One man's quest to watch the top 1001 movies of all time.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

I Know Why I Hate This Movie

Film: I Know Where I'm Going
Year: 1945
Where I Saw It: Netflix

Time to reveal how I write these things.  First I watch the movie then I try to guess why it was put in the top 1001 movies of all time.  I then read what the book says to see if what I guessed was right and to gain new insight into the film.  Finally, I write my new post.  So far, all the movies I have watched in this book have been great.  Some are better than others but there has always been some aspect of these films which I have enjoyed.

I'll be frank.  I hated this film.  I was bored watching it and it was almost a chore- scratch that- it was a chore finishing it.  After it was done I couldn't for the life of me figure out why this movie was in the book.  Then I read what the book had to say and knew why I hated it so much.  This movie is the granddaddy of all romantic comedies.  Now there are romantic comedies I like, but they have to be well written and use plots which aren't contrived.  The dialogue must be honest and not forced with bad jokes or embarrassing situations.  This film is the godfather of the terrible romantic comedy formula.

What is that formula?  Take two big named actors, place them in a weird scenario, have them like each other, hate each other, then like each other again and finally throw in a "kookie" best friend.  Add montages to taste.  The actors are Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey, the weird scenario is they are stuck in Scotland.  They like each other, then hate each other, and finally love each other and the weird best friend is a guy who trains falcons.  The montage count was four.  Watch this movie if you want to feel sad about how this film was made almost seventy years ago and we're still using the same sad plot devices.

One Last Point - There was one neat point.  This was the first film where Scots weren't depicted as drunken slobs.

Thanks for reading! - Scott Scene

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Film: Laura
Year: 1944
Where I Saw It: Netflix

First off, I'm really really really sorry for not posting for so long.  Secondly, I hope you all had a fantastic holiday and had lots of good times with friends and family.  Thirdly, I had kind of a crazy New Year's, so if any one has seen a pair of pants some where in the downtown area, please let me know.  Now down to the movie.

The movie's plot is centered around a woman named Laura who everyone wants to be or be with.  And I do mean everyone; the crotchety yet witty old critic, other women in the film, police officers, Vincent Price- Yes, a young Vincent Price is in this film and it's not a horror role.  It's kind of neat to see.

But the character that really steals the show is the old critic.  He is fascinated with Laura and elevates her to a celebrity status.  He's really manipulative and has such a wonderfully twisted personality.  He's truly a bad guy you love to hate.  There's also a touch of him not only to be with Laura but actually BE Laura.  I don't know if the director planned it that way, but I definitely got that impression.

One Last Point: Again, sorry about not posting for so long.  I'll throw in a few extra reviews over the next few weeks to make up for it.  Also, you really have to see Vincent Price in this film.  It's a good thing he moved into horror films because he doesn't do that great at being the romantic lead.

Thanks for read! - Scott Scene

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Why Would Any Parent Let Their Child Watch Dumbo?

Film: Dumbo
Year: 1941
Where I Saw It: DVD

So here we are with another Disney film and like many of you, this film was a staple of my early childhood.  When I got to this film in my book, I had to skip over it because I hadn't seen it in such a long time.  I probably saw it last over twenty years ago and I wanted to watch it again before I wrote my review.  I could only remember vague memories from the film and when I went searching for it I was surprised a bit to find how difficult it was to track down.  After all, it is a Disney movie so therefore it should be easy to find.  Three nights ago I found it, watched it and promptly wept for my childhood.  Yes, it's list time and here are the top ten reasons why you should never let your child watch Dumbo.

1.  Dumbo's mother is thrown in jail.  Not only thrown in jail, but Dumbo is forced to watch every other animal in the circus snuggle up to their mom's in a constant reminder to Dumbo that HIS MOM'S IN JAIL!!!

2.  If you are in any way a supporter of animal rights, just- Umm...  Look, just don't watch it.  Unless you've thought to yourself recently, "Gee, my blood pressure sure has been on the low side lately".

3.  The putting up the circus scene is oddly scary.  I mean, really scary.  I mean, why did you make this scene so scary?  You're putting up a circus!

4.  Dumbo gets wasted on a combination of soap and cheap booze.

5.  While he's drunk, he experiences the most frightening cartoon sequence I have ever scene.  This scene would make Tim Burton say "Hey Walt.  Tone it down will ya?"

6.  The lesson of the movie is "Hey kids!  Do you have big ears?  Then throw yourself off a building and you'll fly!"

7.  Speaking of flying, I know it's a cartoon but it really seems like they were grasping at straws here.  Here's how I imagine the conversation went.
Walt - Alright everybody, we need a new film.
Writer - How about the story of a monkey that can fly?
Walt - No, there's already a movie with flying monkeys.  Think bigger.
Writer - Umm...  An Elephant that can fly?

8.  Dumbo's mouse sidekick is the poor man's Jimney Cricket

9.  Dumbo's mouse sidekick is just Mickey Mouse who hit puberty voice-wise.

10.  Dumbo's crow friends are voiced by black people.  The cartoon could have made them sparrows or cardinals or song birds or ANYTHING ELSE, but no, that wouldn't be racist enough.

One Last Point - The crows really are too much.  Youtube Dumbo Crow Scene and you'll see what I mean.  This is not a case of "accidental" racism or "we didn't know any better then" racism.  It's just flat out racism.  They even have the "Jim Crow" voice.

Thanks for reading! - Scott Scene

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Great Train - OK I Have No Idea About What's Going On

Film:  The Great Train Robbery
Year: 1903
Where I Saw It: DVD

My friend The Projectionist gave me a call again this week.  He had found another film I was looking for.  This one was a Western and arguably the first one ever made.  Again, if your not a fan of the genre still check it out.  Even though it's a three parter, it still clocks in at just under fifteen minutes.  It's neat to see how with such a short amount of time and no sound, a story (well, most of it) can still be told through film.  It's also worth noting that at the beginning of the film (or end depending what version you find) there's a short scene where one of the gunfighters points his gun towards the audience and fires.  This was one of the first attempts to make the audience really feel like they were part of the movie.

Having no sound though does have it's drawbacks.  With everyone wearing cowboy hats and the film being in black and white, it's very hard to tell who's who.  Some of the plot points are hard to follow as well.  At one point, the telegraph operator seems to die for no real reason and at another point you see a group of people dancing right after the train robbery and you're left wondering if they are the robbers celebrating or are these people really happy that their train was hijacked.  Turns out it was neither of those options.

The people dancing were the pose hired to kill the robbers and this is where it gets really confusing.  You have no idea who is fighting who.  There's one scene where it looks like the pose is shooting themselves and another scene where everyone is falling down and then the movie ends.  It's very confusing.

One Last Point - This Western was entirely filmed just outside of New Jersey.  I don't know why I find that so funny but I do.

Thanks for reading! - Scott Scene

Sunday, 27 November 2011


Film: Le Voyage Dans La Lune (A Trip To The Moon)
Year: 1902
Where I Saw It: DVD

So my buddy The Projectionist gives me a call and says, "I've got one of those films you're looking for.  In fact, I think it's the first one."  So I head over to his house and we throw it on.  This is the first science fiction film ever made and at fifteen minutes long, even if you're not a fan of the genre, it's still well worth a watch.  It's truly like watching a piece of history.  The techniques used in this film may look cheesy now but at the time, they were brand-spank'n new and jaw dropping to watch.

But I do have to make fun of a few points and as much as I respect this film, there are a whole lotta things that don't make sense.  So here are a few things you need to know if you ever go to the moon.

1.  Make sure your spaceship is just a big bullet.

2.  To launch your spaceship, just load it into a massive canon and point it at the moon.  Make sure your cannon fires like a cannon you would see on a pirate ship.

3.  When you are on the moon, all you will need is a coat, hat and umbrella.

4.  Watch out for moon men, but if you do run into them, just hit them with your umbrella and they'll explode.

5.  To get back to Earth, just push your bullet off a moon cliff and you'll drop back to the planet.

One Last Point - To become an astronomer/astronaut, all you need is a pointy hat.

Thanks for reading and thanks again to The Projectionist! - Scott Scene

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Old and Bold

Film: To Be Or Not To Be
Year: 1942
Where I Saw It: Netflix

Now, I know what you may be thinking.  1942?  I thought Mel Brooks made that film in the 1980's.  I KNOW!  I thought that too!  I was just as surprised to find out it was a remake.  Having seen both films, I'll say this.  The Mel Brooks one is funnier but this film is edgier.

For those of you who don't know the story, it's about a failing acting troupe in Poland right before the Germans take over.  When war breaks out, the troupe must now use their acting skills to impersonate Nazis in order to help members of the Polish underground.  This is what what I mean by edgier.  LOOK AT WHEN THIS FILM WAS MADE!!!  Can you imagine even pitching a film with a plot line like this during that time?  It would be like pitching a comedy about 9/11 in 2002 or filming a slapstick about Afghanistan.

This film is also incredibly funny.  It's got that touch of camp mixed with vindictiveness that only older films of that time can deliver (if you're confused by that statement watch The Three Stooges Meet The Nazis, you'll see what I mean).  The whole plot is outrageous and the characters are fantastic.  It's a great film.  I don't think Mel Brooks remade it with thoughts of making it better, but as an homage to it.

One Last Point - I'm really blown away by the balls of this film.  We like to think our time is a lot more edgier when it comes to content of films but after watching this film, I would say we have a long way to go in order to match the issues and content of the past.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Lessons from Pinocchio

Film: Pinocchio
Year: 1940
Where I Saw It: DVD

This week I saw Pinocchio, another childhood standard.  This was Walt Disney's second feature length film and even though it was created so long ago, it still holds up as one of the best animated films of all time.  Let's take a look back and review some of the life long lessons it taught us.

1.  Smoking will turn you into a donkey.

2.  If you get a bunch of kids to smoke, after they turn into donkeys, they will provide an excellent cheap labour force.

3.  A favourite snack of whales is people.

4.  If you do get eaten by a whale, you can live quite comfortably inside it providing you have a raft of some sort.

5.  When you wish upon a star, a strange woman claiming to be the "Blue Fairy" will appear in your room.

6.  The preferred choice of clothes for crickets is upper class Victorian wear.

7.  Making fun of other cultures is OK providing you do it with marionettes.

8.  It is easier to build a wooden puppet, pray for him to come to life and chase him around on a series of whacky adventures instead of adopting a real child.

9.  Gepetto is a greedy jerk.  He's got a cat AND a fish and he STILL wants company?  Bastard.

10.  The Blue Fairy can change a wooden boy to a real boy but refuses to end world hunger.

One Last Point: Disney is pretty good at drawing animals but I feel they dropped the ball on Jiminy Cricket.  He looks nothing like a cricket.  He has a closer resemblance to ET.

Thanks for reading! - Scott Scene