carl jessieson's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Modern Times
Modern Times (1936)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I love these black and white, old classics! Why does it seem like they did more with their films when they had less technology available to them? They don't have that ~Hollywood Magic~ that does their effects for them, it was all camera tricks and carefully strategized, one-chance-to-get-the-shot filmmaking and it is beyond impressive.

I enjoyed watching this! Full of cool and clever special effects and plenty of moments to make you laugh. Chaplin did such a good job of creating such a silly little character. The story was creative and fascinating, with imaginative concepts and energetic cinematography. It was a fun watch for sure. Delightfully absurd, yet it did give voice to the woes of unemployment and the voracious appetite of capitalism at the price of some disposable human equipment. Silliness with a sting. I recommend it!


Bye love you

Rebel Without a Cause
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I was really excited about this one because of how iconic James Dean is and because I had never seen something with him in it before, and honestly, I was disappointed. I was really annoyed throughout the entire movie. I read a little bit more about the movie afterward and it enlightened me to the film's strengths that gave it "classic" status, which helped a little bit, but I can't ignore the fact that this was a really annoying movie.

I don't usually pay too much attention to film titles, but this one truly says it all. Bunch of angry suburban kids causing mischief for no reason, essentially. I get that there was an element of emotional neglect from adults, which fueled their teenage debauchery, but it played out like a bunch of spoiled white kids messing everything up for everyone else because they didn't know how to deal with their problems. It's a real issue, this painful separation between generations, but this movie was so melodramatic about it. I hate to compare negatives (because a negative is a negative and that's that), but there are a multitude of other more important, more devastatingly horrible issues out there. I don't expect every movie to tackle an societal problem, I get that some movies are just fun, but if they wanted to make a drama about a problem, they should have picked something else. I just didn't care. I didn't feel bad for these kids.

It was so dramatic, the story was weak, a vessel for the studio to make money off of Dean more than anything. That's like every Zac Efron movie. Not much substance, but with an exceptionally attractive male displaying both strength and sensitivity- it's a formula to make profit. That's why I'm surprised this is a classic. Seems like something a 1950s Teen Nick might put out for a quick buck or something. The story-telling was bizarre, also. They tried to do some kind of "let's get this story started and fill in the blanks of his past later," which I've seen work many times, but it just didn't work here. I felt like I came into a movie halfway through, too many details merely implied, too many rapid jumps in story/relationships, just made it frustratingly mysterious for no reason. Pacing was so strange. Starts out ominous and tense, then after bad things happen, it gets light-hearted and silly.

The only things I really enjoyed were the aesthetics, and I'm not sure how much credit they should get for that considering the ~aesthetics~ I enjoyed so much were just how things looked back then. I also did see the spark that has made James Dean so legendary despite his short career/life. His acting was over-the-top, in my opinion, at some points, but he really did have something about him that was fascinating.

Such a bizarre film to me. By the time it was over I had more questions than I had answers and that is enormously frustrating. I really, really didn't like it but I'm so confused that I didn't enjoy such a widely beloved film so I might try to give it a viewing again but I highly doubt it.


Bye love you

The Wizard of Oz
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I love watching the classics and actually seeing every reason it's a classic in the first place. Some classics make me question the sanity of the people who made them, but luckily The Wizard of Oz deserves its title.

No need for an extensive review, honestly. Everything was great. The performances were wonderful, the story was brilliantly adapted, and the music was just delightful. So many iconic images, moments, and words, a whimsical fantasy land, special effects (COLOR!) that had audiences in 1939 screaming and cheering. Such a fun watch, I can't get over it. I highly recommend you let yourself experience this beautiful film. I can't wait to watch it with my grandkids someday.


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It Happened One Night
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I enter every movie viewing with energy and delight, and this time was no different, but by the time that thing was over I was angry. I am shocked that this is a classic and won so many awards- shocked, to an extent. I'm aware that society was ~different~ back then but I can't just ignore the blatant sexism prevalent in films from this time. In the same way that a racist movie would infuriate me beyond my ability to ignore for entertainment's sake, the disgusting misogyny in this film made it nearly unbearable. People say, "it was a different time!" but I don't care. It's disgusting now, it was disgusting back then, and no art/entertainment gets a pardon just because it was a hit when it came out.
Despite this film having a female lead, she was nothing but a plot device. How the main character could make a total of ONE decision of her own within the span of an entire feature film is truly beyond me. Summaries of the film cushion the plot with things like, "she agrees to help him if he keeps her secret" but in actuality this was a woman on the run from a controlling father who was threatened with violence into giving that sleazy reporter a story or else he would give her up to that controlling father. Literally romanticized Stockholm's Syndrome. This is described as a romance movie but there was nothing romantic about it. This is a movie about men wanting a woman to do what they want instead of what she wants. The word "demented" popped into my mind multiple times while watching in reaction to things these men would do to her.

The characters were really annoying, all of them. The things that were supposed to be romantic were just gross. There must be a million ways to make a story about a runaway heiress, you know? It's an interesting premise but it was executed incredibly poorly, with totally unlikeable characters and multiple disturbing dynamics in play. Plot holes so enormous even the male lead's gigantic head would get lost in them. Professional appearance, decent sound, standard cinematography- not a particularly artistic film. Weak story, poorly told, no character development besides developing them from strangers to creepy, controlling jerks. I hope no bizarre situation occurs in which I am ever forced to watch this again.


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Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane (1941)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Hate to agree with the pretentious, boring film students who basically worship their copy of Citizen Kane (and rebuke every other classic or new film) I used to go to school with, but this is truly one of the greatest films ever made. I've watched it a handful of times and it never fails to stun me.

Everything about this movie is perfect, it'd be a waste of time to list all the characteristics of this film that make it the legend it is- but I'm just gonna waste a little. Welles was so gifted. The cinematography is beautiful the whole way through. Fantastic use of lights and shadows. He was so artistic with his techniques, every scene was planned down to each detail. And the variety! Wow, so many different techniques with Welles' touch on them. His style is like visual candy, and every shot is sweet.

All performances were excellent! Amazing they all came from the same place, and this was the first film for all of them. I was especially blown away by Welles, of course, considering he created one of the most iconic characters in film history. His performance was spectacular, from 25 year old Kane to old Kane, brilliant. The make-up applied to age the characters was so impressive. It looked better than some of the make-up work I see these days even. The character development was impeccable. The script was great. Good dialog, never lags, was always interesting. The non-chronological format was expertly executed, the transitions passing through years, transitions from flashback to present- seamless every time.

There is nothing about this movie that I don't like. Such a monumental achievement, it's such a shame that Orson Welles had so many problems with the film industry. Can't imagine what he'd have left behind had the studios let him have total control. Anyway, obviously I strongly recommend this film and love having it in my own collection.


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