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The B List

The National Society of Film Critics on the Low-Budget Beauties, Genre-Bending Mavericks, and Cult

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What kind of collection could possibly find common ground among The Son of Kong, Platoon, and Pink Flamingos? What kind of fevered minds could conceive of such a list? What are the unheard-of qualities that tie them all together?
The answers: This book. The National Society of Film Critics. And the far-reaching enticements of the B movie itself.

Once the B movie was the Hollywood stepchild, the underbelly of the double feature. Today it is a more inclusive category, embracing films that fall outside the mainstream by dint of their budgets, their visions, their grit, and occasionally—sometimes essentially—their lack of what the culture cops call “good taste.”

The films in The B List are offbeat, unpredictable, and decidedly idiosyncratic. And that’s why we love them.

From Publishers Weekly

Sep 29, 2008 – In this collection of essays by members of the National Society of Film Critics, the "B movie" is defined, classically, as "the Hollywood stepchild, the underbelly of the double feature." What B movies have become is a question the book answers only partially-movie fans will certainly debate whether newer films like Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs actually deserve a place next to proven genre classics like Gun Crazy and Crime Wave. Among dozens of pieces, highlights include Charles Taylor's appreciation of 1967's Point Blank and its embattled director, John Boorman, who mixed French New Wave styling and pulp-novel nihilism to inspirational effect (he also discusses Mel Gibson's remake and Steven Soderbergh's open tribute in The Limey). Roger Ebert's knowledgeable contributions don't disappoint; having himself penned the absurd B classic Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, he champions outliers Peeping Tom, May and Pink Flamingos. Rob Nelson includes the gonzo 1989 Nicolas Cage film Vampire's Kiss, for which the actor ate a live cockroach on-screen. Other titles include Detour, The Conversation, Vanishing Point, Videodrome, Eraserhead and last year's Grindhouse; though the collection's breadth undermines any attempt to pin down the modern B picture, these brief essays celebrate well the reckless streak that runs through Hollywood.
The B List
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Performing Arts
  • Published: Oct 07, 2008
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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