Saturday, December 26, 2009

Top 20 Worst Movies of the Decade

20. Next: What starts out as a standard H-Wood, Nic Cage goes from ‘ok’ to a piece of shit when the ending tries but fails epicly to produce a ‘twist’ that quite literally makes the film a complete waste of time .

19. Norbit: Eddie Murphy playing a fat obnoxious woman and the nerdiest man imaginable is just cringe worthy movie making at its best.

18. Meet Dave: There are scenes of Eddie Murphy doing physical ‘comedy’ that quite literally left my wondering how anyone working on this film could’ve thought they were making even a half-decent movie.

17. Pinnochio: Director Roberto Benigni is behind one of my favorite films, Life is Beautiful…but watching a grown man playing a wooden puppet child is an experience I never want to repeat again.

16. The Master of Disguise: Dana Carvey makes me wanna kill a baby in this shit fest.

15. Æon Flux: So it has Charlize Theron in tight black suit…not even that could have saved an all style no substance movie…and the style isn’t even impressive in the slightest.

14. Epic Movie: Really, what do I need to say that even people who haven’t seen this already know.

13. 10, 000 B.C: Possibly one of the THE most boring movies I’ve ever seen.

12. Son of the Mask: A CGI infant dancing and singing like Michigan J. Frog…I quite LITERALLY wanted to kill a baby!

11. Herbie: Fully Loaded: Lindsay Lohan + Predictable and cliché story/scenes + A CGI love bug making faces = Piece of shit.

10. The Hottie and the Nottie: So bad I can’t remember why I hate it..but I don’t dare try to tread back on old memories…

9. The Animal: How is a grown man barking and swimming like a Dolphin funny?? Please, explain to me how the people behind this thought they were making something funny?! O_o

8. Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo – With humor clever enough to be written by kindergarteners who just learned a new dirty word for the first time, how can one not love this!? *sarcasm*

7. The Love Guru: Read above.

6. Beverly Hills Chihuahua: Jamie Lee Curtis and Piper Perabo barking like dogs to each other on other ends of the phone for like…15 minutes…fuck you Disney!

5. Sex and the City: The Movie – All four of the women have the maturity level as the 14 year old girls I went to High School with. If you like it, more power to you, but if you at any point think these women are right in the way they behave, then I’m going to get out the cement, because the foundations of our society are about to crumble.

4. Dragonball: Evolution – “At least we still have our dragonballs.” Really…!?

3. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li – I was literally pissed off after seeing this movie. “Your father was the milk of my company…but even milk…has an expiration date.” …Fuck you!

2. Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House – Made for TV but it’s not even good enough for that. A kid dancing around like a fucking moron to “I Feel Good” = suck!

1. Disaster Movie: I want it to be known that my comments on wanting to kill myself and similar remarks were not said simply for comical and exaggerated effect…I’m dead serious. If The Dark Knight shows how much I can love a film, Disaster Movie is the equivalent of the opposite. I give you every right to hate this movie even without seeing it, please, spare you’re precious hours in life.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Top Ten Best "Smallville" Episodes (Part 2/2)

5. Justice (Season 6 – episode 11 )
Before The Justice Society of America makes its arrival in the Smallville universe this year….even before The Legion of Superheroes popped up…Smallville Season 6 had its recurring character, Oliver Queen a.k.a Green Arrow, round up the past DC comics guests stars (Bart Allen/Impulse [The Flash], Arthur Curry/Aquaman, and Victor Stone/Cyborg) to form the beginnings of The Justice League of America. The end result was a well executed episode about the young Justice League trying to rescue Bart from the clutches of Lex Luthor in his secret lab. Talk about a geeks dream come true! It was well written, well acted, fast paced and full of great moments. Perfect.

4. Reckoning (Season 5- episode 12)
They told us the events of Smallville’s 100th episode would change things forever. Looking bad almost four years later…it really did. Smallville went from the happy-go-lucky almost Dawson-Creek-Like show into a much darker and comic book centered Superman series. This episode marked the death of Clark’s adoptive father, Jonathan Kent. Those final scenes were heartbreaking and the performances from all the series regulars were so amazing and believable. There’s not much else to say other than episode 100 did not fail to deliver.

3. Shattered (Season 3 – episode 8)
In spite of Smallville having several amazing episodes, very few made me drop my jaw in surprise of where they took a story. This episode was one of those few. Having Lionel drug his own son into insanity just to cover up his sins was insanely dark for Smallville and was a major twist in the direction season 3 was going (one of my favorite seasons of the series). The suspense and overall great writing in this episode was immensely complimented by Michael Rosenbaum ‘s haunting performance. It’s episode like this that make me sure Smallville can be good quality television.

2. Memoria (Season 3 – episode 19)
It’s easy to say that Lex Luthor became the iconic criminal mastermind we all know him to be because of the cruel and unloving parenting of Lionel Luthor. Smallville went further and explored why the father/son relationship between both Luthors was so strained and dysfunctional. It was great seeing a young Lex and how his relationship with his father was a much more loving one before the death of Lex’s brother Julian. Also shown was Clark’s earliest memory of his biological mother Lara as he was being sent away from Krypton to earth. The end of the episode has two of the most heartbreaking scenes in Smallville history: One where Lex confronts his father and reveals all he wanted was to be loved, and another where Clark shares the memory he recovered with his adoptive mother, Martha Kent. Episodes like this that were beautifully acted, shot, written, and emotionally are perfect. Emmy material.

1. Rosetta (Season 2 – episode17)
This was one of the very first episodes of Smallville I had ever seen. And it was in fact, the one that got me hooked onto the series. This episode featured a special guest appearance by Christopher Reeve, who had previously played the Superman character in four feature films before Smallville’s time. This was such an amazing episode. First of all, it was well written and the story of Clark finally getting answers about his origins was one I could relate to. I loved how the main story gave everyone something interesting to play, and of course there was the legendary scene between Tom Welling and Christopher Reeve. That scene was so well acted on both players parts that you truly felt a ‘passing of the torch’ moment. A moment that means a lot now that Clark is truly stepping into the role of a hero and adopting a lot of the Superman persona. There’s isn’t much else to say. It was stunning.

Random Trivia
Season With The Most Fave Eps: Season 3 (3 episodes)
Season With No Favourite Eps: Season 1 and 4 (Although they do have some other great ones: “Pilot”, “Zero”; “Run”, “Commencement”)
Director of The Most of My Faves: James Marshal (Arrival, Reckoning)
Writers: TIE! Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (Rosetta, Memoria), Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson (Reckoning, Savior).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Top Ten Best "Smallville" Episodes (Part 1/2)

As many of you know, Smallville is my favorite television series and has been for the past eight seasons and still remains number one thus far into its ninth year. The show seems to be getting stronger with new producers at the wheel, causing me to reflect on some of Smallville’s best episodes thus far. Here’s list of my Top Ten Smallville Episodes.

10. Perry (Season 3 – episode 5)
Smallville’s introduction of DC Comics character Perry White, the man destined to employ Clark Kent , Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen as the editor of the Daily Planet, was a much welcomed one by fans. This story had a younger, more irresponsible White meeting Clark Kent and trying to expose his powers, which he witnessed in a drunken state. The story was really great but Michael KcKean, who played White, made it extra special as his performance was something for the Smallville history books.

9. Savior (Season 9 – episode 1)
The newest episode on the list makes the spot, and the reason is as simple as one word: Epic. In spite of a CW sized budget the special effects in this episode were extremely well done and the story that introduced more questions instead of wrapping everything from the previous season up in 42 mins was engaging. Top that off with the introduction of Callum Blue as Major Zod, who has breathed new life into the role, and a super heroic and pro-active Clark wearing the iconic S symbol (he even TRIED to fly at least!) and you have an amazing episode!

8. Arrival (Season 5 – episode 1)
Another season premiere to have made the list, the first episode of season 5 was also epic. It introduced us to the Fortress of Solitude (which while smaller than the one shown in the Superman films, looked infinitely more…’arctic’-y?) and had two disciples of Zod tearing up shit around town! It was very cool to see the first glimpses of when the show was transforming more into a Superman series. Looking back, this was really when the series starting heavily introducing elements of the DC universe. And that tease of an ending showing James Marsters as Brainiac? Fucking A!

7. Descent (Season 7 – episode 16)
Ever sine Smallville introduced us to the interesting dynamic between Lionel Luthor and Lex Luthor, fans had a sense that Lex’s definitive turn to the dark side would stem from him killing his own father. In season 7, that finally happened. The episode in noted for having no subplot and revolving entirely around this major event, from Lex trying to cover it up, to his dealing with what he had done. The final scene between Lionel and Lex was dramatic to say the least and the stare down between Clark and Lex was so well acted in spite of there being no dialogue that you truly felt Lex had fulfilled his destiny and former friends were now mortal enemies.

6. Legion (Season 8 – episode 11)
Smallville Season 8 introduced the Legion of Superheroes, a team of superhuman individuals from the 31st century known in comic lore for traveling back in time to see Clark Kent before his days as Superman. This was a really great episode because it introduced the team in a way that stuck to the main story of season 8, the Doomsday arc. The three actors chosen to play Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl were fantastic and the nods to the Superman mythos (such as a comment about Clark not wearing glasses) made for some great geek moments. The subplot of the ep was also great, featuring some damn fine acting on Allison Mack’s part as she channels her inner James Marsters. Long Live The Legion!

Stay Tuned For Part 2!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

TV Premiere/Pilot Reviews (1)

I’ve decided to review the premieres for my returning favourites and the pilots for the new shows I plan to watch this season (Not New Series, just shows I haven’t watched yet…all the new shows this year look/sound terrible imo). Let’s start with the double H’s!

Heroes-Volume 5 Redemption
It’s hard to say that I continue to watch Heroes for anything more than the brilliance of Zachary Quinto’s performance as the sinister serial killer Sylar and the moments where the series seems to be returning to its former season 1 glory. Last year “Volume 4: Fugitives” actually really got me excited for the show again, but the ending left me with mixed feelings of disappointment and the excitement faded away. For whatever reason, perhaps my inability to give up things easily, curiosity got the best of me when it came to watching the premiere for the show’s fourth season…and let me say, it wasn’t bad. That’s not to say there was anything particularly great or must see about it, but the new storylines and characters were introduced without feeling forced and with the exception of Claire’s little experiment at the end, no one made any stupid choices that had foreseeable negative outcomes. It’s more that there was nothing bad about the premiere than there being anything one should go out of their way to see.

The performances for the most part…were the same. No one really did anything all that different aside from Adrian Pasdar as Sylar/Nathan, Milo Ventimiglia as Peter Petrelli, Zachary Quinto as Sylar, and Greg Grunberg as Matt Parkman. Pasdar was convincing as the confused and almost reborn Nathan while Ventimiglia was a joy to watch as a more confident and mature Peter than we’ve ever seen. Quinto continues to play evil well as Sylar in a very fight-club-esque new role for the character and his chemistry with Grunberg allowed the two actors to play an interesting dynamic for the series.

I would complain that Claire’s roommate was rather annoying but that was somewhat the idea behind the character. Hiro and Ando continue to provide comic relief but it sadly isn’t as funny was it was in the show’s freshman year. That said its still fun seeing Masi Oka and James Kyson Lee work together and they still have that great duo chemistry. The writing and pacing was a little off with several characters vanishing for long periods of time, but overall Heroes starts off the season…not bad, but nothing spectacular. The story is interesting enough to keep me watching for now.

House M.D
House is without a doubt one the best series’ to hit television. Hugh Laurie’s performance is one for the books and the writing continues to be top notch, surprising given that the show is relatively formulaic. Then again, House was always about the interactions between the characters and how they respond to a certain case for me, not the actual case itself. Last season ended on a high and surprising twist that made the summer wait a long one for House’s return!

When the episode opened with a very film feel to it, with the credits style and lack of all but two of the series regulars being billed, I knew this was going to be a unique one. There’s no medical mystery to solve, the only other main character to appear (briefly) was Wilson (Sean Robert Leonard), and it was of course, two hours long.

This is one of the best episodes of anything I’ve ever seen to be fair. Aside from the film-like feel to it, the acting was top notch. Hugh Laurie delivers some of his best work as everyone’s favourite doctor but this time he has new emotions to explore, given that the episode focused on House’s doctor trying to get him to connect with people emotionally. House is known for being an anti-social grump so seeing him a new light was so fresh, yet he still managed to remain the House we know and love somehow. A true testament to Hugh Laurie. All the other guest roles were amazingly acted as well, with Lin-Manuel Miranda as House’s energetic roommate standing out to me. I just felt the two had a great dynamic with each other and loved seeing them on screen as a duo. It’s a character I was sad to say goodbye to (we know House has got to leave the psychiatric hospital, so no spoilers there) because I’d really like to see him again.

Again, the episode isn’t just about House talking about his feelings, there’s a lot of subplots involved that each came to their own great conclusion but ultimately served the greater idea of getting House better at the same time. I loved that there was never a dull moment with all these colourful characters and their roles in House’s recovery being so well written.

If I had to complain about anything, it’s that I actually did find myself missing the other regulars (Foreman, Cameron, Chase, Thirteen ect.), but this is a minor complaint because while I did feel their absence I know there would be little for them to really do and their absence is ultimately better than forcing them into the story.

In conclusion this was a fantastic return to House, it had comedy, heartfelt moments, and as mentioned felt different but was still the same great show at the same time. The last scene with “Seven Day Mile” by The Frames playing got me little teary eyed and eager to see where the season goes now. I already can’t wait to own Season 6 on dvd! WATCH HOUSE!

Coming Soon: Mob bosses, southern vampires, drugs, and Kneel Before Zod!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Plans For Television Fall 2009

The new television season is almost upon us and there are only three shows currently airing which I plan to watch as they come on television. This gave me the idea to actually schedule when I’ll watch other TV series, because for some reason I keep putting them off, even though I WANT to watch them all, and planning ahead will actually increase the odds that I’ll see them.

Monday: *On TV*
House MD – Last season was probably the best, and even more likely my favorite of House. The episode stories were really good and I liked that they delved deeper into the personal lives and beliefs of the characters. The season finale was House’s best yet in my opinion and I’m looking forward to seeing House make his way back to sanity and the effect it will have on his ability to practice medicine.

Heroes – The series that just can’t get with it. I loved the first season, and looking back, minus the S2 cliffhanger, it could’ve ended well with just one year. But Season two was just too boring and took too long to get interesting, while Season 3 started with a lot of potential, but literally wiped it all clean as if it never happened. The only reason I’m tuning into season 4 is curiosity, and Sylar. I didn’t like how they ended the super powered serial killer’s story, but I wanna see where they go with it. That said, I can’t say I’m excited at all for season 4 and might not even stick with it.

Veronica Mars – I started the first season this summer but only got four episodes in before Six Feet Under got me addicted. I’m ready to start up again because unlike my first round with the show back during its initial airing, I actually liked it. Kristen Bell is all kinds of awesome and the main mystery intrigued me enough to get me hooked this time around.

Entourage – Cerdo told me I’d like this show and the Hollywood setting sounds like it could make for some cool stories and guest appearances. Plus, friends have told me with the male camaraderie themes, it’s a guys version of the dreadful and horrendous Sex and the City. I’m intrigued.

The Sopranos – Once again Cerdo is the one who got me interested in this series. His video debating between whether Six Feet Under or The Sopranos was the better show and his comments on how if I liked Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas (which I love) combined with its praise amongst critics and average TV/Film lovers like us and I’m on board!

True Blood – HBO and Alan Ball (the creator of Six Feet Under, on the odd chance you didn’t know). Nuff said. I saw a few episodes of Season one and liked what I saw but never got around to watching the show on a regular basis. It’s time for C-Rav to jump on the bandwagon and see what everyone is raving about…and I’m kinda excited to be honest =).

Weeds – All I know about this show is that it’s about a widowed mother housewife who becomes her neighborhoods weed dealer to make ends meet. Now calm down, I know underneath that synopsis there are probably more subtle themes worthy of exploration and viewing…which is exactly why I’m watching it. The concept alone is intriguing and Cody recommended it…so I really can’t say no!

Psych – I have to thank Kayla and John (Youtube user ActionFan89) for bringing this show to my attention. I’m not sure what I’ll make of it to be perfectly honest, but the footage I’ve seen and what I’ve heard from both reliable people is enough to make me give it a shot.

Friday: *On TV*
Smallville – Kneel Before Zod. What better way to end the week than with The Ville!? Smallville begins its ninth season after a disappointing end to an otherwise stellar eighth season. The Wonder Twins and Zombies have me worried, but Callum Blue as General Zod, Brian Austin Green as Metallo, Green Arrows sidekick Speedy, the Justice Society of America, and most importantly…Clark embracing his Kryptonian side and finally doing the training first mentioned in season 5…that all has me ready and excited for season nine!

Sunday: *On TV*
Dexter – Dexta. Dexter becomes a daddy in season four so seeing the classic storyline of a man trying to balance work and family but with a Dexter (aka serial killer) twist should be awesome stuff, especially with the brilliant writing Dexter has. Top that off with Deb possibly getting close to Dexter’s origins, Lundy’s return, and John Lithgow as the newest serial killer in town….how can you not be excited!?

Six Feet Under – As most of you know, I finished the first three seasons of this utterly amazing series in the first few days of August. Since then my sources have stopped working, so I’ve been forced to take a hiatus on the series much to my chagrin. That said, I’ve recently ordered the complete series and when it arrives, I’ll be spending Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights finishing off the series. Cannot wait!

Conclusion: So there ya go, my plan for the fall 2009 series. Once I’ve finished/caught op on those shows there are plenty more I’d love to see. Any recommendations? Thanks for reading
and I hope you enjoyed!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Top Ten Lines In Film

Note: For those curious, here are my criteria.
1) The iconic status of the quote.
2) The delivery of the line itself.
3) The impact the quote has during the scene and in the film
4) It’s usage in my life. For example, do I myself use it in everyday life?

Without further adieu, here’s my list

10. "Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."
Film: Forrest Gump
Spoken By: Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks)

One of the first lines spoken in this brilliant film, Tom Hank’s delivery certainly makes it a memorable line in film history, but its truth in life also helps elevate its iconic status. It’s such a wonderful metaphor and perfectly captures the innocence in Forrest’s ways of learning about life. Not mention it’s my youngest brothers favourite film, so this quote has become one both of repeat time to time.

9. "You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?"
Film: Dirty Harry
Spoken By: Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood)

There’s really not much to say other than if there was a ‘top ten badass moments’ list out there, the scene in which Clint Eastwood delivers this line would certainly make it in there somewhere. I’ve personally used this line on other people several times in my life when the situation called for it (jokingly of course) and again, Clint’s badass delivery certainly allows this line to make a spot.

8. "Hasta la vista, baby."
Film: Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Spoken By: The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

There are two reasons makes the list. The first is, like the last line, it’s simply badass on every level in term of Arnold’s delivery. The second reason is it’s actually meaningful in the whole context of the relationship between John Conner and The Terminator. Earlier in the film John is teaching the very unemotional machine how to speak like a human, using this line as an example. So when The Terminator speaks this line, not only is it super cool…it shows how he’s retained the knowledge and teachings of his friend. Awesome.

7. “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
Film: Gone With The Wind
Spoken By: Rhett Butler (Clark Gable)

Even in film it’s not often that men get a chance to put women in their place (no offence to any ladies reading this =D). At the end of Gone With The Wind, instead of a classic and feel good ending, we get a more realistic situation in which the character of Rhett Butler decides he can’t take anymore of Scarlett O'Hara crap and delivers this line when she asks what will she do without him. Not only does the line show he’s given up on her and no longer cares about her, it’s almost a cheer worthy moment to see him be able to tell her off. He struck a blow for men everywhere!

6. "I See Dead People."
Film: The Sixth Sense
Spoken By: Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment)

Even if you haven’t seen this film you know the memorable line when you hear it. Osments delivery is both chilling and almost heatbreaking. Take into account that it’s becomes one of the most spoofed lines and has become a part of pop culture, not to mention I myself refer to it many times, and you’ve got a winner.

5. “Why So Serious?”-The Dark Knight
Film: The Dark Knight
Spoken By: The Joker (Heath ‘King’ Ledger)

Anyone who thinks Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker can be replaced by anyone(at least in the current franchise) is insane as the clown prince of crime himself. The scene in which The Joker explain just one of his origin stories was scary. I remember the feeling of dread exactly as it was when I was sitting in theatres as the menacing Joker initiated the gangsters in the film. This line was so cool and chilling it easily became one of the most memorable from the film. It’s probably the newest line in film to become such a popular and repeated one in today’s culture. Also, this is now how I often ask people 'what's up' or 'why the long face' and other simiar greetings. For these many reasons, the line earns a spot in the top five.

4. “*I*, Am Your Father.”
Film: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Spoken by: Darth Vader (David Prowse-Suit/James Earl Jones-Voice)

Even as a kid whose wasn’t 100% into Star Wars, I was blown away and stunned by the revelation that Darth Vader, the most evil and feared villain in the galaxy, was the father of heroic and noble Luke Skywalker. James Earl Jones delivers this line with such ominous conviction and power you can’t help but be in a state of shock every time you hear it. There’s no need to tell you all its entered out culture in so many ways! There are a million ways this line could’ve been spoken that could have ruined the feeling of the twist, but Jones did it perfectly and it made for the greatest twist in film history (IMO.)

3. “Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."
Film: The Wizard of Oz
Spoken By: Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland)

Anytime I find myself in a strange place or a new area where I have no idea where I am…I use this line! This line has been used several times in other films and television series’ as a wink and nudge to the film when the situation merits it. Smallville even referenced the line in an episode! In a film that is so memorable in itself, this line for me surely stands out amongst the rest.

2. "May the Force be with you.”
Film: Star Wars a.k.a Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Spoken By: Han Solo (Harrison Ford)

In the Star Wars universe, the force is an energy that surrounds and binds the galaxy and gives the Jedi Knights their power. The line itself, brilliantly spoken by Ford in the first instalment of the Star Wars saga, is meant as words of good luck and well wishes. Do I really need to tell you how much this line not only has become a symbol of Star Wars, but also a large part of pop culture just as the films themselves? I remember when my math class was just about to write an exam, I turned to my friend and said “Hey Andrew, May the Force be with you”, instead of ‘good luck’ or something similar. For that, the iconic status of the line, and the usage it has in everyday life…this line earns the number two spot!

1. "Welcome, to Jurassic Park.”
Film: Jurassic Park
Spoken By: John Hammond (Richard Attenborough)

As many of you know by now, Jurassic Park was the first film I’d ever seen in theatres. The people I saw it with and the overall experience of the film itself and how it’s influenced my life has made it one of the, if not THE most memorable part of my life. The Brachiosaurus scene, where we first see a full life sized Dinosaur, was pure film magic at its best. The line spoken by Hammond was equally as memorable and magical. He’s welcoming the characters to the dinosaur zoo, but the way Attenborough delivers the line is so child like and full of enthusiasm that it feels like an old grandparent, soothingly welcoming you to a world of magic, wonder, and excitement. To me, that is what film is all about.

So there you have it, the top ten film quotes in film according to me. I hope you enjoyed reading, see you all on the next one. Thanks!=)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Smallville Season Nine: What I'd Like To See

Last season of Smallville ended on a rather disappointing low for me, in what was an otherwise surprisingly stellar season. While the new showrunners managed to overcome losing the much praised Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor and extreme budget cuts by finally progressing Clark’s character and story and introducing a dark and tragic human side to the Doomsday storyline, the final episode of the eighth season managed to destroy all that in a single night. The season finale, appropriately titled “Doomsday”, threw Clark’s progress backwards and in more ways than one undid what made the Doomsday storyline so tragic. Add in the death and ‘twist’ behind it that was more stupid and enraging than clever, and one of Smallville’s best seasons ended on an extremely bad note with one of the worst episodes of the entire series.

As comic con 2009 approaches, Smallville will once again be returning with showrunners Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson joining cast members Erica Durance (Lois Lane), Cassidy Freeman (Tess Mercer), Justin Hartley (Oliver Queen/Green Arrow), and the newest addition to the team, British actor Callum Blue, who will be playing the villainous General Zod for the ninth season. However before the major announcements, footage, and spoilers finally make their way to the fans, I’d like to take the time to quickly share what I hope to see in terms of character and story for the shows ninth and hopefully final season.

10. Returning/New DC Comics Heroes/Villains
Smallville has introduced several DC comics characters over the course of its 8 seasons and, in my opinion, have resulted in some of the best episodes of the series. While they usually have a unique Smallville spin to them, Green Arrow, The Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg, Martian Manhunter, Black Canary, Zatanna and Brainiac, played brilliantly by James Marsters, have at their core remained true to their comic book counterparts and become favourites amongst the fans. With an appearance by the villain Metallo (played by Brian Austin Green) being a step in the right direction, I personally hope for a return of all the Justice League members, some old and new Legion of Superheroes members, and some fresh faces in perhaps the form of The Question…or maybe even Wonder Woman?

9. Martha Kent
In Smallville’s sixth season, Annette O’Toole’s contract expired, and feeling that her characters role in Clark’s life had in some capacity diminished, Annette opted not to return. Most fans will agree that Jonathan Kent provided Clark with knowledge and wisdom, while Martha taught him about feelings and matters of the heart. Since her departure Martha has been mentioned maybe 5 times, and very few of those times by her own son. Even if it’s just for one episode, a return appearance by Annette O’Toole would be something greatly appreciated.

8. Kara Zor-El (a.ka Supergirl)
In spite of promises by former showrunners Alfred Gough and Miles Millar that Laura Vandervoort would continue her role as Kara in a potential eighth season, Laura Vandervoort was not invited back after the seventh season ended and made one appearance in season 8 to wrap up her characters cliffhanger. Before people assume I want her back as eye candy, let me correct you. As an adopted child, I immediately connected to the idea of Clark Kent, an alien raised by humans, finding a biological cousin. We we’re promised a brother/sister type of relationship between the two characters, and while that was present it was unfortunately overshadowed by Kara constantly disappearing. I want to see their relationship develop over the course of at least more than two episodes, preferably with Vandervoort as a series regular, so Clark can have blood relative and link to his heritage…and more importantly someone to pass the lessons his parents taught him onto.

7. Increase The Number of Episodes for The Other Cast Members
With the exception of Tom Welling and Allison Mack, no cast member appeared in more than 13 episodes of the 22 episode eighth season. It made for very long gaps between character appearances that almost made us forget they were still part of the show. Only a few more episodes for Cassidy, Justin, and Erica are what I ask for. They are great actors and deserve more significant roles than near guest stars. I understand budget can be an issue…which brings me to my next issue.

6. Increase the Budget!
When Smallville moved over to the CW network, it faced massive budget cuts as most shows did…and the trimming continued as the piece of shit network focused on shows aimed more to the teenage girl demographics. While Smallville has remained true to its story elements, it’s frustrating to see where the budget has been cut. From Clark barely using X-Ray or Heat vision, or his superspeeding taking place off screen, to Metropolis consisting of one street…it’s hard not to shake your head when you remember the glory of the visuals of earlier seasons. Also take into account great guest appearances, great music, and more time being spent outdoors instead of on sets, and Smallville definitely deserves its money back from Gossip Girl. Treat your #1 show right CW! Smallville and Supernatural FTW!

5. Phil Morris as a Series Regular
Phil Morris made his first appearance as the infamous DC Comics hero, The Martian Manhunter, in Smallville’s sixth season and has made a few welcomed and much loved appearances since then. However in spite of the CW’s apparent insistence on keeping the cast young and fresh, it’s time for Morris to take his much deserved place amongst the regular cast members. Clark needs advice from someone more experienced than Chloe or Lois, and Phil’s great performance and enthusiasm for the show would be a welcomed addition to the series.

4. Oliver Queen/Green Arrow To Have A Significant And ‘Good’ Arc
When the producers finally added Justin Hartley to the main cast as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow in season 8, excitement filled the air. Unfortunately, aside from a heroic role in the season premiere, Oliver then became a whiney drunk, spent most of the year trying to bang Tess Mercer, and when he finally got a story arc going…it resulted in him being a douchebag. I truly feel they wasted an opportunity with Justin last year. Spoilers for the ninth season unfortunately indicate that Oliver will be heading down the drinking road again. One episode of the shows eighth season showed just how much of an affective team Clark and Oliver can make if they work together. I want to see more of that and see Oliver step back into the role of the noble and selfless leader of the JLA he initially was. Yes, some womanizing is fine as that is part of his character, but a storyline focused on progressing his character and his role in Clark’s transformation into the Man of Steel should be the focus.

3. The Return of Lex Luthor…Rosenbaum Style (Major Spoilers For Those Who Have Not Seen Season 8)

In spite of Michael Rosenbaum’s seven season long amazing performance as Superman’s future arch enemy, Lex Luthor, coming to an end with Lex ‘disappearing’, one particular episode of Smallville’s eighth season teased fans with the cliffhanger that not only was Lex still alive…but he was watching our heroes from afar. Unfortunately, not only was the characters return not under the brilliant performance of Michael, but Lex’s role in the season seemed rushed and ultimately when it came to its conclusion…seemed pointless. I want Lex Luthor to return with Michael Rosenbaum and for the character to play a more significant role than he did last year. In addition to some potentially great scenes with Cassidy Freeman (whose character took over Lex’s business), should this be the shows final season, an appearance by Rosenbaum would be most appropriate.

2. BruceWayne/Batman
For years fans have asked when will the young Man of Steel meet the young Dark Knight? Each time the same answer has been given: Warner Bros. wants to keep the film and television adaptations of their superheroes separate…thus there is a restriction on being able to use Batman. I’m sorry, but the fact that Superman Returns can exist while a young Superman television series is airing makes that argument the most hypocritical answer to give. DC Comics and Warner Bros. must take us for morons, as we are quite capable of being able to distinguish the differences between the film and television adaptations. This excuse will not fly anymore in my books. Friend and fellow Smallville fan Cody (CaptainJackHarkness4) brought up the fact that they could have Bruce Wayne arrive to make a business deal with fellow billionaire Oliver Queen. The opportunity is there! The ratings would skyrocket! The chance to have one of few (if not the only?) live action meeting between two of the greatest comic book heroes is there! I want to see two allies who fight for the same thing, but take vastly different approaches to it through different motivations, meet for what would make an amazing episode of Smallville.

1. Clark To Enjoy Himself, Not To Be Moody, and Progress Further
Clark is always blaming himself for everything that goes wrong on the show, even the things obviously out of his control. I want this to stop. It was normal and expected at first, however after at least three seasons of it, I want to see Clark accept that things go bad and try to make it better rather than blame himself for it. That’s the inspiring Man of Steel that should be developing. Clark used to laugh, hang out with friends, and even joke around. While I understand that as he grows older and his destiny approaches faster and faster, more responsibility and harder times are unavoidable, time should still be made for fun. Let Clark enjoy himself and laugh instead of ALWAYS worrying or being serious. Finally, don’t regress Clark back to the brooding man he once was. Season 8 was a massive step in the right direction by having him actively fight crime in Metropolis and join the Daily Planet, however the season ended with him taking a huge step backwards. I want him to move forward and for the producers to remember that while all the other characters are great, the main story has always been Clark’s journey TOWARDS being the greatest hero of all time.

After the fiasco that was Smallville’s Season 8 finale, I was somewhat bitter towards my favourite show letting me down. Hopefully Smallville season 9 will fulfill at least some of my wishes and get itself back on my good side. As new announcements and footage are sure to follow Comic Con 09, I cautiously look forward to the ninth Season.

Bonus: I hope this will be the final season. Smallville has reached its peak, with most DC Comics characters having a strong presence in the series and most of the action taking place in Metropolis…there’s not much left for Clark to do before he becomes Superman. Knowing ahead of time that this will be the last year for the show will allow the producers to plan ahead and properly wrap up all the storylines instead of rushing at the last minute and making a huge mess of things. Giving the loyal fans the conclusion they’ve been waiting for.

Also, Cassidy Freeman in less clothing next year would be nice as well;)

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" Review

In the summer of 2007, executive producer Steven Spielberg and Director Michael ‘Bad Boys’ Bay teamed up to bring the infamous Hasbro toy line and animated series to life on the big screen. Fans who grew up with the toys, and watching the animated cartoon were excited. But their anticipation began to transform into worry as concept designs for the robots differed significantly from the original source material. I remember that night, two years ago, when I sat down with my bucket of popcorn and soft drink. Transformers was finally on the big screen.

The reactions were extremely divided and for many different reasons. Some loved it, some hated it. Some said it was unfaithful to the animated series. Some said it was tons of fun. The division of opinions was clear and in spite of huge box office success, Transformers earned alot of criticism from audiences and critics alike.

Most of the complaints revolved around a formulaic plot, stock characters, stereotypes, too many lame and immature ‘jokes’, Megan Fox being nothing but the films eye candy, and not enough focus on character and story in place of CGI and action. So what did Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen do to improve on this? They pretty much kept a similar plot, more stock characters and even bigger stereotypes, while slightly less abundant…stuck with the immature humor, overly shoved the fact that Megan Fox is hot is the audiences faces, and gave us even more CGI action.

Transformers, and its sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, are visibly flawed. Any complaints about a paper thin plot and underdeveloped characters can’t be argued. However the Transformers live action film franchise is alot like a porno. The story and people in it, are secondary to the visuals. You can fast forward through the nonsense, and get right to the action, which let’s face it, is what most people who like the films want to see. The frequent argument used is ‘what do you expect from a film based on toys?’ I myself am guilty of using this argument, however upon further consideration, films like The Dark Knight, Iron Man, and even Tropic Thunder last year proved that high concept material can be respectable filmmaking. So why do I like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen?

Plot: The war between the noble Autobots and the evil Decepticons continues as Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Disturbia) begins college. However his attempts to live a normal life are complicated when a shard of the All-Spark infects him with alien information that the Decepticons, and their resurrected leader Megatron (Hugo Weaving, The Matrix), seek in order to find the location of the Sun Harvester. As Sam and his girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People) race to find the Sun Harvester, the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen, Transformers), join forces with the U.S military to stop the Decepticons and the arrival of their revenge seeking master known as: The Fallen.

The film basically uses the same used in the first instalment of the franchise. Shia LaBeouf’s character still holds the key to finding what the Transformers are looking for. And what exactly can this mysterious object do? You guessed it. Destroy the world. You’re definitely not watching this for a unique and inspired story. The idea of one ordinary person having the key to saving the world has been done all too many times before. Screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman aren’t incompetent writers. They’ve written for successful shows such as Fringe and Alias and recently penned the pretty damn good Star Trek reboot. So what the fuck? Maybe the thin plot could have be forgiven had the characters been explored a little more. What motivates them? What lessons are they going to learn? How is this experience going to make them grow? Luke Skywalker grew over the course of three films from the wide eyed adventurous dreamer into a noble Jedi Master. The Joker was motivated by the essence of chaos and a twisted need to prove the world is as deranged as he is. Simba learned the value of his role in the Pride Lands and not to run away from his problems.

The problems Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen faces is that it introducea little elements to the plot that COULD give the characters more dimension to them, but they aren’t developed enough for us to care, or are quickly discarded and never brought up again. One such example is the Sam and Mikaela relationship. They spend the film trying to get the other person to say those powerful four words first, and while I won’t spoil whether or not one of them does say it, by the time it does or doesn’t happen, you don’t care. Aside from the fact that only about three scenes are dedicated to this ‘sub-plot’, the relationship between the two characters isn’t explored enough. Megan Fox, bless her heart, is pretty much there to be the eye candy once again and her character essentially tags along for the journey. There are no moments in between the explosions and running where we get to see what’s so strong about their relationship. What’s good about it? What’s wrong? Are they in love? What have they gone through (Though Sam does bring up the notion that they DID discover an alien race together)? Another notable example is how Sam’s father learns to let go of his son and allow him to become his own man…which would have had some impact had not only this plot been introduced at all…but also if the parents hadn’t disappeared for a majority of the film.

However the biggest story element Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen misses out on is the revenge of The Fallen himself! Intended to be this dark and dangerous threat to mankind, you never get a sense of danger from this villain. He’s barely in the film long enough to make his final confrontation with Optimus Prime all that engaging. Take the final battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi. Aside from the Galaxy being at stake, there was a personal element to that battle, with Luke trying to redeem the soul of his fallen father. Here, the revenge isn’t felt at all. It’s a simple as The Fallen wanted to destroy the world and the good guys didn’t let him…so after many years he’s finally able to exact his revenge and give world destruction another shot. It’s been done. It’s not deep enough to make you care much for the villain. Two-Face in The Dark Knight, was a character with whom we understood his vengeful motivations. The motivation driving The Fallen isn’t explored in any more depth than a two dimensional cliché villain. The character whose revenge is felt is probably Megatron after the events of the third film, however while being given more screen time than The Fallen, he becomes more of a servant than the main threat. That’s the main complaint I have about the characters exploration in this film. The characters are likeable or evil. You can root for them, but you never get deep into who they are.

In addition to the thin plot and failed attempts to flesh out the characters, the dialogue goes back to the immature jokes and exposition. Interestingly, most reviews I’ve read complain about how Michael Bay has increased the number of lame jokes in the sequel. However I felt they kind of toned it down in terms of quantity. Sure, there’s a shot of a robots balls and a ‘suck my popsicle’ visual gag, but when compared to the amount of jokes the first film had I felt Michael Bay learned his lesson on that note this time around. That said I did laugh quite a bit in the original instalment, while this time around I didn’t laugh quite as much as I feel I was intended to. The dialogue still needs work. When it comes to explaining the storyline, it still feels like I’m sitting in a classroom getting a textbook lecture instead of inspired insight. The mythology of the film could’ve been interesting. The notion of aliens visiting ancient civilizations and playing a significant role in the formation of various structures has been a theory I’m interested in and to some extent, believe is possible. However as with most elements of the film, it’s not explored any further than a brief mention.

As I mentioned before, the characters, in spite of their lack of depth, are likable. It’s not that there’s nothing to them, it’s more that there’s not much else added to them. That said, they are characters you can cheer and root for, and possibly even relate to. None of the performances are the proverbial ‘Oscar worthy’ ones. However the fact that not much is being asked of most of the actors means there’s not a lot of room for them to fail. Shia LaBoeuf! I love that dude! He plays the everyman extremely well, and while it may to some extent just be him playing himself, that’s what the character was intended to be. A slightly geeky but trying to be normal awkward kid. The relatable elements of him trying to start college, make a long distance relationship between himself and Mikaela work, and just find out who he is without the burden of ‘destiny’ make him a character you can easily access and therefore someone you enjoy going on this journey with. Shia also has alot of emotions to deal with from fear, to sadness, to heroism. Again, nothing spectacular here, but Shia does balance everything out well while remaining the likeable hero of the story. One scene in particular where Sam admits to having screwed up by ignoring his destiny was actually quite moving and a rare moment in between the CGI action fests where some depth was added to the characters.

As I said early Megan Fox is pretty much there to look hot. The film doesn’t try to hide this fact, from the first shot we see of her being with her ass in the air to the fact that after an intense battle in the middle of the desert, her make-up and white as snow jeans are still intact and she remains unscathed. It’s annoying just how much they try to tell us how attractive Megan Fox is, but nevertheless in spite of her character not doing much besides tagging along Megan Fox gives a good performance. Her chemistry with Shia LaBoeuf is quite good and the two actually make a good and convincing couple. New to the franchise is Ramón Rodríguez as Leo Spitz, Sam’s conspiracy believing college roommate. A human source of comic relief, while the writing leaves him the predictable scared and whiney sidekick to Shia’s confident and brave hero, Rodríguez actually has a strong screen presence and his character does deliver some good laughs.

Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson reprise their roles as Major William Lennox and Robert Epps, respectively. While their screen time is a bit smaller than the previous film, the two are actually amongst my favorite characters in the film. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but the characters were likable and seeing them side by side supporting the Autobots made them very likeable characters. Jon Turturro returns as well and his characters over the top antics have been toned down significantly, making him much more accessible. His one liners are still there, but the performance is much more relaxed, making them work as opposed to being irritating. This time he’s a character you enjoy watching and root for. Kevin Dunn and Julie White are back as the parents and personally, while some of the things they’re given to do are beyond over the top (The mom getting high and running around campus? Really?), their sort of naïve and innocent nature makes them likeable. There’s not really a bad performance in the film which is a testament to how much fun and how into it everyone must have been, as there is plenty of bad dialogue that could’ve hindered the acting in this film.

The real stars of the film are of course the Transformers themselves. While I never watched the original animated series, I always thought it was a stroke of genius for Michael Bay to choose Peter Cullen, who voiced Optimus Prime in the series, to voice Prime once again in this live action adaptation. Not alot of credit goes to voice acting, but Cullen manages to give an excellent performance. His voice is calm and soothing when Prime needs to be the mentor to Sam, and noble and brave when he’s delivering an inspiring speech of wisdom. Prime’s character is truly the hero of this film and Cullen plays the role with such vigor. We’ve seen CGI characters fall completely flat (Jar Jar Binks anyone?), but Prime works so well as a leader and warrior. You can’t help but cheer as Prime tells the enemies he’s fighting “I’ll take you all on!”, and credit must go to Cullen for making us root for a completely digital character.

Even though the rest of the Transformers aren’t exactly as fleshed out, save for Megatron and Bumblebee, they are still cool to see on screen and in action. The hate between Megatron and Starscream is finally explored a little bit in the film, adding some depth to the otherwise black and white evil villains. Bumblebee is back to talking through the radio, but personally that made his character rather interesting and made him more of a loyal pet of sorts. It works for the whole guardian/boy relationship Bumblebee and Sam have. A lot of heat has been on the twin Autobot characters, Mudflap and Skids, for being racist stereotypes. The fact is that yes, they are the cliché ‘gangsta’ characters saying things like ‘busting caps’ in peoples asses and one even has a gold tooth. That said, there was only really one scene where I thought that stereotype was overplayed. Even then I saw no real malice intended with the characters. They were there for comic relief, and while I can see why some might be offended, they’re presence on screen isn’t shoved in your face all that much. They do offer some laughs, although no so much for the writing as much as for the ‘did they really just say that?’ factor. Even then however, they’re not like Jar Jar Binks, where a joke is made by them every 20 seconds. I found their screen time to be fairly even.

One of the strongest parts of the original film was the score. Composed by Steve Jablonsky, the score for this film has the same epic feel to it that the original had. It has a very grand, John Williams type of feel to it. The heroic themes compliment the presence of Optimus Prime perfectly, almost like a march for a king. While the film itself keeps the same tone as the first, the score goes a little darker this time around. There are eerie themes that recur throughout the film that add to the villainy of characters like Megatron and The Fallen. One of the coolest moments for the score comes from Jablonsky incredibly creating an instrumental version of Linkin Park’s new song for the film “New Divide” that becomes one of the most heroic portions of the music. Jablonsky knows how to use his score well to compliment the film. You have amazing cues that add to atmosphere such as when we first see Optimus Prime or when The Fallen makes his return to earth. The score doesn’t create the mood, it adds to it. It’s like watching a hockey game. The game itself is already engaging and exciting, but the music, the cheering of the crowd, elevates the mood to higher levels. The Action is the game, Jablonsky’s music is the mood raiser that leaves the audience pumped and full of energy.

There’s no denying that when it comes to character and story, Michael Bay needs some work. Had he directed The Wrestler, chances are it would have actually been about the wrestling and not the person. However he is one of the best action directors out there in my opinion. The action sequences in this film are much easier to follow this time around and the overall creativity behind them is top notch. You’re engaged in these sequences like a roller coaster ride. It’s loud, it’s noisy, and it’s tons of fun. Like The Dark Knight almost a year ago, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen uses IMAX technology to give the audience a bigger cinematic experience. There are two key sequences that utilize the IMAX cameras, allowing the entire 53 foot screen to fill entirely with giant fighting robots. While it was pretty dam cool to see this, I feel they didn’t use this awesome technology to its full potential. Aside from there being only two sequences in a 150 minute long film that used this technology, the action is still a little too fast to fully appreciate the experience compared to the longer, higher, and slower shots used in The Dark Knight. Still, while not entirely what I expected, it was awesome. Then of course there is the CGI work in the film. Top notch without a doubt. There’s a lot of attention given to detail on how these real cars actually become robots, as well as focus on rust, dirt, and other details that add a level of realism to this high concept film. You’re jaw does drop numerous times during this film at the visually stunning shots in the film. There isn’t a single CGI entity in the film that looks out of place, kudos to the visual effects team. Next year's “Best Visual Effects” Oscar should be locked, unless another Pepsi commercial leveled CGI film comes out this year.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is far from a perfect film, it may not even be good film. It is however, an extremely entertaining one. Those who hated or loved the first one are likely to have the same feelings towards this sequel. If you couldn’t overlook the weaknesses of the first film in favor of its strengths than you should avoid as you more than likely will already. The story and characters lack depth, but they’re not without their ability to be engaging and likable. Thatm and the fact that the action is fun and the visuals are awe inspiring make this film a solid flick. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is like going to a party with friends after a long week of work. You’re not going to talk serious, wonder what the meaning of life is, or solve any of the world’s problems…but you are going to have a good, fun time, have some laughs, and enjoy yourself.

Final Rating: 7/10-See It!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Top Ten Films That Left An Impact On My Life

Life is an interesting thing. Many have pondered over several years whether we shape our own destiny or if we have a predetermined plan for ourselves. An unavoidable fate, if you will. For the longest time I was a firm believer that we choose our own fate. There was no predetermined plan, be it by some divine being or another spiritual intervention. Then, as I grew older I began to ponder and even consider the possibility that our futures are, for the grander part, out of our control.

Now I find myself delving into a new theory. It’s strange and in some ways humorous how when I had no clue what I wanted, and if I did, how to get it, life seemed so simple. It was fun. I was, to put it in possibly understandable terms, Forrest Gump. Innocent and living life, not really understanding what I was getting involved, in but sure as hell enjoying the ride while it lasted. Now, in a somewhat ironic joke, as I find myself being more certain than ever of what I want, life seems to be throwing more obstacles my way.

You might be thinking ‘Hey, C-Rav (or whatever you might call me), what’s all this pondering got to do with the title of this blog entry?’ Good question. As I was thinking about life, the idea of film came into my mind. As a major fan of all sorts of film, it’s safe to say this medium has had some influence of my life. In fact, a career involving film is just one many aspirations I have. This got me to thinking about what films over my lifetime have had some impact or influence on my life.

Now, with the great foresight I have, I can tell some may look at these films and potentially wonder what exactly these films could possibly have done to me. They may not all be revolutionary, and the affect may not have been the intended one, however I can’t put it any other way other than: These are films that impacted ME. And I shall try my very best to explain how.

10. Follow That Bird
Directed by: Ken Kwapis

Plot: The Sesame Street gang stars in their first feature film as Big Bird finds himself being sent to live with a family of Dodo’s thanks to the meddling of a social worker. However Big Bird finds himself a mess and homesick and sets off on foot on a journey back to Sesame Street, encountering several characters and adventures while his friends search for him.
Hardly a revolutionary, or even culturally significant film…save for the Sesame Street connection, which itself has become one of children’s programming’s most significant series’. However Sesame Street and its classic and lovable characters dominated the greater part of my childhood. From books to toys, the series was easily a significant part of my childhood. While there were other things I was into as a young boy, Sesame Street definitely took the top honor. In fact, several of the stuffed animals and toys I owned still reside in the storage room of the basement, a keepsake of simpler times.

So it should be no surprise that the first feature film starring the infamous Muppet characters had a large impact on my life, the childhood portion at least. I can only really rely on my parents for this information, as my memory is somewhat foggy, however they attribute many of my early learning skills, such as spelling, vowels, and numbers, and to some extent, life lessons, to Sesame Street. Not a far stretch seeing as this is was one of the series’ intentions and it did in fact, deal with several serious life issues: including death. While the film itself didn’t focus tremendously on this, it did have the important message of home and family. Big Bird leaves to be with his ‘own kind’, yet learns that it’s with the family he’s always known and loved that his home and heart truly belongs. A message that as an adopted child I can easily take something from.

Random Fact: Cookie Monster was, and remains to this day, my favorite Sesame Street character.

9. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore & Peter Coyote.

Plot: E.T tells the story of Elliott, a lonely boy who befriends a friendly extra-terrestrial named "E.T.", who is stranded on Earth after being accidently left behind by his family. Elliott and his siblings help the extraterrestrial return home while attempting to keep it hidden from their mother and the government agents searching for “E.T”.
One of the first films I can remember seeing as a child, E.T 's story is one I can relate with. Firstly, with Elliot, as a young and shy boy who wasn’t always interested in what the other children were into, I could relate to Elliot’s loneliness and yearning for a friend. Inspired by director Steven Spielberg’s own desire to create an imaginary friend following the divorce of his parents as a child, the film also allowed me to relate to E.T. An unusual and out of his place creature, E.T was born in a different world and suddenly thrust into a new one where he was, simply put…different. As with Elliot, I could relate to E.T’s ‘fish out of water’ situation for a vast majority of my life. In fact, to this day I still somewhat feel out of place with my family and friends from time to time.

E.T also taught me something that to this day, while still not an easy thing to deal with, I was prepared for thanks to this in film to some degree. Sacrifice. Elliot is forced to let his best friend go, and in doing so has grown from the boy he once was. While there are still those friends who will stick around forever, many of have come and gone in my life and some under rather dramatic circumstances. While I can’t attribute the film entirely to this, some of the credit towards me being able to deal and accept one of life’s unfortunate inevitabilities must go to this film.

From relatable characters, an important message, and even having the one scene that to this day still gives me chills, E.T definitely deserved a spot on this list.

Random Fact: A photograph of me as an infant surrounded by several stuffed animals, including an E.T one, resides in this household and is not unlike the scene in which E.T himself hides from Elliot’s mother by surrounding himself in sea of stuffed animals.

8. King Kong (1933)
Directed By:
Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack
Starring: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong & BruceCabot

Plot: Film director Carl Denham finds himself unable to find an actress to star in his latest picture, but chances upon the unemployed Ann Darrow. Hesitant, but finding herself with nothing to lose, Darrow agrees and sets sail with Denham aboard the Venture, a vessel headed for Indonesia, where Denham claims the film will shoot. As the ship heads towards its destination, first mate Jack Driscoll becomes increasingly attracted to Ann and a romance begins to grow. Little does anyone realize that their journey will bring them to a lost, prehistoric island where they will encounter a giant gorilla named “Kong”.
As far as what kind of impact this film had on me, it was simply a film related one. As a young and headstrong child, I had this ridiculous notion that all ‘old films’ sucked. I can’t quite say why I felt that. I was a kid, so I was an idiot for starters, but perhaps the lack of realistic effects and grainy footage put me off older and classic films for the longest time. King Kong was the first one I really watched in my older years, and it changed my perception forever.

It introduced me to the origins of CGI visual effects. Before computers, stop motion animation was the state of the art tool used to bring the imaginations of filmmakers to life. It may not look entirely real compared to today’s standards, however it was fantastic for its time and to be fair, is some quite impressive work even today. It also presented a fresh and original story. A simple one, but as we all know the story of King Kong has become a classic in film history. Essentially my first look into old fashioned filmmaking and the beginning of special effects, it also was a highly influential film, prompting myself to attempt this technique several times with my own short films.

Random Fact: After viewing this film, I had convinced myself that this was the type of special effects wizardry that I was capable of doing with my limited resources and developed an idea for a Jurassic Park remake using this form of visual effects to create the dinosaurs. To date this idea is unrealized.

7. Bowling For Columbine
Directed By: Michael Moore

Plot: Filmmaker Michael Moore takes a look at the tragic Columbine High School massacre and other acts of violence with guns and the nature of violence in the United States. Through meetings with several notable individuals such South Park co-creator Matt Stone, the National Rifle Association's then-president Charlton Heston, and musician Marilyn Manson – he seeks to explain why the Columbine massacre occurred and why the United States has a high violent crime rate. Probably the most overplayed documentary, if not FILM in general, during my High school and college years, Bowling for Columbine was probably my first look into a non-nature related documentary. Being relatively young at the time, I had no real concept of what the Columbine massacre was. To be honest, this was my first look into the tragic event. It was also a very insightful film, providing me with information and facts that I must admit, were new to me at the time.

It also left a lasting impression on me. This may sound a little too profound, but it did give me a much darker look at humanity. I was only 14 at the time, very little negativity was really on my mind…at least concerning world events. Bowling for Columbine really introduced to me the atrocities that man is capable of doing to one another. In some sense, one could say that it was the beginning of me learning that the world for the most part is, unfortunately, a rather scary and dangerous place.

Random Fact: I first saw Bowling for Columbine in the 8th grade at Beaconsfield High School, in a Wood Tec. class.

6. Brokeback Mountain
Directed by: Ang Lee
Starring: Heath 'King' Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Randy Quaid, Anne Hathaway & Michelle Williams.

Plot: Brokeback Mountain depicts the complex relationship over 18 years between Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist, two young Americans in the west who meet and fall in love while herding sheep on the fictional Brokeback Mountain.
I feel as though I have to apologize before continuing this portion of the list. Some of the things I say here may be misconstrued and may give one the wrong idea about me. At first, I am ashamed to admit that I was one of many who was quick to dismiss this film as ‘the gay cowboy movie’. I wasn’t, nor am I to this day, homophobic. If I have to credit myself with anything it’s that I’m not a hateful person based on race, sexual orientation, gender or religious beliefs. However the subject matter of this film was something I found myself being apprehensive about. In spite of the buzz, many were ridiculed for seeing and even liking this film. I can remember jokes about the film being made constantly in high school, and in some way I think conformity hit me and I let my apprehensiveness get the better of me.

Following the tragic and untimely death of what I now recognize as one films greatest actors, Heath ‘King’ Ledger, I found myself needing to see this film given the amount of praise the late actor received for his role in the film. I regret ever feeling the way I did to this day. Brokeback Mountain is an incredible film. I let the label it had convince me it was propaganda, or a ‘gay’ film. Yet it wasn’t that at all. It was a great love story that any one, be they heterosexual or homosexual, could understand or even relate to.

While I generally never was a conformist, I did tend to go with the flow now and then. This film, for better or worse, kind of helped put an end to that. However, more importantly, it made me get over my insecurities regarding the subject matter. While I have absolutely no problem with homosexual relationships in any way shape or form, I was uncomfortable with the idea of seeing that on screen in such a way that had been drilled into my mind by the media and general reaction. I’m proud to say finally seeing the film helped me get over that unfortunate flaw I’m sad to say I had.

Random Fact: It took me two tries to get through Brokeback Mountain, as the first time got bored and turned it off.

5. Star Wars or Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Directed by: George Lucas
Starring: Alec Guiness, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing & James Earl Jones.

Plot: Set a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars tells the story of the Rebel Alliance, an organization of freedom fighters dedicated to overthrowing the oppressive Galactic Empire. At the center of the story is Luke Skywalker, a farm boy from the dessert planet of Tatooine who longs for a greater purpose and adventure in his life, who finds himself in possession of two droids who carry the plans for the Empire’s ultimate weapon: The Death Star. With vital information to the rebellions efforts to destroy the Death Star now in his hands, Luke is thrown into the role of a hero as he must accompany wise Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi on a quest to rescue rebel leader Princess Leia, deliver the plans to the rebels, and destroy the Death Star…unless they are stopped by Empires most feared agent, second only to the emperor himself: Darth Vader. Aside from being on the greatest and most imaginative films of all time, Star Wars allowed for a lot of family bonding here. However, it did capture my imagination a great deal. George Lucas took several archetypes and molded them into the iconic characters and creatures of the Star Wars universe we know today, such as Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, R2-D2, C-3PO, Chewbacca, Han Solo, and many more. Mix that with a classic story of good versus evil and revolutionary special effects and Star Wars couldn’t help but captivate from beginning to end.

However more importantly, upon its release in 1977, this space opera became what I commonly refer to as ‘My Dad’s TDK’. Like many in that time, he was absolutely blown away by the film. Sure, the story of a simple peasant, guided by a wise wizard to rescue a princess from unspeakable tyrannical evil had been done before. However George Lucas created a whole new and never before seen universe, a world that to this day remains in the conscious of the general public. And so, Star Wars became a favorite franchise of my father and upon having children of his own, shared the film them. Not only did this experience introduce me to a wonderful film, it also allowed for some bonding to be had between my father and I.

My two brothers are the ones interested in what some might call ‘manly stuff’. Cars, electronics, tools, and all that. So, naturally my father could connect with them easily. While I do have an interest in those things and can more than hold my own with the best of them, I was always more interested film and related subjects. While my brothers were reading car magazines, I was reading about what films would be released, or Steven Spielberg’s biography novel. Star Wars offered a common interest that my father and I could share. In all honesty, while I do love my father and he me, it’s one of the few things we can share equally. To this day, Star Wars remains one of few, if not the only, series of films my entire family enjoys and can watch together. And occasionally, we all take that trip together to a galaxy far, far, away.

Random Fact: While Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was the first Star Wars film I saw, I didn’t get heavily into the series until my father took the family to see Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 1999.

4. It’s A Wonderful Life
Directed By: Frank Capra
Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, & Henry Travers

Plot: The film tells the story of George Bailey, a man who has sacrificed many hopes and dreams for the better of the community of Bedford Falls. However, a life devastating disaster drives George too take his own life, but not before the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence who shows George the influence his life has had and how many lives he’s touched.
This timeless classic is one I must admit I’ve only begun watching every Christmas Eve in the last 5 years or so. There really isn’t much to say on this besides its inspiring story reminds me of one of life’s greatest truths: Every single life on this earth matters.

Time and time again, I wonder if I’ve made, or will make, any considerable difference in the world. The inevitable question of “do I matter?” always comes up once in awhile. Sometimes it’s hard to tell myself that I’ve made a difference. That I’m important. However, this film always reminds me that while we may not change the world, or become famous and rich…sometimes the smallest actions can have the biggest ramifications. I couldn’t tell you if I’ve made an important difference in someone’s life. I’ve been told I have by a few, and yet sometimes I wonder if that was ever true. I can’t tell you if I will make a difference, big or small, to someone close, or to the world. But because of this film, I can look and tell myself that I probably have, without ever even realizing it. The film, for lack of a better explanation, taught me that we are all important.

Random Fact: Unfortunately, Christmas 08 was the first since the tradition started that the film was NOT watched on Christmas Eve, as my parents were at a party that night and me and my brothers watched several classic Christmas specials on DVD.

3. The Dark Knight
Directed by:
Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Cain, Heath ‘King’ Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman, Maggie Gyllenhaal & Morgan Freeman

Plot: The 2008 sequel to Batman Begins, The Dark Knight follows the unusual partnership of Bruce Wayne/Batman, Commissioner James Gordon, and District Attorney Harvey Dent in their war against crime in Gotham. The effort to dismantle the remaining criminal organizations that plague the city streets proves effective, but they soon find themselves prey to a reign of chaos unleashed by a rising criminal mastermind known to the terrified citizens of Gotham as The Joker. Stop rolling your eyes. This is in my opinion, as many of you know by now, a complete and utter masterpiece from start to finish. So this should be no surprise to see this on my list, and this high nonetheless. So not only does it have the ‘greatest film ever made’ title going for it as far as how much its impacted my life…there’s more to it…

“You Either Die A Hero, or You Live Long Enough to See Yourself Become the Villain.”
Batman makes the choice to take the blame for Harvey Two-Face’s crimes in order to ensure that the criminals he imprisoned aren’t released and that the city will remain optimistic, hopeful. As a result, he is forced to allow Harvey to die a hero in the public eye, and lives to see himself become public enemy number one. Essentially, he makes things worse for himself so that things can be better for everyone else.

I’ve found myself in situations like this a few times. Where one decision I made would be more beneficial to myself, give me what I need or wanted, keep me safe, ensure stability. However the other option, while generally more beneficial for others…hinders my desires. This quote gets me thinking about how we generally are screwed. We can be noble, but chances are we will suffer for it. Or we can be selfish, and get what we want but ultimately lose ourselves.

An incident involving my mother, which I’d rather not get into much detail about, forced me take action. It was a decision that lead to the worst night of my entire life. No, there was no beating or physical violence involved. It was just…awful. The choice I made was more beneficial to me, to be quite honest. Well, in my defence, it was also beneficial for everyone involved, but I must admit I was thinking of myself in that case as there was long history attached to this incident that I didn’t want to see repeated. This was a disaster. And while I was physically unharmed, to this day I still remember that night and the things that were said. They still resonate with me. I tried to do the right thing, and suffered for it. That night I died a hero.

Without getting into too much detail, another situation I found myself in, I had to pick whether or not I would reveal information…potentially making a bad situation worse. I chose not to, for the better of everyone involved. In doing so I didn’t help my own cause, and was painted as the scoundrel of the situation. I lived long enough to see myself become the villain.

“The Only Sensible Way To Live In This World Is Without Rules.”
It’s more fun to be bad. Let’s admit that. That’s not to say there are some moral grounds on which I’m proud to say I stand by. Cheating. Murder. Robbery. Assault. Just one of a few ‘bad’ things that I personally believe to be wrong. However the little ‘bad stuff’ is always fun. I’m the kid who skipped classes and created an elaborate cover stories involving getting lost in the city. I’m the kid who, with the help of a friend, convinced my entire high school that they could get free burgers at the cafeteria, creating mass chaos. The list is rather endless to be fair.

This quote got me thinking about how structure and order are constantly being broken. And as a result, more enjoyment, more thrill is found than in following the safe and sound ‘rules’ of society. I remember having a debate with someone over this ideology. My opponent’s argument was that rules keep us in line. Without them we’d be as savage and dangerous as ‘jungle people.’ This puzzled me. Those not bound by rules and conventions of western civilization are, from what I gather more free and prosperous. They aren’t bound by politics and judgements. They thrive on life and spirituality. Not oppression and religion. It makes me realize, that being bound and restricted only traps us. Some things need to be broken, bent, and explored. Again, I stick to my previously mentioned idea that some things absolutely are wrong, but perhaps…there a few little things that don’t need to keep us in line. For lack of a better explanation: Maybe the world needs to thrive on chaos.

“You See Madness, As You Know, Is Like…Gravity….All It Takes, Is A Little Push!”
How much can we take before we ultimately snap? It’s easy enough to label Harvey Two-Face a villain for his actions. In fact, I would agree that his deeds were wrong. However when you take a better look at his reasoning’s…what drove him…perhaps The Joker is right.

There’s an old idea that evil resides in all of us in some capacity. That all it takes is one event, one tragic circumstance to cause an individual to, simply put, snap. The Joker proved this to be true. Harvey Dent was not only horribly disfigured, but he lost the love of his life. His entire world. He had one bad day.

How many of us can say that after being wronged or losing something special to us, that we wouldn’t lose our minds. Try to rectify the situation. Take revenge, or as we may see it: justice. Emotions are powerful tools. They can drive us to do crazy and potentially dangerous things. Sadly, I can’t say that I wouldn’t react unlike Harvey Two-Face. Because I have.

No, I haven’t killed anyone, nor have I threatened to kill anyone. However, following some incidents where I was essentially pushed too far, vengeful desires and actions were taken. No one was hurt in anyway shape or form…maybe myself. But the truth remains: I was sent down an abyss that thankfully didn’t last long or have any permanent damaging ramifications. Except perhaps for myself, as I said.

It just makes me realize that there is a hint of evil in us all, and while we may be able to contain and control it…there could always be that one thing, that single situation, that could drive to take dark actions we could regret for the rest of our lives.

All it takes is a little push.

“You thought we could be decent men, in an indecent time! But You Were Wrong. The World Is Cruel. And The Only Morality In a Cruel World, Is Chance. Unbiased. Unprejudiced. Far.”
Probably my favourite quote in the entire film. It says so much in just those few sentences.

We can thrive to be good people. We can work our best and have the best intentions. We all have faults, and we can aspire to be better people. We can be good. But sadly…the world sucks. Evil, bad people, douchebags…they seem to always come up on top. History has shown that the good can prevail, but ultimately evil will likely have already achieved its nefarious goals. Take a look at the rise and fall of Hitler. Sure we came out on top, but the damage had already been done. Murder on the highest level possible was committed. Nothing could take that back. Sadly, I’ve come to believe that the good people, the ones trying to better and improve things are going to be stomped by the evil. We can try to get what we want. We can have the best intentions possible…but we’re going to fall short against those willing to make things worse to get what they want. Nice guys finish last. Evil often prevails.

Harvey Two-Face’s reckoning of morality is, in a warped sense, correct. Is it morality if the model citizen gets a nice paycheck while a man who committed a small crime is labelled forever and unable to find employment? Is it morality if the bully who teases an innocent child gets away with it because he is more powerful and intimidating? No. Life is based on what benefits and what cards are dealt to us. We have to do the best with what we have. But how can we all be equal if we’re not given the same resources and opportunities. How can that possibly be considered fair?

Fairness comes only from chance sadly. We’re not likely to all get equal treatment and chances to get the things we want. Therefore, the only thing we can rely on chance. It doesn’t choose based on how strong we are. How good looking we are. How rich we are. Our personalities. It’s random. No one has an advantage over the other. The is no upper edge for one and dead end for another. That’s the only morality in the world. Chance is fair.

“He Wanted To Prove That Even Someone, As Good As You…Could Fall.”
“And He Was Right.”

There really isn’t much to say on this one. I suppose some optimistic side of me felt that there were those out there who could overcome any dark temptations. I was a firm believer that not everyone could turn to the dark side. However, a few years worth of experience has shown me that is not the case. Everyone has the ability to give into the dark temptations. We can set out with the best intentions possible. We can have no desire to hurt anyone. We can have no need to do wrong. And yet, I’ve seen friends become enemies. I’ve seen good things go bad. I’ve seen good people turn into monsters.

The sad truth with is: Even the best of us can fall.

“Why’s He Running Dad?”
“Because We Have To Chase Him.”
“He Didn’t Do Anything Wrong.”

I couldn’t possibly find a better quote to end this The Dark Knight portion of the entry on. It essentially sums up everything perfectly. Batman didn’t do anything wrong, and yet he’s fucked. How many of us can look at a bad situation where we were royal screwed…but we can safely and assuredly say we didn’t do anything wrong?

From making choices that could paint us as heroes or villains, to breaking conventions and rules, to falling down a dark abyss, to the unfairness of life and the world in general, to good people falling from grace….in any situation most people can say they never intend for wrong doings to occur. Yet, they do. It’s a sad fact of life. Sometimes we just have to accept that these things happen. Sometimes we just have to take the punches and roll through. Unfortunately that’s easier said than done.

Especially when you know you didn’t do anything wrong.

The Dark Knight at first was a film that to me, represented society’s response to terrorism and villainy in general. How far do we go to stop those who threaten us without becoming the very thing we vow to destroy? However, after a close inspection of this genius work of filmmaking, The Dark Knight offers a much more personal look at life in general. A bleak one at that, but a true one. Sure, The Joker has been defeated by the end of the film, but as with Hitler, the damage has already been done. Rachel Dawes has been killed. Harvey Dent snapped and went on a rampage to justify the wrongs made against him. And Batman, having lost everything, took the burden all for the better of the city. He hoped on his batpod, and drove off into the night. All of us are capable of being Rachel’s, or Harvey’s, or Batman’s. Hell, even Joker’s. All of us are capable of being royally screwed.

All this to say, aside from becoming the greatest film of all time to me, it also serves as a reflection and reconsideration of my beliefs and views on the world these days. The Dark Knight’s messages and philosophies are ones I’m finding myself agreeing with more and more.

Random Fact: A ‘Which The Dark Knight Character Are You?’ test revealed me to be The Joker.

2. Schindler’s List
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall & Embeth Davidtz

Plot: Schindler’s List tells the story Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of more than a thousand Polish Jewish refugees during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories.
My mother is a huge history buff. Particularly the World War II and Holocaust era. It probably stems from having relatives who served in wars, and relatives who were killed for hiding Jews during the Holocaust. She has, to her best efforts, attempted to pass this history and knowledge of these horrific events on to her children. I first watched Schindler’s List at around the age of 13 or 14. What a lasting impression.

First and foremost, it was shocking. Seeing these atrocities towards man portrayed on screen was chilling to a degree I can’t even explain. In fact, aside from in entertaining forms such as in Robocop or Terminator, Schindler’s List was quite possibly my first witness of a murder on screen (not real of course). A cold and violent act done not for thrills, but to depict the brutal reality of the time. That stuck with me. One such scene involved the one armed factory worker who, as the rest of Schindler’s workers shoveled snow off the streets, is pulled aside due to his disability and shot in cold blood. Spielberg then cuts to a close up of the old man’s head as the blood pours out of his skull. For some reason, that scene bothered me. It stuck with me. I was shaken by it, possibly because of how the Nazi officers in that scene seem to take absolute pleasure in their actions. It was certainly one of the lasting images the film left me. In fact, to this day I still find it uneasy to watch that scene especially.

Additionally, on a more positive note, Schindler’s List showed me what was my first look at a truly inspiring story based entirely on reality. Oskar Schindler initially sets out to profit from the war and the dire situation the Jews were in. He was using them. However over time whilst witnessing these crimes against humanity and with some help from accountant (and eventually friend) Itzhak Stern, Schindler begins to grow and realizes the ability he has to protect these Jews. It’s a rather far cry from my last film discussion where I said darkness pretty much consumes and often prevails in the world. And while I do still believe that, its films…or true stories like this…that remind me that even in the darkest hours there ARE good people out who can rise from the ashes of evil and make the things ok again.

If Bowling for Columbine was one of my first real look at the brutality man is capable of doing, then Schindler’s List was another, and more insightful and impacting, entry into my outlook on the world. As depressing as that sounds, Schindler showed that people are capable of good as well. That any hopeless situation can have a glimmer of hope. Things can be okay. Like the Holocaust itself, Schindler’s List helped me to see not only what unspeakable evil man is capable of, but also the selfless and heroic beings we can be as well.

Random Fact: Liam Neeson is the figure shown standing in front of the real Oskar Schindler’s grave at the end of the film. This fact that was known to me, won me $5 against my brother who insisted otherwise.

1. Jurassic Park
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards, Martin Ferrero, Bob Peck, Samuel L. Jackson & Wayne Knight

Plot: Jurassic Park tells the story of John Hammond, a wealthy visionary, who invites a group of scientists to inspect his newest park prior to its public opening. Little do the guests know that the main attractions of the amusement park are cloned Dinosaurs. However, sabotage sets the dinosaurs loose, and the technicians and visitors attempt to escape the island.
Here’s what I remember: My father, grandfather, and I (At the age of around 4) are getting in the car. The dirt road, my mother holding my brother who is whining because he wants to go as well. We depart. I can only recall the screening room of the theater. The seats, the floor, the walls…a burgundy color. I was sitting in the seat between my father and grandfather. The lights dim, the curtains open. The film begins.

To this day I still remember that film experience.

Jurassic Park was probably not the first film I had ever seen. It was however, without a doubt, the first to leave a lasting impression on me. Aside from being my first movie theater experience (and what a film to have that experience with eh?), it also completely captured my imagination. The Brachiosaurus sequence, in which we get or first good look at a dinosaur, remains to this day my favorite scene in film history. The way the camera reveals the dinosaur…the CGI, which in my opinion still stands strong even against today’s special effects, the brilliant score….just how that entire scene plays out is pure movie magic. Top that off with the amazing ending sequence in which the Tyrannosaurus Rex unintentionally saves the lives of our heroes and triumphantly roars after his victory as the ‘when dinosaurs ruled the earth’ banner falls below in front of him…. Genius!

Needless to say this captured my imagination. It got me into Dinosaurs first and foremost, a fascination that sticks with me to this very day. I got all the Jurassic Park toys and sets, got unrelated Dinosaur toys…everything Dinosaur related. They came a close second if not a slight first to Sesame Street as far as what took over my childhood. My walls were covered with dinosaur designs. I had a dinosaur carpet. The Jurassic Park toys I loved as a kid…some are still in this household…some are still in this room!

It also had an impact on my ambitions. Initially, this film inspired me to want to become a paleontologist. The idea of getting down in the dirt, digging for dinosaurs bones…making new discoveries. Awesome. Then as I got older, Jurassic Park introduced me to the works of Steven Spielberg. This led me to discover greats films, masterpieces, such as E.T, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and of course, Schindler’s List. THAT in itself lead to many more directors, and many more films. Thus, my love for film grew. And now, it’s what I want to do. I want to make films. I want to have my dreams and imaginings realized. I want to create a wonderful world and adventure, or an important story, for audiences. I want to create an experience for people, the same kind that Jurassic Park gave me. Film is my favorite medium. Jurassic Park started that all.

However, more important than how it dominated my childhood, or how it affected my goals and ambitions…Jurassic Park created one my best and earliest memories of me, my father, and my grandfather. Both men of great importance to me. There really isn’t much more to say on that other than I’ll remember that experience forever.

Random Fact: Young Sebastian would try to get his grandfather to properly pronounce the world ‘Tyrannosaurus Rex’, with no such luck.


It’s funny. This was not my intention at all when I started writing this blog entry…all I wanted to do was share the films that had left some impact on my life. In the end I ended up taking a good look at myself. Today, before…potentially the future. It’s interesting, in reflecting on my past…both the good and bad…I don’t know what to make of life at the moment. It’s sporadic. One thing something great, amazing can be thrown your way…and then suddenly, like with Harvey Dent, it can all be taken away. Somehow I think writing this entry has allowed me to somewhat vent and take a look at how I feel about everything in general. Yet interestingly enough, I’m not sure that I have any more solutions that I did before.

It’s funny. In looking back I’ve remembered good times and bad times. In reflecting I’ve taken a lot into consideration. I’ll have to figure everything out one step at a time.

But if one there’s one thing I’ve learned through these films throughout my life, it’s that even though darkness and tragedy plays an unfortunately large role in the world and life, there are lights at the end of the tunnel. There is hope. Magic. Miracles. Good can prevail. I’m not sure how to go about things now, I know where I want them to go, but as I said…one step at a time. I’m going to remain optimistic.

Hopefully the lessons, and feelings, and lasting impression these films have will help me. They’ve lasted this long in my mind, I’m sure they will continue to as well. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed.

Random Fact: And to reveal my new theory on fate and destiny, I think we all have purpose. A reason for being. It’s just up to us as to whether or not we get there.