LE SAMOURAÏ (1967)

vlcsnap2011120417h54m56

Christopher

Le Samouraï is all about just being cool. It’s great! I first saw this film back in high school; I really have no idea what turned me on to it other than it being a Criterion. However, I was super into it and watching it again brings back all the reasons why.

This movie is extremely low in dialogue. But it makes up for that in the sounds of the main character’s environment. It reminds me of Cure in that way. Also, every shot is very clean and crisp looking. This world within the film is very sparse and the scenes reflect this. This film also has elements of a Jim Jarmusch film. You get the sense that everything in each shot is important and there for a reason. That amount of detail gets me pretty excited when watching a film.

I think this is an excellent movie and I would highly recommend it to anyone. It does a great job of hooking you and having you interested in what’s to come. Also Alain Delon is pretty fucking awesome and he pulls off the contract killer just trying to do the right thing off with ease.

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

When I think of cool guys in movies, I never think of James Bond but I always think of Jef Costello (Alain Delon) of Le Samouraï. Because he is sooooooo coooooooooooooooooool.

First of all, you have Alain Delon at the tip top of his most-attractive-guy-on-the-planet game. Seeing Le Samouraï in high school was the first time I had even heard of Alain Delon, so when he first came on screen I nearly died. I couldn’t believe how insanely handsome he was and how insanely good he looked in his spy/assassin/cool guy clothes.

So Jef is a contract killer, but one who is not particularly violent (if that makes sense) and one who is very quiet and smart (but somehow not creepy?). Everything starts when he’s IDed by witnesses in a murder he committed. Slowly everything he’s built up and all of his careful planning falls apart until he essentially has no real motivation to live and allows himself to be killed in public.

The plot isn’t that complicated. And there’s not much dialogue. A lot of the movie is just following Jef, watching his movements, watching how he interacts. I think one of my favorite elements about the movie is how exhausted Jef always looks; he’s cool and on top of things, but only because he never seems to rest or relax for one second. By the time he dies, it sort of feels like it’s time for him.

But oh my god. Watch this movie. It is so fucking cool and Alain Delon is such a badass.

Advertisements

GOOD WILL HUNTING (1997)

large_good_will_hunting_blue_blu-ray_3

Christopher

The first memory I have of this film is when it first came out I was living in Virginia Beach, Virginia and the clip where Will is talking about choosing the wrench for his stepfather to beat him with played on a news show. I remember thinking at the time that the movie appeared way too sad and I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to watch it.

I’m glad something changed my mind because when I saw Good Will Hunting for the first time in high school, or middle school or something, I remember really liking it. I thought the story was interesting and the actors were fine but watching it now, I feel as I grow up this movie gets more interesting and more a movie I wouldn’t mind watching again. I think so much of this movie works well and it just feels good to watch a movie that writes well. I think with Elizabeth and I watching a lot of terrible movies it’s nice to watch one that’s just really good, and I feel like Good Will Hunting does that.

I’m sure his best movie to me is one of his family films but as an adult I think it might be Good Will Hunting. It’s a terrible tragedy about his death, it didn’t hit me as hard as Philip Seymour Hoffman, but I will definitely miss Robin Williams. I think Elizabeth and I are going to try to watch some of his stand-up soon. I think that’s where his real legacy will live.

Elizabeth

Chris and I were shocked and upset by the news of Robin Williams’ death, along with pretty much everyone else. We decided to watch one of his best movies and one of his worst movies. And I happen to think Good Will Hunting was Robin Williams’ best movie, period.

Good Will Hunting is important to me. It was one of the first, if not the first, movie that caused me to go on a massive please-let-me-see-this-R-movie-even-though-I’m-too-young-in-this-case-9 campaign in my house in order to see this movie. And it worked, eventually, on a few conditions: I had to wait until it was out on video, my mom had to see it first, I had to watch it with my mom, and she had to fast forward through Skylar (Minnie Driver)’s semen-based joke (which totally makes sense but there’s no way I would have known what the joke meant had I seen it at the time). It was the first time I was aware of Gus Van Sant and the first time I really noticed Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. I’ve seen it a million times and it’s a movie where I can now anticipate almost every line before it’s spoken, but it never gets old.

Obviously there are a lot of elements at work here, including incredible performances, but I think it’s the writing that really shines. Sean (Robin Williams)’s monologue from the scene pictured is one of the greatest monologues I’ve ever heard, both in its writing and its performance. It’s a speech that so perfectly encapsulates the conflict of trying to think outside of your own experiences while also judging other people based on what you think you know about them. There’s Chuckie (Ben Affleck)’s great speech to Will (Matt Damon) about how and why Will insults his friends by not utilizing his own intelligence. There’s the fight between Skylar and Will, prompted by Skylar asking Will to move to California with her, that nearly breaks both of them and causes them to suddenly reveal things about themselves to each other that they had kept bottled up. And it’s not just the big speeches or conversations that are so great; Good Will Hunting is also super funny and it’s charming, too.

Going along with the writing, the characters’ relationships are all so well-defined and great, especially with Will. Will is obviously the bridge connecting everyone and his relationship with each character acts as an illustration of another aspect of his personality. I love that Will and Chuckie love each other without question, I love that Will and Skylar bring out so much in each other that obviously hasn’t been brought out before, and I love that despite everything else, Will and Sean are really each others match and challenge each other.

And yes, Robin Williams is great here. He plays Sean so well and so surprisingly, although there are flashes of Mr. Keating from Dead Poets Society. Will is so volatile, ready to drop everything in a minute for a fight. Sean is what you want out of a therapist: calm, soothing, empathic, and not condescending. I don’t think it ever really seems like Sean sees himself in Will, even though they’re from the same neighborhood and both dealt with childhood abuse. It’s more that Sean sees Will for who he really is, for better or worse, and what he sees is brilliant and worthy of love and happiness. I know the scene where Sean repeats “It’s not your fault,” until Will weeps is famous and fairly well mocked, which upsets me because it is an incredible scene. It’s the end of Sean and Will’s time as patient and therapist, and Will casually mentions being beaten with a wrench by a foster parent as a child. “All this shit, it’s not your fault,” Sean says, with Will automatically saying, “I know,” as if it’s not the first time he’s heard that, which it most certainly isn’t. But unlike those who may have said that to Will in the past, Sean keeps saying it, with a quiet, clear, calm voice, and lets Will get annoyed, explode, freak out, and finally break down and weep in Sean’s arms. It gives me goosebumps just writing about it.

I wish all of Robin Williams’ work could be on par with Good Will Hunting, but I could say the same for anyone else involved in the movie (sup, Gigli). But this is also the kind of movie that if it happened to the best thing that anyone involved (Van Sant, Damon, etc) ever did, that would be okay because Good Will Hunting is that fucking good.

 

ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS (1993)

02_robin_hood_men_in_tights_bluray

Christopher

This is really the first time I ever watched through this whole movie. I remember seeing it all the time on Comedy Central but for whatever reason I never really wanted to watch it. I have no clue why though because I used to watch Blazing Saddles almost every month the year I first saw that movie. And I really love The Producers, but for whatever reason I thought I might not like it. I’m glad it’s one of Elizabeth’s favorites because it was pretty great!

I definitely feel like I’ll never like Mel Brooks comedies as much as I did when I was younger but this movie made me laugh a lot. I guess watching it now it now I think a lot of the jokes might fall short but there are a ton so if something isn’t that funny something good immediately follows. Generally I can’t stand this technique but I think Mel Brooks can do it well sometimes.

Elizabeth

God, I love this movie. There’s really no telling how many times I’ve seen it, either. Robin Hood: Men in Tights is like Clueless to me in that I’ve seen it a million times starting out pretty young, and it’s a movie whose jokes made more and more sense each time I saw it.

There’s definitely some humor that dates the movie, like characters using The Club to lock up their horses. But dating a movie isn’t necessarily all that bad, and I don’t think it hurts Robin Hood: Men in Tights much. It can be pretty goofy, but just along the same lines as all of Mel Brooks’ movies. Cary Elwes is really perfect as this Robin Hood; he kind of looks like Robin Hood-era Errol Flynn, he can be sassy and goofy, and he’s not such a “serious” actor like other traditional Robin Hoods, though he can still be a very classic kind of actor.

Robin Hood: Men in Tights also really nails it with its 90’s supporting cast, especially Dave Chappelle and Richard Lewis. It’s kind of hard for me to be at all objective about this movie, but it is so funny and great and everyone should give it a chance, especially if you’ve seen all or most of the other Robin Hood-based movies.

THE EMPEROR’S NEW GROOVE (2000)

Emperors-new-groove-disneyscreencaps.com-1872

Christopher

I can’t get enough of this movie. I think the last time I watched it was two years ago but I was ready to watch it again when Elizabeth suggested it, even if it was the fourth time. This movie has an all-star cast, mostly just John Goodman, but I will say that this is one of the best things David Spade has done in his career. The story is simple but makes you invested and the jokes rarely fall flat for me.

I will say though, the biggest downfall for me about this movie are the names. They are kind of difficult to remember and I might be a bit bitter but when I lived in San Antonio myself and a few of my friends used to play Disney Scene It and I was never able to answer any of the Emperor’s New Groove name questions. Not that I was going to win if I ever got it but it’s something I’ll always remember for whatever reason.

Elizabeth

When The Emperor’s New Groove came out, my middle school boyfriend told me something that’s stuck with me to today: never trust someone who doesn’t like The Emperor’s New Groove. It might sound extreme, but it’s actually a pretty sound philosophy.

The Emperor’s New Groove is proof that a kid’s movie doesn’t need random, dumb, “adult” humor thrown in to be good. It just has to be good. Kids and their parents will see a good movie. I feel like this is the theory that Pixar’s been working off of since they started putting out movies. Sure, there’s jokes that might go over the head of a young kid, but I saw this when I was 12 and still got all the jokes. And we just watched it again, and I’m 26, and somehow the jokes are even funnier now, even though the meanings haven’t changed.

Chris and I are also watching through Roseanne right now, which I think is what got me itching to watch The Emperor’s New Groove. As Pacha, John Goodman plays a sort of Dan Conner-esque character in that he’s a big, caring, smart, family man. He really is perfect for this role. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s by far the best thing David Spade has done post-Chris Farley, because he’s actually funny in this. And what an amazing combination of Eartha Kitt and Patrick Warburton as partners in crime. Eartha Kitt already had a funny voice that really lent itself to be used in comedy, but she really played it up here. There’s a scene toward the end, especially, where she turns into a kitten and her voice suddenly goes up in pitch and . . . I mean, it fucking kills me every time. And I’ve seen this movie over and over again in the last 14 years and it STILL gets me.

That’s true for the movie in general, though. I’m at the point where I can practically say all the lines because I’ve seen it so much, but it doesn’t faze me in the least. Anyone who thinks they’re too good for The Emperor’s New Groove for whatever reason is severely mistaken, and should give this movie a second (and a third, and probably more) chance.

BOTTLE ROCKET (1996)

br15

Elizabeth

Oh, how I love Bottle Rocket. I feel like it’s sort of fallen out of style to be a big Wes Anderson fan, and I don’t really know why but I definitely do not care. He’s still one of my all-time favorite directors, and Bottle Rocket is so great.

I think the biggest thing that stands out when I think about Bottle Rocket is how sweet it is. I first saw it a loooong time ago, when I was fairly young, and looking back on it, Bottle Rocket is really more than okay for a younger person. There’s no real sex, violence, or language (just bits of it and allusions to it) and the plot is pretty simple.The relationships also feel very natural and genuine; Dignan (Owen Wilson) is the leader of the group, but mostly because Bob (Robert Musgrave) is a pushover and Anthony (Luke Wilson) lets Dignan be the leader because he knows it’s more important to him. Anthony is close enough to Dignan to never really stand up for Bob, but is also coming into his own more where he cares less about what Dignan is doing. Anthony’s relationship with Inez (Lumi Cavazos) also feels very natural; their relationship is brought on by pure attraction (since they speak different languages), but it stays a relationship because Anthony is genuinely interested in Inez and she genuinely needs a confidant. Also, Anthony reminds me a lot of Chris, so that makes me like him even more.

Bottle Rocket is just such a great introduction to Wes Anderson, not just because it’s his first but because it’s a lot simpler than his other movies but is still signature Wes Anderson. Everything in this movie feels very organized when it needs to be and chaotic when it needs to be. It’s all just laid out perfectly, until something fucks it up, which is very relatable. Bottle Rocket is not the best movie ever and it’s not even Wes Anderson’s best movie, but GOD is it gooooood.

Christopher

I saw the end of this movie on Comedy Central when I was, in middle school maybe, and that was the first time I ever heard of Wes Anderson. The part that I starting watching from, for the first time, was the robbery at the end. I remember thinking to myself, “How does this exist?” (Something I never thought twice about when watching a Ron Howard movie). Through the help of IMDB I quickly found out what the movie was and started watching all the Wes Anderson movies that existed at the time.

If you do not know who Wes Anderson is then start here, I think. Also, the Alamo Drafthouse shows this movie at the hotel it was filmed to raise money for it to stay open. I think Elizabeth and I are going to try to go next time or if nothing else try to stay a night.

 

DEAD MAN ON CAMPUS (1998)

3147115_l3

Christopher

This movie is horrifying! I had never seen this before but this is another one I think Elizabeth and her family watched a lot when she was a kid. It’s pretty funny at times but mostly it’s about death and that would of freaked me out as a kid. This movie has a conversation where two colleges kids try to convince each other to kill themselves! Way too scary.

Elizabeth

Like Encino Man, we watched Dead Man on Campus on my birthday because it’s one of my all-time favorites and also just so happens to be another family favorite of mine.

It’s a little weirder to say that about Dead Man on Campus than Encino Man, though, which is something I realized almost immediately after starting it with Chris. Dead Man on Campus is about two college freshmen who, after wasting most of the semester getting high and having sex, try to find a suicidal roommate. This is because they stumbled upon a rule that says the roommates of a student who kills themselves will automatically receive straight A’s. Soooo it’s not the typical family film.

BUT IT IS SO AMAZING. I’m sure everyone has a movie (or at least they should) that just makes them laugh every time, no matter how many times they’ve seen it. Dead Man on Campus is that for me. There’s one scene I want to talk about, and I know my mom and sister will already know exactly what scene it is without me even saying anything else about it.

Cooper (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and Josh (Tom Everett Scott) need to know who on campus could potentially be their suicidal roommate, so they decide to break in to some kind of student record place. They’re pretty much completely decked out in full-on tactical gear, first running through the quad by zig-zagging around trees (for no reason). At one point, one of them slips in such a way that was obviously not scripted, but they just keep going, and it’s so fucking funny. Once they get to the roof of the building, Cooper decides that they need code names; he’s Panther, Josh is Dinah. Josh insists that his code name should be changed, but Cooper straight up ignores him.

Josh lowers Cooper into the building, about 1, maybe 2 stories down, Mission Impossible style, which clearly doesn’t work in real life because Josh can’t remotely hold Cooper steady. The entire time Cooper is being lowered, he’s flailing around whisper-yelling “Steady Dinah! Dinah! Steady!” I don’t know when the last time I heard that scene in its entirety because I always start laughing so hard I can hardly pay attention. There’s just something about Mark-Paul Gosselaar yelling “Dinah!” while badly being lowered down that just gets me every single time.

Dead Man on Campus is also funny to see now, because Jason Segel is in it and he was 18, and looks 18. His on-screen girlfriend is Linda Cardellini, who later became is co-star on Freaks and Geeks. Alyson Hannigan is also in it, who would later play Segel’s wife in How I Met Your Mother. So that’s all pretty fun.

More people need to watch and appreciate Dead Man on Campus. In fact, EVERYONE needs to watch and appreciate Dead Man on Campus.

ENCINO MAN (1992)

encino-man-original

Elizabeth

The bottom line is, I love Encino Man so much that I hardly know where to start. I was 4 when it was released in theaters but I have no idea how old I was when I first started watching it, but it was definitely young. And Encino Man is fairly clean, besides the occasional vague reference to pot and breasts (ie “melons” and “gonzongas”), it’s pretty PG.

Encino Man is about a high school senior named Dave (Sean Astin) who, for whatever reason, is determined to make a name for himself before high school ends. His best friend, Stoney (Pauly Shore) tries to convince him otherwise, making the valid points that high school is practically over and no one gives a shit anymore. Is it weird that Pauly Shore is the voice of reason in this movie? Especially when his opposition is Sam from Lord of the Rings? Yeah, it’s kind of weird.

While building a pool in his backyard, Dave stumbles upon some ancient pottery, then cave paintings, until finally he finds a frozen caveman. They put the ice in the garage, it melts, and out comes Link (their name for him), played by a mostly mute Brendan Fraser.

One thing I find particularly funny is how, when Dave and Stoney bring Link to school, all the guys are skeptical and all the girls immediately want to have sex with him. I guess that’s sort of a stereotype, at least in movies, but Brendan Fraser looks good in this movie, and you best believe if, when I was a high school senior, a young Brenden Fraser was suddenly a student at my school, I would also be literally jumping on him, just like Robin Tunney’s character does.

The rest of the movie are the inevitable hijinks that ensue, eventually ending with Dave getting his pool and his girl, and Link’s cavewoman wife also coming back to life. Which I always thought was adorable . . . and still think is adorable. I’m not sure what Chris thought of this, though he did laugh at parts, because I know that a good chunk of my love for Encino Man is purely nostalgic. It was one of the VHS tapes my family owned and was a favorite of mine, my mom, and my sister. Who knows how many times we all watched it together. It even made my mom appreciate The Beastie Boys, because she thought one of their songs was in it, even though it’s not! So really, doesn’t Encino Man make everything better?

I also like Encino Man now post-high school (and other stuff) because it sort of reminds me of that feeling of second semester of senior year. When the weather was beautiful and I already got accepted into college and straight up stopped caring about the majority of my classes. I can admit that now that I’m 26, right?

Christopher

This is a movie I have always wanted to see, cause it’s a cover I always saw at Blockbuster, but never got around to watching. It’s actually pretty funny. I’m not a big Brendan Fraser fan but put Sean Astin as the main protagonist and I’m game.

I think what I liked most about this movie is how much Elizabeth loves it. It’s definitely because it’s something her family watched multiple times as a kid. It just reminds me of my family.