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Intermission: More Batman Philosophy, Ebert on Favorite Movies, The Beauty of Black-and-White, Netflix Rentals That Just Won’t Get Watched

A few items of interest that I’ve turned up over the past few days:

Metaphilm offers yet another rumination on what might have been on the Nolan Brothers’ minds when they sat down to write The Dark Knight. Could it have been The Three Versions of Judas by Jorge Luis Borges?

Roger Ebert discusses the question that plagues movie lovers everywhere: “What’s your favorite movie?” I was asked that question just recently myself by the vice-principal at the school where my wife works. I was carrying a book about the Oscars under my arm, so I was asking for it, but I was still caught a bit off-guard.

I started with my standard quick answer: “Oh, I don’t know . . . there are so many. It would be hard to choose.” Seeming to want to help me out, he asked, “Do you like Braveheart?” “Errr . . . yes, that one’s good,” (not on any sort of top favorite list, though). Feeling pressured to throw him some sort of bone, I offered, “Well, I really like The Godfather.” This got me a bit of an odd look which I couldn’t quite interpret and he moved on. *sigh*

I should note, for what it’s worth, that the man is from another part of the world entirely and English is not his primary language, so I really have no idea what sorts of cultural or linguistic issues I might have been dealing with in attempting to communicate. I’ve always felt that movies are great global uniters, as watching any given movie connects you with countless others who have also experienced it, but . . . there are complications.

Here is a nice little piece on the beauty of black-and-white cinema which manages to be fairly exhaustive in its range, particularly considering its brevity. I think it’s a mistake for the author to presume, of course, that color film is somehow inferior to black-and-white; they are simply different . . . like poetry and prose, perhaps (though that analogy is far from perfect). In any case, it’s a refreshing difference from the vast majority of people today who make the opposite mistake.

-My favorite link of the bunch comes from Slate, which a few weeks ago asked its readers to write in with the titles of DVDs from their Netflix queues that sit, unwatched, on their DVD players for appalling lengths of time. I thought about responding to the initial request, but I couldn’t think of any particular title that I simply froze on, at least not for more than a week or two. If it’s been around for more than a week, I start to get very agitated.

Now, having said that, it turns out that there’s a copy of Sophie Scholl: The Last Days that is going into its 4th week of sitting in my living room, but it turns out that that’s nothing compared to some of the stories on Slate. In this case my failing is due to three major factors: 1) My wife wants to see it with me, which means we have to find a time that works for both of us. 2) I just started graduate school and an assistantship and have not yet quit my other part-time job. 3) The fact that it’s a foreign film with subtitles means I have to put all other distractions aside for the duration. I’ll get to it this week, alone if necessary, and send it on its way. Anyway, the top three titles Slate was given are:

1. Hotel Rwanda
2. Schindler’s List
3. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Their story is put together in a surprising and highly amusing fashion. Check it out.

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~ by Jared on September 14, 2008.

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