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Further Phoenix
at Rio's Attic:

Stand By Me

My Own Private Idaho

Mike Waters

Gus Van Sant

Scott Favor

Keanu Reeves

Italy

Idaho

William Shakespeare

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Movie)

Orson Welles

Henry IV

Chimes at Midnight

Le Voyage Dans La Lune

Chicago (Movie)

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Steven Jay Schneider

The Breakfast Club

The Fly
Rio's Attic: Celebrating the Life and Times of a Dearly Missed River Phoenix
American EnglishEn Français

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

by Steven Jay Schneider
First published in 2003


ISBN 1-84403-044-X (Paperback, 960 Pages)

Presented in chronological order, starting with the 1902 film Le Voyage dans la Lune, through to 2002's musical movie Chicago, this thick book is a colorful collection of what is nevertheless a very strange collection of movies indeed.

The 1954 film version of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is discussed here as being one of the "must see before you die" films, but the description then immediately goes on to berate the movie as a "profoundly sexist film about patriarchal rape fantasies."

The period from 1983 to 1993 is remarkably bereft of examples from River's career. Indeed, while there seems to be plenty of space in this thickly bound book for movies such as 1985's The Breakfast Club and the 1986 remake of The Fly, only a couple of River's movies are present.

The two-paragraph entry for Stand By Me is plain and unillustrated, whereas the only other film to be included in this book that River appeared in is presented much more vividly.

The casting of teen heartthrobs Keanu Reeves (in what may be his finest performance to date) and River Phoenix (who would die tragically of a drug overdose at the age of 23, right on the cusp of a brilliant career) as the leads certainly didn't hurt My Own Private Idaho's commercial prospects. But in explicitly thematizing homelessness, homosexuality, and teenage prostitution; by offering up a protagonist who suffers from narcolepsy and romanticized memories of a mother who abandoned him as a child; in paying extended homage to Orson Welle's adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry IV plays, Chimes at Midnight (1965), via a self-consciously anachronistic use of bardspeak in several key scenes, no one can claim that Van Sant was unwilling to risk alienating - even incurring the wrath of - unsuspecting middle-American audiences.

With Mike, what you see is definitely what you get: A quiet dreamy, gentle boy who is in love with his best friend, falls asleep at the drop of a hat - frequently at inopportune moments, a trait the director taps for both humor and pathos - and is obsessed with finding his long-lost mom. It is the latter quality that provides the impetus for the film's rambling (but never slow) road trip of a plot, as Scott accompanies his always-endangered buddy on excursions ranging from Idaho to Italy in search of a myth of maternal love that the audience sees as the scratchy home-video footage of Mike's mind.


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