Posts Tagged ‘Listicles’

Also-Ran Movies of the Aughts – Thrillers

Many bloggers and critics (my husband included) have been posting their lists of the best films of the 00s.  This is not one of those lists.  The following is one in a series of posts dedicated to the overlooked/underrated/hidden gem films of the Aughts.  I have handily included Netflix links with each film in case you want to add it to your queue.  And you should.  All of them.  For further inspiration, see the lists of romances, comedies, and dramas, etc.

For lack of a better word, I’m calling this a list of “Thrillers,” but really it’s a list of man movies my brother and dad would like (and that I liked, as well).

Unbreakable – This is my absolute favorite M. Night Shayamalan movie (which is really kind of not saying much because I’ve liked exactly three of his movies).  Unbreakable is a real world superhero origin story and in some ways paved the way for the realism that has infiltrated the Christopher Nolan Batman films.  There.  I said it.

Red EyeRed Eye explores the idea of what happens when the cute flirty guy sitting next to you on the plane turns out to be the huge crazy blue-eyed douchebag who’s trying to kidnap you.

Snatch – Brad Pitt is ridiculously awesome in Guy Ritchie’s heist follow-up to Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.

Inside Man – This Spike Lee movie is a complex tale of a bank robbery that turns into a hostage situation.  And there are a few stars in the film, too, namely Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, and Clive Owen.

Phone Booth – Colin Farrell has to stay on the phone while Jack Bauer points a sniper rifle at him.

JarheadJarhead is one of the best war movies of the past 10 years, mostly because it’s strictly soldier-centric.  There’s no big overreaching message or political agenda.  It’s about being a young person in the desert with no mission.

Black Hawk Down – And another great war film of the Aughts is Black Hawk Down, directed by Ridley Scott.  This film follows the crew of a downed helicopter in Somalia.

Training Day – It always seems somewhat not right (at least on the surface) that Denzel won his Best Actor Oscar for this movie and not for Malcom X or Hurricane (kind of like how Russell Crowe won for Gladiator and not for The Insider or A Beautiful Mind), but maybe it is actually more fitting that Denzel did win for this role as the crookedest of crooked cops since it played so against his usual type and his performance completely elevates this movie.

Taken – Liam Neeson has a specific set of skills and he will not hesitate to use them if you don’t hand over Shannon from Lost, bitches!

What were your favorite action movies/thrillers of the past ten years?

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Also-Ran Movies of the Aughts – Difficult Dramas

Many bloggers and critics (my husband included) have been posting their lists of the best films of the 00s.  This is not one of those lists.  The following is one in a series of posts dedicated to the overlooked/underrated/hidden gem films of the Aughts.  I have handily included Netflix links with each film in case you want to add it to your queue.  And you should.  All of them.  For further inspiration, see the lists of romances, comedies, and dramas.

Some movies, no matter how banal, are so easy to watch that you can get sucked into a Saturday afternoon TBS marathon in five seconds (Hello there, Down to Earth).  Other movies, no matter how great, always seem like a chore to watch because the topic at hand is so heavy (Nice to see you, American History X).  The following are some of the movies of the 00s for which it was worth having your guts ripped out.

United 93 – This movie, deservedly, made some Top 10 lists, but it still remains one of those films that people are reluctant to see because of the sensitive 9/11 subject matter.  I say even though the ending is ultimately depressing, the story itself is one of triumph and heroism.  This film is not at all sappy or manipulative.  It’s just about what happened.

In America –  Jim Sheridan’s fine film  is about the difficulties of immigration and features brilliant acting by both Samantha Morton and Paddy Considine.

Dear Zachary – This documentary that a friend put together for his murdered friend’s son is going to set you back about three to seven boxes of Kleenex.  So wretchedly sad, but so worth watching.

House of Sand and Fog – This is one of the few movies that ended up being better than the book (another such movie makes my Top 10 Also-Ran All-Stars, but that remains a secret for now).  Ben Kingsley is heartbreaking and, in my opinion, should’ve won the Oscar over Sean Penn (jeebus, I hate the movie Mystic River so very, very much).

Hotel Rwanda – Like Children of Men and Big Fish, this is one movie that left me speechless for a long time afterwards because I knew the second I opened my mouth I would start bawling.  Don Cheadle, you are my hero.

The Machinist – Is there nothing Christian Bale won’t do for a role?  Here he shrinks down to Kate Moss size to play the role of a man who is living his nightmare.

Dancer in the Dark – It’s because of this movie that Bjork was invited to the Academy Awards and wore her infamous swan dress, so immediately, there’s that.  But there’s also the beautiful music and the poignant story of a mother trying to find the American dream and a more hopeful future for her son.

Little Children – Child molesters, adultery, and first date masterbation.  Oh, my!

What movies were worth all the hankies and the discomfort to you?

Also-Ran Movies of the Aughts – Dramas

Many bloggers and critics (my husband included) have been posting their lists of the best films of the 00s.  This is not one of those lists.  The following is one in a series of posts dedicated to the overlooked/underrated/hidden gem films of the Aughts.  I have handily included Netflix links with each film in case you want to add it to your queue.  And you should.  All of them.  For further inspiration, see the lists of romances and comedies.

The Upside of Anger – This is probably one of my favorite movie finds of the Aughts.  Joan Allen stars as a woman whose husband has up and left her without a trace.  She befriends her friendly neighborhood ex-baseball player who lives down the street (played by Kevin Coster, who should at this point ONLY play ex-baseball players).

Cinderella Man – I saw this movie in a pre-screening a few weeks before it came out.  Everyone in my group loved this Rocky-esque tale starring Russell Crowe.  It went on to make -$14.

In Good Company – Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace star in this story about growing old in the business world.

The Prestige – Christopher Nolan became known this decade mostly for Memento and the Batman movies (all brilliant), but this film about dueling magicians staring Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman is fun and surprising.

Hustle & Flow – Years later, I still love that this movie won the Academy Award for Best Song (“It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp).  The movie itself is the story of a pimp who makes good, played with aplomb by Terrence Howard.

You Can Count on Me – This movie was all the rage back in 2001 when it debuted.  If you missed it then, rent it now and see the lovely little film that made stars out of Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo.

State of Play – This movie is like the film version of Season 5 of The Wire starring Russell Crowe, Helen Mirren, and Rachel McAdams.  That should be enough for you.

25th Hour – Spike Lee and Edward Norton were at their absolute best when they made this film about how one man spends his final free day before serving a seven-year stint in prison.

Match Point – I am not a big Woody Allen fan, and this is pretty much not a Woody Allen movie.  Suspenseful, sexy, and British – I love it.

The Visitor – This brilliant little film (featuring an Oscar-nominated performance from Richard Jenkins AKA the dad from Six Feet Under) about a man who strikes up an unlikely friendship with his apartment’s squatters is not to be missed.

Honorable Mention: Collateral, Almost Famous, Insomnia, Friday Night Lights, Shattered Glass, Changing Lanes, Far From Heaven, Frost/Nixon, 8 Mile, Big Fish, The Queen

Which dramas did you love over the past 10 years?

The Also-Ran Movies of the Aughts – Comedies

Many bloggers and critics (my husband included) have been posting their lists of the best films of the 00s.  This is not one of those lists.  The following is one in a series of posts dedicated to the overlooked/underrated/hidden gem films of the Aughts.  I have handily included Netflix links with each film in case you want to add it to your queue.  And you should.  All of them.  Check out my list of Romances for further filmic inspiration.

The following is a list of comedies that slipped through the cracks critically and/or commercially, but are most definitely worth a rental (especially since January is such a cold, dreary wasteland of horrendous theatrical releases).

Team America: World Police – Marionettes! Catchy tunes! Satire!  This movie may not have caught on as much as its predecessor (South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut), but it is just as entertaining.  F*ck yeah!

Roger Dodger – The great Campbell Scott plays a womanizing cad who takes his teenage nephew out on the town to get laid, and he plays the role brilliantly.

The Girl Next Door – This movie is worthwhile just for the inclusion three of the best young actors out there today – Emile Hirsch, Paul Dano, and Chris Marquette (Where have you been, man?).  However, the film itself is smart, funny, and one of the best send-ups of an ‘80s-style teen comedy to be seen since, well, the ‘80s.

Sex Drive – Ah, James Marsden.  Is there nothing you can’t do?  He takes on the Bill Paxton-esque jerk of an older brother role in this funny road trip sex comedy.

I Love You, Man – In a perfect world, Paul Rudd would be nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award for his brilliant performance in the movie, Joban.

Idiocracy – FOX had absolutely no faith in this film and released it with very little fanfare.  However, despite faltering a bit at the end, this film is prescient and hilarious and features a great acting turn by Maya Rudolph.

Just Friends – One would think that Ryan Reynolds in a fat suit and braces lip-synching to “I Swear” to himself in a mirror would be a recipe for disaster, but it’s so not.  Reynolds proves his comedic chops in this movie along side Anna Faris and the aforementioned Chris Marquette.

Burn After ReadingBurn After Reading was the Coen brothers’ follow-up to the Oscar winning No Country for Old Men, and was mostly overlooked during the awards season.  Brad Pitt, who always manages to shine in small roles in quirky movies (see: Snatch, 12 Monkeys), steals the show here.

Best in Show – Dogs! My personal introduction to both Jane Lynch and John Michael Higgins! Talking! Not talking! Snow peas!

High Fidelity – This film about falling in and out of love while Jack Black serenades you and questions your musical choices makes the list with a bullet.

Punch-Drunk Love – This was Adam Sandler’s first foray into real, serious acting and he fares well under the tutelage of Paul Thomas Anderson.  Of course, he had help from Philip Seymour Hoffman (NSFW – language).

The Also-Ran Movies of the Aughts – Romances

Many bloggers and critics (my husband included) have been posting their lists of the best films of the 00s.  This is not one of those lists.  The following is one in a series of posts dedicated to the overlooked/underrated/hidden gem films of the Aughts.  I have handily included Netflix links with each film in case you want to add it to your queue.  And you should.  All of them.

The first list in this series is near and dear to my heart.  I love a good action movie or horror flick, but I’m a romance gal.  These are the rom coms and rom drams that made me smile/laugh/cry over the past ten years.  Some of them are legitimately brilliant films.  Some of them are a tad bit embarrassing.  All of them are worthy of a look-see.

In no particular order:

Moulin Rouge! – Baz Luhrmann’s magnum opus has been featured on many a Top 10 list (including my husband’s), but the fact that it’s a musical and the fact that the first twenty minutes are a little frenetic tend to turn people off.  Don’t let them.  If you make it past the first half hour, I guarantee you will be spellbound.

Love Actually – This has slowly turned into both my favorite rom com and my favorite Christmas movie.  It has something for everyone, regardless of where you are in your life and love.

Once – Simply, perfectly the most beautiful story of unrequited love ever told.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – This one has also made a bunch of Top 10 lists, deservedly; but, much like Moulin Rouge!, the strangeness of the storytelling/Kate Winslet’s hair may have kept some people from seeing this brilliant and heartbreaking film.

Bend It Like Beckham – This film is an absolute delight, and Keira Knightly has never been more enjoyable on screen.

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – A lot of movies take place over the course of one night, but this one is whimsical and lovely.  Michael Cera is at his George Michael best and Kat Dennings is infinitely likeable.

Music & Lyrics – I went into seeing this film with few expectations, but I changed my tune the minute the “Pop! Goes My Heart” music video started at the very beginning of the movie.  Hugh Grant is a delight, and Drew Barrymore is not annoying (glowing praise indeed).  Sure, the story is predictable and ridiculous, but Hugh Grant makes it more than palatable.

He’s Just Not That Into You – Critics were not kind to this film.  It only received a 44% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  While it’s not the caliber of Love Actually, the actors are entertaining (particularly Ginnifer Goodwin and Justin Long) and the stories are relatable.

Enchanted – While compiling my list of also-ran movies, I could’ve made a list of just James Marsden movies.  He steals the show in this frothy musical.

Before Sunset – Here’s what happens when one-night-stands reconnect after a decade has passed.  Before Sunset is a near-perfect example of a sequel that deepens and enriches the ideas of the first film, with an ambiguous ending that will leave you begging for more.

Honorable Pathetic (Wardrobe-Related) Mention:

How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days – I know.  This movie is not good.  But Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey are at their personal best (plus the yellow dress at the end of the movie is to die for).

Dr. T and the Women – I actually don’t think this movie is that bad (as long as you press “stop” on the DVD player once the tornado starts up (seriously)).  But most importantly, this movie features the absolute most covet-worthy wedding dress of all time.

27 Dresses – It’s right there in the title.  There are dresses and there are 27 of them.  And there is James Marsden.  Enough said.

Which romantic movies did I miss?

5 Great TV Deaths of the 00s

SPOILERS abound.  Shows appear in this order: Six Feet Under, LOST, Big Love, The Wire, and Grey’s Anatomy.  If you don’t want any of those shows spoiled for you, stay away.  You’ve been warned.

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Six Feet Under – “Narm!”

Lost – “Not Penny’s boat!”

Big Love – The dangers of a long braid.

The Wire – “You look good, girl.”

Grey’s Anatomy – 007

Flowery Language – TV/Movie Quotes That Have Found Their Way Into My Vernacular

I’ve said it before.  I watch a lot of TV and I down a lot of donuts (Ha! There’s another paraphrased TV quote!), so it should be no surprise that sometimes a memorable (or not so memorable) quote or two will find their way into my everyday jive.

Here are the TV/Movie quotes I’ve caught myself uttering in conversation over the last week.

“Good job,” Randy Travis on Idol. When Randy Travis creepily said this to Kris Allen on last season’s Idol, I knew it was gold, Jerry (see below).

Usage: When someone does a “good job.”  N.B. Creepy eyebrows are a necessary accompaniment to this quote

“That’s gold, Jerry!” Banya on Seinfeld

Usage: When something is just brilliant (see above).

The following (NSFW, language-wise) clip from Magnolia (AKA the best movie of the last 15 years), boasts no fewer than four quotes I find myself using often in everyday conversation: “OK.  I’m not askin’,” “I don’t even know no ‘loud crash,'” “That ain’t mine!” and “Fo’ what, fo’ what, fo’ what?”

Usages: Usually just exclamations or whenever the quote happens to fit the situation.  Another acceptable random exclamatory quote from this movie is “Let me tell you ’bout the worm.”

“Whoops…” from The Office. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a clip of this one because it’s just too, too slight a moment.  It’s from the Season 3 finale, “The Job,” and it’s what Jim says right after Michael asks him if he and Karen are going to be doing it.

Usage: When someone puts a foot in their mouth.  Also acceptable is Adam Sandler’s “Whaaaat?” from The Wedding Singer

“And what they are is just stone cold gay,” from Parks and Recreation. Same thing for this Parks and Recreation quote.  This one is from the episode where Leslie inadvertently marries two male penguins at the zoo and as a result becomes a gay icon in Pawnee.  She goes to the town’s gay club and is impressed by how everyone is just being themselves and dancing and having a good time.

Usage: An addendum to any personal description.  i.e. “Mary is funny and she loves puppies and what she is, is just stone cold gay.”

That TV Show Is Sooo 1987, Part 1…?

This post about movies from your childhood that don’t hold up got me thinking about movies from my childhood that DO hold up (i.e. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and Can’t Buy Me Love.  Both are infinitely entertaining.  Someone jumps, nay, somersaults through a window and into a party in the former film.  They’re just not making that kind of movie today).  But that’s a post for another day.  This post is about the weird ass TV I loved as a kid that may or may not hold up.

It’s no secret that I’m a TV-phile to a very unhealthy extent.  It has always been that way.  Some kids grow up to be cowboys.  Some grow up to be the kind of person who DVRs America’s Next Top Model.

Most of the shows I loved as a kid have eventually been released on DVD (Family Ties, The Cosby Show, one measly season of Growing Pains), but some shows have gone by the wayside — never to be seen again.  Except.  Now we have YouTube.

Here are some of the more random and embarrassing shows from my childhood that I still hold dear in my heart.  What would be on your list?

Just the 10 of Us.  I wanted to be a Lubbock family member.  As a kid I always longed to be part of a big family (I was the elder of two kids, but now I’m eternally grateful for my small family), and the Lubbocks fit the bill.  I used to come home every single day from school and watch this show in syndication on USA.  The show featured the acting stylings of Brooke Theiss (AKA Lesley the head Alpha on 90210), Jamie Luner (of Melrose Place, etc.), and (in cameos at different times) Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc.  Here’s the theme song, for your listening pleasure:

Rags to Riches.  Again with my lifelong “big family” theme.  This was a show that was basically Annie with 1960s musical interludes.  It was Glee before Glee was Glee.  Staring Heidi Ziegler from — what else? — Just the 10 of Us!

Beverly Hills Teens. Totally!  Boasting characters with names like Lark and Bianca, this was the show that little girls’ dreams were made of — before 90210 came along, of course.  I taped the theme song directly from the TV on my little yellow Casio cassette player and listened to that song until the tape set itself on fire in protest.

The Best Movies of 2009: A Retrospective

It is now November, which is prime time for awards-caliber movies to be making their way to the theater.  But this post is not about those movies.  This post is about the highly entertaining and high quality movies that were released in the early part of this year but will be overlooked by awards committees come December in favor of The Reader-quality art house garbage and/or movies about apartheid that were directed by Clint Eastwood.

In Memoriam…

Inglourious Basterds. There is a very good chance this movie will be nominated for an Oscar, what with the rule of 10 this year, but I’m just going to assume the Academy will not be that cool and will go with Amelia instead.

Star Trek. Soooo entertaining.  Soooo perfectly cast.  Chris Pine is full of the noms.  Zachary Quinto is not so bad either, but I have trouble separating him from his involvement in that unfortunate Heroes show.  J.J. Abrams, you are a delight.

Zombieland. There is no way in Hades this movie will be nominated for anything…except… In Bruges did get a screenplay nomination, so maybe…?

State of Play. If I had billions of dollars, I would personally pay Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams, and Helen Mirren to star in the US TV version of this show and I would make it run at least as long as Law & Order.  That’s how riveting these people are to watch on screen.

I Love You, Man. Paul Rudd deserves a Best Actor nomination.  Seriously.  He is absolutely brilliant in this film.

 

Bliss List and Piss List

Bliss List (Favorite Things of the Week)

Althea’s Project Runway dress.  If only I could be that sparkly every day.  Which ties into…

My new nail polish (Lucky Number) and lip gloss (Jingle-Jangle) from M.A.C.  Seriously.  If I am ever in a bad mood, just wave something sparkly in front of my face (like Kristin Chenoweth’s Emmy dress) and my mood will go from drap to fabulous in about three seconds.

A Cake ‘n’ Shake from Cold Stone Creamery.  I understand that ‘nothing tastes as good as being thin feels,’ but this comes pretty freaking close.

The way my kid says “Dip dip dip” when he’s dipping his food into sauces and condiments.  Even when the flavor profiles of his meals are a little unappetizing.  There’s no way cantaloupe and ranch dressing make for good eats.

Katie Cassidy on the super new Melrose Place.  I can’t wait to see her butt heads with Amanda Woodward when she returns.

Bowling.

Piss List (Least Favorite Things of the Week)

I know this is not news, but Lake Geneva, WI has become way too corporate.  Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Subway, KFC, etc.  People go to Lake Geneva to get away from these things and experience some cheesy local Wisconsin flavor.

The weather.  I should not have to scrape off my car this early in the season.

The Yankees in the ALCS.  Just go home.

Saturday Night Live with Gerard Butler was just abysmal.  They’ve stopped even trying to be funny.  Not EVERY show needs to start with a lazy political sketch.