Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Recently Watched: Signs, The Others, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

I've done quite a bit of movie watching lately. I've been wanting to get caught up on some thriller/supernatural movies that I haven't seen and so far, I've been really enjoying it, and of course, I love Jimmy Stewart so I am always up for watching his films.

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Released 2002
Signs is an alien classic, so of course I needed to watch it. I'm not sure if I have mentioned it on here, but aliens are one of my favorite supernatural elements to consume in movies, T.V., or books. I'm working my way through the classics, inspired by my love of The X-Files which I am almost done with and will be talking about soon. This movie was really enjoyable. It was a lot more than I expected it to be. It was the perfect mix of suspense, plot, and theme. I was pleasantly surprised by the strength of the religious themes and the motif of the "sign' through coincidence, symbol, or miracle.

If you are unfamiliar, Mel Gibson plays a pastor who has recently left the church after his wife was killed on a walk when she was hit by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel. He renounces religion and the idea of miracles or meaning in events, when one day he walks outside his house to see a crop circle has been left in his corn field and in other places all over the world.

One thing I love about 90s and 2000s supernatural is the lack of cgi and special effects that were available, because of this, movie makers and writers were forced to use the movie watcher's imagination and expectations to create suspense and "horror" rather than fancy cgi. This movie was funny, suspenseful, and entertaining. I highly recommend it if you have never seen it.

The Others
Directed by Alejandro Amenábar
Released 2001
The internet is telling me that this movie may or may not have been inspired by The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, but I have never read it so I'm not sure. I will have to read it to find out. 

I really, really liked this movie. I had no idea what it was about and had no expectations. My mom talked me into watching it on a whim and I'm glad she did. This one is a lot more suspenseful than Signs but still deals with some deeper themes rather than just suspense. I was pleasantly surprised with Nicole Kidman's performance. I don't want to talk too much about plot because it's really best if you don't know anything. 

What made this movie so interesting is the very small cast. There was really only four characters that carried this movie and I thought that was brilliant. I also found the lack of male presence in this movie interesting. Religion also plays an important role in this movie, and it was interesting to watch it so close to Signs and to be able to compare the two. This movie was one of the pioneer twist ending suspense and horror movies, and I think it's a super fun watch. You might be able to catch on to the end, but it doesn't take away from the watching experience if you do. 

I enjoyed this movie the most out of the three featured in this post. This is a movie that I can see myself rewatching even though I already know the ending. If you have any similar recommendations for me, let me know!

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Directed by Frank Capra
Released 1939
 I love Jimmy Stewart and Frank Capra so it's really surprising that this is my first time watching this movie. Stewart plays a young man appointed to the Senate after the sudden death of a senator. He is placed there by someone he trusts, as he is believed to be gullible and a push-over, but of course, Mr. Smith is nothing of the sort. 

Stewart is a great actor, you believe every role he plays, and his voice makes it impossible for you to focus on anyone else while he is talking. I also loved the female lead character in this movie, Miss Saunders, and thought there was a lot being said about women's role in the political sphere for a movie made in 1939 that was not specifically about women's role in the political sphere. 

This is a feel good movie, where one golden-hearted man takes on the corrupt and cold political system in order to make a positive change, but for me, Miss Saunders was the real star of the show. She coaches Mr. Smith through his over 24 hour fillibuster and knows all of the legal loop-holes and protocols. The real message for me here was that Miss Saunders should have been appointed to the U.S. Senate, not Mr. Smith.

Regardless, this movie was charming and feel-good, and an interesting watch in our current political climate. I will say, that the whole time I was watching this movie, I was just itching to put in It's a Wonderful Life as that is arguably one of the best movies ever made, and Stewart's performance here just made me think of George Bailey. If you have never seen a James Stewart movie, you should rectify that ASAP! 
Mr. Smith preparing to filibuster. 


  1. Oh man, Signs is a classic? (*whispers* how old AM I?) 😳
    I remember seeing it when I was a kid. Aliens have always terrified/intrigued me, and I think it helped solidify that.

    I never linked The Others with The Turn of the Screw before, but now I can definitely see a connection. It's not the same story, but they share certain elements.

    1. I never watched anything remotely scary when I was a kid, so now I'm wayyy behind on supernatural movies.
      I'm really eager to read The Turn of the Screw now!
      Thanks for stopping by!