Top 100 Album Review: #1 – Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles (1967)

It’s a Good One.

Afraid that I would dislike “the greatest album of all time,” The Beatles deliver in spectacular fashion. 

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Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #1/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

The Beatles are mythical. Growing up before a wave of Americans, their career spans decades from a boy band, to quintessential hippies, and finally finishing with solo careers. The Beatles are the biggest band of all time — no argument. But, would the hype lead to oversight? Would weak tracks and poor music be wiped under the rug, powered by the musical force that is The Beatles?

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is everything as advertised: a complete album representing a perfect cross-section of avant-garde arrangements, lyrical content, and song writing.

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Top 100 Novel Review: The Heart of the Matter, Graham Greene (1948)

Take Control Scobie!

But is our protagonist even capable of doing that? He always misreads the situation, using pity to guide actions. 

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My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

I felt bad at the end of this book. Scobie is a man who mostly wants to be left alone, but others keep pulling him in multiple directions. He isn’t a bad person per say, but his laissez-faire attitude matched with his inability to read the direness of situations leads to a combustable situation; he slowly gets pulled down an unscrupulous path, over relying on pity to guide decisions.

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Top 100 Album Review: #65 – Moondance, Van Morrison (1970)

Brass Folk

Morrison mixes folksy guitar work with some brass backing to make a unique sound.

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Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #65/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

I put on this album before I started a 5 mile run. Reaching the crest of a hill with the sun peaking out on the horizon, “Into the Mystic” began to play. It made me reach a spatially different mindset where time seemed to neither move nor matter. I had moved into some alternative space where my run was effortless and my thoughts easy.

The entire Moondance album has an otherworldly feel: it slowly hypnotizes you with easy guitar, folky lyrics, and soft brass bands interspersed through the music. The style becomes repetitive though, with not all the songs making an impact.

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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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