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Better Than “Hereafter”

October 21, 2010

I am disappointed to report that Clint Eastwood’s new movie, Hereafter–about the mystery of death and how the living left behind maintain a sense of connection with loved ones who have died–is getting roundly trashed by critics. My favorite critic, Jeffrey Wells–who is also a favorite blogger–just wrote a post trying to explain why he doesn’t like “Hereafter” and then he offered a list of those films about the mystery of death that he does like.

1. Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ. 2. Stephen Frears’ The Hit. 3. Brian Desmond Hurst’s A Christmas Carol. 4. Warren Beatty and Buck Henry’s Heaven Can Wait. 5. Henry King’s Carousel (based on Ferenc Molnar’sLilliom). 6. Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. 6. Michael Powell’s A Matter Of Life And Death, a.k.a. Stairway To Heaven. 7. Albert Brooks’ Defending Your Life.

And he gives an honorable mention to a certain episode of “The Twilight Zone” while also noting the worst entries in this category:

I’m also giving a pat on the back to that old Twilight Zone episode called “Nothing in the Dark,” in which Robert Redford played a kind of angel of death in the guise of a wounded policeman.

For me the four worst films about death — the shallowest and most phony-manipulative and least reassuring — are Ghost, Flatliners, What Dreams May Come and Death Becomes Her. These are movies that pull down their pants and play cheap little games for the enjoyment of those in the audience who are scared of death and need to fantasize or joke about it in order to allay their fears.

Wells’ talk-backers added some other notables: Wim Wenders Wings of Desire, Peter Weir’s Fearless, Adrian Lyne’s Jacob’s Ladder, Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia, and Tim Robbins’  Dead Man Walking. And I would add, just off the top of my head, Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 21 Grams.

Any others?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. suzie babcock permalink
    October 29, 2010 1:45 pm

    Some episodes of “Monk”?

  2. C.A. Child permalink
    October 29, 2010 9:27 pm

    Pay It Forward?

  3. suzie babcock permalink
    October 30, 2010 4:36 am

    “A Many Splendoured Thing”?

  4. suzie babcock permalink
    October 30, 2010 4:44 am

    “The Others”? “Sixth Sense”?

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