Sunday, October 19, 2014

509. Five Easy Pieces

Five Easy Pieces
Directed by Bob Rafelson

I do respect and love Jack Nicholson, but is anyone else getting a little bit tired of the whole being an asshole for being an asshole's sake persona?  Believe me, I have met enough of those.  They're the people that act like total dicks to you and then when you ask why say "Amanda, you have to stop taking life so seriously.  Some things can't be explained, like the past, and you just have to except that." Wrong form of accept, by the way.  But I digress.

Okay, so Five Easy Pieces.  Jack Nicholson is Bobby Dupea, a complete ass who cheats on his annoying girlfriend and says disgusting things to waitresses.  He goes to see his estranged father and ends up falling for his brother's wife.  Don't feel too bad for the brother, though; everyone is this movie is just awful.

Every good quality in this movie can be found somewhere else, in a better version.  Do you want a great Jack Nicholson asshole performance?  One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  You can even find a better version of a brother-brother-brother's girlfriend love triangle in Dan in Real Life.  Yes, I said it.  Skip it.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

The title refers to the name of a piano lesson book.

Monday, October 13, 2014

508. Tristana

Directed by Luis Bunuel

We are officially starting the 1970s.  Who is excited?  Anyone?  When we start the 80s, I can use a Ferris Bueller reference here that I am sure will kill.  Anyway, we are kicking off the 70s with a really great film.

Catherine Deneuve plays Tristana, a young orphan who is taken care of by Don Lope Garrido.  He is deeply in love with her, while she desires to feel real passion and be independent.  When she ends up falling for a new guy, it seems like she should finally be able to achieve happiness.  Unfortunately, it is a Spanish film so nothing can work out that well.

We all know that anything done by Catherine Deneuve is going to be absolutely brilliant.  However, a great performance doesn't always mean a great movie; just look at abominations like Mamma Mia or Nine.  In this case, though, we got a great plot and not once did Daniel Day-Lewis sing! I call it a win.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

The character of Don Lope is partially based on Bunuel's father.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

1960s Oscars!

Once again, we have reached the end of a decade in our movie journey.  Fortunately for you guys, you don't have to read a sappy, sentimental recap, since I am not too thrilled with the sixties as a whole.  I kind of feel like I did when my mean hamster died.  There were still some excellent films that deserve to be praised.  As always, feel free to disagree with me in the comments.  Please refrain from calling me  Ditzy McDingus, though.  Words scar.

BEST PICTURE: What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
West Side Story
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Once Upon a Time in the West
The Young Ladies of Rochefort
Rosemary's Baby
The Birds
In the Year of the Pig

WORST PICTURE: Scorpio Rising
Blonde Cobra
The Ladies Man
Flaming Creatures
Andrei Rublev

Roman Polanski
Alfred Hitchcock
Jacques Demy
Eric Rohmer
Guy Hamilton

BEST ACTOR: Anthony Perkins
George Chakiris
Tim O'Kelly
Henry Fonda
Jack Lemmon

Rita Moreno
Catherine Deneuve
Francoise Fabian
Ann Bancroft

BEST LINE: "Mother, uh, my mother is, what is the phrase?  She is not quite herself today."-Psycho
"Think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch."-Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
"Why do you kids live like there's a war on?"-West Side Story
"Paris is small for great passion like us"-The Young Girls of Rochefort

507. Kes

Directed by Ken Loach

This is the last film from the 1960s!!!  It has really been a rocky send off, but I suppose that makes it easier to say goodbye to this decade.

Is there ever a film about British school children that isn't horrifying?  I hope frequent commentator, Ray, did not have it so bad.  This is the story of Billy Casper, who is bullied by pretty much everyone, He finds solace in training a falcon, which, in a not so subtle metaphor, represent the wings he desires to fly away with.

So here is a film that I think a lot of people will find emotional, but I found to be a bit lacking.  For one thing, the movie was very predictable.  Maybe this isn't the film's fault, since the movie has probably been copied so many times, but it still made the experience significantly less enjoyable.  For another thing, I am not a huge fan of films starring kids and this kid is about as whiny as they come.

Overall, one that I would have happily skipped.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Some of the children were actually beaten by the actor who played the headmaster.  They were all paid a bonus of 50 pence.  Um...

The Yorkshire accents in this film make it somewhat difficult to understand for both British and American audiences.  Parts of the movie were dubbed because of this.