Skip to main content

The Film List Project #3: On the Waterfront and The 400 Blows

I said in my last post that I was going to watch something lighter this week. I lied.

I struggled when thinking about how to write about these two films side by side. While On the Waterfront and The 400 Blows are both classics, they have very little in common on the surface. The come from two different countries, the minds of two very different directors, and deal with protagonists in very different times in their lives.

Once I got past those differences, though, I did begin to see some similarities. Both deal with family trouble and crime. Both male protagonists are grossly misunderstood and wear plaid. Both movies have water in them...this is where my ideas run out...

The differences these movies have don't stop anyone from calling these movies classics. Watching both (and agreeing with the title of classic for both) made me think about just how wide the range of classic movies is.

Every genre and subgenre has its own set of classics. Both movies I watched this week are classic dramas, but that's not all they are.

On the Waterfront is considered a classic for both stars Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint and director Elia Kazan, as well as a classic film about workplace struggle and unions.

The 400 Blows is a classic of the French New Wave and adolescence. In fact, I immediately saw parallels between the character of Sourpuss in this movie and Mr. Vernon from The Breakfast Club, another classic film about adolescence.

The wide range of classic films is exciting, as it means there are so many more left to watch. It also means that anything made well can be dubbed "classic". That means to me that films will never stop existing, evolving, and influencing.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Talking to Myself in the Mirror

I think it's a pretty safe bet that a lot of aspiring actors/writers/directors/filmy people practice their future Oscar speech in the mirror as kids. I did. Who am I kidding? I still do. It comes with the territory. My mirror talks go, ahem, went (who am I kidding? go) further. Sometimes, I do my makeup while talking to Barbara Walters. Other days, brushing my hair turns into a podcast interview. Most of the time, though, I rehearse what I'm going to say to my heroes. These hypothetical moments are incredibly important, and I can't afford to say anything stupid, so car rides, showers, and mornings getting ready are devoted to preparation. This probably makes me sound crazy. The word "narcissist" may also come to mind. I think one of my heroes would have appreciated both the crazy and the narcissism in this bit of oversharing, though, but we lost her this morning. One of my first posts on this blog was a tribute to Carrie Fisher. I read it over this afternoo

The Film List Project #2: MASH

Did you know MASH was a movie before it was a TV show? I didn't. Maybe that's a well-known fact. Maybe I'm very out of the loop. Anyway, I watched MASH this week. I'm just discovering Robert Altman, the director of the film. He made a movie in 1975 called Nashville , which I sort of felt obligated to watch since that's my hometown. I loved the film, especially because it had so many interesting characters mashed together. MASH  charmed me for the same reason. I've never been one for war films (this is set during the Korean War), but I was fascinated by the band of arrogant, witty surgeons in the film. It really didn't feel like a war film, to be honest. It felt like the Korean War was just where they happened to be. That feeling makes sense when you realize that these men and women are just trying to feel that way themselves. I don't have any personal experience with war, but I have read a few books about the subject, fiction and nonfiction, and

Cameron Crowe Ruined My Life

Believe me when I say that it pained me to type out the title to this post. Cameron Crowe is one of my very favorite filmmakers. To me, a guy who can write teenagers who are real people, really capture the full spectrum of human emotion, and incorporate a great soundtrack into his work is a real genius. Though it initially made me feel warm, fuzzy, and hopeful, a recent late night viewing of 2005's Elizabethtown  ended up making me a little nervous. I realized that Crowe was just like everybody else. Now, this probably doesn't make sense to those of you who admire his work. As a writer and filmmaker, Crowe definitely has a unique voice and vision that helps his work connect with all kinds of audiences. That's precisely the problem. Last week I wrote a post about how movies are only a reflection of life and not actually true to life itself. In the post, I mentioned that filmmakers are just one person with one perspective, and that is absolutely true of Crowe. In Crow