Movies, November, part 2 of 2:

99. (1037.) First Family (1980)
Perhaps because I expected more from screenwriter Buck Henry, I spent most of the second and third acts of this political satire screaming, "But that's unconstitutional!" Perhaps, it's worth remembering that this film was made in the years just after Nixon's "If the president does it, it's not illegal" claim. So much of comedy is context that I'm reluctant to be too hard on this film.

100. (1038.) Start the Revolution Without Me (1970)
I felt this Prince and the Pauper-inspired farce makes a few comedic missteps early (slapstick that lasts too long, a voiceover gag played too early — in comedy, timing really is everything), but it recovers well thanks to a broad performance by Gene Wilder and the more subtle style of Donald Southerland. Not great, but not bad.

101. (1039.) The Sea Wolf (1941)
I haven't read the Jack London book this movie was based on, but the film really is pretty good until you reach an ending that feels a bit contrived. Was London responsible for that, or did Hollywood just force another one of its famous endings on me?

102. (1040.) Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014)
This was the movie Mom chose to watch for Thanksgiving. I found it disappointing. Both the script and the animation felt under developed and clumsy. That was never a problem for the Jay Ward cartoons it was based on.

103. (1041.) Ender's Game (2013)
I have read the Orson Scott Card book this movie was based on. I've read it multiple times. And while the movie managed to capture the "Gee Whiz" sci-fi elements, it moves too quickly to do anything but hint at the deeper conflicts of the subject matter. Simultaneously too simple and too complex, I understand why this flopped at the box office.

104. (1042.) Punk Vacation (1990)
Years ago on this blog, I called Armageddon the worst movie ever made. My brother called me out and said that I hadn't seen enough movies. His Exhibit A should have been Punk Vacation. The cinematographer wasn't incompetent, and the editor looks to have been trying to do the best he could with what he was given. However, these actors wouldn't have passed auditions in a community theater, and the director, well, I don't know what the director was thinking. There are some unintentionally funny moments here — I think there was supposed to be dark comedy — but not enough to make it worth watching. By anyone. Ever.

More to come.

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To be continued...


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