Submit Your
Comedy
List
The deadline for the Top Comedies of All Time list is coming up! Submit your ballot now, or read about it here

The 27th General Hall of Fame

Tools    





28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Raiders of the Lost Ark





re-watch

If the new Netflix action-adventure films Red Notice or Disney's Jungle Cruise taught me anything, it's that they don't make films like this anymore. I'd even argue that Brendan Fraser's The Mummy was probably the last great adventure movie of old. Everything that comes out today is a dull saturation with characters in front of a green screen cracking jokes every five minutes. Is there anything wrong with those movies? No, they're fun for sure, but they are engineered products. The Marvel movies for example...are all the same. There is a reason that this film stands above others; look who's involved? Arguably the greatest director of all time behind the camera, legendary Lawrence Kasdan behind the pen.

We don't even see action stunt pieces like this anymore, save for maybe Fury Road. Would they drag a stuntman behind a vehicle like this today? No, they'd probably digitize his character or again, have it filmed on a set in front of a green screen. The authenticity of the film is still fun to this day and why this film has stood the test of time.

An iconic score, memorable performances, horrifying special effects that fuel nightmares towards the climax. Raiders is a film I have no problem revisiting from time to time, it never seems to disappoint.
__________________
"A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have."

Suspect's Reviews



13 Foreign Language movies to go
Just tested positive for Covid. **** Got a cough and sore throat. No fever. Sense of smell and taste intact. Am vaccinated and boosted but I’m also diabetic.

On the plus side I guess I will have lots of time to watch movies.
Sorry to hear that - here's hoping that your double+boosted vaccination helps you fight that damned thing into submission with ease.
__________________
My movie ratings often go up or down a point or two after more reflection, research and rewatches.

Latest Review : Rams (2015)



This has been a very HoF so far.

Though I do wish that a few more films were ones I hadn't seen yet. At this point I've got five rewatches and one new-to-me film (Mad Love).

In the beginning, I'd seen 10/16 of the nominations. Is that similar to you guys?



In the beginning, I'd seen 10/16 of the nominations. Is that similar to you guys?
I have seen 8 of the nominations before (don't remember much of Dolores Claiborne, though, except that I didn't like it).
__________________



This has been a very HoF so far.

Though I do wish that a few more films were ones I hadn't seen yet. At this point I've got five rewatches and one new-to-me film (Mad Love).

In the beginning, I'd seen 10/16 of the nominations. Is that similar to you guys?
when it started i'd only seen L'amour braque and Cure but it jumped to four when Demons and Thunder Road were added.



This is the most recent post I saw from him here:
Wasn't that a reply to some of the joke HoF plans? Earlier he wrote this:

I've decided to stick this one out. This will be only the third time I've missed a general. I just think I need a break from scheduled watches and would like to just randomly watch whatever for a while.

I'll be back for the 28th!



Wasn't that a reply to some of the joke HoF plans? Earlier he wrote this:
It’s not clear if he was being serious or not, but he didn’t quote anyone so it doesn’t look like a reply to that. Guess I’ll wait for clarification from him.



This has been a very HoF so far.

Though I do wish that a few more films were ones I hadn't seen yet. At this point I've got five rewatches and one new-to-me film (Mad Love).

In the beginning, I'd seen 10/16 of the nominations. Is that similar to you guys?
I've seen 7/16, but there are a couple like True Romance and my own nom that I haven't seen in a good while. True Romance in particular, I don't think I have seen since the 90s.
__________________
Check out my podcast: The Movie Loot!



13 Foreign Language movies to go


Dolores Claiborne - 1995

Directed by Taylor Hackford

Written by Tony Gilroy
Based on a novel by Stephen King

Starring Kathy Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh
& Christopher Plummer

This review contains SPOILERS

Dolores Claiborne (Kathy Bates) and her estranged daughter (darter in this film's New England parlance) Selena St. George (Jennifer Jason Leigh) are reliving their past almost literally in this Stephen King adaptation directed by Taylor Hackford - they don't remember, as much as pass once more through, certain aspects of their lives - reacting with shock as they see and hear the ghosts of situations long gone by. There has been much that has been repressed, or simply too painful to have thought about since the events they confront, now that there has been a reunion of sorts. Dolores stands accused of murdering the woman she has been caring for, and this has brought her daughter back home after 15 long years. At first she doesn't even recognize Selena, assuming that she's being introduced as her legal representation, and the reunion will be a painful one, for Dolores was once also accused of killing Selena's father - something Selena believes is very much the case. These two women will have to face and come to terms with the past in Dolores Claiborne - with pressure and a sense of loathing directed right at her coming from the person investigating - Detective John Mackey (Christopher Plummer) - not to mention vitriol from the townsfolk themselves. It doesn't help things at all that Selena hates her mother, almost with a passion.

This is the kind of film that brings a sense of fluidity to flashbacks, taking a certain still shot and simply changing the lighting and details to a time in the past, taking us directly there - or else having voices from long ago call out in the present day. Kathy Bates aids this effect by sometimes answering back to voices aired years ago as if they're speaking to her in the present. At times her expression tells us that she's almost hallucinating, and that these events have played on her mind in a damaging way. She's been made up to look older, and very much worn down (her skin dry and almost looking as if it's been sandpapered) in her present day incarnation. When we see her in the past she still had a bright glow to her - but cinematography, sets and lighting cast a dark shadow over present events in this film. There's a greyness and pall, especially when we're near or at the house our two characters will reside in - the house where they once lived together as a family. The past is brightly lit with amber tones and colours - there was still hope back then - a hope snuffed out by Selena's father and the husband of Dolores, Joe St. George. Joe is played by David Strathairn, who is often a villain, but rarely so vile. He veers a little towards caricature, but was obviously directed to.

We can forgive Strathairn more if we consider he also has to play drunk most of the time. His reaction, when he's accused of molesting his 13 year-old daughter is to call her "a tease", which seems counterproductive at best, sickeningly deranged at worst. He brings about the first real jolt in the film when, during a nice-feeling moment of bonding and giggling with his wife he takes a heavy log and belts Dolores in the kidneys with it - hard. Selena only ever saw the after-effects of this, which leaves Joe with a bloodied head after Dolores breaks some crockery over it and has her looming over her husband with an axe. These are the not-so-treasured memories that come back during this more present crisis - and provide some fiery drama for Hackford's audience. Described as a "self-consciously feminist" film, our heroine is at times taken aback, saddened and dispirited - but also takes action. When she discovers that Joe is abusing their daughter she decides to leave immediately - and then when she discovers the Joe has stolen her savings, she takes the advice of her employer, Vera Donovan (Judy Parfitt), and prepares to do away with him. How else can she save Selena?

Judy Parfitt provided me with some agonizing moments playing her present day and tormented aged character. She despairs over the degradations, pain and hopelessness of advanced old age and touched me deeply - especially when, in a moment, she takes solace and delight in her ceramic musical pig. Vera and Dolores love each other but keep up the pretense of being a "bitch" to each other - "Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has to hold on to..." - it's a line we'll hear more than once in the film, and one that feels quintessentially Stephen King. It makes you stop for a moment and ask yourself "What?" - then you'll debate with yourself whether it actually makes sense. I guess it does, and I guess it's true as well. After losing her husband and daughter, being a bitch has definitely left Dolores with a sense of pride - and it would be especially deflating to see her cowering inside her house when townspeople come to throw rocks and Molotov cocktails her way - instead Bates lets fly with anger and fury. We're definitely behind this woman, all the way. Selena is another matter however. Barely held together with medication - puffing a cigarette a minute and drinking like a sailor, she's a little whirlwind of denial who won't think twice about saying something cruel to her mother. She won't even believe that her father used to abuse her.

Family drama is something Taylor Hackford had a steady hand in directing during this era of his career after Everybody's All-American in 1988 and Bound by Honor in 1993 - albeit family drama with a distinct edge to it. His An Officer and a Gentleman days were well behind him, but he'd never slummed it - and Dolores Claiborne was his most interesting film since his massive 1982 hit. His previous two films were in a very much male-dominated domain, so it's heartening to see someone in his profession jump in with both feet as far as a female-driven story is concerned. I'm not quite sure how to take the fact that this story was originally written in novel form by a man, adapted by another man - Tony Gilroy - and eventually directed by a man. It certainly doesn't have the feel of something misappropriated or wrong-headed, and has definite feminist credentials. Screenwriter Tony Gilroy would go on to write another Hackford film - The Devil's Advocate, not to mention most of the Bourne films, Armageddon and Michael Clayton (which he also directed, and for which he was nominated for two Oscars.) It's a very masculine resume, from which Dolores Claiborne really stands out.

Behind the camera, taking in the hilly and beautiful seaside of Nova Scotia (standing in for Maine) is yet another professional you wouldn't at first associate with a film like Dolores Claiborne - Gabriel Beristain is a name much more associated with Marvel universe films, either as director of photography (Black Widow) or other technical capacities. He'd recently worked with Hackford on Bound by Honor, and had done action, comedy with Eddie Murphy, music videos for Aerosmith and various other very visual projects before this. Danny Elfman, a very big name film composer provides a score for this project which sounds like something you'd normally associate with a film about a haunted house, which is an interesting take and considering that perhaps this film does take place in a haunted house seems to fit. It does recede so far into the background at times that it's barely noticeable - but that's not a bad thing either. Elfman was coming from a decade where he'd provided the score to many big comedies and films such as Batman and Dick Tracy - he completes a cadre of filmmakers from which you really wouldn't expect a film such as Dolores Claiborne to come from.

Extra points always go to films when interesting members of the cast drift our way, such as John C. Reilly, who is underutilized a little as a sane counterpoint and deputy to Plummer's detective, and I enjoyed seeing Eric Bogosian again who I thought was brilliant in Oliver Stone's Talk Radio. But this is really a two woman show - Kathy Bates and Jennifer Jason Leigh doing the best they can with what they have. Stephen King's work can be a little hokey at times, but this is one of his works that is more grounded in reality than others, and they usually provide the best material for those willing to adapt them into screenplays. I remember the actual murder scene in the book being a little more exciting, and having more to do with the eclipse covering what she's trying to do - in this the eclipse just happens at around the same time (in fact, a few moments after the deed is done) - I just felt that there could have been more suspense surrounding the success or failure of her plan depending on a few things that could go wrong. As it is, her plan is to just run and jump - which works, but with a film anything is possible. I was into it, and it was exciting and dramatic - but I felt I really could have been on the edge of my seat if the filmmakers had of wanted to put me there.

Overall, Dolores Claiborne is a good film, with some scenes that had a definite impact on me, and an easy film for me to put into that "good" category. It succeeded in getting me to feel an emotional connection for and with it's characters, and it's 132 minute running time - at first a cause for concern - was not a negative factor. Not once did I check to see how much time was left - a critical factor. It's scenes of horror were especially effective - in fact, Roger Ebert was one of the few people to definitively call the movie a "horror film" - something others have either overlooked or disagree with. I'm as yet unsure where that line is, or even who is responsible for drawing it. Any scenes that involve molesting children, or with old people in torment, shake me up a little. Dolores Claiborne is also a film where once again everybody gets to question themselves on what they themselves believe is justifiable homicide, and where they stand on assisted dying. I know I sure wanted that son of a bitch to die, and I wanted to give Vera a better ending than the one she got. It's not a perfect film, but it gets a lot right, so there's credit due to this particular King adaptation.





Thunder Road (Jim Cummings, 2018)
First and foremost, f*ck this movie for making feel for a cop. Very evil thing to do.

Anyway, this is a rewatch but the points in my life when I've now watched it is interesting to me. Watched it for the first time immediately before I ended up having a multi-year long existential crisis and now this second watch coming almost immediately after said crisis. It could have been any movie but its kinda funny that this happened to be the first "I'm losing control of my life, I don't know what I'm doing anymore" kind of movie I've seen since putting myself back together. Long way of saying that this f*cked me up this time around but I'm also stoked that I can feel emotions properly now (superficially emotional stuff like My Dog Skip still doesn't work on me tho, sorry). And sorry for the TMI but this was such a good litmus test for my growth as a person, thank you for nominating this Takoma

I guess I should talk about the movie itself to some extent instead of yammering about myself like a bitch. So that first scene is brilliant, eh? I guess that scene is just the original short Cummings did in 2016? I don't know if he had envisioned it as feature the whole time and shot the first scene to try to get the rest funded or if that was initially a standalone thing. I think it works as both so who cares because it expresses the emotions the film wants to explore so unmistakably. I don't think most films that deal with feelings of being overwhelmed handle it in such a grounded manner. Like, yeah Cummings is over-the-top at times but he gives you everything you need without resorting to like, the camera shaking with a distorted lens while he's curled up in a corner somewhere. Not that that can't be cool and good but it'd be dishonest to the tone of this film. tldr: Cummings gets the feelings across with just the performance. That's definitely the selling point, communicating these specific feelings and the rest of the film is pretty low-key to make sure that's the focus. It's also got a nice balance of humour and feels in a way that doesn't feel forced. Keeps it from being too heavy, keeps it more realistic too. Yeah it's a great film. Its funny that I'm giving it the same rating as the first time I saw it when it had so much more impact on me the second time around. First watch was "yeah this is kinda funny, kinda sad, quite enjoyable, I guess its
??" but now its an enthusiastic
.



I watched One Cut of the Dead. Not sure how I feel so I'm going to watch it again. I'll be curious to go back and look at the write-ups after I post.



So the entire short film is in the feature or was it re-shot?
Haven't seen the short nor the feature yet, but found this...



12 minutes.