Showing 21 - 30 of 42 posts found matching keyword: 150 in 2012

Let the count continue! Movies to finish June.

151. Stage Door (1937)
With a great female ensemble cast, this cynical, Grand Hotel style movie about the intertwined lives at a boarding house for New York show girls is a delight even when it gets serious.

152. Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
I found this "classic" exceedingly boring, probably because of its predictability. I'd say that they don't make them like this anymore, but I suspect that they still do.

153. Girl Crazy (1943)
If Mr. Chips was predictable, I must have written this movie. Judy Garland gives a couple of entertaining performances, but Mickey Rooney's threadbare slapstick gags go on far, far too long.

154. Adventureland (2009)
Typecast teenaged-nerd Jesse Eisenberg falls into a romantic relationship with typecast teenaged-angst Kristen Stewart? How... Hollywood. Kennywood Park serves as the amusement park backdrop for their uncomfortable summer, and I really thought it was the star of the show.

155. Wells Fargo (1937)
This movie tries to be the perfect date movie: half romance, half action. It doesn't excel at either, but Joel McCrea is plenty charming enough to carry it through the rough patches.

156. Fast Five (2011)
How are they still making these movies? This is a big, dumb movie full of dumb characters and the dumbest climactic action scene I've seen in years. All the car racing scenes were skipped to save budget for the climax, I think, much to the film's detriment. I knew the series had a problem when I realized that I was cheering for the Rock to catch the leads as soon as he shows up on camera. I smell what the Rock is cooking!

157. Jack and Jill (2011)
This movie is in the running for the worst movie I've seen all year. It wasn't just as bad as I thought it was going to be, it was worse.

158. Valiant (2005)
This animated movie's by-the-numbers heart is in the right place, but it is clear that the artistic personnel were not. Even with Ricky Gervais providing the sidekick's dialogue, its not bad so much as it is just boring.

159. Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)
I was able to deduce the killer before Nick Charles told me. I'd like to think I'm getting better at playing detective, but it probably means that this was the weakest story of the Thin Man movies I've seen so far.

160. Divorce American Style (1967)
As soon as Dick Van Dyke gets a divorce from his shrewish wife (sorry, Debbie Reynolds, but you are not endearing in this film), he falls in with a woman who is treating her ex-husband as poorly as his wife treated him. Women, bah! This movie reminded me that I've done the right thing by avoiding sex for the past decade.

161. The Thirteenth Guest (1932)
Secret passageways, amateur detectives, a villain with a ridiculous scheme designed to scare an heiress out of her family fortune... if this film had been made in the 1970s, it would have been a Scooby-Doo cartoon. Obviously, I liked it.

162. Wanted: Babysitter (1975)
Yet another movie with a dead dog -- a miniature poodle! -- used to demonstrate how evil a man is. I see that TV imaginatively calls this cliche "kicking the dog." I agree with my brother that killing the dog is typically a pretty good indicator of a bad movie. Despite this flaw, the rest of this thriller is pretty darn enjoyable.

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Concluding the race to 150 movies in 2012:

147. The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963)
Yeah, Glenn Ford is pretty good, but he's no Bill Bixby.

148. Death Warmed Over (1984)
This low-budget 1980's sci-fi film from New Zealand would have been far better if a) any character's motivation had made any sense or b) I could have seen some more skin. Sure, a little side-boob is a good thing, but I'm going to need a lot more -- probably some full frontal -- to keep me distracted enough not to notice that the well-intentioned but evil scientist turned everyone into undead zombies just because the plot -- what little there was of it -- required it. (Yes, I know I said no more zombie movies back in February because they are all dumb as shit. What can I say? I'm a masochist.)

149. The Big Chance (1933)
More Mickey Rooney, this time as a little boy looking up to a crooked boxer who is struggling to go straight for his newfound love interest. Sure, it's a cliche, but after the vapid Death Warmed Over, it was nice to know what was going on.

150. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009)
Trey has been saying that I've become too discerning in my movie choices. This one's for you, bro! The best thing I can say about this movie is that I have seen it.

Now that I've conquered 150, I'm going to just keep going. How many films can I see before Baby 2013 pushes Father 2012 out the door? We'll find out together!

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Movies for the second week in May. I'm getting really close to 150. When I get there, should I stop tracking, or should I try to see just how many I can watch in 2012?

141. The Innocents (1961)
Typically, I'm not much for ghost stories. In addition to relying heavily on maudlin sentimentality, their internal logic is always a necessary few steps out of sync with reality. I have a hard time "buying in," so to speak. But this film has great atmosphere, truly achieving a creepy vibe. Less is more, and the director knew it. I can respect that.

142. The Wolfman (2010)
Oh, my. This movie is bad. The original Universal Wolfman looked like a hirsute garbage collector. In trying to pay homage, this "update" so desperate for "realism" suffers all the worse for not updating this unrealistic looking monster in any significant way. It compounds this sin by making the transformations cgi! Hugo Weaving easily steals the film from both Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins his small role, but I'm used to that by now.

143. The Hangover Part II (2011)
I thought this was better than the first, but Trey thought it was more of the same. It is indeed more of the same, and maybe I just enjoyed it more because I knew the formula already.

144. Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938)
Twenty minutes of screen time are spent using a ham radio to deliver a message of good will in what passes as dramatic tension in this film. Another few minutes are spent hiring the domestic help, or haggling over a contract to buy a car. Riveting cinema! Forget watching paint dry, from now on, I'm going to use the expression "more boring than watching Andy Hardy."

145. Hanna (2011)
The best part about this action/revenge fantasy film is its European sensibility. It starts with an interesting premise and some pretty entertaining action scenes, but by the end of the film it has become just another action movie. The film is not helped by Cate Blanchett's disappearing/reappearing Southern accent.

146. The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
Trey had started watching this while I was in a conference call, so I only caught the last half of this action/romance movie. As you would expect, I find the "shadow government so big it controls the actions of everyone in the world but so secret no one has ever heard of it" concept ridiculous. And who doesn't love a movie whose moral is that if we are all just pig-headed enough, The Man will reward our asshole behavior with our heart's desire? Matt Damon seems earnest enough (as a politician!) that I begrudge this film no ill will.

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Kicking off May June with a movie a day! (That sentence just flows so much better with "May" in it. Timing really is everything.)

134. One for the Money (2012)
Mom rented this with a 50¢-off coupon from Redbox. For 75¢, it wasn't terrible.

135. The Bishop's Wife (1947)
This movie wanted to cash in on It's a Wonderful Life, but manged to bungle any hint of drama by defining the angel as an infallible agent of good at the outset. It's still charming -- how could a film with Cary Grant and David Niven not be? -- it's just not very engaging.

136. Fire Down Below (1957)
This is another example of some great actors given very little to work with. I was bored with this film after halfway through it's 2-hour running time and just walked away. I later read online that watching the second half of this film is like watching paint dry, so it seems I got out just in time. Next time I'll just watch the delightfully terrible 1997 Steven Segal movie with the same name instead.

137. Island of Love (1963)
This movie wanted to cash in on The Music Man, and mostly succeeds thanks to Robert Preston reprising his own "Harold Hill" persona as a con man with a heart of (stolen) gold. I enjoyed it.

138. Ghost (1990)
Believe it or not, I'd never seen this before. I had no idea it was directed by one of the Zucker brothers of Airplane! fame. This movie would have been far better if the many, many cinema cliches contained within had been played for laughs.

139. Foreign Correspondent (1940)
I'd never seen this Hitchcock film before. Like all Hitchcock films, it has some well-staged set pieces, but it seems to me that the pacing was uneven as Hitchcock struggled to work his signature suspense around an unusually aggressive hero. (The deus ex machina plane crash at the movie's climax is especially painfully drawn-out.) Sure, it's poignant and historically relevant, but I'm not sure I'd say that I agree that it's among Hitchcock's best.

140. The Wild One (1953)
If this film were made 10-years later, it would have been a drive-in b-feature. Based on the anecdotes I've heard over time, the childish personality that Marlon Brando portrays in the film is the same as what I have always assumed the man was like in real life. Obviously, I've never really cared for Brando as an actor, and this film didn't change my mind.

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The following are the rest of the movies I watched in May.

127. Drive Angry (2011)
This movie was a surprise. I chose to watch it because my brother made a joke about Nic Cage and I set out to demonstrate that everything they say about Cage's acting is true. You can say this about the guy: he leaves it all on the screen. Years from now, this film will be used in college classes to demonstrate that Nic Cage is to cinema as Velveeta is to cheese. That said, I loved this film. From a storytelling standpoint, it does so much right that it's easy to forgive its forced Tarantino-esque dialogue and cliched characterization. This is the film that Robert Rodriguez keeps trying -- and failing -- to make.

128. Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star (2011)
As Trey said, "there is no point while watching this movie that you think, 'this is a good movie.'" But it's not trying to be a good movie. It's a bad movie that's got some good jokes that blindside you for big laughs. After watching this, I happened to watch the first 15 minutes of the 2012 AVN Awards on Showtime, where the porn stars being interviewed on the red carpet made awkward and clueless Bucky Larson look like an Oxford professor. Oh my.

129. Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
Just like its predecessor, I wanted to dislike this flashy Dreamworks Disney-esque kung-fu cliche, but it's too cute to hold a grudge against.

130. The Ladykillers (1955)
I saw the Coen brothers remake years ago without realizing at the time it was a remake. (I know. I'm clueless.) The remake is good; the original is better, simultaneously funny and suspenseful without ever overplaying its hand.

131. The Kennel Murder Case (1933)
Trey, this is a film in which the death of a dog does not ruin the film. Don't worry: the guy who dies in this whodunit is the one who killed the dog. He got his comeuppance! Suave and comedic, sleuth William Powell may be among my new favorite actors.

132. The Most Dangerous Game (1932)
Watched because I had read the story and seen many variations (*cough* Ice-T is Surviving the Game! *cough*), this film stand up very, very well 80-years after it was made.

133. Ride the High Country (1962)
This is another one of those movies that I appreciate more as time passes. I was dissatisfied with what I felt was a meandering story (and some really cheap sets and action-blocking) by mid-way through this Western, but in the end, they are relevant to the outcome and message of the film. Recommended.

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Movies, week of May 13-19.

120. The Triplets of Belleville (2003)
I liked the way this movie looked, but I enjoyed it even more after I discussed it with my brother who had coincidentally also watched it last week. It is in all ways broader than Sylvain Chomet's follow-up, The Illusionist (more caricature, a wider scope of humor and drama, less bound by reality), but less deep. Don't get me wrong: it's good. It's just a different sort of movie.

121. Bikini Beach (1964)
Mom loves these beach movies, but she had to admit that this one is not very good, even by the standards of the genre. Drag racing, driving monkeys, and a parody of the British Invasion (with Frankie Avalon in two roles!) combine to put you to sleep.

122. Get Yourself a College Girl (1964)
The skimpy plot was right out of an Elvis movie, and like an Elvis movie, the plot only served to link the musical segments. I think the highlight was Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto performing "The Girl from Ipanema." I love that song.

123. Down to Earth (2001)
The movie, based firmly on Warren Beatty's Heaven Can Wait, is just an excuse to shoehorn some Chris Rock stand-up routines into an extra paycheck. Funny, but unnecessary.

124. Grandma's Boy (2006)
My friend Chris loves this film about the semi-complicated life of a video game tester. In its own way, it's just like my mother's beach movies: a simple, unrealistic story designed to be something to hang some jokes and good times on in order to kill a few hours of time. Differnet generation, same concept.

125. The Lost Squadron (1932)
More Richard Dix! The climax of this film about former WWI pilots-turned-Hollywood stuntmen forces the protagonists to do something completely stupid for no apparent reason other than provide a dramatic ending to the story. Very disappointing.

126. The Phenix City Story (1955)
My grandmother was from Columbus, Georgia, and frequently called Phenix City, Alabama, as "the wrong side of the tracks." This movie explains why. It is surprisingly entertaining to watch some of the stupidest gangsters ever ruin their own racket by being really, recklessly stupid.

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Movies I watched the second week in May. (This was another light week, though I'm still on pace for one movie a day on the month thanks to the heavy start.)

116. Wait Until Dark (1967)
I'd heard about how "scary" people thought this movie was before, but it is more of a Hitchcockian suspense-thriller than anything horrific. Hepburn is surprisingly believable as a blind woman, a presentation I find few actors handle capably. I'd probably watch this film again.

117. The Avengers (2012)
Um, yes. Good. I'd definitely watch this film again. I already posted my thoughts about this movie here.

118. Harry and Tonto (1974)
Should have been called "The Old Man and the Fe-line." I watched this on the recommendation of Grimmy, a contributor at It reminds me very much of the sort of films I watched in art school. That is to say, it shares its unique vision with you, but doesn't care if you like it or not. Frankly, I think it looked like a long, crime-free episode of Kojak. Art Carney was good, but he's no Telly Savalas.

119. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
Director Frank Capra's movie-making formula is clearly apparent in this film: unusual event causes down-to-earth fellow to go on a whirlwind tour of exaggerated "everyday" events that illuminate the human condition and drive the lead to despair before his faith in humanity is reaffirmed by the dogged determination of the love interest. Personally, I've decided that long-winded second acts are Capra's weakness. Then again, I don't need to be reminded in each film that people suck.

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Movies to start May:

108. Water for Elephants (2011)
This movie pulled a psyche-out on me. It starts out like a gender-switched Titanic with a circus replacing the boat. However, when you reach the point where Jack is supposed to drown, an elephant intervenes. The circus still sinks and lots of rubes die, but everything ends "happily ever after." My head is still spinning.

109. In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Sidney Poitier can do no wrong. Was he ever in a movie that wasn't about racism?

110. It Happened in Hollywood (1937)
Believe it or not, I'd never seen a Richard Dix movie before. I know! This movie is another A Star is Born variant, focusing on the falling star of cowboy Dix without ever becoming morose. Good-natured fun at the expense of Hollywood cliches.

111. Ordinary People (1980)
Huh. I remember reading Mad magazine's parody of this film back in the day, but there's no humor on this screen. I've seen the themes herein better explored in the years since, but I can't fault the performances of this stellar cast.

112. The Change-Up (2011)
Jason Bateman strikes again! Stop me if you've heard this one: two men with opposite personalities and lives switch bodies and learn to be better people. Yeah, that's this.

113. Song of the Thin Man (1947)
I will see the rest of these Thin Man movies. So enjoyable, I'm angry that I haven't seen them all already.

114. Cars 2 (2011)
The homage to classic spy movies (and Bill Murry's The Man Who Knew Too Little) felt spot on. Everything else seemed a bit ham-fisted. Are you just in it for the cash now, Pixar?

115. It's Pat (1994)
As you might expect, this Saturday Night Live skit-turned-movie is the same joke over and over and over. And over. Eventually I found that the joke had beaten me into submission, and I laughed and laughed. Head trauma does that, but Dave Foley in drag helped a lot.

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This weekend I broke my 5-year boycott of movie theaters. The last movie I saw in theaters was Iron Man. It's not that I have been going out of my way to avoid theaters (though I hate crowds of obnoxious people, which is to say all crowds). More so, it has been a combination of a lack of excitement about new films and a need to conserve money on luxuries such as movie tickets. Both of those barriers were overcome with the release of The Avengers.

Nine dollars for two hours of fun is still cheaper than a hooker.

You are naturally expecting me to excoriate the film, so let me go ahead and tell you that I really hated Captain America's costume. If Captain America is a symbol of everything that's right with American philosophy and a natural leader of men, why doesn't he have stars and stripes on the back of his costume? In the film, his back and ass are just a solid wall of blue. Are the troops he's leading into battle less deserving of inspiration than the foes that Cap is fighting? Sure, it's a minor point, but it's my biggest quibble. That should tell you how much I enjoyed the movie.

My second and even more minor complaint is that the Hulk's only line of dialogue was poorly timed, coming as it did so quickly after the villain's comeuppance. An excited audience trampled all over it as writer/director/king-of-fan-service Joss Whedon should have known it would. That won't be a problem when I watch the movie on DVD at my house, but it is a fine example of why I don't spend money to go to theaters.

The biggest side effect of my aversion to theaters has resulted in few opportunities to wait in line with the people I like to wait in line with. We haven't done that in years, and I enjoyed it. I hope they enjoyed it, too. Which of course I'm sure they did. (Except maybe for poor Brian, who had to listen to my constant gripes about Captain America's costume. Brian, I'm sorry the producers couldn't get Cap's costume right. Better luck next time.)

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I've been really busy with work lately, and had less time for movies. Therefore, my movies to close out April list is relatively short. I'll make up for this next week as I sort cards in front of the television.

103. Midnight in Paris (2011)
Typically, I find I don't enjoy Woody Allen movies, but I've been recommending this film to everyone I know. This film about a writer searching for art in life qualifies itself as art. I loved it.

104. Pigskin Parade (1936)
Seeing that this was coming on Turner Classic Moves, I chose to watch it because it was about college football in 1936, not because it is the film debut of Judy Garland. In the film, Yale is the powerhouse club looking to pick on a weak southern school for an exhibition game. Their choice of weak team? Texas. Heh.

105. The Illusionist (2010)
A beautifully animated, largely silent movie about the end of a stage magician's career with a distinctly bittersweet final act. I was initially disturbed by its lack of resolution. As the days have passed, I find I appreciate its honesty more and more.

106. Fearless Fagan (1952)
Plot in a nutshell: a circus clown is drafted into the army and takes his pet lion into the service with him. It's hard to believe that when the U.S. Army finds a lion roaming one of their bases, they don't immediately shoot it, but I guess that would have been a much shorter movie.

107. My Dear Secretary (1948)
Another variation on the A Star is Born format, this time played for laughs. Kirk Douglas plays a washed-up author who is an absolute cad that the up-and-coming writer inexplicably falls for anyway. If not for Keenan Wynn ending practically every scene with a Bruce Vilanch-style punchline, this movie would be nearly unwatchable.

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To be continued...