TDOS Cabin by the Lake Movie Draft - DRAFT COMPLETED


Staff member
I'm honored, if a little anxious.

Personally shown Pilgrim to a variety of people with mixed results. Common critiques: too weird, too spastic, or too much Michael Cera. Valid, but to me ultimately irrelevant.

Regardless of where you end up landing on the Pilgrim spectrum, glad you gave it a chance because of little old me.
First, I watched it all the way through and paused when I took a break. That's a good thing, since if I find myself getting up and going to the kitchen without pausing the film it's an indication I'm really not that into it. I was somewhat distracted, though, but the resemblance of Michael Cera to Jesse Eisenberg. My mind kept thinking Scott Pilgrim was cooler than Mark Zuckerberg. :p

It's not really my kind of film but I did enjoy watching it. I'm glad I got the opportunity and, for the record, your write-up was right on. It is fun and it is entertaining and the video game-type fight sequences brought up memories of some of my favorite arcade games. :)
With my 9th selection, I choose:

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Good Will Hunting.jpg

IMDB Link:

I miss Robin Williams...What a mad genius wizard. He always personifies a father figure for me, and this film allowed him to finally take home an Academy Award, for Best Supporting Actor, in that role.

For my senior project in high school I decided to review a list of the top 100 films of all time. #1 became the Godfather, #2 was Citizen Kane, and this movie moved me to place it as #3 on my 18 year old self's list. For my presentation I gave a synopsis of my project, the qualifiers for each ranking, and I showed a brief clip of my favorite scene. This was it:

Lambeau: Most days I wish I'd never met you 'cause then I could sleep at night. I didn't have to walk around with the knowledge that there was someone like you out there. I didn't have to watch you throw it all away.

Sean McGuire: Michelangelo? You know a lot about him. Life's work, political aspirations. Him and the pope.Sexual orientation.The whole works, right? I bet you can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling.Seeing that. If I ask you about women, you'll probably give me a syllabus of your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can't tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman... and feel truly happy. You're a tough kid. I ask you about war, you'd probably throw Shakespeare at me, right? "Once more into the breach,dear friends." But you've never been near one. You've never held your best friend's head in your lap... and watch him gasp his last breath lookin' to you for help. If I asked you about love, you'd probably quote me a sonnet, but you've never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes. Feelin' like God put an angel on Earth just for you, who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn't know what it's like to be her angel, to have that love for her be there forever. Through anything.Through cancer. And you wouldn't know about sleepin' sittin' up in a hospital room... for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes... that the terms "visiting hours" don't apply to you. You don't know about real loss, 'cause that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself. I doubt you've ever dared to love anybody that much. You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally... I don't give a crap about all that, because you know what, I can't learn anything from you, I can't read in some ****in' book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I'm fascinated. I'm in. But you don't want to do that do you sport? You're terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.

Sean McGuire: You're not perfect, sport, and let me save you the suspense: this girl you've met, she's not perfect either. But the question is whether or not you're perfect for each other.

Will: Why shouldn't I work for the N.S.A.? That's a tough one, but I'll take a shot. Say I'm working at N.S.A. Somebody puts a code on my desk, something nobody else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I'm real happy with myself, 'cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East. Once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen hundred people I never met, never had no problem with, get killed. Now the politicians are sayin', "Oh, send in the Marines to secure the area" 'cause they don't give a crap. It won't be their kid over there, gettin' shot. Just like it wasn't them when their number got called, 'cause they were pullin' a tour in the National Guard. It'll be some kid from Southie takin' shrapnel in the ass. And he comes back to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, 'cause he'll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile, he realizes the only reason he was over there in the first place was so we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And, of course, the oil companies used the skirmish over there to scare up domestic oil prices. A cute little ancillary benefit for them, but it ain't helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. And they're takin' their sweet time bringin' the oil back, of course, and maybe even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and ****in' play slalom with the icebergs, and it ain't too long 'til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic. So now my buddy's out of work and he can't afford to drive, so he's got to walk to the ****in' job interviews, which sucks 'cause the shrapnel in his ass is givin' him chronic hemorrhoids. And meanwhile he's starvin', 'cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat, the only blue plate special they're servin' is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State. So what did I think? I'm holdin' out for somethin' better. I figure **** it, while I'm at it why not just shoot my buddy, take his job, give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? I could be elected president.

Sean McGuire: Next time we'll talk about Freud, and how he did enough cocaine to kill a small horse.
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Truth be told, I'm rather pleased with my roster to this stage, if I do say so myself. Would have no trouble spending an indeterminate time in a lake cabin with only my picks to entertain me. But I have to admit, there is a glaring issue with diversity.

A war movie, two samurai movies, three comic book movies, a gangster movie, and one of the most successful sci-fi/action comedy summer blockbusters of all time. That's a whole lot of man-child laced testosterone, particularly for a guy who considers Audrey Hepburn his favorite actor ever. (True fact).

I need to mix things up. As such, I'm taking a break from the katanas and comic books and making room for a film about love.

A timeless story of a young, eager, determined officer of the law - as noble as he is sensative - towing a troubled line between his duty, honor and the yearning of a forbidden love destined to shatter our young hero's understanding of the world and his own place in it. A story of star-crossed passion helmed by the steady hand of the most acclaimed female director of our time.


Point Break - 1991

So maybe that set-up was as forced and cheesy as most of Keanu's dialogue in this "XTREME!" early 90s action flick. (100 Percent Pure Adrenaline!) But stick with me a bit, because Point Break may be more affecting and revolutionary than you may realize. At the risk of being hyperbolic, if standard Schwarzenegger/Stallon 80s action flicks were Hair Metal Bands, Point Break was a mini-Smells Like Teen Spirit.

Kathryn Bigelow took a script about bank robbing surfers that had been bouncing around Hollywood for years, and used it to turn the action genre on its head. She cast the anti-80s action hero pretty boy Keanu Reeves as her leading man (in fact making it her lone non-negotiable condition to do the movie). She brought on Swayze's star power to play the Zen-tastic, philosophic, charismatic villain. Then crafted a blockbuster built on the bromance between the two.

There is of course a traditional love interest for Johnny Utah - a hero named for two Hall of Fame QBs - But not the stereotypical buxom beach blonde surfer girl as the script originally called. No it's Lori Petty as Tyler - complete with androgynous name and hair cut - desperately trying to stay relevant by the film's end.

There's the makings of a buddy cop movie to start with Gary Busey as Utah's affably quirky partner - who slowly shifts from competent support character to raving background lunatic. "Utah, get me two!"

But make no mistake, at the true center of Bigelow's film, between the gun fights and surf sets, are Bohdi's piercing blue eyes looking pleadingly from behind the Reagan mask just before Utah, in full sound and fury, fires his gun harmlessly into the air.

Look, there's pleantly of silliness here as an almost parody of the overwrought action dramas of the time. Bodhi picks up a strange pitbull, waits a few seconds holding it, then throws it at Utah during the big chase scene. And again, Busey is certifiably insane. But in the end, the Bodhi/Utah connection is pure magic.

"He's not coming back."

We know Utah. We know.
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I miss Robin Williams...
I couldn't agree more. Robin was the ultimate sad clown. So talented, so extremely funny, yet so depressed.
His gig on how Scots invented golf is still one of the best stand-up gigs I have ever seen.

In case you somehow missed it:

I knew I will pick one of Robin's movies. I simply chose the best one still available when it was my time to pick (always go BPA in the draft :)).


The cake is a lie.
Staff member
The only decade I haven't selected from yet is the 2000's, and I'm taking one of the best epic fantasy films ever made to satisfy that requirement:

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - 2003

Extended Edition, of course. I'm glad that the other two LotR selections left this one for me to grab as a late-round selection. This movie is the grand finale of the series - my only complaints are that the ending takes too long and that we could have used a tad less Gollum/Samwise interaction. ;)

A few details from wiki:

It was the second film in history to earn over $1 billion, making it the second highest-grossing film at the time.

The film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, Best Visual Effects, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Make-up, Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing. At the 76th Academy Awards in 2004, the film won all the categories for which it was nominated and it holds the record for highest Academy Award totals along with Titanic and Ben-Hur. It was the first fantasy film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Lord_of_the_RIngs_Return_of_the_King_original_film_art_2000x.jpg 022-the-lord-of-the-rings-the-return-of-the-king-theredlist.jpg Arwen-and-Aragorn-LLord-of-the-Rings-Return-of-the-King-aragorn-and-arwen-11684043-1600-677.jpg DI-Lord-of-the-Rings-Return-of-the-King-12jpg.jpg LOTR Mtdoom.jpg


Staff member
Good Morning Vietnam - 1987


Adrian Cronauer: "Gooooood morning VIETNAM!!"

Since HndsmCelt took The Fisher King, I didn't have to choose between that film and Good Morning Vietnam. I knew I had to have something from Robin Williams in my cabin, though, and while either one would have worked, this one actually means more to me on a personal level, which is something I've tried to have with every movie I've picked.

Robin Williams is Airman Adrian Cronauer, a DJ sent to Saigon in 1965 to bring some humor to Armed Forces Radio. He is incredibly popular with his listeners with his irreverent humor and rock 'n roll music but can't seem to be GI enough to satisfy some of the brass. The sound track of the film is a window back in time. Every single song revives memories that bring smiles and even some tears.

Cronauer was an actual person and this story is "taken from real life" - well, as taken from real life as you can get when you release Robin Williams to do his thing. One of his best monologues is completely ad libbed and the director (Barry Levinson) was smart enough just to keep the camera going. I read somewhere they had to do a lot of audio filtering because he reduced the entire crew to tears of laughter but Levinson insisted on keeping the entire sequence in the film.

This is Robin Williams at his best. You feel his emotional ties to the soldiers he gets to know. His scenes with his class of Vietnamese citizens wanting to learn English are humorous and heart-warming. You get a peek at the complex issues that faced the soldiers who served "in country" as Cronauer gets to know these people as more than just faces in a room. It's not all comedy; there's the horror of war and the paradox of realizing the good guy just might be the enemy, at least in the mind of the people whose country has been totally torn apart by a war that makes less and less sense with every passing day.

1531282968150.png 1531283032033.png
Adrian Cronauer: "Five months in Vietnam, and my best friend is a V.C. THIS WILL NOT LOOK GOOD ON A RESUMÈ! "

Most of Williams' ad libs are incredibly funny and totally inappropriate for this forum. You'll want to watch it more than once as you'll have to try and catch what you missed while you were laughing.

This film gave Williams his first Academy Award nomination. It shows both his comedic genius and a natural bent for the dramatic that makes it all look too easy. It is a fitting tribute to the genius that was Robin Williams and I'm going to enjoy it time and time again.
With the 10th pick I select Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire (1987)

This film is an international masterpiece. Most directors have a central position, or home that that becomes the default perspective from which their films are all told, more often than not this comes from the culture that they were raised in. This perspective is a home where even the most dispassionate film maker cannot help but create a comfort zone. Despite years producing films in the Hollywood machine much or even most of Wenders work lacks this sense of home or comfort zone so not only are his charters frequently free-floating international beings but their alienation is deeply felt by the audience. Wings of Desire is steeped in this alienation. This film is not set in modern Berlin, rather Wenders sets the film in cold war Berlin a city that is alienated from itself. Angles watch over the daily lives of the humans of the city for ever aloof and unable to interact with the world they have no place in. Cinematographer Henri Aelkan draws from the study of light and its use in early German expressionism; the world as seen by these angles is black and white enhancing their de-sensualized alienated world view.

Damiel and angle brilliantly played by Bruno Ganz falls in love with a trapeze artist in a traveling carnival (Solveig Dommartin). Persuaded by American Actor Peter Falk playing himself as fallen angel, Damiel choose to fall to earth and embrace the symbolism of freedom and risk seen in Marion the trapeze artist.
Upon his fall the world is now seen in Eastman color as Damiel begins to explore the sensual world. This film is a celebration of the lived life. The joy of testing fresh strawberries, and breathing air, feeling the sun on your face and falling in love. This film moves the viewer emotionally and demands the viewer consider big ideas. This is a smart film, a beautiful film and most importantly an honest film. We know how a life in flesh must end but what is the greater sin an endless life devoid of love or an indulgence that cannot last?
Wenders loads the sound track with music by Nick Cave, Lauri Anderson, Tuxedomoon and more. This international soundtrack echoes the 5 languages spoken in the film. This is a desperate plea for us to tear down our walls and reach out to each other so that we may escape our isolation if only for a short while. Invest some time in this film and it will pay you back as you ponder it over and over in the following days.
As someone who also misses Robin Williams, and as a total 90’s kid, I have to go with my all-time favorite comedy of his:

Mrs. Doubtfire - 1993


This is just a hilarious film, and as a parent of three I am actually looking forward to re-watching it through a new lense. The scene where Robin William’s character is pretending to be inquiring nannies to Sally Field (who is a total fox BTW) is priceless, and easily one of the funniest things I have ever witnessed.

RIP Robin, you were a treasure. Thank you for the laughs and brilliant performances. Carpe Diem my friend.

PM sent to hrd...(VF can you get me an imdb link and a movie poster please?)
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Mr. S£im Citrus

Doryphore of
Staff member
Picking "in absentia" on behalf of @hrdboild:

With the 7th pick of the tenth round (151st overall)...

The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) -- Derek Cianfrance / Crime Drama

___Very rarely do I see a film like The Place Beyond the Pines which is consistently surprising without feeling forced . I'll try not to give much away here because I suspect a lot of people haven't seen it. It's a crime movie that takes you places other crime movies don't think to go. Ryan Gosling is marvelous as rebel without a cause traveling stunt rider Luke Glanton who hooks up with an old flame, played by Eva Mendes, and gets a lot more than he bargained for. A chain of events is set in motion which will span multiple generations. Bradley Cooper is the wet behind the ears rookie cop who crosses paths with Glanton and has his life forever changed. Where the story goes from there is both unexpected and inspired for this is the rare movie that revels not in action set-pieces or snappy dialog but rather in the quiet moments of self-doubt which stitch together the big moments in our lives, in the simple joy of seeing someone who is lost find their sense of purpose, in the emotional fallout that lingers in the wake of every poor decision, and in the elemental pull of our inner natures which we are mostly powerless to resist.

___The result is a film that somehow manages to be both deeply personal and also broadly relate-able. Take out all the scenes you remember most strongly from The Godfather and what are you left with? A simple drama about a son inheriting the family business and all that comes along with it despite his family's attempts to shield him from responsibility. That should give you some idea of what to expect from this movie. It resists Hollywood cliches at every turn and ends up pulling you in even deeper into the internal lives of its characters because of it. This didn't have the cultural impact that Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction had in the 90s-- it came and went quietly in 2012 with critical acclaim but lukewarm box office results-- but I feel like director Derek Cianfrance has similarly reinvented the genre picture here by bravely shaking up the story structure and then focusing his attention off the edge of the frame on what comes next.

___I had a hard time coming up with a film from this decade that I felt like including in my library of only 12 but this is a powerful piece of storytelling I don't mind returning to ponder over again. And in its elegant disregard for convention it may point the way forward for how we can continue to tell new stories that feel relevant and authentically-sourced rather than simply hammering out retreads or works of stylish pastiche.

Musical Choice: Mike Patton -- The Snow Angel

PM sent to @whitechocolate.
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), Carl Theodor Dreyer


Carl Theodor Dreyer who also directed Vampyr once again utilizes negative space in The Passion of Joan of Arc. In this case it is to emphasize facial expressions in the most beautifully acted film I've ever seen. Dreyer never selected an official musical score to accompany the movie, and it is my opinion that watching the movie in complete silence is the best way to see it. It allows the viewer to focus completely on the acting. The script and the actors tell a powerful story. A story that is relatable even if the specific circumstances are unimaginable. Joan, the main character knows she is facing her death as we all do. She goes through periods of hope, denial, bargaining, and acceptance, all the while doing her best to cling to honor, integrity, and her convictions. It is a deeply inspiring and emotional experience.
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Modern Times (1936), Sir Charles Chaplin


This comedic masterpiece finds the iconic Little Tramp – Sir Charlie Chaplin - navigating a mechanical world being so incessant and repetitive that elements like luck and hope only serve to spur along Chaplin’s farce even though they hold little grip on his characters’ futures. Little changes for the Little Tramp throughout: He tries to survive, and yet the institutional system craps him back out to where he started, desperately hungry and penniless, left with nothing to do but try again. Modern Times was Chaplin’s last go as the Tramp, and it’s easy to imagine that, throughout the film’s many misadventures - joined by equally good-natured partner in crime, the gamin (Paulette Goddard who would become Chaplin’s third wife) - were kind of by design, as if Chaplin chooses to show how the modern industrial machine becomes part of the Tramp. He may get squeezed through a giant, sprocket-speckled apparatus, becoming one with its schematics, but so too does the assembly line—with all that twisting, wrenching, and spinning—impress itself onto the Tramp, leaving him unable after a long shift to do anything but waggle his arms about as if he’s still on the assembly line. The Great Depression, Chaplin seems to be saying, was the first sign of just how thoroughly technology can kill our spirits, not so much discarding us as absorbing our individuality. Modern Times, then, is a film with a conscious far beyond its time, a kind of seamless blending of special effects, sanguine silent film methods, and radical fury.

Modern Times is a film that stood the test of time, often ranked on lists as one the greatest films of all time, by iconic English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin KBE.

Capt. Factorial

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Staff member
Just as I had finished a little write-up in anticipation of having to rush it out in the morning and was getting ready for comes a notification that I'm on the clock! So, no, I didn't write this all up in like five minutes or whatever.

Cloud Atlas (2012), Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski, Tom Tykwer

Cloud Atlas is a film which is probably as unique as the book it was based on. The book, for those who don’t know, consists of six stories, the first five of which are cut off in the middle as the action moves forward decades to centuries. Each segment is connected to the next by (usually) written records from the previous story. For instance, in the second story, the protagonist stumbles across and begins reading a book detailing the Pacific voyage of the protagonist of the first story; the protagonist of the third story comes into possession of love letters written by the protagonist of the second story, etc. Finally, the sixth story plays out complete, and then the ends of the fifth, fourth, etc. stories are presented, bringing the whole thing kind of full circle.

This structure wouldn’t work very well for a film, of course, so the directors of Cloud Atlas (such a complex film it needed THREE, who each directed two segments) decided to intercut the stories instead - a very good choice because it allows the parallels between the stories to be highlighted all the better. Toss in some themes of eternal recurrence and some soft suggestion of reincarnation (both present in the book, and effected in the film by using the same actors in different guise along most or all timelines) and you’ve got an interesting skeleton upon which to build a rich story arc covering at least five centuries (it’s not quite clear how far in the future some of the stories lie).

And as if the concept of the film weren’t interesting enough, the cinematography is amazing (which you can see from the trailer above), the script and dialogue are great, and with one exception (which, to be fair, bothers me excessively) the makeup is also nearly seamless.

Cloud Atlas is a complicated film. It needs multiple viewings. Where better to watch it again and again but in a cabin by a lake?
Modern Times (1936), Sir Charles Chaplin

View attachment 8132

This comedic masterpiece finds the iconic Little Tramp – Sir Charlie Chaplin - navigating a mechanical world being so incessant and repetitive that elements like luck and hope only serve to spur along Chaplin’s farce even though they hold little grip on his characters’ futures. Little changes for the Little Tramp throughout: He tries to survive, and yet the institutional system craps him back out to where he started, desperately hungry and penniless, left with nothing to do but try again. Modern Times was Chaplin’s last go as the Tramp, and it’s easy to imagine that, throughout the film’s many misadventures - joined by equally good-natured partner in crime, the gamin (Paulette Goddard who would become Chaplin’s third wife) - were kind of by design, as if Chaplin chooses to show how the modern industrial machine becomes part of the Tramp. He may get squeezed through a giant, sprocket-speckled apparatus, becoming one with its schematics, but so too does the assembly line—with all that twisting, wrenching, and spinning—impress itself onto the Tramp, leaving him unable after a long shift to do anything but waggle his arms about as if he’s still on the assembly line. The Great Depression, Chaplin seems to be saying, was the first sign of just how thoroughly technology can kill our spirits, not so much discarding us as absorbing our individuality. Modern Times, then, is a film with a conscious far beyond its time, a kind of seamless blending of special effects, sanguine silent film methods, and radical fury.

Modern Times is a film that stood the test of time, often ranked on lists as one the greatest films of all time, by iconic English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin KBE.
Goddard is magnificent in this film. Without going into much detail, the shot of her
pumping her fist in the final scene
is my second favorite moment in all of cinema.


The cake is a lie.
Staff member
Just as I had finished a little write-up in anticipation of having to rush it out in the morning and was getting ready for comes a notification that I'm on the clock! So, no, I didn't write this all up in like five minutes or whatever.

Cloud Atlas (2012), Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski, Tom Tykwer
I never caught this movie in the theater and kinda forgot about it. Just added it to my Netflix queue.
With the 155th pick in the TDOS Cabin by the Lake draft, I select...

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017):

Director: Rian Johnson
Dir. of Photography: Steve Yedlin
Writer(s): Rian Johnson
Score: John Williams
Cast: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Mark Hammil, Carrie Fisher, Laura Dern
Genre(s): Science fiction, action, adventure
Runtime: 2 hours, 32 minutes

IMDb Entry:

I'd be inclined to call this the second populist selection I've included on my list, but there has been a rather visceral backlash to The Last Jedi since its release last December, for reasons that evade my comprehension a bit. Perhaps Star Wars is too monomythic as a franchise, and too much like comfort food, for its formula to be challenged without drawing the ire of fans around the world. I share no such devotion to whatever the platonic ideal is meant to be for this particular franchise. Burn it down, I say, and The Last Jedi certainly attempts to do so. Whatever its flaws, I think it's an absolutely magnificent film, and I consider it to be the most vital and significant Star Wars film since 1980.

My life has been a blur since July began, so I haven't been able to commit to composing my typically lengthy write-ups. Fortunately, I've already written a substantial amount about The Last Jedi, both here at and elsewhere. Much of that writing appears below.

My previous two picks, Moon and Arrival, are lovely and quiet science fiction films with very modest aims. The Last Jedi swings the pendulum in the opposite direction. Rian Johnson was out to make some noise with this one, and I was really quite impressed with the many ways in which he subverted my expectations as a viewer. When I reflect on several viewings of the film, I’m struck by just how different it is from the rest of the Star Wars saga. It is a very weird and very interesting movie about locating the smallest shred of hope amidst colossal human failings. People are disappointing. They’re often wrong. They make mistakes. Yet it seems all too rare that big budget films are willing to quantify those failures, and to hold their heroes to account. The Last Jedi, on the other hand, is hell-bent on twisting a knife into the very ideas of myth-making and hero-worship.

Many viewers were legitimately expecting Luke Skywalker (now in his 60's, mind you) to be cutting down scores of stormtroopers with his newly-returned lightsaber, as if there were no other sensible direction for that character to take in the face of a rising evil. I was so delighted that Rian Johnson decided not to indulge these infantile fantasies, and instead offered the audience a Luke Skywalker chastened by fear, having receded from the galaxy in defiance of his legend. The same Luke that redeemed Vader was crushed by his inability to teach, to offer wisdom, to transcend the struggle between the light and the dark, and I love the complexity of that. I certainly find it more interesting than Luke jumping headlong into the fray once again.

For all the talk of how derivative The Force Awakens turned out to be, a great many fans really do want Star Wars to be exactly one thing. They want a particular itch to be scratched. They want their mac-and-cheese the way they expect it to be. Johnson resisted the temptation to serve up that comfort food, and I just adore the ballsiness of his film's insistence that we need to let the past die. Rey and Kylo Ren are the future, and The Last Jedi absolutely sizzles whenever those two characters share the screen, either psychically or physically. Their chemistry is miles beyond any other pair of characters in any other Star Wars film.

It's not a perfect film, of course. It tries to do a bit too much with its various plot threads, and despite its two-and-a-half hour runtime, it actually feels like some narrative glue is missing. I also thought Benicio del Toro's character was thin and superfluous, even though I enjoyed how simply he managed to reflect the same ethos that Luke Skywalker, a wisened Jedi master, had taken years to develop: “They blow you up today, you blow them up tomorrow.” The only solution is not to join, in other words. In A New Hope, Han Solo doesn’t want to get involved because he’s a selfish a**hole, whereas Del Toro’s character is a conscientious objector because of the cyclical realities of the battle between “good” and “evil.” Luke understands this, as well, and seeks the death of the Jedi because something has to change if the cycle of conflict is ever to be broken.

The very notion of what makes a hero is up for debate in The Last Jedi. Some viewers found themselves stymied by a Star Wars movie in which the big, risk-taking, hot-shot plans didn't pay off. In fact, those plans result in failure, and the deaths of many. The sublots that are most often complained about are some of the most important moments in the film, in which the characters learn the hard way that their bravado amounts to nothing. We see their maturation and their realization that war isn't just about sauntering into the saloon like a cowboy in your "white hat" in order to fight an enemy clad in black. Star Wars has long presented its sense of morality in the most binary way possible: “Light Side GOOD, Dark Side BAD!! And THAT is why we FIGHT!!” Johnson is more interested in complicating the reasons for these “star wars” to occur in the first place. It’s not just about thwarting an evil enemy; it’s about discovering what you stand for, and what you desire to build when it's all over.

After all, what IS the Republic? I mean, what is it, really? For example, “America” is its own idea, and has its own set of ideals, as much as it is a geographical area. So what is the Republic, other than a corrupt and decadent bureaucracy that gave rise to the evil enemy in the first place? What does it stand for? What does the Resistance wish to stand for? Grasping for hope in the dark is a major theme of The Last Jedi. But hope for what? My hope is that JJ Abrams has a compelling answer to that question for Episode IX. Though given that Abrams used The Force Awakens as an opportunity to do little more than re-hash the story beats of A New Hope, I'm not terribly optimistic.

The Last Jedi, by contrast, is an exceedingly bold endeavor. So bold, indeed, that Kathleen Kennedy has actually given Rian Johnson the reigns to steer an entirely new Star Wars trilogy, completely apart from the saga of the Skywalker clan. How refreshing! I find myself completely uninterested in any other Star Wars related programming in the meantime. Give me Johnson's vision for this universe, gorgeous as it is. In my estimation, The Last Jedi is head and shoulders above every other Star Wars film from a purely visual standpoint. The screenshots below should testify to the sheer sumptuousness on display:

PM sent to @Sluggah.
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With my 10th selection, I choose:

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

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Although the family is deeply flawed, I cannot resist watching this film again and again. The cast is brilliant! They masterfully play off each other's dry wit with playful irreverence. Gene Hackman is especially transfixing as the disowned patriarch. The soundtrack is wonderful, laced with nostalgia and layered with meaning behind the simple tale of family feuds and division. It is a story of hope and love in the face of betrayal and mistrust. It brings mismatched parts together to coexist without sacrificing their own individualism, and making the whole better for it.

Royal:He saved my life, you know. Thirty years ago. I was knifed at a bazaar in Calcutta, and he carried me to the hospital on his back.
Ari: Who stabbed you?
[Royal motions to Pagoda again]
Royal: He did. There was a price on my head, and he was a hired assassin. Stuck me in the gut with a shiv.

Tennis Match Commentator #1: That's 72 unforced errors for Richie Tenebaum. He's playing the worst tennis of his life. What's he feeling right now, Tex Hayward?
Tex Hayward: I don't know, Jim. There's obviously something wrong with him. He's taken off his shoes and one of his socks and... actually, I think he's crying.

Royal: I've always been considered an butthead for about as long as I can remember. That's just my style. But I'd really feel blue if I didn't think you were going to forgive me.
Henry Sherman: I don't think you're an butthead, Royal. I just think you're kind of a son of a *****.
Royal: Well, I really appreciate that.

Ethel: Raleigh says you've been spending 6 hours a day locked in here, watching television and soaking in the tub.
Margot: [lying in the bath] I doubt that.
Ethel: Well, I don't think that's very healthy, do you? Nor do I think it's very intelligent to keep an electrical gadget on the edge of the bathtub.
Margot: I tie it to the radiator.

Royal: Got a minute?
Ethel: [startled] What are you doing here?
Royal: Uh, I need a favor. I want to spend some time with you and the children.
Ethel: Are you crazy?
[she carries on walking]
Royal: Well, wait a minute, dammit!
Ethel: Stop following me!
Royal: Well, I want my family back.
Ethel: Well, you can't have it! I'm sorry for you, but it's too late.
Royal: Well, listen... Baby, I'm dying.
[she stops]
Royal: Yeah, I-I'm sick as a dog. I'll be dead in six weeks. I'm dying.
Ethel: What are you talking about? What's happening? Oh, I'm sorry... I didn't know...
[starts crying]
Ethel: Well, what'd they say? What is the prognosis?
Royal: [trying to comfort her] Take it easy, Ethel. Now, hold on, baby, hold on. Hold on, OK?
[she starts wailing]
Ethel: Where is the doctor?
Royal: Well, look, just wait a second now. Wait a second. OK, uh, listen, I'm not dying... but I need some time. A month or so. OK? I want us to-to...
[she slaps him hard]
Ethel: WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU? Are you crazy?
[she walks off]
Royal: Ethel, baby... I am dying.
[she comes back to him]
Ethel: Are you or aren't you?
Royal: What? Dying? Yeah.

Royal: That's the last time you put a knife in me! Y'hear me?
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For my tenth pick I'm stealing another one from Gadget's list, which completely missed my radar prior.


Go - 1999

I have no idea what the tag line: "Life begins at 3 am" means. Pretty sure at 3 am Ronna is left for dead bleeding in a ditch.

This movie comes from the 90s slick Pulp Fiction copy cat genre and kicked off a mini-trend of 3 simultaneous interwoven stories told in 3 separate acts.

And it's a Christmas movie. So I can check that box.
With the 10th selection for the Joker pick I choose The Far Country (1954), one of my favorite westerns. Starring James Stewart, ruth Romin, Walter Brennan, John McIntire, Henry Morgan and directed by Anthony Mann.

Stewart plays Jeff Webster, a cattle man from Wyoming who takes his cattle to skagway, Alaska, and then over a pass into Dawson during a gold rush in1896. He plays a kind of anti-hero who is only concerned with himself and his partner Ben Tatum (Brennan). The antagonist is the law in Skagway, Mr. Gannon.
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The cake is a lie.
Staff member
RED - 2010

Retired Extremely Dangerous

An action/comedy flick I probably enjoy way more than I should. A fantastic cast (Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, Karl Urban, Richard Dreyfuss, and Ernest Borgnine) in a story around Willis "getting the band back together" from a retired Black Ops team when he finds himself the target of an assassination attempt. Parker is great in this one as his not-so-willing love interest/kidnap victim and Malkovich is doing wonderful Malkovich things throughout. And Helen Mirren as a sniper assassin is a joy to watch.

Frank Moses: I was just hoping you'd be a little more understanding of the situation.
Sarah Ross: I-I was hoping not to get kidnapped. Or drugged. I was hoping you'd have hair. So it looks like none of our dreams are coming true, at the moment.

Sarah Ross: [talking quietly about Marvin] Wow. This guy's insane.
Frank Moses: Well, he thought he was the subject of a secret government mind control project.
Marvin Boggs: [in another room, checking files] This'll take a minute.
Sarah Ross: Sure.
Frank Moses: As it turns out... he really was being given daily doses of LSD for 11 years.
Sarah Ross: Well, in that case, he looks great.
Frank Moses: Fantastic.

Victoria: You know, I was in love with an agent once.
Sarah Ross: What happened?
Victoria: Well, I was with MI6. And the relationship wasn't... sanctioned. So when it came to light, my loyalty was questioned. And I was ordered to kill him. It was a test.
Sarah Ross: What did you do?
Victoria: I put three bullets in his chest.

Ivan Simanov: [shows Frank his bullet wounds] This was done to me by the love of my life. It seems that what we had was not meant to be. But now she sits outside my house drinking vodka. Three bullets in the chest. When I woke alive, I knew she still loved me. Or else it would have been head. It was big risk for her, of course, but one does crazy things for love.

Marvin Boggs: Why are you trying to kill me?
Frank Moses: I'm not trying to kill you!
Marvin Boggs: Oh, yeah. You are.
Frank Moses: Why would I be trying to kill you?
Marvin Boggs: Because the last time we met, I tried to kill you.
Frank Moses: That was a long time ago.
Marvin Boggs: Some people hold on to things like that.

[Victoria is providing cover with a sniper rifle with Sarah]
Sarah Ross: Frank said you wanted me with you.
Victoria: Yes, I thought it might be nice to have a bit of girl time together. You know, get to know each other. And I-I just wanted to tell you that in all the years I've known Francis... I've never seen him like this.
[Sarah smiles]
Victoria: So if you break his heart, I will kill you. And bury your body in the woods.
Sarah Ross: Wow... Okay.

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