Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Overlooked Movie Marathon 3: Week 3

Two weeks ago, I embarked on my annual journey of catching up on a bunch of movies that I had yet to see.  Before this week began, I had seen five movies that I hadn’t yet watched that are viewed by my Twitter peers as classics.  I continued that journey this week by adding three more movies to my month long marathon of filling in blindspots.  But before I get into the movies I watched this past week, I must once again give an overview of what this marathon encompasses.  There may be people who have yet to read the other two posts.

There are a lot of movies that people deem as classic, must-watch films that I have missed over the twenty-four years of my life.  Two years ago, I decided that I would dedicate my month of September to seeking out some of these movies that I had missed.  I would use the month to fill in the blind spots that I have when it comes to film.  Or, at least, I would attempt to fill in some of them.

The first year was a collection of movies chosen by me.  I went through each decade of film, starting at 1900, and chose one movie that I had not seen from that decade.  The second year, I asked people on Twitter what some of the best movies ever were and chose from the movies that they said.  This year, I decided to do things differently again, but have come up with another list of great movies to watch during the month.

Late in 2013, Marcelo J. Pico founded the Tweet Film Society (now the Talk Film Society), a coalition of Twitter users that liked film.  He wanted to share people’s opinions and bring everyone together as a Twitter sub-culture.  As 2014 began, he decided to poll everyone and see what the top 100 films of all time were, as voted by the people in the Talk Film Society.  He released that list in July.  When I saw that list, I noticed that there were about eighteen films on it that I had yet to see.  This includes movies such as The Prestige, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Chinatown.  I decided that the movies I hadn’t watched yet that made the TFS Top 100 would be the basis for what I caught up on in September 2014.

And thus my journey began once again.  I began checking movies off of my unseen list by using the TFS Top 100.  I’ve had some highs and some lows through the movies I’ve been watching.  Some that I agree are some of the greatest ever, and some that I disagree with.  That’s my opinion though.  And if you’re reading this, you want to know my opinion.  So here are the three movies I caught up with this week.

Annie Hall
There are parts of this movie that I loved.  The character of Annie Hall.  Oh man, I fell for her hard.  I adore that character and want to do anything for her.  I liked the fourth wall breaking stuff.  The scene in the line for the movie theater.  That was some great stuff.  But a lot of the movie fell flat for me and I’m not entirely sure why.  Maybe it was the overly Jewish nature of the comedy coming from Woody Allen.  Since I’m not Jewish, it didn’t connect with me as much as it would other people.  That’s the only thing I can think of.  It sounds mean but isn’t meant to be.

Before Sunrise
A movie that is purely dialogue is not something that I imagined myself enjoying too much.  If you know me, I like action scenes in my movies.  I don’t mean action movie action.  Just things happening.  Movement and stuff.  I like things to happen.  But… When the dialogue is as good as it is in Before Sunrise, I can forgive the fact that they do a lot while not really doing anything.  They spend the entire movie talking to each other and I was enthralled the whole time.  It was fantastic work by the writers, director, and actors to make the movie as good as it was.  This one is definitely a highlight of the month.

I’m still not entirely clear about how I feel when it comes to this movie.  It’s hard to put into words my thoughts when it comes to it.  I had a big paragraph but it didn’t make sense so I scrapped it and wrote this in its place instead.  I’m not sure I loved the movie.  I’m not sure I didn’t.  It was an experience like almost no other, though.

So, there’s one week left in September and I have nine more movies in the TFS Top 100 that I have yet to see.  I won’t be watching all nine of them this week, but I’m sure I could get a good three, four, or maybe even five of them watched.  It’s just a matter of which ones I will choose and which ones I will not.

Next week, you will find out what the final batch of movies in my third annual Overlooked Movie Marathon will be.  I’ll find out what they are sometime during this week.  I’ll see you next week when we’ll both discover what the movies are.  See you then.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Overlooked Movie Marathon 3: Week 2

Once a year I devote a month to watching the great movies that I have missed over my many years of watching movies.  That would be the month of September.  I use September as a means to catch up on many of the movies I have overlooked while watching the movies that I typically watch.  If you know me, you know that is a big deal.  I spend a lot of time watching things like Battledogs and Baby Geniuses, while movies such as Drive and The Prestige go unwatched.  September is all about rectifying that.  Yes, I still watch some of the stuff I usually watch (out of necessity this year), but I also shift my focus to watching some of the greats that I haven’t seen yet.

This year, I began the month by flying out of the gate and watching a lot of movies in the first week or so.  Then I slowed down a little bit.  My schedule at work made it so.  The good thing is that I still managed to sneak in two of the movies from the Talk Film Society Top 100 that I hadn’t yet seen.  That means that I caught up on two of the movies I was going to spend September trying to catch up on.  I’ve already listed them in this post so I’m not going to go over them again until I get to my actual feelings about each of the movies.  Next week, I will hopefully be back up to three of them.  Who knows?  I could end up seeing more than that.

For those of you who didn’t see the first post for this year’s Overlooked Movie Marathon, I have been using the Talk Film Society Top 100 as a basis for the movies that I watch this month.  This top 100 list was a list created through the contribution of many Twitter users to the Talk Film Society account.  People sent in lists of the 25 best movies, in their opinion.  Marcelo J. Pico took all of these lists and calculated which movies were voted on the most times.  He then compiled the movies into a list ranking them based on how many votes they got.  The 100 movies with the most votes were the top 100 movies.

When I saw the list, I noticed that there were about eighteen or so movies that I had missed seeing.  Thus, I decided that I would use the list to catch up with the great movies I had overlooked.  It became the foundation of my September marathon schedule.  And I have been slowly but surely working my way through some of the movies this month.  The first week included Pan’s Labyrinth, Chinatown, and The Big Lebowski.  This week included two more movies that I hadn’t yet seen.  Let’s get to them, shall we?

The Prestige
This one was not completely unseen by me.  A few years ago, I had seen about half of the movie late into the morning of the new year with a few friends.  That was only half of the movie.  You can’t count half of a movie as a watch.  Now I have finally seen the rest of the movie and I can say this.  The twists and turns of the movie are interesting, but the movie as a whole left me cold.  I did not love this movie like so many people seem to.  It was good and I would watch it again.  But I won’t be going out of my way to watch it again.  Bale and Jackman are great, but it didn’t connect with me.  That’s a shame, really.  I thought I would love it.

Stylistically, this is a great film.  The driving scenes are reminiscent of Bullitt in the look, sound, and overall feel.  The physical violence is visually stunning.  The whole movie is visually stunning, really.  It is easy to get into the movie and easy to feel as though you are a part of everything going on.  That is thanks to Refn’s direction, and the writing of the characters.  So little is known about the driver that it is easy to fantasize that you are in the driver’s shoes throughout the movie.  Not that I want to fantasize about what goes on in the movie.  But you get what I’m saying right?  I hope so because I’m not going to elaborate on that point.  The movie was a feast for both the eyes and the brain.

That’s all that I watched for the Overlooked Movie Marathon 2014 this week.  It was a pretty lackluster week in terms of the number of movies I was able to see.  If you were expecting more of me, I’m sorry.  I couldn’t live up to your expectations.  I’m a failure.  Don’t disown me, daddy.  Nah.  I was a little busier this week than I expected and it took up some of the time that I would have devoted to these movies.  This week will probably be a little better.

You can look forward to another installment of this movie marathon next week as I continue my journey to catch up on some of the great movies that I have missed through my life of watching movies.  What will the movies be?  I don’t know yet, though I know where my selection of movies will come from.  I have thirteen or so movies left to choose from.  I want to see some of them more than others and will likely focus on those ones first.  Such as Annie Hall.  You are pretty much assured that I will watch that movie this week.

So that’s it for this post.  I’ll see you next week with another recap of the seemingly great movies that I catch up on in order to fill in my movie blindspots.  In case I don’t see you before then, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.
Here are the Twitter accounts of Marcelo J. Pico and the Talk Film Society.
The first week of the third annual Overlooked Movie Marathon can be found here.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Overlooked Movie Marathon 3: Week 1

For the past two years, September has become the month where I spend much of my movie time catching up on some of the big blindspots I have when it comes to watching movies.  I would spend the month watching the classic movies that had somehow passed me by.  This way, I would no longer have to say I hadn’t seen these popular movies from decades past when people brought them up.

The first year I did this was 2012.  I chose one movie from each decade that motion pictures have existed.  I went from the first decade of the 20th century until the first decade of the 21st.  It was a marathon of movies that led me to see movies such as The Jazz Singer, The Usual Suspects, and 12 Angry Men.  I saw a lot of great movies and a lot of movies that changed the film industry.  It inspired me to do the same thing the next year.

In 2013, I repeated my marathon, albeit with different films in the lineup.  Once again, I wanted to go through the history of film and watch classic movies that I had not yet had the opportunity to see.  But I changed up how I made the lineup for the marathon.  Instead of going with one movie per decade, I asked the people on Twitter to give me some suggestions for the greatest movies of all time.  With those suggestions, I picked out a wide range of movies.  I chose different genres and different decades and came up with twelve movies to watch during the month.  I got to see movies such as Metropolis, Harold and Maude, and City of God.  And with that, I knew that the month of September would forever be a month in which I focused on seeing the must-see movies that I had yet to see.

This year, I was looking forward to September for a few months before it.  This was especially true considering the dire June and July I had for my first time watches.  They weren’t months that I was entirely happy with.  August turned that around a little bit, but September was where I knew things would be good.  It was a month where I was going to make sure I saw a lot of good movies for the first time.  But how would I make my choices this year?

In late 2013, Marcelo J. Pico created the Tweet Film Society.  It would be a collective of Twitter users who loved movies, coming together to discuss film.  In 2014, the name would be changed to the Talk Film Society, but the idea would be the same.  Film lovers talking about film on Twitter.  In early 2014, the society put out a survey asking people for their 25 favourite movies.  Marcelo was putting together a Talk Film Society top 100 list.  These would be the top 100 films of all time, as voted by the people of Twitter that were involved in the Talk Film Society.

When the results were revealed, it was shown to me that there was a good chunk of the list that I had not seen before.  In all, there were about seventeen movies that I had not seen that made the top 100 list.  I decided sometime in August that I was going to use my September to watch as many of these seventeen movies as possible.  And so I began working my way through the list.  Where would I find these movies?  Netflix Canada, my collection of films, and other means if necessary.  I began with Netflix Canada, which had two of the movies.


First up on Netflix Canada was the Roman Polanski classic, Chinatown.  It was a 1970s noir film.  I wasn’t that into it in the beginning.  However, by the end of the movie, it was kicking my ass.  That ending hit me so hard that I couldn’t believe what I had just watched.  I had at some point become so invested in what was going on that I was shocked and emotionally traumatized the way that Jack Nicholson’s character was.  And when I thought “What just happened!?!?!?” I heard the line “Forget it Jake.  It’s Chinatown.”  And then it ended.  I wanted to watch it again.  I didn’t.  But I really really wanted to.

After Chinatown, there was one more movie on Netflix Canada that had made the Talk Film Society Top 100.  That film was a drastic shift in tone and genre.  It was in another language.  It was decades newer.  It was another great addition to the list of movies that I have watched and another reason that I love my dedication to great movies in September.

Pan’s Labyrinth

I had only seen one Guillermo del Toro directed film prior to seeing this one.  It was Pacific Rim, a movie that I thought was great spectacle but not a lot of substance to it.  Pan’s Labyrinth was so much more than Pacific Rim.  It was visually stunning, just like the other movie, but it came with an emotionally heart-wrenching tale.  The childlike whimsy of Ofelia’s adventure and the violent reality of the child’s life made for a roller coaster of sadness, despair, and downright agony.  It was a brilliant feast for both my eyes and my feels.

With those two movies down, I had run out of movies on Netflix Canada.  I had to choose a movie based on another quality.  I decided to go with the one that I most wanted to watch.  That’s how I landed on the next movie.  It was one that I had to go through less respectable ways to watch.  I wanted to watch it though.  So I did.

The Big Lebowski

I said a while back that everyone’s favourite Coen Brothers movie is the most recent one they watched.  Although I wouldn’t consider The Big Lebowski my favourite right after watching it, I could see myself loving it more on a rewatch and holding it in as high a regard as some of their other movies that I love.  It’s a great movie.  The story plays out expertly well with very little flaw to it.  Jeff Bridges brings some of his best work to the character of The Dude and John Goodman brings what I feel is his best performance to Walter.  It’s an entertaining crime comedy that deserves almost the beloved status that it has.  I’m not sure it deserves a religion though.

And with that, the first week of my September of catching up on Talk Film Society Top 100 movies has come to a close.  I am three movies closer to the hundred percent status.  I have a little way to go in getting there.  Next week, I will return with some more movies that I caught up on, and more movies that I have loved seeing for a first time.  This is going to be a great month for me and movies.  I can feel it now.  I’ll see you next week.

The Talk Film Society can be found at @talkfilmsoc on Twitter.  Marcelo J. Pico can be found at @marcelojpico on Twitter.  I can be found @JurassicGriffin on Twitter.  And the Talk Film Society Top 100 can be found here.  Thank you.