The Year of the 365 Movies: Take 2


Well-Known Member
Nov 21, 2006
And so it begins again. If you are confused, take a look here.

Day 1 - Citizen Kane

BEFORE And what better way for me to start this off than with the biggest "movie for movie lovers", Citizen Kane. This is a film that is constantly on the highest (if not the upmost top) of the "Best Movies of all Time" list. Find any list of the best movies, and Citizen Kane is going to be somewhere high.

This is one of those that movies that changed everything. Citizen Kane was the film that pretty much showed the world the advantages film had over anything else at the time. Between it's stellar cinematography, the stellar musical score by Bernard Hermann, and the engrossing acting by Orson Welles... it's not hard to see how Citizen Kane is such a superb film.

The movie is a great examination into the American Dream, and it shows how nightmarish it truly is. Greed, aspirations for power, the great fall, and loneliness, these are all a part of the America that we only pretend wasn't there. It's up to Art to shove the truth in our faces.

AFTER What can I possibly say about this movie that I haven't already said, or have been said with more art than hundreds of others? It is a superb film, a classic, as much of a contender for "best film ever" as a movie can be. It uses flashbacks in a way it is no way confusing, has great cinematography, engrossing pacing and is very well edited.

I mean, what else can I say? Citizen Kane is probably one of the best movies ever conceived. End of story!
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I might join in this year...
I might try to do this. Especially since I don't leave here until the summer I can get at least 1 movie a day up until June.

I will start today by seeing Where the Wild Things Are. I hear nothing but great things about this and am very excited.

Day 2: Dances With Wolves

BEFORE The recently released AVATAR was criticized by some as DANCES WITH SMURFS, an obvious node to the fact that the two films shared a strikingly similar plot. A man from an advanced culture (America in DAW, Earth in AVATAR) bonds and eventually becomes a part of a more "savage" culture (American Natives in DAW, the 10 foot tall blue skinned Na'Vi in AVATAR). It is a classic story, one that has been told again and again.

Dances With Wolves is, as far as I can say before seeing the movie for the first time, an archetype of its own. "The White Man's Shame", I like to call it. DAW is essentially an apology to the Native Americans, and an attempt to say "We can work this out". It also has a score that is the most favorite piece of music by our previous Pope!

Besides, I have been in the mood for a movie involving "barbarians". I blame Robert E. Howard and AVATAR.

AFTER There are movies out there that we all know should never have been made. You know what I am referring to – American Gigolo, anything directed by Uew Bowle, Batman & Robin, every movie Adam Sandler has started in. Movies that are so bad, oh so very wrong on every movie, you can only assume that they were made to waste people's times.

Then there are movies that remind you why you love movies so much. STAR WARS, any of the Lord of the Rings, essentially every movie made by Hitchcock or Spielberg. Movies that within minutes transport you into their world, force you to focus and admire their characters. These movies melt you into their story, and you hardly realize it has been a 3 hour experience. It goes by so fast and the only thing you can ask is "Why now? Just a little bit longer, please."

Dances With Wolves is one of those films. I know most people my age will say AVATAR is better. As great as AVATAR is, as much as I am mesmerized by Pandora, I'd rather visit the Sioux tribe that Kevin Costner showed us in his movie.

In every, shape or form, Dances With Wolves is a triumph. It's a wonderful piece of film making. The Buffalo Hunt scene is one of the most thrilling, adventures scenes in movie history. Bar none. Without relying on "epic" music, ridicules camera tricks or other lesser manipulative techniques like a lesser director would, Kevin Costner gave a wonderful sense of thrill and excitement.

Even more so, how this movie turned out as well as it did is a miracle all in of itself. Between Costner being a first director when he filmed Dances With Wolves, temperatures being as low as 20 degrees and as high as a 100, Orion's desire for a big hit, the majority of the film being in the Sioux language, the sheer amount of bodies he had to direct… some god of film had to have been watching this production.

What I enjoyed most about this movie are the portrayal of the Indians. The acting for each of the major Indian characters was great, especially Kicking Bird and Wind In His Hair, but they all felt realistic. The switch of language positions, where the white man was the one speaking Pigeon English, was also very much appreciated.

This is just a great, great film. I loved every minute of it, even though it was 4:00 AM when I was done.

My favorite line was Wind In His Hair's goodbye to Dancing With Wolves: "Dances With Wolves! I am Wind In His Hair! Do you see that I am your friend? I am your friend! Can you see that you will always be my friend?"
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I'm so doing this this year. I already started off with a goodin. Army of Darkness. Now to decide what to watch tonight.
I've already watched 5 movies this year. I have to try and get a head start because I know when I return to University I'm going to run out of time. I might write up a few comments on each at the end of every week.
Maybe we should have separate threads, so that this doesn't get cluttered? :)

Day 3: Lawrence of Arabia

BEFORE I really do love history. I mean, let's take a look at the fact that the past 2 movies are not modern pieces. They take place in the past. Oh, sure, Citizen Kane is fairly close, but it still not what one would call a modern day piece. It was very much a 'Depression era' film, an era in time that is as much removed from the modern subconscious as the founding of America.

Back on track here, Lawrence of Arabia. From what I remember the last time I saw this movie, I was somewhat overwhelmed. I had previously seen two other movies that day – Citizen Kane and Office Space – and it all just whizzled by me. I really have few memories of what I felt of it.

This time is different. My brain is refreshed, I have gone out of the way to ensure that I did not do any mentally taxing activities. This is it! I am going to watch Lawrence of Arabia, enjoy it immensely, and then write an intellectually stirring monologue on it like every other fancy pancy writer out there! Yes! Shake that fist in a manly and determine way!
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Day 4: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Terry Gilliam, the former Python whose animations have widely contributed to the comedy troupe's successes, is a director who is of the same branch as Tim Burton. Both directors share a fondness for the weird and fantastical, but whereas Burton's is much darker, grim, and full of black humor, Gilliam is much more the lover of fairy tales. His are stories of alternate dimensions, of weird people and even weirder locations.

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is, most likely because it is based off of a series of German tall tales that all started the title character, is a whimsical, highly entertaining, and downright charming little film. And despite it's seemingly juvenile appearance and sterotypes (an old adventurer must reclaim his old friends to save the city and is aided by a little girl), I noticed quite a few interesting themes.

The one that is most noticeable is Fantasy vs. Reality, where Fantasy is the clear victor. The City is run by an elected officer who is completely devoted to Logic and Reasoning. Baron Munchausen and company are the exact opposite, where they are devoted to the adventuring spirit and dreams of grandeur. The City also represents the "real world", which is in the Age of Reason, which no longer has any need for seas of wine or Cyclops. The lands that Baron Munchausen visits, however, are those that seem plucked straight out of mythology.

Another theme is Death, and our desire to escape from it. The Baron is old, and at times is all too willing to go to sleep. Many times it is only the spirit of little Sally Salt that keeps death, quite literally, away from the Baron.

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen did horrible when it was released in the United States, with just a mere $8 million in profit. Of course, it faired substantially better in Europe, but it still put a taint on Gilliam's soul in the eyes of the Studios. A shame, because you rarely see a film as good as this one.
I've been doing this, but I'm gonna post stuff at the end of the week. One movie a day is a lot harder than it sounds.

Day 5: Inglourious Basterds

The best word to describe Inglourious Basterds is awesome. Really, there is no other way I can describe it. Throughout the entire movie, you are glued to the screen. The very idea of looking at your watch, or having to go to the bathroom, is a fallacy, a myth, an ignorant proposition. Who has times for such things, when so much can happen in just a mere second?

It would be defined as a war film because it takes place in France during the Nazi occupation, but it is in truth a Spaghetti Western with World War II imagery. The arrival of the strangers in a hostile environment, the woman that takes charge, the larger than life villain...

Speaking of larger than life villains, Hans Landa is just engrossing as played by Christoph Waltz. That man deserves an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Of course, he won't get it. The Oscars stopped having any real meaning years ago – how else can you describe Jeremy Goldsmith getting only ONE Oscar for Best Score, when he deserved at the very least three?

Two interesting things about this movie: first, that despite its title, the Basterds are not the focus here. In fact, it's much more focused on the French and Nazi actors. Even more interesting is how rotten the French and Basterds are portrayed, as compared to the Nazis. The Basterds are sociopaths, loving violence and torture. The French will gladly resort to terrorism. However, the Nazis are not portrayed as doing either of these things or anything else that could be considered cruel or inhumane, with the exception of being racists.
Just so that none of you are getting the wrong idea, I am gonna do a double day post for my next one. I ain't given up yet. :)

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