OH MY SWEET GOD! ONLY 10 WEEKS LEFT! I’ve loved seeing so many movies, but I am so excited to be done with this resolution. It is tiring to see a movie every day, they become a burden and not a treat. Maybe I’ll watch 52 movies next year instead of 365! Sounds like heaven.
October 13: Gremlins
For some reason, I have never seen this movie. Honestly though, I have never had any desire to. Little puppet monsters running around in the eighties? No thank you. But, we watched it as a reward in school and it was rather fun. The puppets were amazing. I don’t understand why movie studios insist on computer generated creatures and everything–it adds quite a lot of authenticity when the actors are reacting to something physical, not a man covered in dots or an imaginary world. Gremlins is about the invasion of a small town on Christmas by little animals nobody has ever seen before. They were rather adorable and I wanted one of my own. Anyway, the boy who adopts the gremlin breaks the three basic rules: he got water on them, he fed them after midnight, and he shined bright lights on them. Because of this they multiplied and mutated into terrifying, murderous creatures. So, he had to stop the little monsters with the help of his friend. A rather amusing picture. [My Rating: 7/10]
October 14: The V.I.P.’s
I started watching this movie months ago, but then I fell asleep and forgot all about it. I don’t think I made it more than five minutes anyway. I was either depressed, exhausted, or napping. I’m never tired when I’m supposed to be tired, so I probably blacked out. I have the unfortunate habit of occasionally passing out. This hasn’t happened in quite some time. The last time it occurred I remember having lunch at home. The next thing I was aware of was coming to in the middle of the yard wearing nothing but flattering underwear. That was over the summer, perhaps I’m cured? One can hope. This movie was about a group of diverse people who have their lives changed because their flights from Heathrow are all grounded because of severe fog. There’s Elizabeth Taylor running away from her husband with Louis Jourdan. There’s a broke businessman with his secretary, Maggie Smith. There’s an old aristocrat searching for money to save her home. There was also a scandalous filmmaker with his ingenue. Their lives became interwoven in subtle and intricate ways and they all helped each other. The broke businessman got a loan from Elizabeth Taylor’s husband and she went back to him leaving poor Louis alone. The filmmaker decided to rent the house of the aristocrat which gave her enough money to save her home. The fog was a miracle! [My Rating: 6/10]
October 15: I Want to Live
The title of this film is perfectly campy and over the top and I was delighted by it a once. The film wasn’t so dreadful, either. It’s about a woman named Barbara Graham who is found guilty of murder and is sentenced to the gas chamber. Barbara did not have a good start to her life, broken home and all that. So, she does what any reasonable person does and becomes a prostitute that lures people into fixed card games. My mother was talking the other day about prostitutes. She doesn’t understand why it is a criminalized activity and neither do I. They’re providing a service, what’s so wrong with that? I wouldn’t ever frequent a hooker, but I would stand up for their rights as workers. Anyway, Barbara tries to fix her life so she gets together with a violent drug addict and has a baby. Good choice, Susan Hayward! Obviously this does not work out well for her. Then, she is arrested and brought to trial for murder. She proclaims her innocence, but the film never gives us a real reason to believe or deny these allegations. So, she goes to prison…again. She is fighting and fighting for her right to life, and manages to get a few stays, but eventually time runs out and she makes her way to her death. The gas chamber is not at all what I thought it would be like. It was very interesting. A block of something falls into a chemical and starts a poisonous reaction. Very dramatic. Barbara dies, which was not at all the ending I was expecting. [My Rating: 6/10]
October 16: A Star is Born
Did you hear what Beyoncé did to me? How she crushed all my dreams and all my hopes? About how she left me miserable and devastated. How she slaughter my soul? No? Oh, perhaps it was just me. I have been hearing rumors for so long that he was going to star in a modern remake of A Star is Born. I would have seen it dozens of times in theaters and memorized every nuance of her performance on the soundtrack. I would have lived for that film, but Beyoncé has passed on the script and the picture won’t be made with her. I need a good cry over this loss. Thankfully, Judy did a remake years ago and she was phenomenal. She always is. Why did she have to die? I reviewed the original picture months and months ago and found it fantastic, this one was even more so because there was a more developed plot–which made it three hours long. It was a long movie. Judy sang and she sang and she sang until I’m sure she was sick to death of singing. I wasn’t at all tired of hearing her, though. The plot is about Judy’s character’s rise to fame and the subsequent failure of her husband, which results in his scantily clad suicide among the waves of Malibu. I oversimplified it, but the story is really quite simple. Judy was a genius. I wasn’t overly fond of the character who played Marvin and read later that Cary Grant had been considering the role. That would have been amazing. Judy and Cary together? Old Hollywood nerdgasm. [My Rating: 9/10]
October 17: Man of a Thousand Faces
James Cagney was a rather spectacular actor. I haven’t seen very many pictures with him in them, but whenever I do, I always enjoy them. The only one that I can think of is Love Me or Leave Me, he was wonderful in that. God that’s a sad story. In this picture, James plays Lon Chaney, an unexpected movie star. He was a vaudeville star who found success playing monsters in movies. He could transform his face and body in rather miraculous ways and because of this, he had a great career. Of course, with all successes, there is a plethora of downsides. His first wife wasn’t the kindest at first, but she had her reasons. She was worried that her son would be a mute. She was exhausted by being kept in a cage by Lon. He wouldn’t let her leave the house or do anything but spend time with her child. Of course she loved her child, but she needed time for herself, too. So, she abandons them and Lon and his son move to Hollywood. Lon finds new love and eventually his old wife comes back into the picture which causes an estrangement between him and his son. Everything is resolved though before he dies of cancer. A rather sad ending. It was a well put together film, but it didn’t seem spirited enough to be engaging. It was interesting to learn more about Lon, but I think with a bit more, I don’t know, movement, it could have been much better. [My Rating: 6/10]
October 18: Bedlam
Just dreadful. Boris Karloff is one of those actors who is either hit or miss. This was an awful miss and a mess. Boris is in charge of the infamous Bedlam insane asylum. He wanted to do good for the people, but eventually was twisted and became a cruel version of himself who delights in torturing the patients. A young lady tours the asylum and they take a dislike to each other, so, I wasn’t following along very well since I was bored out of my mind, Boris decides to take her in as a patient. How this was legal I don’t know. So, he brings her in and she needs to escape, so she has to communicate with her Quaker romantic interest. Good Lord, that must be exhausting. I admire their beliefs, but sometimes you just want to hit somebody. The patients are quite varied and strange and eventually they kill Boris and hide his body. Then, the girl goes free with the Quaker. The French onion soup I made while watching was more interesting. [My Rating: 2/10]
October 19: How to Murder Your Wife
I’m really rather fond of Jack Lemmon. The Apartment wasn’t amazing, but his performance in Some Like it Hot was. That is a triumph of film and has one of the greatest endings I have ever seen. I think of it with regularity. I didn’t think too much of this film. It was rather misogynistic , and I don’t like intolerance towards anybody, it pisses me off. Jack played a newspaper cartoonist who had created a ridiculously popular strip. He is very elaborate in his planning, actually going through all the motions of his spy. Rather ridiculous, but the picture is supposed to be a farce, so I’ll go along with it. One day, he wakes up married. This is upsetting to him because he has to let go of his bachelor lifestyle and pay attention to his new Italian wife who adores him. What’s so wrong with that? Sure, it’ll take some adjustment to settle into this new lifestyle, but get over it. In his comic strip, the detective goes through the same issues as Jack’s character with his own new marriage. The spy, though, decides to murder his wife. This didn’t really make sense to me because I assumed the spy was a heroic character. I can’t imagine a heroic character offing his wife just because she messed with his plans at the gentleman’s club. Jack’s Italian wife sees the sketches and gets freaked out and disappears. So, Jack is hauled into court to stand trial for the murder of his wife. This is ridiculous in itself as there is no body. He does an excellent job convincing the men of the jury (why there were no women members, I do not know) that he had a legitimate reason for killing his spouse and they let him off. He didn’t really kill her though, and she is waiting at home and he realizes he loves her. It was stupid. It didn’t teach a lesson. It just showed a foolish man discovering he could have feelings for something other than himself and his cozy life with his butler. [My Rating: 3/10]
FILM of the WEEK: It really wasn’t that great of a week for movies, but I’m giving my top pick to A Star is Born, it’s long, but worth it for Judy’s spectacular acting and the music.