I’ve flitted between film studies at various schools and certain notions have stuck with me. They’re hardly unprecedented, but in light of this list that might be appropriate.
These are films that boil off the typical; they hew to core elements of a genre, but by reinventing their aesthetic make something entirely fresh. There’s nothing wrong with a well-worn structure. I’d consider lazy style and shoddy direction larger sins than a one-last-job thriller or stalking-monster horror done with panache. Thomas Schatz refers to genre as “variations on a theme,” and these films create indelible melodies with a handful of notes. Three plots and the truth, as it were. “Not what it is about, but how it is about it.” …And so on.
A lot of these overlap with other, imaginary lists like “shut the fuck up: films that know when to zip it” and “near mint: comic movies that get it right” but I’ll save us all the trouble and keep it concise.Read less