Twelve more for July 2012:

175. The Thin Man (1934)
Seeing the c-list actors they assigned to round out its cast, it's obvious immediately that MGM didn't expect this film to be great. Myrna Loy and William Powell are so adorable together, it's hard to believe that the company didn't recognize the film would be a sure-fire hit as soon as the cameras started rolling. Highly recommended.

176. Frankenstein 80 (1972)
Every few years, someone tries to update the old monster stories by adjusting the science or politics. In this case, the modern "science" is a bottle of neon-blue juice instead of lightning. Wow. Too bad Mary Shelly didn't think of that.

177. The Ides of March (2011)
Dad watched this movie and told me it sucked. Trey watched this movie and told me it was great. It's a pretty damn cynical movie, and of course I liked it.

178. Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)
Sweet, sweet Emma Stone. I never, ever want to meet you in person. You cannot possibly be as awesome in real life as you are on the silver screen.

179. The Naked City (1948) recommended this to me because I watched In Cold Blood. This movie is like a 2-hour Dragnet episode. In other words, it's awesome.

180. 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964)
Tony Randall must have been quite a power broker to get MGM to make this vanity project. Sure, the makeup and effects are great, but there's not enough pancake makeup in the world to disguise 2-hours of tired sight gags as plot. Very boring.

181. East of Eden (1955)
Really, I hate Steinbeck's stories. If he were writing today, his work would be called teen fiction. "Oh, what is my place in life? Why is this happening to me?" Repeat for 200 pages, close book. Ugh. At least now I've seen the complete filmography of James Dean as a lead actor. All three of them. What a shame.

182. My Favorite Year (1982)
I don't think I've ever seen a movie set behind-the-scenes of television/movies/radio/theater that I didn't enjoy. (Heck, The Player, Radioland Murders, Noises Off! are some of my favorite films.) Add this to the stack.

183. Sullivan's Travels (1941)
Another behind-the-scenes of Hollywood that manages to be a comedy and a message movie at the same time. The third act seemed a little long, but writer/director Preston Sturges is trying to make a point. Since the first two acts built up such good will, I'm not willing to pick a fault with it. I think, in fact, I'll seek out more Preston Sturges movies.

184. 41 (2012)
This documentary on the life of George H.W. Bush relies entirely on interviews with the man himself, and is therefore less robust than I would have hoped. More autobiography than journalism.

185. Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
I'd been trying to decide if I wanted to watch this movie for years. After seeing Ryan Gosling in two other movies this week, I decided to take the plunge. Gosling is impressive in the role, and the film is gently sincere. I'd gladly recommend it, but I'm not sure I could sit through it again.

186. Sex and the Single Girl (1964)
Yes, Natalie Wood was sexy. No, I still don't like her. This movie is what passed for a raunchy sex comedy in the 60s, being some combination of risque vaudeville routines and leftover It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World slapstick from the year before. I'm no fan of Mad, Mad World, which like this movie fails to respect the old truism about the relationship between brevity and wittiness. Listen, Hollywood: nothing is funny for 3 hours.

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To be continued...


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