Friday, February 22, 2008

The Movie Post

In case you happen to be living on the moon, under a rock, with your fingers in your ears, you know that on May 22nd the long-awaited 4th Indiana Jones movie hits theaters. I've been a huge fan of the Indy series, and even though Harrison Ford is three years older than Helen Mirren, I have hopes that IV4 will rekindle the same feeling of joy and exilharation I had watching the first three films. And to give you an idea of how much time has passed, I saw the last installment, "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," in theaters at my friend Jon's 9th birthday party.

But it got me thinking. The Indy films were a huge part of my childhood. I must have spent at least five straight Halloweens dressed as Indy, rubbing burnt cork on my face to simulate beard stubble. It got me thinking about what other movies had that kind of effect on me. So here's a list, far from comprehensive, of the movies that have, for whatever reason, stuck in my craw over the years. These are not the greatest films ever, just movies that for whatever reason "did it" for me. Here a few that popped into my head:

Captain's Courageous (1937)
I watched this in grade school, and had to try my hardest not to cry at the ending. I still remember that feeling in my gut when the movie ended and the lights came on.

Independence Day (1996)
Not so much because this was an enjoyable popcorn flick, which it was, but more because of the circumstances in which I saw it. ID4 came out while I was spending a summer at the UCLA campus studying television production. I managed to snag tickets to the opening day screening at the massive Los Angeles Theater. Every one of the two thousand-plus seats was filled, and everyone in attendance spent the entire 2.5 hours on their feet, cheering, laughing, and screaming as our heroes battled to save the world from an alien invasion. The most interactive film experience I've ever had (and not just because of the three ladies sitting behind me who turned into blabbering fools every time Will Smith came on screen).

Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
Sam Raimi is the man. Period. Arguably the most over-the-top inventive, energetic, insane and awesome horror/comedy ever made. Coined the term "Splatstick." And if you can watch the scene where Bruce Campbell crawls out of the cellar and says, "Yo, she-bitch. Let's go" without getting chills of glee, your soul has already been swallowed.

Traffic (2001)
A great movie, but more memorable because it's the movie my wife and I saw on our very first date.

Sling Blade (1996)
If you ever wonder why Billy Bob Thornton still gets work, watch this movie. As mentally disabled Karl Childers, Thornton gives one of the greatest performances I've ever seen. As a man struggling to reenter a society that never wanted him in the first place, Karl shows how horrific violence and stunning kindness can inhabit the same man.

Requiem for a Dream (2000)
The only time I've ever walked out of a movie unable to speak. This is a harrowing, brilliantly acted and devastating portrait of four lives brimming with hope, which are systematically destroyed by drugs. Ellen Burstyn and Jennifer Connelly are known as brilliant actors, but it's Jared Leto and Marlon Wayans who steal the show as best friends who start out with visions of gold, but wind up on their own roads to hell. And it has one of the most haunting musical scores ever.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Before ID4, Jurassic Park, the new Star Wars trilogy, Lord of the Rings, and The Matrix, this movie ushered in a new era in which worlds and characters could be manipulated digitally. T2 opened up infinite possibilities, and reinforced James Cameron as one of the most influential filmmakers of the last quarter century. The first time the T-1000 took a shotgun shell to the face and then turned around to show a gaping, silver hole where his eye used to be, you knew you were watching a revolutionary film.

Jaws (1975)
Probably my favorite movie ever, one that stands the test of time, proving that good old fashioned special effects can trump their digital counterparts when there's enough heart and passion involved. Even though Bruce the shark was made entirely of metal and plaster, he's 1,000,000 times more effective than the cartoon fish in "Deep Blue Sea." Not only is Jaws one of the most electrifying thrillers ever, the dialogue is pitch perfect, and unlike most action/horror movies there are real characters. And Quint's speech about the sinking of the Indianapolis...just chilling.

Feel free to add to the list!

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6 Comments:

Blogger Dave White said...

We have a lot in common Jason. Raiders and Jaws are my two all time favorites.

As far as movie experiences go... Jurassic Park was the first time I saw anything remotely related to a horror flick in the theaters and it was just a great experience with everyone flipping OUT every time a velociraptor showed up.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Don't forget The Shining.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Spint said...

Add Shark Attack 3: Megalodon to that list. A one of a kind experience, complete with barking sharks, Mexicans played by Eastern Europeans actors, and submarines that mysteriously and drastically change shape, it will ultimately go down as one of the best movies ever made.

5:10 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Ah yes, Shark Attack 3. Or as it's also known, 'Mistery Shark.'

And I believe the Mexicans were actually Bulgarians...

5:14 PM  
Blogger Kaleb - kalebnation.com said...

inspector gadget

2:00 PM  
Blogger daydream said...

I am in for the mushy stuff like the Notebook and all that lovey dovey emotional drama. That is the kind of movie that moves me.

Anyways I just loved in one of the Indy movies, I always forget which one, where the woman thinks it's safe to eat the soup and sees eyes in it! That was rich.

2:45 PM  

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