Movies, TSPDT

#977 Design for Living (1933)


This is part of my TSPDT series where I review all movies from the 2018 list.

Up next is #977, 1933’s Design for Living. This is a pre-code movie and I’ve tended to like early ’30s movies, this one being no exception. This is your typical Rom-Com where 2 friends both fall for the same woman. Sound like something you’ve seen 1000 times before? Well don’t worry… this actually has some funny moments (even for 1933) and there is a slight twist on the cookie cutter story.

I’m always surprised when I watch such an old movie and genuinely find it funny. This movie had some great lines it. In the first scene where everyone is introduced, Gilda tells George about how she saw one of his paintings with a friend and “…she loved it. we haven’t spoken since.” I love that mean kind of humor. Her delivery was great and his reaction is on point. That line raised my hopes for this movie, and a few minutes later my hopes were raised even higher. The other man in this love triangle is Tom, who’s trying to write a play. He can’t think of the next line in his play after, “There’s only one thing I have to say to you.” He walks around the room repeating it over and over again trying to come up with something. Then Gilda’s friend comes in to talk to him about pursuing her and he says the line. Tom couldn’t care one bit about the warning he’s getting, instead he’s trying to memorize what the guy’s saying so he can use it in his play, and boy does he because it comes up again later in the movie. I just really liked the dialogue in this movie. Of course there are times where it shows its age, but for its time it has surprisingly good humor.

It got the Com part down, but does it get the Rom? Well it falls into the usual trap of classic movies where people seem to fall in love within a few hours. Normally this bothers me so much that it ruins the romance for me, but I didn’t care so much this time. I think it was mostly because it was a pre-code movie. This means they can get away with a lot more “risky” behaviors, like talking about sex and kissing more than a peck on the lips. These things are quite important when one is in a romantic relationship. They didn’t just talk about sex, they actually used the word… I can’t even think of the oldest movie I’ve heard it in. You can be sure sex wasn’t a thing in the late 30s and 40s America! Gilda mentions quite often how she loves both men equally and for different reasons. She doesn’t want to choose between them. She wants both and why can’t she have them? Well maybe she can because the movie ends with what appears to be the 3 lovebirds agreeing to live as a threesome. That isn’t a life style that’s shown too often in film so it’s surprising to watch a movie this old touch on that subject.

This is, hands down, the best comedy I’ve had to watch on the list so far. I can definitely see why it was included. It’s somewhat dated, but still extremely watchable today and has really withstood the test of time.

Verdict: 7.5/10 In other words, Mr. Plunkett, you, eh, you never got to first base.

Movies, TSPDT

#978 The Sting (1973)

Get that money shot!

This is part of my TSPDT series where I review all movies from the 2018 list.

It feels like ages since my last TSPDT review and even more ages since I actually watched #978, The Sting. This would be the second time I’ve seen this movie. I watched it years ago when I was trying to finish IMDB’s top 250. I wasn’t writing much back then, but from what I remember I didn’t pay much attention while watching it and was left feeling underwhelmed. But my foggy memories from years ago aren’t why you’re reading this. What did I think of it this time? Well you know what? It was actually pretty good. If, for some reason, you don’t know what The Sting is about, it’s about these con artists setting up a big con where they run a fake horse race betting parlor. This is a classic and it’s been parodied and homaged so many times.

There is a distinct style to this movie. The music is… unique… as are the transitions between scenes. You’ve most likely heard the theme to this movie at some point in your life, but if you haven’t I’ll link it below so you can really get a feel for this movie.

The Sting is by no means a completely serious movie, but that music reminds me of clowns at the circus. So there were these long stretches of time where no music is played and I started to really get into the story. Then out of nowhere, another clown song comes on and I’m ripped out of the moment. I definitely enjoyed the story in the movie, but it’s weird since I think the music is one reason why it’s so memorable. It’s very distinctive and helps it to stand out from the rest. So in a way, it was the best and worst part of the movie. I wouldn’t mind watching a version of this movie without that music playing just to see what it’s like. Unfortunately, another thing that really bothered me were the transitions between scenes. I don’t want to be too harsh, but it feels like someone just got their hands on Windows Movie Maker for the first time. Every time it happened I really noticed it and I would rather not notice little details like that. This is one of those complaints where I’m not sure if it was a good effect 45 years ago and is just dated now, or if it was bad even when it came out. This movie, without both those elements would be a more enjoyable experience for me in 2018.

I always do this thing where I say I like the movie then go on about everything I didn’t like. There actually were things that I enjoyed in this movie, namely the acting and story. Paul Newman and Robert Redford were a lot of fun to watch. My favorite scene has to be Paul Newman’s poker game. He has a mark for the big con and is starting to put his plan into motion by conning the guy out of some money in a poker game. He starts off by pretending to be drunk which he does a very good job of. After he’s successfully infiltrated the poker game and built up some credibility, he decides to go big on one hand. What makes it interesting is that the mark himself is a known cheater, so in order to con him he has to out cheat the cheater. It’s a suspenseful scene where even we as the audience are tricked. I sometimes complain about being tricked in movies, but this was so well done and brought me into the movie entirely. It’s one of those movies where there’s a plan within a plan within a plan. You don’t know what’s supposed to happen and what’s going wrong so it’s almost like you’re being conned at the same time.

There’s a reason this movie is on so many top lists and that’s because it absolutely deserves it. This is one of those classic movies you should definitely check off your list. Even with all the problems I had with it, it’s been the best movie I’ve watched from TSPDT in a while.

Verdict: 8/10 Luther said I could learn something from you… I already know how to drink.


August 2018

Like I said in my last summary post, I was extremely busy these last 3 weeks with nearly all of my spare time tied up in the new Battle for Azeroth expansion. I haven’t had much time to write any reviews, but with some luck and a little bit of planning I did manage to hit my monthly goal of 31 movies. Overall, August had an average rating of 7/10 and on the enjoyment scale it was a 0.58 which is less than last month but still good overall. Everything was so average in fact, that there were few movies that stood out at all, and I have a feeling this will be a shorter than usual post.

Best of the Best

Isle of Dogs – 7.9

I didn’t like this at first but it got better once I got used to the puppet style and the weird humor. There are just so many weird things happening constantly that you can’t even process it sometimes and you’re wondering what the heck you’re even watching. This was made worse by the fact that sometimes they started speaking in Japanese and I didn’t have any subtitles. Not sure if this was just the copy that I had with this problem or if the movie was designed that way, but I had to rely on my limited knowledge of Japanese obtained from years of watching anime. Language barrier aside this was the most unique movie I’ve seen in a while and it’s definitely worth watching once you get past the weirdness.

Worst of the Worst

Truth or Dare – 5.5

Another modern horror movie on my worst list? It’s almost like I should just stop watching them… This was painfully predictable. Me and my boyfriend were calling literally everything that happened before it happened. Then there was that weird Snapchat filter thing that happened to their faces when they got possessed. It was the most ridiculously hilarious effect they could’ve picked. I also really want to complain about the ending because it didn’t make any sense story wise, but seeing as how this is sort of recent I won’t spoil it if this review has somehow made you want to see this. I don’t recommend you do that though. Even as a Friday night movie with your significant other it isn’t worth it. The story could be interesting, but it just wasn’t executed to the right level.

Experimenter – 5.4

Here comes Netflix to bring me more material to write about. This was worse than Truth or Dare because not only was it not very good, it was astoundingly boring. It took me 4 tries just to get through it. It’s mostly based on the Milgram Experiment where one person had to shock someone in another room whenever they got a question wrong, increasing the voltage each time. They were told to keep going even when the guy begged them to stop… and most kept shocking. The story itself is great, but the movie around it not so much. They do these weird fourth wall breaking monologues out of nowhere and at one point the sets turn into images of backgrounds instead of filming in a real location. The way it was done makes it seem like they just ran out of budget. If the experiment sounds interesting to you then I’d suggest just reading about it over watching this movie.

The Shallows – 5.5

Another Netflix pick except this one’s on me since I decided to watch this for the second time. It was a lot worse than I remember and I will spoil whatever I want since it’s old enough. What it boils down to is the special effects were cringe worthy and the premise is ridiculous. This woman goes swimming on a secluded beach where she gets attacked by a shark. She manages to make it onto the safety of a rock but this shark is camping her waiting for the moment she makes a mistake. I feel like he could’ve just eaten the gigantic dead whale that just so happened to be there if he was so hungry and he wouldn’t have to wait for her to get back in the water. But ok, maybe he likes the taste of human flesh… well he ate another guy then still waited for her. I’m pretty sure he’d be full after that meal and just swim off. He’s acting like she murdered his whole family. I’d rather watch open water for a shark movie than this thing again. No more re-watches in the future for The Shallows. I honestly don’t even know why I wanted to watch it again, I don’t think my first watch went much better.

Biggest Disappointment

A Few Good Men – 7.4

This one came a little out of left field for me as the biggest disappointment. I was watching some random YouTube video where a real lawyer watches courtroom scenes and talks about their accuracy. He just so happened to talk about A Few Good Men and I just so happened to decide to watch it for the first time. It was entertaining and kept my attention, but it wasn’t very suspenseful. Courtroom dramas are definitely in my top 5 favorite movie genres, it’s just the screenplay for this movie wasn’t that good. Putting aside the fact that I sort of know the plot, the movie makes it pretty clear that Jack Nicholson’s character did something shady in the beginning. I wasn’t in suspense over the outcome of the trial or wondering what really happened and to me that’s what these kinds of movies thrive on. The biggest disappointment of the whole movie though has to be the constant casual sexual harassment. I feel awful for Demi Moore having to put up with that. For such a well know and quoted movie, it really wasn’t that great. See it for the pop culture significance and that’s pretty much all.

Biggest Surprise

Fried Green Tomatoes – 9

Finally I can talk about my biggest surprise of August. I was nervous to watch Fried Green Tomatoes because it’s held a special place in my heart for years. I distinctly remember playing the game Scene It years ago and watching the kitchen scene from this movie. It might be stupid, but that game made me want to explore movies and really got me started on the path I’m on now. I’ve always wanted to see it, but I didn’t want to ruin the image I had of it in my mind. I’m happy to say that I absolutely loved this movie. Idgie was one of my favorite characters of the entire year. I love seeing tomboy characters in movies because I was just like her as a kid. I was so upset having to wear a dress or skirt to a fancy family function and it’s great to see that representation. Not only was the character good but it was acted perfectly. At the *big spoiler* end when Ruth died I couldn’t even take it. It was the saddest scene by far with Idgie telling that dumb story as Ruth dies and then just sobbing uncontrollably… I’m gonna cry just thinking about it. It reminds me so much of Carol because there are scenes where the characters don’t say anything but you can read their thoughts in their eyes. When Ruth was on the stand in court, you could see that she wanted to say, “I love you,” to Idgie. The movie doesn’t explicitly say or show them as lovers but you just know it to be true and in my post viewing research confirmed that thought. This movie is based on a novel where they absolutely are lovers, but in the early 90s I’m not surprised they toned that aspect down. Thankfully, it’s an amazing movie regardless. I wholly recommend it and also that you bring some kleenex.

Well that’s it for the month of August. It was a very busy month for me and September is looking to be more of the same. So far I’m extremely behind my movie quota and don’t think I’ll be able to catch up. My goal is to pump out the reviews for the last TSPDT movies I watched, but I don’t think I’ll be watching any more off the list this month or next for that matter. Next month is October and that means it’s horror movie binge time!  Last year I believe I watched 40 and I want to match or exceed that number this year. I’m planning a ton of re-watches of my favorites, and I’m going to try and do a bunch of mini-posts on any new movies I watch so definitely stay tuned for that. Getting to 40 won’t be easy so if you have any suggestions, please leave a comment and let me know because I’ve only planned out around 10 so far. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next TSPDT post this week.