Phillydude's Movie Log - June, 2012
48 7 7.31. Tender Mercies (1983)
Watched June 1st - Amazon Streaming -
"You see, I don't trust happiness - I never did, I never will."
- Mac Sledge
I am making a project this Summer out of going through my top movie lists and giving them a makeover, in order to give myself a better idea of what movies I've seen and what I need to see, in the process I have found a number of movies I have missed or that are in need of a re-watch and I am opening up June with one of them. Tender Mercies was the movie that won Robert Duvall an Oscar in 1983 - he plays a burnt out, alcoholic ex- country music star who meets and marries a woman in a small Texas town and begins to turn his life around while trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter. The movie reminded me of Places In The Heart in that it isn't real exciting and not a lot of things happen, but it is a good, well acted story - there is also some good country music in the movie, including Duvall singing a couple of tunes and actually, I did think the plot of the movie kind of played like a country/western song.
624 6.9 72. My Week with Marilyn (2011)
Watched June 1st - VUDU Streaming -
"I'll tell you what's wrong - it's agony for him because he is a great actor who wants to be a film star, and it's agony for you because you're a film star who wants to be a great actress and this film won't help either of you." - Colin Clark
I couldn't think of two more different people than Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe, and I find it hard to imagine why anyone thought it would be a good idea to put them in a movie together, but My Week With Marilyn tells the story of what happened when someone did, not surprisingly things didn't go to well, they drove each other crazy - I thought that part of the film was interesting and also more than a little sad, but I really didn't get the essence of why Monroe was such a charismatic superstar form Michelle Williams' performance, maybe that was the point though - inside the Monroe persona she was an insecure, shy woman desperate for affection, while those closest to her were manipulating her for their own ends. I liked the relationship with Colin and their friendship was my favorite part of the movie, but being that the movie was based on his own diary, it made me wonder how much of it actually happened and how much of it only happened in his own imagination.
401 6.7 6.73. History of the World: Part I (1981)
Watched June 2nd - Netflix DVD -
1st Viewing - Rewatched June 3rd
"Here me, oh here me, all pay heed, the Lord, the Lord Jehovah has given unto you these 15 - oy - 10, 10 commandments for all to obey!" - Moses
I love Mel Brooks movies, so I don't know how this one got passed me for so long - in the History of the World Part 1 Brooks takes his own unique, fractured look at human history from the caveman days, to the Roman empire, to the Spanish inquisition and finally to the French revolution. It is uneven at times and not quite as sharp as Blazing Saddles and Spaceballs, but it is still very funny and Hysterical at times - my favorite parts were Brooks taking orders at the Last Supper, that had me in tears I was laughing so hard - the best biblical parody this side of Life of Brian - I also liked the Spanish Inquisition song, Brook's take on Louis XVI and the mock 'trailer' for History Of The World Part 2 at the end - I only wish there had really been a part two because this movie was just to short, I wanted it to keep going and like most of Brook's movies, I'll have to watch it again to catch all the jokes I missed the first time.
1632 6.5 6.94. Wayne's World (1992)
Watched June 7th - Amazon Streaming - Rewatch
"I say hurl - If you blow chunks and she comes back, she's yours, but if you spew and she bolts - then it was never meant to be." - Wayne Campbell
The list of SNL skits made into successful movies is a pretty short one - in fact I think the only ones on it are The Blues Brothers and the two Wayne's World movies- It has been to long since I watched Wayne's World - it captures all of the humor of the skit and Wayne and Garth are the same lovable, party loving goofballs - Mike Myers and Dana Carvey transfer them to the big screen perfectly - The parts I enjoyed the most were all the topical references and parodies of other TV shows an movies - I especially liked the one for Terminator 2, and the multiple endings cracked me up - not everything in the story worked, but enough of it does work to make for fun time and a most excellent movie.
522 7.4 7.75. Cabaret (1972)
Watched June 8th - Netflix DVD -
"Aren't you ever gonna stop deluding yourself, handling Max?, behaving like some ludicrous little underage femme fatale - you're about as fatale as an after dinner mint."
- Brian Roberts
Since I will be watching Annie this month during my look back at 1982, I am making musicals one of my focuses for this month - starting with Cabaret, one I hadn't seen before - Liza Minellli gives an exuberant performance as the full of life Sally Bowles, she really reminded me of her mother at times, and I liked most of the songs, especially the closing 'Life is a Cabaret' but while there were parts of the story I liked, especially the unorthodox love triangle and the ending, the story also seemed slow and unfocused at times and I thought they could have done more with it, especially considering the movie was set in 1931 Berlin, what was going on in the Cabaret seemed removed from what was going on outside of it - Sally in particular seemed oblivious to what was happening and only focused on her career - I also thought it was curious that Joel Grey's character never conversed with any of the other characters, So while I liked Cabaret, I would not rank it among my favorite musicals.
3051 6.4 7.36. Borat (2006)
Watched June 14th - Netflix DVD -
"I had learned that if you chase a dream, especially one with plastic chests, you can miss the real beauty in front of your eyes." - Borat
I watched Sacha Baron Cohen's new movie The Dictator last month and liked it, so I thought it was time to finally watch Borat - I had avoided it up to now because it didn't sound like something I would enjoy and after seeing it, my first instincts were correct - maybe if I had seen it when it first came out I would have liked it better, but after hearing so much about the controversy surrounding the movie and whether the people involved in the mockumentary knew what was going on or not, I had a hard time enjoying anything about Borat, it just seemed like a confusing, jumbled mess - I didn't understand what it was supposed to be - the Pamela Anderson subplot was somewhat amusing and the only part of the movie I liked was when he finally meets her, the rest of the time I was waiting for it to end.
589 6.4 6.67. John Carter (2012)
Watched June 17th - Netflix DVD -
"My dear Edgar, I remember how I used to take you on my knee and tell you wild tales, which you always did me the great courtesy of believing, now you are grown, time and space have parted us, but I reach out across that distance to that same wide eyed boy and ask him to believe me once more - this wild tale begins thirteen years ago in the Arizona Territory, between the Pinaleño Mountains and the backside of hell." - John Carter
I thought about making John Carter the first 2012 movie I saw in the theater, but after Disney called their own movie a bomb, I passed on it and decided to wait for the DVD - and now after seeing it I have to say that it isn't half bad, not the greatest movie in the world, but not a total bomb either. It is such a mish mash of different types of movies that I can see why it didn't appeal to a wide audience - starting out in the old west of the 1800's and ending up on Mars where people fly in spaceships but dress like gladiators and fight with swords - it took me a while to settle in with the movie and figure out what was going on, but once I did I enjoyed it for the most part - It has a good story, although the different groups and who was fighting who could have been better defined, the special effects are awesome but they owed a lot to the star wars movies, the battle in the gladiator ring in particular seemed lifted from the one in Attack of The Clones. The two main characters gave off a definite He-Man and She-Ra vibe which was amusing and their relationship was my favorite part of the movie. So as Sci-Fi movies go, I would say that this one is better than its reputation and I will probably watch it again.
1545 6.2 6.98. Basic Instinct (1992)
Watched June 20th - Amazon Streaming -
"I'd have to be pretty stupid to write a book about killing and then kill somebody the way I described in my book, I'd be announcing myself as the killer - I'm not stupid."
- Catherine Tramell
I thought I had watched Basic Instinct before, but it turnred out I hadn't - I guess that I've scene clips and parodies of the famous interrogation scene so many times that it felt like I had. The interrogation scene is the best scene in the movie, it's epic and makes the film worth watching all by itself, but the rest of the movie is excellent as well - it is a Hitchcokian style thriller about a detective trying to solve a murder case while becoming romantically involved with the chief suspect - Sharon Stone gives a terrific performance as the Femme Fatale with a fondness for ice picks and friends with issues, and Michael Douglas is also very good as the Detective with issues of his own. The story has multiple layers, suspects and twists which kept me guessing about what was really going on, even after the credits rolled - It is a well constructed movie and a very entertaining watch.
170 6.2 6.29. I Love You to Death (1990)
Watched June 21st - Amazon Steaming -
"If we keep shooting Joey, don't you think he might get suspicious?" - Marlon James
Part two of my 90's double feature was I Love You To Death, a dark comedy about a philandering pizza shop owner who's wife and Mother in law have had enough of, so they decide to kill him, but discover that he is a hard man to kill. It is an uneven movie but it does have its moments of hilarity - Kevin Kline is excellent as the husband and I also liked William Hurt and a barely recognizable Keenu Reaves as two bumbling drug addled hitmen. Not a great movie, but it is fun, fast paced and I liked the ending.
526 5.9 6.510. Revenge of the Nerds (1984)
Watched June 23rd - Netflix DVD - Rewatch
"Just join us, cause no one's really gonna really be free until nerd persecution ends." - Gilbert Lowell
Revenge of the Nerds was not one of my favorite 80's movies, but it has been so long since I last watched it that I thought it was do another viewing to see if my opinion had changed. The movie is kind of a cross between Animal House and Porky's - It starts out well with the two main characters heading off to college, I liked them and if the movie had stayed more focused on those characters I might have liked it better, but it spends to much time on other character who just seemed like stereotypes and while I liked the Animal House type humor between the nerds and the jocks, at times it would swerve into Porky's type humor that had a nasty edge to it - the movie just didn't have the heart and charm that comedies similar to it, and are among my favorites, had in the 80's - It was good idea for a movie and could have been great, but it just wasn't well executed.
1499 7.2 7.311. Labyrinth (1986)
Watched June 26th - Amazon Streaming -
"Everything that you wanted I have done - you asked that the child be taken, I took him - you cowered before me, I was frightening - I have reordered time, I have turned the world upside down and I have done it all for you - I am exhausted from living up to your expectations." - Jareth
After watching Stand By Me I decided to make it an '86 double feature night by watching Labyrinth - I don't remember seeing it before, but a movie produced by George Lucas, directed by Jim Henson and starring David Bowie the year after Live Aid would seem like a movie that would have been high on my priority list in 1986, on the other hand despite all that talent, I didn't think it was a very good movie, so I can see why I might have forgotten it - The premise of a girl wishing her baby brother would be taken away by the Goblin King, and after it happens, trying to rescue him was fine - but the follow through was weak - instead of the Labyrinth being a land of wonder, magic and enchantment - it was pretty much a big mess filled with annoying characters, and the movie isn't helped by what I thought was a rather uninspiring performance by Jennifer Connelly - what saves the movie from complete disaster was the performance of David Bowie as the Goblin King - he was entertaining to watch, there just wasn't enough of him.
1610 6.9 7.512. Pleasantville (1998)
Watched June 29th - Netflix DVD -
"I know you want it to stay pleasant around here, but there are so many things that are so much better,like silly or sexy or dangerous or brief, and everyone of those things is in you all the time if you just have the guts to look for them."
While revamping my yearly favorite movie lists, I noticed that my list for 1998 was particularly weak, so I decided to close out this month with a double feature of two 1998 movies I haven't seen - the first movie was Pleasantville, and given my fondness for old classic TV shows, I don't know how I missed this one up till now - it is about two modern high school kids who get magically transported into the world of an idyllic black & white 50's sitcom and their presence slowly changes the town for the better. First, It was perfection for Don Knotts to play the TV repairman - brilliance - and what I would have given to have a remote like that when I was a kid, I would have been hopping into shows all day long. I also liked the way the townspeople started to notice what they had been missing living such a cloistered existence and as David and Jennifer introduced them to things they had been missing, everything slowly started to transform into color - another stroke of brilliance - I liked the messages the movie tried to get across, even if it was a little to heavy handed in the way it delivered them at times and some scenes were a bit to sappy - which was ironic considering the type of show the movie was satirizing - but for the most part I thought Pleasantville was a fun, original, charming and thoroughly enjoyable movie that immediately becomes one of my favorite movies of 1998.
1159 7.4 7.713. Rushmore (1998)
Watched June 30th - Netflix DVD -
"The secret? - I don't know - I guess you've just gotta find something you love to do, and then do it for the rest of your life - for me it's going to Rushmore." - Max Fischer
The second part of my '98 double feature was Rushmore about an eccentric teenager at a prep school with a love for extra-curricular activities, who develops a crush on one of the teachers. Max reminded me a little of Ferris Bueller,
but while Ferris was cool, charming, likable and fun loving - Max was sad, pathetic, weird and kind of creepy, he also wasn't very likable or sympathetic and for that reason I didn't find his friendships with the teacher or Bill Murray's character very believable - I did like Bill Murray and his character was what kept me interested in the movie, but I could see that his comedy was already beginning to loose its edge, a trend that would continue until Zombieland. Maybe if Max had been played by a different actor, or if the pieces of the movie had fit together better, I would've liked the movie more, but although it had potential and there were parts I enjoyed, Rushmore never connected with me.
305 7.5 7.414. Victor/Victoria (1982)
Watched June 30th - Amazon Streaming - Rewatch
"If I could, I would be the star and you would still be trying to swap your virtue for a meatball" - Carole 'Toddy' Todd
Wrapping up the month of June, in what is becoming a tradition, by watching another of my favorite 1982 movies, and since I focused on musicals this month, my selection was the gender bending comedy Victor/Victoria - it is about two down on their luck night club singers in 1930's Paris who hatch a plan to become rich by having a woman disguise herself as a man and become Paris' most famous female impersonator - Robert Preston gives one of his best and funniest performances as Victoria's gay mentor who comes up with the idea and Julie Andrews is excellent as well and her voice is still incredible even when she is impersonating a man. James Garner is also great as a confused Chicago mobster who finds himself attracted to Victor/Victoria which leads to complications for everybody. The movie is hysterically funny and I'd rank it just below Tootsie and above Some Like It Hot among my favorite cross dressing movies - a fun movie to wrap up the month.
1154 7.7 815. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Watched June 2nd - TCM - Rewatch
"You know what you done there? - you told my story, you told my whole story right there - One time I told you I was gonna make you somebody, That's what you done for me - you made me somebody they're gonna remember."
- Clyde Barrow
Bonnie and Clyde is one of my favorite movies of the 60's and, along with Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, it is my favorite movie about real life bank robbers. The movie tells the the story of Bonnie and Clyde in such an charming, engaging manner that it is impossible not to like, helped along by the light hearted score that's one of my favorites. Of course for its time the movie was also one of the most violent ever made and there is no sugar coating of the fact that Bonnie and Clyde were killers, but the movie also showed their human frailties and the mistakes they made that led to their fate, chief among them adding an idiot like C.W. to the gang, also the performances by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway are so good they made them likable -
It is an entertaining, fast paced movie from start to finish.
25 5.8 7.116. The Young Philadelphians (1959)
Watched June 5th - TCM -
"I found out something about myself - maybe I am not as good as or as much as I hoped I could be, but I'm not as bad as I thought I was." - Anthony Lawrence
I am watching a double feature of Paul Newman movies today, the first is The Young Philadelphians, about a young lawyer dealing with advancing his career while dealing with the intricacies of Philadelphia society in the 50's. I hadn't heard much about it before now, but since it was set in Philadelphia I wanted to check it out - I did enjoy all of the Philadelphia references in the movie, but had to chuckle at all the talk of the Philadelphia high society - that is an era of Philadelphia which is long gone. As for the rest of the movie, it started out well with lots of melodrama about family secrets and romantic entanglements, but then it started to go all over the place and I wasn't sure what the point of the whole thing was - I did like the trial at the end, but the build up to it could have been done better. What saves the movie are the performances of Robert Vaughn and Paul Newman, a movie can't be all bad if he is in it.
831 8 8.417. The Sting (1973)
Watched June 5th - TCM - Rewatch
"Take it easy, we're not gonna lose him now - we had him ten years ago when he decided to be somebody."
- Henry Gondorff
The second part of my double feature was The Sting, I saw it for the first time during its theatrical re-release in 1977 and have seen it many times since, but I still enjoy it just as much and it remains one of my all time favorite movies. The story, acting and music are all wonderful and it has a terrific supporting cast, especially Robert Shaw - who I can't believe was Quint in Jaws a couple years later - I still don't see even a flicker of Quint in Lonnegan, but the heart of the movie remains Robert Redford and Paul Newman teaming up for a second time, following their collaboration in Butch Cassidy, they are so much fun to watch together, it is just
a shame that they never teamed up again after The Sting.
3020 7.6 8.218. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Watched June 12th- TCM - Rewatch
"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."
- Dorothy Gale
I followed up watching E.T. yesterday with another timeless classic today - The Wizard Of Oz - it made for a nice 'there's no place like home' double feature and like E.T. - it is a magical movie that I never get tired of watching - I remember the first time I saw it when I was a kid and being amazed to discover that the middle part of the movie was in color - there are many quotable lines in the movie, the songs are wonderful and the characters are unforgettable.
107 6.8 6.319. Jailhouse Rock (1957)
Watched June 12th - TCM -
"I'm an animal in a jungle and I've got a motto - do unto others as they would do unto you, only do it first."
- Hunk Houghton
I have always been a fan of Elvis Presley's music, but I think this is the first time I've have watched one of his movies and Jailhouse Rock is considered on of his better ones, he plays a man sent to jail for manslaughter, and while in prison his cellmate discovers he has talent and points him in the direction of a music career when he gets out - only he forgets the rule about treating people well on the way up, because you might meet them again on the way down - the writing and the acting aren't great, but I don't think they are the point in Elvis movies, they were mainly a vehicle to showcase his new songs, there are several good ones, the best one being Jailhouse Rock, with which Elvis made a music video 25 years before MTV began.
917 7.2 7.620. West Side Story (1961)
Watched June 15th - TCM - Rewacth
"Why do you kids live like there's a war on?" - Doc
It's been a long time since I have watched West Side Story and after watching the first half of the movie I began to wonder if I had been over rating it - the two gangs seemed a bit dated compared to what street gangs are like now, and the romance between Maria and Tony seemed rushed, especially considering the whole movie takes place over the course of two days. However, the second half reminded me why I liked the movie so much, when the rivalry between the two gangs reaches the boiling point. The movie gives an entertaining take on the Romeo and Juliet story but also has messages about hate, acceptance and love that are still pertinent today, maybe even more so - and of course there are the songs, there are some misses, but I enjoyed most of them - my favorites being Tonight and Somewhere.
2096 7.8 8.121. Stand by Me (1986)
Watched June 26th - TCM - Rewatch
"Vern didn't just mean being off limits inside the junkyard, or fudging on our folks, or going on a hike up the railroad tracks to Harlow - he meant those things, but it seems to me now it was more and that we all knew it - everything was there and around us, we knew exactly who we were and exactly where we were going - it was grand." - The Writer
I guess you can't really call Stand By Me an Oldie since it came out in the mid 80's, but I am glad that TCM occasionally shows classics from the 80's and 90's and Stand By Me is a true classic. There are so many things to like about it - Great characters - I think everyone can relate to at least one, I was most like Vern as a kid, I was either being laughed at, punched or told to shut up - Great story - I liked that the underlying subtext of their adventure is Gordie's search for closure after the death of his brother - the movie also has one of my favorite scores - I love the song Stand By Me, and the opening scene with it playing quietly sets the tone for the movie perfectly - there are so many memorable lines and moments packed into this short but wonderful movie - it's always been one of my favorites.
The Summer Of '82
1467 6.9 7.422. Poltergeist (1982)
Release Date - June 4th, 1982
Watched June 4th - My DVD Collection - Rewatch
"Now clear your minds, it knows what scares you, it has from the very beginning - don't give it any help, it knows too much already - now open the door." - Tangina
Steven Spielberg dominated the summer of '82 with his double release of E.T. and Poltergeist - I remember there being a time magazine cover story about them. Poltergeist was the first to be released and I remember it being one of the most enjoyable theater going experiences I've had from an audience participation stand point - people screamed and shouted through the whole movie - it was like being on a roller coaster ride. Taking a seemingly safe and tranquil suburban neighborhood and turning it upside down was brilliant and clowns, closets and old trees were the same things that scared me when I was a kid and I also enjoyed the turning of our love for television against us - It was a different kind of horror movie that's been often imitated but never equaled and a movie I never get tired of watching.
645 7.4 7.723. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Release Date - June 4th, 1982
Watched June 4th - My DVD Collection - Rewatch
"I've done far worse than kill you, I've hurt you, and I wish to go on hurting you - I shall leave you as you left me, as you left her, marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet - buried alive." - Khan
I don't consider myself a Trekkie, I mean I don't own an English to Klingon dictionary or a replica of the star fleet uniform, however I did enjoy the Star Trek TV shows and the movies - after the disappointing first Star Trek movie, The Wrath of Khan needed to be good, and it was, it was probably the best movie of the series and I think Ricardo Montalban saved the franchise with his performance as Khan - one of the best movie villains of all time. There are many memorable moments and quotable lines in the movie and the ending chokes me up every time. Having Wrath of Khan and Poltergeist open the same weekend in 1982 was pretty special, but they were just the warm up act for the biggest movie of '82 which was to open the following week.
5359 7.2 7.924. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Release Date June 11th, 1982
Watched June 11th - My DVD Collection - Rewatch
"I'll be right here" - E.T.
E.T. was the mega movie of 1982 and even without factoring in inflation, it is still among the top 10 highest grossing movies of all time. For me it was the movie that turned going to the movies from an occasional hobby into a passion, In the year E.T. was in the theaters I saw it 12 times, while still spending less money than two 3D I-Max tickets would cost today, I took both my parents and my Grandmother to see it, the only other movie I did that for was On Golden Pond and it remains the only movie that I have an actual frame of film from. The Time magazine cover story said that while Poltergeist was a scream, E.T. was a whisper - that is very true, it is a quiet, gentle movie with no real villains but it's full of emotion, humor and heart - the acting in the movie is excellent, especially by Henry Thomas - the movie would not have worked if he hadn't made the friendship between Elliot and E.T. so believable. The story of friendship and loyalty is a timeless one as is E.T.'s quest to find his way home and it is still as enjoyable and entertaining a movie to me now as it was 30 years ago.
504 6.3 6.125. Annie (1982)
Release Date - June 18th, 1982
Watched June 18th - My DVD Collection - Rewatch
"Why any kid would want to be an orphan is beyond me."
- Miss Hannigan
I remember seeing the stage play Annie before the movie came out, one of the few stage plays I've seen, and wondered how well it would adapt into a movie. The result was a bit uneven, but even though the movie doesn't have the charm the play had, I thought it worked for the most part. Albert Finney and Carol Burnett gave over the top performances as Daddy Warbucks and Miss Hannigan, but were entertaining and fun to watch, and although some of the songs could have been dropped, I enjoyed most of them - my favorites being Maybe, I Don't Need Anything But You, and of course Tomorrow - Oliver, Annie and FDR singing it in the White House still is my favorite scene in the movie - So even though the movie has its flaws, the story does hold up well and Annie continues to be one of my favorite musicals.
209 5.6 5.726. Firefox (1982)
Release Date - June 18th, 1982
Watched June 18th - My DVD Collection -
"Don't say anything, your words would be useless, maybe even insulting - just fly the damn plane." - Upenskoy
Firefox was Clint Eastwood's entry in the Summer of '82 - I didn't see it back then, or if I did I forgot, which is possible because it is actually a pretty forgettable movie, which is a shame because it does have a good story. The film is about a Vietnam veteran with PTSD who is recruited to go into Russia and steal a prototype of a futuristic Soviet plane that can fly faster than any other plane, fire weaons on thought control and evade radar, maybe the USA got the idea for the stealth bomber from this movie. Clint Eastwood does a good job as the pilot, I like that he isn't a Mr. cool James Bond type character - he was unsure of himself and so nervous that he made me nervous - the problem with the movie was the pacing, it's slow and even boring at times and it lacked intensity - nobody seemed to have a sense of urgency about what was going on, the Firefox plane itself is a magnificent machine and the movie starts to lift off when it does, but I think they could have done more with it, even the final dogfight seemed almost anti climatic- so while the movie was entertaining enough to hold my interest, I can see why it is an '82 movie that has been mostly forgotten.
1709 7.8 8.227. The Thing (1982)
Release Date - June 25, 1982
Watched June 25th - My DVD Collection - Rewatch
"I know I'm human, and if you were all these things, then you'd just attack me right now, so some of you are still human - this thing doesn't want to show itself, it wants to hide inside an imitation, it'll fight if it has to, but it's vulnerable out in the open, if it takes us over, then it has no more enemies, nobody left to kill it - And then it's won." - R.J. MacReady
Today I am watching a pair of sci-fi classics released on the same day in 1982. The first is The Thing - I watched it for the first time in a long time during last year's horror fest and enjoyed it, and I liked it just as much seeing it again - I love the cold, isolated, claustrophobic atmosphere and the story of a shape shifting alien monster attacking an science station in Antarctica is a very good one - the paranoia all the characters developed over who was a thing and who wasn't was my favorite part of the movie - Kurt Russell was bad ass and I thought Wilfred Brimley was excellent - what still keeps The Thing from being a top tier movie for me was that it doesn't have as much humor as I like in a horror movie, and while the action and effects were great, the cinematography was so dark that it was hard to see what was going on at times - but it was still a very entertaining movie and has a solid place in my top movies of 1982 - the moral to the story is - don't let stray dogs into your house.
3389 8 8.328. Blade Runner (1982)
Released Date June 25th, 1982
Watched June 25th - My DVD Collection - Rewatch -
"Sushi, that's what my ex-wife called me - cold fish."
- Rick Deckard
The second part of my double feature was Blade Runner,
I love Sci-fi movies and I love Harrison Ford, so you'd think I would have seen this movie in 1982, but I didn't, and despite it becoming one of the most iconic sci-fi movies of all time, I never saw Blade Runner in its entirety until this past April. Through the years I tried to watch it from time to time, but always gave up on it because the beginning was so slow and pretentious - now having seen the movie in its entirety twice, I have a better appreciation for it. Although the movie is still slow at times to the point of making me sleepy, I like the story and the futuristic atmosphere very much as well as Harrison Ford's performance, and I thought his narration added to the movie - so even though I still think the movie is a bit over rated, I recognize its place in the history of Sci-Fi movies.
After watching The Raven in April, I became interested in seeing other movies based on the stories of Edgar Allen Poe and the giraffe was nice enough to lend me a set of Poe movies featuring the great Vincent Price
88 7 6.729. Tales of Terror (1962)
Watched June 7th - the giraffe's DVD collection -
"When she died I died with her, all that remained of me was this walking corpse, this shell, this ghost of flesh"
The Black Cat
"Haven't I convinced you of my sincerity yet? - I am genuinely dedicated to your destruction." - Montresor
The Case Of M. Valdemar
"Your happiness means more to me than anything, but I refuse to die until that happiness has been assured"
Tales of Terror is a Twilight zone style anthology of three horror tales based on three short stories by Edgar Allen Poe - all three featuring Vincent Price, who is his usual magnificently creepy self - I like the first two stories the best - Morella is about a very twisted family reunion in an old spooky house with dark secrets that refused to stay buried. the whole atmosphere of the story made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and brought to mind Judd's words in Pet Sematary - sometimes dead is better. The Black Cat is about an alcoholic man with a hatred for cats and features Vincent Price and Peter Lorre going toe to toe which was just delicious, there was also more humor in this story than the first one, the wine tasting contest cracked me up, and there is a moral in there about being nice to your pets or they may be your undoing - The Case Of M. Valdemar was the weakest of the three stories - it's about a man who wants to use hypnotism to alleviate his pain at the time of death - the first part of the story is to talky and not very interesting, but the ending saves it and makes it worth the watch - another tale that would fall under the sometimes dead is better category - Tales Of Terror was such an entertaining trilogy that I watched each tale twice.
140 7.1 730. The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
Watched June 14th - the giraffe's DVD collection -
"The razor edge of destiny, thus the condition of man - bound on an island from which he can never hope to escape - surrounded by the waiting pit of hell, subject to the inexorable pendulum of fate, which must destroy him finally.” - Nicholas Medina
The moment I saw this story featured in The Raven I knew that I needed to know more about the stories of Edgar Allen Poe - The Pit and The Pendulum is a classic horror tale that starts simply enough with a man coming to a spooky old house trying to find out what happened to his sister, from there things start to get increasingly bizarre as we learn the husband living in the house, in another brilliant performance by Vincent Price, is more than a little bonkers. The story reminded me a little of House on Haunted Hill in that there are strange happenings, secrets and nothing is as it seems. the story builds slowly, but the finale had me on the edge of my seat, holding my breath and holding in my stomach,
it was one of the most nerve wracking horror scenes I can remember and I loved the poetic justice of the ending.
158 6.8 6.731. The Raven (1963)
Watched June 24th - the giraffe's DVD collection -
"Such perfection of treachery fills me with admiration."
- Dr. Scarabus
The last of my Vincent Price horror movies is based on the most famous of Edgar Allen Poe's works - The Raven -
unlike the other stories, this one is more of a comedy than a horror tale. It is about dueling wizards and how the raven fits in was pretty funny, although I have the feeling Poe was spinning in his grave - the cast is fabulous - Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff and a young Jack Nicholson, whom I didn't even recognize until the final credits, - that is horror hall of fame cast if ever there was one, which was my problem with the movie - given the all star cast, I expected there to be more horror and drama, but it was just to campy at times for me , that was a little disappointing, but maybe I just have to adjust my expectations the next time I watch it. So, while I can't put The Raven on the level of the other Poe stories I watched, it was still entertaining, especially the final showdown between the wizards, and it was fun to watch, as were all of the other Poe tales I watched this month - I'm glad I got to watch them and thank the giraffe for giving me the chance to - Quoth the Raven nevermore.
595 6.8 6.832. Spider (2002)
Watched June 9th - jaytoast's DVD collection -
1st Viewing - Rewached June 9th
"What have you done? - What have you done?"
- Mrs. Wilkerson
I like movies that make me think and I thought about Spider a lot today. The first time I watched it, it looked to be a straight forward look into the mind of a schizophrenic. I liked the slow build as we slowly learned about Spider and what the world looked like to him - Ralph Fiennes was brilliant and completely believable in his portrayal - I had sympathy for Spider and could even relate to him at times - there has been more than one time in my life that I have felt like curling up in a bathtub. As Spider started to remember the events of his childhood that led to his breakdown, I thought I had a good read on where the story was going - and constructed what I thought would be the ending in my mind - but then the actual ending to the movie blew all my expectations out of the water and I was left wondering what in the world just happened? - I had a lot of unanswered questions, so I watched the special features and then watched the movie again with the director's commentary - which was one of best DVD commentaries I've heard, instead of the usual babbling found on most commentaries - Cronenberg did a good job of explaining his vision of his movie and what was going on inside the minds of the characters, which was very helpful. Armed with more information I then watched the movie again and although I still have questions about how much of what happened was real and how much was in his mind, I understood the movie much better - Spider is a sad, bleak
look into a man with a broken mind and a shattered soul.
140 7.6 7.133. Clean, Shaven (1993)
Watched June 19th - jaytoast's DVD collection -
1st Viewing - Rewatched on June 19th
"Do you know what it's like to see your son deteriorate? - when he was growing up he was a quiet boy, but he was happy, then all of a sudden he changed - I wont have that same thing happen to her." - Mrs. Winter
Llke Spider, Clean Shaven is an unflinching look into the disturbed mind of a schizophrenic and like Spider I had my preconceptions of where the story was going that were blown apart by the ending, so I watched the movie again from a whole different perspective. The first time through I thought Peter's actions were driven just as much out of guilt as they were by mental illness but the rewatch showed that things can be viewed from two angles, the actions that seemed menacing at first, may have only seemed menacing as seen through the prism of Peter's fractured mind. Peter Greene gives an excellent performance as Peter, showing the frightening torment that was going on inside his head as he searched for his daughter, I felt bad for him in the scenes with his mother, what a cold, heartless unfeeling woman she was - I was kind of hoping that Peter would end up going all Norman Bates on her - the detective was an odd duck too - I really wasn't sure what to make of him, but I think he was only a few levels below Peter when it came to crazy - what happen at the end really wasn't his fault though, my question about it was who thought it was good idea to let a schizophrenic get a hold of a shotgun? There were some other questions I had, like why was Peter left to wander the street, where were the doctors and the meds? - at least Spider went to a half way house after he left the institution. I thought Spider had more depth and layers to it which is why I liked it better, but I thought Clean, Shaven was a captivating movie about the horrors of mental illness.
95 6.9 6.334. Brainstorm (1983)
Watched June 27th - jaytoast's DVD collection -
"You're married to the first man in the history of the world who has a chance to take a scientific look at the scariest thing a person ever has to face - I've gotta do it, I've gotta play it, play that tape - and you have to help me."
- Michael Brace
1983 was one of my all time favorite movie years, I set a personal record, that I've never come close to since, by going to the movie theater 100 times that year - so I am sure I saw Brainstorm back then, but it's one of those movies that fell through the cracks over the years and I forgot about it - the movie is a sci-fi story about a brain boosting machine through which you can experience other people's senses, memories, feelings and emotions - of course the Government has to get involved and try to take over and use the machine for their own purposes - the government did a lot of that in 80's movies. Christopher Walken stars as a scientist who wants to use the machine to boldly go where no man has gone before, while at the same time trying to defeat the plans of the unscrupulous government scientists - it instantly becomes one of my favorite performances by Walken and although the list of my favorite '83 movies is a long one, Brainstorm now has a place among them - it was an entertaining movie and I am thankful to jaytoast for bringing the film to my attention.
251 7.4 7.335. The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008)
Watched June 10th - Netflix DVD
"It's not mystical when I say I can't take it anymore, what I can't take anymore is not being able to defend myself."
- Ulrike Meinhof
Having watched one of the best American true crime dramas earlier this month in Bonnie and Clyde, it seems fitting that my Foreign Language pick this month is one of the best international true crime dramas - The Baader Meinhoff Complex - but while Bonnie and Clyde is a sometimes light hearted look at the lives of two bank robbers, this movie is a mostly dark and unflinching look at a group of hardcore killers. The movie is very well constructed and well acted, if I didn't know better I would think it was a documentary of the real people and events as they took place - I liked how they showed the gangs development from their beginnings in the student protests of the 60's and then showed how they evolved more and more into a radical, violent gang of terrorists. The film seems to take a more sympathetic view of Meinhof than it does of Baader, whether one was really better than the other I don't know, but the suggestion seemed to be that Meinhof got in deeper than she intended and had regrets. Whatever the case, this was an excellent movie and provides a valuable history lesson and easily makes it into the top 5 of my favorite true crime movies.
1007 6.2 6.236. Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
Watched June 8th - 2:40PM - Movie Theater -
"Mirror mirror on the wall - Who is the fairest of them all?"
- Queen Ravenna
If you ever wondered what would happen if you crossed Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs with The Lord Of The Rings, wonder no more because Snow White and The Huntsman does pretty much just that. There is enough sword and sorcery action in the movie to make it entertaining and I thought the actors were fine, particularly Charlize Theron as the wicked Queen, the problem I think is the movie has no charm, humor or heart, ironic considering the central focus of the movie, I didn't feel for Snow White, I didn't feel any real connection between Snow White and The Huntsman, and while the dwarfs were amusing, they reminded me more of the dwarfs in Time Bandits than the ones in Snow White, So I ended up not feeling anything at the end of the movie, I forgot what happened to the Queen at the end of Disney's animated version, so I went to youtube to watch it again and thought that it was a much more satisfying ending than what happened in this movie - maybe they should have stuck more to the template of the Disney classic rather than trying to remake the story into Snow of the Rings - because the LOTR movies always left me wanting more, while this movie left me wanting less.
1330 6.9 7.237. Prometheus (2012)
Watched June 13th - 2:55PM - Movie Theater -
"If we don't stop it, there won't be any home to go back to!" - Elizabeth Shaw
My expectations for Prometheus were not as high as they were for The Avengers, but they were still pretty high and I was not disappointed. The movie is a prequel to the Alien trilogy and what I liked most about it was that it returns to the roots of the first movie and is foremost a thrilling sci-fi horror movie. The whole look of the movie is amazing and the special effects are spectacular, I also liked that the characters were mostly fleshed out, not star trek redshirts just waiting to be devoured and for the second theater movie in a row my favorite character was Charlize Theron's - Vickers seemed to make the most sense of anybody and seemed wisely to be most concerned about getting off the planet alive rather than trying to discover the secrets of the universe - that made sense to me. That was also one of my problems with the movie - I am used to characters doing stupid things in horror movies, but there were a couple times in this movie where the character's stupidity was absolutely breathtaking. I also thought the religious and metaphysical stuff was a bit to heavy handed at times. However, I thought the spectacular action sequences over came any flaws I found with the movie and even though it is connected to the other Alien movies, and I'll be watching Alien again shortly to see how well the two movies connect, I also think Prometheus stands on its own as one of the best movies of 2012 and enjoyable enough that I might check it out in the theater again before the summer is over.
Totals For The Month
June was another good movie month, on the one hand I only had one movie that I ranked below 5 stars, but on the other hand I also only had one first time viewing I ranked 10 stars - although Prometheus, Pleasantville and Basic Instinct came very close and might get the extra star on a second viewing. The Baader Meinhof Complex is the second foreign language film to get my movie of the month, I've been enjoying catching up on Foreign movies and next month I will expand my usual pick of the month section. I have also been enjoying my look back at 1982, and after watching Blade Runner and The Thing I have to say that the Summer of '82 was even better than I originally thought it was. I enjoyed the Horror movies the giraffe sent me and the Movie Exchange movies from jaytoast and look forward to watching more movies from both of their collections next month. I was disappointed to only get to the theater twice in June, however being that one of the movies was Prometheus - I can't be to disappointed. My movie log for July will be late and a bit abbreviated as I will be on a vacation for the first week.
1798 7 7.538. Total Recall (1990)
Total Movies Watched
37 Movies Watched
23 First Time Viewings
8 - Netflix DVD
7 - TCM
7 - My Own DVD Collection
6 - Amazon Streaming
3 - the giraffe's DVD collection
3 - jaytoast's DVD collection
2 - Movie Theater
1 - VUDU Streaming
10 Stars - 9
The Baader Meinhof Complex (1st Viewing)
Bonnie and Clyde(Rewatch)
The Wizard Of Oz(Rewatch)
Stand By Me(Rewatch)
Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan(Rewatch)
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (Rewatch)
9 Stars - 5
Basic Instinct(1st Viewing)
Tales Of Terror(1st Viewing)
West Side Story(Rewatch)
8 Stars - 7
History of the World: Part I (1st Viewing)
The Pit and the Pendulum (1st Viewing)
Spider (1st Viewing)
Brainstorm (1st Viewing)
7 Stars - 7
John Carter(1st Viewing)
I Love You To Death(1st Viewing)
The Raven(1st Viewing)
Clean, Shaven(1st Viewing)
Tender Mercies(1st Viewing)
6 Stars - 5
My Week with Marilyn (1st Viewing)
Snow White and The Huntsman (1st Viewing)
Revenge Of The Nerds(Rewatch)
5 Stars - 3
Jailhouse Rock(1st Viewing)
Labyrinth (1st Viewing)
The Young Philadelphians (1st Viewing)
2 Stars - 1
Borat (1st Viewing)
Movie of The Month - Best movie I saw for the first time
THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX
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