A New Challenge: 50 Movies in 2005

I have taken on a 50-book challenge for the year, and have just decided that, although it’s the middle of March, I’m going to give myself a 50 movie challenge as well. I got off to a slow start, but am catching up fast. I need to pace myself, though, so I don’t burn out by going famine to feast! One to two movies a week doesn’t sound unreasonable. Feel free to join me by watching movies, then writing about them on your weblog.

In Good Company 1. In Good Company. 2004. Directed by Paul Weitz. A quiet, steady little film, surprising in its avoidance of several cliches that seemed inevitable. Strong performances by Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid and the ubiquitous Scarlett Johansson.
Million Dollar Baby 2. Million Dollar Baby. 2004. Directed by Clint Eastwood. Solid movie that ended up not being a sports flick after all. It nicely avoided some cliches, but had a few dodgy bits, like Maggie’s too awful family and a bit at the end that I won’t mention for those of you who haven’t seen it yet. The music really bothered me. I found it sentimental and intrusive. Excuse me, Clint, but can’t you be satisfied with directing and acting?
Long Goodbye 3. The Long Goodbye. 1973. Directed by Robert Altman. Elliott Gould as Phillip Marlowe. A performance Adam Brody should be aspiring to–a cool, grownup smartass. Features a hilarious bit in which Marlowe, being carried off by somebody, yells that he’s going to contact Ronald Reagan, then the governor of California. A few scenes later, who should appear, in an uncredited part sporting a sleazy mustache, but the current governor of California? Weird. Funny.
On the Waterfront 4. On the Waterfront. 1954. Directed by Elia Kazan. Brando is stunning, and it was a kick to finally hear “I coulda been a contender!” in context. The movie can be read as an extended apologia for Kazan and others like him who named names during the McCarthy hearings. But there’s a difference between a whistle blower and somebody who points the finger during a witch hunt; unsurprisingly, the film doesn’t draw this distinction.

For those of you in the Twin Cities, the Oak Street Cinema is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, and has some fabulous films on the schedule, including some that I haven’t seen from the Centenary Cinema List I mentioned earlier, like The Rules of the Game, Breathless, and Ugetsu.

One Response to “A New Challenge: 50 Movies in 2005”

  1. Girl Detective Says:

    If you can’t see the images here, which I’m linking to at http://www.imdb.com, try a different browser, e.g., Firefox.