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500 Best Movies of All Time?

3 Feb

A while back, I fell to the temptation of the grocery store magazine stand and bought 500 Best Movies of All Time, a money-grabber put out by Us Weekly. I thought it would be a ranking of 500 movies, and I would be able to list the ones that I have seen. Instead, they broke it down by category and added a bunch that almost made the list.

That means that the movies are in no particular order. With that being said, here are the ones that I have seen with a short description of each.

AvatarDances With Wolves in space

Black Panther – A great hero and a great villain

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

Casablanca – Great first name for the main character

Citizen Kane – A jigsaw puzzle and a sled

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial – No cell phones in those days

The Godfather – Still cannot believe that Fish was the traitor

Harry Potter (The Whole Series) – Great faculty reviews

Gone With the Wind – Looks different from a modern point of view

Inception – Do not dream of spinning tops

Pulp Fiction – John Travolta is everywhere

Raiders of the Lost Ark – It will melt your face

Rocky – The greatest fighter who never lived

Star Wars – A lot of people wear hoodies

The Wizard of Oz – Where does the Red Brick Road go

Titanic – Move over and let him up there

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Where is the truant officer

There’s Something About Mary – Brett Favre

The 40-Year Old Virgin – Sacrifice for the role

National Lampoon’s Vacation – I have been on that trip

Beverly Hills Cop – Great theme song

Chicago – Song and dance

Reservoir Dogs – Colors are the key

All the President’s Men – Deep Throat should still be a mystery

The Departed – Where is Whitey Bulger when you need him

Sin City – Great animation

L.A. Confidential – Great actors but thin plot

The Wolf of Wall Street – Not the only wolf

The Manchurian Candidate – Foreign meddling in an election

The Untouchables – Bring in the IRS

Rudy – Ugh

A Few Good Men – Lawyer v. Witness

Scent of a Woman – Pacino should have won for something else

Boogie Nights – The return of Burt

Million Dollar Baby – Not a happy ending

The Help – Watch out for the pie

Stand By Me – Best Stephen King adaptation

Lady and the Tramp – Spaghetti

Bambi – Thumper is a great sidekick

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – I still look for a Golden Ticket

The Searchers – John Ford, John Wayne and Ward Bond

Tombstone – Who set the building on fire

True Grit – Eyepatch

Unforgiven – They should never have killed Morgan Freeman

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Ecstasy of Gold

Superman – Strings attached

The Last of the Mohicans – Daniel Day-Lewis as a superhero

Guardians of the Galaxy – A talking tree and a talking raccoon.

True Lies – Arnold and Jamie Lee

Enter the Dragon – A Bruce Lee classic

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Best friends collide

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – He returns to Oscar glory

Back to the Future – 88 mph

Skyfall – One of the best non-Sean Connery Bond films

Argo – Harrowing escape

The Bourne Identity – Matt Damon as the toughest man alive

Taken – And rescued

Zombieland – Twinkies

The Dark Knight – When the villain steals the show

Die Hard – Is is a Christmas movie

Doctor Strange – Superheroes are strange

The Hunger Games – Reality television gone over the edge

Wonder Woman – A superhero for the ages

Silver Linings Playbook – Still not an Eagles fan

2001: A Space Odyssey – The monolith is trouble

Apollo 13 – Lost in space

The Matrix – Red pill or blue pill

The Fifth Element – Excellent science fiction

Predator – Hunters are hunted

Minority Report – Philip K. Dick

Star Trek – A truly new generation

Blade Runner – Deckard

Men in Black – Nice shades

Close Encounters of the Third Kind – Devil’s Tower

Good Morning, Vietnam – Perfect for Robin Williams

Caddyshack – Best golf ever

Ghostbusters – Who you gonna call

Braveheart – Blue face paint

Full Metal Jacket – Gomer Pyle and Joker

Top Gun – Definition of the 80s

Schindler’s List – Spielberg’s masterpiece

Apocalypse Now – Going in country to find Marlon Brando

The Bridge on the River Kwai – Blow it up

The Patriot – Not really accurate

Cast Away – Yes, Nashville got an NFL team

Dallas Buyers Club – McConaughey at his best

The Big Chill – Great soundtrack

Fast Times at Ridgemont High – Teenagers in the 80s

Network – The future of television

It’s a Wonderful Life – He got the wings

Rain Man – Charlie and Raymond

The Exorcist – Captain Howdy

The Lost Boys – Another great soundtrack

Jaws – Iconic poster

The Birds – What about all the poop

Rear Window – The perils of being a Peeping Tom

Gremlins – Watch out for midnight

The Silence of the Lambs – Fava beans and a nice Chianti

The Green Mile – Filmed nearby

The Sixth Sense – Not hard to figure out

Wow, that is an even 100 of what Us Weekly thinks are the 500 best movies of all time. I need to get to the theater more often.

Oh, here are some of the alternates I have seen.

Airplane! 

American Pie

Beetlejuice

City Slickers

Coming to America

The Hangover

Happy Gilmore

La La Land

Mary Poppins

Nashville

Walk the Line

American Gangster

Dirty Harry

The Fugitive

Goodfellas

Heat

Leon: The Professional

Ocean’s Eleven

Shutter Island

Training Day

The Usual Suspects

12 Angry Men

All the King’s Men

Almost Famous

Big

Casino

The Deer Hunter

Driving Miss Daisy

Fight Club

Forrest Gump

Gladiator

Good Will Hunting

The Breakfast Club

Frozen

Jumanji

The Jungle Book

The Karate Kid

Pinocchio

The Pirates of the Caribbean

Shrek

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

300

Armageddon

The Avengers

Blood Diamond

Casino Royale

Con Air

Deliverance

First Blood

The Game

Goldfinger

I Am Legend

Iron Man

Lethal Weapon

Mission: Impossible

The Road Warrior

Speed

Spider-Man

The Revenant

Thor: Ragnarok

Watchmen

X-Men

Zero Dark Thirty

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Ghost

The Graduate

Jerry Maguire

Out of Africa

Pretty Woman

District 9

Independence Day

Interstellar

Planet of the Apes

Starship Troopers

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Total Recall

Office Space

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Spaceballs

Stripes

Tootsie

Trading Places

Wedding Crashers

A Beautiful Mind

Catch Me If You Can

Chariots of Fire

Glory

JFK

Lincoln

The Social Network

Black Hawk Down

The Dirty Dozen

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Dunkirk

Patton

Platoon

Saving Private Ryan

Hoosiers

The Hustler

The King’s Speech

The Natural

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Remember the Titans

The Truman Show

Big Fish

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

The Crow

The Devil’s Advocate

From Dusk Till Dawn

Misery

Mulholland Drive

Mystic River

A Nightmare on Elm Street

No Country for Old Men

North by Northwest

The Prestige

Se7en

Unbreakable

V for Vendetta

Zodiac

So, that is 121 of the also-ran’s that I have seen. Wait, do the also-ran’s also count as part of the 500? Instead of counting, let us just say that I have seen 221 of the movies listed in a magazine that was a complete waste of money.

Movie Wisdom – Burt Reynolds Edition

6 Sep

A few years ago, I wrote a post inspired by the movies of Burt Reynolds. Upon his passing, I decided to reblog it.

SBI: A Thinning Crowd

A couple of blogging ideas popped into my mind over the weekend, and I decided to smash them together to form a semi-regular series of posts.

First, I went on a quick trip to Chattanooga, which isn’t too far away, and crossed Monteagle Mountain along the way. Those not from Tennessee may not know about Monteagle, but it is one of the great spots in our state. It is also where the Bandit gained his notoriety. Don’t know what Bandit I am talking about? Well, there is only one Bandit, and that is the one played by Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit. According to the opening song, the Bandit became famous when he safely steered his jack-knifed truck down Monteagle.

As I crossed the mountain, I started thinking about a blog of my favorite Burt Reynolds movies.

Then, I published a post that included a profound line from one of my favorite movies…

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The Boys of Summer

16 Jun

A couple of years ago, I wrote this in honor of a family friend who passed away. Last night, we learned that Jimmy Courtney, one of the people mentioned in this post passed away. I am reposting this in his honor.

SBI: A Thinning Crowd

When people think of slow pitch softball, they probably envision a bunch of non-athletic people in a park drinking beer. However, there is a completely different type of slow pitch softball. It involves athletes who travel around the country playing in tournaments. They are sponsored by sporting goods companies that capitalize on their home run hitting abilities to sell bats.

It is not a game played in church leagues or on sandlots. It is played in baseball stadiums.

I write those words because my dad sponsored one of those teams, the Le-Al-Co Storms. In the 1970s and 1980s, it was one of the best teams in the country. The men on the team played for the love of competition and a bigger love of winning.

Like all kids, I knew that springtime brought the end of school, but it also brought a summer full of adventure. Every weekend, we…

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Listening to Art Bell from East of the Rockies

16 Apr

I opened up Twitter and saw a message from a friend. He wanted my thoughts on the passing of Art Bell. At some point, we had discussed how both of us had listened to Coast to Coast AM into the wee hours of the night. Now, the host of that show was gone.

I first heard of Art Bell on another radio show. I was driving through the night, and a local talk host was discussing Bell’s sudden and mysterious retirement. This was sometime in the 1990s before we had instant access to everything. I had to do some searching to find out the scoop and to find out if he would ever return to the airwaves.

He made a triumphant return, and, although I had joined the party late, Bell became a late night staple for me. Despite the show’s name, he was on the FM dial in Nashville. At midnight, I would put in my headphones and listen for the theme music to start. It was “The Chase” by Giorgio Moroder, and I cannot listen to that song without thinking that an interview about UFOs is coming up next.

My favorite segments were with Richard C. Hoagland talking about NASA and the face on Mars. For months, they talked about the secret messages in the movie Mission to Mars. I went to see it just because they talked about it.

Zecharia Sitchin was also a great guest. His specialty was ancient astronauts and their influence on humanity.

Bell also took calls from listeners, and they always had stories of conspiracies or the paranormal. They would call in from East of the Rockies and West of the Rockies.

I would stay up too late listening to those shows, but I always fell asleep at some point. I wonder how many dreams were influenced by the voices coming through the headphones with words of weird stuff.

At some point, I stopped listening to Coast to Coast AM, but I always wondered about everyone who listened to it. Did they listen for entertainment? Did they believe what they were hearing? Was it a little of both?

I have also wondered about me. I listened for the entertainment value. However, some of it started seeping into my brain. How did it affect my ideas?

One of my colleagues at work teaches a class on conspiracy theories in American history. Maybe I should ask him.

Interview with C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb

9 May

If any of you are interested in presidential history, then check out my colleague on C-SPAN this Sunday.

Jacksonian America: Society, Personality, and Politics

Last month, I had the privilege of sitting down with C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb and being interviewed for his show, Q&A. It was a heady and nerve-wracking experience, not the least because I had been sick for a couple of days before I flew to D.C. (Remember that when you watch the interview.) We talked about Andrew Jackson, Southerner and spent a lot of time on the Trump-Jackson comparisons. It was a great experience, and I want to thank Brian and Q&A producer Nik Raval for asking me to do the interview.

If you’re interested in seeing the interview, it will be on C-SPAN this Sunday evening, May 14, at 8E/7C and again at 11E/10C.

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On Top of the Tornado

24 Jan

The other day, the Atlanta Falcons won the last football game to be played in the Georgia Dome. Since then, tornados have swept through Georgia. These stories brought to mind an experience from nine years ago. A tornado hit the Georgia Dome, and I was there. This is a post I wrote several years ago about that night.

SBI: A Thinning Crowd

Storms swept across Tennessee today and left some destruction in their wake. Tornado warnings and watches were all over as the map turned green, orange and red. Thankfully, not much happened around my house, but it reminded me of a time that I found myself on top of the tornado. This tornado to be specific:

In 2008, my girlfriend of the time and I traveled to Atlanta for the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament. We hit the afternoon session to see my favorite team, the University of Tennessee, win a close game. As it ended, fans from all of the teams filed out of the Georgia Dome in anticipation of the night session and more excitement to come. However, we had other plans. Dinner reservations at the restaurant on top of our hotel, the kind that slowly turns so patrons can get a panoramic view of the city. After dinner and a…

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Miracle at South Bend

10 Nov

This story took place 25 years ago today.

SBI: A Thinning Crowd

While reading this blog, some of you may have realized that I am a fan of the University of Tennessee. However, I am not just a fan. I am a fanatic. As a certified fanatic, I have been lucky enough to attend numerous football games throughout the country. I don’t know how many games I have attended. The best way to describe it is to say that if there has been a game played over the past 38 years, then chances are good that I was there.

Bunches of games have been forgotten, but a few, both wins and losses, stand out. One of those is the 1991 game against Notre Dame. It has gone down in Tennessee history as the Miracle at South Bend. Tennessee fans throughout the nation remember that game and have a story that goes along with it. However, my story is a little more…

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