Damn I spend too much time watching Movies 2...The sequel is never as good

  • 1. In the Bedroom - 2001 I own a house in a town very close to Camden Maine. I spend as much of my summer as I can up there. Todd Field’s In The Bedroom does a magnificent job of portraying the look and more importantly the essence of the people of this wonderful area. I loved the movie and it would definitely belong in the top ten movies made last year. I was happy Denzel won the Oscar but I would have had no problem with Tom Wilkinson winning as his performance was pitch perfect. As to the ending, I can see why some people have a problem with it but I must admit my first thought after the scene with the district attorney was that is what I would do if I were in the same position. Moral issues aside it is a most reasonable solution to an immoral problem.
  • 2. Wages of Fear - 1953 Another truly great movie. This is a masterpiece of moviemaking that does not get anywhere near the recognition it deserves. I have never been a philosophy aficionado but I have always have had a soft spot for the existentialists. (and yes I understand the absurdity of that statement) This movie is a monument to the existentialist movement and the scene where Jo’s character is asking what was behind the fence in his old Paris neighborhood is priceless. The structure and pacing of this movie are wonderful and the performances are perfect. A true classic.
  • 3. A.I. - 2001 Wow, this was much better than I ever expected. How did Haley Joe Osmet not get a nomination for this performance? I have never been a huge fan of Spielberg’s obsession with his youth but it seems mixing it with the detachment of Kubrick may have been the right mix to giving us a masterpiece that will soon make the lukewarm reviews this movie received a little foolish. Here is a radical thought, I honestly think someone could remake this movie as a musical and they might have the potential for one of the greatest movies ever made.
  • 4. Once Upon a Time in China - 1991 An entertaining martial arts film. Jet Li is very good in the reluctant hero role and the characters and plot hangs together enough to justify the awesome action sequences. I am glad I watched this but when I found out there are six sequels, I asked myself if I would want to seek out any of them and I must say my answer is no.
  • 5. Donnie Darko - 2001 Any movie that sets out to bash the greed and avarice of the Reagan 80’s is ok with me. Throw in some obvious references to Jimmy Stewart’s movie Harvey and a script that keeps you guessing and you got yourself a movie, a flawed movie but still well worth a viewing. 2001 was definitely the year of puzzle movies (This somehow seems appropriate since the year itself is one of the great puzzle movies of all time).
  • 6. Kate and Leopold - 2001 Ok time for a quick explanation as to why I watched this movie. I was flying home from Las Vegas after a business trip. Usually I never watch a movie on an airplane as I find this to be prime reading time. The plane was barely half full and I had no one sitting next to me so I was very excited. At the last moment this women with a sequined jumpsuit and a matching sequined hat got on the plane and of course her seat was next to mine. She had a personality to match the outfit. She talked from the moment she sat down so I figured my only respite would be to spend the five bucks on the earphones. I would like to tell you that it was well spent, but alas it was not to be. Clichéd, poorly acted (I think even Meg Ryan is getting sick of herself in these roles) and just generally uninspiring. Maybe I should have just listened to the sequin lady.
  • 7. Joy Ride - 2001 This movie brings up fond memories of Dennis Weaver and Duel but this has a little more edginess (from the usually reliable Steve Zahn) and a little more silliness (movies these days do not understand the term understated or implied violence). A good movie, not great, but good is better than the majority of the stuff these days.
  • 8. The Dish - 2000 A nice little charmer from down under. If you are in a good mood, you will most likely enjoy this movie. If you are in a bad mood you might find the quirky townsfolk of Parkes Australia unbearingingly insufferable. That’s the fine line this movie walks. It was nice to see Patrick Warburton of Seinfeld and The Tick fame, getting a more three dimensional character to play and Sam Neill is one of the more underrated reliable actors going.
  • 9. Ship Of Fools - 1965 This has a well-done script that seems more like a stage play or soap opera than a movie. Of course since the movie is shot on a cruise ship and is 99% dialogue it could easily have started out on the stage or it could be easily transferred to the stage today. Pure melodrama as we get a glimpse of pre WW11 understanding of the rise of Nazism in Germany. It is not a movie to actively seek out but if you stumble across it someday, you will probably like it.
  • 10. Lost Horizon - 1937 I have not seen this movie in many years, and the quality of the print is alarmingly bad; but the movie, like the Hilton novel it is based on, has a certain unique charm. When this movie came out America was still in the throes of the Great Depression and as another World War was on the brink of reality, the thought of a perfect society was very desirable and these 70 plus years later, Shangri-La still holds it allure. Ronald Colman was very underrated and he gives one of his strongest performances here as the dashing and obsessed Robert Conway. This one is well worth a viewing
  • 11. The Deep End - 2001. If this movie did not star the translucent Tilda Swanton, this movie would have been pretty horrible. This is a prime example of great acting overcoming a pedestrian script. I came away from this movie believing Margaret Hall (Swanton’s character) would go to the lengths she does for her son. Her actions and motivations were certainly questionable but not her passion and compassion for her family.
  • 12. The Man Who Wasn't There - 2001 I cannot think of a worse great looking movie. The cinematography is wonderful but I never thought I could have such loathing for a black and white movie. Unfortunately this is the stink Bomb that the Coen Brothers have been flirting with ever since Miller’s Crossing. The smugness and superficiality of the script is just indefensible. I was just very sad after watching this mess.
  • 13. Legends of The Fall - 1994. This is a rewatch because I had a lazy night and could not find anything more engrossing to do for two hours. Its basically Brad Pitt eye candy for the era when Pitt was the sexiest man alive bullshit. A sudser melodrama, like a lot of Edward Zwick’s movies, it is compelling but eventually vacuous storytelling.
  • 14. Miss Congeniality - 2000 It is movies like this that give Hollywood the bad reputation it deserves. It is not horrible, Sandra Bullock, the epitome of Hollywood’s mediocrity, is ok and Michael Caine really cannot suck but why even make this movie. 3 minutes into it almost anyone can tell you how it is going to end and nobody really cares. To think someone actually spent millions of dollars to make this bland movie. Something’s just simply amaze me.
  • 15. New Waterford Girl see My Stump a Movie Fool List
  • 16. Heist - 2001 Mamet is often his own worst enemy. He often falls in love with his own dialogue much to the detriment of his movies. However, sometimes he gets it right. Heist is one of the good ones. Terse dialogue, believable characters and just the right amount of twists to keep you involved. I can see why some people have trouble with the movie but I bought it hook, line and sinker
  • 17. Serendipity - 2001 John , oh John, try to remember its all about the scripts. Great scripts like High Fidelity and Being John Malkovich good. Bad scripts like Serendipity and America’s Sweetheart bad. Actually Serendipity is not as bad as America’s Sweethearts, it is just a clichéd rehashed chick flick with little warmth and less believability.
  • 18. The Last Castle - 200 1 Brubaker joins the army. It looks like Robert Redford worked out for the obligatory “I need to take my Shirt off, because I am working so hard scene” (side note; do you notice how it is always hot in prison movies but cold in POW movies). This is really a silly movie that loses you right at the beginning. I am not sure why Gandolfini’s character is so effeminate and ineffectual or even why Redford’s character is even in prison. Just rent Cool Hand Luke or any dozen or so prison movies that are far better.
  • 19. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me - 1992 Ok folks it is story time again. I was at a convention in Las Vegas in early April. I was feeling hungry and went to stand in line for one of those preprocessed ham and cheese sandwiches that you always regret purchasing within the first two bites. Just before I got in line this guy with whitish gray hair pushes past me to meet up with someone he knows. I was just about to say something when it occurred to me the man looked a lot like David Lynch. I looked closer and it was David Lynch and he too purchased the horrible ham and cheese sandwich. Somehow it just struck me very funny that Academy award nominee David Lynch was eating the same awful lunch I was forced to eat. After he left, I kicked myself for not telling him how much I enjoyed Mulholland Drive. I got to thinking about other Lynch stuff and it occurred to me I had never seen his Twin Peaks movie. I remember hating the mess the TV show had turned into and also hating a lot of his other films. But I was so thrilled by Mulholland Drive and buoyed by meeting the guy I figured I would give the movie a try. So not only did I eat a really bad sandwich, I had to sit through a horrible two-hour movie. It kind of makes me happy Lynch could not get the financing for Mulholland Drive the TV show. Lord knows what he would have done to it.
  • 20. Remember the Titans - 2000 One of those sports movies that appears to have been written by someone who just finished a course on “beginning sports movie scripts: the basics” That does not make it a horrible movie just a very predictable one. Denzel Washington and Will Patton are two very good actors and the young actors who play the Football players are pretty good too. I kind of liked it but there are very few Denzel Movies I don’t like.
  • 21. Lantana - 2001 This is one of my favorite movies from last year. A wonderful script well acted by just about everyone. Anthony Lapaglia, a very good actor, has the role of his career as Leon a cop in trouble. Barbara Hershey is also quite good and Geoffrey Rush is finally winning me over with his subtle performances. A complicated script of interweaving storylines but its very easy to follow. I highly recommend a viewing
  • 22. Truly Madly Deeply- See my Stump a fool list
  • 23. From Hell - 2001 - A very stylish film. The ending is predictable but I really did not mind. Based on a graphic novel (adult Comic Book), The Hughes Brothers do a wonderful job of using the source to add a very gothic and artistic look to the movie. Johnny Depp is once again quite good and any movie that uses Robbie Coltrane is ok with me.
  • 24. Spy Game - 2001 This is much better than Redford’s other fall release, The Last Castle, but still begs the question why is Redford making these generic Hollywood movies anyway? Does he need the money? The Fame? Nonetheless, this is a relatively entertaining spy movie with Redford and Pitt who somehow age 18 years in the movie without looking any different. The teenage boy in me loves these clever plots that hinge on everything going right. The adult in me wonders why such stupid people are in charge of the CIA
  • 25. Novocaine - 2001 Here is a movie remake idea. They should remake The Marathon Man with say Edward Norton in the Hoffman role and Steve Martin in the Olivier Role. Then Martin could have his Dentist trilogy (remember Martins manic performance in Little Shop of Horrors). It could be the only justification I could see for this so-called dark comedy. If a dark comedy isn’t funny, what do you have? Then if the movies script isn’t that dark, what do you get? You get this waste of celluloid. I really hate movies that have a plot twist that you can figure out in the first 5 minutes and I am almost tempted to spill out that twist in hopes it will keep unsuspecting viewers from venturing down this foolish path.
  • 26. The Spanish Prisoner - 1997 This is a rewatch. I liked it almost as much the second time. Rebecca Pidgeon is quite good in this movie and I am glad to see she is starting to venture out to non-Mamet movies.
  • 27. Mulholland Drive - 2001 Also a rewatch and I am now ready to call this the best movie of last year. I recommended this movie to my co-worker, a 25-year-old girl. She came back the next day totally confused and claiming the only reason I liked the movie was for the lesbian sex scenes. I told her, no I loved the movie for many reasons and the lesbian sex scenes were just an added bonus. The most amazing thing about this movie is it contradictory takes on Hollywood. Much of it is a very justifiable lambasting of the movie and celebrity making process that eats it young but then it pays homage to some great movies that this very system created. Movies like Vertigo, Pulp Fiction, Gilda and even Bergman’s classic Persona. It is just a wonderful movie for movie freaks.
  • 28. Driven - 2001 The longest and most boring music video ever done. It makes Cruise’s Days of Thunder look like Hamlet. Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Gina Gershom, Robert Sean Leonard and Renny Harlin I hope you all put a portion of your paychecks to worthy charities. Otherwise, the guilt must be killing you.
  • 29. The Dirty Dozen - 1967 I bought this DVD at a used CD store for 4 bucks. It was one of my favorite movies as kid and I would always make sure to watch it when it came on the local UHF station. It has held up well these many years later. Pure escapism male adventure fantasy bullshit but really good bullshit. The only females in the movies are whores and intimacy is what men share in the foxhole together. Of course the nine-year-old boy in me will always love these types of movies. So sue me.
  • 30. Judas Kiss - 1998 It is another Tarantino inspired by a first time director Sebastian Gutierrez movie but it has its charms. Two English actors, Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman, do a very credible New Orleans accent. Carla Gugino is also quite good and should have a better career than she is having. Not worth seeking but worth a viewing if you stumble across it.
  • 31. Angel Eyes - 2001 Jennifer Lopez fascinates me and it’s not for the obvious reasons. She is a textbook case study of potential acting greatness wasted. For anyone who has seen Out of Sight and even to a lesser degree Blood and Wine, you know the girl can act. After Out of Sight, I predicted to my wife that she would be the next great actress. So what does she do, she becomes a pop diva and makes forgettable movies like The Wedding Planner and Enough. The movie Angel Eyes only reconfirms my opinion that she needs to concentrate on her film career and forget the celebrity silliness. First off, I barely remember when this movie came out and what I remembered I thought it was a stalker movie. Little did I know it was going to be a two-hour Touched by an Angel episode. Of course because it stars the ever interesting Ms. Lopez it is a very good two hour episode. The camera loves this woman and she is even compelling with this mediocre script. Give her great scripts and greatness is what you will get. Maybe I should apply to be her agent.
  • 32. The Man From Colorado - 1948 A mediocre western that wastes the talents of William Holden and Glen Ford. Holden is not allowed any of his edginess because he plays the good guy and Glen Ford is not allowed any of his nobility because he plays the bad guy. One thing about this movie that is fascinating is Glenn Ford’s hair. I think it was meant to represent the madness that engulfs the Ford character but only becomes annoyingly silly as it morphs into a bad Andrew Jackson impression from the twenty-dollar bill.
  • 33. Osterman Weekend - 1983 I have been on a bit of a Peckinpah kick lately and I have been rewatching a few of his movies. This was his last movie and also one of his weakest. “Bloody Sam” was ravaged by years of alcohol and drug abuse and would die the year after this movie came out from heart problems at the age of 59. This is movie is so poorly edited; some scenes make no sense, actors are often hung out to dry. The story is compelling (in only the mind numbing way a Ludlum inspired movie can be) and begs for a remake with a reasonable cast and a coherent director.
  • 34. The Castle - 2001 Click Here
  • 35. Romper Stomper - 1992 There was some perverse pleasure for this known Crowe disliker in seeing Ol Russell acting like an asshole as a skinhead. Movies like this just kind of make me sad. I have often stated I like movies that take me places I know little about and this one certainly meets that criteria in specific but the hatred, anger, ignorance and lack of compassion and understanding is all to common. It is well done but I can not say I enjoyed it or really need to recommend it.
  • 36. Army of Darkness - 1993 Now here is more my type of violence; completely over the top and campy. The chin that roared, Bruce Campbell is Ash, stock boy at S-Mart (shop smart, shop S-Mart. I can’t believe someone hasn’t actually stolen this idea for a department store name yet) by day and chainsaw and shotgun wielding, ghoul blasting badass by night. This one isn’t as good as Evil Dead 2 but it is fun and well worth a watch if this is your cup of tea.
  • 37. Goodbye Mr. Chips - 1939 Another golden oldie based on a James Hilton Novel. Unlike Lost Horizon, the print has remained remarkably well kept. The movie does an ok adaptation of the much-loved book, but like in a lot of these movies that try to cram a lifetime into a two-hour movie a lot of important things are glossed over and others are completely left out. I would say if you have the time, give the novel a try. If you want the readers digest version, the movie will suffice.
  • 38. Straw Dogs - 1971 . Another Peckinpah rewatch. An interesting concept,It takes a classic Western theme like High Noon or Shane. It casts the lead with Dustin Hoffman, the antithesis of a classic western star. It then adds some very Peckinpahish elements of more realistic violence and brutality. And then it sets it all in quaint English town where our hero is now living to escape the violence happening back in the States. A well-done movie and it might be Peckinpah’s second best after The Wild Bunch. I have seen this movie a few times and I still do not know what to think about the infamous rape scene. A very disturbing and misogynistic scene…or is it? I would love to hear from people who have seen this one on what they think.
  • 39. Sometimes a Great Notion - 1971 One of the few Paul Newman movies I had not seen yet and he even directed it. This story of strike busting loggers in Oregon is hard to reconcile that it was based on a book by the same author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest, Ken Kesey. On closer look, you see many of the same themes of individuality versus organizations and dignity versus the supposed greater good. It is a well-done movie with remarkable performances by Newman and Henry Fonda (what a surprise) but the best performance is by one of Hollywood’s better character actors Richard Jaeckel who shined throughout.
  • 40. Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead - 1995 Still my favorite Pulp Fiction inspired movie. (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is a close second) Andy Garcia is just perfect as Jimmy The Saint and the rest of the cast is great too. The story is very simple, The Man with a Plan, Christopher Walken, talks Jimmy the Saint back into a life of crime. Jimmy and his half-baked cohorts screw up the job and so they must die. A movie of style over substance usually does not interest me but this one is so well written and acted, I just loved the ride.
  • 41. Last Train From Gun Hill - 1959 A gritty Western starring Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn from the director of The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape, John Sturges. It is well done and Douglas and Quinn do an admirable job as former friends who are on opposite sides because of family and the law. Carolyn Jones, the delectable Morticia Adams, does a nice job in the clichéd female role. The opening scene of rape and murder must have been pretty controversial for 1959 but certainly helps to foreshadow the change in filmmaking’s portrayal of violence that was just right around the corner.
  • 42. Persona - 1966 I had just finished the Mulholland Drive write up where I compared that movie to this Bergman classic and what should I find on TV that night but none other than Persona. I am not a huge fan of Bergman. I appreciate the artistry of the man but I am often left uninspired or disconnected. Persona is an exception (so is the Seventh Seal, my favorite Bergman movie). I think the Mulholland Drive comparison still stands and both movies do a remarkable job of exploring the duality of the human soul. Often the way the world looks at you is different than the way you look at yourself.
  • 43. Ginger Snaps - 2000 A nice little movie for the first two thirds. The ending is clichéd horror stuff only made more interesting by the great character development of the Fitzgerald sisters in the beginning of the movie. It is nice to see the fairer sex get the burgeoning sexuality can turn you into a monster treatment for a change.
  • 44. Monster’s Ball - 2001 This movie is great test of you have to like or identify with the characters to have a great movie theory. The two leads are not likable people. There certainly is room for pity but both characters have life altering reprehensible scenes early in the movie that do not endear the viewer to them. Instead of following the normal path of movie retribution. The main characters are not forced to pay for their actions. It is a well-done movie and both actors do a great job in the lead roles. I am still not sure Berry did not do a better job in receiving her Oscar but I have no problem with her winning for this performance.
  • 45. Black Hawk Down - 2001 I love westerns, but with a few exceptions I do not like war movies. War movies are often too realistic or idealistic. The idealistic ones leave me wanting more realism and the realistic ones leave me with dual feelings of dread and guilt. That being said, this is a pretty well done movie, with awesome effects and a script that holds together enough to allow the viewer to follow along with the evolving madness. But the most amazing thing about this movie is I watched the whole thing and did not know Ewan McGregor was in it until the end when the credits rolled. I am not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.
  • 46. Star Wars Attack of The Clones - 2002 And speaking of McGregor, I certainly knew young Obi-Wan was in this one. I actually liked this movie a lot more than I anticipated. It holds up well to the original trilogy and it is a better movie than Return of The Jedi. But please can they get someone who can act in the role of Anakin. He is kind of important to this story line after all. Hayden is not worse than the little boy from Phantom Menace but that is a textbook example of damning with faint praise. I thought the script did a fine job of foreshadowing events we know are going to happen and also tying up elements for what I hope will be a great number three movie in the series.
  • 47. Hi, Mom! - 1970 Brian DePalma directed it. Robert Deniro starred in it. …Ummm…. ummm, did I tell you it starred Deniro and was directed by DePalma? A pretty cheesy late 60’s experiment in Guerilla filmmaking. Here is the premise, Deniro is an artist and his medium is pornography and he goes on a journey to the NYC underbelly. Think Taxi Driver and Apocalypse Now and then slap yourself forever thinking of those great movies with this one.
  • 48. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - 2001 Angelina Jolie’s breasts were the most compelling things in this movie. I could not take my eyes off them. I do not mean this in a lascivious manner. They are a force of nature and whatever brassiere they used (I suspect one of those S & M bullet corset things) and her clothing emphasized her assets so that every scene she was in they were almost always direct center screen. This made me remember a symposium I worked on at Radcliffe University on women and their role in popular media. One of the speakers, I can’t remember her name, did a thorough speech on girls and game playing. Her report basically explained how arcade and computer games were mainly aimed at the adolescent boys but there was a minor revolution happening that had women creating female lead characters and the games were much different than the crash, chop kick stuff in the boys game. She then said there was one exception to this revolution and that was the male created female starring Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. She then spent around 5 minutes on the improbability of Lara’s Breasts and that no women could possibly have the body as drawn in the arcade game. I suspect the makers of this film may have heard the same speech and wanted to disprove the theory. If nothing else I think they may have succeeded in that goal
  • 50. The Shipping News - 2001 A better movie than I expected. I have many relatives from and still in the Newfoundland area so it was nice to see that area represented in film. And they pretty much got it right. Proud, Stubborn and a little close minded. Judi Dench was her usual stellar self and I always like a Scott Glenn performance. My only complaint is with the actor I least suspected I would have a problem with, Kevin Spacey. Maybe I have seen one too many of these hurt and guarded performances out of Spacey lately but I kept thinking just snap out of it man. I don’t know what Spacey’s next role is but I hope we can get a little more Swimming with Shark’s Kevin and less Pay it Forward dweeby Kevin. It was nice to see Cate Blanchett in a far different role as a bimbo hustler. She even looked good in her thong.
  • 51. Minority Report - 2002 A very good movie, not a great movie. The predictability of the script keeps it away from greatness. The FX are extremely well done and Cruise is very strong. As a former employee of a company who specializes in personalization software many of the scenes in malls where each person is greeted by name and mentions your latest purchase were very appropriate. I really did like the movie but I was hoping for a little more. I still prefer Spielberg’s AI to this one.
  • 52. The Hot Rock - 1972 As an avid reader of Donald Westlake’s Dortmunder books I was pretty disappointed in this effort. Redford is all wrong as Dortmunder. George Segal is wrong as his Brother-in-law and the script is pretty bad. It maintains very little of the humor of the book and even the caper details are poorly done. These books are ripe for a well done script and movie recreation. This just is not it.
  • 53. 3000 Miles From Graceland - 2001 After watching the first 5 minutes of this movie I almost turned it off. Always follow your first instinct. The opening scene vainly attempts to reference and update classic macho movies like the Wild Bunch with special effects scorpions doing a robot wars type fight scene in the desert. It is easy to dismiss this movie as just bad but I am not sure it really isn’t evil too. The reference to The Wild Bunch is appropriate in other more important areas like violence. The Wild Bunch is rightfully known as one the more violent movies ever filmed, but what is often forgotten is that the violence served a purpose and each scene of blood and horror was integral to the storyline. You then take a movie lie this mess and all you have is one horrible script, many scenes of violence just to have violence and special effects that enhance nothing. And finally, Kevin Costner what the hell are you thinking? Ever since Madonna dissed you on her Truth and Dare self love fest your career has been spiraling down the proverbial toilet of life. If this isn’t the nadir of your career I really fear what you have lurking.
  • 54. The Majestic - 2001 Supposedly a modern day Capraesque film. It is pretty well done and there are some underlying themes of courage and bravery intertwined with a wicked look at movies and how America uses film as a method to judge itself. I liked a lot of the performances but there is something about Jim Carey that really bothers me in these so–called serious films he does now. With every twitch of his face, I expect him to break into some routine. The man is just too limber for serious movies.
  • 55. The Best Years of Our Lives - 1946 I once tried to define to a female friend what I consider a male chick flick. In retrospect, I should have just given her a copy of this movie. This film is so well done and the characters are so well developed it almost brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it. The amazing thing is this movie was done in 1946 when the soldiers actually just came home. Much of the details are so prescient that I actually had to double-check the year it was made.
  • 56. In the Mood for Love - 200 1 AAA had it right this is a gorgeous movie. The two main characters are fully fleshed out, honest and decent human beings. The love that grows between them based on their assumptions of their partner’s infidelity is some of the most romantic love portrayed in celluloid in a very long time. A very high recommendation for this one.
  • 57. Mildred Pierce - 1945. Ann Blythe’s performance as Mildred’s daughter Veda is the engine that makes this classic run. I wonder if she modeled some of it on her lead actress in the movie; Joan Crawford, supposedly one of Hollywood’s grandest bitches. If you ever believe that America does not have a class system based on money, may I suggest a viewing of this movie? Veda’s manipulation is so transparent to everyone but poor Mildred. You can also find a great performance by B-Movie star Jack Carson as Wally Fay
  • 58. Once Upon A Time in America - 1984 James Woods best performance and that is saying something. Easily one of the ten best Gangster movies ever made and that is saying something too.
  • 59. The Train - 1964. A Frankenheimer Lancaster project is most likely going to be good and this does not disappoint. I actually sought this out based on Jim (esteemed Listoligist Guru). I had seen it when I was younger but had not seen it in sometime. A wonderful action movie with some underlying themes of the importance of art to a society. The theme does not interfere too much with the action and this is one of Lancaster’s best.
  • 60. Tape - 2001 This movie is a little hard to watch. But it does not easily leave your head and it does bring up some fundamental issues of how men and women look at things. Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard, teaming again after their youthful performances in Dead Poets Society, are High School friends apparently on divergent life paths. Or are they? Uma Thurman, Hawke’s girlfriend in High School and someone Leonard slept with on a pivotal night in their senior year, shows up to shatter a lot of the images these characters and to a certain point the viewers have had. Richard Linklater, the filmmaker, hints at a sexual yearning between the two male characters but then never follows through. I assume this was on purpose but it does leave you with a disjointed feeling. . If you are one of those people who like everything wrapped up nice and complete, this is not the movie for you. If you like movies that make you think and challenges your perceptions than you just might like it.
  • 60. Gosford Park - 2001 Robert Altman movies are often tough to love because there is lack of accessibility to them. Almost more than any director, Altman makes movies with little interest of the viewer’s experience. This is a good thing but it does make watching some of his movies a difficult and challenging experience. Gosford Park starts out much like many of his films with a cast of thousands and dialogue that spills all over itself. The first half hour you have no idea who all these characters are and often it is difficult to ascertain who and what much of the dialogue is about. Stay with it though and you will not be disappointed. The last two thirds of the movie you are given a well-rounded and entertaining dissection of the similarities and differences in the class warfare of England before World War 2. Altman has given us one of his most accessible movies. It has a murder mystery, wonderful performances and some very wicked dialogue. Well done by almost everyone with special accolades for the wondrous Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith. From the male side, you get great performances from Clive Owen, who should be a real big star soon, and Michael Gambon.
  • 61. Homicide - 1991 Another Mamet rewatch for me and this is definitely one of his best. Mamet is a very polarizing director and writer. You either love him or you hate him. Very few are in the middle. I tend to love his writing style and how he has transformed that style into his directorial method. I think a lot of people’s problems come from the fact that a lot of his dialogue and his direction are very staged and unrealistic. I would not even dispute that theory but reality in a movie is best found in documentaries. Homicide stars the wonderful Joe Mantegna as Bobby Gold and William Macy as Tim Sullivan two homicide detectives getting ready to break a big case when Gold gets caught up in a neighborhood killing of a local Jewish shop owner. The shop owner’s son is a powerful guy and soon gets Gold, who is Jewish, assigned to the case. I wont go too much further into the story except to say Gold is forced to examine what it means to be Jewish and what it means to survive in a world, the police department, where Jews are often disparaged and ridiculed. Even if you are not totally thrilled with the movie stick it out to the end. Hopefully you won’t be disappointed.
  • 62. Bedazzled - 2000 I thought the original Dudley Moore and Peter Cook version of this movie was mildly entertaining with the underrated Cook stealing the movie in the role of the Devil. This version was spectacularly unfunny. The idea of Elizabeth Hurley as the devil actually was a somewhat inspired thought but the execution was just horrendous. Lord knows she is very nice to look at in her skintight outfits and male fantasy costumes but they have porno movies and Cinemax if that is your cup of tea. Brendan Fraser is not a bad actor; just check out Gods and Monsters if you don’t believe me, but I think he needs to fire his agent because he has been in some really, really bad movies.
  • 63. Mandingo - 1975 I am going against two of my personal rules in doing this movie write up. First I never write in this list about movies I have not watched completely. Of course my other rule is I very rarely do not finish a movie I start. I am not sure if this is just the optimist or masochist in me but I am always hoping I will find something redeeming in the film. Also I try very hard not to watch too many really bad films.
    Mandingo is such an offensive piece of filmmaking that it could only have been made in the 70’s. I shut it off at about the halfway point. It is exploitative with no justification. It is offensive with no redeeming qualities. It just made me sad and depressed. I only write this now in hopes to deter someone else from venturing down this path of ugliness and hate. James Mason you should have been really, really ashamed of yourself for this one. If there is a purgatory I hope you had to spend a few years there for making this piece of crap.
  • 64. Under Fire - 1983 The lyrics from the old Animal’s song; “I'm just a soul who's intentions are good Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood” came to mind after watching this one. The intentions of the movie are noble and the performances by the leads, especially Joanna Cassidy, are strong but the script is far-fetched and just plain liberal nonsense. I often have problems with the American Media but this portrayal of jaded do-gooders is a little hard to take and the love triangle between Nolte, Hackman and Cassidy just had me yearning for a Casablanca rewatch.
  • 65. The Devil’s Backbone - 2001 The best Ghost Story of last year and a much better film than The Others. It is located in an orphanage in Spain during the Franco years. The orphanage, which pretends to be catholic, is actually run by two ex revolutionaries for children of people killed in the revolution. The movie starts with a voice-over asking the question what is a Ghost? The next two hours are spent answering that question. It stars many young boys in the age range of 8 to 15 but it is not a film for that age range. It is rated R and it definitely deserves the rating, as there are many scenes of violence, sex and hatred. Don’t let that deter you though as it is a very well done ghost story and those are hard to do on film
  • 66. Under The Sand - 2000 This is a wonderful movie. Charlotte Rampling is magnificent and gives one of the best performances by an actress I have seen in some time. Grief and how people deal with is often very difficult to put on screen. Grief is most often an internal experience and thus very hard for a visual medium like filmmaking. But Rampling shows her grief and her denial so well through her eyes. The scene in the morgue where she is wearing a mask so that only her eyes show is so well done I almost cried for empathy, pity and joy. This movie is made up of some wonderful and memorable scenes. The scene between Rampling and her mother in law was jaw dropping. The masturbation scene was heartbreaking. The scene where she takes a new lover for the first time is funny and sad. The last scene on the beach is breathtaking. I highly recommend this movie.
  • 67. Mr. Lucky - 1943 An underrated Cary Grant movie. Now that is hard to do but this one has Grant at his most charming and most duplicitous. Grant is a gambler during World War 2 and he hatches a plot to use the war relief effort to get rich. Since this a Grant movie you need a leading lady with a heart of gold who sees through his schemes, enter Larraine Day looking very much like Myrna Loy as the needed leading lady. Well worth a watch for Grant aficionados and lovers of these old romantic comedies
  • 68. State Of Grace-1990 Sean Penn is a wonderful actor and this is just more evidence of that fact. He does a very nice job of playing a Hell’s Kitchen refugee policeman who comes home to go undercover and bring down some of his old pals. The story has many holes, like who exactly are they after and why is Penn’s character even doing this?, but the acting by Penn, Gary Oldham, Ed Harris and Robin Wright are top notch.
  • 69. The Naked City – 1948 “There are 8 Million Stories in the Naked City” and this might be the first one. Well at least the first one to end with this famous narrative at least. This is one of those movies that people cannot understand the importance of it without using historical perspective. The use of extensive narrative, this time the director himself does the narration, and on-location shooting in New York City is used on everything these days, but in 1948 it was somewhat revolutionary. These old movies that have huge historical impact are best measured by how well the story holds up. The Naked City barely passes the grade. It is well worth a watch if you are movie fanatic and are interested in the evolution of moviemaking but otherwise it might be better to find an imitator that tells a better story like Call Northside 777.
  • 70. Pearl Harbor –2001 This is like a Reader’s Digest summary of a Cliff Notes version of the story of Pearl Harbor. I honestly think the producers of this movie figured; heck the bombings were 60 years ago so no one is going to remember what really happened. So lets crank up the FX and throw in a corny old fashioned love story and people will come in droves to reminisce about how great things were back then. And considering the box office numbers, they were right. Of course that does not excuse them or justify them for having the audacity of calling one of their main characters Rafe McCawley. Rafe? Only in a Hollywood movie. The bad thing about this movie is that it does not suck. The FX is at times spectacular, the story is trite but mildly compelling and the ending was lukewarm rewarding. Ten years ago, I would have loved this movie. These days I watch too many good movies not to feel sorrow at this half-assed attempt. God Help Me! I am becoming a movie snob.
  • 71. Don’t Say A Word –2001 Pretty much ditto the comments for Pearl Harbor for this Michael Douglas supposed thriller. I watched this movie with my wife and predicted almost everything that was going to happen in this movie 5 minutes before they happen. My wife insisted that I had watched the movie before but of course I had not. I do not say this to show how smart I am but rather to illustrate how utterly predictable this thriller really is. I explained it to my wife and then let her do the predicting and she was as right as much as me. It is connect the dots filmmaking for the American masses.
  • 72. Lolita –1997 I really never liked Kubrick’s version of this movie. I loved the Nabokov novel but Kubrick played around with the story a little too much and Sue Lyon’s portrayal had too much overt sexuality and not enough of the innocence of Lolita. I have stayed away from this version because I suspected Adrian Lyne of 9-½ Weeks fame might take the sexuality even farther. In some ways he did but the performance by Dominique Swain is so good that I found this more faithful adaptation of the book more rewarding. Jeremy Irons just absolutely nails the extremely difficult role of Humbert Humbert.
  • 73. The Doom Generation –1995 This movie sucks. Nothing really else needs to be said but that has never stopped me before. It is like someone took a movie like Kalifornia or even Natural Born Killers, squeezed all the good out of it and then dipped the wrinkled carcass in a vat of pastel colored bad acting and said whoa look how daring and creative I am. The fact that this movie won some kind of award at the Sundance Film festival has permanently scarred my opinion of that festival. Yuck.
  • 74. Evil Dead -1982 I had actually never seen the first movie of our anti-hero Ash before. This one is far more a strict horror movie than the campy classic Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness. Sam Raimi’s first completed feature film looks likes an inaugural effort. I now understand why he basically retells the story in Dead 2. A bigger budget and a far better script makes 2 the far better movie.
  • 75. Amelie –2001 This movie has it charms. I fully understand the Audrey Tattou and Audrey Hepburn comparisons. I liked the story. I liked some of the innovations with filmmaking. I just did not love this movie. When a film tries to do precocious and cute, it is hanging its neck out for the proverbial chop. I am not ready to swing the Ax but I would take some perverse pleasure in having this movie chopped down to size by someone else. I know it would have been doing a completely different movie but I would have loved to see this movie made with two unattractive leads. I kept thinking these people are too good looking to be this neurotic and shy. I understand this is probably more of a statement of my own warped biases but I think it would have made a more compelling movie.
  • 76. Storytelling –2001 This movie is the equivalent of an author who has a couple of stories that don’t justify the full length book treatment but still thinks his stories are compelling enough to be told. So he puts out a collection of short stories. I am thinking Stephen King and his Different Season’s book. However, unlike what I consider one of King’s very best books, this Todd Solondz movie is inferior to his other two cult favorites; Welcome to the Dollhouse and Happiness. The first story “Fiction” is controversial just for the sake of being controversial and the second story is condescending to the director himself. I am hoping this is a transition movie for Solondz and it propels him onto some of the greatness that Dollhouse portended.
  • 77. Series 7: The Contenders –2001 I don’t know what to make of this movie. It is obviously intended to lambaste the reality show phenomenon that has hit network television but it plays like a straight drama and actually does a better job of character development than many dramas coming out of Hollywood. Brooke Smith does a great job as the eight-month pregnant contender who must continue to kill her fellow contestants so she and her baby can survive. This is subversive filmmaking in the best sense. Well worth a watch to see where America culture is heading.
  • 78. Valentine –2001 Okay here is a little story to illustrate how bad it is to be a Red sox fan these days. I am home and sober on a Friday evening for the first time in a long time. I have nothing urgent to do so I figure I will sit down and watch some TV. Cool the Sox are on and playing the Orioles, a mediocre team at best. I am not sure about the pitching match up as Lopez is pitching reasonably well and Arrojo basically sucks but I figure it should remain close.
    I get to the TV 30 minutes late and I turn it on to see the Sox in the process of going down by 5 in the third. Things are not looking good. It is time to start checking the other multitude of cable channels available to me. Friday night sucks for TV but I figure I will find something. Basically it came down to lots of movies I had already seen and a slasher movie called Valentine with Denise Richards and some other hotties as former junior high school girls who mistreated a guy at a dance.
    So here are my choices a bad Sox game and probably a worse movie. The movie was rated R so I figured I might see some skin. This was the deciding factor. Boy am I pathetic.
    I watch one of the worst movies I have seen in a long time. This movie was so bad it made Halloween 6 look like Hamlet. There is no skin to be seen and I was stuck watching David Boringeez of Angel fame put in the worst performance since Corey Haim made his last film. Boring man is the killer, which you know 2 minutes after he is on screen for the first time. (I know this could be considered a spoiler, but trust me I am not telling you anything you wouldn't already know if you have not recently gone under a lobotomy)
    I turn back to the Sox game to see them finish up a lackluster 9-2 loss to the mediocre Orioles. The movie may have sucked the proverbial big patootie but I think I may have made the right decision.
    All I can say is from now on; sobriety and Friday evenings will not be meeting up anytime soon.
  • 80. Aberdeen –2000 This is a very, very good movie. I had not heard much about it and found it after watching Under the Sand when I went looking to see what else Charlotte Rampling had done lately. She has a minor role in it but she is quite good. The real find of this movie though is Lena Headey as Rampling’s daughter who is given the task of going to Norway and bringing her drunken father, the always great Stellan Skarsagard, back to Aberdeen Scotland to see her dying mother. Headey does a wonderful job of portraying the cynical world weary Kaisa. You almost want to crawl through the screen and give her the hug and assurance she so much needs. Just some wonderful acting.
  • 80. The Closet –2001 I laughed a lot more than I ever thought I would considering it’s premise of a straight man who pretends to be gay so his company can not fire him. It has strong performances from the lead Daniel Auteuil and some equally strong supporting work by the rest of the cast especially Thierry Lhermitte. You just know some studio is going to remake this with some American counterparts and lose some of the subtle humor.
  • 81. The Road to Perdition –2002 I really wanted to love this movie. I was a huge fan of American Beauty and the cast is top notch. Unfortunately there are two major things wrong with this movie that would keep me from recommending it. First and foremost Tom Hanks should never have been given this role. I understand why Hanks would want the role. It is a far different part than he has ever done before but I want to play major league baseball that fact alone does not mean someone is going to allow me to do it. Give this role to Russell Crowe or even Bruce Willis and the movie is going to shine but Hanks vulnerability and the general fact that we all want to like him keeps the believability factor very low. I kept waiting for him to tell a joke or just give his kids a hug. The other major issue is that the film has no soul. I never once felt I was truly engaged withy the characters. It seemed more a blatant attempt to make an “important” film than any attempt to entertain or engage the viewer. This has to be my biggest film disappointment of the summer.
  • 82. Purple Noon –1960 This is the first appearance of the Patricia Highsmith’s character Tom Ripley on film. This French version stars the almost too handsome Alain Delon as Ripley. Ripley has had a long cinematic career that is not slowing down anytime soon with at least 2 or 3 more versions of Highsmith’s novella coming out soon. The new versions have John Malkovich and Pierce Brosnan joining Delon, Matt Damon and Dennis Hopper as on screen Tom Ripley’s. I actually think if you took Malkovich's personality and put it into Brosnan’s Remington Steele body you would have the perfect Tom Ripley. I still have been trying to track down Wim Wenders version called American Friend that stars Dennis Hopper. It is supposed to be very good but I just can’t see Hopper as Ripley. As to this version, it is ok but it suffers too much from the restrictions on Movies made around this era. Tom’s bisexuality is not present and the ending of the movie pretty much eliminates the appeal of the books.
  • 83. All About My Mother –1999 I had been avoiding this movie despite its critical success. Unlike the rest of the world, I was not a big fan of Tie me Up, Tie Me Down or High Heels so I assumed All About my Mother was just more of Pedro Almodovar’s melodramatic faux drama and comedy parody. And I was right but thankfully I was also very wrong. Because despite its kitschness and kinkiness this movie does a wonderful job of character development and the human pathos is far more genuine than in any other Almodovar film. Ceceilia Roth’s performance is note perfect and there are also very strong supporting performances by Marisa Paredes and Antonia San Juan. A wonderful movie.
  • 84. Head Over Heels –2001 I think I am developing a masochistic relationship between the Boston Red Sox and really bad movies. This viewing like my viewing of Valentine was caused by another putrid performance by my beloved Boston Red Sox. This time the Sox were being blown out by The Oakland A’s and this led to my seeking another viewing alternative. So what did I come up with? This really bad Freddie Prinze Jr. attempt to enter suave leading man category. Lets just say I don’t think Cary Grant is turning over in his grave worrying about young Mr. Prinze. I don’t think Tab Hunter or Troy Donahue are really worrying too much either.
    A couple of other points to ponder before I hopefully forget ever watching this monstrosity. There are 4 models that our Lead heroine Monica Potter moves in with. All I can say if these girls represent the state of Supermodels today, I am glad I really don’t care too much about these things. They are not very attractive and their personalities are so annoying you just want to slap them. But speaking of Miss Potter she was the only redeeming thing to this movie. If you took Julia Roberts looks and meshed them with Sandra Bullock’s personality you would get something that closely resembles Monica Potter.
  • 85. No Way Out –1987 Besides Bull Durham, this is my second favorite Kevin Costner movie. It is a well done intelligent action movie. Costner is quite good. Hackman is always stellar and I think this was the first time I remember Will Patton trotting out his acting chops. It also has one of the better endings in a movie of this type. It is quite good if you have not seen it yet.
  • 86. No Such Thing - 2002 There is no such thing as a good movie to be found here. Wow this movie is a dispointment. I usually like Hartley movies. (Not as much as another prolific Listoligist but I think only Hal’s mom likes his movies more than Lbangs) This one, however, is a mess. It is obvious and forced. I wanted to kill the monster almost as much as he wanted to die just to end my misery and this movie.
  • 87. Limbo-1999. One of the great-unhyped movies of the last few years. This is right up there with Sayles best and that is some rarefied company. The great thing about Sayles movies is they are so damn unpredictable. Anyone who watches the first fifteen minutes of this movie most likely has absolutely no idea how it is going to end. That is very rare in moviemaking these days. The movie has some wonderful things to say about taking chances when it comes to romance and how all of life is basically a crapshoot that you are not going to enjoy unless you play the game. A very high recommendation
  • 88. The Business of Strangers –2001 This movie has the feel of an actors workshop assignment rather than a fully fleshed out movie. However, Stockard Channing and Julia Stiles do have an engaging fresh look at women politics in the corporate workplace and the cruelty between women who need to compete in the old boys network. Channing gives a very strong performance. So strong that it makes Stiles performance appear much weaker than it is in reality. One of the best things this movie portrays is the life of corporate travel. It gets the details almost note perfect.
  • 89. Crime & Punishment in Suburbia –2000 Loosely, and I mean very loosely based on the Dostoyevsky tomb updated to the modern world of repressed suburbia. It is not horrible. Ellen Barkin is almost always good and Michael Ironside adds a little depth to the clichéd Stepdad role. If someone paid you watch this movie, you would not feel ripped off. Otherwise just watch American Beauty again
  • 90. Dr Dolittle 2 –2001 I think one of our missing Listologists (I am too lazy to search but I think it is JohnnyW) fessed to a guilty enjoyment of talking animals in movies. I too must fess to a similar pleasure. I ended up watching the first Eddie Murphy Dolittle with my nieces and nephews one day and laughing so loud they had to tell me to be quieter. I am not proud of this but damn it was just funny. The 2nd Dolittle is not as good as the first but I laughed a lot. I didn’t even have the children a cover for watching it either.
  • 91. Fight! Zatoichi Fight! –1964 A really well done martial arts movie. While looking up the year this movie was made I found that this is one of series of many Zatoichi films. I really enjoyed it because unlike many Kung Fu movies the plot was compelling and the story of the blind swordsman’s quest to return a baby to his father was humorous, touching and exciting all at the same time. The fight scenes are also quite good.
  • 92. Love Me Tender –1956 This movie is just another reason to hate Colonel Tom Parker. This is Elvis’s first movie and he actually had a character to play as opposed to the whitewashed version of Presley we got once Parker got control of Elvis. He may never been able to play Hamlet but he could have easily had a Frank Sinatra movie career if he was ever given the opportunity. This movie is a standard western only made better by Presley’s musical interludes. This is not his best movie that is either King Creole or Jailhouse Rock but it certainly is the best evidence of the actor Presley could have become if given the chance.
  • 93. Signs –2002 Signs, Signs everywhere there are signs that this is a polarizing movie. I am not going to touch the controversial ending but I admit I am a big Sham lama ding-dong fan. I actually think Unbreakable is his best and I am not sure I did not like Signs better than The Sixth Sense. And The Sixth Sense is a very good movie. What gets lost in the discussion about the merits of this movie is the actual message of the movie. Is there a God watching over us? Lord knows this is a question I have wrestled with most of my life and I sure could use an answer.
  • 94. Foxy Brown –1974 Pam Grier’s greatest blaxploitation flick and I imagine the reason a horny teenager called Quentin Tarantino grew up to give her a great career comeback in Jackie Brown. Grier is basically a living, breathing butt kicking teenage wet dream in this movie. You get all that plus you get Antonio “Huggy Bear” Fargas in his best ghetto bitch role. Blaxploitation movies are not for everyone but since Quentin wasn’t the only horny teenager in the mid 70’s, I have always had fond memories.
  • 95. Four Weddings and A Funeral 1994 Ah what a charmer this movie is. I have always been a big fan of this movie so I picked up an inexpensive DVD copy and watched it one night when life was doing a good job at hammering me down. This is the movie that made Hugh Grant a huge star in America and Kristin Scott Thomas a personal crush for me. It is so good you almost don’t mind the Andie McDowell can not act.
  • 96. Chelsea Walls –2002 I might actually buy this movie, not because it is any good, but it actually might be the perfect cure for my insomnia. I tried watching this movie three straight nights while trying to fall asleep and each every one of them I was snoring within the first fifteen minutes. Ethan, my dear boy, if you are going to try to direct again may I suggest you find a better script. I never thought I would be this bored with a movie that has Vincent D’Onofrio, Steve Zahn and Kris Kristofferson in it. You should avoid it unless you have sleeping problems or pretentious drivel is your cup of tea.
  • 97. Black Narcissus –1947 Another classic from the English directing team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressenburger, also known as the Archers. Two asides; Pressenburger was actually a Hungarian Jew who may have been the greatest anglophile of them all and the Archer introduction to their movies was always one of the coolest. Powell and Pressenburger had one of the great movie streaks going in he mid to late 40’s with their intelligent complex films that dealt with adult themes much better than almost any movies of that era. Black Narcissus is one of their best as Deborah Kerr plays an Anglican Nun assigned to run an order in the Himalayans. This movie is visually beautiful and is one of Kerr’s best roles. A must see for the true movie buff.
  • 98. The Women –1939 1939 was the greatest year ever in Hollywood and The Women is one of the movies that shows the depth of classics made that year. It is a movie with an all female cast and the dialogue is razor sharp and funny. I have always suspected women considered men just little mice to play with and the real danger is the fellow cats. This movie just helps confirm my suspicions.
  • 99. Last Orders –2001 Another forgotten minor gem from last year. Michael Caine’s best work in some time and you also have very strong performances from Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren and Ray Winstone. I have always been a sucker for these ordinary men life retrospective movies. This one takes a look at Caine’s character Jack a Butcher in England who has died and has given the last orders to his drinking buddies and his son to scatter his ashes at sea. Very well done.
  • 100. Showtime -2002 AHHHH, All I can say is AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! Why? Why? Why? Why make a movie this bad Rene Russo, Eddie Murphy and Robert Deniro? Could you not see how bad this was going to be by just reading the script? If Hollywood is that much in need of a shit detector, where do I sign up?
  • 101. The Great McGinty – 1940 This is the least outright funny movie of the famed Preston Sturges classics. It has what some may consider a downer for an ending but it still maintains some of the classic Sturges touches. The Great McGinty in question is a bum who goes from rags to riches to bartending in the course of this 2-hour film. Though not slapstick funny it is some of Sturges best writing. As close as Sturges ever came to making a Capraesque movie, this would make a wonderful double feature with Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.
  • 102. In The Realm of The Senses –1976 Young Ajdagreat recently posted a list of movies that his parents would not allow him to view. I can guarantee if his parents ever saw this movie it would instantly rise to number one with a bullet. I am 40 years old and I am not sure I am old enough to watch this movie. Often billed as the Japanese Last Tango in Paris this movie makes that film seem like a 60’s Disney comedy. Once you get past the obvious pornography and brutality of this movie, you need to ask yourself is it a good movie? Unfortunately you cannot really get past those things because they are like a battering ram pounding at your senses. I will give the benefit of the doubt to the filmmaker that is what he intended but the movie certainly throws you for a loop. I would recommend it to the less squeamish moviegoer, but be warned it is brutal.
  • 103. Iris –2001 I have read a few of Murdoch’s books. I found them to be tough but ultimately rewarding reading. With the impression created from reading her novels, I went into this movie with preconceived perceptions of who Iris Murdoch was. I did not find that women in this movie. When I first finished watching the movie I was disappointed. But I think I am being unfair to the movie. The movie tells of two Iris Murdoch’s; the young and the old. Most of her books were written in between the two periods depicted in this film. Would I like to have seen the Iris that I had envisioned in my head? Sure but this might be the more compelling stories to tell. Her husband at least thinks so. This movie has another great performance by Judi Dench and there are also strong performances from Kate Winslet, Jim Broadbent and Hugh Bonneville.
  • 104. . Insomnia –2002 A real nice thriller. I actually have not seen the original yet so I am interested in a comparison since a lot of people tell me the original is a better movie. Pacino is a bit of a polarizing actor. Some think he can do no wrong, while others think he is only good at mugging to the camera. As in most things I find myself in the middle. When he is bad he is really, really bad (I could not get through Any Given Sunday) but when he is energized there are none better. Or in this case (and also in his very underrated Sea Of Love) when he is under energized he can be quite good. The key to the movie is Pacino’s eyes. As a fellow friend on Insomnia I know the manic eyes you get after a few days of not sleeping. Pacino just nails it. Robin Williams is also quite good. Well worth a viewing and a nice follow up for Nolan from Memento.
  • 105. Pauline at The Beach – 1983 A nice little movie that could have only come from the French.director Eric Rohmer. Nothing earth shattering happens but it is captivating none the less. This movie like almost all Rohmer films I have seen straddles the line between healthy and creepy voyeurism. Of course that can be said for any good film but Rohmer’s slice of life movies have the feeling of intruding on real people. It is no surprise to me that Rohmer was a film critic with a special interest in Hitchcock. He certainly does not make thrillers in the same vein as Hitchcock but the camera work and feel of his movies has that same feel of being just a half step inside the character’s personal space zone.
Author Comments: 

I'm hoping for more Godfather 2 than Caddyshack 2 with this latest installment of my written proof that I have no life. Ok, here is my goal with this list which will grow as we go. It will be very similiar to many others on Listology who rate all movies they have recently watched. Since I never feel comfortable givng things rating, I am just going to try to give random thoughts and critiques.

I really do watch too many movies but insomnia is a huge benefit as it gives me the hours between 12 and 2 am to get in a movie a night.

As always please feel free to comment, condemn or console as you feel appropriate.

My problem with the ending of In the Bedroom had more to do with believing the particular characters would perform the actions they did than with any moral qualms. Sure, I can see where a person in that situation would want to do that, but I never saw anything in the film that showed me that character would do that.

I sound silly, but I'm at work, short on time, and trying to avoid using the spoiler tag.

Anyway, I liked the rest of the film very much. I'm guessing I have to check out A.I. now. Maybe... :)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Here is my answer in spoiler format. I think that is part of the message of this movie. An amoral act leads moral people to act against their nature and ethical core. The fact that the killing was planned and acted out with little irrationality was very consistent with the character of the Doctor. The only thing that was not consistent was the act itself. The implementation was very much the act of a reasonable man. He did not want to get caught. My wife by the way agrees with you that the ending was implausible. My wife is often wrong. I guess this is another list that I will have to keep away from my wife.

I'll try to respond some time after I get home and have the chance to refresh myself on the use of spoiler tags!

I will say that I agree with quite a bit of what you said, but not a few crucial spots.

Anyway, a good film, just not quite good enough to find a home in my top ten from last year.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Just as long as you agree that my wife is often wrong. We will have no problems. :)

Er, um, no comment... :)

But since I agree with you 99% of the time, it seems, I certainly wouldn't think *you* are usually wrong. Draw from that what ever conclusion you wish.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

You and I must part ways when it comes to A.I. I suppose. But we do agree on Haley Joel Osment's performance. He was marvelous.
Also, I think this movie proves that Jude Law is one of the greatest new talents around.

Oo, somebody else that saw Once Upon a Time in China! Looking forward to your thoughts (good or bad) on that one. Also looking forward to Joy Ride comments, as that is one my local shop stocks on DVD, and is on my list to see.

Hmm, Joy Ride, Donnie Darko, and The Dish? Three wildly different films and all excellent in my mind. I can't wait to see what you thought.

Alright, since I've been flirting with renting it, I can't wait to read your review of Heist. Worth my 3-5 bucks?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I love this list.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Actually, I liked it a lot. But I am a big Mamet fan. (unlike the esteemed creator of this site) It kept me entertained and Rebecca Pidgeon and Gene Hackman make for one of the odder film couples in some time.

Ha! Everybody loves Mamet. That's okay, I love being the lone voice of reason. :-) Glad to see you return to this list; I was starting to go into withdrawal. It's always a pleasure to read your reviews. Once again, I agree with most everything you've added, especially your pan of the lamentable The Movie That Wasn't There. I'm looking forward to your Heist write-up - proof that I don't only enjoy your writing because I agree with it.

I think the reason I really like Mamet is my journalism training. I always appreciate anyone who can say more with less words.

Jim, no one should always agree with me, it could be very detrimental to their mental health.

I know I have been away lately, unfortunately life and work seems to want to monopolize my time. The indiginity of it all.

Pretty funny Lynch story. I have yet to have a brush with fame that didn't end with a strong sense of esprit d'escalier (sp? l'esprit?). I clicked over to your Stump the Movie Fool list, and see you've managed to leave me on the end of my seat for a review yet again. Looking forward to your review of Truly, Madly, Deeply. I really should try coming up with another set of recommendations for that list.

This is great - lots of overlap in our viewing these days. As usual, looking forward to the reviews!

Okay, now the overlap it bordering on eerie. I can understand why we're seeing new releases on roughly the same schedule, but I just saw Romper Stomper last night, and will likely write it up later today. Quite a coincidence!

Assuming you read my reviews (which is rather presumptuous of me), I'm sorry I didn't pan Novocaine hard enough to scare you away. Or was it my nod to Mamet that enticed you?

Small technical note . . . I can imagine Driven is bad enough to rip twice, but I'm guessing your doubled-up comments there are unintentional.

I'm doing my best to contend for the "most comments on Gill's lists" title. This time I'm just chiming in with a "me too" on Army of Darkness. I have a hard time picking a favorite scene - the one that leaps to mind is when Ash can't remember the words. Great scene, but I think it is also the turning point in the movie for me. Everything after that is a cut beneath what precedes.


you know I had a problem with that scene. Don't you think Ash would be the type of guy who would have seen "The Day The Earth Stood Still".

Still loved the movie.

The Hot Rock, 1972, starring Robert Redford? Where did you find a copy?! I've been wanted to see that ever since I discovered the Dortmunder books a couple years ago, even if Redford looks nothing like my mental image of Dortmunder.

Jim because you dont have a TV connected to channels you may not know about this thing called cable. There are lots of channels that need lots of content and mediocre old movies like this one often fill the bill. Don't pursue the movie too hard Jim. As a reader of the Dortmunder books you may find it dissapointing. I will elaborate with comments

LOL! Cable, you say? Whatever will they think of next?

Since I haven't been able to lay my hands on a copy, I'm glad in a way that I'm not missing much. By all accounts the recent Martin Lawrence (!) Dortmunder movie skips mediocre and goes right to lousy. It's too bad - it seems like the books should make for good movies. I think there's one other . . . Is it Bank Shot, perhaps with George C. Scott? Have you seen that one? Is it any good?

The string of coincidences grows . . . 3000 Miles to Graceland is my latest entry too.

But Jim you were much kinder than I was in your comments. You want to know something else I thought about while watching this atrocity. Actors must be some of the most screwed up people on this planet. Courtney Cox Arquette and David Arquette are in this movie but Courtney has to pretend she instantaneously falls in love with a man old enough to be her father and she then has numerous simulated sex scenes with pops. Do you think David said "hey Courtney you can do the scenes as long as they have a small part for me." Of course my big mistake is to think Actors think like the rest of the civilized population.

I guess I was kinder, although I hope "failed to hate" didn't come across as an endorsement. What I meant by that was that I merely disliked it. I did share your Courtney Cox/David Arquette "yuck" reaction, although it just goes to show you how thoroughly I've been hammered by the typical Hollywood old-guy/young-woman on-screen romance that that aspect didn't even occur to me in the Russell/Cox scenes. I thought her son's nonchalance during those scenes was pretty twisted though.

oooo, In the Mood for Love, can't wait to hear what ya think.

A quick preview. I loved it

there's a lot to love, gorgeous film.

Now if only some place around my hovel carried Under the Sand...

Great job, as always! I'll have to seek out Mr. Lucky - that's a new one on me.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

You should really seek out Under The Sand. it is a wonderful movie.

Mr. Lucky was much better than I expected. Knowing a little about your taste, you will most likely enjoy it.

Once again, I am very happy to see the additions on your list.

Good to see more love for Rampling's performance. Absolutely stunning.

I just noticed that many of the titles on this list (and probably your first "Damn" list too) don't show up on search results. The problem is that the titles need to have spaces around them. When you have something like this:

<B>In the Bedroom-2001</B>

The search tool treats "<B>In" and "Bedroom-2001</B>" as single words, so a search for "In The Bedroom" won't match. Note that this problem exists even if you remove the bold tags and are left with:

In the Bedroom-2001

In this case "Bedroom-2001" is treated like a single word. The solution is to format like so:

<B> In the Bedroom - 2001 </B>

Sorry it's so touchy! Unfortunately I don't have much control over how SQL Server does the indexing.

Jim, you assume I want people to read these meandering ramblings. That would be your first mistake. :} For someone who spends a lot of his day on computers, I am a notoriously bad typist. And even worse I am really bad at going back and correct things before I hit submit.

I will try to spend a little time and fix the lists sometime soon.

It would only take me a couple minutes to fix them if you want (I can write a regular expression find/replace that would do most of the work). I'd do it now, except I don't want to risk editing a list at the same time as you, potentially overwriting your changes. If you want, drop me a line when you're done editing your lists for the day and I'll make the edits.

Jim, I will not be touching these lists until next week. If you want to go ahead and correct them be my guest. It would be very much appreciated.


You were soliciting Straw Dogs comments awhile ago, and I finally saw it for the first time. I listed it here, with comments. Being the liberal, politically correct, warm-and-fuzzy kind of guy that I am, I was fully expecting to be offended. But I wasn't.

Interesting note I read in the paper today that they are reamking Straw Dogs with Edward Norton in the Hoffman role. Instead of going to England the couple is heading up to Maine.

Nice comments on Straw Dogs. I really liked the movie and I believe I fall in the camp that Peckinpah was not a misogynist. BTW, I agree with bertie Getaway is a good movie and probably the next logical step in your Peckinpah viewing.

It's hard to imagine improving on the original, but I'd definitely like to see how Edward Norton tackles the role.

Something I forgot to mention . . . I don't know if I've ever seen such an effective use of slow motion as Peckinpah used in Straw Dogs. Usually slo-mo shots are drawn out and heavy-handed, but these were such quick cuts they were like perfectly-placed punctuation.

I've added Getaway to the top of my queue, and Netflix has it listed as a "short wait." Of course, I'll post thoughts when I've seen it. Have you (or bertie (or anybody else)) seen The Ballad of Cable Hogue? I was thinking about seeing that as well, since it sounds like it's quite different - a kindler, gentler Peckinpah?

I just finished reading an article by Pauline Kael on Straw Dogs where she claims Peckinpah made a fascist classic. Very interesting reading and well worth a reading. Kael was one of the best writers on film ever.

I also came across this link that I found very interesting. Straw Dogs

I went looking for a Pauline Kael/Sam Peckinpah article hoping to find the same one you read. I found this one, which is quite good (like everything she wrote). She didn't use the phrase "fascist classic" though, so I expect it was a different article. Do you know if your article is online anywhere?

Thanks for the link - I thought it was interesting too. I've got to read more on both Kael and Peckinpah.

Jim I read it in her book "For Keeps:30 Years at the Movies" So I dont know if it is online anywhere. Kael was a huge Peckinpah fan and her writing on him is outstanding. BTW, I highly recommend the book.

And speaking of "Bloody" Sam and what movies to view. I would recommend Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia and the Ballad OF Cable Hougue. Both are good if different kinds of movies.

I've never seen any of the Zatoichi movies. Did you like this one enough that you'd check out others? A quick search turned up this article, so it looks like a ton of them will be available on DVD soon.

Jim, I would look at a few more. Not sure about 26. I knew absolutley nothing about this phenomon when I came across this movie on the IFC channel. I figured i would give it 5 minutes but I got hooked pretty quickly. It was not your typical martial arts movie.

Great list and comments, as usual. Boy, No Such Thing was quite a disappointment, eh?

Maybe next time...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs