Friday, December 24, 2010

635. Muppet Christmas Carol

or...Never Send a Michael Caine to do a Muppet's Job

This is among my favorite holiday movies and my favorite version of Dicken's classic though horrendously overdone tale of a cranky old guy and his slow trek towards not being a douche. So, what makes this version a Christmas Carol better than the others? It's most likely the Muppets and a little Michael Caine for good measure, but mostly the Muppets.

Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat are great as the narrators. They work with a lot of the original Dickensian text and put a decidedly Muppetatic (I'll make this a word) spin on it. Also, I love Rizzo. This is especially surprising considering the latter of the Muppet's was a recent addition to the cast who aside from Bean have failed miserably at new additions into the Muppet cast (Pepe, need I say more?). Yes, this was probably the last movie the Muppets made before they became relegated to horrible TV movie-style schmaltz and obnoxious featured guests (as seen in the painful exercise of the Muppet Wizard of Oz). This movie was ALMOST ruined by the sappiness for sure. The songs are mostly an exercise in futility though Michael Caine can surprisingly, carry a tune.

This song i kinda like (though there is no Michael Caine singing)

i hate this frickin song. so sappy

Kermit and Piggy are naturals at depicted the Kratchit family and Fozzy was born, well, made to play Fezziwinks (or Fozziwinks). Sometimes, the Muppet roles are forced but in the case of Muppet Christmas Carol, the integrations are seamless. There is heart and some genuine laughs which recent Muppet movies have been devoid of.

My in-law's family watches this every Christmas eve and though I need a break every few years I continually find this a cute and enjoyable film. There aren't many contemporary Christmas movies that I can stand but this one stands out though apparently, I can't think of anything remotely inciteful or interesting to say about it. ghost of christmas present is funny. he is big and eats a lot. Um...Merry Christmas?

About the Top 800 Project:

Using the They Shoot Pictures Starting List of 8800 films (LINK) and my Netflix ratings, I sifted through the list and of the 4500 films I’d seen, I selected a random number of films I liked more than the others. The list was about 812 films. I kicked off 12 to get an even 800. The list chronologically goes up to 2009. Each blog entry will list ten films, one of which will be discussed in detail. The ten films will then be posted toThe Top 800 Master List, a Google docs file compiling them. When the countdown finishes in what will be probably be a really a long time, I will begin discussing random films that I didn’t get to before.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

778. Requiem for a Dream: An Exercise in Morbidity

...Or How a “Favorite” Film Can Also Be a Painful, Enjoyable Trial

I don’t know anyone out there who would admit to have “enjoyed” watching Daron Aronofsky’s bleak addiction drama. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find someone who can watch this a second time. However, anyone that has seen it can probably vividly recall it. A film like Requiem teaches us a lesson that sometimes, movies aren’t fun to watch and that is not necessarily a bad thing. If movies are meant to move and make us feel, then we must take the painful with the inspiring.

What impressed me about Requiem was that it unflinchingly covered different types of addiction with the same passive voice. There was Jared Leto and an unrecognizable Marlon Wayans (of White Chicks fame) as heroin addicts, Ellen Burstyn as Leto’s mother, who becomes addicted to pills, and Jennifer Connelly, another drug addict/future prostitute and Leto’s girlfriend. The film covers their downward spiral into their addiction and doesn’t end well for any character.


Leto ends up in a prison hospital with his arm amputated, Wayans ends up in a racist prison for drug possession, Burstyn winds up in a mental hospital getting electroshock therapy, and Connelly is the featured star of an anal sex show.


It is safe to say that none of the characters end up in a terribly good place. All of them begin the film with hopes, dreams, and aspirations, and becoming slaves to their addiction which inevitably leads to their major major downfalls. They attempt to use drugs to achieve their dreams, to sell drugs or sex to open a store, or weight loss and sleeping pills to achieve game show success, and it overpowers them and enslaves the characters.

Requiem is really as dark it comes. The last scene is a fantasy vision of what could be had drugs not entered into their lives and somehow it makes the film even more depressing. That vision conflicted with the harsh and painful reality of their lives makes the tragedy of the character’s downfall even more powerful. In short, the movie ends without even the faintest glimmer of hope or redemption for ANY of the characters. A bum out ending is one thing, though usually there is slight hint that the worst is over for the characters. In Requiem, there is a distinct feeling that things will probably get WORSE for them. Aronofsky basically ends the film at what could be the characters rock bottom but with painful YEARS of ordeals in front of them.

Note: Puppy video included to perk readers up.

I can’t watch this movie again. This is really no way I can ever sit through it. I wanted to turn off the damned thing at a bunch of points throughout but I didn’t. Somehow, I kept watched and while I didn’t enjoy the film in the least, I appreciated it a great deal for its honesty and darkness. I have seen a few films that were more depressing (which will be discussed later on in the list) which also fall into this category and they all deserve special mention. Though by the time Requiem for a Dream ended, all I wanted to do is watch cartoons, cuddle my cats, and ponder if I would want to see Jennifer Connelly in an anal sex show (answer was yes).

About the Top 800 Project:

Using the They Shoot Pictures Starting List of 8800 films (LINK) and my Netflix ratings, I sifted through the list and of the 4500 films I’d seen, I selected a random number of films I liked more than the others. The list was about 812 films. I kicked off 12 to get an even 800. The list chronologically goes up to 2009. Each blog entry will list ten films, one of which will be discussed in detail. The ten films will then be posted to The Top 800 Master List, a Google docs file compiling them. When the countdown finishes in what will be probably be a really a long time, I will begin discussing random films that I didn’t get to before.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

788. Two Lovers and the Strange Journey of Joaquin Phoenix

...Or How to Sabotage Your Own Film

This is a tough ten in which to choose one to discuss. There are two excellent documentaries (Dieter and Control Room), some great golden age screwball comedies (Ruggles and Major), a twisted classic (Freaks), and a VERY nerdy-emphasis –on-science-science fiction flick (Cube) to name just a couple. Though for today, I am going to focus on Two Lovers, a forgotten and unfairly overlooked film from last year.

Perhaps things would have gone better for this understated drama if the star hadn’t sabotaged the opening. Starring Joaquin Phoenix, it was during the press tour for Two Lovers that he began his “career transition” to aspiring rapper. Showing up on Letterman incoherent and with a giant beard, the film took a backseat to the filming of what would become key plot points in I’m Still Here, Casey Affleck’s worthy directorial effort in the genre of gonzo filmmaking. Though without a doubt, I approve of the satirical nature of I’m Still Here, I wished he instead would have done this during press for the bland Departed knock-off “We Own the Night.”

The plot of Two Lovers is pretty simple. Phoenix plays a man recovering from a major mental breakdown and is slowly beginning to date and become a functioning member of society. He is in the midst of falling for a plain, though stable girl, when he meets Gwyneth Paltrow, a mysterious ingénue with a similarly dark past. She is a whole basket of crazy and poor Phoenix doesn’t know happened as he falls in love with her. Their story progresses, things happen, and resolve somberly though faint rays hope, as all good indies do. It’s a pretty simple story but one of the best character studies over the past couple years.

I am not a Gwyneth Paltrow fan. I consider her Sylvia Plath biopic (creatively called Sylvia— ::begin rant:: enough with the biopics that only use the characters first name as a title! I am waiting for a Hitler biopic simply called Adolf. I get the simplicity but at this point, it’s horribly clichéd. Enough! ::end rant::) to be a cinematic crime, and I’m not even a Plath fan. Though in Two Lovers, she brings her Royal Tanenbaums-best. She even received an Independent Spirit Award nom for her efforts and the film itself garnered a few nominations for film and direction. Phoenix also delivers out an amazingly understated yet emotionally powerful performance. It begs the question of why, if he was so good, would he chose to completely wreck the integrity of the picture by having an emotional breakdown (albeit, a fake one) during the press tour?

He became the story and press focus rather than the film itself which it too bad. The indie film loving audience was scared away from seeing the film in theatres and it disappeared without a trace and only finally received some positive word of mouth when the ISA nominations came out. Still, Two Lovers is back to being an underappreciated, obscure film and given that I’m Still Here underwhelmed, I wonder what the fate of the film would be had I’m Still Here not been a factor.


781 Ruggles of Red Gap LeoMcCarey

782 I Was a Male War Bride Howard Hawks

783 Cube

784 Angel Face Otto Preminger

785 Little Dieter Needs to Fly Werner Herzog

786 Freaks Todd Browning

787 Traffic [2000] Steven Soderbergh

788 Two Lovers James Gray

789 The Major and the Minor Billy Wilder

790 Control Room

About the Top 800 Project:

Using the They Shoot Pictures Starting List of 7700 films (LINK) and my Netflix ratings, I sifted through the list and of the 4500 films I’d seen, I selected a random number of films I liked more than the others. The list was about 812 films. I kicked off 12 to get an even 800. The list chronologically goes up to 2009. Each blog entry will list ten films, one of which will be discussed in detail. The ten films will then be posted to HERE, a Google docs file compiling them. When the countdown finishes in what will be probably be a really a long time, I will begin discussing random films that I didn’t get to before.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tremors and the Subtle Art of the Horror Comedy

...or How a Movie About Giant Slugs Erupting form the Ground and Eating People Can Ever Be Considered Subtle

Tremors is a silly silly film. No one is going to argue that the premise is silly, the dialogue is silly, and the acting is even sillier. You can practically see the tongue in Kevin Bacon’s cheek throughout the course of the movie. In fact, Tremors is knowingly terrible. So why is this one of my favorite movies of all time if it’s so bad? Simple. It’s a benchmark in one of the most difficult film genres to pull off in existence, the horror comedy.

This oft underappreciated and under-grossing style is pretty rare given the number of both horror and comedy films that are released into theatres into every year. The ones that do get released often underperform and either find a cult following on video, like Tremors, or get lost to the ages, like Eight Legged Freaks. There is something inherently difficult about making death, gore, and mutilation funny and even harder to connect with an audience wanting to see it. The keys are to up the fantastical elements of the story, downplay the abject terror of the situation in itself, and to be careful of who to kill off. In all of these aspects, Tremors succeeds.

In a nutshell, the plot concerns a small town in the South in which giant underground snake/slug-like monsters invade the town and begin eating random citizens. The survivors who don’t get eaten take to the roofs to escape them and 90 minutes of slug shooting and perilious journeys to the ground ensue.

Tremors is basically Snakes on a Plane years prior to the blogosphere and when distilled down, both movies have a similar premise – giant slithery things trapping a motley group of colorful characters in a centralized location. The narrative order on these two films are practically! I rewatched Tremors recently and could practically hear Kevin Bacon yelling about he was getting pretty fucking tired about of all these motherfucking slugs in motherfucking small Southern town (note: If I continued my list farther, Snakes on a Plane would undoubtedly make an appearance).

Both films play on broad stereotypes. In Tremors, it was in the form of Michael Gross (the dad on Family Ties) and Reba McIntire (Reba on Reba) who play a couple of gun loving Southern people who just want to shoot the damned things. Between their trigger happy antics and Kevin Bacon pole vaulting from one house to another, the premise settles in nicely between sillier than silly dialogue, generally likeable characters that are fun to watch, and often humourous / horrific deaths of people getting eaten by giant Earthworms.

We can ignore the countless sequels that can be viewed on SyFy on any random weekend—when the “writers” of the movies kept trying to top the efforts of the previous film. Tremors on its own is a masterpiece of comic horror glory; a completely ridiculous effort that is a continual joy to behold. It also contains a lot of useful information to survive when the giant worms take back the Earth.

Here is the google docs link to the first ten films: #791-800

Monday, November 22, 2010

Welcome Back Blogger - Have some Chaplin

I've been trying to think of an adequate topic in which to resurrect my blog. I tired myself out in the process of writing my 'Favorite Films of the Aught's' series and wanted to get back to just writing about misc movies. With the release of Criterion's 'Modern Times' on blu-ray, I feel like I've a found a suitable topic to do this.

Released in 1936, Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times was a “silent” film in a time where sound films had completely taken over theaters. The film is a powerful socialism fueled comedy with healthy doses of pathos, slapstick, politicizing, and romance. In what Chaplin envisioned to be his final adventure with his “Tramp” character, we find that indelible man working in a factory at the film's onset. In this blog entry, I will discuss the factory scenes only.

In a set that echoes the great dystopian factories of Lang's Metropolis and Clair's A Nous a Liberte (more on this film and the controversy with Modern Times later), we see large grizzled workers pulling knobs and turning levers. Instructions are broadcasted from an angry be suited man in an office via a large video screen. During this part of the film is most of the dialogue is spoken and given the futurist setting, this is apt.

We see the Tramp, one or two feet shorter than the other workers, mindlessly using a couple wrenches to turn two screws on a random piece of machinery on a neverending assembly line. He often gets distracted, misses a few pieces, and then has to scramble to catch up. As always, Chaplin's amazing ability to perform natural slapstick is clever and humorous. The man next to him on the assembly line clearly isn't happy with the tramps performance and takes his job very seriously whereas the Tramp realizes the ridiculousness of the scenario.

Chaplin invented the tramp in the mid 1910's and described him as a free thinker and sophisticated gentlemen, despite his clownish appearance. His cane is his only piece of his normal wardrobe that suggests his “nobility” and in the factory, there is no cane or usual bowler hat. His factory attire is black pants a white shirt, similar to the other workers though his costume is markedly baggier than that of his more burly coworkers. In all of the factory exploits, the point is driven home that Chaplin does not belong in this world and serves as a nuisance to those who do.

In a particularly amusing sequence of factory dystopia, a man arrives with a machine to feed employees while they work. The machine drives up to the worker and via a series of bulky levers and inaccurate movements shoves food into the faces of the workers thus allowing them to remain on the station. Yeah, it doesn't work. In fact, it malfunctions and Chaplin ends up with food all his face and clothing. Again, the “suits” get angry with Chaplin himself rather the ridiculous machine.

Though anyone who sees any pictures from or the cover art to Modern Times DVD cover notices Chaplin in the gears of the machine spinning around. While helping an engineer fix machines he gets caught in the gears and embarks on a daft journey spinning around a seemingly never ending series of gears and circuits. Surely this sort of machine would have crushed a normal man and even the normally unflappable Tramp looks panicked. Through his multiple experiences in the gears compounded with the other various machines, he cracks, grabs his wrenches and begins a whimsical dance around the factory turning any two things that look like screws; nipples, mustaches, it's all fair game. The factory becomes a dance and the workers an elaborate set, making this place a bastion of art.

What I love about the factory of Modern Times is the scathing indictment of the this culture. This is a time in society after the robber barons where workers were beginning to develop rights and unions were transforming the work spectrum. Still, many workers were forced to thrive in these mundane and repetitive jobs. Lunch machines probably weren't so far off from ideal, as many bosses did want their workers to be robots. Even the workers themselves seem to have no repoire with each other suggesting more robotic sentiments.

Throughout the film, there are sly signs of worker unrest, the most notable being when the tramp inadvertently becomes the leader of a workers rights protest. Worker unrest is a timeless theme and there will always be conflict between worker-boss. Especially in this economic climate the idea of scaring a worker into dutifully remaining placid on the job is especially relevant.

Earlier in the post, I mentioned 'A Nous A Liberte,' a 1931 film by french director Rene Clair. Modern Times at points is remarkably similar to this film, especially during Chaplin's gear adventures. During the time, Chaplin swore up and down he had never seen the film though later in life, he back-peddled a bit and reportedly even said that Claire's film was better. I've seen both and while the Clair film is a classic in its own right, Modern Times is far superior and a lot funnier. Chaplin probably did steal ideas from Clair, but he improved on them immensely. I personally find Liberte a bit boring, mostly unfunny, and while that film is factory-centric, Modern Times really becomes a masterpiece in the second half with the integration of an incredibly sweet and inspiring love story. Conveniently, on the DVD, there is a nice little featureless on this.

Modern Times is unquestionably a masterpiece and a fitting retirement for the Tramp. At the close of the film, during his usual walk down the road into the sunset away from society, he finds a mate and presumably, will go and continue to make his way. What I love most about the Tramp is his spirit and his indelible optimism despite living a world not designed for him. Despite his poverty and continual rejection from society, he remains cheerful and hopeful as he literally walks down the road of life.

Modern Times is currently out on DVD via the Criterion Collection on standard and blu-ray. BUY

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Quick Sidetrip into Songwriting...

ok, this is not in usual MO on this here bloggey blog but i feel like posting it anyway. back story: about 5 years ago, i watched francois truffaut's landmark film, Jules et Jim and was BLOWN AWAY by the story and particularly the pacing. the film went from breakneck speed-->slow crawl-->breakneck speed all in the course of two hours. i love the idealism and the emotion in the film and its continued to amaze upon repeat viewings.

when i first saw the movie, i felt the need to write a song about it. over the course of 4 or 5 years, ive been gradually adding to this song and i finally completed it. i include the lyrics here with the disclaimer that this isnt based on a true story perse. its based on the feeling of an uncontrollable love spiraling out of control but doing so in a emotionally gratifying way. the movie and the song is about a love that was not meant to exist but somehow survived, perservered, evolved, and died in the most unlikely means necessary.

in case youre wondering what the sounds like, picture ben folds five. oh yeah, i do have a band. we are called Pleasant Sweaters (click here for our website) You can download our debut EP for FREE by going HERE

jules et jim

this is the story of jules and jim
and a tale of a love that was yet to begin
skipped on the church and went straight to the sin
just like me and you and him

they fell in love with a mystery girl
whose name was catherine
she wasnt that pretty or even sincere
in fact she was always severe
but that didnt stop them from falling in love
and forming a band of three
after the war jules had catherines baby
and so the three men then lived
as commune of four and then three
when jim felt he had to leave
catherine loved one and then loved the other
switching seamlessly

but as sure as the trains run from london to paris
theres was a love beautiful and tragic
moving through life at a breakneck speed
so when jules and jim

now im not henri senne
and youre not jeanne moreau
were not being directed
by francois truffaut
but i see us in a car
heading towards a cliff
and down

but as sure as the trains run from london to paris* [*or cardiff]
ours is a love beautiful and tragic
moving through life at a breakneck speed
so go you and me

Sunday, May 23, 2010

MURDER! CRIME! MYSTERY! an entire day of american film noir!

american film noir of the 40s and 50s is one of my favorite genres of film. everyone wears suits, derbys, and there is always a murder most foul or a heist to full off. these are great movies to flip on and get lost in an america that is long gone. TCM and FXM recently show six classic film noirs i have never seen and were all included on they shoot pictures list of top 250 film noirs ever made. i am going to watch all of them and blog it.

the first thing on the bill for today is 'the street with no name,' a 1948 fox production starring noir stalwarts mark stevens and richard widmark. the sheer appearance of richard widmark in anything is going to make for an interesting film. he is apparently a bad guy in this one and sees like he is in kiss me deadly mode. this is one of those, 'ripped from the pages' films with a lot of vocal narration over the first part of the film and a note indicating its real nature. much like phenix city story and kansas city confidential, these films pride themselves on a set up of lots of names and intercut scenes of police work. the feel is to make it like a newsreel eventually leading into the action of the plot. in terms of film noir, im really not a fan of these types of real life noir. the editing is a bit too jumpy and the dizzying amount of names, faces, details, makes the plot profoundly difficult for long periods of time. with this in particular, i have faith in william kneighly as a director (his film pandora and the flying dutchman is a masterpiece) and his directorial style is valliant but in the end, this is a sub-par noir. finally, widmark comes into the scene. he could have been bogart if he had the right agent. he commanded the screen like few did. he makes a medicore film worth watching. as i watch this, he slapped a woman a couple times. widmark did clearly girl slapping well though the best use of physical abuse towards in a film noir still belongs to pick-up on south street. ***** ****** sure did know how to take a slap right to the kisser. actually, i changed my mind, this is a pretty decent film. gotta love widmark

next up; richard thorpe's the unknown man with walter pidgeon and ann harding. the movie begins with a first person narration introducing you to the plot. its about a attorney that may have acquited a murderer. gettin' excited. i like the feel of this one. this one clearly has a low budget and the direction is decidedly lazy. while thorpe was a capable director, he clearly is "less than meets the eye." when it comes to noir, siodmak, fuller, and ulmer all had their distinct styles but a lot of noir directors had a very similar mise en scene. at least the lighting and shadows in the unknown man is quite well done. there was just a great OH SNAP moment...where the killer reveals himself by including a detail where only the killer and the lawyer would have known. and now he ended up dead. oooooh!

Scandal Sheet, directed by phil karlson and written by sam fuller. yup, right off the bat, this off has the gritty dialogue of fuller. there is a newspaper editor who has been implicated in a murder and the paper's star reporter investigates. this one also stars donna reed (who was a huge star even before her eponymous show) and broderick crawford fresh off his brilliant performance in all the king's men. there is a really great pivotal scene that takes place in a lonely hearts club, which were places where single people went to find spouses. for some reason, this seemed like a good force lonely people to meet other lonely people and one couple is given a free wedding at the end of the dance. yes, i firmly believe true love can form at a forced social event over the course of a few hours. -- fast forward an hour. i realize ive seen this movie before. sometimes when one watches a dizzying amount of the same kind of movie, the names escape me. however, it was the looming and panicked performance of broderick crawford that jogged my memory. i cant help but remember now how different this performance was from all the kings men. also, i remember john derek's great nice acting.

ok, halftime. quick bikeride out to go to whole foods, pick up some yogurt and kombucha. head over to the north andover sheep sheering festival, get locked out of my house, kick in third kitchen window dangling from drainpipe and climb into the house.


the fourth film of the day is eyes in the night, a film about a blind detective. so far there is ann harding (again), donna reed (again!), and a dog (named friday). its directed by fred zinnamin who would late achieve huge success with from here to eternity and a man for all seasons (and some would say a nuns story as well). this is exceptionally low budget and the camera work is excessively shocking and lazy. this guy would win an oscar? these pans are attrocious and even for a noir, the acting is pretty bad. lets see how it progresses. until im going to go back to drinking kombucha. i just did some quick research and this was only his second or third full length film. before this, he was mainly doing hokey shorts in the "crime does not pay" series. he made a decent noir some years later with act of violence but eyes in the night is clearly a director who hadnt hit his stride. also, the dog is the best actor in this by far. he opened a door handle with his mouth. WIN

penutlimate film in this marathon! its armored car robbery and clocking in at a tight 65 minutes, one of the shortest full length features ill ever watch. so far, this movie RULES. four guys rob an armored car (DUH) and a chase ensues. this has everything so far, a car non starting and tension ensuing. a perfect plan slowly unravelling and a host of a bush league actors from the 40s and 50s (charles macgraw!). directed oddly enough by richard fleischer, who went onto direct such shlocky and largely medicore big budgeters fantastic voyage and doctor doolittle, the filmmaking is very capable. maybe he should have stuck with noir, as his follow up to this, the narrow margin, is a great movie. yeah, cool flick.

LAST ONE! DESTINATION MURDER! ok, this was a crazy idea in retrospect. every actor is starting to look the same. so far today, ive seen a million white dude in hats and suits, a few choice dames, one black person, and one dog (who had a bigger role than said black person). im a big fan of this genre but it definitely does remind you how far cinema has come in terms of integration of not just white people. alright, nevermind that. we got the usual stuff. murder, off to a cop to find the killer on barely any clues. meh. im going to post this and try to live with the fact that i watched six film noirs today.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Lyrical and Meditative Films of two 21st Century Masters

Looking over significant films of the 21 century on They Shoot Pictures, East Asia makes a prominent showing. While Japanese cinema has been internationally admired since the 1950's, the works of other East Asian nations have not caught on until recently.

Looking over significant works of recent history, names like Wong Kar Wei, Zhang Yimou, Jia Zhangke, Ming Liang Tsai and Apichatpong Weerasethakul are common. The last two of these directors will be the focus on this blog. For ease and my own sanity, I will refer to Apichatpong Weerasethakul as Fred (I'm not the first to call him this).

The films of Fred and Tsai have a great deal of common elements and represent a movement of hyper realism in terms of characters and mise en scene. however, both of their films contain supernatural or fantastical elements that gives their films an ethereal film.

In the film "What Time is it There?" a brief encounter between a woman and a man selling watches in Taiwan spurns a mysterious connection. The two of them have parallel experiences while he is in Taiwan and she is in Paris.

What is most fascinating about film is the juxtaposition of the two films. First, the woman goes to Paris in the winter and for a large portion of the film, is tucked into tight, claustrophobic, and bleak places not indicative of the city of lights. At the end of the film are scenes finally shot in Luxembourg and the Paris of lore comes alive. Though the garden is cold and the crowd is sparse.

While in Taiwan, the man continues to sell watches, deals with a mother who cannot her husband's death, and takes an interest in french culture. In fact, through most of the film, the man is seen doing more Parisian things than the woman. Also, the colors of the Taiwan scenes feature more vibrant reds and colors than those shot in Paris.

In one of my favorite juxtapositions of the film, the man watches Francois Truffaut's seminal film The 400 Blows starring Jean Pierre Leaud. Meanwhile in Paris, the woman encounters the real Jean Pierre in an inspired cameo.

The film is purposely disjointed and almost entirely free of dialogue which is a common theme in many of Tsai's films.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul (pronounced ah-pah-chee-ta-pong weere-ah set-ah-cuhl) aka Fred's films are similar to Tsai. Looking at his film, Tropical Malady, one sees symbolism of love, frustration, happiness, and a confusing disjointed vision of man's struggle against himself.

The first hour of the film is a love story between two men in Thailand. It is sweet and the story is fairly linnear. With not enough of words, the love develops and then, one of the men disappear into the forest and the other one goes in to find him.


What follows in the next hour is a man's battle with a mysterious naked man which I take to represent love and the carnal duality of emotions buried within men. The theme of men as beasts was clearly delinneated in the early portions of the film in dialogue. The beast literally comes to life in the final frames in the form of a glowing tiger speaking in a strange tongue.

The battles in the forest could also be taken as allegorical referring to Jacob wrestling with the angel. The fight of Jacob symbolizes wrestling with his feelings about the lord and his own personal faith. Given that love is a leap of faith, I think this could be a logical point.

These are just two films by these great auteurs and are absolutely necessary watching for those who want to delve into the great of the 21st century. Yes, they are slow and many will consider them boring but like many of the movies I discuss on this blog should not be watched to escape or to enjoy but to experience in the same way that one views modern abstract art.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Oscar Picks

Best Documentary, Features
Burma VJ: Reporter i et lukket land (2008): Anders Østergaard, Lise Lense-Møller
The Cove (2009): Louie Psihoyos, Fisher Stevens
Food, Inc. (2008): Robert Kenner, Elise Pearlstein
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (2009): Judith Ehrlich, Rick Goldsmith
Which Way Home (2009): Rebecca Cammisa

some good choices here and The Cove is the front-runner but momentum has been building for Food Inc. I think Oscar may indeed give Food a thought! (har har har har). seriously i think the cove is going to win

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Ajami (2009)(Israel)
Das weisse Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte (2009)(Germany)
El secreto de sus ojos (2009)(Argentina)
Un prophète (2009)(France)
La teta asustada (2009)(Peru)

White Band (Das Weisse Band). Hands down. Un Prophete has a shot but Haneke is a pretty respected name in International Cinema.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Coraline (2009): Henry Selick
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009): Wes Anderson
The Princess and the Frog (2009): John Musker, Ron Clements
The Secret of Kells (2009): Tomm Moore
Up (2009): Pete Docter

Up is a lock. It sort of has to win, right? it was nominated for best picture and there were no other animated films in there so it has to win, right?

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Best Achievement in Art Direction
Best Achievement in Cinematography

not going to list all the nominees, Avatar is going to win all of these.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Crazy Heart (2009): T-Bone Burnett, Ryan Bingham("The Weary Kind")
Faubourg 36 (2008): Reinhardt Wagner, Frank Thomas("Loin de Paname")
Nine (2009): Maury Yeston("Take It All")
The Princess and the Frog (2009): Randy Newman("Almost There")
The Princess and the Frog (2009): Randy Newman("Down in New Orleans")

what a disappointing list. karen o should be in here for 'all is love' meh. give it to the crazy heart song.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Avatar (2009): James Horner
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009): Alexandre Desplat
The Hurt Locker (2008): Marco Beltrami, Buck Sanders
Sherlock Holmes (2009): Hans Zimmer
Up (2009): Michael Giacchino

this is actually an interesting race. this could go to either Up or Avatar. the latter would have been amazing without any music at all so i'm going to say Up on this one.

Best Achievement in Makeup
Il divo (2008): Aldo Signoretti, Vittorio Sodano
Star Trek (2009): Barney Burman, Mindy Hall, Joel Harlow
The Young Victoria (2009): John Henry Gordon, Jenny Shircore

give this one to the green women of star trek.

Best Achievement in Costume Design
Bright Star (2009): Janet Patterson
Coco avant Chanel (2009): Catherine Leterrier
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009): Monique Prudhomme
Nine (2009): Colleen Atwood
The Young Victoria (2009): Sandy Powel

normally this category defaults to the period piece but we have TWO of them! AND a movie about coco chanel. ok, here is what i think will happen, young victoria and bright star will split the corset vote and coco before chanel will win. personally, i would like to see imaginarium take it. those costumes were all amazing. that or the young victoria will just win outright.

Best Achievement in Editing
Avatar (2009): Stephen E. Rivkin, John Refoua, James Cameron
District 9 (2009): Julian Clarke
The Hurt Locker (2008): Bob Murawski, Chris Innis
Inglourious Basterds (2009): Sally Menke
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009): Joe Klotz

i want to default to avatar here but im not so sure. you see, best editing has been predictative of best picture now for the better of ten years. since i really dont think avatar is going to win best picture, i am going to say hurt locker. that film relied very heavily on editing to get its message across

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
District 9 (2009): Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
An Education (2009): Nick Hornby
In the Loop (2009): Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009): Geoffrey Fletcher
Up in the Air (2009/I): Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner

Up in the Air is a lock...despite the persistent commercials for american airlines, hertz, and hilton hotels throughout. seriously, it just got ridiculous after a certain point. my personal vote would have been In the Loop or An Education.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
The Hurt Locker (2008): Mark Boal
Inglourious Basterds (2009): Quentin Tarantino
The Messenger (2009/I): Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman
A Serious Man (2009): Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Up (2009): Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Thomas McCarthy

this is tough to call. its between hurt locker and basterds. given tarantino's universal love in the academy, i am going to lean towards the basterds but a hurt locker win would not surprise me

Best Achievement in Directing
Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2008)
James Cameron for Avatar (2009)
Lee Daniels for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)
Jason Reitman for Up in the Air (2009/I)
Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds (2009)

This is another really really interesting race. there hasnt been a race between ex-husband and ex-wife before and its libel to be very close. i am going to predict biglow but would not be suprised if cameron won.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Mo'Nique for the boys and Waltz for the boys. no contest.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side (2009)
Helen Mirren for The Last Station (2009)
Carey Mulligan for An Education (2009)
Gabourey Sidibe for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)
Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia (2009)

this is the only interesting race in the acting category because the only one who doesnt have a shot in helen mirren. i dont think sandra bullock is going to win and sadly, i dont think mulligan is either. sidibe has a chance as a dark horse spoiler but when its all said and done, i think meryl streep will be taking home her first oscar since 1983! yeah, she has been nominated 11 times without a win! and the one she may get it for is a glorified dan ackroyd as julia child impression from SNL

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart (2009)
George Clooney for Up in the Air (2009/I)
Colin Firth for A Single Man (2009)
Morgan Freeman for Invictus (2009)
Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker (2008)

Personally, i would love to see colin firth win but bridges is the likely winner and sentimental favorite. everyone knows he shouldve been nominated and won the oscar for big lebowski but he most likely will get it here. sorry george clooney.

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Avatar (2009): James Cameron, Jon Landau
The Blind Side (2009): Gil Netter, Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson
District 9 (2009): Peter Jackson, Carolynne Cunningham
An Education (2009): Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey
The Hurt Locker (2008): Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier, Greg Shapiro
Inglourious Basterds (2009): Lawrence Bender
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009): Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness, Gary Magness
A Serious Man (2009): Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Up (2009): Jonas Rivera
Up in the Air (2009/I): Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman, Jason Reitman

ten nominees! WOW! basically, this is a 3 movie race. there is avatar, which i really really dont think will win. there is the hurt locker, which i think will win. and then there is inglorious basterds who people seem to think will win. but yeah, everything else are also rans and im kinda surprised that the hangover and star trek didnt make it in and the blind side did. hmm. oh well, last year i was 73%. lets see if i do better this year

like my IFC post, this blog was not proofread and likely contains a lot of missing words

Independent Spirit Awards Picks

i love the spirit awards for all the reasons IFC wants me to like them. it is an awards show that attempts not to take itself seriously but nominates people and films that the oscars pass by. usually though, the winners are oscar films but quirky comedies that dont have a shot of winning best picture but are a lock for best screenplay (sideways, little miss sunshine, etc). ive seen most of these films so ill give you picks and some commentary

Best Documentary
Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2008)
Food, Inc. (2008)
More Than a Game (2008)
October Country (2009)
Which Way Home (2009)

I've seen four of these (october country...not yet). i am leaning towards Food, Inc. because it did cause some amazing discussion and social change though Anvil! was beloved by all. Still, I'm thinking Food has this one.

Best Foreign Film
An Education (2009)
Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick (2008)
Madeo (2009)
La nana (2009)
Un prophète (2009)

I've seen three of these and my guess is going to be the one I haven't seen yet, Un Prophete. British films like An Education have notoriously difficult shots at Best Foreign Film because while technically, it's foreign, there aren't subtitles.

Best First Feature
Crazy Heart (2009)
Easier with Practice (2009)
The Messenger (2009/I)
Paranormal Activity (2007)
A Single Man (2009)

I can tell you who is NOT going to win this: Paranormal Activity. It was good but too many people are comparing it to Blair Witch which means the ghastly after effects of all involved sliding back into obscurity. A Single Man was outstandingly shot and overlooked. Tom Ford used his remarkable his photographic eye for one of the most uniquely shots debuts in a while. There's your winner

Best Cinematography
The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans (2009): Peter Zeitlinger
Cold Souls (2009): Andrij Parekh
A Serious Man (2009): Roger Deakins
Sin nombre (2009): Adriano Goldman
Treeless Mountain (2008): Anne Misaw

I've seen all of these and I can't decide whether I liked Sin Nombre or Cold Souls more in terms of cinematography. In Souls, the stark sterility of the appearance in the Soul and the Soul Extractor were essential to a successful film and Sin Nombre was a wonderful trip through downtrodden Mexico. Also, Treeless Mountain was stark and had some lovely sunsets. On the other hand, A Serious Man is the Coen Brothers. Yeah, I'm going with that one.

Best First Screenplay
Amreeka (2009): Cherien Dabis
Cold Souls (2009): Sophie Barthes
Crazy Heart (2009): Scott Cooper
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009): Geoffrey Fletcher
A Single Man (2009): Tom Ford, David Scearce

This is a tough category too. Amreeka was brilliantly written and took a tough subject matter (Palestinian immigrants trying to set up a new life in the US) and made it sad, poignant, and funny at times. On the other hand, Precious was popular but did receive a lot of backlash after the initial fawning. Cold Souls was brilliantly clever but was a bit reminscient of Eternal Sunshine. Crazy Heart was good but I didn't was as emotional as it could have been. Right, I'm saying a Single Man on this one too but Amreeka might take it.

Best Screenplay
(500) Days of Summer (2009): Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Adventureland (2009): Greg Mottola
The Messenger (2009/I): Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman
The Last Station (2009): Michael Hoffman
The Vicious Kind (2009): Lee Toland Krieger

(500) Days is a lock. Adventureland could upset but I highly doubt it.

Best Director
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen for A Serious Man (2009)
Lee Daniels for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)
Cary Fukunaga for Sin nombre (2009)
James Gray for Two Lovers (2008)
Michael Hoffman for The Last Station (2009)

If there is something better the Coen Brothers, it's underappreciated Coen Brothers. This one is pretty much a lock too though I was very impressed by the direction in Sin Nombre and Two Lovers, the latter of which was one of the most pleasant film suprises of recent years for me. Still, Coens.

Best Supporting Male
Jemaine Clement for Gentlemen Broncos (2009)
Woody Harrelson for The Messenger (2009/I)
Christian McKay for Me and Orson Welles (2008)
Ray McKinnon for That Evening Sun (2009)
Christopher Plummer for The Last Station (2009)

While the idea of Clement winning makes me very very happy (he sang Too Many Dicks on the Dancefloor!) Woody Harrelson is a lock and probably would be a strong candidate for the Oscar if Christophe Waltz didn't give one of the most memorable performances in history.

Best Supporting Female
Mo'Nique for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)
Dina Korzun for Cold Souls (2009)
Samantha Morton for The Messenger (2009/I)
Natalie Press for Fifty Dead Men Walking (2008)
Mia Wasikowska for That Evening Sun (2009)

Mo'Nique is going to win the Oscar and should. She is also going to win the Spirit award and should. Though I did think Samantha Morton was excellent. Of course, she is always excellent. Weep not for Mia Wasikowska, she plays the lead in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland so she will be ok.

Best Male Lead
Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart (2009)
Colin Firth for A Single Man (2009)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt for (500) Days of Summer (2009)
Souleymane Sy Savane for Goodbye Solo (2008)
Adam Scott for The Vicious Kind (2009)

This is a tough one. Bridges is the sentimental favorite and the likely Oscar winner but Firth and Levitt have strong shots at this. I am going to say Bridges but I think that this race is fairly close

Best Female Lead
Maria Bello for Downloading Nancy (2008)
Nisreen Faour for Amreeka (2009)
Helen Mirren for The Last Station (2009)
Gwyneth Paltrow for Two Lovers (2008)
Gabourey Sidibe for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)

Precious is going to win but I protest this. I thought Maria Bello was amazing and I'm wondering how the hell Tilda Swinton was snubbed for Julia. Sidibe was good but strictly ordinary and her performance did not have the same sort of emotional punch that Mo'Nique had.

Best Feature
(500) Days of Summer (2009)
Amreeka (2009)
The Last Station (2009)
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)
Sin nombre (2009)

I would like to see Sin Nombre or Amreeka win because I really liked them a lot. Precious has a small chance but I think that (500) Days of Summer, a movie beloved by all and starring poster children of indie films will win.

i didnt proofread this blog entry so im sorry if there are a shit ton of words missing. i type stream of conciousness and leave out words frequently.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Year in Lists or Lizstomania!

When did people start fanatically keeping lists? When did everyone on an internet website start posting their favorite things divided into logical progressions? Why are we a nation that lives and dies with the list?

When I do my faily wander over to the IMBD, I check out the Top 250. In fact, it was this list that started my fascination with films. When I finished watching all the films on it, I moved on to the decade lists and watched all those. Then I began the search for more and more lists of films to dissect and conquer. As I continued to seek other critics lists of films, I realized that I was not alone in my love of lists and that there were entire websites devoted to cataloging. Most notable, there was, a site entirely dedicated to people posting lists (their own or user-created) and completing them. I signed on and began searching for more lists to complete.

For me personally, the discovery of a good list is exciting. It is something that I can accomplish and it gives me satisfaction to tick movies off the list one by one. On my computer I have spreadsheets of my lists in progress and I love seeing a rare movie on TV or newly released on video so I can delete that particular column.

The main one I am working one, the list by which all other lists are judged is of course the 'They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?' Top 1000 films of all time. This isn't JUST a film list, it is THE film list by which all others are fed into. In a simple spreadsheet I have the definitive list of the 1000 movies to watch that encompass the greatest films ever made. They are grouped into Netflix availability and then by length. As an aside, since I am have long since seen all the TSPDT films on Netflix, I opened up a Facets ( subscription to help me with the import and out of print discs.

(I tried to paste in a photo of my spreadsheet but I suck at blogging.)

The problem is that I have been at work on this list for so long that I only have about 8% of it left to see even after the Facets films have been factored in, all of which are unavailable on DVD in the US to rent. If I had the money, I would find a region 155 copy of Ousmane Sembene's Ceddo just to tick it off but since I'm not that obsessed, it will have to remain marked as "Unconsumed" on the lists the bests website. Though as this list wains, I have to start other ones that aren't as fun like the New York Times Top 1000 films of all time list.

I have been working on this one strongly for about a year and it is without question, the dumbest and most insipid film canon I have ever encountered (worse than totalfilm!). Yet, since I have committed to finishing the list, I have forced myself to sit through dated 80's/90's thrillers like One False Move, River's Edge, and Internal Affairs. Granted, there were at least a couple gems on there like Claude Chabrol's La Ceremonie and photo-journalist Ray Ashley and Morris Engel's The Little Fugitive, but this list is filled with drivel and movies so bad that one wonders if this list is a giant inside joke to the writer and his friends (Trip to Bountiful...really?).

I am wasting enough hours just so that I can take these films off my list and move on to the next canon. Perhaps the reason I, and society, love the list so far much it presents a clear starting and finishing point. What in our lives are ever that clear cut? Death is a clear end point. Birth is a starting point. Actually, sex has both of those endpoints.

So, am I saying that internet nerds use lists to make up for their lack of a sex life? Hmm. I did not intend on raising this point when i started lazily writing this blog entry an hour ago.

Sex replacement or not, the list shouldn't be seen as a definitive set in stone example of 'THIS IS GOOD' but a nice place to begin a journey. Thanks to the IMBD and TSPDT, I've experienced some amazing films and am better for it. Those lists led me into film corridors I never would have encountered without that initial recommendation.

A highlight of any year is the year end best of lists that start to pop up in every publication known to man. For this blog title, I referenced two of my favorite 'list' oriented songs in the title. OK, so the Phoenix track is based on a classical composer but still... Also, I embedded the hysterically accurate 'Brat Pack Mash Up' of the video which is genius.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Crazy Bitches of Asian Horror Films

ive always been a huge fan of asian horror films. ever since i saw Ringu seven years ago, i knew that the dark atmospheric, creepy, psychological scariness was right up my alley. finally i was seeing a horror movie that legitimately scared the crap out of me. Whether it was Sadako from the Ring climbing out of a TV and eating my soul or Kayako climbing down steps croaking and eating my soul or Asami from Audition putting me in a bag sticking needles into me and um...eating my soul, im a sucker for the scary black haired lady of Asian horror.

One of the first major films I saw that features the black haired lady/ghost was KAIDAN, the seminal collection of horror films by Masaki Kobayashi. the four short films were all based on popular legend and one of them was about the vengeful female ghost with long black hair covering her eyes. a lot of people have criticized the japanese for overusing this but the imagery and themes of revenge are no different from western culture's fascination with zombies, vampires, or eerie white ghosts. the color white is also a strong symbol of death in asian culture which is why a lot of the black haired ghosts are wearing white gowns. as an aside, i will add that throughout asia, black is not a mourning color--white is.

now that we have the historical info out of the way lets talk about da bitches.

of course the women arent bitches, they are seeking revenge for violent deaths to themselves or their family and frankly most of the the time, their anger is justified though their methods be a little extreme. it is right for Sadako from Ringu to make a video that kills people unless they copy it and show it to someone else? Um....maybe she overreacted but you would be cranky if someone dumped you in a well to die and had to be cold and wet for seven days. So, I usually give the female villians the benefit of doubt. However, I saw BLACK HOUSE, and frankly was... the chick from that was a crazy bitch.

she killed without remorse which was her shtick. she did not feel guilt and killed people for insurance money. the hero in this film is a meek insurance agent trying to justify the claims. finally, ive been waiting for claims agent as a protagonist (such an oft under appreciated hero of nerdom). overall, black house was an awesome movie but one of the few clear cut cases of an angry female with long black hair killing seemingly for no reason.

though i hope this film was an isolated example, im hoping that asian horror films dont jump onto this bandwagon. for too years, american horror films have been plagued by a maniac without much motivation to kill other than insanity. or the reasons they have for killing are pretty lame (freddy kreuger im lookin at you!). michael myers, leatherface, sandra bullock -- all merciless killers just because (sandra bullock makes me die inside).

what makes asian horror so entrancing for me is the motivation behind the killings. the women that are so terrifying and ruthless at the beginning of the film become almost pitiable. they are just looking for closure and an end to their emotional torture. i want to feel for the villian. a compassionate villian makes an interesting story.

whispering corridors, momento mori, tale of two sisters, the red shoes, cello, cinderella -- all of these have some sympathetic and black haired villian or ghost and use it to the story's advantage.

while these women may be misunderstood and crazy, they are intriguing characters. in short, these ladies are all right with me. except for the black house chick, that bitch is straight up trippin'

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Importance of the Hurt Locker in the Upper Echelon of War Films

THE HURT LOCKER will be remembered as one of the most important movies of the 00's.

this is a lofty claim for a film during it largely ignored during it release and starring virtually no one of note (the ralph fiennes appearance was basically a cameo) but this is going to be a landmark film for one major reason: that the war in iraq has finally been accurately portrayed on film and connected with audiences.

before i really get going, the hurt locker is about a bomb defusing unit working in Iraq in the second occupation (this one).

if you look back at movies dealing with terrorism and modern warfare post 9/11, you will see quite a few: in the valley of elah, rendition, stop-loss, grace is gone, the kingdom, and even vantage point. still, none of these movies really resonated as something realistic or relevant and had the critical acclaim to make it a lasting memory. of those, elah was nominated for an oscar but it remained largely ignored and like most of the movies above, it dealt more with the impact of the war at home rather than in the field.

im not in the armed services nor do i know anyone who serves in the army so it does seem pretty naive for me to sit here on my couch and type about the real experiences the film conveys. though in many ways, the actual realism is secondary to having a strong, lasting piece of media detailing this war, one of the most important historical turning point of the US. no reproduction is going to be 100% accurate but in this case, the message is more important.

true to life or not, this is a film that people have slowly latched onto as a gritty and true to life war film. it is not the constant explosions and adventure of the kingdom or the heavy handed armchair leftist touting politics of lions for lambs or rendition. it is a film that says that fighting in iraq is psychologically intense with bursts of incredible fear and imminent death with periods of intense boredom. this isnt a movie about politics, it is about the men on the ground that the politicos are arguing about.

i think that the only other film to capture this aspect of war is jarhead, the immensely underrated sam mendes film made about the first occupation of iraq. for all intents and purposes, a lot of war does seem to be waiting around. even in 'all quiet on the western front,' which i consider to be one of the greatest war movies of all time, there is a line to the extent of 'we wait around we fight and try not to get killed.'

that is war, right? watered down and simple. fight the other side and try not to get killed.

but its so much than that especially when dealing with a polarizing war such as that of iraq. there are so many other sides including the iraqi population. there are endless greys in these conflicts and on top of it, there are those for and against american occupation with the latter being far louder than the former.

in the hurt locker, nothing in the movie cried out to me of propaganda of either side. to me, it was a simple and beautifully done film with a solid message about a relevant topic that will continue to be discussed for many future generations. the hurt locker is a modern day 'all quiet on the western front,' 'full metal jacket,' 'saving private ryan,' 'mash,' or 'patton' and deserves it place as a major talking point about war in the modern era.

as an aside, i want to go back to writing about movies from 50 years ago. think ill switch back to that