Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

AFI Recap: #61 – #70

61. Vertigo (1958) – Vertigo is one of those movies that was upjumped a lot in the 2007 revised list, all the way up to #9.  There seems to be a push by cinephiles to declare Vertigo as their favourite Hitch film, though I will not succumb to the peer pressure.  Vertigo is a fine movie no doubt, but its not at the top of the Hitchcock list for me.

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62. Tootsie (1982) – Um… why is this here?  Why does Hollywood keep insisting that seeing a man dress up like a woman is funny or remotely entertaining?  Its tired.   What makes it worse is that in AFI’s best comedy list, this was given the #2 spot. Number two!  Ahead of Strangelove, Duck Soup and Bringing Up Baby!  And that soundtrack: yuck!  starhalfstarnostarnostarnostar

63. Stagecoach (1939) – Well, I won’t say I wasn’t entertained, because I was.  I’m not big into westerns, but this idea of a small group enclosed together was interesting and some of the characters were a lot of fun.  But ultimately I have to ask myself why its on this list when it could have made room for more noteworthy films like The Exorcist or 12 Angry Men.

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64. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) – Close Encounters is a wonderfully constructed film full of awe and mystery.  Spielberg has aimed to strike a very different tone with this movie and he hits it just right.  Its a movie about UFOs and aliens, but in a way which is non-threatening and is more about discovery and new horizons than it is about conflict.  And aside from that, its full of great visuals, from the amazing train stopping scene to the spectacular light show finale.  starstarstarstarhalfstar

65. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) – One of the most chilling and compelling thrillers ever made.  Amazing acting by both Anthony Hopkins, who helps create one of the most terrifying movie villains of all-time, and Jodie Foster.  Their creepy relationship is the center of the film and their conversations are more chilling than anything to do with the serial killer.  This is how a thriller should be made.  Almost perfect.

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66. Network (1976) – What a bizarre film.  It really seems like Network was ahead of its time, since I can’t think of many other movies of the era that were as wacky as this one.  And the message it portrays seems to fit the times now more so than back int he 70s (not that I was around then, but still).  Some aspects of the story are take it and leave it, like the romance between Holden and Dunaway, but its always interesting to see just how crazy their television series would become.One of those movies that really makes you think as it entertains.

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67. The Manchurian Candidate (1962) – It took me two viewings to really appreciate this movie for what its worth, and perhaps a third viewing would make me appreciate it even more.  The lady’s garden club scenes are truly haunting and brilliantly filmed while the overall story is wonderful in its paranoia.  There is also a brilliant performance by Angela Lansbury who is nothing at all like Jessica Fletcher here.  starstarstarstarhalfstar

68. An American in Paris (1951) – Another musical I just can’t get into.  There’s a lot of breaking out into song at random moments here which interrupts what would have otherwise been a pretty decent and interesting story.  Gene Kelly is magnetic in his role and very likable, but I just tune out during the musical numbers, especially at then end where it just gets out of hand and breaks out into a very long song and dance routine out of nowhere.  starstarnostarnostarnostar

69. Shane (1952) – I’ll be honest, I groaned at this one a bit.  Another western, and this time one which didn’t seem to have anything going for it.  But when I watched it I ended up liking it quite a lot.  Its one of the more realistic and authentic westerns I’ve seen.  The story is a good one and entertaining, despite the presence of one extremely annoying kid.  starstarstarstarnostar

70. The French Connection (1971) – A great crime thriller with both and intriguing plot and a very interesting main character.  Hackman gives a distinctive performance.  However, I wish I loved this film more and this review has made me wonder if I should give it a second viewing and reevaluate it.  starstarstarstarnostar

My favourite of the ten: The Silence of the Lambs

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4 Responses to “AFI Recap: #61 – #70”

  1. Vertigo is an amazing film to experience, mostly through how Hitchcock makes image recognition so haunting and creepy, but it is still only my second favorite Hitchcock film.

    Close Encounters really draws on our intrigue of the unknown. I always think of this film when I see someone who fell asleep oddly in the sun, but they never get my joke referencing the film.

    For The French Connection, thanks for the link! I’m afraid a second viewing may be too late. A lot of the adrenaline I drew from the film came from the thrill of not knowing what’s next. My advice for first-timers is just to let yourself go and naturally let yourself feel involved in the film. Yelling at your t.v. trying to give directions to Hackman is completely acceptable and intensifies the film.

  2. I love The Silence of the Lambs and The Manchurian Candidate. Two of my all time favourites.

  3. I really dislike that annoying kid in Shane. I have no idea why it’s on the list.


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