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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #19

Back To The Future

Image     “Where are my pants?” “Over there, on my hope chest.”

    If you haven’t seen Back To The Future, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life.  BTTF is a time-traveling film set in the 80s and the 50s.  Christopher Lloyd and young Michael J. Fox are a fantastic team in this fun, fast-paced adventure.  The supporting cast includes the delightfully talented Crispin Glover and Lea Thompson.  If you have the time and the energy, I suggest watching at least the first two in the trilogy back to back.  The third movie is widely regarded as the least well made of the three, but I thought it was alright.
The mix of comedy and time-sensitive-time-traveling adventure is brilliant.  The characters will keep you laughing, and the action will keep you intrigued.  This is one of those films it’s safe to say is a classic, despite the out-dated special effects.

Most underrated characters: George McFly – He has some of the best lines (“I’m your density”) and Crispin is such a talented actor.


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #18

An American Tail

Image “There are no cats in America, and the streets are paved with cheese.”

    Guys, I don’t know if you know this (I didn’t at all) but An American Tail came out in the 80s.  How old do you feel right now? I don’t think you understand, this film is actually OLDER than I am.  That’s incredible.  This movie is cute, but intense, and is pretty bold when it comes to children’s films speaking about persecution and immigration.  
    In this film, a cutie-patootie (albeit, moderately clueless) little mouse called Fievel leaves Russia with his family to go to America.  I don’t think you understand how awesome this movie is – so I’m going to tell you.  Fievel’s family represents a family of Jewish immigrants who come to America to escape persecution but end up being persecuted in the US as well.  Throughout the film, these mice deal with issues that echo real-life issues for immigrants coming to the states in the 1800s, like family members or friends dying on the boat or drowning.  I think it’s so cool that a film about a cartoon mouse could emulate the idea of immigration and persecution without being so overwhelming as to terrify children.  I’m just really excited about this film.

Most underrated character(s): Tiger – HE’S A VEGETARIAN CAT, YOU GUYS.


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Confession #1

One trait I value in my friends is honesty.  I want people to call me out on stuff, and I’ve been working a lot these past few months on being able to handle criticism.  My instinct reaction is to be defensive and closed off, but I recognize that sometimes I can’t see the mistakes I’m making until years later, and if someone has some constructive criticism for me, I want to be able to take it to heart without feeling insulted.

Yesterday I had some honesty thrown at me, and it kind of knocked me off-balance for a bit.  It’s always hard to hear negative feedback when you think you’re doing okay.  I wanted to address what was brought up and sort of explain myself, because, honestly, I know my head hasn’t been in the game, so to speak.

As Ron Swanson once said, “Never half-ass two things.  Whole-ass one thing.”  As important as I think this statement is, and as much as I would love to say I live by it, I don’t.  I have the habit of biting off way more than I can chew, panicking, and then not finishing any of it or backing out of everything.  I retreat when I’m scared, and I get scared quite frequently.
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I want to say that I recognize that my blog has not been eloquently written, or especially informative or intellectual.  It’s been the basics, and will continue to be the basics for the rest of November.  I started this blog the day I started writing my November novel, and I think we all knew that would not be my wisest choice as a writer.  My novel is really important to me, and I fully intend to finish that.  However, blogging about movies until Christmas is also important to me.  I like it; I like writing about it.

I refuse to quit – blogging about movies (as stupid as you might think that is) or writing my novel.  I have a habit of quitting – retreating – and I don’t want to be in that habit anymore.  I want to finish something – somethings.

As much as you might believe this is all for you, it’s also for me, and for my sanity and to help me progress as a writer.  Many of you know this about me, but I try to be open and up front about everything.  I’m unemployed, unhappy and unmotivated, and frankly I’m out of ideas.  Writing gives me hope.  Maybe you don’t understand that, but that’s okay.  I just wanted to express this notion.  I can tell you it will get better once November is over, and I can tell you that in the future I will focus on one creative concept at a time.

I want to thank those who have been encouraging me.  I recognize that this is a really hard time in my life, and I am handling it as best as I possibly can.  I was hoping this novel would change my life – even in a really small way.  I appreciate all those who are supporting me.  Thank you for understanding that ultimately, I’m writing for myself.  I’m not writing to impress you or befuddle you, I’m writing because it gives me hope.


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #17

 Say Anything
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“Are you here because you need someone or because you need me? Forget it, I don’t care.”

   One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is that Hollywood directors still cast young adults to play high school students.  In Say Anything, Lloyd Dobler is portrayed by John Cusak, who was 23 at the time.  The film follows Dobler after graduation as he pursues his class’ valedictorian, Diane.  The film was highly esteemed as one of the best teen-romance films of its time, and put John Cusak on the map.  
    The story is rocky but sweet.  It follows the same up and down pattern that most 80s teen flicks follow, but Lloyd Dobler is such a lovable, sincere protagonist, you can’t help but to root for him.  Despite the age of this film, it’s still easy to enjoy and just as heartwarming as when it first came out in 1989.

Most underrated characters: Lloyd Dobler – despite being the main male figure in this film, he is totally underrated.  His female friends actually refer to him as the perfect guy, and he really is an all-around great guy throughout the whole film.  Even at the end, when he is given the opportunity to be resentful and bitter, he demonstrates patience and compassion.


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #16

Pretty In Pink
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“I live to like you, and I can’t like you anymore.”

 

    Kicking off what I’ve recently decided to be 80’s Week, Pretty In Pink is today’s movie.  I know what you’re thinking: 80’s week – we will be seeing far too much Molly Ringwald this week.  Yes.  Yes we will.  But that’s okay.  Even though she’s in this movie, we are pretty much ignoring her entirely to focus on Duckie, anyway.
    Pretty In Pink is cute, funny, and as with most Molly Ringwald films, captures the emotions and irrationality of a teenage girl.  If you haven’t seen this film and don’t want to read the SPOILER I’m about to rant about, skip this and head on down to the “Two reasons to watch this film” section.  I read somewhere that the ending is different in the film than in the original script.  I’m not sure if that’s true, but if it is, it really irritates me.  Blane has the dullest personality.  He isn’t exciting, or much of anything, really.  He’s just dull.  Duckie is caring, passionate and hilarious.  The filmmakers supposedly had her end up with Blane because he was the “dream” guy, and because Duckie wasn’t cool or popular.  I was so mad when I found that out.  All throughout the movie I thought Duckie was the greatest thing, and then at the end it all just sort of…ends.  It’s very blah, and very uneventful and kind of expected.  I was disappointed.  I love this movie, up until the end.

Two reasons to watch this film:

 Baby James Spader is in it.
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 Baby Jon Cryer plays one of the cutest nerds.
    I was not a fan of Jon Cryer until I saw this movie.  He plays Duckie, who is absolutely hilarious, and provides pretty much all of the comedy in the movie.  He’s hopeful throughout the entire film, and shows such passion and heart.  Duckie is my favorite part about this movie.


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #15

Man of Steel
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“The world’s too big, Mom.” “Then make it small.”

We started off Superhero Week with Marvel, and now we’re ending with some good ol’ DC.  Much like Spider-Man, I was not a Superman fan until Man of Steel came out.  Technically, I’m still not a Superman fan when it comes to the character of Superman, but I did enjoy the movie.  
   
Two reasons to watch this film:

 Henry Cavill.
    I probably shouldn’t write anything about this – BUT I WILL.  Henry Cavill is not only gorgeous, but also a very talented actor.  He suited the role perfectly.  Also, he was not at all bad to look at (especially with that whole lumberjack thing he had going on for a bit).  

 Unexpected take on classic character.
    Most of the Superman movies out there are cliche.  I throw that word around a lot, but when you think of Superman films – old or new – you’ll think of that guy with the big red S on his chest who changes in the phone-booth and is in love with Lois Lane.  Although some of the plot points were unbelievable or unrealistic, it didn’t really matter because a man who flies because of his sun-powers is pretty unrealistic.  
    The film is executed with an unexpected level of grace.  When I first saw the trailer, I thought it was gorgeous.  I was really excited to see a new kind of Superman: a superman that wasn’t for the old-timey fans, but for my generation, and that is exactly what I got.

Sidenote: JENNY.


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas #14

The Dark Knight

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“I’m not…I’m not crazy.”

    As many of you know, I’ve recently made the switch from Batman to Iron Man for all-time-favorite superhero.  In the movie realm, however, The Dark Knight towers over the Iron Man films.  In my opinion, The Dark Knight is the BEST superhero movie of all time – yes, I mean it’s better than The Avengers (by, about, a million miles).  The Dark Knight features a brilliant soundtrack, an all-star cast, flawless writing, beautiful cinematography and great directing.

Two reasons to watch this film:

1 – Heath Ledger’s Joker.
Heath Ledger grasped the essence of the Joker perfectly.  The level of his performance as The Joker hadn’t been mastered up to this point, and probably won’t be again in that role.  Ledger’s Joker is what sets this Batman film apart from all the other ones.  He completely becomes the Joker, which amazes me as an actor, and delights me as a writer/director.  The viewers definitely weren’t the only people devastated about Ledger’s untimely death in regards to the Batman franchise.

2 – Stunning visuals.
Visually, this movie is gorgeous.  There is a quote from Donnie Darko that says, “Destruction is a form of creation,” and that’s one thing I always appreciated about Christopher Nolan (and the rest of TDK crew/visionaries) – he isn’t afraid to blow stuff up.  A lot of movie makers try to soften action movies by removing the harsh parts.  Nolan does violence with class in these movies.  The scenery and chase scenes – and every part of this film – are gorgeous to watch.  Let’s just take a minute to remember the Joker riding off into the sunset in a police car accompanied by complete silence.  Flawless.

Notable character(s): The Joker; Harvey Dent; Alfred Pennyworth; James Gordon.

Sidenote: Go watch Holy Musical B@man.  DO IT NOW.


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #13

Thor: The Dark World
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“Trust my rage.”

If there’s one superhero I don’t care about at all, it’s Thor.  I was really surprised at how poorly written this film was.  I went expecting an action movie, sprinkled with comedy and maybe some romance.  In reality, I saw a romance/drama starring a superhero who is no longer involved in any of the comedy, apparently.  The writing was really cheesy, and centered around the romance between Jane and Thor (which I did not care at all about.  In the first Thor movie it was a really good blend of romance with action, but here the romance was overwhelming and unnecessary and didn’t further the plot).  I was really disappointed at how disappointing Thor 2 was, but it seems that Marvel has peaked and is now declining, starting with Iron Man 3 and now Thor 2.  I’m hoping Captain America: The Winder Soldier doesn’t follow this pattern.

If there’s one villain I care too much about, it’s Loki.  Tom Hiddleston stole the show, in my opinion (although, as I keep saying, there wasn’t much of a show to steal).  Tom is a flawless actor, who captures the spirit of Loki with such grace and effortlessness I am always in awe of his abilities.  He is also a quality human being.  Props to Tom Hiddleston for being an excellent actor, and even more excellent person.

Props to: The make up department.  Christopher Eccleston was pretty unrecognizable.  On the other side of things, I was repeatedly smacked in the face by just how gorgeous Natalie Portman looked throughout the entire film.
The costume department.  The Asgardian attire was absolutely gorgeous, and the colors they used complimented the actors and scenery so well.

Most underrated characters: I won’t say Loki, because you all know that I’m thinking Loki.  Heimdall, they really emphasized how awesome and necessary his character is in this film, which I was happy about.  I’ll throw Darcy in there too for providing the necessary comic relief when Loki wasn’t on screen to be oddly hilarious.

ALSO – me during the first few minutes: CHRIS O’DOWD IS IN THIS FILM?!?! CHRIS O’DOWD IS IN THIS FILM!!!
Props to Chris O’Dowd for being in this film and making me happy.
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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #12

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

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“I don’t have time for a grudge match with every poser in a parka.”

 

    Before you say anything, I am aware that this is a miniseries and not a feature film.  Today’s film was originally going to be Thor 2, but I wanted to get this post up before 10 PM, so I had to go with a different movie.  I really didn’t want to do The Avengers, and I’m ending the week with DC films.  When I was trying to come up with another superhero movie for today, a lot of them popped into my head and they were either horrible (any of the Hulk films) or I haven’t seen them yet (Super; Kickass).  Then it hit me: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

    As I said, and as I’m sure you would remind me, this is not a feature film, this is a miniseries.  However, it is better than a whole heap of movies out there, so it’s going on the list.  Avenger’s director, Joss Whedon, directed Dr. Horrible as well, and it stars Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day and Nathan Fillion.  

What makes this film unique: It’s a musical, for one, and it has been referred to as a “tragicomedy.”  The writing stays true to this genre, being casually hilarious but also heartwrenchingly tragic.  It’s one of the best miniseries out there, and one of the best I’ve ever seen.

Most underrated characters: Man.  Just writing this blog post is making me emotional about it again.  Go watch it.  Go watch it now.  My most underrated character is Billy. 


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #11

Iron Man

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“Give me a scotch.  I’m starving.”

There’s a feeling you get at the end of a really good movie – it’s the best kind of pit-in-your-gut feeling – usually sparked by an amazing event or an incredible line delivered flawlessly.  I get that feeling when a really good movie ends in a way that makes me really happy, for instance, at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean, when the screen goes black as the compass closes after Johnny Depp says, “Drink up, me hearties, yo-ho!”  Once again, I found myself way too excited about life after watching Iron Man for the first time.  

Iron Man is the first in the trilogy (followed appropriately by Iron Man 2, and Iron Man 3 – apparently Iron Man is enough of a title).  The second movie is good, but not as emotion-inspiring, in my opinion, as IM1, and the third movie has an entirely different feel from the first two – so it’s hard for me to consider it a part of the trilogy.  I like what they did as far as his emotional and psychological growth, but it didn’t feel like an Iron Man film to me.  The last scene definitely redeemed any disappointment I’d had throughout the film though.  Science Bros.

I could write pages and pages about why Iron Man is the best super hero (I forgot to mention, Iron Man is my favorite superhero), but that would take a really long time and you probably already know how amazing he is anyway.  If you haven’t seen this movie, go see it.  If you have seen this movie, watch it again.  Robert Downey Jr. does an incredible job mastering the character of Tony Stark – so much so that it’s possible he is Tony Stark at this point, but that’s another story; the storyline is gripping and action-packed; the CGI is not disappointing; the supporting actors are also fantastic, but don’t get too attached to Terrence Howard.

What makes this film unique: We see a lot of glamour when it comes to superhero films.  Even Steve Rogers is glamourized in the sense that he is the nicest human being alive.  The humanity behind the character of Tony Stark is refreshing.  You always wonder what it would be like to be a superhero, and let’s be real, none of us would be as noble as Steve Rogers.  We would be much more like Tony Stark – who tries his best with the situation he’s presented with.  

Most underrated characters: Tony Stark, for being a realistic (although definitely narcissistic) human being and trying to fix the world overnight; Ho Yinsen, for being the most understanding, intelligent and considerate person in the movie.