The more I've seen, the more I've tried to get at least a little more discerning with the movies I watch. Have I been successful? You be the judge.

53. (1912.) How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)
I watched this strictly because I'd seen the two previous — the first I liked a lot, the second not so much — and I genuinely wanted to know how the trilogy was going to end. Even if this was more or less the same plot as the second movie, I very much appreciated how the characters and themes matured over time. (I'd still say that no one needs to see past the first film, but I'm not mad at the series.)

54. (1913.) A Tale of Two Cities (1937)
I don't think I've made any secret of the fact that I am no fan of Charles "Why Write One Word When Ten Will Do" Dickens, and this critically acclaimed adaptation of his best selling novel didn't change my mind. Take the words out, and Dickens is still just stalling for time until the curtain drops.

55. (1914.) Mortal Engines (2018)
Imagine a movie pitch meeting where someone says "Let's remake Star Wars but with cyberpunk!" It's got everything Star Wars is known for: densely decorated sets, orphans destined for great things, cool-looking villains, suave mercenaries, alien robots, world-ending turbolasers. Unlike Star Wars, its actors don't have the charisma to cover for thin characterization and giant plot holes. Oh, well. They can't all make a billion dollars.

56. (1915.) Pather Panchali (1955)
This Indian movie is on a bunch of all-time "greatest" lists because there isn't really much like it. It is beautiful, but its thin narrative rolls along so slowly that I found it very hard to maintain focus. I won't argue with those who call it great, but I won't call it one of my favorites.

57. (1916.) Hairspray (1988)
I'd seen (and liked) the musical but never the original. Though, like most John Waters movies, the choppy editing belies a modest budget, the film overflows with an exuberance that makes it impossible not to enjoy. Quite a gem.

58. (1917.) The Hoodlum Saint (1946)
William Powell plays a newspaperman (Act I: comedy) who cons his way into business (Act II: drama) and then finds himself at the mercy of a fake religion he started to get his good-for-nothing "friends" off his back (Act III: tragedy). Ho hum. I really will watch anything William Powell is in.

More to come.

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To be continued...


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