Movies I Should Have Seen By Now: Weekly Wrap-Up 6

So, I’ll admit that the title to this segment has become a bit of a misnomer seeing as it’s been taking me far more than one week to get them out lately.  Luckily, this time I have finals to blame and with those out of the way, I should be back on track to legitimate “Weekly Wrap-Ups” in no time.  This week marks the first set of Movies I Should Have Seen By Now chosen by you, my readers, in last segment’s polls.  If you recall, I had you all select movies from a list of AFI Top 100 films, IMDb Top 250 films, and other culturally significant pieces of cinematic history in order to decide which classic movies I would expose myself to next.   The following films received the highest number of votes in their respective categories.

MV5BMTg0NzA2MzI5MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDM5NTIwNA@@._V1_SX214_Vertigo: 8.5/10 – Impressive

So the following sentence may seem a bit strange coming from a movie lover of any shape or size; I really like Alfred Hitchcock, but I don’t Love Alfred Hitchcock.  Admittedly, I have only seen a small fraction of his huge repertoire, but those films so far have all elicited a pretty similar response while I’m watching them.  I appreciate the performances and am impressed by the cinematic artistry (i.e. Rear Window being filmed exclusively from the point of view of one apartment) but I just never feel that sort of “edge-of-your-seat” effect that I would expect from someone known as the Master of Suspense.  Vertigo is no different.  I loved the performances and was fully drawn in by the mystery of the story, but I just never felt that apprehensive or excited while it was all going on.  I have no doubt that if I were seeing the movie in 1960 I would be singing a different tune, but as long as we’re in the present I’ll probably just keep re-watching All About Eve.

MV5BMjIxNjYwNDMzMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODA5Mzg3OA@@._V1_SX214_The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: 8.5/10: Impressive

In all fairness, I later found out that what I ended up watching was the Extended Edition of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.  That particular version of the film clocked in at just over three hours, a factor which is the main reason why my score is so “low”.  I recognize I can’t quite comment on the original version of the film (which clocks in at just over 160 minutes) but I’m just going to go ahead and do so anyway.  Despite its length and subsequent pacing issues, I now completely understand why many consider the film to be the best Western of all time.  The reason for this isn’t the catchy title, the iconic soundtrack or the Spaghetti Western shooting style though.  That honor belongs to Clint Eastwood, whose picture isn’t just next to the definition of the word “Badass” in the dictionary; it IS the definition.  Eastwood’s trademark squinty-eyed stare sets the standard for not-to-be-f*cked-with, and it has never been more on point than in this movie.  Add in a great villain for him to use that stare on and you wind up with a truly genre-defining film.

MV5BODQwOTc5MDM2N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODQxNTEzNA@@._V1_SX214_12 Angry Men: 9.5/10 – Pretty Much Perfect

While not all of the visual effects of Sci-Fi and Suspense classics are able to stand the test of time, there is one thing that will never lose its punch when it comes to filmmaking; great dialogue.  The biggest thing I have always enjoyed about older movies is that the level of intelligence and wit in that era of screenwriting puts most of today’s material to shame.  As a result, all of my favorite classic films share a level of exquisite writing that I will never tire of.  12 Angry Men now has joined this club, and to anyone who has seen the movie this shouldn’t be any surprise.  The premise of the movie is so simple and the focus is so narrow that it’s a wonder there’s any drama at all.  After all, there’s no violence, no back-stabbing, no twist ending, none of the usual tricks that movies usually use to keep your attention.  It is simply a debate between twelve random strangers over the fate of a young man accused of the murder of his father, yet in that debate director Sidney Lumet manages to weave in a number of incendiary subjects without coming across as preachy or judgmental.  This is a movie about people, and by maintaining his focus on those people rather than plot gimmicks or exotic locales Lumet is able to examine what it is that makes those people human better than nearly any other film I’ve ever seen.

MV5BMTk5NzE0MDQyNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzk4Mjk3OA@@._V1_SY317_CR2,0,214,317_Snatch:  8.0/10 – Pretty Damn Great

I know of a certain Blogger who was very enthusiastic about this making it into this week’s roundup so I was very happy to see it make the cut when the final tallies came in.  I’m usually not the biggest fan of “Style-over-Substance” directors, but I’d previously seen and enjoyed Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies so I figured some of his older work might hold a similar level of entertainment value.  Turns out, I was dead wrong; there’s nothing similar at all about the entertainment values of Snatch and Sherlock Holmes, the former kicks the latter’s ass from here to the other side of the pond.  Sure, Snatch is still the sort of Style-Over-Substance film making that Ritchie has always been known for, but oh that style!  I’ve always loved a good stupid-criminal flick and to see that sub-genre done so sharply in Snatch was an absolute blast.  The only downside is that the movie made me think of The Italian Job remake and the fact that Jason Statham was SO much more fun before he did those stupid Transporter movies and became our generation’s generic action hero.

MV5BMTg0NjMyNTY4OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwOTMxOTY4._V1_SX214_The Blair Witch Project: 7.0/10 – Good

I’ll be honest, I was taken pretty off-guard when this one came in the #1 position in the “Culturally Significant” category.  That’s not to say that it isn’t culturally significant, I guess I just thought that people weren’t too crazy about the film from a critical standpoint.  Having now seen it for myself, I understand both why it wasn’t a major critical hit and why it still came in as #1 in the voting.  For better or worse, The Blair Witch Project ushered in an era of cheap “found-footage” film making that is still alive and kicking to this very day.  What’s even more amusing to me, coming from a generation which has essentially grown up with the format, is the thought that so many people thought that it was real when it first came out.  Real or fake, it doesn’t matter; I’m still not going camping any time in the near future without at least four or five other people that I could reasonably outrun if push came to shove.  The Blair Witch Project is to horror what a movie like Anchorman is to Comedy; it might not be solid gold by most movie metrics, but it does exactly what you go into the movie expecting it to do.  Anchorman keeps you laughing for the dozenth time you’ve seen it, whereas The Blair Witch Project will make you unable to sleep with the light off

And so I have made another small increase to my cinematic XP level.  Now it’s time once again for all of you to pick the next five films which I will experience for the first time.  Please take the time to vote below for your favorite (or least favorite) movies in each category!

About r361n4

I'm a student at the University of Washington Majoring Business. I've always loved movies and my goal is to work on the financial side of the film industry. Until then though, I figure I'll spare my friends from my opinions and shout them from a digital mountaintop for anyone who's interested. After all, if a tree falls in a forest and nobody blogs about it, does it really happen?
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23 Responses to Movies I Should Have Seen By Now: Weekly Wrap-Up 6

  1. You haven’t seen Twelve Monkeys!

  2. mettelray says:

    Snatch!! Wooop! 😀

    PS: 12 Angry Men is truly close to perfection for what it is.. a single room, just a brilliant script.. my classics top 3 for sure!

  3. Nick Powell says:

    Glad you’re getting around to these, but shame on you for taking so long! Especially 12 Angry Men!

  4. ckckred says:

    Vertigo, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, and 12 Angry Men are all personal favorites of mine. I voted for both Network and Dog Day Afternoon on the poll if you want to see more Sidney Lumet movies.

  5. keith7198 says:

    That is a great variety of movies. Vertigo is a really good film but unlike many I wouldn’t call it Hitch’s best. 12 Angry Men is brilliant and The Good, Bad, Ugly is western brilliance. I haven’t seen Snatch and Blair Witch was simply ok to me. Glad you have now seen some of these. Can’t wait for the next installment!

    • r361n4 says:

      Yeah, Blair Witch was a mediocre movie to me but it stills scared my pants off so I’ll give it that. What would you call Hitchcock’s best btw?

  6. I love 12 Angry Men to bits! I watch it every year at least once. So intriguing and awesome! 🙂 Can’t wait to see what you review next!

    • r361n4 says:

      Glad to hear more support for it, I’ve only given out two other 9.5’s on this blog before, Casablanca and All About Eve, so it’s great to see another movie earn it

  7. 12 Angry Men is on my list of things I haven’t seen either and judging by your review and the comments on here, I really need to get it watched! Good stuff Andy.

    • r361n4 says:

      It’s just a classic “bottle episode” of a movie, and Henry Fonda is amazing in it. Let me know if you do end up catching it ever 🙂

  8. Beer Movie says:

    I really like this series that you do. I understand where you are coming from with your thoughts on Hitch. I love him because he was such an iconic director and made some incredibly original things. But whilst he made possibly more really good films than any director in history, I personally feel that he never reached the sheer insane heights of a select few directors (Fritz Lang or Welles for e.g.)

    Reading that back it sounds a little silly. Like I’m bagging Hitch for not having made one of the top 5 or so films ever in my opinion. I really love Hitch though and am looking forward to keeping on working my way through his stuff.

    • r361n4 says:

      I’ve actually never seen anything by Lang, what would you recommend I start on? Glad you like the series! Anyways I get what your saying about Hitchcock 🙂

      • Beer Movie says:

        Definitely M. I think it is one of the greatest films ever and is in my top 5 favourites of all time. Also, if you are into sci-fi and/or silent film, then Metropolis is also a must see.

  9. sati says:

    Awesome that you liked Snatch! It’s actually my 3rd favorite movie of all time and my favorite comedy – I must have seen it at least 15 times. I love Statham in Ritchie’s movies, I really hope they will team up again.

  10. Voted. Glad you like Twelve Angry Men! Its one of my favorites as well! I like this post

  11. Nice picks. I love 12 Angry Men!
    Oh, and your new polls gave me a hard time but I made some good choices, I think.

  12. Those are some badass movies! I love that you let us pick your next batch — that’s really cool.

    • r361n4 says:

      Thanks 🙂 I’ve been surprised by the picks so far, and it’s great to discover some of those that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise

    • r361n4 says:

      Thanks! Glad to hear you voted, I think I have the final choices for next week set in stone now. Check back to see what they ended up being 🙂

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