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


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!


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!


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


The Tarnished Angels (1957)

the_tarnished_angels.pngContinuing on with my TSPDT adventure we have #986, The Tarnished Angels. This movie is about a reporter who befriends a family with a daredevil pilot husband and a daredevil parachute stunt woman wife. It’s hard for me to really describe my feelings on this movie… overall I’m left feeling just lukewarm. There were things I definitely thought were great, like the stunt work and effects, and there were some really emotional scenes that stood out. I don’t know if I can pin point anything that I didn’t like in this movie, but not disliking something doesn’t mean I necessarily liked it and that’s kind of where I’m at. I didn’t dislike it.

I’ll start off with the stunt work/effects which blew me away for a movie made in the 50s. I don’t really know for sure which scenes were done for the movie and which ones were stock footage that they were able to splice in, but either way I don’t have many complaints. There are 3 stunts that I really want to explore: the parachute stunt, the first plane race and the final place race. Starting with the parachute stunt which was performed by the wife, LaVerne, in the movie, you could easily tell that it cut back and forth between stock footage and the actress standing on a box or something in front of a green screen. It made me chuckle a little bit, but the stunt she was supposed to be performing was pretty crazy. You’d have to be insane to try something like that… I mean, I can’t even hold myself up that long when I’m only inches off the ground, let alone hundreds of feet in the air. The next two scenes are both of the plane races, and I can’t really tell how they were done. Probably some mixture of stock footage and real stunt pilots doing the shots for the movie. In either case, it all blended in exceptionally well and captured my attention. There were some gruesome parts in each of the races that I have to admit I was a little shocked to see in such an old movie. I was engrossed in each of them though and I found myself yelling along with the announcer to get off the damn field! I guess people weren’t very smart back then… you run away from danger, not towards it.

The next thing that I was impressed with was the emotions they were able to squeeze out of me. I don’t often feel sad in old movies, but this one definitely hit me right in the gut. I wanted to do my best to leave spoilers out of this review but I can’t talk about this part without giving plot points away so go watch the movie then come back. In the last race, when Roger’s plane is going down, his son is on that merry-go-round ride and can see the whole thing taking place but can’t do anything about it. He’s crying and trapped inside that fake plane and all he can do is watch his dad crash his very real plane into the lake. It’s really heartbreaking to watch, and the boy did a great job acting in that scene. Most older movies I’ve seen they don’t really prolong that sadness, but this movie kept it going all the way to the end. You could feel that the family was mourning. The boy would break down crying and run into his mother’s arms. It’s all very sad and excellently accented by the reporter, Burke Devlin’s, final speech in the newsroom. He expertly sums up the love, sacrifice and tragedy of the family’s story and he also relates it to how the news can report the facts, but it can’t ever give you the whole story. You just can’t sum up a person’s life in a 200 word article on the front page. Rock Hudson just destroyed this scene, in the best way possible. This was my first Rock Hudson movie, and I really liked him in it. I hope I get to see some more of his movies on this list.

After dissecting this movie I can start to see how it could end up on a list like this. It can pack an emotional punch and has some interesting plane stunts that you don’t see often. It’s also relatively short at only 90 minutes long so you might as well pop it in and give it a watch. I know I might give this one a rewatch some day.

Verdict: 7.8/10 Clear the field… PLEASE clear the field! Give him a chance to land!!


Le Trou (1960)

le_trou.pngAh, Le Trou, #987 on TPSDT, is quite possibly the best prison escape movie ever made. This is my second time seeing this movie and I loved it just as much as the first time I saw it. It’s ingenious and captivating to watch them enact their daring escape. The ending is perfect and really takes you by surprise.

This is a movie that is all about the escape… they don’t waste time with backstory or PoVs of the guards. You’re thrown in with Gaspard and learn about the plan as he does. Then you get to watch them break through concrete using a metal bar, file through other metal bars, comedically avoid guards by walking around a pillar and so much more. When they break through the floor, it’s all done in one continuous shot and you see the actors actually doing it. You hear the deafening bang of metal on concrete, you feel the tension in your stomach as the guards walk closer to their cell, you hear the grunts and labored breathing of the actors as they exert all their energy before passing the bar off to the next man. When they first start chipping away at the floor I thought there was no way they’re getting through that… then it starts to give way and you get little stones, and bigger stones and dirt, and finally they break through to the other side. It’s amazing to watch and it draws you in completely. They make a lot of tools out of things you wouldn’t expect and it’s so much fun watching their contraptions work like a charm.

I won’t give away the ending, but it was a perfect finale to an amazing movie. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Seriously, this was perfect in every way, there was no other way for this movie to end. After watching them struggle to dig their way out for 2 hours, this was the ending that has the biggest emotional impact on the viewer.

This might be my favorite french movie ever. It drew me in completely and had my full attention. It’s different than most movies of this type by showing you the gritty details, but that’s what makes it so memorable. This is absolutely worth checking out.

Verdict: 9.3/10 Made me hungry for rice pudding… that hasn’t been stirred by a guard with a knife that was just used to cut open a smoked fish…



The Fits (2015)

the fits.pngI don’t know how I can rip apart a movie about a young girl. This is going to make me feel like a real monster but I can’t hide how I really feel. The Fits is a movie about a tom-boy who decides she wants to join the cheer-leading squad right as girls on the squad mysteriously start having cases of “The Fits” which are like these religious experiences that eventually all the girls want to have.

I really don’t understand what The Fits are supposed to be. You hear on the news that it might be from the water but then they prove it isn’t… so what the heck is it? At first it seemed like a real medical condition and I could wrap my logical brain around it, then at the very end it turned sort of supernatural or fantastical. You could make the argument that it wasn’t really supernatural because it was just showing The Fits from the perspective of the person experiencing it. It didn’t work for me though and at the end I was left scratching my head asking “That was it?”. I’m actually surprised that this movie was on a list of 25 best movies released in 2016. I’m not sure what made this so remarkable to have it stand out so much from other movies last year. Royalty Hightower who plays the main character is talented, I’ll give her that. Her performance is the only thing that made this movie tolerable. The acting was good and it seemed technically sound, but story-wise there just wasn’t a lot there and the ending was too anti-climactic.

For only being 72 minutes long, I guess if you want to check it out you won’t be risking much. It’s gotten really good reviews so maybe this is one of those movies I just didn’t get, but you may enjoy.

Verdict: 6.5/10 Watching it gave me The Fits