Archive for the ‘Wednesday Lists’ Category

7 Movies With Fantastically Strategic Release Dates

February 10, 2010

Currently, I feel sandwiched between two weekends that boast wisely placed movies on the box office calendar.  We’re hot on the heels of Dear John‘s fantastic debut, which was lifted by its brilliant counter-programmed Super Bowl release date, and this coming weekend, Valentine’s Day will surely find strong numbers, thanks to the fact that Sunday is Valentine’s Day.  What I want you to take away from this post is that release dates matter a lot.  The American public likes gimmicky release schedules, and when a movie’s title and/or release date give people an obvious choice of which movie to see, it often pays off in spades.  Thus, because it is List Wednesday, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of the smartest release dates in recent history, all of which directly led to solid box office results. But that’s enough talking from me- go ahead and check out these seven movies with great release dates, and then let me know what movies you thought had great release dates in the comments!

The Omen (06/06/06)

A movie about the devil! 666! The devil’s number! WOW, that is just so clever! I have to go see this! Sadly, that really was the train of though for many moviegoers. Kudos to Fox for pumping up the release gimmick effectively.  The Omen opened to $12.6 million on a Tuesday (at the time, Fox boasted that they had achieved the best Tuesday opening ever… a dubious distinction) on its way to $54.5 million. Pretty good for a pretty bad horror flick.

Four Christmases (11/26/08)

I wish every Christmas movie would follow the model set by Four Christmases.  Open directly after Thanksgiving and plow through a month of solid box office results.  Four Christmases was just a silly romantic comedy, but it earned a great $118 million during its run.  I wonder how much bigger A Christmas Carol could have been if it had opened closer to, I dunno, Christmas!  (I warned you)

Independence Day (07/03/96)

In 1996, July 4th fell on a Thursday, so Fox wisely took the opportunity to open this Will Smith blockbuster on Wednesday the 3rd.  The result? $45 million in two days of ticket sales, followed by a tremendous $50.2 million weekend.  The July 4th weekend was officially signed over to Will Smith later that month.

The Devil Wears Prada (06/30/06)

Another case of counter programming at its finest. Back in 2006, The Devil Wears Prada decided to open directly against the über-hyped Superman reboot.  Hoping to attract the disinterested female audience, Fox (who is proving they know how to release movies well) was bold to go head to head with the man of steel.  Many were sure that the fashion film would get lost in the shuffle, but Prada silenced the doubters, opening to a robust $27.5 million (vs. Superman‘s $52.5 million) on its way $124.7 million.

Saw and Saw II (10/29/04 and 10/28/05)

The one-two punch of the innovative Saw movies (in plot, not in gruesomeness) over Halloween weekend in 2004 ($18.3 million opening, $55 million total) and 2005 ($31.7 million opening, $87 million total) helped fortify a robust franchise for Lionsgate, which framed Saw III, IV, and V as the go-to event films of the next few Halloween weekends. Unfortunately for Lionsagate, Paranormal Activity stole all of Saw VI‘s thunder, and now, Saw 3D and Paranormal Activity 2 are both eyeing the lucrative Halloween weekend release date for this year.

The Passion Of The Christ (02/25/04)

Here’s a film whose opening weekend wasn’t the reason it blew up (controversy took care of that), but it placed the film in such a way that theater owners didn’t want to take it out of theaters for a good while.  Easter fell on April 11th that year, and every knew that a movie about Jesus would do well over that frame, which is why The Passion was still playing in 3,240 theaters during that, its seventh, weekend.  The film came in first place that weekend with $15 million, and then fell all the way down to tenth the very next, earning $4 million.  Newmarket wisely ensure Mel Gibson’s religious film would play in theaters for quite a while with their strategic release date.

50 First Dates (02/13/04)

Sony knew they had a solidly marketable romantic comedy with two widely appealing leads, and they probably knew it could perform solidly.  They took things to the next level, though, by releasing it over Valentine’s Day weekend, making it clear the choice for all couples.  After a good $10 million Friday, 50 First Dates shot way up $19.8 million on Valentine’s Day, a figure which accounted for almost half of the films $39.9 million debut, which set it up for a nice $120.9 million run.  Sony learned from their success and opened Hitch a few days before Valentine’s Day in 2005.  Hitch opened to $43 million before trucking along all the way to $179 million.

7 Actors With Awful Movie Hair

February 3, 2010

From Paris With Love comes out in theaters this Friday, and with reviews looking pretty wretched at this point, the most notable thing I can say about this movie is that John Travolta’s hairstyle (or lack thereof) isn’t looking too great.  I know the aging actor is trying to stay fresh and unpredictable, and I hate to be shallow, but this style just doesn’t make the cut.  (By the way, I was bald once when I used to be swimmer, and it was not fun.) Inspired by Travolta’s heinousness, I thought a look at some of the worst hair ever rocked by actors might be a fun theme for this List Wednesday.  Thus, allow me to present you these 7 actors, with horrible movie hair:

7. Seth Green (Austin Powers In Goldmember)

At least this was intentionally bad.

6. Ewan McGregor (Star Wars: Episode I-III)

Not even a light saber could tear through this mullet.

5. Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men)

Kudos to the Coen Brothers for accentuating this sociopath’s creepiness with a buffoonish haircut.

4. Tom Hanks (The Da Vanci Code)

Possibly the most talked about male hairstyle in film history.  It is pretty bad.

3. Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man 3)

Ugh. Emo-Spider-Man. He’s so dark and edgy! Not only does he wear guyliner, but he presses his bangs onto the front of his face! Real subtle, guys.

2. John Travolta (Battlefield Earth)

Which is worse, Travolta with no hair, or with way, way, way too much?

1. Nicholas Cage (Adaptation)

Well, this is just embarrassing. Cage may never find a hairstyle that suits him.

Finally, a note: I haven’t posted DVD Sales for the past two weeks, because I’m waiting for the database to get caught up.  When it gets back to speed, so will I!

7 Reasons To LIKE Mel Gibson

January 27, 2010

Lately, as I’ve been reading other movie blogs and even the comments on my recent posts, one of the trends I’ve noticed is that people really love to hate Mel Gibson.  The cool thing to do right now is to feel disgusted by the accomplished actor/director, and if you write about movies on the web, it seems as if you are almost obligated to approach Mel Gibson and his new movie, Edge Of Darkness, with a sense of dread.  Indeed, people just can’t understand why anyone would like Mel Gibson.  Well, I have a confession: I do.  He’s not my favorite star in the world, but the man has taken a lot of grief for his unfortunate DUI incident in 2006, in which allegations of anti-semitism, sexism, and homophobia were made.  Instead of forgiving Gibson for his unfortunate drunk actions the way America loves to forgive other celebrities, people have instead decided to hold a grudge.  Still, I believe there are things about Mel Gibson that, believe it or not, aren’t totally bad.  Thus, because it is List Wednesday, here are seven reasons to like Mel Gibson.

1. Because he’s actually a very good actor

Sure, he’s known for mainstream blockbusters like Lethal Weapon and Signs, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a talented actor! If being a serious actor means you have to be in serious movies, then take a look at films like We Were Soldiers, Galipoli, or Hamlet for proof that Gibson has got some serious chops.

2. The Passion Of The Christ

Say what you will about Gibson’s film: it’s anti-semitic, it’s too violent, it’s blah blah blah ad nauseum.  At the end of the day, The Passion was a compelling piece of work about Jesus Christ’s last hours.  It’s no surprise that critics didn’t like it!  Anything remotely conservative is considered pure evil in the eyes of Hollywood. Fortunately for Gibson, who invested $25 million of his own money into this movie, the rest of America is much more moderate, and for $370 million worth of ticket buyers, this was a very moving film.

3. Because he’s funny!

Mel has that old-school Hollywood charisma that so many movie stars lack these days.  Not only is he an effective dramatic actor, but in movies like Lethal Weapon and What Women Want, interviews, and acceptance speeches, Gibson proves he’s got a great sense of humor comic timing.

4. Braveheart

This movie is awesome.  If you’re a girl, and you just don’t get it- don’t worry about it.

5. Because he’s bold!

I think it’s admirable that Gibson takes chances.  He directed a movie about Jesus and funded it himself.  He shot a Mayan adventure entirely in another language.  He frequently commits to producing television episodes and films, despite the fact that TV is a highly hit-or-miss format.  Now, though conventional wisdom would tell Gibson to star in a friendly comedy to rebuild him image, he’s decided to make his comeback performance in a dark revenge thriller called Edge Of Darkness.  He’s not entirely predictable, and he knows his super-violent movies will ruffle some feathers, but he just keeps blazing his own career trek.  I think that’s pretty cool.

6. Apocalypto

This is one of my very favorite movies.  A non-stop thrill ride from start to finish, Apocalypto, which is really just an extended chase scene, benefited tremendously from Gibson’s vision.  The Mayan adventure features gorgeous sets, incredible stunts, a heckuva lot of violence, and a cast of very good unknown actors.  Gibson set out to make an exciting film that didn’t rely on CGI, and he succeeded on every level.  It’s a shame that Gibson’s infamous DUI took place just before Apocalypto‘s debut, because it deserved a much bigger audience.

7. Because everyone has overreacted!
Look, I don’t stand by the words that Mel Gibson said, and I certainly don’t condone drinking and driving, but come on, people, Mel Gibson is not an evil man.  You can’t work in Hollywood for as long as Gibson has and hate gay people and Jewish people- they run that town!  Ever since Gibson aligned himself with conservatives (and don’t misunderstand: Gibson is neither a model conservative or Christian) with The Passion Of The Christ, the liberal media has wanted to dislike him so badly.  Unfavorable reviews of Apocalypto had very little to do with the movie itself, and much more to do with the critic’s pre-conceived notion that he disliked the director.  Any slight incorrect speech Gibson makes or potentially rude action he takes is scrutinized to no end!  To the media, there’s nothing Mel Gibson can do right.  Meanwhile, Charlie Sheen tries to stab his wife, and he gets off with nothing more than a few tabloid articles.  A little consistency please?

All right, I’ll get down off my soap box now and turn things over to you.  What do you think of Mel Gibson?  Am I crazy for writing this post?  Are you a fan?  A hater?  An indifferent party?  Are you excited for Edge Of Darkness?  Let me know in the comments.

6 December Movies That Had Poor Box Office Starts, But Major Legs

December 23, 2009

I’m about to go see Avatar, so I’ll have to keep this post short and sweet.  Movies released in December are a breed of their own.  Because students are out of school and many adults are off of work for the last half of December, movies released during the month often see smaller opening weekends, for people feel no need to rush out to the box office and see them.  Most movies released during the year have a multiplier of about 3.0, which means the total gross was three times higher than the opening weekend.  During the holidays, however, every day is like the weekend, and movies will have multipliers of 4, 5, 6 or even higher!  Many films will open with alarmingly poor numbers, but actually go on to see some very nice grosses.  That’s why I’m not too concerned about the initially low grosses for The Princess And The Frog.  Over the Sunday-to-Monday period, the film dropped just 23% to $2.9 million, and it should continue to perform strongly during weekdays for the next two weeks.  Thus, because it is List Wednesday, let’s look at six recent movies that had seemingly poor box office starts, but went on to see much more solid box office finishes.

1. Cheaper By The Dozen 2 (December 21, 2005)

Opening Weekend: $9.3 million
Total Gross: $82.9 million
Multiplier: 8.9

2. Fun With Dick And Jane (December 21, 2005)

Opening Weekend: $14.4 million
Total Gross: $110.3 million
Multiplier: 7.6

3. Rumor Has It (December 25, 2005)

Opening Weekend: $3.5 million
Total Gross: $43 million
Multiplier: 12.3!
**This “opening weekend” was just one day long.

4. Charlotte’s Web (December 15, 2006)

Opening Weekend: $11.5 million
Total Gross: $83 million
Mulitplier: 7.2

5. P.S. I Love You

Opening Weekend: $6.5 million
Total Gross: $53.7 million
Mulitplier: 8.3

6. Charlie Wilson’s War

Opening Weekend: $9.7 million
Total Gross: $66.7 million
Mulitplier: 6.9

Ranking The Disney Princesses

December 9, 2009

As I’m sure you already know, Disney’s newest princess movie, The Princess And The Frog is coming out this Friday, and it’s got everyone quite excited.  Everyone wants to see Walt Disney Studios return to their traditional fairy tale storytelling, but I have a different motive for seeing this movie.  I’m ready to judge Tiana and rank her in my Disney Princess standings.  You see, I’m still on the market for my future wife, and while I’m waiting to find her, sometimes I like to consider which of the Disney princesses would make the best Mrs. Grady Smith.  Yea, you read that right: I sometimes imagine which of the Disney princesses I’d most like to marry.  Does that make me weird?  Probably.  Do I care?  Not at all.  Thus, because it is List Wednesday, allow me to present you with my rankings of Disney’s most eligible princesses.  Afterwards, let me hear your rankings in the comments.  And, no, Mulan is not a princess.

6. Sleeping Beauty

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

5. Ariel
 I’m not looking for a chatterbox, but she doesn’t say anything.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
4. Jasmine

She dresses a little slutty for my taste…

3. Snow White

A bit boring, but a sweet, innocent, good girl.

2. Cinderella

Even if she is a social climber, I like a working girl.

1. Belle

Beautiful, intelligent, and she looks at what’s on the inside.  Perfect.

3 Movies Where The Main Character Is Broken Down And Built Back Up

December 2, 2009

Last night, as I was watching a television show about a struggling teenage mother doing her best to raise her child, I realized something about my taste in entertainment.  I am a complete sucker for characters that endure through extremely harsh circumstances.  When a character is knocked down over and over again, and his situation seems ever more hopeless, I can’t help but sympathize and root for him!  Oftentimes, I believe, a movie will spend the whole first section dragging down its main character, thereby persuading the audience to care deeply for the battered individual.  That way, when the main character succeeds/survives/saves the day, the accomplishment is that much more meaningful.  After thinking about this for a while, I quickly realized that three of my very favorite movies use this exact formula.  Therefore, since it’s List Wednesday, let’s look at 3 movies that break down their main characters first, just so they can build them back up later…

Wall-E

Perhaps one day I will make a list that doesn’t include Wall-E, but I wouldn’t count on it happening any time soon. I just love it too much!  Pixar almost most always follows this post’s stated strategy.  Their films spend a while building up their charms, but the emotional payoff is always much greater for it.  In Wall-E, before he can get the girl and save all of humanity, we first see that our beloved little robot must live a humble, lonely life for 700 years!  Indeed, Wall-E has no companions (aside from his cockroach), no real purpose, and an unfulfilled need to love and be loved.  By the time EVE’s spaceship landed, I felt so bad for the little guy that I was deeply effected by the rest of the film.

Spider-Man 2

First, Peter Parker loses Mary Jane.  Then, he gets fired from his pizza delivery job.  After that, he runs out of rent money.  To make matters worse, Mary Jane gets engaged to some other guy. Next, the Daily Bugle starts running a hateful campaign against Spider-Man.  Following this, he misses MJ’s show and ruins his final suit.  All the while, he’s consumed with immense guilt about his uncle’s death.  And on top of all of that stuff, he has to fight crime every day in New York City.  Let me tell you, having never seen the original film, I felt so sincerely bad for Peter Parker when I first saw Spider-Man 2, that I was immediately absorbed within the picture.  I couldn’t tell you one other thing that happened in the theater that August night.  I was connected to that character, and when he defeated Doc-Ock and finally revealed himself to Mary Jane, I was literally joyful.  I smiled for about two days after seeing Spider-Man 2, and that may be the highest compliment I can offer any movie.

Apocalypto

The “breaking down” of the main character in this underrated Mel Gibson epic is not simply emotional, but brutally physical as well.  In the first half of the films, Jaguar Paw is kidnapped from his village, separated from his pregnant wife and child, forced to watch many of his fellow villagers die,  painfully made to walk through the jungle, nearly sacrificed by heartless Mayans, shot in the side with an arrow, and chased through a pit of dead bodies.  His circumstances are so dire, that Jaguar Paw’s exhilarating sprint away from the enemy and inevitable success over them are so much more valuable.  Apocalypto is so incredible, and considering all the dialogue is in the traditional dialect, it says a lot about Gibson’s direction that he effectively makes you feel for his characters.

8 Legitimate Box Office Draws

November 25, 2009

When I was editing my Weekend Fix video, cutting out clips and fast forwarding through parts of it to keep the time down, I cringed a little bit when I had to cut out the bit about Sandra Bullock being one of the few remaining box office draws.  Indeed, gone are the days when nothing more than an actor’s name could draw audiences to the box office in droves.  Very few movie stars actually exhibit consistent drawing power.  Unlike the Old Hollywood Era of yesteryear, these days, big box office grosses have more to do with spectacle, story, or popular franchises than they have to do with the actors’ popularity. Still, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few names that can truly mobilize the masses and get people into the theaters.  Therefore, since I didn’t get to say my piece in my video, and it is List Wednesday, I present to you (in no particular order) these eight legitimate box office draws:

Sandra Bullock

The fantastic $34.1 million debut of The Blind Side inspired this list, and Sandra Bullock has proven time and time again that she can open movies.  Beautiful, hilarious, and yet somehow down-to-earth and relatable, Bullock comes across as funny and appealing to guys, and appealing as an everyday woman to her fellow females.  While her main audience is certainly females, and most of her big box office hits are romantic comedies (Miss Congeniality – $106 million, Two Weeks Notice – $93 million, The Proposal – $163 million), she’s proven a few times that she’s more versatile than that.  Look no further than Speed, with its $121 million gross, or The Blind Side‘s current box office performance- she’s a true-blue box office star.

Adam Sandler

I wrote about Sandler’s box office viability extensively a while ago.  You can read that post here.  All you have to know, is that this man is one of the smartest decision makers in Hollywood.  He knows his target audience, and he constantly releases films that they want to see.  Voila!  You’ve got a formula for great box office results.

Jim Carrey

The go-to man for comedy.  Jim Carrey, more than any other funnyman in the last 20 years, has established himself as the most popular comedian at the box office.  Audiences love his brand of absurd facial expressions and heartfelt sincerity.  He’s been trying to branch out lately, but when he sticks to high profile, big budget releases like Fun With Dick And Jane ($110 million), Bruce Almighty ($242 million), How The Grinch Stole Christmas ($260 million), Liar Liar ($181 million), and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls ($108 million) features, he really hits his stride and rakes in the dollars.  I personally love it when Carrey mixes his comedy persona with some more serious roles, like in The Truman Show, which resulted in great reviews great box office ($125 million).

Jennifer Aniston

People love to tear down Jennifer Aniston, saying she hasn’t been successful as a movie star and that she should have stuck to TV.  I beg to differ.  When Aniston sticks to the breezy romantic comedy genre, she’s remarkably popular.  She’s found big success with films like Along Came Polly ($88 million), The Break Up ($118 million), Marley And Me ($143 million), He’s Just Not That Into You ($93 million).  By my calculations, that makes someone a movie star.

Will Smith

Like Sandler above, way back in the day, I dedicated a whole post to Will Smith’s box office success.  I don’t need to tell you how famous he is… Just read the old post and add 2008’s $227 million gross for Hancock to the mix.

Brad Pitt

The godfather of all celebrities has really established himself as a major box office force in the 2000s.  He doesn’t have as much of a defined genre as some of the other people on this list, but he typically plays cocky, comedic characters, though he has done his fair share of dramas as well.  In the last decade, he’s found success with Oceans Eleven ($183 million), Troy ($123 million), Oceans Twelve ($125 million), Mr. And Mrs. Smith ($186 million), Oceans Thirteen ($117 million), The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button ($127 million), and Inglorious Basterds ($120 million).

Katherine Heigl

Heigl is certainly the youngest and least proven actor on this list, but in the last three years, since che burst onto the scene in TV’s Grey’s Anatomy, she has chosen her film roles wisely, and I have my eye on her as the young box office star with the most potential drawing power.  She already has figured out that her bread and butter is in the romantic comedy genre.  In 2007, she starred in Knocked Up, which grossed $146 million.  In 2008, she took 27 Dresses to $76 million.  And in 2009, she helped The Ugly Truth to $88 million.  If she continues to pick strong roles within her genre, she’ll keep seeing strong returns.

10 Inspiring Lines From Pixar FIlms

November 11, 2009

Disney-Pixar’s Upcame out on DVD this week, and in the course of just two days, I’ve probably been asked by about ten of my friends if I’ve picked it up yet.  You see, those close to me know how much I love Pixar, and it’s true- I really do adore them.  There is no other studio that works so hard on each of their movies, carefully crafting each one into an artistic, heartwarming masterpiece.  In honor of Up’sDVD release, I wanted this week’s Wednesday List to be showcase my favorite studio, and so I’ve decided to count down 10 inspiring lines from Pixar films.  Mind you, putting together this list together has been more difficult than I originally would have thought.  When I came up with the idea, I thought, “I’ve found so many scenes in Pixar films emotional.  This should be simple.”  I thought of the shredded door in Monsters, Inc. glued back together.  I thought of the Wall-E and EVE’s beautiful “dance” in space in Wall-E.  I thought of Remy’s passionate reaction to tasting great food in Ratatouille.  But then I realized: A lot of these scenes really don’t have any dialogue, and that is because Pixar has mastered the art of visual storytelling, and at its core, film is a visual medium.  Indeed, Pixar uses gorgeous imagery to engage audiences, but to only acknowledge the visuals would be undermining the brilliant writing in each Pixar script, which convey humor, heart, and often deep emotion.  Therefore, allow me to share some of my favorite dialogue from every Pixar film, and why I find these lines inspirational and emotional.

Toy Story (1995)

Woody: What chance does a toy like me have against a Buzz Lightyear action figure?
Why I love it: Because who can’t relate to feeling rejected?

A Bug’s Life (1998)

Flik: You’re wrong, Hopper. Ants are not meant to serve grasshoppers. I’ve seen these ants do great things, and year after year they somehow manage to pick food for themselves and you. So-so who is the weaker species? Ants don’t serve grasshoppers! It’s you who need us! We’re a lot stronger than you say we are… And you know it, don’t you?
Why I love it: Because inside all of us, there is a courageous fighter waiting to take a stand.  Flik’s remarks appeal to an innate desire to stand up for something important.

Toy Story 2 – (1999)

Buzz Lightyear: Woody, stop this nonsense and let’s go.
Woody: Nah, Buzz, I can’t go. I can’t abandon these guys. They need me to get into this museum. Without me, they’ll go back into storage. Maybe forever.
Buzz Lightyear: Woody, you’re not a collector’s item, you’re a child’s plaything. You are a toy!
Woody: For how much longer? One more rip, and Andy’s done with me. And what do I do then, Buzz? Huh? You tell me.
Buzz Lightyear: Somewhere in that pad of stuffing is a toy who taught me that life’s only worth living if you’re being loved by a kid. And I traveled all this way to rescue that toy because I believed him.
Why I love it: Because this is what true friendship looks like- wanting what is best for a comrade, even if he doesn’t want it himself.  

Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Sulley: I’m sorry, Mike. I’m sorry we’re stuck out here. I didn’t mean all this to happen. But Boo’s in trouble. I think there might be a way to save her if we can just get down to that…
(later)
Sulley: [is fighting the invisible Randall when he is hit with a snowball] Mike?
Mike: Look, it’s not that I don’t care about the kid.
Sulley: Mike, you don’t understand.
Mike: Yes, I do. I was just mad, that’s all. I needed some time to think, but you shouldn’t have left me out there.
Sulley: I’m being attacked!
Mike: No, I’m not attacking you. I’m trying to be honest, just hear me out. You and I are a team. Nothing is more important than our friendship.
[Boo approaches Mike, frightened]
Mike: I-I know, kid. He’s too sensitive.
Mike: [Sulley is being strangled] Come on, pal. If you start crying, I’m gonna cry, and I’ll never get through this. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you, but I am now. Hey, Sulley, I am baring my soul here. The least you can do is pay attention!
Why I love it: Because there’s nothing more fun than witnessing a pair of friends that love each other immensely, but are a still completely odd couple.  “How are these two friends?” you think.

Finding Nemo (2003)

Dory: No. No, you can’t… STOP. Please don’t go away. Please? No one’s ever stuck with me for so long before. And if you leave… if you leave… I just, I remember things better with you. I do, look. P. Sherman, forty-two… forty-two… I remember it, I do. It’s there, I know it is, because when I look at you, I can feel it. And-and I look at you, and I… and I’m home. Please… I don’t want that to go away. I don’t want to forget.
Why I love it: Because we’re all terribly scared of being left alone.

The Incredibles (2004)
[Helen hands the kids two masks]
Helen: Put these on. Your identity is your most valuable possession. Protect it.
Why I love it: Because in the midst of all the action in life, it is not simply what we do, but who we are that matters.

Cars (2005)

Sally: Forty years ago, that interstate down there didn’t exist.
Lightning McQueen: Really?
Sally: Yeah. Back then, cars came across the country a whole different way.
Lightning McQueen: How do you mean?
Sally: Well, the road didn’t cut through the land like that interstate. It moved with the land, it rose, it fell, it curved. Cars didn’t drive on it to make great time. They drove on it to have a great time.
Why I love it: Because I love America.  I love Americana.  And I love nostalgic looks at our country’s storied past.

Ratatouille (2007)

Anton Ego: In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more.
Why I love it: Because two beautiful things happen here: someone (Remy the rat) is finally acknowledged for his passion, and someone (Anton Ego) is reminded why he once had a similar passion.

Wall-E (2008)

Captain: Out there is our home. HOME, Auto. And it’s in trouble. I can’t just sit here and-and-do nothing. That’s all I’ve ever done! That’s all anyone on this blasted ship has ever done. Nothing!
AUTO: On the Axiom, you will survive.
Captain: I don’t want to survive. I want to live!
Why I love it: Because this is just what our world needs to hear.  Sometimes on rainy days, I’ll spend hours blogging, listening to music, watching YouTube, doing class work, watching more YouTube, and napping, and I’ll think, “What have I become?  Life must have more purpose than simply existing and wasting time.”  It reminds me of the song “Done Living” by Justin McRoberts: “The question isn’t are you gonna die, you’re gonna die / Will you be done living when you do?” 

Up (2009)

Carl: Russell, for assisting the elderly and for performing above and beyond the call of duty, I would like to award you the highest honor I can bestow, the Ellie badge.
Why I love it: Because every person wants fatherly approval.  For Russell, who had no father in his life, Carl’s loving gesture helps to fill that void just a little.

What are some your favorite lines?  Are you as affected by Pixar movies as I am, or do I sound a little crazy?  Let me know in the comments.

5 Reasons Entertainment Weekly Should Give Me A Summer Internship

November 4, 2009

This week’s Wednesday List is in a slightly different format.  It’s 60% on video, 40% in text, and 100% shameless.  Basically, I’ve always wanted to get a Summer internship at Entertainment Weekly, my favorite entertainment magazine.  Well, the time is coming around for me to start applying, and I figured, “Why not suck up a little bit in the process?  Can’t hurt, right?”  Anyway, if you’re an EW reader, you’ll really like this.  If you aren’t an EW reader, well, you probably still will.  Watch the video above to check out reasons 1-3, and then click on inside to see reasons 4 and 5!  Hope you enjoy!

4. I Can Deal With Hate

Working online for the past two years has taught me that people are going to say rude things to you all the time.  People feel anonymous and say things that they would never say to your face.  Terrible things!  At first, this really bothered me, and I would delete those comments, but over time, I’ve come to love it when people bash an article or video of mine.  Not only is it hilarious, but it helps drive up your traffic ranking!  My favorite recent comment: “I can’t take a grown man seriously who has a bunk bed in his room.”  HA!  Therefore, if I were to write a short piece for EW (which probably wouldn’t happen), and all the readers tore it to shreds, I could handle that!

5. I Got Skillz

I mean, working in the print industry these days is quickly becoming more like working in the online world.  This is my forté!  Plus, in a video-streaming society, I ain’t too shabby at editing videos or talking to the camera.  Working at EW offices and getting to see how EW.com is operated, would be the opportunity of a lifetime.

10 Movies That Are Always On TV

October 21, 2009

We’re right here at the middle of the week.  Some call today hump day, but TBOJ calls it List Wednesday!  This week, I’m counting down the 10 movies that I see playing on TV more than any others.  This is not really a countdown of quality, but one of frequency, because I think we all know that USA, TBS, TNT, and apparently now the Weather Channel, all play the same movies over and over again each weekend.  You know, there’s something kind of nice about watching a movie on TV.  It’s comforting, predictable, and somehow, even though you may already own the DVD, you feel a certain desire to watch the TV version.  It’s like hearing a great song on the radio: the fact that you didn’t choose it makes it even better! Anyway, here are the 10 films that I feel like are always on TV:

10. National Lampoon’s Vacation

This one always came on when I was younger, but it plays less frequently these days, which is a shame.  I swear, I’ve seen Grandma die and get strapped to the roof of the station wagon at least a dozen times, and it’s never any less funny!  Today’s kids have Wall-E, but they don’t have Wallyworld!

9. Twins

A classic Ahnuld and Danny Devito movie, in which the two play twin brothers.  Implausible? Yes.  Awesome? Of course!  I will always find it hilarious that Arnold is not only physically perfect, but he’s also the good guy, whereas Devito has to be short, fat, and evil! 

8. Not Another Teen Movie

The extent to which people enjoy this movie is based on their generation.  About eight or nine years ago, She’s All That, The Breakfast Club, and Can’t Hardly Wait were the movies that were always on TV, and this movie mocks them (and every other teen movie of the last 20 years) boldly, so if you know what NATM is referencing, it’s brilliant.  This is probably my biggest guilty pleasure flick.

7. Grease

You see the Greasers on the bleachers and the Pink Ladies at the lunch table, and you’re sucked in.  Say goodbye to your next two hours and just enjoy it.

6. Coming To America

Eddie Murphy is an African prince.  He moves to New York and looks for a wife.  That’s really all I know because I’ve never watched this movie.  I don’t know why, but for some reason I just feel like I wouldn’t like it.  I know to put it on this list because I see it on TV all the time, and then I change the channel.

5. Never Been Kissed

This Drew Barrymore back-to-high-school comedy is totally roofus.  Everyone can relate to feeling awkward in high school, and Josie-Grosie is just so unbelievably endearing.  Plus, I’m a sucker for Barrymore’s speech at the prom after the dog food incident.

 
4. Jumanji

I’m pretty sure everyone has seen this movie.  If you haven’t, then allow me to compare you to the fat rhino who just can’t keep up with the rest of the pack.  You’ve got Robin Williams at his best and most adventurous, Bonnie Hunt being awesomely paranoid, and Kirsten Dunst holding her own.  Add a cool plot and some amazing special effects, and you’ve got a blockbuster.  Unfortunately, Jumanji didn’t do all that well in theaters ($100.5 million), so I’m glad its gotten way more exposure on TV over the years.

3. Bring It On

Here’s a teen movie that isn’t completely stupid!  In fact, it’s got wit, attitude, a ton of beautiful girls, and a fun story tell.  Here again, in Dunst, is an endearing character.  Who isn’t rooting for a spunky, hard-working cheerleader who gets cheated on by her boyfriend, betrayed by her former captain, cry/dances in her room alone, and still tries to make things right and win Nationals?  This is a theme I’m noticing: endearing blonde women somehow make movies delightfully rewatchable… see #7, #5, #4, #3, and #1.

2. The Replacements

Boy is this a dumb movie, but really, no one wants to watch a serious movie on TV.  Between the constant commercials and the inevitable people that will interrupt you throughout, a ridiculous football comedy starring Keanu Reeves works just fine.

1. Legally Blonde
How many weekends in the last five years has TBS played this Reese Witherspoon legal comedy on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday?  It seems like its on a couple times a month!  But I’m not complaining, because Legally Blonde is just a funny movie.  The pretentious Harvard students, the admissions video, and the ridiculous perm-filled lawsuit are, like, so, totally, fabulous!

Now, I want to hear what you all think! Have I left off any movies that you feel are always showing up on the tube? Do you relate to these choices? Let me know in the comments!