Pick your movie of the week: The Last… (May 5-11/19)

It seems a lot of movies have this phrase in the title, so to narrow it down I left out popular sequels like Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). There are still many more to choose from, but I decided to go with these three. Which one is your pick?

The Last Emperor (1987)

The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

The Last Samurai (2003)

The Magnificent 7 of Our World

The storyline of The Magnificent Seven was inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and has been duplicated in many more movies and TV shows including Battle Beyond the Stars (1980), Disney’s A Bug’s Life (1998), a 2016 TM7 remake, even an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The plot is simple: seven presumed heroes are hired to protect an oppressed village.

Our world today can appear to be bleak considering everything from global flooding, depressing political realities, tsunamis, rise of white nationalists/supremacists, massacres, terrorism, and Fortnight dances. So here are what I believe are the Magnificent Seven of our world today. Those redeeming people and events that stand boldly in the way of these things that rob us of our happiness.

  1. Anti-bullying and anti-discrimination. These days we can say confidently that, even though these problems are not gone, they are constantly and explicitly opposed.
  2. Malala Yousafzai. We are living in a time when a global hero is a meek, soft spoken young woman who stands up for freedom and education, especially for those being denied of either one. She’s even taken a bullet to the face for it! She is today’s Mother Teresa and can inspire the harshest and hardest of hearts.
  3. Politicians under fire. Though it was depressing to see Canada with a consistently failing leader haunted by scandal, Britain with a leader dragging the country through an unnecessary ordeal, and the US with… well, Trump, keep in mind that there is a silver lining. Perhaps they’re not getting what they should be getting (Which for two of them is prison time!), but much of their actions—at least that of the North American leaders—would have been swept under the rug just decades ago. With the growth of social media, if you want to hide a scandal you’ve got a much steeper hill to climb.
  4. Memes. Let’s be honest here. Memes are super funny and we love to stop and read them. The ones that really amuse us we feel we have to share with somebody. It’s a lot of fun, no?
  5. Ryan Gosling. If you are a woman or gay man reading this, you are in love with him. If you are a straight male reading this, you are constantly trying to suppress your man-crush on him (I don’t have one, of course, but I know the rest of you do.). Oh why does he have to be Canadian? It makes this so much more difficult!! This is truly the age of the Gosling.
  6. Acceptance. We are much more apt to accept one another despite differences in skin colour, economic class, nationality, or religion than ever before. The intolerant puts up a big fight, but the fight for acceptance and tolerance is a force to be reckoned with! (NOTE: Acceptance despite what we put on our pizza is an exception.)
  7. Movies. In my humble opinion, there have been great movies in every decade of the last century and it doesn’t look like that’s changing anytime soon. You can laugh, learn, cheer, mourn, reminisce, and enjoy the beauty of it all. And though there’s still tons of terrible movies getting made, even they can be enjoyed.

So the next time you are down thinking about how “crazy this world is getting,” remember the Magnificent Seven.

And the Oscar goes to…

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

Best Actor: Yul Brynner as Chris Larabee Adams in The Magnificent Seven.

Best Quote:Well, how’d you like to kiss my sister’s black cat’s ass?” — Bo Hopkins as Crazy Lee in The Wild Bunch.

Have a great weekend everyone. Treat yourself to a Ryan Gosling movie.

Pick your movie of the week: 60’s Westerns! (Apr 28-May 4/19)

It was a great decade for westerns. So good I had to drop the Clint Eastwood and John Wayne movies so we could narrow them down a bit. So if you haven’t seen any, you might want to check out the plot descriptions and see which you would be more apt to choose to watch if given the choice.

The Magnificent Seven (1960)
Seven gunfighters are hired by Mexican peasants to liberate their village from oppressive bandits.

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
A mysterious stranger with a harmonica joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad.

The Wild Bunch (1969)
An aging group of outlaws look for one last big score as the “traditional” American West is disappearing around them.

Celebrities’ Favourite Movies

Whenever I meet someone new I like to ask them what their favourite movie is. I found out this week that Terrence Malick, director of The Tree of Life (2011) and The Thin Red Line (1998), is a big fan of this week’s movie, Zoolander (2001) and thought it would be cool to look at some of the favourite films of the bigger names in Hollywood and beyond. See which of the following are more like you:Congratulations Zoolander. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Jane Lynch as Lucy Bobby in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

Best Actor: Simon Pegg as Nicholas Angel in Hot Fuzz.

Best Quote: These movies are filled with great quotes. Time for a top 10…

  1. “I like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo T-shirt because it says I want to be formal, but I’m here to party.” — John C. Reilly as Cal Naughton, Jr., Talladega Nights
  2. “I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is.” — Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in Zoolander
  3. “By the power of Greyskull!” — Nick Frost as Danny Butterman in Hot Fuzz
  4. “Ever fired your gun in the air and yelled, ‘Aaaaaaah?'” — Nick Frost as Danny Butterman in Hot Fuzz
  5. “You think that you’re too cool for school, but I have a newsflash for you Walter Cronkite… you aren’t.” — Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in Zoolander
  6. “Todd! Are you not aware that I get farty and bloated with a foamy latte?” — Will Ferrell as Mugatu in Zoolander
  7. “Well, I couldn’t see his face, could I? I’m not made of eyes!” — Nick Frost as Danny Butterman in Hot Fuzz
  8. “Dear 8 pounds 6 ounces… newborn infant Jesus, don’t even know a word yet.” — Will Ferrell as Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights
  9. “He had to pull his underwear out of his butt to beat you!” as — Christine Taylor as Matilda in Zoolander
  10. “If you’re not first, you’re last.” — Will Farrell as Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights

Pick your movie of the week: Comedy Duos, part II (Apr 21-27/19)

Earlier this year we chose from the comedic duos of Matthau/Lemon, Farley/Spade, Fey/Poehler, and Pryor/Wilder. In our second installment we have three more very funny acting pairs. Which one is your pick?

Zoolander (2001, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson)

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly)

Hot Fuzz (2007, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost)

Cult Classics and Un-Classic Cults

We’ll start with an un-classic cult. In 1987 a Japanese cult known as Ho No Hana was founded by Hogen Fukunaga, a man who claimed he could see a person’s past and future by looking at their feet. He used his followers’ health as a kind of ransom (it’s a long story) and extorted 150 million yen out of them, a 30,000 member cult. Thankfully he was caught and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Cult Classic: Donnie Darko (2001). This one is a strange movie in a lot of ways (common for cult classics), but I’m glad I watched it. There is a clear and intriguing story that keeps you watching. The strange things don’t bother you, though the ending of the movie bothers some. At the very least it is fun to talk about with people who have seen it and want to make sense of it with you. I definitely recommend it.

Un-Classic Cult:  Order of the Solar Temple. This group claims to be based on the Knights Templar. They mix Christian, New Age, Freemason, and UFO religion in their beliefs and practices. In the mid-90’s a total of 69 members had been burned on a plateau in France, Switzerland, and right here in Canada. The one in Canada included an infant being stabbed multiple times at the request of his father who claimed the baby was the antiChrist.

Cult Classic: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I saw this movie, a rare Johnny Depp picture that is not directed by Tim Burton. His and Benicio del Toro’s performances are quirky, bizarre, at times funny, and definitely memorable. But I really didn’t get it. Not crazy about this one.

Un-Classic Cult: The Branch Davidians. This was the cult led by David Koresh in Waco, Texas. After being disowned by the Seventh Day Adventists as a young man, he joined this cult, had an affair with its founder, and was chosen by her to succeed him. He claimed to be a messiah and that all women, even underage girls and wives of other men, were married to him. His child abuse was overlooked by his loyal followers, but the government wasn’t too pleased with it, as well as with his alarmingly large collection of firearms. They raided the compound where there was a 51-day shootout/standoff, and a subsequent fire started from within. The flames took Koresh’s life as well as 80 of his followers, including 20 children.

Cult Classic: Being John Malkovich (1999). Enjoyable, but I’m not sure why it became a cult classic. It’s worth seeing just for one scene where a character gets heckled when a kid in a car driving by throws a pop can at him. Not that that is incredibly funny, but it was unscripted. They had no idea they’d be in this movie!

Un-Classic Cult: Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments. It’s a long name, but it’s an official one. These folks predicted the earth would come to an end on December 31, 1999 (How original!). When that didn’t happen they said that the Virgin Mary would come to earth on March 17 of 2000. That didn’t happen either, but what did happen that day was a big explosion and fire killing hundreds of its members. The police feared this was a mass suicide, but it wasn’t. The cult’s leaders had set this up, murdered their flock, and skipped town.

Cult Classic: Reservoir Dogs (1992). This one is amazing! The story, the filming, the acting is all so good I tend to think it may be Tarantino’s best movie. There is one disturbing scene, though it’s more of a case of convincing you, the viewer, that you’re seeing something you’re not.

Un-Classic Cult: Church of Euthanasia. Under the guidance of founder Chris Korda, this cult has a very clear and underlying belief that can be summed up in its most popular slogan: “Save the planet, kill yourself.” They promoted and encouraged suicide, even having a suicide hotline devoted to helping convince people to take their own lives.

Cult Classic: Nacho Libre (2006). If you haven’t seen this movie, what are you even doing with your life? The quotable quotes you will leave with after watching are worth their weight in gold. (Yes, I know quotes don’t weigh anything, but you know what I’m saying.)

Congratulations Nacho Libre. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Marisa Tomei as Cassidy in The Wrestler.

Best Actor: Definitely not anyone in No Holds Barred. Mickey Rourke as Randy “The Ram” Robinson in The Wrestler.

Best Quote:Beneath the clothes, we find a man… and beneath the man, we find his… nucleus.” — Jack Black as Nacho/Ignatio in Nacho Libre.

Back in 2014 I gave the following list of who I thought were the greatest movie characters of all time:

  1. Jack Sparrow; Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (2003-2017)
  2. Clark Griswold; National Lampoon’s Vacation movies (1983-2015)
  3. Tyler Durden; Fight Club (1999)
  4. Nacho/Ignacio; Nacho Libre (2006)
  5. Lloyd Christmas; Dumb and Dumber (1994)
  6. Daniel Plainview; There Will Be Blood (2007)
  7. Ron Burgundy; Anchor Man franchise (2004-2013)
  8. Guido Orefice; Life Is Beautiful (1997)
  9. Rocky Balboa; Rocky franchise (1976-2018)
  10. The Tramp; Charlie Chaplin movies (1920’s, 1930’s)
  11. Austin Powers and Dr. Evil; Austin Powers franchise (1997-2002)
  12. Darth Vader; Star Wars franchise (1977-present)

I don’t know what I was thinking giving Jack Sparrow the #12 spot, but here is another 12 that I’d say are also amoung the greatest:

  1. Nurse Ratched, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
  2. Immortan Joe, Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
  3. Napoleon Dynamite, Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
  4. Col. Jessup, A Few Good Men (1992)
  5. Buster Scruggs, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
  6. Doc Brown, Back to the Future (1995)
  7. Marge Gunderson, Fargo (1996)
  8. Raymond Babbit, Rain Man (1988)
  9. Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller (1986)
  10. Sonny/E.F., The Apostle (1997)
  11. Forrest Gump, Forrest Gump (1994)
  12. Buddy the Elf, Elf (2003)