For my second film of 1967, I look again towards France — there just happens to be a bunch of French films from that year that I’d like to watch, either again or for the first time. This one, Le Samourai, is something I had never seen, but I had long heard of it, and it sounded like something I’d enjoy. I did indeed quite like it, from the meticulous build-up to the crime that takes place, and then what follows, until the unexpected ending (at least for me).
The second part of my Amy Adams double bill was Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals, and wow, I enjoyed this even more than I thought I would. I liked Ford’s first film, A Single Man, quite a bit, but mostly for its luscious look. This film also looks quite nice, but it’s not what really grabbed me about it — I was surprisingly quite invested in what ends up being a “story within a story.” It’s in fact those sequences that I enjoyed the most, with fantastic work by Jake Gyllenhaal (an actor I quite like in general) and Michael Shannon.
Without even planning it, I ended up doing an Amy Adams double bill last night, starting with Arrival. I was quite looking forward to watching this — not only because I’ve had so many friends tell me they enjoyed it, but also because I am such a fan of Denis Villeneuve’s films (especially Enemy). And yes, I enjoyed the fuck out of this. It’s smart, beautifully shot, with a story that keeps you guessing until the very end — and it really does all come together nicely. Very much recommended, and it makes me that much more excited for Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049.
So it didn’t take long after finishing my 1985 movie marathon that I got in the mood to explore another year’s releases, and this time I’ve decided to go back even further, to 1967 — I picked ’67 for the simple reason that it marks a 50 year jump back. I’m definitely not going to shoot for 30 movies this time, probably 10-15, and I started with a movie I remember quite enjoying, and that’s Luis Bunuel’s Belle de Jour. I’m glad to say I enjoyed it just as much as I remembered (the last time I watched it was probably 20 years ago). It’s deliciously weird and odd, with an ending I still quite like.
So following Moana, I watched the latest Pixar film, hoping that I’d be into it — I say this because I’ve started losing interest in Pixar films, as I wasn’t crazy about Inside Out, and I still haven’t found myself wanting to watch The Good Dinosaur. The verdict? It was pretty good, I liked it fine. I was actually feeling a bit uncomfortable at first, as I wasn’t into the tragic note that it starts on (I get quite sensitive with films that deal with mental health). But it eventually turned into a pretty fun ride. I didn’t love it, but I’m glad I watched it. My favorite character was the weird seal.
I did a Disney double bill tonight by watching Moana and Finding Dory back-to-back. Starting with Moana, you can’t find fault in the brilliant visuals, and it was mostly fine in terms of keeping my interest, but I wasn’t particularly engaged. I didn’t care for all of the songs, so the movie constantly lost me during those bits — especially the ballads. It’s the same thing that bugged me with Frozen — I’m fine with watching a musical, but it’s a bummer when you really don’t care about any of the songs. I’d say my favorite sequence was the coconut attack. And anything with the crazy chicken.
I was looking forward to watching this pretty much because of the sequences I saw in the ads with the Escher-like city transformations. So let’s start with the good: The movie does indeed present some action sequences that are quite novel, from those aforementioned city manipulations to the fight in Hong Kong that takes place while time is reversing. I did quite like watching those bits, but the rest left me a bit bored. I’m so tired of seeing a hero’s origin retold in film, and we do have to spend a lot of time going through the setup, before we get to the fun stuff. The worst though is what they did with the Ancient One, and just a lot of the characters in general — it’s just a bummer to see a bunch of non-Asian people dressed in Asian garb, feels off in this day and age.
So I started the year by watching 30 movies from 1985, over a period of a month and a half. Why? Good question. It sorta happened by accident.
During one of the first days of January, I watched The Goonies with my wife (she had never seen it), and not only did we have a really fun time watching it, but it got us talking about how movies of that era felt so different — with Goonies specifically, it’s the innocence of the kids (which you see depicted in Stranger Things) and the silly adventure. After noticing that it came out in 1985, I was curious and so checked out Box Office Mojo’s list of movies from that year, which got me thinking that it would be fun to revisit a bunch of them, most of them films I hadn’t watched since back then.
There was no method to my madness, I just picked stuff I was in the mood to watch — not necessarily the top grossing movies of the year, but most of them were. I also didn’t really know how many I’d end up watching, but the more I watched, the more I enjoyed this cultural time warp back to 1985, and so I just kept going until I got to 30, which I felt was a good number to stop at. I could have still watched more — I was planning on also watching American Ninja, Missing in Action 2, Out of Africa, and even Cat’s Eye, as well as a few more — but thought it would be good to move on to other things. I did keep track of all the movies I watched in my Debaser diary, and so you’ll find the full alphabetical list below (or just click on my “1985” tag).
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
- Back to the Future
- Brewster’s Millions
- Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
- Fright Night
- Invasion U.S.A.
- Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
- National Lampoon’s European Vacation
- Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment
- Pray for Death
- Rambo: First Blood Part II
- Red Sonja
- Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins
- Rocky IV
- Spies Like Us
- St. Elmo’s Fire
- Teen Wolf
- The Black Cauldron
- The Breakfast Club
- The Goonies
- The Jewel of the Nile
- Weird Science
- Young Sherlock Holmes
So how did I end my 30-movie 1985 marathon? With one of the biggest movies of the year. I actually re-watched this movie a year or two ago (along with First Blood), and so it was still relatively fresh in my mind, but I still had fun watching it. Yes, it’s of the era, jingoistic, cheesy lines and all, but whether its colored by nostalgia or not, it’s still a blast to watch Stallone terrorize soldiers with his bow and arrows, and later with that full-on machine gun and bazooka.
I had fond memories of this movie, and I’m glad to say it’s still pretty good. It’s also a movie I remember appreciating later on, not when it came out — since I was too young at the time, and was more a fan of Ford as an action hero. But yeah, it’s a good thriller, and the scenes that take place in the Amish community are still interesting to watch.