My favorite reading material to leaf through while I’m taking care of some personal matters in the bathroom is Time Out’s 1000 Films to Change Your Life. The book is organized into ten chapters, each focusing on a particular emotion that a person might experience while watching a movie. In each chapter, a list is provided intended to exemplify the films that best evoke whatever emotion the chapter is exploring. Of course, no two people are always going to experience the same emotions when watching a film, and so everyone’s individual lists will differ.
After spending many hours debating with myself over which movies represent the purest distillation of each emotion to me, I threw together this list of movies that never fail to get my emotional juices flowing. (NOTE: In order to dig a little deeper into my movie watching past, I will not be including some of my more obvious choices. I’ve mentioned Bandidas in enough of my articles as it is. I’m not even sure what emotion to assign it to, since it encompasses the total cinematic experience.) So, from my lavatory to your computer screen, here are the choices:
A few weeks ago, I erased all of my rankings (over 2,000) after receiving a shocking revelation: Many of the movies that I’d ranked exist in my mind as fragmented, abstract memories that are only tenuously representative of my overall opinion of the actual films. This injection of harsh reality came rushing in after watching the movie Bonnie and Clyde again after several years. It occurred to me that my positive memory of the movie revolved almost exclusively around the amorous feelings I experienced for Faye Dunaway during the initial viewing. Back when I first saw Bonnie and Clyde, apparently I was so stricken by her charms that ranking the film among my favorites seemed like a perfectly legitimate course of action. After a fresh viewing, however, I was surprised to discover how average I found the rest of the movie to be. For years I’ve been placing it above films that I enjoyed for more substantial, empirical reasons than just a superficial movie crush (as opposed to a profound movie crush, like with Trasgredire).
Machete, the Robert Rodriguez action massacre, was released into theatres recently. While it delivers plenty of sleaze and carnage, the movie also takes time to comment on the plight of illegal Mexican immigrants in the United States. Even the “Illegal” trailer from back in May took a stand on the issue. With that in mind, I thought this edition of Reel Rumbles could feature two movies about gringos who aren’t too welcome south of the border. In Bandidas, Mexican heroines Salma Hayek and Penélope Cruz take on a ruthless American interloper who is aggresively swindling people out of their land. Turistas involves naive white people vacationing in Brazil who become unwilling organ donors. Maybe the basic message of both Bandidas and Turistas is that other countries are not gringo playgrounds. You can’t just come around and act like you own the place, or there will be consequences. (Or, the message could also be that it never hurts to cast attractive actors and dress them up in sexy attire whenever possible.)