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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

#58: The Mt. Rushmore Series

Inspired by a few recent re-watches of older films - come on, what can a self-respecting movie geek do until the theaters re-open? - today's iteration of my most venerable series poses this profound question: Which four films with just one word as a title would you enshrine on your Mt. Rushmore?

Just three restrictions apply: No single first or last names, no cities or neighborhoods - far too many films use those - and no "The" preceding the title. I've listed mine alphabetically, primarily because my most recent re-watch replaced another film with a one word title that would have made the final cut, if not for #1 below. OK, if you must know, the movie that got replaced on my mountain at the last minute was Vertigo. And don't try to convince me that Alfred Hitchcock film is more worthy than the ones listed; this is my mountain. Put whatever four movies you want on your own monument.

1.) Crash: I'm talking about the Paul Haggis 2004 Oscar winner not the deeply disturbing movie of the same name made by the really deeply disturbed David Cronenberg. On this re-watch, I was most moved by Michael Pena's small role as a locksmith. The scene when he is talking to his five year-old daughter about an invisible cloak was a tender moment in an otherwise dark but prescient film.

2.) Heat: Aside from the rare pleasure of seeing DeNiro and Pacino together, the street shootout between the good and bad guys after the bank heist is arguably the most ferocious five minutes of film I've ever seen, and I'm not a gun guy. The sound and the editing make this scene come viscerally alive in a way I've not experienced in any other movie.

3.) Snatch: I'm convinced Director Guy Ritchie is the British twin of Quentin Tarantino, separated at birth. There's so much to recommend in this rave but start with this: When Brad Pitt is on the screen, try to concentrate on what any other actor is saying or doing. It's of no consequence that nearly every time Pitt's character opens his mouth others can't understand a word he's saying. His performance is so mesmerizing it's almost other-worldly. 

4.) Witness: Try and identify another movie that seamlessly combines the three disparate elements of this winner: It's a police procedural, it's a love story, it's a study of an insular culture. Try to name another movie that seamlessly combines any three disparate elements so well. And then find one with just one word as a title. I dare you.

1 comment:

  1. Now, see if you can tell a story in one sentence, using the 4 title words.