Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Weekly Roundup Part 2 of 2: Three Hour Movies and Spoilers

I thought that seeing A Clockwork Orange would be the last obstacle toward seeing all of the AFI Top 100 movies.  There aren't any other Big Hairy Movies that I'm scared of on the list.

But like a classic monster movie it's a case of conquering one monster only to find another one taking its place...my obstacle now is The Attack of the Three Hour Movies.  I fought hard and made it through a record 6 movies this week with 6 left to go...but man oh man they're all long suckers.

SPOILER ALERT: heads up that I will be discussing Psycho in a fair amount of detail and will totally spoil The Searchers.

This Week's (Partial) Rewatch

My treadmill rewatch this week was Psycho, although I've still got another workout's worth of the movie left to go.  This is my favorite "this movie isn't what you think it's about" movie.

I'm a huge Hitchcock fan, but I didn't see Psycho for the longest time.  We all know it's about a woman who gets stabbed to death in a shower by a man who lives with his dead mother's body which isn't exactly a ringing endorsement.  Yes fine that's an accurate summary of 15 minutes of the movie but the other 90 minutes is a delightful series of MacGuffins.  I won't spoil that part of it, you just need to see it for yourself.  I find that I tend to forget "the rest of the story" between watches and always love coming back to it.

On the Unspooled discussion they talked about when and why Norman decides to kill Marion.  Their conclusion is that it's at dinner when she makes the comment that he should look at having his mother put away, which sets off his "mother" side to attack.  But on this watch I noticed that when she checks into the motel and he picks out her room that his hand hoovers between room #1 (the room that he has a peephole into) and room #3 (presumably a non-peephole/non-killing room).  He glances at the Los Angeles newspaper that's poking out of her purse and something about that guides him toward room #1.  I don't know what it means, but FWIW it's a detail that I hadn't noticed before.

I'll end with the observation that if I'm dying to get back on the treadmill to finish watching a movie that I've seen several times before==>that's a sign of a good movie.

This Week's New Watches

The Searchers.  Hoo boy...I have a lot of issues with Westerns and The Searchers is the base of the iceberg (the huge massive thing lurking beneath the surface).  This is a candidate for the I Hate This Movie list for sure.

I've seen all kinds of questionable racist things in old movies and for the most part I don't get my dander up.  But The Searchers lays it on thicker than anything I've ever seen before.  John Wayne walks into family dinner, sits down and the table and comments on his adopted nephew's dark skin.  He can't give an oath to the Texas Rangers that he's joining to search for his kidnapped nieces because he has only one oath to give and it's already gone to the Confederate States of America.  He spends years searching for his niece so that he can kill her since that's what ya gotta do when someone's had to go live with the Comanches and you're the biggest hero when you decide not to five minutes from the end of the movie.

According to Unspooled this movie was a major influence on Taxi Driver and yes I can see the similarities BUT Travis is John Wayne only in his own head and he's something completely different to everyone else.  Taxi Driver never tries to say that Travis is really on to something here and we all need to take up arms for the cause but stop short of killing your niece, which is exactly what the Searchers does.  I just found it to be one of the most vile movies that I've ever seen.

The Unspooled was much kinder than I was but came to the conclusion that this movie isn't worthy of being on the Top 100 list let alone NUMBER TWELVE.  Their theory is that Martin Scorese and friends are doing the voting on this one.

The Last Picture Show.  I wouldn't recommend dropping everything to go and see this, but it had some great moments and I agree that it's Top 100 worthy.

Saving Private Ryan.  After all of the great war movies that I've seen from this list, Ryan was something of a dud.  I found it to be overly long and draggy for very little story.  Yes I misted up a little bit at the end, but overall this was a miss for me.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  Just when I was ready to say that I hate all Westerns I found one that I loved. 

Toy Story.  After so many 2 hours and change up to three hour movies I seriously appreciated the 1 hour and 20 minute run time.  It was cute but nothing ground breaking.

The Deer Hunter.  We're back to three hour territory.  I thought this was a great movie but sheesh it did not need to be three hours long.

Unspooled Podcasts that I Listened to this Week

Schindler's List

It's a Wonderful Life.  Yes I've seen it but it's been a long time and I don't remember it being that great, but after hearing the podcast I'm going to have to watch it again.  According to the podcast when James Stewart falls into the pool at the dance his toupee comes off, so that's a detail I'll be watching out for.

In the Heat of the Night.  They liked the movie a bit more than I did, but noted that the motive for the murder just wasn't that interesting.

The Searchers - see discussion above.

What's Next

I'll be slowing my roll a little bit since the remaining movies are looooooooong.  I think I'll get a movie watched during the week and knock out two over the weekend and finish the remaining three on Thanksgiving week.

Nashville 2 hr 40 min (I still don't know anything about this movie)
Spartacus 3 hr 17 min (I was excited when I learned that it's a Stanley Kubrick movie and then was very much less excited when I learned how long it is)
Forrest Gump 2 hr 22 min (I'm considering saving this for my final movie)
The Wild Bunch 2 hr 15 min (the last Western!!!!)
Easy Rider - 1 hr 35 min -  whoop whoop for the run time alone I can't wait!!!!!
Bridge on the River Kwai 2 hr 41 min (Hubs is down to watch this with me.  He has never seen it either but his dad was a fan).


  1. It's really interesting how movies like The Searchers reflect a very different set of values compared to today.

    I wonder how people will look back at today's movies - will they wonder how we all flew around for pleasure in air-polluting planes? How we filled our cars with petrol? That we used gender-specific pronouns without flinching?

    Good luck with all the 3-hour movies! That's a lot of time on the treadmill! Or do you also listen to the movies while doing other stuff that needs no razor-sharp focus?

    1. One of the things that I love about older movies is seeing what was different and what is still the same. Hopefully future generations will say "ugh, that 2021 movie where they wasted so much fossil fuel" instead of "wow, that 2021 movie when people could go outside on planet Earth, wasn't that something?"

      I'm really picky about what I watch on the treadmill, so I'm only rewatching movies that I know are great and will hold my attention. I'm watching all of the new movies on the couch. If they're good then I'm giving them my full attention, if they're not then I'm half listening while doing other things.

  2. I feel like Toy Story is not getting the love I would give it here. I also think It's a Wonderful Life is an amazing movie, so I'm pretty sure we have opposite tastes in film! It's great that there are movies out there for both of us!

    1. Give me a chance to rewatch It's a Wonderful Life and we'll compare notes then. I haven't seen it since high school so I may have a totally different opinion of it this time. Toy Story was cute, but I think I would have liked it more if I'd seen it with a youngster.

  3. You have been busy! I gotta say Toy Story was cute, but I had to watch it a few times to really appreciate it. The squats actually were pretty good, and that doesn’t happen frequently with films. Somehow I got through much of my life before I saw Psycho. I was totally surprised at the ending when the mother in the rocking chair was revealed, LOL

    1. "Mother" surprises me every time. I still can't figure out whether Norman's story or Marion's story is meant to be the MacGuffin.

    2. Bad autocorrect above...squats—> sequels (#facepalm)