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5 Stars Movies

Licorice Pizza (2021)

While I admit to not seeing all of his films just yet, it does not take much to realize that director Paul Thomas Anderson is indeed what one could call an acquired taste. It is a lighter affair this time around for Licorice Pizza, but it does not at all make it less fascinating.

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5 Stars Movies

C’mon C’mon (2021)

After winning an Oscar for his performance in the titular role Joker, Joaquin Phoenix takes a big jump to the other side of the acting spectrum into subtle territory in C’mon C’mon.

Of course, that does not make his performance any less impressive.

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5 Stars Movies

CODA (2021)

The story has been told many times, in many movies.

A teenager/young adult is the odd one out of their family as he/she tries to follow their passion that will be in direct conflict with their family, despite the family being a loving one. These are movies such as October Sky (1998), Billy Elliot (2000), Bend it Like Beckham (2002), Sing Street (2016), and Blinded by the Light (2019). Even if the movies were good to some degree (as are the previously named films, in my opinion), we know the formula so well that it is near impossible not to predict what will happen.

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5 Stars Movies

Summer of Soul…(or, when the revolution could not be televised) (2021)

Why?

That is the question that was on my mind not long into the documentary Summer of Soul. It continued to grow more and more until the credits began to role. Most of the time, when this one word question is in our heads during a film, it is the beginning of the question “Why was this movie made? It is so bad!”

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5 Stars Movies

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

Despite all the division that the year 2020 has brought us, one thing we all have in common is we all yearn for a form of escapism.

That feeling of “I need a break” has been in our fiber from the beginning (after all, God did rest on the 7th day), yet we can sometimes forget the feeling happens for children as well. They will turn to books, imaginary friends, toys, or movies (guilty as charged to this day). It is told so truthfully in My Neighbor Totoro, easily a film I love to retreat to in times of anxiety and unrest.

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5 Stars Movies

Fantasia (1940)

In just over a year, Disney Plus has unsurprisingly joined the ranks of Netflix, Hulu, and others as one of the top tier streaming platforms. It helps when you have not only a vast well of nostalgia in both film and television, but also some original content as well (perhaps most notably The Mandalorian).

Of course, the service does have its fair share of flaws, yet there is one that I find personally irritating. They have catagorized Fantasia (as well as its rather underrated sequel, Fantasia/2000) as a musical. I can understand needing to organize films (anyone who has seen my DVD/Blu Ray collection would attest to that), but I refuse to think of Fantasia as a musical. It is far more than that.

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5 Stars Movies

All the President’s Men (1976)

In the classic 1994 film Forrest Gump, there is a brief scene where the titular character is spending the night at the Watergate hotel in Washington, D.C. He calls the front desk, informing them of people with flashlights in a room outside his window “keeping him awake.”

While that is undoubtably not what happened, it was my introduction to the Watergate Scandal. Even nearly half a century later, the events that would lead to President Nixon’s resignation is still regarded as one of the biggest political bombshells the world has ever witnessed, yet it was not as if Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein volunteered knowing what it would eventually lead to.

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5 Stars Movies

Nosferatu (1922)

“Lisa, vampires are make-believe, just like elves, gremlins, and eskimos.”

— Homer Simpson

While they are indeed fictional (unlike the very real eskimos), that does not make vampires any less fascinating. For over a century, we have seen Vampires as not only monsters, but charmers, cereal mascots, teen heart throbs, superheroes (it was announced not long ago that Blade would make his appearance in the MCU), and muppets that helped us count as kids (“Von!” “Two!”…)

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5 Stars Movies

Psycho (1960)

It was a spine tingling time as a 13 year old on a Tuesday in June of 2001.

The American Film Institute was revealing their annual Top 100 list that they would do every year. That year’s was entitled 100 Years, 100 Thrills. As the countdown was concluding, I had made a $5 bet with my dad (the most I could afford at that time) over which would be number one. He was going with Jaws, while I was rooting for Psycho. By the end, Jaws was number 2, and I had won five dollars, bragging for some time afterwards.

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5 Stars Movies

Mr. Smith goes to Washington (1939)

I am old enough to remember the days when, as an elementary school student, the wheeling in of a TV on a cart meant a change in mood for the day (and sometimes, the whole week). Sadly, most of those times were dedicated to very below the bar forms of entertainment focused on just learning certain material (unless it was The Magic School Bus TV series).

My first real encounter with watching an actual movie for educational purposes came at the age of 13 in Mr. Russell’s 7th grade Social Studies Class in Middle School. I can’t remember if I had seen Mr. Smith Goes to Washington before then, but I had definetly heard of it. So much of this movie can seem lost on today’s youth, mostly that a political film can actually be entertaining (not to mention, as Mr. Russell let my peers know, that black and white movies are not all boring.)