Rear Window (1954) dir. Alfred Hitchcock
I first saw this film in college, and my second viewing of it didn't change much. For newbies, it's a film about a wheelchair-bound photographer who spies on his neighbors (when he's not ruminating about marriage) and thinks he witnesses a murder. It's certainly the kind of film you want to take home to mother because it's perfect in so many ways. Yet it's perfection gives it a certain iciness that makes it distant, too. First, Lisa (Grace Kelly) is so perfect that it's implausible that Jeff (James Stewart) wouldn't want to marry her. Couldn't Hitchcock have cast someone a little less beautiful? Then the whole plot takes place in such a limited space that I felt as though I were watching a play. Of course, Rear Window is not based on a play, so I felt queasy and claustrophobic through the film. Not to say that this movie isn't in the 90th percentile vis-a-vis film quality, but it just didn't have the right chemistry to make it a perfect 10 for me. The DVD restoration is amazing, by the way; watch out for Grace Kelly's kiss.