As a frequent and steady contributor to The Large Ass Movie Blog, (The LAMB), I always try to get more people involved with the site.
Every Month, the site runs a poll based on the list of films submitted by LAMB members for the prestigious ability of being named as the Movie of the Month that will be discussed on the LAMBCAST podcast during that given month.
I decided that each month I will watch each of the films chosen and give my rankings of those films in order to decide which film I should vote for and in doing so, maybe help some of you also decide which film to vote for.
The voting is open until Sunday the 26th of May, so make sure to get your vote in soon.
This month, there were 15 Contenders suggested so here they are:
- American Mary (2012) – [Darren Lucas, Movie Reviews 101]
- The Breadwinner (2017) – [Tony Cogan, Coogs Review]
- Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) – [Todd Liebenow, Forgotten Filmz]
- A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014) – [Howard Casner, Rantings and Ravings]
- Leave No Trace (2018) – [David Brook, Blueprint: Review]
- Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005) – [Marya Gates, Cinema Fanatic]
- Outrage (1950) – [Will Slater, Exploding Helicopter]
- Point Break (1991) – [Kai Parker, MILFcast]
- Punisher: War Zone (2008) – [Bubbawheat, Flights, Tights & Movie Nights]
- Strange Days (1995) – [Aaron Neuwirth, The Code is Zeek]
- Testament (1983) – [Troy Anderson, AndersonVision]
- Thirteen (2003) – [Getter Trumsi, Mettel Ray]
- The Virgin Suicides (1999) – [Kristen Lopez, Journeys in Classic Film]
- We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011) – [Damien Riley, Riley on Film]
- You Were Never Really Here (2017) – [Cameron Kanachki, The Michigan Movie Guy]
Here are my rankings along with brief thoughts on each film (click on the film title if you want to read my full review)
15. American Mary (2012) – Terrible film that gets worse and worse as things move along. The story actually begins well but goes into some very very dark and disgusting places that are too horrific to even try to describe. I was never even aware that there was a sub culture of people like this and the idea to make a realistic looking film about the subject is just too much for a non-horror fan like me. Don’t plan to eat or snack while watching this film.
14. Thirteen (2003) – Terrible film that is really all over the place. The actresses playing the young children seem way too old to be portraying such characters which takes away from the realism of the whole thing. Hunter was nominated for an Oscar for Best supporting actress for her performance here, but I’m not 100% sure as to why. The story doesn’t follow any kind of direct narrative and something constantly feels wrong with the way that all is being presented due to something seeming missing from the way this is being told.
13.You Were Never Really Here (2017) – Crazy film that tries to show us what is going on in the mind of a character yet finds itself quite incoherent. Phoenix once again chooses a storyline that is too abstract and that takes away from the impact of such an idea. Visually, this film is stunning, but story-wise, it’s a complete mess.
12. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014) – Interesting premise that just doesn’t work well enough. The story tries too hard to be mysterious about the plot but it just doesn’t come across as feeling realistic. None of the characters are developed at all and in a horror film, it’s important to care about the characters so that the viewer has someone to root for who might survive the carnage. Being a low budget film, many of the shots are done from angles to make us believe things are happening and they just don’t manage to make it look realistic or genuine enough.
11. Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005) – Very strange look at the lives of people living in a small community as they try to find their way in life. The characters are all a bit too quirky for their own good and instead of making them endearing makes the whole story less enjoyable because it doesn’t feel as if the story has a strong enough anchor. Too many of the “coincidences” that occur here feel contrived for the story and that takes a bit away from the realism of things which would have been better had the story flowed much better on its own.
10. Strange Days (1995) – Has an interesting idea, but just doesn’t plan out as well onscreen. Very dark and bleak future ala Cameron, that is just a mediocre thriller.
9.Punisher: War Zone (2008) – Interesting comic book adaptation that looks and feels like a comic book movie yet has a very weak story that doesn’t work well enough. The violence is very graphic and does a fine job of imitating the kind of violence usually portrayed in comics. The dialogue is very quirky and is also quite reminiscent of comic book dialogue especially when it comes to puns and one liners that are just not funny enough so they make the viewer roll their eyes instead of laugh. Cast is pretty mediocre and it’s hard to care about any of them.
8. Leave No Trace (2018) – Interesting premise that doesn’t work as well as it probably could have. The characters are developed quite well yet there is too much that is left unknown about the story prior to the events of the film that would help us get an even better understanding of them. Foster and McKenzie are both great in these very low key roles and they allow us to get a sense of the strong connection between them that has been built over the years even if they have differing opinions on what is right for the path of their lives. The story isn’t as powerful as I had hoped it would be and was a bit disappointed.
7. The Virgin Suicides (1999) – Very interesting story that lacks a more comprehensive character development and would have been served better had it been longer. Great cast that could have been utilized more. I liked the way it is all being told as a memory and not just as a flashback.
6. Testament (1983) – Very nice look at the possible after effects of a nuclear war. This film came out at the right time and truly shows the various kinds of difficulties and hardships that might arise if such a scenario might occur. Alexander is superb in the lead and was quite deserving of an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her performance here. The story moves at a relatively slow pace yet they manage to keep us informed as to what is transpiring both within and without of this small community. The story works quite well in showing what life could be like in this kind of situation and is quite harrowing to watch because it is made so realistically.
5. We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011) – I liked the way this movie jumps back and forth between flashbacks of the innocent seeming past and the present which has been marred by the unnamed event. We ask ourselves numerous questions about the present that are slowly answered in the course of the journey thru the past. As a parent myself, the premise itself is a great one because we all tend to unconditionally love our children, but the question remains as to whether that changes when they commit a horrifying act. This movie had me thinking about the premise for days and I enjoyed having to entertain all of the philosophical and psychological questions that arise while watching a movie like this one.
4. The Breadwinner (2017) – Very moving story that works on numerous levels. The way that they depict this kind of story in a frank manner works really well because it allows things to feel even more realistic. The story arc moves at a great pace as we get to feel the tension in the air of a changing society. The movie is able to show us a region of the world that is filled with combatants and non-combatants that is not usually met with much sympathy and they present things in a very sympathetic and understanding way. It’s completely understandable why a film like this would garner both an Oscar and Golden Globe Nomination for Best Animated Film in 2017
3. Outrage (1950) – Great film that was quite ahead of its time. The censors had a field day with this movie and tried quite hard to keep it toned done which is a shame. We can easily feel the pain and suffering of the main character played by Powers as she tries to find a way to overcome her own guilt and humiliation especially when she has no one to turn to who can understand her plight. The story is short and concise and allows us to get a real look at this kind of situation from a perspective of a time and place where these matters were never discussed despite the fact that they unfortunately occurred.
2. Point Break (1991) – Great action flick, fun plot despite it being a bit extreme and absurd. Helped propel Reeves into an action hero while Swayze was on his way down. Pity that they feel this needs to be remade.
- Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) – Such a great film because it truly is a iconoclasm of high school in the 80’s. The various characters are all developed quite well and even though many may seem like stereotypes, we get an idea of who each and every one of these characters are and what they want to do. This film is just 90 minutes long yet it is so poignant in so many ways because it allows the world to get a quick glimpse at the life of high schoolers in the early 80’s. The cast is superb and it’s hard to actually say that there is one lead here since there are so many interweaving stories that make up the overall plot. Many of the cast members would go on to have great careers in Hollywood even if they were mostly unknown when this film was made. The issues that this film tackles over the course of its slim running time is quite amazing and much credits is sue to the director Heckerling and writer – Crowe for accomplishing such a great feat.
So who should I vote for? – Fast Times is the best film on this list IMHO and is a clear choice for me eventhough I think discussions about The Breadwinner, Outrage and Point Break would also be lots of fun.
To vote, click here
Good luck to one and all!!!