It's been two years, and I thought it'd be fun to revisit what is still one of the most visited posts on my old site, with commentary on my thoughts from so long ago. Beware some spoilers.
Day 01 - A Sequel(s) That Shouldn't Have Been Made
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)
After the first Pirates was a shocking hit, Disney clearly hauled tail back to the drawing board to throw together two sloppy sequels with a dumb contrived story, an overabundance of special effects and far too many action sequences. I understand wanting to give the world more Captain Jack Sparrow, but at what cost? And now the fourth installment will be just as dreadful.
[2012 Comments: On Stranger Tides wasn't terribly painful while watching it, but I haven't felt the desire to revisit it either. The other two sequels still aren't good, but I find myself strangely compelled to watch them when they're on t.v.]
Day 02 - A Movie That More People Should See
I think a lot of movie geeks have seen Duncan Jones' masterpiece by now, but a lot of casual film goers have not. I cannot stress the beauty of this film enough. It's a true original with a stunning solo performance by Sam Rockwell that was shamefully overlooked this past awards season.
[2012 Comments: Two years later and I haven't actually recommended Moon to the average joe, but I still wouldn't be surprised if I got blank stares if I tried. Jones' follow up film, 2011's Source Code, was interesting and entertaining, but didn't quite have the intimate beauty of his debut.]
Day 03 - Favorite Oscar-Nominated Movie from Most Recent Ballot
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
The Hurt Locker was amazing, but in terms of rewatchability, Inglourious Basterds has my vote. I don't normally do war movies, but this Nazi bloodbath tosses the history books in the garbage and rewrites an ending to World War II that kicks so much ass. Tarantino gets the best performances out of his ensemble cast as they spout off his genius dialogue. If only he would've waited one more year to release it, this probably would have made a clean sweep at the Oscars.
[2012 Comments: Still love it. Is it Christmas yet? I need me Django.]
Day 04 - A Movie That Makes You Laugh Every Time
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
I laugh until I cry with this Coen Brothers' retelling of The Odyssey. George Clooney breaking out of his "Guy in Suit" persona absolutely kills as Everett, a prison escapee trying to get back to his wife before her next trip down the aisle. Everett's flare for words and demand for Dapper Dan keeps me in stitches every time. Throw in Tim Blake Nelson and John Turturro as Everett's fellow dumb-as-dirt escapees and I know this movie can pick me up on a bad day.
[2012 Comments: Sadly I don't think I've watched O Brother since making this list two years ago! Needs to be remedied ASAP, but I'm sure the above holds true.]
Day 05 - A Movie You Loathe
Southland Tales (2006)
Some folks call it the best bad move: I just call it shit. With a gaggle of B-List actors, Richard Kelley's self-indulgent crapsterpiece is downright painful to endure for its almost two and a half run with little coherence in the plot. I've actually blocked most of it, but I know I still hate it with a passion.
[2012 Comments: I've heard loads of people chatting about Southland Tales in the past few months, mainly on podcasts, much with my same reaction but having had more fun with it. I have intended to give it another shot, especially since my admiration for Justin Timberlake has grown since The Social Network, but I have yet to bite the bullet.]
Day 06 - A Movie That Makes You Cry Every Time
I didn't love Juno the first time I saw it, but it has since grown on me quite a bit. Of course the tears don't come till the third act of the film when Juno gives up the baby and Vanessa holds him for the first time. When they close in on Juno's note to Vanessa, framed and hanging in the nursery, I really start to lose it. Hell, I'm tearing up thinking about it now.
[2012 Comments: Still gets me and in the same places.]
Day 07 - Least Favorite Movie by a Favorite Actor/Actress
Little Children (2006)
Kate Winslet is an absolute goddess of the screen, but when I finally made it around to watching her film about infidelity in the suburbs paired with the introduction of a convicted pedophile back into society, I was ready to beat my head against a wall. The storylines mashed together really didn't work for me and there wasn't a single character I gave a damn about it. And in the end, this awards season darling was just boring.
[2012 Comments: Still holding to this, and I doubt I'll be rewatching Little Children again, at least no time soon. However, I'd also add the rather dull The Reader to that list. Sure she got the Oscar, finally, but it was just awkward and then a bit bland.]
Day 08 - A Movie That Should Be Required High School Viewing
Mean Girls (2004)
You may be expecting some film about drug abuse or teen pregnancy, which are both important topics, but so is bullying. Tina Fey's brilliant script hits all the points of how high school girls can torture one another, actively and passively, but keeps the tone light and fun instead of delving into after school special territory.
[2012 Comments: Oh what could have been a promising career for Lohan. Now it would seem Emma Stone's doing everything right that Lohan did wrong. Of course I haven't seen the documentary that premiered early this year, Bully, about real high school bullying, but Mean Girls can't be beat. But let's throw Requiem for a Dream in there just to aid the war on drugs too.]
Day 09 - Best Scene Ever
Fight Club (1999)
It's impossible to pick just one scene from the history of film, but this is one of my favorites. I love it when Tyler shows The Narrator how to make soap and gives him the chemical burn. There was so much truth about dealing with life's pain and struggles instead of retreating to a "cave" to escape it all. It's a good slap in the face for our protagonist and for us as well.
[2012 Comments: Not sure how anyone can be expected to pick just one best scene of all time, but beneath all the insanity that is Fight Club, there's the undercurrent of an important message that comes across perfectly in this scene.]
Day 10 - A Movie You Expected to Dislike But Loved
For some reason that I cannot remember, I was 100% against seeing this comic book based film. It was after the VHS release that I finally gave in and loved it, but even more so, it paved the way for X2 which has become one of my favorite comic book films of all time. I heart Wolverine...like a lot.
[2012 Comments: I've realized that after the Burton Batman series, X-Men was my reintroduction to the world of comic book films and that's probably why I look back on it so fondly. And I liked last year's Origins, but it just didn't hold a candle to X2.]
Day 11 - A Movie That Disappointed You
I really liked 300 (and like it even more with each viewing), so the trailer for this Zack Snyder film had me pumped to see it. It looked like an amazing story with deep characters and even better visuals. After it was all over, the visuals part was pretty much the only thing I really enjoyed. And the opening credits pretty much stole the show.
[2012 Comments: I have since watched the Director's Cut on Blu-Ray and like the film much more. It was still disappointing compared to the hype, but I respect it more now.]
Day 12 - Best Soundtrack/Background Music in a Scene
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Admit it, you can't help but think of Mr. Blonde slicing off the cop's ear whenever you hear Stuck in the Middle with You by Stealers Wheel. Brutal is the only word I can even think of to describe this scene. Well played QT.
[2012 Comments: Still holds true.]
Day 13 - Favorite Animated Movie
The Incredibles (2004)
You can have your Toy Story trilogy and your WALL-E and your Up; it just doesn't get better than Pixar's super-hero-living-the-quiet-life story for me. The hero elements mixed in with the family values works beautifully for a sweet and fun story with beautiful animation.
[2012 Comments: I kinda forgot about the magic of Finding Nemo, the film that actual made me see Pixar as more than just another animation studio, despite Toy Story. I can't wait for its theater rerelease next month.]
Day 14 - Favorite Film in Black and White
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Romero may have used black and white for his debut film to keep it low budget, but I can't imagine it any other way. The intensity of the horror is certainly heightened, especially during the night scenes, not to mention the carnage was still just as gory, despite the lack of color. Though it has been re-released with color more than once, I won't bother seeing those versions, as I prefer the original and classic B&W vision.
[2012 Comments: I won't redact the fact that Night of the Living Dead is awesome, but can I change my answer to Sin City? Just watched it again and it's so damn cool.]
Day 15 - Best Musical
Guys and Dolls (1955)
Some folks may have issues with Brando's singing, but I'm not one of them. I'm not a huge fan of classics or musicals, but this one is too much fun to ignore.
[2012 Comments: Another film I haven't watched in years. I think it was more nostalgia speaking here, because I watched this film non-stop in high school, but how could I forget about the fun of Chicago and the sad beauty of Moulin Rouge!?
Day 16 - Your Guilty Pleasure Movie
My first semester of college, my roommate and I probably watched this movie at least once every two weeks. It was an obsession. Whenever I missed home, I knew the antics and musings of Cher, Dionne and Tai would cheer me up in a heartbeat and they always did.
[2012 Comments: Another one I haven't watched in years. Sadly I have very little time to indulge in guilty pleasure movies these days.]
Day 17 - Favorite Series of Related Movies
Harry Potter (2001-2011)
Sure they have their ups and downs (I sometimes fall asleep to the first two), plus they leave out sooo much material from the books, but to still be doing the films of the magical wizarding world a decade after they began is quite a feat (though I'm sure the cash they rake in helps ease the pain). Ten years, eight films, four directors and through all that only one major cast change, due to the death of Sir Richard Harris. That's pretty impressive.
[2012 Comments: And now the series has wrapped and it's of course still my favorite. Many years from now, I want one day to myself when I can watch all 8 movies in one go. Maybe when the kids are older we can start a Christmas Day tradition.]
Day 18 - Favorite Title Sequence
Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
The best part of this entire offbeat comedy was the opening. So creative yet so simple. Nothing insane and high-tech; just simple fun with food and drawing. And of course I love the White Stripes song playing throughout.
[2012 Comments: It seems the fun title sequence is a dying breed, but I still come across some pretty great ones every now and then. Not sure this is my absolute favorite, but I still smile at its simple quirkiness.]
Day 19 - Best Movie Cast
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
There isn't a single cast member of this indie roadtrip comedy that doesn't work for me. You can see the love and disgust on everyone's face for one another as they're stuck spending two days in a VW bus. They certainly feel like the typical American family that all of us just might be able to relate to on some level.
[2012 Comments: Maybe if we ever get that supposed "Arrested Development" movie, the Bluths would de-throne the Hoopers. If...]
Day 20 - Favorite Kiss
Sixteen Candles (1984)
The closing moment when Sam and Jake share a kiss over her birthday cake while sitting on his dining room table puts the biggest grin on my face just thinking about it. I love it when the likable girl gets her hot sensitive guy. So sweet and romantic. *sigh*
[2012 Comments: Sorry, still sighing...]
Day 21 - Favorite Romantic Couple
The Constant Gardener (2005)
Justin and Tessa Quayle break my heart. The thing that gets me about them is the mystery behind their relationship. For most of the film, you're led to believe Tessa just married Justin to follow him to Africa to do her work, then started a love affair with Arnold. And then we learn the truth as Justin uncovers the truth behind Tessa's death: she truly loved him and remained faithful. And it's so tragic they didn't get to be happy together, but it leaves you happy that Justin learned the truth about his deceased wife before his own death.
[2012 Comments: Of course I picked a sad love story, since most happy love stories feel cheap and fake coming from Hollywood. And I actually have rewatched Tessa and Justin's beautiful love story recently.]
Day 22 - Favorite Final Scene/Line
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
"Is she aware her daughter is still alive?" BAM! I have to admit, I didn't see this coming and it was freaking sweet when Bill closed this first half of Q.T.'s ode to kung fu films. At this point, I felt this action film go to an entirely different level of awesome.
[2012 Comment: I repeat - "Is it Christmas Day yet?"]
Day 23 - Best Explosion or Action Scene
I'm still going cuckoo over JoGo's Hamster Wheel Hallway fight. Though I loved the entire film, I'd pay for a movie ticket just to watch that scene on repeat for the same running time. And the fact that it was CGI free makes it that much more admirable.
[2012 Comments: I somtimes actually pull up this scene on YouTube and just watch it on repeat. I'm kinda sad that way.]
[2012 Comments: I somtimes actually pull up this scene on YouTube and just watch it on repeat. I'm kinda sad that way.]
Day 24 - Quote You Use Most Often
Pulp Fiction (1994)
"I love you, Pumpkin." (Yolanda, played by Amanda Plummer=Rachel)
"I love you, Honeybunny." (Ringo, played by Tim Roth=Brad)
We say this to each other so much, I almost decided to be ultra-nerdy once and get t-shirts made. I refrained.
[2012 Comments: Hmmm...there sure is a lot of Tarantino represented on this list. Sadly, we don't go around playing Ringo and Yolanda much anymore. Maybe I should remedy that and plan to rob a diner.]
Day 25 - A Movie You Plan on Watching
I've been meaning to see it, but I've been busy. Netflix use to have it available for streaming and damn them for taking that option away from me! I'll get to it one of these days.
[2012 Comments: Mission accomplished! I watched it sometime in 2011 and thought it was pretty great. Only a zillion more classics to plow through...someday.]
Day 26 - Freakishly Weird Movie Ending
There Will Be Blood (2007)
The third act of this film was so completely different than the rest of the film that from the moment it started, I felt like I had been transported into another theater altogether. Then it spiraled into crazy town with the now infamous "I drink your milkshake" bit to Plainview's fatal beating of Eli with a bowling pin. And it all ends with "I'm finished." So am I, P.T. Anderson. I'm finished with your films.
[2012 Comments: I have to wonder if it's even Anderson I dislike as much as I'm fed up with Daniel Day-Lewis' ability to overact these days, after finally seeing Gangs of New York. Wonder how he'll handle Lincoln in a few months.]
Day 27 - Best Villain
The Dark Knight (2008)
I know it's common these days, but I'll have to go with Heath Ledger's Joker. It's an amazingly written version of the Joker with a perfect performance to match it. Creepy and crazy with a love for chaos, the Joker is exceptionally villainous in his seduction of the audience. He's so fascinating that he leaves us wanting more, which is the scariest part of all.
[2012 Comments: Four years and a Batman sequel later and he still sends chills down my spine. I miss you, Heath.]
Day 28 - Most Over-Hyped Movie
Damn you, P.T. Anderson! I hate that you duped enough people into loving this ridiculous film that I felt compelled to watch it. I hate that you wasted over three hours of my time. But most of all, I hate your self-indulgent face!
[2012 Comments: Oh yeah, I really don't like P.T. Anderson, except for Boogie Nights. But I'll admit I wasn't in a great 3+ hour film watching mood when I sat down to Magnolia, so I could give it another shot eventually. Maybe as a double feature with Southland Tales.]
Day 29 - Movie You Have Watched More Than Ten Times
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
It's my favorite film. I find more layers to peel back every single time. I can't get enough of it. Nuff said.
[2012 Comments: Nothing to add or take away. Nothing's changed.]
Day 30 - Saddest Death Scene
Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
Ofelia's death at the end of this film is very bittersweet. It's hard to watch her be shot by her evil step-father and bleed to death all alone, but assuming the fairy tale is real, which I do, it's the only way she can return to her realm and be with her family. If you don't believe the fairy tale is real, then this is one dark film to endure.
[2012 Comments: I'm sure I've seen sadder, but nothing is coming to mind. Surely her age and the cruelty of the act feed this one more than most.]
Day 31 - Scene That Made You Stand Up and Cheer
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II (2011)
Yes, I know this film isn't out yet, but I have a feeling that all true Harry Potter nerds around the world will be cheering at the end of a decade of obsession (myself included), be it after the final showdown or when the credits roll. Plus I don't ever recall standing up and cheering once at a movie in the past 29 years.
[2012 Comments: I didn't stand up and cheer. I can't even remember if we clapped or not, but I have a gut feeling we did at some point. Truthfully, I'm not the stand-up-and-cheer-in-a-movie-theater kinda gal.]
Final 2012 Thoughts: There is way too much "new" stuff on this list. Hardly anything pre-2000s. And before 1990 is almost non-existent. But, like I said, I did throw this together pretty quickly in a day or two, so I wasn't giving each category enough thought. Maybe next time I'll remedy that.