Friday, August 26, 2011

A Tale of 100 Movies

AFI's 100 Greatest Movies: The Story You Haven't Heard

It happened one night that Lawrence of Arabia went north by northwest, following Sullivan's travels until he reached Casablanca. Arriving before the last picture show aired on the network, he began to tell a few good fellas the west side story, which goes something like this:

On a dark and stormy night, the general, the graduate — even the godfather! — went singin' in the rain on the waterfront. Entranced by the sound of music under the city lights, the wild bunch opened a swing time cabaret, where they planned to mash the grapes of wrath and drink all night, eat venison delivered by the deer hunter and serve duck soup at two temperatures because some like it hot. But then, in the heat of the night, Tootsie arrived with news of the gold rush in Nashville — and suddenly, they were all gone with the wind.

All was not lost, as the searchers managed to keep Schindler's list up-to-date: according to reports, one flew over the cuckoo's nest when Sophie’s choice meant saving Private Ryan and letting the others go. The midnight cowboy flagged a taxi driver to head over the bridge on the river Kwai. Bonnie and Clyde, still unforgiven, escaped the deafening silence of the lambs and fled to Chinatown. The blade runner, not surprisingly, took the maltese falcon to kill a mockingbird. Shane was last seen riding away on a streetcar named desire, gazing out the rear window at Sunset Blvd. shimmering at sunrise. As for that psycho, Annie Hall — she gathered 12 angry men and a raging bull to go after the treasure of the Sierra Madre.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid spent a night at the opera, hoping for a toy story featuring the Wizard of Oz and the Lord of the Rings. The fellowship of the ring, sadly, turned out just to be some pulp fiction all about eve, so they returned to the apartment, where the African queen was reading the Philadelphia story. She swore the sixth sense let her see Snow White and the seven dwarves, but Dr. Strangelove insists there is no such thing — all she saw was some American graffiti.

Tomorrow at high noon, Mr. Smith goes to Washington to ask "who's afraid of Virginia Woolf bringing up baby?" Going there is just step one, according to the godfather, part 2 is getting double indemnity, so he can ask whatever he wants. Also in our nation’s capitol, all the president's men decided finally to let yankee doodle dandy become a citizen. Kane made the French Connection by reversing his nouns and adjectives and presenting the easy rider with a clockwork, orange. King Kong ate Jaws and apparently ET (the extra terrestrial) sent Rocky back 10 years to fight in the Star Wars. Last we heard he was suffering from vertigo and writing his memoir, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The raiders of the lost ark were going to do the right thing, of course, and take a platoon to save the Titanic, but Spartacus, still stinging from intolerance, announced "these modern times call for an apocalypse, now." Luckily, Ben-hur and Forrest Gump, fresh from the Shawshank Redemption, were able to dissuade him, convincing him it's a wonderful life and these are the best years of our lives.

If you don't believe me, here's a hint: 9, 20, 25, 14, 19, 13.