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Skipping around the greatest movies of all time thread, and I'm disappointed on a couple levels. I can't have a say on stuff I watched for the first time after voting on that, but I'm disappointed by some of the things I've had a positive re-evaluation of in the time since them that I didn't get in on for that poll. 

Bouncing off of that, I'm stunned Titanic isn't on the list at all. Based on a renewed appreciation the last couple years, it's almost a lock for a top ten spot today. 

Edit: Top ten for me, not overall board preferences... not a chance.

Edited by John from Cincinnati
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Yeah. I thought McKay got away with it the last couple times, even though he was cutting it real close in Vice. Not sure if stepping away from taking on explicitly real world events is what killed this one, but that landed with a thud. I'd have been fine if I could look at this and say "Well, it's like Mars Attacks" but it's not even successful on that level. Time for a pivot. 

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Speaking of people who can't keep getting away with it, I'm going to scream when Being the Ricardos gets a screenplay nomination for the Oscars. Inert, self-satisfied like usual, the complete wrong mix of subject matter and filmmaker. The man doesn't even like I Love Lucy. Why is he making this movie? Why can't he find a better premise for this thing? I was viscerally angry about this thing in a way I couldn't have possibly anticipated. 

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I was watching the Disney Robin Hood today and, in hindsight, what an odd juxtaposition of voices. On the one hand, you have RADA/RSC actors in the leads and British stars like Peter Ustinov and Terry Thomas. And on the other hand, you have the Western/Southern characters like Pat Buttram, George Lindsey, Andy Devine and Ken Curtis. And then, you’ve got Disney vets like Phil Harris and John Fiedler. And Roger Miler as the narrator. 

and Wiki tells me that the other choice for Robin that list to Brian Bedford was Bernard Fox (from hogans heroes). 

‘’I’m a little sad that it has a average to good reputation, as it was prob the first Disney movie I saw in the theaters, if I had to guess. 

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On 12/24/2021 at 5:32 PM, colonial said:

Took my 10-year-old to see SING 2 this afternoon. She liked it and was dancing out of the theater. For the adults ... if you saw the first one, this one is harmless but skippable.



"Because it doesn’t contain any sex, violence, or bad words and because it is filled with adorable anthropomorphic animals, many parents will no doubt take their kids to see “Sing 2” on the theory that there's nothing bad for them in it. In fact, I would argue that the sheer laziness on display of this soulless exercise in franchise extension is far more damaging. The best family films capture the imaginations of younger viewers and teach them the power of storytelling in ways that can affect them for their entire lives, possibly inspiring them to create their own stories as well. By comparison, “Sing 2” serves no other purpose than to waste a couple of hours. If "Sing 2" teaches them anything, it is to plan for a future in negotiating music licensing for films—hopefully for ones better than this one."

Ooof ?

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Figure I should squeeze in another one of these now, especially since this has a handful of double-dips and rewatches in it.  Plus it means I can kick off 2022 with one of these around the 5th or 6th when the new thread is here.  Day 167 and counting of Movie Watching in Place of Having a Life, It's Christmas and We're All in Misery Edition.

Hot Garbage

Serendipity - I fucking hate Christmas movies.  I fucking hate schmaltz.  I fucking hate Molly Shannon.  I fucking hate movies I could have written on the back of a napkin while drunk.  This checks all the boxes.  There is literally one scene of this film that works, where Kate Beckinsale tries to rush to stop John Cusack's wedding, but gets there "too late" or so she thinks, and she brings it for once (she's usually not much for being believable, or good, or anything besides stupefyingly beautiful, let's face it).  Otherwise this is 90 minutes of people being stupid for the sake of the plot and then it's blessedly over.  I blame High Fidelity for making this movie possible, though it would have sucked with anyone, not just Cusack.

Destination Wedding - They probably should have gone with the alternate title for this.  This is actually pretty funny when it's just Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves savaging each other with withering remarks, but the problem is they're the only two speaking roles in the whole movie.  Eventually they have to just be catty at other people, and...that doesn't work.  You don't get any reaction shots, you don't get anybody veering away from them at all costs, you just get the two of them saying misanthropic stuff that seems charming to each other, and, welp, that's the entire goddamn movie.  This is about 15% of a good idea that somehow got stretched way out of proportion.

The Proposal - Man, I fell out of the rom-com tree and hit all the ugly branches on the way down this week.  This came out 2 years before the vastly superior Dan in Real Life, and it tries so so so so hard to hit some of the same notes.  The vacation home, the extended family, the sneaking around; not a single bit of it works here in this charmless, lifeless snoozefest that possibly marks the beginning of Ryan Reynolds Doing Ryan Reynolds Things rather than acting.  He's definitely on the Mount Rushmore of "I'll Be Myself Turned to 11 Rather than Learn My Craft".  When even Betty White is not funny in something, you know you have fucked up mightily.

Hudson Hawk && - Obviously a rewatch, because who hasn't seen this a billion times on TNT, right?  But let's face it, there are two things that are true about this film.  First, it undeniably belongs in the Hot Garbage category.  They start screwing up the premise from the word go: they say da Vinci's stuff happens in 1481 and Eddie gets released "exactly 500 years later" - so, what, this movie released in *1991* is actually telling us events from *1981*?  Yeah right, you just done fucked up.  And it doesn't exactly improve from there.  The second thing that is true is that this movie is the epitome of a movie that's so bad it's good.  It isn't funny when it intends to be, but it's uproarious when it isn't trying.  The characters wouldn't be believable in any world, any reality, anywhere at any time outside this crackpot scenario, but somehow they kinda work together.  This is still what I think of when I think of Richard Grant, and it's probably my favorite Andie MacDowell role despite the fact that she's been significantly better in lots of films.  Tell me you can keep a straight face during her pretend-to-be-drugged scene and I'll call you a fucking liar.  I think what really struck me this time, since I probably hadn't watched it in 20 years, is that everyone knew it was a lark and clearly had a ton of fun making it, even if it bombed and the critics hated it.  I, for one, am glad it exists.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle - Ugh, this was dumb all around.  I figured these movies were going to be James Bond for Chavs, and I wasn't 100% wrong, but they're more like Austin Powers for Chavs with ballsier stunt work.  I mean, what else would you expect from the guy who also gave us Wanted and Kick-Ass?  There's a part of me that has a hard time believing he also wrote Old Man Logan. I just watched this today and still can't tell you much of anything about it, which is an indication of how little impression it made.  Seemed like a waste of Elton John, and definitely felt disappointing we didn't get a Merlin/Ginger Ale hook-up scene.


Kingsman: The Secret Service - Slightly less dumb, slightly less obvious, slightly more memorable, but only just.  It felt too focused on the winnowing of trainees, because prior to that, it had a fairly different vibe.  The early Harry/Eggsy bits feel almost like someone tried to take Good Will Hunting and turn it into a big, dumb action movie, but then it does away with even the pretense of having something worthwhile to say about class or power or anything like that because why not just blow shit up instead?  But the special effects are pretty good for 2014 non-Marvel work, the characters play off one another well, and it's nice to see something that doesn't take the dead-obvious route of having the two recruits sleep together and actually let them have a respectful, friendly relationship (which of course they fucked up with the sequel).  I liked the consistency to Richmond Valentine's aversion to blood, too.

Midnight Run - See?  Here's where you can go back to hating me for writing this stuff.  I really don't see why people have made a big deal about this movie.  There's maybe a kernel or 5 of character development between DeNiro and Grodin, and the ending kind of makes sense, but it isn't particularly funny, it isn't particularly well-written, and it isn't particularly well-performed.  Grodin has a few good scenes where he grumbles the last word about something or other, but otherwise a lot of this felt pretty flat to me.  And then there are the moments where the soundtrack overdoes it and I thought, "Jesus, this is some real Beverly Hills Cop-quality schlock here," but hey, turns out they had the same director.  No wonder; never liked that movie, don't think a whole lot more of this one.

While We're Young - This is another "ran out of steam too early" sort of film, and the ending is definitely a bit flat, but at least the first 45 minutes or so of it work well before the unraveling pulls you down a different direction.  Ben Stiller's character is an interesting one, at times sympathetic and at times too much of a loser to think he deserves anything but what he gets in this movie.  Naomi Watts is her usual self, but the real moneymaker here is Adam Driver (I know, you're just as surprised as me), who should have taken a few notes from this before playing Kylo Ren, because at least this character is believably corrupt.  It has some interesting things to say about judgments and ageism and the way we represent ourselves, but I don't know if there's one single moment in the film that truly drives home any of that well enough that you come away thinking about it deeply after the fact.

Rope - Today, this feels more like a compelling experiment than a movie with something to say.  Its importance is basically impossible to miss, since there's only one true cut in the whole film, so stuff like Before Sunset and 1917 owe their existence to Hitchcock showing everyone how it's done.  But, then again, when didn't Hitchcock do that?  This might also be the rare film where the 4:3 aspect ratio benefits the movie, since it makes the hidden cuts easier to hide.  It's also funny to see the Criterion blurb that talked about the "queer subtext" in the film, to which I would respond, "Pretty sure that was supertext, there, buddy."  This would be kind of an interesting double feature to do with It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas, if you really need your Jimmy Stewart fix.


The Power of the Dog - Reading some of the commentary about this made me wonder where some film critics have been the last 15 years.  It's strange to see people gush over Jane Campion using big landscape shots to create a feeling of isolation and loneliness, like we didn't just have Chloe Zhao win Best Director for doing the same thing last year.  Or, you know, literally tons of other directors doing the same thing lately - Cary Joji Fukunaga in Jane Eyre and True Detective, Chloe Zhao also in The Rider, Denis Villeneuve in every single thing he's committed to film besides Polytechnique - I mean, come on already.  Campion isn't doing anything new with that; if anything, she's desperately playing catch-up.  But this is still masterful work from one of the best.  Not her best, necessarily, but still great.  If Benedict Cumberbatch doesn't win Best Actor for this, I'm going to start calling the Oscars the Lillards or the Hardens or something for being total frauds.  Granted, he is famous almost exclusively for roles similar to this one, but there's so much more rage and white-knuckle desperation to what he's doing here that it makes his role as Sherlock look like an episode of Robot Chicken.  This is probably the best thing Kirsten Dunst has done since Melancholia, as well, and the two of them on screen together is just...wooof.  Really compelling, difficult, creepy, strange, powerful stuff here.

Winner Winner, Leftover Dinner

Incendies && - I first watched this in 2012, probably, when I borrowed it from the campus library at my grad school.  It was my first introduction to Denis Villeneuve, not realizing I was going to devour everything else he ever did.  I don't think I even knew he'd done this until after seeing Arrival and thinking to myself that I should seek out his other movies.  And then I thought, "Oh yeah, I saw that, and it was really good; wish I could remember what happened, exactly."  Mostly I just remembered having a crush on Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin.

Ugh.  Obviously I blocked out what happened because...ugh. This film.  Man.

I think the timeline of events feels...not quite right somehow.  I think it would be better if it explicitly stated how old the twins are at the beginning.  But if Jeanne is supposed to be a teaching assistant in a high-end math class, then chances are she (and by extension, Simon) is no younger than 21, because even if she's a whiz, those classes are nothing to sneeze at.  And that almost works when you put the other pieces together.  It feels like maybe things needed to be fudged a little at the back end, making Nawal younger when she has her affair with Wahab.  That's the only set of details that make this film difficult to believe.  And that's...hoooooooo boy, you will wish there were more details that made this difficult to believe.  Watch it and you will understand why.  I was a total fool for not rewatching this for the 2010s list, because this is a Top 20 film easily.  Desormeaux-Poulin carries the here-and-now scenes, and Lubna Azabal gives one of the all-time gutsiest performances you'll ever see with the string of horrors she has to endure.   Just a thoroughly wrong, awful, devastating film, and a beautiful, valuable, important, devastating film.

Edited by Contentious C
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On 12/24/2021 at 7:39 AM, John from Cincinnati said:

Skipping around the greatest movies of all time thread, and I'm disappointed on a couple levels. I can't have a say on stuff I watched for the first time after voting on that, but I'm disappointed by some of the things I've had a positive re-evaluation of in the time since them that I didn't get in on for that poll. 

Bouncing off of that, I'm stunned Titanic isn't on the list at all. Based on a renewed appreciation the last couple years, it's almost a lock for a top ten spot today. 

Edit: Top ten for me, not overall board preferences... not a chance.

I hope @RIPPA runs the Greatest Films of All Time back as we have five more years of films, opinions changed while others remain the same and new voters. We did the 1990s twice for those who missed out the first time like I did.


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My Top 30 Favorite First Time Watches of 2021:

1. Three Colours: White [1993]
2. Six String Samurai [1998]
3. Smiles of a Summer Night [1955]
4. Hana-bi [1997]
5. A Lonely Place [1950]
6. Kill List [2011]
7. Fade to Black [1980]
8. Beau Travail [1999]
9. Invasion of the Body Snatchers [1956]
10. The Big Country [1958]
11. Three Colours: Blue [1993]
12. Three Colours: Red [1994]
13. Switchblade Sisters [1975]
14. Master of the Flying Guillotine [1977]
15. Patrick Still Lives [1980]
16. Liquid Assets [1982]
17. Deadbeat at Dawn [1988]
18. Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! [1965]
19. A Bay of Blood [1971]
20. Demolition Man [1993]
21. Deranged [1974]
22. Bubba Hotep [2003]
23. Skin Flicks [1978]
24. Blood Games [1990]
25. From a Whisper to a Scream [1987]
26. Prisoner of Paradise [1980]
27. Thunder Road [1958]
28. Carny [1980]
29. Toys Are Not for Children [1972]
30. Slither [2006]

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