Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Have A Weakness And It Goes By The Name Of Twister

I love the movie Twister.

There you go. I have exposed my soft underbelly. Go ahead and shoot your arrows now.

See, I live in the Midwest. Some might call where I live "tornado alley." I don't find tornadoes scary as much as I do fascinating. The idea that absolute horror can be created out of relatively nothing is something I find very interesting. And in return, tornadoes have always found me in interesting positions. When I was younger, I was called out of a movie theater several times because a tornado was reported just blocks away. We ended up watching the rest of the movie standing at the back of the theater. While waiting for my plane to arrive and whisk me away to Las Vegas, airport security announced that everyone needed to proceed to the basement parking garage. This was shortly after 9/11, so everyone decided to ignore the 70 mph winds and green skies outside, and wonder if it was a terrorist attack. And only a few years ago, I gave a presentation in a baseball suite while funnel clouds circled all around me. While the weatherman pointed out the clouds on TV, we could easily see them in real life across the stadium.

It's about this time every year that tornadoes show their ugly faces. In tornado warnings and tornado watches (I never remember which one is more serious.) Favorite TV shows are interrupted without warning and sometimes you have to open your front door and listen for the sirens because they're old and don't make the same blare they once did. And it's about this time every year that my wife and I watch Twister, and do so with extreme glee.

So let's explore the possible reasons why I might love this film. First, let's start with the story. The entire movie is centered around a group of people who run towards tornadoes while everyone else is running away. What's not to love about that? This is like the tornado marines. The few. The proud. The tornado marines.

There's the cast. It really is a brilliant cast, made up of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Ruck, Todd Field and Jeremy Davies all in secondary roles. Unfortunately, they can't help that they're badly written. There's a reason why you haven't seen Hoffman reprise this "I'm the wacky comedy relief that serves no other purpose than to be the wacky comedy relief" role again.

Then there are the tornadoes themselves. There's the shy F2, the tenacious F3, the obnoxious F4 and the truly outrageous F5. They are huge and awesome, especially when they're tearing through drive-in theater screens showing The Shining.

But truth to tell, none of these reasons are really why I love this film. When my wife and I first saw Twister, it was the Spring of 1996. As we left the movie, we rushed home to our apartment because there were reports of tornadoes in the area. It was as if Jan DeBont paid millions for the best movie hype experience ever. Of course we lived on the fifth floor of an all brick building that used to be a box warehouse, so our fear/excitement subsided once we got home. But our entire experience was somehow enhanced by the thought of real-life tornadoes closing in all around. It would be like walking out of a screening of Terminator 2 and discovering that the world had indeed been taken over by machines in the past two hours. It was a perfect mix of fantasy and reality.

One wonders if there weren't tornadoes that night, would I still have enjoyed the film as much. As a film by itself, it certainly doesn't possess the characteristics that would keep it in constant rotation. It may be for no other reason than everytime I watch Twister it's like remembering every wacky encounter I've ever had with a tornado. Including one wonderful date-night with my wife.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Top 10 Tuesdays (T10T) Honors Counting Down The Zeroes

Ibetolis at Film For The Soul has been rather busy lately. Not only is he pulling duty at his regular blog, but he's also started up a side project called Counting Down the Zeroes, where he is chronicling a decade worth of films from 2000 on up. Several guest bloggers are reviewing films from every year, and I'm honored to say that I will be writing my own review of The Royal Tenenbaums for 2001. Look for it soon.

As part of the project, Ibetolis recently asked a bunch of us to give him our Top 10 of the year 2000. I was going to write that this wasn't a great year for films, but I would be wrong in doing so. Old Y2K produced several fantastic films that not only make this list, but would be on a list of my all time favorites. So this Tuesday, give me your Top 10 of 2000. And please, for the love of God, visit this wonderful project that Ibetolis has poured his soul into.

Here are mine in no particular order.

1. High Fidelity

2. Unbreakable

3. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

4. Wonder Boys

5. Traffic

6. O Brother, Where Art Thou

7. Battle Royale

8. Virgin Suicides

9. Meet The Parents

10. State and Main

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Gee, I'm real sorry your mom blew up, Ricky."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Michelle Rodriguez Ain't Half Bad. When She Smiles

This woman has made a very small career mostly out of sneering and snarling. But why? She really is beautiful when she smiles. Check out those pearly whites.



No hay comparaciĆ³n



hermosa locura

Por favor, llame a un doctor.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

10 Characters I Love, Understand, Fear and Feel Sorry For

Rick at the oh-so wonderful Coosa Creek Cinema has tagged me with the 10 Characters Meme which originated with the I really need to stop by and visit more often FilmSquish.

Laura of
High Fidelity Rob Gordon is about as self-centered and aimless as it gets. Fortunately, he has one hell of a woman in his life, Laura. She is understanding enough to put up with all the bullshit, and strong enough to help Rob pull himself out of it. And she does it not with a bang, but an elegant whisper. It's wrong to think of Nick Hornby's books as male-centered, because it's always the woman who saves them from being incredible pricks. Stephen Frears does this material proud and we've got a female character for the ages.

Royal Tenenbaum of The Royal Tenenbaums To hell with comfort. With routines. Royal Tenenbaum is like one giant rock placed inconveniently among the many cogs, constantly stopping it from going along its merry way. And that's what I love about him. He's a bastard for sure, but a bastard I would love to mix things up from time to time.

Willy Wonka of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory Beneath the steely stare and the wry asides of Willy lies the heart of a child. He has taught me that we can grow up, but we don't have to ever grow old.

Paul Cicero of Goodfellas "Paulie may have moved slow, but it was only because Paulie didn't have to move for anybody." That's the life I want.

Hank Kingsley of The Larry Sanders Show I have often argued that Hank Kingsley might be the most complex character ever to hit the little screen. One moment as insecure as a teenager at a dance, the next as arrogant as an A-lister trying to get a table in a packed restaurant. Just when you think you've pegged "Hey Now" Hank, he changes it up and keeps things interesting.

Antonio Salieri of Amadeus I have many passions in life and yet I know that no matter how much I study them or work at them, there will be someone better than me. There is an admiration for those people, but also a child-like resentment. Salieri is the culmination of every jealous feeling I've ever had.

Cowboy of Mulholland Dr. Who is the cowboy? What does he do in his down-time? Where does he live? How did he become the "Cowboy"? These are the questions that haunt me. May I never cross his path.

Rupert Pupkin of The King Of Comedy Whenever I have genuine intentions that go horribly wrong, I think of Rupert Pupkin.

Golda Meir of Munich There are those hulking figures who instantly read menace with their furrowed brows and bulging muscles. And then there are the grandmotherly types who will serve you tea and send you on a suicide mission. The latter scares me much more because you don't see them coming. I admire Golda's modesty, but know that beneath that simple dress she wears there's one hell of a bat and she knows how to use it.

Jefferson Smith of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington Jefferson Smith is too trusting. He's too nice. He's too optimistic. And I'll take that over the other any day of the week and six times on Sunday. Jefferson Smith is not only the character I wish I were, it's what I wish everyone were.

My belief is that I have been so late in putting this together that everyone has already done this meme. But if you have not and feel so moved to do you own post, consider yourself tagged.

The Dead Men of Dunharrow

Oh, I see how it is, Dead Men of Dunharrow. You pledge allegiance to Isildur at the Stone of Erech, only to turn your back on him during his war against Sauron, because you guys may or may not have been "friends" back in the dark ages. Isildur curses you and that's not to say that he says you guys are a bunch of assholes. I mean, he really curses you. Like you guys became ghosts that couldn't rest until you fulfilled your oath. And when I say rest, I don't mean like get a good eight hours of sleep at night. I mean you wander the earth and you're pissed because you're not really alive or dead and your faces looks like shit because skin is coming off of them and you have facial hair, but it's really patchy.

So you haunt people in the caverns beneath Dwimorberg and the valley of Harrowdale for thousands of years, until Aragorn comes to ask you to finally grow a pair and fight Sauron. Again. It's at this time, now that you're dead and can't really be killed by anything mortal leaving you with nothing to loose so really it's all upside at this point because if you agree you will be released from your shitty curse and can finally get a good night's rest, that you agree to fight along the good guys and defeat Sauron.

Well, if you weren't dead already and pretty frickin' scary looking, and if I didn't think you might come after me in a really nasty nightmare, I would call you all a bunch of ghost pussies and then run away really fast.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Dreads The Tax Man

It's a week after the fact, but tax day still lingers like a cold mist. So this Tuesday, give me your Top 5 movies involving taxes, accountants, bookkeepers, the I.R.S or anything else of the like.

1. The Untouchables How else can you bring Al Capone down? Certainly not for organized crime.

2. Stranger Than Fiction Harold Crick as the unlucky in love I.R.S. Agent with a special shout out to my friends TJ Jagodowski and Peter Grosz as his co-workers.

3. The Royal Tenenbaums Henry Sherman, that old grizzly bear.

4. Dave The always lovable Charles Grodin as Murray Blum, the simple accountant who straightens out the Whitehouse - at least financially.

5. The Blues Brothers Jake and Elwood are on a mission from God to help save the Catholic school that owes $5000 in taxes.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Some Damn Fine Storytelling

And not a single word.

And the money shot.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How Does Gondry See You?

Michel Gondry is quite the visionary (Be Kind Rewind excluded, of course). His website is no exception. And here's the bonus. For only $19.95, Gondry will draw your portrait from a photo you send him. I'm hoping it's a little more flattering than the illustration above.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Goes Arrrrrrrgggghhh

How cool is it that pirates still exist? Do they look like Johnny Depp? Do they really have eye-patches? And hooks for hands? How about maps? Do they have maps with a big "X" on them? And parrots. What about them? Is there a Captain Hook? Oh, so many questions.

This Tuesday, let's celebrate pirates. Give me your top 5 movies involving pirates of some kind. Here are mine in no particular order.

1. Ice Pirates

2. Pirates of the Caribbean

3. Goonies

4. Yellowbeard

5. Cabin Boy

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pretty. Kinda. Sorta.

It's standard to use space within a blog such as this to celebrate beautiful women in Hollywood. But what about the kinda beautiful women? The not really beautiful, but I would never say they're ugly kind of women? Why not celebrate them? Why not? I can't think of a good reason not to, so let's do it. And let's use the lyrics from a Flight Of The Conchords song.

Looking at the room, I can tell that you.
Are the most beautiful girl in
In the whole wide room.

And when you're on the street, depending on the street.
I bet you are definitely in the top three.

You're so beautiful.
You could be a waitress.

You're so beautiful.
You could be a air hostess in the 60s.

You're so beautiful.
You could be a part-time model.

Cause you're so beautiful...
Like a tree.

Or a high class prostitute.

You're so beautiful.
You could be a part time model.
But you'd probably still have to keep your normal job.