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

The Big Red One (1980)

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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

In Praise Of Love (2001)

The Beginning

I’m going into the next movie on TSPDT, In Praise of Love, pretty blind. The only thing I managed to learn about it is that it’s directed by the same guy that did Breathless (which I actually liked) and that Roger Ebert gave it 1 star (not very promising). I have no choice but to watch it though as this is #995 on TSPDT. Here goes…

15 Minutes Later…

So I’m 15 minutes in and I have absolutely no idea what’s going on. There are clips of interviews with random people about a play or movie or novel and there is a guy flipping through a book with no words. I’m incredibly bored, confused and uninterested.

The Next Night…

I got through another 12 minutes of the movie and I still don’t know what’s happening. I also just don’t care. I don’t know who these characters are or what they’re doing or why they’re doing it. Maybe this is one of those fancy art house movies where there is no story and you just have to “feel the movie”. If that’s what it ends up being then it lost me before I even turned it on. I don’t much care for these kinds of movies, but I won’t leave something unfinished so I’ll do my best to power through it.

2 Days Later…

Now there is a scene where the woman is speaking french and I’m reading her subtitles, but a man is speaking English over top of her and I can’t concentrate on what either of them is saying. I can’t make any connection between the last scene and this one. I’m done.

5 Days Later…

I can’t move on with the list until I finish this movie so I’ve mentally prepared myself to push through the rest of this thing. It’s only an hour… I can do this. Some more talking about random things. Then an approximately 3 minute long scene where the camera is pointing at the back of a man and a woman who are talking to each other. Here’s something the man says, “What you’re saying is interesting. Things beginning, things coming to an end. *Train sounds and no subtitles so I don’t know what he says* Not your story or mine, but, whatever happens, our story. Even if we aren’t acquainted. History.” *rips out hair* What does that even mean? Those aren’t sentences. I can’t. Interest level has hit an all time low. I have no dialogue or visuals to keep me interested. Get me out of this nightmare.

I will keep on going though because I want this to be over. Oh great, someone died and he gets to keep one of her books. Now it switches to color and they start talking about history or something, and just like in school my brain put on a hat and coat and left. I lost track of time, but I think around 10 minutes later my brain came back and I was treated to the first scene I actually cared about at all. A man is talking about Americans and the woman asks who he means since Canada is in North America, and Brazil and Mexico are also technically America. I was somewhat amused by this. This gave me the strength I needed to go on.

I’m in the home stretch now and this is where I start to feel like this is just a movie about ideas. There’s no real story and it feels sort of pretentious. It’s almost like he had an idea for a movie, but instead of making the movie, he made a movie about having the idea for a movie. Honestly, I’d much rather watch something with a full story that left me feeling what he was trying to convey, rather than listen to random ideas strung together against the backdrop of seemingly random images. On top of that, this movie has a Pulp Fiction structure where the scenes aren’t chronological so you have to struggle against that at the same time.

The End.

No it’s not… the movie keeps going through the credits. Please just end my suffering.

The Real End!

The sweet, glorious ending and I’m finally free! I’m just so sorry this review had to go this way. I hate saying only negative things about a movie. Originally I even wanted to scrap all of this and just write a short review politely saying that I did not enjoy this motion picture but that it might be good. Who am I to criticize something like this which I don’t even understand? But this is my blog and I want to be as honest as possible and not go along with what everyone else says just to fit in. I also know I said many times I had no idea what was going on and to be totally honest, I didn’t even try to find out. This was just one of the most uninteresting movies I’ve watched in a long time. It’s sort of like reading a really difficult essay where you don’t know half the words so you just let your eyes glaze over and you force yourself to move your eyes across each line but don’t absorb anything you “read”. That was this movie… I let the movie run in front of my face and I kept my eyes open. Maybe one day I’ll rewatch this and understand why it made it on to this list. For now, I just don’t get it at all. To me it was pointless and I don’t know why it’s in the top 1000 movies.

Verdict: 5/10 In praise of it being over

Movies

Husbands and Wives (1992)

Next up is another TSPDT movie, but I’m skipping ahead a few here since I watched Oasis and L’Humanité before I started blogging about TSPDT. For completion sake, I may one day reach back into my memory and try to post about them, but for now, I’m moving on to #997, Husbands and Wives, which is a Woody Allen movie about marriage.

I’ll start off by saying that this definitely isn’t my favorite Woody Allen movie out there. I’m starting to realize that his movies where he’s one of the leads are kind of all the same. I enjoyed the first one I watched, which I believe was Annie Hall, but now I’m just getting bored with him. In Annie Hall, I at least remember laughing a little, but this one I didn’t find very funny for a “comedy”. On top of not finding it very funny, I really disliked most of the characters. In fact, the only two characters I didn’t dislike were Sally and Michael. To me, the rest of them were pretty despisable. You have Woody Allen’s character going after a 21 year old when he’s over twice her age, and Jack who I thought was going to murder his new girlfriend after the party where she embarrassed him. I watch a lot of those true crime documentaries and that’s exactly how it starts. Some dumb fight blows up and suddenly you’re dead in a ditch. I mean how am I supposed to watch these characters when they’re doing such awful things and just being gross human beings? I need someone to like and be able to relate to, and I just wasn’t getting that.

I’m just not feeling this movie at all. There are better Woody Allen movies out there like Annie Hall or Midnight in Paris that I’d rather watch. This isn’t a bad movie exactly, I just don’t think it was great enough to make it on to this list. I won’t draw this one out anymore.

Verdict: 6.8/10 Don’t get in the car!

PS: I’m also skipping the next one, Dead Poets Society, because I watched that pre-blog as well. Next post will be a long one about In Praise of Love… see you then!

Movies

Sorcerer (1977)

sorcererHere I am back to the beginning of TSPDT with #1000 of 2018, Sorcerer. The title makes it sounds like a fantasy movie, but it’s actually about these men that have to drive boxes of extremely volatile dynamite in these rickety trucks through the jungle without getting blown up. The second half is at least… Full spoilers ahead because I want to talk about everything.

This movie starts off extremely slow and for me was rather disjointed. I didn’t  understand what was happening or what I was watching. I know now that this was the introduction to the characters we’ll be with throughout the movie and sort of showing where they came from. As I was watching it though, I found it hard to pay attention. Almost exactly half way in I started to understand where the movie was going. The men are going to drive the dynamite through the jungle and try not to get blown up. That’s where it really starts to get interesting. If you read my January 2018 post you’ll already know the bridge scene was absolutely incredible and one of my favorite scenes. It had me on the edge of my seat… my eyes were wide with fear and my stomach was in knots. Then just when you think it’s over, they do it again! This time the crossing was even more difficult. Seeing the truck almost tip over was so suspenseful that I was like a woman in an old timey movie grasping at her pearl necklace. That entire scene was just masterfully done. If you read about it, they built an actual bridge over a stream for around 1 million dollars… then the stream dried up. So they moved the bridge to another stream… and the stream started to dry up. Finally they said, “That’s it, bring in the helicopters and firehoses!” and they created a storm so no one would notice the stream was so low. That’s so awesome! Look up there at my screenshot and tell me that scene doesn’t look amazing? They probably would’ve just fixed it in post if this was made today…

But seriously, hold on to your hats because that isn’t even the only awesome scene in the movie. Right after it they come across a giant tree that’s fallen on to the road blocking their way through. One guy wanted to try and cut through it with a machete, but another guy decided, “Hey we have dynamite… let’s just blow it up!” Blowing that log up reminded me of Le Trou in a big way because you watch them create some device piece by piece using seemingly random every day objects and as it progresses you start to see where it’s going. That guy was a genius for figuring out how to move it off the road. It might’ve been in a thousand thousand pieces, but hey… whatever works. So you finally get through that scene and think you’ll be able to take a breath. Nope… one of the trucks explodes! It was so quick and unexpected. I actually didn’t see it coming even when the tire blew. I thought, “Well here’s another situation where they’ll come up with a way to survive.” But nope… kaboom!  Then they actually showed the dead body… man this movie had some gruesome scenes in it. After that they’re down to just one truck of dynamite and I’m not sure if I liked where the truck dies and he has to carry the box by hand. I think it was one thing going wrong too many. The ending just felt too fast and I wish it had been drawn out a little more. It didn’t really detract from the movie as a whole though and I was still left with a good feeling afterwards.

Stick with this movie through the first half because the second half is absolutely why this deserves to make it onto the list. I might’ve had to start from square one again, but I’m very glad I did.

Verdict: 8.2/10 We follow the map!

Movies

The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

the_bridges_of_madison_county.pngWell this post marks an interesting change because TSPDT just released the 2018 version of the list which means that I’m back to literally square one and now none of my posts are going to be in order. I’m very disheartened, but I’ll pull through it and keep on with my reviews.

When I watched The Bridges of Madison County it was at #985, it has now climbed to #855 so I didn’t watch it for nothing, I just watched it too early. This is one of those movies I’d heard of in passing but knew nothing about. It’s the story of a married woman who spends a weekend with a photographer and falls in love. This is a movie directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, and I will admit that I don’t have the best track record with him. There are movies he’s in that I’ve liked, but generally it’s not because he’s in it. He is usually the one criticism I have about the movies. Because of that I mostly want to talk about his relationship with Meryl Streep and the structure of how the story was told.

I’ll start with the leads’ relationship which, if I’m being entirely honest, I didn’t find that great. I thought Meryl Streep gave an amazing performance as usual, and Clint Eastwood did a good job but I didn’t end up very invested in their romance. Clint Eastwood was very straight faced most of the time and it was hard to really understand what he was thinking or feeling. I hear you’re supposed to cry during this movie, and there’s a scene near the end that I think is the one that’s supposed to do it for you. While I can understand how heartbreaking it is to lose your love, it just didn’t get me anywhere near crying. But one thing I did do more that I expected during this movie was laugh. Meryl Streep is just amazingly funny. Every time she laughed it had me laughing. Hands down, my favorite part of the movie is when he’s handing her flowers and she tells him they’re poisonous so he straight up drops them on the ground then she starts uncontrollably laughing. I was laughing my ass off with her… I don’t know why I found it so funny but I loved it. She truly is one of the greats and can bring you right into the movie. With a different actor opposite her I might’ve been able to connect more with what they were going through.

Then again, maybe not because now I want to talk about the structure of the story which I think helped to lessen the emotional impact it had on me. The story is told through Meryl’s diaries that are being read by her children after she passes away. I believe this drastically reduced the tension and emotion they could have gotten out of the last “will they, won’t they” scene in the movie. You know they won’t because her kids don’t even know about the guy. If they had done the entire movie in chronological order, or even left it ambiguous from the beginning, the story would’ve packed a larger punch. Then again, Titanic did the same thing and I still felt emotions through it, so what do I know. I just needed something extra to get me to that crying place, and this movie didn’t provide it for me.

As an objective viewer, this was a very good romantic drama and it sure does deserve a place on the list. If you’re into these kinds of movies and haven’t seen it yet, you might as well give it a watch. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed because even if it doesn’t make you cry, it’s a good watch for Meryl Streep’s performance alone.

Verdict: 7.5/10 Maybe don’t give away the end of the movie at the beginning of the movie