Blind Spot Series: Saving Private Ryan (1998)

saving-private-ryan-1998-movie-poster-reviewDirector: Steven Spielberg

Genre: Drama, War

Runtime: 169 Minutes

Main Cast: Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, Jeremy Davies, Matt Damon, Ted Danson, Paul Giamatti

Plot: Set during World War II,  Captain Miller and his assembled crew are sent to find Private James Ryan and send him home. His 3 brothers have been killed in action and all 3 telegraphs are set to be sent on the same day to his Mother to inform her of the terrible news. To alleviate her grief the Chief of Staff decides that Ryan should be pulled from the war.

My Thoughts: War movies have never interested me, but in my recent quest to watch all Oscar Best Picture nominees when awards season rolls around, I found myself at the cinema to watch Hacksaw Ridge (2016) which exceeded all my expectations. I don’t think anyone can talk about war movies without at least thinking about Saving Private Ryan (1998) so the Blind Spot Series was a great opportunity to watch the classic and expand my horizons a little.

Straight away you’re hit with a wall of emotion. We see a survivor of the war in his old age, although we don’t know who, as he visits the graves of his brothers, and then we’re transported straight into one of the battles. It’s raw, it’s gritty, it’s tense and uncomfortable to watch, and yet I couldn’t tear my eyes away. We’re literally in the thick of it with these soldiers, and we’re in it for the long haul.

At just under 3 hours this is one of the longest movies I’ve watched, and so I made the decision to watch it in two sittings but to be honest, I could have happily watched it in one go, you don’t notice the time at all. There’s always something going on, and even in the quieter moments you know it’s just a build up to the next big thing.

saving-private-ryan-tom-hanks-blind-spot

Best Bit: I’ve always associated Giovanni Ribisi with the TV Show Friends, so much so that I can never remember his actual name, I call him Frank Jr. I know him from small, comedic roles so it was a surprise to see him here. He was AMAZING. The guy has some really incredible talent, and I can’t believe it’s the only serious role I’ve ever seen him in. He deserved award nominations for it, without a doubt.

Worst Bit: There’s no denying that Saving Private Ryan is an incredible movie. I’m not a converted war movie fan, though. Watching this, watching Hacksaw Ridge, watching Dunkirk (2017), they were amazing experiences, but to me, they aren’t ‘enjoyable’ in the same sense as other genres, if that makes any sense?

Fun Trivia: Steven Spielberg cast Matt Damon as Private Ryan because he wanted an unknown actor with an All-American look. He did not know Damon would win an Oscar for Good Will Hunting (1997) and become an overnight star before the film was released.

My Rating: 4 and a half out of 5 pairs of standard-issue socks that you can turn into sticky bombs if needed.

saving-private-ryan-socks-sticky-bombs

blind-spot-series-2019-banner-v2The Blind Spot Series was created a few years ago by Ryan at The Matinee, and is now hosted by Sofia at Returning Videotapes. As part of the Series, bloggers choose 1 movie to watch and review each month that is deemed a ‘classic’ or ‘must-watch’. To see the rest of my picks for the year, check out my announcement post here.

Advertisements

Rushmore (1998)

rushmore-1998-movie-poster-reviewDirector: Wes Anderson

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Main Cast: Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams, Seymour Cassel, Brian Cox, Mason Gamble, Sara Tanaka, Stephen McCole, Connie Nielsen, Luke Wilson

Plot: Max Fischer dedicates his entire existence to the private school he attends, called Rushmore. He runs just about every extracurricular activity you can imagine, and even directs his own plays, but he’s doing terribly in his classes. He falls in love with Miss Cross, an elementary school teacher but finds himself stuck in a rivalry when his friend (and parent of 2 boys at the school) Herman Blume also falls for Miss Cross.

My Thoughts: Rushmore ended up on my watch list after I fell in love with The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom, and I asked for suggestions of which Wes Anderson movie I should see next. I went in blind, not looking up a plot or trailer or anything before seeing it, and I’m glad I did because it was one of the funniest openings to a movie I’ve ever seen!

If I’m totally honest, I didn’t love this as much as the other Wes Anderson movies I’ve seen. I really enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t have the same qwirkyness that the others had. You can definitely tell it’s a Wes Anderson movie though, and I think it’ll be the kind of movie that will grow on me the more times I watch it, and it’s definitely a movie I’ll happily see again.

rushmore-movie-bill-murray-1998

Best Bit: Max and Herman at war with each other. Watching the feud start with a swarm of bees in a hotel room and then escalating into something leading to an arrest was hilarious.

Worst Bit: I wouldn’t say there was a particular moment that I didn’t enjoy in Rushmore, it just lacked the wow factor for me!

Fun Trivia: So I’m not looking up IMDB for this one, I have some trivia of my own. The line that Max says, “Tell that stupid Mick he just made my list of things to do today” is the name of a Fall Out Boy song – and Rushmore is the reason they named it that! I was a bit of a die-hard FoB fan back in the day…

My Rating: 3 and a half aquariums out of 5, which Max may or may not have got permission to build for a certain someone.

rushmore-movie-aquarium-review