Posted by: Sally Ingraham | January 4, 2010

Movie Monday: Jan.1st-Jan.4th

O' HortonI really like keeping lists, so it’s kind of funny that I’ve never kept track of the movies I watch beyond rating them through Netflix. I felt ridiculously pleased with myself yesterday after I set up a “Movies 2010” list, complete with title, director, country, year, and my personal rating. It will be extremely amusing to me to track how many movies I actually watch per month, and exactly how sporadically odd my choices are.

For instance, since the beginning of the year (four days ago) I have watched 6 movies – 4 American, 1 British, and 1 Norwegian, with release dates ranging from 1975 to 2007. That’s already really interesting to me! Perhaps less so to the rest of the world, but hey, what else are blogs for?

This is all just the build up to announcing a new blog feature of mine, for which I will post once weekly about the movies I watch. It’s been so rewarding to put a little more brain power into examining the books I read, and since watching movies is about neck and neck with reading in the race to being my top time consuming activity, it seems only logical that I should spend a little more time dwelling on the the movies I watch. I’ve written about movies before here, but now I want to do it with more focus.

To kick things off, let me quickly go through those 6 movies I mentioned. 🙂

The Nightmare Before Christmas – Henry Selick – USA – 1993
I know this is a classic, and while I found it somewhat interesting it really just made me want to watch Coraline again, as it is far superior in my opinion. I found Nightmare visually interesting, but the singing and dancing was quite dull.

A Boy and His Dog – L. Q. Jones – USA – 1975
As I mentioned before I learned about this movie through Book Travellers Inc., and the premise of a boy and his telepathic dog trying to make it in a post-apocalyptic world intrigued me. A very young Don Johnson was also good bait. The film itself proved to be bizarre and kinky, but quite satisfying. It’s based on a story by Harlan Ellison, so of course I now feel compelled to track that down!

Clash of the Titans – Desmond Davis – USA – 1981
With a new version of this movie coming out sometime this year, I felt the need to watch the original. I’m so glad I did! In this mish-mash of Greek myths I found much to giggle at (especially the “pretty” but dense Perseus played by Harry Hamlin), but was also impressed by the visual effects that must have been quite something when it opened in 1981. The stop motion animation mixed with live action was especially fun. It was also hilarious to see Laurence Olivier as Zeus, and I was delighted to encounter Maggie Smith looking the youngest I’ve ever seen her. A winner all round.

Smokey and the Bandit – Hal Needham – USA – 1977
This movie made me laugh a lot, and will definitely be one of my go-to movies when I feel a particularly strong need for a good high speed car chase. Burt Reynolds is easy on the eyes, but it is the adorable Sally Field who steals the show.

Krull – Peter Yates – UK – 1983
This is a good example of how I often pick out movies: while scanning the back of this DVD I read that it was one of Liam Neeson’s earliest screen appearances, and so without a second thought I rented it. Another foray into the wide wide world of special effects, this movie offered up a futuristic world that definitely had more in common with a fairy tale than most sci-fi landscapes. There were some alien/monster baddies, but also a prince rescuing a princess, some seers, some changelings, a cyclops, fire mares, a magician, a giant spider, a movable fortress, etc. It was a long and complex quest, and I pretty much enjoyed it, even if I found myself snickering into my sleeve on more than one occasion. Liam Neeson was definitely there, tall and handsome as ever, but it was Robbie Coltrane making an obscure and minor appearance that got me the most excited.

O’ Horton – Bent Hamer – Norway – 2007 (Movie of the Week!)
My Dad won many points with me for this Christmas present! We played it at the theater I work at last fall, and I loved it then – after a re-watch it proved to be just as good as I remembered. A simple story about how a 67-year old train engineer adjusts to retirement after nearly 40 years of service, it captures his first awkward steps into a new life with exquisite charm. The movie is full of quiet but quirky scenes, and Baard Owe plays the character of Odd Horton with grace and humor. The composer and musician Kaada provides a lovely score that really pulls the whole thing together. A captivating film, and one that is at the top of my current favorites list. 🙂


  1. I’m so glad you brought this up. I want to do this too, great idea!

  2. I thought I watched a lot of movies–well, used to watch a lot more before my current total immersion in novels–but the only one on your list that I’ve seen is “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” whose music I found nerve-jangling. Have you seen “Synecdoche, New York”? I’d be curious to know your take on it. Your mini-reviews are a delight and I’ll be back for more.

  3. Julia – I’m glad you enjoyed my jumble of thoughts! I did see “Synecdoche, New York”. It was one of my favorites from last year – it’s one of the few films I actually wrote about here ( I do have trouble balancing my reading and movie watching, but it’s a fun balance beam to be on!

    Jill – I look forward to your movie reviews! 🙂

  4. Since O’Horten is one of your favorites, perhaps you’d consider watching it again with me sometime?

  5. O’Horton, I mean. Not O’Horten, and definitely not Horton Hears a Who.

  6. Julie – Oh jeez, I totally spelled it wrong – it’s O’HortEn! Let’s make an Odd Horten date for sure. 🙂

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