Top 100 Movie Review: #79 – The Deer Hunter (1978)

The Russian Roulette of Life.

War and life, a series of chance.image.jpgAmerican Film Institutes Ranking: #79/100
Awards: Nominated for nine winning five highlighted by Best Director, Picture,  and Supporting Actor.
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

This movie has a unique canter. It starts with introducing a bunch of people that reminded me of all the people I hated from high school. Then, it sprinkles in a poor plot line involving Meryl Strep that’s made even worse by her acting. The foundation for the story is a confluence of cheap reminders that these people are working class.

It ultimately manages to weave these lesser parts together into something rather substantial.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #68 – An American in Paris (1951)

Artsy Fartsy

A movie weak on plot but high on artistic expression leaves me bored. 

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Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron

American Film Institute Ranking: #68/100
Academy Awards: Nominated for eight winning four including Best Picture.
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

I find Gene Kelly super talented, but it wasn’t enough to carry this movie.

Winner of Best Picture in 1951, “An American in Paris” is more about the celebration of the arts than a cohesive movie. The plot and characters in this movie start out having much to do with one another, like you would expect. By the end, however, the characters are merely props to be inserted into the next dance number.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #39 – Shadowrun (1993)

Nope.

Games that require guides to complete them in a fun manner aren’t games. 

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Jake’s future dystopia which quickly becomes your present one.

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #39/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star

Shadowrun was doing everything so right.

When a puzzle arose, different hypotheses could be formed and tested with the appropriate interplay of challenge, confusion, and reward. You never were at a complete loss (having no clue where to start) using the last resort plug-and-chug method (recounting every step, taking to every NPC, trying every command). The story pointed you in the right direction — it was then up to you to piece it together.

You had to do some repetitive grinding for levels and endure moments of uncertainty, but a framework held it together.

Until this wacka-doodle of a game spirals out of control.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #50 – Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals

Mini-Game > Actual Game

The Ancient Cave commandeered by Thanksgiving holiday.

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A Bob Ross inspired landscape with Phthalo Blue and Titanium White mountains.

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #50/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

The original Lufia was a garbage heap, and Lufia II doesn’t try to fix the original problems, particularly the conglomeration of fetch quests masquerading as a main storyline. It is better though!

Each dungeon now has a puzzle element, very reminiscent of a Legend of Zelda, where you have to push, pull, and place things in the environment to open up passages to bosses. So while you might not have much emotional drive to slug your way through fetch quest #71 due to lack of character development, you will get the personal satisfaction of solving some very neat puzzles.

Then of course, the ANCIENT CAVE.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #95 – Pulp Fiction (1994)

Still Witty.

Though it doesn’t hold the same glamour as it did to me as a teen. 

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Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta as Jules and Vincent.

American Film Institutes Ranking: #95/100
Awards: Nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning one for Best Original Screenplay
My Rating:cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

When I was around sixteen, a friend of mind had an exclusive showing of Pulp Fiction at the Byrd Theater in Richmond, VA, a beautifully renovated theater with chandelier and organ for pre-show performances. Pulp Fiction fit my adolescent attitude just fine — irreverent, violent, quirky, witty.

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Byrd Theater – Richmond, VA. 

Rewatching, I could see why I liked it so much; the conversation and relationships between the characters are reminiscent of me hanging with high school friends, shooting the breeze while driving around. The ending message still resonated, especially coming from the bad-ass Jules.

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Top 100 Album Review: #52 – Greatest Hits, Al Green (1975)

A Greatest Hits Album a Top 100?

The albums really good, but it still feels like cheating.

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Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #52/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

I’m not sure how I feel about including a greatest hits compilation as one of the best albums of all time. Here, we have a collection of ten songs over a five year period which contains Green’s best material. Of course it’s phenomenal, but allowing the selective piece-mealing of someone’s entire career into one work doesn’t seem comparable to other albums that were released as a one-time entity.

Regardless, it’s still damn good and with so many awful iterations of greatest hits CDs, it’s refreshing to listen to one that’s produced so well that it feels like a regular album.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #66 – Network (1976)

Prescient to Our Current Political Life.

Human nature never changes — Network knew it.

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Howard Beale (Peter Finch), the despondent news anchor, now prophet of the airways.

American Film Institute Ranking: #66/100
Academy Awards: Nominated for six winning four: Best Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Original Screenplay.
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

“Network” knew there was a weakness in the system and ourselves. All it was going to take was one seemingly clairvoyant person to serendipitously realize that people don’t live on a diet of rational, purposeful solutions. Rather it is channeling people’s frustrations and anger, being a conduit for people’s rage, that propels you to power.

Howard Beale did not purposefully reinvent his show to do the latter; he mentally snapped at the appropriate time on air. What happened next was a lack of duty by those that had the power to stop it — the television executives were more than happy to rake in the ratings boom that he brought.

This bug in the system reveals much about ourselves and should make our selections of politicians no surprise.

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