Saturday, 31 December 2005
Happy New Year!
In the year 2005 I watched about 245 movies. I say "about" because there's still one more day in the year and Alice and I are planning to go see King Kong today. That number includes short films and Columbo TV movies, but it doesn't include movies I fell asleep while watching or bailed out of after 20 minutes.
The favorite actors of 2005 were Barbara Stanwyck, who was in 11 of the movies I saw, and Robert Mitchum, who was in 9. Peter Lorre (8 movies), Joan Crawford (7 movies) and Lee Van Cleef (7 movies) were the runners up. Bernard Herrmann was the favorite soundtrack composer (8 movies), no surprise. The favorite director was Hayao Miyazaki (7 movies).
It's official. Japan is way ahead. Junichiro Koizumi, Japan's prime minister, has just selected his favorite Ennio Morricone tracks for a compilation CD! You can buy it from Footlight Records.
It's called My Favorite Ennio Morricone Music Presented by Junichiro Koizumi and it includes music from Once Upon a Time in the West, A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and Once Upon a Time in America, among many other films.
It's curious that The Good, The Bad and The Ugly didn't make the cut, but something from 1979's The Humanoid did.
The Humanoid? When did Koizumi-san see that? Do they watch trashy science-fiction movies in Japanese parliament? Or does he just own the soundtrack album?
And has Berlusconi made an official response to this?
Here in the USA, our elected officials don't have time to watch movies since they're too busy watching us.
There are certain bits of business that I would like not to see in movies for, say, 50 years or so, unless they appear as jokes. For example, somebody knocks over a kerosene lamp, thus starting a fire.
I actually haven't seen that one in a while, but it has been done to death. I remember seeing it in one of the later Wong Fei Hong movies, probably Once Upon a Time in China and America (as it was called here). I think that was the sixth in a series which had been losing steam for several movies in a row. When that lamp got knocked over and started a fire, I felt like a line had been crossed.
My least favorite movie cliché, which seems a lot more endurable than the old kerosene lamp gag, is when the villain says to the hero, "We're the same, you and I." To which the hero usually says something biting and contemptuous. Sometimes the villain says, "Are we really so different, you and I?"
This bit is used in Gladiatior which I watched on Friday. And in lots of other movies! I was having lunch with my brother yesterday and we agreed that it would be amusing to discover the first occurrence of this line. Even a really early occurrence, or a possible first use in a movie, would be welcome information. Is it in a silent movie? Where did it come from?
I'm going to start keeping a list of movies that contain that line or some variation of it. Please let me know if you hear it!