Monday, December 26, 2011


* This post really has nothing to do with Chariots of Fire, I just needed a blog heading.

I’ve been watching movies from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book, as well as a few others, for a little over two years now. So since I’ve seen 272 films so far and taking into account supplemental volumes with additional movies in it…I’ll be finished—uh, probably never. But I’ll keep trying.

Things I’ve learned since I’ve started watching movies from
The 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book.

1. It’s good not to read the plot synopsis in the 1001 movie book before you watch the movie because they usually give away the ending.
2. It’s good to watch these movies in some kind of sequence: Like a week of
1940’s films, Italian films or Documentary films. I honestly was going to watch One Eyed Jacks, Two-Lane Blacktop, Three Kings, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Five Easy Pieces, The Sixth Sense, The Seven Samurai, 8 ½, Nine-Teen Hundred, The Ten Commandments, Ocean’s Eleven and Twelve Angry Men on consecutive nights until I realized neither version of Ocean’s Eleven was in the book, I was cheating on the number 9 and that I probably needed to get back on my medication and abandon this whole thread.
3. There are things in life other than watching a movie and trying to come up with something original to say about it…I just can’t remember what.
4. That the 1001 movie book loves French films and Westerns, but very few French Westerns.
5. And that I just want to be loved. Is that so wrong?

Movies seen since 2009 in bold

1. A Trip to the Moon (1902)
2. The Great Train Robbery (1903) 1
3. The Birth of a Nation (1915)
4. Les Vampires (1915)
5. Intolerance (1916)
6. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)
7. Broken Blossoms (1919)
8. Way Down East (1920)
9. Within Our Gates (1920)
10. The Phantom Carriage (1921)
11. Orphans of the Storm (1921)
12. The Smiling Madame Beudet (1922)
13. Dr. Mabuse, Parts 1 and 2 (1922)
14. Nanook of the North (1922)
15. Nosferatu, A Symphony of Terror(1922) 2
16. Haxan (1923)
17. Foolish Wives (1922)
18. Our Hospitality (1923)
19. The Wheel (1923)
20. The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
21. Strike (1924)
22. Greed (1924)
23. Sherlock, Jr. (1924)
24. The Last Laugh (1924)
25. Seven Chances (1925)
26. The Phantom of the Opera (1925) 3
27. The Battleship Potemkin (1925)
28. The Gold Rush (1925)
29. The Big Parade (1925)
30. Metropolis (1927) 4
31. Sunrise (1927)
32. The General (1927) 5
33. The Unknown (1927) 6
34. October (1927)
35. The Jazz Singer (1927)
36. Napoleon (1927)
37. The Kid Brother (1927)
38. The Crowd (1928)
39. The Docks of New York (1928)
40. An Andalusian Dog (1928)
41. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
42. Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)
43. Storm over Asia (1928)
44. Blackmail (1929)
45. The Man with the Movie Camera (1929)
46. Pandora's Box (1929) 7
47. The Blue Angel (1930)
48. The Age Of Gold (1930)
49. Earth (1930)
50. Little Caesar (1930)
51. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
52. Freedom For Us (1931) 8
53. The Million (1931) 9

54. Tabu (1931)
55. Dracula (1931) 10
56. Frankenstein (1931) 11
57. City Lights (1931) 12

58. The Public Enemy (1931)
59. M (1931)
60. The Bitch (1931)
61. The Vampire (1932)
62. Love Me Tonight (1932) 13
63. Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932)
64. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
65. Trouble in Paradise (1932)
66. Scarface: The Shame Of A Nation (1932)
67. Shanghai Express (1932)
68. Freaks (1932) 14
69. Me and My Gal (1932)
70. Zero for Conduct (1933)
71. 42nd Street (1933) 15
72. Footlight Parade (1933) 16
73. Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933) 17
74. She Done Him Wrong (1933) 18

75. Duck Soup (1933)
76. Queen Christina (1933)
77. Land Without Bread (1933)
78. King Kong (1933)
79. The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933)
80. Sons of the Desert (1933)
81. It's a Gift (1934) 19
82. Triumph of the Will (1934)
83. L'Atalante (1934) 20
84. The Black Cat (1934)
85. Judge Priest (1934)
86. It Happened One Night (1934)
87. The Thin Man (1934)
88. Captain Blood (1935) 21
89. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) 22

90. A Night at the Opera (1935)
91. The 39 Steps (1935)
92. Bride of Frankenstein (1935) 23
93. Top Hat (1935) 24

94. A Day in the Country (1936)
95. Modern Times (1936)
96. Swing Time (1936)
97. My Man Godfrey (1936) 25
98. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
99. Camille (1936) 26
100. Sabotage (1936)
101. Dodsworth (1936) 27
102. Things to Come (1936)
103. The Story of a Cheat (1936)
104. Captains Courageous (1937) 28
105. Midnight Song (1937)
106. Grand Illusion (1937) 29
107. Stella Dallas (1937)
108. The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
109. Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)
110. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) 30
111. The Awful Truth (1937)
112. Pepe Le Moko (1937) 31
113. Jezebel (1938)
114. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) 32
115. Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)
116. Olympia (1938)
117. The Baker's Wife (1938)
118. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
119. Stagecoach (1939)
120. The Story of the Late Chrysanthemums (1939)
121. Babes in Arms (1939)
122. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
123. The Wizard of Oz (1939) 33
124. Destry Rides Again (1939)
125. Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
126. Gone With the Wind (1939)
127. Daybreak (1939)
128. Gunga Din (1939) 34
129. Ninotchka (1939) 35

130. The Rules of the Game (1939)
131. Wuthering Heights (1939)
132. His Girl Friday (1940)
133. Rebecca (1940) 36
134. Fantasia (1940)
135. The Philadelphia Story (1940) 37
136. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
137. Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)
138. Pinocchio (1940) 38
139. The Mortal Storm (1940)
140. The Bank Dick (1940) 39
141. Citizen Kane (1941) 40
142. The Lady Eve (1941) 41

143. The Wolf Man (1941)
144. The Maltese Falcon (1941) 42
145. Sergeant York (1941)
146. Dumbo (1941)
147. High Sierra (1941) 43
148. Sullivan's Travels (1941)
149. How Green Was My Valley (1941) 44
150. The Palm Beach Story (1942) 45

151. Now, Voyager (1942)
152. Casablanca (1942)
153. To Be or Not to Be (1942)
154. Cat People (1942)
155. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
156. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) 46
157. Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)
158. Fires Were Started (1943)
159. The Man in Grey (1943)
160. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
161. I Walked with a Zombie (1943) 47
162. The Seventh Victim (1943)
163. The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) 48
164. Shadow of a Doubt (1943) 49

165. Ossessione (1943)
166. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
167. To Have and Have Not (1944) 50
168. Laura (1944) 51
169. Gaslight (1944) 52

170. Henry V (1944)
171. Ivan the Terrible, Parts One and Two (1944)
172. Double Indemnity (1944) 53
173. Murder, My Sweet (1944)
174. The Battle of San Pietro (1945)
175. Spellbound (1945)
176. Mildred Pierce (1945)
177. The Children of Paradise (1945) 54
178. Open City (1945) 55
179. The Lost Weekend (1945)
180. Detour (1945) 56
181. I Know Where I'm Going! (1945)
182. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) 57
183. Brief Encounter (1946)
184. Paisan (1946)
185. The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) 58
186. My Darling Clementine (1946) 59
187. The Stranger (1946) 60
188. Beauty and the Beast (1946) 61
189. The Big Sleep (1946) 62
190. The Killers (1946) 63

191. A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
192. Great Expectations (1946)
193. Notorious (1946) 64
194. Black Narcissus (1946) 65
195. It's a Wonderful Life (1946) 66
196. Gilda (1946) 67
197. Monsieur Verdoux (1947) 68

198. Out of the Past (1947)
199. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) 69
200. Odd Man Out (1947)
201. The Bicycle Thief (1948) 70
202. Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)
203. Secret Beyond the Door (1948)
204. Force of Evil (1948)
205. Spring in a Small Town (1948)
206. Red River (1948)
207. Rope (1948)
208. The Snake Pit (1948) 71
209. The Lady from Shanghai (1948)
210. The Paleface (1948)
211. The Red Shoes (1948) 72
212. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) 73

213. Louisiana Story (1948)
214. The Heiress (1949)
215. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) 74
216. Gun Crazy (1949)
217. Adam's Rib (1949) 75
218. Whiskey Galore! (1949)
219. White Heat (1949)
220. The Reckless Moment (1949)
221. The Third Man (1949) 76
222. On the Town (1949)
223. Orpheus (1949)
224. The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
225. Rashomon (1950)
226. Winchester '73 (1950)
227. Rio Grande (1950)
228. All About Eve (1950)
229. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
230. Los Olvidados (1950)
231. In a Lonely Place (1950)
232. The Big Carnival (1951)
233. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
234. Strangers on a Train (1951)
235. The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)
236. Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)
237. The African Queen (1951) 77
238. Diary of a Country Priest (1951)
239. An American in Paris (1951) 78
240. A Place in the Sun (1951)
241. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) 79
242. The Quiet Man (1952)
243. Forbidden Games (1952) 80
244. Angel Face (1952)
245. Singin' in the Rain (1952)
246. To Live (1952)
247. Europa '51 (1952)
248. The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
249. The Big Sky (1952)
250. High Noon (1952)
251. Umberto D (1952)
252. The Golden Coach (1952)
253. The Bigamist (1953)
254. The Band Wagon (1953)
255. Madame De… (1953)
256. From Here to Eternity (1953)
257. Tokyo Story (1953) 81
258. Roman Holiday (1953)
259. Wages of Fear (1953) 82
260. The Naked Spur (1953)
261. Pickup on South Street (1953) 83
262. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
263. The Big Heat (1953) 84
264. Mr. Hulot's Holiday (1953) 85

265. Voyage in Italy (1953)
266. Tales of Ugetsu (1953) 86
267. Shane (1953) 87
268. Beat the Devil (1953) 88

269. Johnny Guitar (1954)
270. On the Waterfront (1954)
271. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
272. Les Diaboliques (1954) 89
273. Animal Farm (1954) 90

274. Rear Window (1954)
275. A Star Is Born (1954)
276. The Barefoot Contessa (1954)
277. The Road (1954) 91
278. The Seven Samurai (1954)
279. The Wanton Countess (1954)
280. Silver Lode (1954)
281. Carmen Jones (1954)
282. Sansho the Baliff (1954) 92
283. Salt of the Earth (1954)
284. Artists and Models (1955)
285. Guys and Dolls (1955)
286. Pather Panchali (1955)
287. Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) 93
288. The Mad Masters (1955)
289. Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer (1955)
290. The Ladykillers (1955)
291. Marty (1955) 94
292. Ordet (1955) 95
293. Bob the Gambler (1955) 96
294. Kiss Me Deadly (1955) 97

295. The Man from Laramie (1955)
296. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
297. The Phenix City Story (1955)
298. Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)
299. Night and Fog (1955)
300. The Night of the Hunter (1955) 98
301. The Sins of Lola Montes (1955)
302. Forbidden Planet (1956) 99
303. The Burmese Harp (1956) 100

304. The Searchers (1956)
305. A Man Escaped (1956) 101
306. Written on the Wind (1956)
307. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
308. Giant (1956)
309. All That Heaven Allows (1956) 102
310. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) 103

311. The Wrong Man (1956)
312. Bigger Than Life (1956)
313. High Society (1956)
314. The Ten Commandments (1956)
315. 12 Angry Men (1957)
316. The Seventh Seal (1957) 104
317. An Affair to Remember (1957)
318. Wild Strawberries (1957) 105
319. The Nights of Cabiria (1957)
320. Throne of Blood (1957)
321. The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
322. The Unvanquished (1957)
323. Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)
324. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
325. Mother India (1957)
326. The Cranes Are Flying (1957)
327. Paths of Glory (1957)
328. Sweet Smell of Success (1957) 106
329. Man of the West (1958)
330. Touch of Evil (1958)
331. Cairo Station (1958) 107
332. Gigi (1958)
333. The Defiant Ones (1958) 108
334. Vertigo (1958) 109
335. Ashes and Diamonds (1958) 110
336. Horror of Dracula (1958) 111

337. My Uncle (1958)
338. The Music Room (1958)
339. The 400 Blows (1959) 112
340. North by Northwest (1959)
341. Some Like It Hot (1959)
342. Anatomy of a Murder (1959) 113
343. Eyes without a Face (1959) 114

344. Ride Lonesome (1959)
345. Black Orpheus (1959) 115
346. Shadows (1959) 116

347. The World of Apu (1959)
348. Breathless (1959) 117
349. Ben-Hur (1959)
350. Pickpocket (1959)
351. Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) 118
352. Rio Bravo (1959)
353. The Hole (1959)
354. Floating Weeds (1959) 119
355. Rocco and His Brothers (1960)
356. La Dolce Vita (1960)
357. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960)
358. Shoot the Piano Player (1960)
359. The Adventure (1960)
360. The Young One (1960)
361. The Cloud-Capped Star (1960)
362. The Housemaid (1960)
363. Psycho (1960) 120
364. Revenge of the Vampire / Black Sunday (1960)
365. Peeping Tom (1960) 121
366. The Apartment (1960)
367. Spartacus (1960)
368. Splendor in the Grass (1961)
369. Last Year at Marienbad (1961) 122
370. The Pier (1961)
371. One-Eyed Jacks (1961)
372. Lola (1961)
373. Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) 123
374. The Night (1961)
375. Jules and Jim (1961)
376. Viridiana (1961)
377. The Ladies Man (1961)
378. Through a Glass Darkly (1961) 124
379. Chronicle of a Summer (1961)
380. The Hustler (1961)
381. West Side Story (1961) 125
382. A Dog's Life (1962)
383. Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962)
384. Dog Star Man (1962)
385. An Autumn Afternoon (1962) 126
386. The Eclipse (1962)
387. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
388. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) 127
389. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
390. Lolita (1962)
391. Keeper of Promises (1962)
392. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) 128
393. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
394. My Life to Live (1962)
395. Heaven and Earth Magic (1962)
396. The Birds (1963) 129
397. The Nutty Professor (1963)
398. Blonde Cobra (1963)
399. The Cool World (1963)
400. 8 1/2 (1963) 130
401. Passenger (1963)
402. Contempt (1963)
403. Hud (1963)
404. Winter Light (1963) 131
405. Flaming Creatures (1963)
406. The Great Escape (1963)
407. Shock Corridor (1963) 132
408. The Leopard (1963) 133

409. Barren Lives (1963)
410. Mediteranee (1963)
411. The House is Black (1963)
412. The Haunting (1963) 134
413. An Actor's Revenge (1963)
414. The Servant (1963)
415. Goldfinger (1964)
416. Scorpio Rising (1964)
417. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)
418. Marnie (1964) 135
419. My Fair Lady (1964) 136
420. Woman in the Dunes (1964) 137

421. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
422. A Hard Day's Night (1964) 138
423. The Red Desert (1964)
424. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964) 139
425. The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
426. Before the Revolution (1964)
427. Gertrud (1964) 140
428. The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)
429. Black God, White Devil (1964)
430. The Demon (1964)
431. Vinyl (1965)
432. The Shop on Main Street (1965) 141
433. Doctor Zhivago (1965)
434. The War Game (1965)
435. Tokyo Olympiad (1965)
436. The Battle of Algiers (1965) 142
437. The Sound of Music (1965)
438. The Saragossa Manuscript (1965)
439. Alphaville (1965)
440. Chimes at Midnight (1965)
441. Repulsion (1965) 143
442. Juliet of the Spirits (1965)
443. Pierrot Goes Wild (1965)
444. Faster, Pussy Cat! Kill! Kill! (1965)
445. Golden River (1965)
446. The Man Who Had His Hair Cut Short (1965)
447. Hold Me While I'm Naked (1966)
448. Blowup (1966)
449. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)
450. Daisies (1966)
451. Come Drink with Me (1966)
452. Seconds (1966)
453. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
454. Persona (1966) 144
455. Masculine-Feminine (1966)
456. Balthazar (1966) 145
457. In the Heat of the Night (1967) 146
458. Two or Three Things I Know About Her (1967) 147
459. The Graduate (1967) 148
460. Playtime (1967) 149

461. Report (1967)
462. Hombre (1967)
463. Belle de Jour (1967)
464. The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)
465. Week End (1967) 150
466. The Godson (1967)
467. Cool Hand Luke (1967)
468. Point Blank (1967) 151
469. Wavelength (1967)
470. Bonnie and Clyde (1967) 152
471. The Red and the White (1967)
472. Marketa Lazarova (1967)
473. The Jungle Book (1967)
474. The Fireman's Ball (1967)
475. Earth Entranced (1967)
476. Closely Watched Trains (1967) 153
477. Vij (1967)
478. The Cow (1968)
479. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) 154
480. Planet of the Apes (1968) 155

481. Faces (1968)
482. Rosemary's Baby (1968)
483. If… (1968)
484. Memories of Underdevelopment (1968)
485. The Producers (1968) 156
486. David Holzman's Diary (1968)
487. Shame (1968) 157
488. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) 158
489. Hour of the Wolf (1968) 159

490. Targets (1968)
491. Night of the Living Dead (1968) 160
492. My Night with Maud (1969)
493. Lucia (1969)
494. A Touch of Zen (1969)
495. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
496. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
497. Satyricon (1969) 161
498. Z (1969) 162
499. The Conformist (1969)
500. Easy Rider (1969) 163
501. High School (1969)
502. In the Year of the Pig (1969)
503. The Wild Bunch (1969)
504. Andrei Rublev (1969)
505. The Butcher (1969) 164
506. The Color of Pomegranates (1969) 165

507. Kes (1969)
508. Tristana (1970)
509. Five Easy Pieces (1970) 166
510. El Topo (1970)
511. Woodstock (1970)
512. Deep End (1970)
513. The Spider's Stratagem (1970)
514. Little Big Man (1970) 167
515. The Ear (1970)
516. Patton (1970)
517. M*A*S*H (1970)
518. Performance (1970)
519. Gimme Shelter (1970)
520. Zabriskie Point (1970)
521. The Bird with The Crystal Plumage (1970)
522. The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1970)
523. Wanda (1971)
524. W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (1971)
525. A Clockwork Orange (1971) 168
526. The Sorrow and the Pity (1971)
527. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
528. McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)
529. Walkabout (1971) 169
530. Klute (1971)
531. Harold and Maude (1971)
532. Red Psalm (1971)
533. Get Carter (1971)
534. The French Connection (1971) 170
535. Shaft (1971)
536. Dirty Harry (1971) 171
537. Murmur of the Heart (1971)
538. Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)
539. The Last Picture Show (1971)
540. Straw Dogs (1971)
541. Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
542. The Heartbreak Kid (1972)
543. Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
544. Cabaret (1972) 172
545. Last Tango in Paris (1972)
546. High Plains Drifter (1972) 173
547. Sleuth (1972)
548. Deliverance (1972)
549. Solaris (1972) 174
550. The Godfather (1972) 175
551. Cries and Whispers (1972) 176

552. Fat City (1972)
553. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
554. The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (1972)
555. Frenzy (1972)
556. Pink Flamingos (1972)
557. Superfly (1972)
558. The Sting (1973) 177
559. The Mother and the Whore (1973)
560. Badlands (1973) 178
561. American Graffiti (1973) 179

562. Papillon (1973)
563. Enter the Dragon (1973)
564. Mean Streets (1973)
565. The Long Goodbye (1973)
566. The Wicker Man (1973)
567. Day for Night (1973) 180
568. Don't Look Now (1973)
569. Sleeper (1973)
570. Serpico (1973) 181
571. The Exorcist (1973) 182

572. Turkish Delight (1973)
573. The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)
574. Fantastic Planet (1973)
575. Amarcord (1973)
576. The Harder They Come (1973)
577. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)
578. Dersu Uzala (1974)
579. The Conversation (1974) 183
580. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
581. The Mirror (1974)
582. A Woman Under the Influence (1974) 184
583. Young Frankenstein (1974) 185

584. Chinatown (1974)
585. Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974)
586. Blazing Saddles (1974) 186
587. The Godfather Part II (1974) 187
588. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974) 188

589. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)
590. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
591. One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) 189
592. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai Du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
593. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
594. The Wall (1975)
595. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) 190
596. Barry Lyndon (1975)
597. Fox and His Friends (1975)
598. India Song (1975)
599. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
600. Manila in the Claws of Brightness (1975)
601. Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)
602. Nashville (1975)
603. Cria! (1975)
604. The Travelling Players (1975)
605. Jaws (1975) 191
606. The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)
607. Carrie (1976)
608. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) 192
609. All the President's Men (1976)
610. Rocky (1976) 193
611. Taxi Driver (1976)
612. Network (1976) 194
613. Ascent (1976)
614. In the Realm of the Senses (1976) 195
615. 1900 (1976)
616. The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) 196
617. Star Wars (1977) 197
618. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) 198

619. The Last Wave (1977)
620. Annie Hall (1977) 199
621. Last Chants for a Slow Dance (1977)
622. Stroszek (1977)
623. Man of Marble (1977)
624. Saturday Night Fever (1977)
625. Killer of Sheep (1977)
626. Eraserhead (1977)
627. Ceddo (1977)
628. The American Friend (1977)
629. The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
630. Soldier of Orange (1977)
631. Suspiria (1977)
632. The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)
633. Five Deadly Venoms (1978)
634. The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978)
635. The Deer Hunter (1978)
636. Grease (1978) 200
637. Days of Heaven (1978) 201
638. Dawn of the Dead (1978) 202

639. Shaolin Master Killer (1978)
640. Up in Smoke (1978)
641. Halloween (1978) 203
642. The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979)
643. Real Life (1979)
644. My Brilliant Career (1979)
645. Stalker (1979)
646. Alien (1979)
647. Breaking Away (1979)
648. The Tin Drum (1979)
649. All That Jazz (1979)
650. Being There (1979)
651. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
652. Life of Brian (1979)
653. Apocalypse Now (1979) 204
654. The Jerk (1979)
655. The Muppet Movie (1979)
656. Manhattan (1979)
657. Mad Max (1979) 205
658. Nosferatu: Phantom Of The Night (1979)
659. Ordinary People (1980) 206
660. Atlantic City (1980)
661. The Last Metro (1980)
662. The Shining (1980)
663. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
664. The Elephant Man (1980)
665. The Big Red One (1980) 207
666. Loulou (1980)
667. Airplane! (1980)
668. Raging Bull (1980)
669. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) 208
670. The Boat (1981)
671. Gallipoli (1981) 209
672. Chariots of Fire (1981)
673. Body Heat (1981)
674. Reds (1981)
675. An American Werewolf in London (1981) 210
676. Three Brothers (1981)
677. Man of Iron (1981)
678. Too Early, Too Late (1981)
679. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1981)
680. E.T.: The Extra-Terestrial (1982)
681. The Thing (1982)
682. Poltergeist (1982)
683. Blade Runner (1982)
684. The Evil Dead (1982) 211
685. Tootsie (1982)
686. Yol (1982)
687. Diner (1982)
688. Fitzcaraldo (1982) 212
689. Gandhi (1982)
690. The Night of the Shooting Stars (1982)
691. A Question of Silence (1982)
692. Fanny and Alexander (1982) 213
693. A Christmas Story (1983)
694. El Norte (1983)
695. Videodrome (1983)
696. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) 214
697. The Big Chill (1983)
698. Sunless (1983)
699. The Last Battle (1983)
700. Money (1983)
701. Utu (1983)
702. Terms of Endearment (1983)
703. The Fourth Man (1983)
704. The King of Comedy (1983)
705. The Right Stuff (1983)
706. Koyaanisqatsi (1983)
707. Once Upon a Time in America (1983)
708. Scarface (1983)
709. The Ballad of Narayama (1983)
710. Amadeus (1984) 215
711. The Terminator (1984)
712. Paris, Texas (1984)
713. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
714. This Is Spinal Tap (1984) 216
715. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
716. Ghostbusters (1984)
717. A Passage to India (1984)
718. Stranger Than Paradise (1984)
719. The Killing Fields (1984)
720. The Natural (1984)
721. The Breakfast Club (1985)
722. Ran (1985)
723. Come and See (1985)
724. The Official Story (1985)
725. Out of Africa (1985)
726. The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
727. Back to the Future (1985) 217
728. The Time to Live and the Time to Die (1985)
729. Brazil (1985)
730. Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
731. The Quiet Earth (1985) 218
732. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)
733. Prizzi's Honor (1985)
734. Vagabond (1985)
735. Shoah (1985)
736. The Color Purple (1985)
737. Manhunter (1986) 219
738. Stand By Me (1986)
739. Blue Velvet (1986) 220
740. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
741. She's Gotta Have It (1986)
742. The Decline of the American Empire (1986)
743. The Fly (1986)
744. Aliens (1986)
745. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
746. Down by Law (1986)
747. A Room with a View (1986)
748. Children of a Lesser God (1986)
749. Platoon (1986)
750. Caravaggio (1986)
751. Tampopo (1986)
752. Peking Opera Blues (1986)
753. Salvador (1986)
754. Top Gun (1986) 221
755. Sherman's March (1986) 222

756. The Horse Thief (1986)
757. Brightness (1987)
758. Wings of Desire (1987)
759. Project A, Part II (1987)
760. Babette's Feast (1987)
761. Raising Arizona (1987)
762. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
763. Withnail and I (1987)
764. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
765. Goodbye Children (1987)
766. Broadcast News (1987)
767. Housekeeping (1987)
768. The Princess Bride (1987)
769. Moonstruck (1987)
770. The Untouchables (1987)
771. Red Sorghum (1987) 223
772. The Dead (1987)
773. Fatal Attraction (1987)
774. A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)
775. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)
776. The Vanishing (1988)
777. Bull Durham (1988)
778. Ariel (1988)
779. The Thin Blue Line (1988) 224
780. Akira (1988)
781. Cinema Paradiso (1988)
782. Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie (1988)
783. A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
784. The Naked Gun (1988)
785. Big (1988)
786. Dangerous Liaisons (1988)
787. Grave of the Fireflies (1988) 225
788. Landscape in the Mist (1988) 226

789. The Decalogue (1988)
790. Die Hard (1988)
791. A Tale of the Wind (1988)
792. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
793. Rain Man (1988)
794. The Story of Women (1988)
795. The Accidental Tourist (1988)
796. Alice (1988)
797. Batman (1989)
798. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
799. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
800. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989)
801. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
802. My Left Foot (1989)
803. The Killer (1989)
804. Do the Right Thing (1989)
805. Roger & Me (1989)
806. Glory (1989)
807. The Asthenic Syndrome (1989)
808. Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989)
809. Say Anything (1989)
810. The Unbelievable Truth (1989)
811. A City of Sadness (1989)
812. No Fear, No Die (1990)
813. Reversal of Fortune (1990)
814. Goodfellas (1990)
815. Jacob's Ladder (1990)
816. King of New York (1990)
817. Dances with Wolves (1990)
818. Europa Europa (1990)
819. Pretty Woman (1990)
820. Archangel (1990)
821. Trust (1990)
822. Close-Up (1990)
823. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
824. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1990)
825. Total Recall (1990) 227
826. Once Upon a Time in China (1991)
827. Boyz 'n the Hood (1991)
828. Raise the Red Lantern (1991) 228
829. Delicatessen (1991)
830. A Brighter Summer Day (1991)
831. Naked Lunch (1991)
832. The Beautiful Troublemaker (1991)
833. The Rapture (1991)
834. My Own Private Idaho (1991)
835. Thelma & Louise (1991)
836. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
837. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) 229
838. JFK (1991)
839. Slacker (1991)
840. Tongues Untied (1991)
841. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991) 230
842. The Double Life of Veronique (1991)
843. Strictly Ballroom (1992)
844. The Player (1992)
845. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
846. Romper Stomper (1992)
847. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
848. Unforgiven (1992) 231
849. Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
850. Candy Man (1992)
851. A Tale of Winter (1992)
852. Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (1992)
853. The Crying Game (1992)
854. Man Bites Dog (1992)
855. The Actress (1992)
856. Farewell My Concubine (1993)
857. Thirty Two Films about Glenn Gould (1993)
858. Groundhog Day (1993)
859. Short Cuts (1993)
860. Philadelphia (1993)
861. Jurassic Park (1993)
862. The Age of Innocence (1993)
863. The Puppetmaster (1993)
864. Schindler's List (1993)
865. Three Colors: Blue (1993) 232
866. The Piano (1993)
867. The Blue Kite (1993)
868. The Wedding Banquet (1993)
869. Three Colors: Red (1994) 233
870. Hoop Dreams (1994)
871. Forrest Gump (1994)
872. Clerks (1994)
873. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
874. The Lion King (1994) 234
875. Satantango (1994)
876. Natural Born Killers (1994)
877. The Last Seduction (1994)
878. Pulp Fiction (1994)
879. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
880. The Wild Reeds (1994)
881. Chungking Express (1994) 235
882. Crumb (1994) 236
883. Heavenly Creatures (1994)
884. Through the Olive Trees (1994)
885. Riget (1994) 237
886. Dear Diary (1994)
887. Casino (1995)
888. Deseret (1995)
889. Babe (1995)
890. Toy Story (1995)
891. Strange Days (1995)
892. Braveheart (1995)
893. Safe (1995)
894. Clueless (1995)
895. Heat (1995)
896. Zero Kelvin (1995)
897. Seven (1995)
898. Smoke (1995) 238
899. The White Balloon (1995)
900. Cyclo (1995)
901. Underground (1995)
902. The Brave Heart Will Take the Bride (1995)
903. Dead Man (1995)
904. The Usual Suspects (1995)
905. The Pillow Book (1996)
906. Three Lives and Only One Death (1996)
907. Fargo (1996)
908. Independence Day (1996)
909. Secrets and Lies (1996)
910. Breaking the Waves (1996)
911. The English Patient (1996)
912. Gabbeh (1996) 239
913. Lone Star (1996)
914. Trainspotting (1996)
915. Scream (1996) 240
916. Deconstructing Harry (1997)
917. L.A. Confidential (1997)
918. Happy Together (1997)
919. Princess Mononoke (1997) 241
920. Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control (1997)
921. The Butcher Boy (1997) 242
922. The Ice Storm (1997)
923. Boogie Nights (1997)
924. Kundun (1997)
925. The Sweet Hereafter (1997) 243
926. Funny Games (1997)
927. Taste of Cherry (1997)
928. Open Your Eyes (1997)
929. Mother and Son (1997)
930. Titanic (1997)
931. Tetsuo (1998)
932. The Celebration (1998)
933. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
934. Buffalo 66 (1998)
935. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
936. Run Lola Run (1998) 244
937. Rushmore (1998)
938. Pi (1998) 245
939. Happiness (1998)
940. The Thin Red Line (1998)
941. The Idiots (1998)
942. Sombre (1998)
943. Ring (1998)
944. There's Something About Mary (1998)
945. Magnolia (1999)
946. Beau Travail (1999)
947. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
948. Taboo (1999)
949. Rosetta (1999)
950. All About My Mother (1999)
951. Three Kings (1999)
952. The Wind Will Carry Us (1999)
953. The Audition (1999)
954. Time Regained (1999)
955. Fight Club (1999)
956. Being John Malkovich (1999)
957. American Beauty (1999)
958. Attack the Gas Station! (1999)
959. Eyes Wide Shut (1999) 246
960. The Sixth Sense (1999)
961. The Matrix (1999)
962. Nine Queens (2000) 247
963. The Captive (2000)
964. In the Mood for Love (2000)
965. Ali Zaoua, Prince of the Streets (2000)
966. Gladiator (2000)
967. Kippur (2000)
968. A One and a Two (2000)
969. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
970. Amores Perros (2000)
971. Meet the Parents (2000)
972. Signs & Wonders (2000)
973. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
974. Traffic (2000)
975. The Gleaners and I (2000)
976. Memento (2000)
977. Dancer in the Dark (2000)
978. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
979. Amelie (2001) 248
980. What Time Is It There? (2001)
981. And Your Mother Too (2001)
982. Kandahar (2001)
983. Spirited Away (2001) 249
984. The Piano Teacher (2001)
985. The Son's Room (2001)
986. No Man's Land (2001) 250
987. Moulin Rouge (2001)
988. Monsoon Wedding (2001) 251
989. Fat Girl (2001)
990. Mulholland Dr. (2001) 252
991. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
992. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
993. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001)
994. Gangs of New York (2002)
995. The Pianist (2002)
996. Talk to Her (2002) 253
997. City of God (2002) 254

998. Russian Ark (2002)
999. Chicago (2002)
1000. The Barbarian Invasions (2003)
1001. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
1002. Drowning by Numbers (1988)
1003. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
1004. Muriel's Wedding (1994)
1005. Shine (1996)
1006. The Big Lebowski (1998)
1007. Lantana (2001)
1008. Adaptation (2002) 255
1009. Far From Heaven (2002) 256

1010. Hero (2002)
1011. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
1012. Bus 174 (2002)
1013. Uzak (2002)
1014. Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)
1015. Irreversible (2002)
1016. Oldboy (2003) 257
1017. Good Bye Lenin! (2003)
1018. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
1019. The Best of Youth (2003)
1020. Lost in Translation (2003)
1021. Farenheit 9/11 (2004)
1022. The Passion of the Christ (2004)
1023. Collateral (2004)
1024. The Aviator (2004)
1025. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
1026. Downfall (2004) 258
1027. A Very Long Engagement (2004)
1028. Sideways (2004)
1029. Head-On (2004)
1030. 3-Iron (2004)
1031. Hidden (2005)
1032. Go, Live and Become (2005)
1033. Paradise Now (2005)
1034. Brokeback Mountain (2005) 259
1035. Tsotsi (2005)
1036. The Constant Gardner (2005) 260
1037. Crash (2005)
1038. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
1039. The Prestige (2006)
1040. The Lives of Others (2006) 261
1041. United 93 (2006)
1042. Children of Men (2006)
1043. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
1044. Apocalypto (2006)
1045. The Departed (2006)
1046. Borat (2006)
1047. Once (2006)
1048. The Queen (2006) 262
1049. The Host (2006) 263

1050. The Last King Of Scotland (2006)
1051. Babel (2006)
1052. Volver (2006)
1053. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) 264
1054. La Vie En Rose (2007)
1055. No Country For Old Men (2007)
1056. Into the Wild (2007)
1057. There Will Be Blood (2007)
1058. Atonement (2007)
1059. Surfwise (2007)
1060. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
1061. Paranormal Activity (2007) 265
1062. Wall-E (2008)
1063. The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008)
1064. The Dark Knight (2008)
1065. The Wrestler (2008)
1066. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
1067. Gomorra (2008)
1068. The Class (2008)
1069. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
1070. Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2008)
1071. Let The Right One In (2009)
1072. The Hurt Locker (2009)
1073. An Education (2009)
1074. The Hangover (2009) 266
1075. Precious (2009)
1076. Avatar (2009)
1077. Fish Tank (2009)
1078. The White Ribbon (2009)
1079. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
1080. District 9 (2009) 267
1081. In the Loop (2009)
1082. Monsters (2010)
1083. Of Gods and Men (2010)
1084. Black Swan (2010) 268
1085. Four Lions (2010)
1086. The Social Network (2010) 269
1087. Inception (2010) 270
1088. The King’s Speech (2010) 271
1089. True Grit (2010) 272

(More meaningless statistics)
1001 films viewed by decade

1900’s 1
1910’s 0
1920’s 6
1930’s 28
1940’s 41
1950’s 43
1960’s 46
1970’s 39
1980’s 20
1990’s 20
2000’s 19
2010’s 5

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Brent Musberger: We are…LIVE from Pauley Pavilion for the 3rd annual finale of the 64 film tournament as the battle for the definitive Christmas movie sweepstakes has reached its highly anticipated climax.

To recap: A Christmas Story defeated Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, Black Christmas (which forfeited for being directed by A Christmas Story director Bob Clark and therefore creating a conflict of interest), National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and Holiday Inn to reach the final four where the instant classic last second victory over the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol earned the coming of age story of Ralphie and his hunt for a Red Ryder BB gun a spot in the finals.

In the other bracket, It’s a Wonderful Life defeated Ernest Saves Christmas, Elf, Jingle All the Way, and Christmas in Connecticut to reach the final four where the story of George Bailey defeated Miracle on 34th Street in double overtime.

Onto the final: It’s a Wonderful Life vs. A Christmas Story:

Round 1
The protagonist:

It’s a Wonderful Life: George Bailey
George’s best moment: Loans out money to Bedford Fallians to prevent Potter from taking over the building and loan.
George’s worst moment: yells at his kids after Uncle Billy loses $8000.

A Christmas Story: Ralphie Parker
Ralphie’s best moment: Saves his family from Black Bart
Ralphie worst moment: He says THE word and it wasn’t fudge!

Winner: It’s a Wonderful Life. The everyman is just a tad more sympathetic than the everyboy.

Round 2
The villain:

It’s a Wonderful Life: In the person of Mr. Potter and in the set of circumstances that keep George in Bedford Falls.

A Christmas Story: The heavies here are assorted bullies, teachers, parents and grownups whose sole purpose seems to be preventing getting Ralphie his Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!

Winner: It’s a Wonderful Life. Mr. Potter (the very definition of evil) is the difference here.
Potter to George: “Look at you! You used to be so cocky. You were going to go out and conquer the world. You once called me a warped frustrated old man. What are you but a warped frustrated young man? A miserable little clerk crawling in here on your hands and knees and begging for help…Why don’t you go to the riff raff you love so much. You know why? Because they’d run you out of town on a rail!”

Evil. Evil. Evil

Round 3
Supporting cast:

It’s a Wonderful Life: Thomas Mitchell as Uncle Billy or Henry Travers as Clarence.

A Christmas Story: Darren McGavin as Dad

Winner: It’s a Wonderful Life. McGavin is most funny as the long-suffering, cursing dad with the obsession for leg lamps, but he did steal the fra-jilly joke from The Marx Brothers.
Nobody does nincompoop like Mitchell and nobody can order “Mull wine, heavy on the cinnamon, light on the cloves” like Travers.

Round 4
Auteur curriculum vitæ:

It’s a Wonderful Life: Frank Capra directed Arsenic and Old Lace, Meet John Doe, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Lost Horizon, It Happened One Night, and You Can’t Take it With You. One of the most famous American directors with one of the most impressive resumes.

A Christmas Story: Bob Clark’s less impressive film output includes: Rhinestone, From the Hip, Porky’s I and II, Baby Geniuses I and II, and of course the TV movie classic Karate Dog.

Winner: A Christmas Story. Seems like a slam dunk for It's a Wonderful Life on paper, but since Mr. Clark dug so deep to come up with one classic within a career of such mediocrity, that I think even Mr. Capra would love this underdog story. Imagine Ed Wood pulling off Lawrence of Arabia.

Round 5
Recreation of the era:

It’s a Wonderful Life: Most of the story is set in the 1940’s and the film was made in the 1940’s.

A Christmas Story: Entire story is set in the 1940’s

Winner: A Christmas Story. The recreation of a simpler time at a simpler age is what makes the film work. It may not be a fair comparison since It’s a Wonderful Life was set in its own time, but George Bailey knows that life is not fair.

Round 6

It’s a Wonderful Life: Lots of candidates, but “Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings” is probably the best. It’s certainly better than Sam Wainwright continually saying “HEE-HAW”

A Christmas Story:”You’ll shoot your eye out, kid”

Winner: A Christmas Story. Close call, but “You’ll shoot your eye out” defines A Christmas Story.

Round 7

It’s a Wonderful Life: Frances Goodrich & Albert Hackett

A Christmas Story: Jean Shepherd

Winner: It’s a Wonderful Life. You’d think I’d know who wrote the screenplay for a movie I’ve seen twenty times, but I admit to having to look it up. As retribution I’m giving this to Frances and Albert. Sorry, Jean.

Round 8
The strange cameo competition:

It’s a Wonderful Life. The guy that opens the gym floor to make George and Mary go into the water is Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer of Our Gang.

A Christmas Story: Ubiquitous screenwriter Jean Shepherd has the wonderful credit line of Man in line for Santa.

Winner: It’s a Wonderful Life. How can you beat getting dunked by Alfalfa! Sorry Jean, that’s 0-2.

Round 9
Narrator wars:

It’s a Wonderful Life: Mostly Henry Travers as Clarence

A Christmas Story: Jean Shepard

Winner: A Christmas Story, Well Jean, your narration style that was later copied for The Wonder Years finally gives you a win.

Round 10
Musical interlude:

It’s a Wonderful Life: Buffalo Girls

A Christmas Story: Deck the Halls from the Chinese restaurant.

Winner: It’s a Wonderful Life. As funny as “Deck the Halls with boughs of horry” is, Buffalo Girls is sung by George to woo Mary and later played as George asks Mary to marry him. George lassos the moon on this one.

Round 11
Longevity award:

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Christmas classic since the advent of television

A Christmas Story: A Christmas classic since the advent of cable

Winner: It’s a Wonderful Life: It may not be fair to punish A Christmas Story for only being under 30 years old, but you know-sometimes you get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas and sometimes you just got to drink your Ovaltine and like it!

Round 12

It’s a Wonderful Life: Bedford Falls has Christmas lights, bells, carolers, a movie theater showing Bells of St. Mary’s, and the wonderful old Building and Loan.
Pottersville has bars, blaring sirens, night clubs, pool halls, fights every Wednesday night, pawn brokers, girls-girls-girls burlesque, and a Dance Hall where Violet Bick gets picked up for prostitution!

A Christmas Story: The leg lamp or the bunny suit

Winner: It’s a Wonderful Life. But you got to admit that sometimes it’s more fun to live in Pottersville than Bedford Falls.

Round 13
Hot mom award:

It’s a Wonderful Life: Donna Reed

A Christmas Story: Melinda Dillon

Winner: It’s a Wonderful Life. Melinda Dillon was much more attractive in other movies such as Slapshot and Close Encounters as she was a bit frumped up here to be believable as Darren McGavin’s wife.
Donna Reed was at the height of her beauty here, at least when she’s not closing up the library!!!

Round 14
Citation for scene disparaging to libraries:

It’s a Wonderful Life: When George asks Clarence where Mary is in the reality in which George was never born, Clarence informs him that the ultimate tragedy has happened: First she’s an old maid and even worse: “She’s closing up the library!”
I’ve got to dock It’s a Wonderful Life for this one.

Winner: by default is A Christmas Story

Round 15
Evilest teacher:

It’s a Wonderful Life: Mrs. Welch gets admonished by George when she checks on Zuzu. Mr. Welch later punches George. Should Mrs. Welch suffer for the sins of Mr. Welch?

A Christmas Story: Ralphie’s teacher can’t seem to understand the importance of the Red Ryder BB gun!

Winner: A Christmas Story. Sorry, Mrs. Welch. Nobody punches out George Bailey and gets away with it! I'm giving this round to A Christmas Story just because I don't want to award Mr. Welch's unacceptable behavior!

Round 16
Remake Problems:

It’s a Wonderful Life: I know I shouldn’t keep punishing for the sins of others, but the 1978 television remake with Marlo Thomas as the female equivalent of George Bailey and Cloris Leachman as the female equivalent of Clarence was just wrong and someone should be held responsible!

Winner: A Christmas Story, but I just found out it has a sequel of it’s own called It Runs in the Family from the 90’s. I’ve already awarded the round, so A Christmas Story may have gotten away with one here.

Round 17
Unsympathetic authority figure:

It’s a Wonderful Life: Gower the druggist smacks George on his bad ear. Booooo!

A Christmas Story: Santa Claus can’t seem to understand the importance of the Red Ryder either. Booooo!

Winner: It’s a Wonderful Life. Mr. Gower wins because he does become a good guy and a friend to George (Except in the world without George where he is an alcoholic child murderer!) Ahem. Wait a second. George isn’t born and Gower becomes a drunken psychopath? On second thought, A Christmas Story wins. Santa just doesn’t want him to shoot his eye out, after all. He doesn’t kill anybody!

Round 18
I discovered it:

It’s a Wonderful Life: It’s just been around forever so gets no credit for discovery for me.

A Christmas Story: I was the one to discover this movie. Okay, not really. But I was one of the first to appreciate it. “Why wasn’t this more popular?” I said when it first came out. Now it is.

Winner: A Christmas Story

Round 19
Dumbest kid stuff dealing with ice:

It’s a Wonderful Life: Harry Bailey sleds onto thin ice and almost drowns.

A Christmas Story: Ralphie’s friend sticks his tongue to a frozen flagpole.

Winner: A Christmas Story. Equally stupid thing for a kid to do, but funnier in A Christmas Story.

Round 20
The ending:

It’s a Wonderful Life: George’s friends bail him out, his family embraces him and they sing Auld Lang Syne.

A Christmas Story: Ralphie dreams of making hip shots with his gun.

Winner: It’s a Wonderful Life: A Christmas Story’s ending is OK. It’s a Wonderful Life’s ending might be the most inspirational ending in filmdom. A no-brainer for It’s a Wonderful Life.

Brent Musberger: And the winner in the definitive Christmas movie sweepstakes is…wait a minute, here comes Tiny Tim Cratchit and the Little Match Girl…What could they want? Tiny Tim seems to be trying to tell me something. Excuse me…we seem to have a new development. Little Match Girl, are you in agreement? All right then. Everyone grab hands. George, Ralphie, Uncle Billy, Mr. and Mrs. Parker, Bert, Ernie, Flick, Mary, Department Store Santa...come on out. Form a line.
The final decision from these two adorable little children is that you the viewer need to find room in your holiday season for both of these Christmas classics.

Merry Christmas everybody! This is Brent Musberger reporting.

*This blog is a reprint from last year, but I couldn't think of anything else new to do for Christmas. Maybe next year.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


My niece, Kara Demetropoulos, has been staying in New York City as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement. She texted me some messages pertaining to what she was doing and also told be she saw the film Blue Velvet while she was up there. So I decided to watch this unusual film again and relate quotes from that movie to the texts she sent me as well as I could.

Kara: I’ve been dumpstering for food with a freegan I met. We dumpster for clothes, electronics, things we can sell, etc.
Blue Velvet: Are you the one that found the ear?

Kara: Got out and marched on Wall Street.
Blue Velvet: Here’s to an interesting experience…Man, I like Heineken!

Kara: Witnessed police brutality at its finest.
Blue Velvet: Why does there have to be so much trouble in this world?

Kara: I spent 36 hours in jail.
Blue Velvet: It’s a strange world, isn’t it?

Kara: Now I’m staying with this really nice woman who is going to let me stay until I find a job and get my own place.
Blue Velvet: In the dream, there was our world. And the world was dark because there weren’t any robins. And the robins represented love and for the longest time there was just this darkness. And all of a sudden, thousands of robins were set free. And they flew down and brought this blinding light of love And it seemed like that love would be the only thing that would make any difference. And it did.

Good luck, Kara.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

TRUE GRIT (1969), TRUE GRIT (2010)

Awhile back,. someone recommended I read the Charles Portis novel True Grit for my book group. After the success of the Coen Brothers new film version of the novel, an Audiotape version of Portis’s book was recorded for the first time. I listened to the reading. A fine rendering by Donna Tartt. I thought it was a simple, but involving story of a 14-year-old hiring a surly U. S. Marshall to help her get revenge on the man that killed her father.

Then I watched the 1969 version of the movie with John Wayne, which I had never seen before. I followed that by watching the Coen Brothers version, which is listed in the latest editiion of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

After that, I listened to the book again. (It’s pretty short, only 6 discs in Books-on-CD speak.)

The night of my book group was a dark and stormy night. Only a couple of people showed up. Both had positive things to say about True Grit. One lady in my group was even inspired to purchase other books by Charles Portis. That made me glad.

As far as the movies go: I did appreciate the 1969 version. I’ve always found John Wayne rather hit or miss depending on his role, but this was truly a part he seemed to get his teeth into. He wasn’t playing John Wayne as he often did; he was the drunk, one-eyed U. S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn. But since Mattie Ross is the one telling the story, the success of the movie rides on her. Kim Darby as Mattie Ross, I liked very much.

I didn’t think the Coen Brothers version would be able to top it, but I liked it as well. It is interesting that though many parts of the new movie vary from the original, I was struck by how some scenes between the two movies were very similar. One example is the scene where Mattie negotiates with the businessman to take back the horses her daddy bought before he was killed and is a highlight of both movies. And the staging of the scene where Rooster rides against the four members of Ned Pepper’s seemed to be almost identical in the two films

But I can see by the clock on the wall that I need to pick a winner. And the winner is….Charles Portis’s book. Or at least the very least, the Book-on-CD version.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Science Fiction Week Day 7

Total Recall (1990)

Remembrance of Viewing Past: I’m frankly a little surprised that this Arnold Schwarzenegger film is on the list, but it's definitely worth another look.

After viewing: I always thought the story for this one was pretty involving and knowing the story twists didn't really detract too much from the second viewing. I did lose track of the number of people that Arnold kills, but this type of excess seems much more palatable to me in a Sci-Fi movie than in a contemporarily set one.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Science Fiction Week Day 6

The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

Remembrance of Viewings Past: I saw this at the Rhodes repertory theater during the 1980’s. I believe it was on a double-bill with Zardoz. I have a positive but fading recollection of The Man Who Fell To Earth,and am curious how I will relate it now.

Seeing it now, I think David Bowie was perfectly cast as a very understated alien who comes from a dying planet. And Candy Clark as the leading lady is terrific. It’s a hard movie to explain and don’t know if a sci-fi movie like this could be made today. I don’t think The Man Who Fell to Earth action figures would sell too well. I’m also wondering if it is close enough to Christmas to listen to the David Bowie/Bing Crosby Little Drummer Boy duet. But I digress.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Science Fiction Week Day 5

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Remembrance of Viewings Past: I heartily admit to a sentimental attachment to the original Planet of the Apes. I first saw it when I was very young and have probably seen in at least in part a dozen times since.

The movie starts with three American astronauts landing hundreds of years in the future on a remote planet. The cynical Taylor (Charlton Heston) leads this band in the search for water or other life forms. They slowly find clues of life and hints of a civilization during the first thirty minutes of the movie. The reason I bring this up is because it is an important part of the building of suspense and introduction of Taylor’s character. The audience knows that they are about to run into a civilization where apes rule. Even if you are seeing it for the first time, we know what the title is! We know what is going on, but the astronauts don’t. It’s a slow trek, but it’s necessary for the plot. I also love Jerry Goldsmith’s score, which is used to full effect during the early scenes.

Anyway, here are a few other thoughts on Planet of the Apes.

1. The desert setting in the early scenes: Why do I like the early scenes so much? We don’t know where the story is going (even if we do know, you understand?) It’s called building suspense.
2. Little touches; The distibution of power, the see know evil, hear no evil, speak no evil pose that the orangutan’s have while Taylor is giving them unwanted truths. The character of Lucius, who is basically an ape hippie without being over the top, the sacred scrolls, the Forbidden Zone and let’s not forget Heston’s concubine Nova.
3. Memorable lines “Get your stinkin’ paws off me, you damn, dirty ape!” Come on, is there a better line as well timed in any movie than that one?
4. The makeup. If the viewer didn’t buy the makeup, the party was pretty much over. Luckily, we bought it.
5. The Turkish cave architecture of the ape village gives the story the otherworldly appeal it needs.
6. Changes from the original book-The Eiffel Tower from Boulle's novel? I don’t think so.
7. The performances-Maurice Evans as the politician Dr. Zaius, Kim Hunter and Roddy McDowell as the sympathetic chimpanzees, but don’t forget Charlton Heston as the cynical astronaut.
8. The ending-One of the greatest endings of all-time.
9. The sequels? Well, the four sequels are a mixed lot. The best of the bunch is probably the third installment where Cornelius and Zira escape on Taylor’s old ship and return to 1973 earth! It was about the only way they could keep the series going since a hydrogen bomb goes off at the end of the second movie. The last two installments in the series have their moments, epecially Conquest of the Planet of the Apes where we see the beginning of the ape uprising beginning to take place. After the movies played out, we had a short-lived television show Planet of the Apes, which was pretty so-so, but I watched every episode (All 13!)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Science Fiction Week Day 4

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Remembrance of Viewings Past: First saw on television sometime in the 70’s. Have seen a couple of times since.

After viewing: I’m still a fan of the story, the major flaw in the '1956 version being the unnecessary prologue and epilogue that the studio added to the story. But this was more than a movie of pod people taking over. The author and filmmaker clearly wanted use this story of as metaphor against Communism, McCarthyism and other Totalitarian regimes.

In fact, on the CD I’m listening too there is a quote from the son of Invasion of the Body Snatchers director Don Siegel. I will transcribe it now:

“They were looking at this movie with Fresh eyes. They were bringing all this other stuff to it. Like it was a statement against McCarthyism and other people would say it’s a statement against Communism. But Siegel said that ‘none of that was in my head. That’s all in their imaginations. All I was trying to do was make and interesting scary, movie.’”

As I was saying, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is…an interesting and scary movie that people may at times read a little too much into.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Science Fiction Week Day 3

Forbidden Planet (1956)

Remembrance of Viewings Past: One of the most fondly remembered of all 50’s sci-fi films. Hopefully, after watching it again I can better define why.

After viewing: Here are the top ten reasons Forbidden Planet is one of the most fondly remembered films all 50’s sci-fi films.

Number 10 Anne Francis’s uber-short mini-skirt!

Number 9 Despite the quality of the production, it can still be a bit cheesy at times.: Examples include the flying saucer shots which aren’t really that much better than the ones from Fire Maidens From Outer Space and the supposedly nude Alatara clearly wearing a body suit.

Number 8 Special appeal for Trekies. This film was clearly a clearly a blueprint for much of the original Star Trek universe: Dashing commander who goes to an unknown planet and makes out with the only girl there! Dashing commander hangs out with the ships doctor, who really is closer to Spock than Mccoy. Blasters-which are called phasers in Star Trek, and more space jargon (you know, like the explanations from Star Trek why a worm hole will be closing up because of an exploding Super Nova in the next galaxy that is really hard to understand, but you just have to except it as a given plot point)is used here than you can shake a blaster at.

Number 7 High brow appeal in that Forbidden Planet is often compared to Shakespeare’s The Tempest

Number 6 Special appeal for Freudians as the Id plays such an important part in this story

Number 5 The fine supporting cast including the guy who later was on Police Woman, the guy who was later on Maverick and the guy who was later on The Six Million Dollar Man.

Number 4 Walter Pidgeon as Morbius is indeed a tragic character out of Shakespeare, though it might take a minute to realize that the pre-Airplane! Leslie Nielsen actually says his lines straight!

Number 3 The fact that the creatures are more of the mind than anything avoids the film from having any bad monster makeup.

Number 2 The look of the film, the color, and the fact that it is in Cinemascope makes this production great to look at. Dr. Morbius’s lab is also pretty impressive.

But the Number 1 reason that Forbidden Planet is one of the most fondly remembered films all 50’s sci-fi films is: Robby the Robot!

Monday, November 21, 2011


Science Fiction Week Day 2

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Remembrance of Viewings Past: I was probably about five. I was watching this on television during the days when they actually showed black and white movies on television! I remember the robot policeman Gort coming after Patricia Neal and have never been so scared while watching a movie since.

A one sentence synopsis of the movie might be: Space alien Klaatu comes to Earth and tells the citizens of the planet that if they continue to expand their atomic experiments into outer space, they will have to be eliminated.

As Klaatu said:
Your choice is simple.
Join us and live in peace
Or pursue your present course and face obliteration.
We shall be waiting for your answer.
The decision rests with you.

As Klaatu also said:
Those are great words.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Science Fiction Week Day 1

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Remembrance of Viewings Past: If memory serves correctly, I’ve seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind four times before. It's unusual in that I seem to like it more on odd numbered viewings. When it first opened, it made a big splash. Made a big impression on me. One of my favorite movies at that time. A couple of years later, Spielberg re-released a special edition version of the movie and I remember leaving the theater saying, “Was it really worth the extras he added? I was a bit disappointed. The next time I saw it was on television during the 80’s. Once again, I got caught up in the story and liked it a great deal. Then I saw it a few years later and found it to be rather slow moving. Well, it’s been over twenty years now since my last viewing, and this is likely the last time I’ll ever watch it. So I’ll give the film a definitive yes or no here.

In the meantime, I have the pleasure of recounting the reminiscences of one of the STARS of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Ms. Wilma Jo Spanyer, who played…I’ll just let her tell you.


My grandfather and grandmother got jobs as extras when they came to Mobile to film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. There was a casting call and they went to it (being retired and all) and soon they were working on it at Brookley Field. My grandfather, who never met a stranger, soon had my dad, and my sister and myself working on the movie, too. Papa made friends with some of the Hollywood folks and the whole family was in on it. I don't know why my mom did not get in on it. She was with us on the set, just not in the movie. It was the coolest experience of my life. We were lowly extras, but getting big checks for kids back in that day and time. My grandfather was one of the people involved in the Mayflower project on the dark side of the moon part of the film, and my dad was one of the guys in jumpsuits there, too. In some of the earlier versions of the film, you can she the little aliens touching him when they came out of the ship. My sister, Boo, and myself were the two little kids in the back of the farmer's truck near the beginning of the movie.

We got to meet everyone - Steven Spielburg, Francois Truffaut, Terri Garr, Roberts Blossom (he played our dad the farmer), Richard Dreyfuss, Melinda Dillon, the camera people, everybody. I would say we met Carey Guffey but he was so little I doubt he would remember it! It was so much fun to be involved in this. It's funny now thinking back, how some of the extras that had like, one line, thought they were so important. Then when you see the finished movie, half of the stuff you did has been cut out, chopped up and it's all rearranged. The most important people there were some of the most humble acting. Francois Truffaut, Richard Dreyfuss, and Roberts Blossom were some of the nicest people you would ever want to meet. They just act like anyone else.
It was exciting to see how movies are made, but it's nothing like you think it will be. Nothing is filmed in order and they waste so much time. One whole entire night they shot close ups of my sister and I with the fans on us, blowing our hair, and none of that is in there. I guess when they are editing it they need a lot of extra stuff for continuity. It really seems like they waste a lot of time and money, though.

All in all, it was a great experience. We had a wonderful summer, made great money, ate some delightful food (they had wonderful caterers) and had an experience that lots of folks will never get. Then when the movie finally came out, my whole class went and cheered when we appeared on the screen. They even put something about us in our school yearbook. It was my fifteen minutes, I guess, and it was a lot of fun. Gave me some good memories. Recently, there has been a documentary about the making of the movie in Mobile in the works, and I hope we will all get to see that one day soon. I would love to see the interviews with all the Mobile people in it.

-Wilma Jo Spanyer

After viewing: The fifth times the charm. I did get caught up in it this time out and will now retire from watching the film while I still have a favorable impression of it.

And I want to give a special thanks to Ms. Spanyer for her recollections.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Mark Harris’s book Pictures at a Revolution recounts elements of the motion picture business during the turbulent and transitional year of 1967. The book gives particular insight into the five movies nominated for Best Picture that year: Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Doctor Dolittle.

Two of these films (Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate) were representations of the new Hollywood. Two of these films represented a change in race relations (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night)or at least a change in race relations as represented in movies. And Doctor Dolittle was a representation of old Hollywood thinking.

At the Academy Awards that year, In the Heat of the Night won Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and a Best Actor Oscar for Rod Steiger and did pretty well at the box office.

The Graduate won Best Director and was a huge and influential hit.

Bonnie and Clyde won a couple of Oscars, including Best Supporting Actress for Estelle Parsons. Bonnie and Clyde was also extremely popular.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was the biggest hit of director Stanley Kramer’s career, despite the films mediocre to unenthusiastic reviews. The movie also won a Best Actress award for Katherine Hepburn and a Best original screenplay award for William Rose.

Doctor Dolittle won the Academy Award for best song (Talk to the Animals) but was largely a critical and financial disaster.

If I looked back on my viewing of these films, my choices for favorite would have varied according to when I viewed them.

In the late 60’s my choice would have been Doctor Dolittle. Now that really isn’t fair, I know, as I was only five years old when it came out and was the only one of these five films that I could watch or would have even been interested in watching. I thought the two headed-llama (the Pushmi Pullyu) was amazing! Talk to the Animals was such a fun song! And that giant sea snail? Well I thought it was pretty cool even if everyone laughed at how fake it looked. Of course, my choice for greatest movie of all-time at that point would have been Disney’s The Jungle Book, but it wasn’t nominated.
My 1968 choice for Best Picture from this list: Doctor Dolittle

In the early 70’s when I was eleven or twelve, my choice would have been Bonnie and Clyde. Lots of action. Lots of fun, even if what the Barrow gang was doing was pretty unseemly. And that ending? Awesome! Favorite character: Michael J. Pollard as C. W. Moss.
My 1974 choice: Bonnie and Clyde

Then by the late 70’s, I saw The Graduate, and it immediately became one of my favorite movies. It’s funny, is a great depiction of the uncertainty of youth. It has memorable performances by Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman and those perfect Simon and Garfunkel songs for the occasion. And that ending? An even better finale than Bonnie and Clyde.
My 1979 to present choice: The Graduate

It might make for a better ending to this rant if I now pick In the Heat of the Night or Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner as my favorite now, but I really don’t think The Graduate is going to be beat. We’ll see…

After watching all five of these movies recently...

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: The racial situations depicted in this film may seem a bit naïve and over the top, but the theme of harmony and getting along with others at least has its heart in the right place. Plus it’s pretty funny and the trio of stars, Katherine Hepburn, Sidney Poitier and Spencer Tracy in his last role, is worth watching. I wouldn’t call it Best Picture of the year, but in my re-watching I liked it better than I thought I would

In the Heat of the Night: I liked this one less this time than in my previous viewing. Supercop Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) comes to a small southern town and uses an astute power of reasoning that would make Star Trek's Mr. Spock blush to try to solve a local murder. All this while the local rednecks (which seems to be pretty much everyone in the whole town of Sparta) seems to want to beat him to death with a tire iron. Rod Steiger’s Chief Gillespie is the only one who seems to not want to beat Virgil Tibbs to a pulp, though he does try to run him out of town several times. Gillespie also proves to be a rather poor police officer, arresting the wrong person for the murder three times-including his own deputy! I may be a little overly sensitive to the issue of the way Southerners are depicted by Hollywood and I know this movie is over forty years old, but there you have it. I do think Rod Steiger is quite good, but this definitely isn’t my Best Picture choice for 1967.

Bonnie and Clyde: I’ve read a couple of revisionist Oscar takes where it is acknowledged that Bonnie and Clyde should have taken home the Best Picture award. One thing I liked about the film were some of the smaller touches, such as Bonnie and Clyde tying up a police officer and taking pictures of him with the Barrow gang as if they are posing for a yearbook. I also liked the plot point of Clyde being impotent, which raises a lot of motivational questions for both him and Bonnie. The unseemly nature of the Barrow gang’s exploits does bother me more now than it did when I watched it in the early 70’s. Still love the ending, but Bonnie and Clyde is still not my choice.

Doctor Dolittle: As badly as this movie has been trashed by critics over the years, I honestly didn’t find it all that bad after viewing it all these years later. All the problems with the shoot of this film are entertainingly accounted for in Harris’s book. As far as the actual movie itself, the songs are kind of fun and there are some clever touches with Dolittle’s conversing with animals. I’m even okay with the sea snail. Nonetheless, it was pretty silly to give this a best picture nomination over such films as In Cold Blood.

But the winner for me still is…
The Graduate: I’ve probably seen this about ten times now. It’s not a perfect movie. I thought Ben and Elaine’s relationship seemed rushed. Weren’t they only on their second date before they are broken up by Mrs. Robinson?
And the change in the naïve Ben in the first half of the movie to the obsessed overconfident Ben in the second half can seem a little jarring. Though I do think that growth is part of the point.

Ten memorable scenes from my favorite movie of 1967

1. Ben’s journey on the moving sidewalk over the strains of Sounds of Silence “Hello, darkness my old friend.”
2. The party in the opening scene. “Plastics”
3. Mrs. Robinson’s initial seduction of Ben “You are trying to seduce me aren’t you?”
4. The nervous Ben trying to get a room from Hotel Clerk Buck Henry “Are you here for an affair.”
5. Some great editing including the scene where Benjamin leaps toward the raft in his pool and lands on Mrs. Robinson in their hotel bed.
6. The scene in which Ben tries to get Mrs. Robinson to engage in small talk in their hotel room is funny at first, but is ultimately quite sad. “Let’s not talk about it. Let’s not talk at all.”
7. Elaine Robinson’s discovery of Ben’s affair with her mother. “Goodbye, Benjamin.”
8. Mr. Robison’s dressing down of Ben. “You’ll pardon me if I don’t shake hands with you”
9. The mad dash for the church to stop Elaine’s wedding. “Elaine! Elaine!”
10. Ben and Elaine escape from everything by bus in the final scene….but as Mike Nichols said, one day they will probably turn into their parents.

And thanks to Mark Harris for his informative and entertaining book.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Blog Writer: They don’t make ‘em like this anymore. It’s a horror movie that doesn’t go over the top and rely too much on special effects. We also don’t see anything filmed in black and white anymore, which could really add onto the creepiness factor of some recent films, BUT NO, that’s too subtle, we can’t have that either. And another thing…excuse me a second.

Sorry for the interruption. It’s just some plaster falling off the walls of my den. That’s a bit troubling...It’s really coming off in chunks. Anyway, continuing with my train of thought, Repulsion was Roman Polanski’s first major film in English and features one of the most beautiful actresses of all-time, Catherine Deneuve…Damn! Hold on just a minute…

Sorry, I thought I heard people having sex in the room above me. But that’s crazy since no one else is in the house. I guess my imagination is playing tricks on me. As I was saying, what was I saying? Something about Roman Gabriel? No, Roman Polanski, I think. I just can’t concentrate right now. These walls are really in worse shape than I thought.

At that moment a ghostly presence with flaming eyeballs and a hooded cloak appears in the seat next to the blog writer.

The Presence: So, what is it you think you’re doing?

Blog Writer: (Putting his hand to his chest) Oh! It’s just you. You really gave me a start. I was just writing about the 1965 psychological horror classic Repulsion.

The Presence: An interesting choice, but what you are saying in this blog sounds a lot like what you said about the movie The Haunting. I’ve been keeping notes on your entries and I see similarities here.

Blog Writer: Really? I do apologize if I’m being repetitive. It’s just that I’ve gone through about three hundred of the movies on this list and I guess I may be developing a tendency toward redundancy.

The Presence: That’s all very well. But do you think this is what you need to be doing right now, anyway? Shouldn’t you be promoting your short story, which is now available on Amazon and Kindle?

Blog Writer: You mean the story “Death Takes Another Holiday,” from the anthology Dreamspell Nightmares 2?

The Presence: (Sarcastically) No, I mean your Pygmy/Locust poem you wrote when you were a kid!

Blog Writer: Oh, yeah! Pygmy/Locust. I still remember it by heart, just like I wrote it yesterday…

The blogger clears his throat before reading.

Pygmies jumping to and fro,
Locusts everywhere,
I feel a greasy chipmunk a-lyin’ in my hair

Running water upside down.
Fishermen in the trees,
A hatchet twenty-five miles wide,
Chopping at my knees.

The pain inside has almost stopped,
That rattle in my brain,
Now help me get up, get outside,
And try to grab the rain.

The Presence: (Sighing) I’m guessing you did a lot of glue sniffing when you were young.

Blog Writer: No need to be so insulting.

The Presence: I’m sorry. But would you please promote your story already!

Blog Writer: All right. Dreamspell Nightmares 2 from L & L Dreamspell, a horror anthology featuring many great stories including “Death Takes Another Holiday” by Christopher Cox is now available on Amazon and Kindle.

The Presence: Anything else?

Blog Writer: You mean like I should say to visit their website at for other great books and story collections?

The Presence: Yes, like that. Was that really so hard? Oh, would you excuse me for just a second?

The presence begins brushing his jagged teeth. The blogger stares at him until the mouth of the ghostly figure has become frothy with toothpaste.

Blog Writer: What are you doing? Don’t you know where the bathroom is? And by the way, that’s my toothbrush!

The Presence lowers his head and hands the toothbrush back to the blogger who tosses it into a nearby trashcan.

Blog Writer: Anyway, you know how this whole self-promotion thing makes me uncomfortable.

The Presence: I have an idea. Why don’t you try to come up with a gimmicky way to get the information out so it won’t seem like you’re just promoting your book?

Blog Writer: I did that already. I posted the cover of the book at the top of the blog for The Haunting.

The Presence: Well, do it again.

Blog Writer: You don’t think I would be repeating myself again?

The Presence: Stop worrying so much. Just post the damn thing.

Blog Writer: I’m not sure…I...

The Presence has now started eating something with a pungent odor.

Blog Writer: What on earth are you doing now?

The Presence rips a piece of pink flesh into his mouth and begins chewing, though with some difficulty.

The Presence: Oh, this is just some raw rabbit I found in the refrigerator. It’s a little tough, but it’s quite hearty. Want a bite?

Blog Writer: No! No! I’ll post the cover already! Just take that thing out of here!

The Presence: Suit yourself. I have to go anyway. Now promise me you’ll call me when you do a blog on Swing Time. You know how I do love Fred and Ginger.

Blog Writer: I will. I will. Now let me have some peace, Thumper breath!

The Presence unsuccessfully stifles a burp as he disappears from view. The blog writer posts the cover of Dreamspell Nightmares 2 on his blog before unsuccessfully looking around the house for some Spackle.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Horror Week Day 7: The Return

Halloween(1978) Directed by John Carpetener

After viewing the film Halloween on October 30, 2011, I felt compelled to re-enter my Apple Iwayback Time Machine® and travel back over time and space…over space and time…and land on the date…

October 30, 1978

My Apple Iwayback Time Machine ® lands outside the cafeteria of my old high school. I unstrap myself before entering this building from my past. As I ease through the doorway, I immediately see a teenager sitting alone at a table eating what appears to be a rather greasy cheeseburger. I take the seat across from him. Our conversation is recounted below.

The Older: (Extending hand) Hello

The Younger: (reluctantly shaking hands) Hello? Do I know you? It’s funny, but you look an awful lot like my father.

The Older: (Laughing) Well you’re on the right track, but I’ll get to that in a minute. So…it’s the day before Halloween. What are you planning to do tonight?

The Younger: Me and my girl are going to watch a movie.

The Older: Girl?

The Younger: Okay. Okay. Me and a couple of the guys from the AV club are going to watch the movie Halloween if you must know.

The Older: (Pumping Fist) Yes! I’ve come back to just the right time.

The Younger: Look, Mister. Who exactly are you?

The Older: Well, this may be hard to believe, but I’m you. I’ve traveled back in time from the year 2011.

The Younger initially stands as if to protest before slinking back to his seat.

The Younger: (Thoughtfully) I…I believe you. I’ve somehow always known about you, and have dreaded your coming. What exactly is it you want from me?

The Older: Don’t be alarmed. I just wanted you to share your thoughts with me on the movie Halloween.

The Younger: (Clearing his throat) All right. That doesn’t sound too difficult. It’s on Home Box Office tonight. Cable premiere. It’s such a great movie!

The Older: Don’t know if it will stand the test of time.

The Younger: What do you mean? This was the main movie we talked about in school last spring. When I saw it at the theater, the audience was hiding their eyes or gasping or yelling out to the screen, “Don’t go in there.” Like yelling out is going to help!

The Older: I know. I was there, too.

The Younger: Oh, yeah. Since you seem to already know everything, why is it you need to visit me?

The Older: I’m hoping to use you as a conduit for drumming up some enthusiasm for this movie. I can’t seem to do it.

The Younger: Really? I become that jaded over time? That’s a depressing thought. But what about that great story? Six-year-old killer escapes fifteen years later from madhouse to terrorize hometown. It’s got suspense! Thrills! Violence! Frights! Scary Music! P. J. Soles topless! What more do you want from a movie?

The Older: Part of the problem is how often Halloween has been copied or borrowed from or stolen from or whatever it is you want to call it. The plot and the style of this movie seem like old hat at this point. I have seen and you will see many of these types of movies over the next few years.

The Younger: So you’re saying the fact that Halloween is an influential movie and is copied much in the future makes it look weaker? Why is it fair to blame the original movie?

The Older: It isn’t fair. But that doesn’t change my perception of it.

The Younger: Okay. What about the thrills and the chills in the movie?

The Older: They’re okay. But seem a little tamer than I remember. Especially right after seeing The Evil Dead.

The Younger: Whatever that is. What about that great music?

The Older: The score, you mean? I would say an excellent initial use of music begins to be overused by the movies second half.

The Younger: And the acting? Jamie Lee Curtis can really scream and I really like Donald Pleasence.

The Older: He’s a bit over the top, I’m afraid. Always reciting overdramatic platitudes like “The evil has escaped” or “He had the devil’s eyes.” Just too much.

The Younger: Geez, man. What about P. J. Soles topless?

The Older: Well, you got me there. I still like P. J. Soles.

The Younger: (Thinking for a moment) But I think Halloween will stand the test of time, better than say, The Exorcist.

The Older: I disagree with you. Since your standing the test of time quotient is about four years, I’m going with my opinion on this one. I think The Exorcist holds up quite well.

The Younger: That is really heavy. I liked The Exorcist when I first saw it. Now I’ve outgrown it and later you’re saying I will grow back into it? Huh. So your or my opinion on Halloween will change as we get older. So what will we think about other movies I like now? What about Psycho? You must still like Psycho.

The Older: One of my favorites.

The Younger: That's a relief. It’s good to know I don’t become a total asshole.

The Older: You watch your mouth, young man!

The Younger: What are you going to do? Ground me in the hopes I won’t turn into you?

The Older: Good point.

The Younger: I was just thinking that if you’re me years from now, how about throwing me some Super Bowl scores so I can place some knowledgeable bets in the seasons to come?

The Older: Sorry, kid. This is about Halloween. Not Back to the Future.

The Younger: What the hell is Back to the Future? Ah, never mind.

(The Older starts to leave)

The Younger: Hey, where are you going? Can’t you give me any advice for my life?

The Older: (After thinking for a moment) Yes. Avoid Halloween 2. It really sucked. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve really got to go now.

The Older leaves the cafeteria and gets into his Apple Iwayback Time Machine® and sets it in motion. The Younger leans out the cafeteria door.

The Younger: (Yelling to be heard over the roar of the Apple Iwayback Time Machine®) Could you just answer me one question before you go?

The Older nods.

The Younger:(Yelling) Are you the boogieman?

The Older: Yes, that’s exactly who I am.

The Older disappears back into his own time.