Where do you stand on the HTF 'hot topic' movies?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott Weinberg, Oct 19, 2002.

  1. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    "Hot topic" might not be a suitable description, but anyone who frequents the HTF Movies and/or Polls forums will undoubtedly be familiar with what I mean.
    There are certain films that seem to cause a lot of dissent and debate among the HTF Film Freaks, and I thought we could discuss them in a flame-free environment. [​IMG]
    2001: A Space Odyssey - Arguably the most revered movie among the active HTFers. I'd never knock this movie, but I must admit to being one of its less passionate supporters. Yes, it truly is an excellent movie and it broke a lot of new ground...but is it really that good? Best sci-fi ever or overrated and artsy tootling?
    Gladiator - Seemingly despised because it was a critical fave and Oscar darling. I think it's an excellent film, though I can clearly see the seams that others may point out as 'less-than-brilliant' filmmaking. Effectively exciting period piece or depressingly derivative hero epic?
    Armageddon - Admit you enjoy this one and you may as well be signing a Declaration of Ignorance. Personally, I can't see why this one's thrashed so resoundingly yet Pearl Harbor goes relatively unscathed. Is it loud, bombastic, non-sensical, and essentially stupid? Sure. But so were The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure, and those films are now protected by Nostalgia Power. Colorful comic-book hysterics or over-edited schlock-heap?
    Miller's Crossing - Categorized by some (myself included) as the Coen's finest film. Does this overwhelming praise have something to do with the fact that its still unavailable on DVD, or is it really one of the best gangster flicks ever made?
    The Phantom Menace - This one doesn't seem to come up all that often any more, and for that I'm relieved, as I consider it a pretty damn good movie. Supporters point to a rousing space adventure that sets the stage quite capably for future installments, nay-sayers cite a proliferation of mealy-mouthed plot politics and pointlessly inane characters. Worthy entry to the SW canon, or evidence of a filmmaker long past clueless?
    The Blair Witch Project - Debate has kind of died down on this one as well, but if ever there were a film that divided movie fans right down the middle, this is the one. Personally, I think it's a creepily effective experiment and a great movie, though I can certainly see the complaints that others have with it. Experimental horror classic or indulgent rambling with a clever ad campaign?
    Dark City - Lots of people adore this one and even cite it as a partial inspiration for The Matrix, while others who heed the effusive recommendations often come back thinking "It wasn't all that!" Underrated modern masterpiece, or unduly praised sci-fi silliness?
    Fight Club - Hailed as a masterpiece by many, dismissed by others as a simplistic and transparent bash on the easy target of consumerism. Hardcore classic with wit and brutality to spare, or indulgent and pandering mess?
    D.C. Cab - Mr. T in a tour-de-force perf... OK, just kidding.
    Lawrence of Arabia - Is it possible for an intelligent and open-minded movie fan to find this movie unbearably boring? Clearly and justifiably adored the world over, but for some reason it's not as 'embraced' by the newer generations. Immortal classic or digital sleeping pill?
    Spider-Man - Is it possible for a computer-generated man-spider to look 'too real' or 'too fakey/really CGI-ish'? I dunno, but early enthusiasms were quickly tempered by cries of 'not enough action' and 'soap-opera dramatics'. I've only seen the flick once so far, but I quite enjoyed it. "Classic" status uncertain, but likely. Rousing and faithful adaptation of a beloved superhero, or simplistic and uninvolving CGI conglomeration?
    Briefly state your overall opinion of these flicks, and feel free to include any 'hot topic' titles I've overlooked.
    Your comments here can then be cross-referenced whenever you participate in a future discussion or vote in a future poll. [​IMG]
    Also, what makes certain movies the topic of such heated debate, while other movies (be they large or small) rarely get 'argued over'? Expense, accolades, and popularity seem to be factors, but surely those qualifications apply to hundreds of movies.
    For extra credit:
    True or False: Urban Cowboy is so bad that it makes Howard the Duck and Ishtar look like Oscar nominees by comparison.
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Man, where were you when Pearl Harbor was trashed to death during the opening summer days of 2001? Hell, I was one of the most outspoken in doggin out that film.

    Also, as you probably have read "High Noon" is a somewhat controversial film, even 50 years after it was made and it still brings out a lot of different emotions from people about it.




    Crawdaddy
     
  3. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    2001: A Space Odyssey - I adore the film, but I must agree with Scott. I'm not the biggest fan in the world.
    Gladiator - Walked out of the theater in May, 2000 thinking...man, that was a sweet popcorn flick. Watched the Oscars in March, 2002 and thought "man that's a sweet popcorn flick that somehow won a f*cking Oscar!" I like the movie a lot, but it certainly didn't deserve all of the acclaim it got from the various awards programs.
    Armageddon - It's too hard to watch. Bay can't hold one shot for more than 4 seconds.
    Miller's Crossing - Still haven't seen it due to the fact that it's unavailable on DVD...but since I've got an LD player, I've been trying to get my hands on the LD.
    The Phantom Menace - I really loved this film in the Summer of '99, despite it's flaws. While I can still appreciate the film, I've discovered that I just don't want to watch it. I haven't watched it all the way through since I saw it in theaters.
    The Blair Witch Project - Once again, this one changed on me...and I think it's due to the fact that it has no rewatchability. It scared the crap out of me the first time...but in subsequent viewings, it lost much of it's splendor.
    Dark City - I can't get enough of this film. It really shows how brilliant Sci-Fi can be.
    Fight Club - This movie get's better to me every time I watch it. It's got fantastic dialog, great acting, and while it can be preachy at times, I can't fault it for trying to convey a message.
    Lawrence of Arabia - I really like the film, but it is boring, and for that reason I don't watch it that often. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate it...it's just not that rewatchable for me.
    Spider-Man - I saw it twice at the theater, and enjoyed it much more the second time. I'm guessing that this one will grow on me in the years to come.
     
  4. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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  5. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Why continue to dogged out a film that the consensus opinion regarding it has continue to remain a dog of a film?




    Crawdaddy
     
  6. Chauncey_G

    Chauncey_G Second Unit

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    I'll have a go:
    2001: One of my favorite films of all time, sci-fi or not. I grew up only having seen this film on TV; when I got a chance to see it on a big screen it went from being a great film to being an experience.
    Gladiator: I enjoyed this one. I thought it had fantastic action with respectable acting. It looked fantastic as well.
    Armageddon: Urg. Kind of liked the big action at first, but once an insignificant amount of thought is applied it becomes unwatchable (IMO). Example: after seeing them blast their way clear of shuttle wreckage with a drilling car that for some reason has a giant gun on it, we later get treated to the line "You brought a gun into space?" when someone pulls out a 9mm. Urg.
    Miller's Crossing: Been too long since I've seen it, but I remember really enjoying it. I'll have to take another look at it soon.
    The Phantom Menace: Trash with a good fight sequence at the end.
    Blair Witch: If you can believe it, I never saw it!
    Dark City: Chalked it up as just being weird for weird's sake, but after subsequent viewings I have come to enjoy this film more and more. I now consider it to be a very intriguing (sp?) film.
    Fight Club: Really cool film, although I figured out who was who about half- to three-quarters the way through. Definately a must-see.
    Lawrence of Arabia: A classic that deserves to be a classic. Excellent all the way around.
    Spider Man: What an incredibly FUN movie! I thought it all came together really well in this film, CGI and all. It felt like a comic book, and I mean that as a compliment.
    IMO.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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  8. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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  9. Kristian

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    2001: A Space Odyssey - This film had a profound effect on me when I first saw it two years ago. Does it deserve its status as one of the all-time greats? I think so. As far as pure sci-fi (not fantasy sci-fi) goes, this is probably my favorite film of the genre.
    Gladiator - I have yet to see this film, so I can't comment on it.
    Armageddon - Ditto.
    Miller's Crossing - Ditto.
    The Phantom Menace - I've discussed this film ad nauseum with people from both sides of the debate. Because of all of that, the film has been tainted for me. I still enjoy it a good deal, but not as much as I did when I first saw it. I tried to avoid all the arguing this year to prevent the same from happening with AOTC.
    The Blair Witch Project - Never seen it, either.
    Dark City - Ditto. [​IMG]
    Fight Club - I really should see more movies...
    Lawrence of Arabia - I've had this movie on DVD since last Christmas, but I still do not feel I am ready to watch it. I want everything to be just right for my first viewing. I'll get back to you on this one.
    Spider-Man - As a huge Spider-Man fan since childhood, I had my doubts about this one before it came out. But once I saw it, I thought it was the best and most faithful comic book-to-film translation since Superman. One of the better blockbusters of the past few years, as well.
     
  10. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    Scott
    How on earth could you forget Titanic?[​IMG]
    BTW, I enjoyed ALL the above films (dogs included) with the exception of TBWP.[​IMG]
     
  11. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    2001: A Space Odyssey - Stanley Kubrick is one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema; and this film is arguably his best work. Is there a more ambitious theme than man's place in the universe. A brilliant film that I absolutely love.
    Gladiator - Benefits enormously from Russell Crowe's performance, and director Ridley Scott's visual sense. A slightly above average film for me. I believe that much of the criticism of this film arises from its Best Picture Academy Award. Something, that for me, it clearly did not deserve.
    Armageddon - Shouldn't Ernest have been starring in this film? That is the film's intellectual level. Mind-numbingly offensive as it shamelessly attempts to wring an emotional response from the audience in every scene while defying every law of science. Should be cut up for guitar picks.
    Miller's Crossing - Easily the Coen's best film. A brilliant homage to the gangster films of the '40s and an underrated gem of a film.
    Phantom Menace - Two films in one. What makes this film so difficult to watch is this Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde aspect of the title. The parts of the film that work, work fairly well - particularly the sequences with Darth Sideous and Darth Maul. But then, along comes Jar Jar and the film grinds to a halt as we have to endure caca jokes and dialog that panders to the kinder garden set. Really, really wanted to like this film, and the overall experience was disappointing.
    The Blair Witch Project - Pretty effective, but definitely over-hyped. A good film to watch in the dark, late at night.
    Dark City - Roger Ebert's favorite film of 1998. I agree. Great work by Alex Proyas.
    Fight Club - Big fan of Fincher's film making and a film that I do enjoy quite a bit. ( Favorite Fincher film remains Se7en. ) Good film with solid performances, but not sure that it is all that.
    Lawrence of Arabia - Great film that I wish I could have viewed theatrically. ( I believe it is showing again? ) Brilliant cinematography, inspired acting by Peter O'Toole. Deserves all the praise that it receives.
    No Spider-Man.
    One other film that seems to divide the HTF is Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia. My favorite film of 1999.
    - Walter.
     
  12. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Ditto on Magnolia and Titanic.
    ...although we all know that Titanic sucked [​IMG]
     
  13. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I don't remember anybody still talking about Armageddon and giving that film a free pass as far as being a quality movie. Which thread is that?





    Crawdaddy
     
  14. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    I kept expecting to see A.I. on this list
    the ones I've seen:

    2001 - currently I"m reserving judgement until I can watch it in 70mm, however having seen the difference between an average tv and an average projector on this film I have decided that it is definitely better than I initially gave it credit for, but is an awful film on the small screen.

    Gladiator - I never understood the backlash this film got. It was critically praised when first released, but once it made money it was suddenly reviled for minor and imo idiotic reasons that amounted to nothing more than petulant nitpicking. It's not the best film of 2000, but neither was Forrest Gump, however that doesn't mean that both films are not great, but they may not work for those whom only like films they can overdetermine.

    Armageddon - it's just a fun film that never pretends to be anything more than entertainment. I admire it for being so honest. Movies ARE entertainment, not everything must be art.

    Miller's Crossing - I'm dying to see an OAR dvd presentation of this film. have seen it on VHS and am upset that USC's laser is fullframe. It may not be the best Coen Bros film, but definitely one of the better gangster films. I think I would like this film more now, having acquired more of an understanding of the Coen's taste after seeing the wretched blood simple (their only film I haven't liked) and the difficult man who wasn't there.

    Phantom Menace - umm, well I've flipflopped on this for a while. but the dialogue was awful and the original theatrical versions editing was ridiculously bad (but many sequences have been changed on the dvd). still it has it's better points, but is nothing more than entertainment, but unlike Armageddon TPM tries to convince you that it's something more, and the attempt is so awful that almost everyone noticed it.

    Blair Witch - I fell asleep and woke up when they were discussing some Map and a river, I guess they were at least, there were fewer actual words the oft repeated f word which was used to replace nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, modifiers, conjunctions, participles, punctuation and several other important functions of the english language.

    Fight Club - Hardcore classic with wit and brutality and a surprising amount of depth.

    Lawrence of Arabia - saw it 70mm an entirely different film, it's now making a seriously strong attempt at becoming my favorite Lean film. Anyone that sees this in 70mm would not find one frame boring!

    Spider-man - i have no idea what the fuss over the effects is about. to me they were spectacular and the film had actual soul and emotions (apparantly Spidey's detracters [who also seem to be those that loath Armageddon et al.] wanted more bombastic action and huge set pieces and less characterization) there's no pleasing some people, they'll just revile anything that is popular (which makes their opinions so uninteresting).

    Pearl Harbor - Utter dreck, but not for the classic love triangle aspects, but for the godawful unaccurate, vomit inducing Japanese/FDR sequences. I don't mind a romance in war. that's a classic kind of subgenre all to itself, and the love triangle was done with average performances, never spectacular, but never deserving the dirision heaped on them for the rest of the films shortcomings. The doolittle raid was unnecessary to the rest of the film, and only cheapened the Pearl Harbor event and made the whole film feel over-the-top-when-will-it-end.

    Magnolia - I love it and think it's an incredible brilliant masterpiece. Truly a beautiful and moving film (unless you don't like emotions in your films, oddly these people don't like action either, I guess they only like the one film I've seen that lacks both, 2001 :-p)

    Adam
     
  15. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    I dunno, Robert...ask Scott. I was just trying to convey his point.
     
  16. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    2001: A Space Odyssey- This is one of those movies that I have a high amount of respect for, but get very little enjoyment from watching. The visuals are amazing and this film still has the best space special effects that I've ever seen. This is far from being my favorite Kubrick film though. I still prefer "The Killing", "Paths Of Glory", "Lolita", "A Clockwork Orange, & "Full Metal Jacket". This is one of those films that I really want to see on the big screen before I make a final judgment.
    Gladiator- I found this movie close to unwatchable. I made it through it once, but found it boring & repetitive. The action scenes were so poorly edited, that I got a headache watching them. I'll take "Spartacus" in a heartbeat over this trash.
    Armageddon - I couldn't get past the trailer for this movie. I don't like Sci-Fi movies that are supposed to have some level of plausibility, especially when they constantly cross that line.
    Miller's Crossing - This is probably my favorite movie off of this list, but I haven't seen it. I absolutely adore the Coen Brothers and want to see this movie so bad it hurts. Where is the OAR DVD Fox??
    The Phantom Menace - All I'll say about this one is, that it was better than that piece of &*!^&! Episode II. At this point, I don't think I'll even bother watching the final installment of this once adored film legacy.
    The Blair Witch Project - Like others before me, I really enjoyed this movie the first time through, but it has lost it's lustre upon subsequent viewings. It also depends on who you watch this one with. I've watched with people that wouldn't give it a chance and that's tough.
    Dark City - I so desperately want to love this beautiful movie, but something just doesn't work for me. It seems to wrap itself up, a bit too quickly for me. I saw this in the theater and didn't think much off it, besides the visuals. I have since purchased the DVD after listening to Ebert praise it. I watched it again, and still have the same opinion. One of these days, I'll watch it with the Ebert commentary and try to find out what I'm missing.
    Fight Club - This is my favorite movie on the list that I've seen and it continues to get better with each screening. The visuals are amazing and the acting flawless.
    D.C. Cab - I'm ashamed to say, that I've never seen this one. Well, maybe not ashamed, but it is "Mr. T"
    Lawrence of Arabia - This is another film like 2001, where I have a large amount of respect for it, but I have a hard time really getting involved in the story. I so badly want to see this on the large screen, and regretably wasn't able to make it to the recent Chicago screening. I've heard that you haven't seen this movie until you've seen it in 70mm, so I'll save final judgement until then.
    Spider-Man - Decent popcorn flick, but overly cliched and some of the effects, were borderline ridiculous. I really wanted to love this movie after the first couple trailers, but some of the effects totally drew me out of the movie. I'll take the original cartoon series over this anyday. Speaking of which, my favorite part of this movie was when they played the original song during the closing credits.
    Overall, I would say that I truly like 2 of these movies and neutral to 6 and there are 3 that I couldn't care less if I ever saw again.
     
  17. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Taking from the top list:
    2001: A Space Odyssey - Technically great, but personally, I find it boring. Feels kinda pointless to me.
    Gladiator - A very enjoyable summer movie. Never should have won Best Picture.
    Armageddon - Crap. "The Rock" is the only Bay film that I could stomach so far.
    Miller's Crossing - Never seen it.
    The Phantom Menace - A film made by a guy who hadn't directed a film in over 20 years, and it showed. To be honest, in retrospect, we should have seen this coming. That being said, I don't think it is nearly as bad as some people make it out to be, considering it wasn't designed to stand on its own.
    The Blair Witch Project - Believe it or not, never saw it. I'd probably agree that it would be an idea that works only once.
    Dark City - Very underrated film. I love it.
    Fight Club - Haven't seen it.
    Lawrence of Arabia - I've only seen it on VHS, so I can't really judge it. A film that looks to me that it might be more impressive on the big screen.
    Spider-Man - Vies with "Superman" for best superhero movie ever.
    For some of the others mentioned:
    Pearl Harbor - See "Armageddon"...
    A.I. - A flawed masterpiece. There are problems, but I think it is the most interesting film Spielburg has made in years. I like the ending, BTW...
     
  18. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    OK, you asked for it. [​IMG]
    2001: A Space Odyssey - excellent film. #14 on my all-time favorite/all-time best (it's the same thing for me) lists.
    Gladiator - Not a great film, but I enjoy it enough to warrant a purchase.
    Armageddon - YAWN
    Miller's Crossing - The Coen's are clever, but that's not enough.
    The Phantom Menace - Not as good as the original trilogy, but still a great movie.
    The Blair Witch Project - thumbs down
    Dark City - a good movie, but not as great as other sci-fi that is less appreciated.
    Fight Club - the ending is such a cool idea that it almost saves this film. But the first 90% is such a turnoff (I HATE the idea of a club to celebrate violence and beating the shit out of yourself and your friends) that it still gets a thumbs down from me. Then again, I'm an ex-Marine who was, and still is, a pacifist, so I'm probably not the intended audience for this film.
    D.C. Cab - do you really need me to say anything about this?
    Lawrence of Arabia - A well made film, but (sorry, Rob)YAAAAWWWWWNNNNN
    .
    Spider-Man - I wanted to like this, but found it lifeless. I like the idea of superhero movies, but the execution just doesn't do it. Feel the same way about Batman and Superman.
     
  19. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    2001: A Space Odyssey - haven't seen it yet.
    Gladiator - okay movie, i didn't see it until after the oscars. i had high expectations going into it...obviously disappointed. i don't think it's a bad movie though, just not oscar worthy.
    Armageddon - i trashed it whenever the subject came up until i watched it for the second time last year (first time was in theaters). i took it for what it was (or what i think it was meant to be [​IMG]): a brainless fun action movie. it's a great one at that level. i think people trash armageddon more than they do pearl harbor because armageddon came out before the peak of the internet boom, so many people didn't get to express their opinions about it until around this time, whereas pearl harbor was released when most people had internet access and could trash/praise it as they pleased.
    Miller's Crossing - haven't heard of this movie until now.
    The Phantom Menace - i think my only really big problem with this movie is the plethora of bad acting. otherwise, it wasn't such a bad movie.
    The Blair Witch Project - after this, i haven't liked going into the woods even when it's high noon and the sky is clear.
    Dark City - haven't seen it.
    Fight Club - i saw the first 30 or so minutes of it at an acquaintance's dorm room, then left. it wasn't really that good but it wasn't really that bad either, so i'm pretty sure i'll watch it in its entirety someday. i think i have to be in the right mood to see this, and i obviously wasn't in the right mood the first time around.
    D.C. Cab - same as miller's crossing
    Lawrence of Arabia - haven't seen it yet.
    Spider-Man - i thought the cgi was fine. kirsten dunst's acting is okay for the most part, but there's one part of it that completely destroys it for me: she moves her head WAY too much. it's not just spider-man...anyways, the first time i saw this, i was watching it during a tight schedule, and i might not've had my mind totally on the movie. i wasn't really bored, but i wasn't excited by the movie either. i think it parallels to superman in that about half or more of the movie is spent on character development for the eventual superhero, but i think spider-man went overboard (and recent viewings of superman have me thinking that there was a bit much in development, but i think it was because of the added scenes put on the dvd, not because of the original ones). i don't think enough time was spent on developing the green goblin, thus he didn't turn out to be a good villain in my book. now that developing spider-man is mostly out of the way, i have hopes that spider-man 2 will be an improvement over the original, with all the main cast and crew returning to production.
    you mentioned pearl harbor, so i'll elaborate on that...
    i thought it was pretty good...it gets the "pretty" for kate beckinsale and the attack scenes. [​IMG] the love story/triangle should've been shortened but i thought it worked just fine, and i think the part after the attack should've been left out entirely. watching the movie starting from the attack got me a lot more emotional than it did when it started from the beginning...i just got exhausted by the time the attack came. the buildup was longer than shrek's entire running time, for pete's sake! here's how i think pearl harbor should've gone about:
    the part after the attack is wiped out...rafe still goes to england, but when he crashes and "dies", he goes back a little earlier (that still wouldn't have happened realistically with the nazi occupation in france, but oh well)...thus rafe and danny have to deal with the conflict a little longer...december 7th comes. danny dies, rafe cries, rafe and evelyn get married and live happily ever after. well, not really, rafe will probably have/want to fight after pearl harbor, but after wwii (he survives, of course), everything comes out on top.
     
  20. BarryS

    BarryS Second Unit

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    2001: A Space Odyssey - One of my all-time favorite films. Cinema doesn't get much better. The crowning achievement of Kubrick's marvelous career. One of the most profound, thought-provoking movies I've ever seen.
    Gladiator - Good, but NOT worthy of Best Picture. Essentially a ripoff of Ben-Hur.
    Armageddon - Hated. I felt my I.Q. dropping during this movie.
    Miller's Crossing - Haven't seen it in a long time, but I didn't like it. It's one of the few Coen Bros. movies I've only seen one time. I'll give it a second chance when the DVD comes out, but I much prefer the Coens' more comedic work.
    The Phantom Menace - I like it. Hardly a masterpiece, but a worthy beginning to the Star Wars saga. Episode II fares better, IMO.
    The Blair Witch Project - Liked it. I liked its method of suggesting horror rather than explicitly showing it a la Hitchcock.
    Dark City - It's been a long time and I really don't remember much about this movie. I didn't like it much at the time, but it's been several years. I need to revisit it.
    Fight Club - Loved it. Brilliant, innovative flick. Can be seen as either a profound message or just a hyperkinetic cinematic thrill ride.
    Lawrence of Arabia - Loved it. I've only seen it once (so far), but I don't remember it being boring at all. I had to watch it in two parts, but I was pretty interested throughout.
    Spider-Man - I'm on the fence about Spider-Man. I enjoyed it, yet I was disappointed too. It lived up to my expectations, yet something was just disappointing about it. Perhaps the predictability of the plot. It's a good summer popcorn movie, but I don't think it will go down as a classic.
    I think you should add The Godfather, Part III to this list. That's quite a "hot topic" movie.
     

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