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The Best Supercuts of 2012: Heist Films, PT Anderson's SteadiCam, and the Manic Pixie Dream Girl [Videos]

Thompson on Hollywood By Maggie Lange | Thompson on Hollywood December 31, 2012 at 5:05PM

Much of the time, supercuts – videos that mash together various clips around a certain theme – don’t gain any lift-off beyond fan obsession. However, when movie supercuts do transcend this compulsion, they can achieve something incisive, critical, hilarious, or glorious. In the best of supercuts, the rhythm is phenomenal and the catalogue is inspirational. These test your movie mettle or challenge you to round out your roster.
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"Ocean's Eleven"
Warner Bros. "Ocean's Eleven"

Much of the time, supercuts – videos that mash together various clips around a certain theme – don’t gain any lift-off beyond fan obsession.  However, when movie supercuts do transcend this compulsion, they can achieve something incisive, critical, hilarious, or glorious.   In the best of supercuts, the rhythm is phenomenal and the catalogue is inspirational.  These test your movie mettle or challenge you to round out your roster.  By grouping a range of films around a particular idea, they can alert us to a script-writing trope, trace the transition of films through time, deconstruct a genre, or just provide a comically insightful observation that you will never overlook again.  Watch all the best, and some extras, below.

Best Genre Deconstruction: The Heist
Supercuts almost exist to breakdown a genre, from romances, to James Bond moviessuper heroes (182 in this one), horror, and heist.  It was the latter that wins best genre deconstruction of the year – this supercut both mashes together heist movies and explains their formula, making dozens of movies flow seamlessly into one plot.

Best Director Geek-Out: PT Anderson’s Steady Cam
My personal favorite category, the BFI's examination of PT Anderson’s steady cam (watch here) gave an incredible analysis of his cinematography and direction of his movies from “Hard Eight” straight on through to “There Will Be Blood.”  Spike Lee's dolly shots was a close second.

Most Silly: Famous People Playing Themselves
While “Val Kilmer Losing His Glasses” certainly has the most obscure premise (and a very hearty library) and the other bespectacled supercut features Meryl Streep playing with her shades, it was the meta “Famous People Playing Themselves” that provides that best examination of this Hollywood pat on the back.

Best Script Trope-Buster: There Are Two Kinds of Movies in the World
For a previous TOH article, the “two kinds of people in the world” supercut inspired some research and we dated the phrase back to the 1962 film "The Longest Day," a semi-historical look a D-Day.  James Chapman's video shows the best of supercuts - picking out a certain quality and tracing its progress through film.  (Quick tidbit: "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" uses the binary five times in this video.)  Other highlights from this category include “are you crazy?" as well as “there’s no time to explain,” and “he’s right behind me, isn’t he?”

Best Character Cliché-Buster: Manic Pixie Dream Girl
And what character could be more deserving than the love-to-hate-it MPDG?  Something particularly admirable about this supercut is that it traces the MPDG, a phrased coined in 2005 by film critic Nathan Rabin, back to Julie Andrew’s Maria in “The Sound of Music.”
 

This article is related to: Video, Genres


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.