Film Century 1.5 – 100th Film Gala Extravaganza!

Eh, I got nothin’.

Sep. 25 Surrogates – With the help of a poor man’s Jack Black and that creepy face-smoothing technology they used on Patrick Stewart in X-Men 2, Bruce Willis will murder the Internet to save his family! 97/150
Sep. 26 Whip It – Sports Movie XVII: You’re A Big Fat Pedophile, Rob. 98/150
Sep. 29 Paris – Something between fragmented and shattered. 99/150
Oct. 2 Zombieland – God bless Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg for inventing the single best genre of films ever conceived. 100/150

Next Year’s Model

Film Century is cracking right along, and I’m already getting ready to plan next year’s project. How shall I torture myself in 2010?

The whole premise of doing this was to drag myself through a journalistic version of Jonathon’s Coulton’s Thing a Week project, where I’d set an ambitious long-term goal, stick to it, and try to develop my writing talent a bit along the way. I’ve already learned a little bit about writing, about cinema criticism, and about epicly shitty direct-to-DVD film. So, whether or not I actually succeed in hitting the 150 mark, this experiment is at least a nominal success.

What’s next? Being that I’m a creative but basically unoriginal internet hack, I was thinking of going back to the “review a number of things in a time period” well, but this time with games. Dear God, what a bad idea.

On the up side, this’d probably be cheaper, in terms of dollars spent versus time occupied, than going to the movies. And I do quite like games and gaming. To be honest, the FC 1.5 project has eaten up a lot of my gaming time; it might be nice to get some back.

On the down side, I probably wouldn’t get to spend as much project time with The Baker, who is perfectly happy to watch any old garbage as long as it’s projected 30 feet tall on a big white sheet and bless her for it. In fact, I’d probably have to reverse the current trend and give up movie time for the most part to make more gaming time. It’s also pretty tough to just up and finish up a couple of games in a weekend; at least with the movie project I can always cram in a 90-minute action movie here and there to catch up. And there’s the tricky issue of deciding just when I’ve played enough of a game. RPGs and a lot of action games have a story that can be started and finished, but when have you really “completed” Madden NFL or Bejeweled?

I’d have to lower the number of reviews by a lot, obviously, but I could make up for it by writing something longer. 2 sentences, perhaps? How about 100 words for every month that’s passed in the year? That way I can start small and ramp up. I know I could just write however much I have to say, but come on. At least half the point of this is to torture myself with novel and arbitrary limitation. It’s like haiku.

Or maybe games aren’t the answer. Maybe reviews aren’t the answer. There’s still plenty of time to come up with something.

I may regret this, but let’s open this up to suggestions. What will be the next year-long journalism project from


Film Century 1.5

PAX took a big chunk out of my schedule, but we’re getting near the century mark nonethless.

Aug. 29 The Hurt Locker – The scariest, most tense war film I’ve seen since Aliens. 89/150
Aug. 30 Thirst – Refreshingly hard to classify – drama? black comedy? vampire movie? romance? – but occasionally gets a bit sillier than it thinks it is. 90/150
Sep. 9 The Fog of War – Is asking to be understood the same thing as asking forgiveness? 91/150
Sep. 11 Ponyo – Hayao Miyazaki is the modern master of trippy-ass acid flashback cartoons. 92/150
Sep. 12 9 – If this isn’t the first steampunk movie, it’s certainly the finest I’ve yet seen. 93/150
Sep. 12 Harakiri – Dear Mr. Tarantino: This is how you make a time-bending revenge flick. 94/150
Sep. 18 The Informant! – The most compelling angle of this story – the question of what it means that someone so greedy, arrogant, egocentric, pathologically dishonest, scatterbrained and ultimately insane got so far in American industry – goes completely unexplored in this film. 95/150
Sep. 21 Bright Star – Victorian period dramas are the 12-bar blues of filmmaking; it’s all the same bits, but the little touches make all the difference. 96/150

Film Century 1.5

Of a kind with my note about horror movie writers and their laziness in writing stupid victims, I’m getting weary of action/adventure movie writers who create these invincible badasses for antagonists and then have to remove the bad guy’s heretofore-infallible brain so that the right guy wins in the end.

Aug. 13 Julie and Julia – There’s a reason the Spider-Man films don’t cut back and forth between Peter Parker and a kid reading comics and jumping around on the roof with strings tied to his wrists. 85/150
Aug. 18 Angels and Demons – Come on now, if Catholicism were really this awesomely ludicrous, it would be Scientology. 86/150
Aug. 21 District 9 – I get that it’s an allegory and all, but it makes me wonder what’s happened to us when a movie manages to make bug-eyed CGI aliens more sympathetic than actual human beings. 87/150
Aug. 22 Inglourious Basterds – If you are an occupier, no matter how well-intentioned you may be, there are no conversations between you and the people you have occupied, only various sorts of interrogations. 88/150


Film Century 1.5 – A New Hope

Aug. 2 Crimes and Misdemeanors – The films of Woody Allen would like to remind you that while he has been an utter bastard to all of his wives, at least he never paid anyone to kill any of them, right? 79/150
Aug. 3 Tsotsi – Life is hard; how hard has it made you? 80/150
Aug. 6 Kill! (1968) – A fun, if occasionally grim cross between Yojimbo and Lethal Weapon. 81/150
Aug. 9 (500) Days of Summer – Set your watch by it: the corporate media will always copy the stylistic tics of the popular underground and shy away from the really meaningful ideas underneath them. 82/150
Aug. 10 The Ramen Girl – It’s been sort of terrifying these last few years watching Brittany Murphy ripen into the next vessel for Joan Rivers’ brain. 83/150
Aug. 11 Terminator Salvation – And why not, honestly, when we recall that the boring, bland, deluded, faceless, messianic machine-fighting dirtballs were the best part of the last two Matrix movies? 84/150

Film Century 1.5 – The Story So Far

At the start of 2009, I very quietly started a little task – to watch 150 movies in a single year year, reviewing each in a single sentence. Quietly, because I wasn’t sure this was going to work out and didn’t want to get hassled by my friends if I couldn’t swing it. However, it’s now August and the project is only somewhat behind schedule,which is frankly better than I expected to do. With the launch of, this project has a brand new home that’s both a bit higher-profile and far more appropriate. To officially welcome Film Century 1.5 to, I thought it’d be good to migrate all of the reviews to date from their previous home to a recap post here. Without further ado:

Jan. 2 Doubt – When Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep face off, no shred of scenery is spared. 1/150
Jan. 3 Becoming Jane – Infuriating people acting foolishly. 2/150
Jan. 4 Bukowski: Born Into This – A man so damaged that he lost the ability to emote with his own voice, and was forced to write instead. 3/150
Jan. 4 Dial M For Murder – Fun to watch because the only person in true danger is the villain. 4/150
Jan. 6 Bring It On: All or Nothing – A colonoscopy of Hollywood, committed to film. 5/150
Jan. 9 Milk – Brolin’s character and performance are weak links in an otherwise strong film. 6/150
Jan. 10 Charlie Bartlett – More proof that a good cast can elevate an ordinary script. 7/150
Jan. 11 The Namesake – The saddest and most profound moments in 20 years of a man’s life, as portrayed by Taj from Van Wilder. 8/150
Jan. 13 Yes Man – Liar Liar 2: Blowjob From A Granny 9/150
Jan. 14 Flakes – More proof that a good cast can’t save an ordinary script. 10/150
Jan. 18 Annie Hall – Much like Tarantino, Woody Allen is a gifted writer and director cursed with the awful taste to constantly cast himself as an actor. 11/150
Jan. 20 Cadillac Records – A fast-forward Cliff Notes version of history with great performances and lousy pacing. 12/150
Jan. 22 Slumdog Millionaire – This movie can’t possibly live up to the hype around it unless it somehow cures cancer and makes the lame walk, which is a shame since it’s really an ok film. 13/150
Jan. 23 The House Bunny – She’s All That 2: Too Much Makeup Makes You Look Like a Drag Queen. 14/150
Jan. 27 Underworld: Rise of the Lycans – Jettisons the franchise’s previous style-over-substance method to pursue a bold new vision in which both style and substance are ditched in favor of just showing two hours of Bill Nighy bugging his eyes out so you can see his ultraviolet raver contacts. 15/150
Feb. 7 Seven Pounds – The Passion of the Fresh Prince. 16/150
Feb. 8 Pride & Glory – You just paid money to watch a pretty good episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. 17/150
Feb. 10 Coraline – Easily fucked up and creepy enough to join the pantheon of great children’s stories like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Little Red Riding Hood, and Pinocchio. 18/150
Feb. 11 The International – Too stupid to be the thriller it wishes it were, this is really just a misbegotten action movie with two hours of mindless talky setup sandwiching 10 minutes of pretty fun gunplay. 19/150
Feb. 15 Smart People – A cringe-inducing little movie about selfish, thoughtless people that’s made refreshing by the fact that the selfishness is actually pretty realistic, as opposed to the sociopathic movie version of selfishness on display in, say, Margot at the Wedding. 20/150
Feb. 1 Body of Lies – A grim and uninspired series of betrayals and tortures that feels sadly familiar, both in terms of cinema and reality. 21/150
Feb. 28 Born Into Brothels – It’s haunting to watch children whose nature makes them at least somewhat innocent living in an environment that allows hardly any innocence at all. 22/150
Mar. 3 The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford – A gauzy, dream-like film about a faded rock star and his bound-to-be-disappointed #1 fan, artfully disguised as a western. 23/150
Mar. 4 Choke – Lite Club. 24/150
Mar. 4 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa – Like a Hello Kitty vibrator: smooth, powerful, and cute in a highly mechanical way. 25/150
Mar. 8 I Am Legend – Oddly enough, has almost exactly the same strengths and weaknesses as WALL-E. 26/150
Mar. 9 Lost in La Mancha – Watch in horrified fascination as God Himself takes a steaming 90-minute shit all over Terry Gilliam. 27/150
Mar. 11 Watchmen – Every time Zack Snyder open his big stupid mouth, I get the feeling that this film’s artistic successes exist in spite of him, rather than because of him. 28/150
Mar. 15 Sukiyaki Western Django – Be careful what you wish for. 29/150
Mar. 17 American Psycho – Remember what I said earlier about our lazy shorthand memories of the 80s? 30/150
Mar. 20 Sunshine Cleaners – It really bothers me that in film, as in music, “independent” no longer refers to a method of production but to a defined and predictable aesthetic. 31/150
Mar. 21 Sita Sings the Blues – Charming animated film about shitty husbands in Indian mythology and today. 32/150
Mar. 22 Punisher War Zone – When some ancient galactic republic finally visits earth to test us for membership suitability and we submit as our cultural touchstones the Mona Lisa, Michelangelo’s David, the Rites of Spring, and Punisher War Zone, they’ll be justified in scourging our craphole little planet with nuclear fire faster than you can say “Repressing sexuality on a societal level leads to widespread acceptance of repugnant amounts of personal physical violence.” 33/150
Mar. 26 I Love You, Man – Tries to hang a lampshade on the homoeroticism implicit in buddy movies by mixing in romance movie tropes, but disappointingly stops shy of actually having the men fuck each other. 34/150
Mar. 28 Monsters vs. Aliens – Kids love fast-moving objects and familiar jokes, so get ready for some very fine animation and a lot of jokes you already know the punchlines to. 35/150
Mar. 30 Come Drink With Me – Dear Mr Tarantino: Just because the movies you watched as a child allow you to recapture some mild taste of your fast- and ever-fading youth doesn’t mean you get to tell the rest of us these shitty old movies are actually cool. 36/150
Apr. 6 Transporter 3 – Exactly the sort of self-satisfied retardation-fest that allows elitist movie jerks to feel better than you while they watch quirky gay wedding dramedies from Iran. 37/150
Apr. 11 Kung Fu Panda – Almost certainly the best kung fu movie of the last ten years, which I say as both praise for this great film and eulogy for the genre. 38/150
Apr. 17 Observe & Report – The Donald Rumsfeld of action comedies, this movie thinks it’s just being so clever when it goes over the line time and again, and by the time it tries to justify itself you just don’t give a shit anymore. 39/150
Apr. 19 The Constant Gardener – Neatly transitions from “what the fuck is my wife doing behind my back” paranoia to “oh God, they’re all out to get me paranoia” with only a little too much political stridency marring the effort. 40/150
Apr. 25 Adventureland – Awkward, sweet, fumbling and painful, like the memory of the first time you fucked the last person you broke up with. 41/150
Apr. 29 Anvil! The Story of Anvil – This documentary exists as a great big double-middle-finger dare to judge its subjects for being happy idiot losers. 42/150
May 1 X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Man, it’s tough to sound like the coolest guy in the movie once you don’t have Halle Berry around to pass off all the worst lines onto, eh? 43/150
May 2 The Hebrew Hammer – Lives in a delicate area between satire of ugly racial stereotypes and cultural self-criticism that makes it hard for a big white oppressor like me to know when to laugh, a.k.a. the Rock/Chappelle Zone. 44/150
May 5 Star Trek – Very smart moment-to-moment, line-to-line, but very stupid in the big ways, like the plot and character motivations. 45/150
May 16 State of Play – If newspapers are so great, why are they going out of business? 46/150
May 29 Up – Continues the Pixar trend of an absolutely sublime 10-20 minute short that’s been dragged out into a pretty good but ultimately superfluous animated feature. 47/150
May 30 The Candidate – Neatly encapsulates all the things I love and hate about modern American political campaigning in that beautifully cynical 70s style. 48/150
Jun. 2 The Spirit – Frank Miller takes you back to when men were heroes, women were there to validate them, and nobody would call you on this kind of goofy macho bullshit. 49/150
Jun. 3 Drag Me To Hell – Evil Dead 4: Fuck Spider-Man. 50/150
Jun. 7 Casa De Los Babys – A wonderful cast wanders around Mexico in this estrogeneric nothing-fest. 51/50
Jun. 12 The Hangover – Over the top without crossing the line, which is apparently a neat trick these days. 52/150
Jun. 14 Chocolate – You’re going to need to ask yourself if you’re willing to pay for some really great muay thai action by also having to watch the star of the film act literally like a retard for the entire running time; the answer may surprise you. 53/150
Jun. 20 Year One – How do you make a biblical comedy in this day and age and have it turn out this blandly inoffensive? 54/150
Jun. 27 Howard Zinn: You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train – It never ceases to amaze me how demagogues can have so much empathy for those they agitate on behalf of, and yet so little understanding of how to reach an audience that isn’t already on their side. 55/150
Jun. 27 Dead Space: Downfall – Sorry kids, now matter how much red paint you spray around, cartoons aren’t scary. 56/150
Jun. 27 Resident Evil: Degeneration – It’s kind of shocking how CG like this feels like a refreshing treat if you use it to break up video gameplay, and an oatmeal dinner if you watch two straight hours of it. 57/150
Jul. 5 Ice Age 3: Rise of the Dinosaurs – I’m really hoping that someday, someone will make an entire CGI cartoon where nobody speaks. 58/150
Jul. 6 Wordplay – Lighthearted and psychological at the same time, as a documentary about obsessive dorks probably has to be. 59/150
Jul. 11 Public Enemies – Shot in a manner stylish and bold to a fault, but in service of a meandering and sometimes obfuscated story. 60/150
Jul. 11 Mission Impossible III – Awesome and stupid in all the ways we’ve come to expect from J.J. Abrams. 61/150
Jul. 11 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me – If the show had been this weird and deliberately obtuse it wouldn’t have made it two episodes, but damned if David lynch doesn’t know how to film a nightmare. 62/150
Jul. 12 Eternal – Some people make erotic horror thrillers; these folks made a trashy softcore porn where annoying people die. 63/150
Jul. 13 Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers – Disappointing, disgusting, infuriating, but never surprising; a bit like finding ants in the national trash can. 64/150
Jul. 17 Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – Plenty of special effects – and makeouts – but somehow lacking in magic all the same. 65/150
Jul. 18 The Fifth Element – You probably remember the silly clothes and Chris Tucker’s hair, but do you remember the amazingly cracking pace? 66/150
Jul. 18 Blazing Saddles – If anyone ever asks what the big deal about Mel Brooks was, show them this. 67/150
Jul. 19 Saved! – Probably the most pro-Christian satirical black comedy you’ll ever see. 68/150
Jul. 19 Raiders of the Lost Ark – You know how sometimes a band will peak really young and put out their best album first, then spend the rest of their careers trying to simultaneously recapture and trade in on that early good will, while you continually buy their albums in the ever-fading hope that you’ll love any of the new stuff as much as that first awesome record? 69/150
Jul. 21 Max Payne – The longest – and thus also the worst – Linkin Park video ever filmed. 70/150
Jul. 21 The Film Crew: Killers From Space – Rekindles a lot of very fond MST3K memories, but doesn’t really take its place alongside them. 71/150
Jul. 23 Uncovered: The War on Iraq – A broad but shallow catalog of Bush’s lies that’s probably historically important, but I knew this all this shit in real time; to those of you who weren’t paying attention, hey, thanks for this awesome war! 72/150
Jul. 24 Twilight – Wait, so the huge flap is over a sleepy-looking, socially-awkward vampire and his inexplicable obsession with a sleepy-looking, socially awkward girl who can’t completely close her own mouth? 73/150
Jul. 25 Veronica Guerin – It must be really tough to love someone who is willing to be taken away from you for the sake of their principles. 74/150
Jul. 25 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – As I watch these movies again and again, it becomes ever more clear that while Harry is meant to be a nice person, they go out of their way to show that’s he’s really not that bright. 75/150
Jul. 27 Push – For people who find the films of Timur Bekmambetov just too placid and comprehensible. 76/150
Jul. 27 American Hardcore: A History of American Punk Rock – I imagine the story of punk in the early 80s would seem a lot more relevant and inspirational to a young person today if it weren’t being presented by a bunch of fat, self-congratulatory 40-somethings. 77/150
Jul. 31 Funny People – Wonder of wonders, Adam Sandler finally figured out how to act and be funny at the same time, and all it took was giving him the lead in a reworking of Pagliacci. 78/150

I’m pretty sure that’s the lot of them – if I forgot to copy and paste any, well, take it as a given that I watched and reviewed them.

Onward, to glory.