Friday, May 8, 2009

Lists You Should Not Take Seriously

Actually, most of them should not be taken seriously. But this one here is called "14 Bizarre Movies Everyone Should See".




It's not that these aren't good movies, nor that a serious student of film should have many of these on their list, but they are not at all "everyone should see" people-pleasing films. The whole premise is flawed. A great many people do not like bizarre movies. They should not be subjected to them. As a cinephile, I do enjoy many of these movies, and yet feel equally confident knowing that some people just would not enjoy them or find viewing them enriching experiences.

Some of these are slam dunks. Like Scanners. In some ways, David Cronenberg's break-through movie, and a surprisingly deep and thoughtful horror film, for a movie which is most notorious for having a guy's head explode. But the funny thing about it is that while the gore early on in the film is enough to rule out a good portion of the potential audience, the sedate, '70s hippie vibe that permeates the rest of the movie is enough to turn off a lot of those who like exploding heads. (The great Howard Shore scored the movie, but it's hard on the ears.)

Clockwork Orange is in some ways very similar. Higher production values, obviously. But very much a combination of brutal violence and high art that is really not something that everyone has to, or wants to, see. And some folks just plain don't like Kubrick.

Which brings us to Mullholland Drive and Eraserhead? Look, you probably know if you like David Lynch by now. There isn't something magical about these movies that's going to change your mind.

Same for Brazil (Terry Gilliam) and The Wall (Pink Floyd).

And so on. It's not a bad list for someone looking for some interesting cinematic experiences, though it's certainly not the list I would make. But everyone? Not even close.


  1. I agree. I even thought Eraserhead and Brazil were boring.

    Wish they had put some more modern stuff on there like Cowards Bend the Knee.

  2. It's certainly not the list I would makeDo tell!

    I used to love Brazil, but the last time I saw it I was disappointed and a little bored. I've always been too scared to watch Eraserhead.

    I'm surprised Mulholland Drive beat out Blue Velvet, but I guess it is a lot more bizarre, in that you don't know what the hell is going on. Ditto Lost Highway.

  3. There is the whole question of movies everyone should see, much less bizarre movies everyone should see.


    When I was a kid (and to this day, I think), books that everyone should read was code for books that nobody read, or wanted to read or enjoyed reading.


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