2020 Shelter in Place Alphabet Movie Draft - BONUS ROUNDS

I updated the draft to allow the previous 2 selections, although one is borderline with the title, and another one was already drafted as a remake...foxfire is on the clock :)
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
I updated the draft to allow the previous 2 selections, although one is borderline with the title, and another one was already drafted as a remake...foxfire is on the clock :)
I won't do the same for my last pick. I truly didn't intend to "stretch" any rule given the wording but given the split reaction I'll avoid dancing on that line. Thanks for the ruling.
 
U = Up (2009) - PG



This pixar gem is endearing from the opening frame. I would put the married life montage up there with the best 5 minute stretch of any film, period. Beyond that, the adventure is lively, the artwork is beautiful, and the characters are affable and worth rooting for!

Another Feast for the Eyes said:
This is another film in which it really helps to know in advance what it is, or more specifically, what it isn't. Then, you go from there. I enjoyed the animated film very much but, some of that was due to the fact a friend clued me in first, saying "this isn't really a comedy or a film for little kids. Don't expect a ton of laughs." So, instead of seeking laughs (although I still got them here and there), I just enjoyed the adventure story and marveled at the amazing artwork.

Seen on Blu-Ray, this is yet another example in which you shake your head and wonder, "How does the artwork get any better than this?" Then, about six months from now, another will come along and I'll say the same thing. Overall movies may not be better today than "in the old days," but there is no dispute there are two areas in which films keep getting better and better: special-effects and animation. This is another example of that.

The colors and the detail in here are almost beyond description. The artwork ranges from bold to subdued, but always stunning. I lost track how many times I wanted to just pause and admire the picture for a few minutes. From super-sharp closeups of the old man's face to lush jungle scenery, this high-definition disc is worth every penny/

Back to the story, I found it a combination adventure-fantasy-comedy-suspense-sentimental story, about in that order, too. Generally-speaking, I would think adults would like this more than kids, but I may be wrong. Everyone - regardless of age - will have their jaw drop more than once viewing the incredible-looking scenes. It's really a feast for the eyes. Finally, if you like extras, there are tons of them in the four-disc DVD set.
Link #1
Link #2
Link #3

Quotes:
Newsreel Announcer: Movietown News presents, "Spotlight on Adventure." What you are now witnessing is footage never before seen by civilized humanity: a lost world in South America. Lurking in the shadow of majestic Paradise Falls, it sports plants and animals undiscovered by science. Who would dare set foot on this inhospitable summit? Why, our subject today, Charles Muntz!

Young Ellie: Charles Muntz, explorer. When I get big, I'm going where he's going.
[pulls away the magazine to reveal a map of...]. South America. It's like America, but south.

Carl Fredricksen: [to a contractor trying to get Carl to move out] You in the suit! Yes, you! Take a bath, hippie!

Carl Fredricksen: Hey, let's play a game. It's called "See Who Can Be Quiet the Longest".
Russell: Cool! My mom loves that game!

Carl Fredricksen: You've been camping before, haven't you?
Russell: Well, never outside.
Carl Fredricksen: Well, why didn't you ask your dad how to build a tent?
Russell: I don't think he wants to talk about this stuff.
Carl Fredricksen: Why don't you try him sometime? Maybe he'll surprise you.
Russell: Well, he's away a lot. I don't see him much.
Carl Fredricksen: He's got to be home sometime.
Russell: Well, I called, but... Phyllis told me I bug him too much.
Carl Fredricksen: Phyllis? You call your own mother by her first name?
Russell: Phyllis isn't my mom.
Carl Fredricksen: [sheepish] Oh.

Carl Fredricksen: This is crazy. I finally meet my childhood hero and he's trying to kill us. What a joke.
Dug: Hey, I know a joke! A squirrel walks up to a tree and says, "I forgot to store acorns for the winter and now I am dead." Ha! It is funny because the squirrel gets dead.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1049413/?ref_=ttls_li_i
 

Capt. Factorial

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Staff member
U = Up (2009) - PG

This pixar gem is endearing from the opening frame. I would put the married life montage up there with the best 5 minute stretch of any film, period.
Agreed on the opening montage. I wasn't chasing after this film (obviously, as I took another "U" movie) but I'm kind of surprised that it made it this far in the draft. Pretty good value on a difficult letter in the 19th round!
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
U = Up (2009) - PG



This pixar gem is endearing from the opening frame. I would put the married life montage up there with the best 5 minute stretch of any film, period. Beyond that, the adventure is lively, the artwork is beautiful, and the characters are affable and worth rooting for!
Agreed on the opening montage. I wasn't chasing after this film (obviously, as I took another "U" movie) but I'm kind of surprised that it made it this far in the draft. Pretty good value on a difficult letter in the 19th round!
I actually had it slated as my last pick if it made it that far. Good choice!
 
Did I adequately answer your condescending question?

S is for The Social Network

9D21D93B-2F81-4D17-9C40-7C36A2E11D70.jpeg

So good. Sorkin + Fincher.

Internet blurb: Impeccably scripted, beautifully directed, and filled with fine performances, The Social Network is a riveting, ambitious example of modern filmmaking at its finest.
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
S is for Scent of a Woman: Another of my all time favorites with an absolute stunning performance by Al Pacino, which earned him an academy award for best actor. The movie was directed by Martin Brest and also stared Chris O'Donnell and Philip Seymour Hoffman. This is one of Hoffman's earlier screen roles and he's perfect as the weaseling, gutless, smug, backstabbing friend. You almost despise Hoffman so much that you love him.

Pacino plays a blind Lt. Colonel. I don't think I've ever seen an actor play a blind man better. Pacino went to a school for the blind to get ready for the film and they said he stayed in character even while off camera carrying his cane with him everywhere. Even if your an action movie person, this movie will suck you in.

Charlie Simms (Chris O'Donnell) is a student at the Baird School, an exclusive New England prep school. Unlike most of his peers, Charlie was not born into a wealthy family, and attends the school on a scholarship. Charlie accepts a temporary job over Thanksgiving weekend in order to afford a plane ticket home to Oregon for Christmas. The woman who hires him asks Charlie to watch over her uncle, retired Army Officer Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade (Al Pacino), whom Charlie discovers to be a cantankerous, blind alcoholic. Charlie and George Willis, Jr (Philip Seymour Hoffman)., another student at the Baird School, witness three students setting up a prank that publicly humiliates the headmaster, Mr. Trask. Incensed over the prank, Trask quickly learns of the two student witnesses and presses Charlie and George to divulge the names of the perpetrators. Once George has left the office, Trask offers Charlie a bribe: a letter of recommendation that would virtually guarantee his acceptance to Harvard. Charlie remains silent, but is conflicted about what to do. Shortly after Charlie arrives, Frank unexpectedly whisks Charlie off on a trip to New York City. Frank reserves a room at the Waldorf-Astoria. During dinner at the Oak Room, Frank glibly states the goals of the trip, which involve enjoying luxurious accommodations in New York before committing suicide. Charlie is taken aback and does not know if Frank is serious. They pay an uninvited visit to Frank's brother's home in White Plains for Thanksgiving dinner. Frank is an unpleasant surprise for the family, as he deliberately provokes everyone and the night ends in acrimony. During this time, the cause of Frank's blindness is also revealed: While drunk, he was juggling live hand grenades, showing off for a group of second lieutenants, when one of the grenades exploded.

 

Capt. Factorial

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Staff member
To fill my "C" column in the alphabetical movie draft, I select:



Cléo from 5 to 7 (France, 1962)

Directed by Agnès Varda

Starring Corrine Marchand, Antoine Bourseiller, Dominique Davray

Trailer (sans subtitles for some reason)

Cléo from 5 to 7 is a study of a woman in turmoil. Shot in nearly real-time (the film only lasts about 90 minutes), it follows the motions of our eponymous Parisian songstress in the two hours prior to a doctor's appointment where she is to receive the results of a biopsy. From an ominous beginning in the house of a tarot reader, Cléo bounces through cafés and stores and a series of friends, has an impromptu rehearsal, walks Parc Montsouris alone and preoccupied, and finally emerges to make her appointment.

Of the dozen or so films of the French New Wave that I've seen, Cléo from 5 to 7 is easily my favorite. It's a simple character study, but done beautifully. Unfortunately, it's not terribly easy to come by. The DVD/Blu-Ray seems to be out of print (although I think it can still be had in a more expensive box set of Varda's films) but it usually finds it way onto Turner Classic Movies once or twice a year. That's too bad, because it's a film that I think deserves quite a bit more exposure - so I'm happy to give it a small bit of that as my last pick in the draft.

[Cléo has drawn the card of Death and the tarot reader tries to re-interpret it] "...My hand?" [The tarot reader looks at Cléo's hand closely and lets it go] "I cannot read hands."
 
S = Serenity (2005)



Extraordinary said:
The others do a good job gushing about the movie. Sure we're fans and bound to like the movie more than the usual fare, but those looking for an original and thrilling movie experience, this will shock and amaze. The Firefly world introduced a fantasy home for many of us, with characters we truly cared about and dilemmas we could get behind. The best way to describe it is to take the best aspects of the Han Solo elements of the original Star Wars, and build a world around that. There's no grand theme or clear cut good and evil. There's just a band of fugitives trying to make their way in a dangerous sky. It's something folks can relate to, although most of us won't be in a space battle or fighting psychotic creatures anytime soon. The point of the name Serenity is the name of the ship, though in a deeper sense that's what our characters are in search of. Finding freedom and a home, and that's what the ship represents to them, and to the fans. So you understand why so many are so excited about this dinky little scifi flick.

The movie captures that beautiful feeling but takes us on a ride that there's no turning back from. In my opinion, the one thing that makes for a truly GREAT movie is if you walk out of the theater a different person than when you walked in. This movie takes you on such a journey I didn't know if I would leave the theater at all. Sure the visual effects are stunning, but even the unfinished effects I saw meant nothing to me because it was the characters I cared about (and note that the digitally created ship itself is one of them, and I cared just as much for that than any of them). The humor is probably better than anything in the theaters this year, and the action is even greater. My screening actually came a week after Episode 3 was released, and I immediately washed my hands of Mr Lucas, and months later when I saw REDACTED4... well let's not even talk about that one.

This movie really does have something for everyone, and even in the core of the geek fandom, the range of people is total - men and women split it at least 50/50, uber-geeks and "cool" types, and a surprising amount of attractive people of all ages. Seriously though, don't trust the rants of the fans. Check out the movie for yourself. Give it an honest chance and I promise you will be taken on a journey that will turn you into a fan as well.
Link #1
Link #2
Link #3

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0379786/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0
 
With my nineteenth and penultimate pick in the Shelter in Place Alphabet Movie Draft, I will make use of the letter L to select:

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004):



Director: Wes Anderson
Dir. of Photography: Robert D. Yeoman
Writer(s): Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach
Score: Mark Mothersbaugh
Cast: Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon
Genre: Comedy, drama
Runtime: 1 hour, 59 minutes

IMDb Entry: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0362270/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

Makeup pick incoming!

This is not Wes Anderson's best film. In my estimation, that distinction belongs to either The Royal Tenenbaums or The Grant Budapest Hotel, and it delights me that both of those films were already selected in this draft. However, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou remains my favorite Anderson production. Here is Matt Zoller Seitz on the film:

Matt Zoller Seitz said:
When I tell people that my favorite Wes Anderson movie is "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," they look at me funny. And why wouldn't they? Cowritten with Noah Baumbach ([REDACTED], [REDACTED]), it's Anderson's longest, strangest, most tonally and (perhaps) visually ambitious picture, and it made about eight dollars at the box office and was despised by critics.

I exaggerate, but only slightly. This is, point of fact, Wes Anderson's biggest-budgeted production, and his biggest disappointment in relation to cost. When it hit theaters in late 2004, few American critics had anything good to say about it. I was in that minority, as was my New York Press colleague Armond White and...not too many others that I know of. At the New York Critics Circle voting meeting that year, I proposed it for awards in a number of categories, including best director and cinematography, knowing that the suggestion would inspire eye-rolls and derisive laughter, because I hoped that maybe somebody in the room would think, "Hey, if he really loves it that much, maybe there's something to it after all, and I should give it another chance." I don't think there were any takers. To love "The Life Aquatic" felt, at the time, a bit insane. Maybe it still does. It's his least perfect movie, without a doubt. It's almost certainly too long, and there are sections that drag or feel somehow off or that just flat-out don't quite work, at least not as they needed to in order to please a wide audience. But it's wonderful all the same. I cherish its imperfections to the point where they no longer seem like imperfections.

I love how Roger Ebert's review of "The Life Aquatic" quotes a cutting phrase from his TV review of the film, but in service of what already feels like a revision: "My rational mind informs me that this movie doesn't work. Yet I hear a subversive whisper: Since it does so many other things, does it have to work, too? Can't it just exist? 'Terminal whimsy,' I called it on the TV show. Yes, but isn't that better than half-hearted whimsy, or no whimsy at all? Wes Anderson's 'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" is the damnedest film. I can't recommend it, but I would not for one second discourage you from seeing it.'"

My already great admiration for the film grew as I dealt with a string of deaths between 2006 and 2009—my wife, my best friend and my stepmother, one after the other.

I watched "The Life Aquatic" a couple of times a year during that period. Each time it helped me a bit more, for reasons I get into in this video essay, as well as in the forthcoming fourth chapter, about the similarly-death-haunted "The Darjeeling Limited."

Few American directors are as obsessed with the continuing psychic aftershocks of loss as Anderson, as this film, "Darjeeling" and "The Royal Tenenbaums" and [REDACTED] make plain. And yet somehow his movies don't feel morbid. They take a marvelously balanced attitude, cherishing all the bustle and humor and pettiness and absurdity and other mundane realities that make up daily life in the aftermath of catastrophe, but without minimizing the burden of all that weight. This is is one of the very few movies that I can unhesitatingly say made a tangible, positive difference in my life.

I've reprinted a version of the "Life Aquatic" essay that appears in "The Wes Anderson Collection." It's quite a bit longer than the version that made print, with more digressions, but considering the subject, that seems somehow fitting.

"I'm going to go on an overnight drunk, and in ten days I'm going to set out to find the shark that ate my friend and destroy it. Anyone who wants to tag along is more than welcome."

With that declaration, the naturalist/director/pothead hero of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou drags the crew of his research vessel The Belafonte on a mission to kill the dreaded Jaguar Shark. It sounds like the plot of a sci-fi thriller, or maybe the umpteenth retelling of Moby Dick or Jaws or some other nautical epic. But while Wes Anderson's fourth film draws on these modes and others, it's defiantly unique. Like its predecessor The Royal Tenenbaums, but more so, Aquatic anchors its dazzling images and zig-zaggy detours to strong, basic themes: the lived experience of grief; the futility of revenge; the anxiety of entering middle age and wondering if you'll leave a legacy along with your unfinished business.

Dry comedy segues into romance, farce, violence and deep sorrow. There are lyrical montages, funky action setpieces and shots of obviously stop-motion animated sea creatures with made-up names: sugar crab, golden barracuda, crayon pony fish. Cowritten with Noah Baumbach, "The Life Aquatic" is patchwork personal expression on a grand scale. It's as simultaneously old-yet-new-seeming as Zissou's boat, a refurbished World War II frigate containing a research lab, a movie studio, and spa with a sauna designed by an engineer from the Chinese space program. No wonder it was a critical and commercial disappointment: it's as immense and weird yet clearly personal as Jacques Tati's [REDACTED], Steven Spielberg's [REDACTED], Martin Scorsese's [REDACTED], and Francis Coppola's [REDACTED] -- box-office bombs whose reputations grew over time.

Zissou is the nexus of the film's style and themes, a marine biologist and documentarian who worries that he's lost his mojo. He hasn't had a hit in twenty years. His rival Alistair Hennessey (Jeff Goldblum), has stolen his thunder and is sleeping with his ex-wife, Eleanor (Anjelica Huston), the business brains of Zissou's operation as well as its moral compass. Zissou is vexed by profit-minded backers and a nosy reporter, Jane-Winslett Richardson (Cate Blanchett) who seems to want to praise and bury him at the same time. And he's still in mourning for his beloved friend Esteban (Seymour Cassel).

There's a bright spot: the possibility that a young acolyte turned investor, Air Kentucky pilot Ned Plimpton (Anderson's regular collaborator Owen Wilson), might be his illegitimate son. Of all Anderson's charismatic fathers and father figures, Steve is the most complex and contradictory. He's Jacques Cousteau, Captain Ahab and Andy Hardy rolled into a spliff and smoked by Tommy Chong. His flaky sincerity that undercuts his arrogance and makes him seem, if not lovable, then at least tolerable, and sometimes pitiable. As Zissou, Murray is at once exuberant and depressed, bitter and open-hearted. It might be his most stylized yet human-scaled performance, rivaled only by his work as the hero of Jim Jarmusch's [REDACTED], another middle-aged stud who suffers an existential crisis when he learns that he might have a son he didn't know about.

Steve and Ned's maybe father-son relationship is thrown off-balance when Steve falls for the pregnant Jane, then loses her to the man-child Ned. This awkward love triangle is awkward but ultimately healing, and it releases prismatic new colors in the characters. It's like a hall of mirrors that obliterates labels, blurs boundaries and makes everyone resemble everyone else. Ned was raised by a single mom that he recently lost to cancer -- the same woman Steve seduced and abandoned decades ago. Jane is a single mother who was knocked up and abandoned by her editor. Steve lost two seeming father figures, Esteban and his mentor Lord Mandrake, to death, and his mate Eleanor to divorce. Like [REDACTED]'s Max Fischer and Herman Blume, Steve and Ned seem like brothers as well as father-son, and their competition for Jane has an aspect of sibling rivalry. When Jane reads to her unborn child and Ned listens in, he's the adult that Jane's baby will one day become, and she's the mom that Ned lost.

The Steve-Ned-Jane configuration is a microcosm of the movie's specialness. "The Life Aquatic" treats all of its characters -- including Willem Dafoe's insecure and jealous Klaus and Bud Cort's bond company stooge-turned-hostage -- as if they are real people whose dreams and fears matter. This is not how things are done in whimsical movies. Imagine a Peanuts strip in which Schroeder tried to catch a pop fly, got hit on the head, and died in Charlie Brown's arms while Snoopy wailed inconsolably, and then the next day Charlie Brown went to Lucy's psychiatry stand to talk about it, suffered through one of her vain and obtuse monologues, then sighed, "Good grief." That's "The Life Aquatic": a comic strip with characters that cry real tears and bleed real blood, zipping from slapstick to tragedy and back again like Seu George's fingertips gliding on a fretboard. When Steve meets the young man who might be his son, he's so stunned that he ambles away from Ned to the other end of the boat and smokes a joint in slow-motion while David Bowie's "Life on Mars" swells on the soundtrack. When Ned dies in a helicopter accident, his passing is signaled by a subjective rush of flash-cuts, a life-before-his-eyes barrage similar to the one that marked Richie's suicide attempt in

The Royal Tenenbaums; then the movie goes mute, expressing the crew's shock and sorrow in a silent montage backed by The Zombies' "The Way I Feel Inside." All this plus plus a training montage scored to Devo, a stop-motion fight between horny sugar crabs, and a commando raid that feels like a James Bond setpiece directed Frank Tashlin. It would be inconceivable if you weren't sitting there watching it.

Like Anderson's second and third features, The Life Aquatic was shot in CinemaScope, a super-wide rectangular format created to envelop the viewer. In the age of home video, 'Scope is more often used for action movies, science fiction films and historical epics, not comedies. But here, Anderson and cinematographer Robert Yeoman (who shot the director's previous films) manage to have it both ways. The framing is at once spectacular and intimate, elevating characters to heroic scale in close-ups and taking them down a peg in wide shots that turn them into flyspecks. More often than not, Anderson plants people and objects dead center in the frame, surrounded by acres of negative space, pinning them to their environments like butterflies behind glass. When the camera moves, the shot often starts with one perfectly composed, perfectly balanced, color-coordinated composition and ends with another. It's as if the film is continually trying to get a handle on these people even as they try to get a handle on themselves.

Among other things, the film is about living life as it happens, appreciating whoever you are and whoever you're with rather than constantly obsessing about the past and future. As Steve tells Eleanor, speaking words he doesn't yet recognize as wisdom, "Nobody knows what's going to happen. And then we film it. That's the whole concept." Steve is constantly trying to turn his life into a narrative with a clear direction and satisfying outcome, but his efforts are as forced as the cornball voice-overs in his partly staged "documentaries" and the strained ad-libs he and Ned devise on that jellyfish beach. Steve is a man who likes to be in control of everything even though he can't control much. His mission to kill the Jaguar Shark is the ultimate act of hubris: he wants nothing less than to track and kill Death and re-assert autonomy over his life. In time he'll learn this isn't possible.

Steve's journey takes him out of narcissism and through the stages of grief, ending in acceptance. At the start of the film, he gets drawn into a first-fight at the Locarno Film Festival when a paparazzo asks a cruel but legitimate question: "Why aren't you sitting shiva for your friend?" When Steve returns to the festival, he doesn't attend the premiere of his now-completed documentary, choosing instead to sit outside in solitude. Speaking to his worried financial backers at the start of the story, Zissou deadpans that he'll catch the shark but let it live, then adds, "Now what about my dynamite?" But the second gut-punch of Ned's death knocks the rage out of him. Near the end of the story, Zissou, his crewmates, his ex-wife, his patron, and his chief rival pile into a yellow submersible, descend to the ocean floor (bottoming out) and observe the monster through portholes. It's a meeting rather than a battle, and it seems to restore everyone's equilibrium, especially Steve's. They can't kill death or let it live; all they can do is watch it swim up to the sub, snag a fish and swim away. Steve's catharsis comes not through dynamite, but tears. "I wonder if it remembers me?" he asks. The sequence is the ghastly climax of Moby Dick re-imagined as a comedy of enlightenment: Ahab finally confronts the beast that maimed him and realizes it was nothing personal.
https://www.rogerebert.com/mzs/the-...-chapter-4-the-life-aquatic-with-steve-zissou
 
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Part of me wishes I had an obscure foreign art house film slotted here to wrap up my draft with some panache, pomp and circumstance.

Instead I have a childhood favorite I would come to re-evaluate in my adulthood, which I now believe just may be the greatest B movie ever made ...

... that accidentally became a mega-blockbuster thanks to the bygone era of the Saturday Morning / After School cartoon block and their alliance with the marketing power of Mattel.

T is for ...



Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

This movie was never meant to be a hit. With a budget of less than $15 million, low even by 1990 dollars, it ended up, seemingly by accident, racking in $202 million, finally cementing just how golden a “family film” could be at the box office.

Yes, TMNT was a runaway success largely because Turtle-mania was at its peak among the elementary schools of America at the time. But there is a cinematic wasteland littered with similar properties that disastrously failed to make the transition from lunch box to live action. No, the reason the Turtles were able to succeed where other childhood icons failed, is because their movie was actually good.

Of course, contemporary critics largely disagreed. Honestly though, I believe that may have been, if you pardon the pun, shell shock from having slogged through a countless set of “for the kids” films, and the Pavlovian response kicking out a blisteringly dismissive critique. I can’t say I necessarily blame them: the cartoons to sell toys becoming a movie to sell toys genre deserved pandering.

But that’s the thing, this movie may have some “elements” from the cartoon just so kids weren’t thoroughly confused, (color-coded bandanas, initials on belt buckles, April’s a reporter, etc), but otherwise, this movie was in its entirety a rather faithful adaptation of the comic book: the gritty, grim dark, borderline M for Mature “graphic novel.” And it shows.

Raphael screams “Damn” that echos through Manhattan. Splinter’s backstory retains seeking revenge for his master whom the Shredder killed in front of him. Raph is beaten to within an inch of his life (in the comic it was Leo). April’s antique shop is burned to the ground forcing the Turtles to go into hiding in the country. Shredder is “killed” at the end by getting crushed in a dump truck. “Without honor.”

“Hey Dudes, this is no cartoon” is damn right! At the time, that gave the movie an added thrill for all the young Turtles fans - that we were seeing something a little too gritty and raw than we were supposed to, but our parents were letting us anyway. It took the excitement of seeing the Turtles in “real life” on the big screen, and added the exhilarating sense of taboo.

Setting that aside though, living in an alternate universe where the cartoon never existed, but Laird and Eastman miraculously got funding for this film based solely on their comic book, does it still hold up as an engaging and well plotted B movie, based on a ridiculous niche IP? In that situation, would I still have come to enjoy this movie without the nostalgia?

You’re damn right.

Cowabunga!
 

Attachments

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U = Up (2009) - PG



This pixar gem is endearing from the opening frame. I would put the married life montage up there with the best 5 minute stretch of any film, period. Beyond that, the adventure is lively, the artwork is beautiful, and the characters are affable and worth rooting for!



Link #1
Link #2
Link #3

Quotes:
Newsreel Announcer: Movietown News presents, "Spotlight on Adventure." What you are now witnessing is footage never before seen by civilized humanity: a lost world in South America. Lurking in the shadow of majestic Paradise Falls, it sports plants and animals undiscovered by science. Who would dare set foot on this inhospitable summit? Why, our subject today, Charles Muntz!

Young Ellie: Charles Muntz, explorer. When I get big, I'm going where he's going.
[pulls away the magazine to reveal a map of...]. South America. It's like America, but south.

Carl Fredricksen: [to a contractor trying to get Carl to move out] You in the suit! Yes, you! Take a bath, hippie!

Carl Fredricksen: Hey, let's play a game. It's called "See Who Can Be Quiet the Longest".
Russell: Cool! My mom loves that game!

Carl Fredricksen: You've been camping before, haven't you?
Russell: Well, never outside.
Carl Fredricksen: Well, why didn't you ask your dad how to build a tent?
Russell: I don't think he wants to talk about this stuff.
Carl Fredricksen: Why don't you try him sometime? Maybe he'll surprise you.
Russell: Well, he's away a lot. I don't see him much.
Carl Fredricksen: He's got to be home sometime.
Russell: Well, I called, but... Phyllis told me I bug him too much.
Carl Fredricksen: Phyllis? You call your own mother by her first name?
Russell: Phyllis isn't my mom.
Carl Fredricksen: [sheepish] Oh.

Carl Fredricksen: This is crazy. I finally meet my childhood hero and he's trying to kill us. What a joke.
Dug: Hey, I know a joke! A squirrel walks up to a tree and says, "I forgot to store acorns for the winter and now I am dead." Ha! It is funny because the squirrel gets dead.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1049413/?ref_=ttls_li_i
I think this is still Pixar's finest moment. [REDACTED] obviously got the ball rolling and has indelible characters and Pete Docter's follow-up is more ambitious and emotionally note-perfect but this was such a masterpiece of visual story-telling and it's also incredibly fun and clever right up to the end. Just a perfect little movie that reminds us age is only a frame of mind and life is whatever you make it.
 
Part of me wishes I had an obscure foreign art house film slotted here to wrap up my draft with some panache, pomp and circumstance.

Instead I have a childhood favorite I would come to re-evaluate in my adulthood, which I now believe just may be the greatest B movie ever made ...

... that accidentally became a mega-blockbuster thanks to the bygone era of the Saturday Morning / After School cartoon block and their alliance with the marketing power of Mattel.

T is for ...

View attachment 10015

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

This movie was never meant to be a hit. With a budget of less than $15 million, low even by 1990 dollars, it ended up, seemingly by accident, racking in $202 million, finally cementing just how golden a “family film” could be at the box office.

Yes, TMNT was a runaway success solely because Turtle-mania was at its peak among the elementary schools of America at the time. But there is a cinematic wasteland littered with similar properties that disastrously failed to make the transition from lunch box to live action. No, the reason the Turtles were able to succeed where other childhood icons failed, is because their movie was actually good.

Of course, contemporary critics largely disagreed. Honestly though, I believe that may have been, if you pardon the pun, shell shock from having slogged through a countless set of “for the kids” films, and the Pavlovian response kicking out a blisteringly dismissive critique. I can’t say I necessarily blame them: the cartoons to sell toys becoming a movie to sell toys genre deserved pandering.

But that’s the thing, this movie may have some “elements” from the cartoon just so kids weren’t thoroughly confused, (color-mixed bananas, initials on belt buckles, April’s a reporter, etc), but otherwise, this movie was in its entirety an rather faithful adaptation of the comic book: the gritty, grim dark, borderline M for Mature “graphic novel.” And it shows.

Raphael screams “Damn” that echos through Manhattan. Splinter’s backstory retains seeking revenge for his master whom the Shredder killed in front of him. Raph is beaten to within an inch of his life (in the comic it was Leo). April’s antique shop is burned to the ground forcing the Turtles to go into hiding in the country. Shredder is “killed” at the end by getting crushed in a dump truck.

“Hey Dudes, this is no cartoon” is damn right! At the time, that gave the movie a thrill for all the young Turtles fans that we were all seeing something a little too gritty and raw than we were supposed to, but our parents were letting us anyway. It took the excitement of seeing the Turtles in “real life” on the big screen, and added the thrilling sense of taboo.

Setting that aside though, living in an alternate universe where the cartoon never existed, but Laird and Eastman miraculously got funding for this film based on their comic book, this film still holds up as an engaging and well plotted B movie, based on a ridiculous IP. In that situation, would I still have come to enjoy this movie without the nostalgia?

You’re damn right.

Cowabunga!
Dude! All these lists are great but you might have just stolen my vote right here.
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
Looks like Padrino timed out. To round out my list I wanted something funny but didn't require too much brainpower. Just like the hero in the film.

Derek Zoolander: 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.

"Z" is for:

Zoolander (2001)

Movie_poster_zoolander.jpg

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0196229/

IMDb synopsis:

Derek Zoolander is VH1's three time male model of the year, but when Hansel wins the award instead, Zoolander's world becomes upside down. His friends disappear, his father is disappointed in him, and he feels that he's not good as a model anymore. But when evil fashion guru Mugatu hires Zoolander, he thinks his life has turned back round again, that is until he finds out that Mugatu has actually brainwashed him to kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
A vapid movie (with a tagline of "3% body fat, 1% brain activity" what else would you expect?) that is full of yucks - perfect to round out the list. :) The cast is great, including Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Farrell, Milla Jovovich, Jerry Stiller, David Duchovny, Jon Voight, Vince Vaughn, and Patton Oswalt (and others).

The funny part is also all the cameos for this fashion satire, including (per wikipedia):

The soundtrack is also good, with Frankie Goes to Hollywood, No Doubt, The Crystal Method, The Wallflowers, Wham!, Herbie Hancock, Michael Jackson, and others.

Hansel: I wasn't like every other kid, you know, who dreams about being an astronaut, I was always more interested in what bark was made out of on a tree. Richard Gere's a real hero of mine. Sting. Sting would be another person who's a hero. The music he's created over the years, I don't really listen to it, but the fact that he's making it, I respect that. I care desperately about what I do. Do I know what product I'm selling? No. Do I know what I'm doing today? No. But I'm here, and I'm gonna give it my best shot.

Derek Zoolander: There was a moment last night, when she was sandwiched between the two Finnish dwarves and the Maori tribesmen, where I thought, "Wow, I could really spend the rest of my life with this woman".

Derek Zoolander: So join now, 'cause at the Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too, we teach you that there's more to life than just being really, really, really good looking. Right kids?

Billy Zane: Hey, Derek, back on top, man.
Derek Zoolander: Thanks, Billy. You rock.
Billy Zane: No, you rock. When you gonna drop Magnum on us, buddy?
Derek Zoolander: Not yet. You gotta tame the beast before you let it out of its cage.

Mugatu: They're break-dance fighting.

Mugatu: Let me show you Derelicte. It is a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique.


Derek Zoolander: Now if you'll excuse me, I have an after-funeral party to attend.
 
With my final pick in the Shelter in Place Alphabet Movie Draft, I will make use of the letter S to select:

Sicario (2015):



Director: Denis Villeneuve
Dir. of Photography: Roger Deakins
Writer: Taylor Sheridan
Score: Jóhann Jóhannsson
Cast: Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio del Toro, Jon Bernthal, Victor Garber, Daniel Kaluuya
Genre: Drama, crime, action
Runtime: 2 hours, 1 minute

IMDb Entry: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3397884/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

Denis Villeneuve. Roger Deakins. Jóhann Jóhannsson. Emily Blunt. Josh Brolin. Benicio del Toro. This is a collaboration that was never going to be anything other than exceptional.

Mike D'Angelo said:
Like a lot of movies that use unfamiliar or foreign words as titles, Sicario provides a definition right at the outset: It’s the Spanish word for “hit man,” we’re informed. On the surface level, that refers to a particular character in the film, whose mission involves summarily executing a cartel kingpin; every twist and turn of the narrative is expressly designed to bring this assassin one step closer to his target. And a white-knuckle journey it is, too—so relentlessly stressful that some viewers may require a deep massage afterward, having spent two solid hours with their muscles tensed. Yet the true victim in (and of) Sicario is its protagonist, who attempts to do the right thing at every turn and is rewarded by being systematically squeezed out of her own story. It’s an uncommonly bold gambit, expressly designed to frustrate people who want to see a strong woman deliver a righteous ass kicking. The progressivism here is instead rooted in futility and despair, which provides much more of a valuable shock to the system.

Initially, Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) is in complete control, heading up a special FBI unit that deals with hostage situations. When her team raids a nondescript Arizona house and finds dozens of corpses sealed in the walls, however, she’s invited by an alleged Department Of Defense “consultant,” Matt (Josh Brolin), to join his inter-agency operation, which seeks to destabilize the Mexican cartel responsible for the massacre. Told she’ll be flying to El Paso, Kate is instead taken to Juárez, just across the border, for a highly dangerous extraction mission—just the first of numerous lies that Matt and his mysterious, unaffiliated associate, Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), will blithely toss at their new recruit, when they bother to brief her at all. Kate, meanwhile, struggles to maintain her trust in the chain of command, even as every ethical and honorable instinct she possesses—along with any semblance of due process—gets trampled and ignored. By the end, her choice has become starkly binary: play ball or commit suicide.

When Sicario premiered at Cannes in May, some critics dismissed it as just another drug-war yarn, comparing it unfavorably to Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic. (Look for up-to-date Narcos references this week.) That may well have been what first-time screenwriter Taylor Sheridan—an actor best known for playing Deputy Chief David Hale on Sons Of Anarchy—had in mind, but the final product turned out bigger and more resonant than that. Reportedly, there was pressure from suits to make Kate a male role, which the filmmakers wisely and stubbornly resisted. Ethan Hawke played a similarly befuddled idealist in Training Day, so it certainly could have worked. Sicario, however, is less inclined to provide a cathartic, climactic victory, and watching its intensely admirable heroine (superbly embodied by Blunt, who can seemingly do anything) gradually become all but irrelevant wouldn’t boil the blood in the same way were she a dude. (It’s likewise significant that Kate’s partner, played by Daniel Kaluuya, is African-American, and so marginalized that Matt can’t even remember his name.)

Another common complaint circulated about Sicario at Cannes is that it demonizes Mexico, and that’s likely to gain traction now, what with Donald Trump doing the same as a presidential candidate. Ironically, the film’s least effective element is its effort not to do so, by way of a minor Mexican “bad guy” who’s rather studiously humanized over the course of the movie. Still, at least the filmmakers tried, and were clearly aware of the problem.

In any case, subversive intentions would mean very little if Sicario failed to deliver what it promises, which is heart-pounding excitement. One can easily ignore the film’s ambitious subtext and enjoy it strictly on the basis of its terrific performances and nonstop intensity. Brolin, as the cocksure Matt (who wears flip-flops to top-secret meetings), is hilariously yet frighteningly callous, while Del Toro turns in his steeliest work since, well, Traffic. And while director Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Enemy) orchestrates multiple high-octane set pieces—the most harrowing is an ambush that takes place in a traffic jam at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing—he also manages to make ostensibly mundane establishing shots seem ominous. The tiny shadow of a plane, viewed from above as it heads into Mexico, carries almost as much weight as the muzzle of a gun placed under someone’s chin. In the end, though, it all comes down to Blunt’s Kate Macer, and her inability to fulfill the role she seems to have been assigned by long-standing Hollywood convention. This is not a failing. It’s the whole point.
https://film.avclub.com/the-daring-sicario-gives-the-strong-female-archetype-a-1798184885
 
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Capt. Factorial

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Staff member
With my final pick in the Shelter in Place Alphabet Movie Draft, I will make use of the letter S to select:

Sicario (2015):

Denis Villeneuve. Roger Deakins. Jóhann Jóhannsson. Emily Blunt. Josh Brolin. Benicio del Toro. This is a collaboration that was never going to be anything other than exceptional.
I've never had an opportunity to see this movie, but obviously as it's Villeneuve it is on my list.
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
With my final pick in the Shelter in Place Alphabet Movie Draft, I will make use of the letter S to select:

Sicario (2015):



Director: Denis Villeneuve
Dir. of Photography: Roger Deakins
Writer: Taylor Sheridan
Score: Jóhann Jóhannsson
Cast: Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio del Toro, Jon Bernthal, Victor Garber, Daniel Kaluuya
Genre: Drama, crime, action
Runtime: 2 hours, 1 minute

IMDb Entry: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3397884/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

Denis Villeneuve. Roger Deakins. Jóhann Jóhannsson. Emily Blunt. Josh Brolin. Benicio del Toro. This is a collaboration that was never going to be anything other than exceptional.
Just watched this again the other night with my grandson. What a role reversal for Blunt from Edge of Tomorrow. I think anyone with vacation plans for Jaurez Mexico would think hard about changing them after watching this movie. Loved the movie by the way...
 
With my final pick in the Shelter in Place Alphabet Movie Draft, I will make use of the letter S to select:

Sicario (2015):



Director: Denis Villeneuve
Dir. of Photography: Roger Deakins
Writer: Taylor Sheridan
Score: Jóhann Jóhannsson
Cast: Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio del Toro, Jon Bernthal, Victor Garber, Daniel Kaluuya
Genre: Drama, crime, action
Runtime: 2 hours, 1 minute

IMDb Entry: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3397884/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

Denis Villeneuve. Roger Deakins. Jóhann Jóhannsson. Emily Blunt. Josh Brolin. Benicio del Toro. This is a collaboration that was never going to be anything other than exceptional.
I'm very conflicted about this movie. I love the setup and the cinematography, the cast is fantastic, and for the first half of the movie I was thoroughly enthralled but I have major issues with the script. I like Sheridan's other movies but he made some choices here with his characters that feel to me like an author settling on a theme and a plot and then forcing characters to fit into them rather than staying honest to who those characters are. I've only liked one of Villeneuve's movies though so maybe that was more the result of his involvement here? It's often hard to know where the director's influence on the script begins and ends.
 
I'm very conflicted about this movie. I love the setup and the cinematography, the cast is fantastic, and for the first half of the movie I was thoroughly enthralled but I have major issues with the script. I like Sheridan's other movies but he made some choices here with his characters that feel to me like an author settling on a theme and a plot and then forcing characters to fit into them rather than staying honest to who those characters are. I've only liked one of Villeneuve's movies though so maybe that was more the result of his involvement here? It's often hard to know where the director's influence on the script begins and ends.
Now I’m dying to know which behaviors you felt went against character, but obviously don’t want you to spoil things for anyone. Will maybe rewatch tonight with this perspective in mind.

I’m fine with people taking issue with Quigly Down Under (expected ), but I hadn’t heard much negative regarding Sicario.
 

VF21

#KingsFansForever
Staff member
1594770261629.png

O = The Others


From imdb:

It's nearing the end of the Second World War and Grace Stewart lives with her photosensitive children in a large and silent house. After her previous servants went missing, Grace accepted the offers of work from three new servants. Since these three have entered the home, strange events occur, and Grace begins to wonder if it's her sanity getting the better of her or if there is something much more in the house with them.

I love movies with "strange events." This is a great one. :)