Showing 1 - 4 of 4 posts found matching keyword: harvey

I watched two buddy picture movies on Sunday that, on the surface, would appear to be polar opposites. The first was Jimmy Stewart's Harvey, which I own and have long declared one of my favorite movies. The other movie was

158. (1597.) Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Despite its infamy, I've avoided this film for years because it contains two things I generally don't like: Dustin Hoffman and John Voight. They always turn in great performances, sure, but they never play anyone I want to spend any time with. Case in point: here Voight is an idiot wannabe hustler and Hoffman is a deranged petty thief. Fun guys.

But Midnight Cowboy isn't really about whether or not I like those two jerks. It's about those two jerks' unified struggle to survive in a downright hostile New York environment where they have failed to be either A) smart or B) pleasant. They might as well be a drunk and a six-foot-three-and-a-half-inch tall invisible rabbit in 1950s suburbia.

Say what you will about how many awards Midnight Cowboy won, many of them deserved, but I still consider Harvey to be the better movie. Midnight Cowboy is so concerned with either apologizing for or justifying its protagonists that it overloads with camera tricks, flashbacks, meandering incidental vignettes, and songs. Maybe if it had been a stage play first, the director would have realized that sometimes lipstick only makes the pig uglier.

If the raw grittiness of Midnight Cowboy your thing, that fine. There's certainly something to be said for the fearless intimacy of the experience. Personally, I'll keep Harvey and its stronger, more satisfying narrative in which everyone finds someone to love. Life is already too much of a downer to spend my free time in someone else's gutter.

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Mom's been out of town, and I've had free reign of the television. As a result, my movie watching for February has been a little out of control. Why should I watch two hours of network-clogging police forensic procedurals when I can watch half a movie instead? Therefore, I'm going to go ahead and start listing some of my February movies instead of sticking all of them in one really list at the end of the month.

13. (320.) The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
This was John Huston's take on the caper film. As a director, Huston is hit or miss with me, as his movies generally contain some elements that I love and some I hate, making each film a mixed bag that's hard for me to fully embrace. This movie, half boring and half genius, was no exception.

14. (321.) The Cockeyed Miracle (1946)
Another Grimmy suggestion, probably the best yet. If you like Harvey, you'll love this film.

15. (322.) That's My Boy (2012)
I can't say that Adam Sandler isn't trying these days. The problem in this film is that he's trying too hard to recapture the magic of Billy Madison and The Wedding Singer, and the strain of effort is showing. This is better than Jack and Jill, but that's about as lukewarm an endorsement as you are ever likely to find.

16. (323.) Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
On the other hand, this movie is fantastic, assuming you have the patience for "realistic" spy thrillers that focus on the intrigue and not the action. Gary Oldman is superb, and I don't mind at all that I was completely wrong in my guesses at who the saboteurs were.

17. (324.) The Five-Year Engagement (2012)
A romantic comedy, Judd Apatow/Jason Segel style. Equal parts gross and funny, but as all romantic comedies, it is always headed exactly where you expect it to be going so you don't really have to pay much attention.

18. (325.) The Black Dahlia (2006)
This is indubitably the basis for the storyline in the L.A. Noire video game, which tells it much, much better. This movie, in fact, is quite bad, and if it is anything like James Ellroy's novel, I never need to read anything he has written. Ugh. L.A. Confidential this is not.

19. (326.) Hysteria (2011)
A cute comedy built about the invention of the personal vibrator. As a kid, I always figured that there must be more to the personal vibrators that I often saw advertised as "health aids." (I was a... curious child.) If only this movie could have been released when I was 12, I think I'd probably be a little better adjusted to sex than I am.

20. (327.) The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Oh, Natalie Portman, I do believe that you could be a totally manipulative bitch who schemes to have sex with kings. Thank you.

21. (328.) Let's Go to Prison (2006)
Some movies are just meant to waste some time with a couple of chuckles. That's cool.

22. (329.) TRON: Legacy (2010)
This film is only as good as the nifty neon visuals. The plot is really thin and isn't supported by much in the way of acting. Olivia Wilde, will I never see you in a movie where you are anything more than an awkwardly shoehorned excuse for eye candy? I can live with that if you can.

23. (330.) Our Idiot Brother (2011)
I think this movie might have been misadvertised. In other hands, it could have been a sappy Lifetime film or a raunchy Apatow production. As it was, it ends up being a rather gentle adult comedy. I'm not going to lie; I laughed insanely at the dialogue in the candle shop.

24. (331.) The Game Plan (2007)
Depending on your point of view, the Rock either has the best agent, who manages to keep him working, or the worst agent, who only gives him movies like this. I'll sum this crapfest up thusly: at the end of the movie, the audience is expected to cheer for the protagonist being guilted into the same selfish behavior that the audience was expected to boo during the rest of the film. Maybe the producers figured anyone stupid enough to pay to watch this would be too stupid to notice.

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I was been super busy in September, and as a result, I had the impression that my monthly movie count would be very low. Counting them up, I'm surprised to see that wasn't remotely the case.

213. Horror Express (1972)
Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Terry Savalas fight an amoral alien menace in an early 20th-century trans-Siberian train. This B-movie was far more entertaining than it had any right to be.

214. Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
If Horror Express was more fun than it ought to have been, Cowboys & Aliens was far less fun than it ought to have been. This big-budget bore-fest started strong before petering out slowly over its final hour. Stay away from this stinker.

215. Portrait of Jennie (1948)
Another recommendation by Grimmy, and, as usual, a worthwhile watch. Part Harvey, part Ghost and Mrs. Muir, it's hard to classify this gothic romance story, a fact that certainly works in its favor.

216. Shark Swarm (2008)
I have no idea how Armand Assante, Daryl Hannah, John Schneider, and F. Murray Abraham wound up in this terrible, 3-hour long tv movie about how evil capitalists are destroying the environment by creating extra-hungry sharks! Well, okay, I know what John Schneider is doing here, but F. Murray Abraham won a Best Actor Oscar once! (If you haven't seen Abraham's tour de force performance in An Innocent Man with Tom Selleck, do yourself a favor and watch that instead of this.)

217. Salt (2010)
I told my brother that I had missed the dialogue at the end of this film because I had to go to an online meeting, so I couldn't tell if she was fleeing or sanctioned. But he said that he saw it 2 years ago, listened to the dialogue, and couldn't tell then, either. So maybe the ending is just open to some interpretation.

220. 42nd Street (1933)
The prototypical "we're putting on a Broadway show" movie. Fun but not deep.

221. Real Steal (2011)
They finally remade Over the Top with robots. Sadly, this is not a better movie.

222. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)
Trey said I shouldn't be allowed to count this movie because I missed the beginning and the end, and what I did see I openly criticized as pointless and unsatisfying. But he had to admit that I had at least been present for most of the movie and could recite the story, even if I didn't like it.

I've got as many more to go, and I'll get to them later in the week.

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Easter is tomorrow, which gives me the perfect opportunity to promote the movie Harvey. I love that movie. In fact, I love every movie with giant rabbits, from Donnie Darko to Alice in Wonderland to Who Framed Roger Rabbit to Night of the Lepus. Can you even make a bad movie with giant rabbits?

Come to think of it, I also love every Jimmy Stewart movie I've ever seen, from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington to Rear Window to Rope to The Flight of the Phoenix. Except for Vertigo. I never cared for Vertigo. The entire story -- a man becomes obsessed with a girl who looks remarkably like a woman he believes is dead -- makes me dizzy.

However, I don't generally care for films in which a major character is invisible. They all suck, from the original The Invisible Man to Hollow Man to Memoirs of an Invisible Man to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. (It makes sense that the only film that comes to mind that I like with an invisible character is Mystery Men, in which the Invisible Boy is always visible.) The only advantage to being invisible is visiting the girls locker room and stealing shit. Hardly spectacular story devices.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah. Go see Harvey.

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To be continued...

 

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