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Eye magnets

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Mark Suszko
Eye magnets
on Apr 20, 2009 at 3:20:17 pm

"Eye Magnets": That's what I call movies that you can't stop watching if you come across them while channel surfing... even if you've seen them plenty of times. It may be that the acting or the visuals are just so arreting that any five minute piece of the thing is enough to suck you into the couch, even if you had other plans. A couple that get me this way just about every time, an incomplete list and in no particular order:

Original Michael Rennie version of "The Day The Earth Stood Still" It's said by the sceenwriters that it was really about the story of Christ on Earth, and how, if it happened in modern times, we still wouldn't be any better prepared to handle it. All couched in a SciFi shell to hide the real story from the censors.

The Godfather, well duh.

Patton. George C. Scott is amazing.

Forbidden Planet. I think mostly for the art direction, but also the breakthru in electronic music and the cool robot.

George Pal's War Of The Worlds, for the effects sequences.

It's a Wonderful Life. Movie plays the audience like a violin.

Jaws, particularly Quint's recollections of the USS Indianapolis, and the shark hunt sequences.

Midnight Express: If I come across this one, I have to stay with it to see Billy get out, or I'm subconsciously afraid he won't.

The Conversation. Gene Hackman is always interesting; even in a bad movie, his part is always good.

Top Gun. This is pure cheese, really not a very good movie, with bad dialog and wobbly plots, ridiculous over-use of grad filters, and someone is damp, sweaty, freshly showered or otherwise "moist" in almost every scene...(just watch for that next time you see it, it's uncanny) but it's just damn entertaining.

The Enemy Below. The inspiration for a very similar episode of Star Trek TOS, as well as many imitations in other genres. The drinking song the Germans play to keep their spirits up during the depth charge runs was once used in an American beer commercial after that movie was shot, but nobody believes me.

Star Trek, The Wrath of Khan. Trek shows and movies are at their best when they concentrate less on technology and more on characters and overall themes, and this was the best of the examples in the Trek movie collection. None have ever topped it yet, we'll see if the new reboot does next month.

"Casablanca" and "To Have and Have Not", which are basically the same movie, though some argue THAHN is even superior. The chemistry of Bogie and Bacall and the overall romance of these films is timeless.

The Fifth Element. Probably the one movie most used to demonstrate lavish big screen TV and sound systems, this is just a visual feast.

Pulp Fiction.

Battleship Potempkin. Everybody remembers the Odessa Steps sequence adn it's been copied many times. I would love to see a remake of this, either set in the same period, or modernized.

Metropolis by Fritz Lang. This one mostly for the art direction, I think.

I got more, but my render is done, gotta get back to work. What are yours?

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Chris Poisson
Re: Eye magnets
on Apr 20, 2009 at 5:18:44 pm

Hey Mark,

Very interesting and thought provoking post. I'd have to agree with all your choices, I was an art director for years so I latch on to that big time.

Some additions for the list:

French Connection, what a great car chase.

Easy Rider

Anything by Monty Python

Sling Blade


Silence of the Lambs

What's Eating Gilbert Grape

10 Items or Less

There's a ton more, later...

Have a wonderful day.

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Mark Suszko
Re: Eye magnets
on Apr 20, 2009 at 5:33:24 pm

I'll add "Always" and "Broadcast news" (I'm on my lunch break).

My wife, a graphic designer, drew my attention to the fact that they found a way to put something red in the background for all the most emotional parts of "Broadcast News". And it's almost always the same exact shade of red too.

"Lost In America" is another for my eye magnet list.
I think I'll watch anything with Albert Brooks in it, but that's got to be my favorite Brooks film. Though the sequences in Brook's 'Modern Romance" where he works SO DAMN HARD on the Foley for a short piece of B-roll of George Kennedy running down a hallway.... well, every editor should see that sequence, I know I've LIVED that sequence a couple times in my life, where you care so very much amid people that care not at all... There should be a complete Brooks films shelf at Blockbuster stores, IMO.

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Mike Cohen
Re: Eye magnets
on Apr 22, 2009 at 2:34:15 pm

I am a big fan of Terrence Malick's few but great great films. The Thin Red Line is not only visually stunning, but ear candy as well. His poetic approach to filmmaking draws you in.

Another film that I cannot stop watching once I see it is the Shining. Those long steadycam shots down the corridor in the lodge pull you along for the ride. It goes without saying that 2001 is another visual/auditory masterpiece.

On the flip side of the art vs mindless entertainment coin, Transformers has so much eye candy that I find myself watching it whenever it crosses my television screen.

Mike Cohen

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Dave Hardy
Re: Eye magnets
on Apr 24, 2009 at 3:17:32 am

My 2 favorites of Malick are "Badlands" & "The Days of Heaven". I also watch "The Shining" almost everytime it plays "Paths of Glory" & "A Clockwork Orange"


Dave Hardy

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Mark Suszko
Re: Eye magnets
on Apr 29, 2009 at 4:39:29 pm

What network regularly plays A Clockwork Orange, and do they edit it?

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Blane Pierce
Re: Eye magnets
on Jul 20, 2009 at 12:44:02 am

I can't seem to avoid watching Casino and Good Fellas anytime their titles appear on the viewing guide screen. I must have made my girlfriend watch them at least 12 times. Although I believe Casino has better visual effect and I have both scripts memorized, I always pick up some nuance that I missed from the previous viewing. Deniro was clearly at the peak of his career in both movies.

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