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Apocolypse Now (1979)

What do you call it when the assassins accuse the assassin? A lie. A lie and we have to be merciful.

— Colonel Kurtz

I have no idea what is my problem. There are so many classic movies that I have never seen. Francis Ford Coppola’s epic movie, the #36 Film of All-Time on IMDb, Apocolypse Now is one of many. I knew very little about this movie when I saw it. It was a good thing, because would not have enjoyed it more than I did. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won two for Best Sound and Cinematography.

A disillusioned Army Captain Benjamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen) is tired of waiting around to find action in and around Saigon. he is finally recruited by Con-Sec Intelligence for a top-secret mission in Nha Trang. Willard meets with Colonel Lucas (Harrison Ford) and General Corman (G.D. Spradlin) to talk about the mission.

There is a decorated Green Beret named Col. Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando) that has played renegade with his own missions with the consent of the US government. At first, Kurtz was praised for his efforts, but soon his leadership skills are questioned when he goes rogue. The men listen to secret tapes of Kurtz talking about the possibility that he is insane and that his actions are monstrous.

They let Willard know that Kurtz has crossed into Cambodia with his Montaguard army to take over a tribe there. There is a warrant out for Kurtz’s arrest for the murder of four Vietnamese Intelligence agents that he thinks were working as double agents. His ultimate mission to follow the Kurtz’s path to Cambodia, infiltrate his team and eliminate him.

To accomplish his mission, Willard is take on a Navy patrol boat down the river.  There is the surfer, Lance B. Johnson (Sam Bottoms), Jay “Chef” Hicks (Frederic Forrest) and 17-year-old, Tyrone “Clean” Miller (Laurence Fishburne) make this ragtag group that Willard has to deal with. There is the captain of the boat, Chief Phillips (Albert Hall) that knows that Willard is not being escorted down the river just for R&R. He knows something big is about to happen.

The movie was an example of how war cam fuck you up mentally, physically, and emotionally. Sometimes when you are in a life and death situation for so long that your moral core erodes away and you don’t know the difference between right and wrong. The actions of some of the characters are awful and despicable, but their conscience is not there.

The movie is dirty and beautiful at the same time. Who knew that Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” could fit perfectly with bombing of a Vietcong village?

Judgment: This movie shook me to the core.

Rating: 9.5/10

Working Girl (1988)

Never burn bridges. Today’s junior prick, tomorrow’s senior partner!

— Katharine Parker

I have meant to watch Mike Nichol’s film, Working Girl, for a while now. It took a great list from Heather from Movie Mobsters putting out the Top Ten Sigourney Weaver Roles/Performances to get me to see it. The term “working girl” felt very stuck in the 80s. I thought the movie would feel a little dated from women to connect to in the new millennium. It does, but there is a sweet story at the heart of it.

This Cinderella story in a yuppie setting starts with the a frustrated temp named Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) quits her last job when one of the bosses, Bob Speck (Kevin Spacey) made sexual advances toward her in the backseat of limo. One of the workers at the temp agency (Olympia Dukakis) warns her it was her last chance, because she quit two previous jobs before that.

Tess goes to work for a prestigious brokerage firm where she the tutelage of Mergers and Acquisitions director, Katharine Parker (Weaver). Katharine wants to show Tess the ropes of how to make in the cutthroat business world. Tess feels that Katharine is trying to help her make the transition from the minor league to the big leagues. Tess re-evaluating her life, what she has accomplished and what still need to be achieved. She has a tumultuous relationship with her live-in, Mick (Alec Baldwin) who she caught cheating on her with a mutual friend.

One day, Tess confides in Katharine about an idea of a powerful company, Trask Industries want to acquire a television station, but she had an idea of having Trask (Philip Bosco) to buy a radio station. It would be a smoother acquisition without having to deal with the legalities of a foreign company buy a television. Katharine takes it under advisement. Later, she tells Tess that the committee did not like her idea.

Katharine goes on a skiing trip in Europe where she has a freak accident on the slopes, breaking her leg. She wants Tess to take care of her place while she spends weeks recuperating. While Tess was at Katharine’s loft, she stumbles on evidence suggesting that Katharine took her idea to radio expert, Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford). Feeling betrayed by Katharine, Tess is on a mission to get her credit for her idea by assuming Katharine’s identity for a short while.

This movie was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Director, Actress for Griffith and Supporting Actress for Cusack and Weave and it won for Carey Simon’s original song, “Let the River Run” that plays during the opening credits of this movie. I would just like to know, why Cusack was nominated for this movie? She was a secondary character, Tess’s best friend in the periphery. She had no gravitas like Ms. Weaver did in the movie. She was so cold and calculating, but she wasn’t a monster. It was subdued evil witch of a boss.

The beginning of this film was very slow to build up, but it was satisfying when the climax happened. I was very distracted by the blown out, heavily hairsprayed bouffant hairdos the women. At least it was tone down near the middle. I loved the chemistry between Griffith and Ford. The story was good in parts, but it has this strange dynamics. You basically have to act like a cold-hearted, backstabbing bitch to make it in business. Great lessons for young professional women to live on.

Judgment: The subject may be dated, but an enjoyable in the end.

Rating: ****

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Listen. Since I’ve met you I’ve nearly been incinerated, drowned, shot at, and chopped into fish bait. We’re caught in the middle of something sinister here, my guess is dad found out more than he was looking for and until I’m sure, I’m going to continue to do things the way I think they should be done.

— Indiana Jones

I have no excuse for waiting twenty years to watch the #101 Movie of All Time on IMDb, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. After I enjoyed the first outing of America’s favorite archeologist, I wanted to visit the third film of the now quadrilology. This movie was a fitting end to series, but George Lucas wanted to bring Indy back.

At his college where he has become a celebrity is his own right, men of Walter Donovan (Julian Glover) approach Indie (Harrison Ford). Upon arriving at his place, Walter shows him a broken tablet from the 12th century. While translating the inscription, he learns about the location of the Holy Grail, the chalice that holds the blood of Jesus Christ and whoever drinks from it is issued eternal life.

Learning the lore about the Grail’s whereabouts, Dr. Jones learns that Donovan’s project manager of the expedition to find the missing piece of the tablet has gone missing. It’s his father, Professor Henry Jones (Sean Connery), scholar of medieval literature who tried to get a missing piece in Venice, Italy.

He remembers receiving a package from Venice containing his dad’s notes about all the evidence that he collected from his quest of the Holy Grail. Accompanying Indiana on his journey is Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) and Dr. Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody). They soon realize that other forces are preventing them to seek the Grail like The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword or the Nazis.

In the greater scheme of things, this movie is better than my all time favorite installment, Temple of Doom. This is not as good as the first movie. This movie’s action felt limp. Wasn’t enough pizzazz in it. The dialogue was tepid at best. The trademark humor was still there.

Judgment: It makes you wonder why would there be a fourth movie.

Rating: ****

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

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You want to talk to God? Let’s go see him together, I’ve got nothing better to do.

— Indiana

Don’t hate me, but I have never seen the first installment in the Indiana Jones quadrilogy in its entirety. I have seen the classic scenes of the giant boulder, the room filled with the snakes and the melting Nazis. This is the first time that I saw Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. I am so glad that I did. It’s #18 of the Top 25o Films of All Time on IMDb.

I am more of a Temple of Doom person. Some people don’t like that flick. I enjoy that it was campy and completely implausible.

In 1936, the famous archaeologist, Dr. Jones (Harrison Ford) is sent out on a mission to recover the Ark of the Covenant that once contained the Ten Commandants. He has to get it before Hitler and the Third Reich gain trouble control of it and have his army become invincible.

The first stop in Jones’ trip is Nepal where he meets an old love interest of his, Marion (Karen Allen). He tries to regain of the pieces of a magical staff that would guide the way to find the ark.

During the time there, a mysterious man in a black trench, Toht (Ronald Lacey) also seeks the artifact in Marion’s possession. There is a struggle. The duo escapes but not for long.

Hearing that the ark was moved to Cairo, they meet up with a famous digger, Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) to help with the effort.

The Nazis are not far behind in their quest to find the Ark with Jones’ French counterpart Bellroq (Paul Freeman), the Nazi officer, Colonel Dietrich (Wolf Kahler) and Toht.

It’s common knowledge by now it that producers wanted Tom Selleck in the role of Dr. Jones. I can only imagine about Selleck in the movie. It would have been cool if you wasn’t working on Magnum PI at the time. Harrison Ford is not a bad choice for Indy. He is damn sexy in the movie. You gotta love a man that can handle a whip. Mmm-hmm.

The action sequences and the jokes in the movie were great. The ending of the movie was anti-climatic and borderline silly, but other than that, a good time all around.

Judgment: A worthy installment in the Indiana Jones mythology.

Rating: ****1/2

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