Thursday, March 31, 2011

Grease (Kleiser. 1978)

"Tell me about it, stud...."

How about I try to write about one of the most seen and loved films in all of American history? That is what the 1077 Films to See Before You Die is forcing me to do by including Grease on the list. This is a film that managed to take over the entire world for a multitude of reasons. Though the picture is not a particularly good one, it still gets a mass amount of style points. It had the power to start a throwback phenomenon which has lasted even after the dreadful sequel.

In 1978, Grease was a throwback to the culture of the 1950's. Today we see it all differently. We now realize that Grease is a massively simplified version of the rock and roll decade that features cardboard stereotypes of high school students. Though this is not a problem that Kleiser cannot overcome using great performances by select members of his cast.

Olivia Newton John gives her most well known performance as the clean-cut Aussie, Sandy Olsen. She is sweet and soft spoken for the majority of Grease, but she delightfully flips the switch to vixen with minimal effort. She was easily my first Hollywood crush growing up....something I now regret.

It is also important to note the performances of Stockard Channing as Rizzo and Jeff Conaway as Kenickie, but not as individual performances. As a couple, these two characters bring all of the edge to Grease. They may be watered down silhouettes of Rebel Without A Cause (1955), but they are still important nonetheless. High school films draw us in because they make us believe that issues like breaking up, making out and pregnancy scares are life and death to these characters. Without this additional drama there would be nothing to help Grease jump off the screen. It would be a very flat picture.

But obviously the highlight of Grease is the performance of John Travolta as the greaser, Danny Zuko. Travolta radiates campy musical machismo with is slicked back hair and custom T-Bird leather jacket. He is the image that we automatically associate with the 1950's. Not unlike Saturday Night Fever (1977), Travolta proves in this picture that he can dance. One thing we did not know at the time was that he could also sing. Let us set aside what we now know about the career of John Travolta. When we look at Saturday Night Fever and then a film like Grease - we can see why he is a much beloved Hollywood legend.

We all know that Grease is based off the Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey musical by the same name, and this is one of the reasons that people love it so much. The feel of the whole production just oozes idyllic nostalgia with revved up cars, poodle skirts and leather jackets. The music, some of which was not originally featured in the stage production, blends the sounds of the early rock and roll and R & B generations. The landmarks are, of course, Greased Lighting, Sandra Dee and You're the One That I Want. But each song is memorable and fun.

Of course every not-great film has its flaws. Grease is one of those select high school films where everyone in the picture looks to be about 45 years old. As you get older, the entire production becomes more and more difficult to believe. That being said, I still strongly recommend that you see Grease.

Grease: C+

My Next Film....Wild Strawberries (Bergman. 1957)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rocky (Avildsen. 1976)

"Apollo Creed vs. the Italian Stallion. Sounds like a damn monster movie."

America is the land of opportunity. As young people in this country we are raised to believe that we can accomplish anything. In the naivety of our youth we accept this as truth. In the pessimism of age we realize this is not the case. Somewhere in the middle of youth and age sits our love for the underdog. This love is exactly what the Best Picture winning film, Rocky, is all about. I have seen a ton of films in my life. Rocky is still my all time favorite. The 1077 Films to See Before You Die obviously features a plethora of esteemed films, but this list is distinguished by the inclusion of Stallone and Avildsen's masterpiece.

At this point in our pop culture lives, we are familiar with the character of Rocky Balboa. He was created by Stallone in the early 70's and shopped around to all of the major studios before finally being picked up by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The studio did not originally want Stallone to star in the title role, but could ever imagine it any differently?

It has been said that, as Rocky, Stallone resembled the next Marlon Brando. He was gritty, growling and masculine with a false bravado that hampered him all of his life. Like Brando's most famous characters, Rocky "could have been a contender" but instead lost his focus and became a bum. He lives in the slum of a deserted-esque Philadelphia in a rundown apartment with his two turtles, Cuff and Link. In his spare time he trains in Mickey's gymnasium, but he is usually ignored by the head trainer. Rocky is also in love with the cripplingly shy pet store worker, Adrian.

Played by Talia Shire, Adrian exemplifies your typical sheltered child. She is awkward, unfriendly and submissive, but Rocky sees the good in her. As they fall in love, Rocky shows another Brando-ethos...the heart of gold. When Adrian asks him why he fights, he quickly answers with "because I can't sing or dance." He breaks his machismo for the one that he loves.

Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), the boxing champion of the world, gives the nobody Rocky Balboa an undeserved shot at the Undisputed Title. He does this in the interest of proving that America is still a great land of opportunity...or at least that is his surface reason. All of a sudden Rocky is the biggest underdog in boxing history and Philadelphia's newest sweetheart. But Rocky is not concerned with winning the match. He is more interested in living up to his potential- going the distance.

It is true that the underdog story had been told 1,000,000 times before Rocky, but Stallone's screenplay gives you an incredibly fresh take on everything. This is not a film about cliches or corn-dog feelings. Rather, Rocky is a film about the person that we all wish we could encompass. He is given the chance to live his dream and he takes full advantage. He gives himself over to the opportunity. Rocky is an inspirational picture that reminds us all why we like movies in the fist place.

As my all time favorite movie and a Best Picture winner, Rocky has always been well represented in personal DVD collection. It is a picture for people who like movies. Rocky Balboa has managed to remain one of the most recognizable characters in all of film. And though Stallone did not become the next Brando, we do thank him everyday for going the distance in his only Academy Award nominated performance.

Rocky: B+

My Next Film.....Grease (Kleiser. 1978)

Monday, March 28, 2011

No Country for Old Men (Coen Brothers. 2007)* Perfect Film

"What's the most you ever lost on a coin toss?"

Imagine you are walking through a deserted desert and you happen to come across a bunch of dead Mexicans – the result of a drug deal gone wrong. Trying to escape the scene of this crime, you see a briefcase containing $2 million of dirty money. What do you do? Do you pick it up, or leave it?

This is the emotional quandary put upon cowboy Llewellyn Moss in the Best Picture winning classic, No Country for Old Men. A few posts ago, I introduced my sub-list of the 1077 Films to See Before You Die, Jake's 10 Perfect Movies. This Coen Brothers master-work is the second film (or 9th countung down) to make my cut.

Based off the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name, the film was a gritty breath of fresh air. The film itself featured a castlist that read off like a Hollywood guest list.

Tommy Lee Jones gives the performance of his career as Ed Tom Bell, the aging sheriff of a small Texas county. He is an important player in making No Country perfect. Though he does have limited screen time, he is still the main protagonist of the picture. Bell is captivating with his determination, yet sad in his old age. He does not have the same understanding of the West that he used to - which breaks our hearts.

But it would be silly to not mention the breakout character of No Country, Anton Chigurh. Played by Javier Bardem, Chigurh was horrifically grotesque. His dialogue was frightening, his actions were shocking and his weapons were dominating. The role has actually propelled Bardem to a household name and even won him an Academy Award for best Supporting Actor. Everything from his haircut to his mythos screamed psycho, and he carried himself almost in the fashion of a sadistic super-villian. I believe Chigurh will be remembered as one of film's finer bad guys.

With all of this considered, I still haven't named the most important part of the picture. Silence was the greatest contributor to the overall effect of the film. In fact, the film didn't even have enough background score to qualify for an Academy nomination. The simple sounds of a man breathing or door creaking creates a painfully tense experience that was uncomfortable for the viewer, but at the same time strangely rewarding. Most of Josh Brolin's on screen time is unpleasantly silent.

Though No Country was very well-recieved, there were some outsranding complaints upon release. For example, the Coens do choose to kill certain main characters off-screen. This frustrated viewers and critics alike, but I think it is brilliant. We, as viewers, were not treated to the visual of our hero's death - rather we are forced to imagine what happened. This trick also causes confusion that puts a filmgoer on an equal plain with Jones' character throughout the picture. We are lost in the frey of constantly changing events. And no matter how hard we try - we are constantly playing catch up. This is the genious that is Coen. They make you think.

But the single most perfect moment of No Country for Old Men is the final scene. In this memorable cliff-hanger, Jones lulls the audience to sleep with the telling of a dream that he had the night before. Before he is even able to finish his thoughts, the screen just turns to dark and the production is over. This is not a film that leaves you pumped or excited - or even fulfilled. It leaves you frustrated. It picks at your brain without any narrative compromise.

Painfully gorgeous and hard to swallow, the Coen Brothers have again captured the true darkness and loneliness of the west. The tough cat and mouse chase between Moss and Chigurh launched what I consider to be the greatest film of the 2000's. Some films from the 1077 Films to See Before You Die are horrible. Some, like No Counrty are perfect.

No Country for Old Men: A+

My Next Film....Rocky (Avildsen. 1976)

Jake's 10 Perfect Movies

10. Pulp Fiction (Tarantino, 1994)
9. No Country for Old Men (Coen Brothers. 2007)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

M (Lang. 1931)

"I can't help myself! I haven't any control over this evil thing that's inside of me!"

Have you ever known someone with a mental instability? If so, then you are already well versed in the trials of understanding. In 1931, Frtiz Lang released a film that was simply titled M. His goal was to develop a character like nobody had ever seen before in film. In doing this, Lang created Hans Beckart- cinema's first serial killer (and hinted child molester). The 1077 Films to See Before You Die is filled with police thrillers, but none had a bigger impact than the first of its kind. M is a subtle exploit of the disturbed human mind.

Though Lang is still best known for his work in silent films like Metropolis (1927), he also had a lasting career in talking pictures. M was the first film that Lang made with audible dialogue, so you figured he would use it in abundance. But this is not the case. The German actors and actresses all have very limited speaking parts, and the film thrives off of crafty camera manipulation and technically astounding shadow casting. Lang practically wrote the book on how to make a suspense thriller.

This is a film that boasts the very first serial killer in cinema. This is a significance that should not be taken lightly. Almost every single thriller or murder flick owes everything to this monumental picture. But unlike a lot of the murder flicks these days, M is a mature take on an idea that was fresh at the time. This is not a slasher film. It digs deeper into our nerves with an unsettling political message.

M questions the morality and effectiveness of the legal system in Germany. After the police spend several unsuccessful months trying to catch the child killer, the heat and paranoia on the streets pick up to an unbearable level. This frustrates the usual crime syndicates of Berlin because it makes their everyday dealings much more difficult. So, they gather together and hire the beggars of the city to try and track Beckart down. Once he is captured, Beckart is put in front a court of criminals; he is on trial for his life.

This leads to one of the most damaging speeches in the early days of film. Beckart (Peter Lorre) gives a blood curdling speech where he begs for our forgiveness. He explains that he lives a constant nightmare. He does not want to kill. But he has to in order to stop the voices in his head. Lang did not add this scene to make us forgive the acts of a killer, but he wanted us to see how quickly we lose our ability to understand. Is Hans Beckart really evil? Or is he a victim of his own mind?

I have seen several films from the 1077 Films to See Before You Die that were made in the 1930's. But few of them have had the same impact that M has had on me. Lorre's performance is brilliant, Lang's directing is skillful and the overall look of the film is gloomy and mysterious. I loved this movie.

M: A

My Next Film.....No Country for Old Men (Coen Brothers. 2007) *Perfect Movie

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Naked Lunch (Cronenberg. 1991)

"William S. Burroughs is one of the most pathetic figures in modern literature..."

What the hell is going on right now? I probably asked that question more times during David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch than I have otherwise in my entire life. Seriously, I was so confused throughout this film that I could not help but be amazed by every single incoherent plot device. Some selections from the 1077 Films to See Before You Die will leave you wondering what redeeming qualities could possibly be found. Naked Lunch is one of those films. But after a while you will start to recognize the strong suit of a picture like this one. Entertaining? Not really. Visually impressive? No way. Interesting and thought provoking? Without a doubt. This is one of the most original and daring films I have seen in my life. So much so that it suffers.

This film is very loosely based on the "classic" William S. Burroughs novel of the same name. The novel itself is famously unintelligible, but the film adaptation may actually be more difficult to decipher than its source material. Naked Lunch tells the story of an exterminator who is doing his best to stay clean from drugs. The main character, played by the stone-robotic Peter Weller, is an obvious homage to Burroughs.

In writing the screenplay, Cronenberg decided to scrap most of the novel's plot and replaced it with a more biographical account of Burroughs' mental demise. He was even brave enough to include and stress the accidental murder of Burroughs' wife during a William Tell routine. This event kick-started the downfall of William Lee (Weller) and served as a catalyst for the ensuing nonsense.

Before I go any further with the plot, I want to point out the genius that is Peter Weller. Most famous for his title role in RoboCop (1987), Weller really comes to life in Naked Lunch...but not in a conventional way. His performance is text book dead-pan. He says all of his lines with a steady monotone that at times is appropriately comical. His eyes never show emotion and his forehead never wrinkles. He seems to be in firm control of the craziness around him- though we know he is not. Even his wardrobe is too conventional for his ethos. He is only seen in well pressed suits of brown or gray. Weller turns Lee into one of the most boring characters in film, but that is what makes him so interesting.

Okay, back to the story. This non-secular narrative is actually really difficult to follow. You are presented with surreal dreams, hallucinations, writings coming to life, homosexual erotisism and several other outlandish inclusions. And did I mention the whole damn film is about bugs?!

That's right, Naked Lunch boasts some of the strangest on-screen figures I have ever seen. After falling back into his drug habits, Lee escapes to a mysterious place called the Interzone. Here he finds talking bugs that disguise themselves as typewriters and giant alien looking, bug-like, animals that make homosexual advances towards him. I warned you that the film makes no sense.

But under all of the unusualness that surrounds it, Naked Lunch is an amazingly original film. It is made great by its inability to compromise with the audience. Cronenberg does not care if his film makes sense, yet Weller's performance makes the whole story fit into place. This is one of the most modern examples of drug-induced surrealism done at an exceptionally high level.

Armed with limitless imagination and a flair for the unusual, Naked Lunch will bop you in your cinematic brain and turn your gag-reflex inside out. But there is something special about the dry and incomprehensible humor of the whole project that makes it all work. Cronenberg managed to take nonsense and make it thoughtful, or (at the very least) deep with pretense. I doubt I will ever watch this film again, but it still has made a considerable impact on how I view film making. I warned you about this one....

Naked Lunch: C+

My Next Film....M (Lang. 1931)

The Wolf Man (Waggner. 1941)

"On the Mt. Rushmore of movie monsters, Larry Talbot would have the Thomas Jefferson spot up there next to Dracula, Frankenstein and The Mummy."

What can a person do on an incredibly low budget? In the modern film industry a movie with a minuscule budget would find getting publicity very difficult. This was not the case in 1941 when George Waggner's The Wolf Man was filmed on a budget of $180,000. His production company, Universal Pictures, was suffering from losses on their previous films. So it was imperative that The Wolf Man was a hit. With a tiny budget and limited studio backing, Waggner was able to create one of the most lasting films on the entire 1077 Films to See Before You Die.

Again, it is important to stress the very small amount of money the studio allowed for filming this picture. Most films would have folded under the intense pressure that was thrust upon The Wolf Man , but Waggner's vision was much more than a B-movie. He compiled some of the most acclaimed actors of the time to help keep his film above water. Academy Award nominated performers like Claude Rains, Ralph Bellamy and Maria Ouspenskaya make up the supporting cast, and the lead role is played by a man with a legacy all of his own.

Lon Chaney Jr. was an actor that was born into monster films. His father, screen legend Lon Chaney, was one of the quintessential monsters in the early days of horror films. Though Jr. had an acting career of his own to boast, it was not difficult to see why Universal would want him to follow in his father's footsteps. He plays the title character with a frightful submissiveness that demands your sympathy. He is cursed by the Werewolf. He did not ask for this to happen. But he cannot stop it. He is doomed. And we feel for him.

Another interesting aspect of The Wolf Man is the make-up. This was all done by the famous make-up artist, Jack Pierce. He used unusual things like cotton and yak fur for one of the most memorable monsters in all of film. Though it may look hokey now, we have to remember that CGI and advanced make-up techniques did not exist yet. Those are the things that Pierce pioneered. Also, the studio famously censored the make up of the Wolf Man. They were afraid that making Chaney look too beastly would frighten people a little too much. So Pierce was required to tone the wolf-like appearance down. It has been said that the main character looked more like a hog than a wolf, but with the proper mindset- it is a very impressive display of skill by Jack Pierce.

All-in-all I have seen much more frightening films than The Wolf Man. But its importance to film is uncanny. With an accomplished cast and an iconic premise, Waggner and Chaney Jr. helped craft one of the most used genres in all of film. Horror was never the same again.

The Wolf Man: C

My Next Film....Naked Lunch (Cronenberg. 1991)

A Fish Called Wanda (Crichton. 1988)

"Apes don't read philosophy."

I have found that there are several films on the 1077 Films to See Before You Die that will leave you depressed. This makes completing the list a very daunting task. There are days when one cannot handle another neo-realistic tear-jerker. Sometimes you just need to watch a movie that will make you laugh. If you are trying to finish the 1077 Films to See Before You Die and you feel like you need a break from the depressing - I recommend you watch Charles Crichton's 1988 comedy, A Fish Called Wanda.

There are several things that make A Fish Called Wanda a working comedy, but the biggest working aspect is the film's silliness. This is not Citizen Kane (1941). There is no need to take what you are watching seriously. This is fluffy entertainment at its comedic apex. This has everything to do with the perfect cast and the side-splitting screenplay.

The screenplay for A Fish Called Wanda was primarily written by Monty Python alum, John Cleese. He uses the classic comedic formula of putting four very different characters in an outrageous situation. You have your straight laced good guy (Cleese), your vixen (Jamie Lee Curits), your sympathetic goofball (Michael Palin) and your funny man villain (Kevin Kline). While these characters interact with each other we are forced to recognize that intertwining relationships will eventually be each person's demise. Cleese was able to create simple, yet frantic, communication between each on-screen persona. Nothing ever goes outside of the box, but the entire plot remains fresh due to quick dialogue and quirky character traits.

Though the remarkably unattractive Jamie Lee Curtis gets top billing for A Fish Called Wanda, the picture is absolutely stolen by the charismatic and hilarious performance of Kevin Kline. He plays a faux-intellectual criminal named Otto who believes himself to be the smartest man alive. He stumbles through classic philosophical works and then butchers the famous lines from them, respectively. He rips apart the romantic languages as he pretends to fluently speak them. Kline gives himself over to the comedic Gods in this role. Everything he says or does is funny. Everything from his actions to his accents will make you chuckle. He even has a perfect villain mustache.

Funny, silly and zany are the perfect words to describe A Fish Called Wanda. The humor of the picture is a testament to Cleese's writing and Crichton's skillful directing. This, unlike many other films from the list, is one that you can watch at any time of day. You will laugh at the cartoonish concepts and witty banters of this 1980's classic. A Fish Called Wanda is one of my new favorite comedies. It is lighthearted, fluffy and hilarious.

A Fish Called Wanda: B-

My Next Film....The Wolf Man (Waggner. 1941)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (Christensen. 1922)

"We no longer burn our old and poor. But do they not often suffer bitterly?"

Do you think that silent films are boring? How about foreign films? The majority of you just answered those questions with an unmistakable- yes! Well, I would like to introduce to you a silent foreign film that is the opposite of boring. In fact, Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages is one of the finest films I have ever seen. Benjamin Christensen, the film's writer/director, manufactured a fascinating "documentary" that was seemingly split into three parts.

I put quotes around documentary because, much like The Man with the Movie Camera, I do not consider this to be an absolute documentary film. The film is split into several chapters that make up three very different film styles. The first of these three is your standard documentary.

Häxan opens with several pictures and diagrams that teach the viewer about witchcraft. It is almost like you are watching a really interesting college lecture. This is the closest thing to documentary I have seen so far on the 1077 Films to See Before You Die. A man stands with a pointer at the side of these pictures and directs your attention to the important images. This is the least stunning part of the film, but it is still intensely thought provoking.

Christensen then throws you into the second part of Häxan. He stages and acts out scenes of what being accused of witchcraft may have been like in those times. This part of the picture is pure fiction - though based on factual accounts. These scenes are interesting and slightly disturbing. They feature men in devilish make-up that posses the souls of innocent women. These sequences are scary enough that you will be entertained. It is easy to see the influence that Häxan had on early horror film making.

The final stage of the film is more of a political statement than a documentary. Christensen spends the latter third of the film comparing the witch hunts of the earlier centuries to the treatment of the impoverished and elderly in modern times. He tells us that we treat our poor and old the same way that accused witches were treated. This is a neat and timely commentary that has the power to make you feel pretty awful about yourself. Though his message was meant for a 1922 audience, the ideals are not lost on today's youth.

The overall message of Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages is that we should not let fear and religious fanaticism dominate our behavior. We have a responsibility to try and understand the world and the people in it who are different than us.

So yeah, the film is silent and the dialogue cards are in Swedish. But, with English subtitles, this is still a film that I very much encourage you to watch. It is one of the oldest films on the list, but it can be found on Youtube. excuses.

Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages: A

My Next Film....Nosferatu: A Symphony of Terror (Murnau. 1922)

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (Meyer. 1965)

"Women! They let 'em vote, smoke and drive - even put 'em in pants! And what happens? A Democrat for president!"

Some filmmakers are famous for making movies that transcend generations. Others, like Russ Meyer, simply make films that are entertaining. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is not one of the better films I have seen from the 1077 Films to See Before You Die, but it is without a doubt one of the most memorable. As one of the first sexploitation films ever made, Meyer created a feminist classic that still remains a staple in the 1960's cult-film library.

As a stand alone film, Faster, Pussycat! Kill Kill! is not very good. It follows the story of three female strippers who use their large breasts and sassy attitudes to dominate and intimidate men. After one particularly rough encounter with a teenage couple the three vixens find themselves on the lam for murder.

This leads to all sorts of sexually promiscuous, violent and fast paced activity that drives the real ethos of Meyer's vision. He was not out to create three sexy females to gawk at...he created three sexy females that should terrify you. In the 1960's the sexual revolution was in full swing, and Meyer knew that a film like Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! had the power to turn everyone's pre-conceived ideas upside down. These are not your everyday female sex symbols.

Rather than lusting after the three vixens, you find yourself being revolted by their sexuality. You see them use their looks to get what they want as they discard men like we usually see men do with women. It is an intimidating concept for a man to try and comprehend. Their gigantic boobs are not seen as objects of desire, but rather as weapons that should be avoided.

I highly doubt that Meyer was trying to make a film that would be remembered as a leading example of feminism, but that is exactly what he accomplished. His frantic, violent and sexual storytelling influenced a wide range of people from John Waters to Madonna, and his ambitious view of promiscuity is still a hot-button issue in film history.

It is actually rather difficult to know what Meyer was trying to do with Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. There is not a genre with wide enough boundaries to hold a film like it. I have to admit that the film is not great. It is the message presented by the characters that makes it memorable. In 1965, Meyer was able to shout out for women everywhere that they were just as sexual, strong and forceful as any man. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is strong enough for a man, but made for a woman. I really hope you check this one out.

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!: C

My next film....Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (Christensen. 1922)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Paranormal Activity (Peli. 2007)

"I feel it. I feel it breathing on me."

Some films are scary because they show what monsters look like. Other films frighten an audience by making them think about the unpleasant. Then there are some films, like Oren Peli’s Paranormal Activity, that scare viewers without showing anything outright. This is one of the most interesting and original films on the entire 1077 Films to See Before You Die. Peli is able to get inside your head and really mess with your psyche. This is why Paranormal Activity makes the list. It is also why I love it so much.

The film follows a young couple who have just recently moved in together. The young woman in this couple, Katie, fears that she has been haunted by a demon for her entire life and that it is now trying to really make itself known. Her boyfriend, Micah, is a non-believer who decides that he wants to video record their home at night to prove that they are not being haunted.

This creates the first interesting aspect of Paranormal Activity. The film is shot from the vantage point of Micah’s video camera without any real cuts or edits. This helped Peli during advertising because he was able to convince people that it was legitimate “found footage” of a couple being haunted. No scene in the film is edited, though some are fast-forwarded, rather each scene serves as an individual free-flowing horror verite. It also manufactures an element of undoubted suspense over what will happen next to the couple. The home video shooting style very rarely works, but Peli managed to master it in his debut film.

Speaking of Oren Peli, one fun fact about Paranormal Activity is that the whole film is actually shot inside his real home. He spent months preparing his house for shooting, and it works. His home is a perfect frame for all of the spooky things that happen as Micah and Katie sleep. The most utilized room in the picture, the bedroom, is a masterfully organized setting for the action. The homey appearance of the film just makes it that much more terrifying.

Okay, now I need to explain why I believe Paranormal Activity is so horrifying. Where is the one place in the entire world where you are safe? The correct answer is your bed. No matter what, as long as you make it to your comfortable bed you are safe from life’s scary monsters. It has been this way since childhood. Paranormal Activity takes that security away from you. It shows how things can happen as you are asleep. It directly confronts the human vulnerability that comes with deep sleep. Things happen around Katie and Micah, but they never know.

Also, the paranormal entity in the film has no respect for a bed’s safety powers. It attacks Katie as she sleeps. This is a concept that kept me awake at night for several following weeks. I do not want to know what happens as I am resting. Paranormal Activity has no right to show it to me. This is what horror is all about.

The film has an interesting shooting style and a very scary plot. The only real flaw in the whole production is the ending. I am obviously not going to spoil anything for you, but I feel like the ending of Paranormal Activity is cheap. I found it to be extremely predictable. But then again, most horror films are predictable.

That being said, I believe that Paranormal Activity is the most important horror film of the last ten years. It is not childish, hokey or simple like most scary Hollywood garbage. Instead it is just simply scary. And that is all you need from a horror flick.

Paranormal Activity: B-

My Next Film……Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (Meyer. 1965)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Umberto D. (De Sica. 1952)

"Umberto doesn't care if we love him or not. That is why we love him."

Have you ever had one of those days where you just need a really good cry? You know, when things are at a dull point and you just need something to help you feel like crap? I never have these days- because I am a man. But for the rest of you I would recommend Italian neo-realism. This is a heavily represented genre on the 1077 Films to See Before You Die, and my first experience with it was Vittorio De Sica's Umberto D..

Italian neo-realism is a genre that does not need a happy ending. Films of this style usually follow the post World War citizens of Italy and how the deal with economic pressures. The heroes of these films are usually very poor and struggle to stay above the water of their countries downward economy. Umberto D. is not an exception to this rule.

The film tells the story of Umberto Ferrari. He is an elderly man living off of a pension that does not even cover his living expenses. His landlord is a selfish and wicked lady who is evicting him so she can turn his room into a temple for adulterers. Though Umberto does eventually befriend the maid, his only real friend in the world is his dog, Flike. Umberto is struggling to live his life of poverty without losing his dignity. He does not want to be reduced to a beggar on the streets, but he is without a home or any other options.

An interesting aspect of neo-realism is that the filmmakers wanted the films to be as emotionally raw as possible. Because of this, De Sica decided to cast non-professional actors in Umberto D. This created an emotional clasp around the viewer because they easily related to the poor man's story. You are not watching an actor pretend to struggle. You are watching Umberto Ferrari, an elderly Italian man, as he tries to survive.

One of the most heart-tugging scenes in Umberto D. is when Flike runs away while Umberto is in the hospital. He is eventually found at the dog pound in a moment that is perfect for the cinema. Umberto and Flike share a man-dog embrace that is shot in an incredibly original way. De Sica and his amateur actors do not try to force you to tears. They are so natural and believable that the tears start to flow on their own. It really is an amazing acting phenomenon.

I almost forgot to mention that Umberto D. is, on the surface, about a man trying to commit suicide. He cannot let himself become a beggar, but he also cannot leave his beloved Flike to fend for himself. The story ends with Umberto staying alive for the love of man's best friend. These two need each other. They live for each others' happiness. But still, the ending of Umberto D. is not uplifting. We are not treated to a greater message about the joys of life. Instead, we are left wondering how Umberto will survive on the streets without a home. We are sad for him because we know his happiness will not last.

Umberto D. is shot in a beautiful black and white that does not look dated or scratchy at all. It is in Italian, so you will have to read the heartbreaking dialogue. But a film as great as this one is worth reading. Italian neo-realism has the power to ruin your day, but it is also one of the most honest and powerful genres in film. Umberto D. is a showing in sympathy that you cannot pass up.

Umberto D.: B+

My next film......Paranormal Activity (Peli. 2007)

The Adventures of Robin Hood (Curtiz. Keighley. 1938)

“Men, if you're willing to fight for our people, I want you!”

I have to admit, there are some films on the 1077 Films to See Before You Die that I am giddy to watch. As a kid, I always wanted to be Robin Hood. I loved how suave he was. I loved how he was able to stir up trouble for all of the right reasons. I really loved how he always presented the moral high-ground. Okay, you caught me, I am ginger and I loved that he wore lots of green. Either way, our hero shows all of those traits in the colorful and timeless masterpiece, The Adventures of Robin Hood.

Directed by Michael Cutriz and William Keighley, the film basically tells the long known story of Robin Hood. It opens with a scene of Robin and his ward fighting off the evil forces of Prince John and it never looks back from there. Robin Hood is played by one of my favorite actors of all time, Errol Flynn. Though his performance as everyone’s favorite bandit is now legendary, he was not actually the first choice for the role. Warner Brothers’ Studio wanted the title role to be played by the much shorter James Cagney- who was their biggest star at the time. But after Cagney quit the studio, The Adventures of Robin Hood was left without a star and put on hold for three years.

This is one of the most interesting instances of everything going right in Hollywood. If Cagney would not have walked out on his studio we would never have gotten to see Errol Flynn in his most famous role. At 28 years old, Flynn played Robin Hood with a masculine vibrato that counteracts his campy appearance. It was Flynn who invented the modern day image of Robin Hood. He created a character that was deadly in combat but debonair in speech. He worked with a quick and sharp tongue that helped you follow his moral superiority over the shallow Prince John. Flynn never seemed out of place as this character. In fact, he played him so well that fans had a hard time letting him move on from his Robin Hood image.

Besides Errol Flynn’s brilliance, The Adventures of Robin Hood is notable in film history because it was a physically ambitious project. Upon its release in 1938, this film actually boasted the most hired stuntmen ever in Hollywood. What can you expect? The word adventure is even in the title. You see these stuntmen making unbelievable jumps from ankle-breaking heights and you have to wonder how they managed to pull it all off. There was not any computer animated anything in the 1930’s. These stunts were real and the stuntmen in The Adventures of Robin Hood were accomplished artists.

Of course, it is important that I mention the single aspect that makes The Adventures of Robin Hood a staple in classic film, Technicolor. The artistry of the film is astounding. Somehow, Cutriz and Keighley were able to make all of the color pop right off the screen to create one the most aesthetically pleasing backdrops in film. The greens and reds of Sherwood Forrest perfectly complemented the particular costumes of our heroes, yet it clashed with the outfits of their enemies. The Adventures of Robin Hood was one of the earliest pioneers of using color in cinema. It is also the most beautiful color production I have seen so far. Artistic merit alone makes this a film worth seeing. You will be blown away by the advanced coloring techniques throughout the entire thing.

One fun note to point out- the trick shot you see at the end of the archery contest actually happened. It was not trick photography. The shot was made by the head archer on set, who also happened to be Robin’s opponent in the contest. Fun fact over…..

I already did admit that I wish I was Robin Hood. He is one of the coolest and most sophisticated characters in almost any mythos. Flynn is perfect in his most memorable film and most acclaimed role. You know, it almost seems too easy to write a positive review for one of the most loved films in history. But even I cannot find something about The Adventures of Robin Hood worth complaining about.

The color is breathtaking, the acting is iconic, the story is formidable and the stunts are impressive. I guess I have to fall into the crowd with this one. You will find yourself rooting for Flynn as he robs from the rich to give to the poor. Robin Hood is my jam. Errol is the man. And The Adventures of Robin Hood is a masterpiece. Good luck finding a better film from the 1930’s.

The Adventures of Robin Hood: A

My Next Film…..Umberto D (De Sica. 1952)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Duck Soup (McCarey. 1933)

"I can see you right now in the kitchen, bending over a hot stove. But I can't see the stove."

Classic comedy is really hit or miss for me. As I have written before, I am not a fan of laughing during movies. Some films are able to make me laugh, while others leave me closer to annoyed. A prime example of the former would be Leo McCary's Duck Soup. This Marx Brothers picture is a perfectly crafted comedic political satire that displays all of their timing and quirky ability. Filled with memorable and hilarious one-liners, Duck Soup is one of the funniest films I have seen from the 1077 Films to See Before You Die.

The film tells the story of an unqualified president/dictator from the bankrupt country of Freedonia. Rufus T. Firefly, the aforementioned dictator played by Groucho Marx, comes into the picture and immediately makes several unjust laws to show his power. He then starts a war with his neighboring country, Sylvania, over the love of a Slyvanian vixen.

Groucho is the most prominently displayed Marx brother in Duck Soup, and he gives one of the wittiest performances I have ever seen in a comedy. His humor is fast, limitless and bold for the time period. You need to pay close attention to everything that Groucho says- because if you miss anything- you will miss something hilarious.

Besides Groucho's stand out performance, Duck Soup is remembered for being a timely political satire. The Firefly character is strongly based on the former Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini. The entire picture is a spoof of Socialism and Fascism in Europe. The parody is smart and campy, but it never gets TOO outrageous (which can happen with the Marx Brothers).

This is another film that you need to watch in the proper mindset. When watching Duck Soup it is important that you remember the year that the picture was made. For 1933, Duck Soup was really bold and pushed the envelope with political parody. The film is grainy and the editing is frantic, but the dialogue is silly enough to remain funny throughout. And with a 68 minute run time, it is a very easy viewing.

One particularly famous scene in Duck Soup is the mirror scene. Have you ever seen a cartoon where two identical figures stand at opposite sides of a broken mirror and mimic each others actions - even when the actions are ridiculous? This comic cliche was seen here first. This is a perfect example of how the Marx Brothers revolutionized comedy. I'll admit, the gag runs a bit too long, but it is still pretty hilarious.

Yes, Duck Soup is in black and white. Yes, the film looks dated. Yes, the comedy is a little silly. But this is a must-see for fans of any kind of wacky comedy. Duck Soup is a film that will keep you laughing. It is one of the greatest early comedies I have ever seen.

Duck Soup: B

My Next Film.....The Adventures of Robin Hood (Curtiz. Keighley. 1938)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Peeping Tom (Powell. 1960)

"The movies make us into voyeurs. We sit in the dark, watching other people's lives."

What do we love about movies? We love that they challenge our sensibilities without directly challenging our morals. Most film-goers would consider watching a film to be normal. This does not make you a voyeur. This is the exact idea that Michael Powell tries to reverse in his 1960 classic, Peeping Tom. This is my first thriller on the 1077 Films to See Before You Die, and it was a creepy experience.

Peeping Tom tells the story of a young serial killer named Mark who films his acts of murder. More specifically, he films their facial expressions as he kills them. Though Mark is obviously the bad guy in the picture, he is presented as a victim of his abusive father. He is desperate to free himself of the curses his father has left on his psyche and murders to relieve his voyeuristic urges. Carl Boehm plays Mark with a shy and sadistic monotone that practically shouts "I AM A PSYCHO" at the audience. It is his performance that makes the film believable.

But it is not the acting that makes Peeping Tom a great film. Powell managed to shoot the entire production in a way that eerily places the audience in the center of the action. This style creates an aura of awkward intrigue that forces the viewer to become part of the story. We are shown murders through the viewpoint of Mark's video camera which makes us a part of the savage surveillance.Powell turned us all into voyeurs. And we actively partake in the action, on the edge of our seats. We are troubled, disgusted, horrified, yet engulfed in the madness.

Another interesting aspect of Peeping Tom is the highly saturated color schemes that Powell uses to keep your attention. "Death colors" like red and black pop into view against a backdrop of brown, white and gray. This technique helps the message because it makes everything feel off the pale. Noticeably inspired by Hitchcock, Powell uses the human eye as a weapon against the audience. He knows how to use his camera to force your attention exactly where he wants it. Peeping Tom is a remarkable display in elementary horror film camera technique.

It is worth noting that Peeping Tom was considered far too gruesome for mainstream cinema at that time. The 1960 audience was not very fond of the raw and unashamed story of a voyeur. They also did not appreciate the uneasy feeling Powell's genius camerawork created. Peeping Tom was pulled from theatres in the United States and United Kingdom due to offensive content. But after several years the film began to gain a steady following with fans, such as Martin Scorsese, demanding the film be re-evaluated. Once critics looked at the film's artistic achievements and well crafted performances it was re-released. It is now considered one of the classic psychological thrillers in all of English cinema.

In the 2010's we are much more desensitized to this type of violence and perversion, but these ideas were all new to the silver-screen in 1960. Powell's career never really recovered from the Peeping Tom controversies, but his legacy as a brilliant filmmaker will forever be displayed in his most influential and popular release. Peeping Tom is uneasy, terrifying and terrific.

Peeping Tom: B-

My Next Film......Duck Soup (McCarey. 1933)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Freaks (Browning. 1932)

“We accept you, one of us!”

Earlier in this blog we talked about how The Battleship Potemkin (1925) was an incredibly controversial film. Well, that film’s surrounding controversies could not even hold a candle to the uproar caused by Todd Browning’s 1932 horror-exploitation film, Freaks.The 1077 Films to See Before You Die is not a list of the greatest films ever made. If it was, Freaks would be nowhere near the list at all. But instead, it is a list of films that hold a cultural or worldly significance. Browning managed, in the early days of film, to direct a picture that offended and shocked almost everyone that watched it. That has to stand for something.

Freaks follows the story of a wicked trapeze artist named Cleopatra. She pretends to have feelings for an enamored dwarf named Hans because she found out that he was coming into some inheritance. When her scheme is thwarted by the other circus performers, she becomes the very thing that she was taking advantage of all along. Spooky, right?

So what made Freaks such a controversial film? Well, Browning decided to cast actual circus performers for the film. As you are watching the movie, you are actually seeing human beings with real disabilities being exploited on camera. This led to an enormous debate over what is considered good taste. Should these “freaks”, many of whom were unable to coherently give consent, be thrust in front of a camera to be mocked? It is an interesting question to say the least. With the imagery being so shocking at the time, the film was banned in the United States and United Kingdom for almost thirty years. The controversies surrounding the casting were so great that Todd Browning (an acclaimed horror director) had trouble ever finding work again. His career ended shortly after the release.

In the early 1960’s, Freaks began gathering a counterculture following. This led to the film being shown in several midnight theatres all throughout the country. Its popularity continued to rise in the 70’s and 80’s to the point that Freaks is now considered a horror classic. It is also considered the first film to ever achieve cult-status in the United States, and soon after MGM began using the original controversies as a selling point for the entire production.

But Freaks is much more than a bunch of disabled people on parade. It is also a deep and telling social commentary. Browning depicts the circus performers as loving and accepting people. It is the “beautiful” people who are the monsters. The film teaches us to not be afraid of our outside appearance, but rather we should fear how our personalities dictate our behavior. This is a message that should not be lost in modern times. Freaks has a very simple message underneath its controversies and eventual violence. That message is that we should love each other for who we are and not what we look like.

Finally, Freaks features one of the most talked about scenes in all of horror. The final scene in the film shows the freaks as they chant and hunt down Cleopatra. The final long shot shows all of the circus people on their hands and knees wielding knives and other weapons. This is the type of imagery that makes horror work. It was terrifying when I first saw it as a child, and it is still just as scarring to this day. I promise that the whole film, though slow at times, is made worth it by the influential final shot.

Freaks was made and released in the early 1930’s, so it is a little hard to watch. Some of the dialogue is inaudible and a lot of the film is grainy. But Todd Browning makes no apologies in his attempt to bring his film to the people. This film is in no way the most controversial film on the 1077 Films to See Before You Die, but it is still one of the most daring and terrifying efforts in cinematic history. Anyone who is a fan of horror should Google this one right away. Todd Browning is a legend. Freaks is his best work.

Freaks: B-

My Next Film…..Peeping Tom (Powell. 1960)

Sherlock, Jr. (Keaton. 1924)

“It's said that Chaplin wanted you to like him, but Keaton didn't care. I think he cared, but was too proud to ask.”

Have you ever watched a cartoon on Saturday morning and wished that you could do the outlandish things you were seeing on television? If the answer is yes, then you and Buster Keaton share the same mentality. One of the first superstars of film, Keaton was a living, breathing and acting cartoon character. There was a point in Hollywood when the films of Buster Keaton would always be a sure-fire hit. The one exception would be the next film I watched from the 1077 Films to See Before You Die, Sherlock, Jr.

This film was not very popular upon its initial release for several reasons. At first, moviegoers thought the 44 minute runtime was too long for a comedy film. Another reason it was panned was because of the awful editing. The film seems to be thrown together and chopped apart by a scissors-wielding blind man. There are some shots that are really awfully put together and the camera work is so shaky that it becomes hard to watch the film in its entirety. Not only did Buster Keaton star in Sherlock, Jr, but he also directed the picture. The validity of his directorial merit has been debated for decades.

Sherlock, Jr may have been a flop in 1924, but it has since been re-evaluated and is now considered a comedic masterpiece. Keaton delivers an astounding performance as the aspiring detective, but that does not necessarily mean I think it is very funny. It is Keaton’s bravery that makes him great.

Buster Keaton was one of the most daring stars in all of early filmmaking. He was one of the first directors to use stunts in a film, and he was the first star to completely do his own stunts during filming. He displays his willingness to risk his body for comedy throughout all of Sherlock, Jr. In one infamous scene, Keaton jumps from a moving train onto a pipe that is hanging from a water tower. The pipe then bends and shoots out a blast of water that forces Keaton to the ground. Buster actually fractured his neck during the filming of this scene, but not even that could deter the earliest comedic pioneer. He continued the filming and only sparingly complained about some “sharp headaches.”

Daring and dangerous stunts aside, Sherlock, Jr is supposed to be a comedy. The problem with this is that it is not very funny. I had trouble even cracking a smile during the entire picture, but mainly because the comedy is worn. Watching Buster Keaton is like watching all of the comedy clichés being born. This LIVE ACTION film even features a grown man slipping on a banana peel. This is Buster’s style. It is all physical comedy and slapstick action. I understand that some people find that funny, but I am not a fan of the physical side of comedy.

I suppose one thing that you need to remember is the time period. In 1924, these comedic clichés hadn’t yet been born. I am sure the filmgoers of 1924 thought that Buster’s comedy was groundbreaking. To find Sherlock, Jr funny, you have to have the mindset that you have never seen another film before. If you cannot achieve this mindset, the whole act will seem extremely dated and unfunny.

Keaton impresses with his stunts but lulls you to sleep with his silent slapstick. I was disappointed after Sherlock, Jr. I expected Keaton to have me rolling. Instead, I found myself trying to stay interested. This is not a funny comedy and I cannot blame the people of 1924 for not liking it in the first place. I still recommend it because of its classic reputation, but do not be shocked if Sherlock, Jr lets you down. Not a film for me.

Sherlock, Jr: C-

My Next Film……Freaks (Browning. 1932)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pulp Fiction (Tarantino. 1994) *Perfect Film

"And you will know My name is the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon thee."

Some films on the 1077 Films to See Before You Die are remembered because they have amazing special effects. Some are considered great because of their dialogue or imagery. Other films, like Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, is on this list because it is an example of when everything comes together perfectly. This is where I debut my sub-list of the 1077 Films to See Before You Die- Jake's 10 Perfect Movies. At number 10: Pulp Fiction.

Quentin Tarantino is a fascinating director because of his unmatched and unrivaled love of making movies. He approaches every single aspect of film making with child-like excitement that reverberates throughout the action and dialogue. Because of this, Tarantino runs a great risk of making horrible pictures. He avoids this by also having vast knowledge of what entertains people. These traits can be seen the most easily in Pulp Fiction.

The first perfect aspect of the film is its ever-twisting screenplay. Roger Avery and Tarantino create a world where A-list Hollywood talents are reduced to acting like cartoon characters. Every single situation in the film is outrageous and every single character is forced to take action via crises control. The problem with that is, when they finally take control of a situation, the screenplay forces them right back into an even more ridiculous situation. This keeps Pulp Fiction from ever getting boring. Every scene is more ridiculous than the last.

Of course, it would be impossible to write about Pulp Fiction without mentioning the incredible acting performances. The film practically saved the floundering career of John Travolta, and Travolta returns the favor with a hilarious and poignant performance as an out-of-his-league hitman. Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames both bring their A-game as a washed up boxer and a powerful underworld leader, respectively. Hell, even Tarantino gives a memorable, but short, performance as a house-dad trying to not get divorced. Though the entire cast really is phenomenal, there is one performance that makes the whole picture.

Samuel L. Jackson plays one of the most celebrated characters in all of 1990's film, Jules Winnfield. This is the role that has allowed Jackson to take his career easy. He is so funny, aggressive, sensible, intimidating and loving in a performance that showcases his entire range of ability. I have a theory that Jackson actually used all of his talent in this film, hence why he hasn't made another reasonable effort.

But what really makes Pulp Fiction perfect is the dialogue. In his films, Tarantino refuses to waste time with pushy plot-driving. He creates a world where everyone has a personal relationship and they each speak to one another differently. Though a lot of the talking does not progress the story, it does create an extremely thick mythos. When dealing in as much absurdity as Pulp Fiction, the mythos may be the most important part of the picture, and Tarantino nails it. This is best seen in the speech given by Christopher Walken. He is given the task of explaining the importance of a simple wristwatch. His speech is filled with unnecessary detail, but this is the entire idea. He drags you through the dirt of a boring story only to slap you in the face when he gets to the point. The whole thing is written to highlight the important moments. This makes a moviegoer become far more invested in the outcomes. This makes Pulp Fiction perfect.

Yes, there will be 9 more films featured in the sub-list – Jake’s 10 Perfect Movies. But we are defiantly starting off this list with a bang. I have a long way to go before completing the 1077 Films to See Before You Die, but I will say that Pulp Fiction is my best film of the 1990’s (so far). Whether you choose to believe that the film was written by Tarantino or Avery, you cannot deny the genius they displayed. Pulp Fiction is a cinematic gem that will be loved for as long as people watch movies.

Pulp Fiction: A+

My Next Film……..Sherlock, Jr (Keaton. 1924)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Breakfast Club (Hughes. 1985)

“We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all.”

Some of the films on the 1077 Films to See Before You Die are so iconic that they do not need my validation. The list also features different levels of iconic. Some films (Casablanca, Citizen Kane) are iconic for their artistic merit. Other films are iconic because they defined an entire generation. The Breakfast Club is a perfect example of a film that had characters who wholly related to young people.

The kids were one-track stereotypes of the high school kids that you grew up around. You had the princess (Molly Ringwald), the jock (Emilio Estevez), the brain (Anthony Michael Hall), the basket-case (Ally Sheedy) and the criminal (Judd Nelson). But, as it was stated in the final letter of the film, if you look at these characters in their most simple definitions you would be missing out on the bigger ethos of the picture. The Breakfast Club is a timeless character study that cemented John Hughes as an 80’s film legend.

Like I said before, the characters all have very simple, one-track problems. The princess has no parental love, the brain and jock are under too much pressure to perform and the basket-case is yearning to be noticed. This leaves us with John Bender, the criminal. Played brilliantly by Judd Nelson, Bender is the most interesting and complex character in the entire film, mainly because he is an unreliable narrator. Like all the Holden Caulfield’s before him, Bender is on a journey to find himself. He embellishes stories of a wretched home life for the sake of sympathy, not that we aren’t supposed to believe his mythos; we just aren’t supposed to buy his feelings towards it.

And we don’t believe a single word that Bender says. Why? Because, when given the opportunity to manifest his threats on the face of his principal, he is submissive. This is one of the most intense and interesting scenes in all of teen-cinema because it shows us all what teenagers really are- afraid.

But Judd Nelson is not the only thing that makes The Breakfast Club brilliant. Another memorable aspect of the film is the writing of John Hughes. He actually managed to create characters that not only relate to teenagers, but also become more lovable as you get older. If you attended a public high school, you will eventually see yourself as a cross of all the struggling teenagers.

Yes, it is an aged film. The music is outdated (though remembered), the dancing is goofy looking and the fashion is outlandish. But the problems are real. And the social experiment of putting kids in a room and letting them build relationships is undoubtedly interesting. John Hughes may not have another film on the 1077 Films to See Before You Die, but he does not need another great film to be remembered. His stoke-of-genius, coming of age masterpiece is not only emotionally intriguing enough to watch, but crafted well enough to watch several times.

When given the choice to pick one film from every decade to put in a time capsule, my 80’s representative would have to be John Hughes’ star-studded classic. The Breakfast Club is great. Love it.

The Breakfast Club: B

My Next Film......Singin' in the Rain (Donen, Kelly. 1952)