The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

My movie confessions

with 47 comments

I have a confession to make.

After being away for vacation I’ve taken a few days extra off from blogging. I told myself I needed and deserved a little break, but to be honest I think it was more about being completely sucked into the Game of Thrones book series by George Martin.

Now I’m in the last volume and the harsh reality has started to whisper truths in my ear. When I’m finished I’m likely to have to wait for years to see the continuation of all those storylines. The sooner I’m through this book, the longer will my wait be. Hurrying gives me nothing but frustration and I’d better regain control over myself and get back to blogging.

Besides I’ve got a neat queue of films that I’ve watched during my vacations that I need to write about, the sooner the better, a queue which grows every day.

I feel a little bit out of shape though. It’s as if I’ve lost my memory of how to write a review. As a warm-up I thought I’d join Nostra’s insanely successful Movie Confessions Blogathon, an eon after everyone else. I’m not worried though. You can never get enough of confessions can you? There’s nothing as enjoyable as to watch other people airing their dirty laundry.

So with no further ado, here we go. It’s confession time!

Which classic movie don’t you like/can’t enjoy and why?

I suppose Synecdoche, New York can be considered a modern classic, at least among film buffs. And I’m usually a big fan of Charlie Kaufman’s writing. But to be completely honest I didn’t get a thing of this film. All I remember from it now is how hard I had to struggle not to fall asleep. But I swear that I’ll give it a new try one day. Maybe it was just the stars having a bad aligning.

Which ten classic movies haven’t you seen yet?

The question isn’t as much which ten classic movies I haven’t seen as which ten classic movies I have seen. Never having taken a film class and spending most of my film watching time watching films that come up in theatres now, my cinematic education is lacking.

I decided to use The 1,000 Greatest Films to pick my ten most embarrassing omissions, starting from the top and working myself down until I had reached ten.

  1. Citizen Kane
  2. The Rules of the Game
  3. 8 1/2
  4. The Searchers
  5. Tokyo Story
  6. Sunrise
  7. Bicycle Thief
  8. L’Atalante (which I hadn’t even heard of before checking this list)
  9. Raging Bull
  10. Rashomon.

Have you ever sneaked into another movie at the cinema?

No! With the risk of sounding incredibly boring and selfrighteous: the idea has never crossed my mind, not even when I was young and poor. It might have to do with the fact that we’ve had a system where you book specific seats in Sweden for years. There’s a huge risk that you take the seat of someone else, which inevitably will be discovered.

Which actor/actress do you think is overrated?

It’s a close call between Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy but I think the win goes to Laurel and Hardy. That kind of slapstick comedy gives me nothing apart from rashes and the uncomfortable feeling of being a complete bore who doesn’t laugh at slapstick.

From which big director have you never seen any movie (and why)?

There are loads and loads of them, so it’s a bit hard to choose. Truffaut, Godard, Ozu, the list is endless. The reason is simple: too much too watch, too little time available. I decided to stick with Frank Borzage, since I’ve been recommended him so strongly by some people. Perhaps mentioning him in this shaming thread might give him a push up on my priority list.

Which movie do you love, but is generally hated?

Who am I to tell what’s generally hated? I decided to use IMDb’s rating as a measuring tool. Since people generally are very generous with their star rating at IMDb, anything that is under 6,0 must be considered a pretty bad rating. Honorable mentionings to Black Sheep (NZ, 2006), with a 5,9 rating and to 9 1/2 weeks at a 5,5 rating. Black Sheep is intentionally silly but quite fun in it’s absurdity. I don’t remember all that much of 9 1/2 weeks apart from that it was incredibly steamy and that it featured a still young and handsome Mickey Rourke. But it surely must have been worth more than 5,5.

The film I disagree most about is The Cars that Ate Paris at 5,0. It’s an early, charming and entirely creative story about a great-to-be director, Peter Weir. Catch it if you can!


Have you ever been “one of those annoying people” at the cinema?

Yes! Usually they dub movies intended for children in Sweden, but the Harry Potter series came with subtitles when they first opened in cinemas (they were dubbed for the DVD edition later on.) My youngest daughter wanted to see it but wasn’t a quick enough reader to catch the subtitles. So I remember whispering the entire movie in her ear. Very quiet of course, I doubt we made any more noise than the rattling from a popcorn eater. But still. It’s not an acceptable behavior.


Did you ever watch a movie, which you knew in advance would be bad, just because of a specific actor/actress was in it? Which one and why?

I’m usually not enough of a fan to run my legs off to watch something just because of an actor. It is possible though Patrick Stewart’s appearance in X-men turned me a little more positive than I otherwise would have been. I’m very fond of him. Or of Captain Picard. I honestly can’t tell them from each other.

Did you ever not watch a specific movie because it had subtitles?

No! As a Swede I’m used to subtitles on just about anything. Dubbing on the other hand is a nuisance. If I lived in one of the countries where they have the bad habit of doing this, I doubt I’d see those films in a theatre. I’d probably stick to DVD copies where I could watch the films with subtitles instead.

 
Are there any movies in your collection that you have had for more than five years and never watched?

Absolutely, even though my collection of films is too small to even deserve to be called a “collection”. Which I reckon makes it even more shameful that I haven’t watched all there is in it. Here’s just a sample: Blair Witch Project, The Omen, Once Upon a Time in the West, The Passion of Joan of Arc.

Which are the worst movies in your collection and why do you still own them?

OK, I know I’m probably just prejudiced, but there is one double DVD featuring Mean Girls starring Lindsay Lohan and Clueless with Alicia Silverstone. I reckon it’s something that either of my daughters brought to our home. It looks absolutely appalling and I can’t imagine that I’ll ever get to watch it unless some reader has seen it and comes up with a very good reason. The reason why I still own them? Well, I don’t rid myself of anything I have on DVD. There aren’t more of them than I can host them all. Video tapes on the other hand… their days are counted after our video recorder broke down a while ago. It’s not likely to be replaced by a new one.

Do you have any confessions about your movie watching setup at home?

I don’t have any Blue-Ray player, not even any surround audio system. Just a plain TV, fairly small with today’s expectations, and a DVD with a recording system that I’ve forgotten how to manage. I guess it’s one of the reasons why I love watching movies in cinemas so much.


Any other confessions you want to make?

I try to write about every film I’ve watched since I started blogging a year ago, but I’ve slipped a few of times. One of those few occasions was after watching Chinatown. I liked it quite a bit, but I had absolutely nothing to say about it. I think there’s something about revered classics that makes it more difficult to write about them. Yet it bugs me. I should be able to write about just any kind of movie.

And that was all of it. Wow, do I feel relieved!

Written by Jessica

August 1, 2012 at 12:16 am

47 Responses

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  1. Hope you had a great holiday Jessica.

    I stopped reading the Game of Thrones books after a Storm of Swords, pretty much on principle. I will buy all the others when the series is finished or when George Martin passes away. I just frustrated knowing I am unable to pick up the next one in the series because he has not written it yet 🙂

    Reading through these questions I realise just how little I interact with films. I only recognised one title (Citizen Kane) on your list of ten films.

    stnylan

    August 1, 2012 at 12:33 am

    • Thanks, it’s been wonderful. I’m still in a vacation mood so updates might be a little slow here for yet a while.

      I guess I’m pretty well off compared to those who started to read the GoT series when it first came out. Wow, they’ve really needed to be patient. And with all those storylines and people in it… I can’t imagine that I’ll remember much of it when it’s time for the next book, provided that he sticks to theis pace.

      Jessica

      August 1, 2012 at 12:45 am

      • Oh, I’ll certainly need to re-read the lot when it comes time for me to take them up again. At least he’s not as confusing as Steven Ericksson 🙂

        Enjoy the holiday 🙂

        stnylan

        August 1, 2012 at 1:11 am

        • I haven’ty read anything by him but I take that as a warning. I was quite intimidated as it was by Martin to begin with before I decided that I actually didn’t have to keep track and remember who everyone was. You’ll be fine as long as you have a decent understanding of the main characters, those who get their own chapters. The rest are… optional.

          Jessica

          August 1, 2012 at 1:15 am

  2. Okay, I’ll bite. Mean Girls and Clueless are just about the smartest comedies set among teens that have ever been made. They’re not even in the guilty pleasure realm, they’re both actually really, really good. Mean Girls is written by Tina Fey (of Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock), and is a really viciously funny satire of high school behavior, while Clueless is an excellent modern update of Jane Austen’s Emma that manages to stay remarkably true to the tone of the book while also being totally steeped in ’90s teen culture.

    So yeah, if those are the worst movies in your collection, your collection is pretty awesome. You should watch them. Really.

    Jandy

    August 1, 2012 at 12:34 am

    • Hey there Jandy! That’s wonderful to get such a strong recommendation of those movies! Perhaps my daughters have good taste then. 🙂 They’re really not goood at selling it though. The images on the cover make me cringe.

      Jessica

      August 1, 2012 at 12:43 am

    • I have to agree. Clueless and Mean Girls are some of the best comedies towards females audiences that also resonate well with male audiences. I was cautious for years on Clueless, but I enjoyed it! If those are the worse movies you have then your collection is probably stronger than mine.

      Max

      August 1, 2012 at 2:11 am

      • Yeah, Jessica, they’re marketed as lowest-common-denominator type teen comedies, but they’re really much better than that.

        Max, yep! Even my husband likes Mean Girls a whole lot. (He hasn’t seen Clueless, but I know he’d like it, too…) We quote lines back and forth with some frequency. We’re still waiting for “fetch” to happen.

        Jandy Stone

        August 1, 2012 at 2:57 am

      • OK – I hear you! I probably should have looked at my collection of videotapes instead; it’s just that they’re locked up into a storage somewhere. There must be a lot of worse movies there.

        Jessica

        August 1, 2012 at 8:10 am

  3. Damn I am jealous that you write up every film you see. I probably write up about 10% of what I end up watching. Also you should check out Raging Bull when you get a chance.

    sanclementejedi

    August 1, 2012 at 1:31 am

    • You probably watch a lot more than I do, since I spend so much time writing instead… I’m not sure I’m the one who’s best off in that deal. 😉
      And yes, I know I really should get to that movie. I’ll keep an eye open for it.

      Jessica

      August 1, 2012 at 1:36 am

  4. Jandy beat me to the punch. Mean Girls and especially Clueless are fairly strong films.

    I’m still debating participating in this blogathon. I’m trying to cut back on bigger writing commitments though.

    Bondo

    August 1, 2012 at 1:48 am

    • I hear you on those movies! Wrong pick by me, obviously.

      Of course you should participate. Even if you’ll cut back, this isn’t a hard post to write. It’s fun and easy.

      Jessica

      August 1, 2012 at 8:12 am

  5. Couldn’t agree more with everyone else, particularly with Mean Girls. It takes a really smart writer to come up with smart yet dumb lines like that movie has, and the cast pulls it all off perfectly.

    Also, we absolutely loved reading this to get a better idea of what your movie-going experiences are like in Sweden! We’re blown away by seat system you have over there.

    We genuinely love the work you do. We’re really glad we found your stuff. And because of that we’d love to share the Liebster Award with you even though we know others have given it to you, too. That’s just how much we enjoy your work. We really hope you come visit to claim it! http://www.twoticketsfor.com/2012/07/the-liebster-award.html

    Two Tickets For...

    August 1, 2012 at 3:04 am

    • Thank you incredibly much! I’m really humbled over your kind words. I’m not entirely sure I’m going to do this – it’s the third reward I get and since people put different questions I’m up to 33 now if I’m going to do them all! But still: ofc I want to visit your blog. I haven’t done that before and I’m happy to check it out.

      Jessica

      August 1, 2012 at 8:06 am

  6. That (not having anything to say) happens with me and certain classics, too. Everything has already been said! Occasionally, I’ll think of something, though.

    Slapstick doesn’t really do much for me neither, but I think the films of Charlie Chaplin are more than that. The Marx Brothers aren’t, in my opinion, though.

    George Watches Things

    August 1, 2012 at 3:59 am

    • I gotta disagree about the Marx Brothers. First off, slapstick always hits me (no pun intended) as being primarily physical comedy, and the Marx Brothers have some of that, but an awful lot of their humor is language-based – some type of wordplay or based off language stereotypes. In addition, the essence of their humor is satirical, nowhere more evident than their anarchist deconstruction of government and politics in Duck Soup.

      Laurel and Hardy I’ll grant you, though I quite enjoy some of the stuff they’ve done, and the Hal Roach silents, and even Abbott and Costello to some degree. But most of the great silent comedians have more to offer than mere slapstick, and so do The Marx Brothers.

      Jandy Stone

      August 1, 2012 at 7:29 am

      • As I said to George, it’s been too long since I watched The Marx Brothers, so I don’t really remember. But to be honest I don’t feel any strong urge to check them out either.

        Isn’t it so that humor more than many other genres suffer from a pretty strict time limit. It gets old and un-funny or even incomprehensible ever so quickly. Even something you liked two years ago can all of a sudden get smelly.

        Jessica

        August 1, 2012 at 8:17 am

      • There’s a specific scene of physical comedy in Duck Soup featuring Harpo and Chico that’s a little exhausting.

        George Watches Things

        August 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm

        • I’m not denying there’s slapstick in their movies. I merely object to the reduction of their comedy to slapstick in a negative way (I also enjoy slapstick, but I can understand that people don’t.) The Marx Brothers employ many forms of comedy. Harpo has a good bit of slapstick, but a lot of Chico’s and most of Groucho’s comedy is verbal. And the purpose of all of it is usually satirical, which in and of itself suggests more than “mere slapstick.”

          Jandy

          August 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm

          • Those bits of slapstick don’t make me want to stick around for the rest, though, which I don’t really consider tops either, but I can enjoy. I realize their work isn’t all slapstick, but that’s the part I don’t understand the appeal to.

            George Watches Things

            August 1, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    • I also think there’s something about classics that makes it hard to judge them like you judge any other movie. I wrote about that earlier in my review of M. In the case of Chinatown I don’t know what it was though. It was some kind of writer’s block.

      It’s been too long since I watched The Marx brothers for me to really remember very much. I have the vague feeling though that there was more than slapstick to them.

      Jessica

      August 1, 2012 at 8:14 am

  7. Great to see you getting back in the game. And thank you, I really deserve that pity! I bought into The Song of Ice and Fire with the first paperback edition in ’97 and have been on hold ever since. He sure does take his time…

    I’ll agree with you on Laurel and Hardy but would never on Chaplin, I love the tramp. Didn’t like Mean Girls as much as some of the others above, but Clueless is quite sweet and a fun Emma-remake.

    Sofia

    August 1, 2012 at 5:57 am

    • Oh dear. That’s a long time. But I bet you have a much better memory than I have. If it had been me, I would have to re-read all the previous books every time a new came out to recall what had happened earlier.

      I think I might be overly harsh on Chaplin tbh. Maybe it’s more about him being an icon for slapstic and me not liking slapstick very much at all…

      Jessica

      August 1, 2012 at 8:07 am

      • Haha, why do you think I gave up reading and started waiting after A Storm of Swords 😉

        Sofia

        August 3, 2012 at 6:19 pm

  8. Between Citizen Kane, The Passion of Joan of Arc, Truffaut, Godard, The Rules of the Game, L’Atalante, 8 1/2, and Rashomon, you have a LOT of fun movie-watching coming your way, if you ever get around to those. Many of those are some of my favorites.

    John

    August 1, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    • I do have The Passion of Joan of Arc at home, so no excuses for not watching at least that one. 🙂

      Jessica

      August 2, 2012 at 8:12 pm

  9. I see where you’re going with Synecdoche NY, I couldn’t get into that either but it’s one I will return to some day.

    Citizen Kane and Raging Bull Jessica? Really? Two absolute classics. I can understand not getting round to the rest though.

    Please rethink on Chinatown. I’d like to hear your thoughts on it. Saying that, I don’t have a review of it either. It’s one I must add.

    Mark Walker

    August 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    • I will definitely return to S NY. I’m so into Kaufman. Perhaps it was just some kind of mishap. Chinatown… I really loved cliff by the sea… It was a very dark movie. Got so depressed by it. But smartly done. Had a bit of a trouble to keep up with the intrigue but in the end it worked. And such a young Nicholson! Loved to see him like that!

      Jessica

      August 2, 2012 at 8:20 pm

  10. […] in Pop Culture Can You Dig It? Man vs. Horror Unpublished for a Reason Can’t Stop the Movies The Velvet Cafe Can’t Stop the Movies (Andrew’s […]

  11. Great post, Jessica! Glad you joined in on the fun 🙂

    I still can’t think of Synecdoche, New York as a modern classic but I get where you’re aiming at. I’ve heard differing views about that one.

    “The question isn’t as much which ten classic movies I haven’t seen as which ten classic movies I have seen. Never having taken a film class and spending most of my film watching time watching films that come up in theatres now, my cinematic education is lacking.”
    I have the same problem!

    I wouldn’t urge you to go out of your way to see 8 ½ (not really my cup of tea) but Raging Bull is pretty good. So is Citizen Kane, of course, but I haven’t seen it in its entirety.

    I can’t believe you think Chaplin is overrated :O haha, but to each his own, right? Agree with you about Laurel & Hardy, though.

    About that time you went to see Harry Potter, I thought that was a very sweet thing for you to do as a mom, even if it was a little annoying for the rest of the people in the room.

    Ugh, dubbing is the worst.

    You should really see The Omen. It’s a great film and my favorite horror movie.

    I’m not a fan of Clueless but you should really give Mean Girls a chance. It’s really funny and it has some great writing by Tina Fey. Don’t be turned off by its teen/chick-flick image. It’s very good.

    Looking forward to your Chinatown review, if you ever get to write one. It’s a fantastic movie. I agree that many times it’s hard to write about the classics.

    fernandorafael

    August 1, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    • Thank you Fernando!
      I’m aware of that many of my unwatched classics probably are just great. I try to watch a classic once in a while but I always mix it up with a lot of modern films. One here, one there… eventually I’ll get to them, hopefully. At least I should watch the classics I have. Like Omen. And Ordet. And Joan of Arc. And yeah, I guess I’ll need to give in to watching Mean Girls too after all this praise. 🙂

      I doubt I’ll write a Chinatown review. It’s been a couple of months and it needs to be fresher in my mind. I really really liked it though. Even if it was utterly depressing.

      Jessica

      August 2, 2012 at 8:58 pm

  12. I’ve gone through the same thing with Chinatown – watched it, loved it, didn’t write a tihng about it on the blog. excellent point about classics – this one was wonderful, what more is there t say really? You should giuve Synecdoche another try, i hated the movie the first time I’ve seen it and upon second viewing I adored it becuase I was focused more and noticed new things which helped me appreciate that movie.

    sati

    August 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    • One more vouch for me giving it a second chance. I will, I will… I’ll try to watch it when I’m more alert though. Last time I almost fell asleep.

      Jessica

      August 2, 2012 at 8:46 pm

  13. Synecdoche, New York is one that really gets better on repeat viewings. You should try checking it out again as it really is fantastic.

    Also I just passed the Liebster blog award on to you. If you want to continue it you can check it out here: http://areservationatdorsia.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/liebster-award-blog-a-thon/

    Ethan

    August 1, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    • Yeah, I really think I need to rewatch it and give it a new chance. Thank you so much for the award! Really! I’m not sure I’m going to do this thing, but I really appreciate that you thought of me. 🙂

      Jessica

      August 2, 2012 at 8:41 pm

  14. Welcome back.
    I have the last book left and have it on hold making excuses to read anything else but the last book. Sigh 😦 But it´s a great read 🙂
    Going to pick up your blogathon cause I can´t resist these things. Haven´t seen The Cars but it seems to be an intersting movie.

    filmitch

    August 2, 2012 at 4:29 am

    • Thanks! Looking forward to see you doing this blogathon thing! It’s time that it spreads to the Swedish part of the blogosphere!

      Jessica

      August 2, 2012 at 8:26 pm

  15. Welcome back!

    Haha, I’ve been following that series since it started, so I know very well how frustrating it is to wait for GRRM to write another book. At least there is the HBO series now to hopefully motivate him to work faster.

    I’ve confessed it before, but I haven’t seen Kane either. As a kid I always saved the best things for last, maybe I haven’t quite given up that habit 🙂

    I also had The Passion of Joan of Arc for years before watching it, it really is one of the most affecting performances you will ever see.

    Bonjour Tristesse

    August 2, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    • Thanks!

      I just hope he doesn’t pass away or something before he’s finished the series. He looks fairly old at the pic in the book, a white-beareded man… I have no idea of how many more books that are planned. I really hope we’ll get to some kind of conclusion where everything is tied together. But who knows, maybe there is none… just a story that goes on and on…

      The funny thing about Kane is that we’ve got a disagreement about it in the Swedish film fandom. One blogger HATES it passionately. Another one think it’s great. So far I’ve stayed out of the fight but one day I guess I need to check it out.

      I look forward to see that film one day. As a matter of fact I was really interested in Joan of Arc when I was a teenager. Fascinated by her destiny. Read entire books about the topic. So I think it’s about time I check it out.

      Jessica

      August 2, 2012 at 8:50 pm

  16. Gonna just repeat what others said….Mean Girls is pretty great.

    Squasher88

    August 3, 2012 at 5:57 am

    • OK! I’m sorry about anything bad I sad. I take it back! I had no idea of what I was talking about. But I stick to that the DVD cover is off-putting.

      Jessica

      August 3, 2012 at 8:58 am

  17. Hah, I didn’t like Synecdoche either.

    As for both Mean Girls and Clueless, you’re judging the book by the cover. Mean girls is awesome and clueless is quite good.

    As has been said a dozen times in other replies, you should check out Raging Bull. And they had a French Movie summer on TV a couple of years ago which explains why I have seen some of those movies. Jules & Jim by Truffaut was really good.

    carrandas

    August 5, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    • Yep. I admit that I judged the films from the cover, apparently too hasty. I will make up for it and watched them. It’s a promise. And Raging Bull. Yep. Got it.

      Jessica

      August 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm

  18. Glad to see you joining the ‘confession booth’ Jessica 😀 Oh I haven’t seen any of the 10 classics you listed either, but hopefully will get to Citizen Kane soon as I put that on my list. I’m hoping to catch up on those 10 before next Spring.

    Hey, I’m with you about some movies leave me ‘speechless’ in that I don’t know how to review it. I don’t know why that is, it could be a movie I enjoy or don’t enjoy, go figure.

    ruth

    August 5, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    • I can’t promise I’ll catch up on all those before next spring. But maybe a couple of them. I try to variate my watching with a clssic here and there. Even if they’re really hard to write about.

      Jessica

      August 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm


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