Welcome back to Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022 as we continue with the second week of entries. Today’s guest is one of my own childhood friends who has slowed down on her blogging recently but always drops by with a review for the blogathon every year. Her blog, Starry Traveler’s Road now focuses on her every day things from opinions on certain societal things in Montreal to her crafts and other mom adventures and even shared some of her jewelry making progress.
This year she shares a review on The Secret World of Arrietty, a Studio Ghibli film. Remember to head over to check our her blog!
Despite all the chaos going through our lives, Bun Bun and I are back with a movie review! It was refreshing to just spend time together to reconnect. It is also fun to continue our yearly tradition especially she is now in first grade and understand the world a bit more. HUGE thank you to Kim and Drew for hosting us for the Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022!
Fourteen-year-old Arrietty (Bridgit Mendler, Saoirse Ronan, and Mirai Shida) and the rest of the Clock family live in peaceful anonymity as they make their own home from items that they borrow from the house’s human inhabitants. However, life changes for the Clocks when a human boy discovers Arrietty.
Let me start by saying this movie is an adaptation of Mary Norton’s The Borrowers which is still on my book list. We watched the original Japanese movie (2010) with English caption. I took the time to read every line as we go since none of us understand Japanese and Bun Bun can only recognize sight words. We watched it over two evenings as we started on a Sunday and she had school the next day. It was a bit difficult to determine where is the best place to stop if you cannot sit through the whole movie. On Monday night, we watched the rest of the movie.
I am very proud to say that this is the FIRST movie that Bun and I saw without her running away to hide when things got scary (she did not like the housekeeper). She cried a bit when the characters had to say goodbye. From what she told me, she really liked Arrietty due to her personality and flowery bedroom along with the cat whose appearance reminded her of the cat bus in My Neighbor Totoro. Bun Bun did say that she would like to watch it again someday which tells me she did enjoy it as not many movies get on her “let’s rewatch” list.
As for me, I enjoyed the movie and hope to eventually find time to read the book soon (Bun is not huge on bedtime stories. Or else, I would read to her and use it as an opportunity to discuss the difference between movie and book). It was interesting for me to finally notice a pattern on how some male characters and female villains are portrayed in movies from Ghibli Studio.
I liked the dynamic between Arrietty and Shawn (Sho in Japanese), the male character, especially how they cared for one another. The graphics and music are great by Ghibli standards too!
This is it for Bun Bun and my movie review! We hope you enjoyed it!
Welcome to the next guest entry wrapping up the first week of Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022. Let’s all give a warm welcome to my old blogging friend coming to us from his new(er) blog Eric from Film Miasma. If you don’t know Eric from before, basically he used to run the extremely fun and legendary Shitfest which in some ways does make sense that he now runs Film Miasma where he goes and watches bad horror movies and gives entertaining reviews about them. Eric has a unique writing style in the blogging world that is an all around fun time whether you like the same movies as him or just want to use his reviews as a guide to avoid the crappy B-horror films. Remember to head over and check out his blog and give him a follow!
Film Miasma comes to us with the 1972 Italian giallo film, The Case of the Bloody Iris!
what are those strange drops of blood doing on jennifer’s body? (1972)
I think, when you think, or the curious film thinker thinks about Giallo, the first thing that probably comes to mind is: a very strange title and probably naked Italians. Of course, that would also mean that you’ve probably seen one or two to get you to that impression in the first place. I’ve seen quite a few of them and, in general, I like them a lot and most of them fit this mold: a strange movie title!, a murder!, more murders!, naked Italians!, inept police!, a dozen or so suspects!, a mystery that probably won’t be solved until the very last second!. A lot of them also feature some nasty kills which could turn a lot of people away. Most of them also feature pretty creative camera work and some of that cool 70s chic that I loved growing up (and still do).For better or worse, if you were looking to look this up, it will probably be found under The Case of The Bloody Iris and it’s actually pretty tame as far as Giallo goes but it’s also one of the good ones.
The basic plot is this: someone killed a call girl, then a stripper who will wrestle you for money, followed by the leader of a Group Sex Astrology Cult and, naturally, some more characters along the way. Instead of the graphic nature of the murders, this one is more interested in leading you in (maybe!) misdirection on who could be pulling these off. Is it the terrified-of-blood building architect who has drawings for all of the rooms in his office? Is it the flamboyant photographer who takes photos of nude women to sell motorcycle ads? Is it Edwidge Fenech’s character’s ex-husband who used to shoot her up with heroin for group orgies? Is it the mysterious, retired, violin playing Professor next door? Is it his aggressive daughter Sheila? Is it the deformed son of the decrepit lady down the hall? Is it the police investigator who steals envelopes from crime scenes for their stamps?
Well – it could be any of them, really. Maybe someone just has bad headaches. Maybe this one guy just likes detective magazines. Maybe someone was in a bad car crash when he or she was a kid and got — strange drops of blood all over his or her body… Maybe!
The cleverness to these things, I believe, comes in the direction or at least the work of the DP. You don’t really see things like this that often any more (or maybe not in the things I like to watch) but I always enjoy the slow movement of the camera instead of just the traditionally stick it on a tripod method. And especially not gimmicky shaky cam trying to signify you’re someone watching things unfold, right there, in the scene. Take this an an example:
A man is looking in a file cabinet, he’s mumbling about how the criminals are getting smarter than the police. We pan right as he’s now complaining about his partner who is so stupid he should get demoted to the fire department. The camera stops on a ringing phone (rotary even!). Someone picks it up. Panning right further, we stop on a new character sitting in an office chair, a bottle of dark scotch in the forefront. He’s smoking! Offscreen, someone hangs up the phone. The camera pans right, to the door, someone opens it and advertises there’s been another murder. Someone’s been stabbed in the street! She had an armful of groceries! The two characters from the left of the room scramble out, putting out their cigarettes and putting on their hats. The door slams shut and the camera makes its way back to the telephone. Was that what we were supposed to be paying attention to the entire time? Who called what in? Was it the ex-wife? Was it the roommate? Was it the maître d’ at the wrestling club? What’s the significance??
One last thing I’d like to mention – we’ve all seen a shot somewhere of a body being thrown down the middle of a stairwell, hitting everything on the way down, right? Sure – of course, probably. Well, here – not only do we get that but, just to make things clear, they do it again for good measure! And not the same body! Score!
All in all, I don’t know if this is because it came around in the early 70s before everything started getting really weird but, for Giallo, while strange, this one is tamer than the later ones. Still R Rated no doubt, but not as grisly as some of the others.
Welcome to the first guest post of Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022. The first guest is a fresh face to our blogathon, Keith from Various Ramblings of a Nostalgic Italian. Let’s all give him a warm welcome. If you haven’t checked out Various Ramblings of a Nostalgic Italian, you definitely should as its a fun personal blog with little bits on TV and movie-related parts. Remember to head over and check out his blog and give him a follow if you haven’t already. Keith is joining us with his thoughts on the 1972 classic The Godfather.
It has been some time since I have been able to participate in a Blogathon, but when I saw that The Ultimate Decades Blogathon was being hosted by my friends over at Tranquil Dreams (Kim) and Drew’s Movie Reviews, I had to take part in it. The basic theme is to blog about a movie that was released in a year ending in “2.” While scanning the releases from 1972 – it became very obvious which movie I would be writing about – The Godfather. (This blog may contain spoilers.)
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the film. This puts me at a disadvantage. Why? Because, let’s face it, there will be plenty of articles, books, internet articles, magazine special editions and more about this movie. You will not have to go far to find material on this masterpiece. As a matter of fact, I am currently reading one of the books that was released just a few months ago about the film.
I had actually hoped to finish the book prior to having to write this blog. I am just over halfway finished and it is fantastic!
This week, I watched the film in its entirety in preparation for this blogathon. With every viewing, I come to appreciate it more and more. It remains a film that I never tire of watching. It never gets old. It still holds up 50 years later. The Mark Seal book I am reading has certainly made me more aware of the difficulties that surrounded the making of The Godfather. At times, you wonder how it ever was finished!
At any rate, what could a lowly blogger like me possibly present to you about the Best Picture Winner of 1972? My thoughts, my observations, and my reasons for loving it. Now that I think about it, I guess I chose this film for selfish reasons. I have quoted it and referred to it in passing in past blogs, but I have never actually devoted an entire blog to it.
Unlike some blogs, mine is a personal blog that features stories from my past, posts about my family, posts about my struggles, posts about my passions, likes, and dislikes. It is a picture of “me.” No picture of me would be complete without The Godfather. So, here goes….
The First Viewing
I was two years old when The Godfather came out. I don’t recall exactly how old I was when I first saw it. What I do remember is that it was not a complete viewing.
As a teen, I remember my dad would always be laying on the floor watching TV. I had come into the room and my dad was watching the movie which was playing on one of the local networks. I remember being instantly being caught up in it. As my memory serves me, the scene I was watching was where Michael goes to the hospital and no one is watching his father. I remember him begging the nurse to help move him because people were coming “to kill him.”
Once the Don (Marlon Brando) is moved to another room, Enzo the baker is shown walking up the stairs and down the hall. The entire scene where Michael and Enzo are out in front of the hospital as the car carrying the murderers pulls up (and drives away) had me at the edge of my seat! I watched the rest of the movie with my dad and remember asking him a gazillion questions.
Eventually, my dad purchased the movies (Part 1 & 2) on VHS. I remember watching Part One from beginning to end and being blown away. I was never really aware of the film’s length because it held my attention all the way through. Admittedly, it took more than a couple viewings to finally get all the names of the various characters right.
For the next couple years, it seemed like HBO or The Movie Channel played the Godfather films in a hot rotation right around Christmastime. I remember going over to my girlfriend’s house and her dad was watching it. I sat down on the couch and we bonded immediately over the film. I’m not sure she was too happy that our time together was sitting on the couch watching a “mob movie.”
The movie is one of the few films that I have to sit down and watch if it is on TV. If I am scanning channels and it is on, I stop and watch. I can’t help it. I get caught up into it immediately.
The Big Screen
In 2002, select theaters were showing the film for its 30th anniversary. This was an opportunity that I had to take advantage of. My wife at the time had never seen the movie and I asked if she would like to see it. She said yes and we bought tickets.
I wish I could convey to you the amount of excitement that I felt as I sat in the seats of the Royal Oak Main Theater (in Michigan) as the lights dimmed and the movie started. This was my first time watching this masterpiece on the big screen. The camera fired up and there was the solo trumpet playing the opening 7 notes of The Godfather Theme. I had chills!
“I believe in America….” The words of Amerigo Bonasera came through the sound system. The camera fades in on his face as he tells the story of his daughter and the boys who beat her. The camera pulls further and further away from him and eventually we see the back of Don Corleone. We hear the dialogue between them and it isn’t until we see Bonasera whispering in the Don’s ear that we finally see the man – Don Corleone, played by the great Marlon Brando!
The opening scene of the film remains one of my favorites of all time. It is just brilliant. It is perfect. Watching it on the big screen for the first time remains one of the coolest moments!
Mario Puzo’s novel does not open with this scene. Director Francis Ford Coppola stated that he knew this was the scene that should open the film. I can’t imagine it opening any other way. So much is conveyed it this scene – respect, disrespect, power, and family. It is the perfect springboard for the remainder of the film.
It is probably easy for me to say that the cast of the Godfather is perfect, especially since it is 50 years old. Believe it or not, Paramount was against Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone. They also were not keen on Al Pacino as Michael. Can you imagine James Caan as Michael (and NOT Sonny)? How about Martin Sheen instead of Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen? There was quite a lot of fighting over who should play who in the movie. In the end, Coppola wound up with the cast that he wanted, and when you see the finished product, you see that he had it right all along.
Fun Fact: Mario Puzo actually wrote a letter to Marlon Brando telling him that he thought Brando would be perfect for the role of Don Vito Corleone in the film. He stated in his letter that Brando was the “only actor who can play the Godfather.”
Not Just Another “Mobster Flick”
People who have never seen the Godfather assume that it is just another mobster film. I would tend to disagree. To me, it is more about family, greed, power, and loyalty. Coppola stated somewhere that he wanted to show that the Corleone family were real people, with jobs (illegal or not), children, a home life, etc…
One of the first things we see in the film is a huge family wedding. There is laughter, dancing, music, food, and plenty of friends and family. We also see the mixture of business and family, as the Don is “working” in his den as the wedding is going on. We see him as a husband and father, dancing with his wife and his daughter at the wedding festivities. The importance of family is present as the family poses for a photo, but the Don states that it cannot be taken until Michael arrives.
Fun Fact: Throughout the entire film, the word “mafia” is never uttered.
The “Family” Business
The phrase “family business” is used a few times in the film. To me, the term illustrates that the two are separate, yet connected. It becomes very clear that when it comes to business, the Don, his consigliere (Tom Hagen) and his two older sons (Sonny and Fredo) are involved. The youngest son, Michael, however is not a part of the family business. Sonny says that he (Michael) didn’t want to “get mixed up in” it. Michael is also referred to as a “civilian” by family members. Yet his entering the business is one of the most intriguing things to me about the movie.
When Michael makes his entrance into the film he is walking hand in hand with his girlfriend Kay (Diane Keaton) in his military uniform. We see him walking from behind almost swaying, without seeing his face, we know that he is happy and in love. He is a far cry from the man he will transform into. He is soft spoken, even when he explains to Kay some of the terrible things his family is responsible for. He also makes it a point to explain, “That’s my family, Kay. NOT ME.”
In an interesting turn of events, not very far into the movie the “star” is shot and absent for much of the middle of the film. I am talking about The Godfather himself, Vito Corleone (Brando). This event leads to the beginning of the transformation of Michael. The soft spoken son, who has had his jaw broken by a corrupt cop, is now telling his brothers that he will step in and knock off the man responsible for shooting his father (which brings about a lot of laughter by them at first, but ultimately is what the family decides to do).
In this scene, Coppola again works magic with the camera. As Michael describes what he wants to do, the camera slowly moves closer and closer to him. As the camera stops he states firmly, “I’ll kill them both.” The transformation has begun.
It continues quickly. During the scene where Michael is going to shoot them, you can see him lost in thought as Virgil Solozzo (who set up the hit on the Don) and the police captain are sitting across from him at the table. I love that as the camera sits on his face, the sounds of the trains get louder and louder until he finally stands and shoots his victims.
By the end of the film, Michael has become Don. His dark eyes tell a story of tragedy and anger. He is cold and heartless. He has “settled” all family business.
To me, this is one of the most amazing character transformations in all of film. He has gone from likeable to someone you cringe at when you look at him. He makes your stomach turn.
I feel as though I have not even begun to scratch the surface of just what a powerful movie this is. When someone thinks about the Godfather, they think of:
The horse’s head
Leave the gun. Take the cannoli
Sonny getting shot at the toll booth
The meeting of the Five Families
The interplay between the “settling of family business” and the baptism
There are so many wonderful scenes throughout this picture. I could write a blog about each of those scenes just as easily as I could write a blog about each character. The things presented here, are the things that stood out for me right from the get go when I wondered what to present.
For anyone who has never seen the movie, it is a must watch. You also need to watch it more than once. As I stated, it gets better every time. I also recommend reading the book, whether you do it before or after watching the movie, it really doesn’t matter. In some cases, reading it before will give you a better chance at remembering who is who. For me, it gave me a lot more insight as to what characters were thinking during key scenes.
(Note: Pick up Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather Notebook. It has pages from the novel and his notes. It is fun to see how he thinks about what to keep and what to leave out. It is also cool to see what he thought was important and just how to convey things on film.)
There is plenty of imagery throughout the film. One of my favorite examples of this involves the scenes where someone kisses the Godfather’s ring. Like a pair of book ends – we see two Dons (Vito from the beginning of the film and Michael from the end of the film) in an almost identical scene. The family’s power has been transferred from one to another.
Coppola is a master at tying things together and the pictures above illustrate that.
I, on the other hand, tend to ramble (hence the title of my Blog Page). I hope that you have found my thoughts on the film enjoyable. I hope that they move you to watch the film again or for the first time.
In closing, I want to thank my friends at Tranquil Dreams and Drew’s Movie Reviews for allowing me to take part in this blogathon. I highly recommend that you follow them for some pretty amazing content.
Thanks so much to Keith from Various Ramblings of a Nostalgic Italian for sharing his personal experiences and thoughts on The Godfather, no doubt a classic to many. Remember to check out his blog and give him a follow!
Head over to Drew’s Movie Reviews tomorrow to check out the next entry in the blogathon. Hint: This one goes WAY back!
Welcome to the Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022! This year’s theme (in case you missed the announcement post) are featuring films released in a year ending with -2. The choices coming up from ourselves and our guests span more than a century much to surprise and there are lots of fantastic posts to come up.
With that said, today is the first of two kick-off posts for the blogathon as I start off with my first choice and my awesome co-host Drew from Drew’s Movie Reviews will share his first pick for part 2 of the kick-off over on his blog.
To start things off this year, I decided to check out a fan favorite from Studio Ghibli which really doesn’t get talked about enough but my friends over at Asian Cinema Film Club did rank it as their Top 150 Best Asian Films of All Time. The film is 1992’s Porco Rosso, a film about a bounty hunter pig, seaplanes, and some romance and pirates.
Porco Rosso (1992)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
English Voice Cast: Michael Keaton, Cary Elwes, Kimberley Williams-Paisley, Susan Egan, David Ogden Stiers, Tom Kenny
In 1930s Italy, a veteran World War I pilot is cursed to look like an anthropomorphic pig. – IMDB
Based on a 1989 three-part watercolor manga by Miyazaki called The Age of the Flying Boat, Porco Rosso is a colorful adventure where a war veteran turned freelance bounty hunter uses his one of a kind seaplane to hunt down airborne pirates. Living on a deserted island alone, stopping to visit his friend Madame Gina, the owner and beautiful singer of her club, and waiting for his next bounty call, Porco Rosso lives away from humans because he has lost hope in them under the curse of being turned into a pig. When his seaplane is shot down by the American ace Donald Curtis following his engine failure and claiming that he has killed him, Porco goes to get his seaplane fixed in Milan, where he has an arrest warrant on his head, where his old engineer send his young niece Fio to redesign the whole plane and ends up embarking on the journey afterwards as Porco heads off to face up against Curtis.
While Porco Rosso might not have quite the nostalgia for myself as other Miyazaki films like My Neighbor Totoro or Kiki’s Delivery Service, Porco Rosso is a fun adventure. It doesn’t only focus on pirates and seaplanes but also tells a story about Porco Rosso finding a bit of his humanity back by finding back a bit of the lost hope he had for it which turned him into a pig. The film itself remains mostly light-hearted as the characters all have mostly comedic interactions, mostly from the silliness of the whole situation whether its between the pirates and Porco or Porco and Fio and the whole Milan crew. It brings in some elements of those times when women weren’t regarded to be much more than being at home but in this one, his whole crew ends up being female relatives of the repair shop owner. The bickering between Porco and Fio also ends up being rather funny as Fio’s naivety also makes her someone not afraid to stand up for herself and Porco in the face of equality and such. It all dials down to a final fight between Porco Rosso and Curtis which ends up taking a hilarious turn when the two both encounter issues in terms of weaponry.
There are some familiarities in this Miyazaki films whether inspiring some of his later works or from prior to that. Perhaps this is a project that shared the love of Miyazaki for planes which eventually leads to his last film, The Wind Rises before announcing his retirement (which obviously now is not happening since he has a new film in the works) or the concept of the cursed character much like Howl’s Moving Castle’s main character who also has a moment of reversing back to her original form for a second in the middle of the night. However, this is one of the few films that Miyazaki does leave a fairly open sort of ending. While there are little hints as to what does happen to the people whether its Porco Rosso and Gina’s relationship or whether Fio’s hopeful personality does transform Porco Rosso back to a man when he was known as Marco, the ending does leave those bits hidden from the camera, which is a fun little bit for the audience to draw their own conclusions.
Overall, Porco Rosso is a pretty fun film. It isn’t as dramatic as some of the other Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki films but switches over to a fairly unique setting post-war and with seaplanes and pirates with some happy and colorful characters. The film sets its tone fairly early in the film and keeps up with it building from that point on. Its pretty impressive for a film that was once supposed to be a short film funded by Japan Airlines which eventually got a full length theatrical release. After Disney’s distribution, Porco Rosso also got a rather impressive English voice cast including Michael Keaton, Cary Elwes, Kimberley Williams-Paisley and Susan Egan in the main roles. While not wildly discussed like some of Miyazaki’s other works, Porco Rosso is one that is a light and fun adventure well worth a visit.
Hope 2022 has been great for everyone so far! This is just a friendly reminder that the Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022 submission deadline is just around the corner in one week before February 14th. Remember that if you do want to participate or just have seen this and need a little more time, just give us a shout and we can work something out. You can reach out to myself at email@example.com or Drew at firstname.lastname@example.org .
You can find all the info and guidelines and contact info to us in case you missed the announcement post, you can find all the details HERE.
We can’t wait to receive your submissions and see what movies you chose!
Following last year’s suit in the new blogathon style, the Ultimate Decades Blogathon continues on with our numeric progress as we celebrate our favorite movies released in a year ending in “2”. That means you can pick any movie from 1922, 1932, 1942, 1952, 1962, 1972, 1982, 1992, 2002, 2012 and if are super on your game and have already watched some new releases worth talking about, feel free to talk about something from 2022. As usual, we allow for doubles in selections to keep it easier for everyone and see what movies stood out for you in any of those years.
To help with your movie choices from any of these years, here’s a list of the releases from each of the years mentioned above:
Any movie released in a year ending in “2” is a valid choice. They are not limited to those in the list above as I’m not quite sure if those cover foreign film choices but that is always an option as well.
You can choose to do more than one review. Just let us know in advance.
The reviews will be posted to our blogs so make sure to submit it to us (if you plan on posting on your blog as well, let us know so that we give you the release date so that you can pair it with our release schedule).
Submission Deadline: February 13th (if you need more time, let us know in advance and we can absolutely work it out)
Blogathon starts on February 21st
Email submissions to email@example.com and/or Drew at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please notify us in the comments below or by email if you plan on participating.
You can tag us and help us promote using #UltimateDecadesBlogathon
Welcome all to join! You can be from any platform since your review will be posted on our blogs. We look forward to your choices and submissions. Feel free to use the banner above to show off your participation. If you know anyone that would be interested in joining, please help us spread the word. The more the merrier!
After 2 weeks of entries and my final review over at Drew’s Movie Reviews yesterday, its time for Drew to wrap up with his second pick and the last entry for this year’s blogathon! He chose to revisit 1981’s The Cannonball Run.
Synopsis An eclectic group of racers take part in The Cannonball Run, a race from Connecticut to California.
Review Look, I know The Cannonball Run might not have the best reviews out there, but you know what? I enjoy the hell out of it. Maybe it’s because this was one of the first films I had available on DVD so I regularly watched when I was younger. As a result, I might be tainted by nostalgia but there’s something about this film that keeps me coming back to it and laughing all these years later.
There are quite a few characters in The Cannonball Run and the movie tries to focus on as many of them as possible. These characters are varied and entertaining but because the film tries to focus on all of them, the first half of the film’s breezy hour and a half run time is spent before the titular race even begins as it introduces them all. Also because of the large cast, they get barely any development. Now unfortunately, this also applies to the main core of JJ (Burt Reynolds), Victor (Dom DeLuise), and Pamela (Farrah Fawcett). We do get to know more about them than those around them but it’s still the bare minimum. Given the caliber of the cast list, many of the actors and actresses are wasted, providing little more than what feel like extended cameos.
Given that the film centers around racing, it’s odd (or should it be no surprise?) that the pace is disjointed. As I said before, about half of the film is consumed on the setup. Then the next portion is spent jumping from racer to racer as they make their way across the country. Some of these segments are fantastic while others can be removed completely and it wouldn’t change the film in any way. Then it really slows down before (spoiler alert) becoming a foot race towards the finish line. The movie was shot quickly (it was filmed in 36 days and many of the actors only worked for two or three days) and it feels like much around the production was rushed as well.
Now, so far I have given only criticisms of the film but now I’m going to contradict myself. I said earlier that one of the negatives of this film was that the main characters barely receive any development. The Cannonball Run isn’t about its characters, it’s about the race. The race is an excuse to have a diverse cast characters, played by a who’s who of actors and actresses of the time. This variety is one of the film’s aspects that I enjoy the most. Not all of the actors bring their A-game but regardless, nearly all of them are loads of fun and I find their humor entertaining. And when the characters are being introduced, there are some truly memorable setups.
The gags continue all through the film. Some land spectacularly while others spectacularly miss. As I’ve said before about comedies, humor is very subjective. Meaning that if this isn’t your style of humor, you aren’t going to enjoy The Cannonball Run very much, especially since it doesn’t offer much else. But for me, the slapstick and gags throughout the movie is the kind of humor I enjoy, especially from this era of comedies.
I thought The Cannonball Run was GREAT 😀 Although this film came out a little before my time, I usurped my dad’s DVD of the film into my own collection when I was younger and watched it often; I couldn’t get enough of it! As I have watched this film more and more without the lens of youth and blissful ignorance, the flaws have become more apparent over time. Nonetheless, I still find myself coming back to The Cannonball Run and finding it good for some quick, cheap entertainment. Because of my relationship with this movie , I have come to sincerely understand that sometimes it isn’t about the quality of the film but your experience with it that makes it meaningful to you.
Cast & Crew Hal Needham – Director Brock Yates – Writer Al Capps – Composer
Burt Reynolds – JJ McClure Dom DeLuise – Victor Prinzim Farrah Fawcett – Pamela Jack Elam – Doctor Nikolas Van Helsing Roger Moore – Seymour Dean Martin – Jamie Black Sammy Davis Jr. – Fenderbaum Adrienne Barbeau – Marcie Tara Buckman – Jill Terry Bradshaw – Terry Mel Tillis – Mel Bert Convy – Brad Warren Berlinger – Shakey Finch Jamie Farr – Sheik Rick Aviles – Mad Dog Alfie Wise – Batman Jackie Chan – Subaru Driver #1 Michael Hui – Subaru Driver #2 Joe Klecko – Polish Racing Driver Norman Grabowski – Petoski George Furth – Arthur Foyt Peter Fonda – Chief Biker
To see the full of entries for Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2021, please go HERE.
Next up for the Ultimate Decades Blogathon is from my (now in hiatus) Battle of Ingredients co-host, Phoebe from Starry Traveler’s Road. While Starry Traveler’s Road is posting far and few the last few months, you can go check out her DIY crafts, gardening and other projects and thoughts. Being a regular of the blogathon, Phoebe brings us a review of 2001 family animated film, Shrek.
Starry Traveler and family review: Shrek (2001)
Big thanks to my Battle of Ingredients co-host Kim and Drew of Drew’s Movies Review for hosting this Ultimate Decades Blogathon! It has definitely been a nice distraction from COVID-19’s brouhaha and caregiving tasks to spend some time trying to watch a movie as a family.
Why did I say, “trying to watch a movie”? The story behind it is, we tried to watch Shrek over dinner, but Bun Bun freaked out and asked me to stop because she finds some scenes scary even if there were some parts in the introduction that she laughed her head off like potty humor. I went on to finish the movie on my own that night only to ask Bun Bun the next day if she wants to try and finish it again while I prepare dinner and dad can watch with her (my husband successfully calmed her down when we watched Frozen 2 for last year’s movie review). They did finish it but Miss Bun Bun did not want to discuss it on numerous days so my conclusion is that I will do future movie reviews alone or with my husband unless Bun Bun volunteers to watch it with us.
Before I go into the movie review, I must be honest and say that I am extremely puzzled by Miss Bun Bun’s avoidance of kids’ movies. She told us that many movies are scary or too sad (she cried buckets when we watched Tigger Movie during first lockdown but she was fine with Zootopia on a flight a few years back). As a concerned mom, I ultimately decided to look up the phenomena only to find out there are other kids like her who find some TV shows or kids movie scary. (https://www.todaysparent.com/kids/is-your-child-afraid-of-kids-movies/) For parents with sensitive kids like Bun Bun, sounds like family movie nights with popcorn are not part of quality family time.
Without further ado, here is a summary of Shrek from IMDB:
A mean lord exiles fairytale creatures to the swamp of a grumpy ogre, who must go on a quest and rescue a princess for the lord in order to get his land back.
To be honest, I did not really like Shrek when it first came out. The fact that it was a dysfunctional fairy tale while containing a bad sense of humor did not really appeal to me. Also, I found donkey utterly annoying in capital letters. Fast forward ten years for 2021, I still did not like it except for some of its messages like not judging people by their looks. I did learn to appreciate the strong female lead that I found in Princess Fiona. Her internal struggles about her terrible secret make her very relatable. Her fighting scene with Robin Hood and his Merry Men to defend Shrek was wonderful.
There might be some bad words that are not so good for younger kids (especially those in copycat phase) but I do use some of them when I am extremely angry, so it is not as if Bun Bun has not heard them before. Therefore, I let this category slide a bit.
Music is so-so if I must compare. The only one that stood out was the Hallelujah with some modified lyrics as it went well with the emotional scenes. I am maybe biased as well since I performed it with my choir group in my graduating year.
Graphics are ok for that time period after double checking movies from 2000s as I did not watch that many movies during that time period.
To end, this is my husband’s review for Shrek:
I found it clever in that it inverted a lot of the usual fairy-tale tropes. All the typical expectations were subverted. However, I still do not get why Shrek mysteriously decides to pick up random bits of knights’ helmets and put them on while looking for the princess nor how she fails to notice that Shrek has green skin. Regardless, the movie was funny and decent overall. It probably takes a good amount of knowledge about other fairy tales and nursery rhymes as there are many cameos. I would not necessarily expect young children to have known even most of them. I would consider this an above average movie.
Thank you for reading my little family’s movie review. I definitely hope all of you stay healthy and safe in this difficult period!
A huge thanks to Phoebe and her family for offering up this review!
To see the full list of entries of this blogathon, you can see HERE.
Kicking off the second week of Ultimate Decades Blogathon is Sally Silverscreen of 18 Cinema Lane with her pick of 1971’s horror comedy The Abominable Dr. Phibes. 18 Cinema Lane is a fun movie blog where it offers a variety of movie reviews and movie news but also has a focus on Hallmark movies. Just like the pick for the blogathon is unique, there will always be something new to discover on 18 Cinema Lane as well. When you finish this review, remember to head over to her blog and check it out HERE.
Take 3: The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
The Abominable Dr. Phibes was recommended by one of my readers named Michael. When I found out the movie was considered a horror-comedy, I thought it’d be a perfect entry for MovieRob’s Genre Grandeur, as horror-comedies are the theme for February. Then I discovered the film was released in 1971. Because Kim and Drew, from Tranquil Dreams and Drew’s Movie Reviews, are hosting the 6th Annual Ultimate Decades Blogathon, where the subject is movies premiering in years ending in 1, I decided to review The Abominable Dr. Phibes for both blogathons! As of early 2021, this is the fifth film of Vincent Price’s I’ve seen and written about. Most of these movies have either belonged in the horror genre or have been mysterious in nature. With The Abominable Dr. Phibes, this will be a little different, as part of the story is a comedy. Out of the movies of Vincent’s I have seen, none of them have featured a large amount of humor. So, by choosing this film for the aforementioned blogathons, I am given an opportunity to see Vincent work with slightly different material!
Things I liked about the film:
The mystery: In horror movies, there is usually a mysterious element that can come in a variety of forms. One of these forms is a mystery. Throughout The Abominable Dr. Phibes, the detectives at Scotland Yard are attempting to figure out why several doctors in their neighborhood are dying of mysterious causes. The way the mystery is presented allows the audience to solve it alongside the characters. This presents the idea of the audience sharing an experience with the detectives in the film. Even though we see what is making these doctors die, it doesn’t take away from the intrigue of the mystery. In fact, it keeps the audience invested in what is about to happen next. Seeing how all the pieces of the story connected was interesting to see. It definitely kept my attention as I watched the film!
The craftmanship: There were several items in this movie that caught my eye due to their quality and artistry. A frog mask is just one example. The head covering mask is covered in three different shades of green, allowing it to shine from many different angles. Gold piping can also be found on the mask, assisting in distinguishing its shape. Jewels add finishing touches as the mask features gold gems around the frog’s eyes and an emerald clasp in the back. Dr. Phibes’ mask also boasts incredible craftsmanship! The eye covering mask is shaped like a bird and is coated in shiny shades of green, bronze, and gold. Both masks were two of the beautiful I’ve ever seen!
The set design: The Abominable Dr. Phibes features several interesting set designs that are worth noting. Despite Dr. Phibe’s house only being shown at night and only part of its exterior could be seen, it was a magnificent structure! Its Victorian style brightened the night with its white frames and cherry wood doors. The house features a grand white marble staircase paired beautifully with chandeliers and crystal sconces. I wish more scenes had taken place by this staircase, as it is an impressive part of Dr. Phibes’ residence! Other locations in the story also displayed memorable set designs. Dr. Vesalius’ apartment is a great example. Near the front door is a curved, frosted window. The door itself was covered in a light and dark wood that ending up complimenting the faded yellow walls. This location looked reflective of the late ‘60s to early ‘70s due to its color scheme and furniture selections.
What I didn’t like about the film:
The underutilization of Vincent Price: As I said in my introduction, this is the fifth film of Vincent Price’s I’ve seen. Therefore, I, as an audience member, know what he is capable of, talent wise. Despite being the top billed actor in The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Vincent wasn’t given much material to work with. He didn’t have any speaking lines in this movie. While there is an explanation given within the story, the only time we hear Vincent’s iconic voice is through recordings. It also doesn’t help that the different ways Dr. Phibes went after his victims overshadows Vincent’s performance. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if the creative team behind this film cast Vincent Price simply to get more people to see the movie?
Weak on comedy: The Abominable Dr. Phibesis classified as a horror-comedy. When I made this discovery, I was expecting the movie to be more like Young Frankenstein. Even though there were a few times I found myself giggling, the film didn’t contain much humor. The Abominable Dr. Phibes relies more on the horror genre. It also contains a mystery within the overall plot, which would make it a horror-mystery. I felt misled after these reveals.
Depiction of demises partially used for shock value: Strictly from a story-telling perspective, it was interesting to see how Dr. Phibes carried out his plan. But when the plan is put into practice, the depiction of his victims’ demises comes across as more gross than scary. Within a segment of the story involving rats, there was a brief shot of a rat chewing on what looks like a bloody bone. I won’t spoil The Abominable Dr. Phibes, in case any of my readers haven’t seen it. But parts of the film like the one I described feels like the movie’s creative team just wanted to shock their audience.
My overall impression:
When I think of the term “horror-comedy”, Young Frankenstein immediately comes to mind. Even though I haven’t seen this film, I am aware of its premise. Because of my expectations, I was somewhat let down by The Abominable Dr. Phibes. Sure, its mystery was intriguing and kept me invested in the overall story. But as I look back on this movie, I find myself expecting more. Despite its classification as a horror-comedy, it ended up being a horror-mystery, with very little comedy to be found. I was also disappointed to see Vincent Price underutilized in The Abominable Dr. Phibes. While he was given different material to work with, he didn’t have any speaking lines. The way Dr. Phibes’ victims met their demise overshadowed Vincent’s performance. These factors make his portrayal of the titular character feel like a part of an ensemble instead of someone leading a film. This is an interesting movie, but I can think of stories of this nature that are stronger than this one. I still prefer a picture like The Crow over The Abominable Dr. Phibes.
Overall score: 7-7.1 out of 10
Have you seen a horror-comedy? Which film of Vincent Price’s would you recommend? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!
A huge thanks to Sally Silverscreen at 18 Cinema Lane for joining us with this great review! Be sure to it out. For a full list of entries of this blogathon, you can check it out HERE.
The next entry in the Ultimate Decades Blogathon comes from MovieRob, a blogger with an amazing repertoire of reviewed movies to check out and also the host of his monthly segment Genre Grandeur plus a regular on this blogathon with always fantastic picks. This year, he dug deep and went way back to 1931 to look at the original film, The Maltese Falcon. Check out his review of The Maltese Falcon and remember to check out his blog.
“Good day, sir. I deeply regret that you are left without a fall guy. ” – Casper Gutman
Number of Times Seen – 1 (14 Feb 2021)
Brief Synopsis – A private detective is hired to find a valuable statue of a bird that is worth millions, but he gets in over his head when he finds out how many others are seeking the same prize.
My Take on it –When Drew and Kim announced this blogathon, I liked the challenge that they presented us to try and find films from the early years of film to watch and review.
This is a film that I came across in my research and was intrigued to watch since it is based on the same Dashiell Hammett story featuring Sam Spade that would eventually become a household name just a decade later.
I have always been an advocate that remakes are usually unnecessary, but this is among the few occasions where that is not true.
The 1941 version of this film which famously features Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor is so much better and more engaging than this film is despite following the same story.
This is further proof at how much the director and actors add to a particular film since John Huston’s version is so much grittier to look at, yet still works even better than the story does in this film.
The film stars Ricardo Cortez in the Bogart role and Bebe Daniels in the Astor role, yet neither helps find a way to make us care even more about their characters as the story unfolds.
Roy Del Ruth directs this film, but he is no Huston.
Yes, this film was made prior to the code and has some very intriguing references that were banned a decade later, but they don’t add enough to help make tings more intriguing to watch unfold.
The story itself is still told quite well, despite the fact that the cast and directing drag things down a bit along the way.
The noir atmosphere seems missing here and that might have helped make things more thrilling than the way it is all presented here.
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – When originally sold to television in the 1950s, the title was changed to “Dangerous Female” in order to avoid confusion with its illustrious remake, The Maltese Falcon (1941). Fifty years later, Turner Classic Movies restored its original title card. However, as recently as April 27, 2017, the service used by cable companies to provide data for their viewing guides used the “Dangerous Female” title for TCM’s showing of the movie on that date. (From IMDB)