The 19th Hall of Fame

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Pulp Fiction



The first and only time I had seen this film was about a decade ago. It was known as one of the greatest films ever made and it seems a popular choice to still hold that crown. I don't get it and I don't buy into that being a true statement.

Don't get me wrong, there are some decent scenes. I specifically think the scenes with Travolta and Jackson are pretty darn good, but I have a lot of issues with certain aspects of the film. My first issue is Bruce Willis, who has always come off as a pretty wooden actor for me. Once we get to his main scenes the film seems to go bland and the scenes seem to go on forever. Tarantino's acting scenes are even worse, but luckily we do not get stuck with him for too long.

Uma Thurman is pretty highly regarded in this film too and I think she did pretty well, but I think her angle was really underutilized and she could have been in the film more.

I think a lot of people love the beginning and the ending of the film too, but I disliked both.

Samuel L. Jackson (and Travolta) were my favorite parts of the film and it could pretty much end there. I still think this is a highly overrated film. Of course, I expect it to win this.




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



I don't believe it Raul didn't like Pulp Fiction, I would have pegged you as a fan of it. Can't say I disagree with you though, especially about Tarantino's acting scenes, ugh. I liked Travolta and Jackson and Uma too. The one scene I really did like was with the overdosing Rosanna Arquette stuff. Too funny!



The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible
The Virgin Spring (Ingmar Bergman, 1960)

Bergman is gradually becoming my favourite european director (excluding UK here), and this film represented one more step on that path.
At first sight this is just a tragic film about revenge and redemption, but as always with Bergman, its power lays on metaphors.

The elements: water, fire and earth are characters themselves here. The water representing cleansing and at the same time death and passage (with the river image), the fire representing punishment and earth probably forgetfulness or sin.

The last 20 minutes are simply some of the best I've seen in a Bergman picture: You have the hateful and revengeful father killing his daughter's murderers including a poor innocent child who doesn't resist his anger (that shot where he sits on the throne and a halo appears behind his head is out of this world), representing the worst side of God.
Then you have the other side, the caring, forgiving God who conforts the pain of a father and forgives him, while also forgiving Ingeri, a pagan girl who wished death on the innocent Karin, and converting her to Christianity in a very moving scene of baptism.

Bergman struggled with his sense of faith and this struggling becomes obvious on The Virgin Spring. Being a convict atheist, I may not relate to this struggle but I can definitely feel touched by it.

Thank you to whoever nominated this. It's always a pleasure to get to know more of the Swedish master and undisputed King of the Arthouse cinema.

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Cinema Paradiso

Like most films from this era it has a very simple and strong message that I'm not sure I agree with...
That's interesting. What message did you think the film gave?



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Since I've seen The Godfather countless times, after rewatching it several days back, the review I wrote for the Best Pictures HoF says it all for me so I will be cut and pasting it here.




The Godfather

"I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse."


I can't count the amount of times I've watched this movie and since it has been a while since seeing it, it was an absolute joy to sit back and enjoy.
I do understand that, like with any genre, if it's not your cup of tea, a nearly 3 hour film can be rather difficult to endure, so I do appreciate anyone who runs that gambit. For myself, having a fascination with the genre, and a love for this movie, the 3 hours slip right on by like visiting a favorite friend - or more appropriately, famiglia.

Set in post Word War II we get to meet "the family" of the Corleones at an incredibly large wedding. From Brando's Vito, The Godfather, granting "favors" with the adopted son; Tom (Robert Duvall) who is the family consigliere or advisor. We meet the eldest, Sonny, the hot-tempered son played with his usual gusto by James Caan, the second son, Fredo (John Cazale) who seems to be one that resides in the shadow of his brothers. And finally, the youngest, the war hero, Michael, played with such a dangerously calm waters by Al Pacino.

From here we learn a bit about the family business and what becomes of those who don't simply take the offer they really shouldn't have refused in the first place.
We also witness the war that erupts when the Corleones do not wish to join in on the Narcotics Business with the Tattlagias and the Barzinis, two of the five families of New York.
For the majority of us, this is common ground, even for some who haven't watched this movie, there are a number of scenes that are known and stick in our memories. For me, it is far too countless and to put them down would be the lump sum of reading a 3 hour review, since there are so many to easily choose from.

While still a glamorized rendition of Sicilian mafia families, there is still a tangible grit to the story line and what becomes of everyone. Especially in the finale of this movie. But, also, what raises it above a simple gangster film, is that we experience more than the underworld, but of the family themselves. Their interactions and who they are to one another.
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They say: that after people make love there's a kind of melancholia, the petite mort, the little death. Well, I'm here to tell you, after a romantic night with yourself there's a very acute sensation of failed suicide. ~Dylan Moran



The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible
Return to Paradise (Joseph Ruben, 1998)

Very good film!
I loved the moral debate that it put to the characters and ultimately to the viewer.
The acting was quite good from everyone involved especially from Vaugh and Phoenix, who do an amazing job portraying characters going through a great deal of pressure and changes. The scene where Phoenix says he wouldn't go back for Vaughn, after living all that, really impressed me. It showed how far he was from being that kind soul that wanted to help orangutans.
The press thing really angered me too, and knowing he was killed because a journalist couldn't wait 1 day with a man's life on the stake is maddening.

I disliked the romantic thing though, and simply can't understand why was it there. You have a girl looking to save her brother's life, meets a man-child with no compassion that is basically condemning him to death and still bangs him. Call me cold hearted but I can't see it happening, and that probably stops me from considering this a great film.

Apart from that, very good nom!

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jiraffejustin's Avatar
R.I.P. Billy Conforto
Pulp Fiction

An early favorite of mine and important in the trajectory of film watching habits, Pulp Fiction will always hold a special, little place in my chubby, little heart. It's the film that showed me how cool movies could be. From this film, I checked out some of Godard's 60's output, and I enjoyed that. That lead me to check out different film movements, and from there I saw some Italian neo-realism and then some film noir and blahblahblah. I credit Pulp Fiction and a couple other films for being the table setters for me, so whenever those films pop up in Hall of Fames that I am participating in, they have a built-in advantage.

The obvious reason to like Pulp Fiction is that it is really cool. The dialogue doesn't feel like real people speaking, but if we were all as cool as we wanted to be, it would feel like real people talking. I can see how that could possibly be a turn-off for some, but it works wonders for me. Tarantino's presentation is flawless in this film. He plays with the timeline, but he makes sure all of the questions are answered and there aren't any lose ends.

Every now and then I think about Christopher Walken talking about shoving a watch up his ass, and I can't believe that he does that in one of my favorite movies of all-time.




Return to Paradise (1998)

Loved the premise and the moral exploration of the theme of responsibility...that's my kind of movie.

But I hated how the actors, especially Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche acted so light heartened in so many of the scenes, which then diluted any power the movie's moral dilemma had. A scene would start out strong only to have Vince end it by grinning at Anne Heche...I've never seen more smirks and smiles than in this movie. For the subject matter, the tone of the film was too light, except for Joaquin Phoenix who added needed believably to the otherwise mess of a movie.

The characters almost never delivered their lines like a person's life actually depended on them. I didn't believe them for one second, as they didn't act like they believed the situation themselves.

What derailed the film was the romance thing between Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche, it added way too much lightness to what needed to be a hard hitting film. I actually laughed a couple time at the daft way the characters handled themselves...At the beginning of the film Anne Heche confronts Vince Vaughn on the street and tells him his friend will be executed in 8 days if he doesn't return to Malaysia to serve jail time (Heche was OK there but then) she goes from serious to happy chirpy when she says 'how about dinner?' 'how about drinks'...The film lost me right there. Then again the script doesn't offer the actors much to work with but ad-hoc gimmicks. But it's the director who I blame most as the entire movie felt too light weight for the seriousness of the subject matter.

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Gaslight well this is my nomination and on rewatch I didn't really notice anything different from what I loved about the first time. This is sort of a horror movie/drama/suspense type film, really it's a play adaptation and you can at times feel it with the limited cast. But the film is still brilliant as it plays with the ideas of relationships and sanity.

Bergman clearly won the Oscar with the brilliant double ending the film has in it's third act. But it shouldn't be glossed over what a wonderful rat basta@#$ Charles Boyer is in this. You can see what he's doing the entire time but you can also see how he's manipulated and subjugated the women around him so well.

The interiors and exteriors of the film are just amazing it feels like a period piece, with the Hitchcockian flare to it.




The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible
Open Range (Kevin Costner, 2003)

My opinion of Costner as an actor is similar to as a director: not bad at all, but not a genius either.
There are some parts I really liked about this: the opening is very solid, and the build up is slow but well paced. The shoot out is definitely the best of this film, especially that first few shots, really exciting. It drags a bit towards the end of said shoot out but nothing critical.
I also liked the relationship between the leading duo and how the folks from the town seemed friendly and familiar. And the cinematography looks stunning.

What I didn't like, and this is something that usually is a important aspect for me, is the writing. The dialogues, especially between Costner and the woman, seem artificial and forced. The whole romantic thing comes from nowhere. Also, after the shooting is finished, every minute the film took, was a minute too long. This could have been easily 30 minutes less.

A good film, but one I don't plan on revisiting.

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The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible
Only two rewatches left, and two I'm really looking forward to. I'll download Cinema Paradiso to watch it on the airplane in a few days, while flying to Switzerland!