Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What is overrated?

So, yesterday I stumbled onto a list put together by Tim Robey, a film critic for The Telegraph.  I think most of the world saw the list, or at least the cinephile world that I often associate with.  The list was on the ten most overrated films of all time.


I’m not going to get into some serious bashing here, because that’s never really productive, but his list (which is kind of ridiculous on so many levels) got me thinking.  What does ‘overrated’ really mean?  In looking at this list, I’m not sure that Tim Robey even knows.  His list is a strange mixture of films that the majority of people have never seen, some films that Oscar embraced but film enthusiasts have disregarded and then some films that the average moviegoer fell in love with.  So, pick your vein.  Is a film overrated because the average family man loves it, because Oscar loved it or because the critics loved it, but on this list it’s a little confusing since rarely do these attributes crossover. 

I don’t think that putting a definitive list like this together is possible, or health really.  It’s really more pretentious than anything else.  Now, I’ve put lists together before, so I’m not saying that lists are a bad thing.  We live in a society where lists are just really, really popular.  Everyone I know, especially those who are infatuated with film or music or art of some medium, love to list, rank and evaluate their opinions.  I’m an advocate for this, but putting together a list of this nature can get complicated and messy.

It’s too vague.

I mean, let’s take a look at Robey’s list:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Let's Review Something: A Touch of Sin

Some films feel very important and feel as though they grasp at a deeper meaning but also feel as though they can’t possibly reach that meaning to a wider audience because their scope is limited to a specific environment.  You watch these films with an open mind, but because you are so far removed from the subject it all washes over like broadly stroked portraits of events that mean one thing to us (Violence!  Greed!  Corruption!), but don’t truly mean to us what they mean to those who live in the midst of it.  Yes, we all experience the universal effects of things such as violence and corruption, but a film that dwells on the immediate effect felt by the Chinese can’t possibly probe that same feeling in the hearts of an American man who has never set foot on Chinese soil or read up on their political history.

Unless it’s filmed with a sense of awareness of that fact.

A Fistful of Thoughts...sloppy-seconds, desperate actors and some wishful thinking!

Another week, another edition of A Fistful of Thoughts!  Let's see how long I actually keep this up for.  When compiling this I actually felt like dedicating this to my fellow-blogger and vocal JLaw hater, Sati, but I didn't (or did I?).  Yes, Jennifer Lawrence is all over this news coverage (sort of) or at least smack dab in the middle of it!

So what are we talking about this week?

Monday, April 21, 2014

1995 Fisti Awards!

WHAT!?!?!?!  I didn't win a Fisti?
So, I finally wrapped up the 1995 Fisti Awards and posted them on Friday.  It was late though and so I didn’t post any kind of alert here that they were up.  I wanted to have some time to write something about the year itself, since it’s kind of an amazing year for film.  I know that a lot of people will remember this year for that garish soap opera known as ‘Braveheart’, but while the film was very pretty, it was not one of my favorites of the year (not by a LONG shot). 

No, 1995 was a lot more earthy and honest in my eyes.  My top three films have a very dark central theme and share a similar morality conundrum that makes them so richly fleshed out. 

1995 is also an odd year for me in that it is largely American in scope.  If you have been following the Fistis, you’ll know that I am a huge fan of foreign film.  Only three times (so far) has my Best Picture ballot contained ONLY English language films, and even then they have been littered with nominations in the top 8 for foreign films, either for writing or acting or directing.  1995 only has ONE foreign language film nominated in the top 8 categories, and it’s a writing mention (and a 5th place one at that).  This year was just SO RICH with American films.  Also, 8 of Oscar’s acting nominees are present here (9 if you count Spacey, who is nominated for a different film) and in retrospect, my lineups all look very Oscary (there are a lot of ‘stars’ in my lineups).  Still, I can’t help but love what I love, and this year brought some of our biggest stars their best roles!  From period pieces to sadistic thrillers to the birth of Pixar, 1995 is just kind of amazing!

So, what do you think of my ballots?  Feel free to comment your thoughts below.

Blind Spot Series 2014: Shadow of a Doubt

Well, it's the end of April (well, not quite but almost) and the due date for this month's Blind Spot entry was bumped up a week, which works out great for me since I'm always early with this anyways.  This month I even held off on watching the film and took it in over the weekend (and in one sitting this time, which rarely happens for me thanks to all the kids).  I have to say, this month's blind spot was,  without a shadow of a doubt, the most rewarding so far and it has me so anxious to dig into next month (La Belle et la Bete is actually recording this week off TCM, so YAY for life!), but I'll do my best to hold off a few weeks.

This is my fourth blind spot this year.  If you haven't yet, you can read my thoughts on Sergeant York, Penny Serenade and The Shop Around the Corner as well.

Friday, April 18, 2014

God is in the Movies!

I’m going to be honest with you all.  I started this blogathon for one really dumb reason; I liked the name of it.  I felt clever for once and was like “that sounds like it would be a cool blogathon” and then I felt almost instantly in over my head.  I tried this blogathon thing once before, and it was kind of an embarrassing failure, but try and try and try again, right?  So, without thinking too much about it I put it all out there. 

Come, be my follower!

All that hesitation and skepticism and trepidation aside, the more I thought about what this blogathon could bring to the surface the more I was really, really glad I just went for it.  Faith, religion, God…these are all so personal and present us all with so many conflicting and passionate feelings.  You want to know a surefire way to make someone angry, and I mean ‘throw a tantrum, call you a heathen, wish death upon your entire family’ kind of mad?  Debate their religious beliefs with them.  I’ve always found this aspect of human nature alarming in a few ways.  First, why are we so savage when it comes to ideas about a God who is supposed to be so kind and loving?  I mean, do we really think that God is smiling down at us while we are seething with anger and berating someone for their personal beliefs in him?  I’ve never understood how someone can be so tactless and so vile when speaking about a symbol of love.  I wasn’t brought up that way.  It doesn’t mean I agree with you, but I’m not going to cast down fire from the heavens to swallow you up either.  The other reason I find this alarming is because I feel like this passion alone makes the subject so valid.  I mean, we don’t get fired up about things that don’t matter.

I’ve often said this to my wife, when we have one of those stupid arguments that ends with us wanted to scream “I hate you, I want a divorce”; you can’t have love without hate.  You can’t really love something if it doesn’t affect you so deeply to the point where you absolutely HATE it from time to time.  In line with that, I guess that real passion, real love for something as complex as God can give us those same explosive feelings.

It really only makes sense then that film would discuss God in so many different ways.  Film is essentially a medium for passion, and what isn’t more passion driven than faith?  So I put it to my fellow bloggers to find a film or a specific avenue of depicted faith that moved them the most and that made them want to keep watching.  I results were as varied as they were interesting.

But before we get to them, I guess I should answer my own question.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Fistful of Links...

I know that it's not Friday, but I have something else planned for tomorrow (God is in the Movies!) and so I'll be linking more posts for that, and I didn't want to go overboard in a singular day with link after link after link, and then again, I just started my 'Fistful of Links' last week and didn't want to skip a week already,'s here a day early.

But, since when is that a bad thing?

Following a similar format:

Posts That Made Me...

I hate that Bruce Willis is an afterthought for so many when it comes to Pulp Fiction.  His segments in the film are probably my favorite, and he really deserved an Oscar nomination!  Thankfully, The Film Experience chose to highlight him this week.

I love anything relating to Vertigo, and Rambling Film chose it for her Blind Spot this month!  I know she'll get a link elsewhere at the end of the month for this, but I love how honest Britt is with her Blind Spot reviews.  Who cares what the rest of the world thinks...SPEAK YOUR TRUTH GIRL!

jdbrecords is always so kind as to highlight the work of others, and this week is no exception.  He has the most eclectic taste in music and art, and it shows in this post regarding the work of Jeremy Olson.

Surrender to the Void pens a beautiful (and accurate) review of the 2004 Best Picture winner.  Finally, someone else who loves this as much as I do!  WHY is this film so berated?

Film Actually reviews a film I haven't seen but think I aught to!

I know that this post is technically from last week, but I really wanted to highlight a Kickstarter campaign for a special cause.  Please check out the work The Matinee's wife is doing.

The two Andersons (the ones that matter) are up for debate over at Keith & the Movies!  Love this post and love this discussion!

Another Oscar Oddity from The Cinematic Spectacle!  

Who doesn't love a great dual role?  I mean, when an actor you know and love can tackle TWO characters in a single film and make it work, it's heaven!  And So It Begins breaks down his top ten.  Do you agree?

I don't have the highest esteem for Denzel Washington.  It's not that I don't think he's talented, but I do find him severely overrated.  That being said, he exudes such charisma and I often forget that.  Serious Film reminded me of that this week.

Speaking of someone I'm not as keen on as the rest of the world, I also find Jessica Chastain incredibly overrated, but My New Plaid Pants gushes a little over her, and over a performance that I particularly found bland.  Should I give it another watch?

I've written my thoughts on The Broken Circle Breakdown (I didn't really care for it), but Defiant Success really did, so take a gander at their post regarding the deeply emotional and controversial movie.