GIANT (1956)

This sweeping story of a huge Texas cattle ranch over several decades lives up to its name, but I think falls short of its clear ambition to be “Gone With the Wind, but as a Western.”

SANSHO THE BAILIFF (1954)

A classic Japanese film where every frame looks like a classical painting. From a plot perspective, the weepiest of weepies.

IMITATION OF LIFE (1959)

This over-the-top melodrama about mothers and daughters from director Douglas Sirk was considered populist trash at the time and is today seen as high art.

SOME CAME RUNNING (1958)

A mid-century melodrama in which Frank Sinatra plays a soldier returning to a small town. It has some interesting shots but never really rises above its potboiler status.

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951)

There are several great performances in this Southern Gothic adaptation of a famous stage play, but the whole thing is really not for me.

BRIAN’S SONG (1971)

The ultimate weepy romance, but it’s for dudes because the two leads are football players.

WUTHERING HEIGHTS (1939)

The most Hollywood version of Emily Brontë’s weird, gothic masterpiece, which is still pretty weird and gothic if that’s what you’re into.

INTOLERANCE (1916)

Maybe the first big blockbuster, somehow still leaving viewers flabbergasted a century later. Also one long missive about “cancel culture,,” basically.

RYAN’S DAUGHTER (1970)

Lots of beautiful Irish locations can’t save a movie that is incredibly long for the amount of story it has and includes a series of truly awful performances.

SUNRISE: A SONG OF TWO HUMANS (1927)

Perhaps the artistic apotheosis of silent movies, just before sound came in and swept them away.