Apr 16, 2013

Last week on...

And that seems to have been the limit of this edition of "Stephen is able to do anything other than read articles and play videogames." Come back next time for more reviews of movies that are in the top 100 movies I've seen. It's practically the top 10% of movies I've seen! Enjoy waiting!

Apr 10, 2013

(111-108) Stephen Strenio's Five Star Netflix Movies Countdown


Hello Readers,

I have rated almost 800 movies and TV shows on Netflix, and I ranked 125 of the movies as five stars. I then went through, sorted those movies out into seven tiers, and then ranked all the movies. These are only the movies that I've seen and ranked on Netflix. There may be movies I haven't seen, and there may be movies I haven't rated on Netflix. But otherwise, these are the official, undeniable rankings of all movies ever. Enjoy my brief reviews!

Today is the sixth-best group of movies. These movies have definitely earned five-stars from me, but they might not earn them from you.

111. Mission: Impossible
Dun. Dun. Dun-nuh. Dun. Dun. Dun-uh. Dun. Dun. Dun-nuh. Dun. Dun. Dun-uh. DUN-NUH-NUHHHHHH. DUN-NUH-NUHHHH. DUN-NUH-NUHHHH. DUN-NUH. DUN-NUH-NUHHHHH. DUN-NUH-NUHHHHH. DUN-NUH-NUHHHHH. DUN-NUH. Good Job Tom Cruise.

110. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
This is my favorite 80's comedy. I still like Matthew Broderick solely based on this performance, despite my dislike for his roles in basically everything else I've seen him in. This movie has so many wonderful iconic moments, from the lip-synching at the German day parade, to the parking attendant getting air, to Charlie Sheen in the police station (maybe more prophetic than iconic), to Ferris racing to beat his parent's back home while the Chicka-Chickaaaaaa song steals the show. A classic of American blockbuster cinema.

109. Blazing Saddles
Mel Brooks' Western parody. Since that might not get the point across to everyone, this is an offensive and generally hilarious comedy that exaggerates the racist, sexist, and homophobic tropes commonly found in westerns mixed in with fart jokes, meta-humor and Gene Wilder. The climactic fight scene alone is worth five stars.

108. Full Metal Jacket
An intense journey into the heart and soul of the American war machine, Full Metal Jacket lays bare the dehumanizing hatred that is required to form an army or fight a war. Nearly every Stanley Kubrick movie was a masterpiece, and this is no exception. The dialogue is so famous, you'll be able to quote the movie the first time you watch it.

Apr 8, 2013

(116-112) Stephen Strenio's Five Star Netflix Movies Countdown


Hello Readers,

I have rated almost 800 movies and TV shows on Netflix, and I ranked 125 of the movies as five stars. I then went through, sorted those movies out into seven tiers, and then ranked all the movies. These are only the movies that I've seen and ranked on Netflix. There may be movies I haven't seen, and there may be movies I haven't rated on Netflix. But otherwise, these are the official, undeniable rankings of all movies ever. Enjoy my brief reviews!

Today is the sixth-best group of movies. These movies have definitely earned five-stars from me, but they might not earn them from you.


116. Rango
Rango is a really high-quality modern western. There's a comedy band, a noble quest, an evil capitalist, and some meta-humor. I liked it better than the Coen Brothers' "True Grit", as an example of a modern western that didn't quite do it for me. This movie works as an adventure, a family film, a comedy, and there's all sorts of callbacks and winks and nods to the western tradition. And man, the theme song is catchy.

115. High Fidelity
This is a great John Cusack movie. In the way that "Being John Malkovitch" really highlighted how weird it is that John Cusack is a movie star, High Fidelity highlights how weird it is that John Cusack is a romantic movie star. It's so weird, right? 90% of the film highlights exactly why no one should ever want to date him and then the last instant reveals that underneath all the creepy, compulsive, or stupefying behavior there's a human and all humans are able to love and be loved. Also, I really like making lists and John is great at being a smug elitist.

114. Back to the Future
This is a classic American film. One of the most beloved time-travel movies of all time, Marty McFly not only paradoxically invents rock and roll, almost has his mom jump his bones, covers his dad's boss in poop, gets involved with an international terrorist group, and stages an alien invasion, he also gets sucked right back in through one of the most shameless sequel-begging endings in film history.

113. Garden State
I probably am over-rating this movie, but there's a great big soft spot in my heart for it. Let me be clear: I'm not really even sure why I like it. This is one of my least favorite Natalie Portman roles. Zach Braff is alright, but nothing spectacular. The soundtrack is good, but doesn't really enhance the movie so much as it's a bunch of good songs. But somehow this movie got stuck right in my blind-spot and I get very emotional every time I watch it. Well done, movie, even though I'm not sure what it was that was done well.

112. Shall We Dance? (Japanese)
There could be some confusion if you think that this is the American film. It's not. It's the Japanese film that the American film was based on. I have not seen the American film. Moving on.

It might be because I was thoroughly sleep-deprived when watching this film, or that I was watching it when trying to learn Japanese so I was paying more attention than I normally would, but this movie has stuck with me over the years. The sense of loneliness in a routine life is a favorite theme of mine, and Japanese dramas have a particularly excellent way of expressing the tedium of the 9-5 life. I really like the way that this movie which centers on a non-physical quasi-affair deals with the complications that come from deception, regardless of how benign the truth might be. Also, the dance sequences are beautiful. I still can see a lonely japanese officeworker standing completely straight, arms in holding position, waltzing by himself.

Apr 3, 2013

(121-117) Stephen Strenio's Five Star Netflix Movies Countdown


Hello Readers,

I have rated almost 800 movies and TV shows on Netflix, and 125 of the movies got five stars. I then went through, sorted those movies out into seven tiers, and then ranked all the movies. These are only the movies that I've seen and ranked on Netflix. There may be movies I haven't seen, and there may be movies I haven't rated on Netflix. But otherwise, these are the official, undeniable rankings of all movies ever. Enjoy my brief reviews!

Today is the sixth-best group of movies. These movies have definitely earned five-stars from me, but they might not earn them from you.


121. Ip Man
Hey, so do you remember when I was talking about Fearless last time? This is the better version of Fearless. It's almost exactly the same movie, except the main character isn't Jet Li, the invaders aren't Europe (it's Japan!), and the manual labor is in a labor-camp instead of a farming village. So, if you're interested in seeing a high-quality Chinese serious (not comedy) martial arts movie set in the 20th century, this is the one. 

120. March of the Penguins
This is just a great nature-documentary. Penguins are wonderfully interesting, the footage is absolutely beautiful and the narration is incomparable. If you like looking at beautiful landscapes and adorable animals while learning a little bit about the world you live on, this is a thing you could do those things with.

119. Ghostbusters
I have a bit of a Bill Murray thing, but it's not for his comedies as much as for when he realized that being an iconic comedic figure made him an amazing tragic figure, a la Pagliacci. That said, Ghostbusters is amazing. It's a great action movie, a great comedy, and an original romance all woven brilliantly into a single compelling plot. Enjoy!

118. City Lights
Charlie Chaplin! I have not seen enough of his movies and I think this is the only one I rated on Netflix. The other one of his that's fantastic is "The Great Dictator" and, I mean, all the other ones also. He is a brilliant silent actor who knew more about the entire process of making a movie than it seems possible for anyone these days. Silent films force the characters to be based on actions and reactions, without being able to fall back on telling you what they're supposed to be with dialogue.

117.The Artist
The Artist is what you can do with a silent movie after 80 years of film-making techniques have been created. Also there's singing, dancing, and a puppy. Plus it's thoroughly depressing and cynical. My favorite!

Apr 2, 2013

(125-122) Stephen Strenio's Five Star Netflix Movies Countdown

Hello Readers,

I have rated almost 800 movies and TV shows on Netflix, and 125 of the movies got five stars. I then went through, sorted those movies out into seven tiers, and then ranked all the movies. These are only the movies that I've seen and ranked on Netflix. There may be movies I haven't seen, and there may be movies I haven't rated on Netflix. But otherwise, these are the official, undeniable rankings of all movies ever. Enjoy my brief reviews!

Today is the seventh-best group of movies. These movies could easily have not made the cut, but they did.

125. Jet Li's Fearless
#125 on this list is Fearless, a fairly self-indulgent Jet Li vehicle which I enjoy because I enjoy Jet Li, I enjoy martial arts movies, I enjoy characters who learn humility through manual labor, and I enjoy the trope of a sole Chinese master fighting off the might of the invading powers (here, explicitly Europe). A nice film, but it's not going to make you like Jet Li or martial arts movies if you didn't already. This should probably be a four-star movie, especially because "The Game of Death" is a four-star movie to me. Fearless is not as good as "The Game of Death", so, there you are. 

124. Legally Blonde
Legally Blonde is a nice comedy. It has some good messages about self-confidence, going for your goals, fighting sexual harassment, and how trust needs to be earned. It's funny, it's well-paced. The characters are as nuanced as you're going to get in a blockbuster comedy like this and Reese Witherspoon gives a great performance. Enjoyable, but kind of like Pokemon, it got a bit out of control and everything that's happened since has not been worth your time, let alone money.

123. Father of the Bride
I have a little bit of a Steve Martin thing, so this is on the list along with some other ones. Father of the Bride almost entirely relies on Steve as both the comedic and sympathetic focus of the action. He succeeds. I would imagine a lot of people aren't as high on Steve Martin as I am, because, you know "Cheaper by the Dozen (2)" and "The Pink Panther" remakes happened, but to me, those movies are as non-existent as "X-3: The One That Didn't Happen" and I can always rely on Father of the Bride and Parenthood and Roxanne (Two good ones that didn't make the list).

122. Men in Black
This is the only Will Smith contribution to the list and it's a really good buddy-cop, sci-fi, action blockbuster comedy featuring two really good actors in their primes. The plot is good, the comedy is consistent, with great visual humor, slapstick, one-liners, and character driven jokes. The actor who played the evil alien in human skin is one of the best portrayals of a non-human in film, up there with the hand-eye monster from Pan's Labyrinth. Will Smith's song is also still great.