Most great movies are great, as their admirers show us, because they contain hidden multitudes. These great movies, they are palimpsests, rich in layered meaning and subtle complexity. “Look again,” we’re told (and tell each other). “There’s even more in there the second time around.” We revisit these great movies over and over, and each time we do, we are amazed to discover in them something new and marvelous, and just when we’re certain the great movie’s many marvels have all been discovered, we find ourselves older, our perspectives another year matured, and the great movie looks, incredibly, even wiser than before; it has actually gotten better. Criticism is to these movies what light is to a prism.
Some Like It Hot is not one of these movies.
Assuming the picture is clear, the volume is turned on, and you don’t hate film, the greatness of Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot (1959) will be obvious to you, completely and immediately. That’s it. Love at first sight. Because Some Like It Hot is manifestly wonderful, you will not love it more on a second viewing, and you will not love it more as you get older and wiser. It is the exact opposite of an acquired taste.
“Wilder’s famous last lines are legion, but what makes them so revelatory is what they imply about the characters’ unseen pasts and futures.”
Menace II Society: The Truth Hurts
With the candor and rage of many hip-hop albums of the nineties, the Hughes brothers’ controversial debut feature depicts Watts as a pitiless urban war zone with no exit.
Citizen Kane: The Once and Future Kane
Modern in conception but postmodern in effect, the film hailed by many as the greatest ever made has been the subject of cinephilic passion and intense critical analysis since its release in 1941.
Once Upon a Time in China: The Complete Films: Past Master
Tsui Hark’s epic martial-arts saga revolutionized Hong Kong cinema by presenting a complex portrait of modern Chinese history and setting a gold standard in action choreography.
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