Tuesday, May 29, 2012

In My Opinion: Lists

Maybe it's a time to consider questions and I have so many of them I could spend several lifetimes trying to answer them, but answers are usually subjective. One of the questions I am most frequently asked is what is your "Favorite" book? Movie? Oops! Those who ask more often than not use the word "Film". They assume I am sophisticated. Who is your favorite actor? Actress? Then again, I'm asked,  what do you consider the "Best" book? Movie? (Oops again...) Film? The questions are totally different and rarely do they require the same answer.

If I were asked to name some of the "Best" films I've seen, I would have to include "The Mark" with Stuart Whitman (nominated for an Academy Award), Maria Schell and Rod Steiger, but it is not one of my favorites. It is very dark though it has positive resolution. The same with "Night of the Hunter" with Robert Mitchum. I don't think I could ever refer to any film as dark as these, as good as they are (In My Opinion), as a "Favorite". A "Favorite" for me is one I want to see over and over.

"Shadows in the Sun" is one of my "Favorites". Is it a great film? Is it one of the "Best"? No. (In My Opinion). It's a decent film, has a few interesting nuggets, good performances, but not one I would consider for my list of "Best" films. And what of the ones that overlap? For me the consummate example would be -- get ready to laugh at my lack of intellect -- "Pretty Woman". Fluff? Probably yes. Chick Flick -- a term I think demeaning -- not quite. Entertaining? Absolutely. A best film? Yes (In My Opinion).

Technically, after thirty years of acting and directing, along with the music -- I was a busy little bee. Wonder where all that energy went? -- I can give some evidence. The writing is superb. Does it make a statement about mankind? To say that would be a stretch, but does everything labeled "The Best" have to make a statement about mankind? And, personally, (and I know a number of generally classed as "significant" people) I don't know anyone who is qualified to do that. The writing in this film achieves its purpose.

From a theatrical point of view, I have seldom seen, across the board, better performances by a cast of characters. From the leading characters to the hotel manager (Hector Elizando) to the elevator operator (one of the best "bits" I have seen), the shop ladies, who are so typical of exaggerated "class" -- I know some of those -- Jason Alexander, slimy enough to make one's skin crawl, all the way down to the character who walks the streets of Hollywood shouting "What's your dream? This is Hollywood. Everybody has a dream!" Maybe that's the statement about mankind. The film, IN MY OPINION, is perfectly balanced, but my opinion is the only perspective I can speak from, a fact many pontificators ignore.

Why write this little bloviating piece of opinion? Because we are constantly bombarded with "Best" and "Worst" and "Favorite" lists, and some are even more absurd: World's Most Absurd Warning Signs, Ten Most Ridiculous Phobias, World's Best Shin-Kicker. Films, books, music, artists and performers seem almost sensible by comparison. The problem I have is that the compilers or authors of these lists do not preface their list with the three simple words: IN MY OPINION, which is all it really is.

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