New Year, New Shamedowns


Some of us really are gluttons for punishment. Or something. After eleven doses of shame last year, I’m fixing to do it all again with a new crop of movies. Some of them have been sitting on my Netflix list gathering dust for months, but 2019 will be their year to shine. I may not review them in the order they’re listed here, but either way, they will bring da Cinema Shame.

So, without further ado, here’s what’s on the docket. Drum roll, please…

Los Angeles Magazine

Empire Records (1995)

Released the year I graduated from high school, Empire Records is about a group of record store employees and takes place over a single day. I don’t know much else about this film except that it flopped with both the critics and the public. It looks like it’s going to be a huge nostalgia trip, though, and I’m so good with that. Even if it stinks, it’ll be an experience. It’s always nice seeing Liv Tyler, too.


The King’s Speech (2011)

I have always wanted to see The King’s Speech, and I’m not sure why I never did. Films about royal families can be interesting because the information these families release about themselves tends to be strictly monitored, leaving scads of room for speculation and gossip. So, I’m curious. I know one thing, though: My son won’t be watching this film, because I heard it contains large numbers of F-bombs. We’ll see how it goes.

The Mad Movie Man

The Stranger (1946)

I know absolutely nothing about The Stranger except that it has Orson Welles, Loretta Young, and Edward G. Robinson in it. And I’m not going to research this movie at all until I see it, because I want it to be a blindside kind of experience. If Welles is Welles here, it should be full of surprises.

The Atlantic

The Breakfast Club (1985)

Five bored teens are thrown together for a day, and they couldn’t be more different. What could possibly go wrong? Well, I’m going to find out. No spoilers, please. 🙂

SBS Australia

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (2009)

There’s a certain amount of melancholy associated with this movie, as its star, Heath Ledger, died in the midst of filming, but also a healthy amount of intrigue. Apparently they used a body double to fill in the spots where Ledger was missing, and the transitions were not exactly seamless. That, combined with Monty Python alum, Terry Gilliam directing, should make Parnassus quite a spectacle.

The Cinessential

Touch of Evil (1958)

Yes, another Orson Welles movie. Yes, Charlton Heston with a tiny mustache. And no, I’m not going to research this one, either until I watch it. Fresh eyes and all that.


Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

I’ll be honest–the only reason I want to see Lara Croft is that a certain Red Dwarf fixture, Chris Barrie plays a supporting role. He’s an amazing impressionist who should be a bigger name than he is, but he’s doing all right. Barrie hasn’t made many American films, so I’m interested in seeing how he’s utilized here. Other than that, I expect Lara Croft to be a female sorta-Indiana Jones. Who knows, though? I’m open to surprises.


I Don’t Know How She Does It (2011)

I own the Allison Pearson novel this film is based on, and I’ve read it several times, but I’ve never seen the film. It’s kind of a bad sign that the filmmakers Americanized the main character, frazzled working mom Kate, so I am dubious as to how good this is going to be. However, since the book is not without its charms, I will give the movie the benefit of the doubt.


Thunderbolt (1947)

Remember last year’s Shamedown #7, my review of Memphis Belle? Well, William Wyler made another documentary about the Army Air Force, only this time he’s joined by Preston Sturges, with James Stewart, Eugene Kern and Lloyd Bridges sharing narration duties. It follows Operation Strangle, or the Allies’ attempt to muzzle Axis supply lines. The film was well-received–even famous sourpuss Bosley Crowther liked it. More on that later.


Bright Star (2009)

A fictionalized treatment of the last two years of doomed poet John Keats’s life, Bright Star follows his romance with Fanny, his next-door neighbor and his scheming friend’s attempts to break them up. The TV spots for this film were rather ambiguous, and made the film seem like a Jane Austen knockoff, but there’s more here than they let on. I’ve heard good things about Bright Star, and I’m looking forward to seeing it.

Cornell Cinema

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

I have been intrigued by Lon Chaney ever since I saw The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and this year I’m going to indulge it a little with another famous classic. Audiences screamed during Chaney’s big face reveal in this film, and I doubt I’ll do the same, but it’ll be a thrill-fest, anyway.

So yeah, curiosity’s going to kill the Shame this year, and I think it’ll be a fun ride. If anyone wants more information about Cinema Shame’s annual Shame Statements, go here. Those who want to peruse my 2018 Shame roundup can go here. Oh, and if any fellow Shamesters want to use my banner, they’re welcome to. Thanks for reading, and see you next week. A new series is on the way…

2 thoughts on “New Year, New Shamedowns

  1. I wrote an extremely spoilerish piece on The Stranger once. I would not recommend it. However, I would like to share that whenever this movie comes on television, the family will stop and be as engrossed as we were on the first dozen times watching it. I’m looking forward to your upcoming article as you won’t be able to resist writing about it.

    Liked by 1 person

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