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Finishing movies watched (by me) in April, here's the final eight:

78. (1307.) Good Neighbor Sam (1964)
Romy Schneider was beguiling, but I watched this film primarily for the 60s fashion, home decor, and rampant product placement. If you watch it, don't expect an ending. There isn't one. None of the plots are resolved. Very irritating.

79. (1308.) Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)
As much as I love Jane Austen novels (Emma is the best), I didn't really want to see them mashed up with horror tropes. But for the most part, this film managed to be surprisingly loyal to Austen's original characters and plot. If this introduces audiences to classics of English lit they would otherwise turn their nose up at, it's not a waste of film.

80. (1309.) Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)
The villain here isn't Vincent Price, but it might as well be. Price's later House of Wax is a very similar plot with similar effects. This falls more into the "plucky newspaper reporter solves a mystery" category than horror, and I liked that.

81. (1310.) Super-Sleuth (1937)
The title is ironic. An egomaniac Hollywood actor believes he's the detective character he plays in movies. He's not. There's not even much mystery here, as the audience is shown the murderer's identity from the beginning. Not RKO's best.

82. (1311.) Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Hey, it's 2002's Spider-Man all over again! I watched it imagining Micheal Keaton's Vulture as the real hero. It's better that way. (By the way, this is the second movie this month I watched with Zendaya in it. In both, I asked myself "what is her character doing here?" In both, there is no good answer to that question.)

83. (1312.) Lady Godiva Rides Again (1951)
This British comedy/drama lampoons the mid-century British equivalent of Hollywood. It has its moments. (TCM informed me that this film's American title was Bikini Baby. Don't expect to see many bikinis here. There's only one in one scene. But there wasn't an Internet in 1951, so I guess you ogled what you could get.)

84. (1313.) Hollow Triumph (1948)
Film noir in which a man finds his lookalike and, you know, kills him. (By the way, IMDB credits this as Jack Webb's first movie. Sunset Boulevard would come much later. That's what everyone knows Jack Webb from, right?)

85. (1314.) Alfie (1966)
The movie that made Michael Caine! I didn't love it. The character, Alfie, is a horrible person. I know that's kind of the point (the fact that he calls all women "it" is intentionally insulting, even for the era), but I never like spending time with horrible people, even if they're charming and fictional. Call it a character flaw.

That finished April (21 movies in all!). More to come.

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Movies watched in March, batch 2 of 3:

35. (1094.) The Late Show (1977)
The 1970s saw a rebirth in hard boiled detective noir films. Most of the ones I've seen are pretty good. This one, produced by Robert Altman (whose quest for realism on film is a perfect fit for this genre), is no exception. Art Carney and Lily Tomlin make a great odd couple.

36. (1095.) The Long Voyage Home (1940)
This film rubbed me the wrong way. Though the cinematography is great, few of the characters were tolerable, and their stories were all painfully predictable. I admit that I have a bias against sea voyage movies (because I have a bias against the sea), but it really seems a criminal misuse of John Wayne's "talent" to cast him as a nearly mute, happy-go-lucky Dane.

37. (1096.) Deliverance (1972)
No, I had never seen Deliverance before now. That's because I suspected I would hate it. I hate camping, white water rafting, and hillbilly rape. After watching, I was surprised at how well made a suspense thriller it is. That said, I was right. I didn't care for it and, frankly, never want to see it again. Once was one viewing too many.

38. (1097.) The Nut Job (2014)
This is another of those movies that should be delightful but somehow fails to equal the quality of its parts. It has a great cast, high-quality character design and animation, and a clever twist on a screwball caper plot (with animals and humans attempting simultaneous overlapping robberies that collide in the climax). However, like Epic, the film fails because it plays it too safe and loses its sparkle amid the mundane. Oh, well. They can't all be classics.

39. (1098.) -30- (1959)
Jack Webb makes my kind of movie. Webb plays the editor of a newspaper, and we follow him and his motley crew of reporters and associates over the course of one day presented in Webb's signature "just the facts" style. If you like Dragnet, you'll like this. (And if you don't like Dragnet, what's wrong with you?)

More to come.

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I think Jack Webb would have made a good Batman. While he may not have Bruce Wayne's playboy good looks, he certainly describes the Dark Knight's lust for Justice. The two famous crime fighters have more in common than may at first be assumed. The facts:

 Joe FridayvsBatman

 

"The story you are about to see is true."

True

 

False

 

"Names have been changed to protect the innocent."

Victims of crime

 

Bruce who?

 

"This is the city."

LA

 

Gotham

 

"I have a badge."

Sergeant 714

 

Honorary Deputy

 

"My partner is..."

Gannon
et al

 

Robin
I - IV

Notably, Friday's solid detective work solved hundreds of crimes, all without portable crime labs, super-computers, or ninja training. And Joe Friday was as hard as stone. He wouldn't hesitate for a second before disarming perps of live hand grenades, scaling buildings to save suicidal jumpers, or launching into a gravel-voiced lecture to anyone (store owner, senile senior citizen, drug-addled child, disillusioned police officer) about their misunderstanding of the LAW.

The only thing missing from Dragnet? Giant props.

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To be continued...

 

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