I’m a little late with my monthly update on my New Year’s Resolutions. It’s been 35 days since I wrote my last update (it published 32 days ago). The reason for that: I’ve hit a huge wall. Or rather, I’ve become distracted with other projects, specifically the flood of French films that I’ve been watching. However, if I’m going to use this list to keep me honest, then I have to give an update. And at least a little bit of progress was made.
American Classics (including films directed by Otto Preminger and Ernst Lubitsch)
Sadly, Preminger and Lubitsch are collecting dust. It’s been months since I saw a film from either director. As for American classics, I did manage to do a few major re-watches: Gone With the Wind (1939) and The Wizard of Oz (uh… also 1939). I had wildly different reactions to the two. Dorothy’s trek to Oz holds up as one of the best childrens movies ever made. Gone With the Wind, however, is still the best movie I’ll ever hate. The only other selection that I saw in the last month that could come even close to this category was a 2 hour documentary about Katharine Hepburn. It’s called All About Me, a 1993 made-for-TV documentary (I believe it was made for TCM). Getting a little background about Hepburn was great, and she didn’t hold much back. On at least a few occasions, she addressed the rumors that she’d had several lesbian affairs (she had not). She was also very frank about her relationship with Spencer Tracy. If you’re a fan of classic Hollywood, I recommend tracking the documentary down.
Wrapping up Steven Spielberg’s Films
Technically, I completed this resolution a few months back. But there were quite a few Spielberg films that I felt deserved a re-watch. Now, even that portion of the project is done. In the last month, I re-watched A.I. (2001) and Amistad (1997). If ever a film could be both powerful and bland at the same time, that was Amistad. I detested A.I. the first time I saw it in 2002. My opinion changed in that I don’t hate it anymore, but I still think it’s a film that has a major identity crisis. Kubrick and Spielberg have both been cinematic luminaries but they’re a bizarre mix, like oil and water. It didn’t work for me. And now I can close the books on Spielberg’s films.
Watching more classic or non-new release films at theatres
Thanks to The Blues Brothers (1980) and Some Like It Hot (1959), I’ve officially reached my goal for 2012- 15 classic or non-new release films on the big screen. But I’m not stopping there. My BIG goal was 25 and I think that’s very attainable. The Blues Brothers was special because I saw it with my five year old nephew. His favorite part: EVERYTHING! An interesting thing happened at Some Like It Hot. Usually at those older movies, the audience is full of older people. And the humor tends to translate better for them. They laugh at things and I find myself wondering, “Am I supposed to be laughing?”. With Some Like It Hot, the shoe was on the other foot. I was the one in the audience laughing more than everyone else. It says a lot for Wilder that his humor can translate as well with someone born in 1976 as it does with people born in 1936 or 1946.
Attack the AFI 100 Years, 100 Laughs list
I’m in a holding pattern here. I’ve seen 98 of the 100 and I’m having a hard time getting a copy of the last two films- The Heartbreak Kid and To Be or Not To Be. If it gets to December and I still haven’t been able to get a copy, I’ll actually buy my own copies.
Challenge myself more
I didn’t take on any major challenges, but I did manage to watch a few things I wouldn’t ordinarily watch. The Gone With the Wind and A.I. re-watches both qualify in that regard. I sort of hated both of those movies the first time but it was only fair to give them a second shot. And at least in the case of A.I., my distaste lessened. Thanks to the Blu-ray project, I watched The Green Lantern, The Hangover: Part II, and A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas. These aren’t really the kinds of movies I’d ordinarily watch. They came with mixed results. Strangely enough, the only one I didn’t watch with a hangover was The Hangover: Part II. And it’s also the one I enjoyed the least. I was pleasantly surprised by Harold and Kumar, and even found myself entertained by The Green Lantern… even if I did laugh at a lot of the dialogue.