Mud (2013) (Day 21 of 100)

Mud__2013__HD_230x322_poMud (2012) is a coming of age story starring Matthew McConaughey as a hobo? There was a specific word along the lines of hobo, tramp, or bum that title character Mud did not like to be called, I think it was “bum.” But Mud wasn’t a real bum, he was just camping out in a boat in a tree hiding from the group of people that wanted to kill him because he killed one of them. The plot sounds awfully silly for a coming of age story, but the real plot is driven by a young 14 year old country boy, Ellis(Tye Sheridan), whose trust in Mud is concerning, to the point where his buddy Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) even realizes it. 

The movie in lengthy for a coming of age film, whopping in at a total of 130 minutes, but delivers its’ central theme with a balance of grace and unforgiving bluntness. What writer and director Jeff Nichols really wants the audience to come away with, is how toxic and repetitively abusive a dysfunctional relationship can be for a man wrapped up in the entanglements of a woman with loads of baggage and a tendency to date around. He spins this beautiful web of deception making us, and the young boy Ellis, believe that Mud and his on-again-off-again girlfriend  Juniper (Reese Witherspoon) are meant to be with each other because their each others “true loves” and they should be together, gosh darn it! But this is a coming of age movie, not a romance movie, and as Ellis looks up to Mud more and more each day, we slowly begin to see that the relationship is noxious and harmful to Mud. That his life would be so much better if he never fell in love with her when he was Ellis’ age (who happens to fall for an older girl who only give him attention when her friends are gone), and he would have had a better chance at being happy and accomplishing something with his life. 

The end of the film is bittersweet. Mud finally realizes that he needs to move on and begin his life anew, but when Ellis is forced to move to town with his mother after his parent’s divorce, he looks longingly at another older girl that lives in the complex; showing that he’s moved on from the last girl, but still longs for something that is unattainable, just like Mud and his multiple decade long affair with a dangerous woman.

Does Mud need to be watched by everyone? No, maybe just the men out there who think they can never be single. Does the film deserve to be on the top 100 critically praised list? Not really, but it would be your choice to watch the film after this review, now wouldn’t it?

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The Graduate (Day 11 of 100)

Poster

Skipping around a bit here, and writing reviews for film’s I have already seen, since I have fallen so far behind in my 100ish Days of Summer. Number 90 on my list is the 1967 coming of age film The Graduate starring Dustin Hoffman, who, the lucky dog, has already appeared on this list two other times, once for All The President’s Men and another time for Rain Mann, and I am sure he will be appearing again later.

I watched The Graduate for the first time at what might have been the perfect age to see the film, I believe I was a Junior in college and well on my way of not knowing what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. A seemingly silly, but difficult impasse that every college student faces, the same as Dustin Hoffman‘s character Ben Braddock, a recent college graduate, home for the summer. Bored and complacent, and lacking a sense of direction, Ben begins to “accidentally” have an affair with his soon to be girlfriend’s mother, the elusive Mrs. Robinson (notice the “Mrs.” she is married at this time). Although the film has no real driving plot and the characters themselves seem listless and underwritten, the film has been selected for preservation because of its “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significance.”  Some people may believe that this film should be watched by everyone at least once, but at the age of this twenty-something-year old, it is a bit lost on me. Maybe with more age, I would appreciate why this film is considered one of the greats, but as a product of the 90s and the new millennium, the time, acting, and writing, is mostly lost on me. 

It was by no means enjoyable to watch, but I appreciated what the 106 minute film set out to do and why it is considered great, but the only the thing I really took away from The Graduate was the amazing Simon and Garfunkle song that is still popular today, and that ending scene. I suppose, that currently, in my eyes, Dustin Hoffman is 1 for 3 in films on the top 100 list and whether the films deserves the spot.

The Manchurian Candidate (Day 10 of 100)

MCWhoa, whoops, so as I was doing my typical Google search to pull up my typical hyperlinks for my reviews, I might have realized I watched the wrong Manchurian CandidateI had not double checked my list, but recalled that The Manchurian Candidate was on my list and I found it on Netflix, little did I realize that I was suppose to watch the original 1962 film, which is not on Netflix. So this review will be for the 2004 film starring Denzel Washington & Liev Schreiber which is not in the top 100 list and ranks with an 81% on Rotten tomatoes instead of a 98% which the original scored. 

The drama, thriller, mystery focuses on soldiers kidnapped and brainwashed during the Gulf War. The scary bit about it though, is that the poor soldiers are brainwashed by American scientists in order to help ‘suade the nation into believing that   Raymond Shaw (Schreiber) is the perfect candidate for the next Vice President of the United States. The plan actually works as well.

The movie is well-acted, a bit hard to follow (which was the purpose), and interesting to watch. Overall, it is a great film to watch for any history buff or conspiracy enthusiasts.  I don’t believe it should be on a top 100 list, but perhaps the original should be.

The Conversation (Day 08 of 100)

I am just as boring as this poster depicts. It is not false advertising.

I am just as boring as this poster depicts. It is not false advertising.

Damn if this movie wasn’t misleading, The Conversation (1974) starring Gene Hackman as the lead, Harry Caul, and (hardly in it, Harrison Ford) is a Drama, Mystery, Thriller based around a secret surveillance expert (Hackman) and his recorded conversation of a couple he was spying on in the park for a very secretive client. 

The movie is slow-paced, had forced love interests in it (because really, even in the 70s, was Hackman considered a sex symbol? How much suspension of disbelief is expected of me for this film?), and probably only did well in theaters and with critics because it was the 70s. You know, that time in American history where no one, especially the government could be trusted? We had that whole Soviet Espionage thing happening, and every person everywhere thought they were being spied on, or phone tapped, or that a sleeper agent could “wake” at any moment.

The movie hardly held my interest and was far too long, dragging on for 113 minutes, and was directed by “all star” Francis Ford Coppola, regardless of the director and 3 Academy Award Nominations, the film doesn’t hold up for this new generation of movie goers. What was frightening, and psychologically tormenting about this film doesn’t translate for us today. It was placed on my list as #93 but doesn’t deserve it. 

 

The Conversation  has a rating of 98% by critics and a shocking 90% by the typical audience. Do not attempt to watch this movie unless you were born after the year of 1980. Even that is pushing it.

Eyes Without A Face (Day 07 of 100)

eyes3One of the most influential horror movies, Eyes Without a Face, delivers an eeriness with its’ plot that would be considered torture porn if remade/re-imagined for today’s audience. It is a 1960 French film (originally called Les Yeux Sans Visage) that focuses on the classic mad scientist bit, a man torn because he want’s his now inexplicably faceless daughter to have a face again. Docteur Génessier (Pierre Brasseur), with the help of his assistant, Lousie (Alida Valli), kidnaps countless women, all with the same physical appearance as his “missing/dead daughter ” (or so he would like the public to think): brown hair, blue eyes, and a defined, beautiful facial structure. The doctor performs these extreme plastic surgeries where he removes the face of the kidnapped woman and then transplant the face (quiet literally just the skin) onto his daughter.

Did I mention that it’s never explained upon why Christiane Génessier (Edith Scob) doesn’t have a face? Oh I did? Seriously, I would like to know what the fuck happened to her original face, if anyone reads this, and actually knows, please for the love of all that is sane,  tell me why. Not sure if I had missed the explanation because I, being American, had to read the English subtitles and something just went over my head or it was lost in translation. 

Anyways, the actors in the film all do a wonderful job, and the ending of the film is hauntingly beautiful and horrific. On the list that I have compiled for my 100ish Days of Summer it clocks in at number 94, and with good reason. This movie paved the way for classic horror movies, that may not be featured on this list, but would be featured on my own personal top 100 list. The two most important elements of  Georges Franju‘s Eyes Without a Face are by far the musical composition and the mask that cover’s Christiane’s frightening exterior of what is really, a girl misguided by a father whom was tolled by grief. Wouldn’t any loving father do anything to make his daughter stop crying?

 

Eyes Without a Face is certified fresh with 98% and an 88% for users, it went on to inspire pop icon Billy Idol’s Eyes Without a Face. The film can be found on torrent sites but is also on Hulu? So says my internet search. If your big on horror, this is one film every scream queen should get around to watching.