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Movie Wrap-Up II

Once again, it's been a little hard finding the time to write up these reviews, so here's another quick overview of what I've been watching. (Note: starting in this post I'm insituting a new grading scale out of 10, with 1 being poorest quality, and 10 being highest quality.)

Life of Brian (1979)

Another comedy from the Monty Python troupe, which, despite being done in their predictable nonsensical style, still manages to be extremely funny. As the title would imply, this film follows the life of Brian, a man who was born at the same time, and in the house next to Jesus. Because of this, he spends the entire movie being mistaken as the messiah, something that he neither encourages or likes. While there are many memorable scenes, there were some that I did not find to be quite as humorous, and because of this I still prefer The Holy Grail as my favorite Monty Python film. For newcomers to Monty Python, even though you may find the events of the film to be absurd, and the dialog hard to follow at times, their films are still very funny, and Life of Brian is one of the best.

FFR: 8 / 10
Bigus Dickus Clip (Large file be patient)

This clip is from Brian's first encounter with Pontius Pilate, who speaks with an absurd accent and becomes enraged when the soldiers laugh at his friend "Bigus Dickus". Download Clip Here (Limited Time).

Citizen Kane (1941)

Some hail this film as the greatest ever made, but I have to differ. It's a good movie, but for me, it comes no where close to being the greatest. When Charles Foster Kane (a parallel of William Randolph Hearst) dies, the last word he utters is "Rosebud", which sparks a search by news reporters to discover the meaning of the strange outburst. What follows is a series of flashbacks on Kane's successful, but mostly unhappy life. The story is expertly told, and by the end of the movie I could really empathize with the hollow, lonely man that I saw on screen. Despite enjoying the movie, it does not deserve to be called "the greatest movie ever made". The film is over 60 years old, and therefore it does not resonate deeply with me. There were a few scenes that were boring, but overall the film was not boring. Instead, there is more of a sense that you are just waiting for the end, instead of enjoying the part of the film you are watching. Citizen Kane is a classic movie, but it is not the best.

FFR: 8 / 10

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

This film follows the exploits of the famous Hole in the Wall gang, and claims to be based on true events, although I didn't do any research to check up on this claim. The action scenes are very enjoyable, provided that one can overlook details such as Sundance's impossible accuracy with a pistol. My favorite scene was when Butch Cassidy blows a traincar into splinters the size of toothpicks, causing Sundance to rib him with: "Think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch?". Despite the action scenes, the rest of the movie is fairly mundane: Nothing special, and at times somewhat boring. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is an excellent addition to a Western movie marathon, but is not a must-see.

FFR: 7 / 10

The Big Lebowski (1998)

This film suprised me. Prior to renting it, I had seen short 5-10 minute segments on Comedy Central, and had found it to be extremely confusing and stupid. Seeing the whole movie, though, changed my mind. It was excellent. The Big Lebowski is the story of Jeff Lebowski, a 30-something easygoing stoner who spends the entire film in what appears to be boxers and a bath robe, and who insists that you call him "The dude". In a case of mistaken identity, the Dude gets involved in a kidnapping plot that just keeps getting more complex. This film also stars John Goodman as the Dude's friend Walter, who ironically makes the dude look like the world's most responsible person in comparison. The Big Lebowski is one of the funniest films I've seen in a long time, despite the fact that if you took the words "dude", "man", "fuck", and "bowling" you would have about a third of the movie's dialog.

As a side note this is a Coen Brother's film, and if you havent' seen any of their excellent movies yet, you should check them out.

FFR: 9 / 10

The Chosen (1981)

I really did not want to watch this film. Despite this, like The Big Lebowski, I ended up really liking The Chosen. When my Dad first suggested it to me I hated the idea. How could it be interesting to watch two teenagers with differing Jewish beliefs become friends? It actually was interesting, and it was also very entertaining. On the surface The Chosen appears to be about two friends learning to accept each other, but the film is more about the relationship between a father and a son. This struggle is shown through Danny and his ultra-conservative father who rules Danny's life while maintaining a code of silence towards his son. There is some great acting, and while you're probably like me and would automatically write off this movie, I still think that its worth a rental, especially if you're a father or son.

FFR: 8.5 / 10

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