From the Archives: 30 Movie Challenge: Part 4

From the Archives: 30 Movie Challenge: Part 4

In the interest of getting “hard” copies of my work under one roof, I plan to spend the next few weeks posting the entire archive of my film journalism here on ScullyVision. With due respect to the many publications I’ve written for, the internet remains quite temporary, and I’d hate to see any of my work disappear for digital reasons. As such, this gargantuan project must begin! I don’t want to do it. I hate doing it. But it needs to be done. Please note that my opinions, like everyone’s, have changed a LOT since I started, so many of these reviews will only represent a snapshot in time. Objectivity has absolutely no place in film criticism, at least not how I do it. 

Without further ado, I present to you: FROM THE ARCHIVES.
Originally posted on Cinema76.

Welcome to part 4 of my 30 Movie Challenge! Unfortunately, I had to cheat a little bit on this one. You’ll see what I mean. Enjoy! image1-17image1-17

16. A movie that you used to love but now hate: No answer AND I’M SORRY!

I have racked my brain all week, probing the gray folds for a movie to fit this entry and I just … can’t … do it. This is the only one of the 30 challenges that I can’t rise to meet. I’m sorry. I’ve found that my forgiving taste has been extremely consistent, and any film I can think of that doesn’t really hold up to the test of time ends up remaining in my favor due to nostalgia. So sue me. But in the interest of not leaving you unfulfilled I wish to provide an alternate entry. You see, some versions of the 30 movie challenge are slightly different from others, and one version I’ve seen had “a movie you wish would be made” as an entry. Sooooooo here’s a movie I wish would be made: Twin Chaos: Statham vs Statham. Think about it. You want it. You need it. We can make it. We have the technology.


17. A movie that disappointed you the most: Jurassic World (2015 – dir. Colin Trevorrow)

One would think that with a 14 year break and a 20/20 hindsight view of 2 failed sequels (although I am admittedly a pretty big fan of The Lost World), that a film like Jurassic World would, at the very least, be decent. Nope.

I had high hopes. A fresh director, state of the art special effects, a roster of some of my favorite actors, and an interesting premise (a fully operational dinosaur park!), how could it have failed so tremendously?!? I’ll tell you how: First, you write a script around pre-designed effects sequences rather than writing them to serve the story. Second, you abandon ALL practical effects in favor of realistic, but ultimately unconvincing CG creations. Finally, you coast so far on nostalgia that you forget what made the original film so iconic in the first place.

Yes, Jurassic World is perfectly passable entertainment, but the contempt it has for its own audience is endlessly frustrating, and it left this Jurassic Park fan extremely disappointed.


18. A movie that you wish more people would’ve seen: Timecrimes (2007 – dir. Nacho Vigalondo)

This is my favorite movie to watch other people experience for the first time. It’s the best time-travel movie outside of the Back to the Future trilogy. It has a quirky sense of humor which balances nicely against the film’s darker elements, of which there are many. The plot is a simple puzzle, but it’s no less rewarding than the more convoluted movies of its ilk (see: Primer). Timecrimes is the type of movie that would make a great Twilight Zone episode, but justifies its feature length by delivering a Twilight Zone-esque revelation every few minutes. Sadly, there is an unnecessary remake in the pipeline (come on, people, subtitles are really not that bad), and it’s imperative that everyone see the original before it is too late. We all saw what happened with Oldboy.


19. Favorite movie based on a book/comic/etc: A History of Violence (2005 – dir. David Cronenberg)

When David Cronenberg shot A History of Violence, he was completely unaware that it was an adaptation of a graphic novel, and perhaps this is why his movie doesn’t feel like one. Well, that and the absence of capes and laser eyes. Having read the source material before seeing the movie, I was initially disappointed in some of the aspects that had been excised (there’s one particularly gruesome event that would have catered to Cronenberg’s penchant for body-horror), but as the film had a chance to marinate in my thoughts, I grew to appreciate even the most drastic alterations. While the source novel was an exceptional tale in its own right, it was thematically heightened, and by toning down these elements, the film brought the narrative into the real world. It’s one of the few adaptations that honors its source material but ultimately tells a superior tale. It brought William Hurt an Oscar nomination for Best a Supporting Actor. More importantly Josh Olson was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. Neither won, but Viggo Mortenson stated that it was one of the best movies he’d ever been in “if not the best,” which is better than any Oscar, in my estimation.

With her husband, "Revolutionary Road" director Sam Mendes, right, Kate Winslet poses with awards for best actress drama for “Revolutionary Road” and supporting actress for “The Reader” backstage at the 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

20. Favorite movie from your favorite actor: Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike in Death Proof (2007 – dir. Quentin Tarantino)

While it might not be the absolute best film in Kurt Russell’s filmography, it is my favorite Kurt Russell performance, hands down. The role of Stuntman Mike encapsulates everything that I love about the greatest child star who ever lived. He can be comforting and affable. He can be mean and scary. He can be physically imposing, but he can also be pathetic and pitiable. Stuntman Mike delivers a cold-blooded one-liner just as well as he does a silly joke. Perhaps my favorite thing about Kurt Russell is that he’s the one leading beefcake who isn’t afraid to be the butt of the joke, and it’s never been more clear than in Stunman Mike’s final moments (the entirety of Big Trouble in Little China notwithstanding).

10 entries are left, after which I will inevitably look at the final list and regret every choice. Such are the breaks of this eternally geeky hobby. Happy February!

Part 1 (1-5) Part 2 (6-10) Part 3 (11-15)

Full list:

day 1 – The best movie you saw during the last year day 2 – The most underrated movie day 3 – A movie that makes you really happy day 4 – A movie that makes you sad day 5 – Favourite love story in a film day 6 – Favourite made for TV movie day 7 – The most surprising plot twist or ending day 8 – A movie that you’ve seen countless times day 9 – A movie with the best soundtrack day 10 – Favourite classic day 11 – A movie that changed your opinion about something day 12 – A Movie you hate day 13 – A movie that is a guilty pleasure day 14 – A movie that no one would expect you to love day 15 – A character that you can relate to the most day 16 – A movie you used to love but now hate day 17 – A Movie that disappointed you the most day 18 – A movie you wish more people would see day 19 – Favourite movie based on a book/comic day 20 – Favorite movie from your favourite actor day 21 – Favourite movie from your favourite actress day 22 – Favourite Action movie day 23 – Favourite Documentary day 24 – Favourite Animation day 25 – The most hilarious film you have seen day 26 – A movie you love but everyone else hates day 27 – A movie that you wish you had seen in theaters day 28 – Favourite movie from your favorite director day 29 – Favourite film from my childhood day 30 – Your favourite movie of all time

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