Monday, August 29, 2011

The Greatest Movie Character of 1990-1999 005: Round 1, Heat 4

Vote. It's Easy.

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Heat 3 Results
Jules Winfield 17, Red 11

Dignan 12, Derek Vinyard 20

Little Bill Daggett 10, Truman Burbank 24

William Wallace 13, Dirk Diggler16

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Mia Wallace Division, Round 1, Heat 4

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Eric Draven, The Crow

You're killed by a group of thugs after watching them rape and murder the love of your life the night before your wedding. What does one do? They come back from the dead with preternatural powers and one of the most iconic makeup jobs of moviedom and take revenge, obviously.

The Crow was an instant cult hit. It hurled "goth" into the mainstream (again), launched a hit for the Stone Temple Pilots, and made Brandon Lee a legend. Yes, his tragic death on-set contributed largely to both his status and the film's success, but Eric Draven could have well launched him out of bad B-movie action and into the mainstream. The character was SO successful that it was brought back for 3 sequels and an upcoming remake, even though the actor who portrayed the protagonist was long gone.

Crow masks were everywhere, t-shirts were sold like mad, WCW ripped the character right off when it remade Sting in his image. The black-and-white harlequin that was a reborn Eric Draven was inescapable. Here was the ultimate anti-hero on a mission of righteous vengeance - unstoppable, superpowered, and tortured.

Let's face it, if Micky Knox had killed Shelly, Draven would have made short of work of him. 17 years later, that face is still cool, and people still know what it means - sometimes, good people come back to get the justice denied them in life.

- Astin


Mickey Knox
, Natural Born Killers

(Note: Riggstad is busy campaigning for Barack Obama 2012. . If  he gets a spare moment, he'll give us his take on Mickey Knox.  In the meantime, we'll just point out that Mickey Knox is a well-acted character in an iconic movie, not some drippy emo Robert Smith from The Cure wannabe who can't even take a single bullet. Vote accordingly.)

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Tommy DeVito, Goodfellas

"Are you kidding me?  Are you f***ng kidding me? Who is this crewcut retard they're sending out here to whack me? To whack me?  With his little f***ng golf clubs and his little f***ng opera man voice, listen to him, sounds like he's gonna cry, get outta here ya little f***ng ****kn***gler*** of a gl****blerch**** before I wrap that mothercr***ng golf club around your ugly little Caddyshack pl***unking head for you, you f***ng cry***ler****gle. I'll show you a hole in one, you fu*k*ng larchbl****ck, call ya mother and I'll show her a hole in one and my f**king hat trick, too. Now go home to Bob Barker and cry into your pillow for a week."



Happy Gilmore, Happy Gilmore

"The price is WRONG bitch!"

I LOVE this matchup. Tommy DeVito, the foul-mouthed nutjob gangster of Goodfellas vs Happy Gilmore, the foul-mouthed nutjob golfer of, well, Happy Gilmore. Two psychos facing off, only one victor. Let's do this.

Happy Gilmore quotes:

Shooter McGavin: Just stay out of my way... or you'll pay! LISTEN to what I say!
Happy Gilmore: Hey, why don't I just go eat some hay, make things out of clay, lay by the bay? I just may! What'd ya say?

Shooter McGavin: You're in big trouble though, pal. I eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast!
Happy Gilmore: You eat pieces of shit for breakfast?
Shooter McGavin: ... No!

Terry: All you ever talk about is becoming a pro hockey player, but there's a problem: you're not any good.
Happy Gilmore: I am good. You know what, you're a lousy kindergarten teacher. I've seen those finger-paintings you bring home and they SUCK.

"You little son of a bitch ball! Why you don't you just go HOME? That's your HOME! Are you too good for your HOME? ANSWER ME! SUCK MY WHITE ASS, BALL!"

"Golf requires goofy pants and a fat ass."

"Hey, if I saw myself in clothes like that, I'd have to kick my own ass."

And of course the one at the top, spoken to one Bob Barker.


Tommy DeVito Quotes:

"Fuck you in the fucking fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck. Clown."

"I am somehow amusing like a painted-face harlequin one would find in a circus or carnival environment? I commend you on your pointed compliment sir."

Or something like that.

Both are loose cannons, ready to explode at any provocation, real or imagined. But Happy IS funny and turns what seems like a truly idiotic movie into a classic piece of comedy. This is the movie that made Adam Sandler's post-SNL career. Pesci was already known by the time Goodfellas came around, and let's face it - Pesci, De Niro, Liotta in a gangster movie directed by Scorsese? That's hard to screw up.

It's not easy to knock Tommy, so I'll go for the one area that he lacks - growth. Happy Gilmore goes from hockey playing thug who has no direction and beats up everyone into a zen master of golfing. He endures personal tragedy and comes out the other side with an acceptance and maturity that seemed unachievable at first. What? This was the template for every Sandler character? Yah, but Happy did it early, and better than his predecessor, Billy Madison. By the end of the film, Happy is still Happy, but the rough edges have smoothed a bit.

Tommy? By the end of the movie he's *SPOILER ALERT* dead. Why? Because he refused to change. He showed no capacity for growth as a person and paid the price for his hubris. This isn't a tragic death, nor a hero's death. This is the inevitable end for a violent psychopath in an environment of violence. If only he'd discovered golf.



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Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story

Malcolm X was one of the most fascinating figures in the last century of U.S. history.  As a movie character . . . eh, not so much.

Buzz Lightyear, on the other hand, is the sparkplug that juices one of the most successful and influential movie franchises of all times. Buzz is the heart. Buzz is the soul.  Buzz is the nutball who doesn't know he's a toy, until he embraces his destiny entirely.  He's the perfect toy, because he's so totally committed to the game, he doesn't always even know it is a game.  Also, on Spanish setting, he's a hell of a flamenco dancer.

Vote for Buzz over Malcom, citizen.  No one man should have all that power.

- Julius_Goat


Malcolm X
, Malcolm X


(Note: Riggstad is on assignment with the Peace Corp, helping to save the baby seals from corporate interests. Don't judge him; he can kill you with a magazine. If  he gets a spare moment, he'll give us his take on Brother Malcolm.  In the meantime, we'll just say that if you can't vote for one of the most electrifying performances of the decade and one of the most amazing and uniquely American individuals of all time, instead of a cartoon toy, well, brother, you can't see the clear glass of water in front of you.)

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Phil Connors, Groundhog Day

My favorite movie of all time, with my favorite character of all time. 

The "process of living" often gets in the way of the actual living of life.  The alarm clock rings, we shovel some food in our mouth and rush off to work for 8 hours a day.  Drive home, eat again, clean up.  Take a shower. Maybe you squeeze a workout in there or a tv show.  Head on the pillow, and the alarm clocks rings again.  Shovel some more food in, off to work again.

Life can become an infinite loop of the same boring activities if you let it.

Phil: What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered? 
Ralph: That about sums it up for me. 

Like Phil Connors, we're all stuck in the same place every day.  Most of us have to wake up at the same time every day, go to the same job, see the same people, and sit in the same meetings.  So how do we escape this sameness?  How do we embrace the routine and make our life worth living?  

Like Phil, we fight.  We fight against the sameness, we fight against accepting that our life consists of a routine that can imprison us.  We fight for freedom and for dignity.  We fight against death.

Phil Connors is a fighter, and Groundhog Day takes us through the 5 stages of accepting his own mortality.

Stage 1: Denial — "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."
Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of possessions and individuals that will be left behind after death.

Yeah, Sport,I know there's a blizzard. 
                   
When are the long-distance lines gonna be repaired?
                   
What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today.
                   
Hello?

Stage 2: Anger — "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; '"Who is to blame?"
Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy.

I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We ate lobster, drank piƱa coladas. At sunset, we made love like sea otters.
*That* was a pretty good day. Why couldn't I get *that* day over, and over, and over... 

Stage 3: Bargaining — "Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."
The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the individual is saying, "I understand I will die, but if I could just have more time..."

What I wanted to say was...
              
I think you're the kindest, sweetest, prettiest person...

I've ever met in my life.
I've never seen anyone... that's nicer to people than you are.
The first time I saw you... something happened to me.
                   
I never told you, but... I knew that I wanted to hold you as hard as I could.

I don't deserve someone like you.
But if I ever could...
I swear I would love you...

for the rest of my life.

Stage 4: Depression — "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die... What's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"
During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.

This is pitiful.          
A thousand people freezing their butts off, waiting to worship a rat.           
What a hype. Groundhog Day used to mean something in this town.               
They used to pull the hog out and eat it!
You're hypocrites, all of you!
You got a problem with what I'm saying?
Untie your tongue, and you come out here and talk.
Am I upsetting you, Princess?
You want a prediction about the weather, you're asking the wrong Phil. 
I'll give you a winter prediction.
It's gonna be cold...
it's gonna be gray...
and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life.

Stage 5: Acceptance — "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."
In this last stage, the individual begins to come to terms with her/his mortality or that of a loved one.

When Chekhov saw the long winter...he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope.         
Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life.          
But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney... and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts...
I couldn't imagine a better fate...than a long and lustrous winter.
From Punxsutawney, it's Phil Connors.       
So long.

***
The fact that Bill Murray can take us through the five stages of grief, while making us laugh really hard, is what makes his character so memorable.

-HDouble


Donald "Sully" Sullivan, Nobody's Fool

This is Paul Newman in his last great role, and it's one of his very best.  More believable than Cool Hand Luke, more relateable than Fast Eddie Felson, more likable than Hud, Newman settles into the skin of perennial loser and hereditary bad father Sully like a pair of broken-in work boots, and, because he's Paul Newman, he's also the coolest guy in town (and Bruce Willis is in town).  Sully lives in an old town in upstate New York that's just like him -- hard working, but everybody knows nothing will ever come of it.

Sully walked out on his wife and kids. He's got a bum knee. He doesn't have more than a couple of twenties to rub together. He let the family house rot to pieces out of spite for his old man.  He'll punch a policeman rather than stop driving on the sidewalk. But he's the only guy who can coax the demented old lady off the snowy road, and he does it by charming her. He'll even help the old lady's daughter by taking over at the local diner while she tends to her mother's feet.

Here's the thing about Sully. He's a total screwup. He's about the best guy you'll ever meet.

I expect that Phil will beat Sully in this matchup.  Groundhog Day is by far the more popular movie, and Murray is admittedly great in it. But if you're one of the lucky handful that has seen Nobody's Fool, I bet you are voting for Sully.

- Julius_Goat



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dawn's Not The Only One Who Watches Movies

That's right, I also watch movies!

Captain American: The First Avenger

Great comic book movie and final piece before The Avengers launch next summer. My second favourite of the series behind the first Iron Man. A WWII-era film with a comic book veneer, and a generally realistic (for comic books) interpretation of a hero. Nice preview for The Avengers after the credits too.

Drive Angry

I wanted a brain-dead action piece. I got a 70's carsploitation flick with a supernatural twist. Some of what I expected (Nicholas Cage enjoying himself and Amber Heard looking hot), and some of what I was not (Satanists? It was actually pretty good). Definitely worth a watch if you want a little under 2 hours of escapism and cheese.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2

All the action that was missing from Part 1 is here. It picks up exactly where the last left off, moves into "this is SO going to be a ride" territory, and doesn't let up on the action. Pretty self-aware, lots of crowd-pleasing moments, and the bonus of half a theatre sobbing like babies as soon as the lights went down (okay, that was annoying).

Thor

Also surprisingly good. The romance plot was stupid and mostly unnecessary, but the rest was fun, carried largely by the fact that Chris Hemsworth has far more charisma than I figured. Get over the fact he's literally the God of Thunder, and enjoy the film. Also, ignore the love subplot.

Attack The Block

I don't get the mad love for this one. Sure, it's a nice little contained British creature feature. It's got all kinds of classic Spielbergian aspects to it. It's darkly funny, has some brief Nick Frost, and the creature design is original, there are nods to classic films, there's a social message.... but it's not the second coming of whatever it's supposed to be the second coming of. It's a great low-budget British movie about kids defending their apartment building and learning stuff along the way. It's worth seeing. It's worth supporting. It's not going to give you an orgasm.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Yah, I saw it. What's your point? It was good. It's a classic rom-com with likable actors and characters that never really go into stupid-dom like every other version of this genre in recent years. Yes, seriously - they seem to have rationale for what they do and don't lose their brain for 20 minutes while chasing after their gay friend who they've fallen in love with or whatever. There is one particularly over-the-top scene, but it's makes for big laughs. On top of all that, the characters have actual chemistry with one another. It helps that, again, the cast is made up of great actors. Would I buy it? Naw. Will I see it again? Probably not. Did I enjoy it? Obviously. If you've got a date lined up, take 'em to this.

Battle: Los Angeles

More brainless action. If you were expecting anything else from this movie than what it delivers, then you have no idea how to judge a movie from its trailer. Military + aliens = movie. Nothing new here. Plenty old here. There's Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, and a bunch of interchangeable actors in interchangeable roles. Things go boom, but not as many as you'd think. Again - want to blow some time without using your brain? Give it a shot.

Cooking With Stella

Canadian movie. Deepa Mehta co-wrote I think. Don McKellar and Lisa Ray as Canadians in India (Ray's a diplomat). Waste of time. Felt about an hour longer than it was, slow-paced, and completely misses its mark. Marketed wrong, but it seems to be TRYING at a classic British servants caper/farce placed in India. It doesn't work. There's scamming and crime and grifting and corruption of morals... but there's no sympathy for the characters or much in the way of the funny. Skip it. Not like you even knew it existed.


TIFF is coming up fast, and I'll once again half-ass my way through reviews, leaving a bunch sitting in the "drafts" folder, never to be seen. Luckily, no hockey musicals this year.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Oops, I did it again

Be with me

This is a weird flick of four different love story vignettes. It's in Chinese. Don't do it.

Biutiful

I think I liked this movie. It's not what I thought it would be at all. Javier Bardem plays a single dad to two kids and then he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. He's also a criminal exploiting the illegal immigrants in Spain. He has to figure out how to provide for his kids after he dies and how to reconcile his bad deeds before he goes to hell, presumably. And then he kills a baby. Yikes. It's a deliberate, though not always linear movie...But good...I think. (I'm still more than a little terrified that Bardem will show up to my door talmabout "friendo.")

Cedar Rapids

Sigh. I had, not exactly high hopes, but hopes of some kind, for this movie. Instead, it ended up reconfirming the theory that me and my college roommates came up with decades ago about movies...if it can't even get to 90 minutes, it's going to suck. Sure enough, this movie about a button up insurance salesman who goes on a bender of crack, alcohol and adultery is not funny or sweet or even remotely interesting. I especially hated that we were supposed to be shocked that the black man speaks proper English and gardens -- but then it's hysterical when he goes all "gangta." Eyeroll. I expected better from this cast. Also...whoa, I wondered what happened to Anne Heche.

Country Strong

I keep forgetting to review this movie. Or forgetting if I did already. But just in case, ARRRGHH GOOD LORD THIS MOVIE SUCKED IT! Whoever told Gweneth Paltrow she could sing...oh wait, this line is sounding familiar, maybe I did review it already.

Cowboys vs. Aliens

Dear Super 8, please take note: THIS IS WHAT A SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER SHOULD BE! See the title: Cowboys v. Aliens. Wanna know the plot? THERE ARE COWBOYS FIGHTING ALIENS! SEEE??? That's how that shit should work! Anyway, loved this flick. I clapped when Harrison Ford came on screen -- ever since that craptacular Indy sequel, I've been pissed at him. But he's back in awesome shape in this movie. I also played the "guess who's an alien game." I was 1 for 4, which is pretty good if you ask me! Plus, I got to yell out "TAKE THAT ALIEN"! And, honestly, isn't that really what summer blockbusters are about? No? It's not? Is that just for black people? #races

Exit through the giftshop

Documentary about grafitti artist Banksy and possible street art fraud "Mr. Brain Wash." If this were twitter, I'd slap a #whitepeopleproblems tag on this.

Dune

So how much money did George Lucas get when he sued David Lynch for this blatant Star Wars rip-off? Like really? Was it new mansion money? So, I'm apparently not allowed to say anything bad about this movie because it's a "classic." Instead, I will say you know what the hallmark of an amazing movie is? When every character needs to have a voiceover explaining what the hell they're doing and why because otherwise no one would have a clue. And such a movie further ascends to the pantheon of awesome cinema when on top of those voiceovers, they have an overarching narrator because it STILL doesn't make any sense. Yarf!

Vera drake

It took me six weeks to do it, but DAMMIT, I FINISHED THIS! I have no idea why the first hour and ten minutes exist, as an hour and ten minutes after the last half hour would have been infinitely more interesting, but I finished it! *slow clap*

Captain America

I took @VinNay to this movie for his birthday because he refused to watch Dune with me. We both fell asleep during the movie, though at different parts. This movie was fine, I guess. I just don't like the notion that "Captain America" won World War 2. America won World War 2. (Shut it. I will fight you.) Like, if they make some movie where Sam Jackson's eyepatch guy frees the slaves...um...actually, I might go see that... *whistles*

Harry Potter: Part 72 3D: The revenge of Voldemort's Hammer

This movie might be the best one in the series. I say "might" because it's been, what? Eight years? Who can remember! And I forshizzle ain't watching them again. This one might also be better than the book about the same events.

Transformers 3: Michael Bay,needs a hobby

Robots from outer space battle for Earth supremacy. Somehow, Shia Lebouef is an asset. Things go boom. Frequently.

True Grit
The Coen brothers tricked me! Tricked! This movie was okay. Kinda boring. Really predictable. And boring. I guess some dude kills this girl's dad, so she hires Jeff Bridges to track him down, but Matt Damon is already on his trail, so they go off on a "two scruffy men and a little lady" adventure. There's a bunch of shooting. But not the cool rapid fire kind.


The Company Men

This effing movie is such a bullshit, racist, sexist, craptacular piece of crap that I will punch Ben Affleck in the FACE ON SIGHT if I ever see him! Arrrgghhh. He gets laid off, but keeps his Porsche and golf club membership, and his wife, conveniently, goes back to work as a nurse. Then, his brother-in-law gives him a construction job. Then his old boss is fired and decides to open a new company, on some Pretty Woman "let's build ships together" tip, and he makes Affleck the head of it. Nevermind that all the women are either retarded or sleeping with men 40 years their senior or that the black guy is the best educated of the bunch and ends up working construction for free...wait, did I say nevermind? Correction. MIND!! Double mind! TRIPLE MIND! Right. In. The. Face.


Illusionist
This is a weird creepy cartoon about this wandering middle aged magician and a teenaged girl who decides to stow away with him. Uh huh. She's all "I want new shoes!" "I want a pretty dress!" "Get me that coat in the window!" And he has to get like three extra jobs to buy them for her while pretending he gets them by "magic." After a few years, she's now a young woman and takes up with the first dude to bat eyes at her through a window. So, then the magician is all "you know what? Fuck you, whore!" I may be paraphrasing. Also, there's no talking in the movie cause the magician speaks French or something and the girl doesn't. I said weird already, right?