The Silence of the Lambs (AFI #74)

“Tonight is one of my favorite nights of the year. Its my bday movie night. I’ve been obsessively cleaning the apartment all day (something that only happens two or three times a year and always for a party). The line up is Aladdin, Zomebieland, (500) Days of Summer, each followed by an act of Dr Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. Got going well enough on the cleaning thing that I had time to sneak in a movie. Since I was likely to be distracted, I wanted something familiar, which narrowed it down a bit. From there, I wanted something on DVD cause I didnt feel like changing around all the settings on the system. The next restriction was a 2 hour time limit. Between all that, Lambs was the only one left.

This is another movie that I forget how good it is, mainly because the first time I saw it way back when (it was one of the first DVD’s I ever rented) I didnt care much for it. I cant remember if I saw this or Red Dragon first, but I’d always prefered Red Dragon. Mostly cause Edward Norton is my fave actor. Now I think I’d prolly see them equally, even though its prolly been a couple years since I last saw Dragon.

Notably, I’ve now seen all 3 grand slam academy awards movies. You know, ones that won Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, & Screenplay. The other two were It Happened One Night and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I just love the fact that a movie like this, which is right up my macabre alley, could won best picture. The rest is just icing.

Love the story. Love the characters. Love the cast. Similar to Psycho, I still get creeped out listening to Hannibal Lector speak. Im just so entranced by his relationship with Clarice. This time around, I really noticed what a bad ass she is too. I dont know how to describe what it brings out of me, but Im just in awe watching the two of ’em.

Also worth mentioning that since there had been a while since I’d seen this, I didnt even get the HUGE reference in Clerks II until it was pointed out to me. Then of course I rewatched Lambs and it all made sense. Heart Kevin Smith.

Anyways starting to get antsy for tonight and I got a few last minute things to do within the next 75 min.”

Ben-Hur (AFI #100)

“Here was another pleasant surprise of a movie. Also didnt know what to expect other than the length–a whopping 212 minutes. I’d actually woken up earlier than I intended to today, and likely coulda squished the whole thing in before heading to the theater. But then I fell asleep for like 30 min which killed that possibility. Had some trouble getting into it at first, but eventually got hooked. Momentarily considered saving all of the second half (so nice of them to include an intermission) until after Percy Jackson, I woulda had the perfect amount of time to watch an episode of Chuck, but decided I was too into the story at that point. I actually came this close to giving up on PJATO:TLT when I wasnt sure if the chariot scene would end in time.

Yeah, that chariot race was \m/ badass. Im just amazed by how well done it was. Even though you could kinda figure what was gonna happen, I was on edge the whole time. I was even yelling along as stuff happened. Apparently, acc to IMDB trivia, the part where he flips over the chariot while jumping the broken one, was an accident that the kept in cause it looked good. That was the point when I yelled “”\m/!””

Really impressed with the way the story flowed too. Its tough to keep my attention through a movie that long, without it either dragging or getting too choppy. Enjoyed the Biblical tie-ins as well. Its kinda tough to pull that off without being either too heavy handed or too hokey.

I dont exactly think Im likely to sit down for the whole thing again any time soon, but really glad that I managed to this time.”

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

“I had so much I wanted to say when I was walking back from the theater, but what I didnt think about was where to start…

The way things were lining up before the movie started didnt bode well. The showing I was going to was sold out (WTF) but luckily they were able to do an overflow room so I got into that. And I hadn’t quite grasped how much of a kiddie movie this was, at least as far as the audience in attendance. Wasn’t quite mentally prepared for that. So this room was packed with losta 8 year old boys, and there was a family sitting right behind me that got split and put one of their people right next to me. While, yes, I was annoyed that I didnt have my one seat buffer on both sides, that wasn’t what made it suck. What sucked was that the lady behind me kept on whispering things to her kid, then would lean over and whisper the same thing to the person next to me. And it was stuff like “”That’s Poseidon!”” or “”thats a Minotaur!”” everytime something or someone new was on screen. Immediately after she delivered her message to both people, someone on screen would identify the new entity. Was that seriously \m/ necessary? What I think the worst part about that was, besides the fact that whispering in front of you is 10x more annoying and rude to the person in front of you that whispering to your side, is that she was basically teaching her kid How to Be Rude at the Movies 101. Usually its the brats that are talking, not the grown up. So yeah, not the best way to kick things off.

Fortunately however, once I was mostly successful in tuning out the excess noise, I was really into the film. As I’ve likely mentioned before, a good indicator for me of how much Im enjoying a movie is looking at my watch. How far into the film do I first check the time, and how often after that. This time, it was an hour in for a total of three times. Those are some pretty good numbers.

Yeah I dont know what it was, but I was just sucked right into it. And that’s really saying something considering how \m/ distractable I’ve been with every other movie this weekend. Part of it is prolly that I’ve kinda always been interested in Greek mythology, although I dont know nearly as much about it as I’d like. They def took a lotta liberties with the stories, but it worked. Really liked the whole modernization thing, so I’ll need to pick up this series soon. Good thing I just finished Cirque du Freak, yeah?

The whole thing was filled with campy goodness. Yes, some of it was a bit excessive. And they did stretch the limits of believability. But it was fun, which is all that really matters.

Great cast. Very impressed with Logan Lerman. He kinda has this whole Christian Slater thing going on. If I were 10 years younger, you can bet I’d be putting up posters of him on my wall, most likely next to Zac Efron. But, if I were 10 years younger I’d be back in high school, and God knows that’s the last \m/ thing I’d ever want. Points for the grown ups in the movie as well, Catherine Keener, Pierce Brosnan, Joe Pantoliano (whose name I’ll never remember, but will still continue to refer to him as Cypher) Uma Thurman as Medusa (side note: my fear of snakes kept me from looking at her when she was on screen. I wonder if the people behind me thought I was some crazy person who was actually afraid of turning into stone), Sean Bean as Zeus, and Rosario Dawson as Persephone (who was prolly my fave of the lot. Loved the dress too). Wasnt too sold on Steve Coogan as Hades, though.

So this was a win. Very much recommend it if its your thing. If its not, you’ll prolly be killed by the kinda kiddy camp.

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Theif – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n

The Last Picture Show (AFI #95)

“I had some trouble getting into it at first. Granted, I had a few outside distractions. The ‘rents called just after starting, and I’d also had the soup mishap I mentioned on Twitter. Then I ended up bookending this around The Wolfman. Usually splitting up a movie like that doesnt exactly help, but I think it did this time. I was def more into the second half.

At first, I just tried focusing extra hard on Jeff Bridges to keep my mind from wandering. I knew he was in this, but only knowing him as The Dude and Bad Blake, I woulda never been able to pick him outta the lineup. But that voice of his is unmistakable. And yeah, really did like him in this, to the point where I throw just a bit more support behind him for his likely Oscar win next month.

On the subject of the cast, I didnt even recognize some of the other now famous faces in this: Cybil Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, & Randy Quaid. Was particularly impressed with Shepherd. I think it was when her character picked up that I really got into it, even if I ended up hating her (in a good way, hating the character, which is dependant on a good performance) by the end.

Win overall. Still debating whether or not I wanna get in another AFI tonight. Need to grab my laundry and go to Shaw’s. By then, I’ll have just enough time to get thru a movie and rush the write up (which I’d likely save til tomorrow instead). To be decided…”

The Wolfman

“This afternoon’s AFI, The Last Picture Show, got interrupted by the ‘rents calling. Only got about halfway thru by the time I had to leave for The Wolfman. Figured I’d do this write up, then finish that movie.

Those of you fairly in the know when it comes to movies are prolly aware that The Wolfman’s release date kept getting pushed back and pushed back. I think its arrival is something like 2 years late, and it sorta snuck into a graveyard Feb spot outta nowhere. Never a good sign. And sadly, the foreboding was fully deserved.

It does break my heart a bit to hafta do a negative writeup for this one. I love supernaturally spooky stories. We all know I have a thing for vampires, which means that werewolves have a special place in my heart as well, given that they often show up together. There were a few small positives
-Danny Elfman soundtrack, although I didnt know it until the end credits.
-Gobs of gratuitous gore. Not generally a plus for people, but definitely makes me happy. And a lot of it was kinda clever or at least original.
-Hugo Weaving. He stole every scene he was in. When he first came on the screen I was thinking how whenever he makes an appearance most people instantly think of LOTR or the Matrix. But when its The Matrix, you dont think “”Agent Smith”” you think or rather you hear “”Mr Anderson””.

As far as the rest of the cast: Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt, and Anthony Hopkins, I dont have any complaints but I dont particularly have any complements either. This one was just kinda beneath all of their abilities.

Okay so now we’ll get into it. Why didnt I like it? It was painfully slow. Not even two hours, but it felt like an eternity. I actually saw two peeps walk out halfway through. The story itself was kinda boring. While Im typically in favor of streamlining the plot, this was a bit too one dimensional. And lastly it was too \m/ predictable. I called every shot pretty early on, and picked up on every foreshadowing dialogue clue. The effects weren’t anything that special. I’ll give them points for doing actual wolfman makeup instead of CGI, but it seemed too rigid, like a mask.

Right so I think I’ve gotten my point across. You want an entertainly bad werewolf movie, stick with American Werewolf in Paris instead.

The Wolfman – \m/ \n

It’s a Wonderful Life (AFI #20)

“This is one of those where I wish I could just check the movie off the list and skip the write up. I mean, in theory I could. No one’s gonna stop me, but I’d be mad at me.

Yeah so this week’s plan of 3 slapstick comedies wasn’t such the best idea afterall. I just was not in the mood. I’d also just found out about icheckmovies from a friend on Rotten Tomatoes, so I spent the whole time going thru the list and checking off movies. My numbers aren’t as high as I woulda liked, but a lot of these lists have a \m/ton of older films and foreign films–neither of which I’ve ever claimed to be familiar with. Reminds me of back on 1E, we had someone build a site like that for the hall to see who’d watched the most movies.

Anyhoo, not much to say on The Gold Rush, since I wasn’t giving it the attention I’ve been led to believe it deserves. Was noticing the score and it kinda annoyed me. I get that that’s what the soundtrack for all silent movies sounded like, but Im just too spoiled by the soundtracks you find in “”talkies”” I guess.”

The Gold Rush (AFI #58)

“This is one of those where I wish I could just check the movie off the list and skip the write up. I mean, in theory I could. No one’s gonna stop me, but I’d be mad at me.

Yeah so this week’s plan of 3 slapstick comedies wasn’t such the best idea afterall. I just was not in the mood. I’d also just found out about icheckmovies from a friend on Rotten Tomatoes, so I spent the whole time going thru the list and checking off movies. My numbers aren’t as high as I woulda liked, but a lot of these lists have a \m/ton of older films and foreign films–neither of which I’ve ever claimed to be familiar with. Reminds me of back on 1E, we had someone build a site like that for the hall to see who’d watched the most movies.

Anyhoo, not much to say on The Gold Rush, since I wasn’t giving it the attention I’ve been led to believe it deserves. Was noticing the score and it kinda annoyed me. I get that that’s what the soundtrack for all silent movies sounded like, but Im just too spoiled by the soundtracks you find in “”talkies”” I guess.”

A Night at the Opera (AFI #85)

“So this is the second time I’ve ever encountered the Marx bros. The other being Duck Soup. The short verdict is I still dont quite get ’em.

Although, thinking about it a bit more, I really just dont like Groucho. Harpo and Chico have kinda grown on me, but I find Groucho to be rather annoying. And of course, he carries most of the film, which would explain why I didnt care much for it.

It did have my attention for about the first half hour or so. Then I didnt really care so much. It sorta peaked at the state room scene. I guess I can only handle so much slapstick. We’ve been over this before. I like surprises, sarcasm, and sass in my comedy. Not that I expected it, but I guess I was a kinda lost cause all along, yeah?”

Modern Times (AFI #78)

“I have a plan for this week. I just got in a stack of tapes from half.com and they take up a lot of space in the queue. Included in that stack are 2 Charlie Chaplins and a Marx Brothers, which are each about 90 min. Perfect for after work. Knocked one out tonight

I think I have a bit more appreciation for Charlie Chaplin now. I mentioned back when I wrote up City Lights that I’d seen that one once, and just didnt get it. But then on the second viewing I thought it was just beautiful. With Modern Times, I’d go from being really into it (cringing when he put on the rollerskates or the lady with the buttons on her dress walked by) to not paying attention at all. We know visual humor isnt my thing, and I dont really have much attention span for it. One of the beauties of this genre, however, is that even if my mind wanders, I can jump right back into it. I haven’t missed out on some intricate subplot.

Was particularly captivated by Paulette Goddard as the gamin. Something about her opening scene stealing the bananas just got my attention. She just had such a (and forgive me for getting so hippy-like here) free and playful spirit. Prolly the best part of the movie for me.

I dont know, not much else to say about this one I guess. I think I woulda hated it a few months ago. But now I do enjoy this style, just preferably in small doses.”

Forrest Gump (AFI #76)

“Im so giddy from watching this, I can’t even decide where to start my write up. I must have seen this a hundred times growing up. My parents got me the tape as soon as it was released. I never quite understood why (guessing all the Academy Awards it won had something to do with it) but they just came home with it one day and handed it to me. I musta been about 8 or so, and so much of it just went over my head or I didnt understand it. Case in point, I only a couple years ago realized how Mrs. Gump got Forrest into that school. But I absolutely adore this movie. Along with LOTR, this is prolly my favorite movie on the AFI list going into the project. Back in about 4th grade I got this Kermit the Frog poster parodying the main Forrest Gump poster. It stayed up in my room until I left, then was up in my dorm room, and is currently up in my apartment under the toy hammock. I can’t remember the last time I saw this, but I found myself reciting the lines along with the characters. And despite knowing full well everything that was gonna happen, I was nearly crying at the end (and we’ve established, Im not a cryer).

I know Im gushing. Deal with it. Its gonna keep coming.

I just love everything about this film. Its endearing and funny and dramatic and just so \m/ good. The cast is fantastic. Tom Hanks has been one of my absolute faves since the first time I saw this one. And I have nothing but mad respect for Sally Field and Gary Sinise. Also, I only recently realized that Jenny is Robin Wright (Penn) who’s also Buttercup in Princess Bride. That just blew my mind when I found out, albeit rather late for someone claiming to be such a movie afficionado.

Another thing I never fully appreciated was how ground breaking the technology was. Seeing it when I was little, I didnt really think too much about it. If anything, I mighta believed some of the camera and technology tricks a little too much. But now, seeing all the flawless CGI (which even today more than 15 years later its tough to acheive) and the “”historic”” footage, its just awe inspiring.

Also worth mentioning, this is one of these rare cases where the movie is infinitely superior to the book. The only other that comes to mind is Big Fish, but that isn’t such a glaring difference as this. If you haven’t read Forrest Gump, please dont waste your time. I guess my big problem with it was that I grew up loving the movie, but two have very different intentions. While the movie is made to generate the warm fuzzies, the book was meant as satire. Gump was not a sympathetic character at all, and the things he did were even more over the top. Mad props to Eric Roth for the screenplay. If only he didnt try to recreate the exact same thing with nearly identical plot points in Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Okay, stopping now before I go on that rant.

Alrighty so I think I’ve driven home the point of how much this is a favorite of mine. I’ll stop now.

Update: Forgot that I wanted to say something about the absolutely classic soundtrack. Growing up in a rather sheltered environment, with strict bans on what music I could listen to, I have this movie to thank for a good chunk of the classic rock that I know. There’s some songs that I cant hear without picturing the scenes. Example: Anytime I hear “”Free Bird”” I always see Jenny in the sparkling halter standing on the ledge.”