Troy Story

I heard a guy on Ted Talks say that he believed all children are born geniuses and that they get “untaught” and dumbed down by life experiences and well-intentioned adults. I can’t vouch for him—I have no clue if that is true. I can remember my childhood very well and I’m not sure that kid was a genius. I would agree wholeheartedly, however, that children are born artists. They can draw, paint, act, pretend, create… all with an enviable abandon. They’re works aren’t perfect, but that’s the beauty of it: they don’t care. And that is definitely something that gets untaught somewhere along the way. Trying to convince my daughter that she’s not a bad drawer or that she can write a story is an uphill battle at best. And at worst, impossible.

Hunkered down on my bedroom floor I could spend hours making up a story with a toy motorcycle, a dragon figurine and a Star Wars action figure. It was like I was making my own movies with my own props. And the stories would keep my attention just as long as a real movie would. I loved drawing and colouring. My friend and I made bows and arrows with bailing twine and sticks. One day we were hunters, the next day superheroes.

I do try to allow myself to be creative. Honestly, that’s part of my reason for making this blog. See, I love to write but often don’t do it. Mostly it’s self-doubt or even low self-esteem that stops us from doing anything creative as adults and that’s usually the reason for me too. And, of course, I love movies so this is a great way to keep up the writing habit.

And we can thank the makers of Toy Story for allowing themselves to do this. Sure, they were motivated to make a groundbreaking movie considering the kind of money they were going to make. But to take on a mountain like that, they surely needed to become kids again.

Congratulations Toy Story. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: I didn’t realize how testosterone-heavy this week’s picks were, but I think I found a winner: Annie Potts. Potts gave Bo Peep her voice in Toy Story, but she was also one of the stars of the 80’s TV show Designing Women (she played Mary Jo Shively). She was also the Ghostbusters’ secretary in the the classic 1984 movie.

Best Actor: Benicio Del Toro in The Usual Suspects. I loved him in both this movie and, especially, Traffic.

Best Quote: “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, poof. He’s gone.”

And for your viewing pleasure: my top ten favourite toys growing up. Special thanks to my mom for buying me most of these (maybe all?) for me. The last one has a name: Chico.

Top 10 ToysTeddy Bear Chico

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Choose your movie of the week: TROY AND JOY’S 20th ANNIVERSARY!!

May 29-Jun 4-15
That’s right. It was 1995 when Joy and I tied the knot, and that year these three awesome movies were released. Which one should be this week’s movie (May 29-June 4/15)?

1. Toy Story (#103 IMDb)

2. The Usual Suspects (#23 IMDb)

3. Braveheart (#78 IMDb)

 

Happy Anniversary Joybells!

 

I don’t want to fight you. I just want to watch you get beat up.

What if Principal Rooney came across as a really cool guy? What if he had just smiled and said, “No worries Ferris. Take the day off and enjoy yourself,” would you still enjoy the movie just as much? What about if the Rocky movies only focused on Rocky himself and we didn’t get to know any back stories at all on his opponents? Maybe he’s even friends with them. Would we still love to watch? We love a good bad guy. Why? Because we value putting a face to evil and then seeing it get its comeuppance. From the only-sort-of bad guys like Swiper from Dora the Explorer to the psychotic sickos like Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs, these ambassadors of evil not only help us to recognize evil and hate, they make us love and cheer on the protagonists with greater enthusiasm.

In the 80’s, Hulk Hogan was made into a worldwide superstar. And, aside from his promoters, it was because of “heels” like Roddy Piper and Andre the Giant that got him there. Without them he was just a muscular, tanned, patriotic, tall guy with hyperactive charisma and a weird haircut. His charisma was off the charts, but what good was it without the henchmen?

I will concede that this list MIGHT not be definitive, seeing as my last group of lists were understandably debatable. But I’m rather impressed with it if I do say so myself. These, I believe, are the best bad guys to grace the silver screen. Their ability to embody evil and make us love the hero all the more earns them their spot. And one more thing… seeing as both Darth Vader and Heath Ledger’s Joker could each easily grab the number one spot with ease, I’m taking them out of the running completely. Consider this the Honourary Darth Joker’s top 15 Movie Goons:

15. The Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard of Oz) — My heart thumped watching her as a kid. The “I’m melting!!” scene is so simplistic, but for me it was sweet victory.

14. Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter series) — I think the weird teeth and chopped off nose alone gets him on this list. Creepy.

13. Biff Tannen (Back to the Future) — We all know a Biff, don’t we? Don’t tell me you didn’t do a fist pump at the “No Biff, you let her go” part.

12. The Evil Queen (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) — The cartoonists somehow managed to animate derision and disdain flawlessly.

11. Annie Wilkes (Misery) — All through this movie all I could do was picture myself in that situation and imagine the horror of it.

10. The Sensei of the Cobra Kai (The Karate Kid) — Oh my this guy is evil. I had no idea what sweep the leg was, but he says it in such a way that makes the 14-year-old me yell at the TV. The bratty blonde kid looked like St. Francis of Assissi after that.

9. Dr. Evil (Austin Powers series) — He’s funny-evil, but at least he’s not quasi-evil. The margarine of evil. The Diet Coke of evil. Just one calorie—not evil enough.

8. The Alien (Alien) — There is something so terrifying about this monster. It looks sleek, venomous, vicious, even merciless.

gollum7. David (The Lost Boys) — He was like the big bully at school just turned into an adult, and he can fly.

6. Gollum (The Lord of the Rings series) — He’s perfect: he’s got the evil look and sneers, the unforgettable voice, the scheming ways. He’s even got the ugly. Not totally sold on Sauron as a bad guy, though. Just not visible enough for me.

5. Hans Gruber (Die Hard) — Alan Rickman does the perfect frustrated bad guy. He’s psycho, of course. But he reacts superbly to his plans getting thwarted. This movie is the perfect example of the good guy being loved already, but is over-the-top loved because of his nemesis.

4. Mr. Potter (It’s a Wonderful Life) — Once again, I must show admiration of SNL’s portrayal of this movie’s alternate “lost” ending.

3. Col. Hans Landa (Inglourious Basterds) — No one can mesmerize you and terrify you quite like Christoph Walz can as Landa. Gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.

2. Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) — It’s hard for me to think of another villain in movies that can bring out the emotions in audiences like Louise Fletcher did in this movie.

1. Cruella DeVil (101 Dalmatians) — You cannot possibly top wanting to kill puppies.

I have to say that as I look at this week’s nominees, Gary Oldman as Stansfield rises to the top as the best bad guy. Richard Schickel of Time called him “divinely psychotic.” Therefore…

Congratulations Leon: The Professional. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Natalie Portman in Leon: The Professional

Best Actor: Clint Eastwood. My mother had it right. Many movies pale in comparison to his. This one is a classic and is my favourite western film.

Best Quote: “If you work for a living, why do you kill yourself working?” – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

 

It’s ok in my opinion to hate the bad guys in movies. That’s what movies are for. Helps us get it out. But in real life, we’re all broken human beings.

“There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” – Mahatma Ghandi

The T. S. Carruthers Complete Guide to Chick Flicks and Guy Movies

Definitions:

  1. Chick Flick – A movie that usually centers around a romance between a man and woman or centers around the friendship of three or more female characters. It usually involves a pop-y soundtrack, a gay friend and/or the main character being klutzy but cute and loveable.
  2. Guy movie – A movie that usually centers around violence with some sexual themes, or centers around sex with some violent themes. These movies are often set in Los Angeles, the Middle East, space or some made up place that has all the cool cars that real earthly places have, only more.

Rules regarding watching these movies with a significant other (SO):

  1. If you love either one of these kinds of movies, do not hold it against a SO who doesn’t. If they don’t want to watch it with you, watch it alone or with a friend.
  2. If you hate either one of these genres, do not keep rolling your eyes when a SO utters the words, “I really want to see that.”
  3. Keep an open mind. On birthdays or Valentine’s Day it’s good to bite your tongue and go see one of these movies with your SO.
  4. If it’s their favourite, you’ve really got to see it. You might hate it, but who knows?
  5. If you like a particular movie that falls under this category that you hate, admit it. You owe no explanation to anyone. You just like it. “And what’s it to ya?”

Rules regarding watching these movies with a friend:

  1. Friends do not make friends watch chick flicks/guy movies when said friend is not down with that. If a friend agrees to see one with you, remember: you owe them big time!
  2. vIf a friend is taking a potential SO out to a movie and needs a friend to go with so that his/her friend will have a date, you’re watching that freaking movie homeboy! Don’t leave your friend hanging.
  3. If it’s their favourite, just like with SO’s you should really watch it. This is an important person in your life, and seeing their favourite movie can give you some insight about them.
  4. If you hate chick flicks, don’t freak out if someone calls a movie you like a chick flick. Same with guy movies. Let them rant. They might just be trying to get under your skin.

The top 10 greatest chick flicks that everyone should see:

10. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) — Very funny. I may even like the sequel better.

9. Sleepless in Seattle (1993) — Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks just fit together so well in this one, and they’re characters are very relatable.

8. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) — I actually think I was a bit disappointed with this one, but it’s one of the best movies to enjoy watching Audrey Hepburn being Audrey Hepburn.

7. Love Actually (2003) — This is actually (no pun intended) one of my favourite Christmas movies of all time.

6. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997) — Another hilarious movie. Mira Sorvino is far funnier than I gave her credit for, and Lisa Kudrow delivers just as well as she did as Phoebe Buffay.

5. Titanic — James Cameron has a curse. He makes a movie that breaks all records and is celebrated by fans and critics alike, and as soon as it leaves the big screen it becomes the number one most popular movie to hate and/or mock. This happened with Rambo, Avatar, and Titanic. One thing is for certain however: watching any one of these in the theater at the time of their release is an unforgettable cinematic event.

4. Clueless (1995) — This is Alicia Silverstone’s best movie imho. It was like the chick flick version of Dumb and Dumber.

3. Bridesmaids (2011) — There isn’t an anti-chick flick movie goer who would not find this movie utterly awesome.

2. Notting Hill (1999) — If for no other reason than to watch Rhys Ifans play the main character’s roommate, Spike. I’ve only seen this movie once or twice, but there are scenes from this movie that I like to pull up on Youtube and re-watch for a good laugh.

1. When Harry Met Sally (1989) — Classic of classics in the genre of chick flicks

The top 10 greatest guy movies that everyone should see:

10. Gladiator (2000) — As good as Russell Crowe is, he’s never been able to top this beauty.

9. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) — I could quote this one all day long. All. Day. Long.

8. Fight Club (1999) — I’m sorry, I can’t talk about this one.

7. Braveheart (1995) — Long, yes. Violent, yes. But oh so good!

6. Rocky (1976) — I’d dare say it’s more inspirational than Gladiator and Braveheart put together.

5. Pulp Fiction (1994) — And there it is again. I’m craving a Royale with cheese.

4. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) — If this one doesn’t get you riled up, nothing will.

3. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) — Me: “Empire Strikes Back, I love you.” ESB: “I know.”

2. Die Hard (1988) — There’s a reason Chris Farley asked all of the guests on his show if they’d seen this one.

1. The Dark Knight (2008) — As for guy movies, nothing touches this one. Yes, the highlight is Heath Ledger as the Joker, but the story gets better and better with each viewing.

The top 10 worst chick flicks of all time:

10. You’ve Got Mail (1998) — The makers of this movie simply saw Sleepless in Seattle and thought, “Hey, that one was a hit. Let’s try that again.” Did not work.

9. Princess Diaries 2 (2004) — The only thing I remember from this one is Julie Andrews mattress surfing down a staircase. The rest is, thankfully, forgettable.

8. Maid in Manhattan (2002) — My nose hairs got singed by this one. JLo, go back to the block.

7. A Walk to Remember (2002) — After watching this I had to take a walk to forget.

6. Failure to Launch (2006) — For years I thought Matthew McConnaughey was a bad actor. I think it all stemmed from this one. And one more, which shows up further down this list.

5. The Beautician and the Beast (1997) — So the TV show The Nanny was popular. So, let’s get her to do that bit on the big screen. So, let’s throw in a boring and unbelievable plot. That should work.

4. Pretty Woman (1990) — Don’t let anyone fool you. This movie sucks.

3. Miss Congeniality (2000) — Sandra Bullock has made some great movies, but a whole lot of pretty horrible ones too. I think this would be the worst one.

2. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003) — My apologies to my sister who really likes this one. Since the main character is trying to lose a guy in ten days, for most guys it’s excruciating to watch her do this for 90 minutes.

1. The Wedding Planner (2001) — Matthew, how you got past this one and still made a successful career for yourself deserves a standing ovation bro.

The top 10 worst guy movies of all time:

10. Point Break (1991) — Keannu Reeves and Patrick Swayze, both in their cheezy deuce-iness.

9. Smokey and the Bandit (1977) — Burt Reynolds is a good actor. Problem is, he’s as funny as a parking ticket.

8. Rambo III (1988) — In the first movie he killed one guy. In Rambo III he mows down 132. Mostly with his shirt off.

7. Batman & Robin (1997) — The bat suit seemed to change with every sequel. Could’ve done without the bat-nipples Mr. Schumacher.

6. The Canonball Run (1981) — The stench of Smokey and the Bandit with a little dash of Dom Deluise’s wheezing laugh. Magical.

5. Armageddon (1998)— No, I think you DO want to miss a thing Steve Tyler.

4. Godzilla (1998)— Not the new one. Yeah the 1998. The one with Matthew Broderick. Yeah that one. Yeah….

3. Spider-man 3 (2007) — “All those movies that learned a lesson from the awfulness of Batman and Robin please step forward. Ahhhh, not so fast Spider-man 3!”

2. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)— There’s a conversation in the movie than sums up the movie itself quite well: “Don’t worry, I’m not making the same mistakes again.” “No you’re making all new ones.”

1. Jaws: the Revenge (1987) — The shark is terrorizing a family, so they take a vacation to get away. Of course, they choose a location with plenty of salt water surroundings: The Bahamas. The shark finds them anyway, and if I’m not mistaken he eats a plane.

Congratulations Titanic. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Kate Winslet in Titanic. This was the first movie I can remember seeing her in. She was perfect for this role.

Best Actor: Gary Oldman in The Fifth Element. That is one masterful actor.

Best Quote: “Music to drown by. Now I know I’m in first class.” — Jason Barry as Tommy Ryan in Titanic

This has been the T. S. Carruthers Complete Guide to Chick Flicks and Guy Movies. You need no other guide.