Day 317: Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977)

close_encounters_of_the_third_kind_1977_theatrical_posterI thought since I checked out the new sci-fi sensation Arrival yesterday that I would check out a real sci-fi classic for today. A friend suggested that I watch Close Encounters Of The Third Kind which was directed by Steven Spielberg (E.T.the Extra-Terrestrial) and it so happens to be today’s film. Everything is normal around the country until planes that went missing in the 1950’s mysteriously show up looking like they were brand new. It sets off a chain reaction of events where people around Indiana and other parts of the country come in contact or experience an encounter with UFO’s. One man named Roy (Richard Dreyfuss) and Jillian (Melinda Dillon) whose son was kidnapped want answers as to what it was they saw and why the government is lying about the events. They may just get the answer, but it might be more than they were looking for. The film also stars François Truffaut (Shoot The Piano Player) as Lacombe, Teri Garr (Young Frankenstein) as Ronnie Neary, Bob Balaban (The Grand Budapest Hotel) as David Laughlin, J. Patrick McNamara (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) as Project Leader, Lance Henriksen (The Terminator) as Robert, George DiCenzo (She-Ra: Princess Of Power) as Major Benchley, and Carl Weathers (Rocky) as Soldier. 

closeencounters15657One thing that I will say is that the soundtrack to this film is absolutely amazing and we shouldn’t be surprised by that considering John Williams (Star Wars) composed the whole thing. The score did exactly what it was supposed to do and that it is it helped move the film and it complimented it. Now as far as the film was concerned, this is actually an amazing motion picture especially for it’s time. Of course the film was overshadowed by Star Wars: A New Hope, but it deserves some mention and merit because the special effects were great for 1977. The aliens that you see in the film were kind of weird looking and OK, but it does the trick for the time. The shots of the spaceship are awesome and it’s incredible looking. The acting in the film was great especially from Richard Dreyfuss and Melinda Dillon who stole the show. Carl Weathers has a cool cameo as a soldier in the film who threatens Drefuss’s character and a lot of 80’s greats are in this film like Lance Henriksen, etc. Just like in the Arrival, they too have to learn the language of the aliens in order to communicate with them, but this was a better film. The end kind of made sense because you understood why and such. It wasn’t a huge build up to be let down by what the end result was. If you’re a fan of cinema then definitely give this one a watch because I loved it. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 179: Jaws (1975)

jawsWe are once again continuing our theme of Shark Week here on our blog and we are proud to bring you a review of a classic. For today’s film, we are exploring the godfather of all shark movies, the one that made sharks a big hit, the film Jaws. It’s just another summer on the tourist summer island of Amity, but this one isn’t exactly like the rest of the ones in the past as the town is about to find out. One night, a girl is eaten by a shark and the new sheriff in town Brody (Roy Scheider) wants to close down the beach before it gets too out of hand. The only problem is that the mayor of the town doesn’t want to close the beach cause they’ll lose money, but too many deaths and close class leave them no choice but to hire the shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw). The film also stars Richard Dreyfuss (Mr. Holland’s Opus) as Hooper, Lorraine Gary (1941) as Ellen Brody, Murray Hamilton (The Graduate) as Vaughn, Carl Gottlieb (The Jerk) as Meadows, Jeffrey Kramer (Halloween II) as Hendricks, Susan Backlinie (The Great Muppet Caper) as Chrissie, and the film was directed by Stephen Spielberg (E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial).

jaws 2It was crazy to watch this movie and realize that I had never really seen this film because I didn’t recognize a lot of it. Then again, it was back in the 80’s, I was a little kid, and probably didn’t pay attention to most of it. I can definitely see why people hold this film in such high regard because it is that awesome of a film. Even though for most of the film, the robotic shark they had didn’t work it didn’t take away from the film because the suspense is amazing. You’re kind of seeing the action like a beach goer would and what I mean by that is you don’t see the shark, but you see people go under and lots of blood. That would scare the crap out of anyone not being able to see what is going on. The film has some iconic scenes in it like the sequence where the dog goes missing to the scene where Brody is dumping the chum and the shark pops out of nowhere, but my favorite is the scene where they’re sitting around. They’re getting drunk and they are telling war stories to each other, showing off each other’s scars too. The thing I love about the scene is that it seems so natural that it doesn’t look fake or rehearsed. It just seems natural to see these guys finally bond while on the hunt. Robert Shaw to me is an absolute highlight of the film, he is the bad ass shark hunter who kind of laughs at the town when they finally come to him. The battle sequence alone between the three and the shark alone is worth watching the film so I suggest checking this one out for sure. I am going to give the film an A+ for a final grade.

Day 171: Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995)

mr-hollands-opus-dvdcoverFor today’s challenge film, I wanted to watch a film from the great Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws, American Graffiti) and I happened to stumble on one playing on TV. The name of the film is Mr. Holland’s Opus and Dreyfuss stars as the title character in the film. Glenn Holland is a struggling composer who has to take a job at John F. Kennedy High School as a music teacher in order to make ends meet. What he doesn’t expect to happen to him is that he is going to find fulfillment as music teacher as he helps others discover the beauty of music while he struggles with issues at home. The film also stars Glenne Headly (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) as Iris Holland, Jay Thomas (Mork & Mindy) as Coach Bill Meister, Olympia Dukakis (Look Who’s Talking Too) as Principal Helen Jacobs, William H. Macy (Thank You For Smoking) as Vice Principal Gene Wolters, Alicia Witt (Cecil B. Demented) as Gertrude Lang, Terrence Howard (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) as Louis Russ, Damon Whitaker (Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai) as Bobby Tidd, Jean Louisa Kelly (Uncle Buck) as Rowena Morgan, Joseph Anderson (Whacked!) as Cole Holland, Balthazar Getty (The Judge) as Stadler, and the film was directed by Stephen Herek (Critters).

profesorcThis is one of those films where the main character changes over the course of the film and at one moment finally realizes what he has accomplished. He definitely goes through some trials and tribulations during the film as he wants to be a composer more than a teacher and he has trouble dealing with the fact that his son is deaf. All of these things definitely makes him grow as a person and the amount of love he receives is amazing. The film follows his thirty year career as a teacher from 1965 to 1995 and you see the changes in music styles along with pop culture which is cool and the film stays hip with what actually happened in music current events. For every decade though, there is a student that he helps realize their potential (e.g. the death of John Lennon). Richard Dreyfuss is an amazing actor to begin with and you see that in this film. I love how the film makes him age over the course of thirty years to make it more believable and the fact that they used real deaf actors to pay his son is amazing as well. That definitely makes the film feel more authentic instead of paying a hearing actor to play a deaf person. One thing that boggles my mind is that Richard Dreyfus lost to Nicolas Cage at the Oscars for Best Actor. Nevertheless, this is an amazing film that you should definitely check out if you are a fan of Richard Dreyfuss or a fan of amazing stories. With that being said,  I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.