Friday, March 19, 2010

Here's to the Villains

Movie villains are often the best part of the movie. Some are powerful and keep us awake at night from terror when we sleep, some challenge our way of thinking, and some actually makes us feel sorry for them. That is the power of a villain, the love to hate them mentality. So for this day's blog I am actually going on record. That is right, I have never ranked in blog's past but today I am, putting it down on paper and sticking to it for the record. So 10-1 the best movie villains in movie history up to this point.

10. Annie Wilkes, Misery
Kathy Bates as the obsessed fan in Steven King's Misery is awesome. Here is a picture from my favorite scene in the movie, you'll just have to watch it to see what I mean. Kathy gives the best performance of her career as the villain in this movie. In an interview for AMC Kathy said she wouldn't say anything bad of Annie Wilkes, well neither will I.

9. Agent Smith, The Matrix
Agent Smith is number 9 because he is the anti-thesis of the movie's hero Neo. He is not human, he is not even a machine, he is a simple program, a program that goes rogue and develops into a virus in The Matrix. All he wants is out but then after being defeated all he wants is revenge and power. He is built to take down the humans and protect the sanctity of the matrix but just develops the qualities of humans after all. You want him to lose, yet look forward to his speeches. Also, Hugo Weaving makes a good bad guy.

8. Norman Bates, Psycho
Norman Bates is awesome, and works in the best ways. Played to a T by Anthony Perkins Norman gives Hitchcock's masterpiece Psycho the very best killer Hitchcock could make. This movie wouldn't be good unless it was for him.

7. Tony Montana, Scarface
Doing what needs to be done and making it out on top. Tony makes his place on the list for the one line in the restaurant scene, "You...fuck need people like me! Someone you can point the finger at and be like now he's a bad guy. Fuck you" Al Pacino is awesome in this movie, in fact Al Pacino is awesome in every movie. After watching this, watch Dog Day Afternoon.

6. Ursula/ Scar, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King.
Ok I couldn't decide which one I liked better. Disney made a comeback with The Little Mermaid and a lot of that had to do with Ursula. This evil octopus really puts others to shame as she tries to kill everyone, steals Ariel's voice, tries to steal her man, and kill her dad. "Also, don't underestimate the importance of body language HA!" That was just a great line. Scar, Scar kills his brother, decimates the kingdom, blames his nephew for his own father's death, and tries to kill him in the end. That's pretty messed up, and he does this with a charisma and charm that makes him elite, much like Lex Luthor. So you decide which one was worse, for me it's a tie.

5. Michael Meyers, Halloween
Why does Michael make the list? Because discounting Rob Zombie's bullshit, Micheal has no excuse for being so evil. Mike was 5 when he killed his sister, and comes back for the other one but never gives a reason. Also, he enjoys the kill, there is a scene in the original when he jams the knife through his victim and raises him up against the wall, and just sits there and looks at him with a cocked head relishing in the kill. I love it. Almost, as good as cleaning the knife after the kill in Scream, love that too. Micheal is evil just because there has to be evil in this world. No explanation needed, I buy it.

4. Darth Vader, Star Wars 3,4,5,3/4 of 6
Darth Vader is a bad ass. He is as smart as he is powerful. He knows how to fight, knows how to kill, and loves choking people who fail him to death. He uses his power to expand his influence over the empire while trying to squash the rebellion and all the Jedi who he blames for taking the life of his one true love. Darth is one of the best villains because he has the best voice, and really gets in the mix, doesn't orchestrate things on the sidelines. He kills women and children too which really puts him high on the list, which again proves that women are the cause of all evil.

Hannibal Lector, Silence of the Lambs
God I love Hannibal Lecter. Perhaps I am biased because to me a smart villain is the best villain. Mike is just bent on killing, but the rest of the 5 have the brain to back it up. He plays is it close to the chest to trying to dare others to catch him and figure out his riddles and his puzzles. A great Villain of the screen and very memorable.

2 Jigsaw, Saw Series
It's very simple, you play the game, and adhere to the rules you live, if not you die. What's great about Jigsaw is that he has a code he has to follow, there is a reason for his madness almost rooted in truth. Those who don't appreciate life, don't deserve to live it, so make people appreciate life, by putting them in life and death situations. Many follow his examples and only some live up to his expectations. Saw is different because it is not the people in the movie that drive it, it's the villain that drives these movies. Jig-Saw is awesome, hands down.

The Joker, The Dark Knight
The joker is the best villain in movie history. He is a genius, he teaches a lesson, he is sooo deliciously evil. The greatest villain portrayed from an awesome actor as well. I can't talk about the joker so I am just going to throw his quote here and let him explain his philosophy to you himself:
" I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on itself. Look what I did to this city with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets. Hmmm? You know... You know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all "part of the plan." But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds! Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It's fair!"

So there it is, the top 10 movie villains. Now, I know there are others, but that's for you to decide, what have I missed and should these be re-ordered you let me know , there's a comments section that's what its there fore! I look forward to the debate.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Musical Scenes: Dance and Sing the Night Away

Anyone who knows me, knows, that I am a big fan of musicals. Stage musicals, movie musicals, even musical numbers in movies that have no business being there (Clerks 2, Not Another Teen Movie, 500 Days of Summer). So in part two of the "Scenes to Remember Series" we will shout about Musicals.

Now, since this is movies I have to knock some things out, for instance "Those Canaan Days" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, "Brotherhood of Man" from How to Succeed in Business without really trying, and anything from Jersey Boys. Also, this is more for the scene in the movie, so song doesn't really cut it. We can all belt out all the words to "Hey Big Spender", or "On My Own" (My favorite musical song ever) but those don't translate on to the screen as well. So this is the challenge to not only find the song, but the way in which that song was done on screen. So two quick notes, one I am sticking to movie musicals, not just musical numbers within movies (sorry Enchanted will not be on this list) also, Disney is going to a post all it's own so while films like "The Little Mermaid", "Beauty and the Beast" and "Princess and the Frog" are all musicals, I think we all know Disney deserves a special post.

"Make Em Laugh", Singing In the Rain
Donald O'Conner dancing through the movie production sets trying to cheer up Gene Kelly is still the quintessential way to shoot a musical scene. Singing in the Rain is one of the first musicals to use pans, cuts, and sweeps with the camera in order to enhance the song that is being sung. This is one of the greatest uses of all that, as O'Conner a genius when it comes to using comedy in dance and song routines. Some people say Gene Kelly dancing in the rain is the scene, I say this scene in the movie shows the true genius of Donald O' Conner a very unappreciated actor.

"We Both Reached for the Gun", Chicago
Ok this one was REALLY REALLY hard for me. Only because Chicago is like probably in the top 5 movie musicals ever made. It was a tie between this one and the scene for "All That Jazz". Honestly I could fill up 5 spots on this list with scenes from Chicago, unfortunately that wouldn't be fair. I gave it to this one over "All That Jazz" because this one had the better scene, by combining the real press conference with the motions and the words of the song, also by showing Richard Gere's ability to manipulate the press by pulling the strings was a work of genius on Rob Marshall's part. Great scene and it sticks out all by itself in this movie.

"Little Girls", Annie
Ooo Carol Burnett you light up my life. Her singing "Little Girls" is honestly the best thing about this movie. "Easy Street" was Ok, and the overdone "Let's Go to the Movies" was also well done with this movie, but Carol Burnett belting out, "Little little lit lit little" stole the show.

Drunk Dancing, Holiday Inn
Fred Astaire Drunk Dancing with Majorie Reynolds was one of the highlights of this movie. Fred Astaire was always a good dancer, in fact his firework Fourth of July dance at the end of this movie wasn't bad either, but this scene is where he definitely shows how to dance in a comedic well times manner.

"I Wanna Hold Your Hand", Across the Universe

Awesome sequence when she walks through the ballet of the football players on the field in slow motion all around her. However, the best part of this scene is the reveal that she is singing to the girl not to the guy. Best character reveal of lesbian I have ever seen, so subtle, so well times, so perfect.

"I Should Tell You", Rent
Ok knowing my friends, I am going to get bashed for this one. Rent is awesome, but this scene with Roger and Mimi in the snow really is the best scene in the movie, not because of the song, but because of camera work, the snow, the ambiance of the scene and Roger and Mimi confess everything that's keeping them apart, so that they can finally be together. Yes there are better songs than this one in the movie, but this is scene that really captures my attention.

"Springtime for Hitler", The Producers
As shocking and comical as it is offensive, this song routine from The Producers was fantastic. Everything about made me laugh and it will always be in my head whenever I think about it. The Producers remake as a musical is totally under appreciated in my book, it is time to go back and take another look people, this movie is awesome. However, even through the highlights from Mathew Broderick dancing to "I Want to be a Producer" to Nathan Lane's fantastic performance in "Betrayed" This sequence was the highlight of the movie.

"The Sound of Music", The Sound of Music
The opening scene to the sound of music is still one of favorites. From the shots from the hills of Austria, to the pan and swoop of Julie Andrews as she belts out the first few notes to the main title song, this clip is still used today in clip scenes all over the place.

"America", West Side Story
This anthem to both sides of the American dream is a great dance and singing sequence in the movie. Using both the new modern dance combined with salsa the guys and girls both challenge each other in the song. Great Scene

"Born to Hand Jive", Grease
So why choose this over "Grease Lightning", quite simply, the dance contest. This scene still goes through my mind all the time as one of the most memorable scenes from a musical, maybe its because when younger my sister and I used to mirror the dance Sandy and Danny did, hmm I don't know?

So there it is, the list of top musical scenes that memorable. Yes I did miss a lot, Cabaret for instance or the stair dance with Shirley Temple in "The Little Colonel" but this is the list I choose because A all of these movies are awesome, but these really are the scenes that take anyone's breathe away, gives them goosebumps, and plays through their heads whenever they hear the song.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Horror of it All

So I decided to give it another shot, I think the problem was a lack of focus and structure and discipline. I made this blog without a theme in mind, but that was to broad, so therefore I have to narrow my views a little. So the blog is about movies now. So I still left it wide open but can now feel more focused when I sit down and search for a topic. Today's topic comes from

Phil French has decided to put together movie scenes that stick in your mind from other people that work in the movie business. Yes, I get it the shower scene in Psycho was memorable, and after I saw that movie, I had to shower with the curtain open for at least a week. Other choices were good as well, the stairway massacre scene of Potemikin, the mirror scene from Taxi Driver. However, there are so many other scenes that stick out in my mind than those.

Confession, while writing this as my first draft, I discovered that I have to stick to genres, So since we mentioned Psycho, and since the Academy Awards just decided to do a toast to horror movies, why don't we start out part 1 of our classic movie scene study with that genre? So the most memorable horror movie scenes, (Sorry Sara)

Requiem for Johnny Depp, A Nightmare on Elm Street

The demise of Glen Lantz is in my opinion the best death scene in any horror movie. All he had to do was stay awake, Nancy even told him "Don't fall asleep" but he does, and then Freddy's gloved hand comes up and the drags him into the mattress and the gallons of blood shoot up from the mattress. This is just plain awesome, that's a scene that is totally worth remembering. I hope this scene is topped by the new nightmare movie, not redone, the preview is AWESOME! can't wait.

Spin Me Right Round Baby Right Round, The Exorcist

When Regan spins her head around 180 degrees that is just horror movie genius. This iconic movie of the 1970's still stand up today. Personally I don't get swept away any more but it is fun to watch every year just because it's got the classic mentality. Now I could've gone with the spider walk down the stairs backwards, that was awesome, but the head turn is still one of the most iconic horror movie moments also in this picture is the crucifix that she defiles herself with so, really happy I found it.

Let the Sun Shine, let the Sun Shine In, Nosferatu

Yes the classics are still great as well, the original vampire movie death is still one used today, the death of Dracula in this film is still the best, the acting, the use of the shadows in Black and White and still is an iconic scene in any movie clip reel.

Swords Falling From the Sky, Lord of Illusions

Could not find a picture of this, however still stands as one of the scenes that stood out in my mind, in the beginning of the Lord of Illusions Swan's sword trick goes terribly array and sword after sword falls through him finally finishing off through his chest in the end. You know while on this movie, this is a terribly underrated horror movie, definitely going on the list next October. Also, there is a scene where the main villain sticks his fingers into Scott's brain and re-arranges his electrical impulse signals, also a good scene, again I could not find a picture so we're stuck with the shitty box cover.

Skeet, skeet, skeet-Scream
When Skeet Ulrich falls down the stairs and Sydney hand him the gun and then turns and says "We all go a little mad sometimes" then shoots Randy, that is one of my favorite scenes in Scream. The look on his face and the camera Zoomed in is classic, plus the throw back to Anthony Perkins in Psycho wasn't bad either.

Study for your Blood Test, The Thing (1982)

Couldn't find a picture of the scene, so enjoy this one from the same movie. However the scene where Kurt tests all the blood samples to see which person is infested with "The Thing" is truly a classic, tension filled scene, as all of us watching try to guess which person of the team is infested with the mutating monster.

Rude Awakening
Ok so many people are torn on Paranormal Activity, I get that, but the greatest scene is the scene where the demon drags her out of her bed kicking and screaming, her scream is awesome by the way, god it was great, this scene on this list is also tied with with the scene in the Blair Witch Project where the tent is shaking and the kids are laughing outside, now that was aweseome.

Oops...Wrong Floor, The Shinning
Ok I don't consider the Shinning a horror movie, in fact, this Stanley Kubrick film is on my worst movie list because the book was so much better, but my personal biases should not distract that the film's scene where the blood pours out of the open elevator doors down the hallway is still hard core.

Rising In the Darkness, Halloween
This scene in Halloween is one of my favorites and is probably 2 or 3 on this list, after Lori stabs Micheal with the coat hanger a few times he falls on the ground in the darkness and then because she can barely walk she stops and as this look of relief that she has finally made it, through the darkness in the background slowly Micheal sits up...what a great scene in the movie, really clinched the whole film as the quintessential serial killer horror movie, for me.

*Drool*, Amittyville Horror
Ok I just like this pic. Anyway the Amittyville Horror remake was actually a good horror remake! There are two scenes that stand out, the one where Jodi's ghost puts the babysitter's finger in her bullet hole wound, and the other my favorite, my stand out where Ryan Reynolds forces the oldest son to hold the wood block he's chopping. Ryan's performance in this movie really makes him one of my favorite actors because it proves he's not just hot but an awesome actor as well. It really is that scene though that stole the movie from everyone else.

Recap. There are others as well, and I am not discounting those. Kevin Bacon's untimely demise in Friday the 13th is up there, Night at the Opera House where he shoots the gun through the keyhole taking out the womans eye and half her brain. These are all good. I think these scene's though stand up above the rest, not because they inspire nightmares, because they inspire creativity, breed imagination and force us out of our safe comfortable seats, to see the darker side of horror.

P.S: What I am interested in is your thoughts and opinions, so please leave a comment, offer others, if Jeff reads this I am sure he is screaming at his computer screen calling me an idiot for my choices, Lol (j/k) Jeff. However, let me know your perspective and where you stand.