Bob Bestler | My picks for next film preservation list lineup

For The Sun NewsDecember 20, 2013 

Dear members of the National Film Preservation Board:

I see you have selected 25 more films to be preserved until the end of time at the Library of Congress.

They are, I think, an eclectic selection, ranging from the sweet “Sound of Music’’ and the patriotic “The Right Stuff’’ to the vulgar and violent “Pulp Fiction’’ and the anti-General Motors screed, “Roger and Me.’’

A pretty impressive list.

You guys have been doing this since 1988, offering 25 films annually to be put on ice, so to speak. Your selections, as I understand, are based on the cultural, historical or aesthetic significance of the film. And they have to have been around for at least 10 years.

So far you have placed 625 films in the Library’s vault, going back as far as 1891 and something called “Newark Athlete.’’ Wow. I didn’t even know they had film back then. Didn’t even know there was a Newark back then.

Most everyone’s favorites are there, from “Casablanca’’ to “The Godfather.’’

A couple of my all-time personal favorites are there, too: “African Queen’’ and “Fargo.’’ So is something called “Porky in Wackyland.’’ Guess you guys have a sense of humor.

Since 1997 members of the public have been able to place in nomination 50 films and so, in my capacity as a member of the public, I should like to nominate a few personal favorites that have not yet been preserved for posterity.

First on my list is a culturally significant comedy called “Lost in America,’’ an Albert Brooks farce about a Yuppie couple (remember those?) who trade in their high-paying jobs and beautiful home for an RV.

Accompanied by Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild,’’ they take to America’s highways to “find themselves,’’ then lose everything during a few late-night hours in Las Vegas.

“Lost World’’ (1925) is on the list. “Lost Weekend’’ (1945) is on the list. “Lost in America’’ (1985) is not. I say the time has come. I think Albert would agree.

Another nominee is “Body Heat,’’ with Kathleen Turner and William Hurt in a modern-day film noir. My favorite line: “You’re not too bright, are you? I like that in a man.’’

It’s the key to the entire movie. And let me add, dear board members, that Kathleen Turner is aesthetically significant in this film.

Another all-time favorite is “Captain Ron,’’ a Caribbean comedy with Kurt Russell and Martin Short. This ought to be a must for all boat owners, but I have yet to meet anyone who has seen the movie.

Too bad. My 9-year-old grandson has seen it a half-dozen times and even quoted Captain Ron once when we rather dubiously took a canoe out on a small lake: “Whatever happens is gonna happen out there.’’ You know, sinking-wise.

Another favorite of my wife and I is “Love, Actually,’’ a series of vignettes about, well, love, actually. From reviews we’ve read, I don’t think we’re alone in our affection for the movie.

I’ll give you a pass on this one since it was made in 2003. That should make it eligible next year, hint-hint. Make it happen, huh?

Contact Bob Bestler at bestler6@tds.net.

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