what i watched

The Blob (Irvin S. Yeaworth, 1958). Better than you might remember, if you remember it at all ... it may have turned up on Creature Features when I was a kid, but I'm an old man now. The actors are sincere ... no one plays it for laughs, and that works, with Steve McQueen being only the best example. It's a bit like Rebel Without a Cause, only with a monster from outer space. Anita Corsaut, who later gained fame as Helen Crump on The Andy Griffith Show, is Steve's girl. The title song (yes, there is one) is co-written by Burt Bacharach. Excellent use is made of color, which was lost on my black-and-white TV when I was growing up. The color makes The Blob look better than the usual 50s monster movie. There is a dark void at the center of the movie ... The Blob is like the shark in Jaws, it has no ulterior motive, it just gobbles people up, growing larger with each victim (yep, it's another Red Scare movie!). And there's an irony in the ending that can only be appreciated, if that's the word, nowadays.

The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2018). Rachel Weisz said this is "Like a funnier and sex-driven All About Eve". She's right about the sex, but The Favourite does not come close to All About Eve on the wit scale. Nominated for ten Oscars, including nods for all three stars (Olivia Colman for Best Actress, Weisz and Emma Stone for Supporting), along with Best Picture, Best Director, and more. That's overkill. It's not as weird as The Lobster, also directed by Lanthimos, and maybe it could have used some weird. It earns its R rating ... the IMDB informs us, for instance, that "The film has 9 uses of 'fuck' and multiple uses of 'cunt'". So it's not as bland as it could be, and there is some good work here. I'm always glad to see Olivia Colman get attention, and I think it would be great if she won an Oscar. But, to quote the movie, I just didn't give a fuck. Already #296 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don't They list of the top 1000 films of the 21st century. I'll add that when the following scene appeared, most of the audience thought it was hilarious. My wife and I, at 65, were also among the younger people in the crowd.


my fave movies of the 21st century

An interesting question came up in the comments for the post on the latest They Shoot Pictures, Don't They update: What are the one or two 21st century films that have ranked highest in my informal all-time list? Interesting enough to answer the question in a separate post.

The easiest place to start is with the Fave Fifty project a few of us did on Facebook back in 2011. Here are the 21st century films that made my all-time top 50 list:

City of God (#20 on my list, #10 on TSPDT)

In the Mood for Love (#38, #1)

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (#44, #33)

The Lives of Others (#45, #31)

Since then, I have also given my highest rating to these movies, which came out in 2011 or later:

A Separation (#17 on TSPDT)

Mad Max: Fury Road (#49)

Before Midnight (#207)

The Square (N/A)

If any of these movies would make my current Top 50 list, it's probably A Separation. Fury Road, much as I love it, isn't different enough from The Road Warrior for me to bump it that last little bit, and Before Midnight gets at least some of its value from being the third in a trilogy. The Square is the only documentary on this list, so it will get an honorable mention.

So the question is, where would A Separation fit among those other four movies from my 2011 list? The only one of those movies I've watched in the past few years is In the Mood for Love, which grows in my heart with each viewing. I'd probably put it at the top of those four movies now. So, off the top of my head, here are my Top Five movies of the 21st century:

  1. In the Mood for Love
  2. City of God
  3. A Separation
  4. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
  5. The Lives of Others


they shoot pictures, don't they: 2019

The They Shoot Pictures, Don't They website has posted their annual update, with the All-Time list going up last month and the 21st-century list arriving Friday. I cite them often on this blog ... the idea of someone compiling all the best-ofs in the world appeals to me. And the I Check Movies site helps me keep track of how I'm doing in seeing the movies on the TSPDT lists. Site poobah, Australian Bill Georgaris, has done good previews for the new lists, and a lot of what follows is based on his work.

The top ten movies of all time, as usual, is pretty much the same from year to year. The only difference this year is that two movies switched places, The Godfather and 8 1/2:

1. Citizen Kane (1)
2. Vertigo (2)
3. 2001: A Space Odyssey (3)
4. The Rules of the Game (4)
5. Tokyo Story (5)
6. (7)
7. The Godfather (6)
8. Sunrise (8)
9. The Searchers (9)
10. The Seven Samurai (10)

The biggest new entrant was Audition at #702. The formerly highest-ranked movie to fall off the list was the 1978 Superman, which was #685 last year.

The stagnant nature of the all-time list led Georgaris to create a list solely for 21st-century movies. The need for this can be seen in the listing for In the Mood for Love, which is #1 on the 21st-century list, but up against the compiled wisdom of more than a hundred years, it is only #44 all-time. Here's the 21st-century top ten:

1. In the Mood for Love
2. Mulholland Dr.
3. Yi Yi
4. There Will Be Blood
5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
6. The Tree of Life
7. Spirited Away
8. Caché
9. Tropical Malady
10. City of God

Even this list is gradually becoming fossilized ... there were only 2 changes to the top 50.

As for what I Check Movies tells me about my own viewing habits ... I have seen 665 of the 1001 movies in the all-time list, including the top 102. (Satantango is #103.) As for the 21st-century list, I've seen 472 of 1001, including the top 15 (Russian Ark is #16).