I watched a lot of movies at home this year (87) and I feel like these movies get ignored as people only list current releases in their year-end lists. Well, I’ll be posting My Top Ten Movies Released In 2017 tomorrow. But I always enjoy this list slightly more. Once again, I watched some true older classics at home this year.
87 movies are too many to list but I do have the full list (ranked & rated because I’m a loser!) HERE if you really want to see them all plus which ones are at the very bottom (Lifeforce & The Neon Demon, FYI). So let’s talk about the 30 best ones!
From my “least” favorite to my favorite, here are My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2017 (release dates prior to 2017). But starting at #30 – I just like to be consistent with my “Top Ten” list names. 😉
Happy Birthday to Samuel L. Jackson, who is 69 today.
I love Jackson! I’m not sure if I ever see him as anything other than Samuel L. Jackson in his roles… But that’s okay since he’s cool.
And, holy crap, Jackson has been in loads of stuff. He has 167 credits with another 10 “upcoming” roles listed at IMDb. I know he does a lot of cameos so I’ve included every movie I’ve seen where he’s been given a credit (other than Inglourious Basterds, where he apparently provided an “uncredited voice”). I’ll be honest – I don’t remember him in some of the below films. And some I saw so long ago that I barely remember the films themselves so I’ve left them off the main list & listed them separately.
So, counting down to my favorites (films, not performances) & including everything I’ve seen, here are My Top Ten Samuel L. Jackson Movies:
28. Sea Of Love
27. The Long Kiss Goodnight
26. A Time To Kill
24. Deep Blue Sea
23. Die Hard: With A Vengeance
22. Snakes On A Plane
21. Big Game
Some I Saw But Don’t Remember Well Enough To Include In List:
Menace II Society, Juice, Lakeview Terrace, Loaded Weapon, Sphere, Changing Lanes
Some I’ve Not Seen:
The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Kong: Skull Island, The Legend Of Tarzan, RoboCop (2014), Turbo, Old Boy (2013), The Other Guys, Black Snake Moan, Coach Carter, The xXx Movies, The 51st State, Shaft, Rules Of Engagement, The Red Violin, The Negotiator, 187, Hard Eight, Trees Lounge, Jungle Fever, Mo’ Better Blues, The Exorcist III, Betsy’s Wedding
Happy Birthday to Robert De Niro, who turns 74 today.
I was thinking I may not be able to do this list as I may struggle to find ten De Niro movies that I’ve seen. Ha! I’ve seen 29! How did that happen?! Sheesh – he’s been in loads of films. Took me ages just to type out the biggest ones I’ve seen & not seen.
I like De Niro but I’m not gonna pretend he’d make a top ten list of my favorite actors. Of the two, though, I’ve always preferred him to Al Pacino (I’ve only seen 14 of his movies).
As always, I’ll include a list at the end of some of the biggest De Niro movies I’ve not seen. And there are truly some biggies! As for Taxi Driver, it’s a bit like Rocky was for me until I finally watched it all the way through this year for my Blind Spot thingy: I’ve probably seen most of Taxi Driver from seeing bits & pieces over the years but can’t really include it on this list until I fully watch it properly.
I do want to see Once Upon A Time In America & The Untouchables (Maybe I’ll make them Blind Spot 2018 choices!). I have no desire to see Casino as it sounds too violent for my wussy self. And I have a feeling I may get yelled at for Raging Bull not making my Top Ten… 😉
So, of what I’ve managed to see so far, here are My Top Ten Robert De Niro Movies (ranked by movie, not performance):
**List Updated 22/08/17 to add The Untouchables
The Rest That I’ve Seen:
27. The Fan
26. Cape Fear
25. Great Expectations
24. Red Lights
23. Shark Tale
22. Arthur And The Invisibles
21. Angel Heart
20. Hide And Seek
18. Cop Land
16. American Hustle
14. Silver Linings Playbook
13. Meet The Parents & Meet The Fockers
12. Analyze This & Analyze That
11. Raging Bull
Need To Re-Watch/Fully Watch:
Taxi Driver, Midnight Run
Mean Streets, New York, New York, Once Upon A Time In America, Falling In Love, The Mission, We’re No Angels, Stanley & Iris, Mad Dog & Glory, This Boy’s Life, A Bronx Tale, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Casino, Marvin’s Room, Wag The Dog, Flawless, The Adventures Of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Men Of Honor, 15 Minutes, The Score, The Good Shepherd, Machete, Little Fockers, The Family, Last Vegas, The Intern, Joy, Dirty Grandpa
Happy Birthday to Quentin Tarantino, who is 54 today. I figured this would be a good time to finally review my 2017 Blind Spot choice of Jackie Brown. And tomorrow I’ll be reviewing The Hateful Eight, which I’ve finally just watched as well. At least I liked one of these two movies! Here’s my review for Jackie Brown…
Jackie Brown (1997)
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Based on Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard
Starring: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton, Robert De Niro
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB) A middle-aged woman finds herself in the middle of a huge conflict that will either make her a profit or cost her life.
I can’t believe it took me so long to get around to finally watching Jackie Brown, the only Tarantino-directed film I’d never watched (okay – not counting that Four Rooms movie or his guest director credit on Sin City, which isn’t a movie that I liked anyway).
Jackie Brown is an odd one in that I’m of course used to Tarantino’s style now & this one has a very different feel to it. I suppose the main reason for this is that the film is an adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s 1992 novel Rum Punch instead of a Tarantino original story like his other films. I think this works in the film’s favor but I’d also hazard a guess that it isn’t the number one favorite film for most diehard Tarantino fans.
I’ll be honest – I think someone needs to rein Tarantino in a bit. Not long after watching Jackie Brown I watched the overblown The Hateful Eight and it definitely made me appreciate Brown much more. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think of Jackie Brown. It’s a good but uneven film and, although I confess that I know nothing about the book and have never read anything by Elmore Leonard in my life, it feels pretty obvious which bits were probably embellished by Tarantino. There’s a welcome subtlety to parts of Jackie Brown that’s especially missing in Tarantino’s most current films. Don’t get me wrong – I like his movies and know they’re going to be over the top (Kill Bill being my favorite, which is OTT to the extreme, but in a good way). But…. What am I trying to say? I don’t know. I think Tarantino is just another director who has come to believe his own hype a bit too much & he needs to take a step back and focus on the great writing that made his older films like Reservoir Dogs such a success. Okay – I’m focusing too much on not liking The Hateful Eight. More about that one tomorrow but I can’t help but compare since I watched these two almost back to back & they’re so very different.
I loved the overall mood of Jackie Brown, which was of course helped once again by the use of a truly fantastic soundtrack. If there’s one thing that Tarantino always does right, it’s picking the music for his films. I loved this soundtrack so much. Best music (as in, songs as opposed to score) that I’ve heard in a film in a long time! Remember when movie soundtracks used to be good like this?? Sorry to go on about this so much but it’s not something that is done as well in films nowadays. When I think back to my teen years, I bought loads of movie (song) soundtracks. There were so many good ones then. What the hell happened? The music in a movie is very important to me as I think it plays such an integral part in creating a film’s mood. I keep saying “song” to differentiate as I’m actually more of a lover of original film scores than of “song” soundtracks usually but, when a movie puts together a lot of previously recorded music as perfectly as Jackie Brown does, it makes me happy. Hey – at least I have to give credit to Tarantino for getting Ennio Morricone to score The Hateful Eight. I worship people like Morricone & John Williams the way that most people worship the pretty celebrities who are in front of the cameras. Maybe I’m weird?! And, shit – I’m talking about The Hateful Eight again. Sorry.
As I said, there’s a subtlety to parts of Jackie Brown unlike in Tarantino’s more recent works and it’s these understated scenes that were easily my favorite bits of this movie. Pam Grier & Robert Forster were brilliant and I was happiest when the movie went back to the scenes involving their characters. Loved their chemistry! I totally wanted a love story there (if you’ve not seen it, I won’t say if this happens or not).
There are bigger name stars in this one (Robert De Niro and, of course, Samuel L. Jackson) but the scenes involving them were the ones that I felt had a little too much of that “Tarantino vibe” going on. Who the hell doesn’t love Samuel L. Jackson, right? He’s awesome. But he’s his usual “Tarantino-self” in this and, for once, I enjoyed having those Grier & Forster scenes involving more than just Tarantino/Jackson sweary banter and extreme violence.
Speaking of extreme violence, this is the least violent Tarantino movie (well, maybe that Four Rooms thing isn’t violent?). I think it’s the first of his films that I was able to watch with my eyes fully open the entire time! I mean, it’s of course plenty violent but it’s not explicitly shown. I’m a wuss. I prefer to not see full-on gore. Yet Kill Bill is my favorite so I suppose that makes no sense… Eh, I just love a good revenge story (and women who kick ass). And I have yet to watch all of Kill Bill with my eyes fully open. I guess, looking at it that way, Jackie Brown is the first & only Tarantino movie that I’ve actually seen. 😉 And I appreciated that.
Perhaps Tarantino should try adapting someone else’s work again sometime. I do like his style and I didn’t mind Jackie Brown having that Tarantino stamp on it but I also liked the way in which adapting someone else’s work meant he kind of managed to keep the story more on track & to not go so medieval on our asses. Again, I think Jackie Brown is also unfortunately somewhat uneven because of this and it’s certainly not a perfect film but I do think it’s better than several of Tarantino’s other films (yet I don’t think it’s widely accepted as so?). I did a post a very long time ago ranking the Tarantino films I’ve seen, which I’ve finally updated HERE. Have a look if you really want to see where I’ve placed Jackie Brown (although you can probably guess where The Hateful Eight ranks!).
Jackie Brown is a good film. It probably deserves more credit than it gets and I’m glad to have added it to my Blind Spot list as it was well worth finally watching. Grier & Forster are the true stars who make this film and it’s unfortunate that they’re somewhat overshadowed by “more famous” names being in the movie as well. I have a confession: I seriously don’t know Robert Forster. I know his face but never could have told you his name and had to look him up after watching this. He’s been in 177 things!!! And I watch loads of movies & know my actors. Is he one of these actors who flies under the radar & won’t get any proper recognition until he’s gone? Or have I just seriously overlooked him for years? He’s so damn good in this & I’m happy to see that he got an Oscar nomination for this role. But… Where the f*^k is Pam Grier’s nomination?!? What the f*^k, you m*^herf*^king Academy?!? I’m going to go Samuel L. Jackson on your asses! She’s great. She’s super sexy at fortysomething. I want her & Forster’s characters to live happily ever after (maybe they do? I’m not saying). I’m going to go listen to that Delfonics song now…
My Rating: 8/10
Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time – The Delfonics:
And here’s the opening of Jackie Brown, with Bobby Womack’s Across 110th Street. God I love this soundtrack. Can I just post YouTube videos of the whole soundtrack??:
Who Is He (And What Is He To You?) – Bill Withers:
And this one is bizarre. I like it! Good job, Tarantino. I’ll stop posting videos now. I need to buy this soundtrack… The Lions And The Cucumber – The Vampire Sound Incorporation:
Wait. Gotta end with Pam Grier! Long Time Woman – Pam Grier:
Last year I really enjoyed joining in on the Blind Spot series so many bloggers choose to do each year. You can see my final ranked list & review links to my 12 Blind Spot Movies Of 2016 HERE. I won’t be doing quite as much on this blog this year but I do like the thought of at least selecting another 12 films that I’ve been wanting to watch & finally making myself get around to watching them. So here are my choices for 2017:
Fritz The Cat
The Last Temptation Of Christ
The King And I
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Some Alternates (depending upon availability of the above & free time):
The City Of Lost Children
Ghost In The Shell
The Right Stuff
Once Upon A Time In America