I agree that chunking deserves a spot on the cool list. if anything, because of this scene alone and even then because of the small chef salad delivery in the middle.
if you want to go for a hipster cool list though, you’re going to need to change it up completely. that changes everything. your list will consist of movies like angel heart and dolls and parents and any other random assortment of VHS feeling movies. the campier the better.
i fucking LOVE Miller’s Crossing. definitely in my personal canon. Coens’ best by far.
;^p to Blue
I put Raising Arizona up there as well because of the perfection with which it executes it’s universe. And oh yeah, it’s also hilarious. Comedies get the short shift (?) in these discussions, but they really shouldn’t. Hence why Holy Grail is on my top 20 list.
I say Miller’s Crossing and Things to Do In Denver because of the dialogue and delivery as well as others things, and I consider Hal Hartley films cool for the same reason, but it’s more of an artificial cool, but cool still.
And comedy is hard, part of what makes comedies like Office Space (a damn cool movie) is because of how uncool some things are in it.
It seems that the cool of comedy is what is uncool, and that becomes cool.
Borrowing liberally from the lists above, I’ll add one too. Not all good films, just ‘cool’ ones, though some are distant memories right now and my recollection might be off:
Le Samourai – Melville
Z – Costa Gavras
The Gunfighter – H King
Tokyo Drifter – Suzuki
California Split – Altman
Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia – Peckinpah
Out of Sight – Soderbergh
Seven Men From Now – Boetticher
In a Lonely Place – Ray
Trouble in Paradise – Lubitsch
The Killers – Siodmak
The Devil Thumbs a Ride – Feist
Ley Lines – Miike
Pulp Fiction – Tarantino
Day of the Jackal – Zinneman
Last Train from Gun Hill – J Sturges
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie – Cassavetes
I don’t know what is cool about Japanese new wave, it’s too humanist to be cool.
I made a list myself
pulp fiction (or any tarantino)
band of outsiders
blue velvet/wild at heart
ghost dog/mystery train (or any jarmusch)
big trouble in little china
youth of the beast (or any jo + suzuki’s)
le cercle rouge
do the right thing/she’s gotta have it
naked lunch/videodrome/dead ringers/the fly era cronenberg
evil dead 2
escape from new york
once upon a time in the west (spaghetti in general)
faster pussycat kill kill
vanishing point (other car movies)
the man who fell to earth
enter the dragon (any kung fu/martial arts)
the long goodbye
the long good friday
the last days of disco
phantom of the paradise
the last detail
the american friend
dead or alive
the friends of eddie coyle
the killing of a chinese bookie
lone wolf and cub movies
fox and his friends
my own private idaho
el topo/holy mountain
beyond the valley of the dolls
leaving las vegas
little big man
This is THE definitive list…because I said so
Rebel without a Cause
Touch of Evil
The Wild One
The Friends of Eddie Coyle
The Damned (Visconti)
Saturday Night Fever
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Cat People (Schrader)
Lost in Translation
To Die For
Decline of Western Civilization
The Big Gundown
The Strange One
The Man with the Golden Arm
Oceans 11 (60)
Dawn of the Dead
Rick from Casablanca was like, the definition of cool.
the entire filmography of this man
or anything with matti in
and then some more cool sweeties
stoll & rebella
and what about the teenage boy bedroom ennui cool of le diable probablement?
and cockfighter. that’s so cool it’ll file the divorce papers for you. bah.
whoever says uncool shall die
i forgot elia suleiman
007 YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (’67)
(Connery) Bond: “Do you have any commandos here?”
(Tetsuro Tanba) Tiger Tanaka: “I have much, much better… Ninjas! Top-secret, Bond-san. This is my ninja training school…”
I tried to make a list that balanced cool characters, cool stories, and cool film techniques…
1. Raiders of the Lost Ark
3. Cool Hand Luke
5. Rebel without a Cause
6. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
7. In Bruges
8. The Limey
10. Inglourious Basterds
13. Fight Club
14. Porco Rosso
15. The Silence of the Lambs
16. American Graffiti
17. Pierrot le fou
18. A Clockwork Orange
19. Fantastic Mr. Fox
20. The Evil Dead
21. Mulholland Dr.
22. Jackie Brown
23. Man on Wire
24. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
25. In the Cut
26. Band of Outsiders
27. Escape from New York
28. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
29. Boogie Nights
Okay, if I had it my way… and in no particular order…
And some of the qualities I associate with “cool” cinema are:
a willingness to experiment
youthful, physically attractive characters
heroes (or antiheroes) with a certain sense of personal code but utter disregard for authority and rules
altered states of consciousness
“dionysian’ as opposed to “apollonian”
an unflappable attitude regarding death
an open attitude towards sexuality, drugs, etc.
1. The Harder They Come
3. Tetsuo the Iron Man
4. Young and Healthy as a Rose
5. Eros Plus Massacre
6. Kill Bill vol. 1
7. Days of Being Wild
8. Le Samourai
9. Temptation of St. Tony
10. Dr. Strangelove
11. Branded to Kill
12. The Killer (John Woo)
13. Forty Nights of a Dreamer
15. The Needle(Rashid Nugmanov)
16. The Unscrupulous Ones
17. Mulholland Drive
18. Meshes of the Afternoon
20. W.R. Mysteries of the Organism
21. Fight Club
22. La Jetee
25. Touki Bouki
26. Go Go Second Time Virgin
27. Spectator (Frans Zwartjes)
28. El Topo
29. Io Island
30. The Mother and the Whore
It finally came to me, partly thanks to Blue’s guidelines—
Enter the Dragon, coolest film ever.
This is one of the more depressing things I’ve ever read at this site.
To view the qualities of “humanist” and “cool” to be somehow incompatible is… well… I’ll just keep it to myself.
Yes, “cool” films tend to feature many antihero and nihilistic types. But usually, the whole point is that the outward “immorality” or “amorality” is usually a tough act put on by the characters to compensate for their fears, insecurities, and so on. They are flawed human beings, and actually witnessing human frailty can be a very moving and "humanist’ experience.
And I’ve no idea how many Japanese New Wave films you’ve seen, but I seriously doubt that anyone well versed in Japanese cinema would stamp the entire JNW as “too humanist”. It’s one of the strangest generalizations made about that particular group of films.
Certainly, Bruce Lee’s character in that film is one of the coolest ever.
Oh so are we just picking ours? I’m down.
In no order:
2. Le Samurai
3. Masculin Feminin
5. Kill Bill
6. The Limits of Control
7. Fantastic Planet
8. Reservoir Dogs
9. Sin City
10. The Killer
12. American Gangster
13. Attack the Block
14. Heavy Traffic
15. L.A. Confidential
16. La Notte Brava
17. Style Wars
18. Shoot the Piano Player
19. El Topo
21. Dirty Harry
22. The Getaway
23. Ocean’s Eleven
24. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
27. The Castle of Cagliostro
Notes on Cool
Coolness is not necessarily a value judgment, but a bad movie can never be cool. There is nothing less cool than trying to be cool and failing. Brian De Palma constantly straddles this line.
Coolness is not necessarily anti-humanist, but a cool film’s primary concern will not be the internal (emotion); it must always be the external. One might say that the fundamental subject of a cool film is itself.
It is not uncool to feel, but it is rarely cool to express those feelings, except through action. Emotion is typically hot. Hot is obviously not cool.
Coolness does not necessarily value style over substance. Rather, the style is the substance.
Some films are cool to like, but they are not cool films. That is, liking them makes you appear cool, but the film itself is not cool. Most Herzog and Von Trier films, for example, would fall into this camp.
Thinking about the audience — either trying to please them or trying to manipulate them - is not cool. The cool film must place style over the demands and expectations of the audience. For this reason, comedy is not usually cool though it can be, especially when it’s deadpan - Jarmusch, Withnail and I, The Trouble with Harry (perhaps Hitchcock’s coolest film). Buster Keaton and Jacques Tati are cool. Charlie Chaplin is not.
Horror, which is generally concerned with audience manipulation, is not very cool. Again, there are exceptions. House of the Devil is cool. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is cool.
Is it cool to be shocking? Only when the film is not intending to shock (or does not appear to be intending to shock). When a film is shocking simply because it does not care about certain social boundaries, then it is cool. William Friedkin is a master of this particular type of cool. Sam Peckinpah is another.
It is easier to make a cool action film than to make a cool film in any other genre.
Except film noir. Film noir is always cool.
Some film characters are cool, but the movies they are in are not. The Wild One is a classic example of this phenomenon. Bond is a cool character, but the Bond films are typically too silly to be cool.
Some cool directors and one of their coolest films:
Jean-Pierre Melville (Le Samourai)
Jules Dassin (Rififi)
Michael Mann (Thief)
Wong Kar-Wai (Chungking Express)
Orson Welles (The Trial)
Park Chan-wook (Oldboy)
Sergio Leone (Man With No Name trilogy)
Jim Jarmusch (Stranger Than Paradise)
Steven Soderbergh (Out of Sight)
Jean-Luc Godard (’60s) (Alphaville)
Takashi Miike (Dead or Alive)
Nicholas Winding Refn (Drive)
For the record, accidentally putting strikethrough on part of your post is not cool.
Nice. I don’t agree with all of your points necessarily but I think your post is very cool.
For example, there is a scene in Die Hard which is chock full of emotion—the ‘flat feet’ scene, for those that have seen it—in which the hero is stripped bare of all his machismo and armor, and reduced to pessimistic tears as he realizes he may not be up to the challenge and exposes his humanity. For an 80s action film this is entirely unique, and part of the film’s lasting appeal. Truly an ordinary man under extraordinary circumstances. The rest of the film is popcorn at its best, but that scene alone makes it transcendent—an action film that really humanizes its hero.
It is not uncool to feel, but it is rarely cool to express those feelings, except through action.
Thanks for that explanation.
@ Blue K, Custodian of the Cinema
“Yes, “cool” films tend to feature many antihero and nihilistic types. But usually, the whole point is that the outward “immorality” or “amorality” is usually a tough act put on by the characters to compensate for their fears, insecurities, and so on. They are flawed human beings, and actually witnessing human frailty can be a very moving and “humanist’ experience.”
Here, Tarantino is being a solid definition of the meaning of cool, you really think he actually cares about humanity?
“And I’ve no idea how many Japanese New Wave films you’ve seen, but I seriously doubt that anyone well versed in Japanese cinema would stamp the entire JNW as “too humanist”. It’s one of the strangest generalizations made about that particular group of films.”
I never said JNW is too humanist, i said JNW is too humanist to be in the mix with the kind of films we are talking about.
If JNW is cool, then all the melodramas in the world and all the disney pictures are cool.
@Wolfman: “It is easier to make a cool action film than to make a cool film in any other genre. Except film noir. Film noir is always cool.”
I agree that noir is pretty cool in general. Westerns are also often cool I think. But I think you gave a lot of reasons why action films are not generally all that cool. For example you said:
“Thinking about the audience — either trying to please them or trying to manipulate them — is not cool”
@Alex: “If JNW is cool, then all the melodramas in the world and all the disney pictures are cool.”
You must know about some completely different Japanese New Wave than the one I know about.
Maybe i missed something, but I am talking about Ozu, Kurosawa, Mizoguchi etc…
not cool=bad movies. HELL NO. Looks like you guys are thinking i mean that. Usually the movies with topics like faith or hope are not exactly cool. And westerns from the 30’s or 40’s are not exactly cool either, as they usually have some kind of moralist message, Leone is something else and it’s definitely cool.
ah, that’s a relief. i thought i was going mad. when most people talk about the japanese new wave they mean stuff like this. definitely cool.