Saturday, September 11, 2021

Against the Crowd Blogathon 2021

Every year, Wendell over at Dell on Movies runs a really fun blogathon: Against the Crowd. The rules are fairly simple. Find two movies: one that everybody else loves but you hate, and one that everybody else hates that you like; with the "everybody" being determined by scores on Rotten Tomatoes. The only difficulty is that since Dell's been doing it for several years now, some of the movies I'd think about using are movies I've used in the past. That, and some of the "hated" movies aren't as hated as I might have thought.

Anyhow, I had seen Dell's announcement of this year's blogathon a couple of weeks ago, but for some reason was thinking that the blogathon was going to be next weekend. So I had to come up with a couple of movies in quick order. Also, having finally installed a new OS on my computer recently, I wasn't certain if I had the freeware photo editing software necessary to crop the Rotten Tomatoes scores. Thankfully, Linux Mint's "Draw" application makes cropping photos moderately easy, if you can tell exactly how much you want to crop (and with nice rectangular boxes here, that wasn't a problem). My choices this year are an Oscar-winning movie, and a 1970s disaster pick:

I Want to Live! (1958)

Susan Hayward won the Best Actress Oscar for playing Barbara Graham, a real woman who on about her fourth marriage picked a guy who was addicted to all sorts of illegal drugs, which led to Barbara's getting involved with criminals and pistol-whipping a woman the gang was going to rob to death. For this she was senteced to death in California's gas chamber. The movie greatly softens Barbara as though it was just bad luck that she was involved in the murder, while Hayward plays her as shrill and obnoxious. The movie is quite obvious in blaming sensationalist media to the point that we get it already. And if that's not enough, the execution is shown in excruciating detail. I'm opposed to the death penalty, since I don't think the state should have that power which it will always abuse (and on September 11, I think it's fair to say that events of the last 20 years and especially since March of last year have made the state's abuse of its powers abundantly clear). But by the end of the movie, I couldn't wait for Barbara to just die already. It's almost enough to turn one pro death penalty. If you want to see a really good movie that's anti-capital punishment, watch 10 Rillington Place.

Tentacles (1977)

Somebody in Hollywood must have seen Jaws back in 1975 and thought that what was needed was a different sort of sea creature terrorizing the beautiful people of Southern California. That's what we get here, with a mutant octopus killing people unfortunate enough to get too close to it. There are a lot of the standard tropes here, from the bad special effects, to the 1970s conspiracy theories about corporate pollution creating the octopus, to bratty children. John Huston plays a reporter married to Shelley Winters and with a son much too young for either of them who investigates the deaths and links the mutant octopus to Henry Fonda's company. You'd think that Shelley Winters would have learned from A Place in the Sun and The Poseidon Adventure not to get close to the water, but here she is again, having gotten even bigger in the five years since The Poseidon Adventure. This leads to one of the great lines in the movie. Winters' kid and one of the kids' friends are going to be sailing in the junior regatta, unaware of the danger that lurks beneath the water. Shelley says she wishes she could be in the boat with them, to which the son's friend responds, "Then we'd need a tornado to move the boat!" Bad but really fun.


joel65913 said...

I don't hate I Want to Live but it's not one of my favorite Susan Hayward films either. I'm glad she finally won an Oscar but of her nominated work I'd rather have seen her win for any of her other nominations or some of her unnominated performances such as The President's Lady and The Lusty Men. As for the rest of the film around her it does have a very ripped from the headlines feel.

I love disaster movies but I thought Tentacles was laughably bad. A great cast doing box office duty and collecting a paycheck.

Brittani Burnham said...

I haven't seen either of these but Tentacles sounds like dumb fun. I can dig that.

Often Off Topic said...

I haven't seen either of these but wow, that score for Tentacles!

Realweegiemidget Reviews said...

I love Tentacles. So glad to see someone else does too.. great review.

Dell said...

Hey, Ted! So sorry I initially forgot your link. I did fix that and have included also included you in the wrap-up post. As for your choices, I've not seen either, but I definitely want to see Tentacles. Thanks again so much for joining.

Birgit said...

Yeah, this was a huge media, political and personal event about what happened to Barbara and I think the death penalty was too harsh to be honest and too many lives have been lost when they were actually innocent. Hayward’s performance was over the top because she was so wanting an Oscar, she was drooling for it. I liked her much better in other films like “smash-Up” or “I’ll Cry Tomorrow” but I don’t hate this film.

As for this flick which is so bad but so much fun to watch. It’s been years but I want to see it again.

Sally Silverscreen said...

Interesting post! I haven't seen either film, so I can't agree or disagree with you. But I also participated in this blogathon, so feel free to check out my post!