Well, you know... I've been avoiding continuing this series since discovering that I have to come up with one more movie to replace The Fugitive (which has appeared twice owing to an administrative oversight). It was far easier to just put off the whole thing, than to think about what movie to add back onto the list. Finally, I decided, "hey, I don't have to make a decision yet. This is just the third to last entry in the series. I have two more to go after this one before I actually have to make up my mind." So, here I am again, recounting for you another ten movies that I really, really like. Enjoy.
A Knight's Tale - The recent passing of Heath Ledger makes beginning this entry with this film rather more poignant than it might otherwise have been. Ledger was a fine actor with a brilliant future ahead of him, and his loss was a tragic one.
So, too, recent events might serve to make Heath alone the focus of what made this movie so much fun, but please allow me to take a step back, and also give credit to the many other talents without whom A Knight's Tale would have been a lesser film.
Credit to Brian Helgeland, the Writer and Director, and his friend, and co-writer, actor Paul Bettany, who together came up with the concept of paralleling the historic jousting tournaments with modern, professional sports. Credit, also, to Bettany for his excellent interpretation of how Geoffrey Chaucer just might have come up with some of his stories.
Credit to Mark Addy and Alan Tudyk, for their portrayals of squires Roland, and Wat, whom the audience come to love even more than the main characters.
And credit to the many horses, horsemen, and stuntmen who gave us such a realistic experience of the joust. This is a straight-up fun movie to watch, and I do so on a regular basis.
Serenity - Did I say Alan Tudyk? If you were to do a poll asking who was the respondant's favourite Firefly character, Wash would be right up there at the top. Maybe even number one. Coincidence? I think not.
Serenity was a highly anticipated continuation of the much loved, but short lived television series, Firefly. Part of what made the TV series so attractive, to me at least, were the tight scripts. Not a moment was wasted, and no line of dialogue had only one layer of meaning. Some of that was lost in the transition to the big screen, I thought. Meh, given a special effects budget, and two hours to fill, that'll tend to happen to a production, I guess. Still, though I didn't think it quite lived up to the promise of the series, Serenity was a good movie, and a satisfying conclusion (sort of) to the narrative.
Also, Summer Glau can kick your ass!
Hard Core Logo - It has been said that if you liked This Is Spinal Tap (which I mentioned earlier in this series), you'll like Hard Core Logo, the mock-doc story of the last Hurrah of a Canadian Punk Band. That said, Logo goes farther than Tap, taking the story of Joe Dick and Billy Tallent's last grasp for the gold ring to its somewhat unexpected, but in hindsight inevitable conclusion. Hard Core Logo surprised me, and it made me think. I recommend it to you most highly.
Die Hard - What can I say? "Yipee-ki-yay, moth..." No, I can't say that.
Scrooged - Bill Murray again. None of you are surprised, are you? My favourite Christmas movie, bar none. A great turn by Bobcat Goldthwait as the put-upon Elliott Loudermilk.
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - While I still think The Fellowship of the Ring was the strongest of the three films, The Return of the King picks up after a somewhat disappointing middle chapter, and sweeps us, carries us, drags us, pushes us, and lifts us to an ending worthy of the material. Well done, Peter Jackson.
Aliens - Very different in tone from the first Alien film, but hey, that's OK. Sometimes you just wanna watch highly trained military professionals torn to shreds by a brainless, instinct-driven monster from outer space, don't you? Well, I do.
Shakespeare In Love - Three words. Clever, clever, clever. In the finest tradition of British bawdy theater.
Gattaca - Whatever happened to Ethan Hawke? This is another odd one out on this list, because I can only say that I want, very much, to like this movie. I can't say outright that I do like it, because I've never actually seen it. At least not all in one sitting. I've seen this bit, and that bit, and another little bit over there...all at different times, and all out of order. Still, the parts I've seen seem well done, and the idea of the story appeals to me. One day I will remember to rent this, and watch it all at once, and in order. And then we'll really see.
Spiderman - Some comic book hero movies are done well, and some...not so much. Spiderman falls firmly into the first category. Tobey Maguire absolutely nails Peter Parker. I was worried about Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane, but that sweater-in-the-rain scene erased all doubts. Pretty much all coherent thought, actually. Was that my spider-sense tingling?
And with that, there are only twenty remaining films to come in this series. Twenty, that is, plus one. One yet-to-be-determined movie that I really like is to be added, at some point in the hopefully not too distant future, to replace the double mention of The Fugitive. Hey, do you think I could get away with saying that I listed The Fugitive twice because I really, really, really like it? No, I didn't think so.
P.S. The Eighth Day was the original working title for the film that was eventually renamed Gattaca. Just so's you know.
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