Tuesday, May 31, 2011

#76 Forrest Gump (1994)

I was twelve when this movie came out, and I wasn't allowed to see it. I also wasn't allowed to see Jerry Maguire in 1996 because my parents didn't think I would fully understand either one. Of course my youngest sister Mia was allowed to see anything she wanted by the time she was two. I guess it's a downside of being the oldest child. :)

So since junior high, I've seen this movie a million times, but I've never watched it from the perspective I did the other day, which was to decipher why this movie is on the list. I think possibly the biggest reason is Tom Hanks's acting. He does such an amazing job as Forrest, believably playing a mentally challenged adult and keeping the role light, making Forrest innocently hilarious. It's also very well-written and about every ten minutes of the movie, you'll hear a quote that anyone could identify as a line from Forrest Gump.

I never realized it before, but the special effects in this movie are incredible. Forrest really looks like he met those Presidents and attended basically every historic event of the '60s and '70s. And while it's not a reason to be on the list, soundtracks can very much affect how much I personally enjoy a movie, and The Forrest Gump soundtrack was one of the few tapes my parents had in our car growing up so I knew and loved every song before I even saw the movie. ("Love Her Madly" is still my favorite Doors song.)

Overall, a beautiful, moving story that's so well-acted it certainly earns its spot on the list.

Rating: 10/10

Big Names: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright (Buttercup from The Princess Bride), Sally Field, Haley Joel Osment (this is his second appearance in the list so far... pretty impressive for a little kid)

Big Lines:
Drill Sergeant: Gump! What's your sole purpose in this army?
Forrest: To do whatever you tell me, drill sergeant!

Lieutenant Dan: Have you found Jesus yet, Gump?
Forrest: I didn't know I was supposed to be looking for him, sir.

Forrest: I'm not a smart man... but I know what love is.

Forrest: I'm sorry I had a fight in the middle of your Black Panther party.

Lieutenant Dan: Where are you boys from in the world?
Forrest & Bubba: Alabama, sir!
Lieutenant Dan: You twins?
Forrest: No, sir. We are not relations.

Jenny: Dear God, make me a bird so I can fly far, far away from here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

#77 All the President's Men (1976)

I started The Wild Bunch Saturday night, watched thirty minutes of it, and was so bored that I turned it off. Trav asked me if I'm going to suffer through the whole movie even though it was terrible, and I guess to be able to say I've seen all 100 of AFI's top movies, I will eventually need to watch it. Not today, though!

This morning I watched this film about the Watergate scandal and the two Washington Post reporters responsible for exposing it. The movie had great momentum even though it was tricky to keep up with all the names and dates they throw at you, and since I already knew what was going to happen, I was on edge. About 2 hours and 15 minutes into the movie, I thought, "Oooh, now we're getting to the good stuff," but then, they sum up all the scandal excitement via a man typing newspaper headlines. Sure, this is artsy, but literally none of the excitement is shown so the movie ends up being much more about the grunt work-- finding the story and interrogating people-- and none of the satisfying success is shown at all. Watching it, I thought this was going to be a great one, but the ending ruined the whole movie for me. Great acting, though.

Rating: 4/10

Big Names: Carl Bernstein (writer), Bob Woodword (writer), Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Robards (from Parenthood!), a ton of other guys

#78 Modern Times (1936)

The past few weeks I haven't had many weekdays off work, so it's been a while since I watched a movie on my list. Not excited about either of the movies I have at home right now (The Wild Bunch and this one), I picked the shorter one of the two. This was only 1 hour and 27 minutes long.

I definitely knew of Charlie Chaplin, but when I read a blurb about this movie, I had no clue who they were referring to as a Tramp. Chaplin's famous character, with the bowler hat, cane, clown shoes, and goofy walk/waddle, was the Little Tramp. Charlie knew this character wouldn't survive in the non-silent films that were taking over, so Modern Times was done stubbornly as a "silent" film. "Silent" is in quotes because there are some spoken lines, and the Tramp even sings toward the end.

Surprisingly (to me), there are pretty funny moments. I laughed out loud when he followed this girl with the buttons on her coat. It's insanely impressive to me that a 75-year-old movie can make me laugh, but this film also had more serious messages. The idea that progress and industrialization isn't always necessary or better and the the truth of how difficult it is for less fortunate Americans to keep up are just a bit of what Chaplin was trying to say. I like his style of stringing together entertaining skits, but having underlying deeper messages that I didn't even realize until after the movie was over.

One of the main songs in the movie is the original, instrumental version of "Smile Though Your Heart Is Aching." The lyrics weren't added until decades later, but the words are well suited for the last scene of the movie, when the main characters get themselves up off the ground and try again.

Rating: 7/10

Big Names: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard (Chaplin's wife at the time)