Category Archives: 1960s

Day 07 – 30 Day Movie Challenge

The Most Surprising Plot Twist Or Ending

This is a really fun topic to think about. On the other hand, it is an extremely hard one to write about. I want to tell you about all these films that have an excellent plot twist but I don’t want to give away what that twist is just in case someone hasn’t seen it. So, consider this your warning. There will be tons of spoilers ahead. I could not choose just one film without giving some honorable mentions. So I will give you my top-5 plot twists or endings. I hope you will join in the discussion and let me know your favorites in the comments below.

5) The Sixth Sense (1999)
This film has the most talked about twist of all time. I doubt that there is anyone reading that doesn’t already know about the twist that gave director M. Night Shyamalan his trademark. There are almost no clues in the film, showing us that Bruce Willis’ character is actually dead from the start, besides the alienation with his wife. The Sixth Sense was a tremendous crowd-pleaser, and that was its real success. Looking back over ten years later, I can’t overlook the plot holes, like how he entered houses and other metaphysical questions. That being said, this movie was extremely entertaining and helped to reinvent a whole genre.
4) The Others (2001)
This movie combines the right direction, script, editing and performances, all for the sake of the final twist. It borrowed some elements from The Sixth Sense, and it sets you up right from the very beginning. It seems like a simple plot that we’ve seen countless times, the haunted mansion, the children seeing ghosts. And it lulls the audience into a sense of complacency with the film. But as the film marches to the end, everything gets flipped on its head, and the ending is a total shock. And afterwards you think, why didn’t I see that coming? This movie is based on a main concept we’d never seen before. We saw things from a ghost’s point of view.
3) The Usual Suspects (1995)
What can I say about this movie that hasn’t already been said. It has a tremendously well-written script and Kevin Spacey is remarkable as Verbal Kint. But could he be Keyser Soze? Was the whole thing made up just to get the police off their tail? The plot makes you want to see the movie again and again to look for clues. After several times however, some revealing plot holes open up. But all that does is provide more fodder for discussion with all your fellow movie watching friends. Because they can all be interpreted differently by each viewer. But that’s the magic of the movie. It’s not just the final twist, but that final twist is great to the point that I want to buy this minimalist movie poster made in honor of the film.
2) Fight Club (1999)
Just how twisted and disturbed is the Narrator? When we finally realize that Tyler Durden is just a figment of his fractured imagination, an alter ego that personified all the qualities he lacked, you can’t help but admire the way all the events where presented to us. And upon a second or hundredth viewing, there are clues dropped throughout the movie. The single frame shots of Tyler that appear as his personality starts kicking in, the long, and gorgeously written, monologues of the Narrator, the attitude of Marla and other supporting characters. This movie almost completely failed at the box office. I was a junior is High School when it came out and I never heard of it. It was labeled as a product of a violent culture that leads kids in trench coats to bring guns into their schools and kill innocent people. Fight Club is a disturbing movie, but it is honest and real. This twist has an actual meaning unlike most films that just entertain, this one leaves you thinking. I couldn’t bring myself to make it number 1 because of the quality of that champion and because this one will appear again in my 30 day challenge and I was determined not to have any repeats.
1) Psycho (1960)
When you look up “Horror Film” in the dictionary, this picture of Janet Leigh screaming should appear next to it. I believe that Psycho is the greatest horror film ever made. It’s hard to find anything wrong with it. When watching an older movie, you have to put yourself in the mindset of someone from that period. One of the reasons the shower scene became so notorious was that the elements of sexuality and murder were ground breaking. In 1960, seeing a nude women being murdered in a shower was something that no-one had experienced yet. Nowadays, seeing Jason double-spearing two lovers having sex is nothing uncommon. Also, because Janet Leigh was the headliner of the film, no one expected to see her die so early on. After that scene, then the real movie began, and we get a glimpse into the disturbing world of Norman Bates, a man who loved his mother a bit too much. I envy those who experienced Psycho in 1960… in the theater… they experienced the full terror of Psycho.

Well, there it is. Oh yeah, I had a few others that ended up just outside the top 5. I think of A Beautiful Mind, Memento, The Prestige, and Saw. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know. This is way more fun when you talk back. Leave your comments below or on Twitter or Facebook.

Day 02 – 30 Day Movie Challenge

The Most Underrated Movie

This was a tough decision, because I had to determine whether we are talking about the most underrated by my friends or by critics. My choice is critically acclaimed, but most of my friends have never heard of this Academy Award winning historical biography.

Fred Zinnemann is one of the great forgotten directors, which is amazing considering that he was nominated for eight directing Oscars in four decades and won two. We don’t hear today’s directors idolizing him or many critics championing his work. You will probably never read about him in “Entertainment Weekly.” For Zinnemann, the script is king, and his greatest genius may have been in choosing the right scripts and knowing how to do them justice.

From Here To Eternity was Zinnemann’s best film according to the Academy. IMDb voters seem to prefer High Noon. But my choice for most underrated movie is A Man For All Seasons, the film of the year in 1966. Perhaps many people pass over it because it is hard to imagine a film that represents the attitude of the 1960s less.

A Man For All Seasons presents us with a character that is still unfashionable in our own day. He refuses to surrender to the dictates of his king and countrymen, and remains faithful in his devotion to his conscience, his God, and the Roman Catholic Church. When Thomas More’s ecclesiastical superior Cardinal Wolsey (Orson Welles) unsuccessfully presses him to give his approval to King Henry VIII’s request for a convenient divorce, he says, “When statesmen lead their country without their conscience to guide them, it is short road to chaos.” Thomas More was an amazing character who was like a mild-mannered lion trying at every turn to do well even though his political savvy knows how dangerous that can be. As a lawyer, he sees in law the only hope for man’s goodness in a fallen world. “I’d give the Devil benefit of the law, for my own safety’s sake,” he explains.

Paul Scofield plays More in such a way as to make us not only admire him but identify with him. As we watch, we come to value both his humanness and his spirituality. His tired eyes, the way he gently rebuffs his opponents, his genuine professions of loyalty to Henry even as he disagrees with the matter of his divorce, all help to create a character so well-rounded and illuminating that we find him to be better company than the people we meet in real life. It’s a gift the movies seldom actually deliver on, so when someone like Scofield makes it happen, we respond with admiration and gratitude.

The film’s supporting cast is good, though none are as particularly memorable as Robert Shaw as a young and thin Henry VIII. He is full of life yet has a childish temperament and an inconsistent mind. He demands More not stand against his marriage to Anne Boleyn, then decides he must have either More’s outright assent or else his head. Sadly, there was no way that More could pacify the adolescent minded king and remain true to his convictions. In the end he decided like the apostle Peter and John that it was better for him to obey God rather than man (Acts 4:19).

Spoiler after the jump for those of you who don’t know your history.
Continue reading Day 02 – 30 Day Movie Challenge