Movies

April 2018

Man oh man, April was a tough month for me. I hit a huge movie slump at the beginning of the month, but was able to come back from it when I started a free trial with Mubi, a movie streaming service that plays one new movie every day, but I’ll talk about that somewhere below. I’ve also been unable to get through a single new TSPDT movie this month because I’ve been stuck on the next one which is proving difficult to get through. Overall I managed to watch 25 movies, coming up short of my goal of 30 and most of them I didn’t like.

Best of the Best


Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – 7.5

This one was a second watch, but I didn’t remember a thing because I watched it 8 years ago. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie. It was fast paced, clever, had a good story and was really unique. You don’t see a lot of movies shot this in this comic book style and I thought it did it well.

The Greatest Showman – 7.8

Okay so maybe I’m a sucker for musicals sometimes. And maybe this one had fantastic music in it. I don’t know what it was, but every song was better than the last. Not only was the music great, but the choreography was incredible. The scene that stood out to me the most was the acrobatic dance routine which was so entertaining to watch. While all this was good, the story was just awful. It was really the most generic, boring plot you could come up with and if you took out all the songs you’d be left with 20 minutes of cliches.

Night Moves (2013) – 7.83

This movie wasn’t too bad, but I’ll say that I probably over-rated it on account of my fascination with “creative” ways of solving “problems”. There was a dam these people weren’t too pleased with and I was interested in knowing what they were going to do about it. I thought that after they completed their objective, the paranoia around whether they’d be caught or not was very well done. Every time someone would talk to them, or they’d hear a car driving down the road, even as a viewer you weren’t sure what was going to happen. It fell down pretty hard at the end though and I didn’t like the direction it took, but overall I was very entertained and it’s a decent movie.

Molly’s Game – 8

Initially I didn’t feel like watching this movie, then I read that it was written by Aaron Sorkin and I knew I had to. From his movies to his television shows, this guy has a really great track record with me and I wasn’t disappointed in any way with this movie. It was well written, well acted and had an interesting story. Jessica Chastain was amazing in this movie, I’m looking forward to seeing her in more. I definitely recommend this one.

The Nice Guys – 8.3

It’s interesting that this was my highest rated movie of the month since this is the second time I’ve watched it and the first watch resulted in a 7/10 rating. This showed up in my own random playlist so I gave it another shot and was pleasantly surprised. This is actually pretty funny and has an interesting story. Ryan Gosling and Russel Crow had great chemistry together, and it was refreshing to see a good father daughter relationship on screen again. This is a seriously good, entertaining movie and I secretly hope they make a sequel.

Worst of the Worst


Shanty Tramp – 6

Here is one of the movies from Mubi and it’s about this psychotic woman who goes to bars to dance and then sleeps with men to the horror and disapproval of her father. It’s a cheesy, B-movie sort of exploitation flick with violence, nudity and racism. That pretty much says it all. It’s not that great and I wish I didn’t waste my time watching it.

Hairspray – 6

Like I said earlier, I’m a sucker for musicals and I saw this one on Netflix knowing I hadn’t yet been able to see it. After watching The Greatest Showman, I just had to give this one a shot too. I immediately couldn’t get into the movie and wasn’t particularly moved by the music. The first song didn’t do anything for me, and as time went on I got the feeling I wasn’t going to like any of them. Sadly, I ended up being right. The music was from the 60s which isn’t a decade in music that has ever appealed to me. I won’t say not to see the movie because I know I’m biased based on my music preferences and you very well might enjoy it. If you can stand 60s music, then give it a shot and watch Travolta dressed as a woman.

The Commuter – 5.8

I wanted some dumb action movie to turn on and boy did I get it with this. The plot was absolutely ridiculous and unrealistic. “Find the guy I’m looking for before your train reaches the stop or things will happen”. I commute to work every day on the train and let me tell you, almost no one ever talks to each other and good luck commuting in rush hour and being able to walk around freely. It’s absolutely packed with people! Aside from my gripes about commuting, the plot itself is just stupid. There’s a scene where, as a warning, the bad guys time this event to happen as the train drives by and tells the good guy to look out the window to see it. Like please… with that kind of co-ordination, why don’t you just find the guy yourself? In another scene the good guy is under the train, then outside it, then gets back inside all while it’s moving. Just crazy. My ability to suspend disbelief was not strong enough.

Il est des nôtres – 5.7

My worst movie of the month is courtesy of Mubi and it’s about this guy that decides he doesn’t want to go outside anymore so he lives in a trailer inside of this big garage and invites his friends over all the time. I have absolutely no idea what this movie was supposed to be.  There’s a scene where they all strip one by one, including a woman in her 60s or 70s. Then they try to pull their underwear bands over their shoulders, crushing and exposing everything down there. Then his friends eat him I think. But maybe that was a dream? I have no idea! I just… I don’t even… why did I watch this… help me…


Biggest Surprise

Curse of Chucky – 6.9

This is probably an unexpected winner, but the moment I watched this movie I knew it would win for the month. This is the second time I watched it and I feel pretty bad that I didn’t give it a chance the first time. I originally rated it 4/10 and never gave it a second thought. This time around, I love that it was Chucky’s real daughter as Nica. What must it be like to have Chucky for a dad? Does he ever do the Chucky laugh just to scare the shit out of her?! Some lines were good and some of the puppet work was mega creepy. It was pretty funny that the mom was sleeping with the nanny instead of the dad… didn’t see that coming. The last thing I loved was that they had a character in a wheelchair. That’s not something you see often, especially in horror movies. In fact, the only other one I can think of is one of the Friday the 13th movies and well… he doesn’t survive too long… This is a nostalgic, campy, horror movie and I think if you’re fans of Bride of Chucky you’d like this.


Biggest Disappointment

Mubi Streaming Service

You might’ve had a sinking feeling as you read my worst of the worst that this was going to show up down here and you were right. This was truly the most disappointing thing of all of April. I originally heard about this from a channel I follow on YouTube. It really intrigued me to be able to see a new random movie every day because it takes out some of the work of hunting down the next movie to watch. I gave it a real good try, having watched 13 movies before giving up. I only liked 4 out of 13, my average rating was 6.6 and my highest rating was only a 7.5. All this added up to it not seeming to be worth it. I stopped looking forward to the new one every day and was more stressed that I had to keep up and watch ones that I didn’t even find interesting just to make it worth my money. It’s a really great idea and with different movies I’d be open to trying it out again, unfortunately it just wasn’t worth it to me in the end.


April turned out to be a pretty awful movie month and has taken a toll on my ability to blog. I have 2 TSPDT movies that I watched in March that I need to write up, I have Heimat still in the works, and I’m in the middle of a 3 hour Japanese movie. After binging on movies I didn’t enjoy, I need to take a step back and just try and enjoy watching movies again. I have a few new ones that aren’t on any lists queued up which hopefully turn out to be good.  So for May, expect the last 2 reviews I’ve been working on and one on the Japanese movie (if I can finish it). Watching movies is like a roller coaster ride… hopefully I’m on the way back up.

Advertisements
Movies

The Big Red One (1980)

the_big_red_one

I feel like I’ve been watching a lot of war movies lately, except The Big Red One, #988, is vastly different in that it tries to be a comedy. It may be marked as a dramatic war movie, but you tell me how delivering a baby with condoms on your fingers in a tank using strips of ammo as stirrups is meant to be taken seriously. But I’m getting ahead of myself here, let me back up. The Big Red One is set in WWII and follows a platoon of men consisting of Luke Skywalker, the dad from Lizzy Macguire, my favorite guy from Grease, some other guy, and is led by a guy that looks entirely too old to still be in the field. It’s based on the real experiences of the director, Samuel Fuller. He definitely tries to do something more than your typical war movie, but it didn’t quite work for me.

Like I said, the movie follows the men from battle to battle, but it feels like a bunch of war skits just stitched together. There wasn’t really an overall plot, it was more about showing what the characters go through and what it was like from a soldier’s point of view. They don’t really know how they fit into the war as a whole, they just know what’s immediately surrounding them. It sounds like a good idea, but it could be because of its age that it didn’t really register with me. I’ve seen a lot of high production war movies like The Hurt Locker, Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down so there’s a chance that I can’t appreciate a more laid back, lighter type of war movie. The budget didn’t seem to be too large either because the battles felt barren and made the war seem like it was a little skirmish. I can understand how it might’ve been purposely done to make us focus more on the characters and less on the war, but I think my brain is so trained to need both elements at once that I couldn’t enjoy it. A good example of this idea done right would be Dunkirk which I watched during Oscar month. I feel like that movie captured the essence of The Big Red One combined with the high production values of the others. You follow a few characters around from scene to scene as they just try to survive. You don’t know much about what’s going on in the war overall, all you know is these characters and whether they live or die. Dunkirk, while not my most favorite war movie, was still more enjoyable for me. Let’s put all of that aside though and get to the real problem with this movie… the bullets literally sounded like laser beams. I don’t know, maybe they got a package deal by casting Luke Skywalker they got to use those blaster gun sound effects on the cheap? However this came to be, talk about killing the serious war mood.

I can see this going down as a cult classic war movie maybe, but as far as one of the very best… not for me. I think I prefer my war movies on the more serious, realistic side. If you like a slightly comedic, character driven war movie though this might be right up your alley.

Verdict: The big 6.2 out of 10

Movies

Johnny Got His Gun (1971)

johnny_got_his_gun.pngIt’s time to discuss #989 on TSPDT and my #1 of March 2018, Johnny Got His Gun. This movie is about a man who loses his limbs and senses in WWI. For the most part, you follow the story through his “eyes” (for lack of a better word). I’ll admit that the premise intrigued me right off the bat, but I wasn’t expecting to like it nearly as much as I did. It was so emotional with a powerful anti-war message, and the history behind it is fascinating.

The poor man in the movie is named Joe and you begin the movie by watching these faceless doctors “save his life” to use as some sort of experiment in life support. We’re then given a glimpse into his final days before he’s sent off to war. You get to know him as a person and start to care for him. He seems like a really sweet guy just trying to do the right thing for his country. After that set up, the real horror starts. Joe starts to come around and realizes that he’s missing parts of his body. With each part, he gets more and more hysterical and you hear him yelling at the doctors and nurses, and screaming in his head. Eventually he starts begging someone to help him but all he can do is move his head and thrash around on the bed. It’s just such a heartbreaking situation. You can’t help but put yourself in his position and try to think what you would do. Imagine if you were trapped inside your own head every minute of every day for the rest of your life. This point is driven home even more with the climax of the movie. The doctors weren’t heartless monsters in the beginning because they legitimately thought he was brain dead, but when he’s finally able to communicate with them and let them know he’s in there, they decide not to help him. It’s really sad and leaves you feeling a sense of hopelessness. But just when you’re at an all time low, the one caring person, the nurse, decides to help him by letting him die. As Joe realizes what she’s doing, he thanks her and thanks god and wants the whole world to praise her for what she’s done for him. It’s so beautiful and sad because you’re actually happy that he gets to die. Then she’s stopped and told to leave and never come back. Once she walks out of the room you realize he’s doomed to live this way forever. This realization is confirmed in what might be the best endings I’ve ever seen or heard. The camera slowly pulls back and the screen fades to black as Joe whispers, “SOS… help me…” getting quieter and quieter each time he utters it. It’s an incredibly haunting story that stayed with me for days.

After I finished the movie, I had to do some research into where it came from and the history behind how it was made. The movie itself is based off a novel written in the 1930s. The novel was written by Dalton Trumbo, who also directed the movie nearly 30 years later. It came out just before WWII and had a very strong anti-war message behind it. Because of the timing with WWII, Trumbo agreed to hold off on printing more copies of it while the war was going on. After the war, Trumbo was blacklisted from Hollywood until around 1960 because of his suggested support of communism. 11 years later, he wrote and directed the film adaption of his own novel. I don’t know how it was received when it was released, but it’s on the top 1000 movies list so it clearly left an impact. It definitely left an impact on me in 2018. I think it would’ve blown my mind if I saw it 47 years ago. This next little fact was extremely interesting to me because I’ve listened to the song One by Metallica a heck of a lot of a times but I guess I never really listened to the lyrics. It’s literally written about the novel/movie and the music video even has clips from the movie peppered throughout. I definitely won’t listen to the song the same way again!

There are so many things I could talk about in this movie that I didn’t even get to touch on, but then we’d be here forever. It’s a fantastic movie that delivers a really emotional and powerful message about war. I’m sure I’ve seen other anti-war movies before, but this one hit me in a way that no other movie has been able to before. I 100% recommend this movie, and I’m sure I’ll be watching it many times in the future.

Verdict: 9.2/10 Johnny got a place on my favorite movies list

 

 

Movies

March 2018

March has been an interesting month. I hit a few weekends really hard ending with a total of 29 movies watched. In preparation for the Oscars, I binged on most of the nominees with some mixed results. Some of them might make an appearance below, while others were too mediocre for such a prestigious award. Oscars aside, this was a rather average month except for 2 stand out movies. One of which you might recognize as my least favorite movie of the year so far, and one you’ll recognize (if you’re a time traveler that’s read my post from next week already) as one of the contenders for best of the year list. Without any further ado, here are the results for March 2018.

Best of the Best


The Shape of Water – 8.12

The only Oscar movie to get a special positive shout out is The Shape Of Water, or as it’s more affectionately referred to as, The Fish Banging movie. I actually enjoyed this one a lot. You don’t see many mute characters in movies, let alone have it be the main character. She was really able to communicate with us as viewers and made me believe that she’d actually bang a fish. Plus, I saw images of the fish man as an actual man in a fish suit with little CGI trickery… I love that so much! Go practical effects!

Thelma – 8.2

I’ve been waiting for this movie for what feels like the past year and I finally got my hands on it. It reminded me a lot of Raw which made my Best of 2017 list. They’re both about girls starting college and discovering there is something different about them. One turns out to be a cannibal and the other has psychokinetic powers. It totally sucked me in and I expect I’ll be watching this one again.

To Kill A Mockingbird – 8.2

This was a very exciting watch for me. It’s the third time I’ve seen this movie, but this time I got to watch it in theaters. The one near my house plays a new classic movie every month so I think I’m going to keep going to check them out. It was definitely a cool experience. As for the movie, well it is on TSPDT so I’ll have to review it, but in the spirit of doing them in order, I’ve written it up and stowed it away for the right moment… sorry.

Annihilation – 8.3

I also saw this one in theaters after taking a Tuesday off from work. I loved Ex Machina, which is also directed by Alex Garland, and sci-fi in general so I wanted to support the movie by seeing it in theaters. I enjoyed my first watch through it even though I don’t think I really knew what was happening. When I got home I started reading some of the theories and explanations which completely changed how I looked at the movie. Now it kind of has the Fight Club effect where I can watch it again from a different perspective and enjoy it in a new way. However, I don’t want it to have the Patti Cake$ effect where I watch it again too soon and come out disappointed, so I’m going to let it settle in my brain some more before giving it another shot.

Johnny Got His Gun – 9.2

Here you have it, folks, the best movie of March 2018. Johnny Got His Gun is a TSPDT movie that I wasn’t expecting too much from, but ended up blowing me away. Not only is the movie great, but I learned a lot of interesting facts about it in my post viewing research. As hinted to earlier, you’ll have to wait for a more in depth look until this weekend when I release a full review. For now, I’ll just say it’s definitely in a good position for the best of the year list.

Worst of the Worst


The Stanford Prison Experiment – 6

Netflix thought I’d like this movie and recommended that I watch it. Like a fool, I gave them another chance with expectedly disappointing results. I know a lot of about this experiment already after reading about it and watching the other 2 movies that have already been made. The first is a 2001 German movie called Das Experiment, the second is a 2010 American movie called The Experiment, and finally we have The Stanford Prison Experiment from 2015. From what I remember, the German one was my favorite and still hasn’t been toppled. This last movie seemed a little more realistic, but some scenes dragged on way too long. The overall pacing didn’t feel right either because I think it spent a lot of time in Act 2 then it just ended. There wasn’t a good build up to a climax and it ended up leaving me confused when the credits rolled. At this rate, maybe the 2021 re-re-re-remake will do a better job with the story. 4th time’s the charm!

47 Meters Down – 5.4

I still never learn my lesson and once again watched a Netflix recommendation. This time I wasn’t expecting too much and I got just what I expected. I was okay and suspended my disbelief through the first 90% of the movie with no real issue. It was your generic mindless evil monster killer movie and I was fine with that. Then it did the most unforgivable thing with the ending by tricking me. I hate being tricked by movies and it pissed me off. Spoilers ahead so stop reading if you want. The hallucination scene was pointless because if you take it out, the movie could’ve resolved itself just fine. It’s almost as if they couldn’t decide on an ending so they put in both and made one of them fake. Not to mention, if you’re going to give us a fake happy ending then at least counterbalance it with a bleak depressing one. They both live or they both die, no reason for just one to live. That ending killed it for me and I’m still upset about it 3 weeks later!

Unsere Afrikareise – 4

Yeah yeah, you know all about this one cause I just bashed it in my last post. I don’t like this movie and that’s that. Moving on.


Biggest Surprise

Super Dark Times – 7.89

The award for Biggest Surprise was hard to give out this month and I had to do a lot of pondering to come up with the winner. I’m going with Super Dark Times which I got as a Netflix recommendation because as you no doubetly just read, Netflix has been getting a bad reputation with me lately. Thankfully this time I actually couldn’t stop watching. The effects and performances were outstanding. I liked most of the characters, and their conversations and relationships felt genuine. The ending did stumble a little with the paranoia, but overall it still felt grounded in reality and I’ll admit gave me a bit of nostalgia with all the land line phones and bagel bites.


Biggest Disappointment

Lady Bird – 7.84

Let me start off by saying this is not a bad movie by any means. It was, however, hyped up to the max when I think it wasn’t more than your common coming of age story. I love the fact that it was written, directed and led by women, but for a coming of age movie, I’ve seen better, like The Edge of Seventeen. That movie hit me in the feels a lot more, and Lady Bird just lacked that emotional moment I need in this type of movie. For a first time director, Greta Gerwig did do a great job and I really hope she keeps making more movies. Without the hype, I don’t think it would’ve won this award from me, but sadly I can’t control the world.


Overall, March turned out to be a decent month with a lot of ups and downs. I didn’t make as big of a dent as I wanted to make in TSPDT and I had a small case of writer’s block at some point this month that made it difficult to post, but I’d like to keep the post train rolling in April and knock out a few more. On a quick last note, I want to give a shout out to Girls Incarcerated, Love, and Wild Wild Country which I binged watched this month on Netflix as well as Homeland, Billions, and Big Brother Canada which all started their new seasons and are pretty good so far. Tune in Saturday for my next review!

Movies

TSPDT Double Feature

I went and had myself a double feature of TSPDT since one of these movies is insanely short. In a stunning turn of events one of these movies happens to be the worst movie I’ve seen all year. Which one is it, you ask? Read on and find out!

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Starting off with #992, the Christmas/Halloween classic The Nightmare Before Christmas. I’m not sure how many times I’ve seen this movie, but I’m going to call this my second watch. Apparently the first time I watched it I gave it a 6/10 for some unknown reason. So did this one end up being my most hated movie of the whole year? No. I cranked that rating up because this is a lot better than a 6.

The claymation is fantastically amazing and with that alone it deserves a spot on the list. The amount of time and dedication it takes to put something like this together just blows my mind. It’s incredibly well done and doesn’t feel for one minute like I’m watching a 25 year old movie. The creep factor in this movie is at an all time high. You know how much I love horror movies and this one even creeps me out. Everything is so perfectly dark and grotesque. I’m surprised this movie’s rated PG and is considered a “Family” movie because if I saw this as a kid I’d probably be scarred for life.

While being a family movie, it’s also a musical and quite a good one at that. From “This is Halloween” to “What’s This”, the songs are catchy and will get stuck in your head for days. They’re creepy and really create the perfect atmosphere.

If I had to say anything negative, I’d probably say that the story could drag a little at times. It kept my attention the whole time, but I was tempted to be distracted in the middle. Not to say it isn’t original or interesting, but there was something to it that I can’t put my finger on. The movie doesn’t follow one character exactly and that might be my problem. I like to have someone to relate to and be able to follow and this movie jumped between Jack, Sally, Oogie Boogie… and basically everyone who had their own song too much.

Overall though, it’s a great movie that completely deserves to be on the list. You’d probably be better served watching this during Halloween to get the full effect, but even as a March watch it worked. Like I said, I cranked the rating up on this one from a 6, but without a central character for me to follow I couldn’t go too high.

Verdict: 7.5/10 This is not the worst, this is not the worst. Not the worst! Not the worst! Not the worst! Not the worst!

Unsere Afrikareise (1966)

You guys seem like a smart crowd so I’m sure by now you’ve figured out that this was the worst movie I’ve watched all year. Yes, #991 Unsere Afrikareise was the worst 14 minutes of movie watching I’ve endured in 2018. It’s an experimental short film about white people visiting Africa and filming villagers killing animals and showing closeups of their nipples. If that sounds too harsh or possibly enticing to you, you can find this little “gem” on YouTube and see for yourself.

This has to be on the list for historical reasons because if I randomly watched it on YouTube without knowing anything about it I wouldn’t say it was one of the best 1000 movies ever made… not by a long shot. I had to read the back story after I watched it because I was so confused, and from what I read it’s on the list mostly because it pioneered some editing and sound techniques. The director spent years putting this film together, so I feel like a hypocrite for bashing it while praising The Nightmare Before Christmas for the same effort. Honestly though, I just don’t understand this movie or what it was trying to be.

I feel bad for calling it the worst movie I’ve seen all year, but it just was. It’s definitely experimental and doesn’t follow any real narrative. It’s true meaning is whatever you give it. It can be an amazing film if you want it to be, or a waste of time if you don’t.

Verdict: 4/10 I didn’t…

Movies

They Live (1988)

they_live.png

Next up in TSPDT is #993, They Live. I read the summary, saw the poster and thought it’d be right up my alley, but I was wrong… like painfully wrong. From what I understand, this movie’s on the list because it’s a real cult classic. Like with any cult classic, it wasn’t popular when it was released but gained a following in later years. These tend to be hit or miss… this time, obviously, it was a miss.

This movie is so cheesy and ridiculous that I couldn’t take it seriously or enjoy it. When I watch these kinds of movies, I find it hard to write anything because I don’t have defendable reasons why I didn’t like the movie, I just didn’t like it. Rowdy Roddy Piper’s acting left a lot to be desired and made it impossible for me to relate to his character. Now I’m going to be superficial: his mullet was too intense and distracting; and his clothes… well the 80s is strong with this one. I try to tell myself that they’re just products of their time, but it doesn’t help me enjoy it any more. Aside from the looks and acting, the most distracting element in the entire movie was the music. It was so dramatic and goofy that it took away from every scene and made it into a joke. I guess the scene that was actually meant to be a joke was the extremely long fight scene… like 5 minutes long. I just wanted it to end, but it kept going on and on. He doesn’t want to put on the damn glasses already!

After bashing almost everything about this movie I’ll be nice and give it points for 3 things that I enjoyed. The first being the alien practical effects which I really dug. The aliens are so creepy and cool without their skin. Seeing them in the posters was one of the reasons I was excited to watch the movie in the first place. The second thing I liked were the TV speeches. The song “House on a Hill” by The Pretty Reckless starts with an excerpt from this speech and I had no idea it came from this movie. I actually kind of like the speech and now I’ll think of this movie whenever I hear that song. The final thing that stood out for me were Holly’s eyes. I’ve never seen eyes so blue in my life; they’re this pale icy blue that pierces into your soul. With eyes like those I think she could do better than the poorly acted, mullet haired, flannel wearing character of Nada.

Well that’s all I have to say about They Live. I don’t think I’d personally put it down as one of the greatest 1000 movies ever made. It’s one of those movies you have to try for yourself and see if you like it. Hopefully it’ll be your cup of tea.

Verdict: 6.5/10 I brought the bubble gum, but I’m all out of ass

Movies, TV

Heimat (1984) – Episodes 1-3

After the last movie I watched, I’m excited to move on to something else… except TSPDT #994 is a weird one because it’s actually a TV mini-series. This makes my life difficult on many fronts. First of all, a 1984 German TV series is really hard to find to even watch. Second of all, the entire thing is like 15 hours or something so there is no way I can binge 15 hours in one sitting. Third of all, there is no way I’m making you read a post about a 15 hour “movie”. For this one, I will break my rule of watching everything in order, and I’m just going to watch this episode by episode while moving on with the list in between episodes. I’ll group my posts however it makes sense, but I’m going to guess there will be several of them and it’s going to take me a while to watch the entire thing. I have heard good things about this, and since it’s made around the same time as Das Boot, I’m really hoping I’ll enjoy it.

As you might have guessed by the title, I’ll be starting off with the first 3 episodes which happen to be around 4 hours in total, so essentially this is like watching 2 movies. The series follows a family living in Germany after WWI, through WWII and into the aftermath. The first 3 episodes cover 1919-1935 and were actually not too bad. There are some characters that I like and it’s interesting to watch Hitler come into power and see how the people of Germany reacted to it.

heimat_1

I’ll start off with the characters. The first episode centers mainly on one of the sons, Paul, who just got back from the military serving in WWI. He falls in love and tries to find meaning in his life after the thing’s he’s seen. For reasons, he’s sadly out of the show after the first episode and we are left to follow some of the other children, Eduard and Maria. The next episodes mostly focus on them as they grow up, get married and start families. It’s all an interesting little slice of life show up to that point. The characters are somewhat deep, but because it’s such a large cast you don’t get to know anyone too intimately. Overall though, it’s enough to keep me engaged.

heimat_2.png

In episodes 2 and 3 we really get into WWII and the rise of Hitler and that’s where things get… interesting. So Hitler really starts out as a whisper on the streets then as times goes on he gains more of a following and eventually he’s revered. He’s both revered and feared at the same time by the people. They revere him because they really believe that he will improve their lives. After WWI things weren’t looking so good  for the every day man, but Hitler made and delivered on a lot of his promises to improve every day life. Business was booming and people could afford nicer and nicer things. But as the saying goes, nothing good in life is ever free. The people also fear him, no matter where in the country you are. The mother of the family wanted to go visit her brother on his birthday which also happened to be the same day as Hitler’s. She says that she’s going because she loves her brother more than Hitler and is told not to say it out loud like something could happen to her if anyone hears. At first it seems silly… then when more and more military are in the village and kids are joining the Hitler Youth, you start to realize he really does have ears everywhere. There’s part of the population that believed in what he was doing, and there was part that didn’t but feared speaking out.

heimat_3.png

That’s how it was portrayed in the show at least… Part of me is thinking this is a German made movie and there’s a chance they’re trying to make themselves look better for what happened during WWII. I don’t want to believe what I’m seeing because there has to be some bias in it, but part of me thinks there is a lot of truth in it as well. It makes me uncomfortable to even try and empathize with people in a country that did such disgusting things, but not everyone agreed with what was happening and if you spoke out you’d probably end up dead. It’s definitely weird watching a show where you’re shown things that make you empathize with the characters, but mentally and historically you feel like you shouldn’t. It makes me think back to Judgment at Nuremberg where some German’s spoke about why they did such awful things. They talked a lot about doing it for their country, like it was a matter of national pride… not exactly that they wholeheartedly believed in what they were doing. It’s pretty dark and heavy to think about, but this show really takes you there for better or worse.

On that note, I’m going to leave it here right at the beginning of WWII. So far this has been an interesting show and a thousand times less painful to watch than In Praise of Love. I can’t give my thoughts on the whole series yet, but I’m liking the first 3 episodes and I have a few more queued up. Next, though, I’ll be covering the next movie on the list, #993 They Live. See you then!

Interim Verdict: 7.8/10