So I was watching an old episode of The Office with Suzanne the last week. I’m relatively new to the series because I purposefully never watched it when it first came out because of my extreme bias towards the Americanization of series adaptations the States tend to do. However after constantly hearing about how funny the show was (and knowing pretty much all the cast members from other works) we buckled down and started watching it vigilantly. Still not quite caught up yet fully but we’re getting there.
Anyway… this one episode in particular revolved around the employees hanging out in the parking lot during a fire drill (I believe). Jim decided to play a game called which was aptly titled “If You Were Stranded on a Desert Island What 5 Movies Would You Have”. Yeah I know, the semantics of it baffle even the greatest minds but it got me to thinking about the subject days later. What movies could you tolerate for potentially the rest of your adult life? I gave the topic an undeservedly long amount of thought and finally came up with the following list:
Aliens (1986) – I absolutely love this movie. Even as it celebrates its 25th anniversary this year (wow…25th… holy crap I’m feeling pretty ancient now) I still rank this flick high in my all-time movie list. Hell I’ve dissected this movie so much that I can probably turn off the volume and give a voice-by-voice and sound-by-sound performance of epic geek proportions. Ask Suzanne. I’ve pissed her off more than once by reciting entire scenes under my breath. I don’t know what it is about Aliens though. Alien was (and still is) an awesome space horror movie but the sequel took the franchise in a whole new direction. The super macho attitude shown at the beginning of the movie quickly turns into stir fried panic by the end. Sigourney polarized everything with her iconic portrayal of Ellen Ripley. She became the poster child for girl power in the 80’s but her character was so much more than just that. It showed millions of movie fans that it’s just not wise to piss a lady off.
Se7en (1995) – Ahh… how can someone not like this movie? Whenever it comes on TV I find myself mindlessly watching it without realizing it. It’s by far one of the best horror movies to date. I can say that without hesitation. It’s one of those rare movies that understood what it takes to make a good suspense ridden thriller. Se7en showed just enough disturbing content to get its point across and nothing more. They left the brunt of it up to the audience to imagine and that’s what set it apart from the rest. An intelligent movie for an intelligent audience. Plus it had the magical black man Morgan Freeman, the super brooding Brad Pitt and the King of Creepy Kevin Spacey. What more could you ask for?
Airplane! (1980) – If I had to be stuck with one comedy for the rest of my life, it’d have to be Airplane. I don’t know what it is about this movie but it’s got a direct line to my funny bone. Sure many of the jokes are outdated but it still slays me after all these years. I remember seeing this movie when I was as young as 7 or 8 and I got it then. While there are tons of comedies out there I can and have watched a dozen times over, this is one that I don’t think twice about watching. If it’s on I watch it. Surely I can’t be serious when I say I watch it every time, right? Of course I am… and don’t call me Shirley.
Scrooged (1988) – This is a surprise to me as well. It’s a Christmas movie. I generally can’t stand Christmas movies with their toothache sweet repetitive storylines told over and over again. However this is a Christmas movie with Bill Fucking Murray (Sorry for the profanity. I had a Tallahassee moment there). Bill has cracked me up for ages and while Ghostbusters could have easily fit in this spot I figured my beloved wife would have that on her list at #1 so if we’re stranded together I’m good to go. Anyways, this movie boggles me as much as the others with my mindless attraction to it. I start avoiding everything Christmas related the moment I walk into a store and start hearing the annoying jingles scratching at my ear drums. Somehow though I always manage to watch this movie. It’s never on purpose. It’s just on and I end up being sucked into it. I can honestly say I’ve watched this flick faithfully for the past 20 years straight every Christmas. I know… sad, right? But it’s BILL FUCKING MURRAY!
The Terminator (1984) – Why is it actors have their best roles when they play a bad guy? Sure the “terminator” character got miraculously transformed into a “good guy” in later movies but there was no denying that the Governator was an absolute bad ass in The Terminator. In fact he set the standard for bad ass in the first 20 minutes when he walked up butt-naked and put his fist through someone’s chest. Like all the others on this list I’ve seen this movie more times than I even care to admit and yet I never get tired of it. While there are times I’ll turn it off when it’s on TV in favor of something else there are still bizarre instances where I find myself watching the movie from beginning to end without realizing it.
You end up finding a lot about a person by the choices they make in this exercise. Me… I’m about as transparent as a Windexed window when it comes to mine. It’s no secret that 4 of my 5 choices are pre-1990. I’m a child of the 80’s and that’s where my heart lies. Even though I spent my tumultuous teens in the 90’s the Decade of Decadence left a lasting impression on my young mind.
I’m actually profoundly intrigued to find out the picks of the warped minds who actually come by and regularly visit my funky little blog so please, by all means, share your choices and be judged by your peers.
I had heard buzz about this movie some months ago. It was touted as a “really cool zombie flick” but didn’t pay it too much attention because (a) we were in the process of moving up north and (b) I tend to not follow anything that critics like. Such is the case with anything I’m interested in, once it becomes mainstream I lose all faith in it being good anymore – at least until it becomes unpopular once again. It happened with vampires. Heck I was all about vampires back in the late 90’s but then along came the Queen of Teen Prattling, Stephenie Meyer, and that brought an abrupt end to my vamp love. The unthinkable happened. Vampires became mainstream and soon everyone and their mother had a story, book, tv series or movie about vampires. Even though I’m a die-hard fan of True Blood, the love for the genre isn’t there right now.
My last place of horror refuge lay in everybody’s favorite brain munching meanies – zombies. The undead have been iconic throughout modern movie history and have seen a rollercoaster of popularity over the past 40 or so years. They’re always a safe genre to fall back on. When I first heard about the 2009 French film aptly titled The Horde it immediately piqued my interest. It’s always fun to see foreign zombie flicks because they have a totally different feel than North American ones. Unfortunately when critics started chiming in on how good it was I feared for the worst.
Last night I got to finally sit down and watch it.
Let me start off by saying it’s not a movie for everyone. Horror fans seem to be split down the middle with some praising it as being brilliant while others tear it down with a bloody hatchet. It all seems to trace back to the age-old debate of Fast Zombies vs. Slow Zombies. It’s always amazed me how venenate both sides are over the subject. If you’re locked into the slow dopey zombie preference this is definitely not a movie for you. However if you enjoy track star, parkouring and insatiable undead (or just don’t care either way and just wanna see some bloody goodness) then welcome to the Horde.
The story centers around a group of vigilante cops who stage a raid on a gangster’s headquarters based in an old condemned building in the ghetto. They’re out for revenge against the band of thugs who killed one of their fellow police officers but soon realize they’re outgunned and are eventually taken hostage. The first 20 – 30 minutes screams of a Guy Ritchie-like gritty gangland crime drama with tense dialogue and graphic violence between the Nigerian drug lords and the captive cops. The story suddenly veers in a whole new disturbing direction when the building is besieged by throngs of fast-moving zombies. Makeshift alliances are formed between bitter enemies as both the criminals and the renegade cops try to escape the death trap.
Sounds like the makings for a rambunctious time, eh?
It’s a bona-fide gorefest with plenty of fast paced bloody violence to satisfy even the biggest action junkies out there. I can’t justifiably label it as one of the best zombie flicks I’ve ever seen but it definitely deserves its merits. Being a fan of the hyper zombies I tend to give it more bonus points than if it were a classic zombie film. The characters, although a little undefined are decent enough to carry the film. It’s always cool watching a horror movie in which you’re not familiar with the leads because you never know who’s making it to the end.
The special effects and makeup were on point as was the cinematography. It reminded me very much of 28 Days Later with the overwhelming grittiness and purposefully washed out and desaturated film quality. The confined spaces and tight hallways within the decrepid apartment building adds to the anxiety levels especially when you have ravenous zombies collapsing in at all angles. Story wise, it had potential but at times leaves your mind wandering only to be brought back when a psychotic zombie beatdown breaks out. Some people have panned the fact that the explanation for the zombie outbreak isn’t explained but I actually appreciated they didn’t. The living dead scenario has been used so many times that you can insert any number of “reasons” for the cause so why go into yet again. Cheers to them for letting the audience use their imagination.
Overall, if you’re a zombie fanatic it’s a must see if only to add to your mental database of zombie knowledge. Take from it what you will. Me, I’ve decided to list some of the things I’ve learned from this oddly entertaining film:
- You can quite literally beat the holy hell out of a zombie like he owes you money. Great way to relieve stress.
- Despite our incredible advances in science the past 50 years, flashlight technology seems to have fallen by the wayside. When will we ever see some common household flashlights that can actually light up more than a 4ft circular area?
- Being black during a zombie epidemic is still not a good career choice.
- Crazy guys have good hooch.
- A Browning Heavy Machine Gun in the hands of a Vietnam vet is a very effective zombie deterrent.
- Going to the roof never turns out well.
- Going to the basement never turns out well.
- Zombies don’t play rugby well.
- If someone says “run”, you run.
- It’s always good to hold onto personal grudges amidst a catastrophic series of events.
- Setting off a grenade in a hallway is bad.
Having been a fan of movies for many years I must say I have been enlightened by all of the practical knowledge I’ve gained from them so I figured I’d share some of my conclusions with you. Feel free to chime in with your observations as well.
- …always want to take over Earth because they’ve either exhausted their resources on their home world or have an illogical, deep seeded hatred for humankind despite never having been in contact with them.
- …always know English but not any other human language.
- …are highly intelligent but can always be thwarted by humans somehow.
- …can develop interstellar travel but can’t come up with a quick-kill solution for taking out humans.
- …are always humanoid to an extent if they’re intelligent. You’ll never see an amorphous blob demanding the surrender of Earth.
- …always approach the US government or attack US soil first (New York in particular).
- …always build perversely large ships that like to just hover above large cities or in orbit.
- …despite not being able to comprehend emotions can have a miraculous change of heart and want to help humans in the end.
- Their technology can always be deciphered by our top scientists.
- (from Amy) Dogs are always super smart and hop in the car with just a whistle.
- Fighting and Injuries
- Blows to the head do not cause concussions or brain trauma
- You can be shot or stabbed and not suffer from shock
- You can fight bare-fisted for minutes on end without breaking any bones in your hands or gassing out completely.
- You can get shot in the shoulder and still be able to use your arm effectively enough to either hang off an edge or pull someone up who is hanging off an edge.
- None of these rules apply if you are a henchman for the bad guy – then you can be taken out with one stab wound, a punch or kick that could have easily been brushed off, be choked out or have a single bullet to anywhere in your body kill you.
- Government and Institutions
- The US government (or any government) is always bad, has unlimited resources no matter how much debt they’re in and has secret agencies that they fund.
- All other governments always need help in some form from the US.
- Government agents always wear black suits and ties and have earpieces so they can blend in with the rest of society.
- There’s always corruption in the police department, even if it’s just a sheriff and deputy operation.
- It’s mandatory that a prison has a brutal guard and an evil scheming warden, as well as one kind hearted prisoner who regrets helping out a hero later in the movie.
- All corporations are inherently evil, above the law, have access to cutting edge technology, private armies and can manipulate multiple governments but seem to have trouble stopping a single individual.
- It’s easy to assemble world leaders and top scientists in one place in less than 24 hours when the world is in danger.
- In times of global crisis the world always turns to the US because they’re so super awesome and have the coolest technology.
- …are never brought up on charges despite committing heinous crimes like murder, arson, kidnapping and destruction of public property.
- …have marksman-like accuracy even if they have no training with firearms.
- …have incredible range with whatever firearm they have being able to take out villains with a handgun form over 75 yards away.
- …never have weapons that misfire or jam no matter the condition they’re in.
- …have a remarkable amount of spare ammunition despite not carrying as much.
- …can overcome whatever physical or psychological issue that has troubled him or her for years before the end of the movie.
- …can go without eating or sleeping for at least 72 hours and have no ill effects on their physical or mental faculties.
- …can travel via any means necessary without issue (e.g. they can run cross country without resting at intervals, drive any vehicle (boat, plane, car, etc.), obtain tickets without reservations, and cross borders effortlessly.
- …can take a vicious beating and show no pain yet will wince if a chick puts a rag to his wounds.
- …can utilize casual clothing as body armor effectively.
- … gain incredible resiliency when they remove their shirt and go bare-chested.
- …always have glistening white teeth, despite being in an environment or situation which should cause them to have dirty, missing and/or bloody teeth.
- If a sidekick mentions his family in the first ten minutes of the film he will surely die before the end of the movie in spectacular fashion prompting the hero to avenge his death.
- If the movie is set in ancient times, everyone has a British accent no matter the region.
- Everyone in the world apparently knows English; be it writing, understanding or speaking it.
- (from Omawarisan) If there is a dragon in a movie everyone is british
- (from She.Is.Just.A.Rat) Bomb diffusers and those trying to disable above mentioned self destruct mechanisms are only successful in the last 5% of the time available during the countdown. It is apparently one of the first lessons given to these technicians to NOT be quick with their work. Dragging it out the last possible second adds so much more drama.
- (from Wendy) Even if they’re rebellious/messed up, teenagers always come around by the end of the movie to the parent’s/authority figure’s point of view.
- Science (?)
- Wooden tables and desks can stop large caliber bullets.
- Shooting a gas tank will make it explode.
- You can stay within a burning building for a long period of time and not even suffer 1st degree burns, just slight coughing and soot marks.
- You can run full speed for many blocks without completely exhausting yourself.
- Exposing yourself to radioactive material won’t make you sick and in fact give you special powers.
- Viral epidemics can only be contained by firebombing the affected area.
- No-one ever needs a towel or to wash up after sex.
- You can pull up the sheets, lay back, and go to sleep after sex just like in real life.
- All women moan but don’t sweat during sex.
- You can always reach an incredibly intense, mutual, and simultaneous orgasm on the first try.
- Racial Stereotypes
- Native Americans can sense things via some sign in nature
- Asians are all born with innate martial arts skills
- Black guys (and girls) always die before the end of the movie
- The black guy always knows how to use a gun or has one in his possession and has keen street knowledge despite his station in life.
- Caucasians always have connections to higher-ups and big wigs.
- High-tech government agencies (and villain hideouts) own computers that have multi-linked monitors with virtual reality, touch screen, three-dimensional, active animation, photo-realistic graphics capabilities on custom stylishly funky operating systems.
- You can crack any password on any system with only two or three tries no matter your level of computer science knowledge.
- All computers are networked even when turned off.
- Operating systems are always fast and you never have to save or wait for shut downs.
- All wireless communications work at 5 Gigabyte per second speed.
- Sitting in front of a computer screen will produce a glow in the shapes and text that is on the monitor.
- Computer screen resolutions are always high enough for the movie audience to see exactly what’s on screen.
- Satellites can zoom to person-sized magnification with real time video no matter its position.
- (from Omawarisan) When the lights go out you hear that sort of turbine winding down sound.
- (from She.Is.Just.A.Rat) Large ships and complexes invariably have a self destruct mechanism with an abnormally long countdown that always ends up breezing by. No one ever does anything of importance until the last minute anyway.
- Cars always explode when shot with bullets or dropped off a cliff.
- Cars and planes can explode with empty gas tanks.
- Commercial flights, no matter how small the plane is, are always roomy and spacious like real life.
- Planes and helicopters are easy to learn how to fly.
- Hiding behind a car door can protect you from gunfire despite most high caliber bullets being able to crack an engine block.
- Airplane tires always screech when they touch down.
- You can get into a violent car accident and walk away with merely a bump on your head if you wear your seatbelt.
- Cars can screech on dirt
- …will always explain themselves before trying to kill the hero.
- …usually have a traumatic childhood event that made them the way they are.
- …have a British accent no matter their descent.
- …have incredible vigor allowing them to sustain a deathblow and yet get renewed life for one more attempt at killing the hero
- …always employ stupid henchmen with the smartest of the them being the right hand man.
- …get paid yet they tend to dress well and carry very expensive weapons.
- …have no firearms training (even army soldiers) and therefore always miss
- …have armor that is ineffective.
- …throw their guns away when they run out of ammunition instead of reloading.
- …always lure the hero to an elaborately setup, overly exaggerated location for a final showdown that has the potential to either collapse or blow up easily.
- …never get to have the last word.
- No matter if the hero is unaware and being targeted for the duration a villain will always miss the first shot.
- Whenever bad guys outnumber a lone hero they will always fight one at a time instead of gang beating him or her.
- Henchmen have no social lives. They only hang out with other henchmen at the hideout.
- …always needs to be pulled in by the man when being chased – even if she’s more physically fit than him.
- …can deliver a baby in mere minutes (not hours) in hostile environments and suffer no ill effects from child birth AND in some cases be ready to run immediately afterward.
- …are rarely depicted as alcoholics only drug addicts and whores (or both).
- …never help the hero in a one-on-one fight. If she does she waits for an opportune moment instead of just jumping right in.
- …wake up in the morning with their hair and makeup in place.
- …can go through traumatic and devastating worldly events and have stylishly disheveled hair throughout.
- …almost certainly scream and/or panic at the wrong moments. Men never do. (‘cept for Will Farrell)
- If she’s a strong character she has to have an attitude or be bitchy because she’s had to deal with being tough in a man’s world.
- (from Hippie Cahier) …usually happen to be wearing clingy white tee-shirts when there is impending water catastrophe.
The wife and I happened to catch The Lovely Bones the other night and I have to say, that’s a damn good movie. I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was even with Peter Jackson’s stellar track record of likable movies. Whether he’s directing it or producing, you’re pretty much guaranteed a decent movie. The Lovely Bones took creepy serial killer movie to a whole new level. Without dropping too many spoilers let’s just say Stanley Tucci has elevated himself to Jackie Earl Haley and Keven Spacey status as being uncomfortably chilling with regards to his performance. If you haven’t seen it, check it out – but don’t expect a bunny-hugging happy ending. There’s a 90% chance of being depressed by the end.
Anyway, I got inspired once again. I even told the wife that right when I saw a particular scene with him being exceptionally creepy in the darkness that I got hit with creativity. No I don’t intend to go out and try my hand at serial killing. I lack the proper tools and stomach to undertake that. No, I decided to create a little eerie piece of artwork of course. Forget monsters, witches and demons. Imagine this guy giving out candy…