Damn I spend too much time watching Movies....Here is the proof.

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  • 1. The Magnificent Seven - 1960 -11/13/01 I just bought the DVD for $12 and the print is outstanding. Special features are minimal with a shoddy documentary. They do have some commentaries but I usually stay away from listening to these.
    I think it is unfair to compare this movie to The Seven Samurai. It is like comparing Shakespeare and Louis L'Amour. One is obviously a work of great art and the other is a work of entertainment. This is still my favorite James Coburn role and the cast is stellar. Watching this movie actually brings to mind two more superior movies, The Great Escape and The Wild Bunch. The Great Escape used a lot of the same cast and The Wild Bunch borrows some of the same themes. The great Escape is the better adventure and The Wild Bunch is one of the greatest movies ever made. Some day I am going to conquer the Wild Bunch-Seven Samurai comparison. I think that is a more valid comparison.
  • 2. The Tao of Steve - 2000 -11/13/2001 I watched this one in a double feature with The Magnificent Seven. I love to watch movies together that have some weird connection and these two obviously have McQueen in common. I actually highly recommend this little film. It is intelligent and light hearted. The dialogue is first rate and though it has the look of a filmmaker’s first film that actually adds to its charm. Plus it is always great when a character actor gets the chance to star in a movie and they pull it off. Donal Logue is just great in this. Only thing is the Director really needs to learn how to spell her first name.
  • 3. Compulsion - 1959 -11/11/01 Now you may wonder, Jim how do you find the time to watch all these movies and still stay employed? Well here is where our friends in technology have helped out tremendously. I use Replay TV (A Tivo like device) to search my cable listings and record things that interest me and I end up watching it when I cannot sleep at night. AMC and Turner Classic movies play plenty of great movies. Unfortunately Compulsion was not one of them. It is pretty good and Welles has a very dramatic courtroom scene. (Orson was a very, very good Actor that he does not always get the credit he deserves).
    Compulsion is another retelling of the Leopold and Loeb case. If it really interests you may I suggest Hitchcock's Rope, a better film on the same subject.
  • 4. The Shop Around The Corner - 1940 -11/10/01 Jimmy Stewart was never better. There is a reason why Billy Wilder used to ask? "How Would Lubitsch do it?" You've got Mail..Phht. Watch this to see why chick flicks used to be called romantic comedies and why that was a compliment. I highly recommend it.
  • 5. Blow - 2001 11/10/01 Not bad, but it does suffer in that many superior filmmakers (Scorscese-GoodFellas for example) have tackled similar stories and themes much more effectively. Johnny Depp is growing on me as an actor. I used to dismiss him as a pretty boy but a few of his recent films have impressed me. He was Wonderful in Sleepy Hollow; a really underrated flick. Depp might need to work on that Boston accent though. We do not sound that bad. Do we?
  • 6. Sorry Wrong Number - 1948 -11/11/01 This one brought to mine the great movie Misery. One of the great pleasures of that movie was watching a very physical actor James Caan having to play a role mainly lying in bed. In Wrong Number, Barbara Stanwyck, one of the great dames of film has to play against type as a weak hysterical invalid who is also bedridden. It includes an early Burt Lancaster role but Burt does not have enough time on screen to shine like he usually did. It is a nice little film noir with all its ambiguous motives and endings.
  • 7. Swordfish - 2001 -11/11/01 Well I did get to see Halle Berry's breasts. Hugh Jackman is another of the hunky Aussie Actors who can act. Travolta was not as bad as he has been in so many movies lately. Despite all this I really can not recommend it. The Plot is derivative and messy. They also indirectly prove that Memento has a lot more going for it than the disjointed nature of its timeline. They try to do some of the same stuff with this one and it just came across as a hokey device.
  • 8. The Claim - 2000 -11/08/01 Another hidden little gem from last year who many claimed was a bad year for films. This one I would recommend in a double feature with Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller. This is basically a classic tragedy updated to the Gold Rush era of California. The movie is based on Thomas Hardy's Mayor of Casterbridge and it does a wonderful job of bringing it to film. Sarah Polley and especially Wes Bentley are two of the best young actors going these days and if they can keep their heads on straight, they have very promising futures.
  • 9. The Grand Illusion - 1937 -11/14/01 One of the greatest movies I had never seen…or so says the critical consensus. I saw this one on the Sundance channel, the best channel going for people who love movies. It is a great movie. For those who thought antiwar movies started with Apocalypse Now and Deer Hunter, may I suggest you watch this movie with Kubrick's Paths of Glory. The amazing thing about this one it is definitely the greatest anti-war movie that does not show any war. Now that is a hell of an accomplishment. Of course to label this only an anti-war movie is to lessen the impact of this wonderful study of human kindness and cruelty based on so many superficial classifications as nationality and social class
  • 10. Fathom - 1967 -11/17/01 Umm… I watched this movie because it was a lot of fun...no that's not right. I watched it because it had some beautiful scenery and the skydiving looks spectacular…no that isn't it either. Ok damn it I watched it to see Raquel Welch in that green bathing suit again. The Girl was hot…couldn't act to save her life but it just proves the world is too kind to beautiful people. I remember seeing this movie when I was about 14 years old on a local UHF station and the memories of Ms Welch helped me through a whole lot of adolescent yearnings. But I'm not proud of it…
  • 11. Singin in The Rain - 1952 -11/17/01 Please see my 100 greatest movies for a more detailed description but I did just pick up the DVD and I thought I should list it. By the way the 5 best musical scenes in order of greatness are as follows.
    1. Donald OConnor- Make Em Laugh
    2. Gene Kelly Cyd Charisse- Gotta Dance
    3. Gene Kelly- Singin in The Rain
    4. Kelly, OConnor and Debbie Reynolds- Good Morning
    5. Kelly and OConnor- Moses Supposes
  • 12. Little Nicky - 2000 -11/18/01 I have a slight weakness for Adam Sandler movies. I watch them, laugh once or twice and then feel guilty for all the other things I could have done with the last90 minutes. Like with this one, sleeping. I watched it around 3 in the morning. It was better than I thought it was going to be but I had very diminished expectations as even my friends who love Sandler, said it was awful. It is no Happy Gilmore but it was better than the Waterboy.
  • 13. Miracle of Morgan Creek - 1944 -11/18/01 You really should see some Preston Sturges movies. This one is great and makes a real nice companion to his other Eddie Bracken World War 2 movie, Hail the Conquering Hero. I liked Hero a little better than this one but they both are wonderful. Betty Hutton is superb as is William Demarest of Uncle Charlie fame from My Three Sons.
  • 14. The Crimson Pirate - 1952 -11/19/01 Wow! this was a really fun movie. This one kept me awake last night instead of the insomnia. Burt Lancaster was a wonderful actor who easily donned the pirate outfit as Captain Vallo, The Crimson Pirate. It wonderfully rides the treacherous line of farce and self parody and you know they had a hell of a lot of fun making it.
    One of my weird thoughts watching movies is to think which actor would make a good Baseball player. Lancaster would have made a great left-fielder. (BTW, Gene Kelly would be perfect as a second baseman.)
  • 15. With a Friend like Harry - 2001 -11/21/01- Perhaps it should be called with an id like Harry. It does a pretty good job of delving into the Hitchockian arena. The guy who played Michel does a wonderful job of deadpanning the performance that allows the madness to envelop him; or is the madness exactly what he is looking for? This might make a nice double feature with Fight Club. Interesting side note, I watched this on DVD and I played around with the language choices and I had subtitles in English and it was also dubbed in English. It is amazing how different the translations are. A simple example is Harry’s Girlfriend. On the dubbing she is called Bryn but in the subtitles her name is Plum.
  • 16. A Touch of Mink - 1962 -11/23/01- A Doris Day Rock Hudson Movie made only a little better because Cary Grant replaces Rock. Someone on this site wrote about his or her loathing of Doris Day. I think it was Bertie. Well I can understand that loathing and it is only made so more obvious when Doris has to put her less than stellar acting chops against Mr. Grant and Audrey Meadows of The Honeymooners fame. Actually the best part of this movie is the performance of Gig Young as the Economist who sold out his academic career to Grant but has been feeling bad about it ever since. I kept hoping something would drop on Grant’s head so he could wake up to see how annoying Doris Day really was.
  • 17. Cabaret - 1972 -11/23/01- Well it was a much better movie than I remembered it. Joel Grey was outstanding much like I remembered. Michael York was truly outstanding and to me was the heart of the film.
    Liza Minelli is not a very good actress. The girl can sing but her acting is just too obvious and needy. I suppose if you grow up with one of the world’s greatest talents and neurotics for a mother it would not help your self esteem either. Liza is why I stayed away from this movie for so many years. I cannot think of another movie with Liza that even interests me. However in Cabaret, the insecurity and bluster are so elemental to the character of Sally Bowles that Minelli’s lack of acting talent does not deter and we are allowed to enjoy the magnificence of her singing performance.
    It is a great film but it really does not belong in comparison of the greatest musicals. Perhaps musical comparisons need to be broken up into traditional and modern. I still would rather watch Singin in the Rain but I am glad I went back and watched it again.
    5 best Musical Numbers
    1. Cabaret
    2.Tommorow Belongs To Me
    3.Through My Eyes
    4. Two Ladies
    5. Mein Herr
  • 18. Crisis - 1950 -11/23/01 I think subconsciously, I am on a mission to see every Cary Grant Movie ever made and this little known melodrama from Director Richard Brooks is my latest addition. It also starred another one of my favorites, Jose Ferrer. It is not really very good nor is it horrible. Grant is neurosurgeon on vacation in some unnamed Latin country. Ferrer is the dictator in charge who has a tumor on his brain. Just from that setup you can probably guess the rest of the movie, but the scenes between the understated Grant and the cool Ferrer almost make it worth watching.
  • 19. Almost Famous - 2000 -11/24/01I absolutely loved this movie so I had to rewatch it when it came on HBO Saturday night and I was home taking care of three dogs. (Long story but the dogs appreciated my desire to watch this movie and they took their plans of house destruction into another room.) I think it was the best movie of last year and it is the best of Cameron Crowe’s stellar career. The movie is funny, warm and is obviously dear to Crowe’s heart. Everyone was great in this movie but Phillip Seymour Hoffman was especially great as Lester Bangs and Frances McDermond was just perfect in the mother role.
    Obviously this was based on Crowe’s real life experiences. I just want to know what band Stillwater represented. I am still going with my Foghat guess. Does anyone know if he actually says who it is?
  • 20. The Phantom Menace - 1999 -11/25/01 I think I was even more disappointed in this watching it a second time. Only good thing for me was the Pod Race and the scene of Darth Maul’s body cut in half spiraling downward. I am an optimist so I have hope that Part 2 could be good. I wonder if he is going to keep the same structure for these three that he had for the first three (actually the second three but you already know that) This one ended very similar to the first Star Wars so perhaps we can get some of the darkness of Empire Strikes back in the next one.
  • 21. The Big Heat - 1953 -11/28/01 Glenn Ford is another great actor that rarely gets talked about anymore but he had that laconic, simmering thing that is just perfect for a Noir like this one. But the truly remarkable performance in this one is Gloria Graham in the stereotypical gangster moll role but with a great little twist. She was very beautiful but it was the attitude and smarts that really shine. Fritz Lang is one of those directors I feel myself needing to investigate a little more than I have.
  • 22,23,24. The Naked Spur - 1953 -11/30/01, The Tin Star - 1957 -12/01/01,The Furies - 1950 -12/01/01. I had a triple-header Anthony Mann film fest this weekend. These three I saw in this order. Anthony Mann is considered the poor man’s John Ford. Best known for his 1950’s Westerns with Jimmy Stewart, he never received a lot of awards or accolades but he made some very good thrillers. His Westerns actually make a very nice counterpoint to Ford’s more sprawling epic Westerns. His are usually tight, taut character studies. I would say he could easily be called a noir director who happened to set his movies in the old west.
    The Naked Spur is usually considered near the top of his best films. It has a wonderful Jimmy Stewart performance against type. Stewart is a driven determined and bitter man who is hunting a killer to collect the reward so he can buy his ranch back. Robert Ryan was his usual stellar self as the killer and an almost unrecognizable, non-glamorous young Janet Leigh is the woman who comes between them. This was the best of the three movies I watched.
    The Tin Star was my least favorite of the three. It has Henry Fonda and Anthony Perkins in what we would now call a buddy movie. Fonda’s character is similar to Stewarts from The Naked Spur but with out the ulterior motives and the ensuing guilt and bitterness. Perkins is the bumbling young sheriff who tags along and grows as he goes. I am afraid Psycho has tainted any Perkins movie for me. I keep expecting him to start rambling on about his mother.
    The Furies is more soap opera than Film Noir but it still was good. This could almost serve as a prequel to Barbara Stanwyck’s TV show the Big Valley. It could explain how Stanwyck commandeered control of the big ranch in the Big Valley. Stanwyck does her usual stellar job in the central role of spurned daughter, vengeful ex-lover and conniving businesswoman without ever mussing her hair. Walter Huston who was to die soon after completion of this movie does a great job in the legend in the making role of T.C. Jeffords. He looks remarkably healthy and vibrant for a man who was soon going to pass from this earth. The only real weakness in this one is Wendell Corey who plays Stanwyck’s sometime lover and business partner. In a role more suited for a Clark Gable, we have a weak chinned dandy and you keep wondering why Stanwyck would even consider him never mind swoon for him.
  • 25. The Invasion of the Body Snatchers - 1956 -12/01/01 I am not going to say too much about this one because I have not yet written it up in my 100 best list yet. However, I will say I think the Kaufman remake might be a better film but the pure chutzpah of the original makes it the greater movie. If you have not seen this yet, I highly urge a viewing. If you want to try to follow my twisted method of watching films, I might suggest a double feature with Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Watch It’s a Wonderful life first to see the joy of a small time community and then watch this one to see the suffocating capacity of a small time community. Twisted I know.
  • 26. Before Sunrise - 1995 -12/02/01 Richard Linklater is one of the best unheralded directors going and this is one I have been wanting to watch. I want to tell a small story to illustrate how personal perception, moods and experiences reflect greatly on the joy of watching a movie. I got the DVD form Netflix and I had been sitting on viewing it waiting for the right time to view a romantic movie. My wife had gone away for the weekend and I was not really in a great mood but I wanted to return the film so I could get the next one on my list. So I sat down and watched the first twenty minutes of this film. I thought it sucked. The two characters were whiny pretentious X-generation snivelers. I decided it was best I shut this one off and come back to it. My wife came home, my mood improved and I had my usual case of insomnia and so I tackled the rest of this one at 3am. I now thought it was wonderful. The awkwardness, the uncertainty and the thrill of these two people shone through. Because everything was all right in my life, I was thrilled to be reminded of the joys and queasiness that comes with those first moments of a love affair.
  • 27. Long Voyage Home - 1940 -12/04/01 I had been on a personal quest to see as many John Ford movies as I could. I had seen this one a long time ago but I had not been able to view it recently until last night. There are two prominent reasons to view this movie. One, Greg Toland’s camera work is spectacular and along with his work on Ford’s Stagecoach is a wonderful precursor to the revolutionary work he and Orson Welles did on Citizen Kane. The second reason to view this one is to see a very young John Wayne try to do a Swedish accent. The movie is based on four Eugene O’Neill one act plays. Though, I am not sure the marriage of three of the most important artists of the Twentieth Century, O’Neill, Ford and Wayne really works it is still fascinating to watch the elements try to come together.
  • 28. My Sister Eileen - 1955 -12-7-01 This is the musical remake of the more famous Rosalind Russell comedy from the forties. This one stars Janet Leigh, Jack Lemmon, Betty Garrett and a very young Bob Fosse as an innocent soda jerk. It was also Fosse’s first job as head choreographer and you can feel his touches and the germination of the greatness that was to come. Betty Garrett is another standout, who had a criminally underused career, as the brainy less beautiful sister to Janet Leigh’s sexpot with a heart of Gold. Lemmon actually does a little signing and dancing but is not really good at either. A simple Hollywood fluff musical only made remarkable by some of the dance sequences of Fosse. A couple of Wonderful numbers are the dance competition between Fosse and Tommy Rall and the elaborate movie ending sequence with Garrett and most of the Brazilian Navy.
  • 29. The Bicycle Thief - 1949 -12-08-01 If Grand Illusion was not the most critically praised movie I had not seen yet, then the Bicycle Thief most certainly was. I liked Grand Illusion more than this one but this is still a stunner. The performance by the young son is awe-inspiring and this simple tale will stay with me for many years to come. Every son needs to come to understand the frailties and imperfections of the father at some point in their life and this one is laid out bare like an exposed nerve. Poverty and survival are such an elemental need that we often need some form of great art to expose its ugliness in a beautiful presentation to understand the hunger it can cause. This movie does that for you. The obsession of the father is all consuming and is only suspended for the brief respite of his to hell with poverty scene at the restaurant. That scene is wonderful and tells so much about mankind and his need to survive on many levels.
  • 30. Breathless - 1960 -12/09/01 I used to like to draw when I was younger. Though not really great at it, I had some talent. I used to obsess about getting the drawing better and better, so I would tinker and change things all the time. I used to make so many changes that eventually the drawing would be so different that it lost its original intention and any quality it might have had. I thought about this as I rewatched the Goddard “classic”. I remember many years ago watching the Richard Gere vanity remake and hating everything about it. I then watched the original and thought it was stunning and in comparison it is but now looking at it many years later the analogy to my failed art career seems appropriate. Goddard did so much editing and scene manipulation that the movie seems too disjointed for me to call it a classic. I think this movie is historically important (Along with Psycho, it could be the actual dividing point between classic and modern filmmaking) and I could see how revolutionary this movie seemed in 1960 but in 2001 it just kind of gave me a headache.
  • 31. You Can’t Take it With You - 1938 -12/10/01- Minor Capra. It is interesting to see Lionel Barrymore; Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life, as an eccentric grandpa with a heart of Gold. A Good Jimmy Stewart role as the rich kid who wants to be anything but a rich kid, the poor guy. I think my problem with this one is the political message is not hidden enough. I on a whole agree with the leftist leanings of Capra but I prefer my lectures to be a little more entertaining.
  • 32. The Far Country - 1955 -12/11/01 Another of the fine Jimmy Stewart/ Anthony Mann westerns…or more like a Northern as this one takes place up in Washington state and Canada. This one has a great villainous performance by John Mcintire as the Sheriff of the first town Stewart and Walter Brennan encounter with their cattle driven from Wyoming. It is a familiar role for Stewart in the Mann films as a hard bitten but honorable man who needs no one and owes no one. Usually by the end of these pictures, Stewart learns his lesson and this one is a pretty entertaining experience for the viewer.
  • 33. Felicia Journey - 1999 -12/13/01 Bob Hoskins was in one of my favorite movies, Mona Lisa, and I would put his performance in this one just a notch below his work in Mona Lisa. A person’s life is so dependent on the family that brings you into the world and their effect is usually the map that leads you where you head on the journey of your life. This is true for Felicia who is wonderfully played by Elaine Cassidy and even more so for Bob Hoskins’s Mr. Hildith. Of course it is just a map and when two lost souls meet on this journey there are no rules to determine the outcome. I guess that is the joy and fear of living a life. Atom Egoyan is a pretty interesting filmmaker; The Sweet Hereafter, Exotica, Next of Kin…not the director if you are looking for a feel good romantic comedy.
  • 34. Made - 2001 -12/15/01- I liked Swingers, and I was looking forward to this one. Favreau is a talent and Peter Falk is usually wonderful. It has a few good moments and Puff Daddy Pdiddy Coombs is actually pretty good but I was pretty disappointed. Vince Vaughn was the proverbial chalk on the blackboard for me. I know his character was supposed to be annoying and he was supposed to be one step away from everyone else in this film but maybe old Vince did too good a job because I found myself fast forwarding through a lot of scenes with him in it because he was so loud, so obvious and ultimately so infuriating that I could not stand this movie.
  • 35. Zero Effect - 1998 -12/16/01 Wow, what a surprising movie. It starts out as a bad Ben Stiller parody like Zoolander and ends up as something totally different. I am not sure what exactly but I was very entertained and surprised by this one. Bill Pullman is the perfect actor to play the enigmatic Daryl Zero. There is also a real nice role for Kim Dickens who should have a better career than she is having. Any movie that has good dialogue is okay with me and this one certainly fits the bill.
  • 36. Rebel Without a Cause - 1955 -12/17/01 Out of all the Hollywood phenomenon’s created, James Dean is the one I least understand. I had not seen this movie since my own rebellious youth and even then I thought it was a lot of hogwash. I actually liked it a little better now than in my more pompous youth. Of course the reason I liked it more was the stunning performance by Jim Backus as Dean’s weak-minded father. I thought East of Eden and Giant were both better movies than this one but I am not sure any of the three would not have been better with a more talented actor than James Dean.
  • 37. Umberto D. - 1952-12/17/01 The reason I stayed away from watching this movie is the same one that keeps me away from Amores Perros. I cannot stand any movie that portrays cruelty to a dog. When it comes to our canine friends, I am a blubbering fool. This one tells the story of a retired Italian government worker who cannot survive on the pension he is given. Complicating matters is the dog he owns and will not give up. DeSica considered this his most realized piece of filmmaking and I am not going to argue with him. The scene at the end of the movie is one that will stay with me for a long time and might be the best scene ever done by a dog in any film. I swear they actually put that dog in peril or someone explained the method acting to that particular dog.
  • 38. Planet of The Apes - 2001 -12/18/2001 I was pretty disappointed in this one. I expected more from Tim Burton and his remaking of the overrated original. I do hope that enough people saw how unconvincing and inappropriate Mark Wahlberg is in carrying a film. Take George Clooney away from him and you are left with a midget pretty boy who should let others pick his films. It is a silly movie with weird and uneven performances from two usually reliable actors, Tim Roth and Helena Bonham Carter. Wow wasn’t it ironic what they did with Charlton Heston and the ending was needlessly tacked on to one up the original. I want my 2 hours back.
  • 38. Where Do We go From Here - 1945 -12/19/01 It is a pretty bad musical that is only remarkable by the bad singing by Fred MacMurray. Film buffs might appreciate this statement. Take Sturges Hail the Conquering Hero and the filmed version of 1776 and dumb them both down and you have this film. It’s interesting to see the movies Hollywood put out during WWII. I think we could be seeing some similar trends in the next few years.
  • 39. The Sundowners - 1960 -12/20/01 A wonderful Movie. You do not even really mind the occasional mangling of Australian accents by Mitchum and to a lesser extent Deborah Kerr. I am always a sucker for these families that battles against troubles and themselves but in the end realize how much they need each other flicks. I watched this movie in my teen years and I remember how much it made me want to see Australia and these many years later I still have a hankering for a visit Down Under.
  • 40. Sunset Boulevard - 1950 -12/20/01- One of the greatest movies ever made about Hollywood. Gloria Swanson’s Nora Desmond might have been the most daring and wonderful performances ever put on screen. William Holden’s character of Joe Gillis has always had a soft spot for me. I share the same last name as that character and lord knows I have been a fool when it comes to women. It is also remarkable as it was really the first time someone from Hollywood’s elite inner circle, Billy Wilder, took a critical eye aimed at Hollywood itself. As with almost all Wilder films, it has wonderful dialogue and wonderful small roles that take it to legendary status.
  • 41. Spellbound - 1945 -12/23/01 I went with a Gregory Peck double feature for this night and this Hitchcock film was my first choice. Reams of paper have been used to discuss Hitchcock’s relationship with women in his films but Ingrid Bergman’s performance in this one might be the most straight forward heroic and noble female character Hitchcock ever shot. It lacks the muddled motivations and questionable actions you find with so many female characters in other Hitchcock films. As an avowed debunker of most things Freudian, (if ever there was a match made in male sexual dysfunction heaven, it was Alfred Hitchcock and Sigmund Freud) I can not highly recommend the psychobabble at the heart of this one. I got so used to seeing the aging fatherly Gregory Peck in most of his films; I forgot what a truly handsome man he was as a young man. If Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck had a child it could not help but be stunningly beautiful.
  • 42. The Man in The Gray Flannel Suit - 1956 -12/23/01 For many of this generation, people think the issues that confront them are so different than what their fathers or grandfathers faced that it is impossible for them to understand or more importantly help. I think Grey Flannel helps to debunk this theory a little. Many people today are forced to struggle with the natural conflict between work and family. Many people are forced to deal with their past and decisions and consequences of that past. If these are issues you are currently facing, I would suggest a viewing of this well-done movie to see some possible solutions. Jennifer Jones does some of her best work in this fully fleshed out performance of a women in turmoil and confusion. Gregory Peck could have called this a dress rehearsal for his later work as Atticus Finch.
  • 43. Carnival of Souls - 1962-This is more a remarkable accomplishment than a very good movie. A couple of industrial filmmakers made this one on a shoestring budget back in the early sixties and this sucker is still going. The appeal of it I think lies in the underplayed performance by the lead actress Candace Hilligoss (or perhaps she knew she could not act so she did not try too hard). They got the atmosphere and music right and that’s a lot more than many horror movies do.
  • 44. The Red Violin - 1998- I was with the one right till the end. Of course the ending like so many movies was pretty bad, but I would recommend it for everything that comes before it. We get to follow four distinct stories with the title instrument the only cohesive character. Some of the stories are better than others; I really liked the Austrian and Chinese portions. Considering how much dreck comes out this one probably seems better than it really is.
  • 45. Sleepy Hollow - 1999- This was a rewatch for me. After Planet of The Apes, I had to remember that Burton could make a good film. This is actually one of my favorite Burton films and I enjoyed it just as much a second time. Johnny Depp has definitely grown on me as an actor and Christina Ricci is almost always good.
  • 46. Vanilla Sky - 2001- I actually liked this movie a lot. I know that is going to put me in the minority but I bought into it and was very impressed with the first 95% of it. A different kind of movie for Cameron Crowe and that is a good thing. Like Memento and Mulholland Drive (two superior movies), it shows how 2001 was a good year for Hollywood trying to do some different things with film narrative. Cameron Diaz was very good and Penelope Cruz did not annoy me as much as she usually does. I would recommend it but go in with an open mind
  • 47. Duets - 2000- Actually not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Not sure I could recommend it as it had a certain Made for TV feel but it kept me reasonably captivated. Of course, I had just eaten a large Chinese food dinner and had the energy of a slug. My complete lack of desire to find something better to do probably had as much to do with my quasi enjoying this one as anything. Gwyneth can sing ok, but Andre Braugher of Homicide fame was quite good and his rendition of “Free Bird” was almost worth the 2 hours invested in this movie.
  • 48. The Replacements I like sports movies even with all the clichés you find in them. Perversely I like them to see how bad some familiar actors look when trying to play a sport. By the way, all time worst was Anthony Perkins in the movie Fear Strikes out. Keanu is passable as a quarterback but Jon Favreau as a demented Marine defensive lineman was so unintentionally funny it pointed out how bad some of the intentional humor really was. A few other observations, Brooke Langton is a very attractive lady and given some better material might be ok. Gene Hackman, do you really need the money that bad?
  • 49. Reindeer Games - 2000 Lets see we have Ben Affleck and Charlize Theron making another adaptation of a John Grisham silly book. John Frankenheimer directed it so at least I could sort of justify viewing it for that reason. It also had Gary Sinise and the wonderful Dennis Farina so I was not completely crazy to give 2 hours of my life to viewing it. Of course much like artichokes, I should have known better. Predictable plot and bad acting by the leads could not overcome the pretty packaging. Farina is pretty good as a crazed lunatic casino owner but the rest is soon forgotten and that is a good thing.
  • 50. The Straight Story There is a lot to like about this movie, not the least of which is that David Lynch could direct a “straight” narrative film. Richard Farnsworth was one of the great character actors in film and for him to have such a juicy role this late in life was very special. I liked the movie but I cannot say I loved it, which is what I expected. I found Sissy Spacek very annoying and I found it all just a little too precocious for my taste. Another movie I watched when I was not in the best of moods. So I may have to give it another viewing.
  • 51. The Grass is Greener - 1960 Cary Grant, Robert Mitchum, Jean Simmons and Deborah Kerr-pretty close to a perfect cast. I know of no actor who made it look less like acting than Cary Grant and this is another of his low-key underplayed performances. The stuff between Grant and Jean Simmons is delectable and Robert Mitchum could have easily had a standout career in light comedy if he so chose.
  • 52. My Favorite Wife - 1940 For many Cary Grant’s best on screen partner was Katherine Hepburn, but not for me. I will take Grant and Irene Dunne any time. This is probably their best together but The Awful Truth and Penny Serenade are not far behind. In many ways this is Dunne’s Movie and Grant is along for the ride. Boy was dialogue king back in the golden era and the repartee is still fresh these many years later. I highly recommend this movie.
  • 53. The Male Animal - 1942 Another Henry Fonda film. It is about the fight between Academics and Football in a fictitious Midwestern College. At least back in the 40’s there was some question of who controlled these large universities. These Days Big time Football programs run them and there is little doubt about it. Another good performance by Fonda but a few of the other cast mates are a little weak including Olivia De Havilland as his wife and Jack Carson as his ex college friend and suitor for his wife.
  • 54. No Time for Comedy - 1940 Jimmy Stewart did not make many bad movies but this one comes pretty close. Rosalind Russell is quite good as the understanding wife but Stewart’s character is such a bore that he is often forced to overact. That is not a good thing.
  • 55. Mulholland Drive - 2001 One good thing about procrastinating in doing these write ups is I get a clearer picture of which films stay with me weeks later. This one is much like a great dream I cannot get out of my head. A wonderful movie and one of the greatest exposes on the underside of the Hollywood dream. I would never have thought Lynch had it in him.
  • 56. The Center of The World- 2001 This is a good movie but it could have been much better. I know people like the two leads in this one; a socially inept but nouveau rich techie and a world-weary stripper/Drummer. It comes so close to getting it right but just does not go far enough. I would recommend a viewing but I came away from it hoping for more. I remember there was a lot of hype about the sex scenes when this first came out but there is very little sexy about them. Of course, I think, that was the point.
  • 57. Buena Vista Social Club - 1999 Just Buy the CD, the music is wonderful. The movie has its charm but I could have done just fine without watching it.
  • 58. Where the Money Is - 2000 Paul Newman is so good an actor that he almost carried this one off for me. The story was a little predictable and Dermot Mulroney was not very good. Linda Fiorentino is almost always good and the scenes between her and Newman almost make you believe that the flirtations were realistic. It is sad to think that Paul Newman will not go on forever making movies.
  • 59. 13 Days - 2000 Not that bad a movie. It holds some suspense even if you know how it all works out. But as a lifetime resident of Massachusetts, the accents used for the Kennedy’s and Kenny O’Donnell were so bad, I almost turned it off. We do have some pride up here in the Baystate.
  • 60. Apocalypse Now Redux 1979/2001 I remember the first time I saw Apocalypse Now in 1979. They had just reinstated that 18-year-old men needed to register with the Selective Service. I remember walking out of the theatre in a complete state of horror that I would end up in some surrealistic world like the one I just saw in vivid color on the big screen. I have seen Apocalypse a few times since and I have always considered it one of the best movies of all time. When Redux was released, I knew I had to see it on a big screen with a great sound system. Luckily I live in an urban area where that is possible. The movie still amazes and has that jaw dropping effect that lets you remember why you love movies so much. I was particularly pleased to see Coppola had added some humor and lighthearted moments. Is it now a better film? Probably but it does not really matter that much. Any viewing is going to be a good viewing.
  • 61. Jules and Jim - 1961 I have always considered this my favorite movie to come out of France and I will be writing more thoroughly on it in my 100 best list. I will just say here I consider Truffaut’s effort to be the closest anyone has ever come to replicating great poetry on the big screen.
  • 62. Ghost Dog the Way of the Samurai - 1999 Jim Jarmusch is a unique filmmaker and most definitely an acquired taste. I personally love a lot of his films if for no other reason than he is almost the direct opposite of what Hollywood thinks the public wants to see. Ghost Dog is very good. The Samurai philosophy and even to some extent the plot are just pretty wrapping for the wonderful character of Ghost Dog as played by Forrest Whitaker. Character development of this order is so rare these days that when I finished the movie, I wanted to watch it again just so I could spend more time in his world.
  • 63. Abbott and Costello meet the Mummy - 1955 What can I say. Sometimes you just need to laugh at silliness. This is not even great Abbott and Costello but there were enough laughs to keep me entertained for the 90 minutes I spent watching it.
  • 64. The Ox-Bow Incident - 1943 One of the greatest westerns ever made that no one knows about. Earlier on this list, I started to suggest possible double features for some of these movies. I know the perfect movie to watch with this one, Rashomon. Both movies deal with the aftermath of a crime and I believe I read somewhere that Kurosawa was influenced by this movie when making Rashomon. I am continually amazed at the stellar career Henry Fonda had and just how damn good he was.
  • 65. Simpatico - 1999 One of the truly amazing bombs done in recent years. Based on a play by Sam Sheppard, starring Jeff Bridges, Nick Nolte, Sharon Stone, Catherine Keener and Albert Finney, it was directed by Matthew Warchus. Who? My point exactly. Just because a first time director was able to put that cast together and secure the rights to a Sheppard play, does not mean he knows how to direct and this mess of a movie is celluloid proof. It is pretty much given that comedy is the toughest genre of film to do well, but this certainly points out that Film Noir is not far behind.
  • 66. Gaslight - 1944 Ingrid Bergman, Ingrid Bergman, and Ingrid Bergman. That is the answer to the question “Give three reasons to watch the movie Gaslight?” I kept wanting to yell at Charles Boyer, hey you moron, forget the jewels you have the brightest jewel is your wife. It is just like the French to have everything and still want more.
  • 67. Wet Hot American Summer - 2001 It is really hard to do a spoof of a spoof and when it does not work it can be ugly. This one isn’t ugly but it ain’t pretty either. Why someone thought it was good idea to spoof a film genre that was popular twenty years ago is probably a very valid question but really not relevant because they did make the movie. Movies like this I usually judge based on laugh moments versus cringe moments. Basically, if a movie makes me laugh more than cringe, I recommend it. I am not recommending this one but it was close. Comedy is so subjective that I would not use my thoughts as a reference point. I could have just been in a bad mood.
  • 68 The Lord of The Rings; The Fellowship of The Rings - 2001 Well lets first start off that it does not deserve to win the Best Picture but I had no problem with it getting a nomination. The look and majesty of this movie is stunning. I think there is a very valid reason why no one attempted to put Tolkien’s world on screen before now. The books are so jam packed with characters and tales that it was almost impossible to fit it on film. I think Jackson has done a remarkable job of doing the impossible. Are there things missing that I would have liked to be there? Sure, but they are minor and are overcome by seeing the worlds I have had in my head since I was 14 years old and read TLOR for the first time. A truly remarkable visual piece of filmmaking. I can not wait for the next one.
  • 69. Charlie Angels - 2000 It has its charms. Cameron Diaz might be better than any of us ever thought she could be and Drew did not piss me off like she usually does. I remember the TV show when it first came out and it does a very good job of capturing the feel and mood of that show. For these classic TV shows made in to big screen moneymakers that is an accomplishment. I do agree with Bertie though, Bill Murray was NOT in this movie. Repeat after us, Bill Murray was not in this movie. (I actually think it was a Murray clone that they forgot to put his comedy gene in.)
  • 70 Chocolat - 2000 A nice if predictable fable from our friends at Miramax. It did not deserve an Academy award nomination and I think that backlash is what kept me away from it this long. Juliette Binoche was perfectly cast and anything with Judi Dench is most likely not going to suck. By the way, she was the best part of this movie. I am still not sure what accent Johnny Depp was going for, I think it was Irish but I would not bet the house on it. Alfred Molina also was quite good in the unflattering role of town prude. You know the ending of this movie after the first ten minutes but to their credit that deters little from the ride.
  • 71. The Score - 2001 I liked this movie; of course with the acting chops lined up here they could have and should have made a much better movie. Putting expectations aside, this is actually just a simple heist movie that delivers on that simple premise. Edward Norton holds up quite well in the rarified air of his fellow actors.
  • 72. The Importance of Being Earnest - 1952 One of the best plays ever written. Oscar Wilde was a genius. This adaptation dilutes the Wilde play a little but keeps enough of the good stuff to highly recommend a viewing. The dialogue is so good you almost need to watch it a couple of times to get all the lines. I am looking forward to the new version due out this year. I can think of no one better to play the part of Algernon than Rupert Everett and I am particularly looking forward to seeing what Judi Dench does with Lady Bracknell. I hope they stay a little closer to Wilde’s play in the new version.
  • 73. Moulin Rouge - 2001 A stunning movie. It has some imperfections, like the very wooden performance by Nicole Kidman, but the ability to put something new and different in a movie makes it all worth while. What I cannot understand is why all the acting praise is heaped on Kidman and nary a whisper about the performance of Ewan McGregor. I have never been a particular fan of his, but he is the glue that keeps this movie together and is truly wonderful in this puppy dog role. This might need to go on any top ten movie lists to watch on Valentines Day.
  • 74. Pay it Forward - 2000 Three potential phone messages that came to my mind after watching this movie. “Helen, hi this Paul Reiser. I just saw Pay it Forward. Oh yeah we are thinking of doing a Mad About You special and I thought you might have some free time. Let me know”. Also “Hey Haley, this is McCauley Caulkin. Just wondering if you need a good source for some drugs. You know it is never too early to start planning for your E True Hollywood story.” And finally “Kevin, this is every one of your fans, we have one question. What the hell were you thinking???”
  • 75. American Pie 2 - 2001 This is not as good as the first one and the first one was a mildly amusing sex comedy. It is not completely moronic like say Saving Silverman but we are far away from Animal House land. It is movies like this and Road Trip that has me most worried about the youth of America. Young people need quality dumb sex comedies. Otherwise they will need to ask their parents about sex and we do not want that to happen.
  • 76. Every Girl Should Be Married - 1948 Another Cary Grant Movie. I think my desire to see every Grant movie has progressed from the subliminal to conscience level. Of course, this movie might be a good reason to consider this a foolish endeavor. The problem with this movie is not Grant, though he does seem to sleepwalk through much of it, but rather lies with one of the weirder performances put on screen by a leading lady, Betsy Drake. Ms. Drake, who I believe ended up being one of Grant’s wives, is kind of dim-witted stalker of Baby Doc Cary Grant. How Cary ended up doing anything besides slapping a restraining order is one of the few reasons to watch this mess.
  • 77. I Love you Again - 1940 It stars William Powell and Myrna Loy. Not much else is needed for a recommendation. For those still unconvinced, it has Alfalfa from the Little Rascals in it too.
  • 78. Ghost World - 2001 OK lets state the obvious, Thora Birch must send Christina Ricci a thank you note a week for losing the weight and becoming too sexy for roles like this one. I liked this movie and I thought Birch was quite good as Enid. Buscemi was also very good in a variant of his usual oddball character. I do think there are some serious logic problems with the plot and that Buscemi and Scarlett Johansson’s character act in ways that help fuel the story but are not consistent with their character’s character.
  • 79. Duel in The Sun - 1946 This is a western (still my favorite movie genre) starring two of my favorites Joseph Cotton and Gregory Peck. Of course this is as much a western as Stripes is a war movie and Cotton is horribly under used and Peck actually plays the bad son. Of course all of that might be forgivable if you did not have Jennifer Jones, with horrible makeup to try to pass her off as a half-breed, simultaneously overacting and under acting in the same movie. David O Selznick, who was recently married to Jones before the making of this movie tried very hard to recreate the success and grandeur of Gone with the Wind. What he got was the best parody of that movie before Carol Burnett lambasted it on her variety show.
  • 80. Once Upon a Time in The West - 1969 Now this is more what I call a Western, of course a very weird Western, but still a Western. It has all the touches of a great western, timeless, good and evil, retribution and redemption. I really want to watch this movie on a big screen. I do not think watching on a TV does it justice. It has immediately gone to the top of the best Charles Bronson movies and once again I am amazed at what a great actor Henry Fonda really was. Oh Yeah, Claudia Cardinale is not bad to look at either.
  • 81. Forbidden Planet - 1956 One of my favorite movies and I still am amazed that I kept it off my top 100 movies list. Gene Roddenberry and his estate should pay some of the huge amounts of money they have made off Star Trek to the makers of this movie. Here is a little story to illustrate how much I like this movie. Please understand, I had already seen this movie at least five times before this viewing. I recorded this movie with Replay TV and I was home sick from work and started watching it. I got maybe halfway through it and something screwed up the recording so I did not get to see the end. Even though I was sick and had seen this movie many times, I had to see the end. I got dressed and drove to three video stores before I could find a DVD. It was worth it to me.
  • 82. McCabe and Mrs. Miller - 1971 A dark Comedy on many levels; including the look of this picture. This is one of the darkest (poorly lit) movies I can think of. It obviously was made as a critique and retelling of a classic western with a more likely realistic approach but its strength lies in the performance of Warren Beatty and Julie Christie in the title roles. Beatty is not a multifaceted versatile actor but when you give him a role like the befuddled McCabe he sure could shine. It is hard to call this movie a comedy, but like almost all Robert Altman movies it is impossible to define it any other way.
  • 83. A Knights Tale - 2001 The problem with this movie is the makers were afraid of their own convictions. They take a standard adventure script and occasionally insert classic rock songs sung by medieval characters. The problem is they only do it occasionally. If you are going to make such a leap of incredulity, than damn it, make it all the way. I kept watching it hoping I would see them use other songs. Heck The Who’s My Generation should have been in there somewhere. It is enjoyable in a very guilty kind of way.
  • 84. Dancing at the Blue Iguana - 2000 The Blue Iguana is a strip joint in LA and this is the story of the girls who dance there. I have read this movie came about from an actor’s workshop that most of the actors belonged to and that much of it was improvisational. Once I read that it became clearer in understanding the disjointed nature of the film. I would recommend it for the performance of Sandra Oh, as a stripper who writes poetry in her free time. It is truly remarkable performance where everything is found in her eyes. I would also recommend the performance of Daryl Hannah as a less than intelligent stripper who hopes to become a foster parent. Her scene with a police officer might be the strongest thing I have ever seen Hannah put on film.
  • 85. Hearts in Atlantis - 2001 . I don’t know if I would go as far as AAA in condemning this movie but it really is not that good. I had read the book and was interested in how the script would handle the key plot element of who was after the Anthony Hopkins character and why. The movie pretty much ignored the why and barely tackled the who, thus leaving some serious unanswered questions. It is hard for me to criticize a child actor but the lead in this movie is pretty bad. At no point did I believe this was anything besides a child actor reading lines. Also Hopkins was pretty lackluster too.
  • 86. Hart's War - 2002 Take A Few Good Men mix it with A Soldiers Story and add a little Great Escape and dumb them all down a little and you get Hart’s War. It keeps your attention and Bruce Willis is quite good in the tough as nail colonel role. Colin Farell is alright in the title role but I would have very much liked to see what kind of movie it would have been if they had got their first choice, Edward Norton, to play the role.
  • 87. Kiss Them for Me - 1957 Another movie in my Cary Grant mission. Of course, I had seen it before but had forgotten. It was relatively enjoyable and actually is a very valuable movie in any six degrees of separation game as it has Grant starring in a movie with My Favorite Martian Ray Walston and Colonel Klink himself Werner Klemperer, not to mention the bountiful charms of Jayne Mansfield. If that figure of hers was not a wonder all its own, her character would be very very annoying. Actually Suzy Parker, the long time wife of Bradford Dillman, in the other female lead is quite good.
  • 88. Choose Me- 1984 Alan Rudolph is another of those directors, like Jarmusch and Hartley, which gets the label of quirky. It is hard to define a Rudolph film but you know one when you see it. This is one of his best and to me is the cinematic equivalent to a great Jazz song. A little unpredictable but still very comfortable. Keith Carradine is quite good in the lead and Genevieve Bujold is also wonderful in the role of a “Love” therapist who has never been in love. I would recommend this movie and if you like this you can quickly move on to other Rudolph’s great movies like Trouble in Mind and Afterglow.
  • 89. Impromptu - 1991 Judy Davis is one of the best actresses going and this might be her best performance. Throw in Hugh Grant doing a variation of his normal character to fit the character of shy Frederic Chopin and that is a movie in itself. But you get so much more with Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Julian Sands, and Emma Thompson. It is a wonderful cast with wonderful music; just a wonderful movie.
  • 90. Hedwig and The Angry Inch - 2001 This is one movie I watched because of the Listology. Movies about drag queens are not usually on the top of my wish list but the positive press from so many on this site, specifically young AAA, forced a viewing. I don’t think I would go so far as saying it is the best movie of last year but it is quite good. Hedwig, the character and movie is its own force of nature, the music is remarkably good in a campy, theatrical sense and the story has its own poignancy. I always insist a movie that can take me places I know nothing about is a good movie and when they welcome you with the unflinching honesty of a movie like Hedwig it is bordering on greatness.
  • 91. Bully - 2001 I still do not know how I feel about Larry Clark. This movie, like his other controversial hit Kids, is bordering on pornographic but is it a brutally honest portrayal of today’s youth? Since my High School days are far behind me, I have no idea, but if it is true? Whoa, in the immortal words of Dorothy, We ain’t in Kansas any more Toto. I sat mesmerized watching this movie but as soon as it was done, I really felt like I needed a shower.
  • 92. Royal Tennebaums - 2001 I liked Rushmore and Bottle Rocket more than this movie but I do believe Wes Anderson was trying to do more with this movie than his previous films. Hackman was robbed and should have been nominated for the Best Actor. Once again proving the Academy has no idea what to do with comedies. Anderson is on my list of must see directors and I am happy to see him try to tackle more with the oddball Tennebaums.
  • 93. The Pledge - 2001 A very interesting role for Jack Nicholson and some nice work on the directing by Sean Penn. I was engaged by this movies story, never really sure where it was heading. That is a very rare thing these days and like Penn’s earlier film, The Indian Runner, it gives me great hope that even better things are on the way from the one time Jeff Spicoli.
  • 94. Anniversary Party - 2001 Sniveling self obsessed actors spend the night revealing great secrets, like maybe they should not write, produce and direct movies about their self-absorption. That might be a little harsh but I found no character I really cared about and that is tough thing to overcome. This film is noteworthy because it is one of the first videos shot all on digital video (with a well known cast). I knew this going into the movie so I was looking for any problems. The quality was good. Now if I only I could say that about the script too…
  • 95. The Last Picture Show - 1971 One of my favorite movies of all time and a remarkable adaptation of a great book. It is a wonderful honest presentation of McMurtry’s novella about the loneliness, boredom and claustrophic nature of a small town in Texas. The book was written with very little segue’s to connect the story, it is just scenes from this town that could stand alone as short stories. Bogdanovich capture the same feel in his movie. A great cast highlighted by Ben Johnson, Ellen Burstyn, Eileen Brennan and Cloris Leachman in the so called adult roles and Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges and Cybil Sheppard in the teenage roles. A must see if you have not seen this one yet.
  • 96. An American in Paris - 1951 Gene Kelly near his best, Leslie Caron just starting out, Paris; what more can you ask for? How about some Gershwin classics…well you get those too. The scene where Kelly dances with the kids of Paris to I got Rhythm is one of my favorite musical scenes. MGM made many great musicals but not too many better than this one
  • 97. The Longest Yard - 1974 I had just finished reading a review of the new movie The Mean Machine. Which is a remake of this movie with American Football replaced by the more universal definition of Football, Soccer to us American heathen’s. Then I turned on the television and what should be on? Why the original of course. I had not seen this movie in probably ten years so I must say I had a lot of fun watching it again. Burt Reynolds in one of his best roles shines as a QB who ends up in prison. Reynolds is very convincing as a football player and watch closely and you will see Bernadette Peters with one of the most memorable hairdos ever put on screen.
  • 98. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back- 2001 Kevin, oh Kevin, stop reading the Internet, get yourself out of your own movies and try writing a real script for your next one. Dogma was a sign of leakage; with this mess the whole damn dam is broken wide open. I can not imagine how bad this movie would be if I had not seen all his previous films.
  • 99. The Family Man - 2000 I really worry when Capraesque is used as a promotional word for any movie these days, but this one is not as bad as advertised. It has two great things going for it. Nicholas Cage is very convincing in the Wall Street corporate raider role and Tea Leoni is quite good (and quite hot) during the whole movie. The problem comes when Cage starts to soften. I think it is impossible for Nicholas Cage to soften to the level this movie is asking. They should have tried a different actor for the family guy Cage. They should have pulled out a Face Off like transformation or something.
  • 100. Amores Perros - 2000 A very well done movie, nice interlacing stories and very convincing acting but damn it was tough for a dog lover like me. I had to watch the DVD special that showed how none of the dogs were harmed or I would have disliked this movie more.
  • 101. Broken Lance - 1954 Another sudser western from the 50’s, basically movies like this were the precursor to the boom of Western family TV shows like Bonanza and The Big Valley. A patriarch, played well by Spencer Tracy (even though he did not look real comfortable on a horse), has three sons by his deceased wife and one by his second wife an Indian squaw. You can probably figure out the rest of the plot with that simple description but in this movies defense the characters are a tad more complex than you usually find in this type of movie. Richard Widmark does a nice job as the oldest son who has issues with Papa Tracy. If you liked the Technicolor Westerns of early television, you will like this movie.
  • 102. Raw Deal - 1948 Anthony Mann, of Westerns fame, started his career in the low budget Film Noir days of post war Hollywood. I rented a DVD that had this one and the next selection, T-Men, on it. This is by far the superior movie. A standard Noir plot where the hero is only slightly better than the villains and the women are either virginal or tough broads. This one has it all. What really shines is the cinematography. A beautifully shot black and white movie that enhances the story and probably had a lot to do with Mann getting the chance to make the larger budget Westerns he is famous for.
  • 103. T-Men - 1947 This one is a cross between a noir and police procedural like the TV show The FBI. It is pretty good but what makes this shine and also enhanced Raw Deal was the B-movie actor Dennis O’Keefe who made tons of movies just like this one and was very good in almost all of them. He is the type of actor who never gets recognized but was the lifeblood of Hollywood’s golden era.
  • 104. A Beautiful Mind - 2001 That is Academy Award winning A Beautiful Mind. I don’t think it was the best movie of last year or the best movie nominated (That would be Moulin Rouge) but it was a very good movie and not as much a travesty as some other Oscar selections. (I see you over there trying to hide Forrest Gump; yes I am talking about you.) It is the best movie of Ron Howard’s career and Jennifer Connelly deserved her award. All I can say though is thank God Russell Crowe did not win. I could not stand another lecture from his this year during his acceptance speech.
  • 105. My Son the Fanatic - 1997 I love Rachel Griffiths so that was the appeal of this movie for me and she did not disappoint. This is a quite touching film about family problems between the generations. The fact that it is a Pakistani family living in England only means the details of the conflict are different but Sons and Fathers are inherently at conflict is a universal theme.
  • 106. In Harms Way - 1965 An underrated war movie and one of Otto Preminger’s best films. I remember watching this movie as a youngster and thinking it was a different role for John Wayne. Watching it again these many years later, I found it less a different role as a variation of the typical Wayne performance. Patricia Neal has always been a favorite, she and my mother could have easily been sisters, and she is great in the role of hen-mother nurse and love interest for Wayne. I would recommend a viewing with From Here to Eternity. It might take you 7 hours to watch them both together but I don’t think you would be bored.
  • 107. Seven Girlfriends - 1999 I am not sure if this is bad enough to be called a guilty pleasure or good enough to call it underrated but lord help me, I really loved this movie. No one is more shocked than I am. Tim Daly, yes that Tim Daly, is just right in the role of a Peter Pan who has to struggle with the inevitable desire to want more out of life than only girlfriends can provide. It starts out a little hokey with his old fiancé dying in strange manner and her death prompts him to ask his current girlfriend to marry him in the most unromantic manner possible. She of course kicks his ass out on the curb and he goes on a journey to find out why he cannot get it right with woman. And no matter how clichéd and trite that premise seems, it still is a very well done movie. The scenes with his old girlfriends, especially Mimi Rogers as his High School girlfriend and Elizabeth Pena as a hot sex ex, are so well done it shocks you. I would love to know if anyone else has seen this movie and what they thought about it.
  • 108. X-Men - 2000 I used to love the X-men comics when I was younger and I even used to watch the cartoon that came out in the 80’s or 90’s, so I knew eventually I would watch this movie. Patrick Stewart was a brilliant choice for Xavier and the rest of the casting was solid. There is just something about the execution of this movie left me unsatisfied. It is not bad but like the comic strip and the cartoon it tries to jam too much into it and never really does a good job of telling a story. If the X-Men are a team, then they need a good GM to send a few of them to the bench for a while.
Author Comments: 

Since this list is becoming a mess, I thought I would add some indication of what is new content. 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.

I'm loving this list. Here's an interview with Crowe that answers the "who was Stillwater based on" question.

Jim, thanks. I am glad some one is reading the the ramblings of this semi-lunatic. I am a little dispointed with the Allmans as the motivational factor, I was expecting someone with a little less talent. I am thinking, I might pick up the new DVD release on this one. Some of the extra goodies look interesting.

Re: With A Friend Like Harry. I was watching it with the English subtitles and French language and I could definitely tell they were leaving stuff out. They subtitles tend to be a lot less wordy. According to IMDB her name was Prune and they translated it as Plum.

Ah, so pleased you liked Zero Effect! I was eagerly awaiting your writeup on that one. You're right on regarding the dialog, and I thought the mystery worked well also. Like Panic, I'm surprised this one didn't make a bigger splash.

Yes Zero Effect was a well done movie. Pretty amazing because young Kasden was in his early twenties when it was made. I guess it helps to grow up around a father who made some great films himself.

On a completely different note, I find myself rewatching too many movies these days and I was wondering what would be the best way to get recommendations of movies I have not seen. I was thinking of stump the movie fool (that would be me)poll. Something on the line of tell me a movie you recommend but think I may have not seen and I will either comment on it if I saw it or I would watch it and then comment on it. Just a hazy idea right now but I am open to suggestions.

I like the idea of a "stump the movie fool" list. I sounds like you could create an empty list to start, and then folks could post suggestions via discussion. You could add "stumpers" (movies you have not in fact seen) to the list, along with your reviews as you see them, and you could respond in the discussion to those suggestions you've already seen. I'd be happy to get the ball rolling with some suggestions: Raise the Red Lantern; Cold Comfort Farm; Truly, Madly, Deeply; Brain Donors; Breaking Away; Bound; Where the Money Is; The Train; and Walkabout.

Something interesting . . . As I was writing up that list I was doing searches to see if you had already listed any of those titles. None came back. Then I looked at your 100 Best list to see if there was a shot at you liking any of these. There I noticed that Breaking Away is already on your list. It doesn't come back on the search because the "60" butts right up against it. Sure enough, if you do a search for "60.Breaking Away" it comes back. Something to keep in mind when formatting your lists. That includes HTML formatting. If your BOLD tags (for example) butt right up against a movie title, it will probably prevent that title from being searchable.

First thing, I used to have to write HTML code for a previous job, obviously i was not very good at it :)

I like your ideas on the possible list and I will get it started with your suggestions. Out of the 9 you mentioned, I think I have seen 7 of them, but that is good because it gives me 2 movies to see.

It's no reflection at all on your HTML skills! The problem is in SQL Server's search engine, which only seems to recognize whitespace as part of a word boundary (I imagine this is configurable, but this is largely controlled by the ISP). In "normal" HTML it's perfectly acceptable for your tags to butt up to the content they enclose.

That may very well be true but I did suck at HTML. Now I get to play with the Wonders of PHP and SMIL. Thankfully I have gotten out of the code writing portion of my career.

Care to venture a guess as to the 2 movies from your list I have not yet seen? You might be surprised....

I'm going to guess Raise the Red Lantern and Truly, Madly, Deeply. The first because I seem to remember you saying you don't see as many non-U.S. movies as you should, and the second because as good as it is, it was still pegged as a "chick flick", and my *general* impression of your lists (an impression that might not hold up under scrutiny) is that they tend to include fewer of those movies.

So, which two were they?

Jim, Sorry I have had computer issues at home and too much work at work. The two were Truly Madly, Deeply...though I am not sure chick flicks are a natural aversion for me. The other one was Where the mMoney is which was a surprise since I love Newman. I added it and Truly, Madly to my netflix queue. I will let you know when I see them. I also will add to this list and start the Movie Fool one once I put my computer back together at home.

Well, batting .500 ain't bad. Y'know, I was worried as soon as I hit "post" that you'd think I was hinting at a bias against chick flicks. Not my intent. Just didn't notice many on your lists. I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of those two. As for the others, had you not seen them, would you have praised or cursed my recommendations?

So, what did you think about Mulholland Drive?

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Well, I am not a big fan of Lynch. Besides Blue Velvet and the first season of Twins Peaks, I find him to be too self indulgent. So I was not looking forward to it that much but I was very pleasantly surprised. I actually think this might be one of his best films because it started out as TV show. He was forced to curb some of his natural inclinations to absurdity and wierdness. I am not sure why everyone says you need to see it multiple times to understand it. It was pretty clear to me. Of course that might say something about me. :)

Naomi Watts has gotten a lot of the great press and she certainly deserves it, but the the other actress Laura Harring was also quite good. And who knew a Roy Orbison song sounded so good in Italian?

Also Mr Bangs, I surely thought you might have some comment on my Cabaret comments.

Cabaret - ah...

I'm glad you gave it another go. I can certainly understand the classic vs. modern musical division; Cabaret and Singin' in the Rain may share a genre, but certainly not intentions. Hard to compare the two films, both of which I love.

Seeing All That Jazz, Lenny, and Cabaret, I'm quite amazed that Bob Fosse is a largely neglected, little-discussed director. Even excluding his musical numbers, I still believe his unique visual style, especially the way he matches it to his material, is extremely impressive.

And you're right - Cabaret is a rare instance of a film that Liza actually works in.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I'm not sure I'm that much of a Lynch fan either - You've largely named my favorite films by him. I am glad that you also enjoyed Mulholland Drive. I accept that it will probably never be a popular favorite, but I still believe it to be a quite striking, thought-provoking film by a famed director surprisingly at a confident peak.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I remember feeling self-doubt upon liking Sleepy Hollow. My recollection is that it was panned, and yet I enjoyed the heck out of it. I wondered what I was seeing that the critics weren't (although I see now it got a 71% approval rating on RT). Anyway, pleased to see you liked it as well. I think I'd rank it just behind Edward Scissorhands, which is perhaps my favorite Burton, although it's been too long since I've seen it to be sure.

I haven't written up Where the Money Is on my own lists yet, but I feel similarly. I suspect I liked it a bit more than you, but I agree on both the plot predictability (which I didn't mind) and Mulroney (which I only slightly minded).

Pretty funny Gaslight commentary! Have you considered breaking up this list by month or year? I can get away with breaking mine up by year, but you see enough movies that you might want to consider finer granularity. Of course, it could be interesting to see just how big you can make this list...

I feel I can make fun of the French since my wife is of French heritage and I live with a slew of in-laws who are never satisifed. OK I guess this will be another list I make sure my wife never reads :)

Wait, you saw the new The Important of Being Earnest?

Alas no. This was the one made in the 50's I watched.

oooooh. I actually wasn't aware there was an original version. Shows how much I know.

Reading even more, I simply have to gush. I love, love, LOVE this list. You've even convinced me to check out Vanilla Sky when it hits DVD (it has alreadly left the theatres around here, I believe). Your comments inform, entertain, and delight me much more than a few simple ratings ever could. This is easily one of my very favorite lists on this site.

And now, the shameless but effective tease that I will get to read your comments on Once Upon a Time in the West, Forbidden Planet, and Choose Me, among others, soon.

Thanks!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Oh to rip off Jim on one of his comments. You are going to make me blush...No really thanks. I like getting my thoughts down on paper...

Oo, cool. Will definitely add I Love You Again to my "to see" list. Also, since the western is your favorite genre, I thought I'd point this list/discussion out to you in case you haven't already seen it. I *think* it all took place before your arrival at Listology, so if you mostly track the recent updates and recent posts (as I do), then this list might have passed you by.

Let's see, its good to see your takes on Blue Iguana (I will now rent that), Hearts in Atlantis (glad to somebody else dislikes, if not hates, it), and Wet Hot American Summer.
I look forward to your write ups of Hedwig, The Anniversary Party, Bully, and Tenenbaums.
Respectfully yours,
AAA

Iguana is a grand experiment that has some hits and some misses.

It really is a collection of scenes that do not hang together really well.

There is a lot of Nudity so I do not know your parents take on it but it seems you have a lot of freedom to watch movies.

Other write ups on the way.

I really liked your new write ups. Good to see some more Anniversary Party bashing. I love just about everybody involved, but the movie stole two hours of my life that I will never get back. Glad you liked Hedwig. I'm probably its most devoted fan around here, but if I can just get a couple of people to pick this one up and watch it, my writing has purpose.
Love this list more and more,
AAA

I'm thrilled you enjoyed Once Upon a Time in the West. One of my favorites.

I'm curious to see your In the Bedroom write-up. I wonder if you had as much trouble with buying the ending as I did.

I haven't seen Seven Girlfriends yet, but I remember seeing an ad and thinking that if those women really were his girlfriends, he is a very lucky guy...

Keep up the great work and info!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I have to say after reading your comments under A Beautiful Mind about Moulin Rouge being the best film nominated for best picture this year, I got sick. Moulin Rouge has been getting way too much hype for its almost above average self. I dont see what any of you people see in that movie. Someone clue me in please.

Moulin Rouge was a hyper-kinetic rush of melodrama edited together with quicksilver paste and a straight face. The film's attempt to turn melodrama into drama reminds me of Woo and Leone, and the editing is (at least in the first 30 minutes) a roller-coaster that leaves one breathless. Additionally, Baz is wise enough to never smirk during the love scenes, allowing them to reach a slightly frenzied poignacy. The film dares, and for some, pulls off its grand folly.

Obviously, some disagree.

Well, at least that's what I see in it, j bro.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Well Mr. Black,

I always knew my writing had vomiting inducing ability, I am glad to finally get some confirmation.

Now as to Moulin Rouge, I think my simple answer is the pure audacity of it is what most impressed me. I was as surprised as anyone in my loving of that movie. I am not a fan of Kidman, or Macgregor. I really found Luhrman's Romeo and Juliet somewhat a trite mess but this one worked for me on all levels. I, of course, am a lover of old school musicals and this was a wonderful reinvention of that fabled genre.

I hope that helps. I thought Mulholland Drive and Memento were better movies if that helps.

It's time I caught up on this list once and for all:

"Kim Dickens who should have a better career than she is having (Zero Effect)." Completely agree. She's been good in everything, even the otherwise mediocre films she's been in. The forgettable Hollow Man should have been a good career move (assuming she wants to do big budget pictures) but it clearly didn't pan out. She belongs in high-quality independent stuff.

"This was a rewatch for me. After Planet of The Apes, I had to remember that Burton could make a good film (Sleepy Hollow)." I really should do the same. I read a disproportionate number of bad reviews for Sleepy Hollow going in, so it took like half the movie for me to believe I was really enjoying it.

"I actually liked this movie a lot. I know that is going to put me in the minority but I bought into it and was very impressed with the first 95% of it (Vanilla Sky)." You are the second person I respect that liked this critically lambasted Crowe effort. It's one of the DVD releases I'm most looking forward to.

"Of course much like artichokes, I should have known better (Reindeer Games)." For me it's onion rings.

But as a lifetime resident of Massachusetts, the accents used for the Kennedy’s and Kenny O’Donnell were so bad, I almost turned it off (Thirteen Days)." Amen brother. My wife abstained from this one, as she hates Costner. I invited her in with the comment, "want to hear something awful?" Upon hearing Costner's accent, she visibly flinched, and then fled.

Character development of this order is so rare these days that when I finished the movie, I wanted to watch it again just so I could spend more time in his world (Ghost Dog)." In addition to Whitaker, I was impressed with the character development of his French ice cream vendor friend. Even though he speaks no English, he's still engaging.

"Cameron Diaz might be better than any of us ever thought she could be" and "I do agree with Bertie though, Bill Murray was NOT in this movie. (Charlie's Angels)" Yes and yes. I think I'm going to have go go ahead and decide that Cameron Diaz is a good actress, no qualifying remarks needed.

"It has some imperfections, like the very wooden performance by Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge)." A rare disagreement here, as I found her performance to be a well-done change of pace from the cold calculating characters she usually plays. Thought she pulled it off beautifully. I'll have to watch this again with a particular eye on her.

"All I can say though is thank god Russell Crowe did not win (A Beautiful Mind)." It breaks my heart to agree with this, as I think he's got some serious acting chops. But he's such an oaf in real life.

I haven't seen Seven Girlfriends, but I'm adding it to my list. And where-oh-where did Wages of Fear go?! :-)

Jim, I think I have done it. I have maxed out the alloted space for this list. I always knew I could do it If I just put my mind to it.

Actually Jim, I dont know what happened to Wages of Fear. I have write ups for three movies that wont show up. I put them in the editing box and they come up under the preview but when I hit save they no show up. Do Ineed to split up this list?

Damn, I am so proud that I have filled up a list to its a maximum. It's kind of like actually getting to the edge of the Internet. :)

Ha! Willya lookit that. I did some checking into this, and your data is actually being saved to the database. The problem is in retrieving it. Cold Fusion has a "long text buffer" and it looks like it's set to 65,000 characters by default. There is a checkbox on the administration page: Enable retrieval of long text - Enable this option only if you want to retrieve all the data for a long text field.If the option is not selected ColdFusion retrieves the number of characters specified in the long text buffer size. Enabling this option may compromise performance. I was thinking I'd have my ISP check that box, if they'd be willing, but then I thought maybe I didn't want to compromise performance, and 65,000 seems like as round a number as any for a cutoff. What do you think? You mind creating a "Damn I spend too much time watching moves . . . Here is the proof II" list?

Oh, if you're curious, this list clocks in at 66,798 characters, and is the longest list in Listology. You also win the silver, as your list, The ABC's of Rock n'Roll--A Personal Odyssey is 54,198 characters.

I am so proud a Gold and a Silver for rambling thoughts about inane subjects. My children will be so proud.

No problen on creating a second list. I figure if I can keep up my movie watching, I have a good chance to get to version 4 by the end of the year. Simple dreams; a simple man.

I just watched The Wild Bunch so I'd definitely like to see your Wild Bunch/Seven Samurai comparison that you mention in entry #1, if you're feeling up to it.

I’m not sure this is actually answering your request but you got me thinking about my throwaway line in this list about tackling the Wild Bunch Samurai comparison. Kurosawa for the Seven Samurai openly admits he was influenced by John Ford’s sprawling westerns, specifically the great Calvary trilogy and the underrated 3 Godfathers. The Magnificent Seven was an American remake of the Kurosawa classic that maintained the action but lacked the beauty of its source. The Wild Bunch was directly influenced by the Magnificent Seven, as were other films like The Great Escape and The Dirty Dozen. So in essence we have a movie, The Wild Bunch, which killed one of the most popular genres of all time and its own kindred inspiration. . It is kind of its own form of movie evolution. That which remains stagnant is soon eaten.

Cool. You've managed to combine two of my favorite subjects--movies and evolution--quite nicely. I hadn't considered that particular evolutionary path from The Seven Samurai to The Wild Bunch. Very interesting.

How do you feel about the evolution of SEVEN SAMURAI to THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN to A BUG'S LIFE?

Bertie, I fear I can not comment. I have not seen A Bug's Life. With the exception of Shrek ( I took a nephew)and Chicken Run ( I was sick in bed and it was the best option on the TV at the time), I have not seen any of the so called latest great childrens movies.

This has been a conscious choice as my wife and I are trying to have kids and I have been saving the viewings for the hopeful children.

Do you care to elaborate since I did not know about a Bugs Life Samurai connection.

Much the same plot in each.

I can't believe anyone could write a review (even a mini-review) of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and fail to mention Ennio Morricone's phenomenal music. You were trying to provoke me, right?