Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Seeing through '68-Colored Glasses

Raymond Benson's Best of 1968 Countdown ended last Friday with the pretty unimpeachable choice of 2001: A Space Odyssey, an April '68 release in the United States. Can you imagine anything that mind-blowing coming out in April these days? I mean, even more mind-blowing than Smart People?

Raymond's list is Raymond's list, but as several commenters noted, it's basically the same list Leonard Maltin or Leah Rozen would have picked to commemorate that year. Granted, 1968 sported so many classics that have endured for multiple generations; it's hard, in the face of 2001 and Rosemary's Baby and Once Upon a Time in the West to avoid a consensus-type list. But, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter? Yellow Submarine? The Producers? Even, as much as I adore it, The Lion in Winter?

I still have a ways to go as a 1968 completist. My first compensatory stop obviously needs to be Lindsay Anderson's If..., but I also feel the pain of missing Paradjanov's The Color of Pomegranates, Alea's Memories of Underdevelopment, Straub & Huillet's Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach, Truffaut's The Bride Wore Black, Pennebaker's Monterey Pop, and Bertolucci's Partner... plus some fun-sounding trash like Russ Meyer's Vixen! and Barry Shear's Wild in the Streets, both of which await me at my hometown public library once I'm back from this trip.

Again, 1968 is a great enough year that I'll give a shout-out to a list of ten runners-up for my own list. These would be John Cassavetes's Faces, the one movie I really hate to leave off, then Salesman, The Thomas Crown Affair, Planet of the Apes, and Lonesome Cowboys, followed up by Winnie-the-Pooh and the Blustery Day, The Lion in Winter, Bullitt, The Charge of the Light Brigade, and Pretty Poison. I'm about halfway through Emile de Antonio's important Vietnam War documentary In the Year of the Pig, which has some eye-opening and some repulsive footage, but it isn't tightly structured enough to crack this list of honorable mentions, I'm guessing.

Even better than all of those are these, my own Top Ten of 1968, at least so far. Make your own feelings known in the comments!

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Blogger tim r said...

You have a habit of plundering the bottom reaches of my top 100 and giving things Bs. This must stop. Obviously Witchfinder General would be pretty high on my list, though probably not quite as high as the marvellous Rosemary's Baby or 2001, if you can live with that paradox. Shame has been on my to-watch pile for what feels like years. Planet of the Apes is an A-range movie too, for me. And If..., for sure. I caught Memories of Underdevelopment recently in a Cuban season and it's very interesting, though not the formal knockout I Am Cuba is. Glad to see the Leone in there -- I wasn't sure you were a fan.

5:57 PM, October 07, 2008  
Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

i am unnerved that you can do an entire post about 1968 and then NOT deliver us another "best actress" page corresponding with the top ten list.



9:20 PM, October 09, 2008  
Blogger CCW said...

I was overjoyed to see that Rachel, Rachel made it into your top ten list! I can't wait to read your full review.

2:01 AM, October 16, 2008  

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