Naked Lunch (1991)

Seriously guys, what the hell? I can't even put my confusion and anger into words. This film was the  suck and I have absolutely no idea why it is on the list. Ok, so I hate Magnolia a lot, but I can at least understand why they put it on the 1001 movies list. I'm not even sure why someone felt that Naked Lunch had the right to exist. 

Giant talking asshole bugs are never ok.

It's not like the movie was even that deep. It just liked to act like it was because there was a lot of weird shit happening. I understand that writing about the writing process is cliche and overused and whatnot but deciding to just completely confuse/weird out/totally alienate your audience is not the way to go about solving your problem.

Anyway, I don't have too much more to say about this film other than I have no idea why it is on the list and it was an agonizing two hours. 


Top Gun (1986)

"Your ego's making checks your body can't cash."  

So you take a movie about bad ass fighter pilots, get two of the most prominent sex symbols of the day, a killer eighties soundtrack, throw in a sexy lady who also happens to have a P.H.D in astrophysics, and you of the most homo erotic films that I have seen in a long time. Huh...

Ok, well that doesn't make it bad necessarily. At least it had a great script right? Some really poignant and deep dialog. "Don't screw around with me Maverick. You're a hell of an instinctive pilot. Maybe too good. I'd like to bust your butt but I can't." Ok, so maybe that wasn't a great example.

But the acting was spot on I'm sure. There were so many big names in there. They must have given some really Oscar worthy performances right? I'm pretty sure that Top Gun won some Oscars...ah yes, best music, best effects, best film editing, and best sound. Well I'm sure that they just got snubbed.

Well, the story then. The story must have been killer. I'm sure that it was a really accurate portrayal of life as a fighter pilot in training. Let's see here, it starts out with the heroes dogfighting with North Korean 1986. Ok, whatever, and then they go to the Top Gun Academy where they are considered the rebels but they always get the job done even if it is in a non-traditional way. Hey, that's a good concept! The main character is a total maverick, what was his call sign again?...Oh. So story is not the most important element of a film. 

But there were totally awesome F14 dog fighting scenes! Hells yeah! ::high five::

So top gun isn't the most thought provoking or artistic film ever made, but I think that you would be hard pressed to find someone who didn't think that it was at least a little enjoyable, especially if you have a sense of humor. Does it deserve to be on the list? Eh, it was a big deal in it's time so maybe. I think that the argument can be made that it is an important film to see at some point if for no other reason then the fact that it managed to really capture the nation's attention when it was released.


The Maltese Falcon (1941)

"When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it." 

I came into this film not knowing really anything but within the first ten minutes I felt that I knew exactly what it was all about. Not that it's a bad thing though. I don't really know if this film started it or if it continued it, but it was so entrenched in the private eye genre standards that I felt that I had seen it before.

Having said that, I think that The Maltese Falcon was definitely that best that I have seen of the genre. I have never minded a movie being completely stereotypical (assuming that it is a genre that I like). Part of me feels that this movie was meant to be a bit tongue in cheek anyway.

I do believe that this is the first Humphrey Bogart film that I have seen and I thought that he was really great. He had the cool detective thing down although I've been told that this is just about the only character that he can do. Well, yeah, that would get old but for now I totally dug it. And can we just talk about how hilarious "the fat man" was? I hope that was intentional but either way it was awesome.

From a film making standpoint The Maltese Falcon delivered. It was a gorgeous, clean black and white and the pacing, cinematography, and overall storytelling was really great. It was an excellent example of Film Nior but somehow felt lighter than most.

I enjoyed this film. It was kinda predictable and cliched but I you don't always have to have the most innovative ideas to make a good movie.

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

"I saw three of these dusters a short time ago, they were waiting for a train. Inside the dusters, there were three men. Inside the men, there were three bullets."

I didn't know that my brain could handle three hours of such insane movie beauty and intense badassery. I forgot how much I fucking love this film (and the genre in general). Having said that, this is totally not for everyone. While I would be just as happy to don a full length duster and a cowboy hat and walk around with a six shooter all day, the hardcore western fan is a bit hard to come by in this day and age. Particularly in my generation. 

There are, of course, reasons for this and Once Upon a Time in the West has all of them. A slow drawn out story with scenes that linger and linger on no dialog and no action. Major questions, major character development left unexplored until the end of the film. Cheesy and stereotypical plots and lines. And of course, the silent, stoic hero. Yes, for some people, these are the reasons to hate a film like this. For me, it i why I love it. It's just an aesthetic. 

Having said that, no one can deny how pretty the film was. Every individual shot seemed like it was painstakingly wrought. Even the most minute details were considered and it created a stunning visual piece the entire way through. 

As far as the story goes, sure, some of the ideas were a bit cliche (a city girl moving to the west, a railroad coming through town, a gang of dudes wearing dusters), but that wasn't really the point now was it. They took these elements and imagined them in a different way and that is where the soul of the western lies. I also love the idea, that is present in most westerns of this era, that you never quite know who the good guy is. Maybe there is no good guy. Now don't get me wrong, I love a good old fashioned good guy riding into town and taking out all of the bad cowboys but it would not have worked in this film. All of the characters in the story were deeply flawed and it makes for a much more down to earth and interesting story than it otherwise would have been. 

All in all, while Once Upon a Time in the West is not my favorite western, it is probably the best example of the genre. And yes, I can admit that it did go on a little too long, even for me, but it payed off the entire way through. 


La Vie En Rose (2007)

While I definitely celebrated the demise of the biopic thing that happened in 2007 and 2008 I don't really dislike the genre. It just got really really old after a while. For me, a little of this lingering bad taste in my mouth colored the way I saw this film a bit. 

I really enjoyed it though. The acting was, of course, absolutely phenomenal, the cinematography was gorgeous and the story was interesting enough. I liked the idea of flashing back and forth between where she came from and what she had become. 

The film, in general though, just tried to accomplish too much. It tried to tackle the whole broad scope of her life and in the process a lot was lost in translation. There were too many characters, the story got a bit muddled, and things that would seem important never made an appearance (like World War II for instance). It seems to me that if someone had an interesting enough life to make a film about it, a filmmaker probably could not fit the scope of their whole life in one film. A movie that did the whole biopic thing exceptionally was Capote. It did well, in part, because the filmmakers found one of the most interesting, if not the most interesting piece of Truman Capote's life and focused on that. Because of this, it turned out to be a tight film with a narrow focus that managed to get across a message or two. This was really hat La Vie En Rose lacked. 

So, in the end, I enjoyed the film. It definitely managed to capture my attention for two plus hours (which is really not easy) but without its exceptional performances, I don't feel that I would be a all enamored with it. 


Priscilla Queen of the Desert (1994)

"I've said it before, and I'll say it again: "No more fucking ABBA!" 

I really hate ABBA. It is an unnatural burning hate. So the fact that I had to listen to it in this movie may have had some impact on my opinion of it. Even though the total run time was only 104 minutes, the movie felt really loooooong to me. After a while, the plot just seemed to drag (pun totally intended!). There were some great one liners and, at first, I found the jokes really funny. As the movie wore on though, all of the drag queen/transsexual material got kind of old and stale. By the end of the film I just wanted to yell, "Yeah we know that you like to dress up as girls and dance around, I get it haha."

While there were definitely some interesting points in the film, overall, the relationships between the characters never truly caught my interest. I thought that the love story between Bernadette and Bob was nice and the idea that Tick had a wife and a son where they were going was an interesting curve ball. It just never quite came together for me and I just ended up being confused as to exactly what kind of statement they were trying to make about these relationships. 

There were, of course, some visually beautiful moments in the film. I loved the moif of the long reams of fabric flying behing the bus as it drives through the desert. Even this though started to wear on me after I had seen it over and over again. The desert theme did not help this feeling (and yes that is what they were going for). It just made me feel somewhat isolated and trapped during the film and in the end I walked away with more of an overall sense of desperation than an idea that everything worked out in the end.

Yes, I liked this film. I didn't love it. I feel that I have seen it before and that I have seen this same idea done better (Hedwig and the Angry Inch). I was very surprised to see that this movie was on the list to be quite honest. I know that it made a big splash in the indy world when it come out but I just don't think that, for me, it ever lived up to the hype.