The Great Movie List: A Theory of Everything

Top 51-60 Double Features

  1. You Is a Marvel: My Fair Lady (1964), Paris is Burning (1990)
    Of course Eliza Doolittle, in this world we all live in, with her thin frame and 90 degree jawline and porcelain skin, was able to transform from a “guttersnipe” to a duchess in six months time. Her only barriers were her manners and her accent. Her margin for error was wide and her avenue for success was straight and short. Doolittle’s story arc, propelled along by clever, incredibly memorable songs, represents a bootstrap-type fantasy — leaping into the highest social strata through hard work — but only an achievable fantasy for a select few with her specific characteristics. Consider the dreams of the subjects of Paris is Burning who would naturally switch the gender roles around in the lyrics to Henry Higgins’ “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” just to achieve one of the endless traits that catapulted Doolittle, who was born with all of them, forward.

    This is white America. Any other nationality that is not of the white set, knows this and accepts this till the day they die. That is everybody’s dream and ambition as a minority – to live and look as well as a white person. It is pictured as being in America. Every media you have; from TV to magazines, to movies, to films… I mean, the biggest thing that minority watches is what? “Dynasty” and “The Colbys”. Umm, “All My Children” – the soap operas. Everybody has a million-dollar bracket. When they showing you a commercial from Honey Grahams to Crest, or Lestoil or Pine-sol – everybody’s in their own home. The little kids for Fisher Price toys; they’re not in no concrete playground. They’re riding around the lawn. The pool is in the back. This is white America. And when it comes to the minorities; especially black – we as a people, for the past 400 years – is the greatest example of behavior modification in the history of civilization. We have had everything taken away from us, and yet we have all learned how to survive. That is why, in the ballroom circuit, it is so obvious that if you have captured the great white way of living, or looking, or dressing, or speaking – you is a marvel. ~ Pepper LaBeija

    It makes you wonder why our world of division and poverty ever became the way it is based on the flimsiest and most random set of criteria. More: Broadway’s Original Mansplainer, Roger Ebert on My Fair Lady

  2. Wolves of Manhattan: Taxi Driver (1976), Moonstruck (1987), N.Y., N.Y. (1957), Public Speaking (2010)

  3. Duck Soup (1933), The Dictator (2012)
  4. Clocks and Mirrors: Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962), Betty Boop: Snow White (1933), Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937), AANAATT (2008)
    Aging, vanity, anxiety, surrealism.

    Cleo is a multi-layered persona, going from vanity to anxiety, fear to curiosity. She evolves and changes. Even her graceful gestures in her negligee expose her loneliness and her fear of being seriously ill. ~ Agnes Varda

  5. Privileged Class Breakdowns: La Dolce Vita (1960), La Notte (1961), L’Avventura (1960), Mad Men (one or two episodes tbd from the full 92 episode run, 7 seasons, 2007-2015)
  6. Frantic: Requiem for a Dream (2000), Amélie (2001), Masculin féminin (1966), Boogie-Doodle (1948)
  7. Rituals in Transfigured Time: Daughters of the Dust (1991), Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), In the Mirror of Maya Deren (2001)

  8. Dream Logic: Post Tenebras Lux (2012), Un Chien Andalou (1929)
    Sometimes you just want to watch something surreal that makes no clear narrative sense. More: Film Comment: Post Tenebras Lux, “Post Tenebras Lux”: A perverse, dreamlike masterpiece
  9. Saints & Sinners: The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), Nights of Cabiria (1957), Vivre Sa Vie (1962)
  10. Long Cons: The Hustler (1961), Eight Men Out (1988)