One of the upcoming films that everyone’s been predicting will be a major Oscar contender is Ang Lee’s Life of Pi. To a certain extent, I thought some of that hype might be because everyone knows that, even though Lee was named best director, Crash totally stole the award for best picture from Brokeback Mountain.
(Seriously, even my cousins from South Texas – the majority of whom wear cowboy hats and take the term “real man” quite seriously — have commented to me that Brokeback Mountain was a better film than Crash. And you know what? I agree with them but I also think that Capote was a better film than both of them.)
However, I’ve just seen the trailer for Life of Pi was I have to admit that I was blown away and, by the end of it, I was nearly moved to tears. In many ways, this trailer feels less like an advertisement for a movie and more like a touching and powerful short film that could easily stand alone as a work of art. After seeing this trailer — despite the fact that, as I’ve probably mentioned before, I’m just a little bit terrified of the water (or, more specifically, drowning in the water) — I can say that Life of Pi is a film that I’m very much looking forward to seeing.
Well, here’s your chance to, once again, tell me what to do. I’ve randomly selected 12 films from my film collection. Whichever film gets the most votes will be watched and reviewed by me next Tuesday, March 20th.
Here are the films up for consideration:
1) Black Jesus (1968) — This Italian film stars Woody Strode as an African rebel leader who is captured by his country’s right-wing, American-backed dictatorship.
2) Capote (2005) — Philip Seymour Hoffman was an Oscar for best actor for playing writer Truman Capote in this film that details how Capote came to write his true crime classic, In Cold Blood. This film was also nominated for best picture.
3) Chappaqua (1966) — In this underground cult classic, drug addict Conrad Rooks seeks treatment in Switzerland while being haunted by a scornful William S. Burroughs. This film features cameo from Allen Ginsberg, The Fugs, and just about every other cult figure from 1966.
4) Crazy/Beautiful (2001) — Jay Fernandez and Kirsten Dunst have lots and lots of sex. This was like one of my favorite movies to catch on cable back when I was in high school.
5) An Education (2008) — In my favorite movie from 2008, Carey Mulligan is a schoolgirl in 1960s England who has a secret affair with an older man (played by Peter Sarsgaard), who has plenty of secrets of his own. Co-starring Rosamund Pike, Emma Thompson, Alfred Molina, and Dominic Cooper (who is to die for, seriously).
6) Female Vampire (1973) — In this atmospheric and ennui-filled film from the infamous Jesus Franco, a female vampire spends the whole movie wandering around naked and dealing with the lost souls who want to join the ranks of the undead.
7) Nightmare City (1980) — In this gory and fast-paced film from Umberto Lenzi, an accident at a nuclear plant leads to a bunch of blood-thirsty zombies rampaging through both the city and the countryside. Hugo Stiglitz plays Dean Miller, zombie exterminator! Nightmare City is probably most remembered for introducing the concept of the fast zombie and for serving as an obvious inspiration for Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later.
8) The Other Side of Midnight (1977) — Based on a best-selling novel, The Other Side of Midnight tells the story of a poor French girl who becomes a world-famous actress and who ends up sleeping with apparently every wealthy man in the world. Meanwhile, the man she loves ends up marrying Susan Sarandon. Eventually, it all ends with both a hurricane and a murder. Apparently, this film cost a lot of money to make and it was a notorious box office bomb. It looks kinda fun to me.
9) Peyton Place (1957) — Also based on a best-selling novel, Peyton Place is about love, sex, and scandal in a small town. Lana Turner is a repressed woman with a past who struggles to keep her daughter from making the same mistakes. At the time it was made, it was considered to be quite racy and it was even nominated for best picture. This film is a personal favorite of mine and it’s pretty much set the template for every single film ever shown on Lifetime.
10) Rosebud (1975) — From director Otto Preminger comes this film about what happens when a bunch of rich girls on a yacht are taken hostage by Islamic extremists. The film’s diverse cast includes Peter O’Toole, Richard Attenborough, Cliff Gorman, former New York Mayor John Lindsay, former Kennedy in-law Peter Lawford, Raf Vallone, Adrienne Corri, Lalla Ward, Isabelle Huppert, and Kim Cattrall.
11) Valley of the Dolls (1967) — Oh my God, I love this movie so much! Three aspiring actresses move to the big city and soon become hooked on pills and bad relationship decisions. Every time I watch this movie, I spend hours yelling, “I’m Neely O’Hara, bitch!” at the top of my lungs.
12) Zombie Lake (1981) — From my favorite French director, Jean Rollin, comes this extremely low budget film about a bunch of Nazi zombies who keep coming out of the lake and attacking the nearby village. Some people claim that this is the worst zombie films ever made. I disagree.
Please vote below for as many or as few of these films as you want to. The poll will remain open until March 20th and whichever film gets the most votes will be watched and reviewed by me.