third annual netflix rental round-up

I’m really tired right now, and my coherency is fading in and out, so of course its a perfect time to write a blog post!

Time for the third year of my Netflix review.  I’m going to do things a bit differently this year and just go over the movies I thought were interesting, and do a quick take on them.  Plus, getting some of the stats is a tedious process.  This approach just seems more fun.

I’ve already been looking past my rental history for the past year, and there’s been a couple of “oh, yah, that was good” moments, along with the inevitable “what in the freaking world is this” ones as well.  So, here we go, the notable rentals for 2008.

Oh yah, I should mention I’m going in reverse order here, so most recent first.

Don’t Bother to Knock

This movie was psycho.  I didn’t even finish it.  It was the first Marilyn Monroe movie I ever watched.  I was a bit disappointed to learn it was in black and white.  The strange thing was, I didn’t even *recognize* Marilyn until about 20 minutes into the film, and I kept wondering where she was.  One thing is definitely for certain — that girl can act.

Schoolhouse Rock!

I thought I’d watch this and remember seeing these growing up.  I didn’t.  But the animation style is one of my most favorites evar.  I’ll probably buy the DVD eventually.  It’s on my “meh” list.  I also remember the navigation was atrocious.  I couldn’t figure out how to get around.  I have no idea how much is even on there, either.

State Fair

I’m really not into musicals.  This one was better than most, but that’s not saying much coming from me.  That just means that I actually made it through the whole thing.  And, looking back, I still wonder what the crap it was all about and what was going on.  See, I just don’t *get* these films.  But I still watch them.  Part of me is hopeful that I’ll find another “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” one of the few musicals I not only love, but own.  I think there’s probably three total, in fact.  I don’t even think of them as musicals, though, just movies with lots of songs in them.  Anyway, this was weird.

The Greatest Story Ever Told

I actually like watching the Bible story movies, but I’m always extremely skeptical about the new ones I watch.  This one was … I dunno.  Not for me.  I didn’t make it far.

Hot Lead & Cold Feet

Meh.  Not much to say.  A lot better than I thought it’d be.  I didn’t watch the whole thing but I liked it enough that I’ll buy it and watch it some other time.  I do remember watching it growing up.  Good movie.

Small Time Crooks

I’ve decided once and for all that I’m just not into Woody Allen movies, and I should quit trying to convince myself that I should like them.  Maybe you have to be a New Yorker to enjoy them.  I can’t stand overcrowded cities (or even large ones), which is one reason I moved to Utah … and stayed here.

The Cat From Outer Space

Another classic 70s Disney flick.  A lot better than I thought it’d be.  I always enjoyed this one a bit more than most, but not as much as others.  If that makes any sense (hey, I’m tired).  I like it though, if only because it’s different, and it’s a science fiction flick.

Frequency

This movie was awesome.  It came out while I was in Argentina, so of course I’d never even heard of it.  It was also one of those I added in my queue a long time ago, so by the time I got it I had no idea what it was about or why I added it.  Just popped it in, and it was really cool.  A slow story, drama, then science fiction, then woah!  Very cool.  A nice, unexpected surprise.

Lifeboat

I’m coming to the firm conclusion that Hitchcock had *some* great films (Rear Window, North by Northwest, Rope), but not all of them hit it out of the park.  It was still good.  I don’t think I’d sit down and watch the whole thing again.

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

I *really* didn’t get this one.  I think it was supposed to be funny, and I just totally missed it.  Which is actually pretty rare for me, because old, subtle comedies is one thing I really get into, and this one just missed the boat completely.  I just thought it was dry and boring.  I dunno.  I imagine, though, that the idea of buying a house and getting completely taken on all the extras was a novel, original idea for the time the movie came out.  In fact, that’s one thing you have to remember some times when watching old movies, is that this may be the first time a funny scenario has run, that has since become just a staple or sub-story for many other films or episodes.

A Man For All Seasons

Now this movie was amazing (and I bought a copy).  I had no idea what it was about, so I just sat through it the whole time partly enchanted and mostly curious as to what was going on.  It wasn’t until the end that I realized that this was a man of deep integrity who wouldn’t give in, even to death.  Really great story.

Gandhi

Probably one of the most amazing movies I’ve ever seen.  Made even more wonderful by the fact that I totally wasn’t expecting it at all, so it was just an awesome experience.  Every now and again, there comes a movie that I watch and am so entranced that I don’t even blink for about an hour and a half.  That’s what happened with this one, it drew me in so much.  As I describe it to one friend, it was the most inspirational non-religious movie I’d ever seen.  I consider this one a real prize to watch.  The story is just amazing.

2010: The Year We Make Contact

I got really lucky in finding so many movies in such a short time that were really good and/or worth watching.  It was an great change of pace.  I really liked this one.  It was even nicer because I was expecting a really slow, drawn out artistic experience similar to 2001.  I can’t really remember what happened now, but I remember it really had me going about the whole time.  I gotta watch it again.

My Dog Skip

The movie was okay, but I really hate these stories starring kids that are dramas where they absolutely *force* these adult issues on them.  Well, that’s not so bad … it’s more like when they stretch adult feelings, dialogue and responses on top of stories involving kids.  That’s just lame.  Rargh.  I hate that.  Let kids be kids — they have drama, trauma, issues and problems, but they deal with it in a childlike approach.  They don’t say deep melodramatic soul-searching stuff at the age of eight like, “I’ll help you, but not because of us, but only for Skip.”  Bleh.  Stab me in the face with a fork.

Awakenings

This is one of those movies that I’d heard about a loooong time ago, and always known about, but it’s been in my mental queue the whole time.  I finally got a chance to see it, and I loved it!  I really like almost any well-done dramatic movie that involves anything with psychology or mental trauma, abandonment, human despair, etc., and this one was just great.  I dunno.  I can’t really say anything else about it, I loved it.

2001: A Space Odyssey

That’s odd that I had this one right close to 2010, since I remember seeing them a long time apart.  Maybe I didn’t.  Who knows.  The queue never lies.

Corrina, Corrina

This one fits in the same category as Awakenings as far as long-term queue retrieval.  In fact, the past five movies all do.  Ones I just always wanted to watch, but finally got around to.  I really liked this one as well.  Whoopi is just an amazing actress, I think, and I always wish she had done more films.  I really love any well done dramas that deal with racial segregation as well.  I still find it impossibly hard to believe that things were so stupid in society.

Mr. Holland’s Opus

Yet another one I’d been meaning to watch forever.  This one was a bit different, though, in the fact that I’d seen bits and pieces of it on TV on and off through the years, so I had a general idea of what happens, but not a complete picture.  Anyway, it was good.  It wasn’t great.  I gave it three stars.

The Big One

No movie rental year would be complete without at least one Michael Moore film.  My opinion on him is rather varied, but I like his films.  As a rule, though, I like *all* documentaries that expose corporate idiocy and greed.  I knew I’d like this one, and I did.  Big soulless corporations suck.

Always

I’m not a big fan of Spielberg, though I think that’s basically an irrational bias more than anything.  I dunno.  I know I really, really don’t like some of his bigger films (Jaws, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind).  One thing is for certain, though, I really like his movies that are just about humanity (War of the Worlds).  Ah, looks like I wrote about him and this movie earlier.  Nuff said.  Good movie.  I’m not a big fan of Holly Hunter, though.

I Am Sam

This one was good, but it was one of those where the drama and feeling seemed a bit too forced.  Oh look, it’s so sad, let’s focus on it being sad, are you crying yet?  Meh.  A bit over the top for me.  I made it through the whole thing, but I’m not really a big fan.  It was okay.

The Incredible Mr. Limpet

Meh.  Don’t really wanna write about this one.  It was a fun movie growing up, but watching it now it’s just not as exciting.  Nothing wrong with it, I just don’t think I’d go out of my way to buy it.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Now, this is really weird.  I gave this movie 2 stars.  I remember a lot of scenes from it very vividly, yet I can’t imagine why I gave it a low rating.  That’s really odd.  I can’t remember if I watched the whole thing or not, but I certainly remember a lot of it.  Man.  That’s weird.  It’s probably another one where it was a shocking story back then, so it slowly revolved around *all* the aspects of it, but by today’s standards its just kind of not really given much thought.  So, it probably just bored me.  I’m sure it was good though.  I usually don’t remember it so vividly otherwise.

Mutiny on the Bounty

Or, it could be that my memory is just slipping me altogether.  I gave this one three stars, which generally means “good enough that I’d buy it on DVD”, yet I hardly remember it at all.  Clark Gable was in there, and this was probably the first film I saw him in where he had a real command presence.  Man, I can’t remember it for the life of me other than small bits and pieces.  I guess it was good.

Juno

Two stars.  I thought it was boring, couldn’t figure out what was going on or why it was interesting.  Another one of those “this should be good, but I’m just not getting it” movies.

Sunset Boulevard

Now *this* movie was creepy.  And awesome.  And completely different.  I’ve never seen anything like this and I probably never will again.  Holy crap, it’s just scary / weird.  And you know what, it’s probably the only film noir I’ve really enjoyed in a long, long time.  Great flick.  I recommend watching it if you’re into historical movies or Hollywood corruption at all … though if you are, this would have been at the top of your list already.

The Illusionist

My gosh I love this movie, and will never get tired of it.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Ditto.  It never gets old.

Rear Window

Same here.  This is possibly my most favorite Hitchock.  I don’t think I’d buy it, though, a bit too creepy.  I think North by Northwest is the only Hitchcock film I own.  Oh, no, there’s also To Catch a Thief, which is pretty tame by comparison.  I always forget it’s one of his.

The Associate

Another Whoopy flick.  I remember seeing this in the theater, and getting mixed reactions.  Part of it was good, part of it sucked.  Watching it again, I got pretty much the same impression.  Good story overall that just doesn’t hold its own weight consistently.

Leap of Faith

Here’s one I had always wanted to see.  I really liked, it too.  I can’t for the life of me remember what happened at the end, though.  I’ve never even been to or seen a revival meeting, believe it or not, even though I grew up in the very Christian south.  So this was a bit of a cultural look at how things are for me, as well as a great entertaining story with real drama.  Good flick.

The War

This is one of those that I thought, “Oh, this should be good,” and then I get completely lost wondering where I got that impression.  It was just weird.  Slow, which I can normally take, but too slow for me.  I remember fast forwarding it just to see what would happen.  Nothing much did.

Conan the Destroyer

Another classic flick I had seen a lot in pieces on cable TV, but finally got to see the whole thing in one sitting.  Good flick.  There’s nothing like a classic fantasy adventure flick done well enough. :)

Straight Talk

I think Dolly Parton does a great job in movies, and it’s a shame she hasn’t done more.  Ah well.  This one was okay.  I remember when it came out to theaters, and thinking “that’s gonna be a hard sell.”  The best way I could describe it is “cute.”  *shrug*

Follow Me, Boys

Now this is an old Disney movie, made by Walt himself.  I didn’t like it.  I remember getting bored within about the first five minutes.  I left it on while I was doing something else, so I heard the audio.  I don’t think I really missed all that much.  I’ll probably end up revisiting it again some day to see if it deserves another take.

The Winslow Boy

Ah, I was wondering when this one was gonna come up.  I couldn’t remember if it was this year or not (we’re up to February now).  David Mamet (The Spanish Prisoner) once again absolutely kills me.  Like Gandhi, I watched almost the entire thing in one non-stop trance.  His direction, the dialogue, the acting, the story, freaking *everything* just sucks me in so much that I literally can’t turn away even for a second.  It’s so good … it’s *smart*.  That’s really the best way to describe it.  I’d been meaning to write a blog post specifically about this movie ever since I saw it, since it was so good.  I think it’s also one of about three this year I saw that got four stars.  And I still haven’t bought it on DVD.

Candleshoe

For the most part, I’ve seen about every classic Disney movie that ever came out.  There are some exceptions, and this is one of them.  So it’s a little hard to watch it for the first time when I’m older because I’m so much more critical.  It was good, though.  A little corny at the end, but overall a good movie, and it fits pretty well along side the other 70s stuff.

Barefoot in the Park

Neil Simon is another of those producers / directors that I keep thinking I should somehow enjoy their stuff, but I never do.  This movie just kind of awoke me to that fact again.  I think it was a slow comedy, I’m not real sure.  I totally didn’t get it.  I didn’t watch much past the first hour, I don’t think, either.

Krull

Classic, classic, classic.  Probably the only fantasy *and* sci-fi movie that combines elements from both genres and does a great job of it.  Well, NeverEnding Story *might* fit that description too, though it’s decidedly much more just fantasy.

Tom Thumb

Oh, man, what a horrible movie.  I think I wrote about it before.  Yep.

The Haunting

This is the classic haunted house film from 1963.  I don’t remember a single thing about it.  I only gave it two stars though.  Hmm.  I can’t remember anything for the life of me.  Strikes me as odd, because I really like old, classic, campy and/or well-done horror flicks.

House of Wax

Kind of like this one.  Vincent Price is just awesome.  The movie was slow and creepy, but not really all that scary.  I liked it.

House on Haunted Hill

This movie is just absolutely classic. :)

The Blob

And this one was not.  Also the original.  The Blob only got like three people, and then surrounds a diner for an hour.  Meh.  I was expecting something much cooler.

I Am David

This one … I’m kinda mixed on.  I remember it really well, and it was interesting, but I don’t feel strongly one way or another about it.  I thought it stopped way too quickly, I remember that.  I dunno.  It was okay.  A little unconventional, though with stories like this you’re bound to do things a bit differently.

The Best of Everything

To wrap things up, another “what the crap was that” movie.  The answer is basically, it was a total man-hater movie — let’s look at all the way that men are pigs, from being perverts at work, getting us pregnant and taking off, making us commit suicide, to not being able to let old maids try and love again.  I imagine it was quite a movie for 1959.  It was certainly interesting and unique.

Well, if you made it this far, congrats, I owe you a cookie.  It’s worth mentioning that I only wrote about all the movies that I had something to say about.  This wasn’t all the ones I rented.  In fact, I skipped quite a few jumping from entry to entry.  I’ll draw up the stats, later.

2 Comments

Filed under Entertainment

2 responses to “third annual netflix rental round-up

  1. You owe me a cookie. And PLEASE tell me you didn’t watch all these movies in the last week.

  2. Steve

    Heh, no, I watched them over the course of a year. :)

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