As some of you might remember, I started a series of reviews last year dedicated to my attempt to fill myself in on the last, oh… 70 years or so of classic film making. Between an increased workload at school and my mind-numblingly arduous journey to see every major theatrical release in 2013, I had to put that segment on hold. After a couple months though, I realized that I still have a lot of catching up to do, if nothing else to avoid the embarrasment of not having seen So and So. In light of that, I’ve decided to bring the segment back by doing a weekly round up of the classic films I will be seeing for the first time, along with a micro-review that will consist of a score and about a paragraph of explanation. Here’s what my last week has looked like.
While the tone is a bit cheesy and dated, Back to the Future is by far one of the funnest movies from the 80’s I’ve ever seen. Between the eccentricity of Doc Brown the hilarious awkwardness of Marty McFly being determinedly hit on by his mother, I now completely understand the reason why this remains a huge cult classic. If only the film’s success had rubbed off onto the Delorean…
Prior to Annie Hall, my only experience with Woody Allen had been through the magnificently whimsical Midnight in Paris along with a constant stream of impersonations of him by Jon Stewart. I’ll admit that his stereotypical “nebbish-y Jew” is incredibly whiny at times and could easily be very grating to some people, but the incredible use of a wide range of directorial flourishes make Annie Hall one of the most intriguing and interesting films I’ve seen in years. It definitely helps that Allen can be incredibly funny in a very unique way when he wants to be.
3. Cape Fear (1991): 9.0/10 – Incredible
I am still incredibly embarrassed about my lack of exposure to Martin Scorsese. Of his career’s work, I’ve only seen this, The Departed, and Taxi Driver. Each one of those films has made an amazing impression on me, however, so I’m going to start working my way through his catalog bit by bit. Cape Fear takes a little while to get going, but once it starts moving forward it never slows down until the immensely powerful climax. While the entire film is outstanding, nothing will leave more of a mark on me than Robert DeNiro’s disturbing performance.
Some might say this one is too new to be considered a classic, but those people can go to hell. American Beauty came out more than half of my life-time ago, so I’m going to call it a classic. Featuring some of the best writing and compelling story I’ve ever seen in a dark comedy, American Beauty is simultaneously strange, entertaining, and incredibly haunting. I might even argue it features Kevin Spacey’s finest performance of his career.
Of all the movies here, this is probably the most shameful to have not seen until my 21st year on this planet. In any case, between the quality of the film itself and the sheer amount of references to it I now understand, I’m very glad to have put that milestone behind me. Featuring one of the greatest underdog stories of all time along with a surprisingly tender performance by Sylvester Stallone, it’s no wonder that Rocky is now a shoe-in for most peoples’ favorite movies of all time lists.
Well, there you have them. In case you’re curious, this is what this new week is going to look like:
1. Goodfellas (1990)
2. Casablanca (1942)
3. American History X (1998)
4. Heat (1995)
5. The Breakfast Club (1985)
Let me know if you have any suggestions and I’ll tell you if I’ve seen them or not!