Thursday, February 21, 2013

#29 Double Indemnity (1944)

I thought the reason I didn't like Treasure of the Sierra Madre was the fact that I already knew the plot. In this movie (yeah, I know... I skipped ahead... It was available instantly on Netflix), the main character admits to killing someone in the first minute of the movie. Even after this, the whole film kept my attention because I still wanted to hear how he did it.

This is probably on the list because it's a classic film noir genre (Hollywood crime drama) that were popular in the 40's and 50's. This genre seems to also be pretty formulaic, like Westerns, but soooo much more fun and interesting to me.

Rating: 8/10

Big Names: Barbara Stanwyck

#38 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

I don't even know what to say on this one. It absolutely bored me... as much as Nashville and The Wild Bunch. Humphrey Bogart and his friend are broke Americans looking for work in Mexico, and after Bogart wins the Mexican lottery, he decides to spend the money on searching for gold with his friend and a prospector they met. They end up getting lucky, but then they all turn on each other. (This isn't a spoiler since all that information was even on the Netflix sleeve.)

I already knew what was going to happen, and maybe that was my problem... because I couldn't even focus on it. I ended up playing spider solitaire on my phone during a lot of the movie.

Rating: 2/10

Big Names: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

#39 Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Stanley Kubrick directs four movies on this list: Spartacus (#81), A Clockwork Orange (#70), Dr. Strangelove (#39), and 2001: A Space Odyssey (#15). That's pretty darn good for a director credited with 16 movies. Of the three I've seen so far on this list, I can't believe they're all directed by the same guy. They have such different styles, but I've liked them all.

This one is a short satire (it's the movie where the guy rides the bomb!), and even though I had a hard time getting into it at first, I think I liked this one. I'd like to see it again before I know for sure. I loved the awkwardness of the President. I giggled during this conversation between him and the Soviet leader Dmitri:

Maybe it doesn't work as well when it's not in context, but it was pretty hilarious.

Rating: 6/10

Big Lines: "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!" #64 on AFI's top 100 quotes

#40 The Sound of Music (1965)

This movie makes me want to move to Austria. Or at least visit and go on the Sound of Music tour.

I've seen this a thousand times, but I don't think I have watched the whole thing in one sitting since I was in elementary school. I couldn't even watch it this time in one sitting. This is a looooong movie, so I broke it up over two days. When I was little, I zoned out during any of the scenes that didn't involve the children, so I guess this was a little more exciting for me to see the entire movie and fully understand what's going on with the world at this point in history.

I realized something when I looked up the Von Trapp kids on imdb: the actress who plays Liesl is SEVENTY years old now. Jeez... that makes me feel old because I don't think of this as an old movie at all.

Rating: 10/10 (great music, gorgeous scenery, based on a true story)

Big Names: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer

#41 King Kong (1933)

I knew the story of King Kong, but I didn't know that the movie had dinosaurs! How fun!

This was an exciting story, and I have to respect the creativity of everyone who worked on this movie because I'm sure every special effect was ground-breaking for its time. It is definitely unfair to compare it to modern-day effects. We can cheat with computers now so it isn't even the same thing.

The one thing I couldn't get over, though, was the lack of any expression on Kong's face. I really wanted to like him since he was supposed to be such a sweet character, but I couldn't help but think that King Kong's face just looked a bit like the Abominable Snowman from Rudolph.....

Rating: 6/10

Big Lines: "Oh, no, it wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty who killed the Beast." #84 on AFI's top 100 quotes

#42 Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

I knew the story, and even knew the ending, but this was still lots of fun to watch. Pretty sure this one makes the list because it's so over-the-top with violence, probably much more so than any movies that came before it.

It inspired me to look up details of the real Bonnie & Clyde. Turns out that they mostly picked on small business owners and not the evil banks, so the real Bonnie and Clyde weren't nearly as likable. Also, no one's even sure that Bonnie participated in their hold-ups or even shot a gun... but that doesn't make as good of a story.

Highly recommend it and would definitely see it again!

Rating: 10/10

Big Names: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Estelle Parsons (the grandmother in "Roseanne" and pretty much the most obnoxious voice/laugh of any person, ever)

Big Lines: "We rob banks." #41 on AFI's top 100 quotes

#43 Midnight Cowboy (1969)

James Stewart, Katharine Hepburn, and Dustin Hoffman seem to be the actors I've seen the most so far on my countdown. Here's one with Dustin Hoffman.... I still first think of him as Rain Man, but looks like he plays other characters well, too.

I had never heard of this movie, and at first I thought it was a Western. I was relieved when I read this on "A naive male prostitute and his sickly friend struggle to survive on the streets of New York City."  Interesting... this one was rated X when it came out; it's odd that an X-rated movie would win three Oscars AND make this list.

The characters are absolute train wrecks. With the way it starts--optimistic Joe Buck leaving his dishwashing job in Texas hoping to become a successful prostitute in NYC--I figured maybe he would realize prostitution wasn't the way to go and that he'd find something better to do with his life. This was part of the story, but I couldn't have predicted the way it happened.

Rating: 7/10 (loved the music, even though we heard the same song 50 times)

Big Names: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight

Big Lines: "I'm walking here! I'm walking here!" #27 on AFI's top 100 quotes

Monday, February 18, 2013

#44 The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Another rom-com, but a few steps up from It Happened One Night because this one has a love quadrangle... AND a strong female character who is capable of taking care of herself. I really like Katharine Hepburn, even though she basically plays the same character every time.

This is even a step up from most modern-day romantic comedies because I honestly didn't know who she would end up with (I was hoping for Jimmy Stewart the whole time). The ending is a bit bizarre, and if I was Ruth Hussey, I'd be a little more upset if my boyfriend who couldn't propose to me proposed to another girl in my presence.

I've learned that most comedy doesn't age well, but I think Dinah is hilarious. And who doesn't love a little drunken humor? Katharine Hepburn nails it.

Rating: 9/10

Big Names: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart (he's all over the place on this list!), Virginia Wiedler 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

#45 Shane (1953)

Another Western.... I've learned this is easily my least favorite genre. I'll admit I had a hard time giving my undivided attention to this movie. I kept wishing it was Little House on the Prairie or really anything else.

It reminded me of the David Allen Coe song, "You Never Even Called Me by My Name." (Thanks, Trav, for exposing me to David Allen Coe.) One verse is said to include all the components of the perfect country-western song: mama, trains, trucks, prison, getting drunk... This movie has all the components of the perfect Western: bullies trying to steal your land, bars, pistols, lack of strong female characters, etc. It seemed very formulaic. Maybe it was the first to put all these components together? I dunno. Regardless, it wasn't very interesting or entertaining to me.

Rating: 2/10

Big Lines: "Shane! Shane, come back!" (#47 on AFI's top quotes)

Big Names: none, but this kid was pretty creepy

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

#46 It Happened One Night (1934)

It's nice that Scarlett and Rhett made the list for something besides Gone with the Wind, and their movies are back to back, too. :)

This was an adorable movie and makes the list because it's one of the first romantic comedies, creating the structure of pretty much every rom-com after it. It was completely predictable, but still fun to watch. I could see it again, even if the humor is mostly lost on me.

Rating: 7/10

Big Names: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert

#47 A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

Another movie that imdb tells me was remade in the 90's. Sigh.

I saw this movie about six months ago, so I can't remember the specifics of my thoughts on it besides the domestic violence making me very uncomfortable. I'm not sure why it's #47 of all time at all, even though the acting is great. Vivien Leigh plays spoiled and crazy perfectly.

Rating: 5/10

Big Names: Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando

Big Lines: "Stella! Hey, Stella!" is #45 on AFI's top 100 quotes.

#48 Rear Window (1954)

I had a roommate in college who was obsessed with Hitchcock, and she forced me to watch this one when I was 19. I liked it all right then, but LOVED it this time. Luckily, I couldn't remember how it ended from the first time I saw it, so it kept me in suspense during this re-watch. I feel spoiled watching only the best Hitchcock movies so far (this and North by Northwest), and I hope the others wouldn't disappoint, but I can say I'm a Hitchcock fan based on these two.

Just noticed on imdb that this movie was remade in 1998 with Christopher Reeve. Why?? I can't imagine what a remake would've added to the story. Why mess with perfection?

Rating: 10/10

Big Names: James Stewart (this guy's in a ton of these top 100 movies, and I've learned to immediately recognize his voice), Grace Kelly (adored her dresses in this movie, not that I'd ever be able to pull any of them off)

#53 The Deer Hunter (1978)

I'm back! I've had an eventful few months, so the movie hobby had been pushed further down the priorities list. Now I have a little movie-watching buddy, and until my maternity leave is up, I'll be aiming to watch a movie every weekday. (Or at least as much as Netflix can keep up with me.) I'm trying to avoid day-time television because it just irritates me, so it really shouldn't be too difficult to fit a movie in most days.

I'm actually incredibly behind on writing... I've seen ten so far and haven't written on any of them. I'll be keeping these entries short and sweet. Long stretches of time are not anything I have available to me at the moment.

So.... this movie actually sat at our house for about 6 months before I watched it. It was about 3 hours long, and I knew it was about the Vietnam War so I expected it to be heavy, depressing, and gruesome. It was definitely all of these things, but an interesting movie anyways. It showed how war absolutely destroys the lives of everyone affected... soldiers and those left behind. I already felt that way, so it just reminded me that war is destructive. I did learn all about Russian roulette, though.

Rating: 6/10 (liked it but would prefer to never see it again)

Big Names: The cast was ah-MAZ-ing.... Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, some other people also in The Godfather