Still At The Movies

Still talking about today’s shit movies, Reader Bruce T. sends an email which adds:

I spent 22 years restoring and preserving classic films for The Library of Congress. I’ve seen many. Don’t fall into the lazy habit, as I did for decades, of almost exclusively watching movies with English dialogue. I’ve discovered a whole new world of sophisticated plots, consummate acting, and beautiful cinematography in films from Japan, Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, and others. The best part? Even the newest productions are not ‘woke’!

Good points, one and all.  (Although I’m reminded of that wonderful opinion:  “If the furriners had had anything of value to say, they’d have made their movies in English.” )

I’ll be getting a list of titles the above from Bruce in the near future, which I’ll be happy to include in a post.

Watch this space.


  1. I’ve been randomly selecting movies and TV shows based on interesting sounding tiles in Netflix and prime and found some pretty good ones from non US sources. My wife will watch the ones that have been over dubbed in English but refuses to sit through subtitled films. But we have been known to switch on the close captioning for some of the Ozzie films that purport to be in English but are instead in some weird alternate version, so I’m looking forward to suggestions.

    1. A Danish one, Seaside Hotel (Badehotellet, in Danish) on Amazon Prime, I think
      The Empress on Netflix is not bad
      The Barbarians on Netflix is a not bad German effort at Germans vs Romans
      My wife loves the whole lot of multi season Viking serials full of guys named Uhtred, Ragnar and so on. They’re not foreign but seem pretty well made. I glance over at the TV periodically while reading with my wife watching, and frequently rewinding so as to miss no detail, because they’re all soap operas in the end, and ya gotta know who’s sleeping or conniving with who.

      1. More recommendations. Note that many of these have been remade by Hollywood in English versions. Avoid the remakes like the plague, and stick to the originals.

        Let the Right One In []

        Train to Busan []

        A Man Called Ove []

        Eat Drink Man Woman []

        1. I’ll second “A Man Called Ove”, it’s a good flick as is the book it’s based on. (It was made in Sweden so has subtitles.)
          There is a remake coming out called “A Man Called Otto” which stars Tom Hanks. It hasn’t been released yet so I haven’t seen it, but I probably will.

  2. Absolutely correct, there’s a world of cinema available as long as you don’t mind reading a bit as you watch. I’m partially deaf (born with it), so sub-titled movies have been a norm for me since Netflix DVDs began including them decades ago. In those days, few English language movies were sub-titled, so I was forced to sample abroad with very pleasant results.

    May I recommend two to get you started?

    From Japan, “Shall We Dance (1996) []”


    From China, “The Road Home (1999) []”

    Both deal with issues of their culture that we frankly don’t have here — in and of itself worth the price of admission. — being that we are almost relentlessly freedom oriented.

  3. Parasite is easily the best movie I’ve seen made in the last 10 years, and I’m a semi-reformed film student. Hitchcock would have given it a standing ovation.

  4. I run into the “Hollywood doesn’t make good movies anymore” rant regularly, and have all of my adult life. While the current crop of nitwits in Hollywood is a tad more brain-damaged then normal, I have one thing I would like to remind my fellow grouches of:

    Sturgeon’s Law; “90% of Science Fiction – and everything else – is crap”

    Which lead me to formulate Schofield’s Law of Popular Culture: We remember the popular culture of eras past so fondly because, mercifully, we don’t actually remember that much of it. We all dote on the 1942 classic CASABLANCA. We have, most of us, forgotten the weak Boris Karloff vehicle THE BOGEYMAN WILL GET YOU, and for good reason.

    As for foreign films; remember the Heineken Effect; for a long time all imported beers were considered wonderful, because nobody imported the pigswill. Then the demand rose to levels that saw the pigswill imported, too.

    Japan has some wonderful films; YOJIMBO, SEVEN SAMURAI. They also produced Godzilla movies that range from powerful (SHIN GODZILLA) to pathetic (GODZILLA VS THE SMOG MONSTER), and more than their share of cookie-cutter trash that you’d have to be deeply steeped in Japanese culture to understand, much less enjoy.

    1. I well remember the Godzilla movies from my childhood. I think I saw all of them at one time or another. Later, as an adult, I saw one of them again and thought I would get a nice nostalgia hit. Ugh! I couldn’t sit through it.

      It wasn’t just that kind of movie either. I well remember how hard I laughed at “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” when it first came out. (1975 – I was 21.) I saw it again recently and I couldn’t help thinking just how stupid that movie really was. (The galloping knights without horses was funny for about 15 seconds. After that it was just tedious. Indeed, the whole movie was tedious. YMMV)

      I have to give a shout-out to the best, most realistic submarine movie ever made – “Das Boot”. (I am a qualified submariner, so I kind of know what I am talking about.) There were two versions made for the US market. The first, named “Das Boot” was in the original German with English subtitles. The other was called “The Boat” and was the same movie but dubbed in English. I liked the subtitled version a little better, but both were very good.

      1. For some reason, I enjoy the majority of the Godzilla movies, and related Kaiju films (DAGORA THE SPACE MONSTER, RODAN). I think there is a period in a boy’s life when he either imprints on pro-wrestling or rubber-suit monster movies, and I went with the rubber suits. Go figure. Most of them I view as action-comedies. SHIN GODZILLA is an exception; it is serious, and2 genuinely engaging, at least to me.

        For animation fans, I cannot recommend highly enough an odd little film called ALLEGRO NON TROPPO. It is, to a degree, a send-up of FANTASIA. It is a little choppy, but we’ll worth watching.

        1. Oh Gawd! That explains everything!

          It just so happens that I DID imprint on pro-wrestling as a child. (I thought everyone did at that age. Oh well, shows you how much I know.)

  5. My wife and i haven’t watched anything from the US (together, anyway — she watched things during the day while I’m at work) in years. We mostly watch “k-dramas” anymore, which are essentially 16-episode mini-series (usually, some are shorter, and rarely they go to 20 episodes) and the quality has been quite high. We even subscribe to a Korean streaming service (Rakuten Viki) that enables us to find more options than Amazon Prime and Netflix have. We’ve also watched Japanese, Filipino, Singaporean, Thai, Taiwanese, and even Chinese mainland shows as well. The Chinese ones I’ve watched so far have been a surprise — an occasional mention of taking “Marxist Theory” classes during college has been the only thing referencing communism at all, with the shows themselves really just showing universal human themes. That said, I don’t go out of my way looking for them either, generally preferring to stick with Korean stuff.

    Anyway, I’d say we’ve completely watched 80% or higher of the shows we’ve started watching — some end up not being so good, some start well but peter out by the middle, but overall we’ve found that we tend to enjoy the vast majority of what we end up watching. The show “25-21” had a surprisingly moving tribute to USA’s 9/11. told from a Korean perspective, of course, but still… very moving.

    For movies, I’ve tended to mostly watch “Indian Cinema” (mostly Bollywood and Tollywood, really) for the past 3 or 4 years also. A much higher percentage are drek, but somehow even Indian drek still manages to be more entertaining than 99.8% of what Hollywood puts out anymore.

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