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Friday Bottom 3: The Movie Sequel

Don’t you love my Top 5 and Bottom 3 lists having to do with movies? It’s like a sequel. You know it’s going to stink, but you have to go see it anyway. These are the worst sequels/prequels ever made. In order for a movie to qualify for my list, the original at least had to be entertaining. There will be some discussion about a movie or two that should have been included in the list, but I don’t believe anyone will argue that these should have been left off because of their quality. In fact, if you disagree with these selections, you are wrong and should face a civil penalty.

Dishonorable Mention

Next Karate Kid – Truly only the first movie in this series was good. Wax this one off, please.

Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd – Some may disagree that the original was good. Personally, I believe the original Dumb and Dumber to be a quality film which touches on everyone’s inner desire and ambition to succeed, and stirs an emotion not easily described. Well, it could also be the hilarious ex-lax and toilet scene that makes the original great, so I could be wrong. But, the lack of talent and thought in writing part two left you with just a silly mash up of horrible jokes and stupid humor.

Jaws: The Revenge – This one was so close to making the bottom three. It’s saving grace was that the Jaws 3-D sequel before was almost as bad, so this one could hardly be much worse. Both were plain awful, but this one was as big a stinker as Mount Trashmore.

Drum roll please….

#3 Rocky V – I am very grateful that Sylvester Stallone redeemed himself in the last installment. In Rocky V, they tried to do something different. Rocky was not fighting for money this time. He was retired, and he had developed a talented fighter. His protege (sorry I couldn’t find the accents) turns against him, and a caricatured Don King waving a flag and saying “Only In America” watches in the background as grandpa Rocky kicks some Tommy Morrison tail! It’s really much better to picture it in your head than to watch it on a movie screen.

#2 Speed 2: Cruise Control – I liked the first Speed flick. It was fun, fast-paced, with some action, and a nasty villain. The second was just an attempt to capitalize off the success of the first. The acting and storyline were so laughable! Did Sandra Bullock’s career ever fully recover?

#1 Batman and Robin – Holy Stinker, Batman! There has to be a purpose in a movie with good material like the Batman and Robin comic heroes turning out to be more like a Broadway show. Someone was trying to bankrupt Warner Bros. Pictures. The villains were not scary, the good guys were not likable, and the plot seemed like it had been written by a 13 year old. That is a bad combination for a movie with a budget the size of most countries’ GDP. I think they spent all their money on the almost A-list cast and uniforms and forgot to pay for a story, special effects, or sets. Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Uma Thurman, Chris O’Donnell, Alicia Silverstone (who was actually a big name at the time), Vivica Fox, and Elle McPherson were all cast in this joke without the Joker. This may be the worst movie ever made, unless you are a pothead in which case you may have actually enjoyed it.

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Saturday Top 5: Movie Remakes

The Bottom 3 from yesterday featured the worst remade movies. Today, I will be looking at my 5 favorite remade movies.

Honorable Mention:

Shaft 2000 – I can’t say that when it comes to “Blacksploitation”, I am a purist. Shaft took a pretty good action film from 1971 with some great music and modernized it a bit. But, it was a good thing they left the music in it! It was definitely worth the time and effort needed to make a movie.

#5. Dawn of the Dead 2004 – I enjoy a good zombie flick occasionally. This movie took a classic horror film from 1978, modernized it a bit, and brought a little life and action. Either version is watchable, but in this case, the remake is actually a better film and stands on its own.

#4. The Man Who Knew too Much 1956 – In 1934 Alfred Hitchcock directed “The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)”. Though it was not a bad film, it suffered from budget issues, writing, and a lack of talent on the acting side. In 1956, Al got a second chance at this movie and turned it from a good movie (1934) to a classic gem. The biggest differences were Hitchcock’s experience and expanded knowledge base, but most importantly, the talent. Doris Day and James Stewart brought this movie and the story to life. The 1956 version is still very watchable.

#3. The Wizard of Oz 1939 – This classic movie was remade from the 1925 version which had some plot differences and was actually a remake from a 1910 encarnation which was a silent film version of a stage musical from 1902. Of course, nobody really knows much about the silent film, but at the time it was apparently pretty big. The classic we all know was very expensive to film, the largest budget of its time. It was huge. To this day, it is watchable. But, there is something about it. When you watch it, it comes across as a little dark and mysterious.

#2 King Kong 2005 – This remake, I believe, was actually needed. The sound and visual CGI effects have advanced to the point where it’s actually difficult to tell the difference between what is real and what is computer generated. Ignoring the 76 remake which make the bottom 3, this movie improved on the original in bringing Kong to a more personable and almost human quality. You actually start to like this creature. Also, the added comedic elements were enjoyable. The action scenes, for the most part, were well thought out and thrilling. As for the dramatic points, you definitely had time to get to know the characters including the heroine and the villain, so the movie was more than a visual experience.

#1. The Dark Knight (Batman) – This total reworking of the Batman movie from 1989 starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson was excellent. It had a couple snags, but overall it accomplished what it set out to accomplish. The movie was dark, the acting was superb and it transformed the characters from cartoonish to gritty and human. It had some very heavy moments that were not in the 1989 film, and the Joker was cast in a more evil, cold-hearted, and murderous role than the 1989 version. Of course, the Joker stole the show this time around. The effects and action far surpassed the movie from less than 20 years ago. Also, due to Batman Begins, and the amount of time spent on character development, you really came to know all the characters involved. As an action movie, it was almost perfect. As a comic hero movie, it WAS perfect. As a remake, it took a good movie and made it great.

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Thought bearing lobster

  • I woke up this morning at 5:50 AM on my day off: the phone was ringing. My work was calling to find out if I wanted to come in to work. Not today!
  • I was expecting the call to be from Dave to make sure I was up and ready to go for a day of lobstering. Dave called at 6:30 AM to let me know he was heading out of the plant.
  • I was glad that Dave would take the time to go out there with me, since Trav ditched me to visit the family in Louisiana. 🙂
  • We loaded up the car, grabbed a couple of Jolt Ultra’s and a cooler of ice, and headed to Card Sound road.
  • We had a great time, but after about 2 1/2 hours in the water, we caught only 1 lobster (short) and found about 5 large lobster carcasses. We did see one stone crab, quite a few large snook, some mangrove and schoolmaster snapper, a couple shark, and even some drum. No keeper lobster though.
  • A couple of guys in a nice Angler 204 with fishing rods came over to see how we were doing, and they ID’d themselves as FWC. I guess they were undercover. They couldn’t believe we were not from a boat, considering that we were quite a way from the bridge. After they saw that we had our flag, our gages, and we were in the legal side, they wished us good luck and went on their way.
  • Dave is a maniac, the guy was climbing up in the mangrove roots. I kept getting tangled in the dive flag line and my legs got a little itchy from what I think were jellyfish. I will go back in a few days to do some snapper fishing and try again for some lobster (August 6 is the regular season opener).
  • Due to my wheeling and dealing at work, I now have to work 4 straight to make up for my miniseason time off.
  • Tonight, Dave and his family are coming over for some chicken and burgers on the Q. I think we will play the Wii too.
  • I spent some good times this week watching movies and going to the mall with Marcela. I still didn’t get to see Hancock yet. Maybe Tuesday.
  • The blogroll/links section of the blog have been updated. Also, I have created a “Top 5” page to make it easier to find all of my Top 5 lists.
  • Tomorrow, I will unveil a new weekly feature.  It will be a fun one.
  • On a different note, the economy grew at 1.9% in the last quarter, oil prices are dropping faster than ever in history, and faster than they grew. But if you watch the news, you would swear we are in a recession.
  • The violence against our troops is at an all time low in Iraq, but you hear absolutely nothing positive in the news. Apparently the mainstream news outlets do not report good things, especially if they reflect positively on Bush administration or the Republican party.

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Batman

Last night I went up to Dolphin Mall’s Cobb Theater to catch The Dark Knight.  It was a very good movie, but I am struggling to understand how it received enough votes on a reputable site to make it the #1 rated movie of all time.  The acting was great from all parties.  Bale, Ledger, and Oldman were excellently cast, with Ledger’s Joker stealing the show.  It was dark (The Dark Knight).  I can’t exactly say it was a happy movie, and there is no way a child should watch this movie.  There are a few portions of the movie where you have to totally suspend reality to enjoy the film.  But that is understandable with a comic book super hero movie. One of the things that made it a very good movie, was the way it turned the movie on its head, making you love and hate characters at the same time.  The audience was both horrified and humored by the Joker.  I would go see it again, but I would not say that it is one of the greatest movies ever made.

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Saturday Top 5: Sci-Fi Movies

For those that haven’t noticed, I like movies. Sci-Fi movies are particularly fun for me. For my list, I have almost completely eliminated Horror flicks from my list. I have also grouped franchises in one place and added a few honorable mentions. So here is my list of the top 5 Science Fiction movies ever made.

Honorable Mention:
2001: A Space Odyssey – It’s a bit of a slow film, and it can be a little bit confusing, but the music and scenery are amazing. The highlight of the movie may be the chimps learning to use weapons.

ET – How did they make such an ugly character so lovable? Only Spielberg could have pulled that one off.

Soylent Green – Chuck Heston stars in this film about a bleak future where populations are out of control and food is rationed by the government in little colored wafers. I won’t tell you what Soylent Green is made from, but I can tell you that it ain’t lettuce.

The Terminator – This franchise is about a computer system gone mad which sends a robot/android back through time to kill a future rebel leader while he’s a kid. The whole series has some great twists, action, characters, and quotes. “I’ll be back!”

#5. Planet of the Apes – Chuck Heston makes the list again with this sci-fi film about a crew of astronauts which land on a planet run by talking apes which have enslaved non-talking humans. What planet could this be? The end, like Soylent Green, is pretty dramatic with a major twist.

#4. Blade Runner – Harrison Ford stars as a bounty hunter/agent out to destroy some criminal replicants, androids that look, act, and think just like a real human. He has a test which can determine if they are real or impostors, but maybe he should try it on himself. This is a seriously good movie.

#3. Back to the Future – Michael J. Fox leads the way in this fun and funny 80’s franchise about time travel and the effects of tinkering with the past. These flicks tie in a bit of a western theme and actually predicts a World Series win by a Miami baseball team. This is a movie I can watch just about any time.

#2. Star Wars – Harrison Ford makes his second appearance in my list with a classic tale of good vs evil. I loved this whole franchise but I wasn’t to keen on Jar Jar. He may be one of the most annoying movie characters of all time (stay tuned for a future Top 5). One of the greatest heroes (Luke) and greatest villains (Darth Vader) have it out in this series. This movie franchise brought about the best special FX for it’s time.

#1. The Matrix – I love this franchise because of the way it values reality over the perception of what is reality of the characters. The heroes are fighting for a free world which is a hard existence as opposed to false reality which is a much easier and more pleasant life. The action and special FX, like Star Wars, are revolutionary. Much of the movie uses religious metaphor and imagery. The movies also have a running theme, that is that even though it seems that everything is destiny, you have a choice.

Think I missed something? You ask,”What about Star Trek, Alien, Minority Report, or Jurassic Park?”. If you think you can do better, make a list and I’ll gladly tell you why I am right.

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Some good things can be right under your nose

On two occasions I rented the Apollo 13 starring Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, and Ed Harris, and on two occasions I fell asleep 15 minutes into the movie. I ran out of free time and never finished. I had this impression based on the first part of the movie that it was a pretty boring flick. WRONG. This is a great movie. It’s been sitting in my DVD collection now for over a year and I just decided to watch it. WOW

It reminds me of the times that I had a quick first impression of a person, place, event, etc. Because I didn’t take the time to really get to know it, it struck me as boring and I gave up. Sometimes we have the coolest things under our nose, if we would just take the time to look.

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Citizen Kane – Why is it so great?

citizen20kane.jpg

Last night, Marcela and I watched one of my favorite movies, Citizen Kane. Let’s leave for a different discussion all of the technical reasons Citizen Kane is listed by many experts as the greatest American film ever made: the cinematography, the clarity, the production value of this 67 year old movie. Let’s talk about the meaning of this movie.

WARNING – this could spoil the movie, so don’t read any further if you plan on seeing this film but have not found the time to do so since 1941.

Charles Foster Kane was a young boy whose family was living on a massive fortune unknown to them. They were poor. When the fortune was discovered on the very property they lived, a trust was set up for young Master Kane and his mother sent him away to be raised by Mr. Walter Parks Thatcher, basically the bank in which the trust rested. When he came of age to claim his fortune, he was asked by his Mr. Thatcher what he wanted to do with his life. He determined that he was not interested in the financial world, he didn’t want to run the railroad, and he was expelled from the finest institutions of higher education in the land. He wanted to be a newspaper man; he thought “it would be fun to run a newspaper” to the scorn of his executor Mr. Thatcher.

The movie begins with his death in his lavish mansion and the last words “Rosebud”. The newspaper writing a piece about the life of this powerful man believed that you could tell everything about a man’s life based on his last words. What/who was Rosebud? FAST FORWARD: Rosebud was not a beautiful woman he loved at a younger age, it was not some item he could never quite get with all the money he had. Rosebud was his little snow sled that he played with as a young child. Just before he died, he saw the snow from a little snow globe that reminded him of his simple yet poor childhood. All the money he had, all the power he consolidated as an influential newspaper tycoon, all the priceless statues, art, and mansions were meaningless. The one thing he thought about was the childhood that was taken away from him by money. As the movie ends, the workers in his home toss the sled “Rosebud” into the fire, as it is only junk to them. Sadly, the threw away the piece of the puzzle that could have answered the writer’s questions concerning the tragic life of Charles Foster Kane.

Enjoy the little things. Cherish the times with your family and loved ones. Don’t live life for the wrong things only to find that you had everything you needed and threw it all away. As a follower of Christ, I find it easier to enjoy life and harder to understand not enjoying life. The joy of the Lord is my strength. I have my wife, my family, my friends, and most of all Jesus in my life. That makes life beautiful regardless of the material goods I attain.

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