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The Fountainhead (1949)
An honest and unbiased opinion
The first time I saw this movie I was a teenager. I had never heard of Ayn Rand, objectivism, or any of the debate regarding the issues. I was just a teenager watching a black and white movie one Saturday night when I should have been out on a date. And I have to say, I'm thankful I did. I can't explain it, but the movie spoke to me. It hit a cord. It resonated. Since that time, I have seen The Fountainhead about 5 times, on average about every 7 years, and every time I watch it I am even more convinced it is one of the greatest movies of all time. It is so rare that you find a movie you like as a teenager and all through your life it sticks with you, like a trusted friend, but The Fountainhead is that kind of movie. In fact, now that I am almost 50 years old, I am 100% convinced that Ayn Rand is right on the money about life, society and government. (Her "only" faux pas was her rejection of Christ. I realize that's a big one, but it's a big one for her not me. We can still learn a lot from Ayn Rand. In fact, I'm seeing similarities between the true words of Christ and some of Ayn Rands beliefs. Kind of like when the get the right answer but for the wrong reason. :-) ) I strongly recommend this movie.
American Splendor (2003)
Bold, funny, tragic, and like nothing you've ever seen
It's really hard to tell people what this movie is because it's not like any other movie. It's a comic tragedy, documentary, inspirational drama, and more. All presented in a form totally original.
American Splendor tells the true story of a guy trying to find his place in life. Problem is, this guy's a loser. Or, at least that what he thinks of himself. Fact is, he's not a loser, just lost. And he doesn't find himself, but instead life finds him. If you are tired of formula movies, or Hollywood in general, you'll probably love this movie. Truly a masterpiece.
Paul Giamatti should have received at least an Oscar nomination.
Plot weak, still lacks the fun of the original
Yes, it's got a spoiler, but there is no way to relate the problems with this movie without disclosing certain parts.
The good part is this is the end of the Lucas star wars movies. I say good because I can now stop hoping that we will ever see another movie with the original spark, fun, chemistry and sheer joy as we did in the originals. In SW and TESB, the action was great and the actors acted like ... well they were being shot at and their lives depended on what they did. The action here is now special effects and the acting is... occasionally great, sometimes flat.
But the biggest problem for me in this movie is the reason Anakin Skywalker turns to the dark side. He's going to betray all the Jedi because he has a bad dream and Chancellor Palpatine says the dark side has power over life and death? And then what does he do? He kills (or attempts to kill) the very person he's turned to the dark side to save? It's implausible. Oh yea, and when Chancellor Palpatine is revealed for the evil he is, Skywalker wants to give him a fair trial? (When just a few scenes earlier Skywalker beheads the beaten General Grievous.) And the moment Mace Windu lets down his guard, Palpatine seizes upon the moment to kill him. And Skywalker STILL doesn't see the true evil nature of the dark side of the force or Palpatine? It's just stupid. Oh yea, don't forget, "special order 66." That's real believable. Everyone becomes mindless robots? One minute you are fighting side by side, then you get special order 66, and how you kill the person you were fighting with just moments earlier without any thought at all? Stupid, stupid, stupid.
It think too many people have forgotten what a blast the original movies where. Go and watch them and then go watch this one. Tell me you don't find a huge chunk of fun missing. Where is the chemistry between the actors? Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamilton and Harrison Ford should be given belated Oscars, because it's only through the last 3 movies do we really see just how remarkable of a job they did almost 30 years ago.
There are some great moments in this movie. Some funny stuff with yoda and near the end Natalie Portman really nails the scene. There is also the line about how "liberty dies to thunderous applause." I can't help thinking that is what happening here.
This movie needs to be shown in every high school class
If you want to see real evidence of what a misguided and unchecked government can do to "un-popular" people, this movie provides it. Read what some people are saying about the "Patriot Act" passed after 9/11 and then watch this movie. Is it worth it? Do we really want to give away our freedoms to these people? Regardless of what you saw on TV, you are not fully informed until you watch this movie. I apologize for quoting another reviewer, but it needs repeating: Roger Ebert of Siskel & Ebert said, "What's interesting is if you're looking for people who are unbalanced zealots... you don't find them among the Branch Davidians, you find them among the FBI and the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; those are the people in this movie who deserve to be feared, I think." I think every person responsible for 9/11 needs to be brought to justice, but I think the government has not shown a history of honoring it's duty to protect people's rights, and this movie proves it in dramatic fashion.
Waco: A New Revelation (1999)
history in the making
This is a rather interesting movie. Not only for the movie, but also the events that surround it. In 1993, the tragedy at Waco, Texas between a religious group and government authorities took place. At first it seemed like a bunch of bible twisting wackos killed themselves and some ATF agents too. (Total death count at 100+) But over the years, some other information has found it's way out. In 1996, the movie "Waco, the Rules of Engagement" came out and really shook things up. (a must see movie) Then the US government tried to answer some of the allegations made in that first movie, but never really regained the confidence of many people. (myself included). So the producers of the first movie released this one in 1999 to "rebut" the governments "answers" to the first movie. So I can see why the direct approach was taken. (And it's very direct.)
What is so amazing to me is that this "battle" between the government and those concerned about this event (Waco) is taking place in movie theaters and people's homes. The news agencies seem to be completely oblivious to the conflict, and the only way people are going to know is to rent or buy the videos themselves....
The story of Wyatt Earp, his brothers, the criminals of the time, and the cost paid to bring law and order to one Arizona town. Perfect casting, perfect acting, perfect story telling. This is one of the best movies ever made.
Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)
good movie, not so good sequel
I see there are a lot of 10s for this movie, so someone must like it a lot. And it's a decent movie, but it's not as good as Desperado. I'm not sure why Salma Hayek gets a top billing, her screen time is about 5 minutes (must have a good agent) and it was all in flashback/dream mode. Which really isn't as effective as it would have been to just pick up this movie where they left off in Desperado, driving away in the jeep, settling down.... making a family... etc. Not only would we have gotten to see more of Salma, but it'd pull us more into the movie, rather than just watching it go by. The flashback thing just didn't work for me here.
Additionally, this sequel fails in one way just like the Matrix 2, in that it forgot one of the main characters: the music. In both Matrix and Desperado the music was an integral character in the movie helping to tell the story. I really liked it. It helps to bring the viewer into the movie at a higher level. But both Matrix 2 and OUTM the music is just in the background, not part of the story. Big mistake in my opinion.
Antonio Banderas is excellent and really is El Mariachi. Salma Hayek is of course beautiful, but that's really all we get to see of her in this movie. (One short, impossible, fight scene; one short, impossible, "escape" scene; and a few "family moments"). Sure would have been nice to see her acting. Then there's Johnny Depp... while I'm a great Depp fan, he seems to be on auto pilot here. He could have been funnier, meaner, more arrogant, and more selfish and it would have been a better movie. Instead he's just "a bad cia guy."
I know it sounds like I'm blasting the movie, but it's a good movie, and I'd recommend going to see it. Great action scenes, great "impossible" scenes, a good story, beautiful people, etc. It's just that it could have been a lot better considering the talent available.
Classic movie with a classic message
While the plot moves along at fairly slow pace, the visuals and music make every second of the movie worth experiencing. If you ever wonder "What will the future be like" this movie is one you'll want to see. Or if you ever feel like life is holding you back, or too difficult, Gattaca will help you appreciate what you have, and help you pull yourself up. A very intelligent movie.
Field of Dreams (1989)
Fun, thought provoking, really cool flick.
The premise of this movie is that your dreams, your goals and visions in life are part of a bigger picture. How they fit in that picture is not always apparent to you, but rest assured, they are a part. Everyone should see this movie at least once in their lifetime, although you'll probably find yourself watching it more than that.
The Natural (1984)
Life? Baseball? What's the difference?
A great movie. A bit predictable but I still love to watch this movie. Very much like Ronald Reagan as Grover Cleveland Alexander in "The Winning Team" (which you should also watch if you like this). One of the great baseball movies.