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Wednesdays usually aren’t anything special other than that they represent Hump Day. But since school’s been out for about a week, I’ve had a lot of time to catch up on movies that I’ve been meaning to watch lately. Today (now yesterday, techinically) was a very special day. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen so many good movies in so short a time span.

In only a matter of hours, I managed to watch two movies I rank as “great movies” (10/10 in my book) and part of a movie that made me fall in love with life again (not that I was about to kill myself or anything — I’m just double in-love with life now). Two of them were on the 1001 Movies to See Before You Die list, which I gave up on but decided to revisit: they really do have some fine movies on there. (But to be honest, all the great ones I’ve come across on the list I heard about earlier from another source.) Note to self: write a post about a bunch of movies that should totally be on the list.

And before I begin, I must thank the sweet Lord for the Digital Video Recorder, with which I could not have seen any of these (okay, two of them are at the library, but still, Hallelujah). Aside from those I watched today, I would have missed so many movies that came on at five in the morning or while I was working/at school. So, super-thanks.

By the way, if you’re a film buff, and you don’t have a DVR, I strongly recommend getting one, as it’s essential for anyone who loves to search the schedules in advance for hidden gems that may be in time slots in the early A.M. hours or while you’re at the office or school.

First, I finally watched The Treasure of the Sierra Madre all the way through. I watched some of it around year or so ago, and I have no idea why I didn’t finish it. (Throughout high school, I watched so many half-movies that I’ve later discovered as masterpieces, it makes me sick to think how much I need to finish watching.) And I just realized today while watching the movie that I only had a half-hour left from before! Ugh. But I digress.

What can I say that hasn’t already been said? It’s great! I usually don’t care much for Bogie (I usually find him to be wooden), but he’s fantastic as Fred C. Dobbs. I’ve been a fan of Walter Huston since I saw him play the fantastic Mr. Scratch in The Devil and Daniel Webster. As for his role in Treasure, I can still hear him falling into fits of laughter. Awesome performances all around (it’s said John Huston loved nothing more than great acting), and there are some great shots, especially the paralleling jail-door images (first when the crew steps off the ferry near the beginning of the movie, then toward the end when the bandits are put in a cell). Really, there’s nothing to complain about.

And has John Huston directed a bad movie? I thought Fat City was really well done (ditto Moby Dick). The Man Who Would Be King, one of the first of his directorial efforts that I saw, is a real beauty that plays like a tall tale and features great work from Michael Caine (a long-time favorite) and Sean Connery (whom I never really viewed as that talented an actor). I still have Asphalt Jungle, Wise Blood, The Dead, and many others on my personal list of must-sees, so I have to get to those soon. Damn you, you never-ending lists!

Then, I was looking for stuff to delete off the DVR since I have so much scheduled to record. I forgot I had Simon of the Desert recorded, and when I came across it, I decided to give it a watch. There’s some of Buñuel’s work I haven’t seen, but this is probably my favorite so far (yes, I think it juuust beats Belle de Jour — maybe). The movie feels how I think it would be to watch a movie that Nietzsche directed. Maybe you think all of Buñuel’s religion-themed movies do already, but I find they’re not as moralistically concerned as Simon. Not that his other films aren’t concerned with morals, but I think Simon is more focused on finding a moral code, specifically one that works both with or without the existence of God, whereas his other movies may discuss morality in general.

If you can find a listing for it on Turner Classic Movies (like I did) or rent it from Facets or the library, do so immediately! It’s an absolute must-see, and it’s one of the many abominable exclusions from the aforementioned 1001 list.

Finally, I watched the first half-hour of Umbrellas of Cherbourg (falling back into my Half-a-Movie Syndrome, again) and felt so glad to be alive. Even though the movie is such a fantasy (the world isn’t made up of such a bright color palette, and nobody sings everything out loud!) the movie has the holy power of cheering up any bad day, even if it’s just watched for a little bit.

But then my day became not-so-great. I had to stop Umbrellas since Mom is rarely in the mood for a foreign movie (on top of that, the sung dialogue annoys her). We tried to watch some of Sweet Bird of Youth (which I was moderately enjoying), but she kept falling asleep.

So, to try to brighten my night, I retired to my room to watch Brazil, a movie that has been recommended to me by a ton of people (and Netflix) and which I’ve put off for a long time. And 51 minutes into it, I’m bored and restless. Really, am I alone? Am I truly the only one who doesn’t like Brazil? But to be fair, I’m not done with it yet, but I will finish it tomorrow since it’s due soon at the library. (I much prefer Time Bandits.) Note-to-self: replace my lost copy of Time Bandits.

Tomorrow (technically today) is another off-day with nothing to do. I suppose I’ll finish the half-movies and some of the ones due at the library that can’t be renewed. Also, I will be going to a highly-anticipated screening of Margot at the Wedding before it plays at the theater. (I know, how pathetic? The movie’s been out for weeks and it’s just coming to town. Makes me feel annoyed, but I’m glad it came down here at all.) I probably won’t post a review, but I may post my thoughts on the movie.

Lately, I’ve fallen out of love with the whole movie-reviewing aspect of film criticism, and I’m beginning to prefer the whole blogging thing. Talking about the general collective experience of a couple movies over a few days (or a past movie experience — you know, anything) feels more worthwhile than concentrating on one film since I usually end up referring to a whole bunch of other movies anyway. Now I think this is shaping up more as a blog. Woohoo.

Wow. This has been a damn good day. Well, technically… oh, i don’t know what you’d call it.

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  1. By Damn You, Pause Button! « Joey’s Film Blog on 30 Dec 2007 at 10:28 am

    […] had a surprising number of similar experiences during the year. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m one of those trying to watch all the movies on the 1001 list (which I am now retiring), […]

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