Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Blazing Saddles Drinking Game

About a month ago I re-watched Blazing Saddles and it was even funnier than I remembered the last time I watched it.  I watched it again last Monday with my brother, and we made a drinking game for it.  I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I thought I'd post it.  It's not incredibly creative (you could do drinking/smoking/cursing for about half the movies out there) , but it's my first, I'll work on it.  I may come up with some more drinking games for other movies, it's pretty enjoyable.

  • Take a drink every time someone says something racist  -  Mel Brooks is pretty equal-opportunity with the slurs and racist jokes, and they're all very funny
  • Drink every time a character takes a drink or lights a cigarette/cigar/pipe/joint
  • Drink every time a character curses
  • Drink every time a character breaks the fourth wall
  • Drink every time Hedley Lamarr loses control  -  He has a tendency to get a little rapturous when he's imagining land-snatching, and he loses his temper when he's challenged
  • Drink every time Lili Von Shtupp says "tired" - This is the marathon drink session during the movie, but it's manageable, especially if you're just doing beer
  • Drink every time someone is shot

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Directors

A while back I figured if I wanted to become a film director I should learn from the best.  So I started compiling a list of the greatest movies ever made, determined to take it on and learn what I could simply through observation.  I quickly developed a love for certain filmmaker's works, and I made a list of my favorite directors, both past and present.  Regardless of whether I ever get into film in any way, I've enjoyed watching these directors' works and analyzing their common themes and styles.

I enjoy making lists, so I thought I'd list all the movies I've seen from my favorite directors and talk about the ones that struck me.  I only list directors of whose movies I've seen at least five, with one exception.

#1 - Alfred Hitchcock

He was astronomically ahead of his time, and was the master of absolute simplicity.

The 39 Steps
The Lady Vanishes
Rebecca - Don't tell me that burning monogrammed pillow wasn't an influence on Citizen Kane.
Rope - Could've been better edited by today's standards, but I love the idea of a single continous take.
Strangers on a Train
Dial M for Murder - Hitchcock's under-appreciated one-setting murder mystery.
Rear Window
To Catch a Thief
The Man Who Knew Too Much
Vertigo - Still the best twist ending to any movie I've ever seen.  Absolutely haunting.
North by Northwest
Psycho - Simplicity doesn't get better than this.
The Birds

#2 - Stanley Kubrick

What can you say?  Immensely influential and a strong candidate for the best director of all time.

The Killing - Great use of the alternative plot structure about 40 years before Tarantino.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
2001: A Space Odyssey - An existential masterpiece.
A Clockwork Orange - Really disturbing, but unforgettable.
Barry Lyndon
The Shining
Full Metal Jacket - The best war movie I've ever seen.  Friggin' brilliant.
Eyes Wide Shut

#3 - Clint Eastwood

A simple but powerful filmmaker, when he gets the right script he knocks 'em dead.

The Outlaw Josey Wales
Unforgiven - The darkest, most powerful western I've ever seen.
Mystic River - A cold tragedy about mistrust, deceit, and treachery.
Gran Torino

#4 - Martin Scorsese

A visionary auteur with at least four timeless classics, he's still producing high-quality work.

Taxi Driver
Raging Bull - A masterpiece that contrasts gut-wrenchingly violent with exquisitely filmed.
Goodfellas - Gets better with each watching.
Cape Fear
The Aviator - An underrated period epic, with great montage.
The Departed - Smart and fast, with unforgettable characters in an epic struggle.
Shutter Island

#5 - Terry Gilliam

Not as good a story-teller as the others, but his visions are so unique they demand watching.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Brazil - An incredible dystopian vision, with some tiny semblence of hope.  Sort of.
Twelve Monkeys
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - It owes a lot to Johnny Depp, but it's absurdly hilarious.
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus - Really cool visuals with that signature cock-eyed humor.

#6 - Quentin Tarantino

He's got a great, unique style, but he wouldn't be this good without his extremely clever writing.

Reservoir Dogs
Pulp Fiction - Innumerable unforgettable scenes, and a mixed-up plot that come together perfectly.
Jackie Brown
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 - Slick and stylish
Kill Bill: Vol. 2 - But with a moral message at its heart.
Death Proof
Inglourious Basterds

#7 - David Fincher

With a good script he's the best in the business, and his future is looking really really good.

Se7en - The most underrated movie on this entire list.  A chilling, elemental horror/thriller masterpiece.
Fight Club
Panic Room
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Social Network - Perfectly suited to its time period, but it'll soon be a timeless classic as well.

#8 - Christopher Nolan

The most original writer/director in movies today, he's not getting the recognition he deserves...yet.

Memento - A perfectly executed, original thriller with a fantastic twist.
Batman Begins
The Prestige - A character study on obsession with another great twist.
The Dark Knight - Elevates a superhero movie to questions of fundamental morality.
Inception - The most original movie in ten years (at least), thought-provoking and visually stunning.

#9 - Darren Aronofsky

A little explanation: I had watched his first two movies as a part of my list, and I was very impressed.  I loved his most recent movie, Black Swan, so much that I decided he deserved a place on the list just for that.  He's got a promising future in store, I'm sure more of his movies will appear here soon.

Requiem for a Dream
The Fountain
The Wrestler
Black Swan - As stunningly beautiful as it is paralyzingly terrifying, I couldn't look away.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

One of the most badass movie quotes of all time...

by one of the best screenwriters ever.

"When fortune smiles on something as violent and ugly as revenge, it seems proof like no other that, not only does God exist, you're doing His will."

The Bride, Kill Bill

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I've Always Wondered...

Why did people hold guns so weird in the 50s?

Example:  Catch Me If You Can

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I'm glad I stopped watching House.  I just saw a clip on the Craig Ferguson show and it looks like it turned into Two and a Half Men in three years.  Hugh Laurie has an awesome accent though, and him and Craig talking is exponentially more awesome.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Quote of the Week (so far) and a short intro

The Oscars were a little slow and pretty predictable this year, and although this is the first time I've watched the entire ceremony, I shouldn't have been surprised.  My favorite part of the night by far was right before the presentation of the Best Picture Oscar.  With a sly smirk on his face, Steven Spielberg delivered a line that put the entire evening into perspective:

"Well in a moment, one of these ten movies will join a list that includes On the Waterfront, Midnight Cowboy, The Godfather, and The Deer Hunter.  The other nine will join a list that includes The Grapes of Wrath, Citizen Kane, The Graduate, and Raging Bull."

I've always had a mixed opinion about Steven Spielberg.  In some movies, he appears to be a consummate artist (Jaws, Schindler's List), and in others he seems like a typical Hollywood blockbuster-pusher (Indiana Jones 4, producing Transformers, etc.).  I guess I shouldn't fault the guy for being productive.  But this surprising (at least to me) intro reasserted that, of course, Spielberg cares a great deal about movies and that he's one of the most commercially successful Director/Producers of all time for a good reason.  Anyway, he re-earned my respect by bringing the ego of the Academy down a little, even if they didn't take it quite that way.

If this had been a weak year for movies I don't think the statement would have really resonated.  But this was a fantastic year for movies, and that fact that an organization with an often spotty record chose one very good film over many other arguably better films is really a small matter in the grand scheme of things.  Don't get me wrong, I loved The King's Speech and it was a high-quality movie.  But I enjoyed Inception and Black Swan more, and I thought The Social Network deserved the Best Picture Oscar over any of them.  And, as is the case with the second list of movies above, I'm willing to bet that in ten or twenty years Black Swan, Inception, and The Social Network will be considered bigger contributions to the film canon than the movie that won Best Picture (sort of an Oliver! situation).  

So, if anyone should stumble upon this blog, it's really just meant to be a dump for all my random thoughts, opinions, and observations.  It's more for my benefit than anything, but if people somehow find it and decide to read it that's cool too.  The title's from a quote from one of my favorite movies, The Philadelphia Story, and it's still tentative.  Anyway, Katharine Hepburn's character is apologizing to Ruth Hussey's character for the mistakes of a drunken night, and she replies:

"Oh it's all right Tracy.  We all go haywire at times and if we don't, maybe we ought to."