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Cougar's Favorite Videos--

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The Best Videos of the Century

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Lifestyle/Crime | Love/Relationship | The Arts | Classics | Out There

Thumbnail Reviews of the Cougar's Favorite Videos:

Social History

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Social History

The Killing Fields
Story of Cambodian war after Vietnam. Khmer Rouge wins capital and sends everyone out to work or die in countryside. NYT journalist and local translator barely escape. Gripping personal story in context of genocidal civil war.

The Hunt for Red October
...Sean Connery plays a renegade Russian sub captain in this tightly plotted thriller. Nice mood and atmosphere here. Everything works; though it's all a bit of a stretch, right down to the circling torpedo.

Black Robe
...Black but true: a story of a priest's dedication to his faith in practice in hostile early Canada

Babette's feast
...foreign film, one of those stark, harsh Scandinavian village settings, with the austere and pious folk who will lovingly be pulled, however unwillingly, toward the sensual delights of gourmet Parisian food and drink

This is an all-time great-especially if you happened to have grown up in the fifties. After seeing this movie my own memories are unclear: though definitely in black-and-white, as depicted in this film--a major motif in itself. How much do I remember and how much overwrote my memory from innumerable TV shows that filled that standard American suburban childhood? How much are simply the B&W family photos, interspersed with increasing color as the decade passed from the bland and cardboard fifties into the vibrant flower-colors of the explosive sixties? This film is a parable of that change, and works wonderfully on both the personal growth and relationship level, and the social convention-cultural change level. Even race relations as a theme comes along for the ride, though no "coloreds" appear in person. Sex has a place here too, with an interesting role yet carefully enough presented to be profitably watched by, say, a nine year old and an eleven year old without being offensive.

Oliver Stone’s portrait of the defining character of American political history in the second half of the twentieth century is disturbing, illuminating, overwhelming, impressive, artful: a poetic statement on a grand scale. A worthy sequel to the revolutionary incisiveness of "JFK," this epic gives a human face to the beastly nature of modern geopolitics. Nixon, to Stone’s credit, wears this face in all its sympathetic, tragic, fatally flawed glory. Here is the man, beset with his own psychic struggles and simple ambitions, who dared to ride the beast and was thrown off bucking to the ground.

Here’s the political statement established beyond question in "JFK" and elaborated in "Nixon": world politics, driven ostensibly by the most powerful nation in the world, is at the mercy of gangsters. Gangsters and Big Money—the privately powerful—strike deals with government through covert liaisons such as the CIA. The deal is this: Protect us from prosecution and we will kill your enemies for you, our way. We will even fund your next campaign. Just let us continue doing business the way we like to do it. If you don’t like this deal, we can end it for you at any time: "in a heartbeat": our way.

...Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Jack Nicolson star in epic-length true saga of two headstrong, left-wing journalists at time of Russian Revolution. Excellent portrayal of war between politics and art, free love and commitment.

The War of the Buttons
...well-plotted, charming story of boys’ gang fighting in Ireland

Wag the Dog
...Dustin Hoffman steals this uncannily timely show as a Hollywood producer saving the ass of an embarrassed President through a staged phony war on news clips. DeNiro supports and, ironically, is the movie’s producer.

Seven Years in Tibet
...This movie dragged relentlessly. Not even the occasional scenery redeemed it. Read the
book instead: it’s riveting.

Dances with Wolves
...I put off watching this for years, expecting the stock tragedy of the Indian wars. Instead, this is a full-bodied treatment that leaves our humanity free in the end despite the known history in close pursuit.

Dog Day Afternoon
...don't let shallow start throw you off. Great early Pacino, and capsule of early '70's.

...think you have problems with plumbing, wiring, terrorism, bureaucracy? Try this.

...I felt I owed it to myself to explore my Scottish roots. This filled a large gap in understanding that ragged history. So much treachery, so much courage, so much bloodshed. Another upbeat ending for a potential downer of a history lesson.

...Jack Nicolson shines in this tight mystery with a political edge. Too bad about the so-tragic ending so popular in the seventies.

Richard III
...Wry retelling of Shakespeare, set in an alternate past (England of 1930’s). The Shakespearean diction fits oddly but well. Be prepared for something different: tragedy made comic by style and irony.

...Some friends of mine enjoyed this, so I will only say it’s unusual, brash, street-real, and has the feel of a genre-definer: the dirty British realism that somehow comes off with a crooked smile and a lot of profanity to lace an unpleasant past, present and future. No wonder these characters are all junkies: too much needling for my stomach.

Soylent Green
...Charlton Heston in an almost-silly sci-fi premise, that the future masses are fed by our own dead; but it’s just plausible enough to be worth considering, and is entertaining besides.

When We Were Kings
...Muhammed Ali in all his glory: beating Foreman in Zaire. The sound track, featuring the great black music performers of the seventies (B.B. King, James Brown, and more) along with stage closeups, is an added bonus throughout. Fight footage is actually minimal as we see the complete man, Clay-Ali.

Howard’s End
...Ironically enough, a close fit with Looking for Mr. Goodbar. Only the setting is changed, to protect the guilty: in this case the upper class English. We are treated to an interminable display of country settings and townhouse teas, which portray all too well the life of a class that receives harsh justice in the end.

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