Category Archives: imdb 250

IMDB 250 Challenge: #146: Million Dollar Baby

Made: (2004)

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Hillary Swank, Morgan Freeman

Director: Clint Eastwood

My Thoughts

  • Wow. Present day Clint Eastwood is growing on me like a husky, contemplative cyst. I wrote previously how shocking I thought Gran Torino was. This is in a different league. I love the fragmented storylines… there are three I picked up here: the battle of a redneck woman to make it in the boxing world, an old man still struggling to come to terms with the past and finally (the most potent, powerful and unpredicted) euthanasia. Whilst many movies struggle to establish one clear theme or issue, this one successfully juggled three.
  • I can’t remember ever watching a bad boxing movie (yes, I am including the Rocky series in that). Even in one that tackles such hard-hitting issues as this, the fighting scenes are inspiring. There is very little that can get the blood flowing like it. I really find a schism between reality and fiction on that front. Rarely do I watch a boxing match that excites me. Most of the time, the build-up is more intriguing than the bout itself. Perfect example: Audley Harrison’s laughable display against David Haye this month.
  • As much as I loved this film, I found the scenes in which they featured Irish people embarrassing. In fact, the crowd scenes in general were very poor and clichéd. An awful lot of Irish people can’t speak or read Gaeilge. That huge crowds of them would notice Mo Chuisle (‘my pulse’ is the literal translation, mostly used to equate to ‘my darling’) on Maggie Fitzgerald’s shorts and immediately start chanting it is completely unrealistic. But then, if the entire movie played out like real life, the fights wouldn’t have been half as enjoyable.
  • The depiction of the Irish in Hollywood has been a mixed bag. I loved Brad Pitt in Snatch. His accent was perfect and he had the mannerisms and wit of a few shady characters I’ve encountered. The worst I can recall seeing (including Leprechaun) is probably Sean Bean in Patriot Games. Absolutely horrible stuff. The clip below is an old favourite: classic portrayal of the Troubles for American kids

IMDB 250 Challenge: #41: Taxi Driver

Made: 1976
Starring: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd
Director: Martin Scorsese
My Thoughts
  • Generally, watching a film once is enough for me; particularly in a short space of time. Of course, there are movies I’ve habitually watched at Christmas and seen a dozen times, but I prefer to watch something new, given the choice. With Taxi Driver, though, as soon as I watched it, I felt I could easily have pressed play again and sat right through another play. It’s a subtle movie in many ways. It moves slowly and affords itself plenty of silences. There’s plenty to think about. There are some hugely impactual scenes, but it’s more moving as a piece (ironically, considering it has one of the most quoted lines of any movie).
  • When watching, I kept thinking back to a biography I read years ago of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma Bomber. McVeigh had been a decorated soldier in the Gulf War #1. He struggled to readjust to society’s trivialities afterwards and having been discarded by his government, soon became scornful and embittered towards all aspects of the federal state. We all know what happened to him. Travis (De Niro’s character), having served in the Marine Corps, battles with what he perceives to be daily injustices. He bemoans the downward spiral of morality engulfing NYC and eventually, takes matters into his own hands. There are certainly parallels and I think Scorsese (and of course, writer Paul Schrader) have framed that frustration astutely. They can’t have been short of research subjects in the fallout of the Vietnam War.
  • I was genuinely surprised by the ending. I won’t spoil it, but I was certain it would conclude differently. For me, it made the movie. Up until that point I thought it was a good movie. The ending really seals it’s status as a great one.
  • I wondered about the main character’s insomnia. It’s something I think about quite a bit, being a mild sufferer. Was he a bit tapped beforehand, or was it the lack of sleep that sent him over the age? It has a great track record for ruining people; but equally, some of the most revered creative minds have been sufferers (Proust, Van Gogh, Napoleon, Monroe, Edison, Dickens, B. Franklin).

IMDB 250 Challenge: #104: Unforgiven

Made: 1992

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman

Director: Clint Eastwood

My Thoughts

  • Watching this made me realize how much America and indeed the world has changed over the past 100 – 150 years; surely more than at any other point in human history. I have been thinking about this quite a bit and the barren footage in Unforgiven made me think more. In 1880, Los Angeles had a population of 11,200: smaller than my home town of Enniskillen. Now it is almost 4 million. Sure, the plains of Nebraska and Wyoming haven’t come on as quickly as that, but I still find it quite disconcerting that the population boom in America is so huge (and continuing).
  • Clint Eastwood has done awfully well, considering his repertoire is so limited. I am not suggesting he is not talented: he has made and starred in some excellent movies. But he seems to play the naval-gazing hard man in almost each one. That said, I found his role in Unforgiven quite moving. His character, Will, struggles to come to terms with the ageing process, realizing he can’t do all the things he once could. True to life?
  • The last movie I saw of Eastwood’s was Gran Torino, which I thought was absolute rubbish. This one, however, is superb. It’s beautifully shot, travels at a nice pace and has some great characters (reminds me of a McCarthy book/adaptation). One of the best Eastwood movies I’ve seen.
  • Gene Hackman is a great and underrated actor. His character, Little Bill, was my favourite. Looking at his filmography (Mississippi Burning, Poseidon Adventure, French Connection, Royal Tenenbaums), it’s surprising that his name is not often mentioned amongst the greats. And he played one of the best baddies of all time in Lex Luther.
  • Clint Eastwood can’t shout very loud. I would imagine it’s quite frustrating for him. I would place him alongside Phil Mitchell in the inability to shout stakes. I remember feeling very frustrated at Phil’s attempts to roar in Eastenders a few years back. There is a downside to having a husky, cowboy’s growl.
  • Cowboys don’t eat very much. This is one thing I always wondered about when watching Westerns, I felt it a bit of an anomaly. Surely in such a taxing line of work, they need to eat more than a tin of beans? I know it wouldn’t make for a great movie if it was Clint, Morgan and Gene filling their faces for two hours, but an acknowledgement that they need regular nutrition would satisfy me.
  • Overall, a very impressive movie and one I’m happy to have checked off the list.

IMDB 250 Challenge

#1 in the IMDB Top 250

In the six months I’ve been in Korea, there have been a few very notable changes in my lifestyle. One that disappointed me at first is that I don’t read nearly as much as I did before I came here. I think I’ve read four books in half a year. Before I came here, I was reading three or four each month. My habitual pendulum has swung wildly in favour of film. At first, I felt I would suffer in some way from this; that my mind wouldn’t be challenged as much as it was if I was reading. I guess that’s kind of true.

Well, it doesn’t look as though things are going to change anytime soon. I’m enjoying watching movies more than I ever have and whilst I’m not or never will be a film buff, I feel I’m learning more from them and deriving more benefit. I recently checked out the IMDB Top 250 rated movies out of curiosity, to see how many I’d watched. I got to 89, which I thought was a respectable figure, but when I looked at some of the “classics” I hadn’t seen, I was shocked!

Alien, Taxi Driver, Psycho…

Over the next six months, I will be trying to save a lot of money. I’ve decided to try making up for lost time and watch as many of these films as possible and to write a short blog on each one afterwards. These won’t be reviews, just my immediate thoughts, but perhaps some people will find them interesting. Here is the list, with the ones I’ve seen in bold.

 

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
2. The Godfather (1972)

 

3. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

 

4. Inception (2010)

5. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

6. Pulp Fiction (1994)

7. Schindler’s List (1993)

8.12 Angry Men (1957)

9. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

10. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

11. The Dark Knight (2008)

12. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

13. Seven Samurai (1954)

14. Toy Story 3 (2010)

15. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)

16. Casablanca (1942)

17. Goodfellas (1990)

18. Fight Club (1999)

19. City of God (2002)

20. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

21. Rear Window (1954)

22. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

23. Psycho (1960)

24. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

25. The Usual Suspects (1995)

26. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

27. The Matrix (1999)

28. Se7en (1995)

29. Memento (2000)

30. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

31. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

32. Sunset Blvd. (1950)

33. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

34. Leon: The Professional (1994)

35. North by Northwest (1959)

36. Forrest Gump (1994)

37. Citizen Kane (1941)

38. Apocalypse Now (1979)

39. American History X (1998)

40. American Beauty (1999)

41. Taxi Driver (1976)

42. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

43. Vertigo (1958)

44. Alien (1979)

45. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

46. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

47. Amélie från Montmartre (2001)

48. WALL·E (2008)

49. The Shining (1980)

50. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

51. Paths of Glory (1957)

52. The Departed (2006)

53. The Pianist (2002)

54. Aliens (1986)

55. Spirited Away (2001)

56. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

57. M (1931)

58. The Lives of Others (2006)

59. Double Indemnity (1944)

60. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

61. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

62. Chinatown (1974)

63. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

64. L.A. Confidential (1997)

65. The Third Man (1949)

66. Das Boot (1981)

67. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

68. City Lights (1931)

69. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

70. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

71. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

72. The Prestige (2006)

73. Back to the Future (1985)

74. Raging Bull (1980)

75. Life Is Beautiful (1997)

76. Modern Times (1936)

77. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

78. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

79. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

80. Some Like It Hot (1959)

81. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

82. Amadeus (1984)

83. Downfall (2004)

84. Cinema Paradiso (1988)

85. Braveheart (1995)

86. The Green Mile (1999)

87. Up (2009) 110,055

88. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

89. Rashomon (1950)

90. All About Eve (1950)

91. The Maltese Falcon (1941)

92. Metropolis (1927)

93. Gran Torino (2008)

94. The Elephant Man (1980)

95. The Great Dictator (1940)

96. Gladiator (2000)

97. The Apartment (1960)

98. Rebecca (1940)

99. Sin City (2005)

100. The Sting (1973)

101. The Great Escape (1963)

102. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade(1989)

103. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)

104. Unforgiven (1992)

105. Bicycle Thieves (1948)

106. Jaws (1975)

107. Batman Begins (2005)

108. Die Hard (1988)

109. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

110. Oldboy (2003)

111. On the Waterfront (1954)

112. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

113. Blade Runner (1982)

114. Hotel Rwanda (2004)

115. Touch of Evil (1958)

116. The Seventh Seal (1957)

117. No Country for Old Men (2007)

118. Fargo (1996)

119. Princess Mononoke (1997)

120. For a Few Dollars More (1965)

121. Avatar (2009)

122. Heat (1995)

123. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

124. District 9 (2009)

125. Strangers on a Train (1951)

126. Cool Hand Luke (1967)

127. The Sixth Sense (1999)

128. Donnie Darko (2001)

129. High Noon (1952)

130. The Deer Hunter (1978)

131. Snatch. (2000)

132. The General (1926)

133. Notorious (1946)

134. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

135. The Big Lebowski (1998)

136. Annie Hall (1977)

137. There Will Be Blood (2007)

138. Platoon (1986)

139. Yojimbo (1961)

140. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

141. Ran (1985)

142. The Lion King (1994)

143. Into the Wild (2007)

144. Ben-Hur (1959)

145. The Big Sleep (1946)

146. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

147. Toy Story (1995)

148. The Wrestler (2008)

149. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

150. It Happened One Night (1934)

151. Life of Brian (1979)

152. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

153. Wild Strawberries (1957)

154. Finding Nemo (2003)

155. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

156. Trainspotting (1996)

157. Gone with the Wind (1939)

158. The Terminator (1984)

159. Scarface (1983)

160. Groundhog Day (1993)

161. Stand by Me (1986)

162.The Graduate (1967)

163. The Thing (1982)

164. The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)

165. Amores Perros (2000)

166. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

167. The Wages of Fear (1953)

168. Gandhi (1982)

169. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

170. Ratatouille (2007)

171. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

172. V for Vendetta (2006)

173. Star Trek (2009)

174. Twelve Monkeys (1995)

175. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

176. Casino (1995)

177. The Gold Rush (1925)

178. 8½ (1963)

179. Diabolique (1955)

180. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

181. The Night of the Hunter (1955)

182. The Princess Bride (1987)

183. The Killing (1956)

184. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

185. The Incredibles (2004)

186. The Wild Bunch (1969)

187. The Kid (1921)

188. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)

189. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

190. The Exorcist (1973)

191. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

192. Kick-Ass (2010)

193. In Bruges (2008)

194. Children of Men (2006)

195. Dial M for Murder (1954)

196. Good Will Hunting (1997)

197. Nights of Cabiria (1957)

198. The Hustler (1961)

199. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

200. Ed Wood (1994)

201. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)

202. Big Fish (2003)

203. Harvey (1950)

204. Rocky (1976)

205. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

206. King Kong (1933)

207. Sleuth (1972)

208. Let the Right One In (2008)

209. Magnolia (1999)

210. Network (1976)

211. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)

212. Mystic River (2003)

213. Stalag 17 (1953)

214. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

215. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

216. Rope (1948)

217. The Battle of Algiers (1966)

218. Brief Encounter (1945)

219. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

220. The African Queen (1951)

221. The 400 Blows (1959)

222. Ikiru (1952)

223. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

224. Crash (2004/I)

225. Duck Soup (1933)

226. Patton (1970)

227. The Truman Show (1998)

228. Toy Story 2 (1999)

229. Planet of the Apes (1968)

230. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

231. Manhattan (1979)

232. La strada (1954)

233. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

234. The Conversation (1974)

235. Barry Lyndon (1975)

236. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

237. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

238. Roman Holiday (1953)

239. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

240. Monsters, Inc. (2001)

241. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

242. Spartacus (1960)

243. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

244. Mulholland Dr. (2001)

245. Infernal Affairs (2002)

246. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

247. Rain Man (1988)

248. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

249. Changeling (2008)

250. Shaun of the Dead (2007)