Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

AFI Recap: #41 – #50

41. West Wide Story (1961) – I feel like a bit of a curmudgeon for not liking this movie.  I can see why people do like it, however, as it has a lot of exuberance and the core of the story is actually pretty strong.  But I just couldn’t help feel like it never reached beyond the level of a high school production, showcasing the least-frightening gangsters ever.  It has some really memorable tunes, but also a lot of throw-away songs which were fast-forwardable.  starstarhalfstarnostarnostar

42. Rear Window (1954) – Rear Window is right behind North by Northwest for Hitchcock films as far as I’m concerned.  Such a brilliant concept with such brilliant execution.   Hitchcock is great at creating a sense of place, and he has never done so better than here as he pulls us into this community of people who we see only through their windows and backyards.  As we move to the suspense, seen through the same point of view, we are drawn in even further.  Genius.  starstarstarstarstar

43. King Kong (1933) – There aren’t many films which are more iconic than this one.  King Kong is one of the best true adventure tales and was a landmark of movie-making.  Its still a rousing adventure even today.  There’s something really satisfying about watching those old-time special effects as you get the sense that a lot of effort went into making them look as real as they could.  I love King Kong.  starstarstarstarhalfstar

44. Birth of a Nation (1944) – This is a difficult movie to critique.  Its hard not to appreciate its impact on movie history and admire D.W. Griffith’s grandiose and ambitious vision.  However, its also hard to ignore the blatant racism and glorification of the KKK.  Its unfortunate that such an important film is so rooted in prejudice, but I suppose the argument could be made that that is actually a mirror of American society as well.  I’ve decided that the two ends of the spectrum can meet each other halfway and give it two and a half stars.


45. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) – If On The Waterfront is the turning point of film acting, then Streetcar is the clash between old-style Hollywood Acting and New Hollywood acting that had to happen in order for Waterfront to exist.  Brando’s naturalistic performance is set up side by side with the traditional dramatics of the rest of the cast.  And while Brando is brilliant, Vivian Leigh’s performance is a pale shadow compared to Scarlett O’Hara.  Kazan’s directing creates a strong sense of atmosphere, but it still wasn’t enough to draw me in  and care about Blanche’s story.  starstarstarnostarnostar

46. A Clockwork Orange (1971) – This is a movie I am actually surprised that I like.  I am usually not a fan of super violent and disturbing films, but Clockwork really grabbed me nonetheless.  I think it might be Kubrick’s unrelenting pursuit to show us what true madness is.  One scene that really told hold of me was when they’re driving full speed down a road into oncoming traffic without a glint of fear in their eyes.  starstarstarstarnostar

47. Taxi Driver (1976) – As I just said above, I’m usually not a fan of overly violent films, nor of overly depressing and dreary films.  I guess this is part of the reason I don’t praise Taxi Driver as much as others do.  Its a meticulously made film with some strong sociological study, and De Niro is quite good as Travis Biddle.  I just had trouble relating and really getting into it, as I do with most of Scorsese’s work.  starstarstarhalfstarnostar

48. Jaws (1975) – Without a doubt one of the best movies ever made.  I’m glad its on this list.  Jaws does pretty much everything right.  It works as a thriller, it works as a drama, it works as an adventure.  I could watch this movie over and over and over.   If anyone out there has never watched Jaws because you think its just a run-of-the-mill monster movie, trust me; it is so much more.  starstarstarstarstar

49. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938) – Well, what can I say.  I can’t deny Snow White a place on this 100 list really; it does have huge historical significance and it is a classic fairy tale story.  Who in North America (under the age of 82) has not seen Snow White at some point in their childhood?  In truth I haven’t seen it in years and won’t bother to see it again until I have kids of my own, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still appreciate it.  starstarstarstarnostar

50. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) – This is my all-time favourite western.  I have a feeling that for most people who don’t like westerns this is probably their favourite western as well.  You don’t need to be a fan of the genre to love this movie.  I would be hard pressed to name another onscreen duo who has better chemistry than Newman and Redford do here.  It is these two characters which make this such a fantastic film.  And who doesn’t love the cliff-jumping scene?  starstarstarstarstar

My favorite of the ten: Jaws

2 Responses to “AFI Recap: #41 – #50”

  1. Out of the ones I’ve seen, I’d say Taxi Driver is my favourite. Jaws would be a close second though.

  2. So many awesome films in this post! A Clockwork Orange is one of those wonderfully horrible films, most people who say they don’t like are just put off by its ultra-violent subject matter. And Snow White is my favorite animation by Disney.

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