Wednesday, August 1, 2012

July Movie Status

Last month I did my first ever monthly status of the movies I had seen.  It was also a half year status, but I said I would likely do these kinds of posts monthly from now on.  I received a few questions on the films last month so I will attempt to add a few things this month that people might be interested in (i.e. years, recommendations). 

The two main lists that I am taking movie suggestions from right now are the 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list and a list I put together of every Oscar Best Picture nominee.  You can see those lists by clicking on these titles:  1,001 Movies; Oscar Nominees. 

So far in 2012 I have seen 242 movies that were new to me.  Among those 242 films, 90 were from the 1,001 Movies list and 39 were Best Picture nominees.  (Some movies were in both lists.)  In fact, there are a total of 207 movies among the 494 Best Picture nominees that are also in the 1,001 Movies list.  After this month I have now seen all but four of them and three of those are not available via Netflix.  The remaining one (Reds) just arrived today.

In July I passed the 600 mark for the 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.  I have now seen 612 of the 1,089 movies on the 1,001 Movies list (56%).  I’ve now seen 339 of the 494 Best Picture nominees (69%) and 83 of the 84 Best Picture winners.  1934 winner Cavalcade is the only one I have yet to watch because it is not available on DVD.

Here are the 45 new movies I saw in June.  An asterisk indicates it is from the 1,001 Movies list.  A plus sign indicates it is a Best Picture Oscar nominee.  Highlighted movies are ones I would give at least three stars out of five to.  I will single out the four and five star films in the paragraph below the list.

Z (1969)*+
Sex, Lies, and Death (2011)
Siren (2010)
The Official Story (1985)*
X (2011)
Candyman (1992)*
Sherman’s March (1986)*
Volver (2006)*
The Long Goodbye (1973)*
Intolerance (1916)*
The Verdict (1982)+
Valkyrie (2008)
The Rules of the Game (1939)*
Q (aka The Winged Serpent) (1982)
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Hour of the Wolf (1968)
Somewhere (2010)
Fighting for Love (2001)
Henry V (1944)*+
The War Game (1965)*
Beat the Devil (1953)*
The Wolf Man (1941)*
Carmen Jones (1954)*
Lockout (2012)
Cries and Whispers (1972)*+
Five Easy Pieces (1970)*+
The OH in Ohio (2006)
S. (1998)
Barney’s Version (2010)
Audition (1999)*
Fish Tank (2009)*
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
W. (2008)
My Brilliant Career (1979)*
Mirror Mirror (2012)
Nashville (1975)*+
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)*
The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)*
All That Jazz (1979)*+
Bobby Fischer Against the World (2010)
Jig (2011)
Falling Up (2009)
Virgin Territory (2007)
The Turning Point (1977)+

I had no five star films in July.  My four star films were Volver, Barney’s Version, and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.  I reviewed Volver just a few weeks ago.  You can read that here.  Barney’s Version is a drama with some comedic elements.  It tells the story of a sometimes likable sometimes unlikable man played quite well by Paul Giamatti.  Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is a romantic musical comedy from India.  The title roughly translates to “The Brave Hearted Will Win the Bride.”  It’s not four stars because of the story (it’s basically a bunch of 1930s Astaire/Rogers plot devices) or the technical mastery (a fistfight clearly shows punches missing by six inches, but people reacting like they were hit.)  It’s four stars simply because of the sheer fun it brings to the screen.  If I had to describe the movie in one word, it would be “exuberant”.

The two worst films I saw in July were Hour of the Wolf and The Turning Point.  In both cases “worst” is a relative term.  Hour of the Wolf is exactly the kind of foreign film that gets mocked and parodied.  For instance, it features scenes where two people are having a “conversation” where one faces into the camera and the other is in 90 degree profile not looking at the first person.  When they speak, most everything is unrelated to what was previously said.  If you love Ingmar Bergman, though, you may love this film.  The Turning Point is just under two hours long and I bet at least an hour of it consists of watching ballet performances.  Interspersed among these are mostly scenes of two middle-aged women, one very bitter, bemoaning the fact that they are no longer young.  If you love ballet, though, then you may quite enjoy the performances.

By the way, some of you may have been too young to watch one of the best shows Mtv ever put on the air.  (It debuted about 15 years ago.)  It is titled Daria and they have been re-airing it recently as part of their “Retro Mtv” summer.  If you get a chance, check it out.  If you like very dry, smart-ass humor then you will like this show.  I’ve been catching some of the episodes and enjoying them just as much as I did when I first saw them.


  1. This is not realted to this post but the link you submitted for the SF Classic Chops about Science Fiction doesn't work and I can't find it here. Can you give me a hand with that?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. I just forwarded the original email to you again. I clicked on each of the links before I did and they are all working.

  2. I've been watching episodes of Daria, man that takes me back. I loved that show. It's the only thing that has any substance on a channel that should've been dead years ago.

    1. Daria's teacher: "Remember, everything goes down better with a little sugar."
      Daria: "Unless you're diabetic."

      Daria's teacher: "Daria, you're suffering from low self esteem which makes you not talk to your classmates."
      Daria: "I don't have low self esteem. I have low esteem for everyone else."

      Daria: "I can see my obituary now - 'Quarterback, Cheerleader, and two others die in elevator.'"

      (Probably not the exact quotes, but it has been quite a few years.)

      Old Fogie Alert: Yeah, Mtv stopped being "Music Television" around 1995 when their shows started taking up more air time than the videos. I have to laugh each year when they host their Video Awards show because it's very likely that not one of the winners ever was aired on Mtv.

  3. I love Daria! I really need to see more of it some time soon, the few episodes I saw were fantastic.

    1. I always enjoyed it. Over the years I've heard talk about maybe bringing it back, but it has never happened.

  4. Wow, The Long Goodbye isn't highlighted. That's one of my favorite movies from the seventies.

    1. The movie just meandered too much for me. There were any number of plot lines that ended up getting forgotten about or that had little point. It's not a bad movie, but it's also not one I liked enough to recommend.

  5. Update on finding X by the way - actual shops don't want to stock it as far as I can tell but Quickflix did have it in what would be "behind the curtain" in a real shop. Odd.

    45 new movies and how many that you'd already seen? It's a pretty intense viewing month with just the new ones anyway.

    1. The only thing I can think is that it is the opening scene of X that is triggering that. It may very well be that people *did* shut the movie off after that and figured the rest of it was going to be just like that.

      I re-watched three movies during the month - The Fugitive, Pitch Black, and Star Trek: Shakycam (aka the 2009 version). I happened to run across all three while flipping through channels and ended up staying with them.

      Since I started actively working on the 1001 Movies list and Oscar Nominees lists in February of this year I've had fewer re-watches and more first time movies. Because of this I've got a bunch of purchases of already seen films that are starting to pile up.

  6. I think I'm too old, I quit watching MTV long before 1997...

    And seeing everyone's lists with 40 plus films for the month is making me feel like I need to step it up.

    1. Well, I essentially watch no TV other than live sporting events and right now with the Red Sox not doing that well I don't feel any great urge to catch all of their games. That frees time up for movie watching.

  7. Epic July. Of the ones you watched, Z, The Rules of the Game, Cries and Whispers and Fish Tank are my favorites. I do love Hour of the Wolf, but can completely see why others wouldn’t. It’s a very Bergman Bergman film. I’ve never kept track of how many Best Picture nominees I’ve seen, but damn, you’re well on your way.

    1. Thanks. The list at the link I provided in this post is for a tracking list that you can save to your own computer and plug in your own info for the Oscar winners and/or nominees you've seen. It will give you a running total at the bottom as you fill them in.