#226- Amadeus

Thank you to Josh for recommending the movie, thus ensuring that I have ‘Marriage of Figaro’ stuck in my head for many days to come .

Quick recap: The incredibly sad story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as told by the guy who hated him most.

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Fun (?) fact: Director Milos Forman didn’t even bother having the actors use an accent in the movie because he wanted them to focus on their characters. It almost makes me feel bad to think about all the things I said about Tom Cruise and his lack of accent in the movie Valkyrie. Almost.

 

My thoughts: Of course I loved Amadeus. I may not get the point of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? , but I’m not a complete monster. Then again, I also uploaded a video of the Bloodhound Gang, so let’s just say I break even and move on.

The very first thing I did after finishing the movie was head over to Wikipedia to see how much of Amadeus was true and it turns out- it’s actually rather accurate. Of course there are scenes that probably didn’t take place, but seeing as how the movie is about a guy who lived over two hundred years ago, it’s a little difficult to pin facts down. Most scholars believe that Salieri didn’t really hate Mozart all that much, although they certainly weren’t BFFs or anything. It’s this detail that keeps me from embracing the film completely, although I certainly understand the reasoning of having a villain. Man versus Himself is much harder to portray on film, even though it is closer to the truth. Mozart was a genius and he knew it, and I think that’s what ultimately did him in- that he saw the genius in himself when others didn’t. I mean, he was celebrated while he was alive, but he also died penniless and was buried in a pauper’s grave. As for Salieri, the film does an excellent job painting him as a villain, but also someone that, although it is uncomfortable, we can relate to as an audience. Jealousy is an ugly thing and also something we all wrestle with.

What I loved most about the film, I think, was the way the music was woven into different scenes. Not only did I get to see snippets of some of his operas but I was also able to experience the music as it related to who he was. I’m by no means a genius composer (or AM I?) but I am consumed by music from the time I get up until I go to sleep and sometimes even while I sleep. The music I listen to is not a hobby, it is who I am. I have a playlist on Spotify that if you listen to it chronologically, it tells a story of me and all that has happened the past few years. In Amadeus, Mozart gets so obsessed with Requiem that it almost kills him. He didn’t just compose the music, he WAS the music and the two could never be separated.

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Final review: 5/5.

Up next: Oh, Voyager

 

#217- The Color of Pomegranates

Quick recap: Red. The color of pomegranates is red. And sometimes pink, but mostly red.

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I’ve seen a lot of life hacks about eating pomegranates, but this is a new one

Fun (?) fact: Director Sergei Parajanov once said that the American public didn’t understand his movie because people ‘are going to this picture as to a holiday.’

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Weirdest holiday ever.

My thoughts: The Color of Pomegranates is about the life of Armenian poet, Sayat-Nova. Despite being a a biographical film, there isn’t really a plot, or words, or characters or anything that would help me understand what I was watching at any point in time. So instead, I took everything at face value and came up with a few highlights to share with you about Sayat-Nova’s life:

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As a young boy, nothing made Sayat-Nova happier than dancing while his face was obscured with an instrument

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His real passion, as we will see throughout this film, was holding stuff

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From his angsty teenage years

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Sayat-Nova cared about his studies and finally got accepted into a university that specialized in professional pomegranate eating

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Sadly, Sayat-Nova died. His many friends attended the funeral

Now, it could be that director Sergei Parajanov put everything in here as a symbol, but as a stupid American who doesn’t appreciate good film, I wouldn’t know better.

Final review: 1/5. Supposedly this is a gorgeous film with a ton of meaning, but it went WAY over my head.

Up next: Detour

 

 

#211- Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Quick recap: Henry is a serial killer with a heart of gold.

…..That’s pretty much all it’s about, honestly.

Michael Rooker (Henry) looks like a cross between Heath Ledger and Lyle Lovett. Squint a little and you can totally see it.

Michael Rooker (Henry) looks like a cross between Heath Ledger and Lyle Lovett. Squint a little and you can totally see it.

Fun (?) fact: Lots of good trivia on this movie, but my favorite is that the music was mixed in a studio run by a group of Christian rock and roll guys. They weren’t amused when they learned the music was going towards a film so disturbing. IF you listen to the music, though, I don’t see what else it could have gone to besides a horror film.

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My thoughts: According to Netflix and my 1001 movies book, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is one of the ‘most disturbing films of all time.’ Cue eye roll. Of the movies I have seen on this list so far, I would give the title of Most Disturbing to Funny Games because not only did it have gore, it also made the viewer an accomplice by breaking the fourth wall. I wasn’t scared in the least bit by Henry, but I can say I was adequately disturbed. Not overly so, but disturbed nonetheless.

For one thing, Henry is so different than the other serial killers pop culture knows. He doesn’t have a pattern or reason why he kills; he just does. Sometimes he is angry, sometimes it’s for revenge, sometimes it’s for fun and sometimes it’s because he’s had a bad day and what better way to relax than to break a hooker’s neck? There is a romance (and I use that term in the loosest since possible) plot and for awhile, I bought into it, thinking that Henry would settle down once he gets with this girl. NOPE. Some of the deaths were a little on the disturbing side, but the dead bodies didn’t seem all that realistic to me so that was a little underwhelming. Still, it was nice to have a killer that I actually hated for once and didn’t feel any sort of emotional attachment to.

One of the other things that caught my attention with this movie is that it doesn’t have a happy ending. I won’t spoil what happens for once, but it’s definitely not happy. Which I like, because horror movies that end with everything back to normal kind of sucks the fun out of the whole thing. This one wants you to feel as uncomfortable as possible with your surroundings. The director deliberately left out any reference to cops or anything because he wanted the audience to feel like this is a lawless place, where killers are allowed to roam free. Add to that, this movie barely has a plot. Most of the time it’s just Henry meeting someone and then killing them in some way. In the beginning, I was hopeful that someone was going to do something about all of this but by the end I had pretty much accepted my fate and knew that no character was safe.

It's set in Chicago, a town not normally known for having a bunch of murders.

It’s set in Chicago, a town not normally known for having a bunch of murders.

Final review: This was a tough one because although I appreciate what the movie was trying to accomplish, I just didn’t really enjoy it. It was disturbing in all of the wrong ways (incest, for example). 2/5

Up next: HorrorFest!

#194- The Sound of Music

Quick recap: A singing nun takes on the role of governess for 7 children and teaches their widower father about love.

The hills are ablaze with the euphonious symphonies of descant

The hills are ablaze with the euphonious symphonies of descant

Fun (?) fact: Julie Andrews fell several times while on the mountain

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My thoughts: Oh, Sound of Music. I fell in love with this movie as a kid after my music teacher showed it to us in its entirety. I have since seen many more ( sometimes better) musicals as an adult, but this one still holds a special place in my heart. Since I am familiar with this movie, watching it again for the list was more about whether it holds up as much as it did when I was little rather than if it is actually a ‘good’ movie.

When I told my husband that I was going to be watching The Sound of Music, he scoffed at how schmaltzy it is. This is coming from someone whose favorite Christmas movie is It’s a Wonderful Life, but that’s for another post.Anyway, while watching it, I could definitely see some schmaltziness, but it just didn’t bother me like I feared it would now that I am a jaded, cynical adult. Like, for instance, how quickly the children latch on to Maria when they are known to have driven several governesses away, including one that only lasted a couple of hours. She’s just someone that you can’t help but want to do good by, though. And Julie Andrews was made for this role. The kids can be eye rollingly cute at times but it is her that completely makes this movie into something wonderful.

Above all things, I love The Sound of Music for, what else, the music. I love every single song and was pleasantly surprised by how many of the lyrics I remembered ( the cats were not impressed with my singing, by the way, especially one who bit me throughout the movie). Edelweiss is still my favorite because of its simplicity and yet all the complicated things it stood for. For a kid just getting acquainted to the ‘adult’ world, this movie was a perfect bridge between childhood and adolescence. It was the first time I really understood the Nazi regime and how terrible everything was, and yet there was a happy ending so that I could still have hope. It may be schmaltzy, but it’s my kind of schmaltzy.

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Final review: 5/5.

Up next: All that Jazz