New to Me: Best Movies Watched in 2017

Most of my movie watching is not new releases, so much as catching up on films that were once new releases but haven’t been from somewhere between a year to a century.
And they’re none the worse for that.

To be eligible for this list, the film must be one of my favorites that I watched in 2017 but NOT released this year.

  • Shall We Dance (1937)
    I can’t say enough about this film- one of the most beautiful Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers vehicles that I’ve ever seen.  Highlights: Slap That Bass and Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off (roller-skates!)
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
    I’ve already talked tons about Kingsman so I’ll keep this short. You’ll never think of Free Bird the same way again.
  • 3:10 to Yuma (1957)
    While the more recent version is good (particularly for a modern remake, that most justly maligned of categories) it still doesn’t really hold a candle to the absolutely masterful original- the frustrating but heroic town drunk (completely cut from the modern version), Van Heflin’s scrappy portrayal of Dan Evans, and above all Glenn Ford’s suave outlaw Ben Wade. Plus the song.
  • Django Unchained (2012)
    Tarantino’s films are very hit or miss for me, but Django Unchained was very much a hit.  The cast is excellent, the plot is fun and exciting. Tarantino does his fun soundtrack thing.
  • The Piano Teacher/ La Pianiste (2001)
    This movie is beautifully repulsive. Basically a piano teacher (Heyyy Isabelle Huppert) conducts and affair with one of her students who believes that she is falling in love with him, essentially misreading the symptoms of her rapidly deteriorating sanity as signs of romantic obsession.
  • The Hurt Locker (2008)
    I had pretty much decided not to watch this because it looked a bit testosterone-heavy for me, but a confluence of circumstances led to me watching it and discovering that it is in fact a thoughtful and well-paced film with interesting characters and developments.
  • La Piscine/ The Swimming Pool (1969)
    Alain Delon is beautiful. So is Romy Schneider. So is Jane Birkin. So is summer.
  • Les Enfants du Paradis/ Children of Paradise (1945)
    This film had me absolutely spellbound for all 3+ hours of runtime.  A theater mime is in love with a courtesan who is also beloved by three other, very different men- a pretentious actor, a conniving thief, and a rich count.
  • Contracorriente/ Undertow (2009)
    Contracorriente is my most recent addition to this list, having just watched it I think the day before yesterday. It’s a surreal and poignant ghost story in which a married fisherman has to find a way to reconcile two aspects of his life: his more conventional family life with his pregnant wife and his devotion to his male lover, a painter and town outcast.

Here’s to another year of good films!

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Links not Words

Look at me doing two posts two days in a row like I don’t currently have 134 raw materials to study and an illness to recover from! 😀

No excuses, I have reaped enough links from the inter webs now to share them and I’m missing sharing my thoughts more often, so I’m going to work on making time for this blog/diary/list compendium more of a priority.
For the children, you know.

  • Pixar’s released a TEASER TRAILER FOR INCREDIBLES 2! I’ve been waiting so long. And I am so ready for destructive apocalyptic Jack Jack and stay-at-home Mr. Incredible. (And Edna Mode. Please, Edna Mode).
  • One of my favorite makeup artists (Violette, check out her youtube channel) has released a trio of lip colors with Estee Lauder. I’m sorely tempted.
  • A scholarly discussion of Rankin & Bass Christmas specials; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Finally convinced me to finally watch Jack Frost, which I had somehow missed during all of my childhood ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas. Here are some highlights.
  • A program to help you find the word that’s just on the tip of your tongue.
  • Guys, there’s a new horse movie coming out, Lean on Pete.
  • The American Film Institute has released their list of top 10 films of 2017. It’s a pretty good list. I’ve seen 4/10 so far, time to get cracking.
  • Yale’s released a new admissions video, “That’s Why I Toured Yale”, replacing cult icon “That’s Why I Chose Yale”. The weirdest thing? I recognize people in the video. (I see you at 9:26-9:33, ballroom team!)
  • NPR’s guide to the best books of 2017. Be right back, adding about 20 to my list. have you read any?
  • New York Times film critics on the best movie performances of 2017. So much agreement and so much anticipation for films I haven’t seen yet (like Ladybird, The Shape of Water, and Call Me By Your Name).
  • The magic of big cities, an illustration.

Two seconds with Russell Crowe

I watched the remake of 3:10 to Yuma last weekend and really enjoyed it much more than I was expecting to (insert horrible pun about eating crow/Crowe here).  And it made me realize that Russell Crowe is actually a pretty good actor? And one that I kind of enjoy watching?

So I took a trip through his IMDb page to take a quick account of the films he’s done, what I’ve seen, and my final plus/minus sheet.

Watched and enjoyed:

  • 3:10 to Yuma: Don’t get me wrong, this film is NOT as good as the original. And they change the ending.  But it’s a good film, a good modern Western (and there are so few) (GUYS I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE HOSTILES), and the fact that he plays outlaw Ben Wade with a capability even approaching that of the legendary Glenn Ford… good on you Russ.
  • A Beautiful Mind: Math O.O
  • Gladiator: “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!” Reader, I was.
  • LA Confidential: Yep, sure.

Watched and didn’t enjoy so much:

  • The Nice Guys: Like LA Confidential, but irritating and worse.
  • Les Miserables: Les Miserables is a great book. Les Miserables is a great film (1998, Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush). Les Miserables is a great musical. Les Miserables should not be a book turned into a musical turned into a film. It’s not sustainable. Hefty and overdone, tbh.
  • The Insider: This was too ‘manly’ for me, honestly. Kind of like Se7en. That should be a separate list. I need to think about what it means to me when I call a film ‘too manly’. Because that’s not a helpful description, but maybe you get me?

Wartime Romance Films: All’s Fair

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Coming out of Dunkirk last week (guys, it’s amazing- go watch it (except for the erasure of everyone who wasn’t a white man from WWII)!) I was inspired to write a list of great war films.
When I got on it the next day I realized belatedly that war film knowledge is really a big gap in my film expertise.  I haven’t watched most of the classics yet (Bridge on the River Kwai, All Quiet on the Western Front, Das Boot, Patton, etc.) and I couldn’t get more than a few minutes into Saving Private Ryan when I tried to watch it a few months ago. (It’s just so overblown and melodramatic).

My list would have been solely Hacksaw Ridge and Dunkirk, and we can’t have that- even if I do write movie pairing posts sometimes.

So I decided to ease into the subject with a genre I know a little (okay, a lot) more about- wartime romances.

My criteria were vaguely as follows: 1) There must be a war that actually took place in reality. 2) The plot must primarily follow some kind of romantic trajectory- the love story can’t be a secondary consideration, which rules out things like Hacksaw Ridge and Watch on the Rhine.

Be warned- it’s a bit of an eclectic list, but all are worthwhile in my book. Continue reading “Wartime Romance Films: All’s Fair”

Movie Pairing: The Best Worst Musicals

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BRIGADOOOON BRIGADOOOOO-OOON

I’m proud and humbled to announce that this is the first month that List Mimsy’s views have exceeded 600 (also the first month views have exceeded 500).  And now it is my greatest hope that you won’t all abandon me when
I suggest that these two musicals have some redeeming qualities.

Watching them together is a stretch, bordering on an exercise in masochism, but with what the movies could you possibly watch them?

So what movies am I actually talking about? Brigadoon (1954) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (also 1954).  Wow. Before writing this I had no idea both were from the same year.  What a horrible time that must
have been. Without Hitchcock’s Rear Window I feel like it might have ended up being the end of cinema completely.
But what’s actually wrong with these movies? They’re objectively terrible and overblown.  But so funny, I can’t even explain how funny. Continue reading “Movie Pairing: The Best Worst Musicals”

My Last Ballroom Pieces

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The end of an era.  Said era being my college life. This past Friday was the Yale Ballroom Team’s Spring Show, and quite possibly my last ballroom dance performance ever.  So, in the spirit of closure, this post will be a list of the two pieces I performed, the one piece I scrapped, and video links to youtube, where the team just uploaded them.

Also interesting is that in a month and a day this blog will turn one year old.  It’s my intention, on that day, to make this blog public to people following me on Facebook.  I wanted to know myself, know what I wanted to do, and know that I could maintain it before I shared it with people who know me as a person.  But honestly I am kind of proud of this pet project, and I do enjoy it. So. One month and one day. The countdown begins. (Also incidentally May 25th, the blogiversary, is two months until my birthday). Continue reading “My Last Ballroom Pieces”

La La Land, Moonlight, and Hidden Figures

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First of all, I’m feeling better today. Sleep and a quiet morning does wonders.  It’s a blessing to not have a heavy coarse load this semester- especially right now when I’m juggling graduate school applications and ballroom practices.

We have a practice showing for our Winter performance on Saturday, so everyone (including me) is scrambling to get their pieces together. I have four practices today, but things are coming together.

So the best thing to do in these times of stress is to suit up and put on some blood-red lipstick (Snow White by NYX?). As Chanel said, “If you’re sad, add some more lipstick and attack.”  So I have a leather dress (so proud I zipped it up the back all by me lonesome), leather riding boots, a severe side part and low bun, and the life-affirming fragrance, Oud by Maison Francis Kurkdjian.  You know you’ve put on the right fragrance when you wake yourself up and think “Yes, that’s who I am today.” Continue reading “La La Land, Moonlight, and Hidden Figures”