More tiny, superficial, opinionated, subjective and biased reviews. At least they don’t take long to read.
The first 2 are a couple classic video projects by some video pioneers and great musicians.
Elephant Parts (1981)
Got it for a dollar and well worth it. This was the video millions bought their first VCR to watch back in the hazy days of 1980, the first feature length video album, created by, written and starring Mike Nesmith, the former Monkee and inventer of the concept of MTV and a video pioneer extraordinaire. The effects are dated, the skits’ humor and production highschoolish, and the songs are goofy but it has a certain charm and is well worth a dollar. I don’t want to over sell it.
True Stories (1986)
Much better is Talking Heads frontman David Byrne’s weird ass movie about a small Texas town celebrating its sesquicentennial. Its strange and hilarious in a weird, quiet way. John Goodman is actually very good in it too, but David Byrne, with a mild, quiet deadpan delivery is the star. Also worth it from the bargain bin.
Ripley’s Game (2002)
John Malkovich in the sequel to Talented Mr. Ripley. Sounds good, I wondered why I missed this movie. There’s a good reason. It blows chunks. I’ll probably never watch this movie again. Its extremely low budget, most of the action takes place in 2 living rooms or with the actors talking to each other on the phone (always the giveaway of low budget, the actors weren’t even on the set the same fucking day), the dialogue sucks, the story is implausible and stupid and bears zero resemblance to The Talented Mr. Ripley although it has the same protagonist and is based on the same series of books. John is just picking up a paycheck here. It has the guy from Sexy Beast and no one else I’ve ever heard of in my life. I’ve wasted too long talking about it already in addition to the 2 hours I lost watching it.
Tea with Mussolini (1999)
Its Cher again, plus its Maggie Smith and Judy Dench again in this semi-autobiographical Franco Zefferelli flick of his childhood during WWII Italy and there are Nazies and English ex-patriates trying to deal with them and Mussolini and Italian fascists and all sorts of to-do and Judy Dench’s dog almost gets thrown out of a window. Oh yes, these Italian fascists were cruel and inhuman. But in the end everyone gets away and lives happily ever after and the kid grows up to be an artsy-fartsy film maker. Sorry, spoiler. If this was how terrible Brits trapped in Italy had it during the war, what with no crumpets with their tea, which was often as much as 15 minutes late, well I have to say it was just ghastly and inhuman! The movie? Its ok I guess.
I bought this because George Clooney was talking about it in Elmore Leonard’s “Out of Sight” and I remembered it was pretty good. Its not. Its dated as a motherfucker but it is prescient about what a shithole TV would become. Well hell, it was a shithole back in the early 80’s when they made this movie so really no surprise, huh? It does have the classic lines “Go to your window, open it up and shout out ‘we’re mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore!'” I wanted to do that after watching 15 mins of this movie. It does have Faye Dunaway naked back when she looked halfway good and wasn’t half plastic, on the upside.
Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984)
McCartney’s self-written movie with lots of great songs and he does some stuff in between to space the songs out. If you like the Beatles and Paul, ok. If not, skip it. Great bunch of videos of some of his best songs, so there’s that, anyway, and Ringo’s on drums! (and in one scene John Paul Jones is on bass!)
Fat Man & Little Boy (1989)
Has Paul Newman, John Cusack and Laura Dern and damn little else. Its about the making of the atom bomb. People died making it, people died taking it. That’s it.
Molly Maguires (1970)
An old one, but Sean Connery proves he was more than just James Bond. If you’ve never seen Richard Harris in anything but Harry Potter movies, check this out to realize he was once a great actor.