Monday, July 1, 2013

June Movie Status

I saw 73 new movies in the month of June, plus 2 movie re-watches, plus 2 TV show seasons.  Not counting The Decalogue, which I am saving for last, I was able to complete all my remaining 1,001 Movies list entries from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and 1980s, as well as all remaining entries over two hours long.

For those people who’ve read my last few monthly status posts you know that I’ve had issues with Netflix not shipping me a couple of movies I needed to complete the 1,001 Movies list, even though they had been at the top of my queue for months.  I finally gave up on Netflix.  I got around those issues with Angels with Dirty Faces and Three Brothers by appealing on an online forum for help.  Because of this I was able to finally watch both those movies in June.  If you have not seen either of these films, and are relying on Netflix to ship you the DVDs for them, then I recommend you place them at the top of your queue now because who knows how long it might take to get them.

My goal for July is to complete the entire 1,001 Movies list no later than Bastille Day.  Why Bastille Day?  Well, that also happens to be my birthday.  (It’s July 14th for those of you who don’t remember your world history.)  All of my remaining films are under my control so I do not have to rely on Netflix to see them.  I have a total of 22 entries remaining – nine 1960s films, twelve 1970s films, and finally 1989’s almost 10 hour long TV mini-series The Decalogue.  I plan to do a post when I am done.

As for the Oscar Best Picture nominees, I continued to plug away at that.  With my efforts in June concentrated on the 1,001 Movies list I did not see many Oscar nominees.  Once I complete the first list I might step up the number of these films I see.

Here are the 73 new movies I saw in June.  Highlighted movies are ones to which I would give at least three stars out of five.  I will single out the four and five star films, as well as the worst films, in the paragraphs below the lists.

1,001 Movies (56): Don’t Look Now (1973), An Autumn Afternoon (1962), Vivre Sa Vie aka My Life to Live (1962), 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967), The Firemen’s Ball (1967), Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), Three Brothers (1981), The Ballad of Narayama (1983), Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985), Secret Beyond the Door (1947), Force of Evil (1948), Whisky Galore! (1949), The Reckless Moment (1949), My Night at Maud’s (1969), Come Drink with Me (1966), Real Life (1979), Angel Face (1952), Weekend (1967), Masculin Feminin (1966), Black Orpheus (1959), In a Lonely Place (1950), The Big Heat (1953), Floating Weeds (1959), Dersu Uzala (1975), The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), Koyaanisqatsi (1983), The Ascent (1977), The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1970), In the Year of the Pig (1968), Deep End (1970), Nosferatu the Vampire (1979), Vagabond (1985), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962), Paris, Texas (1984), Stranger Than Paradise (1984), Down by Law (1986), The Vanishing (1988), Housekeeping (1987), The Last Metro (1980), Utu (1984), Man of the West (1958), Fat City (1972), Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965), The Cool World (1964), Seconds (1966), The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978), Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951), The King of Comedy (1983), All That Heaven Allows (1955), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Kiss Me Deadly (1955), The Phenix City Story (1955), Killer of Sheep (1979), Marnie (1964), The American Friend (1977)

Oscar Nominees (6): Kitty Foyle (1940), Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1938), The Good Earth (1937), Libeled Lady (1936), In Old Chicago (1937), Romeo and Juliet (1936)

Other Movies (11): Warm Bodies (2013), The Hangover Part III (2013), Knuckleball! (2012), 30 for 30: Elway to Marino (2013), 30 for 30: The Marinovich Project (2011), Oz the Great and Powerful (2013), The Last Stand (2013), The Devil’s Backbone (2001), A Nos Amours (1983), After Earth (2013), Death Race 2000 (1975)

Re-watches (2): Lone Star (1996), The Night Before (1988)

TV Series (2): Awkward Season 3, Defiance Season 1

I had no five star films in June.  My four star films were Whisky Galore! (1949), Real Life (1979), In a Lonely Place (1950), and Oz the Great and Powerful (2013). 

Whisky Galore! is easily the best of the Ealing Studios comedies I've seen. It’s just an all around fun movie.  It must have been at least a partial inspiration for 1998’s Waking Ned Devine, another film I like quite a bit.

Before there was reality TV, before there were cameras in every other household, even before Spinal Tap, there was Real Life. Albert Brooks hit the ground running with his first film, a spoof of what would happen if a film crew tried to document a "normal family". By the time I got to the end of it I was laughing out loud.

In a Lonely Place is probably Bogie's best performance after The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. I was pleasantly surprised by the emotional complexity in a movie from 1950. And when movies from that era always ended one of two ways, this one managed to find a third, and it is much better for it.  This is one of the better discoveries for me from the 1,001 Movies list.

There's not much suspense in Oz the Great and Powerful over who's going to be the good witch and who's going to be the wicked ones, but aside from that this is a good movie. There are nods to the 1939 film, but at the same time this definitely stands on its own. The best scene in the film has nothing to do with witches at all, but a little porcelain girl whose legs have been broken.

The 1,001 Movies list is reliable for providing me with at least one 1 star movie every month.  In June I had five. 

Two were Godard movies – 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967) and Masculin Feminin (1966).  Both were way too preachy and by then he had given up even caring about making something entertaining.  Even his usual 45 minutes to an hour of good movie within the larger whole was missing from these.

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978) is an EXTREMELY heavy handed white guilt movie where every single white person is evil, evil, evil and virulently racist towards the poor, innocent aborigines who are just a fun loving, laid back people. If you like getting knocked up side the head with a sledgehammer for two solid hours then this is the movie for you.

Finally, two films were hurt by my expectations of them because all I had ever heard was how good they were.  Had I known nothing about them they might be two star movies.  They are The Vanishing (1988) and Kiss Me Deadly (1955).

The Vanishing was supposed to be this gripping thriller (at least from what I had heard), yet it had zero tension and no scares.  And the main character is a complete and total f*cking idiot.  I didn’t feel bad for him in the slightest at the end of the movie.

In regards to Kiss Me Deadly, this is what I wrote on Letterboxd, which elicited several responses, most in agreement: “My God this was bad. It's like a bad parody of a noir detective film. I quite literally laughed at how bad the acting, plot, and stupid decisions were at many points. And the whole radiation thing is just silly. Wow, and this is supposed to be the 345th best movie ever made according to film critics and TSPDT, as well as one of the best noirs ever? Just wow.”


  1. You share a birthday with my friend Doug, and you also have a birthday the day before my daughter.

    I'd love to know what you have left. I downloaded your tracker, but it seems awhile since you've updated it. I'm betting that aside from The Decalogue, I've seen a few of your last 22. There's likely some real joy in a few of those.

    I liked Jimmie Blacksmith well enough. I agree with you about the main character of The Vanishing, but that film plays on one of my fears, so I'm certain it affected me more than it did you.

    Good luck finishing up. 22 films in 13 days? You can handle that, even with an entire day dedicated to Kieslowski at the end.

    1. You're right about the list on my Lists from Chip site. I figured I'd wait and upload an update once I had completed it. I thought about listing the remaining films in this post, but wasn't sure if there would be interest. Here they are:

      The Young One (1960), Black Sunday (1960), Mondo Cane (1962), Shock Corridor (1963), Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964), Onibaba (1964), Point Blank (1967), Closely Watched Trains (1967), If... (1968), Zabriskie Point (1970), Walkabout (1971), Murmur of the Heart (1971), Straw Dogs (1971), Two Lane Blacktop (1971), Pink Flamingos (1972), The Harder They Come (1973), Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973), Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974), The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976), Five Deadly Venoms (1978), The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979), and The Decalogue (1989).

      I know your remaining because you sent me your sheet one time and I've been keeping it updated ever since. I found that easier to view than your list on your website. I see you've got a little over 6 days left. I've still got 1.9 days myself - more than 45 hours.

    2. I've seen most of these. I'll highlight some winners for you.

      I don't think you'll like Black Sunday as much as I do, but I like horror. It's pretty tame, but the opening 5 minutes is pretty shocking. I completely love Shock Corridor for how lurid it is (I picked it for the 1001 Movies club a while back). Onibaba is fantastic. Hands down. Same with Point Blank (revenge at its finest) and Closely Watched Trains. The Five Deadly Venoms is my favorite martial arts film. The dubbing is awful (and funny in places), but the martial arts are mostly real and pretty damn great. There are other good ones in there, but those are my favorites.

      The Decalogue, seriously, I envy you on the first watch. It's life changing.

    3. Thanks for the tips. I just finished watching The Young One. Damned if I didn't like it better than most of the other Bunuel movies in the list. And this is the only one from the book that's not in the TSPDT list, even though several others not in the 1,001 Movies list are.

  2. Of your 4 star films, I'm most interested in watching In a Lonely Place (1950), thanks for the recommendation. From what I can tell you liked it a lot.

    Out of curiosity, what are your thoughts on the 1939 Wizard of Oz? I'm still on the fench whether I want to see OZ Great and Powerful, as I've been reading mixed reviews.

    1. I did like In a Lonely Place quite a bit. That was probably because it was so unexpected.

      It's impossible for me to be impartial on The Wizard of Oz. It was played on TV every year here in the U.S. when I was a child so I loved it back then and still have very warm feelings towards it as an adult because I am reminded of those childhood moments. I can't watch it and ask myself how the acting is, or are there gaping plot holes, or things like that. I would give it five stars, if you are wondering how I compare it to the prequel.

  3. In a Lonely Place is so very, very good. I'm glad you liked it. Also glad you liked Whisky Galore! That's such a cute, fun flick. The two Godard films you mention as being one star are also very low rated for me. I remember being infinitely frustrated with 2 or 3 Things because it was just so.... nothing? blah? boring? STUPID?

    Good luck in finishing up the list! IMPRESSIVE!!!!

    1. Thanks. Steve wondered what I had left, so I listed them out in my reply to him, if you are curious.

  4. Im not gonna lie, I sort of liked Kiss Me Deadly...
    Any guy named Mike Hammer is a boss. But thinking back on it again, it is pretty cheesy especially at the end, though this might be the reason why I like it.

    1. It really came down to my expectations for it being way too high. Because I like noir and because it was supposed to be so good, I was really looking forward to it. Had I known nothing about it going in I'm sure I would not have been as disappointed.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.