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.