Finally Watched It: “Tower”

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Using a combination of rotoscope animation, real testimony, and historical footage, this documentary goes into harrowing detail about the day a gunman opened fire from a clocktower on the University of Texas campus on August 1st, 1966.

I don’t pretend to be a hard ass so I have no problem admitting I openly wept several times during this film. The parts that are reenactment are so well done, you would hardly know it wasn’t as real as the life video spliced into it. The narrative centers on Claire Wilson, who was 8 months pregnant when she was shot and the continuing barrage made it so nobody could get to her and she lay in the hot Texas sun for hours unable to move. We hear also about a child who was injured, a woman who did only watch from inside, the police officers who finally killed the shooter along with help from a civilian. This even ends with interviews from actual survivors.

Even how the news was relayed around town and summed up afterwards was just brilliant. Even though even to my 80’s baby mind, it was frustrating to see communication break down so quickly as opposed to now when every one has a phone in their pocket. Absolutely amazing. I highly recommend it.

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The Return of Finally Watched It: “The Public”

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When I heard there was a movie about librarians coming out, you KNOW I had to get my hands on it as soon as possible. But the only places it was playing on the big screen were too far away and it took forEVER for the film to get a distributor. But we finally managed to get a copy on DVD and I sat down to watch it with my kid.

As far as depictions of our jobs go, this is pretty spot on. We get our fair share of strange questions, drunks, homeless people, and yes, even the naked ones. I will give this movie all the praise in the world for the acting as well; all very awesome.

However, the way it ended was very Hollywood. I cannot imagine a sit-in by the homeless and mentally ill resulting in the police raiding the building assuming the librarian is crazy and holding people hostage would end with singing in the real world. But I’d much rather that ending because reality is horrible enough.

I completely got how this movie portrayed the media and politicians twisting information before it reaches viewers and this is sadly also very true. Happens all the time. Overall, I thought this was amazing and I can’t wait to watch it again.

MAKE SOME NOISE!

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Finally Watched It: “House” (1977)

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Having seen this movie mentioned dozens of times on crazy movie lists, I finally had the chance to check it out.

We have our set up of a bunch of high school girls (I have nicknamed them The Sailor Scouts) all go to this old woman’s house and of course, shenanigans ensue. Typical right? Hoooooo boy, ladies and gentlemen, this movie I have to come right out and say is either the scariest funny movie I’ve seen or the funniest scary movie I’ve ever seen. Everything feels otherworldly and off kilter even when things are “normal.”

When it starts, all the main characters are so damn happy and go lucky all you can think is “well, hey there, Cannon Fodder. I’m sure nothing will go wrong here.” But even as old as this movie is, gods is it refreshing to have a cast we actually root for instead of a collection of unlikable assholes you WANT to die. You actually feel for the characters as they go through all this horrific shit; all done with effects that are creepy in some parts, and ‘pause the movie because you’re laughing so hard’ parts. If done with skill, I wouldn’t mind seeing this movie remade with updated effects! As it is, I’m half tempted to watch it a few times just because it was so much fun. This movie BEGS to be watched with a bunch of friends and booze if you got it.

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Finally Watched It: Whiplash (2014)

 

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“A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential.” is an tragically simplistic way to describe the ride that is this movie. In yet another instance of people flipping out that I’d never even heard of this movie, I finally grabbed this from my library and I was floored.

Despite the main character being a total dick, I absolutely love this movie. I found it hypnotic in a way and I’m not even that into Jazz music. If you’re sensitive about long stretches of racial and homophobic slurs and taunts, you may want to avoid this movie but it’s amazing and worth putting up with it if such things turn you off.

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Finally Watched It: Ringu

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As if this even needs a summary, this is the original Japanese movie about a woman who is investigating a cursed videotape that kills you a week after you’ve watched it.

This movie is damn creepy. It may not have aged very well in some ways but, yikes. There were plenty of moments that freaked me out. And it certainly made me feel old because heck, who has video tapes anymore?

Now that I’ve seen the original, I actually find the remake to be on par with it. They’re both creepy, both have this great tone and lingering uneasiness. I can’t say definitively one is better than the other. I like them both. It’s a shame it took me so long to get to watch this one.

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Finally Watched It: American Pop

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If I were to describe this movie, it would be a sad but loving send up to music and musicians. This movie uses music to tell the story of four generations of an immigrant Jewish family in order to show how American music changed and grew in the 20th century.

I can’t believe I missed this one but it did come out the year I was born and is NOT intended for children. There is rampant drug use, war, sex, murder, and hell, even the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire! I was able to pick out some of the rock stars Bakshi was inspired by to create some of these characters; the most obvious to me being Janis Joplin. Between the music and the gorgeous animation (which holds up fairly well, in my opinion) I was absolute awe. It’s one of those movies that really leaves its mark and I am SO glad I made time for it. Heck, I may buy it so I can watch it whenever I want. If you’re a fan of animation, great storytelling, and awesome music and you haven’t seen this? Check it out. You won’t be sorry.

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Finally Watched It: “Jack Frost” (1997)

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I don’t… I don’t know why I had this on my list and felt the need to follow through with it…

A serial killer gets experimented on and when he dies in an accident, he becomes a snowman. At first, I could excuse this movie as mindless fun but then (I don’t give two shits if this is a spoiler) there was a carrot rape scene. I could have lived a nice, long, happy life without seeing that, thanks.

I will give this movie two good points: They did make it more difficult than simply melting him to defeat him and the exchange when the scientist guy says something like “You’re immortal! How does it feel!?” and the guy growls “It feels… COLD!” was kinda cool.

Overall, this is a dumb movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s about a killer snowman; not meant to be Shawshank Redemption. It killed some time and knocked another movie off my list.

I wouldn’t bother to revisit it, though.

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Finally Watched It: “Dark City” (1998)

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In this dystopian scifi, John Murdoch finds himself with no memory in a strange room with a dead body. Mysterious figures in dark coats are on his trail as he discovers a dark conspiracy about what happens to the people around him and the city at night.

Just from the first ten minutes, I could already tell this was going to be a movie I need to watch more than once to really get it. From the way the story is told and presented, it is subtle, beautiful, and scary. From what little I to know about how to make movies, this is framed and shot AMAZINGLY well.

I just don’t understand why this isn’t more popular. Right away, it felt like Bioshock hacked The Matrix and demanded the movies become smarter and more subtle. It really highlighted for me what I have noticed about mainstream media; it’s all dumbed down, loud, sanitized, safe, drivel that doesn’t bother to challenge your brain at all. When you finally sit and watch something like this, it’s such a breath of fresh air. It ticked off every geek switch I have and I can’t wait to watch it again.

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Finally Watched It: “Serial Mom”

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This movie is about a seemingly normal housewife and mother who is… Enthusiastic about defending her home and family. Hijinks abound…

I was cracking up at this movie. I was left with the immediate feeling of wanting to rename this movie “First World Problems: The Revenge” and holy shit, is it ever funny. It’s twisted, it’s over the top, it’s violent, and I loved every minute of it. I don’t even wanna go into detail because if you like dark comedy, you will get a kick out of this movie.

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Finally Watched It: “The Poker House”

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As a fan of Channel Awesome, I saw this movie in a Top 10 Jennifer Lawrence performances and since I’d never heard of it, I thought I would check this movie out.

This movie is supposedly based on a true story but I tend to take that with a grain of salt because filmmaking as a whole as made a complete whore of that sentence. However, even if this story is entirely false or entirely true, the young actors – including Lawrence – are absolutely amazing. I found it very compelling how the characters managed to patch together this strange hodgepodge of a support system with the few decent adults they know around the town. And with what little I know about how movies are made, this is shot and paced really well.

It’s not exactly a happy movie but this reminded me of a happier version of Once Were Warriors. It was worth a watch even though I needed a pick me up afterward.

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