The Movie Q

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Welcome to Earph!!  A place where Fresh Princes, fly-human hybrids, and crazed Griswold cousins can come together, deliver one-liners, and defend their planet from alien invasion.  Outer space, not Mexico.  Hey!  One of the first trailers I can recall remembering was the teaser for Independence Day. Sightings around the globe, mounting anticipation (without it’s consent, that’s how crazy this thing was), a single beam of light shooting downward into the White House.  A few seconds of wuh-huh then kaboom!  Later American government icon, thanks or playing. This movie defined blockbuster in my cinephilic mind, an explosive event of epic cinematic proportions. 

The Fourth of July, finally getting it’s own film treatment.  Make room Halloween and New Year’s Eve, here’s a third flick for that much sought after pseudo-holiday trilogy no one was planning!  Spanning three days of cosmic chaos and intergalactic intrigue, ID4 presents a catastrophic scenario, a game-changing weekend of fear and wonderment.  Humans versus aliens is not a new concept, but this tale utilized a new generation of technology and movie magic in an effort to reinvigorate the genre.  Among it’s many awards received, this won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, deservedly so.  Blowing up national and global monuments?  Bold.  Deciding the invaders should make a huge entrance instead of sneaking in, infiltrating covertly, etc.?  Eye-popping.  Massive alien ships hovering over the world’s largest cities, initially eyesores, quickly turned lethal?  Chilling. Popcorn flick, personified. 

Immensely fun, despite eighteen years of existence and a significant cheese factor.  Clever, funny, evocative of emotions I would prefer remain dormant.  Wastes little time before exploding things. At least a pair of sequels are in the works, which could be either awesome or hilariously terrible.  Either way, we win.  The new fad in Hollywood seems to be furthering seemingly dead franchises from years earlier, which is both exciting and pathetic.  Rumors of Jeff Goldblum bringing back the swagger without Will Smith dampens my hopes.  A quality ebony and ivory duo is a treasured dynamic.  JD and Turk.  Shawn and Gus.  Iron Man and War Machine.  One shouldn’t save the world without the other, should they?  Perhaps the answers reside among the stars, beyond our understanding.  You know, where the homicidal beings dwell.  ‘Merica!!       

directed by Roland Emmerich

written by Roland Emmerich & Dean Devlin

released: 1996

favorite line: “No, sir, just a little anxious to get up there and whoop E.T.’s ass, that’s all!” Capt. Steven Hiller

One of the few dreams that I can remember goes like this: I’m standing up in an airplane.  I am about to go through a curtain, possibly into first class, when I turn around.  I see my father, seated about halfway down the aisle behind me.  He is calling to me, waving his hand, beckoning me to come to where he is.  But of course I can’t.  Wouldn’t be much of a dream if I could, I suppose.  Not much to extract from that particular sedated situation, perhaps, but if trying to decipher between dreaming and reality is your thing, this neo-classic from the master himself is an objective must see.  At least, like, eight times start to finish.  At least.

Christopher Nolan has built a career on manipulating the imagination in new and fantastic ways.  His seventh directorial effort does just that and more, in a mind-bending trip through the subconscious.  A reality in which entering dreams is not only a possibility, it’s a next level tool in the art of thievery. The last safe haven of ideas protection has been compromised, with teams of people being able to infiltrate one’s dream-space and steal that which they have been tasked, or, extraction.  The holy grail of this capability is planting an idea inside someone’s head, or inception.  This leads to entering a dream, within a dream, within a dream… the best kind of complicated.  The lure of not only being able to enter a dream world, but to reside there, forever creating your own universe is a powerful one.  Reality is overrated… 

Stellar cast, script, execution, everything.  This piece of cinematic wonder requires multiple viewings, so writing about it during one seems futile.  There are infinite ideas to dissect and deconstruct, including but not limited to a certain character’s name.  Ariadne?  Really?  Sounds like a fairy tale spider, I had to double check the spelling just to be sure.  Seems like a purposefully awkward name to choose for someone. Different, sure.  Not really ever heard in a film before, yes.  Greek and beautiful, OK.  Still.  Obscure naming aside, this is a true odyssey of the mind.  Original, captivating, delivering on both the visual and cerebral levels.  Philosophically mesmerizing, if that’s possible.  When it comes to dreams, anything is, right?  The airplane dream about my father may not have solved much, but remember: Just because you’re awake, that doesn’t mean someone else isn’t sleeping. And who knows what that could create?         

directed by Christopher Nolan

written by Christopher Nolan

released: 2010

favorite line: “The dreamer can always remember the genesis of the idea. True inspiration is impossible to fake.” Arthur

My late father had a phrase that he was very fond of uttering during times of true bewilderment: “Try to imagine how little I care.”  That sentiment enters my cerebellum every time more than half a breath is spent on someone’s sexuality.  It’s difficult to articulate just how few shits I could give regarding who someone is attracted to, but I’ll try.  Less than the briefest fart that comes before a longer slew of sputtering gas leading up to an eventual shit.  Huh, easier than I thought.  This ridiculous pop culture obsession with homo and hetero deserves an equally hilarious cinematic spanking.    

Being outed in front of a worldwide television audience is an injustice no person should endure.  When hometown boy made good Cameron Drake does just that to his high school poetry teacher Howard Brackett while accepting a Best Actor Academy Award, everybody loses their mind.  Well if he said it on TV, it must be true!  And everyone in our small Middle American town must freak the funk out!?!?  Dammit, I don’t like hating Bob Newhart.  Not one bit.  Poor Howard, portrayed with brilliant whimsy by Kevin Kline, trying to get married to a wonderful lady.  Apparently not that observant or aware, but still, just lovely.  A no longer moustachioed Tom Selleck is there for support, a beacon of help in a sea of maddening microphones.        

The simplistic truth?  “Coming out” shouldn’t even be a thing.  In the perfect world inside my mind, people would just let people be people.  The mere thought of even casually discussing, let alone hating on, the human right to love anyone they choose would be dangerously laughable.  Like, collapsed lungs from the pure hystericality.  States wouldn’t need to make any rulings on marriage, because it would be assumed that anybody can marry anybody else.  Oh the pontificating lengths I could rant on this, blisteringly frustrating how stupid it is…  If these homophobic morons could spend their energies on cause worthy of such enthusiasm, maybe they could focus on the real abomination here: Steven Seagal, nominated for an Oscar.  An acting Oscar.  The film? Snowball In Hell.  A scenario almost as horrific as an entire nation consumed with other people’s sex lives.  Atrocious, in and out. 

directed by Frank Oz

written by Paul Rudnick

released: 1997

favorite line: “Fuck Barbra Streisand!” Emily Montgomery

That’s nice.  I know what YOU did last St. Paddy’s Day, and my cats haven’t been the same since!  Maybe we stop declaring things all Willie Nelson, hhmmm?  Er, Nilly… you get it!  A who’s who of late 90s teen stars, assembled for an angst-ridden bloodbath of vengeful proportions.  Attempting to cash in on the truly frightening success of Scream, IKWYDLS further reinvigorates the genre, and proves you can include seven words in your title and still turn a profit.  JLH + SMG = ching ching in my book, among other things, and always will.  Buffy and the Ghost Whisperer, teaming up to survive the repercussions of a homicide they never meant to be apart of in the first place??  I’m there.  Really this is all Freddie Prinze, Jr.’s fault, but who keeps score in times of bloody revenge?

High schoolers just can’t have fun anymore.  Alcohol, beach sex, highway coast drives, vehicular manslaughter.  These used to be part of growing up, now they just lead to misery, grief, and broken dreams.  And screaming, lots of screaming.  I don’t like what all this sadness and regret are doing to my girl J Love.  The pasty skin, the overalls, oh sweet heavens the overalls.  What am I waiting for?  That glorificent cleavage to make its way back onscreen.  Sorry, all this murderous rampaging brings out a sexual honesty in me, the likes of which – oh, now she’s in a towel!

Being a fan of just about everything Kevin Williamson writes, I was drawn to this creepy tale almost immediately.  When you’ve taken me to the Creek, and shown me the wondrous angst therein, I’ll follow you anywhere.  Sure the killer’s name doesn’t carry any fear with it whatsoever (Ben Willis… boo!), but a slickered fisherman wielding a hook tickles my fright bone. Ting… ting… oh shit…

directed by Jim Gillespie

written by Kevin Williamson

released: 1997

favorite line: “We should have a plan. Angela Lansbury always had a plan.” Helen Shivers

Technically, you know what I did two summers ago…  From the glistening coasts of North Cackalacky to the island mystique of the Bahamas, Julie James returns for more running, screaming, evading and deducing.  Different director, different writer, typically the case with horror sequels.  This second excursion into madness ups the body count and the title length.  Nine corpses instead of six, eight words instead of seven. Then a dreadlocked Jack Black shows up, and all bets are off.  Is that an uncredited cameo, Mr. Black?  C’mon buddy, be proud of your decisions. 

My girl J Love gets after it as per usual, this time joined by Brandy, Brandy’s ass, a super-horny Mekhi Phifer (NOT Michelle’s brother, as it turns out,), and some white dude I’d never heard of, and still can’t identify him by name.  The frightening formula of a fearful foursome.  Fantastic.  Prinze, Jr. is around somewhere too.  Always playing catch up, that guy.  A group of friends on a remote tropical resort, a storm rolling in, a vendetta that won’t die.  Pain of the past, fear of the future, blood of the young.  Just reeks of vacation, doesn’t it?

Freddy Jason Sorry, Ben is back, this time the hook is his actual hand.  Makes him a bit more terrifying, but still, Ben?  Might as well be afraid of Francis, or Jordy, or Snuggles.  OK, that bear is actually pretty creepy.  Fun fact: voodoo practitioners don’t necessarily equate to being serial killers.  Yeah, the more you know.  But you know too much already, don’t you psycho fish man?  Doesn’t matter, let the hack-n-slash proceed.  Guilty pleasures be damned, I’m hooked.                        

directed by Danny Cannon

written Trey Callaway

released: 1998

favorite line: “Just… fucking… die!!” Julie James

I wouldn’t go as far as saying I “heart” Huckabees.  I might colon them, even liver them if I’m being honest.  But heart them?  That’s a firm commitment I’m just not ready to make to a chain of everything stores…  The meaning of life, varying perceptions of reality, the connectivity, or lack thereof, of everyone and everything in this world, Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin as existential detectives.  Had that been a major offered in college, I might be a very different person today.  Mark Walhberg and Jason Schwartzman as each others Other, searching together for some sort of sense in a universe of chaos.  Dismantling identity, fear, coincidence.  Sounds heavy for a comedy, I’m in.      

The universe is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference in nowhere.  This neo-classic from David O. Russell is full of mind-numbing phrases like that, causing the viewer to explore the enigmatic facets of life.  True meaning is an elusive concept, an act of futility in the highest degree. Spending your life attempting to assign validity or substance to the day to day minutiae is commendable, but pointless.  If there is some knowable truth behind our human experience, wouldn’t politics, jobs, feuds, material goods all become supremely meaningless?  By that same cosmic token, if there is no meaning, just vast amounts of debilitating nothingness, shouldn’t those same concepts dissolve just as easily?  Fractured philosophies born of pain and joy.    

How am I not myself?  Poignant, original, funny, sad, incredibly well-crafted.  The inevitability of human drama.  It can smack you in the face like a big rubber ball, or completely engulf like an insightful body bag.  I’d like more adventures of Jaffe & Jaffe, cryptically analyzing the infinite chasm known as us.  I’d heart that, in a heartbeat.               

directed by David O. Russell

written by David O. Russell & Jeff Baena

released: 2004

favorite line: “When you get the blanket thing you can relax because everything you could ever want or be, you already have and are.” Bernard Jaffe

As I was going up the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there.  He wasn’t there again today, I wish, I wish he’d go away.  I’ll give you time to get out of the fetal position.  If you’re anything like me, that creeptastic piece of adolescent poetry dropped you and had you pleading for Mommy.  If you think about that verse for too long, your psyche may simultaneously fracture and spiral out into an infinite abyss of confusion and despair.  So, maybe don’t.  What kind of a sick twist came up with – oh, a serial killer?  Understood.

Heads up Agatha Christie, your formula is about to get sadistically fiddled with! Ten people, mostly strangers, find themselves at an isolated motel on a thunderstormy evening.  Shady newlyweds, a prosti-thief, a blubbercunt actress, her well-intentioned driver, the smarmy motel owner, a convict, his corrections officer, and a family consisting of the neurotic step-father, “she shouldn’t have been standing there” mother and cherubic but silent spawn.  One by one, this herd of suspicious archetypes are killed off through various means of malicious lethality.  Let the whodunit enigma of mayhem commence! Elsewhere, Malcolm Rivers, multiple murderer psycho crazy eyes, is granted a new hearing hours before his execution.  In both cases, a macabre countdown has begun, with secrecy embedded in each entry.  In neither case is anyone safe, nor able to predict what happens next.

For anyone out there with the influence to make it happen, John Cusack and Ray Liotta traveling the countryside and solving mysteries would make an excellent television series.  No messing around, Netflix or AMC for sure.  Identity provides a refreshing spin on a familiar tone. Uniquely presented, plenty of startles, a fine balance of the visceral and the cerebral.  It kept me guessing, invested throughout. Maybe it’s the poet in me (Sunset on Tomorrow available now), but this thriller hooked me from the opening lines.  Hope there’s never a man that’s not there waiting for me at the top of my stairs… Momma’s special boy is down again!         

directed by James Mangold

written by Michael Cooney

released: 2003

favorite line: “Who am I speaking to?” Dr. Malick         

You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why…  It’s finally time to watch A Christmas Story!!  And yes, it is the ass end of March.  And no, I don’t feel weird about watching a Christmas movie now as opposed to then.  This is because, aside from the usual joy and sense of accomplishment that I get from writing this blog, I am also able to expose my darling wife to this wonderful movie for the first time in her life (she is 28, BTDubs).

Every kid has that perfect Christmas present that they are hoping Santa will bring.  For Ralphie Parker, it’s a Red Ryder BB gun.  For me, it was the original Nintendo Entertainment System.  It was the mid-80’s and everyone I knew had one but me.  The morning came, and I had torn through my presents, waited patiently for my brothers to open theirs, and still no NES.  I was devastated.  Slumped on one of the living room sofas, I slunk into a holiday funk.  Seeing this, my father suggested that I check behind another sofa, for he thought he saw one last gift.  Santa thought it would be funny to hide my dream present.  A little ho ho followed by some ha ha, that rosy-cheeked bastard.  It wasn’t until years later that I realized that he got the idea from this movie.  I really loved my Dad.   

Simple and heartwarming, funny and touching, A Christmas Story became my favorite holiday film after the first time I saw it.  Clearly I was able to relate to Ralphie as the odds stack against him in his quest for the gun.  But it goes beyond that.  While watching the holiday hijinx ensue, my mind filled with other Christmas memories of my family and those mornings where anything could happen.  Though the holiday may not have quite the effect on me as it used to, I hope that the magic will return one day.  Watching A Christmas Story encourages that hope.

directed by Bob Clark

written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown & Bob Clark

released: 1983

favorite line: “Aunt Clara had for years labored under the delusion that I was not only perpetually four years old, but also a girl.”  Narrator

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So, if J.J. Abrams wrote this, does that mean that the asteroid is actually just Hurley’s dream?  Now, I may be ashamed of a lot of things, including that last joke, but I am fervently proud to say I am a Michael Bay fan.  To me, his style epitomizes what it means to enjoy a movie.  Escapism at it’s maximum efficiency.  Sure many of the plots of his movies are sometimes ridiculous, but that’s part of the fun.  Part of the reason I hate critics is that their reviews always make it seem like each film is supposed to be Citizen Kane.  And when it’s not, the inky beat downs are atrociously harsh.  When the purpose of movies is no longer to be fun, then the terrorists win.  Armageddon is a wonderful example of movie that is fun.  It’s not meant to be much more than that, nor should it be.

Once you accept that, you can begin to fear for your lives as an asteroid bullets towards Earth.  And only the dream team of Willis, Affleck, Aerosmith and a drill can stop it. Freaks me out, anything cataclysmic like that.  Don’t worry, since I am in Denver, and Denver never seems to be in trouble in these situations, there really isn’t anything to fear.*  In typical Bay fashion, the effects are absolutely incredible.  The destruction is biblical as various parts of the planet perish.  More space travel, as our scrappy heroes strap into some state of the art shuttles equipped to kick ass.  In fact, I shuttle to think what would  Man versus asteroid makes for a cosmically epic battle.  For the relaxed viewer, please go forth and enjoy.  For the rest, S my C while F’ing your A’s.     

*This theory will effectively kicked in the sweet stuff further down the collection.  We’re all gonna die.

directed by Michael Bay

written by Jonathan Hensleigh & J.J. Abrams

released:  1998

favorite lines: “Well, our object collison budget’s a million dollars. That allows us to track about 3% of the sky, and beg’n your pardon sir, but it’s a big-ass sky.” Dan Truman

It’s every kid’s dream, to be older, to be able to have the freedoms that all those cool grown ups have.  That is the cruel irony of life, when you are young, you want to be older.  Once you are older, you’d give anything to be young again.  But it if actually happened, the moment you wished for it?  I’d be freaked out too, the mind of a 12 year old, the body of a 30 year old.  Wouldn’t have the first clue how to live, let alone how to do it on my own.  I barely have a grip on it and I’m 30 now!  You know who could handle it?  Tom Hanks.  And handle it he does, delivering an amazing performance as a guy knowing what he wants, then not knowing, then knowing again.  Just like a kid.

I still want the loft apartment that Hanks’ Josh lives in, equipped with basketball hoop, trampoline, pinball machine, almost anything an adolescent could want in a domicile.  Plus, he snags a job at a toy company, furthering the fantasy as I watched with envy.  I am the oldest of three boys, so I do not recall ever being jealous of people older than me.  Being saddled with the responsibility of “setting an example,” I never dwelled on growing up faster than I was.  I enjoy the depiction of Josh so much because, despite being an adult to the outside world, he maintains his innocence and childlike wonder.  I wish more adults maintained those attributes.  I hope to never lose mine, though occasionally I misplace them.  Then movies like this come along, and I know exactly where to find them.                    

directed by Penny Marshall

written by Gary Ross & Anne Spielberg

released:  1988

favorite line:  “Three dimes, a hundred dollar bill and 87 ones.”  Josh Baskin 

Easily one of my best-loved movies, top ten at the least.  Twisted, funny, clever, befuddling, this Kubrick classic has it all.  The shots, the angles used, from the technical standpoints it is one of the more unique films out there.  It takes you places that are uncomfortable and disturbing, yet it’s gorgeously scored.  You identify the evil that exists, yet you find yourself cheering for villains and deriding society.  It is a world unto itself, and those make for some of my all-time faves. 

“Real horror-show.”  “Viddy well.”  “Spatchka.”  “Tolchocks.”  The list goes on and on of phrases and words created for this story.  Credit to the author of the book, Anthony Burgess, for developing his own vernacular.  The bible is the “big book.”  A headache is a “pain in the gulliver..”  It’s a very engaging technique, one that I appreciate as a moviegoer.  Having read the novel (on my own which I was always proud of), I did not necessarily appreciate the author’s linguistic experiment, as it made for a difficult read.  Similar to the use of authentic Shakespearean dialogue, however, this turned out to be a successful inquiry in interaction and retention.  Burgess used a Russian-based argot (a secret language used by specific groups as a way to prevent outsiders from understanding their conversations) called “Nasdat.”  Learning that gives me a new perspective on the movie that I did not have through numerous viewings.  Fascinating what Wikipedia has to offer, eh?  It takes a certain amount of attention being paid to immerse yourself properly in this movie.  A willingness to allow confusion a chance to clear room for discernment.              

Once the dialogue barrier is broken, or at least jostled, the themes of this film can be dissected and deconstructed.  So many questions of ethics and human nature.  What is the answer to crime, juvenile or otherwise?  Destroy free will in order to exterminate violence?  Does redemption exist, or are people just who they are?  Can you cure what may be perpetually ill?  The audience is forced to confront these issues, like a jackhammer to the sweet stuff.  A world without violence makes sense to me.  I can’t fathom any negative consequences to a global society with peace keeping it united.  The main character’s body is trained to become ill at the thought of violence (sex as well, but that’s a debate for another time).  The scene where Alex is forced to watch horrific films with his eyes kept open is so disturbing, so physically uncomfortable, that I still find myself blinking an inordinately weird amount during it.  Speaking of Alex, Mr. DeLarge is our subject during this morality exam.  I still don’t know whether or not I want him to be rehabilitated, or return to his favor fame (infamy?).  The movie ends with confusable ambiguity, insisting the questions resonate long after the credits.

directed by Stanley Kubrick

written by Stanley Kubrick

released:  1971

favorite line:  “Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited.”  Alex DeLarge

As long as we’re making bold claims, I Am Awesome!  I Am Incredible!  I Like Hugs!  I’m not quite legend, but one day, perhaps… Great news, gang!  Cancer’s been cured!  This ensures that we can all enjoy the next three years to their fullest… because they’re our last.  Sweet, tragic irony!  Being the last man on Earth has it’s perks.  Your pick of car, residence, food, vice of choice.  Permission to flirt with mannequins.  There’s also the soul-crushing loneliness and nocturnal feral mutants to contend with, but still.  Not, uh too, uh shabby.  Suspenseful, horrific, spanning the emotional spectrum, if this one isn’t legendary yet, it probably should be.

The I of the Legend of topic is Lt. Col. Robert Neville, military virologist.  Not sure there is a cooler job title in existence.  Maybe ninja psychic, it’s subjective. Neville may be immune to the cure-turned-mega-virus, but not the frustrating guilt that comes with it.  Few actors can be captivating by themselves for 90 minutes.  Hanks on an island, of course.  Franco stuck between two rocks, sure.  Reynolds in a coffin, I’ll bite.  Add Will Smith alone in New York to the list, as his presence is a powerful one.  Over half of this flick is all Fresh Prince, and to no one’s surprise, he bears the load exquisitely.  Whether providing humor to a horribly depressing situation, or breaking hearts with the weight of his predicament, the versatile Smith commands the screen.  Self-sacrifice, courage, dedication, all exemplified here. 

Another take on the Sole Survivor of an Apocalypse story, this movie is unquestionably impressive.  The creatures are proper-level creepy.  Not quite vampire, not really zombie, definitely devastating.  Darkseekers is how they are briefly referred, which is both unique and eerie.  Seeking the dark… insanity!  For real, 500 million of those things ain’t no joke.  And exactly how did they create a desolate New York City?  Were the streets actually cleared, because that in itself has to be worthy of some type of award.  Of course there’s the inclusion of Sam the German Shpehard, Neville’s BFFF (Best Furry Friend Forever).  One doesn’t plan on crying during a blockbuster, but dammit Samantha! Talks of a sequel, prequel, one form of continuation or another have been in the works for years.  Part of me is intrigued, another part glad the survival tale has not been furthered.  Allow it to remain what it claims to be.  Thus concludes the inadvertent Will Smith double feature.  Not just explosive, not just epic.  Legendary.             

directed by Francis Lawrence

written by Mark Protosevich & Akiva Goldsman

released: 2007

favorite line: “It’s just… I was saving that bacon.” Robert Neville

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Ah yes, the immutable Three Laws of Robotics.  One: do not talk about the robots.  Two: Skynet is apparently unstoppable, so don’t even bother.  Three: when in doubt, call in the Fresh Prince.  He hates those damn things, hates them!  A futuristic techno crime thriller, with plenty of kaboom to balance the drama.  Will Smith, in one of his last good cinematic decisions, kicks ass and takes serial numbers with extreme prejudice.  Which isn’t fair, really.  I mean these guys look alright to me.  Nice, friendly, handy around the house.  Sure, that empty stare is a tad unnerving.  Their monotone voice cuts into my soul like a blade, ok. And that Casper complexion is downright spooky.  But if Chicago of 2035 would just give them a chance, I know that – well now wait, he’s chopping up that vegetable really fast without even looking.  There might be something up with these robots, you guys.  

One day they’ll have secrets.  One day they’ll have dreams.  See, that little hypothesis is enough to pull the plug on this whole robotics operation.  The slightest possibility of evolution, or robolution perhaps, then I’d have to go with a firm but cordial pass.  Detective Del Spooner (Smith, delivering lines with a twinge of Ali still present) knows what’s up, which is why he shoots the shit out of just about every robot he comes in contact with.  He has, there’s so many of them! Visually stunning, eerily realistic, impressive in it’s presentation. Would a robolution mean a robot revolution or robotic evolution? Either way, we’re screwed.

Our dependence on machines is presently at a sickening level.  This flick takes place almost twenty years from now.  Could it be a frightening foretelling of things to come?  Did Isaac Asimov, author of the short story this movie is suggested by, have it right all along?  In the illustrious history of bad ass lines to say before vanquishing an enemy, will “You’ve so got to die” go down as the worst one ever.  The answer to each of these is, of course, “probably.”  If you’ll excuse me, my tablet is eyeballing my cell phone.  Those two are plotting something…

directed by Alex Proyas

written by Jeff Vintar & Akiva Goldsman

released: 2004

favorite lines: “There have always been ghosts in the machine. Random segments of code, that have grouped together to form unexpected protocols. Unanticipated, these free radicals engender questions of free will, creativity, and even the nature of what we might call the soul. Why is it that when some robots are left in darkness, they will seek out the light? Why is it that when robots are stored in an empty space, they will group together, rather than stand alone? How do we explain this behavior? Random segments of code? Or is it something more? When does a perceptual schematic become consciousness? When does a difference engine become the search for truth? When does a personality simulation become the bitter mote… of a soul?” Dr. Alfred Lanning                                             

Here’s a good way: force him to watch a romantic comedy.  That never ends well, does it, anything starring Jennifer Aniston??  Should he happen upon the film organically, on the other hand, that’s ok.  Them’s the rules.  Ah, the rare but evocative Rom Com.  They do exist, and this is one of them.  Starring not one, but now TWO Academy Award victors, HTLAGI10D is one of those deceptive comedies that provides something for everybody.  McConaughey for the ladies, Kate Hudson for the fellas, sports, diamonds.  Emasculation, competition, gambling, love, a good balance of whimsy and saucy.  Whim sauce, delicious.

Boy meets girl.  Girl emotionally tortures boy.  Boy begrudgingly sticks around.  Neither knows about the others’ secret bets coincidentally involving them both.  You know the deal.  Of course you’re wondering, Hey Quinn?  Yes, anonymous throng of readers?  Could YOU make a woman fall in love with YOU in ten days?  Absolutely.  Wait, that sounds cocky.  Given the appropriate mixture of narcotics and broken promises at my disposal…  define “love…”  No, I don’t think I can make a woman do anything, ever.  But I’m a great listener and a goofy as a pet loon, so, you know.  I make a decent “steady,” for sure. I don’t remember exactly how or when this movie became worthy of my vast collection, but it’s inspired this wondiferous rant, so bully for it.

Some thing to cringe at in this flick, certainly.  The main characters names, for one.  Andie Anderson and Benjamin Barry.  Punch a toddler, that’s saccharine sweet.  The New York Knicks and the Sacramento Kings in the NBA Finals.  I barely follow sports, but even I know that series is rigoddamndiculous.  Still, it has it’s charms.  At best, an unexpectedly pleasant cinematic romp.  At worst, fantastic foreplay.

directed by Donald Petrie

written by Kristen Buckley, Brian Regan & Burr Steers

released: 2003

favorite line: “Women of New York… frost yourselves!” Phillip Warren

Accept the invitation, make the journey, survive the night, get paid.  Seems simple enough, if “simple” means bloody mayhem of biblical proportions!  Yes, this is one of infinite horror remakes.  Yes, there is an inevitable cheese factor that usually accompanies these types of pictures.  But it is delivered and packaged in such a way, that even this viewer became captivated.  Pretty sure I was the only one, ever, to enjoy it, but that just makes it all the more special.  There is this constant creep factor that does not let up.  Terror?  Humiliation? Perhaps even murder??  Well, it IS a very nice house…     

Psychotic inmates taking over an asylum?  Check.  A terrifying roller coaster where the madness begins before the ride does?  Check.  A haunted house with virtually no escape?  Oh you know that’s a check.  All the staples are here, in one horrific place.  The things people will endure for one million dollars, eh?  Malicious ghosts, on the other hand, don’t give two sniffs about money, and really don’t blink a dead eye at a bunch of lovable douche nozzles taking a shot at some free scratch. Graphic and gory scenes of awful, possibly obscene, still not sure, driven by the evil Dr. Vannacutt and his ghoulish staff.  This fucking guy, surgically clad, convulses in spastic, violent and sudden ways.  He has this half walk/stalk thing, scares me fetal.  A madman extraordinaire, not appreciated in his own time.

Twists, turns, Taye at his Diggsiest. Geoffrey Rush busting a 1940s gangster accent.  He looks a little like Vincent Price, so there’s that, Purists who care WAY too much. I know the hip thing to do is LOVE everything old, but relax.  I will say this for William Castle, the man knew how to put on a show.  You could tell he really gave a damn about his audience…  I feel like I hadn’t watched this one in some years, and I was pleasantly surprised that it still gave me some shivers, delivered some sick laughs.  Next patient, please…    

directed by William Malone

written by Dick Beebe

released: 1999

favorite line: ”I had nothing to do with this! I was adopted!” Eddie Baker