Visit Remembering the Movies to further peruse the past
Despite the holiday season, there is not much Yuletide spirit on display this week - only drug lords, gangsters, and mad scientists, as well as a dumb blonde and brunette Ginger. As with last week, we must reach back 100 years ago to find something Christmas-themed (also as with last week, there's no capsule by me; I'm hoping to be able to resume the full-fledged approach in the new year). If you're looking for something in the spirit of the season, check out yesterday's visual tribute to A Charlie Brown Christmas. Otherwise, follow the Ghost of Christmas Past through the jump...
10 years ago (December 27, 2000)
"I don't get it. Maybe my bias against drug dealers, drug barons, and drug addicts as interesting characters is responsible, but I don't see this slightly better-than-average drug thriller, with slightly better-than-average direction by Steven Soderbergh, as anything more than a routine rubber-stamping of genre reflexes. (Even the film's racism—the implication that drug taking by teenage white girls logically leads to their having sex with black males—seems depressingly typical.)" - Jonathan Rosenbaum
"But the real star of the film is Mr. Soderbergh, who has demonstrated this year in Erin Brockovich and Traffic the full range of his versatility since his spectacular prize-winning splash at Sundance and Cannes in 1989 with Sex, Lies, and Videotape, a movie everyone I know said was grossly overrated. Contentious as always, I said I liked it a lot, and was determined to follow his career with special care. On the whole, he has not disappointed me, though his second film, Kafka (1991), struck me as something he had to get out of his system. King of the Hill (1993) was a humanist triumph, and what is wrong with a film commemorating the Great Depression and the people that survived it? The Underneath (1995) was much underrated by everyone but me. Schizopolis (1996) didn't quite come off, but Gray's Anatomy (1996) did everything that could be done cinematically for the comedy of Spalding Gray. But with Out of Sight (1998) and The Limey (1999), Mr. Soderbergh was truly out of sight with a Hawksian range of genres. Traffic marks him definitively as an enormous talent, one who never lets us guess what he's going to do next. The promise of Sex, Lies, and Videotape has been fulfilled." - Andrew Sarris
Gene: "Our first film is The Godfather Part III and in a nutshell this film is not in the same league as the other two movies, but not many movies are. There are problems with this new film, but it still has impressive strengths... I've already seen the film twice, enjoyed it more the second time, I'm sure I'll go back again, flaws and all." Roger: "It is flawed; it is good. One of the things that bothered me is that the screenplay seems kind of half-baked, half-finished. ... But on the whole, I agree with you, it's a beautiful-looking film, it's a beautiful-feeling film, it's great to see these people again. It's interesting the way they dig in to the controversy surrounding the Catholic Church. ... Now I want to discuss, with you, one of the central questions of Godfather III which you brought up, and that is did Francis Ford Coppola make a mistake by casting his own daughter Sofia in the important role of Michael Corleone's daughter Mary. And I disagree with you, I don't think so. ... But I think Sofia Coppola brings a quality of her own to Mary Corleone, a certain up-front vulnerability and simplicity that I think are appropriate for the role." - "Siskel & Ebert"
"Considering how lame the bulk of teen movies made in the late Fifties and early Sixties look in retrospect, Where the Boys Are stands up respectably well. Considering. That still doesn't change the ludicrous presentation of "moral" issues at hand nor does it obfuscate the silliest of stereotypes perpetrated within, but Where the Boys Are is nonetheless good, clean fun in the sun." - Margaret Mosel, Austin Chronicle
Where the Boys Are (1960)
Kitty Foyle (1940)
"It's hard to believe that this amazing cartoon runs slightly less than six minutes, but it's true. Somehow those wildly imaginative animators at the Fleischer Studio managed to pack a lifetime supply of nightmare imagery, sexual gags, dreamlike transformations, and stupefying weirdness into this little black & white short. And they make it look easy! It takes a couple of viewings to absorb it all, and even then it leaves you feeling dazed." -wmorrow69, IMDb
"Harold Lloyd’s short film Number, Please? is, it has to be said, not one of his best, but it does feature some of his typically inventive gags, especially a scene in which all he has to do is make a phone call, but is prevented in doing so by a cigar, a midget, a stupid woman, a bad memory, a lack of cash, a screaming baby and a Jewish stereotype. The film also features two excellent performances by dogs, which I realise is neither here nor there but canine thespianism is a much-overlooked aspect of cinema these days so I’m just doing my bit to big it up." - The Incredible Suit