TOP THREE 60s
3. The Apartment 14 pts
Its got three things I love in movies. Billy Wilder directing, Billy Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond screenplay with Jack Lemmon and Shirley McClaine at peek lovely/hotness.
Wilder not only knew how to write scripts he had a few rules. Spare use of voice over but he begins with a VO. He said why use 12 pages of dialogue when 30 seconds of VO can do the same thing but don't tell the audience, show them and have them figure it out and that is why Jack Lemmon says he 'Has a problem and can't use his apartment.' Billy shows us why and we hit the ground running. Brilliant.
Another Billy Wilder script writing rule, do the set up early and then come back around with the punchline later in the story. We see this in many Wilder screenplays. One of my all-time favorites is in 'Some Like It Hot' when Lemmon says in full drag to Marilyn Monroe while sniping at Tony Curtis that 'I bet he even has a BICYCLE!' It stood out since it didn't fit the scene but later the comeback when Lemmon is stalling for time in drag with his male date when Curtis comes by riding a bicycle and he says astonished. 'He DOES have a bicycle.' I crack up every time. In the Apartment he sets up the ending when he has Lemmon tell the story about his suicide attempt with a gun and shows it to McClaine. Later she's running to his apartment when... won't give away the obvious spoiler. The way he gives his boss the broken mirror he found which sets up how he figured out the girl was McClaine. Lots of other examples but it is gooooooood stuff. Dare I say? Wildereske? I just luv it and eat it up with a fork and spoon.
What can you say about Wilder and Jack Lemmon? Peas and carrots? I adore their work together and with McClaine? Chef's kiss. Irma la Douce isn't on any AFI top-100 list but I LOVE IT! It works for me. In The Apartment the love triangle with Fred McMurray works, it just works. The acting is great. I have to mention the Doc next door neighbor played by Jack Kruschen, lovely character actor who is just right in this one.
The score is nice, the story, the directing, the acting, its just damn good.
2. Cool Hand Luke 15 pts
Torn between the top-two. One thing about 60s films is the, um experimental camera work that can really detract but one thing we see in contemporary films is what? DRONE FOOTAGE up the ying-yang. What in the wild-wild world of sports does that have to do with Cool Hand Luke and 60 experimental camera use? Well a lot of 60 films would set up a big shot to end a film which inevitable was a HELICOPTER SHOT that was shaky as hell and would kick up a ton of dust and it is really-REALLY distracting when you get used to the stable drone footage that is done by five year olds today. It really stood out as I watched every one of these movies. Those damn helicopter shots I never noticed till drone footage but now its soooo baaaad. The director did an 'ok' job but Stuart Rosenberg isn't quite in the same stratosphere as the rest on this list.
The good stuff. The screenplay is one of the best and what elevates it is the unique subject matter. I was blown away while watching and figured this is too good. No one can jut 'come up' with the universe this script is set in and I was right, the screenwriter did time and new how things operated behind bars. Donn Pearce was the principal screen writer to get credit and he should because its based on his life. His life story is INCREDIBLE but not a direct match to Cool Hand. In any event he took mental notes and wrote a book that never got legs. What he created is awesome. Carr (not Carl) the floor walker played to perfection by Clifton James, Arletta by Jo Van Fleet, Captian by Strother Martin, all of the bosses, before you even get to the prisoners. Oh and who could forget that car wash'n temptress Lucille played by Joy Harmon who reminded me of THIS CONTESTANT on the Newlywed game.
No one could just vamp that world, the linga franca 'You eyeballin Society? Jes checking my yo-yo boss.' Tiny little details of deliciousness. It is such a good screenplay I wanted to put it first. I flip flopped many times.
1. Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid 16 pts
Directed by George Roy Hill and written by William Goldman. Just perfect. I don't know what to say, just perfect.
Starring Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross, Strother Martin. So Newman and Katy Ross make the top-ten twice and Redford was 'supposed' get the Hoffman role in the Graduate but Nichols didn't think he could play a loser. Redford chaffed so Nichols asked him if he ever had a girl turn him down and Redford replied. 'What do you mean?' Nichols went for a more natural looking loser and chose Hoffman.
I find this one of the most watchable movies of all-time. Newman would argue with director George Roy Hill constantly and felt those long shots of the posse from a distance were all wrong. Newman would later admit he was wrong long after Hill had passed. This is the movie that made Redford a mega star. Strother Martin also makes the list again and I love his bit part in this film. I can't hear 'Sweet Betsy From Pike' without hearing his warbling. The comedy may be broad, people may hate Raindrops and Roy Hill HATED that song but the audience ate it up.
I fell in love with this movie years ago and researched the real outlaws and found I had crossed paths with some of their travels. One place is Rock Springs Wyoming where a young Robert Leroy Parker found a job as a Butcher and coined the nickname of 'Butch'. A really bad snowstorm killed off an entire year's worth of cattle and many cowhands found themselves out of work as Harry Longabaugh got caught rustling to survive and wound up in Sundance prison in Wyoming where he got his nickname. The real Hole In The Wall is still their in northern Wyoming. The Hole In The Wall gang became famous because of Butch who figured out that if he had fresh horses every 20 miles he could out run any posse and he was right. That simple trick made him a ledged. The first bank he robbed has a metal inscription of the date and time he robbed the bank. The story of the Outlaw Trail has to be told sometime on film because that is fascinating and parts of it still exist.
Back on track.
The pacing, the chemistry that has never been beat in any buddy-buddy film in the history of cinema. It is a pure delight so an anti-western makes the top film of the 1960s. I can see Wick'd and Mrs. Ram doing projectile vomiting from a different time zone but I luv me sum Butch.