Rocky

Rocky Balboa, a small-time boxer, gets a supremely rare chance to fight the heavy-weight champion, Apollo Creed, in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.

I thought Rocky was going to be the motivating pick-me-up that I needed on my hungover post-Superbowl Monday. Instead, it was a warning: don’t become a whiny little bitch like Rocky Balboa. Continue reading “Rocky”

Annie Hall

Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditsy Annie Hall.

In my late teens, I saw 500 Days of Summer for the first time, and hated it. It didn’t help that I watched it with a girl I was hopelessly and unrequitedly infatuated with, but what really got to me was how messy it felt. Like they couldn’t settle on a theme, and how inconsistently it broke the fourth wall, and how fucking true all of it was. Not to compare the two, but if I had seen Annie Hall first, perhaps things would have been different. Continue reading “Annie Hall”

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the universe from the Empire’s world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.

I have no memory of an edition of A New Hope when it was just called Star Wars. I also don’t recall ever seeing Han shoot first. Such are George Lucas’ revisions, which are not so damaging as the circlejerk loves to preach, but instead make me question my own experience of the film. Continue reading “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope”

Dog Day Afternoon

A man robs a bank to pay for his lover’s operation; it turns into a hostage situation and a media circus.

You’re not supposed to identify with a bank robber. Even if he’s a struggling, doing-it-for-the-right-reasons, incompetent, piece of shit nice guy. He’s robbing a bank. He’s got hostages. But Lumet and screenwriter Frank Pierson need to create empathy for their lead, and they need to swim against the current that is heist movie tropes. In the ridiculous, moving, and wildly entertaining Dog Day Afternoon, they do just that. Continue reading “Dog Day Afternoon”

Papillon

A man befriends a fellow criminal as the two of them begin serving their sentence on a dreadful prison island, which inspires the man to plot his escape.

Papillon did something that’s very difficult – it made me root for its lead character right from the very start. Unfortunately, it was only because I so desperately wanted him to successfully escape so the movie could be over. Continue reading “Papillon”

Alien

The commercial vessel Nostromo receives a distress call from an unexplored planet. After searching for survivors, the crew heads home only to realize that a deadly bioform has joined them.

As a 6′ 3″ male with a 30-inch waist and pale complexion, you may find it ridiculous that I’m just as afraid of tall, skeletal beings as the next person. But here I am, watching Ridley Scott’s Alien in the middle of the day, and I’m hiding behind my hands. Continue reading “Alien”