EYG Top 10 Female Sci-Fi Characters

EYG23

I am excited about this week’s Top 10 list.  I really enjoy the lists when John Rocha and Matt Knost do something a little different and do characters instead of just movies.  The Top 10 Monsters is the list that inspired me to start doing my own lists along with them.  So this week, in honor of this weekend’s release of Annihilation, the boys made their lists of the Top 10 Female Sci-Fi characters.  And joining them was the wonderful “Classy” Clarke Wolfe.  Clarke was a wonde3rful addition this week and I loved listening to her perspectives on the topic.

Clarke gave a definition of science fiction on the show which said, “fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets, but that is not a requirement.” Clark said that this definition was on dictionary.com, but I could not find it.

Because of that definition, I have eliminated some of the potential choices.  There will be no Star Wars on my list.  There will be no super heroes on my list (and I include Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor:Ragnarok as super hero movies). There is no Lord of the Rings/Hobbit on this list.

So here is the list…

Image result for dr zira#10. Dr. Zira (Planet of the Apes).  Dr. Zira was the ape who showed us that these ‘damn dirty apes” actually had humanity in them.  Dr. Zira took to the side of Taylor as something more than just a savage.  She communicated with him.  She helped him.  She and her fiance/husband Cornelius, aided in Taylor’s escape and ability to escape and discover the truth about the world.  And she shared a kiss with the human.  Dr. Zira and Cornelius also come back from the Planet of the Apes and ends up in a tragic death.  That tragic death was one of my favorite endings as I did not expect the creators of the movie to kill her off.

 

Image result for mason snowpiercer#9.  Minister Mason (Snowpiercer).  Snowpiercer is one of those movies that gets lost sometimes, but it is tremendous. And one of the best parts of that movie was the villainous Minister Mason, portrayed by Tilda Swinton.  Mason was the voice of Wilford, the creator of the train that they were all on, She was such a hoity-toity character and she lorded her very life over the tail section people.  She represented the upper class in the world and she is simply a slimeball and Tilda Swinton embraces that slime so well.

 

Image result for river tam serenity#8.  River Tam (Serenity).  Coming from the Firefly television series, River Tam is one kick ass female.  Played by Summer Glau, River Tam was the main hero of the film Serenity.  River had been tortured for a couple of years by The Academy as they tried to tap into her potential power, and that power is on display in Serenity as she kicked the Reavers around.

 

 

Image result for rita vrataski edge of tomorrow#7.  Rita Yrataski (Edge of Tomorrow).  Played by Emily Blunt, Rita was the heroic soldier in the United Defense force which opposes the invasion of the aliens in the Mimic War.  Rita was approached by Tom Cruise with some specific details that was surprising.  He was reliving the same time frame every time he died.  The info he could garner from this power (which is a skill that the aliens had) gave them a chance.  Tom Cruise, however, is anything but a warrior.  That was where Rita would come in.  Nicknamed “The Angel of Verdun,” for her bravery, Rita Yrataski created hope.

 

Related image#6.  Dr. Ellie Sattler (Jurassic Park).  Laura Dern is awesome, and she created a great character in the first Jurassic Park.  She was a paleobotanist that came along to Jurassic Park to get a chance to see some long extinct plant life (and some dinosaurs too).  Ellie helps save the grandchildren of Hammond, the man who invited her to the island with Alan Grant.  Alan and Ellie were, at one point, a couple, but children seemed to be a hurdle between them.  After the events of Jurassic Park, things looked to be better.

 

Image result for katniss#5.  Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games series).  Katniss is one of the great heroines from the future world of the Hunger Games.  Katniss initially became involved when she volunteered as a tribute to save her sister from having to go.  Then, along with Peeta, Katniss won the challenge of the Hunger Games, becoming the Girl on Fire.  Jennifer Lawrence really hit her first stride in The Hunger Games.  Yes, the remaining Hunger Games films never really hit the heights of the first one, but Katniss was always beautifully done.

 

Image result for trinity matrix#4.  Trinity (The Matrix).  Carrie Ann Moss was the one who believed beyond everyone else that Neo was the chosen one.  She knew it and she could not be convinced otherwise.  And it turned out to be Trinity’s belief that actually made Neo the hero.  The Matrix was a mind-blowing film that no one saw coming.  Trinity and Neo make an awesome pair and she is a true star of the film.  She and Keanu have great chemistry and they make the film transcendent.

 

Image result for ripley#3.  Ripley  (Alien). Ripley is one of the great characters in science fiction.  Sigourney Weaver is the queen and Ellen Ripley is one of the first female lead characters.  The first film, Ripley has to use her brains and her survival skills to avoid being killed by the Xenomorphs.  And as a cat person, I appreciate how she had to save the cat.

 

Image result for sarah connors#2.  Sarah Connors (Terminator and Terminator 2).  She had an affair with a man from the future and gave birth to a boy who is foretold to save the universe from the rise of the machines.  Because of this prophecy, Sarah Connors trained herself and John, her son, to be a warrior and prepared for the return of the Terminator.  Sarah was borderline crazed, spending many years in an asylum, but she was always ready to protect John above anything else.  Linda Hamilton was the first and best version of Sarah Connors.

 

Image result for leeloo#1. Leeloo (The Fifth Element).  Okay, I was always a Bruce Willis fan, so I came to this movie because of him, and I left in completely in love with Leeloo.  To this day, I say “Leeloo Dallas, multipass” and “Chicken…good.”  Leeloo has one  of the most amazing costume designs and is one of the most intriguing character.  Leeloo, the Fifth Element- the Ultimate Being, is like a super hero and I have always loved a kick ass woman with a cool accent.  Leeloo is really funny, playing off Bruce Willis’s Korben Dallas extremely well.  I have never been a fan of any other film starring Milla Jovovich, but The Fifth Element is just a tremendous and unexpected treat.

 

Honorary Mentions:  Louise Banks (Arrival), Ava (Ex Machina), Borg Queen (Star Trek: First Contact), Uhuhu (Star Trek), Furiosa (Mad Max: Fury Road), Gertie (E.T. the Extra Terrestrial),

EYG Top 10 Superhero Origin Movies

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Welcome back to the Top 10 list of the week.  This week, John Rocha and Matt Knost were joined by special guest Chris Burns from the Store Horsemen podcast to do the Top 10 Superhero Origin Movies.

So, I made my list of origin movies and I eliminated a couple of the possible choices because I did not feel that they were origin movies.  My definition of an origin movie had to either show a superhero gaining his/her powers or how they came to be known as the hero/team that they are known for.  If the movie was the introduction of a character but felt more like just another adventure of that character, I did not consider it.

So, Spider-man: Homecoming, which Matt had on his list, and Thor, which was also mentioned, do not make my list because they are not origin movies.  This is, of course, my opinion.

Starting off the list…

#10. Chronicle.  Josh Trank’s film that showed the creation of a super hero (and villain too) through the use of found footage was such a wonderful film.  The found footage genre had really felt like it had played itself out and was getting way too boring.  However, Trank, and screen writer Max Landis, was able to find the originality in the technique and brought something different to it.  It also showed us how amazing actors Michael B. Jordan and Dane DeHaan were and how great these young men will be in the future.  Michael B. Jordan is of course in his next super hero movie this weekend as Killmonger in Black Panther.

Image result for ant man#9. Ant Man.  This film had so many strikes against it before it ever came out.  After such a public break up between Marvel Studios and Edgar Wright, who had been working on getting Ant Man completed for years, many people had no intention of liking Ant Man.  The thing was that Peyton Reed came in and resurrected the film and made people love it.  He had Paul Rudd as a super hero, which was strange at best, but the comedic actor was great as Scott Lang and the film cast Michael Douglas as Hank Pym.  The film had a great heist film flavor to it and featured a surprise cameo by Falcon.  Michael Pena appeared as one of Scott’s friends and stole every scene he was in.  We may never know what caused the separation of Edgar Wright and Marvel, but it sure seems as if it were for the best.

Image result for dormammu i've come to bargain#8.  Dr. Strange.  Marvel took the MCU to different dimensions for the first time with the Sorcerer Supreme, Stephen Strange.  Once a skilled surgeon, Stephen Strange is involved in a tragic car accident that robs him of the use of his hands.  In search of a way to fix his hands, Strange heads to the mountains of Tibet and find the Ancient One, who shows the doctor that there is much more to the universe than he ever would have believed.  Dr. Strange features one of the greatest fight scenes in comic book movies as Strange and his colleagues fought the villains as time reversed.  Plus, “Dormammu, I’ve come to bargain…”

Image result for batman begins#7.  Batman Begins.  The movie that reclaimed the Dark Knight after the travesty of Batman and Robin, Batman Begins is the first film in the Christopher Nolan trilogy of films and is, arguable, the best.  This film looked at the life of Bruce Wayne before he ever donned the cowl and showed his training in the process of becoming the World’s Greatest Detective.  The film did not use one of Batman’s most famous foes.  Instead, it used Scarecrow and Ra’s Al Ghul, and it never missed a beat.  Because they were able to use these villains in the origin story, it saved the Joker for the second film, and you know what happened there.

Image result for unbreakable mr glass#6.  Unbreakable.  We did not even know that this was a super hero origin story until the very end of the film.  That was when Samuel L. Jackson’s Mr. Glass revealed himself to Bruce Willis and told him that he had been searching for him for years.  Mr. Glass needed an adversary, a nemesis, an arch enemy.  By this point, you understand what it is you have been watching.  M. Night Shyamalan was as hot as you could be after this film, but he took an unfortunate turn into the garbage heap, but the surprise sequel to Unbreakable, Split, made for brand new excitement around the director.

Image result for iron man 2008#5.  Iron Man.  If this one did not work, the MCU would not be what it is today.  Marvel took a risk, throwing out what many considered a B-level super hero, but with most of their biggest guns’ rights at other studios, they did not have much chance.  They brought in Robert Downey Jr. to play Tony Stark, which with RDJ’s troubles was also seen as a risk, and gave the director’s chair to Jon Favreau.  But there was something magical about this film and Iron Man took off, thrilling fans everywhere.  And after the credits, suddenly there was Tony Stark talking to… is that?  Could it be?  Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson, who was speaking to Tony about the Avengers Initiative.  What did he say?  Avengers?  Seeds planted.  Huge success.

Image result for cap america first avenger song#4.  Captain America: The First Avenger.  “I could do this all day” were words spoken by the scrawny and bullied Steve Rogers just before being rescued from the beating by his friend Bucky Barnes.  However, it showed what would make him the most inspirational hero of the Marvel Universe.  Steve Rogers had heart.  He had guts.  He never gave up.  And he would become Captain America.  This film was a tremendous origin for Steve Rogers, and it showed the man as the hero he is without it being boring, dull or cheesy.  It featured one of my favorite songs too, “Star Spangled Man.”

Image result for deadpool reynolds#3.  Deadpool.  Ryan Reynolds fought for Deadpool for years. After the character was completely neutered in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Deadpool was a punch line.  But Reynolds did not give up on him.  He fought to get the film he wanted made the way he wanted it made.  And he succeeded.  Deadpool is one of the funniest super hero movies around, and it featured maybe the best romance between hero and significant other ever.  The film was released on Valentine’s Day and was marketed as a romance, and it did not lie.  The marketing campaign of Deadpool was brilliant and showed the dedication of FOX and Ryan Reynolds to this character.  Deadpool became a monster hit as an R rated, dirty, foul-mouthed, 4th wall breaking smash.  Thank you, Mr. Reynolds.

Image result for sam raimi's spiderman upside down kiss#2. Spider-man.  I don’t think I can sufficiently explain to you how scared I was heading to the theater to see Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man.  I love Spider-Man and I was so scared that this film would not be any good.  I was afraid that this would be one more failure in super hero movies at a time before they were so beloved.  I remember the exact moment I knew this film was going to be great.  As Peter Parker held Uncle Ben in his arms on the ground outside of the car, watching his amazing uncle die, I knew the film had the wall crawler right. Sure the Green Goblin looked silly.  I did not care.  Sure the organic webbing made me pause.  That was fine.  I loved this movie and having a big screen rendition of Spider-man that I could be proud of made me as happy as I could ever be.

Related image#1.  Guardians of the Galaxy.  How was this ever going to work?  How could this property, which honestly was not that well known even among the comic book reading crowd, and featured a talking raccoon and a walking tree that could only say three words, “I  am Groot,” not be a complete failure.  Had Marvel Studios gone mad with their own success?  Apparently not.  Guardians of the Galaxy, helmed by James Gunn, became of the studio’s most consistently loved films.  It was dripping with originality and gravitas.  It had amazing chemistry among its five main stars, even the raccoon and the tree (maybe even especially them).  It had an unbelievably cool soundtrack of 1970s music.  It was more of a space opera than a super hero movie.  At its core, Guardians of the Galaxy is about family and these characters are a family that we loved being a part of.  We are Groot, indeed.

There they are. My top ten Super Hero Origin Movies.

Honorable Mentions:  Big Hero 6, Kick Ass, Wonder Woman, Blade, Superman: The Movie, X-Men, X-Men: First Class, Robocop, The Incredibles (Not sure that one counted with my rules).

EYG Top 10 Third Movie in a Franchise

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Another week, another Top 10 list from the Top 10 Show starring John Rocha and Matt Knost.  And, for the second week in a row, we get a huge category.  Last week, with Top 10 70s movies, there were all kinds of choices. This week may not have that wide of a reach, but the topic remains as a big one.  Top 10 Third Movies in a Franchise.

We are under three months away from what could be the biggest third movie in a franchise ever in Avengers: Infinity War.  There is no doubt that every little scrap I see from that thing has EPIC written all over it, figuratively.  Honestly, I do not need to see any more.  After that Super Bowl TV spot, I need no more. Honestly, they had my money a long time ago.

Coming back to this list, I had more trouble with the final three spots on this list than I have had for any other list I have come up with.  There are legitimately two or three that could be interspersed with what is on this list.

Here we go:

#10.  Rocky 3.  I loved this movie.  As a youth, I was a fan of Mr. T, so seeing him fight Rocky was tremendous.  This film also gave us exposure to Hulk Hogan who was just getting ready to explode in the world of professional wrestling.  The training scenes with Apollo Creed were some great ones and the ending scene with Rocky and Apollo sparring in the ring was a wonderful cliffhanger.  The Eye of the Tiger was one of the great 1980s songs and fit perfectly here in the movie.  Rocky 3 might have been the first Rocky movie that I saw.  And it was great.

 

#9.  Die Hard with a Vengeance.  I was a huge fan of the Die Hard series.  I loved Bruce Willis from Moonlighting and I loved his turn as John McClane in Die Hard.  Die Hard 2 was a favorite as well.  So when the third film came around, my first feelings were that I was not as fond of it as the first two.  However, it is one that I have grown to appreciate more as the years have gone on.  I think Samuel l. Jackson as Zeus is a fantastic partner for Bruce and brings a different level of trouble with him.  I will admit that I think the ending is pretty weak in comparison, but it is funny and exciting and ties nicely back to the first film.

 

#8.  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  This might be the best of the Harry Potter series.  If it is not, it is certainly in the top two or three.  The Prisoner of Azkaban has the most creative use of the kids, deals with time travel and brings us the awesome Gary Oldman.  The story has a great mystery and it takes it time to unfurl it as the film goes along.  This is also one of the first of the Harry Potter movies where the cast starts to become more of an adult crew and they start to show some acting skill.  A great entry in the series.

 

Image result for mount doom frodo gollum#7.  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.  The amazing final chapter to the JRR Tolkien trilogy is an epic.  Beautifully shot and directed by Peter Jackson, the film does not disappoint in any manner.  There are several brilliant stories that come back together in this final installment.  One of the best moments is certainly the fight between Frodo and Gollum on the edge of Mount Doom.  There is so much passion and emotion here and these characters pay off three movies worth with amazing scenes.  Sure there are a bunch of false finishes to the film, but none of those take away from the masterpiece that it is.

 

Related image#6.  Thor: Ragnarok.  Taika Waititi took the Thor franchise, which by all accounts was the least successful among the Avengers lineup, and completely redid the film.  It became less of a Scandinavian myth and much more of a comedy.  And he threw in the Incredible Hulk.  And yet, he lost nothing of what made these characters special.  Thor, Hulk, Loki, Odin were still here and were the characters we knew, but they found themselves in a different tone.  And it was wonderful.  One of the funniest Marvel movies ever, but also a film with the most stakes ever.  Plus we got Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster and Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie.  Thor: Ragnarok took the MCU in a different direction and I, along with many others, were extremely happy about it.

 

Related image#5.  Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.  This film has one of the best opening scenes of any film on this list.  The adventure into Jabba the Hut’s palace to rescue Han Solo is exciting from the first moment that Jedi Master Luke Skywalker strolled into the place to have a meeting with Jabba.  And I still use the line, “Boba Fett?  Bobba Fett? Where?”  However, Return of the Jedi was not only that opening scene.  It had a conclusion that might be the most emotional one in the Star Wars franchise.  With the final fight between Luke and Vader, and then eventually the Emperor, everything that had been building up from three movies came to a head in the redemption of Anakin Skywalker.  Sure the Ewoks are clearly a attempt to make money on toy sales, but many movies do that.  And the Ewoks aren’t that bad.

 

Related image#4. Logan.  This is the third Wolverine movie, and I think it qualifies, even though that would not be considered a trilogy.  John Rocha had indicated that Skyfall was not eligible for the list because that was the James Bond series.  Logan is the third Wolverine movie, so it counts.  And it is one of the best movies made.  In Hugh Jackman’s final appearance as Logan, he delivered the most emotional and powerful performance of his career.   Plus, the film had powerhouse performances from young Dafne Keen as Laura and the venerable Sir Patrick Stewart.  Stewart’s final run as Charles Xavier was heartbreaking and memorizing.  I cried every time I watched Logan because it struck a chord with me involving characters that meant the world to me.

 

Image result for indy last crusade#3.  Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  This is my favorite Indiana Jones movie of all time.  The pairing of Harrison Ford and Sean Connery as father and son might be the best duo ever cast together.  They are pitch perfect as the Dr. Joneses.  This film is so much fun and exciting.  It brings back all the joyousness of the Indy movies and gives you even more to the character than you ever thought you could get.  A father and a son who were so very much alike that they could not see past each other’s flaws.  That is, until the chips were down, and then they were ready to take a leap of faith.  Remarkably entertaining.

 

Image result for toy story 3 incinerator#2.  Toy Story 3.  I love this movie.  I have mentioned that I think one of the best movie villains of all time is Lotso Hugginbear.  I found his tragic tail as relatable as you could ever get and I have always believed that a relatable villain is the best kind.  But that is not the only thing about Toy Story 3 that I love.  There was actually a moment, as the group of them were heading toward the incinerator, that I believed that they were all going to die.  Can you believe that?  In a Disney-Pixar movie, I legitimately thought these characters were all going to burn to death.  This movie perfectly tugged on emotions.  And that final scene where Andy was giving his toys away to the little girl was such a tear-inducing moment that you couldn’t help but be ripped apart.  Toy Story 3 is a perfect end to the trilogy.

 

Image result for civil war airport scene#1. Captain America: Civil War.  The Captain America trilogy is one of the best ever and it does more with Captain America than you ever would believe they could.  This film succeeds as a stand alone Captain America story.  Sure there are other heroes in it, but it is distinctly a Cap story.  Of course, it also is an Avengers story.  It introduces us to Spider-man in the MCU and to Black Panther.  It does these roles beautifully as well.  It gives us one of the best, if not THE best, fight scenes of all time in the airport scene.  And yet it gives us personal stakes between Cap and Tony Stark at the end that feel real and devastating.  This is my current favorite MCU film and it is an undertaking like few films can try.

 

There they are.  There are several honorary mentions.  Films such as Goldfinger, Back to the Future III, Star Trek : The Search for Spock, Shrek the Third, Iron Man 3, War for the Planet of the Apes,  The Good, the Bad, The Ugly, Lethal Weapon 3, The World’s End, The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies(I did like the end).

EYG Top 10 70s Movies

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Okay, what an insane topic.

This week’s Top10 Show with John Rocha and Matt Knost featured a guest star, a friend of Matt’s, but also a character actor, writer etc named Wayne Federman.

Image result for wayne federman

It is an impossible topic, by the way, to find the Top 10 List of 70s Movies.  Yes, that is what I said… 70s Movies.  An entire decade of films to choose.  The other issue was a lot of these movies are films that I have heard of, seen parts of, but never seen the whole film, so there are some missing films from my list.

Image result for smokey and the bandit#10.  Smokey and the Bandit.  A personal favorite that probably should not be on a list like this, but it is a guilty pleasure and I wanted to add it.  Burt Reynolds, Jerry Reed and Sally Field as our beer runners and Jackie Gleason himself as Sheriff Buford T. Justice, the most dedicated hick cop of all time.  Smokey and the Bandit is redneck fun and, albeit a silly film, I love it.

 

Related image#9.  Alien.  One of the great science fiction movies of all time and a film that spawned an amazing series of films and one of the greatest, baddest female heroes of cinematic history in Ripley.  Then, the creature that is to be known as a Xenomorph is tremendously scary and fear inducing.  Alien is a great film with some serious horror elements to it as well.

 

Image result for close encounters of the third kind#8.  Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  One of Steven Spielberg’s great early films, Close Encounters brings the nation’s fascination with aliens and UFOs into the movies once again.  This time, the film focuses on how the hysteria surrounding UFOs could affect a human being. Richard Dreyfus seemingly loses his mind after his close encounter and it ends up costing him his relationship with his family.  However, in the end, he does get to step upon the space ship and head into a new adventure.  There is so much beauty in the film, from the way it is shot to the iconic music.  Close Encounters is wonderful.

 

Image result for rocky#7.  Rocky.  Rocky Balboa was the ultimate underdog.  In his chase of Apollo Creed, Rocky had to put everything on the line.  In the end, the Italian Stallion just could not overcome the champ.  Who thought Rocky would lose?  It’s a surprise at the end that really makes this an uncommon sports film.  Sylvester Stallone became a household name because of this film, a film he wrote and directed and starred in.  Most of these film have that iconic score to them as well, helping secure their place above the other films of the giant decade.  Rocky’s theme is known by everyone and it helps create the character and the feeling of the film.

 

Related image#6.  The Godfather. I have actually not seen Godfather 2.  I know.. I know.  Truthfully, I just saw Godfather last year during a Fathom Event.  There is nothing I can add to the limitless discussions of this movie.  The Godfather is a masterpiece of a film in style and substance.  The acting is amazing.  The music is perfect.  There are so many key storytelling elements that continue to keep people coming back to the story of Don Corleone.

 

Image result for "What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?"#5.  Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Here come some of the films that might not make some people’s lists, but I love so they are here.  Monty Python and the Holy Grail is amazingly quotable and continually funny. “It’s just a flesh wound.”  “I’m feeling better now”.  What… is your favorite color?– “Blue…. no, yel–aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh”  “What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?”  Of course, there is also the classic Black Knight and the Knights who say Ni.  My favorite of the Monty Python movies.

 

Image result for young frankenstein#4. Young Frankenstein.  Puttin’ on the Ritz.  This is one of my absolutely favorite scenes in movie history.  Gene Wilder putting on a fantastic show as Dr. Frank-en-stein, the grandson of Victor.  He was successful in re-animating life from dead tissue and the brain of someone by the name of Abby Normal.  LOL.  Igor and his moving hump.  The Frau Blücher -WHINNNEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.  Young Frankenstein is one of Mel Brooks greatest films and works to this very day.

 

Image result for willy wonka#3.  Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  One of my favorite movies of all time.  Willy Wonka has great music, a awesome story that is darker than one would think when first viewing it. It seems like a kids movie, but this is anything but.  There is a subversiveness about Willy Wonka and his Chocolate Factory that weds out the bad little girls and boys and rewards those who can follow his rules.  We never see Augustus, Violet, Veruca, and Mike again, do we?  We are TOLD that they will be fine, but Willy Wonka does not seem to be the most legitimate source.  Gene Wilder’s iconic performance highlights this brilliant film.

 

Image result for star wars#2.  Star Wars.  Out of respect for the guest this week, Wayne Federman, I will only refer to this as Star Wars.  This film that led to the greatest franchise of films ever put together, Star Wars was truly a simple story.  A story of a boy in search of a family, a father and a purpose.  Luke Skywalker found all three by joining the Rebellion against the evil Empire.  Yes, we do not know yet that Darth Vader is, in actuality, Luke’s father, but there is certainly enough drama to hold the viewers attention.  We meet the awesome character of Han Solo.  Princess Leia.  Obi-Wan.  R2D2 and C3PO.  The Millennium Falcon.  It goes on and on.

 

Image result for jaws#1.  Jaws.  One of my favorite movies of all time.  I remember being scared out of my mind as a kid by Jaws, especially at the scene where the shark is slowly eating Quint.  That scared me silly.  Now a days, I love the scene with Quint, Brody and Hooper drinking below deck and comparing scars.  This led to a completely compelling tale spun by Hooper about the USS Indianapolis.  Jaws is a horror film that becomes an adventure film that end with a fantastically intense final act.  It is a near perfect movie and it is my favorite 1970s movie.

 

Plenty of Honorable mentions such as…

Honorable mentions:  Carrie, Bad News Bears, The Exorcist, Grease, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Blazing Saddles, Airplane, Superman.

EYG Top Ten Paul Newman Movies

EYG23

Well, here we are once again with the EYG Top 10 list following the Top 10 Show.  We took last week off since John and Matt did a Best of 2017 Show and I had already done that list.

During that time, I joined up with the Patreon for the show and I am happily donating to them.  I figure I can donate at this higher level for a little while and then drop down to something that fits the budget better.  I am happy to contribute to the week fun.

However, one of the other Patreons suggested Top 10 Paul Newman films and I knew I would be in trouble. I have not seen very many Paul Newman films.  In fact, it was easier compiling the Clint Eastwood list than this one would be.

I still listened to the podcast because I enjoy the pairing of John and Matt.  They are very funny and entertaining, discussing movies.  Even if it is a movie that I was unfamiliar with, it is great listening to these two discuss it.

But as I am scouring the IMDB page for Paul Newman, I realized that I was not going to be able to fill out a Top 10 list… so I made it Top 5.

The EYG Top 5 Paul Newman Movies

#5.  The Verdict.  Newman as a down on his luck, struggling lawyer who has taken his life and his honor in a different path is a strong story.  How he went from prestigious lawyer to ambulance chaser is a warning to all of us.

 

 

Image result for the color of money#4.  The Color of Money.  Not my favorite Tom Cruise movie, but I do like how we see Newman as a pool hustler, Fast Eddie Felson, returning from his iconic role in The Hustler.  Fast Eddie has become the old, wise mentor looking to pass his skill on to the younger one in Cruise.  This was a Martin Scorsese film as well.

 

Related image#3.  The Hustler.  Fast Eddie’s first appearance.  The story of a pool player who crashed and burned, losing all his money only to try to redeem himself.  What a cast this film had with Jackie Gleeson as Minnesota Fats, Piper Laurie and George C. Scott as well.

 

 

Image result for the Sting movie#2.  The Sting.  When you matched up Paul Newman with Robert Redford, you got magic.  This was one example. The pair got together to try and recoop loses in cards games with some real dangerous people, including crime lord Lonnegan played by Richard Shaw.

 

Image result for butch cassidy sundance kid jumping off cliff#1.  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  Another team up between Newman and Redford, creating some of the most iconic scenes of any movie.  The crooks on the run story was able to truly show off the skills of its two main leads.  This is based on two real life characters.

 

Looking at the list of movies Paul Newman starred in, it surprised me how few of the movies I had actually seen.  I know some by name, such as Cool Hand Luke and The Drowning Pool, but I have never seen them, or, if I had seen them, it was so long ago that I do not remember.  This would be a hole in my game if I were ever involved in the Schmoedown.

EYG Top Ten Liam Neeson Movies

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It is 2018 and this is the first Top Ten Show with a list for the year.  In honor of the release of this weekend’s Commuter, John Rocha and Matt Knost came up with a Top Ten List for Best Liam Neeson movies.

Good news.  I feel more confident in my own list here than I was with Clint Eastwood.  I was able to come up with over ten Liam Neeson movies that I actually have seen and liked which makes it considerably more interesting for me.

So, here are the Top Ten Liam Neeson movies at EYG.

Related image#10.  Run All Night.  This one has fallen into Liam Neeson’s ballpark- that is a father who is out trying to save a child from a dangerous world.  In this case, Liam is a former hitman whose estranged son Mike wound up involved in the death of Liam’s former mob boss friend’s son.  There was a really nice chemistry between Liam Neeson and Joel Kinnaman as estranged father and son.  And Liam Neeson is always a kick ass.

Related image#9.  Non-Stop. This is now Liam Neeson, kick ass stud, on a plane.  This time, Liam plays an air marshal and a villain is texting him saying that if they do not wire him millions of dollars, he would start killing passengers every 20 minutes.  Liam has to find out who this nutbag is and how he is pulling off his threat.

 

Related image#8.  Rob Roy.  I haven’t seen this one in years.  My memories were that I enjoyed it.  However, I know that it came up on today’s Top Ten Show and it received some shade from John and Matt.  This could be a situation where my memory is not as clear as what I recall.  From what I recall, I liked Rob Roy.

 

Image result for darkman movie liam neeson#7.  Darkman.  I am putting it at number 7 just like the Top Ten boys.  This was a really fun “super hero” movie prior to the outbreak of the current genre.  Co-written and directed by Sam Raimi, Darkman is a fun and exciting hero in a story that can be very dark.

 

Related image#6.  A Walk Among Tombstones. This one was a real surprise.  I had gotten tired of the “Liam Neeson” type of film that had populated the last several years, especially the Taken sequels, and then this came along where he was an unlicensed private investigator, a former police officer who had a tragic event in his past.  As he is working the next case, he was making it clear that he was willing to do what it took.  This was a great surprise of a film.

 

Related image#5.  The Lego Movie.  The first movie on this list where Liam Neeson provides his vocal talent is the Lego Movie.  He may not have as big of a role in the film, but his performance as Bad Cop/Good Cop was one of the film’s greatest characters.  The Lego Movie was one of the best films of that year.

 

Image result for a monster calls liam neeson#4.  A Monster Calls.  Here is the other film on this list where Liam Neeson provided voice work.  Here he is the giant tree that tries to teach the lessons to the young boy in a movie that is a devastating tear jerker.  And he did it without ever saying “I am Groot.”  His voice performance was beautifully done and the movie is woefully underrated.

Image result for batman begins liam neeson#3.  Batman Begins.  Liam Neeson was the main villain in the first Batman movie after Batman and Robin nearly killed the genre.  And he was fantastic.  Ra’s Al Ghoul was one of Batman’s lesser villains to the rest of the world, but the avid comic fans knew who he was and we were extremely excited to see him in Gotham.  Neeson was great here and set the stage for one of the great films in comic book history.  Batman Begins is damn good in its own right.

Related image#2.  Taken.  I wasn’t sure where this movie would fall, because the fact is that the subsequent sequels to this film were atrocious.  I know it is not fair to hold the original to bear for the sequels, but, being honest, there is a downward trajectory when I think about Taken because Taken 2 & 3 were so bad.  However, as I thought about the list more and more, I tried to think back to how much fun and enjoyment Taken brought me.  I really loved that first film.  And I did not think I would.  Plus, there is an iconic line delivered by Liam Neeson that everyone in the world knows.  It goes like this: But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you. Ah…epic!

Image result for schindler's list#1. Schlinder’s List.  What else was going to be here?  I just saw this movie at the end of 2017 and it was haunting… beautiful… traumatic… masterful.  I absolutely loved the film despite having to then rock myself to sleep in the corner.  The black and white.  The splash of red here and there.  The amazing performances.  I was sobbing through the whole thing.  It was a masterpiece of cinema.  And easily Liam Neeson’s greatest performance and movie.  When he found that gold medal that could have saved a few more lives and he broke down in tears, it ripped out what remaining heart I had.  Just an amazingly emotional film of a horrible time of the world.

 

EYG Top Ten Clint Eastwood Movies

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Happy Holidays!  I was very happy to see that the Top Ten Show was still going to have new content today, despite the holiday.  So I want to thank John Rocha and Matt Knost for their effort in making sure that I am entertained.  🙂

This week’s Top Ten focuses on Top Ten Clint Eastwood movies.  I have top say that this one is not a strength of mine.  I have not seen a lot of Eastwood’s movies- particularly his western so this is a challenge.  Honestly, I am not a huge fan of Eastwood either.  There may need to be some that I hope to see.

To make it even more challenging, they limited this to only acting, and not directing.  I was kind of hoping for an amalgam of the two.  Unfortunately, no luck.

Now, I couldn’t, in good conscience, put Trouble with the Curve, on the list, just because I have seen it.

Okay, Top Ten Eastwood…

Related image#10.  Fistful of Dollars.  The first Eastwood film that I haven’t seen, but I do know about it.  The Man With No Name is an iconic figure.  It has a huge Rotten Tomatoes rating so maybe I need to get that seen.  When I do see these, I can include the reviews under Doc’s Classic Movie Reviews.

Related image#9.  The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.  This is the Top Ten guys’ number two film, and the second one on my list that I have not seen.  Another classic film that features the Man With No Name from the Sergio Leone trilogy.

 

 

Image result for million dollar baby#8.  Million Dollar Baby.  This is the final of the list that I have not seen.  I know everyone loves this movie and it won an Oscar.  I was never interested in the world of female boxing, but I think I have to see it.

 

 

Image result for every which way but loose#7.  Every Which Way But Loose.  Eastwood and a chimpanzee.  What more could you want.  I saw this in the theater as a young person and I remember enjoying it.  Perhaps if I saw it today, it might be a different story, but maybe not.  The song that goes with the movie is running through my head right now.

 

Image result for paint your wagon#6. Paint Your Wagon.  Another one that I saw years ago and may have a different opinion on today.  It is a musical, but I remember liking this one.  Another low number on Rotten Tomatoes, but it will make my list .

 

Related image#5.  Dirty Harry.  Another iconic character from Eastwood.  Harry Callahan as the street level cop who deals out justice on his own terms.  This film’s villain was based on the Zodiac killer.

 

 

Image result for absolute power movie#4. Absolute Power.  The unlikely story of abuse of power from a president of the United States.  Oh, you mean that is not unlikely?  Well, Eastwood this time is a thief who witnesses the President having an affair… an affair that turned violent.  The woman ends up dead and now there is a cover up.  And Eastwood is framed for the crime.  Can he find justice?  Gene Hackman was great as the president here.

 

 

Image result for in the line of fire#3.  In the Line of Fire.  In the opposite of that last movie, this time Eastwood is a secret service agent, an agent with a past of failure.  And the new threat seems to know all about him.  They tied the past failure of Eastwood’s character Frank to the Kennedy assassination in a clever way, and Eastwood is outstanding in his role.

 

Related image#2. Gran Torino.  I love this film.  Eastwood as the grumpy old man who loves his car is perfect casting.  And the movie is just tremendously exciting and dramatic.  There is also a serious through line dealing with racism and hatred of people because of their race and ethnicity that is an important arc in the film.  Gran Torino was a surprise to me, and I really liked it.

Image result for unforgiven movie#1. Unforgiven.  Easily.  This is Eastwood’s best movie ever.  I loved everything about this movie.  Eastwood’s reluctance to return to the life that he had left behind.  He did not want to take up the gun and the bottle again, but the people around him would not let it go.  Fate was against him.  Gene Hackman was also amazing here as he makes his second appearance in the top 4 Eastwood films.  Unforgiven was also the Top Ten Show’s number one film of Clint Eastwood and it is easy to see  why.  Brutal but beautiful.

 

Not my strongest list.  I would not consider myself an Eastwood fan, but I do love a few of these and I am committed to following the topic of the show.

 

EYG Top Ten Christmas Movies

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Happy Holidays everyone.  We are a week away from Christmas and in honor of that, the Top Ten Show this week focused on Christmas Movies.  It was another entertaining episode with John Rocha and Matt Knost, as their opinions on movies really fluctuated during this topic.

Matt Knost, in particular, had a wildly expansive variety of films.  He included some of the old Rankin-Bass specials such as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  It was his list and I respected that.

As for the EYG list…

Related image#10.  It’s a Wonderful Life.  I am not much of a fan of this film.  I have seen it, but when I saw it as a younger person, I found it boring.  Maybe I should watch it again as an adult.  Still, it is undoubtedly one of the most famous Christmas movies in history.  Remember when those bells are ringing, an angel is getting its wings.

 

Related image#9.  National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  This is another one of the massively popular Christmas films that I think is okay.  I have been a big fan of the Vacation series and the Christmas Vacation is no exception.  There are certainly some funny moments here though and should be recognized as an iconic holiday film.

 

Image result for the ref movie#8.  The Ref.  I hadn’t remembered that this was a Christmas movie until Matt Knost brought it up on this week’s Top Ten Show, and he reminded me that I really enjoyed this film starring Denis Leary.  It was dark, funny and a true breakout role for Leary.

 

Image result for scrooged#7.  Scrooged.  Just watched this in prep for this list, again because both of the Top Ten guys had real positive things to say about this.  I will say that most of the film felt too hectic to me, but I loved the ending of the film. The monologue Bill Murray gives at the final act of the film is just amazing and shows what a strong actor he could be.

 

Related image#6.  The Ice Harvest.  This is a great film that you probably haven’t heard of.  It is a dark comedy with John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton.  There is also some really funny lines from a drunk Oliver Platt.  Cusack and Thornton are trying to get out of town with their stolen money, but they can’t see a way to get out of town because of this ice storm.  Really funny and very dark.

 

Image result for a christmas carol 1951#5.  A Christmas Carol (1951).  This is the version of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol that I grew up watching and I can’t help but think of this version when I picture it.  Alastair Sim was iconic as Scrooge for years.  It may not be my favorite version of this story (more to come later) but I will always see this as the vintage version.

 

Image result for the man who invented christmas#4.  The Man Who Invented Christmas.  This is the most recent film on the list and I really enjoyed this one.  Dan Stevens (from Legion) starred as Charles Dickens and this was a way to show how Dickens created the story of A Christmas Carol.  The film is kind of a fantasy biopic.  We go into the mind of Dickens and see him actually interacting with the characters, implying that this was how the creative process took place for him.  It was a surprise to me how much I loved this one.

Related image#3.  Home Alone.  Macaulay Culkin became a major celebrity because of this home invasion movie based around a young child being left behind by his family over Christmas.  Of course, this house would also be targeted by the Wet Bandits.  But who knew that these two crooks would meet their match in a Looney Tunes like finale where the Wet Bandits basically became Wile E. Coyote.  Plus, there is a nice message about loving your family no matter how obnoxious they could be.

Image result for die hard christmas#2.  Die Hard.  Okay, Die Hard is one of my favorite movies of all time, but I could not put it on top of this list because there is some reasonable arguments against it being a Christmas movie.  I have it as a Christmas movie, but I can understand why some one may say that it is not.  It does take place on Christmas Eve at a Christmas office party at Nakatomi Plaza and there are Santa hats and Bruce Willis writing on a dead guys short “Now I have a Machine Gun, Ho Ho Ho.”  This might be a near perfect action movie.

Related image#1.  Muppet Christmas Carol.  I watch this every year.  I love this movie.  I cry every time Tiny Tim, played by Robin, has died and you hear the pain in the voices of Miss Piggy and Kermit, as the Cratchits.  It is extremely funny, with Gonzo playing the omniscient author Charles Dickens.  It has one of the great Scrooge performances, this time by Michael Caine.  I loved the songs.  Fuzziwig.  The Marley Brothers (two, not one) as Statler and Waldorf.  The Muppet versions of the Christmas Ghosts are excellent- especially the Ghost of Christmas Present which is how I picture that character from now on.  The Muppet Christmas Carol is one of the greatest Muppet films ever made and is my favorite Christmas movie ever.

 

Honorable MentionsThe Santa Clause, Krampus, A Nightmare Before Christmas, Arthur Christmas, Trading Places, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, A Christmas Story

EYG Top Ten Star Wars Secondary Characters

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens this week (very excited) and so the Top Ten Show, starring John Rocha and Matt Knost, decided to do the Top Ten List of Secondary Star Wars characters on their weekly podcast.  “The Pit Boss” Ken Napzok, the Schmoedown Star Wars Trivia Champion, joined the duo for this list to show his remarkable knowledge of the Star Wars universe.

I listened to the podcast and enjoyed it as I do every week.  As I have been doing, I will be adding the EYG choices for Top Ten Star Wars Secondary Characters.

Related image#10.  Chirrut Imwe.  From Rogue One, Donnie Yen created a wonderful new character who was not a Jedi, but who believed in the Force and that the Force would protect all.  Chirrut was blind and extremely spiritual. He brought several funny moments to a film that could have been truly dark.

 

Image result for MOn Mothma#9.  Mon Mothma.  Another character who made an appearance in Rogue One, returning from The Return of the Jedi, where she uttered the huge fan favorite line of dialogue, “Many Bothans died to bring us this information,

 

 

Related image#8.  Admiral Akbar.  IT’S A TRAP!  One of the most iconic lines delivered in Star Wars by any character, despite the fact that this could have been a throw away side character.  Akbar will always be remembered for that line, but he is actually quite an important character.  He was also Ken Napzok’s number one character on his list, which immediately provided Akbar with credibility.

Image result for lando calrissian#7.  Lando Calrissian.  Billy Dee Williams arrived in Empire Strikes Back at Cloud City on Bespin and created a character that will always be memorable.  The oozy charm of Lando fit beautifully with Han Solo.  The idea that Lando was in the origin story of the Millennium Falcon as the person who lost the Falcon in a poker game, something that we might get a chance to see in Ron Howard’s upcoming Solo standalone movie.

Image result for saw gerrera#6.  Saw Gerrera.  Another character from Rogue One.  Saw was a rebel fighter during the Clone Wars.  I would have loved more with Saw in Rogue One.  Part of the real epic nature of this character was the portrayal of Saw Gerrera by Forest Whitaker.  The way Saw was more mechanical than human any more really spoke to the difficulty of this character’s life.  We may yet see more of this character in the history of Star Wars.

 

Image result for maz kanata#5.  Maz Kanata.  Lupita Nyong’o played a great character in The Force Awakens.  She has a world of experience that we have yet to see.  She had Luke’s lightsaber and was able to provide Finn and Rey a place to pause on their trip.  She was someone whom Han Solo knew.  There is background to her that we may see yet.  Maz is a great looking character and is a great addition to the Star Wars world.

 

Image result for boba fett#4.  Boba Fett.  I actually was not as much of a fan of Boba Fett as many people are, but you cannot argue that this bounty hunter had an impact on geek culture.  For someone who did not have very many lines and died in a horrific way, Boba Fett was very popular.  The outfit is iconic.

 

Related image#3.  K-2SO.  One of my favorite droids ever.  This droid, voiced by Alan Tudyk, stole every scene he was in in Rogue One and his death was one of the most emotional of any of these ill-fated characters.  K-2SO was snarly and snippy and funny as can be.  He was the most original droid we have seen in Star Wars and I loved him.

Related image#2.  Darth Maul.  I would not have included him at first, but the Top Ten guys had Darth Maul on their list, so I included him.  I loved Darth Maul and I think he was the biggest waste of the prequels.  This guy could have been the ultimate villain until Vader arrived.  Ray Park was the actor, but he did not have to give a great performance.  Darth Maul had a great look and a great fight scene with Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon.  I almost made Darth Maul number one, but I acquiesced to put the one and only number one…

Image result for jabba the hutt#1. Jabba the Hutt.  I loved Jabba the Hutt.  He was such a great villain in one of my absolute favorite action set pieces from Return of the Jedi.  Jabba is slimy, lowlife gangster that is clearly wicked.  He kept the carbonized Han Solo as his prized possession.  He forced Leia into a metal bikini and put her on a chain.  He spoke a weird language.  He was fat and slovenly and just so awesome.  I would love a Star Wars crime story telling about the world that Jabba the Hut was involved in.  And he has an iconic laugh…

 

So there we have it.  Jabba is number one, which is also what the Top Ten guys decided.

Honorable mention:  Captain Phasma, Mac Windu, Nien Nub, General Grievous, Salacious B. Crumb, Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes, Greedo, Wedge Antilles, Admiral Statura.

 

Excited for Last Jedi!

EYG Top Ten Sports Biopics

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Welcome back to the EYG version of the Top Ten Show.  This week’s topic is Sports Biopics.  Again, thanks to John Rocha and Matt Knost for their entertaining weekly podcast that provides us with the topic for the week.  Here is a link to their show.

So at first, I wasn’t sure I could find enough to make out this list, but then I did a little digging and discovered that there were more than I thought and that several of my favorite sports movies were actually true stories.

There are several on my list this week that might be closer to biopics on the whole teams, and, while the Top Ten guys eliminated those from their lists, I am keeping them on mine.

One big problem with my list in this topic is… technically I have never seen Raging Bull.  I know…I know… but I haven’t seen it.  So I am leaving it off the list with the full knowledge that it should probably be there.

Anyway… here we go.

Image result for the rookie#10.  The Rookie.  This is the story of a left handed reliever named Jim Morris, a high school coach who was, at one point, a former pitcher in the minors.  He had tore up his shoulder and had to retire.  Years later, Morris was coaching and his team seemed to believe that his fastball might still be there.  And this was his comeback as a 40 year old rookie.

 

Image result for beyond the mat#9.  Beyond the Mat.  Matt Knost included this one on his list and I thought it was a great choice.  It really showed the dark side of the world of professional wrestling.  Now, I do believe that it specifically went out of its way to look for the darkness and to target those at their lowest, but you cannot deny the drama of seeing Jake Roberts with his daughter or Mick Foley getting through the next match with so much pain.  I considered other WWE documentaries for this list, but in the end, I stuck with this one only.

 

Image result for the blind side#8.  The Blind Side.  Featuring the story of NFL player Michael Oher, who came from an impoverished background, in a home where his mother could not provide the kind of stable life needed, Michael wound up in the home of the Tuohy family.  They wound up adopting him and he found his way upon the grid iron.  Sandra Bullock won an Academy Award for her role in the film.

 

Image result for the fighter#7.  The Fighter.  David O. Russell’s film focusing on boxer Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg, and his older half-brother, Dicky Eklund, played by Christian Bale.  Though much of the narrative of the film centers on Dicky, this is still the story of Micky Ward.  Wahlberg and Ward were apparently friends and that helped inspire Wahlberg to take the role.  I remember feeling so bad for Micky because of his brother that I was pulled in to the tale.

 

Image result for moneyball#6.  Moneyball.  Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane was at the head of a new push in Major League Baseball that would focus on numbers/stats that would become known as Sabermetrics.  Beane knew that as the GM of Oakland, he would never be able to compete with the big money teams like Yankees or Red Sox so he started to look at the numbers.  When a player became too expensive, replace him with less flashy players who you could combine to replace the missing stats.  This led to quite a revolution, whether good or bad, in MLB.  Brad Pitt was excellent as Beane.

 

Related image#5.  Rush.  I had no intentions or expectations of liking this movie.  I have never been a fan of auto racing and the trailers seemed to be heavy on areas that I did not like.  However, director Ron Howard brought the goods in this film detailing the story of Niki Lauda and James Hunt and the rivalry between the two of them during the Formula One seasons in the 1970s.  Daniel Bruhl and Chris Hemsworth really were fantastic in these roles and I loved Rush way more than I had any right to.

 

Image result for 42 jackie#4.  42.  I am a huge Dodger fan and the story of Jackie Robinson, MLB’s first black player, is a can’t miss.  I found this extremely entertaining, with great performances by Chadwick Boseman as Jackie and Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey.  There are some unbelievable scenes shown here describing the terrible things Jackie had to go through just to play the game.  It makes one wonder how people can be so cruel to one another.

 

Related image#3. Foxcatcher.  This is the tragic story of Mark and David Schulz and their relationship with wrestling enthusiast John E. du Pont.  A relationship that saw the creation of the Foxcatcher wrestling training camp but led to the shooting of Dave by du Pont.  Steve Carell showed off his dramatic acting chops with a role that few had expected from him as du Pont.

 

Image result for miracle movie olympics#2.  Miracle.  “Do you believe in miracles?” shouted Al Michaels as the US hockey team defeated the USSR Hockey team in one of the biggest upsets in sports history.  Miracle tells the story of this team and the coach Herb Brooks.  The film does a great job of capturing what was perhaps the USA’s greatest Olympic moment ever.

 

Image result for remember the titans#1.  Remember the Titans.  Another film that really focuses more on a team than an individual, but Remember the Titans is my favorite football movie and when I realized that this is a true story, I had to put it on this list.  Denzel Washington is amazing as Coach Herman Boone, an African-Amercian man who faced not only challenges on the football field, but huge divides within his own locker room of a racial nature.  This is an amazing story showing how people can overcome race and become more than just an individual.  “We are the Titans.  Mighty, mighty Titans.”

 

So there is my list/  I do not have much of a list of honorable mentions for this topic.  As I said, I considered some of the excellent WWE videos that they created on their stars such as Jake Roberts, Dusty Rhodes, The Road Warriors, Bret Hart, but I decided to leave those off the list.

Other possible honorable mentions:  Coach Carter, Concussion, Unbroken, Race.

What I realize really is that I have not seen enough of this genre because a bunch of these are missing from my viewing.  Maybe I have to watch a few more of them.

EYG Top Ten Pixar Movies

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Welcome to the weekly Top Ten list.  Last week, John Campea did a top ten Pixar movies list  but I decided not to do one as well since I have been following the topics of the Top Ten Show- John Rocha and Matt Knost.  So instead, I wound up doing a movie review of Ratatouille, which I had never seen before and Campea had at #3.

I said I would do the Pixar list when the Top Ten Show did theirs.

Lo and behold, the next week… here it is.

Image result for finding dory#10.  Finding Dory.  The sequel to Finding Nemo, featuring the side character of Dory sounded like a risky chance.  Many times, when side characters get their own movies, you find out why they are meant to be side characters (psst.  Minions).  However, Dory did fall into that trap as the character, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, was charming and funny.  It was a huge financial success and beloved by the audience.  I will admit that this was my last minute addition, knocking a different film off the list.  This was a very good film and avoided any of the major problems some people thought was possible.

Image result for up pixar#9.  Up.  I considered leaving this one off the list too, but in the end, the first ten minutes or so of this movie won out and it made the list.  The first ten minutes of Up is just about the most emotional and gut punch of a film as you have ever seen.  The remainder of the film is average unfortunately.  Had the rest of the film matched the first part of the film, this could have been the best film of the studio.  However, it is not.  It is still somewhat decent and so…number 9.

Related image#8.  Toy Story 2.  The first of the Toy Story trilogy to appear on this list, Toy Story 2 was a solid sequel of the toys coming to life film.  The film continued to focus on Woody as he finds his way to the other toys in his series, only to find out that he was a valuable collectable from a TV series called “Woody’s Roundup.”  This was a creative way to continue the series and it also introduced us to the characters of Jessie the yodeling cowgirl and Stinky Pete (played by Joan Cusack and Kelsey Grammar, respectfully. 

Image result for ratatouille pixar#7.  Ratatouille.  The film that I just watched last week because I did not want to do a top ten list yet makes the list at #7.  I enjoyed this film very much and I am glad that I finally got the chance to watch it.  There were some things that I didn’t love (such as the constant yelling by Linguini), but I enjoyed the voice performance by Patton Oswalt and the use of the restaurant critic at the end of the film really brought the the heart it needed.  I never thought a cooking rat would be so much fun.

Image result for finding nemo#6.  Finding Nemo.  When a little fish gets lost in the great ocean, his father takes off to try and find his son.  The film has amazing characters, a dramatic story leading the characters through dangers (such as sharks) and so much emotion and charm that you can barely stand it.  The story of family is so important throughout Finding Nemo and you cannot help but cheer for these fish.

 

Related image#5.  Toy Story. The original of the trilogy has so much heart and set up one of the greatest friendships in movie history.  Woody and Buzz meet each other and they become such close friends once Woody gets past his jealousy over the new and cooler Buzz’s arrival.  The idea of the original is so creative and original and bring together the amazing Tom Hanks and Tim Allen in voice work.  Toy Story really helped put Pixar on the map and helped lead the way to two fantastic sequels (and apparently another one on its way).

Related image#4.  Coco.  John Rocha did not put Coco on his list because he did not want to spoil it as they were going to talk about it.  However, I have seen tweets from him indicating that he might put it at the top of a Pixar movie list.  There is no doubt that Coco is tremendous.  It is one of the most emotional journeys that you will ever take.  The ending of this movie, while somewhat predictable, will not fail to tear you up, in a good way.  Coco is a beautiful story of family and music.

Image result for the incredibles syndrome#3.  The Incredibles.  This is an amazing movie and perhaps the best version of the Fantastic Four ever seen.  Yes, I know the FF is not actually in this, but the family super hero team is represented her brilliantly.  The Incredibles have one of the greatest villains in any super hero film.  Syndrome is so relatable and understandable for his motives and he is truly scary with how he went from fan boy to villain.  Plus the line “Every one can be super.  And when every one’s super, no one will be.” is one of the best villainous lines ever.  Thankfully, they are finally getting around to making the long-overdue Incredibles 2.

Image result for bing bong inside out#2.  Inside Out.  I so loved this movie.  The genius of the set up is so amazing.  The emotions are inside your head and they are helping you live your life.  There was so much creativity in this movie that I can’t even imagine how someone sat down and created it all.  The functions that occurred in the brain is so clever that I could see ten more of these.  However, there is no doubt that Bing Bong is the moment that reached into your heart and ripped it out.  I bawled my eyes out every time I saw the film.  And it was over an imaginary friend.  Inside Out is brilliant.

Image result for toy story 3#1.  Toy Story 3.  Toy Story 3 is one of my favorite movies,not just Pixar movies, but movies of all time.  Toy Story 3 is just tense from beginning to end.  I believe that Lotso is one of the greatest villains of film history.  I love him so much and I understand the motivation of the character more than just about any villain.  Lotso is so great, but there is more here than just Lotso.  Our favorite toys find themselves in all kinds of horrible situations. In fact, there was one scene in particular where, when I watched it for the first time, I actually thought that Buzz, Woody and the gang were really going to die.  There are some truly dark moments that had so scare some of the kids watching.  Then, the ending when Andy gives his toys away before leaving for college crushes you emotionally.  Toy Story 3 may be as close to perfect as you will get.

Honorable mentions:  A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc. and Good Dinosaur (a film that some people hated but I think gets a bad rap).

 

 

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EYG Top Ten Historical Figures in Film

top10

“In a world crying out for a Top Ten show…”

I have been loving the Top Ten Show with John Rocha and Matt Knost on the Schmoes Know Network, and I have been trying to follow along each week and make my own list here at EYG.  It has been great fun, and you can listen to the show here.

I made a copy of the title page from YouTube of the Top Ten Show and added EYG to it so there could be a title heading to this weekly column.  I wish I knew who had created the artwork for the Top Ten Show so I could give that person credit for that person’s remarkable creative vision.  I love it so here it is, with the EYG logo added.

This week’s episode included special guest Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing and the three of them went through the list of Top Ten Historical Figures in Film.

I will be honest… I cheated several times on the list.  Rocha, Knost and Cushing thought the list needed to disqualify those movies of “cultural” figures but I am including those, at least a couple of them.  I am missing a chunk of this knowledge as this would not be my best category, so I am including what I want.  One of the rules I did “basically” adhere to was the person in the film should have been known to me prior to the film.  I follow that rule (for the most part).

Image result for gandhi movie#10.  Gandhi.  This one was one that I almost dropped off the list, but it felt like a movie that really fit this category and so I decided to add it.  I have only seen this one time in high school history class (thanks Mr. Hillebrand).  Ben Kinsley was magnificent in the role of the Indian leader.  The film was an Oscar winner and it deserves the praise.

Related image#9.  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  Paul Newman and Robert Redford in the titular roles of the outlaws like no others.  Written by William Goldman (who also wrote my all time favorite movie, The Princess Bride), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid became a cultural iconic film that inspired many future films.  Add to that a great use of “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” and you have got something.

Image result for jim carrey man on the moon#8.  Man on the Moon.  The first of my “cheats” but this one was mentioned in the honorable mention by Matt Knost, and I really liked this film, so I am giving it a slot.  Jim Carrey, who starred as comedian Andy Kaufman, literally became Any Kaufman and drove people crazy.  His commitment to the role was phenomenal, if not insane.  I loved the story of Kaufman and how the film included the world of professional wrestling that Kaufman entered looking for that perfect way to interact with people.  Kaufman, many times, seemed like a comedian who was only trying to do things that HE found funny, and this movie shows that beautifully.

Image result for frost nixon#7.  Frost/Nixon.  This was a tremendous film that showed the relationship between these two men in a dramatic and stunning manner.  Watergate was over and Richard Nixon continues to compulsively require a chance to explain himself.  The film does a great job of looking at the neuroses that drove the former president and what led him to this  interview with David Frost.  The film also examined Frost and how he was believed to be below Nixon in intelligence, only to expertly lead the president into, basically, a confession.  Frank Langella and Martin Sheen give wonderful performances throughout the film.  It is compelling and dramatic and it is the first time that Nixon appears on the list (though not the last time- you may be surprised on the next one).

Image result for bonnie and clyde movie#6.  Bonnie and Clyde.  Another example of  outlaw movies, Bonnie and Clyde focuses on the infamous pair of bank robbers who wound up in a bloody pile on the road.  Such a tragic ending that, in the film, really comes out of nowhere and ends the film suddenly.  I had not expected such a brisk end to the film and in such a violent manner.  I knew that they were killed in a riddle of bullets, but to see it happen in an instant really drove home the way these two lived their lives.  Great performances too from Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway and Gene Hackman as well.

Image result for lincoln spielberg#5.  Lincoln.  I am with John Rocha on this one.  I probably wouldn’t have put this one on a list of my personal favorites if the performance of Daniel Day-Lewis had not been so eerily perfect.  It really was as if Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, stepped out of our collective consciousness and onto the screen to be directed by  Steven Spielberg.  Daniel Day-Lewis really cemented himself as an acting auteur.  While the film was entertaining, there is simply no denying how much the performance of Day-Lewis dominated everything about it.

Related image#4.  42.  My next “cheat” although I think one could argue that Jackie Robinson could be (or should be) considered a historical figure for what he did for baseball and for the African-American world.  I really enjoyed this movie as a baseball fan and as a Dodger fan.  The amount of brutality and cruelty that Jackie Robinson faced was off the charts and those ball players who refused to accept the man really displayed the ugliest aspect of ourselves.  It was great watching Jackie win them over with his play and his attitude.  Chadwick Boseman is great as Jackie and Harrison Ford is transcendent as Branch Rickey.  I loved this movie.

Image result for braveheart#3.  Braveheart.  This was another one that I thought might be a cheat, and then Matt Knost made it (spoiler) his number one film on his list, so I immediately added it back on mine.  Sure, Mel Gibson is a piece of work (another one of those is coming up at #2) but that does not take away from this triumph of a film.  Sure, it absolutely took historical liberties with the character of William Wallace, but an argument could be made that all of the films on this list may have done the same.  The fight scenes are still unbelievably epic and several of the monologues are iconic. Braveheart is the best Mel Gibson has ever been and certainly was the peak of his career.

Image result for elvis and nixon movie#2.  Elvis & Nixon.  I, like most, am saddened by the news about Kevin Spacey.  I liked to think that the actors I watch on the screen aren’t pieces of scum, but apparently, they are just as likely to be horrible people as any other occupation.  Who’d have guessed.  So, when compiling this list, I thought about this film.  It tells the story of a time when Elvis Presley arrived at the White House to have a meeting with President Nixon.  There is photographic proof that the meeting took place, although much of what was discussed is speculation.  This is a funny and real presentation and I really loved the movie.  Neither Spacey nor Michael Shannon tried to imitate their famous character.  Instead, they took what made them larger than life and added that to their performance.  Shannon, in particular, was perfect.  And the film was deeper than it had any right to be. This was a wonderful hidden gem that I hope people don’t lose track of because Kevin Spacey is a horrible man.

Image result for apollo 13 movie#1.  Apollo 13.  Another Ron Howard film to appear on the list is the final “cheat” of the group.  The historical figure was the crew of the ill-fated Apollo 13 vessel on the way to the moon only to have technical problems, stranding them in space.  Apollo 13 was an amazing film that brought us into that capsule with Jim Lovell, so wonderfully played by Tom Hanks, and the rest of the crew.  A brilliant cast gave great performances across the board bringing this compelling and fascinating story to life.  Some claimed that this was the greatest moment in NASA history as they are able to save the crew through intelligence and ingenuity.  This film is consistently rewatchable and remarkably entertaining and deserves a spot at the top of this list whether it be a cheat or not.

Honorable mention:  The People vs. Larry Flynt, The Social Network, Theory of Everything, My Week with Marilyn, Selma, Ed Wood.

EYG Top Ten DC Movies

This week’s Top Ten Show, in honor of this weekend’s release of Justice League, put together the Top Ten list of best DC movies.  John Rocha and Matt Knost also welcomed Jason Inman to the show.

Now, on my list, I stuck with the rules the Top Ten Show uses– only those films that have a theatrical release will be counted.  That means some of my favorite DC Comics animated films will not be on this list.  Films such as Batman Beyond: The Return of the Joker, Batman: Sub Zero,  Flashpoint: Paradox, Batman: Under the Red Hood, Batman: Assault on Arkham will not be included even though they are great.

Now, there will also be a lot of Batman on this list.  I would like to have spread it out more, but there just have not been enough good DC films yet.  I hope that they are now on the right track and this list could be very different in a few years.

Image result for batman 1966 movie#10.  Batman (1966).  This is my guilty pleasure that I decided would make this list.  As a kid, Adam West was my Batman and I loved this movie.  When I saw it as a child, I was enthralled with the heroics of the show and as I got older I loved the ridiculousness of the camp.  The Bat Shark repellent is just unbelievably funny.  And I still might find myself using the line, “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb.”  Sure this is not the serious, Dark Knight Batman that has been so popular, but Adam West was special and I loved this film.

Related image#9.  Batman (1989).  This one does not hold up as well, but I found myself placing it above the others from the honorable mention category and I couldn’t put those others ahead of it.  Jack Nicholson was a fantastic Joker, and, honestly, this helped kick the super hero movie genre into high gear.  And yes, this series of movies also nearly killed it with Batman and Robin.  People believed that Michael Keaton was a terrible choice as Batman, and he just became, arguably, the best ever.

Image result for batman begins#8.  Batman Begins.  The first of the Christopher Nolan trilogy is one of the great movie origin story around.  The film took Bruce Wayne and showed the process of him becoming Batman in his training in the Himalayas .  He does it with a great new Batman in Christian Bale and the villainous Ra’s Al Ghoul.  Batman Begin beautifully sets up the fantastic sequel that will follow it.  Batman Begins helped save the character of Batman from the horrific Batman and Robin (the second time I mentioned that terrible film).

Image result for watchman#7.  Watchmen.  Our first non-Batman movie.  I actually enjoyed this more than some people.  Watchmen the mini series is one of the greatest comic series ever (and is in the EYG Hall of Fame) and the film does an admirable job of adapting it.  Rorschach is done as well as it could possibly have been.  Rorschach is like the Wolverine of the film and his fate is amazingly tragic.  Dr. Manhattan is perfectly used in this movie.  The Comedian is portrayed brilliantly by Jeffrey Dean Morgan.  Watchmen might be a bit overlong, but it is a great adaptation.

Related image#6.  Batman:  Mask of the Phantasm.  This is one of the animated films that had been released theatrically, and it is nice to have one of the animated films on the list.  This is connected to the Batman: The Animated Series universe and that is one of the greatest animated series ever.  This is one of the best Batman movies around.  The movie features an original villain in the Phantasm that was created for this, and he fit in with the Batman rogue gallery.  We get the classic voice acting by Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as the Joker.

Image result for v for vendetta#5.  V for Vendetta.  To this day, I love to quote “Remember, Remember, the fifth of November” line from this film as our hero, V, wears the iconic Guy Fawkes mask.  And V for Vendetta is a great movie that rages against the corruption of government in ways that we had never seen before.  V’s promo with all the words starting with v is another one of my favorite moments in the film.  Even though Alan Moore, the writer of the original graphic novel, hated the adaption, I loved it.

Image result for lego batman#4.  The Lego Batman Movie.  This felt like it was not going to work because there was just not enough here to make a full movie.  And yet, Lego Batman worked brilliantly and could be considered one of the best Batman movies ever made.  Will Arnett is a surprisingly solid Batman and the film does a real strange thing and made the film feature Robin.  From earlier this year, Lego Batman is one of the best super hero films of the year.  It is hilarious.  It worked as well as you could imagine.

Image result for wonder woman gal gadot#3.  Wonder Woman.  After Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad, the DC Universe had its troubles and there were people really worried.  Then, here came Wonder Woman, and the film was tremendous.  Gal Gadot, who was questioned whether she was capable of playing the role, just dominated the role.  She was an inspiration to people everywhere, but really spoke to women.   The sequence of the film at the No Man’s Land in World War I was one of the best scenes in any movie this year.  I was not a huge fan of the CGI ending sequence, but it did not deter from this wonderful movie.  Wonder Woman is an important movie and a true success in the DCEU.

Image result for superman the movie#2.  Superman: The Movie.  You’ll believe a man can fly.  One of the great super hero movies of all time, Superman starred the great EYG Hall of Famer Christopher Reeve as the perfect rendition of Kal-El, the last son of Krypton.  There is a fun relationship between Superman and Lois Lane (played by Margot Kidder) and they had one of the great scenes with Superman catching Lois, saying, “I’ve got you, ma’am.” And Lois Lane says, “You’ve got me?  Who’s got you?”  Sure the reversal of the earth to save Lois’s life is a bit cheesy and not the best use of superpowers, but this film survives the bit.  Superman: The Movie is a magnificent movie.

Related image#1.  The Dark Knight.  The best DC movie of all time is the second film of the Nolan trilogy for several reasons.  First, we see great action with Batman.  Second, the film is really a crime drama with batman involved.  Thirdly, the film took some real chances, including a recast.  Oh… and there is the Joker played by Heath Ledger, who posthumously was awarded an Oscar for this performance.  Some might claim that this is more of the Joker’s movie than Batman’s and that might be a truth, but I don’t see that as a negative.  We have seen Batman many times.  This was a new take on the genre.  And The Dark Knight is arguably perhaps the greatest comic book movie ever.  Do you want to see a magic trick?

Honorable mentions:  Losers, Red, Batman: The Return of the Caped Crusaders, Superman 2.

EYG Top Ten Ensemble Movies

This week’s Top Ten Show with John Rocha and Matt Knost was another good listen.  This week’s topic was Top Ten Ensemble movies.  This was a giant topic and I have some interesting choices that did not make either John or Matt’s lists.  That, of course, is okay.

There are so many possible films here.  I wound up having some films on the list that I feel should be on the list, against some of my own personal favorites.  I went back and forth with which ones I should include.  I finally made some decisions.

Image result for the breakfast club#10.  The Breakfast Club.  The film that was like the representation of the Brat Pack in Hollywood, The Breakfast Club showed what happened when kids of all ages are forced to have detention on a Saturday morning.  The film depended on the charisma of the actors in detention and these characters were brilliantly portrayed.  They felt like real kids and they faced real problems.  Some of the best work that all of these actors ever had.

Image result for galaxy quest#9.  Galaxy Quest.  By Grabthar’s Hammer, this parody of Star Trek became so much more.  The film itself had so much heart and humor that it became a classic all its own.  Featuring Tim Allan paying a fantastic homage to William Shatner and the ever amazing Alan Rickman stealing every scene he was in as Dr. Lazarus aka Alexander Dane.  There was serious emotion in the film, unexpectedly.  It was so much fun.

Related image#8.  Stand By Me.  The story of four boys heading off to find the body of a dead kid is a tad dark.  You would expect that from a Stephen King short story, but Stand By Me is as wonderfully emotional and dramatic a movie than you will ever see.  The young cast truly brought the goods and they were able to create characters that you will never forget.

 

Image result for a league of their own#7.  A League of Their Own.  I love this movie.  The cast is one of the best parts of this.  Not only do you get Tom Hanks and Geena Davis, but there is Rosie O’Donnell, Madonna, Lori Petty, Jon Lovitz, Bitty Schram, Bill Pullman, Anne Ramsey.   The story is one of the best of the baseball movies.  It also has some of the best quotes of all time.  Sure, everyone loves “There’s no crying in baseball”, but my personal favorite is “It’s supposed to be hard.  If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.  The hard is what makes it great.”

Image result for pulp fiction#6.  Pulp Fiction.  The fantastic film from Quentin Tarantino that was told out of order, which revitalized John Travolta’s career, which made a big deal of Royale with cheese, and where you found out the answer to “what happened to Zed?”  I was completely floored by Pulp Fiction and I did not expect to love the film as much as I did.  I was a huge Bruce Willis fan at the time, but honestly, the whole Bruce Willis segment made me uneasy.  The easy chemistry between Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson is what made this a classic.

Related image#5.  Lord of the Rings: Two Towers.  This is actually my favorite of the three movies.  I know the Return of the King gets all the accolades, but tome, there was just something perfect about the Two Towers.  I was completely enthralled the entire time I watched this film.  Every time they switched scenes and went to a different group, it felt like the exact right time.  Each switch made me more excited to see what was going to happen next.  And, of course, Treebeard!  The Battle of the Hornburg at Helm’s Deep was one of the most expansive and magnificent battles ever put on film and I loved every second of it.  The film flew by and it only made me more excited for the end of the trilogy.

Related image#4.  This is Spinal Tap.  This one is turned up to eleven.  This is Spinal Tap, the brilliant mockumentary by Rob Reiner featuring the out of touch heavy metal band Spinal Tap that became a real heavy metal band, putting out a couple of albums and going on tour.  Life imitating art?  With a great cast that included Christopher Guest, Michael McKeon, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Billy Crystal, a bunch of drummers and Tony Hendra.  This film became a cult classic and it is one of the funniest films Rob Reiner ever did.

Related image#3.  The Godfather.  I thought about putting it at number one, but honestly, I really think this is a great movie, but it is not one of my all-time favorites.  It is here on the list out of respect for the film and because it is one of the great ensemble films ever made.  I actually only saw it for the first time earlier this year at a Fathom event and I enjoyed it very much.  I know it is one of the greatest movies ever made, and that is really why it is on this list.  Great performances and an extremely influential film in Hollywood, the Godfather in the top five was an offer I just couldn’t refuse.

Image result for the avengers#2.  The Avengers.  I thought about leaving this off the list, but honestly, it fit the category extremely well, so I had to include it.  I mean, this is Embrace Your Geekness.  Joss Whedon brilliantly gave his entire cast moments to shine, while never ignoring anyone (maybe Hawkeye).  The Avengers had magic about it.  Never before had we seen all of these characters of their own movies franchise come together to assemble.  The Avengers solidified the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Some people never believed that The Avengers would work and it worked better than any film before it and it paved its way to a ton of movies in the MCU.

Image result for princess bride ensemble#1.  The Princess Bride.  This was another movie that I was not sure I should include on this list, but, it is my favorite movie of all time and it is an ensemble so I acquiesced.  I cannot say enough great things about The Princess Bride.  It is the most quotable movie.  It has amazing heart and emotion.  There is true love.  Miracles! What else could you want.  The film rests on the great chemistry between its cast, on both the heroes and villains side.  It introduced the movie going public to Robin Wright.  We had Andre the Giant.  Cary Elwes.  Mandy Patinkin.  The amazing Wallace Shawn.  Billy Crystal.  Carol Kane.  Fred Savage.  Peter Falk.  Chris Sarandon.  Christopher Guest.  I almost left this off the list, but that would truly be inconceivable.

Honorable mention:  Moonrise Kingdom, Airplane!, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Sin City, Super 8, Parenthood (1989), Boogie Nights.

Top Ten Marvel Movies

This week’s Top Ten Show is epic as John Rocha and Matt Knost welcomed comic book writer and recent Eisner Award winner Marc Andreyko to the show and they discussed their top ten Marvel Comics movies. This is not just the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but any character from Marvel Comics.

So here is my own list.

Image result for x-men 2#10.  X-Men 2.  This was just such a good X-Men movie.  Not only do they bring Nightcrawler in and place him in a brilliant opening scene in the White House, but we get a bit of an adaptation to one of the greatest X-men stories ever, God Loves Man Kills.  This is such a solid movie that also gives us the most brutal version of Wolverine we ever see in a movie that is not rated R.  And it ends with the Phoenix.

Image result for spiderman 1 upside down kiss#9.  Spider-man.  I was never as scared of a movie as I was with Spider-man.  I don’t think I could have handled it if this movie was not good.  Those fears were gone as I saw Uncle Ben die in Peter’s arms.  Sure, it may feel that this movie does not hold up as well, but I don’t care.  The battle with the Goblin was tremendous at the end and gave me goose bumps.  Spider-man is my absolutely favorite character in any format and this movie did him well.

Image result for deadpool movie#8.  Deadpool. This never should have worked.  The character of Deadpool should have been completely and forever ruined in movies by X-Men: Origins.  But star Ryan Reynolds would not accept that and he went above and beyond to convince FOX to let them make this movie the way it should have been made.  And it was tremendous.  Funny.  Exciting.  Original.  Rated R for language and violence.  Fourth wall breaking.  Deadpool had one of the greatest love stories in any comic book movie ever.  Deadpool had perhaps the greatest marketing campaign ever.  Everything came together as a perfect storm and Deadpool became one of the top super hero movies ever.

Related image#7.  Spider-man 2.  The follow up to the Sam Raimi Spider-man became one of my favorite movies in a long time.  Until the recent golden age of super hero movies, this was my favorite super hero movie for quite a while.  Doc Ock was a great villain.  The movie adapted the “Spidey No More” storyline in an original manner.  And it has one of the best sequences of any of these movies with the train scene.  This is still one of the best action sequences in any movie, not just comic book movies.  I love this movie.

Related image#6.  Spider-man: Homecoming.  This is the third Spider-man movie on the list and I think it has surpassed Spider-man 2 for me.  Tom Holland is the greatest Spider-man we have gotten because he is so fresh, so young, such a different take on the character… high school!  Add to the film the great Michael Keaton as the Vulture and what more can you want.  Robert Downey Jr. is here too, playing Tony Stark in just the right amount.  This feels like Spider-man, the Spider-man I grew up loving.  And he is now in the MCU.  Homecoming is fantastic.

Related image#5.  Captain America: Winter Soldier.  This movie took the MCU in a different direction and made Captain America as one of the major players in the world.  Chris Evans was good as Cap in First Avenger and The Avengers, but Winter Soldier was the real first time that Evans felt as if he were Steve Rogers.  There was so much awesome about Captain America: Winter Soldier.  I will never forget how the audience gasped when the Winter Soldier revealed himself to be Bucky.  I thought everybody knew that, but that, I guess, is the comic book geek in me.  Then there was Robert Redford. We live in a world where Robert Redford played a villain in a comic book movie.  This is awesome.

Image result for gotg 1#4. Guardians of the Galaxy.  How does a movie with a talking raccoon and a walking tree that can only say the words “I am Groot” and a crew of characters that even some comic book fans did not know be anything but a failure?  This was the biggest risk Marvel Studios took, and it paid off big time.  On the Top Ten Show, Marc Andreyko said this was the best Star Wars sequel there ever was, and that is such a wonderful compliment. Guardians of the Galaxy was full of emotion and characters and fun and it turned into one of the great surprises of the genre.

Related image#3.  Avengers.  How do you catch this type of magic?  You have set this film up with years of films- two Iron Man movies, Cap: First Avenger, Incredible Hulk, Thor… all building to feature these iconic characters to the screen together for the first time.  And magic it was.  Facing Loki and the alien invasion of New York, there was action, amazing humor and great characters.  Moments like Hulk ragdolling Loki, Hulk sucker punching Thor, Loki killing Agent Coulson, Cap using his skills to impress a cop into following his orders, Thor vs. Iron Man, Iron Man and Cap bickering, Schwarma… it was just perfect.

Related image#2.  Logan.  This year’s best comic book movie (so far) is so emotional and powerful that it is truly more of a western than it is a super hero movie.  Logan is older, struggling to get by, when his world is turned upside down by a young girl named Laura.  Patrick Stewart reprised his role as Charles Xavier, but in a way that we have never seen before.  If Patrick Stewart does not get nominated for an Oscar, it is a total crime.  There are scenes in this movie that I had tears flowing every time that I saw the film.  This is the best use of Wolverine in any X-Men movie and it sends Hugh Jackman out on the highest of high notes.  Logan is a masterpiece.

Related image#1.  Captain America: Civil War.  This is my favorite comic book movie.  I love the use of the friendship/rivalry between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark and the inclusion of Bucky Barnes brought the stakes that you rarely see in a Marvel movie.  The airport scene is perfection in action fights.  It introduces Black Panther and Spider-man into the MCU.  Some people do not like the use of Helmut Zemo in this film, but I disagree.  I actually think he is one of the best Marvel villains in a long time.  The Russo Brothers did something here that was unbelievably difficult.  And they did it and because of their success here, they get to do Avengers: Infinity War.  Will that one top this list by the end of 2018?

There you go.  Honorable mentions go to X-Men: Days of Future Past, Iron Man, Captain America: First Avenger, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Doctor Strange and Ant Man.