100 Years… 100 Movies Review: Ben-Hur (1959)

This is part of a series I will be writing on the AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies list.  My dad and I are hoping to make it through all 100 films in a few years.  These reviews may contain spoilers (under the jump) and probably annoy the shit out of actual movie buffs, as my area of expertise lies more in Disney animated films and various stoner comedies.  Tryin’ to be more cultured and stuff.  All images from Wikipedia (lazy), either public domain or fair use.

Ben_hur_1959_posterPreviously, when my dad and I had attempted to watch AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies list, we started with #1 for whatever inexplicable reason.  We made it through the top three before getting stuck on Raging Bull.  When we decided to make another attempt, my dad pointed out that it really made more sense to start at the bottom of the list.  I think he just wanted to watch Ben-Hur, honestly, but I don’t blame him.  This is a fantastic movie.

Ben-Hur ended up taking home 11 Oscars and it’s easy to see why.  This 1959 film STILL looks impressive in many scenes.  Back then, it must have been absolutely mind-blowing.  There are a few mild spoilers under the jump.

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Looking Up: A New Year

Michael Rougier for LIFE Magazine, 1964.

Michael Rougier for LIFE Magazine, 1964.

Normally, I hate New Year’s Eve.  Everything is expensive, transportation is a nightmare, and 99% of the time I end up wishing I had stayed home.  But I can’t wait for it to roll around this year, even though I have nothing planned, just because I’m so glad this year is ending.

Weirdly, I had been excited for 2014 – honestly mostly because I prefer even numbers – but instead, it was probably the worst year of my life.  The details are pretty irrelevant but it kind of felt like things were shitty wall to wall for a while, especially the second half of the year.  While of course it could always be worse, part of me wouldn’t even mind skipping over the holidays entirely just to get to 2015.

One silver lining is that I actually am feeling kind of optimistic about this next year, and I’m usually a hopeless pessimist.  Having to deal with a bunch of bullshit this year has led me to make some really big, positive changes in my life, which is definitely a nice starting point.  I traditionally make a list of resolutions every year and so I thought I’d share them here so I can keep this trend of positivity going.

  • Actually keep up with this millionth attempt at blogging
  • Get a physical for the first time since I was 18 and told I could no longer see my pediatrician
  • Finally finish reading Ulysses since I know no one thinks I ever will
  • Watch at least the first 10 films from AFI’s 100 Year’s… 100 Movies list
  • Pay off at least one of my credit cards
  • Start taking pictures regularly again, even if it’s just using my phone
  • Continue to purge terrible people from my life because I have neither the time nor patience for that nonsense anymore

I looked at my resolutions from last year and the only two I accomplished were to quit smoking and work out on a regular basis.  The former was a massive accomplishment (I’d been at close to a pack a day for nearly a decade).  The latter might be a stretch, but I’d say once a week is “regularly”, and probably better than going every day and then not at all.  So I’d like to continue doing those things as well.

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Memphis, TN: A Whirlwind Trip

In July 2013, I had the opportunity to travel to Memphis for work.  It was my first time visiting, and unfortunately because it was work-related I only had an hour or two to sightsee.  I wish I had time to visit Sun Studio or even Graceland, but all I had time for was a quick walk down Beale Street and a rapid-fire tour through the Rock & Soul Museum.  Why am I posting these now?  Well, I took the pictures, they look nice (I think) and I don’t know what else to post yet.

I used to take pictures everywhere I went, but I fell out of the habit sometime after I graduated from college.  I’ve been wanting to get back into it, so I used the trip as an opportunity to take along my camera.  I’m definitely pretty rusty, but it’s nice to actually have some photos to look back on!  Hopefully I’ll get a chance to go back someday and do the city justice.

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