The Great Movie List: A Theory of Everything

Top 61-70 Double Features

  1. Making Magic Out of High School: Euphoria (Season 1, 2019), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), American Graffiti (1973)
  2. Big Rock Candy Mountain: O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), Country Music (Ken Burns, 8 Episodes, 2019), Nashville (1975)
  3. Proto-LOTR: Marketa Lazarová (1967), Excalibur (1981)
    Two operatic and hedonistic endeavors to visualize the dark ages. On Excalibur, John Boorman himself said:

    What I’m doing is setting it in a world, a period, of the imagination. I’m trying to suggest a kind of Middle-Earth in Tolkien terms. I want it to have a primal clarity, a sense that things are happening for the first time. Lands and nature and human emotions are all fresh.

    From a modern perspective, the wildly uneven The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003, 9.5 hours) and Game of Thrones (2011-2019, 69.8 hours) forces previous overtures at the time period into stark relief. It’s now much easier to appreciate the weird, singular, avant-garde visions of the earlier films. It seems J. Hoberman’s praise of the LOTR-related films boils down to the Merlin-like sorcery of the advanced technology on display:

    Although lacking the visionary chutzpah and demented social energy that characterized the great pulp fantasies orchestrated by Fritz Lang in the 1920s, Jackson’s Ring trilogy was the greatest feat of pop movie magic between Titanic and Avatar.

    While we’ve gone from dragon breath created by smoke machines to life-like CGI dragons, the trajectory of cinema technology is still all just smoke and mirrors, masking the more psychologically interesting, more timeless, basest levels of human desire. More: The Past, Present and Future of Humanity: John Boorman’s Excalibur, Cinema of the Wolf: The Mystery of Marketa Lazarová, Wonders in the Dark:Marketa Lazarová (1967), Taste of Cinema: The 20 Best Movies about the Middle Ages, Screenrant: 15 Great Movies Every Game of Thrones Fan Should Watch, Film Inquiry: 8 Dark Fantasy Movies To Fuel Your Game of Thrones Addiction, Plastic Fantastic: J. Hoberman on The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien vs Technology: J. Hoberman on The Hobbit

  4. Silence in Heaven: The Seventh Seal (1957), Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

  5. Weird Menace: Badlands (1973), Mindhunter Season 1 (2017) & Season 2 (2019), True Detective Season 1 (2014)
  6. Deadpan and Dazed: Raising Arizona (1987), The Big Lebowski (1998)

  7. The Way of the Samurai: Harakiri (1962), The Hidden Fortress (1958), Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (1972), Fight, Zatoichi, Fight (1964)
  8. Zen Assassin: Le Samouraï (1967), Murder by Contract (1958), Blast of Silence (1961), Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)
  9. God Guise: Fitzcarraldo (1982), Devi (1960), Burden of Dreams (1982)
  10. Tokyo Dreams: Spirited Away (2001), Sans Soleil (1983)