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The Film List Project Week #11: Battleship Potemkin

So this movie is totally holiday appropriate. Not.

I have to admit something. This is the first movie I've watched for the blog that I've not totally understood. And that's okay. I'm not going to understand every movie I watch after one viewing. This may be one I revisit and come back to later.

I will say that Battleship Potemkin, a 1925 silent Soviet propaganda film by Sergei Eisenstein, was fascinating to me.

I've discovered over the last few months that I really enjoy silent films. Granted, the others I've seen are works by Buster Keaton and Charles Chaplin with a very different tone than Potemkin, but I still think the absence of sound can amplify the message of a film.

A silent film also relies on music, which I love. Though the musical score usually changes over time, any score with a silent film really makes the audience remember why music is important to a film's message.

What I did get out of this film about mutiny and massacre was a message of the…

The Film List Project #10: The Adventures of Robin Hood

If you're looking for inspiration for your next haircut, look no further than The Adventures of Robin Hood.


Here's the Trumpet Player Style:


The Sir Guy:
               And the iconic Prince John:
I was really excited to see this movie. I've loved the Robin Hood story since I was little. When I was in elementary school, I had a cassette tape of the Robin Hood legend that I got in a kid's meal that I would play constantly before going to bed. 
Robin Hood has all the characteristics of a hero that I admire: a higher purpose, a loyal following, skill, and a quick wit. Watching Errol Flynn's interpretation of the iconic character reminded me of others like Luke Skywalker and Spiderman that I've loved all my life. 
This movie holds up over 70 years later in an age of superheroes and big, expensive effects (both of which I love, by the way). I can see people young and old sitting down to watch this movie and loving it.
The movie is really colorful, both figuratively …

The Film List Project #9: The Hustler

Here's a thought: If there isn't a guy named Charlie who gets continuously yelled at, is it really a classic Hollywood movie?

This week, I watched the 1961 classic Paul Newman film The Hustler.  I thought I was going to hate it so much, but (spoiler alert) I didn't.

I have to admit, this isn't my kind of movie. Usually, I really hate sports movies because of how similar the plots usually are. However, The Hustler does the exact opposite of everything that makes me angry about sports movies.

The movie starts out with Newman's character, Fast Eddie Felson, on the quest to make his life legendary. He's arrogant and naive and driven. In other words, he's the protagonist in a sports movie. Instead of progressing in his quest to win, he actually grows as a character.

Eddie falls in love with Sarah, a hard drinking, enigmatic woman who stands up for herself and what she wants. She gives Eddie a run for his money, living fast and working for what she wants (she goe…

The Film List Project #8: Gravity

This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for the amazing women who are changing Hollywood. Oh, and that I'm not stuck in space.

If you haven't guessed already, I watched last year's it-film Gravity. However, this wasn't initially the film I was going to watch this week.

This time of year, I love to watch The Hollywood Reporter's Roundtables that they do with the most influential (and Oscar-worthy) writers, directors, producers, and actors of the given year. I was shocked this year to find that there were so few noteworthy female performances again this year.

In my book, this has nothing to do with the actresses. The ones who appeared in this roundtable gave remarkable performances in remarkable films. However, most of the films that are being lauded this year revolve around male characters.

I think a good story can be told through the eyes of a character of any gender (or anything else you'd like to use to label them, for that matter). But, as a female writer and ac…

The Film List Project #7: Some Like It Hot

Fun Fact: I love fun facts. I love to include what I can in these posts. So, in an effort to keep you informed (and to entertain myself), I look up a few each week. While I was looking up fun facts this week on IMDb, I came across what may be one of my favorites ever: Some Like It Hot was not shown in Kansas upon its release because cross-dressing was dubbed, "too disturbing for Kansans".

Boy, am I glad I am not in Kansas ca. 1959.

I have to admit, I'm a little late to the Marilyn Monroe game. I saw Gentlemen Prefer Blondes when I was 15 and I loved it, but didn't really pursue her movies further.

It was a few months ago when I saw All About Eve (one of my very favorite movies now) that I said to myself, "People like Marilyn Monroe. Should I?"

So, in the last few months, I've watched a few of her films, a documentary about the last years of her life, and My Week With Marilyn, a 2011 film starring Michelle Williams as Marilyn during the making of The Pri…

The Film List Project #6: Airplane!

I've always found that the best way to relieve the stress that is the mountainous work load during pre-Thanksgiving weeks is to watch a funny movie. With that in mind, I opened up the list this week, and it popped out at me: Airplane!
I'm so glad this movie was what I watched this week, not only because I laughed for the first time since I heard the words "due Friday",  but also because this is one of those movies that has been constantly referenced in my house since I was a kid.
The biggest testament to the movie's influence on my family comes in the form of a dog. A few years ago, in an attempt to explain our rambunctious golden retriever Mac's behavior toward strangers, my mom took to YouTube. What she wanted to show us was this scene:
I think every family has a few movies that are interwoven into the their lives. Lines are quoted involuntarily, scenes are acted out at the dinner table, etc. To me, that is the best evidence to film's influence on our c…

The Film List Project #5: Ghost World

I always love looking through my list and coming across a movie I've always wanted to see. Ghost World was one of those movies.

I've been reading about this movie since I was 16 and started reading Rookie. Most people seem to enjoy the movie, a cult classic, for the protagonists' eccentric behavior, cynical attitudes, and Doc Martens. I loved the movie, but for an entirely different reason.

The film chronicles the transition from high school to the real world for Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson). The girls plan on moving in together "somewhere downtown", but Enid refuses to get a job and starts hanging around with Seymour (Steve Buscemi), a record collector and shut in instead.

Enid starts ignoring Rebecca to admire Seymour's life, developing an obsession with getting him a date. It's clear the two see a bit of themselves in each other. When Enid calls Seymour lucky for having a room full of records and antique oddities, Seymour stresse…

The Film List Project #4: Anatomy of a Murder

in this day and age, with so many books, magazines, blogs and other media covering film, it's easy to read about a film before seeing it. This is especially true of classic films like the ones I've been writing about, many of which I have read so much about over the years that I feel like I have already seen them.

There are other films, however, that people recognize by an iconic image. With  Anatomy of a Murder, the poster immediately popped into my head. I knew nothing of the plot, the actors, or the filmmakers, but the black crude paper cutout of a body that was #1 in Premiere's 25 Best Movie Posters came to mind.

To say this film was influential is an understatement. I didn't realize that, though, until I did some research.

Anatomy of a Murder, about the trial of a man who fatally shot his wife's alleged rapist, plays out to the modern audience like a well-acted, black and white, long episode of Law and Order: SVU. But to an audience 55 years ago, the film'…

The Film List Project #3: On the Waterfront and The 400 Blows

I said in my last post that I was going to watch something lighter this week. I lied.

I struggled when thinking about how to write about these two films side by side. While On the Waterfront and The 400 Blows are both classics, they have very little in common on the surface. The come from two different countries, the minds of two very different directors, and deal with protagonists in very different times in their lives.

Once I got past those differences, though, I did begin to see some similarities. Both deal with family trouble and crime. Both male protagonists are grossly misunderstood and wear plaid. Both movies have water in them...this is where my ideas run out...

The differences these movies have don't stop anyone from calling these movies classics. Watching both (and agreeing with the title of classic for both) made me think about just how wide the range of classic movies is.

Every genre and subgenre has its own set of classics. Both movies I watched this week are classic …

The Film List Project #2: MASH

Did you know MASH was a movie before it was a TV show? I didn't. Maybe that's a well-known fact. Maybe I'm very out of the loop. Anyway, I watched MASH this week.

I'm just discovering Robert Altman, the director of the film. He made a movie in 1975 called Nashville, which I sort of felt obligated to watch since that's my hometown. I loved the film, especially because it had so many interesting characters mashed together.

MASH charmed me for the same reason. I've never been one for war films (this is set during the Korean War), but I was fascinated by the band of arrogant, witty surgeons in the film. It really didn't feel like a war film, to be honest. It felt like the Korean War was just where they happened to be.

That feeling makes sense when you realize that these men and women are just trying to feel that way themselves. I don't have any personal experience with war, but I have read a few books about the subject, fiction and nonfiction, and the genera…

The Film List #1: The Godfather: Parts I & II

Welcome to the first official Film List post!

This past week, I knocked out two movies on the list: The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II. I'm pretty surprised that it's taken me this long to watch these films, especially considering how often they're referenced in pop culture. I mean, these movies are everywhere. When I was in high school, they sold t-shirts with the poster on them that had our principal's face in place of Marlon Brando's. Now that I think about it, I wish I had bought one.

I think two things kept me from watching The Godfather earlier. First off, it's a mob movie (well, the mob movie), a genre I've never really been interested in exploring. I always assumed that mob movies were hours of mindless violence, with quick scenes of someone eating spaghetti mixed in. Some of them are. Clearly, though, these movies are different.

The other thing that turned me off was the length. The Godfather is 175 minutes long, and its sequel spans 202 minu…

The Film List Project

It's been a while since I've written on this blog regularly, so let me introduce myself. My name is Abby. I'm 20 years old. I go to UT. I'm excited to start writing again.

This time last year, I found out that I was going to be able to major in Cinema Studies. I was excited to finally get to study what I love, but I was intimidated. I really know nothing about movies. I've seen the same ones I love about 30 times each, but I haven't seen many of the movies that were actually considered good.

So, over the summer, in order to educate myself, I composed a list. I did some googling and, by looking at three "best of" lists online, I created mine. I eliminated any movies that showed up twice, movies I had seen, there are 190 movies on the list, yadayadayada...This is the boring stuff.

Here's what I'm going to do with the list: I'm going to chronicle it here. I'm not going to do reviews or try to analyze anything (like I said, I really know n…

Why You Should Pick Gilmore Girls As Your Next Binge Watch

I was binge watching Gilmore Girls before I knew what binge watching was. A popular cable channel would air episodes every Monday-Thursday, and 12-year-old me would tape them to watch on Saturday morning. I fell in love with the show, watching it in its entirety at least twice (the show is 154 episodes long, so that's no small feat). I'll even go as far to say that it was my introduction to television, and I love television. So when I heard the cult show was going to start streaming on Netflix, I thought I'd do my part to get the rest of the world to binge watch it, too. Here are my top 3 reasons why you should:

1. Who are these people? This show has some of the most interesting and lovable characters I've ever seen. Lorelai and Rory Gilmore are bizarre, charming, and witty from the get go, and prove to be women to admire. Both are incredibly intelligent, ambitious, and determined. Rory works hard to go to the best schools she can, and her mother works hard in her caree…

On the Oscars

I really don't know how to start this post off, mostly because it's sort of impossible to type out a shrill squeal. In all honesty, I can't really do that now anyway because of all the squealing I did last night over my favorite night of the year.

Oscar night has always been sort of sacred to me. However, what started out as a shameless night of celebrity worship has grown into a celebration of all the people who have inspired me with their work and dedication. Last night, everything melted away as I watched, tweeted over 70 times (!), and customized what was possibly the greatest pizza ever.

Anybody who watched also witnessed history. If you don't agree, think about this: We still talk about that one Cher outfit. You know the one. You're picturing it right now. I'm pretty sure that's all I need to say.

Even though there will be countless shallow "10 Best Moments" lists on Buzzfeed, arguments over "Best Dressed", and discussions of the &…