Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Episode 1: "Tombstone"

We begin the Great Film Retrospective with one of top 10 movies of all time, "Tombstone." I would hold up this film as the best western of all time (blasphemy to some) and in the running for best action movie of all time. Beyond an over the top scene here and there it is essentially flawless and features a number of lines that are iconic.

I first encountered "Tombstone" in the 7th or 8th grade. Each year as we left for camp, my buddy Kyle and I would pick out a bunch of VHS tapes to take with us because his parents had a mini van with a TV in it (long before everyone and their dog had a mobile DVD player). On the way to camp we'd stay a night or two at his grandparents house which was a grand old time filled with playing cards, watching movies, and eating frozen canned peaches (I still miss those). One year we stayed up way too late watching "Tombstone." I knew I loved this movie from the first scene and my attachment to it only grew as the film progressed. When the movie ended, Kyle and I went downstairs to get a drink before we both passed out (being up after midnight was still a pretty big deal at this point). We got out some grape juice and, while searching for cups, came across a couple of shot glasses. In true Doc Holliday fashion, we filled the shot glasses with grape juice, chugged them, and slammed them back to the table upside down. You can imagine the laughs two 8th grade boys got out of this when they were up too late watching an R rated movie.

"Tombstone" is one of those movies that I've watched over and over again. My DVD copy is getting worn out which kind of makes me happy because it means I have an excuse to replace it on blu-ray when it finally comes out. It never grows old for me and in fact, some scenes just get better over time. This was the perfect movie to start The Great Film Retrospective.

Best character: Doc Holliday
This isn't even up for debate. Val Kilmer not only gives the best performance of his career, he gives us one of the iconic performances in the history of film. It is an absolute crime that he was not nominated for an Oscar here, especially in a year in which John Malkovich got a supporting actor nod. John Malkovich.

Best scene: When Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) ambushes the cowboys who have come to ambush him at the train depot. This is the moment where Earp frees the beast so to speak. You know from the look on his face and the tone of his voice that things are about to get serious.

Best line: It would be too easy to go with the film's tagline, "I'm your huckleberry." But no, the best moment of dialogue is:
Cowboy (approaching Holliday with knife): "You're so drunk you can't see straight. In fact, you're probably seeing double."
Holliday (whipping out a second revolver): "I have two guns. One for each of you."

An absolute classic. A+


"Tombstone" through Lindsey's eyes:

I've had no desire to see "Tombstone" because it's a western and all actiony. I knew it was a "good" movie because everyone I've ever talked to has said that it is. Sure, it may be "good," but the question is, will I actually pay attention. This may be how I rate the movies during this experiment. I will tell you what went on in my brain, instead of paying attention to the storyline.

The movie starts out with a wedding scene, which turns into a shoot-em-up scene. I would have been so ticked if some group of cowboys interrupted my wedding by killing people. Then I began to notice the actors that I actually knew like Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer. The real excitement came when I saw the actor that I care about, Jason Priestly. Oh Brandon Walsh, trying to live his life as a tough cowboy. He couldn't get away with that rough crowd while wearing his dumb bowler hat. I think people wearing bowler hats are SOOO not intimidating. I also spent half of the time thinking that John Corbett was Paul Rudd. For some reason, I get those actors confused. It totally doesn't make sense, I know.

All in all, my response to the movie was "I can see why people like it." I paid attention to about 60% of the movie. I asked how much was left, I pulled out Sudoku, and even took "notes" so that I would pay attention. I'm just not cut out for these movies. I definitely appreciate them. Now that I'm an adult and I don't have to impress anyone, I can just finally give my honest opinion. I get bored with westerns and guns. If I had to watch a western shooting movie, I would choose "Tombstone."

Looking forward to a movie that doesn't require my 100% attention,

The Great Film Retrospective Begins

I think it’s safe to say that anyone who knows me knows I stinking love movies. The vast majority of my “entertainment” money is spent on either going to the movies, renting a movie, or buying a Blu-Ray (I’ve moved on from DVDs). I’m not sure exactly when this started or why, really, but as far back as I can remember I have been fascinated by the silver screen.

Lindsey is slightly less interested in the motion pictures industry. Sure, she’ll see a movie now and then and she’s got a few that she really loves. But whereas I’m likely to pop in one of the 200+ movies that I currently own when I’m just sitting around the house, she’s far more disposed to watching whatever fine programming MTV and The Food Network have to offer at the moment. Being the movie connoisseur that I am, I can link just about any real life situation to a film and issue an appropriate quote or comparison. (I’m not sure if this is a gift or a curse because I’m sure there are plenty of people in my life that want to punch me in the face when I throw out a quote. My apologies to those people.)

So, you can imagine how many times I might drop a quote or make a reference to a movie in my conversations with Lindsey that she doesn’t get. Sometimes she points out, yet again, that she’s never seen “The Shawshank Redemption.” Other times she pulls a Katie McBroom and just nods politely with a small laugh and hopes I just move on without calling her out for not knowing what the heck I’m talking about. The number of CLASSIC movies that Lindsey is unfamiliar with is less frustrating than it is shocking. How anyone from our generation can miss out on seeing “Top Gun” at least once in their lives is beyond me.

But there is a second side to every story. While I am the king of all films of the past 20 years, my knowledge of 80s movies, especially those geared towards kids and teenagers, is extremely lacking. When made for TV movies were the order of the day, I was too busy playing basketball or attacking my brother with a plastic machine gun to take in such films. Likewise, almost all 80s teen movies that made retro comebacks in the early 90s, such as “Sixteen Candles,” were of little interest to me. Lindsey has a plethora of knowledge concerning such films, a knowledge that is rendered completely useless with me because I’ve never even heard of a lot of them, let alone seen them. (Truthfully I’m not sure anyone who didn’t grow up with Lindsey knows about some of these movies, with the possible exception of Micah and Sarah.)

To that end, Lindsey and I have struck a deal. We both made a list of films that were in someway significant to us that the other hadn’t seen. We’ll be watching these films over the next few months and, as is the inclination of both of us, we’ll be writing about the results. I’ve termed this experience The Great Film Retrospective and set up a blog to follow the events that come of this little experiment so as not to clog up Facebook with even more self serving dribble than already comes across your front page every day.

This is a win-win-win situation, as Michael Scott would say. First, I get to share some of the greatest films the world with Lindsey and she gets to see them. Second, she gets to share with me some of her childhood favorites that no one has ever seen. Third, I get 30 chances to see if in fact there is a worse movie than “Cabin Fever,” my vote for Most Awful Display of Filmmaking Ever in the History of the World. If you’re interested in seeing the reaction of a 27 year old adult taking in “The Goonies” for the first time (no, I’m not kidding) or what an adult male might do when subjected to “The Babysitter’s Club” (no, I’m not kidding), feel free to take part in TGFR. Maybe you too have never taken in the absolute greatness of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” or you just want to bask in the glory of “Die Hard.” Either way, stop by the house, bring a snow cone, and get ready to take in some of the best (and worst) movies your local Blockbuster has to offer.

My List:
300, 61*, Blues Brothers, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Crash, Die Hard, Friday Night Lights, Heat, I Am Legend, Into the Wild, Iron Man, L.A. Confidential, Memphis Belle, Monster, Inc., Raising Arizona, Road to Perdition, Rounders, Serenity, The Alamo (2004), The Ghost and the Darkness, The Goonies, The Incredibles, The Legend of Bagger Vance, The Shawshank Redemption, The Sting, The Untouchables, The Usual Suspects, Tombstone, Unbreakable

Lindsey’s List:
April Fool’s Day, The Babysitter’s Club, Better Off Dead, Big Business, Breakfast Club, Burnt Offerings, Camp Cucamonga, Camp Nowhere, Can’t Buy Me Love, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Ever After, Godspell, Grizzly Man, Happy Birthday to Me, Life is Beautiful, Rockin’ with Judy Jetson, She’s Out of Control, Sixteen Candles, The Chipmunk Adventure, The OC, Troop Beverly Hills, Waiting for Guffman, Whatever it Takes, White Christmas, Wish Upon a Star

“Big Business” stars Bette Midler. No I am not kidding,