Search This Blog

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cast Away (2000)

#2 - 2000 Box Office: Gross $233,632,142

At the edge of the world, his journey begins
Robert Zemeckis brings us the tale of Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), a FedEx Systems Analyst who will absolutely, positively do anything to get your package there overnight.  In fact, he often flies around the world to assist other FedEx hubs, leaving his girlfriend (Helen Hunt) at home to deal with dinner parties and holidays on her own.  One Christmas, he's called off to Malaysia but leaves a ring box with Kelly, promising he'll be back to officially present it to her on New Year's Eve.  Unfortunately, his plane approaches a violent storm, tries to fly around it, but crashes hundreds of miles off course.  Chuck is the only one to survive and floats to an uninhabited island where several packages have washed up on shore.  He opens most of the packages, finding some make-shift tools and a volleyball who becomes his only companion—Wilson—but leaves one, with a pair of wings stamped on it, unopened.  After a few failed attempts to signal other planes or ships, he makes fire, sets up a camp and tries to build a raft to escape.  But the tides prove too strong, so he settles into life as a castaway.  Four years pass—he becomes an excellent spear fisherman and has frequent conversations with Wilson.  But when something washes up on shore that might help him get past the tides, will Chuck leave his island home to deliver the one last package?  Will Kelly still be waiting with the unopened engagement ring? Will Chuck remember how to hold conversations with people who talk back?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Best of 2010

Well, it's nearly April and I bet you're wondering "What movies did Ponch think were the best last year?"  Well, you don't have to wait ANY longer... :-/

Life is crazy.  I've already fallen behind in my weekly MLiF blogging, but I figured if I wait much longer this list will be COMPLETELY pointless (perhaps it already is...)

Since the posting of my Worst of 2010 list, I saw five more 2010 films (four new ones along with one repeat) to end up with 199 different 2010 films vying for my "coveted" Top Ten... In the end, I had 20 different films rated at 4.5*, so in an effort to be as climactic as possible, I'll list the other 4.5* films that almost made my Top Ten (and possibly could have, had I written this any other day).

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Twister (1996)

#2 - 1996 Box Office: Gross $241,721,524

Don't Breathe. Don't Look Back.
Twister opens in 1969 as a family takes shelter from a coming F5 (worst of the worst) tornado.  The father, to protect his wife and young daughter Jo, attempts to keep the cellar door from blowing off, himself getting sucked out into oblivion.  Nearly 30 years later, we meet an older Dr. Jo Harding (Helen Hunt) and her husband Bill (Bill Paxton) who have separated.  Bill tries to get Jo to sign their divorce papers so he can marry his new therapist girlfriend (Jamie Gertz), but Jo (still in love with him) stalls. Jo leads a group of storm chasers (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Ruck, Jeremy Davies, Todd Field, et al) who all attempt to use some of Bill's ideas to gather meteorological data from inside a tornado, hoping to create a better warning system for families like Jo's.  They hope to do this with "Dorothy," a device they hope to place in the path of a tornado which will transmit the data as it gets sucked up into it.  A better-funded group of scientists, led by Dr. Jonas Miller (Cary Elwes) has a very similar piece of machinery and plans to beat Jo and Bill to the data, earning a lot of money in the meantime.  However, Jonas' group doesn't have the instinct Jo and Bill have and are rarely in the right place at the right time.  Several tornadoes (even another F5) follow, blowing farm animals, gas trucks and entire houses around.  Will the excitement of chasing twisters reignite the passion Bill and Jo used to share?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ghostbusters (1984)

#2 - 1984 Box Office: Gross $229,242,989
They ain't afraid of no ghost
Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters opens with some poor librarian at the New York Public Library getting her socks scared off her by a free-floating, full-torso, vaporous apparition.  After the main titles and a song that sounds a little reminiscent of “I Want A New Drug,” we meet Drs. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Raymond Stantz (co-writer, Dan Aykroyd) and Egon Spengler (co-writer, Harold Ramis) as they investigate the paranormal activity.  The encounter doesn't quite go as planned (the three run from the library screaming) and all of these extracurricular experiments get them kicked out of their university jobs.  With little else to do, they decide to create a team of "ghost busters" who vow to investigate any strange activity ("We're ready to believe you," their commercial boasts). After quite some time, they finally get their first customer (and Peter gets a love interest) when Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) sees a burning building and hears a ghost chanting “Zuul” within her refrigerator.  It isn't until the three actually capture a ghost (Slimer) at a fancy hotel that their business takes off.  They hire a fourth member, Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) and the following montage shows how they become city celebrities.  However, the fun and games soon end—the head of the EPA (William Atherton) tries to shut down the Ghostbusters' presumably unsafe ghost containment unit, Dana gets possessed by Zuul, her nerdy neighbor (Rick Moranis) gets possessed by the Keymaster and after the two meet, the release of the Sumerian god of destruction, Gozer the Gozerian, makes for an exciting Act III.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tootsie (1982)

#2 - 1982 Box Office: Gross $177,200,000

He's Tootsie... She's Dustin Hoffman
Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is an actor living in New York who's constantly told that he's too old or too young or too tall or too short... His friend (soon with benefits) & protégée Sandy Lester (Teri Garr) has similar bad luck on her auditions—it seems the early '80s are not an easy time to be an actor in NYC (unlike, you know, today).  Michael's agent (director Sydney Pollack) believes that his temper and perfectionism are to blame—no one in NYC or LA wants to hire a man who can't even finish a tomato commercial.  One final option, a play written by his roommate (Bill Murray), needs a producer, so in a desperate attempt to earn $8,000, he dresses in drag and auditions for the soap opera "Southwest General."  His new persona, "Dorothy Michaels" is soon a hit with audiences despite the objections of director Ron Carlisle (Dabney Coleman).  S/he soon grows close to her costar (and the director's girlfriend), Julie Nichols (Best Supporting Actress, Jessica Lange), but outside of the dress, Michael has no luck courting her.  In the dress, however, s/he attracts both the soap's elderly lothario (George Gaynes) AND Julie's father (Charles Durning).  As Dorothy's success continues to grow, her contract is renewed, trapping Michael for much longer than he intended.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Batman (1989)

#1 - 1989 Box Office: Gross $251,188,924

After witnessing the murder of his parents as a child, billionaire Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) vows to avenge their deaths, becoming masked vigilante, Batman.  This is a difficult task, as Gotham City is run by criminals and corrupt cops.  When crime-lord Carl Grissom (Jack Palance) finds out his second in command, Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson), is having an affair with his mistress, he decides to set him up at a local chemical plant.  Batman arrives, and after a gun- and fist-fight, Jack winds up hanging over a vat of chemicals.  Batman tries to save him, but Jack falls into the chemicals and is presumed dead.  Things never work out that way though, and after a bit of botched plastic surgery, the green-haired, white-faced and perma-smiled Joker is born.  After taking care of his ex-boss, the Joker takes Gotham hostage by tainting the city's hygiene products with a set of chemicals that cause its users to laugh themselves to death.  Meanwhile, photojournalist Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) catches the eye of both Bruce Wayne and the Joker.  Not only does our titular hero need to save the city from the Joker's fatal plans, but he has to save Vale from the Joker's playful hands.