Movie watching in July is off to a big start with more than one watched each day. Therefore I'll be breaking the movies into blocks of a dozen or so. Here's the first batch:

163. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Ok. I finally get the reason people find James Dean so appealing. He sparkles in this role.

164. Armored (2009)
A straightforward action film with a great cast. I chose to watch it for Fred Ward, but I stayed for the Matt Dillon.

165. Cannibal! The Musical (1993)
The first film by South Park creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Damn, they always knew what funny was, even if they didn't quite know how to make movies.

166. Night Tide (1961)
Look out, serial-killing mermaids! IMDB.com calls this movie a mystery/romance. I call it a suspense/thriller. Either way, young Dennis Hopper is the draw, not the quasi-supernatural plot.

167. The Breed (2006)
Trey selected this movie for us because it is a horror movie with dogs as the monsters. Even though that meant that the protagonists are permitted to kill the dogs without qualifying for the "kicking the dog" trope, it still wasn't a good (or smart) movie.

168. She Gods of Shark Reef (1958)
This Roger Corman b-movie filmed in Hawaii was made on the theory that plot and character development are unnecessary if the setting is pretty. The movie successfully disproves that theory.

169. Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (1968)
I was surprised when Trey walked out on this experimental art film. Theoretically, the themes of this film tie into his theater major in college. In fact, this is exactly the sort of film that Bill Marriott would have shown my art school us in his classes. I don't think I would have understood it then, either.

170. Picnic (1955)
This is the perfect example of the "man versus himself and the American Dream" drama that I typically find quite boring. I think if you don't associate strongly with the protagonist, this sort of film can be an excruciating experience. James Dean's interpretation of this type of character resonates in Rebel Without a Cause, but I thought William Holden was just too damn old for his role as an angsty 30-year-old to make it work for me here.

171. In Cold Blood (1967)
Part of the reason I watched this was to judge whether I wanted to read any of writer Truman Capote's books. I think maybe I do, but I'll start with Breakfast at Tiffany's instead.

172. The Talk of the Town (1942)
I think I probably should have liked this more than I did. Maybe it just felt too contrived to me, although what Cary Grant comedy doesn't? Maybe I was just in a bad mood that day.

173. Mogambo (1953)
I've had more fun learning about what went on behind the scenes of this movie -- affairs with Grace Kelly, spats between Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra and director Glen Ford -- than I had watching it. Both the leading ladies are great, but, damn, Clark Gable, get over yourself, man.

174. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
I'll be honest: I've never really cared for Sinatra as a singer. It just does't grab me. But I think I cannot deny that I really enjoy him as an actor. With apologies to Denzel Washington, this film is far superior to the recent remake.

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To be continued...

 

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