Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Two comic-art related movies on National Film Registry choices for 2019

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today (Dec 11, 2019) the annual selection of 25 of America's most influential motion pictures to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. Selected because of their cultural, historic and aesthetic importance to the nation's film heritage, the films in the class of 2019 range from Prince's 1984 autobiographical hit "Purple Rain" and Spike Lee's 1986 breakout movie "She's Gotta Have It" to Disney's 1959 timeless fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty" and this year's biggest public vote getter, Kevin Smith's 1994 "Clerks."

"The National Film Registry has become an important record of American history, culture and creativity," said Hayden. "Unlike many other honors, the registry is not restricted to a time, place or genre. It encompasses 130 years of the full American cinematic experience – a virtual Olympiad of motion pictures. With the support of Congress, the studios and other archives, we are ensuring that the nation's cinematic history will be around for generations to come."


Clerks (1994)
A hilarious, in-your-face, bawdy-yet-provocative look at two sardonic young slackers (Dante and Randal). One toils as a New Jersey convenience store clerk while his alter-ego video store friend works when the mood strikes him. At 23 years old, Kevin Smith made his debut film for $27,000, reportedly financed by selling his comic book collection and using proceeds from when his car was lost in a flood. This sleeper hit helped define an era, grossed over $3 million, achieved prominent cult status among Generations X to Z, and easily garnered the most public votes in this year's National Film Registry balloting. Critic Roger Ebert described "Clerks" as "utterly authentic" with "the attitude of a gas station attendant who tells you to check your own oil. It's grungy and unkempt, and Dante and Randal look like they have been nourished from birth on beef jerky and Cheetos. They are tired and bored, underpaid and unlucky in love, and their encounters with customers feel like a series of psychological tests." 

Sleeping Beauty (1959)
The story of the sleeping princess Aurora, awakened by a kiss, already was widely known to theater audiences. But Disney transformed this timeless fable from the original Charles Perrault fairy tale ("The Sleeping Beauty of the Wood") and The Brothers Grimm ("Little Briar-Rose") by tweaking plot elements and characters (such as the number and role of the fairies), as well as with the film's magnificent score. Along with its vivid images and charming details, the film introduced movie audiences to one of Disney's most enduring villainesses — Maleficent (voiced in the 1959 film by Eleanor Audley). "Beauty" was the last of classic animated fairy-tale adaptations produced by Walt Disney, whose influence suffuses the film. 

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