Saturday, September 13, 2014

Tommy's Mindlessly Stupid Project, volume 2

You can read here part one of my little project, where I wind my way through my movie shelves as I get ready in the mornings, and go to bed at night, with occasional pauses to sit and truly enjoy what I've got on my shelves.

The rules?  Running alphabetically through my movie collection.  No pausing to fret about what's next.  Just pick up the movie, and go on.  With a small handful of exceptions in my collection (gifts, etc) I've picked out every one of the movies on my shelves.  Why I'd hem and haw over what to watch is quite the vexing bit of personal bullshit.

Anyway.  Thoughts concerning what I've watched:

Armageddon  (1998, D: Bay)

I'm the douchebag, by the way, who undermines his own system of alphabetical organization by keeping the few Criterion Collection discs he owns on their own shelf.  I'd originally planned to include those at the end, because the bulk of them will take their own viewings on the good TV, and not be simply background noise as I get ready.  Part of this is logistical...if it's a foreign language flick, it doesn't key to my ear well.  Part of it is that some flicks just deserve the attention.  Anyway, I watched this one out of alphabetical order...I'll try to keep up with the Criterion stuff as well as I can....

That said, I'm not going to argue that Armageddon is a great flick, though there's part of me that acknowledges the argument about all key characters being introduced and fleshed out early on.  Beyond that, all logical parts of my brain say that this is the stupidest movie ever, and very much one to point at as not only what's wrong with movies in general, but America as well.  Still, I'm not sold that Armageddon's a bad flick.  It's a fun flick, and a very pretty one.   It's not without its verbal charm:  I still think that Billy Bob Thornton walks around his house saying "it's what we call a global killer...."

Back to the Future  (1985, D: Zemeckis)

I generally pull this one out once a year, or so.  It came out when I was 8, and out on video right about the time we got a VCR when I was growing up.  We taped it off HBO (I believe).  This one's gotta rank up there with the Star Wars movies, Ghostbusters and Batman with movies I've seen most.

I've always thought about what a mindfuck the whole bit's gotta be for Marty, but we never see the biggest mindfuck of all.  If you can overlook the bit where Marty returns to a different 1985 than he left, and that there stands a good argument that there might be another Marty floating around at the end of Back to the Future 1, you have to ask yourself how many different things would have happened to the Marty of the new time line, where George McFly decked Biff, that original Marty would have no memory of.  Maybe Marty and his brother and sister were destined to be, if George and Lorraine got together.  But would all their life events be the same?  Hey Marty....remember when we went to Disneyland a couple years back?  What are you talking about....I've never been to Disney....

Back to the Future 2    (1989, D: Zemeckis)

Back to the Future 2 and 3 might have been my Dad's and my first joint fanboy experience...we both wanted these movies to be so awesome.  And you know what?  even 25 years later, I'm satisfied with the outcome.

It also contains my favorite sequence...Biff's dark 1985? That shit is awesome!  The bit where Marty ends up on former principal Strickland's porch, and they mention that schools aren't part of the Hill Valley agenda gets me thinking that Biff may be a little bigger than Hill Valley.  How do you circumvent county, state and national schooling agendas?  Biff money.  That's how.

Also, Lorraine's big fake dark Biff cleavage is still the favorite of 12-year-old Tommy.

Back to the Future 3    (1990, D: Zemeckis)

Okay.  This only started bugging me a few years ago.  So, Seamus and Maggie McFly are George McFly's great grandparents (William, is called Marty's great-grandpa, so William would be George's grandfather).  The McFly name follows that line down to Marty, so it stands to some reason that Marty might look like Seamus.

Why does Lorraine look like Maggie?  She's not descended from the McFlys.  Or is she?

Recent investigations into my family history have revealed that my great grandparents William and Florida were second cousins.  I guess it's not all that odd, or implausible.  Just something that pops into my mind, now any time I see Lea Thompson as Maggie in this flick....

Also of note:  Dub Taylor makes Tommy's Movie Shelf Appearance #2 in this flick....

Batman   (1989, D: Burton)

I could write and write and write about the 1989 Batman.  I can tell you where I was when I saw this flick the first time (the 1:15 show at the Plaza Twin on Saturday, June 24 with my friend folks wouldn't take me out to the much ballyhooed June 23 friend Nigel went and I was jealous).  I could tell you that I saw this movie five times in the theater, that summer (if you include a viewing at the Swingin' Midway Drive-In).  This was the first pre-recorded VHS tapes that my family ever owned.  Everything else, up until then, was rentals or stuff taped off TV.  This might be the only movie that I burnt myself out on.

I love Batman.  Still.  Have since the fifth grade, or so.  So, this movie was Big Shit for me.  Watched it at least once a week for a couple of years.  And once a month after that, for a long time, all the way up into college.

I hit a point, though. Don't know.  Maybe when you memorize a flick.  I honestly went seven or eight years between viewings.  It wasn't until I picked up the DVD.

You know what?  It's still solid, for what it is.  I feel like, even in 1989, that DC was at a loss for what a millionaire playboy was, but I still like Keaton's Bruce Wayne best.

Batman Begins   (2005, D: Nolan)

I remember looking forward to this flick when it came out, but being dubious about the Christian Bale casting.  In fact, I am still dubious about the Christian Bale casting.

Batman Begins isn't a bad flick.  In fact, it's a pretty fucking good flick, perhaps better put together and truer to the mythos than any of Nolan's later works.  It touches on a lot of the same bits that made Frank Miller's Year One and Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale's Long Halloween work so well for me.  It's just a more solidly put together movie than its sequels, too. (Dark Knight Rises doesn't hold up, and later viewings of Dark Knight make me realize how much Joker's villainy holds that flick together).

The Ken Watanabe/Liam Neeson Ra's al Ghul okey doke is pretty cool.  And I like watching Cillian Murphy wallow around as Scarecrow.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm    (1993, D: Timm, et al).

For many years, this was my favorite Batman flick.  It's the one that hit both Batman and Joker as close to the versions in my head as possible, and it's still the case with Batman.

Mark Hamill doesn't get enough credit for his work as the Joker.  Just an all around good flick, one that I'm glad actually got a big screen showing...

Batman: the Movie    (1966, D: Martinson)

There was a period where I just ATE that 60's Batman show up.  Then, I denied its existence.  I've only recently wandered back to the way of thinking that allowed me to enjoy the show.  What goofy fucking fun.  The bit with Batman trying to get rid of the bomb?  That's funny, funny stuff.

Baxter     (1989, D: Boivin)

This is a good movie to watch when you're down on humanity, on the whole.  Which I have been, lately.

Beerfest    (2006, D: Chandrasekhar)

You know, Super Troopers was a home run for the Broken Lizard guys, and I call Club Dread a solid triple.  Beerfest?  Meh.  Bloop hit?

Really didn't think much of it with this viewing.  Jurgen Prochnow is probably the best part of the movie.  This one's probably going to get traded in the next time I cull the shelves.

Beetlejuice    (1988, D: Burton)

Just a fun flick.  Michael Keaton, Geena Davis and Catherine O'Hara are all favorites.  Big.  Loud.  Whimsical.  Dark.  Right up my alley.

Best in Show   (2000, D: Guest)

This one makes me think of my buddy Steven, if only for the fact that we did Harlan Pepper's nut-naming routine for years.  His and Janet's attachment to the dog show scene, despite being such a big part of their lives, somehow seems secondary to that one throwaway bit.

As Guest movies go, this one ranks after Waiting for Guffman, and probably after A Mighty Wind, despite the characterizations ringing more familiar to me than either of those previous two.  All I can think of is that one joke about Eugene Levy's character having two left feet...I don't know why I hate the bit, but it ruins a good bit of the movie altogether.  And somehow, Michael McKean and John Michael Higgins just bug me in their roles.

Still, definite charms.  The left foot joke notwithstanding, I love Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara, and the bit with the credit card decline at the hotel front desk is somehow endearing.  Jane Lynch hits the nail on the head (as she almost always does), and I really enjoy Christopher Guest as Harlan Pepper...

Best of the Best    (1989, D: Radler)

This is the best bad karate movie ever.  I once joked that it starred the less talented siblings of both Sean Penn and Julia Roberts, though I'm just not sure that's the case on either count.  Not that I think either Chris Penn or Eric Roberts are any great shakes...I'm just no longer convinced Sean or Julia are the shit, either.

I love this movie.  Despite everything.  It's a horrible movie.  But I love it.  Especially the slo mo shots.  Especially when Sonny has to inform everybody that he's Italian.  Multiple times.

Do they coat Eric Roberts in a layer of slurm before each shot?  A double coating for fight scenes?

I love when Chris Penn, as Travis Brickley, yells "Drop him like a toilet seat."


Beyond the Mat    (1999, D: Blaustein).

Barry Blaustein's love letter to pro wrestling.  I hadn't watched this one in years.  It made me late for work watching Terry Funk's retirement section.  Made me sad and a little mad at myself watching Mick Foley get destroyed by the Rock.

This flick was the genesis of my bias against The Rock.  It's unfair, perhaps, to make a judgment based on one event and one perceived lack of caring as it involved both Mick's safety while taking chairshots, and lack of concern afterward.  Watching this made me realize how slanted against The Rock that shot was.  Blaustein goes out of his way to make Mick Foley a teddy bear.  It's an easy stance, because Mick seems like a hell of a good guy.  Maybe it showed a bit of truth, but it wasn't the best basis of judgment on my part, against the Rock, anyway....

I guess what I'm trying to say is:  I'm sorry Rocky.

Anyway.  Jake Roberts' section is still a kick in the gut.  Jake's wavered, and is currently supposedly on a path of the good right now, thanks to Dallas Page and others.  Based on everything this movie presents, and all the news after?  I'd never have guess Jake would have made it to 2014.....


Taking a break writing, now.  I need to get my ass in gear writing, though.  I'm all the way up to Cold Mountain....


Blogger Gladorn said...

I would love to sit down and watch some of the movies in my collection. As it stands, there are still a number of movies that I've yet to watch. "Moon." "THX 1138." "The Twelve Chairs."

Being a father of a toddler... There just is not any time for TV any more. The other night there were so many interruptions that it took me an hour and a half just to watch a 25 minute TV show.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Tommy said...

I feel your pain. I don't envy you folks with kids. Work's enough. As things stand, the bulk of these are watched as I'm doing something else...getting ready for work, etc....

9:21 PM  
Blogger Gladorn said...

On the plus side... I've always been a fan of animation, both anime and continental. Obviously, this drew a lot of comments when I was in college and beyond. Now I can watch all the cartoons I want and everyone thinks that it is because of Adorable Preciousness. No, she is playing with her toys and sometimes can't care less what is on the TV. =o)

10:32 AM  

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