Friday, June 7, 2013

May 2013 Recap

I really hope everyone enjoyed the TOP 20 list yesterday. I think the next time I do a TOP 20 list, I'm going to go through and put in some extra, added comments, just to make it a little more worth your while. I was pleased with the way the TOP 20 came out. I think I've said it before, but even I really have no idea how those lists are going to turn out until I sit down and plot them out. Anyway, it's a week late, but it's RECAP time. Let's get to it, shall we?

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die - As seen in May 2013
1) In the Mood for Love (2000 - Wong Kar-Wai) 7.5/10 - This is one that I really wasn't sure I could get a TOP 20 spot and I couldn't, but I did get it into the "Ten Worth Mentioning" making it one of the thirty best movies I saw this past season.
2) L'Atalante (1934 - Jean Vigo) 3/10 - As I write this, I barely remember "L'Atalante", proving how forgettable it really is.
3) How Green Was My Valley (1941 - John Ford) 4/10
4) Ossessione (1943 - Luchino Visconti) 6.5/10 - I would say that this one would be a great candidate for a rewatch someday. I just don't think I was in the mood for it on the evening that I watched it. Definitely better than "The Postman Always Rings Twice".
5) Laura (1944 - Otto Preminger) 7/10 - Just came within a hair of missing the "Ten Worth Mentioning" section of the TOP 20. More good stuff from Preminger.
6) Meet Me in St. Louis (1944 - Vincente Minnelli) 5/10
7) The Sixth Sense (1999 - M. Night Shyamalan) 7/10 - Good enough to nab a "Ten Worth Mentioning" spot.
8) Being John Malkovich (1999 - Spike Jonze) 6.5/10 - Another one that needs a rewatch, as I was positive that it'd be a shoo in for the TOP 20 list and it didn't come close.
9) Beau Travail (1999 - Claire Denis) 4/10 - Sometimes beautiful, but quite forgettable filmmaking from Claire Denis.
10) All About My Mother (1999 - Pedro Almodovar) 8.5/10 - Chalk Almodovar's name into the director's that caught my eye this season, as he managed to get two of his movies into my TOP 20.
11) Fight Club (1999 - David Fincher) 7/10
12) Henry V (1944 - Laurence Olivier) 1/10 - Probably one of the five worst films out of the last 100 I watched.
13) Ivan the Terrible (1944 - Sergei M. Eisenstein) 2/10 - Still willing to give it a few notches for the great photography, but that's really all it has going for it.
14) My Darling Clementine (1946 - John Ford) 6/10 - Leave it to John Ford to keep a Henry Fonda movie out of my TOP 20.
15) The Bicycle Thief (1948 - Vittorio De Sica) 8/10 - Good enough to land in the #20 spot of yesterday's list.
16) Children of Paradise (1945 - Marcel Carne) 6.5/10 - Great first half, disappointing second half. Had the second half been able to keep the momentum going, this could've been gold.
17) Three Kings (1999 - David O. Russell) 6/10
18) Titanic (1997 - James Cameron) 7/10 - Also came REALLY REALLY close to making the "Ten Worth Mentioning" section of the TOP 20. Just wasn't quite as good as anything that was included.
19) Run Lola Run (1998 - Tom Tykwer) 7.5/10 - Lowered it a little, because when making the list, I realized that I saw, at least, twenty other, better films this season.
20) There's Something About Mary (1998 - Farrelly, Farrelly) 6/10 - All in good fun, I guess.
21) The Thin Red Line (1998 - Terrence Malick) 6.5/10 - Another one that had lots of potential, but lost me along the way.

Non-1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die - As seen in May 2013

My wife and I have begun the long effort of going through our DVD collection (nearly 1000 titles strong) and sorting out the riff raff. Basically we're going to try to watch everything on our shelves (which will take forever and a day) and get rid of things we mutually don't like and don't think we'll watch again. On the other hand, for the things we like, we're trying to give some of the supplemental material a watch and see if any of it is worthwhile. Anyway, expect to see the "NON-1001" section of the recaps get some action, for a while anyway.

1) Lake Placid (1999 - Steve Miner) 3/10 - This was brought into the collection by my wife, when we first got together and merged our collections. I had never seen it, but had always seen it on the shelf and pretty much knew I wouldn't like it. I was right! Apparently Hollywood is NEVER going to forget that in 1975 "Jaws" made a truckload of cash and will forever be trying to find that next, great, moneymaking man vs. animal picture. This wasn't it. Filled with cheesy effects, a story that's held together by scotch tape and features perhaps my least favorite actor ever, Oliver Platt. I'm not crazy about Bill Pullman either, but at least he has SOME potential and Bridget Fonda should be ashamed to be in this, as she isn't a bad actress and she shamed her grandfather's good name by even appearing here. I can't even justify the '3' rating, except to say that a '1' or '2' seemed too low. My wife agreed with me, for the most part and this was placed in the "sell pile".

2) Elephant (2003 - Gus Van Sant) 7/10 - Brought into the collection by yours truly. I like Gus Van Sant and with the exception of "Gerry", I've never seen a bad film from him (God was that film awful though). "Elephant" is no exception, using amateur actors and even amateur looking photography to give us a real feel for the atmosphere of American high-schools and a little feel for what it might be like to be caught in a shooting situation. This movie is quite relevant, especially in America where there seems to be a school shooting (or some type of shooting) every time you turn around. Van Sant's film takes place over the course of one school day and gives us multiple angles of the same shot, from different characters perspectives. Good stuff from Gus and a keeper to our collection.

3) Ransom (1996 - Ron Howard) 6.5/10 - I realized when watching this one that Ron Howard doesn't have a single film in THE BOOK and you know what, I really can't blame THE BOOK for excluding him, as none of his movies are really stand-out. HOWEVER, "Ransom" is a really good, easy to get into film, that packs quite the punch and works as a really good thriller. It has a great cast, including Mel Gibson (he's good here), Rene Russo (who apparently fell off the face of the Earth, but wasn't awful) and Gary Sinise (a favorite of mine). Gibson's son is kidnapped by a police officer played by Gary Sinise. Things go awry when Gibson's character revokes the ransom and instead offers it as a reward for anyone leading him to his son, thus putting a bounty on the kidnapper's head. Not stellar or anything, but it works and it's pretty good. It's a keeper.

4) The Wrestler (2008 - Darren Aronofsky) 10/10 - Someday I'll write a real, full-length review on this one and tell you just why I like it so much and what it really means to me. For now, I'll just say that I grew up watching professional wrestling and when I got older, I started to dig a little deeper and find a greater appreciation for what these men (and women) do. Most will write it off as the bastard child of boxing and "real sports", but few know the skill that actually goes into putting on a wrestling match, albeit a good one. In the ring no one should ever get anymore banged up than a football player, the outcomes are predetermined and the feuds are no different than watching a movie. For me, it's the equivalent of someone watching and enjoying ballet and requires you to suspend your disbelief if you intend to enjoy it, just like with movies. Anyway, in my opinion, this is a great example of what these wrestlers go through, put themselves through and how many of them hesitate to give up the spotlight. This movie is a real favorite of mine! I'll leave it at that.

5) Sleeping with the Enemy (1991 - Joseph Ruben) 6/10 - Despite shoddy acting from Julia Roberts, this one really surprised me in how decent it was. This was one of my wife's movies and again, like "Lake Placid", I'd never seen it. Pretty good thriller, that totally worked for me. Sure, it's on par with a Lifetime movie, but one of the better ones and the guy that plays the crazy husband was really great. We decided to keep this one.

6) Election (1999 - Alexander Payne) 8.5/10 - Another one that I'd like to someday write a full-length review on. I've loved "Election" from the first time I saw it. Just a really great and clever comedy that uses a high school, student body election and fills it in with deceit and corruption. All of the actor's involved know their parts and play them well, especially Broderick and Witherspoon. If you've never seen this, please do yourself a favor and check it out. It's an easy watch and it's a high quality film that deserves more attention.

7) Unbreakable (2000 - M. Night Shyamalan) 7/10 - I watched this one right around the time I watched "The Sixth Sense" and honestly, this was almost as good as that film. It's a very clever concept, as it takes the basic layout of a superhero story and gives it to us, except it uses real people, not men in tights and capes flying through the air. Shyamalan again gives us a twist ending to chew on, except it's not quite as shocking, but perhaps more clever than the twist in "The Sixth Sense". Unfortunately, as I write this M. Night's latest film "After Earth" is in theaters and not doing so good - by box office or critical standards. He's seemed to have really slipped lately and he just needs to get back to what made him a household name: clever, simple stories that bordered on the thriller/horror genre, but also gave us a fair amount of drama and appealed to the masses.

8) Around the Bend (2004 - Jordan Roberts) 6/10 - I brought this into the collection. I saw it back when it came out on DVD, when I was working at the video store and would basically rent anything that looked even half appealing. When I saw Christopher Walken on the cover of this one and noticed that Michael Caine was in it too, I rented it, thought it was great and bought it pretty quickly afterward. It didn't get over on me quite as well this time around, but it still holds up somewhat. It's a little overly sentimental at times and overly dramatic. I'm also not that crazy about Josh Lucas and honestly, Christopher Walken really seems to be phoning in his performance. However, like I said, it works to a certain extent and certainly isn't the worst thing I even saw last month and we decided to hang onto it.

WHEW! Well, that's all I got for you this month dear readers. It is now time for me to officially announce my hiatus from the blog. I need to go and recharge my batteries for a little while, but fear not - I'll be back probably at the end of July or beginning of August. Let's put it this way, by the time the leaves are changing colors, I'll be back to pluggin' away on those final 300 films and before you know it, my journey will be through. Keep an eye out for the June recap, as the wife and I have already put away one more DVD from our shelf, so I'll definitely have something to talk about. See ya soon guys, take care and please, don't hesitate to keep on commenting in my absence, as I'll still check the blog daily and reply to everyone.

June 7, 2013  11:10pm


  1. For what it is worth, my twopenneth...(now there is an English phrase)
    Lake placid is total junk, but I enjoyed it more than jaws.. bu I'd never keep it either.
    Election I thought was fantastic and I'm mildly surprised to be reminded it isn't in the book...
    The wrestler I think is in later editions. I watched it, expecting not to like it at all.. I really don't like wrestling at all.. but found myself getting into it much more than I expected.
    Elephant.. which by co-incidence crops up the day after I made a comment to you about guns 7 shootings - worked the other way.. I expected to like, and was disappointed by.
    Unbreakable.. I moderately enjoyed at first viewing.. for, as you say, the concept. The way it is just taken for granted that there could be people with super hero/villain powers just out there, and maybe not even aware.. and reacting to this bizarre idea, when it is suggested to them, in the way you or I would... 'Oh come on.. this is ridiculous'

    1. I was hoping you'd swing by and comment on some of these Ray, as I was wondering your opinions. As always thanks for the comments. Also, I WILL get back to your email ASAP, battling a pretty rough headache at the moment, so trying to limit my time staring into this computer screen.

  2. Have a nice hiatus. I'm already looking forward for the last 300 movies... -Sandra

    1. Thank you Sandra, so much. Hope you'll join me in the comments section when I get back.


SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #66: La piscine/The Swimming Pool (1969)

Running Time: 120 minutes Directed By: Jacques Deray Written By: Jean-Claude Carriere, Jacques Deray, Alain Page Main Cast: Alain Del...