Weekly Update: Still recuperating from a serious injury, which will take a few more weeks at least. So for the next few weeks my new movie viewings will consist of mostly stuff I could find on TV or streaming.
Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-
159. The Wings of Eagles (1957)
Director John Ford and actor John Wayne team up for this Biopic of “Spig” Wead, an aviation pioneer who helped to convince the U.S. Navy of the importance of airplanes. Wead was seriously injured, leaving him nearly paralyzed. Unable to fly, he became a screenwriter, eventually befriending director John Ford. As a result this film feels like a very personal tribute to a close friend.
160. The Sea Wolves (1980)
This epic wartime thriller inspired by actual events tells the story of a Commando raid on the Portuguese Colonial Indian city of Goa during WWII. Portugal was neutral in the war, and as a result several merchant German ships were allowed to make port. Although ostensibly disarmed, a rise in local British shipping attacks indicated that these German boats were communicating movements to nearby submarines. A small team of British non-regulars and retirees came together to plan a secret raid. The film is unevenly paced and fairly predictable, but with stars Roger Moore, Gregory Peck, and David Niven it is impossible not to find something to appreciate.
161. Mister Roberts (1955)
Lieutenant Douglas Roberts (Henry Fonda) is one of several junior officers on board the U.S.S. Reluctant, a military freighter that has spent the entire war on the sidelines. The ship is led by Commander Morton (James Cagney), an officious man who is as demanding as he is arrogant. Roberts desperately wishes for a transfer to a combat ship, but Morton won’t allow it. Nor will the Commander allow his crew even the most modest of shore leave. As a result, the morale aboard the ship is crumbling. Mister Roberts is equal comedy and drama, highlighting the doldrums of the less glamorous roles people played in the military during the war. Not that these roles were unimportant, but the sacrifice was real.
162. Godzilla against Mechagodzilla (2002)
This fairly modern entry in the long-running Toho Godzilla film series reboots the backstory of Godzilla Nemesis Mechagodzilla, this time borrowing a little bit of Robot Jox along the way. Lt. Akane Yashiro is a member of a special unit set up to defend Japan from Monster attacks. Determined to make amends for her past failures, she earns the driver’s seat behind Japan’s newest secret weapon: a giant robotic, weaponized version of Godzilla to compete against the real thing. Like most Godzilla movies, this backstory is mostly fluff, the main event being the fun of watching a couple people in costumes crash around a meticulous model of Tokyo. Though it is nice to see a single human take on Godzilla 1 on 1 this time around.
163. Hatari! (1962)
This adventure film brings classic action icon John Wayne to the African Savannah as the head of a company of live game trappers who catch animals for zoos, circuses, and other organizations. The film’s plot is mostly based around the relationships of the characters, but fortunately there is enough fun situational humor and solid performances to keep these interesting. The real reason to watch Hatari!, though, is the insanely dangerous stunts. The live animal trapping sequences were done without stuntmen, the actors all performing their own work, driving head-long across the wilderness in beat-up vehicles trying to wrangle everything from Water Buffalo, to Zebras, and even more dangerously; Rhinos.