Tag Archives: Movies

Bad Movie Ideas – The Movie

The new day-job where I have lots of work to do at work is keeping me busy, so blogging has been light.  But this is something I have to comment on.

There were two movies announced today that are real versions of jokes I frequently make about terrible ideas for movies:

Tetris: The Movie

For reals, a movie based on Tetris.  Because it’s something people have heard of, and therefore executives want to make it into a movie, even though there’s no plot whatsoever.  This is literally the example I give for the worst idea for a movie imaginable.  (Sometimes I up the joke to “Cap’n Crunch vs. Tetris.”)

But at least Tetris (the game) is somewhat fun, which can’t be said for:

The Accountant: The Movie

A couple notes on this.  The Accountant isn’t actually about accounting, which would be absurdly boring.  (My day-job is as an accountant.)  It’s about an accountant who moonlights as an assassin, which sounds like it could be a reasonable movie.  I just think it’s silly that there’s a movie called “The Accountant.”

Regarding Tetris, the press release does note that “No cast, crew, production date, or release date have been determined. No writer has been named.”  Movies in that stage are entirely imaginary, and something less than 10% of movies in pre-production actually make it to release.  However, actual money has changed hands for the movie rights to Tetris, which is flat-out ridiculous.

Movies We Still Care About – 1988 – Part 2 of 2

(For an explanation of this, read the Introduction.  Other posts in this series can be found here.)

Movies We Still Care About

  • Beetlejuice
  • Big
  • Bull Durham
  • Die Hard
  • Rain Man
  • The Naked Gun
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Other Notable Movies

  • They Live
  • A Fish Called Wanda

Best Picture Nominees:

  • Rain Man (Winner)
  • The Accidental Tourist
  • Dangerous Liaisons
  • Mississippi Burning
  • Working Girl

Top Grossing Films (US)

  1. Rain Man
  2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  3. Coming to America
  4. Big
  5. Twins
  6. Crocodile Dundee II
  7. Die Hard
  8. The Naked Gun
  9. Cocktail
  10. Beetlejuice

Rotten Tomatoes Top Movies

  1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (98%)
  2. Big (97%)
  3. Bull Durham (97%)
  4. Midnight Run (95%)
  5. Heathers (95%) – Note: Rotten Tomatoes lists this as a 1988 movie, even though it was released in 1989.
  6. A Fish Called Wanda (93%)
  7. Die Hard (92%)
  8. Rain Man (90%)
  9. Cinema Paradiso (90%) (This was released in the US in 1990.)

Movies We Still Care About

The Naked Gun

I was ten when Naked Gun came out, and to a ten-year-old, it was the funniest movie ever.  I’d still say it’s one of the best spoof films.  Even though most of the jokes were recycled from the short-lived series Police Squad that Naked Gun is based on.  But one original bit was the national anthem scene:

It does have the unfortunate cringe factor of co-starring a pre-murdery OJ Simpson.  But at least you get to see him get brutally maimed.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

One of the rare films that creates a pioneering visual effect and uses it to create an innovative story.  Though animation and live action had been combined before in films like Mary Poppins and Song of the South, this was the first movie to fully integrate them into a cohesive and complete world.  Also notable for working out the legal issues involved in combining classic Disney and Warner Bros. animation:

My personal favorite is the weasels dying laughing scene:

Other Fond Memories

(These are movies that fit the category of “Movies We Still Care About,” but for which I personally can’t think of anything interesting to say. Please don’t take a movie’s inclusion in this category as any sort of criticism.  You are encouraged to voice your thoughts on these films in the comments section.)

  • Rain Man

Other Notable Films

A Fish Called Wanda

Still popular as a cult movie.  It somehow finds a tone that is halfway between Monty Python and Wes Anderson.  You wouldn’t think that would work or make any sense, but somehow the film pulls it off.

They Live

I’m just including this because it contains what I believe to be the all-time cheesiest action movie line that wasn’t uttered by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

 

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Do you disagree with any of these choices, or think that I missed something?  Leave a comment below.

Movies We Still Care About – 1988 – Part 1 of 2

(For an explanation of this, read the Introduction.  Other posts in this series can be found here.)

Movies We Still Care About

  • Beetlejuice
  • Big
  • Bull Durham
  • Die Hard
  • Rain Man
  • The Naked Gun
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Other Notable Movies

  • They Live
  • A Fish Called Wanda

Best Picture Nominees:

  • Rain Man (Winner)
  • The Accidental Tourist
  • Dangerous Liaisons
  • Mississippi Burning
  • Working Girl

Top Grossing Films (US)

  1. Rain Man
  2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  3. Coming to America
  4. Big
  5. Twins
  6. Crocodile Dundee II
  7. Die Hard
  8. The Naked Gun
  9. Cocktail
  10. Beetlejuice

Rotten Tomatoes Top Movies

  1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (98%)
  2. Big (97%)
  3. Bull Durham (97%)
  4. Midnight Run (95%)
  5. Heathers (95%) – Note: Rotten Tomatoes lists this as a 1988 movie, even though it was released in 1989.
  6. A Fish Called Wanda (93%)
  7. Die Hard (92%)
  8. Rain Man (90%)
  9. Cinema Paradiso (90%) (This was released in the US in 1990.)

Movies We Still Care About

Beetlejuice

The most Tim Burtony Tim Burton movie.  It established all of the Tim Burton tropes that we know and love.

Here’s the Banana Boat Song scene:

Big

A coming of age story in the literal sense.  It works on a wish-fulfillment level for children who think that being an adult would be awesome.  At the same time, it appeals to adults that wish they could regain a childlike enthusiasm.

Bull Durham

To be honest, I just don’t care about baseball, which means that I never cared about this movie.  But I acknowledge that a lot of people consider to be one of the best ever sports movies, and I would be remiss in leaving it off this list.  Those of you who love it are welcome to discuss your reasons in the comments.

Die Hard

One of the best action movies of all time.  It didn’t invent the concept of an ordinary man in the wrong place at the wrong time having to battle an overwhelming force, but it executed it so well that ever since every other film like that has been described as “Die Hard in [context].”

Fun fact: Due to contractual obligations, the role of John McClane was initially offered to a then 72-year-old Frank Sinatra.  Thankfully he turned it down.  Otherwise, it would have been known as either an embarrassing joke, or as the film that killed Old Blue Eyes.  The lead was then offered to Arnold Schwarzenegger, with the idea that Die Hard would be a sequel to Commando.  When that didn’t work, they eventually chose Bruce Willis, who was known as a sit-com actor from Moonlighting.  And Di Hard instantly turned him into one of the biggest action stars around.

Anyway, here’s one of the best action sequences ever put on film:

And one of the best action movie lines of all time:

And because it’s okay to affectionately mock something you love, here’s the CinemaSins episode on Die Hard:

– – – – –

Do you disagree with any of these choices, or think that I missed something?  Leave a comment below.

Movies We Still Care About – 1987 – Part 3 (R-Z)

(For an explanation of this, read the Introduction.  Other posts in this series can be found here.)

Movies We Still Care About

  • Adventures in Babysitting
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Evil Dead 2
  • (First half of) Full Metal Jacket
  • Hellraiser
  • Lethal Weapon
  • The Lost Boys
  • Moonstruck
  • Predator
  • The Princess Bride
  • Raising Arizona
  • Robocop
  • Spaceballs
  • The Untouchables
  • Wall Street

Other Notable Movies

  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles
  • The Running Man

Best Picture Nominees:

  • The Last Emperor (Winner)
  • Broadcast News
  • Fatal Attraction
  • Hope and Glory
  • Moonstruck

Top Grossing Films (US)

  1. Three Men and a Baby
  2. Fatal Attraction
  3. Beverly Hills Cop II
  4. Good Morning, Vietnam
  5. Moonstruck
  6. The Untouchables
  7. The Secret of My Success
  8. Stakeout
  9. Lethal Weapon
  10. The Witches of Eastwick

Rotten Tomatoes Top Movies

  1. The Princess Bride (97%)
  2. Evil Dead 2 (98%)
  3. Wings of Desire (98%)
  4. Broadcast News (98%)
  5. Full Metal Jacket (94%)
  6. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (94%)
  7. Moonstruck (92%)
  8. The Last Emperor (91%)
  9. Raising Arizona (90%)

Movies We Still Care About

Raising Arizona

This has a weird quirky charm that appeals to people who like those sort of things, and was the first major success for the Coen Brothers and Nic Cage.  Its quirkiness isn’t for everyone.  A good barometer for whether or not you’ll like this movie is this scene:

 

Robocop

An iconic character that has become part of our culture, and probably the peak of hyper-violent 80s action movies.  (Which actually was intended to be even more violent, but was toned down in order to avoid an X rating.)

Here’s one of the tamer scenes, where Robocop shoots a thug in the crotch, through the skirt of a woman the thug is holding hostage.

Here’s the ED-209 malfunction scene.

I can’t explain why, but for some reason I love this brief clip of a lecherous guy saying “I’d buy that for a dollar.”

And here’s a video of little-known facts about the movie.  I bet you didn’t realize how much of the movie actually has Robocop in his underwear.

 

Spaceballs

One of the better spoof movies, back in an era where spoof movies had actual jokes that connected to the source material rather than modern spoofs which just cram in a bunch of random references.

A lot of the jokes don’t hold up, and Mel Brooks had an unfortunate tendency to overexplain the punchlines.  For example:

But a much of the humor does still work, and this is certainly a must-see for any Star Wars or late 70s/early 80s sci-fi fan. Here are some better scenes:

 

The Untouchables

I don’t have much to say about this, and would probably put it in “Other Fond Memories,” except that I want to post the baby carriage scene.

 

Wall Street

Wall Street is a message movie that ends up enduring for the exact opposite of what Oliver Stone intended.  It’s supposed to be a critique of greed-driven commerce, and Gordon Gecko is supposed to be the bad guy.

But as a writer, it is important to make villains have real reasons for their actions, rather than just wallowing in their own crapulence.  (At least, if you’re making a serious/smart movie.  You can get away with cartoonish villains in a fun dumb movie.)  Every bad guy ought to believe that he’s the hero of his own movie.

Stone and co-writer Stanley Weiser, along with Michael Douglas’s performance, did too good a job of this.  Generations of stock brokers and high-finance people went into that industry because they saw the “Greed is good” speech, and said to themselves, “He makes a good point.  I want to be like him.”

Other Notable Films

The Running Man

The second silly action movie from 1987 to feature two future governors.  This isn’t as popular as it once was.  But it’s interesting for its prescience in spoofing reality TV, a genre that wouldn’t become popular for another 15 years.

It also has a bunch of ridiculous over-the-top death scenes, that are far more creative than you typically see today.

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Do you disagree with any of these choices, or think that I missed something?  Leave a comment below.

Movies We Still Care About – 1987 – Part 2 (L-P)

(For an explanation of this, read the Introduction.  Other posts in this series can be found here.)

Movies We Still Care About

  • Adventures in Babysitting
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Evil Dead 2
  • (First half of) Full Metal Jacket
  • Hellraiser
  • Lethal Weapon
  • The Lost Boys
  • Moonstruck
  • Predator
  • The Princess Bride
  • Raising Arizona
  • Robocop
  • Spaceballs
  • The Untouchables
  • Wall Street

Other Notable Movies

  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles
  • The Running Man

Best Picture Nominees:

  • The Last Emperor (Winner)
  • Broadcast News
  • Fatal Attraction
  • Hope and Glory
  • Moonstruck

Top Grossing Films (US)

  1. Three Men and a Baby
  2. Fatal Attraction
  3. Beverly Hills Cop II
  4. Good Morning, Vietnam
  5. Moonstruck
  6. The Untouchables
  7. The Secret of My Success
  8. Stakeout
  9. Lethal Weapon
  10. The Witches of Eastwick

Rotten Tomatoes Top Movies

  1. The Princess Bride (97%)
  2. Evil Dead 2 (98%)
  3. Wings of Desire (98%)
  4. Broadcast News (98%)
  5. Full Metal Jacket (94%)
  6. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (94%)
  7. Moonstruck (92%)
  8. The Last Emperor (91%)
  9. Raising Arizona (90%)

Movies We Still Care About

Lethal Weapon

This created the “Cop on the edge with nothing to lose” genre, which continues to be popular to this day.  (Note how 24 just returned to TV this week.)

I think that this is one of those movies that has been imitated so much that when you go back and watch it now, it feels very cliched.  Which is a compliment rather than a criticism.  But it does mean that it’s more popular in our memory than to actually watch.

In addition to being imitated by pretty much every cop movie or TV show from the last 27 years, it’s also frequently referenced.  There was an entire episode of How I Met Your Mother about how Ted kept a “Murtaugh list,” which was things he was too old to do anymore.

 

Predator

One of two over-the-top action movies to come out this year starring two future state governors. (Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura)  This spawned a long-running franchise, and the Predator has entered our mythology.

I think there are two reasons this movie endures.  The first is the visual design of the Predator itself.  Creature designer Stan Winston managed to create a monster that was unlike anything we had seen before.  Its mouth was the stuff of nightmares. (While its dreadlocks are frequently imitated by pro athletes.)

Some factoids about Predator you may not have known: There was a joke going around after Rocky IV that, since Rocky had run out of people to fight, Rocky V would have him fighting an alien.  Some screenwriters were inspired by this joke to create a real screenplay, which eventually developed into Predator.  Jean-Claude Van Damme was originally cast to play the Predator.  But Schwarzenegger and the rest of the cast are so much bigger than him that this just didn’t work.  So he was replaced by the guy who played Harry in Harry and the Henderson.

The Princess Bride

This is one of my all-time favorite movies.  It’s a rare film that is frequently among the favorites of both fans of stereotypically male movies and fans of stereotypically female movies.  (Note that I’m talking about stereotypes.  Obviously real men and women like all sorts of movies.)

It’s one of those movies where it’s hard to find any commentary to make about it, because everyone already loves it and knows it by heart.  (And if you don’t, what’s wrong with you?)  So in lieu of commentary, I’ll post some clips.

Here’s a collection of Vizzini saying “Inconceivable!”

Here’s just about as perfect and as pure of a straightforward battle of wits as you’ll ever see on film, made all the more entertaining by Vizzini’s zany leaps of logic.

And of course, “Hello.  My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die.”

Other Fond Memories

(These are movies that fit the category of “Movies We Still Care About,” but for which I personally can’t think of anything interesting to say. Please don’t take a movie’s inclusion in this category as any sort of criticism.  You are encouraged to voice your thoughts on these films in the comments section.)

  • The Lost Boys
  • Moonstruck

Other Notable Films

Planes Trains and Automobiles

Not as popular today as when it first came out.  But worth noting for the “those aren’t pillows” scene.  (Though probably a comedy scene that’s based so much on homophobia wouldn’t fly today.)

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Do you disagree with any of these choices, or think that I missed something?  Leave a comment below.