Make Your Picks

2023 Film Challenge

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Let's Break This Down, Shall We?

Chose history for my subject. I've seen a number of Bollywood films (yes, I know that RRR is Tollywood), but RRR might be the best I've seen. This story of friendship, betrayal, dancing/singing, and overcoming the British overlords definitely took my breath away.

Tough to decide which was second. Elvis should have been the pick. Austin Butler took hold of the role and grabbed it. But it almost felt like despite some moments that Baz Luhrmann chose traditional for his biopic and Tom Hanks was kind of a mixed bag as Colonel Parker. His accent was bad, but I did buy him as a bad guy even if it overplayed the Snowman angle a bit.

Zero expectations for Dracula Untold which played with the Vlad the Impaler legend with that of Dracula. It kind of plays out a bit like Underworld. I had some fun with it, though.

Noah was the weak link. Although expectations for this Darren Aronofsky film were strong, I felt like a weak script and extended runtime did it in. There are some highlights such as when Russell Crowe explains creation to his sons, but not enough of them.

I Feel Pretty

The best of these was almost Best Picture winner La La Land, which took on the musical for modern times and mainly stayed on its feet with a song in its head and dance in its heart. Nice chemistry from the leads and I think I like jazz a bit more now?

Next would probably be Guardians of the Galaxy, a fun space journey with a group of at times hostile strangers who form a family as they try to save something from getting in the wrong hands. A lot of fun!

Top Gun: Maverick is one of those crowd-pleasing films that also manages to dive into middle aged Maverick as he adjusts to the new kids in the Navy, including Rooster's son. Mainly threads the needle between fan service and being its own film.

All Quiet on the Western Front tackles war as hell and largely succeeds on that merit, but not much beyond that, sadly.

Les Miserables has its good and bad points, but in the end of the day is a big screen musical that can't quite translate what made the stage version so successful.



Post-Labor Day Update:

NOTE: Bolded Titles=Seen; (Titles)=(In Progress); Titles=Planned

Main Challenge (37/52)  


Nightmare Mode (15/111)  


Not Appearing in Other Lists (11/11)  



Also answers to Jabba
Would we indeed consider Everything, Everywhere all at Once a mid-life crisis film? Because that would fit nicely in my challenge since I watched it already this year.



The trick is not minding
Would we indeed consider Everything, Everywhere all at Once a mid-life crisis film? Because that would fit nicely in my challenge since I watched it already this year.
Having seen it I’d say yes



Would we indeed consider Everything, Everywhere all at Once a mid-life crisis film? Because that would fit nicely in my challenge since I watched it already this year.
Considering what the film is about, I'd say so.



So I actually finished the main challenge about 2 months ago... except for one film, which I finally got to yesterday (it was Asghar Farhadi's terrific A Separation, if you want to know). I doubt I will fully finish the nightmare mode, but I have knocked out a couple of categories. I'll see how far I get by the end of the year.

My favorites of the (main) lot: Alice in the Cities, A Separation, Ashes and Diamonds, Germany Year Zero, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Aftersun, First Reformed, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call: New Orleans, Force of Evil, Ponyo, The Hitch-hiker


Main Challenge  


Nightmare Mode  



Women will be your undoing, Pépé
This has been my worst so far in these since the majority of this year has been more along series and previously watched films. Will still add a few more as we finish out this year though.
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What I actually said to win MovieGal's heart:
- I might not be a real King of Kinkiness, but I make good pancakes
~Mr Minio



The trick is not minding
Update! 11/3
I’m a bit behind but I should be able to finish it during the holidays.


Main Challenge  


Nightmare Mode  



I haven't been following this challenge this year, but at the end of December I intend to go through my watch history and Sudoku all the films onto this list where ever they fit, just to see how much of the challenge I (accidentally) completed.
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Captain's Log
My Collection



Also answers to Jabba
Definitely will have an update next week sometime but, in the meantime….any spoilers for next years challenge, Jabs?

It's still early for that. I have around 80% of the challenge ready but I need to apply myself and finish it up.



Welcome to the human race...
Got to admit, I kind of want to count this as a silent film on account of its whole gimmick being that there is no dialogue...

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I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.
Iro's Top 100 Movies v3.0



Welcome to the human race...
I guess it's an interesting question as to how you distinguish a "silent film" - is no dialogue sufficient or does there have to be no sound effects either? Music is a given for the most part, at least. Either way, I'll see it and see if it qualifies.



Also answers to Jabba
Entirely up to you. The way I see it, I don't think sound effects change whether it should count as silent or not. Although for the most part silent films were made like this due to the technology not being there yet, what sets them apart from "talkies" is that they have to find different ways to convey meaning (unless you want to be bombarded with dialogue cards). Facial expressions, body language, excessive physical movement and a lesser emphasis on dialogue is what I see as the key aspect of silent films.



That said, this one could still feature no dialogue, therefore technically qualifying it as a silent film, while just being a 2 hour kill-fest with little to do with what I described above.



I See Dead People?

For me, the two big winners were Goodfellas (Michael Ballhaus) and The Apartment (Billy Wilder). For Goodfellas, the second time I've seen it and I appreciated it a lot better than the first time. It felt a little like a punk rock version of a gangster film. Only a little casual racism marred it for me. The Apartment marks my fourth film with Wilder and he's 4 for 4 for me (for some reason, I thought Sweet Smell of Success was done by him as well but I was mistaken). The mixture of comedy with pathos is intoxicating even though it didn't come fully together for me at places.

Of the other three, I'd also go to bat for Summertime. David Lean makes an odd choice to direct what is a filmed play (oh, but what a setting Venice is!). But Hepburn's performance carried the day. Whether expressing heartbreak at the cafe or the amusing sequences involving a little boy, she gave it her all. Her chemistry with an Italian antiques dealer played by Rossano Brazzi clicked which carried this film to its conclusion. I wish they hadn't dropped some of its subplots towards the end, but still a solid film.

Which is better than I can say about Indiscretion of an American Wife. Jennifer Jones plays an American wife who has a torrid affair with an intellectual Italian played by Montgomery Clift. You can feel the heat of the romance at times, but I found the things happening around them more interesting than the drama between them. And when he slapped her, that was it for me. Although I saw the butchered David Selznick version on Prime, I don't think things would be any better with the full cut from Vittorio De Sica called Terminal Station.

And A Talking Picture? If it had stayed with the professor exploring the sights in the Mediterranean and her kid asking a zillion questions, it might have been tolerable. But then director Manuel de Oliveira brings us an American captain played by John Malkovich as he's talking to three women who understand each other despite speaking different languages. Which would have been odd but OK until they break the fourth wall and bring it up not once, but twice. Then conversation and things happen in the final third which soured most of the modest goodwill it had earned. Alright film, time to hush up.



The trick is not minding
It's still early for that. I have around 80% of the challenge ready but I need to apply myself and finish it up.
Time for some revels for next year? 👀

I’ll have an update soon



December Update!

NOTE: Bolded Titles=Seen; (Titles)=(In Progress); Titles=Planned

Main Challenge (50/52)  


Nightmare Mode (22/111)  


Not Appearing in Other Lists (22/22)  


The Race to New Year's Eve Has Begun!