Friday, December 06, 2019

The 12 Days of Christmas Movie Tag

This tag comes from Hamlette, just in time for the holidays!


#1 Use a different movie for each prompt
#2 Add photos and/or explanations of how your choices fit the prompts
#3 Tag a few friends to play along

1. A Partridge in a Pear Tree -- movie that involves agriculture
Mutiny on the Bounty -- Agriculture is key to this story, as their whole mission to Tahiti is all about those danged breadfruit trees.  I recently re-watched the sumptuously filmed, but very odd, Marlon Brando 1962 version, so it was on my mind.  The plants get all the water they need, while the crew goes thirsty.  Who wouldn't mutiny?  (But some day, I'd like to taste a breadfruit!)

2.  Turtledoves -- movie about a long-lasting relationship
El Cid and Ximena from El Cid (1961).  Okay, this is kind of an odd entry, cuz I've only seen this movie once and it was so long ago that I can't recall the details other than it was not one I ever had a need to see again.  But what sticks in my head is an article I read once where Charlton Heston complained how his character aged, but Sophia Loren did not want to appear old, so her aging make up was kept minimal and almost non-existent. Which means their characters clearly have a long-lasting relationship, so they're my choice here, LOL.  Mostly, my knowledge of El Cid is from a fictional account I read over and over as a kid, and my love of Miklos Rozsa's score from the film.

3.  French Hens -- movie that takes place in France
The Great Race -- because my family just re-watched this, and the titular race ends at the Eiffel Tower.  Jack Lemmon and Peter Falk are awesome in this, and the pie fight, of course... We had to watch the pie fight twice in a row, because, well, the pie fight is epic and it never ever, ever, gets old.

4.  Calling Birds -- movie where people talk on the phone
Cellular (2004) - Chris Evans, Kim Basinger, and Jason Statham.  One of those movies that I watched on Netflix one night while bored, but it ended up being a decent thriller.  Chris Evans gets a random desperate phone call from Kim Basinger, who's been kidnapped, and he proceeds to figure out how to help her while trying to maintain their spotty cell phone connection.

5.  Golden Rings -- movie with multiple romances
Best Years of our Lives (1946).  This outstanding movie has romances on every side.  Al and Millie are my favorite.  They're so real, working daily at their marriage through ups and down, "falling in love all over again."  But there's also Homer and Wilma, and Fred and Marie, then Fred and Peggy. 

6.  Geese A-laying -- movie with a birth or that features babies
How about City Slickers and the oh-so-important birth of Norman, the adorable calf that changes Billy Crystal's character's life? 

7.  Swans A-swimming -- movie where someone goes swimming
The Frogmen (1951)Lots and lots of swimming.  Dana Andrews and Richard Widmark and WWII.  I'm way overdue to rewatch this one!

8.  Maids A-milking -- movie with cows
Well, how can I not go with Twister (1996)?  "We got cows" is just one of those quotes that pops up all over the place.  Ridiculous movie, but Bill Paxton looks mighty fine, and I admit to watching it every now and then just because I love him. (And Cary Elwes is amusing.)

9.  Ladies Dancing -- movie with a dance scene
A Royal Affair (2012), cuz Mads Mikkelsen dancing so smoothly with Alicia Vikander is sheer joy to watch (even if the movie itself breaks my heart).

10.  Lords A-leaping -- movie about athletes
McFarland, USA (2015) - I was surprised how much I liked this movie.  I ended up with it by accident, but was happy I did after I watched it.  It's hard for a movie to go wrong when Kevin Costner is around, and I really liked him in this.  I love the students and how they come together as a team.

11.  Pipers Piping -- movie with someone playing a musical instrument
Night Song (1947) - Dana Andrews and a piano and I'm happy.  Kind of a far-fetched movie, but Dana Andrews and Hoagie Carmichael are a delightful combo.  And Merle Oberon is beautiful.

12.  Drummers Drumming -- movie with characters in the military
Dear me, what movie to pick???  Let's go with Battle Cry (1955), cuz I've chosen a lot of Dana Andrews pictures, and it's time to go with an Aldo Ray movie.  I'm way overdue for a re-watch on this one too, which follows some marine recruits from training to the war.  Love Aldo Ray and Van Heflin and the rest of the cast, but can kinda do without Tab Hunter and his subplot.

Feel free to answer use this tag on your own blog!  I'd love to read your answers.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Midway (2019)

This is a is late review, considering I first saw the movie back in the middle of November.  And then saw it three more times.  With the whole family each time.  My brother-in-law hates going to the movie theater nowadays.  It's always too loud, too full of rude people... he's seen this one three times in the theater already.  My dad, too, almost never goes to see modern movies in the theater.  Not only did he go to see it, but he wanted to go see it a second time.  My mom's already seen it three times and is anxiously awaiting her next viewing.  My sister doesn't usually like war movies, and she's seen it four times.  My nephew, well he declared it his favorite movie, and he's been playing a couple different WWII flying games ever since.

It's just one of those movies.  It works for my entire family, on so many levels.

Modern movies about WWII can be problematic.  If there's one thing I cannot stand, it's filmmakers putting modern attitudes/messages/whatever into historical movies.  They play wrong when that happens.  This movie is amazingly free of modern BS.  In hindsight, this is actually obvious from the movie poster.  It's such a lovely throwback to old school movie poster styles.

What do I love?

The characters (and the actors who brought them alive).  This movie has a fine cast, and everyone works exceedingly well in their roles.  The straight-forward storytelling.  No added romances, no cooked up conflicts between characters simply for the sake of it. The beautiful crisp cinematography that lets you feel like you're in the cockpit of a dive bomber without ever confusing the viewer as to what we're seeing.  The middle of a pitched battle, and everything is still crystal clear and easy to follow.  The accurate history, for once.  The pacing.  The short summary info at the end of the movie on what happened to the characters.

Favorite parts:  Best and Dickinson's friendship throughout.  Best sitting on his daughter's bed.  All the dive bombing runs.  Every scene with Bruno.  Every scene with Doolittle.  The downed Hornet pilot cheering everybody on.  The fact that they show the crew policing the flight deck.  Layton and Rochefort's silent exchanges when Nimitz visits Hypo.  John Ford on Midway.  All the rest of the movie.  LOL

Okay, really, there isn't anything I dislike about this movie except the movie previews we've had to sit through in front of it, and that's nothing to do with the movie.

Midway has put me back in a WWII mood, and I had to re-watch A Wing and a Prayer and The Purple Heart, both Dana Andrews movies, both released in 1944.  The former is about the Battle of Midway, the second is a fictional account loosely based on the trial of some of the men captured from Doolittle's raid.  I also watched two WWII documentaries on Netflix, WWII in Colour and Five Came Back.  The latter is a documentary on five of the big name Hollywood directors of that time, (Frank Capra, William Wyler, John Ford, George Stevens, and John Houston) and their contributions to the war effort.  It's quite sobering and inspiring at the same time.  I learned a lot about these famous directors.  The neat thing is Netflix also has the documentaries they made during the war available to watch too.  I watched John Ford's Battle of Midway first, but I'm working through all the others as well.

I will probably see Midway a couple more times before it finally leaves the theater, because this is one that really needs to be seen big screen.