No time like the present to start cataloging movies watched in January 2015.

1. (748.) Advise & Consent (1962)
What a great choice to start the year. I loved this movie. Maybe I loved it because of Walter Pidgeon (in the role he was born to play!), or maybe because it confirms my view of Washington politics as a boys club where there is a lot of sturm und drang over nothing. Or maybe I just like director Otto Preminger's style. In any case, it's just a great film.

2. (749.) Rhapsody in Blue (1945)
An incredibly fictionalized account of the short life of Leonard Cohen. I'm not a fan of Cohen's musicals, but I do like Rhapsody in Blue.

3. (750.) Psycho (1960)
No, I had never seen Psycho. I think this is mainly due to the fact that I already knew the twist. But what a fool I have been! It's a great movie even when you know where it's going. I'll bet watching it without knowing the ending must have made it the best movie-going experience of 1960.

4. (751.) The Cheap Detective (1978)
This Mad Magazine-style mash-up parody of Humphrey Bogart movies was entertaining enough, but what it really did was make me think I could be better spending my time watching the originals again.

5. (752.) Plaza Suite (1971)
January was Neil Simon month on TCM, and it's taught me I like Simon's plays more than I like the movies made from them. This film would be way better if it wasn't a misguided star vehicle for Walter Matthau (who I happen to like immensely as an actor). He's miscast horribly in the first two acts, and his wig in the second act might as well be its own character. If I had to watch again, I'd much rather see this on a stage.

6. (753.) Carnal Knowledge (1971)
I mentioned above that Psycho is still fantastic even after all this time. The same cannot be said for Carnal Knowledge. Sometimes you see something that has become so outdated that it's hard to imagine how revolutionary it might have been in its time. Emmerson's Self-Reliance springs to mind, as does every performance by Jack Nicholson before Chinatown. I'm sure Carnal Knowldge turned the world upside down in 1971, but today it's strictly a cautionary tale for kids in high schools.

7. (754.) Sidewalks of New York (1931)
This is a Buster Keaton talkie, and it's a perfect example of how sound ruined his career. The physical comedy is top notch, but the dialogue is terrible, especially when it's being delivered by Keaton. It's best to watch with closed captioning on.

More to come.

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To be continued...

 

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