Monday, June 14, 2010

The Vern's awesomely cool top ten list of movies that he could watch repeatedly and not get bored.

I have reviewed quite a few movies on this blog, and I appreciate those of you who have read it. In this post I wanted to take a look back at some of my personal favorites. These ten movies are ones that I can watch again and again without ever feeling bored


Waking Life.

(Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures)

This animated movie from Richard Linklater is not going to be for everyone. Many of your are going to find some of the conversations boring. There is a lot of talk about philosophy, sociology, and of human emotions The story is of a young man(Wiley Wiggins) who is hit by a car , but then wakes up into another dream. He remains conscious but still dreaming. It’s a state known as lucid dreaming or being aware that you’re dreaming. I have experienced this state maybe three times in my life and they were really a profound experience. "Waking Life" asks the question. If there is a way you can control your dreams at night couldn’t you control your actual life in the day as well. There is not a conventional plot in this and you may have to find your own which could turn a few of you away from this. This is a movie that will make you think a bit more than your use to.

One of my favorite moments is when the young man walks past a woman on the street(Tiana Hux) and they both give a general hi and go about their day. However the woman decides to go one step further and introduce herself to him and explain why she doesn’t want to feel like an ant. Here is her quote.

Tiana Hux: “Hey. Could we do that again? I know we haven't met, but I don't want to be an ant. You know? I mean, it's like we go through life with our antennas bouncing off one another, continuously on an autopilot, with nothing really human required of us. Stop. Go. Walk here. Drive there. All action basically for survival. All communication simply to keep this ant colony buzzing along in an efficient, polite manner. "Here's your change." "Paper or plastic?' "Credit or debit?" "You want ketchup with that?" I don't want a straw. I want real human moments. I want to see you. I want you to see me. I don't want to give that up. I don't want to be ant, you know?”

Was Agent Smith who spoke to Morpheus in “The Matrix” correct. Are we are becoming more like insects and less like mammals.


Pan’s Labyrinth

I was a bit saddened to se Guillermo Del Toro leave “The Hobbit” project. His visuals would have been a tremendous treat for fans of Tolkien. Then again with him not adapting he can go on to make more original works like his masterpiece “Pan’s Labyrinth” or as it is originally titled “El Laberinto del fauno”. This fable of a young girl’s adventure into becoming a princess is met with the gruesome violence of a civil war in Spain. The juxtaposition of both the fantasy and the reality and how they can sometimes merge is the main reason why I love this. As adults we lose the creativity and imaginations we once did as kids. It is important to keep that sense of curiosity and amazement alive in us.


Blade Runner.

When the director’s cut of “Blade Runner” was released I was 14. At the time I thought the visuals were incredible but I couldn’t get much into the story. It wasn’t until later when I saw all three other cuts of the movie and read the source novel “Do androids dream of electric sheep” that I come to appreciate this innovated science fiction movie. Some people like the theatrical cut with Deckard’s narration and happy ending while others prefer the removal of both in later versions. It’s hard to say which version is my preferred choice because I enjoyed all of them and enjoy the choice of having different versions to choose from. If you are a first timer to Blade Runner I highly recommend the final cut version. If you like the movie, than I suggest you seek out the theatrical cuts. I might get some flack from some readers for saying this but Rick Deckard is Harrison Ford’s 2nd greatest character next to Indiana Jones.(Sorry Han Solo fans, but he was not the main character in that space tale and his suppourting turn was o.k. at best).

Artificial intelligence and replicants (a.k.a. cyborgs) are becoming less science fiction and more science fact. We can see a lot of that in our everyday living. We probably spend more time on our personal computers than we do actually speaking to someone. I’m sure the day we’ll come when we’ll no longer have to communicate with each other. We can just think it and have our thoughts uploaded to our facebook and twitter accounts.



(Photo: Orion Pictures)

A perfect satire of our obsession with consumerism and products (The Sux 6000). I also liked the message of politicians declaring war on something but only wanting to control it, not stop it. Of course all of these reasons were absent from me when I was just 11 years old, enjoying all the great action and humorous moments Robocop has. The scene where Ed 209 is introduced is a cinematic classic in its own right and I got the absurd humor of the violence even at a young age. There are discussions about remaking Robocop and I’m fine with that as long as it’s an original story so that it won’t infect this action classic.


Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

(Photo: Touchstone Pictures)

While most boys my age were into transformers and matchbox cars. I became obsessed with the world of Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes. I liked how Bugs Bunny could get himself out of danger by using quick wit instead of a fast gun. The non speaking slapstick of the coyote chasing the road runner showed me a world in which natural physics laws need not applied. “Who framed Roger Rabbit” is a great salute to all of those cartoons I have loved.

The Live action blended with animation is flawless even by today’s standards. I found the mixture of slapstick /Tex Avery comedy and the hard boiled/Dashiell Hammet mystery quite creative. This is classic film noir, but with an occasional banana creme pie in the face every once in a while.


Little Miss Sunshine

(Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures)

The best move of a family unit that I have ever seen on screen is Little Miss Sunshine. The Hoover family even beats out the Griswold’s in “National Lampoon’s Vacation” as the best movie about a family on a road trip. Both movies had a lot of great laughs but L.M.S. has more emotion and a big heart. Some reviews I read commented of the family being dysfunctional. I tend to think they function very well. Each member of the family have some issues that they have difficult dealing with themselves, but when they are together they don’t think about themselves and can just concentrate on another person  for a while.

The cast is one of the best ensemble s since “Glengarry Glen Ross” The screenplay by Michael Ardnt is brilliant at letting a lot of the humor appear somewhat shocking at first but never offensive. Although this movie is rated R, kids over the age of twelve are o.k. to watch this. Trust me there are more offensive things mentioned in most sitcoms than there is in this.

 North by Northwest.

(Photo: MGM Pictures)

Hitchcock’s tale of mistaken identity is so perfect in its character and plot development that if this were to be released today. It would have been a hit now as it was then. Roger O Thornhill (Cary Grant) has been confused with someone named George Kaplan and is on the run from foreign spies who want to kill him, cops who want to put him in jail, and a mysterious blonde named Eve Kendell (Eva Marie Saint) who just plain wants him. James Bond and Jason Bourne owe this movie a lot of thanks for help starting and making popular the spy genre as well as the mistaken identity picture. There are no slow moments in this movie and each scene build s from each other like a perfect puzzle



(Photo: New World Pictures)

I’m sure many of you have a movie that helped define you high school years. For me that movie was “Heathers”. Now I’m sure a lot of you are probably going to assume that I did not like High School and that's not  true. My opinion of high school was that it’s a job. There were days that were very good and days that were not so good. Did you enjoy every single day at your job, probably not.

This dark comedy about teen suicide is a perfect satire on trends and the fake importance of fitting in amongst our peers. The cast including Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, and Shannon Doherty are just perfect. The screenplay from Daniel Waters boasts some of the most creative one liners ever put on film. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the movie

Veronica: “Dear Diary: Heather told me she teaches people "real life." She said, real life sucks losers dry. You want to fuck with the eagles, you have to learn to fly. I said, so, you teach people how to spread their wings and fly? She said, yes. I said, you're beautiful.”.

In a few years a lot of teen comedies will seem dated and old, but not “Heathers” it will always be daring and thought provoking no matter what generation finds it.


Requiem for a dream.

There are a lot of moments I remember in the theater, but none have hit me on such a emotional and visual overload than “Requiem for a dream”. Well I didn’t watch it in theaters but was able to get a copy before it got released on video(yes VHS was still around back than). My dad had a home theater built on the side of his house and the two of us watched it together. I’m not sure how he felt about it, but I was completely blown away by it. It was almost like I was taking drugs. There is first the enjoyment and then the inevitable downfall While some movies about drug use focuses on the misadventures after taking drugs.( “”Harold and Kumar go to white castle”) and others treat drug use as a tragedy throughout(“Less Than Zero”). This is one movie that focuses more on the character and the reasons of their addiction. It goes deeper into saying that we are all addicts in one way or another. Some people are addicted to facebook and red bulls while others are addicted to online computer gaming and smoking. I’m not saying that heroin is like the need to watch the super bowl, but I’m pretty sure the withdrawal effects of both would be pretty similar although less tragic in the case of not being able to watch the game.

The visuals in this movie are astounding although many will just dismiss it as MTV style quick cuts. There are some disturbing elements in this movie, but this is the kind of movie that should be shown to anyone who is thinking of doing drugs. This is the most effective Anti drug movie and one of cinema’s most treasure works ever put on screen.


Pulp Fiction.

(Photo: Miramax Films)

I have always been a casual fan of movies before Tarantino entered my life. I would go out and see a bunch of movies but would not really pay attention to those who were involved in the project. That all changed after I witnessed “Pulp Fiction” in theaters. I have never seen anything like it on screen before. The way the stories were separate and then became part of the full complete story was brilliant. The clever dialog spoken by the characters were just brilliant and I have quoted many of those lines with my friends after seeing this. This is the only movie to this day I have watched more than once in theaters. Infact I am sure I have watched it at least 5 times in regular theaters and even more when it got to the cheap theaters. I remember going with my friends Mike and Adam and we would just repeat the dialog throughout the whole movie. I wasn’t bored of it than and I am not bored of it now. Since Pulp Fiction I have become more involved with movies and I take great care to see other movies from writers, directors and even cinematographers I appreciate and respect, I also like discovering one actor in a small but memorable role in one movie and than seeing him or her as the lead of another movie.

I will be back next week to post reviews of Toy Story 3, The A Team and The Killer Inside Me


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Your a brave man in you choose to watch Requiem for a dream several times!!!

    1. thank you for the comment,Mavi. I'm either brave or incredibly stupid. I have never seen a movie before that put my mind and emotions in for that kind of intense ride before.

  3. Great list! The only other movie I've watched that came close to the atmosphere of Requiem for a Dream is "Enter the Void" (2009), which I saw recently, and gave a 9/10
    Actually what you said about communicating with each other by thinking, is what the aliens do in Ender's Game. I can see that happening for real in the future.

  4. Are you reading my mind right now Chris? lol. Enter The Void is a visually Awesome flick. I am kind of upset it was not nominated for Cinematography during the Award season.

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