Ryan and Bev Ellis are partners in film nerdery who share their often humorous musings on the AFI's 1998 & 2007 lists of the greatest 100 American films ever made. But we finished with that in December 2015, so now we just review anything we feel like!
The Quiet Man is not the greatest collaboration between the Johns (Ford & Wayne, natch), but it IS probably their most light-hearted. It's also a film jammed with Irish stereotypes. Of course, the director himself was Irish, so some slack should be cut. Other aspects of the story and the performances that don't age very well, however, are more of a problem. At least Maureen O'Hara is no shrinking violet, even if her character is unreasonably upset about her bullying brother withholding her dowry. As for Duke Wayne, he gets to play a former boxer with a serious case of PTSD...and he's pretty likable doing it. So travel to Innisfree with the 443rd Ellises' Analysis filling your ears, which might drown out all those annoying neighbours who won't stay out of your business. To counteract all the beer you'll drink watching this suds-soaked movie, buy yourself a lot of Sparkplug Coffee and use our promo code ("top100project") to get 20% off. You can also tweet us (@moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis) and you can discover Ryan's sports-movie podcast by going to "Scoring At The Movies".
Growing a conscience when you're an alcoholic, ambulance chaser is a longtime movie trope (right?), but very few of those guys have been played by Paul Newman. Unfortunately, not even one of the world's greatest actors could overcome some problems with David Mamet's script, namely that Newman's motivations for taking a "let's just settle" civil case to trial are selfish and wrongheaded. Taking on the Catholic Church seems like an honourable move in 2022, sure, but that wasn't so obvious 40 years ago. Did even THE CHURCH deserve what happens in this movie? And is the ending in Sidney Lumet's Oscar-nominee actually a happy one? Was justice done? It's a complicated film. So don't be a double agent working for a talented-but-unscrupulous attorney. Just gather in what the 442nd Ellises' Analysis has to say about The Verdict. Oh, and you might want to be like Newman in the last scene and guzzle a bunch of coffee. We have a java sponsor! They are Sparkplug Coffee. Get a 20% discount when you use our promo code ("top100project"). Also, tweet us (@moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis) and also download Ryan's podcast, which is about sports movies (Scoring At The Movies).
Orson Welles followed up his monumental Citizen Kane with this similarly-themed film about money, privilege, self-destruction and---say it with us---comeuppance. One of the most-influential directors of all time didn't even get to finish The Magnificent Ambersons though because the studio took it away from him in post-production. We can't have a talented-but-iconoclastic kid go and make 2 masterpieces in a row, right?! As good as this truncated version is, you have to wonder what might have been if they let Welles finish it his way. Joseph Cotten, Tim Holt and the rest of the actors are pretty solid, but the direction, the camerawork and the overall filmmaking are the strongest part of this family-focused classic. So put the car before the horse as our 441st Ellises' Analysis hashes out the magnificence of the Ambersons. And to make your listening experience that much tastier, get a whack of Sparkplug Coffee and use our promo code ("top100project") to get a 20% discount. Also, tweet us (@moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis) and check out Ryan's podcast about sports movies ("Scoring At The Movies").
The Player turns 30 later this week and this satire hasn't lost very much of its punch. Hollywood is the land of phony (now more than ever!) and that atmosphere can be poison to artistic integrity, sure, but most other films of this type don't feature a guy getting away with literal murder. Yup, we wondered if Robert Altman's comeback film is even cleverer than it first appears. Could most of or even the entire film just be a sly suggestion that Tim Robbins & his co-stars are not in a real story? Is this movie actually...about them? Maybe Altman and writer Michael Tolkin were being even more meta than it appears. Of course, the tracking shot at the beginning and the dozens of cameos by A-list movie stars are what The Player is most famous for, but the character actors headlining the cast have fun playing the comedy straight. So give us your pitch while we constantly worry about losing our jobs as we hash out The Player in our 440th Ellises' Analysis. And, hey, what will be perfect at that pitch meeting at 9 am? Sparkplug Coffee, of course, and you can get a 20% discount if you write "top100project" into the promo code section. We're also tweetable (@moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis) and you can hear more of Ryan talking on his sports-movie podcast "Scoring At The Movies".
Before The Devil Knows You're Dead wasn't peered at by very many eyeballs 15 years ago, but Sidney Lumet's final film deserved to be seen by many and deserved to be a hit. Kelly Masterson's subtle script is award-worthy and the late & very great Philip Seymour Hoffman is excellent as the lead of this tremendous cast. He shares the screen with pros like Hawke, Tomei, Finney and Shannon. The talent just keeps on comin'. This dark movie is about jewels, money, drugs, debt, family strife, killers and crooks. Nobody is happy, things go off the rails and the Hanson family falls apart. Fun, right?! Okay, it isn't, but their bloody journey is fascinating to watch. So rope your loser brother into helping you commit a few heinous crimes, but also stuff our 439th Ellises' Analysis into your car's CD player (okay, that's not possible) to hear our gab. Meanwhile, Sparkplug Coffee helps us with payin' the bills and they will give you a 20% discount if you use our promo code ("top100project"). You can tweet us (@moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis) and you should also check out Ryan's sports-movie podcast "Scoring At The Movies".
Luis Bunuel was a master director who was often ahead of his time. This isn't the only surreal movie he made, although it isn't always easy to figure out what's real and what's fantasy in this case. In fact, Belle De Jour had us questioning if ANY of this often-masochistic story is real. It's a difficult one to unravel because there's the forward-thinking focus on Catherine Deneuve's sexual empowerment, but the movie also feels like a relic of the old days when men did what they wanted to do to women. Either way, Belle De Jour is an undisputedly creative French flick that somehow found a way to feature plenty of sex without actually showing any. So let your freak flag fly at full mast as we talk about forbidden desires, daytime brothels, cuckolding and so much more in the 438th Ellises' Analysis. Oh, and don't you dare forget to indulge your coffee-tooth by buying a load of Sparkplug Coffee (a 20% discount is yours by typing in "top100project") and also tweet us (@moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis), plus you have even more podcast options where Ryan talks about sports films on "Scoring At The Movies".
We cover a lot of movies about movies on this channel. For the 437th Ellises' Analysis, we're digging into what Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas and friends are up to in The Bad And The Beautiful. The story paints Douglas' studio boss as a charismatic devil, but Ryan has sympathy for said devil (yet again) because the bad man is just not bad enough. Perhaps Vincente Minnelli or his actors or even MGM pulled their punches so they wouldn't alienate powerful people in Hollywood. Still, the workaholic David Selznick stand-in who steps on plenty of people never goes into full-on prick mode. And what do we owe people who helped get us where we are, especially after they've betrayed us? We discuss. So fire up the lights and roll the camera as we hash out this hugely entertaining '50s classic. Meantime, get a 20% discount when you buy stuff at Sparkplug Coffee (promo code: "top100project"), chat us up on Twitter (@moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis) or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and check out Ryan's other podcast (Scoring At The Movies).
Pete Docter has directed four of Pixar's very-best films, including Up and Inside Out. Soul makes him 4 for 4, even though it's just a step or two behind those other 2 masterpieces. It's hard to dispute that Docter & Kemp Powers helmed the best animation and design in Pixar's recent history, although we wondered if kids liked Soul as much as adults probably did when it came out. Were they interested in seeing a grumpy jazz teacher going through a bizarre, near-death day, even though there are some goofy pratfalls and body-switching? They probably DID enjoy all the "jazzing" and the sequence that leaves Jamie Foxx's Joe Gardner "mostly dead". Plus, you'd have to be a hideous, purple beast not to enjoy movie-stealer Tina Fey just killing it as 22. So keep your hat and glasses on your head no matter what tragedies befall you as we discuss the movie about keys (piano, maple) in our 436th Ellises' Analysis. Oh, and buy piles of Sparkplug Coffee (get a 20% discount by using our promo code of "top100project"), also tweet us (@moviefiend51 & @bevellisellis) AND check out Ryan's podcast about sports films known as "Scoring At The Movies".
Bonus episode! So what happened at the Oscars? Did people win awards for these mediocre movies while the Twitter-verse crapped all over everything and then the movie stars just happily & quietly went home? Well, of course not. Will Smith assaulted Chris Rock because of a joke and that cast a pall over the rest of what was otherwise an inclusive and fairly-funny show. We kicked this episode off by doing the obvious thing and breaking down the Smith/Rock brouhaha, but we also discussed pretty much everything else about the lonnnnnng broadcast too. Tweet us your own thoughts about these zany Academy Awards. We're @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis.
Fittingly, the day after a passably uplifting film wins Best Picture of 2021, we post a chat about The Lost Weekend. Billy Wilder was a genius at tragi-comedy, so he isn't at his best directing something like this. Still, his Oscars-sweeper remains an effective effort. Most of Wilder's legendary films were ahead in the '50s, but his Oscar-festooned 1945 "drinking'll wreck ya" drama is a vivid forerunner of desperate alcoholism. Yes, Leaving Las Vegas, Young Adult and others did it better, but this was revolutionary for its time. Ray Milland took home a trophy for Best Actor (despite the thick-laying he's doing) and Jane Wyman is underused, but the cast is still pretty authentic. So pour 1 (or 100) out to the demons and also to the saints as the 435th Ellises' Analysis concludes Oscar Month with a chat about Wilder's Weekend. Well, Actually: Alcoholics Anonymous got its start 10 years earlier in 1935. Also, I.A.L. Diamond became Wilder's writing partner in 1957 when they co-wrote Love In The Afternoon. Also also, we've reviewed 18 movies for which Edith Head designed the costumes. Also also also, after we talk about Soul next week, we will have covered at least one movie from every year from 2021 all the way back to 1929. It may not be true that strong java will sober you up fast, but whether you need to get over a hangover or not, buy Sparkplug Coffee. They offer a one-time 20% discount to those who would be so steady as to put our "top100project" promo code into the appropriate box. We spend a bit of time on Twitter: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Ryan also yaps about films that do the athletic thing (Scoring At The Movies)
The 94th Academy Awards are only days away and for the first time in many years, we weren't big fans of a lot of the nominees. For that matter, we weren't huge fans of most of the 2021 movies in general. Judging by what many respected critics are saying, the Ellises are the outliers. Well, groupthink is dull anyway, right? We'll be tweeting live on the big night (@moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis) as Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall host the most controversial Oscars in years, especially considering ABC's baffling edict to cut a slew of the awards presentations to speed up the live broadcast. As for what you're in for in the 434th Ellises' Analysis, we discussed all the candidates for Best Picture, Best Director, the 2 writing categories and all 4 acting categories. By the way, if you're looking to catch up on all the (mediocre) 2021 flicks that you haven't yet seen, most of the major nominees are now available on one streaming service or another. Anyway, give our hour's worth of nay-saying a listen, but also look for our Oscars Post-View the night after the show. We'll probably say more nay. Sparkplug Coffee is our longtime sponsor. They haven't won any awards. That's probably ABC's fault too. But they WILL reward our listeners a one-time 20% discount if they use our promo code ("top100project") at check-out. The Top 100 Project website is kaput. Budget cuts in the Ellis household. Now is the time to subscribe and be a downloader! Ryan's other podcast, Scoring At The Movies, reviewed King Richard just last week
Box-office hit Argo was well-loved and won some top prizes at the Oscars a decade ago. In a year that also featured the likes of Amour, Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty, was it worthy of winning Best Picture? Well, let's just say that Bev was not kind to Ben Affleck's crowning achievement. It doesn't help that the director (mis)cast himself in the lead role, which whitewashed the real CIA operative he's playing. Also, as dangerous as the Iranians siege on the American embassy was and the worry that the 6 who escaped might not survive, a lot of the story is fabricated. Yup, this real movie about a fake movie resorted to faking a lot of the drama! Still, Affleck's film is well-made and it remains taut. So learn your lines, practice your Canadian accent and get comfortable living in someone else's house because you might be there a while as the 433rd Ellises' Analysis breaks down Argo…yourself. Sparkplug Coffee continues to sponsor our podcast. No, they aren't able to get their beans into Iran for those of you who live there, but at least Canadians & Americans can get plenty of 'em and will receive a one-time 20% discount by using our promo code “top100project”. Twitter addresses: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Ryan's other podcast does the talking thing about sporty films (Scoring At The Movies)
Let's take a trip to Germany in the early 1930s and check into the Grand Hotel along with MGM's all-star cast. It wasn't as common then as it is now to cast so many big names like Garbo, Crawford, Beery and the Barrymores in the same movie, but it paid off. This was a hit and went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Edmund Goulding's interwoven-character study represents the very first time in nearly 9 years of podcasting that we've covered Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford or John Barrymore. Their real (okay, real-adjacent) performances were the keys of this stylish production. So don't steal from your fancy schmancy floormates as people come and people go. Just do normal-people things like drive to work, wash the dishes or fold the laundry as the 432nd Ellises' Analysis yips in your ear about the Grand (Berlin) Hotel. They didn't have Sparkplug Coffee back in the early '30s, which was their immense loss. Maybe it would've made all these unhappy people feel better. Anyway, we have it now and we suggest you get a bunch. Your next order will be 20% off if you just put “top100project” into the promo section. Twitter, huh? Find us @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis For a little while longer, our website is top100project.com Ryan also yaps about sports flicks on Scoring At The Movies
We are thrilled to report that Call Me By Your Name remains a deeply moving film. It might have been even more effective this time than it was back in 2017. Armie Hammer's real-life controversies have caused many people to sour hard on him and his career is probably in jeopardy, but truth is truth: the dreamboat has more chemistry with Timothee Chalamet in this than you'll see in an episode of Breaking Bad. As great as those 2 stars are though, their age difference (both the characters and the actual people) was enough for us to question casting Hammer at all. That troubling aspect got discussed for a long time in this 431st Ellises' Analysis, which should tell you how lovely Luca Guadagnino's movie since we still like it so much anyway. So grab a peach and listen to the advice of your caring parents, then feel your feelings as we wax on about Call Me By Your Name. Well, Actually: The proper phrasing of Mandrake's line in Dr. Strangelove is “…the court of inquiry on this will give you such a pranging…”. Also, despite making so many films with British characters, James Ivory was born and seems to have been raised in California. Also also, Hammer not only wasn't 31 during shooting, but he wasn't even quite 30 yet. Sparkplug Coffee would fit in well with that great variety of java you can find in Italy. It's great stuff. A 20% discount is yours if you insert our promo code (“top100project”) into the appropriate box when you're ready to head to the checkout. Tweets galore…well, sort of: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis For a little while longer, our website is top100project.com Ryan also drops thoughts about sports pictures on Scoring At The Movies
The “Month Of Strange Love” goes to extremely trippy places in the 430th Ellises' Analysis as we try our best to decipher what's going on in Lost Highway. The American original David Lynch is a wonderful enigma who often gets big-name actors to go to strange places in his baffling art films that don't always make obvious sense. Look closer though and you also might notice that even this auteur often repeats themes in his most-noteworthy titles like Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive and this. In this outing, Bill Pullman/Balthazar Getty (Billthazar Pully?) is a shockingly unreliable narrator and you just can't trust any of the juicy story the character is…well, narrating. Patricia Arquette is at her badass best in almost every way in this sexy escapade. Wow. She's so good. So let guilt shatter your freaky fantasy because you'll…never…have…me, but you just might have a fulfilling time listening to our layer-peeling of Lost Highway. Well, Actually: Ryan's nutshell isn't entirely accurate because Pete clearly DOES choose Alice over Sheila (although being inaccurate is never the point of the nutshell). Also, Natasha Gregson Wagner is Robert Wagner's stepdaughter, not his daughter. Also also, looking up the clip on YouTube reveals that it's fairly clear that the distorted voice on the intercom in the beginning of the movie DOES sound like the same voice on the intercom at the end. Funny how Sparkplug Coffee travels. You should start to believe. Now…were you singing along just now? Perhaps you're deranged. Anyway, we won't judge. Sparkplug continues to offer a 20% discount if you just drop our promo code “top100project” into the right place. We're known as @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis on Twitter Our website remains (for now) www.top100project.com Ryan's other podcast raps about movies and it is Scoring At The Movies
I suppose you'd be wise to spend some of your Valentine's Day hearing us warble about Julie Christie, Gordon Pinsent and friends do mighty good work in Away From Her. The 2 leads are quiet dynamite, but Olympia Dukakis, Michael Murphy and Kristen Thomson are a fair bit of gentle TNT themselves. Sarah Polley's debut as both a writer and director is a sensitive, lovely film about senior citizens. What's especially impressive is that Polley was only 27 years old when she made it. So don't disappear. Just learn to accept that your life is changing (maybe not for the better) as the 429th Ellises' Analysis sorts through the beautiful, but devastating angles of this lyrical opus to aging and Alzheimer's. Sparkplug Coffee is not going to prevent dementia, but it CAN help a grown-up of any age get their day started deliciously. A 20% discount will be your reward if you use our promo code (“top100project”) at check-out. We tweet out thoughts on occasion: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website remains top100project.com To hear Ryan talk about sports flicks, take the trip to Scoring At The Movies
February is our "Month Of Strange Love” and the 1st of 4 unusual sex and/or romance films we've chosen is the one about the Spade-ist and the Magg-osist. The 2 lead performances in Steven Shainberg's Secretary are the main event. Slinky sexy James Spader has been in other perverse pictures like this and he's always convincingly saucy. Maggie Gyllenhaal, on other hand, was not the obvious choice, although it's one of many risky roles she's sought out. Like her brother Jake, she's willing to take chances that many actors won't. In this case, it's BDSM with her boss…although this movie is about so much more than just that. So don't dig a sharp object into your leg. Just eat a couple peas before you gulp down a lot of ice cream as the 428th Elllises' Analysis delves into the goings-on in Secretary. If you've been ordered to sit at your boss' desk for days on end, you should bring a straw and a lot of Sparkplug Coffee. They still want to give you a 20% discount on your very next order. You just have to put our “top100project” promo code into the appropriate box. Our Twitter handles are @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Ryan's got a sports movie podcast too: Scoring At The Movies
One of the greatest technically creative directors of comedies has got to be Edgar Wright. We love his enthusiasm, his warmth and his talent…although we don't actually love a lot of his movies. Well, hold on, one of us thinks Shaun Of The Dead is hysterical and the other thinks Wright's peak of greatness is Hot Fuzz. Both yuck-fests are jammed with homages and references and also a lot of cartoonish (yet also quite gory) violence. And they're so rewatchable! In Hot Fuzz, Simon Pegg plays against type as a pedantic, by-the-book London policeman officer banished to a small town to make friends with the good-natured lug Nick Frost. Oh, and Pegg has to deal with some sinister forces, including the brilliantly funny Timothy Dalton. All in a day's (paper)work. Listening to the 427th Ellises' Analysis is for the greater good (the greater good), so stay back or the ginger nut (not to mention all that riff raff) will get it. A Follow-Up: We've seen Last Night In Soho since we recorded this episode. As always, much respect to Edgar Wright's talent, but we didn't love the movie and we didn't find it all that memorable. If you're about to trade gunfire with the older residents of a snooty village in the country, you'll need to be caffeinated. Sparkplug Coffee is the ideal way to do that. A 20% discount will be yours on your next purchase if you would just use our promo code (“top100project”). It's a Tweet extravaganza: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com To hear Ryan yammer about sports films, go to Scoring At The Movies
Many movies made outside Hollywood are among the best of any given year, but the Brazilian-made City Of God remains a revered classic of this entire century. That's how several critics groups and Best Of lists feel about it, at least. It's not so simple for us. The slightly dated filmmaking techniques are a little much (especially the frenzied editing) and it's A LOT much to have to look at 2 hours of children toting around guns, guns, guns. So much killing. That doesn't mean we can't admire the visuals and the soundscape in Fernando Meirelles' opus about kids & teenagers running wild in the favelas in Rio. So try putting aside your handgun and instead putting a camera in your hands as you hear the 426th Ellises' Analysis rocket through Cidade De Deus. Well, Actually: The girl in The Ring is Daveigh Chase. Also, Kill Bill V1 was released in 2003, not Kill Bill V2. Also also, “Children Of Men TV series” at the 32:40 mark should of course have been the “City Of Men TV series”. If you're keeping crazy hours living the hard life in Brazil (or anywhere), Sparkplug Coffee is the ideal choice to keep you going. Okay, Brazilians can't get it, but Canadians and Americans certainly can. Sparkplug will provide you a 20% discount on your next order and you just have to use our promo code (“top100project”) to save that money. If you tweet, say hi to us: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis If you like hearing about sports movies, Ryan yaks about them on Scoring At The Movies
We tackle a Michael Moore documentary for the 3rd time on this channel in this 425th Ellises' Analysis and this movie is about as politically divisive as anything the funny activist has ever made. The man has been remarkably influential from the beginning of his career, but especially after this highly successful documentary came out and asked if America is full of gun nuts...or are they just nuts. Why IS America so cuckoo for guns and, worse, tend to use them so often on their fellow Americans? Of course, we agree with Moore's views and his message in Bowling For Columbine, but unfortunately his execution is messy, especially in the unsatisfying ending with Charlton Heston. So the picture is far from perfect, but the issue is too…and it's become an even bigger problem than it was 20 years ago. So deliver your speech to rich movie stars at lavish ceremonies despite boos raining down on you as we dole out the dealio in Bowling For Columbine. Political movies inspire the need for a good beverage more than almost any other, so go to Sparkplug Coffee and order up all you can. They continue to offer a 20% discount at check-out. Just enter “top100project” and you'll be golden like an Oscar speech that makes Harrison Ford grin from ear to earring. Twitter like you know how: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Hear more of Ryan's film thoughts on Scoring At The Movies
Todd Solondz has been a master of “cringe cinema” for more than 25 years and Welcome To The Dollhouse is the misanthropic director at his peak. He understands what real children and real teenagers go through better than most filmmakers do and he certainly understands the effects of bullying. Heather Matarazzo's take on Dawn Wiener is nicely complex too because she isn't just a sweet victim of the jerks at school or a victim of her own indifferent family. She's awkward and out of touch with the kids at school, but she also has no trouble paying that abuse forward to younger kids. So show your fingers to your unattainable crush before the dangerous boy who likes you threatens to do terrible things, but first inhale the 424th Ellises' Analysis as we try our best to get into a good school while we break down this movie. Well, Actually: It's actually Robert Wisdom in that infamous sex scene with Selma Blair in Storytelling, not Keith David. If you feel guilty about your missing sister and have to trek to the big city to find her, you just might need some Sparkplug Coffee in your travel mug. Wait…”might”? You DO need it! And the even better news is that using our promo code (“top100project”) will nab you a discount of a glorious 20%. The Twitter tweets are in play. We are @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Ryan also warbles on about flicks with sports in them. It's called Scoring At The Movies
We begin the 7th Annual Month O' Bev with a spirited chat about one of her favourite satires. Starship Troopers was a split decision in this 423rd Ellises' Analysis though because Ryan just doesn't have a good feeling about Paul Verhoeven's intergalactic war flick. It's deliberately campy and it's lathered in self-aware propaganda, plus the F/X are marvelous, but it also has tonal problems. Casting beautiful young(ish) people like Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards and Dina Meyer just so you can put them and so many other people through bloody hell and rip 'em to pieces is a solid idea. Are they up to the challenge of giving good performances though? We debated. Oh, and there's the big bugs, who are possibly the movie's scapegoats. Anyway, there's plenty of meat on this bone (and plenty of meat to get torn right off the bone), so curl up by the fire and enjoy our first episode of 2022. Battling bugs on their home planet would go a lot easier if you were filled up with caffeine. Our sponsor continues to be Sparkplug Coffee. Their 20% discount is still available if you use our promo code “top100project”. The little birdie sees us in action sometimes. We're @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Ryan's has another podcast (Scoring At The Movies) that talks about sports flicks
Of all the blaxploitation films that were made in the '70s, Shaft was the most influential and probably the coolest too. It's even had longevity, as evidenced by all the sequels and remakes. People (including the AFI) haven't forgotten about Gordon Parks' private dick flick, which had a fresh take on just what a black hero could be. Richard Roundtree wasn't righteous and measured like Sidney Poitier always had to be. John Shaft was a bad…uh, mamma jamma. This, however, wasn't a film we enjoyed as much as others of its type, partly because it's a little amateurish technically and the man's sex life is a bit dicey. Still, you can't overlook how important this movie was and is to people who look like Roundtree and not like us. Anyway, be the only one to understand our final episode of 2021 (well, you and his wuh-huh-man) as we get political, but also laugh a bunch in our 422nd Ellises' Analysis. Well, Actually: The Godfather was actually NOT one of the 25 movies inducted into the National Film Registry in 1989 (the inaugural year), but instead went in the following year. Also, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song was inducted too, but it wasn't the 2nd film directed by a black person to make that cut because it only went in in 2020. Being a sex machine and killing bad guys is so much easier when you've got some java juice keeping you going. Sparkplug Coffee remains our delightful sponsor and they continue to offer a 20% discount if you just use our promo code (“top100project”) when you're ready to pay the tab. We tweet with a certain amount of frequency: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Ryan also yibbers about sports pics on Scoring At The Movies
If you like your Christmas movies—especially the stars of your Christmas movies—to be very big and very loud, Bill Murray's hard-drinking performance in Scrooged probably feels like your perfect slice of turkey. It's an unpopular opinion, but we weren't Murray fans in this movie, especially in the unearned finale where he just comes across as phony and desperate. He also seems…gulp…miscast? He certainly doesn't seem like the right man for the job whenever the focus is on the love story with the delightful Karen Allen. It doesn't help at all that the versatile Richard Donner was apparently a terrible match directing his improvisational star. But, hey, what do we know? This is a beloved holiday comedy, one of the favourites for legions of people. So whether you think you'll agree with our take or not, put a little podcast in your e-e-ears as the 421st Ellises' Analysis tears Scrooged a new one. Well, Actually: Joel Murray was indeed in a couple of movies that Bobcat Goldthwait directed (Shakes The Clown and God Bless America). If you're going to watch a TV special about A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve (or if you're going to do a reading of Dickens' play like we & our friends did last week…so much fun, highly recommend it!), you'd be wise to have a cup of Sparkplug Coffee handy. Our longtime sponsor will knock off 20% if you use our promo code (“top100project”) at check-out. We're @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis on Twitter Our website is top100project.com Ryan's other podcast is called Scoring At The Movies, where the topic is sports flicks
There's no greater way to celebrate episode #420 of The Ellises' Analysis than to talk about one of the side-splittingest stoner movies ever made. Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle is crass, politically incorrect, gross and often pretty dumb, but it's also funny to the EXTREEEEEEME! From the hysterical Neil Patrick Harris cameo to the surreal fantasy sequences to the eternal “Hold On” sing-along, Danny Leiner's pot-n-burgers flick just keeps delivering joy. It's also got more depth than you might think, partly because of the unusual-at-the-time diverse cast (particularly John Cho & Kal Penn as the leads). So let the universe unfold as it should as you go through a night of hellish fun with your best buddy just so you can stuff sliders down your gullet. Well, Actually: Since recording this episode, we've seen both sequels. The Gitmo one is dreadful, but the Christmas one is actually pretty sweet and often measures up to the original. Also, Ryan Reynolds' 3rd movie released in 2021 was The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard. Also also, Canada doesn't have “free” pot…it's just not illegal to smoke it here anymore. To offset your high, maybe throw some caffeine into the mix. And there's no better way to do that than to load up on Sparkplug Coffee. They offer those who enter “top100project” into the promo code box a 20% discount. Tweet us: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com For more of Ryan's film thoughts (sports films, to be exact), go to Scoring At The Movies
The holiday season is here and who wouldn't enjoy a getaway to an apparently gigantic northeastern inn during the Christmas break? Well, one Ellis wouldn't enjoy that vacation as much as the other. Actually, we agreed that White Christmas is overlong, that there's too much going on in the erratic screenplay and that the film has one of the worst Idiot Plots of all time. Still, because of all that joyful singing & dancing by Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, the film is more than watchable. Those actors (not to mention Dean Jagger) are the heroes in Michael Curtiz's musical hit. Logic is not. So let the asbestos snow down as you spend Christmas Eve with your Army buddies and a bunch of strangers. While you're doing that, we'll warble our way through the 419th Ellises' Analysis. I'm dreaming of a cup of coffee, just like the ones I used to drink. Good! Get you some Sparkplug Coffee! If you're a fan of 20% discounts, using our promo code (“top100project”) when you're ready to pay up will score you that exact amount of savings. Twitter is a chatty website. Find us @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Scoring At The Movies is Ryan's other chat effort. We talk about sports flick o'er there
Light up a cigarette (or many cigarettes) and kickstart your existential crisis as you gulp down the 418th Ellises' Analysis. Joel & Ethan Coen followed up their run of hysterical '90s comedies with this black & white sorta-comedy. This might seem like an odd film, but it's actually got more depth and enjoyably offbeat ideas than most of their previous work. Oh and fear not. The Man Who Wasn't There is quite certainly funny. You also can't argue with the casting of Billy Bob Thornton (who's perfecto in the lead role), although Bev was just as enamoured with the work of Frances McDormand. So don't look at the facts. Instead, look at the meaning of the facts (which have no meaning) as they cut the hair and we chat about The Man Who Wasn't There. Well, Actually: Frances McDormand has 4 Oscars (3 for acting, 1 for producing). Also, Surviving Christmas came out even before Halloween (not in mid-November), which is in fact awfully early for a movie about the holly jolly season. Know what goes great with cigarettes? Well, coffee, of course. Get some of that from our excellent sponsor known as Sparkplug Coffee. They'll give you a 20% discount on your next order if you drop our promo code (“top100project”) into the right box at checkout. If you tweet, tweet us? We are @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com To get a dose of Ryan's thoughts about sports movies, go to Scoring At The Movies
Minari didn't rake in bucks at the box office earlier in this weird year and having to read pesky subtitles still turns a lot of people off, but this movie is very worth your time. It's simply a charm offensive. Lee Isaac Chung's beautiful and relatable family film is even more relatable if you've ever struggled to make ends meet while also trying to live your (maybe impossible) dream. Chung's entire cast is remarkable, but the outstanding work done by Yuh-Jung Youn and Alan Kim as grandma & grandson is the key to the entire project. We just love that kid! So pop the 417th Ellises' Analysis into your device while you spend at least a little time keeping flammable objects away from your livelihood as we talk about a Korean-turned-American slice of life in the heartland. When you're desperate for water for your crops, coffee probably isn't a priority. However, YOU aren't likely in a desperate bid to grow food, so load up on the beans! You can also do yourself a favour by going to our sponsor's website (Sparkplug Coffee). You'll get a 20% discount if you enter our promo code (“top100project”) into the right box at check-out. We do the tweetin' thing sometimes: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Ryan also talks about sports pictures on Scoring At The Movies
Niki Caro was making only her 2nd movie when she wrote and directed Whale Rider, so she showed the world her skills really early on. This sweet story aimed directly at kids (despite its absurd PG rating) is all about an ordinary (yet also magical) girl from New Zealand who loves her grandfather to pieces, but the maddening gramps is a slave to the patriarchy and blames his granddaughter for every problem in the village. It takes him so very long to realize that…she's The One. Keisha Castle-Hughes made her debut here and she is tremendous, as are all the key players in the cast. This remains a delightful and emotional motion picture all these years later, even if Rawiri Paratene's cruel grandpa is hard to like for almost the entire running time. The word “hate” was thrown around. Anyway, don't sulk in bed because life threw a few rocks your way. Just curl up with the 416th Ellises' Analysis and accept (and for the love of Paikea return) the love offered to you by the awesomest people in your life, whether they can ride a whale or not. Well, Actually: We changed our schedule between the recording of this episode and the recording of the next one (which will be Minari), so that's why there's no Coming Attractions Trivia question. Also, Jackie Cooper was an even-younger Best Actor nominee in 1931 than Keisha Castle-Hughes was a Best Actress nominee in 2003. Also also, Koro has a whale's tooth necklace, not a a shark's tooth necklace. When you're up all night trying to un-beach a bunch of whales, you should buy heaps of Sparkplug Coffee. Those good Sparkpluggers will even provide you a 20% discount on your next order. Use our promo code (“top100project”) and a-saving you will do. Twitter time: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website remains top100project.com If you like sports flicks, Ryan talks about them on Scoring At The Movies
Terry Gilliam's tragicomic The Fisher King packs in a lot of themes, but a big one is kindness. This is a movie all about empathy and acceptance. Also, how often do Hollywood movies show much of the plight of homeless people? Or deal with depression and suicide? Or show our indifference to the suffering of others AND to blend all that serious material with absurdity and humour? Gilliam likes his weirdos and underdogs too. Oh, and he loves to dirty up his movie stars, all of whom are pretty awesome in this. Mercedes Ruehl won an Oscar while Robin Williams was nominated for one, but Jeff Bridges and Amanda Plummer do strong work of their own. Actually, you could argue that the women have more interesting characters to play than the men do. So acknowledge that you ARE responsible for what you say and how you treat others while you waltz through a train station with the 415th Ellises' Analysis trilling in your ears. Sparkplug Coffee has been our sponsor for a very long time and we love to promote their groovy grounds. They offer you awesome listeners a 20% discount and all you have to do is plug our promo code (“top100project”) into the right spot. Oh, we tweet…once in a while: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is still top100project.com Ryan also comments on sports flicks over on Scoring At The Movies
He was a big star before it, but Eddie Murphy became galactic after Beverly Hills Cop came out in 1984. His blockbuster hit remains funny all these years later even though it deals with some deadly serious subject matter like death and so much destruction. Martin Brest directed a tremendous action comedy, but his picture is even more impressive when you consider they were apparently winging it a lot of the time. Eddie has always been a brilliant improviser and he & his co-stars did a lot of that here. Eddie's Axel Foley is also pretty much a genius detective, expertly stirring up the rule-followers John Ashton & Judge Reinhold. So don't be stupid. Just spend a bit of your day with the fish-in-water 414th Ellises' Analysis as we do the neutron dance and dig into The Eddie Murphy Show. You'll find it easier to be a supercop if you pump some great caffeine into your system, so load up on Sparkplug Coffee. When you're ready to pay the tab, apply our promo code (“top100project”) into the right place and save yourself 20%. If you like to spend time on Twitter, contact us: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Ryan also back-and-forths about sports pictures on Scoring At The Movies
We put the finishing touches on this year's “Scary Movie Month” with a gab about a dynamite zombie flick from South Korea. Train To Busan is just as much an action movie as it is a horror movie. Director Yeon Sang-ho keeps up the intense pace by having his frenzied film play out almost in real time. He also hits most of the usual zombie beats by layering in class issues and the fear of your fellow fellows. In fact, the “they might be infected, so stay away from them” plotline hits awfully close to home the past year and a half. So wrap your wrists in tape and punch your way through a zombie horde with the 413th Ellises' Analysis ringing through your ears. Or through your braaaaaains…braaaaaains… Well, Actually: One Cut Of The Dead is Japanese and we highly recommended seeking it out. Staying away from the running dead would be a lot easier if you caffeined up, so we strongly suggest that you buy loads of Sparkplug Coffee. They'll even give you a 20% discount if you drop our promo code (“top100project”) into the appropriate link. Twitter, huh? Yes. Find us @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Ryan also reviews sporty pics over on Scoring At The Movies
The 412th Ellises' Analysis has us gabbing about ghosts as we continue with Scary Movie Month. The Others isn't truly frightening (especially once you've seen it a few times), but writer/director Alejandro Amenabar certainly knows how to make a moody chiller with a killer climax. This is a throwback to classic tension-builders from long ago that focuses on what you don't see. Amenabar lets terrific performances be his special effects. Nicole Kidman is the worrisome mom of the mansion, but the young actors playing her kids (particularly Alakina Mann) give arguably even better performances than the in-her-prime movie star does. So obey God's will (or something) and don't let a wartime tragedy throw you into a twist. Just get comfortable and we will begin talking about The Others. Our spooky sponsor is Sparkplug Coffee and they would love to provide you a 20% discount on your next order of java juice. You merely have to use our promo code (“top100project”) and you'll save those bucks. Da tweets? Yup: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com To hear Ryan talk about sports films, go to Scoring At The Movies
Scary Movie Month is officially here! We start it with one of the landmark slasher flicks of the '90s, perhaps one of the greats of all time. Shockmaster director Wes Craven knew better than almost anyone how to make something like Scream work. His movie has a high body count and gallons of gore, sure, but it's also meta up the nose and it remains pretty funny. Craven also gives us one of the great opening scenes ever. Ironically, we discussed how with all those red herrings, it's almost as much a mystery film as it is a horror picture. Who killed Casey and who's now menacing Sidney? So, yeah, Scream's still got the goods. Don't bow to peer pressure or make your parents so mad at you. Just pop some corn, crack open a few cold ones and listen to the 411th Ellises' Analysis warble on about high-school snarksters and their Ghostface Killah. Before you grab your voice manipulator and don your cloak to taunt and/or torture your classmates, you should load up on caffeine by going to the Sparkplug Coffee website. Using our promo code (“top100project”) will net you a 20% discount. Twitter or not? Sure. We're @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Ryan also prattles on about flicks with sporting ventures in them. It's Scoring At The Movies
The 1931 version of Dracula was the first Universal Monster movie and it stars perhaps the most famous vampire actor of all time. Bela Lugosi was certainly committed to the part and this is obviously his trademark role. You'll just have to work hard to overlook his almost funny schtick. Is Lugosi any good as the Count though? Well, is anyone in this cast any good? Maybe one guy (Dwight Frye) nails it by going deliriously over the top. Yeah, it's fair to say we didn't have much lust for Tod Browning's picture. His direction is creaky and stilted and if his film was scary to audiences 90 years ago, it certainly isn't anymore. However, the sexual subtext and the theme of a Transylvanian visitor representing a foreign plague are effective, just as they were in Bram Stoker's classic book. So go to bed in your trusty coffin just as home invaders have come to kill you, but before you lay down, cue up the 410th Ellises' Analysis to hear us yack about Drac. You can't get a discount on superb coffee if you like to add blood, but you CAN get one if you go to Sparkplug Coffee's website and stay away from the red stuff. You can save a delicious 20% by using our promo code (“top100project”). Hey, Twitter is a place to post thoughts. We are @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website remains top100project.com Ryan also jabbers about sports movies on Scoring At The Movies
Making a sequel to a beloved classic was always going to be tough sledding, but the talented writer/director Mike Flanagan simply couldn't make a great movie out of Stephen King's follow-up to The Shining. Maybe the failure with Doctor Sleep mostly lies with King's overly detailed book and all of its subplots. Maybe it's that we get far too much of the top-hatted Rebecca Ferguson and her fellow steam-sniffing pseudo-vampires. Or maybe it's that there just aren't very many real scares in this horror show. We couldn't sneer at Ewan McGregor's work though because he does a terrific job playing grown-up alcoholic Danny Torrance. We also liked the finale at the Overlook more than most people did. Some ups, many downs. In any case, don't let our overall disappointment ruin your enjoyment of the 409th Ellises' Analysis. Just crank up an omnipresent heartbeat sound effect and stuff your demons in a mind-box as we dabble in the redrum of Doctor Sleep. Well, Actually: On second thought, Abra's mother Lucy might be the one who's Jack Torrance's daughter from an affair. And if THAT'S correct, then Dan really would be Abra's uncle. Sparkplug Coffee is ideal for all who ingest substances, even steam-inhaling vampires. Those creatures—but more importantly humans like you—can enjoy a 20% discount from our friends at Sparkplug. Just toss in our promo code (“top100project”) when you're ready to go to the checkout. Whether you're deep in the bowels of a haunted hotel or taking a break from life's troubles down in Florida, you can tweet us: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Ryan also has a sports movie podcast. It's called Scoring At The Movies
2001 was the year of Puzzle Films and covering Vanilla Sky today means we've now tackled the 4 big ones. Memento, Mulholland Drive and Donnie Darko are all definitely better than Cameron Crowe's attempt to stretch himself and they're certainly not filled with as many maddening flaws. One big problem is that the casting is all wrong here. Both of Tom Cruise's love interests are duds and Cruise, although giving his typical 205% effort, is a little all over the place. Bev speculates that Vanilla Sky is basically just about Cruise's character's vanity. Cruise and Crowe obviously wouldn't agree because they're straining with all their might to be deep. Whether you agree or whether you don't, we've got a full hour of theories in the 408th Ellises' Analysis. So don't delay your pleasure. You need to hear us talk about the man who had it all and even met his dream woman, then lost everything because of his nightmare woman. Or was it ALL just a dream?! Visit the website of our sponsor (Sparkplug Coffee) and get ready to order a bunch of grounds and accoutrements. They continue to offer a 20% discount. All you have to do is put our promo code (“top100project”) into the appropriate section at the appropriate time. Twitter sees us on its site once in a while: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Ryan also gabs about sports flicks on Scoring At The Movies
This is the rare time we've ever posted an episode on Labour Day, but this movie DOES star the man who has to do “every dirty job”. Harry Callahan is the quintessential good guy with a gun who has to combat a bad guy with a gun, but Harry is also a reckless vigilante in the Batman mode. This movie is also pretty much just a sadist chasing a sadist around San Francisco. Dirty Harry might be fascist and it might even be dangerous, but that doesn't take away the flick's visceral entertainment value. It's a complicated movie about a complicated issue. Don Siegel directs Clint Eastwood in perhaps his signature role, but are they just pedaling right-wing propaganda in this crime classic? How does the movie play after last year's #BLM and “Defund The Police” movements took America by storm? We had plenty to say about all that. So enjoy your hour with the 407th Ellises' Analysis because the world isn't getting any better and all us punks could use a little escape into fantasy right about now. Well, Actually: Popeye Doyle is indeed one of AFI's Top 50 Heroes (he ranked 44th). Also, Eastwood only directed Sudden Impact in the Dirty Harry series. Make Sparkplug Coffee‘s day and order some of their great product. Are discounts your thing? Well, you'll get 20% off if you use our promo code (“top100project”) at check-out. We tweet sometimes: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Scoring At The Movies is Ryan's other podcast, where sports pictures are the topic
“Persona” is Latin for “mask”, which makes this Age Of The Mask we've been experiencing for the past year & a half an ideal time to talk about Ingmar Bergman's masterpiece. Well, it's one of his MANY masterpieces. Dude could direct. This is a trippy art film that gives us plenty to debate and tear apart. It's also been imitated half to death in the 55 years since it was made, which is perhaps why it feels just a touch dated. Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann are terrific playing characters who deal with issues of identity, grief, guilt and deep emotional pain. But are the 2 women really just 1 woman who's experiencing a serious mental crisis? Imaginary friend?! See, very influential. So head to your summer beach house (for the last few days of this summer) and let the 406th Ellises' Analysis pry its way into your earholes during the trip. Well, Actually: John Ford was 8th on the Sight & Sound's 2002 Critics poll of Top 10 Greatest Directors Of All Time, but surprisingly he wasn't ranked on the Top 10 as chosen by directors. Also, the Bergman movie where he used a spider to represent God is Through A Glass Darkly. Also also, Georges Melies definitely was a film pioneer, but the brothers we were thinking of are the Lumiere Brothers. Whether you talk too much or whether you don't talk at all, your day will be much improved by drinking Sparkplug Coffee. You can even keep some money in your pocket because they will give you a 20% discount on your next order. You just have to enter our promo code (“top100project”) when you're ready to shell out the cash. To get in touch with us easily, hit the Twits. We're @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Ryan also has a sports movie podcast, which is Scoring At The Movies
You know we're talking about a master filmmaker when this channel has already covered more than half of the man's titles and we're only now getting to this gritty crime classic. The Killing was early in Stanley Kubrick's career, so he wasn't yet at the top of his game as he would be for the next 40+ years. Still, there's plenty of examples of the technical prowess that would come to be trademark Kubrick. Fittingly, the complex plot even resembles a chess game. We weren't seeing eye to eye about the work of tough-but-sometimes-sweet Sterling Hayden or the ultra-fatal femme fatale Marie Windsor. We DID see eye to eye that the best part of the movie is the last half-hour. So get your listening device ready and make a clean break out to the race track as the 405th Ellises' Analysis talks about The Killing. Well, Actually: Elisha Cook Jr. is named Mr. Micklas (not “Nicklas”) and is the landlord at the Dakota Building in Rosemary's Baby. Planning the perfect robbery would go smoother with Sparkplug Coffee in a cup beside you. If you like getting 20% discounts, well, they'll give you one if you just enter our promo code of “top100project” when you're ready to pay the bill. And pay the bill please. No theft. Twitter, do ya? If so, you can discover us @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Scoring At The Movies is Ryan's other podcast, where sports films are discussed
It's not every comedy that features 2 of the brilliant stars of the Monty Python troupe, but it's actually the Americans who stand out. Kevin Kline was known as a serious actor before A Fish Called Wanda and Jamie Lee Curtis was still mostly thought of as the Scream Queen. So when legendary cut-ups like John Cleese and Michael Palin are overshadowed, you know you're in from something hilarious. Director Charles Crichton's swan song runs the risk of alienating audiences (33 years ago…and especially now) by daring to make fun of animal death and stutterers. Funny is funny though. So eat your fish & chips (wait, put Wanda back in the bowl, Otto!) and don't be DISAPPOINTED as you steamroll through the 404th Ellises' Analysis. A pretty great addition to your fish meal is coffee. Sparkplug Coffee remains our groovy sponsor. They'll help you out with a 20% discount when you apply our promo code (“top100project”) to your next order. Are we Twitterers? Sure. We are: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Scoring At The Movies is Ryan's other podcast. We talk about sports o'er there
Even though it's all about dark fantasies, depression and death, Harold And Maude is a cult classic that remains solidly funny half a century later. Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon are a fun/odd romantic couple in this unique love story. Gordon is the manic pixie dream lady who has even bleaker plans than the faux-suicidal Cort. We had a serious discussion about the grim subtext, but we didn't forget that Hal Ashby's movie was and still is wacky and entertaining. There's meat on these bones. So don't be shy. Just live in the now and spend a bit of your day earing up the 403rd Ellises' Analysis. Grab life by the collar and learn to love having a big mug of Sparkplug Coffee on your countertop. They will kindly save you 20% on your next order and all you have to do is use our promo code: top100project. We lay out a tweet from time to time We're @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Ryan also chit chats about sports on Scoring At The Movies
It's probably safe to listen to the 402nd Ellises' Analysis…although feel free to ask if it is again. And again. And again. Marathon Man is absolutely filled from start to finish with paranoia, torture and pain. Some of those themes—like the arrogant rich versus the desperate poor—have barely aged. The film's subtext remains oh so timely even 45 years later. The acting styles of Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier famously clashed hard, but that also brings sizzle to the squirm-inducing scenes they have together. And, yes, the poster isn't lying. It's a thriller. So go get that stash of diamonds and don't fall on your own sleeve-knife in the process, but also just try acting as we feverishly chat about Dusty on the run. Well, Actually: We've covered Hoffman in 8 films now, including Kramer vs. Kramer. Also, Hoffman turns 84 later this week (on August 8th). Also also, Hoffman definitely has socks on his feet when the “is it safe” scene first begins. Sparkplug Coffee has been our sponsor for many years and they continue to peddle excellent java. They'll dole out a 20% discount if you use our promo code (“top100project”). If you tweet, find us: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Ryan has another podcast and it's all about sports films: Scoring At The Movies
The wannabe Ellises are here with our 401st analysis as we jaw-jack about the queen bees of Mean Girls. Lindsay Lohan was at her peak in this era and if you ever doubted her talent (admittedly, it's easy to forget how good she was because of the messy turns her life took), just take another look at this movie. Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert and Amanda Seyfried (in her debut) are also pretty great as the Plastics. In fact, as tremendous as Lohan & McAdams are, the sidekicks Chabert & Seyfried basically steal the movie from them. As for a personal angle, Bev was once the sidekick of a mean girl, so this picture still has some sting for us middle-aged types. So keep an eye out for rampaging school buses as you jot down some vicious insults in your burn book (or, hey, just be nice) while we analyze the glamour, the laughs and even the mathleting in Mean Girls. If you want to make a lot of friends, buy them a few bags of Sparkplug Coffee. A 20% discount will be yours to enjoy on your 1st purchase when you apply our promo code (“top100project”). Tweetapalooza: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com To hear Ryan dish about sports movies, go to Scoring At The Movies
Our 400th episode talks about one of the influential films of the French New Wave, which was also Francois Truffaut's directorial debut. The 400 Blows is famous for all kinds of reasons (especially that freeze frame at the end), but at heart it's a quiet character study of a young boy who makes bad decisions and has really bad parents. Jean-Pierre Leaud gives one of the great child performances in the history of cinema, whether he's crammed into a tiny apartment, repeatedly getting in trouble in school, running the streets or getting thrown into juvie. Truffaut shot this hell-raising picture in the streets, often letting his actors improvise and making it feel gritty & real. So party with your young chum, run away from your terrible folks or maybe just go for a stroll along the beach, but make sure to have a podcast in your ears. In fact, make that podcast the 400th Ellises' Analysis, mes amis. Sparkplug Coffee might not be ideal for kids, but it's definitely ideal for you. And if you dig a 20% discount, you'll get one by entering our promo code (“top100project”) into the appropriate space at check-out. We like to Tweet. Well…here and there. We're @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Ryan's other podcast (Scoring At The Movies) talks about sports films. Check it out.
Who didn't think George Clooney practicing real estate law in the unglamorous parts of Hawaii and being cuckolded by the lanky guy from Scream would make for a killer comedy? Well, it might not be killer, but it IS a pretty good comedy. Of course, this particular movie star playing a loser is a stretch (even in Alexander Payne's unique “let's dump life on the leading character” style) but the Cloon man is quite terrific in The Descendants. Nevertheless, he's miscast (as is arguably another actor) and that shows how good a job he did to come as close to sinking into the role as he did here. Payne is curiously kind to just about all the characters in this Oscar-winning effort, which we don't think measures up to his best work. Still Clooney's crackling chemistry with the outstanding Shailene Woodley carries the film. As for the inheritance/trusteeship subplot, hmmm, not so hot. Anyway, the 399th Ellises' Analysis won't lay there comatose in a hospital bed forever, so fire up our back and forth and let's hope it tides you over until we return in 2 weeks. Well, Actually: Jeff Peterson doesn't compose music for awards and TV specials, but he works in the sound department and does other technical jobs. Also, we meant to dole out some more kudos about the touching scenes where Alex comforts Scottie in the hospital. Tracking down your wife's weasel lover while your kids and a dopey comic-relief kid tag along would be a little easier if you had a giant dose of Sparkplug Coffee in your travel cup. A one-time 20% discount will be yours to enjoy if you just use our promo code (“top100project”). Our handles on Twitter are @moviefiend51 & @bevellisellis Our website is still top100project.com Sports flicks, right? Ryan talks about them on Scoring At The Movies
We conclude Sci-Fi Month by going into the Mother Ship and praising/bashing one of the biggest movies of all time. Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin have made plenty of action and disaster flicks in their day, but ID4 is their best…yet also one of their dumbest. It's also terribly fun, despite all the death and destruction. Will Smith became an alien-punching superstar, Jeff Goldblum quirked it up in his one-of-a-kind way and Bill Pullman got to give one of the greatest speeches by any movie president. Oh, and Randy Quaid got to be a loose cannon. There's just so much to love and so much to mock. Enough pre-amble though. You need to pack a missile in your carry-on, give your special lady a tacky engagement ring and hack into the 398th Ellises' Analysis. Well Actually: Steven Hiller is a Marine pilot, not a Navy pilot. Also, the disaster movie 2012 was released in 2009. A remarkable way to prepare for an assault on an alien invader is to load up on Sparkplug Coffee. Go to Sparkplug's site. They'll give you a 20% discount when you use our promo code (“top100project”). Twitter time: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website remains top100project.com Ryan has another podcast and it's about sports movies: Scoring At The Movies
Wait, hang on, another movie about a giant rabbit? Only this time the rabbit doesn't drink booze and pal around with Jimmy Stewart, but leads a teenager with mental problems down the path of scientific discovery and time travel? Well, yeah! Donnie Darko has been analyzed half to death and that's impressive considering how indifferently the picture was received 20 years ago. Richard Kelly was only 26 back then and he was making his first (and certainly best) feature film. It's far from perfect, although it has a slew of incredible moments and a dynamite soundtrack. Jake Gyllenhaal sports a solid Kubrick glower and he showed us many glimpses of how good an actor he was going to become. The whole eclectic cast is up to the task, really, and what a trippy movie they're in. Okay, but, what about that plot? We give that question a shot! So stay in your comfy bed, but don't doubt our commitment to Sparkle Motion as the 397th Ellises' Analysis rips into the story of Donnie D. You'd like to be awake when a jet engine is about to crush you, so order many bags of Sparkplug Coffee to give you the boost. Your beans will be 20% cheaper if you use our promo code (“top100project”). If you spend any time on Twitter, say hi to us: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website remains top100project.com Ryan also jaws about sports motion pictures on Scoring At The Movies
We began our talk about A.I. at the ending of the movie because the last 15 or 20 minutes have always been controversial. Didn't it already have the most poetic ending possible before wishes started coming true? We debate that hot topic. Merging the visions of Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick was always going to be an odd mix, but you might be surprised to learn which of them brought the negative and which of them brought the positive to this story. What shouldn't be surprising is that Haley Joel Osment is terrific in one of the best performances by any child in any movie. He managed to top his great work in The Sixth Sense with this beautifully crafted evolution of a robot who becomes a real boy…or as close to it as a robot can. Spielberg's fairy tale about a mecha Pinocchio is gorgeous to look at and to listen to, even if it's episodic and a mite too long. Maybe more than a mite. So let a teddy bear and a gigolo tag along on a quest for your mother's love as the 396th Ellises' Analysis continues with Sci-Fi Month and prattles on about Stan & Steve's Artificial Intelligence. Well, Actually: Spielberg had 6 movies on the AFI's 1998 and 2007 Top 100 Lists (we overlooked Raiders Of The Lost Ark). Sparkplug Coffee might not be GOOD for androids, robots or mechanical people, but nobody can prove it's BAD for them either. Check out Sparkplug's site and keep in mind that they will pony up a 20% discount if you use our promo code (“top100project”) at checkout. Tweeting? Don't mind if we (sometimes) do: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Ryan also has a sports movie podcast on Scoring At The Movies
Be Sci-Fi Month, be very Sci-Fi Month. The 395th Ellises' Analysis is the first of 4 flicks we'll discuss in June that identify with that creative genre. When you talk about David Cronenberg's 3 or 4 best pictures, The Fly has got to be a part of that shortlist. Sure, there's his trademark body horror and some jump scares and plenty of creepiness throughout, but it's also got more heart than almost any other horror movie. It's really a tragic love story sold as a fright flick. Jeff Goldblum is at his best here (putting up with extensive, Oscar-winning make-up that eventually swallows him right up), but Geena Davis' performance is wonderful too. She's the reason the last scene could make a person require eye-drying tissues. Lauded at the time, The Fly is maturing like a fine Canadian wine and it's even better now. So don't liquify your food in disgusting ways. Just curl up with our podcast and a few (solid) donuts to hear us dig into the nooks and crannies of the legend of Brundlefly. Well, Actually: Ronnie's character is briefly in The Fly II, but Saffron Henderson plays her, not Geena Davis. Also, Jeff Goldblum HAS been in other movies we've covered beyond the ones that were mentioned, including his non-speaking role in Nashville and his one-line cameo in Annie Hall. Scientists who keep strange hours and transform into strange things would be well served to head over to Sparkplug Coffee. They've got the good stuff and they'll also provide you a one-time 20% discount. All you have to do is apply our promo code (“top100project”) when you're ready to fly. We're in the Twittersphere: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Ryan also talks sports on another channel called Scoring At The Movies
It’s only been about a month since this year’s weird Oscars, but this was a good time for the 394th Ellises’ Analysis to spend a solid hour unraveling the beauty of the heartfelt winner of Best Picture. A she so often is, Frances McDormand is quiet, stern and so real. She lets her fellow performers and Chloe Zhao’s story come to her. Fern/Fran accomplishes more with a simple gesture than most people do in a 10-minute monologue. And she’s working with mostly unprofessional actors! They’re real nomads basically just playing themselves, but they all shine (especially Bob and Swankie). Nomadland gets better with multiple viewings and we’ll explain why some elements were more personal to us this time than they were when we saw it for the first time back in early April. So don’t be a loner who can’t be tied down. Or do, if that’s what you want and need. But whichever path you take, toss our chat into your ears and feel every feeling in this movie right along with us. This episode is dedicated to Jason Ellis. If you’re struggling and you need emotional support, please go to this link. Well, Actually: The director of Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day is indeed Bharat Nalluri. Also, the movie WAS shot digitally. Also also, in yet again watching the scene between Fern and Bob towards the end, there is practically no doubt that Fern was always a wanderer at heart and—love for her husband aside—she never wanted to be stuck in one place. Coffee while driving as much as these characters do seems like a prerequisite and we have just the company for you non-nomads. Sparkplug Coffee is our sponsor and they’d like to give you a 20% discount. Just plug in “top100project” into the appropriate place at check-out. Tweet us on the road or wherever your home is: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis Our website is top100project.com Ryan yibbers about sports flicks on Scoring At The Movies