Still a work in progress, filling up bit by bit.

this, as some of you may notice, is a riff on - or a blatant ripoff of, if you prefer - the brother's dvd archive. we each own somewhere over 100 discs. despite the fact that we are each the most genetically similar human to the other out of all the world's six billion, and were brought up in the same environment, we have only a small number of discs in common between our two lists (plus i know he has Plymptoons, 'cause i gave it to him, but he doesn't list it 'cause it's not a Movie). you may hold your own opinion on how much this divergence has to do with the one-chromosome difference.

not that i am averse to all the many of his that i don't own. no collection would be complete without (for example) monty python's holy grail. i just happen not to have bought it yet.

i, also, bought many many of my titles while they were still cheap, with fistfuls of coupons. rate of purchase has slowed way down since january 2001 partly for financial reasons, though priorities may shift back in this direction if/when i get the chance.

hardware notes:

device #1: sony DVP-S550D. it's never refused to play anything. for new year's 2001, shortly after its second birthday, it developed a quirk wherein, once turned off, it might decide to refuse to turn on again. so i left it on for about six months straight, until a houseguest whom i'd forgotten to warn turned it off. it's been absolutely fine ever since.

device #2: a mac G4 cube. i've only used this for DVDs a few times, when the sony was on strike (see above). but i must say that dvds look very purty on my nice flat-panel screen.

audio rig: i have nothing even approaching a respectable sound system. yes, i use the tv speakers, so sue me. one of these days, things will be different. sony trinitron KV-27FS12 (that's 27" flat screen), fabrique au mexique.

( back to the tricycle )

the westwood municipal DVD archive

9|11 (2002)
d: Jules & Gedeon Naudet and James Hanlon
Tony Benetatos and other real people as themselves (documentary)
As a historian, how could I not own a copy of the only known footage of the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center? Not to mention the lobby command posts. How strange the Naudets must have felt afterwards, to have accidentally found themselves to be conduits of history.
Not borrowed.

Alien (1979) (20th anniv SE)
d: Ridley Scott
Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Harry Dean Stanton, Yaphet Kotto, Ian Holm
I wonder what the significance of the "Nostromo" reference is. I know it's a book by Joseph "Heart of Darkness" Conrad. I'll have to look it up sometime.
Not borrowed.

Aliens (1986) (SE)
d: James Cameron
Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen
A perfectly good flick for a summer afternoon, though some of the deleted scenes should have stayed out. I'd be interested to see Ripley and her newfound happy family continue the fight against the Man, and/or wherever the creatures came from; they ought to make more sequels - as long as they don't mess it up by deciding they have to kill off the main characters or something, in order to maintain somebody's twisted idea of gritty "realism." If they did that, I might have to pretend said sequels didn't exist, which would be a shame.
Not borrowed.

American Beauty (1999) (Awards Edition)
d: Sam Mendes
Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley
The school scenes were filmed at my high school. Cool, but also mildly distracting. "Buses never park there like that; they only did that so you wouldn't see the strip mall beyond the parking lot." "Hey... that's the blacktop behind the girls' gym; people don't get dropped off there... wait, now he's walking away across the field behind the library, that's not next to the girls' gym." My experience growing up in suburbia was nowhere near this dark (thank God), but I do love the idea of the bag. I think it's floating against the back wall of the gym, which has never seen a flake of real snow in its 40+ years of existence.
Not borrowed.

American Graffiti (1973) (CE)
d: George Lucas
Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford
My mom had/has relatives in that same general area, California's central valley, and her family visited them every summer during the fifties, when she was the same age as these characters. She says yes, that's exactly how it was. (although, her parents never let her or her sister go out cruising themselves, or go to the car races. And that was pretty much all there was to do in those small towns.)
Not borrowed.

Antz (1998)
d: Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson
Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Christopher Walken, Anne Bancroft, Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Lopez
One of the pair of 1998 animated ant movies. Since this one stars Woody Allen, you can guess that it is the neurotic angst-ridden comedy one.
Not borrowed.

Apollo 13 (1995) (CE)
d: Ron Howard
Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris
Some reviewer commented 'government bureaucrats save the day.' NO, that's 'nerd engineers save the day!' Yay smart science people! We love smart science people. Too bad the rest of the populace doesn't recognize them even when put in front of their faces.
Not borrowed.

Back to the Future (1985)
d: Robert Zemeckis
Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover
Thanks to KNX 1070's Radio Drama Hour, which also plays comedy shows, I can catch the joke in 1955 Doc Brown's disbelieving reply to Marty's news that Ronald Reagan is president in 1985: "And I suppose Jack Benny is the secretary of the treasury!" hee.
Not borrowed.

Back to the Future, part 2 (1989)
d: Robert Zemeckis
Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson
We may not get hoverboards, but I won't be too surprised if a Cafe '80s like that exists in 2015. Also, check out Elijah Wood as one of the unimpressed video game kids.
Not borrowed.

Back to the Future, part 3 (1990)
d: Robert Zemeckis
Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Mary Steenburgen, Thomas F. Wilson
Okay, so neither of the sequels are quite as cool as the first one. I still think they're plenty of fun. Also it was fun to get them nearly back-to-back in the theaters.
Not borrowed.

Beauty and the Beast (1991) (SE)
d: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White
I don't like that "Human Again" song they added back in for the special edition. They were right to cut it in the first place. At least they made it so you could select "original version" from the main menu. Not that I noticed this right off the bat, d'oh.

Not borrowed.

Before Sunrise (1995)
d: Richard Linklater
Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
You should know up front that I like just sitting in corners and watching and listening to people, and seeing what happens in the courses of days in their lives. This movie is like that, following their wanderings all over Vienna for a day and a night, exploring what happens when two strangers meet and connect for a time. I must also say, Ethan Hawke is easy for me to watch.
Not borrowed.

Benny & Joon (1993)
d: Jeremiah S. Chechik
Johnny Depp, Mary Stuart Masterson, Aidan Quinn
"You're out of your tree." "Oh, it's not my tree."

I've noticed online comments from people with mental illnesses and their family/friends, commending this movie for its human, realistic treatment of the subject. I defer to their judgment of that; I simply find it a sweet, funny film. I deduce that prior knowledge of Buster Keaton is beneficial, but not necessary.

Not borrowed.

Blade Runner (1982) (Director's Cut)
d: Ridley Scott
Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos
Note to product placers: beware! Appearing in a futuristic film may be the kiss of death for your corporate future.

It's fun, looking at historical and futuristic movies, that you actually learn just as much or more about the time when the movie was made. Like the scientific (?) thinking circa 1982 that pollution would create a world where it rained all the time in Los Angeles.

That Bradbury building is an actual downtown L.A. landmark. Haven't visited it yet though.

Not borrowed.

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
d: Blake Edwards
Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard
I hear that the book's ending is a little different. Being a rank sentimentalist, I'm perfectly satisfied with this one. But I plan to read the book sometime anyway.
Not borrowed.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete First Season (TV) (1997)
creator: Joss Whedon
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, Anthony Stewart Head, David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter
I get in these moods sometimes where I don't want to try something new. I have my sources of happiness and feel no need to look for new ones. Despite the occasional hints (and outright exclamations) that this show was great, I never watched a single episode until the beginning of season six, fall 2001. Then I caught a bunch of early episodes on F/X while in NYC around the same time. Ack! Now I have to go back and buy all the DVDs and catch up.
Not borrowed.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Second Season (TV) (1998)
creator: Joss Whedon
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, Anthony Stewart Head, David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter, James Marsters
"We're going to have a little less ritual around here, and a little more FUN."
Not borrowed.

a Bug's Life (1998) (2-D CE)
d: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton
Dave Foley, Kevin Spacey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Hayden Panettiere, Phyllis Diller
The other 1998 animated ant movie. More fully kid-oriented, complete with little-kid ant supporting characters, but wow some of this is just beautiful colorful gorgeous. And funny. They give you both sets of outtakes from the end credits. "Outtakes," from an animated movie! Pixar rocks.
Not borrowed.

Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins (2000) (straight-to-video)
d: Tad Stones
Tim Allen, Nicole Sullivan, Larry Miller, Stephen Furst, Wayne Knight
It ain't Toy Story, but it's better than you might expect; I bought it because some DVD reviewer said this. Of course it's a conventional TV-cartoon plot, but the characters are constantly making self-referential cracks for the grownups. Surprisingly watchable, if you're in the proper mood.
Not borrowed.

Cadfael: the Virgin in the Ice (ep #5) (1995) (TV)
d: Malcolm Mowbray
Derek Jacobi, Mark Charnock, Julian Firth, Eoin McCarthy
Of the four episodes I own, this is my favorite because I am a hopeless romantic.
Not borrowed.

Cadfael: the Devil's Novice (ep #6) (1996) (TV)
d: Herbert Wise
Derek Jacobi
It's been so long since I saw this that I've forgotten the story. Cool! Especially for a mystery, that's good. Now I can go watch it again, fresh (at least for the first five minutes before everything comes back to me).
Not borrowed.

Cadfael: a Morbid Taste for Bones (ep #7) (1996) (TV)
d: Rick Stroud
Derek Jacobi, Michael Culver, Julian Firth
If you're not familiar with this series, shame on you and you ought to watch more PBS. Cadfael (Derek Jacobi, which ought to convince you right there) is a monk in 1100s England, an herbalist who uses his cleverness and pre-monastic worldly experience to solve local crimes and mysteries. There's a civil war going on in the background (and sometimes the foreground), which this series got me interested in learning more about; I'd never known before about King Stephen vs. the Empress Maud.
Not borrowed.

Cadfael: St. Peter's Fair (ep #9) (1997) (TV)
d: Herbert Wise
Derek Jacobi, Eoin McCarthy, Mark Charnock
civil wars, always tricky things to conduct business in the midst of.
Not borrowed.

Casablanca (1942)
d: Michael Curtiz
Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains
Whatever else you may say about the French, they have the best national anthem in the world.
Not borrowed.

a Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) (TV)
d: Bill Melendez
Peter Robbins, Christopher Shea, Pamelyn Ferdin/Tracy Stratford
Just a low-key little classic, without which no Christmas season would be complete.
Not borrowed.

Chicken Run (2000) (SE)
d: Peter Lord, Nick Park
Julia Sawalha, Mel Gibson, Lynn Ferguson, Jane Horrocks, Imelda Staunton, Miranda Richardson
Stalag 17 meets too many other references to list. "Nick Park claymation" is really all you need to know. "I'm not even certain he was American."
Not borrowed.

Cinema Paradiso (1988)
d: Giuseppe Tornatore
Enzo Cannavale, Marco Leonardi, Salvatore Cascio, Antonella Attili
Cinema italiano, bravissimo. Love-note to growing up in a small Italian town, specifically in its movie-house.
Not borrowed.

the Civil War (TV) (1990)
d: Ken Burns
[lots of voice actors and historians]
anyone who has ever in their life claimed history is boring, i wish i could sit them down and show them this.
Not borrowed.

Contact (1997) (SE)
d: Robert Zemeckis
Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey
The first time I saw this was amazing. They gathered a bunch of us from Planetfest 97, at the Pasadena convention center celebrating the Mars Pathfinder landing, and took us over to the WB lot for a preview screening. Not only was it a primo theater (cushy stadium seating, huge screen, great sound), but the audience was quiet and rapt, and tended to gasp knowingly about the prime numbers, the signal strength, and the hydrogen-times-pi frequency before the characters even explained them.

And of course I loved the movie enough that I saw it two more times at the Village before it went out of theaters.

Not borrowed.

Creature Comforts (1990)
d: Nick Park
Julie Sedgwick
This disc actually has four Aardman Animation shorts on it. The title track is an early Nick Park, and I do wish it weren't so short. Well worth it. The other three are ok. "My auntie is a zombie... from HELL!"
Not borrowed.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
d: Ang Lee
Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi, Cheng Pei-pei, Chang Chen
Whether or not you will believe a man (or woman) can fly, you will admire the beauty of both the action and the settings. I choose to believe that the very ending is a dream sequence.
Not borrowed.

the Dark Crystal (1982) (SE)
d: Jim Henson, Frank Oz
Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Kathryn Mullen, Dave Goelz, Stephen Garlick, Lisa Maxwell
I could swear there's a small segment missing from the very end, compared to when I saw it in the theater. I think they've cut short some of the tall being's explanation of why the event that broke the Crystal happened in the first place. I felt it was a notable philosophical point: the folly of attempting to deny a part of yourself. They'd tried to completely purge the rough, evil, dark sides of themselves, and it didn't work out the way they expected. But now all he says is 'we broke the crystal - our bad.'

There's another bit missing where Kira encounters the chorus of pod-zombies that were her fellow villagers, but I don't mind losing that as much. freaked me out. They also cut the part where Kira drinks back the bit of her essence that was drained, but that's not a critical point given what happens at the end.

Obviously this lovely scary strange film imprinted itself deeply on my ten-year-old psyche.

Not borrowed.

Dead Again (1991)
d: Kenneth Branagh
Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson
I've felt vaguely guilty about liking this film. I don't know why; I don't know any reason why I shouldn't. Maybe it's the montage bit at the end. But I really enjoyed the "I would never hurt you" line when seen at Stanford Flicks, when the whole theater gasped en masse. that was cool.
Not borrowed.

Earthlight (1998) (straight-to-video)
d: n/a
This is likely the closest I'll ever get to floating in orbit, looking down at Earth. One advantage to doing it this way is that you can turn on the subtitles to tell you what you're looking at.
Not borrowed.

la Femme Nikita (1990)
d: Luc Besson
Anne Parillaud, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Tcheky Karyo
I was hesitant to watch this again when Stewart rented it, because it had been a few years since I'd seen it (one of the Stanford Flicks's non-mainstream selections). I couldn't remember who exactly was involved with the acid and the bathtub, and I was afraid it might be the romantic interest. I was happy to be wrong.
Not borrowed.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
d: John Hughes
Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones
Not borrowed.

Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
d: Norman Jewison
Topol, Norma Crane, Leonard Frey, Molly Picon
When I was little we had the soundtrack LP to this (or maybe to the stage version, I don't remember, I was too young to pay attention to these things). It's probably still in a cabinet somewhere. I'd never seen the actual production. My favorite song was "matchmaker matchmaker make me a match," even though I was a bit puzzled by it; a little wooden fire stick and its maker seemed rather odd things to sing a song about. and first they're singing to him, then about the match maker, who's supposed to be handsome and kind? (I did figure it out when older, possibly by asking mom.)
Not borrowed.

G.I. Joe: The Movie (1987) (TV)
d: Don Jurwich
Don Johnson, Burgess Meredith, many others
knowledge is half the battle. What I really want are the older movies that they ran as five-parters in the half-hour cartoon slots. Especially the first one, where Scarlett had a moment of stardom that was always cut for time when they ran it as one long movie. Dangit, there's only like two girls in all of G.I. Joe (at that time - actually Cover Girl may not have shown up yet, and she never got much character development anyway). Do you hafta cut the girl's time? yeah yeah irrelevant to plot yadda yadda. snort.

This movie was later, when they were starting to go over the edge of weirdness, into creepy organic-tech slimy gross things. Not as far off the edge as I hear Transformers went, though.

Not borrowed.

Galaxy Quest (1999)
d: Dean Parisot
Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman
Wil Wheaton loves this movie. "Did you ever WATCH the show?!"
Not borrowed.

Ghostbusters (1984)
d: Ivan Reitman
Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis
When I was in Central Park in Oct 2001, I saw a building on Central Park West that might have been the model for the lower part of the ziggurat building. At least, I thought it looked vaguely familiar. Just one example of how often New York seemed like a movie set to me, having walked past so many fake brownstones before meeting the real-life ones.
Not borrowed.

Gladiator (2000)
d: Ridley Scott
Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed
music by Hans Zimmer with contributions by Lisa Gerrard from Dead Can Dance. The music is why I like this movie as much as I do, on top of my natural weakness for historical epics.
Not borrowed.

Goldfinger (1964)
d: Guy Hamilton
Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, Gert Froebe
I have seen James Bond movies many times, mostly during college, but (except for one that I saw in the theater after that time) they seemed always to be either Goldfinger or View to a Kill. I bought this partly out of college nostalgia, as I remember a particularly funny evening where six or seven of us were watching it from this bunk bed ... never mind.
Not borrowed.

Good Will Hunting (1997) (Alliance Video SE)
d: Gus Van Sant
Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver
Alliance Video's Canadian region 1 edition has one extra deleted scene, an outtake really, with a small bit of Robin Williams hamminess. And, unlike the American region 1 version, it is anamorphic (enhanced quality for 16x9 ratio). (dvd review/comparisons here.) This makes little/no difference on my setup, but I'm trying to plan ahead. I'm not positive Alliance's is different any more; I think I read somewhere that Disney was peeved that so many people were ordering the Canadian version over the Internet, and 'asked' Alliance to stop making them look bad.
Not borrowed.

Gulliver's Travels (1939)
d: Dave Fleischer and eleven other people, according to IMDB
Sam Parker, Pinto Colvig, Jessica Dragonette, Lanny Ross, Jack Mercer
Second full-length animated movie ever; the Fleischer Studios' answer to Snow White. I saw this on television a few times as a small child and adored it. Remembering this, I ordered the DVD. I don't like it quite so much, twentyodd years later, but I'm still happy to have it for historical purposes. Snow White is tons better though.
Not borrowed.

Horatio Hornblower: The Duel (1998) (TV)
d: Andrew Grieve
Ioan Gruffudd, Dorian Healy, Robert Lindsay
It ticks me off that they shot these in widescreen, yet the DVDs are pan & scan only. What's up with that? I still bought them, because I only ever saw them on American square-box TV anyway, and even more importantly, Ioan Gruffudd is a mesmerizing dreamboat of a Welshman.
Not borrowed.

Horatio Hornblower: The Fire Ship (1998) (TV)
d: Andrew Grieve
Ioan Gruffudd, Robert Lindsay, Denis Lawson
In addition to the Ioan factor, I'm a sucker for historical stories. Real ones, or at least serious ones, not any of that Knight's Tale farcical anachronistic crap.

Not, I must admit, that I've seen A Knight's Tale. But I have the impression that for my own mental safety I ought to stay well clear.

Not borrowed.

Horatio Hornblower: the Duchess and the Devil (1999) (TV)
d: Andrew Grieve
Ioan Gruffudd, Robert Lindsay, Cherie Lunghi
Of the four discs in this first-series box set, this is the only one that has the same title in the USA as it did in Britain. Silly people. Not quite as bad, though, as americanizing the Harry Potter books. Also IMDB lists the first two as being made in '98, although A&E ran all four of these at the same time in '99 and lists the American titles as released in '99. But I'll go with the original dates, at least, if not the titles.
Not borrowed.

Horatio Hornblower: the Wrong War (1999) (TV)
d: Andrew Grieve
Ioan Gruffudd, Robert Lindsay, Antony Sher
The story is rather sad - but Ioan is still delicious, perhaps even moreso.
Not borrowed.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas / Horton Hears a Who (1966 / 1970) (TV)
d: Chuck Jones
Grinch: Boris Karloff, June Foray
Horton: Hans Conreid, Chuck Jones, June Foray
Much as I love this classic, as an adult I can't help but notice how hard they had to work to stretch the story into the what, half an hour it takes? They keep showing bits over again: presents flying up out of chimney, poor doggie getting squashed by presents, etc. I haven't seen the Jim Carrey Grinch and I shudder to think what they had to do to make a full-length feature out of it. I hear they showed high-school Grinch backstory? eww.

but this, this and Horton are cool.

Not borrowed.

an Ideal Husband (1999)
d: Oliver Parker
Cate Blanchett, Minnie Driver, Rupert Everett, Julianne Moore, Jeremy Northam
I need to catch up on my literary icons; I've never read much Oscar Wilde beyond encountering witty quotations. This despite a senior year roommate who was an English major doing her senior paper on "The Picture of Dorian Gray." Anyway, this movie is quite a glittering jewel, sez I.
Not borrowed.

the Iron Giant (1999)
d: Brad Bird
Eli Marienthal, Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr., Vin Diesel, Christopher McDonald
"hey!" "yeah?" "you're in the middle of the road!" "yeah?!" "ok..."
Not borrowed.

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
d: Frank Capra
James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
Everyone already knows that Sesame Street's Ernie and Bert were named after the taxi driver and policeman characters in this movie, right? Now you do.

Despite having seen this a zillion times, I still get teary at the end. That's Capra for you. The only thing that miffs me about this film is the implication that being the town librarian is a horrible fate (and turns Donna Reed into a mousy spinster with glasses). Maybe it's not as nice as being married to George Bailey, but puh-leez.

Disc-wise, I wish they'd turned the bit rate up a little; every now and then it pixelates something awful.

Not borrowed.

Jerry Maguire (1996)
d: Cameron Crowe
Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, Cuba Gooding Jr.
Stewart sold me this one because he decided it didn't fit in his collection. I suppose it may fit better in mine, at that.
Not borrowed.

L.A. Confidential (1997)
d: Curtis Hanson
Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey, James Cromwell, Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito
I like noir-era Los Angeles as a setting. Part of it is already knowing some city history from watching KCET (PBS L.A.), I suppose.

Some critics were discussing this the other day on KPCC's "Film Week" (89.3 FM), and how well it evoked historical Los Angeles, and one of them said, "I'm not sure there would even be a noir genre without the endemic corruption of the LAPD."

Not borrowed.

L.A. Story (1991)
d: Mick Jackson
Steve Martin, Victoria Tennant, Sarah Jessica Parker, Richard E. Grant
Stewart gave me this for my birthday. I already had the VHS tape, before the DVD era. Anyone who has lived in Los Angeles for any length of time must see this movie. It helps if you were here around 1989, but it's not required.
Not borrowed.

a Little Princess (1995)
d: Alfonso Cuarón
Liesel Matthews, Liam Cunningham, Elanor Bron
Tries a bit too hard for excitement at the end, but a beautifully told and photographed tale. Having loved the book, I was initially irritated by some of the alterations (London -> New York, 1800s -> WW1), but it's grown on me. I think they got most of the changes from the old Shirley Temple version.
Not borrowed.

Little Women (1994)
d: Gillian Armstrong
Winona Ryder, Gabriel Byrne, Trini Alvarado, Samantha Mathis, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes, Christian Bale
I love almost everything about this movie. The Laurie-Amy thing doesn't quite work for me, but then it never quite convinced me in the book either. But they used the real Orchard House in Concord, and mentioned Alcott family history (e.g., father forced to close school after he admitted a black child), woven into the already semi-autobiographical story. Have I mentioned I'm a sucker for history? Also I think the music fits perfectly (Thomas Newman, composer).
Not borrowed.

Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring (2001) (widescreen theatrical version)
d: Peter Jackson
Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Sean Astin, Christopher Lee, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean, John Rhys-Davies, Liv Tyler, Cate Blanchett
Yes, I bought this too, despite knowing all about the extended edition and that I would be buying the collectors' box. I've been reading these books since I was ten, and they've finally made a set of movies that look to be as close to my own vision as I could realistically hope for from someone else. beautiful wonderful! So if I'm not a completist on this, then when? Anyway, this edition comes with some of the trailers, and they did change a few scenes around significantly enough in the extended edition that I'm glad I have this one, for the record.
Not borrowed.

Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring (2001) (extended version)
d: Peter Jackson
Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Sean Astin, Christopher Lee, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean, John Rhys-Davies, Liv Tyler, Cate Blanchett
Good as the theatrical version was, this has to be considered the definitive one. Of course, I'm saying that as someone who wouldn't mind spending 6+ hours per book, but I really think the extra 30 minutes add a lot of character and background depth, and bring it even closer to my imaginings. Nice to see some sunlight in Lothlorien, for example, not to mention the gift-giving.

and that scene where Frodo and Sam see the elves going to the Grey Havens - the singing, i want to hear more, i am drawn to follow them. no wonder the echoes of elves in later-day folktales have mortals enchanted by faery music as such a common theme.

oh, and there are tons of amazingly interesting and often funny commentaries and interviews and, just, wow.

Not borrowed.

Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring - National Geographic Beyond the Movie (2001) (TV)
w: Kathleen Phelan
Phil Crowley (narrator), lots of people as themselves
Some of this I already knew, but there was enough that I didn't know to keep me interested. And, pictures of Tolkien around Oxford - I several times recognized exactly where he was standing from having been there myself, woo!
Not borrowed.

the Maltese Falcon (1941)
d: John Huston
Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet
I like this even though Peter Lorre always reminds me of Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Not borrowed.

Manhattan (1979)
d: Woody Allen
Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Michael Murphy, Mariel Hemingway
I'll have to watch this again, now that I've been there, to see how much of it looks the same. Oh wait, this is the East Coast, where they don't as often rip buildings down that are over twenty years old (or have them knocked down by earthquakes).
Not borrowed.

Mars: The Red Planet (1999) (straight-to-video)
d: n/a
Being a space junkie in general, and a Mars junkie in particular, I bought this immediately upon learning of its existence. It's only ok, though. It's mostly that computer animation of you zooming around above the simulated Martian surface, with a few additional tidbits such as the launch of the rocket carrying one of the probes that was later lost (not that they knew that when this was put together). There's also some Viking stills, which I have a soft spot for, since my dad worked on Viking. It might have been these very stills that I used in my third grade science report about Mars.
Not borrowed.

the Matrix (1999)
d: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving
Any movie that makes you walk out of the theater questioning the theater's existence is a good movie.
Not borrowed.

Millennium 2000 (2000)
d: n/a
Some people at CNN slapped this together in a matter of weeks in order to make a pile of money. I don't know whether they did, but they sure made a poor job of it. All those cameras in all those places, and you hardly ever get to see any actual people; you're always looking at the distant large object that's going to blink or shoot off fireworks at the magic moment. It's the people, stupid. And they don't even seem to have the best pictures of the wide views; I saw lots better shots when we were watching live all afternoon and evening. Where's the music they were playing? Why do they cover some venues that are frankly kind of lame, while great places I remember from the live shots are skipped over? As a historical document it's better than nothing, but not by much.
Not borrowed.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
d: George Seaton
Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, Natalie Wood
I loved this when I was the age of the Natalie Wood character, and I still have a soft spot for it. It was silly of them to attempt a remake; it works best in its native '40s.
Not borrowed.

Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) (Criterion)
d: Terry Jones
Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
Everyone should already know about the movie, so let me just mention that there is a great behind-the-scenes documentary on this edition. I think it was about half an hour or so. A lot of the footage was shot at the time the film was being made, but this documentary itself was made a bit later, I think. They refer to Graham Chapman's death, which happened about ten years after the movie was made. Very funny (it's the Python gang for heaven's sake) and very interesting (for those who like them).
Not borrowed.

Moonstruck (1987)
d: Norman Jewison
Cher, Nicolas Cage, Vincent Gardenia, Olympia Dukakis
I love this movie enough that I am willing to own it even though the disc is pan & scan only. Not that I realized that when I bought it; 'twas early enough in my shopping career that I was not yet aware of this danger.
Not borrowed.

Moulin Rouge! (2001)
d: Baz Luhrmann
Ewan McGregor, Nicole Kidman, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh
spectacular spectacular!
Not borrowed.

Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
d: Kenneth Branagh
Emma Thompson, Kenneth Branagh, Denzel Washington, Kate Beckinsale, Robert Sean Leonard
Beautiful. They didn't try to rip this out of its time and place; they simply inhabit time, place, and character so well that we hardly notice they're speaking a hundreds-years-foreign language.
Not borrowed.

the Muppet Movie (1979)
d: James Frawley
Kermit Frog, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy
We sang these songs in fifth grade. I don't know how much this had to do with my teacher being kind of a hippie.
Not borrowed.

the Muppet Show, Best of, vol. 1 (TV) (1978) ("25th Anniv Edition")
created by: Jim Henson, with lots of helpers
Kermit Frog, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Elton John, Julie Andrews, Gene Kelly
How come no one reruns these? Or am I just not looking in the right places? Wow, Elton John looks so young.
Not borrowed.

the Muppet Show, Best of, vol. 2 (TV) (1979) ("25th Anniv Edition")
created by: Jim Henson, with lots of helpers
Kermit Frog, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Mark Hamill, Paul Simon, Raquel Welch
Not borrowed.

the Music Man (1962)
d: Morton DaCosta
Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett
Mild stereotyping of librarians aside, this is a lot of fun, and with good songs too.
Not borrowed.

My Cousin Vinny (1992)
d: Jonathan Lynn
Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei, Ralph Macchio, Mitchell Whitfield, Fred Gwynne
original tease comment deleted. haven't thought of another one yet.
Not borrowed.

My Fair Lady (1964)
d: George Cukor
Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway, Jeremy Brett
Thank you, whoever the proper people are, for restoring this loverly film. In addition to all the well-known reasons to watch it, it's fun to see the future Sherlock Holmes as lovesick puppy. Too bad they dubbed his voice also; I thought upon hearing the undubbed clip that he did a perfectly respectable job.
Not borrowed.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (1999)
d: Joel Coen
George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson
Music of my roots! ain't it purty? The movie itself is great fun, too. mmm, sepia.
Not borrowed.

October Sky (1999)
d: Joe Johnston
Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper, Laura Dern
True story. Historical setting, in the Appalachia of my mother's forebears (though they weren't coal miners). Dreaming about space. A well-told tale. What's not to love?
Not borrowed.

Pleasantville (1998)
d: Gary Ross
Toby Maguire, Reese Witherspoon, Jeff Daniels, Joan Allen, William H. Macy
One of my favorite things in this is how telling the stories makes the books' words appear. It made me think of Fahrenheit 451, except with less pressure on you to know all the details.
Not borrowed.

Plymptoons (1990) (straight-to-video?)
d: Bill Plympton
Remember the weird MTV bumper animations with people turning inside out (among other things)? This is that guy.
Not borrowed.

the Princess Bride (1987) (plain edition)
d: Rob Reiner
Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, André the Giant
anybody want a peanut?
Not borrowed.

Princess Caraboo (1994)
d: Michael Austin
Phoebe Cates, Stephen Rea, Jim Broadbent, Wendy Hughes, Kevin Kline
Another pan & scan only. Unfortunately, I didn't care enough to not buy it, since this is one of my favorite movies, and it's obscure enough that they probably won't bother to put out a widescreen edition any time soon. A charming little tale.
Not borrowed.

Princess Mononoke (1997/99)
d: Hayao Miyazaki
(american dub:) Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Minnie Driver
Normally I avoid dubs like the plague, and go straight for the subtitles. But to every rule there is an exception, and since Neil Gaiman wrote the script for this dub, and some good actors performed it, this would have to be that exception.

and oh, by the way, this is one of the more beautiful things i have ever seen.

Not borrowed.

the Real World, season 1: New York ([M]TV) (1992)
created: Bunim/Murray Productions
Andre, Becky, Eric, Heather, Julie, Kevin, Norman
This was the only season where the guinea pigs came in with no expectations. It's also one of the few TV series I happened to watch from the very first episode - though I left in season 4, when the casting directors started making the casts completely immature, self-absorbed people instead of only partially.
Not borrowed.

Romeo + Juliet (1996)
d: Baz Luhrmann
Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes
I bought this as part of the Red Curtain Trilogy box set and, um, haven't watched it yet.
Not borrowed.

a Room With a View (1986)
d: James Ivory
Helena Bonham Carter, Julian Sands, Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliott, Simon Callow
Most people don't recognize Daniel Day-Lewis until at least the second time through.

They cut a tiny bit, for some reason -- you know when Lucy bawls out Charlotte about the book episode, complaining "you wouldn't even let me tell Mother!" The bit, back in the hotel in Italy right after It Happened, where Charlotte guilts Lucy into agreeing not to tell mother: it's not there any more. I know I remember seeing it in the past (probably the VHS tape; I'll have to check). Not a crucial thing, but what up with that?

Not borrowed.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)
d: Steven Spielberg
Tom Hanks, Jeremy Davies, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi
My great-uncle, who was a POW in WW2 after being captured in the Battle of the Bulge, thought this was a pretty accurate picture of what the war was like, except that guys wouldn't be talking that much as they walked through the fields.

Not borrowed.

Scooby Doo's Original Mysteries, vol. 1 (1969)
d: ?
Casey Kasem, Don Messick, Nicole Jaffe, Stefanianna Christopherson, Frank Welker
Casey Kasem? I didn't realize Shaggy was Casey Kasem. No wonder I thought his voice sounded familiar during my brief 'American Top 40' phase.
Not borrowed.

Scrooged (1988)
d: Richard Donner
Bill Murray, Karen Allen
I don't know if this movie would have been as good as it is without Bill Murray. He's perfect for it.
Not borrowed.

Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)
d: Steven Zaillian
Max Pomeranc, Joe Mantegna, Joan Allen, Ben Kingsley, Laurence Fishburne
"you are The One, Josh." - oops, wrong movie.
Not borrowed.

the Secret of Roan Inish (1994)
d: John Sayles
Jeni Courtney, Pat Slowey, Dave Duffy
i'm a pushover for just about anything irish, including magical-realism folktales about selkies. especially when they're well done.
Not borrowed.

Sense and Sensibility (1995)
d: Ang Lee
Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant
One of the better products of the Jane Austen craze of the nineties. mmm, alan rickman as a good guy. please may i have some more?
Not borrowed.

Shakespeare in Love (1998)
d: John Madden
Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth
under normal circumstances my historically aware self would get annoyed at the minor impossibilities (timing of establishment of Virginia colonies), but this story is too much fun for me not to wish it could all be true.
Not borrowed.

the Shawshank Redemption (1994)
d: Frank Darabont
Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman
i want my own secret identity. probably it's too late these days to get one, must have been a lot easier in the fifties and sixties.
Not borrowed.

the Sixth Sense (1999)
d: M. Night Shyamalan
Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams
For once, I managed not to get spoiled about this ahead of time, for which I am glad.
Not borrowed.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) (Platinum Ed, 2002)
d: David Hand
Adriana Caselotti, Lucille La Verne, Pinto Colvig, Roy Atwell
My thoughtful brother gave this to me for Christmas, during the two-month window in which the Disney corporation deigned to allow the public to purchase it from them.

One of my favorite bonus features is a radio show, thus audio only, originally broadcast live from the premiere red carpet in Hollywood. Things like that hook you in and put you in the time and place so well; I love that. They kept grabbing celebrities on their way in and forcing them to adlib a line or two. I didn't really know what Charlie Chaplin sounded like before.

Not borrowed.

South Park, vols. 1-3 (1997) (TV)
d: Trey Parker
Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mary Kay Bergman, Isaac Hayes
the first twelve episodes, which are almost the only ones i've ever seen. trey parker and matt stone are that funny in person, too.
Not borrowed.

the Sound of Music (1965)
d: Robert Wise
Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer
that last performance of "edelweiss" always makes me tear up, i admit it.
Not borrowed.

Stagecoach (1939)
d: John Ford
John Wayne, Claire Trevor
They sure did make a lot of movies in 1939.
Not borrowed.

Stand and Deliver (1987)
d: Ramón Menéndez
Edward James Olmos, Lou Diamond Phillips
True story set in Los Angeles, albeit a part of Los Angeles outside my experience - which makes it even more interesting, to me. Also at the time this came out I could identify very well with the studying and test-taking.
Not borrowed.

Stand By Me (1986)
d: Rob Reiner
Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell, Kiefer Sutherland
Somehow I managed to miss this entirely for fifteen years. Just from hearing talk about it I knew a few things, but I only finally saw the whole thing when I watched my newly purchased DVD. I like it.
Not borrowed.

Strictly Ballroom (1992) (SE)
d: Baz Luhrmann
Paul Mercurio, Tara Morice
on this SE they include the documentary on Australian ballroom dancing that gave Baz the idea in the first place. dude. scary.
Not borrowed.

Superman (1978)
d: Richard Donner
Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Marlon Brando
tons of seventies fun.
Not borrowed.

Superman 2 (1980)
d: Richard Lester (, Richard Donner)
Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Terence Stamp
Passable. Could have been better. But at least it's watchable. Except for the magical memory-erasing kiss at the end, which aggravates the HELL out of me for SO MANY reasons.
Not borrowed.

Swingers (1996)
d: Doug Liman
Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Ron Livingston, Patrick Van Horn
i really wish they would warn when they're going to do a special edition a couple of years later, so i could wait and buy that instead.
Not borrowed.

Tarzan (1999) (SE)
d: Chris Buck, Kevin Lima
Glenn Close, Tony Goldwyn, Minnie Driver, Brian Blessed
One nice bonus to the 2-disc collector's edition is that they give you the trailer to Dinosaur, which is breathtaking, and is also the only segment of Dinosaur that captured my imagination. why couldn't they have made all of it like that?
Not borrowed.

That Thing You Do! (1996)
d: Tom Hanks
Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Johnathon Schaech, Steve Zahn, Ethan Embry, Tom Hanks
i guess "sweet" is the operative word. hey, i'm all over "sweet". also "cute and kind lead character."
Not borrowed.

Topsy-Turvy (1999)
d: Mike Leigh
Jim Broadbent, Allan Corduner
we grew up listening often to records of "pirates of penzance" and "the mikado" since the age of very small (see entry for "fiddler on the roof"). i heart gilbert-n-sullivan.
Not borrowed.

Toy Story (1995)
d: John Lasseter
Tom Hanks, Tim Allen
Not borrowed.

Toy Story 2 (1999)
d: John Lasseter
Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Kelsey Grammer
pixar. makes me so happy. every time. sniff.
Not borrowed.

the Wedding Singer (1998)
d: Frank Coraci
Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore
word to yo mutha.
Not borrowed.

When Harry Met Sally (1989)
d: Rob Reiner
Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher, Bruno Kirby
"no, I'm a writer, I know dialogue, and that's particularly harsh."
Not borrowed.

Working Girl (1988)
d: Mike Nichols
Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver
"Maybe I just don't like you." "Me? Naaah."

I'm glad I watched this movie several times before September 11. No one will ever be able to look at the opening and closing credits the same way again.

Not borrowed.

WWII: the Lost Color Archives (2000) (2-disc set)
d: n/a
It's really amazing how seeing these color home movies and films makes World War 2 seem so much more real. Given the theme, there are many important events not represented, but the sense of immediacy makes up for that.
Not borrowed.

X-Men (2000)
d: Bryan Singer
Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin
mmmm, jackman.
Not borrowed.


range of years represented: 1937-2001

mean: 1988
median: 1994
mode: 1999

( back to the tricycle )