#755 Pulp Fiction

Watched: September 8 2021

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Ving Rhames, Rosanna Arquette, Harvey Keitel, Eric Stoltz, Phil LaMarr, Christopher Walken, Maria de Medeiros, Quentin Tarantino

Year: 1994

Runtime: 2h 34min

On Wednesday, we went out (yay vaccines! Thank you scientist people!) for an amazing evening of “kulinarisk kino” (culinary cinema), courtesy of Kosmorama film festival. First, there was a screening of Pulp Fiction at Prinsen cinema, then we went to Bula Neobistro for a fabulous three course meal inspired by the movie. More on that to follow, but first our review of the film.

“Bitches be taking too long…”

Ok, Pulp Fiction probably doesn’t need an introduction. From its release in 1994, it has been one of the most watched, discussed and acclaimed movies of our time, and for good reason. The non-linear structure, various intertwined storylines and fantastic cast all come together to create one hell of a ride!

“You see, if you show seemingly unrelated events in a more or less random order, the audience will feel rewarded when everything comes together at the end. And when you feel rewarded, it is because dopamine is released into the brain, which will make you love the movie more than you might have done if everything was neatly served in a logical order.” “So, we’re tricked into liking it..?” “Well, yes and no. The first time you see it: yes, maybe. But it would not hold up on subsequent viewings if the movie wasn’t actually good. Now, let’s rob some people.”

Among the stories we have Pumpkin and Honey-Bunny (Roth and Plummer) – a couple of bank robbers planning on switching to robbing restaurants; Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield (Travolta and Jackson) – two gangsters running errands for Marcellus Wallace (Rhames); Wallace’s wife Mia (Thurman) looking for a good time and a dance trophy; boxer Butch (Willis), who’s ready to get out of the business with his girlfriend Fabienne (de Medeiros) – a girl with the mind of a child, and oh… Oh no, that’s not good…

“How many times I gotta tell ya: No Italian food in the car!”

Throw in some racist hillbilly rapists with a gimp, a drug dealer and his wife, an unfortunate shooting victim, a dapper cleaner, and a killer soundtrack, and you’ve got yourself an instant classic. The two and a half hours fly by, every minute entertaining.

“And NO MATTER WHAT, you have to remember to put the motherfucking safety back on after you kill a man. Aight?” “Yeah, yeah, stop yammering on about it. I won’t forget, ok?”

The cast are pretty much perfect, and while there are some questionable moments (are we all ok with a grown man dating a woman whose mental age is about 6..? And is the character of Jimmie just there as an excuse for QT to say the n-word 45 times in 3 minutes?), Pulp Fiction is, 27 years on, still a stylish, exciting and entertaining piece of cinema.

We’re gagging

Now for the meal we had. There were fried squash rings with a Hawaiian inspired habanero-pineapple dip, a Big Kahuna burger with fries (served with both mayo and ketchup, of course), and finally a $5 milkshake (with a shot of bourbon). Yum! If you ever find yourself in Trondheim looking for a delicious meal and wonderful service, look no further than Bula (and no, we’re not paid to say this)! Together, the movie and the meal made this night a phenomenal success and we can’t wait for our next culinary cinema. Which is coming up this Wednesday with #767 Big Night shown with a three course Italian meal. Buon appetito!

“You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out, you put your right foot in, and you shake it all about…”

What we learned: How to handle an O.D. Which, we’re sure we can all agree, is useful knowledge. Also, the safety is there for a reason, Vincent!

Next time: Big Night (1996)

#300 The Producers

Watched: July 6 2021

Director: Mel Brooks

Starring: Gene Wilder, Zero Mostel, Dick Shawn, Kenneth Mars, Estelle Winwood, Christopher Hewett, Andréas Voutsinas, Lee Meredith, Renée Taylor

Year: 1967

Runtime: 1h 28min

Max Bialystock (Mostel), The King of Broadway, has fallen on hard times. He is now dependent on doling out sexual favours to rich, elderly widows to finance his plays, most of which don’t do particularly well.

Seriously though, we love seeing older women being unabashedly sexual. You go, girl!

Leo Bloom (Wilder) is an insecure, young accountant tasked with auditing his accounts. However, he is pulled into the fraudulent world of Bialystock and comes up with a way to make more money from a theatrical flop than a hit.

“I have never been more aroused in my entire life”

Teaming up, the two men go searching for the most offensive play they can find – something that could never ever be a hit. And they score big with Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden – a love letter to Hitler written by an actual Nazi, Franz Liebkind (Mars).

🎵”Don’t be stupid be a smarty – come and join the Nazi party!”
“More like a lynching party once this shit opens…”

While the play itself should ensure their (un)success, they seal the deal by engaging a horrible director and casting an off-beat hippie who just happened to wander into the audition to play the lead. Everything is coming up Bialystock!

He even got a lovely new secretary in the shape of no-so-Swedish go-go-dancer Ulla

We love EVERYTHING about this movie, and we go around humming “Springtime for Hitler” a LOT more than any human being should. From the cabinet filled with framed pictures of Bialystock’s old, rich women to “We’re Prisoners of Love,” The Producers is a hilarious romp fueled by fantastic performances and Mel Brooks’ particular sense of humour. The plot, the music, the characters, the dialogue – it all works, and we can watch it again and again. And so should you.

Just look at this! It’s such a bananas idea that it has to work.

What we learned: Friendship is magic.

Next time: Bonus: Favourites #251-300

#299 The President’s Analyst

Watched: May 24 2021

Director: Theodore J. Flicker

Starring: James Coburn, Godfrey Cambridge, Severn Darden, Joan Delaney, Pat Harrington Jr.

Year: 1967

Runtime: 1h 43min

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Dr Sidney Schaefer (Coburn) is recruited to be, as the title suggests, the President’s psychoanalyst. And boy does the President need it! Schaefer is conveniently moved to a new home with a secret tunnel connecting it to the White House, meaning that his new patient can call on him at all hours of the day and night. And he does.

Who wouldn’t want this to be the face they see morning, noon and night?

Cushy or not, the job is top secret and totes private, so Schaefer cannot vent to anyone about the stress and pressure of his new position, and this soon starts to tear on his own psyche. He begins to see conspiracies everywhere – even suspecting his new girlfriend of spying on him.

“Leave your girlfirend, your friends and your family. Come with us. We’re safe. We’re good. We’re not going to stare at you while you sleep and try to steal your soul.”

Turns out he’s right all along! There are a whole bunch of agencies out to get him, such as the CEA, the FBR, the KGB and, worst of all, the TPC! How is a poor psychiatrist supposed to get out of this mess?

The way we all get out of scrapes: with the help of a gun-toting, trigger happy, all-American family with excellent fashion sense, of course!

This movie is hilarious. Ok, it’s very, very silly, but if you’re in the right mood it’s great. The sixties are truly swinging in this comedy/thriller/sci-fi, and Coburn is swinging along. Despite his strife, he seems very jolly and happy all the time – he handles everything thrown at him with ease. He appears to be especially delighted during his stint as a gong player in a hippie band while on the run.

“I cannot believe I wasted my life with a good education and the pursuit of a career! Stick it to the MAN!”

The quintessential American Family™ the Quandrills are also among our favourites, but what we enjoyed the most about this movie were all the different agencies and their relationships with each other. The agents and spies from the FBR, KGB, TPC, CSS, CEA, etc. tend to bump into each other so often that they’re all old friends – especially Masters (Cambridge) and Kropotkin (Darden), CEA and KGB, respectively. Their scenes together are easily the best parts of the movie. We also enjoyed the piles of dead assassins and spies. Mass murder is hilarious (in the right context)!

Also, phone companies are evil. But we already knew that.

What we learned: Are you paranoid if they’re actually out to get you?

Next time: The Producers (1967)

#298 The Graduate

Watched: January 31 2021

Director: Mike Nichols

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross, William Daniels, Murray Hamilton, Elizabeth Wilson

Year: 1967

Runtime: 1h 46min

Surprise motherfuckers! We’re not dead. We just got to summer and realised we were completely exhausted by work and pandemics and generally being alive, so we needed a proper break. No work, no writing, no responsibilities! Sorry ’bout it. But we are now rested and rejuvenated and ready to dive back in with a fun, lighthearted romp through depression, existential crises, borderline abuse, doomed relationships and rape allegations… Oh. Oh damn.

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Well, the plot of The Graduate is pretty well known. Ben (Hoffman) comes home from college, all disillusioned and emo. His parents’ generation is totes old fashioned and lame, and all Ben knows is he certainly doesn’t want to become like them (spoiler alert: he probably will). Then the ultimate cougar seduces him.

The ancient crone Anne Bancroft, 36 years old at the time of filming. Fuck, we’re old.

Ben’s domestic claustrophobia and feeling of alienation on his return home are probably familiar to most people – we know we’ve been there. Being a young adult is hard, man! Luckily, he deals with his emotions in a mature manner – by floating around in the pool and fucking his parents’ friend.

“They just don’t understand, AquariumMan!”

Things get more complicated once Ben falls in love with Mrs Robinson’s daughter Elaine (Ross). Whether out of jealousy or because she thinks her daughter could do better than her boy toy, Mrs Robinson does everything she can to break the two up – including falsely accusing Ben of rape.

“I get that you’re mad at me, but the trope of women falsely crying rape in popular culture is very detrimental to feminism in general and to actual victims specifically. Because while statistically false accusations are rare and unreported assaults are much more common, a lot of people will use the few examples that exist in order to undermine the victims who do come forward. See – I did learn some things in college!”

As is tradition, let’s go through what we liked and didn’t like about The Graduate. We loved the stress, depression and claustrophobia experienced by Ben, the clown painting, the portrayal of ennui and alienation, Simon and Garfunkel, and the last shot when the two crazy kids realize they may have just made a huge mistake.

Well fuck

What we didn’t like… Well… Let’s face it: Elaine is a non-person. The only semi-intelligent thing she does is leave him on that first, disasterous date. Then after that, she sort of just exists to be an object of obsession for her new stalker who’s secretly banging her mom. And also to show him if you just stalk and bother her enough, she’ll eventually fall in love with you. #lifehack

There’s nothing more charming than a man who follows you to a date with another guy. Harrassment means he cares!

That being said, Ben’s malaise is relatable for people of several generations. The ’60s was not the last decade where the youth had trouble relating to their parents, and while we came around a long time later (we’re still young dammit!), we’ve been in the same boat. Luckily, we avoided being seduced by the neighbourhood cougar. Phew!

What we learned: A relationship is the solution to all your problems! Also, stalking is super romantic.

Next time: The President’s Analyst (1967)

#297 The Firemen’s Ball/Horí, má panenko

Watched: June 1 2021

Director: Miloš Forman

Starring: Jan Vostrcil, Josef Sebánek, Josef Valnoha, Frantisek Debelka, Josef Rehorek, Jan Stöckl, Frantisek Reinstein, Frantisek Paska, Josef Kolb, Frantisek Svet, Josef Kutálek, and a bunch of other guys probably called Jan, Josef and/or Frantisek.

Year: 1967

Runtime: 1h 13min

Our small city of Trondheim has been relatively unaffected by Covid for the past few months – we’ve had few infections and most of our businesses have run more or less like normal. In fact, it’s been a source of pride for many local politicians and citizens how well we’ve handled all of this. But those of us who watch a lot of movies know all too well the price of hubris… It was only a matter of time before a new wave hit, which happened recently. This time with fun, new mutations! The result of all this is that while the rest of the world is slowly opening up again, we’re going in the opposite direction: many places are shut down, we’re in and out of quarantines, and things are far from normal. But at least we’ve got movies, right?

Kidnapping rates are thankfully also low, due to the whole don’t-leave-your-home-thing. So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.

After a wait list period (who else checked out this movie in 2021???) we just managed to get our hands on The Firemen’s Ball before the libraries closed down. And was it worth it? Well, probably.

It has certainly become more complicated to use library services since the right wing government came into power…

OK, we’ll be honest – The Firemen’s Ball needs context to work, at least it did for us. With no context, it’s a farce about a bunch of bumbling, incompetent firemen trying to throw a ball, while being both stupid and a little bit sexist about it. And we’re not really big fans of farces – we tend to find them annoying (and sometimes sad) rather than funny.

It’s probably our critical and analytical stares, here perfectly captured by Forman.

However, context is important. This movie was made in Czechoslovakia in 1967, and the Communist Party was not amused by the depiction of bureaucratic idiocy and inadequate leaders. In fact, they were so unimpressed that Miloš Forman ended up in (self-imposed) exile in the wake of it. Which makes the whole thing pretty badass, even if the movie itself isn’t really our cup of tea.

“To reflect our high status and importance in society, we’ve moved away from the traditional fireman helmet into a design more befitting our station. No pun intended.”

So basically, watch this if you’re interested in history and/or like farces. But if you don’t like either, maybe skip it…

Some things work best with context. While other things, like this picture, are just as good or better without.

What we learned: “Uzenka” means “sausage”. We’ll never again starve or go horny for long in the Czech Republic.

Next time: The Graduate (1967)

#290 Playtime

Watched: January 23 2021

Director: Jacques Tati

Starring: Jacques Tati, Barbara Dennek, about a thousand others

Year: 1967

Runtime: 1h 59min

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Monsieur Hulot (Tati) is back, as confused by modern life as ever. And honestly, we can’t blame him. The world which he inhabits is very confusing indeed, but it is also thoroughly entertaining.

Unpopular opinion: we know these are probably meant to be symbols of the dehumanization fo the workplace or whatever, but these cubicles actually seem like perfect workspaces for you local office introvert. We don’t all thrive in an open-plan office!

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We move from one strange location to the next, starting off in a glass and steel office building/hospital/furniture-and-or-gadget-fair/airport/everything-else-in-the-world, and ending in a nightclub which is still under construction yet serving guest all the same.

“The food is rubbish, the ceiling is caving in, the heating is all screwy, but these tassels were made for shaking, baby!”

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Despite M. Hulot being the natural focal point, there’s not real main character, no real plot, and no real climax. Like its predecessors, Playtime is as much a collection of storylines and gags as it is a feature film, but this is not a criticism. The choreography is perfect, the gags funny and charming, and the innocent romance sweet. Everything is filmed in wide shots and sometimes there’s too much going on onscreen for you to catch it in one screening, so be prepared to go back to it again and again.

Just kidding. You’ll never leave. There is no escape…

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The sense of alienation and confusion experienced by the inhabitants of “Tativille” is something we can probably all relate to on some level. Yet they move through life somehow making it work. As do we all. All we can do is our best.

The most useful person in this restaurant is the waiter all the others can switch ruined uniforms with. We all serve a purpose. Look at you go little buddy!

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What we learned: The world is complicated. But we should bring back the over-the-top restaurant/nightclub-hybrids. Once the pandemic is over and we can all go out again, that is.

Next time: Point Blank (1967)

#289 Mad Monster Party?

Watched: January 19 2021

Director: Jules Bass

Starring: Boris Karloff, Allen Swift, Gale Garnett, Phyllis Diller

Year: 1967

Runtime: 1h 34min

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Baron Boris von Frankenstein (Karloff) has made the discovery of a lifetime – the means to utterly destroy matter. As is tradition, he decides to celebrate his destructive invention with a party, and everyone’s invited.

“Death and destruction always goes best with dinner and dancing. Time to party!”

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And by everone, we mean everyone. Sure, there are the usual suspects. Dracula, a werewolf, a mummy, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the creature from the Black Lagoon, the invisible man, a certain French hunchback, and of course the Baron’s own famous creation and his fabulous wife.

“Sorry about the outfit, Baron. I’ve been an understudy in a live stage production about Sinbad the Sailor”

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In addition to these famous monsters though, a clumsy but well meaning young pharmacist named Felix also gets an invitation to the party. Because the Baron has another objective for the weekend. He wants to name his successor as head of the worldwide organization of monsters.

Even monsters are able to unionize. Why can’t employees of major international companies? Come on, people!

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While his close assistant Francesca (Garnett) sees herself as her boss’s natural heiress, she soon learns that Felix is Frankenstein’s nephew and thus nepotism demands that he will be the one to inherit his uncle’s assets. Which seems like a very bad idea given Felix’s nature. Francesca teams up with Dracula to get rid of the competition…

How long can a mere mortal be expected to survive on an island inhabited by monsters..? He won’t be in the running for long.

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We didn’t grow up with this movie (what gives, Norway in the 80s and 90s?), but you had us at “stop-motion animation with a horror theme and Poe references”. Mad Monster Party? is silly, funny, sweet, and filled with puns and gags.

It also has a very well trained zombie horde. And one who tends to lose his head a lot. Especially around women he feels are owed to him…

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Allen Swift does pretty much all the voices and he does a marvellous job, riddled with impressions. In addition, you have musical numbers, a wonderful tap dancing Dracula, an Incel zombie and an unlikely love affair. This is an animation movie for kids and adults alike, and thoroughly entertaining. Loved it!

Did we mention that there’s a skeleton rock band? ‘Cause there’s a skeleton rock band.

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By the way, this movie brought to mind Toonsylvania, more specifically “Igor’s Science Minute” where he sings the names of the natural elements, and now we can’t get it out of our heads. If anyone is sitting on a copy of that video, please get in touch. We NEED to rewatch it.

“Hydrogen, heeeelium, lithium, beryllium, boron, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, fluoooorine, neeeeon…”
This is what we’re talking about. If you know it you know it.

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What we learned: If you’re going to leave your evil empire to someone, perhaps vet them a bit first? Also, the trick to defeating monsters is not to fear them. And powerful explosives. That works too.

Next time: Playtime (1967)

#281 What’s Up, Tiger Lily?

Watched: October 22 2020

Director: Woody Allen/Senkichi Taniguchi

Starring: Woody Allen, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Frank Buxton, Louise Lasser, Tatsuya Mihashi, Mie Hama, Akiko Wakabayashi, Julie Bennett

Year: 1966

Runtime: 1h 20min

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What’s Up, Tiger Lily? is a strange little thing. Basically, Woody Allen has taken a Japanese James Bond-style action comedy and redubbed it to make a whole new, and very silly, story. The new film revolves around the quest for the ultimate recipe for egg salad, and it is packed full of silly jokes and sexual innuendo.

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This was clearly an American influence – the original movie was clean as a whistle

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Ok, so the idea is good, and the first 30-40 minutes were very funny and entertaining, in a silly comedy à la Airplane sort of way. The juxtaposition of the action thriller with the decidedly silly dialogue, and specifically the club dancing with the music of “The Lovin’ Spoonful”, worked well and we found it funny and entertaining.

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Oh, how we were waiting for a “drinking problem” joke. None was forthcoming…

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However, after about 35 minutes, we must admit that both sisters started to lose interest. It didn’t really go anywhere new anymore, and the jokes, which were always a bit hit or miss, were beginning to grow a bit tired…

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At this point, the Japanese version was starting to seem more intriguing (and absurd) than the parody. Check out the fancy pirate flag!

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By the end, we became the movie audience we personally hate – the ones sitting on their phones while “watching” a film. We’re sorry. To all those who had faith in us, we apologize and promise to do better on the next one.

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Love in the time of Corona

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Despite the fact that Woody Allen does not appear onscreen a lot, there are some uncomfortable connotations from a modern point of view in this movie, especially during the credits. Innocent enough jokes in 1966 take on a new dimension given everything that has transpired since. However, that’s not our problem with this. In our opinion, the movie’s main weakness is that the concept doesn’t quite work for 1h 20 – it might have been better as a series of 20 minute episodes based on different films, or even a stand-alone 30 minute short.

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“30 minutes? I’m way too funny for a 30 minute short! Imbeciles…”

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In conclusion: we enjoyed the first half more than we thought we would, and lost interest in the last half. This is definitely not a movie for all audiences, and we suspect that it’s one of those love it or hate it kind of things. Although we neither loved or hated it. We were just a bit underwhelmed.

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Also, we don’t find the idea of tricking women into stripping on camera as amusing as Allen apparently did.

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What we learned: Bring the cattle prod.

Next time: Belle de Jour (1967)

#274 Gambit

Watched: August 5 2020

Director: Ronald Neame

Starring: Michael Caine, Shirley MacLaine, Herbert Lom

Year: 1966

Runtime: 1h 49min

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Hong Kong. Harry Dean (Caine) approaches nightclub dancer Nicole Chang (MacLaine) with an offer she cannot refuse.

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Who wouldn’t accept $5000 to stand around, say nothing and be alluring for a night? In fact, you can contact us at 1000filmsblog@gmail.com for available days…

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Harry has it all figured out. He will distract the incredibly rich Shahbandar (Lom) with Nicole’s uncanny resemblance to his dead wife. While Shahbandar focuses all his energy on Nicole, Harry will be free to case his apartment and later on steal a valuable bust. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

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…or is that Easy peasy racist squeezy?

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Naturally, everything goes according to plan, both Nicole and Shahbandar play into Harry’s schemes perfectly, none of them has any ideas or agency of their own, and it’s all smooth sailing. It’s a very short film.

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“Look, lady, I didn’t hire you to smile. Or speak. Or be human. Why can’t you just stand around all silent and mysterious and do as you’re told like the woman in my dream heist???”

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You know it’s going to be a good movie when the opening credits include “gowns designed by” and “hairstyles designed by.” At least visually. And Gambit delivers in every way.

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“Just throw in some tinsel and that old Dracula cape we found lying around. Fashion!”

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We loved the contrast between the dream heist and the reality, how much Nicole saves Harry’s ass throughout the movie (he really should have prepared better!), and everything Shirley MacLaine.

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“Now that I’ve got my hands on the prize I will stare wistfully into the distance and think deep thoughts about life, love, priorities and such.”

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This is a very fun, engaging and exciting heist comedy, with some screwball elements and wonderful actors. We were thoroughly entertained!

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Just try to ignore the unfortunate brown-face and cultural appropriation. It’s of its time.

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What we learned: People never behave the way you plan. And some people are worth more than money.

Next time: Kill Baby, Kill! (1966)

#272 Daisies

Watched: July 15 2020

Director: Věra Chytilová

Starring: Jitka Cerhová, Ivana Karbanová

Year: 1966

Runtime: 1h 14min

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Two young women, Marie I and Marie II (Cerhová and Karbanová), decide that since the world is going bad, they will get down with the badness and no longer live up to the female ideal of temperance.

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This isn’t even from the film. This is just us on a regular Tuesday.

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After eating apples (Symbolism Alert!), they go on an indulgence spree, eating, drinking and generally helping themselves to everything life has to offer, consequences be damned!

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Even when the consequences include decapitation

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Daisies is hard to describe, it needs to be experienced. And you should. The protagonists are wonderful, and there is still, 50+ years later, something unusually freeing about watching two young women gorge themselves on food and drinks the way they do.

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Our rational, practical, Norwegian brains are still worried about ants in the bed though

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We absolutely loved this – it is strange and surreal, and the costumes and sets are fantastic in every way.

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Sometimes the set even bleeds into the costumes. It’s a whole thing.

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Interestingly, after initial good reviews, the film was pretty much banned in its native Czechoslovakia by the communist regime for “depicting the wanton.” However, it is now generally regarded as one of the great Czechoslovak movies of all time.

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To be fair, what could ever possibly top this?

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Excellent comedy with a message! What’s not to love?

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This will be you as you watch. Trust and believe!

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What we learned: Everyone needs nourishment. And sometimes you have to break the rules.

Next time: Fantastic Voyage (1966)