Posts Tagged ‘Indiana Jones’

30-Day Challenge: Film

May 25, 2020

1 – The First Film you Remember Watching

I am sure I watched many movies before it but the first movie that was an event, that I remember when I saw it was the 1989 version of Batman. At age 7, I was already a big fan of the character and this would be the first time that I got to stay up to watch a movie. I was so excited and the movie definitely lived up to the hype and continues to do so. This movie still has one of the greatest impacts on my creativity and imagination. This was peak Tim Burton, who worked within the framework of the comic books to create something absolutely new and fresh. Michael Keaton does such a good job of playing both Bruce Wayne and Batman which is a difficult balance to pull off. Jack Nicholson is so good as the Joker with so many quotable lines but a sinister edge to it that just works. The production design and the Prince soundtrack should not work but somehow do.

2 – A film that you like that starts with the first letter of your name

This movie absolutely came out of left field for me. I had never heard of the comic book prior to the release of the film but I wish I had. Still, it was really fun going in blind. The movie is delightfully wild and absurd. It is definitely up my alley as it is both a comic book movie and a video game movie (although it is not actually adapting a specific video game). The movie uses video game terminology and tropes to tell a compelling story about figuring out your life. For those who have not seen it, the elevator pitch is that Scott Pilgrim must defeat Ramona’s seven evil exes if he wants to be her boyfriend. However, the movie has way more to offer than just that. The movie is filled with deep moments accompanied by goofy and offbeat humor. It is probably Michael Cera’s best performance to date. On top of that there are a bunch of great comedic roles from Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, Jason Schwartzman, Aubrey Plaza, and Anna Kendrick. We also get Mary Elizabeth Winstead as she was really coming into her own. I once chose this as my birthday movie for the express purpose of messing with and confusing my family.

3 – A film whose title has more than five words

Dr. Strangelove (for short), was a great watch when I first saw it. It is a zany comedy about one of the darkest subjects that you can joke about. Total nuclear annihilation. Set in the middle of the Cold War, a simple mistake threatens the safety of the world. There is a huge cast of characters, all parodying some portion of the Military-Industrial Complex. Three of the major characters are played by comedy legend Peter Sellers. He transforms himself into three very insane characters, the kind of people you hope are not in charge of nuclear weapons but who you fear are. There is also Slim Pickens as exactly what I think of the military. George C. Scott actually plays an over the top comic character which is usually out of his comfort zone. The movie is directed by Stanley Kubrick who is not exactly known for making sunny movies but he was able to inject the story with plenty of dark and zany humor. Additionally, this was my dearly departed friend Joe’s favorite movie so it will always be even more special to me. It is definitely a blueprint for later movies like Death of Stalin which makes the audience laugh as atrocities are performed.

4 – A film with a number in the title

This movie unexpectedly threw me for a loop. This movie is based on a Stephen King short story that I never read. It is one of the simplest adaptations of King’s work and has an astonishingly small cast. The main characters are played by John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. Cusack plays a writer who has recently experienced great loss and travels around the country debunking the supernatural. Receiving a mysterious challenge, he is in for the fight of his life. The movie is a pure horror movie. It relies mostly on psychological pressure than petty jumpscares. Cusack is great as a skeptic who is suddenly shown the light. The movie thrives on unreality and the special effects that show that are absolutely brilliant and understated. This is also possibly Samuel L. Jackson’s most subtle role and it is so interesting to see. The movie feels way deeper than most adaptations of King’s work and that helps drive the point deeper. It is light on plot and heavy on character moments which actually also helps prevent the usual Stephen King rambling. There is also a devious sense of humor running through which twists the knife even further. This was definitely a predecessor of effective horror storytelling like the legendary PT and so many other surreal horror stories about psychological torture.

5 – A film where a character has a job you want

I was always intensely interested in keeping archives and researching things. Indiana Jones was always a fascinating character and for sure I wanted to be him when I was a little kid. I even had a copy of his famous fedora for a little bit. I also wore a tiny bomber jacket with a map on the inside. I wanted to be an adventurer just like him. However, after growing up a bit I realized that I really did not want that. Indy is a professor and I really do not like talking in front of crowds. I also think the rest of his work is pretty dangerous. However, the people who research and catalog the supernatural things, that seems way more interesting to me. We first see this organization at the end of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. We next see evidence of them in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. If I read between the frames well enough, those scenes mean somebody is in charge of keeping tabs on magical and highly advanced technology. That definitely sounds like an interesting job.

6 – Your favorite animated film

I have written about it many times before but hands down my favorite animated film is The Nightmare Before Christmas. Henry Selick really brought to life a neat little world full of fun lore and interesting characters. It is a great look at depression, passion, and boundaries. Skellington Jack is such an innocent soul for the King of Halloween and it is hard not to see my own bouts with depression in his. I also definitely see Jack’s passion and sense of fairplay in myself. The portayal of Santa Claus is one of the best in cinema history. I would put him up there with the portrayals from Klaus, Ernest Saves Christmas, and The Christmas Chronicles. Santa is best when he is a rounded character who is not saintly good but good because he earnestly sees good and evil in the world and chooses good. Sally is just such an interesting character and it was not often back in the early nineties where a woman was portrayed as the smartest character. The whole cast of characters are so well designed and the animation and music are superb.

This Week in Steves 3

February 25, 2015


Let’s start with some Steve Quickies

Scuba Steve

An acquaintance of mine recently called me Scuba Steve while my friends and I were all online together. I smiled at the time but I couldn’t quite place the reference. I knew I definitely recognized the reference but it took some quick googling to figure it out. Scuba Steve is a fictional toy in the Adam Sandler movie Big Daddy. Scuba Steve is a stand-in for a real toy named Diver Dan which is obviously a worse name. Of course, count on Adam Sandler to introduce something derivative and unoriginal. However, Big Daddy is one of his more tolerable films and they had the good sense to cast Jon Stewart at least. I have nothing in common with a child’s toy.

Steve Priest, The Bass Player from The Sweet

The Sweet is a British rock band most known for the song Ballroom Blitz which is a song that always gets me going. I first heard the song in the movie Waynes World, an underrated film from an overrated comedian, where the song was sung by Tia Carrere’s character Cassandra. Later, I heard the real version and, although it wasn’t sung by a sexy, screaming rocker chick, it was just as good. At the start of the song, when Brian Connolly yells “Are you ready, Steve?” the answer is always yes.

Steve – O

Steve – O is a member of the appropriately named Jackasses from the MTV television show of the same name. I was never a fan of the show as I don’t really like gross out humor or shock humor jokes. I like slapstick sometimes but I’m not the greatest fan of that either. I hated that this guy had my name and I hated any comparisons of him to me. I went to college in New Jersey so I met quite a few Jersey guys who shortened everyone’s name and added O at the end. I insisted on being called Steven partially because of this guy. Now I don’t really care one way or the other but Jackass was a sore point for a little while. It’s a shame since they seemed like OK guys.

Steven Spielberg

Few directors had as much as an impact on my childhood as Steven Spielberg and especially if you disqualify television directors. At one point, I wanted to be Indiana Jones and I will always be grateful to Spielberg for those movies. I owned an official movie fedora and bomber jacket when I was little and I would have picked Indy over Han Solo any day of the week. Jaws, Hook, The first two Jurassic Park movies, Saving Private Ryan and even Close Encounters of the Third Kind were beloved films. Unfortunately, he also made ET during that time but I guess I can forgive him for that. Afterall, he later put out such great films as Indiana Jones 4, Minority Report and the wonderfully weird A.I. Unfortunately he also crapped the bed again with The Terminal but they can’t all be winners. What I’m trying to say is that Spielberg is a great artist.

He’s also a great businessman since he’s produced way more than he’s directed which is saying a lot. He’s made sound financial decisions even if they were not always the most artistic decisions. I mean, he executive produced all of the Transformers movies and had the common sense to not broadcast the fact too much. He must have made boatloads of cash on that. Thankfully he also produced stuff like Super 8 so he retains some sense of balance. I hope to work just as hard artistically as Spielberg even if I never achieve even a thimble full of his success.

Steve Rogers, formerly Captain America

I have a been a fan of Captain America from way back in the day. I used to read Avengers comics that I bought with my allowance and Captain America was almost always a key feature of the team (although not a founding member). I watched Steve Rogers get defrosted in back issues and I saw him fight the bad guys. I watched him become the Nomad and then saw him return to the stars and stripes. Eventually I saw him fight Iron Man in the Civil War and take command of SHIELD. The character is currently super-aged and retired from the superhero business but who knows, he may return some day. I have followed him in comics, cartoons and multiple movies and, with the exception of the 1990’s movies, they were all good.

Of all the versions of Captain America though, I think I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe version portrayed by Chris Evans the most. They put a lot of heart into this version of Steve Rogers and it’s the closest I’ve ever felt to the character. In Captain America: The First Avenger it’s Steve’s brains and heart that win the day and also the heart of Agent Peggy Carter. His athleticism is a handy tool but not the weapon that brings victory. In Winter Solider, his heart alerts him to the hidden danger in time to save himself and a similar thing happens in the Avengers. I try to fight for what’s right but also I try not to just follow the crowd. I want to be honest, steadfast and true just like Captain America.

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