Saturday, January 7, 2012

My Desert Island Choices

You and I know the game:

TV SEASON: DRAMA: THE SOPRANOS (Season 6, parts 1 & 2): Yes, I'm breaking rules here, I think, but I need as much of this series as I can manage. David Chase's final season of The Sopranos wraps things up fittingly and yet surprisingly. By the way, the beats that manage TV and movies are resoundingly different. For me, watching TV is supremely quick-paced, and it leads me to break rules even more deeply by subsecting things down to comedy, drama AND variety. TV comedy, TV variety, and TV drama are very different things, and in saying this, I think evaluating TV versus film is a very difficult thing, so I must smash rules in order to include them all.

SO:

TV SEASON: COMEDY: ALL IN THE FAMILY (Season 8): There's never been a more moving series of 24 comedy episodes. Norman Lear's truly final and radically dark look at familial change is something I could not live without on a desert island. All these episodes---they make me feel everything...and with Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Sally Struthers and Rob Reiner, I still cannot believe they are any other than Archie, Edith, Gloria and Mike...They always will be so.

TV SEASON: VARIETY: SCTV (Second City Television) (Season 1 and 2): I'd need me some laffs on this desert isle, so I'd have to resort to the first and second seasons of NBC's run of SCTV, starring Dave Thomas, Andrea Martin, Catherine O'Hara, John Candy, Eugene Levy, and the estimable Joe Flaherty. I'd take Martin Short, Rick Moranis, and Harold Ramis where I could get them, but the core cast (and writers) would be essential. Nothing is finer, or funnier, than this crew.

MOVIES: I chose all of these because they can be viewed many different ways, many different times:

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (Stanley Kubrick, 1968): for wonder.

YOU CAN COUNT ON ME (Kenneth Lonergan, 2000): for familial love.

A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS (Fred Zinnemann, 1966): for words, religion and logic.

A LITTLE ROMANCE (George Roy Hill, 1979): for ultra-pure romance.

THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD (Andrew Dominick, 2007): for fame and intrigue.


THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (Orson Welles, 1942): for memory and genius.

LIFE IS SWEET (Mike Leigh, 1990): for laughter and understanding.

ALL THAT JAZZ (Bob Fosse, 1979): for music and eroticism.

GOODFELLAS (Martin Scorsese, 1990): for sheer entertainment.

THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (John Huston, 1948): for wisdom and more excitement.

On any given day, I might have chosen different works. But, on this one, I must choose these, because I'm positive I could watch them over and over again. Seriously, I think I could tune in to some weird cable channel that showed each of these pieces 24 hours a day and, stranded on this mythic desert island, I think I'd be fine. Insanity would, of course, eventually ensue. But I think this mix would stave that off for a good while.

PS: Top 10 Also-Rans:

Hud (Martin Ritt, 1963)
Chilly Scenes of Winter (Joan Micklin Silver, 1979)
It's A Gift (Norman Z. McLeod, 1934)
There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch, 2001)
Shadow of a Doubt (Alfred Hitchcock, 1943)
The Music Man (Morton De Costa, 1962)
Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Mike Nichols, 1966)
Fargo (Joel Coen, 1996)

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Dean Treadway said...
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