Tuesday, March 29, 2011

He Should Be Drug Out Into The Street And Shot: A Double Sided DVD Rant

So it has been a little while now since I started this blog, and I have yet to really rant about anything so far, so I thought I would get started on that. So, first up on my list, Double Sided DVD's.

Ok, so whenever I think of double sided DVD's, I immediately think of Garfield: A Christmas Special. Now,
 before you start thinking I have gone off the deep end, let me explain, but to that I will first do a quick recap incase you have never heard of Garfield. Garfield was originally a comic strip, written by Jim Davis, about an overweight sarcastic lasagna obsessed cat and his daily adventures. It has since been used in many different mediums, including books, a weekly animated tv show, 3 animated holiday specials and a couple of live action movies. So, what does this have to do with double sided DVD's you may ask? Well, go ahead, ask. No, really, I don't have all day, ask it already. Fine, I will just wait for you to be internet civil and ask the question.
Ask already, don't make me use this
(Ahh, thanks for playing along, I have this warm fuzzy feeling coming through my keyboard, and its all thanks to you) Anyway, so where Garfield's Christmas special enters the blog is there is a point when Garfield is climbing a christmas tree to place the star on the top after which he falls down all the way to the bottom, and then he says, "Whoever invented Christmas trees should be drug out into the street and shot" and that is the thought that always runs through my mind when ever I see double sided dvd's.
Do you feel lucky Double Sided DVD's. well, do you?
Double sided dvd's once upon a time must have seen like a great idea to somebody (although I can't imagine who, but I would love to find out, as you will read later) because you could save space and the amount of discs it would take for really long movies, or tv shows, sometimes reducing the amount of discs needed from 12 to 6 (bet you didn't know I was so good at math, yeah, I am not just another pretty face, brains and good looking, a triple threat, huh, huh) or for things like special features of a movie, or putting the widescreen format on one side and fullscreen on the other, (fullscreen movies are another thing that I will rant about another day). Sounds great, right, well, its not. In fact, it down right sucks, and heres why. IT DOESN'T WORK! Plain and simple, it doesn't work. Now let me explain what I mean. As far as I knew the whole point of DVD's was to allow people to see high quality movies in the comfort of their home, wasn't it? Well, the main problem with normal one sided dvd's is that they get smudged and scratched and pick up finger prints (yeah, how someone actually manages to place their fingers on the bottom side of a disc is a mystery to me, but on the up side it has helped the police arrest several individuals over the years for cd and dvd related crimes. or at least, in my imaginary tv land they did) and such things, and this happens a fair bit, but when it comes to double sided dvd's this seems to happen way more, (if math was holding up, then it would mean that double sided dvd's would have twice as many scratches, smudges and finger prints, but due to some super cosmic voodoo wormhole craziness, double sided dvd's get at least 10 times the amount of the previously stated problems). So, they get messed up way more, but is that really a reason to hate them and their creator, well, this is like one of those awesome late night "knife sets that can cut a can while driving your car and doing your taxes" commercials, BUT WAIT, THERES MORE.
So here it is, it is not only that they get messed up easily, but when they do get messed up, there is no freakin way to fix them. You see, single sided dvds can be cleaned and repaired, either by fancy gadgets you can buy at your local Buy More*, or your near by Square Destroying video store has a cool liquid spitting spinning dvd machine that fixes them lickity split, but can you do all that for double sided dvds? NO! If your double sided dvd gets scratched, messed, mucked, smeared, or any thing else out there, then there is nothing you can do, you are totally screwed, (this especially sucks
It wasn't me, I promise.
 when it is not just a movie where you could easily go buy another copy, but disc 5 of 6 in a tv series that is no longer easy to find and has no product support from its makers, so replacing the disc might be all but impossible). So, although I don't really advocate violence, I, just like Garfield, think the guy who "Invented double sided dvds should be drug out into the street and shot*". So remember, stay single sided my Internet peoples, and I will rant at you later.

**Not with a real gun mind you, maybe a bebe gun, or a paintball gun, yeah, thats it, a paintball gun, with a really big air canister attached, so that the paintball will fly faster and hurt more when it hits him, yeah, that will work.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Top 20 Movies Of All Time: 4 To 1

What follows is a list of what I think are the best films of all time. Now rating films is a very subjective thing, and I have by no means seen every film ever made, so some of the films that you may think are the best might not be on this list. Feel free to suggest something that I might have missed, and if I agree with you I will amend my list and give you credit for introducing me to a new awesome movie. Other then that, enjoy and feel free to comment about my choices. Due to laziness, I will be using the synopsis's from http://www.allmovie.com/, and then I will put in my two cents afterwards.

Ok, so since this is the final post of my top 20, I thought I would give you a list of 20 other movies that almost made the cut, some of your favorite films might be on this list, but then again, they may not, at any rate, here you go in alphabetical order no less.

Ben-Hur * Cloverfield * Finding Nemo * Gandhi * Ghostbusters * Hoosiers * Indiana Jones Trilogy * Inglourious Basterds * L.A.Confidential * Memphis Belle *  Miracle On 34th Street * Once * Pan's Labyrinth *Red Cliff * Saving Private Ryan * The Incredibles * The Prestige * High * Up * Wall*e

Now, onto the top 4.

4. The Usual Suspects
What It Is About - A massive explosion rips through a ship in a San Pedro, CA, harbor, leaving 27 men dead, the lone survivor horribly burned, and 91 million dollars' worth of cocaine, believed to be on board, mysteriously missing. Police detective Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) soon brings in the only witness and key suspect, "Verbal" Kint. Kint's nickname stems from his inability to keep his mouth shut, and he recounts the events that led to the disaster. Five days earlier, a truckload of gun parts was hijacked in Queens, NY, and five men were brought in as suspects: Kint, hot-headed hipster thief McManus (Stephen Baldwin), ill-tempered thug Hockney (Kevin Pollak), flashy wise guy Fenster (Benicio Del Toro), and Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), a cop gone bad now trying to
go straight in the restaurant business. While in stir, someone suggests that they should pull a job together, and Kint hatches a plan for a simple and lucrative jewel heist. Despite Keaton's misgivings, the five men pull off the robbery without a hitch and fly to Los Angeles to fence the loot. Their customer asks if they'd be interested in pulling a quick job while out West; the men agree, but the robbery goes horribly wrong and they soon find themselves visited by Kobayashi (Pete Postlethwaite), who represents a criminal mastermind named Keyser Soze. Soze's violent reputation is so infamous that when Kobayashi passes along a heist that sounds like suicide, the men feel that they have little choice but to agree.

Why It Makes The List - The Usual Suspects is one of those movies that was widely overlooked when it was released. Sure, some critics gave it praise, and it actually even got a couple of Oscar nominations, even getting Kevin Spacey a little gold statue for best supporting actor, (which makes no real sense to me seeing as he is the main character in the movie, but an Oscar is an Oscar none the less I guess*) but for the longest time it flew under the greater film goers radar, which is really sad, cause this film pretty much has everything you can want in a movie. It has amazing acting, from an awesomely put together cast, memorable characters,
 quotable lines, a compelling plot and an ending that to this day remains one of my favorites. Take all that, and consider it was director Bryan Singers first major film, which was completed in 35 days for around $5 Million, and you have a formula for one of the greatest movies ever made. So, if you haven't seen it, don't read anymore about it from anybody else, just go get a copy and be treated to one of the best movies that you will ever see. I will say this though, when watching it for the first time, PAY ATTENTION TO EVERYTHING, EVERY LITTLE DETAIL, cause it all comes back in the end, enjoy.

3. Braveheart
What It Is About - Mel Gibson, came into his own as a director with Braveheart, an account of the life and times of medieval Scottish patriot William Wallace and, to a lesser degree, Robert the Bruce's struggle to unify his nation against its English oppressors. The story begins with young Wallace, whose father and brother have been killed in a trap set by the English, being taken into the custody of his uncle, a nationalist and pre-Renaissance renaissance man. He returns twenty years later, a man educated both in the classics and in the art of war. There he finds his childhood sweetheart Murron (Catherine McCormack),
and the two quickly fall in love. There are murmurs of revolt against the English throughout the village, but Wallace remains aloof, wishing simply to tend to his crops and live in peace. However, when his love is captured and later killed by English soldiers the day after their secret marriage (held secretly so as to prevent the local English lord from exercising the repulsive right of prima noctae, the privilege of sleeping with the bride on the first night of the marriage), he springs into action and single-handedly slays an entire platoon of foot soldiers. The other villagers join him in destroying the English garrison, and thus begins the revolt against the English in what will eventually become full-fledged war. For his efforts, Gibson won the honor of Best Director from the Academy; the movie also took home statuettes for Best Picture, Cinematography, Makeup, and Sound Effects.

Why It Makes The List - I will start by saying this, at the beginning of this list I mentioned that there was a difference between Best movie of all time and Favorite movie of all time.
 Well, although it is number three on my best movie of all time list, Braveheart is number one on my favorite movie of all time list, so some of that favoritism might seep through onto this post, (if that is the case, all I can say is, TOUGH LUCK, this is my blog after all and you're not paying to read it, so you're just going to have to deal with it). So, Braveheart has to be one of the best modern day epics ever to be put on film. It is massive in scale, believable in its battle scenes and has incredible direction from Mel Gibson, (for some reason Mel seems to have gone nuts in the last couple of years, but I do not think that this should be held against Braveheart, William Wallace is not responsible for the man having some kind of mental breakdown. I will pray for you Mel, you are better then you are acting lately, Jesus loves you buddy**, and I am sure you will gather yourself soon). Then you also have the story, which is one of the greatest action, romance, drama pieces ever put together in one film. William Wallace was a great example of what
a man should be, he is passionate, loving, romantic, yet also brave and is pretty much as manly as you can get, (the scene where he refuses to swear loyalty to the king and is silent when they torture him, screaming out when he says the word, FREEDOM at the top of his lungs, it still moves me to this day when I watch it). Then add possibly my favorite soundtrack ever, which was composed and conducted by James Horner, it completes every scene so perfectly that I still see the images as I listen to it now. All these things and more, like the fact that I am part Scottish, make Braveheart one of the best films of all time, and without a doubt my favorite.

2. Lord Of The Rings
What It Is About - (As in Star Wars, I am writing the synopsis for this, since the http://www.allmovie.com/, was too long, although I used Wikipedia as a guide line, so shout out goes to the great Wiki) Long ago the Dark Lord Sauron forged the One Ring to gain power over other rings held by the leaders of Men, Elves and Dwarves. He is defeated in battle, and the ring is then taken as a trophy and quickly lost. Over two thousand years later, the Ring comes into the hands of the hobbit Sméagol, who hides under the mountains, where the Ring transforms him over the course of hundreds of years into a twisted, corrupted creature called Gollum. Eventually he loses the Ring, and it is found by Bilbo Baggins. Meanwhile Sauron takes a new physical form and reoccupies Mordor, his old realm. Gollum sets out in search of the Ring, but is captured by Sauron, who learns that Bilbo has the Ring. Gollum is set loose, and Sauron, who needs the Ring to regain his full power, sends forth the Ringwraiths, his dark, fearsome servants, to seize it. The ring has been safe with Bilbo in The Shire for many years and is past to Frodo Baggins at his wizard friend Gandalf the
Grey's urging when Bilbo decides to leave the Shire. Gandalf learns of the Ring's history and advises Frodo to take it away from the Shire. Frodo leaves, taking his gardener and friend, Samwise ("Sam") Gamgee, and two cousins, Meriadoc ("Merry") Brandybuck and Peregrin ("Pippin") Took, as companions. After avoiding the Ringwraiths and leaving the Forest, they stop in the town of Bree, where they meet Aragorn, a ranger who joins them as guide and protector. They leave Bree after narrowly escaping attack, but the Ringwraiths follow them to the look-out hill of Weathertop, and wound Frodo with a magical knife. Aragorn leads the hobbits toward the refuge of Rivendell, while Frodo is taken by horseback by Arwen in hopes of being healed as he is gradually succumbing to the wound. Frodo recovers in Rivendell under the care of Elrond.
 The Council of Elrond reveals much significant history about Sauron and the Ring, as well as the news that Sauron has corrupted the wizard Saruman. The Council decides that the threat of Sauron is too great and that the best course of action is to destroy the Ring by returning it to Mount Doom in Mordor, where it was forged. Frodo volunteers to take the Ring, and a "Fellowship of the Ring" is chosen to accompany and protect him: Sam, Merry, Pippin, Aragorn, Gandalf, Gimli the Dwarf, Legolas the Elf, and the man Boromir, son of the Ruling Steward Denethor of the realm of Gondor. From there the heroes continue the quest to destroy the ring and two movies later give Sauron an eye ache by destroying the ring. During the quest all the fellowship are tested and grow, becoming better people and yada yada yada. That is all I will say, if you haven't watched to movies, then do it, yada yada yada.

Why It Makes The List - Ok, unless you have been living under a preverbal movie rock, then you already know why this is on my list (and if you have, stop that, it is bad for your posture). Lord Of The Rings is the EPIC to end all EPICS. Now just as in other "Trilogies" I count this as one movie, and just like Star Wars, it was actually meant to be just that. When LOTR (just incase you are clueless, LOTR is a short form universally referenced for Lord Of The Rings, and now you get to be in on one of the worst kept secrets in the world, welcome to the club, make sure to send me your $100 club entrance fee and I will send you your official
 "LOTR Worst Kept Secret In The World" button, signed by Orch number 4629 in the battle scene at Helm's Deep, Operators are standing by) was written it was one story, but it was broken up for several reasons which I will not go into here. So the movie is really one film, in three parts, mainly cause most people don't have time to watch all twelve hours of the story in one sitting, (most people, except my cousin Ryan "Duma Noctys Corvyd" McKay that is, big ups for being awesome Ryan). So, lets just quickly go over why this is number two on my list. Well, ................... have you seen LOTR, I am not even sure where to start. Ok, lets do this alphabetically, it has A) Action B) Bravery C) top notch Cinematography D) near perfect Directing from Peter Jackson E) Elves F) lots of Fighting G) Ian McKellen in his best performance and role ever as Gandalf H) Hilarious Helpful Hobbits (bam, I thought I would hit you will a little alliteration) I) it invokes an Intense emotional response (if you didn't feel for Frodo and Sam during this movie then you have no heart) J) Just the right amount of balance of humor, action, drama, romance and everything else to make it work on all levels K) Killer Orchs
L) Liv Tyler, as an elf, (Nuff Said) M) Magnificent sets and locations, truth be told LOTR's is kinda one big commercial for New Zealand, and I bet their tourism went up a whole heap after its release N) Nerve, it takes a lot of Nerve to tackle LOTR, it is a huge story and has incredible die hard fans, to not only make the movie, but to make it right, so lets just say that Peter Jackson must have a large set of spherical man parts*** for what he did O) Orlando Bloom and all the other good looking male actors, you have to have stuff for the ladies too you know P) Perfect casting, man they did a good job, even changing their choice for Aragon (Stewart Townsend is the guy who got axed incase you were wondering, I finally looked it up so now you don't have to) after 4 days of shooting, thus we have the incredible performance from Viggo Mortensen Q) Quality production value throughout the whole movie R) a completely Ridonkculas cast size, the amount of people this movie employed is, well, Ridonkculas S) the sheer Scale of the production, it is a movie that took more then 7 years to make, with attention to detail like no other movie ever made T) Terrific source material, you can't go wrong with J.R.R. Tolkien U) Unbelievable depth of character development, all the characters left this story different, but I am willing to bet that the
 cast did too V) Viggo (As with Liz, Nuff Said) W) Wonderfully choreographed fight scenes and battles, that many people doing that much stuff is a logistical nightmare X) Xtremely awesome special effects, the people at Weta made the impossible possible, and they deserve a heap of credit Y) You know LOTR rocks (Ok, I was having trouble coming up with something for Y, give me a break, I am writing this while on vacation) and Z) Zeal for what they were doing, maybe that is cause they are from New Zealand, (ha ha, I am so funny). The last thing I will add is the score is truly breathtaking to boot. Well, it is all that stuff and so much more. If you don't like it, that is fine, but as for me, it is the 2nd best movie of all time, but not number one, that title goes to.........

1. Ernest Goes To Camp

1. The Shawshank Redemption
What It Is About - In 1946, a banker named Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is convicted of a double murder, even though he stubbornly proclaims his innocence. He's sentenced to a life term at the Shawshank State Prison in Maine, where another lifer, Ellis
 "Red" Redding (Morgan Freeman), picks him as the new recruit most likely to crack under the pressure. The ugly realities of prison life are quickly introduced to Andy: a corrupt warden (Bob Gunton), sadistic guards led by Capt. Byron Hadley (Clancy Brown), and inmates who are little better than animals, willing to use rape or beatings to insure their dominance. But Andy does not crack: he has the hope of the truly innocent, which (together with his smarts) allow him to prevail behind bars. He uses his banking skills to win favor with the warden and the guards, doing the books for Norton's illegal business schemes and keeping an eye on the investments of most of the prison staff. In exchange, he is able to improve the prison library and bring some dignity and respect back to many of the inmates, including Red.

Why It Makes The List - Just as Usual Suspects flew under the radar for a long time, so to did the best film ever made, The Shawshank Redemption. So, why is Shawshank so much
better then all the others, including all the ones on this list? Well, I will try my best to help you understand. Now, I will start with what it is not. Shawshank Redemption is not an epic, it boasts no mind blowing special effects, did not win the Oscar for best picture the year it was released (it went up against the feel good juggernaut of a movie called Forest Gump that year, which at the time I thought deserved the award, but again, most people didn't actually see Shawshank Redemption till later, so I understand why it won), did not take a million people to make and has to this day, very little push and fan fare surrounding it. So, it is missing all those things, what makes it the best. Plain and simple, it moves people. Yep, thats it. Really. Well, ok, it has other things
 going for it, like an amazing cast, a terrific premise, well defined three dimensional characters, and amazing direction. So all those things help, but the reason The Shawshank Redemption has gone from unknown to being considered the best film of all time is that it moves people. At its heart, it is a story of hope and redemption, taking the viewer to the depths of despair and then lifting them to hope, and then to a place that many movies will never get close to reaching, ending in redemption and fulfillment. Shawshank, the movie that quietly went about its business, not boasting and strutting around like many other movies do, slowly and quietly got an audience, (it is kinda awesome in that it mirrors the journey of Shawshanks main character Andy
 Dufresne, if you have seen the movie then you know what I am talking about) and as I write this, it is rated as the number one movie of all time on the Internet Movie Data Base website. It is the little film that could, about a man sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit, and as far as I am concerned, it is the greatest example of hope ever to be put on film and in that, the greatest movie of all time.

So there you have it, my top 20 of all time, here are the links to
8 To 5   12 To 9  16 To 13  20 to 17, I had no clue that it was going to be as hard as it was to get through all of these, but I am glad I did, so now when people ask me that question that they always do, "What is the best movie of all time?" I am going to point them to my blog and say, been there, wrote that, read it if you really want to know. So thanks for reading everybody, I would still love feedback, do you agree with me, do you think I am wrong, did I miss a great movie, am I completely nuts and bloging to myself? Let me know, and until next time, I will leave you with one of my favorite movie quotes ever, from the lips of Andy, "Get busy living, or get busy dying!" Amen to that, blog at you later.

*I actually don't put much stock in the Oscars, they are too political and get it wrong way too much, although it is nice to have movies I love get awards.
**The fact that Jesus loves Mel is great, but remember, Jesus loves everybody, so he is not that special.
***This was the nicest way I could think of saying this.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Top 20 Movies Of All Time: 8 To 5

What follows is a list of what I think are the best films of all time. Now rating films is a very subjective thing, and I have by no means seen every film ever made, so some of the films that you may think are the best might not be on this list. Feel free to suggest something that I might have missed, and if I agree with you I will amend my list and give you credit for introducing me to a new awesome movie. Other then that, enjoy and feel free to comment about my choices. Due to laziness, I will be using the synopsis's from http://www.allmovie.com/, and then I will put in my two cents afterwards.
8. Batman Begins & Dark Knight
What They Are About - The origins of the Caped Crusader of Gotham City are finally brought to the big screen in this new adaptation of the perennially popular comic-book series. The young Bruce Wayne (Gus Lewis) leads a privileged life as the son of wealthy, philanthropist parents, both of whom stress their commitment to improving the lives of the citizens of crime-ridden Gotham City. After his mother and father are murdered by a   mugger, however, Wayne grows into an impudent young man (Christian Bale), full of rage and bent on retribution until encouraged by his childhood sweetheart, Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes), to search for answers beyond his own personal vendettas. Wayne eventually finds discipline in the Far East under the tutelage of Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson), a member of the mysterious League of Shadows who guides him in the study of martial arts -- and the ways in which an ordinary man can hone his senses to an almost superhuman acuity. After seven years away from Gotham, Wayne returns, determined to bring peace and safety
 back to the city. With the help of his faithful manservant, Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine), and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), a scientist at his late father's corporation, Wayne develops a secret identity as Batman, a masked fighter for justice. But when a shady psychiatrist (Cillian Murphy) joins forces with the criminal underworld, Wayne realizes that putting an end to their nefarious plans will be very difficult indeed. Then Christopher Nolan steps back into the director's chair for this sequel to Batman Begins, which finds the titular superhero coming face to face with his greatest nemesis -- the dreaded Joker. Christian Bale returns to the role of Batman, Maggie Gyllenhaal takes over the role of Rachel Dawes (played by Katie Holmes in Batman Begins), and Heath Ledger dons the ghoulishly gleeful Joker makeup. Just as it begins to appear as if Batman, Lt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman), and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) are making headway in their tireless battle against the criminal element, a maniacal, wisecracking fiend plunges the streets of Gotham City into complete chaos.

Why It Makes The List - I will start by saying that Batman is hands down my favorite superhero. He is everything you could want him to be, brave, smart, fearless, and unlike most superheros, he is completely without powers. Now there have been lots of  screen adaptations of Batman, and they have ranged from ok to terrible, but none of them compare with the brilliance that Christopher Nolan was able to bring to the table. Batman Begins is
 an incredible film, taking Batman away from the cheesiness of the past and placing him firmly in reality and showing how totally cool he really is. It has great acting, directing, action, pace, musical score and story which totally set a standard that would be hard to top, that is until Nolan made the next Batman movie. If these two films were compared to a meal, Batman Begins would be the totally awesome starter, preparing the pallet for the stellar main course which is the Dark Knight. As much as I did not think it was possible, Nolan tops his first effort in every aspect. He got almost the entire cast back from the first movie, with only one exception, ( replaces Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes) and that was done on purpose and for the better, and then he cast Heath Ledger as The Joker, which at the time I thought was a terrible choice, but I was completely wrong.
I now trust Nolan so much for choosing the right actor that I would totally believe him if he showed up at my door and told me that I was going to play Robin in the next movie, I would just accept it and put on some yellow tights. In the end you find that Batman Begins and the Dark Knight are both movies that are made so well, and are so true to the spirit of the characters that you forget you are watching movies about a superhero, they are just that good, and that is why they are so high on my list.

7. Fightclub
What It Is About - In this darkly comic drama, Edward Norton stars as a depressed young man who has become a small cog in the world of big business. He doesn't like his work and gets no sense of reward from it, attempting instead to drown his sorrows by putting together the "perfect" apartment. He can't sleep and feels alienated from the world at large; he's become so desperate to relate to others that he's taken to visiting support groups for patients with terminal diseases so that he'll have people to talk to. One day on a business flight, he meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a charming iconoclast who sells soap. Tyler doesn't put much stock in the materialistic world, and he believes that one can learn a great deal through pain, misfortune, and chaos.
Tyler cheerfully challenges his new friend to a fight. Our Narrator finds that bare-knuckle brawling makes him feel more alive than he has in years, and soon the two become friends and roommates, meeting informally to fight once a week. As more men join in, the "fight club" becomes an underground sensation, even though it's a closely guarded secret among the participants. (First rule: Don't talk about fight club. Second rule: Don't talk about fight club.) But as our Narrator and Tyler bond through violence, a strange situation becomes more complicated when Tyler becomes involved with Marla (Helena Bonham Carter), whom Edward Norton's character became infatuated with when they were both crashing the support-group circuit. From there Tyler becomes more and more militant and starts something called PROJECT MAYHAM, which Edward Norton's character is not included in and a rift starts to grow and the mystery of Tyler and Edward Norton's character true relationship starts to come to light.

Why It Makes The List - Fightclub has to be one of the most mind blowing movies I have ever seen. It is one of those type of movies that once you have seen it the first time, you will never see that same movie again, yet you will see new things every time you watch it after that. The story of Fightclub seems simple enough when it starts, but the deeper you go into the movie the more layered and complex the story gets.

Flashback humor, funny.
Director David Fincher makes use of editing and effects techniques that really enhance the storytelling and the cinematography. Then you have some amazing acting on the part of Edward Norton and Brad Pitt, being incredibly cool, funny, crazy and violent, all the while asking questions about what it means to be a man in modern day society. Fightclub is not a movie for everybody, (my friend Rob M. actually thinks that it is one of the worst movies he has ever seen, but he likes King Kong, which is a terrible movie, so I think it kinda all balances out in the end) it is really harsh in a few places, and confusing in others, but overall it is just an incredible movie that really is unlike anything else I have ever seen, and that is why it makes my list.

6. The Matrix Trilogy

What It Is About - It's the year 1999, and Thomas Anderson AKA Neo (Keanu Reeves) works in a cubicle, manning a computer while hacking on the side. He has trouble sleeping and spends his nights searching for another hacker named Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), and when they finally meet he has some interesting news for Mr. Anderson -- none of what's going on around him is real. The year is actually closer to 2199, and it seems Thomas, like most people, is a victim of The Matrix, a massive artificial intelligence system that has tapped into people's minds and created the illusion of a real world, while using their brains and bodies for energy, tossing them away like spent batteries when they're through. Morpheus, and his protege Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) however, are convinced Neo is "The One" who can crack open The Matrix and bring his people to both physical and psychological freedom.
How cool was this the first time you saw it!
All the while three matrix agents led by Agent Smith will stop at nothing to destroy Morpheus and his crew, capturing him and trying to hack his mind for access codes to Zion, the last human city. Neo then has to chose whether or not he is,"The One" and risk his life in saving his friend on a suicide mission. From there the rest of the series has Neo and Trinity falling in love, and the machines putting on a final push to destroy Zion, with Agent Smith gaining the power to replicate himself, he slowly starts taking over the matrix while Neo goes to the final fight to decide the fate of both worlds while an epic battle rages between the humans in Zion and the machines that want to destroy it.

Why It Makes The List - The Matrix was a movie that was shrouded in mystery when it first came out. The trailers showed lots of cool things happening, but you couldn't quite tell what it was really about, then you stepped into the theater and the lights went dark and BAMB, you saw something you had never seen before.

The Matrix movies pushed the limits of special effects and cinematography, in ways that most people, including myself, never even dreamed of. It mixed great shoot-em up action with incredible fighting scenes, hard core philosophy and people running around in lots of leather like nobodies business. Then it upped the ante in the continuing movies, making them bigger (although some of the special effects in Reloaded were not on par with the original, but I think it was a lag in the tech more then anything else) and going deeper and deeper into the mind process behind what makes men and women special and how important  love, family, faith and belief are. Then you throw in lots of cool effects, a cool ship escape, more martial arts, the best mid air fighting scene in the history of film, not to mention all the cool spiritual stuff hiding under the surface (for more on that check out my Christ In Film post) and you have a what I call number 6 on my list of best movies of all time.

5. Star Wars: The Original Trilogy

What It Is About - (I am writing this sysnopis myself, cause I can sum it up much faster then allmovie.com can) A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, a evil empire controled the galaxy, and a small rebel alliance is formed to try and overthrow it. Although the universe is one of technology, there is an element to the universe called THE FORCE which binds the universe together, and certain people, called Jedi's, can draw upon the force and do superhuman
 things. So, the empire wants control, the rebels want freedom, and when this takes place in space you have "Star Wars". (That is all I am saying for this, cause I feel a little silly writing more, cause if you haven't watched it already, shame on you, stop reading this right now, go watch the origianl 3, which are numbered 4, 5 and 6, (yeah, don't ask) and be treated to one of the best things on film ever. Oh, and just pretend that numbers 1, 2 and 3 don't exsist, you will thank me for it later, and if you have seen it 4, 5, and 6, then writing more would be pointless anyway)

Why It Makes The List - So, A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, (way back before he sold out to the all mighty dollar) George Lucas decided to write a modern day hero quest myth, so he sat down and wrote, THE STAR WARS movies, problem was, it was too long, so he split it up into three parts. This story had everything you could want, a young idealistic hero, a brash cocky rouge, a brave beautiful princess, a huge hairy growling guy, two funny and awesome looking bickering robots, the coolest spaceship in the history of film, (I am talking about the Millenium Falcon incase you are clueless) and possibly the greatest villian in film history, (I am not even going to tell you who that is, cause I would be insulting your intellegence).
Take all that, then add Lucas stealing ideas, (I mean, being inspired by other better directors) and ground breaking special effects techniques, (Star Wars was so groundbreaking that without it, movies like The Matrix and many others would not exsist, so big ups to George and the crew for that) and you have one incredible film. So that is all well and good, but why it makes my list is more then just that. Star Wars managed to do something more then just be a movie franchise, it impacted culture, in its time, more then any other movie I can think of. It became part of our lives in such a way that it changed the way a generation viewed movies. A space movie ladies and gentlemen, who knew that a space movie could do so much, and thus, it is my number 5.

Well that is all for now, the top 4 are coming up next, I am sure you are just dying to know, (I know my friend Michelle was actually trying to get the number one movie out of my bestfriend the other day, sorry "Russell", you have to wait like the rest of the internet) so check back next week were I will recap, and also give you a quick list of the movies that almost made it, and then hit you with the best movies ever. Till then, ramblers, keep rambling.

Here are links to the rest of the list, in case you missed them.
12 To 9,  16 To 13, 20 To 17 Happy Reading

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Walk Through Fire, Cause God Is In The Rain: My Baptism Movie Thoughts

As I write this, (which is on Monday morning February the 28th at about 3:00am*, in case you really wanted to know) I am preparing for an upcoming experience that almost all Christians will do, (well, all but those who attend a certain paramilitary church group, which doesn't practice the sacraments). What I am talking about is Baptism. Now for those of you that know me you might be confused, (those who don't know might be confused for other reasons, don't worry, that's normal) cause baptism is usually something that "new" Christians do, and I have been a Christian all my life, so what is the deal you may ask, (you probably didn't, but just play along and pretend you did) well, because I grew up in that earlier mentioned paramilitary church group (I mentioned this in my Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb: Wetworks Theology post, check it out if you get a chance) which doesn't baptize, I never got the chance to do it, but my family and I now attend a different church (big shout out to Forest Brook Community Church, represent) and this coming Sunday FBCC is doing their first baptism of the year, and I am standing up before my fellow believers and getting dunked, (it should be EPIC). So, seeing as I relate a lot of life experiences to movies, it made me think about film examples of baptism, even if it was just symbolical and one film jumped out at me right away with two such examples no less. Now if you have been reading my top 20 films of all time list, (and if you haven't then why the heck not, you know you want to, so now you know what you are doing after finishing this post, happy reading) then you know that number 15 belongs to V For Vendetta, and that is the movie that stands out for me when looking at baptism. But first, I will give you a quick little info on baptism. 

This is actually famous guitarist Brian "Head" Welch being baptized in the Jordan River

Baptism is a ritual that has been going on since the days of Jesus, and what it is (along with communion, which is breaking bread and drinking wine in remembrance of Jesus broken body and shed blood. These are called "Sacraments" in church language, and they are very important) at its core is an outward sign of an inner change. Now the mechanics of it is that the baptisey, (I don't think that this is actually a word, but I am using it anyway) stands in water that is usually about waist high and has one or two baptisers ask them if they have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour. If they say yes they are then lowered into the water backwards and are drowned so they can meet Jesus faster (Just kidding, they only do that to people who say NO) well, actually they are brought back up and everybody cheers and there are lots of hugs for everyone.

Yep, Jesus got baptised too
So here is what it all means. When the baptisey is lowered into the water they are symbolically dying with Christ when he died on the cross, and when they are brought back up they are symbolically raised with Christ too. Water itself is a great symbol, cause it symbolizes life and death, depending on how it is viewed (shout out to my buddy Jim Chen for teaching me all the cool baptism stuff, and for dunking me this coming Sunday). So when you become a Christian, one of the things you do to show your church that you are sincere is getting baptised. It doesn't actually save you, but it is a great expression of being saved, so that is why we do it, (Now I know I said you get fully dunked when you are baptised, but some churches use a few different methods, such as sprinkling water on the head or possibly spraying them with a fire hose set on full, or maybe not that one, but who knows, but they all are means to the same end, so I am making no judgements here in case your church does it differently then mine).

Ok, so that covers baptism, so where the heck does V For Vendetta have a baptism take place you might ask, no matter two of them? Well, let me start by saying that it is more of a symbolic baptism that I am talking about, but all in all it stands for the same thing. Now before I get into this I suggest that if you have not seen V For Vendetta that you check it out, or at least read my thoughts about it in the movie list section. Assuming you already know what it is about, then you should easily get that V is the first baptisey . So here it is, V's baptism, and this is the really cool super cool thelogical thing, because V is not baptized with water, but by fire. Now the reason this rocks pretty hard is that in the bible in The Gospel Of Matthew, Chapter 3, verse 11, John the Baptist says, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

V's Baptism with fire.
So if baptism is all about publicly showing an inner change, then I think this fits the bill. Before this happens V is a prisoner, not knowing who he was and having no purpose. But then something happened, and he could no longer stay as he was, he had to change, he had to escape. Thus becoming a new person on the inside, he was reborn through fire, into a completely different person on the outside also. This was his baptism, and just as when baptism was done in biblical times, it signified a new creation, a new birth, and when that type of change happens, it not only effects the person, but those who come into contact with them. Now, onto the second baptism.

Evey when she is first captured, looks afraid, doesn't she.
So if you have seen V For Vendetta, you know that at one point Evey is captured, thrown in a cell, has her head shaved and is tortured, "presumably" all for information about V, and while there she reads a note left by another prisoner named Valeria. The note chronicles her journey of persecution and states that although Valeria has never met Evey, she loves her and warns her to never give up that "ONE INCH" inside that is basically your very soul, they can take everything else, but never give them that. Evey follows the notes advice and when told she was to be executed unless she gave some information about V, she decides that she would rather be, "taken out behind the chemical sheds and shot" and this sparks her baptism. Once she finds this truth, this "ONE INCH" she is a changed person, and in the midst of tears and anger, V says to her,

Evey looking not afraid asking for the chemical shed.
"Listen to me, Evey. This may be the most important moment of your life. Commit to it. They took your parents from you. They took your brother from you. They put you in a cell and took everything they could take except your life. And you believed that was all there was, didn't you? The only thing you had left was your life, but it wasn't, was it? You found something else. In that cell you found something that mattered more to you than life. It was when they threatened to kill you unless you gave them what they wanted... you told them you'd rather die. You faced your death, Evey. You were calm. You were still.Try to feel now what you felt then."

God Is In The Rain

Evey then says she needs air, and going to the roof, stands with her arms stretched out in a massive rainstorm. She stands there drenched and cleansed, in celebration of a change that has happened deep inside, of becoming a new person, living in a freedom that she never knew before. Evey even references back to something Valeria's Grandmother used to tell her, that "God was in the Rain" (Booya for Jesus)  Now if this is not baptism, I'm not sure what is. Yes, it is not baptism into faith in Jesus, but it is the ceremony. They both were changed, and that change was marked by passing through fire for V and water for Evey. It was an outward sign of an inner change, and if you know the rest of the story of V For Vendetta, then you know that their inward changes made the world a different place, because they were acted upon.

So, I am to be baptised this Sunday, and I am totally stoked about it. I even got a tattoo for the occasion, which just happens to be based on a comic book cover from V For Vendetta (coincidence, I think not, well, I guess I should say, I know not, because it is my tattoo and all, but that just sounds to much like, I don't know, so I will stick with the first one). So I will end this post with those two pictures (the tree in my tat is supposed to represent the tree of Gondor from Lord Of The Rings, which in turn is a representation of the cross. See what I did there, I put a cross in my tat, but I geeked it up, aren't I just awesome. Oh, and a big shout out to my inker Tedd, thanks for the amazing work) and if you are in the area on Sunday morning, feel free to come and watch me go under, (and comeback up again, fingers crossed, ha, that is a Jesus joke right there, and I didn't even mean to write it. Awesome) until next time, stay thirsty my friends, catch you on the dunked side.


Original V For Vendetta Comic Book Cover Art

My Ink Based On It

*I actually finished writing this at 9:07pm on the same day, it takes me a while to do these things you know, and I do have a job, family, sleep cycle and digestion system that all need maintaining too, so it is kind of a miracle I ever get anything posted sometimes.