Writers: A Room of Our Own

by Polly Whitney

Home Forums Fade In: Movies and Screenplays BEST MOVIES EVER, beautifully written

This topic contains 12 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  davidsmith 2 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #251

    Polly Whitney

    THE UNTOUCHABLES (Kevin Costner and Sean Connery)

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by  Polly Whitney.
  • #255


    What about
    THE BISHOP’S WIFE (the original)

  • #262

    Polly Whitney

    Aw, BLAZING SADDLES. The funniest movie I ever saw. Ever. The audience was howling and crying because they were laughing so violently. I recall at least one man falling into the aisle.
    Popcorn everywhere. Snorting and hooting. Alas, I saw the film recently, and my response was nostalgic but not filled with hilarity. BLAZING SADDLES may not have aged well.

  • #329


    Nominations? I’m not a movie buff, but I’ve seen a few beautiful films.

    The Big Chill – smooth, it flowed, a seamless whole.
    The Grand Illusion
    Night of the Hunter
    The Ladykillers (the original, with Alec Guiness)
    Blazing Saddles, I agree, was great fun. A great film? I dunno.

    I know there are others. Just blanking at the moment. Film, for me, is problematic. It’s always a large-group effort, and so is, it seems to me, not really creative at all.

    • #337

      Polly Whitney

      Oh, David! I think we have to look at the final product (not the artist or artists) to determine if any work of art, including film, is truly creative. MEMENTO, for example, is a flawless film, a lasting work of art, one that bears revisiting — unlike the Mona Lisa, which is a freak show that can only support one viewing. You get there, you see the painting is small and dark, you’re disappointed, and you leave. I’ve seen basketball games so close to beauty that I regard them as works of art, masterpieces. I feel strongly that our ideas about art and creativity should be inclusive. We can trash specific works, but not, I think, whole genres.

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  Polly Whitney.
      • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  Polly Whitney.
      • #349


        Oh, I don’t know. I’m close to being willing to trash, say, graphic novels, at least in their present form. I’ve seen movies I like very much, but no one can honestly say that they were the production of any one person or, indeed, of any one small group. They just followed a formula, slavishly – it had to be slavishly or the thing would not have come together – and, miracle of miracles, a beautiful whole appeared on the screen. But if you leave out any of a hundred or five hundred people or substitute a few for the few who showed up, the whole thing begins to creak or crumble, and it simply doesn’t bear watching. Film, I think, is not art, at least in the sense of having been produced by an artist. The director gets her name in lights and in the cinema journals, but she really did not do much of it, let alone do it alone.

        Film is, perhaps, socialist art: something produced by the commune for the masses. So, to a socialist, I suppose, it’s high art. To me, if it works, it’s just a pleasing bit of machinery, like an expensive sports car. Nobody made it; it made itself.

        • #425

          Adam Brandenburg

          If only movies actually could be produced using formulas and assembly lines, then perhaps fewer films would fail at their intention. Look into the auteur theory. Film director is one of the few dictatorial positions left in society. They sometimes control every aspect of production. Especially if the write it, they are responsible for a large portion of the piece. And even if the film is a product of many hands, why does that preclude it from being classified as art?

  • #449


    Of course, that depends on your definition of “art”. For me, it’s the product of individual effort, at least at its best. So, I suppose, that severely demotes fourteenth-century cathedrals, and even the most successful movies. Maybe all I want to do is simply to articulate a personal hierarchy of values, in which the individual human, acting alone, matters almost infinitely more than the hive mind.

    A building, which, like a movie, is made by many people, can be pleasing, but buildings seldom are, even if they look glorious in the drawings. A building that works in real life is a happy accident. Movies almost always fail. Now and then one comes to life, but considering how many movies are made, the exception proves the rule that a million monkeys can make anything.

    However, we live on a planet ruled by people for whom everything is a machine. The individual is merely an assemblage of cogs and has no great value in herself. We also live in a time of great respect for powerful systems, and an individual is a weak system. So there we are 😎

  • #450

    Polly Whitney

    Let’s look at this question from the point of view of the consumer. Forget all those who stand behind the work of art. Or just “the work.” Forget the choreographer, forget the sculptor, forget the author. What is left, then, is the aesthetic response of the consumer. If that response is “this is beauty,” then isn’t that the ultimate word?

  • #451

    Polly Whitney

    ABOUT BUILDINGS: I have been thunderstruck upon entering some buildings, usually church buildings. No matter how many people it took to make that building, is my aesthetic response somehow invalidated?
    What about the beauty of certain Pueblo dwellings?

  • #474


    “Art” is whatever anyone says it is, especially if that person is an “art critic”. For me, though, art is an object made by a person. I don’t think individuals made fourteenth-century Gothic cathedrals, but they’re certainly awe inspiring. And, of course, they’re art – because the critics have said so. Maybe that’s why I like crafts, rather than “the fine arts”. A craft object is a made thing, made by a person. It’s usually unprepossessing, simple, approachable, and to the point, although, for all that, it can be exquisite. “Beauty” is sort of like “goodness”, isn’t it? The user gets to make up his own definition.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been thunderstruck by a building. Now and then, a space is pleasing. Exteriors of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings can be, um, well, maybe breathtaking, but the interiors of the few I’ve been in have been cramped, like doll houses. I. M. Pei’s Louvre pyramid seems just wrong in that place. Skyscrapers can be impressive and overwhelming, but so can a locomotive or an airplane or an army tank. Gaudi’s cathedral in Barcelona is supposed to be overwhelmingly beautiful, and maybe it is if you’re in it, but from the photos, I’d say it’s just weird. Art, beauty, and the ability of an object to strike thunder into a human heart are, as you say, personal.

  • #476

    Polly Whitney

    David, have you ever taken a look at “tiny houses”? They are usually hand made, and some are imaginative, but occasionally you’ll spot one that you just want to steal and keep in your backyard. I think what I find so enthralling is the efficient use of small spaces that combine to make a beautiful little living space. Some of these are Art, for me. Some “tiny houses” are even majestic, with inspired use of lofts and sweeping staircases that contain ingenious spaces for storage or display. Some have wrap-around verandas. Some even have clever conservatories made of a mixture of stained glass and uncolored glass. Really worth seeing, and maybe even living in.

  • #487


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