Archive for Film List

My Top 10 Films: Part II

5. American History X

Here’s a film I was very reluctant towards watching.  My friend continually recommended it to me yet I thought with a name like “American History X” it would only be boring or another glamorization of our country (my thoughts on it are for another blog).  You could also say I had similar thoughts going into American Beauty, yet I wound up holding it in a fairly high regard.  And wouldn’t you know it?  American History X became an immediate favorite of mine once the credits came.  The film features my favorite performance by Edward Norton, who really hits the ball running during his Neo-Nazi scenes (particularly the lunch/dinner table fight).  Interestingly, however, it’s Edward Furlong who manages to feel more convincing as a white supremacist (though at times it seems he’s just moving along without much care), despite Norton’s near Oscar-worthy performance.  Regardless, the performances by both and the entire cast are nothing less than stellar; and the film’s message still holds strong (if heard several times before).

“Who do you hate Danny?”
“I hate anyone that is a white Protestant.”
“Why? “
“There a burden to the advancement of the white race. Some of them are alright I guess…”
“None of them are ****ing alright Danny ok? They’re all a bunch of ****in’ freeloaders.  Remember what Cam said, ‘we don’t know em we don’t wanna know em.’  They’re the ****ing enemy. Now what don’t you like about them and say it with some ****ing conviction!”
“I hate the fact that’s cool to be black these days.”
“Good.”
“I hate this hip-pop ****in’ influence on white-****in’ suburbia.
“Good.”
“And I hate Tabitha Soren and all there Zionist MTV ****ing pigs telling us we should get along. Save the rhetorical bull**** Hilary Rodham Clinton cause it ain’t gonna ****in’ work.”
“That’s some of the best **** I’ve heard come out of your mouth.”

4. The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight-Yes, I know this has become the most talked about film for the past decade (if not more) and that it’s praised to no end, but this is all with good reason.  Just like Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, The Dark Knight has a lot of content between the characters and story which pushed the runtime close to three hours for both.  Fortunately, the pacing is excellent and for my first viewing in theaters, I kept saying to myself the same words YouTube user MRBLACK spoke in his review, “I just didn’t want it to end.”  The cast were overall very stellar with the possible exception of Christian Bale when in the Batsuit (and I don’t think I really have to mention Ledger’s amazing performance).  Aaron Eckhart also pulled off his role with ease with the Two Face sections being about as effective as The Joker’s.  I’ll still insist that this is the real Best Picture of last year, not Slumdog Millionaire (which was a good film, but nothing more).  Though we obviously want to see Nolan direct more for Batman, it’s definitely going to be tough, if not impossible to top this for many viewers, including myself.

“Do you want to know why I use a knife? Guns are too quick. You can’t savor all the… little emotions. In… you see, in their last moments, people show you who they really are. So in a way, I know your friends better than you ever did. Would you like to know which of them were cowards?”

3. The Green Mile

Going into this movie, I was almost certain that I would like it and that it would be one to keep me coming back.  Interestingly, this was only the case partially, as I absolutely loved the film but I have seldom given it a full viewing after my first one.  While the length didn’t begin to drag until the last ten or so minutes, it’s still a lot to swallow just like Schindler’s List.  But for a film like this where the execution is top-notch, I don’t mind the length (the cut of Das Boot I own is just shy of three and a half hours, yet it’s right below my Top 20).  Director Frank Darabont has put characters in all his films that we instinctively want to hate.  However, unlike The Mist where Marcia Gay Harden was beyond intolerable, Doug Hutchison as Percy Wetmore felt despicable but not in an absurd form.  There’s a lot to love about The Green Mile, ranging from the excellent cast (Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morris, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey DeMunn, Michael Jeter, James Cromwell; the list goes on), to the wonderful score, strong emotions superbly carried out with strong dialogue, superb directing and cinematography; the film has a lot going for it.  Regardless of the low number of viewings, The Green Mile remains a film that will stick with me is the one film that got me to cry for more than a few seconds (try close to three minutes, I felt like such a baby).

“Do you believe that if a man repents enough for what he done wrong, then he’ll get to go back to the time that was happiest for him and live there forever? Could that be what heaven’s like?”
“I just about believe that very thing.”
“I had a young wife when I was eighteen. We spent the summer in the mountains, made love every night. After we would talk sometimes till the sun came up, and she’d lay there, bare breasted in the fire light… that was my best time.”

2. Planet of the Apes (1968)

It was a good while before I finally got around to seeing the original version of Planet of the Apes.  Having seen the remake several times before, I was honestly surprised at how much hate it had attracted; even those who claimed to have never seen the original condemned Tim Burton’s remake.  Finally, my friend and I decided to give the first film a chance over the summer and after the ending, we finally understood the comparisons.  Now, I still wouldn’t say I hate the remake; it’s just horrible when compared to its father since they have little in-common.  The original Planet of the Apes gives us far stronger characters and more clever twists in its reversal roles and, unless you’ve seen the DVD cover before watching the movie, will downright shock you at the end.  Even so, I was still left stunned and silenced by the time we see Charlton Heston slamming the beach sand at the sight before him.  Planet of the Apes is a movie that takes the concept of how truly weak we are as humans for a backbone.  And though it’s fairly implausible, the film still proves a potent point and leads to a wonderful satire of our habits.  By the time it’s over, one can’t help but feel thunderstruck.

“Imagine me needing someone. Back on Earth I never did. Oh, there were women. Lots of women.  Lots of love-making but no love. You see, that was the kind of world we’d made. So I left, because there was no one to hold me there.”

1. The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption-I can’t think of many films that I’ve seen well over 20 times and still never get sick of watching.  But The Shawshank Redemption is such a film and each subsequent viewing only makes me think of and realize more to appreciate about it.  At first, the film barely scraped my Top 10 but before long I simply couldn’t get enough of it.  A huge reason this movie sticks out more than the others is for the two lead actors (Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman) who both feel as down to earth as any on-screen character is going to get.  They talk and act like us while emitting a vibe that helps them stand out, but not to the point that they feel all that different from any of us.  Connections between the two and the supporting cast feel legitimate with a sense of honesty and compassion amongst all of them (whether positive or negative).  There’s so much to love and admire in the film, despite the fact it takes place almost entirely in a prison.  Anyone who hasn’t seen this movie I highly urge to just purchase and watch ASAP since I feel this isn’t just a must-see, but a must-own to continually view and enjoy.  If all else fails, this is the movie that always manages to help me bounce back from a lousy day.

“I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can’t be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.”

My Top 10 Films

Since this college semester is coming to a close in a few weeks, I’ve decided to post my current Top 10 films list for a two part blog, giving reasons and a video showing a clip from each film.  Now, I won’t go and call myself the best film critic by any stretch of word and there are still plenty of movies I have yet to see.  But I figure there’s no harm in constantly updating your list and for a good while, this has been what the top has looked like.  So here it is, part one:

10. Forrest Gump

This is definitely a clear contender for a most popular film list; and with good reason.  Many scenes, characters and lines have been mentioned, quoted and spoofed countless times, but this is all the more reason it’s such a great movie.  Sure, we’ve all seen it only a billion and a half times already, but it never loses its charm.  Although Forrest might not be the brightest apple on the tree, he’s one of the most naturally good at-heart.  A big part of what makes this such an easy film to follow is how Forrest’s adventures and, at times, struggles are a fair representation of what many common Americans go through.  The film has recently been criticized for having a constrained view on some of these moments but this is more a misconception than anything.  What Forrest deals with and notices are intended to be passed off from his view, which is as neutral and unbiased as you can possibly get.  Some might think the film struggles with its message(s), which it doesn’t but this is only more reason the film relates so easily to us (multiple messages and some not being so clear at first).

“What’s my destiny, Mama?”

“You’re gonna have to figure that out yourself.  Life is a box of chocolates, Forrest.  You never know what you’re gonna get.”

9. Stand By Me

I’ve become a fairly big fan of Stephen King in the past couple years.  I feel that he’s (mostly) offered some of the best stories out there, whether they detail strong characters or have striking scenarios, he’s almost never left me underwhelmed.  And despite how much I might praise his other works; I think the story that hits home the most for me is the film adaptation of Stand By Me.  The plot is very basic and gives us little more than the little journey that our four main characters go through.  But this simplicity gives the film a lot of room to detail the characters and we definitely get a strong dose of that, namely from Gordie and Chris.  The relationship between all four characters feels natural and realistic, with great agreements and sometimes bitter arguments sprouting out.  Anyone who’s seen the film unedited knows that it doesn’t try to sugarcoat anything but you’re not getting morbid or depressing images either.  It’s a kind of film that can easily to speak to anyone because of it cleverly maintaining a mid-ground mood.

“**** writing, I don’t want to be a writer.  It’s stupid.  It’s a stupid waste of time.”

“That’s your dad talking.”

“Bull****”

“Bull true.  I know how your dad feels about you.  He doesn’t give a **** about you, Denny was the one he cared about and don’t try to tell me different.  You’re just a kid, Gordie.”

“Oh, gee!  Thanks, Dad!”

“Wish the hell I was your Dad.  You wouldn’t be goin’ around talkin’ about takin’ these stupid shop courses if I was.  It’s like God gave you something, man, all those stories you can make up.  And He said, ‘This is what I got for ya, kid.  Try not to lose it.’  Kids lose everything unless there’s someone there to look out for them.  And if your parents are too ****ed up to do it, then maybe I should.”

8. Letters from Iwo Jima

This might sound blasphemous to some, but I’m pretty late to the Clint Eastwood party.  In fact, this and Flags of Our Fathers were my introduction to his work.  But as we all know Mr. Eastwood has seldom missed the mark and he definitely did a great job with Flags of Our Fathers.  Then there’s Letters from Iwo Jima, which trumps its American sibling in every conceivable way.  Despite telling the tale from the Japanese point of view, this film actually hits home harder than Flags of Our Fathers.  Giving us an idea of what the conditions were (probably) like for the Japanese soldiers who worked, fought and died on Iwo Jima is one of the film’s strongest aspects.  And it’s carried out throughout the entire runtime with pure excellence, giving us strong performances from the entire cast (especially Ken Watanabe) and dramatic moments matched by a solemnly peaceful score.  War has taken many forms and become the inspiration for a wide variety of films-this is one that gets my utmost recommendation for even the remotely curious.

“If our children can live safely for one more day it would be worth the one more day we defend this island.”

7. The War

Don’t be confused, this isn’t that forgettable film featuring Jason Statham and Jet Li.  Instead, this is a picture from 1994 staring Kevin Costner and a young Elijah Wood playing part of a dirt poor family in 1970.  I will say I’m definitely biased towards this film mostly because it hasn’t gotten much recognition and has thus become more of a cult favorite.  The synopsis doesn’t sound terribly interesting on paper and the happy-happy-joy-joy DVD cover indicates a very bland film.  However, this is a movie that, like most of the films on my Top 10 list, hit close to him simply for its characters.  The relationships are mostly believable and the acting is solid all around.  This leads to a real shame about the film: only two (three if you count Lucas Black) of the actors made it.  Many of the supporting characters were filled by people who looked like they had plenty of potential yet only Wood and Costner hit it big.  A number of messages are told throughout the film and although they aren’t emphasized quite to the extent of, say, Forrest Gump, it helps keep the film from feeling like it’s preaching.  I’m sure most who are reading this haven’t seen the film and likely won’t find it at their local video store.  But I highly urge even buying it since it can very easily grow on you and a number of scenes contribute to give it plenty of re-watch value.

“I hope you know them’s the kids who just beat me up.”

“I know who they are, son.”

“Then why’d you give them Ma and Lidia’s cotton candy?”

6. Schindler’s List

Of all the films on my Top 10 list, this is the one that I can never bring myself to watching multiple times.  I’ve only seen the movie one time, but that single viewing alone leaves such a mark on you that it’s almost impossible to forget the details.  This is a very different film for Spielberg which turns out to be a wonderful shift and only makes me wonder why he hasn’t done more dramas.  On the flip side, part of what helps Schindler’s List work so well is that we haven’t gotten very many films that even come close to hitting the serious mark it has.  Those who haven’t seen it should be aware that this is a very unapologetic viewing which, given the subject matter, is very important.  What’s best is that we get this inspired tale of a single setting in the Holocaust and it never loses the tight grip in the three hour runtime.  Schindler’s List very clearly deserved its Best Picture win at the Oscars for a number of reasons, including how unrelenting, convincing and absorbing it is.

“I could have got more out.  I could have got more.  I don’t know.  If I’d just…I could have got more.”

“Oskar, there are eleven hundred people who are alive because of you.  Look at them.”

“If I’d made more money…I threw away so much money.  You have no idea.  If I’d just…”

“There will be generations because of what you did.”

“I didn’t do enough!”

“You did so much.”

“This car.  Goeth would have bought this car.  Why did I keep the car?  Ten people right there.  Ten people.  Ten more people.”

“This pin.  Two people.  This is gold.  Two more people.  He would have given me two for it, at least one.  One more person.  A person, Stern.  For this.  I could have got one more person…and I didn’t!  And I…I didn’t!”

Top 10: Implausible Movie Scenes

5. Remove the Car Bomb-Transporter 2

I actually forgot why I even decided to see Transporter 2.  Never did see the first one, the second didn’t look great and I never saw the third either.  However, I did wind up seeing the film and it’s one that has disbelief written all over it.  One scene in particular, however, left me completely speechless at how bluntly unrealistic it was.  If you’ve seen the film, then you know that Statham’s car winds up having a bomb under it so what does he do?  He jumps off a ramp causing his car to spin around, the bottom of the car barely scrapes a crane hook that perfectly removes the bomb without issue and he still lands with little to no problem.  Normally I’d go into more detail, but I think watching the scene yourself should put it into perspective.

4. Refrigerator vs. Nuke-Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The Indiana Jones films have always been a favorite of mine.  Though Temple of Doom was always my childhood favorite, the other two (of the original trilogy) have since grown on me and I actually enjoy Last Crusade the most.  So it goes without saying I was quite curious as to how good Kingdom of the Crystal Skull would be.  Unfortunately, it does not hold a flag to its predecessors and there’s one scene in particular that I whispered to myself “I do believe that this is the most unrealistic scene ever.”  Towards the beginning, Jones finds out that he’s in an area about to be nuked so what does he do?  He hides in a refrigerator.  And since this is shortly into the film with our hero’s life at stake he of course manages to survive with the fridge conveniently being the only object that gets blasted away and lands in tact.

3. Needle vs. Bullet to the Skin-Far Cry

Alright, just so everyone knows, I actually how not seen this film and I never intend to.  I shelled money out for an Uwe Boll film once before and I will never do so again.  But I saw a review for this film which went through the entire film and one part that stood out in an idiotic way was towards the beginning when the super soldiers are tested.  During this scene, we find that the mutated skin can essentially bounce bullets back like rubber but after things go out of control they manage to suppress it with a needle to the skin.  That’s right, the skin is impervious to bullets yet needles go in without an issue.  Figure that out on your own.

2. Spin Back Time-Superman

I’m going to shamelessly admit that I haven’t seen any of the original Superman films.  In fact, other than the most recent film, Superman Returns, all I’ve seen of Superman at all are gameplay videos of Superman on the N64 and him in the TV show Justice League.  So it should go without saying I know about this scene from someone who did a video on the film and the turned out to be one by Doug Walker aka the Nostalgia Critic.  The video was a Top 11 countdown of the dumbest Superman moments and at number one was when Superman turns the world back to reverse time.  Apparently causing the Earth’s rotation to reverse would be the key to spinning back time.  I guess I’d better build a really fast airplane to do this and bring me back to my high school days.

1. Every Scene-Batman & Robin

Even though this list is supposed to be for single scenes from a single film, Joel Schumacher’s hilariously bad sequel to Batman Forever (which he also directed) has so many impossible scenes packed in together that I really can’t think of any other film that hits quite as low.  I won’t state every one of the scenes but here’s just a few of them:  Schwarzenegger surviving water that’s 50 degrees below zero, his freeze gun landing on top of a curved statue perfectly like a magnet, Batgirl jumping off her motorcycle onto Robin’s…swamp-like machine for a few seconds to jump back on her bike which has managed to keep up with the Batmobile and Robin without falling over, the bathooks always managing to hit/grab surfaces strong enough to pull our heroes forward, Batman and Robin air surfing using doors as boards while casually heading back down to the ground, etc.  If a single movie can actually top the level of implausibility here, then I think we’re in trouble.

Top 10: Implausible Movie Scenes Part I

One of the convenient parts about movies is that they allow stuff to happen that otherwise couldn’t be done in real life.  Very rarely do we ever get a film that feels like it’s abiding by what could or would actually occur but this is part of why certain films are fun to watch (they help you take your mind out of reality for some fun).  However, there are certain scenes that push the idea of plausibility to the point that it’s either just plain silly or simply annoying.  So I’m here to give you ten of the most implausible movie scenes that I’ve ever come across.

10. That’s One Fast Train and Signal-The Fast and the Furious

It’s not like The Fast and the Furious had realism on its side in the first place.  Just about anyone who knows cars well enough should know that an Eclipse with $10,000 worth of upgrades shouldn’t be able to clear a quarter mile in 10 seconds (even with NOS).  However, one scene that I recently noted as being particularly odd is at the end when Paul Walker and Vin Diesel are racing head-to-head in a Supra and Charger, respectively.  However, after they’ve already started racing for the finish line (aka the train tracks) we see that the signal goes down and they narrowly avoid getting crashed (well, one of them does).  But since these are supposed to be ten second cars, that means the train which they just narrowly avoided came within less than 10 seconds with no warning until after they headed off.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t recall the last time a train signal was that slow or a train came that abruptly.

9. No One Sees the Monster-Cloverfield

It’s pretty tough to find little details in Cloverfield since for just about all of the action scenes the camera is shaking around like crazy but it is possible to find little pieces.  And perhaps the most abrupt part of the film is it’s ending, which you need to look in the background to see why they picked it.  Essentially we can see what’s supposedly the monster falling from the sky and into the ocean.  Yet if the bulk of the film itself is of any indication, apparently no one saw the monster go into the ocean.  This is very unlikely since the film takes place in a present setting so there obviously must have been reports of the monster.  Additionally, I find it very unlikely that not a single person who could do or say anything didn’t see the monster crash into the water.  While it can be argued that we don’t see or hear enough in the film itself to confirm this, until we get more background with a follow-up it’s still highly improbable.

8. Burt Is Alive!-Tremors 3: Back to Perfection

Tremors are definitely one of the series of films that you take your mind out of and can easily enjoy.  While the films are genuinely fun and great watches (the first two anyways), there is a scene in the third installment that’s just, well, ridiculous.  Fans of the series can instantly identify the one constant character: Burt Gummer.  There’s one scene in the film where the most infamous creature of the series (graboid) gets and eats him…only somehow he’s still alive inside the monster and is able to clearly communicate to someone simultaneously.  While we have heard a character or two in previous installments scream while being dragged into the ground, Burt, on the other hand, is inside the graboid and comes out without seeming all that affected.  Similar could also be said about how Tommy Lee Jones from Men in Black is able to survive as long as he does inside an alien but since Burt manages to multitask while inside and manage to break clearly, this gets the edge.

7. The Bus Jump-Speed

This scene is what actually gave me the inspiration to do a list of implausible movie scenes.  And of course the one scene that I can never be convinced of is the fifty foot jump across an unfinished bridge.  While Keanu Reeves says there might be an incline and we do see one for the shot the bus apparently lifts, we clearly see in other shots that there’s no such incline on either side of the bridge.  There’s also the bus landing which is less convincing if anything.  For the shot we see of the bus landing on the other side it looks like it’s coming down smoothly from a high area.  And of course they manage to keep it going over 50 MPH even with the landing the bus likely hitting no higher than 80 MPH when hitting the jump.  The film is a fun watch, but some of the scenes take me out too much.  This is the big one.

6. The Sharp Landing Turn-Air Force One

Here’s another film that tests its realism in a number of scenes but for the most part these aren’t to the point that Speed hits.  Yet one scene that I always say “they’d be so dead right there” is after the plane lands during the Russian takeover scene.  There’s a part where we see the plane take a rather abrupt and sharp turn that causes the left side to come very close to the ground.  This is where my belief ran out the window.  A plane such as Air Force One has to weigh several tons and making a turn as nasty as that would definitely make the left wing/engines scrap the ground from the weight transfer and cause a nasty incident (to say the least).  Wolfgang Peterson’s a great director and I love him for bringing us Das Boot, but that scene can never convince me.

*Skip to about 5:50*

Top 10: Disappointing Films Part II

Before I continue this list, I’m sure that if anyone comments on this list they’ll be inclined to say how close-minded or, for lack of a better word, idiotic I am for putting certain films on this list.  With that said, let me make it clear that this list is based strictly on my own personal opinion.  If you like the films then that’s great, I’m truly glad that you were able to enjoy one more film than I was (I try to like as much as I can).  But when I’m disappointed I just can’t bring myself to saying “oh yeah, I was content.”  Anyways, here’s the rest of my top 10 most disappointing films:

5. Saw 4

saw 4

So much went through my head when watching this film.  First it went from being baffled at the abandonment of what should’ve been a (proper) continuation from Saw 3 and ended up in aggravation by the last fifteen minutes.  Saw 4 is the embodiment of a sequel that should have never been.  The plot alone feels like something a person who was bored with the previous three conjured up just to piss the fans off.  By the time this installment came out, the games had run their course.  If anything in this film warrants praise it’s that we (finally) got a backstory to Jigsaw.  That said, it felt out of place and, in the long run, just silly because of the outcomes from previous films.  As far as I’m concerned, Saw 3 peaked about as high, if not higher than the original Saw and left quite hungry for its successor.  Unfortunately, this true sequel will never even be conceived.

4. The Departed

the departed

While I’ve never been much of a gang or mob film fan, I still try to enjoy any film even if it just isn’t any good.  After hearing a seemingly endless amount of praise towards this film (seriously, people treated it like the greatest film of our generation) and how it completely deserved the Best Picture Academy Award, I only figured this would be an excellent movie.  Imagine the look on my face for two and a half hours after the intro with “Gimme Shelter” ended.  For me, this is an immediate contender for the number one spot on an overrated film list.  While the cast for the film is generally good, no one delivers so much as a good performance (and I’ve become a fan of DiCaprio, yet he was simply decent here).  Jack Nicholson, save for a few brief parts, felt very underutilized and Mark Wahlberg plays what is easily one of the worst, most annoying characters in film history (put him, Marcia Gay Harden in The Mist and Rob Corddry from Harold & Kumar 2 in a room together and we just might have something that makes Uwe Boll look like James Cameron).  What’s most laughable about The Departed, however, is that the ending is like a Shakespeare story: everyone dies!  It’s beyond me how a film with such a straightforward plot, little to no point and completely unremarkable direction has yielded such immense praise.  No matter what, however, Letters from Iwo Jima is still the Best Picture winner for 2006.

3. The Big Lebowski

the big lebowski

It’s almost unimaginable how betrayed I felt by this film.  Although I had seen and wanted to rent it from BlockBuster several times, I waited till I was in the right mood to have a fun time.  While my first experience with the Coen brothers in No Country For Old Men was initially bittersweet I was able to enjoy some of it and, over time, the film grew on me.  I wish I could say the same for The Big Lebowski.  I wanted to love this movie, laugh and be completely entertained by whatever it offered.  Two hours after popping it into my Xbox 360 and I had a few brief chuckles and one laugh-out-loud moment.  Similar to how Saw 4 is the embodiment of the sequel-that-should-have-never-been; The Big Lebowski is the most misleading so-called comedy.  More times than not, I was wondering if this was supposed to be a comedy or tasteless chunk of silliness with too many plot layers to be enjoyable.  Laughs?  They were sparse at best.  Entertainment?  What entertainment?  Sorry Coen brothers and The Dude fans, but this is a film that feels like Clerks 2 tackling a story with the depth of The Dark Knight.  Needless to say, it didn’t work.

2. The Matrix Reloaded

the matrix reloaded

It was tough to decide whether this or The Big Lebowski was more disappointing but ultimately, this one was a far greater letdown because of how great its predecessor was.  When I first saw this film, it was a pretty big disappointment but the action scenes were just enough to make it enjoyable.  However, get rid of the Agent Smith brawl and the long highway chase and we have a film that not only lacks substance but contradicts its predecessor and even itself.  I won’t spoil or give all the examples away, but Morpheus’ character and the options Neo is given towards the end are the two most immediate instances of how much the Wachowski brothers screwed up.  And just like your typical summer blockbuster action flick (aka recent Roland Emmerich work), the action here is almost completely unnecessary and irrelevant to the story (even the live-action Transformers films had more relevant action).  After the great, strong and ambitious story from The Matrix, the least I expected was a proper follow-up.  Instead, we got a Michael Bay film with better shots and only faint indications of a real plot.

1. The Godfather

the godfather

After hearing how much I hated the above films I’m sure anyone reading this will think that I despise this “classic” with every inch of my heart.  And the truth is, I don’t hate this film, I simply dislike it.  But because it has been regarded as potentially the greatest film of all time by many, my expectations were naturally that it be just that.  If anything is a hint of how much this film disappointed me, it’s that I had to sit up six times just to barely stay awake.  What’s interesting is that The Godfather isn’t the longest film I’ve seen but the length is a key reason I was so letdown.  Yet I almost always prefer longer films because they take the extra time to strengthen any possible aspects (The Lord of the Rings, The Green Mile, Das Boot, The Abyss, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End-all close to or over three hours long and I loved them all).  Here, however, the length was murder.  Save for Al Pacino, there weren’t any characters that I cared for and with a story that was equally interesting, it could’ve ended with a cluster of nuclear explosions blowing up the entire world and I wouldn’t have cared.  But again, I don’t hate this film mostly because the cinematography was quite solid in spots, the score was pretty good and the acting wasn’t too shabby either.  Of course, this is a countdown of disappointment, and at the end of the day, no film has left me saying “that’s it?” as strongly as The Godfather.

Top 10: Disappointing Films Part I

I’m letting my fellow MGM boys take a little break so that I can express my thoughts on the subject(s) of my blog better.  Recently I figured that doing a Top 10 list every now and again wouldn’t be too shabby of an idea, so here’s one on a collection of films that I feel quite strongly about: the ten most disappointing films that I’ve seen.

10. Quantum of Solace

quantum of solace

I’m sure most people, whether big James Bond fans or not, can agree that Casino Royale was a very solid film.  Although I’ve never been too crazy about 007, I still found Daniel Craig’s first outing to be surprisingly well done and despite not looking the part at first, he embodied a strong yet inexperienced personality nicely.  With that in-mind, it’s needless to say that I figured the sequel to Casino Royale could at least prove to be a decent offering.  Sadly, Quantum of Solace was dull, uninteresting and lacked any wit or charm its predecessor had.  The story was weak and executed just as lousily, pacing was prolonged, charm almost nonexistent and it had a distinct lack of care. While there were a couple decent action scenes and a humorous one-liners, that’s about all the credit I could really give the film in the long run.

9. The Mist

the mist

Normally this movie would be higher on the list but I put it low simply because I wasn’t sure from the trailers if it’d really be that great of a film (they really didn’t leave much of an impression on me).  But I primarily was interested in this movie since it’s a Stephen King-based film, who’s produced some of my favorite stories and was directed by Frank Darabont, who did wonders with two of King’s other efforts (The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption).  Unfortunately, despite the intentions and point of the film, the execution was just sloppy.  Barely any of the characters were convincing, which was a huge shocker after Darabont’s other two films.  Worst of all, Marcia Gay Harden portrays a character who’s so ludicrous that in spite of fitting into the role well enough, only makes for frustrating sequences (mostly due to how absurd her lines and support for them are).  While the idea of a film showing how people are their own worst enemies offers up strong potential, The Mist simply failed to realize this.

8. Slumdog Millionaire

slumdog millionaire

I seldom, if ever agree with the Academy on their choices for any award, especially the Best Picture selections.  Yet this movie is one that I feel very strongly about in regards to my disagreement.  So much praise surrounded this film by the time it had been released, which only indicated to me that it was at least worth seeing, and the plot for the film sounded quite interesting so my curiosity hit fairly high levels.  And though this was a good film it’s far from the masterpiece that so many have made it out to be.  One part to the film I loved was how for certain questions we got flashbacks to how the main character knew them.  However, outside of these interesting scenes and a few strong (in a Blood Diamond way) bits there was absolutely nothing remarkable about this film.  What I expected was a film that truly was better than the best of the year, what I got was a merely above average watch.

7. Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

harold and kumar 2

My stepfather and I are big fans of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (I remember him grabbing a couple boxes of the burgers to eat when we first saw it), so after some very promising previews it’s pretty obvious that we were excited.  As usual I wound up seeing the film but he waited for my verdict and both of us agree that this is a huge step down from the first.  Now, I did enjoy parts of Escape from Guantanamo Bay (emo Harold anyone?), but it fell into the rut many recent comedies have (namely Jim Carrey films): taking itself way too seriously.  I won’t spoil the details for those have yet to see this movie, but let’s just say that Rob Corddry is completely unnecessary and unwanted (much like Harden from The Mist) while both Harold and Kumar’s characters feel ruined with their sudden personality shifts.  Though certainly not bad, Escape from Guantanamo Bay proved to be a huge disappointment after the wonderful comedy and great pacing of its predecessor.

6. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

pirates of the caribbean 2

I could rant on and on about how much potential was teased and hinted at but ultimately wasted on this film.  Just like some of the films on this countdown I did at least enjoy Dead Man’s Chest in parts but after how great Curse of the Black Pearl was, it was tough to not feel let down here.  Perhaps the biggest problem with this film is the exact opposite of the above title: this film doesn’t take itself seriously enough.  A key part of what made Curse of the Black Pearl work was that it managed to balance the comedy with the weightiness of the present scenarios.  Dead Man’s Chest, on the other hand, treats itself almost like one big joke that feels overdone, overplayed and simply falls flat because of this.  It’s a shame because there’s a great film underneath all the bad jokes; Davy Jones’ character alone had far more potential than what we got.  At least At World’s End managed to rectify these issues almost entirely (for me anyways).