365 Movies By Day Reviews of Movies I Watch that I Feel Like Writing About


An Education (2009)

Set in 1961 England, Carey Mulligan's (Shame, Drive) breakout performance in Lone Scherfig (One Day, Their Finest) is a movie that resonates in a way that is completely independent of its time frame as well as location. Does this mean it's a timeless classic? Well, when I think of timeless classics, I think of very different films than An Education. This beautiful film was on pace to be a timeless classic, one where everything is fine and dandy and one that I probably would not have enjoyed as much if not for a late twist. The setting of 1960's Europe doesn't exactly perk my interest. If as I write this in 2018, in my early 40's, when I am much more into the independents than I am the big blockbusters, the synopsis for this film doesn't attract, I can only imagine what I thought going into it back in 2009. I honestly have no idea what peeked my interest about this movie or what even got me past the first 15 minutes. Sure, a 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes will have some sort of positive effect, but even that can only care me so far. Whatever it was that encouraged me to continue on with this movie even, when I suspect, that I thought that I was getting into some sort of variation of Pride and Prejudice, Atonement or one of the many other Keira Knightley movies, I am grateful. I'd like to say that this movie had a lasting impact on me because it did. However, upon watching it for a second time, with an eight-year gap between viewings, I can unequivocally say that how I thought I remembered this movie was considerably different than what actually happened. I think I like it the same though I do feel differently about it, especially how I view the final act.


A Walk in the Woods (2015)

A Walk in the Woods, the 2015 comedy-drama that I thought would be a throwaway movie that I originally only watched so that I could add it to my list, turned out to be one of the biggest surprises of the year. Now, don't get me wrong. I'd be a fool to think that a year from now that I'd remember anything from this movie or that I'll ever watch this movie again. But for two hours on a Tuesday night in the middle of April, it was a very refreshing escape from reality and a movie had me grinning from ear to ear from the first scene until the last. Also, if Robert Redford (The Horse Whisperer, All is Lost) or Nick Nolte (The Prince of Tides, Warrior) called it a career today and this was either of their last movies, I think that would be okay. Each has had a solid career. While not his number one fan, I find it absolutely criminal that Redford has only been nominated for one Oscar for acting in his entire career (way back in 1974 for The Sting). Nolte has had more success as an actor in terms of awards (three Oscar nominations). And while these two actors are household names who each has more than a dozen movies that you could rattle off the top of your heads, their careers have followed very different careers. Nolte's career has been marred by controversies in his personal life whereas Redford as sort of been the poster boy of how an A-list actor can live his life while staying out of the tabloids. The two don't seem like much of a match for a movie like this so late in their careers. But the movie worked perfectly for each man. You'll leave your viewing knowing that each gave an admirable performance even though it's light-hearted and certainly not one of their most memorable ones.


Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Emma Thompson (Howard's End, Remains of the Day) got hosed out of an Oscar nomination! I had made it a goal to see all of the nominees in all of the major Academy Award categories, but I didn't see the snubs or the next in lines for Best Actor, Best Actress, etc. unless their movie was nominated in one of the other major categories. It's been awhile since I did a review on all of the really good movies of 2013. I'm pretty sure I had already replaced Amy Adams (American Hustle) with a more deserving candidate. I just don't remember who I replaced her with at the moment and don't feel like going back and looking. I say that I'm pretty sure I did do this though because I believe I replaced the Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor for this movie because I didn't feel like any of them were deserving. I think I did keep Jennifer Lawrence as a nominee because the nominees in the Supporting Actress category in 2013 were not overly impressive. But this review isn't about the underwhelming American Hustle. It is about the under-appreciated Saving Mr. Banks, a movie that I had written off as a lame little kids movie after a single trailer. It was one of those movies that I told myself I would eventually see because it had so much hype surrounding it and I have yet to talk to a person who didn't, at least, really like it. It was also the most snubbed movie when the Academy Award nominees came out. While Saving Mr. Banks wasn't one of my ten favorite movies of the year, I very well think it should have been the tenth movie nominated for Best Picture (there were only nine nominees this year). And Thompson absolutely should have been nominated for Best Actress. So for argument's sake and assuming I already replaced Adams with an actress from a different movie who did not get nominated, I will give Meryl Streep's (August: Osage County) nomination to Thompson, even though I thought Streep was fantastic in her role. Streep's role was by no means as complex as Thompson's. Plus Streep has been nominated more than any other actor or actress ever.