I've been a real buzz-kill the last several days, so I'm going to lighten up a bit. I thought it might be fun to list my favorite movies, my favorite movies that aren't part of a series, and the absolute worst movies I ever had the misfortune to see. I'll also give a brief explanation of why I love or loathe these movies. Break out the popcorn and enjoy!
My Favorite Movies
1. An Officer & a Gentleman - I'm a sucker for an over-the-top romantic ending. Particularly when it seems that all hope is lost. Though Louis Gosset, Jr. was the real eye candy in this movie, Richard Gere was a-okay back then. Understand that this was long before the gerbil got stuck!
2. Rocky IV - It has the best montage ever found in any movie when Rocky is driving in his Lambo. This movie kind of sucks because Apollo dies and he was the most interesting character of the series. But I love this one because Rocky beats the sh*t outta the Russian commie. Plus, I can't help but throw some punches when I watch the Rocky movies and this one really fires me up. On a somewhat related note, I came across an atlas that I had as a child and I wrote "bad guys" on the Soviet Union page. Why yes, I was a child of the cold war.
3. Pride & Prejudice (A & E version) - Love the book, it has what might be the very best opening line in all of literature. Again, I'm a sucker for over-the-top romantic endings when all hope is lost. I also think that Colin Firth nailed Mr. Darcy's cool heat. Yes, it seems contradictory, but he did it.
4. The Empire Strikes Back (Star Wars Episode V) - Screw Citizen Kane and his stupid sleigh, this movie has the biggest and most shocking reveal of any movie ever made. It also has Billy Dee Williams living amongst the beautiful Cloud City - rawr!
5. Dirty Harry - Long before the PC-age, there was a gritty realism in films from the 70s and this is a perfect example. The violence wasn't over the top or cartoonish and you believed that these scenes could happen. Harry Callahan ended up dispensing vigilante justice, but at least justice was served. Do watch it, but only if you feel lucky - punk! An interesting side thought: I think this movie was kind of a dig toward SFPD over their inability to capture the Zodiac Killer.
6. The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly - Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone's epic Spaghetti Western masterpiece. Great story, outstanding camera work, an easily recognizable score, and the best Mexican standoff ever found in cinema. Eli Wallach was outstanding in this as well.
7. Star Trek - I think JJ Abrams is a little too fond of lens flare, but the story is fantastic. The actors absolutely nailed their parts, no easy task since we've known the characters for over 40 years. I can't help but tear up at the beginning of this movie every time I see it.
8. Rear Window - Alfred Hitchcock's suspenseful masterpiece. Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly, Raymond Burr, and a possible murder. What's not to like?
9. The Godfather Parts I & II - Yes, I'm aware that these are actually two movies, but I'm counting them as one because you really need to watch one after the other. Al Pacino and James Caan packed some serious heat in those days - and I'm not just talking about firearms! The third one is a total piece of sh*t that you should never watch - there, I just saved you nearly three hours of your life. The Corleone family saga has been compelling to me ever since I first touched Mario Puzo's fantastically engrossing novels.
10. Iron Man - I like superhero movies and this is the superhero movie that I measure all others against now. What's not to like about Tony Stark? He's young, he's handsome, he's wealthy, he's smart, and he's nice to his employees. And he's freaking Iron Man!
My Favorite Movies that Aren't Part of a Series
1. An Officer & a Gentleman - see list above.
2. Dances with Wolves - I'm not really a fan of blondes, but I do have a weakness for Kevin Costner. I watched this in the theater and boo-hooed like a little girl. It's uncharacteristic for me to like a movie that does not have a happy ending, but I do like this one.
3. Pride & Prejudice - see list above.
4. True Lies - Arnold Schwarzenegger blowing up plausibly "middle eastern" terrorists. Funny toss away lines. Lots of explosions. A Harrier jet demonstrating the awesomeness of a vertical take-off. Jamie Lee Curtis sports a smoking body, which she shows off during a somewhat sexy dance. But I still think that she was born a hermaphrodite. Seriously, take away the nice rack and she really does look like a dude.
5. Inglorious Basterds - I don't hate Quentin Tarantino and I don't particularly like him either, but he hit a home run with this movie. Of the Basterds, Brad Pitt gets better looking with age & he's totally believable in this role and Eli Roth is a far better actor than a director. Tarantino tends to allow the camera to linger uncomfortably long on random images, but it works here. And he can always be counted on to have a kick ass soundtrack. Using David Bowie's Cat People (Putting out the Fire) while our protagonist is getting ready to burn a sh*t load of Nazi's seems particularly inspired to me.
6. The Bank Job - Loosely based on a true story. A bunch of nobodies who made an extraordinary film. And they did such a good job of setting the period (clothes, vehicles, hairstyles, language) that you will find it hard to believe that this film wasn't made in the 70s. Highly recommend!
7. Deep Blue Sea - This is probably the crappiest movie on my list, but I do love this movie. It has a trio of super-smart sharks, Thomas Jane, an underwater research facility, Saffron Burrows stripping down to her panties so she can electrocute a shark, and best of all - LL COOL J! I would tune in to watch him read appliance repair manuals, he is just that damn sexy! It also boasts Samuel L. Jackson in an uncharacteristic role. He doesn't even bitch about these m*therf*ckin' sharks in this m*therf*ckin' cage!
8. Rear Window - see list above.
9. Casablanca - Humphrey Bogart at his dark & sexy best. Though Rick didn't win the girl, gave her back actually, he is one of life's winners. He doesn't get to keep the girl, but he keeps his virtue. The iconic "As Time Goes By" is instantly recognizable.
10. It's a Wonderful Life - A tear-jerking feel-good story if ever there was one. Frank Capra knew how to tug on our heartstrings and he did it masterfully in this movie. Who hasn't wished that they had never been born? We're all here for a reason, many reasons, and this movie powerfully illustrates that point.
The Worst Movies Ever Made
Homie Spumoni - Awful. Simply awful. It could have been tremendously funny, but it was painful. I smirked once, but never actually cracked a smile. I needed a healthy dose of mind bleach after watching this dreck.
The Godfather Part III - I still feel cheated because I wasted the money to watch this crap in the theater. This movie wasted nearly three freaking hours of my life. This is a particularly awful movie because the audience was tricked into watching it based on the sheer awesomeness of the first two movies in the series. You can rot, Francis Ford Coppola, for casting your talentless daughter in such a pivotal role. And, damn it, does Al Pacino even bother to read scripts anymore?
Ronin - Another movie that I actually paid to watch. I ordinarily enjoy Robert De Niro. He is an impossibly talented actor. But this is an impossibly unwatchable movie. I think De Niro is another actor who accepts any payday that he's offered.
Bram Stoker's Dracula - Another crapfest from Francis Ford Coppola and yet another that I watched in the theater. Listen up, Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder, you should not do period pieces set in a foreign country. You are not convincing and you can't do accents. Gary Oldman had one of the most funny lines in cinema in this movie. . .but I don't think it was supposed to be hilarious. A miss all the way around.
Eyes Wide Shut - Yep, I saw this in the theater too. I realize that what I'm about to say is a total sacrilege to movie fans, but Stanley Kubrick wasn't a great director. He was pretentious and boring. Worse, he apparently believed that every scene he directed was gold because he simply could not edit his sh*tty movies to a reasonable length. This movie is a perfect example of that. Sure, we get to see Nicole Kidman naked on the toilet. And that pretty much sums up my view of this movie.
The Eiger Sanction - Look, I love Trevanian's books. Though Shibumi is my favorite, I was excited to learn that there was a movie of The Eiger Sanction. I must say that I'd rather have Dr. Jonathan Hemlock sanction me than watch this tripe again.
Star Wars Episodes I and II - Yes, these are two movies and, yes, both are terrible. Frankly, the only reason that Episode III isn't on this list is because I was fascinated by the genesis of Darth Vader and I think Ewan McGregor's bewhiskered face is impossibly handsome. Annoying kid, annoying Queen-cum-Senator, annoying (and seemingly neverending) pod race, annoying gungan (JarJar Binks, who else?), annoying ocean planet, annoying romance, annoying Senator-cum-Chancellor, annoying clone war sequences, and annoying clandestine marriage. Though I found Boba Fett's origination somewhat interesting, really, what's to like here? Oh, and for the love of love stories, I hope that George Lucas never again tries to pen romantic dialog. Seriously, is he a pre-pubescent girl? Bleh!
Blue Velvet - David Lynch is overrated and he's considered a genius. Why? Because he's too friggin' lazy to actually make a film that makes sense? Because he has quirky characters? I hate all of his craptastic films, but this is really the worst.
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner - I guess this was considered groundbreaking back in the day because it was about a white woman who was marrying a black man. Perhaps it disturbed some of the viewing audience. Frankly, race is the least disturbing aspect of this movie. What disturbed me was their shockingly brief courtship. Well, that and why a handsome & accomplished doctor would want such a vacuous ninny for a wife.
Superbad - The title sums it up perfectly.
How about you? What are your favorite and/or least favorite movies?