We’re back again for week 4 of the So Is It Any Good Movie Challenge. 52 weeks, 1 new movie a week, for an entire year. This week is all about movies from your Hometown or State!
If you are taking part in the challenge you can download the list below! Don’t forget to let us know what you’re watching by using the hashtag #SIIAGMovieChallenge
This week we had some technical issues, so there’s no podcast *sad face*, but we’re keeping the show rolling with a written commentary on what we watched this week, so check it out below.
Movie: Looking For Alibrandi
I’m a bit annoyed that I’ve already broken my rules about not watching movies I’d already seen, but I blame the streaming services for not offering up a diverse range of Aussie cinema! With Sydney being my hometown, I had a fair few classics to choose from, but instead of the flashy likes of Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert or Muriel’s Wedding, I opted for the low-key charms of Alibrandi.
I hadn’t seen it in a long time, and while it’s not the most exciting movie, it does feature a star-making turn from Pia Miranda, who really holds the movie together through its whiplash tonal changes. While I was never bored during the movie, I found myself playing a game of “what happened to that guy/girl?” with most of the cast, it’s just a parade of coulda-beens, or in the case of Matthew Newton, probably shouldn’t have been. All in all, not a true Aussie classic, but a pretty charming way to spend a few hours.
Movie: The Elephant Man
I’ve been meaning to cross this one off my personal list for a while, so being born in London, this week’s challenge was a great opportunity to do so. When I selected this classic, I was unaware that the lead – John Hurt would pass away a few days later. Based on the incredible true story of a disfigured man trying to fit into society with help of his doctor, played by Anthony Hopkins. I guess I’ve been putting this movie off for a while because it’s directed by David Lynch. Not because I don’t like his work, more because most of his films are bat-shit crazy and you have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy them. However, this movie must have been made before he dropped a ton of acid as it’s beautifully shot and superbly acted, receiving 8 Oscar nominations but ultimately walking home empty handed. It’s a great movie but with such a long running time it’s best suited to a casual Sunday afternoon watch.
Movie: Two Hands
As a Sydneysider, I almost feel guilty that I hadn’t yet watched this Two Hands – a film that’s been sitting in my DVD library for probably close to ten years. Two Hands is a black comedy/crime film set in the seedy underbelly of Kings Cross in Sydney. Whilst this flick feels fairly low budget, it shines in it’s wonderful supporting characters, and a charming villain played by Bryan Brown. Of course, the highlight for most will be watching Heath Ledger and Rose Byrne in their early days with the broadest Aussie accents this side of a comedy sketch. Both actors improved on their abilities amazingly over the years that followed, but the relationship on display in this feels incredibly forced and pretty awkward. It took me a little bit to get into the swing of things with this film, but all in all, it’s quite an enjoyable watch, and the best starring role for the Sydney Monorail (RIP – We’ll never forget you) since Power Rangers The Movie. Too bad the rest of the flick makes Sydney look like the pits. Seriously, if you ever wanted to show off our fair city… show them something else. Those who enjoy Tarantino and Guy Ritchie‘s early work will get a kick out of this one.
Movie: Muriel’s Wedding
Sadly there are only two films set in my hometown of Cowra, NSW; both of which are historical dramatisations of the events that occurred in 1944 when Japanese soldiers escaped from a local prisoner of war camp. Considering I’d watched these already in year 10 English, I wasn’t particularly interested in revisiting them. So I decided to go further afield to the fictional town of Porpoise Spit, and finally watch a film many Australians (and Ridley Scott strangely enough) rate amongst their all time favourites.
Overall I enjoyed it, but like so many Australian films from the 80s and 90s, its very much a movie of its time. But gosh darn it, at least it doesn’t wallow in sadness like so many other recent Aussie fare. It’s easy to see why this movie thrust Toni Collette into the spotlight; she oozes charisma, and the soundtrack is undeniably fun. But unlike many critics, this isn’t a nailed on five star classic for me, probably more like a solid three stars, four at best.
If you missed the last couple of weeks of the podcast, you can listen on iTunes or by using the player below:
If you want to check out the films we watched, hit the links below to pick them up off Amazon!
Next week, you get to take a trip back to the year you were born, which provides a pretty wide selection for your viewing pleasure. Don’t forget, if you are doing the SIIAG Movie Challenge let us know by using the hashtag #SIIAGMovieChallenge or in the comments below.