Thomas Balkcom’s Movies

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“Harry: I would say that technically ST must die is the best technical ep., in terms of cartman’s coming out party from fat kid who gets fucked with to total evil genius.”

After an outstanding conversation with my friend Harry on gchat, I have decided upon a new 2009 project. This one will not take as much time as my other project, but I think it will be extremely interesting nonetheless, I will be going back and systematically watching all the Bond movies from the beginning (Dr. No) to the upcoming Quantum of Solace. I do not necessarily intend to provide any in-depth analysis, this project is more for fun and nostalgia. No new blog is necessary, I will just post them in here with their own individual posts, tagged “2009 Bond Project,” or something along those lines. To further explain the opening quote from our conversation, we moved from The Simpsons to South Park to Bond films, but surprisingly the South Park discussion was the most interesting of the three. “ST” is referring to my all-time favorite episode, “Scott Tenorman Must Die.” (My following favorites are “Lil’ Crime Stoppers” and “Cartman’s Incredible Gift.”) All I can think about is how these are TV shows (cartoons to be more precise) and yet we both look at them so critically, just take a look at my thoughts on the season premiere of The Office, perhaps I should just be content with the laughs and leave it at that.

I hope everyone had a great weekend, I spent most of it at work or at home with Michael and Bill, nothing too exciting. Big win for the Falcons today, a bit too close for comfort but a “W” nonetheless.

(lab screening) Il Sorpasso – 7.5/10 <- – Unfortunately we watched a rough copy of this film as it is has not been released on DVD in America, the subtitles were extremely difficult to read but I do not think it too much away from it (although I would like to be able to eventually see it and know all that is said). I loved the drastic difference of the two main characters and enjoyed the entire film, great movie.

(lab screening) Apocalypse Now – 9/10 <- – I have seen bits and pieces of this over the past few years in various film classes and even own a copy, yet I had never seen it. It took a screening for class for me to watch it, and what an amazing accomplishment of a film. Its enormous runtime is not even noticeable due to how interesting the story is, leaving the viewer involved enough to the point as to where they do not want it to end. I need to watch it again, and I am sure that most of you all have seen it, I am extremely glad I finally watched it.

Sunshine – 7.5/10 <- – This was an incredible film, one that I had heard very little about (even though it was directed by Danny Boyle), did this film have a theatrical release? I really do not remember seeing it in theatres around here, but I could have just missed it. I thought the majority of this film was fantastic, aside from one element that I will not state because if you have not seen the film then it will ruin a good deal of it, but I thought it was unnecessary and maybe even a cheap way of propelling the story/ highlighting the climax? Absolutely beautiful ending even though it is blatantly foreshadowed it still struck me as breathtaking. I could see people not liking this film, but I on the other hand, loved it and you should give it at least one try.

(revisit) Boogie Nights – 9(potentially higher)/10 <- – People would probably call me crazy for rating Boogie Nights the same as Apocalypse Now, but there is just something about this film that I absolutely love. Talk about a film you never want to end, Paul Thomas Anderson is the most consistent (and my favorite) director of the past fifteen years. How can someone be thirty-eight years old and have the impressive filmography of Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, and There Will Be Blood, not a single bad film (I know there is a lot of hatred for Punch-Drunk Love but it’s a masterpiece of visual art and sound regardless of “enjoyability” ). This was maybe my third time watching Boogie Nights and this marks the first time I started noting extreme parallels to some great films. The two most noticeable are the steadicam shot at the beginning in the nightclub is extremely similar to the world-famous steadicam shot in Goodfellas at the Cococabana and the second is the closing sequence with Mark Wahlberg, who has gone from nothing to everything to nothing to just a washed-up, recovering individual, talking into a mirror, pep talking himself before his shoot. Of course Raging Bull comes to mind, with La Motta, after going through a very similar sequence of events insofar as he starts at nothing, rises, falls, and starts to slowly recover, talks himself up (“I’m the boss, I’m the boss). It’s surprising to me that I never noticed these things but still am glad P.T. Anderson can borrow them, still make them his own (assuming they were intentional, which I am positive the closing sequence was), and have them working towards the brilliance that is Boogie Nights. I love, love, love this film, everyone should definitely see it at least once.

The Happening – 5/10 <- – Avoided this in theatres due to the fact that it was not one of the big summer releases for me, but still was looking forward to seeing it. Surprisingly enough, I expected a bit more out of this movie, personally I thought a choice outside of Mark Wahlberg would’ve definitely helped, sometimes he just got a bit annoying. Nevertheless it was still a pretty good story but with extremely weak writing and the viewer is virtually incapable of taking personal interest in the main characters (outside of the little girl, maybe) which all add up to a subpar film. I have to say though, this film solicited quite a few laughs from Bill, Wes, and I while watching it.

You Don’t Mess With the Zohan – 2/10 <- – Look back at previous posts and my rules about rating comedies, and you’ll understand. This movie was ridiculous and stupid at times, but I have to say it was pretty damn funny. It was nothing too special, but in my opinion, had enough laughs to make it worth at least one watch.

I love Minus the Bear and literally all of their music, it’s so relaxing and always fitting. Look at these lyrics from “This Ain’t a Surfin’ Movie” –

I hope the weather holds,
but you don’t need the sun to make you shine.
These island towns don’t care for city folk,
but I think we can starve the city from our minds.

I could listen to them non-stop all day every day, and I get to see them for the fourth time on November 1st at the Variety Playhouse, I could not be more excited about it. On the topic of music, it’s starting to cool down and I have been playing a good deal of Brand New and Murder by Death (March 23rd, Drunken Unicorn!), anything slower paced and “deeper” for autumn, what a great time of year.

Some new BlackBerry Storm pictures and then I am off to work, I hope everyone’s week is going well.

That’s it for now, thanks as always for reading!

Currently Listening To: MInus the Bear (entire discography)

Currently Reading: Affliction


Written by thomasbalkcom

October 8, 2008 at 9:21 pm

One Response

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  1. Thomas,

    Glad you liked Apocalypse Now–Al’s all-time favorite movie. I think it’s masterful as well. Now maybe it’s time to read “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad if you haven’t already.



    October 10, 2008 at 2:43 pm

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