Category Archives: Movie score 7.5

Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap

This is a documentary made by Ice=t about how rappers go about writing their music.

He starts off in New York where rap started, and talks with people like Grandmaster Caz (never heard of him, but he is supposedly one of the first rappers), Yasiin (formerly known as Mos Def), and a few others. He then goes to Detroit to see Eminem, who Ice-T seems to have a lot of respect for, then off to Los Angeles. There he meets up with B-Real from Cypress Hill, Run and DMC, Chuck D, Ice Cube, Kanye West, KRS-One, and Snoop Dogg, amongst others. There is also a look at the history of rap.

He asks each rapper about their writing process, and gets them to do a rap to the camera, most of which are quite impressive, and each one has their own unique style. Snoop Dogg was a highlight as he is such a chill and funny guy.

Ice-T was totally down with each person he met, he seemed to be very chummy with all of them. He did a couple of raps of him own.

But unless you like rap this is probably not for everyone. I did find some of the raps a bit tiring at times, they mostly rap about how dangerous they are and how they like shooting guns and spliffing spliffs. But, their passion for writing their music is clearly evident, and they are certainly talented and confident of themselves. They were also all very knowledgeable and respectful of the history of rap and other forms of music.

Date watched: December 9th
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2017: 139

Weekend of a Champion

I stumbled across this on Netflix and had to watch it becaue it was about Formula 1 and Jackie Stewart.

It was directed by Roman Polanski who is a good friend of Jackie’s, and was filmed over the course of the 1971 Monaco GP weekend.

It followed Jackie as he prepared for the race, with plenty of behind the scenes footage which was fascinating to watch. There was footage of him talking to his engineers about car setup, talking with other drivers including Graham Hill, Francois Cevert (Jackie’s teammate, who died two years later), and to Roman himself.

The trackside and in-car footage was good to see. Jackie had a 16 mm camera in the car with him which gave some great footage as he screamed around the circuit during practice. The cars in those days looked fragile and lacked basic driver safety, so those drivers were truly brave and slightly nuts. Both Chris Amon and Denny Hulme were in the race also (both NZ drivers).

The almost total lack of safety was clearly evident. Jackie was at the time trying to get Formula 1 safety improved, and it was his efforts that have made F1 as safe as it is today. But, in this documentary you can see track marshals, photographers, and other people right on the side of the track during the race, with absolutely no barrier between them and the cars which in places were passing by only a metre or so away.

As this is Monaco there were plenty of celebrities around, and in the after-race dinner we saw Ringo Starr, Joan Collins, Grace Kelly, and Prince Rainer.

After this premiered in 1972 it had a small release then was forgotten for 40 years. Roman rediscovered it, recut it, and it was re-released in 2013. Roman added some present day footage shot in the same hotel room where Jackie and his wife stayed during the 1971 race weekend. He talked with Jackie about the race, his work on F1 safety, Jackie’s dyslexia, and sideburns.

This is really only for Jackie Stewart and Formula 1 fans, of which I am both so I enjoyed it. For others it might be a bit dull.

Date watched: December 4th
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2017: 138

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

This is a film that I chanced upon at my fave DVD rental place, and I decided I had to see because it is a well-known film, and it has The Kirkster.

It is based on an actual event that took place in Tombstone, Arizona, in 1881, and is considered to be the most famous gun fight of the American Wild West.

Burt Lancaster plated Wyatt Earp with The Kirkster as Doc Holliday, and also featured Lee Van Cleef, John Ireland, DeForest Kelley, and a very young Dennis Hopper.

The story mostly focussed on Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, and the simmering feud between them and the cowboy cattle-smuggling gangsters, and of course culminated in a shootout.

According to Wikipedia there were quite a lot of historical inaccuracies, including the gunfight itself which in the film was fought at medium range, but in reality was face-to-face. The actual fight lasted only thirty seconds, but in the film it was of course longer. There was also a love story between Wyatt and a lady gambler which was completely fabricated, probably to attract the female audience.

The highlight of this film was the story between Wyatt and Doc Holliday, both Burt and The Kirkster were fabs in their parts. Dennis Hopper too was great, even though his part was quite small. The rest of the cast held their own.

It is a two-hour film, which was perhaps a bit too long, but overall it was a standard but decent watch.

Date watched: December 2nd
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2017: 137

Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi

James and I watched this in two parts, finishing the second part tonight.

Ewoks, damn frickin’ Ewoks.

The rest was pretty decent really, Georgie did a pretty good job on the main story, but he seemed to just take too many happy pills at some point, and dreamed up the Ewok horror which almost borked the whole thing.

Thank goodness for Disney.

Date watched: December 1st
Score (not including Ewoks): 7.5/10
Score (including Ewoks): 3/10
Film count 2017: 136

The Mob

This is a 1952 film noir crime which I found on YouTube. The uploader had titled it “Charles Bronson/Broderick Crawford Mob”.

It turns out though that this was one of The Bronson’s first film appearances, and he had only one short scene where he spoke just one line. He was also uncredited.


The Bronson, left, next to Broderick Crawford.

The rest of the cast though were pretty good, especially Broderick Crawford (a very prolific actor, mostly B-grade stuff) as a hard-nosed cop who goes undercover to bust up a New York waterfront crime ring. Ernest Borgnine had a role as a union thug, he was aces of course.

The cop had to find out who the mysterious leader of the crime ring was, and to do so he had to become a longshoresman and talk tough to get noticed, and get involved in some hard-boiled action.

For the day this film was probably a bit more violent than usual, there were a few shootings, and a gnarly fist fight between the cop and The Borg’s right-hand man.

Most of the actors in this film were at least 40, including the lead actor playing the cop, something you would not see in an action film today… except anything with Arnie and Stallones.

As I have mentioned in other reviews, these old films are great because they don’t rely on the F-bomb or other cussing to spice up the dialogue, it is just simple no-nonsense tough talk with rough, but not blood-and-guts, action. Yep, those were the days.

This is more of a B-grade film, but still an enjoyable one.

Date watched: November 25th
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2017: 134

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton

I am a fan of both Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman, so this was an essential watch.

This is a documentary about the making of the Jim Carrey film “Man on the Moon”, and also about Andy Kaufman. Sitting in a studio, sporting a full beard, Jim is interviewed about the film and comments on previously unseen footage that is shown throughout the documentary.

Jim actually went into full Method acting throughout the making of the film, between shots he was either Andy Kaufman or Tony Clifton, the whole time. I thought he took it a bit too far as he was really getting on people’s nerves at times, and really pissed Jerry Lawler off. In reality Andy Kaufman and Jerry Lawler were friends and were both in on the joke as far as the wrestling goes. Jim though treated his relationship on set with Lawler the same as the one we saw in the famous David Letterman appearance. Then again, perhaps the behind the scenes footage was also staged, and the behind the scenes of the behind the scenes will show a normal Jim Carrey.

But, apart from the Jim Carrey histrionics it was an interesting look into the minds of Andy Kaufman and Jim Carrey.

Jim hasn’t really made a funny film for quite some time now, and it appears he has no major film coming up.

Date watched: November 23rd
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2017: 132

The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years

This is a 1988 documentary about metal, and mostly about glam metal or hair metal.

While I do like a bit of metal, I cannot stand those old hair metal bands, most of them are fake and play terrible music, some still continuing to do so today somehow. However, this documentary was well made and told, and some of the interviews (some were faked or staged according to Wikipedia) were quite funny. The bassist of W.A.S.P. was interviewed lying on a pool floaty thing, clothed in his metal garb and swigging from a Smirnoff bottle. He was quite blotto, and to make it even more cringe-worthy his mother was sitting poolside. Read this article about the interview, funny stuff.

There were interviews with bands like Odin and Seduce which at the time were convinced they were going to be the next Guns ‘n’ Roses or Ratt, but didn’t get anywhere. There were interviews with Aerosmith (they mostly talked about their drug and alcohol addiction), Alice Cooper, Paul Stanley of Kiss (lying on a large bed with scantily clad ladies around him), Dave Mustaine, and good ol’ Lemmy from Motorhead who was the most sensible one of all. The best though was Ozzy Osbourne (interviewed while cooking bacon in a kitchen, all staged it turns out), who was just plain funny, and while comprehensible (unlike these days) was probably on something at the time.

So, despite being about hair metal it was quite fun to watch, kind of an enjoyable train wreck as you knew most the the bands in this were soon to disappear. Here is an article about the main protagonists in the film.

Date watched: November 4th
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2017: 124

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