Erik


A Century of Film
Crime Films

The Genre:

There seems to be an idea that Gangster Films and Crime Films are interchangeable.  But to me, a Crime film is more than just a Gangster Film and the latter is just a sub-genre of the former.  The Rough Guide to Gangster Movies kind of sums up the idea right away even if they are just talking about Gangster films and not Crime films:

“Every book about gangster movies has to have a working definition of what a gangster movie actually is.  And each will disagree with the other.  For the purposes of the Rough Guide to Gangster Movies, it is one in which the gangster is the protagonist, not the supporting player or bête noir of the long-suffering cop hero.” (p 3) (more…)

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Revisiting Childhood Movies Part XXII:

Spaceballs

  • Director:  Mel Brooks
  • Writer:  Mel Brooks / Ronny Graham / Thomas Meehan
  • Producer:  Mel Brooks
  • Stars:  Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga, Mel Brooks, John Candy
  • Studio:  MGM/UA
  • Award Nominations:  none
  • Length:  96 min
  • Genre:  Comedy (Parody)
  • MPAA Rating:  PG
  • Release Date:  26 June 1987
  • Box Office Gross:  $38.11 mil  (#31 – 1987)
  • Ebert Rating:  **.5
  • My Rating:  ***
  • My Rank:  #55 (year)
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  none
  • Nighthawk Notables:  Best Opening, Best Line Not from The Princess Bride (“Now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.”)
  • First Watched:  on video when first released
  • Number of Times Watched as a Kid:  5 or so

As a Kid:  When I first saw this, I didn’t have that much of a knowledge of film because, hey, because I was still a kid.  But I knew Star Wars.  Good lord, did I ever know Star Wars.  So all the Star Wars references worked perfectly for me.  I even got the Wizard of Oz references (and even the Bridge on the River Kwai reference).  But to me, at the time, this was mostly a way of humorously looking at the movie that was not only a big thing in my life but had been the big thing in my life for a decade. (more…)

In my 80’s post, I made a lot of specific lists.  I didn’t do a specific list post for the 90’s, so I will address some of those lists here.  Among the 250 songs in this post, you will find songs that would fit the following lists, so there will at least be a #1 for all of these lists, just by going through this list: Best Song Written for a Film, Best One-Hit Wonder (using this list), Best Song by a One-Hit Wonder that Isn’t Their ‘Hit’ (I count seven and in four of those cases their ‘hit’ doesn’t make my list), Best B-Side, Best Cover (every decade from the 50’s through the 90’s has at least one and even the 30’s has one), Best Long Song, Funniest Song, Best Billboard #1 Single (because of changes to how music was sold and tracked, there were a lot fewer #1’s in the 90’s because they stayed on the list longer, but still, there are only 5 #1’s on the list, as opposed to 37 in the 80’s), Best British #1 That Didn’t Hit #1 in the US, Grammy Winner for Song of the Year.  There is no list for Best Cover of a 90’s Song post 1999 because of the songs on the list, only two of them have covers I can honestly recommend and both of those covers were recorded in the 90’s.  There is no Worst Billboard #1 Single because so many of them are so terrible, though the Brits sent “I Wanna Sex You Up”, my second least favorite song of the decade to #1 (thankfully, my least favorite song ever, “Wonderwall” stalled at #2 on the British charts).

Some other ones that aren’t addressed are Best Television Theme (Malcolm in the Middle), Best Song Written for a Stage Musical (“Sunset Boulevard” followed by “The Heat is on in Saigon”), Top Use of a Song in 90’s Movie, Top Video (“Losing My Religion” but other contenders would include “Black or White”, “Right Now”, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, “Tonight Tonight”), Best Recorded Live Performances (in theory, this automatically goes to “About a Girl” because it really technically belonged on the 80’s list but it’s the Unplugged version that I think is so far superior that it ended up on this list, but there are some other live versions on here that are covers and I do want to point out “Throwing It All Away” on The Way We Walk and “Pocahontas” on Unplugged – there are others that will be pointed out because those songs make the list in their original version), Best Christmas Song (“Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra) and Grammy Winner for Record of the Year (“Tears in Heaven” – it was a terrible decade for this category). (more…)

FALSTAFF: We have heard the chimes at midnight, Master Robert Shallow. (Henry IV Part 2, III. ii. 220)

My Top 10:

  1. Chimes at Midnight
  2. Z
  3. Stolen Kisses
  4. Oh! What a Lovely War
  5. Midnight Cowboy
  6. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
  7. Boudu Saved from Drowning
  8. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  9. Goodbye Columbus
  10. Cactus Flower

Note:  This year’s post is a bit ugly with a number of source materials I was unable to get.  There is also even a film that I am unable to really review because while I have seen it, it was years ago (well over a decade ago) and it is extremely difficult to get hold of and I wasn’t able to do so. (more…)

The posts for the next couple of months are going to be hopefully not too few or far between but they won’t be bunched up.  The Century of Film posts take a while to write and so I’m trying to put other ones between them, like RCM, Great Read (a series I’m almost out of) and Adapted Screenplay as well as the odd occasional post.  But I’m also doing that while balanced against preparing for our move to San Diego and while trying to watch and read as many things as I need for the Adapted Screenplay posts that are available from my local library system here but won’t be once I get to San Diego.  So the future posts are coming.  They just might be a bit slow.

RICHARD: You’re getting old. One day you’ll have me once too often.
HENRY: When? I’m fifty now. My God, boy, I’m the oldest man I know. I’ve got a decade on the Pope. (p 48-49)

My Top 10:

  1. The Lion in Winter
  2. Rosemary’s Baby
  3. Belle de Jour
  4. Closely Watched Trains
  5. The Odd Couple
  6. Hunger
  7. Rachel Rachel
  8. Pretty Poison
  9. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
  10. War and Peace

Note:  My list is 14 long this year.  My #13 (The Fixer) and #14 (Oliver) are reviewed below because of award nominations.  The other two are listed down at the bottom.  You could make the case that 2001: A Space Odyssey should be listed but the Oscars treated it as original and I do the same.  You can find plenty of places on-line that explained the complicated history of its script. (more…)

The Tripods Trilogy:

  1. The White Mountains
  2. The City of Gold and Lead
  3. The Pool of Fire
  • Author:  John Christopher  (1922-2012)
  • Published:  1967 / 1968 / 1969
  • Publisher:  Hamish Hamilton
  • Pages:  650
  • First Line:  “Apart from the one in the church tower, there were five clocks in the village that kept reasonable time, and my father owned one of them.”
  • Last Lines:  “The air was cold but exhilarating.  A gust of wind scattered powdery snow from the face of the Jungfrau.  ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘I’ll leave my seas and islands.'”
  • Film:  television version  (1984)
  • First Read:  1987  (as a book)

(more…)

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