VERSUS THE SCARECROW: Living in New Orleans away from the rest of the FTS crew, I feel guilty sometimes not contributing a whole lot. So I decided to challenge myself and really open the doors of my film knowledge and take on “The Scarecrow Video Movie Guide”. It’s 808 pages of movies and movie reviews from some of the most knowledgeable movie people you don’t know. It’s a book put together by a staff that praises, and destroys, some of our favorites and not so favorites.
But what is Scarecrow Video and why should I care? Good question. Long story short, Scarecrow Video is a video rental store in Seattle, Washington with over 100,000 movies available ON SITE. Think of a walk-in Netflix with movies not even Netflix has heard about. So clearly, no staff knows movie like Scarecrow. It’s famous amongst big time film buffs such as Roger Ebert and Quentin Tarantino, and many consider the trip to the store a pilgrimage. So to some, this place is the end all be all.
The book contains nearly four THOUSAND films reviewed in fourteen different categories. Clearly this is going to take some time, but the nice part is, I’ve seen a good deal of film so I can mark a few off the list. Also, it was released in 2004 so the last 8 years of film are off limits. I’m okay with that. So here’s the plan:
Each episode, I’m going to tackle three films from three different categories. Two films will be films I’ve never seen before and one will be one I’ve seen before or own. For the new films, well, new to me, I’m going to review them like a typical FTS review using the TOAST Rating system. But, for the films I’ve seen, I’m going give a quick paragraph or two about why I like or don’t like the film. We’ll try to include the poster and trailer for each film. “….and here. We. Go!”
First I’ll be taking a look at Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys, David Fincher’s Panic Room, and since Lindsay FINALLY saw The Godfather, I’m going throw my two cents in on why I LOVE this movie.
12 Monkeys (1995) Directed by Terry Gilliam. Written by: Chris Marker (film La Jetée,) David Webb Peoples, & Janet Peoples. Starring:Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe and Brad Pitt. IMDB says: ”In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.”
I’m a fan of Terry Gilliam. I loved the Monty Python films, loved Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, was mesmerized during Brazil, and really enoyed The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. I kept it a secret, until now, that I hadn’t seen 12 Monkeys. It’s one of Gilliam’s better known film and it’s one many of my film friends have seen, and now that I’ve finally seen it, I can say I was intrigued and slightly impressed. It’s about a prisoner, played by Bruce Willis who goes back in time to the year 1996
The film looks like many of Gilliam’s career. A very bleak and flat color style paired with a retro-futuristic technology that gives Steampunk a run for their polished-brass money. It was also great to see some Baltimore love, despite the fact that it mainly takes place in mental institutions. The performances are solid. Bruce Willis manages to not fall into his typical mannerisms for long enough that you can connect and feel with his character. But all is overshadowed by Brad Pitt. He dominates the screen with his tweaked out fast-paced dialogue and physical quirks. It was such a delight seeing him on-screen that when he isn’t on, you hope they find a way to bring him back. My only real complaint of the film is the soundtrack. It’s a light jingle they seem to play over and over that tends to take away from the mood of the film and adds a layer of silliness to it. Just when it gets dark and you feel the depth to the plot, this little tune perks up and takes you away from the moment. Aside from that, it’s a great film that you should check out.to discover who released a virus that wiped out 5 billion people and caused the world to hide underground as the animals reclaimed their kingdom. Along the way, Willis runs into an insane (and insanely great performance by) Brad Pitt who helps him escape from an asylum and just might be the man he has to stop.
Check back tomorrow for my review of Panic Room and then again on Friday for the conclusion of episode 1 with my thoughts on The Godfather.