Phillydude's Movie Log - February, 2012
I look forward to this each February because it is a solid month of Oscar nominated and Oscar winning movies to watch - and it's a good way to catch up on classics I haven't seen yet, plus it doesn't end until March, so when the marathon is over, Winter is over too and it will be time for Spring.
2324 7.4 8.11. Rocky (1976)
Watched February 1st - TCM - Rewatch
"It really don't matter if I lose this fight, it really don't matter if this guy opens my head, either. 'Cause all I wanna do is go the distance - nobody's ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I'm still standin' - I'm gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren't just another bum from the neighborhood."
- Rocky Balboa
This year TCM's theme is around the world - grouping the movies shown by the area in the world where they are set.
It is very appropriate that on the first night the focus was on movies set in Philadelphia - and what better movie to show than Rocky, the film that put Philadelphia on the map cinematically speaking. I am not a big fan of boxing movies, but the exception is Rocky, maybe because even though the fight is very well done, it is almost incidental to the wonderful story and characters, when I have gone a while without seeing Rocky, I sometimes forget just how great a movie it really is.
639 8 8.12. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Watched February 2nd - TCM - Rewatch
"That's the odd thing George, somehow I had hoped that you would think better of me than I did." - Tracy Lord
The Philadelphia Story is another of my favorite Philadelphia movies - Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart have perfect chemistry together - my favorite scene is still Stewart carrying Hepburn while singing 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' - I love that - Stewart won an Oscar for this role - and I am surprised that it is the only Oscar that he won - I really don't know what the Academy is thinking sometimes.
1166 7.5 8.13. Gandhi (1982)
Watched February 3rd - TCM - Rewatch
"I may be blinded by my love for him, but I believe when we most needed it, he offered the world a way out of madness - but he doesn't see it, neither does the world." - Mirabehn
I have always thought that Gandhi was the best biopic ever made, but watching it again, it struck me that it really is one of the best movies of all time - The majesty of the movie is spectacular, especially the funeral scene, but at the same time it is a personal story that gets to the heart of who Gandhi was and what he believed in - it's a wonderful movie that teaches some valuable lessons and should be required viewing for political leaders so they can see what true leadership looks like.
172 7.3 7.44. A Passage to India (1984)
Watched February 4th - TCM - Rewatch
"Oh, Mrs. Moore, our great day is in tatters - I will never forgive myself." - Aziz
Another 3 hour epic about India, A Passage To India is a smaller and more intimate story than Gandhi, but both movies are so engrossing that 3 hours doesn't seem that long at all - It's about an English woman accusing an Indian man of sexual assault - the performances, particularly by Judy Davis and Victor Banerjee are excellent - I first saw the movie in 1984, but the movie holds up well, I know because I was yelling at the screen just as much as I did the first time I saw it.
253 7.8 7.95. Gaslight (1944)
Watched February 4th - TCM -
"I couldn't have dreamed it - Did I dream? - Are you telling me that I've dreamed all that happened? - Then it's true, my mind is going." - Paula Alquist
Gaslight is a Hitchcockian style mystery thriller about a woman who thinks she is going insane. Ingrid Bergman won an Oscar for the role and deservedly so, It is also the first film for a young Angela Lansbury. The movie is a little tame compared to the thrillers of today and it's a bit predictable, however it's still an entertaining film to watch - It is also nice to find out where the term gaslighting originated - I am sure many a psycho has used this movie as blueprint on how to gaslight someone.
294 8.3 8.36. To Be or Not to Be (1942)
Watched February 6th - TCM -
"Well Colonel, all I can say is - you can't have your cake and shoot it too." - Joseph Tura
I Love the Mel Brooks version of To Be Or Not To Be, but up till now I had not seen the original all the way through. This version tells basically the same story but with more drama, while the Brooks version is played mostly for laughs - This is one time that the remake is clearly better than the original - It's better in every way - I guess the original being made during WWII was the reason it wasn't played more for laughs, but then why cast Jack Benny in the lead? Maybe if I hadn't seen the remake I would have liked this version more, but all I could think as I was watching was - Mel Brooks did it better.
204 6.9 7.57. The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
Watched February 7th - TCM - Rewatch
"I still believe in spite of everything that people are really good at heart." - Anne Frank
I think The Diary Of Anne Frank is one of the best movies made about the Holocaust because it breaks the enormity of what happened down to the personal story of one girl trapped in an attic in Amsterdam. It has been a long time since I saw this movie and I forgot just how good a movie it is - the story is powerful and moving, but also romantic and humorous at times, it is also probably the most claustrophobic movie I have ever seen - I can't even imagine living two years under those conditions. I wish I could believe that people are good at heart, but seeing the way people treat each other, it is really hard to.
76 6.7 7.28. The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)
Watched February 7th - TCM - Rewatch
"There were 200,000 people there that night, and when we came back home, there were 4 million people waiting." - Charles Lindbergh
One of the reasons I enjoy movies is I like to be taken back in time to see different events in history - and The Spirit Of St Louis let me visit one of the most famous events of the 20th century - Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean - The story of how it happened is told well and casting Jimmy Stewart as Lindbergh was inspired - One of America's most revered actors playing one of America's greatest heroes.
1785 7.2 7.79. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Watched February 10th - TCM - Rewatch
"I know this sounds crazy, but ever since yesterday on the road, I've been seeing this shape - Shaving cream, pillows -Dammit, I know this, I know what this is - this means something, this is important." - Roy Neary
1977 was the year that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg started a new era in sci-fi films - Lucas with Star Wars and Spielberg with the spectacular Close Encounters Of The Third Kind - I sometimes think that Close Encounters gets over shadowed by Star Wars, but I think it is one of the best sci-fi movies ever made - The characters and the story are great and the ending is jaw dropping, even on the small screen. Interesting to learn that Spielberg said he would have changed the ending if he had it to do over again, because I have always thought it was strange that Roy forgot that he had a family, but under the circumstances I guess it was understandable.
127 6.6 6.910. Cat Ballou (1965)
Watched January 11th - TCM -
"Yeah, it's all over in Dodge. Tombstone, too, Cheyenne, Deadwood, all gone, all dead and gone. Why, the last time I came through Tombstone, the big excitement there was about the new rollerskate rink that they had laid out over the OK Corral." - Kid Sheleen
Cat Ballou was a comedy western that wasn't funny enough to be a comedy and wasn't serious enough to be a western.
Lee Marvin got an Oscar for his duel role, but I though he was over the top in his performance and trying to hard to be funny instead of letting it flow naturally - I didn't think it was his best work. Jane Fonda did Ok in the title role, but I don't think it was her best work either. The highlight of the movie for me was the musical narration of Nat King Cole - that was amusing and made the movie worth watching - in short, Cat Ballou had its moments, but I did not think it lived up to its reputation.
83 7.3 7.411. Going My Way (1944)
Watched February 11th - TCM -
"I'm sure that the way to say what I'd like to say will occur to me after you've gone." - Father Fitzgibbons
Going My Way won the Best Picture Oscar for 1944, but I don't understand why - there was no real plot to speak of
and nothing much of interest happens to anybody. Bing Crosby stars as an affable Priest assigned to a financially troubled parish - but the few problems the Priest has are solved so easily that there is no drama to the story - I did like Crosby singing his signature song 'Swinging On A Star' and the ending was sweet, other than that the movie was tedious.
319 7.6 7.912. Wait Until Dark (1967)
Watched February 11th - TCM -
"Did you know they wanted to kill me? - I did - I knew even before they did, they were awful amateurs, and that's why you saw through them." - Roat
The second part of my Saturday triple feature was the polar opposite of Going My Way - Plenty happens in Wait Until Dark - It's about a blind woman terrorized by drug dealers - It is a well constructed thriller with great performances by Alan Arkin and Audrey Hepburn - Arkin in particular was perfect as the psycho villain - I also loved the creepy Halloween sounding music which added to the mood. There were plot holes such as why didn't she go hide in the upstairs apartment and call the police? And I thought the editing/directing could have been better at times - but on the whole I thought it was a very entertaining movie that makes my favorites of the 60's list.
283 7.4 7.513. 3 Days of the Condor (1975)
Watched February 12th - TCM -
"It will happen this way - You may be walking, maybe the first sunny day of the spring and a car will slow beside you, and a door will open, and someone you know, maybe even trust, will get out of the car and he will smile, a becoming smile - but he will leave open the door of the car and offer to give you a lift."
Newman gave Kramer that warning in the Junk Mail episode of Seinfeld - had know idea that was a movie reference until now - 3 Days Of The Condor is another movie that would make my favorite movie titles list - you know just from the title that it is going to be a cool movie - It is a CIA spy thriller staring Robert Redford - it is exciting, but like most spy movies, it gets a bit confusing, I am still not sure who the good guys were and who were the bad guys - and the ending was a complete WTF?
257 8 814. In Cold Blood (1967)
Watched February 13th - TCM -
"It doesn't make sense, I mean what happened or why. It had nothing to do with the Clutters - They never hurt me, they just happened to be there. I thought Mr. Clutter was a very nice gentleman - I thought so right up to the time I cut his throat." - Perry Smith
I avoided this movie for years because I thought it would be to disturbing - I wasn't even sure about watching it this time, but I am glad that I finally did because it is an excellent movie - It is about the well known murder of the Clutter family in 1959, made famous by Truman Capote's book about the case - It is a disturbing movie to be sure, but it also goes in depth to give a psychological profile of the killers - Robert Blake is excellent in an irony filled role (especially when the discussion turns to the differences in justice for rich people and poor people) The end of the movie becomes a not to subtle debate on the merits of the death penalty, but it's done well - In Cold Blood is one of the best true life crime movies I've ever watched.
331 7.3 7.615. The Guns of Navarone (1961)
Watched February 13th - TCM -
"You think that you've been getting away with it all this time, standing by - well son, your by standing days are over, you're in it now up to your neck - they told me that you are a genius with explosives - start proving it! - you got me in the mood to use this thing and by God if you don't think of something I'll use it on you." - Captain Keith Mallory
When I was in High School I was addicted to WWII books and movies - I thought I had seen all of the good WWII movies, but somehow I missed this one. The Guns Of Navarone is a very good drama about a commando team sent to destroy a pair of huge German guns on an Greek Island in the Aegean Sea. Gregory Peck and Anthony Quinn star in it and both are excellent, I just wish there were more scenes between them, especially after the way their characters are set up as enemies forced to work together, The action is terrific in a old fashioned war movie kind of way - it isn't as gritty and realistic as it would be if the movie were made today, but it is an exciting and very well done movie which I would rank just below The Great Escape and The Dirty Dozen among best WWII films.
1530 8.3 8.516. North by Northwest (1959)
Watched February 15th - TCM -
"Now you listen to me, I'm an advertising man - not a red herring. I've got a job, a secretary, a mother, two ex-wives and several bartenders depended upon me, and I don't intend to disappoint them all by getting myself slightly killed." - Roger Thornhill
I read that North by Northwest is called the first James Bond movie and for good reason, it has everything the Bond movies had, a dashing, charming hero, a mysterious woman the hero falls for but doesn't know if he can trust, a charismatic bad guy with a spectacular hide out, over elaborate schemes to kill the hero instead of, you know, simply walking up and shooting him in the head, a thrilling final fight scene and finally the last shot that has been copied in every Bond movie that I have seen. The movie is just awesome from beginning to end, and speaking of Bond - after seeing four Cary Grant movies this month, I have come to the opinion that he would have been a better choice for the first James Bond than Sean Connery.
56 7.3 7.317. Born Free (1966)
Watched February 16th - TCM - Rewatch
"She was born free and she has the right to live free."
- Joy Adamson
Born Free is my favorite wildlife movie - it is a true story
about a British couple living in Kenya who adopt and raise an orphaned lion cub they name Elsa, the least they could do after the husband killed Elsa's parents, and then after she has grown up, they try to set her free back into the wild - it is as sentimental and heartwarming as movies get and the song chokes me up every time - it might also be the reason that I have never liked zoos, wild animals were meant to live free.
150 6.8 7.418. The Black Stallion (1979)
Watched February 16th - TCM - Rewatch
"Alexander The Great's horse, Dad gave it to me just before the storm, it reminds me of The Black and me - Alexander's father gave it to him before he died" - Alec Ramsey
The second of a double feature of two of my favorite animal movies. The Black Stallion differs from most boy and his horse movies in that there is little dialog in the movie, there is even a 30 minute segment when Alec and The Black are stranded on a deserted Island together where there is no dialog at all - that segment is as beautifully shot as any that I have ever seen - when the action returns home it turns into more of a normal movie, but it still manages to avoid most of the cliches of horse movies - Steven Spielberg didn't make this movie, but he sure could have because it reminds me a little of E.T. - which makes sense since Melissa Mathison wrote both movies.
311 7.7 819. Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
Watched February 17th - TCM - Rewatch
"Accept them? - How can I accept them? - can I deny everything I believe in? - on the other hand, can I deny my own daughter? - on the other hand, how can I turn my back on my faith, my people, if I try and bend that far I'll break -
On the other hand, No, there is no other hand!" - Tevye
Fiddler on The Roof is one of my all time favorite musicals, which I somehow forgot to include on my favorite musicals list, an oversight that will be corrected. I love the songs - especially Matchmaker and If I Were A Rich Man - but the story dealing with religious traditions in a changing world and the underlying theme of religious intolerance is excellent as well. I also like that it doesn't have the happy tied up with a bow ending that most musicals have, it is a sad and yet hopeful ending.
400 7.7 820. In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Watched February 17th - TCM -
"They call me Mister Tibbs." - Virgil Tibbs
I had seen the TV show In The Heat Of The Night with Howard Rollins and Carol O'Conner, but this is the first time I have seen the movie the show was based on. The problem with the movie is that it seemed like a glorified episode of the TV show, and even though Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger gave good performances, there was nothing special about the story - the murder case was rather pedestrian with a confusing solution, I still don't know what the motive for the murder was. A black Detective investigating a murder in the south was considered daring in the 60's, so for that the movie deserves notice, but other than that I thought it was pretty forgettable.
2758 8.2 8.621. Casablanca (1942)
Watched February 18th - TCM - Rewatch
"I've got a job to do, too - Where I'm going, you can't follow, what I've got to do, you can't be any part of. Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that - Now, now - Here's looking at you kid." - Rick Blaine
I don't know if there is such a thing as the perfect movie, but Casablanca comes as close to flawless as any movie I've ever seen, every line and scene is golden - as many times as I've watched it, I still discover a moment that I didn't full appreciate before, it is easily my favorite black & white movie of all time as well as one of my favorite romantic movies and it's one of two movies that I will always make room for in the TCM marathon.
2120 7.8 8.222. Gone with the Wind (1939)
Watched February 18th - TCM - Rewatch
"No, I don't think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly - that's what's wrong with you - you should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how." - Rhett Butler
Gone With The Wind is the other movie that I will always make time for during TCM's Oscar marathon. For my money it is still the best movie ever made - it is certainly the best 4 hour opus ever made, it is even longer for me since I like to replay so many scenes. It is a sweeping epic love story set to the backdrop of the civil war, but at the movie's heart it really is the first soap opera, featuring the dashing Rhett Butler, the wooden headed Ashley Wilkes, The breathtakingly clueless Melanie Hamilton and of course the breathtakingly self centered Scarlett O'Hara - the movie even ends with a soap opera style cliffhanger - I don't know which I enjoyed more - Rhett's goodbye to Scarlett or Rick's goodbye to Ilsa in Casablanca - but I do think Rick and Rhett were cut from the same cloth.
246 7.8 7.823. The Day of the Jackal (1973)
Watched February 19th - TCM -
"The plot described above constitutes, in my view, the most dangerous single conception that the terrorists could possibly have devised to endanger the life of President De Gaulle, if the plot exists as described, and if a foreign-born assassin whose codename may be 'Jackal' has in fact been engaged for this attempt on the life of the President." - Colonel Roland
The Day Of The Jackal is another movie that sounds good just from the title. It is about an assassination attempt on the life of Charles De Gaulle by a man called The Jackal and the international investigation that tries to stop it. It is an excellent story that kept me engaged, even though I knew the ending. I did think they could have done a better job building the tension and Edward Fox reminded me more of David Bowie than a ruthless assassin, he was much creepier as General Dyer in Gandhi, but it was a still a very entertaining thriller.
1115 7.4 024. Spartacus
Watched February 20th - TCM -
"Death is the only freedom a slave knows, that's why he isn't afraid of it - that's why we'll win." - Spartacus
Ben Hur and Spartacus are two similar ancient times epics that came out a year apart - I've seen Ben Hur, but this is the first time I've watched Spartacus - I liked Spartacus better, mostly because there were no religious over tones to the story - it was just a straight out action/adventure movie about a slave who leads a rebellion against the Roman Empire - Kirk Douglas starred as Spartacus and was terrific, although he had really great teeth for a slave - The Romans must have had an excellent dental plan. Both the stories of the revolt and the political dealings in Rome trying to stop it are told very well.
877 8 8.125. Strangers on a Train (1951)
Watched February 22nd - TCM - Rewatch
"It's so simple to, two fellas meet accidentally like you and me, no connection between them at all, never saw each other before - each one has somebody that he'd like to get rid of, so they swap murders." - Bruno Antony
Criss-cross - Alfred Hitchcock's absolutely brilliant idea for a movie - I think the set up for the idea of how to get away with the perfect murder was genius, but the follow through gets away from that idea as it evolves into a psycho stalker movie - so as good as the movie is, I would rather both characters had followed through with their murders just to see if they would have gotten away with it. Strangers On a Train was remade for laughs in Throw Mamma From The Train with Danny DeVito and Billy Crystal and I actually like that version better, although I also liked how that movie payed homage to the original.
649 7.9 8.426. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Watched February 22nd - TCM - Rewatch
"A lot of fancy words around this town, some of them are carved in stone - I guess the Taylors and Paines put them up there so that suckers like me can read them, then when you find out what men actually do, well I'm getting out of this town so fast - away from all the words and the monuments and the whole rotten show." - Jefferson Smith
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was one of the 1939 best picture nominees I didn't get to last year, so I made sure to fit it in this year, and it might be more appropriate to watch it this year as the Presidential election is heating up. It is amazing how ahead of its time this movie was - if Mr. Smith thought there was a lot of graft and corruption in Washington in the 30's - I can't image what he would think now - Congressmen don't do anything unless their contributors and lobbyists tell them to and now Filibusters are not 'Democracy in action' - they are just used to obstruct everything the opposing party wants to do - It was inspirational to see Mr. Smith fighting for what was right, but it was a little sad too, because nobody in Washington today would know how to spell integrity.
815 7.8 827. All the President's Men (1976)
Watched February 23rd - TCM - Rewatch
"Now hold it, hold it - We're about to accuse Haldeman, who only happens to be the second most important man in this country, of conducting a criminal conspiracy from inside the White House - It would be nice if we were right." - Ben Bradlee
You have to wonder what Jefferson Smith would have thought of the Watergate scandal, if there was any idealism left about politics in America of the kind Mr. Smith believed in - Watergate destroyed it. All The President's Men is not the most exciting movie, much of it is dry and involves a lot of talking on the phone - but it does give an excellent expose of how the Watergate investigation that brought down a President unfolded, as well as a good case study of how investigative journalism and newsrooms work - I think
Mr. Smith would have admired Woodward and Bernstein.
210 7.5 7.928. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
Watched February 23rd - TCM -
"When you're back in England with the fleet again, you'll hear the hue and cry against me - from now on they'll spell mutiny with my name, I regret that but not the taking of the ship - every time I think of Bligh, well, I'd do it again."
- Fletcher Christian
The first of two back to back versions I am watching of the classic tale - Mutiny On The Bounty. This version won the best picture Oscar for 1935 and I think deservedly so - it was excellent - Charles Laughton as the sadistic Captain Bligh and Clark Gable as the mutinous Fletcher Christian gave terrific performances - even though Gable was without his trademark mustache - the movie told the story of the mutiny very well, it was engaging, well paced and the special effects and look of the movie were remarkable for a film made over 70 years ago.
118 6.8 7.229. Mutiny on the Bounty (1962)
Watched February 24th -TCM -
"I'm not leaving you Mr. Christian, not ever, go to the dirtiest little corner of the world and I'll be there right behind you with a rope in my hand." - Captain Bligh
The 1962 version of Mutiny On The Bounty is bigger, longer and more extravagant than the original, but bigger doesn't always equal better - the main difference in the movies was the character of Fletcher Christian- Brando's version was more introspective than Gable's, and there was a slower build from a submissive first mate to a mutineer - Gable's version on the other hand was sick of Bligh's crap from the get go and had no qualms about what he did - Trevor Howard was a good Bligh, but he came across more as a tyrannical British officer, rather than the sheer sadistic monster Charles Laughton's Bligh was - I thought the Mutiny and the trial were handled more dramatically in the original, but the ending of the remake was better - I am not sure which version is more historically accurate, but on the whole, the original was the better movie.
116 7.6 7.930. Mister Roberts (1955)
Watched February 25th - TCM - Rewatch
"How did you get in the Navy? How did you get on our side? Aw, you ignorant, arrogant, ambitious - keeping sixty two men in prison 'cause you got a palm tree for the work they did - I don't know which I hate worse, you or that other malignant growth that stands outside the door"
- Doug Roberts
Mister Robers is another movie about a tyrannical sea captain, but this time it is mostly played for laughs, Henry Fonda is an officer on a supply ship in pacific that's stuck in the rear lines during WWII and dreams of nothing more than getting to the front lines and escaping his ogre of a captain, played perfectly by James Cagney, who cares about his precious palm tree more than the moral of his men. It is a good combination of humor and drama and is one of my favorite of Fonda's movies.
123 7.6 7.831. The Letter (1940)
Watched February 25th - TCM -
"Strange that a man can live with a woman for ten years and not know the first thing about her." - Howard Joyce
The Letter is a mystery about a woman who kills a man and claims it was in self defense, but a letter surfaces that casts doubt on her story. Bette Davis plays the duplicitous Leslie Crosbie, she is excellent as always and really carries the movie. It is a good story but a bit predictable, the highlight of the movie for me was the opening, where you could tell right from the start that Leslie is seriously ticked off about something.
544 8 8.232. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Watched February 26th - TCM -
"Then it don't matter. I'll be all around in the dark - I'll be everywhere, wherever you can look - wherever there's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there - Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there - I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad, I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready, and when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build - I'll be there too. "
- Tom Joad
I put off watching The Grapes of Wrath up until now because the story sounded so depressing, and it is one of the most depressing movies I have ever watched, but it is also a tribute to the human spirit, about what people will endure to survive - Henry Fonda gets all the accolades for his performance as Tom Joad - and there is no doubt that his performance was brilliant - but for me the heart and soul of the movie was Jane Darwell as Ma Joad - her struggle to keep her family together against all the cruelty the family endured was inspiring and made me think that maybe I don't have it as bad as I think I do at times.
1541 8.1 8.433. Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Watched February 27th - TCM -
"I'm singin' in the rain, just singin' in the rain, What a glorious feelin' I'm happy again, I'm laughing at clouds so dark up above, the sun's in my heart and I'm ready for love"
- Don Lockwood
I marked Singin' In The Rain down as a first time viewing because I don't remember watching it before, but this movie would have been right in my Mother's wheelhouse as far as her favorite movies go, so I am sure I watched it with her at some point - it is a musical comedy about a conceited silent movie star at the dawn of talking pictures who falls for an aspiring actress - an appropriate movie to watch the day after The Artist won the best picture Oscar. The story is funny and entertaining but the joy of the movie is the singing and dancing of Gene Kelly, Donald O'Conner and Debbie Reynolds - my favorite numbers were Make Them Laugh, Good Morning and of course the exuberant Singin' In The Rain which I am sure I will whistle to the next time I get caught in the rain.
44 6.7 7.534. Harry and Tonto (1974)
Watched February 28th - TCM -
“That’s life - an old man loses his home and he’s just a wanderer.” - Harry Coombes
Harry and Tonto is about an elderly man who loses his home, so he sets out on a cross country trip with his beloved cat, visiting his three children along the way. Now I love cats, but there is a reason that there are a lot more dog movies than cat movies, it's because cats are far to independent to have good screen chemistry with their human partners, and that was the main problem with this movie - I never felt the connection between Harry and Tonto that would have given the movie some real emotion. There are a few amusing and sweet moments during Harry's trip across the country but the movie never really drew me in - Art Carney won the best actor Oscar for his role as Harry over Al Pacino in The Godfather Part II and Jack Nicholson in Chinatown - the only way that makes any sense to me at all is if cats did the Oscar voting that year.
666 7.4 7.535. To Catch a Thief (1955)
Watched February 28th - TCM - Rewatch
"You know, I have about the same interest in jewelery that I have in politics, horse racing, modern poetry and women who need weird excitement - None" - John Robie
I had a mini Cary Grant film fest this month, watching five of his movies. I didn't take Grant seriously as an actor for a long time because I bought into the parodies and caricatures of him, but I have come to realize that he is a very good actor, and as I said earlier - he would have made an wonderful James Bond. I liked To Catch A Thief, but not as much as other Hitchcock movies - It is lighter than most of his movies and doesn't have enough of the twists and suspense that I have come to expect from Hitch. The part I did like was the relationship between Grant's and Grace Kelly's characters - their banter was amusing and they had sparkling chemistry.
280 7.6 7.936. The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
Watched February 29th - TCM - Rewatch
"We are going away to another place, where a man isn't crowded and can come into his own, we are not little men,
so we are going away to be Kings - Kings of Kafiristan"
Wrapped up the month of February by watching one of my all time favorite moves - The Man Who Would Be King - It is a adventure tale about two British vagabonds who set out to become rulers of a small country and then loot the place of its treasures - Sean Connery and Michael Caine star and they are both remarkable, the friendship between the two men is very believable - a very entertaining movie with a beautiful score and there is a lesson in it about knowing when to quit while you're ahead. This wraps up my February log, but the 31 Days of Oscar isn't over yet - the conclusion will be in my March log.
1970 7.8 7.937. Drive (2011)
Watched February 4th - Redbox DVD -
"I give you five minutes when we get there, anything happens in that five minutes and I'm yours, Anything a minute on either side of that and you're on your own, I don't sit in while you're running it down, I don't carry a gun - I drive." - Driver
Now I like violent movies as much as the next person -
Pulp Fiction, Scarface and Taxi Driver among lots of others, but Good God - this movie made me want to go watch Gandhi again. The problem with Drive for me was that the characters were not developed enough and the story was not strong enough to over come all of the nauseatingly graphic violence.
3737 6.4 6.838. Liar Liar (1997)
Watched February 4th - VUDU Streaming - Rewatch
"I wish that for only one day, Dad couldn't tell a lie."
- Max Reede
After Drive I needed a few laughs, so I watched Liar, Liar - One of my favorite Jim Carrey comedies - he plays a pathological liar who is forced to go though a full day of telling nothing but the truth after his son makes a birthday wish. I'm not a huge fan of Carrey, but this movie is right in his wheelhouse and he's hysterical in it - my favorite moment was when he tried to stop a plane from taking off by throwing his shoe at the cockpit.
1772 7.6 7.739. Midnight in Paris (2011)
Watched February 6th - Amazon Streaming -
"I don't get here often enough, that's the problem. Can you picture how drop dead gorgeous this city is in the rain? - Imagine this town in the '20s - Paris in the '20s, in the rain." - Gil
Midnight In Paris is a charming Woody Allen comedy about a man who wishes he lived in Paris during the 20's and through the magic of Paris - he gets his wish. It is a fable that reminded me of one of my favorite Woody Allen movies - The Purple Rose Of Cairo - I don't think this movie is as good at that one - it starts off well and then kind of runs out of steam by the end, but it is an enjoyable movie and teaches a good lesson about appreciating the time you live in, instead of trying to live in the past - personally I'm still stuck in the 80's.
62 7.4 740. My Bodyguard (1980)
Watched February 8th - Netflix Streaming - Rewatch
"Moody, I'd like you to meet my bodyguard, anything you want to say to me you talk to him first - Now what was that you were saying?" - Clifford Peache
My Bodyguard is the dream movie for anybody who was bullied when they were in school. It is about getting even with bullies and that part of the story is told very well, a Pre-Outsiders Matt Dillon plays the bully and plays him well - he was so unlikeable that I couldn't wait for him to get his comeuppance. However, the movie also has underlying themes of friendship and redemption that make it more than just another high school movie - I had seen the movie a long time ago, but had forgotten about it - props to jaytoast for bringing it back to my attention - it is an 80's gem that I enjoyed watching again.
916 7.1 7.641. Moneyball (2011)
Watched February 9th - Amazon Streaming -
"I know these guys, I know the way they think, and they will erase us and everything we've done here, none of it'll matter. Any other team wins the World Series, good for them - They're drinking champagne, they get a ring - But if we win, on our budget, with this team we'll have changed the game - And that's what I want, I want it to mean something" - Billy Bean
Personally I think Baseball was doing just fine without Billy Bean and his Moneyball - there is a romance and poetry to Baseball that can't be measured in spread sheets, percentages and statistics - Baseball is about talent and heart - I always found the topic of moneyball to be boring and annoying - so it was no surprise that I found the movie boring and annoying as well - I was especially annoyed at the crawl at the end trying to give Billy Bean the credit for the Red Sox Championships - Oh please. The only thing that saved the movie from complete tedium was Brad Pitt, who gave an excellent performance.
1451 6.9 6.742. The Tree of Life (2011)
Watched February 12th - Amazon Streaming -
"Where were you? - you let a boy die, you let anything happen - why should I be good when you aren't?" - Jack
The Tree Of Life was two hours and eighteen minutes of boring, pretentious, pseudo-intellectual, Gobbledygook - The movie was trying hard to be artsy, but it just made no sense to me whatsoever. There were a couple of moments in the scenes between Jack and his Father that I thought the movie was about to get interesting, but those moments quickly passed - It's easily one of the worst movies I have ever seen.
326 7.3 7.643. An Affair to Remember (1957)
Watched February 14th - Netflix Streaming -
"Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories, we've already missed the spring." - Terry McKay
The first I had heard of An Affair To Remember was when I saw it referenced to in Sleepless in Seattle, but this is the first time I've seen the whole movie. Cary Grant is at his charming best, and his romance with Deborah Kerr was enchanting without being to syrupy - I thought the ending was a bit abrupt - I was thinking no, wait - you can't end the movie there, I want to see what happens next - It was a little different than I expected from watching Sleepless In Seattle, but it was a heartwarming movie to watch on Valentine's Day.
39 6.5 6.444. S.O.B. (1981)
Watched February 20th - VUDU Streaming - Rewatch
"I could sue you for calling me that, Polly - A shyster is a disreputable lawyer - I'm a Quack." - Dr. Irving Finegarten
S.O.B. is a scathing satire of the movie making business, which I think might be one of the reasons the DVD is so hard to get a hold of, I finally made it my first digital movie purchase and it was well worth it - In addition to being a wicked satire, it is hysterically funny with great performances by Richard Mulligan and Robert Preston and the movie also has a lot of fun with Julie Andrews' image - S.O.B. is one of my all time favorites.
1995 6.4 6.745. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Watched February 24th - Amazon Streaming - Rewatch
"The fountain does test you, Gibbs - but better to not know which moment may be your last, every morsel of your entire being alive to the infinite mystery of it all, and who's to say I won't live forever, eh? - Discoverer of the fountain of youth - I have no say in it, Gibbs, It's a pirate's life for me - Savvy?" - Captain Jack Sparrow
Watching back to back Mutiny On The Bounty movies put me in the mood for pirate movies, so I decided to give Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides another watch. The POTC trilogy wrapped up perfectly so there was no need whatsoever for this movie - That being said, I enjoyed it, not as much as its predecessors but it was fun and entertaining and Captain Jack Sparrow remains one of my all time favorite characters.
484 7.2 7.446. The Italian Job (1969)
Watched February 29 - Netflix Streaming -
"It's a very difficult job and the only way to get through it is we all work together as a team - and that means you do everything I say." - Charlie Croker
The Italian Job reminded me of the Ocean's movies, not a good thing as I didn't like those movies - but I liked this movie better because unlike the Ocean's movies it had an actual story and stuff. Michael Caine stars as a thief who hatches a scheme for a daring robbery of a gold shipment in Italy. The robbery and the ensuing car chase were the best part of the movie, my problem with it was the characters were not developed enough to make me care if they succeeded or not and the mafia angle was introduced and then just dropped which was disappointing - I did however love the ending - talk about a real cliffhanger.
Movie Exchange Program
I am exchanging movies from my collection with movies from Xanadon't, the giraffe and jaytoast's collections during the year and will put the movies I see in this section - first up are movies from Xanadon't
875 7.9 8.247. Notorious (1946)
Watched February 5th - Xanadon't's DVD collection -
"Dry your eyes baby, it's out of character." - Devlin
Notorious is an Alfred Hitchcock movie I hadn't seen yet and I thank Xanadon't for giving me the opportunity to do so. It has everything you would want in a Hitchcock movie - mystery, suspense, romance - even a crazy mother - Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant have great chemistry, their romance reminded me a little of Bogart and Bergman in Casablanca - speaking of Casablanca, it was also fun to see Claude Rains again. Hithcock shows again why he is considered the master of suspense with this movie - I would rank Notorious just a notch below my three Hitch favorites - Psycho, The Birds and Rear Window.
1078 8 8.148. Roman Holiday (1953)
Watched February 14th - Xanadon't's DVD Collection -
"The mouth of truth - legend is that if you are given to lying and put your hand in there - it will be bitten off." - Joe Bradley
Roman Holiday was part two of my Valentine's Day double feature and, as with An Affair To Remember, it was not exactly what I was expecting. Both characters were lying to each other about who they were, and Gregory Peck's character in particular was acting like a first rate cad, which is an unusual role for Peck who usually plays a statuesque hero, for that reason I couldn't buy into their romance - I did like the guided tour of Rome and there are some fun and very amusing scenes, but I didn't have a good feeling when the movie was over, maybe I wasn't supposed to - This is the kind of movie that will keep me up the next two nights thinking about it.
149 6.7 6.849. Who's That Knocking at My Door? (1967)
Watched February 25th - Xanadon't's DVD Collection -
"Everybody should like westerns, solve everybody’s problems if they liked westerns." - J.R.
This was Martin Scorsese's first film, so I will make allowances for the low budget look of the movie and the camera work that was making me seasick. I found a lot of what was going on hard to follow, the exception being the relationship between J.R. and the girl, that I enjoyed, even if I ended up wanting to smack J.R. through a wall for being such an unfeeling bastard. My favorite part of the movie was when J.R. and the girl talked about John Wayne movies - you could see a linear progression straight from that scene to Hugo - Scorsese's love of movies showed through there - Who's That Knocking at My Door was the first effort of a fledgling great director, and on that basis it wasn't to bad, but Scorsese had better movies in his future.
Totals For The Month
I saw lots of great first time movies this month with eight ranking nine or ten stars while I only saw a handful of clunkers ranking below 5 stars. The 31 Days of Oscar was a lot of fun and I succeeded in not having to many repeats from last year as well as being on track for my goal of watching 40 movies - I saw 36 this month and the last four will be watched in the first two days of March. I didn't get out to the theaters this month but I didn't expect to, I will have more time to get out next month and hopefully I will.
1980 7 7.550. Total Recall (1990)
Total Movies Watched
49 Movies Watched
27 First Time Viewings
36 - TCM
4 - Amazon Streaming
3 - Netflix Streaming
3 - Xanadon't's DVD Collection
2 - VUDU Streaming
1 - Redbox DVD
10 Stars - 21
North By Northwest (1st Viewing)
Singin' In The Rain (1st Viewing)
The Grapes Of Wrath(1st Viewing)
Mutiny On The Bounty '35(1st Viewing)
In Cold Blood(1st Viewing)
Spartacus (1st Viewing)
Gone With The Wind(Rewatch)
Fiddler On The Roof(Rewatch)
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind(Rewatch)
The Diary Of Anne Frank(Rewatch)
A Passage To India(Rewatch)
The Black Stallion(Rewatch)
The Man Who Would Be King(Rewatch)
The Philadelphia Story(Rewatch)
9 Stars - 3
The Guns Of Navarone(1st Viewing)
The Day Of The Jackal(1st Viewing)
8 Stars - 6
Three Days Of The Condor(1st Viewing)
Roman Holiday(1st Viewing)
An Affair To Remember(1st Viewing)
Mutiny On The Bounty '62(1st Viewing)
Wait Until Dark(1st Viewing)
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington(Rewatch)
7 Stars - 9
Midnight In Paris(1st Viewing)
The Letter(1st Viewing)
To Catch a Thief(Rewatch)
Strangers On A Train(Rewatch)
All The President's Men(Rewatch)
The Spirit Of St. Louis(Rewatch)
Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides(Rewatch)
6 Stars - 2
The Italian Job(1st Viewing)
To Be Or Not To Be '42(1st Viewing)
5 Stars - 2
Who's That Knocking at My Door(1st Viewing)
Harry and Tonto(1st Viewing)
4 Stars - 4
In The Heat Of The Night(1st Viewing)
Going My Way(1st Viewing)
Cat Ballou (1st Viewing)
2 Stars - 1
1 Star - 1
The Tree Of Life(1st Viewing)
Movie Of The Month - Best movie I saw for the first time
NORTH BY NORTHWEST
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