A 4 star movie is something that should be very rare. I expect more from a 4 star movie and hold it to the highest standard. When I’m watching a critically acclaimed movie, I’m comparing it to all the other 4 star movies I’ve seen in the past like Forrest Gump, Shawshank Redemption, and the Godfather. Movies that I’ve watched recently that have been reviewed as 4 stars by the Comcast system are letting me down. This leads my thought to believe that old time movies do not get re-ranked as they shouldn’t. If a movie came out in 1935 and was 4 stars, it’s still 4 stars. However, this doesn’t mean that I am watching this movie in 2013 and thinking it’s 4 stars. The thing about these 4 star movies though is that they leave a time stamp of cultural significance even if they are not the “best” movie. Here are few that fit this mold.
Dirty Harry (1971)
Dirty Harry’s 4 stars drew me to watching it because I haven’t watched much Clint before and I knew the name Dirty Harry was well known. Whenever I think of the early 70’s, I think of Beatlemania and the Vietnam War so I also wanted to get some film culture of the time period. Clint plays a bad-ass cop, Dirty Harry Callaghan, who takes no shit and does whatever he wants. Numerous times through the movie he is asked why he’s called “Dirty”? “I get every dirty job that comes along” and he “always get the shit-end of the stick.”
The movie is not exactly filled with twists, turns, and stimulating thought which 4 star movies often bring. It tends to follow the path of Harry tailing Scorpio (the serial killer) throughout the whole movie. I noticed when Harry was firing shots in the opening scene he couldn’t miss and at the end it was like he was a Stormtrooper. His tagline of “Do you feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?” is used throughout the movie and is worth remembering. My biggest complaint about Dirty Harry was the villain. His leg being hurt and his running was ridiculous and the school bus scene when he was hitting kids was trust bizarre. How that mental case was a mastermind serial killer did not seem realistic. This was a good movie and probably 4 stars in 1971 but it doesn’t hold up to expectations of today.
Another 4 star review that I think is more like 3. The acting by Stallone was incredible. Playing a dumb fighter was done expertly by Stallone. I thought Adrian was deftly played and the pair fit like two peas in a pod. The Apollo Creed set up of the fight seemed secondary to the love story going which was aptly conveyed at the conclusion of the movie. Being from Philadelphia, I thought the screen shots of Kelly Drive, the Art Museum, and the Italian market were awesome because I’m able to compare them to today. I thought it was a very good movie but not very believable considering Rocky couldn’t run up the Art Museum steps without being winded at the beginning of his training and was somehow able to take on the Champ a few weeks later. Either way, great movie, but not 4 star caliber.
Watching classic movies made 70+ years ago is truly a blast from the past. Humphrey Bogart was great as Rick in Casablanca. He had a cool sense to him and seemed like a man’s man which is amazingly what I thought of Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) in Gone with the Wind. Men were much manlier back then. Plus everyone in the movie is an alcoholic which seems realistic. The love story between Rick and Isla was pretty deep which is why this movie was 4 stars. The twist at the end also caught the viewers off guard which I’m sure in 42′ was unheard of. The movie brought the tag lines, “Here’s looking at you, kid” and “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Casablanca is a great movie that still holds up 70 years later. With this in mind, I understand it being 4 stars. However, it isn’t keeping me on the edge of my seat 4 stars. It’s 1942 4 stars.
I wrote this post back in July and want to update it a bit. Ted is growing on me. This is a movie that you can pick up at any point and find parts to laugh at. The Teddy Bruschi joke is a 10/10 and the way Mila Kunis throws around Martina Navatabruski is wonderful. I think another thing this movie does great is its cut scenes. They seem sped up and what it does is gets you laughing as you finish the last scene and immediately pop into the next. The Patrick Warburton scene of whether he’s gay or not is hilarious too because his dialogue is spot on. This movie is funnier than I thought and gets better with each watch. 4 stars is pushing it because the story isn’t that great but the thought put into the dialogue is A+.