The Party

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This is a wave in the list as I managed to skip to number 9 through inaccurate player loading and being way too sitting down to do anything about it.

The Party was filmed in 1968, so is that enough for me to forgive it? No, not really.

I tried not to be offended but Peter Sellers in black face playing an Indian (from India not native American) was just uncomfortable making wrong town stuff.

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The Indian-ness of Mr Seller’s character was also the main ‘wacky’ of the piece. His bumblings and inappropriate cultural behaviour were played on throughout with the character creating havoc through being a likeable fool. Think Rowan Atkinson dressed up as an African Mr Bean – bad.

I kept trying to think that ‘at the time’ people would have been less offended by this stuff. But while people like me (white) probably didn’t find it offensive at the time I’m pretty sure the Indian community thought it was pretty crap. And really, people like me (white) should have known better. I think the argument that it was of its time and we should watch it with that in mind is powerless. I think it is more useful as an educational tool about the inherent racism of the time and why this stuff shouldn’t happen.

Are you getting that I couldn’t get over this hurdle?

Also, somehow an elephant ends up at the party and of course Mr Indian character gets precious about it’s cultural importance and makes more of a mess washing it. But why did the daughter have an elephant? It’s such an obvious plot piece because he’s Indian. It doesn’t make sense for a middle-american girl to paint an elephant and take it to a protest. Or did that happen a lot in the 60s?…

I didn’t think this movie was funny but that’s me. I don’t understand how it is considered a classic. The whole movie is like the unconfortable bit in the otherwise wonderful Breakfast at Tiffany’s, you know, Mickey Rooney… Japanese character… match made in heaven.

Maybe you do think it’s a classic comedy and can tell me why I should stop being so sensitive? I’ll listen, promise. Even better maybe someone can explain why elephants were such a must have accessory at protests in the 60s.

To end on a positive note – what I did like about this film:

  •  it’s portrait of upper class lifestyles of the 60s
  • there is a funny drunk waiter
  • Mr Indian character has a cool car.

Next film is Lady Snowblood but I’m having a bit of trouble tracking it down. So I’m jumping straight to Bubba Ho-Tep! It better be good.

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The Triplets of Belleville

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This is absolutely gorgeous! The animation is old fashioned and quirky which gives the film a warm huggy feeling. Worst description ever but I’m going to leave it there…

It starts out with a really ye olde style of animation in black and white referencing original Mickey Mouse and very early cartoons. Watching and listening to the triplets do their thing in ye olde burlesque Paris is grande. It’s a lot of fun to pick the homages being made to the Mouse as well as others such as Josephine Baker who was so loved in Paris.

There isn’t really any talking in the film so subtitles are not needed. I think they would be annoying and take away from the experience of falling in love with an old lady and her dog. There is little talking needed to pick the characters of these people as so much is portrayed by the way they are animated. There is an hilarious fawning waiter at one point who is almost falling over himself with the fawning – no words needed – I know who he is.

The triplets don’t really feature a lot but it really is a catchy title so I suppose that’s how they got top billing. ‘Old woman and her dog from Paris’ doesn’t trip off the tongue with quite such ease. In the French release it was call “Belleville Rendezvous’ which is the song the triplets are famous for and is oft repeated during the movie – good thing it’s damned catchy.

(According to my musical hubby there is a Bach refrain repeated throughout in different styles (jazz etc) as well, although I cannot confirm this…)

You should see this one. And watch it with the older kids. Miss 14 really liked it but Miss 11 thought it was boring. Apparently she doesn’t like to think too much while watching animation. And there is a lot here (because of the non-talking aspect) that you have to decipher for yourself. There is also quite a confronting reference to horse racing and what happens to the poor horses who collapse on the track (it’s bad and involves a gun). It is a bit depressing explaining that to a youngster. Although it nicely packages why I really dislike horse racing – surely there’s something better to be done for an injured horse? Is our society really that money over life obsessed? – oh, wait, yes it is.

The movie was produced by Quebecois folks and it shines through in their portrayal of the Americans encountered. It’s both a put down and a compliment (is that a French thing perhaps…). The Americans are all giant (tall and wide), hamburger guzzling idiots, however, they are also incredibly friendly at the same time (to the point of annoyance for the dear old lady).

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There’s also a bit of mystery here as the old lady tries to find her grandson after he dissapears during the Tour de France (of course because they are French they cycle). It does take a while to work out why he was kidnapped at all and that worked really well. Again, the non-talkiness meant that we weren’t told everything through horrible, horrible ‘everyone watching this is stupid’ exposition.

It’s short too so just watch it already.

I’m Not Scared

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I was. Scared that is. This movie starts out like a horror film. I’m not good at horror. I spent the first twenty minutes watching the stressful parts through my fingers. Which is hard when you’re also trying to read subtitles.

I’m Not Scared is a great film. A really intelligent thriller.

The main character is a ten year old boy who is intelligent and brave. Although a little too brave really as he insisted on looking down the hole a few too many times if you ask me (I’ll answer from behind my fingers).

Said hole contained a little boy who I thought was a monster at first (when looking through my fingers) but things turn out a little different from how it starts.

This film was so clever. The main character didn’t do anything ridiculously heroic or stupid action-y he just reacted as an inquisitive child with a good heart would. The situation he found himself in was realistic when considering his village life and the secretive nature of the villagers and his folks.

I completely recommend this one. And even though you feel like you need to watch from behind the couch at first it really isn’t a horror film at all. The suspense is so well achieved. No cheap use of what I like to call ‘stress music’. (You know the stuff, thudding beat building to a crescendo that you know is going to make you jump – I’m looking at you The Woman in Black – I hate those films. They really would be almost nothing without the stress music.)

Even Miss 14 who watched with me (and also started out ‘behind the couch’) thought this was a good movie.

I did wonder when it started why I would have written a horror movie on to my list as I’m so completely useless at watching them (damn you stress music) but I should trust myself (maybe).

Also, it’s in Italian and, yay, subtitles win!

Next film on the list is The Triplets of Belleville. This one’s a cartoon, I remember that much, it may also be a musical, not sure. Might be okay to watch with the kids anyway.

Camp

Camp

So, Intacto starts in French without subtitles, so I didn’t cry because I couldn’t understand it (excellent), then moves to English without subtitles,  fine by me really, then Spanish also without subtitles. The problem being that I don’t speak Spanish.

Basically, due to a lack of subtitles I skipped to number 3 on my list, Camp.

Camp is basically Glee before Glee. Camp was released in 2003, 6 years before Glee started and maybe if I hadn’t seen Glee before Camp I might have liked Camp better.
Camp has everything Glee has. Gay boy who likes to wear dresses (admittedly 2 Glee characters in one), nerdy girl who sings real good, sporty good-looking guy who sings and plays guitar (drums in Glee), overweight black girl etc, etc. There’s even the straight girl, straight boy, gay boy love triangle. Just switch singing camp for school and you’ve got Glee.

Somehow, it just wasn’t as charming as Glee, plus I didn’t know any of the songs.
I almost wonder how Glee got away with using such similar characters but then considering it’s taken me 11 years to watch Camp and I haven’t heard a thing about it since I wrote it on the list, maybe it’s not so surprising.

Stephen Sondheim made an appearance but I only know who he is because one of the characters told me.

The only famous face (apart from Stephen Sondheim apparently) was Anna Kendrick. I forget what she’s in but I knew her face. Wikipedia tells me she’s in Pitch Perfect which is also on my list. Eep, musicals!

Next on my movie list is I’m Not Scared. I think it’s in Italian. Considering my subtitle luck so far I’m not holding my breath…

219

For the last 15 years or so I have been writing down the movies I hear about, read about or see reviewed and think to myself “I’d like to watch that”.

Currently there are 219 movies on that list.

I have decided the time has come to start at the beginning and watch them all. So I decided to write about the experience.

I think there will be a few hurdles. Namely time to watch movies and children being about the house wanting to watch TV themselves. We have two TVs but the kids like to watch with me so I will be trying to get through a few of these after they’ve gone to bed.

Another problem is that I thought some of these movies were interesting up to 15 years ago. I have changed a lot in 15 years as have my experiences. For example I didn’t have children 15 years ago so I could watch the nightly news without crying, not anymore. So I tend to choose jollier things to watch now than I used to. No sad French films for me thanks.

I have always loved action films so a few are sure to be pretty trashy low brow too. Yay! My favourite. (I’m serious action is my favourite.)

I had thought to look up all the random names I’ve written down on imdb but I think it will be more interesting watching them knowing as little as possible.

My movie list started as a piece of paper on my fridge but now has it’s own book that I am constantly adding to (which is both exciting and depressing because I hardly ever end up watching them… until now!).

Well, tonight I’ll be watching Intacto which is second on my list as I can’t find a copy of Kaante with English subtitles. I think Intacto is in Spanish but maybe French. I hope it’s not in French because I’ll probably cry.