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Rants and Raves: Films to be Thankful For

November 23, 2010 2:23 a.m.

KPBS Film Critic Beth Accomando provides a list of films to be thankful for.

Related Story: Rants and Raves: Films to be Thankful For


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

KPBS-FM Radio Film Review: Films to be Thankful For
By Beth Accomando
Air date: November 23, 2010

With Thanksgiving just days away KPBS film critic Beth Accomando has been thinking about films to be thankful for.

THANKFUL (ba).wav SOQ 3:50 (Music out at 5:00)

(Tag:) Go to K-P-B-S-dot-O-R-G-slash-cinema-junkie for links to trailers and to post your own list of films to be thankful for.

Thanksgiving is two days away so what are you thankful for?

CLIP I’ll try… Do or do not there is no try.

KPBS film critic Beth Accomando does have a list of films she’s thankful for. Find out what’s made her list coming up on Morning Edition.

On the Cinema Junkie Facebook page I have been posting a trailer a day representing films I am grateful for. But 30 days isn't nearly enough time and 3 minutes 50 seconds is even less but here goes.

I'm thankful for filmmakers who cast spells on us and make us look up in wonder at the screen. I am thankful for Jean Cocteau's La Belle et La Bete for proving that cinema can be pure magic; to Japanese animator Hayao Miyzaki for showing us that the fantastical and the normal can exist side by side; to the French New Wavers for blowing the dust off stale conventions to invest the movies with a newfound rebellion; and to Terry Gilliam for proving that there are no limits to what can be imagined onscreen only the restrictions of narrow-minded studios.

I'm grateful for films that make us sympathize with the monster from James Whale's Frankenstein to Guillermo Del Toro's Cronos and Devil's Backbone that made us feel compassion for a vampire and a ghost. And to the 1933 King Kong in which a giant ape was so endearing that I wept when he died.

CLIP Twas beauty that killed the beast.

And thanks to Japan for making me fall in love with men in rubber suits masquerading as a giant monster known as Godzilla. I'm thankful for films that appeal to the thirteen year old boy in me like Star Wars and Indiana Jones


I give thanks to Paul Newman for the bluest blue eyes and for bucking the system with impertinence; to Errol Flynn for swashbuckling his way through adventures with a rogue's grin that could make me swoon; and to Robert Mitchum for lighting up a cigarette like no one else could. And to all the cinematic clowns who made me laugh till my sides ached starting with Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd who needed no words; to Hong Kong's Stephen Chow who mixed physical and verbal comedy with equal ease; to Carole Lombard, Barbara Stanwyck, and Jean Arthur for their sophisticated screwball comediennes; and to Mae West who could turn any phrase into a suggestive come on.

CLIP Where has my easy rider gone?

And to the Marx Brothers and Monty Python for their comic anarchy and total lack of respect for authority.

CLIP Help, help, I'm being repressed.

I'm thankful for Myrna Loy and William Powell for letting the world see that marriage could be fun; to Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastrioanni for sexy Italian romance; to Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart for teaching us to whistle; and to Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn for showing us that men and women could be equals on screen.

CLIP We're 50-50

To people like Frank Capra, Billy Wilder, and Preston Sturges who created dialogue that, sparkled, zinged, and crackled.


I am thankful to filmmakers that put the motion in motion pictures: to Jackie Chan who could make any prop come to life; to John Woo who choreographed bullet ballets of heroic bloodshed; and to Gene Kelly who made dance athletic.

I offer my deepest gratitude to filmmakers who reject comfortable cinema and don't know how to cop out to a happy ending… to Takashi Miike for taking us beyond extreme, to David Lynch for making the mundane creepy beyond belief, to David Cronenberg for knowing exactly how to make you squirm.

I'm thankful for zombies, femme fatales, film noir, and horror. I am thankful for moments in cinema that take my breath away – Chow Yun Fat sliding down a banister with two guns blazing in Hard-Boiled, Grace Kelly's kiss in Rear Window, Cyd Charisse's endless legs in Singing in the Rain, the opening shots of Blade Runner, the intoxicating romance of Wong Kar Wai; and Slim Pickens riding a nuke at the end of Dr. Strangelove.

CLIP: Yeee-ha!

I give thanks to the young filmmakers who were making their first films when I was most impressionable especially Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. And to the recent upstarts like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.

Oh no my 3 minutes and 50 seconds are up and there are still hundreds more things I'm thankful for. So let me just end with the man who gave us a piece of cinematic perfection: Orson Welles and his first film Citizen Kane. He dazzled us with a film that still feels fresh today.


So thanks to all of the creative people and wondrous films that have given me so much joy in a darkened theater.

So what are you thankful for?

For KPBS, I'm Beth Accomando.