My “Best Of” June
It’s that time again! Here is a round up of my favorite films I watched (for the first time) in the month of June. Bugsy Malone (1976) Bugsy Malone is quite well known in the film loving circles
Published on July 4, 2011 | Filed under Review

It’s that time again! Here is a round up of my favorite films I watched (for the first time) in the month of June.

Bugsy Malone (1976)
Bugsy Malone is quite well known in the film loving circles I run in. It’s one of those movies I knew I’d love even before I popped in the DVD. What shocked me is how much I enjoyed it. The kids in the film (if you don’t know, the cast is comprised solely of children) are adorable, and in the case of Jody Foster, super talented. For me, what kept it interesting and elevated it beyond a cutesy flick filled with kids is the Paul Williams score. The final song, “You Give A Little Love,” made me burst into tears. Without fail, that man can string together the perfect combination of words to make me weep. If you haven’t seen this, I recommend it. It is much more than a kid’s movie.

Superman II (1980)
Is it possible I like this one more than the original? No… Well… It’s certainly close. The 2nd installment of Reeve as Superman is fun and MUCH goofier than the 1st. I love that man. He is so handsome and truly captures everything I love about the DC hero. Honestly, I don’t typically like Superman. But these films (at least the first 2) present the Man of Steel as an interesting, dynamic character. I wish I had seen them as a kid.

X-Men: First Class (2011)
I’m and X-Men fangirl. When I was little I used to dream of a live action film. In fact, I used to sit around and try to cast all my favorite characters (there was no hope for me!). At the time of its release, I enjoyed the first X-Men film. Upon subsequent re-watches… Not so much. So being able to watch an X-Men movie, as an adult, and love it, is a huge deal for me. This isn’t just a good superhero movie, it’s a good movie period. I place a lot of that onto Fassbender. He was phenomenal in the Magneto role and is easily my favorite part of the film. There are just so many things they did right. Obviously, it isn’t a perfect film, but it’s closer than I could have ever dreamt. The story is solid and pacey. The acting is (mostly) good. The introduction of lesser known or previously unused characters is thrilling (Havok!) I can’t wait to own this on blu.

The Lives of Others (2006)
This is a German film that I had actually never heard of (even though it won an Academy Award). It came up in the Girls on Film podcast queue and that’s how it ended up on my radar. And I’m certainly glad it did. Set in the mid 80s, the film follows a member of the Stasi as he bugs a prominent German playwright’s home. This is a very political film and it’s deeply affecting to see the fear that many German citizens lived with during this time. While I found the depictions of everyday life powerful and well communicated, what really got to me was the relationship between the man doing surveillance and the man being, um, surveilled. I mentioned it on the podcast (GoF Radio episode 25) that this would make a tremendous double bill with The Conversation. For me, the similarities between the 2 are striking and fascinating.

Super 8 (2011)
Both my theater visits landed on the top 5. This is not a perfect movie. I’ve heard all the complaints and I get why people have so many issues with it. I simply don’t. The monster didn’t bother me. I didn’t find train crash unnecessary. And I did get emotionally involved. This was certainly no E.T. But then again, it wasn’t trying to be. Sure, I suppose you’re supposed to feel some kind of empathy for the alien. But it was eating people, so I don’t think the filmmakers had any real E.T. illusions. Admittedly, there are many places this one fell short. It simply comes down to the fact that I enjoyed it so much, I didn’t care. Everyone is saying how wonderful the kids were and how cool all the models and movie posters and Eerie magazine covers in their rooms are. That was enough for me to make it all work. I was this film’s target audience.

I’m hoping next month Captain America will be on this list. I’m so excited; it’s one of my most anticipated Summer films! What are you looking forward to? Or, what’s disappointed you thus far?

Christine enjoys obsessing over Paracinema magazine. She also loves well written hour long TV dramas. Her free time is spent with her many boyfriends: Brian De Palma, Edgar Wright & Alfred Hitchcock.

  • Superman II is easily my favorite, in part because Terence Stamp with black hair is damn sexy. Plus it doesn’t have a scary robot woman so that helps.

    I just saw Super 8 yesterday and pretty disappointed. I liked aspects of it–the performances, ’70s suburbia–but it just felt so oddly constructed. It dragged and dragged, which would have been fine if it felt more epic, but it was actually a really small story. I don’t know, the more I think on it the less impressed I get.

    But I do adore Bugsy Malone!

    • Yay for Superman II! It’s really quite wonderful.
      And, honestly, your issues with Super 8 aren’t difficult to understand. I just liked so much of it to such a degree that I ignored any possible issues I may have had.
      I will say that it fell short on an emotional level. That thing was a prefect storm of tears yet I only shed a few.

  • Now I gotta watch Bugsy Malone to make sure I can keep up with you guys.

    Also, I hereby petition for St. Patrick’s Day to be renamed to Fassbender Day. You still drink a lot, you’re just required by law to watch one of his movies while doing so.

    • I concur. Fassbender 4-eva!
      Brody is still number 1, but Fassy is a seriously amazing talent.
      Let me know when you watch Bugsy. I think you’d like it.

  • Awesome list!

    I am a Superman fanatic and I actually used to love Superman II (when I was wee) until I realized it is extremely goofy, while the first film is one of the best comic book movies ever made. However, I still like it, but the Richard Donner cut is vastly superior and you can see the difference between a movie made by a director and one made where a studio steps in and tries to get “creative.” Also, the whole story behind the project is crazy, too. Check it out, yo!

    I found there to be incredible problems with Super 8, still, I simply loved it, and it hit me the way I hoped it would. Flaws and all, that’s all that matters in the end.

    And I too am an X-Men fangirl (?!) and I’m super excited to see First Class. I feel the same way as you do about the first film, but X2 is so fucking good, and most people that have seen it say First Class is nearly as good, or better, than that film. I just wish I didn’t let it fly by without taking the chance to see it in theaters. I guess I can blame the Wolverine film for that one!

    • I think that Wolverine movie soured a lot of people. I still haven’t seen it… Ewwww. And I totally enjoyed First Class more than X2. I want you to see it! Now!
      We are the target audience for Super 8. Kids, aliens, fantastical adventures… Sold! It was easy to ignore any flaws.
      And your are not the first to mention the Donner cut. Must. See.

  • First of all, comment notification for the win!

    I have a friend who has apparently edited together his own master version of Superman 2, combining the Donnor and other guy cut. I’ve yet to see it but I’m impressed.

    And I’m just still bummed about Super 8.Maybe if I knew absolutely nothing about it, I might have been charmed, but I just felt it failed for me based on the talent involved. I guess I’m a sour no good ninnynumpkins.

    • You like that huh? 😉

      Maybe if you re-watch it at some point you’ll enjoy it more.

  • Great list. Reeves is…was….and always be my Superman. I don’t think any other actor will be able to pull off what that guy did wearing silly tights. First Class has to be the movie of the summer so far for me. I think we just watched somebody become a superstar in Fassbender. By far my favorite of the X flicks.

    • I totally agree about Reeve. He IS Superman.
      And I totally agree about Fassbender! (2 total agreements!) He is a scene stealer for sure.

  • Ashlee

    I’m totally taking up all of your suggestions. I can’t believe I’ve never seen any of the Superman films but I’ve always heard good things about them.

    I’ve heard much positive buzz Bugsy Malone as well. I never thought it was a movie with a kid cast though.

    Fassbender I have to admit made First Class for me. He was by far the most memorable actors and that’s probably because they gave him the arc, even within the ensemble cast.

    And I agree, Super 8 had its target and was not perfect or trying to be E.T. I think Abrams is savvy enough to pay homage to what has made Super 8 possibly to be marketed to the mainstream but is adamant about creating his own story.

    Great list, Christine!

    • Thanks, Ashlee!
      I hope you check out some of the Superman flicks. I hear they start to decline in quality… But I can attest to the greatness of 1 and 2!
      Bugsy is SO MUCH FUN! Watch it and tell me what you think!

  • I love Bugsy Malone too, but there are a few scenes that, as an adult, shock me in a “is this really happening??” sort of way. I think a lot of people have a problem with that flick.

    Trivia Fact: I was cast in two roles in our primary school (7-11 yrs old) production of Bugsy Malone! And who did I play? Doodle and Looney Bergonzi. Ha! There’s something just so fitting about that.