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O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) - ***
I really enjoyed this Coen Brothers film where we follow Everett (George Clooney), Pete (John Turturrow), and Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson) on their Odyssey. For me this movie is brought to life with the rich characters they meet along the way and their interactions with them in the deep South in the 1930s. It all has a very authentic feel to it. I also really liked the old-time American music, highlighted by 'Man of Constant Sorrow'.
Rank: #11 in

Old School (2003) - **
If you've seen the preview, you pretty much know what to expect. The film actually delivers on it's level, it's just a pretty low level. Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, and Vince Vaugn are buddies that decide to open their own fraternity...in this one you don't have to be a student to be a member. There are a lot of predictable comedic moments and a fair amount of nudity (a bit more than most would probably want). If you're in the mood for a low brow comedy and are a fan of these stars, you probably won't be too disappointed, but keep your expectations low.

One Hour Photo (2002) - *1/2
This is a pretty disturbing story. I'm not a big fan of these types of movies in general, but this one was poorly made to boot. I generally don't like when they try to make an unsympathetic character sympathetic and in this case they were unsuccessful. Basically I couldn't wait for him to get caught. Even that aside, I thought the film was very flawed. As it unfolds, the scenes with the police are totally unbelievable. But the "Threat Management Unit" is on the case in full force. With very little evidence of any wrong doing, they have seemingly a whole force staking out a house, store, and a hotel. With this very flimsy evidence they get a search warrant when I know any judge would laugh at the evidence. The only bright spot was Robin Williams portrayal of this psycho. Unfortunately it was wasted on such a bad script. I can't think of any reason anyone would enjoy this movie on any level.

On the Waterfront (1954) - ****
This masterpiece was really made what it is by the excellent performances of it's stars...Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, and Eva Marie Saint. On top of that it was a great story by Budd Schulberg, directed brilliantly by Elia Kazan. With all that talent, it is simply one of the great movies. Regardless of how you feel about the specifics of this story of corruption in the dockworkers union, it really is a basic story of human struggle between right and wrong that we can all relate to. The scenes between Brando and Eva are very touching and realistic, but I must say, the famous
"I coulda been a contender" scene really is deserving of all it's praise. A very touching scene between two brothers and the eventual ultimate sacrifice that comes from it. Watching this movie for the first time in 2003, makes me long for this time when the really great movies were made.
Rank: #3 in 1954, #8 in 1950s, 4 Star Movie


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