#300- The African Queen

Quick recap: She’s a missionary, he a riverboat captain who delivers the mail to remote areas in Africa. Together, they team up to fight the Germans and maybe even fall in love.

Fun (?) fact: Katharine Hepburn was so disgusted with John Huston and Humphrey Bogart’s drinking during filming that she stuck to water only. As a result she got dysentery, which is some kind of life lesson I feel I should pay attention to.

My thoughts: In the hierarchy of Romantic movies, the ‘ uptight woman falls in love with spineless man’ is probably my least favorite. I was worried that’s what I was heading into with this film, but I’m so glad that ended up not being the case.

I loved Katharine Hepburn as Rosie and I would even venture to say she is one of my favorite characters I have encountered on this list. There was just something about her instant love of adventure that immediately endeared her to me. I’d like to think I would do the same in her situation, except picking leeches off the love of my life. Sorry. Rapids, yes. Germans, hell yes. Leeches, no. I also loved Hepburn’s chemistry with Humphrey Bogart’s Charlie. It was a little too much at times but the moments when they were just sitting together and enjoying each other were really sweet. He seemed to genuinely care for her and she for him. I didn’t buy the ending where their tiny little boat sank a German ship but my heart might have melted a bit when at the end they were able to celebrate the fact that they just got married.

The constant threat of danger got a little old after awhile but it also made for an entertaining film so I won’t fault the plot too much. The scenery was lovely and I really appreciated that they filmed on location. Anything less would’ve made this movie a laughing stock, I think. Still, it doesn’t make me want to pack up and trek through Africa anytime soon.  I love a good adventure but the director made it seem that I would be attacked the second I landed.

 

Final review: 5/5

Up next: In Retrospect Part 3!

#281- Deliverance

Quick recap: 4 men go on a canoe trip and end up being hunted by hillbillies.

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Fun (?) fact: According to IMDb, more than 30 people drowned in the Chattooga River after the movie came out because they were trying to recreate different scenes.

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My thoughts: Bonus fun fact- I still have the ‘Dueling Banjos’ melody in my head. It’s better than my usual mashup of the Ducktales theme song/Mentos commercial, but I’d still like to move on from it, all the same. So. Deliverance. This movie is in the category of Movies People Unnecessarily Warn Me About, like The Exorcist. Yes, there were disturbing scenes, but it was no more or less disturbing than other movie I have watched on this list

Before I spew my actual thoughts about the film, I have a confession to make. Saturday Night Live’s Celebrity Jeopardy is one of my favorite things ( like most people, I assume), but I never really understood the Burt Reynolds impersonation until this movie. I haven’t seen many films that he is in but after watching Deliverance, I realize that I don’t need to in order to understand who he is. And, tangentially, what was up with that vest Reynolds wore? What was it made of? It seems like the kind of clothing that would chafe you until you were driven insane, but this is Burt Reynolds we are talking about, so maybe he was in his element.

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You could stand to show a little more chest hair, Mr. Reynolds

So. Deliverance. It didn’t do much for me, although I can appreciate turning so common, like a river, into something so sinister. I guess I’m meh about the whole thing because I was expecting more disturbing scenes than I got. Literally the only thing I knew about this movie was the rape scene, and although it was rough, it didn’t bother me like the one in Man Bites Dog did. Maybe because it’s a man, more people are shocked? On the other hand, this movie did not make me want to go jump into a canoe anytime soon. I’m not really a fan of being in the water anyway, but watching Deliverance made me all the more weary to go camping or some other similar adventure.

Final review: 2/5. I think my ambivalence comes from my dislike of most of the characters. Burt Reynolds was never supposed to be likeable, but I didn’t really care what happened to any of them.

Up next: Horrorfest marches on

 

 

 

 

 

#271- Planet of the Apes

Quick recap: An astronaut lands on a mysterious planet where Man is the inferior race, ruled over by Apes.

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Fun (?) fact: Actors were required to keep their ape-masks on at all times during filming because makeup took so long. As a result, lunch was mostly liquified and fed through straws. Yum!

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My thoughts: My gift to you, dear readers, is that I promise not to mention a certain ape who was cruelly taken from our lives just a few months ago in Cincinnati. EVEN though evidence suggests he was most likely an ape from the future, here to warn us about Man’s destructive path. #ripHarambe

Moving on, Planet of the Apes is probably the best B-movie that’s not supposed to be a B-movie. The main plot about apes ruling over Man is so ridiculous yet it works. There is SO much to laugh at: the overacting by Charlton Heston, the crazy rubber masks that creeped me out, and I still left the theater that night knowing that I had watched something truly profound.

As much as I hated Charlton Heston in this film, and BOY did I hate Charlton Heston, he was still the absolute best choice for the role. It’s his anger and impulsiveness that only remind the apes that they have made the right decision in reducing Man to a wild species, yet he was supposedly the ‘hero’ in all of this. It’s what makes this movie so much more than just a Science Fiction story- the idea that who we hail as ‘hero’ may actually be the opposite. I never really liked him to begin with, although that may also be because I knew about the big reveal beforehand. It could also be because I was really creeped out by his and Nova’s relationship. I mean, yes, she was a human, but in this future, she was basically a wild animal. And he wanted to restart society with her? I guess someone has to be the one to bite the bullet but on the other hand, ew.

Please hold me, you damn dirty apes.

           Please hold me, you damn dirty apes. ( If you get this reference, I love you, whoever you are)

Final review: 5/5. I know the sequels are just plain ridiculous but now I want to see them

Up next: Vinyl

#270- Raiders of the Lost Ark

Quick recap: Han Solo is in a race to find the fabled Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis do.

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Fun (?) fact: During filming, nearly all of the cast and crew contracted food poisoning at some point, except Steven Spielberg who only ate cans of Spaghetti-Os.

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My thoughts: As seems to be the case with really popular movies lately, this was my first time watching Raiders of the Lost Ark. I don’t really have a reason for not watching sooner, except that Adventure movies aren’t really my thing. This movie didn’t change that for me, but I can at least appreciate what it did to the genre.

I’m certainly not on the Spielberg Hate Wagon ( great band name, FYI), but his director trademarks can be tiresome. Thankfully, Raiders of the Lost Ark kept sappiness and deep seated daddy issues at bay. I am glad, however, that he stuck with his old pal John Williams to create a wonderfully memorable soundtrack. It’s not my favorite of their collaboration, but it was perfect for the movie and really amped up all the action scenes.

The action scenes themselves were the main ‘wow’ factor and I loved the homage to older adventure films where it seemed someone was in danger every few minutes. It’s delightfully ridiculous at times, but also amazing to see how perfectly executed everything is. And Harrison Ford was perfect for the role, of course. No one can play know-it-all ass like he can. Dare I say that I prefer him as Indiana Jones over Han Solo? I feel like I should soak myself in holy water for even thinking something so blasphemous.

My only complaint with the movie is a very minor, personal one, as most complaints tend to be. Being the geek I am, I was most on the edge of my seat during any conversation about the Ark of the Covenant. There’s so much history here! Archeology has interested me for a long time so I’m probably the only person out there who could’ve gone with more talking and less action.

Final review: 5/5 because of course!

Up next: Planet of the Apes