Top 100 Movie Review: #85 – Duck Soup (1933)

Meh.

A couple of witty lines in a sea of lame, vaudevillian gags. 

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American Film Institutes Ranking: #85/100
Awards: Nope.
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

Groucho Marx is ubiquitous with anyone instantly recognizing the dark-rimmed glasses, painted mustache, and requisite cigar. One of the earliest film stars to transition from stage to film, how does the material hold up?

Not well.

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Top 100 Movie Review: 89# – Patton (1970)

He Was a Nut.

Best war biography I’ve seen, it captures the complicated picture of Patton.

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George C. Scott in his Oscar winning role as Patton.

American Film Institutes Ranking: #89/100
Awards: Nominated for ten , winning  seven for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Original Screenplay and others.
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

This particular DVD opened with the Francis Ford Coppola (who won an oscar for Best Original Screenplay). He was quick to talk about the trouble of depicting Patton — he had to balance pressure from the Far Right and Far Left political spectrums wanting to turn him into a caricature for their own purposes when he was much more than that.

Coppola found the right balance, bringing to light all the positive, negative, and crazy attributes that makes Patton worthy of his own eponymous film.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #91 – My Fair Lady (1964)

Repetitive & Disappointing

Songs are good but repeated ad nauseam while missing on an amazing chance to make a statement. 

screenshot5American Film Institutes Ranking: #91
Academy Awards: Nominated 12 and won eight including Best Picture, Director, & Actor
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

I have two problems with this film.

The first is with the musical pieces: they seem to be more like fragments. Putting together a good, catchy stanza is a start, but then repeating it ad nauseum doesn’t quite cut it. Second, the story should come off better than it does, a common lady trained to upper class, but Henry Higgin’s character is unredeemable — he’s a jerk.

Put them together and you end up with a film that tests your patience.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #27 – Bonnie & Clyde (1967)

The Start of New Hollywood

The movie is enjoyable on its own right, but it gets a bit better when you know the historical significance. 

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American Film Institutes Ranking: #27/100
Awards: Nominated for eight, winning Best Supporting Actress (Estelle Parsons) and Cinematography.
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

The start of New Hollywood!

Directors now had more control since there was no longer a process for code approval and the content could be more risque. This movie couldn’t have been made previously; it glorifies Bonnie and Clyde with gory violence. The movie focuses on the deranged protagonists and never takes a moral stance. It opened up a whole new venue of story telling without the obligatory moral condemnation.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #88 – Easy Rider (1969)

Hippie Junk

A previous cultural force, the movie can only be appreciated for capturing the feelings of a particular segment of a generation. 

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Produced, written and starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper.

American Film Institutes Ranking: #88/100
Awards: Nominated for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Jack Nicholson)
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

“Easy Rider” is a hippie anthem: two drug-induced guys traveling the United States looking for their spiritual awakening while living free and sticking it to the man. The movie was a power house in 1969 and pulled in a 60 million return on an Indie budget of 400k. A quick peak at online message boards shows people of the era recalling its impact.

This movie is unique since it was a part of the New Hollywood films of the late 1960s, and Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper wanted to make a film for the counter culture they were a part of, not another mainstream Hollywood film. The time capsule aspect might be the only reason to view this film as it is otherwise a gibberish piece of story telling.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #19 – Chinatown (1974)

Gut Crushing Neo-Noir

I don’t know if the ending could have been any other way.

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Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway.

American Film Institute Ranking: #19/100
Academy Awards: Nominated for 11 winning one: Best Original Screenplay.
My Rating:cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

This movie gets a lot of hyperbole thrown its way with many people describing it as having the best script ever.  I like it, just maybe not on that cataclysmic of a level.

I love noir with the unscrupulous detective, ineffective police, corrupt government, and gritty delivery. “Chinatown” is just another reincarnation, and with an intriguing mystery paired with a stomach-punch ending, it fulfills the expectations of the genre.

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Top 100 Movie: #42 – Rear Window (1954)

A Movie That Does Everything.

Witty dialogue, a unique set up, and tension stick with you the entire way. 

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Jimmy Stuart.

American Film Institutes Ranking: #42/100
Awards: Four Nominations for Director, Adapted Screenplay, Color, and Sound Mixing
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

Some movies struggle to do one thing well, failing to even be a good example of the genre that they are intending to represent.

Rear Window does so many things well. The four main characters are immensely interesting with their banter and witty dialogue moving the film along. The set up is a man stuck at home due to a broken leg with no entertainment other than the lives of his neighbors — voyeurism at its best. Add the murder mystery and you get to see an exquisite example of the great Alfred Hitchcock at work.

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