EW’s New Classics List: Back to the Vault II

I’ve looked over Entertainment Weekly‘s New Classics: Movies list now several times, and something strikes me: I’ve seen probably 90% of the films listed, but there were only a handful when I read the title that I had a visceral reaction of a hand-pumping “Yes! I LOVE that movie!” I recall enjoying the vast majority of them, but very few of them were memorable enough that I consider them “repeater-worthy”, i.e. would want to watch them again on several (or even one) repeat viewings.

My showcase film today is a notable exception. It’s one where when I saw the title, I heaved a gigantic contented sigh, and said, “Oh, yes. They got that one right.” (And before you ask, I do talk to myself – all the time, in fact). It is No. 10 on the New Classics movie list: Moulin Rouge! (2001). This film, directed by Baz Luhrmann and written by Luhrmann and Craig Pearce, is pure melodrama injected with absinthe. It’s definitely a love-it-or-hate-it kind of movie, and I can respectfully acknowledge those people who hated it with a deep and abiding passion. But you can’t be indifferent about it, and how many movies can you say that about?

The plot follows a classic romance formula: a naive writer, Christian (Ewan McGregor), gets drawn into the world of the Moulin Rouge and falls in love with its star, Satine (Nicole Kidman). There’s a villain and, of course, a secret deadly illness, and lots of singing and dancing. Despite the fine acting by Kidman and McGregor [random digression: Ewan McGregor singing “Come What May” is perhaps the single most romantic scene in filmdom EVER. Is it warm in here? Pardon me while I fan myself a moment.], where the movie truly excels, and what lifts it into the realm of the “repeater-worthy” movie, is its use of style and tone. From the opening frames until the closing credits, Luhrmann maintains the frenetic, kinetic energy through the saturated colors, the camera angles and fast cuts, even the actors’ pacing of the dialogue. It takes what could have been a bland, formulaic disaster of a musical and makes it utterly brilliant and new.

What movies from the EW Movies list do you consider to be “repeater-worthy?”

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2 Responses to “EW’s New Classics List: Back to the Vault II”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Big was on that list! That is one of my top 5 favorite movies, definitely. I don’t know what it is about it, but I just love it! I think the first time I saw it was at Mama and Poppop’s house, actually.

  2. toddiedowns Says:

    BIG is a completely sweet movie. It was one of the first of the “switcheroo” movies and was so well crafted that the viewer completely bought the gimmick. It deserved to be on the list.

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