2012 has been a terrific year for me in terms of classic movie watching, American movies is a big part of it. As an american DVD company, Criterion Collection helped a lot select 10 from a hundred American titles I’ve seen last year, six out of the ten below are from their catalog.
Let’s take a look at my best American movies watched in 2012:
10. Night and the City dir. Jules Dassin
Whenever you are in the mood of a film noir, you should go to Jules Dassin’s cinema, this man means business. The authentic London underworld serves as a perfect backdrop and Richard Widmark gave the performance of a lifetime as the all-time pathetic scambag on the big screen.
9. Witness for the Prosecution dir. Billy Wilder
I finally chose this one over Otto Preminger’s Anatomy of a Murder as the courtroom drama of the year. Billy Wilder’s brilliance lies outside of the courtroom: the setup of Charles Laughton’s character is even more memorable than the dramas in the court. Marlene Dietrich’s deceitful performance makes Wilder’s biggest tricks work.
8. F For Fake dir. Orson Welles
This is the color version of Citizen Kane. Orson Welles’s free-form documentary was as innovative as his magnum opus. He was like a confident and experienced magician playing all kinds of cinematic tricks in front of us and blurred the thin line between the fake and the authentic.
7. Make Way for Tomorrow Leo McCarey
Leo McCarey’s Make Way for Tomorrow is the tearjerker of the year. As Orson Welles said, “it would make a stone cry!”. After watching film you will understand that the only person you can rely on through your life is your other half.
6. Our Hospitality dir. Buster Keaton
The most well-balanced Buster Keaton film. The normal type gags and action spectacles split into 50/50. It’s an ideal entry to the genius’ cinema.
5. White Dog dir. Samuel Fuller
White Dog is definitely one of the biggest surprises I have in 2012. I’ve never expected Samuel Fuller to make such a complex and metaphorical film with a dog as its leading role. It is also incredible that a man like Fuller would have the heart to credit all the “dog actors” at the end of film.
4. The Conversation dir. Francis Ford Coppola
The 1970’s decade, for Francis Ford Coppola, is the best among all his contemporaries. The sound editing was one of the best in cinema history, and Gene Hackman’s low key performance should have won him an Oscar.
3. Zodiac dir. David Fincher
David Fincher’s modern-day crime drama carefully examines an ordinary man’s craziest obsessions. Zodiac definitely deserves the admiration and envy of other directors for its well-paced narrative.
2. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters dir. Paul Schrader
This is a film Paul Schrader was born to make, a real life self-born self-destructive character he had dreamed to write and film since Taxi Driver. John Bailey’s rich cinematography and Phillip Glass’s highly influential score made this a must-watch. No matter how much you know about Mishima, you will be fascinated by his life and works after watching this film.
1. Rosemary’s Baby dir. Roman Polanski
As Roman Polanski’s Hollywood debut, Rosemary’s Baby is one of the best psychological horror films. Carefully-designed shots depicting every sinister and scary scene, as well as Mia Fallow’s hysterical persona kept the tension to the maximum.
It’s Your Turn
Which are your favorite American movies watched in 2012?