Thursday, December 31, 2009

Movies! - Honorable Mentions and Afterthoughts

Shortly after writing my thoughts on 25th Hour, I noticed that Roger Ebert wrote his thoughts about the movie as part of his "Great Movies" series of reviews. Aside from the fact that he's obviously coming to my blog for ideas, the one thing that really hit me is that it's pretty clear why I'm not a professional movie critic. I'll give myself credit that I'm a bit more thoughtful when it comes to movies than a lot of people, but I am so far out of this guy's league that it's not even funny.

Today's the last day, and I was having trouble choosing my last film to write about. One thing's for sure, I doubt that I'll want to do this again next year. Scott was able to write about all of the movies he's seen this year, but I had a different approach. For the most part, I need a movie to really sink in - oftentimes with repeated viewings - in order for me to feel comfortable writing my thoughts on it. Also, there are other movies where I just don't have much to say. After all, I love The Fugitive, but do I really have enough things to say about it that anybody would find interesting? I'm not even sure if I have enough to say that I'd find interesting to even bother writing it - and ultimately this blog has always got to come back to the fact that I'm writing it more as an exercise to get my thoughts typed out. The fact that sometimes people sometimes read it is just a nice bonus.

With that said, here are some thoughts on the films that I didn't get around to writing about, and I doubt that I'd want to do entire entries on any of them:

Star Wars: Episodes IV - VI - Yeah, these are still amongst my favorite films of all time. What's the best one? The Empire Strikes Back. The unfortunate thing is that for the longest time, these three movies, along with maybe a couple others, made up the entire sum of my movie collection. This means that I've watched them so many times that when I try to watch them now, they tend to just go right through me. I find myself not even really paying attention. And yet I'll probably still buy them on Blu-Ray. As for the prequel trilogy, let's be honest and say that if the original three didn't exist, I'd have no time for those. The possible exception is the third one, which I wrote about some time ago, and I still like it for the cheesefest that it is.

James Bond films - After Casino Royale, I got on a bit of a Bond kick and found myself buying several Bond films. For the most part, I wound up liking the ones that I bought with only two exceptions. It's a good thing that I got them cheap. Anyway, I also decided that I'd rent all of the rest of them, but I gave up that idea halfway through The Man with the Golden Gun. Ugh. That was too painful to watch.

While I haven't seen them all, here's my verdict: The best one is Goldfinger. Most of the Sean Connery entries are good, but From Russia with Love drags, and Diamonds are Forever is a piece of crap. On Her Majesty's Secret Service isn't bad, and it was the first attempt to make a more "realistic" Bond. The next attempt was Timothy Dalton's The Living Daylights, which holds up fairly well. Of course, they finally nailed it with Casino Royale. Too bad Quantum of Solace was only a so-so effort. Anyway, I didn't get through all the Roger Moore ones, but Live and Let Die is ridiculous, and The Spy Who Loved Me is pretty good. I've only seen the first two Pierce Brosnan ones, and I like them both. His second one, Tomorrow Never Dies has one of the best villains - as it's a guy who owns a media empire and manipulates world events so he can get ratings and sell papers.

Indiana Jones movies -While I didn't hate the fourth one, I'm obviously just talking about the original three films. The best one is easily the first, and the third has one of the best endings. However, not enough can be said for the introduction of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. It has one of my favorite opening 15-20 minutes of any film. It begins with a dance number, proceeds into a crazy-big fight where Indy's scrambling around on the floor for antidote to the poison he just drank, and then it continues into a plane full of chickens that's out of gas. "No more parachutes!" Quick, grab a life raft! It's completely ridiculous and absolutely wonderful at the same time. Sure, it gets a bit jarring how it goes from super-campy to intense (like the guy getting his heart torn out) but it's probably the most moment-for-moment entertaining of the three.

George Romero's zombie movies -While I know that it's really the other way around, I'd like to think that these films were inspired by one of my favorite comics series, The Walking Dead. I don't know what it is, but for some reason I feel like a zombie apocalypse could really happen. I almost feel like it's inevitable, and when I hear people talking about how much they love Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, I feel that it's already happened. Oh, and it turns out that The Walking Dead is being turned into a TV series, and Frank Darabont is producing and perhaps even directing an episode. Should be good stuff. Anyway, my favorite of Romero's films is Day of the Dead. I especially love the conflict between the military guys and the scientist, how the first group just wants to destroy and the second wants to understand. Oh, and a guy gets torn into pieces. Are these films good? Not really, but I really like them.

The Bourne Trilogy - I really like these movies. I don't have a lot to say about them though.

Recent films that are still sinking in - I'm thinking Inglourious Basterds, Drag Me to Hell, Milk, and The Wrestler.

Of course, there are plenty of movies that I could have written about, and it will hit me in the days to come that I should have done so. Well, who's to stop me from doing that? I have thoughts about Brokeback Mountain, Mean Girls, Back to the Future, Murder My Sweet, Lawrence of Arabia, Cinderella, and a whole lot more. Maybe I'll get around to it.

Anyway, with all that said, here's a roundup of what I wrote about this month:

Saturday Night Fever
Bridge to Terabithia
The Bridge on the River Kwai
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Predator 2
A Very Long Engagement
The Last Temptation of Christ
King Kong
(Peter Jackson's version)
Jackie Brown
Spider-Man 2
Toy Story & Toy Story 2
I Love You, Man
Citizen Kane
Fight Club
Iron Man
Taxi Driver
Superman Returns
25th Hour
Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Pan's Labyrinth
Office Space
The Asphalt Jungle
United 93
A Hard Day's Night
Y Tu Mama Tambien
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Death Proof

I've got comedies; I've got drama. I have movies for kids and movies that are definitely not for kids along with movies for really immature adults. Superheroes definitely get a fair bit of representation with five films, four if you don't count Unbreakable but six if you count Robocop. There are also three foreign-language films. As for directors, John Huston, Martin Scorsese, and Quentin Tarantino all manage to get two films a piece in there. Actors? A quick perusal shows that Humphrey Bogart, Robert Deniro, Maribel VerdĂș, Jason Segal, and Paul Rudd all make it in there twice each. Most of the films are from the past decade, but there are a fair amount of classics in there as well. Overall, that's not a bad list. I once listened to a student go over the top 10 movies of all time, two of which were Resident Evil films. While I wouldn't call this list my "Top 30 of All Time", I'll just call it "30 of My Favorite Films".

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