Aladdin – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 1992, seeking to ignore my bias and provide a fair score based on the 20 criteria I feel are most important in the creation of a film. Today’s movie is Disney’s Aladdin, one of the central results of the Disney Renaissance, a Romantic Adventure led by Robin Williams and set in the world of Arabian Nights. 

Sales: 5. There are going to be a lot of 5s dished out when it comes to any Disney movies which feature in my Top Tens. This was smack bang in the middle of the Renaissance, when anything the company released gobbled up every penny going. It made over half a billion at release and has probably made something similar in the time since.

Critical Consensus: 4. Potentially a 5 as this was universally acclaimed and the time and remains seen as a high point now, but several critics did give negative reviews concerning what even some of the positive reviews called out – racial stereotypes.

Director: 4. Musker & Clements reteamed after The Little Mermaid, bringing another romance but this time one with a heavier action and comedy slant. It’s a feast for the eyes, ears, and heart. Feel free to go 5 here. My only criticism is that it feels a little by the numbers Disney, but you could just as easily flip that to a positive by saying it does what Disney does best.

Performances: 5. Robin Williams is obviously the star of the show but Scott Weinger and Linda Larkin hold their own as Aladdin and Jasmine, Jonathan Freeman does a great, sneering Jafar, and Gilbert Gottfried pierces everyone’s earholes as Iago. It’s arguably the best performed Disney film ever.

Characters: 4. Classic characters/archetypes are given a bit of an American white-washing, but at their core it’s a universal bunch; the slum kid with a heart, the lonely Princess who yearns for independence, the clearly insane genie, the hapless Sultan and his scheming, power hungry advisor. Plus the side characters like Abu, Iago, even a mute flying Carpet all have endearing qualities.

Cinematography: 4. It’s not quite as gorgeous as Beauty And The Beast but again showcases a leap forwards in scope and an expansion into CG.

Writing: 4. The plot is standard fare, brought into the modern day with a less subservient Princess and some meta wit. Plus Robin Williams ad libs and goes off with his own shtick which may hit or miss depending on each individual.

Plot: 3. It’s a rags to riches story, a romance, and a story of redemption all in one. The writing and performances raise what is hardly the most original plot.

Wardrobe: 4. From the sheer number of main and backing characters on screen, particularly in the town and parade scenes, to the attention to detail in what would have been seen as exotic for Disney, it’s all stunning.

Editing: 4. Well handled in the set pieces and services the overall pace.

Make up and Hair: 3. Detailed for the time though not as iconic as some Disney films for me.

Effects: 4. In the more adventurous scenes – the Cave Of Wonders, the Whole New World scene, the climax, it’s a visual and exciting treat.

Art and Set: 4. From Day 1 Disney has known how to create worlds and dreams, palaces, and memorable places. Aladdin is no different.

Sound And Music: 5. A step down from Beauty And The Beast but stronger than most. It’s not just about one song. You have the centrepiece, but you also have One Jump Ahead, Arabian Nights, and Prince Ali. Never Had A Friend Like Me is fine too. One of the more consistently strong Disney scores.

Cultural Significance: 4. Difficult to assess as a standalone because The Little Mermaid spearheaded the Renaissance, Beauty And The Beast was the crowning achievement, and The Lion King was the fan favourite. Aladdin was the next in a line of hits. It did lead to sequels, a TV show, and the inevitable remake, but whether it kickstarted an interest in Arabian media is unlikely. Arguably its greatest impact was in placing a major household name in the cast, which would become the norm.

Accomplishment: 4. It’s easy to overlook how much effort and work was put into this, because we take it for granted that Disney movies will just be good. It’s often more difficult to appreciate the work that goes into an Animated film. Plus, when the film works you don’t think about the years it took to bring it to completion. This was a step up in scope for Disney, with more characters on screen and more complexity than other films they’d already made.

Stunts: 4. Can you give an animated movie a high score for Stunts? While there’s no traditional, physical, dude in a suit jumping off a building, stunts here, you should then question how the action makes you feel. Is it bland? Exhilarating? Does it offer something you haven’t seen before? Does it do it with style? My score tells you how I feel.

Originality: 3. It’s a modern re-telling of an ancient tale, or a number of ancient tales. Boy meets girl. Poor boy wants to be rich. Bad guy wants power. Girl wants to be heard. Dude gets three wishes. These stories are ingrained upon us from youth. But it tells them in a fresh, up-tempo, 90s era fashion.

Miscellaneous: 4. I saw it at the Cinema, does that count? The made for TV sequel and TV show actually weren’t too bad, and the videogame adaptation was notoriously difficult. All helps to create a package which feels less cynical than today’s big budget cash grabs. But that could just be nostalgia talking.

Personal: 5. It’s one of my favourite Disney movies. Top 5. Of course it’s going to get a 5 from me. I pretty much only do musicals if they’re Disney and they’re animated. This is peak Disney, right before they jumped to CG, and has everything I want in one of their movies – heart, adventure, laughs, memorable songs, wonderful characters, and a world of pure imagination.

Total Score: 79/100.

Is that our highest movie score so far? Am I going to check? What’s your own score? Let us know in the comments!

Q The Winged Serpent – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 1982, seeking to ignore my bias and provide a fair score based on the 20 criteria I feel are most important in the creation of a film. Today’s movie is Larry Cohen’s low budget Q: The Winged Serpent, Godzilla-esque tale of an ancient gargantuan creature looking for victims in New York City.

Sales: 3. I could be showing my bias with this one. I’m torn. It’s more realistically a 2, and some could even go with a 1. It only made back a quarter of its budget at release. But I have to think it’s made some money over the years thanks to TV replays, VHS, and DVD releases. Let’s just say I’m being very generous with a 3.

Critical Consensus: 3. I can afford to risk the 3 on this one. Contemporary critical response was average, more negatives than positives, but enough positives that it wasn’t completely dismissed. That consensus has improved over the years and it’s not seen as one of Cohen’s best movies.

Director: 3. Cohen has a lot of fun with quite a large playground – New York City. Lots of cool POV shots, Q is seen sporadically through the movie, the story flies by leaving its surprises till the end, and the satirical and topical material is not battering you in the face.

Performances: 3. When you have Michael Moriarty in a lead role, you know what you’re going to get. He’s a lot of fun, crazed, hamming it up, and alongside him you’ll find Richard Roundtree, David Carradine, and Candy Clarke enjoying themselves.

Characters: 3. Three is the ceiling here, and it only reaches there because of Moriarty’s scheming Jimmy Quinn who tries to use the monster’s appearance to make him rich. Elsewhere it’s just cops and gals and victims.

Cinematography: 3. It’s all about the sweeping shots of the NYC skyline and streets below. There’s something about the 70s to 80s shooting of US cities which is so appealing to me. Maybe it’s because I had not experienced anything like it, coming from a small Country. Maybe it’s because it’s such a clear and semi-modern vision of a time already lost. It looks better than a B movie with this plot has any right to.

Writing: 3. You know there’s going to be something underneath the story. Cohen always sets up an outlandish story so that he can talk about something else. In Q, he’s mocking the police and politics of the era, the various types of people you may find in NYC, and even B movies themselves. It’s not his most acerbic writing, he’s having fun. As such, the dialogue is light and campy.

Plot: 3. It’s a film about a giant flying monster attacking modern day New York. It’s also a Detective story. It’s also a story about a small-time crook trying to exploit a unique situation for himself. It turns out the monster is also an ancient, resurrected God being brought back by a whack job. If any of that appeals to you, this is likely a 3 score for you.

Wardrobe: 3. Nothing of note.

Editing: 3. All good.

Make up and Hair: 3. Nothing of note.

Effects: 3. It’s difficult to be objective with this one, so I’ll go right down the middle. In terms of modern-day effects, it’s crap. Even for 1982… not that great. But it’s a much lower budget film than those of the era which did look better, and the creature design is cool. Until the climax, most of the effects work is fleeting and hidden, the eggs and babies are neat, and I always enjoy stop motion. It’s a 2 or a 3, unless you’re being extremely harsh.

Art and Set: 3. Cool use of the rooftop scenes and everything within the Chrysler building set, doubling as Q’s den.

Sound And Music: 3. Lots of nice, guttural roars and beasty sounds and the soundtrack is serviceable if forgettable. Lots of creepy crawly violins – standard horror stuff.

Cultural Significance: 2. It had an impact on me and likely many other little horror nerds like me who saw the movie young. But unless those guys went on to make other movies, Q’s impact is minimal. Even in the B-movie, Monster Movie, and Larry Cohen movie world, it’s hardly the most famous, notable, or culturally significant.

Accomplishment: 3. Shooting anything in NY, or in general, is difficult – even more difficult with a small budget. But Cohen pulled together a strong cast and managed to make a cult film which a lot of people have a great degree of fondness for.

Stunts: 3. There’s plenty of action towards the end, but it’s nothing you won’t have seen before. A 2 or 3.

Originality: 3. Another 2 or 3. Giant monsters rampaging in New York isn’t original, but the monster itself and the other nuggets Cohen spices up the stories with are enough to push it into a curio bucket rather than the mainstream.

Miscellaneous: 3. If there’s nothing worth mentioning here, I go with a 3. It’s a little sneaky, but what are you gonna do?

Personal: 4. I’d be tempted to go 5 because I always have a fun time when I watch this. But there are other stop-motion and monster movies I enjoy more which I reserve a 5 for.

Total Score: 60/100

Let us know your score in the comments!

Silent Running – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 1972, seeking to ignore my bias and provide a fair score based on the 20 criteria I feel are most important in the creation of a film. Today’s movie is Douglas Trumbull’s Sci-Fi tale of environmental collapse and paranoia set in a massive spacecraft far from Earth.

Sales: 2. There’s not a lot of detail around how Silent Running performed, but we know it wasn’t a big earner – and never has been since release. It didn’t have a huge budget so it wasn’t necessarily a flop, but in sales terms it’s mostly forgotten.

Critical Consensus: 3. While well received, it has never been more than a cult film and rarely received overwhelming praise. It’s often compared to 2001, and most critics favour Kubrick’s film. Regardless of how fair the comparison is, it comes up again and again.

Director: 3. It’s Douglas Turnbull’s first movie, and he expectedly has a great handle of the effects and the spectacle. As seen below, other aspects of the film which the director should have an element of control over are maybe not handled as well as if an experienced director had been in the chair.

Performances: 3. It’s basically The Bruce Dern show, given he’s the only person on screen for the bulk of the movie. The other three actors are fine in their limited roles. Dern is charismatic but with him being the focus you’d perhaps expect the performance to be more memorable. I could go 4 with this one, maybe 3 is harsh given I nominated him in my Best Actor category for 1972.

Characters: 3. Again, it’s the Bruce Dern show. Like 2001, certain characters are almost asides, NPCs. Dern’s Lowell is a 70s version of one of those climate change activists who block soccer moms from taking their SUVs on the school run, and it’s a refreshingly prescient view for 1972, even if he’s treated as both the hero and villain.

Cinematography: 4. It’s lovely and impressive for the time, and remains so today even if it has obviously been surpassed in certain ways.

Writing: 3. I could go 4 here, but being a fan of tasty dialogue and one-liners which I don’t think the movie has, I can’t go higher than 3. I’m not enough of a science boy to say how accurate any of that side of the film is… but it makes sense to a lay person. 2-4 is good here.

Plot: 3. It’s the story of a space dude going rogue in a space station because he wants to protect the plant life rather than his fellow humans. There isn’t much beyond that.

Wardrobe: 3. Sure. Lots of Space suits.

Editing: 3. I never have much to say about editing, do I? It’s usually something I don’t notice unless it’s blatantly excellent or very bad.

Make up and Hair: 2. It’s very much of its time – a bunch of 70s guys are in space.

Effects: 4. By today’s standards they’re pretty poor. By 1972 standards, they’re very good. Not on par with 2001, but better than the other space-set movies of the era.

Art and Set: 4. Arguably the most notable aspect of the film. Similar to the Visual Effects, it’s all quaint by today’s standards and arguably was made to look outdated by the time A New Hope came along, but for the time they are strong and give the impression of what life – lasting life – on a space craft could be like.

Sound And Music: 3. Depending on what your musical preferences are, you could go higher or lower here. I’m good with the 3, but we should highlight the Joan Baez songs which feature heavily. Your enjoyment of those songs will go a long way to determining your score. Elsewhere, lots of spacey bloopy beepy sounds.

Cultural Significance: 2. I’d love to reach a 3 here, but I don’t think the film is significant enough on a wider scale. It has its cult following and has gone on to impact other filmmakers and critics, but in a limited way. Could you argue that it kicked off a more environmentally aware wave of films? Could you say the robots influenced George Lucas? I think that’s a stretch.

Accomplishment: 4. For a first-time director to create a film with this scale and scope which is still being talked about fifty years later, is impressive. It’s a film of visuals and ideas, and both are impressive and expansive.

Stunts: 2. The action in the movie is more in the sphere of miniatures and explosions, there are few stunts required.

Originality: 4. I’ll be more generous here, but 3 seems just as justified.

Miscellaneous: 4. Cute robots!

Personal: 4. Few films which make my personal lists are going to be lower than a 4. These are my favourites of each year. Some years I’ll care less about the lower tier picks, but from the 70s onwards I’d be surprised if we get any 3s.

Total Score: 63/10

Let us know your scores in the comments!

Carnival Of Souls – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 1962, seeking to ignore my bias and provide a fair score based on the 20 criteria I feel are most important in the creation of a film. Today’s movie is Herk Hervey’s hypnotic and haunting Carnival Of Souls, the story of a woman struggling to fit in with her new town after she survives a car crash.

Sales: 3. A tricky one for older movies, but especially tricky for a movie like this. First off, it failed to make any real business upon release, but has since seen many versions released and re-releases in certain regions for Halloween. Second, it was super low budget and therefor didn’t require much business to make a profit. Depending on how you define sales and performance, you could go with anything here. I’ll go down the middle, erring on positive due to the fact that it still makes some money today and it’s miniscule budget.

Critical Consensus: 4. As above, the film went largely unnoticed upon release. It wasn’t until the film made more of an impact in Europe, until it repeated on Television, and until new filmmakers who saw it as kids were old enough to cite it as an influence that critics began to revaluate it. Since then it has been praised as a classic. I’m not sure we can go with a 5 here due to its dismissal early on, and due to it still not being universally praised due to its amateur, low budget qualities.

Director: 4. It’s a 3 or 4 – you can tell there are a few decisions which were due to this being a first time director and possibly the film would have been stronger had he already made a few features. However, as a first time attempt and with the monetary constraints, Harvey still managed to make an incredibly effective and influential horror movie.

Performances: 3. This is where I can expect people to go lower. Hilligoss is good and everyone else is by the by.

Characters: 3. Again, it’s all about Mary, the main character. The side characters exist to serve her story, literally, and even ‘The Man’ and others are just spooks. 2 is fine here.

Cinematography: 4. Restricted by a lack of funds, necessity became the prime directive, and the results are impressive and memorable.

Writing: 3. A few memorable quotes but nothing outside of the ordinary.

Plot: 3. I’d like to go with a 4, but around this time so many stories were being filmed with similar premises and endings – The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents for starters. The result has more of an artistic lilt and there’s more time to build up character and suspense, but it’s not too different from the aforementioned shows.

Wardrobe: 3. Sure.

Editing: 3. Yes.

Make up and Hair: 4. I’ll go 4 here because of the high impact of the less is more approach.

Effects: 3. Nothing we would consider today as effects, more tricks of the cinematographer.

Art and Set: 3. Mostly location, and mostly filming without permits, which is always nice.

Sound And Music: 4. Music is a major part of the movie, more of a character than many of the characters, and the sound design is pretty great too all things considered, with screams, splashes, and hums to chilling effect. The organ music may lack fully defined and memorable melodies, but instead creates a barrage of mood.

Cultural Significance: 4. It went on to become influential with many directors citing it as a personal favourite and it garnered a remake. I’m sure another remake will be on the cards. While it’s not a Rocky Horror style constant revival, it does frequently play each October either on small or big screen.

Accomplishment: 4. For the money, for lacking a star, for it disappearing and returning in such a way, I think 3 is the baseline and 4 seems correct. I could respect a 5.

Stunts: 3. One of the key moments of the film involves a car race and crash – by today’s standards it’s not the most exciting and even in the time it was released there were much bigger and elaborate stunts. Still, it’s brief and more importantly integral to everything which follows.

Originality: 3. I’ll go down the middle because while there are twists a modern viewer can see where the story is going, yet it deals with a number of philosophical concepts in an interesting, artistic way.

Miscellaneous: 4. I still love the fact that such a low budget, clever film was made, ignored, and eventually found fame – going on to influence some of the biggest names inside and outside of horror for the rest of the century.

Personal: 4. It’s not perfect, but it is seminal. Most importantly, it’s still creepy and haunting.

Total Score: 69/100.

It doesn’t quite reach the coveted 70 score, but that’s still a respectable score for a movie so few outside of the dedicated horror family will have seen. Let us know what you think of Carnival of Souls in the comments!

Flesh And Fury – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 2001, seeking to ignore my bias and provide a fair score based on the 20 criteria I feel are most important in the creation of a film. Today’s movie is Flesh And Fury Joseph Pevney’s Boxing drama featuring Tony Curtis as a deaf boxer caught in a web of exploitation.

Sales: 3. I couldn’t find much online with regards to Box Office performance – not especially strange when we go back this far. It wasn’t in the Top 10 grossers for the year, and it doesn’t seem to have been a bomb. Given Tony Curtis was involved, you can assume it did fair business. So it’s either a 2 or a 3.

Critical Consensus: 3. Same as above. It’s barely spoken above any more, and there are few contemporary or modern critical reviews. So again, doing a 2 or a 3.

Director: 3. Pevney was incredibly proficient as a director, making over 30 movies in 16 years as well as many popular TV show episodes. On one hand Flesh & Fury is just another Noir movie, hitting all of the tropes we expect of the genre today, but on the other it’s one of the best least known examples.

Performances: 4. The central quartet of Tony Curtis, Jan Sterling, Mona Freeman, Wallace Ford are great as the boxer, the blonde femme fatale, the honest love interest reporter, and the reluctant trainer.

Characters: 3. By the time we get to 1952, the Noir genre was old hat. It was still popular, but there wasn’t a lot of innovation. We have trope characters even at this point, as seen in the category above, but setting these characters in the world of sports gives a twist.

Cinematography: 3. Fine. It’s not as stylized as many of the most famous entries in the genre, but it’s fine.

Writing: 3. Again, fine, few obvious quotes or epic speeches like we sometimes found in the era, but it’s perfectly serviceable.

Plot: 3. I love the story, but I admit it’s not the most original or ground-breaking tale. It’s the little things – the deaf angle, the sporting angle, the dual love interest, the sort of progressive nature of acceptance.

Wardrobe: 3. Some of Jan Sterling’s outfits are pretty racy, but outside of that it seems to be your standard fare.

Editing: 3. Does the job. I realise for many of these standard scores you could drop to 2 – I don’t think you can give anything other than 2 or 3. The climatic boxing match is the highlight, with plenty of shots outside the ring, inside the ring, and jumping to crowd reactions, including those of our side characters.

Make up and Hair: 3. Good for the time, nothing severe with respect to cuts and bruises.

Effects: 2. Not applicable – given the other threes, I’ll go 2 here.

Art and Set: 3. All good.

Sound And Music: 4. It’s a low 4 – the music is standard forgettable 50s fare, but the sound landscape is interesting, cutting in and out to express what Curtis’ character is feeling and hearing, and at other times hissing and increasing in intensity.

Cultural Significance: 2. I’d love to say it was a major influence on Rocky, but it doesn’t seem to have been; it’s not the only boxing movie out there, but it does paint a more sympathetic picture for fighters than you see elsewhere. It was one of the first films to push Tony Curtis into more serious roles, but beyond his involvement it seems to be an all but forgotten movie.

Accomplishment: 3. It’s an accomplishment to bring some awareness to the hard of hearing community in the 1950s, in a respectful way, and making it an integral part of the story.

Stunts: 3. Solid boxing bouts.

Originality: 3. I don’t think you can go 2 here, but it may depend on your experience with the genre. It’s a noir, but it’s low on your typical crime elements and instead spends its time in the world of boxing. But, femme fatale, shady deals, scheming – everything else is by the numbers.

Miscellaneous: 3. Not much to say – 2 or 3.

Personal: 3. I was going to go with a 4 here, but given the 3s I’d already handed out when there equally could have been a 2, it only seems fair to stick with a 3 here. It’s not a film I love as much as those in later top 10s, but I’d still prefer it the majority of what hits the big screen and streaming sites these days.

Total Score: 60/100. That’s a fair representation about the film, and my feelings as a whole. It’s worth seeing for any fans of Classic Cinema, Noir, or Tony Curtis, but it isn’t going to change your life or make you fan of any of those things if you’re not already.

The Majestic – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 2001, seeking to ignore my bias and provide a fair score based on the 20 criteria I feel are most important in the creation of a film. Today’s movie is Frank Darabont’s much maligned The Majestic, a film about a Hollywood Script Writer in the 1950s who loses his memory and is taken in by a small town community who mistake him for a War Hero presumed dead.

Sales: 1. Yeesh. 1s and 2s are reserved for films which don’t make back their budget. While The Majestic made around 40 million, it cost around 70 million. Go 2 if you want, but that’s a big loss for me.

Critical Consensus: 2. I’m still waiting for the day when this is re-evaluated. It was poorly received almost universally – with critics giving it less than average scores without saying it was terrible. I think 1 is reserved for films which are actively disliked, while this was more ‘meh, too sentimental’.

Director: 3. It’s overlong, but short by Frank Darabont standards. Darabont makes good period pieces – eras not quite lost to time, but on the brink, and he evokes that US ideal which I can only assume was a dream rather than an actuality, and he handles both the material and the cast (of Darabont regulars) well.

Performances: 4. Carrey was breaking out from his manic comfort zone in this period, and this is one of the finest examples of him playing it straight. We get an always excellent Martin Landau, and a host of Darabont favourites and classic Hollywood faces – Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, James Whitmore, Bob Balaban, and Hal Holbrook. You also have cameos by Matt Damon, Cliff Curtis, Bruce Campbell, Rob Reiner, Carl Reiner, Earl Boen, Sydney Pollack etc.

Characters: 3. It’s mainly about Carrey’s Peter as he loses his livelihood, his memory, his friends, and gradually comes back to normality thanks to his love of film and the respect of his new found community. That community is peppered with homely patrons you instantly latch on to as friends, even if they’re not going to rock your world.

Cinematography: 4. Expectedly warm and beautiful from David Tattersall.

Writing: 3. I love the central idea and it never becomes too political even as it does become sentimental.

Wardrobe: 3. My usual score.

Editing: 3. My usual score.

Make up and Hair: 3. My usual score.

Effects: 2. Not really applicable here so a 2 or a 3.

Art and Set: 4. It’s named after an old school Film Theatre, and the Theatre itself becomes gorgeous. The town is white picket fence perfection.

Sound And Music: 3. Mark Isham is a little known composer outside of the big hitters – yet he’s Oscar nominated and has contributed to The Hitcher, The Black Dahlia, Crash, Blade, Timecop, Point Break, and Once Upon A Time. Like most of those movies, the score is respectable but lacks a truly memorable motif.

Cultural Significance: 2. Sometimes a film will perform so poorly that it becomes culturally significant. This was just a miss and quickly faded from memory. You could argue that Carrey’s performance was significant in his own career, and I’m sure you could argue that the film is a worthwhile part of the whole Red Scare sub-genre. I don’t think any of that is enough to get it to a 3, considering so few people saw it or talk about it these days, but you can’t go higher than 3.

Accomplishment: 3. Its evoking of a time which may or may not have genuinely existed as shown is enough to get a 3 for me.

Stunts: 3. There’s a car crash near the start and some movie within a movie stuff, but nothing to shout about.

Originality: 3. I’d like to go 4 here, but I don’t think it’s that original – memory loss stories have been a staple in Hollywood since day 1. Placing it in the time period and cultural context certainly makes a difference – this is a 2 or a 3 in all honesty.

Miscellaneous: 3. It’s the third of only four films which Darabont has made, and it’s the sweetest and least offensive of them all – which somehow made it his most offensive film. I think all four of Darabont’s films are in my Top 10/20 lists of the year. I don’t know – I’m giving it a 3.

Personal: 5. I love it. Based on all of the above, there’s probably no solid reason for me to give a 5, but I enjoy the sentimentality and Carrey is always good – there’s something cosy about it which helps me forget how horrible the world can be for a couple of hours.

Total Score: 57/100. Anything below 60 isn’t great, but if it weren’t for the crap box office returns and critical consensus, this would have landed in the standard mid-60s. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Drop Dead Fred – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 1991, seeking to ignore my bias and provide a fair score based on the 20 criteria I feel are most important in the creation of a film. Today’s movie is Ate De Jong’s anarchic cult classic, Drop Dead Fred, the movie about a lonely young girl who grows up to be a bored pushover until her mischievous imaginary childhood friend comes back.

Sales: 3. I can’t go 2 here because it made double its budget, but it was hardly a hit. It grew into that cult hit later, especially on TV here.

Critical Consensus: 2. I would almost go with a 1 here because it was critically despised upon release, while not enough fans saw it to care. But eventually the fans would flock to it and move it, and decades later critics have come to re-evaluate it as, if not a classic, at least an entertaining and thought-provoking favourite which was ahead of its time. Critics, man, sometimes they just don’t get it.

Director: 3. De Jong is a director who made a load of films in The Netherlands which no-one has seen – then he made this. It’s clearly a personal story – something which critics completely missed – but it is possible to enjoy this purely as a silly slapstick comedy, certainly children take it like that. Anyone who can control a manic Rik Mayall deserves at least a 3.

Performances: 4. It’s Mayall let loose. It’s a sweeter character than he’s known for, perhaps surprising for some to read, but what a perfect actor to portray both childhood trauma, acting out, and pre-adolescent anarchy. Phoebe Cates is excellent, sweetly bemused, while the rest of the cast and cameos are fun.

Characters: 3. It’s all about Fred and Elizabeth – two lifelong friends with an often strained but unending relationship. It’s great to spend a hundred minutes with them, to learn from them.

Cinematography: 3. It never goes full cartoonish or fantasy like if Tim Burton had been the director, and as such it looks like a glossy big city sitcom.

Writing: 4. Lots of funny one-liners, lots of cynicism, lots of jokes coming from kids and parents mouths that you don’t expect and cut so close to the bone that you probably wouldn’t get away with it these days. While not as quotable as many of my favourite comedies, there’s still plenty to quote and others will get the reference.

Plot: 3. A woman who has spent her life being a doormat for abuse finds herself at breaking point and resurrects her one rebellious outlet, her imaginary childhood friend Drop Dead Fred. He’s a bit naughty, but he helps her to stand up for herself.

Wardrobe: 3. Similar to the Cinematography, you feel this could have gone in a more adventurous direction, but that may have changed the tone of the movie. Outside of Fred’s suit and Snotface’s dowdy attire, it’s all by the by.

Editing: 3. Sharp, not as manic as you might expect a film like this to be.

Make up and Hair: 3. See wardrobe.

Effects: 3. Not much to go on, but fine.

Art and Set: 3. See Wardrobe.

Sound And Music: 3. I’m being very generous with my 3 here – the main theme and the associated tracks are fine – nothing remarkable, nothing original, nothing even too memorable. But they do evoke a childlike vibe, they are fun, and they work in the context of the movie. However, the production is horrible, the whole thing sounds like it was recorded on a V-tech Keyboard and feels about 5 years out of date. It’s not a 1, but I can see people going 2.

Cultural Significance: 3. Again, fairly generous here because I don’t think the film went on to inspire or influence anything but a generation of kids found solace in it. However, it did unleash Rik Mayall on wider US audiences, as well as introducing him to kids. I sort of knew him from Blackadder when I was young, but was already a huge fan thanks to Bottom. He would go on to more acclaim off the back of this performance, but I can see you going 2 here.

Accomplishment: 3. It’s a bizarre story to bring to the screen, but to make it both funny, personal, silly, complex, and to have it be both accessible to young and old, is the main accomplishment. You can look at this from a hundred perspectives – 3 is the ceiling, 2 is the basement.

Stunts: 3. See Special effects.

Originality: 3. I don’t think there’s enough to reach a 4 here, but 3 sounds reasonable. It’s not the sort of story you see everyday.

Miscellaneous: 3. Average 3.

Personal: 4. I loved it as a kid and kept loving it as a teen. I don’t enjoy it as much now, but probably because I’m comparing it with Bottom, which is flawless.

Total Score: 62/100.

Lower than I thought, but I don’t think I could really go higher in any of the categories. If I’m being honest, the score could conceivably go down by around 5 points if you felt the 3s were more accurately 2s. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Escape To Victory – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 1981, seeking to ignore my bias and provide a fair score based on the 20 criteria I feel are most important in the creation of a film. Today’s movie is John Huston’s Escape To Victorythe story of a football match between Nazi soldiers and Allied Prisoners Of War.

Sales: 4. It made back almost three times its budget – but I don’t know how much in addition was spent on advertising etc. Of course, I don’t know how much it has made on home release and streaming since – streaming probably not so much. You can’t go less than 3 – I might be pushing it giving it the 4.

Critical Consensus: 3. A cult movie in that it’s really only a movie English football fans ever remember, and as such critical consensus was never great, most giving it average to positive reviews. It’s a strange subject matter and a strange cast, with an even stranger director and over time outside of its cult fandom the reviews which drop are equally average.

Director: 3. When most people think of John Huston, they think of his early Thrillers or his late dramas and most probably overlook this strange football movie. Huston was never afraid of tackling unusual subject matter and this was an attempt to make a rousing The Great Escape type movie. It’s not on that level, but the scenes of intrigue, the handling of character, and the shooting of the football are all entertaining.

Performances: 3. You have a bunch of footballers known for performing in a different way in front of cameras, and you have a post Rocky, pre Rambo Sylvester Stallone as the fish out of water. Then you have Max Von Sydow and Michael Caine hamming it up. It’s fun – not a movie about performances as much as spotting faces, but everyone is fun.

Characters: 3. Few of the characters are more than WWII movie stereotypes, with the added bonus of them being footballers. Stallone’s character is the plucky yank who hasn’t a clue how to play football, Caine is the Stalwart pragmatic Brit – you get it. You get behind them.

Cinematography: 3. It doesn’t have the benefit of looking as pretty or as grim as as other movies of this type, but those other movies don’t have football.

Writing: 3. It’s funny, it’s rousing. It lacks in the one-liners department and in terms of cynicism and getting to grips with the historical situation.

Plot: 3. A bunch of Allied POWs are plotting escape, as you do. The Nazis are bored, like a spot of footy, and decide to put on an exhibition match pitting the best of Germany against a load of starving amateurs. The POWs put together a team to play the match, then want to win the match, but also want to escape.

Wardrobe: 3. Sure.

Editing: 3. Yep. Good tension building between the match and the escape.

Make up and Hair: 3. Why not.

Effects: 3. Not applicable.

Art and Set: 3. Getting a lot of threes.

Sound And Music: 4. It’s Bill Conti so you know it’s going to be inspirational. Lots of military beats and plenty of nods to other pieces of music, including The Great Escape. It’s not as good as that – neither is the movie – but it’s still a good score and main theme, plus the noise of players and supporters during the match is well handled.

Cultural Significance: 3. I wish I could higher with this one – I mean, I wish the movie had a greater cultural significance beyond a select group of British football fans who remember it fondly telling their mates about it. But the film didn’t really change the War genre, it didn’t make football popular in the US, it never became a yearly festive favourite in the UK etc. I suppose it has inspired other football based movies. I should probably go with a 2 here, but it does have a devoted following and there’s always talk of a remake.

Accomplishment: 3. Getting this cast together, in fact even getting a film like this made at all, never mind in 1981 when no-one cared about WWII movies, is an accomplishment in itself.

Stunts: 3. Not strictly applicable, but there are a few scenes of action outside of the football, and I guess you could class some of the football as stunts too.

Originality: 3. There aren’t many POW films where the climax is a football match.

Miscellaneous: 3. Three seems to be the order of the day.

Personal: 4. It’s just a fun movie. It’s in the same vein as The Great Escape, that fist-pumping sticking your middle finger up to Adolf kind of movie without showing the true horrors of War or being a POW. Plus if you’re a football fan it’s probably the only legitimately good movie featuring football as a plot device – not to mention the fun of spotting the different players. A distinct lack of Liverpool players though.

Total Score: 63/100.

I guess that’s a fair score. It doesn’t leap out in any department, but overall it’s a fun oddity for everyone involved, all while being an entertaining watch with a rousing finale.

Vanishing Point – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 1971, seeking to ignore my bias and provide a fair score based on the 20 criteria I feel are most important in the creation of a film. Today’s movie is Richard C Sarafian’s Vanishing Point, the story of a car delivery driver taking a Dodge Charger cross country to San Francisco, tailed by cops and an enthusiastic Radio DJ.

Sales: 3. I’m not sure if I can go 3 with this – it didn’t have the biggest budget and it made returns multiple times over, but most of those were in the UK and in follow up Drive Through releases. It’s a 3 or 4.

Critical Consensus: 3. It took a while to gain cult status – initial reviews were mostly negative, but those are tempered by recent criticism and discovery over the years which have been mostly positive. Sounds like a 3 to me.

Director: 4. The lightning in a jar moment for Sarafian, his best movie although I am partial to The Eye Of The Tiger. It came right at the more cynical point of the counter-culture movement where the idealism of the 60s was fading. The handling of the pacing, the car scenes, and the philosophy all works.

Performances: 3. Plenty of familiar faces but it’s all about Kowalski and Super Soul. They’re good enough to be memorable, but I’m not sure there’s enough depth to get to a 4.

Characters: 3. Same as the performances, the characters represent counter culture iconography but we don’t learn enough about any of them to go higher.

Cinematography: 4. Looks lovely, from night shots of deserts to the car tearing through the American wastelands.

Writing: 4. I’ll be lenient here due to the fact that a number of one-liners and moments have become part of wider culture, but again the plot and characters are fairly thin if you’re looking for a deeper read.

Plot: 2. Not much, is there? Guy is asked to drive a car from here to there. He drives too fast, gets the attention of cops, the media, and meets peeps along the way.

Wardrobe: 3. My standard score for this category.

Editing: 3. Closer to a 4, but possibly lacks the flair of something like Bullitt.

Make up and Hair: 2. Lets go with a 2 on this one.

Effects: 3. It’s not an effects heavy movie, so we’ll have the average 3.

Art and Set: 3. Much of the movie was shot on location, what we have is fit for purpose.

Sound And Music: 4. Being a 70s Counter Culture movie, music is a big part of the film and its spirit. Plenty of acts on the soundtrack and the odd familiar face popping up in the film. The film is pseudo-narrated by a DJ. The Sound is thick with tyre screeches, the grunting of engines, and the chaos of chassis shatters.

Cultural Significance: 4. Most movies are not culturally significant. This one is, and has a legacy, but it’s not as impactful as others of its type – Easy Rider for example. It’s enough to warrant a 4 – while not the first or last of its type, it has influenced other filmmakers and artists, with many references in later media.

Accomplishment: 4. It was a relatively low budget movie with no big star attached, existential in nature, and with a difficult script to bring to life – shooting was cut significantly, but the crew found a way to make the film a success.

Stunts: 4. The whole film is one long chase, with the odd break. A lot of driving at high speeds, a lot of chases and collisions,

Originality: 3. I’ve gone down the middle for this category as a higher or lower score likely depends on your interpretation of both the movie and the category. It’s a chase movie, an action movie, so not the most original story to ever exist but it gives allegorical and metaphorical twists. Is it a movie about freedom, death, or just general anti-establishment stuff? It’s not the usual way for a movie like this to be told.

Miscellaneous: 3. I don’t have any existing personal or contextual nuggets for this. It was a movie I was aware of from a young age but didn’t see till I was older – being a G’n’R fan I knew of the film as it is referenced in one of their songs.

Personal: 4. It’s just a cool movie, a little underseen in general, but certainly by today’s standards. Even though it’s dated, it has that generational cult vibe which means teens and rebels and car fans should always see it with each passing generation.

Total Score: 66/100.

A score I would have predicted before counting up, and it seems fair. It’s a movie which deserves more views and discussion and seems to have slipped out of the public consciousness recently, even though movies like Drive and Baby Driver were clearly influenced by it. But in that era there were any number of ‘guy in a car’ movies, and this one perhaps suffers due to a lack of famous names and moments. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

The Young Ones – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 1961, seeking to ignore my bias and provide a fair score based on the 20 criteria I feel are most important in the creation of a film. Today’s movie is Sidney J Furie’s The Young Ones, a British musical starring a fresh faced Cliff Richards as the member of a youth club trying to save his club from being replaced by office blocks.

Sales: 4. Did great business in the UK and was a large success, but didn’t make much of a splash anywhere else. 3 is appropriate here too.

Critical Consensus:3. Struck a chord with audiences, less so with critics due it likely being somewhat stale and lacking the flair and songs of the US Musicals.

Director: 3. Handles the song and dance routines well.

Performances: 3. It’s all sweet and smiles and energy, but only Cliff and Morley stand out.

Characters: 2. No-one particularly memorable here.

Cinematography: 3. Again, fine, nothing special.

Writing: 3. It’s a by the numbers story and screenplay, and a couple of the songs are memorable.

Plot: 2. A bunch of boys and girls like their little club. A rich suit wants to knock it down for more money. They revolt in song. Fin.

Wardrobe: 3. Bright and stylish as a musical should be.

Editing: 3. Sure.

Make up and Hair: 3. More 50s US influenced that Swinging Sixties, but this was beginning to bridge that gap.

Effects: 2. Nothing really applicable here.

Art and Set: 3. Could have been bigger and bolder for a musical, but fine.

Sound And Music: 3. A couple of good songs, crucially doesn’t go far down the musical theatre route and piss me off.

Cultural Significance: 4. 4 is your limit here – it of course would influence, even if only in name, the 80s TV series, it gave Richards a larger platform, and it would go on to see a Stage adaptation.

Accomplishment: 3. It was cashing in on Richards but like many of the Elvis vehicles in the US, it could have easily been nothing more than Cliff prancing about to a few new songs and that would have sold. It’s better than that.

Stunts: 3. Sure.

Originality: 2. By the numbers, but with some youthful British energy.

Miscellaneous: 3. The Soundtrack sold well.

Personal: 3. One of the few musicals of the era I can stand.

Total Score: 58/100.

A low score, but I think that’s okay. In the future I can see some of my Personal 5 scored films not reaching 60. Let us know in the comments what you would score The Young Ones!