As always, links to the other sections are appended at the bottom, and if there’s a film you hold in high regard, do go ahead and leave any suggestions in the comments.
Since I’ve summarized the thematic point of the film, you should no longer feel obligated to watch it. It’s
The Terminator –
Three Amigos –
Top Secret! –Old review here. Top Secret! makes Monty Python’s Holy Grail look slow and dull and dated. No other film has such a sustained and rapid onslaught of visual jokes except for maybe Scott Pilgrim, which undercuts its own appeal by aiming so much humor squarely at nerds and hipsters.
People masquerading as critical consumers of media automatically (and quite stupidly) dismiss this as a stupid Michael Bay movie, but nobody rolls out a slicker Bayhem movie than the Bay himself, and Transformers undeniably crushes all alternatives in straight-up, effects-driven action movies. Just see the highway chase with Bonecrusher barreling through a truck, the opening assault on the Qatar base, or the shot of Ironhide blasting himself off the ground to avoid incoming missiles and a screaming woman. Even the cheesy and very well-worn subplot of dorky nerd Sam Witwicky trying to impress hot car mechanic Megan Fox has grown on me with repeated viewings. All this is topped off with one of the most epic-sounding, dramatic, woefully underrated scores ever. You’d have to wear a Decepticon sticker on your car to not appreciate this modern classic in waiting.
The Tree of Life –
Tron: Legacy –
True Grit (2010) –
The Truman Show –
12 Monkeys –
The Village –
Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Wererabbit –
Walk the Line –
Walk the Line doesn’t break any new ground in how to structure an artistic genius story: you’ve got the detached husband who dreams of making it big and the wife who wants him to choose a safer, family-centered career, montage sequences of said husband rising into stardom, drug addiction, infidelity, beautiful romantic interest who’s “too afraid to fall in love”, lots of movie-ish stuff we’ve seen before. Rarely are these stock components executed as movingly as they are in Walk the Line. I’m not sure how much of it is factual, but given that it’s based on Johnny Cash’s autobiography, I doubt that any of it was meant to besmirch his legacy. I would recommend this film to anyone who thinks that country music has always sucked, or who thinks that Straight Outta Compton or Pitch Perfect were aca-effing-mazing. Not only would they hear a splendid recreation of the sound of Johnny Cash and June Carter, but they’d also get to see one of the most versatile actors ever, Joaquin Phoenix, turn into a complete and utter wreck on camera. And people think that Leo gets cheated at the Oscars.
Kind of like this decade’s Karate Kid or Rocky, but with drumming and a million times better directed, acted, and edited. Makes you want to play an instrument so you too can get the girl of your dreams. Or maybe not. Check it out. Even if you hate jazz. No, especially if you hate jazz, not because it’ll endow you with a new appreciation for the art of jazz but because you can then tell all your simpleton friends who love jazz that you thought Whiplash was the coolest movie ever and those friends will no longer be able to call you “ignorant” for correctly asserting that jazz is garbage.