First, thanks to everyone who commented on my last post. And thanks to everyone who suggested possibilities for the books I mentioned there. Special thanks to Greg, Writtenwyrd, Don, and Daniel, who did indeed identify some of the books. I owe you folks. I now can put authors and details to “The Secret Staircase,” “Smuggler’s Island, “Claws,” “Listen to the Worm,” “Panther!,” and “My Gift to You.” Don over at Issa’s Untidy Hut came up with the most. I knew my blogging pals were cool.
Today’s post is on movies. Now, I don’t watch many movies. And only when they are absolutely convenient to me. But we’ve got the Showtime movie channels for free for a bit and I thought, why not take a day off and watch a few. I was actually pleasantly surprised that I didn’t hate most of what I saw. But here’s my take, ranked from my favorite to least favorite:
1. Rambo. OK, this has to be one of the all time goriest movies ever. So, rather naturally, I enjoyed it. I imagine the effects of the artillery and mines was probably portrayed very realistically, but I’m skeptical that regular rifle fire, even from a sniper rifle, would completely disintegrate whole heads or blow off limbs at the shoulder. I’ve seen the effect of high powered bullets on animals as big as deer, so thus my skepticism. The end was rather touching, though, and it seemed to bring the series to its close.
2. 3:10 to Yuma. It’s a western and I liked it, although it’s no Once Upon a Time in the West. Russell Crowe did a great job as the villain I thought, and had some great one liners. However, there were some letdowns in the orchestration of the whole thing. How does a prisoner in cuffs manage to kill two members of the posse taking him to the prison train without, perhaps, being bound and watched a little more closely after that? On the other hand, this one had by far the best all around cast of the movies I saw. Even the supporting actors did well, and many of them were well known, such as Peter Fonda.
3. Snow White: A Tale of Terror. Sigourney Weaver did a bang up job as the wicked stepmother/witch in this one. I thought she was superb. This was a somewhat loose retelling of the Snow White story but was pretty enjoyable. It was definitely a horror rather than a fantasy. The supporting cast was much weaker than Weaver, and I could kind of see at the beginning why the Stepmother didn’t much like the stepdaughter. I would have wanted to strangle the little priss myself. Some interesting visuals as well.
4. Into the Wild. This is the story of the young man who walked on his own into the Alaskan Wilderness, lived for something like a year in an abandoned bus there, and then died from eating poisonous plants. I came close to abandoning this one early on because the kid was just so immature. He was born into privilege to the point where he could afford to rebel against it all. And he did, against a life and parents that were not nearly as bad as he seemed to think. However, I have to admit the boy had some testicular fortitude and in the end I felt quite a bit of sympathy for him. He learned a bit of wisdom, although he died before he got a chance to exercise it. There were also some very good supporting actors in this one, especially Hal Holbrook.
5. There Will Be Blood. Twenty minutes into this long, long movie I turned to Lana and said, “OK, I see where this is going. We’ll have one scene with blood at the very end and then fade to black. That was exactly what happened, with no tension or suspense in between. How can a pretentious art film be so incredibly cliché? How many times has this story been told? 1). A businessman who is already somewhat unscrupulous becomes more and more brutal and bitter over time, as he also descends into alcoholism. 2). Said businessman gets everything he thinks he wants but nothing he needs. 3) said businessman runs off the only people who give a damn about him. There were two good things about this movie. Daniel Day Lewis did a great job as the despicable businessman, and the musical score was quite good. These could not save what was ultimately a rather silly and completely predictable film. This is the only one of the five I wish I had my time back on.