Inquiring minds want to know what my favorite film by Alfred Hitchcock and my favorite performance from Brad Pitt are, respectively.
I still need to see a lot of Hitchcock’s work, and even those I did see I saw only once, so my opinion on the matter is subject to change, but, right now, I can say with some certainty that my favorite Hitchcock is neither “Rear Window” nor “Vertigo,” and that may just be Jimmy Stewart’s fault, who I like in some things (“Rope,” for example) but not in those two movies.
I loved “Shadow of a Doubt” and think Joseph Cotten is a master of his craft just as much as Hitchcock is of his.
But my favorite? It’s a toss-up between “North by Northwest” and “Psycho.” Both flat-out blew me away when I saw them (especially Bernard Herrmann’s scores), and they are the two I am most eager to watch again, along with “The Birds” which I saw on TV a million years ago and don’t remember all that well.
Brad Pitt will always be hard-wired as Tyler Durden and Detective Mills in my head, if just for the fact that I watched, analyzed and obsessed over both David Fincher films excessively in my late teens and early twenties. Having recently watched it again, I think Pitt’s performance in “Se7en” is the better, more methodical of the two, but he plays Tyler in “Fight Club” with such a contagious, sadistic joy (like it hasn’t been seen on screen since – until Tom Hardy and “Bronson” came along) that is just too much fun to dismiss.
Scrolling through his filmography, I was surprised to find “The Tree of Life” there – surprised that I didn’t think of it myself, that is. Pitt is great in it, but as with everything else regarding that film, I credit 99% of it to Terrence Malick.
That leaves “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” which I need to watch again, as well. It might very well be Pitt’s best performance, but I remember being more impressed by Casey Affleck. Might be because I expected Pitt to be great while Affleck came pretty much out of the blue. I’ll have more to say on it once I’ve rewatched the movie, and with the projector set up and the blu-ray ready, it is begging to be.