Welcome to the first installment of the 8s! If you’ve listened to the podcast, then you know that I am taking the year to watch films from years that end in 8. In the coming months, I will be going back and updating my 2008 lineup (the 1998 lineup was done pretty recently so it’s not getting changed) as well as dropping top 10 lists for the years 1938-1988. I will be doing these check ins every 5 films or so to update you all on what I am watching. So with that, let’s take a look at the first six films I watched.
Working Girl (1988): This honestly was the perfect film to kick off this series with because it is the perfect time capsule of the year it was made. This movie is so damn 80s from the hair to the costumes to the raggedy attitudes regarding women and relationships (seriously the best friend in this is trash). Melanie Griffith is quite delightful as the leading lady and Harrison gives a quality supporting turn.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988): The first major disappointment and casualty of this series was the second film I saw. For having such great actors, this movie is quite boring. It just never compels you to get through the 3 hour slog of it’s running time. What would have helped was a better balance and understanding of what was happening in the world sooner than one hour into the film.
They Live (1988): This movie has a perfect ending. Now what it took to get there might sometimes feel hokey and it’s leading man is not the strongest actor around (I had no idea he was a wrestler and the father of Rhonda Rousey) but the movie is a very measured outing by John Carpenter.
The Lady Vanishes (1938): Unlike a Hitchcock film I’ll talk about later, this film is a solid picture but never really rises to the premise. It’s a fun acting showcase Margaret Lockwood as a woman who is valiantly trying to solve the mystery of what happened to the old lady on the train, even as everyone doubts her sanity.
Jezebel (1938): We spoke about this movie quite a bit on the latest podcast. It’s a very juicy film with a wonderful performance by Bette Davis. Doing this series is fun cause you get to experience how movies were made and the Hollywood redemptive ending actually doesn’t serve such a prickly story well.
Rope (1948): Now this is a movie! Rope is a delightful picture, easily vaulting into my top 5 Hitchcock films list. All I knew about this movie going in was that it was an exercise for Hitchcok to film a movie in “one take.” It’s not, and while most of the cuts are super obvious, the cut between the 2nd and 3rd reel is a thing of beauty. I thoroughly enjoyed the performances of John Dall and Farley Granger as the two friends (lovers?) and their wildly different approaches to life post murder.
You can follow along with my screenings via my Letterboxd.