AFI's Top 100 Movies Uncategorized

Review of The Sixth Sense (#89)

The Sixth Sense (1999), is number 89 on the list and I’d already seen this ages ago, but only once all the way through. I was very excited to have an excuse to watch it again, so we dusted off the copy from our DVD library last night and enjoyed it again.

When I saw this the first time, I had already seen Unbreakable and was blown away by M. Night’s vision and skill. Sadly, Sixth Sense had already been spoiled for me by the time I saw it on videotape. (Or DVD. Whatevs.) Real bummer, as I would’ve LOVED to have been surprised, but I dearly love it just the same.

In that vein, I refuse to spoil it for anyone and will not discuss what the big twist of the movie is, but I will beg you to see it if you haven’t already. As is typical by now, M. Night has multiple stories going on at once, each one compelling and believable: a haunted boy (literally) struggling to find a way out of a truly terrifying situation with the help of a doctor (Psychologist? Psychiatrist?); a loving couple with an untenable distance in their clearly painful marriage; and a beautifully depicted maternal love as the boy’s mother is confused and powerless, but still seeks out what is terrorizing her young son with an animalistic protectiveness that is both compelling and relatable.

It is supremely effed up what this kid sees in his day to day life, and it is heartbreaking what Cole is going through with his mother, trying to get her to understand and believe him without scaring her into thinking he’s insane. And seeing what his mother is going through trying to help him is excruciating for this mother. As I find true with all his films, except for The Village which I liked but did not LOVE, he tells a story that breaks my heart and then somewhat heals it. I know the director takes a lot of crap, but I find his movies to be compelling and well worth the time, every time.

The casting is magnificent in this film. Bruce Willis portrays the shrink Malcolm, who is trying to help Haley Joel Osment’s young and achingly fragile Cole through what he first believes to be psychological response to his father leaving the family. Toni Collette plays Cole’s mother, and this may have been the first movie I saw her in, because I had no recollection she was in it. Olivia Williams, who I had to go to IMDB to chase away the “I’ve seen her before” tickle (Mrs. Darling from Peter Pan and Adelle from Dollhouse), played Malcolm’s wife with a confused, loving and distant vibe. These four characters are the focus of the story, but I have to admit to running back to the DVD when I saw Donnie Wahlberg listed with the cast. I didn’t recognize him as Vincent at all. He was unrecognizable, amazing and believably insane in his portrayal of this broken young man. What a shame that only his brother gets accolades because this is truly a talented actor. I had no clue just how talented until now, but I hope he sees better roles than what show up on his current IMDB page.

Each of these actors, along with the supporting cast, give rich and soulful performances. It is not surprising that Osment’s is the most compelling portrayal, as he’s just so very young. It seems impossible that he would be able to carry a role so permeated with pain and terror at such a young age.

My two favorite lines from the movie:
“I never told you, but you sound a little like Dr. Seuss when you’re drunk.” Malcolm’s wife to Malcolm.
“I didn’t know you were funny.” Cole, after Malcolm performs a pathetic magic trick.

Bringing Up Baby (1938) is next on the list, and has already arrived. I’ve not seen it, and know nothing other than it stars Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. I love seeing movies with no preconceived notions about it, it’s freeing in a way, don’t you think?

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Swing Time Review

Swing Time (1936) comes in at number 90 on the A.F.I. Top 100 Movies list, and is a charming and surprisingly sassy love story. Ginger Rogers plays the bold Penny and Fred Astaire is Lucky, the smooth talking con man.  The dancing is phenomenal, and while they are individually amazing their chemistry when together is crackling. The dialogue is smart and witty and I was surprised at some of the innuendo that was allowed.

I never thought that a movie from the ‘30s would have the protagonist be such a ‘playa’. Lucky is somewhat difficult to like in the beginning, first because he’s late for his wedding – partly due to his ass-hat friends, but in the end because he gets caught up in gambling. He is also in a heavy flirtation with Penny while he’s engaged to another woman. He keeps that a secret and is happily exploiting the chemistry that he and Penny have, because it adds to their dancing and success. Even though he shows some guilt at letting the relationship go too far (by kissing her *gasp*), he does dive in and is willing to deceive her. I couldn’t help but feel great admiration for Penny, and I was pretty pissed when he decided he was more interested in momentary satisfaction than hurting either of the two women he was deceiving.

Some interesting observations about the movie being almost 80 years old: off-screen smooching; weird hair washing and a “black face” routine. The kissing is really self-explanatory; there was no smooching on-camera. The weird hair washing was done by Penny. She started squirting something from a bottle onto her hair/scalp (while holding a conversation with another woman in her room) and started rubbing it in. I thought it was some sort of scalp conditioner until it showed her at the bathroom sink bent over with a head covered with bubbles. She was fully dressed as she walked around the apartment/hotel room with her hair lathered up. I don’t know if this was a modification made for the movie, or if this was how woman always washed their hair.

The black face dance routine was simply puzzling to me. I didn’t see any relevance for it at all, and it seemed completely random. It showed him getting ready to perform by smearing something dark on his face and I groaned, but was still unwilling to believe it. I guess it was something really popular, but I just couldn’t believe how random it was. It had absolutely nothing (that I could tell) to do with the story. And was it a coincidence that he had GINORMOUS feet and his legs were so long it took like, four female dancers to carry each giant leg off so he could actually stand up and start dancing?!? Could they really get away with that kind of symbolism in the ‘30s? Obviously portraying a stereotype wasn’t an issue, as demonstrated by the black face number.

Another surprising thing was during one of the first scenes in the movie, when Fred and Ginger first met on the street. There was a heated exchange during which a car horn was honking at the same time that Lucky’s friend Pop was seemingly using obscenities against the policeman. It just seemed so provincial that they didn’t show any kissing, when the filmmakers seemed to have had these other freedoms.

I thought one spectacular thing about the movie was that you could really perceive the mood of the dancers during their performances. It was done with subtlety and grace, and was beautifully executed. Whether excitement, joy, agitation or sadness, it was clearly demonstrated in their dancing by expression, gesture and posture, among other things. Brilliant.

Chooch pointed out that he thought that while Astaire was likely more renowned as a dancer, but that Rogers was doing essentially the same exact steps, but in HIGH HEELS. Testify!

I was a little disappointed in abrupt and overly neat ending, but it was still a fun movie. I truly enjoyed it and am thrilled it is on the list, it definitely belongs there.

My favorite line was by Lucky to Penny as they were saying their big farewell. Penny asked if his fiancee was a good dancer, and his reply was:
“I’ve danced with you, I’m never going to dance again.”

Fantastic movie, and if you are someone that likes musicals at all I suggest you give it a chance. I really didn’t think I would enjoy it beyond the novelty factor, but it was a fun and light film with amazing choreography and performances. If you don’t like musicals, you may not like it but should give it a shot. What do you have to lose?

Next up is Sixth Sense, which I’ve seen and love, Love, LOVE. I literally can’t wait to watch it again. I’ll also be posting my ranking of the Top 100 very soon. I had planned on it last week but thanks to a total and complete Go Daddy FAIL, I’m still catching up from the long downtime we suffered. Go Daddy is now Gone Daddy, and we have gone with a company that is well respected by a well respected friend.

Phew! Now I can finally go listen to Mike and Christiana’s discussion of Swing Time!

AFI's Top 100 Movies Uncategorized

Sophie's Choice (#91)

Made in 1982, the first thing that hits me is how young Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol were when this was made. Baby faces! The second thing that you realize is that Meryl as Sophie is going to be a tragic figure. The first scene that she is in is a huge argument and portrays a loud and passionate relationship with Kevin Kline’s Nathan. And just like Peter MacNicol’s Stingo, it’s hard not to forgive the turbulent scene with Sophie and Nathan and follow him as their magnetic personalities pull him along.

Now, having seen this movie, I’m guessing, sometime in the ’90s only the heart breaking ending stayed with me. (I mean, come on, it’s a robot test! If you weren’t deeply moved by her confession at the end of the movie then you are clearly a robot.)  Because of the 20 year or so gap, it was very like watching it for the first time, but with a knot in my stomach knowing the source of Sophie’s great pain.

I was as enamored with Nathan as Sophie and Stingo are, completely forgiving all of his passionate and crazed outbursts because of his powerful and intoxicating ability to make things up to them. I was completely in love with the fragile Sophie, so strong and yet so weak when she would stand up to Nathan to defend against his crazed claims.

As for Chooch, he chuckled when he heard the line from the latest xkcd, “Because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me.” I didn’t catch it at all, and I’d read it half an hour before sitting down to the movie. He enjoyed the movie as well, but we haven’t had much time to discuss it yet.

As is standard for me whenever I watch a Meryl Streep movie, I completely forget that she is acting. It’s been said millions of times, but the woman can really take you along as she completely immerses herself in her role and the world she’s in. And seeing what she endured during the flashbacks, it’s so easy to see why she would stay with Nathan in spite of his verbal abuse and mental instability. Come on, after surviving Auschwitz being swept around in a Southern belle style hoop gown with that grand way that he has, it must have felt like Heaven to her broken soul. She was drawn to him like a moth to the flame, knowing he was dangerous but needing his warmth.

Obviously, this movie really affected me. I’m not sure that you have to be a parent to “get” how horrific a thing it is to be forced to choose which of your two children will live. Then add to that the knowledge that if you do not choose, both will die. In the end, I don’t think it’s any great leap to say that she had a death wish, and did not believe she deserved the life of quiet peace that Stingo offered. The guilt, pain and shame that she carried would not allow her such things. I think this is a Movie You Must See, so if you haven’t you should really consider doing so. Even though it’s somewhat spoiled for you, I think you’ll still find it worth your time.

Chooch and I have re-ranked the movies we have seen so far, and we are taking yet another page from Christiana and Mike’s Watching 100 Movies in that we are adding movies that we think belong on the list. The difference is that Chooch felt there were twenty movies that should be on the list. Insanity! I had only selected one, and have since talked him down to five. I’m now culling through my DVD collection and Netflix queue to find four more. Once that’s done I’ll do a post. I have a general plan of posting our rankings every tenth movie, but we’ll see if I stick to it.

Next up is Swing Time and the only thing I know about it is that it was released in 1936 and stars Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ll have seen one of their films all the way through, so I’m very excited to see if it holds up to all the acclaim.

AFI's Top 100 Movies

Goodfellas (92)

Not surprisingly, I’ve seen this movie many times, but haven’t watched it in several years. I re-watched it with Chooch and our nineteen year old son, codename Naughty Bear, who had not seen the movie before.

This is a great movie, and I’m surprised it’s so low in the ranking. I am THRILLED that it’s rated higher than French Connection, because it is easily more compelling and definitely a better film. I appreciate what French Connection was trying to do, and likely was the first to accomplish it in its time, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Goodfellas. (I almost typed “in my opinion”, but I don’t have to do that here, do I? It’s ALL my opinion, after all.)

One new bit of enjoyment that I found was in spotting actors that were unknown to me previously, that I had forgotten were in it or didn’t recognize in previous viewings. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of folks from The Sopranos and I loved seeing a baby-faced Michael Imperioli get abused as “Spider” and also (how the hell did I miss?!?) Samuel L. Jackson as “Stacks”. Naughty Bear enjoyed seeing many actors that he’s seen in other movies in this one, and he was blown away by the acting and the story. 

The body count on this film is tremendous, and it is definitely not a film for the faint hearted. While I realize they are all bad guys, there is definitely a point at which the movie tells us to feel sympathy for Henry. We are shown that he is not as heartless as the others, and we are able to feel sympathy for him and become invested in his character and survival. Beyond him being the narrator and focus of the film, I mean.

The first blatant occurrence is when Tommy (Joe Pesce) killed Batts. You saw it even more so when he shot Spider, both times. He was so clearly shaken and seemed to be at a loss. It was evident that Henry was in love with the lifestyle that was afforded by crime, and while he had no problem stealing, hustling and light brutality he definitely did not like when he witnessed extreme violence from others. We see him several times trying to smooth over ruffled feathers and splitting people apart when he saw danger coming, but when lives were at stake he was seemed to be completely caught off guard as if he were still in some sort of denial about what everything was really about.

It made it somewhat easy to make the leap with Henry from wiseguy to stool pigeon, as his friends and associates turned away from him with mounting paranoia. The fact that he was taking his wife with him on an illegal gun sale makes it clear that he had already lost a level of trust with them.

I keep coming back to baby-faced Samuel L. Jackson.  I’m going to have to start a “How many movies on the AFI list have Samuel L. Jackson in them?” list. At number 92 he has been in three: Do The Right Thing, Pulp Fiction and Goodfellas. I don’t really expect to see him in any more, as I know that earlier decades are more predominant than recent movies. Still, not a bad showing and clearly representative that he has great acting chops.

By the way, it seems that Naughty Bear’s favorite scene in the movie was when Henry, returning home in the wee hours of the morning to his in-laws’ house where he and his wife are living, is greeted at the door by his wife and mother-in-law. After about five seconds of nagging, Henry turns on his heel and silently leaves with Tommy, who just dropped him off. The refusal to be nagged by the women really cracked Naughty Bear up, and he’s mentioned the scene twice now since we watched.

Movie number 91 has already arrived, and having already seen Sophie’s Choice only once many years ago I’m looking forward to watching it again. I will keep my tissues handy, of course.

Now, please pardon me while I scamper off to hear Christiana and Mike discuss Goodfellas.

AFI's Top 100 Movies

The French Connection – Number 93 on the AFI's Top 100 Movies List

French Connection (1971) – I gotta say, I can think of several other gritty/ irreverent buddy cop movies that are far more interesting. There was absolutely nothing in the way of interesting characters, and as Chooch said, they’re like cardboard cut outs. I agreed and commented that I cared more about a random kid in the background of a sniper shooting than about Gene Hackman’s character that was the target of said sniper. I had no emotional investment in any of the characters, which is a big no-no for my enjoyment of a story in any form.

One stinker was a scene with Roy Scheider and Gene Hackman showed them playing cards and laughing while listening to a surveillance tape, and it seemed like a forced and unrealistic moment of camaraderie. The movie has the sound effects (screeching tires, subway train noise, gunshots) cranked up pretty loud, possibly to make it more gritty and life-like, but in my opinion it’s gone too far and hurts the film. And at one point, I had to crank the volume way down because the music being played during an action scene was so jarring and annoying that I literally almost left the room. The attempt to amp up the suspense and tension just irked me to no end and took me out of the movie completely.

I turned to our old friend Wikipedia to try and suss out what the big deal is, and it tells me that “The French Connection was a scheme through which heroin was smuggled from Turkey to France and then to the United States, culminating in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when it provided the vast majority of the illicit heroin used in the United States.”
So okay, another “based on a true story” film, I get it. Also, “In 2005, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant’.” Apparently, it was ground breaking and portrayed a drug war as it was still going on. Forty years ago.

Also, it was the first R-rated film to win an Oscar since the MPAA rating system was put in place, and was nominated for 8 Oscars, winning 5:

  • Academy Award for Best Picture – Phillip D’Antoni
  • Best Director – William Friedkin
  • Best Actor – Gene Hackman
  • Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Film Editing

Other movies that were nominated for the Oscar that year were: A Clockwork Orange, Fiddler on the Roof, Nicholas and Alexandra and The Last Picture Show. I’ve never watched Fiddler… or Nicholas… but my favorite of the other three is easily A Clockwork Orange. I don’t hesitate to say that I would have preferred either it or The Last Picture Show to win. In fact, as little as I enjoyed The Last Picture Show, it definitely ranks higher on my list than French Connection.

And the car chase scene? The one everyone talks about that is supposed to be worth the time invested for that one scene? I didn’t realize it had already happened. I thought it was at the very end of the movie. And while that was a fantastic scene, especially the car racing along directly below the train in one shot, it was not worth all that time. The movie was exactly what I thought it was when i avoided it for all these years.

Meanwhile, I cannot wait to listen to Christiana and Mike discuss this film to see what I’ve missed. Their discussions on the previous seven films have, without exception, been able to reveal interesting details on the films that enriched my enjoyment of them.

But I have to say that while I’m counting on not having the full experience by not living in the times that the movie was released in, I still fully expect movies on this list to hold up to the test of time. This movie was released forty years ago, and while I love Hackman and respect his career I do not understand why this movie remains on the list. I’m grateful for the slew of amazing and ground-breaking films in recent years to hopefully correct this.

Happily, Goodfellas is up next. And I loves me some Goodfellas!

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Pulp Fiction (94)

In spite of my usual aversion to splattery violence, I have loved this movie since I first saw it oh-so-many years ago. Chooch and I watched it last week with our nineteen year old son, and it was his first viewing. He was sitting at a location that allowed us to see his reactions to the many shocking scenes, and it was entertaining to behold.

There are many extremely talented actors in the film, and one or two popular actors that in my opinion don’t typically stretch their acting muscles beyond their usual character type. Somehow, Tarantino was able to pull amazing performances out of each of them as well. Makes me wonder if I would like Tom Cruise in a Tarantino film…?

Pulp Fiction is an amazing film that I’ve seen several times, however seeing my son’s reactions to the more surprising scenes, like the mess Vincent makes of the backseat of the car and the adrenaline shot given to Mrs. Wallace, made it seem like watching it for the first time again.

As an aside, I do love Tim Roth so very much, and will watch him in anything. Yes, that includes the weird veiny creature he was turned into in the latest Hulk movie. And in my dreams he calls *me* honey bunny.

This is a movie I will watch again and again, because the human story interwoven makes the gore and violence seem less graphic somehow. It is an exception to my usual low tolerance for violence, and it absolutely belongs on the AFI list. I need to peek at Christiana and Mike’s updated list to see how it compares for me in their ranking, but I plan on waiting until watching the movie in spot number 91 on the list, and every tenth movie after that.

Next up is French Connection, which has arrived from Netflix. I’ll be waiting for hubby to watch it with me, so it may not be viewed until the coming weekend. I’ve never seen it, but have of course heard of it. Other than an epic car chase, I don’t know anything else. And I’m fuzzy on whether or not there’s actually a car chase.

AFI's Top 100 Movies

The Last Picture Show (95)

The Last Picture Show (1971)

This was a beautiful film, with a fantastic cast. Buuuuut… and I don’t know if it was due to my migraine or what, I had trouble with the film. Chooch did as well, so I’m thinking it’s not just me.  I feel pretty secure in my belief that the sparse and deserted town was exactly what was intended. The town perfectly matched the mood of its inhabitants, as they were clearly feeling the effects of living in the dying town.

The story was depressing and morose, and even in a scene that could have really pushed the dramatic effects and given the viewers a Big Romantic Moment, it fell flat. I believe this to be as the director intended, to bring home the point that these were truly hopeless people. It took me a long time to even be motivated to write anything about the movie, as the tone of the film definitely left its mark on me.

I think it must have been pretty shocking at the time of its release, as there are a few scenes that are pretty sexually graphic for what I remember being other movies showing.

It was filmed in black and white and featured several distant landscape shots that added to the sense of isolation. It was very successful and powerful in its ability to impart a tone on the viewer, as evidence by Chooch and myself. You know how a great action film gets your heart racing and you end up on the edge of your seat? This movie was just as powerful in getting you to feel what the actors were experiencing… which was hopeless and depressed. Understandably, it’s not an experience I want to repeat.

When I saw Brent’s comment to the DtRT (96) post, I stopped reading it when I saw mention of this film. I wanted to experience it without anyone else’s opinions coloring mine. I’m happy that I can now go read it as I’m dying to see his opinion.

Next on the list is Pulp Fiction, which we re-watched Saturday night. I’ll be posting that review shortly.

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Do The Right Thing (96) Review

I watched “Do The Right Thing” (1989) many years ago, shortly after it came out on video tape. (Yep, I said TAPE. I’m that old.) To my then 19 year old self, while I understood the importance of directors like Spike Lee and John Singleton having a voice in Hollywood and being able to get their vision on film, I just didn’t really like the movie. It was believable and ugly, but in my memory some of the stereotypes were exaggerated to an offensive level. Maybe that is part of why I didn’t like it, as I felt that my friends and co-workers in downtown D.C. were unkindly represented.

I don’t think I could ever define why back then, but now I would also guess that since I loved “Boyz n the Hood” (1991), it may have been the lack of seriousness in “DtRT” that I found lacking. They both tackled very serious issues, but the more dramatic and serious tone of “BntH” really resonated and made a big impact on me.

On re-viewing, I was surprised that there was a lot I don’t remember having seen before, and I greatly enjoyed the movie this time around. There are so many extremely talented actors and actresses in the movie, which I remembered, but the rest of it was as if I’d only seen clips previously. I’m guessing my (hopefully) more mature viewpoint is able to process it all better, but I found the story to be much more compelling then I remember. The exaggeration is still there, however experience has taught me that sometimes people really *are* that unbelievably stereotypical. They are few and far between, but they do exist. And the extreme level of bigotry on all sides is crucial to this story.

The acting is fantastic, across the board. I remembered that the woman that played Mookie’s sister in the movie is his sister in real life, mainly because the physical resemblance between them. I found her role small but important, as a strong female that continually urged him along the path toward adulthood and maturity. His girlfriend was so negative in her behavior towards him, that even though she was telling him to grow up, there is no way that message could be heard and absorbed.

Our nineteen year old son watched it with us, to my great surprise. He really LOVES movies, but I was still shocked when he logged out of World of Warcraft at 11 pm to watch it with us. He really enjoyed the film, although he wasn’t interested in a deep discussion about it. We’re holding off on “Pulp Fiction” (number 94)  until the weekend, so he can watch that with us also. I cannot WAIT to see what he thinks of that one!

Coming up next for Chooch and I is number 95, “The Last Picture Show”. We are so far behind Christiana and Mike that I wonder if we’ll ever catch up, but we’ll keep trying!

AFI's Top 100 Movies Chooch

Blade Runner (97)

We watched Blade Runner (1982) last night. I’ve seen it before, but that was over 20 years ago. No, I’ve not watched it again since then. (Don’t judge me, I’ve been busy.)

I remembered the key elements – Replicants, Daryl Hannah doing gymnastics, Rutger Hauer looking fierce and Harrison Ford. *sigh* (Yes, I’m one of the kajillion girls that had a crush on him. I even watched the Frisco Kid every time it was on TV in spite of my mild aversion to Gene Wilder.)

I found the movie much more enjoyable this viewing, and picked up on a LOT more story than I caught the first time. This makes me wonder if I’d ever watched the ENTIRE movie before. It bears pointing out that Joanna Cassidy, who has been in a lot of movies but is not likely a household name (Christina Applegate’s boss in “Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead”, if that helps), had a killer body.

Ridley Scott directed, and visually it’s a very beautiful and striking movie. I giggled at the fact that it’s set in the year 2019, only 9 years away from now. It also starred Edward James Olmos and Sean Young (before she went crazy for Cat Woman). She had a very touching moment, and I had forgotten that she’s actually a pretty good actor.

My favorite line is probably Rachel’s “I’m not in the business. I am the business.”

For a more thorough and thoughtful discussion, head over to “Watch 100 Movies”, the podcast that inspired our viewing of AFI’s Top 100 Movies.

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Ben Hur (100), Toy Story (99) and Yankee Doodle Dandy (98)

As I mentioned in a previous post, Chooch and I are following behind Christiana Ellis and Mike Meitin in their quest to watch all 100 of the AFI Top 100 Movies.

We use Netflix, with Chooch and I each having our own queue. It’s worked beautifully, and we always have something wonderful waiting for us. It’s very rare that something comes for one that the other doesn’t want to watch, but it does happen.

Since I was inspired to finally watch these by Christiana and Mike’s new podcast series, I decided to take the hit on my Netflix queue for whatever we don’t already own, and while updating my Netflix queue I made the following discoveries:

  • I’ve already seen 47 of the top 100. We’ve decided to re-watch them, to decide if we agree with the ranking.
  • The Color Purple is not on the list. I’m sure people will disagree, but I’m extremely disappointed.
  • Little Big Man is another shocking admission from the list.
  • The Godfather, Parts I (#2) and II (#32) are both on the list. I completely agree with Part I, but I have to wonder about Part II. Especially with the two movies I listed above being absent. It’s not that it wasn’t good, I just don’t remember it being SO good that it merits being on the list. I’ll revisit this item when I view it again.
  • I’m very excited to finally see some of the movies that Hollywood legends starred in. I’ve never seen a Buster Keaton movie, nor an entire Charlie Chaplin or Marx Brothers’ film. Many of the movies caused me to squee as I added them, because I’m excited to finally have an excuse to watch them.

On to my thoughts on the first three that we’ve viewed.

#100 – Ben Hur
This was my first viewing, and the first thing I’ll admit is that I had no clue how entrenched it is in the story of Christ. The lives of Jesus Christ and Judah Ben Hur intersect at a few points, and many events in Judah’s life are put into motion because of Christ. At one of their meetings, I began to wonder if the tiny seedling of inspiration for the Forrest Gump concept started here. This is a very long 212 minute movie. By that I mean it seemed like it took a lot longer than 212 minutes to watch. I loved the grandness of the film and some elements of the story truly moved me. While I can see how this was a ground-breaking movie in 1959, it is not a movie I plan on ever watching again.

#99 – Toy Story
No big surprise, but I’ve viewed this movie dozens of times. I saw it in the theater when it was released, and have watched it when my kids played it at home. I really do love this movie, and like many of my generation and younger, I can recite whole sections of dialog. I did learn one new thing, which was that Joss Whedon was one of the folks that wrote the screenplay.

#98 – Yankee Doodle Dandy
I hadn’t seen and knew nothing about this movie, other than that my friend Leslie LOVES it. While there were some very touching points in the movie, in general I was underwhelmed. I even questioned why it was on the list since I could think of a few musicals that are better (in my opinion) that are NOT on the list.

I was pretty annoyed, so hit up Wikipedia for some background and discovered that it is based on a real person, George M. Cohan. I had assumed that the famous songs were born in this musical, but learned that he wrote them, including  “Over There”, “Give My Regards to Broadway,” and “The Yankee Doodle Boy.” The same article states “he is considered the father of American musical comedy”. Those things, coupled with what must have been a grand production in 1942 made me understand why this film was so important. While I don’t plan any additional viewings (Sorry, Leslie), I certainly understand it’s existence on the list.

My favorite line from the movie occurs upon the birth of George M. Cohan when his Irish father announces “He’s crying with a brogue!”.

I apologize if I’m re-hashing anything Christiana and Mike already mentioned. I’m still on the fence as to whether or not I want to post my thoughts before or after listening to their coverage, so have not listened yet.

Next up, Bladerunner!