Signs of a Delusional Mind
These are the chronicles of the esoteric . . .
THURSDAY, JULY 19, 2012
fine fifteen, part 3
How have you been enjoying my Fine Fifteen so far? Interesting? Boring? Stupid? Fun?
Anyway, here's the next batch.
I watched a quarter of an episode to the show which is directly based off this movie - and it was weird. Like, weird - weirder than the movie, for sure. But I did laugh a few times. This spot is filled by the surprise hit Napoleon Dynamite, a movie I fell in love with the first time I saw it - and a movie whose popularity I'm rather surprised at. Though not all would agree, I think it's so quotable and very funny in its weird nature. Its random plot and odd humour are ones I can completely relate to; I remember my brother and I initially saying that if I ever made a movie, it'd be like this one. The story was simple and executed excellently; moreover, the actors were superbly chosen and performed perfectly. It is definitely the most unique take on high school angst and drama I've ever seen, with elements of truth masked in exaggerated hi-jinks. I find myself often thinking of this movie, its scenes, its lines and laughing to myself about it (interestingly, however, I also do not own this one). For me, Napoleon Dynamite is in a league of its own - or at least in a category all by itself.
This movie is the one that I believe may surprise some, but it's a movie which I love every time I watch it. I have been known to have cravings for The Bourne Identity and it helps that my wife also really enjoys it - so we've popped this one in the ol' movie-player and watched it a number of times together. This movie seems to have become rather influential, and for good reason: it has action, but it's not necessarily only an action movie. It's got mystery, drama, a hint of romance - and none of this could've been pulled off with a straight-up action star. I remember my cousin and I talking about this movie when it first came out and he argued that if it's going to be action-y, they should've put Jet Li in the role. However, Jet Li could not have pulled off the intricacies of the other side of the character (albeit, he later did prove himself with his role in Unleashed). Indeed, not only does The Bourne Identity have the most creative and engaging car chase sequence I've seen on film, but the whole movie is one surprise after another. Who knew Matt Damon would be a great action star? The story may not be wholly original, but it certainly took the rogue-agent plot to a whole new level; it's a great action movie with enough twists and turns to keep you invested. The action sequences are visceral and real. And the way the two leads fall in love is actually believable. As always, the 'who-am-I' theme rampant in the movie is one I appreciate - one I think to a certain extent everyone grapples with. For me, The Bourne Identity is a classic movie which grips you from beginning to end and it's one I'd be happy to watch any time.
Another classic in my mind is the hilarious - and I do mean hilarious - Dumb and Dumber. For a movie of this genre, it is quite cleverly written. It's got a good story, and virtually every line is quotable. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels share one of the greatest examples of chemistry for a bromance of any movie I've seen. These guys are brilliant together; they play their characters flawlessly, and the script is itself nearly flawless. When my wife saw it, she was actually vocally surprised at the fact it wasn't merely a stupid, dirty-gag filled film. Of course, naturally it had its share of 'potty humour,' but it was all well placed and wasn't at all extraneous - and it actually had a plot it followed that made sense, even if it was silly. Everything in the movie worked together to the ends of the plot, and the plot truly is about the meaning of friendship, with flavours of finding one's place in the world. However, these are well buried in the humour of the movie. Dumb and Dumber has so many quotables it's not even funny - only that it is funny. In fact, it's hilarious.
I wasn't sure about how this was going to be taken as we've seen everyone in this movie earlier on the list in a pick whose position was initially debated. But really, as far as favourite movies go, this one is absolutely one of them, and the fact that I once had the majority of the script committed to memory simply serves to prove that Star Trek: First Contact is indeed a favourite. This movie is definitely, in my opinion, the best Star Trek movie out there - far surpassing even the highly-regarded JJ Abrams revamp. This movie has it all: action, drama, suspense, humour, time travel, and enough sci-fi jargon to make any geek happy - not to mention throw-backs to the season for all the Trekkies. And, come on, it's got the Borg. First Contact is about fear and confronting your past - but more importantly it's about what makes you who you are. The Next Generation was always good at keeping true to that overarching Star Trek theme of what it means to be a human - Data being the most obvious outlet for exploring such questions. Here, as Picard faces his past in a very real and frightening way, it is he who becomes the metaphor and even alludes to it at the end when the captain charges Lily to be who she is where she's placed, being a better person and making better judgments because of her newly found perspective on the universe, paralleling his enforced strength, wisdom and emotion because of his experiences - despite his momentary lapse in ego. The action is suspenseful, the dialogue is engaging, and the drama is classic (such as the 'You broke your little ships' scene - brilliant). This is definitely an entertaining watch even for non-Trekkies, I'm sure.
I had to put one of Jet Li's movies on this list because I truly love his action expertise - he's incredible to watch. But it was hard to narrow down the movie. I settled on Kiss of the Dragon mostly out of nostalgia, but also because I've watched this movie countless times and have truly enjoyed the ride every single time. I first watched his film as a pirated version in the basement with my friend, and later watched it with my wife. It has now become our favourite film as a couple. Kiss of the Dragon is a quintessential Hollywood martial arts movie: it has a basic plotline and lots of excuses for finely executed martial arts fighting. True to the genre, the bad guy is not just bad, but is in fact rather evil; and of course he's a dirty cop, thus he has connections all over the place and goons who are more than willing to do his dirty work. Jet Li is the innocent, but - as usual - highly awarded, incredibly devoted, and greatly respected cop who gets caught up in something bigger than he ever anticipated. Hijinks ensue. There's no wonder that Jet Li was considered a child prodigy in the field of Wu Shu. His speed is incredible (the fact that directors need to ask him to slow down because the cameras can't catch everything is astonishing), and the scene where he fights a group of police officers is amazing to watch, especially after finding out he told them before filming it that someone was going to get hurt - he wanted to make it realistic, so they basically just went at him, and he aptly defended them off. While he can't speak English that well, he's a fairly good actor, but he did have a few movies under his belt by the time he filmed this one. The action sequences are choreographed excellently, and while the plot is somewhat simple, it manages to have a few complex elements (but not too complex), still the good guy wins in the end, saves the damsel in distress (and her daughter), and the evil guy gets what's coming to him through a mythical method of Chinese pay-back. It's a heart-warming story really - but one with a lot of great martial arts and a handful of quotables. The acting is superb, aside from the female supporting character, but her over-acting perhaps fits well next to Jet Li's reservedness. Regardless, Kiss of the Dragon is an excellent choice for everybody who appreciates a good, solid action-film.