Weekly Update: The Oscar season has ended, so this week I watched some random shit.
Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-
71. Death Race 2000 (1975)
From producer Roger Corman comes this epic satire that will instantly remind contemporary audiences of The Hunger Games… but far cheaper and with considerably less Tween-appeal. In the distant future of the year 2000, American pride comes mostly from watching television, and specifically from watching an annual cross-country race which sees 5 competitors race for points gained by killing pedestrians. Death Race 2000 is corny, dirt cheap, and fascinating.
72. Death Race 2050 (2017)
This sequel to the 1975 original film amps up the adrenaline and lowers the perceived production values. Basically the exact same plot as the original film, with jokes and satire updated for modern sensibilities. I nevertheless found the film quite entertaining. The spaghetti at the wall approach to the comedy pays off more often than it has any right to.
73. Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (2011)
This fantastic career-spanning documentary charts Roger Corman’s rise as a Hollywood career jump-starter. Full of interviews from people who he influenced or gave their first jobs to, Corman’s World is an essential education on the B-Movie world. Corman’s impact is so strong that just talking about him makes Jack Nicholson cry. That’s all you need to know.
74. A Bucket of Blood (1959)
Roger Corman’s satirical take on counter-culture follows Dick Miller as Max, a mild-mannered busboy who works in a Beatnik bar. He kills his landlord’s cat and covers up the crime by covering it in clay and passing it off as a sculpture, only to find himself an overnight success on the art circuit. This film is a sterling example of the often brilliant results of Corman’s Cheap-Fast-Out of Control method of filmmaking.
75. Brain Dead (1990)
Brain Dead is based on what was then a more than 20 year old script by brilliant Sci-Fi writer Charles Beaumont. The script was updated somewhat, but the plot is pure Twilight Zone. Bill Pullman is a brain specialist who is hired by an unscrupulous businessman (Bill Paxton) to attempt to recover missing business secrets from the mind of a crazed ex-employee. In the process Pullman himself begins to doubt his own perception, and soon it becomes questionable whose reality is real, if any.
76. Trespass (1992)
Bill Paxton and William Sadler are a pair of redneck firemen who bumble into a treasure map, and follow it to the ghettos of East St. Louis. In the process they bumble into an early 1990s Hood Movie already in process. Witnessing the murder of a gang member, they barricade themselves in a room of an old factory while Ice T, Ice Cube, and company plot to get in. Based on a script by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, Trespass is one part Menace II Society and one part Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
77. Rock Dog (2017)
The job of the Tibetan Mastiffs is to guard the Sheep of Snow Mountain, protecting them from the wolves who want them for dinner. But when young Bodi wants to play music instead, he has to contend with his domineering father. The father eventually relents and Bodi ventures to the big city, where he tries to be a rock star by finding his idol Angus Scattergood. And apparently the Wolves are gangsters who are pretty wealthy and probably can buy food rather than keeping focused on the sheep of a single Tibetan village… but they still want the sheep for some reason… there are about 4 different plots in this movie, and none of them are interesting. I’ve already written too much.
78. Logan (2017)
In the near future, most of the mutants on Earth have died off due to an obscure GMO-based experiment by the US government. Wolverine AKA Logan is living on the skids with Professor Xavier, both of whom are suffering the ill effects of aging. Xavier is borderline senile, and prone to seizure fits which cause his psychic powers to drill into the brains of anyone nearby. Logan, on the other hand, is not healing as fast as he used to (though still superhuman). Fate finds Logan on the run yet again, but this time caring for a girl who may be his genetic daughter. The
best X-men movie yet… Only legitimately good X-men movie is a masterful blend of dystopic and apocalyptic themes. This is Hugh Jackman’s final X-men film, and it’s a moody, masterful swan song to a series completely undeserving of one.
79. Frailty (2001)
Bill Paxton’s directoral debut was a horror-thriller of the highest caliber. Paxton plays a father who one day tells his sons that he was given instructions by God to kill demons. These demons inhabit the bodies of humans, and only he can tell who is which. Is he a crazy person forcing his children to help him kill, or is he a genuine demon slayer?
80. 3 Days of the Condor (1975)
Fans of Captain America The Winter Soldier should know that that film used this 1975 paranoia thriller as a template. Redford is a CIA researcher who goes on the run when his entire office is murdered. He soon finds out that people from the CIA itself are trying to kill him, and it’s anyone’s guess how far up the chain the culpability is. More optimistic than The Parallax View, but more tense and action-oriented than All the President’s Men, this film’s influence also spans multiple other modern action films, such as the Bourne franchise.
81. CutThroat Island (1995)
Renny Harlin’s $100 million disasterpiece is still the biggest bomb of all time adjusted for inflation. Basically, the plot isn’t too different from any other swashbuckling pirate movie, but with the completely miscast Geena Davis in the lead role, and dialogue that feels 50 years out of date, not to mention expensive special effects that nevertheless look laughably cheap on occasion. It seems this is the ultimate statement on how not to make an expensive movie.
82. Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie
Morton Downey Jr. became famous for being the right-wing voice of Shock-TV in the late 1980s. He pushed the envelope further than any other Trash-Talk TV host had before or would after, in an atmosphere where what is real or staged was never very clear. This documentary follows Downey Jr’s rise to fame and sudden fall from grace. Fascinating viewing for its frightening comparisons to the rhetoric of Donald Trump today. Maybe if he was still alive today, Morton Downey Jr. would be President…