Friday, December 30, 2011

111. The Awful Truth

The Awful Truth
Directed by Leo McCarey

I had seen this one a long time ago but I decided to watch it again to refresh myself.  It is a good movie to watch again because the jokes are so fast that you will surely miss a few the first time.

Cary Grant is one of my favorite actors of all time.  We had seen him previously in She Done Him Wrong but he was more of an object to listen to Mae West's one liners than a real character.  In this movie he plays the husband of a couple that begins to get a divorce on unfounded suspicions.  They still love each other so they do their best to ruin the other's potential romances.  It is one of those witty and quick films that can only be delivered by the likes of Powell and Loy, Dunne and Grant, or Bogart and Bacall.  I can't even picture my favorite current actors pulling off a movie of this caliber.

As you probably guessed, I really enjoyed this film.  I am going to miss 30s comedies.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

The dog in this movie also starred in The Thin Man series.  I knew it!

The movie was mostly improvised by the cast and McCarey during filming.

Won Best Director.

Best moments:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

110. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Yay!  A movie from my childhood.  Actually, I think this movie ended up in our rejected pile most of the time in favor of Lion King, Mulan, or Aladdin.  We were never really too fond of the songs and I think the forest scared us.

So you know the creepy plot.  I think a bunch of new Snow White movies are coming out, including one featuring Julia Roberts (sigh).  This film is truly amazing when you think about the sheer magnificence of such an achievement.  We owe all our Disney favorites to this film even if this movie does not rank among them.

Okay songs, ridiculous plot, and sappy sentimentality.  What more do you want?

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

The special Oscar that the film received was actually eight statuettes (Snow White and seven dwarfs).

J.R.R. Tolkein used the word "dwarves" so the name of this movie is often erroneously spoken.

Hitler's favorite film. 

109. Make Way For Tomorrow

Make Way For Tomorrow
I have been watching some really boring movies lately.  I watched Ben-Hur yesterday, A Christmas Story this morning, and The Deer Hunter last night (the latter was actually pretty enjoyable but a bit too long).  This movie was just purely depressing.  My grandfather died a month ago and this film reminded me strongly of him.

The film centers around an elderly couple who are forced to move in with their middle aged children.  The problem is, the couple must be separated into two different families in order to be convenient for the children.  The couple is extremely obnoxious to their relatives.  However, the film does not takes side or makes you hate anyone for what happens.

So, like I said, this movie is really sad.  The acting and directing were great but at the end of the day, I wished I hadn't seen it.  Way too depressing.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

The elderly husband and wife were only 61 and 49. 

Leo McCarey, the director, won the Best Director Oscar for The Awful Truth.  He said repeatedly that he won the Oscar for the wrong film.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

108. Life of Emile Zola

Life of Emile Zola

I finished reading Nana about a week ago because I knew this movie was coming up and I wanted to be prepared.  Actually, the film is more about the Dreyfus affair than Nana which is just as well because I thought Nana was repetitive (speaking of which, how many times can I say Nana in one paragraph?).

For those of you who don't know (I was in this category approximately an hour ago) the Dreyfuss scandal happened when a Jewish officer was accused of leaking military secrets.  Dreyfuss was convicted with very little evidence and exiled.  Zola wrote an article defending Dreyfus and was consequently convicted of libel.  I found this movie to be pretty interesting, although I always think biopics drag on a little too long.

Overall, it was a good film though not very exciting.  I am going to have to go watch a trashy action film after this.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Zola roomed with Paul Cezanne.

Nominated for ten Oscars (it won Best Picture, Supporting Actor, and Screenplay).

Zola died of carbon monoxide poisoning.  A Parisian roofer said on his deathbed that he had killed Zola for political reasons.


Monday, December 19, 2011

107. Stella Dallas

Stella Dallas

This is one of those mother-daughter tearjerkers that I always seem to hate.  I will cry at the end of Star Wars but I always watch movies like this with a stony face.  Just wait until we get to the Terms of Endearment post!

Barbara Stanwyck won an Oscar for her performance in this film and it is well deserved; she is absolutely phenomenal.  Throughout the film, Stanwyck gets older and frumpier.  I always admire actresses who allow themselves to look ugly on screen.  I think the plot is just...meh.  A woman has to make the ultimate sacrifice for her daughter so her daughter can have shallow opportunities.

This is a movie worth seeing because of the amazing acting but not much else.  Unless you are into the sappy, female bonding movies, in which case, rent Beaches instead.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Ruth Chatterton turned down the role of Stella because she had just played such a bad wife in Dodsworth.

Became a radio serial in October of 1937 because of its immense popularity.

Available on YouTube.  First part:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

106. La Grande Illusion

La Grande Illusion
The Grand Illusion

I have been on such a French kick lately.  I just finished Nana and am starting Les Miserables, I went out to a French restaurant (goat cheese!!!), and I watched this.  The restaurant led to one of those oh-that-was-so-good-let's-leave-oh-my-god-I-forgot-my-wallet-let's-make-a-run-for-it-or-ask-the-lady-next-to-us-for-money-yay-I-found-a-twenty-in-my-purse-and-we-have-a-groupon-but-not-enough-for-a-tip situations.  i am still enjoying my phase, though.

Anyway, this was a pretty decent film.  This was one of the first prison break movies (we 1001ers know that before this there was A Nous la Liberte or I Am a Fugitive From the Chain Gang).  This film is about two Frenchmen who struggle to break free from a German prison camp.  This was a pretty risky move considering Hitler was in his prime at the time.  In fact, this film was banned during World War II (it didn't help that a Jew was in the film).  It is very artsy; but what do you expect from a Jean Renoir film.  Check it out!

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Woody Allen's favorite movie.

First foreign language film to be nominated for Best Picture.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

105. Ye Ban Ge Sheng

Ye Ban Ge Sheng
Midnight Song or Song at Midnight

So this is actually pretty embarrassing.  In one of my earlier posts, I was bragging about having seen all the versions of Phantom of the Opera.  Then this Chinese version comes along and spoils everything.  Well, now I have seen all the versions (I think)!

My version of this film was incredibly awful.  It made my version of Things to Come look like 3D.  The subtitles were inaccurate/choppy and the picture was shaky.  I probably would have hated it anyway, though. The film making was really elementary.  For instance, at one point someone is singing about a girl being like a tree standing alone and a shot of a tree is shown.  Then he sings about how she is like the moon and a shot of the moon is shown.  We don't need everyt metaphor illustrated, buddy.  We can use our imaginations.

This movie is about an extremely twisted love story.  The acting is pretty poor.  Chinese is not the prettiest language either.  Two hours of Chinese and I was actually craving German.  Crazy, right?

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Holy shit!  There are about 30 different versions of this movie.  How ethnocentric of me!  

Monday, November 28, 2011

104. Captains Courageous

Captains Courageous

1937 has arrived!  Only 70 more years to go!

I am a huge fan of seafaring adventures.  I also love Spencer Tracy so I was really looking forward to this film.  The plot is very similar to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in that a bratty kid learns about camaraderie and sailing.  Harvey, the boy pictured above, is a great character. Bartholomew does not overly cute up the role and actually matches Tracy's screen presence.

What is also refreshing about this movie is that Tracy plays a Portuguese sailor without being offensive about it!  I am becoming used to black face and people getting "yellowed up", unfortunately.  Great film, great plot developments, and great character developments.  Who could ask for anything more (I also have daisies in green pastures!)?!

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

Lionel Barrymore is in this.  He is Drew Barrymore's great uncle!

Tracy didn't want to take on the role originally because he didn't want to sing or have curly hair.  Joan Crawford called him Harpo Marx.

The Oscar Tracy won was inscribed to Dick Tracy.

Does anyone else think Jason Segel and Spencer Tracy are twins?

103. Le Roman D'Un Tricheur

Le Roman D'Un Tricheur
The Story of a Cheat

Oh my god, what a snore.  This film is one of those artsy, boring, French films that pretentious people praise for its "rawness".

This movie is acted out like it is silent, but there is a constant narration in the background.  It also starts out introducing the cast and crew like some sort of eighties sitcom.  This film follows the life of a boy who discovers that cheating can actually be quite fruitful.  It is one of those "am I supposed to be laughing right now?" type films.  When done correctly, these kind of movies can be really fun but this movie botched that technique.  There was also a really long scene talking about Monaco, towns, and cities which felt like one of those cultural videos I had to watch in high school French classes.

As boring as Magnolia.  You get the picture...

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Credits were spoken and not written.

Too obscure for much trivia.  Sorry!!

102. Things to Come

Things to Come

This movie had the worst picture quality I have ever seen.  My DVD menu gave me the option of watching it in color so I foolishly chose to.  For some reason I then proceeded as if I couldn't go back on my decision.  This was a big mistake; it looked awful.

Besides that, the film sucked on its own accord.  It shouted "B-MOVIE!" the entire time.  The acting was awful (especially the "diseased" woman's) and the plot was hard to follow.  It jumped all over the place with dire predictions.  2012 type predictions.  H.G. Wells did accurately guess that there would be a second world war, though.

Anyway, I do really like H.G. Wells. Science fiction movies date really easily.  The only way to combat this natural force is to have really great character development.  Unfortunately, this film did not put up this defense.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

H.G. Wells hated Fritz Lang and hated Metropolis.  He told the crew to do the opposite of what Lang had done.

Available on YouTube but don't watch it!  First part:

101. Dodsworth


I am behind on this blog and I have to write like five reviews after this.  It is also 9:41 so I excuse the subtle crankiness that is probably going to radiate from these posts.

This is a great film that feels like a Hemingway novel.  A couple goes off to Europe.  The husband stays strictly American while the wife gets swept up in the world of glitz and playboys.  This is one of those movies that stays pretty neutral (even though the wife makes the most mistakes) which reminded me of Kramer vs. Kramer.

The Book describes this film as a movie for adults.  I agree; this film felt very mature and everything wasn't black and white.  An interesting and obscure movie, but one that should be watched.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

I love the thirties!!!

Mary Astor was going through a very public divorce during the filming of this movie.  She said that she kept her head held high by embodying Edith.

Available on YouTube, though it looks quite shady.

100. Sabotage


100.  We are a tenth of the way done.  I cannot even express how much I have learned since I started. 100 movies, 35 years, 901 to go.  Wow, that last number is large.

Hitchcock is as amazing here as he is in the fifties.  Sabotage is one of the best suspense movies of all time.  It is hard to communicate how truly tense this film is, especially in the bus scene.  Just watch it and you will be stunned how tight your grip is on innocent objects around you.

My one complaint is that acting is only so-so but the characters aren't really what the film is about so it doesn't matter much.  It is a little bit eerie watching this since we live in an age of extreme paranoia about terrorists.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Hitchcock later regretted the way the bus scene ended because of the excessive criticism he received after the film's release.

HITCHCOCK RADAR: He walks on a sidewalk about nine minutes in.

First part:

99. Camille


As soon as I started to read the Netflix envelope, I thought I was going to have a heart attack.

Firstly, this film was based off of a Alexander Dumas story.  I love Dumas (Count of Monte Cristo is one of the best novels of all time) so I was really excited.  Then I realized that this movie has basically the same plot line as my favorite film, Moulin Rouge!.  Needless to say, I almost wet myself.

This movie is about a courtesan who falls in love.  She is also dying of tuberculosis.  The fact that I was comparing this to Baz Luhrmann's story did it a great disservice.  I never think Garbo has that great of love stories.  She has such an amazing screen presence that I don't think there is room for anyone else.  Still, this is a really great movie that is packed with emotions.  I love movies that you can reflect on for days.  I recently saw Philadelphia and I am still thinking about it.  Worth a watch.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Alexander Dumas based this film on Marguerite, a woman he had an affair with who died when she was twenty-three.  AWWW!

Garbo's favorite of her films.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

98. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

Mr. Deeds felt really modern to me. So far, I feel like I have seen movies that either reflect Hollywood in its prime (which prompts me to say "they just don't make 'em like that anymore") or outdated films that make me laugh (like King Kong).  This, however, felt like a mediocre romantic comedy from 2011.

This film centers on a naive poet who inherits 20 million dollars and is stunned by the corruptness of "city folk".  A sassy, beautiful reporter pretends to be a country girl that is enamored by him in order to get the exclusive.  But wait, curve ball!  She begins to actually fall in love with him?!?!?!

This movie isn't especially witty but it does send a great message.  I don't want to ruin the end for you, but this film promoted Socialism in 1936.  Pretty ballsy.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:
Oh, boy.  Will these two crazy kids ever work it out?!?!

This was remade into an Adam Sandler movie in 2006.  I am proud to say that I have only been subjected to two Sandler movies in my lifetime and hopefully, I will be able keep it down to that manageable number.

Gary Cooper looks like a young Alec Baldwin in this.  Anyone?  Anyone?

Jean Arthur didn't see the film until 1972.

The sequel, Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington, was eventually turned into Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

This film was banned in Germany because non-Aryans were a part of the movie.

Monday, November 14, 2011

97. My Man Godfrey

My Man Godfrey

I saw this film quite awhile ago but I do remember loving it.  I am a huge William Powell fan for all his movies are so witty and fast.  I also really like Carole Lombard; her story is so tragic and she was extremely talented.

This amazing cast is used to its full potential with the rapid fire screenplay.  The story centers around a ridiculous aristocratic family that takes in a tramp as a game at a party.  He takes the job as their butler and Lombard eventually falls for his charms.  The book criticizes the ending for being too romantic and not very smart but I enjoyed the movie from start to finish.

Although this movie is a comedy, it made me pensive and sad.  Lombard's short life is truly a blow to cinema because her talents equal (if not surpass) that of even more revered actresses of the day.  Powell and Lombard were also divorced when they filmed this movie so it also reminded me of lost love.  A truly great movie.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

First film to be nominated for all four acting categories.

Carole Lombard often added swear words to her parts so she had to re-film a lot of scenes.

I ate goat cheese today!!!!!!!

First part:

96. Swing Time

Swing Time

This film is basically the same as Top Hat only there were better songs and sets.  Like any sane person, I love the song "Way You Look Tonight" and had actually watched the clip from this movie many times just to see different versions.  The song "A Fine Romance" is also phenomenal.

The plot to this movie and the plot to Top Hat are completely blurred in my mind at this point.  However, I think that this film is superior for the reasons mentioned above.  These movies aren't deep or thoughtful, but they are fun!

I realize that the black face number is really racist.  At this point in American history, you have to look at intentions and it certainly wasn't meant to be offensive.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Ranked #90 in AFI's top 100.

Barrack Obama made a reference to this movie in his inauguration speech.

Cutest montage ever:

95. Modern Times

Modern Times

Well, this is embarrassing.

I gave a huge, tearful speech about how silent films are over and how thoroughly I enjoyed them.  Meanwhile, I still had one left.  You know, silent followers, you could have corrected me!  You made me look like an idiot out there!

Anyway, I will justify it by saying that there were several spoken lines in this film including a song by the Tramp.  I recently had a conversation with someone where I told them I hated Mr. Bean and Monty Python.  She said "Aw, next you are going to say you don't think Charlie Chaplin is funny!"  I shifted nervously in my seat and replied "No, I love him!"  This is simply untrue; I don't think he is funny at all.  This movie is particularly humorless.  A lot of the gags are stolen from A Nous la Liberte.  The jokes are really brain dead and cheap; in one, a bug flies in Chaplin's face so he is unable to continue working. HA!

Chaplin, just give it up.  Silent films are no longer popular.  The witty dialogue of films like The Thin Man is what makes movies funny and entertaining not pantomiming.   Blah.

RATING: *----

Interesting Facts:

Number 78 in AFI's top 100 movies list.  This list is flawed!!!

Wow, only the machines talk but the humans don't!  What a comment on industrialization!

Available on YouTube:

94. Partie de Campagne

Partie de Campagne
A Day in the Country

Today was one of those days when I hate everyone and anything.  I was a little bit nervous to watch this movie because I was afraid that I would rant about it even if it was decent.  Much to my surprise, however, I did genuinely like it.

This film will make you want to cry and not just because Anatole can't get rid of his hiccups!  This movie made an early use of the epilogue which is really tragic.  This film is only forty minutes long and it is available on YouTube so I would definitely recommend it.  It will remind you of your own experiences with young, impractical love.  My one complaint would be that 60% of the film is centered around conversation that I didn't really care about.  It wasn't boring but with the film being so short, I would rather hear about the love story.  Still great, though.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

There is no trivia on the IMDb web page.  Let's try Wikipedia...

Nope, still nothing interesting.  Sorry!

Full film:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

93. Top Hat

Top Hat

I recently watched Swing Time (which is coming up on the list) which is basically the same movie as this so I am having trouble keeping them apart in my mind.  I do know that I absolutely love Astaire and Rogers.  They have great chemistry and are both phenomenal dancers.

Of course, this cooky film is based entirely off misunderstandings and mistaken identities.  The movie Swing Time is vastly superior by comparison.  Standing alone, though, this movie is entertaining and fun.  The sets, however, are bit ridiculous.  I have never been to Venice but I am sure as hell that it does not look like that.  Still amazing though; these guys are competing for affections with Powell and Loy.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

I am so sleepy!!!

Helped save RKO from bankruptcy.

4th of ten dancing partnerships between Rogers and Astaire.

92. Bride of Frankenstein

Bride of Frankenstein

I am completely exhausting after traveling all day but I am persevering with my reviews mostly because I don't want to do my other work.  I have now seen Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, and good ole Frankenstein.  I can tell you, the series really peaks with this one and gets steadily worse afterward.

This movie picks up right where the other leaves off.  Everyone thinks the monster is dead but he lives!  He also desires a mate which is where the creepy creature pictured above comes into play.  Everything I have read about this movie leads me to believe that it is universally agreed upon that this sequel is better than the original. I did not expect to agree but watching just five minutes of this movie convinces me to concur with that opinion.  The beginning was particularly interesting because it shows Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley talking about her story.  So watch it and get ideas for a wonderfully cliche Halloween costume!

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Elsa Lancaster said the sound she made were inspired by the swans in Regent's Park, London.  I love the swans there; no dissing allowed!

The Bride's hair was held into place by a wire horsehair cage.

They are not so bad!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

91. 39 Steps

39 Steps

Alfred Hitchcock has always been one of my favorite directors.  His movies are, of course, really enjoyable.  However, it wasn't until I took a film class that I really appreciated him.  We would learn about camera angles and different kinds of shots available to a filmmaker.  Hitchcock used each camera angle to its full potential.  I was amazed at how many examples I could think of where he had used different kinds of shots in a completely unique ways.

This is the classic Hitchcock tale of the wrong man accused of a crime.  There is also a love story that plays out in between the action.  Surprisingly, this movie is sometimes hilarious.  My favorite Hitch movies (his assistant called him that in an interview once and now I pretend that I can) come later, but his early films are intriguing and exciting.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

On set one day, Hitchcock actually handcuffed Donat and Carroll together and pretended that he lost the key.

HITCHCOCK RADAR: Tossing litter around seven minutes in.

We also learned in my film class that when we are walking with a camera (which you are never supposed to do because of shaky footage) you should walk like Groucho Marx to keep the camera steady.


90. A Night at the Opera

A Night at the Opera

I am forcing myself to write this post because I really just want to curl up in my blankets and sleep until V is for Vengeance comes out.  A slightly unrealistic plan, so I decided to blog instead.

The Marx Brothers are really not funny anymore.  This is a shame because the types of jokes Groucho tell seem like my sense of humor but they are so dated .  However, I did like this movie a lot more than  Duck Soup.  This was their first movie with MGM so they had to tone down their jokes a bit.  I feel bad liking their "safe" jokes better than their risque ones.  In this movie, though, they had to rely on sarcastic wisecracks more than outrageous characters which is why I think they improved.

So still not humorous but not unbearable.  Which I guess is all you can ask for in a comedy...

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Number 85 in AFI's top 100 movies.  I love movies, but their list is just the worst!

No Zeppo!

Sam Wood, the director, could not get Groucho Marx to say a line like he wanted.  Wood finally said "I guess you make an actor out of clay."  Marx responded "Nor a director out of Wood."  That is solid.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

89. Mutiny on the Bounty

Mutiny on the Bounty

This is another seafaring adventure, much like Captain Blood but a lot less romantic. I really love sea movies (although the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie was just the worst).  I also love any movie where Clark Gable takes his shirt off.  This film meets both requirements!

Those damn Brits.  Why did they always have to impress sailors?  They could have prevented the War of 1812 with us when we kicked some ass.  Well, kind of.  Anyway, this movie is about a ship of sailors who are forced to work for the British navy.  Gradually, the tyrannical ways of the Captain become too much for them and they mutiny.  This film earned three Oscar nominations for Best Actor which tells you how powerful all the male performances were.

I didn't like this movie as much as Captain Blood.  This film probably had more depth and better acting, but I liked my trashy Errol Flynn flick.  This is still a very good movie and definitely one that you should check out.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

I recently had a discussion with my dad about the worst and best decade of films.  I argued the 30s for the best.  Represent!

A camera man died when one of the barges capsized.

Because of the three actor nominations, the supporting actor category was added for later years.

Apparently Clark Gable was a huge homophobe and hated his costar Laughton for bringing his boyfriend on the set.  Damn it, now I can't like Errol Flynn or Clark Gable.


88. Captain Blood

Captain Blood

The great movie streak continues with Captain Blood.  This is a spectacular adventure story that includes everything you could possibly want in a swashbuckling movie: a sexy pirate, a beautiful damsel, sword fights, and an exotic location.

Errol Flynn is a magnificent dreamboat.  I don't know why I never knew about him (although I am still true to you, Clark Gable).  He plays a doctor who is wrongfully convicted of treason and sent to Port Royal to be a slave.  He is bought by a lady and so begins the sexual tension.  That is another thing I loved about this movie; these kinds of films usually end up having a completely idiotic woman blunder around while the hot hero saves her.  However, she is able to save him as much as he saves her.

I am a huge Michael Crichton fan (RIP buddy).  A manuscript of his was published  posthumously titled Pirate Latitudes which is a thrilling novel that takes place in Port Royal.  This movie reminded me of it and consequently reminded me of all of Crichton's novels so I teared up a bit.  This film is just plain fun and exciting if a little bit shallow.

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

I was all excited to learn more about Errol Flynn.  Apparently he slept with everything that moved, including lots of underage girls and Ross Alexander.  He also would play awful pranks on costars (i.e. putting a dead snake in Olivia de Hailland's underwear).  Okay, so maybe I don't like him that much...

The scenes with the ships were filmed with miniatures.  They also used footage from Sea Hawk.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

87. The Thin Man

The Thin Man

I am going to go all Office Space on this computer for not letting me put up a picture.

I discovered The Thin Man a couple of years ago and have been in love with the adorable couple pictured above (just pretend, please) since.  I actually recently watched the sequel which was as good as the first one.  This is an amazing film and quite possibly my favorite movie on the list so far.

Nick and Nora are the coolest married couple I have ever seen in my life.  They love each other and are greatly attracted to each other.  However, they happen to really like each other too.  They manage to have witty banter and still value each other's opinion very highly.

Nick and Nora get involved in a mystery, one that they solve in an unconventional way (this probably inspired Manhattan Murder Mystery).  They pretty much sit back, drink, and let the culprits identify themselves.  I will always remember the last camera shot for its clever message.  1934 was a good year!

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

Asta bit Nora during filming (who said anything about being detached from reality?).

Two weeks of filming.


86. It Happened One Night

It Happened One Night

Pretend that my computer isn't freaking out right now and that you see a picture of Clark Gable topless!
Um, no it didn't.  It happened over many nights.  FLAW!  Wow, that was lame.  I just want to go sleep.

Finally!  A film people have heard about.  Maybe now we can get some discussions going in the comments sections...hint, hint.   I actually haven't seen this film in a couple of years but I remember liking it.  I also remember falling asleep to it, but I don't think that was anything personal.  This movie features a plot that has been done 5,000 times since (4, 990 of those being done by Katherine Heigl) but it still is fresh with its witty dialogue. I swoon every time Clark Gable is even mentioned and he is in all his hunky glory in this film.

 This movie is centered around Claudette Colbert, who plays a rich heiress that ran away from home.  Clark Gable (*bites lip*) is a savvy journalist.  He is using her for a story and she is using him to escape.  These two just cannot get along; they could never end up...FALLING IN LOVE????!!!!

This is one of three films to win Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Director.   It certainly deserves every single one.

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

Several actors turned down the various roles because they were sure the film would fail.  Embarrassing!

On the first day of filming Clark Gable said "let's get this over with."  Have a little confidence, guys.

Won every single Oscar it was nominated for.


85. The Judge Priest

The Judge Priest

This movie is the ultimate southern cliche.  You have the dumb, drunk Southerners, the submissive African Americans, and the die hard devotion to the Confederacy.  I have rarely gone down to the South, myself.  My family used to go down to Florida every year but we stopped doing that when I was still very young.  I also have been down to South Carolina a couple times when I was really little.  That and Gone With the Wind sums up my southern experience.

Anyway, this movie is really boring.  The directing also really sucks.  The cut aways were awful and people would weirdly transport from one area to another in between shots.  I personally cannot stand Southern accents.  It also was pretty offensive to both white and black people.  Overall, completely pointless and a waste of time.  I really don't have the faintest clue why this made it on the list.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

One of the actors also starred in The Birth of the Nation.  Wow, these guys really are just the worst.

The Judge Priest had one of the most disturbing and racist lines I have ever heard.  Blah, waste of tonight.

Audition and Funny Games both sucked and I made my best friend watch them with me for our Halloween  movie marathon.  Sorry, Mara!

Monday, October 31, 2011

84. The Black Cat

The Black Cat


I am writing in this hideous orange color in honor of the holiday.  I love to have feasts of candy and movie marathons on Halloween.  Today I am watching: The Black Cat, Child's Play, Audition, and possibly Funny Games.  I love this holiday!

So don't get excited; this film has nothing to do with the Edgar Allen Poe story.  It is closer hurts to even say the name of this movie...The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  I despise that movie, but there will be plenty of time to talk about that when that review comes (I know you can't wait).  A couple is trapped in a mansion in Hungary after a car accident.  Dracula costars.

First of all, I was disappointed that "The Black Cat" didn't have anything to do with the movie.  The fact that it resembled that film was salt in the wound.  I thought it was kind of boring.  I was all ready to be scared and then it was just lame.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

The director used the name Black Cat so people would go see it, thinking that it was the Poe story.  Well played.

The villain was partly based on Fritz Lang.

If you want to watch a scary movie today my recommendations are Ringu, Psycho, Paranormal Activity, or Blair Witch Project.  Those are the scariest movies I have ever seen.

Available on YouTube.  First part: 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

83. L'Atalante


Wow, I feel cheated.  This isn't the first time this has happened during this journey.  I am not too pissed about James Cameron's plagiarism because Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio really made the scene their own.  I am surprised, though, that no one ever told me about this.  One of hipsters' favorite past times is to bag on Titanic

A lot of critics call this the best film ever made.   I really don't think it deserves that much praise.  I did not hate it, but the best movie ever?  I also have a grudge against Jean Vigo after Zero de Conduite.

This movie is about two lovers who live on a ship.  They annoy everyone else because they are either making out or fighting.  It is supposed to be an amazing love story, but honestly, the characters annoyed the hell out of me.  The acting wasn't great either.  Overall, it does not live up to the hype.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

References Boudu Saved from Drowning.

Roger Ebert reviewed this.  Click here.

Available on YouTube.  First part:

Friday, October 28, 2011

82. Triumph des Willens

Triumph des Willens
Triumph of the Will

I once witnessed some American boys teaching a Chinese foreign exchange student how to properly pronounce the word "faggot".  My uncle had a talk with me when I was fifteen about what life as a true alcoholic is like.  I saw footage of 9/11 that showed people jumping out of the World Trade Centers. Watching Adolf Hitler smile shyly to the camera as he disembarked from a plane amid cheers is one of these moments; the kind that fills you up with awful sadness and despair on what humanity is truly capable of.  There is no way to be consoled.  The only way you can ever get over the sickening emotion is by not thinking.  That's right: the cure is ignorance or denial.

I don't want to spend a long time on this post.  This movie doesn't include exterminations or concentration camps.  Just lots of speeches and smiles.  I think that is what scared me the most.  A genocide was occurring and for a hour and a half, you watched one of the most evil men ever born wave to little girls and nod to young men.  I visited Anne Frank's hideout in Holland.  I saw where they would measure the kids on the walls.  I saw pictures of boys Anne thought were cute. I felt her presence as I examined her girlish handwriting.  In short, I saw a very small part of a family that was utterly destroyed by Adolf Hitler.  With this film, I got a look at the man who was responsible for all the atrocities.  And you know what?  He just kept smiling.

This is a film not to be rated.  To discuss its technical achievements is trivial and unimportant.  To talk about the filmmaker (who thought of people in concentration camps as "extras") is to give her a moment's thought which is more than she deserves.  This film is to be remembered surely.  I will always remember: it is the face of true evil.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

81. It's a Gift

It's a Gift

Another 30s, male lead comedy.  More outdated jokes but quality acting.  So instead of repeating myself again, I will spend this post talking about other things.

Today I fell in a huge puddle of mud.  My favorite actors are Jack Nicholson, Kevin Spacey, Joan Blondell, Ewan McGregor, and Nicole Kidman.  I really don't like talking about the illegal immigrant problem, because I really have no idea what to do about it.  I have a historical crush on Alexander Hamilton.  I have a thing for red-headed guys.  I have a huge prejudice against the French and I am head over heels in love with London.

There.  I hope that was more interesting to you than a lecture on how humorous I found that movie.  It probably wasn't and now you feel gypped.  I apologize; we can discuss this movie over comments if you want.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

I guess I should tell you that this film is about a kind of Mr. Bennet character who wants to buy an orange farm.

80. Sons of the Desert

Sons of the Desert

This is one of those "aren't wives controlling and obnoxious bitches?" kind of comedies.  I usually can laugh at them, but I was raised by an extreme feminist so something in me twitches.  I also heard a guy say today that women shouldn't be allowed to drive so maybe I am just looking for a fight.

So Laurel and Hardy are apparently a "thing" just like the Marx Brothers.  I had actually never heard of them before.  This means that I haven't heard of any fans of theirs either.  I have a similar opinion about this movie and Duck Soup.  I am sure they were hilarious for the time, but now their jokes are completely outdated. They didn't get a laugh out of me once.  This is not to say that comedies from the thirties can never be funny.  I loved Gold Diggers of 1933 and I even laughed at Buster Keaton back in the twenties. I think the difference is that the comedies I like were a lot more subtle and witty.  Sons of the Desert, Duck Soup, and even Chaplin's movies consisted of pure gags, which are never as entertaining.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Good acting, though.

"Well, here is another fine mess you got me into" was #60 in AFI's top 100 movie quotes.

Had to get this one off Amazon.

Friday, October 21, 2011

79. The Bitter Tea of General Yen

The Bitter Tea of General Yen

This was truly a great movie.  Finally, a movie set in China that isn't a propaganda film or just a backdrop for Marlene Dietrich's sexuality.  Granted, General Yen is really Swedish (which gives me uncomfortable flashbacks from Broken Blossoms) but everyone else was actually Chinese.  It this time period you have to take what you can get.

Barbara Stanwyck is captured by General Yen and she falls in love with him.  This movie is really well-acted; I knew Stanwyck would deliver but I thought the other actors would either pale in comparision or give an offensive performance.  The love story is unlike anything seen before.  Not only is it interracial (which was really shocking at the time) but it wasn't comedic, light, or unrealistic.  Not that the other movies we have been reviewing were frivolous, but this is really one of the first tragic love stories we have seen (if you don't count King Kong; I really don't).  General Yen was also a bad boy (he took it a bit too far at times) which was unusual considering the totally square protaganists as of late.

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

The Chinese government was upset about the scene with the firing squad and the portrayal of the Chinese philosphy on life.  This did not result in any editing.

Nils Asther (General Yen) did not speak Mandarin.

The dream sequence reminded me of Nosferatu.

I may be wrong about this, but I think the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast was partly inspired by this.  If you watch this, can you comment on my theory?  This isn't at all a ploy to get people to actually comment on my blog.  Or is it?

Available on YouTube.  First part:

78. King Kong

King Kong

Don't be put off by the god awful graphics shown above.  This was actually a pretty good movie minus the racist tribal scenes.  If I have to explain the plot to you, please comment about your life story.  I had seen the Peter Jackson remake.  That was around seven years ago, so all I really remember is lots of crazy special effects.  According to the book, this movie spawned movies that focus mainly on graphics rather than plot or character development.  I was actually pleasantly surprised that the plot didn't totally suck.  The director did a good job of slowly building up to the main action.

I would recommend watching it; it is the classic man vs. beast tale.  Hell, even some of the music sounded like it was from Jaws.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

First film ever to be rereleased.

When Fay Wray heard the leading man being described as "tall and dark" she thought he would be Cary Grant.

Kong's roar is a combination of a tiger's and a lion's roar played backwards.

Saved RKO from bankruptcy.

It was beauty that killed the beast...

Number 41 in AFI's top 100 movies list.

Trailer with unflattering image: