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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

What I've Been Watching (July 14-21, 2020)

The Sting (1973) (Greatest Movie of All-Time Podcast) - Peacock TV

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

King Kong (1933) - HBO Max (AFI 100 - 2007)

- For a nearly 90 year old movie, the special effects and ability of this movie still rather hold up for me. I know that most people will fail it based on it being black and white, claymation set pieces, and the dated framing of shots. However, this is still a charming movie when given context and consideration especially since this movie was only 5 years after we even had talking pictures. The lead performances still held up, and, given that it wasn't an eternity like some of the following movie due to not enough editing, I think it is well worth the time to see.

Sophie's Choice (1982) - HBO Max (AFI 100 - 2007)

- What a gut-wrenching movie within a movie. I know that the film was based off of a book on the same story, but the work done here to depict Meryl Streep in Auschwitz is horrifying and deeply depressing. I won't ruin the ending (even though it may ruin you), but Streep is one of the few actors/actresses that can become completely lost within a role. Every Tom Hanks, John Wayne, Jack Nicholson, or James Stewart role is just degrees of themselves, but you can never say that of Streep. A must watch for every Streep fan, and a moving movie for fans of cinema.

Bringing Up Baby (1938) - HBO Max (AFI 100 - 2007)

- A great old Rom-Com that, for fans of modern ones, you can definitely see the influences from. Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn are at their star best here, and the movie is infectiously charming from the second scene to the end. Hepburn's turn as the world's most klutzy women is incredibly effective and endearing. A recommended light watch for any movie fan, and might just be on my must-see list.

The Gold Rush (1925) - HBO Max (AFI 100 - 2007)

- Another Chaplin great that I got through over the weekend. I understand that most won't see these due to their silent nature and I would normally be in that club, but, if you want to greatly expand your understanding of cinema history, these are a great place to start. Chaplin's set pieces in the Yukon from cliff sides to wintry dance halls are still effective, and give you a sense of the lesser ability of movies at the time. However, this is on a short list of silent films that should be on every film historian's list.

Modern Times (1936) - HBO Max (AFI 100 - 2007)

- My favorite of the three Chaplin movies on the AFI list, this movie start with a great take on modern technology being used to solve a non-existent problem, and I would definitely point that at a lot of short-term investor types or overeager capitalists. As for the rest of the film, why does every Chaplin film seemingly have him getting in and out of jail? It's an odd thing for any time period, but an enjoyable silent film nonetheless.

The Man who Shot Liberty Valence (1962) - Amazon Prime

- I personally consider this one of the two best John Ford films along with the Searchers. The narrative weave of the story balancing the competing forces of law and order vs. the lawlessness of the West. As the clash between Ransom Stoddard and Liberty Valence comes to a head, Tom Donovan is forced to choose between the life he's led with the girl of his dreams, and the changing times as well as the desires of his love. Featuring epic roles for John Wayne, James Stewart, and Lee Marvin, this is a classic for any Westerns fan that is a must-see on my list.

The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) - CBS All Access (Best Picture Winner)

- Cross another off of my Best Picture winner viewing list. All I knew about this going in was it was a movie my father really enjoyed it as a 5 year old kid watching off of the movie of the week on TV. Unfortunately, this seems most like an advertisement for the Circus with a little plot mixed in. Add in the fact that this is about an hour too long, and you get a long and boring Best Picture Winner. However, I understand why it won at the time even if it doesn't deserve it in hindsight. The spectacle of the movie was the thing of the time in the 50s and early 60s, and this movie does deliver on that. Ultimately, it is a skippable viewing.

Gone with the Wind (1939) - HBO Max (Best Picture Winner and AFI 100 - 2007)

- The controversial epic by David O. Selznik that covers the bestselling novel of the same name. To be fair, it has been controversial since it came out, and not just recently due to its depictions of black people, glossing over slavery, and outright glorifies the mythological nature of the South. Scarlett O'Hara is a great feminist hero character of the day, but also an anti-hero that is grossly unlikeable for most of the film. It is a complicated film in nature, but it is worth seeing and discussing given that, inflation-adjusted, it is the highest-grossing film of all-time. It is an enjoyable epic despite its subject material.

Ocean's Thirteen (2007) - AMC

- Probably the funniest of the Ocean's trilogy, this is the second best of them for me. I love the pacing of this one compared to Twelve, and it gets to the point much faster. There isn't a deceptive reveal, at least not one like the other two movies, but it certainly brings the fun. I probably watch this one at least once a year, and it is a great rewatch for anyone who likes heist movies and movie stars being movie stars.

A Night at the Opera (1935) - TCM (AFI 100 - 2007)

A great Marx brothers film here, I am thoroughly surprised at how much these movies hold up given that comedies age the worst of any genre with only horror or action being in competition. However, the state room scene is still comedic gold, and the contract scene is glorious. A great older rewatch for comedy fans.

My Weekly Shows:

Perry Mason (Ep. 1.5) - HBO Max

- We finally got our Perry Mason moment at the end of the episode. As Perry is thundering away in the kitchen talking about the case, you can see where the show is now heading, and why EB had to go that way in order to set things in motion. We are finally moving like a snowball downhill, and the show is picking up more and more speed with each episode. If you have made it this far, strap in, and enjoy the ride.

Holey Moley! Season 2 - The Sequel - ABC/Hulu

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