GOOD: 'Dr Strangelove' (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
I love that this movie equates political power to sex. There's a scene when Peter Sellers's Dr Strangelove explains that bunkers have been built for the survival of the human race after the Soviet Doomsday device is fired. The ratio of men to women will be 1 to 10 and the men will be chosen for their political and administrative skills. However, the women for their physical attractiveness and their virility. He says there is going to be nothing to do in these bunkers other than procreate and keep the human race going. George C Scott's character clearly likes the idea of spending the rest of his life shagging bimbos. It's an absolute absurd situation: these guys are facing the death of humanity and they are thinking of their dicks. It's a statement about how men make all the decisions for the world.
BAD: 'Saving Private Ryan' (Steven Spielberg, 1998)
Spielberg is the opposite of Kubrick, because his films are extremely emotional and not intellectual. I dislike the opening shot with the American flag because it is a celebration of warfare. Furthermore it implies that the Allied invasion was only Americans, which is revisionism, and goes back to the idea that war is this gallant thing. I'd hoped that things had changed after films like Full Metal Jacket, which really looked at how the horrors of war come from within, within the army and one's own self.
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