Sunday, December 18, 2011

#68 Unforgiven (1992)

This was the best Western I've ever seen, but I have to admit it's only the third I've ever watched. Maybe if they were all this great, I could say that I liked Westerns.

So in the town of Big Whiskey, Wyoming, a prostitute laughs at a cowboy for being poorly endowed, and he responds by slashing up her face. The sheriff deems the appropriate punishment to be paying five horses to the owner of the whorehouse. Obviously, the women of the house are not so happy with this arrangement, and they pool their money to create a reward for whoever can kill the guy responsible for ruining the prostitute's face (and career.) Clint Eastwood hears about the reward and comes out of his assassin retirement to make some money for his family. He calls on his good friend Morgan Freeman, and they team up with the very obnoxious "Schofield Kid" to kill the cowboy and his friend.

The main theme of this movie has popped up in several of the movies I've seen so far, and that's the idea of what is good, what is evil, and what does it mean when the two are blurred. There are no "good guys" in this movie... Everyone is either perceived as moral (the sheriff) with a healthy dose of evilness or immoral (the assassins) with a strong grasp on right and wrong.

Rating: 7.5/10

Big Names: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman (2nd appearance after French Connection), Morgan Freeman (also in Shawshank), Frances Fisher (not a big name, but this is her second time to appear in a top 100 movie, too... she was also Rose's mom in Titanic)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

#67 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Here's a movie that I'd like to see again. Not because it was pleasant to watch -- because it wasn't (it was painful and exhausting: think War of the Roses) -- but because the ending was so odd that I know that I'd look at the whole movie differently if I saw it a second time.

George and Martha are a middle-aged seemingly unhappily married couple who are entertaining Nick and Honey, a younger, seemingly normal and happy couple, for a night cap after a party. Through the night, you see George and Martha rip each other apart and expose Nick and Honey's marriage for the mess it is.

I started the film knowing absolutely nothing except that it starred Elizabeth Taylor and was 2 hours and 11 minutes. (I had to make sure I had plenty of time to watch the entire thing before going into work.) I kept thinking that the movie felt like a play, and yes, it was a play-turned-film. This movie was much, much more about dialogue and acting than it was about scenery or special effects.

A couple of interesting tidbits: George (Richard Burton) and Martha (Elizabeth Taylor) were married during this film....I wonder how much of a stretch it was to play an unhappy couple. Elizabeth Taylor gained thirty pounds for this movie. Also, all four of the main characters were nominated for Oscars. Martha and Honey both won them... Elizabeth Taylor totally earned hers, but it surprises me that a character like Honey (a mousy, blah, dumb blonde) would be worthy of an Oscar.

Rating: 7/10

Big Names: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton

Big Lines:
George: Good. Better. Best. Bested.

Honey: I want to… put some powder on my nose.
George: Martha, won’t you show her where we keep the euphemism?