Tag Archives: Entertainment Weekly

Listeria – Going to the Picture Show

2 Jul

The folks at Entertainment Weekly just came out with a bunch of lists. The 100 greatest television shows. The 100 greatest novels. The 100 greatest albums. The 100 greatest lists of great things in popular culture. It is perfect fodder for “Listeria”, the ongoing examination of our fascination with lists.

This is an examination of the magazine’s list of the 100 greatest movies, or, as my dad used to call them, the picture show. When I was a kid, he would ask if I wanted to go to the picture show because he knew it drove me crazy. For those who don’t know, the picture show was a southern term for the movies. He said a lot of other things to drive me crazy, but that one was a sure thing.

Never fear, I am not going to write about 100 movies. I am going to list the ones that I have seen. To add some texture, I think I will include my favorite thing about each one.

Oh, there will also be a little trivia at the end.Ward Bond

1. Citizen Kane (1941) – The line, “A toast, Jedediah, to love on my terms. Those are the only terms anybody ever knows – his own.”

2. The GodFather (1972) – The line, “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”

3. Casablanca (1942) – Rick’s Cafe

6. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – The floor that separates to form an indoor swimming pool

9. Nashville (1975) – The song, “It Don’t Worry Me”

10. Gone With the Wind (1939) – The coolness of Rhett Butler

12. The Searchers (1956) – Monument Valley

14. Bambi (1942) – Thumper

18. Jaws (1975) – Quint’s story about being on the USS Indianapolis

19. Pulp Fiction (1994) – The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know My name is the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon thee.

24. The Sound of Music (1965) – When it was over

25. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – The music

28. The Wizard of Oz (1939) – The Red Brick Road (where does it go?)

29. North by Northwest (1959) – Mount Rushmore

33. The Graduate (1967) – Katharine Ross

41. The Road Warrior (1981) – The kid with the decapitating boomerang

43. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) – Gandalf

49. Goldfinger (1964) – The Kentucky Fried Chicken in one of the scenes

52. Titanic (1997) – The wreck

53. Star Wars – Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – Darth Vader

56. Schindler’s List (1993) – The last scene in the cemetery

59. All the President’s Men (1976) – Jason Robards

61. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) – Hannibal Lecter’s cell

62. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) – The flying bicycle

63. Network (1976) – The line, “I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!”

68. GoodFellas (1990) – The music

69. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) – Slim Pickens riding the bomb.

78. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – The melting face of the Nazi

81. Blade Runner (1982) – Pris

83. The Wild Bunch (1969) – The Front Porch Massacre

85. Dirty Harry (1971) – The line, “I know what you’re thinking. “Did he fire six shots or only five?” Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”

88. The Dark Knight (2008)Batman riding away at the end

89. Woodstock (1970) – The crowd shots

93. A Face in the Crowd (1957) – All of it

94. Brokeback Mountain (2005) – Randy Quaid

99. There WIll Be Blood (2007) – The line, “Drainage! Drainage, Eli, you boy. Drained dry. I’m so sorry. Here, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that’s a straw, you see? You watching?. And my straw reaches acroooooooss the room, and starts to drink your milkshake… I… drink… your… milkshake!”

Trivia – Ward Bond (pictured above) was in at least 5 of the top 1oo movies. This includes 3 of the top 12.

Movies that Time Forgot

3 Feb

Classic movies of the past are remembered and often honored. They continue to live on movie channels and Blu-Ray discs and are watched and analyzed by cinema scholars and ordinary fans. But, what about the movies that did not become classics – the ones that had a short run on the silver screen and a bit longer run on late night cable. These are not analyzed or held up as artistic achievements. They are the movies that time forgot. They exist only as memory fragments of those who saw them. Today, a stream of consciousness led me to such a movie.

This was test day in my classes, and I promise that teachers love test days. While the students are searching their brains for answers they hope will come, teachers can sit back and relax. For me, this means a day of surfing the internet. An activity such as this can get tedious after a while and can lead to some strange places. A stop by the Entertainment Weekly website led me on a journey that I never expected.

As I scanned the site for news about The Hunger Games movie, I noticed a snippet about Sherilyn Fenn, an 80s vixen that I was totally infatuated with, and her upcoming role on a television show that I never heard of. Wondering what she looks like these days, I googled her images and found that she has aged well. Then, I went to the Internet Movie Database to recount her career. There was Boxing Helena, a controversial movie if I remember correctly, and Two Moon Junction, an erotic thriller designed to show off Fenn’s assets. Interestingly, it was also the last film for Burl Ives and Herve “Da Plane, Da Plane” Villechaize. But, I didn’t stay with Two Moon Junction for long because I suddenly remembered my favorite Sherilyn Fenn movie, The Wraith.

Charlie Sheen used to be cool. Here's the proof.

In The Wraith, Charlie Sheen, Fenn’s boyfriend, was killed by a drag-racing gang. Apparently, he took tiger blood before his death because Sheen comes back as the Wraith, a drag-racing, ass-kicking ghost – perhaps the coolest ghost ever. He had a fast car and an awesome racing helmet. He kills the gang leader, Nick Cassavetes, in the end, and Sherilyn finally figures out who he really is. Then, Sheen drives off into the sunset. Too bad for him that his career has not had the same cool fade out. As I read about The Wraith, I began thinking about other car chase movies and remembered The Last Chase.

The Six Million Dollar Man meets Speed Racer

I watched The Last Chase almost every time it was on cable. This movie starred Lee Majors as an old race car driver living in a future USA that has faced some real issues. A plague had killed millions, and OPEC had cut off our oil supply. A totalitarian government ruled over a populace that traveled by bicycles and electric golf carts. Apparently, golfing was still a popular pastime. Majors, the government spokesman proclaiming the evils of cars, tired of this way of life a rebuilt a race car that he had hidden under the house. After picking up a stowaway in the form of Chris Makepeace, Majors heads on a cross-country trip to “free California”, which has broken away and started using gas-guzzling cars. This has always seemed ironic to me. A state full of environmentalists who do not want us to pump our own fuel ends up being the one that brings the fuel back. At any rate, the government unleashes Burgess Meredith, an old Vietnam War pilot, to chase the car in an antique fighter jet. How can a movie be better than that?

For some reason, this movie has always stuck with me, and certain spots stood out.

1. Chris Makepeace learned how to drive in a race  car. How cool is that?

2. Authorities used an old Coca-Cola delivery truck to block the roads. I wonder if it still had fizz.

3. Native Americans took back control of their land once the USA retreated to the cities. This was always my favorite part. With a lot of patience, they won in the end.

Anyway, I have always wanted to see this movie again, so I headed over to Amazon to see if it was available. Lo and behold, it has been released on DVD, and I bought it immediately. I suppose it wasn’t Blu-Ray worthy. So, my trip through the movies that time forgot led me to The Last Chase, which I eventually caught. I wonder if it will be as good as I remember.