Saturday, January 29, 2005


Special Happy Birthday Note to Van: Happy Birthday Van.

76) Guns for San Sebastian. I could get up on the old political soapbox and start making accusations of an allegory about American foreign policy in Vietnam/The Cold War/The War on Terror, with Quinn as a Nixon/Reagan/Bush, the indians as the communists/islamists, and Bronson (as the bad guy? I never thought I'd see that!) as The UN/Western Europeans/Democrats, but why bother? This is the second week in a row that TCM has shown a western with some emotional and moral depth, though. I'm not sure if I'm down with this trend.

77) Million Dollar Baby. The best movie I've ever seen is The Seventh Seal. I don't know if it's the best ever made or whatever, I haven't seen them all, but as far as all the movies that I've seen I'd say it's the finest movie I've ever had the pleasure to watch. The first time I saw it I understood what making movies meant. I understood why lighting is important, why camera angles and movements matter, why showing up and saying your lines right and moving on isn't good enough and why directors shoot take after take until they get exactly what they are looking for no matter how long it takes. It was the first time that I sat and watched something that completely took everything else away so that I might as well have been the only person in that room watching it. It was the first time that whatever else was going on in my life didn't matter, there was only me and the movie and for that two hours that was all there was. After it was over I simply couldn't believe exactly what I had seen, that somewhere and at some place and time in history, there were ordinary people making a movie that would become something that was far greater than the sum of it's parts. It just didn't seem right or even possible that ordinary people could have produced such a thing. And that's exactly how I felt after watching Million Dollar Baby. I might be falling prey to a bit of hyperbole here, but as of right now I will say it's the second best movie I have ever seen. Maybe it doesn't have the same profound message as The Seventh Seal, though I'm sure a case might be made that it's message is just as profound, if not more. And maybe it's a little easier to picture Eastwood and Swank out in California somewhere making movies than the black and white dream of The Seventh Seal. But the initial impact was still the same. No movie can ever attain perfection, but I'm fairly certain that a movie more perfect than Million Dollar Baby will never be made in my lifetime. You missed a good one Donna.

78) House of Flying Daggers. After Million Dollar Baby I was tempted to just come home and forget about watching anything else, but I decided to soldier through. Unfortunately I picked this as my next movie. I'm going to learn my lesson with Chinese film one day. To get past the party censors the story has to be sanitized to near irrelevance, like this one, or such a blatant apologist for communist atrocities that it makes you sick, like Hero. The end result was a nearly two hour long pretty picture of exquisetely, though predictably (okay, the fighting in the tree tops bit is now old), choreographed fight scenes puncuated by impossibly long glances and brightly colored foliage that boils down to nothing. I'd pray that this whole thing is a cheeky allegory for socialist ideology (all style and no substance that ends in a lot of bloodshed) that was clever enough to get past the censors, but I really doubt that's the case.

79) Elektra. I was a big fan of the Daredevil/Elektra saga in the comic books when I was a kid, especially the Frank Miller stuff, so I gave both movies a chance. I didn't like them, but I didn't hate them, so whatever.

80) The Aviator. Not bad, Scorcese, not bad at all. I've been fascinated by Howard Hughes ever since I learned who he was, and even though I don't really put a lot of faith in the modern biopic I was pretty keen on seeing this. It wasn't dissapointing. I still have issues with Leo, namely that he just looks so stinking young that at times it was hard to see him as Hughes, especially next to Blanchette's Hepburn, but he does a fine turn in the role and all of the supporting cast was excellent. I was also comforted to see that my descent into madness hasn't taken on the whole germ phobia thing yet so I should still be a few years away from the boobie hatch (hee, boobie).

80 down, 920 to go.

Friday, January 28, 2005


73) The Trouble With Harry. A "lesser" Hitchcock, but still a better movie than a lot of people make now. To me, this is the true definition of a black comedy. Instead of showing morbid or twisted acts as comedic, Hitchcock shows the comedic goings on of an eccentric group of people in the midst of a morbid situation.

74) National Security. Oh Steve Zahn, I hope you got PAID for this one, because you were it's only bright spot. Otherwise, blech.

75) Cornered. Dick Powell hunts down the Vichy bastard that ordered his wife's murder in Nazi-sympathizing Argentina. Oh how I hate the French.

75 down, 925 to go.

I'm still five behind, but I'll be hitting the theater tomorrow for my saturday five plus at least one in the morning. Donna will be joining me for Million Dollar Baby, which I am looking forward to (both the movie and hanging out with you, Donna), and then I'll be hitting the rest of the day on my own. I'll be playing catch up this weekend and next week and hopefully back on schedule before the Super Bowl throws me right back off again. I'm still pretty ticked about the Steelers loss but I'm going to pull for the Patriots because, for one thing, I hate Philadelphia and also because they're just so damn good no matter what happens that you can't hate them, you just have to admire them. I'm really more upset with the Steelers than the Patriots to be honest. But hey, you can't realistically expect a rookie quarterback to go all the way after a 16 week schedule and then the post season when he's used to playing twelve games tops. Oh well, I'll keep my fingers crossed for next season and can start hitting the movies pretty hard again now that regular TV will be my only distraction (the the stinking NCAA basketball tournament is just around the corner and it's looking like at least Bama will get there so that will kill me a little). One Tree Hill is probably getting dropped from the rotation and, thankfully, Point Pleasant sucked so I'm not worried about watching those anymore. The revised TV list is Desperate Housewives, The Simpsons, Arrested Development, Gilmore Girls, and The OC so that's a little more manageable than before.

Thursday, January 27, 2005


As I suspected, not much got done tonight. I've been feeling a little sick all week, but I promised Sarah I'd make mexican lasagna and come see her so I sucked it up, got to cooking and made the arduous trek to Calera, stopping several times along the way thinking that I might very well be preparing to throw up all over my steering wheel. The vomiting never happened, but it took me forever to get there what with all the pulling over and everything, but I got there, we ate, I helped her dad hook up their new TV and her mom made an absolutely delicious Peanut Butter Pie, so everything worked out pretty well. I didn't get to see The OC, but I recorded it so I'll watch it this weekend. I started The Trouble With Harry while I was cooking and I'm going to try to finish it before I fall asleep, but I'm not giving it much hope. Curses!


So instead of staying home and watching movies last night, I went to see.....RIVERDANCE! Which was freaking awesome. Charity had told me tuesday that her and Sarah and Krista were going and I acted all outraged that they would go without me because I love The Riverdance, so yesterday Sarah calls and says Krista is sick so do I want to go, and of course I did! So Sarah was all worried because she didn't really have anything nice to wear since she's been staying at her parents this week and Charity said she was dressing up (and she did too) but I was like "it's the touring company of a decade old phenomenon in Birmingham on a wednesday night, you'll be okay" and I was, as usual, right. I told her I was going to wear my Alabama hat and she was mortified, but I figured I'd probably see somebody wearing one even though I had been joking. No such luck, but one really old guy was wearing a denim shirt with the Auburn logo embroidered on it and he and one of the ushers were talking about being in school at Auburn back in the 60s and how they always played Florida State because they were a pushover team back then, so things were mostly normal. Plus all the guys that got dragged to it by their wives/girlfriends were in the martini bar watching basketball. Anyway, the concert hall was a ghost town. I'd be surprised if it was even half full. Which was a shame because Riverdance was awesome! It started out with a darkened stage and all this smoke was rolling across the stage and then this big booming announcers voice comes over the speakers "Out of the darkness we came..." and I almost busted out laughing because it was so much like the scene from Spinal Tap when they are doing the druid song or whatever it is and I was waiting for a tiny little stonehenge to come down from the ceiling but, alas, it never came. As we were watching I came to realize that my love for The Riverdance comes from the fact that The Riverdance is a musical manifestation of everything that I am! I was sitting there thinking about it and it totally is. First, good fiddle music! I mean, I thought up a lot of snotty things to say about "gee, I didn't know that traditional celtic music was so heavy on the synth, I wonder how they lugged those things around back then" but there was always a fiddle going, even during the silly jazz tap dancing number. This also explains my love of bluegrass and zydeco music. I used to say that if there was any instrument that I'd love to be the absolute master of it would be the cello, but really I'd give up a toe to be able to fiddle like Vassar Clements. Second, ludicrous pageantry at it's finest! Third, leggy broads prancing around in short skirts! That's the true reason I was initially drawn to The Riverdance. I remember them being on Letterman many years ago and that's the only reason I paid any attention at first, until I realized how completely awesome the dancing and everything was. Oh that I could Riverdance with you, blonde girl on the far right! You had my heart for one night, don't let Marcia Cross know. Fourth, percussion! Anyone that knows me knows I go around clapping and banging on things at inappropriate times and for no good reason, and almost the whole show is devoted to a bunch of people stomping around on a wooden stage. Fifth, my (formerly) secret love of dance! I took tap when I was a kid! I loved it! I always secretly wished I had continued to! See, The Riverdance is me! Why am I so gay?!

So anyway, I did get some work done last night. I finished up Berlin Express (#71). Hot post WWII occupied Germany political intrigue action! It was decent, but the weird narration over the stock footage of the bombed out Frankfurt made it seem like a Twilight Zone episode, and the whole "can't we all just get along" moment at the end was ridiculously cheesy. But it still goes to show that even as a nutritionist Bob Ryan is a total bad ass. We started The Three Faces of Eve (#72) before leaving for The Riverdance (!) and I finished it up when I got back. Sarah was totally into it, but I wasn't all that impressed. Apparently it's based on a true story, and had I seen it when it first came out and no one really knew about multiple personalities or schizophrenia or anything it probably would have been pretty shocking, but I just had a real "whatever" sort of feeling.

Man, I am way behind. I need to watch 4 tonight and 4 tomorrow just to be back on schedule, but that's not happening. I'm going to drive out to Calera to watch The OC and eat with Sarah tonight so I doubt I'll even get one in tonight. The weekend is going to be rough!

Special Note to Donna (everyone else quit reading): Donna, we need to talk. You insisted I do this blog so that you could keep up with my exploits and make comments and everything, but you've yet to comment, or even send me an e-mail. I'm hurt and/or dismayed. Just thought you should know.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


70) Cat People. During the planning stages of the project, I was a little concerned about being able to find that many movies that I hadn't seen, but as it turns out I could probably just watch Turner Classics all day long and that would cover it. And I really wouldn't mind only watching TCM either. This was a totally weird movie from the 40s, but I enjoyed watching it anyway. I'm not sure about the whole "allegory of sexual repression" angle, cause if that's the case it just doesn't really work. But I did like that they never actually showed her turning into the monster or even really gave you a definite idea that she was one until the very end. There were also some genuinely spooky sequences (the first time she follows Alice especially) , so for the time it was made and released I'd say this was pretty darn good.

70 down, 930 to go.

I started watching Berlin Express last night but never got a chance to finish it. Charity came over and I think she was bored to tears watching it, so I stopped it and we watched The Gilmore Girls instead. Van called right as it was finishing and we talked for a pretty good while and after he hung up I watched One Tree Hill. It was strange to watch though. After the winter hiatus I didn't really even care to watch it anymore. I just didn't care about any of it, so I think I might drop it from the rotation. Haley's sister is completely hot though. Anyway, after OTH I started in on Berlin Express again but I couldn't keep my eyes open so I'll have to finish it tonight.

Foolish Side Project Update: Monday night I was too tired to start another movie so I put in the first episode of Alias's second season. I barely managed to stay awake for the whole episode, so I might start back in on the foolish side project, just watching an episode a night or something.

Monday, January 24, 2005


Yeah, I was feeling better once I got home. The rest of the day flew by pretty quickly so that put me in a better mood and I got down to the serious business of watching movies again. I actually had a false start saturday night with The Stand In. I had forgotten all about this, but it was one of the first black and white movies I ever watched and the first Bogart movie. I used to watch westerns with my dad a lot, but for the most part they were the only old movies I had ever really seen. Anything else seemed weird and I guess as a kid I really only watched cartoons and Star Wars and stuff, but when I was maybe ten AMC started showing Laurel and Hardy shorts on saturday morning and dad happened to see one one day and was telling me all about going to the movies when he was a kid and how they'd show a cartoon and a Laurel and Hardy short before the movie and how he'd still be laughing so hard over Stan and Ollie that he'd miss the first half of the feature and so I started watching Laurel and Hardy and realized they were crazy funny and that led to Marx Brothers stuff and Abbott and Costello and from there on I actually started watching AMC more than anything else for a long time. The paper used to have a list of all the movies being shown that week so I would go through and highlite all of the movies I wanted to see and tape them while I was at school and come home and watch them. That's how I saw The Stand In for the first time. I don't really remember too much about it except at the end Bogey says something like "you realize this makes you a charlatan and a libertine" and I had no idea what a libertine was until I looked it up and then I thought it was the funniest thing I'd ever heard and went around trying my best to use it in conversation. I was really tempted to go ahead and watch it anyway but I was tired and decided to just call it a night. I kind of wish I had now.

68) The Badlanders. Suffered from some overwrought scripting at times, but for the most part I really enjoyed it. Solid storyline and good direction. I was wondering if my dad had seen this while I was watching it. I'm sure he has, everytime we start watching one that he says he hasn't after about ten minutes in he always remembers having seen it and how it ends.


69 down (hee), 931 to go.

01-24-2005 **Special Mid Morning Update**

Yeah, I'm still pretty depressed over the whole Steelers debacle last night. Afterwards I watched Anchorman again (still brilliant) and Desperate Housewives, but I don't know about tonight. The malaise and apathy I feared would arrive come March has made it's presence known about a month and half ahead of schedule. Tonight might be a wash too, I've got other things on my mind and I might go see Sarah, I don't know. I was actually kind of looking forward to The Badlanders so by the time I get home the funk will probably have passed (though not the noise) and I'll be back in the saddle, so to speak. Keep your fingers crossed.

Sunday, January 23, 2005


66) City Heat. Stroker Ace, Shaft, and Josey Wales, all in the same movie? How have I not heard of this? Anyway, even if I never did it wouldn't have been too great a loss. Probably could have been a passable neo-noir if it weren't for the weird comic setups and sight gags that felt so out of place. I'm glad Eastwood is pretty much free to write his own ticket these days instead of having to appear in lightweight junk like this just to get paid.

67) Hard Promises. Sissy Spacek, in what I can only imagine as a prep role for her turn as the retarded daughter in The Straight Story, and William Petersen, in what I can only imagine as a prep role for his turn as a narcissistic, perpetual adolescent jackass in a movie he never got the part for, team up to produce the single most annoying daugher in the history of film. And the story was crap too. Just awful. The only thing that keeps this from being worse than Haiku Tunnel is that I wasn't screaming at the characters, but there were people asleep in the next room so that could have been part of it. A pox! A pox upon all involved in this travesty! And I'd make some sort of joke about how costume should have given Petersen a shirt to wear from time to time, but even when they did he left it unbuttoned so far down that you could still see his bare chest. THERE ARE MORE THAN TWO BUTTONS ON THAT SHIRT YOU JACKASS. USE THEM. And Petersen, what I'm assuming you thought was a macho, bowlegged cowboy amble just made you look like some mean bully had given you a wedgie before the start of the movie and you never quite recovered. I hate you.


67 down, 933 to go.