Category Archives: 1001 Movie Club Selection

1001 Movie Club: The Last Picture Show (1971)

Stephen Jay Schneider chose this movie as one of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.” He compiled a massive list from the classic to the obscure for his anthology. The most worthy movies are chosen to be on this list. Every year, there is a revision to include the most essential movies to be on the minds of film buffs everywhere.

I personally picked The Last Picture Show as one of the selections on the 1001 Movie Club for this month. I don’t know why. I guess I have a love of Cloris Leachman and that Jeff Bridges in getting so much Oscar attention now that I would go back to the beginning of his career where he received an Oscar nomination with this movie. It was nominated for nine Oscars and won two Supporting Oscars for Ben Johnson and Cloris Leachman. People might not get into a story about a small town, but I kinda did.

Based on the book by Larry McMurtry, the movie is set in the small town of Anarene, Texas in the early 1950s, taking a look at the year in the lives of the inhabitants this particular town. You might think that nothing happens in the town, but the small actions can be the newest town gossip.

The movie lays out the coming of age story of the meek Sonny Crawford (Timothy Buttons) and his life long friend with the gruff Duane Jackson (Jeff Bridges). They both are captains of the Sonny is in a relationship with the pudgy Charlene (Susan Taggart) that he doesn’t love, but he is in love with Duane’s girlfriend, the privileged Jacy Farrow (Cybill Shepard). On their anniversary, Sonny breaks up with Charlene.

Jacy’s mother, Lois (Ellen Burstyn) wonders why Jacy could associate herself with a roughneck that is not suitable. Jacy rebels against her mother to spend more time with Duane. Sonny’s gym teacher, Mr. Popper (Bill Thurman) asks him to be a driver for his wife, Ruth (Cloris Leachman) to her various appointments to the local clinic in favor to skip out his civics class. He takes Ruth to her appointment and they have a connection.

At town social, Sonny and Ruth begin to start an illicit affair. Duane lets his feelings known to JAcy, who doesn’t love him leaves with another privileged kid, Lester Marlow (Randy Quaid) to naked pool party about Bobby Sheen’s (Gary Brockette) house. Jacy is infatuated with Bobby, but he cannot have sex with her until after she loses her virginity. Jacy is on a quest to break her hymen quickly.

Sonny has run-ins with the locals like waitress, Genevieve (Eileen Brennan), Silent Billy (Sam Buttons) who is the son of Sam the Lion (Ben Johnson) who owns the pool hall the youth hangs out at, the movie theater and diner that Sonny frequents.

Before the two buddies graduate and go off their separate ways, Sonny and Duane take a overnight trip to Mexico and back. When they come back, they realized that their world is crumbling down before them when there is a sudden death in their absence.

These people are stuck in a different time and place. When you are bored, you would do stupid, dangerous things. Have some sort of excitement in their ho-hum little lives. The crazy shit I’ve ever done with when I was bored out of my mind. I understood why the people did what they did. It might be morally wrong in a conservative, but they need to have some excitement in their lives. I don’t blame them.

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

1001 Movie Club Approved

Judgment: This is an accurate portrait of small town life.

Rating: ***1/2

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1001 Movie Club: Marnie (1964)

Stephen Jay Schneider chose this movie as one of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.” He compiled a massive list from the classic to the obscure for his anthology. The most worthy movies are chosen to be on this list. Every year, there is a revision to include the most essential movies to be on the minds of film buffs everywhere.

Marnie is a Hitchcock film that I never heard of before the 1001 Movie Club chose it as one of the films to watch. I didn’t know what the movie was about going into it. I went in completely blind. The result is that there is some intrigue in this mess of a movie.

Based on the novel by Winston Graham, the movie tells the story of a seasoned con artist by the name of Marnie (Tippi Hedren) who pilfered over nine thousand dollars from her former boss, Mr. Strutt (Martin Gabel) and is on the lam. When Strutt has the police over at his office, a client Mark Rutland (Sean Connery) overhears about the theft.

After the robbery, Marnie changes her identity like a chameleon with fake Social Security cards or changing her hair color from black to blond. She visits her emotionally distant mother, Bernice (Louise Latham) and showers her with extravagant gifts. She is jealous of a neighborhood girl, Jessie Cotton (Kimberly Beck) taking all of her mother’s attention. The mother is mindful that they shouldn’t have men in their lives, be free. Marnie has frequent nightmares about her childhood with her mother whenever red is shown or a thunderstorm. This happens frequently throughout the movie.

Marnie goes back out for her next con becoming another character looking for payroll clerk jobs to get close to the money to steal it. She is called in for an interview with the company that Mark owns. The trouble is that the two already met at Mr. Strutt’s company, but that was when she was raven-haired. Mark thinks that Marnie is familiar somehow, but he is not sure. He wants Mr. Warden to hire her instead of a more qualified person for the job

As Marnie starts her job, she learns more about the idiosyncrasies of the company like Mr. Ward (S. John Launer) never remembering the combination to the safe in his office and he has to rely on Mark and Ward’s secretary, Ms. Clabon (Mariette Hartley) to help him.

When Mr. Rutland wants her to work overtime, he discovers when a thunderstorm is happening. She is vulnerable. He kisses her and a relationship is blossoming, but remnants of her past of slowly eroding their relationship.

The Hitchcockian staples are present with the quick pan in and out, the weird close-ups on the characters faces, the obviously fake backdrops. There were some interesting moments in this film about the origins of Marnie’s panic attacks, her descent into madness towards the end of the movie. The plot itself was uneven. When a great moment was taking place, it is ruined by red on the screen or Tippi Hedren shrilling all over the screen.

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

1001 Movie Club Approved

Judgment: The movie is pure melodrama disguised as a Hitchcock movie.

Rating: ***

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1001 Movie Club: It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

Stephen Jay Schneider chose this movie as one of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.” He compiled a massive list from the classic to the obscure for his anthology. The most worthy movies are chosen to be on this list. Every year, there is a revision to include the most essential movies to be on the minds of film buffs everywhere.

I have caught bits and pieces of It’s A Wonderful Life for years now. Never had the urge to watch it, because what I have seen seemed like melodramatic drivel. Since it is Christmastime and that the movie has been chosen as one of the 1001 Movie Club selections for this month, I had to watch it unfortunately.

This Frank Capra classic tells the tale of George Bailey (James Stewart), a man that has fallen on hard times and contemplates committing suicide during the Christmas holiday. The whole town of Bedford Falls prays for the well-being of this troubled soul. Hearing the numerous prayer requests, a group of angels disguised as stars sends one of their own, Clarence to Earth to see the error in his decision. If Clarence successfully convinces George from not killing himself, then he could receive his long awaited wings.

As a part of Clarence’s crash course training, he learns about some fortunate and unfortunate moments in George’s life that led him on the path of self-destruction that he is on. The moment that he little brother, Henry almost drowned when he was twelve. He lost hearing in one of his ears, because of an infection.

George meeting his future wife Mary (Donna Reed) at a dance social at the same night his father, Peter suffers a stroke and dies. An evil banker, Henry Potter wants to take over the struggling family owned bank. George’s life screeches to a halt when his dreams of being an architect are dashed to take over the business. Blah, blah, blah.

I’m sorry. I tried to give this movie a fair shot, but I was fucking bored with it. With every sentimental piece of excrement that Hollywood churns out, you know that everything works out in the end. Whatever. You might call me a Scrooge. I don’t give a flying fuck. I hated this damn movie. Sorry, next.

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

1001 Movie Club Approved

Judgment: A Christmas classic that I don’t get why people like it.

Rating: *1/2

1001 Movie Club: Magnolia (1999)

Stephen Jay Schneider chose this movie as one of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.” He compiled a massive list from the classic to the obscure for his anthology. The most worthy movies are chosen to be on this list. Every year, there is a revision to include the most essential movies to be on the minds of film buffs everywhere.

I was disheartened that Magnolia was chosen as one of the movies that the 1001 Movie Club has to review. I have seen this movie after it made a big splash at the Oscars in 2000. When I saw the film, I did not have the best things to say about the movie. I have chosen not to see the movie again; I am basing this review on memory.

Director Paul Thomas Anderson interweaves almost a dozen tiny stories that seems to not to mesh that somehow thinly interconnects. The narrator Ricky Jay shows the random ironic coincidences of life. One story revolves around a hapless police officer, Jim Kurning (John C. Reilly) is called to the scene of a dead body being discovered in the closet of a woman, Marcie (Cleo King). As the night progresses, other officers that arrive to the scene are ignoring his assessments about what happens.

The anchor of the story is about a television producer, Earl Partridge (Jason Robards) on his deathbed. He is succumbing to late stage cancer, and is cared for by his male nurse, Phil (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Earl asks Phil to find his estranged son, Frank, because his much younger wife, Linda (Julianne Moore) is trying to get enough morphine to euthanize him.

Mackey (Tom Cruise) is self-help “guru” with a foul mouth that teaches man about manipulating women into having sex with them. His plan, “Seduce and Destroy” have men going in droves to listen to his polemics about gullible and dealing with the power of cock. After his seminar, a sly reporter, Gwenovier (April Grace) interviews Mackey about his bullshit rhetoric until she fins a chink in his armor.

A former game show wiz kid, Donnie Smith (William H. Macy) tries to get his life back into order to his former glory. The game show storyline also incorporates a former game show host of “What Do Kids Know?” Jimmy Gator (Philip Baker Hall) that recently finds out that he has cancer. He seeks out to reconnect with his cokehead daughter, Claudia (Melora Walters) to tell her. In addition, there is a stage father, Rick (Michael Bowen) that pushes his son, Stanley (Jeremy Blackman) to win the prize money to help out with his acting career.

I thought that the stories were somewhat interesting, but not so much that I could be invested in most of them. The only part of the movie that marginally liked was the Earl Partridge storyline. I thought that it was very poignant. The ending was huge WTF for me. Really? Really! Tom Cruise got the most acclaim for this movie, because he was a leading man taking a supporting role in an ensemble movie. His personal segment was not that intriguing, but when he shows up in another one. That was great.

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

1001 Movie Club Approved

Judgment: Why do I feel like a Crash all over again?

Rating: **1/2

1001 Movie Club Catch Up: The Apartment (1960)

Stephen Jay Schneider chose this movie as one of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.” He compiled a massive list from the classic to the obscure for his anthology. The most worthy movies are chosen to be on this list. Every year, there is a revision to include the most essential movies to be on the minds of film buffs everywhere.

When Billy Wilder was spotlighted in a recent LAMB in the Director’s Chair, I didn’t even bother to visit more of his back catalog. Shame on me for not fulfilling my film snob credentials. It should have been suspended. Thanks to 1001 Movie Club, I would have never got the chance to see the #99 Movie of All-Time on IMDb, The Apartment or get the movie in past the post date.

Jack Lemmon plays an insurance agent, C.C. Baxter at Consolidate Life New York who on the outside seems like an overly ambitious worker bee that wants to move up with the company. Some of that is true. In actually, he is working the extra hours so the top officials of the company could have a safe place to carry on their affairs before eight o’clock. They compensate C.C. whatever they do in his apartment in exchange to getting a leg up on the corporate ladder.

The neighbors are growing more suspicious about the numerous activities that are happening at C.C.’s apartment every day, especially Mr. and Mrs. Dreyfuss (Jack Kruschen, Naomi Stevens). They think that he is living the high life with the drunken sex marathons, but he is just the schlubby guy left out in the cold. His bosses’ late night escapades are affecting his work.

When one of his bosses unexpectedly needs his apartment, he forced out in the cold, rainy night. He develops a cold with put his little side job into turmoil when he has to reschedule other encounters so he could recover.

Every day, C.C. passes by a bubbly elevator girl, Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), but he notices her when he is sent to personnel department to let him know if he is being promoted or fired. Mr. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray), the head of personnel hears word that C.C. rented out his apartment to top officials at he wants in on the action. In exchange, he gives C.C. to tickets to a Broadway show. He want to ask out Miss Kubelik, but she is spoken by someone C.C. knows.

I thought that this movie would be a straight romantic comedy, but the action takes a dangerous curve to places I never thought it could possibly go. Shirley MacLaine owns this movie. She was given a wide range of emotions from being bubbly and feisty to being morose and heartbroken. Wonderful. There were some people that annoyed with some of the women with their helium-induced voices like Sylvia (Joan Shawlee) or Mrs. MacDougall (Hope Holiday). It’s like nails on a chalkboard.

This movie must have been very controversial at the time of its release. Before the sexual revolution later on that decade, I’m sure that this movie would have raised a few eyebrows. The struggle between male dominance and female empowerment, sexual dynamics, taboo topics that were rarely discussed much less shown.

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

1001 Movie Club Approved

Judgment: This is a testament of how a romantic drama should be handled.

Rating: ****1/2

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