Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Weekly Round Up Part 2 of 2: This week's AFI top 100 movies

Friends, I have now seem 88 of the AFI top 100 movies including a whopping three of the movies that were on my "I haven't seen this and I never want to" list.

First Up: The Rewatches

The General.  The hosts of Unspooled struggled a bit with this movie because they were looking at it from the standpoint of a comedy.  It's a comedy/drama/action/etc/etc - it doesn't fit into one box and it doesn't need to.  I watched it on the treadmill.

Double Indemnity.  I love this movie and I love the book, but my #1 motivation for this viewing was finding out if the Unspooled observation that no one uses an ashtray at any point in this movie was true.

It's true!  In the first scene Fred MacMurray goes into his office and there is an ashtray prominently displayed on his desk.  He lights a cigarette and throws the match at but not in the ashtray and the cigarette never goes near it.  No other ashtrays are seen or used for the remainder of the movie.

But - I'm guessing this is probably true for most other old movies as well.  In Barbara Stanwyck's last scene where she's sitting around being fabulous in an armchair while smoking in a white lacy dress, she's not going to break her perfect angle with the camera to reach for an ashtray.  And surprisingly there isn't as much smoking in the movie as I remembered so it was an easy detail to watch for.  This was a winner for a treadmill watch as well.

Duck Soup.  Hubs and I saw this on Saturday when we wanted something light.  It was giggly.

The New Watches of This Week

A Clockwork Orange.  I ripped the band aid off and watched the one movie on this list that I absolutely did not want to see.  I'd heard a lot of disturbing things and it just didn't seem like a fun use of 2 hours and 18 minutes.  The more I read up on it the worse I felt about it.

Truth #1: I can confirm that this movie has disturbing content.  Or at least content that had me feeling uncomfortable and clicking ahead so for all I know it might be lovely.  I skipped most of the Singing in the Rain scene, the entire Cat Lady scene, and all eye clamp content (honestly I don't know how anyone who has had Lasik could watch that part of the movie...or anyone who hasn't had Lasik for that matter).  Once I got through that I was able to watch the rest right through.

Truth #2: I split this movie over two nights and I couldn't wait to get back to it and finish it.  So yes it's good.

A few days later I heard the companion Unspooled podcast.  They called the movie out for the violence, making the point that the bright colors and music make it "cheerful" and the victims are presented as being unsympathetic and as though they have it coming to them.  BUT once things turn on the lead character all of a sudden violence is a bad thing that hurts people instead of being funny.

Truth #3: If I'd waited to hear the Unspooled podcast first or done any more research into this movie I would never have watched it.  At a point you just need to slay the beast (or decide that it's not your beast and move on to something else).

Final verdict: I liked A Clockwork Orange and once I got past the squeamish bits I got very engaged in it.  I agree with it being on the Top 100 list.  BUT I think this is a "one and done" and I don't anticipate rewatching it.  AND I think there are so many other great movies out there that you can totally skip this and still have a full and happy life.

The Unforgiven - I like Clint Eastwood and I adore Morgan Freeman, but I just can't get into the Western genre.  Some of the violence made me more uncomfortable than A Clockwork Orange.  If anyone wants to swap this out with Dirty Harry that would be fine by me.

All the President's Men - forget everything that I've said about Westerns in the past few weeks, this is now my leading contender for Least Favorite AFI movie.  Soooo freaking boring.

The Silence of the Lambs - this was on my "I never want to see this list" because I saw a trailer for it that creeped me out once.  Now it's on my ever growing "I didn't want to see this for the longest time and now that I have what a good movie" list.  A few things freaked me out here and there but overall it was very good.

Schindler's List - I didn't want to see this because I was certain that it would be very sad/disturbing.  Yes of course it couldn't not be but it was also very moving.

Unspooled Podcasts that I Heard this Week

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - on my rewatch list.

Sophie's Choice.  One of the hosts had not seen it before, and he said exactly what I had thought going in - that he was expecting (and not really wanting to see) a Holocaust drama and was amazed to see something completely different and was also floored that "the choice" happens 10 minutes from the end instead of being the entire movie.

The hosts also said that this movie was The Sixth Sense of its day.  No one in 1982 knew what "the choice" was any more than anyone in 1999 knew the twist to "I see dead people".  Because it's been spoiled this movie cannot have the same impact today that it had on its release.

Clockwork Orange - see discussion above.

Rocky - I have a soft spot for Rocky and so do they.

What's Next

With just 12 movies to go, I am officially All In and will watch all 100 of these movies.  At the rate I've been going I should be done by the end of November.






  1. Your final verdict on Clockwork Orange is exactly in line with the reviews that I read - once you get past the violent bits, it’s really good. There’s a very long Wikipedia article about the film which I’m going to read this afternoon. You’ve got me intrigued!
    What surprises me is that there hasn’t been a retake of the film - 1971 seems to be the only version out there.
    12 films to go! Looking forward to reading about them!

    1. So much to say about this...according to Unspooled Kubrick had a "thing" for making movies out of books that were considered to be unfilmable. I think that's why there hasn't been a remake.

  2. I've read the Wikipedia article...my goodness.
    Now I get what you mean with the Singing in the Rain scene, the Cat Lady scene and the eye clamp thing. Apparently, the actor injured his eye in that scene and was temporarily blinded.
    I don't think I'll ever watch it, but now at least I know what it's all about. The plot, the theme and the deeper meaning of the book/film are captivating.

    1. I read the wiki right before I saw the movie. Normally I would never do that but I needed to get a sense of what I was going to have to deal with.

      Malcolm McDowell (the lead actor) was absolutely brillant but I just cannot imagine in a million years having to wear eye clamps any longer than the 5 minutes per eye that it took for my Lasik.

      I started reading the book last night. It's short but it's also written in a weird dialect that's hard to understand, so for that reason I'm not sure if I'll finish it.

  3. Yikes...now you (and Catrina's commentary) have me wanting to see the film (but with a guarded eye (ugh...no pun intended). Having taken some film classes, I have a different perspective on some films due to the technical aspect, as well as the director's motives for certain scenes and/or camera angles. Go you...12 films and counting...

    1. It's definitely interesting in a "look away and/or fast forward through" certain parts;-)

  4. What a fun project to go though all 100 movies with Unspooled! I love hearing other people's reactions to movies more than I actually enjoy watching them myself!

    1. I've been amazed at how good most of these movies are. There have only been a few where I would have been better off hearing about it from someone else;-)