- It was jezus boring
- It was overly theatrical (either a play ineffectually turned in to a movie, or just a movie that felt like a play)
- I was in a piss-poor mood that day.
For the most part, I don't regret not giving these films their due. The Life of Emile Zola,
You Can't Take It With You, Gigi: I really caught up on my Minesweeper while the three of you played. Cavalcade, Mrs. Minniver: I paid so little attention to you that I had to go back and read a synopsis right now to confirm I actually had seen you. The Apartment, The African Queen: I don't think either of you were as good as you were supposed to be, but I probably owe you a second chance.
And then there were movies I gave my full attention to that totally confounded me. Persona. Um? The Seventh Seal. Huh? No Country For Old Men. Wha? (I know it seems like one of these thing is not like the other, but I can't think of a single Coen Brothers movie I really appreciated the first time I saw it.)
Then there were other movies I thought I'd zone out on for sure. Movies I assumed must be greatly overrated, that I expected to feel indifferent to at best... and where I couldn't have been more wrong. Dances With Wolves is the perfect example. A Western, staring Kevin Costner, directed by... Kevin Costner. I heaved possibly the biggest sigh that had ever been heaved as I pressed play on that one--but it was brilliant. I'm no expert on portrayal of First Nations in film, but in my limited experience there's either the Crazy Injun depiction or the Noble Savage depiction. Dances With Wolves was neither. It was a studio movie centred about natives that treated them entirely without condescension. And sad to say, but I'd never seen that before. Life is Beautiful blew me away too. It's a comedy (or at least a comedic drama) about the holocaust. And it works! It's brilliant, and funny, and terribly sad.
Last and best were the movies I knew nothing about that I ended up loving. Ever heard of Going My Way? 1944 Best Picture winner staring Bing Crosby as a liberal Catholic priest sent to help out a failing conservative parish? Any bells ringing there? I doubt it. This. Movie. Was. Fan. Damn. Tastic. If you were raised Catholic (doesn't matter now if you're practicing, lapsed, or completely in denial), you will love this movie. The Best Years of Our Lives: also great. Three World War Two vets return home after the war and try to rebuild their lives. It sounds like a heartbreaking thing to watch, and it is plenty sad, but it's not a movie made to make you feel terrible. I liked this in the same way I liked Dances With Wolves. The dramatic structure of it, the message, all of that is far in the background. It feels like a movie about completely real people living real lives. These are experiences far from your own, but they don't feel like someone's impression or interpretation of how it must have gone, it feels like this happened.
So those are the highlights and lowlights of getting through this list. The Crying Game just came in from the library today. Woot. After that it's only five more. And what will I do with myself after I'm done? I don't know. Go outside? Read a book maybe? Who am I kidding--it's cold outside. And books are for suckers.