The Bridge On the River Kwai: Ah man, this movie has everything: war and valor and girls and adventure and crazy plans and Obi Wan Kenobi. I thought it was good-but-not-great until the midway point, when our plucky band of heroes bifurcates into two groups, who spend the remainder of the film striving for diametrically opposed goals (one wants to build the titular bridge, the other endeavors to blow the mofo up). Modern Hollywood could never make a movie like Kwai, one in which the audience has absolutely no idea who the hell to root for. I had my doubts that any ending could live up to the fantastic premise, and was pleasantly surprised when they pulled it off. Hornswoggling myself into watching movies like this is why I started the AFI 100 Project in the first place. 9/10.
Nashville: I’m a big fan of a number of Robert Altman movies (Short Cuts and The Player foremost among them), and always defended the director against accusation that his films were unnecessarily long, rambling, and as uneven as the horizon of a Lunar Lander game. And do you know why I stuck up for Altman? Because I’d never seen Nashville. Now, having done so … yeah, okay, I guess I can see their point. In the hands of a good film editor, Nashville could have been a fantastic 100 minute flick, but the other 60 minutes is something of a drag. Protip: the point of having your actors ad lib their scenes to to keep the great, spontaneous, authentic moments and shitcan the rest, not to just spice the whole kit and caboodle into your already overlong opus. Not bad, and Altman’s genius is apparent throughout, but a pair of lopping shears short of greatness. 7/10