“Harvey” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 8
“That’s envy, my dear. There’s a little bit of envy in the best of us.”
It’s very difficult to dislike Harvey.
The combination of Jimmy Stewart’s regular, affable demeanor mixed with a character so innocent and polite as Dowd, Elwood P. makes for an uncontrollably smile-inducing movie.
I do, however, have a feeling the story plays even better on the stage with an audience able to react to the absurdity of the situations. I enjoyed the movie well enough, but it felt like it had a slow start, and took a while to draw me in. It wasn’t until Ms. Veta gets mistakenly held against her will that things started to interest me.
I’ve been a fan of Stewart in pretty much everything I’ve seen him in, and he does play the role with just the right amount of pathos for a man clearly wrestling with some issues.
It’s a fine film, but there wasn’t anything that particularly impressed me in terms of sets, lighting, or cinematography. It’s just a fun stage play realized as a movie, and that’s ok.
Harvey was at the time of this review at #124 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #256 among the best movies of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
Harvey vs. Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
The Angelina Jolie Tomb Raider films are both kind of just – there. Not good. Not awful. Just passable action movies. Harvey is a pretty fun little tale with an extremely likable lead, so it wins here.
Harvey vs. Scrooged
Murray at the top of his game. Jimmy Stewart won’t take down Murray.
Harvey vs. The Jacket
The Jacket is a weird little mindbender with Adrien Brody and Keira Knightley. It has interesting sci-fi concepts at work, but the execution is lacking. Knightley has a really weird American accent, too – and it’s off-putting. Harvey wins.
Harvey vs. American History X
Norton just owns it. If you’ve seen it, you likely agree. A really powerful film, and winning this battle.
Harvey vs. Willow
The Ron Howard-directed, George Lucas-penned, fantasy adventure starring Warwick Davis and Val Kilmer is pretty dated now, but it’s still a joyful watch with plenty of magic and charisma. Willow wins.
Harvey vs. Evil Dead II
This was strangely the first experience I had with the Evil Dead films, but reasonably still my favorite. The mix of humor, gore, and violence is dialed in just right. The 6-foot, 3.5-inch tall rabbit will have to stand aside for Ash.
Harvey vs. Chronicle
Chronicle is a found footage film that has begun to get more acclaim as time passes – creating promising careers for director Josh Trank (who’s taking on the Fantastic Four reboot), writer Max Landis (who’s behind three films scheduled to release in 2015 – Mr. Right, American Ultra, & Victor Frankenstein), and actors Dane DeHaan and Michael B. Jordan. It borrows a lot from Akira (but who hasn’t?), but it’s still a well-executed film in its own right. Chronicle wins.
Harvey vs. Tales of the Black Freighter
This comic within the comic of Watchmen is a pretty straight-forward, animated adaptation of the source material. It’s spliced in with the live-action in the director’s cut of the film, but it’s also available as this standalone version. It’s fine, but Harvey is more interesting. Harvey wins.
Harvey vs. 127 Hours
Harvey. I have yet to see a movie starring James Franco that I can say I really like. This one continues that trend.
Harvey vs. Signs
My favorite of Shyamalan’ s films has some of the tensest scenes in movie history. The knife under the door scene, in particular, is the best. Totally takes this last matchup.
Harvey is now ranked #507 out of 1374 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
Coming up is Rian Johnson’s Brick, and Steve Martin in The Jerk. There’s already a good chunk of other films I’ve ranked during the challenge. Take a look…