Damn, I only have time to watch movies on weekends part 02: just realized that part 1 ran out!

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  • 1. Safety Last (1923) - It's really a shame that Harold Lloyd has been virtually forgotten 80 years after his peak. Most people like Keaton and Chaplin but not Lloyd. And it's a shame because "Safety Last" is probably on par with (if not better than) many Keaton or Chaplin films. Well, if Lloyd was forgotten, at least the famous clock shot was not, and that is a very impressive stunt, especially for a guy without a thumb or forefinger on his right hand. See this great silent comedy.
  • 2. Phone Booth (2003) - I must admit that I only went into this movie because of my crush on Katie Holmes. She doesn't do much in this movie, nor does she look all that great, but I really enjoyed it anyway. Colin Farrell gives an awesome performance as the guy trapped in the phone booth by a sniper. Even though it just takes place in and around a phone booth, it held my attention the whole time. The only thing that annoyed me was Farrell's character's denseness; I mean, 2/3 through the movie, he's still thinking that offering the sniper a TV spot will placate him. Think again, Stewart. Don't see this movie for Katie Holmes; see is for a fascinating thriller starring Colin Farrell. Now, what I really need to see is "The Gift"... :-)
  • 3. Sweet Smell of Success (1957) - I taped this off of TCM's The Essentials a while back. When I finally watched it, I found it quite good but not essential. The movie is kinda boring in the first half but pulls it together in the end. The ending of this movie is awesome. Another great thing about this movie is the dialogue. "The next time you want information, don't scratch for it like a dog, ask for it like a man!" "I'm nice to people where it pays me to be nice." "I'd hate to take a bite out of you. You're a cookie filled with arsenic." "My big toe would make a better president." and "Don't try to sell me the Brooklyn Bridge. I happen to know it belongs to the Dodgers."
  • 4. The 39 Steps (1935) - Considering I bought this VHS for $4.50 at a Walmart, the sound and picture quality were better than I expected. I'd say this was a good buy; my other option would be the 40-dollar Criterion Collection DVD, complete with audio commentary and a documentary about Hitchcock's British films. Are those features, plus improved audio / video quality, worth $35.50? I would say no. Fortunately, mediocre a / v quality is the only thing bad about this exciting spy thriller. But then again, I wouldn't expect anything less from Hitchcock, and it also contains Hitchcock's usual brand of subtle dark humor. Highly recommended.
  • 5. Wild Reeds (1994) - Another film I watched in my French class, this one wasn't as good as "Jean de Florette" or "Manon of the Spring." Perhaps I didn't follow it as well as a French person could have because I didn't have much background on this war between France and Algeria. Maybe not, though; I enjoyed most of the stuff about the war. Where the movie falls flat, I think, is in its comments about homosexuality in the 60's. It certainly must have been difficult, but we never really see the agony of the gay character, and the movie could've done so much more with this. It doesn't come together until he meets the other gay character towards the end, and by then it's too little too late. In between this moment and when Francois discovers he's gay, the film is kinda plodding, not really going anywhere, and really pretty boring. Not that it really gets better at the end; the very end is rather abrupt and confusing. I didn't hate this film, but it could've done so much more with the subject matter and instead falls flat.
  • 6. Ridicule (1996) - Another movie I watched in my French class, this movie was much better, but the experience was made worse by the other members of my French class, who kept yearning for Judith Godreche to take her clothes off, and who kept joking that the action that occurs in the opening scene of the film be repeated (I won't spoil this opening scene if you haven't seen it). But all in all, this was a very interesting, sophisticatedly humorous movie that I enjoyed a lot. In the king's court, the wittiest man reigns supreme...but who wins out in the end? Oh yeah, and Judith Godreche is hot.
  • 7. JFK (1991) - This is a difficult film to watch. Not only is it over three hours long, it also causes one to re-examine one's faith in the United States government. I am very glad that I had to watch this movie for a history paper. The investigation into Kennedy's assassination is simply fascinating. I don't know accurately the movie represents the facts of Jim Garrison's case, but that's not the point: the point is in the investigation, the agony of having to fight the system because that is what's right, and the hardships that come in the search for truth. The film is also very well put-together, combining straight investigative narrative with documentary footage quite nicely. And what a cast this movie has! But, despite my praise, I still don't wanna write a paper about it.
  • 8. Schindler's List (1993) - "Schindler's List" is a movie that transcends the usual classifications of good and bad. If someone had asked me my favorite Steven Spielberg movie before I saw "Schindler's List", I would have said "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Now, I wouldn't know what to say. How can you compare "Schindler's List" with other movies? This was Spielberg's passion, his artistic triumph for the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust. Spielberg refused to accept a salary for directing this movie, and yet, he put his heart and soul into it. The movie shockingly depicts the horror of the Nazis, how they raped, tortured, and murdered millions of innocent people. Over the course of the film, we see how the Holocaust turns a hardened, greedy, lustful man into one who weeps at not having done more to help the Jews. Thus was the horror of the Nazis. Now, today, there are many people who argue that the Holocaust never actually occurred. We must preserve the truth to future generations. This movie helps.
  • 9. Friends: Season 3 DVD Set (1996-1997) - The book Jump the Shark lists Friends as having jumped in the middle of this season. While I don't doubt that it has jumped, I think the time it got bad was much later. If I had to nail down an exact time, I'd probably say when Joey developed his crush on Rachel was when it started becoming crappy. The 3rd season, it was still going strong for me, and it contains some of my favorite friends moments. Just to name a few: Joey stealing Chandler's chair right before Ross's big night; Ross hitting on Isabella Rossellini; Ross selling Brown Bird cookies; Ross: Hey, Joey, are men ever nice to strange women for no reason? Joey: No. Only for sex; Joey teaching his fellow auditioners the dance steps; Joey, Chandler, Monica, and Phoebe spying on Ross and Rachel fighting; Ross pictures Rachel naked after they've broken up; Ben Stiller; Robin Williams and Billy Crystal; and of course, Joey and Rachel trading books is classic. Ross and Rachel's on-and-off relationship is really explored in this season. You can also see the beginning of the development of Chandler's relationship with Monica, towards the end. Phoebe makes some real progress in getting back with her family. And Joey, well... is Joey. I personally can't wait for season 4 to come out: I need to see the Chandler-Joey-Kathy love triangle again, I need to see the apartment switching again, I need to see Ross and Emily together again. I'm also waiting with great anticipation for any mention of DVD season packs for "Seinfeld" and "3rd Rock From the Sun." If anyone hears about a DVD release for either one of these shows, contact me immediately . Post it here, post it one of my other lists, post it anywhere, I'll find it.
  • 10. All The President's Men (1976) - Before I start my review on this great movie, I'd like to point out that, due to the evil search spiders which Jim has just explained to me about, this list is now up to the ironic total of 666 reads. And now, the movie. This film reminded me very much of "JFK", which I saw not long ago. Both are about an investigation into a corrupt conspiracy, and both involve clever men desperately searching for truth, interviewing as many people as possible to find it. The difference is that Woodward and Bernstein were more successful; today, most people agree that Woodward and Bernstein were great investigative reporters who uncovered a major conspiracy, whereas many people today think that Jim Garrison was a nut and the conspiracy theories on Kennedy's assassination are bs. That makes "JFK" a more daring film, but I loved "All The President's Men" too. One superior aspect of ATPM was Hoffman and Redford's performances; Costner was quite good but he's just not as strong an actor as Dustin Hoffman or Robert Redford, who have a lot of chemistry together and are also excellent when they are apart. It's a shame that neither of them were even nominated for an Oscar, whereas Jason Robards's un-stellar performance snagged him some Academy gold. "All The President's Men" makes the job of a reporter seem so exciting and thrilling; it made me want to become a reporter. On the other hand, "JFK" did not make me want to become a lawyer, as Garrison worked his ass off for little reward. But hey, don't think I'm dissing "JFK"; both were very good movies that I would highly recommend.
  • 11. High Plains Drifter (1972) - jgandcag would be proud to see that I've finally started getting more familiar with classic Westerns. And I will continue on this quest, jgandcag, even though I wasn't really into "High Plains Drifter." There are many very good elements of this film, but also plenty that are bad. Let's start with the good. I loved the Jim Duncan subplot, how that unfolded and wrapped itself up in the end. Now that's good writing. The final showdown is also very well-done. Clint Eastwood is great as usual, mainly because he has mastered this character. On the other hand, the script left a lot to be desired, especially in scenes with Marianna Hill's character. Let's take a look at her character arc. She starts off in a hostile conversation with Clint that features laughably bad dialogue. Then she slaps him, and Clint tells her she should learn some manners. Then Clint teaches her manners by raping her. But she enjoys being raped. In a later scene, she comes back, furious at having been raped, exhibiting bitchy overacting comparable to Julianne Moore in "Magnolia", and starts shooting at Clint when he's in the bathtub. To protect himself, Clint goes underwater, because, as everyone knows, bullets can't pierce water. Then to calm Marianna down, Billy Curtis throws a bucket of water at her. Sharp thinking, little guy.
    Spoiler: Highlight to view
    Then later, Verna Bloom is afraid that he'll rape her. To protect herself, she tries stabbing him. When he fends off her attack, she decides that she does want to have sex with him. Um...right.
    It's this kind of weird logic and bad writing that mars the film. The writers must have spent all their energy coming up with that great Jim Duncan storyline and then coasted through the rest. Could someone explain to me why they had to paint the town red (literally)? I was totally baffled by that. Anyway, I'm sure there are better Westerns out there. Next time I'll watch one of those.
  • 12. Bruce Almighty (2003) - After Carrey's more serious roles in "Truman Show", "Man on the Moon", and "The Majestic", and after the flob "Me, Myself, and Irene", Carrey returns to top form in a movie in the same vein as "Liar Liar." On reading taryn's review again, I'm afraid that she already says everything I wanted to say. Yup, the scene with Steve Carrell did bring me to tears because I was laughing so hard. Yup, too many jokes were in the preview (the dog-using-the-toilet gag would've probably been a lot funnier if we hadn't seen virtually every scene involving that bit in the preview). Yup, Morgan Freeman was quite good. And Jennifer Aniston hit all the right notes too. Unlike the other Friends (with the possible exception of Matthew Perry), Aniston probably has a good movie career ahead of her. There was some stupid humor (why oh why did they remind us of the "chicken up the butt" scene in "Me, Myself, and Irene" by making a "monkey up the butt" scene?), but even the stupid stuff I laughed at, because it's Jim Carrey, and his comic energy is hilarious even when the material isn't. It's not saying much, but I think this is the best movie I've seen all year (i.e., better than "Old School", "Bringing Down the House", and "Phone Booth").
  • 13. Yellow Submarine (1968) - As long as the Beatles are around, we'll have "Yellow Submarine", a great 60's movie with astounding visual imagery to accompany classic Beatles songs. I'm not sure what kinds of drugs the moviemakers were on, but these trippy hallucinations produced one psychedelic masterpiece. The film lacks logic and makes little sense, but these observations do not detract from the film; in fact, they seem to be the point of the film. Is there a very deep message hidden within this film? Maybe, but I was having too much fun to notice it. I would highly recommend "Yellow Submarine." It's quite a trip.
  • 14. Queen Margot (1994) - I found this to be a very confusing movie. I had a hard time following all the plots of all the characters. This may have been my fault and not the movie's, but the impression I got from it was that it was more concerned with showing graphic, bloody scenes of poisonings and massacres and showing weird sex scenes than explaining the characters. Maybe someone with a greater attention span would enjoy this movie more than I did.
  • 15. The 400 Blows (1959) - I put off watching this movie for a while because of Jim's review of it. We've agreed on the inaccessibility of certain classic films before. Sorry, Jim, but I found this movie much more interesting than "The French Connection." Jim summed up the themes of the movie pretty well in his review; I appreciated these themes, but I just connected with the movie more, I guess. The movie drags a little, I admit, but for the most part, I thought the story of kid's plight was fascinating. I think if you're familiar with American movies and want to ease your way into the foreign classics, Truffaut would be a good start (although Kurosawa would probably be a better start). The Truffaut films I've seen, "400 Blows" and "Small Change", seem more accessible to the average viewer than Bergman's films or Fellini's films. I'm not sure I get the title though...
  • 16. Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988) -
  • "The Sting: British Movie Industry Version" by AJDaGreat
  • (on the first draft of the DVSL script)
  • Writer: So, what do you think of my script?
  • Director: What a fascinating story about this family, especially about how the abusive father affects them! But I don't like straight narratives. Make it more abstract and confusing.
  • (second draft)
  • Writer: Okay, it's more abstract now. Only problem is, I had to cut out a lot of the stuff that actually made sense. So now it's only 40 minutes long.
  • Director: Hmm... okay, add WAY TOO MANY scenes that involve people singing random songs for no particular reason.
  • (third draft)
  • Writer: Okay, now it's 40 minutes of randomly assembled, abstract scenes about the family and 40 minutes of singing. But won't people be mad that it's so confusing and has a lot of pointless singing scenes?
  • Director: Ahh, Writer, you have a lot to learn. You see, this way, people will call it art. It may be a disjoint, unfocused movie filled with pointless scenes, but you see, it also contains many individual brilliant moments. Those moments of brilliance will make the gullible audiences think that the pointless scenes have meaning. See? It's easy to dupe people, even the most respected critics. In fact, I predict that the Sight and Sound poll regarding films made in the last 25 years will vote us one of the top 10 movies, making some stupid teenager named AJ want to see it!
  • AJ: (watching the film) If this is art, give me garbage anyday.
  • Summer Preview: The seniors graduated today, so I guess that makes me an official senior! It also means that I'll have more free time on my hands to watch movies to add to this list. However, I will be going on this awesome trip to London to do some workshops at the Globe Theater from June 20th - July 3rd. After that, I'm not even sure what I'm gonna do yet. (Any suggestions for how I should spend my July?! I need plans!) But I'll probably be going to Florida this summer, where I watch lots and lots of movies. Also, a preview for the next school year - I'll be taking a film history class called 20th Century Images, which I'm very excited about - so hopefully I'll be watching more films during class then. Old ones. Yay!
  • 17. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) - With really great performances, you want the character to be onscreen all the time. That is how I felt about Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in "Silence of the Lambs." There were long stretches of time when Lecter wasn't onscreen, and I yearned for him to come back to the plot. Hopkins's performance is brilliant. But he's only one of many great things about this movie, which is up there with "Being John Malkovich", "L.A. Confidential", and "Schindler's List" as one of the best films of the 90's. The screenwriters really knew what they were doing. The story has many layers and the writers knew just how much of each element to use. The cinematography and direction are also great, especially in the Buffalo Bill scenes. Yada yada yada, I could keep blabbing on, but I'd rather go watch another movie. Or maybe I'll do something else.
  • 18. Man With a Movie Camera (1929) - Apparently Dziga Vertov woke up one day and said, "Hmm. I think I'll make a movie that uses a lot of new, inventive shots that have never been done before, and at the same time, I'm going to make the very first documentary, about a day in the Soviet Union. I'm going to shoot everything from a pile of crabs to a woman giving birth." In 2003, I found the movie by no means conventional but by all means interesting. It's mostly style and little substance, but yet, it managed to hold my attention most of the time. I imagine the film had a lot of influence on film history as well. The film is also rather bizarre, and that comes from the fact that the movie shows Vertov himself shooting and editing the movie! Truly an interesting experimental film. But the shots of Vertov have another meaning, I think. Throughout the film, we see many people in various occupations. Vertov uses these other occupations as foils to that of a movie director; Vertov is saying that, there are many different careers to choose from, but only a man with a movie camera can see all of these great people.
  • 19. Wuthering Heights (1939) - The thing that strikes me most about this movie is just how much happens in it. So much is going on throughout this movie; it could've easily been a 3-hour epic, but it feels longer than it is already. That said, I did like this movie very much. I didn't expect to, but I did. Olivier is great as usual, the script has some excellent dialogue, and the ending is brilliant. An interesting examination into the minds of two lovers who were not destined to be together.
  • 20. The Matrix Reloaded (2003) - Maybe I should feel guilty for doing so, but I liked this movie a lot. First, the action scenes were spectacular, most notably the one which has recently found a place on Jim's Favorite Action Scenes list. In addition, I loved seeing the environment of Zion and how that is developed throughout the movie; in the first one, we pretty much only saw Morpheus's ship, the name of which I could not begin to spell. And yes, the movie contains a similar amount of philosophy as in the first one. There are some things that remain confusing in this movie that hopefully will be explained in the next one. But I don't get all the backlash against this movie. If you liked the first one, you should like the second one, I think.
  • 21. The Matrix (1999) - (checks) Yup, still great. But seriously, folks, I hadn't seen this in a couple years and wanted to refresh my memory of it before I saw the sequel. However, I didn't get a chance to finish it until after I finished "The Matrix Reloaded."
  • 22. The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) - Woody Allen said that this was his favorite movie of the ones he did. It's not my favorite Allen movie, but it is a very good one. Allen is one of the most consistent directors of all time. The guy has made so many great movies. Furthermore, nearly all of his movies can be appreciated on two levels: a simpler level, and a more intellectual level. This movie is about the struggle between embracing fantasy or reality, it's about the importance of freedom, it's about courage. It's also a hilarious, surrealistic movie about the pandemonium that erupts when a character from a movie leaves the movie screen because he's madly in love with Cecilia (Mia Farrow). The film has a fatal flaw, however, and it's the ending:
    Spoiler: Highlight to view
    I know that Allen wanted an unhappy ending, and that's fine. I don't dislike it because it's downbeat. I dislike it because Gil Shepard's ultimate choice to go back to Hollywood alone is extremely out of character for him. I saw how he acted around Cecilia, and leaving her is not something he would do. However, the movie picks itself back up again: ending with Cecilia watching another romantic movie is an excellent closing shot.
    OK, now I've seen 17 movies directed by Woody Allen, and according to IMDB, that's only half his oeuvre. I'd better get crackin'.
  • 23. The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968) - Amish girl runs away from home and inadvertantly invents the striptease. This movie was kinda stupid and pointless, and not particularly funny. I mean, the premise itself derives some absurd humor, but there's not much more than that. Also, the ending of the movie resolves nothing that precedes it; it just ends after she invents the striptease (this isn't a spoiler because the movie tells you this in the first few minutes). It's a pretty clumsy movie; at times, it seems like it's meant in fond memory of the old-fashioned burlesque of the 1920's, and at other times, it seems like it's trying to be a burlesque movie. It can't decide which one it wants to be, and it pretty much fails at being the latter. If I could say one good thing about it, the actors seem like they're having fun, and there's that general spirit of fun throughout the whole movie. In fact, that alone saves the movie from being horrible. I've definitely seen worse comedies. I'd say it was a decent diversion, but there are also better diversions. It wasn't a painful experience, but I couldn't help noticing how clumsy the movie felt. I would only recommend seeing this movie if you have a crush on Britt Ekland.
  • 24. Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines (2003) - Yes, this movie does suffer by comparison to the first two Terminator movies. Those movies used innovative special effects, while this movie is just jumping on the CGI bandwagon. Those movies were effectively directed to be great thrillers, while this movie has rather clumsy direction (most likely due to the loss of James Cameron, who, despite having some dogs under his belt, is nonetheless a skillful director). Those movies had fun playing with the possibilities of time travel, whereas there's very little of that in this movie; T3 does, however, have some message about fate, banal and overused as the message is. But T3 does not aspire to be as good as the first two movies. It aspires to be an entertaining summer blockbuster with plenty of action, and at that, it does succeed. At least the movie doesn't make the pretense of being about more than it is. I enjoyed it, but I realize that my time could've been better spent elsewhere.
  • 25. The Wizard of Oz (1939) - I really can't remember if I saw this movie in my childhood. While I knew the full story and most of the songs by heart before I saw it today, I have no recollection of actually seeing the movie. Then again, I thought that all Americans saw this movie during their childhood. I have nothing new to say about "The Wizard of Oz", and my opinion of it is probably the same as that of everyone else who has seen it (and you've probably all seen it), so I will just make the observation that, on finally seeing it (again?), I think that this is probably the most iconic movie in American culture. So many lines, songs, scenes, and characters of this movie have been referenced and parodied to no end. Ah, there's no place like my computer.
  • 26. The Italian Job (2003) - I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. There is no question about it. It's the summertime. Sequels and remakes are out. My standards are slipping. I'm starting to want to see movies simply for entertainment value. And for that, "The Italian Job" is good. If somehow you've managed to fend off the mental atrophy of the summer, go rent a Fellini film or something. If you want something new and entertaining, you could do worse than "The Italian Job."
  • 27. Anatomy of a Murder (1959) - Jeez, this place has been quiet today. I wrote that "Wizard of Oz" review at around 10:00 am. Here it is, 10:00 pm, and that review is still at the top of the recent updates. Anyway, I guess I'm not fully emersed in summer stupidity, since I watched this more cerebral movie today also. Which isn't to say that "Anatomy of a Murder" is not entertaining. On the contrary, it's quite a gripping story. Some may compare it to "12 Angry Men" or "Witness for the Prosecution." But I think there is a key difference. The latter two movies were actually about a search for truth. "Anatomy of a Murder" is more cynical (which, sadly, is also rather realistic). I think that Biegler is more concerned with winning the case than with ensuring justice has been done. Both sides of the court room play dirty tricks and often feud like schoolboys; Biegler is concerned with Mrs. Manion's appearance, telling her to wear a girdle and glasses and to stop going out at nights; one of the most interesting moments in the film is when Mr. Manion asks Biegler how a jury can disregard what they've already heard, and Biegler responds, "They can't." Unlike "Witness for the Prosecution", this film isn't a mystery. It's a drama about how a trial is like putting on a show. It also features an excellent performance from Jimmy Stewart and a fantastic jazzy score by Duke Ellington.
  • 28. Body Heat (1981) - So my dad finally said I could watch this movie. I'm glad he did; this update of "Double Indemnity" was a truly fabulous movie. If you believe that no modern film-noir can ever equal that of the 1940's, "Body Heat" is at least an excellent attempt. Lawrence Kasdan knew what he was doing here, and so did the actors. Unfortunately, I already knew the ending twist of the movie before I saw it, which is a shame, because it's a damn good one. But there's more to the movie that this great twist. Much more.
  • 29. Barton Fink (1991) (watched again) - The Coen brothers are often criticized for making films that are all style and no substance. I think this is true to some extent, but I really like the Coens, and "Barton Fink" may be my favorite Coen brothers film (although I haven't seen "Miller's Crossing" or "Blood Simple", both of which I've heard are excellent). Sure. It's easy to say that "Barton Fink" is just bizarre with no meaning behind it. But even if the Coens didn't intend for the film to mean anything, "Barton Fink" did cause me to ponder what meaning it could have, which is more than I could say about most films. Even if the film is all style and no subtance (which I disagree with, but nevermind that for now), the film's style, story, and performances fascinated me. P.S. The deleted scenes on this DVD are utterly worthless, unfortunately.
  • 30. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) - Well, jblack, you should be proud to know that I watched your pick for the greatest movie of all-time and loved it. I'm not saying I agree with you on a first viewing, but I think it's up there. What a brilliant movie (remember the days when the movies that won major Academy Awards were this good?). It has important things to say about freedom and loyalty, and yet, it's not all about the message. It conveys it in effective way by telling a captivating story about a sane man in an insane world. It's two hours and fifteen minutes long, and yet, it passes by in no time at all. Unfortunately, I was stuck with the Yokelvision (thanks Jim) version this time, but I'll have to buy this DVD.
  • 31. 28 Days Later... (2003) - Critics are calling this one of the best horror films in a while. Give me a break. It's frightening, yes, but that doesn't make it good. The film is incredibly manipulative; I often succumb to manipulation, and I was scared by this movie, but I still realized all the flaws. It's not one big thing that doesn't work in this movie but a lot of individual scenes. I couldn't name them all, but I'll name a few. (1) Jim starts off wandering around London, where the streets are deserted. This is to give him an isolated feeling. He finally gets to a cathedral, where there are dead bodies strewn all over the place. Why weren't the bodies on the street? Well, simply because he wasn't supposed to realize what had happened yet. See, this is how we build suspense. (2) In one scene, Jim realized that his friends have left him behind to die alone. It's pretty horrifying. Then we realize it's a nightmare. I'm guessing they wanted to work this scene into the movie but couldn't fit it in with the plot. So they made it a bad dream. What's worse, is that they pull this stupid nightmare trick again later on in the film. (3) At one point, Jim wanders into a dark, deserted (by normal humans at least) cheeseburger place alone. Of course, he gets attacked, and of course, Jim kills the lone infected person with little hassle. This is important, however, because it is the only person Jim has personally killed before another character asks Jim if he's killed anyone (that way, Jim can answer yes). Here are some more, but they're spoilers:
    Spoiler: Highlight to view
    (4) Clearly, the soldiers would need to repopulate the world. But if they had merely worked this out in a logical way, saying that it needed to be done for the good of humanity, instead of being barbaric and inhuman, then the heroes probably wouldn't have felt the need to slaughter them. (5) Can someone tell me how a teenager can drive a van backwards just far enough so that the bad normal guy gets attacked by the bad infected guy, then pick up her friends, and then ram the car into an extremely secure locked gate and get free, all while under the influence of drugs?
    Add these to the fact that the infected humans look like something out of the House of the Dead video games, and you've got yourself a pretty bad movie. Still, despite all this, even I enjoyed some parts of it, but I felt guilty because I dragged along my cousin (once removed), who clearly did not enjoy it. Please, despite the reviews, don't see this movie. I don't want it to gross a lot of money and open the door for similar manipulative horror movies.
  • 31. Bend it Like Beckham (2003) - This is what happens when genres collide. Here we have a "rebellious but good-hearted youth goes against family's tradition" movie, a sports movie, and a romantic-comedy all rolled into one. Yes, the movie is pretty formulaic, but it combines three formulas into one movie, so that it seems rather original. And the movie has plenty of things going for it, such as a cast that hits all the right notes and an Indian director / screenwriter who has probably put many of her own personal experiences into the movie and therefore directs from the heart. The result is an immensely entertaining movie.
  • 32. Undercover Brother (2002) - Now that 2002 is over, I think it is necessary to revisit the masterpieces that I missed from that year, the movies that are most likely to be cherished long after 2002. Movies like "Undercover Brother." I am of course kidding, but on the other hand, "Undercover Brother" actually got very good reviews for a spoof movie starring Eddie Griffin. "Undercover Brother" is a lot of fun, which is all this kind of movie really needs to be. The cast has plenty of energy - in fact, Chris Kattan has a little too much energy. His bizarre overacting is the worst part of the movie. Overacting can sometimes work in a comedy (for example, just watch Dave Chapelle in this very same movie), but Kattan doesn't make it work. Fortunately, the movie doesn't linger on him for too long, and gets right back to the action, jokes, and funky music (thanks to my new James Brown collection, I think I caught the references to his songs in the scenes he was in). You know, I'm tempted to close with the disclaimer, "This movie is no great work of art, but it makes for an entertaining 87 minutes", but seeing as very few comedies could take this kind of material and make it work nowadays, maybe this movie is a great work of art. To quote Sir DONALD (thanks to my stalker, who's the only person who would've noticed this) Wolfit, "Dying is easy. Comedy is hard." Then again, I've seen many better comedies, so maybe you're better off seeing those instead.
  • 33. The Mirror (1975) - My first experience with Andrei Tarkovsky was largely hit or miss for me. Some parts I thought were brilliant, other parts just confused me. Then again, it's generally considered a classic, so what do I know? P.S. On Microsoft Word, I've been keeping an on-going list of all the movies I've seen. When I started the list (maybe 5 or 6 years ago), I had to try and remember all the movies I had seen. I may have forgotten some, but I think it's as accurate as it's going to get. I decided not to post the list here because I didn't feel like updating it in two places, and besides, the "Damn" lists keep track of all movies I've seen here. Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because I'm getting very very close to my 1000th movie.
  • 34. Juliet of the Spirits (1965) - I've watched so many abstract foreign movies that are considered classics that I don't get much enjoyment out of watching; it's nice when a film like "Juliet of the Spirits" comes along. This movie is a real trip. It's very abstract and stylish, and very meaningful to boot, but it's also really entertaining. I didn't like "Roma" that much, but "Juliet of the Spirits" was a fascinating movie, and it has redeemed Fellini in my eyes. I'm ready to watch "8 1/2" now.
  • 35. American Pie (1999) - the 1000th movie I've seen!!! - The last few weeks have been a trying time for my family. My father had quadruple-bypass surgery on July 10th, and he's been fighting for a full recovery. Both sides of my family have a history of being overweight. I myself am quite obese. But now, my parents have decided that we're going to do something about it. It won't be easy, but I never want something like that to happen to me.
  • But I digress. The reason I brought this up was because my uncle was nice enough to bring over a few DVDs for my dad to watch while he's recovering. One of these DVDs was "American Pie." Now, as you all know, I'm a huge comedy fan, and I've wanted to see "American Pie" since it came out. I've asked my parents countless times if I could watch it, and each time I got rejected. But tonight I asked my dad if I could watch "American Pie" on the treadmill, and he said yes. It was then that I knew that "American Pie" would be my 1000th movie.
  • I considered seeing a classic like "Lawrence of Arabia" or "Breathless" as my 1000th movie. And some of you out there must be rolling your eyes at my ultimate choice. But if you think about it, "American Pie" was actually a great choice for my 1000th movie. I've finally reached the point in my life where my parents think I'm mature enough to watch this movie. At the same time, I haven't forgotten my roots - all the hours I've spent watching comedies, from classics like "Dr. Strangelove" to crap like "Beverly Hills Cop 3." "American Pie" is about four teenage boys going through the rites of passage. They make a pact to lose their virginity before they graduate. At the end, their year is over and they make a toast to "the next step." I myself have just graduated from my junior year. My senior year is coming up, and after that, my dependence on my parents, on my roots, is over. I'll be going to college pretty soon. If you know about my London trip, you'll know I got my first real taste of independence this summer. Based on what happened on the trip, I know that independence can be loads of fun but also quite scary. I am both excited and terrified for the next step, and everything it will bring me.
  • At one point in the film, a character indicates that he has lost his virginity by saying, "Say good-bye to Chuck Sherman the boy, guys - I am now a man." While I'm not so naive as to think that I have become a man since I've watched 1000 movies, including "American Pie", I can't help but feel like it was a milestone in my life. I hope that as I age, and reach all the milestones, I never lose my sense of humor, and can still find pleasures in the joys of life, such as watching a fun, raunchy comedy like "American Pie." In short, I hope that as I grow up, I don't grow up too much.
  • Here's to another 1000 movies, and beyond.
  • 36. Finding Nemo (2003) - Disney's collaborations with Pixar have never let me down, and "Finding Nemo" is no exception. "Finding Nemo" is excellent, not just because of its beautiful animation (in shots of the surface of the ocean, I was starting to feel seasick) and superb voice acting (especially Willem Dafoe's character), but because of its enchanting story as well. Other Disney films have tried to reach out to the teen / adult audience before, but even those films were often too heavy-handed in their messages (cough cough "A Bug's Life" cough cough cough), which annoyed me. Not true in "Nemo"; the required Disney "sappy moments" were thankfully sparse and brief, making for an incredibly enjoyable movie.
  • 37. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) - There is one bad thing that I'll say about this film, and that is that the whole situation feels like a blatant communism metaphor that would be rather dated today. However, if you ignore the anti-communist propaganda, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" turns out to be a nice surpise, a rather enjoyable, thrilling movie with some great performances. It's frightening not because it uses cheap, manipulative thrills (cough cough "28 Days Later" cough cough cough - oh, and by the way, if you didn't hear about this, a different version of "28 Days Later" is now being released to the theaters, one with a different ending. Apparently, they didn't get enough of your money, so they're making you pay again to watch the same movie again, with the last 5 minutes or so changed), but because of its set-up. It's very frightening to think that the people one has known for years are now being replaced with drones. Who can you trust? Who's real, and who's an alien life form? Okay, so the movie has a few cheesy moments (characters occasionally break away from the action to delivery very "deep" dramatic monologues), but isn't that a requirement for 50's horror films? "Invasion" has comparatively less cheese and comparatively more good stuff.
  • 38. My Darling Clementine (1946) - Step 2 in Operation: Familiarize Myself With Great Western Movies So I Can Be Cool Like Jgandcag. I took a break from it after not particularly liking "High Plains Drifter", but "My Darling Clementine" makes me regret my break from Westerns. I really loved this movie. The bittersweet script contains action, drama, romance, and some humor, and it all seems to fit together and work perfectly. The actors also hit all the right notes, from leads Henry Fonda, Victor Mature, and Walter Brennan to the women (Chihuahua has got to be the strangest name for a love interest ever in film) all the way down to the minor characters like Mac the bartender, who looks like Fred Mertz. And of course John Ford's direction is great, but I didn't expect anything less.
  • 39. Paths of Glory (1957) - "You married, private?" "No, sir." "Well, I bet your mother's proud of you." This is my third Kubrick movie, and I'll be damned if I didn't love it. In its brief 87-minute running time, it introduces us to some of the most interesting characters in any war movie. It conveys the horrors of war, yes, but in an unconventional way: the men here are victims of their own commanders, who in turn have been driven insane by the war. I'm also a sucker for a good courtroom drama (or courtroom comedy; I loved "My Cousin Vinny" and "Adam's Rib"), and "Paths of Glory" surely contains one of the best courtroom scenes ever put on film. And what an ending!
    Spoiler: Highlight to view
    A German woman starts singing for a huge group of horny soldiers, but when they hear her song, they sing along and are brought to tears. It works on two levels. One could think that the woman's beautiful voice reminds them of their families they may never see again and the lives they may never return to; she's the only woman we see in the entire movie. On a darker level, the singer is also the only German we see in the entire movie. Perhaps the men realize that when the war has caused the French general to execute three innocent men, we might as well be singing along with the Germans.
  • 40. Waking Life (2001) - This movie was showered with critical acclaim, but I hated it. In fact, I turned it off after a half an hour after I decided that life is too short to watch this kind of movie. The animation is visually stunning, of course, but that doesn't make a good movie. "Waking Life" has no plot. It's a series of scenes in which people have philosophical discussions. If I wanted that, I'd go take a philosophy course. If I'm watching a movie, I'd like to see more than pretty pictures and lengthy monologues about life, the universe, and everything. Does it get better after the first half-hour? If something interesting ever happens in this movie, maybe you can persuade me to give it another chance someday. But as for now, I can't stomach it.
  • 41. Heathers (1989) - When I was 15 years old, I really wanted to see this movie (among others). In fact, I asked my mother so many times if I could see "Heathers" that she said if I asked her once more, she wouldn't let me see any more R-rated movies until I was 17.
  • You may have read my "American Pie" review, a story that has a similar beginning. However, my quest to see "Heathers" has a different ending. I went up to New Jersey to visit my cousins this weekend, and my 14-year-old cousin wanted to watch a movie with me and my brother. Out of all the movies in the world, which movie did she pick to watch with us? Why, her favorite movie of all-time: "Heathers." (She has a very strange taste in movies; her other favorites include "Animal House" and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show.")
  • "Heathers" was an excellent black comedy that made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions. Its dark depiction of high school is frightening in its verisimillitude (now there's an SAT word for ya). The movie does go astray towards the end, though:
    Spoiler: Highlight to view
    in the boiler room scenes, the movie stops being a clever dark comedy and becomes a banal thriller, complete with the Bomb With the Huge Red Timer and the Character Who Tries to Smash the Bad Guy's Head with a Fire Extinguisher. After that, though, the movie gets back on track, and the very end is appropriately bizarre.
  • 42. Easy Rider (1969) - There'll never be a movie like this made in America again, but I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. On the plus side, it paints an interesting portrait of hippie culture through drugs, sex, and rock and roll. The movie is full of long, sweeping shots of countryside set to 60's music. It contains a lot of artsy shots that range from clever to irritating. There are some lengthy philosophical monlogues (thankfully, they're more relevant to the story than those in "Waking Life"), and the movie gives the pretense of being about the perils of freedom all the way up to the inevitable ending. But where's the real substance in all this? What is this movie trying to say? Then again, it is a mostly interesting film, and it may be worth watching just as a time capsule of the 60's.
  • 43. American Wedding (2003) - Considering this is the third movie in a series whose first movie was named after a scene in which a character had sex with a pie, this movie is a masterpiece, and by that I mean there would be few people who could handle this material and actually make it disgusting and funny instead of just disgusting. Which is not to say that every scene works. One scene in a gay bar is interminable and unfunny. Another scene in a dark closet is just nonsensical. But for the most part, this movie works, because at the heart of all the dog crap and pubic hair are some charming characters whom we care about.
  • 44. Gods and Monsters (1998) - I saw this movie for one reason and one reason only. I formerly thought that Brendan Fraser was one of the worst actors working in Hollywood today. However, I had heard from various sources that he actually gives a good performance in "Gods and Monsters." I agree with these various sources: he proves that he can act in "Gods and Monsters", and not only that, but I hear he came up with the clever ending shot, so there's some more points for Fraser right there. He's not fully redeemed yet, though. Brendan Fraser, if you're reading this, I will forgive you totally if you write me a letter of apology for making me sit through "Airheads", "George of the Jungle", and "Dudley Do-Right."
  • But anyway, back to the movie. I saw it just to see Brendan Fraser prove himself as an actor, but I got a lot more. I enjoyed this movie quite a bit, especially the comparisons between the homosexual Whale and Frankenstein's monster himself. And even though Fraser does give a good performance, he's no match for the brilliant Ian McKellen.
  • 45. Thumbtanic (1998) - I feel sorry for Steve Oedekerk. He clearly has some funny ideas, but he rarely seems to pull them together. I think he tries too hard. I enjoyed "Bruce Almighty", but other than that, this guy has made some dogs. It's kinda sad when of all the movies you've written, the highest-rated one on the IMDB is a short film parody of "The Phantom Menace" involving thumbs. So I figured maybe if Oedekerk could squeeze all of his humor into 30 minutes, he could generate something better than his usual dreck. And I'll tell ya, "Thumbtanic" wasn't as bad as I expected. It still occasionally suffered from some of the same problems as his full-length movies (i.e., lack of being funny), but I'll take "Thumbtanic" over "The Nutty Professor II" or "Kung Pow: Enter the Fist" any day (actually, I haven't seen the latter; I'm just assuming that it's horrible). I see that Showtime is screening some more thumb movies later this month. I wonder if it would be the height of summertime boredom to watch all of them. I'll consider watching more, but that'll be the last chance I give Steve Oedekerk: I hear he's making "Kung Pow 2: Tongue of Fury" coming out next year. Why would you do something like this? The first "Kung Pow" didn't even gross that much. I guess I just don't understand Hollywood.
  • 46. Swimming Pool (2003) - Alright, I think I've finally figured out what actually happened. Major spoilers:
    Spoiler: Highlight to view
    Everything that happened at the French mansion was imagined by Charlotte Rampling. She never met her publisher's daughter, and that's why she doesn't recognize her. But then what's up with the very last shot, of Rampling waving to the real daughter? That's what I don't get.
    Anyway, now as for those of you who haven't seen the movie. This is an excellent bizarre thriller with an ending that will leave you thinking. Charlotte Rampling is awesome and DAMN, Ludivine Sagnier is hot. Add to this some Hitchcockian direction and score (and pretty lousy cinematography), and you've got yourself a great movie. P.S. As a side note, I think I've finally figured out the MPAA. They couldn't care less what films are rated, they just enjoy abusing their power. So for a movie like "American Pie", whose makers had to make cuts and resubmit the film four times, the MPAA knows that they can force them to make the cuts because they want to avoid an NC-17. So they abuse their power by being very harsh. But take a film like "Swimming Pool." This has already been released in other countries. It is quite racy, with some scenes that even border on pornographic, but the MPAA gives it an R because they know that the French moviemakers would never bother to resubmit the film. So the MPAA can't thrust its tyrannical power around, and simply lets the film slip by with an R. "Waiting for Guffman" was also rated R. If you tell me that "Swimming Pool" and "Waiting for Guffman" are about the same in terms of content, I will laugh in your face.
  • 47. Thirteen Conversations About One Thing (2001) - See, this is the movie that "Waking Life" could have been. TCAOT is also episodic, it also contains a lot of philosophic monologues and conversations (and big words), and it's also very cerebral. But at the same time, this philosophy has a context in TCAOT, because along with the moments to interest our brains, the movie gives us some characters to interest our hearts. The movie has much to say about life, happiness, and the cause and effect relationship, and its presentation of the message is quite effective. It's nice to see that Jill Sprecher has redeemed herself after the horribly dull "Clockwatchers", and it's nice to see that Michael Stipe can do more than just make awesome music: he has good taste in movies too. But the people who really deserve the credit for the movie are the actors. It's a great cast, and the performances are uniformly excellent, from the superstars (Alan Arkin) to the moderately famous (Clea DuVall) to the relatively unknown (William Wise). Insert punchline here.
  • 48. Dead Poets Society (1989) - Last year I studied the Roman poet Horace. I didn't like his poetry very much. He would utilize the same few messages in his poetry over and over again, and worse yet, he would be blatant about it; there would be no subtlety when Horace stressed the importance of the golden mean, or of seizing the day. Yes, "carpe diem" was a message in art 2000 years ago, and even then it was a cliche. In 1987, "Dead Poets Society" uses the same message, and it feels hokey. Now don't get me wrong: there have been other works of art with the message of seizing the day that have been brilliant. However, these works of art were more subtle about it; the artists didn't make a movie in which the phrase "carpe diem" is repeated about a dozen times for dramatic effect. I think one problem is that the movie focuses on the students. The character of John Keating is much more intriguing; the scenes with him are fascinating, and Robin Williams does a great job with the role. But he's not in enough scenes, because the story has to return to the rich high school students who seize the day by forming a society that really seems like more of an excuse for them to sneak away, smoke up, and look at naked chicks. Is that seizing the day? I don't know, but I do know one thing:
    Spoiler: Highlight to view
    The point of seizing the day is to experience the joys in life before we have shuffled off this mortal coil. Suicide is definitely not part of seizing the day. So unfortunately, the kid who seems to be the main character, Neil Perry, doesn't understand the concept of "carpe diem" at all. And I'm not sure the makers of the movie do either.
  • 49. Identity (2003) - "Hulk" may be the most polarizing movie of the year, but "Identity" came pretty close. Rottentomatoes.com usually puts out a consensus of critical opinions. Here they have said, "...the twists of its plot will either impress or exasperate you." But that's not a consensus. That's just a statement of the fact that there is no consensus. As for me, I love a twisty plot. A movie can have fascinating characters, it can have great dialogue, it can feature tremendous performances, it can have an amazing visual style - but if it ain't got a great plot, it ain't got much for me (note: This statement only refers to non-comedies. I love entirely plotless comedies, like "Duck Soup" or "Airplane!"). In fact, with a movie with really daring plot twists, I can usually forgive some minor implausibilities. However, I have a love / hate relationship with the end of this film, and I'll explain why here. MAJOR spoilers:
    Spoiler: Highlight to view
    Although there are some implausibilities about the imagined killings in this movie, that's okay, since they're only happening inside the head of Malcolm Rivers. In fact, the implausibilities seem to be the point. But about that ending. On the one hand, it is very clever to make Timothy the real killer, and in fact almost necessary for Malcolm Rivers to kill his doctor and get away. On the other hand, there are two logical flaws. First of all, it is idiotic and unbelievable that the doctor would open the gate between himself and Malcolm to talk to him. But there's another problem. At the motel, whenever one of Malcolm's identities is killed, that's all that happens: an imaginary person is removed from Malcolm's brain. But in the truck, when Timothy kills Paris, Malcolm is killing a different person at the same time. It doesn't make sense. It's inconsistent with the rest of the movie. But although the logistics don't work out, the ending was still very clever. I don't know what to think.
  • 50. American Pie - watched again - A friend invited me over to watch the first two AP movies. While I still enjoyed it, I think I liked it less this time. The first time, I was just caught up in the whirl of my 1000th movie and how close I myself am to my senior year. This time, I noticed that, while some scenes are hilarious, there are some parts necessary to set up the hilarious parts, and it seems like the writers weren't even trying to make that dialogue funny. However, maybe it's better that they didn't try put jokes in, because when they tried, some of it was just awful ("You're just a jock. No wait. You're just a jerk.") More reflections on things I noticed watching it the second time: I didn't really remember Alyson Hannigan having dialogue before Jason Biggs asks her to prom - I just lumped her together with all the other band geeks. I guess I just didn't realize she'd be an important character. Also (I'd put spoiler tags around this, but it's really rather obvious...) when Tara Reid and what's-his-face are having sex towards the end, I think it's really quite disturbing. Neither one really seems to be enjoying it. Also, I think Eugene Levy is one of the funniest actors working today. His scenes are the ones I laughed at more the second time. Finally, the first time I watched the "unrated" version, but the 2nd time was the rated version. The only change I could spot was that, in the infamous pie-humping scene in the rated version, Jim is standing up with the pie on his crotch, and in the unrated version, Jim is lying on the counter having sex with the pie. I think it's important to realize this key difference. Humping a pie standing up --> R-rated material. Humping a pie lying down --> NC-17 rated material. Let this be a lesson to you.
  • 51. American Pie 2 (2001) - Unfortunately, I missed the last 20 minutes of this, since I had to leave her house early. I enjoyed some of it, but I think it was the weakest of the three movies, at least from what I saw. Some scenes were quite funny (the glue scene; anything with Eugene Levy; the wrong number during phone sex), but others just tended to rely on pretty lame humor. For example, the peeing scene. This is far from the most tasteless joke in an American Pie movie, but those other jokes in bad taste were funny, and this one is just bizarre (not to mention implausible, but I can ignore that). Ditto for the scene with the lesbians; it's just too weird to be funny or sexy. And the humor in the scene with Jim playing trombone just doesn't hit the right notes (pun definitely intended). But hey, at least the writers managed some clever dialogue in this one, in two parallel scenes involving the Rule of Threes. I want to see the end of this movie, but I don't think it's worth paying money for. I guess I'll have to catch it on TV or something.
  • 52. Top Hat (1935) - Believe it or not, this is my first exposure to a Fred Astaire film (though not my first Ginger Rogers experience - I saw and love "Bachelor Mother"). This is often called his best film and I can see why. It features freaking amazing dance numbers, and the music is good too. Usually, in happy musicals like this one (excluding, for example, "Cabaret"), the script is set aside to focus on the musical numbers. The plot of "Top Hat", however, is actually rather witty and clever; the movie could work as a non-musical, which is more than can be said about "The Pajama Game", "The Music Man", etc. Sometimes, I thought the comic timing was a bit off, resulting in a few moments too corny / hammy for me, but hey, sometimes I think corniness and musicals go hand-in-hand, so I didn't worry about it much.
  • 53. Fight Club (1999) - Screw "Forrest Gump"! Once again, a hard-fought battle for an R-rated movie ends up with me seeing it with some friends. And I think my parents are starting to care less and less about letting me see R-rated movies, thankfully. I just reread Roger Ebert's review of it, in which he said not quite that the movie is shallow, but that most audiences wouldn't get the REAL meaning of the film and would take from it a shallow experience. I'll tell ya, when Ebert tries, he's a damn good writer, but at times it seems like he has his head up his ass. He always criticizes the moviemakers who underestimate the intelligence of their audiences, and here he has done just that. Yes, I understood that the film was against everything Tyler Durden preached, that men can't go about fighting in fight clubs or destroying property at random, that this is a dangerous, anarchist, cultist philosophy.
    Spoiler: Highlight to view
    If you want to go Freudian, Tyler Durden is the human embodiment of the Narrator's id, driving him to savageness and barbarism. It's very similar to "Lord of the Flies."
    Anyway, the end result is a brilliant movie, one that I won't forget for a long time. What amazes me is how few deaths there are in this incredibly violent, very dark movie. Even with Tyler's misguided attack on American consumerism, he knows the price of a human life. There is also some sardonic satire that is really quite funny. And of course, the ending plot twist is brilliant, though I'm not completely convinced that the movie always followed its own rules. But I just read the IMDB's trivia section for this movie, and jeez, there were dozens of little nuances I didn't notice at the time where the movie DOES follow its own rules. So hey - what do I know?
  • 54. Anger Management (2003) - Ordinarily, a flight from Chicago to Baltimore wouldn't show a movie, but my flight was really, really delayed. They popped in this movie, so I figured what the hell. "Anger Management" is probably the best Adam Sandler movie out there (which doesn't include "Punch Drunk Love", which I don't really consider an Adam Sandler movie, just a movie Adam Sandler was in; but it's a moot point since I haven't seen PDL and therefore couldn't make the judgement). That doesn't necessarily mean the movie is any good. Sometimes it is. While I only laughed out loud a few times, the movie had more heart than an average Adam Sandler movie. Sandler's character is also the most likable one he's played, which is refreshing after seeing the dumb, vulgar, crude Sandler in "Billy Madison" and "Big Daddy", the annoying, screechy Sandler in "Little Nicky" and "The Waterboy", the cliche, boring Sandler in "The Wedding Singer"... the list goes on, and yes, I actually sat through these movies, as I actually liked Adam Sandler movies when I was a kid. So the movie's general feel was the best part. If you look at individual scenes, however, "Anger Management" starts to fall apart, and the worst part is, great actors are wasted in the stupidest roles. John Turturro and John C. Reilly in fact are in some of the most painfully unfunny scenes of the movie. Also, Woody Harrelson, while no great actor, was very funny in "Kingpin", and here his scenes are just embarrassing. Heather Graham's scene was mildly amusing but could've been so much better. No, the best scenes were the ones with just interplay between Sandler and Nicholson, who actually have a lot of chemistry together. Even then, not every scene works, but I can forgive those due to the sheer energy both characters brought to their roles. One thing I can't forgive is the idiotic plot twist towards the end of the movie that doesn't make much sense. But the rest of the ending is okay:
    Spoiler: Highlight to view
    Sure, having Sandler propose to his girlfriend in a baseball field is a corny cliche, but at least the movie doesn't pretend it's original. Sandler admits earlier in the film that he knows his proposal idea is rather corny.
    Well, I've spent far too much time talking about a movie this mediocre, so I guess I'll go to bed now. P.S. The next movie they showed on the plane was "From Justin to Kelly." Even though this movie is now the lowest-rated movie of all-time on the IMDB, I can't help but think it was a very good choice for a movie to show on a plane. For those people who don't immediately realize the idiocy of the movie (or for those who like idiotic movies), they can plug their headphones in. For the rest of us, we can ignore the the idiotic dialogue and wretched singing and look at the droves of half-naked people. There are very, very few shots in this movie that don't contain at least one bikini-clad woman.
  • 55. Family Guy: Volume 1 (1999-2001) (yes, volume 1, not season 1; the first season only contained 7 episodes, so they put it with the second season) - Wow, you'd think after 10 hours of Family Guy, I would've gone completely bonkers. Well, though the humor may be pretty lowbrow, I love it, and this DVD set frequently induced belly laughs in me. I love how the show often cuts away from the main action and shows a random scene based on the previous line of the show (often replete with pop culture references). I really like these DVDs that cover entire seasons of television, but hey, I have some catching up to do. I still need Friends 4, Simpsons 3, Futurama 1 and 2...
Author Comments: 

A continuation of my series inspired by jgandcag's wonderful movie commentary. Feel free to comment as you wish.

From a 5/14 posting at Digitalbits.com:

In news today, Variety's DVD Exclusive magazine has revealed (in an interview with comedian Jerry Seinfeld) that the Seinfeld TV series is currently being considered for DVD release by Columbia TriStar. Word is interviews and outtakes from the series may be included as extras.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Yay! Thank you, lbangs! I will get that the day it comes out!

Let me be the first to applaud your diverging from me on The 400 Blows! No question the fault is with me in finding it dull (and should put to rest any notions that I should be taken seriously as a film critic). I'll give it another shot some day.

Well God knows I think plenty of classic films are boring. I guess neither of us has a future career as a film critic. :-)

Nice, I like your Distant Voices, Still Lives dialog! I almost want to see it so I can find it even funnier. Fortunately there are too many other movies I want to see first before I'd even consider it.

Thanks for the kind words. Even though my comments would make more sense if you saw DVSL, I would only recommend it as a curiosity.

BTW, Jim, I've noticed that recently, when I put an underscore in front of my writing (as I did in the dialog), it no longer eliminates the bullet point. Am I crazy or didn't an underscore make a bullet point disappear not long ago? Or is it something wrong with my computer? Does everyone else see bullet points next to the underscores up there? If it's not my problem or my computer's problem, why doesn't that work anymore?

The problem is with the new "highlight new" feature. When it does that, it interferes with the underscore thing. If you click "unhighlight" you'll see that the bullets then work properly. I've got it on my list to fix, but it might not happen until next winter's programming deluge.

Wow, a trip to the mother country to work in the Globe, eh? Incredible. Breathe deep; that's some pretty historic air that'll be filling your lungs.

They keep tearing and burning that thing down, but it always rises again. Nice symbol for art, there.

I'm very jealous!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Have a great trip, AJ! I'm quite jealous too. You should find a place to post some travel pics. Looking forward to your movie-watching torrent on your return.

Thanks to both of you. Yes, I'm very excited for the trip as well. I'm too computer-illiterate to figure out how to post pictures, but I will tell you all about the trip. We should be seeing a lot of great shows, everything from "Richard III" to "Jerry Springer: the Opera" (I am not making this up).

I certainly don't think you should feel guilty about liking Reloaded, but I guess you knew that already. :-)

Hang in there AJ, it's always been dreadfully slow 'round here during the summer, and it looks like this summer is no exception. I've been enjoying your latest reviews, and it looks like I might have to catch T3 on DVD. I was thinking I might give it a miss entirely, but it seems like the reviews are just good enough, barely, for me to rent it.

Well, I guess it's just you and me around to celebrate my ONE-YEAR LISTOLOGY ANNIVERSARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Glad to have you around, AJ!

Happy anniversary! Here's to many more!

:-) Love that you loved One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, love that you worked Yokelvision into your review! Sorry you had to suffer through it though! I'm amazed at my local video stores. They are finally embracing the DVD format, but 90% of the titles they stock are Yokelvision. They tell me they just get whatever comes in, but I think they must go out of their way to get the inferior format.

Hang in there, Jim. One day, the yokels will be vanquished.

Wow, some great films there!

I'm Lawrence Kasdan's personal fool. I confess that I usually enjoy his films, even many that most don't. They're not always classic, but I usually dig them, and Body Heat is easily one of his very best. The Big Chill, Silverado, The Accidental Tourist, and Grand Canyon are also great. I even enjoyed Mumford to some degree, and I'm not sure he isn't at least half the reason why The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark stand out as highlights of modern adventure films.

One Flew is a terrific film.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Hmm... well, I of course love "Empire" and "Jedi." I see he also directed "I Love You to Death", which was pretty good. I hated "Accidental Tourist", however. I'll have to check out "Silverado" and "The Big Chill."

Been hitting the theaters, eh?

I'm a bit bummed to read that about 28 Days. I was thinking about catching it this weekend, but oh well. Who was I kidding? I'm going to be waaay too busy to see it anyway...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Well, it got excellent reviews, so maybe there's something I'm missing. Feel free to see it anyway, and if you do, I'd like to read your review of it.

For what it's worth, I thought 28 Days Later was a great movie.

Well, since my list of theater 'to see' movies right now consists of 28 Days Later and Finding Nemo, and since you like 28 Days Later, I'll leave it on my list. Truth be told, I have a much better chance of getting my wife to 28 Days than to Finding Nemo, so I'm glad to hear you like it. As busy as I have been lately, however, we'll see if I don't get stuck renting both...

Thanks for letting me know.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Does your wife typically like Horror movies? Because 28 Days Later is pretty brutal in its world-view. I tried to convince my girlfriend to go but she wouldn't bite.

Of the current Theatrical Releases that I've seen I think the ones most worth seeing are Finding Nemo, 28 Days Later, Bend It Like Beckham and The Matrix Reloaded. Of the current and upcoming Theatrical Releases, the ones that I'm most looking forward to are Fran├žois Ozon's Swimming Pool (2003), Whale Rider (2002) and Shaolin Soccer (2001) (even though Miramax has probably edited it to the point where it's not even the same as the original movie).

From Shaolin on out there's nothing on my radar until Kill Bill. It has indeed been a very crappy summer for movies.

My wife is rather like me. She loves a good horror film but could care less for most. I doubt the brutality will bother her, but I certainly appreciate the warning. No demon possessions or poltergeist, are there? Those seem to be the only things that really freak her out. Well, that and cockroaches. :)

I confess that I am very worried about Bend It Like Beckham, although I hear nothing but good things about it. Maybe I'll work myself up to it, but I can almost promise you that I will be catching Matrix II on network television if at all. I really can't see myself digging it, but I've certainly been wrong before. I think Finding Nemo and 28 Days Later will have to do me until Hero, Dogville, or Lila 4Ever roll into town. I might catch The Italian Job at the dollar theater, and I am interested in Swimming Pool, but I am afraid I've already missed Whale Rider, which only stayed for a week.

I'm actually not too bummed that the summer seems to be rather lackluster, since I probably wouldn't have had the chance to see much lately. This fall, however....

Thanks for the tips! Maybe we'll finally be convinced to give Beckham a try.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Finding Nemo is a hard sell? How can that be, with Pixar's track record? Or is she a horror fan in particular?

I think that same trailer that scared you and I freightened her as well, and she isn't quite as big on animation as I am. Plus, she and I both like Boyle (especially Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, and A Life Less Ordinary), so that's a big plus on 28 Days Later's side.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Those three movies fill me with hope as well, despite AJ's review (it has tempered my enthusiasm though, which is probably a good thing). Unfortunately there's no chance I'll get to it in the theater.

Pardon my ignorance, but is this the 1000th movie you've seen in your life, or some other time frame? How do you know it's 1000? Have you really been keeping track for that long? Regardless, I'm impressed. Hope your father recovers quickly.

Read my review of "The Mirror" and all will be explained (hopefully). Thanks for the kind words.

Got it now. Thanks.

Wonderful entry on your 1000th movie, AJ. Thanks for sharing it! I wish your Dad the speediest possible recovery, and best of luck with your own lifestyle changes. While I've never had a problem with obesity (we run tall and rangy in my family), I did manage to accumulate 45 extra pounds in the 10 years since college. It was enough weight that it showed in my face (well, not exclusively, thank goodness - nobody can hide 45 pounds in their face alone, no matter how tall :-), and contributed greatly to my chronic shin splints and knee problems on the Ultimate field. Anyway, over the past five months or so I've gotten almost back to my college weight, and I'd be happy talk shop with you on that front, if you want.

Thanks for the offer, but I think I know pretty much what I need to do, I've just never really had the motivation to do it before. My parents are always trying (and failing) to get in shape, and they always tell me what they read in getting-in-shape-related articles, so I think I've heard all the theories. But I've never been particularly impressed with anything beyond "eat less, exercise frequently." If, however, you have any advice that you think I haven't heard before, by all means, share it with me.

Nope, "eat less, exercise frequently" pretty much sums it up, but for me (and everyone else who's tried it) it was much easier said than done, and I've tried both on numerous occassions before finding a system that worked for me. The keys for me (and yours will probably be different):

1. Exercise every weekday. If I shot for "3 days a week" or "4 days a week" I would inevitably procrastinate thinking I could make up the time later in the week. "Every weekday" allows no waffling.

2. Exercise in front of something episodic so the beginning and end of the exercise session is defined by the beginning and end of the show. Boredom killed every other exercise routine that I've tried to establish, but so far the "whole seasons on DVD rented from Netflix" approach is keeping my interest this time.

3. Stop eating when I'm no longer hungry, NOT when I feel full. And always wait 15 minutes after a reasonable first portion before deciding if I really *need* seconds or not. This probably cut the amount of food I was eating my 30% or more. This was also the hardest for me, since I love the sensation of eating. If something tastes good I want to keep putting it my mouth regardless of what my stomach tells me. I felt hungry pretty much all the time for at least six weeks, which truly sucked, but I think my body finally adjusted.

Anyway, everybody's different, so what worked for me might not have any value for you. I'm totally with you though on not buying into any off-the-shelf plan for fitness. Again, good luck, and all the best to your Dad.

Hey, Guys!

AJ, first let me say, I hope your Dad feels better real soon.

Jim, I was wondering what you are doing for your exercise. Is it treadmill, stationary bike or something else? My girlfriend and I have been mulling buying a treadmill and setting it up in the office, which does have a DVD player and TV in it. I'm really interested in trying this route to better health.

I started off with a NordicTrack skier that we bought years ago. At first I hated it. It seemed unstable and it was very hard to balance on and get the stroke right. My wife told me to give it two weeks, I did, and I grew to like it (as much as one can like such an onerous activity). The balancing aspect is nice for developing all those little stabilizing muscles in the lower legs (I frequently stopped my early workouts prematurely because of muscular soreness in my ankles and outer calves), and getting your arms into the act is good as well. If I were in the market for one now, I wouldn't buy new. When I was living in DC I remember looking in the classifieds and frequently seeing them for sale for $150 or less.

After awhile I wanted a little variety in my workout, and I wanted to build up the muscles around my knees. I didn't want to get a stationary bike because I knew I'd have to pay through the nose for one that didn't feel cheaply made. Since I had a mountain bike in the garage gathering dust I bought a trainer that I could mount it on. After quite a bit of online research I went for the top-of-the-line, which set me back $300. It was still cheaper than most stationary bikes I was considering though, I've been quite happy with it, and I got some use out of the bike I already owned, which appealed to my sense of efficiency.

It's nice to have both machines because I can choose according to my mood, or mix-and-match as is often the case now that I'm up to hour-long network programming.

I never really considered a treadmill because of my shins. Happily, the work seems to be paying off, as I'm having my best season in a long time, shin-wise (and otherwise).

I should add that if you're going to watch TV while exercising, you might be better off with a bike, NordicTrack, or elliptical trainer because you won't bounce around as much as you will while running. I also like the idea of those machines better because they are lower impact, which I think might be important when considering home equipment, which is not nearly as well-made as gym equipment (but then again, it doesn't cost thousands of dollars). But I'm just theorizing at this point, since I haven't actually used a home treadmill before, and I didn't really care for the few gym treadmills I've tried. Oh, the other consideration would be whether you're planning on walking or running on your treadmill. My reservations above only apply to running on a home treadmill, not walking on it.

Walking is the way that I was planning on going. Thanks for the info!

Thank you very much, dgeiser13. The first day he was home, he was pretty weak and tired, but by now, he's gone back to nagging my brother and me, so I'm sure he'll be back to normal in no time! :-)

I do need to find a system that works for me. I was about as out of shape as I am now when I was in about 6th and 7th grade. I exercised plenty and ate less for a while, and by January of my 9th grade year, I was a healthy weight for the first time in my life. Since then, unfortunately, I've been a lot lazier. I've also been about the same height for a long time, so I think 6'1" is about the tallest I'm gonna get.

Thanks for the advice. As for #2, my treadmill has a "fat burn" program that lasts 45 minutes, so I use that to define my sessions. But I've heard that doing the same thing over and over again can eventually stop working. Is that true for losing weight? Or is it only true for building muscle?

P.S. One of the adjustments I may need to make is to spend less time on my fat, lazy butt in front of the computer. :-)

I think for burning fat and keeping your heart healthy any aerobic exercise is good for you, and stays good for you even if it's the same routine day in and day out. But for any kind of muscle toning and conditioning I believe variety is important. Your muscles get stronger when they react to more or different stresses, but if the stresses don't chnage they acclimate and stop getting stronger. I've heard they even can decline in the face of monotony, but I'm not sure how that works. It certainly doesn't seem fair. In any case, variety is the spice of life. Let me reiterate how happy I am to have two forms of torture to choose from. Anyway, I'm not a doctor, and it's always a good idea to consult one of those before adopting a new exercise regime.

I can't tell you how many hours I've spent in my life doing that damn 45-minute fat burn workout on my treadmill. I get variety from what I watch while I'm doing it.

And anyway, I'm no athlete, so what do I need muscles for? Besides impressing the ladies, of course... (wry smile)

Wow, my best wishes to your family. I hope your father heals quickly and well.

Congrats on your milestone(s)! Certainly, here is to another 1,000 films and more.

Good luck with all your goals!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Thank you, lbangs.

Ha! I think every Fight Club review should start with the words "Screw Forrest Gump!" :-) I'm happy to hear you enjoyed Fight Club. I think it's a keeper, and I'd rank it as Fincher's best.

It's also nice to see you've gotten some Fred Astaire under your belt. Every once in awhile an artist/athletes comes along that is just playing a different game from everybody else, and making it look effortless to boot. He's one of 'em, IMO.

I think it's the only Fincher-directed film I've seen, but I'm certainly intrigued enough to see more of him. I'll have to check out "Se7en" (even though, sadly, I already know the ending of that movie) or "The Game" (which I actually heard about and wanted to see when it first came out, but since I was 11, my parents declined).

Good point about Fred Astaire. There'll never be another guy like him, who can sing and dance so well and have so much fun with it at the same time.

I liked both Se7en and The Game. I think the latter is quite underrated, and the former perhaps a touch overrated.

I think you maxxed out another list, AJ! Your Camp review is truncated.

Eeexcellent. Well on my way to world domination! Muahahahahaha! Now, I just need to remember how I ended that review of "Camp"...

I totally agree with your review of Safety Last.

Thanks! Harold Lloyd was a funny guy.