For those of you who follow my blog, (all seven of you) I’m sure you’ve all noticed that I’ve been away almost two week. I was busy with a singing competition. My chorus received a 3rd place finish and one of our best scoring averages ever. Needless to say, I was very preoccupied. But I’m back and ready to continue posting!
This post was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend..our differences in films we like. We had some very interesting conversations about what makes a good film, and what doesn’t. So, in response, I’ve decided to make a list of my favorite and most hated films. The two lists are in no specific order.
So without further delay….
My All Time Favorite Movies!
Without a doubt (no pun intended) this film took me by complete surprise. It was not only well made, but went above and beyond in analytical thought and challenged the popular belief that “doubt” is bad thing to have. This dialog heavy film represents what film making used to be like, completely driven by the story, dialog and writing, and less on how “awesome” and “explosive” the action is. Though not a particularly easy film to watch, Doubt is everything Hollywood has forgotten when it comes to good film making.
In addition, the actors bring an unbelievably flawless performance to the big screen. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep were a match made in Heaven in how perfectly they execute their roles as well as Amy Adams delivering an equally moving performance. If the cinematic presentation of the Broadway play is anything like the stage production, then Doubt might just be one of the best films ever made.
It’s not an easy film to watch however. Every character has something undesirable about them, or is haunted by some tragic past that only makes the viewers weep. Deception and lies permeate all throughout this movie, and with no happy ending in sight, all the viewers are left with in the end…is doubt.
Pixar is perfect! I think anyone who knows me knows that I love Pixar. And while Toy Story will always hold a special place in my heart, Up! contains everything I love in a story, movie, and any other form of storytelling.
It’s PG rating should let everyone know that it dives into much more mature and hard issues that not even grownups are always comfortable with confronting; issues of infertility, lost loved ones, and the inability to let go of one’s nostalgic sensibilities are evidence of this film’s “adult” nature. But this is exactly the reason why Up! is a better story than the rest of the Pixar films. (Not to knock them by any means, Pixar isn’t able to make a bad film in my opinion.
The film brought in some classic talents like Edward Asner and Christopher Plummer, both of whom represent a time period of film making that focused on fantastic story telling, imaginative places and ideas. Up! will go down in history as one of the greatest animated films of all time.
The Dark Knight
Now just because I enjoy a good dialog driven film, doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what a good action film can do to satisfy my cinematic needs. The Dark Knight represents everything what not only an action film can and should be, but allows room for thinking and captivating story lines.
What I found most enjoyable was how closely it resembles what comics are like today. They’re no longer a corny mesh of bad one-liners, but well written illustrated magazines made up of narrative artwork accompanied by dialogue and descriptive prose. (Shout out to you Jimmy Palmiotti!) The Dark Knight is the perfect representation of the modern comic book and helped to tear down those stereotypes that seem to trail behind the genre like an evil shadow.
But what the film did, other than create a new fan base, was take charge and make a statement that proclaimed the comic book film genre is worthy of praise and has the potential to make some of the greatest films in the modern age of movie making.
Heath Ledger brought the best interpretation of the Joker to the big screen and Director Christopher Nolan is continuing the Batman franchise with a new film installment. I can only expect great things.
Lady In The Water
There aren’t that many modern films these days that present a fantasy tale without having a lot of wizard death rays and fiery pits of despair. Lord of the Rings is great, and Harry Potter is freaking awesome, but every once in a while one needs a much more toned down story of the amazing and the fantastic.
Lady in the Water gives us that wonderfully fun and meaningful story that you’d find in any Dr. Seuss book, but with a terrifying twist. And in that Shyamalan trademarked way, the twists and turns just keep coming, and not in the way you’d expect.
This fantastic tale from the director of the Sixth Sense goes out of his way to subtly poke fun at the critics and other writers who believe certain types of genres always have to follow a certain set of guidelines. With a clever usage of the established characters within the film, Shyamalan shows that the hero of the story may in fact turn out to bear a much more unique and important role that you wouldn’t expect.
Plus, the film is worth seeing because of what happens to a certain film critic, mmwwaaa ha ha ha ha!!!
V for Vendetta
Alan Moore, one of the greatest and most influential writers within the comic book genre. With three of his literary works already adapted to the big screen(The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, From Hell, and Watchmen…which was released after V) DC Comics took a chance and delivered this masterful piece of fiction to theaters everywhere.
Published in the early 80′s, (originally in black and white) V for Vendetta was a huge hit among comic book readers. The clever use of the English language combined with the verbose and elegant vigilante was the perfect way to celebrate the forgotten memory of Guy Fox. But it isn’t just the excellent writing from Alan Moore which made this film so successful, but also the brilliant execution from the director and team of movie makers. Critics even praised the film for having portrayed some of the scenes from the Graphic Novel even more brilliantly on the big screen.
The film also does what I’m sure Alan Moore always intended it to do by showing that government should never be out their to control us, but rather to serve it’s people. With the wavering trust issues that not only the American government has established amongst it’s people, but most governing bodies worldwide, this film hits right at home for those who feel that they can never truly trust their own country leaders.
On to more recent films, True Grit was a pleasant and humorous change of pace in my cinematic endeavors. I’ve really never been one who enjoys Westerns. In fact, I down right HATE them! And the only thing that makes a Western worse is by adding John Wayne to the casting call.
True Grit, however, took me by complete surprise! It’s combination of wonderful acting, superb composition, editing, and musical scoring makes this film the best of 2010.
It’s one of those emotionally touching films that combines meaningful dialog with outstanding humor into one big blockbuster! The King’s Speech was great, as were the rest of the nominees for best picture of 2010, but True Grit beat them by a landslide.
If you think about it, out of all the films that were nominated last year for best picture, which one are people truly going to remember years down the road? Answer: True Grit. Even my wonderful in laws who were sure not to enjoy this remake of the John Wayne classic, loved it…even more so than the original.
True Grit is one of those films that I will constantly pop back into the DVD player for years to come and enjoy more and more.
The Purple Rose of Cairo
Just like Up!, The Purple Rose of Cairo takes an unbelievable and unrealistic scenario and created an incredible story filled with fun and adventure!
Jeff Daniels delivers a memorable performance as a world traveler who appears only on film whose adventurous demeanor has an abused wife smitten on a daily basis as she goes to see the heroes movie every night.
Of course, like all imaginary tales, the fantastic happens and the movie’s hero steps out of the screen and into the real world, declaring his undying love for the women who comes to watch him every night. So, the only question remains, how will the actor of this handsome adventurer react to his movie double walking around in real life?
It’s a film that doesn’t care about realism or believability. The only aspect of this movie that audience members can relate to are the relationships that each characters share; abusive relationships, yearning for a greater life, and how people react to nice vs. ugly personalities. This is quite an underrated film and should be seen by everyone! Besides, if you enjoyed Up!, you’ll enjoy the Purple Rose of Cairo!
My All Time Most Hated Movies!
The Blind Side
Why do I hate the Blind Side? Because it’s no different from every other touchy feely movie out there about a black kid who’s run down on his luck only to be saved by a white family that seems to defy the cultural norms. If I wanted to watch a film like “Radio”, well…I would have watched Radio!
Now the film does, in fact, remind me of my upbringing in the deep south surrounded by “in your face” white women whom you’d never want to piss off, and obviously segregated parts of town. And maybe a part of me just really doesn’t want to relive that part of my life which could dictate my distaste for it.
The film is actually done well for what it is, but doesn’t really get my emotions boiling and caused me to barf with how over the top and ridiculously cliche is was.
Sure, everyone can throw bricks at me and denounce my humanity for putting this movie on my most hated films list, but it’s true, I could have honestly lived without Avatar for the rest of my life.
I should probably make sure everyone knows that I didn’t actually hate the movie. Being an artist myself and a lover of animated feature films, I wanted to be an animator for Disney (and later Pixar) for the longest time. So I do have a tremendous appreciation for the work that went into making such a animated masterpiece. But honestly, that’s all the film has going for it.
James Cameron, whom I despise as a director, basically opened up the Hollywood film vault and took as many stocked scripts as he could find and created this lackluster story line. While the bulk of this movie pulls from Don Bluth’s very successful animated film “Fern Gully,” there’s also many hints of Disney’s Pocahontas, Dances with Wolves, and a barrage of typically Hollywood “save the day” cop out moments that are found in most children’s films. I laughed through the majority of the movie, and dozed off when I wasn’t.
It’s fine that everyone else loves it, but I’m not sure I’ll really understand how a film this predictable and badly written can become such a cinematic phenomenon in the eyes of your average movie goer. Oh well, I’ll just wait three more years when Avatar has been forgotten and film’s like Citizen Kane are still remembered.
Most films that I can’t stand typically have at least ONE thing that gives it some semblance of redemption. The first Punisher film wasn’t a great movie, but it had that sense of angst that really kept me at the edge of my seat, not to mention the awesomely bad one liners delivered excellently by Thomas Jane. Warzone, however, left me in a state of shock…there’s nothing redeeming about it at all… unless you enjoy terrible movies simply to laugh at them.
Warzone’s first problem begins with it’s purposeful disregard for the origin story establish in the first Punisher film. Was this supposed to be a reboot? Seriously! how much do fans expect out of a superhero whose basis for existing is to enact vengeance on every bad guy by carrying around an arsenal of guns and knives? Not much I guess as the well written Punisher didn’t live up to the Marvel Studios expectations and they had to make this barrage of explosions, bad special effects, and piss poor acting.
It almost felt as if the film was made by a bunch of kids fresh out of college who didn’t really pay attention in class. I was almost like they took a light blue coke bottle and stuck it in front of the camera lens for a “dramatic” effect , only to be occasionally replace by a GREEN coke bottle.
The feeble attempts at being “artsy” come off more as a confusingly stupid comedy film that never intended for any laughs from it’s audience.
I love musicals, but I was never able to get into Moulin Rouge. It has some amazing acting in it plus some interesting and epic special effects, but the entire plot basis seemed quite strange to me. Verging on being utterly boring, it took a chaotic and an off the wall approach to a story line that needed a much more toned down, orchestrated and classic feel.
This might be a little extreme, but the best way I could describe my distaste for the film would be motion sickness. I found myself unable to focus on the more important details because of how quickly and abruptly the film pumped through the story with it’s flashy and chaotic tone, not to mention the random incoherent jargon that each actor continually spatted out with very little purpose behind them.
Of course, the story in and of itself is rather strange to begin with. Chicago at least made the lifestyle of being famous and glamorous somewhat of a farce, (and was a Hell of a lot better musical) Moulin Rouge makes this story a little TOO serious, which is oddly intermingled with the out of place humor.
Some positives about the film are the very expertly choreographed musical numbers that were filled with enough energy to power my house for a next couple of years. But other than that, the film has very little redeeming qualities about it.
Gothic literature could never have had a WORSE addition to it’s genre. The first mistake Stephanie Meyers makes is by attempting to put a dark and gothic set of emotionally deranged characters (because let’s face it, every single character is a bit emo, right?) into a trashy teen romance novel. Buffy the Vampire Slayer at least kept the romance appropriate within the genre, Twilight just goes way over the top.
The next big mistake was by putting this story onto the big screen. It’s bad enough that, in the books, Vampires are sparkly, lovey dovey emo duchbags that spend their nights stalking and hungering for the ones they “love”, now we get to actually SEE what this would be like if it were real.
I also have a real problem with stories that attempt to show how rape, murder, and being stalked are things that women “desire” out of their boyfriends. Harry Potter did such an amazing job at getting young people (and adults too) to read stories with wonderful moral implications, twilight has simply negated everything J.K. Rowling established.
But of course, the worse part of the entire series is it’s terrible writing. I know I’m not the greatest writer in the world, but I can still recognize bad literature when I see it; bad sentence structure, awful dialog, and odd scene transitions have all been applied from novel to big screen. I guess I will always have a film franchise to make fun of.