Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Forensic Psychology: Required Viewing

1. Taxi Driver (1976)

A mentally unstable Vietnam war veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process. [This is the film John Hinckley watched dozens of times as he stalked President Carter and then President Reagan.]

2. Casino Royale (2006)

Armed with a license to kill, Secret Agent James Bond sets out on his first mission as 007 and must defeat a weapons dealer in a high stakes game of poker at Casino Royale, but things are not what they seem. [First rate portrayal of the psychopathic personality -- it's Bond, by the way, not Le Chiffre.]

3. Monster (2003)

Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer. [Yes, there are female serial killers, though there motives are usually different from those of male serial killers.]

4. In the Line of Fire (1993)

Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan couldn't save Kennedy, but he's determined not to let a clever assassin take out this president. [A nice tribute to Alfred Hitchcock with great performances by Eastwood and Malkovich. For the section on Stalking and Assassinations.]

5. End of Watch (2012)

Shot documentary-style, this film follows the daily grind of two young police officers in LA who are partners and friends, and what happens when they meet criminal forces greater than themselves. [From the cops' point-of-view.]

6. L.A. Confidential (1997)

As corruption grows in 1950s LA, three policemen - one strait-laced, one brutal, and one sleazy - investigate a series of murders with their own brand of justice. [Again, the cops' point-of-view, with some particularly gritty depictions of brutal crimes, and their aftermath.]

7. Primal Fear (1996)

An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep. [Best ever protrayal of multiple personality disorder on film (Edward Norton). Richard Gere is great as the sleazy defense attorney who grows a soul.]

8. Silence of the Lambs (1991)

A young F.B.I. cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims. [The movie that started the serial killer hoopla and launched FBI "profiler" John Douglas into celebrity.]

9. No Country for Old Men (2007)

Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash near the Rio Grande. [My candidate for best film of the century, thus far. Other crime films by the Coen Brothers: Blood Simple, Fargo (the TV series is also great), and Miller's Crossing.]

10. The Battle of Algiers (1966)

In the 1950s, fear and violence escalate as the people of Algiers fight for independence from the French government. [For the section on terrorism, interrogations, and torture. For nearly half a century, a "How-To" film for both insurgents and counterinsurgents.]

11. The Day of the Jackal (1973)

A professional assassin codenamed "Jackal" plots to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France. [For the Stalking and Assassinations section. As they say, based on true events.]

12. The Godfather  (1972) & The Godfather, Part II (1974)

The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son. [I used to simply assume that every one has seen these films but I have learned that it is wrong to do so. Being an American and not being familiar with these films is like never having heard the National Anthem played at a baseball stadium.]

1 comment:

  1. Comments on your list, and you know I'm right on every damn one:

    1. Hello? Ever been to New York?
    Saw a great movie the other day with a vision for the sustainable future of NYC. Main character was Snake Plissken.

    2. Boring. Was looking forward to this movie at the time. Hard to watch in one sitting. Not because disturbing, but need to break it up with like, three days of other shows in between. Original book was a bit disturbing probably for the time. That's what Fleming was after.

    3. More of a demonstration of the lengths to which actresses will go. Crappy acting, crappy accente' in that movie. She fattened up, and then back down. Looks OK lately, hard to say with all the photoshop these days. Prolly be good and hogged up when she hits 40 or so. So kind of method acting for Daytona.

    4. Again, boring. Eastwood's worst.

    5. Haven't seen it, but #5 here, so, eh?

    6. Gotta love the cop movies....that's where the interesting stuff is...good fun for acting and such

    7. Didn't see, never will, sounds mighty bad.

    8. OK, creepy for the time.

    9. Now you are on track, Friendo.

    10. Uh...what difference, at this point, does it make?

    11. See #10. Or don't, really...

    12. Gotta watch these over and over, right? No thanks.
    Endless discussion? Even worse.
    James Caan? Really?

    Fix your list.


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