100 Films in 2011

Best Worst Movie (100 Films in 2011)

by Jamie Sanford on December 31, 2011

95. Best Worst Movie (available to stream via Netflix)

So, it looks like I will be watching only 95 movies in 2011. Christmas in Florida messed with my movie schedule! Either way, I am pleased that I watched this many movies.

Here is the trailer for Best Worst Movie.

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My husband said it best as we were watching this. Best Worst Movie is like a real-life Christopher Guest film. It tells the story of members of the cast and crew of Troll 2, listed on Rotten Tomatoes as the worst movie ever made.

I had not seen Troll 2, but this movie made me want to see it.  Naturally, it has emerged as a cult favorite, with annual screening parties and other events surrounding a screening happening all over the place. We meet most of the actors from the movie in the film, and watch them travel to these screenings and be embraced by fans of the film that is apparently SO BAD.

Best Worst Movie is available on DVD from Amazon for $8.49.

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Funny Girl (100 Films in 2011)

by Jamie Sanford on December 18, 2011

94. Funny Girl (available for streaming via Netflix and Amazon)

Here is the trailer for Funny Girl.

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Funny Girl is the 1968 film based on the Broadway musical.  Starring Barbra Streisand and Omar Sharif, we are told the story of Fanny Brice, or at least the fictionalized version of her, seeing as Fanny was a real person with the same basic story as the Fanny Brice in this story.

We meet Fanny when she is struggling to find her way onto the New York stage.  She auditions for anything that will come along, and ends up getting a break on roller skates that turns her luck around.  She meets a man named Nick Arnstein who helps her get a high-paying gig (while being totally handsome and charming).  Months later, she is starring in a big Ziegfeld show and Nick Arnstein shows up to celebrate with her.  They hit it off and then he vanishes off into the night to do some “business.”  Months later they meet up again, and after trying to play it cool, Fanny lets her love be known, and Nick reciprocates.

The rest of the film takes us through ups and downs in Fanny and Nick’s life, leading to an ultimate decision of whether or not they are meant to be together or not.  My husband didn’t know that this movie was mostly a love story, and expected more of a “struggle for the career she always wanted” from Fanny.  However, it is more of a love story than anything else.  It is a great, classic musical, and I definitely recommend a viewing.

Funny Girl is available on DVD from Amazon for $10.49.

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Blood Into Wine (100 Films in 2011)

by Jamie Sanford on December 16, 2011

93. Blood Into Wine (available to stream on via Netflix)

Here is the trailer for Blood Into Wine.

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Blood Into Wine is a documentary about growing wine in a seemingly unlikely place—Arizona. The focus is not just on that oddness, but that the owner of one of the vineyards is Maynard James Keenan of the bands Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer. A seemingly unlikely grape farmer, we find out that Maynard is the real deal when it comes to being passionate about wine. He also very directly addresses the issues that people have with rock stars being known for songs full of pain eventually coming out the other side, being happy. (I have found that fans of Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails are the same way – unhappy that he is happy because it somehow changes their vision of him. I, on the other hand, am happy that he has grown up, as I have, and we are all married and in a good place now.)

This movie is not a wine education, if you are looking for one. There is a lot of touchy-feely commentary about the earth and how wine is an expression of the terroir and whatnot, and you see a bit about harvesting and pressing, but the movie is largely about developing a wine country in Arizona and fighting the attitudes of “wine people” who think that nothing good can come from places they don’t expect. With a random sprinkling of Tool fans losing their minds over getting a bottle signed by Maynard James Keenan.

Blood Into Wine is available on DVD from Amazon for $14.99. If you want a bottle of Maynard’s wine, it will cost you more than that.

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March of the Penguins (100 Films in 2011)

by Jamie Sanford on December 13, 2011

92. March of the Penguins (available to stream on Netflix and via Amazon Instant Video)

Here is the trailer for March of the Penguins.

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March of the Penguins is a 2005 documentary about the extraordinary lengths that Emperor Penguins take in their journey to reproduce.  They walk 70 miles from their normal environment, the ocean, inland to reach ice that is not in danger of melting and collapsing during incubation of the egg and the early stages of the chick’s development.  After mating, the females pass the egg to the male, and then leaves to go back to the ocean to feed.

The females return after the babies are born to relieve the males and finally feed the chicks, which are unbearably cute in the movie.

This is a beautifully crafted story about this insane journey taken by the penguins. I do think they are anthropomorphizing these animals, but it isn’t too offensive.  It definitely doesn’t sugar-coat anything, there are a lot of sad moments and death presented.  However, nothing is so upsetting that I wouldn’t let a child watch this movie. Plus, as I mentioned, cute baby penguins.

March of the Penguins is available on DVD from Amazon for $7.55.

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