Movies

Triple TSPDT Feature

As promised, here is the male led triple feature of TSPDT movies. Like I mentioned in the previous post, the women led triple averaged a score of 7/10. Let’s see if the men can beat that!

Bad Timing (1980)

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Starting off with #987 Bad Timing, a movie about a psychiatrist who dates this insane woman who ends up overdosing. Hey, don’t be mad at me for spoiling the ending… it starts with the end and does some Pulp Fiction jumps through time. It sounded interesting, but let me down in its execution. The time jumps were the biggest issue I had. It starts off with the overdose, then jumps back to the beginning with how they met, and back and forth, back and forth. Sometimes this style can work, but for me I felt like it would have worked better just going in chronological order. This movie had either a legitimate case of an unreliable narrator or just used cheap tricks to withhold a crucial detail from the ending at the beginning until the ending at the end. In this case, I definitely felt tricked by the surprise at the end because it didn’t really build up enough for me to believe it. I also didn’t buy into the cop being so interested in a regular old run of the mill overdose. It was used as a way to drive Alex to reveal the truth, but like I said that truth didn’t feel earned. I enjoyed some parts of it, but overall this wasn’t more than the average movie for me. That scene at the party though, what an entrance!

Verdict: 7/10


The Fountainhead (1949)

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Moving on to #986, The Fountainhead, which is a late 40s movie based on a novel by Ayn Rand about an architect who really loves being an architect and wants to build the best buildings he can. Yeah, this movie is really into architecture and makes it seem like architects rule the world. It was kind of goofy that way, but passion is interesting so it kept my attention.  The story itself is very good, but at one point it got under my skin. There’s a point where the bad guys start saying how the perfect human should submit to society. They’re meant to do what society needs of them and shouldn’t take anything in return. This is in response to the main character wanting to do something new and modern to go against the grain. It really hit home with me because I hate thinking of myself as just another number in society; completely faceless and replaceable. I guess that’s why I was rooting for Howard to win in the end so that I can feel like all hope might not be lost after all. It’s very entertaining and held up decently well for a nearly 70 year old movie. Also, I don’t know if you’ve heard the news but there are talks of remaking this so you definitely have to see it before the remake comes out. Personally, I may even consider reading the book since I enjoyed the movie so much. Give this one a shot, it’s not too bad.

Verdict: 8/10


Red Beard (1965)

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Lastly, we have #985, Red Beard, which I alluded to in my last monthly summary as one of my movie blockers on this list. The way I talked about it, you may already be thinking that I didn’t like it too much. With this movie being just over 3 hours long, that’d be a correct assumption for the first half of the movie and incorrect for the second. The first half to me was, I’m sorry to say, some uninteresting slice of life around a red bearded doctor in Japan. Mercifully, once they came across Otoyo things really picked up. Like I’ve said before, I’m no film student, but there were things even I noticed in this movie. The first being in the scene right after the intermission, Otoyo wakes up and you see her whole face is cast in shadow except for her eyes. It was like at that point her whole life was shrouded in darkness, but by the end that darkness was gone and she could finally live in the light. Another scene that stuck with me and really warmed me up to Red Beard (the character) is when he’s trying to give Otoyo her medicine. Every time he brings the spoon to her lips she knocks it back in his face. He doesn’t get angry though, he just fills up another spoonful and tries again. Each time she wacks it away you can see how confused she is at why he isn’t getting angry and each wack is smaller and smaller until she finally lets him give her the medicine. It was a really sweet scene and was incredibly acted. Now we can fast forward to when she’s gotten better and she befriends the boy, Chobo. It really shows how far she’s come that she can connect with and trust another person again. It was made all the more heartbreaking with what befalls Chobo and his family. The scene before it happens and the aftermath are insane. I actually teared up because everyone gave such great performances. Overall, if they had gotten to the post intermission part of the story sooner I think I would’ve been more interested all the way through. That aside, it was an enjoyable enough movie so I’m not completely disappointed and I’m glad I was able to finish it.

Verdict: 7.3/10


These turned out to be a decent trio of movies and if you’ve been keeping track that puts the men’s average at 7.4/10 meaning they edged out the competition and won my random triple feature showdown. I suppose it’s a good thing that TSPDT movies won this since they are supposed to be the top #1000 movies. With that said, a 7.4 is not a good average for movies of this caliber. It’s a little disappointing and I wonder how some of these movies end up on the list. Case in point, my next TSPDT post will be one that is pretty cringe worthy. Before that, stay tuned for my May summary in the next few days.

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Movies

High and Low (1963)

This is going to be an uncharacteristically long review this time around because I have a lot to say about this film. High and Low, or Tengoku to jigoku, is a film directed by Akira Kurosawa. It’s about a man who loses everything when his chauffeur’s son is kidnapped and held for ransom. The movie is essentially broken up into 3 acts: the ransom, finding the kidnapper and arresting the kidnapper.

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In the first act, Gondo is a high up executive of a shoe company who is attempting a take over so that he can create quality shoes that he believes the public deserves. Right off the bat, he’s a very likable and heroic character. He stands up against all the executives who are dead set on producing the cheapest shoes for maximum profit. This man actually has morals and a good work ethic, and I was really rooting for him to take over the company. Of course that isn’t going to happen because he gets a phone call saying that his son has been kidnapped and to get him back he must pay 30 million in ransom. Very quickly, he finds out that it was actually his chauffeur’s son instead and he says something to the chauffeur to the effect of, “It’s okay, he’ll let him go when he realizes he has the wrong kid.” It’s this false optimism you get when you know something bad is coming, and you just don’t want to face the ugly truth until you absolutely have to. After the police are phoned in, they tell him things aren’t going to work out that way and the kid isn’t going to just be released. The next 20 or 30 minutes of the film are intense as Gondo slowly comes to the realization that he has to pay the 30 million. He knows that his life is ruined whether he pays it or not, but he can’t just let a child be killed. I felt every minute of this movie up until the boy is re-united with his father. It was just great writing and acting all around.

However, I wouldn’t be me if I couldn’t find something that made me scratch my head in confusion. Once Gondo realizes that he has to pay the ransom, he phones up his bank and almost word for word says, “It’s Gondo from National Shoe. I need 30 million delivered to my house in non-sequential bills.” And they actually give it to him! No security question, no pin number, they just hand it right over. If it’s this easy to have 30 million delivered to your house why didn’t the kidnapper just spend some time learning to mimic his voice then make the call himself? Even for 1963 this seems a little ridiculous.

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I can look past that though and move on to the second act which is about the police trying to find out who the kidnapper is. They have a large team of detectives on the case that use interesting clues to start building up a profile on the guy. They use the different sounds of trolleys, the placement of the sun when the ransom call was made, and they even stopped every car of the model they were after just in case the plates were changed. I found those little details quite entertaining and for me it injected some realism into the film. Now, I’m not sure if this was just the subtitles that I was using, but one guy stands up and says, “I met with The National Shoe executives. What a bunch of assholes,” and I just laughed out loud. His deadpan delivery and the fact that they seriously are a bunch of assholes was perfect. At that point, I was pretty much convinced that it was someone in the company that kidnapped his son, or one of them hired someone so that Gondo couldn’t purchase the shares to take control of the company. The timing of it all seemed too perfect. Literally, right as he is getting the money together, he gets this phone call out of nowhere. Sadly, it started to look like I was wrong as they closed in on the man responsible and finally got a name.

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This leads into the third act where the movie started to slow down a little bit for me. They know who the kidnapper is and now they’re trying to arrest him. However, they don’t want him to just get 15 years, they want him to be executed. The way they go about it didn’t really work for me because they pretty much bait him into trying to re-kill the heroin addicts that he killed earlier in the movie. I’m not a detective or anything, but I feel like this is entrapment. I don’t think you can try to coax someone into committing a crime and have it hold up in court. Not only that, but a woman died because of it. If they just arrested him immediately she would still be alive, albeit still a withdrawing heroin addict, but at least she wouldn’t be dead. The ending just left me feeling sad for everyone involved. Gondo sounded like a man who started at the bottom and worked his way up the ladder through hard work, but the kidnapper just sees him as some rich guy that doesn’t deserve what he has. This guy was clearly mentally ill, and because of that, Gondo’s, and even the chauffeur’s, family has to suffer.

Even though the third act let me down, I really did enjoy this film. It was exciting, interesting and well written. I highly recommend this movie if you like crime dramas.

This is Bwaffles from the Waffleton Post, can I have a Verdict of 9/10 delivered to High and Low?

Movies

Rashomon (1950)

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There isn’t much else I can say other than this movie has messed with my head. I wasn’t really too interested in it for the first 20 minutes or so, then I started to realize what the plot was about and began enjoying it more and more with each version of the story that was told. This was like Life of Pi but with even more versions of the story. Normally I don’t like being lied to or tricked in a movie cause usually it’s done in a cheap way to throw some twist in because the writers got lazy. In this case, the trick/twist/lie was that the guy with the axe that found the body didn’t tell the story as it really happened. I pretty much assumed that it happened how I saw it on screen, only later did I realize that the whole movie was about as accurate as a friend telling you a story about something amazing they did 20 years ago or a 5 year old telling you how your new 60″ TV screen was cracked. People have a tendency to lie to cover their asses or make themselves seem better than they are. This movie really played with that and by the end had me scratching my head. Maybe one version was right, maybe none of them were right. I feel like the woman’s story was more accurate because she admitted to killing someone which I don’t think a lot of people would do in court… especially if everyone else was saying how she didn’t do it. Although, if everyone is saying it wasn’t her then maybe her saying it really was her is a lie and she really didn’t do it. Or maybe the movie was saying that men lie and women tell the truth, but that they’re cold blooded killers. Quite the puzzler and is worthy of a repeat viewing down the line.

Now, if I may, as is tradition I will go into the things that I somewhat disliked. The laughing was incredibly over the top and actually pretty annoying near the end. I suppose in everyone’s version of the story they may have embellished things a little to make Tajomaru seem more insane and evil, but that doesn’t really explain why he laughed like a madman at the court. Perhaps he is just a madman after all, it doesn’t make the laugh any less annoying though. I was also not too impressed with the court scenes. I guess this movie was 12 years older than Harakiri, but I loved the talking scenes in that movie so much more. In this one it was very one sided… almost as if we were the judge… woah. You know what, that was actually kind of awesome. And the “judge” never asked the questions, it was always the one telling the story that sort of repeated the question and then answered it. It was like we were in the movie the entire time! Ok I guess I can’t say anything bad about that, but this next part I really didn’t like, I promise. The scenes like when the guy with the axe was walking through the woods reminded me a lot of a silent movie. Exaggerated movements, no speech and constant music. I will admit here that I am not a fan of silent movies. I’ve seen 3 or 4 of them and it just didn’t do it for me. A lot of the comedic elements in this movie didn’t really do it for me either. Maybe you had to live in Japan in the 40s to truly get that kind of humor, but I didn’t and it pulled me out of the movie whenever it happened.

It took quite a bit of pondering to write this post and as a result of that and of my mid-sentence realization I have decided to give a better verdict to this film. For a 1950 movie, I think the story was excellent and the camera work was just as fantastic. I can see why this movie is on so many top lists now. It wasn’t my favorite old Japanese movie, but it definitely makes me more interested to watch the others I have on my list.

Verdict: 8/10 AHAHAHAHAHA