Third Time’s a Charm? (Shame Statement 2017)

Listen, if they can reboot the Spiderman franchise 3 times with each successive series of films being BETTER than the last…ok obviously we don’t know if Spiderman: Homecoming is actually going to be any good but this analogy started off poor and it’s not getting any better so I’ll just halt it now…

Every new year holds the promise of great accomplishments to come. For the past two January’s I have posted a list of films that I want to watch and write about here on this blog. For the past two years I have petered out after one or two decent entries. (Actually the Spiderman franchise analogy does work pretty well here.) I have barely made a dent in my list of cinema shames over these past few years and I really want to turn that around in 2017 so I’m giving it another go.

I look forward to seeing all of your entries in the new year, and being inspired to finally tackle this list!


January – Selma
February – The Stunt Man
March – Smokey and the Bandit
April – Lawrence of Arabia
May – The Man with the Movie Camera
June – Chinatown
July – High Noon
August – Animal House
September – Rope
October – Breakfast at Tiffany’s
November – Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
December – White Christmas

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Cinema Shame

Hello, and happy to be here.

I’ll start with my list and expand from there.

  1. The Birds. If we’re talking the word “penitence, I’d like to start with my true penitence: I feel terrible about eating poultry every time I see flocks of birds. I don’t want to give a whole speech about veganism–and I’m not currently a vegan, though I was for a while–but when I saw the call to participate in Cinema Shame on Twitter, I wanted to volunteer from where I’m actively penitent. So: sorry, birds. I live in an area where there is a very large bird population (the middle of Staten Island, New York).
  2. Across the Universe
  3. Groundhog Day
  4. Wet Hot American Summer
  5. Staten Island Summer
  6. Withnail and I
  7. Diary of a Teenage Girl
  8. Beauty and the Beast
  9. La Dolce Vita
  10. Mallrats
  11. Deadpool
  12. Ghostbusters

 

 

So I’m back to fight the evil Shame in ’17

I screwed the pooch last year. I drafted an elaborate Shame Statement from here to Baja, California and I made a wrong turn at Albuquerque. Okay, I lied. I made a wrong turn in Columbus, Ohio, likely when I needed a White Castle fix.

We don’t have any White Castles in Pittsburgh, okay!?!?

I don’t want to get into the ways in which I failed my Shame Statement. It would just be rehashing old wounds. Instead, I’m going to move on. I’m going to move on from 2016 and all that mess and my blown Shame Statement. 2017 is a new year. New Shame. New rules. No more Mr. Nice 007hertzrumble.

Let’s get back to the basics. 12+ movies. 12 months.

I’ve again consulted my handy dandy Entertainment Weekly Guide.

EW GUIDE TO THE GREATEST MOVIES EVER MADE

I’ve lost the benefit of free will this year due to my failings in 2016. For my first Shames, I’m taking the first unwatched entry in each genre and moving forward.

DRAMA:

#1. The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942) – #16 Drama

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Honestly, I’ve never felt shame for not having seen The Magnificent Ambersons, but the book shames me. So I will oblige.

 

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

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I’ve planned to watch Five Easy Pieces for years, decades. I’ve just never done. I’ve owned the film on DVD and I just recently upgraded to Blu-ray. That makes sense, right? I’ll watch it twice to make amends. I watched a few clips during film school and the sense of having seen it probably proves detrimental to the actual, legitimate watching.

 

COMEDY:

#3. The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin, 1925) – #25 Comedy

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Another film school casualty. In fact, I could probably blame film school for my woeful lack of Chaplin, whereas I’ve devoured both Keaton and Lloyd. Having seen dozens of individual moments from Chaplin films, my memory gets a little foggy regarding the ones I’ve actually watched start to finish.

 

#4. It’s a Gift (Norman C. McLeod, 1934) – #29 Comedy

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The TCM Slapstick Fall class sold me on catching up on my W.C. Fields education. I’ll retitle this section of my Shame Statement “It’s a Shame!”

 

ACTION/ADVENTURE:

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

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Apparently I’m pretty well versed in Errol Flynn, so the Book has dictated that Douglas Fairbanks requires attention. So it goes.

 

WESTERN:

#6. Ride the High Country (Sam Peckinpah, 1962) – #7 Western

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There’s only so many times I can write about how I’m going to watch this movie. And I’ve hit that limit. It’s not like I don’t like Peckinpah. I REALLY LIKE PECKINPAH. And it’s not like I haven’t watched dozens of B-level Randolph Scott movies. BECAUSE I’VE WATCHED DOZENS OF B-LEVEL RANDOLPH SCOTT MOVIES.

 

#7. My Darling Clementine (John Ford, 1946) – #10 Western

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I bought the Criterion Collection edition of My Darling Clementine for just such a Shameful occasion.

 

MYSTERY/SUSPENSE:

#8. The Postman Always Rings Twice (Tay Garnett, 1946) – #8 Mystery/Suspense

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Postman currently resides on my DVR, which is handy.

 

HITCHCOCK

#9. Rope (Alfred Hitchcock, 1948)

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It’s a Hitchcock movie starring my favorite actor. SHAME. All caps.

 

#10. Lifeboat (Alfred Hitchcock, 1944)

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I figure one good Hitchcock movie set in one spot deserves another.

 

HORROR:

#11. Henry: Portait of a Serial Killer (John McNaughton, 1986) – #13 Horror

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

Truth time. I really don’t want to watch this movie. I’ve been told to watch this movie. I’ve read how amazing it is. Everyone seems to think this movie is the absolute bees knees. I’ll save this for October and my 31 Days of Horror Movie Marathon when maybe I can trick myself into watching this by putting it in the Tremors 4 case.

 

MUSIC:

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

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When one of my favorite bands has done a rockumentary and I haven’t watched it that’s pitch-perfect SHAME, friends.

 

#13. The Commitments (Alan Parker, 1991) – Personal Pick

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This is a movie that fits squarely in the “I’m going to f’ing love this” box and I haven’t seen it. I know it might not be your particular ball and chain, but knowing I haven’t watched this weighs heavily on my conscious.

 

#14. Viva Las Vegas – (George Sidney, 1964) – Elvis Shame

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1964 Elvis and Ann-Margret, directed by George Sidney. Time to fix this oversight.

 

LONG PLAYS:

Zatoichi Criterion Box (Various, 1964-1973)

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I started this endeavor last year. I did not finish. Carry on, Zatoichi.

 

I’m determined to take on 2017 with everything I’ve got. No more Mr. Passive Resistance. I’m here to kick some Shame butt.

gandhi010648ul2-1574

My Cinema Shame – Macao (1952)

Macao

It’s obvious that, after 2 years on this site, I suck at the whole scheduling thing. I have hundreds and hundreds of movies in my collection, and I can put together numerous lists of them that I tell myself I’m going to watch, and it’s likely not going to happen. So this year I’m foregoing that aspect of the Shame. Instead, I’m simply going to pull unwatched movies from my stockpile when the mood hits me, watch them, and write about them. To kick off my writing this year, I finally cracked open the Robert Mitchum Signature Collection box set I bought a few months ago for $20.  The set includes 6 of Mitchum’s films, and I decided my first watch would be his 1952 film Macao.

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The movie opens with a man being chased through the Macao waterfront by a group of Chinese thugs. He gets knifed in the back and falls into the water dead.  The dead man was a NYC cop, and the thugs work for American casino owner Vincent Halloran (Brad Dexter). Halloran is trapped on Macao because of international warrants for his arrest. His crew includes right hand man Itzumi (Philip Ahn) and moll Margie (Gloria Grahame). They’re all anxious because they’re expecting a runner to come back from Hong Kong with the money from the sale of some jewels. Halloran has someone down at the docks waiting for the ferry.

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Meanwhile, on the ferry, we’re introduced to Nick Cochran (Mitchum), a former Naval lieutenant who’s been bouncing around the world for the last 5 years because of some trouble in his past. He meets Julie Benson (Jane Russell) after she hits him with a high heeled shoe accidentally. They both then run into salesman Lawrence C. Trumble (William Bendix). When they arrive in Macao, they immediately attract the attention of Halloran’s man, police Lt. Sebastian (Thomas Gomez). Sebastian is convinced that Cochran is in fact a New York cop who has come to Macao to get Halloran beyond the three-mile territorial limit so he can be arrested.

macao-03

Everyone I’ve mentioned up to this point are central to the plot of Macao. The film is labelled a Film-Noir (and it does share some of the same features of a Noir), but it’s an exceedingly breezy affair. Clocking in at 81 minutes, the movie never lags, moving quickly towards the end. It’s also very light for a Noir, with some humour (largely due to William Bendix).  This may very well be the result of a change in directors, when producer Howard Hughes fired Josef von Sternberg and turned directing duties over to Nicholas Ray (though von Sternberg’s name remained as sole director in the credits). von Sternberg was, by all accounts, a harsh director, going so far as to ban eating on the set by everyone working on the film. Mitchum, however, ignored this, and always brought food to the set for everyone.

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There’s a lot to like about Macao. The performances of the cast are great, and they have an energy that helps the movie go by very quickly. It says something about the performances that you can’t tell that there was discord on the set. The story could have used a bit more polish, but the movie is very enjoyable, and the cast easily overcomes whatever shortcomings there are in the film. It’s definitely not your usual Film Noir, but that’s to its strength, I think. It well deserves a watch or two.

So… I am super shamed in 2016.

You’d have thought that after two years of Cinema Shame treatment I’d feel slightly less guilty about the films I hadn’t watched. Nay! NAY! I feel more guilty because not only do I have movies I should have watched but I also have movies I should have watched that I’ve put on Shame! lists and still haven’t watched! Shame ^ 10.

2014 Cinema Shame List / 2015 Cinema Shame List

I did eliminate two-time offenders Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Deer Hunter. Huzzah! At least I completed my 2014 list in 2015.

Entering 2016, I’ve made a vow to watch more of the unwatched films currently in my collection. This proves tangential to my vow to take control of my unwieldy stash of DVDs and BDs. I’ve run out of space on my shelves. I’m double stacked. There’s bins in the closet. This is the year I enjoy what I’ve amassed. This is the year that the movies watched exceeds the new acquisitions.

In theory, anyway. The best laid plans of mice and obsessive DVD collectors and all that jazz. This year, I pay my penance for overextending my budget and my available space. This year, it’s the grinder.

Now, I present my 2016 List of Shame.

1. The Red Shoes (1948, Powell & Pressburger)

red-shoes-moira-shearer-001

After hearing nothing but hyperbolic praise for The Red Shoes, I purchased the Criterion Blu-ray during the last Barnes and Noble sale. It’s time to see what the fuss is all about.

 

2. Hitchcock Shame! Rope & Lifeboat

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Hitchcock always gets the shaft when I sit down to watch a flick. I’ve seen bits and pieces from dozens of films I studied in school. Consequently, I rarely feel compelled to make them a priority. Here are two Hitch classics, viewed in film school bits and pieces, but never in totality.

 

3. Spartacus (Kubrick, 1960)

img-kirk-douglas-spartacus_154844167961

Much like Ben-Hur two years ago, I feel like I’ve seen it even though I clearly haven’t. 2016 is the year I own up.

 

4. The “Other” Adventures of Antoine Doinel! Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board, & Love on the Run

Film_185w_AdventuresAntoine_original

I’m a big fan of Truffaut. I’m a big fan of The 400 Blows. Yet the rest of Antoine Doinel’s adventures sit on my shelf unwatched. No excuses.

 

5. Aki Kaurismäki’s Criterion Eclipse Sets

Eclipse29_Filmw_KaurismakiA_original

Proletariat: Shadows in Paradise, Ariel, The Match Factory Girl

Leningrad Cowboys: Leningrad Cowboys Go America, Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses, Total Balalaika Show

I counted La Vie de Boheme among my favorite first-time watches of 2015. I abruptly went out and picked up Kaurismãki’s Criterion Eclipse sets. Bring it on, Aki, you Finnish deadpan fiend.

 

6. Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

Film_679_ZatoichiSet_original

Point of clarification: I’ve seen the first Zatoichi film. It’s time to watch the *gulp* other 24.

 

7. The Complete Fritz Lang Dr. Mabuse – Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler, Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse, & Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse

Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler

The Complete Mabuse set from Masters of Cinema is gorgeous. Yet, all I’ve done is admire the thing. Break the seal.

 

8. Warner Archive Backlog – Any 10 WAC Titles

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A case of my eyes and moviewatching aspirations are bigger than my available watch time. I have an entire shelf of Warner Archive titles. They’re shamefully unopened. SHAME! It’s a good thing WAC stopped having those 5 for $50 sales or I might have had to watch 20. (I don’t mean that. It’s a terrible, horrible, no good thing.)

 

9. The Essential Jacque Demy

Film_713_Demy_original

Auto-buy because I love The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Well, I’ve watched The Umbrellas of Cherbourg but I’ve yet to view Lola, Young Girls of Rochefort, Bay of Angels, Donkey Skin or Une Chambre En Ville. At all. As in I’ve never seen any of them. I had Young Girls of Rochefort in my DVD player once. But I never actually hit play. SHAME.

 

10. Cinema Shame Horror Shame-a-thon 2016!

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We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. I can’t be bothered with this yet.

 

11. Batman Television Series

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I cracked this open immediately after purchase and watched one episode. I’m still dying to know what happens in episode two. So maybe I won’t finish this, but let’s try to make a dent, okay? Maybe a little nick. Let’s just watch some Batman and see where it goes.

 

12. Unfulfilled Past Shames

1. Take the Money and Run (Woody Allen Shame!)

2. What’s Up, Doc? (Bogdanoshame!)

3. Ride the High Country (Peckinpahah Shame!)

4. The Guns of Navarone (Essential War Shame!)

5. Big Heat (Noir Shame!)

6. Fellini Satyricon (Fellini Shame!)

7. Ikiru (Kurosawa/Criterion Shame!)

8. Five Easy Pieces (Everyone-Told-Me-I-Need-To-Watch-It Shame!)

9. Viridiana (Bunuel Shame!)

 

So that’s it. Whattya think, sirs?

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My List of Shame – Reevaluated

Updating my list, switched out some for later/next year.

1. Some Like It Hot (1959)
2. Persona (1966)
3. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
4. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
5. The Searchers (1956)
6. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
7. Cinema Paradiso (1988)
8. Breathless (1960)
9. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) / Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
10. It Happened One Night (1934) / His Girl Friday (1940)
11. Sabrina (1954)
12. Hell in the Pacific (1968)

oh, the shame: a confession by @midairalmacita

I’ll admit it.  I’m stubborn.  A bit of a rebel.  When people tell me to do something, I mostly do the exact opposite.  Because I’m an adult, damnit.  Only I was like this as a kid, too.

When people tell me I just have to do this or that, I mostly just roll my eyes.  I’ll do what I want, okay?

So, this way of being has led me to a lifetime of watching really obscure, bizarre movies or hopeless romantic comedies (that are really quite bad) while missing all the “classics” of my generation.  I also attribute my lack of exposure to certain films to my sheltered childhood.  Growing up with very little, we never got to see films in theaters.  I can only really remember watching Crocodile Dundee.  Most of the time, we were stuck with what was on TV.  Basic TV, at that.  (I think we had cable for 3 months during all of my childhood).  By the time I was a teen and could rent movies, I had pretty weird taste in movies. And well, everything.

Now that I’m 35, I’ve realized that I kind of missed out on some pretty fun stuff.  Or seemingly fun (since I haven’t seen these things, I can only assume…people look like these things make them happy).  I’ve also found myself in many conversations where I have no idea what the Hell people are talking about.

I have a thing called a Mighty List, and–at some point–I decided that I wanted to watch a bunch of movies.  I really wanted to expose myself to new things and get out of my comfort zone.  So, this is part of that.  My list is mostly based on other people’s shock when I tell them that I have no knowledge of said films.

Without further ado…

  • Labyrinth (1986) – I attempted to watch this once, back in 2004. My then-fiance was completely perplexed that I hadn’t seen this movie.  He was a big science fiction geek who tried and tried to expand my horizons.  (He once gave me every Kurt Vonnegut book ever simply because I’d never–gasp–read anything from that guy).  I was actually trying really hard to watch the movie–even though I had a hunch I probably wouldn’t like it.  I’m not much of a science fiction/fantasy person, to be honest.  But it was weird, and there was David Bowie–and ooh, Jim Henson.  Yea…totally fell asleep ten minutes in.  Like dead to the world asleep.
  • ET – The Extra Terrestrial (1982) – This is another one my ex-fiance tried to get me to watch…that I tried to watch.  I passed out about 15 minutes in.  This one really took some doing to get me to agree.  I’ll admit–I avoided it on purpose my entire life simply because people said it was an Alma film.
  • Star Wars Original Trilogy (1977) – I think this is the one I get crap about the most.  I’ve had past boyfriends try to convince me to watch it, telling me all about the mythology (which does seem cool).  But I always refused.  I had to draw a line somewhere, and I just couldn’t go there.  I guess I am now a bit more curious about all the fuss.
  • Indiana Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – It just never occurred to me to willingly watch this movie.
  • Inception (2010) – Another movie that all my friends said was an “Alma” movie.  I just could never go there.
  • The Matrix (1999) – I once had a friend who would talk for hours about this movie, and I had no clue what they were even talking about.
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) – Absolutely no excuse. They do midnight showings every weekend at the theater in my neighborhood.
  • The Godfather (1972) – I have absolutely no good reason for avoiding this one all my life.  I actually love a good mob flick.
  • Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) – I actually think I’ll like this one.
  • Bull Durham (1988) – I adore Susan Sarandon, so I pretty much have to see this one.
  • Road House (1989) – For me, Patrick Swayze began and ended with Dirty Dancing.
  • Die Hard (1988) – I still have no clue why this is a Christmas movie.

There you have it.  Make fun of me.  Share awesome romantic comedies.  (I swear I’ve seen all the good ones, and everything else is just terrible).  I’ll keep you posted on my progress!