Grits and Tamales

Life in the Deep South, by Gabriel Aguilera

Monthly Archives: December 2012

On Movies

I love films but I have not watched as many as I should have over the years.  Going forward I want to both keep up with and revisit the excellent ones.  Below is a list of films recommended to my by some friends that I mean to see.

If there is something you believe I absolutely must see let me know and I’ll add it to the list.  Notice that there is a dearth of movies from the last three decades.  The films that I have seen have asterisks and are in bold.   Of course, there are many excellent films that I have seen that I have not yet listed. I’ll add these along as I go along.  There are a few classics that I have seen that are not in asterisk because I was either too young or too immature to fully appreciate them and wish to see them again.

Note, the more endorsements a movie gets the more likely I am to see it.  Also, no documentaries, anime, silent movies, or TV epic dramas are listed below (i.e. The Sopranos).  Just movies.

1930s

All’s Quiet on the Western Front (Lewis Milestown, 1930)  [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Top Hat (Mark Sandrich, 1935) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Robin Hood (Michael Curtiz and William Keighely, 1938) [Recommended by Megan Maxwell]

Bringing up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938) [Recommended by Megan Maxwell]

1940s

Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941) [Recommended by Christopher Carr and Bert Johnson]

Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1943) [Recommended by Megan Maxwell] {Saw a long time ago}

Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944) [Recommended by Christopher Carr and Bert Johnson]

Lady from Shanhai (Orson Welles, 1947) [Recommended by Chiara]

Bicycle Theives (Vittorio De Sica, 1948) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Twelve O’clock High (Henry King, 1949) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

**The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949) [Recommended by Thomas Aguilera, Bert Johnson, and Chris Brooke]** Seen 2/2013**

1950s

Sunset Blvd (Billy Wilder, 1950) [Recommended by Christopher Carr and Chiara]

Orpheus (Jean Cocteau, 1950) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Ace in the Hole ( Billy Wilder, 1951) [Recommended by Vincent Aguilera]

Appointment in London (Philip Leacock, 1952) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Singing in the Rain (Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly, 1952) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

High Noon (Fred Zinneman, 1952) [Recommended by Christopher Carr and Kristen Fehlhaber]

Viva Zapata (Elia Kazan, 1952) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

African Queen (John Huston, 1952) [Recommended by Megan Maxwell]

On the Waterfront (Elia Kazan, 1954) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

La Strada (Federico Fellini, 1954) [Recommended by Thomas Aguilera]

Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Glen Miller Story (Anthony Mann, 1954) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Stanley Donen,1954) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)  [Recommended by Bert Johnson and Megan Maxwell]

Love Me or Leave Me (Charles Vidor, 1955) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

East of Eden (Elia Kazan, 1955) [Recommended by Lindsay Kennedy]

Marty (Delbert Mann, 1955) [Recommended by Vincent Aguilera]

Forbidden Planet (Fred M. Wilcox, 1956)  [Recommended by Sam Williford]

Giant (George Stevens, 1956) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Bridge on the River Kwai (David Lean, 1957) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Wild Strawberries (Ingmar Bergman, 1957) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Paths of Glory (Stanley Kubrik, 1957) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

The Big Country (William Wyler, 1958) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Separate Tables (Delbert Mann, 1958) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)  [Recommended by Chiara and Steve Burgess]

Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958) [Recommended by Bert Johnson and Megan Maxwell]

**North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959) [Recommended by Christopher Carr and Megan Maxwell]** Seen on 2/2013

Our Man in Havana (Carol Read, 1959) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

1960s

Plein Soleil (Rene Clement, 1960) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Sparticus (Stanley Kubrick, 1960) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Shoot the Piano Player (Francois Truffaut, 1960) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Blake Edwards, 1961) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (Karel Reisz, 1961) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Splendor in the Grass (Elia Kazan, 1961) [Recommended by Lindsay Kennedy]

Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1961) {Recommended by Lindsay Kennedy]

Manchurian Candidate (John Frankenheimer, 1962) [Recommended by Christopher Carr and Chris Brooke]

Lonely are the Brave (David Miller, 1962) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

HMS Defiant (Lewis Gilbert, 1962) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Charade (Stanley Donen, 1963) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Billy Liar (John Schlesinger, 1963)  [Recommended by Chris Brooke]

Dr. Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964) [Recommended by Chelsea Scevers]

Seven Days in May (John Frankenheimer, 1964) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

My Fair Lady (George Cukor, 1964) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

The Train (John Frankenheimer, 1965) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

** Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles, 1965)**  Seen 12/13

**Dr. Zhivago (David Lean, 1965)** Seen 12/13 

Ipcress Files (Sidney J. Furie, 1965) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Darling (John Schlesinger, 1965) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

The Professionals (Richard Brooks, 1966) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Man  for all Seasons (Fred Zinneman, 1966) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Two for the Road (Stanley Donen, 1967) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Point Blank (John Boorman, 1967) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Bonnie & Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

In Cold Blood (Richard Brooks, 1967)   [Recommended by Cabron R. Mickey]

2001 A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick 1968)  [Recommended by Vincent Aguilera]

Planet of the Apes (Franklin Schaffner, 1968) [Recommended by Vincent Aguilera]

Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper, 1969) [Recommended by Bert Johnson and Megan Maxwell]

**The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]** Seen 1/13.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Peter R. Hunt, 1969) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Take the Money and Run (Woody Allen, 1969) [Recommended by Christopher Carr and Chris Brooke]

1970s

The Garden of the Fintzi Contini (Vittorio De Sica, 1970) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Cromwell (Ken Hughes, 1970) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrik, 1971) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

French Connection (William Friedkin, 1971) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Klute (Alan J. Pakula, 1971) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Harold and Maude (Hal Ashby, 1971) [Recommended by Bert Johnson]

Duck you Sucker (Sergio Leone, 1971) [Recommended by Chiara]

Deliverance (John Boorman, 1972) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

**The Godfather Part I (Francis Ford Copolla, 1972)**

Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese, 1973) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Don’t Look now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

**The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Copolla, 1974)**

**Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)**

Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977) [Recommended by Christopher Carr]

Manhattan (Woody Allen, 1979) [Recommended by Christopher Carr and Chiara]

1980s

Ordinary People (Robert Redford)  [Recommended by Ernesto Barron]

Salvador (Oliver Stone, 1986) [Recommended by Christopher Carr] {Saw a while back…}

Wings of Desire (Wim Wnders, 1987)

Red Sorghum (Zhang Yimou, 1988)

**Henry V (Kenneth Branagh, 1989)**

Crimes and Misdemeanors (Woody Allen, 1989) [Recommended by Chiara]

1990s

**Goodfellas (Martin Scorcese, 1990)**

**Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)**

**Casino (Martin Scorcese, 1995)**

**Othello (Oliver Parker, 1996)**

**Twelfth Night (Trevor Nunn, 1996)**

**Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh, 1996)**

**American Beauty (Sam Mendes, 1999)**

Titus Andronicus (Julie Taymor, 1999) [Recommended by Chelsea Scevers]

**Fargo (Coen Brothers, 1996)**

2000s

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell, 2001) [Recommended by Chelsea Scevers]

Minority Report (Stephen Spielberg, 2002)  [Recommended by Sam Williford]

Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004) [Recommended by Sam Williford]

**Little Ms. Sunshine (Valerie Faris and Jonathon Dayton, 2006)**

**No Country for Old Men (Coen Brothers, 2007)**

Children of Men (Alfonso Cuaron, 2007) [Recommended by Sam Williford]

**The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)**

**The Reader (Steven Daldry, 2008)**

**The Road (John Hillcoat, 2009)**

District 9 (Neill Blomkamp, 2009) [Recommended by Sam Williford]

2010s

**True Grit (Coen Brothers, 2007)**

Death at a Funeral (Neil LaBute, 2010) [Recommended by Chelsea Scevers]

Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

**Lincoln (Spielberg, 2012)**

Christmas Break Films

This Christmas I was able to see two films on my must see list, Dr. Zhivago & Chimes at Midnight.

I highly recommend Dr. Zhivago for all — it’s a classic love love story, beautifully shot and edited as far as I can tell (I’m no movie buff).  Young Julie Christie is as delightful a beauty as I have ever seen.  Chimes at Midnight is for movie buffs who enjoy inspired cinematography, several fine performances, and or Shakespeare.   Dolores and I agreed that Chimes at Midnight is extra special if you have these plays in your head before watching: Henry IV, 1&2 and Henry V.

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Julie_Christie_0027 Zhigavo Julie_Christie_in_Doctor_Zhivago_5

Constraints on the Prudential Regulation of Weapons in America

Matthew Shugart makes an important observation that we all need to ponder: “…I will note that roughly parallel stories can be told about gun law reforms in Canada and Australia, I believe. What do these countries have in common? Parliamentary democracies, hierarchically organized parties, and nothing remotely like our filibuster (or like our Senate, for that matter).  Yes, political institutions matter.”

This keen insight on institutional constraints is important to digest because pundits are hammering President Obama for his lack of political leadership and will do so again, when in the end, not much will happen. Their clarion calls for political leadership and reform are too visceral and unrealistic. Realistically, it’s not hard to conclude that the social/cultural fabric of America cannot at this time be sufficiently transformed to root out and regulate weapons prudentially. Put a different way, no amount of political leadership will solve the problem. (By solve, I mean to significantly reduce the likelihood of these events happening again). There are too many guns out in civil society and fully one-third of the country – Alabama included — believes that Obama and Democrats are out to take them way. Add to this the organized vested economic and political interests that oppose reforms.

There is not enough political capital in heaven and earth for Obama to implement change we can believe in on this issue.  If he pursues this insoluble challenge vigorously it will sop up all or most of his political capital.  As I have said before, he will need most of his energy to wind down the war in Afghanistan, deal with mercurial North Korea, managed the ongoing European financial crisis, pursue nuclear nonproliferation, pass immigration reform, implement health care and bank reforms, work with Mexico on drug violence, reform entitlements, and much more.

A President has only so much time and energy to tackle big problems and the prudential regulation of weapons is an important one for America.  My estimate, though, that the road to weapons reform is littered with too many traps that would trigger a cultural war that radical republicans would welcome.

Truman Capote

This, from the introduction of “In Cold Blood,” caught my eye:

“We all have our souls and we all have facades, and then there is something in between that makes us function as people.” -Truman Capote

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