Saturday, November 21, 2009

Eric Reviews Everything He's Ever Seen (Numbers 700, 720, 740, 760, and 780)

So I can't keep up with this series. So what? You aren't trying to review every movie you've ever seen, are you? Well? Are you? And if you are, are you managing to write five reviews daily? You are? Jeez... this really isn't going as I planned. This batch is a good batch. I either remember a lot, or nothing, about each of them. Guess which is which and you win a prize.

700. Cats Don't Dance (Directed by Mark Dindal)

I don't remember anything about Cats Don't Dance. Okay, I remember the lead was a cat, and he had a cat love interest with white fur, and there were other animals, and a whale? There may have been a stage production there were planning. Or it took place in a dance hall. I think it was set up to take place in the 1920s. 

I've read up on it, and have concluded Cats... Dance was a musical, and it was set in the late 30s.

I distinctly remember playing it on TV and being disinterested. Un-enthused to have it in my home. It didn't terrify me, and it didn't satisfy me, so it's joining the ranks of animated 90s movies I shouldn't have bothered watching in the first place. They are stacking. 

What? I can't remember it. I really can't. I can't think of two good things to say about the movie. This could be the least worthwhile review I've yet written, but that's the cost of seeing movies once or twice when you were seven. Me, not you.

720. James and the Giant Peach (Directed by Henry Selick)

This isn't Tim Burton's James and the Giant Peach. I've heard people get mixed up over this, and I'll set that straight right here and now: Henry Selick directed James and the Giant Peach, and The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Coraline, and Tim Burton did not. Henry Selick, who may have the worst haircut in the movie world. Trust me. Find a picture. Any picture will do. I think he's worn his hair in the same style since the 80s. The same terrible style. 

I used to fancy myself an artist. I drew constantly. I knew I was going to be an animator when I grew up, and have a very popular television show on Nickelodeon, or better: Cartoon Network. Then the world beat me down. My doodles were called 'no good' and 'dirty rotten' by my peers, and I figured out on my own that I have no eye for consistency. I gave up. But when James and the Giant Peach came out I was fully on board the animation train, and Had to see it not for the story, but for the character designs. Lane Smith, children's book illustrator, was concept designer behind James and his talent has no boundary between two- and three-dimensions.

Not much of the story has stayed with me. The opening live-action with the cloud rhino killing off James' parents is what I recall most vividly, because it was the scariest. Next would be the underwater scene with the ghost pirates, but that's because that scared me, too. I don't know if I liked the movie for anything other than the awesome artwork and animation if the only parts I remember terrified me. That's okay, because at six I didn't need an engaging story to keep me engaged. The scuttling and bouncing clay bugs were entrancing purely through physical presence. 

740. The Bothersome Man (Directed by Jens Lien)

The Bothersome Man exists in a weird split between soul-crushingly depressing and hilarious. It's surreal, about a man finding himself in a generically perfect, inescapable purgatory. Everything he could want is at his fingertips, but lacks the soul he was familiar with in the real world. The world is a bit like that in Wristcutters: A Love Story, with grays and blues and whites assisting in the cleansing of joy from the environments, but the tone of the film is much more contemplative, less silly. The style works wonders with the story.

The comedy is dry and much of the time subtle. Many of the gags are visual, but never slap-sticky. Small looks and barely perceived hand motions carry the brunt of the jokes, with dialogue finding it's wit with convoluted explanations and misconceptions. The direction is fantastic, as it melds dark, gloomy material with a cheekiness that keeps the film causing laughter instead of sobbing tears, which would not be hard to see happening in the hands of someone other than Jens Lien. 

For a film with such little ever really going on, and lengthy segments without dialogue all of the actors are still personable and charming. The titular bothersome man plays the role so earnestly, and believably. Every time he makes a new discovery it felt like he really was unraveling the truth behind a horrible mystery. Does that make sense? It felt like he truly had been set in purgatory, and he went about his days naturally with cameras rolling.

I watched The Bothersome Man because my Mom happened to have it home from the library. I knew nothing about it before watching, aside from my Mom telling me I might like it. A very pleasant surprise. Another of Norway's little gems. You know Norway and its gems. 

760. A Very Long Engagement (Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet)

When I press people to think of Jean-Pierre Jeunet they normally wind up mentioning Amelie, or how great of a disaster his Alien was. What I wish everyone would be thinking about every moment of their day is Jeunet's 2004 film A Very Long Engagement, one of my top ten favorite films, and in my top five favorite wartime movies. I think it overachieves at every aspect of filmmaking. It has incredible cinematography, every shot is gorgeous, the universe is crafted perfectly, crisp pacing for a film over two hours long, wit-filled writing, performances with so much love and heart put into them I'd be hard pressed to find a single character I didn't like, even if they were meant to be hated, and such a touching, convoluted-yet-satisfying story that by the end of it, after all that time, I wanted the engagement to have lasted much longer. If the film had lasted for six hours it would still be too short.

One of its greatest accomplishments is how many genres it straddles, and how well it straddles them all. At the start I thought it was going to be a sweet fluffy romantic drama. Then it bares its fangs and turns into a dark comedy. It morphs again into a war epic. Then again into a murder mystery. Never does it lose its emotional core, and none of the films components feel at odds with the specific styles, constantly changing though they are. There really is enough to stretch into five separate films, but Jeunet is smart, and balled them all into one. And it's amazing. More than a five on a five star scale, much higher than a 10 if rating from 1 to 10. 

780. The Bicycle Thief (Directed by Vittorio De Sica)

Gigantic props to The Bicycle Thief for making Italian sound like the ugliest language on the planet. When Lamberto Maggiroani isn't busy chasing after bicycle thieves or failing at menial tasks his ears are filled with the sound of exasperated, shouted Italian voices. So on top of watching the plight of a man I didn't care about do things I wasn't interested in I had to listen to what hell must sound like. 

Probably more disagreeable than my opinion of The Deer Hunter is my vendetta against The Bicycle Thief. I've watched it twice and haven't had a change of heart, big or small. I dislike this movie. It isn't a passing sort of "didn't care for it," it's a very angry "why does everyone care about this so much?" I get that it's an unflinching look at post-war Italy, and the use of non-professional actors portraying such realistic problems was revolutionary at the time but I don't see how that should give it a free pass into Classics territory.

This is a personal problem. Thousands of Thief defenders will proudly stand beside the story, the acting, and the lot of it. I don't like any of it. The main character is a dolt. Sure, times are tough for him, but times are tough for everyone, and times are tough for much more interesting people. The guy is a failure as a sign paster, and as a father, but mostly as a character I could pay any serious attention to. The story is powerful, sure, and the family's livelihood is at stake, but I didn't see it told in a way I could support. 

I haven't seen any other Italian neo-realism, so I'm not sure if I'd have a problem with the entire genre, or just this film. Maybe my sensibilities were unable to compromise in the face of De Sica's. It could be that I'm unfeeling for idiots and their impressionable children. I could ponder my distain for The Bicycle Thief all night, and hear perfectly reasonable arguments for the film for a month yet I still would not be moved. I don't like The Bicycle Thief.

 - Eric T. Voigt, XOXO

Eric Reviews Everything He's Ever Seen (Numbers 600, 620, 640, 660 and 680)

Okay. Hiatus over. It isn't good for you, and it isn't good for me, when everything I've ever seen continues to go unreviewed. Not on my watch! A few new movies added to the list over the weekend took the place of more errors already on the list, so I think my overall total movies watched is still 1,067. Convenient. 

600. Pee Wee's Big Adventure (Directed by Tim Burton)

Tim Burton is kind of an eclectic director for having such a definitive style. More he's ignored when a film doesn't carry his more familiar darkness mixing with innocence themes, or star Johnny Depp. Everyone knows he made Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, and many think he directed The Nightmare Before Christmas. It isn't often I remember he's responsible for the Planet of the Apes remake or Sleepy Hollow, and the movies he directed I like most, Big Fish, Ed Wood and this, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, are only grouped in with his more Tim Burton-y works on IMDb lists. This is a roundabout way to complain that emo kids (do they still exist?) and misanthropes only give credit to Burton when creepy black-clad losers are prancing around. I'm not into that Burton. I like it weird, but I don't like it... lonely? Anyway, Pee Wee's Big Adventure.

Pee Wee makes a fat guy chew tainted gum, almost sleeps with a woman in a stone age-styled pit stop, has a run-in with Large Marge, lights a match and is surrounded by beasts stricken with taxidermy, and rides his bike in one of the coolest ways I've ever imitated. I remember all of this, but I don't remember what the plot was. There was a story. I mean, he was on the road for some reason. I have no clue why. I liked it. I think I watched at least four times when I was a child. I really liked it. Pee Wee was hilarious. I never saw his show, but I think that's probably for the better. Saves the mystique of the movie.

620. Slacker (Directed by Richard Linklater)

It's really interesting to look at this movie, compare it to the world I grew up around in the 90s, and compare this film to that, seeing just how perfect Linklater captured everything I could have been a part of had I been born a decade earlier. Slacker doesn't have a plot, and it hardly has a concept, it's just an honest look at Generation X from the eyes of one of their own. 

The characters and stories that run through the movie are all a little bit strange, but feel a whole lot true. No-dialogue traveling scenes break up the lengthy all-dialogue scenes so as to never have the film bogged down in one camp. It's a well-acted, well-paced slice of life. 

I think this is Linklater's best film, and it's his first. Dazed and Confused comes close to matching it, but there is so much raw humanity in Slacker, relatable yet perplexing, that it seems he will never be able to reach those levels again. 

640. Airplane! (Directed by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker)

The godfather of all parody. Has a spoof movie since been as zany, or as innocently politically incorrect, or as all around hilarious? It's debatable, but for me the answer is no way. Airplane! was the first comedy to shock me. There's an irreverence to it which keeps the constant stream of absurdity grounded somehow. 

It may have helped that I didn't understand anything they were spoofing. Parodies these days draw so directly from what they're mocking that they're getting to be the movies they're making fun of, with a fart thrown in, or a car running over a character. Airplane! doesn't suffer from this. It doesn't lean on other movies, it leans on strong writing and excellent timing from its performers. 

If other parodies took the time to learn from Airplane! we wouldn't be drowning in the slime created by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Airplane! isn't a breath of fresh air because it came out decades before what we have now. It's a wonderful gem from ages past. I'm glad it remains one of those most widely praised American comedies I can actually agree with.

660. Monkey Business (Directed by Norman Z. McLeod)

I'd watched a few Three Stooges shorts before I got around to watching The Marx Brothers and I hated the Three Stooges. I knew The Marx Brothers were another group of grown men who found themselves in wacky premises making hijinks happen, so by my reasoning I had to be wary. Old comedies seemed stilted and campy to me at the time. I was in middle school. I hadn't given many a chance. Giving The Marx Brothers a chance was ultimately one of the best filmic decisions I've ever made.

The Marx Brothers are the greatest comedic actors to walk the Earth between the 20s to the 40s. No exceptions. They kill. They can draw a single joke out for five minutes, and it won't lose its charm or its hilarity. The Marx Brothers are three of the most well-endowed humorists ever, comedically, and sure, Zeppo doesn't have any of Chico, Groucho or Harpo's abilities, but he's still there, and I give him a pass. 

Having said all that I don't remember what Monkey Business is about. I think this is the one with the "ran out of fuel, had to go back" bit. I know it came out before A Night in Casablanca, the sign of their declining prowess in 1941, so Business is okay in my book. I think their work in the 20s was the height of their awesomeness, and this falls a few years shy of that. I trust I laughed. 

680. In Memory of My Father (Directed by Christopher Jaymes)

Now this is an odd one. I saw this at the Waterfront Film Festival my first year as a volunteer and was blown away by it. I went into it knowing it was a comedy about a dead father, and that's it. No idea who was in it, no idea who had written or directed it. The festival opened my eyes to how great it can be to walk blindly into a screening, because without any expectations it is much easier to be impressed and disappointed. No pre-judgments. Huzzah!

I watched it twice in two days. That's once a day! My reaction to it the second time was a less enthusiastic one. The cast's stellar delivery, and the hilarious writing felt kind of amateur and trying-too-hard when I watched it again. I laughed so hard I was crying when I first say it. I chuckled at the familiar lines the next time. So either this movie has absolutely no staying power as a film, and should never be viewed repeatedly, or my moods were drastically different between days. 

This is on my list of movies to buy, but now that I've written this I think maybe I need to view it a third time before making any brash decisions. Judy Greer was great in it both times, and I think the main three characters, played by Jeremy Sisto, Christopher Jaymes (writer and director as well) and Matt Keeslar, were interesting, if not as funny, the time yonder. Yeah, I'm going to give this another shot. Thrice shot. 

My life is empty without Baby Gorgeous. Her absence helped me find the strength to finish this. I'll try to be a good seriesest. I swear. 

 - Eric T. Voigt

Eric Reviews Everything He's Ever Seen (Numbers 500, 520, 540, 560, and 580)

Hellraiser and License to Kill were almost 2/5 of this post. I must have been lax when I started listing. I'm positive I've never watched License to Kill and think I mistook it for one of Pierce Brosnan's Bonds. One Monsterfest I tried watching Hellraiser, but I got grossed out and disturbed and missed what were probably important chunks of story flipping between channels. This list has been altered, and films I've actually seen were brought in. Whenever I find mistakes like this I'll pull movies from the bottom of the list and replace the un-watched, like I did with Police Academy and Dirty Dancing. My count's back up to 1,067. No worries.

500. Wayne's World 2 (Directed by Stephen Surjik)

Mike Myers, how far ye have fallen. I bought his Austin Powers movies because I remember Myers fondly, not Powers. I should have been buying Wayne’s World. Wayne is a much funnier, likeable character, and paired with Dana Carvey’s Garth he was hysterical. I worried the sequel, this movie, wouldn’t live up to the standards set in the first one, but if anything it meets and surpasses.

Now, I’m not what you’d call a “fan of heavy metal or even pseudo-heavy metal,” but I can understand wanting to be after a sit-down with Wayne’s World 2. The level of Wayne’s grit in creating the best rock festival in the world is endearing. Hard rock is handled with an understanding and care that makes even the die-hardest techno junkie’s heart melt for the rockers. 

Everything is accessible, when so many of my senses are reeling against it. Even when the humor is at its most juvenile it’s so earnest I throw all caution to the wind and smile until my lips want to rip. Wayne’s World 2 is one of my favorite buddy movies, demonstrating the essence of comedy, love of music, and friendship.

520. The Addams Family (Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld)

I remember watching the Addams Family Vacation at my house. My Grandfather snuck out of the house, crept over beneath the window and popped his head up, shouting. He nearly scared me to death. Think, a seven year old going into cardiac arrest, and it being all his Grandpa’s fault. That’s the most interesting memory I have of any Addams Family movie. 

The Addams Family movie(s) weren’t as funny as they tried to be, or as creepy as they could have been if they’d stuck to the source material. They fell into this kind of funky purgatory. Not a good funk, a lame funk. The first Casper movie suffered from the same problems. It aspired to be spooky, but turned out dusty and disgusting. Dusty isn’t an adjective often applied to tone. Its the only word I can think of. 

Morticia and Gomez had this running gag where Gomez would become incredibly horny, and start kissing his wife’s arm, I think. I know there was a sexual undercurrent that I understood at my young age, but didn’t approve of. It was disconcerting. If I’m a prude now I was even more of a prude then. I blame the German and Puritan blood what flows through me.

If Addams Family had any humor it flew right over my head. I think I remember there being jokes. I don’t remember laughing. If the movie was too mature, or just a bad movie I’m not totally sure of. I supposed it left some kind of impact if I’m using four paragraphs to talk about it. 

540. Black Sabbath (Directed by Mario Bava)

The Boris Karloff hosted Black Sabbath is a strange beast. I saw it at my first Music Box Massacre, at threeish in the morning. It took three Italian horror shorts and compiled them into an anthology. All of the actors were dubbed over in English except for Boris, who gave brief introductions before each short. He starred as a vampire in the longest and most boring short. The other two felt like average Twilight Zone episodes. I didn’t like it. Why did they subject us to such blah filmmaking? 

Whether or not the shorts were intended to be compiled as an anthology still confuses me. The English dubbing appeared to take liberties with the stories, with dialogue not always matching up with the visuals. Whole chunks of exposition felt tacked on to help slower audience members. It was one of the least entertaining films in the twenty-four hours and ill placed for an audience who’d been awake for seventeen hours and at least nine more to go. 

560. Scarface (Directed by Howard Hawks)

Now I know where “the world is yours” comes from! One more reference to notch into the bedpost. 

Hopefully the poster has lead you to understand I’m referring to the 1932 Howard Hawks film, not the Brian DePalma/Al Pacino Scarface. I haven’t seen that Scarface. The only DePalma movie I’ve liked is Phantom of the Paradise, so I don’t have much interest in checking out the remake, if that’s what it’s considered. Judging from what I know about both there isn’t much similar ground between the two. 

Hawks’ take was surprisingly comedic. Like, laugh out loud comedic. I haven’t seen a gangster movie mix humor and violence quite like Scarface. There’s a character, Angelo, who was the equivalent of a murderous Chico Marx. Hilarious. Paul Muni outdoes himself on the funny, too. He’s a greedy, evil bastard, but light enough to feel alright rooting for. He’s ruthless, but he’s a ruthless endearing underdog.

I definitely want to check out more by Howard Hawks. Did you know I haven’t even seen The Big Sleep? It feels deplorable, it does. If his other work is as masterful as Scarface I may be getting a new favorite director. If I’ve spoken too soon, with my foot in my mouth, I’ll address it in upcoming installments, over 220 posts from now.

580. Intolerable Cruelty (Directed by Joel Coen)

What a sick twist of fate: the last Coen brothers movie I see is the first I review. Destiny is a confusing she-wolf.

Screwball comedies, I miss you. I want gutsy, fast talking women and adorable leading men who remain at their best when bested. Intolerable Cruelty pays homage, and adds on to, a great familiar genre which has been lost somewhere in the past half-century. 

Judging from the cover, poster, and anything else marketing the movie I expected Intolerable Cruelty to be my least liked Coen brother venture. I was shown George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones, big Hollywood names with nothing to lose, staring dotingly into each others eyes. “Romantic comedy blech,” I thought. “Surely the Coens jest.” I should never have misjudged them.

Intolerable Cruelty may be one of their funniest films yet. The clever wordplay is at its cleverest. Its comedic timing could have a clock set to it. All of the actors treat the absurd as dead-pan as possible, and man, oh man, does it culminate into something hilarious. That something: Intolerable Cruelty.

Don’t be like this guy over here. Give Intolerable Cruelty a chance. If you’ve heard someone denigrating it ignore them, and let yourself decide. I can see where it would be everyone’s cup of tea, but for a culture ready to throw thousands away on Epic Movie and the next straight-to-DVD American Pie it feels like Intolerable Cruelty is something all the more special. Hilarious and special. I cherish it.

Eric Reviews Everything He's Ever Seen (Numbers 400, 420, 440, 460 and 480)

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the five reviews every single day. What a work load. If I had homework this would be difficult. Thanks, end of the semester relaxation. Thanks, you old building and loan. What else can I quote in this introduction? I'll save it for another time.

400. Mulan (Directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook)

I could be found giving Mulan a resoundingly bad rap early this year. Buried beneath pounds of other Disney memories I was stuck thinking of Mulan as "that one with the scary Genghis Khan and an Eddie Murphy-dragon." It deserves more credit than that. I honestly can't remember much about the full movie, but I've listened to the soundtrack again, and the music is teeth better than I remembered. 

"I'll Make a Man Out of You", "A Girl Worth Fighting For", "Honor to Us All"... their catchiness is astounding. Another giant Western production company's take on ancient Eastern civilization could not go better musically. My Mom had the cassette on repeat for months following its release, and I'd always be at the edge of my seat when Jerry Goldsmith's instrumental pieces came on. They're sweeping, suspenseful works of art. 

I wonder if it hurts the crew to never see little girls dressed up like Mulan for Halloween when there are droves of Belles, Cinderellas and even Ariels. Is a cross-dressing warrior not pretty enough to earn a costume? Mulan has honor. She's a selfless patriot. This is exactly the character American girls should be emulating. Especially the going off to war part.

I'm sorry this post isn't more about the movie itself, but really, I'm hard pressed to think of much beyond the musical numbers. She goes to a spirit box in the rain at one point, and she gets so injured she has to nearly show her breasts, and there's a thrilling conclusion where the villain dies during a fireworks display. Those are the scenes I half remember, which bodes better for Mulan than Hercules, because I remember so many scenes from that movie and I hate them all.

420. The Puffy Chair (Directed by Jay Duplass)

My very first mumblecore review and the first mumblecore of my life, years before I knew what a mumblecore was, or where to find other mumblecores. If I type it enough it will lose all meaning, and then it won't be a subgenre. They'll be free to be movies, gone from the shackles of that damning label. Mumblecore. 

It's a pretty good film about a couple and their friend road-tripping a puffy chair cross country. Most of it made me smile. Occasionally I chuckled and laughed. When it wasn't making me happy it was busy scaring the hell out of me. Being in a serious relationship with a girl never looked so unappealing. It presents the couples' sad demise without a bit of uncomfortableness missed. The Puffy Chair leaves no unpleasant stone unturned. Jay Duplass directs the action so convincingly it feels more like an unfortunately real home movie than a feature film, with performances from Mark Duplass (co-writer and sibling), Katie Aselton and Rhett Wilkins remaining equally powerful switching between comedy and drama. Watching it was time well spent.

The special features menu offered me more from the Duplass brothers: short films This Is John, Scrapple and The Intervention. I liked the last best but enjoyed all of them. They were fine companions to Chair. They also made Baghead. That was good.

440. 101 Dalmatians (Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske and Wolfgang Reitherman)

Ah. Finally. A little classic Disney, circa 1961. That would make me... negative twenty-nine when it came out. I'm glad the Disney vault doesn't forbid these movies from being crammed down every new generations throats or I'd have missed out on the greatest children's films ever made. True story. 101 Dalmatians is a favorite. Inside my exclusive top five favorite Disney cartoons, definitely. 

There are over one hundred and one adorable puppies in this one movie. That's as precious as gold to a once dog-enthusiast. And for the villain-enthusiast I still am there's Cruella de Vil, who transforms into a road-raging demon after approving of mass dog slaughter. On counts of cute and terrifying it almost can't be beat. 

Starting off as a cute movie about family 101 Dalmatians turns into a sprawling adventure, set against the backdrop of a dark and dreary London Winter. The darling little animals face Death square in the face, and laugh at him. All of this factors into 101 Dalmatians earning my undying respect, and mad props.

460. Balto (Directed by Simon Wells)

Balto... I have nothing to say about Balto. It was meh when I was five, and it doesn't ring any bells at nineteen. I can't even remember the bare-bones of the plot. He was a dog sled dog, right? Maybe he wanted to be a sled dog, but didn't get to because he was gray. Is it about racial tension? That poster looks like it has a mean dog. That must be his opposition. Alright. I give up. What was this movie about?

In the Leave It to Beaver movie Beaver pulls out Balto and is excited beyond reason to watch it with Eddie. Was I as excited as the Beave when I saw the trailer for Balto? I'm positive I was. Oh man! I just stomped my computer. I tried crossing my legs and knocked it off the table. That wasn't cool. 

Interesting fact: Simon Wells is also the co-director of well-liked sequel to An American Tail, biblical Prince of Egypt and nightmarish We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story plus the upcoming adaptation of Mars Needs Moms!. You can't keep this guy away from exclamations. 

480. Dumb and Dumber (Directed by Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly)

I thought Dumb and Dumber was immature back when I was immature. I never sought it out on my own, but watched snippets at my friend's house quite a bit, and caught moments during my Dad's surfings. About every time TBS or TNT had it playing I'd end up seeing a minute more than the last time. It was on one of those very similar channels a lot in the mid-90s. It's one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Why do I feel this way? "Gasman" and X-Lax. Terrible movie.

Bad movies getting one paragraph feels right. The better the movie the more I'll say about it. Or... maybe I shouldn't speak so soon. My shortest post yet. I don't know how that makes me feel. Quality over quantity. Something over something.

 - Eric T. Voigt, Only a Twenty

Eric Reviews Everything He's Ever Seen (Numbers 300, 320, 340, 360, 380)

I thought last post was going to be a struggle to get through. It wasn't that bad. It wasn't that bad. It wasn't that bad. I can't wait to review Red Dawn. I have to watch it more thoroughly than the first two times to count it as being watched... this is neither here nor there. I'm trying to get prepped to write about head-ache-inducing mediocrity. Pass me a gallon of Advil, ma'am. 

300. Evolution (Directed by Ivan Reitman)

Before I was obsessed with film I was obsessed with aliens and UFOs. It lasted for a few years, bolstered by the Men in Black movies and animated series, X-Files, various Godzillas, plus lots of recreational reading. Society wanted me to like extraterrestrial monsters, so who was I to say "no"? I was trusting. Why would they set out to hurt me? Because they knew I was an easy target. That's why they tricked me into getting my hopes way way up for Evolution, only to have them maliciously smashed. 

This movie was so boring. I don't remember what the aliens were even doing on earth. It didn't help that the creature designs weren't anything special. Even less of a help was the uninteresting to goofy acting. Ivan Reitman should have quit back in the 80s, back when he was ahead, raising a director son. This movie was lousy. I can't think of many specific scenes, but there's this looming vibe of disappointment hanging over Evolution that I can't shake. 

I was over at IMDb a second ago and noticed Julianne Moore was a cast member. What? I didn't know that was her. She's one of my favorite actresses. And Dan Akroyd was, too? And Sarah Silverman? All these surprises. Surprises that don't matter, because this movie was bad. I think. Hazily bad. 

320. Recess: School's Out (Directed by Chuck Sheetz)

Fond memories of Recess do I keep. I watched reruns most weekday mornings, and waited expectantly for each new Saturday episode. Recess was my favorite show in elementary school. It didn't talk down to us youths, and seemed to understand the workings of playground politics intimately. Were the writers fourth graders? They very well could have been, because they had their shit down. I think I'm going to go out on a limb and say Recess was like Seinfeld for children. Taking everyday problems everyone could relate to and spinning them into hilarious yarns. Man... this show rocked...

If only the end of the series had been the end of Recess. The show had capped itself off nicely already. No movie could capture the spirit of what an entire series had already given us. A movie was made, I was hopeful it would live up to everything coming before it, and I coaxed my Dad into taking me to see it. Sure, I laughed a little, and the familiar characters still held a place in my heart, but it was only good. It didn't compare to the better episodes, and left Recess to save its good name in syndication. Sigh... I miss you, Recess.

340. Road Trip (Directed by Todd Phillips)

I wish I could excuse myself from writing this review. 

The only good thing Road Trip has contributed to my life is its helping me realize not every comedy needs to be funny. Let me explain. Road Trip is, in essence, a comedy. It stars comedians and comedic actors, it sets up gags with wacky payoffs, and it managed to make some audiences laugh. It didn't make me laugh. See, I used to think if a movie was made to be funny and I didn't laugh it was my fault. After seeing Road Trip and having its jokes fall dead at my ears I fully understood different senses of humor. It wasn't that I didn't understand, it was that Tom Green didn't do it for me. Clouds parted, the sun came out and I think I caught a little bit of a rainbow winking at me.

P. S. Amy Smart was topless for a while, so maybe Road Trip contributed two good things.

360. The Emperor's New Groove (Directed by Mark Dindal)

This one's somewhat milestoney. Lilo and Stitch and Emperor's New Groove, from 2002 and 2000 respectively, are the last animated Disney films I both liked or watched. Atlantis fell between the two, and I didn't care for it. Following 2002 there hasn't been a single Disney cartoon to interest me without the partnership of Pixar to sweeten the deal. I wonder if some terrible accident happened at the production studios making everyone forget how to tell good stories, or if it was a conscious decision. It has nothing to do with a growing age gap either, because I'm just as excited for, say, the new Pixar movie as I am the next Coen brothers movie. Okay, not as excited, but I have no children's movie distaste. 

The message is this: Emperor's New Groove was a Disney movie I could still be excited for, and enjoy watching. It took the art design in an interesting new direction they haven't returned to. For a story about a shepherd taking care of a prince-turned-llama it had surprising poignancy. David Spade as a llama made me sad. How could something so goofy be so touching? John Goodman has such great chemistry with Spade, too. And there were awesome action sequences. And Patrick Warburton voices a character. This is a nostalgia rush. 

If I could go up to Grandfather Disney and convince him to make movies the old fashioned way, the way they made them when I was a whipper snapper, I would. Right now. To think of how happy Emperor's New Groove made me, and how only one Disney movie after has surpassed that happiness fills me with a dull bitter rage. Better move on to the next movie.

380. Pokemon: The First Movie (Directed by Kunihiko Yuyama)

The Pokemon movie?! Come on! 

This movie is straight up weird. As a fan of the show I was looking for more of the same, not a dark story about mistreated, forgotten super villain monsters tricking a bunch of teens into fighting for their lives on a spooky island. The tone is eerily different from the show. Many Pokemon are seriously injured in the movie. Like, permanently.

I got a free legendary bird card out of it, but even that was kind of a rip-off. Zapdos? I've never cared for Zapdos. Or Moltres. Articuno is the only bird I even liked. I'm kind of impressed with myself for remembering all of this. Unrightfully, probably, since I was a Pokemon junkie for a hefty chunk of my life. Collecting Pokemon was more of a job than a hobby. I invested years to Pokemon, and I'm repaid by leaving the theater feeling kind of violated? I'm not exaggerating. I felt depressed and unsafe walking out of that showing. They really pulled a fast one on me.

It's looking like beloved children's shows aren't doing a great job making the leap to the big screen. Will my review of Digimon: The Movie prove otherwise? Perhaps The Rugrats Movie was a pleasant experience? Find out in the coming installments. All 200+ of them.

Eric Reviews Everything He's Ever Seen (Numbers 200, 220, 240, 260, 280)

I'm writing this now right after completing the second edition of reviewing everything. I scanned what I'm supposed to be covering in this post, and it doesn't please me. None of these movies have left a profound effect on me, positive or negative, except maybe 280, but even that's not a sure thing. I understood that I haven't only watched my favorite movies. I've seen good, bad and in between. This is the between.

200. Super Size Me (Directed by Morgan Spurlock)

I eat fast food a lot. Or... not 'a lot'... too often. Here in college it isn't so much chain-variety burgers and fries like back home, but I do cram so many burritos down my throat I could open a Mexican restaurant, and regurgitate a week's worth of meals. It's not healthy, but at least I'm self-conscious. I've been taught against doing this left and right, and to no avail. Super Size Me is one of those failing teachers. 

Super Size Me is such pop-documentary it's hard to take seriously. The investigative work sloppy, and the film presents the facts all so blatantly one-sided that it's more attack campaign than information. It's cool to see Spurlock gorge himself on McDonald's and face health-jeopardizing consequences. I accept it provides convincing arguments against the fast food industry. I do not think it's a substantial enough to hold up against my favorite documentaries, and think of it as airy entertainment, not interesting filmmaking. 

It scared me in the hours immediately after viewing, and stuck with me for maybe a few months after. I've forgotten all the facts and first-hand interviews. Well, outside of the way chicken nuggets are made and that some ice cream mogul was very sickly as a child from all the sweets he ate. I have it on a list of movies worth buying, but writing about it has made me seriously reconsider letting it into my house. I'll catch it on TV. 

220. Good Bye Lenin! (Directed by Wolfgang Becker)

We got to watch Good Bye Lenin! for AP European History and it was one of the happiest days of that class. It's not like we were used to teachers showing us good movies. Mostly we got late-80s/early-90s educational pieces and made-for-TV shlock. He did show us a decent French movie earlier in the year, but I was wary when I heard the title. I'd had enough of Russian history that late in the term. Then he started the DVD and we all found out it was a German narrative from only a few years ago, not an irrelevant historical documentary. I could have wept with joy.

So the movie wasn't half bad. Putting a label on it I'd go with 'very good.' Daniel Bruhl was an adorable charismatic lead, and I really felt for him when he was taking care of his mother. His relationships with girlfriend and best friend were as sweet as they were. He played a good guy trying his best to do good things with real conviction, and I thank him. A genuinely kind-hearted film without a showy message. 

240. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (Directed by Gore Verbinski)

One of my uncles gave me a free trial of Netflix for Christmas '03. I used it to rent Futurama and Family Guy seasons mostly, but I also got a few movies I'd heard of, but hadn't bothered to see in theaters. I'd seen commercials for Pirates and it seemed like a semi-fun action movie. It was a free trial. What did I have to lose? 

Pirates wasn't a flat out waste of a rental. I thought the fight sequences were well-staged. I didn't think the bone pirates were impressive. I thought Kiera Knightley was cute. I didn't think the comic relief was relieving or comedic. The pluses outweighed the minuses, but the pluses weren't great pluses, and the sequel I bothered seeing was crazy bloated. There's nothing in this installment to expand on in further films. 

Oh wow. I forgot about Johnny Depp. Isn't he the main appeal of these things? He was kind of funny. I've never seen him be bad. I'd probably have a lot more to complain about if I had watched it now and not when I was in middle school, but it wasn't offensive that I remember. It is a damn shame there's more of them coming. 

260. The Bourne Identity (Directed by Doug Liman)

There are few thing I remember about the first Bourne movie. I remember Lola (Franka Potente) being the love interest. Daniel Bruhl is her brother in one of the later movies! And Bourne has two sequels, going on four, just like the Pirates franchise! This post's movies have so many bizarre connections. It should marry itself. Or have the same parents. It can get married and have the same parents, I'm not picky. 

That wasn't on topic. I had scenes to mention. Right. One of the scenes I remember is Bourne doing something with a gun, and then walking out into a middle-of-nowhere field to meet the man he shot, I think. I have no idea what they talk about, but that image sticks out. I think they talk about how Bourne was an assassin. Something to do with piecing his past together. Maybe I don't remember that scene. 

A scene I know I remember Brian Cox killing his subordinate. The kid is about to help prove Bourne isn't responsible for a criminal action, and Cox kills him because he doesn't want the evidence getting out. I didn't even remember Chris Cooper being in the franchise until they flashed back in the later movies. 

I'm not sure if the movie was forgettable. It might be that too much time has passed between now and then. I remember plenty from the second movie, and that came out only two years later. Bushels of movies before 2002 I remember clearly. I guess it was forgettable. 

280. Punch-Drunk Love (Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson)

I try to watch films the whole way through. I'm not a fan of pausing in the middle to make meals, or setting chunks aside for later. I don't think this makes me strange, I think most people watch their movies from start to finish if they're seriously trying. I'm driving it home that I don't stop movies when I can help it. With two films I've not only stopped, but have stopped, rewound and replayed a scene. The first is the opening sequence to Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia. The second: the opening sequence to Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love. I wasn't re-watching out of necessity, mind you, I was re-watching to get a second look at actually mind-blowing cinematic moments. Am I a fangirl or what?

As kind of a side note I want to say this: Adam Sandler will only ever be good in Punch-Drunk Love. I state this as fact. I never liked him when I was a child when his Happy Gilmores and Little Nickys were all the rage. I didn't like him in Funny People where I was promised something better than goofy voices and man-childery. The only movie I consider him to give a near-human performance is here, in Punch-Drunk Love. I think he's great. He's insane, but he's also fragile and loving. He's funny, but in a subtle way, not in the trying-too-hard way. At least that's how I see his usual act. 

It was a meditation on loneliness and anger. It was painful to see the frustrations of Barry Egan, but made his triumphs that much more rewarding. There are moments that truly scared me, and there were sequences having me laugh out loud, all alone, which means I thought they were really funny. This movie was awesome. I bought it, and haven't had a chance to re-watch it yet. It'll have its turn. Don't you worry. 

Punch-Drunk Love marks the first of many movies I would watch between eight and ninth grade, when I went through my "watch two movies a day" phase. I discovered the popular indie directors of the late-80s and mid-90s: Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, the Coens, Quentin Tarantino, Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze. I found their styles and their stories extraordinary. The characters were so lovable, the dialogue dense and witty, the aesthetics more interesting than any I'd seen before (excluding Scorsese's and Kubrick's). I found my favorite directors. 

 - Eric T. Voigt, Did It

Eric Reviews Everything He's Ever Seen (Numbers 100, 120, 140, 160, and 180)

I was looking through my list, trying to figure out how I was going to present these movies every day and settled on doing it by twenties. Why shake up the good thing I established in the first post? I also considered opening up a new blog for this because I feel like its going to be a lot more expansive and much more it's own distinct being than everything else I've done on the blog. Then I figured that would only bother the loyal reading community we hold here, so I didn't do that. I did review five more movies, though. They can be found below.

100. Across the Universe (Directed by Julie Taymor)

I saw Across the Universe out of a sick desire to learn what fresh hell The Beatles were being put through. I’d already put up with I Am Sam’s all Beatles cover score and figured a movie built entirely around covers was going to take this previous low and blow it out of the water. I was very disappointed, so I wasn’t disappointed. 

When Bono’s allowed to sing “I Am the Walrus” and Eddie Izzard’s role is to dance around a gaudy green-screened circus in corpse make-up I am not happy. The singers have adequately strong voices, paling against McCartney and Lennon’s, or even Harrison and Starr’s, they can’t act a lick through the nonsense stringing the songs together. Jim Sturgess is a handsome fellow but he isn’t much of an actor, and Evan Rachel Wood’s out-of-focus nipple, though not an official member of SAG, stole the show from the rest of the cast. 

There are a few memorable moments, but they only come out of the inspired production design. Strawberries bleeding their juice over a canvas and Easter Island-like heads peopling a luscious were interesting while failing to gloss over the predictable character arcs and corny dialogue. What was essentially a group of music videos stapeled together met my lowest expectations, and has served only to embolden my disgust for Beatles tributes, covers and/or modern musicals. 

120. V for Vendetta (Directed by James McTeigue)

The credits told me “written by The Wachowski Brothers” and my mind did a double take. No way did something like that come from someone like them. Alan Moore provided the story and characters, but they had to have taken more than just those bare bones when putting the script together because believing they went from The Matrix: Revolutions to V for Vendetta takes a chasm-sized leap of faith. Give a big hand to graphic novelists, credible actors and competent directing, everybody.

V for Vendetta was so in tune with my fifteen-year-old sensibilities. It was about revolution against a conservative society, pairing nicely with my distaste for Bush-run America. It had a badass vigilante anti-hero preaching justice through knife throwing. There were explosions that looked like they could really fuck you up, and a quick, sweet story that never felt to stretch too far beyond the reasoning of the censor-happy futuristic universe it lived in.

Most important to me now as it was then is Natalie Portman. Before Sinead O’Connor I’d never seen a female celebrity with a shaved head before Portman as Eve, and I haven’t seen an attractive one since. She was smart, precocious, and sexy though her trials living in a cold, unforgiving world, and one of my favorite heroines for her earnest-feeling bouts of scared indecision, and her ability to make me root for her from the moment she walks onto the film. 

After the movie, and after the shock of the Wachowskis I turned to my friends and awaited their thoughts. I assumed I was going to be alone in my enjoyment, but I was wrong. V for Vendetta struck a heavy chord with my liberal, excitable self, and the feelings ran from one socially conscious youth to another the world over. Would I feel the same now as I did then? Not sure. I’d like to think so. I really would.

140. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Larry Charles)

I'm dealing with the misfortune of Bruno giving my recollection of Borat a bad aftertaste. I watched both in theaters, thought Borat was hilarious and that Bruno failed to recapture the spark and humor of its predecessor. More than that, it reminded me of all the problems I had with Borat that I'd glossed over on the first viewing.

It's worth watching the way Sacha Baron Cohen dupes naive, proud Americans into revealing their xenophobia but the segments between these candid encounters don't always live up to the standards of comedy set up in the secret mockeries. 

I bought Borat thinking I'd laughed so hard I could only laugh more with repeated viewings. This was misguided indeed. Most of the fun comes from how shocking people's confessions are, and the unexpected zany turns Borat's journey takes. Definitely the sort of movie that should be watched with a large, happy audience once, and never again. 

160. The Aviator (Directed by Martin Scorsese)

Considered one of Scorsese's minor works yet also winner of five Academy Awards of the eleven it was nominated The Aviator strikes me as a strange oddity. I've met a handful of people my own age who've seen the movie, and while it's getting an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes I never hear it fondly remembered. I purchased it on the cheap and was scoffed at. What is this anomaly? 

My mother rented The Aviator from the library and sat us down as a family for to watch it when I was just fourteen years old. I wasn't entirely sure who Martin Scorsese was at the time, and from my limited experience knew that biographical movies were boring and formulaic. Perhaps my affinity for the film comes from my expectations' shattering, but when I think back on The Aviator I hold it in as high of regards as After Hours, Gangs of New York or The Departed, which I like very much. Not one of Scorsese's greatest achievements but not a film to be taken lightly.

It introduced me to Leonardo DiCaprio as a skillful actor, not just the apple of girls eyes I knew him as from Titanic and Romeo + Juliet. I found out Cate Blanchett can pull off a great Katherine Hepburn impression, and got to see John C. Reilly in something other than Chicago. This movie came to me in a time in my life where I was starting to actually notice how expressive the camera work and set design and costuming could be. The world of The Aviator was thrilling, exciting, and outside of what I believed to be 'good movies.' 

Stylish and graceful, The Aviator won me over. The acting felt powerful and the style felt unmatched. This is another movie that I haven't revisited in an quite a while, but I don't think I'm going to feel much differently from how I initially did. I'll have to do a revised write-up if it loses its draw. Fingers crossed. 

180. The Incredibles (Directed by Brad Bird)

The circumstances surrounding The Incredibles are quite remarkable. I went to The Incredibles with my very first girlfriend, on our very second official date. I don't mean to brag, but I can't remember if we held hands. I think we did, close to the end of the movie. Anyway, I wasn't and haven't been very impressed with The Incredibles as a Pixar movie, nor as an animated movie, and even nor as a feature film. 

Oh, sure, the animation was fine. It holds its own on those terms when compared to the other Pixar dynasty members. Thought when I think about Pixar movies I never think "oh yeah, The Incredibles, that's a great one." Disney movies in general can never escape being grouped together in my mind, so Pixar's even smaller library of films faces harsher ranking. 

When I think of Pixar movies I have distinct memories of awe at the characters. I've cared more about Pixar's animated characters than I have many characters played by real life in-the-flesh human beings. Marlin's attempts to bring Nemo back to safety nearly brought tears to my eyes. I had almost every line of dialogue memorized from the first Toy Story not because the lines were especially great but because the toys were all so special and believable. I have none of these emotions tying me to The Incredibles. I never got into the story deep enough to consider devoting precious brain-power to Mr. Incredible and his family. I don't even remember any of the characters names. 

I've seen The Incredibles since its theatrical release and have been as disappointed or more each time. I try and give it as fair a chance as any other movie, but it always ends up at the bottom of my list when recalling the other far greater features Pixar has given me. Maybe I'll have to be a parent to understand what Mr. and Mrs. Incredible are going through with their marriage and children, but if that's truly the case The Incredibles didn't do enough to make these figures relatable or deserve affection.

I'm posting this a day late, but I got 2/5 of it done on Saturday. That means I'm almost keeping up, right? Right?

 - Eric T. Voigt, Chugging On Diet Root Beer By the Two Liter

Friday, November 20, 2009

Eric Reviews Everything He's Ever Seen (Numbers 1, 20, 40, 60 and 80 of 1,067)

I've been building a list. Started just before winter break last year and titled "The Official Every Film and Movie List" I have kept track of everything I've watched since the creation of the list, and have gone back and added every movie I could remember seeing before the list's existence. I'm up to 1,067 films, only including feature films I know I've viewed from the beginning to end. This list omits movies I've watched the bulk of, or caught large snippets of on television. "Teen Wolf" and "Harry and the Hendersons" may have played important roles in my childhood, but never complete, full length roles. I'm getting ahead of myself. Let the obsessive listing begin. 

1. Citizen Kane (Directed by Orson Welles)

What a jerk way to begin a list of movies, right? Hailed as one of the greatest masterpieces of the last century, number one on the American Film Institutes' one-hundred best movies, and nominee of nine separate Academy Awards in 1941, Citizen Kane is potentially the most over-talked film in the universe. And while I wouldn't consider it one of my personal favorites I do like it quite a bit. 

Being told to watch Citizen Kane since conception had me looking at the film with ultra-high expectations, and quite a few reservations. I suppose any movie as widely praised as Kane is going to set people up for a mind-blowing, and when it came time for me to actually watch the film it felt like I was reaching a grand milestone in my life. Rich with visual metaphor and across-the-board fine acting it wasn't difficult to understand the hubbub.

Welles' Charles Foster Kane was loveable throughout his descent into bitter wealth, and rest of the cast matched him admirably. Kane's shrill voiced mistress-wife Susan (Dorothy Comingore) struck me as both a stitch and one of the most endearing, relatable performances in the film. Definitely one of my favorites. I wasn't taken with Joseph Cotten's decision to put on an exaggerated accent playing present-day Jedediah Leland, but his Leland of the past was witty and charming. When paired with Mr. Bernstein (Everett Sloane) the duo present the funniest and most interesting segments of Kane's lifetime. 

Cinematographer Gregg Toland captured mesmerizing depths of focus that give the film a still unmatched sense of style. Am I getting too stuffy about this? What I'm getting at is I like the way Kane looks. Young Charlie Foster playing in the snow while his childhood is signed away in the foreground and a wealthy newspaper man-Kane dancing in a window's reflection are two stand-outs. The way Toland conveys space is frankly inspiring, which I say at the risk of sounding gushy. Gooshy. 

Yes, Citizen Kane is a technical masterpiece. The story is as relevant as it is fun to watch, and the film has undoubtedly stood the test of time. It may not be a masterpiece in my heart, but it holds a special place there, and it's on my top one-hundred list, if not in the top twenty-five. 
20. To Kill a Mockingbird (Directed by Robert Mulligan)

I'm pretty sure I watched To Kill a Mockingbird in ninth grade as a companion to reading the book. It might have been earlier than that. Most of my memory of the movie is hazy. I know Gregory Peck was solid, and I'm being told Robert Duvall made his debut as Boo Radley, but I can't for the life of me remember Boo in the film. I liked the book a lot, and think the idea of watching the adaptation wasn't thrilling after so much class time already devoted to the story. 

I paid attention to the whole thing, but I don't know where the novel ends and the movie begins. I do know the scene with the rabid dog terrified me, because that dog looked rabid with a capital r. Rabid. Gregory Peck seems to feel like he was a badass, and I know I wasn't bothered by scout, or any of the other performances. Clearly a forgettable movie, but it wasn't a bad movie. That I'd remember.

I'm doing these reviews purely on what I can recall. Really. I'm reviewing as far back as FernGully, and I can't remember anything about that movie. This is a gimmick. A good one. 

40. The Deer Hunter (Directed by Michael Cimino)

Now here's a movie I remember. The Deer Hunter is another American Film Institute honoree, and one I expected great things from. Having previously fallen for Apocalypse Now and Platoon nothing sounded more satisfying than more doses of Vietnam-era stories with impressive acting talent and numerous awards. Then something terrible happened: the longer I watched The Deer Hunter the deeper the fact sunk in that I would not be adding it to any number of 'favorite' lists. 

Almost everyone I know disagrees with me on The Deer Hunter and its merits, but I will not be swayed. I thought the amount of time spent with the young men in their small Pennsylvanian hometown dragged on for a nerveracking amount of time. I got jittery during this film waiting for something of any importance to happen. Their lives did not reflect an innocence before war but an oafish stupidity before madness. I could not see the pacing of hunting excursions and wedding antics being a means to justify the story's whole. 

When the war and the Russian Roulette kick into gear they feel oddly placed. Though it is more interesting it's all so strangely put together that I could not to get into it. I see this as a failure on the film's part, not my own.

The actors and actresses were the cream of the crop for 1978. Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep and John Cazale in his final role before his death in the same year, all giving their all, yet all feeling so wasted. The skills were there, Cimino just didn't know how to utilize them. I worry the direction counted too much on the shock of the story and not enough on the heart of the actors. Many dispute everything I've just said. I'm here to try and dispute right back.

60. 21 (Directed by Robert Luketic)

Coming off the high of Across the Universe where he near-single-handedly taught the youth of the world that The Beatles weren't just for parents Jim Sturgess jumped into another leading role with 2008's 21, based on a true story. Just like Across the Universe

I didn't like Across the Universe because it didn't respect The Beatles and portrayed bohemian artists as a bunch of pretentious nutjobs. I didn't like 21 for practically the same reasons. It doesn't give the viewer any credit. The movie is constantly pandering to the audience, piling on heaps of exposition and following through with every cliche in the cliched-plot-device handbook. 

The lead flirts with the girl who doesn't like him until they fall in love and have sex. The teacher turns out to be the enemy. A large con is pulled off in a convoluted, successful way and no one questions how the characters had the means. It's dumb storytelling for a masses that won't give a damn the movie presented nothing interesting nor exciting. 

I saw it with my parents over Spring break last year because it didn't look like it was going to be all that bad. My parents tolerated it, and I put on an "it wasn't bad" face for their sakes. I will never watch this movie again, and ask Kevin Spacey to stick to meatier roles. I also had a free poster for it on my door for a while because why not?

80. 300 (Directed by Zack Snyder)

The only action movie needing less story is 300. Whenever characters began to talk and nothing badass was said within two seconds of their mouths opening I considered leaving the theater. The movie was at its core about ripped men slaughtering other ripped men. That's what I wanted to see. Violence with honor. Stabbing of enemies. Beheadings. Magic. There was a story about political rape, and a story about father-son relationships, and a story about being too freakish to be a Spartan, and whenever this sort of nuisance would come up the movie screeched to a halt. 

Most of the movie was brutal murder and shouting, though. At one point they build a wall of bodies and knock it over onto the opposition. That's a bunch of dead bodies, corpses, raining and tumbling down upon the heads of the living. That is so badass. There's also a point where you know this kid is going to get beheaded, but I hoped they weren't going to be so crass as to actually have him get beheaded, but then he totally does get beheaded! Hilarious. 

Where 300 gained in action points it lost in style. The green screened atmosphere was an eyesore. Oranges and greens and reds blasting out at my poor corneas, shaking loose my retinas with their gross brilliance. The first thing I complained about when the movie'd ended was that the clouds were distractingly fake. I was laughed at. Oh, how bitter 300 has made me. 

Also, did anyone know Gerard Butler was in movies before 300? Surprised the hell out of me. 

This is going to be a struggle, pumping out a series at this magnitude as often as I'd like to. As long as I think I know what I'm talking about, and my fingers can typeitty type I will continue this series. Have mercy on me. 

 - Eric T. Voigt, Oxen? Oh! Oxen, Ho!