Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Killing (1956)

Ex-con Johnny Clay (Sterling Hayden) is getting together a team to rob a racetrack. They could put you away just as fast for a $10 heist as they can for a million dollar job. So might as well go big.

The Killing is a pure heist movie. Cool and in command, we watch Johnny plan, organize, and execute the heist in almost documentary style. Few details are revealed until the job begins. We just see the pieces put into place. There is voice over narration that reads like a police blotter.

Many characters are introduced over the first act. Elisha Cook Jr. is here of course, ex-wrestler Kola Kwariani needed subtitles to be understood, Rodney Dangerfield is visible in a crowd scene, but most bizarre is the performance of Timothy Carey. Carey had a strange career. A method actor, he would improvise to a ridiculous degree. I’m surprised that Kubrick used him twice considering his reputation for control. A little later in his career there were directors who were afraid of him. Here he has a small role, hired to shoot a horse. He smooth-talks a parking lot attendant who starts hanging around. His line delivery is nothing short of confounding.

I struggled with this film for the first act. The storytelling and performances were odd and not very noir-like. There are many moving pieces with little explanation. The cuts from stock footage to the sets were jarring and took me out of the movie. Also the narration was distracting. But as the film progressed and the caper became clear, I became interested.

The influence of this film on directors like Quentin Tarantino is very apparent. The lunch table scene from Reservoir Dogs is taken almost verbatim. The gun hidden in the bathroom is also familiar. Here Sterling Hayden’s character gets it and in The Godfather Sterling Hayden’s character “gets it”.

I must give Kubrick some slack. The film was fairly low budget without much studio support, and the dragnet-esque narration was a studio demand. In the end, it’s a strange, complex, and interesting film, and totally worth watching again. However, maybe because of the more conventional tone, I liked The Killers a smidge better. AMRU 4.
“You'd be killing a horse - that's not first degree murder, in fact it's not murder at all, in fact I don't know what it is.”

Friday, April 3, 2020

Wife vs. Secretary (1936)

A publishing executive (Clark Gable) and his wife (Myrna Loy) are madly in love, but odd circumstances lead her to question his relationship with his secretary (Jean Harlow). After all, she’s Jean Harlow.

I selected this film because it sounded like silly nonsense. Nonsense with huge start power. But Larry Karaszewski did a Trailers from Hell video on it saying it was far smarter than the title implied. And it was.

We can forgive Loy’s Linda for reaching her conclusion. She isn’t jealous by nature and we see the bits of misinformation that leads her astray. Even though it’s all innocent (not a spoiler), her conclusion is quite reasonable. And it doesn’t help that her mother-in-law doesn’t doubt it for a moment. Plus, Gable’s Van is terrible at explanations. Even the perfect wife can have doubts.

Gable is exuberant and energetic as young Gable was. Always fun to watch. I was always mystified with the collective infatuation with Jean Harlow, figuring it mostly a product of her early demise. Here, though, she is quite charming as the dedicated secretary. Maybe I found her so much more likable because she wasn’t playing trashy. Jimmy Stewart was her would-be fiance. Gloria Holden had a small role. She always gave me that weird feeling.

If I were to criticize anything about the film it would be that they didn’t stick the landing. Not totally. I suppose Linda realized that she was wrong. I wish that point was more clear, but that’s picking nits. Wife vs. Secretary is clever, witty, and charming all the way through. The leads bubble with chemistry and its a fun ride. Way better than its title. AMRU 4.
“You’re a fool, for which I am grateful.”

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Two-bit hood Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) meets hot young Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) and impresses her with his criminal ways. They go off together and do this Laurie and Bart deal across the country.

Once again we visit the intersection of sex and guns. Unfortunately for hot Bonnie, Clyde isn’t much of a lover boy. Downright impudent in fact. But Bonnie sticks with him anyhow. Soon a gas station attendant, Clyde’s brother (Gene Hackman), and his frumpish wife join the gang. They target banks because banks are bad, what with all of the farm foreclosures.

At once both stylish and awkward, Bonnie and Clyde was clearly influenced by the French New Wave. An early scene where our heroes try to get it on was clumsy as hell. But this serves the narrative well. They try to be Robin Hood-esque saviors but they’re not. Cool, cute, and stylish, but no substance. Just criminals to the end. Impudent, if you will.

Denver Pyle plays the Ranger on the hunt for our Heroes. No relation to Gomer. Prolific and weird looking character actor Michael J. Pollard played the recruited gas station attendant, and got nominated for an Oscar. He was in a ton of stuff but I remember him most from that Star Trek episode and Scrooged. He passed last December. And so it goes. Prolific and weird looking character actor Dub Taylor played his dad. This is also Gene Wilder’s film debut. He played, well, Gene Wilder.

It isn’t a coincidence that I watched Bonnie and Clyde directly after Gun Crazy. A recent cable box upgrade allows me to record (almost) to my heart’s content, so now I have a serious library to choose from. Also, I seem to be home a lot recently. Go figure. While Gun Crazy was partially inspired by the real Bonnie and Clyde, this is the first feature film on the couple. I had recorded and deleted it several times in the past because of space issues.

Bonnie and Clyde doesn’t shy from the blood, considering the year, but it is mostly unremarkable in that regard by today’s standard. But it’s most remarkable in every other way. Faye Dunaway astounds. With its style and content, Bonnie and Clyde heralded in the American New Wave of cinema, and nothing would be the same. AMRU 4.
“We rob banks.”

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Gun Crazy (1950)

Ever since he was little, Bart was obsessed with guns. He just loved shooting things. Not living things, he’s no monster. Just things, and he’s pretty good at it. Returning home from the Army he visits a carnival with his buddies and sees a sharpshooter act featuring a hot woman. He becomes as obsessed with Laurie as he is with guns. After drama, they go off together and do this Bonnie and Clyde deal across the country.

I know of Gun Crazy as a top Film-Noir. Even read about it in a book, but that was a couple years ago. After seeing the movie, I needed to re-read that chapter to remember why I was supposed to like it so much. Unscripted and improvised scenes influenced the French New Wave, ok I see that. Very low budget, didn’t realize that. Written by Dalton Trumbo, interesting. Crackling sexuality between the leads, hmmmmm, ok.

Gun Crazy makes a strong parallel between sex and guns, and Peggy Cummins sizzles on screen. Bart, though, is damp toast. He is never fully on board with the whole criminal outlaw lifestyle and only goes along so he can buy Laurie nice things. She’s the femme fatal leading our dufus good boy astray. I didn’t connect with John Dall in Rope and I didn’t connect with him here. Also, I don’t buy that either lead were familiar with firearms. The actors handle them as if they had fifteen minutes of rehearsal. I admit I also know nothing about guns, but I can tell when something is the extension of one’s being or a toy in the hand.

Our heroes’ motivation is straightforward. Guns, money, and each other. And sadly, the chemistry is lacking. Don’t get me wrong. It did like Gun Crazy. I just failed to see what made it exceptional. There was something slightly bland about the story and dialog. I had high expectations, and once again, they landed soft. AMRU 3.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Foreign Correspondent (1940)

A Newspaper is tired of the bland reports coming from their foreign correspondents in Europe, so the editor decides to send the local screw-up reporter. Solid plan. John Jones (Joel McCrea) travels overseas to interview the famous pacifist Stephen Fisher, and maybe his hot daughter too.

Filmed after the start of war in Europe but set just prior, our heroes try to avoid war, but the bad guys want it. Mystery, suspense, and romance to follow. Standard Hitchcock stuff. Hey look, it’s Ian Wolf! That guy’s in everything! George Sanders is here too, and a bit of a cad, as always. Santa Gwenn was here but I somehow missed him.

I was a little disappointed by Foreign Correspondent. I like most of what Hitchcock directs, and there is no misstep here, but I failed to connect with the story or the characters. I’ve liked McCrea in other projects, and let’s face it. Joel McCrea only plays Joel McCrea. Maybe the fault lies in the lack of creativity in the “early war, Nazis are bad” microgenre (To Be or Not To Be, notwithstanding), but I didn’t take to it as I did his later work.

That’s not to say I hated it. It was fine. And I can see how his work improved over the years. It’s way more polished than the 1934 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much, and better in that regard than The Lady Vanishes, though I liked that more. The Hitchcock name comes with certain expectations and sometimes they land soft. Anyhow, AMRU 3.

Monday, March 23, 2020

All Through the Night (1942)

Crooked sports gambler ‘Gloves’ Donahue (Humphrey Bogart) learns that the baker of his favorite cheesecake has been bumped off, so he decides to investigate. Mostly because a hot chick is somehow involved. He uncovers a bigger conspiracy. Could it involve Nazis? Yes. Yes it could.

Could this be a highly rated (7.1 on IMDb) Bogart film-noir that I had never even heard of? That sounds too good to be true. Sadly, it is. Released between The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca, All Through the Night is principally a comedy. This explains how Phil Silvers and Jackie Gleason got invited to the party. Still, the story plays out as a crime mystery/drama. Everyone’s favorite uncle William Demarest plays sidekick Sunshine whose major contributions are cracking wise and knocking stuff over.

Additionally, Casablanca alumnae Conrad Veidt and Peter Lorre have principal roles. Freaks star Wallace Ford has a smaller role. Our femme fatal stand-in is played by Kaaren Verne (Ingeborg Greta Katerina Marie-Rose Klinckerfuss to her friends). Three years after the film’s release, she and Lorre divorced their respective partners and hooked up for five years of marital bliss.

Bogart at this time was a star but not yet a legend. He plays a tough, but lacks the cynicism of his better roles. Remember, he is motivated by hot chicks and cheesecake. There isn’t much mystery here. Bad guys coerce good people to do their bidding. Why? We learn soon it’s because Nazis and World War II. So many B pictures in the early part of the war tread this ground. All Through the Night is no different, and little better. It keeps your interest well enough, and Bogart raises the level of any production, but it is what it is. An unfunny comedy, a film-noir with little atmosphere, a mystery with little mystery, a crime film that doesn’t take itself serious. Just a movie that holds your attention. And Humphrey Bogart. AMRU 3.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Untamed Youth (1957)

Sisters Penny and Jane (Mamie Van Doren and Lori Nelson) are travelling to Hollywood when they stop to skinny dip in a small pond, because of course they do. Stock creepy sheriff type arrests them for vagrancy. They are given the choice to spend 30 days in jail or be slave labor for a cruel cotton farmer. They choose the latter.

Down on the farm they meet up with the other inmates, a bunch of honkey beatniks. It seems that boss man Tropp has made a deal with the lonely judge lady to funnel cheap labor to his farm while others farms struggle to find workers. But Judge lady’s adult son returns from the Navy and starts to figure out what’s going on.

Life on a cotton farm is hard and relentless. When the kids get back to the barracks they barely have enough energy left to throw a rocking dance party all night long. Mamie became the first actress to sing Rock and Roll in an American film. Eddie Cochran played one of the insundry youths. He was an actual Rock and Roll star and would die in a car wreck three years later. And so it goes.

Probably the worst part of this film is the horribly forced youth dialog. The only trustworthy adult is a cook who only speaks in beatnik riddles that even our heroes find hard to swallow. Second worst thing might be that all of the singers seem to be doing a bad Elvis Presley impersonation, Mamie included. Not a big fan of the Pelvis on the best of days, so off brand Elvis is a non-starter.

Despite the insipid plot, poor acting, the exploitative direction, the cringe-worthy pseudo-teen lingo, the terrible songs … I’m sorry, I lost my train of thought, where was I again? Oh, yea, Untamed Youth. Actually, it wasn’t all that bad. The story, such as it is, made sense in it’s own way. The character’s motivations and actions were consistent and the story resolved itself satisfactorily. Maybe that sounds like a low bar, and it is, but it’s a bar many exploitation films fail to reach. Untamed Youth was designed for the youth drive-in crowd, and by all accounts it was a success. It was even endorsed by the Catholic League of Decency by condemning it. Those guys! I can’t say I’m sorry I watched it, but it did evoke many groans and eye rolls. AMRU 2.5.
“Here me out, my friend. I am a just man. Even a philosopher, of parts. Possibly the most erudite bum for miles around. But, in this day of crass materialism, with dog eat dog, and man bite man, I claim that the laborer is worthy of his hire and the artist of his doom.”

Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

Two down and out Americans (Humphrey Bogart and Tim Holt) have a chance meeting with an old prospector (Walter Huston) who is up for one last try to strike it rich. When Bogart’s Dobbs comes into a bit of cash, the men pool resources, buy supplies, and head to the mountains.

This film is the origin of the famous Blazing Saddles line regarding badges. You know the one. Beyond that, a campfire beans scene and Huston’s prospector character seem familiar. I don’t know if Brooks intentionally referenced them, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

Director John Huston (Walter’s boy) tricked the studio to get the film made. Westerns were cheap, quick, easy, and profitable. That’s what studios want so that’s what Huston told them he was making. Who read scripts? Instead, they got something else, and something better. Jack Warner had a fit when he saw the rushes. A few issues he had was that big star Bogart’s character wasn’t quite as heroic as he wanted, and was frequently upstaged by Walter’s prospector. Oh, and the ending. Walter himself wasn’t too keen on taking the part, thinking at 65 he was still a leading man type. Two years and three films later, he’d be gone. And so it goes.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a special film. It says a lot about how desperation, and the prospect of fortune changes a man. That is, if he’s the kind of man to allow it to. And Walter’s performance was a tour de force. AMRU 4.5.
“Do you believe that stuff the old man was saying the other night at the Oso Negro about gold changin' a man's soul so's he ain't the same sort of man as he was before findin' it?”

Sunday, March 8, 2020

The Devil Bat (1940)

The kindly Dr. Carruthers (Bela Lugosi) secretly harbors ill will towards the family who runs the company he makes chemicals for. He sold them his cold cream formula and made them a fortune but he was paid only ten grand. So, what’s the best way to get back at them? Why, by breeding giant bats who attack people wearing a particular aftershave lotion, of course. If only there was a wise cracking newspaper reporter to help solve this mystery.

The above might seem like spoilers, but most of it was in the opening scrawl. Besides, what idiot puts their faith in the kindly Dr. Lugosi? The family gives Carruthers a $5000 gift as a surprise thank you but that doesn’t cool his vengeance. By that way, that’d be a cool $91k today.

This poorly conceived low budget mess was actually a financial success. It’s lack of budget is evident with every scene. There were only a handful of set pieces and characters arrive at them as needed with no travel time. Something like GoT season 7. The astroturf garden set is where all the attacks happen and Bela’s laboratory had dungeon wallpaper. Bela pulls an invisible lever to enter the secret part of his laboratory. It’s quite amusing when you notice it.

Despite itself, there is a fair bit of atmosphere here. The over convoluted revenge plan can only be laughed at just like Bela being a kindly midwestern doctor. Short and sweet, The Devil Bat is far from Bela’s worst. AMRU 2.5.
“Now, rub it on the tender part of your neck.”

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Coquette (1929)

Wealthy southern debutante Norma (Mary Pickford) has the attention of all the young (and a few middle aged) men, but she has taken a shine to an uncouth ruffian (Johnny Mack Brown) whom Doctor Daddy does not approve of. Ruffian Michael heads off to a work camp to make something of himself, but he can’t stay away.

It is hard to overstate how big of a star Mary Pickford was during the silent era. At five foot nothing and with youthful good looks, she played tween girls well into her thirties. Pancake makeup does wonders. She would not, however, transition successfully to sound cinema. Coquette was her first of only five forgettable talkies, then never to act again. By contrast hunky Johnny Mack Brown appeared in 165 feature films, well into the 1960’s, mostly in Westerns, and oddly as a character with his name.

Mary Pickford’s life may be more interesting than her films, definitely this one. She founded Allied Artists with D.W. Griffith, Charles Chaplin, and soon to be husband Douglas Fairbanks. Her marriage alone makes for quite a story. She, the nagging and humorless wife or Fairbanks, the drunken womanizer. Pick an angle and you’ll find a biopic to support it. Film star, film producer, studio head. Not bad for a tiny woman in the first half of the last century.

Based on a stage play, Coquette (slang for a flirtatious woman) seems it, spending twenty minutes per set piece. The story has promise but lacks execution. The audio track is typical of early talkies, and the acting style is stuck in the silent era and seems oddly unrehearsed. I recommend this film only if you are curious what America’s Sweetheart sounded like. Otherwise, AMRU 2.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Lust for Life (1956)

Young Vincent Van Gogh (Kirk Douglas) washes out as a pastor, is lonely, takes up painting, mooches off his brother, is lonely, cuts off his ear, then kills himself. And everyone lives happily ever after.

This expressive if sanitized version of Van Gogh’s life is visually impressive. Director Vincent Minnelli spray painted a field so that the colors would match Van Gogh’s pallet. The main beats of his life are touched upon but let’s face facts. The life of Van Gogh isn’t all that uplifting. He struggled with mental illness, was never appreciated during his time, was lonely, lived in poverty, and finally committed suicide. Did I mention he was lonely? No matter, the film covers that point. Maybe it says more about modern audiences that the tortured genius needs to have that moment of redemption, ala A Beautiful Mind, but the film ends up reading as “bad stuff happens to guy we care about”.

I’ve seen few Kirk Douglas films, and frequently I’ve confused him for Charlton Heston, but I wanted to give this legend his due. Upon his recent passing I looked for one of his films to watch. I couldn’t easily get my hands on Paths of Glory (for free) but TCM was running Lust for Life. It was a natural choice. The Bad and the Beautiful wasn’t going to happen.

I wanted to love Lust for Life, but couldn't. As mentioned it is a great looking film, and Douglas’ performance was impressive, if a little one-note, but I wasn’t drawn in. The story plodded along at times and characters entered and exited the story before we got to know them. Van Gogh was not a heroic character. We don't see a flawed character overcome his obstacles, and it was too sanitized to be a compelling biopic. AMRU 3.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

World Without End (1956)

Four astronauts are on a mission to Mars when they lose contact with Mission Control. They’re fine, it’s just that Martian magnetic field. But on their return trip they enter a time warp and return to Earth over five hundred years in the future, after a great nuclear war.

Boy, the science here is a mess. I don’t want to get into it but I pause when our hero says things like if Mars has grass, then there’s no reason why it can’t also have life. Really, people? And our heroes act absolutely stupid sometimes. They get excited when finding a cave (because, you know, caves!) and explore it. There they find a six foot spider web, so one of the men starts plucking at it. You’d think that’d be something they would cover in astronaut training. Wow, imagine the spider that created that! Don’t imagine too long because soon they are attacked. By spiders ABOUT THE SAME SIZE AS THE WEB!

The H.G. Wells estate sued the producers because they thought the story too closely resembled The Time Machine, and to be fair it has some superficial similarities. Our heroes travel in Time in a Machine to find a post-apocalyptic Earth where the surface is dominated by brutes, or “Mutates”, and there exists a society of timid normals. Here they are hiding in a high tech underground bunker. Oddly, four years later The Time Machine was made into a movie, also starring Rod Taylor.

The men in the underground are weak, unimpressive, middle aged men, while the women are vivacious beauties in their early to mid-20’s who are anxious to get some twentieth century manly-man action. Our heroes try to convince the leaders to go on adventures to retake the surface, but they are just frightfully fearful old men and refuse to help. How can a few womanizing, gun loving manly-men convince an entire population to risk everything to impose their version of right and wrong on them? Only time will tell. 80 minutes, to be precise.

World Without End is shallow, provincial, and low budget, but not without its charm. Their adventures, silly as they can be, do keep your attention. If you overlook the 50’s attitude, you can enjoy yourself. But there are better films of the genre from the era. AMRU 2.5.
“Our women seem to have lagged behind in their evolution into reasonable creatures. They actually admire these reckless and brutal men.”

Friday, January 31, 2020

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)

A farmer is secretly cheating on his wife with a woman from the city, except everyone knows. The woman convinces the man to drown his wife, sell the farm, and move to the city with her. And everyone lives happily ever after.

F.W. Murnau is better known for Nosferatu and Faust, and was brought to America to recreate his magic touch. He was given complete creative control and a giant budget, and the result was arguably his best work, winning three Academy Awards. But it lost money, so budget and control disappeared for his next film. Welcome to Hollywood. He would die in a car accident before he could make his mark on sound cinema.

Twenty one year old Janet Gaynor played ‘The Wife’, looking more than a little bit like Tweety bird’s Granny, and won an Oscar for her performance. Remember her from ‘A Star is Born’. Her Oscar from here made a cameo there. Margaret Livingston played the woman so wicked as to tempt a married man. The Vamp! George O’Brien played ‘The Man’ victimized by her womanly wiles. He went on to appear in many westerns, apparently.

The visual storytelling in Sunrise is amazing. There are great overlay scenes done in-camera that are remarkable. Few title cards were needed to tell the story. Margaret’s ‘The Woman’ takes much of the moral blame for ‘The Man’s transgressions, and that storyline does not age well, but let’s consider the period. This was the Jazz age and women had the right to vote for only seven years at this point. And it’s a great film. We can let this slide.

I didn’t want to pay Amazon another four dollars so I found it on YouTube. The quality was excellent. I suggest you do the same. AMRU 4.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Animal House (1978)

We follow the shenanigans of a college fraternity through two freshmen pledges and two older students.

I watched Animal House (introducing it to a son) with no intention of writing it up. Didn’t seem to be in the wheelhouse of the blog. But it was released in 1978, I didn’t see it in theaters, so why the hell not.

The Mayor’s daughter was played by the totally not underage Sarah Holcomb. She also appeared in Caddyshack with a terrible Scottish accent, and two other forgettable films, then disappeared from Hollywood. I think of Amadeus when I see Tom Hulce, but he is arguably better known as Pinto. By the way, look up the IMDb trivia how he got that name.

With each viewing I pick up on small details that I either missed for forgot about. But that’s not the key to Animal House’s endurance. It’s the sheer creativeness and hilarity of the performances. This is John Belushi at his absolute best. This coming from a life-long Blues Brothers fan. His status as a non-principle character allowed him to channel his inner animal. Brilliant.

There are few great jokes in Animal House. It is mostly a series of great scenes stitched together. There is little story or character arc. Just craziness. The end result is a cultural touchstone for a generation. Everyone should watch it. Unless you are a terrible person, then you shouldn’t, and be sad. Karen Allen was hot. AMRU 4.5.
“Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Last Picture Show (1971)

Horny teens deal with life in a depressingly small 1950’s Texas town. Think American Graffiti if it were completely different.

First off, wow the cast is amazing. Our three principal characters are played by Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, and some other guy. Supporting actors include Ellen Burstyn, Eileen Brennan, Randy Quaid, Ben Johnson, and Cloris Leachman. Each hint at interesting back stories we don’t fully explore. I can imagine a TV series that slowly explores each character over many seasons. There’s also a movie house but it serves only as a metaphor.

Everyone has secrets but secrets are not kept long in a small town. Our protagonist Sonny finds this out. In the end people grow up, move on, and occasionally die. The Last Picture Show is a fascinating film. It has a different look and feel than films that came before. It wouldn’t be right to say that nothing ‘happens’, but there is no big story arc. Just stuff and its consequences. Nothing happens but in fact, everything happens. Think American Graffiti if it were completely different.

The Last Picture Show is a remarkable film and I’ve done a poor job selling it. So if my description doesn’t convince you, at least watch it for Cybill’s pool scene. AMRU 4.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

2019 Retrospective

A little bit closer to form, I pressed the pedal towards the end of the year to get north of 40 posts. More specifically to beat 2017’s 41 posts. Ya gotta have goals. I still have three movies to be posted but I broke a personal rule and posted out of order. I did this to get the Christmas movie in by year’s end. Also because I found the next film in line hard to write about. You’ll see that soon. It’s a good one. The movie, not the post.

I hit quite a few greats this past year. Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Rio Bravo, Chinatown, and The Exorcist being the tops, with The Killers, Dial M for Murder, Being There, and The Omen as honorable mentions. I also picked off a few experimental, avant garde films like Eraserhead, House, and Suspiria. Weird ass films, all. The film that stuck with me the most is Chinatown. I didn't forget about it, Jake. I’ve been doing this blog for over ten years yet I seem to be tip-toeing around great films. Now I find myself worrying that I am running out of Greats to watch. More on that thought later.

I did watch two Christmas films but should have skipped them both. One boring and forgettable, the other a pale copy of the original made only nine years earlier. For next year maybe I’ll target Meet Me in St. Louis, 3 Godfathers, or I’ll be Seeing You. Here is a case where the Greats are in short supply. I saw two more Sherlock Holmes films. Without my mom, my heart’s not in them. I think I have three left. I’ll try to finish them off this year.

Of the thirteen horror or horror-like films, The Exorcist was the best. I had long looked forward to seeing The Love Wanga, the second zombie film ever made. I owned it for more than a year before watching it. I expected little and received it in spades. Rosemary’s Baby is probably the best horror film I have yet to watch. At least in my arbitrary pre-1980 ‘old’ category.

I watched quite a few disappointing movies, especially towards the end of the year, but I must give the title of worst film of the year to The Terror. Such a wasted opportunity. More confounding than terrible, it’s a film that should not exist.

I’ve seen almost all of the better movies by the Hollywood legends. Almost all of the greatest films. Just about all of the better Christmas movies. But I will not let that worry me. I will continue to pick off the top films. When I started this, I figured there were only a couple hundred films worth reviewing, and after almost eleven years and over five hundred films later, there is still so much more to watch. Not to mention newer movies I don’t blog about. So, onward and upward. Let’s see if I can hit fifty posts again. And I should watch more silent films. Oh, and I will not fear long movies. I will not fear long movies ...