Result #50: Well I can now officially say that I've seen the best of what cinema has to offer... well... at least according to AFI. (Part 1 of 4)

#50 Watch the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time.

Date: 2-19-2014

Due Date: 2-19-2014

Resolution: If you know me you know that I like movies. You also know that I like weird movies, movies that don't make lists. That said I'm not as thrilled by this resolution as you would think.

This morning I was looking for an excuse to watch more movies so I did a search for the greatest movies of all time. AFI's 100 Years 100 Movies was the top of the list. I clicked the link and perused list to find that I've only seen about 30 out of the 100.

I wasn't sure about how I felt about watching some of these movies; I've been intentionally avoiding many of the movies on this list for years, decades even. So, I went on to search for other lists. As I scrolled through list after list, from bloggers to Moviefone, I couldn’t help but think that the AFI list is probably the most legitimate.

So here we are.

Over the next year I'm going to watch all the movies listed below in order from 100 to 1 whether I've seen the movie or not.

  1. CITIZEN KANE 1941
  2. THE GODFATHER 1972
  3. CASABLANCA 1942
  4. RAGING BULL 1980
  5. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN 1952
  6. GONE WITH THE WIND 1939
  7. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA 1962
  8. SCHINDLER'S LIST 1993
  9. VERTIGO 1958
  10. THE WIZARD OF OZ 1939
  11. CITY LIGHTS 1931
  12. THE SEARCHERS 1956
  13. STAR WARS 1977
  14. PSYCHO 1960
  15. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY 1968
  16. SUNSET BLVD. 1950
  17. THE GRADUATE 1967
  18. THE GENERAL 1927
  19. ON THE WATERFRONT 1954
  20. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE 1946
  21. CHINATOWN 1974
  22. SOME LIKE IT HOT 1959
  23. THE GRAPES OF WRATH 1940
  24. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL 1982
  25. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD 1962
  26. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON 1939
  27. HIGH NOON 1952
  28. ALL ABOUT EVE 1950
  29. DOUBLE INDEMNITY 1944
  30. APOCALYPSE NOW 1979
  31. THE MALTESE FALCON 1941
  32. THE GODFATHER PART II 1974
  33. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST 1975
  34. SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS 1937
  35. ANNIE HALL 1977
  36. THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI 1957
  37. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES 1946
  38. THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE 1948
  39. DR. STRANGELOVE 1964
  40. THE SOUND OF MUSIC 1965
  41. KING KONG 1933
  42. BONNIE AND CLYDE 1967
  43. MIDNIGHT COWBOY 1969
  44. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY 1940
  45. SHANE 1953
  46. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT 1934
  47. A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE 1951
  48. REAR WINDOW 1954
  49. INTOLERANCE 1916
  50. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING 2001
  51. WEST SIDE STORY 1961
  52. TAXI DRIVER 1976
  53. THE DEER HUNTER 1978
  54. M*A*S*H 1970
  55. NORTH BY NORTHWEST 1959
  56. JAWS 1975
  57. ROCKY 1976
  58. THE GOLD RUSH 1925
  59. NASHVILLE 1975
  60. DUCK SOUP 1933
  61. SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS 1941
  62. AMERICAN GRAFFITI 1973
  63. CABARET 1972
  64. NETWORK 1976
  65. THE AFRICAN QUEEN 1951
  66. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK 1981
  67. WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? 1966
  68. UNFORGIVEN 1992
  69. TOOTSIE 1982
  70. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE 1971
  71. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN 1998
  72. THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION 1994
  73. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID 1969
  74. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS 1991
  75. IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT 1967
  76. FORREST GUMP 1994
  77. ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN 1976
  78. MODERN TIMES 1936
  79. THE WILD BUNCH 1969
  80. THE APARTMENT 1960
  81. SPARTACUS 1960
  82. SUNRISE 1927
  83. TITANIC 1997
  84. EASY RIDER 1969
  85. A NIGHT AT THE OPERA 1935
  86. PLATOON 1986
  87. 12 ANGRY MEN 1957
  88. BRINGING UP BABY 1938
  89. THE SIXTH SENSE 1999
  90. SWING TIME 1936
  91. SOPHIE'S CHOICE 1982
  92. GOODFELLAS 1990
  93. THE FRENCH CONNECTION 1971
  94. PULP FICTION 1994
  95. THE LAST PICTURE SHOW 1971
  96. DO THE RIGHT THING 1989
  97. BLADE RUNNER 1982
  98. YANKEE DOODLE DANDY 1942
  99. TOY STORY 1995
  100. BEN-HUR 1959

Update #1: #100 Ben-Hur (1959)

Date: 2-20-2014

I've managed to go 38 years without watching Ben-Hur and up until I made this resolution I'm pretty sure I would have gone a life time without even a hint of interest in watching it. Now that I've seen it I know that I would’ve been perfectly fine with my original decision.

I understand that it's a classic and I don't disagree that it should be considered one. I understand why it made this list and how it's an influential part of cinematic history. The story structure is to the book, the set design is great, the acting if fine, and its well shot, but it just wasn't for me.

I know there are some films on this list that I will go into with a bad attitude that will win me over, but I was pretty sure from the get go that this wasn't going to be one of them especially when I saw that it was three and a half hours long. This is because of personal taste and has nothing to do with the quality of work.

First off I'm not a fan of period pieces. I don't know what it is but I would much rather watch a documentary about history than watch fictionalized tales. I know all movies are fictionalized tales but I think when I view something that takes place in the past I don't know what it based on fact or what is fiction, or even whether or not it's supposed to be pure fiction. I know that may be a peculiar way to look at film, but that's how I feel.

I'm also not a big fan of movies that follow story structure to a T. I appreciate it and I know why there are the rules to writing, but I've been trained to the point where I only see the structure and no longer see the story. It would be as if you really wanted to be a magician. Once you learn the tricks you lose some of the fascination with the magic that drew you in to begin with.

Then there’s the Hero’s Journey. I know this is an important tool of writing and there are going to be many stories that I like that follow the Hero's Journey and I even use it when needed, but I’m not a big fan of hero stories especially a hero who has been chosen by God. The idea of that this one person is so important that this God character ignores all the other suffering in the world for this one person to have his comeuppance bothers me. This is why I have a hard time believing in God in reality.

I know things change with time and I know that this was an important step to get to where we are in cinema, but that doesn't mean that I have to like it. Hell I cringe when I go back and look at my old work, but know that each piece was an important step in my development as a writer.

In summary, I agree this is a good movie that deserves to be on the list, but it just wasn't for me.

Update #2: #99 Toy Story (1995)

Date: 2-21-2014

This is one of the few movies on the list that I've already seen. I admit I'm a sucker for Pixar movies. I know I complained about formulaic cinema in my review of Ben-Hur, and I know Pixar is all about following a formula but I give cartoons and comedies way more leeway. If I have fun while watching a movie I'll like it no matter what the story is.

If it wasn't for my younger sisters this would probably have been my first time watching Toy Story, and not for the reason you may be thinking. Back in 1995 when this movie first came out I was working unloading trucks for Macy's. It was opening weekend and I had worked up the courage to ask a coworker on a date to see it. The big night came and she stood me up.

She got fired soon after and I never saw her again. I held off watching the movie first out of hopes that the date would be reschedules but then hope eventually turned into bitterness. A good five years went by until I flew home to visit the family and my younger sisters were shocked that I've never seen it.

They eventually talked me into watching it and I've been a fan ever since. Watching this movie last night made me want to rewatch the entire series.

Update #3: #98 Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

Date: 2-23-2014

This is another one of those movies that I was kind of dreading, and not for the reason you may be thinking. There are multiple reasons I picture people predicting my dread, especially if they read my review of Ben-Hur. Two reasons that came to mind are that it's old and that it's a musical.

I have to admit, I don't mind musicals as long as there is a humor element to it, as I said I give comedy A LOT of leeway. I don't have the list of 100 films memorized but I do dread any dramatic musicals that may be in my future.

There's a window of filmmaking that I find I'm not a fan of and I think it starts from when color was first introduced until somewhere in the late 70s. And again it has more to do with genre than the actual films from that time period. I'm not a fan of the type of acting that was in Ben-Hur where is feel like every single line is delivered with such importance, everything is so intense that it just comes across as being mellow dramatic, and for some reason in my head movies from the above mentioned window of time seem to use this technique.

As for these old black and white movie (again depending on genre) I like how fast everyone talks, there's no dramatic pause just back and forth banter that looking when looking back at it now I can't help but think every movie from this time was written by Aaron Sorkin.

The reason I was dreading this film was that I thought there was going to be a lot more grandstanding the benefits of patriotism. Granted a lot of the songs did have a patriotic theme to them and it is the tale of a man getting a Congressional Medal of Honor, but that aspect of the film felt like it was crowbarred in. This was the tale of a man struggling to validate his life through his art, which I can relate to and therefor enjoyed the journey.

Thought I liked the movie I wouldn't go as far as saying anything eye opening. It didn't have an effect on me like the movie Harvey did. I won't be asking people if they've seen it only in hopes that they haven't so that I can be the one that introduces them to the movie as I force them to watch it. I'll probably never see this movie again, but I don't regret watching it (Unlike Ben-Hur.)

Update #4: #97 Blade Runner (1982)

Date: 2-24-2014

I was excited to watch Blade Runner for two reasons. First I don't think I ever really gave this movie a proper chance in prior viewings, and second I recently watched the documentary on Philip K. Dick that's part of the Prophets of Science Fiction series on Netflix. I've never read any of his work but I felt a strong connection to his themes and was excited to watch this with new eyes.

The first time I saw Blade Runner was back when I was in Jr. High. I believe it was either my cousin or his best friend who selected this for our weekly movie night. I was excited because it was a Sci-Fi with Han Solo in it. At the time I thought of Sci-Fi as Star Wars and Ice Pirates therefore was very let down when this slow moving Noir played out.

Later I saw the director's cut and again it wasn't my choice and this let down that I had from childhood must have carried over because I remember still finding it very boring. I may have watched a couple more times since but during these later viewings it was playing in the background while everyone talked over it.

My taste have changed a lot since then so last night it was almost like watching Blade Runner for the first time. My initial though during the opening scene was, "Hey, that's the guy from Cabin Boy," then I spent the rest of the time finally enjoying the movie. I don’t have a full on review to write, but I can now see why people are so into this movie.

I chose to watch The Final Cut even though that may not be the version referenced in the list, but I figured I've seen the original theatrical release before and this version was the Internet's answer as to which was the best version to watch.

Now that I have an appreciation for Blade Runner I'm going to have to watch the theatrical release once I have some spare time and figure out the differences for myself. Since my Southland Tales experiment I'm a big fan of comparing director's cuts to theatrical releases. I'll be sure to let you know what I find.

Update #5: #96 Do the Right Thing (1989)

Date: 2-24-2014

There was a shocking moment that came to me while watching Do the Right Thing last night. About five minutes into the movie I was shocked to find that I've actually never seen this movie all the way through before last night.

I don't even think it took five minutes for me to come to this realization. I knew right away as I watched Rosie Perez dance through the entire opening credits. I know for a fact I would have made fun of that at least once or twice in my life if I'd seen it before.

I guess I'd only seen bits and pieces of the TV edit which is why I've always gotten a kick out of referencing the D Mickey Fickey, D scene, but didn't have a clear vision of the rest of the story. Looking back it makes sense. I was more of a West Coast / Boyz n the Hood / NWA fan at the time and I think I saw Do the Right Thing as more of an East Coast / De La Soul thing, which I've grown to appreciate but was definitely not a fan at the time.

Other than the fact that I was surprised that I hadn't seen Do the Right Thing before, I wasn't surprised that I liked it. I've never really had a problem with any of the Spike Lee Joints that I've seen, though I have to admit, I haven't seen many.

I’ve also always been a fan of ensemble films and had a lot of fun following this story as it jumped from group to group allowing the story to build. It was both fun and interesting to see how each group ties together and how almost everyone is both intolerant and accepting in various levels not just between the races, but also amongst the groups. Each person's importance, both micro and macro, varies depending on either the topic of conversation or the urgency of the events going on at the time. One minute Buggin' Out is a joke amongst his friends but if the matters are urgent enough he becomes the most important person on the block. The same goes for Da Mayor and pretty much everyone else in the story.

I was a little surprised by how all the young adult characters all seemed very childlike a majority of them even spoke like little kids. I couldn't help but think that this was a statement about the riot in the end being a childlike response by childlike people. I wasn't sure if that was a statement of how Spike Lee sees it, or if he used this technique to show an exaggerated vision of how white America sees situation.

I was also confused as to why Mookie threw the trash can through the window. It seemed out of the blue to me. After I watched the movie I read on the Wikipedia that this is the Right Thing that the title refers to, whether this was the right distraction to save Sal's life or a justified angry reaction to the death of Radio Raheem.

According to the Wikipedia "Spike Lee has remarked that he himself has only ever been asked by white viewers whether Mookie did the right thing; black viewers do not ask the question. Lee believes the key point is that Mookie was angry at the death of Radio Raheem, and that viewers who question the riot's justification are implicitly valuing white property over the life of a black man."

Which also make sense but I didn't buy that the Mookie character was all that torn up about it and that's why I was so confused by his actions. His character seemed too way self-absorbed and by this point he seemed more angry that he didn't get to go home on time or get paid yet, and now he has to deal with all this nonsense because of these delays.

Whatever the reason I'm glad I got to see this movie in its entirety. The fact that I could probably go on and on with questions, theories and arguments is the sign of a good movie to me. I could see myself watching this again especially if I ran across someone else who wanted to discuss their theories, as this viewing was purely for entertainment purposes and I still saw a lot.

Update #6: #95 The Last Picture Show (1971)

Date: 2-25-2014

I had no idea what I was getting into with this movie. I've heard the name before, but that’s it. Being the type of person I am, I also don't research the unknown when it comes to a movie I’m about to experience.

Even though the year is listed along with the title on the AFI list, this small piece of information slipped right past me. I spent the first maybe 15 minutes thinking this movie was actually made in the 50s and not just when it was supposed to have taken place.

During the time when I felt that the movie was shot in black and white because of the technology available at the time and not a choice in style I was blown away by how advanced this story was. I was ready to write about this being the first hard R that I've seen from my grandparent’s era, and how impressed I was for the risks it took. Then I started to recognize some of the actors and actresses, and it began to make a lot more sense.

Once I figured out that it was actually shot in 1971 I was no longer as blown away but I still really enjoyed what I was watching. It's a little long, it's boring at points, the struggles of attractive torn over who they want to make out with got a little monotonous at points, but that's how real life works isn't it? Whether or not I can relate to any of the characters this real life aspect is what I liked.

The Last Picture show is a slice of life film that explores the day to day life of these people living in this small town. For the most part it's pretty mundane with moments of titillation. There are some dramatic moments, but then life just goes on. None of these dramatic moments are the backbone of the story; it’s about life as a whole. These people seem to care about each other but at the same time everyone is also horrible to one another. It felt to me like this movie was showing us a story and not telling us one, and that is my favorite type of film.

I don't really see myself watching this movie again, but just like Do the Right Thing, if there were someone that had strong feelings about The Last Picture Show I would definitely watch it again because even though I watched it purely for entertainment this is a movie that is definitely a conversation starter and there are subtleties that I wouldn't mind exploring, just not for my own sake.

Update #7: #94 Pulp Fiction (1994)

Date: 2-26-2014

Pulp Fiction is another movie on the list that I've seen. If anything I've seen it too many times and wasn't really looking forward to watching it again. My attitude took a long time to change as I watched.

It's not that I'm not a fan of Pulp Fiction, or that I hate Quentin Tarantino. In fact I still think this is a groundbreaking film that earned its spot on this list. The problem is I graduated from High School the year this movie made its debut and therefor spent the next five years, unable to avoid everything Pulp Fiction.

Every house had either the poster on the wall or the movie playing on the TV. If you managed to avoid its visual presence the soundtrack would inevitably makes its way into rotation. Even if you went outside to avoid this omnipresent piece of pop culture you'd run into some douche bags delivering lines from the movie as if they were the ones who came up with the word that were so brilliant at the time.

I spent at least 45 minutes gritting my teeth and tolerating this viewing, almost able to quote the movie line for line. I always knew what was about to happen, but not with the fond memories of the lines being delivered by John, Sam and Uma, no, I knew all these scenes because of Tom, Dick and Harry.

I found that even my favorite scene with Christopher Walken was ruined. It wasn't until the scene with Bruce Willis and Isabella Rossellini that I found myself enjoying this movie again, which was then ruined buy the gimp scene :( Luckily the movie ends on the scene with Samuel Jackson contemplating his life. I don't think I appreciated that scene all that much when the movie first came out, but now that I'm older I find it interesting that the two scenes about settling down where my two favorites. That realization was the saving grace of this viewing.

Again, even though this wasn't the best viewing experience in my life, it had nothing to do with the quality of this movie. To me, Pulp Fiction has just become that old fashion statement that you were once so proud of that you can no longer bear to see the photographic evidence of how you looked while going through it. Better left to memories.

Update #8: #93 The French Connection (1971)

Date: 2-27-2014

The French Connection is another one of those movies that other than the title I knew absolutely nothing about and felt perfectly content keeping it that way. Again I did no research and was actually happy to see in the opening credits that this movie starred Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider.

The opening credits ended and I knew right away that this was going to be a rough one to get through. First off, there's a certain color pallet from the 70s that I have a hard time watching and whether it's the film stock, the lighting techniques, or just the time; this movie featured each and every tone of blah.

The acting was great, but I have a personal issue with this genre of cops and crooks storytelling. I personally feel that this genre lends itself to lazy writing. We see a badge and a gun and we know who the good guy is. We seem a gun and no badge and we know who the bad guy is. Throw in a couple racial stereotypes and we know how and why they are bad guys. With the fact that there are so many guns on the screen of course this is a high pressure situation. It's just a matter of figuring out where the final standoff is going to be and how we are going to get the characters to that location and BAM you got yourself a movie.

As always there are going to be cop and crook films on this list that I love (IE the next movie on the list) but you'll notice the one that I like are character driven and not just one big build up to an action packed event. I feel that The French Connection fell into the latter category only the final event wasn't all that action packed.

There was a couple interesting shots during the car chase, but for the most part this movie was as aesthetically pleasing as watching a pot of oatmeal cook. I blame the time period more than I blame the filmmakers for a majority of this muck. The fashion was bland. The cars were dull both in color and design. There were a few times when they were inside where there was horrific artwork hanging on the walls over hideous furniture. I even found myself more fulfilled by the sounds of my own groans of boredom than the cringe worthy soundtrack and over all sound quality and not that this was a bad copy, I'm talking to foley work of the engines revving and the god awful sound they came up with for the tires screeching.

All in all, other than the acting, and the, what I'm sure was a groundbreaking at the time, car chase; I do not see why this is considered such a classic. I went to Rotten Tomatoes and only found one negative review then went to Amazon to find that a majority of the negative reviews had to deal with technical issues customers had with the DVD or the delivery process.

As I said in the initial resolution I'm fully prepared to disagree with a lot of the movies on this list, and this is one of them. I think it's the first. I didn't like Ben-Hur but could see the appeal. This one almost angered me that it made the list while so many great comedies were over looked.

Why is there no Animal House on this list, yet this movie made it?

Update #9: #92 GoodFellas (1990)

Date: 2-28-2014

goodfellas_by_riikardo-d48hktn.jpg

I'm beginning to see a pattern here. I've either never seen the movies on this list, or if I have it was years after they came out and not by my choice. I don't think I saw GoodFellas until at least 2000. The night I did finally watch it was more out of me giving in to a roommate who wouldn't shut up about it and not my desire to see it.

I have to admit that I was blown away. I was expecting a movie more like what I complained about in my The French Connection review, generic mafia guys versus generic cops building up to some kind of heist, throw in some Guidos that drop the n-word from time to time, bada-boom bada-bing you got yourself a mobster movie.

Okay well some piece of the formula where there, but the fact that this is the story of Henry Hill trying to explain his life in order to justify his choices won me over right away. Then when we cut away to Karen's story I found her story was just as if not more interesting than the story of these criminals. Not only is it a great dysfunctional love story, but unlike Henry who sought out this lifestyle it was interesting to see her evolution to eventually accept the normalcy of chaos.

I've never had any alpha male fantasies so I do find myself zoning out during the glamorization of badassdom but when my eyes glaze over I know it's out of personal taste and not bad storytelling.

Even though I will probably never opt to watch this movie for my own entertainment, I would be more than happy to watch it again with other and I fully understand why this movie made the list. If anything I'm surprised it's so low.

Update #10: #91 Sophie's Choice (1982)

Date: 3-2-2014

Surprise, surprise, surprise. I've never seen Sophie's Choice before and I wasn't looking forward to watching it. The thing that's different about this movie is that not only did I know the title; I also had an idea about what this movie was about. I was way off on how this movie builds up to its reveal of what Sophie's Choice is and that was the only reason I wasn't looking forward to watching it.

Truth be told, it's not that I didn't want to see Sophie's Choice. This is another movie that I've referenced for years, usually at the most inappropriate of times. When I saw it was on the list I was very excited to finally watch it. I've been feeling a little down lately and knowing what the choice is I wasn't sure if I was in the mood to watch such a sad movie.

Though I knew the choice, that's all I knew. In my head this entire movie took place in Nazi Germany filled with scene after scene of escalating tragedy as we follow Sophie's journey from her normal pre-war existence to the tragic decision forced upon her as to which of her two children gets live and which one has to die. I assumed it was going to be a good movie but I had no expectation that it would be as fun of a build to sorrow that it actually is.

Nowadays when you see a story of a holocaust survivor, you're usually introduced to the grandfather of the character providing the voice over then flash back to grandpa when he was young. So when I saw that this movie started with the introduction of Stingo I thought this had to be the case. He didn't have an accent so I figure his grandpa must have been an American that ran into Sophie during the war and it was just a matter of time until we either met this person who would send us back in time or that at least he'd be mentioned as we flashed back to him.

That, "Oh I'm dumb," realization kicked in that this movie was film closer to WWII so it's going to be his dad and not his grandfather, but there was still no sign of any intent for this story to evolve in such a way.

The moment that I saw Meryl Streep and the living situation with her, Kevin Kline, and Stingo; the pieces finally started to fit together. Right away I wished I didn't know her actual choice because I would have bought into it being about the decision she'd have to make regarding this love triangle that was being set up.

A writer in the middle of a love triangle, where his infatuation is built up of an idealized fantasy and is in no way feasible in reality tale, this is my favorite type of movie! Right away any regret that I had about watching this movie went right out the window. I was now prepared to see how this love story would link back to the holocaust and was fully ready to get bummed out on multiple levels.

I really, really liked this movie. The fact that this review can legitimately contain the word fun without any sense of irony is a sign of how great it is, especially going into it knowing the choice. 

Even though I could tell that I was going to like it, I also feared that I would be let down with the idealized fantasies of this young hopeful writer who feels that he is a better partner for Sophie, to then become the hero and steal her away to satisfy his desires over everyone else's in the film. Nope, instead there was a believable back and forth where sometime instant gratification and feeling did momentarily win out but the boundaries remain appropriate to where these characters felt alive and not just acting on the whim of the writer. I felt the jealous boyfriend was a little stereotypical at times but even that made sense at the end.

My only issue with this film is being that it's an adaptation of a novel there were moments you could tell that there were jumps in the story that you know important information was lost, but it felt like it was lost during the adaptation process and not that this information did exist or wasn't thought of. I now want to read the book to fill in those gaps.

I can totally see why this movie made the list and would watch it again in a heartbeat even though it does leave you feeling sad.

Update #11: #90 Swing Time (1936)

Date: 3-3-2014

Do you want to make a bet as to whether or not I've seen or heard of Swig Time?

If you put your money on no and no, you would be a winner!

I had no idea what to expect from this movie. I've heard of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and know that they were paired together a lot, but I've never seen any of their movies.

The word Swing in the title made me think this was going to be a darker prohibition era romp, darker meaning the color pallet of the seedy clubs and not a morbid storyline, but other than that I had no opinion. 

I wasn't looking forward to see it and I wasn't dreading it. I'm finding that I like these old black and white movies more than I like the films of the 60s and 70s. There's a fun tone to them and it's interesting to see just how “the same but different” cinema has been since it was creation.

I also find it very interesting because I can't help but look at movies from this time through modern eye. Right away we're introduced to Pop, who I never figured out if he was supposed to be mentally challenged, but upon meeting him I started to wonder if this film was like a Farrelly Brother's movie of its time or if this was just the standard sensibility.

I'm fascinated about thinking about the comedy fan of the time that liked the jokes but then griped about all the singing and dancing. People had to break these movies down the same way that we do today. Even though in my head I picture there being three movies out at the time and the imagine audience being so simple that they are entertained by the fact that there are moving pictures on a wall. I know this isn't the case but we're always sold that it was a "simpler time," but look at the themes and issues that these characters a dealing with. Just because we have smart phones doesn’t mean we’re as advanced as our technology has gotten.

It wouldn't take much of a rewrite to modernize this movie and have it make total sense. Though if it were to be remade I'm sure we'd see someone penis, Lucky and Pop would be way mean to one another and it would be Ex-Lax that held up the wedding and not something as simple as pants not having cuffs.

Oh wait, this movie has been modernized and remade a billion times. Any movie that starts with a guy losing one girl then meeting another girl, then this new girl being stand office only to really like the guy, then the reveal that this new girl has a guy that there is barely a connection with but she’s actually engaged to him, the guy and the new girl begin to fall for one another but then the old girl returns, no one is willing to discuss anything and the new girl giving up on the guy to marry the other guy, not because she actually loves him but because she has given up on life so why not, there’s been no evidence that this other guy is even interested in her or has a personality at all but girls can’t be alone so she’s got to marry someone,  then the wedding gets interrupted by the guy and she instantly jumps ship instantaneously and is now ready to marry our hero. If you’ve seen that movie then you’ve seen a remake of Swing time.

As I said this scenario has to have played out at least 100 times in the history of cinema so I assume this is the film that created this convention and this must be why Swing Time made the list. Either way it’s a fun movie. I don't think I would watch it again or tell anyone that they need to but I'm happy to have seen it and consider this a positive review.

Oh this also happened to me at the start of the movie.

While I was watching Sophie's Choice the night before I was caught off guard by Kevin Kline's random racism towards black people. Then I started to think that a lot of the movies on this list have unnecessary racism just thrown in on a whim.

  • Do the Right Thing - Alright that's what the movies all about.
  • Pulp Fiction - For some of the characters it seemed to fit, but the Tarantino scene always bugged me.
  • The French Connection - I felt Gene Hackman was randomly racist towards black people throughout the entire movie for reasons that don’t add to the story at all.
  • GoodFella's - Lots of racist talk when I don't think there's a black person in the film.
  • Sophie's Choice - Kevin Kline is introduced as a racist for reasons that don't pay off other than the fact that he's crazy.

So I thought to myself at the beginning of Swing Time, "Well at least there won't be random racism," then BAM we get to the big dance scene at the end and there's Fred Astaire in black face.

That's another thing that I can't understand through modern eyes. I know it was always racist, but was it meant to be shock value comedy, a racist jab, or just blatant mockery? This would probably be one of the things that would remain in the story for the shock value comedy if this film were to seriously get a reboot.

Update #12: #89 The Sixth Sense (1999)

Date: 3-4-2014

I saw The Sixth Sense in the theater when it first came out. I had no idea that there was a twist. In fact I feel this I feel this movie was one of the main reasons that the twist became such an important aspect to modern cinema. Granted the twist has been around for years, i.e. any episode of The Twilight Zone (my favorite show of all time) but after this movie it seemed to open the flood gates for movies to test your sense of reality.

When I first saw it back in 1999 my mind was blown.

I had no idea what to expect when I originally watched The Sixth Sense. I don't think I ever had a bigger case of the chills than when it was relieved that Bruce Willis was actually dead. I used to buy into these types of stories hook line and sinker.

In general I don't like to watch movies with a twist more than once. Without the surprise there is no use. The Sixth Sense and The Usual Suspects are the two samples that I use as an example to explain my feeling about movie with a twist.

Since I have only seen The Sixth Sense one time I was looking forward to testing this theory. I thought I would watch it to try and find all the clues. Knowing the conclusion I found myself extremely bored.

Even though I found this viewing of The Sixth Sense extremely boring; I don't blame anything other than the fact that I knew the twist. I think The Sixth Sense is a brilliant movie and think it should be way higher on this list, which is a weird thing to say about a movie I never want to see again in my life.

Update #13: #88 Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Date: 3-6-2014

Bringing up baby is another movie that not only have I not seen before, but I've never even heard of it. Once it started I was fully on board. Having enjoyed the last couple movies that I watched from this time period I'm no longer as hesitant when it comes to watching these old black and white movies.

Bringing Up Baby may have brought back some of these hesitations. This movie had a lot of things that I really wanted to like, but I just couldn't get into it. The comedy reached almost Three Stooges-esque levels and I'm a fan of the rapid fire dialog.

I thought Kathrine Hepburn’s character was really fun and my type of quirky but because of the writing she never became a real person. Writing strong female characters has never seemed to be a high priority in Hollywood, but at least nowadays the male character at least has to put in an effort to be noticed by the girl. In this movie it was just a matter of the two characters being within the vicinity of one another and she already had marriage on her mind. I never bought the relationship between her and Cary Grant. Without the chemistry I found myself with nothing to root for, so I just got bored. 

I've also believed for a long time that I suffer from Misophonia which translates to "a hatred of sound." I can't stand certain noises to the point where I have to hold back anger toward the source of my annoyance (i.e. people chewing, weird speech patterns where people seem to gasp for air between each sentence, writing with chalk, the sound of bird’s wings flapping etc.) It seemed to me that every single character in this movie had a crazy over the top speech pattern that triggered this disorder. I don't think I would have been as bothered if I was into the movie, but since I wasn’t I just felt tense during the entire viewing.

If it wasn't for the fact that I enjoyed Yankee Doodle Dandy and Swing Time I would probably take the blame for not liking this movie, chalking it up to some sort of prejudices I have toward the world prior to my existence. I do blame and credit history for the state of the world and setting up the pieces to a game that I don’t want any part of. I am a little bitter and don’t feel I have to respect something just because it’s old and “influential.”

I have a new game that I want to play. I'm throwing down this challenge to anyone out there that can explain to me why Bringing Up Baby made this list and Harvey didn't. If you can get me to change my mind I will pay you 10 dollars. Any future viewings will depend on whether or not anyone wins 10 dollars.

Update #14: #87 12 Angry Men (1957)

Date: 3-7-2014

I feel kind of stupid admitting this, but when I fired up 12 Angry Men I was totally confused by the fact that it was black and white. I could have sworn that I've seen this movie before but it turns out I was thinking of All the President's Men. 

This ended up being another movie that I've never seen. Once I got over the confusion and no longer thought this movie was about Watergate, it was pretty easy to figure out the significance of the 12 men referenced in the title.

12 Angry Men is one of those movies that is so good that I don't have much to say about it. I loved the fact that they were able to pull off a compelling story while remaining in one room. They didn't have to cut away to the events that were being discussed during the jurors’ deliberation. Instead they left it up to the audience to take in the evidence and make their own decisions. Even though cutting away would have worked, I feel the fact that they kept the movie contained is the reason 12 Angry Men made this list.

I also loved the way that this movie ended without giving any answers as to what happened the night of the murder and only hinting as to what the jurors ended up deciding. However I do feel they gave a little too big of a hint that the kid was found not guilty, but that final scene felt a little tacked on. In my head I could see the movie ending the moment that the jurors left the room to state their verdict. Then the producers stepped in fearing that big of an open ending wouldn’t go over well with the audience.

Of the movies on this list that I've seen so far, this is definitely one of my favorites. I could see why it made the list and would watch it again in a heartbeat.

Update #15: #86 Platoon (1986)

Date: 3-8-2014

I could've sworn that I've seen Platoon before, but after about 15 minutes of watching it I realized, nope add it to the list of movies that I've only seen clips of. Platoon, Full Metal Jacket and Hamburger Hill all came out around the same time. I must have filled in the gaps with scenes from those other movies.

Now that I've watched Platoon in its entirety it turns out that I'm not that big of a fan. This is another movie where I blame my personal preferences and not the quality of the piece, for not liking the film. 

I know there's more to Platoon than a bunch of safe adults pretending that their lives are constantly at risk. I get that Platoon shows how war changes a person leading them to dehumanize there enemies and question their alliances. I appreciate that aspect of the film and understand why Platoon made the list.

I'm just not a fan of war movie because I'm not a fan of war. I know you may be thinking, "That's a stupid thing to say. Who is a fan of war?"  My answer; every kid who ran around the backyard playing army man, who then grew up to control soldiers their video game controllers, who then watch movies like Platoon and feel that they can relate as they witness similar situations with their virtual comrades. I'd say this person is a fan of war.

I mean no disrespect to anyone who has actually fought for our country. My feeling toward a genre of film has nothing to do with my world view. I know it's a safe thing to say that, "I'm not a fan of war," while typing at a keyboard on a cozy apartment. Remember I'm referencing a fictitious piece that I’m in no way saying shouldn't have been made. It's just not for me.

On a side note, I have a funny story about an experience that I had with Platoon back in high school. My history teacher wanted to show this movie to our class and being that it’s rated R we had to get our parents to sign a permission slip.

On the day of the viewing I didn't have my permission slip signed. I've never had any viewing restrictions at home so it’s not that permission was denied, I just totally forgot. There was one other person in the class who, I think, just didn't want to see the movie. Whatever the reason, she didn't have a permission slip either.

The teacher set the two of us up in a tiny room with a television. He started a WWII documentary and went back to join the class. One of the reasons we needed to get permission slips signed is because of the extreme violence in Platoon, which seemed odd to both of us because this documentary seemed to focus on concentration camps. While the rest of the class watched choreographed violence; we were stuck watching real life footage of stacks of dead bodies being bulldozed into a hole.

That was around the point where life started to no longer make sense to me.

Again, Platoon was a list worthy film that I wasn't a fan of and now that I've seen it I have no intentions of watching ever again.

Update #16: #85 A Night at the Opera (1935)

Date: 3-8-2014

Before last night's viewing of A Night at the Opera I’d never seen a Marx Brothers movie. Of course I've always been aware of them through references and impersonations but that was it. As a fan of comedy, I’m even surprised that I never sought them out.

I think part of this lack of interest has to do with me being a fan of The Three Stooges. I don't know who came out first, but I loved the Stooges and as a kid I felt that all the other black and white comedy teams were boring rip offs.

I had fun watching A Night at the Opera. I even laughed out loud several times, but still felt the movie was mediocre at best. I'm willing to bet that if I had watched the Marx Brothers as a kid the nostalgia would override my critical eye. I know this is true because I saw the Farrelly Brothers take on The Three Stooges and had a lot of fun but I could tell I wouldn't have liked the movie if it wasn't for my fond memories of the original set of goof balls.

If you've read my other reviews you've seen that I will admit to not liking a movie but understanding how it made the top 100 list. In this case I actually liked the movie but don't understand how it made the list. Though I'll probably never watch A Night at the Opera ever again, I'm open to watching other Marx Brothers movies, so I guess this is a positive review?

Update #17: #84 Easy Rider (1969)

Date: 3-8-2014

I think Easy Rider is one of those movies where if you're a certain age, a fan of cinema and haven't seen it, whether or not you're aware of it; you've drawn a line in the sand that's not worth crossing. I went to film school and have worked in the film industry, so I'm fully aware of how influential Easy Rider is to the independent film scene.

Even though I know Easy Rider is a significant film, I've never had any interest in watching it. I've never fantasized about buying a motorcycle and hitting the open road and have even less interest in watching this fantasy play out.

Even though I wasn't enthusiastic about this viewing I still went into it with an open mind. There's nothing that I would like more than to be won over and blown away by a movie that I was expecting to hate. I love it when that happens and that's why I always point out my expectations going into a viewing.

At the very beginning of the movie I was excited because it starts with the song Born To Be Wild and made the observations that you can't not sing along with that song. Since I was into the song I felt maybe this movie would be one that wins me over. I was already having fun and it was just the beginning.

That fun lasted until the end of the song. I never felt a connection to any of the characters so I just got bored. Once I get bored I zone out. I couldn't tell if the story was jumping around or if I just wasn't paying attention. I got real lost and bored during the acid trip. I was so lost and the end is so bad that I had to read a recap to figure out what I missed.

It turned out I didn't miss a thing. The rednecks that kill the two heroes are never introduced earlier in the film leading the climax to seem random and out of the blue. I would have liked it better even if there was more of a build-up once these rednecks were introduced.

All it was, and I’m paraphrasing, truck pulls up, “Hey weirdo… Get a haircut…” middle finger… BAM… Dennis Hoppers dead… Peter Fonda stops his bike turns to chase rednecks… BAM… he’s dead to. Without a buildup I just didn’t care. Maybe this random act from unprovoked strangers was part of their point about what America’s become, but it felt more like it was forced closure to create an iconic image to end the movie on.

Again I can see why this movie made the list. I'm aware that it played a big part in the evolution of cinema, but I hated it and have no interest in ever watching it again.

Update #18: #83 Titanic (1997)

Date: 3-9-2014

Even though I've never seen it, Titanic is the one movie that I can tell you the year it was released without having to think about it. In 1997 I moved from San Diego to Seattle. First I got a job at Amazon.com and when I found I wasn't making friends because I was just a temp I got a second job at a movie theater and Titanic was playing in one of the other theaters in the chain.

That's it, that's all there is to the story. There's no link it to a failed date, or having to deal with the crowds that came out to see Titanic, nothing exciting at all I just remember this was the big deal in cinema that year.

Titanic is another one of those movies that I never had any interest in watching. Originally my avoidance may have been because I thought it would be a boring chick flick. My tastes in film has evolved and  I no longer have a prejudice toward tear jerking romances. So I went into this viewing of Titanic with an open mind.

I hated it.

Even though Titanic is based on an actual event no one went to see it for its historical accuracy. Even though Titanic builds to a great catastrophe no one went to see it for the exciting scenes of the survivors attempt to escape. Titanic was sold as a greatest love story of all time with all these other distractions going on in the background. So the fact that I found the love story to be so cliché there was nothing to grasp on to.

This is the 18th movie that I've watched from this list of 100 "greatest" films of all time. Each and every movie on this list that has the same love story followed this same formula. There are subtle changes but here's the gist of this formula.

We get introduced to a scoundrel with a heart of gold. Sometimes he's engaged sometimes he's on his own, but he's always charming and up to no good. We then meet the female lead. She's ALWAYS in a relationship with someone who doesn't appreciate. Most of the time it's her fiancé and they seem to hate each other. No matter what the time period or culture being represented the relation seems to be arranged. The lead male and lead female have an accidental run in with one another, the guy falls in love at first sight, the girl hides the fact that she flattered. This eventually builds to where she cheats on her "lover" and then the two guys battle it out. In the end the hero always wins the girl and the other guy just disappears.

It's not only repetitive but it's sexist and boring. It feels like the women in these films are just props to be won, stolen or saved. The fact that so many people rush out to see movies that follow these patterns means that this type of film will continue to be made and for that; I hate Titanic.

I can see why Titanic made the list though. It was well shot, was great at follow all the rules of story and had something for everyone, including a gun fight in the middle of this boat sinking. It was so exciting that I wanted to throw my TV out the window to add to the chaos. It would take a pretty compelling argument to get me to watch this movie ever again.

Update #19: #82 Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)

Date: 3-10-2014

I think I would be better off announcing the movies I have seen or heard of on this list to save you from the repetitive openings to these reviews...

...Nah...

Sunrise is yet another movie that I've never even heard of. I started it late last night and even though I knew the year it was made I was a little disappointed to find it was a silent movie. More because I was tired and feared that I would fall asleep than a fear of the experience.

I don't think I've ever seen a feature length silent film so I wasn't sure how they would fill an hour and a half and keep it entertaining. I don't really know the years of technical advancements in the history of cinema, but I could tell right away this film was shot closer to the end of the silent era.

Sunrise begins with a bunch of camera and editing tricks that drew me in, easing any fears that I had that this viewing was going to be a boring experience. Then the story begins. We are introduced to the lead actress who is credited as "The Wife." She’s miserable and crying as she comforts her child. Her mother then explains to a friend, via title cards of course, that she's sad because she used to have a great relationship with her husband where the two of them laughed and played like children, and now they’re both miserable.

We're then introduced "The Man" who meets "The Woman from the City." These two make out and she dances in a way that I assume was this era's version of a sex scene. The woman from the city convinces the man to kill his wife and run off with her. At this point, this "The Man" has no charm. He moves like a monster to the point where I kept expecting him to become a wolf man. 

He storms back to his house and tells his wife he wants to take her across the river to the city for a night out. The wife gets so happy and runs of to get all dressed up. We were informed in a visual flash of contemplation that the Man plans to throw the wife off the boat on the way to the city, so that he can run of with the city girl.

The wife comes back all dressed up and the two jump in a rowboat. She shifts back and forth between happy and fearful as if she were a beaten dog, able to read this Man's mood swings. They get to the point where he planned to throw her overboard but can’t bring himself to do it.

They continue to row across the river to the city. At this point I was a little bummed thinking was going to be yet another movie where women were treated like props and not people I was just waiting to see how they would work racism into the storyline.

I also got caught up in my thoughts of how in my head I picture that the world actually looked this way back then. I try to picture actors and the crew in the non-black and white world that they actually lived in. The best I could come up with was imaging everyone in Technicolor and never the colors of reality.

I shifted my attention back to the movie as they got to the city where they proceed to rekindle their relationship. At this point the movie becomes the most adorable thing you’ll ever see. Just like the wife's mother says these two become children and spend the whole day playing together as they explore the city. It was so fun to watch the transformation of these two characters as they fell in love again.

Then is gets weird. They get back on the boat to row home. A huge storm brews throwing the man and the wife from the boat. The man washes up on the shore with no wife and begins to panic. He rallies the neighbors and they form a search party. It's implied that the wife has drowned at the exact spot that he fantasized killing her. He is devastated.

He rushed home and tracks down the girl from the city and violently starts to strangle her. It's pretty intense. At this point the story lost me again because I can't stand movies like this where, just earlier this man was going to kill his wife and when she dies by accident his loss becomes the tragedy and not her death.

As he continues to strangle this woman, the mother runs up and without questioning this brutal act, informs the man that his wife was found and is still alive. He drops the woman and rushes back to his wife for a nice happy ending.

If this were a modern story I would have hated it, but I let it slide because it was a different time, and since the story is told through actions alone the intensity of this man’s mood swings was required to pull off such a tale. I also loved the part in the city so much that I’d like this movie either way.

I can see why Sunrise made the list for many reasons. It was well shot, it’s a captivating story and it had great special effects. I would watch this movie again in a heartbeat. I'd even suggest it, if not demand someone who hasn't seen it to watch it with me. 

Update #20: #81 Spartacus (1960)

Date: 3-13-2014

There are some movies on this list that I go into expecting to hate, but there also something in the back of my head that leads me to think, "…but it could be one of those films that will surprise me." After my experience with Ben-Hur not one “what if” thought came anywhere near any part of my head.

I was dreading this viewing so much that it took me two days to finally talk myself into watching it. Last night at about 2 in the AM, I couldn't sleep so I figured I'd get it over with. I saw that it was over three hours long. That didn't help my negative feelings toward this film. I figured the best case scenario would be that it would bore me to sleep and I'd watch the second half in the morning when I'd have it playing in the back ground as I got ready to face the day.

I hit play and right away I was annoyed by what seemed to be a ten minute overture which I hadn't seen before or since Ben-Hur. Then the credits ran and the actual movie finally started. I know Spartacus was made before Gladiator, but I couldn't help but draw comparisons to another movie that I hate. Again there is something about tales of alpha male hero worship that I've always found boring and predicable.

I continued to watch the movie, looking for things to hate. Then I found myself actually liking Kirk Douglas in this role. He actually seemed to have compassion and wasn’t just a monster waiting for the right moment to release his machismo in a violent explosion.

I expected Spartacus to win his first battle as a gladiator. I thought it would be close, but I was pretty confident that he’s find a way. Even when it looked like all was lost I was expecting him to find some way out of it, but no. It was the compassion of his opponent that spared Spartacus’s life.

Granted this manly explosion eventual does happen but when it does it's for a reason and the monster retreats to be human again once the actual threat is taken care of. In the scene where the two old guys have been forced to fight one another moments after the audience to this match had just freed themselves from the same fate, I loved that Spartacus pointed out that they should learn from the opponent who spared him which pretty much starts this revolt. Spartacus not only shares the credit but also points out the hypocrisy.

I was also a fan of the love story in this movie. When Spartacus is offered Varinia to do with what he pleases, even though he appeared to be attracted to her, he refused to act on his animal instincts and yells, "I'm not an animal." Due to the rest of the storyline to Spartacus this felt like he was yelling because he disagreed with stealing anybody’s humanity, knowing this was not her choice and not because he was in a cage while everyone watched like it was a zoo.

From that point on I eased up on my expectations and really started to enjoy the story. I doubt that I will ever watch Spartacus again, but I'm happy to have seen it, and totally understand why it made the list. 

Update #21: #80 The Apartment (1960)

Date: 3-17-2014

The other night I fired up The Apartment. The title sounded familiar but I didn't think I’d ever seen it before. So far, I think I've only pointed out films that I could swear that I'd seen before only to find that I haven't. After about ten minutes into The Apartment it all came back to me. I saw this movie in film school.

I had no feeling about The Apartment going into the viewing, but once I realized I’d seen it before I was excited to watch it again. I remember really liking it, but couldn't remember why. I think the tale of a loveable loser is my favorite genre in film

This is another example of a film that could be remade to take place today with very little modification. It's an interesting reminder that the grey hairs that gripe about the youth of today were up to the same nonsense when they were young. They just didn't have the technology to share their exploits.

Being that the storyline of The Apartment is so contemporary I felt like I was able to connect with the characters and the situations. I don't know the actually facts, but it seems like this was made in a time of film history where there was less tip toeing around what the writer is actually trying to say to actually delve into real issues.

If The Apartment were to be remade I could see John Cusack in the role of C.C. Baxter, a borderline stalker that seems charming on the screen, who would totally creep you out in real life.  I see this Baxter character as an excitable puppy that just wants to play only to find himself sadly waiting outside for someone to let him in.

My favorite scene has to be when Fran is in bed recovering from her suicide attempt and Baxter challenges her to a game of rummy. Baxter is so bad at human interaction that he focuses on the game and not on Fran who is trying to express her feelings. Some may see the fact that he is SO into the game and not what she's saying to be shallow, but he's already be shown to have no social skills. I saw this as more of an attempt to make her happy by sharing what makes him happy as if this should be a cure all. Granted it’s also that he just doesn’t know how to cope with human interaction outside of the fantasy of being with the girl of his dreams. I don't know for whatever reason that scene stood out as my favorite.

I loved this movie and can see why it made the list. I can almost guarantee this will not be my last time watching The Apartment.

Update #22: #79 The Wild Bunch (1969)

Date: 3-20-2014

I've already spent way too much time on this movie so I'm going to keep it short. This is another case of me going into a viewing with a bad attitude. The Western is my least favorite of all the genres in film.

I first tried to watch The Wild Bunch on Tuesday night. Nothing piqued so I started to drink heavily and multitask. I woke up Wednesday morning and couldn't tell you one thing that happened in the movie and thought it wouldn't be fair to count it as a successful viewing.

Last night I decided to give it another shot. This time I wasn't as drunk but was still as uninterested. I sat on the couch for about 15 minutes and then started to play on my phone. I picked up more of the story but still wasn't impressed enough to stop playing Sudoku and Words With Friends.

I heard a lot of gun fire and there were a bunch of manly men doing manly things, but as I said in other post, I'm not at all interested in tales of Alpha males battling to prove their dominance. 

Since I openly admit to hating the genre, I don't feel that I can make a judgment as to whether or not The Wild Bunch belongs on this list. I've now seen it twice and am happy to never have to see it again.

Update #23: #78 Modern Times (1936)

Date: 3-22-2014

One of the biggest things that I've found while viewing the movies on this list is that I may actually be a huge fan of silent film. Up until a couple weeks ago (when I watched the movie Sunrise: A Song of Two Human) I had never seen a feature length silent film. I think my impression of the genre was created from cartoons and comedies pointing out how old-timey and cheesy they can be.

So far the two silent features that I’ve seen have been anything but old-timey or cheesy. In fact for a movie made 78 years ago Modern Times deals with the same exact issues we struggle with in the modern times of today.

Up until now I've only seen clips of Charley Chaplin and always thought of him for slapstick and silliness. I saw him more of a predecessor to The Three Stooges and The Marx Brothers. Which he may have been if you're judging him purely on his physical comedy. After watching Modern Time I can now see why some people consider him a genius and not just a character that walked funny and clicked his feels from time to time.

The thing that I've found I like about silent film is that in order for these movies to be good they have to have big actions to make up for the lack of dialog while also having subtle moments to avoid becoming nothing more than a crazy freak show.

Modern Times perfectly walk that line.

When Chaplin works on the production line I found myself laughing at the over the top actions as he tried to keep up with the work load. I was then saddened a bit as he continued to twitch, going through the motions of working, even on his breaks. This made him feel more human to me. I was impressed by the statement he was making towards the direction the world was and is still heading.

I really liked the storyline where Chaplin would rather be in prison than have to continue to struggle through the outside world. There was also a fun little love story. I enjoyed watching the relationship grow as he tried to help the girl not only to help her, but to advance his goal to end up back in jail. To me this helped make it feel like less of a lecherous pursuit.  

When they do eventually become I couple, I loved how Chaplin tries his best to never show dissatisfaction for the shack of a home that she finds for them while he’s at his new job. I also like how they seemed to be a team, working together as they struggle through life.

If you can't tell I'm a fan of this movie and can almost guarantee that I'll watch it again. I'm sure you can also tell that I have no question as to why this movie made the list. I now find myself hoping there are more silent films on this list.

Update #24: #77 All the President's Men (1976)

Date: 3-24-2014

As I pointed out when I idiotically confused All the President's Men with 12 Angry Men, I have seen this movie before and was a fan of it. After watching it a second time I'm still a fan only now it's a depressing tale of how our government has evolved away from this point where the US had strong journalist who brought about change, to a country filled with weak journalist who seemed to work with the government to keep things status quo, to finally land at a point in American history where it doesn't matter how strong or weak our journalist are and that the corruption in our government is just going to plow ahead.

However you feel about Fox News vs. MSNBC vs. CNN vs. Comedy Central there are sources out there that are doing solid reporting. Take away broadcast news and due to social media and the internet anyone who wants to stay informed has an endless source of material obtain information. With the click of a few buttons you can read any newspaper in America, then find points and counter points from everyone and their grandma. Even if you want to be uninformed, as long as you are interested at all in technology it's impossible to avoid.

We're probably the most informed generation to have ever walked the earth. The only problem is, we don't seem to do anything with this information accept click share and say this sucks, collect likes and wonder, "If everyone seems to be on the same page then why the fuck does nothing seem to change, and if it does change it only seems to be for the worse."

I first saw this film back in 1994 when I still had faith in humanity and felt All the President's Men was a perfect example of checks and balances put into action and felt this was why America would always be great. I was also 18 at the time.

During last night’s viewing of All the President’s Men I see that there are two sides to every story and the darker side stood out to me more. This is the side that seemed to use this film as the perfect example of what needed to be changed to allow corruption in politics move forward.

Either way, whether you look at it tale of media's triumph in exposing corruption or a sad reminder that we no longer live in a country where this can be the case, All the President's Men is a great movie. I can totally see why it made the list of top 100 films of all times and wouldn't mind watching again.

Update #25: #76 Forrest Gump (1994)

Date: 3-27-2014

In 1994 my cousin, my friend and I would go to the movies every single Tuesday. That was the discount day for whatever the big chain was at the time. I was the youngest in the group so I had the least amount of say as to what we were going to see. This may explain why I've never been a person that explored what movies were about before I watched them. I think it also boils down to wanting to experience the full story for the first time as it plays out on the screen.

When Forrest Gump came out I remember paying full price to watch it opening weekend with my family. What I had pieced together from the title and what little marketing managed to slip in, was story of a mentally challenged person that lived in the woods. I was a goofy kid so I don't know just how much of this was hope vs. how much of this was my genuine expectations of what this movie was going to be about.

Either way I remember loving the story that actually played on the screen. I think I've seen Forrest Gump two or three more times since then but it has to be at least 15 years since my last viewing.

Last night when I fired up the Forrest Gump for this viewing all it took was watching that feather fall from the sky and it all came back to me like an emotional punch to the gut. I have to admit I started to cry right away.

I don't know if the topic of Forrest Gump came up recently amongst friends or if the hosts of one of the podcasts that I listen were talking about the movie, but someone was making the argument Forrest Gump was a horrible movie. Whoever this person was had issues with how cheesy it is that Forrest Gump is linked to every historical event in American History.

I can see this being the case if you are breaking the movie down from one event to the next. I think having this argument in the back of my mind is what led to my emotional response.

When I saw that feather float down I remember that Forrest is waiting at the bus stop to see Jenny, the love of his life. That's when it all hit me. This isn't a story about all these moments in history. If anything these are nothing more than distractions to occupy Forrest's mind from thinking about the unrequited love he has for Jenny.

She's the only thing that matters to him. He's not even doing any of this to impress her. He just falls into situations as he waits. It's a good thing he's not trying to impress her because for whatever reason she is not interested and never will be. The way that Jenny's character is developed makes her avoidance seem understandable and true. She comes across as being stuck on a path of self-destruction and self-discovery and not as cold or uncaring individual.

I have mixed feelings about her coming around at the end, when she seems to have no other choice in life, but I have my own issues with pining away over people who I can't seem to win over no matter what I'm able to accomplish. This explains the punch to the gut I felt as the entire movie came back to me. Sometimes I wish I was a little more simple to the point where I could at least enjoy those distractions that come up as I wait to see the most recent Jenny in my life. Sometimes I feel this two year resolution project is my running across America over and over again to keep my mind off life.

Alright, it's time to wrap this thing up. I love this movie and am glad to have watched again with this new outlook. I once thought it was a cute movie that deserved a spot on the list and now I feel it should be much higher up. Hopefully someday I'll be emotionally stable enough to sit through it again.

Update #26: #75 In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Date: 3-28-2014

I went into to this viewing with mixed feelings. I've seen Sidney Poitier in other movies and I'm a fan, but by now you all know how I feel about cop movies. I picked up on the vibe early on that this was going to be more of an investigation story and not a shootout story so I was somewhat open to watching it.

The big problem is that I'm old enough that I was raised by a television schedule. This is the way I ran my life; cartoons in the morning, school, then more cartoons or preteen sit-coms like Saved By the Bell or Facts of Life, that would wrap up around five when repeats of old prime time shows would begin, we're talking Three's Company and Designing Women, then seven pm would hit and it was time for game shows, at eight o'clock the prime time sit-coms would start. Prime time television is the main reason I would wake up every morning. Then the clock would strike ten and depression would set in as the theme song to some boring cop drama would chime in. This meant it was time for bed. I hate having to go to bed. I love sleep, but I hate having to start the process. I prefer collapsing when I’m spent.

Because of this, when I hear Heat of the Night, I think of the television show, which makes me think of bedtime, and being that I hate bedtime I had almost a Pavlovian response to the movies theme song. Even though I was willing to give this movie a chance, I started out the viewing experience cringing.

It didn't take long for me to zone out and lose interest in the movie. Just like the French Connection I didn't even like the aesthetics of the quality of film, or whatever it is from that time that's just gross to me. Then we're introduced to the guy who I could have sworn was Archie Bunker and he’s chomping away on his gum like a mental patient. The sound that he creates is so infuriating that I almost stopped the movie right there.

Instead I turned down the TV and did some research to find that the reason I thought it was Archie Bunker was because Carroll O'Connor played the guy in the TV series. I spent the rest of the movie half paying attention as I worked on other projects.

I have a feeling that this movie made the list because it was groundbreaking for what it was saying about the racial tensions of the time. Even though I'm old enough to remember life before the internet, I'm young enough that these racial issues had evolved to where society had either worked through them, were working on it or were now disguised in subtleties and excuses and not so much open intolerance.

If you take out the significance of the stance the In the Heat of the Night was making for the time then at best you have a mediocre movie of the week. If you leave the significance in I can see why this movie made the list. I'm pretty sure I will never see this movie ever again, but I get it.

Update #27: #74 The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Date: 3-30-2014

I don't really have all the much to say about The Silence of the Lambs. Sure it's another cop movie, but as I pointed out before I just don't like shoot 'em up cop movies. I'm a fan of movies that follow investigations. I like the mystery of clues and the thought processes required to solve the case, over the threat of exhilarating violence.

I also really like Psychological Thrillers. I think part of this is due to my outlook on life. If you were to lose your life it's over, that's it, no more choices to be made, no more worries, no more loss and disappointment, but if you were to lose your mind, you're still stuck living in that head of yours hoping for the day when it will all be over with.

The Silence of the Lambs is definitely a story about getting into peoples minds and because of that I am a fan and totally understand why it made the list. That said, I'm kind of surprised by how many times I've seen this movie (maybe five or six times), but wouldn't be surprised if I ended up watching it again. 

Update #28: #73 Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (1969)

Date: 3-31-2014

I remember liking Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when I was younger. I think its one of my dad's favorite movies. If you've read my other reviews you know that I'm not a fan of westerns, but I also point out in my opinion comedy trumps every other genre. I didn't mind seeing that this movie was next in my queue of movies to watch.

I fired up Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid somewhat early to allow downtime between the the closing credits and the time that I had to go to bed. I sat and watched, desperately waiting for insight to strike, but I got nothing.

There was nothing that brought on nostalgia of watching this movie as a youth, nothing that made me think, "Oh yeah, that's why I liked this movie," there was also nothing that boiled my blood to the point of thinking I need to share this hate to get it out of my system.

Now that I'm older and am where I am in life, I feet Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid is just a middle of the road movie. I hate the middle. Even in life I feel the most uncomfortable when I'm feeling even-keeled.

I feel there's nothing to say about the average. By definition average is the most common state of being. You can romanticize the struggle to get out of the state of below average. You can gloat and celebrate being above average. No one strives to become average.

After watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid last night I felt this movie is very average and there for I have nothing much to say about it. I do see why people like this movie and why it made the list, it just didn't strike those chords in me. I probably won't watch this movie again, but I wouldn't put up a fight if someone I knew were to insist that I watch it with them.

Update #29: #72 The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Date: 4-2-2014

I don't know how many times I've seen The Shawshank Redemption but I know it's a lot and I've never been disappointed while watching it. I don't really have anything bad to say about this movie, and I feel that it's so good that I don't think there is any need to explain why. I don't know if I've ever met anyone who is anti-Shawshank.

My only insight is that I was kind of surprised by the movie starting with scenes from Tim Robbins' court case. For whatever reason I thought this movie started in the prison with Redd explaining the story. I feel kind of let down by this because I like to think that the reason Andy ends up in prison had something to do with The Hudsucker Proxy, another favorite of mine.

I can totally see why this movie made the list and really don't know why it's not higher up in the rankings. I'm also pretty sure that I'll see it again.

Update #30: #71 Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Date: 4-5-2014

I so wanted to like Saving Private Ryan after all my complaining about wars movies and this, that and the other thing; I had a feeling that this was going to be the war movie that won me over, but it failed.

I guess you can tell that I've never seen this movie up until now. All I knew about it is that Tom Hanks is not Private Ryan, and that the opening sequence is kind of funny when played to Benny Hill music. Okay, maybe not that funny, but that's all I'd ever seen of the movie.

I figured with Tom Hanks in the movie Saving Private Ryan would be driven by sentimentality and compassion rather than machismo and patriotic propaganda. I was right in a way. Most of the characters in this movie did feel like they were still human and not monsters created by the war machine.

After ten minutes of non-stop gunfire I zoned out. After twenty minutes of non-stop gunfire I started getting antsy. After thirty minutes of non-stop gunfire I gave up. After forty minutes of non-stop gunfire I realized there was a silence.

There was finally a break in the action and I was excited because we were getting to the story. Bits and pieces of information were given out and then it was back to the gunfire. There is actually a good story to this movie, but I ended up getting so lost in thought during the repetitive action that I found myself zoned out throughout a majority of the movie.

The best part of the movie is that it’s a fun movie to play the, woe, it's the guy from Dazed and Confused... haha, Vin Diesel was young here... is that the kid from Spanking the Monkey?... I wonder if I'd still think that was a good movie... Holy shit they put Paul Giamatti and Giovanni Ribisi in the same movie... those two names in the same credits equals quite a mouth full... Hey... I just saw that guy in Shawshank... Where's Lieutenant Dan?

Again I see this as my own quirk. In watching Saving Private Ryan I can see why others would like this movie and know why it made the list. Would I watch it again? Probably not, but I would give it another shot if someone I was with was insistent.

Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.