2020 Shelter in Place Alphabet Movie Draft - ROUND 4

#91
Bit of a sidebar here: I went back to our first ever movie draft to make sure I wasn't retreading old ground, and two thoughts occurred to me:

1: I have no clue why I never picked Back to the Future before it was swiped by someone else in the 6th round. What could I possibly have been thinking? Sure, my first two picks make sense, but after that I skipped a top ten favorite since childhood in favor of some novelty picks? Even if I was trying to "appeal to the voters" with some popcorn blockbusters, Back to the Future is exactly that. So, what's the deal past me? I ... got nothing.

2: I should have never lost to Brick in the playoffs. His list was trash.

Moving on.

I've had a rather tumultuous relationship with my next pick. When it was first released, I refused to watch it, thinking it was little more than machismo frat/jock fightporn. After a friend finally convinced me to try it with the promise of a 'twist ending,' I'd swung around the other way thinking it the greatest narrative put to celluloid, spending my first year in college preaching its gospel unironically.

I then soured on it again, probably as a backlash to its growing popularity, especially within the groups I had initially labeled as its target audience, then distanced myself from it calling it exploitative, pseudo-philosophical, self-important and aggrandizing, overrated white male rage doctrine, and I hadn't actually seen it in years.

But the time away allowed me to approach it with fresh eyes and now I'm seeing it as something of a fairly clever satire of all the negative labels I'd spewed upon it earlier.

Or maybe not. What's truly exceptional about this film is that its subtle and sublime versatility hold up to so many interpretations. They are all simultaneously true and untrue at the same time. It is the Schrödinger's Cat of American pop cinema - both shallow and deep depending on who's viewing it and what they mine from its content.

Or maybe it's a Rorschach Test.

Either way, it's my second pick.

F is for ...



Fight Club (1999)

I wanted a smaller graphic, but it seems everything about this movie has to be oversized and in your face. Anyway ...

One of the more interesting interpretations I've read about this movie is that its a twisted vision of an adult Calvin and Hobbes.

"Jack" the Narrator is an adult Calvin disillusioned with society and his role in it. Tyler Durden is Hobbes, the imaginary pet tiger who philopshizes his nihilistic views of humanity. Marla Singer is a grown-up Susie Derkins for whom Calvin can't realize his seething hatred is actually repressed attraction. Robert "Bob" Paulson is bully Moe whose overt alpha masculinity eventually turns on him in the form of HGH injections inadvertently upping his estrogen levels. Its a fairly hilarious and brilliant read on the symbolism.

But more importantly, it's indicative of why this film has found a second life within my own sphere. The "Capitalism has Emasculated the American Man!" narrative is legitimately only the excruciatingly shallow surface-interpretation of its message, and admittedly where many, myself included, get caught. If you grow out of that particular brand of mouth-foaming, then as a matter of course, you end up having to leave the film behind.

Happily, I would later discover that interpretation is aggressively narrow, and the film works as a criticism of those very beliefs as well, wondering aloud if those who have found themselves unfulfilled only have manufactured violence as an outlet. Given how the story ends, it would seem the film itself is saying a punctuated no.

And regardless, even if the message of the movie is ultimately irrelevant, as I'm sure it is to most simply looking for a bit of escapism, it is really rather special as that too. The dialogue is among the best in film, with quotable (if raunchy) lines throughout. I'd put it a single tier lower than Casablanca in that department. The Easter eggs of Tyler popping up before he's introduced are still fun long after the "twist" has been revealed. Philosophy aside, when it comes right down to it, Fight Club is entertaining. Just as fun in a "don't think about it and eat your popcorn" kind of way as any other blockbuster would be.

I'm glad I've rediscovered it.
 
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#92
Bit of a sidebar here: I went back to our first ever movie draft to make sure I wasn't retreading old ground, and two thoughts occurred to me:

1: I have no clue why I never picked Back to the Future before it was swiped by someone else in the 6th round. What could I possibly have been thinking? Sure, my first two picks make sense, but after that I skipped a top ten favorite since childhood in favor of some novelty picks? Even if I was trying to "appeal to the voters" with some popcorn blockbusters, Back to the Future is exactly that. So, what's the deal past me? I ... got nothing.

2: I should have never lost to Brick in the playoffs. His list was trash.

Moving on.

I've had a rather tumultuous relationship with my next pick. When it was first released, I refused to watch it, thinking it was little more than machismo frat/jock fightporn. After a friend finally convinced me to try it with the promise of a 'twist ending,' I'd swung around the other way thinking it the greatest narrative put to celluloid, spending my first year in college preaching its gospel unironically.

I then soured on it again, probably as a backlash to its growing popularity, especially within the groups I had initially labeled as its target audience, then distanced myself from it calling it exploitative, pseudo-philosophical, self-important and aggrandizing, overrated white male rage doctrine, and I hadn't actually seen it in years.

But the time away allowed me to approach it with fresh eyes and now I'm seeing it as something of a fairly clever satire of all the negative labels I'd spewed upon it earlier.

Or maybe not. What's truly exceptional about this film is that its subtle and sublime versatility hold up to so many interpretations. They are all simultaneously true and untrue at the same time. It is the Schrödinger's Cat of American pop cinema - both shallow and deep depending on who's viewing it and what they mine from its content.

Or maybe it's a Rorschach Test.

Either way, it's my second pick.

F is for ...



Fight Club (1999)

I wanted a smaller graphic, but it seems everything about this movie has to be oversized and in your face. Anyway ...

One of the more interesting interpretations I've read about this movie is that its a twisted vision of an adult Calvin and Hobbes.

"Jack" the Narrator is an adult Calvin disillusioned with society and his role in it. Tyler Durden is Hobbes, the imaginary pet tiger who philopshizes his nihilistic views of humanity. Marla Singer is a grown-up Susie Derkins for whom Calvin can't realize his seething hatred is actually repressed attraction. Robert "Bob" Paulson is bully Moe whose overt alpha masculinity eventually turns on him in the form of HGH injections inadvertently upping his estrogen levels. Its a fairly hilarious and brilliant read on the symbolism.

But more importantly, it's indicative of why this film has found a second life within my own sphere. The "Capitalism has Emasculated the American Man!" narrative is legitimately only the excruciatingly shallow surface-interpretation of its message, and admittedly where many, myself included, get caught. If you grow out of that particular brand of mouth-foaming, then as a matter of course, you end up having to leave the film behind.

Happily, I would later discover that interpretation is aggressively narrow, and the film works as a criticism of those very beliefs as well, wondering aloud if those who have found themselves unfulfilled only have manufactured violence as an outlet. Given how the story ends, it would seem the film itself is saying a punctuated no.

And regardless, even if the message of the movie is ultimately irrelevant, as I'm sure it is to most simply looking for a bit of escapism, it is really rather special as that too. The dialogue is among the best in film, with quotable (if raunchy) lines throughout. I'd put it a single tier lower than Casablanca in that department. The Easter eggs of Tyler popping up before he's introduced are still fun long after the "twist" has been revealed. Philosophy aside, when it comes right down to it, Fight Club is entertaining. Just as fun in a "don't think about it and eat popcorn" kind of way as any other blockbuster would be.

I'm glad I've rediscovered it.
I think Fight Club is still one of the most misunderstood films of the past 30 years. It was dismissed upon it's initial release as a childish ode to violence and lost money in it's initial theatrical run because the studio didn't know how to promote it and the critics didn't know how to define it. While it ultimately did find a large audience as a home video release, the fervor with which it's devotees (myself included) preach it's brilliance has made it difficult for anyone who hasn't already been initiated to judge it objectively.

If a movie can simultaneously be cited in arguments for the liberation of the "oppressed" white male in modern society and also for why that whole movement is reductive and ultimately self-destructive then that's a clue there's a lot more going on beneath the surface than just one didactic argument. I think what the film's authors are interested in is exploring why so many people in our society are short-circuiting and acting out in violent ways. And yeah there are no easy answers given here but would you trust the film if it wrapped up with one? Compounding the problem is that it's visual style is very of it's time with the in-your-face jump cuts, whip pans, hidden frames, and self-aware narrator who breaks the fourth wall throughout. That puts it in the very ironic position of being too far ahead of it's time on a thematic level to connect with an older audience in 1999 and too stylistically anachronistic to connect with a younger audience in 2020.

If I could make an argument on it's behalf as an important cultural document though I would start by saying that it should be very clear from the first 5 minutes that this is intended as a parody. It goes to a lot of dark places but it's goal is never to celebrate the violence and anarchy espoused by the charismatic Tyler Durden character but to put our society under a microscope and really turn it inside out. Why do we keep trying to find happiness by buying things long after we realize that it doesn't work? Why do so many people spend the majority of their lives toiling away in jobs that they hate? Why do so many personal relationships fall victim to our fears and insecurities which we cling to even as they pull us further and further apart? In a world that has increasingly rejected us as individuals and told us that our primary value to society is as consumers, how can we walk this back and find meaning and purpose again?

The issues the protagonist is struggling with have only become more relevant over the last 20 years. It's a movie abut self-liberation -- of rescuing yourself from the mental trap of allowing your own enculturation to slowly destroy you. What drives the Jack character to the insanely bonkers idea of blowing up his own life (literally and figuratively) is the realization that being the nice guy who does what he's told and brushes everything off with self-effacing sarcasm has led him nowhere in his life. He's looking for the courage to pursue a life of his own choosing and the whole existential rabbit hole that he descends down into is the result of his desire for freedom crashing up against 30+ years of mental reinforcement telling him that the happiness he seeks is just one promotion, one new car, one designer coffee table away. Even when he finds a love interest who is in many ways his own mirror image his first reaction is to reject her as repulsive because that's how he views himself. When you look back on the movie, almost all of it takes place inside his own head. That's where the real battle is being fought and it's life and death in the clearest possible way -- he's either going to go on living as if he were dead or he's going to have to rewire his brain until he can be truly alive for possibly the first time in his life.

If I were to find one fault in Fight Club it would be that the point of view of both the novel and the film are very male-centric. I think it's fair to ask though whether dulling the edges of this very personal coming-of-middle-age story by trying to graft in universal appeal that doesn't really belong there would have undercut the effectiveness of its message. Based on the rules of the draft I can't mention it by name but there's a movie that came out in 2003 which I've always considered to be a female-centric companion piece which fills in a lot of the areas that Fight Club leaves out (for the very obvious reason that they just wouldn't have occurred to a male author). And it's okay if a movie comes from a specific point of view, in many ways I think it's even preferable. You can make up in depth what your story lacks in breadth.
 
#94
With my second pick in the Shelter in Place Alphabet Movie Draft, I will make use of the letter T to select:

The Thing (1982):



Director: John Carpenter
Dir. of Photography: Dean Cundey
Writer: Bill Lancaster
Score: Ennio Morricone
Cast: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David
Genre(s): Science fiction, horror, mystery
Runtime: 1 hour, 49 minutes

IMDb Entry: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084787/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

In the previous KF.com movie draft, I missed out on Alien, The Terminator, Blade Runner, and The Thing. All four of them! It was heartwrenching. To my delight, I managed to snag Blade Runner this time around, but Alien and The Terminator went off the board very quickly thereafter. I will not allow The Thing to slip past me.

Oddly enough, Ridley Scott's Blade Runner and John Carpenter's The Thing opened in theaters on the same exact day: June 25, 1982. Unfortunately, a couple of weeks prior to that, Steven Spielberg had unleashed the feel-good blockbuster of the summer, and these two strange, esoteric films were sacrificed on the altar of its continued box office dominance. Like Blade Runner, Carpenter's The Thing was a commercial failure. In retrospect, you have to wonder what the f*** the studios were thinking. If ever there were two movies that should have been released in the latter half of the calendar, it's the slow, hypnotic Blade Runner and the spare, paranoia-filled The Thing. Audiences are more primed for strangeness, for contemplation, for terror as the weather cools, as the days get shorter, as family vacations are long in the rearview.

But in the heat of summer, who the hell wants to spend time in the dank, neon-lit, rain-soaked streets of future Los Angeles or the empty, freezing, snow-shocked tundra of Antarctica? Audiences demand something more appropriate to the energetic spirit of the season. And that's absolutely their right. Even I don't have any great desire to see dark existential films in the theater in the middle of July. So The Thing fell victim to poor scheduling. Moviegoers wouldn't give it a chance. But, as with Blade Runner, The Thing would go on to achieve cult status. It is now regarded as one of the all-time great horror films, alongside others in Carpenter's filmography, as well as Ridley Scott's Alien, which shares a bit of the same DNA in the realm of cosmic terror.

What makes The Thing so brilliant, especially on a rewatch, is realizing that the vast majority of the film is not particularly violent. John Carpenter is a master of building tension, of seeding suspicion in the viewer's mind that will pay off in fantastically bloody ways. He directs in such a spare, patient, unhurried fashion and doesn't feel the need to jostle the viewer constantly with jump scares and sensory overload. Carpenter was rarely given much in the way of budgets to work with, so he often did more with less. As with a lot of great creative endeavors, necessity breeds invention. James Cameron's The Terminator is another great example of this, and like that film and its director, Carpenter relies on the audience's existing knowledge of how horror films and thrillers are designed to work, then exploits that knowledge to dastardly effect in The Thing. When the Alaskan Malamute first arrives at the research camp early in the film, only to stare blankly at the characters we'll come to identify with, the audience expects it to portend some horrific occurrence just around the corner, and then....

....nothing happens. The dog stares. A scene passes. We see the dog again. It stares. A scene passes. Ennio Morricone's masterful score is wielded in service to the film's rising paranoia... but the release doesn't come. Another scene passes. And maybe even another. Then... JESUS CHRIST! The dog is sprouting spaghetti string tentacles!! And another head! Or... that guy's chest just became a gaping maw... WITH TEETH!! And his head just detached from his body!! And now it's growing... spider legs?! WHAT THE ACTUAL F***!!

Carpenter recognizes that the visceral brutality of such scenes must function as a contrast to the banality of life at the research station. We see Macready playing chess on a computer. We watch Blair busy himself with some test. We see Nauls or Palmer or Windows playing pool or drinking beers and shooting the sh*t. Then, when the titular creature is outed in a scene, extraordinary violence erupts. It comes suddenly, after the viewer has been lulled by the sheer boredom on the faces of the film's characters. As for the violence of the effects themselves, the practical application and puppetry on display may seem quaint to modern viewers, but my goodness, I find them so raw and palpable and marvelously grotesque. It makes the frightening parts of the film feel real. It's not weightless 1's and 0's on a screen. These are tangible objects that have been given terrifying life by the production design.

I will say that The Thing doesn't crackle with quite the same kind of vibrancy amongst its cast that you find in Ridley Scott's Alien. In that film, you get a very strong sense of who each member of the crew is. They are well-differentiated from one another. We know their jobs. We know how they feel about those jobs, and how they feel about the company they work for. We discover how they relate to one another, and we come to like spending time in their presence, which makes it all the more painful as each is slowly executed by the alien intruder on their ship. The Thing doesn't quite revel in that same camaraderie. The audience isn't given much of a chance to truly care about any of the film's characters. We root for Macready because he's played by Kurt Russell, and who doesn't love Kurt Russell?

But in the end, that structural weakness proves a strength within the themes of the film. These characters were already on edge, already on each other's nerves, long before the thing arrived. The fact that they need space from each other, and don't even seem to like each other, creates opportunity for their paranoia to grow, as they wonder who they can trust. Ultimately, the answer is no one. That nihilism was surely a factor in audiences staying away from The Thing upon its release, but as Americans have continued to find greater divisions between us as the decades have passed, The Thing has taken on greater significance. In the Time of Coronavirus, especially, when we must isolate and alienate ourselves away from each other, I'd argue that this film is as relevant and vital as it's ever been.





















NOTE: I stayed away from NSFW stills out of deference to the squeamish and those who are not big fans of horror.
 
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#96
With my second pick in the Shelter in Place Alphabet Movie Draft, I will make use of the letter T to select:

The Thing (1982):



Director: John Carpenter
Dir. of Photography: Dean Cundey
Writer: Bill Lancaster
Score: Ennio Morricone
Cast: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David
Genre(s): Science fiction, horror, mystery
Runtime: 1 hour, 49 minutes

IMDb Entry: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084787/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

In the previous KF.com movie draft, I missed out on Alien, The Terminator, Blade Runner, and The Thing. All four of them! It was heartwrenching. To my delight, I managed to snag Blade Runner this time around, but Alien and The Terminator went off the board very quickly thereafter. I will not allow The Thing to slip past me.

Oddly enough, Ridley Scott's Blade Runner and John Carpenter's The Thing opened in theaters on the same exact day: June 25, 1982. Unfortunately, a couple of weeks prior to that, Steven Spielberg had unleashed the feel-good blockbuster of the summer, and these two strange, esoteric films were sacrificed on the altar of its continued box office dominance. Like Blade Runner, Carpenter's The Thing was a commercial failure. In retrospect, you have to wonder what the f*** the studios were thinking. If ever there were two movies that should have been released in the latter half of the calendar, it's the slow, hypnotic Blade Runner and the spare, paranoia-filled The Thing. Audiences are more primed for strangeness, for contemplation, for terror as the weather cools, as the days get shorter, as family vacations are long in the rearview.

But in the heat of summer, who the hell wants to spend time in the dank, neon-lit, rain-soaked streets of future Los Angeles or the empty, freezing, snow-shocked tundra of Antarctica? Audiences demand something more appropriate to the energetic spirit of the season. And that's absolutely their right. Even I don't have any great desire to see dark existential films in the theater in the middle of July. So The Thing fell victim to poor scheduling. Moviegoers wouldn't give it a chance. But, as with Blade Runner, The Thing would go on to achieve cult status. It is now regarded as one of the all-time great horror films, alongside others in Carpenter's filmography, as well as Ridley Scott's Alien, which shares a bit of the same DNA in the realm of cosmic terror.

What makes The Thing so brilliant, especially on a rewatch, is realizing that the vast majority of the film is not particularly violent. John Carpenter is a master of building tension, of seeding suspicion in the viewer's mind that will pay off in fantastically bloody ways. He directs in such a spare, patient, unhurried fashion and doesn't feel the need to jostle the viewer constantly with jump scares and sensory overload. Carpenter was rarely given much in the way of budgets to work with, so he often did more with less. As with a lot of great creative endeavors, necessity breeds invention. James Cameron's The Terminator is another great example of this, and like that film and its director, Carpenter relies on the audience's existing knowledge of how horror films and thrillers are designed to work, then exploits that knowledge to dastardly effect in The Thing. When the Alaskan Malamute first arrives at the research camp early in the film, only to stare blankly at the characters we'll come to identify with, the audience expects it to portend some horrific occurrence just around the corner, and then....

....nothing happens. The dog stares. A scene passes. We see the dog again. It stares. A scene passes. Ennio Morricone's masterful score is wielded in service to the film's rising paranoia... but the release doesn't come. Another scene passes. And maybe even another. Then... JESUS CHRIST! The dog is sprouting spaghetti string tentacles!! And another head! Or... that guy's chest just became a gaping maw... WITH TEETH!! And his head just detached from his body!! And now it's growing... spider legs?! WHAT THE ACTUAL F***!!

Carpenter recognizes that the visceral brutality of such scenes must function as a contrast to the banality of life at the research station. We see Macready playing chess on a computer. We watch Blair busy himself with some test. We see Nauls or Palmer or Windows playing pool or drinking beers and shooting the sh*t. Then, when the titular creature is outed in a scene, extraordinary violence erupts. It comes suddenly, after the viewer has been lulled by the sheer boredom on the faces of the film's characters. As for the violence of the effects themselves, the practical application and puppetry on display may seem quaint to modern viewers, but my goodness, I find them so raw and palpable and marvelously grotesque. It makes the frightening parts of the film feel real. It's not weightless 1's and 0's on a screen. These are tangible objects that have been given terrifying life by the production design.

I will say that The Thing doesn't crackle with quite the same kind of vibrancy amongst its cast that you find in, say, Ridley Scott's Alien. In that film, you get a very strong sense of who each member of the crew is. They are well-differentiated from one another. We know their jobs. We know how they feel about those jobs, and how they feel about the company they work for. We discover how they relate to one another, and we come to like spending time in their presence, which makes it all the more painful as each is slowly executed by the alien intruder on their ship. The Thing doesn't quite revel in that same camaraderie. The audience isn't given much of a chance to truly care about any of the film's characters. We root for Macready because he's played by Kurt Russell, and who doesn't love Kurt Russell?

But in the end, that structural weakness proves a strength within the themes of the film. These characters were already on edge, already on each other's nerves, long before the thing arrived. The fact that they need space from each other, and don't even seem to like each other creates opportunity for their paranoia to grow, as they wonder who they can trust. Ultimately, the answer is no one. That nihilism was surely a factor in audiences staying away from The Thing upon its release, but as Americans have continued to find greater divisions between us as the decades have passed, The Thing has taken on greater significance. In the Time of Coronavirus, when we must isolate and alienate ourselves away from each other, this film is as relevant and vital as it's ever been.
As I said, I’m not a fan of horror. But, I finally caught The Thing after years of it being recommended to me, and I gotta say, solid flick. Aside from the body horror, it works well as a who-dunnit, Cold War paranoia mystery thriller.
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
#98
Screw it - it is probably one of my top 5 movies so I'm taking it again this time. Heck, I'm copying and pasting the description, too. This movie goes with me.

"A" is for: Aliens (1986)



https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090605/

A James Cameron-directed masterpiece of sci-fi action/suspense, this has been a go-to movie of mine since I bought it on VHS MANY moons ago. And not the theatrical version, mind you, but the Special Edition with an extra 17 minutes (IIRC, it was a bootleg of the laserdisc with the extra footage - no VHS had the extra footage at the time). The added scenes with the sentry guns alone is worth the Special Edition.

I have typically enjoyed movies with strong female leads - but women that are not trying to be men, but just trying to be the best versions of themselves. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver at her finest) shows her maternal instinct for Newt, the little girl they find on the alien planet, both in tenderly caring for her right after they find her and also in defending her from the aliens as the movie pushes towards the climactic final battle with the Alien queen. The first movie (Alien) was slow to build, with much more of a horror/suspense vibe - a masterpiece in it's own right. That's not really my thing though, and the reason I think that by far this is the best of the series. I like action more than horror, and this film delivers. With a tagline of "This Time it's War" - you know this one is right up my alley.

After escaping from her encounter in Alien (sorry, spoiler alert), she volunteers to return with a crew of space marines to wipe out the Alien infestation on a planet being terraformed by humans for colonization. The cast is great, with Weaver leading the way and Michael Biehn, Paul Riser, Lance Henriksen, and personal favorite Bill Paxton ("Game over, man, game over!") rounding out the most well known names. As can be expected, things don't go as planned and with some corporate backstabbing mucking things up along the way, it's up to Ellen to save Newt and get back home. If you haven't seen this one, do so. Now.

From wiki:

It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including a Best Actress nomination for Sigourney Weaver, winning both Sound Effects Editing and Visual Effects. It won eight Saturn Awards (Best Science Fiction Film, Best Actress for Weaver, Best Supporting Actor for Paxton, Best Supporting Actress for Goldstein, and Best Direction and Best Writing for Cameron), and a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. Empire magazine voted it the 'Greatest Film Sequel Of All Time'.
The film holds a 98% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 65 reviews, and an average rating of 9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "While Alien was a marvel of slow-building, atmospheric tension, Aliens packs a much more visceral punch, and features a typically strong performance from Sigourney Weaver." It also holds a score of 86 out of 100 based on 10 critics on Metacritic, indicating "universal acclaim". Aliens was also featured in Empire Magazine's 500 Greatest films of All Time poll at #30 in 2008, in Empire's 301 Greatest Films of All Time poll at #19 in 2014 and in Empire's recent 100 Greatest films of All Time poll at #15.
Ripley: Just tell me one thing, Burke. You're going out there to destroy them, right? Not to study. Not to bring back. But to wipe them out.
Burke: That's the plan. You have my word on it.
Ripley: All right, I'm in.

Private Hudson: Hey Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?
Private Vasquez: No. Have you?

Private Hudson: Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen! Found 'em.

Ripley: You know, Burke, I don't know which species is worse. You don't see them ******* each other over for a goddamn percentage.

Private Hudson: That's it, man. Game over, man. Game over! What the **** are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?
Burke: Maybe we can build a fire, sing a couple of songs, huh? Why don't we try that?
Newt: We'd better get back 'cause it'll be dark soon and they mostly come at night. Mostly.

Newt: My mommy always said there were no monsters - no real ones - but there are.
Ripley: Yes, there are, aren't there?
Newt: Why do they tell little kids that?
Ripley: Most of the time it's true.

Ripley: I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
Burke: Hold on, hold on just a second. This installation has a substantial dollar value attached to it.
Ripley: They can *bill* me.

Ripley: These people are here to protect you. They're soldiers.
Newt: It won't make any difference.

 
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#99
I think Fight Club is still one of the most misunderstood films of the past 30 years. It was dismissed upon it's initial release as a childish ode to violence and lost money in it's initial theatrical run because the studio didn't know how to promote it and the critics didn't know how to define it. While it ultimately did find a large audience as a home video release, the fervor with which it's devotees (myself included) preach it's brilliance has made it difficult for anyone who hasn't already been initiated to judge it objectively.

If a movie can simultaneously be cited in arguments for the liberation of the "oppressed" white male in modern society and also for why that whole movement is reductive and ultimately self-destructive then that's a clue there's a lot more going on beneath the surface than just one didactic argument. I think what the film's authors are interested in is exploring why so many people in our society are short-circuiting and acting out in violent ways. And yeah there are no easy answers given here but would you trust the film if it wrapped up with one? Compounding the problem is that it's visual style is very of it's time with the in-your-face jump cuts, whip pans, hidden frames, and self-aware narrator who breaks the fourth wall throughout. That puts it in the very ironic position of being too far ahead of it's time on a thematic level to connect with an older audience in 1999 and too stylistically anachronistic to connect with a younger audience in 2020.

If I could make an argument on it's behalf as an important cultural document though I would start by saying that it should be very clear from the first 5 minutes that this is intended as a parody. It goes to a lot of dark places but it's goal is never to celebrate the violence and anarchy espoused by the charismatic Tyler Durden character but to put our society under a microscope and really turn it inside out. Why do we keep trying to find happiness by buying things long after we realize that it doesn't work? Why do so many people spend the majority of their lives toiling away in jobs that they hate? Why do so many personal relationships fall victim to our fears and insecurities which we cling to even as they pull us further and further apart? In a world that has increasingly rejected us as individuals and told us that our primary value to society is as consumers, how can we walk this back and find meaning and purpose again?

The issues the protagonist is struggling with have only become more relevant over the last 20 years. It's a movie abut self-liberation -- of rescuing yourself from the mental trap of allowing your own enculturation to slowly destroy you. What drives the Jack character to the insanely bonkers idea of blowing up his own life (literally and figuratively) is the realization that being the nice guy who does what he's told and brushes everything off with self-effacing sarcasm has led him nowhere in his life. He's looking for the courage to pursue a life of his own choosing and the whole existential rabbit hole that he descends down into is the result of his desire for freedom crashing up against 30+ years of mental reinforcement telling him that the happiness he seeks is just one promotion, one new car, one designer coffee table away. Even when he finds a love interest who is in many ways his own mirror image his first reaction is to reject her as repulsive because that's how he views himself. When you look back on the movie, almost all of it takes place inside his own head. That's where the real battle is being fought and it's life and death in the clearest possible way -- he's either going to go on living as if he were dead or he's going to have to rewire his brain until he can be truly alive for possibly the first time in his life.

If I were to find one fault in Fight Club it would be that the point of view of both the novel and the film are very male-centric. I think it's fair to ask though whether dulling the edges of this very personal coming-of-middle-age story by trying to graft in universal appeal that doesn't really belong there would have undercut the effectiveness of its message. Based on the rules of the draft I can't mention it by name but there's a movie that came out in 2003 which I've always considered to be a female-centric companion piece which fills in a lot of the areas that Fight Club leaves out (for the very obvious reason that they just wouldn't have occurred to a male author). And it's okay if a movie comes from a specific point of view, in many ways I think it's even preferable. You can make up in depth what your story lacks in breadth.
I mostly agree with the whole of this interpretation and the several points made, but I’m not so sure the visual style and art direction are entirely anachronistic and “of its time” any more than they’re emblematic of David Fincher.

It’s also interesting how a movie that fit nicely within its own contemporary ennui of middle class American boredom with relative economic stability and cultural stagnation (Watched an expose calling 1999 specifically the year of the soul-crushing “cubical movie”) has been co-opted by modern viewers as a rally cry for and against exactly what it is satirizing, unironically.

If anything is anachronistic, it’s the inaccurate and shallow appeal to the white male rage.

I’m supremely curious what 2003 film you consider the female-perspective counterpart. If you aren’t planning to pick it, message me with the title.

(even if you are, send it to me anyway and I promise not to take it).
 
Screw it - it is probably one of my top 5 movies so I'm taking it again this time. Heck, I'm copying and pasting the description, too. This movie goes with me.

"A" is for: Aliens (1986)



https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090605/

A James Cameron-directed masterpiece of sci-fi action/suspense, this has been a go-to movie of mine since I bought it on VHS MANY moons ago. And not the theatrical version, mind you, but the Special Edition with an extra 17 minutes (IIRC, it was a bootleg of the laserdisc with the extra footage - no VHS had the extra footage at the time). The added scenes with the sentry guns alone is worth the Special Edition.

I have typically enjoyed movies with strong female leads - but women that are not trying to be men, but just trying to be the best versions of themselves. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver at her finest) shows her maternal instinct for Newt, the little girl they find on the alien planet, both in tenderly caring for her right after they find her and also in defending her from the aliens as the movie pushes towards the climactic final battle with the Alien queen. The first movie (Alien) was slow to build, with much more of a horror/suspense vibe - a masterpiece in it's own right. That's not really my thing though, and the reason I think that by far this is the best of the series. I like action more than horror, and this film delivers. With a tagline of "This Time it's War" - you know this one is right up my alley.

After escaping from her encounter in Alien (sorry, spoiler alert), she volunteers to return with a crew of space marines to wipe out the Alien infestation on a planet being terraformed by humans for colonization. The cast is great, with Weaver leading the way and Michael Biehn, Paul Riser, Lance Henriksen, and personal favorite Bill Paxton ("Game over, man, game over!") rounding out the most well known names. As can be expected, things don't go as expected and with some corporate backstabbing mucking things up along the way, it's up to Ellen to save Newt and get back home. If you haven't seen this one, do so. Now.

From wiki:



Ripley: Just tell me one thing, Burke. You're going out there to destroy them, right? Not to study. Not to bring back. But to wipe them out.
Burke: That's the plan. You have my word on it.
Ripley: All right, I'm in.

Private Hudson: Hey Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?
Private Vasquez: No. Have you?

Private Hudson: Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen! Found 'em.

Ripley: You know, Burke, I don't know which species is worse. You don't see them ******* each other over for a goddamn percentage.

Private Hudson: That's it, man. Game over, man. Game over! What the **** are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?
Burke: Maybe we can build a fire, sing a couple of songs, huh? Why don't we try that?
Newt: We'd better get back 'cause it'll be dark soon and they mostly come at night. Mostly.

Newt: My mommy always said there were no monsters - no real ones - but there are.
Ripley: Yes, there are, aren't there?
Newt: Why do they tell little kids that?
Ripley: Most of the time it's true.

Ripley: I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
Burke: Hold on, hold on just a second. This installation has a substantial dollar value attached to it.
Ripley: They can *bill* me.

Ripley: These people are here to protect you. They're soldiers.
Newt: It won't make any difference.



Cameron’s making a killing. Only a matter of time before ...
 
Screw it - it is probably one of my top 5 movies so I'm taking it again this time. Heck, I'm copying and pasting the description, too. This movie goes with me.

"A" is for: Aliens (1986)



https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090605/

A James Cameron-directed masterpiece of sci-fi action/suspense, this has been a go-to movie of mine since I bought it on VHS MANY moons ago. And not the theatrical version, mind you, but the Special Edition with an extra 17 minutes (IIRC, it was a bootleg of the laserdisc with the extra footage - no VHS had the extra footage at the time). The added scenes with the sentry guns alone is worth the Special Edition.

I have typically enjoyed movies with strong female leads - but women that are not trying to be men, but just trying to be the best versions of themselves. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver at her finest) shows her maternal instinct for Newt, the little girl they find on the alien planet, both in tenderly caring for her right after they find her and also in defending her from the aliens as the movie pushes towards the climactic final battle with the Alien queen. The first movie (Alien) was slow to build, with much more of a horror/suspense vibe - a masterpiece in it's own right. That's not really my thing though, and the reason I think that by far this is the best of the series. I like action more than horror, and this film delivers. With a tagline of "This Time it's War" - you know this one is right up my alley.

After escaping from her encounter in Alien (sorry, spoiler alert), she volunteers to return with a crew of space marines to wipe out the Alien infestation on a planet being terraformed by humans for colonization. The cast is great, with Weaver leading the way and Michael Biehn, Paul Riser, Lance Henriksen, and personal favorite Bill Paxton ("Game over, man, game over!") rounding out the most well known names. As can be expected, things don't go as expected and with some corporate backstabbing mucking things up along the way, it's up to Ellen to save Newt and get back home. If you haven't seen this one, do so. Now.

From wiki:



Ripley: Just tell me one thing, Burke. You're going out there to destroy them, right? Not to study. Not to bring back. But to wipe them out.
Burke: That's the plan. You have my word on it.
Ripley: All right, I'm in.

Private Hudson: Hey Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?
Private Vasquez: No. Have you?

Private Hudson: Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen! Found 'em.

Ripley: You know, Burke, I don't know which species is worse. You don't see them ******* each other over for a goddamn percentage.

Private Hudson: That's it, man. Game over, man. Game over! What the **** are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?
Burke: Maybe we can build a fire, sing a couple of songs, huh? Why don't we try that?
Newt: We'd better get back 'cause it'll be dark soon and they mostly come at night. Mostly.

Newt: My mommy always said there were no monsters - no real ones - but there are.
Ripley: Yes, there are, aren't there?
Newt: Why do they tell little kids that?
Ripley: Most of the time it's true.

Ripley: I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
Burke: Hold on, hold on just a second. This installation has a substantial dollar value attached to it.
Ripley: They can *bill* me.

Ripley: These people are here to protect you. They're soldiers.
Newt: It won't make any difference.

This is a good movie, and quite strong, as far as sequels go. But it's irksome to me that the studio flat-out refused to ask Ridley Scott back to direct it. Alien was such a stunning work of art direction and production design, a love letter in so many ways to Stanley Kubrick's singular science fiction masterpiece (of which Ridley Scott is an obvious devotee) that was boldly twisted into a terrifying new shape with H.R. Giger's perverse guidance.

James Cameron made his sequel bigger and louder, but it wasn't as distinct and special as that first film. Don't get me wrong. I really do love and appreciate this movie. Sigourney Weaver was just phenomenal, as was the entire cast. Cameron found a way to make that ensemble just crackle to life on screen. The action was extremely well-directed. The set design, costuming, and practical effects were top-notch.

But the alien was so truly alien in that first film. It was so unknowable. It wasn't like anything that had been put on screen before. It wasn't a little green man. It didn't ask to be taken to their leader. It had no impulse to negotiate, no desire to compromise. It was a wild and terrifying animal that resembled nothing from our own natural world, and I think Cameron robbed the alien of its horrifying perversity in the sequel.

I've spoiler-tagged the below out of a sense of caution to those who might be put off by a frank discussion of the alien's motivations:

Ridley Scott's producing partner Ivor Powell famously said of the alien, "It could just as easily f*** you before it killed you, which made it all the more disconcerting." I think that's an apt description of the threat the alien posed. It was so f***ing weird!

The unorthodox manner in which it reproduces by, essentially, raping its victim, the weird, smooth, phallic shape of both the alien's carapace and the proboscis-like second set of teeth that propelled from the alien's jaws, the persistent drool leaking from its mouth... all of these details contributed to the psychosexual terror that the alien invoked in addition to the mortal danger that its ferocity represented. Somehow, Ridley Scott made a smash hit of a horror film in which an alien creature rapes and impregnates a male human!

And while James Cameron preserved some of these elements of the alien's design, it was rendered into something much less unknowable, in my opinion. The smooth, phallic carapace was traded for something more chitinous and insect-like. The aliens in Aliens were certainly still scary, but they seemed more like a swarm of giant bugs than the terrifying, elemental, stalker-rapist of the first film.

And granted, if horror isn't "your thing," there is much to prefer about Aliens over its predecessor. But I can't help but be a bit resentful that something so unique, patient, and foreboding was blown up into a blockbuster action flick with lots of quippy dialogue and explosions.
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
This is a good movie, and quite strong, as far as sequels go. But it's irksome to me that the studio flat-out refused to ask Ridley Scott back to direct it. Alien was such a stunning work of art direction and production design, a love letter in so many ways to Stanley Kubrick's singular science fiction masterpiece (of which Ridley Scott is an obvious devotee) that was boldly twisted into a terrifying new shape with H.R. Giger's perverse guidance.

James Cameron made his sequel bigger and louder, but it wasn't as distinct and special as that first film. Don't get me wrong. I really do love and appreciate this movie. Sigourney Weaver was just phenomenal, as was the entire cast. Cameron found a way to make that ensemble just crackle to life on screen. The action was extremely well-directed. The set design, costuming, and practical effects were top-notch.

But the alien was so truly alien in that first film. It was so unknowable. It wasn't like anything that had been put on screen before. It wasn't a little green man. It didn't ask to be taken to their leader. It had no impulse to negotiate, no desire to compromise. It was a wild and terrifying animal that resembled nothing from our own natural world, and I think Cameron robbed the alien of its horrifying perversity in the sequel.

I've spoiler-tagged the below out of a sense of caution to those who might be put off by a frank discussion of the alien's motivations:

And granted, if horror isn't "your thing," there is much to prefer about Aliens over its predecessor. But I can't help but be a bit resentful that something so unique, patient, and foreboding was blown up into a blockbuster action flick with lots of quippy dialogue and explosions.
I think in many ways you are correct, but I wanted to stress/discuss the highlighted bits.

Horror isn't my thing. Sci-fi action with horror elements can be great, such as in this movie. For that reason alone I enjoy this one much more than Alien. Alien was one of the few horror movies I really like, and none of them make it into my short list of movies I would want to watch repeatedly.

Cameron has a knack for getting the most out of a cast and making you care about the characters. I feel that he really hits home with this movie in that aspect as well. The cast is fantastic in this.

I assume that just about everyone who has seen Aliens also saw Alien. Having seen it all before in Alien it naturally loses some of the "shock" value the second time around; the cat was "out of the bag" as far as the alien look, feel, and behavior. While he eliminated some of the "suspense" of Alien, he turned it into a fantastic sci-fi action/squad-based war movie instead (which I wholeheartedly enjoy). This movie instead cranks up the adrenaline by replacing some of that suspense with combat against a horde of the aliens. However, there were still many scenes where I think he does capture the aliens being "aliens" and their terrifying nature, such as when Ripley and Newt are locked in the room with a facehugger, when they track down the terraformers, etc.

For these reasons, I enjoy the James Cameron film more than the Ridley Scott film in this series. Alien is an awesome classic in its own right, but Aliens is right in my wheelhouse as a film I love to watch over and over.
 
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VF21

#KingsFansForever
Staff member
1590120454509.png

Young Frankenstein - 1974


https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072431/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

So many memorable performances in this highly under-rated comedy IMHO. Mel Brooks outdid himself, and Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman and Terri Garr led a cast that obviously had a fantastic time making the flick. This is another film I can always find time to watch.
 

Capt. Factorial

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Staff member
I provided links in my post instead of embedding videos, but what's a movie draft without videos?
Not gonna speak for everybody, but I think that links are pretty bandwidth-friendly, so it shouldn't be a problem.

BTW, I gather you're of a fairly tender age. Your selection of Holy Grail clearly means you have been raised properly.
 

Capt. Factorial

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Staff member

Capt. Factorial

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Staff member
This is a good movie, and quite strong, as far as sequels go. But it's irksome to me that the studio flat-out refused to ask Ridley Scott back to direct it. Alien was such a stunning work of art direction and production design, a love letter in so many ways to Stanley Kubrick's singular science fiction masterpiece (of which Ridley Scott is an obvious devotee) that was boldly twisted into a terrifying new shape with H.R. Giger's perverse guidance.
This is all correct. But at the same time I think it's also correct to say that Ridley Scott is batting .333 in the Alien franchise (4-4 in the first game, followed by 8 strikeouts in the next two games), while James Cameron is batting about .750 (only one game, but 3-4).
 
John Hammond: All major theme parks have delays. When they opened Disneyland in 1956, nothing worked!

Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, but, John, if The Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists.

With my 2nd pick in the Alphabet Movie Draft I select Jurassic Park (1993)


1590124933494.jpg

A visual masterpiece that has stood the test of time. 27 years later and the magic of hearing John Hammond state “Welcome to Jurassic Park” as the crescendo of John Williams score builds and the camera pans out to a scene of dinosaurs walking through a tropical paradise still gives me goosebumps. Vintage Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm: “Life, uh, finds away”
 
This is all correct. But at the same time I think it's also correct to say that Ridley Scott is batting .333 in the Alien franchise (4-4 in the first game, followed by 8 strikeouts in the next two games), while James Cameron is batting about .750 (only one game, but 3-4).
I'm comin' in with the extremely hot take here... but I actually think that Ridley Scott's recent returns to the Alien franchise are much more engaging both visually and thematically than Cameron's Aliens. I'll qualify that by saying I don't necessarily think they're better films. They are deeply interesting failures, which is pretty much the way to my heart as a moviegoer.
 
The Big Lebowski (1998)

This is a wonderful character ensemble with a winding kidnapping mystery linking bowlers to billionaires. Best of the bunch is John Goodman's role as Walter Sobchak, a Vietnam Veteran trying to make sense of mundane southern California life. John Turturro is hilarious in a small cameo as "The Jesus", a rival bowler to the titular character and his team. The plot is best summed up by a warning from Mark Twain regarding Huckleberry Finn, "Persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot."

The dialogue is quick, witty, a bit dirty, and holds entertainment value even after copious viewings. If you don't like it, "well, that's just like your opinion man."






Quotes
Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski: Look, let me explain something to you. I'm not Mr. Lebowski. You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm the Dude. So that's what you call me. That, or His Dudeness … Duder … or El Duderino, if, you know, you're not into the whole brevity thing.

Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski: Careful, man, there's a beverage here!

Walter Sobchak: Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.

Walter Sobchak: You know, Dude, I myself dabbled in pacifism once. Not in 'Nam of course.
Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski": And, you know, he's got emotional problems, man.
Walter Sobchak: You mean … beyond pacifism?

Donny: They were Nazis, Dude?
Walter Sobchak: Oh, come on, Donny, they were threatening castration! Are we gonna split hairs here? Am I wrong?

Link #1
Link #2

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118715/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
 
Don’t you...forget about John Hughes.

B is for The Breakfast Club

7A97AAF2-B9D4-4DD8-BB60-41DF5B9BC2F3.jpeg

IMDB

Since I’m lazy, I’m just going to start stealing random blurbs from the net. “The Breakfast Club is a warm, insightful, and very funny look into the inner lives of teenagers.“

I wish I had been a teen when this movie was released, but it still felt relevant and impactful when my turn came around, and I bet it still would for kids today. It’s a shame there’s no fist pump emoji on this thing. ✊
 
Staying in alphabetical order, I'm going with one of my favorite movies, and a true story. A Beautiful Mind, starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly. It was directed by Ron Howard and won best picture of the year. It's the incredible story of a brilliant man's journey through a world populated by individuals that aren't really there, but are real to him. Terrific performance by Russell Crowe.

 
I see a few of you put up superhero flicks before this one... I find that strange personally because I considered this one the best superhero comic book adaptation ever made. But I digress...

The Dark Knight (2008)


Director:
Christopher Nolan
Writers:
Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Stars:
Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0468569/


What else can be said about this film's brilliance that has not yet been said? “The Dark Knight” goes darker and deeper than any Hollywood movie of its comic-book kind yet authentically and faithfully tell the story of its protagonist from its original comic book concept. The Caped Crusader has always been defined by his rogue gallery and the all-star cast in this film put in serious work, including Heath Ledger's breath-taking performance that was so monumental, the Academy had no choice but to posthumously acknowledged and celebrated it and to completely altered its own nomination method to make more rooms for future awards due to its omission of this film. It puts superhero film on the map (alongside the Marvel's rendition of their billionaire metal vigilante, which came out the same year), changed the audience's perception of superhero films being corny cheesy Hollywood popcorn flicks, and paved the way for the success of Marvel Cinematic Universe that is so beloved today.

Sadly, DC/Warner Bros decided to chase the fast money and tried to mimic Marvel instead of carving their own way, and we are seeing the fruits they planted now with all these horrible DC superhero films. But that's neither here nor there so I digress...
 
I see a few of you put up superhero flicks before this one... I find that strange personally because I considered this one the best superhero comic book adaptation ever made. But I digress...

The Dark Knight (2008)


Director:
Christopher Nolan
Writers:
Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Stars:
Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0468569/


What else can be said about this film's brilliance that has not yet been said? “The Dark Knight” goes darker and deeper than any Hollywood movie of its comic-book kind yet authentically and faithfully tell the story of its protagonist from its original comic book concept. The Caped Crusader has always been defined by his rogue gallery and the all-star cast in this film put in serious work, including Heath Ledger's breath-taking performance that was so monumental, the Academy had no choice but to posthumously acknowledged and celebrated it and to completely altered its own nomination method to make more rooms for future awards due to its omission of this film. It puts superhero film on the map (alongside the Marvel's rendition of their billionaire metal vigilante, which came out the same year), changed the audience's perception of superhero films being corny cheesy Hollywood popcorn flicks, and paved the way for the success of Marvel Cinematic Universe that is so beloved today.

Sadly, DC/Warner Bros decided to chase the fast money and tried to mimic Marvel instead of carving their own way, and we are seeing the fruits they planted now with all these horrible DC superhero films. But that's neither here nor there so I digress...
I regret not taking this with my last pick. This will probably be the one I miss the most from my list. Excellent film.
 

Capt. Factorial

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



Ghostbusters (1984)

Directed by Ivan Reitman

Written by Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd

Starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver

Trailer (...like you've never seen it!)

Some of the great quotable movies of all time have already been snapped up in this draft right quick - Casablanca, The Princess Bride, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Big Lebowski...well, if I'm going to shelter in place every once in a while I'm going to need a movie I can mostly recite from beginning to end, and perhaps the best one left is Ghostbusters. The plot's a bit simple, but the comic timing is great, the dialogue is superb, and at the end our heroes are faced with the greatest movie boss of all time: "...It's the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man." Ghostbusters rode a hot streak and could claim to be my favorite movie of all time for probably a good half-decade in my early teens. I'd watch it by myself, I'd watch it with my friends, heck, I think I saw it in the theater at least twice and probably watched that poor, wearing-out videocassette 100 times. And I don't have to worry about wearing out the DVD, so...

Back off, man. I'm a scientist.
 
B = Batman Begins (2005)



Nice pick with the Dark Knight KainLear! Going in alphabetical order means I will probably not be able to choose top choices per letter. This will help fill in the blanks left by Joker and Two Face. I like the villains more than the heroes, and this film tells the change of fear from an obstacle to a weapon. The perfect villain for this idea is scarecrow!

I like the write-up posted to imdb.com:

Finally, after the previous 2 outings of the caped crusader, the Batman franchise is back on track. Having been a big comic collector over the years and a long time fan of the Dark Knight, I was especially disappointed by the previous films. To me, these films lost the essence of what drives Bruce Wayne to do what he does and turned Batman into more of a pop star than misunderstood hero.

Thankfully though, Nolan has gone back to the roots of the character, portraying a confused and angry Bruce Wayne, who ultimately rises to become Gotham's greatest champion. Don't expect to see loads of shots of Batman in this film though. It is the story of Wayne and focuses mainly on his years of training and preparation for becoming Batman. You are almost teased throughout the first half of the movie, waiting to see the excellent Christian Bale in the costume, as it keeps holding back to keep you in anticipation. When Batman does finally turn up on screen, it is well worth the wait. In my opinion, Bale was born for this role and for the first time when watching a Batman film, I enjoyed the scenes of Wayne being Wayne as much as Wayne being Batman.

One of the strongest features of the film, is the way that it manages to suck you in believe that a 'Batman' could be a reality one day. The technology is current, with no use of silly OTT weapons and gadgets, again making the film work by today's standards. Plus, we are not allowed to forget that Batman is still just a man under the costume and there are times when he gets a bit of a kicking and shows that he can be vulnerable too, something we sometimes forget when watching a superhero flick. Gone too, are the silly villains!!! Jack Nicholson was the perfect Joker but from there it went downhill. Thankfully, in this movie the bad guys are actually fairly 'normal' and manage to be menacing at the same time.

Which finally brings me to the cast. I always had high expectations for this film when the cast was announced. Let's face it, what a line up! Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, Katy Holmes, Ken Watanabe and Tom Wilkinson are not to be sniffed at. Even an old favorite of mine makes an appearance: Rutger Hauer! Awesome. Actors of this calibre would never have gotten involved in this project if they didn't have faith in Christoper Nolan's talents and thankfully they took the leap...

For the comic book fans out there, waiting to see this movie, let me assure you that you won't be upset. Imagine the darkness of the 'A Death In The Family' and the 'Year One' story lines. I have never met a fan of Batman who didn't love these books. Well, this is the kind of Batman you can expect from Bale: Dark, brooding and tortured by his past, yet the hero we have come to love. For those of you who are not comic fans, then just look forward to seeing how Batman should be. This film is a credit to Bob Kane's original vision and a testament to all the talented artists and writers who keep the legend of the Dark Knight alive in the comic books today....

Thank you Mr. Nolan and thank you Mr. Bale. In fact thanks to everyone who worked on this film. Batman finally Begins from here....
1590242373911.jpg


Link #1
Link #2

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0372784/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
 
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