Watched, Read, Reviewed: November 2022

Oops. Guess I better post this before the end of the year. And I’ll try to finish the year by posting what I watched in December but probably gonna need a break after that. 🙂

MOVIES WATCHED IN NOVEMBER (ranked best to worst):

Drifting Home – Really enjoyed this. It’s a pretty typical anime with young characters who can be overly dramatic but I really liked the creative story & themes of memory, loss, and friendship. Starts out a little slow but really gets going once they start “drifting” away and there was some lovely animation. One of my favorite 2022 releases that I’ve seen. – 7.5/10

Anomalisa – I appreciate most of Charlie Kaufman’s work but can’t say I’ve ever loved any of it. Anomalisa really worked for me, though. I’m not sure why. Think I could relate to the film’s main character in some ways & I liked Lisa (am also a fan of Jennifer Jason Leigh so that helped too). Am always happy to see a film that feels unique & I really liked the story. Glad I finally gave this one a chance. 

Oh – I also liked seeing “Starburns Industries” as the production company which made me go “Ha! Like Star-Burns in Community!” then finding out later that was actually the case as it was co-founded by Community creator Dan Harmon & Star-Burns himself Dino Stamatopoulos. So, hey – I like the Community link because that show rules. – 8/10

Glengarry Glen Ross – ACTORS ACTING.

I didn’t know just how many big names were in this but, when I looked it up, it was seeing Jack Lemmon’s name that made me hit the Play button. Wow, he was great. Everyone in this was clearly trying for an Oscar nomination so I was very surprised to see that only Al Pacino was nominated just for being, well, Al Pacino yet again. They all deserve recognition for these roles but I thought Lemmon, Baldwin & Pacino (even though he’s just being Pacino) especially stood out. 

If you like plays & intense ACTING from some all-time great actors, this is the film for you. It’s not really the type of film for me & not one I’d rewatch but I’ve rated it highly for the performances & the script & for Jack Lemmon. Well worth watching just to see these guys in action. – 7.5/10

Relic – This was good. Reminded me a lot of another recent(ish) Australian horror The Babadook, which I absolutely loved & was also a very clever allegory (or is it a metaphor?! I always confuse those!). This is the type of “horror” I like. Found it quite heartbreaking. Need more horror films like this one. – 7/10

My Summer Of Love – Enjoyed this English countryside drama with strong performances from Natalie Press as a working class girl who falls for rich girl Emily Blunt in her debut film role (and naked). Paddy Considine is also good as the born-again Christian brother of Press. Liked the relationship & how the film ended. From the director of Cold War. Check it out on BBC iPlayer. – 7/10

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story – This was fun. Liked that it was a parody of a biography, which is the only thing that would make sense for a Weird Al movie. Especially liked the stuff with Madonna & some fun cameos. It’s not as good as his music videos, though, and certainly not in the same league as something like This Is Spinal Tap. But certainly worth a watch for Weird Al fans. – 6.5/10

My Policeman – This was fine. I liked the story (I always love years of yearning) but the complete lack of chemistry between all the characters meant that the story didn’t have the emotional impact that I’m sure it probably had in the book. Everyone mentions Harry Styles but I was equally unimpressed with most of the performances except for maybe David Dawson’s. An okay film but may have been better with different leads. – 6.5/10

The Wonder – Good atmosphere & could have used a lot more of the eerie music which I quite liked. Not gonna lie, though: “Florence Pugh” & “Period Drama” are two things that aren’t going to get me excited about watching a movie. Not my type of thing at all but this was an intriguing story, the young girl was good, and I liked the conclusion. Hated how they started & finished the film, though. Totally threw me out of the movie. – 6.5/10

See How They Run – This movie, as most 2022 streaming releases, was okay. But that’s the problem… I’m so bored with okay movies. At least the ones I really hate tend to be more memorable. I thought Sam Rockwell & Saoirse Ronan worked really well together, though, which made this somewhat dull mystery far more watchable than it would have been without them. There’s some fun humor too. Certainly not a bad film but I know I’ll forget it even exists in a year. – 6.5/10

Disenchanted – Wow, this was terrible. I shouldn’t “review” it as I fell asleep & missed a big chunk in the middle but I refuse to rewatch it. I saw enough to know I don’t want it to ruin the fun & original first film so I’ll pretend it doesn’t exist just like I do with the Disney live-action remakes. Still love Amy Adams, though. She’s still lovely & did what she could with this absolute mess. – 5/10

Movies Rewatched In November:

Father Of The Bride – Watched this with the family. Been many years since I last saw this one. I’d say it’s actually held up better than some of the early ‘90s rom-coms. We could use more good father/daughter family films. This is sweet without being overly saccharine. The only annoying bit was when she freaked out over a blender. What?! I don’t remember us being offended by trivial things back in 1991. Also… Steve Martin’s family are meant to be “middle class” compared to the fiancé’s family but live in a big gorgeous house in a lovely neighborhood and can afford a ridiculously expensive wedding. Cry me a river! My daughter loved Martin Short, though. Think she’s a fan since seeing Martin & Short together in Only Murders In The Building. His character is fun & does threaten to steal the whole show in this film. – 7/10

Shorts Watched In November:

Zen – Grogu & Dust BunniesStudio Ghibli & Grogu?! Two of my favorite things ever?!? My heart just about exploded when I watched this. Now if they could add in Totoro, R2-D2, WALL-E & Snoopy I’d need no new media to ever be made again. Loved this. So adorable & peaceful. And Ludwig Göransson‘s score is brilliant (as always). Works beautifully with the Ghibli style.

The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special – This was…. Not great. Very cheesy. But did like seeing more of Drax & Mantis together.

Minions & More – Yeah, I like the minions. I don’t care. I think they’re funny.

The Wonderful Autumn Of Mickey Mouse – Bit of an odd one… Wasn’t really a fan. Give me old school Mickey Mouse.

Zootopia Shorts – Meh. Not big on the movie but these shorts were fine (except that dumb Real Housewives one because god I can’t stand that type of shit…)

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS IN NOVEMBER

Been watching quite a bit of TV. Which is fine but it’s cutting into movie-time. 🙂

TV SHOWS WATCHED

The White Lotus: S2 E1-5 – Really liked the first series & feel the same about this one. Good characters & I always like a murder mystery where you don’t know who ends up being the victim. But, mainly, it’s all about Jennifer Coolidge. Love her. Best thing about The White Lotus.

Wednesday: S1 E1 – Think we’d only seen one episode in November but now seen through episode 5. Enjoying the story and the characters are growing on me. Teen daughter seems to love it so that makes me happy.

Andor: S1 E9-12 – Ended up thinking this was a really good series overall after a few episodes I wasn’t feeling so much. All the prison stuff & the funeral were fantastic. A very strong couple of episodes at the end of this series.

House Of The Dragon: S1 E8-10 – Was gonna write more about this now I’m finished but can’t be arsed. 🙂 It’s fine but definitely inferior to Game Of Thrones. Much better character development in Thrones. I’ll again say I far preferred the younger Rhaenyra. And the incest is just fucking nuts in this one. Game Of Thrones was bad enough with that. Ew.

Also been rewatching the pilots of various old ’70s & ’80s shows on YouTube for the nostalgia. Never see this stuff re-run in the U.K. Very much missing the sitcoms of my youth. Really enjoyed rewatching the pilots of It’s Your Move, The Facts Of Life, Benson & Taxi.

BOOKS READ

Gwendy’s Final Task by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar – Ended up really enjoying this trilogy (review of first book here and second book here). It’s one of those made much better by turning the story into a trilogy & really getting to know the character of Gwendy. I liked how they went all out in the final book. I mean, she manages to get herself up into space in order to try to finally rid the planet of the dangerous button box. That could’ve turned out ridiculous but I thought it worked well & I always love a story set in space. Also enjoyed King having fun with the rich asshole character who is SO obviously modelled on Tr*mp. – 3.5/5

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Gonna try to catch up on watching as many 2022 films as I can before the year ends. Man, 2022 has been another shit year for movies! Massively disappointing. As far as what’s made it to streaming, at least. Hoping some of what I missed in cinemas was good.

As I adored Ghibli Grogu & Ludwig Göransson‘s score, I need to end with a clip of that music:

My Top Ten Movie Fruits & Vegetables

Do you have any idea just how many fruit & vegetable-related movie associations there are? I didn’t until I started making this list! So, I lied – this is a Top 20! There were just too many to narrow it down to ten but my anal retentiveness insisted that I call this a Top Ten to match all my other posts. 😉

I’ll just do a simple list for 20-11 then elaborate a bit more on my Top Ten. I’d really love for people to add any they can think of which I’ve missed. Let me know in the Comments & I’ll add yours to the end of this post & link to your blog.

Now, counting down from 20 to 1, here are My Top Twenty Movie-Related Fruits & Vegetables:

Top Twenty:

  • 20. TIE: Jack Lemmon, Eve Plumb, Mr Bean & Barry Pepper. Yes – Barry Pepper! Two for one! (FYI – he’s an actor in The Green Mile). Also, I think Chuck’s cousin, Marvin Berry in Back To The Future, deserves a mention. 😉
  • 19. Strawberry Fields in Across The Universe
  • 18. The strawberries (and various other food items) in Nine 1/2 Weeks
  • 17. The banana in the tailpipe in Beverly Hills Cop
  • 16. All those tomatoes in Attack Of & Return Of The Killer Tomatoes
  • 15. The “blow job carrots” in Fast Times At Ridgemont High
  • 14. Pumpkinhead
  • 13. Children Of The Corn
  • 12. The cute strawberry Barry in Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 (plus loads of other food items)
  • 11. The apple pie in American Pie

Top Ten:

    10. F*%k The Pain Away by Peaches
    As Heard In: Lost In Translation, Drive Angry, My Little Eye

    Oh, Peaches – I do admit that I love some of your filthy songs. The most well-known, of course, seems to be Fuck The Pain Away as it’s been used in several movies, including the excellent Lost In Translation.

    9. Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) by Harry Belafonte
    As Heard In: Beetlejuice

    Who doesn’t like this song? Who doesn’t like this scene?! You know, I actually haven’t watched Beetlejuice in years – I really should watch it again! Was never really my favorite Burton film (it’s no Edward Scissorhands…).

    8. Poisoned Apple
    As Seen In: Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs

    Had to be in the top ten – it’s iconic! Not my favorite princess movie but I do love those Seven “Dwarfs”.

    7. A Clockwork Orange
    As Seen In: Umm… A Clockwork Orange!

    Not my number one favorite Kubrick film (that’s easily The Shining) but I do rank it highly despite being uncomfortable with some of the material. Plus, there’s not a damn orange in sight!

    6. Minion Bananas!
    As Seen In: Minions, the Despicable Me films, Minions shorts

    Yeah, I’ve maybe put this a little too high on the list but I LOVE those crazy minions and their banana obsession. 🙂

    5. Cherry Bomb by The Runaways
    As Heard In: The Runaways, Dazed & Confused, Guardians Of The Galaxy

    I’ve put this fairly high on the list even though I’m not crazy about the song. However, it’s awesome that it was included in two of my all-time favorite movie soundtracks (Dazed & Confused and Guardians Of The Galaxy). Also, it gives me the opportunity to recommend the movie The Runaways, which is about the band (obviously). It starred (don’t run away, ha) Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett & Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie. Seriously – Stewart & Fanning?! Ugh! But… you know what?! I loved it! They were, well, very good. Especially Stewart. Well worth a watch!

    4. Tangerine Dream
    As Heard In: Legend, Risky Business, Miracle Mile, etc

    I do love a good Tangerine Dream score! It was the best thing about the strange Miracle Mile (a movie loads of fellow bloggers seem to like!) and I’ve always loved the piece Love On A Real Train from Risky Business.

    3. The Big Apple
    As Seen In: Countless films!

    The Big Apple (as in, New York City) – Is there any other city in the world that has SO many films set in it?! I’ve chosen When Harry Met Sally as it’s a favorite. Yes, I’ll be doing a Top Ten NYC movies someday (probably after I finally get around to reviewing Escape From New York!).

    2. The Cucumber
    As Seen In: This Is Spinal Tap

    Ha! I’ve put this high on the list as it’s one of the first things I thought of when I came up with the idea for this list. Again, I’ve not actually watched this movie in years, although I loved it. I need to again. Who wants to watch it with me??

    1. Peas In The Pod
    As Seen In: Toy Story 3

    Yes, I know this may seem an odd choice for number one. But, if anyone here knows me at all, you’ll know I have a thing for anthropomorphism – especially adorable anthropomorphic food! I love these Peas in the Pod!!!! So. Damn. Cute. I may have bought the cuddly toy of this at The Disney Store after watching this movie. I’ve (reluctantly) given it to my daughter now. I clearly love her. 😉

Didn’t Make The List:
(before you add your own ideas in the Comments, here are some more that I did already think of)

    • The Mandarin & Pepper Potts in Iron Man 3
    • James & The Giant Peach
    • The Limey
    • Olaf’s carrot nose in Frozen
    • Cherry Falls
    • Professor Plum & Colonel Mustard in Clue
    • Violet Beauregarde turning into a blueberry in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
    • Withnail And I – The Camberwell Carrot (the biggest joint ever)
    • The garlic used in The Lost Boys
    • Popeye’s spinach & also Olive Oyl in Popeye
    • Cornholio (did he make an appearance in Beavis & Butthead Do America? I think so…)
    • Carmen Miranda & Josephine Baker
    • The Red Hot Chili Peppers in various films such as Point Break & The Chase
    • Peanuts! Okay – I’m adding this at the end as most won’t agree to it being a veg (or fruit?!) but I’m really excited about this movie coming out!!

Movies I’ve Not Seen:

    • Wild Strawberries
    • The Grapes Of Wrath
    • Bananas
    • The Apple

PHEW! I’ve spent way too much time thinking about fruit & veg this past week in preparation for this post. Now let me know if you have any more to add & I’ll link to you HERE –

Ideas From Other Bloggers:

Cindy Bruchman: Ann-Margret in the white living room swimming in a room of canned beans coming out of her television in The Who’s Tommy

Eric from The IPC: Sherilynn Fenn using her tongue to tie a knot in a cherry stem in Twin Peaks (the TV show but I’ll accept it) 😉

sgliput of Rhyme Or Reason: Fried Green Tomatoes, “ogres are like onions” from Shrek, the pumpkin in Cinderella, the berry interrogation in Sound of Music, the giant cherry in Wreck-It Ralph, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, and “Can you say mango?” from Paulie.

MovieRob: The blueberry pie in Stand By Me, Herbie Goes Bananas, The 9 1/2 weeks parody in Hot Shots, The Oranges in ALL 3 Godfather movies, The Apple Dumpling Gang, Pineapple Express, Poisoned dates in Raiders of the Lost Ark

And since I gave this scene a thorough re-watching for, ah, research…. I might as well share:

And here’s some Tangerine Dream:

The Apartment (1960) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Ruth of Flixchatter. She also did Mr Smith Goes To Washington for this project. Thanks for the reviews, Ruth! 🙂 Now let’s see what she has to say about The Apartment, IMDB rank 96 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 of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB Review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews.

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I’ve always wondered why the movie was called The Apartment, but within a few minutes I found out why. I like the opening sequence with Jack Lemmon’s narration. He played the protagonist, C.C. Baxter, who works as an insurance agent for Consolidated Life, one of the top five companies in the country with 31,259 employees. He works on the 19th floor in this giant office with rows upon rows of desks. By the end of the day, Baxter is the only one left. No, not because he’s a workaholic or anything, but he can’t come home to his apartment whenever he likes because he lets the executives of the company use his apartment for trysts. I seriously don’t know how he gets ANY work done as every day he’s so busy booking up his executives’ dates at his apartment and make sure they dates don’t get mixed up. At first I feel bad for him, especially when he gets a call in the middle of the night and have to clear out for one of the execs’ booty call. But you know what, Baxter brought this upon himself, he’s doing this favors to the execs to move up quickly to the top.

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Though it’s obviously a major inconvenience for Baxter, he tolerates this whole charade because of his ambition. That is until he met this cute elevator girl Fran Kubelik. Shirley MacClaine is so cute here with her pixie haircut, this is the first time I saw her in her earlier films as the first movie I saw her in was Guarding Tess (1994) with Nic Cage. This is also the first time I saw Fred McMurray. He’s quite memorable here as the top exec who makes life complicated for Baxter. I’m not going to spoil it for you in case you have not seen the film, though the plot is not entirely unpredictable. What did surprise me was how dark the film got, especially in regards to MacClaine’s character. I think those who’ve seen this know what I’m talking about. Even the whole cheating execs thing is not exactly a wholesome subject matter. But of course, given this is set in the 60s, it’s still a very demure film nary of any risque scene.

At times the storyline reminds me a bit of Roman Holiday in that the protagonist was initially an ambitious go-getter, someone ruthless enough to get ahead in their career. But when they fall in love, their perspective completely changes. I love how Baxter becomes the sweetest, most caring man even after he realizes his chances to be with the girl he loves is slim to none. Jack Lemmon is absolutely endearing in the way he dotes on Fran, taking care of her when she needs it most.

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This film won five Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Art Direction and Best Film Editing. Both Lemmon and MacClaine were nominated in the acting categories, too. I’d have been ok if Lemmon had won Best Actor but then again I don’t know who else was nominated that year. Baxter is the heart and soul of this film, and the transformation of his character as the film progresses is very believable.

I love so many things about this movie. The sharp script by Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond, lovely music by Adolph Deutsch, and the perfect balance of drama and comedy. I love the hilarious way Baxter made spaghetti, straining the pasta through the grid of a tennis racket. It’s quite an iconic scene that’s cute and heartwarming.

Fran Kubelik: Whats a tennis racket doing in the kitchen?
C.C. Baxter: Tennis racket? Oh, I remember, I was cooking myself an Italian dinner.
[Fran looks confused]
C.C. Baxter: I use it to strain the spaghetti.

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Of course the performances are great all around, I quite like the chemistry between Lemmon and MacClaine, and it’s the kind of romance that’s rarely seen today as their love develops with barely any physical contact! There’s not even a single kissing scene between the two actors, but you definitely felt the connection between the them.

The ending is one of those that made me go up and cheer… especially when Baxter finally stands up for himself and decides to become a *human being* (or a mensch as his doctor neighbor told him to be it just the night before). It turns out having the career he’s always wanted is not all that’s cracked up to be, meanwhile Fran too has an epiphany moment of her own. The finale is definitely one of the most memorable New Year’s Eve moments in movies. I feel that this ending is pretty typical for rom-coms, complete with the girl running to catch the guy she *finally* realizes to be the love of her life + a bit of panic happening that she could be too late. Yet, it doesn’t feel clichéd or hackneyed here, and that’s the beauty of this movie.

I’m glad I finally caught The Apartment, it’s one I wouldn’t mind seeing again. Now that I’ve seen two Billy Wilder movies, I definitely see why people love his work so much. I look forward to catching up on more of his films in the future!

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