The Last Temptation Of Christ (1988) Blind Spot Review

The Last Temptation Of Christ (1988)

Directed by Martin Scorsese

Based on The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis

Starring: Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Barbara Hershey, Harry Dean Stanton, David Bowie

Music by Peter Gabriel

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Like the novel, the film depicts the life of Jesus Christ and his struggle with various forms of temptation including fear, doubt, depression, reluctance and lust.

My Opinion:

I’ll keep this short & I’ll be totally honest – The Last Temptation Of Christ was on my 2017 Blind Spot list mainly because I wanted to see David Bowie’s role in it. So now I can say I have! All five minutes (at most) of it, toward the end of the 2 hour & 44 minute film. I suppose I also wanted to add another Martin Scorsese film to my ranked list of his films that I’ve seen (it doesn’t quite make it into the top ten, out of the 12 I’ve seen, nor does it make the list of My Top Ten Harry Dean Stanton Movies). Not gonna lie – out of almost a year & a half of doing this Blind Spot thing, this film is easily my least favorite & was the biggest struggle to work my way through.

I won’t get into the film’s story and religious beliefs. I watched this because I’m a film fan & it’s a movie by a very respected director with some big name stars (and because: David Bowie). No, “biblical dramas” are not at all the type of genre I go for (give me sci-fi) so that wasn’t going to help but it’s definitely overlong and it didn’t feel as, I don’t know… As well put together as most of Scorsese’s other work? I know nothing about filmmaking but this just isn’t up there with the likes of something like Goodfellas (also a genre that’s not at all my type of thing but a good film is a good film, whatever the genre). Not that this isn’t a good film… It must be a decent piece of filmmaking considering that Scorsese was nominated for the Best Director Oscar for it, the film’s one & only nomination. Hmm. It’s very hard to review respected films that just really didn’t speak to you personally! That’s why I’m keeping this very short for a Blind Spot review. I’d love to instead hear from fellow bloggers who, unlike me, have strong opinions one way or another about this film. I do know it was & still is very controversial & hated by some while there are others who think it’s another Scorsese masterpiece.

The acting is solid and Dafoe does a good job but I also felt that the acting let the film down a bit. I didn’t think “Wow – so-and-so was brilliant in this film!” the way I’ve thought some of the actors were pretty amazing in the majority of Scorsese’s other films. Some felt very miscast (Keitel) while some are actors I’ve never been particularly impressed with (Hershey). Okay okay – and my beloved Bowie! I fully admit that acting was never his biggest talent… 😉 However, he did okay in his very small role & didn’t feel as out of place as some of those in larger roles. Harry Dean Stanton was a highlight, though – he’s such an underrated actor.

Overall, I’m sorry to say that this is one of those films that I won’t remember much of a year or so from now. There weren’t really any specific scenes that stood out in my mind (we all know the story already anyway so I saw pretty much exactly what I expected, although this is a somewhat alternative version). I was especially disappointed that the acting didn’t stand out for me and it seriously felt even longer than it already was, especially at the end when we’re given a long look at an alternative life for Jesus? Sorry. I didn’t love it. It’s not a bad film but I’d only recommend it to those interested in religious dramas or to serious Martin Scorsese fans who want to see all he’s done. Ugh. I feel like a bad blogger for not loving a Scorsese film.

My Rating: 6/10

Only I would review The Last Temptation Of Christ & Smurfs: The Lost Village in the same week… Have a nice weekend, everyone!

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My Top Ten Harry Dean Stanton Movies

Happy Birthday to Harry Dean Stanton, who turns 90 today! Wow – I can’t believe he’s 90. Such a great actor who has been in so many awesome films. Stanton has quite of an impressive résumé & doesn’t seem to get the credit he deserves.

As always, I’m ranking these according to how much I like the movie as opposed to the character (if going by character, Seven Psychopaths would be much higher – loved his character in that). So, counting down to my favorite movie (a movie that NOTHING tops), here are My Top Ten Harry Dean Stanton Movies:

10. The Straight Story

9. Avengers Assemble

8. Seven Psychopaths

7. Repo Man

6. Cool Hand Luke

5. Pretty In Pink

4. The Green Mile

3. The Godfather: Part II

2. Escape From New York

1. Alien

Honorable Mentions:
The Last Temptation Of Christ
Dream A Little Dream
The Mighty
Christine
Red Dawn

Okay – he’s been in a few other big movies that I haven’t seen. I have yet to see…:
Paris, Texas
Wild At Heart
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas

**Updated March 12th 2017 to add The Last Temptation Of Christ. It doesn’t make the Top Ten.

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

Pretty In Pink (1986) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Rob of Movie Rob. 🙂 Thanks again, Rob! Let’s hear his thoughts on Pretty In Pink

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“We don’t have none of this stuff in the boy’s room! Wait a minute! We don’t got none of this… we don’t got doors on the stalls in the boy’s room, we don’t have, what is this? What’s this? We don’t have a candy machine in the boy’s room!” – Duckie

Number of Times Seen – 1 (12 Mar 2014)

Brief Synopsis – A poor high school girl is pursued romantically by a rich kid and also has a best friend who is in love with her. She must decide between the two.

My Take on it – I can’t even explain why I’ve never gotten around to seeing this one being that I am a big fan of most of John Hughes’ 80’s teen movies.

Because of this blogathon, I was inspired to finally watch it and I must admit that I somewhat regret never having seen this back when I was a teenager myself.

What’s good about that now is that Hughes was so adept at making us feel as if we were a character in the movie whether it meant spending Saturday in detention, taking a day off of school to have fun or even wanting to be part of the popular crowd that watching this movie made me feel as if I was once again back in High school in the 80’s.

I always liked the Molly Ringwald kinda girls and hated the preppy guys so I could relate. I could probably actually compare myself in some ways to Duckie since I was always friendly with a number of girls in my class who I had hoped would eventually turn into something (but never did) and ultimately felt spurned when they would one night talk about how much they hated so and so and then a few days later would be going out with him.

Never could understand that. (still don’t cause none of them ever married those guys)

John Hughes himself was very upset about the fact that the studio forced an ending of the movie on him that he didn’t want. I agree that this ending was not what I had hoped for. This actually lowers this movies rating a bit for me.

The cast for this movie is filled with numerous up and coming young brat packers; Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, John Cryer, James Spader and Gina Gershon.

Nice cameo by the Diceman, Andrew “Dice” Clay.

Bottom Line – A pretty good Hughes film that once again perfectly captures the high school mood and makes us feel like we are back in time to our teens years. Great cast of brat packers who still are around 30 years later.
Recommended!

Rating – Globe Worthy

Pretty In Pink (1986) Review

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Pretty In Pink (1986) by Me! Cinema Parrot Disco finally wrote another review for this blogathon!

Directed by Howard Deutch

Written by John Hughes

Starring:
Molly Ringwald
Harry Dean Stanton
Jon Cryer
Annie Potts
James Spader
Andrew McCarthy
Kate Vernon
Andrew Dice Clay
Kristy Swanson
Alexa Kenin
Dweezil Zappa
Gina Gershon

Plot Synopsis:
Romeo And Juliet. With 80’s Hipsters.

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My Opinion:

You all know I love my John Hughes teen films but I’ve never loved Pretty In Pink QUITE to the same degree as The Breakfast Club or Sixteen Candles (my review for that HERE). I re-watched this a few days ago for the first time in years to see if my opinion would change. It didn’t, really, but I still appreciate two of the best characters that John Hughes created (Jon Cryer’s Duckie & Annie Potts’ Iona). And, as usual, some classic quotable lines that Hughes always did so well.

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I think the main problem is that I never could fully relate to these characters. The main theme here, “rich vs poor”, isn’t something I really experienced in my extremely tiny Midwest American town. The (three!) families in town who had a bit of money still weren’t exactly rich by big city standards. High school popularity was based, mainly, on things like being good at sports. And I suppose sluttiness. So… I really had no chance at popularity either way. 😉

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As for the “original hipster” look of Andie & Duckie’s clothes… Again, I couldn’t relate. I’d like to say I had the balls to dress like that back in high school (well, except for her ugly ass prom dress at the end) but dressing like that in my little farming community would have made me an outcast. Individuality wasn’t considered a good thing! For today’s teenagers, however, I’d want them to watch something like Pretty In Pink & realize that being a “Duckie” really is the way to be. Don’t conform, teeny boppers! Did I just say teeny boppers?? God I’m old…

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Molly Ringwald is okay here, even if I can’t fully relate to her. If I had to choose the Hughes Ringwald character I was most like as a teen, it would be the socially awkward Samantha in Sixteen Candles. But at least in this one she’s possibly the strongest character in that she does stand up a bit to the rich bitches (but still gets too silly over a boy). And she’s not an annoying popular snob like in The Breakfast Club (who can relate to that??). But, as mentioned before, it’s Duckie & Iona who really make this a better film overall. Unfortunately, for me, the biggest thing that doesn’t work in Pretty In Pink is the romance.

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I mean… Andrew McCarthy?? Reaaaaaally? I’ve never understood having a thing for him. Give me Jake Ryan any day! Plus Ringwald & McCarthy just have zero chemistry here. Unlike with Duckie. So… Okay – everyone knows the ending to this but I still feel like I shouldn’t come right out & say it. But I think it’s pretty widely known that most people weren’t happy with the ending. Well, that’s why Hughes went on to make (the Pretty In Pink remake, basically) Some Kind Of Wonderful which I think isn’t quite as good of a film but I still prefer in many ways. I’ll review that next week. As for Pretty In Pink, I do still like it A LOT as it’s typical of the Hughes way of writing that I loved so much but the overall story & the romance just don’t quite speak to me in the way they did in his other teen films. Oh, and great use of things like New Order. As always, John Hughes knew how to choose the right music for his movies!

My Rating: 8/10

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Pretty In Pink (1986) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Kim of Tranquil Dreams. Thanks for being a part of this blogathon, Kim! Let’s see what she thought of Pretty In Pink. 🙂

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Pretty in Pink (1986)

Director: Howard Deutch

Writer: John Hughes

Cast: Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, Andrew McCarthy, Harry Dean Stanton, Annie Potts, James Spader

Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald) is a poor girl living with her father (Harry Dean Stanton), a man that dwells in the past and won’t accept the fact that his wife has left him. She is smart, gets good grades and works at a records store for an eccentric owner, Iona (Annie Potts). The school she goes to is above her level in society and for this, she is usually made fun of along with her childhood friend, Duckie (Jon Cryer). Duckie has had the longest crush on her but is scared to express his feelings, however, when she starts falling for a rich guy called Blane (Andrew McCarthy), he feels betrayed. However, Blane and Andie are also encountered by problems of their own on a social level and to find a balance to be accepted in each other’s world.

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I’m going to confess right here and now that I’m a total newbie to John Hughes. Although, I mean I knew about his movies before I knew about him. Home Alone was kind of my thing when I was a kid and probably for the rest of the kids in my generation. But, full on John Hughes writing and all, I have to admit, Table 9 Mutant is the one who woke me up to it by first introducing me to Sixteen Candles and the very awesome Jake Ryan. So, Pretty in Pink seemed like the good choice to review for her John Hughes Blogathon.

Enough of my rambling, Pretty in Pink is a fun movie. Its not quite so well-written as Sixteen Candles if I had to put them next to each other but its still a good watch. The story is somewhat of an 80s version of a Cinderella story with a twist. Despite that, it targets also the social differences between class and money. For that, it deserves a lot of praise.

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What really works for me in this has to be the characters though. Molly Ringwald is awesome in her role as Andie Walsh. After watching her in Sixteen Candles and this one, there is undeniably something very special about her as a young actress. She captures this really nice charm in all her characters. At the same time, the guys in this are pretty great also. Jon Cryer plays Duckie, Andie’s best friend who has this massive crush on her. He is that dorky, nerdy, weird/awkward boy that does all these silly things but never gets the girl but somehow, he’s funny and supportive and that makes me want to cheer for him even though I knew the other guy would get the girl. The other guy is Blane, played by Andrew McCarthy. I spent a good bit of the first part when he appears thinking if I thought he was cute. Something about the way he looks at Andie that makes me really adore him. Its because of that, it builds the chemistry between him and Andie’s relationship.

Pretty in Pink is not the best John Hughes movie but it definitely has some lovable characters (or even relate to). Its a nice take on the poor girl meeting the rich boy and going through all the difficulties not step mother related but rather the bigger realistic issue of friends and social class. I’d still say its worth the watch and I’d totally recommend it 🙂

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