Monday, May 12, 2008

You got skills?


Esquire recently listed the 75 Skills Every Man Should Master, and like the magazine itself the list is written for either the prosperous single man, the prosperous man who wishes he was single, the single man who wishes he was prosperous, or the old guy who's seen enough to know better. It's an entertaining list no doubt designed to elicit equal amounts of "yesss", "okayyy" and "what the?!" -- but where's the skill relating to movies? The list touches on music, literature and even poetry, but shouldn't a man who knows how to deliver a eulogy and place at least three different bets on a craps table also have some valuable skill relating to movie knowledge?

I've seen the need for such a skill firsthand: I once knew a guy close to my age who appeared to have a seven figure fortune, with good looks that lit up a room and the ability to charm the pants off said room. He was able to dispense financial advice like someone who was paid for such consultation, and he was enough of an athlete to make a fool of you in just about anything. But in one short conversation his weakness was revealed: I heard him mention how much he liked Van Helsing and invited him to expand on that subject. "Oh I just love the cinematography in it!" I could have said a lot of things to him, but managed to bite my tongue. I don't have to tell you that he was recently indicted on 16 counts of securities fraud (true story).

So what movie-related skill should be added to this list? The music skill is to know one band inside and out, so why not the same for a director? Actually, a better one might be on the theme of the book skill -- "Name a book that matters. The Catcher in the Rye does not matter. Not really. You gotta read."

And as a follow-up question, what's your movie skill? I'd like to believe that my most dependable movie skill is being able to recommend a Sam Peckinpah movie to almost anyone. There are many Wild Bunch people out there, plenty who would respond to Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, and fewer who would appreciate Junior Bonner or The Ballad of Cable Hogue. When in doubt, I go with The Getaway, and I rarely miscalculate.

6 comments:

JOSEPH CAMPANELLA said...

Having seen all available Peckinpah movies, I agree with you assessment. I find women getting angry with me though when I tell them to "check out" STRAW DOGS. I don't know why....

Adam Ross said...

Yeah, I recommended "Straw Dogs" to my brother -- he loved it but his girlfriend hated it. The best essay I've ever read on the movie was written by a woman, so there's obviously some female fans of it out there, but I would still be hesitant to recommend it to a woman.

Moviezzz said...

I'd say CABLE HOGUE would be the best recommendation. In many ways, I think it is his best film. It may not have the over the top violence of the other films, but I think is the most focused.

Adam Ross said...

It definitely stands out from his other works, and you can see the passion Peckinpah had for it. Jason Robards and David Warner were perfectly cast, and I actually like the "Butterfly Mornings" song.

Damian said...

Hey, I like Van Helsing too!

James said...

I totally missed this post of yours. I was struck by the original article's complete lack of movie mentions as well.

My skill, besides the nudity thing mentioned in my profile on this blog: movie guns. I can talk endlessly about what movies have what guns, which have the best gun fights, which ones are realistic, etc. You can likely name a model and I can point to films that it has popped up in.

You probably wouldn't be stunned to know that my favorite Peckinpah film is The Wild Bunch. Without that film I might be interested in cars or computers instead of firearms.