Weekly Update: After watching Kong: Skull Island last week I decided to start this week with a few Kong-ripoff films, and let the rest of the week develop naturally.
Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-
91. Cadillac Records (2008)
The history of Chess Records and the Chicago Blues sound is given (slightly apocryphal) life in this biopic. Adrien Brody stars as Leonard Chess, the businessman who made the careers of Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Little Walter, Chuck Berry, and others. Featuring a host of solid performances, and a general love for the source material, this is an excellent introduction to Blues music history.
92. Viva Zapata! (1952)
Marlon Brando plays the famous Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata in this romantic telling of his life. While the film certainly doesn’t tell the whole story of Zapata, it shines a light on the revolution and the plight of the common people who were caught up in between the various factions. Brando is at his best in his performance, though the film doesn’t rise to the highest highs of other Elia Kazan-directed features of the time.
93. Black Caesar (1973)
Did you like The Godfather but thought it lacked schlock and the starring turn by a former Football star? Look no further than this superbly entertaining exploitation film with Fred Williamson as a gangster on the rise. The soundtrack also is excellent, with James Brown and his band behind the whole thing (including the well known song “The Boss”).
94. Mr. Majestyk (1974)
Bronson plays a farmer who gets arrested for beating up gangsters trying to run his migrant workers out of town. He escapes from jail with one mission only: get back to his watermelons. Don’t fuck with Charles Bronson and his watermelons.
95. Ride in the Whirlwind (1966)
Made on a shoestring budget ($75,000) shooting in the Utah desert, Jack Nicholson wrote and starred in this film helmed by Monte Hellman. The story focuses on a trio of cowhands who are confused for criminals and fight for their lives to escape a lynch mob. The simplicity of this story is carried by solid supporting turns from Cameron Mitchell, Millie Perkins, and Harry Dean Stanton.
96. The Shooting (1966)
Shot simultaneously (and with a similarly strict budget) alongside Ride in the Whirlwind, The Shooting is a more overtly artsy film, dealing with complex moral themes and full of existential tension. The film is also shot much differently than the former film. I wouldn’t go as far as to say The Shooting is a better film though, as the middle act drags considerably and begins to feel aimless. Thankfully the powerhouse finale ties the sometimes wandering story with a nice bow, but it isn’t quite enough to recommend it over the more consistently entertaining Ride in the Whirlwind.