My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 31

August is always an introspective month for me. It’s my birthday month (this coming Friday, in fact), which brings with it a reminder of my mortality and the finite time I have left spinning on this giant rock – I’ve always been a glass half empty guy, if you hadn’t worked that out. Not that I ever allow myself to forget this ever quickening slide into my own doom, seeing as the main driving force of my existence – or at least my blog – is the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. I suffer a kind of fractional life crisis pretty much every birthday. This year I’ll be turning 28 which, according to Wikipedia’s chart on International Life Expectancy, leaves me 51 years left, so I’m at my 35% Life Crisis. And that’s being generous. I have a body type and general lifestyle that one might describe as synonymous with being rolled back into the sea should I fall asleep on a beach, and my propensity for cycling on busy roads with car drivers who seem to be doing their utmost to claim some kind of bounty on my head probably means I’ve got far fewer turns on my mortal coil. So what does this mean?

Well, this birthday marks what should have been a significant milestone in my blogging quest. I started my mission of working through four film-filled lists four and a half years ago, based on the notion of a half-remembered dream or epiphany I’d had some years prior, in which I was certain I’d die at the age of 28. I don’t really believe this, but when I was gifted the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book, I set 28 as an achievable goal. 55 months later the grand total of films I should have watched and reviewed sits at 1,494, and I’m at a paltry 532 which, what do you know, is 35% again. Suffice to say, even if it were possible in the time frame, I highly doubt I’ll be watching and reviewing the remaining 958 films in the next 3 days, mainly because there’s roughly a solid 8 weeks worth of films to watch, let alone discuss. So I’ve failed the initial mission. Rats. I’ve also worked out that so far this year I’ve reviewed 51 films from the 1001 List, as well as a smattering of others from the various other lists. If I keep going at a similar pace, and not counting the new additions added to the 1001 List every year, I should finish in about nine and a half years. Let’s say 10, and we’ll be including those films added in from now as well. Ten more years. Fifteen in total. A failure rate of 200%. And that’s not allowing for any major changes my life may take between now and then. I dearly hope these changes don’t include children, but you never know what life throws at you. Had you told me a few years ago that by now I’d have a puppy and two rabbits but no pet velociraptor or even a procompsognathus and you’d find yourself talking to a disappointed and confused fellow. Now, I can sometimes be found actually smiling at the idea of owning a menagerie, so times change. What evidently needs to change is my rate of reviewing.

Someone posted a link to this post on Facebook recently. The gist I took from it is basically stop wasting time. Sort your life out a little bit better and you can accomplish something you’ve wanted to do. I’ve never been musically inclined. Judging by my CD and iTunes collection, many would tell you I’m not a fan of music whatsoever, so my achievable goal must lie in a different direction, and that rather glaringly points towards my lists. Whilst I disagree with some of the scheduling referenced in that post (whilst 8 hours of work a day may seem fine for some, my work day is 9 hours, plus a daily total of 90 minutes commuting on the aforementioned bipedal torture device), it’s become clear to me that a better structure to my day – nay, life – will result in a more efficient completion of this list. I’d hope to be done with it before I turn 40, yet some days that looks like a reality. So, this week I’ve made an effort to knuckle down and get stuff done. Granted it’s been a busy week, what with a wedding, family barbecue and an impromptu evening of badminton (I figured the cetaceous nature of my frame could be improved upon as well), but looking at everything I accomplished blog-wise this week I’m quite impressed. I mean, I watched a total of three films, only one of which was relevant to anything, and wrote two whole reviews. Oh. Shit. Here’s what I watched this week:
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Top 10… Movie Franchises

I’ve recently gone on record about two movie franchises, Star Trek and The Fast & The Furious, one of which I greatly preferred to the other. This got me thinking, and was the inspiration for this week’s list, my Top 10 Movie Franchises. Now, as always I’ve set myself some limitations. Firstly, I must have seen every film within the franchise. This immediately rules out the likes of Die Hard (haven’t seen number 5), Alien/Predator (haven’t seen Predator 2, can’t remember Alien 3 or Resurrection), Bourne (Legacy), Hannibal (Rising) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (remake and New Nightmare). I also didn’t include the looser franchises that simply take place in the same universe, for example the Avengers film, Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse, George Romero’s Blank of the Dead series or the Muppets films. I also took into account every film within each franchise, so just because a film happened to feature some true classics, if there were some stinkers in there too then that didn’t help its case for inclusion. The franchise also had to have a minimum of four films, as I’ve made a list of my top trilogies before. So, without further ado, here’s my top 10 movie franchises:

Honourable Mentions
Final-Destination-5There’s a lot of franchises out there! Seriously, there’s tons, more than I’d heard of, and I was shocked to discover some of the more longer-lasting movie sagas. Did you know there’s 30 Django films? I knew there were a lot of Carry Ons, but I didn’t think it was as many as 31, which is also the same number of Barbie films in existence (I’m guessing this doesn’t include Hotel Terminus). I’m most blown away, however, by the fact that there’s a Chinese series known as Wong Fei Hung, which includes a staggering 89 movies. 89! That, my friends, is insane. Anyway, I’ve barely seen any of these films (Django Unchained, Carry On Doctor) so obviously these can’t be in my Top 10.
No, this week’s two honourable mentions are the Final Destination franchise, and Police Academy. They beat out stiff competition from the likes of Shrek, Home Alone, Pirates of the Caribbean, Saw and the National Lampoon’s Vacation series, but if I had to pick my favourites then these two are them. Final Destination is one of the few horror series I pay much attention too – I’ve only seen the original Halloween, and have yet to see any Friday the 13th films – and I think this is due to the initially original concept of people cheating death, and being hunted down one by one to fix reality. It’s such a brilliant idea, and it means there’s no iconic killer who’ll end up as a parody of himself by the fifth film. Part four is easily the worst in the series – the premonitions don’t make sense and there’s some truly terrible CGI – but all the rest are at least decent, with number 2 being my personal favourite. I had a screenshot from the death of Rory as my background for a little while after seeing that film.
Police-Academy-police-academy-27137923-1920-1080Police Academy is an entirely different yet still occasionally just as ridiculous franchise, following the antics of a police training school that’s just dropped any requirements for entrants, meaning anyone of any gender, race, weight and ability can sign up and be trained. Yes, the sequels got a bit terrible after Steve Guttenberg dropped out, and the less said about Mission to Moscow the better, but there’s still a lot of fun to be had with the earlier films, the first one is a true 80s classic.
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Top 10… Philip Seymour Hoffman Films

Philip Seymour Hoffman is the recipient of this month’s Acting School over at the LAMB. I’m trying to get a bit more involved with the Lamb (hence my appearing in two recent podcasts, and hopefully a few more in the future), so I figured I’d compile a list of my favourite of Hoffman’s films for the school, which gets posted over at the LAMB on Monday.
I’ve always liked Hoffman as an actor, and not just because we’re of a similar build, especially around the midriff. He’s able to deliver a huge variety of performances, most of which I think I’ve covered in this list. And I’m aware there’s a few of his more prominent films that I’ve missed off, but that’s generally because I haven’t seen them yet (The Master, for instance). And this is a list of his best films, not his best performances, so whilst he was thoroughly deserving of his Oscar for Capote, it doesn’t appear on my list because as a film I’m not overly keen on it.