Monday, March 13, 2006

The Most Bloated Post Ever

I've been looking at receipts for my last year's tax report and I found a slew of DVD rental records. So below is my inventory of titles from 2005. There's a good many deletions too because it's ridiculously time-consuming to do this in the first place. Admittedly, several titles are fairly embarrassing to disclose but if judge Robert Bork can suffer the public humiliation of renting such fare as "Day at the Races" --hey that's a pretty good film, mine are way more embarrassing!!!-- then why not? I sometimes rent a DVD only to listen to the extra commentary tracks or watch a brief segment. The power of the remote is an intoxicating thing.

2005 was also a year of Mel Brooks in review, for better or worse.

Note: the films were haphazardly divided into different subject headings that speak for themselves.

Should Have Known Better
Boondock Saints - I was led to this film motivated out of sick curiosity. The director of this movie, Troy Duffy, was the subject of a documentary called "Overnight". "Overnight" is a case study of a self-destructive ego let loose in Hollywood. I guess it's amazing that "Boondock" was made after all Duffy's deserved travails but it's still just a piece of crap.
Silver Streak - for some reason I had to recall Gene Wilder in this big hit movie. Was he good, was he obnoxious? Well, he's fairly good and holds his own in a late-70s kinda way, and so did Richard Pryor, RIP. But honestly, I don't have a clue why I chose this.
Kansas City Bomber - a bad film in both a fun way and in a painful way. Raquel Welch beating up chicks on a roller derby track; chewing gum all the while, 'cause that's what tough broads do. Coulda' been much, much better. You have to be pretty lame as a director to not play this up like it deserved.
Return to the Batcave - Adam West could be my alter-ego; Burt Ward has a distorted self-image and he needs to stopped.

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle - I don't even remember watching this.

Fell Asleep

Heartbeeps - Obscure Andy Kaufman artifact. Doesn't deliver anything, unfortunately.
Bladerunner - Loved it when I was a kid. Rutger Hauer had something going, but during this viewing everything paled somehow.
Spongebob SquarePants Movie - I admit that I didn't give it a chance. It looked OK but I was not in the mood.
Last Days - a ponderous pile of pretension based on the last days of Kurt Cobain.
Beat the Devil - I'm a huge Bogart fan but for some reason I can't sink me teeth into this one. It's possibly my own short-attention span at fault this time. The lighting was all wrong too.
Piccadilly - this also may be a good or great film but I feel asleep.

Pleasantly Surprised
Z Channel - Pretty interesting documentary about the man behind Z Channel.
The Corporation - good gloomy documentary to provoke you to idleness and anger. Walmart = global love.
Angels With Dirty Faces - Jimmy Cagney "goes yellow" and cries before his death in the electric chair, but it's a ruse so the kids won't make him into a role model. I just spoiled the plot for everyone. Ha-ha! Good acting and stuff like that.
White Heat - another Cangey vehicle. He's an intense guy that Jimmy Cagney.

Returned to Scene of the Crime (seen 'em before)
Curb Your Enthusiasm - OK, I'm often ambivalent about this show but I rented them all. There's one episode, however, that I keep returning to from the 4th season, which has Larry cashing in on an anniversary gift which allows him to go to bed with Gina Gershon. She plays a hassidic Jew. It's all satisfyingly convoluted and she's perfectly cast.
Big Lebowski - This is a film I could watch just about once every year.
Sherlock Holmes - the Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce pairing puts me in a cozy alpha state every time, which is just what B&W filmstock was made for. I rented at least six of these.
Repulsion - Roman Polanski classic. Unsettling and economically done. A perfect model for a no-frills, yet nothing lacking, gripping character study.
Carnival of Souls - Ah yes, the classic made by moonlighting educational 16mm filmmakers. Another great movie with a great legacy made on the cheap.


Daily Show Indecision 2004 - Great job done by the Daily Show covering the Democratic and GOP conventions. Made me really admire the work of Rob Corddry and Stephen Colbert (I'm woefully behind the viewing curve because I don't have cable).
The Producers - The original Mel Brooks film. Everyone is great/well-casted.
SCTV vol 1 - I can always watch this stuff over and over and never tire of it. I'm just envious of the collaborative luck and chemistry the cast had.
Anchorman Ron Burgundy - This film was just stupid enough for me to like.
Blow-Up - just a good departure for the sick-of-the-contemporary-movie afflicted. This 1966 film does everything on its own terms and, while it edges towards self-indulgence, it's too smart to faulter too badly.
Ren & Stimpy - creator John Kricfalusi-directed selections. It was fine, it was good.
Experimental Cinema of the 20s & 30s - just cool stuff. Like Man Ray Rayographs in motion.
Young Frankenstein - This is a good film because there's so much admiration for the original horror movies that it parodies.
Best of Peabody and Sherman - Mr. Peabody is my patron saint. He has a "wayback machine" and a boy named "Sherman". I used to draw him on many desktops throughout my checkered early education.

Great Stuff

Cameraman's Revenge - compilation of eccentric animation by Ladislas Starevich. "The Mascot" is the most surreal and satisfying segment.
Little Caesar - There's gangster movies and then there's gangster movies. This one with E G Robinson arguably set the template in 1930 for the genre.
The Hustler - Never saw this before, although i was aware of it. I liked it a lot. I especially loved watching Jackie Gleason who has a seasoned and light-footed grace, all coming from a very un-pretty looking guy. I like my actors unconventional and rough around the edges --while Gleason's not exactly ugly, he'd probably never get to the first wrung today given the premium on model-handsome.

Just OK

Philadelphia Story - I'm not a big Katherine Hepburn fan but this is a breezy, spirited movie, so it's alright. I guess. Whatever.
Blazing Saddles - This is pretty good movie if you find sustenance in Mad magazine humor.
Bambi - Disney re-mastered this from the technicolor negatives. However, it's SO stable and SO grainless that something organic was taken away and rendered cold. You need SOME film grain to breathe into these old movies. I'm not really so much a fan of Bambi as an admirer of the animators who made it.
Lenny Bruce Without Tears - I know this is sacrilege but, while I find the arc of Bruce's career interesting historically, I'm just not a big hysterical fan. Sorry.
Naked Gun 33 1/3 - I had to see this because I found out that I knew someone who had a cameo in it.
Life & Death of Peter Sellars - Depressing and disillusioning movie based on the life of one of my all-time favorite comedians.
Best of Primetime Glick - low expectations can make for acceptable and pleasant viewings, such as this. Has moments.
Orwell Rolls in His Grave - What was this about? Oh yeah, I've been watching several of these docs which encapsulate the Chomsky take on our being consumed in corporate global politics. I generally get something out of them and I'm glad that they're out there.
Adventures of Errol Flynn - Just a silly documentary about a silly matinee idol. There's many scandalous rumors about Flynn: rapist, nazi, family man. Y'just never know.
Desperately Seeking Seka - A kind of meaningless slice of life revealing that ex-porn star Seka's is just a laid-back (no pun intended) and nonjudgmental ex-porn star.
Adaptation - Any popular film with a brain is always an encouraging combo.
Beyond the Fringe - seminal british comedy. A bit too visually shoddy to watch for the modern viewer, unless you're a big fan. But then what kind of life do you have?


Joey Polanski said...

Thanks t Rocky Sullivan "pullin a act" an "turnin yella," Soapy turnd ovr a new leaf an became a cab drivr namd Munson.

Thats what I hear. Thats what I say.

Anonymous said...

I applaud the adventurous eclecticism of your viewing choices, Geritopia. I assume that, being a freelancer "in the biz", you get to write off those rentals as a business expense. (I'm not from the IRS, honest.)

I only saw Silver Streak and Bladerunner for the first time recently, and enjoyed them both.

The Producers is my fave Mel Brooks film (none of his other work is as consistently funny), and has Gene Wilder's second best role (first being Willy Wonka).

Agree about being able to see Big Lebowski once a year.

Strangest film I saw last year was Bride of the Monster, by Ed Wood, which we rented on Halloween. I had to see if it was as charmingly awful as portrayed in the Johnny Depp biopic Ed Wood, and by gum it lived up/down to its reputation!

-- Blurry in Berkeley