Friday, January 02, 2009

Movies Watched--2008

These are the movies that I personally watched, with various combinations of our family members. That means, no, our younger children did not watch all of these with us!

The Trouble With Harry
The trouble with Harry is that he's so inconveniently dead! If you like old movies, this is an Alfred Hitchcock comedy--a rare combination--that you must watch.

Finding Neverland
Well-done, touching.

Three Days of the Condor

Robert Redford caught in the middle of a suspenseful spy story. Has held up well, for a movie shot in the 70's.

Across the Universe
(fast-forwarding through a couple scenes)
Because our teens like the Beatles. Not much plot.

Oliver! (the musical, of course)
I was afraid the scene where Bill Sykes kills Nancy was too scary for our little kids, but they loved watched this movie while we were rehearsing for the theater production. Bantam3's first attempts at singing were from this movie. "WHO WILL BUY?" he demanded, over and over.

Digging for the Truth (all seasons, from the library)
Our boys loved Josh, the totally cool historian host in the Indiana Jones hat, and all the cool historical mysteries he delved into. His honest debunking of the Da Vinci Code myth was a fun episode; most of his mysteries were grounded in more facts than this one!

Jane Eyre (Masterpiece Theater)

Mansfield Park (Masterpiece Theater)

Harry Houdini (A & E Biography)
I figured this was a must-see for two boys learning magic tricks!

State Fair
A fun Iowa-flavored musical, with little-known actors and a little-known score, but several Academy Award nominations. I always wondered what musical "It Might As Well Be Spring" was from.

Our Mutual Friend (BBC)
Bleak House (BBC)
At A Hen's Pace review here.

Not for younger kids, but wow, did this powerful film generate discussion with teens! (Who were Evita, Che Guevara, Madonna? We ended up checking facts on Wikipedia.) A lesser-known Andrew Lloyd Weber musical that illustrates the lust for power and fame, the lengths people will go to to get it, and the sobering fact of mortality. Raw, negative examples and an intense musical score.

Prince Caspian
At A Hen's pace review here.

David Copperfield (BBC)
We enjoyed this 1974 version, which seems to be well-thought-of by reviewers. Not as good as Bleak House or Our Mutual Friend, though.

Be Kind Rewind
Dumb, dumb, dumb.

The Spiderwick Chronicles
Pretty good, but too scary for young kids. I thought the ending, where the old woman becomes a little girl again and disappears with her father into the limbo-land where he's been hanging out all her life, was disturbing.

Love Comes Softly
A delightful movie version of the Janette Oke book.

The Inheritance
Diane at A Circle of Quiet cited this movie as a rare exception: When the movie is better than the book. Since I had read the book--Louisa May Alcott's first novel--and thought it pretty amateurish, I expected to agree, and did. Somewhere I read a reviewer who thought that the screenwriters edited just as a mature Alcott would have done, had she ever gone back and revised her own book. This was a nice Hallmark production.

Speed Racer
We would have enjoyed this more if the action weren't so frenetic! But I loved the casting. It was like seeing the old cartoons come to life.

Kind of a fun period film about the early days of football, before it went pro. Not for younger kids.

A group of students are trained to count cards and win big at blackjack in Vegas. But at what cost? A couple scenes to fast-forward through.

Iron Man

A well-done superhero movie. I really liked Robert Downey Jr. in the title role. (He barely looked older than he did in the 80's!)

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The old man still has it. Entertaining.

My thoughts here.

A beautiful story of tragedy and redemption.

Mean Girls
My thoughts here.

Get Smart
We like Steve Carell. We like Anne Hathaway. We still laugh at Dwayne Johnson running into a wall in the first scene.

Scrooge, the Musical

Starring Albert Finney, from the 1970's. This film has it all--British accents, wonderful musical numbers, romance, a crippled boy soprano and a marvelous message. We watch it every year.

A Christmas Story
Laughs all around, of course, but several of us recalled why it's just not our favorite Christmas movie.

Dark Knight
Wo! Intense.

Return of the Pink Panther
The Pink Panther Strikes Again

Starring Peter Sellers. We also watched the new one, The Pink Panther, with Steve Martin, earlier this year, but kept telling our kids, "Oh, he's just not Peter Sellers!" They won't all admit it, but they laughed harder at the old ones.

The Bishop's Wife
The old one. Haven't seen the new one.

We watched this with friends and enjoyed the story very much--but we all agreed it needs to be re-released with a new soundtrack! The current one is totally 80's synthesizer music. (And Matthew Broderick looked just like he did in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which was distracting!) Still, worth watching.

There were more, that I forgot to write down. There were more, that some family members watched, but not me. There were more, that our kids watched without us.

For better or worse, movies are the shared cultural experiences that span generations!

Tomorrow: "Speaking of Movies..."


Melinda said...

I love the Indiana Jones movies! I've been a fan of Harrison Ford since I was 11 and the first one came out. And yes, he still has it!

I have a question for moms at the ned of my post for today, I hope you'll come by and give me your thoughts.

Donna Boucher said...

What a fun list!!!

The best new movie I have seen this year is called Slumdog Millionaire. It is rated R for violence, but WOW what a story.

Amazing photography and music, too.

Activities Coordinator said...

We enjoyed Twilight (the movie) very much, however it lacked a certain humor that was in the books. The books I highly recommend.

I had to laugh about you comment regarding Ladyhawke. It was one of my favorites growing up, but I never noticed the music. Perhaps because it was the eighties so the music wasn't all that out of place?

In any case, my Sal watched it for the first time a few months ago and said, "Good movie, but what's with the eighties music?"