It’s because of this that we at HeyUGuys (and in this case we is myself and Barry) have decided to set ourselves a project. To watch and review all 250 movies on the list. We’ve frozen the list as of January 1st of this year. It’s not as simple as it sounds, we are watching them all in one year, 125 each.
This is our 32nd update, my next five films watched for the project. You can find all our previous week’s updates here.
No. 162 – Scarface (1983) – Rating 8.1
Al Pacino stars in arguably his most well known film and the film most people will answer if asked “Name an Al Pacino movie”. You barely remember anyone else from the film, this is Pacino’s movie from start to finish.
The movie charts the life of Tony Montana from when he steps off the refugee boat from Cuba in Miami, his rise in the drug world working for other mobsters before taking it upon himself to take over the whole enterprise.
Brian De Palma directs from an Oliver Stone script that produces a great drug lord gangster film that’s almost up there with the best of them and despite it’s long run time of almost 3 hours it feels well paced and allows the growth of Tony Montana enough for you to almost route for him even though he’s an evil paranoid psychotic killer. The character of Montana is at times ridiculously overplayed by Pacino and is almost laughable and I feel it’s this that lets it down, but of course this is what makes Scarface so memorable as a movie icon.
The supporting cast, although heavily underwritten compared to Tony Montana, are vital in making the film work with Montana’s best friend Manny, played excellently by Steven Bauer, being a long term friend to Montana and also a key character in the turning point in his paranoia and judgement which leads to a devastating climax to their friendship. Michelle Pfeiffer has little to do but look pretty and be a reason for Montana to get angry. I really enjoyed the performance of Robert Loggia as drug boss Frank Lopez who was excellent and was the perfect stepping stone for Montana to get from errand boy to drug boss and probably the strongest sequence in the film.
Scarface is such an iconic machine, it has inspired so much in today’s market with T-Shirts, jackets, video games, referenced in music, films, TV and so on, it is has captured the minds of many who have seen it but for me it’s just a good gangster movie that just barely deserves its place on the IMDb list and if it wasn’t for Pacino it would have been very average and forgettable.
No. 133 – The Deer Hunter (1978) – Rating 8.2
Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken star in the first film I watched that really tore my heart out when I saw it many years ago and that has stuck with me ever since.
The story is about a group of friends from a small town in America of which three have enlisted to fight the war in Vietnam, the film follows Michael (Robert De Niro), Steven (John Savage), and Nick (Christopher Walken) and the effects the war has on them which is played out in three parts.
The first part follows the events leading up to their departure to Vietnam with the wedding of Steven and his bride which is followed by the group of friends going on a hunting trip for the last time. The second act jumps straight in to the heart of the war seemingly months into their tour. A changed Michael is in the special forces fighting and is joined by chance by Steven and Nick who all eventually get caught and held at a camp where they are used in a sick and disturbing game of Russian roulette. They manage to escape but are split up not knowing th outcome of each others lives, A mentally disturbed Nick stays in Saigon and takes part in playing games of Russian Roulette for money, Michael returns home a hero believing both his friends are dead and little is known of Steven. The final act follows the effects of Michael’s return home struggling with his mental state after his experiences, he finds Steven whose lost both legs and has been receiving money from Saigon who Michael believes is Nick and he returns to Saigon to bring Nick home which leads one of the most tragic movie endings.
The Deer Hunter is a long film and feels very long but at no point was I bored watching it. There is something completely engrossing about the characters, especially Nick and Michael whose friendship you completely invest in along with their other small town buddies. The Deer Hunting trips build character, the Vietnam war and the completely shocking Russian Roulette scenes are incredibly depressing and disturbing and the aftermath of how the events have changed all three previously happy and content characters is miserable, depressing and it leads to one of the saddest endings I’ve experienced.
The acting is stunning with Christopher Walken excelling and deserving his Best Supporting actor award for one of the most memorable performances from the IMDb list so far and Robert De Niro was unlucky to miss out on his Best Actor Oscar. Meryl Streep also stars as Linda the love interest to Michael and Nick and she had her own interesting part of the story but I didn’t feel it warranted an Oscar nod but was no less important to our characters state of mind.
Overall one of the most emotionally charged, unforgettable and upsetting films I’ve ever seen. It’s what movies are all about, making you feel something after watching them.
No. 154 – The Graduate (1967) – Rating 8.1
“Mrs Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me, aren’t you?”
The Graduate is one of my all time favourite movies. It has a brilliant story, a fantastic cast and one of the best soundtracks by Simon & Garfunkel that I never fail to enjoy whenever I see it.
The story of Benjamin Braddock returning home after a successful graduation and being seduced by Mrs. Robinson then later falling for her daughter is pure movie magic. It’s a story that flows with laughter throughout with Benjamin’s nervous behaviour in the hotel with their first affair date being one of the highlights as he’s paranoid and trys to act cool to avoid the suspicions of the hotel clerk. Benjamin’s forced dating of Mrs. Robinson’s daughter Elaine, where he takes her to a strip club to put her off him, is brilliant and it turns into the catalyst for their own love blossoming but setting into motion the truth being revealed to all which finally leads to the famous church scene where he breaks up the marriage of Elaine and her fiancee. This moment of madness, which has them escaping on a bus, leaves us with one of my favourite ever movie endings as the realisation of what they have done hits home with the laughter and joy slowly turning into false smiles and nervous wonder for what the future holds for them. The perfect un-romanticized ending.
I love every moment of the Graduate, Dustin Hoffman is perfect as the nervous inexperienced young man trying to deal with the situation and Anne Bancroft, although being made to look twice the age of Benjamin (The real age gap between Hoffman and Bancroft was only 6 years) is perfectly cast and superbly plays the intimidating and bitter Mrs. Robinson and its hard to picture anyone else in the role as she gives te perfect performance.
Without doubt one of the highlights from the IMDb list and for me it cements its place as one of my personal favourite films.
No. 131 – Sixth Sense (1999) – Rating 8.2
The Sixth Sense is a strange film, I need at least a gap of 3-5 years before I can sit and watch it again to remotely enjoy the film as it severely lacks something after seeing it for the first and second times.
M Night Shyamalan created one of the most talked about films of 1999 with Sixth Sense, hardly anyone saw the twist coming which is why it worked so well. The story of a disturbed young boy who can see dead people and a child psychologist trying to help him was a simple one, it delved into the supernatural and family drama never seen before and offered something very original at the time.
The fact that (SPOILER) the psychologist Dr Malcolm Crowe (Willis) was actually dead the whole time was one of the greatest movie twists that had people desperate to see it again and had them telling everyone of their friends to go see it. It also lead to an almost universal respect code of silence regarding the ending that didn’t leak any spoilers which helped keep the twist safe for new viewers.
Alas, this is all the good that can be said about the film after multiple viewings of seeing the Sixth Sense. Watching it again for the 4th maybe 5th time you begin to notice the exposition that was left out to conveniently keep the truth from the viewer that makes scenes ridiculous. Remember, Dr Crowe doesn’t think he is dead, he presumably goes from A-B at will and can’t just appear in places as that would be strange to himself, but yet he is sitting in a chair directly opposite Cole’s mother in their house saying nothing, she of course can’t see him let alone talk to him, so how did he get into their house? and he would not sit there in silence with the mother of the child he is analysing would he? scenes like this are to trick the mind in thinking ‘there is nothing wrong here’ which allows the twist to hit hard at the end and multiple viewings allow you to see through this more clearly which is a shame.
The rest of the film is actually still pretty strong with Hayley Joel Osment putting in an exceptional performance as the troubled boy, his scenes are the strongest of the movie and also some of scariest and his relationship with his mother is also very touching. The story of a boy helping dead people get to where they going is great and the twist is just the topping on the cake which still works as long as you forget how ridiculous convenient the build up to it is.
No. 212 – Rocky (1976) – Rating 8.0
Sylvester Stallone proves what an absolute genius in character creation he is and Rocky is easily one of his most loved. The Italian Stallion Rocky Balboa fighting his way from obscurity to almost winning the world champion is the stuff of legends and one of my favourite films from the project, I’ve not really watched it that often and this was maybe my 2nd time and it really is a great film.
Rocky Balboa is a true underdog story about an amateur boxer who gets a surprise chance at a title fight. The film is dated but with the presence of Stallone it still works a charm. Rocky’s rise from a slacker boxer with no hope to a contender with the aide of of his trainer Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith) is a story that despite being very predictable is incredibly enjoyable and entertaining.
Stallone is no doubt the star of the film, it’s his finest role and it’s a role that gave birth to numerous, almost equally enjoyable sequels that has developed one of the most loved movie characters in history of film. It’s an inspiring and well paced film, his love life with Adrian adding a much needed soul to the film and Rocky’s memorable relationship with trainer Mickey is another excellently formed bond that adds so much to the success of the film. You really route for Rocky throughout the film and the training he endures with the Eye of the Tiger song is one of those magic movie moments that everyone can recognise and you can’t help get emotionally involved as he reaches the top of the stairs punching the air.
Then comes the fight against Apollo Creed, who is played fantastically by Carl Weathers, the fight is pretty corny with punches connecting more times than you can count and neither boxer shows any real boxing techniques but who cares, it’s one of the most enjoyable and iconic scenes in film and you just can’t help lapping it up.
Rocky is a joy to watch, It will always put a smile on my face and it will always be one of the most loved sports films of all time.
You can find Barry’s next update next week, catch you in two.
Don’t forget, you can follow our progress on Twitter at http://twitter.com/baz_mannand http://twitter.com/Gary_Phillips