Sean's Movie Year
by Sean Sloan

My goal this year is to see at least 100 movies before December 31st. I’ve never kept any list of films I’ve seen before and I think it would be pretty cool to look back and see what I’ve seen over a long period of time. I figure that if I watch at least two per week, I can reach 104. The rate I’m going, it is more like three per week.

My goal will include movies seen both in the theater and at home on video or DVD. I will try to see every one in its original aspect ratio. The list below will have the newest ones watched at the top and will be in the order of viewing.

Oh, and by the way, I get most of these films at my local library. I’d be totally insane to pay to rent everyone of these. Check your local library and see if they have videos or DVDs.

Cheer me on as I go...

94. It’s Trad, Dad! (1962, Richard Lester) Early rock film being Richard Lester’s directorial debut. Trad music was very popular in Pre-Beatles England. We call it Dixieland here. Two local kids are trying to get a trad concert held in their hometown and seek out the local DJs to help. Along the way they run into various trad outfits and the fun ensues. A great movie that has many elements Lester would revisit with A Hard Day’s Night and Help!

93. Rock Around the Clock (1956, Fred Sears) Early rock film with Bill Haley and the Comets starring as a local band who falls in the lap of a promoter. Corny, local yokel dialogue and mid-50s teenage slang abound in this fun film. Good musical performances from Bill and the boys. They are taken to NYC where their "new sound" becomes a big hit. Typical teenage plot elements, but enjoyable film.

92. Pepe le Moko (1937, Julien Duvivier) Early French film noir in which the title character is an outlaw hiding in the Casbah. He has a heart of gold, for a criminal, and falls in love with a woman who is "slumming it" on vacation. She has a moral dilemma whether to stay with her husband or go with Pepe, the criminal. Along the way, Pepe is lured out of the safety of the Casbah to meet the girl and meets his fate instead.

91. Brother Bear (2003, Aaron Blaise & Robert Walker) A cute little Disney film where an Inuit warrior seeks vengeance on a bear for killing his brother. He kills the bear but is magically turned into a bear himself. Along the way, he has to learn about love and family. The best part of the film is the transition from 1.85:1 to Panavision after the first 20 minutes. A neat trick how they did it. Enjoyable, but not up there with the great Disney works.

90. Roadie (1980, Alan Rudolph) A terrible terrible film where Meat Loaf happens to become the greatest roadie that ever lived. He falls for a girl who only wants to "lose it" to Alice Cooper and has to get to NYC to do so. Along the way Meat ends up in numerous crazy situations with various bands. The only worthwhile bit is to see Blondie get into a fight with a gang of midgets. Pure garbage at its finest.

89. The Hidden Fortress (1958 Akira Kurosawa) A great film that Lucas admitted was a basis for Star Wars. It is the tale of a warrior who has to escort a princess across a war-filled territory while being chased by a dark warlord. Two bumbling criminals tag along for comic effect (a la the droids). If you sit back and look at it, it has basic elements of Star Wars, but Lucas didn’t rip it off or anything. The basic plot points are the same, but Kurosawa weaves a much better film with the material.

88. Throne of Blood (1957, Akira Kurosawa) A samurai retelling of Macbeth, but I couldn’t really get it. Good acting from Mifune as usual. Kurosawa’s direction is up to it’s usual brilliance.

87. Napoleon Dynamite (2004, Jared Hess) Really a difficult film to nail down. It tells the story of a total nerd in high school in small town mid-America. The title character gets a little annoying at times because he is so serious, but his mission is to get his new friend in school Pedro elected as class president. The internet nerd older brother who marries what looks like a black drag queen is my favorite. A goofy but fun film.

86. Jackie Brown (1997, Quentin Tarantino) Great film in the usual Tarantino style. Jackie is a stewardess who runs money for a local drug kingpin. The Feds catch on to what she is doing and use her as bait to set up her boss. Jackie teams up with her local bail bondsman and puts on the total double-cross. Good ensemble cast and witty dialogue based on the Elmore Leonard book, Rum Punch.

85. Bottle Rocket (1996, Wes Anderson) An interesting little film where three hapless nobodies decide to take on a life of crime. More of a character study than anything else. These three guys are so ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh at them. A great film for first time director Anderson.

84. The Naked Kiss (1964, Samuel Fuller) Schlock piece from Sam Fuller where a traveling prostitute comes to a new town. The local cop thinks she is setting up shop again. But she decides to turn over a new leaf and becomes a nurse to handicapped children. She falls for the town’s wealthy prodigal son and scandal ensues involving child molestation and murder. All in all, a pretty bad B-grade movie. However, the direction is great. Fuller should have focused himself on better product. He could have been one of the greats.

83. A Night in Casablanca (1946, Archie Mayo) Yet another Marx Bros. farce (I’m getting to see almost all of them this year). This time the boys work at a hotel in Casablanca where the previous three managers were murdered. Groucho is hired on as the new manager. There are some ex-Nazis looking for treasures hidden in the hotel, and that is why they are killing everybody off. The usual zany stuff happens, the boys find the loot, and all is well!

82. The 39 Steps (1935, Alfred Hitchcock) Good pre-American Hitch film where a man gets tangled up in a web of espionage. He helps out a woman spy, is accused of her murder, and has to find "the 39 steps" to clear his name, but has no idea what or who it is. He goes on the run with the only clue he has and winds up in more trouble, handcuffed to another woman and running across Scotland. Hitch has done most of this before, but it is still fun.

81. Go West (1940, Edward Buzzell) More hijinks from the Marx Bros. This time they head out west and stumble upon a deed to some land. The local railroad crooks want to get their hands on this deed so they can sell the land to the railroad and make a fortune. The early scene in the train station where Chico and Harpo keep asking Groucho to make change and keep stealing all his money is priceless.

80. The Big Store (1941, Charles Reisner) The Marx Bros. get tangled up in more zany fun where they are trying to help a friend sell his department store. Big musical numbers help the plot when the Marx boys are hired as detectives because the store manager is trying to sabotage the sale. Good jokes and lots of fun.

79. The Tenant (1976, Roman Polanski) Junk from Polanski where he plays a mild mannered man who rents an apartment where the previous tenant threw herself out the window. Creepy stuff ensues in the building and Roman hears voices, sees things, and thinks everyone in the building is out to get him. In the end, he dresses himself as a woman and commits suicide in the same way the previous tenant did. Crap.

78. See No Evil (1971, Richard Fleischer) Creepy little film where blind girl from horse accident Mia Farrow goes to stay with her aunt and uncle in the English countryside. She goes out on a date with a former beau and comes home. Meanwhile her family was murdered and Mia doesn’t discover it until the next day. The killer has left a bracelet at the house and Mia finds it. The beau helps her and they piece together who the murderer is in a final confrontation. Mia is pretty convincing as the blind girl and the sensation of the film is definitely creepy, with her walking around in a house with three dead bodies and she doesn’t even know it.

77. The Man from Elysian Fields (2001, George Hickenlooper) Most people know Elysian Fields from Mythology. To me, it is a nice boulevard that borders the French Quarter. Others know it as an escort service run by Mick Jagger. Decent film with a sappy ending where Mick pimps out struggling writer Andy Garcia to Olivia Williams, who just happens to be married to struggling writer James Coburn. The two men become friends and Andy helps the dying Coburn finish his last great novel. Well, Coburn dies and Ms. Williams screws Andy out of a co-author credit. Andy’s wife finds out and his family is wrecked apart. Blah Blah. Jagger is quite funny as the leader of the "escort service" and he has a sub plot going where he is falling for Angelica Houston. Worth a look to see Mick at his best, which is simply being Mick Jagger!

76. Let’s Make It Legal (1951, Richard Sale) A cute film about a married couple on the eve of their divorce-going-through. The daughter wants them to get back together and the son-in-law (a very young Robert Wagner) wants to leave well-enough alone. Throw Marilyn Monroe into the picture in a minor role and you’ve got some good-like comedy. An enjoyable film along the same vein as a Rock and Doris film.

75. Advise and Consent (1962, Otto Preminger) A SPECTACULAR film and not one to be missed. Preminger always comes through. This film is about blackmail and political scandal. Henry Fonda is nominated for Secretary of State by the President, but he has a secret in his closet. A great film at a great time involving Communism, homosexuality, blackmail, dirty dealings in politics, etc. Fonda has a minor role, but it is powerful. Go out and see this one IMMEDIATELY.

74. The Merchant of Four Seasons (1972, Rainer Werner Fassbinder) A bunch of nonsense from Fassbinder. The title character is a down on his luck fruit vendor. Social commentary on the bourgeoisie and the working class. Lena Wertmueller pulls this off better in her films. She at least makes the characters absurd so that you can laugh at them. Fassbinder makes his depressive. You can’t feel for these people and you get bored by the end of the film.

73. The Devil’s Eye (1960, Ingmar Bergman) A rare comedy from Bergman. The Devil has a sty in his eye caused by the purity of a vicar’s daughter. So, he sends Don Juan and his assistant back up to Earth so that the virgin can be deflowered. I hate to spoil the rest of the plot. This one should be sought out for any Bergman fan to enjoy.

72. The Day of the Dolphin (1973, Mike Nichols) Instead of watching that other ‘Day’ film that the Marx Brothers did, I watched this PIECE OF GARBAGE. This junk involves GEORGE C. SCOTT (!) as a marine biologist who teaches a dolphin how to speak basic English and respond to human’s voices and commands. The group that is unknowingly funding the project kidnaps the dolphin and his dolphin girlfriend, straps magnetic bombs to their backs, and commands them to swim under the president’s yacht and attach the bomb so it will, of course, kill the president. This trash comes from Mike Nichols and Buck Henry, the same pair who made The Graduate and Catch 22. They should be downright ashamed of themselves. This makes Plan 9 From Outer Space look like an Oscar winner.

71. A Night at the Opera (1935, Sam Wood) Zany Marx Brothers comedy where they have to help some friends get to the US in order to perform at an opera. Along the way, they have their usual hi-jinks and one liners. A pretty good Marx Brothers film. The problem with them is that you sort of get tired of them by the film’s end. There is always a piano part with Chico, a harp part with Harpo, and Groucho is always unrelated to the two of them but ends up in their crazy encounters..

70. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004, Alfonso Cuaron) Great third entry in the series takes a dark turn just like the book. Things get downright strange for Harry and the gang when dark wizard Sirius Black escapes from the impossible to escape from Azkaban prison. The only drawback to the film is that fans of the book will find much trimmed out to keep the running time decent. The writers only kept to the essential plot points and it made the film feel rushed to me. It lacked input from the minor characters and it barely made you feel like Harry was going to school at all. As the next books get longer and longer, I have a feeling the films will get worse and worse in this department.

69. Come Dance With Me (1959, Michel Boisrond) A cute little Bridgette Bardot film VERY similar to the other cute BB film I reviewed awhile back at #13. Actually, it has the same director and some of the same cast. This time BB’s husband is a dentist that gets mixed up in blackmail and murder. He is suspected and BB infiltrates the dance school where the murder took place to clear her husband’s good name. Cute film that mixes comedy and slight mystery. BB is always fun to watch.

68. Cold Mountain (2003, Anthony Minghella) OK film about a man and a woman who are separated by the Civil War and their growing love for each other after having only met about three times. The movie wasn’t great and shouldn’t have been up for best picture. It was decent and predictable. The plot is that the man deserts from the army after being wounded and he travels cross country to get back to the woman he loves. OK performances from Kidman, Law, and a decent, but not Oscar worthy, Zellweger.

67. The Killers (1964, Don Siegel) The FIRST MADE FOR TV MOVIE EVER. This remake of the ’46 version of The Killers was deemed too gritty and violent for TV and was shelved, especially after the Kennedy assassination. The same basic story, but this time it is the two killers (one of whom is played by Lee Marvin) who do the investigating about the man they just killed. Similar movie as the ’46 version but more violent and modern. Funny to see Ronald Reagan in one of his last roles in a rare outing as the bad guy. Cast includes (GET THIS!) John Cassavetes, Angie Dickinson, Lee Marvin, Reagan, Norman Fell, and Claude Akins.

66. The Killers (1946, Robert Sidomak) Tale told in flashback about a man who was killed by two hired hands. The life insurance investigator tries to piece together the tale about why the man was killed. He finds out that a dame is involved and in great film noir style solves the crime in the end. A great film that was later remade as above…..

65. Pickup On South Street (1953, Samuel Fuller) Great film about a pickpocket who unknowingly lifts some secret microfilm from a woman on the train. He doublecrosses her when she tries to get it back, but all the while the Feds are on her tail to see where she is going to bring it so they can catch the ringleader. Richard Widmark steals the screen as the pickpocket who gets wrapped up in more than he bargained for.

64. Fiend Without a Face (1958, Arthur Crabtree) Pretty silly B-grade sci-fi film that amazingly Criterion put out on DVD. Crazy story about these telekinetic and nuclear created brain and spinal cord creatures who are invisible (until later in the film) and attack people and suck their brains out, leaving them vegetables. Cheesy special effects make this a fun film. It gets pretty funny when the brains become visible and begin to fly around attacking people.

63. Secret Window (2004, David Koepp) More junk from Stephen King. A pretty bad plot line where a writer (Johnny Depp who is his usual good self) is accused of plagiarism. He goes on a killing spree to cover up his "crime." If you watch a few minutes of it, you can sort of figure out the trick to the film. I don’t want to spoil it. There is one cool bit to watch in surround sound where a door creaks. We rewound it three times because we didn’t realize it was in the film. It was so real we thought it was a cabinet in the other room. Pretty bad when that is the best part of a movie.

62. Billy Liar (1963, John Schlesinger) Interesting little British film that sort of got lost once the Beatles burst on the scene. The title character is a daydreamer who can’t take anything seriously. He imagines himself in his own little world and tries to convince everyone else that his world is real. Julie Christie is the female companion who tries to get him to move to London and "grow up." Definitely worth a look.

61. Richard III (1955, Laurence Olivier) The Bard as done again by the master Olivier. This time it is the tale of treachery and murder in Merrie Olde England with Olivier’s adaptation of the marvelous play. The Technicolor is lush and vibrant. Olivier is at the top of his game with his portrayal of the cunning title character.

60. Mystic River (2003, Clint Eastwood) This film was superb from start to just before the end. The story of three old friends brought together by one of their daughter’s murder. Sean Penn deserved the Academy Award for his spectacular portrayal of the father of the victim. The entire movie builds up to a great whodunit mystery. The last five minutes sucked, though. Everybody I talked to hated the ending and didn’t understand how the time-line got there. If you can skip the last five mins, then it is well worth a viewing.

59. … And God Created Woman (1956, Roger Vadim) Ms. Bardot sexes up the screen in her breakthrough role. She is the local town sexpot who flirts around with all the guys. She ends up falling for one guy but marries his brother. Lots of great scenery (including Ms. Bardot), but the film really doesn’t stand the test of time. Not much happens and the vixen goes back to her philandering ways in the end.

58. Wild Strawberries (1957, Ingmar Bergman) One of Bergman’s greatest efforts tells the story of an old doctor making a long journey to receive an honorary degree from a University. Along the way he must come to grips with the emptiness of his life and his close mortality. A beautiful black and white presentation from master storyteller Bergman.

57. The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002, Burstein and Morgan) Spectacular documentary about the life of super-producer Robert Evans. This guy was involved in EVERYTHING for Paramount from mid 60s to mid 70s. Film is told completely with still pictures or old movie footage of the films he was involved with. This stuff is so captivating that you can’t wait to see what this guy gets into as the film progresses. A HIGH recommend.

56. Secretary (2002, Steven Shainberg) A pretty silly film with James Spader as a lawyer who spends most of his time spanking his employee, Maggie Gyllenhaal. The sick part is that she falls in love with him in the end and goes on a hunger strike to win him back. I understand the point of the film being about obsession and desire and all, but it was a bit silly. Spader was off of his usual bad guy role. I can’t say he was bad, but I can’t say he was the good guy either.

55. The Game Is Over (1966, Roger Vadim) Swinging 60s French film with a young and hot Jane Fonda as a woman who has an affair with her young son-in-law. She’s married to an older man who has a young son from a first wife. Jane falls in love with the son and is ostracized. Funny to see Jane speak French throughout the movie. I guess since she was Mrs. Vadim at the time, it made sense. Ok movie if you want to get some shots of Ms. Fonda in the nude. Plot is decent, but it drags on a bit. The end was terrible.

54. The Front (1976, Martin Ritt) A GREAT FILM wherein Woody Allen is a hapless nobody, who becomes somebody. The plot this time is that Woody’s TV screenwriter friend gets blacklisted, so Woody becomes "the front" and passes the friend’s scripts off as his own to keep everybody working. The great thing about this film is that it was written, directed, and starred about 7 or 8 people who were really blacklisted. A good Woody film that he ironically did not direct. Check this one out if you are interested in the golden age of Hollywood from the mid 50s and the McCarthy era.

53. La Strada (1954, Federico Fellini) One of Fellini’s earlier pics tells the tale of Zampato, a sideshow strongman who travels around the country with a girl, Gelsomina, whom he has "bought" from her mother. A surrealist tale where nothing really happens. They just travel from place to place and you see their characters develop. It is quite hard to explain the film. If you are into 50s and 60s foreign films, then this is a must see.

52. The Sure Thing (1985, Rob Reiner) Funny Cusak tale with the usual boy meets girl, boy and girl hate each other, boy likes girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl storyline. The only difference is that it’s combined with a road picture where the boy and girl hitch it from New England to Boston. Cusak’s got a "sure thing" lined up across the continent, but he really wants the girl, Daphne Zunigia, that he has been travelling with. An enjoyable 80s film and a good look at 80s college life.

51. How Green Was My Valley (1941, John Ford) Wonderful story of a poor Irish family’s struggles in a coal mining town. The story is told through the eyes of a young child in the family, Roddy McDowall. Heartwarming film, is one of Ford’s best efforts. Maureen O’Hara is wonderful as the older sister who helps bring the family together in times of death and struggle.

50. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947, Joseph L. Mankiewicz) A light-hearted film in which a widowed woman moves into a sea-side home in early 20th century England. She "sees" Rex Harrison as the ghost of the home’s former occupant, a crabby sea-captain who has run off other tenants. Ultimately, Mrs. Muir and the ghost become friends and she pens a book about his life. Whether it was all a dream or the ghost was real, who knows? Rex Harrison is in top form as the ghost. A nice, family film.

49. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939, Frank Capra) Jimmy Stewart has never been better in his "aw shucks" personality than in this film. He plays a nave backwoods man who is thrown into a vacant Senate seat. He soon realizes his appointees have corrupt motives and are trying to drag him in. He successfully filibusters the Senate floor and in the end all is well. This is a classic and not to be missed if you love Stewart or Capra’s good-hearted films.

48. Images (1972, Robert Altman) This is not your typical Altman. No ensemble cast (and only about five characters to boot), no overlapping dialogue, no semi-political statement. A rather strange film about a woman who is experiencing a mental deterioration. She sees "images" of old lovers who are dead. You sort of are taken into her world and the viewer is unable to separate reality from what is in the character’s mind. The end is a shock.

47. Heist (2001, David Mamet) Excellent film up to Mamet’s usual greatness. Gene Hackman is the leader of a gang of thieves who are forced to make one last hit from an airport. Danny DeVito is devilish as the bad guy. Its twists and turns will keep you guessing until the end. Highly recommended.

46. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003, Peter Weir) Despite the length of the title, this is a decent sea tale about Captan Crowe and his attempt to chase a "ghost ship" from the Atlantic to the South Pacific. Good battle sequences and sound effects, but the acting is rather stiff. You get tired of the characters at the end. Too British, I guess.

45. School Daze (1988, Spike Lee) Terrible effort from Spike Lee. A failed attempt at a musical/dramedy combo that takes a look at Homecoming weekend at a fictitious all-black college. The movie really has no point and tries to state a message at the end. But, it is all pretty worthless. Spike has done much better.

44. Starsky and Hutch (2004, Todd Phillips) Inane, but fun comedy from Stiller and Wilson. I can’t decide if this is supposed to be a spoof of the TV show or not, because the show was pretty silly to begin with. Plot has S & H taking on a hilarious Vince Vaughn as a drug kingpin about to move a huge shipment. I did enjoy this one. If you like Stiller and Wilson in other things, then you will find this one entertaining.

43. Hamlet (1948, Laurence Olivier) Wonderful, well acted adaptation of one of The Bard’s masterworks. Probably the best ever filmed. Olivier shines as the Prince and a very young and beautiful Jean Simmons is spectacular as Ophelia. It is so well done that I didn’t realize till the end that there was no Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. This is a must see. (Oh yeah, it has Grand Moff Tarkin too, but in a small part.)

42. The Abominable Snowman (1957, Val Guest) A decent schlock-piece from the British Hammer studios. Peter Cushing (yes, Grand Moff Tarkin) is a scientist dragged into an expedition to find the famous creature in the Himalayas. Don’t expect it to scare you silly or anything.

41. Adaptation (2002, Spike Jonze) For those of you who don’t know, I hate Nicholas Cage. This movie had TWO Nicholas Cages. What do you think my opinion is of it? I think these Kaufman films are too intellectual for their own good. You can’t draw the line on what is real and what is imagined. I guess I imagined this movie would be good and it is really not. You watch it for two hours and it doesn’t make ANY sense and you can’t get anything out of it and it doesn’t really make you think. It just pisses you off and aggravates you. That isn’t what I want from a moviegoing experience.

40. Mikey and Nicky (1976, Elaine May) Slow tale of Cassavetes as a hood with a contract out on his life. Peter Falk is his buddy (or is he?) and helps him get through the night dodging the killer. Good character study about old friendships. Cassavetes is his usual crazy self, but it does drag on after a while.

39. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986, Woody Allen) Decent Woody relationship comedy about, well, Hannah and her sisters, duh. Woody has the best lines as Hannah’s hypochondriac ex-husband. The plot wears a bit thin, but don’t most of Allen’s 80s films? A few bits of adultery and crazed relationships, but the end is sort of boring. Not Woody’s worst, but not his best either.

38. Twilight (1998, Robert Benton) Decent murder mystery starring Newman, Hackman, Sarandon, and Garner. The plot is OK, but it doesn’t keep you on the edge of your seat or anything. Deals with an old murder and Newman’s search to find the killer. Since there are only four main characters, and Newman is the detective, the end is not too hard to narrow down.

37. Rancho Deluxe (1974, Frank Perry) Cult classic about two modern-day cattle rustlers as they consistently bother one ranch in Montana. Jeff Bridges and Sam Waterson are the culprits. Slim Pickens is hilarious as the old investigator. If you are looking for quirky and offbeat, then this is a recommend.

36. Breakheart Pass (1975, Tom Gries) Decent Charles Bronson vehicle based on Alistair MacLean’s novel. OK action and somewhat interesting plot twists about a train’s journey to a remote outpost to bring medical supplies. Bronson is a bit off of his usual tough guy role.

35. Platoon (1986, Oliver Stone) Incredible film about one platoon’s trials in tribulations early in the Vietnam War. Told from a new enlistee’s point of view as he comes to the realization that the men are really their own worst enemy. Great performances from Sheen, Berenger, and Dafoe.

34. Minnie and Moskowitz (1971, John Cassavetes) Interesting character study of two deeply-disturbed people’s lives. Not the best film I’ve ever seen and it often makes no sense. You sometimes want to just slap the characters to get them to act normal. If all of Cassavetes’ stuff is slow like this, I’m in for a long year.

33. Girl on a Motorcycle (1968, Jack Cardiff) Psuedo-psychedelic late-60s cult film about bored housewife who hops on her motorcycle to see her lover. Dream sequences throughout much of the movie. Garbage unless you want to see Marianne Faithfull in the buff.

32. The Lonely Man (1957, Henry Levin) Interesting tale of an aging gunfighter trying to give up his old ways and settle down. The only thing that stands in his way are his old friends trying to get revenge. Nice VistaVision scenery, but it should have been in color. Enjoyable time-filler.

31. Chloe in the Afternoon (1972, Erich Rohmer) Rohmer’s last of his Moral Tales in which a married man debates whether or not to have an affair with an old friend who suddenly comes back into his life. A regular foreign film… Neither revolutionary, nor great, nor bad.

30. Judement at Nuremberg (1961, Stanley Kramer) Long but well acted film about one of the Nazi war trials at Nuremberg, this one including four judges. Burt Lancaster, Spencer Tracy, Maximillian Schell, and Montgomery Clift all give spectacular performances. Well-enjoyed if you are a WWII buff like me.

29. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966, Richard Lester) Good fun with Zero Mostel. Good songs from Stephen Sondheim. If you are looking for laughs, this one does it. Highly recommend.

28. Tokyo Olympiad (1965, Kon Ichikawa) A beautiful color documentary of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. 174 minutes of virtually no dialogue. Ichikawa got in trouble with the Olympic committee because it was not a straight documentary, instead it shows the brutality and the struggle that the athletes endure in the spirit of competition. Long, but highly recommended. Wonderful TohoScope, or was it NikkauScope?

27. Carmen Jones (1954, Otto Preminger) A great musical with an all-black cast. A modernization of the Bizet opera. I really liked this one, even though I am not fond of musicals.

26. Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959, Alan Renais) OK French tale of a French woman and Japanese man who have an affair in post-war Hiroshima. Lots of dialogue and shots of the city as it is rebuilding. Supposed to be a very influential film. I liked it, but I did not love it.

25. Last Hurrah for Chivalry (1978, John Woo) Kung-fu theater. Lots of great sword-fighting. Plot was pretty basic with double-crossing and murder and killers for hire, etc. It didn’t get silly until the last sword fight when people started to fly through the air. If you dig this stuff, it is fun.

24. Sleuth (1972, Joseph L. Mankiewicz) Go see this film! A lot of fun with Laurence Oliver and Michael Caine. The detective movie about a detective writer. It will keep you guessing until the end.

23. First Name: Carmen (1983, Jean-Luc Godard) This film was a waste of time. Total crap from Godard. He has films that are drastically better than this.

22. Branded To Kill (1967, Seijun Suzuki) Cool, stylish NikkauScope film about the Number 3 killer’s quest to be the Number 1 killer. Very good film. Very 60s.

21. Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down (1990, Pedro Almodovar) Fun, but unbelievable plot. Zany Almodovar stuff goes on. See the NC-17 version, even though I didn’t find it NC-17. I guess my senses are numb.

20. The Court Jester (1956, Frank and Panama) Good VistaVision and Technicolor effort from Danny Kaye. Funny plot, cute songs. An enjoyable time-filler if you are looking for a cute old movie.

19. The Passion of the Christ (2004, Mel Gibson) I’ll just leave this one alone, but I will say that I did not like it and I will never see it again.

18. Contempt (1963, Jean-Luc Godard) Spectacular, arty, Bridget Bardot’s naked body all over the screen. A most important film about filmmaking. Ranks right up there with 8 1/2. Beautiful CinemaScope and Technicolor from Godard. This is about as influential and good that French movies get. Equal in my book to The 400 Blows.

17. The Worker and the Hairdresser (1996, Lena Wertmuller) Basic, silly Italian tale about the working class and the bourgeoisie, a typical Wertmuller plot. Zany happenings, political ramble, etc.

16. The Hot Rock (1972, Peter Yates) Good mystery starring Robert Redford and George Segal about a group of thieves trying to steal a diamond. The only problem is that after they steal it from the museum, they’ve got to keep stealing it from other people and places. Good fun. Nice to see it in Panavision. Good aerial shots of the World Trade Center as the second tower was being built.

15. Miracle (2004, Gavin O’Connor) This is a decent Disney tale about the Miracle on Ice. If you are familiar with the story, then this will add to it. Kurt Russell is pretty believable as Herb Brooks. A feel good movie.

14. Tokyo Drifter (1966, Seijun Suzuki) Great spy film presented in NikkauScope. Very visual. Good soundtrack and cool action. Picture early Bond (no gadgets) but in Japanese.

13. Une Parisienne (1957, Michel Boisrond) A cute Bridget Bardot comedy. Very similar to the mid-60s Rock Hudson / Doris Day romps. Ms. Bardot does look superb.

12. The Lower Depths (1957, Akira Kurosawa) Very slow tale of a group of people who live in a hovel in early Japan. Not the best plot and nothing great happens until the end. Toshiro Mifune is top-notch and that is all that saves the film.

11. High and Low (1963, Akira Kurosawa) Wonderful movie filmed in TohoScope about the kidnapping of a child and the moral decision a businessman has to make to get him back. One of Kurosawa’s best.

10. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoise (1972, Luis Bunel) an hour and a half of meaningless society crap from Bunel. Unless you really like his work, don’t waste your time.

9. Rashomon (1950, Akira Kurosawa) Wonderful, and not to be missed. Very famous foreign film deals with truth. It tells the story of a rape and murder from four points of view and not one of them is the same.

8. The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (1975, Schlondorff & Von Trotta) Somewhat slow tale of a woman who is arrested as an associate of a terrorist. Shows how the government can ruin your life because of who you know, not necessarily what you did. Based on true events.

7. Stray Dog (1949, Akira Kurosawa) Great tale of a rookie detective who gets his gun stolen from him on a crowded train. Goes through his sorrow and frustration of tracking down the gun after it is used for a few murders. Good Kurosawa.

6. Band of Outsiders (1964, Jean-Luc Godard) Wonderful early 60s French New Wave from Godard. If you are looking for a different and influential movie, this is one. The scene where the actors run through the Louve is famous. Decent plot involving two guys and a girl and a theft.

5. McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971, Robert Altman) Not your typical western, in that it is a montage of characters in Altman’s normal style. Doesn’t go much of anywhere and the end is a sort of let down after you spend almost two hours of your life. If you love stuff like Nashville, then you will like this one.

4. American Wedding (2003, Jesse Dylan) All I can say is that if you liked the first two, then you will like this one. It has its funny moments and Stifler steals the show this time. Usual hijinks abound.

3. Lost In Translation (2003, Sophia Coppola) I really really like this film Very arty in the way that 60s French films are. Very character-driven and nothing really happens in the end. Sophia is starting to appeal to me more than her dad.

2. The ‘Burbs (1989, Joe Dante) Pretty funny comedy about a group of people in a cul-de-sac who think their new neighbors are murderers. It definitely has its funny moments. Any scene with the creepy neighbors is classic.

1. The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King (2003, Peter Jackson) I’m sure everybody on the We Like Media has seen this one. Go see it and its two brothers now if you have not.

Copyright 21 Mar 2004 - 5 Jan 2005 We Like Media.
You may email Sean Sloan.