Pick your movie of the week: December Release! (Dec 3-9/17)

December is a great time of year to go to the movies! The following nominees are not Christmas movies, though they were all released in December. Which one do you like best?

Hook (1991)

Cast Away (2000)

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)

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In a galaxy Jar Jar away…

As we all know, the prequels are the very worst of the Star Wars movies, which says a lot considering the Holiday Special that aired in 1978. Often I hear Episode I cited as the worst of the three, though for me it is the best one. Please hear me out.

Essentially, there are three main elements of the first movie that ruined it for us: 1) Jar Jar Binks, 2) dull and unending political drama, and 3) all that midichlorians talk, including a mind-baffling virgin birth. Of course, there’s more about the movie that was bad, but these things are the holy trinity of suck in this steaming heap of cine-crap. Admittedly, Lucas and company made what seemed to be the necessary adjustments to the next two films. Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith barely have Jar Jar, they hold back on midichlorian dialogue, and the action is ramped up tenfold. HOW-EV-AH…

I would make the argument that if you managed to take those three elements out of Phantom Menace you would have a more than decent movie. Everybody agrees that the pod racing scene was good. The opening was a pretty cool scene too, despite the antagonists appearing to be some kind of Asian caricature. And if I had to pick the best lightsaber fight from all seven movies made so far, there’s no doubt in my mind that the one at the climax of episode I between Kenobi, Gin, and Maul would be the winner. Yes, the Luke-Vader ones from Empire and Jedi are more iconic and relatable, but this battle is awesome. The only bad thing about it is {SPOILER ALERT} Maul getting sliced in half. He was such a perfect villain, and if he had lived he may have just saved Attack of the Clones from it’s awfulness. I’m sure it would have still managed to be a bad movie, but Maul would have helped considerably.

And though, Lucas ditched Jar Jar for the succeeding episodes, let’s not forget what he added to both films: a grown up Anakin. Don’t kid yourself—he’s every bit as annoying as the goofy Gungan. He’s a whiny momma’s boy who throws fits and is in constant need of a sitter. He practically ruined the fear and respect we all had for Darth Vader (thank goodness Rogue One helped redeem that).

As for Episode 2, I did enjoy the scene where {SPOILER ALERT} Yoda opens his cloak to reveal a light saber and prepares to fight. It’s one of my favourite Star Wars scenes, though it’s kind of ruined by the actual fight itself. He looked tough, yes, but a little too berzerk. Not to mention twirly. Very twirly. Other than that, I can’t think of any scene in that movie that was good. So if we were to assume that removing bad elements of Phantom Menace could leave us with, at the very least, a watchable movie; doing the same with Episode 2 would simply leave is with Yoda pulling out a lightsaber followed by end credits.

The same can be said about Episode 3. I can remember watching it thinking that at least the scene where we see Vader’s mask being put on Anakin was good. But again, those brief seconds get ruined by what immediately follows. None of us needed to hear Vader bellow out “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I should admit that the visual of Anakin crawling in the ash at the end of his lightsaber battle quite striking, but at the time all I could think was {SPOILER ALERT} “Obi Wan! You cut off his limbs and then leave him for dead? That’s ice cold bro!”

Don’t even get me started on the romance story that the ol’ Casanova himself, George Lucas dreamed up. Ugh. Just thinking of it makes me actually long for a JLo romcom.

Congratulations Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Natalie Portman as PadmeThere’s no question that it’s her worst acting performance, especially in Revenge of the Sith, but I don’t blame her so much for that.

Best Actor: Ewan McGregor as Obi Wan Kenobi. I think he’s also got the only quotable quotes in the series.

Best Quote: Why do I get the feeling that we’ve picked up another pathetic life form?” — Obi Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) in The Phantom Menace.

And yes, I am very excited for The Last Jedi. Maybe Rey will take out some Gungans in this one.

Pick your movie of the week: The worst of Star Wars (Nov 26-Dec 2/17)

Most people agree that episodes 4-6 are the best Star Wars movies, and most agree that episodes 1-3 are the worst (Funny how #7 seems to be split down the middle). So this week you vote for  which prequel episode is the worst Star Wars movie of all. And feel free to add why you made that pick.

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)

Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)

Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Are You Ugly or Stupid?

These are perhaps the scariest words in the human language. Usually there is one that especially concerns us. For me, it is the latter. I don’t mind too much if someone sees me as ugly, but if they think I’m dumb I tend to take it hard. I love laughing at Derek, Hansel, and Mugatu in this week’s movie, but I don’t want anyone doing that towards me.

Can we even believe the sentiment that “everyone is beautiful” or “there is genius in everyone”? Is that too naive? Well, I can say that when my grandmother was alive I would look at her white, thin, balding hair, her missing teeth (age does weird things to us), and her hunched posture and I couldn’t think of anything or anyone more beautiful. And I must insist that this isn’t mere sentimentality. It’s as true as truth can possibly be. I’ve worked with mentally delayed and mentally challenged people and I cannot say in good conscience that they were stupid. Again, this isn’t because I think it would be mean or inappropriate. Deep down inside, I know it’s just not true.

As much as I have a hard time convincing myself of this, please take my word for it: you are beautiful and smart.

Well…except for you. You know who you are.

Congratulations Zoolander. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Jennifer Anniston as Jenny in Marley and Me.
Best Actor: Will Ferrell as Mugatu in Zoolander.
Best Quote: I’m sorry that good-looking people like us made you throw up and feel bad about yourself.” — Derek in Zoolander. Though one of my favourites is when Matilda confides in Derek and Hansel that she was a “fat kid” when she was a child and Derek responds with, “Ew!”

My Top 10 Favourite “Dumb Character” Performances

10. Brennan and Dale (Stepbrothers, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly)

9. Frank Drebin (Naked Gun, Leslie Nielsen)

8. Inspector Clouseau (The Pink Panther, Peter Sellers)

7. Romy and Michele (Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow)

6. Alan (The Hangover, Zach Galifianakis)

5. Navin Johnson (The Jerk, Steve Martin)

4. H.I. McDonough (Raising Arizona, Nicholas Cage)

3. Nigel Tufnel (This is Spinal Tap, Christopher Guest)

2. Cousin Eddy (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Randy Quaid)

1. Lloyd and Harry (Dumb and Dumber, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels)

 

And My 5 Least Favourite “Dumb Character” Performances

5. Bill and Ted (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves) — I like the movie, and I love the lines they deliver, but I find the “dumb-ness” of the characters a little hard to believe.

4. Billy Madison (Billy Madison, Adam Sandler) — I’m not one to join in on hating Sandler, but this character just hasn’t aged well for me.

3. Brick Tamland (Anchorman, Steve Carell) — I love the movie, and I think Carell delivered better on this character than anyone else possibly could. But again, a little hard to buy.

2. Mr. Yunioshi (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Mickey Rooney) — Yeah it’s racist, but also really stupid. Never found it funny.

1. Jar Jar Binks (Star Wars, Episodes 1-3, Ahmed Best)

 

Prison, Jesus, and Paul Newman Salad Dressing

Top 10 Prison Movies

10. Lock Up (1989) — A prototypical Stallone 80’s movie. I enjoyed it thoroughly as a young man.

9. The Great Escape (1963) — Old, but classic. And a good movie at that.

8. In the Name of the Father (1993) — My man, Daniel Day-Lewis.

7. Cool Hand Luke (1967)

6. The Green Mile (1999) — To me, Michael Clark Duncan is the highlight of this movie, which says a lot seeing as this is a Tom Hanks one.

5. Dead Man Walking (1995) — I waited too long to see this one. Sean Penn is so underrated.

4. The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) 

3. The Hurricane (1999) — And I love the Dylan song just as much.

2. American History X (1998) — This is one of those “good-for-you-to-watch” movies. It enlightens you and can make you a better person.

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) — Duh!

My Top 8 Paul Newman Movies

8. Cars (2006) — One of my least favourite Pixar movies, but as a Newman flick it makes the list. 

7. The Hustler (1961)

6. Road to Perdition (2002)

5. Cool Hand Luke (1967)

4. The Sting (1973)

3. Slap Shot (1977)

2. The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

1. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Top 10 Movies with an Allegorical Christ Character

10. Taxi Driver (1976; Travis Bickle) — This movie gets a lot of praise, and though I like it a lot it’s not my favourite Scorcese/De Niro movie.

9. Cool Hand Luke (1967; Luke Jackson)

8. The Green Mile (1999; John Coffey)

7. Superman Returns (2006; Superman) — I know it’s crazy, but this is one of my favourite Superman movies, second only to Superman II (1980). The airplane scene especially made an impression on me.

6. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975; Randle P. McMurphy)

5. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982; E.T.)

4. The Matrix (1999; Neo)

3. The Lion King (1994; Mufasa)

2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03; Gandalf)

1. Star Wars trilogy (1977-83; Luke Skywalker)

Congratulations Cool Hand Luke. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Claudia Cardinale as Jill McBain in Once Upon a Time in the West.

Best Actor: Clint Eastwood as Harry in Dirty Harry.

Best Quote: “Sometimes having nothing is a real cool hand.” — Luke (Paul Newman) in Cool Hand Luke.

I was hoping to find an actress who served in WWII, which I had a hard time finding. I did, however, make a cool discovery about a legendary TV star: Bea Arthur served in WWII!

Pick your movie of the week: WWII Veteran Actors! (Nov 12-18/17)

You may have known already that Jimmy Stewart, Elvis, and Charlton Heston served in WWII. Bud did you know that Clark Gable, Gene Roddenberry, and Bea Arthur did as well? In another tribute to Remembrance Day, which is this Saturday, here are 3 movies featuring 4 other WWII vets:

Cool Hand Luke (1967)
– Paul Newman –

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
– Charles Bronson and Henry Fonda –

Dirty Harry (1971)
– Clint Eastwood –