Wednesday, 31 January 2018

January Favorites

I have always wanted to do a «monthly favorites» type of post on this blog, but I kept putting it off some reason or the other until now. I will be doing one of these every month (or every two months) and I will include literally everything that I have loved or that has made me happy throughout that month, be it a film, a song, a book, a TV show or even food or a item of clothing. Without further ado, here are my January favorites.

Favorite film: Call Me By Your Name (2017)
I actually watched this film at the end on December last year, but it has stayed with me all throughout January. I always go back to watch my favorite scenes and every time I am amazed at how incredibly good it is. Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer are phenomenal actors and they have the most beautiful chemistry, both on and off-screen. They actually made be believe that they were genuinely in love with each other.

 If you have not seen Call Me By Your Name, I strongly recommend you do. Elio and Oliver's story is the perfect confirmation that love is love, regardless of gender or age or anything else.

Favorite actor: Timothée Chalamet
I had never heard of Timothée Chalamet until I watched Call Me By Your Name, but by the end of the film I had fallen completely and irrevocably in love with him. He is extraordinarily talented and he shows a kind of confidence in front of the camera that goes beyond his years. It is like he means every single words he says, regardless of what character he is playing. Not to mention the fact that he is incredibly intelligent and well-spoken. And he is fluent in French! AND he plays the piano! Seriously, what more can you want? 

As I have said before, if Timmy is any indication of what the future of Hollywood is going to be like, then we have a lot to look forward to. 2017 was the year of Timothée Chalamet, so let 2018 be the year when they give the Oscar to someone who actually deserves it.

Favorite TV show: Babylon Berlin
For those who have never heard of Babylon Berlin, it is a German TV series set in the late 1920s and follows a young police inspector named Gereon Rath, played by Volker Bruch (one of my favorite German actors). Gereon is transferred from Cologne to Berlin to solve a criminal case involving a pornography ring and soons finds himself entangled in a web of corruption, drug dealing and weapons trafficking. It is the perfect combination of crime, history and sex. It is gritty, historically accurate and it has this film noir-ish kind of atmosphere that I absolutely love. If you are into period dramas, European productions and modern film noir, then I suggest you give Babylon Berlin a try.

Favorite song: «First Time He Kissed a Boy» by Kadie Elder
I first heard this song on a Isak and Even (from the Norwegian series Skam) fanvideo on YouTube and I immediately loved it. It is such a catchy tune! I have listened to it many times every day ever since I discovered it. I have not listened to anything else by Kadie Elder, but this song is just fabulous.

Favorite band: Walk the Moon
I fell in love with Walk the Moon after I heard their song «Shut Up and Dance» (which is one of my personal favorites) and in January I fell in love with them all over again, specially in the week or so. I have been listening to their last two albums pretty much non-stop. I just absolutely love their sound.

Favorite random item: These plimsolls by Stradivarius
I have not worn sneakers for years, but as soon as I saw these ones in Stradivarius I had to get them. I absolutely love them and they look good with everything. I particularly like to wear them with cropped skinny jeans and swearshirts. I have another pair in dark red velvet and they look just as good. They have new colors in stock, so I think I have to go back to the store really soon and get a few more pairs.

And that is it. These are the things I have loved the most throughout January.
What about you? Was there anything in particular that you loved this month?

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Top 10 Favorite James Stewart Films of the 1940s

A few days after I posted my «Top 10 Favorite James Stewart Films of the 1930s» last year, I finished watching all the films that James Stewart made in the 1940s. At the time, I immediately thought of doing a «Top 10 Favorite James Stewart Films of the 1940s», but I never really got around to do it until now. I am still not very good at ranking things, but I think I am happy with my choices. Here they are.

#10: On Our Merry Way (1948) 
Directed by King Vidor and Leslie Fenton | Co-starring Henry Fonda, Paulette Goddard and Burgess Meredith | United Artists

On Our Merry Way is an anthology film made up of several comedy vignettes linked by a single theme. Jimmy and his old pal Henry Fonda, in their first joint screen appearance, play a pair of jazz musicians called Slim and Lank. Can you think of two better names for them? Whoever thought of it deserves an award. The film as a whole is not spectacular, but it is still worth a watch because of Slim and Lank, I mean, Jimmy and Hank.

#9: Malaya (1949) 
Directed by Richard Thorpe | Co-starring Spencer Tracy, Sydney Greenstreet and John Hodiak | Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Malaya is set in Japanese-occupied Malaya during World War II. Jimmy plays a reporter (again) who sees himself involved in a rubber-smuggling affair, along with his old former convict friend, played by Spencer Tracy. Fun fact: Jimmy's first film, The Murder Man (1935), also starred Tracy. By the way, am I the only one who thinks that Jimmy looks absolutely fabulous in a white linen suit and fedora hat? That's pretty much the reason why this film is in this list.

#8: Call Northside 777 (1948) 
Directed by Henry Hathaway | Co-starring Richard Conte, Lee J. Cobb and Helen Walker | 20th Century Fox

Call Northside 777 is a film noir inspired by the true story of a Chicago reporter named James McGuire, who proved that Joseph Majczek was wrongly convicted of the murder of a policeman in 1932, the height of Prohibition. Jimmy's character is based on the reporter, while Richard Conte plays the convict he helps exonerate. I am not a massive fan of noir films, but this one I actually really liked (maybe because Jimmy is in it).

#7: You Gotta Stay Happy (1948) 
Directed by H. C. Potter | Co-starring Joan Fontaine, Eddie Albert and Roland Young | Universal-International

In You Gotta Stay Happy, Jimmy appears as a World War II veteran (which he actually was) and aspiring air-freight businessman, who becomes enmeshed in the world of a wealthy and carefree socialite, played by Joan Fontaine. Throw a monkey into the mixture and you get a film almost as zany and kookie as one of those great screwball comedies of the 1930s.

#6: Magic Town (1947) 
Directed by William A. Wellman | Co-starring Jane Wyman, Kent Smith and Ned Sparks | RKO

Magic Town has Jimmy play a war veteran (again) who runs a company that performs polls and consumer surveys. To find the «magic formula» to conduct the perfect survey, he travels to a small town in the middle of nowhere, where he ends up falling in love with a strongminded reporter, played by Jane Wyman. It does not sound like much, but it is a quite good film, I promise.

#5: The Stratton Story (1949) 
Directed by Sam Wood | Co-starring June Allyson, Frank Morgan and Agnes Moorehead | Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The Stratton Story tells the true story of Monty Stratton (played by Jimmy), a Major League baseball player who pitched for the Chicago White Sox from 1934 until 1938. While hunting one day, he accidentally shot himself in his right leg, which then had to be amputated. Still, with a wooden leg, he was able to make a successful minor league comeback in 1946. The scene where he puts on his wooden leg for the first time and takes his young son out for a walk is one of my favorite movie scenes of all time.

#4: Come Live With Me (1941) 
Directed by Clarence Brown | Co-starring Hedy Lamarr, Ian Hunter and Verree Teasdale | Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Come Live With Me is about a young Viennese refugee (portrayed by Hedy Lamarr) who convinces a struggling writer (played by Jimmy) to marry her so that she can get American citizenship. To be perfectly honest, there is nothing new or particularly spectacular about this film, but I love it so much.

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch | Co-starring Margaret Sullavan and Frank Morgan | Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The Shop Around the Corner is the story of two employees (played by Jimmy and his old friend Margaret Sullavan) at a leathergoods shop in Budapest who cannot stand each other, not realizing that they are falling in love as anonymous correspondents through their letters. This is, without a doubt, one of the loveliest films I have ever seen. Jimmy and Margaret are perfect together.

#2: It's a Wonderful Life (1946) 
Directed by Frank Capra | Co-starring Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore and Henry Travers | Liberty Films/RKO

It's a Wonderful Life stars Jimmy as George Bailey, a man who has given up on his dreams to help others and whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel (played by Henry Travers). He shows George all the lives he has touched and different life in his town would be if he had never been born. In the end, George realizes how important he is to his family and his friends. This is the absolute perfect film to watch on Christmas or any other day of the year, really.

Directed by George Cukor | Co-starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Ruth Hussey | Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The Philadelphia Story tells the story of a socialite whose wedding plans are complicated by the simultaneous arrival of her ex-husband (played by Cary Grant) and a tabloid magazine reporter (played by Jimmy). The drunk scene between Jimmy and Cary Grant is another one of my favorite movie scenes of all time, and the scene that made me fall madly in love with Jimmy. Fun fact: This was the first James Stewart film I ever saw and it remais my personal favorite of his.

And there you have it. These are my top 10 favorite James Stewart films of the 1940s. How many of these films have you seen? Did I mentioned any of your favorites?