60/60 Thoughts: Part 3 (A Letter To My Readers).

Dear Readers,

With the 60/60 Project at an end, there is something I need to get out, something that spawned itself over the last year on this blog. If there is one thing I learned over the course of this past year... it's that I'm not a film critic. I'm a film reviewer. And I think there is an equal place for both in the blogosphere. But over this year, I received a lot of flak for being a reviewer instead of being a critic. I was told people wouldn't read my blog because I was reviewing films that were "beyond review" and was offering nothing new. I wasn't bringing in depth of thought and discussion. At the same time, these are the same movies that are critic-proof. So what can you say about Citizen Kane? What do say about 2001: A Space Odyssey? I fought back against these accusations with my favorite review/critique of the year, Troll 2, a tongue-in-cheek appraisal of one of the worst movies ever made.

When I started this blog four years ago, I did it because I wanted to be an everyman reviewer. I wasn't setting out to be a fantastic film critic. To me, the film critic is asking for a very specific audience: film buffs. They want to discuss the intricacies of film, why the director did something a certain way, how things connect to a much larger picture, and what it means to the life, the universe, and everything. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. It's just not what I do.

My purpose here has always been to bring in a general audience. It can be accessed by John Smith because he wants to know if Such-And-Such Movie is good or worth his time. And I'm not saying my opinion is the be-all-end-all opinion, either. I write my reviews in a specific format. Some have complained my reviews are dull, that I just talk about the acting, the music, the cinematography, etc. (i.e. the aspects that come together to make the film as a whole). My reason for doing so is to not only explain why my opinion is the way it is, but so the reader can formulate his/her own opinion of whether or not he/she wants to see a movie based on those specs.

I've also been recently insulted in the comments of another person's site that one offense I have committed that this person would never, ever commit is to say that I was bored by a movie or question why it was I was writing the review I was writing in the first place. (Granted, this same person also once vowed they would never, ever stoop so low as to insult me in the comments of their site... so I guess some things must be taken with a grain of salt.) But I digress. I do admit to, especially in the first half of this project, using the phrase "I'm not sure what to say" or at least something similar. I did recognize it as a flaw, and I have since stopped doing it. I've also been negatively accused of claiming a movie is too long and should be shortened. I will never, ever not say I was bored or that a movie should be shortened. And any film critics who state they have never said they were bored or that they feel a movie could use a bit more work in the editing room is a liar. It's not a sin to say a movie could be shorter in order to make it better. Even Ryan at The Matinee, who is a rather well-respected and great film critic on our side of the web, has said so himself. And just because I was bored by a favorite movie does not make me a bad reviewer. It just means we have different tastes in movies.

The purpose of the 60/60 List was to enlighten myself and fill in the gaps for classic movies of many varieties that I hadn't seen. And once I saw these films, I wrote my reviews and shared them so that you knew how I felt. If I loved them, great. If I didn't... oh well. The purpose of the 60/60 List was not to watch these films and then bring deep, insightful discussions on every piece about how they tie into popular culture and/or work as a view into societal issues. If it came up in the comments, great, I'd love to have a discussion. But that's not what I officially do here. And again, there's nothing wrong with those of you who do.

I want to wrap things up in an eloquent way... so I'm going to quote somebody else. Two people, actually. Both of these comments rather encapsulate everything I've been saying and everything I mean in this address. First up, my podcasting partner, Steve (though he wasn't at this time):

Both true criticism and reviews have their place in the world. More to the point, most people want reviews of films--they want to know if they'll like something and why.

Second, James Blake Ewing, who is a fantastic critic himself, once came to my defense saying the following:

The value of a movie reviewer is recommendation, but to suddenly place these films considered as "classic" in this pantheon where they can only be engaged under the lens of criticism is to make them infallible to the film review process.

Most people have watched a "classic" they did not care for and I think there's value in writing about why. This can help reshape the way we think about movies with the distance of time.

Does a film still hold up 40 years later? I think that's something a movie reviewer certainly should be able to do in order to give recommendations of older films as well as new ones. If these films don't hold up, perhaps its time to rethink the film's status as a classic. Therefore, I think the 60/60 reviews are a great idea.

That being said, the 60/60 Project is now over. But soon, the 50/50 will begin. The majority of that list is not of the same caliber, mind you, but the idea is the same. So if you do not like or appreciate or even "get" what it is I do here, then you do not have to read or comment. But for the rest of you, I thank you for your patience, your support, your comments, and your discussions. I hope that you continue with me into the next project and anything else I do over the course of the next year, and I hope to grow and become even better. Thank you.



60/60 Thoughts: Part 2 (Favorites).

Alright guys and gals, it's time for Part 2 of the 3-Part look at the 60/60 Project. Last time we focused on some facts. Today, we'll be looking at some opinions. To start us off, let's take a look at my favorite characters from all 100 films.


10) Jewish Barber/Hynkel (Charlie Chaplin) - The Great Dictator

It was an interesting mix of characters. Hynkel was basically Hitler, and the barber looked exactly like him. In the end, the butler is confused with Hynkel and makes a fantastic (and rather meta) speech. The characters were funny, interesting, and just all-around fun.

9) Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) - Gone With The Wind

Similar to my feelings toward one Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, I thought Rhett Butler always stole the show in Gone with the Wind. His were always my favorite scenes. And although I didn't dislike the rest of the film when he wasn't there, I did find myself enjoying it much more when he was.

8) Wong Fei-Hung (Jackie Chan) - Drunken Master

There's nothing overtly special about this character (besides the fact he becomes an awesome martial artist when he gets drunk). He was just a lot of fun. That's about all there is to it.

7) Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) - Boogie Nights

A fascinating rags to riches and then self-destructive character. Wahlberg gives a great performance here... as does his member.

6) Luke (Paul Newman) - Cool Hand Luke

He's a badass without being an action hero. He stands up to "the man" and attempts to do the impossible just because he can. His pride might get in the way here and there, but he was, overall, a fantastic character.

5) Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch) - The Lives of Others

I might not have adored the movie as a whole, but Georg Dreyman was a beautifully rendered character... brought to life magnificently by the late Sebastian Koch. The emotion he brings, the subtle movements, the slow change in character... it's just outstanding.

4) Alex (Malcolm McDowell) - A Clockwork Orange

One of the many controversies behind this film was that Kubrick adapted the original American release of the book, which did not include the final chapter... and totally changes the meaning of the novel and the character. Either version is fine, but McDowell's Alex is a fascinating look into the psychology of a sociopath.

3) Cosmo Brown (Donald O'Connor) - Singin' in the Rain

Hands down, the best part of that film. Cosmo was funny and full of quick wit. He pulled some great stunts and dances, too. Going into the film, I knew nothing about this character or actor, but he came out my favorite.

2) Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune) - Seven Samurai

What is there to say about Kikuchiyo? He's a total enigma. He follows the others around curiously. He's a total wildcard. And his growth as a character is phenomenal. He might not be the main character of the film, but he's definitely the most memorable.

1) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Paul Newman and Robert Redford)

I know, it's a cheat. But you can't have one without the other. They had perfect chemistry in this film. They were charming, funny, and daring. I was told their chemistry was even better in The Sting, but although I loved that film more, I had to disagree with that sentiment. These two were, hands down, my favorite.


For the next few lists, I want to look at different types of scenes. There won't be any explanations unless something doesn't embed. I'll just give you the video clips and let them speak for themselves. First up, let's take a gander at my favorite quiet moments.


Honorable Mention: The Ending Scene - The Graduate

5) Good/Bad/Ugly - Confederate Soldier Scene

Embedding unavailable. Click here to see it.

4) Cuckoo's Nest - Face Focus

I couldn't find the video here... but there's a moment after, I believe, McMurphy sends Billy off to have sex with Candy. McMurphy goes and sits down, and there's a long shot of Nicholson's face. He goes through multiple emotions, and you just wonder what's going on in his head. It's very reminiscent of the Graduate ending.

3) Nosferatu - Shadow Scene

2) Rope - Clearing the Table

Another that won't embed. But if you don't know the story of the film... two guys kill a third and then invite guests over to a dinner party while the body is stuffed into a chest/trunk. To top it off, they decide to serve dinner off of the trunk. I have to link the whole movie, but the scene here starts at exactly 50 minutes and ends about 52:10. Click here.

1) Great Dictator - Globe Scene


We've taken a look at the quiet moments, so how bout a little bit of the ol' ultraviolence?


Honorable Mention: Death by Stereo - The Lost Boys

Embedding disabled. Click here.

5) Carlito's Way - Escalator Shoot-Out/Final Scene

Yet another failed embed. Click here. WARNING: Spoilers.

4) The Good The Bad The Weird - Town Battle

I couldn't find the entire scene, but here's a version that is severely edited down. It'll give you a general idea, though.

3) Drunken Master - Any Fight

Really, anything would do... so I just chose this.

2) Dead Alive - The Climax

Of course, I mean practically the last 15-20 minutes of the film. But if I had to choose one scene to show you... it would be this one. Warning: There's... um... blood. And stuff.

1) Saving Private Ryan - First 20 Minutes

Of course I can't share the entire opening with you. But here's a snippet:


And what about a little humor to lighten things up?


Honorable Mention: French Connection - On/Off Train

Only because I don't think it was meant to be funny. Click here.

5) The Lost Boys - Shirtless Sax Guy

Totally. Click here.

4) Annie Hall - Theater Scene

3) Kentucky Fried Movie - Court Scene

There were a number of great skits in this movie, but this one had to be my favorite. You know I love puns.

2) Singin' in the Rain - Make 'Em Laugh

1) Monty Python - Guards Scene


Now that we've taken a look at stuff on screen, what about some stuff behind?


5) Boogie Nights

I mostly added this because I needed a fifth spot. But there are some excellent uses of music in this film, particularly near the end with... this scene.

4) 2001: A Space Odyssey

Despite my feelings to the movie as a whole, you can't deny it has one hell of a score. This score is famously used for a reason.

3) A Clockwork Orange

Of course, almost all of it is Beethoven (and/or classical music). There's also the famous "Singin' in the Rain" scene, too. But here's an example of how music was used rather well in the film. Click here.

2) The Untouchables

It was actually the soundtrack that made me love this film as much as I did. So there's that.

1) Dazed and Confused

I'm not even going to bother linking anything. Just look at these artists that appear on this soundtrack: Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, War, Bob Dylan, Foghat, Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, KISS, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and MORE. It's epically awesome.


A few easy ones here... I wanted to just quickly take a look at the months as a whole.

What was my most memorable month? Hands down, it has to be June (WTF Month). I also dubbed this 'rape month' as practically every movie (sans one, I believe) involved rape. Out of all the things that happened this year on this list, there will be 2 things I'll remember. 2001: A Space Odyssey, and this month.

But if that's the most memorable, then what's my favorite? Another easy one, and probably to no surprise... October (Horror Month). I had a lot of fun this month and blasted through all the movies super fast. Not to mention, it gave us one of my best reviews that I've ever done.

Finally, the tough one. What was my least favorite month? This one took a lot of thought, but it actually came down to a pseudo-tie. August and September (Crime Months 1 and 2). While I did really enjoy some of these films, these two months together were long and painful (that's what she said?). It was almost 38 hours total of crime movies. Yikes.


And now, to wrap things up... let's look at the Top 10 Favorites. Now, I have this split into specific orders. I kept up with 3 lists--The ORIGINAL List, wherein I just used the original 60 films; the EXTRAS List, wherein I just used the extra 40 added; and the COMBO List, where I mixed all 100 films together. First, here are my Top 10 Favorite ORIGINALS.


10) Rope
9) Rear Window
8) City of God
7) Saving Private Ryan
6) The Shining
5) Gone with the Wind
4) One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
3) North by Northwest
2) Annie Hall
1) Seven Samurai


10) Mother
9) Laura
8) The Birds
7) The Untouchables
6) Dead Alive
5) The Good, The Bad, The Weird
4) Life is Beautiful
3) Boogie Nights
2) Drunken Master
1) The Sting

And, finally, here are the Top 100 films, in order, from least favorite to favorite. I've also included which films fell under which ratings (Note: For the movies with odd ratings, like WTF or A Hot Mess, I mixed them into a rating spot I felt appropriate).


(Gone from Suck to Blow)

100) Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom

(The Zed Word)

99) Eraserhead
98) Plan 9 From Outer Space
97) M

(Feed Me, Seymour)

96) 2001: A Space Odyssey
95) The Killing
94) Casino
93) I Spit On Your Grave
92) Cannibal Holocaust

(Stop Saying OK! OK.)

91) The French Connection
90) The Quick and the Dead
89) The Hot Rock
88) Visitor Q
87) Close Encounters of the Third Kind
86) Black Hawk Down
85) The Godfather Part III
84) A Streetcar Named Desire
83) Brazil
82) Catch-22
81) The Producers
80) Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb
79) Irreversible
78) Stripes
77) Carlito's Way
76) Vertigo
75) Brokeback Mountain
74) Nosferatu
73) Rumble in the Bronx

(I Am McLovin)

72) Westworld
71) The Kentucky Fried Movie
70) The Apartment
69) The Maltese Falcon
68) Easy Rider
67) Scarface (1983)
66) Shark Attack 3
65) Harvey
64) Les Diabolique
63) Psycho
62) Freaks
61) Repulsion
60) Chinatown
59) The Crying Game
58) Network
57) Strangers on a Train
56) The Changeling
55) The Graduate
54) The Lost Boys
53) Murder on the Orient Express
52) Braveheart
51) The Seventh Seal
50) Haute Tension
49) Dazed and Confused
48) The Lives of Others
47) The Godfather Part II
46) Primal Fear
45) Swingers

(A Keanu 'Whoa')

44) Unforgiven
43) Platoon
42) The Counterfeiters
41) Bonnie and Clyde
40) Lady Vengeance
39) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
38) Mother
37) The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
36) Schindler's List
35) Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
34) Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels
33) Casablanca
32) Laura
31) Citizen Kane
30) Heat
29) Goodfellas
28) Troll 2
27) Lawrence of Arabia
26) The Goonies
25) The Birds
24) A Clockwork Orange
23) The Great Dictator
22) Monty Python and the Holy Grail

(Royale with Cheese)

21) The Pianist
20) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
19) The Untouchables
18) Cool Hand Luke
17) Singin' in the Rain
16) Dead Alive
15) The Good, The Bad, The Weird
14) Life Is Beautiful
13) Rope
12) Rear Window
11) Saving Private Ryan
10) City of God
9) Boogie Nights
8) The Shining
7) Gone With The Wind
6) One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
5) North by Northwest
4) Annie Hall
3) Drunken Master
2) Seven Samurai
1) The Sting*

*Final Note: I put this list together as I went along the project. As blown away as I was by The Sting, I can't for the life of me remember almost any of it anymore. So I can't honestly say it would top the entire project list until I was able to see it again. However, the other five behind it definitely stay in that order. So take it as you will.


60/60 Thoughts: Part 1 (Stats).

For the next 3 days, I'll be posting details related to the 60/60 Project, each covering its own type of information. It's been one heck of a year with this list, and I hope you enjoy what came of it. Here we go.

For Part 1, I want to discuss random statistics that you might find interesting. Let's get right into it.

I discovered that there were some directors that seemed to take over the list more than others. Of course, Hitchcock had his own month, but the others just kind of appeared scattered throughout, which was completely unplanned. The following is a list of directors that appeared more than once on this list and how many times they appeared:

Alfred Hitchcock (7)
-I found I liked him more often than not. I loved some (Rope, The Birds, Rear Window, North by Northwest), but was let down by others (Psycho, Vertigo, Strangers on a Train).

Stanley Kubrick (5)
-Boy did I gain a love-hate relationship with this guy. It's no secret that one film in particular became a running joke for the rest of this project (2001). And there were a couple I just didn't care about (Dr. Strangelove and The Killing). But, I'll be honest... there were two in particular that I did truly come out loving (The Shining and A Clockwork Orange). And I have to give the man credit--love or hate his films, I haven't been able to stop thinking about at least 2 of them. (Special Note: I'll be viewing some of his other titles in the near future, as well.)

Brian De Palma (3)
-He started off strong with me (The Untouchables), but quickly sank into the realm of "I really don't care" (Scarface and Carlito's Way).

Roman Polanski (3)
-Another case of starting off strong (The Pianist) and then sinking into something I just didn't care for (Chinatown and Repulsion). And similar to 2001, my thoughts on Chinatown received some controversial comments...

Steven Spielberg (3)
-On the reverse, though, Spielberg started off rough with me (Close Encounters) and then got excellent (Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List). And there was also yet another controversial discussion that stemmed from one of these films, as well.

Francis Ford Coppola (2)
-Same series... one I really liked (Godfather Part II)... one I didn't (Godfather Part III). Simple as that.

Terry Gilliam (2)
-Gilliam is one of those directors you either like or... really don't. I'm a big fan of 12 Monkeys, for instance. As for this list, one of them started off alright but really grew on me as the year went on (Monty Python). The other still remains rather WTF (Brazil).

George Roy Hill (2)
-Both movies (Butch Cassidy, The Sting) starred the same two fellas and... shocker... I absolutely loved both films. Big surprises of the year.

Ang Lee (2)
-Again, on the other hand, I was kinda let down by both films (Crouching Tiger and Brokeback Mountain) that this director left me with.

Sidney Lumet (2)
-The original 12 Angry Men is one of my all-time favorite movies. And I do quite enjoy some others of this director. Of his two films here, one gave me some good enjoyment (Network). The other was... it was pretty decent (Orient Express).

Mike Nichols (2)
-Prior to this project, I'd seen Closer and... REALLY didn't like it. With my rather so-so feelings towards his two films here (Catch-22 and The Graduate), I can't say I'll be going out of my way to seek out others.

Martin Scorsese (2)
-I like the dude in general. He's not a super-favorite, but I like him. I really liked one of his films here (Goodfellas)... unfortunately, I really didn't like the other (Casino).

NOTE: I found it especially interesting that of all 100 films I viewed for this project, there was only ONE female, and she was a co-director. That honor went to Katie Lund - Co-Director City of God, one of my favorites of the year.


But how about in front of the camera? When it comes to actors, I'm going to be looking at the ones that appeared more the twice throughout the year. Why? Because it turns out there were a LOT that appeared at least twice... even some really random people. So here's a list of those that showed up three or more times. Some are kind of surprising.

Robert De Niro (6)
-Funny how the bulk of his appearances were in the same 2-month span (Godfather Part II, The Untouchables, Goodfellas, Casino, Heat), but there was one that was much earlier in the year (Brazil). And you know what? I enjoyed him quite a bit each and every time.

Al Pacino (5)
-Almost the exact same thing could be said of this actor; Hell, they intersected for a couple of the movies (Godfather Part II, Heat). The others (Scarface, Godfather Part III, Carlito's Way) I didn't particularly care for... but I did love his performance each time.

Gene Hackman (4)
-This was the biggest surprise to me. Unfortunately, I only liked one of the movies (Bonnie and Clyde). The others (Unforgiven, The French Connection, The Quick and the Dead)... I really didn't care for. And I can't say he himself particularly blew me away, either. He was fine, particularly in French Connection, but I could take him or leave him.

Jack Nicholson (4)
-While there were two I didn't really care for (Chinatown, Easy Rider), there were two I totally loved (The Shining, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest). But no matter what I think about the films, his performances, especially in the latter two, were fantastic.

Jimmy Stewart (4)
-I was surprised that he kept turning up, but it was always a complete delight, even if I didn't care for the overall movie (Vertigo, Harvey). On the other hand, there were two I really dug quite a bit (Rope, Rear Window). Funnily enough, I kept reading how Hitchcock (and his audiences) always felt he was miscast, particularly blaming the initial failure of Vertigo on him... to the point he refused to ever work with him again.

Martin Balsam (3)
-He'll always be the foreman in 12 Angry Men to me, but it was nice seeing him show up a few times this year (Psycho, Orient Express, and Catch-22)... even though my feelings on each movie as a whole was only so-so.

Faye Dunaway (3)
-I know she had big roles in all three (Chinatown, Network, Bonnie and Clyde), but I only really remember her performance in the last. Of course, she's really good, but she never super-excited me.

Diane Keaton (3)
-The same could be said here with her three (Godfather Part II, Godfather Part III, and Annie Hall). Two of those are excellent--I'm sure you could figure out which. One of them is actually one of my favorites of the year. I'll give you a hint. She plays the titular character.

Peter Lorre (3)
-His voice alone is enough to make you love this guy. He was my favorite part of all three films he was in (M, Casablanca, and The Maltese Falcon).

Paul Newman (3)
-One of my two favorite actors this year. A hint on the other... Newman shared two of his three movies (Butch Cassidy, The Sting, Cool Hand Luke) with him. There's no surprise to me that one of these films is in my Top 10, and the other two barely missed it.

Anthony Perkins (3)
-Another shocker that showed up in more than the obvious (Psycho). But his appearances in the others (Catch-22, Orient Express) were fine. His best, though, was the first.

Robert Redford (3)
-He comes in second due to a lackluster film (The Hot Rock)... but otherwise, See: Paul Newman.

Tom Sizemore (3)
-This one came out of left field for me. Even looking back at the three (Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, Heat), I can't remember his characters, much less performances... so no comment.


Next, I'll say how many films I saw from each decade.

20s (1) - Nosferatu

30s (3) - Gone with the Wind, M, Freaks

40s (6) - The Great Dictator, Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Laura, Rope, Maltese Falcon

50s (12) - Plan 9, Seven Samurai, Harvey, Les Diabolique, Vertigo, Rear Window, Strangers on a Train, North by Northwest, The Killing, The Seventh Seal, A Streetcar Named Desire, Singin in the Rain

60s (14) - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Good/Bad/Ugly, The Apartment, Dr. Strangelove, The Producers, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Repulsion, Psycho, The Birds, Easy Rider, Cool Hand Luke, Bonnie and Clyde, Lawrence of Arabia, The Graduate

70s (20) - Close Encounters, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Westworld, Drunken Master, Monty Python/Holy Grail, Kentucky Fried Movie, The Sting, Network, Annie Hall, Catch-22, Eraserhead, Salo, A Clockwork Orange, I Spit on Your Grave, The French Connection, Chinatown, The Hot Rock, Orient Express, The Godfather Part II, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

80s (9) - Brazil, Stripes, Platoon, Cannibal Holocaust, The Untouchables, The Lost Boys, The Shining, The Changeling, The Goonies

90s (21) - Unforgiven, Quick and the Dead, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Rumble in the Bronx, Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List, The Pianist, Life is Beautiful, The Crying Game, Primal Fear, Heat, Goodfellas, Carlito's Way, Casino, The Godfather Part III, Troll 2, Dead Alive, Boogie Nights, Dazed and Confused, Swingers

00s (13) - Good/Bad/Weird, Crouching Tiger, Mother, Lady Vengeance, Black Hawk Down, The Counterfeiters, Haute Tension, Visitor Q, Irreversible, Shark Attack 3, City of God, Brokeback Mountain, The Lives of Others

Note: Funny how the majority of the films on a list about classics came from the 90s. Granted... not all of them were particularly all that great. So while we're on that subject... just for fun, which was my favorite decade and least favorite decade? Well, funnily enough, each decade has its ups and downs... but I'd say the 70s is equally my favorite and least favorite decade.


Going along the same lines... let's take a look at how many films I gave particular ratings. Remember, this is out of 100 films.

Royale with Cheese - 21
A Keanu 'Whoa' - 23
I Am McLovin - 27
Stop Saying OK! OK. - 16
Feed Me, Seymour - 4
The Zed Word - 2
She's Gone From Suck to Blow - 1
A Hot Mess - 2
WTF - 4

NOTE: The films for each rating will be revealed tomorrow.


Here are the movies from the list I now own. Now, there are two categories here. The first is for movies I actually had to purchase (or have someone send me a copy of) in order to even watch it in the first place:

-Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
-The Great Dictator
-Strangers on a Train

And this category is for the movies that I loved and now own because of that:

-The Good, The Bad, The Weird
-A Clockwork Orange
-The Shining
-North by Northwest

I'm sure there will at least be a few more added to this second list when I get around to it, as there are a handful I'd like to own. But as for now, that's what I got.


Finally, let's do some TIME.

The longest month, clocking in at 19 Hours and 6 Minutes - August (Crime Month - Part 1). In second place with 18 Hours, 49 Minutes was September (Crime Month - Part 2). How coincidental.

The shortest month, clocking in at 5 Hours and 29 Minutes - November 2010 (Space/Sci-Fi Month). The first month I started. But I figure only because I hadn't started doing "Extras" yet, and I started a week late. So the runner-up in this category would be, ironically, the last month - December 2011 (What's Left - Light), with 10 Hours and 50 Minutes.

So, ladies and gentlemen... after adding up all the running times of all the movies I watched for this project... the final time count for the project is...

202 Hours and 34 Minutes. That is 8 Days, 10 Hours, and 34 Minutes. Now that's a long time of straight movie-watching!


Alrighty guys and gals. Stay tuned tomorrow when you'll get a bunch of lists, favorites, and least favorites of things!


60/60 Review #60: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

Honestly, the worst way to end the 60/60 list would have been to end with a movie I felt 'blah' about. Fortunately, we're ending on a good note. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) ends up being transferred to a mental institution so they can assess whether or not he's crazy or just dangerous. While there, he plays a psychological battle against Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher), trying to get under her skin. The other inmates are played by people such as Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd, Brad Dourif, Will Sampson, Michael Berryman, and more. And my main man Scatman Crothers shows up as an orderly, as well.

I honestly didn't think I was going to enjoy this movie as much as I did. I was hoping to like it, but I came out really loving it. First of all, it has a fantastic pacing. There's never a dull moment, and I found myself wondering what was going to happen next. It kept me on my toes, which I really liked.

The acting was phenomenal, too. Of course Nicholson was excellent--this was his first Oscar win. One scene that particularly showed off his skills was probably one of the quietest scenes in the movie. It's closer to the end, and Nicholson sits down. The camera closes in on his face... and just stays there. Nicholson goes through a range of emotions, never making a noise, and all you can think about is what is going through this guy's head right now. It's a fantastic moment in the movie. And Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched is great. I know the comparison I'm about to make came later, but I experienced it first, so it works... but she reminds me a lot of Umbridge from Harry Potter (funnily enough, I re-watched Order of the Phoenix the same night I watched this). She seems nice and like she just wants to do what's right, but there's something not quite right, and you slowly realize that she's actually rather deranged. It really shows in the fact that by the end of the film, Nicholson has done more for the patients than she ever has, but she drags them back down and derails everything.

The best stuff comes from the relationships between the characters. The Chief was my favorite, of course, and the slow friendship McMurphy builds with him is excellent (and inevitably heartbreaking). I really appreciated this film from the character level and how they all worked off of each other and grew. I made a Harry Potter comparison already, but another comparison this made me think of was Chan-wook Park's I'm A Cyborg, But That's OK, where it seems the main guy is doing more for these patients than the staff, and you question who really are the insane ones.

It's a movie that has some good laughs, and it doesn't get too heavy and depressing that it drags you down. Well, it gets a bit serious near the end, but maybe for only about 5 minutes. Then it has a high note ending (sorta). I couldn't say I would watch it all the time, but it's definitely one I would like to revisit every now and then. The characters and their situation was just far too engaging for me to feel otherwise. If you have yet to see it, definitely check it out, especially if you enjoy mental hospital-type movies. It's excellent.

Rating System.
Royale With Cheese

(P.S. That's it, folks! That wraps up the 60/60 Project! As for this particular month, it was interesting. The last couple were the best, which is funny considering it was usually the opposite every other month of the year. But alas. Keep an eye out over the next few days as I post some fun stats, lists, and other information that I've put together for the project! See you then.)


The Vlog - Season 4 Trailer.

It's that time again, ladies and gents! That's right, The Vlog is coming back. So you know what that means? We need a trailer! And I have one for you, ready to go. I said when I first started writing for this season that it was either going to be the greatest season possible or a complete disaster. Here's hoping for the former. I will say, though, that so far it's been the most complicated to put together. Anyway, you really don't get much plot from this trailer, but you do get some wacky antics. Unfortunately, it has part of a song that almost no video uploading site will let me use, so I was stuck with Vimeo.

I hope y'all enjoy it, and let me know what you think!

The Vlog - Season 4 Trailer. from Nicholas Jobe on Vimeo.


Musical Monday: The Little Mermaid - Poor Unfortunate Souls (#1).

[Every Monday, I'm going to be counting down my 52 favorite musical numbers from musical movies and TV shows. I might not like the full movie/show, but the number makes the list for various reasons: 1) I have to like the song, 2) the visual of how the number is performed is most likely unique or fun, 3) both song and visual mixes well to create an exciting or powerful number. So let's get to the next on the list.]

That's right. Of all the songs in all the films on this list, some of which include some of my all-time favorite films, the number 1 spot for my favorite musical number ever... is in The Little Mermaid. I've beaten the "villains song" thing to death, but out of all of them, I'd have to say this is one of the best ones ever written. It's whimsical yet menacing. It consists of dreams and danger. It's old school Faustian brought to a Disney setting. It moves from a catchy, talky tune to one of the most sinister-sounding chants. The animation is fantastic, from the witchcraft to the ultimate transformation. It starts slow, builds, evens out, builds more, and gives us a bang of an ending.

Unfortunately (no pun intended), it's not available to embed. So click here to check it out!

Thank you to everyone who followed along with this feature. I know it wasn't the most popular thing I did all year, as it didn't get a whole lot of comments. But there were those of you who enjoyed it. And to those I say thanks!


The Demented Podcast #30 - Battle Royale 3.

Here y'all go! I'm giving you the episode a week early. Happy Holidays to all. Anyway, this is the Battle Royale, where the Top 5 (available) Tower players of the season compete for ultimate glory. The BRs are always a blast to record, despite taking a while. For instance, this particular episode took about 2 hours and 15 minutes to get through, and I was able to cut it down quite a bit. Don't worry, you're not missing much from what I cut. Anyway, we have Joel, Dan, Dylan, Kai, and Jason. Can Joel keep his King of the Tower? Or will Dan show who's really the boss? But watch out for Dylan--he's a great player himself. Can Kai make it past the first round this time? Or will Jason, the underdog, prove that he has what it takes? Listen to find out!

Current Tower Leaderboard
1) Joel - 191 Points
2) Dan - 164 Points
3) Dylan - 146 Points
4) Steve - 133 Points
5) Tom - 105 Points
6) Kai - 103 Points
7) Jason - 101 Points
8) Scott - 97 Points
9) Alan - 86 Points

Current/Previous Battle Royale Champions
(BR2) Dylan Fields - 114 Points
(BR1) Rachel Thuro - 171 Points

You can listen to this episode on the player below or by subscribing through iTunes.

That being said, enjoy! Thanks goes out to Kevin MacLeod's Incompetech website for great, royalty-free music. And thanks to Google for helping me find a website that will give me free video game audio samples.



So, before anyone else had even heard of this movie, it was one of my most anticipated of the year. Then people started hearing of it and began anticipating it, too. Then the trailer came out... and what a piece of crap that was. It went from in my Top 3 most anticipated to not even in my Top 10. It just looked abysmal and Oh-My-God-What-Is-Scorsese-Doing? But then the reviews started coming in, and most people declared it one of the best of the year. I became confused. So when the film landed in my town for basically a week-long run, I knew I had to check it out before it was too late. And what did it end up being? A very difficult film to talk about.

On the surface, the film starts off as one thing but then turns into something completely different about halfway through. We meet Hugo (Asa Butterfield), an orphan who lives in the walls of a Parisian train station and fixes clocks. One day, he's caught thieving by a toy shop owner, Georges Melies (Ben Kingsley), and he takes a journal that belongs to Hugo. The journal belonged to Hugo's father (Jude Law) and told how he could continue fixing an automaton. Hugo befriends Georges' Goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloe Moretz), in an attempt to get the journal back. But in this process, he begins to discover the secrets behind the automaton and its connection to Georges, as well as Georges' secret past. Meanwhile, Hugo must stay out of sight from the Station Inspector (Sasha Baron Cohen), who would quickly snatch him up and send him to the orphanage. The film also co-stars Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Helen McCrory, Frances de la Tour, and Richard Griffiths (yup... three Harry Potter alums!).

The film is very beautiful to watch. It gives off a magical appearance, like a whole new world exists within the walls of the Parisian train station. And it's rather fitting, as the movie as a whole is about embracing the magic of imagination. There is a lot of love given to cinema in this film, as movies play a large role in (the latter half of) the film.

But here's the problem I had with the movie... I just couldn't get absorbed by it all. It looked magical and beautiful. There was a solid mystery. The characters were good. Everything about this was completely solid film-making. But for some reason, none of that was getting my investment. I wasn't bored, though I did (ironically) look at my watch twice. The first time was a little over an hour in, and it felt like it had at least been thirty minutes longer than that.

I've thought about why this could be. I believe I've come to the conclusion that I was caught off guard; I wasn't watching what I thought I was supposed to be watching. The film was advertised as more of a whimsical kids movie about a kid who lives in clock towers and has adventures with a girl he befriends, mostly centered around a wacky station inspector and a mysterious robot. What it actually is... is a sad movie about losing everything you held dear, whether that be your parents, your leg, your love, your brother, or your life dream, and coping with it as best you can on a day-to-day basis. Every character in this movie (with the exception of Griffiths and de la Tour) lost something dear to them and live with a sadness behind their eyes. The aforementioned two just struggle to be with each other due to a minor complication.

In the end, there is a strong message of "never give up and always follow your heart." And everybody portrays that message greatly in their own little story. Even Sasha Baron Cohen moves beyond being a flat villain and has an arch of his own to overcome, and it's one of his best acting performances. Ben Kingsley also gives a very strong performance, as well (which is good considering the film is really about him).

I know I probably sounded very negative in this review, but I honestly still really liked the film. It wasn't anything like I expected, either in plot or in tone, but Scorsese still managed to show his chops in this lighter fare. Pay no attention to the terrible trailers. This film is much more than anything you've seen advertised. It has strong themes and is, as many have already said, a love song to following your dreams, to discovering the magic of imagination, and to viewing and appreciating film itself.

A Keanu 'Whoa'


60/60 Review #59: Singin' In The Rain.

I've always known the titular song, even as a kid, but I've never really known what the film was about. And to be honest, I'm not sure I would have appreciated the subject matter as a kid as much as I would have now. Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) are two of the biggest stars of silent cinema. Unfortunately, "talkies" are starting to take over Hollywood... and Lina has the voice of dying cats. But maybe with a little help from his best friend Cosmo (Donald O'Connor) and love interest Kathy (Debbie Reynolds), they can figure out how to get through it.

I would ask anyone to try watching this movie and not smile at least once. It's a fun, joyous movie full of great laughs and cheer. The movie wasn't even halfway over and I found myself wanting to take up tap dancing lessons. Gene Kelly, and the others, were fun to watch just dancing along. Though personally, I think Donald O'Connor stole the show as Cosmo. His wit and physical humor was fantastic.

And I was surprised at how much wit the movie has in general. Typically movies of this time period are over-the-top and sometimes a bit silly in the acting. But this one felt as if it were in on the joke. With only a couple exceptions, it appeared like a modern film that was emulating something from the times, paying homage, and doing a damn fine job of it. There were a handful of meta moments, but it really was the sharp writing and wit that kept me involved.

If I were to have any negatives... ironically, it would be with the musical aspect of the film. I didn't like at least a third of the songs, though most of the time that fact was made up by some fun dancing. However, there were two numbers in the film that made the movie nearly come screeching to a halt. The first would be my least favorite scene, which is the Beautiful Girls number. I know it's there to reintroduce Kathy, but that one was really painful. The second is the Broadway Melody scene near the end. This one is kind of twofold. On the one hand, the dancing and the Cyd Charisse stuff looked amazing. There was some fantastic choreography and cinematography (like the white dress/long fabric part). On the other, the song isn't that great... and it goes on... and on... and on... and on. For a while, I thought it was never going to end. Minor side-note--although Donald O'Connor is fantastic, Make 'Em Laugh went on about 20 seconds too long (the bit right before he jumps around off the walls didn't need to be there).

There's really little else to say. The dancing is fun and the comedy is great. For it being a musical, though, I didn't care for a handful of the songs. Still, it was a fun time, and on the whole, it was a very smart, well written, and well performed film.

Rating System.
Royale With Cheese

(P.S. I know that's my best rating... and although I found a few issues with it, I couldn't give it a rating below this. So I guess consider this at the lower end of scale. But the love is still there.)


60/60 Extra: Swingers.

A couple years ago I saw another Favreau/Vaughn film called Made, and I thought it was hilarious. I was continually told that they're even better in Swingers. But do I agree with that? The film follows Mike (Jon Favreau), who has recently broken up with his girlfriend of 6 years and moved across the country to L.A. There, with the help of friends Trent (Vince Vaughn), Rob (Ron Livingston), and Sue (Patrick Van Horn), he tries to get over her and move on with his life.

To be honest, it wasn't until about the halfway point that I "got" the movie. It was around the time of the Scorsese/Tarantino conversation (and then subsequent slow-mo walk). There is some fantastic meta stuff in this movie. But besides getting into the film based on the meta stuff, it took me a while to realize the whole point to the movie.

At first I was wondering what the point was. Frankly, I was kind of bored after a while with the film seemingly going nowhere. It was party after party, random conversation after random conversation. But when I picked up on the notion that the film was basically a study of love in its different forms, it made more sense. Mike had the painful loss of love and the awkward stance of moving on. Trent is a sad, pathetic individual who puts on a self-entitled smooth exterior. And Rob is in between, sympathizing with both sides. And all three are rather pathetic as failed actors/entertainers just trying to make it in the business they love. The film itself is like a love letter to film, as shown through the more meta moments.

The acting was good all around. Favreau was good at being awkward, depressed, and desperate. The "phone call" scene started funny... but then got painful and sad and you couldn't help but cringe and feel bad for the guy (while at the same time wanting to shake him). Livingston was good at being the friend, though there wasn't much beyond that with him. And then, of course, Vaughn did what he does best--acts annoying and never shuts up.

Due to the fact that I didn't really start liking it until about halfway through, I might eventually need to give it another watch at some point. But I can tell you that my enjoyment of it did slowly rise as the film went on. I wasn't in love with it at the end, but by the time it was over... I did feel that it was pretty money, baby.

I Am McLovin!


Musical Monday: Moulin Rouge! - El Tango De Roxanne (#2).

[Every Monday, I'm going to be counting down my 52 favorite musical numbers from musical movies and TV shows. I might not like the full movie/show, but the number makes the list for various reasons: 1) I have to like the song, 2) the visual of how the number is performed is most likely unique or fun, 3) both song and visual mixes well to create an exciting or powerful number. So let's get to the next on the list.]

For the longest time, this was in the #1 position on this list. It really is not only one of my favorite musical numbers of any movie ever, but one of my favorite scenes in any movie ever. The music is strong, the visuals are great, and the editing is ungodly magnificent. It's dark, it's gritty, and it's powerful. You may hate this movie, and I know a lot of people do, but you can't deny this is a fantastic scene. Even the Nostalgia Critic, who hates everything, recently did a fantastic musical review of this movie... and even HE couldn't deny the awesomeness of this scene. I've been a long time fan of Doug Walker, and I have to say that's the first time I can recall his Nostalgia Critic character ever saying anything positive about a film (that was in a legitimately good way, not a 'this is so crazy it's awesome' kind of way). So yeah, if you've never seen the movie, at least check out this scene. It's that good.

So what could possibly be #1? Check out next Monday to find out!


The Demented Podcast #29 - We Re-Imagine Stuff.

It's the final episode before the next Battle Royale, and this time we're joined by Kai Parker of Man, I Love Films. We have a hell of a fun time reading a bunch of comments and giving Joel complements. Then we have an even more fun time as we discuss time travel movies with Time After Time and Timecrimes. Then it's time to move on to The Tower. Can Kai add himself to the ranks and enter the Battle Royale? Listen and find out!

Current Tower Leaderboard
1) Joel - 191 Points
2) Dan - 164 Points
3) Dylan - 146 Points
4) Steve - 133 Points
5) Tom - 105 Points
6) Jason - 101 Points
7) Scott - 97 Points
8) Alan - 86 Points

Current/Previous Battle Royale Champions
(BR2) Dylan Fields - 114 Points
(BR1) Rachel Thuro - 171 Points

You can listen to this episode on the player below or by subscribing through iTunes.

That being said, enjoy! Thanks goes out to Kevin MacLeod's Incompetech website for great, royalty-free music. And thanks to Google for helping me find a website that will give me free video game audio samples.


60/60 Review #58: The Graduate.

Well, this film has helped me discover one or two things I'm not particularly a fan of. I've seen 2 films from director Mike Nichols prior to this one. Earlier this year, I caught Catch-22 (no pun intended); it's a favorite book of mine... not so good of a movie. And a while back, I saw Closer... which I was totally not a fan of. But The Graduate is a super-classic, and it's almost film-fan suicide to dislike it. So... did I?

If you're unaware, the film is about recent college grad Ben (Dustin Hoffman) who is seduced by a friend of his parents, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft). Ben is shy and totally against it at first, but eventually gives into the affair. Unfortunately, it leads to a relationship with her daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross), which neither parent approves of.

There were some things I liked about the movie and some things I didn't. Let's start with the negative so we can end on a more positive note. First of all, I found myself having trouble liking... any... of the characters. Ben was a pushover at first, and then he turns more reckless and a little crazy. Mrs. Robinson is just a crazy word-I-won't-say. And Elaine is the type who would tell two different guys she would marry them (though unsure) after pretty much one date each. Don't get me wrong, it was great acting all around... but my main focus? Realizing that Dustin Hoffman's dad in the movie is Mr. Feeny!

I also realized that I'm apparently not a fan of Simon and Garfunkel. I was not a fan of the music of this film at all. In fact, it drove me kind of crazy. Normally I can deal with it, but when they just play the same songs over and over and over, it gets a bit grating.

Somewhere in the middle between like and dislike is the climax and ending. The climax is just insane and feels marginally unrealistic. It was just a bit cartoonish. But the actual ending and the ambiguity of it all was good. I also appreciated the fact that Ben (SPOILER) apparently can't stay away from married women (END SPOILER).

What did I like, though? I loved the camera work. The movie found so many brilliant angles and spots to place the camera, giving us some fantastic moments. And not only the camera work, but the way things were edited together, too (like transitions between scenes that seemed to be fluid and single takes). You see that kind of stuff all the time now, but it was probably rather innovative back then. So basically, all the technical visuals of the film were a real treat. It was totally my favorite part of the movie.

Despite the mostly negative review, I didn't hate the movie. I just didn't love it. I had a hard time getting into it past the camera stuff. Hoffman's performance was great, but after the first 45 or so minutes, his personality shifts into something a little less relatable. Really, it's a masterfully made film. I just had problems getting into it, more for personal taste reasons than anything else.

I Am McLovin!


60/60 Extra: Dazed And Confused.

I've said in the past that I'm not one to love movies with little plot. I typically need something that pulls the story along, and it can't just be a "day in the life" kind of thing... which is precisely what Dazed and Confused is. But did this one break that mold? The film takes place on the last day of school in May 1976. The main conflicts include Pink (Jason London) not wanting to sign a form for football that means he can't drink or do drugs; a kid named Mitch (Wiley Wiggins) who is moving into his freshman year of high school and is trying to avoid the seniors, but ends up hanging out with them all night; and Mike (Adam Goldberg), Tony (Anthony Rapp), and Cynthia (Marissa Ribisi), who question their inclusion in life as they know it. The film also co-stars Rory Cochran, Joey Lauren Adams, Milla Jovovich, Cole Hauser, Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Matthew McConaughey, and a bunch of people that didn't really become famous.

While I was still moderately bothered with the fact that essentially nothing happens during the hour and 45 minute time span, I still liked the really liked the movie. A lot of the characters come in and out of the story, some more important than others. I do think that there were a handful of unnecessary characters that bogged down the film a little bit, and it could have been slightly more focused in its unfocused...ness.

The acting was solid all around. The iffiest was probably Wiley Wiggins, but I gave that a pass considering he had the most interesting story to me. But on the whole, it's good that the acting held up, as movies like this rely on the actors since there is no real story to drive the film. However, the other best thing that drives this film is the soundtrack. I recently had a discussion with one Kai Parker who declared that this film had one of the best soundtracks ever. Now that I've seen the film, I have to agree. I really loved the soundtrack, and it held the movie together as if it were a character in and of itself. I feel the music was really at the heart of this film.

In the end, it's hard for me to say how I really feel about the movie. It was fun and charming, but the lack of cohesion makes it not my cup of tea. So while I did end up liking it quite a bit, it's not one I can say I would be revisiting over and over. However, I might just have to get the soundtrack, because that is something I could check out frequently. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be negative or trying to discourage anyone from this film. It's actually really well done. It's just, again, not my favorite type of movie.

I Am McLovin!

(P.S. For the record, I had a tough time choosing between this and a Keanu 'Whoa'. So, needless to say, this is on the higher end of this rating.)


Musical Monday: Little Shop of Horrors (TIE) - Feed Me & Mean Green Mother From Outer Space (#3).

[Every Monday, I'm going to be counting down my 52 favorite musical numbers from musical movies and TV shows. I might not like the full movie/show, but the number makes the list for various reasons: 1) I have to like the song, 2) the visual of how the number is performed is most likely unique or fun, 3) both song and visual mixes well to create an exciting or powerful number. So let's get to the next on the list.]

We all know that one of my favorite movies of all time is the 1986 musical version of Little Shop of Horrors. Needless to say, it was very difficult choosing which songs to put on this list. When it came down to it, I had to put a tie for third. And there's really no surprise either that both are essentially "villain" songs.

The first is "Feed Me (Git It)," the song that Audrey II and Seymour sing when Audrey II first starts speaking. It's a "Devil on the Shoulder" type song, with the plant talking the good-natured Seymour into committing murder in order to feed it. Not only is the song great and catchy, but the camera work and blocking is great. Seymour is excited at the beginning and is, thus, close to the plant. Then the plant says what it wants, and for the bulk of the rest of the song, Seymour is on the opposite end of the room (unless Audrey II forces him closer). It's not until the breaking point when he finally makes Seymour snap that he gets closer to the plant once again--almost too close--showing they are finally in the same mindset.

Then there's the finale song, Mean Green Mother From Outer Space. This song is actually absent from the stage version, written especially for the film version. It's the showdown between Seymour and Audrey II, where the plant reveals everything and what it's really there to do. It's a David and Goliath battle that David was originally supposed to lose. And it's also one of the freakiest and most menacing songs on this list. I also love the short segment where Audrey II references other monster/alien movies. And it also has some outstanding puppetry and practical work going on here. Anyway, here you go!


60/60 Review #57: The Goonies.

This is one of those films I'm upset at myself for not having seen as a child. It's basically the perfect kid's adventure film... but does it hold up for an adult seeing it for the first time? The basic idea is that an entire living area is being demolished to expand a country club (or something), and a group of friends stumble upon an old treasure map and start an adventure in order to get the money to save their home. You got Mikey (Sean Astin) and his older brother, Brand (Josh Brolin). Then there's Mikey's clumsy, gluttonous, fibbing friend Chunk (Jeff Cohen). There's also big talker Mouth (Corey Feldman), inventor Data (Ke Huy Quan), and Brand's friends Stef (Martha Plimpton) and Andy (Kerri Green). Unfortunately, in getting to the treasure, they run across escaped convicts, Jake (Robert Davi), Francis (Joe Pantoliano), Mama (Anne Ramsey), and the deformed Sloth (John Matuszak).

On the positive side, like I said, it really is a perfect adventure film for kids (ironically, another on the list could be Temple of Doom, which also co-stars Ke Huy Quan). It's fun, has kids doing crazy things, and it isn't dumbed down. The kids cuss, the danger is (mostly) realistic, and there's a great mystical element to it, yet still steeped in moderate reality. In other words, it's quite a blast.

On the negative side, its flaws are equally blatant. First and foremost, there is an insane amount of product placement. In the first half of the film, there's probably a Pepsi or Pepsi symbol in every single scene. Then director Richard Donner makes a connection to his earlier film, Superman (which wouldn't have been as obvious with a different director and without the previous advertisements strewn through the film). Then you have the characters that are a little too over-the-top or bothersome in one way or another. Data makes huge faces and movements to every little thing. Chunk is just kind of annoying in the "never shuts up" kind of way, though I know that's his character. Finally, Data's inventions are a bit too cartoonish and unrealistic in an otherwise more "realistic" film. They just felt out of place.

There was a lot of talent behind this film, as well. Besides an outstanding cast, the people behind the scenes are excellent. It's directed by Richard Donner, based on a story by Steven Spielberg, and written by Chris Columbus. Though at the same time, with Spielberg and Columbus' involvement, it shouldn't have been surprising how cheesy and sappy the ending was. And... it really was.

But that's not to say I didn't enjoy the film. Quite the opposite, really. My negative feelings didn't detract from the whole thing. I know I've talked a lot of negative in this review, but I did really, really like the movie. Like I said at the beginning, this is a movie I'm sad I didn't become acquainted with as a kid. As a kid, I would have eaten this up and then the nostalgic factor today would let me see past all the issues (at least for the most part). But I didn't, so it's only just really good to me instead of really great.

A Keanu 'Whoa'



I've only ever seen 3 things from Lars von Trier prior to this. First was the television mini-series Kingdom Hospital, which I enjoyed from what I remember, but never realized was a von Trier production. Second was Dancer in the Dark, which--against popular opinion--I couldn't stand. Then there was Antichrist, which despite seeing at least a year or so ago, I still feel like I need a shower just thinking about it. Needless to say, I didn't care for it (understatement). So when I came across Melancholia, I was a bit hesitant to say the least. On the one hand, it has a sci-fi element where a new planet is on a collision course with Earth; on the other hand, it's all about depression and being all insane and whatnot. So what did I think?

First let's look at the plot. We have newlyweds Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgard) who arrive to their wedding reception. Justine tries to have a good time, but it's all a facade as she hides the sadness and/or apathy within. She also notices a strange star in the distant sky. This lasts an hour. The second hour follows Justine's sister, Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her husband, John (Kiefer Sutherland). He's studying a new planet called Melancholia (the aforementioned 'star' that Justine saw) that is heading toward Earth and assures her they're going to be safe, but Claire is going out of her mind with fear that they're all going to die.

At a little over two hours, that doesn't seem to be enough plot to fill its length. And sure, it probably could have been cut down (particularly Justine's half of the story). But yeah, I know, it's all character studies and symbolism and everything. But could von Trier at least have been a little more subtle? Justine is obviously suffering from extreme depression and they name the planet Melancholia? And she basks in its light? Etc. Etc. And it's never clear if there's anything she's actually depressed about or if it's just a chemical thing. I had a theory that she's down and out because she's the only person in her family without a British accent. Poor Justine.

There are two great things about the film, though. The first is the acting. Everybody is on their game in this film, but you have to give definite props to Kirsten Dunst in what is probably one of the finest performances of her career. And thank God everybody is so good because otherwise this film wouldn't have worked at all.

The second thing great is the visuals. The film starts off with 8 minutes of super, ultra slo-mo in very sharp picture, something he also did in Antichrist. Yeah, it's a bit much and drags like no other, but at least it looks good and is kind of trippy at times. And then all the planet stuff in the second half looks phenomenal. The cinematography in general is pretty dang good.

Overall, this is not a film for everyone. It's one of those "it's very well made, but... I probably won't ever watch it again" kinda films. It wasn't made for entertainment purposes. It was made as an art piece. It was made to be dissected and discussed (despite its lack of subtlety). But really, there's only one striking thing I'd like to talk about if you've seen it... and it's kind of a blink and you'll miss it moment. They make note early on in the film that there are only 18 holes on this golf course. At the end, she walks by a flag that says "19." I wonder what that means. Anyway, that's all I have for this. If you're a von Trier fan, I suppose you'll like this if you haven't seen it already. If you like more artistic or thoughtful films, you'll dig it. But if you like your movies for entertainment purposes only, I'd steer clear.

I Am McLovin!

(P.S. That score is more for entertainment. If I were to score it based on quality of filmmaking, it would be higher. But I'm not. So it isn't.)


Musical Monday: It's Not Over Yet & Zydrate Anatomy (#5 And #4).

[Every Monday, I'm going to be counting down my 52 favorite musical numbers from musical movies and TV shows. I might not like the full movie/show, but the number makes the list for various reasons: 1) I have to like the song, 2) the visual of how the number is performed is most likely unique or fun, 3) both song and visual mixes well to create an exciting or powerful number. So let's get to the next on the list.]

NOTE: Sorry about last week! I completely forgot to put this up thanks to a lot of busy-ness and writing of other things. So I'm putting #5 and #4 on this post to catch up. So here we go...

#5: A Very Potter Sequel - It's Not Over Yet

"What? Your #5 of all time is from an internet video and not an actual movie?" To that, I say... so what? To be fair, it's a hugely popular set of plays that stars Darren Criss who is now one of the stars of Glee (take that however you will). I've said many-a-time I love villain songs, as well as opening numbers. This just happens to be both. It's super catchy, and I'll listen to this song more than any other from either play. It's that fantastic... and meta (though... the entirety of both plays are incredibly meta... but still).

#4: Repo! The Genetic Opera - Zydrate Anatomy

It's my favorite song in the movie, and it's the song that got me interested in seeing the movie in the first place. It's catchy, it's fun, and it's just plain bizarre. It's Zydrate Anatomy. Unfortunately, I can't embed this video, so you'll have to go to a link. Click here.


The Demented Podcast #28 - By Your Face, I Will Punch It.

For today's episode, we were joined by Dylan Fields of Man, I Love Films to discuss 90s action/thriller/espionage films. We start off with some Robert Redford fun in Sneakers, but change gears to Luc Besson and La Femme Nikita. Ever wanted to hear "milf" and "Ben Kingsley" in the same general discussion? How about the implication that Milla Jovovich could have made a movie better? Then this episode is for you!

After the discussions, we move in to The Tower. Will Dylan join the ranks for the upcoming Battle Royale, or will he fall by the wayside? Listen to find out!

Current Tower Leaderboard
1) Joel - 191 Points
2) Dan - 164 Points
3) Steve - 133 Points
4) Tom - 105 Points
5) Jason - 101 Points
6) Scott - 97 Points
7) Alan - 86 Points

Current/Previous Battle Royale Champions
(BR2) Dylan Fields - 114 Points
(BR1) Rachel Thuro - 171 Points

You can listen to this episode on the player below or by subscribing through iTunes.

That being said, enjoy! Thanks goes out to Kevin MacLeod's Incompetech website for great, royalty-free music. And thanks to Google for helping me find a website that will give me free video game audio samples.