So I’m probably never going to watch ‘Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer’. My 2019 Shame Statement

2019 means a clean slate. 2019 means a brand new Shame Statement.

To recap, my 2018 list:

Five Easy Pieces
Lifeboat
Stop Making Sense
The Black Pirate
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Paris, Texas
Wuthering Heights
Paper Moon

Sunrise
The Conversation
Victor/Victoria
Once Upon a Time in the West
Ikiru
Help!

Additionally, I watched the following for the Cinema Shame podcast:

Musical Shamedown:

Footlight Parade
The Harvey Girls
The Flower Drum Song
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Burt Reynolds Memorial:

The End
Semi-Tough

Hammer Horror Shamedown:

Kiss of the Vampire
Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter

I could have done better. I am shamed. BUT BUT BUT THE PODCAST. I had to do a lot of work on the podcast! Yeah, but you watched almost 300 movies last year and I assume some of them featured Judge Reinhold. Fine. Fine. I could have watched Ikiru or Victor/Victoria. I put off watching Sunrise because it was announced as a TCMFF 2019 movie. I did have The Conversation in the Blu-ray player a couple of times. And then there’s Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer that’s been on my list for three years now. I should just give up or something and just watch Seinfeld on DVD.

I don’t have time for your nonsense. 

Fine. 

Fine!

Now let’s hash out some new targets for 2019, and I’ll definitely watch all of those plus the ones I missed in 2018. There. Are you happy now?

Maybe. Time will tell. You do constantly disappoint me.

I’ll pull some ideas from my old familiar EW Guide to the Greatest Movies Ever Made, but I’ll also consult some other essential tomes: The Best Film You’ve Never Seen by Robert K. Elder and Danny Peary’s Cult Movies Vol. 1. I’ll denote the book in which the movies appeared with EW, BFYNS or DP. Ready?

Get on with it already. This ain’t Al Capone’s Vault.


Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955) – #25 Drama EW

Dangerous Liaisons (Stephen Frears, 1988) – #31 Drama EW

Aquirre, The Wrath of God (Werner Herzog, 1972) – #13 Foreign EW, DP

Can’t Stop the Music (Nancy Walker, 1980) –  Jonathan Levine – BFYNS

Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore, 1988) – #30 Foreign EW

The Last Waltz (Martin Scorcese, 1978) – #5 Music EW

McCabe and Mrs. Miller (Robert Altman, 1971) – #17 Western EW

Tarzan the Ape Man (W.S. Van Dyke, 1932) & Tarzan and His Mate (Cedric Gibbons, 1934) – #5 Action/Adventure EW

Patton (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1970) courtesy of @elcinemonster

Shane (George Stevens, 1953) – #4 Western EW

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (John Ford, 1949) – #11 Western EW

The Right Stuff (Philip Kaufman, 1983) – #83 Drama EW

The Bellboy (Jerry Lewis, 1960) – #68 Comedy EW

The Verdict (Sidney Lumet, 1982) – #55 Drama EW

Plus those that I avoided in 2018, of course. You’re damn right you will.

2019 Shame Statement

Time for another year of penance. I know I haven’t been consistently writing, but I definitely am still consistently watching. One thing I try to do each year is expand my knowledge of a genre. Last year it was supposed to be westerns and I managed to get a few first time watches in. This year I’m going to move onto comedies.

The journey into comedies is inspired by my discovery and newfound love of screwball comedies after watching His Girl Friday for the first time in November 2018. I followed up with Bringing Up Baby and His Favorite Wife and wouldn’t you know? I liked something new that I had no idea I would. Hence 2019 will be exploring humor. Here’s gonna be some of them I certainly plan to watch:

The Naked Gun Trilogy – All I’ve seen of these films is the “that’s my policy” bit that spoofs Dirty Harry. That’s all I needed to see to decide it’s finally time to knock these off the list.

Joes vs The Volcano

Inspired by CinemaShame’s very own James Patrick, I hear about how much this film means to him, so I need to see what is going on. I like hearing when movies are special to people that aren’t the usual suspects.

Young Frankenstein

I’ve been working on my Mel Brooks watching for a while now. Yet I’ve still haven’t seen his magnum opus. I own it, so it should be one of the first I knock off this year.

That Thing You Do!

Some more Tom Hanks here.

Chasing Amy

One of many still unwatched Criterion disc. Also the one Kevin Smith film I was always genuinely interested in.

So this is the opening salvo. Obviously subject to change. Or not at all. Here’s to 2019 and all your first time viewing!

Getting on the Same Page: His Girl Friday and How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Comedy

HIS GIRL FRIDAY is a film that I hadn’t seen and hadn’t sought because it was one that I thought I would never have had an interest in. I like comedy, but I never had an interest in classic Hollywood screwball comedy. That is until earlier in 2018 when I watched Greta Garbo in NINOTCHKA via FilmStruck (RIP’). I found myself rolling with laughter at deadpan humor exhibited by the amazing Garbo. Had I been wrong all these years? Can I, a man born in the 1980s find humor in classic cinema? I love classic cinema and was surprised that this was an area that I never broke into. I purchased HIS GIRL FRIDAY, during the July 2018 sale at Barnes and Noble. Since this was not only an unopened Criterion, it was a film I never saw as well and therefore was perfect for this November 2018 prompt.

In the supplemental features of the Criterion edition of HIS GIRL FRIDAY, film scholar David Bordwell discusses how the film is one of the most American films ever made. This wasn’t just in terms of the ideology or sensibilities portrayed on screen, but in the filmmaking process. Director Howard Hawks was considered to be one of the great American directors who is not a household name. I can see why this is. Hawks manages to keep your eyes strictly on what is on screen without you paying attention to how he sets up, blocks, lights and all those things related to the process of filming. This is the opposite of someone like Stanley Kubrick (one of my favorite directors), who has your eyes on screen and you notice how he puts it on screen. While both ways work perfectly, you can see why a defined visual style sticks in folks memory much longer. However with HIS GIRL FRIDAY, you don’t need a visual style. For this film, the viewers are given one of the fastest, snappiest and wittiest films ever.

HIS GIRL FRIDAY, is the second adaptation of the play The Front Page by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. The first was directed by Lewis Milestone in 1931 under the same name. That film, also included on the Criterion, I felt had a bit more flourishes in regards to the direction as opposed to Hawks. It also felt like a filmed stage play. Yet while entertaining it lacks Rosalind Russell who outshines Cary Grant like the sun sitting next to a light bulb. Her breakneck delivery of the film’s razor sharp dialogue is one of the best performances I’ve seen. It’s also quite physical without becoming slapstick. This is where my eyes opened to classical Hollywood comedy. It was the delivery that made me laugh, even if the joke itself was outdated. I will say, the Ralph Bellamy bit was a fantastic piece of fourth wall breaking.

This film also doesn’t let you forget that it’s based around the world of newspapers and newspaper writing. The film’s humor never detracts from this premise and also manages to never go into parody no matter what left turns the story takes. Hawks excelled in keeping the whole thing balanced and none of the film’s strengths ever got so high that it felt it was covering up a weakness.

HIS GIRL FRIDAY, is a great piece of cinema comedy and engaging as a look into the journalism business. The back and forth humor was some of the best I’ve ever seen in a film and the world of classic Hollywood comedy is a bit broader to me now and something I seek to understand much more thoroughly.

A World of Pain–April shame prompt

CinemaShame_TCMFF_hisgirlfriday

The April shame prompt was to watch and report on a film shown at the 2018 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival. Now this is an event in which I envy all who attend, since I probably never will. But I perused the list and knew right away which movie I had to see: The Big Lebowski. I have had no end of shame over not knowing anything about this movie, and never getting the cultural references that everyone else seems to get. So I got some popcorn, some raisinets, and settled in to learn something about The Dude, and why he abides. I had high hopes, as I am never disappointed in anything I see Jeff Bridges do.

 

beverage

Hey, careful man, there’s a beverage here

 

The coolest thing about this movie is that it is impossible to put it into a slot. Some movies are dead on Noir, Action, comedy, horror, and so forth. This one was a mixed bag of tricks that surprised me. Loved it. I give it a four out of five stars, which is very good for me as I never give anything five except the movies I could watch over and over and never get tired of, like The Third Man, Groundhog Day, and The Big Sleep. Down-side? A bit frequent on the f-bombs, more than my taste, and a pedophile, but then who didn’t deal with pedophiles in the late 90’s?

It was all part of it–the sexually ambiguous 90’s. Nothing clear and standing out like the 50’s where you knew what was morally ‘right’ to society and what you were supposed to do. You knew your role. The 90’s had slackers and hackers, terrorists and sexual predators. Yeah, I know, every era has had them. But now the general public was aware, and bothered–and I would maintain, titilated by the whole situation we’d found ourselves in. But then, this is not an analysis sort of movie review. I really hate those. You know the ones that dig into Nietzsche and Freud and tell you what to think about film history. I know what I think, and I know what I like. I like movies that don’t look like every other movie–and surprise me.

dream.jpg

Speaking of The Big Sleep, I did not expect this movie to feel like a noir film. The premise seemed silly to me. Not that silliness puts me off. I love it. But I thought it would be a straight comedy. It totally wasn’t. What I like about the noir films that have caught my attention is their ability to tell a story and keep me engaged, without necessarily putting closure on the plot. Like life, you finish watching the movies knowing that life will go on with those characters, as it does for us.

zero.jpg

Mark it zero!

 

Oh, and there are femme fatales, of which this movie has two, depending upon your view.

The noirs of the 40’s were pulpy and fiction-y, and the moment and atmosphere felt more important than the plot. Like Raymond Chandler. Oh dear, I do love his writing. I know, I know, it is not Shakespeare. It is not even Ian Fleming or Grisham. It had it’s own style and is very quoteable, even by those who say they don’t like pulp fiction. But I have digressed from The Big Lebowski. The Dude. A lazy-ass sonofabitch who goes to the grocery store at the start of the movie and writes a check for sixty-nine cents.

check

Which brings me to my final point about this film, and what I liked about it the best. The running gag, or point, or philosophy, if you must about the rug. The Dude brings it up at the most infuriating of times, to some, seeming to be a minor issue, this rug he feels ought to be replaced by the older, crippled, mega-wealthy Lebowski. I found it funny, odd, and something like I would do. After all, who wants to live in a world, where someone can just walk into your place and piss on your rug, with no consequences?

Well that was enough for me, and alone made the film entertaining, even without the bowling, the white russians, the nihilists, and the kidnapping. But maybe you feel differently. Maybe this film didn’t do it for you, or you prefer to see something deeper into the plot.

Yeah, well, you know, that’s just like, uh, your opinion, man.

your opinion

 

***

You can also read me at  Are You Thrilled
or come and say hello to me on Twitter at @areyouthrilled for poetry and artsy stuff or @movielovebogart for movies and television

 

Ain’t that a shame: 2018

I post my writing at Are You Thrilled, but you might have seen me around on Twitter talking about movies at So Long Holly via @movielovebogart . This list has been pulled and pushed, items deleted, replaced, and added back in. Tonight, in the spirit of being decisive, I will leave the list as is, and keep the others for alternates to watch when (if) the first dozen are finished. I watch countless films in a year’s time, but I am such a scofflaw when it comes to yearly resolutions. So let’s have at it–there is no time to lose!

  1. The Deer Hunter

In 2017 I had a list but did not officially post it. The two I remember from that list are Raging Bull , which I wrote about in a stand-alone post, and The Deer Hunter. Here is a clip featuring the late John Cazale

 

It is intense, and violent, well beyond what I usually watch. I know, I know, I can be fluffy inside when it comes to violence. But I am told that at my age it is truly shame-ful to not have seen Deer Hunter, so I will gear up with popcorn and Southern Comfort, and hubby will tell me when to cover my eyes.

2. Johnny Dangerously

Continue reading

So 2018 is still shameful.

In 2017 not only did I tackle a great many Shames, I also started the Cinema Shame Podcast. As a result, I checked off some unforeseen Shame and helped others scratch their biggest itches.

As a refresher here was my 2017 list (watched):

The Magnificent Ambersons
Five Easy Pieces
The Gold Rush
It’s a Gift
The Black Pirate
Ride the High Country
My Darling Clementine
The Postman Always Rings Twice
Rope
Lifeboat
Friday the 13th
Stop Making Sense
The Commitments
Viva Las Vegas
Zatoichi: The Long Game (completed Zatoichi 1-10)

Additionally I watched the following as a result of the Podcast:

Fatal Attraction
Godfather Part III

Not too bad, if I do say so myself. But that merely sets up 2018 to be one of the most Shameful years in moviewatching history. The Shame! rolls ever onward. Behind every Shame! is another Shame! and still another and still another… you get the picture.

To compile my list for 2018, I took a slightly different approach. Like past years, I consulted by Entertainment Weekly lists and carried unwatched Shame! over. For 2018, however, I solicited lists from my followers on Twitter. Send me your favorite movies, I said! The first four responses contributed to my 2018 Shame Statement.

My trusty Shame! companion:

EW GUIDE TO THE GREATEST MOVIES EVER MADE

.

And now on with the shame.

Five Easy Pieces (Bob Rafelson, 1970) – #20 Drama

fiveeasypieces

Carry over from 2017. I can think of no logical reason I’m avoiding Five Easy Pieces. It’s on my Criterion shelf, readily available.

 

Lifeboat (Alfred Hitchcock, 1944)

lifeboat-movie

More carryover. A few more Hitches and I’ll have seen all of his sound films.

 

Stop Making Sense (Jonathan Demme, 1986) – #15 Music

stop-making-sense

Carryover. Sigh. I’ve built this concert film up in my brain so much that I keep waiting for conditions to be perfect for viewing.

 

The Black Pirate (Albert Parker, 1926) – #8 Action

black-pirate-1926-movie-still

I’ve seen my share of Errol Flynn swashbucklers. After seeing Fairbanks’ Zorro on the big screen earlier this year, I’m jazzed to catch up on some of his other films. I’m considering a Quadruple Shame! of The Black Pirate, The Crimson Pirate (1952) starring Burt Lancaster, Vincente Minnelli’s The Pirate (1948), and The Pirate Movie (1982). Maybe I’ll plan an entire week of Pirate movies. Hrm.

 

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (John McNaughton, 1990) – #13 Sci-Fi/Horror

henry-portrait-of-a-serial-killer-review

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I know plenty about this movie and no part of me wants to watch it. I even swapped it out last year for Friday the 13th without hesitation.

 

Paris, Texas (Wim Wenders, 1984) – courtesy of @emily_dawn

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Wenders is a bit of an enigma for me. I’ve seen a couple of his films and they were fine, but I slacked off after that and Paris, Texas fell by the wayside despite *knowing* I needed check this box. When @emily_dawn shared her favorites list with me and I saw Paris, Texas up at the tippy top, I knew its day had come. #DoItForHarry

 

Wuthering Heights (William Wyler, 1939) – courtesy of @Journeys_Film

wuthering-heights-laurence-olivier-merle-oberon

All signs pointed to Wuthering Heights this year. The Pure Cinema Podcast recently lauded Wyler’s film. While digging up Orson Welles information for an upcoming Cinema Shame podcast, I read a fair amount of criticism linking Wuthering Heights and The Magnificent Ambersons. Then Kristen came at me with her list of favorites and Bob’s your uncle.

 

Paper Moon (Peter Bogdanovich, 1973) – courtesy of @arbogast1960

paper_moon

No excuses. I love Bogdanovich. I own this movie on Blu-ray. I even have the soundtrack on vinyl. I guess I just needed a kick in the pants from @arbogast1960.

 

Sunrise (F.W. Murnau, 1927) – courtesy of @wez_Luigi

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Another obvious choice. @wez_Luigi made me aware I’d forgotten about F.W. Murnau’s masterpiece.

 

The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974) – courtesy of @ElCinemonster

conversation

Fuel for an upcoming Cinema Shame episode courtesy of @ElCinemonster.

 

Victor/Victoria (Blake Edwards, 1982) – #24 Comedy

victor-victoria

I consulted the EW Guide for my highest rated unwatched comedy. I’ve been meaning to watch Victor/Victoria for many moons.

 

Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968) – #16 Western

Once Upon a Time in the West 3

Yeah. Clearly an oversight.

 

Ikiru (Akira Kurosawa, 1952)

image-w1280

I’ve watched a lot of Kurosawa. Clarification. I’ve watched a lot Kurosawa samurai films. I could fill an entire year of Shame! with the non-Samurai Kurosawas I haven’t seen.

 

Help! (Richard Lester, 1965) – #4 Music

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The EW Guide ranked Help! above A Hard Day’s Night. So I had to see about all the fuss.

 

Ongoing Long Plays:

Zatoichi Criterion Box (Various, 1964-1973)

Film_679_ZatoichiSet_original

I watched the first ten last year, time to finish the job.

 

Shame Statement 2018

Great to be a part of another year of Shame! I actually accomplished quite a bit. I knocked off a good deal of horror films with Friday the 13th being the big one I wrote about. I also watched and wrote about Straw Dogs which was a very unique viewing experience. Now here we are at 2018 and I have a new list of films to partake of for the first time. This year I want to try for a themed approach. This year I want to focus on westerns, my favorite genre. Not every Shame will be a western though. But I do want to add some more of this genre to my cinematic talking points.

Yojimbo/Sanjuro – Akira Kurosawa

The Hidden Fortress – Akira Kurosawa

The Shooting/Ride the Whirlwind – Monte Hellman

The Revenant – Alejandro G. Inarritu

Romancing the Stone – Robert Zemeckis

A History of Violence – David Cronenberg

Hang em High – Ted Post

One Eyed Jacks – Marlon Brando

McCabe and Mrs Miller – Robert Altman (pray for me here as I typically can not stand Altman films)

Pan’s Labyrinth – Guillermo Del Toro

Ghost in the Shell – Mamoru Oshii

Death Rides a Horse – Giulio Petroni – Complete

Wyatt Earp – Lawrence Kasdan