Random film and television round-up (SPOILERS THROUGHOUT):
Boy Meets Girl
I agree with John; the film seems completely disjointed. It's tough to tell whose story it is, and who the audience is supposed to be rooting for (at one point Cagney and O'Brien are helping out the British guy, and the next they're trying to get him busted; it just lacks identity). Obviously James Cagney is the star here, but there's nothing interesting about his character. I wasn't crazy about the Cagney/O'Brien partnership, but remain hopeful on viewing some of their other films together. The baby trailer was the best part - very smart and funny. But yeah, talking about Real Steel and that notorious racist Georges Melies at the Dunkin Donuts on Front Street was my favorite part of the evening. Can't wait to watch more films in the spring.
I hadn't seen this Kurosawa film before, but I had seen A Fistful of Dollars. It's cool that the best Eastwood line in the film is stolen from Yojimbo - props to Kurosawa for that four coffins line. I absolutely love this movie; my favorite scene is the "fight" between the two gangs where they keep poking at air with their swords as they cowardly take steps backward. It has action, it has comedy, it has an interesting story - fantastic all-around.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
I re-watched this recently. When I saw it, I absolutely loved it and put it high on my top ten list for that year. But I also admit that within a year or so, I completely forgot everything about it. I just knew that it made Christy Brown look like a jock. It's helpful to re-watch things, especially in this case. Julian Schnabel's film is creatively shot and Jean-Do's story is remarkable and captivating. And as much as Mathieu Amalric is great in this film, Max von Sydow is a scene-stealer. Good god, what a performance. His scenes are heartbreaking - especially when he and his son are trying to communicate on the phone. Also, this film wins my prize for most attractive ensemble of French women in a film.
John let us borrow this Hitchcock film, which we hadn't seen. I like Monty Clift and all, but I really feel like there wasn't enough from him in this film. I'm not saying it was completely dull, but it lacked the something I got from other Clift performances. I think the story is compelling and features an interesting moral quandary: should a Priest rat out a prisoner if he confesses to a murder during Confession? Personally, I don't think priests should adhere to "snitches get stitches." I'd rat out everyone who came to confess stuff to me. Kidding. I liked this movie, but it's not one of my favorite Hitchcock films. I also had an interesting thought while watching this - I think it would've been sweet if one of Hitchcock's cameos featured him fleeing a crime scene. That would be insane, and would be sweet because he'd get away with it.
East of Eden
Jeff will be happy to hear that I finally finished this movie (it's been sitting on our DVR for a month). James Dean was cool as hell, no one can deny him that. Watching this movie, I wanted to look like him, dress like him, and talk like him. Although, if I were to talk like him, my voice would sometimes have to be ADR'd in. Am I crazy? Is there a ton of dubbing in that film? Just seemed like it. I really enjoyed Julie Harris in this. She's got a great presence on the screen. Love the CinemaScope - a lot of well-shot, beautiful scenes. But other than everything I just listed, I didn't really care for the film too much. For whatever reason, it was just hard to get in to. This was part of TCM's Essentials and after the film Robert Osborne talked about how emotional the final scene is, and really, I didn't find that to be the case. Perhaps I'll revisit this one someday and enjoy it more. Sorry, Steinbeck.
I'm not a big Steve McQueen guy. I know he has a large group of followers, but there are plenty of other actors who I feel are cooler. He does a hell of a job in this film, though. In certain scenes, he undergoes a complete transformation and looks like a broken down man. Dustin Hoffman doesn't have a lot to do in this one, but he's still great. The movie was all right; I assume The Great Escape is better, so maybe I'll check that out soon.
Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Brandon is absolutely correct on this one; I felt this was an awful movie and there's too many problems to list. I can give one, though. There's a scene where Beth Littleford finds naked photographs of her daughter, and she uses the word, "vajayjay." Now, I've got nothing against Beth Littleford; she was once on the Daily Show, so she probably can pull off that word in something else and make it funny. But in this film, it's only gimmicky. You know the screenwriter sat around and thought, "It'd be hilarious if I made a 40-year old mom say 'vajayjay.'" I don't know, this might be the one of the weirdest rants you've ever heard, but I hate it when scripts call for adults to use teenage slang just to get laughs. It's been done to death. I also hated the son, played by Jonah Bobo. He just annoyed the hell out of me and I couldn't root for him at all. Wow, I am one hateful dude. Back to love - Gosling...you complete me.
Our Idiot Brother
Watched this the other night, and actually was slightly interested in it due to Paul Rudd and Zooey Deschanel. Despite that, I also expected to hate this film, because even though I'm a fan of Zooey, she seems to end up in a lot of terrible movies. Our Idiot Brother was more bad than good, but looks like Citizen Kane compared to Crazy, Stupid, Love. But there really isn't anything in this film to be excited about. The only thing that I can think of is the message that the bond between man and dog is strongest. I liked the son in this one a lot better, comparing to Crazy, Stupid, Love. Give me slightly awkward kids, I'm sick of these damn precocious Dakota Fanning wannabe child actors. This kid seemed more like an actual kid to me.
I watched the finale today. Man...godamnit! The one thing I didn't want to happen, happened. I know I said I was going to include spoilers, but I'm not sure that I will in this case. I guess I'll wait for Jeff to get caught up. But yeah, shit. It was a good episode, but I was disappointed in one of the last few scenes. If you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about. Bad move, Winter.
I'm not caught up with this show - I think I'm an episode behind. What a great season so far! From the return of Rudy to the revelation about Edward James Olmos' character, it's just been a lot of fun to watch. Hats off to the writing staff for this season, they've proven that the show is far from dead. And looks like we'll get two more seasons in the future. But the seasons almost seem to see-saw now; perhaps next season will suck.
I wanted to comment on this because Jason did. I completely agree with your assessment of the season, man. I thought season 6 was much better than 5, but yeah, the show hasn't been the same since the days of Conrad and Agrestic. I thought season 7 was worse than 6. You'll continue to hate Nancy, and only really watch the show because of Andy. But yeah, you definitely feel more for Silas as the show goes on. If anyone else has finished season 7, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the finale. As much as the season sucked, it was kinda worth it just to see the final shot. Well, maybe not, but it was interesting.
Parks and Recreation
I love this show and it's doing a really nice job of filling the 30 Rock void. There's just a ton of likeable characters on the show and it's really found its voice in terms of comedy. The most recent episode had a great Jean-Ralphio gag at the end (where he's hired as a temp at an accounting office and is fired fifteen seconds later. It was hilarious).