Finally Watched It – Challenge Edition: “Philosophy of a Knife” (2008)

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This movie is a docu-drama of the horrific experiments that went on at Unit 731.

Yeah. That’s about it. There conflicting reports of the absolute horrors that were committed but, aside from what I hope is sensationalism in this movie, me and my non-unethical scientist brain had several questions as to the scientific validity of what the absolute fuck was going on. I swear, some of the shit that goes on in this movie is less “what can we learn from this” and more “I’mma stab this sharp object in the general area of something I think is important and fuckiddy-do, let’s write down what happens.” Not to spoil things and this is probably my 2022, not a medical doctor bias but… Even dehumanizing these people as “logs” (omfg I just hope I never have to see people this way…), there are some baffling skips in the scientific method that make no sense to me.

And again, there’s historical information that has been destroyed and is missing so, there’s a ton of drama in this; including a young soldier who falls in love with a “log” and… You know what? I’m gonna spoil this. Because I was actually screaming at my computer screen! The war is ending. The entire area is told to destroy everything, including the test subjects. So, this soldier had taken a liking to one of the subjects and he’s been keeping her (relatively) safe. But in the end, she has to go. What does he do? He gives her a taste of freedom. She finally breathes free air, touches flowers, and sees the sun. At this point, I’m thinking this is an “Of Mice and Men” moment and he’s gonna mercy kill her. Okay. That’s the world we’re in when it comes to this docu-drama but… They had to fuck THAT up. This soldier couldn’t have the fucking consideration to one shot her. He derps to shoot her to wound at first, walk up to her, LOOK HER IN THE EYE, then take the final shot. Then having the absolute nerve to give the impression he felt like he did the right thing in the end?

giphy

(NO)

Even after having to watch the sensationalized experiments for the entire runtime (to the point like with August Underground, I was waiting for this to just move on), I was left with this feeling of fatigue. There were live interviews where I felt I learned something but the overall experience left me wishing more of this was historical information and less drama. Yeah, this is in the disturbing movie you don’t dare to watch genre but I found myself being more upset about the hacksaw distortion of what these characters thought research was than the gore on screen. Granted, my 2022 non-wartime, not a medical doctor or scientific researcher brain came up with 4-6 ways of conducting certain experiments in a manner that left less variables (there was a literal zombie movie trope where they didn’t restrain a disease ridden delirious patient – who knows he’s a disposable prisoner and has nothing to lose – and he bit a doctor) but even then, I felt pissed off at the end of it. Especially with that “Gosh, I think I’m doing a good thing” soldier in the end.

There are plenty of types of media I’ve reviewed on my blog where I say what I have consumed is a good touchstone for further research into historical events. I don’t feel I can confidently say that here. If you want dramatized historical gore, go for it, I guess? I had more of a visceral and traumatic reaction to Schindler’s List. Perhaps Unit 731 needs the same treatment and needs a more serious movie.

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Finally Watched It: “Harriet” (2019)

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If you know who Harriet Tubman is, then you know the story this movie is telling.

This movie was really hyped up and I totally understand. It was really good. The acting was great, the story was well told and it taught me things I didn’t know before.

Making me wonder WHY I wasn’t taught these things sooner…

But anyway, I think this is a movie worth watching. It’s pretty tasteful and inspiring. Totally check this one out if you’re interested.

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Finally Watched It – Challenge Edition: “The Horseman” (2008)

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So, I found me a source for fucked up movies and I’m basically looking for something that fills that description. This was one of the offerings. 

A divorced dad loses his daughter to what seems like a drug overdose. But he receives a mysterious videotape the mail showing the snuff film that lead to her demise so he embarks on a journey of brutal revenge.

This? This movie was amazing. I had a blast watching this. Our main character Christian, finds out his daughter has been horribly used, assaulted, and left for dead; then enacts his bloody vengeance. And this isn’t something like Taken where the protagonist is some super soldier, Christian is just a guy who is pissed the fuck off and wants the people who hurt his kid to pay. There’s even a touching story with a runaway he befriends!

I have to give props to the fights in this movie. There are times where I legit felt like I was watching two dudes just duking it out with no training and taking actual damage. It was visceral and really cool! 

It wasn’t super graphic, the rape is off screen, everything is as gory as it needs to be to get the point across. I was rooting for Christian the whole time and I actually recommend this if you don’t expect a completely happy ending. This is an Australian movie; where Wolf Creek hails from. In fact, I think the fact the ending didn’t give me the answers I wanted pissed me off a little… But not enough to ruin the overall experience.

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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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