Rhymes With Fuchsia

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ten on Tuesday

Today's Ten on Tuesday is ten favorite scary movies. I am not a big fan of scary movies, and I haven't seen very many, especially of the kind whose primary purpose is to be scary. I once saw about half of Jaws; for the other half I had a fine view of the gum stuck to the theater floor. And I saw The Birds at summer camp about a hundred years ago: in the fullness of time I have gotten pretty good at not remembering much of it.

I'm not too keen on downer movies, either, or for that matter downer fiction of any kind. If you want to be depressed, for heaven's sake read the daily paper; for distraction I prefer my knitting and a little light romance. Despite my best efforts, however, I have seen some truly excellent downer movies, some of which I would even watch again, so that's what I'm going with.

Ten Depressing But Excellent Movies
  1. Casualties of War. Grant kept asking me to go see this in a theater, and I kept saying no, I wasn't in the right frame of mind; by the time I was, we rented the video. And a good thing, too: I don't know that I could have stood to watch it on the big screen.
  2. Clean and Sober. I once asked my dad if he'd seen this movie; he was doing a lot of prisoner advocacy work at the time, and he replied, "Only about two dozen times." Despite delivering a message and a cautionary tale, it's still a really good movie. Michael Keaton and Morgan Freeman both give stellar performances, even better than usual.
  3. Sophie's Choice. Usually I read good books over and over; the novel Sophie's Choice I read at one sitting (staying up all night) and have never opened again. I've seen the movie only once also, and that too was enough, but I'm glad to have seen it that once.
  4. The Accused. This is probably in my all-time top five movies.
  5. Nuit et Brumaire (Night and Fog). A 1955 French documentary about the Holocaust, it's extremely powerful. I haven't seen it since high school, and I'm not sure I'm up for seeing it again.
  6. Dead Man Walking. I never had much respect for Sean Penn until I saw this movie. You should see it if you haven't, but even more, you should read the book. It's a both clear-eyed assessment of some really nasty criminals and as powerful an indictment of our criminal-justice system as I've ever read.
  7. A Streetcar Named Desire. Southern gothic at its best. And worst. And best.
  8. Silence of the Lambs. This one is on Carole's list of scary movies. I don't think of it as scary because, while parts of it are very scary and most of it is creepy, that's sort of incidental to the story and the character development, which are amazing. Not surprising, really, when a movie stars Jodie Foster or Anthony Hopkins, never mind both of them.
  9. Dog Day Afternoon. As best I recall, this is not a long movie, but it conveys the sense of a very long, very hot day. You know that it will not end well, and you can't look away.
  10. The Laramie Project. All right, this is cheating, since it's a play, not a movie. We saw a local high-school production of it about a year ago. We would almost certainly have remained blissfully ignorant of it had the local bigots not made a huge fuss about it in the town rag, motivating us to go see if it was worth all the offstage drama. It was, and we'll be forever grateful to the bigots and to the high-school administration who stood firm against them. If you get a chance to see this play, take it.

On to lighter topics (please). Having been informed of the deadline change for Red Scarf (thank you, dear readers, for rescuing my clueless self), I'm taking a hiatus from scarves to knit Pine Street Inn squares. I'm realizing a few rows in that I grossly overestimated the number of stitches needed for a nine-inch square. It always takes a bit of trial and error.



  • Completely agree about Sophie's Choice. Read the book and then saw the movie and both haunt me. If only it truly was fiction (I assume stuff like that and worse really happened).

    By Blogger Carol, at 6:58 AM  

  • I've always meant to see Sophie's Choice again but I've never been able to bring myself to do it.

    By Blogger Carole Knits, at 7:03 AM  

  • I don't care much for scary movies, but do like creature features. I know the chance of being attacked by 30 ft long radioactive ants is is vanishingly small. However, the chance of finding a homocidal maniac at my front door is frighteningly large. Aliens hurting people? Fantasy. People hurting people? Too real to be entertaining.

    By Blogger Roxie, at 9:17 AM  

  • I guess I don't watch many scary movies, but I did see Jaws and The Birds and Psycho. But I didn't see Silence of the Lambs, somehow I didn't want to look into that sort of pathology. I liked "Dead Again", did you see it? It was new in the 80's. Oh, and when we get this pc working totally right (it is working better, but not perfect), I have a couple photos of Miss B in a certain special something that can't be seen anywhere... I'll email them to you (they are not in my flickr set).

    By Blogger Lisa, at 9:52 PM  

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