Monday, March 1, 2010

0: Opening Credits


In this book, Leonard Maltin attempts to “re-discover” and package a list of movies that he audaciously claims, as  the title implies, we’ve never seen. Of course, this kind of list is certainly not new, and not even the first such attempt by the author himself. However, there are two interesting features about this list, features that have prompted me to begin this little online set of dispatches that are worth noting, besides of course the odd (and prime) number of films that constitute his list. Initially, a non-trivial number of these movies were produced by major studios and thus had major studio money behind them in their marketing campaign. Yet, these movies, for one reason or another (and those reasons will likely be a focus of this blog)  failed to reach in Maltin’s words, “a wide audience.” Secondly, Maltin’s compilation does not smack of a cineaste’s arrogance that might usually accompany the book’s titular claim, in fact, some of these films are as one friend described it, “defiantly middlebrow.” The majority of these movies were released in the past two or three decades with only an occasional nod to the earlier golden and silver eras of Hollywood (and even less occasionally, foreign centers of cinema). Maltin provides only brief synopses of the movies he has presented, and provides briefer though hopefully insightful details as to why they have made this list. In this space, after watching each movie in order, I hope to respond not only to the author’s comments, but also respond directly to the movie. In my comments, I will be sure to minimize any spoilers. My plan, despite my rather abecedarian credentials, will be to utilize some of the conventions of formal film criticism in my posts in addition to some conjecture as to the possible reasons for their status as “never seen,” provided that status is indeed legitimate. I am sure of three things: first, I will find some of his choices perspicacious and intelligent, I will also be baffled as to why some of these movies have earned such an estimation from Maltin, and finally, I will be wholly non-plussed  as to some of the movies to which I will be willingly subjected, like some kind of self-inflicted Ludovico technique. Perhaps you too will be encouraged to seek out some of these films yourself, and likewise make your own conclusions about the value of this list versus the literally hundreds of other lists you might peruse on a given day.  The first movie on Maltin’s list is 2006’s American Dreamz, a Paul Weitz directed picture starring Hugh Grant, Dennis Quaid and…MANDY MOORE! Uh, oh we may be in trouble already.

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