This is my last column at SeriouslyGuys, with tomorrow being my last day at our site. It’s been absolutely, one hundred percent, a blast writing for the site. That said, one thing tends to stick in my head. A long time ago, I wrote a review of a bad but oh so good movie, The Crippled Masters; however, I was given a piece of feedback stating that I had really phoned it in.
So, rather than do one last review, for my final column, we’re gonna phone it all in.
Hopefully, I’m not too late to save Bell Atlantic.
Obviously, I have a bit of a thing for movies. Some might say I love them. Personally, I’m not sure if I’m ready to make such a commitment, but I’d definitely be up for getting brunch with them. But what are my favorite movies?
- The Seven Samurai – There are no other better movies than this. It’s dynamic, in more ways than one. Akira Kurosawa whisks from scene to scene with a series of elegant wipes, and the script’s ruthless excision of expository dialogue never lets us get impatient. The movie contains so many visual treasures that Kurosawa can afford to gloss over some of them.
- The Godfather Part 2 – Many people argue about which is better, this movie or its prequel. The answer is the sequel. It’s rare, but it does happen. Live with it.
- The Godfather – That said, coming up second to the Godfather Part 2 isn’t exactly something that should be criticized. The Corleone Family saga is one for the ages, and truthfully, this was the movie that caused me to fall in love with film.
- Duck Soup – Dated as Duck Soup inevitably is in some respects, it has moments that seem startlingly modern, as when Groucho calls for help during the closing battle sequence, and the response is stock footage edited together out of newsreel shots of fire engines, elephants, motorcycles, you name it. The brothers broke the classical structure of movie comedy and glued it back again haphazardly, and nothing was ever the same.
- Blazing Saddles – I’ve seen this movie numerous times. I own it on both DVD and Blu-Ray. Regardless of those, every time I watch the flick, it’s as if it’s for the first time. I’ll sing along, crack up at every joke (of which there are legion) and always enjoy every moment. What’s not to like about the movie? Nothing, you hear me? NOTHING. It’s the greatest thing that Mel Brooks has ever done.
- Yojimbo – Like many of Kurosawa’s films, Yojimbo was also adapted and remade for English language audiences. The majority of the remakes aren’t too bad, but you just can’t beat the real thing.
- Monty Python & the Holy Grail – A parents of a 10 year old Chris found this movie on Comedy Central and had him sit and watch it with him. 10 year old Chris had no clue what was going on. Swedish language subtitles jokes? Fart jokes I was allowed to laugh at with my parents? Pure and utter silliness? It was like being told the greatest secret ever.
- Aliens – It’s a perfect movie, no hyperbole. It’s a perfect sit on the couch, crack open some cold drinks and invite the friends over to watch, perfect movie.
- Birdman – Birdman isn’t a piece of empty showmanship. It’s a piece about empty showmanship, and its unhinged premise – a fairground-mirror image of the career of its leading man (Michael Keaton), who starred in Tim Burton’s two mega-grossing Batman films then quit the franchise on principle – couldn’t have been told in a smarter way. It’s a beautiful, moving, captivating film.
- Kill Bill (Volume 1) – The greatest fan of film makes a movie that’s nothing more than a love letter to movies. And feet, which is icky. Despite the extended focus on Uma Thurman’s toe holders, the fight scenes, mood, music, everything wins out my love.
And if I’m doing a top 10 list of movies, I can’t avoid talking about my favorite directors.
- Akira Kurosawa – Of course the director of my favorite movie is my favorite director. In fact, he’s also the director of Yojimbo, another top 10 movie for me! No one captures the human condition on film better than Kurosawa.
- Quentin Tarantino – As referenced above, QT is the preeminent film fan and it shows. Tarantino films aren’t just films, they’re intricate homages and love letters to the art form. Every film has a multitude of homages and easter eggs, and said homages contain layers upon layers of homages. Honestly, he’s what all film fans want to be: he’s living the dream.
- Terry Gilliam – Gilliam is a dreamer. His scope in movies is tremendous and beautiful. He perfectly embodies unchecked vision. Unfortunately, reality typically has to interject in his movies, scaling back everything into a fraction of what he dreams. Nonetheless, what you see on screen is nothing to shrug at. Also, did I mention that he’s a friend of practical effects? How can I not love that?
Before I leave, let me leave you with some awesome movie podcasts:
- How Did This Get Made – Bad movie podcasts appear to be all the rage happening in podcast land right now, but you can’t beat the first and the best. Comedians Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas and June Diane Raphael watch the worst movies and then try to explain just where everything went wrong. Key episodes to listen to are Street Fighter, Fast Five and the recent Con Air.
- Denzel Washington Is The Greatest Actor Of All Time Period – W. Kamau Bell and Kevin Avery are clearly having a great time recording this show. The two, with the occasional guest, are going over the entire Denzel Washington filmography, A-Z. My favorite episode so far is He Got Game, where they and Omar Dorsey seem to be having SO MUCH FUN that it’s envious.
- The Film Vault – Another duo podcast, Bald Bryan and Anderson Cowan know a thing or two about movies. In Bryan’s case, it seems to be just a thing. In Anderson’s case, a lot more than just a thing. Anderson’s yelling can get overly annoying and Bryan’s nearly everything can be grating, but listeners will definitely learn a lot about movies.
- The Black List Table Reads – At the time of publishing, the BLTR will only have two episodes under its belt, but what it’s shown so far has been incredibly impressive. Film fans know about the storied history of The Black List, the list of scripts that Hollywood hasn’t yet touched. This is the podcast that, with the help of comedians, both stand-up and improv varieties, brings a voice to those scripts. It’s gonna be a good ride, kids.
So, that’s that everyone. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading what I’ve written. I profusely appreciate you all giving me the chance to do so. Now, what’s say this weekend, maybe take some time to watch something good. It’s without a doubt more entertaining than baseball.