Monday, April 02, 2007

Down and Dirty
Need a break from "The Secret" and the law of attraction and the ever-popular positive thinking? Catch any one of these five Cynical Cinema masterpieces (showing often on Turner Classic Movies.) They're perfect for those times when you just have to think really negative thoughts. When you look at the world and all you can see are the soggy, grimy Starbucks cups flattened in the gutter. The sky's overcast, the temperature's 50 degrees, and the only colors you can see are grey, whitish-grey, darkish grey, and brown.

A Face in the Crowd
Andy Griffith as ne'er-do-well parasite Lonesome Rhodes, championed by Patricia Neal into a plain talking, tobacco-chawin', heartland-born good-old-boy. He becomes a success and gains power, but his abrasiveness gets played out on larger and larger stages. Until, of course, The End.

The Sweet Smell of Success (pictured)
Burt Lancaster plays powerful New York City columnist J.J. Hunsecker, who holds court in Times Square clubs and bars. He's the center of a society that values who you know over what you actually do. But Burt's holding a ton of stuff inside, and it isn't pretty. Not at all.

Ace in the Hole (AKA "The Big Carnival")
Kirk Douglas plays slimy newspaper reporter Chuck Tatum, who deliberately stalls rescue efforts saving a man trapped in a cave, just to drive up the story, get it played nationwide, and make himself successful. This is the movie that got me thinking about this post, when I saw it a couple of weeks ago. Awesome final shot.

Kiss Me Deadly
Ralph Meeker plays sleazy LA private investigator Mike Hammer, who gets a lead on something big... REALLY big. He doesn't know what it is, but that doesn't matter. He dominates his way through the movie, abusing people left and right, until the end. That's when he gets burned.

The Apartment
Jack Lemmon plays monolithic NYC insurance firm gruntworker C.C. Baxter, who "sublets" his apartment nightly to married executives who promises him promotions just so they have a place to entertain their "dates." And when Jack gets the success he strives for, it comes with a whole lot of extra baggage. However, this one does have a quasi-happy ending.

These 5 flicks that show us at our most negative. All are in black and white, from the fifties/early sixties, and feature main characters see lying, cheating and stealing as too tame. Basically, these movies are primers on how NOT to get ahead!

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