Tag Archives: Flash Gordon

Movie Wisdom – Max von Sydow Edition

21 Nov

I was reading an article about Max von Sydow and his appearance in the new Star Wars movie. It talked about his greatness as an actor and his long career. After reading the article, I decided to write a Movie Wisdom post based on the movies of Max von Sydow, and that is when I discovered something disturbing.

I have not seen as many of his movies as I thought. This is a void in my movie-watching experience that will be filled. However, I thought I had seen a bunch of them. That misconception may come from the impact that he had in the movies that I have seen.

Anyway, this is not going to prevent me from completing my original idea. Here is some wisdom that can be gained from the movies of Max von Sydow.Ming

From The Exorcist

There are no experts.

If certain British doctors never asked “What is this fungus?” we wouldn’t today have penicillin.

From Three Days of the Condor

Someone is always willing to pay.

From Flash Gordon

Live and let live.

From Victory

Anything you say in your sleep can’t be held against you.

From Conan the Barbarian

There comes a time when the jewels cease to sparkle, when the gold loses its luster, when the throne room becomes a prison, and all that is left is a father’s love for his child.

Wealth can be wonderful, but you know, success can test one’s mettle as surely as the strongest adversary.

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.

From Ghostbusters II

Death is but a door. Time is but a window.

Better late than never.

From Needful Things

Everybody is insane.

From Minority Report

Sometimes, in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.

Dig up the past, all you get is dirty.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

We don’t choose the things we believe in; they choose us.

From Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

If things were easy to find they wouldn’t be worth finding.


If These Movies Are On Television, Then I Will Watch Them

30 Jul

The other day, I wrote a post about the BBC and its list of the 100 best American films, and a commenter said that I should provide my own list of top movies. Unfortunately, I am not a movie critic and cannot delve into the intricacies of acting and directing. I only know what movies I like and do not like.

With that in mind, I decided to take this challenge into a different direction. When I am scrolling through the guide, there are some things that I will automatically click on and watch for a while. This includes a few movies with different levels of quality. If I cannot make a list of the greatest movies of all time, then I can make a list of the 10 movies I will always watch if I see them on the television guide.

They are coming at you in the order that I thought of them.

Manhunter (1986) – This was on last night and led me to write this post. It is the first movie about Hannibal Lecter and is directed by Michael Mann. In other words, it is Silence of the Lambs meets Miami Vice. You may have seen its remake, Red Dragon, but this one is a lot more entertaining.

Flash Gordon (1980) – Let Dino de Laurentiis try to capitalize on the Star Wars phenomenon, and this is what you get. It has some great actors and some not-so-great actors, but they are all having a good time. It would have been awesome to been in the room when Flash attacked Ming’s guards by playing football. On top of that, Ornella Muti is there in all her glory.Ornella

Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991) – Two stars of the 1980s, Don Johnson and Mickey Rourke, try to make their transition into the next decade. They ride motorcycles. They go after drug dealers. They act cool. Well, acting might be too strong of a word. I have already written about this one and will move on down the line.

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) – When I become king, a new law will make its way across the land. As a testament to its greatness, everyone must watch this movie. Clint Eastwood is awesome, and it is filled with awesome quotes. I should know because I have them all memorized. In the early days of this blog, I wrote an extensive post about this one.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977) – As with the previous movies, I have already written about this one. Burt Reynolds is at his peak. Jackie Gleason is hilarious. I saw it five times when it was in release and can never watch it too many times. The only problem is that television cleans up the language and, in the process, destroys a lot of the laughs.

El Dorado (1966) – I could have listed a ton of John Wayne movies, but I think I click on this one more than any other. It could be because this one is on regularly. Anyway, it is a script that was filmed several times, but it never gets old. Oh yeah, there is one other thing. As I have written before, it is a poetic movie.

The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981) – This is a terrible movie. Klinton Spilsbury never made another movie. Heck, he did not really make this one. James Keach was brought in to dub his lines. However, it has some redeeming qualities. Merle Haggard sings the theme song, and part of it was filmed in Monument Valley.

Logan’s Run (1976) – I am a big fan of dystopian movies, and this is one of my favorites. How can post-apocalyptic life be bad with scantily clad women everywhere? On top of that, a push of a button can make one of the scantily clad women appear instantly in your apartment. The only thing that could go wrong is that Carrousel ride at the age of 30. On second thought, it would probably be better to live with a bunch of cats in a destroyed Washington, D.C.Cats

For Love of the Game (1999) – This is a movie that used to hit me on a deep emotional level. As the years pass, it does not have the same effect. Despite that, it is still a good movie. Kevin Costner has made a bunch of sports movies, but this is my favorite one. It could be because Vin Scully is calling the game.

Legends of the Fall (1994) – This is another movie that reaches me on an emotional level, but it is also interesting in a historical sense. Obviously, it is about a family that goes through years of heartache. However, it is also about rum-running during Prohibition. They talk about the Volstead Act and smuggling alcohol across the Canadian border. I could go deeper into a historical analysis, but I may need that for another post.

Now, let us analyze the list by decade.

1960s – 1

1970s – 3

1980s – 3

1990s – 3

Interestingly, nothing made in the past 16 years has knocked a movie off this list. I wonder what that means.

Then, there is this. Over half of the list was filmed between 1976 and 1986. Those must have been formative movie years for me.

Anyway, those are the movies that I will always watch if I find them on television. What are a few of the movies that would make your list?

Deep Thinking in the Thunderdome

4 Sep

I have no idea why dystopian movies have been on my mind. My last post was about a recent dystopian movie. A few days ago, I thought about the dystopian phase of Charlton Heston’s career. Heck, I thought about it to the point that I almost did a “Movie Wisdom” post based on Heston’s movies. As I got into it, I realized that I have seen a bunch of his movies, and the task became daunting.

That is when I thought about a movie that does not rank among the dystopian classics, but it has enough cool features that I think it should. Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome came out in 1985, which was in the middle of my formative high school years, and it was awesome. The end of a trilogy, I think it is better than the first one but not as good as the second one. That does not matter. If it is on television, then I am going to watch it. Of course, I do the same thing with Flash Gordon.

What makes Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome cool? There are many reasons.

It is about Mad Max, the former cop who is the baddest man in a nuclear waste world full of bad men.images

That nuclear waste world also has bad women, and Aunty Entity is the baddest of those. Tina Turner, at the height of her powers, plays the villain. However, are there really any villains in a destroyed world?images-2

That would be a destroyed world full of filth and grime, but, in the middle of all that, Aunty Entity has a sleek penthouse with clean water and her own private horn player.

That horn player puts out some good tunes, but nothing compares to the theme sung by Tina Turner. Do we need another hero? I have no idea.

However, I think we need more creepy announcers to introduce the fighters in the ultimate cage match. How would it feel to be waiting in the wings and hear Dr. Dealgood say, “Dyin’ time’s here.”?images-3

By the way – two men enter, one man leaves.

Who are these combatants? Of course, Mad Max is involved. However, the champion of Thunderdome is Master Blaster. That is what I call a lethal combination of brain and brawn.Master Blaster

Speaking of brain, I cannot make a Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome list without mentioning the resident philosopher, Pigkiller. I have already written a post about him. If you want to improve your IQ, then I suggest taking a look at it.

Anyone who has seen a Mad Max movie knows that it is filled with cool cars and strange characters. There is a lot of stuff there to like. However, this installment has one scene that stands out above all others. At the end, Max has helped a group of lost children make it to the safety of an abandoned city. Once there, they create a new society but do not want to forget their past. Every night, they gather, and Savannah Nix talks about what came before.

She says, “The years travel fast and, time after time, I’ve done the tell. But, this ain’t one body’s tell. It’s the tell of us all, and you got to listen it and member. Cause what you hears today you got to tell the newborn tomorrow. I’s lookin’ behind us now into history back…Time counts and keeps countin’, and we knows now finding the trick of what’s been and lost ain’t no easy ride. But that’s our trek, and we’ve got to travel it.”

It is hard to imagine that someone can find inspiration in a 1980s Mad Max movie, but I find it in that scene. It makes me think of my job as a historian. People in my profession find what has been, which is not an easy thing to do. Then, we give that information to others in classrooms, conference rooms and publications. We may be the chroniclers of history, but that does not mean that we own it. History belongs to everyone, and it is our job to study it and make sure that people learn about it and learn from it.

I would start a class with Savannah’s speech, but they would all look at me like I was crazy.

Anyway, that is what I get from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.

Oh yeah, there is one other cool thing in the movie. As Savannah’s words fade away, we see Max walking alone through the desert, and everyone knows that heroes ending up riding into the sunset.