First Year Anniversary!

It is the anniversary of our first year, and we are celebrating with a wrap up of our year and our brand new hip hop music video!!!

Notes on our blog’s first anniversary…

Films watched and reviewed from list:

33

Films Watched in Minutes:

3801

Films Watched in Hours:

63.5

Website views:

1,096

Best day:

Oct 11, 2016

Most popular posts:

My Name is Jonah  directed by JB Sapienza and Phil Healy… Which you can watch for free over at their website for the film My Name Is Jonah

And

Eric and Shaye directed by Larry Wessel

Countries:

32, which is 16% of the countries on earth!

USA, Canada, Norway, China, UK, Sweden, Australia, Brazil, Netherlands, India, Ireland, Malaysia, Russia, Germany, Mexico, Ukraine, Jamaica, South Africa, Portugal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, France, Italy, Moldova, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Ecuador, Peru, Bangladesh

Mentions by other websites:

Nicolas Krizian’s Beyond 1001 Movies who said we were “two people bringing an innovative touch with their tailor-made images!”

And

S.J. Honeywell’s 1001 Plus

Jenn’s Favorites:

My Own Private Idaho and The Big Chill

Jenn’s surprises:

Ran and The Good The Bad and The Ugly

Jenn’s least enjoyable:

Amarcord (I don’t even remember watching it!) and Dumbo

Garrett’s favorites

My Own Private Idaho and Ran (Royal Tenenbaums is a favorite, but I’ve seen it a thousand times already so I am not counting it)

Garrett’s surprise:

Modern Times (I thought I already saw it! Way better than I imagined, smart and sweet)

Garrett’s least enjoyable:

Dumbo

 

The Music Video

Before We Die Films
The Music Video

http://www.beforewediefilms.com

This is the music video for our blog documenting our journey through the 1001 movies to see before you die on the first anniversary of the blog! Turn on Closed Captioning to sing along as the video plays!

Written and Recorded on GarageBand
by Garrett and Jennifer Zecker

Directed by
Garrett Zecker

Starring
Garrett and Jennifer Zecker

Cinematography and Camera
Ethan Zecker

Edited in Lightworks

Featuring our favorites in the background…
Harold and Maude
The Big Lebowski
Amelie
Back To The Future II
Buffalo 66

BeforeWeDieFilms.com
©2017 Perpetual Imagination
LYRICS:

Garrett:
Ever since I was a kid, I loved movies
Sittin’ in front of the VCR with JuJu Bees
Indiana Jones, Kevin Bacon, I’m adorin’
Lea Thompson joinin’ Doc and Marty in the DeLorean

Jennifer:
We are two kids, just a product of the ’80s
Blockbusta’ rentin’ tapes & skippin’ out on the late fees
Internet came, clickbait lists for us to find
Netflix streamin’ services without a need to rewind!

Garrett:
So at the library I bought us a book for a buck.
Schneider’s curated list, it looked like we’re in luck.
Harvard doctor chooses movies h’thinks all should see.
If it didn’t make the cut, well then c’est la vie!

Jennifer:
There’s a lot on this list I never woulda seen!

Garrett:
Scorpio Rising, Flaming Creatures, what does it mean?

Jennifer:
Let’s view together, tell our story
t’whoever wants to read,

Garrett:
and maybe in ten years 1001 and we’ll succeed!

Chrous
Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!
Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!
Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!
Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!

Garrett:
Kurosawa, Cameron, Spielberg, Fellini, Kuibrick!
Woody Allen, David Lynch, with Wilder, n’Hitchcock

Jennifer:
Sellers, Cagney, Nicholson, Hepburn, and Bogart!
Bette Davis, Bergman, Brando, Stanwick, and Stewart!

Garrett:
Like Nick & Nora we’ll investigate what makes our culture tick!
Learn more about past, present, n’future with every flick!

Jennifer:
With every film we’ll take a pic reflecting what we saw.
I apologize dear readers if the writing’s too bourgeois!

Chorus:
Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!
Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!
Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!
Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!

Garrett:
We’ve had a lot of fun,
when this project’s done.
We’ll be glad you came along…
for one thousand and oooooooone!

Chrorus
Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!
Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!
Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!
Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!

Refrain…
Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!
[Ever since I was a kid I loved movies]

Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!
[sittin in fronna the VCR with JuJu Bees.]

Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!
[Indiana Jones, Kevin Bacon, I’m adorin’]

Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!
[Lea Thompson joinin’ Doc and Marty in the DeLorean!]

Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!
[We are two kids, just a product of the ’80s…]

Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!
[Blockbusta’ rentin’ tapes & skippin’ out on the late fees.]

Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!
[Internet came, clickbait lists for us to find…]

Before we die, before we die, we got 1001!
[Netflix streaming services without a need to rewind!]
[Before We Die Films!]

[Before We Die Films!]

[Before We Die Films!]

[Before We Die Films!]

#92 The Thin Man (1934)

This is one of our favorite films of all time. The Thin Man is an American crime film based on the book by the great crime novelist Dashiell Hammett, and mirrors great British crime films such as Agatha Christie or Arthur Conan Doyle in terms of structure, humor, and execution – but of course, The Thin Man comes with a celluloid polish and Hollywood panache. Rarely without a drink in their hand, this boozy couple is as funny as they are effective private eyes, and they go off to figure out the motive and suspect in a cold-blooded crime that all leads to a dinner scene that would make Poirot feel jealous and ripped off. Shot over fourteen days, this film (and its sequels, except for the last one maybe) is a slice of Hollywood crime heaven that is sincerely a treat to watch if only for the “snappy banter full of covetable lines between the rich, sophisticated Nora and her sharp lush of a husband.”

When we watch, no only do we love watching Loy and Powell, but we fantasize being Nick and Nora. Of course, if you’re a fan and never listened to The Thrilling Adventure Hour‘s sendoff Beyond Belief, in which Frank and Sadie Doyle do Nick and Nora with a paranormal twist, you’re missing out on quite a treat.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thin_Man_(film)

Jennifer

This movie is an excellent marriage of excellent comedic writing and perfect performances by the actors.  There is also an adorable little dog.

This movie has the vibe of one long, endlessly fantastic cocktail hour, with plot twists and turns unraveling almost unnoticed. It is almost impossible not to be distracted by the magnetic chemistry between actors Powell and Loy. They later starred in multiple Thin Man films together, reprising their roles as the ever cool Nick and Nora.

Powell and Loy clearly carry the film.  They remain cool, calm, and quick witted.  The story itself has several great twists and turns, and while the story itself didn’t blow me away, the acting by Loy and Powell more than make up for it.  It was shot from start to finish in just two weeks.  The director often used the first shot if it was done well, not wanting the actors to “loose their fire” with having to do multiple takes on the same scenes.  This probably helped keep the momentum up and helped to contribute to the rapid fire, high energy volley that Loy and Powell are known for in the Thin Man movies.

This movie is pure fun.

Garrett

I mean, in a world where every sentence seems to drip with witty repartee, and martinis can be guzzled all day long by the gallon without any social, mental, or physiological consequences, enter Nick and Nora and their adorable little dog. They seem to have the best jobs (not really sure how often they have to work, but it isn’t very often), the best wardrobe, the biggest smiles, the best parties, and the lost laid back lives imaginable… until a body shows up…and then everything even more so.

I watched these for the first time through in my early twenties, and this is the first time that I watched one since. It still holds up as easily being one of the tightest comedy-mysteries ever made. It likely has a lot to do with the execution of the perfect balance of suspense, fun, humor, and strong leading stars. The other thing, and this is my main complaint about Hollywood today, is that the writing is so incredibly strong – almost central to the execution of the film – and that likely has a lot to do with filmmakers wanting to make sure that their pieces can be carried with the strength and intensity of the theater. This piece could easily be set on a stage rather than on film and the audience holds the same level of engagement and attention as the film does, but films today do not necessarily have to hold the audience’s attention with great writing, they just need to exist and have a name that pulls people to the box office.

A big difference was that I decided to pick up Hammett’s book to read after I watched it this time since I had never read the novel. So, the movie is great, but its contents is definitely a movie that has censorship board written all over it. It keeps the witty banter and the sly, excellent characterization, but there is a great deal that is not covered in the film likely because of a variety of cultural mores at the time. This includes a subplot involving heroin (or… laudanum, or something like that) and a complete retelling of the Alfred Packer cannibalism case. Also, the murders are more brutal, the sex more apparent, the women looser, the booze stronger, and language like a sailor. It was an excellent book, told strictly through Nick’s point of view. Where the film is more playful, the novel is more gritty and noir – and a great deal better than I was expecting. While the movie was excellent, after reading the book I recognize how much of a product of the times it is in terms of how they chose to execute it… But both are great works of art on their own legs.

To coincide with their release of a collection of Hammet’s works, The Library Of America published this excellent little essay on the book and film.

#468 Sedmikrásky (Daisies) (1966)

Věra Chytilová’s Sedmikrásky (Daisies) is a 1966 Czechoslovakian allegory that explores the need for a new postwar experience… but the story is told in a magical postmodern whirlwind of feminine power, fearless consumption, and beautiful framing effects. This “madcap and aggressive feminist farce…the most radical film of the decade…(is a) liberating tour de force (that has been called) subversive, bracing, energizing, and rather off-putting (if challenging) to most male spectators” (Rosenbaum, Schneider). Rife with symbolism that delves deep into gender, sexuality, and geopolitics – but can easily be enjoyed on the surface as a whimsical escape from reality – the fun life we lived through the eyes of two girls who shared everything in existence is an artistically cutting edge fun romp in a new world molded from the clay of reality.

We watched Sedmikrásky on Criterion Eclipse.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daisies_(film)

Garrett

This is one of the bigger surprises of the year in movies and one more amazing film that I am so happy to have experienced. I knew little of this film prior to watching it, but I did recognize many snippets of it from some strange Internet gifs with Hal-Ashby looking shots and colors and some beautiful subtitles underneath:

This film captured a great deal of everything that I love about the films of Hal Ashby and Wes Anderson, the style that seemed to be prevalent in the era that was similar to early Sesame Street, and the writing and synthesis of big ideas in a simple way that reminded me of Samuel Beckett’s strangely poignant nonsense with a message. This film’s gorgeous experimental style broke the mold on just about everything that I have seen in film – and honestly the directors I mentioned that use these visual tropes all came after Daisies… So it is no wonder that one viewing of this piece can spark inspiration in a filmmaker’s work that can follow them throughout their career and is something I absolutely love.

I wish I was more culturally competent about the context of the piece, because while it is easy to watch on the surface there is no denying that it holds a great deal of political capital in hundreds of ways – including the banning of the film, the shunning of the director  Věra Chytilová, and the virtual disappearance of the film for decades. I know that I am not getting the entirety of the message as someone who has not lived in Czechoslovakia at the time, as an American in 2016, and as a man, among others. Still, Daisies captivated me. I look forward to many additional viewings to try to explore what  Chytilová was doing in this seminal piece.

The wanton performances by  Jitka Cerhová and Ivana Karbanová as the two Maries were completely enthralling – as they were able to convince me that they have known each other their entire lives in a manner that I have never seen captured by any two performers. I thought that this must be what a true feminist sisterhood friendship is like, and if it isn’t, it certainly has me nostalgic and wishing for whatever it is.

This film is worthy of viewing after viewing, a gorgeous symbolic masterpiece that is fun to get lost in.

Jennifer

I had no real expectation before viewing this film.  It took me a bit of watching to get the rhythm of the narrative down. There is almost no traditional “plot.”  The two characters don’t grow, change or develop. This movie does not tell a story in a tradition narrative trajectory.  Instead, the two protagonists, Marie and Marie, declare the world “spoiled,” and decide they must be “spoiled” as well.  The rest of the movie cuts in and out of their various mischievous adventures, most of which revolve around food, specifically abundance and waste of food.  This movie is filled with unexpected cuts and filming techniques – it cuts in and out of color, black and white, and blurry out of focus shots.  The girls begin with traditional antics – dates and dinners – all of which end in impossible, preposterous nonsense.

This movie demands the viewer’s attention on a few levels.  As the narrative is told not just in the dialogue of the story but through the use of various different special and visual effects, as well as the interpreting both the subtitles and the unspoken narrative, a commentary on politics, feminism, and friendship.

The ending of the movie is hugely satisfying, as the Maries try to “fix” what they’ve wrecked with a fabulous conclusion.

#101 Modern Times (1936)

When Modern Times was made in 1936, talkies were the rage, Charlie Chaplin was a worldwide sensation who toured the world several times over, and his Little Tramp changed the face of comedy, theatrics, mime, clowning, and culture. But after what he saw was the post-industrial wasteland created by machinery, dictatorships, unemployment, poverty, drugs, and a rising, encroaching, terrifying extremism beginning to grip the world, he had only one solution:

Take a year to film the final Little Tramp film, make him talk, and try to channel and process the anxieties everyone was feeling into his character for one final perfect performance.

Of course, the original script was scrapped, but the themes and interpretation of the world through Chaplin’s lens “(that survives) as a commentary on human survival in the industrial, economic, and social circumstances of the 20th – and perhaps the 21st – century” was perfect (Robinson / Schneider).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_Times_(film)

Jennifer

I was admittedly not too enthusiastic about watching this movie.  When I think of what I thought I knew about Charlie Chaplin movies, I think silly nonsense.

I was wrong.  Made in 1936, this movie has held up remarkably well and continues to be relevant today.  One of the things I enjoyed the most about this movie was how creative Chaplin was using available technology.  Without modern special effects, this movie has an amazing roller skating sequence, a “modern” feeding machine, and even a sequence when a giant machine pulls a character through.

The movie does indeed contain that slapstick comedy that Chaplin is well known for but in measured amounts.  Interspersed between these bits is a thoughtful and powerful social and political commentary.

This movie blew my expectations out of the water.  Chaplin writes, directs, acts and wrote and performed the music in this movie.  It is impossible to watch this movie without smiling and being thoroughly entertained.  I can only imagine the reaction that audiences had at the very end of the movie when Charlie suddenly breaks into song and dance- hearing his voice for the first time on film!

Especially sentimental (but not too saccharine) is the tramp’s relationship with the gamine.  As they march off into the future in the ending scene, unsure of whether they will succeed or meet with defeat in life, you can not help cheering them on wholeheartedly.

Garrett

With Modern Times, I expected infantile slapstick nonsense that was prevalent in many early 20th century comedies. What I got in Modern Times, however, was a thoughtful social, political, and humanistic statement about our lives in the modern era – and there is nothing like the feeling of being blown away when your expectations start so low.

This film is absolute genius, and it is a shame that every instance that I have ever seen of it replays the same tired, old clown tropes that have become cliche as a result of this film’s first performing it. Yes, it is the original, but the replay after replay has made it so old that my reluctance was built on a lifetime of seeing the scenes out of context. What makes it so genius is the message – and Chaplin’s brilliant, astute, and accessible delivery makes the film as relevant to our kid as much as our own adult graduate-degree level social criticism and theory lenses. Frankly, I have never seen a film as touching, meaningful, and masterful that relies so heavily on the visual form. As a guy that prefers well-written scripts over everything else, to ride this film (that originally did have a script until it was ultimately canned by Chaplin with good reason) without any dialogue whatsoever, and to see the electric passion so effortlessly evident in the eyes of his Little Tramp and Paulette Goddard’s Gamin without exchanging a word as they weave in and out of an anarchist paradise, one immediately learns how beautiful life can really be when you care about the right things.

A masterpiece whose virtues I will never stop extolling. Modern Times is truly a perfect film which all others can only aspire to.