Tag Archives: Movies

My Favorite Tom Hanks Movies

Few actors have a career like that of Tom Hanks. It wasn’t easy to make this list, since there are so many long-forgotten gems in the VHS box. But after careful study, here are my favorite Hanks films.

Saving Private Ryan
Such an honest performance of a man fighting a war out of a sense of honor and duty. He doesn’t want to be there, but thank God he is.

Forrest Gump
How can you not fall in love with America’s charming man-child as he hijacks history.

Toy Story 2
Better than the original? Just barely!

Electric Dad
He’s the dad we all wanted, and the robot we all needed. He was robbed of an Oscar for this one.

Disney’s Catcher in the Rye
A new character was added to the dull and dreary story of Holden Caulfield, and who better to play Holden’s funny and lighthearted chauffeur than Hanks himself! Hanks’ character, Mr. Blythe, uttered the now-iconic line, “You keep Holden on to those dreams, Mr. Caulfield.” One of cinema’s most beautiful death scenes.

Slow Down, Vanessa!
He’s a nerdy helicopter pilot. She’s a college senior on Spring Break who wants to take a flying lesson. And we’re just along for the ride in this early entry into the Hanks oeuvre. Continue reading My Favorite Tom Hanks Movies

Dan’s 2016 Movie Awards

I haven’t seen many of the Oscar nominated films this year, but that doesn’t mean I can’t hand out awards for specific achievements.

Best Random Nudity: Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Here’s a great movie about family and modern society and then WHAM, there’s Viggo sipping his morning coffee with his ding-dong on display. It’s a funny moment. And Viggo deserves the Oscar nomination this year for his modern-society-hating character. It’s also not the first time I’ve seen Viggo’s ding-dong — he showed it off during a tense fight scene in Eastern Promises, another film which earned Viggo an Oscar nomination. Seems like whenever Viggo let’s the little guy breath, he gets nominated for an award. That’s enough to boost any man’s ego.

Best “Wow” Moment: The airport fight, Captain America: Civil War
I never would have thought that of all the Marvel characters, the best movies would focus on Captain America, but with Civil War and Winter Soldier, it’s clear that the Cap movies are Marvel’s strongest. Part of the reason these movies worked so well is the writing — characters who feel real facing decisions with huge consequences. The other reason these movies work is that Ant-Man becomes Giant Man and it I lost my mind. Civil War isn’t just a great comic book movie, it’s a great action movie …that just happens to feature super heroes.

Most Average Movie: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
There are great things about this movie and there are bad things about this movie. The end result is a so-so movie, most of which I’ve already forgotten. I wanted to love it, but then the finale was just a bunch of people flipping switches. It looked pretty, though. Continue reading Dan’s 2016 Movie Awards

Oscar Prophecy

Oscar Prophecy*

La La Land will sweep the awards this Sunday night, but there will be a few surprises including the best supporting actress winner (Viola Davis) and a moment early in the show when a presenter attempts to say, “And the nominees are,” but the words are (purposefully?) caught in his mouth, his tongue slips and the actor says, “Ann Die Nom-An Ize, Kar,” a summoning spell thought lost during the eighth age. And thus, Terrible Isaac appears — a being of capes and claws who cracks through the stage killing instantly the first row of the audience.

There will a rush to the exits as Terrible Isaac bounds from stage to balcony and perches upon a chandelier set high in the ceiling. He slowly devours the celebrity in his clawed hands with five snapping bites. As the blood rains, a young assistant in the 29th row, a baker’s daughter born in April, takes a picture of the horror, a picture that becomes the most shared and liked image of all the internet. But sadly, and despite the teaching of her master, her camera fails to capture the soul of the demon, who looks at her with hunger. Three of his ten arms flex and pull, ready to pounce from the theater’s heaven. Continue reading Oscar Prophecy

The Problem With Spaceships

I’m two episodes into The Expanse, a SyFy show about space and pretty people. So far, it’s okay. It uses plenty of sci-fi cliches and tropes, but that’s to be expected. And I’m told it gets better. I’ll stick with it…for now.

Watching the show stirred up a recurring problem that most sci-fi space stories rarely deal with: Why are humans flying spaceships?

In the first episodes of The Expanse, it’s clear that drone technology exists and society as a whole seems far more technologically advanced than our current world. And yet ten minutes into the show there’s a gruff and tough human pilot taking the controls of a spaceship like its some sort of giant helicopter. That doesn’t make sense. Continue reading The Problem With Spaceships

Hunt for the Wilderpeople: Review

It won’t win any Oscars and it won’t spawn a 12-part film franchise starring Hollywood’s most athletic actors. So why on Earth did anyone make Hunt for the Wilderpeople?

It’s a sweet and funny movie about a boy and his foster dad running from the law through the wilderness of New Zealand. The director, Taika Waititi, also directed the hilarious vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows and helped bring Flight of the Conchords to life, and if you don’t like those two chunks of entertainment then we cannot be friends.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is less silly than Shadows and Conchords, but it’s still funny. There’s more heart to it, thanks to a remarkable performance by the young Julian Dennison. It’s similar to Up, another movie about a grump guiding a chubby kid through wilderness, and for reasons I can’t quite explain, this movie has an 80s vibe — think Planes, Trains and Automobiles crossed with Adventures in Babysitting.

It’s a good movie. One of the best I’ve seen in a while. How good? I didn’t pick my phone up to check email during the entire film!

Taika Waititi’s next film is Thor: Ragnarok. I was bored with Thor 2: Loud Punches, but I’m curious to see what Waititi will do with Marvel’s eighth best character. Judging by the hilarious marketing campaign, it could be the best Thor movie possible.

And if you’re tired of super hero movies and bored by Oscar-contenders, don’t forget that there are still small, interesting comedies being made.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is available now on DVD, BluRay and other magical movie systems.

Daily Transmission #31: The Last Jedi Opening Title Crawl (LEAKED!)

We have the title for the next Star Wars movie and now we know how the movie will start! This is the opening crawl of the movie. We have confirmed it 100%! Please share now before Disney takes it down! (Full text below the images.)

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

The galaxy is a mess. It’s a mess. It’s an all the way mess. The First Order has begun preparations on a new planet-sized weapon called The Kill Cannon. Meanwhile, the Resistance is very sad most of the time despite the fact that they have cool spaceships and laser guns. It’s like…what more do you want?

Anyway, Rey has handed the lightsaber to Luke, and Luke gave her a cryptic frown as if he tasted beer for the first time in front of cool guys and doesn’t want them to know he thinks it tastes bad.

Rey and Luke then talked for a bit. Luke asked, “Did you see my robot hand?” And Rey didn’t seem that interested. And Luke said, “Want me to build you one?” And Rey said her hands were fine, and that pissed Luke off for some reason. And he made her do all these chores for no real reason!

Meanwhile, Poe found the missing locket that, when placed inside The Kill Cannon’s engine core, will make everything go BLAST-O! And Finn’s okay, but…well, you’ll see.

So now sit back and get ready! Because here comes the first part of the movie! There’s going to be a whooshing shot of spaceships! Oh, and Lando’s in this one! Don’t tell anyone. It’s a secret. This part of the song is the best…duh, duh, duh daaah! DAH! Duuuh! DAAAAH!

Daily Transmission #19: The Best Thing About Wolverine

Wolverine is a terrible character.

I’ve written about this before but with the new trailer for Logan hitting the internet today, it seems like a good time to harp on about it. Besides, if I don’t write about Wolverine, I’ll be forced to write about politics and as the young kids say when grandma asks about iPhones, “I just can’t.”


To sum up my feeling on the character: Wolverine, like Boba Fett or Hannibal Lecter, is a character who works wonderfully when limited to a few key scenes. The moment he becomes the star, the spotlight shows all his imperfections. And no amount of healing power can wipe away the wounds of poor character motivation. Continue reading Daily Transmission #19: The Best Thing About Wolverine

Daily Transmission #9: Another Online Opinion About “La La Land”

La La Land is a fun movie. The 8,000 online articles and Tweets about the movie and “the return of musicals” and how “the country really needs this right now” are not so fun. Shut up. Stop talking about this movie as if it’s Hamilton 2. Why are so many people falling over themselves to praise La La Land?

It’s just a fun movie. There were many fun movies this year. There are many fun musicals in the universe. Why is this one placed on such a high pedestal? And remember — I liked the movie. It’s not a bad movie. It’s a fun movie.

I would have enjoyed La La Land even more if I didn’t go into the theater expecting the most amazing piece of cinema since Edison first captured moving images with chemicals. There’s a level of hype around La La Land that is impossible to live up to. It seems movie bloggers and critics want La La Land to be a perfect, amazing thing and hope to make it so by will and word count alone.

La La Land is not the greatest artistic achievement of the new millennia. It is a good, fun movie. I’m glad I saw it. I might see it again in a few years.

But come on…it’s not like this is Jesus Christ Superstar. JCS was a movie worthy of hype. JCS is a pop-art masterpiece. JCS is my favorite movie musical.

In Middle School, my summer job was mowing lawns — or rather, mowing lawn. I mowed one lawn. It was the lawn of a family friend who took pity on my lack of employment and offered me $20 a week to mow the lawn. To pass the time (because how could a Middle School kid ever get anything done without rockin’ tunes?) I would listen to rockin’ tunes on my budget walkman at max volume while mowing the lawn. This was before I had a CD walkman and in a decade when “iPod” was how toddlers asked to use the bathroom, so I could only listen to cassettes. The Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack (film soundtrack, not Broadway) was in my walkman for most of the summer. I had it memorized. I wore the tape out. I loved it. I still love it. I still know most of the words.

If you haven’t seen the movie/stage show Jesus Christ Superstar, here’s the best way I can describe it: Hippies out hippy themselves with their hippiness.

It’s goofy and corny. The acting is over-the-top terrible and the songs sound like they were written by theater kids who stayed after rehearsal to mess around with the piano until their parents pick them up. The anachronistic use of modern weapons and clothes is so forced it hurts the brain. And the “twist” ending is laughable. But it works. It all works so well! It works much better than it should!

It’s a movie of its time. And that’s okay.

No one would make a Jesus Christ Superstar movie today, or if they did, it would be too bland and boring, without any of the heart or sincerity of the 1973 film. They’d get Armie Hammer to play Jesus and Olivia Munn to play Mary Magdalene. Terrence Howard would turn the soulful, complicated Judas into a stale loaf of a character. Seth Rogen would be added as a disciple for unneeded comic relief. There would be big budget special effects and soft makeup that would hide the sweat and grit on the faces of the actors. And a new song and scene set in China would be added to get those precious Chinese movie dollars. It would be too safe.

The 1973 movie was not nominated for best picture (though a few actors received Golden Globe noms). It did not light the world on fire with its box office take of $24 million. It’s remembered more for being controversial (Jesus…singing?!?) than for its music or staging. But it was weird and wild and unlike anything else. And it existed. It actually happened.

That’s why it’s my favorite movie musical.

La La Land is okay, too.