Wednesday, May 16, 2012

#52 Taxi Driver (1976)

This timing is freaky....

I currently have "Roseanne" on in the background while I'm writing this, and Dan is being interviewed on some TV show. (I would be more specific, but I wasn't really paying attention.) The host asks if he can do any impressions, and he says, "This is a character of mine... real nutty little guy named Travis Bickle from a movie called Taxi Driver, and that goes a little something like this: Are you talkin' to me? Are you talkin' to me? Hey... are you talkin' to me?"

For those who haven't seen this one, it's the story of a mentally unstable Vietnam vet (Robert De Niro) who works as a taxi driver in NYC. While driving around the city, he is disturbed by the "scum" of the city, and in his own way, he decides to do his part to "clean up" the streets.

It's an interesting movie because even though Travis Bickle is a frightening character, you still empathize with him. (Reminds me of Natalie Portman in Black Swan) The ending confused me a bit, as I'm not sure if it was meant to be reality or a dream. Either way, I think what this movie's trying to say is how easily Travis could have become an assassin instead of a hero.

Rating: 6/10

Big Names: Robert De Niro, Cybill Sherpherd, Jodie Foster (she plays a 12-year-old prostitute! and this is *before* she did Freaky Friday), Peter Boyle (from "Everybody Loves Raymond")

Big Lines: only the #10 movie quote of all time, according to AFI

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

#59 Nashville (1975)

While everyone else I know is out watching The Avengers and talking about how amazing it is, I'm at home watching this painfully boring movie. The most exciting parts for me were seeing what Nashville looked like in 1975. I recognized parts of downtown, the airport, and Trav recognized Nolensville Pike.

I didn't mind the country and bluegrass music, and a couple story lines were moderately interesting, but overall, this movie had just too much -- and at the same time, not enough -- going on. There were probably two dozen main characters, so you don't get to know any of them well, but it isn't in a fun way like Love Actually. Mostly the camera is just jumping from character to character, and they're all singing or sitting around talking... about nothing.

I can respect it for saying a lot about the confused state of the nation after Vietnam, Watergate, Kennedy's assassination, but still... eh. I think Easy Rider and The Wild Bunch are still my least favorites on the AFI list, but this one is a close third.

Rating: 4/10

Big Names: Shelley Duvall, Lily Tomlin

Monday, May 7, 2012

#54 M*A*S*H (1970)

For anyone who doesn't know, MASH = Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. (I didn't know that until the first few minutes of this movie.) This was originally a book about a surgeon's experiences in the Korean War, but when it was turned into this movie, it deliberately resembled Vietnam.

This movie was meant to be one of those movies highlighting the counterculture of the 70's, like Easy Rider, but it was not nearly as awful or as painful to watch. M*A*S*H still lacked a solid plot; it felt like a few episodes of a TV show jammed together into a movie, but parts made me giggle, and it mostly held my attention. The last supper/funeral was hilarious, and the football game was especially fun.

I'll admit I downloaded the song minutes after the movie ended.

Rating: 5.5/10

Big Names: Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall, Elliott Gould (a.k.a. Ross and Monica's dad)

#55 North by Northwest (1959)

Travis and I were both excited about this one! It's the first Hitchcock on the list, and the other Hitchcock films I've seen (Psycho, The Birds) were some great movies, so I knew this one would be awesome, too.

Roger Thornhill, an advertising exec in NYC, is mistaken for a government spy by a group of foreign spies during the Cold War. He makes all the wrong decisions while trying to evade the dangerous group of spies and gets caught up with the wrong girl, getting himself almost killed several times and ending up on the other side of the country.

The DVD Netflix sent me started skipping right when the plane scene came on! I was a little pissy about it, but luckily YouTube came to the rescue. :)

I wouldn't mind to see this one again, or even own it. Great movie, especially once you're positive you're following all the action. Also, the ending is about the best cut from one scene to another I've ever seen.

Rating: 9/10

Big Names: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint

#56 Jaws (1975)

Another classic that I hadn't seen! I'm so glad that I'm watching these movies because I'm pretty sure I'm way behind most of the world in the movie-watching. Sigh... I'm catching up, though!

Jaws was a bit predictable since EVERYBODY knows the plot, but it was much more suspenseful than I expected it to be. I literally jumped at one point during the second half of the movie.

Another movie that I liked even though I didn't think it was particularly unique. I suppose it feels that way because all these later suspense/horror movies have copied Jaws's set-up. I would guess Jaws was probably the original natural predator suspense movie, though; that's why it deserves a spot on AFI's list.

Rating: 7.5/10

Big Names: Richard Dreyfuss (I thought he was adorable), Rob Scheider

#57 Rocky (1976)

I honestly had never seen this, or any other Rocky movie before I hit this one on the list. It was pretty much what I expected.... underdog success story, but it had a few moments that made it less cheesy than it had the potential to be.

The love story was odd and cute. Adrian was definitely Laney Boggs from She's All That... (Big glasses; therefore, she's ugly. Glasses off.... hottie!)

The ending was great, too, and it was perfect that he was too concerned about Adrian to even care if he won or lost. You definitely root for Rocky the whole movie because he's such a lovable little guy.

Predictable sports movie: yes. But still enjoyable. I liked it.

Rating: 7/10

Big Names: Sylvester Stallone (who knew he could actually act?)