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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Vern's Top Ten Favorite Opening Credits.





When a movie has a title sequence instead of just putting credits over the actual story line, I tend to pay more attention.  Not only does it help set the mood for what I'm about to see, but it also pays tribute to all the hard working people who helped put this movie together.  The ten entries on this list were made by really creative people and show us that there is a distinct art to this kind of film-making magic.


The following list is just my own personal favorites.  It really doesn't matter where on the list they fall.







10:  Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.  1989






If you have never seen this before and just walked in while these credits were playing, you would have no idea that this was a comedy about two high school dropouts who travel back in time.  The use of "Breakaway" by Big Pig and the images of what look like a golden dildo going into some sort of futuristic landscape, almost made me think I stepped into the wrong movie, yet I was completely captivated.







9:  The Pink Panther.   1963


(I'm sorry but I  couldn't embed the credits on this page, so to view them, just click the title in red.)


This is the only example I can think of, of an opening credit that later got its own show.  I  fondly remember The Pink Panther cartoons when I was a kid, but had no idea that this character was used to introduce the films of Inspector Clousseau (Peter Sellers).  The rest of the movie isn't quite as memorable as this, yet it's opening is still quite impressive.








8:  Halloween.   1978






An image of a Jack O' Lantern, mixed in with some creepy piano music, and you have your recipe for a great horror flick.  This may look very simple, but I find it to be very effective.  No matter how many times I have seen this, it still manages to creep me out when I watch it in the dark.  A perfect movie for every Halloween.







7:  Se7en.   1995






This was the movie that put David Fincher into the hearts and minds of film geeks everywhere.  His credit sequence for this thriller was groundbreaking.  Its use of distorted text, with film looking like it was breaking up inside, would be duplicated in other movies, but this was the first.  It also sets a great tone for the rest of the movie.  It looks like the killer is putting together the title sequence himself.  Great job.







6:  Ghost World.   2001



(Another one I could not get the embed code for.  Just click on the title to see the credit sequence.  Sorry.)




I may not be a fan of this kind of music, but I became one after watching it used in these opening credits.  It let's you know right away that this is going to be for people who like things that are different.  It begins a great love/hate affair with these characters who are learning to accept who they are, and who their friends really are.  True, Enid and Rebecca (Thora Birch, Scarlet Johannson) may be annoying hipsters at times, but it sure beats being any of the other townsfolk in this comedy.







5:  North By Northwest.    1959








Saul Bass has created a lot of memorable title sequences for movies.  More importantly, he's created a lot of great ones for Alfred Hitchcock.  I wanted to put the one he did for "Psycho" on this list, but the only video I could find was for the remake.  Still, this is a good achievement.  The way the credits seem to fall, both up and down, represents (for me) the main character's quest.  A great start to a great movie.








4:  The Shining.      1980





Right when that music beings, I get chills.  Flying above, you see a little yellow car make it's way up through the mountains toward a hotel.  You get the feeling right away that something bad is bound to happen, but like the characters, you can't turn away.  Seeing the glowing text of the cast and crew scroll up also gives it a really disturbing vibe that I can't explain.  "The Shining" has many other great moments, but they would be nothing without this opening.









3:  Jackie Brown.    1997







This may look like credits over the actual movie, but it's not.  It's a great title sequence that shows us what the main character is like.  Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is a strong, confident woman when it begins.  She stands proud as the automatic sidewalk takes her to her flight.  It looks like the world is moving just for her. Then, she begins running and we think it's because she has missed her flight.  Her world isn't moving for her as it once was.  When she gets to the terminal and we realize she is working for the airline, we get to understand that this woman, although very strong, is not doing so well financially and it begins a great movie.  Plus, I have got to give credit to Mr. Tarantino.  He has never once done a bad credit sequence.  Not one.  There were many to choose from, but I went with this.










2:  Drive   2011





A very cool opening that sets the right mood and tone for the rest of this picture.  The use of a retro-like soundtrack and neon pink titles worked perfectly for this tale of a getaway driver who falls in love for the first time.  If you like what you saw, then you will be on board for the rest of the picture.  If not, then this movie is not for you.










1:  Enter The Void.   2009









HOLY SHIT.  Did my mind just explode back there, because I have never seen anything that intense or amazing since, umm, well, ever.  I tried to find another credit sequence that is as creative as this and I can't.   Be warned though, if you have epilepsy, you may want to skip this one.  It uses a strobing effect that gave me kind of a headache, even though I still loved it.  Gaspar Noe took ahold of my brain and put it into hyper drive with these credits.  The way the format changes mixed in with other effects, and that score, put me into the head space of the main character.  It also marks the first time in a while that we get to see both opening and closing credits at the same time.  It's done in such a fast way, it's over within 3 minutes.  Makes me wish more movies would adopt this technique.






What are your favorite credit moments in movies?  Leave suggestions in the box below.  Thank you for reading.





42 comments:

  1. I'm surprised to not see Catch Me if You Can, from the score to the animation it really sets the tone for the movie and is an entertaining watch on its own.

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    Replies
    1. That is a great choice. I totally forgot about that one. Also "Napoleon Dynamite", "Juno", and Fincher's "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" should be mentioned as great title sequences

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  2. Great list! I definitely agree with your pick for number one as "Enter the Void" has the most fantastic opening ever - just a flurry of light and words. By the same rationale the opening credits for Noe's "Irreversible" are quite unique as well.

    As you mentioned above, "Napoleon Dynamite" would also have been a worthy addition on here.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Alex. Yeah As much as "Irreversible" gave me a lot of sleepless nights I can't deny Gaspar Noe is quite a visual genius.

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  3. Great choices here. I would add Zombieland to the list and because I'm a Star Wars nerd I'll just add that too because of its impact.

    I wonder if you saw the clip "The Art Of Film & TV Ttitle Design" by Offbook/PBS. Its a 6 minute clip featuring some great opening sequences with interviews from the people who made them. There's also a tribute to Saul Bass who is said to be a legend in this field. I featured this clip in one of my posts: http://whoathisisheavy.blogspot.com/2012/04/anatomy-of-film-opening-title-sequence.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh. Good Choice With The Zombieland. That was the best use of "For Whom The Bell Tolls ". I have not seen that clip but I will look for it on your blog shortly. Thanks for sending that link

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  4. I love the credits that Saul Bass did for Hitchcock films. Zombieland is an awesome addition. Although it's brand new, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo US needs to be in consideration too. That's a fantastic opening.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Max. The only problem I had with the "Dragon Tattoo" opening is that it took me out of the story. It looked just like a cool video.

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  5. Great one Vern, you missed one man! CECIL B DEMENTED!!! Absolutely a killer sweet intro!

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    Replies
    1. ARRRGGGGGGGG. Yes You are right. That was a good one. I like the music and the way they combine both styles together

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  6. I checked this list out specifically to see if you included Se7en. Very happy to see you did. Great list. I love North by Northwest's as well!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment Nick. Se7en's title sequence is very original.

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