Category Archives: Jenna’s Lists
I’ve done it, guys—I did Elvis! To be specific, I did all 31 Elvis films, two a week, in about four months time. This has been a wild ride, and I thank all of you that have followed me through it.
If you remember, I set out on this journey with merely a passing fascination for Elvis, and a huge ambivalence toward his films. I finish this journey with now a plethora of Elvis film knowledge, an Elvis t-shirt, a copy of both Peter Guralnick Elvis biographies (Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley) and a small collection of very attractive Elvis JPEGs saved on my desktop.
I like to think that this project has changed me for the better—I now know what it’s like to soar with Elvis at his highest highs, and cringe for him at his lowest lows. And I did genuinely have a lot of fun with these. There’s something very watchable about these movies, which I can’t say for most crappy ‘60s films.
Elvis was just fun—he embodied that pure, unfettered, visceral feeling of singing and dancing your heart out. I mean, Elvis made even sequin jumpsuits and shaking your ass look manly—heck, he even made womanizing look like fun for everyone. And his movies, like himself, were equally as unpretentious and easy to digest. While the plots were often inane and the music quality dropped severely throughout, you always came wanted to come back and see what Elvis was up to this time. Some of these are worth sitting through just for that one song, or one performance, or one scene of Elvis kissing three brides on the mouth before he gives them away to their husbands on their wedding day. I now truly understand how Elvis became such a larger-than-life presence—that unachievable ideal that eventually brought Elvis himself to his knees.
But I digress. Lets take one last trip though Elvis film-review-land with his 31st and final film:
An honorable mention.
Ah yes, December. The month in which we all gather round the fireplace with a warm glass of wassail, cozy up to our loved ones, and talk about how many movies we regretted spending thirteen bucks on over the last twelve months.
Just kidding—I was actually pretty impressed with 2014 overall as far as new releases went. Of the 103 movies I watched this year—26 of which came out this year—I found that I enjoyed most of the new releases. I only actively disliked about one of them, Gone Girl). So, whereas 2013 was a year of ‘meh’ for me, I’d say 2014 was a year of three-star or higher films—a good solid year.
I watched 71 films this year! More impressively, 29 of those films actually came out this year! That might be a record for me, seeing as I mostly seek out movies that are over thirty years old. Man, 29! I’m not going to even think about how much money that was.
That said, 2013 was a year of ‘meh’ for me, as far as new releases were concerned. I felt let down by a lot of the big buzz movies: 12 Years a Slave was superbly acted, but felt disjointed; Gravity managed to not excite me visually or emotionally; Frances Ha just felt like Baumbach’s version of Girls; Elysium was a snooze fest where I found myself rooting for the bad guys because they at least had more character. I was also excited for both Star Trek: Into Darkness and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and while neither particularly disappointed me (well, the whole Star Trek reboot I’ve always had issues with, but whatever) they didn’t excite me either.
I was, however, surprised by a couple of movies I saw on a lark: The Bling Ring was surprisingly watchable, Saving Mr. Banks was genuinely well done, Blue is the Warmest Color wasn’t entirely French junk, and Prisoners sort of blew me away. I also would include Wolf of Wall Street in this category, but I’ll be expounding on that one at a later date.
So, here’s my list of the best and the worst, aka, the movies that, at the very least, made me say something other than “Meh.”
4 Halfway Decent Movies In Theaters Now (Hannah Arendt, Frances Ha, The Bling Ring, Berberian Sound Studio)
I’ve been hitting the ol’ theaters hard this month, and I’ve found most of these movies to be decidedly satisfactory. I didn’t ‘love’ any of these, but I would say that if you’re interested in seeing them, they’re worthwhile:
Stalker (1979). Not all subtitled movies are this, people.
Personally, I’ve never understood the hatred people have for subtitles. Sure, there is a level of inconvenience that comes with being unable to focus entirely on the visuals, since your eyes have to dart between it and the text. I mean, you’re watching a movie because that’s what you want to do—watch something, not read it. However, it seems to me in this age of text messages, the internet, scrolling news tickers, and billion hit Youtube videos from around the world, you’d think we’d be over the stigma of subtitles by now.