Earlier this month Warner Brothers announced that we’d all finally get our first look at next year’s big event movie Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice when it attaches the trailer to the movie Mad Max: Fury Road, which comes out May 15th.
Now, I, like most comic book nerds am excited to see what director Zack Snyder has in store for us, but the one thing I hope for is to not make Batman the end all and be all problem-solver that most of his fans make him out to be.
I know people complain about how overpowered Superman can be (he’s super strong, and fast, and can fly, and is near invulnerable, and he has super hearing, and x-ray vision, and heat vision, and freeze breath) but I feel the same could be said about Batman. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read that Batman can totally take Superman in a fight, simply because he’s Batman… which makes no sense to me, because Batman has no super powers. He’s just a really rich, smart, athletic dude in a cape and cowl, and to be honest, I even question the validity of his intelligence.
I can name another rich, smart, crime fighter: Tony Stark, and you know what he fights crime in? A technological suit of armor that makes him strong, and he can fly in it, and it has rockets and lasers, and I’m sure there’s some kind of heat vision or x-ray vision or radar built into the suit. Tony Stark is Bruce Wayne minus the pathos of having his parents killed in front of him, and when Tony Stark decided to fight crime, he was smart enough to build himself a suit of armor that made up for his lack of super powers. Bruce Wayne on the other hand decided to fight crime by doing a bunch of push-ups and hoping that his mask would scare people. Not the smartest of moves.
Batman is supposedly the “world’s greatest detective” but is he? Batman has a pretty colorful rogues gallery, maybe the most colorful (though the Flash and Spider-Man might have something to say about that) so is it really that difficult to figure out who stole all the penguins from the Gotham zoo? Or who is freezing all the banks in Gotham in a giant block of ice? How about all those stolen diamonds, you know where the thief left all those riddles hoping to be caught… do you really need to be the “world’s greatest detective” in order to suss out who’s behind those crimes?
I just re-read The Killing Joke, which by design is more of a Joker story, but still, you know how Batman caught the Joker at the end of that story? It wasn’t with cunning and guile… nope… the Joker simply told Batman where his hideout was. Good detecting Batman.
At the beginning of the movie Batman Forever Two Face is caught robbing the 2nd Bank of Gotham on the second anniversary of his initial arrest… how did Batman not see that coming? HE’S TWO FACE! Batman went the nearly the entirety of The Dark Knight Rises not knowing Miranda Tate (Talia al Ghul) was the antogonist. How long did it take for Batman to figure out Selina Kyle was Catwoman in Batman Returns? It seems that Batman doesn’t solve crimes so much as he stumbles upon crimes happening and then just kinda punches stuff.
Don’t get me wrong. I like Batman. I really like Batman. I love his rouges gallery. I love that he keeps adopting little boys and making them stay out way past their bed times. I love his cars. But he is not the end all and be all to the end of every fight. “Because he’s Batman” isn’t a valid argument. Your conviction does not hold up to reason. Sorry. He’s not nearly as clever as we’d all like to believe. He’s not super strong, or fast. Honestly, in the world of comics, he’s not even that scary. I’d be much more terrified to run into The Question (a man without a face!) over Batman (a guy in a costume).
Batman is cool. He drives an awesome car. He has a plane. He has a boat. He has shark repellent. He has all those "wonderful toys." But, come on... he can’t beat Superman in a fight. He can’t beat Spider-Man in a fight. He’d probably have a difficult time beating Iron Fist in a fight. So let’s all let up on Batman being the best thing ever, and just say he’s pretty good for a guy without powers who dresses up kinda like a bat.
it follows a review by Jeff Hernandez
The other week I told the kids that I would take them to see a movie, which they seemed excited for, so last night I told them to put on their shoes, “We’re going to the movies!” and I took them to see the movie It Follows.
The trailer pretty much tells you what the story is about, something- “it” (a hex? A demon? Herpes?) is given to you through sexual intercourse. “It” will follow you and kill you, unless you give it to someone else.
“This thing, it’s gonna follow you. Somebody gave it to me, and I passed it to you. Wherever you are, it’s somewhere walking straight for you. All you can do is pass it to someone else.” Is what the voice over says in the trailer… and that’s pretty much what happens in the movie. Guy gives girl “this thing” and girl is chased by the slowly walking “thing” which mostly takes the guise of creepy looking people in hospital gowns for the rest of the movie.
It’s been getting pretty rave reviews, and stylistically it certainly deserves all the praise. The movie has an odd period piece feel to it. There are no indications as to when the movie takes place outside of the early 90s (though it takes place in Detroit. I’ve never been to Detroit, but I’m guessing it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility for Detroit to look stuck in the early 90s due to its poor economy).
The movie does a wonderful job of creating tension, making the viewer feel uncomfortable (though sometimes I really think that is due to the unsettling nature of how bad current day Detroit looks in the background of the film) and it is nice to see a horror movie that harkens back to the early horror movie morality tales (if you have promiscuous sex, something bad will happen… like old people in hospital gowns will walk toward you slowly… which would definitely creep me out… old people are scary, especially if they’re sick).
The problem for me is, that ultimately all horror movies fall into the same category, obvious. Sure, a jump scare may get me occasionally, but I rarely get scared watching horror movies because they are so formulaic.
Music builds, protagonist character looks past a dark corner, evil pops out… or no evil pops out, whew, sigh of relief, evil pops out.
There have been attempts to circumvent this problem- like the found footage Paranormal Activity movies (no music to cue the audience into what’s about to happen) but I mostly watch those movies to watch the practical effects. (I like imagining poor young production assistants having to hide behind the corners of the beds having to pull the bed sheets off). Honestly, I’m just not scared of ghost, or goblins, or demons, or spirits, or the undead. I think that if I found out I had a ghost living with me in my apartment I would simply feel slightly less concerned about the amount of time I spend talking to myself while walking around in sweat pants. In fact, I’d save it a seat while we watch Netflix together… it’s always nice to have company.
I’m far more frightened about real things that could really happen to me.
I just watched the movie Flight, with Denzel Washington, and the 10 minute plane crash scene made me seriously reconsider flying ever again. Forget my plans to fly for summer vacation, I'm driving! I just need to make sure not to watch the car crash scene from Final Destination 2 before leaving.
To this day I refuse to go near the ocean… thanks Jaws, and Castaway. I had a mild panic attack the first time I saw the Gravity trailer on a big screen, and I’m never going to space now.
I just never really find myself even remotely close to scenarios where I’m walking hand in hand with my beautiful 23-year-old girlfriend in a darkened wooded area, or a cemetery, where we have sex and then get chased by a large man wearing pig mask wielding a large knife… first off I don’t have a 23-year-old beautiful girlfriend. I have Netflix. (I supposed I could be walking through the woods watching the Karate Kid through a Netflix app on my phone, only to be chased by a large man in a pig mask wielding a large knife, but come one, who’s gonna have that kind of 4G coverage in a wooded area?)
And let’s say, for giggles, that I not only believed in creepy crawlies, and that they were chasing me (or walking toward me in a menacing fashion)… no one ever tries to creatively deal with the situation. Why are you always running people in horror movies? Has no one seen Predator? Arnold fights! Set up a snare trap like the Ewoks in Jedi… You know what makes Jason Voorhees less scary, if he’s upside down caught in a snare trap.
Listen, I’m not gonna tell you to see or not see It Follows. Go see it. Make up your own mind. Maybe you’ll be terrified to sleep at night? Maybe you’ll stop having sex. Maybe you’ll start having sex. Who knows.
So with that in mind… I will now give you three ways to escape the “It” should you find yourself in need of escaping a horrible demon that’s chasing you because you made poor life decisions.
The snare trap. You're running through the woods already. Just set it up, run through the woods... It gets caught in the trap... leave it there for the bears.
This one takes a bit more setting up... make a rudimentary cardboard cut-out of yourself, set it up in front of a treadmill, turn on the treadmill, get It to walk on the treadmill and then just sneak away. It will continuously walk after cardboard cut-out you indefinitely.
Buy a bus ticket. Hop on a bus. Have It get on the bus. Hop off the back of the bus. Bus takes off to Albuquerque. Wave by to It as it stares at you out the back of the bus.
There are plenty of variations on these themes… get the “it” to walk into quick drying cement, hop on and off a plane and have “it” fly to Florida, or maybe just buy a plane ticket to Hawaii… can “it” walk through the ocean? Maybe just stand blindfold “it”, can it follow you if it can see you?
For the record… if I were to write a horror movie it would be about a young man or woman, fresh out of school, full of vim and vigor, working their first job, trying to climb that ladder only to find 15 years had passed and they’re still stuck at the same dead-end job… then they survive in a plane crash over the ocean only to be eaten by a shark… their last thought being… that was my life? Shudder. That’s terrifying.
I had a friend the other day tell me, “I think you dodged a bullet!” which got me to thinking about the meaning of that phrase. I understand the meaning- Something that might have happened to or for me didn’t happen, and for whatever reason, it is probably better for me in the long run that that something didn’t happen to or for me because that something may just be crazy pants insane.
But here’s the thing with that phrase- it only works in either hindsight, or if you’re an outside observer.
I got promoted a few years ago, and my new boss was bat shit insane crazy. I really wanted the promotion, and I had no knowledge at the time of my soon-to-be bat shit insane crazy pants boss, and just how bat shit insane crazy pants he was, so if I had not gotten the promotion, I would have been very upset- at least until I found out that my boss would have been a bat shit insane crazy pants person and then I would have said, “Whew! Looks like I dodged a bullet on that one!”
Here’s where I lose the metaphor- dodging a bullet means you’ve avoided something bad- but what was I doing before said bullet almost shot me? I obviously wanted the thing that almost shot me-in this case a promotion… which did shoot me… I did not dodge any bullets, I got promoted and had to work under a bat shit crazy pants person for nearly three years before someone up the food chain finally came to their senses and “restructured” the office.
The other night when my friend said, “I think you dodged a bullet.” I smiled politely and nodded, but I don’t necessarily feel like I dodged anything… I kind of wanted the thing that may or may not have potentially riddled me with bullet holes (though now that someone else is in the position of being potentially shot at- not literally- I do hope that person gets shot – not literally, but figuratively- lots of shots very figuratively, and the whole thing implodes, figuratively).
I guess I’m trying to imagine a metaphor where I want something, and then that that I want ends up shooting me- I want a full metaphor…
Maybe I’m walking down the street and I come across an alley way. I look down the alley and see a stranger standing alone, and I think, “Oh, I’m going to make a new friend!” and just as I start to walk down the alley, I get cut off by a family of three, mom, dad and young son, and I think, “Stupid family of three, now they’re going to become friends with that stranger!” So I don’t go down the alley, but just walk home, and then later read that the stranger ended up killing the mom and dad and now the young boy, Bruce is now the wealthiest orphan in town. That’s when I’ll say, “Man, I dodged a bullet!”
Also, I live in Texas, and for the whole month of December I've been oscillating between turning on the heater, and the air-conditioner. MAKE UP YOUR MIND WEATHER!!
I feel like this just indicates, without certain that I am getting old, when I go from being hot to cold, and I just don't understand people's newfangled slang like, "dodged a bullet".
So, there was an election this week, and I for one, am glad it’s over.
Listen: I’m all for fulfilling my civic duty, but I couldn't wait for this election cycle to be over. I love the internet, I love checking in on my Facebook and Twitter and Instagram (Sorry Tumblr- you still have not won my heart), but this election cycle had me ready to throw out my phone, my iPad, and my computer… straight out the window.
It all started a couple of weeks before election day- or whenever early voting began… that’s when I started seeing the posts…
“I early voted!”
“Exercise your right!”
I felt like I was living inside MTV circa 1996… everyone was rocking the vote… which is cool. I love that I have civic minded friends and family. I love that they have their opinions (99% of them are Democrats), and I agree with most of them, and I love that they are excited about voting- but honestly, for the first time ever- I just didn't care. I didn't care who won, or who lost. I didn't care who was running. I didn’t care that you voted. I didn't care that I voted, because for the first time ever I had the overwhelming thought, “what does it matter?”
Oh- I know what you’re thinking. North Korea doesn’t vote… why don’t you go vote there? Or how about rigged Iranian elections? What if we lived in a country that rigged their elections (you say as if gerrymandering isn't a thing… or that whole hanging chad, Florida 2000 election debacle didn't happen, or forcing people to have current government issued IDs to vote- which I actually don’t have that much of a problem with- I like having an ID- I’m certainly not one of those off the grid types… but you do understand how forcing people to register themselves with the state kind of flies in the face of that whole Home of the Free, equal rights thing right?)
I’m happy to live in a place where at least we, as a people, get to at least trick ourselves into believing we can make a difference- but I don’t think I’m falling for the trick anymore.
The government shut down for 16 days last year. 16 days because the House and Senate and the President couldn't agree on whether or not people have the right to affordable healthcare (or how to pay for it… but really let’s be honest- it was all people have a right to affordable healthcare vs. insurance companies and clinical research companies really like making lots of money and want to continue making lots of money and in order to do that they need to control the market on how much healthcare costs).
There are plenty of examples out there on the internet how the two political parties aren't even trying to get along, and I really don’t care whose team you’re backing- these representatives and senators are far more interested in being right than doing right (ooohhhh!)…
And that has trickled down everywhere. I love my home state of Texas, but I hate my home state of Texas.
I wouldn’t say I bleed liberal- but I’d say most of my major organs are of a blue tint. I was glued to the livestream of the Texas Senate last year when Wendy Davis stood on her feet for 10 hours filibustering a bill that would have outlawed all but five abortion clinics in the state of Texas (for those of you that don’t know, Texas is big- so only having five on anything in the state of Texas means there might as well be none of that thing)… and I was proud of Wendy Davis, and I was proud of the groundswell of support she garnered. Of course it meant nothing. The bill was still passed into law closing all but five abortion clinics (a law that would eventually be overturned by the Supreme Court)… and I think it was that heroism in the face of adversity which ultimately lead to absolutely nothing that made me start to think, “What are we doing?”
Wendy Davis made the Mizuno Wave Runner the most famous women’s marathon shoe of 2013 for nothing other than to energize the base… kind of- except for white women(only 32% of white women voted for Davis, I’m shocked too). Barack Obama passed landmark legislation so everyone could have affordable healthcare and the Republican’s challenged took the law to the Supreme Court (where they upheld the law) and then they shut down the government. Earlier this year the House vowed (and voted) for the first time ever to sue the President (though they can’t find a lawyer who is willing to take on that kind of case). So- how did we get here to this level of polarization?
I’m certainly not the guy to tell you how we got here. I’m neither a political pundit, nor a historian, but I have done some rudimentary research and I can tell you that districts that are gerrymandered to vote way left or way right are central to the problem- and it doesn’t help that there are a slew of 24-hour cable news channels that have long given up on reporting the news and simply spin op-ed pieces as news, and because they have the word “News” superimposed somewhere on the television screen people buy whatever the talking head is saying as fact.
We’ve simply become too polarized as a people. The internet has given us all the freedom to say whatever we want (I sense the irony as I’m typing this) whenever we want, and we all have a voice and no one wants to compromise on that voice, especially when it comes to politics.
Earlier today I watched a press conference where Speaker of the House John Boehner said, “…my job isn’t to get along with the President… My job is to listen to my people.” Politics have officially become a reality show. How many times have you heard, “I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to win.” That’s essentially what Boehner is saying... Washington has become no different than the television show Survivor.
And even if the good guys (which is a relative term) do win- like say for instance in Denton, TX- which was the first city in the country to enact a fracking ban (fracking being the practice of drilling underground, breaking up shale in order to get to the natural gas that resides within said shale- which might cause all kinds of environmental problems, and maybe earthquakes, and possibly upset the mole people). Nearly 59% of residents came out in favor of the ban, which will go into effect on December 2nd… maybe… multiple law suits have already been filed looking to lift the ban, and Christi Craddick the chairwoman for the Texas Railroad Commission has been quoted as saying, “It’s my job to give permits, not Denton’s… We’re going to continue permitting up there because that’s my job.”
So there you go voters… even when you exercise your right, it seems as if it doesn’t matter because it seems as if people are going to do what they want anyway… and if they don’t get their way, well then it’s lawsuits and screaming and yelling, and just doing whatever the hell you want anyway.
I’m sure this all seems like sour grapes… it isn’t. It’s just me saying I just don’t care anymore... somebody’s really going to have to wow me next election cycle, otherwise I’m just going to take a vacation to Canada (though that seems like it would be too cold for me in November… and I’d probably feel guilty and still want to be around to vote… dammit America, I can’t quit you… but I will mute everyone who posts a selfie with an “I voted sticker” because that’s just self-congratulatory… and really don’t care what you do with your life).
Awhile back I got “challenged” to one of those Facebook challenges. These are way better than You Tube challenges in that I don’t have to eat a loaf of bread (carbs much?) or a hot pepper, or cinnamon, or drink a gallon of milk (ew) or put tape on my face or dump any kind of liquid on my head. Facebook challenges are way easier, more cerebral. In this particular case someone asked me to name my to 15 most influential movies… which isn’t much of a challenge (I guess limiting the list to 15 can be a bit challenging) but this is more of a request really. Challenges should be feats of endurance, of strength… like in the old timey days, when one challenged another for things like honor, or some land.
“Good sir!! You shall not cross this bridge!”
“But I must cross this bridge!”
“Then sir, I shall challenge you for the right to cross this bridge!”
“Then so be it! What is your challenge?”
“I challenge you to list a food!”
“I thought that would be a bit more difficult… okay, well, you can cross the bridge I guess.”
So here we go: 15 most influential movies… but let’s face it… that’s not really what this is asking… it’s really asking what my 15 favorite movies are (which is kind of the same thing, but kind of different… for example: I’m currently co-writing a play about a spider/bear hybrid creature called the Tarantubear. I came up with the idea after watching movies like Octoshark, and Sharknado… which in this case were very influential films, but I wouldn’t call them my favorite films, and I really don’t want to put them on this list, and it’s my list anyway, so I’m gonna do what I want because that’s the way I roll sometimes).
Here we go… again: (and in no particular order because these are all my babies, and Sophie’s Choice did not make the list):
1) Jurassic Park- SWEET BABY JESUS I love dinosaurs… like love them. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve drawn dinosaurs, I’ve collected toy dinosaurs, I wanted to be a paleontologist when I was a kid. I literally dug holes in my back yard looking for dinosaur bones. My dad had to hide all the gardening hoes to keep me from ruining the grass. So, it’s no surprise that when Jurassic Park came out in 1994 I saw it like 23 times in the theater. TWENTY. THREE. TIMES. (maybe not that much). But between its original release in theaters, and it coming out on VHS, then DVD, then Blu-Ray (of which I had all 3), and it’s recent re-release in 3D no less in 2014, I probably have seen it well over 23 times. This is one of those quotable movies- and who wouldn’t want to quote Goldblum? This movie sits squarely in the middle of my pantheon of amazing movies. (Sometimes I like to forget that 2, and 3 exisited- except that 2 had a the T-Rex roaming around the city which was kind of cool, and 3 had William H. Macy in it which was also really cool).
2) ET- Because who doesn’t love intergalactic friendship? Here’s something interesting: I’m roughly the same age as Drew Barrymore (she’s one year older than me actually), so while I was supposed to relate to Elliot (and I did) I was far more fascinated with Gertie (Actually- that might be my old man brain playing tricks on me- cause immediately after ET she was in Firestarter, then a bunch of made for TV movies, and at some point I thought, “Oh, I kind of like this kid that’s my age!” and then she disappeared, and the next thing I know, she’s producing Charlie’s Angels, and I’ve lost interest). Sidenote aside: ET is awesome. It totally freaked me out as a kid. Seeing a pale ET half dead in a ditch scared the crap out of me, and I kind of wanted my house to be covered in a giant bubble after seeing that movie. Also flying bicycle is awesome- but only as a kid… if you were to tell me that I could ride a flying bicycle today I’d tell you to go to hell. As an adult, I’m not going to lie… ET saying goodbye to Elliot pulls on my hearstrings.
3) Superman- I’m not talking that weird stalker film starring the very underrated Brandon Routh from 2006, or that shit storm spectacle with the very ripped Henry Cavill from 2013, but the best Superman movie of all time… the 1978 version with the perfect Christopher Reeve. Fun fact: It’s the first movie my parents took me to see, and thus a comic nerd was born- or christened? Anyway… I don’t care that Margo Kidder went nuts and lost all her teeth, “You’ve got me? Who’s got you?” is one of the best lines of all of movie history… take that Rhett Butler. Superhero movies are all the rage these days, and some are absolutely fantastic (this isn’t the only one on my list)- but they all owe a great deal to the first “modern” day superhero movie.
4) Sneakers- I feel like this is a movie that gets forgotten about these days. This is a fucking fantastic movie. Let’s go down the list of actors: Robert Redford, Sir Ben Kingsley, Sidney Poitier Dan Ackroyd, River Phoenix, and David Strathairn. It’s an awesome spy, heist, comedy who-done-it movie. There are times when it seems like Redford is phoning it in- but it’s such a fun movie, who the hell cares? What’s really amazing about this movie is that it might be more relevant today that it was when it came out in 1992 (it’s basically about government agencies spying on other government agencies- sound familiar CIA?) Also, Dan Ackroyd plays a tech genius who likes to spout out crazy conspiracy theories… which makes me wonder if any of his lines were scripted, or if they just turned the camera on him and let him go.
5) Ghostbusters- I really feel like I don’t have to write anything about this movie. The cast is amazing. I do tend to wonder if the movie would have been the same had John Belushi not died (the part of Peter Venkman was originally written for Belushi), and rumor has it the roll was also offered to Michael Keaton and Chevy Chase (both turned it down). Also Winston Zeddemore was supposed to be played by Eddie Murphy (but he turned it down so he could do Beverly Hills Cop). All you need to know is that the movie came out in 1984, and people still sing the songs, and still go to Halloween parties as a Ghostbuster… and I did cover my eyes during the library scene when I first saw it in the theater.
6) The Muppet Movie- This is me we’re talking about, and if you know me, you knew this was going to be on the list. I’m not talking about the 2011 movie (which is the best Muppet movie since Jim Henson’s death) but the original 1979 Muppet Movie. Sure everyone knows The Rainbow Connection- and for good reason, but look up “I’m going to go back there someday.” The song Gonzo sings at the campfire… Dave Goelz (the voice of Gonzo) breaks your damn heart singing that song, and I think it’s the only other song that totally encapsulates the Muppet Movie and the Muppets perfectly… a bittersweet, touching, heartfelt song about finding your place in the world (no matter how strange you may be) and finding your friends to go along with your- all being sung by felt. Plus the Steve Martin and Carole Kane cameos are funny as hell.
7) The original Star Wars Trilogy- This is a bit of a cheat… because it’s three in one- but because I was a young boy when they all came out it was basically one long trip to the movie theater and to Toys R Us for me. Here’s what’s fantastic about growing up with the movies in the late 70s and early 80s- we got the cool Star Wars, the cool Indiana Jones, the cool Muppets, the cool Ghostbusters… it was a magical time, and Star Wars was at the center of it. It was like The Hunger Games but way better- and what’s more- these movies were actually very influential… sure George Lucas was cribbing from Joseph Campbell, and Homer, and all sorts of Mythology, but what the hell did I care? I was 8 at the time, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to go read the Power of Myth, or Edith Hamilton any time soon. All I knew was Darth Vader was a bad ass, Luke lost a hand, and Leia made it clear that I was a heterosexual.
8) Jaws- Spielberg is totally bogarting the list!! He certainly deserves it though. Let me say this… I’m terrified of the ocean. I dated a girl once who loved going on cruises, and while I would have gone on a cruise with her (eventually- if the whole thing hadn’t exploded into a fiery mess) I would have made her watch Jaws at least five times before going on said cruise… maybe as a passive aggressive attempt to get her to not go on a cruise. Jaws is scary as shit. It’s the first ever bonafide mega hit movie. It was so scary it affected tourism in beach towns. Seriously- look up The Jaws Effect. Modern day kids, you can have your Paranormal Activities and Purges all you want… you want to know how to make a real horror film, watch Jaws. (or maybe Psycho- but that didn’t make my list so…)
9) The Princess Bride- The Princess Bride always makes me think of The Pirate Movie (a “modern day” remake of The Pirates of Penzance- which also used a story within a story format… and I would constantly compare the two movies, until my mom let me know that The Princess Bride was a far better movie- and she was right). The Princess Bride is action packed and funny and endlessly quotable- plus Fred Savage. I feel like everyone wanted to be Westley, unless of course you wanted to be Inigo Montoya… who got the absolute best line. Who didn’t want to give Andre the Giant a big hug? Does anybody want a peanut? (to be fair I can also quote The Pirate Movie… how does the Pirate King have such big muscles? 202 push-ups a day).
10) Ferris Bueller’s Day off- I mean- who didn’t want a day off like that? I still imagine horns playing and a black dance troop clapping and stomping whenever I hear Twist and Shout. I was a little too young to get into the super popular teen coming of age stories of the 80s (Pretty in Pink, 16 Candles, the Breakfast Club) but Ferris was right up my alley (Though I remember thinking Jennifer Grey was cute- a suspicion that would be definitely confirmed when Dirty Dancing came out the year after Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). Looking back I’m sure I could glean some knowledge about living life to its fullest or some crap… all I knew at the time was Ferris Bueller was cool- and so was Matthew Broderick by default (even if he did make an awful Godzilla movie). Plus it was the first movie where I realized characters could break the forth wall. Mind blown.
11) Unforgiven- “You just shot an unarmed man!” “Well, he should have armed himself.” This movie is fantastic. It kinda sorta revived the western (I’m making that up- though Tombstone did come out a year later, so did Wyatt Earp). It reminded everyone why Clint Eastwood was a bad ass, and Gene Hackman got to talk yell a lot which is always cool. This is the movie that made me want to learn how to ride a horse… I never did learn, but the impetus was there.
12) The Avengers- Uma Thurman and Ralph Fiennes are so good together in this 1998 remake of the television classic… so good, that I really don’t remember seeing this movie at all, but rather wishing it were a movie about a movie about the combined forces of Captain America, Iron Man and a slew of other spandex clad heroes… and I’d only have to wait 14 years for that to happen. I remember sitting in the theater when the trailers for Marvel’s The Avengers first started showing- the trailer, and my heart would start to race a bit. Here’s what’s funny- at the time we were also getting trailers for The Hunger Games first movie, and the last part of the Twilight series Breaking Dawn. And I was sitting in the theater watching these trailers with my then at the time girlfriend and I would tease her about the teen fic movies, asking her if she needed a tissue after fan girling over the prospect of these movies… and then the Avengers trailer played, and I’ll be damned if a tear didn’t well up in my eye… just one, in the left eye (it’s the sensitive one). I’ve been reading comics since I was 10-years-old (roughly) so seeing the culmination of Marvel Studio’s grand movie project was a good quarter century in the making for me… it was a grand spectacle. Seeing Cap and Iron Man on screen at the same time changed my life.
13) Citizen Kane- Here is my one pretentious movie. There were others that I thought about putting on here: Dr. Strangelove, Annie Hall, Godfather pt II, all movies which I love… but if you’re going to put a critical darling on your list, go with the best. Honestly, I can only watch Citizen Kane- MAYBE once every five years or so… maybe… it’s long, it’s not very exciting in parts- but this film is most definitely a work of art. There are camera tricks in that movie that I don’t know how to pull off today… and that movie was made in 1941 (the slow push into the picture of the newspaper staff that comes to life- how did he do that?) and the way Wells plays with the lights and darks of the film- gorgeous. On top of all that, knowing that the film is about William Randolph Hearst- who went out of his way to ruin the film just adds a layer of awesome to the film. It made me think running a newspaper would be cool… I’m guessing it’s not so cool nowadays.
14) Waiting for Guffman- This movie made me laugh. Any of Christopher Guest’s movies could be on here- Best in Show is awesome, A Mighty Wind is great, and yes, This is Spinal Tap is hilarious- but Waiting for Guffman is the first Guest movie I saw in the theater- and so it’s the one that makes the list. This is the movie that convinced me I was going to marry Parker Posey (that didn’t happen).
15) The Lion King- The list has to end somewhere; and why not with the best Disney film of all time? (That isn’t a Pixar film). So maybe Disney cribbed the story from Kimba the White Lion- We’ve already established the George Lucas did the same thing. I love this movie. I love the songs, I love the humor; I love the suggested lion sex. It proves the Ferris Bueller is still a bad ass. It’s super emotional: if you’re not at least welling up when Simba realizes Mufasa is dead after being trampled by wildebeests then you may not be human… you might be part hyena. It’s basically the Shakespeare and Homer for kids… and it’s awesome.
So, there you have it. Challenge accepted and completed! What do I win? I thought about tossing in the original animated Transformers movie (1986) a movie I can quote in its entirety (it was Orson Wells final film: fun trivia fact). Or the original Die Hard, or T2, or The Rocketeer, or Better Off Dead, or Gross Pointe Blank (which introduced me to the concept of Shockabuku). And Maybe I do love watching the movies Twister, and Day After Tomorrow, 2012, and Independence Day (I love popcorn disaster movies). And though Woody Allen is probably a horrible human being, Annie Hall and Purple Rose of Cairo are really great movies. And I do love Wes Anderson movies… and holy hell His Girl Friday and Bringing Up Baby and Royal Wedding (all old musicals) are some really fine movies- but I didn’t put any of those movies on the list.
So there you have it. My list of 15 movies with commentary in a long boring blog post. I hope you all enjoyed it, now let’s all go get some pizza… Steve’s buying!
It's Halloween, so why not start a blog? Better yet- why not start a blog on a website that I've been sitting on for a couple of years? Lets do it!
So, I've been kicking around this idea for a few years now... a website where I could dump all my crazy ideas- ideas that I would like to see come into their own... but may not have quite enough steam to go full in on... let's dump these ideas here, let them percolate, simmer, show them off to the peeps... see what happens?
So- what's on this blogy website of yours Jeff? You might be asking... or maybe that's me imagining what you're asking. Well, I'm glad I imagined you asking that. First- this blog, where I will think random thoughts.
Second- my good friend Brad McEntire and I have a podcast that we get record once a week, so you can find episodes of that here, and on iTunes._
I'll throw up some You Tube videos, as soon as I finish editing them.
It's basically going to be my play ground, and I'll invite some of my friends to play along with me from time to time.
This first post isn't going to be that epic... because this is just the set up... but check back in for far more epic posts.