Sunday, September 4, 2011

Top 100 Grab Bag- #14- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

I was once asked by a good friend "how could you like Zodiac more than Shawshank Redemption?" Since my digs are purely subjective and exist on the basis of wanting to watch the film multiple times, then it should come out the other end as honest. In both choice & ranking. Regardless of how high it charts an some list the AFI or imdb made or how many oscars it won.

Ranking has always been the difficult task of any list. I'm sure anyone who has made one knows what I'm talking about. It's not that I dislike the film at #100 because it ranks there. The way I look at it, these are 100 A+ students. The smartest, liveliest, wittiest kids in the class. Always ahead of the game.

So in that regard, I will be choosing all 100 entries at random. That's right. Random. & today we'll be visiting a little ole' mental institution.

#14- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Cuckoo's Nest takes on the form of what one would expect from a prison movie. You have the rebellious lead. The villian in Nurse Ratched. It's a 100% anti-establishment picture that the audience of the 70's dug so much along with those golden boys at the Academy.

Sure, films like Cool Hand Luke & The Great Escape had that tasty morsel of rebellion that had us cinemagoers chomping at the bit for that breathtaking escape scene. & while I hold huge digs for both films, one can see the inherant reblliousness of a baseball tossin' Captain Hiltz in the natural born world shaker Lucas Jackson. Characters like that exist to throw the establishment off its kilter. & do they do it ever so cool too. Even that tall glass of water, Andy Dufrasne exists to do so.

OFOTCN excels over the others because of its attention to secondary (& even tertiary) characters. Bill Bibbitt, the Chief, Tabor, Charlie Cheswick, even . It's the little moments. Billy dancing with Candy. Mac thinking to himself after the party he throws in the place. If there ever were a case to be made as to how important character actors are, then this is one of the films to show someone.

You see, the greatness of Cuckoo's Nest, Cool Hand Luke & even Great Escape lay in not having some character escape a correctional facility, POW camp or mental institution. It lay in presenting a world through thorough characterizations the that makes us innocent folk want to break in. If only for the duration of two hours. Now isn't that pe-culiar.

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