1,001 MTSBYD, Episode 2

Here it is, episode 2. I don’t know why I decided to call them ‘episodes’, I thought it would be quirky…it just makes me sound like a total tit-head.

You’ll also notice that I’ve now added the director and writer under all titles, I will edit it in for the last post too. The reason I included the writer is because I’ve always wanted to go into writing, so I thought I’d show them a bit of recognition.

The Exorcist (1973)

Directed by: William Friedkin

Written by: William Blatty

8/10

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I’m not debating that this is an excellent film and utterly groundbreaking (FYI – I originally wrote ‘broundgreaking’) for its time, however there are a few things you should know before watching this film in 2014 (skip ahead to ‘Chinatown’ if you’re watching this in the 70s).

  • It is vital that you remember that the special effects were good at the time – I know this may sound a bit patronizing, as every film nut automatically goes into this mode when watching an outdated film, however for my next point it is relevant.
  • I laughed at it. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking – I’m usually very good at not laughing at outdated special effects because I’m so engrossed with the film. I watched this film with friends and they laughed all the way through it and thought it was shit. I didn’t laugh all the way through, but I found myself chuckling a bit. For example, the scene where she walks in a crab position down the stares. Hilarious. I think maybe because they did try so hard to make this film scary that some of the techniques used are so weird, often in a quirky way, but unfortunately sometimes in a silly way.
  • People did genuinely find this film terrifying, I remember watching a vlog of Marilyn Manson talking about this film, apparently it still shits him up. Pussy.

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Even if you don’t enjoy this film, you can’t deny that it has given us many iconic scenes and has been an inspiration for many film-makers. For that alone it deserves to be on this list. However I really liked it anyway, so fuck you.

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Oh and if anyone’s interested, here is the link to Marilyn Manson’s video, I know you’re probably not but I used to love him when I was kid. I was never a goth, just a bit odd.

Also, I bought a bar of Aero with me to the library today, I keep trying to break pieces off quietly but it’s not happening. Just a fun fact for you all.

Chinatown (1974)

Directed by: Roman Polanski

Written by: Robert Towne

10/10

Polanski’s Chinatown is probably my favourite film, and not just because it has Jack Nicholson in it (he’s my favourite actor) but because I am falling in love with Film Noir – and this is a perfect example of a contemporary Film Noir film.

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The reason why it is such a good example of contemporary Film Noir, is because it not only complies with the conventions of a Film Noir film, but it embraces them. If this was in black and white, and you had no idea who was in it or the director, I don’t see why you wouldn’t come to the conclusion that this film was made during the early Film Noir period – and trust me, that’s a very remarkable thing, unless you hate Film Noir of course. But I’m going to assume you have taste, and you actually love it.

Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of JJ (Jake) Gittes is perfect. Okay so the character may now be perceived as a bit stereotypical – Gittes is very intelligent but also very cynical and ‘stuck in his ways’, although Gittes is definitely not the first character to possess these traits, I’m sure his version became an inspiration behind many similar characters today.

For example, Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) from Life on Mars. Very classy and intelligent, like Gittes, with an underlying tone of cynicism.

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Life on Mars  is my favourite TV program, I might write a review for that at some point. Please check it out if you haven’t already seen it. It’s about a policeman named Sam Tyler that falls into a coma after being in a car accident and wakes up in 1973. Only a year before Chinatown was filmed. It’s also named after the David Bowie single. David Bowie is my favourite artist. Wow. It’s like fate.

Anyway, back to Chinatown. The Film Noir style of filming makes this film visually stimulating and beautiful. My lecturer has an obsession with Venetian blinds (used a lot in Film Noir films – not just for the decor style, it also creates great lighting effects) , she made us watch a clip of Chinatown in a lecture and waited a few minutes so we could see a shot of Venetian blinds. #truestory

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The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Directed by: Jim Sharman

Written by: Richard O’Brien

7/10

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Who didn’t love this film when they saw it? Well, I imagine quite a lot of people, it’s a very acquired taste with a cult following. It’s weird and wonderful and often very misunderstood.

Tim Curry does a fantastic job at playing Dr Frank-N-Furter. This film is a comedy-musical orgy, celebrating sex and sexy times and sexy things and transvestism and prudes called ‘Janet’ and boobs.

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I think we all know someone that’s seen it live, wearing just a corset and panties and if you don’t, it’s because you’re the one that did it, or you need better friends.

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Dr Frank-N-Furter is forever bored of his sexual partners, so he creates a new one (Rocky). Prior to this, he accepts engaged couple and virgins (Brad and Janet) into his home after they get a flat tire. He then sleeps with them both. Then Meatloaf escapes from his freezer.Then Janet sleeps with Rocky.  Then a bunch of other stuff happens, you’re going to have to watch the film to find out what!

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Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Directed by: Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones

Written by: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin

9/10

Monty Python, indisputably one of the best comedy groups of all time. One of the first to have a ‘random’ sense of humour, but it wasn’t all stupid. Whenever someone says they have a ‘random’ sense of humour, I automatically think they’re going to be a royal pain in my arse. So when I say that Monty Python’s sense of humour is ‘random’, I don’t mean to draw parallels between their brilliant comedy and that of an annoying person. When Python is random, there is a sense of intelligence behind it. Meaning it can be as silly as it likes, without being shite.

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The Holy Grail is probably one of Python’s best, resulting in many quotable jokes, that kids know even today. Even if they haven’t seen it. For example:

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Also, fun fact. The joke below:

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Could be read as “Your mother is a rodent” what do rodents do? Fuck. A lot. Therefore, “Your mother is a whore.” Elderberries were used to make wine in Britain, “Your father was an alcoholic”. Neat, huh? Yeah. Shut up.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Directed by: Milos Forman

Written by: Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman

Novel by: Ken Kesey

10/10

Again, one of my favourite films – and not just because of Jack Nicholson, although I’m pretty sure this film is the reason I became such a  fan of his.

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This film/novel looks at the poor treatment of the mentally ill, and general ignorance of mental illness. Yet the soul of the film (yes, films have souls) is not this. Although there are comments on the treatment of the mentally ill – for example, electric shock therapy and just Nurse Ratched in general, this film is really about the basic human need to be free. McMurphy longed to be free from jail so claimed he  was mentally ill, in the hopes that he’d get to leave sooner, although he soon finds out that this is not the case. McMurphy dedicates his efforts to breakout of the hospital, and not only that – but to instill this sense of freedom in his friends.

Other characters include ‘Chief’, a native american man that cannot speak. However, it turns out he has a big secret. In what can be described as an epic ‘da fuq’ moment. Chief is McMurphy’s closest friend and also shares his dream to be free. Ultimately Chief is the only one that is able to help Mac get his freedom – but I won’t say how, you’ll have to watch it. And when you do, think about what I just wrote.

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Another main character is Nurse Ratched, the bitch. However, it is important to note that although she seems like a massive bell-end, I think it’s fair to say that she doesn’t mean to be, she genuinely thinks her practice is helpful to her patients and there are a few moments when you can tell that she does care for them all deeply. If only she knew that how she was taught to deal with the patients is rarely helpful, and very destructive.

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To see the true destructiveness of her character, you only have to look at Billy. Billy has a stutter and suffers with depression.

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Billy is clearly mollycoddled by his mother and seems to be frightened of disappointing her. There is a lot of speculation to why this is, Nurse Ratched describes Billy’s mother as a close friend, I think it’s obvious that Billy’s relationship with his mother is not abusive in anyway, but Billy seems to fear losing his mother’s approval and love. Perhaps because she has mothered him far too much, and when he fell into depression and attempted suicide she sent him away (to get help), and obviously it was very traumatic for Billy. Nurse Ratched uses Billy’s mother as a threat to Billy, resulting in a very upsetting scene.

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McMurphy finds out that most of his fellow patients live there voluntary, this spurs him on to step up and convince the others that they should be free, commenting on Billy’s age and want for a girlfriend.

Before his attempt at escape, McMurphy invites two friends (probably hookers) into the hospital and throws a party for the ward.

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Jaws (1975)

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Written by: Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb

5/10

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I’m not going to lie, i was never a fan. It’s a bit of a ‘lads’ film.

It’s about a  shark that kills people in a small town. A police chief, a marine scientist and fisherman try to track down the shark and put a stop to the killings.

Rocky (1976)

Directed by: John G. Avildsen

Written by: Sylvester Stalone

8/10

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I like to think that everyone watched this, even once as a child. Rocky is a boxer that aspires to become a great one, to make a decent living from it and taste fame. However this film is so good because the message it puts out isn’t about boxing or fame (to some degree), it’s about achieving your goals. The famous Rocky montage has been parodied so many times, it’s hard to think of a sitcom that hasn’t done it.

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Stallone was great in this film, apparently he was a terrible boxer in real life and injured his hands so much whilst filming this that his knuckles are now flattened. Ouch.

I’m not a big fan of action films, there are many exceptions though and this is one of them. For me it’s nostalgic, but it’s also very well directed, acted and written with a killer soundtrack. We all know the soundtrack, don’t pretend that you don’t.

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Star Wars (1977)

Directed by: George Lucas

Written by: George Lucas

6/10

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I like Star Wars, but for some reason people think I’m a ‘Star Wars fan’, I’m not. I know some of the references and I liked it, that’s all.

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I think maybe because it’s a legendary film, that if you’re a bit nerdy, others will assume you fawn over it. I’m not saying that I don’t hink it deserves the hype, it does. It was an incredibly ambitious film and I know I will force let my kids watch it.

See what I did there? ‘force’ heh.

Star wars is obviously influential, remember when Family Guy did it? And Robot Chicken? I think Seth Macfarlane might be a fan…

Basically, ‘orphan’ Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), leaves his Aunt and Uncle’s farm to join ‘forces’ with a Han Solo (Harrison Ford), a wookiee named Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) , C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (Keny Baker) to save the universe and save Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) from Darth Vader (David Prowse). I know you already know who Darth Vader really is, in relation to Princess Leia and Luke, but on the off chance that you don’t, I won’t say anything else – you’ll have to watch The Empire Strikes Back to find out. But of course, we all know that he is their father. Oh and Luke well fancied Leia in this one, dirty bastard!

But we all wanted her to bang Han anyway…

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It’s such a big film but I’m at a loss for what to actually say about it, so I’ll leave you with this picture…

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Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Directed by: George A. Romero

Written by: George A. Romero

6/10

“When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth.”  – Ooo spooky right? Yeah actually, that quote is pretty spooky. It’s giving me the willies. GET RID OF IT AHHHHHH!

Dawn of the Dead follows a young man named Shaun, as tries to save his friends whilst winning back his girlfriend, Liz. Wrong film? Well that’s a pretty good film too.. Okay.

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I first watched this film with my brother, I quite liked it, however being unfamiliar with the zombie culture I missed a lot of the references. Watching it again a few years ago, I appreciated it a lot more – I’m still not big on zombie films, as in – I haven’t seen many. But understanding it a little bit more, I was able to appreciate Dawn of the Dead’s satirical devices.

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As you can see, the special effects are little to be desired, but I love that kind of thing when watching old(er) films. I mean yes, it is quite funny, but it is also very creative. Although I can’t give the make-up department the same kind of excuse. I mean, seriously?

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I’d suggest watching earlier zombie films before watching this, if you already haven’t. Else you’re at risk of missing the directors wit, like I did.

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Grease (1978)

Directed by: Randal Kleiser

Written by: Bronte Woodard

5/10

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Grease is about two star-crossed lovers, Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) and Danny (John Travolta), trying to come together eve though their social circles are forcing apart, much like Romeo and Juliet, except Grease is shit. I mean it’s great and all, but it’s really shit.

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We all know the songs, we all have a jist of the story. But there are a few elements in this cheesey film that are quite serious, perhaps this is why it is so fondly remembered. Teenagers could actually relate, for example Frenchy. Frenchy is stuck on what to do with her life. She wants to follow her dreams but she discovers that they weren’t what she thought they’d be. She then has to decide whether to go back to school or not.

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Sandy, obviously. She is very childlike and although it is important to note that the film doesn’t actually change her personality (the last scene was clearly her showing the others that she could be like them if she wanted, the only reason she doesn’t is because that isn’t her – not because she can’t), but she does grow up in this film and gains confidence. Enough confidence to get Danny.

Danny learns that some things are more important than impressing his friends and having sex.

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And of course, the most controversial storyline. Rizzo experiences teenage pregnancy and the hard decision of whether she should and can keep her baby.

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The only reason I’ve given it a low score, is because it is very silly. But I think there is a little bit more to it than meets the eye.

Tell me about it, stud.

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Nosferatu: Phantom of the Night (Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht) (1979)

Director: F.W. Murnau

Written by: Henrik Galeen

8/10

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Silent classic based on the story of ‘Dracula’ (written by Bram Stoker). Duh. Just thought I’d let you know. It being one of the first adaptations, means you have to forget about the cheesey Dracula stereotype, and really believe in the fear to enjoy it. But you’re all film experts, so I don’t need to tell you that. But I did, so what are you going to do?

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As well as this, Nosferatu (Max Schreck), direction is far less theatrical than most characters played in silent film (that’s not an insult to other silent films, the theatrical style is needed to replace sound – also silent stars had just come from theatre, it’s just the style), this difference is noticeable and the fact it isn’t ‘the norm’ just adds to its eeriness.

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Once again, I haven’t posted in a while again…so I’m posting this part of the post now. More will follow…

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