Monthly Archives: August 2008

And when it’s time to do the dishes, where’s Ray Bolger? I’ll tell ya, Ray Bolger is looking out for Ray Bolger!

61. The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939)

The poster is kind of meh. I do appreciate that The Munchkins get a credit though.

Until last week, I hadn’t seen this movie since I was 9 I think, when my best friend convinced me to watch on a sleepover. I don’t remember what my response was, but I don’t think it left much of a mark. Actually most of what I knew about the film was due to it’s iconic nature. So I was familiar with the songs, and the flying monkeys, and the “I’m melting” bit, and the ruby-red slippers, and Toto, and Kansas, and “There’s no place like home“, and the urban legends about the original Tin Man dying due to the make-up, and the munchkin hanging himself, and how Dark Side of the Moon matches up perfectly, even though the film is twice as long. Stupid stoners.

So I felt like I knew the film intrinsically due to it’s pervasiveness in popular culture, yet I didn’t remember if I liked it.

So I remedied that by actually watching the film, and I was pleased. Judy Garland singing the shit out of things, munchkins, bright colors, monkeys, happy songs, Ray fucking Bolger, tornadoes, Frank Morgan at his cracked out best, and people melting. Can’t go wrong with that.


Best performance by a donkey since Eeyore.

60. Au hasard Balthazar (Robert Bresson, 1960)

This is a movie about a fucking donkey, and at the end I was balling my eyes out.

On I gave the film 8/10.

Cary Grant. I’d do him.

59. North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)

The poster is pretty underwhelming (what’s up with Eva Marie Saint shooting a ray gun at Cary Grant’s bum?), especially for a Hitchcock poster. Thankfully the movie isn’t.

It might be Hitchcock‘s most fun movie from just a pure entertainment standpoint. It starts fast and doesn’t relent. The tone is never serious, and Cary Grant is adept at being both stylish and witty, while James Mason‘s villain is somewhat menacing but also very charming with a lot great lines. In some ways he kind of reminds me of Alan Rickman in Die Hard. He’s that kind of bad guy, a scumbag but somehow you kind of like him.

I think in some ways too it is Hitchcock’s most accessible film too. Again the speed at which everything happens draws the viewer in, and from there the pace is furious, with a lot of twists and turns along the way. I realize the film has its deeper complexities like all Hitchcock’s work, but I think it’s probably the best introduction to Hitchcock save for maybe Rear Window. I mean Psycho is good, but I can see where people would think it sucks(it’s black & white, it’s a bit slow, and the ending might not work for some), and I don’t like Vertigo very much at all. North by Northwest is so effective because it can be enjoyed simply as entertainment without subtext. I also think it feels very modern as well. Oh and Cary Grant is awesome.

I should let it be known that Cary Grant is my favorite male actor, and one of the few that I will watch in anything. Kirk Douglas is another, and perhaps John Cusack. I should note there are probably about a dozen actresses I will watch in anything, I guess it’s cos I watch films with my penis. But Cary Grant is basically the man in my books. He’s gorgeous, sauve, impecably stylish, witty, charismatic, pimp as hell and he can do a mean backflip. I’m not the first person to say this, but I want to be Cary Grant. He’s just so cool. I even bought a pair of the sunglasses he wears in the film(mine are black rimmed though). His allure is so strong to me, that although I am decidedly pro-knowledge, and absolutely fascinated by old school Hollywood gossip, I don’t want to know anything more about the real Cary Grant because it will somehow diminish his awesomeness. I know too much already, so I avoid gossip about him because I want to preserve the illusion. There is no one else I’ve done that for.

On I gave the film 9/10. Not Hitchcock’s very best, but maybe his most enjoyable film.