Say what you will about the beach scene in ‘Saving Private Ryan’ – for me, the quintessential depiction of the Normandy landings is found in the 1962 film, ‘The Longest Day’. Based on Cornelius Ryan’s excellent book (seriously, go read it) ‘The Longest Day’ is a three hour epic that spans about, well, a day. And in honor of the D-Day Blogathon, I thought I’d discuss it a bit.
So here are three things that I think make ‘The Longest Day’ one of the best war movies ever – I hope it encourages you to see it for yourself!
Cornelius Ryan knew his stuff. He was a near impeccable researcher and since ‘The Longest Day’ (movie) follows the book almost to the letter, you know that the film is historically accurate. Real people – both soldiers and civilians – leap from the page to the screen. You can tell that the director and other ‘behind the scenes’ people did their best to make the landings + everything else look authentic (without stepping over the boundaries of acceptable violence and gore in early 60’s cinema). You might even forget you’re watching a movie and not a documentary, particularly in some of the beach scenes.
(Hyperbole? Maybe. But it sure feels like the biggest cast.)
This is, like, the Avengers: Endgame of war movies. If you’re a fan at ALL of actors from the 40’s and 50’s and 60’s, there’s guaranteed to be at least one of your favorites in ‘The Longest Day’. (Unless all your favorite actors are women.) I’m not going to try to list all the great cast members (American, British, French, and German), especially because it’s always fun to see a familiar face unexpectedly pop up on screen. I’ll just share this: when my brothers and I were way younger, watching this movie, we’d always call Richard Todd’s character (Major John Howard) “the ‘hold until relieved’ guy”. We were weird. 😛
‘The Longest Day’ could have been a flop. Like I said, it’s three hours long. It doesn’t have a main character to root for (though you do end up getting attached to plenty of the characters). It’s told almost in a vignette-style. And certainly there have been war movies half the length of this one that drag. But ‘The Longest Day’ manages to hold your interest from the first moment to the last. It’s a towering achievement of pacing, star power, and earnestness because this is A Story That Needs To Be Told. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re in for an immersive experience – I hope you enjoy it.
Have you ever seen ‘The Longest Day’? What’s your favorite war movie?
Last night, I watched ‘Black Panther’ (2018). I know I’m over a year late to the party but I finally hooked up Netflix and settled in to watch. And you know what? It was really good! Really good. Didn’t feel much like a Marvel movie, but since I’m more attracted to the seriousness of DC, that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Anyway, I’m going to go ahead and list a few of my thoughts…
-I crave visually entrancing movies and ‘Black Panther’ is one of the best I’ve seen. Wakanda is a fully realized setting and I found the colors and imagery throughout the film to be absolutely stunning – so many awesome shots.
-I understand why everyone raves about Shuri. Like so many other people, I wish there were even more scenes that included her. She was such a fun, loyal, smart younger sister. However, I felt like T’Challa himself wasn’t as ?deep? as he could’ve been. I found myself pretty detached from his character for most of the movie. A rewatch might fix that. (Chadwick Boseman is the BOMB, though.)
-YAY FOR COMPLICATED SYMPATHETIC ANTI-HERO VILLAINS. Between The Outsiders and this movie, I’ll never look at sunsets the same way.
-Everett Ross is great. I didn’t really like him in ‘Civil War’ but I really enjoyed watching him discover Wakanda and get some character development in the bargain. (Also, I realized last night that if people didn’t watch the mid-credits scene they’d probably assume that he died.)
-Stan Lee’s cameo made me tear up, not because it was sad, but because it’s the first cameo of his that I’ve seen since he passed away.
-THOSE CREDIT SCENES THOUGH. T’Challa’s speech was inspiring and the “What can a country of farmers offer us?” line made me smirk. But then THE ONE AT THE END???? Literally started yelling when you-know-who appeared because, oh my goodness, I still love these characters so much (even if I’m more a DC fan now). Ahhhhh. My brain was all “asOIJASODJFOAWEJakasjdfoiw”.
Overall, very good movie and one that I’m looking forward to rewatching. There’s so much more I could talk about, like Nakia (totally ship her with T’Challa) and Okoye and how the battle scenes are so precisely filmed (besides the first one) and how they never once become dull. Oh, and Andy Serkis made for a hilarious secondary villain. But that will all have to wait for a proper review.
All the same, let me know if you’ve seen ‘Black Panther’ and what you thought of it!
In other news, I hit four hundred followers today!!! Which is insanely exciting and I’m totally going to do a giveaway like I promised. The only problem is that I can’t figure out what exactly to give away. Amazon gift cards are tricky since I live in Canada and whoever wins will probably be from the States. I want coffee to be involved. And something a little weird. And some kind of classic book, only I don’t which one because most people would either own it already or not care?
So let me know if you have any ideas for possible prizes!
Tags! Tags everywhere! They’re just so fun + easy to answer. Anyway, the #classicmovietag comes from Raquel over at Out of the Past and it looks incredibly fun. I haven’t spoken about classic films in a while and it’s, um, supposed to be one of the focuses of this blog. 😛 So please accept my apologies for the lapse…and enjoy the tag! (Feel free to borrow it, so long as you link back to Raquel’s original post.)
Note: There are loads of classic films out there so to keep things simple I’m limiting myself to ones made before 1970.
What’s one classic movie that you recommend to people over and over and over again?
‘The Magnificent Seven’ (1960). I realize that westerns aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but, honestly, Mag7 transcends the genre (while also showcasing just how good a well-made western can be). There’s a slim chance you might not enjoy it, but I’m willing to take that chance so I’m recommending it to you right now. Alllll of you. I’ve got the main theme as my ringtone and it never fails to bring a smile to my face; so many good memories and feelings are wrapped up in that movie.
What was the last classic film you saw and what were your thoughts about it?
‘Mary Poppins’ (1964). I love it, forever and ever.
Name a classic movie genre you love and one you dislike.
Love: Biblical epics. Yes, they’re usually super cheesy (even ‘Ben-Hur’ can devolve into cheesiness at times). But it’s also super cool to see different Bible stories playing out in Technicolor with very little in the way of special effects and very much in the way of real, human acting and Spectacle.
Hate: Screwball comedy. Stuff like ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’, pretty much any Cary Grant rom-com, ‘You Can’t Take it With You’…it’s all unappealing (to me). I prefer movies where common sense reigns instead of chaos, even if it’s supposed to be funny. (And I know tons of people do like screwball comedies, so if you do, then that’s awesome.)
Name a classic movie star with whom you share a birthday or a hometown.
I share a birthday with Alan Ladd. Hamlette is very jealous. 😉
Give a shout out to a friend or family member who shares your love of classic movies.
Yeah, that would be Hamlette. She was the one who really got me into classic film because she recommended ‘Combat!’ and then I watched a FEW movies with Dana Andrews and she gave me a million recommendations (and continues to do so, for various actors, to this day). We have so much fun talking about and loving different movies and actors and genres.
Name a classic movie star who makes your heart skip a beat or whom you admire greatly.
Glenn Ford. I first came across him in ‘3:10 to Yuma’ and after a hasty switch from disliking the film to loving it, he became one of my absolute favorite actors. I haven’t seen him in toooo many movies, but if you recommend a movie to me and you’re like, “Oh, by the way, Glenn Ford is in this” I will buy it/borrow it immediately. He’s just…amazing.
Describe one memorable experience watching a classic movie.
When I watched ‘The Ox-Bow Incident’ for the first time I had no clue how the story was going to go and I was stunned into silence when it ended. Even though I hate, hate, hate the film as a whole, I do appreciate it sparking my interest in a couple rather handsome actors. (Dana Andrews and Henry Fonda.)
Describe the craziest thing you’ve done because of your passion for classic movies.
My sister and I stayed up until three or four in the morning to finish watching a Robert Francis marathon that TCM did. We were wrecked after that.
What’s something classic movie related that you love to collect?
Nothing, really? I have an extremely limited budget for collecting anything (except books, lol).
What’s your favorite way to share your passion for classic movies?
Blogging about them. 🙂 Though, like I said earlier, I haven’t done that recently. I will definitely have to change that!
Emily, over at The Altogether Unexpected, created this rather awesome tag and was kind enough to tag me. I LOVE fictional characters and talking about fictional characters and all that, so I’m super excited to fill out the questions. But first, the rules!
Answer every question honestly. (duh.)
Use as many gifs and images as possible.
Incorporate at least one YouTube video with a favorite scene of a character.
NO VAGUE ANSWERS ALLOWED. Explain why you chose that favorite character to fit that description. I love details, my friends.
If you can’t choose just one, that’s okay – give us a few answers and geek out if that’s what it takes.
Tag at least 3 people.
Use fictional characters from any fictional story.
If you get nominated and/or decide to participate in this tag, please put a link back to this post in your post and credit yours truly as the creator.
Have fun and obsess over fictional characters!
Goody-two-shoes: A character who was just so morally good
Captain America/Steve Rogers. You knew I’d have to fangirl over him at some point, right? I’ve seen very few Marvel movies, but I have seen the Cap trilogy and it’s basic perfection. From the first few minutes of The First Avenger to Cap’s almost-defeat at the end of Civil War, I’ve been spellbound by his character. His innate goodness inspires me to practice more goodness myself. He never leaves a friend behind. He loves purely and truly (familial love, brotherly love, romantic love). And, in my mind’s eye, he’ll always be that kid from Brooklyn who couldn’t walk away from a fight. Who leaped on a grenade to save others. Who sacrificed everything for the world…and for his best friend.
Heartbreaker: A character who made you cry
So many!!! How am I supposed to pick just one?! But after sifting through all the possibilities, I’m going with Marian (BBC Robin Hood). She doesn’t get enough credit and I think that’s a shame because she’s truly one of the greatest heroines I’ve ever known. And I can’t even count the number of times she’s made me cry. When her father was killed. When she punched Guy and ran away. When she ‘died’. When she actually died. When she reunited with Robin. Whenever her theme music plays. SHE MAKES ME FEEL ALL THE FEELS, OKAY???
Parrot: A character who won’t stop talking
I really dislike characters who won’t stop talking. So this isn’t going to really be a fangirly answer, but I’d have to say Miss Bates (Emma). I recently reread Emma and I found myself skipping almost all of Miss Bates’s long, loooooong speeches because #mindnumbing. But Emma should still have known better than to mock her (and not just at Box Hill). *sigh*
Devilish: Your favorite villain
Haha! I just wrote a post about villains. I’ve already written at length about my all time favorite villain, Ben Wade, so I’m going to talk about my favorite Disney villain today. And that would be Ratigan (‘The Great Mouse Detective’). Some of you might be all “huh?” right now because TGMD is a sadly underappreciated Disney film but, trust me, Ratigan is the BEST. He says the most chilling/hilarious things. He’s deliciously, Disney-villainy (all that kidnapping and scheming and speechifying!). Vincent Price voices him (#yourargumentisinvalid). And he gets TWO villain songs, both of which are villainous greatness with a side of evil.
Love interest: A character who, if alive in reality, you would want to marry
Can I say Steve Rogers again?
But no, let me think about this. It’s actually kind of hard because any characters I really love are so awesome that I can’t imagine them putting up with me. 😛 I think Barry Allen (CW’s The Flash) would be a pretty sweet, supportive husband. Also, kind of random, but Sean Maguire (‘Good Will Hunting’) because HE’S SUCH A GOOD GUY (and I need someone who can deal with all my Problems).
Sidekick: A character who was always loyal no matter what
John Watson (any Sherlock story, but I’m talking about BBC Sherlock this time). The first time I watched the show, I was sure that John was going to believe Moriarty’s “I’m just an actor!” bit, if only for a short time. But he DIDN’T and it was awesome. It’s a bit surprising that John stayed so loyal to Sherlock through so many of his frustrating/deathly adventures, but he did. And that’s a huge part of why I love John. (Yes, there was that bit after Mary died, but we won’t talk about it.)
Complicated: A character you love and hate
Scarlett [she has so many last names idek] (Gone With the Wind). Scarlett is selfish, grasping, and small-minded. There’s no doubt about that. Many of the things she does in the course of the story make me shake my head. But I also admire her grit and determination. She follows through on her promises. She does whatever it takes to keep her family alive. She rebuilds her life from scratch. There’s a stubborn tenacity about her that invites admiration, even when you disapprove of her in general.
Oddity: A character who was strange, but you loved them that way
Winter Hayle (Lunar Chronicles). All the characters in this series are strange, in one way or another, but Winter is probably the strangest (and my favorite). She’s vowed never to use her Lunar gift on anyone after a traumatizing event from her childhood. Because of her disuse of the gift, she begins to see freaky, completely realistic visions of bleeding walls and lopped off heads…and, as you might expect, it messes with her mind. Honestly, Winter might seem really strange at first but she’s one of the strongest, most admirable character in the series. I love her.
King: A male character who you admire and aspire to emulate
Atticus Finch. Atticus has been my go-to hero ever since I first read To Kill aMockingbird and nothing can topple him from that position. Not the oddly pieced together first draft of TKAM (aka Go Set a Watchman). Not all the op-eds now saying that Atticus is merely a ‘white savior’ trope and, as such, shouldn’t be taken seriously. Nothing. Atticus doesn’t just stand up for what he believes in – he moves others to stand up as well. (Literally and figuratively.)
Savior: A character who oddly reminds you of Christ
regarding memes, I’ve got nothing.
(I’m not going to say Aslan because he’s from an allegory so it isn’t the same thing.)
However, the character I’m drawn to again and again is Diana/Wonder Woman (new Wonder Woman movie, not the comics ’cause I haven’t read those). The whole ‘deserve versus believe’ thing that Steve Trevor spells out near the end of the movie always hits me in the feels, particularly because we, as humans, don’t deserve God’s love. But when we believe in Jesus, that love is given as a free gift. (Plus, Diana’s not wrong about ‘only love can save the world’, though something tells me she isn’t thinking of God’s love.) Anyway, Diana is a hugely imperfect reminder of Christ (sacrificing her life in Themyscira to save people and all that) but the fact that she/the film got me thinking about Him at all is rather surprising. And it makes my heart happy.
The big thing keeping me from writing my semi-promised villains post (why I like ’em, why I don’t, etc) was that I couldn’t figure out what angle to write from. How to sum up all my feelings about villains in a succinct, understandable way. But as I ate lunch today, I decided to classify villains I like (or loathe or whatever) by category. The categories are based on how I feel, personally, about the different villains I list. (That sounds totally confusing, but I think it’ll make sense…)
I am attracted to some villains. It’s something about their coolness, how they wield their power, and a bunch of other rather undefinable qualities. (Also, movie and TV people keep casting gorgeous actors as villains, so…?) The three main villains that come to mind for this category are Ben Wade (Glenn Ford, not Russell Crowe), Moriarty (BBC Sherlock version), and Bucky Barnes.
Bucky is more of an anti-hero. And when he’s doing all the villainous stuff in Winter Soldier, he’s brainwashed so it isn’t really him (but I still class him as an attractive villain, kinda). Moriarty is a full-on villain though…I like how he livens up certain episodes of Sherlock and he’s hilarious and super clever and, yeah. (Though I know I’d hate him IRL.) I spent a whole blog post talking about Ben Wade. He’s simply the best.
(Oh, and I also find any Sean Bean villain wildly attractive. Because…Sean Bean.)
To date, there’s only been one villain who’s inspired actual fear in me and that is Anton Chigurh from ‘No Country for Old Men’. I watched the film by myself (probably contributed to the fear) and the utter soullessness of him, coupled with all the murders really made an impression. Absolutely terrifying.
Liking a villain usually happens when they become sympathetic in some way. It’s hard to like someone who’s as morally corrupt as villains usually are, but it does happen. To me, anyway. I like Loki because I understand his motivation (and because he’s such a fleshed-out character). I like Maleficent (‘Maleficent’), Hans (‘Frozen’), Cath (Heartless), Slade (CW’s Arrow), and even R’as al Ghul (‘Batman Begins’) because I understand them, I know why they do what they do, and a lot of the time they have pretty good reasons. (Not that’s it’s an excuse, but at least they’re a little more approachable because I know.)
There are also villains who are so delightfully fiendish and hilarious (and even campy at times) that I can’t help but grin and like them. Ratigan (‘The Great Mouse Detective’) is someone who instantly comes to mind. I mean, when you have a villain gleefully exclaiming (in Vincent Price’s voice no less), “Oh, I love it when I’m wicked!” you can’t help but laugh.
Just like ‘fear’, there aren’t many villains I actively hate. But I’ve discovered that whenever I hate a villain, it’s because they treat my favorite characters horribly. So, I hate Ernesto (‘Coco’) because he poisons Héctor, tries to kill Miguel, the whole nine yards. He’s an awful person and I hate him. I also LOATHE Alexander Pierce (‘The Winter Soldier’) because he tortures Bucky and almost gets Steve killed.
Honestly, though, I’m having a hard time coming up with villains I hate (or even who I dislike). They’re just too interesting in general.
The worst category, in my opinion. 😛 Sadly, there are many forgettable villains and so much of the time, they don’t have to be! I was talking with a friend at church about old Disney villains versus newer Disney villains and he said that new Disney villains aren’t as memorable. I think it’s because, for the most part, villains in earlier Disney films embraced their villainy. They didn’t pretend to be the hero’s friend so that there could be a surprise reveal. Instead, they were larger than life and incredibly freaky and scary (Jafar, Ursala, Maleficent, and sooooo many more).
Mother Gothel is a notable exception. Yes, she appears nice to Rapunzel at first, but the audience can see through her right away. But, overall, Disney villains have become a little lackluster lately and I’d really like to see more openly villainous villains from them.
There are many reasons why I’m intrigued by villains: from clever plans to tragic backstories to sparks of humanity hidden deep inside some of them. So what about you? Are there certain villains you like or are you not interested? And are there any other great villains I should know about?
I watched ‘Extremely Wicked’ a few days ago and I’m still not entirely sure how to process it. I knew nothing about Ted Bundy (besides the fact that he was a serial killer) before watching the film and I almost feel like I know less about him now because Zac Efron played him like a blank slate onto which he painted emotions simply to manipulate people.
Let me just say, straight off, that Zac Efron was probably the closest thing to Bundy we’ll get on screen (besides, you know, the actual Bundy). I didn’t ever think “Oh, yeah, that’s just Zac Efron playing a character”. Not once. It was chilling, the way he wrapped himself completely up in the role…but also a mark of Great Acting. So I appreciated that side of the film. But at the same time, Efron’s turn as Bundy opens up a whole other slew of problems.
And that is the fact that there are people fangirling over Bundy again.
Now, you all know me. I have a huge fascination with villains (I am working on that villains post, I promise!) but even though Zac Efron’s eyes are hypnotically blue and all his facial parts are in the right place (#psychreference) and he fully captured Ted Bundy’s charm…I didn’t find him attractive or charming or cute or handsome. Not once. He just…uggggh. (I know I wasn’t watching the real Bundy, but the fact that I could find Zac Efron ‘ugh’ says a lot, I think.)
But, anyway, there are people out there who are obsessing over Ted Bundy. We need to move past this, people! (I mean, it never should have been a thing in the first place, but especially not once the details of his murders spilled to the public.) He was a horrific human being and not even a really handsome movie star can make up for that.
I do get the temptation (kind of, I guess) to empathize/like Efron/Bundy in the film because the filmmakers portray him rather sympathetically (in a “Oh, maybe he’s not guilty after all” way). But we have to resist that, right? Because idolizing a serial killer, even a slightly fictitious portrayal of a serial killer, is not the right way to go.
I would recommend the movie. I think it’s important to see (and a well-made film in general). But, you know…let’s all try not to crush on one of the vilest men of the twentieth century, okay? 😉
Have you seen ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’? What did you think of Zac Efron’s performance?
I watch pretty much every new Christian movie, just to keep up with the genre, but it’s extremely rare that I find one I actually enjoy (and rewatch). ‘I Can Only Imagine’ (2018), for which I had zero expectations, is one of those rare films.
And here’s why.
It’s the highest quality Christian film I’ve seen so far.
This is actually a big deal. Just like Kevin, I hold Christian movies up to the same standards as secular movies…and so often, they fall short. Not ‘Imagine’. Sure, there’s some cliched scenes and dialogue, but what movie doesn’t have those? There were several shots throughout the film that made me genuinely thankful for whoever did the cinematography. The acting was great (with the exception of young Bart and Shannon), the script hit all the right notes (*painful laughter from everyone, myself included*)…it’s definitely the best Christian film I’ve seen, in terms of technical excellence.
Dennis Quaid is phenomenal.
I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to discover Dennis Quaid’s greatness. Granted, his turn in ‘Dragonheart’ (the only other movie I remember seeing him in) was less than spectacular, but he blew me away in ‘Imagine’. His character, Arthur Millard, is horrible for quite a bit of the film but, man, Quaid sold me on his transformation and wrung so many tears out of me because of it. Just…incredible, incredible acting.
The rest of the cast is great.
In the behind the scenes stuff, I found out that J. Michael Finley, the guy who plays Bart Millard, was never in a movie before ‘Imagine’. (He was in musical theatre, but it’s not exactly the same thing.) And knowing that makes his portrayal of Bart all the more amazing. The screenwriters took a risk making Bart really unlikable for about sixty percent of the film, but Finley pulled it off. It was also really cool to see Madeline Carroll as Shannon, Bart’s girlfriend. I’ve seen her in a few other movies and she’s always such a vibrant presence.
There were a bunch of smaller roles, many of them filled by recognizable faces from other Christian films, and all the actors did really good jobs at fleshing out their characters.
It’s basically a musical.
I LOVE movies that aren’t strictly musicals but still have a lot of incidental music and ‘Imagine’ was one of those. From ‘Hallelujah’ to ‘Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!’ to the titular song, the film wraps you in a world of music. Super cool. (I’m not a fan of most of the music, tbh, but it does create a good atmosphere for the story.) And the final performance of ‘I Can Only Imagine’ still makes me tear up because AHHHH THE FEELS. I don’t even like the song that much, but the ending of the song/scene is everything.
It struck a hugely personal chord.
(Enough with the music puns, Eva.)
So, I can’t really explain it. But ‘Imagine’ is one of those rare movies that sank deep into my heart and I love it and I cry over it and it’s just super special to me. And I get that it won’t be like that for everyone (like my sister, lol) but it is for me. And that’s mainly why I love it so much. Everything else is window dressing, but the core of the film, the message and the emotions and the relationships stuck in my soul. So how can I not love it?
Have you seen ‘I Can Only Imagine’? Have you ever watched a movie that became a special part of you?