So now I've been tagged 3 times for Piper's 12 Movies Meme. The premise is: comically overrated screenwriter Diablo Cody has been asked to chose 12 movies to be shown at the New Beverly Cinema. If she can do it, why can't we? Thanks to Piper for this great idea, and to the lovely people at Cinexcellence, Big Mike's Movie Blog, and MovieZeal for the tags.
I thought I'd respond to this meme with another meme, one which has been running through film since 1956:
Society is under siege. A woman has been kidnapped by the evil, "other" society that threatens our familiar culture. A man is dispatched to find her, and along the way must delve into that other society, at the risk of being contaminated and transformed by it. "He Had to Find Her, He Had to Find Her." Yep, it's The Searchers.
My 12 films are The Searchers and 11 other films that are The Searchers. I consider all 12 masterpieces, and all 12 are directed by one of the leading figures in the cinema or George Lucas.
12 Movies that are The Searchers
Let's start off with a bang - The Searchers. John Wayne's and John Ford's best film, the best western ever made, etc. And we'll pair it with Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress, which reimagines The Searchers as a battle between two samurai clans.
If you think that the Wachowski Bros. made The Matrix by putting Dark City and The Invisibles in a blender, and adding Keanu Reeves, you'll be even more blown away by how much Lucas ripped off both Searchers and Hidden Fortress for Star Wars. Then you can watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind to see a film which references The Searchers effectively without stealing everything in it. Star Wars is still better.
The Searchers has a controversial sexual undertone, which both Paris, Texas and Taxi Driver make explicit by having the lost woman be a prostitute. And you can marvel at how different these movies are, since they're both remakes of The Searchers that emphasize human alienation: Taxi Driver is intense, violent, and nihilistic, while Paris, Texas is slow, meditative, and offers Wim Wenders' characteristically irrational hope. If the last two days got you hyped up, Wednesday should leave you drained.
The Searchers goes to Asia in "Aging and Irrelevant Movie Star Addition." Sydney Pollack's The Yakuza is a highly underrated gangster film that takes the form of a meditation on the interaction between American and Japanese culture, starring old Robert Mitchum, chin dimple intact. Apocalypse Now is, well, Apocalypse Now. Marlon Brando's in it for about 5 minutes.
Since it's the weekend, we ratchet up the intensity. Die Hard: The Searchers in a building! Frantic: The Searchers in Paris! Harrison Ford and Bruce Willis step into John Wayne's shoes - Ford's second chance to do so.
For our first film, bring the kiddies: one of Pixar's finest films gives us The Searchers underwater, and removes the sexual element by creating a sweet, father-son story. Land of the Dead also removes the sexual element by making the lost lady a zombie killing tank called "Dead Reckoning." To the best of my knowledge, Land of the Dead is the only zombie version of The Searchers. It's also probably my favorite Romero film, which I understand to be an unpopular opinion.
Ok, I only have one tag: Dan at Film Babble Blog. Every other blog I read has already done this. I guess this is my penalty for being so late. Sorry Piper. But please, tell me that this means I didn't technically break the chain!