Sunday, September 8, 2013

Hitting My Goal Three Months Early!

That's right I have seen fifty movies so far this year, my goal was to watch on average a movie a week.  Didn't think I'd reach it so early.  And with movies I have taped and will be on this year, I may get to only twenty behind before the year is over.  Five more films and some more years completed.

For Whom The Bell Tolls (1943) - The Ernest Hemingway novel that was actually turned into a good screenplay.  This was mainly because of removing the unnecessary political commentary and telling the story.  Add to that Gary Cooper, Ingrid Bergman and a bunch of other good actors, you get a well done film.  Gary Cooper is an American in Spain during their civil war and is helping with gorilla tactics for the Republicans, mostly in blowing up bridges.  It's not a good film to watch to learn about the Spanish Civil War seeing how Hemingway mainly showed up when there was no fighting, shot a machine gun into the air and then went off and got drunk.  Read up on John Dos Passos who ended up changing his political philosophy after he got back or George Orwell who ended up writing 1984 from his own experiences of barely getting out alive.

And 1943 is closed, clearly Casablanca is the best film.  It may not be one of my top favorites, but it is one of the best films and most popular films ever made.  The rest are not as good as Casablanca, but most are very strong contenders for second place.  It was have to go to The Human Comedy for it's drama and it's moral building story which makes it more than a movie.  Third would be The More The Merrier as a very funny comedy with really good acting.  For Whom The  Bell Tolls is fourth for being a very good film.  And the top half is filled with The Ox-Bow Incident, one of the finer westerns that was made.  The bottom half starts with Madame Curie and the great acting team of Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon as sixth.  Seventh is Song of Berndette a bit heavy on the religion and a bit too long.  Eighth is In Which We Serve, another propaganda WWII nominated film but this time from England.  Ninth is Watch On The Rhine which was an decent movie, but not good enough to win.  And tenth is Heaven Can Wait a film that probably didn't need to be nominated.

Hugo (2011) - A Martin Scorsese historic drama loosely based on the later years of filmmaker Georges Melies but through the eyes of a young homeless orphan living in a train station.  The story was good, the special effects were amazing, it is a very stylish film that is worth watching.  Most directors have a good bin and a bad bin for films.  Scorsese also has the incredible bin for films like Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, but this one falls into the good bin.

Although this is the eight film for the year with one more to watch, it is not better than The Artist, but is definitely in the top five and would have been nominated under the old structure.

My Left Foot (1989) - Somehow I never have seen this film until recently.  To be honest I didn't know much about the film, only seeing a clip during the Academy Awards and that Daniel Day Lewis won the Oscar for best actor.  It's based on the life story of Cristy Brown, a man who was born with cerebral palsy who could only control his left foot.  As a result he learned to do as much as you can with his foot including writing and painting.  While his life and death are very depressing, the film is positive, upbeat and shows his love of life.

This year was much better than the entire decade with the exception of 1980.  I would say that Driving Miss Daisy was the best film.  It wasn't a great film, but good enough to win best picture for the time it was made.  Second would be Born On The Fourth of July, which was supposed to be the sequel to Platoon, but wasn't as good.  Third would be My Left Foot which was much better than I thought, remember it was made in the 1980's so you have to understand my surprise.  Fourth is Dead Poets Society, another standard dry drama from the decade.  Last is Field of Dreams, a movie that was not very good but popular.  Quantity does not equal quality.

The Piano (1993) - A cheerful movie about a mute and her child sent to New Zealand as part of an arranged marriage from Scotland.  Film is missing lots of details, back story and gets very confusing at times.  Not very well directed either.  In fact I'm not sure why Holly Hunter won best actress, she didn't even speak.  Marlee Matlin had more dialogue when she won her Oscar.  And the best supporting actress to Anna Paquin because a Canadian girl put on a Scottish accent?  Overrated and not worth watching.

There is no contest here, Schindler's List was the best film.  It is an amazing film that I don't ever want to watch again, the last time I was depressed for days.  All the others combined are not even half as good.  Second would be The Fugitive mostly because I really liked the film and it was a good adventure movie, a genre that doesn't get nominated much.  Third would be In The Name of The Father, rather well acted and a solid film.  Fourth is The Remains of The Day, standard starchy Merchant Ivory film, but well done.  Fifth is The Piano, clearly securing the last spot.

Life Of Pi (2012) - Got to see a second movie from last year and more will be coming soon.  A very amazing film with great special effects.  Not sure why Ang Lee won best director, but I see why it won the technical awards, it deserved those.  It is the story of a young man who survives a shipwreck and trying to survive in a lifeboat with a tiger.  Watch it through to the very end and you will understand the symbolism of the movie, it's worth it.

While Life of Pi was a good movie, it wasn't as good as Beasts of The Southern Wild which is still currently in first place.

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