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Thursday, September 17, 2009
The extremely fun De Palma Blog-A-Thon hosted by Tony Dayoub at Cinema Viewfinder closed yesterday with an excellent final entry from Dayoub that juxtaposed Scarface with Carlito's Way. Dayoub begins his essay with a description of his own experiences growing up as a Cuban American in an Hispanic neighborhood in Miami in the late 1970s. He then moves on to describe how Carlito's Way is a "symmetrical counterpoint" to Scarface:

De Palma is always prone to symmetry in his work, often bookending his films with similar visual or thematic concerns: the menstrual blood at the beginning of Carrie (1976) with the pig's blood in its climax; the sexually violent shower dream that opens Dressed to Kill (1980) and the one that ends it; the way an empty gun helps Carlito escape during a shootout at the start of Carlito's Way, and seals his lawyer Kleinfeld's (Sean Penn) fate as the movie wraps up. But with the release of Carlito's Way, De Palma provided not so much an apology, as some have said—for his negative depiction of a Latin gangster in Scarface—as much as he provided a doppelganger, a symmetrical counterpoint to the earlier film that gives it some unexpected depth.

I have been working on something for the Blog-A-Thon that nevertheless was not finished in time-- my piece grew after I discovered some things about the films I was writing about that I hadn't picked up on before. As a result, I had to do a little more research (i.e. watch more films), which is great, but I was not able to complete my essay before the Blog-A-Thon ended. But I do thank Tony for giving me the incentive to write this piece in the first place, and I hope to have it completed and posted by early next week.

The last big survey of De Palma fans' favorite De Palma films was done in 2002 by Carl Rodrigue at Le Paradis de Brian De Palma (Romain at Virtuoso of the 7th Art also has one going right now through October 4th). As the Blog-A-Thon ended, so did the Cinema Viewfinder poll, which ended up with 168 votes tallied from users voting for their three favorite De Palma films, in no particular order. Amazingly, the top four titles are the same as the 2002 poll, with the exception that Dressed To Kill was number 2 back then (at Cinema Viewfinder it switches with Carrie and takes the number 3 spot). While Femme Fatale was number 5 all on its own back when it was brand new, it remains number 5 today, although now Body Double has jumped up to tie for the position (the latter was number 9 in 2002). The top ten are further filled out by The Untouchables, Scarface, Phantom Of The Paradise, and Sisters. Here is the entire list:

1. Blow Out
2. Carrie
3. Dressed To Kill
4. Carlito’s Way
5. Femme Fatale/Body Double (Tie)
7. The Untouchables
8. Scarface
9. Phantom Of The Paradise
10. Sisters
11. The Fury/Mission: Impossible (Tie)
13. Casualties Of War
14. Raising Cain
15. The Black Dahlia
16. Obsession
17. Hi, Mom!/Snake Eyes (Tie)
19. Redacted
20. Mission To Mars
21. Dionysus In ‘69
22. Murder a la Mod/Greetings/Get To Know Your Rabbit/Home Movies/The Bonfire Of The Vanities (each received one vote)
27. The Wedding Party/Wise Guys (each received zero votes)

We will see how these votes stack up against Romain's poll in October.

Posted by Geoff at 5:52 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 17, 2009 5:58 PM CDT
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Monday, September 21, 2009 - 5:05 PM CDT

Name: "Adam Zanzie"
Home Page: http://www.iceboxmovies.blogspot.com

You're not the only one, Geoff. I had something in the works that wasn't finished in time, either! But it will be published separately.

 Looking forward to your piece.

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