This last week, I watched (for the first time) two of those classic movies that kind of define American film: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and Rebel Without a Cause.
I was so impressed with both movies! So often, I watch classic films and think "That was so good, for it's time", or I have to suspend my criticism or hold my giggles and tell myself, "This movie was made 60 years ago-- of course it's going to seem a bit cheesy or overdone."
But these movies were nothing like that. Both were deep, honest, insightful, and had amazing acting. They were both really entertaining and left me guessing through the whole movie ("Where is this going?"), without disappointing me at the end.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest dealt with life in an insane asylum-- both for those who are insane, and those who have a grasp on reality. The lines get blurred back an forth, and the result is so funny and sweet and saddening all at the same time. Plus, you get to see Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, and Christopher Lloyd all with hair. It's awesome =)
Rebel Without a Cause was even better. It was so honest in the way it dealt with broken suburban families in the 50's (much more American Beauty than Leave it to Beaver), and despite how raw and open it was, it managed to be sweet and innocent with a real sense of truth. I thought it would be glamorizing the tough-guy image (a-la Grease), but it was all about becoming a man and standing up for what's right (not what's cool), as well as coming alongside the lonely & broken. It was really, really good.
**Side Note: One really interesting extra at the end of the DVD was an interview with James Dean where he almost prophesied his own death. It was pretty surreal. I did a little research on each of the main actors in the movie, and they all died young in pretty tragic ways. Very sad.
Next on our Netflix list of classics: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Some Like it Hot (Marylin Monroe and Tony Curtis & Jack Lemmon dressed in drag? Sign me up).
Any other suggestions?