database on the go.”


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I know it seems that we keep coming back to it, but turning fifty is a milestone. So it shouldn’t surprise The Lads’ ‘Revolver’ album has made multiple hits in the ether and within this series. That’s why Mikal Gilmore‘s piece for Rolling Stone is situated right here next to the sitar that’s floating downstream:

Beatles’ Acid Test: How LSD Opened the Door to ‘Revolver’

“Within days, Lennon presented a new song to the Beatles and producer George Martin. At first referred to as “Mark 1,” and later retitled “Tomorrow Never Knows,” the song began, “Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream/It is not dying, it is not dying/Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void/It is shining, it is shining.” The composition “was all on the chord of C,” said McCartney. “I can hear a whole song in one chord,” he told author Hunter Davies. “I think you can hear a whole song in one note, if you listen hard enough. But nobody ever listens hard enough.””


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If 2016 is known for anything, it is its painful tendency to report the death of the celebrities and supreme artists that have captivated and enthralled us for years with their gifts. David Edelstein writing for Vulture noted how August took someone who made us laugh with hysteria by way of his own:

Gene Wilder’s Genius Was in His Simmering Hysteria

“Rather than fight a business he no longer enjoyed, Wilder left the field — another tragedy, since he might have shifted into character parts the way other clowns with acting chops (Robin Williams, Albert Brooks) did. But he never abased himself, never betrayed his gifts, never sold his profession short. From his home in Connecticut, where he lived with his fourth wife, he wrote an upbeat memoir and several novels before Alzheimer’s took him.”


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As the original Star Trek hits 50 this year, Beth Elderkin, writing for io9, made a good case that Deep Space Nine may have been the most relatable world in this quadrant of the galaxy. Won’t find me arguing:

Deep Space Nine Is Star Trek‘s Best World, Because It’s the Real World

Deep Space Nine took the world—er, universe—established in the previous shows and opened it up to all the longstanding complexities that would come with it. We got to see how these different species groups lived and worked together over a long period of time. We saw amazing friendships and bitter rivalries developing side-by-side. (It’s why having the show take place on a space station made so much sense.) And while the Federation was still as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as ever, dedicated to making the universe a more peaceful, prosperous place, we also got to see that not everyone has the same idea of what’s best, especially when it came down to different species. Sometimes it went hand-in-hand with humanity’s mission, other times it was completely the opposite. But we had a great crew that knew the value of compromise.”


jl-feat-uproxx

It can be a hard thing when reading about your heroes and uncovering the reality that they are nothing less than human in their personal lives. To read Mary von Aue‘s painful accounts of John Lennon’s domesticity in the lives of the women who shared his life, and you’ll not look at some of the lead Beatle songs the same way ever again afterwards:

What ‘Imagine’ Tells Us About Our Perception Of John Lennon And His Abusive Past

“How do we decide which of our idols get to be forgiven? The world would be a boring place if every public figure were a role model, but why shouldn’t we retroactively insist on accountability, when so many famous men destroyed the lives of women without any retribution? Feminist writers have taken on the task of highlighting what our former heroes got away with, and in doing so have mobilized fleets of angry Baby Boomers that still cling to John Lennon as the spiritual and philosophical leader of their failed peace movement.”


femme_fatale_finale

As a good friend and loyal reader, I’ve sung the praises of Sergio and his Tipping My Fedora blog in this series before. No surprise, we are both avid fans of Brian De Palma for a good many years. So when his contribution to last month’s Brian De Palma Blogathon hosted by Ratnakar Sadasyula at his site, Seetimaar – Diary of a Movie Lover, well, you had to know I’d be right there reading:

The romance of Brian De Palma

“Like the more recent Passion, a clever look at boardroom politics and the narcissism of the PR trade, Femme Fatale is a supremely seductive thriller all about women. Part cine-literate film essay, part heist movie, it offers the possibility of redemption for even the unlikeliest past offender, which seems entirely appropriate because Femme Fatale was a box office bomb, but it really does deserve a second chance; and then maybe even a third. In fact, it may even require it, given the many intertextual secrets that it contains (sometimes hidden in plain sight). A story of cross and double cross and thieves falling out, it starts with a jewel heist that goes wrong, then folds in a paparazzo looking for artistic recognition, and blends it all together through the cocktail shaker of a slinky, sexy dame from the wrong side of the tracks who lies to absolutely everyone – including herself. At its considerable best, this film is a truly original neo-noir, one that despite several expected links to classical Hollywood cinema probably owes a lot more to the work of David Lynch. It is also unmistakably the work of one of Hollywood’s most distinctive and most controversial filmmakers – from start to finish, Brian de Palma’s naughty Parisian thriller is a postmodern delight.”


columbo

Another good friend and contributor to this highlight reel would be Aurora herself. Countless times she’s enthralled me with her film research and appreciation on her blogs. Once upon a screen… she paid a fine tribute to an actor and role that has entertained me, and now my children, for years:

To Peter Falk and The Lieutenant

“Peter Falk was a great actor by anyone’s estimation.  He was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.  The first for Balaban and Rosenberg’s, Murder, Inc. (1960) and the other for Frank Capra’s, Pocketful of Miracles (1961).  Falk was also nominated for one Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Special for his performance in Showtime’s, A Storm in Summer (2000), twelve times for an Emmy Award, winning five in total.  Four of those were for portraying Lt. Columbo, by my estimation, one of the most iconic, unforgettable characters in television history.  I must also mention also that Falk received 10 Golden Globe nominations.  One for Most Promising Newcomer in 1961, the other nine for Columbo.”


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When someone like J.D. takes on a western of my youth, a Howard Hawks classic mind you, it’s best to take heed over at his Radiator Heaven blog. Let’s saddle up and meet at:

Red River

“From the start of the film, Red River establishes a male-dominated world devoid of women. Dunson and Cookie, his loyal friend, decide to leave the settlers and stake out their own claim on the frontier. His love interest (Coleen Gray) appears and, despite her protest to the contrary, he excludes her from his world because the frontier is, as he puts it, “too much for a woman.” She cannot go with him to tame the frontier because that does not fit into his old world values where men explore and women stay home. He is a man set in his beliefs as Nadine Groot (Walter Brennan) explains to the settlers, “He’s a might kept man when his mind is made up. Even you can’t change him.””


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I can tell you’re getting tired, so let Cracked crack staff lighten and straighten up a few things to get you back on-track:

7 Types Of Violence You’re Picturing Wrong Thanks To Movies

“Any movie with a big police shootout features the cops rolling up, opening their car doors and taking cover behind them, because why not? It’s several layers of metal intended to protect you from getting T-boned by a semi, right? Here’s The Departed demonstrating that modern automakers construct the body panels of our cars out of solid vibranium”:



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Yes, the following Bright Ideas Magazine article is two years old, but was new to me. When my good friend Paulette recently returned from NOLA and this year’s Bouchercon, lauding author David Corbett‘s work, she pointed me to this. That it involves three of my favorite things, the antihero, Odysseus, and Walter White, well…let’s just say she had me at hello:

From Odysseus to Walter White – The Antihero’s Journey

“In the final episode of Breaking Bad, Walter White finds himself trapped in a snow-bound car while police hunt for him just outside. Hoping to escape arrest, he prays to whatever God he thinks might listen: “Just let me get home… Just let me get home…” With these words, mild-mannered Walt—A.K.A. the meth lord Heisenberg—reaches back in thematic time, echoing the same sentiment the Greek hero Odysseus embraced in his famous ten-year journey from the ruins of Troy to his palace in Ithaca.

But Walt and Odysseus share much more than a desire to get back home. In the psychological complexity and moral tension they exhibit, they stand among a variety of avatars with names like Lazarillo de Tormes, Moll Flanders, Adolph Verloc, Humbert Humbert, Augie March, John Yossarian, Randle Patrick McMurphy. There’s no one set of pat traits that categorically encompasses all these characters, though the epithet “antihero” routinely gets slapped beside their names.”


2016’s terrible legacy of taking our celebrated artists from us way too early has already been stated. So when one of my favorite filmmakers left this mortal coil, author James Ellroy wrote a beautiful tribute in Variety to the man who brought one of his greatest to the screen and expressed it in his own unique way, you know why his departure will be truly missed by us all:

‘L.A. Confidential’ Author James Ellroy on Curtis Hanson: ‘He Was a Voyeur, He Was a Camera’

“Curtis Hanson’s gaze was ever deferential to the art of film itself. His films explore and never explode. Even his heartbreak unfolds in restraint. There is a debit and credit sheet here. The viewer flails for emotional coherence and fails to find it. The viewer comes away with a sense of life deftly observed. Voyeur, filmmaker, observer — the most circumspect man I’ve ever met. Curtis Hanson was a camera above all else.”


dead-ringers-titles

An oversight to not have had a remarkable opening title sequence from Art of the Title folks in some time. Let’s fix that with one from the body horror maestro, David Cronenberg, for the month of Halloween, shall we?:

Dead Ringers (1988)

“With Dead Ringers, Cronenberg delivers the troubling tale of identical twin gynecologists Beverly and Elliot Mantle (both impressively played by Jeremy Irons), two halves of a deeply troubled whole. The Mantle brothers are inseparable in work and life, sharing not only careers as world-renowned surgeons, but also — and more troublingly — the many women who enter their lives. Geneviève Bujold plays Claire Niveau, an actress with a rare mutation that fascinates the twins and begins to disrupt the brothers’ cruel balance. Originally titled TwinsDead Ringers is loosely based on the lives of real-life twin doctors Stewart and Cyril Marcus, who died together under mysterious circumstances in 1975.”


bof01

Continuing on a roll of past correspondents who’ve been here before, Roderick Heath, writing a celebratory piece for another good friend’s blog, Sammy Juliano’s Wonders in the Dark and it’s Sci-Fi Countdown series, offered a classic in the truest sense of the word:

31. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

“Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus is a foundation text of both the science fiction and horror genres. Born of a dull, rainy summer by Lake Geneva by the brilliant young bride in the company of her famous husband Percy, his even more famous friend George Gordon, Lord Byron, and his physician Dr John Polidori, Frankenstein still makes Mary’s name familiar to people for whom Romantic poetry might as well be Klingon. Frankenstein, a text that referenced ancient mythology, was destined to be the legend of an age still busy bring born, the industrial and scientific eras. Shelley was herself product of a revolutionary age, daughter to the feminist theorist Mary Wollstonecroft and immersed in the burgeoning Romantic movement’s spiritual and symbolic conceptualism as well as radical thinking.”


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Photographer, author, and blogger John Greco returned once more to the same Wonders in the Dark ‘s Sci-Fi Countdown series and offered another definitive work to those living in this day and age. One which still should have a meaning:

18. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

The Day the Earth Stood Still helped steer the science fiction genre away from mostly juvenile fare to more mature themes that audiences would think and talk about long after leaving the theater.  With the cold war and the House of Un-American Activities in full force, paranoia was running wild. Many American’s were leaving urban areas fleeing to the suburbs where life would allegedly be better. Away from crime, immigrants, fear of the unknown and a crumbling infrastructure. The film plays into much of these fears. When the spaceship lands both the public and the military’s first reaction is one of fear. Even after the ship lands and Klaatu begins to tell them he has come in peace the military’s first reaction is to shoot first.”


The entire series can be found here.

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19 Responses to “Fall Back: Year of Bests – 2016”

  1. Cavershamragu

    Thanks Michael for including me in such great company – and what an amazing bounty! Amazing stuff out there – thanks for bringing it all together. Shockingly good stuff 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. 70srichard

    This will fill hours of my life for the next few days. Some of your selections are mouthwatering and I look forward to diving in. A honor to be included my friend. Thanks for including me, hope we get a chance to see a classic together soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  3. table9mutant

    Thanks again for including me in this list of excellent links! I love when you do these posts. There’s some really interesting stuff here – I’ll be back to read through these over the weekend. : )

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  4. ruth

    Great stuff here! I love Table9Mutant’s top 10 lists, and I agree w/ Keith’s love for the excellent Captain American movies! That’s actually my fave MCU’s trilogy so far.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  5. Victor De Leon

    Amazing post, Michael! I love the great work over at Cinephilia and Beyond. Great to see them recognized here!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • le0pard13

      What a wonderful milestone, Aurora. Truly, yours is one of those blogs I always look forward to when new content is published. Your film perspectives and writing make them so. As well, thanks for the linkage and kind words. Always a pleasure to include you on those things I enjoy reading. Congrats on your blog’s five wonderful years and here’s to many more.

      Like

      Reply

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