Sunday, 10 January 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 117

477 - Rebel Without A Cause - 3 stars
Recently I've seen films with Presley and Monroe, both of whom were 50's icons, yet while they both made their mark on the silver screen, neither of them would be missed as much as the other 50's icon James Dean.
This is the first time I've seen him in a film (I seem to be using the phrase 'this is the first time...' a lot recently. Makes me think I've hardly watched any films in my life!), and he truly had a talent that is sorely missed.
He takes what could have easily been a cliched poster boy for bad behaviour and turns him into a fantastic complex kid who visibly struggles to be accepted by both family and society. You really empathise with him, sure he lashes out, gets involved in some bad business but the later scenes where he romances Judy and cares for Plato are very touching.
Then there is Natalie Wood, oh boy is she gorgeous. Kept thinking that she looked very familiar and it wasn't until checking up IMDB that her daughter was Natasha Gregson Wagner, as the resemblence is very strong.
Oh and yes, you are correct. That is a very young Dennis Hopper playing one of the gang's goons!
I was expecting the film to be lots of young kids having a fun teenage rebellion against the 'square' community by drinking, driving, fighting, etc but I was surprised at the level of depth in the family relationship between Dean, his emasculated dad and over-bearing mother.
While the kids may have taken the film to show off Dean as the ultra cool guy, it is similar to Trainspotting in that it shows the downfalls of such a lifestyle as well as the glamorous highs.
Yeh, you can get the girl, but only if her boyfriend has just died in a car crash after a game of chicken!

240 - Forrest Gump - 2 stars
I came into this film with a lot of prejudice, but had to try and put that aside to review this with as little bias as possible. So it isn't the worst film in the world... but it isn't the best either.
I still can't believe that this film won Best Picture at the Oscars over Pulp Fiction (#9 on the list) and The Shawshank Redemption (#4 on the list)!!!
It's well made and a sweet nostalgic look at American history through the eyes of one man, but it is far too cutesy and schmaltzy for my taste.
A perfect example is that stupid floating feather that bookends the film, uurrggh why is it even there?
Then we get to Tom Hanks's perfomance, which while good, I cannot watch now without thinking of this.
Plus points are an excellent performance from Gary Sinise as Captain Dan, and it has one of the best soundtracks of all time, even if sometimes cheesily used to indicate a sense of time and place throughout the story.
Holy crap, the kid from The Sixth Sense is Forrest Jr! Does he see dumb people all the time? That's maybe a bit harsh, I'll have the Daily Mail up in arms on that one!

Days remaining - 248 Films remaining - 330

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