The Resident Bitch's Movie Log

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The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
Imdb

Date Watched: 1/12/2018
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Best Picture Hall of Fame
Rewatch: Yes


I first watched The Godfather back in 2014. I vividly recall hating it. I recall yelling at the screen for it to just hurry up and end already. I didn't give a crap about its characters and I didn't give a crap about the story. And yet when I looked up my rating for it just now, I see I gave it a 3+. I'm not sure if I was feeling really, really generous that day or if I just wasn't up for dealing with any arguments on the forum, but that rating most definitely did not reflect my actual opinion of it at the time.

So when this HOF was announced I hesitated to join. There are a number of Best Picture winners that I did NOT want to have to watch again. The Godfather and Rocky were among those. But rewatch The Godfather I did.

To my surprise, I didn't hate it this time. I can see why other people enjoy and respect it. It's well written, well acted, looks good, and tells an engaging story. However, I still didn't quite like it. I still just don't particularly care for the film's characters and can't bring myself to be in any way emotionally invested in their fates. But I can say that I at least wasn't bored this time. Perhaps one day, if I ever watch it again (questionable), I might even come to like it. But this is not a film that I will ever love.

As to the question of whether it the best film of its year? Eh, I prefer Deliverance but I don't fault the academy for choosing this. I'm going to stick to my original rating, only this time it isn't a lie.

+



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."





Rocky (John J. Alvidsen, 1976)
Imdb

Date Watched: 01/13/18
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Best Picture Hall of Fame
Rewatch: Yes.



The first time I attempted to watch this movie, I shut if off after about an hour. The second time, I made it through and hated every minute of it but still gave it a 2.5+. There will be none of that generosity today.

I understand wanting to root for an underdog. I get the appeal of watching someone rise up and make a name for his or herself. The problem is, I hate Rocky the character. He's a dim-witted brute who can't ever seem to shut the **** up. Everything about him grates on my nerves and I simply do not want him to succeed. Making things worse is that I don't like anybody else in the movie, either.

I also find myself underwhelmed by the film's technical aspects. The cinematography leaves no impression and the soundtrack leaves me rolling my eyes. Those training montages do the same.

If I'm going to watch a story about a boxer who rises up from nothing and defies the odds, it's going to be Cinderella Man. That's an underdog I can get behind. And if I'm going to watch Sylvester Stallone, it damn well better be Demolition Man in which his dim-witted brutishness is at least amusing.

Screw this movie.






Rocky (John J. Avildsen, 1976)
Imdb

Date Watched: 01/13/18
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Best Picture Hall of Fame
Rewatch: Yes.





Screw this movie.

Part 4 is where it's at, Vicky.



I'll take your word for it.
Rocky is still very dumb, but the amazing scenery, camera work, editing, shameless rock soundtrack and music video montages, dopey charm and crowd pleasing themes of burying the cold war scare are all expedited top notch so, it's pure amped up 1980's glitz and chest beating. I think you will enjoy!





The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathon Demme, 1991)
Imdb

Date Watched: 01/14/18
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Best Picture Hall of Fame
Rewatch: Yes.


I watched this movie one time many years ago, before I joined this forum I think. I don't recall actively disliking it, but I wasn't particularly impressed at the time, either. So I wasn't exactly excited when it was announced as a nomination for this Hall of Fame.

Thankfully, my experience with it this time was far more positive than the previous time. The performances of both Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster are excellent and the film creates atmosphere and tension that is almost palpable. The score enhances that sense of dread as does the cinematography. The story itself is engaging and I liked that the serial killer being hunted actually seems less threatening than the one assisting with the hunt. That said, it certainly wasn't my favorite crime thriller and I don't know that it's something I'll really want to revisit but it is very good and I'm glad this HOF forced me to give it another chance.

As to whether its win was deserved. I liked it a hell of a lot more than Beauty and the Beast but of the other nominations I've seen only JFK and I remember almost nothing about it so it's not a question I can honestly answer.

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All the King's Men (Robert Rossen, 1949)
Imdb

Date Watched: 01/14/18
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Best Picture Hall of Fame
Rewatch: No.


This film chronicles the rise and fall of an idealistic - or so he claims to be, at least - politician who becomes the very sort of person he rails against. The story itself is intriguing - the man's ideals get polluted until they give way to corruption and abuse of power that knows no limits and he drags down with him all that surround him and believe in him - but ultimately I didn't much like the movie.

Here's the problem: I didn't care. The performances are overly dramatic and they take me completely out of the film. These characters don't behave like normal people. Their mannerisms and speech are unnatural and exaggerated. I simply don't believe them. Making matters worse was the not infrequent narration (I don't want to be told what's happening in a movie!) and the intrusively loud score. Now I'm sure I'll get people criticizing my dislike of it because the film is simply of its time and these elements are typical of that era, but I don't care. If I can't engage emotionally, and I couldn't with this film, the experience is ruined for me.

I'll give credit where it's due for tackling such an important and still very much relevant issue, but that's about all the praise I can give it.

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I never saw this film, but it s always been described as one of those 'important to see' movies - words that always cause me to go running for the hills. I trust in your observation that it seemed unreal and exaggerated- a film should have staying power regardless of its time . That said , I wonder if you ve ever seen The Candidate with Robert Redford? -the themes sound like they are similar. Interested in your evaluation of that film if you see it.





On the Waterfront (Elia Kazan, 1954)
Imdb

Date Watched: 01/15/18
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Best Picture Hall of Fame
Rewatch? Yes.


I first watched this in 2016 in preparation for the MoFo 50's list. Having been very much impressed with Elia Kazan's East of Eden and with Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire, I went into my first viewing of On the Waterfront with high hopes. Unfortunately my experience was not what I'd expected and I found myself respecting the film while not actually enjoying it. It ultimately made my ballot for that list, but it was for lack of enough films I liked better.

Tonight's experience was a bit different. I still respect it as I did previously, but this time I actually found myself engaged with it. The performances are all very strong (though I'll admit my interest in Terry is due in part to how sexy Marlon Brando was back in the day), the story was interesting (I do tend to be a sucker for stories of redemption), and the film looks great.

But the main thing was that I actually cared this time. I wanted Terry to better himself and to prove that he wasn't a bum. I felt for his struggles and was sorry for his losses. I'm not sure what it was that kept me from feeling that way last time, but I'm glad I had to give it another chance. It's by no means a favorite nor do I think it ever will be, but I enjoyed it.






A Beautiful Mind (Ron Howard, 2001)
Imdb

Date Watched: 01/16/18
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Best Picture Hall of Fame
Rewatch? Yes.


Whenever you watch a film that is based on true events and real people it's important to keep in mind that what you are watching is fiction. Right or wrong - and for various reasons - movie makers will omit or downplay certain aspects of their subjects and emphasize, embellish, or downright fabricate other aspects. This is something that should be expected and if you are looking to film - especially Hollywood - for lessons in history, you are looking in the wrong place.

Ron Howard, in my experience, is a director who is much more interested in telling a story that will move and inspire his audience than he is in teaching them anything factual. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that. A Beautiful Mind is not a movie about John Nash the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician, it's a movie about John Nash the character who was inspired by the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician of the same name.

And, for me at least, Ron Howard succeeds in making the story of this character moving and engaging. And while it may come across as a bit corny to some (and certainly there are scenes that I'm not overly fond of), I agree with the decision to represent Nash's delusions as largely visual despite what really happened because it makes them more plausibly believable to the audience, while still providing clues that plant doubt about what is real and what isn't.

As to the acting, I think Crowe turned in a solid performance. His lack of physical resemblance to the real John Nash is of little consequence to me. His facial expressions, speech patterns, and overall body language are well suited for the character as he is written and the end result is a performance that elicits my sympathy and a desire to see him succeed in overcoming the obstacles and hardships in his life.

While far from being a favorite of mine, A Beautiful Mind is nevertheless a film that I have always enjoyed. And to the question of whether it deserved best picture, well... I can't say. I've only seen one of its fellow nominees - which I hated - and it's not even my favorite film of 2001, but I do think it is worthy of some praise.

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I wonder if you ve ever seen The Candidate with Robert Redford? -the themes sound like they are similar. Interested in your evaluation of that film if you see it.
I haven't seen it. I typically avoid films that focus on politics and probably wouldn't ever have watched All the King's Men if it hadn't been nominated for the Hall of Fame.





Fido (Andrew Currie, 2006)
Imdb

Date Watched: 12/21/17 (I think)
Cinema or Home: On the portable DVD player in the car
Reason For Watching: I felt like it.
Rewatch: Yes


When I hastily wrote up my thoughts about the various films I watched while on vacation, I overlooked this one. So, I'm going to do my best to write it up now.

Fido is a zombie movie unlike any other zombie movie I've seen. Set in a 1950's-esque fantasy world where zombies have been domesticated (sort of) and enslaved to serve their living masters, the movie tells the heartwarming yet violent, bizarre, and hilarious tale of the bond between one zombie and the lonely young boy he serves.

Billy Connolly is wonderful as that zombie, Fido, and conveys quite a range of emotion with only his facial expressions and a few grunts and groans. Carrie-Anne Moss, playing the boy's mother, is equally good as the housewife in heels who hides an independent nature and a violent side behind her big smile and good manners. The other performances are all quite solid as well and encompass some pretty eccentric characters - most notably a creepy yet funny neighbor who keeps a sexy zombie girlfriend.

Living side by side with death, school children are taught to use guns and to deliver kill shots to any rogue undead while their parents recite tales of their experiences in the Zombie Wars, when a cloud of radiation caused droves of the dead to rise up and people were forced to kill the reanimated corpses of friends and relatives. This fantastic clash of the colorful, picturesque neighborhood and the death, decay, and horrifying danger that lurks just outside its fences (and yet also toils within its fences, barely subdued and contained by "taming collars") makes for a pretty unique film watching experience.

Admittedly though, Fido is a little light on substance and I'd hesitate to call it a great movie, but it sure is amusing.

+





One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Milos Forman, 1975)
Imdb

Date Watched: 1/17/2018
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Best Picture Hall of Fame
Rewatch: Yes


One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a film that is at once wonderfully uplifting and devastatingly tragic. It's also a masterful piece of cinema with an incredible ensemble cast and iconic performances that feel strikingly authentic.

Louise Fletcher in particular is absolutely chilling as Mildred Ratched, a nurse who rules the psychiatric ward with her icy stares and passive aggressive methods of oppression. Patient, polite, calm, and all too believable, she is truly one of cinema's most frightening villains. And of course Jack Nicholson is a delight as R.P. McMurphy - a criminal who sees a stint in the mental hospital as an easy way out of hard labor in a prison camp, naive to the possibility of an indefinite stay and the abuses its patients suffer. But as foolish as the man is in many ways, he is all too wise in others. And it is through his perspective that we as an audience get to see the other characters, damaged though they may be, as men.

But there is one performance that stands out to me as being stronger still than either Nicholson or Fletcher, and that is Brad Dourif as Billy Bibbit, a young patient struggling with a constant stutter and crippling anxiety. It's a role that is absolutely heartbreaking and Dourif handles it with amazing tenderness and understanding. (And looking over Dourif's IMDb page, I truly have to wonder what the hell happened. The few titles I recognize are not films that command respect and it appears as though his talent was wasted after this role.)

But there really isn't a weak performance to be found here and the film carries a tremendous amount of emotional weight. And though I've not seen all of its Best Picture competitors, I can still say with confidence that to me this is a film that is truly deserving of the title.

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Gladiator (Ridley Scott, 2000)
Imdb

Date Watched: 01/18/18
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Best Picture Hall of Fame
Rewatch: I've seen it more times than I can count.


Shortly after my nineteenth birthday, a film was released that would capture my attention and spark an obsession like no other film before or since. When I saw it for the first time, it was instant love. Everything about the movie just came together in such an incredible way and I just couldn’t get enough of it.

At just over two and half hours, Gladiator is a rather long movie. Yet it never feels that way. From the beginning, in which we the audience are thrown into the midst of battle - with all the mud, blood, confusion and death, to the quieter scenes of characters interacting, of plotting and deceit, to the final battle that pits hero and villain in a fight to the death, I’ve never found myself bored or checking the time.

Save for how loose it plays with history (which is not a problem for me), all the elements of the film are masterfully done. From that incredible Hans Zimmer score (the only film score I’ve ever bought), to the costumes and set design, to the gorgeous cinematography, to the stunts, practical effects and CGI that still look great today, nearly twenty years later. And, of course, there’s the acting. Russell Crowe earned a (very much deserved) Best Actor Oscar for his role as General Maximus, turning in a performance that is very impressive both physically and emotionally. Joaquin Phoenix turned in an incredibly intense and chilling performance as the sniveling, incestuous, power-drunk Commodus. What could easily have been a clichéd and two-dimensional character is saved by Phoenix’s innate ability to give every character he plays a sense of vulnerability and realness. It’s an absolute shame that he didn’t take home an Oscar as well. Connie Nielsen, Djimon Honsou, Derek Jacoby and veteran actors Richard Harris and Oliver Reed (who died before filming was complete, forcing rewrites and some of his scenes to be done in CG) all turn in excellent performances as well. All of these elements combine to form an experience that is at once thrilling and heartbreaking.

Obviously I’m not viewing this movie with an unbiased gaze, but – though it’s not my favorite film or even my favorite film of 2000 - I still whole-heartedly believe that Gladiator deserved every accolade it received.




currently editing a post...


Gladiator (Ridley Scott, 2000)


At just over two and half hours, Gladiator is a rather long movie. Yet it never feels that way.

Reminds of me Forrest Gump. I don't really have that strong a feeling about it, I just remember how it seemed like it could keep going without getting old.



Welcome to the human race...
more like Bad-iator
__________________
Way too much stupid talk on the forum. Iroquois, I’m thinking about you.



I'm happy to hear that you had a more enjoyable experience with most of your recent re-watches, especially for The Godfather and Silence of the Lambs. I haven't seen Moonlight or Mutiny on the Bounty yet, but I think highly of all the other BP winners you've watched except for Argo (not a fan of Affleck as an actor or director). It's a shame that you have such a disconnect with older films due to the difference in acting styles, but I know you aren't alone in that sentiment. My favorite aspect of much older films is probably the dialogue, which I often find much sharper and more stylized than in today's films. I like dialogue that pops, even if I can hear the echo of the screenwriter's typewriter.

I think Rocky is a great movie and a great character, but I've always been a bigger fan of Rambo in general. Is Demolition Man the only Stallone movie you like? I'm pleasantly surprised to see how much you enjoy Fido. There were a ton of zombie comedies that came out in the wake of Shaun of the Dead and most of them were forgettable, but I thought Fido was clever enough to separate itself from the horde. Been several years since I watched it, though.

As always, I love reading your thoughts on films. I just wish you watched more films so you could share your thoughts with us more often. You're a very good writer and you have excellent grammar. All that gay erotica has paid off.
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