Pick your movie of the week: Vietnam (Oct 6-12)

It’s a war that few westerners want to talk about compared to WWI and (especially) WW2. Yes, as most people say, it was a mess—in every sense of the word. But the people who fought and died there have still not gotten the kind of treatment they deserved from their government, nor from their fellow countrymen. I say this despite the appalling nature of both the actions of the leaders who sent them and of the war itself. It’s an event that laid bare much of our culture and our values, which is perhaps why we’d rather talk about older wars. The following are generally the most widely accepted as the greatest of Vietnam movies (I left out Good Morning Vietnam [1987] as I thought it would be too easy of a win.). Which one is your pick for the week?

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Platoon (1986)

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

A Milestone for Us

Joy and I just lost a ton of weight. Actually, make it a metric tonne. Back in 2012, Joy and I were excited about having me going into business for myself, just like she had been doing for 13 years. The first two years were pretty tough, but every year after that got better and better. I was improving my skills in the trade and getting more and more appointments. But I knew something was missing. I was getting better, but we didn’t feel that we were doing better. I was mastering this art of mobile auto body repairs, but I wasn’t mastering how to do business.

We hired a business coach who promised he had no get-rich-quick solutions, but that he would guarantee us results. He added that we could quit anytime we wanted if it got to be too much. He helped us change how we think, how we operate, and how we live. We haven’t mastered anything he’s taught us, but we’re getting better and better. He started us off on our own personal affairs first, then the affairs of the business.

And it’s been working! Sometimes it feels as if we’re like the grifters in The Sting, figuring out a way to get around the big bad mobs who have a stockpile of money that’s not theirs.

Yes, we lost a tonne of weight. As of last month, with the exception of a mortgage, Joy and I are debt free. (I can’t tell you how good that feels to share!) I don’t share this to make anyone feel bad about their own situation. In fact, I want you know that you can do this too. Anyone can. Yes, your experience is different, but no matter what that experience is, you have hope. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. Plus it feels really good. Joy and I aren’t coaches ourselves, but if you have any questions, fire away.

And the weight we’ve lost is less like losing body fat and more like losing a big tumor hanging off your neck. It’s a big nasty growth that was put there by the mob. Grift those schmucks!

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence as Rosalyn Rosenfeld in American Hustle.

Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale, Jr in Catch Me If You Can.

Best Quote: I’ve got culture coming out of my ass.” — Steve Martin as Freddy Benson in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

Apparently, people in our society will talk openly about their sex life before they’d talk openly about their finances. There is so much pressure on us in this regard. Most of us are afraid of being seen as less of a person because we weren’t “smart” with our money or that we will be seen as the fool who was “soon parted” from their money as the Bible speaks about. But please trust me when I say this: you’re not alone. The people that you see who look like they have everything figured out? Even the ones who appear to be rich? Things aren’t always what they seem.

 

Pick your movie of the week: Con Artists (Sept 29–Oct 5/19

Who doesn’t love a good con movie. It doesn’t even have to be a big heist, just someone who’s really good at faking their way into getting something. Maybe we love it because we know we’re all a little like that. Which of the following con classics would you pick for this week’s movie?

The Sting (1973)

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

American Hustle (2013)

Oh, and then there’s the part where…!

Here is a list of some of my favourite funny parts in comedies. It was so much fun making this list! Comedies are, arguably, the best movies to talk about. If someone has seen one that you’ve seen and you both thought it was funny, it’s so easy to bring up scenes that made you laugh, and the conversation is fun for both.

There are really too many to talk about them all, so these are some of the ones that stand out:

 

I listed the funniest part, but this is my favourite part. When I quote it to my daughters they don’t agree that it’s funny.

MOVIE… Uncle Buck (1989)
THE PART WHERE… Buck is talking to his sister on the phone who’s house and children he is sitting. The conversation, especially his questions, gets funnier with every line.

MOVIE… Strange Brew (1983)
THE PART WHERE… The Mackenzie Brothers are running an errand which involves driving a van that has been booby-trapped by the bad guys who are sending them on said errand.

MOVIE… Rat Race (2001)
THE PART WHERE… Blaine and Duane are trying to catch a hot air balloon. I’m telling you this is one of the most underrated comedies and one of the most underrated comedy scenes. You have GOT to see this movie—and especially this scene—if you haven’t already!

MOVIE… The Big Lebowski (1998)
THE PART WHERE… Walter and the Dude stand at the top of a ridge to scatter someone’s ashes. Oh man…. I love all of this movie, but this scene! I’m not sure how many people laugh as much as I do, but some movie scenes are like that.

MOVIE… What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
THE PART WHERE… Deacon shares of how and when he became a vampire. It’s just sort of funny until he gets to the end of his story. I had to pause the movie to laugh.

MOVIE… Raising Arizona (1987)
THE PART WHERE… H.I. heads to a nearby convenience store to get some diapers. Seriously, have you not seen this movie yet? It’s one of the best performances Nicholas Cage has ever done.

MOVIE… Bridesmaids (2011)
THE PART WHERE… Oh you know which part I’m going to say! Yup, that Brazilian food is some powerful stuff. I also like the scene in the airplane when Melissa McCarthy’s character is suspicious of a man being an air marshal.

MOVIE… Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)
THE PART WHERE… Ace sneaks out of a party to try and find Snowflake, a missing dolphin. He finds a shark instead and falls into the water. This would normally be the perfect set up in a horror or suspense movie, but it’s actually one of the funniest scenes you’ll ever see.

MOVIE… Dennis the Menace (1993)
THE PART WHERE… Mr. Wilson goes to the bathroom before bed just after Dennis was in there. This is probably not a movie you expected to be in this list, but man this scene gets me every time!

MOVIE… School of Rock (2003)
THE PART WHERE… Dewey first starts teaching the kids how to be in a band. “instead of playing it like this you tip it on the side… Cello! You got a bass!”

MOVIE… Hot Rod (2007)
THE PART WHERE… A stunt is attempted with an agreement that if the stuntman needs help and they need to abort the operation, the secret word is “H-whiskey.” 

MOVIE… Office Space (1999)
THE PART WHERE… Peter (Ron Livingston) is approached by his boss, Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole) about his failure to use a cover sheet on his TPS reports. It’s actually both an infuriating and hilarious scene at the same time. Classic scene.

MOVIE… I Love You Man (2009)
THE PART WHERE… Paul Rudd’s character (Peter) is trying hard to talk cool so his potential friend think he is cool. There’s also a great scene where he gets a little too excited at a party and vomits on Jon Favrau. I know it sounds gross, but this it’s very funny movie and done really well.

MOVIE… Tommy Boy (1995)
THE PART WHERE… Tommy attempts to gas up the car. “What’d ya do???”

MOVIE… Three Fugitives (1989)
THE PART WHERE… Martin Short’s characther attempts to rob a bank. One particular moment when he attempts to pull a pin from a grenade.

MOVIE… Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
THE PART WHERE… Brian Fantana introduces Ron to his new secret weapon for picking up women. An irresistible cologne called “Sex Panther.” Brian informs him that it’s illegal in 9 countries and is made from bits of real panther, “so you know it’s good.” When he wears it someone says it smells like a turd covered in burnt hair. NOTE: I’m still mad at Joy for not finding this movie funny.

I’m purposely not quoting Dumb and Dumber (1994), National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989), Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987), and Nacho Libre (2006) because I’d have to list a dozen scenes for each. I’ve also avoided Team America: World Police (2004) and Borat: Cultural Learnings for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006) because I’m afraid of what you’d think of me for watching those movies. Don’t worry, though. Totally didn’t watch them. But I will weigh in on this week’s nominees:

Blazing Saddles (1974): The part where a guy tries to tell the big bad Mongo that he can’t park his horse where he’s tethered it. Mongo approaches the man who’s on a horse and punches the horse in the face. The horse falls down, which I think has to be the greatest performance by an animal in a movie. I mean, comedic timing ain’t easy.

The Return of the Pink Panther (1975): The part where Cato makes an ambush on Inspector Clouseau from the freezer in the kitchen. The fact that Clouseau hires him to do this is kind of the funniest part.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975): ‘Tis but a scratch! is a real favourite for most of us, including me. However, one of my favourites is where the knights discover the writing on the cave wall about the Black Beast of Arrrggghhh. That scene kills me!

Congratulations Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Madeline Kahn as Lili Von Schtupp in Blazing Saddles.

Best Actor: John Cleese as Second Swallow-Savvy Guard, The Black Knight, Peasant 3, Sir Launcelot the Brave, the Taunting French Guard, and Tim the Enchanter in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Best Quote: I must leave. Zis Hotel is deteriorating rapidly.” — Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau in The Return of the Pink Panther.

If you’re thinking, “I bet Troy wasted so much time on Youtube watching all these scenes,” you’d be right. I laughed so hard for the past couple of hours, and my wife was sleeping beside me, so it was a killer to keep from disturbing her. 

Ranked Stephen King Adaptations

Yesterday, Friday the 13th, I came to the realization that of all the movies made that were adapted from Stephen King novels I have seen… 13! So this week I’d like to rank them according to my own preference. See if you’d rank them similarly:

  1. Needful Things (1993) — Kirk, I know this is one you really liked, but I was not a fan at all. Seemed more like a late October after-school YTV movie.
  2. Hearts in Atlantis (2003) — I thought I’d like this movie better, but it almost seemed like a psychic’s evangelism tool.
  3. Christine (1983) — I love the premise of this story, but thought the movie was dull. It was trying to be scary and gory in a cool 80’s way, but ended up doing it in simply an acceptable—and forgettable—way.
  4. Delores Claiborne (1995) — Now we’re getting to the ones I enjoyed. I don’t remember much about this movie, but I do remember liking the story and the performances.
  5. The Running Man (1987) — I’m sure it too was a lame 80’s action movie, but it was a lot of fun watching this with my friends when I was in junior high. Great storyline!
  6. Maximum Overdrive (1986) — Like Christine, this movie also involved possessed motor vehicles and tried to be 80’s cool. But this one succeeded.
  7. 1408 (2007) — Super scary! I loved it! Samuel Leroy Jackson and John Cusack were both awesome in it.
  8. The Green Mile (1999) — I don’t think I liked this movie as much as most people I know, and I really hated one scene in particular (Ask me sometime and I’ll tell you.). But I did like it a lot, and no one can deny that it makes you feel a wide variety of emotions and think about a wide variety of thoughts.
  9. Misery (1990) — Excellent movie. Again, another great plot set up by arguably the greatest writer and storyteller of our time.
  10. It (2017) — I loved it. Looking forward to Chapter 2.
  11. Stand By Me (1986) — Classic status. Of all the movies that made an impact on me in my teen years, this one sits near the top.
  12. The Shining (1980) — I do believe it is the greatest horror movie ever made.
  13. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) — Can’t argue with this #1 pick, can you? Happy 25th birthday TSR!

Stephen King adaptations I’ve yet to see, but am interested in:

  • Carrie (1976, 2013)
  • Creep Show (1982)
  • Cujo (1983)
  • Children of the Corn (1984)
  • Firestarter (1984)
  • Silver Bullet (1985)
  • Creepshow 2 (1987)
  • The Lawnmower Man (1992)
  • Thinner (1996)
  • The Mist (2007)

Congratulations The Green Mile. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Laura Linney as Annabeth Markum in Mystic River.

Best Actor: Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela in Invictus.

Best Quote: I think this boy’s cheese has done slid off his cracker.” — Brent Briscoe as Bill Dodge in The Green Mile

 

And a happy birthday to King Stephen himself, who turns 72 next weekend.

Pick your movie of the week: 25 Years of Shawshank! (Sept 15-21/19)

This Tuesday, Sept 10, will mark exactly 25 years since The Shawshank Redemption was released in theaters. Back when I first started to pay attention to the IMDb top 250 list in 2009, this movie was in the #1 spot and had been in that position for a year. It’s still in that spot today, 11 years later!

Therefore, we are going to honour this modern classic by drawing our nominees from its director and two main characters. Here they are; take your pick:

The Green Mile (1999)
Frank Darabont, Director

Mystic River (2003)
Tim Robbins as Dave Boyle

Invictus (2009)
Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela