The 2 Star flicks (#55-70) reviews are in. If you haven’t read the 1 Stars yet, go do so. I’d love more feedback please! What do you agree or disagree with me on? These 2 Stars are fine movies, but either just didn’t grab me personally or I just feel like they should have been a bit better and stood the test of time more.

55.     Going My Way, 1944 Bing Crosby. (Can you hear his smooth bass vocals going “Ba-doom-ba-doo-ba-doom?”) This is quintessential Bing. We probably consider Father O’Malley the “standard” Bing character because he played the role twice, here and the following year in the sequel, “The Bells of St. Mary’s,” earning an Oscar nod for the latter and winning for this one. We might also consider this the real Bing because his character is so bland and ‘everyman-like’ that it just sort of fits every occasion. He’s the sort of guy one would describe with such delicious adjectives as “nice” and “seemly.” The whole plot is a young priest who is on the verge of having saintly properties that no one wants to see at first but, dog-gone it, he’s just so nice. He is sweet and he gets to purr out a few songs that would go on to become classics. You know from the start he’s going to turn things around, but it got to the end and I was like, “that’s all the hell he did?” (SPOILER) A month after he leaves, everyone’s going to be right back to where they were at the beginning of the movie. I don’t think that’s cynical, he just didn’t seem to have that deep of an effect on anyone. Barry Fitzgerald gives a fine performance as well, but I prefer him as a drunk (see Michaleen Og Flynn- what a great name) than as a priest. And Crosby gave a much finer performance in “The Country Girl” than here, but then again, he was playing a drunk. Maybe I have a theme as to the type of characters I enjoy watching. Speaking of… Drinking Game: 1) The toughest of New York hooligans get tough with wild poultry 2) A teenage girl has hooker-in-the-making written all over her face 3) The movie stops so we can watch an Opera Going My Way

56.     Chariots of Fire, 1981 Why exactly was this movie made? A lot of people have won Olympics. Surely there are a lot more interesting stories than this. Rich people having rich people problems is a theme that really turns me off. Now, there’s “The Age of Innocence” and “Roman Holiday” plots where their wealth and position alienate them from basic emotional desires. I like that. A bunch of rich frat pricks all bitchin’ over who runs faster and getting to run in the Olympics without really having to work at it all that hard just doesn’t grab me. Now, the cinematography is softly majestic at times. And the costumes are equally delicate- literally. Many were actually from the time period and fell apart on the actors as they were wearing them, but they are beautiful. Unfortunately, the script is just boring. Now we’ve got two lead dudes who are aiming for the same goal with very different reasons and personal obstacles. One is for personal triumph over anti-Semitism and the other is simply for god’s glory. These two unique, religious twists earned a few bonus points in my book, along with the fine performances of newbies Ben Cross and especially Ian Charleson, who would go onto another fine performance in “Gandhi” before his career was cut short far too early by the AIDS epidemic of the 80s. But then we’ve got another four or five other dudes who are equally good and have potential for interesting perspectives, but we’re left frustratingly less informed. But what is lacking in ensemble development is made up for in British pride and synthesized 1920s music. Using music from the time a film is made for a period piece is a sure sign the film will get dated fast. The opening score and feet running on the shore is still beautiful, but the rest of the soundtrack reeks of one lone composer sitting in his London flat (wearing only his underwear) with his electric keyboard and whatever the British version of Cheetos is. Drinking Game: 1) Cool college lads having a jolly good time in song 2) synthesizer 3) you fall asleep Chariots of Fire

57.     The Deer Hunter, 1978 Christopher Walken (who won the Supporting Actor Oscar) is really what this flick is about, much more than Vietnam. The film is sort of set in three acts, dealing with post-war stress at coming home and getting a job, getting married, and flashbacks to the horrors of the war. The latter is by far the most intriguing. The famous scenes of Russian roulette, which were also on the movie poster, just stick with you. I’d seen the film years ago and in re-watching, those were the only scenes I really remembered, and for good reason. Everything about adjusting to life back home, while honest and probably accurate, was just a little too boring. I think it really reflects a raw side of cinematography of the late 70s, but it feels really dated now. Back to the more interesting war stuff, while I still feel like “Apocalypse Now” does a better job dealing with the war itself, the scenes are just expressing an on-the-edge of your seat horror of what man is capable of doing to each other. The fact that the Asian cultures are presented as villainous just as any depiction of Native Americans were in a western in the 50s somehow didn’t bother me so much. The focus is so much more on these two guys and the situations surrounding them rather than the specific war itself that I wasn’t really thinking of them as Vietnamese as much as “enemies of war.” I mean, they didn’t even play Russian roulette there, so clearly, it’s just a concept. Drinking Game: 1) Meryl Streep seems like something’s got her sad 2) Someone is wearing a bandana. Or flannel. (Shot if they’re wearing both- oh, sorry- I meant take a shot. That didn’t sound much better in reference to this flick) 3) Real dudes break out in Karaoke and make it cool  The Deer Hunter

58.     My Fair Lady, 1964 I love a lot of musicals from the 50s and 60s- “Carousel,”The King and I,” “The Music Man”- I could go on. Of the 6 musicals that won during the time period, 4 are some of my least favorites of all time. I’m not sure why audiences seemed to love to watch pompous Europeans strutting around being shallow and better than everyone else so much.  For this, you’ve got the book based on G. B. Shaw’s classic “Pygmalion,” the godfather of pompous British asses. At least we don’t get any ten-minute soap-box sermons about how the rich should treat the poor better while he smokes his cigar from his penthouse, like most of his other work. But I do feel, in every piece, Shaw put himself into it somewhere.  Here, Shaw plays Prof. Higgins and for that, Higgins is a dick. I do empathize with Eliza. Her dad is a dick too. Then she gets Higgins. She’s surrounded by dicks. But finally, she ends up with Freddy, vanilla as he is, at least he doesn’t appear to be a dick yet. Oh, but wait, that’s the stage version where Eliza and Freddy end up together. In this adaptation, it ends with Eliza obediently bringing Higgins his slippers like the faithful pup she has finally learned to be. (Take a drink if you just threw up in your mouth a little). Seriously? I mean, he’s forty years too old for you Eliza? And his songs suck! And he’s a dick. If you want a dick, go sleep with your dad. At least he gets a good song. But seriously, the songs mostly suck too. I do love “Wouldn’t It Be Lovely.” And Audrey Hepburn has such a beautiful voice. Shit, wait again. I mean, Marni Nixon sang beautifully.  Nixon is one of the most unsung heroes in Hollywood history, beautiful capturing Maria in “West Side Story” and Anna in “The King and I,” though I would have loved to have heard Deborah Kerr sing it herself, as I’ve heard she wasn’t that bad. And why didn’t Hepburn sing for herself? She’d already sung the lead in “Gigi” on Broadway. Here, as sweet as Hepburn is, I would have loved to have seen Julie Andrews play it, as she had herself on Broadway but was turned down for the film as screen tests said she didn’t have a screen face. So, Walt Disney asked her to do “Mary Poppins” instead, for which she won the Oscar. That’s the kind of pompous British musical I can get behind. Drinking Game: 1) Bad British Dialects 2) Plot jumps seem to have no time bounds, such as how quickly someone falls in love or learns proper grammar 3) Someone is a dick, but it’s okay because they’re British   My Fair Lady

59.     The French Connection, 1971 For a cops and robbers chase flicks, this is about as good as it gets. I’m much more driven by fascinating character studies, in-depth relations and complex plots. This doesn’t really have any of that. But for a chase where you’re seeing both sides and stay riveted for what’s next, this is a quality film. But since this is my list and what I like, it ranks #59. Script and cinematography are tight. I haven’t watched any of the sequels or the TV spinoff this movie spurred, but I can’t imagine they were able to carry the subtle, dirty feel that this does. Now what I don’t get so much is Gene Hackman. He won Best Actor and he was fine, but I didn’t really feel he brought a lot to the table that wasn’t already in the script. Don’t get me wrong, he was good. I’ll have more on my Best Actor blog. And the fact that it’s all based on a true story makes it really cool, especially how it ends (I won’t give it away). I will say though that just last week, June 20, 2011, one of the bad guys just got arrested for the first time in southern California after 40 years in hiding. That’s crazy. But the highlight is by far the final 20 minute chase scene. Hands down, one of the best “car races and such” type scene ever. I’d feel bad that so many cars were injured in the making of this film, but they were just Pintos and Gremlins and Hornets and Pacers and other shitty cars from the 70s.  Drinking Game: (we’re just going to do shots on this one- like hard core shots- something French sounding with the hint a coffee and doughnuts) 1) A beer/drug milkshake in a dingy bar 2) Ladies singing in a dingier bar that kind of make you want to take a shower 3) Subway door hopscotch… in a dingy subway 4) Lady with a baby stroller  The French Connection

60.     Rebecca, 1940 This is Alfred Hitchcock’s “Silence of the Lambs” of 1940, only instead of Hannibal Lecter we have a closeted lesbian who loves to smell dead women’s clothes. Less graphic, just as disturbed. Hitchcock made some of the most memorable films ever: “North By Northwest,” “Rear Window,” “Psycho”- “Rebecca” is just okay. To realize this one won over “The Great Dictator”, “The Philadelphia Story”, and “The Grapes of Wrath”, all of which, respectively, should have won over “Rebecca”, seems a bit bizarre today. The film is intriguing, though not as terrifying as the previously mentioned Hitchcock flicks. It’s sort of the best Oscar winning pic to laugh at today (really laugh with, cause i still respect it. )  If the melodrama were in anything other than a suspense thriller, it would be crude, but here it’s rather charming. Joan Fontaine as our lead has a very nice story arc, though a bit stronger in the innocent beginnings than the emotional end. Lawrence Olivier is stoic and creepy as always and while not as compelling as his Heathcliff, he leaves you always wondering what he’s doing, as he should, cause it’s a thriller. But the real star is Judith Anderson’s whack-a-doo housekeeper Mrs. Danvers. She is sort of respected today for being one of the first subliminal lesbian characters in an era of Hollywood code, though showing that all lesbians are crazy bitches with really bad hairstyles and who can’t get over resentment from their past relationships is just so stereotypical that- she should have owned a dog. But this chick is just so crazy you can’t stop watching. Is that in the crazy good kind of way? Ah? But you won’t forget her.  Drinking Game: 1) Curtains, curtains, curtains! 2) Someone is snarky to the second wife 3) Second wife shows them all how to act by really putting her shoulder muscles to work when she cries 4) Pencil mustaches, drinking glasses, cover-ups collapses 5) Mrs. Danvers does anything  Rebecca

61.     The Departed, 2006 So, I won’t really be able to say much about the actual plot, because it’s all about the surprise twists it takes, time after time. The first time it does it, you’re like, “Whoa!” By the 5th, you’re just like, “What the holy cow?” This really leaves you on the edge of your seat ‘til the credits roll and even then, you’re not quite sure there’s not one more. Martin Scorsese was long overdue for his Oscar recognition, but I think it’s unfortunate this was it. “Taxi Driver” was really his masterpiece (this is a collection of scenes that stays with you for years, Jodie Foster as a 12 year old street whore and De Niro bald and admiring himself in the mirror), although my personal favorites are “The Age of Innocence” (so beautifully shot and Joanne Woodward’s narrations are sweeping) and “The Last Temptation of Christ” (a script that’s raw, thought-provoking, and oozing with controversy.) And he’s got a couple others on most lists of top flicks, but this one, in comparison, is very forgettable. This one was more a lifetime achievement award for Scorsese than anything else. Now, the film is super intriguing in who’s on whose side, but that’s not terribly unique. What steps it up a notch is deep-seated Boston-Irish culture, the importance of the men belonging to their culture, and their rival with the Yankees. The subtlety of this and the bizarre father-figure concepts are nice, but again, this concept has been done before and more effectively. It feels like a modern-day “Godfather”, but not nearly as good. The soundtrack really moves the story, but probably the main cause for it ranking low is the actors. Wahlberg and DiCaprio are two actors that are always fine, but always get overshadowed by everyone around them (excluding “Boogie Nights”, but that’s more about his shlong.) So, I’m not really captivated by the characters like I should be. Matt Damon steps it up a notch, but he can’t carry everyone.  And Jack Nicholson is the same Jack we’ve seen for decades- the kind that makes me want to take a shower and watch a Disney movie to make me feel less dirty. All in all, 2006 was a pretty weak year for film, but I’d have gone all quirky and picked instead “Little Miss SunshineDrinking Game: 1) Red Sox paraphernalia 2) Someone changes teams (and so not in the gay kind of way) 3)  (take a shot) When the title of the film finally shows up  The Departed

62.     The Great Ziegfeld, 1936 Singing ladies- dancing ladies- passive aggressive ladies! So, it’s a bio-pic.  They really liked those in the 30s like “Emile Zola”, but while most of the others feel like a narrative of someone’s life, this one feels more on the fictional side- and segue… Presumably it’s the life of Ziegfeld… and he was great? Clearly, he produced a lot of successful shows, including “Show Boat,” the first modern musical. We watch his ups and downs of business, but mostly ups. Then, there’s the personal side.  He marries his first star, who was crazy. Then she finds him cheating on her with his new star in her dressing room, to which he says, “Hey, it isn’t anything. She was drunk, so, of course I let her kiss me. I mean, I’m irresistible, honey.” She leaves, only to regret it for the rest of her life. And he lets her go and remarries a beautiful, reliable, sophisticated woman who isn’t crazy and won’t leave him when he’s clearly in the right to make out with his drunk stars. ????? Side note: the film was made three years after Ziegfeld’s death by his second wife with complete say as to how he (and she AND his crazy first wife) are depicted. Hmmm. The songs are dramatic in a 30s way, with great early versions of Irving Berlin songs that will keep showing up in films for years. And they use a lot of actual Ziegfeld talent (Fannie Brice, Ray Bolger), because it’s just a few years after they were actually in his shows on Broadway. Getting to see them work, while campy today, is a fun time capsule. Acting- William Powell and Myrna Loy are consistently solid. They’d already begun their long and irrepressibly partnership in “The Thin Man” three years earlier, but unlike Nick and Nora in that series, they don’t get to goof-off and play with each other, so they are just social-elite here. Last, we have Luise Reiner winning the Oscar for Best Actress as the crazy first wife (and she won two years in a row, Katherine Hepburn being the only other actress to do so) is fascinating to watch. Her performance is crazy and too over-the-top, but you can’t stop watching. And the bitch stays committed. Drinking Game: 1) Every time there’s a dance number 2) Every time the dance involves more than 500 performers 3) Every time the dance of 500 performers involves a stage that moves around dancers standing still  The Great Ziegfeld

63.     You Can’t Take It With You, 1938 Jean Arthur is one of the most charming actresses the screen has ever seen and her connection with Jimmy Stewart is bar none, but this one is just the preview to their shining masterpiece together, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” the following year. Where in “Smith”, their characters are sharp and defined, here they are rather shallow without a lot to do. In the original play, the ensemble of characters is a three-ring circus where someone is constantly doing something crazy which lets you in as if you’re living in this crazy nut house. Here, the craziness seems a bit more scattered and pointless, while still kind of fun. The cast is fine, especially the charming Spring Byington. There is a bit more attention to Arthur and Stewart’s relationship, but without added depth. Instead of the usual trailer, I’ve attached the best scene in the film, which oddly enough is one of the few scenes which isn’t in the Pulitzer Prize winning play. Outside of this scene, the film is sweet, quirky, and puts a steady smile on your face, but doesn’t really make you laugh out loud anymore. For screwball comedies that stand the test of time better, check out “The Philadelphia Story” or “It Happened One Night.” But you really should get to know Jean Arthur better in “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” and must see “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”  Drinking Game: 1) Crazy Essie (Ann Margaret) starts spinning across the room 2) One of the African-American servants feels happy just being almost part of the family 3) An explosion occurs only causing black-smoked faces and silly giggles  You Can’t Take It With You

64.   Kramer Vs. Kramer, 1979 Divorce is a terrible thing. And what it does to the children. And leisure suits are so stylish. This film is dated. We’ve got Hoffman and Streep and I wanted to like it so much, but it feels very predictable today. Streep- oh, how I love you. You’ve been nominated more than any other actress, and this is one of your two wins (albeit supporting), but this was way down on my list for you. She plays semi-crazy well, but for the time, I wanted to feel more empathy for a woman who just can’t be a stay-at-home mom anymore (more “The Hours” I guess, ironically also Streep). But this woman isn’t a strong feminist just standing up for her rights or someone depressed and choosing to live as much as it’s a crazy woman who probably should be committed for a while. What did they ever have in common to get married in the first place? He hasn’t paid attention to her in years, which I buy, because if he had he would have seen she’s crazy. But that neighbor best-friend should have stepped up to plate and said, “Don’t leave this kid alone with this kooky bitch.” I guess it’s just the 70s and most people were kooky. The charm is in the growing relationship between Ted (Hoffman) and his son (played beautifully by 8 year old Justin Henry), but it feels a little too subtle. This is however the best screen example of how to (or how not to) make French toast. Drinking Game: 1) someone’s wearing tighty-whities 2) someone’s wearing brown 3) someone’s wearing baby blue pants   Kramer Vs. Kramer

65.  The Life of Emile Zola, 1937 We’re kind of following three stories, mainly the famous writer Zola. The first half is dealing with his rise to fame and his friendship with the soon-to-be-famous painter Paul Cezanne. In the second half Zola becomes hated by the people of France for his political writings against the court case which wrongly accused a Jewish soldier of being a spy. Vladimir Sokoloff plays a dashing and angsty Cezanne who is easy to connect with today. Unfortunately, his plotline doesn’t get a lot of screen time. Joseph Schildkraut (who won Best Supporting Oscar) plays an anguished and helpless convict that makes you so angry at the stupid ninetieth-century corrupt French officers you just want to spit.  While Paul Muni is fine, there just isn’t as much to work with. His character is just a little flat and not nearly as interesting as these other dudes. But it’s supposed to be a bio-pic about Zola? Some great scenes, but I think it probably suffers from being more true to historical accuracies than it is entertainment.  Drinking Game: 1) The whore has a heart of gold 2) Someone from off-camera is stacking up Zola’s books or flipping pages for unknown reasons 3) You think French soldiers suck 4) You think carbon monoxide poisoning sucks   The Life of Emile Zola

66.  Gladiator, 2000 The main reason it ranks so low is just because Russell Crowe just sort of seems like a douche to me- not the character, just Crowe. Though on set he was allowed to yell and storm off set when he wasn’t allowed to re-write the lines because, as he said of himself, he is the greatest actor in the world, I find the best actor in any of his scenes to be his sword. And while Joaquin Phoenix is typically okay, I feel like he is soap-opera-ing it up a bit here. If you want a solid historical action flick with intrigue and a little emotional subplot, grab it. Visually- it’s cool, but I liked “Rome” on HBO better. The score was beautifulJ  As for winning the Oscar, nominations were odd in 2000. My two favorite major flicks of the year didn’t even get nominated, “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou” and “Almost Famous.” At least this one was on the scale of epics that hadn’t been seen for a while. Drinking Game: 1) Someone bites the dust 2) Maximus starts talking about the afterlife (attempting to make him a bit more sympathetic- I’m slightly exaggerating- his wife and son stuff are sad- take a shot if that part brings a tear) 3) You wonder if the tall grass Crowe is walking thru tickles  Gladiator

67.  Million Dollar Baby, 2004 It’s hard to talk about this one without discussing the end, so- Spoiler Alert- The first half is solid for a girl wanting to be a part of a men’s pro-sports world and a coach who holds all his emotions in. It works for its simplicity. And I sort of care about everyone. It’s interesting how you care more about what you imagine their difficult pasts are than anything you actually know or see about them. Spoiler time- but then you get to the last 15 minutes and the film shifts from this slow sports character study to a deep question of the right to euthanasia. Eastwood is just trying too hard to push buttons. We are supposed to be upset and shocked because the subject matter tells us we are, not because we actually care. It’s not bad, it’s just nothing all that great. A female lead for a boxing movie is unique. I guess me not really caring that she wants to kill herself is somehow unique too. Not really caring either way makes for a mediocre movie. Drinking Game: 1) Morgan Freeman is narrating for no obvious reason other than he’s the best narrator in Hollywood 2) Irish Heritage is mentioned (though the Irish woman got mad because what was supposed to be a Gaelic expression on the back of her jacket was incredibly wrong, but then the film ended up rejuvenating an interest in the Gaelic language so it was okay, then they all got drunk again and forgot what they were talking about) 3) You mistake Hilary Swank for a dude   Million Dollar Baby

68.  From Here to Eternity, 1953 Let’s start with the actors. We’ve got five- all big- so that’s basically the movie right there. I’ll go in order of my preference (‘cause I’m all about listing everything.) Montgomery Clift (post face accident). God, he was amazing. And hot! He just didn’t make enough movies. It’s a shame he was so crazy in real life. If he could have just been an out gay-dude, I think all his problems would have been solved. He’s a sad soldier who plays the trumpet. You always get that there’s a lot of important conflict going on in his head. Donna Reed- that’s right! She made another movie besides “It’s a Wonderful Life.” She’s the hooker with the heart of gold- and I buy it. She’s really just innocent and just sort-of a half-hooker, because she seems to get paid for brooding in corners at cotillions and keeping her clothes on, but you get where she’s coming from. Deborah Kerr- oh, to be a military wife when you’re not in love with your old man. (It would be fun to pick up Jessica Lange in “Blue Sky” and place her in this role.) She is in love with her husband’s junior, Burt Lancaster. This is known as one of the great screen romances. It’s really not a romance so much as lust. They are both really horny and they both enjoy having hot sex in the sand (ouch- not as fun as it looks- trust me.) Both lack the depth of connection with each other, though this is more the script’s fault than the actors (especially considering the two were rumored to be doing it in the trailers during production). They are just two lonely, depressed souls who find each other- in Hawaii. But for that to be the case, I’d like a bit more desperation in their actions. I’d expect their issues to spiral downward ‘til they commit that poor, spontaneous act that destroys everything. But they’re stuck in-between love-at-first-sight romance and desperate hunger, so the story just sort of rolls along like a wheel with one flat side till someone (it’s the Japs) drops a bomb on Pearl Harbor (shit). Finally, we’ve got Frank Sinatra. You’ll either agree with me or not, but I think he always over-acted to the point of no enjoyment. It’s a very character-driven, romantic war flick that is certainly sexy, but not really romantic or inspiring. Maybe the film was gutsy and scandalous at the time, but it’s mild and almost boring today. If they’d stuck a bit more to the original book where Kerr and Lancaster’s sex is really hot and heavy and if Sinatra could have remained a gay hustler when he was off base, then the film might have held up a bit more today. Drinking Game: 1) Clift points at the object or person to emphasize who he’s talking about, i.e. “Drop that knife” (point) or “You, over there, with the knockers” (point) 2) Someone never knew it could be like this 3) Someone needs to dry off   From Here to Eternity

69.  How Green was My Valley, 1941 (To add to the tone of the film, try reading this with a forlorn, older Welsh man’s voice as the narrator) This is a sad movie about a sad family in a sad mining town who endured many semi-sad things. To make sure you get that, there will be a narrator spelling out for you how much his life sucked. This trend will be so effective, it will continue for years, sometimes in a good way like “Shawshank Redemption” and “American Beauty”. Some not so hot, like “Stand By Me” (go back and watch- it’s pretty cheesy now) and this one. It’s basically a sweet movie, just not all that memorable. There are 3 characters you care about- the lead boy, Huw, played by 12 year old Roddy McDowall- sweet, but kind of a simple character, empathetic because he’s dealing with illness but without a lot of personality.  His dad- played by Donald Crisp, who gains sympathy for standing his ground for what’s right when most are against him. And Huw’s older sister- Maureen O’Hara, who has sort of a bizarre subplot of having to marry a man she doesn’t love. Her story was by far the most intriguing (possibly because I love O’Hara so much- I mean, she runs the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!), but she only gets about three scenes to tell her story, which just feels frustrating. The rest of the film is surrounded by coal-mining Welshman struggling to make a living, struggling to start some sort of a union, struggling to buy another pint (of course), struggling to not start a fight every few minutes (of course), and struggling to not be too stereotypical of blue-collar lads from the UK. Again, this is a sad and sweet flick, John Ford did a fine job, but I would not call it one of his best (“The Quiet Man” and “The Grapes of Wrath”). But the fact that this movie won over “Citizen Kane” is the worst flub in the award’s history. Drinking Game: 1) Every time a son leaves home 2) Public humiliation is ensuing 3) A woman starts crying or a guy starts beating something up 4) You spot an actual Welsh actor in the film (there is 1, but just the 1)  How Green was My Valley

70.  The Greatest Show on Earth, 1952 For most lists, this one comes in dead last. It’s not good, but it’s fun and pretty. It’s the circus, produced in spectacular Technicolor by Cecil B. DeMille. The acts are entertaining. The plot is silly and melodramatic, especially Betty Hutton trying to act, bless her heart. Jimmy Stewart’s bizarre “I was a doctor but now I’m a clown who LOVES make-up” character is sweet and bizarre enough that you can’t stop watching, like a train wreck. Oh, speaking of train wrecks- it’s the most dazzling, most electrifying, strangest accident ever brought to the big screen. It’s sort of cool, but mostly horrible, and you can’t believe you’re watching it. Someone let DeMille loose with a train set and too much caffeine. If you don’t watch anything else, you’ve got to watch this scene: (you can start clip at 1:40) Sadly, this beat out one of my favorite flicks, “The Quiet Man”. That’s so sad. “High Noon” undeservedly lost to it as well. Drinking Game: 1) Whenever a monkey does something silly 2) Every time filming goes from a real set to a really bad green screen (twice if the choice when to use the screen makes absolutely no sense) 3) Shots all around when a guy standing in a convertible gets hit by an oncoming train, causing the car to completely flip over perfectly, yet the dude keeps his arm in perfect waving position the whole time The Greatest Show on Earth


3 Responses to “2 Star Flicks (#55-70)”

  1. Babette Says:

    kramer vs kramer one of the worse movies ever can’t stand people who constantly feel sorry for themselves
    Jean and Maureen two of my favorites!

  2. I could never get through ‘How Green Was My Valley’. I don’t know how you did it. It’s really just funny that “Citizen Kane’ lost out to this movie, but I think that happens a lot, so it’s quite worthwhile to take it all of the nominees to compare. During a recent re-view of ‘Shawshank Redemption’, I was reminded of the hub-bub over ‘Forrest Gump’ when I feel all but that movie deserved the prize more.

    I have seen more from this list than the last.

    I disagree on a point or two, though. ‘Kramer vs. Kramer’ has long been an odd guilty pleasure flick of mine. I actually have a love for things from the seventies, so I am sure all of the ick and ugh of the whole seventies landscape that got to you is actually part of the visual and frame of mind that I actually enjoyed from it. Also, much like a number of key movies from the seventies, Hoffman’s performance (especially) is a lot more natural than so much of what Hollywood is so well known for – despite whatever plot line nagging it gave you or what other choices the movie made that you didn’t dig, I feel he completely sold that character and that moment in time.

    I haven’t seen ‘Rebecca’ for what feels like a million years, but what seems to really be telling about a film’s power is what you can garner from it, and for me it’s all aesthetics and atmosphere. I recall it being a visual, subtle, psychological piece, in the vain (but not of the quality, for sure) of ‘Laura’ or more recently ‘The Others’.

    I liked ‘The Departed’. I enjoyed watching it. I don’t remember it worth shit, but it kept me in good for two plus hours. Though I think it was quality (granted, not ‘The Usual Suspects’ twisty-turny quality), it was a pity prize to Scorsese for certain.

    ‘Million Dollar Baby’. You nailed it. Nail in the spoiler coffin, if you will. I will watch anything Morgan Freeman is in.

    ‘You Can’t Take it with You’. From a directorial standpoint – that one suffers from poor editing. I think the core of it is fun little screwball comedy – but it’s stretched out to the point of boredom. Great reference points on other flicks of the period for those who might not otherwise know of them. Great films all – especially ‘Philadelphia Story’!!

    ‘Chariots of Fire’. Saw that as a kid. It was boring. Very boring. We watched it in our family room at wintertime. Our fireplace and mantle went ablaze while we were watching it. Ironic. More interesting, for certain.

    1. ecwagner Says:

      Haha- love all your thoughts. Thanks! Especially the fire a-blaze. Wish I could have seen that.

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