First month of the year down! Months where I’m on break usually mean I’m spending even more time watching movies. This month I caught up on most of my Oscar viewing, as every year since 2008 I’ve watched every movie nominated for Best Picture. In the past couple of years, I’ve also attempted to watch movies with acting, screenplay, and cinematography nominations, though I’ve always ended up a couple of movies short by the ceremony until this year! So this month I finished watching the movies nominated in those categories. Additionally, I like to try and watch all the movies nominated for Best Animated Feature, which I failed at last year. I have one more to watch for this year’s nominations, which is The Pirates! Band of Misfits, so I plan on watching it at some point this month. But anyway, I’ll make separate entries for my thoughts on this year’s Academy Awards, as well as possibly looking back on past winners and nominees in honor of the awards season. So now on to my movie-viewing of the past month!
New-to-Me Films by Decade:
- 1920s – 1
- 1930s – 7
- 1940s – 7
- 1950s – 5
- 1960s – 4
- 1970s – 3
- 1980s – 3
- 1990s – 1
- 2000s – 2
- 2010s – 12
List of New-to-Me Films:
- Hamlet (1948)
- Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)
- High Anxiety (1977)
- Beau Geste (1939)
- The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
- Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
- Looper (2012)
- Theodora Goes Wild (1936)
- Hitchcock (2012)
- The Impossible (2012)
- Manhattan Melodrama (1934)
- The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
- Jailhouse Rock (1957)
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
- The Defiant Ones (1958)
- Amour (2012)
- Django Unchained (2012)
- Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
- The Great Race (1965)
- The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
- The Little Foxes (1941)
- Mrs. Miniver (1942)
- Royal Wedding (1951)
- Anna Karenina (2012)
- Mean Streets (1973)
- Life of Pi (2012)
- Raising Arizona (1987)
- The Sessions (2012)
- Libeled Lady (1936)
- Monkey Business (1952)
- Heathers (1989)
- Flight (2012)
- Stella Dallas (1937)
- The Children’s Hour (1961)
- The Navigator (1924)
- Blood Simple. (1984)
- You Gotta Stay Happy (1948)
- Marty (1955)
- Ocean’s Eleven (1960)
- Paris Blues (1961)
- Born to Dance (1936)
- Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005)
- The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)
- The Stranger (1946)
- Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)
Trends and Notes:
- After watching two more movies this month starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, I now just need to watch 3 more movies to complete their pairing filmography!
- As I mentioned earlier, most of this month was spent watching movies in preparation for this year’s Academy Awards. I watched 5 of the 9 Best Picture nominees this month (I saw Argo in November and the other 3 in December).
- I watched the 3 movies Teresa Wright was Oscar-nominated for in a row (she won Best Supporting Actress for Mrs. Miniver).
- Royal Wedding marked my halfway point in Fred Astaire’s filmography.
- Watched 2 movies directed by William A. Wellman in a row.
- Watched 3 movies directed by William Wyler (2 of them in a row).
- Watched 3 movies directed by the Coen Brothers. All 3 also became personal favorites of mine, but sadly didn’t make the top 5 of the month.
Five Favorite Discoveries:
I think this might be one of Woody Allen’s lesser-seen movies as I don’t hear much about it. His most famous film, Annie Hall, was originally supposed to be a drama centered around a murder but obviously, that bit got cut out. This movie in a way, is that original concept of Annie Hall, especially since Woody Allen and Diane Keaton lead the cast (it also stars Alan Alda and Anjelica Huston). And it made for a very fun movie! It also references a number of Old Hollywood films, such as Double Indemnity and The Lady from Shanghai, which is always a plus for me.
Recommended if you enjoy: Annie Hall and Rear Window.
This movie tells a pretty simple story and is told at approximately 75 minutes. In such a short amount of time, the movie really built up to a thrilling climax and conclusion; I was on edge through most of it. I love the tight shots in the movie (especially the one I featured), it made the story all the more intimate. The acting was great all around, and I especially enjoyed the performances by star Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, and Anthony Quinn.
Recommended if you enjoy: 12 Angry Men and High Noon.
Though the main plot is Lou Gehrig’s baseball career, my favorite aspect is the relationship between Gehrig (Gary Cooper) and Eleanor Twitchell (Teresa Wright). Cooper is great in his understated performance as the famous baseball player, but Wright really captivated me, especially towards the end as she watches her husband becoming weaker. The movie isn’t a complete downer though; it’s filled with lots of laughs (such as Lou Gehrig eating Babe Ruth’s hat) and Gehrig’s famous farewell speech.
Unfortunately, I can’t think of any films I’ve seen that are similar to this. But I very much recommend seeing this if you’re a fan of Gary Cooper and baseball!
A really underrated musical! I had a smile on my face the whole time I was watching, but a lot of it had to do with the fact that my favorite actor (James Stewart) was singing and dancing in a musical, and he did a pretty good job for someone who wasn’t a professional like Fred Astaire. I believe this may be the only movie that he actively sang and danced in (correct me if I’m wrong and direct me to these movies). The only other musical I know of that Stewart was in is Ziegfeld Follies, but he didn’t do any singing or dancing in that. Anyway, this was my first Eleanor Powell movie, and wow was she great! It’s a shame she wasn’t in too many movies, but I’m eager to watch more of her. The supporting cast is also just as entertaining.
Recommended if you enjoy: On the Town and Follow the Fleet.
This may just be the saddest movie I’ve ever seen, I was filled with tears on several occasions. Terrific performances by Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi, who play an elderly couple forced to geographically separate after losing their house. Director Leo McCarey was acknowledged at the Oscars on numerous occasions but unfortunately didn’t get any recognition for this. In fact, he won Best Director for a different movie he did the same year, The Awful Truth, and in his acceptance speech said: “Thanks, but you gave it to me for the wrong picture.” As much as I love The Awful Truth, I’m inclined to agree. This story could have easily turned too sentimental but instead, he made it very realistic in its depressing nature.
Recommended if you enjoy: Amour and Tokyo Story (admittedly I haven’t seen the latter but I plan on watching it in the near future).
February marks the beginning of TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar, my favorite month on my favorite channel! Throughout the month I plan on posting a weekly schedule on movies that are worth seeing, as well as movies I’d like to try to watch on the channel. I’ll post week one’s schedule later today.