Brookes and I don’t agree with what makes a good movie. He admires the process going into making the movie and I focus on the outcome. Movies that don’t move put me to sleep, whereas the slower they move, the more Brookes gets into them (The Revenant). It’s good though because difference of opinions allow for discussion.
For me, TV series have surpassed movies. A 2 hour movie can’t compete with a 12 hour series – followed by multiple seasons. This has skewed my expectations for what I expect out of a movie. I want a jam packed, thought provoking, movie experience to wow me in 2 hours. Realism is key. If I feel that the movie is taking exception to reality, I get turned off.
Here are 6 movies that keep me watching that aren’t “The Shawshank Redemption” or “Goodfellas”.
Schindler’s List (1993)
Out of my list, I imagine this is the highest on other people’s lists. Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler saves Jewish workers is the premise of this movie. Set in WW2, Oskar Schindler needs to walk a fine line as a German, between playing nice with the SS and putting his plan into action. Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort in Harry Potter) is amazing as the Nazi general and Ben Kingsley plays Liam Neeson’s right hand man perfectly. Directed by Steven Spielberg, this movie is a much watch. One of the few movies that makes me cry because of the testament to self-sacrifice.
This movie isn’t fair to put on my list as I rarely see it played any longer and I haven’t seen it in 10 years. However, the structure of the movie is one that leaves you wondering what the hell is going on. Guy Pearce plays the lead character who suffers from short term memory loss. He has to write notes to himself to continuously remind him as quickly as possible what is happening each day. The story moves from a black to white format and color to span different periods of time and keeps you guessing. Is it fair that I add this to my list even though I haven’t watched it in a long time? I will and get back to you. Watching this movie also made me watch LA Confidential.
Memorial Day was yesterday and Platoon was on. After telling Brookes that this was a movie I enjoyed, I wanted to back it up by watching it. With another viewing, this movie depicts war accurately (or at least to my expectations). Directed by Oliver Stone, who also did Deer Hunter, Full Metal Jacket, and Apocalypse Now, he does a nice job of personalizing the friendships, hardships, and different viewpoints of war between the characters. Barnes played by Tom Berenger is the most fascinating character because he’s as hard nosed as they come. Elias is played by Daniel Defoe and has his place but doesn’t gravitate the way Barnes does. Charlie Sheen does a fine job of playing the role of main story mover. Even John McGinley (Bob from Office Space) makes an appearance as a soldier stuck in the system.
Gran Torino (2008)
I haven’t seen this on television much aside from Fx, where I can’t watch a full movie because of the commercials. I’m going off of memory here but Clint Eastwood’s role is an old time Korean war vet who forms a relationship with his neighbor when he tries to steal his car. The story involves Walt, Clint’s character, taking the boy under his wing and helping him out with his gangster cronies. It is a powerful story which Clint Eastwood plays off to perfection as an old crotchety old man.
I’ve seen Snatch a dozen times and it gets better every time. Once you’ve watched it through once, you start to know the characters and each re-watch becomes better because they all have their own identities. A Guy Ritchie directed film, multiple sub plots come together to form incredible action. Boris the Blade’s perseverance. Brick Top’s soulless attitude. Turkish and Tommy dealing with the Pikeys. Bullet Tooth Tony and his Desert Eagle .50. Brad Pitt as Mickey and the bare knuckle boxing. Tyrone the Getaway Driver, “Course I am”. A conglomerate of excellence.
Inglorious Basterds (2009)
I don’t know why Basterds is spelled like that so you’ll have to ask Quentin Tarentino and I’m too lazy to look it up. This movie was my first introduction to Christoph Waltz and he followed it up brilliantly in Green Hornet (watch this Sam). Let me start by writing that the intro scene with Waltz and the Nazi’s looking for the daughters is unbeatable. Shosanna! Brad Pitt leading the American side against Hans Landa is a work of art. The name game in the basement bar can be found below and is also one of my favorite scenes. Even watching the main soldier vie for Shosanna has its moments. Plus who can forget the Bear Jew. The ending pays off as well which I find is a must for me.
So there you go. I like WW2 movies and any others pertaining to war. I learned something about myself. I suppose this also shows why any movie that involves fictional characters (think Batman) and bizarre animals (think Jaws, ET, or Jurassic Park) don’t do it for me.