The Green Mile (1999) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Zoe of The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger. Zoe is loving this IMDB project – she’s already reviewed The Departed (which you can read HERE) and she’s planning on doing more! (And may have done another one already…) 😉 Thanks so much for the reviews, Zoe!

Now let’s see what she has to say about The Green Mile, IMDB rank 65 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list HERE. See the full list & links to all the films that have been reviewed HERE.

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Here’s another entry for Table 9 Mutant’s IMDB Top 250 challenge. I have been having so much fun with this, revisiting some movies, checking them all for her, some of them I have been meaning to look into again for so long, and now I finally have the driving factor. This is a movie that I hold most dear, who lived up to every inch of the book, proving that you can, in fact, adapt a book successfully if you just know what you are doing.

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“On the day of my judgment, when I stand before God, and He asks me why did I kill one of his true miracles, what am I gonna say? That it was my job?”
– Paul Edgecomb

The Green Mile is an absolutely stunning tale of the supernatural, faith, the strange things, horror, hope, miracles and all sorts of things. Naturally, when it begins, you don’t really know what is coming. I mean Stephen King is renowned for horrors, but what some people forget is that he is an exceptionally talented author who has more skills than just to terrify the pants off of you. From his strange mind he brought us an account, one that makes you smile, one that makes you sad, one that evokes anger and pity all at once. John Coffey is portrayed by Michael Clarke Duncan (R.I.P.), and I think he was superbly cast to play the giant that was accused of the disgusting slayings of two young girls. He is a monster of a man, not the most intelligent person in the world, but shy, wholesome and well-mannered, very incongruent to the hulking monstrosity his physical exterior represents.

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“People hurt the ones they love. That’s how it is all around the world.” – John Coffey

Coffey’s character can only grow on you, and if it does not, then there is something fundamentally flawed in you. He was pure innocence in a world of cruelty, anger and hatred, and even though he was wronged, he did not take it out on anyone once. I loved the relationship he developed with the guards Paul Edgecombe (Tom Hanks), Brutus “Brutal” Howell (David Morse), Dean Stanton (Barry Pepper) and Harry Terwilliger (James DeMunn). It was great to see how they interacted with this man on death row. Then there was Tom Hanks, again pulling together a great drama role right here as Paul, the man who had to get to the bottom of whatever was going on, who was drawn in and fascinated by Coffey, a peaceful and pure human being. Naturally not everyone was going to be so nice, and Dough Hutchison did a fine job as Percy Wetmore… in other words, I really did just want to climb over somewhere and kill him. He was inhumane, he was cruel and he deserved so much more than a big, fat slap. He was revolting and evil to the core, and was intent on throwing his weight around and bullying everyone no end. People like that sicken me, and he was incredibly convincing, always selfish, putting himself ahead and being resentful at every available opportunity.

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“Try it! You’ll be on the bread lines before the week is out!” – Percy Whetmore

Sam Rockwell was simply brilliant as “Wild Bill” Wharton, and impressed me with his portrayal of the malicious and wicked man. He was undeniably cracked and never once let you forget about it. He was the very embodiment of what I expected from King’s character. I also enjoyed David Morse, whom I find to be an underappreciated actor. He lent dignity and morals to Brutus and gave him real flesh and character. The movie’s pacing was gradual though never boring, but you must not expect something gushing action in every scene, never relenting or letting you breathe. This is a film designed to make you chew over it, think about it and make decisions based on that.

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“All I wanted me was a little cornbread, motherfuckers! All I wanted me was a little cornbread!” – William “Wild Bill” Wharton

I enjoyed how the film was set in the thirties, and the appearance of the prison, the uniforms, the way of life… things was done so much differently. Coffey’s gift being discovered was a thing of beauty. Paul had been suffering for a while with a severe bladder infection, and in a moment of fear and pain, Coffey had healed him, fixed the problems. Such is the nature that shows that Coffey is special, that he is amazing and that he should not be where he is, though he is there now and will have to make the best of it. The guards all become rather protective of Coffey and develop a respect and friendship with him, though not everything is destined to go that way. Paul’s relentless need to get to the bottom of what really happened is touching, and it shows you how one person can change your perception in life as well as how you go about it.

I honestly believe The Green Mile is a classic, and most definitely something that everyone should see at least once in their lives. Frank Darabont again gave another striking vision of a King novel, something I am starting to feel only he fully grasps.

I just can’t see God putting a gift like that in the hands of a man who would kill a child. – Paul Edgecomb

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Beethoven (1992) Guest Review

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This guest review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Anna of Film Grimoire. Let’s see what she has to say about Beethoven. 🙂

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John Hughes Blogathon: Beethoven (1992)

Responsible for a spike in sales of St Bernard puppies during the Christmas of 1992, Beethoven is a film that at its core addresses the concept of family, togetherness, and acceptance. On the surface, it’s a funny film about a giant dog and his family. Also, the dog’s vet wants to kill him for animal testing purposes. This film was written by John Hughes under the pseudonym of Edmond Dantès.

Beethoven has the dumb luck of running away from a potential threat and arriving at a family home where the kids and mum are happy to have a dog. However, the father is fairly neurotic and anally retentive, initially rejecting the idea of keeping a dog, insisting that it will ruin everything. Little does he know that Beethoven will work his way into his heart as well.

When watching Beethoven, I was surprised at how effectively the film showcased the dog’s humanity. He seems to have his own lines in the script in response to the human characters’ discussions and actions. We hear whines and other dog noises that seem strangely human in tone, which makes him seem just like another human. Beethoven also seems to have human idiosyncrasies, such as fainting as a result of his fear of needles. He also somehow understands the subtlety of human social nuance and can tell whenever the kids are in danger.

However, there are a couple of things that just aren’t subtle about this film. It contains some of the most emotionally manipulative music ever. It’s mostly John Williams-esque modern classical music that swings wildly in tone so that your own emotions can match it. Also, the film contains the most morally unambiguous villain ever. The first line we hear from the evil veterinarian is “I need puppies!”, as thunder claps in the background and lightning illuminates his face.

Watch out for Stanley Tucci as one of the evil vet’s bumbling henchmen, and David Duchovny and Patricia Heaton as the sleazy business people trying to take advantage of the family dad’s air freshener business. Also, apparently a very young Joseph Gordon Levitt is in this but I couldn’t spot him anywhere.

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I experienced some serious childhood memories whilst watching this film. Some of the moments of the film seem somehow iconic – the scene where the family choose a name for the dog by picking names out of a hat, Beethoven and a young girl sharing an ice cream cone (disgusting), Beethoven getting all muddy and then shaking his wet fur all over the neurotic dad’s bedroom, the montage of the dog growing up and ruining things set to ‘Roll Over Beethoven’. So many nice 90s memories. Another reason why you can tell this film is set firmly within the context of the 90s – one of the kids initially wants to name the dog MC Hammer. Hilarious.

Ultimately, this is a story about people and animals saving each other. Beethoven saves the family in many ways – he helps the eldest daughter gain the attention of her crush, helps the middle son defeat his bullies and gain confidence, and literally saves the life of the youngest daughter as she almost drowns in a pool. He also saves the adults – Beethoven senses that the two businesspeople are dodgy and takes steps to save the family from them. By ‘takes steps’, I mean, he engages in a great moment of slapstick destruction. It seems like Beethoven is doing all the work here. But when danger comes to him, the family is more than willing to step up (initially except the dad, but he comes around) to help him.

Beethoven is pretty heartwarming and not a bad film for kids, with some mature jokes thrown in for the adults as well, but also some darker moments and themes that might be a bit frightening. The direction is nothing to write home about (although there is a great Vertigo-style shot when Beethoven realises the youngest daughter is drowning), but where this film is exceptional is how it portrays the dog with such humanity. It’s the story of a loving relationship between a family and their pet, and I think lots of people can relate to that.

3/5
Watch the trailer here.