Fun end of the year lists

December 7, 2007

With the jury still out on whether I will finally beat this now seriously annoying cold, I have no choice but to hope my current state of woozy will be somehow beneficial to my writing (clearly I’ve reached the delusional stage). I’m thinking no such luck, but while I’m stuck inside watching the same Buffy episodes over and over again and eating junk food that I’m sure my pro-organic friends would disapprovingly frown over (and any self-respecting doctor), I do have some time to check out lots of movie articles.

Here’s what caught the attention of a tissue-loving girl:

It’s a Wonderful Life voted best Christmas film of all time

Now there’s a shocker. Nevertheless, I must protest: no A Christmas Story in the top ten? Sure, it can be corny at times, maybe we’re all a bit sick of it now and then (that annual 24-hour Christmas Day marathon on TV probably doesn’t help), and I know on some level we most likely all have a secret love-hate relationship with that persistently present leg lamp.

But be that as it may, you can’t deny the movie’s presence. I love Die Hard and all, but in the celluloid world of Christmas, I think A Christmas Story definitely deserves it No. 8 spot. I mean, I can see the need for popcorn escape on that day of all days, but really, Die Hard?? Nothing like adrenaline and action violence to bring a family together, I guess.

Top 10 Bizarre Movie-Star Interviews

Let’s just say some bathroom and drool issues are involved and leave it at that.

10 Things Movie Theaters Get Wrong

This isn’t a “the popcorn is too greasy” kinda list; think more aspect ratio stuff. But yep, I can definitely see why that incorrect frame turns Atonement into a whole ‘nother movie. Probably a movie that’s more appealing to teenage boys (and, okay, all men), but still not quite what the production team intended.


What kind of movie are you?

September 19, 2007

People say (perhaps more often than is necessary) that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but can you judge people by what movies they like, or even by what type of movie they most resemble?

I’ve compiled a list of popular movie genres and the telltale signs that someone might be starting to identify with that genre a little too much. See anyone you know?

Action

When falling through a glass window, do you:

a) Start screaming.

b) Pray.

c) Shout a witty comeback to the man who pushed you while pulling on the ripcord to your backpack parachute.

You live by the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared. Or if not prepared, you always, always act like you are – and improvise (if you don’t think that Kleenex is a potential weapon, this is not the category for you). A man (or woman) of few words, you have a gift for phrases that are catchy and memorable, and, of course, almost improbably timely. Your voice is often a bit gruff from years of some sort of addictive habit and/or being knocked down perhaps one too many times by black-attired anonymous assassins.

You have perfect aim and an uncanny ability to distract enemies to the point where their own aim is nonexistent. You have very strong feelings about monologuing, especially by scheming loner types with weird, five-minute-long laughs. Unfortunately, you’re probably not great at long-term relationships, but on the bright side, you have almost no trouble finding temporary flings. Finally, you’re barely ever wrong (or won’t ever admit that you are) and you don’t like being told what to do, except, shall we say, by more “aged” citizens, particularly ones wearing expensive suits. And if you do find someone to trust and possibly even love, you’re fiercely loyal.

If you answered c to the question, the above description matches your personality and you can picture every possible escape route from the place you are now, then you’re most definitely Action.

Movies you should watch: Die Hard, Indiana Jones, James Bond, Bourne, The Matrix, Robocop, anything with Arnold Schwarzenegger (and probably almost everything on this EW list).

Horror

When leaving a party to go home late at night, do you:

a) Call a car service.

b) Tell your friends you don’t need their help and walk home alone, preferably only taking poorly lit streets and dark alleyways.

c) Grab pepper spray, a bullet-proof vest and your three, ex-Secret Service bodyguards and walk down as many brightly lit, heavily populated sidewalks as possible.

A bit naive and trusting, you tend not to be very suspicious (or even aware) of what’s going on around you. You commonly forget to lock, or just close, the door and/or you don’t think twice about telling a mysterious stranger which door you leave unlocked at night. You really like the phrase “I’ll be right back.” You carry around a grainy, digital camera – just in case. You or someone close to you might also be one or more of the following: a bully, a very attractive woman, a frequent babysitter, someone who is sexually active, a jerk, an insensitive tourist, someone who likes to take daring, out of the way trips, a corporate and/or rich snob.

If you answered b, the above description matches your personality and your phone is ringing right now, then you are Horror.

Movies you should watch: Halloween, The Exorcist, Psycho, Carrie, Silence of the Lambs, Night of the Living Dead, Alien, 28 Days Later (and, for some levity, Shaun of the Dead)

Lifetime Original Movie

You are:

a) Male.

b) Female.

You like long walks on the beach and watching the sun set. You are really attracted to obviously bad and seriously sketchy men. You can be a bit jumpy at loud noises and are often paranoid about sounds coming from outside the house, but probably for good reason. You have unfortunately suffered many, many personal, professional, family, and romantic tragedies in a very short span of time. You have a mentally unstable twin and/or a murderous family member and/or a traitorous best friend. Most importantly, however, you firmly believe that you can always learn to love again and that if you believe in yourself, everything will work out all right in the end. Requirement: you must currently have or have had, or know someone with, amnesia.

If you answered b, the above description matches your personality and you have Kleenex and a pint of ice cream handy, then you are a Lifetime Original Movie.

Movies you should watch: Sleeping with the Enemy, anything on Lifetime that stars Meredith Baxter-Birney and Tori Spelling, and other movies in this EW Lifetime Movie article (and go here to create your own Lifetime movie title!)

Romantic comedy

You are engaged. Do you:

a) Happily plan your wedding and future with the man or woman of your dreams.

b) Unconsciously sabotage your own wedding while secretly dreaming about the guy or girl who recently appeared in your life.

c) Never agree to get married in the first place.

You either have a very eligible (and single) good friend of the opposite sex (but you just don’t see them that way), or you know absolutely no one of the opposite sex. You are not known for your long-term relationships. On the other hand, you are an excellent internal monologuer.

You deal with relationship woes and/or self-esteem issues by talking to your quirky, self-deprecating, not-unattractive-but-not-competition friend(s), although you don’t often follow his or her (or their) advice. You might like to go out to parties (when your friends insist), but more often than not you prefer to be a homebody. You might also be dealing with some difficult personal style issues.

If you answered b or c (this one could go either way), the above description matches your personality and you’re planning to be at the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day, then you’re a Romantic Comedy.

Movies you should watch: You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, Pretty Woman, While You Were Sleeping, When Harry Met Sally…, Roman Holiday, The Philadelphia Story

Comedy

You are at a restaurant for a job interview, do you:

a) Arrive right on time, fully prepared.

b) Arrive a bit late (volunteering at that soup kitchen took a bit longer than expected), apologize profusely, and proceed to wow them with your eloquence and graceful manners.

c) Arrive ten minutes late (your pet ferret got loose), trip and spill hot soup all over your new suit, go to the bathroom to wash and blow dry your pants/skirt, run into your interviewer there while you’re in your underwear, and then belatedly realize they’re not the bathroom attendee after you’ve handed them some change.

A bit of a klutz, you are frequently physically awkward around the opposite sex and/or their family and friends. A man or woman of perhaps too many words, you commonly end up referring to somewhat inappropriate parts of the human anatomy, whether on purpose or tragically by accident. Normal, everyday situations just don’t seem to go your way – in fact, they often seem to go horribly, horribly wrong. You are one of the following: a parent with a very large family, a young guy in high school/college (literally or spiritually) who has lots of similarly-minded friends, an eeevil dictator, a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be…, someone who is not very sexually active, an acerbic New Yorker, a worker with a very boring profession or a job that caters to highly annoying, preferably snobbish customers.

If you answered c, the above description matches your personality and you have already spilled your morning coffee in a very inconvenient place, then you are probably a Comedy.

Movies you should watch: Young Frankenstein, Spaceballs, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Wedding Crashers, Office Space, There’s Something About Mary, Annie Hall, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Airplane!, Some Like It Hot, Blazing Saddles, Caddyshack, National Lampoon

Independent films, preferably with subtitles

In your spare time, you:

a) Listen to classical or otherwise obscure musical recordings and finish up your own translation of “Crime and Punishment” while nibbling on some bread made fresh that morning by the local baker (whom you know by name).

b) Go on a pub crawl with some friends, crash when it’s getting light out and then wake up at 4pm.

c) Play games on your Xbox.

You like talking. A lot. Or at least writing or otherwise expressing yourself artistically in a very deep and passionate way. Unfortunately, you are not often happy – but more as a way of life rather than as a mood. You care deeply about sociopolitical issues and/or are a keen observer of human behavior. You like slow walks through forests or sitting by the fire in old country estates. Requirement: you must love to read, particulary books that are bound in leather.

Movies you should watch: Any miniseries on Masterpiece Theatre, Merchant Ivory films, Marcel Pagnol movies, Before Sunrise/Sunset, Stranger than Paradise (and check out Empire Magazine’s list of the 50 greatest independent films)


Movie plot holes from the summer’s blockbusters

August 27, 2007

This past week, Empire magazine posted a blog entry on plot holes in the summer’s biggest movies. Here’s a summary of what they said (with some of my own comments added in, just because, you know, I can. Ah, the beauty of blogging):

SPOILER ALERT

The Transformers

[H]ow in the name of Cybertron does helicopter Blackout get from a Middle Eastern desert to America’s West Coast in roughly 20 minutes?

That may be true, but what about all that focus at the climax of the movie on getting Shia LeBoeuf’s character to a helicopter in order for him to spirit away the all-important Allspark? Um, maybe I’m missing something, but how on earth would him getting to a helicopter keep the Allspark safe against machines that can transform themselves into fighter jets and their own helicopters? That must be one mighty government helicopter… oh, no, wait, it’s already been destroyed by the massive, towering robot. Oh well.

Live Free or Die Hard

It’s not easy, but I can just about swallow ninja baddie Mai Lihn getting barely a scratch after being crunched by John McClane’s car… [But then there’s the] pursuit on the freeway, a missile’s fired and the overpass splits, forcing McClane to ditch his big rig and leap onto the fighter jet. The plane explodes and McClane miraculously leaps to safety. Question is, how’s he going to track down the baddies again? Well, as it happens, he doesn’t need to. He gets to his feet, walks forward five steps and spots their van entering a warehouse right in front of him.

Yes, he just happens to spot the van. But, as they mention, that’s after he evades a fighter jet while driving a big rig truck – granted, a vehicle known for its maneuverability and speed, but still a bit of a big target, no?

Spiderman 3

[I]f Flint Marco and all his clothes – buckles and zips included – turns into sand, how come his locket stays metallic?

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

The pirate lords have held a council in which they elected to fight Beckett’s armada to the death. So why, at the film’s climax, when they have massed their ships and stand on decks, swords in hands, do they decide to just sit there and watch two ships fight inside the maelstrom instead of sailing into action?


Movie mistakes: Hmm, that doesn’t look like DC…

August 21, 2007

According to a post on dcist.com, there’s a long history of movies set in DC that don’t accurately portray the city, from the new release The Invasion and Live Free or Die Hard to The American President and The Exorcist.

While this is definitely unfortunate, how can we leave the big cities of Chicago and New York out of this hatefest? Herewith, some of the dishonorable mentions:

  • Angel Eyes: The movie takes place in Chicago, but early on you can see Toronto’s CN Tower in the background.
  • Spiderman 2: A raised subway in the middle of midtown Manhattan? See The Gothamist’s thoughts on it.
  • Spiderman 3: Like Gotham City and Metropolis, Spiderman’s New York is clearly another New York that isn’t. Yes, that’s right, although Spiderman 3 is set in New York, some scenes were shot in Cleveland for, I believe, financial reasons (ahem, I mean, because the two cities look so much alike…) and it shows in the film. According to IMDB.com: “A part of the movie features the Cleveland Trust Rotunda in the background where one can easily read “Cleveland Trust” inscribed on the Romanesque structure, although the movie is supposed to be set in New York city. Two other unique Cleveland landmarks are also briefly visible – Terminal Tower, and the marquee entrance to Playhouse Square Center.”
  • Independence Day: In an important scene, it looks as if the Empire State Building lines up with the center of a major street. This is impossible. The Empire State Building is at the corner of Fifth Ave and 34th street, there is no street that dead ends into it.
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding: According to IMDB.com, the Toronto skyline, along with its mail trucks and restaurants, can be seen in certain scenes. Unfortunately, the movie is set in Chicago. Ah, Toronto, the new Chicago.

If you’re a New Yorker already irate at some of the mistakes above, and want more reasons to yell at movie studios, go here. It’s a quite impressively long list of geographical mistakes in movies that take place in New York.

For general movie goofs at IMDB.com, go here.