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Sunday, April 15, 2018

AFI Movies

2007 List


The Deer Hunter (1978) – Struggling, and failing, to watch this film is what caused me to give up on the AFI list several years ago. I made it through this time, but it was no easy task. The film is three hours long for no good reason. It’s generally about a group of friends who join the Army during the Vietnam War. As POWs, they are forced to play Russian roulette, which is something that there is absolutely no reason to believe happened during the actual war. I read somewhere that it was initially set in Las Vegas. The ongoing conflict after that is based on something that makes literally no sense. I would not recommend. If you want a solid POW movie from AFI’s list, stick with The Bridge on the River Kwai.

M*A*S*H (1970) – It’s hard for me to judge whether this was a good film when it came out. I get that it’s a satire, but the sexism and racism just came across as horrible rather than reasonable attempts at humor. It also felt less like a movie than three episodes put together with very little thought put into connecting them. Not my cup of tea.

Rocky (1976) – This is one of those movies that I’ve probably seen a couple times in pieces and without really paying attention, so I watched it straight through. It was moderately better than I expected when put into a coherent whole. I get it. I’m glad I watched it, but won’t go out of my way to see it again. Also, Paulie is a cesspool of humanity.

The Gold Rush (1925) – I am not a Charlie Chaplin fan. At all.

Nashville (1975) – A weird, sprawling film covering dozens of characters in seven or eight independent story lines that only sort of interact. It reminded me of Seinfeld. You have all these insanely selfish people pursuing their goals without regard to how they're impacting others and sometime thwarting each other in funny and unexpected ways. The humor in the movie has aged better than I expected. Pretty long, but I enjoyed watching it.

Duck Soup (1933) – I only enjoyed the Marx Brothers slightly more than Charlie Chaplin. Slightly.

Sullivan’s Travels (1941) – This is about a director trying to go undercover as a poor person so he can accurately portray their plights in film and his misadventures along the way. It was meant to be a comedy, drama, romance, and action film. It didn’t really land for me in any of those categories. Above all else, it seemed to me to be the wildly self-indulgent output of a director who was tired of being told that his comedy films weren’t as important as dramas. I have no idea if any of that’s true, that’s just the impression I got.

American Graffiti (1973) – Richie Cunningham is a jerk to his girlfriend and learns a valuable lesson. Also, people spend a ridiculous amount of time driving around aimlessly. To nobody’s surprise, the 50s aren’t all that relatable to me.

Cabaret (1972) – On some level, I’m probably a failure for not watching this before now. The music and performances are generally fantastic but the setting in 1931 Berlin definitely makes it darker than most musicals. Worth watching. The first film to receive an X rating, now an American classic.

Network (1976) – I didn’t expect to care for this movie, but it’s pretty great. A satire about ratings-driven news programming that remains relevant even though they had no idea just how crazy things would get. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the contract negotiation scene.

The African Queen - I liked this a lot more than I expected to. The ending was ridiculously improbable, but I even enjoyed that part. I definitely liked Humphrey Bogart in this more than Casablanca.

Raiders of the Lost Ark - Despite the massive problem with this movie pointed out on the Big Bang Theory, it's still enjoyable.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf - This is a weird movie, but I still liked it, which is unusual for me. Two couples have a night filled with passive aggressive sniping and weird flirting.

The social awkwardness actually made me feel physically uncomfortable.

Unforgiven - Now I've finally seen the film that my property professor loved to quote: "Innocent of what?" Don't ask what that had to do with property, very little in that class did. I'm not a fan of Westerns, but this was pretty good.

Tootsie - Generally kind of funny in a Mrs. Doubtfire way. I can't decide whether this was feminist or not. It definitely portrayed a few different men as pigs and recognized the crap women have to deal with, but to have this countered by a man dressed as a woman seems kind of patronizing.

A Clockwork Orange - So, so weird. It was Kubrick, so I expected that, but I was still fairly shocked by the content. It's going to be difficult for me to hear the titular song from Singin' in the Rain without going to a very dark place.

Saving Private Ryan - As I read somewhere shortly after the release of the Martian, between that, the Bourne Identity, and Saving Private Ryan, America has spent a ridiculous amount of resources trying to retrieve Matt Damon and it started here. A very solid movie.

The Shawshank Redemption - Fantastic movie. I can't believe I haven't seen this before. This reminded me of the Godfather, in that it's a movie that, on paper, contains nothing that would be of interest to me but I just found it completely riveting.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - Pretty good, I just always assumed that the Sundance "Kid" would look like such an old man.

In the Heat of the Night - This was a good movie. I also learned that the Lion King has a reference to a line from a 30 year old crime drama that's mainly about how racist Mississippi is.

All the President's Men - Solid movie about the investigative journalism that broke the Watergate scandal. It's good, but it was definitely made for people that were around during the scandal. It stops when the public started becoming aware of the truth which would have been when audiences at the time knew what happened next but also pretty interesting for me.

Modern Times - Ending on a low note. I'm not a Charlie Chaplin fan and, with this third entry on the AFI list, I've come to hate him. I do not see why he needed more than one mention.

The Wild Bunch (1969) – Not a fan at all. Basically Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid if you take away everything I liked about it.

The Apartment (1960) – I think this was supposed to be a romcom, but I just found it to be really stupid. I imagine the wordplay was clever when it came out, but it just fell flat.

Spartacus (1960) – Parts of this movie have not aged well, but it’s solid overall. Ustinov is fantastic. The movie doesn’t have the happy ending it probably would if it was made today. The end is supposed to be moving, I think, but I was really just yelling at her for risking her child’s life.

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) – This was a lot darker than what I expected from a silent film made in the 20s. Mostly boring, sometimes ridiculous.

Easy Rider (1969) – I’ve never cared for motorcycles or gotten those who like them as anything more than a form of transportation. This didn’t do anything to change that.

A Night at the Opera (1935) – I still don’t care for the Marx Brothers.

Platoon (1986) – A depressing, gritty, intense, and very good movie about just how terrible war is.

Bringing Up Baby (1938) – Annoying. I found Hepburn’s character truly obnoxious and could not understand how anyone would choose to spend time around her.

Swing Time (1936) – The humor, and therefore the film, didn’t really land for me. I had the same feeling about the male leads here as I did about Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby.

Goodfellas (1990) – So many references I’ve heard through the years make sense now and I get why it’s well regarded. I think if the Godfather didn’t exist then this would be the quintessential mob movie.

The French Connection (1971) – I didn’t particularly enjoy this movie. It was fine, it just never really drew me in.

Pulp Fiction - I'm pretty sure I've watched this before, but I couldn't be certain I'd watched it all the way through. It's just as bizarre as I thought.

The Last Picture Show - This is basically the American pie of the early 70s, but set in the early 50s.

Do the Right Thing - Spike Lee's 1989 film about race relations. This still seems pretty relevant today, sadly. A solid, depressing film. Transformers has made it hard for me to watch anything that has John Turturro and is supposed to be serious.

Blade Runner - The premise is fairly similar to Battlestar Galactica. There are some really stupid parts, but it was probably pretty good at the time.

Yankee Doodle Dandy - In my opinion, a weird stupid musical about a guy who's a jerk.

Ben-Hur - Come for the chariot race, stay for four hours. Pretty good, but way too long. I imagine I'd like the much more recent shorter version with Morgan Freeman better.

An American in Paris (1951) - I didn't care for this movie. Gene Kelly stalks a woman who has made clear that she wants nothing to do with him. Naturally she is won over by his charm, making clear to men everywhere that a woman saying no just means you need to try harder. What really annoyed me was that there was that this woman had said no to him many times very firmly and made clear that she didn't appreciate him bothering her at her place of work. He literally just makes what he thinks is a funny face and she immediately agrees to a date with him. Naturally, since Gene Kelly is the star, there's also a lot of stupid dancing shoehorned unnaturally into the story along with a mixed up romance.

Birth of a Nation (1915) - I can see a few different reasons that this might have been removed from the list. It's a tribute to the birth of a nation that was stillborn that takes over three hours. Also, it glorifies the KKK and aggressive actions towards women. Not much here to like.

From Here to Eternity (1953) - I truly didn't see the twist at the end of this coming, which helped me really experience it with the characters. I generally liked it, though I found that tragic event towards the end stupid and pointless. I understand this only got made after it was made less lewd and critical of the military than the book it was based on.

Amadeus (1984) - A weird movie about Mozart told from Salieri's viewpoint. Worth watching I think, but Mozart's laugh made me want to strangle him.

The Third Man (1949) - I honestly can't recall anything of interest from this film, so I can't give a ringing endorsement to a movie that was voted the greatest British film of all time. My impression was that this got high marks for novel cinematoghraphy.

Rebel Without a Cause (1955) - The awkwardness of this movie made me cringe at times, but I'm glad I watched it. This is not an uplifting movie and I found Plato to be pretty weird.

Stagecoach (1939) - This made me think of Gilligan's Island. A very mismatched group trapped together by circumstance and trying to survive. Not bad, but not something I'd go out of my way to see.

1998 List

An American in Paris (1951) - I didn't care for this movie. Gene Kelly stalks a woman who has made clear that she wants nothing to do with him. Naturally she is won over by his charm, making clear to men everywhere that a woman saying no just means you need to try harder. What really annoyed me was that there was that this woman had said no to him many times very firmly and made clear that she didn't appreciate him bothering her at her place of work. He literally just makes what he thinks is a funny face and she immediately agrees to a date with him. Naturally, since Gene Kelly is the star, there's also a lot of stupid dancing shoehorned unnaturally into the story along with a mixed up romance.

Birth of a Nation (1915) - I can see a few different reasons that this might have been removed from the list. It's a tribute to the birth of a nation that was stillborn that takes over three hours. Also, it glorifies the KKK and aggressive actions towards women. Not much here to like.

From Here to Eternity (1953) - I truly didn't see the twist at the end of this coming, which helped me really experience it with the characters. I generally liked it, though I found that tragic event towards the end stupid and pointless. I understand this only got made after it was made less lewd and critical of the military than the book it was based on.

Amadeus (1984) - A weird movie about Mozart told from Salieri's viewpoint. Worth watching I think, but Mozart's laugh made me want to strangle him.

The Third Man (1949) - I honestly can't recall anything of interest from this film, so I can't give a ringing endorsement to a movie that was voted the greatest British film of all time. My impression was that this got high marks for novel cinematoghraphy.

Rebel Without a Cause (1955) - The awkwardness of this movie made me cringe at times, but I'm glad I watched it. This is not an uplifting movie and I found Plato to be pretty weird.

Stagecoach (1939) - This made me think of Gilligan's Island. A very mismatched group trapped together by circumstance and trying to survive. Not bad, but not something I'd go out of my way to see.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) - To me, this seemed like a lot of build up to very little. I guess after watching Idependence Day, an encounter composed of playing music to each other seems kind of low key.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962) - Definitely an interesting movie. Angela Lansbury has never been so terrifying. I would think that a conspiracy involving this degree of sophistication would use a somewhat less common phrase to trigger their sleeper agent.

Dances With Wolves (1990) - A good movie, but it felt like it was about two and a half times longer than it needed to be.

Giant (1956) - A Texas rancher marries a woman from Maryland who likes to speak her mind and is simply shocked when she doesn't mesh perfectly into his home life. We then see their family grow for two generations as he fights to stick with his traditional ranching while Texas seems to become all about oil.

Fargo (1996) - I really enjoyed this movie. Having only heard of it being funny (which it is), I really wasn't expecting it to be so dark. I am kind of annoyed that it's never revealed just how William H. Macy's character came to need so much money. Obviously he was trying to get out from prior scams, but how'd he get to needing hundreds of thousands of dollars in the first place?

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) - Incredibly strict captain eventually gets his comeuppance from the crew. I didn't find it very good, and it's not all that historically accurate.

Frankenstein (1931) - I'm sure it was interesting when it was made, but I generally found it silly.

Patton (1970) - I enjoyed this movie. I didn't know much about Patton, but I'd be interested in reading a biography now.

The Jazz Singer (1927) - I don't know that any of the singing in this film can really be called jazz. The lead's face just seemed creepy to me, and that didn't improve when he busted out the black face.

My Fair Lady (1964) - I've probably watched all of this through in pieces before now, but I wasn't sure I'd ever watched it all the way through. It's a cute movie, and I enjoyed it, but the ending rightfully pisses a lot of people off.

A Place in the Sun (1951) - This is the film adaptation of An American Tragedy, which I've already reviewed (https://bit.ly/2OBp9iC). The movie's not bad, but it missed a lot of the nuance and poignant moments that made the book worth reading to me.

Lists by category

Porgy and Bess (1959 - Passionate Movies #92): I don't know what I expected from a movie with this name, but it definitely wasn't an opera about a cocaine addict and the disabled man who takes a shine to her.

Sons of the Desert (1933 - Funny Movies #96): To me, Laurel and Hardy are somewhere between the Marx Brothers and Charlie Chaplin. I'm not a fan of the works of any in that group.

Fame (1980 - Inspiring Movies #92): This was silly, but enjoyable. Struck me as a dated Step Up, except that there were a couple scenes that I did find somewhat moving.

Sleepless in Seattle (1993 - Romantic Comedies #10, Passionate Movies #45): My impression has always been that this was one of the quintessential romantic films in existence. It surprised me how much lying, stalking, and cheating* was involved. I'm not saying that made it bad. I get why people like the movie, it just surprised me. I think I like You've Got Mail Better, but I haven't watched that in over a decade.

Moulin Rouge! (2001 - Top Musicals #25): The story doesn't do much for me, but I love the music.

Pillow Talk (1959 - Passionate Movies #99): Another romantic movie with lots of lying and stalking. One might think that You've Got Mail was a take on this film that substituted email for party lines.

Bull Durham (1988 - Funny Movies #97, Sports Movies #5): As a movie ostensibly about baseball, I assumed I would hate this. I actually really liked it.

Cat Ballou (1965 - Funny Movies #50, Westerns #10): As a rule, I'm not a fan of Westerns, but this wasn't terrible. More slapstick than I care for (which is none).

Ray (2004 - Inspiring #99): A solid movie, though often depressing.

Show Boat (1936 - Musicals #24): Based on a Hammerstein musical of the same name, which is the origin of the fairly enduring song Ol' Man River. Incredibly dated but not terrible otherwise.

Silver Streak (1976 - Funny Movies #95): Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor in movie along the lines of Naked Gun and Airplane but on a train.

The Ten Commandments (1956 - Inspiring Movies #79, Epics #10): Certainly an epic film, being nearly four hours in length. It was an achievement for its time, but has not worn well. I'm partial to The Prince of Egypt.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939 - Passionate #98): A pretty good movie for its time, but I prefer the animated version.

The Usual Suspects (1995 - Mysteries #10): Unfortunately I already knew the big reveal before watching this movie from beginning to end. There are some movies that just can't be evaluated fairly when spoiled before the first viewing, and I think this is one.

Captains Courageous (1937 - Inspiring #94): This reminded me of Overboard, but with less amnesia. A spoiled child falls falls off of a ship and is picked up by New England fishermen who won't be returning to port for a couple months. It has a few good moments and is okay overall.

Guys and Dolls (1955 - Musicals #23): I can see why some people would like this, but it wasn't for me.

Night of the Living Dead (1968 - Thrilling #93): Really bad, and mostly boring.

Safety Last (1923 - Thrilling #97): I think it's supposed to be funny. Mostly slapstick and not very good.

The China Syndrome (1979 - Thrilling #94): The film that killed nuclear power. I didn't really find it all that thrilling.

The Court Jester (1956 - Funny #98): Sort of a medieval Naked Gun with an emphasis on word play. Funny if that's what you're into.

Working Girl (1988 - Inspiring #87, Passionate #91): Melanie Griffith seeks to get revenge on an idea-stealing boss (Sigourney Weaver) while falling for Harrison Ford. Okay, but fairly predictable.

A Beautiful Mind (2001 - Inspiring #93): A fairly disturbing look into the world of mental illness. Probably overly dramatized and not terribly accurate.

Ball of Fire (1941 - Funny #92): This was really weird. A group of professors working on an encyclopedia get mixes up with a nightclub singer and her mob boss boyfriend.

Blood Simple (1984 - Thrilling #98): The Coen Brothers put their own weird twist on a murder for hire. Pretty funny at times and gross in others.

Scarface (1983 - Gangster #10): It's definitely no Godfather, but I get why people love this movie.

Auntie Mame (1958 - Funny #94): A weird movie in which an orphan goes to live with his very free-spirited aunt while the banker who serves as executor of his father's estate tries to make sure he grows up in the true WASP lifestyle. Occasionally funny, more often just bizarre.

The Heartbreak Kid (1972 - Funny #91): A movie about a complete jerk who abandons his wife during their honeymoon to have an affair with a woman way younger than him. He then proceeds to stalk that young woman back to her college campus.

Barefoot in the Park (1967 - Funny #96): It's funny because he's super buttoned up and she's a super care free hippie and they just got married! (It's not funny.)

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938 - Thrilling #100): It's a take on Robin Hood that I found more odd than thrilling.

Blue Velvet (1986 - Thrilling #96, Mysteries #8): It's a David Lynch movie, so I was mainly busy realizing how very similar it is to Twin Peaks.

Chariots of Fire (1981 - Inspiring #100): It's about a couple of guys who are pretty good at running.

Body Heat (1981 - Passionate #94, Thrilling #92): I'm pretty sure my property professor talked about this movie because I really doubt there are two semi-erotic thrillers that use the rule against perpetuities as a major plot device. For those not familiar, it's an obscure and confusing rule created many years ago to prevent property from being controlled by people who have been dead for a long time.

Dirty Dancing (1987 - Passionate #93): This was a movie that I had never watched through in one sitting but I assumed I had watched most of in clips while growing up, being one of my sister's favorite movies. Sort of like the way anyone with TNT during the 90s would see Overboard. Now I don't think I've ever watched a single scene of this movie. Of course I'm familiar with the big songs and the dramatic lifts from lots of parodies, but none of this seemed familiar. Basically: people with money are the absolute worst and the best people are amazing dancers.

Full Metal Jacket (1987 - Thrilling #95): This movie is bizarre.

Good Morning Vietnam (1987 - Funny #100): I was expecting 90 minutes of Robin Williams making stupid jokes in a radio station. I should have realized that it was obligated by Hollywood law to criticize the Vietnam War. It gets pretty dark to do so, which, to me, is pretty weird for a Robin Williams comedy. It's like if the kids got kidnapped halfway through Mrs. Doubtfire and it turned into Ransom.

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961 - Courtroom #10): I found this to be a really good movie. It depicts one of the lesser-known Nuremberg Trials, in which the defendants were the judges in Nazi Germany. I get why they did this. There was no real question in the outcome of the early trials. Those men were going to die. But as you moved down the ranks to the enforcers, rather than the creators, of these heinous policies and relations with Russia created difficult political realities, things weren't so clear. On a lighter note: Aside from the stuff that just started coming out recently, I have watched every officially released Star Trek film and television show and I believe I can honestly say that watching this movie was the first time I saw William Shatner do something that can fairly be called acting.

Lady and the Tramp (1955 - Passionate #95): I don't think I've ever watched this movie before. It's fairly cute, but I couldn't help thinking how insane we'd think the humans were if we were seeing it from their perspective. Particularly the guy setting up a nice Italian dinner and playing music for dogs that wonder into the alley behind his restaurant. I did enjoy what Lady thought that the humans were named. I also found it interesting that this didn't make the top 10 animated films list, but did make it into the top 100 passionate movies.

Places in the Heart (1984 - Inspiring #95): This was a pretty sad movie in a lot of ways, but I liked it. Sally Field plays a woman struggling against racism and misogyny to keep her family above water after her husband is killed. Danny Glover and John Malkovich are also excellent.

Madame Curie (1943 - Inspiring #97) - As someone who's not a huge fan of older movies or really all that into science, I didn't expect to care for this movie at all, but I really enjoyed it. I don't know how historically accurate it is, but the Curies are absolutely adorable and it shows a woman altering the course of science through incredible perseverance and brilliance.

Reds (1981 - Epics #9, Passionate #55) - I wasn't a huge fan of this movie. It tells the story of communists trying ro organize workers. It's generally a traditional movie, except that they regularly splice in interviews with people who were part of this movement.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982 - Funny #87): A fairly typical comedy made to appeal to teens.

Father of the Bride (1950 - Funny #83): This is not the Steve Martin film you're probably familiar with, which is a apparently a remake. This one has less slapstick than that one, but I still didn't find it all that funny. One think I found surprising was that the parents felt that the kids we marrying too young, doing it right out of high school. I thought the average age of people getting married has generally increased over time.

The Thing from Another World (1951 - Thrilling #87): A really, really bad sci-fi movie about a humanoid carrot wreaking havoc and the Nobel laureate who loves it.

The Bridges of Madison County (1995 - Passionate #90): I've always been aware that this movie exists, but I had no idea what it was about. I would not have guessed it was Meryl Streep posthumously telling her children about the time she was seduced by Clint Eastwood. And if someone had told me what it's about, I wouldn't have been inclined to watch it, but I enjoyed it.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951 - Inspiring #67, Sci-fi #5, Thrilling #82): The first movie I've watched that made it onto three different lists. From the first few minutes, I thought it was going to be terrible. It didn't disappoint.

The Guns of Navarone (1961 - Thrilling #89): A generally enjoyable, though occasionally silly, movie about an attempt to sabotage massive fictional guns WWII.

The Jerk (1979 - Funny #89): Generally a stupid kind of funny, but I was still laughing. Now I know where "I was born a poor black child" comes from.

The Omen (1976 - Thrilling #81): I didn't find this particularly scary or suspenseful. Apparently you should pay attention when a priest tells you your kid is the Antichrist.

The Thief of Baghdad (1924 - Fantasy #9): Sort of a really old school Aladdin. Disney definitely lifted the Sultan and Jafar from two of the suitors in this film.

Witness (1985 - Passionate #82): An enjoyable movie, but nothing that remarkable about it.

City Slickers (1991 - Funny #86): A super cliched fish out of water comedy, but still pretty funny.

Dinner at Eight (1933 - Funny #85): I didn't really find it funny.

Lost in America (1985 - Funny #84): I liked Julie Hagerty in Airplane, but I just wanted to throttle her throughout this movie.

National Velvet (1944 - Inspiring #24, Sports #9): I found the girl obnoxious throughout. Even with that it was okay until the end, which was just stupid all around.

Morocco (1930 - Passionate #83): This reminded me a little of Casablanca, but I didn't really enjoy either of them.

Woman of the Year (1942 - Funny #90, Passionate #74): "We men have only got ourselves to blame. Women should be kept illiterate and clean like canaries." Really sums up this movie.

A Cry in the Dark (1988 - Courtroom Dramas #9): The source of "Maybe a dingo ate ya baby!" It feels like it's somewhere between well made Lifetime movie and poorly made true crime film. Pretty interesting. This really sucked for those parents.

Fiddler on the Roof (1971 - Inspiring #82): Pretty good.

Harold and Maude (1971 - Inspiring #89, Romantic Comedies #9, Funny #45, Passionate #69): This movie made four lists! I don't see the appeal here. I didn't find it funny, romantic, passionate, or inspiring. I found it creepy, macabre, and lackluster.

Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955 - Passionate #85): All about being Eurasian. I could be very wrong, but I thought all of the actors depicting Eurasians seemed super white. Also, this terrible line: "Even the fat and ugly people in the world think love will make them beautiful."

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936 - Inspiring #83, Funny #70): This felt very Mr. Smith Goes to Washington but with Gary Cooper instead of Jimmy Stewart.

Poltergeist (1982 - Thrilling #84): A pretty good haunting movie for its time.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954 - Musicals #21): A musical in which a young woman makes the mistake of marrying a man the same day she meets him, only to find his house full of feral gingers. She pulls a Snow White to get things cleaned up and teach them manners and then takes them to town where they have a dance off to win the hearts of the local ladies but things go awry. Then the brothers kidnap all of the women and just wait for Stockholm Syndrome to work its dark magic. The brothers each get a wife, effectively removing a generation of women from the small town's dating pool and quite possibly dooming it.

Stand and Delilver (1988 - Inspiring #86): Now I know who Cartman was modeled after when he was teaching those inner city kids. Personally I can't see being motivated with him as my teacher.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988 - Passionate #87): Dear god, why is this movie so long? It shows some truly horrifying things happening during the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, but that's completely overshadowed by a love triangle and lots sex, nudity, cheating, and people abandoning other people.

The Goodbye Girl (1977 - Passionate #81): I wasn't really inspired by the passion here, but it was okay.

The Navigator (1924 - Funny #81): Buster Keaton does absolutely nothing for me.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945 - Thrilling #86): Not bad, but they definitely decided to forego the homoerotic subtext of the novel.

What's Love Got to Do with It (1993 - Inspiring #85): Inspiring at the end, but pretty depressing overall. I felt like about two-thirds of it was Ike beating Tina up.

Beetlejuice (1988 - Funny #88): I know some people love this film. I honestly don't understand why. Is it supposed to be funny?

Boys Town (1938 - Inspiring #81): I think this is supposed to be inspiring along the lines of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. I don't really care for these movies, but I'm not sure why. In this one, it was supposed to be inspiring that the priest never got down no many how many bills he couldn't pay. To me that represents someone constantly making commitments that he didn't know if he could meet.

Dial M for Murder (1954 - Mysteries #9, Thrilling #48): A pretty good movie about an attempt to commit the perfect murder.

Dracula (1931 - Thrilling #85): Super slow and not much happens. This Van Helsing is no Hugh Jackman.

The Nutty Professor (1963 - Funny #99): Eddie Murphy did it way way better. That should not be taken as a compliment for his movie.

The Phantom of the Opera (1925 - Thrilling #83): Silent films have never really done it for me. This was not an exception.

Nine to Five (1980 - Funny #74): Starts sort of like working Girl, but the bad person is a man, then "an old fashioned ladies pot party" leads to all sorts of craziness.

Birdman of Alcatraz (1962 - Inspiring #76): This movie is basically an attempt to glorify and free a man who was, according to at least one psychiatrist, a psychopath. I'm no fan of the prison state America has become and I generally find the institutions deplorable. Even so, I found the prisoner protagonist of this film to be completely unsympathetic. He's a complete jerk to everyone and murders a guard for no real reason. Then he starts raising, training, and curing birds and writes books about it. His mother is also awful. The movie is two and a half hours long, which felt way too long.

Caddyshack (1980 - Sports #7, Funny #71): I expected to hate this move. I hate golf and Rodney Dangerfield. But it's pretty funny.

Breaking Away (1979 - Inspiring #8, Sports #8): A film showing extremely codependent adolescent boys being frustrated because they are townies in a university town. It ends with a fantastically unrealistic bicycle race.

Coming Home (1978 - Passionate #78): A pretty depressing movie about Vietnam veterans.

Cool Hand Luke (1967 - Inspiring #71): A kind of charming movie about a guy trying to escape from a chain gang several times.

Dark Victory (1939 - Passionate #32, Inspiring #72): A film about an insufferable debutante who has a brain tumor and falls in love with her doctor. Over dramatized with manufactured conflict.

Driving Miss Daisy (1989 - Inspiring #77): A very sweet movie about a hateful old white woman being won over by Morgan Freeman's irrepresible charm.

Erin Brockovich (2000 - Inspiring #73): Julia Roberts takes on the man.

Gaslight (1944 - Thrilling #78): The play this is based on is the origin of the term "gaslighting" which means to manipulate somebody into questioning their own sanity, a technique used by abusive partners. It's a pretty good movie. It's weird to see Angela Lansbury as the slutty maid coming on to all of the men.

Groundhog Day (1993 - Funny #34, Fantasies #8): I think the idea behind this movie is interesting, but I just didn't find it that enjoyable to watch.

Gunga Din (1939 - Inspiring #74): A really bad really old action flick.

In Cold Blood (1967 - Courtroom Dramas #8): Based on a Truman Capote novel about a quadruple homicide. It's not bad, but I wouldn't really consider this a courtroom drama. The movie is more than 80% over when you first see a lawyer and only three minutes of the two and a quarter hour movie actually depict part of the trial.

Sleeper (1973 - Funny #80): A genuinely terrible movie about a man from 1973 woken up 200 years later and asked to help fight the government. It's supposed to be funny. I've never been a Woodie Allen fan, and this wasn't the movie to change my mind.

Jezebel (1938 - Passionate #79): A woman is convinced everyone will still love her no matter what she does and ends up playing nursemaid to a man who doesn't love her in what's basically a leper colony for people with yellow fever.

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948 - Funny #72): A massively irresponsible ad executive refuses to learn from his mistakes and ends up spending about three times what he probably needed to building a home in Connecticut. He's on the verge of being jobless when he shamelessly rips off an ad slogan from the black housekeepeer to get a happy ending. Not terribly funny.

Laura (1944 - Mysteries #4, Thrilling #73): I liked this movie. It's a good mystery, but not one the viewer can really solve. I It was weird seeing a young Vincent Price.

McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971 - Westerns #8): Like most Westerns, there wasn't much here that appealed to me.

Monkey Business (1931 - Funny #73): Still not a fan of the Marx brothers.

On the Town (1949 - Musicals #19): A musical about horny sailors stalking women through New York City.

Road to Morocco (1942 - Funny #78): Two idiot sociopaths stumble through the desert. It's so classy to see Bob Hope pretending to have a disability to get a discount.

Roxanne (1987 - Passionate #72): I was surprised to see a Steve Martin starring in a movie that was ranked for something other than comedy. Especially since he portrays a man with a massive nose who is the chief of an incredibly incompetent fire department. But this is a romance in which Daryl Hannah likes his personality but finds another firefighter more attractive (which isn't a close call, the other firefighter is Slider from Top Gun).

She Done Him Wrong (1933 - Funny #75): Just terrible.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991 - Thrilling #77, Science Fiction #8): My god that child had a high-pitched squeaky voice. To me this always seemed to be the truly iconic movie in the series. While the first Terminator is ranked higher as a thrilling movie, it didn't make it on the list of top 10 sci-fi movies, while the sequel did. The T-1000 is an implausible villain, but still great.

The Freshman (1925 - Funny #79): Basically a much, much worse Rudy where it's a silent film and there's more slapstick and less cancer.

The Verdict (1982 - Inspiring #75, Courtroom Dramas #4): An ambulance chasing lawyer accidentally grows a conscience and takes a Catholic hospital to court because a careless doctor turned a young woman into a vegetable. Technicalities cause the truth to be suppressed, but that's okay because the jury just does what they want anyway.

The Awful Truth (1937 - Funny #68, Passionate #77): A really stupid movie where a couple tried to get a divorce and act like jackasses throughout.

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947 - Passionate #73): A woman moves into a haunted house and befriends a ghost. Not terrible, but pretty weird.

The Magnificent Seven (1960 - Thrilling #79): I generally don't care for Westerns, but I liked this okay. I'm not exactly sure why. Perhaps because it's not Western at its core. It's really a Western remake of a Japanese movie called the Seven Samurai.

The Palm Beach Story (1942 - Funny #77): Really, really stupid.

The Public Enemy (1931 - Gangster #8): It's like the Godfather, but super lame and boring.

The Quiet Man (1952 - Passionate #76): I have never seen a movie that glorifies spousal abuse like this one. In the film's glorious climax John Wayne pulls his wife five miles while occasionally kicking her or dragging her along the ground to the cheers of the locals. One old woman approaches with an offer: "Here's a good stick to beat the lovely lady." Also, he definitely sexually assaulted his wife the first time he met her.

The Sheik (1921 - Passionate #80): Sort of a silent Beauty and the Beast, but more Arabic. There's even a Gaston.

Thelma & Louise (1991 - Thrilling #76, Inspiring #78): I don't know if this should really be considered inspiring, but I did really enjoy it.
Victor Victoria (1982 - Funny #76): Not bad. Julie Andrews plays a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman.
Way Down East (1920 - Passionate #71): There is absolutely no reason this silent film needed to be more than an hour long, let alone two and a half hours.
Goldfinger (1964 - Thrilling #71): Given that this is iconic Bond villain, I did not expect the first time I saw him to be him cheating someone at Gin using an earpiece you could see from 50 yards away. Pretty disappointing. "You expect me to talk?" "No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die" is a pretty great exchange, but if you really just want him to die then why a powerful laser moving slowly towards his crotch instead of a bullet to the head? I can't tell if these movies are intentionally absurd. I think I always underappreciated Austin Powers because I thought lines like this weren't nearly as fair to the source material as they were: "All right guard, begin the unnecessarily slow-moving dipping mechanism....I'm going to leave them alone and not actually witness them dying, I'm just gonna assume it all went to plan." Also, the terrible word play.
Rebecca (1940 - Thrilling #80): Hitchcock's first American film. It's way too long, and would be pretty good if it was shorter.
Adam's Rib (1949 - Funny #22, Romantic Comedy #7): A husband and wife represent opposing parties in a trial for attempted murder. The defense almost seems to be based on battered woman's syndrome, which I thought would didn't come around until much later. This has the worst seduction attempt ever: the guy says he loves her because she's convenient, living just across the hall.

Bananas (1971 - Funny #69): I simply do not find Woody Allen funny.
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962 - Thrilling #63): I really liked this. Bette Davis is terrifying. Sort of like Misery, but between sisters.
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961 - Passionate #61): I don't know how I feel about this movie. There are parts of it that I really liked, but it's marred by two major issues. The first is Mickey Rooney's character, who I dislike even before considering the fact that it's an incredibly racist caricature of Asian Americans, which is problematic, to say the least. I also really dislike Holly Golightly. She is manipulative and gives no thought at all to how her actions impact other people. I get that part of the ending is her growing as a person, but I saw no indication that it involved her becoming less of a sociopath. It was all about her being willing to be part of a real relationship.
Broadcast News (1987 - Funny #64): I enjoyed this movie fine, but its entry on the list confuses me for a couple of reasons. Mainly it's that I didn't find this movie funny at all. That's probably why I don't get why it's listed at all, it just doesn't strike me as a significant movie generally. Towards the end of the movie there's a blow up over what one character believes to be an egregious ethical breach while I really couldn't see anything wrong with what had been done.
Cape Fear (1962 - Thrilling #61): A family is stalked by a man who manages to comply with the law while threatening them, so the law seems powerless to stop him. It's not a bad movie, but what drove me crazy is that they repeatedly leave their teenaged daughter alone in a vulnerable position no matter how poorly that goes.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975 - Thrilling #70): Another film that seems mismatched with the list it's on. Certainly there are some thrilling moments but, on the whole, I found this movie hilarious rather than thrilling.

Funny Girl (1968 - Passionate #41, Musical #16): I don't find the story in this movie that compelling, but the music is fantastic.
Harvey (1950 - Fantasies #7): I don't like Jimmy Stewart in pretty much anything I've seen, and this was no exception. He always just seems to wander about obliviously making terrible decisions until everything works out for him in the end.
Horse Feathers (1932 - Funny #65): I will never understand why so many Marx Brothers movies made this list.
Manhattan (1979 - Funny #46, Passionate #66): I still don't find Woody Allen all that funny, but there were a couple parts that made me laugh, maybe because it's not as absurd as his other movies I watched. The main part that made me laugh was when a guy who had been built up as an amazing, passionate boyfriend turned out to be Vizzini (the Sicilian) from the Princess Bride.
Marty (1955 - Passionate #64): This is a movie about the two most boring people in the world falling in love and the guy's incredibly selfish family and friends trying to keep him alone and miserable.
Sense and Sensibility (1995 - Passionate #70): Not a bad movie, but I really hope the book is better.

A Raisin in the Sun (1961 - Inspiring #65): I've been so used to Sydney Poitier being the stand up guy in movies about race relations that seeing him be the screw up here really threw me. Pretty good movie.
An Officer and a Gentleman (1982 - Passionate #29, Inspiring #68): I'm surprised I've never watched this. It's really good.
Coal Miner's Daughter (1980 - Inspiring #70): I didn't realize this was based on a true story. The name Loretta Lynn sounded only vaguely familiar. It was a good movie, reminded me a lot of the Whitney Houston movie I watched, though this husband was way less abusive. Still, if I'd known it was a true story I would have been even more uncomfortable when Tommy Lee Jones, looking at least to be in his late 20s, rapes his new 14 year old bride. A good movie anyway.
Silkwood (1983 - Inspiring #66): A lot like The China Syndrome. Not a terrible movie but it's certainly lacking a satisfying conclusion, even if it's for a good reason.
Sounder (1972 - Inspiring #61): A really depressing movie, and I understand the book is even more depressing.
The Black Stallion (1979 - Inspiring #64): I've never really seen the appeal of these horse movies. They sometimes try to act like they're doing it for the horse, but I imagine they'd be just as happy running in a field. I don't find the riders that impressive, they just happen to have lucked into having an incredible animal. All the more so in movies like this one where they are amateurs.

The Spirit of St. Louis (1957 - Inspiring #69): An interesting story, but I'm not a fan of Jimmie Stewart, which marred it for me.
42nd Street (1933 - Musicals #13): Some good songs, but a really stupid story.
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948 - Funny #56): Not a fan.
All that Jazz (1979 - Musicals #14): A truly weird movie about a director working himself into an early grave.
Arthur (1981 - Funny #53): Really, really stupid.
Dead Poet's Society (1989 - Inpiring #52): I didn't expect to like this. I'm not much of a poetry person or a fan of Robin Williams in serious roles. But I thought this was a really great movie. Also very depressing, on a couple different levels.

Diner (1982 - Funny #57): Some adolescent men treating the women in their lives horribly.  I didn't see much here that I found funny.

It's a Gift (1934 - Funny #58): An older comedy that hasn't aged well.  I feel like we're supposed to sympathize with the father in this movie because everyone is so mean to him, but he makes such profoundly stupid decisions that I can't blame his wife for treating him like a child.  Of course, his idiocy works out in the end, so he doesn't learn anything.

A Day at the Races (1937 - Funny #59): Ugh.  Marx Brothers.

Ninotchka (1939 - Funny #52, Passionate #40): A weird movie, but I didn't mind it.  Certainly a light take on the horrors of Stalin's Russia.

Picnic (1955 - Passionate #59): This movie mainly depressed me.  

Planet of the Apes (1968 - Thrilling #59): There's a lot to unpack here.  Sadly I was already aware of the big twist.  Clearly I would have been aware from the new prequels if I hadn't heard about it directly.  I get why people really like this movie, even if it hasn't aged particularly well.  The costumes are pretty silly.  The level of technology maintained by the apes seems really inconsistent.  I understand this may be the outcome of seizing technology from an overthrown civilization, but having high pressure hoses, pens, guns, and manufactured clothing in a civilization that shows little other sign of having technology more advanced than the dark ages seems ridiculous. Of course it's also the source of a few different major movie quotes.

Rudy (1993 - Inspiring #54): This will probably be an unpopular opinion, and it might be my indifference to/dislike of football talking here, but I found Rudy obnoxious.  I mostly mean the character, but that bleeds into the movie.  He seems to just expect his dream to come true with no planning, natural skill, or even an ability to interact with people in a way that conforms to social norms.  He barges into people's offices without appointments, demands to see someone about admissions the exact moment he arrives before dawn, and lies to try to get his way.  A guy gives him a break because he begs for a job, and he abuses that guy's trust to facilitate breaking and entering.  He doesn't even do the work he's supposed to do because he's too busy being a fan boy.  If his dream was to find true love we'd probably call him a stalker.  If his dream was money, he'd probably be a felon.  I guess one way to describe someone who will do anything and everything to get their way is to say "they have heart".  I just call them assholes.  It's not even like his goal is noble.  It's entirely selfish.  These are all things that I view as objectively problematic personality traits.  That's without even touching on just how irksome I find someone who just wants to talk about a single college football team all the time.  Sure, the end of the movie is kind of inspiring by setting insanely stupid decision making and Harry Potter-esque levels of an entire school caring about a single person against the right music and ignoring the fact that this goes against a fundamental lesson in a lot of sports movies: the team is more important than any individual.

Sabrina (1954 - Passionate #54):  It was probably better when it came out, but it now seems to be nothing but cliches: the unnoticed mousey girl comes back a bombshell, tricking a girl to date you for underhanded reasons and coming to like her, and the man who cares only for business realizes love is the only thing that matters.

Scarface (1932 - Gangster #6):  The original Scarface.  I liked the remake with Pacino better.

Sergeant York (1941 - Inspiring #57): This movie mostly just struck me as silly.  The actors who are supposed to be dying mainly just look ridiculous.  I did especially like when the homespun folksy hero threatens to murder a POW in cold blood if the POW refuses to commit treason.

The Lady Eve (1941 - Funny #55, Passionate #26): A man falls in love with a woman on a cruise and proposes.  He breaks it off when he finds out she's a con artist.  She shows up at his house some time later with a British accent.  The guy insists it can't be the same woman because they look exactly alike.  Once it reached that level of stupidity I had trouble caring what happened next.  It was kind of passionate at first, but the ending was really stupid.  It wasn't funny at all.  I guess it was supposed to be just because he was clumsy?

The Seven Year Itch (1955 - Funny #51): I didn't find this funny at all.  It's pretty much nothing but a jerk contemplating cheating on his wife for an hour and a half.  It certainly has one enduring legacy: the iconic scene of Marylin Monroe's skirt being blown up.  She's credited simply as "The Girl".


The English Patient (1996 - Passionate #56): A lot of this made me feel like I was looking at Voldemort with a nose.  I can see why it's well regarded, it's just so long.

The Hustler (1961 - Sports #6):  I don't really consider pool a sport and I mainly found this movie either boring or sad.  When Paul Newman's character was being roughed up it definitely made me think he was being raped.

The Killing Fields (1984 - Inspiring #60): I've actually been to the Cambodian Killing Fields.  I don't think any other place I've visited has had a greater emotional impact on me.  The devasation wrought by the Khmer Rouge policies and terror is still clear to me.  What I found weird about this movie is that it spent a lot of its time focused on Sam Waterston feeling sad about his Cambodian friend.  I think it would have been better to focus entirely on the people who were actually suffering.

To Have and Have Not (1944 - Passionate #60):  Way too similar to Casablanca without really having anything distinctive.  This does have a pretty big quote of its own:  "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow."

Top Hat (1935 - Musicals #15):  I'm beginning to suspect that singing dancers who are incredibly full of themselves aren't so much characters as Fred Astaire just being himself.  Meaning that he's a smarmy jerk who will do or say anything to get his way.

Topper (1937 - Funny #60):  The premise of this film is that a couple dies and becomes ghosts because they've never bothered to do anything good or bad that would merit them going to heaven or hell.  This is a couple with extraordinary financial resources who are vapid, rude, directionless, unreliable, and lazy who can't be bothered with doing anything with their lives.  They then somehow earn their place in heaven with their "good deeds", which seem to mostly consist of harassing, molesting, injuring, and endangering dozens of people.

Two For the Road (1967 - Passionate #57):  This film mainly consisted of two people in a relationship treating each other poorly over an extended and confusing span of time while encountering unpleasant people along the way. The failed veneer of romance on the unpleasantness of this movie was summarized really well for me by the movies closing lines when the man affectionately calls his wife a bitch and she calls him a bastard just as sweetly.

Wait Until Dark (1967 - Thrilling #55): I didn't find most of this to be very thrilling, but I still really enjoyed it.

When Harry Met Sally (1989 - Passionate #25, Romantic Comedies #6, Funny #23): As a general matter I am not a huge fan of movies that star Billy Crystal.  He's sort of like Chandler, pretty much everything he says has to be a funny quip or retort.  It can be exhausting if they have too much screen time.  This wasn't too bad, and I get why this is a favorite movie for a lot of people.

Witness for the Prosecution (1957 - Courtroom #6): It's rare that I will say this about a movie this old, but I really enjoyed this.  Even over 60 years later it holds up well as an excellent courtroom drama.

The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944 - Funny #54): A movie that is, at all times, profoundly stupid, profoundly annoying, or both.  I find it kind of weird that I recognize the owner of the toy store in Home Alone 2 48 years younger.

Field of Dreams (1989 - Fantasy #6, Inspiring #28): A man risks his family's financial ruin because his midlife crisis is accompanied by vivid hallucinations.  It's actually not bad for a movie centered on the most boring sport to watch (if you don't consider golf a sport).  What annoys me is that AFI was creating a list of the 10 best fantasy movies ever and they gave one of the spots to Field of Dreams.  To me, this isn't a fantasy.  It's a baseball movie with supernatural elements.  I don't see them putting Hook on the list of the best sports movies because they play baseball once.  There are so many movies that should be on that list before this one.  Even letting that go, I find it bizarre that the object of this movie seems to glorify a group of people who disgraced baseball and absolutely deserved to be banned from the sport.  That's my opinion when the entirety of my knowledge of the Black Sox scandal comes from this movie.

The Defiant Ones (1958 - Inspiring #55): Yet another movie where Sidney Poitier demonstrates how crappy it is to be black.  Good movie.

Anna Karenina (1935 - Passionate #42):  Not nearly as good as the book.

Carrie (1976 - Thrilling #46): The remake was better if only because the special effects in this version were so, so bad.

Chicago (2002 - Musicals #12):  More artsy than I prefer, but still a really good movie.

Dirty Harry (1971 - Thrilling #41):  This has a couple good quotes but it is, on the whole, patently ridiculous.  I think my favorite part was when the DA brings in an appellate court judge to consult and explain why the evidence is inadmissible.  I don't know why more prosecutors didn't just ask Kennedy what he thought and save everyone a lot of time.

The King and I (1956 - Passionate #31, Musicals #11): This certainly has some good music and looks good, but it's not one of my favorites.

Last Tango in Paris (1972 - Passionate #48):  Most of the time when I don't like movies it's because I find them boring.  I wish that was the case here.  I found this movie decidedly and unremittingly unpleasant.  The vast majority of the film seemed to be mumbling or sexual violence.  I'm no prude, but I found parts of this to be revolting in ways that really shocked me.  That's impressive, in a way, when you consider that this came out in the early 70s and things like the internet and HBO have made massive strides in desensitizing society to things that were previously taboo in the nearly 50 years since.  From what I've read, making this movie had a profoundly negative impact on its leads, Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider.  I'm sure this was groundbreaking, but I saw nothing worth memorializing or celebrating.  Some ground should be left intact.  

Lilies of the Field (1963 - Inspiring #46):  Some nuns con Sydney Poitier into doing free work for them.  Even though they treat him like trash he continues to help long after it becomes apparent they they have no intention of providing any kind of compensation.  The moral here seems to be that as long as you have blind faith and prayer you can just expect everything you want to happen even if you have no plan, do nothing to make it happen, and treat the people who are helping to make it happen like dirt.

Marathon Man (1976 - Thrilling #50):  This was a weird movie.  Dustin Hoffman vs. Nazi dentist.

Meet John Doe (1941 - Inspiring #49):  Very much along the same lines as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  From me that's not a compliment.  I don't care for Gary Cooper and, between this and To Have and Have Not, I hate Walter Brennan.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947 - Inspiring #9, Fantasies #5):  It's kind of bizarre to me that a staple Christmas movie is centered on an involuntary commitment hearing.  I find the little girl annoying.

My Man Godfrey (1936 - Funny #44):  A "forgotten man" during the Great Depression is treated like dirt and then brought home by the same family.  He becomes the best butler ever while hiding a past that never really became clear to me.  I didn't really see much in here that I considered funny.

On Golden Pond (1981 - Passionate #22, Inspiring #45):  Within the first 5 minutes, I was convinced I would hate this movie.  I thought it was going to be slow and painful to watch.  I was very wrong.  I thoroughly enjoyed this film.

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946 - Passionate #49): Spoiler alert: the postman is death.

Red River (1948 - Western #5):  Apparently if John Wayne is the one stealing land and cattle then it's something to be glorified.  This struck me as incredibly cliche.

Seabiscuit (2003 - Inspiring #50): Ugh.  Another horse movie.

Shakespeare in Love (1998 - Passionate #50): I found this mildly enjoyable.  I get why it's rated well as a passionate movie.

Shampoo (1975 - Funny #47):  I didn't really find this funny.  It was mostly Warren Beatty running around having sex with lots of women and trying to get people to make an ill-advised investment in his hair salon.  I wasn't terribly surprised to learn that Beatty wrote and produced the film.

A Shot in the Dark (1964 - Funny #48): Based on what people have said to me about Pink Panther films in the past, I imagine some will regard not liking this movie as heresy.  It just isn't my brand of humor.  I laughed exactly once.

Splendor in the Grass (1961 - Passionate #47):  Like Shampoo, Warren Beatty wanting to have sex is central to the plot, but this is a very different movie.  I found it tremendously depressing.  It portrays men treating women terribly in a lot of different ways, but at least it's in a negative light and there are consequences to those actions.  What really bothers me is that it was categorized as passionate.  The only two relationships that aren't completely and entirely messed up take place nearly completely off screen.

A Star is Born (1954 - Musicals #7, Passionate # 43): This movie didn't really do anything for me.

To Be or Not to Be (1942 - Funny #49): I didn't really find any part of this funny.

To Catch a Thief (1955 - Passionate #46):  I found it bizarre that the woman playing Grace Kelly's mother asked Cary Grant why he wasn't making a pass at her daughter, when she would be the far more age appropriate romantic interest.  He was 51 and Grace Kelly was 26.  I found it kind of creepy.

An Affair to Remember (1957 - Passionate #5): I don't really put much stock in romances predicated on cheating.  I was pretty bored watching this.  I really don't understand why it's rated so highly.  To be honest, I'm getting a little sick of Cary Grant.

Animal House (1978 - Funny #36):  I understand why people like this movie, but I don't think it's aged well, along a few different lines.

Apollo 13 (1995 - Inspiring #12):  A pretty good movie.  Parts of this have become something as a cliche, but I think this has held up well.  I think that's at least partly due to it being based on a true story.

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944 - Funny #30):  Based on seeing performances of this in speech and debate in high school, I was expecting better.  I didn't understand at all why he was trying to have the harmless brother committed rather than the murdering aunts.

Being There (1979 - Funny #26): Another movie rated very highly for being funny that failed to make me laugh even once.  Also, the concept of an illiterate man who only understands the world based on what he's seen on TV is a little too real to be funny.  Lastly, I'm not completely sure, but I think this is fairly offensive to people with intellectual disabilities.

The Birds (1963 - Thrilling #7): In many ways, this hasn't aged terribly well, but it's still a solid movie.  While the special effects look dated, what's amazing about Birdemic is that its effects, nearly 50 years later, look much much worse than the movie it ripped off.

Blazing Saddles (1974 - Funny #6): I'm pretty sure I've seen this before, multiple times, but hadn't watched it straight through.  It's still very funny, even though some of the humor hasn't aged well.

Born Yesterday (1950 - Funny #24): It may have been an Oscar-winning performance, but Judy Holliday's voice gave me a headache. It made it even harder to get through an already boring movie.

Bullitt (1968 - Thrilling #36): An incredibly cliche buddy cop movie.  Meh.

Camille (1936 - Passionate #33):  Sort of sweet, but mostly depressing and too long.

Deliverance (1972 - Thrilling #15):  This movie has not become any less disturbing with time.  A very solid and upsetting movie.

The Diary of Anne Frank (1959 - Inspiring #18): I think I found reading this to have more impact than the movie.  It wasn't bad, but was more lighthearted than expected.

Fatal Attraction (1987 - Thrilling #28):  Glenn Close is amazing in this movie.  I imagine this made a lot of men think twice about cheating.

A Fish Called Wanda (1988 - Funny #21):  This actually did make me laugh a fair amount.  A nice change from most of the movies on the funny list.

The Fugitive (1993 - Thrilling #33):  A pretty good action flick, though I imagine it has haunted men missing an arm for decades.

Gigi (1958 - Passionate #35):  This starts with a truly creepy song (though I'm sure it's not intended to be) called "Thank Heaven For Little Girls".  I was going to include some of the weirder lyrics, but it was hard to choose.  It literally describes little girls as "helpless and appealing".  The movie itself isn't bad but, like the opening song, it hasn't aged well.

Glory (1989 - Inspiring #31): A decent movie about Ferris Bueller leading the Civil War's first all-black company.

The Great Dictator (1940 - Funny #37): Yet another Charlie Chaplin movie that utterly bored me.

The Great Escape (1963 - Thrilling #19): I read the book this movie is based on last year.  I really enjoyed it because the content is fascinating, though I found the writing style wanting.  The movie is as weirdly upbeat as the book.  I think it's a good film, but I liked the book better.

His Girl Friday (1940 - Funny #19): Cary Grant is a sociopath willing to repeatedly frame his ex-wife's fiance for various crimes so they won't be able to get married.  Apparently this makes him desirable rather than deranged and abusive.  This all takes place against the apparently hysterical backdrop of an innocent man about to be put to death.

Hoosiers (1986 - Inspiring #13, Sports #4): This movie reminded me a lot of Rudy.  The moral of both films seems to be that everything bad about a person can be overlooked (even punching a student in the face and being an alcoholic for years) so long as you're really passionate about a sport.   

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963 - Funny #40): Sort of a live action Wacky Racers.  Not really my kind of humor.

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979 - Courtroom #3): I found this movie supremely depressing but very well done, even though I normally find Dustin Hoffman obnoxious.  Custody disputes have no winner.  Aside from some missed hearsay objections, it also seemed pretty accurate legally.  I was impressed that they went with the more realistic written order rather than a dramatic scene where the judge announces their decision.

Love Story (1970 - Passionate #9):  I really just don't get how anyone can think this is a good movie.  To me, it displays an emotional maturity on par with the Twilight movies.  "Love means never having to say you're sorry" has to rank in the top ten most asinine things ever said on film.  I found it agonizing to listen to the guy whine about having every advantage life has to offer.  

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944 - Musicals #10): A fairly good movie, even if the story is a little bland.  That's more than made up for by Judy Garland's performance; she did some of her best singing here.  This film is the origin of the song Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.  There's also some memorable dialogue, particularly by some delightfully disturbing children.  I found this exchange particularly jarring: "Katie, where's my cat?" "I don't know... a little while ago, she got in my way and I kicked her down the cellar steps. I could hear her spine hitting on every step." "Oh, if you killed her, I'll kill you! I'll stab you to death in your sleep, then I'll tie your body to two wild horses until you're pulled apart."  That last part is by a 13 year old girl.

The Miracle Worker (1962 - Inspiring #15): The beginning of this was more intense than I expected.  With the way the parents carry on when they discover their baby is deaf and blind, one would think somebody was coming at them with an axe.  This was more violent than I expected.

Mrs. Miniver (1942 - Inspiring #40):  I enjoyed this movie.  There was definitely something Downton Abbey-esque about it.

The Night of the Hunter (1955 - Thrilling #34): A movie about a preacher turned serial killer that is often weird and usually stupid.  I did enjoy the scene where an elderly woman declared for everyone to hear, including children, that for 40 years she had just lain back and "thought of canning".

Norma Rae (1979 - Inspiring #16):  Sort of an Erin Brokavich for a prior generation.  Not bad.  I found it terrible when the union organizer acted like there would be no repercussions for fighting for the union.

Now, Voyager (1942 - Passionate #23):  I found it really creepy when she tried to basically raise the daughter of the guy she had an affair with.

The Odd Couple (1968 - Funny #17): I don't think I could stand to live with either of these people.

Out of Africa (1985 - Passionate #13): As always, Meryl Streep is amazing.

Philadelphia (1993 - Inspiring #20): I think this is a pretty good movie, but I have mixed feelings about its social impact.  On one hand, I think it was important to provide the general population with a relatable gay person with AIDS.  As much as the disease impacts the protagonist's life, I think it sells its true impact short to show it through the lens of someone who's wealthy, has incredibly supportive family, and is in a loving relationship.  It's also pretty gross that the family of the person who inspired the movie had to sue Tri-Star because the studio refused to provide them with any kind of compensation.

The Pride of the Yankees (1942 - Sports #3, Inspiring #22):  I find baseball incredibly boring and this did nothing to change that.  Even so, I found the ending kind of touching.

Producers (1968 - Funny #11): This was pretty good.  I'd be interested in seeing a stage production.

Raising Arizona (1987 - Funny #31):  A very weird movie, but not bad.

Random Harvest (1942 - Passionate #36): I found this pretty stupid.

The Right Stuff (1983 - Inspiring #19):  I liked this movie.  One of very few movies on this list clocking in over three hours that didn't feel way, way too long.

Roman Holiday (1953 - Romantic Comedies #4, Passionate #4): Sort of a modern-day Aladdin, if Aladdin were a selfish, creepy, amoral asshole who is too old for Jasmine.

The Shop Around the Corner (1940 - Passionate #28): I was beginning to think that this was very similar to You've Got Mail when I remembered that Meg Ryan's bookstore in that movie was called The Shop Around the Corner.  I didn't think this was a terrible movie, but I thought Tom Hanks' character was a jerk in You've Got Mail and I thought the same about Jimmy Stewart's character in this.

Strangers on a Train (1951 - Thrilling #32): A pretty good movie.

There's Something About Mary (1998 - Funny #27):  Not the kind of thing I expected to find on a list of great films, even funny ones.  Funny, but somewhat aged.  I can't believe this is over 20 years old.

This is Spinal Tap (1984 - Funny #29): Dated, but still funny.

The Way We Were (1973 - Passionate #6): I think this movie's success was largely carried by its music.

White Heat (1949 - Gangster #4):  I don't get why this is so well rated amonst gangster movies.  Seems like a massive drop off after the first three (Godfather, Goodfellas, and Godfather, Part II).

Young Frankenstein (1974 - Funny #13):  Funny, but it hasn't aged as well as I would have thought.

Gandhi (1982 - Inspiring #29):  I did find this movie enjoyable and moving, which I didn't expect.

The Thin Man (1934 - Funny #32):  While watching this I honestly had no idea it was supposed to be funny.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Middlemarch, A Study of Provincial Life

George Eliot's Middlemarch, A Study of Provincial Life is widely considered to be the greatest British novel.  I can certainly agree with the sentiment.  While the characters often make incredibly stupid or selfish decisions, they are generally very rich and compelling.  The novel portrays a fairly small rural English town through the lens of four separate story lines and has a sprawling cast of characters.  At times, it can be difficult to keep track of them all, but if you can, you will find that they each have a distinct voice.

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

As morbid as it was, I greatly enjoyed The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, so I decided to try another book by Erik Larson that my mom recommended.  My next book was In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin.  One thing Larson doesn't excel at is coming up with succinct titles. As you can probably gather from the title, it recounts the experiences of an American family living in Berlin during Hitler's rise to power.  More specifically it's about the family of William Dodd, the incredibly unlikely American ambassador during one of the most crucial periods in the history of US-German relations.  I would highly recommend it.

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