Bucket List Movies: The Thirteenth Warrior, Das Boot, Taxi Driver, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Okay, because I know someone will ask: I’m not dying.

Even so, I do have a huge list of movies that I’ve always wanted to see but never have for one reason or another, and I figured why wait until I only had a limited amount of time to live before trying to cram them all in at once? So I’m starting now.

These will all be, for the most part, older movies and they’ll be splayed across wide genres, because I love a little bit of everything. I’ll give them to you with mini-reviews, and if it’s an older flick, I’ll let you know how well it holds up to a modern audience.

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The Thirteenth Warrior (based on the Michael Crichton novel Eaters of the Dead)—This is a movie that is definitely worth your time, primarily for the Vikings and Antonio Banderas. From a historical aspect, it has its ups and downs.

If you want to see every type of armor all mashed into one movie, this is your flick. Beowulf actually takes place in the 6th century, but in The Thirteenth Warrior, you’ve got a good sample of everything from 10th to 15th century armor. Also, there is no way that Antonio Banderas threw on that chain mail shirt while running, but I will forgive the error and suspend belief because it is Antonio Banderas, and if anyone could toss a chain mail shirt over his head in hurry, Antonio could do it. Don’t @ me.

However, if you shut off your history-brain, it’s still a good movie. In spite of all my ribbing, and the film’s really weak premise, the film works primarily due to a strong cast with a ton of chemistry. It’s a cool re-imagining of the Beowulf tale, and if the antagonists had been stronger, the plot might have rocked my world. As it was, The Thirteenth Warrior, was entertaining and well worth my time.

Recommended

Das Boot—With the new series coming to Hulu, I wanted to finally sit down and watch the movie from beginning to end. I made it through the first half. The acting was top-notch, but they were Nazis (although they tried to portray them as military men not necessarily married to the Nazi ideology, they were still fighting for Nazis in a Nazi war, so Nazis), and because of that, I wasn’t really on the characters’ side. None of them were either likable enough or interesting enough to engage me, and I didn’t care if they lived or died, which led me to lose interest in the overall plot, so I did not finish.

DNF/YMWV*

Taxi Driver—was exceptionally innovative when it premiered. De Niro gives a stellar performance and CYBILL SHEPHERD! Unfortunately, you can’t turn on the news today without seeing another Travis Bickle splayed across the screen, so I had to switch it off.

DNF/YMWV*

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Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf—Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton at their best and most sublime. If you’re into black comedy, this is your gig. The daughter of the university’s president, Martha, and her husband (the university’s history professor), George, invite a young couple to their house for a night of fun and games.

Only it’s mind games.

Everyone is hysterically drunk, secrets of ambition are revealed and while she has but a small role, Sandy Dennis was positively hysterical as Nick’s wife, Honey. Released in 1966, the film has held up exceptionally well, primarily due to Ernest Lehman’s faithful screen adaptation of Edward Albee’s play.

Highly recommended

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*DNF/YMMV — Did not finish/Your mileage may vary