Monday, May 18, 2009

What I Watched in April

To open, I've got to apologize to everyone for neglecting He Shot Cyrus for the last couple of months. I've been writing my thesis and finishing my Master's Degree. A busy, crazy, stressful time. But it's done. I'm done. I'm back.

While I haven't had time (trans. Energy) to post about movies, I have had time to watch plenty. Here's what I saw in April and a few words about the really stand-out ones.

Top 10

Battle Creek Crawl (1980) -- This was one of my favorite movies as a kid. It was played often on a local TV station (under the title The Big Brawl) and my brother and I were mesmerized every time it screened. Jackie Chan's first American film, a Depression-era fight tourney film. A must-see for Chan fans.

A History of Violence (2005)

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains (1981) (*) -- Found a DVD of Stains at Barnes & Noble and picked it up immediately. One of Diane Lane's earlier films. She plays a young girl who forms a punk group with two of her friends, The Fabulous Stains. They go on tour with two other bands and get all tangles up in the drama that seems to only come on the road. Whitney wrote a post about Stains called "Christian Bale's Beard Doesn't Put Out." I highly recommend it. The film too.

Old Joy (2006) (*) -- To the person that recommended I watch this film, thank you. I don't remember who you are but you should know that I am truely grateful. Directed by Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy), the story follows two good friends as they take a road trip together up into the Cascade Mountains. For those looking for quiet, poignant narrative with really incredible performances throughout, do yourself the favor and check this one out.

Rachel Getting Married (2008) (*)

The Taking of Pelham 123 (1974) -- See this before you see the remake. Please.

True Romance (1993)

Who Can Kill a Child? (1976) (*) -- Whitney is a huge horror buff with a love for scary children so when she came across Who Can Kill a Child? she basically had no choice but to watch it. I watched it with her. It's now on our Top 10 Horror Movies of All-Time lists. For some reason, very little has been written about this movie. There are a number of scholarly books and essays that deal with the same themes as Who Can Kill a Child? but for some reason--they skip over it. It's the coolest "scary kid" movie ever. You heard it here first (unless someone else has already told you), Netflix this movie the next time you're in the mood for some good ol' fashioned parricide!

The Wrestler (2008)

* Viewed for the first time.

Bottom Five

Harper (1966)

Noam Chomsky: Rebel Without a Pause (2003)

Dear Wendy (2005) -- Sweet Moses, this movie was bad, awful, in fact. I checked it out based on the fact that Lars von Trier had written it. I find it hard to believe that someone as talented as vonTrier could or would write such shitty dialouge. There's more voiceover dialogue in Dear Wendy than there is in any other film ever made.** On top of that, the film stars Ben Foster. I should have known.

The Crying Game (1992) -- Why did no one warn me that Forest Whitaker, one of my favorite actors, would hurt me personally with his terrible accent throughout the first third of this so-called classic? Seriously, it made me want to puke so hard my teeth would get knocked loose. Once Whitaker's taken care of, the movie is very interesting and worth watching...once he's taken care of. But overall, Whitaker's performance sinks the movie onto the Bottom Five list. Blech.

Unfaithfully Yours (1948)

** not true

The Rest

After Hours (1985)
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Extreme Measures (1996)
The Celluloid Closet (1995)
Con Air (1997)
Copycat (1995)
Coraline (2009)
Crazy Love (2007)
Don’t Say a Word (2001)
Gentleman Jim (1942)
Gentlemen’s Agreement (1947)
It Came From Kuchar (2009)
Malcolm X (1992)
Murder at 1600 (1997)
Quarantine (2008)
Rocket Science (2007)
Scarecrow (1973)
Tron (1982)
We are the Wizards (2008)
White Heat (1949)

What have you watched lately?
And most importantly, did you miss me? Am I forgiven?


Tommy Salami said...

I love the Big Brawl.
He fights foreign, boss

Bob Turnbull said...

Well OK...I'll forgive you, but only if you explain why you disliked "Unfaithfully Yours" so much. It's one of my favourite Sturges films.

What did you think of "Quarantine"? Haven't seen it yet, but I loved "[Rec]".

Favourites of April? A double dose of Almodovar ("Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown", "The Flower Of My Secret"), "Timecrimes", "Les Biches" and "Ashes Of American Flags".

elgringo said...

Tommy - I love it too. One of my favorites, actually, it's my number one Jackie Chan film.

Bob - It took too long to get to the interesting parts of the film (the fantasies). But I can say this, in all honesty, I think it was more my mood that day than anything else. I was tired and not up for the quick paced dialogue and Sturges' style of comedy.

As for Quarantine, I enjoyed it but I heard that [Rec] is MUCH better. I would have watched that but it's not available. Lame. I heard that it will be soon though, next couple of months.

Those are two Almodovar films that I still haven't seen. I need to just run the gamut and have a marathon one weekend.

elgringo said...

I just added Timecrimes (which sounds AWESOME) and Les Biches to my queue.

Is Ashes of American Flags the Wilco documentary?

Bob Turnbull said...

Yeah, "Ashes Of American Flags" is the concert doc on Wilco. Completely turned me around on the band (they just hadn't grabbed me previously). I wrote about it here.

I don't want to sell "Timecrimes" too much, but I found it to be quite a satisfying time travel story. There's a few spots where you can nitpick, but then you'll lose the fun of it.

"Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown" was my favourite Almodovar so far. I had been lukewarm on him after seeing "All About My Mother" (I should probably revisit it at this point), but thought "Talk To Her" was excellent. "Women..." had a great deal of humour to it, so I'm looking forward to seeing some of his older ones now.

Fair comment about "Unfaithfully Yours" - it does take a while to get to the fantasies.

Now I have to go find "Big Brawl". That can't possibly be bad...

PIPER said...

No mention of After Hours in the top? Or Malcolm X? Or Tron?

elgringo said...

Piper - After Hours would have been #11, I loved it. As for Malcolm X, I watched it because I had just finished the book. Even though I had seen the movie before, after the book, it just didn't seem that good. I don't know where Tron would end up on the list. Top half, I'd guess. I'd seen it before but Whit hadn't so that's why we watched it.

brian said...

i think you should give unfaithfully yours another chance. after sullivans travels and the miracle at morgan's creek, it's my favorite struges movie. (i should admit that sturges, imo, is up there with the best american filmmakers ever.)

and even though the conducting fantasies is the best part, dont sleep on the firehouse hy-jinx (is that a word?) set to rossinni (if i remember right, but it's also the same piece of music the used in the opening of lone ranger).