1. Blade Runner (1982)

Leonard Maltin’s Rating :

Should be :

IMDB Rating : 8.6

Rotten Tomatoes Rating : 92%

Leonard Maltin’s ratings are pretty consistent but this is one he has made an egregious error with. If you are supposed to be writing a book that will help people decide whether to see a movie don’t you think you should have a favorable rating for what many people think is one of the best science fiction movies ever made (see IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes rating above).
In his review Leonard said : “A triumph of production design. defeated by a muddled script and main characters with no appeal whatsoever”  (maybe because they were robots, which may be the point of the movie).
The Rotten Tomatoes Consensus statement says : “Misunderstood when it first hit theaters, the influence of Ridley Scott’s mysterious, noir-influenced Blade Runner has deepened with time. A visually remarkable, achingly human sci-fi masterpiece.”
I couldn’t agree more. This movie is so good, on so many levels. Leonard needs to change his rating and his review so more people will get to see this great, great movie.

52. My Name Is Joe (1998)

Leonard Maltin’s Rating :

Should be :

IMDB Rating : 7.4

Rotten Tomatoes Rating : 87%

Rotten Tomatoes Synopsis : Joe Kavanagh is on the wagon, but still raw after some chaotic years of drinking. He is bursting with energy, determined to live life to the fullest and ready to make up for his past mistakes. Sarah Downey is an independent and private woman who lives for her job as a health visitor. When Joe and Sarah meet, neither is ready for a relationship. MY NAME IS JOE is the heartfelt story of an unlikely romance between two very different people. As Joe attempts to manage his new life and budding romance, he contemplates his torrid past, his complex present, and the changes that he needs to make in order to secure a bright future.

Leonard says in his review : “Likable loser Mullan is a recovering alcoholic eking out a life in Glascow, Scotland. Mullan’s tentative romance with health-care worker Goodall is worth a look … and more engaging than the melodramatic turn the story takes involving local thugs.”

This movie is arguably Ken Loach’s second finest film, after Kes. It is a movie for people who love movies. It works as a comedy, a drama and a love story and it is a very truthful . No Hollywood endings here. Roger Ebert in his review wrote “Often with a film like this you think you know how it has to end. The ending of My Name Is Joe left me stunned. I’ve rarely seen a film where the conclusion is so unexpected, and yet, in its own way, so logical, and so inevitable. “
My Name Is Joe is a great movie that was dismissed by Leonard’s really mediocre review and rating.
If you want to see a dramatic story about life, love, gangsters and soccer, you should ignore Leonard review and go see My Name Is Joe.

51. The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)

Leonard Maltin’s Rating :

Should be :

IMDB Rating : 7.2

Rotten Tomatoes Rating : 80%

Rotten Tomatoes Synopsis : A sleazy nightclub manager, in debt to the mob, is pressured to wipe out an underworld power.

Leonard says in his review : “Strange, self-indulgent (even for Cassavettes) home movie centering around the owner of a strip joint, the mob and what used to be called ‘B girls.’ Small cult may take to this; others beware.”

That was really a pretty weak review. How about this one from the Time Out Film Guide : “Cassavetes doesn’t believe in gangsters, as soon becomes clear in this waywardly plotted account of how a bunch of them try to distract Gazzara from his loyalty to his barely solvent but chichi LA strip joint, the Crazy Horse West. Or rather Cassavetes doesn’t believe in the kind of demands they make on a film, enforcing cliches of action and behavior in return for a few cheap thrills. On the other hand, there’s something about the ethnicity of the Mob – family closeness and family tyranny – which appeals to him, which is largely what his films are about, and which says something about the way he works with actors. The result is that his two gangster films – this one and the later Gloria – easily rate as his best work crisscrossed as they are by all sorts of contradictory impulses, with the hero/heroine being reluctantly propelled through the plot, trying to stay far enough ahead of the game to prevent his/her own act/movie being closed down. It’s rather like a shaggy dog story operating inside a chase movie. Chinese Bookie is the more insouciant, involuted and unfathomable of the two; the curdled charm of Gazzara’s lopsided grin has never been more to the point.”

I guess the reviewers saw two different movies. One thought the movie was awful and the other thought it was great. In 1995 to mark the Centenary of Film, the English publication Time Out polled directors, producers, actors, programmers and critics to find out what they felt had been the high point of the last 100 years. Coming in 85th palce was The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. It placed just below Casablanca, Double Indemnity, Intolerance, Notorious, The Red Shoes, Out of the Past, Sunset Boulevard, City Lights, Ran and Sunrise. That’s pretty fast company Chinese Bookie is running with.

Strange, dark, daring, interesting and exciting. I really, really like this movie and I’m guess I’m going to have to go with the Time Out guys on this one.