Archive for the ‘Top Lists’ Category

5 Non-Horror Halloween Movies

Posted: September 20, 2012 in Holiday, Top Lists
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I like Halloween, a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. Syd also loves Halloween. The problem is, Syd doesn’t like horror movies. It’s a little hard to watch movies during the Halloween season if you live with someone who doesn’t like Horror movies. So I decided to put together a list of movies that don’t have to be classed as horror. That way, I get to get into Halloween, and Syd gets to sleep without nightmares. So as a result, I’ve got something that isn’t scary. Now, there aren’t rules to this, there isn’t any science, I went by feel. The only explanation I can come up with, is an after the fact examination. Each of these feel Autumnal to me. They take place during the fall, or have strong themes of the supernatural. That’s all I got. I like watching these during Halloween.

NOW! Allow us to, for a moment, start with the honorable mentions. Someone suggested The Nightmare Before Christmas while I was putting this list together. Syd had a complaint, “It’s a Christmas movie.” and with that, it sort of had to go. It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown was rejected on the grounds that Syd can’t watch old Chuck get another bag full of rocks. She just can’t take the bullying of Charlie Brown. The Godfather is something I always find myself watching during autumn, but it’s not Hallow’een-y enough. Likewise, Ghostbusters was also suggested, but it just felt wrong. Yeah, it felt wrong, I go mostly by feeling on this sight, quit trying to imagine that I use any kind of science behind this. There is no science, no chart, no weighing of evidence. Feeling, gut, emotion. We went through a few others, but in the end I landed with these five.

1. Clue
A classic comedy, that didn’t get the kind of love it deserved back in the day. Yes, it’s based on a board game, but this movie is SO MUCH MORE! Clue is truly one of the funniest satires of both the mystery genre and the McCarthyism of the 50s. I’m not sure it actually takes place during the autumn, but it feels like it does. Also, most the characters are inside and the whole thing has a lovely warm feeling that I admire. There are few movies that are as much fun as this one. When I reviewed this a while ago, I was ready for it to have not held up, but it did. And it has the most manic dénouement in history with Tim Curry running around explaining the murder like mad. Ya gotta love that!

2. The Crow
Another movie I’ve reviewed, and still watch. I’m not sure I’ve mentioned this before, but about 90% of the time I review a movie I have this feeling of “Well, I don’t need to watch that again.” that washes over me. And maybe 85% of the time I never do watch the movies again. Or at least, I don’t feel an urge to watch them. This one, however, I found myself wanting to watch after the review. I went into the viewing, with the idea of watching it for a review, with the idea that I was going to sink myself into a crappy earl 90s nostalgiafest of not holding up years later. Strangely, not only did it hold up, but there were things I found that I appreciated about the movie that had never struck me before. Of course, by issues with depression didn’t start until my 30s, so some of the things in that movie wouldn’t have struck me until later. Since that review, I’ve pulled it out every Halloween Season and watched it at least once, if not twice. Yeah, I didn’t much talk about the movie here did I? Aw well, click the link up there and read the review.

3. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Okay, so this is a midnight movie that plays on Halloween. What do you want from me? If you don’t know what Rocky Horror is… I honestly can’t help you. No, wait, I’ll try. It’s part sci-fi homage, part lunatic comedy, part polyamory romance, part exaltation of the joy of being yourself, part surreal examination of the sexual awakening of America, it’s a musical and Tim Curry is in it. Again. What more could you possibly need? There is a lot more story than what ends up on the screen, so you’ll need to watch four or five hundred times to get the full understanding. If you’re a fan, you will have done this. Not sure why I’ve never actually reviewed this one. I’ve thought about it. I think I probably like it too much. There is a list of movies that I love, that I think I’ll probably never actually review. I might, some day, which is why I’ve never done a “Movies I’ll NEVER Review” list, because three days would go by and I’d find myself deciding to give Raiders of the Lost Ark the love it deserves. It’s such an unrecognized classic! Seriously you have no idea how close to rhapsodizing it I was after seeing it on the IMAX screen last week. Only exhaustion stopped me. What was I talking about? Oh, right, Rocky Horror. Well, all that I said about Raiders also applies. I like it too much, I would just say things you’ve heard before.

2. Interview With the Vampire
Again, I’m not sure how Halloweeny this is, but I watch it at this time of year. Again, we’ve got themes of depression, the supernatural, and (oddly) polyamory. Huh, note to self, collect a list of movies that feature polyamory. This is another movie that I have watched each Halloween since the review. I actually haven’t watched the Corman Poe movies that much since I reviewed them, and I think they all got much higher reviews than these two I’ve admitted to watching a lot more. Interesting that. I’m not sure what it says, but I do watch it. Probably because the movie is ridiculously beautiful, being more of a drama with a bit of supernatural themes than really a supernatural film. Everyone I have asked about this says it’s not a horror film, that they’ve always felt it to be a dramatic period piece first and a vampire movie second. Oddly, I have real problems with the book. I tried to read it once, got the heavily abridged audiobook, and it’s kind of terrible. Try cutting what, according to my unabridged audiobook, is a book that takes fifteen hours to read and squish it down to three hours. I’m only reading the whole thing for the first time right now. Interestingly, I don’t find Louis as whiney as everyone else. I never found him whiney exactly, just ineffectual. I think he’s supposed to be clinically depressed, but written by someone who either hasn’t suffered from depression, or can’t articulate the feelings very well. The movie is fantastic though, and you should probably watch it again for the first time.

5. Legend
Tom Cruise and Mia Sara fight TIM CURRY? What the shit? How many times is Curry going to turn up in this list? Well, as this is the last entry, it should be the last time. Again, the autumnal feeling is questionable, but I allow it because the only times I’ve ever felt like watching this movie is in the period between September 1 and November 30. So, I’m going with it. The supernatural is well represented, and there is a force of evil that has to be conquered. There is a lot of darkness, a great deal of glitter, and Tom Cruise in a mini dress. I don’t know, it feels right, and it has Tim Curry in it! Has Tim Curry ever steered us wrong? I mean BESIDES McHale’s Navy! And CongoAddams Family Reunion, Oscar, Charlie’s Angels, FernGully: The Last Rainforest… You know what? Never mind! Look, when he’s good he’s VERY good. You may be wondering why I don’t mention The Shadow. I actually sort of like that movie. I’ve been thinking of a review for it. I like to defend the indefensible after all. Also, would have been a good one for this list. Another movie I associate with fall and Halloween.

Wait, I didn’t put The Immortals in here? That actually takes place ON Halloween. Of course, it’s also not a very good movie. That’s probably why I didn’t put it here. And yet, I have, so work out that little pair of ducks on your own.

Year in Review

Posted: December 28, 2010 in Top Lists

Well, year end is here and I… don’t have a final review ready. Huh, it just sort of happened. I’d meant to write one, but then I didn’t. I blame the whole ninja/pirate thing… and hipsters. Because hipsters ruin everything, don’t they?

So instead I’m closing the year out with a retrospective list of the reviews I liked the best. Not the best movies, oh sweet waffles, no. Just the reviews that I personally found amusing or that I’m particularly fond of. Yes, I know it’s useless, but it’s been an interesting year and truth be told I’m a little exhausted. So, let’s knock this one out quick and then go for drinks, what’d ya say?

Here are my 10 Favorite Reviews of 2010…

#10 You Think That Movie’s Bad?
Okay, not a review so much as a complaint. Having watched as many different movies as I have, it really sticks in my craw when someone labels a perfectly watchable movie as “One of the Worst Films Ever Made” or even gives something that I think is a good movie the distinction of “Unwatchable Garbage” for several reasons. My first reason is that I hate inaccurate use of language. Unwatchable means that it cannot be viewed as a coherent narrative or be enjoyed on any level. The things (hesitate to call them movies) in Shinobi: Complete Collection are, to my mind, unwatchable. It takes a lot for me to call something valueless and chuck the disc. Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t make it the worst movie ever made. Seriously, Maximum Overdrive is a hell of a movie and I will always defend it. It’s a drive through throwback and it’s stupid, giggly, MST3K worthy FUN! The point is that while I don’t write many non-reviews for the site, I do find some of them important. I’m going to try and write some more non-review content in the New Year, but no promises.

#9 Omaha (the movie)
The one just surprised me. I have sort of started to watch it and skipped through it over the years, but I’d never actually given it a full chance. I sat down ready to tear it to shreds and make fun of the whole thing, but I ended up actually sort of liking it. It’s not a great movie, but it’s a pretty good one. Tell you a secret, I was thinking of shutting down the Retroflix blog and deleting the whole stupid thing. Then I watched this movie and BAM(!) we could go on. This movie changed everything, I think because it’s just the sort of perfect movie for this blog. It’s obscure, but actually pretty worth looking for and worth watching with some friends. I felt re-energized after watching this, I felt like we could go on. I was so confident, that I held back review to post the Alice in Wonderland and Black Dynamite reviews since those were written as soon as I’d seen each movie. So yeah, this movie saved the blog, and as a movie it’s… just okay.

#8 The Spirit
If I got even one person to re-watch this movie because of this review, then I have aimed my sights way too low. I don’t expect everyone to love this deconstruction of the modern comic book movie, but I felt like defending it. It’s no where near as bad as a lot of people claimed it was, and in many ways it’s awesome. I guess because it’s pretty high satire a lot of people didn’t get it. That’s a phrase I hate using, but I think it’s that simple. As much as I despise people claiming it as a defense, I think this time people just didn’t understand the joke that was The Spirit. Maybe you guys and should give it another try.

#7 The Two Jakes
Again, this is everything I like in a Retroflix review. An obscure movie that almost no one saw when it was out, and no one has ever really watched since. The best reviews come from the blankest of slates, because then I can just go off into tangents and foolish ideas. If no one has seen the movie, does it matter if I make up an alien invasion plot line? Maaaybe, but then again, maybe not. Either way, I like sparking the interest of whatever readers happen to come by and many have come by for this review.

#6 This is America, Charlie Brown “The Mayflower Voyagers”
This one is pretty much a declaration of war against bad history cartoons for kids. This thing is pretty unforgivable, committing every sin that bad educational cartoons can commit. Also, I only just noticed now, all the screen caps of Lucy show her being seriously pissed off and Charlie Brown is shoeless the whole time, even in the snow when realistically he would have at least wrapped his feet in cloth or animal fur. This is a bad cartoon and you shouldn’t watch it, just read the review.

#5 Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye
I really like Stephen King, and I really like anthology movies, so this year was a delightful opportunity to mix the two of them together. Normally I reserves September and October for horror movies, seeing it as a good run up to Halloween. This was my favorite of the reviews, at least I like it best right now. Maybe the Creepshow review was stronger, but I had more fun with this one.

#4 10 Classics Movies That I Don’t Love
I had this in mind for a long time before I wrote it and then quite a while went past before I actually posted it. I don’t like being negative in my reviews, and this was all negative. I tried to be fair, but since we were just talking about things I didn’t like, it was hard. However, I am sort of proud of myself for not deleting this one and going ahead with it. Now we just have to wait and see if I write the follow up “10 Things Geeks Love That I Hate” which would be an experiment in flame bating if ever you saw one.

#3 Hamlet
I had great fun compairing one of the greatest plays in the English language to some of the scummiest crap ever to “grace” our screens. I would rather do more analisis of film rather than telling you what goes on in the story and makign jokes when people do some really stupid things. If I were doing video reviews, snarking on the movies would go over better, but this is print. This is really a template for how I want to do more reviews in the future. The problem is that these are a bit more work than just explaining a movie and making some jokes about it. However, the jokes on the screen caps are really good in this one, even if I do say so myself.

#2 Victory Through Air Power
An obscure and obsolete movie that many people didn’t even know existed on a subject that has almost no relevance to the modern age, but was actually a hugely important step for the company that made it? Sign me up! You’ve probably noticed that my favorites are the obscure and the odd, which don’t get the hits like the He-Man & She-Ra Christmas Special does. Still, if I’m going to go down to the land of no hits and even less money, let me go down with review like this one. I was able to be informative and fairly entertaining through this review, which I like.

And of course the top prize goes to…
#1 Graffiti Bridge
What else could it be? This review changed everything for this place. It’s from this review that we have The Graffiti Bridge Scale after all. This movie is ineptly scripted, badly performed, and the editor needs to be questioned for several hours about who made him put his stamp of approval on the finished product, but I can’t help it. It’s such a glorious train wreck of a movie that I had to use it as a baseline. It is the perfect standard under which all other movies can be judged.

For a long time, I’ve had the idea that Kung-Fu movies, Westerns and Samurai movies were all essentially the same thing just for different cultures. Each dated back to the beginning of filmmaking, each looked back to a Golden Age that might never have really existed, and each fell out of favor for a long time only to see a resurgence in recent years. As a result, I decided to cast a wide net and get one great from each of the areas that these movies exist in. Since this is the last day, we’re going to have three from each genre.


The Greats: Sci-Fi

Posted: November 27, 2010 in Top Lists
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We all like Science Fiction, right? Maybe? A little? Well, you should, and here are the ten movies from that genre that you should see.


Holy crap! Someone stole the intro for this piece. Darn them thieves.


Pretty much, movies that take place before the time that the movie was shot in. That’s a historical piece and that’s all the criteria I used for picking these.


An Epic Marathon

Posted: November 17, 2010 in Top Lists

You know what would make for an extremely long feeling movie marathon? Epics! I just had the idea that if you showed only Historical Epics, you could get away with maybe 6 movies in a whole day. I decided to see what I had in my collection and how much time it would eat up if I watched them all. I’m giving a slightly loose definition of epic, but I’m adamant about a 180 minute (3 hour) minimum run time. I’m going by the times on my particular DVD boxes, because the times vary from website to website. I’m leaving out things I don’t own and I’m leaving out Braveheart because screw Mel Gibson.

Seven Samurai
Criterion Collection Edition, 2 DVDs 207 minutes (3 hours, 27 minutes)

Ben Hur
1959 version, 2 DVDs, 212 minutes (3 hours, 32 minutes)

The Ten Commandments
1956 version, 2 DVDs, 220 minutes (3 hours 40 minutes)

Lord of The Rings Trilogy
Extended editions (each movie is over the 180 mark), 6 DVDs, 682 minutes (11 hours, 22 minutes)

The Last Emperor
TV Cut, 1 DVD, 218 minutes (Three hours, 38 minutes)

Godfather Triolgy*
4 DVDs or 3 Blu-Ray, 549 minutes (9 hours, 9 minutes)

Kingdom of Heaven
Director’s Cut, 2 DVDs, 194 minutes (3 hours, 14 minutes)

Criterion Edition 1 DVD, 196 minutes (3 hours 16 minutes)

Directors Cut, 2 DVDs, 180 minutes (3 hours)

Branagh Version, 2 DVDs, 242 minutes (4 hours 2 minutes)

Schindler’s List
2 DVDs, 196 Minutes (3 hours, 16 minutes)

Once Upon a Time in America
Diector’s Cut, 2 DVDs, 229 minutes (3 Hours 49 minutes)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
There are two main editions, this one and the Special Extended cut. 1 DVD, 177 or 179 minutes (Because I feel bad about it missing by a minute or two. By the time you get through the menus and the warnings, it gets to 3 hours)

2 DVDs, 179 minutes (Another one I felt bad about missing the 3 hour mark by 1 minute)

18 Movies
3683 Minutes (About 62 hours, which would put you into the third day of solid watching.)
30 discs (So you’d pretty much end up swapping discs as many times as you would without the epics.)

If you start on Thanksgiving, and go all the way to Sunday, you could do it. You’d have to park it for about 16 hours a day and really be into very long movies, but if you’ve got no other plans for next weekend, give it a whirl.

* Yes, yes, Parts 1 and 3 are only 170 minutes each, but who cares? It would feel strange just watching Part 2, wouldn’t it? Tell you what, take some minutes from Braveheart, which we aren’t watching anyway and give them to the Godfather movies. I guess you could watch both halves of Red Cliff or Kill Bill instead if you really want, but those are both cheats as the theatrical releases were split into 2 movies each.

I fantasize about a world where I can get an intern to write intros for me.
I’m trying to cast a wide net with these selections, but this week I failed. Most of these were made within a few years of each other. I put it down to the fact that my formative years coincided quite nicely with a renaissance in fantasy filmmaking. A couple of obvious things like The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of The Lost Ark aren’t here because they’ve already been addressed in last week’s entry.


The Greats: Horror

Posted: November 9, 2010 in Top Lists
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I’m too scared to write a proper into. Horror movies are scary!


If you want to know whether or not you should listen to a critic, you should hear what they think The Greats are. So here are my suggestions for you to peruse. We’ll start with movie series that I think are great.

I’m posting this first to avoid people thinking that I forgot to mention some of the movies that won’t be turning up. I’d hate to hear that it’s no big deal, but how could I forget to add that one movie to the list? That surely I couldn’t have thought it inferior, could I? Well, no of course not. What happened was I couldn’t decide which movie from a particular series to add to the list. You can’t go around naming every movie from a series, because then you’re just padding the list out to make ten. No, instead you’ve either got to name the group as a whole, or write a list made up entirely of series. I did the later. Here we have the ten film series that I think are essential to informed movie watching.