Not that everybody who trips across this page will care about my favorite movies, but ...
Popular entertainment shapes our lives. The Net seems made to spew forth on anything. So, here's my foray as a movie critic (this is neither exhaustive
nor is it in any order):
(1982): Life's pretty tough in the 21st Century by the looks of this Ridley Scott production. Staring Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, Blade Runner was too much science fiction and too little movie for audiences when it was first released. An early 80's noir look at life, death and what's real and what's Memorex, Blade Runner dealt with the significant themes of humanity. Ford's character is sent to kill four escaped androids, whose only crime really is that they are trying to survive -- to find more life. It's a tortured path for him, but here's a hint if you've never seen the movie -- he bags them all.
A commercial flop in '82, it's gained quite an audience over the past two decades however.
(1956): Pretty much anything directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne has one thing the viewer can count on -- a sweeping shot of desert mountains. There's plenty of 'em in this movie, too, so don't be disappointed. However, this was the first time I sat down to watch a John Wayne movie and figured out the man could act.
Not really a shoot 'em up western, although there's plenty of gunfire in the movie to satisfy the ole' blood lust, The
Searchers is the tale of hatred and revenge. It peers inside the psyche of the American West through the five year dogmatic search of one man (Wayne) whose quest is to find and rescue his niece
Planet of the Apes
(1967): Certainly, this movie has one of the most parodied dialogue tracks in cinema history. As they say parody is one of the sincerest forms of flattery, Planet of the Apes definitely deserves to be flattered. It's also a movie which has aged quite well -- no funny aliens.
Charlton Heston stars as an astronaut whose been sent on a mission of exploration (this does show some age, however, when't the
last time NASA spoke of true exploration). Something goes wrong with his spaceships landing and he's stranded, along with two others, on a planet ruled by apes who kill humans for sport.
film is a brutal turnaround to how humans view themselves, their place in the world and even the color of their skin.
The Right Stuff
(1983): Before Tom Hanks went and made it popular to be an American again and truly respect and love our dashing young men in uniform, there was The Right Stuff -- a movie about hell raising test pilots.
Here's another commercial flop of the early '80s which has found new life on cable and video. Although the title is taken from
Tom Wolfe's excellent 1979 book about the early days of the space program, the movie really doesn't capture much of the books sarcasm about living so close to the maddening edge of death.
However, the effects are truly awesome, and if you know little about Chuck Yeager, flight test, and the early Mercury shots then it's worth watching just for the visuals. Read the book, too.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966): The last in the Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood westerns which were patterned after Japanese Samurai movies of the '50s.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly leaves you with not only an outstanding soundtrack (which will haunt you for the rest of your days on this planet, I might
add), but also it's a fairly engaging tale of trying to find hidden gold in the war torn Civil War west. Worth seeing at least once. (However, I watch at least three times a year and have since
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
(1969): Of all the Bond films this is the one I'll put on a list. Why? Most people, Bond fans really, will tell you it's not all that good because Sean Connery doesn't play Bond or Roger Moore's not in it.
For me, it has the most believable of all plots. Blofeld has a modest army of henchmen on top of mountain, where he's posing as
a scientist developing allergy vaccines. In truth, well, you guessed it, he's trying to extort the world. But this time with germ warfare. In light of current events, unfortunately we all know
how easy it is for small tin pots to get their hands on germ warfare weapons.
Good music, too.
All The President's Men(1976): When this movie was released,
more than two decades ago, Watergate was still fresh in most of America's collective mind. It was an election year, and people want to know the story behind the story that brought down Richard
This is one fascinating look at the business of printing the news Told like a straight forward cop yarn or thriller, All The President's Men sheds light on the process of piecing
together a story of corruption.
The sad fact is, today, there's such an understanding in most people's minds that corruption and leaders go together, that an update of this story is about as
interesting now as watching paint dry.
(1972) : If I have to pick one movie out of the trilogy it's got to be the first one. The epic tale of the Corleone family mirrors that of America. A rise from simple beginnings to self doubt to witnessing the sins of your past falling on the shoulders of your children. Through the eyes of Don Vito Corleone and his son Michael the viewer feels the love, joy and pain of the family business of the La Costra Nostra. That's America in almost three hours with popcorn and soda thrown in.
So, just so you can keep up in conversation ("Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes." or "We're going to hit the
mattresses." or "I made him an offer he can't refuse.") watch this film. Watch parts II and III also, but do yourself a favor, don't bother with the questions about Copola's
daughter in part III -- you'll only hurt your head.
Gross Point Blank
(1997): There aren't too many places Nena's 99 Luftballoons can be heard on a soundtrack nowadays, but this John Cusack vehicle is one of them. Cusack stars as a hitman, who has moral flexibility, trying to go home again for his 10th high school reunion. Our Town it's not. Unless Thornton Wilder had a thing for hollow points, but a great send up of 30 something values it is.
It's worth just for the fight scene outside the locker where Cusack wastes a killer who has been sent to "terminate"
Well that's it for now. Not allot of deep intellectual stuff going on up there, but then again I don't find
self evaluation all that entertaining.