Saturday, January 9, 2010

#12 Reservoir Dogs: This Dylanesque, pop, bubble-gum favorite

1992. dir. Quentin Tarantino, starring Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen.

Seen it before? Yes.

Quentin Tarantino's first movie deals with the bloody aftermath of a botched diamond heist. All the hallmarks of his later films are there:
  • Random, discursive discussions of pop culture
  • Title cards... he really does over-use these
  • Scenes presented out of chronological order
  • Just loads and loads of violence
My wife brought up the Coupling episode, but this movie always makes me think of Itchy and Scratchy re-enacting the infamous "ear" scene. Speaking of which, one of the funnier commentaries on one of the Simpsons DVDs talks about the most terrifying guest star they ever had: the late Lawrence Tierney, who plays a crime boss here. Unfortunately, it looks like this is his only appearance on the list... too bad, because he owned this movie.

My favorite scene is the one where he assigns everybody's nickname. Why am I Mr. Pink?

Position on the list: 64
Number of women with speaking roles in this movie: 0

For the record:

I'm not 100% against musicals...

Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire singing and dancing = Good. Fine. Bring it.
John Travolta or Steve Gutenberg singing and dancing = AIEE! Run!

#12 Reservoir Dogs - Remember the scene in Coupling?

1992 Dir. Quentin Tarantino. Starring: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen

Seen it before? Um, no.

Where the guys are walking to the funeral against the brick wall wearing sunglasses, suits, and smoking cigarettes? It was nothing like that.

I typically stay away from Quentin Tarantino movies because of how violent they are...Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2. and this movie proved no different. Usually I don't like Steve Buscemi but he was great in this movie (quite smart to hide under the stairs for the three-way shoot-out and to be the first to say that there was a rat on the inside which is why there were so many cops on the scene). I love Harvey Keitel and he was awesome (then again, he's awesome in every movie I've seen him in), especially because he stuck to his partner in crime 'til the very end...kind of. I didn't think Chris Penn could act but then I saw him here and he was actually quite good! Too bad he's not able to make any more movies! And kudos to QT for not showing what actually happened at the site of the crime because I felt there was enough blood and gore for me and the script having the characters tell what happened was terrific enough in terms of imagery you didn't need to actually see what happened!

I hope I didn't spoil the movie for those who want to see it...if I did too bad since Sam already mentioned that most movies have a "duh" ending.

Do I think you should see it? If you liked QTs other movies you're probably going to like this one.
Would I see it again? It's not Kill Bill that's for sure but yeah, I guess so.
Would I add it to my collection? It's part of Sam's collection and as they say, what's his is mine...ha ha ha

#11 Singin' in the Rain - Sam took my snotty movie quote

1952. dir. Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor, Jean Hagen.

Seen it before? No.
I swear Taco ( has all the songs from this movie on his CD which I am sure will not surprise you, I own. Daniel loved the movie and so did I...of course Sam had to have the reverse opinion about plot and musicals. I actually said something along the lines of, 'let me guess, you're not getting this as a musical.' to which he replied what he ended up posting on his part of the blog...blah blah the actors should have just sung and danced the whole 90 minutes and I would have been, no Sam, I know you, you wouldn't have been happy and would have complained about it!
This whole process of watching movies made prior to when I was born, ok, let's be honest, prior to when my parents were born, is bringing up a lot of issues that are still around tonight's first movie the issue was what the rags like today's Enquirer or USWeekly print crap that the public believe but aren't at all true about the stars in the stories. Happened then, happens now...history repeats itself and not in a good way. Alas, where would our entertainment be without lies.
I LOVE Debbie Reynolds. She was adorable in My Six Loves, as Grace's mom in Will & Grace, and of course, in this movie she's just awesome. She can sing! She can dance! She can act! the real triple threat to someone like Jean Hagen's Lina Lemont!
I loved Gene Kelly but I think the real scene stealer was Donald O'Connor...and I'm pretty sure Daniel would agree with that assessment!
I loved the music. I loved the amazing effects considering this was made in the early 1950s...specifically when they shoot the scene with Jean Hagen in color and fade to black and white to the movie screening...AWESOME! I even loved the costuming which I think today's fashion people should take a plate from. Women don't need to be baring cleavage all the time to show off rocking figures! The dresses in Singin' in the Rain were cut in such a way that was flirty, stylish and non-whorish! LOVED the outfits!
Would I see it again? If I didn't like the movie I would still watch it to see Daniel's reactions and to hear his giggles!
Would I add it to my collection? Remember that thing I said about my birthday coming up? Yeah, I'd love a copy. For now I'll rely on NetFlix On Demand

Friday, January 8, 2010

#11 Singin' in the Rain: She can't act, she can't sing, she can't dance. A triple threat!

1952. dir. Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor, Jean Hagen.

Seen it before? No.

Usually my gripe with musicals is that the characters just randomly break into song at the drop of a hat. I had the opposite problem here. Clearly this movie's reason to exist is the song and dance numbers, but the characters kept breaking into plot. If it was just 90 minutes of musical numbers that would have been fine, but alas.

So the plot, such as it is... Gene Kelly and Jean Hagen play Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont, the Hollywood "it" couple of the silent era, and Donald O'Connor plays Don's life partner best friend from vaudeville Cosmo. Lina has this nails-on-a-blackboard screechy voice (think Harley Quinn from Batman the Animated Series, or Charles Foster Kane's second wife), which is unfortunate because talkies get invented. But then Don meets Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) who can sing and dance, and... y'know, never mind, the plot is silly and the movie more or less abandons it two-thirds of the way through for this lavish "Broadway Melody" number that has nothing to do with anything.

The songs are pretty classic, and Gene Kelly certainly could dance. Daniel watched it with us and totally cracked up during "Make 'Em Laugh". Good times.

Position on the list: 75
And now for something completely different: Now we're watching Reservoir Dogs. haha

#10 Shaun of the Dead - this after watching the Wizard of Oz

2004. dir. Edgar Wright, starring Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Nick Frost.

Seen it before? No.

To go from a classic to this was really far-reaching for us...but since Daniel would have been terrified of the gore we saved it for after we put him in bed. Of course I must admit that I didn't want to see this movie from the very beginning...and by that I mean 2004 when it came out. I was like, "Um, no thanks." So now I find myself in a strange situation where I must eat my words because I actually rather enjoyed it.
Simon Pegg is so cute as the hero. Even after a break-up he still wants to save his 'girlfriend'. I love Bill Nighy too! Especially when he confesses he just wanted to be a good role-model for Shaun. So sweet! I even liked the fact that there was a Bizarro Seinfeld moment with Shaun and his friend Yvonne as they tried to flee the zombies...why they didn't just join forces is a mystery because that would have been pretty entertaining I think.

What I hate to admit was my favorite part of the film. See, I am a very mean person...especially since I really rather couldn't wait until the Dave character finally bit the big one...and in the most gory way possible!
Other notable scenes:
  • Ed and Shaun discussing which records they could toss at oncoming zeds
  • Shaun and Ed discussing the plan for what to do with Philip and how to rescue Shaun's loved ones
  • At the very beginning of the movie when Shaun and Liz are talking at the bar and Ed is playing the video game...just watch the movie!
For those who cannot handle gore I still recommend seeing this movie. Especially since it's pretty freaking humorous.

Would I see it again? Hell Yes!

Would I add it to my collection? Um, my birthday is in March if someone wants to get this for me! =)

A few more on the Wizard:

  • The songs! Didn't mention those at all. The lyrics are really clever, but I never understood a lot of them as a kid. I recommend watching this movie with captions turned on.
  • I forgot all about the Lion's "If I Were King of the Forest" song.
  • The Scarecrow really is the smartest character in the movie... notice he's the one who comes up with all of the plans. The Lion is total dead weight.
  • The witch says she's going to send an "insect" after them, but nothing comes of it. This is a reference to the "Jitterbug" musical number, which got left on the cutting room floor. Hate when that happens. Movie editors, you need to watch for loose ends like this! The most obnoxious case of this that I can remember is the movie Magnolia but we'll discuss that one later.
  • I think we always fast-forwarded the opening Kansas section of the movie, because that part was a lot less familiar to me.
  • The DVD transfer of this looks amazing. Didn't try the Blu-Ray.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

#10 Shaun of the Dead: The zed-word

2004. dir. Edgar Wright, starring Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Nick Frost.

Seen it before? No.

Have you ever played this game? It's fucking brilliant
If there was a zombie apocalypse in the suburbs, would anybody notice? I guess the answer is "Yes... eventually". Simon Pegg plays this loser Shaun who has a dead-end job and still lives with roommates at 29. His girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) breaks up with him for, well, being a loser and hanging around the pub all the time with his even bigger loser friend Ed (Nick Frost). Meanwhile, in the background, everybody is turning into flesh-eating zombies, and it takes an absurdly long time for any of the main characters to realize it. There are some particularly funny scenes where Shaun is stupidly watching TV and flipping past increasingly dire newscasts but not paying any attention to them whatsoever... The first half of the movie is hilarious and satirical, but then it settles into being more of just a regular zombie flick at the end. It's a fun movie if you have a high gore tolerance.

Position on the list: 230
Hey! It's that guy!: Bill Nighy. He makes every movie better. He almost made Love Actually tolerable, and for this he deserved an Oscar.

#9 The Wizard of Oz: Damn you WB Studio Store!

1939. dir. Victor Fleming, starring Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Margaret Hamilton, Billie Burke, Frank Morgan.

Seen it before? Not in its entirety...EVER
I find it funny that I played the Wicked Witch of the West when I had never seen the entire movie. What do I mean? In eighth grade my friends decided we would go to the Halloween party we sponsored through the service club as Dorothy (Julie), the Scarecrow (Megan), Glinda (Amy), a flying monkey (George), and I was the WWW...shit I know we had a Tin Man and a Cowardly Lion but I can't remember who played which character...sorry guys and gals...Tanya had to be in it I just know it...The point is we reenacted some scenes from the Wizard of Oz and I hadn't seen it wholly.
That being said, there's no way this movie can get remade and not completely suck. The charm, the actors, the munchkins, can't be duplicated no matter how many times a midget gets duplicated (think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory I can't even think of current actors who could pull off the Wizard, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion.
Daniel liked it too.
Parts I've seen multiple times:
  1. The house flying in the tornado
  2. Glinda the Good Witch appears
  3. Follow the Yellow Brick Road
  4. Meeting the Scarecrow
  5. Meeting the Tin Man
  6. Meeting the Cowardly Lion
  7. Toto pulls the curtain back to reveal the Wizard
  8. Dorothy taps her ruby slippers three times and wakes up
I know it seems like the whole movie but I really never saw the part when she runs to Auntie Em because the snooty lady tries to take her dog at the beginning of the film. I never saw the first time the witch was in her castle or that the wizard told the foursome to bring back the witch's broom.
Thanks to the WBSS I will forever have "People come and go so quickly" in my mind; also, the insane thousands of ruby slipper Radko ornaments; the crazy lithographs; the weird plates; gah, it's no wonder it took this 250 movies to finally get me to watch this movie entirely.
Would I see it again? Sure
Would I add it to my collection? Sam really likes it and I'm pretty sure Daniel wouldn't mind watching it again so yes.

#9 The Wizard of Oz: People come and go so quicky here!

1939. dir. Victor Fleming, starring Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Margaret Hamilton, Billie Burke, Frank Morgan.

Seen it before? Many times when I was a kid, but not recently.

Let me say this right off the bat: Wicked didn't happen.

Yeah. I saw that show when it was in Chicago, and it gave all sorts of backstory about the land of Oz and the Witches. They explain the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, they explain why the Witch of the West has a green face. They explain everything, and that's why I hated it.

I LOVED this movie when I was a kid. It was one of the few movies we had on VHS and we watched the shit out of that tape. (I think we had taped it off of TV, commercials and all.) There were so many fantastic little unexplained details, and you would notice something new every time. There's a red brick road at the beginning, where does it go? What's with the weird red sand in the hourglass, and the red poison the Witch sprinkles on the poppies? What's so special about the ruby slippers? What was the Witch of the East like, and where's the witch of the South? Don't tell me! It sucks out all of the mystery and wonder.

Really, this movie is a masterpiece. The land of Oz has this wonderfully colorful look, like a picture book. It doesn't quite look realistic but that's the point. The performances are legendary; upon rewatching it, my favorites (besides Judy) are Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion and Margaret Hamilton as the Witch, and of course the Muchkins. You can tell that if they remade this movie they would totally ruin it with lots of CGI. No way they would hire a bunch of real midgets anymore... just create a bunch of digital copies of Verne Troyer or some bullshit like that. Somebody needs to lock up Tim Burton in his basement. I'm just saying.

My wife keeps telling me the story is some sort of complex allegory about the politics of 1890's. Some nonsense her college history prof told her about the Gold Standard or William Jennings Bryan or something. Bullshit I say, this movie is more universal than that. Watch the adults in this movie: some of them are loving and caring, but the Witch is cruel, the Wizard is useless, and Glinda... I think Glinda is the most important adult character in the movie. She could have helped Dorothy; could have just told her how to get back right away. But noooo, she had to teach her a lesson first. She's so aloof and flippant. That's such a key insight to the relationship between adults and children.

Shame that Wicked turned her into a giggling Valley Girl. Seriously, it didn't happen.

Position on the list: 119
Movies that are dubiously ranked higher: Sin City, Gran Torino, Batman Begins, Return of the Jedi(!?)

Snowed in...

Major snow here in Wheaton so I think we're going to use the next couple of days to plow through some of these movies. Here's what's on tap: Shaun Of The Dead, Wizard of Oz, The Seventh Seal, and all 3 Star Wars movies. Maybe Fargo too if we have time.

Also some blog policies:
  • Comments: I doubt anybody is actually reading this blog, but if so, I've enabled public commenting, so go nuts.
  • Spoilers: We're going to try to avoid spoiling the endings for most of the lesser known movies on the list, but things like Citizen Kane, Empire Strikes Back, and The Sixth Sense are common knowledge at this point so watch out.

    That is all. Carry on.
  • #8 Diabolique --- with subtitles and I stayed awake for the whole thing!

    1955. dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot, starring Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse. French with subtitles.

    Seen it before? No.

    It was good. Real good. And I loved it! Absolutely loved it. But now I'm going to be on the lookout for movies that are made today that can equal this movie. There was suspense; an ice queen; a man you just rooted would die; a woman you felt sorry for; cute kids who got into trouble because they cried wolf so many times no one would believe the truth when it finally came out; and the crazy old man who turned out to know just enough to be really awesome!

    I know it is probably really difficult to write a movie script that can captivate audiences young and old. Hell, I even know I can't write that kind of movie. I'm not sure it was even just the script or the acting that made this movie for me. I really think it was the use of effects that today's movie producers have to use computer generated animation for. The white eye coverings that were like contacts to make it appear someone is out cold. The type writer. It was like watching Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart but not.

    A few days ago I wrote about how the more things change the more they stay the same. At that point I was talking about His Girl Friday and the decoy guy. Now I'm talking about this movie and the fact that women in movies who are looking into something that terrifies them do not turn on the freaking lights! I know, I know, suspense...but really, if that's all your movie has, it's not enough! This movie had it and more. Put Sharon Stone away and watch this movie. You won't regret it!

    Would I see it again? Absolutely!
    Would I add it to my collection? YES and you should too!

    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    #8 Diabolique: Die and do it quickly!

    1955. dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot, starring Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse. French with subtitles.

    Seen it before? No.

    Translation: "Don't be devils. Don't ruin the interest your friends could take in this film. Don't tell them what you saw. Thank you for them."

    THIS, M. Night Shyamalan. THIS is how you do a movie with a twist ending. Just enough of a twist that the audience doesn't see it coming, but not so much of a twist that it's still totally plausible. Even obvious in retrospect.

    The movie is about two women who conspire to murder the headmaster of a boarding school. Véra Clouzot plays the wife of the headmaster, and Simone Signoret plays a teacher at the school who had an affair with the headmaster. The latter is totally perfect as an icy, ruthless femme fatale. She reminded me of Kim Novak in Vertigo or Naomi Watts in Mulholland Dr. They did a remake of this movie in 1996 with Sharon Stone in that role.... I haven't seen it, but it stars Sharon Stone, so how bad could it be?

    I won't give away any more of the plot, but there's no killer trees or anything like that. It's very suspenseful and darkly funny. Highly recommended.

    Position on the list: 173
    The best Sharon Stone movie: Total Recall

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    #7 Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? --Who invites people over for cocktails at 2 in the damn morning?!?!?!

    1966. dir. Mike Nichols, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Sandy Dennis, George Segal.

    Seen the movie before? No

    You know it's going to be an interesting night when the hosts of the cocktail hour are already lit beyond belief. George and Martha are bitter, biting, and well, let's face it, the hosts from hell. I mean, Sam and I joke about the game, "who can make the guests feel more uncomfortable?" but we don't really mean it like these two...and the thing is they just kept on going! What's worse is that you don't know when they really mean it or when they're co-conspiritors against their already completely unsuspecting guest.

    And props for the writers for making "Nick" married but could that woman have been more boring? Or should I say, "stereotypical?" But perhaps maybe that's how she was meant. Personally I wanted to smack her and say, there are three other people in this movie who are giving it their all, why the hell aren't you? Then again, she won the best supporting actress. I'm talking about the character not the actress...I'm sure that Sandy Dennis is just lovely and was playing "Honey" exactly as she was meant to be played...I just couldn't stand this character.

    Furthermore, the "son"...well, they kind of left you wondering at the end if he even existed...all other reviews I've read say pretty much the same thing. Damn Elizabeth Taylor is a good actress! To pretend with precise accuracy what it was like to have a child...and then cry about his death when...well, you'll have ot see it yourself. As for Richard Burton, I spent a good portion of the movie wondering if he played George drunk and wasn't actually acting. Sam's right, AA would be a good start.

    For those of you who will later decide to see the movie, yes, "Nick" is the guy from Just Shoot Me and the baby-daddy of Kirstie Allie's kid in Look Who's Talking.

    Would I see it again? Eh, perhaps I should try to watch this while I'm three sheets to the wind
    Would I add it to my collection? How else will I teach my child that drinking is BAD for them?

    #7 Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?: Martha? Rubbing alcohol for you?

    1966. dir. Mike Nichols, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Sandy Dennis, George Segal.
    "Michael and Jan seem to be playing their own separate game: Let's see how uncomfortable we can make our guests. And they're both winning."
    Jim Halpert, The Office
    Seen it before? No.

    Well. THAT was fucked up.

    Elizabeth Taylor (who won Best Actress for this role) and her then-husband Richard Burton play George and Martha, a married couple who invite a younger couple over for drinks after a party. Martha is a boozy, verbally abusive harridan; George is totally emasculated. lovely couple. The younger couple don't get names in the movie, but Wikipedia identifies them as Nick (George Segal) and Honey (Sandy Dennis, who won Best Supporting Actress). That really annoys me by the way. Give the characters names! Please!

    At first it's awkward and uncomfortable, with George and Martha insulting and belittling each other, but once the liquor starts flowing, it devolves into something stranger... is "psychosis" the right word? Hmm, yes let's go with that, psychosis. George and Martha have these psychological "games" they play, like "Humiliate the Host" and "Get the Guests". I won't divulge any details here but George and Martha should really seek help. AA might be a good place to start?

    It's kind of hard to follow in some parts; all the characters talk in rhymes and riddles, except Nick, who is more or less the only sane person in the movie. That's good. You always need one sane person otherwise it's just madness.

    Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? Hard to say, really. Virginia Woolf the author never really comes up in the movie; it's a reference to some song people were drunkenly singing at the party. I guess that's the sort of thing that is hilarious at liberal arts colleges? But after seeing this movie, you should be very afraid of Virginia Woolf.

    Position on the list: 239
    You know who George and Martha remind me of? Susan's parents from Seinfeld. That's probably intentional.

    Monday, January 4, 2010

    #6 (500) Days Of Summer...who is in love with Ringo...

    2009. dir. Marc Webb, starring Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

    Seen it before? No.

    My brother said he liked my status with a thumbs up. Another person wrote that it was their favorite movie of all 2009...and then you read my husband's blog and go...huh?

    The funny part is that I was thinking Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character was great in that it was nothing like anything he'd ever played...but then Sam pointed out how whiny he was about everything wrong that happened with his relationship with Summer and all of a sudden I thought, well, shit, it's like EVERY OTHER FREAKING character he's ever played. Whiny and especially about women/love interests! And really, what was with the f*ing dance number after they did it the first time...really? Cartoon bluebirds?

    I'm shocked Sam didn't mention the immense amount of music that went along with the movie. It was like Forrest Gump all over again...just different music, of course. To be fair I actually liked Forrest Gump and didn't mind the soundtrack playing throughout the movie and I can honestly say the same for this movie too...just thought I'd mention how shocked I am that Sam didn't.

    Isn't it always the way that you put a past relationship (or several) on such a pedestal by thinking about only the good things that happened and forgetting about the bad, the miserable, the resentment in turn making yourself miserable and resentful?

    It wasn't an eye-opening movie. It wasn't a terrible movie. It was one of those movies that Sam says he could write if only he had the time to do so since everything followed the Hollywood format and there was a happy ending when all was said and done.

    Oh right, of course the girl at the end would be named AUTUMN!

    Would I see it again? Probably
    Would I add it to my collection? Would the next girl he falls for be named Winter?

    #6 (500) Days Of Summer: Please please please let me let me let me let me get what I want

    2009. dir. Marc Webb, starring Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

    Seen it before? No.

    Aspires to be this generation's Annie Hall... but there are some problems. I'll put them in list form.
    (85) Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character. Holy Jesus where do I start. What a gash. Everything is whine whine whine with this guy.

    (119) The use of 80's pop culture references and indie music as a shortcut to characterization. Oooh, you're playing Donkey Kong! ooh, Knight Rider, ooh, Belle and Sebastian! shut up.

    (4) The obviousness. She had a dream where she was flying, and she was all alone, and she felt safe. GEE WHAT COULD THAT POSSIBLY MEAN. Her name is Summer, but the scenes on the number cards get progressively more autumn-y as the numbers get higher. UHH IS THAT SYMBOLIC?

    (20) The split screen thing. Stop it.

    (85) Seriously. Man, she said she didn't want a boyfriend. Get over it, you're acting like she murdered a busload of orphans.

    (9) Montages set to pop music! It should be against the law to have more than one per movie. This thing had like seven. What is this, One Tree Hill?

    (207) The all-knowing pre-teen. GAAH I hate that when they have kids talk like adults. Kids can't give you useful advice. They don't know shit.

    (85) Ohhh no she didn't listen to your mixtape? You poor baby.

    (92) The greeting card thing. Too many easy jokes. Oh and now you're quitting! So you can be more real. And work on your ARCHITECTURE so you can build something that wil LAST instead of something TEMPORARY like your GREETING CARDS. Oh please please tell me if it's symbolic! I can't figure it out on my own. Maybe the NARRATOR can explain it to me.

    (334) Yeah. There's a narrator. Very very few movies need narrators, and usually they're an indication that your movie is "telling" when it should be "showing". Narrators can be interesting, when they take on a life of their own. Like the Big Lebowski, or the unreliable narration in Goodfellas. This guy just sucked.

    (85) Yeah I really just can't get past this. She SAID, in like the FIRST GODDAMN conversation you had with her, that she didn't want anything serious. When somebody says this, they really mean they don't want to be serious WITH YOU. Everybody knows this. I was in a relationship like this in high school. When the girl said it was over, I didn't get angry. I let it go. And I said to myself, this is the business we've chosen; I didn't ask who gave the order, because it had nothing to do with business!

    What was I talking about again?

    Position on the list: 225
    Actually: It wasn't that bad, I just enjoy bitching.

    Avatar... now 28th on the list, higher than friggin' Citizen Kane. I guess we have to see it now.

    Directors with multiple movies on the list

    I was thinking we do "theme" weeks where we go through the works of one particular fimmmaker. so let's see.... Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Capra, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Sergio Leone, Francis Ford Coppola, Frederico Fellini, Akira Kurosawa, Stanley Kubrick, James Cameron, Robert Zemeckis, Rob Reiner, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, Coen Brothers, P.T. Anderson, Steven Spielberg... who am I missing?

    EDIT: Terry Gilliam, Ridley Scott, Sidney Lumet, Woody Allen... hey did you notice no Robert Altman? hmm.

    EDIT #2: Clint Eastwood: 5 movies on the list. wow.

    EDIT #3: Billy Wilder, Roman Polanski...

    Sunday, January 3, 2010

    #5 His Girl Friday...a remake of The Front Page

    1940. dir. Howard Hawks, starring Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy.

    Have you seen it before? No

    Watching a movie made over a decade ago is humorous enough as it is but one from 70 years ago is another kettle of fish. The funny thing is that the more things change the more they stay the same. For instance, Cary Grant (playing Walter Burns) describes the character Bruce (played by Ralph Bellamy by saying:
    Walter Burns: He looks like that fellow in the movies - Ralph Bellamy.

    A more recent movie doing the same thing is the Ocean's 11 enterprise with George Clooney. Matt Damon's character sees Tess (played by Julia Roberts) and well, read on:

    Tess Ocean: [while trying to get through a crowd of fans thinking she's Julia Roberts] How is this going to get Danny out?
    Linus Caldwell: We need someone famous.
    Tess Ocean: Why didn't you get someone famous?
    Linus Caldwell: Just think Four Weddings and a Funeral.
    Tess Ocean: [rather bewildered] She wasn't in Four Weddings and a Funeral.
    Linus Caldwell: 'I'. 'I wasn't in Four Weddings and a Funeral'! Just protect your fake baby!

    Which Sam informs me was a rip off of Arsenic and Old Lace...or maybe not.
    Then there's the whole "decoy guy", a lovely film tactic used even today which really rubs Sam the wrong way...hilarious! What's that old saying, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." um, yeah, apparantly 70 year old ideas are still being played today.
    It's cool to see what things were like in a 40's newsroom. We still see crap like that today only more typing onto laptops and less screaming into cool two part phones. I'm pretty sure newspeople still drink during lunch but they probably look online instead of play cards while waiting for the latest scoop.
    Rosalind Russell was great. Ralph Bellamy was like James Marsden in every movie he's ever been in with the exception of 27 Dresses in terms of the decoy guy. Cary Grant was, well, for me, not in the movie enough! =)
    Well, 5 down, 245 to go.

    Would I see it again? Yes, it was hilarious AND I probably missed something the first time
    Would I add it to my collection? Abso-freaking-lutely!

    #5 His Girl Friday: Tear out the whole front page!

    1940. dir. Howard Hawks, starring Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy.

    Seen it before? Nope.

    Aargh, screwball comedy. Not my favorite genre. The entire movie was people shouting into telephones. I know, I know, it's supposed to be "witty" and "rapid fire" but I just found it grating. It looks like it was fun to be a newspaper man back in the '40s... it seemed like whenever they weren't yelling their dialogue or hammering on a typewriter, they sat around smoking and playing cards. And the waiter asks them if they want rum in their coffee during lunch, they're all "Sure, why not?"

    Performances were fine; I liked Rosalind Russell, and usually I can't stand Cary Grant in a non-Hitchcock movie but he was fine here. Ralph Bellamy was kind of funny as the "decoy" guy. You know, the loser guy the herione is with at the beginning so there's an obstacle to her hooking up with the dashing lead. Hey, screenwriters! This movie came out 70 years ago! Stop using that plot device! It's played!

    Position in the list: 241
    Other genres I'm not looking forward to: Musicals, westerns, and "prestige" period dramas made after 1980

    #4 The Princess Bride

    1987. dir. Rob Reiner, starring Cary Elwes, Robin Wright Penn, Andre the Giant, Chris Sarandon, Mandy Patinkin, Fred Savage, Peter Falk.

    Seen it before? About a thousand times

    Inconceivable! Sam hasn't seen this movie in it's entirety until now. Meanwhile I remember the first time I saw this was with my friend Dave K and his brothers while waiting for the Halloween fest to start at our grade school. This was the first movie I saw that made me fall in love with Cary Elwes. It led me to watch a bunch of other Cary Elwes movies done in the early nineties from Hot Shots and Robin Hood Men in Tights to the Crush.

    The princess is whiny...but you would be too if you were trapped in a castle with a good looking prince wanting to marry you...oh wait, no you wouldn't. I did feel bad that she lost her love but as Maria from The Sound of Music said as she was sent off to the vonTrapps "when the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window". Meanwhile the prince was obnoxious, arrogant and just wanted to start a war with the nearby town.

    Billy Crystal was weird but funny; Andre the Giant was great as was Mandy Patinkin; but Wallace Shawn was a scene stealer. What I want to know, even after all these years is how did he get Inigo Montoya and Fezzik to join up with him when he was so annoying? What did he have on them? Yeah sure he paid them and fed them, but really, I would totally murder him for being annoying...

    Would I see it again? Of course
    Would I own it in my collection? I have a VHS but I'd love a DVD
    Favorite movie line:
    Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    #4 The Princess Bride: Is this a kissing book?

    1987. dir. Rob Reiner, starring Cary Elwes, Robin Wright Penn, Andre the Giant, Chris Sarandon, Mandy Patinkin, Fred Savage, Peter Falk.

    Seen it before? I've seen from about the 10 minute mark to about the 40 minute mark multiple times, but never the whole thing.

    Don't you hate that, when you always catch the same part of the movie over and over on cable? I always see the whole Wallace Shawn part but there's apparently a whole hour of the movie after that.

    I thought the princess was mopey and annoying, and I think I agree with xkcd on this one... Westley is a dick.

    Position on the list: 175
    I think: that's way too high. Sorry.

    More on Duck Soup...

    1. About the title:
    The film's title uses a familiar American phrase that means anything simple or easy, or alternately, a gullible sucker or pushover.
    Groucho reportedly provided the following recipe to explain the title: "Take two turkeys, one goose, four cabbages, but no duck, and mix them together. After one taste, you'll duck soup for the rest of your life." - from this review of the movie:

    2. About the plot: it's not really supposed to make sense. Of course Margaret Dumont is careless with her money and they go to war for no reason, it's a satire.

    #3 Duck Soup

    1933. dir. Leo McCarey, starring the Marx Brothers, Margaret Dumont.

    Seen it before? Not entirely

    You know how people can go to an opera, the symphony, or the ballet and not get it? That's how I feel about the Marx brothers. From the way they paint a rectangle of black for a mustache to the fact that one is mute and the title of the actual movie...I'm sure I just don't get it, and that's okay with me. As opposed to Sam who could stand the movie with LESS musical numbers, I thought those were the highlight of the movie since it was not ver well acted in my humble opinion...then again, I couldn't understand the plot and why Mrs. Teasdale would choose Rufus T. Firefly to be the leader of Freedonia...I mean, what the hell were his qualifications? This is why certain people with money should NOT be making decisions about government...hey wait, that's kind of like how our government is now isn't it!??!?!? ARGH! So the Marx brothers have had it right all along!!!!

    I sit here wondering if anyone in this world could tell me why the title is Duck Soup...I'm sure I could research it but it's not worth my time.

    Would I watch it again? There was a reason I didn't watch it entirely to begin with
    Would I make it part of our collection? Well, Netflix on Demand has it as one of the movies you can choose, does that count?