Blind Spot Series 2017 Rankings

6

So, another year gone, another twelve movies crossed off of my Blind Spot list. For the most part, I had particularly good movies this year. For the most part…

Anyway, as always, I decided to rank them all here.

12. Deliverance (1972)

Well. This. Fuck this movie. I will say it again, fuck this movie. Yep, totally hated it. I am sure you all remember the Shitfest-worthy meltdown I had about this. If you don’t, you are more than welcome to head on back to the review linked above to see how I raged. Ugh…

11. Once Upon A Time In America (1984)

Certainly not an underrated gem as I was led to believe, I was so amped to finally watch this gangster movie and was totally let down by it. What a waste of nearly four hours of my life!

10. Cronos (1993)

While I am always up for Guillermo Del Toro’s Spanish works, this one was not nearly as great as I was hoping it would be. It was not a bad movie by a long shot, but it does not stand equal to The Devil’s Backbone or Pan’s Labyrinth.

9. The Road (2009)

Dark, depressing, apocalyptic, The Road definitely paints a super depressing, far more realistic apocalyptic future than these movies usually portray. Viggo Mortensen is exellent, and Kodi Smit-McPhee also holds his own in the bleak movie. Worth the watch!

8. Say Anything (1989)

So pleased to have seen this –  it is one of those movies that is referenced all over the show, and I have never really known how it all fit in. Man, Lloyd Dobler is absolutely adorable and the boombox over the head scene finally makes sense now. Say Anything is sweet, but not to soppy your stomach churns. Enjoyed this one!

7. The Help (2011)

Okay, so right off the bat, this is not unpredictable, but that doesn’t make it bad. The Help is rather formulaic, and shies away from some of the sick history it is steeped in, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t find other ways to run home the story. There are terribly sad moments, moments that will make you mad, and some great sections with some fantastic humour, and the movie has heart. The cast, too, definitely sold this one.

6. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

I didn’t really know what to expect going into this, but I really liked this one. I thought it was funny and shot really well and rather strange, but it all worked. I would like to rewatch it and see if it holds up as well. I must admit, this is where I finally understood Tom Hiddleston’s appeal to the world – before he was just a decent actor. After this? Impressed. Plus I liked the humour in this. So deadpan. Swinton and Hiddleston make this a treat.

5. The Orphanage (2007)

Another one of those cult classic type movies I have vowed for years to get to and just never did, 2017 was the year that changed. The Orphanage is haunting, sad, beautiful and creepy, and has a solid story as a strong psychological aspect to it, making it a movie that gets under your skin and lingers long after, not just a typical, generic horror movie at all.

4. JFK (1991)

Conspiracy theories galore! Naturally this was totally going to be my cup of tea, and it totally was. There were some solid performances and I was particularly interested in how Stone would set out his case for JFK’s assassination. While I feel that it was heavy handed in forcing his interpretation of events down the viewer’s throat, if you watch this as a theory and not as the gospel of the answers to JFK’s assassination, you are in for a good time. Great starting point for those not too familiar with the intricacies of the infamous case.

3. City of God (2002)

I can see why this movie is so popular – it is so not an easy watch, but it is engaging, gritty, violent, realistic, and truly gets you thinking. It tells a super solid story and it draws you in, getting you invested in some characters from this nasty slum. It is depressing and yet completely enthralling, something I can see myself revisiting.

2. Rear Window (1954)

James Stewart man, what an actor. The man is amazing, and with Grace Kelly at his side, the duo was bound to impress. Hitchcock, too, weaves a tense one-room story, which is carried and fleshed out completely by a talented cast. The tension is palpable, the story is smart and engaging, and the pacing is just right. Rear Window is a well-crafted movie and definitely worth the time.

1. Atonement (2007)

Ah, Atonement. Where do we even start? My goodness, what a watch. While it is not completely perfect or shocking, and it is predictable in places, it is handled so well and is shot brilliantly – truly, what beautiful shots. James McAvoy is absolutely perfect here, sweeping us all up so completely in Robbie. Keira Knightley, too,  managed to not work on my last nerve. The two work together well, and Atonement tells one hell of a story, a journey I both loved and resented in equal measure. I thought it was told so well, and some details were handled with such aplomb. What a movie, though certainly not a light, easy watch.

December Blind Spot Review: Once Upon A Time In America (1984)

4

“You’ll be carrying the stink of the streets with you for the rest of your life! “
– Max

SYNOPSIS: A former Prohibition-era Jewish gangster returns to the Lower East Side of Manhattan over thirty years later, where he once again must confront the ghosts and regrets of his old life. – via IMDB

You know, I am not going to pretend that I didn’t have high hopes for this one. I did. Old school organised crime and Robert De Niro? Uhm, yes, sold. Well. Well. Uhm, yeah. Okay, I will just come out and say it. I didn’t love it. I wanted to, but I didn’t. There was just so much here that put me off of it completely.

Once Upon A Time In America treats women horifically. Like fuck my life, what the hell was that?! I am going to address this as my primary issue because, well, you can’t watch this movie and miss that. I was horrified. Women were objects there for sex and amusement, and didn’t really stand as their own characters. Just watching how they get treated by the men of the cast really makes you hate the men of the cast, and no storytelling can save it. For instance, this movie features one of the most drawn out, disgusting rape scenes I have ever had the misfortune to sit through. As if I didn’t dislike Noodles enough, that was enough to make me hate him, and there was no redeeming him. The movie tried, too, like it was just a thing, and I was horrified by how meek Deborah was when seeing him all those years later, like there was still this fire between them. Fuck that. Not to mention Carol at the break in, and Peggy in the beginning of the movie. DISGUSTING.

Not to mention the story was skinny, too. I had to sit down six different times to try and get through this movie. I have no issue with a movie coming in with a super long runtime, as long as the story is good and it is all put together well. Here, I didn’t feel that the time was utilised correctly. There were times where it was good to watch Noodles and Max together, even though what they are up to is dodgy (because that’s how organised crime rolls, but you can enjoy the show), but then there is rape, gratuitous sex, violence, and lots of rambling with no story to fill it, and the story that was woven through the almost four hour runtime? Pretty fucking thin, and I didn’t appreciate that at all.

Some of the performances were clunky, too, and I don’t care who has what to say on that. Some of the performances were excellent – De Niro, for instance, sickened me to my core, but portrayed his character really well. Jennifer Connelly was great, and McGovern hit with a bang. Woods was solid, too. I was also not a fan of the extremely limited music used throughout the movie. It was annoying and grating. Of the entire movie, I must be honest and say I preferred watching the half when they were kids (even though the acting was truly godawful, the story was better), pre-prison for Noodles, even though there were some super issues with it, too.

While lauded as one hell of a gangster film, I was immensely disappointed with Once Upon A Time In America, and will not be rushing to rewatch it. Horrific treatment  of women, a stupidly skinny story, and a mixed bag of performances, I found this to be disappointing and excessively long for what it is.

August Blind Spot Review: The King of Comedy (1982)

12

the king of comedy

“Better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime.”
– Rupert Pupkin

SYNOPSIS: Aspiring comic Rupert Pupkin wants to achieve success in show biz by stalking his idol, a late night talk-show host who craves his own privacy. – via IMDB

the king of comedy

GRADE 8Naturally this made my list because it is a Scorsese flick with exceptionally good reviews and something I haven’t seen before. It starts off slow, not boring, just slow, like you aren’t really sure what is going on. However, the minute it gets into full swing, Rupert Pupkin is no longer the guy you feel for, just trying to get a foot in the door of Hollywood and comedy. No, sirree. He is pushy and really weird and you cringe watching him, it is so desperate and embarrassing. The themes here, whether subtle or in your face, are something that is undeniably common in today’s society, and that is truly strange. De Niro delivers one hell of a performance, hands down. He was brilliant, and his timing in this was excellent. Naturally, when he and Scorsese team up you are bound to get something good. The movie might start off lightly, but it devolves into pretty dark comedy, which is always comedy that I enjoy. I appreciate the way the movie examined celebrity obsession from both ends of the scale, and I really felt for Jerry. The lengths that some people will go to to achieve fame is incredible, and the desperation the famous covet some privacy just shows you it isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. All Jerry wanted was some privacy. All Rupert wanted was a chance to shine. Then let’s just talk about Marsha for one deranged second. Oh. My. God. That was just lunacy at it’s worst. I mean Rupert was quite a handful to deal with, but she was totally off the rails. Wowee! Anyway, The King of Comedy is directed well, has a fascinating story and great pacing to deliver it to you, some outstanding performances all round and works incredibly well. If you have not checked it out, it is well worth it, and if you are into dark comedy, this might tickle your fancy.

Review: Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

42

silver linings playbook poster

“Nikki’s waiting for me to get in shape and get my life back together. Then we’re going to be together.”
– Pat Solitano Jr

Pat Solitano, Jr (Bradley Cooper) is released from a mental hospital after serving eight months as was the minimum amount of time agreed upon by the courts. Pat was treated for bipolar disorder, something that was previously undiagnosed and something that irrevocably changed his life. He is released into the care of his mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver) and his father Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro), and moves in with them. Pat has changed his life and is eager to reconcile with his wife, Nikki, who is a big reason he ended up in the hospital. She cheated on him with a colleague, causing Pat to give the guilty man a terrible beating. He will hear nothing of the fact that his marriage is over. Pat learns his parents seem to be struggling financially a bit and that his father has turned to illegal bookmarking to get money together to open a restaurant.

silver linings playbook family

“Let me tell you, I know you don’t want to listen to your father, I didn’t listen to mine, and I am telling you you gotta pay attention this time.” – Pat Solitano Sr

Pat is upset about the restraining order that Nikki had taken out against him and that it is still in effect, though he is sure that he is getting his life together and that she will take him back when she realises this. Pat is seeing his court-mandated therapist Dr Patel (Anupam Kher), who is doing his utmost to help Pat out so that he will not be hospitalised again. Pat is getting to a better place in his life, and Patel sees this, though there are still issues that need to be worked out. Pat shares a lot with his therapist, including his new positive outlook on life, enshrined by the term “excelsior”. Pat is invited to dinner one night at his friend Ronnie (John Ortiz) and his wife Veronica (Julia Stiles). At dinner he meets Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence), Veronica’s widowed sister, whom he feels is completely socially stunted. The two seem to get along, especially when discussing medication, yet by the end of the night they are at extreme odds again, matters which are exacerbated by the fact that Pat turned down her offer of sex.

silver linings playbook letter

“I have a problem? You say more inappropriate things than appropriate things.” – Tiffany Maxwell

Soon, though, Tiffany starts popping up everywhere and is relentless. Pat gets over thinking of her as a slut and thinking of her as a useful tool to get in touch with Nikki again. Naturally, it is a quid pro quo relationship, and Tiffany has Pat promise that he will participate in an upcoming dance competition with her. As reluctant as he is, he finally agrees to do it. Pat is sure that the competition will be the thing to show Nikki that he is a changed man and that they have a chance. Pat Sr. on the other hand is angry that his son is always out and about with Tiffany. Pat Sr. wants Pat at home, he is convinced that Pat is his lucky charm to get the Philadelphia Eagles to win their games. Pat is torn in two directions, and soon discovers that he likes Tiffany more than he should, and she is most certainly interested in him, crushed that he cannot see her through his obsession with a cheating woman who does not deserve him.

silver linings playbook dance lessons

“This is what I learned at the hospital. You have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest, and if you do, you have a shot at a silver lining.” – Pat Solitano Jr

Pat Sr. has Pat attend a Philadelphia Eagles game, meaning Pat will miss his dance practise with Tiffany, and being there will win his dad the game he bet basically all their money on. Instead Pat and his brother Jake (Shea Whigham) get into a fight along with Dr Patel, and the Eagles lose the game. Tiffany is outraged that Pat made a commitment and didn’t stick to it, and Pat Sr. is in a state over losing all his money. To even things out Randy (Paul Herman) and Pat Sr. make a parlay with one another: the Eagles will win and Tiffany and Pat will score at least a 5 in their upcoming dance competition. Will Pat Sr. win the money back that he needs for the restaurant? Will Tiffany and Pat be able to work through their silly drama? Will they be able to score the 5 to make the parlay a winner for Pat Sr.? Will Nikki and Pat be able to reconcile now that Pat has turned his whole life around? Will Pat ever fully be in control of his problems?

A 7/10 for Silver Linings Playbook. I have never actually just gotten to this movie, despite how popular it got, despite how much it is recommended to me, none of it. Eventually, though, as always, I got to it. I had a good time with this movie, it really had me smiling and laughing with it. For one, Jennifer Lawrence completely stole the show for me, and was certainly worth her Oscar win. She was absolutely crazy yet adorable at the same time. She was intelligent and funny but not even remotely normal, and it worked. Bradley Cooper was fantastic, and the chemistry that he and Lawrence shared was just brilliant, and they complemented each other so well. I know this sounds crazy, but I knew almost nothing about this movie going in, and I liked the fact that I was not really aware of what was to come. There was plenty to laugh at, and plenty that brought it down to a more serious tone. De Niro was very good here, and it was nice to see him with a better role than usual nowadays. Jacki Weaver was so well cast as Dolores Solitano, she just worked the mother well. She was timid yet supportive, shy yet loving; she managed to balance out her husband just well. Pat Solitano, Sr. was terribly entertaining, the way that his allegiances just flicked around. Chris Tucker provided some smiles with his strange personality and funny friendship with Pat. I must say that this was a good movie, a bit soppy at times but heartwarming nonetheless and flawed , no doubt, but definitely worth checking out, even if only for Lawrence’s performance.