Monday, February 3, 2014

Marathon of the Lost: Week 4

I know this is going up a little bit late.  I’m sorry for the delay.  Let’s get down to it then.  There are four final movies that I watched as a part of the Marathon of the Lost.  That’s four more people who passed away in 2013 that I was paying tribute to this January.  It’s been a long month that included a lot of movies of a lot of genres.  I’ve looked back at many different people who have had an influence over film and television.  I’ve watched movies that they were involved in as a way to respect the people who have provided me with entertainment for years.  What were the final four movies?  I’ll tell you right now.

Chariots of Fire

I wanted an excuse to watch this movie.  Nigel Davenport passed away in 2013, so I added it into the lineup of movies for this marathon.  I don’t know who Nigel Davenport is.  That makes me feel bad about having this movie in the marathon since I’m paying tribute to someone I don’t know.  I know he was an actor.  I know he was in Chariots of Fire.  That’s about all that I know.  I feel bad, but at the same time I don’t.  I got to see the movie, and though I’m not sure who he was in the movie, I know he was good.  All of the acting in the movie was good.  All of it.

Nigel Davenport died on October 25th of 2013 at the age of 85.  He was a well-known British actor and did a lot for British acting, from what I can tell.  I don’t know how he died.

Chariots of Fire is a fine movie.  The acting is great and the idea is good.  The problem is that it’s somewhat boring.  There isn’t a lot of momentum to the story and I lost interest multiple times.  I’m not sure why I was supposed to care about the characters.  They wanted to win foot races.  Okay.  That’s it?  Okay.  I don’t really have investment in that if the characters themselves aren’t intriguing, and I didn’t find them intriguing.  I guess this one just isn’t for me.


Remember when this was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards?  A movie about a series of interviews was nominated for the most respected award in the movie world.  It should at least be a good movie.  And it is.  It really is.  I’m not sure how it is possible to make interviews as exciting as this movie made them, but I could watch this movie repeatedly and not tire of it.  Not only is that a testament to the people involved in making the movie, but it’s a testament to David Frost, one of the title characters.

David Frost was a real man who passed away on August 31st of 2013 due to a heart attack.  He was 74 years old.  The man was a television personality due to the many hosting duties he had for various shows.  His most famous work is the series of interviews he did with Richard Nixon, which are the basis for the movie.

Like I said Frost/Nixon is a movie that made interviews exciting.  I’m sure that the Richard Nixon interviews were exciting enough when they happened because people wanted to know more about Watergate and everything surrounding that.  Thirty years later, when we know more about the situation, and the audience for this movie probably wants a little bit more movement in their movies, it seems near impossible to get excitement out of the subject matter.  But there is excitement.  It may be partially due to the stage play that came before the film, but the film is a great achievement.

Big Stan

This was my choice for Marcia Wallace, the woman behind the voice of Mrs. Krabappel on The Simpsons.  I initially chose The Simpsons Movie because it’s a movie based on the show that she was most known for.  However, you never hear her voice in the movie so I needed to switch it.  I saw that she was in Big Stan, a movie I had seen once and remembered liking.  I decided I’d give the movie another run through, so that’s why Big Stan is here.

For those that don’t know, Marcia Wallace passed away on October 25th, 2013.  She was 70 years old and had been fighting breast cancer for 30 years.  I never watched The Simpsons, but I know people loved her for her work on the show.  The show paid tribute to her with Bart writing on the chalkboard that he would miss her character.

Marcia Wallace isn’t in Big Stan for that long.  I think she had two lines as a bartender in a biker bar.  She made the most of those lines, though.  I’ll tell you that much.  The movie as a whole wasn’t as good as I remember.  There’s an interesting idea in there; a guy becomes top dog in prison and turns it into a place where all of the inmates get along and become friends.  I really like that concept.  The problem is that it’s layered beneath an hour and a half of rape jokes that aren’t funny in any way at all.  That’s too bad.  The movie could have been good, given that all the performances are pretty good.

Running Scared

Finally, we come to Running Scared, the final movie of the Marathon of the Lost.  I saved this until the end because out of everyone I gave tribute to, Paul Walker is the one that meant the most to me.  The guy was a part of my life since I was a child.  I’ve been watching his movies for many years and grow up as he was finding his place as a movie star.  As his career grew, I went through puberty.  I watched his movies many times.  I enjoyed them.  And then he died and I felt an emptiness inside.  (As I’m writing this, I have learned that Philip Seymour Hoffman has passed, and there’s a similar feeling with that death.)  He was always there, and now he’s not.  I’ll miss him.

Paul Walker passed away on November 30th, 2013 when the car he was in crashed and burned up.  He was 40.  He left behind one daughter and a lot of pained twenty-somethings who adored his work.

Running Scared was the movie I chose for the Marathon of the Lost because it might very well be the high point of Paul Walker’s acting career.  Many people would say that it’s his best performance, and it’s hard to argue when you see the movie.  It’s the most into a character he’s been, where the character had depth.  He does accent work.  He convincingly plays a bunch of different emotions.  I’m not one to have ever said that Walker was a great actor.  He lit up the screen because you knew he loved his job.  I enjoyed watching him.  But Running Scared is the closest he came to a great performance.  I’m glad that we have this movie to capture the potential that Paul Walker had.  It’s sad that we’ll never see him give a performance like it again.

That brings the Marathon of the Lost to a close.  It’s been a long month of looking back on the people we lost in 2013.  I didn’t cover everyone we lost because that would add a lot of other movies to the marathon that I couldn’t possibly have watched in January.  Nelson Mandela, James Avery, Cory Monteith, Lisa Robin Kelly, Karen Black, Jean Stapleton… These are just some of the other people who passed away last year.  It’s just hard to find the time to truly pay tribute to all of them.

2014 has already brought its share of death to Hollywood and movie lovers everywhere.  We appreciate the work that these people have done.  It gives us entertainment.  It makes us forget, for small amounts of time, the troubles in our own lives.  These people make us feel better.  They bring us internal peace, even if only momentarily.  They mean a lot to us.  On behalf of everyone, we’ll miss them all.

I’ll see you guys again sometime.  I’ve got the Sunday “Bad” Movies every Sunday, the Work Stories every Friday, the Power Rangers reviews whenever I get around to them, marathons that pop up every once in a while, and other things that you can find by looking around in the blog.  Keep up with them if you want.  Or don’t.  It’s up to you.  I hope you’ll come back some time.

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