Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2018 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Cleaning the Clutter"--I might literally be cleaning my closets or figuratively clearing the excess from some other part of my life. I'm sure you can think of other things this could mean for you as well.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...


Monday, March 18, 2013

Top Ten Controversial Films

         It's time for Captain Alex's Movie Blogfest!   For the participant list you can go here.    I did this one the first time Alex hosted it and actually did two lists which you can find here and here.   So as not to be repetitious I've decided to keep in line with my theme of controversy on Mondays and post some of my favorite films that might or might not involve some controversy, with a few thrown in that will provide a clue about my Tossing It Out A to Z Theme.  

Top Ten Controversial Films:

Birth of a Nation (1915) -- At over 3 hours in length, this silent film might prove tedious for those who don't appreciate old movies.  I've watched it in it's entirety three times.   Charged with racism and historical twisting, this film has been debated for nearly one hundred years.  Sophisticated for its time, I find the film to be a fascinating document of film making history as well as a perspective on the way a controversial time of U.S. was dealt with on film.  Many of the roles of blacks were played by white actors in make-up.   Is that controversial?
poster for Citizen Kane
poster for Citizen Kane (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Citizen Kane (1941) -- Greatest film ever made?  Precursor to modern film making?  Dated, over-hyped bore?    If one knows film history it's easy to see the signifcance of this film.

Pulp Fiction (1994) --  The "Citizen Kane" of this generation?  Another wacky mess from Quentin Tarantino?   The first time I saw this in the theater I hated it.  The second time I saw it in a theater it made more sense and I loved it.   I've watched it several times since and it's one of my favorite movies.

The Passion of the Christ (2004) -- One of the top grossing films in history, this one created quite a stir when it came out.   No other Jesus film matches the graphic reality of "The Passion".   Some people hate this film.  Of course there are some people who are not too fond of Jesus or His story.

Cover of "Easy Rider [Region 2]"
Cover of Easy Rider [Region 2]
Easy Rider (1969) --  This counterculture film changed the film industry and brought credibility to its stars Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson.   Movies changed in a big way after this one.  Was it for the good or the worse?

Memento (2000) --  What?   This is one of those movies I had to watch more than once.   Is it genius or just a gimmick?

Midnight in Paris (2011)  -- Is it time travel or literary fantasy?   Oscar worthy?   Woody's best?

Thirteen Conversations About One Thing (2001) -- Where's the controversy in this one?  Well, I saw it and you probably didn't.  This is a film that I watched three times in succession.  There aren't many films where I've done that.  I just liked the philosophical study of the questions and the situations.  I think it's a nice film that's interesting to ponder.

The Human Centipede (2009) --  With a concept that is pretty disgusting, I won't even bother describing what this movie is about.   If you're really curious click the link to read more.  I was actually surprised how well they pulled this one off.  They not only made a sequel, which I have not seen, but number 3 is coming soon.   Watch this if you absolutely have to see how they do this, but keep it away from the kids.  Definitely not for the squeamish.

Gone with the Wind (1939) -- Is it terrific epic film making or dumb romantic schlock?   Big controversy because Clark Gable as Rhett Butler said "damn".    Damn?   Ah, the good old days.

         What do you think?   Which ones have you seen?   Do you think any of these are controversial for any reason and why?

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  1. Memento! One of my most favorite. So original.
    Not a chance I'd ever watch Human Centipede though. Just too disgusting.
    Thanks for participating in my blogfest!

  2. Hi Lee - interesting choices ... having seen one silent film at our local cinema and then heard it discussed afterwards by the accompanying pianist (The Passion of Joan of Arc"; also the recent film "The Artist" ... where snippets of silent movies and those early days were included - it's a fascinating era ... I think I must follow your suggestion of "The Birth of a Nation" ...

    Great list - many I have not seen! Time to catch up via Alex' blog fest ... make my list of films to watch ..

    Cheers - Hilary

  3. I've seen them all and liked evry single one of them. this was a fun blogfest.

  4. Lee, you need to see The Full Sequence of Human Centipede. It's right up there with the original, and even nastier.

    Pulp Fiction and Memento have to be my favorites out of your picks.

  5. Great list, all surely worth a watch.

  6. 'Easy Rider' now there's a blast from the past. I've seen that one many times. "Midnight in Paris', not sure what the controversy would be, but I love it. Thanks for the list.

  7. I've only seen three of those. Believe it or not, I've never seen Gone with the Wind.

  8. Alex -- Thanks for the blogfest.

    Hilary -- Not everyone appreciates silent film like I do, but a history buff like yourself would probably find Birth... to be interesting.

    Adriana -- Glad you could drop by.

    George -- Don't know about seeing the sequels. The first was kind of disturbing.

    Teresa and Patt -- Thnx.

    Faraway -- I'm sure some film buffs would find something to debate about Midnight.... It was also one of my hints about my A to Z theme for this blog.


  9. L.Diane -- You must see GWTW! I've watched it several times in whole and in parts. It's one of my wife's favorite films.


  10. human centipede... i met the actors of the film and told them i enjoyed meeting them, but sadly would never... would never see them in that film.

    Jeremy [Retro-Z]
    Howlin' Wolf

  11. There are a few here I haven't seen an will look for. But how could I forget Easy Rider?

  12. Though I wasn't around when "Gone With The Wind" was released, I did see it many years ago on TV, Great selection of films.


  13. I've seen a few of these films. I never loved Citizen Kane, but I appreciated it.

    And I've never seen The Human Centipede but I know what it's about and the premise just... Ugh.

  14. Leave it to you, Lee, to have films I've never heard of, let alone never seen. Sad to say I don't think we'd agree on many movie dates, but I love you anyway.

  15. Only one I had seen was Gone with the Wind. Loved the book, enjoyed the movie, but once was enough for both.

    I suspect most of those movies are too serious for me, at my age, I try not to do serious any more.


  16. I haven't seen a number of your. Maybe a visit to Netflix is in order.

    And wouldn't a return to "damn" being shocking be nice.

  17. We have PulpnFiction a common film. Inwant to eat at that diner some day.

  18. Jeremy -- I would not want to be a centipede actor--too weird.

    Bish -- I guess Easy Rider still holds up. My daughters seemed to like it, but my wife didn't care much for it.

    Sandy -- We own 2 different DVD versions of the film--gifts from our daughters who knew we liked the film.

    MJ -- Citizen Kane is an artifact of sorts now. It's a must for any student of film making or cinema history.

    Karen -- But you have heard of Gone With the Wind, right?

    Jo - You might want to try Midnight in Paris. It's a delightful film.


  19. LD -- I have a few here that are well worth your time.

    Stephen -- I had thought that diner was in Downey, but found out that I had received wrong information. I'd like to eat at that diner as well.


  20. The Human Centipede and Gone With The Wind? You are a man with a wide movie palette. And Memento? I'll have to check that one out.

  21. Yay, for Citizen Cane! You have some serious variety here, Arlee. All classics of one kind or another. Ahem... thinking of The Human Centipede here.

    ~VR Barkowski

  22. I think Citizen Kane totally lives up to the hype. It's one of the classice, for sure...at least in my mind.

  23. Hi, Arlee. I've seen two of the movies on your top ten list. The Passion of the Christ and Gone with the Wind.

  24. The only one I've seen is Gone with the Wind. I liked it.

  25. Same here, I've only seen Gone in the Wind. This list makes me seem very uninformed!

  26. I like most of your list --though I haven't seen (and don't think I ever will see) The Human Centipede. Ewwwwww.

  27. Alex-

    re: Pulp Fiction

    I will never forget being in the theater, seeing the scene where Marvin gets shot in the car, laughing (along with the whole audience) and then feeling that recoil when I realized that I'd laughed at a man being shot in the head.

    That scene sold me on Tarantino's talent.


  28. Lee-

    A thousand apologies. I saw the button for the blogfest and addressed my comment to Alex....

    and of course, I meant to you.

    The perils of reading blog posts while sitting on a conference call...


  29. Em -- I guess that's why I like an eclectic blog. I have a variety of interests and tastes.

    VR -- The Centipede movie might be considered a classic for some, but for me it was rather weird.

    Mark -- "Kane" does deserve the attention it gets, but I think it does come across as dated to modern audiences.

    Susanne -- You might want to check out a few of the others. Then there might be a couple you might want to skip.

    Al -- I'm a GWTW fan.

    Ghadeer -- There are a few film milestones here that might be worth checking out.

    Southpaw -- Another poo-poo of "Centipede". Yuck! Maybe I shouldn't have expressed it that way.

    Larry -- Yeah, I'm the guy in the hat and the shades. Alex is the guy who looks like a satellite dish. We're easy to tell apart. Tarantino does have some film making talent for sure.


  30. It's bizarre Lee but I've never actually seen Citizen Kane before. I have seen a few films on this list here although I confess I will NEVER watch the Human Centipede, good idea to go with the controversy theme on here, some interesting ones I really should watch.

  31. Gone with the Wind is definitely a classic. :) I have yet to watch the other films here though. Must check them out.

  32. What standard did you use to judge whether a film classified as controversial? Most of these don't really fit that category if you're basing it on public reaction.
    Like The Last Temptation of Christ caused a huge public outcry; most people have never heard of that centipede movie.
    And there's Midnight Cowboy which was hugely controversial.
    People may not understand Memento, but no one protested it.

    So just curious.

  33. Nice spin on the blogfest. I too should rewatch memento.

  34. I'll never forget how hard I cried after The Passion of the Christ. Devastating, even though I know the story every which way. And now I watch every Easter.

  35. Just the trailer for The Human Centipede made me want to puke... so I will not be watching the entire film.


  36. Oh boy, you weren't playing around when you said controversial! I'm curious to see Midnight in Paris though...I think it had a limited run in theaters and I was supposed to go see it but didn't after letting it slip my mind. I bought Birth of a Nation many years ago, on VHS, but never watched it. You can't go wrong with Pulp Fiction! It's an iconic movie that defines a culture, in a time and ways that people want to deny exists.

    How in the world did you muster up the moxie to watch The Human Centipede? I've seen some sick stuff on episodes of the "Criminal Minds" TV show on CBS...but I STILL can't bring myself to watch that movie.

    Your list packs a mighty punch!


  37. Ah! Good category. Yes, I say Midnight in Paris is Woddy's best, and who can argue with Citizen Kane? I love saying "rosebud" and no one has a clue what I'm talking about. :)

  38. Yeamie -- If you're serious about film history then Citizen Kane is a must-see. Human Centipede is not.

    Nutschell -- At least a few might be worth your while.

    Andrew -- Anything can be controversial to certain parties. Controversy can also entail many aspects. I'm dealing with micro as well as macro. And as stated in my intro, a few of these are clues about my A to Z theme. Memento? Do you think it's a good movie that will hold up over the years and with repeated viewings?

    Wendy -- I've been rewatching a lot of films of late and have discovered that I forget things easily.

    Nancy -- The Passion is a very powerful film.

    Chippy -- I was surprised that my wife watched Centipede to the end and did not seem particularly upset about it. But it's not her favorite film either.

    Nicole -- Sometimes my curiosity gets the best of me I guess. Midnight in Paris is a fine film and of special interest to writers I would think.

    David - Yes, "Rosebud", a classic film reference.


  39. I get that, which is why I'm asking what standard you used to pick the movies you did. Some of them were certainly controversial on societal level but some weren't, so I'm just curious as to how you picked the ones you did.

  40. Andrew -- My standard was random based on films that quickly came to my mind as having been very controversial either now or when they were released. Some were based on things I'd recently read that discussed controversial aspects of the film(Easy Rider & GWTW). Others were from the list that I had originally thought about doing that would be clues to my A to Z theme, but then I realized it was controversy day. And that's how it all happened.


  41. Ah, okay, now it makes sense to me.
    Oh, and I haven't seen Memento, yet, but, then, I think Nolan is more than a little overrated, so I haven't felt compelled to get to it.

  42. Gotta hand it to you listing The Passion of Christ, Lee. That was a tough movie to watch, but well worth the price of a ticket. You've got some nice picks here...solid movies that get people thinking.

  43. Interesting Choices! I haven't seen Citizen Kane in a long while, and Passion of the Christ is memorable even though I've only seen it once as well . . . I would like to watch it again, but I'm waiting for my kids to be the right age for the graphic violence and the way that Judas goes over the edge . . .it's odd because I know they know the story, but knowing it and seeing it brought to life in full color is a bit different.

  44. I haven't seen most of these, so I can't really give good comment. However, I do applaud you for your interesting choices. Gone With The Wind was more controversial for more than just the word "damn." But I don't want to go stirring the pot.

    Pulp Fiction was extremely dark. The fact that fans loved it allowed directors the latitude to take movies to very dark places. I am not saying that is good or bad. It just is.

  45. haha, I didn't know there was controversy over the damn. And it's such a famous line, now!

    Allison (Geek Banter)

  46. I hated Pulp Fiction when I first saw it too! But it only took me one night of sleeping on it, and by morning I realized it's brilliance. :)

    I love so much that you stuck w/ your controversy theme for Monday. Very clever, Mr. Bird.

  47. Andrew -- I recall thinking Memento was quite good, but now I need to watch it again to see if I still think so.

    MJ -- The Passion brought Biblical films to a new level of relevance and realism.

    Tyrean -- The Passion told it like it is. It's a tough one to sit through and not feel moved.

    Robin -- I've certainly seen films darker than Pulp Fiction and I don't think that film had anything to do with influencing darkness in films. Maybe some influence in cinematic story-telling though.

    Allison -- I wasn't around when GWTW was released but I've always heard that the use of "damn" was controversial. When I was a kid in the 1950's "damn" was kind of a no-no word.

    Nicki -- You will be stirring up the next pot of controversy in your post next Monday.


  48. BOAN made me want to vomit several times, with all the cheering for the Klan and overwhelming racism. It took me a really long time before I was able to watch a D.W. Griffith film and really enjoy it. His Biograph shorts of the Aughts are wonderful, and so much more enlightened about social issues and human nature.

    Citizen Kane bored me almost to sleep and left me wondering what all the fuss was about. It also annoyed me that it slandered Marion Davies, who was a lovely person and nothing like her strongly-fictionalized character in the film.

    I 've seen GWTW a number of times, and really enjoyed it. While it has some moments that might be considered benevolently racist by modern standards, it's light years ahead of the book. The book is pro-Klan and also has a lot of other racial sentiments that aren't exactly friendly or enlightened.

  49. I'd like to see Birth of a Nation - old movies are so intriguing!
    I got to see Metropolis in a repertory theatre with a live piano player!
    Ugh, that centipede thing. I'd read about it before. Sooooo gross!

  50. Hi Lee,

    I consider your choices most interesting and thought provoking. An excellent slant on it all.

    Although, with "Easy Rider", I think more about the music from the movie by that Canadian band, "Steppenwolf".

    Perhaps we were born to be wild.

    Cheers, Lee.


  51. Dude, you watched The Human Centipede? For reals? 0_0 My weirdo teenage son thinks it's brilliant, but then, he's a weirdo. Gah.

  52. Human centipede is one of my favorite movies of all time!!



  53. Thirteen Conversations!! Really, I didn't think anyone else ever saw this film. I liked it but probably need to watch it again.

    I have Citizen Kane siting on my shelf and have not watched it. I know it will be one I watch without my wife.

    And Pulp always makes my list. Great movie.

    Very tantalizing list Lee, well done.

  54. Carrie-Anne -- BOAN is a historical relic and must be taken as such. Citizen Kane is primarily of interest because of style and use of technique that was innovative in its time, but commonplace now. Though the story is modeled upon real life, it is a fiction and should be taken as such. GWTW is an American classic that remains watchable.

    Deniz -- Watching Birth of a Nation is a bit like looking back in time--actually I guess that what it is. I find old silent films interesting to watch.

    Gary -- No doubt that Easy Rider has a great soundtrack. I think that was one of the trends this film encouraged.

    Mina --Even my wife watched it and didn't get upset with me. Disgusting? Yes! But rather well done for what it was.

    Valerie -- I hope you're just teasing me. But then again, whatever turns you on. It's certainly far from the worst film I've ever seen.

    Chuck -- Is your wife one of those people who refuse to watch anything that's old or in black & white? If she's interested in film appreciation she'd be missing out by not watching it, but if she just likes entertainment then maybe not.


  55. Not a big Woody Allen fan (I know, I know, he's had some serious critical acclaim for his movies, but still, they don't appeal to me).

    On your list I've seen GWTW,Pulp Fiction (most of Tarantino's movies are a wacky mess, imo) and I saw Easy Rider.

  56. I just finished watching Seven Psychopaths, it was a wild ride.

  57. Hey there! The Human Centipede is most defiantly not for the squeamish. Or even those who are mildly squeamish. You are so right about Easy Rider. It changed a lot of things. I think a lot of folks "hit the road" after watching that one.

  58. Interesting list, Lee! You always surprise us with some of what you've got tucked away in your head. Citizen Kane is awesome, better every time I watch it. We own BOAN but haven't watched it yet. My wife doesn't like silent movies as much as I do, and I don't like watching three hour movies by myself:)

  59. Sia -- You still might want to check out Allen's Midnight in Paris since it's about writing and writers and it is rather fun.

    esbb -- That rings a bell with me as something I noticed somewhere today. Psychopaths eh? Seven? Sounds like great fun.

    Pat -- I think a lot of people hit more that the road and took a few hits of other things as well. That film came from a unique era in time.

    Ron -- My wife hasn't watched many silent films with me either. Though three hours in length, the film is fast-paced enough where it almost doesn't seem that long. Griffith's Intolerance is another interesting film.


  60. I've only seen couple of those - and didn't recognize most others. Interesting list. I knew you'd like controversy :)


  61. ARLEE BOID ~
    I've seen all of your ten except '13 Conversations' and 'The Human Centipede'.

    I agree with FarAwayEyes... 'Midnight In Paris' doesn't belong on a list of Top Ten Controversial Movies. WHA'?! Is it Woody's best? Not to me, but it's darned close!

    Of the 8 of 10 I've seen, I would say that 'Citizen Kane' and 'Midnight In Paris' are my two favorites.

    Quentin Tarantino better hope I NEVER see him ANYWHERE (and since I now live in Phoenix rather than L.A., he's probably safe). Because if I do see him, I will immediately beat that boy into a bloody pulp, and just before he passes out, I am going to axe him:

    "Quentin, did you find that ENTERTAINING?"

    Lee, I hope you don't think that was a joke. Three hours after I see Quentin Tarantino in person, anywhere, I am going to get my 15 minutes of fame (and a prison sentence).

    After my release from prison, I will probably be offered a multi-million dollar Reality TV Show contract, which I will sign. (I've already got it all worked out in my mind... seriously. No... SERIOUSLY!)

    Stay tuned to the Ten O' Clock News, Boidman. Quentin Tarantino may make me as rich as he is someday.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  62. Citizen Kane was an excellent film and if it was controversial, that may have been its similarities to one of the news empires of that time.

    Midnight in Paris was an excellent nostalgic look at those personalities that defined an era in Paris. It may be Woody's best, but whether it is or not, I love it.

    Easy Rider was a warning about assumptions and small towns.

    An interesting list, Lee.

  63. Donna -- Yeah, it was Controversy Monday. What else could I do?

    StMc -- Midnight... could be controversial in some circles. Woody Allen certainly can be. Your reaction to Tarantino seems pretty controversial to me. Yikes!

    DG -- I'd say some modern film fans might question the greatness of Citizen Kane if they didn't understand its influence on film making. If they could even sit through it. I think it is a great film.


  64. I've seen almost all of these. Loved Pulp Fiction. Really cool reading all the lists.

  65. I think the only one of these I've actually seen is Citizen Kane, and that was in high school in some class, and I can't even remember it. :) A lot of these I would happily see.

  66. Carol-- Pulp Fiction seems to be quite popular. Thanks for visiting.

    Trisha -- How cool that you would have seen CK in high school. I never heard of it until I took a film class in college.


  67. BOIDMAN ~
    I agree that Woody, personally, is controversial, but I never heard anything about his movie 'Midnight In Paris' being controversial for any reason.

    I mean, if it's just a question of whether or not one thinks it merits its positive reputation, that could be said about ANY movie.

    Regarding Quentin Tarantino...

    Well, see, that boy is obviously under the impression that brutal violence is a very ENTERTAINING thing. He has made millions of dollars by exploiting the entertainment aspect of the most brutal, graphic violence.

    So, after I beat him into a bloody, semi-conscious pulp and go on trial for it, I will tell the judge:

    "Your Honor, it is obvious to EVERYONE that Quentin Tarantino views brutal violence as a form of entertainment. So, when I beat the sh!t out of him - which I readily confess to having done - I was merely attempting to "entertain" the great filmmaker. I thought he would ENJOY it, your Honor!"

    And, Lee, if you think THAT wouldn't get me more than 15 minutes of fame and oodles of money, you are surely not living in "this world" that I am.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  68. the passion was awesome!!! thanks for posting that one. it was quite hard to watch but hey, the truth was worth seeing again.

  69. StMc --I could go on about Woody's film but I'm on a really difficult computer to keyboard on so I leave that controversy behind. As well as Mr. Violence.

    Tammy --The Passion was as real as it gets.


  70. I thought the controversy over GWTW was over the way African Americans are portrayed in the film, not the "damn". I need to watch Memento again. and Midnight in Paris -- not sure why it made the list. It was mildly entertaining and certainly not his best. One good thing about it was that my 85 year old father enjoyed it and he hates movies.


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