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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

What I've Been Watching (August 5-August 11, 2020)

Full Metal Jacket (1987) (Greatest Movie of All-Time Podcast) - Starz

- Listen to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Overcast, Pocketcasts, and RadioPublic

Fantasia (1940) - Disney+ (AFI 100 - 1998)

- This is a film that would be boring to the average movie-goer of today, but, for its time and its audience, this was a huge achievement. Essentially, Disney uses their prowess to create animated magic behind some of the most memorable classical music most of which you probably didn't realize you knew. Also featuring two of the most iconic sequences in Disney history with the demons in the last scene and the Sorcerer's Apprentice, this is a good one to see for any Disney fan.

All Quiet on the Western Front - Peacock TV (Best Picture Winner 1930, AFI 100 - 1998)

- Known as one of the greatest anti-war films of all-time, this certainly differs from many of the more heroic war films for the decades following. It has many flaws, notably the lack of acting in certain scenes or lack of emotion that would be in a modern film brought out by a good score, but several of these scenes are absolutely amazing feats especially in context. The tracking shot of machine gun warfare as the Germans charge out of the foxhole is grade A filmmaking. I would also highlight the scene in the foxhole with the bombs landing overhead while they wait to see if one gets them or the scene of stabbing the enemy soldier or finally the ones within the hospital. While this has many drawbacks and limitations, it is an important film that needs to be better highlighted. For a war quite often overlooked due to the lack of American involvement for most of it and the more gripping narrative of the Second World War, the final scenes are compelling and rich as to the real costs of war.

Intolerance (1916) - Prime (AFI 100 - 2007)

- Despite not being a full version of the DW Griffith's epic, the two-hour version of this still gives you a sense of the massive scale the Griffith had for his follow-up to his most famous movie. The degree to which Griffith recreates ancient Babylon, Enlightenment France, and the time of Christ (IN 1916!) is seriously impressive. Now, because I couldn't see the true version of Intolerance that Griffith would have intended, it's hard for it not to seem disjointed. It's extremely hard to follow who all of the major characters are at times, and the transitions between scenes (not time periods where the cradle makes for a good maguffin) is also difficult. It also has not aged well in many contexts like most of Griffith's work. However, despite it's limitations, this is still an impressive feat for its time, and it is a marvel; just not one I would recommend to too many others.

Doctor Zhivago (1965) - HBO Max (AFI 100 - 1998)

- For being the odd man out of the David Lean trio of classic films that didn't win Best Picture, this was by far his highest grossing movie, and, at last glance, was still inside the top 10 all-time in inflation-adjusted gross box office. Like with several of his epics, this does drag a little in spots, but Lean's flair for pulling what he can out of a scene through its framing is still superb here. Ultimately, this story is of lost love all around from almost every character as they go through the brutal Russian revolution, but tries to teach us appreciation in every moment we have with one another. Definitely a good movie to have seen, and I look forward to watching it for the podcast.

Oliver! (1967) - TCM (Best Picture Winner 1968)

- As I've watched many of these old musicals, I've been fascinated by how many songs that were familiar to me even if I didn't know where they came from. Additionally, it has always struck me how big and impressive the production values are on these huge musical movies especially from those adapted from the stage. However, that being said, there is something that is still lost going from the stage to the screen, and its something I can't quite put my finger on. Still, after you get through the nearly depressing first half hour of this movie, it is quite a fun little adventure til the end that is a classic for any fan of movie musicals, and, while it's not on the level with the very best, it is still a fun one to watch.

M*A*S*H* (1970) - Dad's Collection (AFI 100 - 2007)

- The movie that launched the most successful sitcom of all-time. It was interesting to me how many people I knew in this movie once I paid attention a little not expecting Donald Sutherland, Elliot Gould, Tom Skerritt, and Robert Duval. However, there are clear limitations here both in narrative structure and in the comedy. At the center of every good sitcom is heart, and there are elements in here. Yet, having watched bits and pieces of the TV show over the years when my dad had it on in rerun, it works better as a TV show with a laugh track, and with the better timing of the actors on the show. Also, I don't remember anything from the TV show being quite so ham-handed as the suicide scene because the dentist convinced himself he was gay. There are several jokes that have definitely not aged well here, and I don't think this would have been in the AFI list if it were updated again. I am not even going to try to explain the football sequence. I have no idea why it's in here.

Vertigo (1958) - Peacock TV (AFI 100 - 2007)

- Quite possibly Alfred Hitchcock's best film, Vertigo is a film that has seemingly become more and more appreciated with every passing year. The first few times, you don't appreciate all of the shot framing that Hitchcock to did to add to the tone of the film, but it is something I have noticed with each reviewing. It is still one of the better scores of the Hitchcock cycle, and an absolute must-see for movie fans or thriller fans. The last scene is still stunningly iconic, and will leave you breathless.

North by Northwest (1959) - HBO Max (AFI 100 - 2007)

- If you wish to have my full thoughts, visit episode two of the Greatest Movie of All-Time podcast:

My Weekly Shows:

Perry Mason (Ep. 1.8) - HBO Max

- The season finale, and we are getting a season two. We tied off most of the loose ends, and got an ending I wasn't exactly expecting but probably deserved. The case resolution was probably the one that we deserved based on the back and forth nature of the trial and the season. Outside of that, every other ending was either predictable or at the very least unsurprising. I am glad that we get more Matthew Rhys as he's grown into this role throughout the season, but its going to need to up its writing a lot more for season two if I'm going to invest much more beyond that. Also, given the limitations in filming for the immediate future, they're going to have plenty of time to write and produce it. I'll cross my fingers til then.

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