With The Batman arriving shortly, I’m running down every Batman theatrical release since 89. Prepping my mind and body for the ultimate experience that is about to happen. The world is truly not ready for what’s about to go down in The Batman.
Some say there’s never been a “bad” Batman movie. Well, those were the exact words out of the newest member of the Bat-family, Robert Pattinson. He’s on record saying that he’s seen every Batman movie in theatres and that he thinks every Batman movie had a time and place and they all serve their own purpose in one way or another. I tend to agree to some degree, so that’s why I decide to run the gauntlet of Batman movies and see for myself. Starting with the only cartoon movie to make the list Batman: Mask of The Phantasm.
Batman: Mask of The Phantasm. Release Date: December 25th, 1993. Director: Eric Radomski & Bruce Timm. Box-Office: 5.6 Million.
Batman is wrongly implicated in a series of murders of mob bosses actually done by a new vigilante assassin.
The best Batman movie that no one has seen? This cartoon iteration, a spawn of the iconic and beloved Batman The Animated Series, tells the tale of Batman’s origin and the first and only love of his life. While showcasing the present day adventures of the Dark Knight. For a cartoon this movie explores mature themes and even feels like a mature movie.
When Bruce Wayne and Batman both get a blast from the past, they scramble to put the pieces of the puzzle that is his life together to help save Gotham and the woman he once loved Andrea Beaumont. Chasing a new threat in town, The Phantasm, they are picking off crime lords one by one, and making it seem like Batman is behind these crimes. We know Batman doesn’t kill, especially in the cartoons, debate the killing thing all you want. When his Bat life and personal life finally come to blows, he must decide what he ultimately wants in his life.
From his origin days, Bruce wanted nothing more than to strike fear in the criminals in Gotham and try to save the city. Until he almost gave up that life for Andrea. It’s a theme that is rarely explored, Batman giving up the mantle for a woman or for anything really. I love this movie because how the exploration of both Batman’s psyche and Bruce Wayne’s. Sprinkle in a little Joker action and we have an amazing Batman story on our hands. One of the best ones ever told through film and something the biggest Batman fans hold close to their heart.
A story that could work so well in live action and perhaps something we could get one day. It’s a reminder of how powerful the animated series was, and how ahead of its time it was. A flawless work of animation and Batman lore that was the launching pad for so many Batman stories and how the character was handled going forward. It was a total game changer and something I will continue to watch and rewatch for the rest of my life.
Score = 93/100
Batman. Release Date: June 19th, 1989. Director: Tim Burton. Box-Office: 411.6 Million
The Dark Knight of Gotham City begins his war on crime with his first major enemy being Jack Napier, a criminal who becomes the clownishly homicidal Joker.
A movie that defined a generation. Something fans at the time were waiting for, a serious take on the caped crusader. Moving on from the Adam West Batman, which at the time was loved and respected and appreciated, but as time wore on, fans wanted a more serious tone from their Batman. So in comes Michael Keaton and boy does he still smash it as both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Sure, when you watch the Burton Batman movies they can feel a little outdated, but what do you expect for movies this old? He can’t really move in the suit, the action isn’t that great, but one thing this movie has going for it, terrific performances. Keaton and Nicholson (Joker) are so amazing in this movie, you don’t need all the big set pieces or fight sequences, because your enthralled with these two legends going at it.
Gotham City should almost feel like a character itself. That’s one thing Burton had down, the aesthetics of Gotham City and just how dull, dreary and gloomy it can be. Gotham should also feel timeless, in the sense you could watch it at any time and never truly know what era the movie takes place in. Burtons Batman movies have by far the best Gotham aspects and it’s one thing I’m really looking forward to in The Batman. Gotham feels like it has a personality and a real identity as it should. The city almost makes the people living in it, so it only makes sense to have it represent the evil that dwells within it.
A booming soundtrack, an epic and emotional score, a wicked Bat-Mobile, pieces were here, and everything just clicked into place for this movie. Some how it just always feels like it’s missing something. Whether that’s one big action fight scene, there are a few sprinkled in, but nothing that knocks your socks off, or that just Batman as cool as he is, can’t truly come out of his shell, because he’s held back by filming. Burton was in his heyday but technically comic book movies just aren’t what they can be now, they did the best they could, but at the end of the day, it’s what holds this film back.
Score = 84/100
Batman Returns. Release Date: June 19th, 1992. Director: Tim Burton. Box-Office: 266 Million
While Batman deals with a deformed man calling himself the Penguin wreaking havoc across Gotham with the help of a cruel businessman, a female employee of the latter becomes the Catwoman with her own vendetta.
What a sequel. It really changed so many things. You know who hated this movie? Moms. Thanks a lot Moms. Well, them and McDonald’s, apparently they had a hard time selling Happy Meals with the toy line from this movie. Maybe that’s why this movie made like no money?
Which is hard to believe, because some days, I think this could be my favourite Batman movie ever made. At times it certainly feels like the most “Batman” influence movie we have ever gotten. Burton ups the aesthetics with the sequel. Everything is bigger and brighter, the sets are more grandeur. We get some of the most iconic comic book performances across the board. Keaton returns has the Dark Knight, but Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfeiffer really steal the show. This is a dark and intense movie, and their performances match the tone perfectly. Pfeiffer’s transformation scene into Catwoman is one of the single best moments from any Batman movie. She’s tortured and just wants to find someone in her life, and when she finally does, she’s too broken to accept that good things can happen to her. As for DeVito, his take on Penguin certainly doesn’t get talked about enough. He’s immersed in the character and no one is really hamming it up here, this is all taken pretty seriously and that’s why for me, it works so well.
Even the already boisterous score is taken to another level, with such emotion behind it, that it elevates the movie. From the very get-go you understand that Burton is taking Batman and his entire world very seriously. Much like the movie that came before it, the only thing that holds it back, is the time it was made. The action does feel bigger, but this is a character driven story, not something that relies and leans on huge fights and non-stop action.
They always had plans to continue with Keaton, Burton and possibly even Pfeiffer, but something changed and it is one of the biggest what if’s in my mind. They wanted to cross over with Superman and potentially bring in Johnny Depp as Scarecrow. Now that’s a movie I needed to see.
The biggest question. Is Batman Returns a Christmas movie?
Score = 90/100
Batman Forever. Release Date: June 16th, 1995. Director: Joel Schumacher. Box-Office: 336 Million
Batman must battle former district attorney Harvey Dent, who is now Two-Face and Edward Nygma, The Riddler with help from an amorous psychologist and a young circus acrobat who becomes his sidekick, Robin.
Keaton, out. Kilmer, in Burton, out. Schumacher, in. Talk about a tonal shift. We had the grand gothic aesthetics of Burton’s Gotham City. Enter a new neon Gotham, were jokes are a plenty and everything just seems a little more fun. There’s so much happening in this movie, introducing a new Batman as well as a massive shift in tone, it made this movie hard to swallow for fans.
This movie gets a ton of flack, but overtime fans and myself have grown to appreciate this for what it is. Val Kilmer actually looks pretty great in the cape and cowl. He also makes a fantastic Bruce Wayne. Exploring more of his psyche and the grief he carries with the death of his parents. Exploring the mental side to both of his identities with something not previously seen with Keaton. He certainly isn’t the problem with this movie, in fact Batman is the most serious aspect of the entire film. The problems lies elsewhere, starting with the villains that are so over the top and corny, it makes it very difficult to take them seriously. Especially coming off the grounded and serious performances of Catwoman and Penguin. Even when it tries to be serious, it just ends up falling flat on its face.
Enter Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, and just from the get-go his entire demeanour and performance don’t sit right with me. One of his strongest foes belittled and made into almost a cruel joke. On the other side of that coin we get the Riddler. Now, Jim Carrey does a weird job here. He’s hamming it up so much here, that again, it’s hard to take this performance seriously. At the end of the day though, he’s by far the superior villain of the film. Once he gets into his iconic green costume I feel like his performance does seem elevated. Just the mixture of these two classic villains doesn’t mesh well, making the pairing odd to say the least.
Now the biggest addition to the mix. Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson. It would have been hard to tackle Robin as a young boy, but making Robin apart of this story, feels rushed and forced. Although his “origin” is perhaps the best part of the whole movie. The one scene that feels the closest to the previous two movies. He’s not terrible, just needed one more solo Batman movie first. If this were now, I feel like the Robin stuff would have come at the end of the film and not in the beginning. There was already so much going on and the addition of Robin is over kill. Toss in the forever horny Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman) and now it’s a real party.
There’s an alternative cut of this somewhere out there. A more serious and dark film. The “Schumacher Cut” is something fans want and something I want to see. Additional scenes and a more serious tone, is something that could turn this already acceptable Batman movie into something great?
Score = 66/100
Batman & Robin. Release Date: June 22nd, 1997. Director: Joel Schumacher. Box-Office: 238 Million.
Batman and Robin try to keep their relationship together even as they must stop Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy from freezing Gotham City.
There’s only so many puns a man can handle. Regarded as the worst and weakest Batman film to date, this movie is kind of a train wreck. But in a way that you really cant take your eyes off of it. We get another man wearing the cape and cowl, none other than George Clooney himself, and boy does it seem like he doesn’t give a shit. The man didn’t even do a Batman voice. Kilmer held up his end of the bargain and gave us a decent portrayal of both Batman and Bruce Wayne. Where Clooney gives us a bland and forgettable performance, it’s not great.
Piggybacking off the vibe and tone of Forever, they double down with the neon lights, more puns and some just god awful dialogue. Most of that awful dialogue comes from the legend himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze. If only the last two Batman movies before Nolan stepped in would have taken their villains seriously, we could have had some decent movies on our hands. Freeze is a joke, making even his powers the means for jokes. When in all reality, he can be a tortured and compassionate villain who the audience could have sympathy with. He’s terrible but doesn’t take the cake. That honour befalls on Bane. Yelling words and breaking down doors, once again a fascinating and iconic Batman villain turned into a literal punch line. Bane the strategic mastermind, combat extraordinaire, merely a juiced out man, who says maybe 10 words? Uma Thurman comes in with an okay-ish take on Poison Ivy, who just seems to hot to handle. She’s just lame. Why these movies insisted on having some cooky plots and gullible schemes, it’s just laughable the whole way through.
You can have a good time with this movie, but cringe finds it’s way throughout the entire runtime. Like, they play hockey and have skates popping out of their Batman Boots. You will never ever see these things in another Batman movie for as long as you live. You almost appreciate how a studio wanted something like this, and compare it to what we are about to receive and it’s quite insane. Poor casting and terrible story is a recipe for disaster, but there is something about these Schumacher movies that feel good. The campiness runs deep, but maybe that’s the point? He tried something and for moments it can work, but overall the lack of talent in front of the camera is what holds these back.
I can’t wait for the Mr. Freeze redemption tour when he appears in the Reeves trilogy.
Score = 33/100
Batman Begins. Release Date: June 15th, 2005. Director: Christopher Nolan. Box-Office: 373 Million.
After training with his mentor, Batman begins his fight to free crime-ridden Gotham City from corruption.
Wow, when you see the box-office, it’s crazy. The world still had a Batman hangover and it’s so clear that Superhero movies just weren’t the draw they are right now. It didn’t even make 400 million, crazy. The Batman will gross that in probably 7 days, which tells you everything you need to know about the world and how they feel about the dark knight.
When you discuss directors that changed the landscape, that changed the genre, that changed cinema, Christopher Nolan is one of them. The world may not have seen this movie in bunches, but I can tell you that on some days, I truly believe this is the best Batman ever made (so far). A polar opposite feel, grounded, dark, gritty, all these things can sum up the Nolan universe. No more bright lights, over the top villains, and piss-poor scripts. How we perceived comic book movies changed forever when Batman Begins dropped. Hans Zimmer creates an epic score, that suits this universe so well. The perfect blend of music and imagery, create the ultimate experience.
Christian Bale suits up as our new Cape Crusader, making him for most people the definitive Batman. An all-star cast that showcased legit acting chalked full of real performances. Villains felt serious, and didn’t have some over the top schemes that felt out of this world and unrealistic. What Nolan brought to Batman was realism. So grounded that his interpretation felt more of a man in a bat-suit than Batman. That had its pros and its cons. It was almost to detached to the Batman mythos and he reinvented something completely. You need that balance of realism, grounded-ness but at the same time those special elements that make Batman who he is. Remember he does fight people who can control plants or shape-shift.
I really love the Batsuit in this movie. I think its been the best live action suit (so far). It’s Bale’s best performance as Batman here, the best voice, costume and it just felt so raw. The hype around the sequel got so intense, I wonder if this role almost got away from him a little bit. I wish we got this Batman in the two movies that followed, because for me, we didn’t.
Lastly, Nolan showed that you didn’t need a post credit stinger to get fans excited. This has arguably the greatest final scene in a comic book movie. Setting up The Joker, letting fans who this would continue and got us all so excited for what was to come.
Score = 94/100
The Dark Knight. Release Date: July 18th, 2008. Director: Christopher Nolan. Box-Office: 1.05 Billion.
When the menace known as the Joker wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, Batman must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice.
Imagine that was the final shot of the movie? Chaos triumphs. Evil finally conquers good. It’s rare to see that in a film as big as The Dark Knight. This movie doesn’t come without all sorts of what ifs and questions, but one thing is certain, this is a groundbreaking achievement in film-making. It’s a movie that literally everyone went a saw, you would be hard pressed to run into someone, who hadn’t seen The Dark Knight.
Nolan was already a remarkable director, but it feels like TDK was the movie he finally found his identity and where all his tricks and strongest qualities fell into place and he made his greatest film to date. Directors are still chasing the success of TDK, because it was so revolutionary and ground-breaking, comic book movies have been coping this mould for quite some time.
Everyone is on their A-Game in this, including the man himself, Heath Ledger. It’s rare to see such a performance, honestly it’s regarded as one of the finest pieces of acting this century. What happened to him is a travesty, but this memorable performance is something that will live on forever and something no one will ever forget. Heck even Eric Roberts is giving one hell of a performance. It’s just not Heath that carries this film, it’s a collection of terrific performances from top to bottom. Eckhart grows on me every time I watch this. I think the biggest mistake the movie makes is killing him off. I get that it fulfills his arc for the movie but he was so powerful and such a worthy foe for this Batman that having him stick around could have been an interest idea for the finale.
We get the best Bale Batman moment when he falls onto the van with Scarecrow in it and follows it up with the iconic line “I’m not wearing hockey pads” line. We also get one of the greatest sequences honestly ever put to film? Flipping the 18 wheeler, introducing the Bat-Pod, the showdown between Joker and Batman. I love it to so much, it’s peak cinema. Joker hunting down Dent is 10 minutes of pure movie magic.
Fans have always wanted a little more you know? One last scene with Joker, a deleted scene, anything. You always wondered how the final movie would have gone down if it weren’t for Heath’s passing. There’s no way you don’t return to his character and I’m sure that was probably the idea. It could be the greatest and bigger “what-if” in the history of movies.
My biggest gripe with the movie. Nolan detached himself from the Gotham City he build in Begins. The Narrows are no more and that was one of the strongest aspects of his first film. I feel like that aura and the Joker would have meshed beautifully, it just felt like Gotham no longer had any sort of identity, and that should never be the case in a Batman movie. Lastly, I hate the redesign of the Bat-suit. It’s arguably the worst looking suit in all the Batman movies. Even Schumacher had great looking suits.
At the end of the day, I saw this movie 9 times in theatres.
Score = 96/100
The Dark Knight Rises. Release Date: July 20th, 2012. Director: Christopher Nolan. Box-Office: 1.08 Billion
Eight years after the Joker’s reign of anarchy, Batman, with the help of the enigmatic Catwoman, is forced from his exile to save Gotham City from the brutal guerrilla terrorist Bane.
The grande finale. The big sendoff to our beloved Batman. Was this always the conclusion Nolan had in mind? Maybe not, but it’s the one we got and for Bruce Wayne and Batman it certainly is a proper sendoff. He goes up against his toughest foe yet and with an already broken body, Batman is pushed to his absolute limits.
8 years have passed and Batman finally comes out of retirement. No thanks to Tom Hardy’s Bane, who is a force to be reckon with and a powerful force whenever he is on screen. For me having 8 years passed was weird, it should have been a shorter time, but after the trilogy ended, it was obvious that Nolan certainly had an idea for what he believed the Batman stood for. The whole idea of the Nolan Batman, anyone can be Batman, it stands for more of a symbol than anything else. It stands for hope, it means that Gotham can be protected and that crime won’t be safe in the streets. It doesn’t matter who’s behind the cowl, that’s not what makes Batman who he is, as long as he is out there, Gotham will be safe. That’s why this movie ends the way it does.
So in all of these 8 years, Bruce Wayne never decided to take care of his body? He’s a billionaire, it never makes sense why he thought he didn’t need to protect his body. If he knew deep down that Batman would once again be called upon, why not keep in good shape, even if Bruce Wayne became a recluse. It’s my biggest gripe with the whole movie, because it’s something that is so out of character for Bruce Wayne.
Bringing to life part of the Knightfall storyline, having Bane break the Batman’s back is a special moment for comic book movies. It’s a tense and hard-hitting scene that feels so raw and gritty because of how quiet it is. Batman is pushed to his limits mentally and physically and it ends with a fantastic showdown that showcases everything that makes him the beautiful and beloved character that he is.
Could we have gotten more of Nolan and his Batman with Joseph Gordon Levitt? Possibly, but I think Nolan was done with all of this, and with the passing of Heath, I still don’t think this was the real story he wanted to tell. It’s still such a strong trilogy that made fans want more Batman. When we see Batman again for the first time it’s 45 minutes into the movie and when that spine tingling score takes hold, it will literally send chills down your entire body.
This movie has some really special Batman moments, but at the end of the day, he was just a man behind a mask, a symbol. This wasn’t a true telling of Batman and that’s what’s going to differentiate between the Nolan movies and what’s to come with Pattinson. The world isn’t ready.
When someone asks you, “what’s your favourite movie?” What is the answer you usually give them? What does it mean? Your favourite movie? Is it the movie you have seen the most throughout your life? The movie that you can quote the most? Maybe it’s a movie that makes you feel a certain way or it makes you think of a certain someone. All of these things can be true, and maybe a little bit of each one of those can be mixed together to form someone’s favourite movie. Well when I get asked that question, I usually stare off into space, because I simply cannot answer it. I do not have a definitive “favourite movie.” I have many favourite movies, but I can never just pick one. It’s just too much of a complicated question for me to answer. But I just turned 30 and I thought it would be pretty neat to travel back in time and pick my favourite movie from each year I’ve been alive. So we will be going all the way back to 1988, a simpler time in Hollywood, and a time where a shit-ton of fantastic movies were being made. I had loads of fun deciding and making this list. Comment on some of your favourite movies throughout your life, and maybe give this a like or share, because, well, it took me a while to write and watch all these movies, alright!!
1988. Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Release Date. June 22nd, 1988. Director. Robert Zemeckis. Box Office. 329.8 Million.
“C’mon Roger, let’s go home. I’ll bake you a carrot cake.” – Jessica Rabbit.
Kicking things off in style! This is a once in a generation kind of film. It needs two things. A creative and forward-thinking filmmaker and a little luck. The amount of work that went into making this masterpiece is something else and I wish Hollywood would take a little more risks and make movies like this more often. Sex, lies, and murder. Sounds like a kids movie to me! Or not someway I would describe one of my favorite childhood movies. After rewatching this movie as an adult, I was processing a lot of information. One, this is legit about sex, lies, and murder. Men are obsessed with a cartoon, and I learned a thing or two about patty cake. Second, this movie simply doesn’t get made in today’s world. We have Bugs Bunny sharing a scene with Mickey Mouse, that’s Disney and Warner Bros. in the same scene. We got Daffy and Donald Duck having a piano battle. Imagine trying to get the rights to all these characters. The closest thing I can think of would be this year’s Ready Player One. I remember watching this as a kid and being so invigorated by everything that was going on. I was also terrified of Christopher Lloyd and his portrayal of Judge Doom. Actually, I lied just now. He still scares me, it’s crazy to think this was made 30 years ago. I say that because the rendered animation mixed with the live action is pretty much flawless. The effects are just spectacular, well of course they are, this movie won 3 Oscars. The last 30 mins of this movie are so damn good, the battle between Valiant (Bob Hoskins) and the weasels and Judge Doom always cracks me up and is actually pretty entertaining. The whole movie is just so well put together. It’s a great story, Hoskins is actually acting his butt off. The guy is acting off of no one for the most part. All of his scenes with Roger and the other Toons are spectacular because he’s just doing it himself. Gotta give that legend some credit. This is also responsible for some strange fetishes towards Jessica Rabbit, but we don’t have to go there.
1989. Little Monsters. Release Date. August 25th, 1989. Director. Richard Greenberg. Box Office. 793,775 Thousand.
“Who put piss in my apple juice!” – Ronnie Coleman
Peanut butter and onion sandwiches, yum! The movie that made Howie Mandel a germaphobe! Or at least led him down that path, I mean it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? The guy spends countless hours sitting in a makeup chair having people not only touch his face but putting on god knows how much makeup. Well if that’s what had to happen for Howie to go off the rails I’m happy. Because as a kid growing up, didn’t everyone want the ability to just disappear to a place of fun and wonder? Well, enter LittleMonsters, another weird but heartfelt kids movie that I fell in love with growing up. It had the baddest brothers in the world growing up, the Savage boys. Imagine befriending a monster who lives under your bed then going on countless adventures with that said monster, ruining lives everywhere. Sounds kind of messed up, but hey, when you’re a kid, you don’t think like that. Again, this movie is scary, weird and pretty dark for a child, because all the monsters are former kids. So that’s pretty twisted for a kids movie because Maurice is recruited to turn Brian into a monster, that’s pretty messed up. But I love the bond and the relationship that Maurice (Mandel) and Brian (Fred Savage) share. The ending showdown between the kids, Boy and Snik, is so damn good and it still somehow manages to give me chills. Because I just wanted to be a badass kid when I was younger, who didn’t? Also, Ronnie Coleman is Buzz from HomeAlone, I just found this out and my mind is blown. If this scene doesn’t make you teary-eyed, then you have no soul. One of the most gut-wrenching moments of my childhood. Any movie that ends with Road To Nowhere by the Talking Heads is good in my book.
1990. EdwardScissorhands. ReleaseDate. December 6th, 1990. Director. Tim Burton. Box Office. 66 Million
“Sometimes you can still catch me dancing in it” – Kim
That Johnny Depp, he makin’ me cry! Remember that classic Seinfeld episode? It’s not important here, but I had to steal that line. The great modern fairy tale of this generation if you ask me. Forget Romeo and Juliet and all that Shakespeare BS. Give me some Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. With Burton being involved you know there are gothic tones all over this thing, and nothing screams gothic tones like the crazy woman capital of the USA. It’s my favourite Johnny Depp movie and performance. I’m not a huge Depp fan, I think he’s just a human character now, but this is APEX Depp, and I love every single second of his performance. So this is the strangest love story ever told, but dammit if it ain’t majestic. This whole movie is just stunning, from the colours, the cinematography, to the score, to the acting. Arguably the most weirdly beautiful movie ever made: girl meets boy, boy has scissors for hands, girl hates boy at first, girl falls in love with boy. Seems simple enough, right? I can’t get over how good Depp is in his performance, really is one for the ages. I can’t believe he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. Throw in Dianne Wiest, Alan Arkin and god bless her in this movie, Winona Ryder. It’s peak Ryder, she destroys in this role, as the sweet-hearted, girl next door type. Rewatching it now, it’s hilarious to see buff Anthony Michael Hall. Ask 10 people, they will say, yeah the skinny nerd from BreakfastClub. Well, a lot can change in 5 years, because he’s so insanely different in this, it always throws me off. Watching a man with scissors for hands trying to use a waterbed, or trying to put on pants, is so next level comedy, it cracks me up every time. What pushes me over the edge for this movie is the score. Personally, I believe it’s the most powerful movie score ever made. It encapsulates the movie in all its essence. I know it’s not the best movie score ever, but how it fits in the movie, makes it so effective It’s Danny Elfman in true fashion, and this scene is so hauntingly beautiful, I just wanna cry every time. It’s fucking perfection. The film is so full of emotion, heart and human nature, I just hold it very near and dear to my soul. This will be my wedding song, so future wife, sorry not sorry.
1991. Point Break.Release Date. July 10th, 1991. Director. Kathryn Bigelow. Box Office. 83.5 Million
“Young, dumb and full of cum” – FBI Director Ben Harp
We’ve had Bird vs. Magic, Ali vs. Fraser, Batman vs. Superman, but the world was not ready for Reeves vs. Swayze. This is what happens when an unstoppable force, meets an unmovable object. Titans in their own regard going toe-to-toe, making for one sure fire wild ride, that is a thriller from start to finish. When discussing Point Break, where does one even start? How about with the title itself? Point Break, a surfing term, but for this movie it’s the perfect title. It was almost called Johnny Utah, which would have been okay, but Point Break is like I said perfect. How about the casting? At this time Keanu was known only for Bill and Ted. Those lame ass goofball comedies, but Kathryn Bigelow wanted him and knew he could be an action star. Well, I think she nailed that one right on the head. The guy even took up surfing after the making of this movie, he’s just the greatest. Next up, Swayze. Bodhi is perhaps the first bad guy that people are rooting for throughout the film. His charisma is on another level. They don’t reveal him until minute 25, he’s like the scary villain in a horror movie. Not just Bodhi, but the Ex-Presidents themselves. Best bank robber masks in all of cinema, and maybe top 5 movie mask in all of cinema. It’s such a fantastic and innovative idea. Listen, this movie was made in 91, directed by a woman (so rare back then) and is pretty much flawless in my mind. One of the first modern action movies, where if they remade it today, they wouldn’t have to change pretty much anything. I know they remade it, but I’m not counting that. This movie shared a theatre with the runner-up for 91, Terminator2. Directed by, at the time, Bigelow’s husband, James Cameron. Imagine that? These two juggernauts in the theatre at the same time, sheesh! I love bank heists movies because you always feel you could do it. It’s exhilarating, you’re sticking it to the man, you wanna know if you could pull it off. PointBreak will never get old for me, everyone is doing some of their best work, even Gary Busey is exceptional. This movie has everything I want in an action movie, and you can see the seeds of what’s to come for Keanu, and he’s so god damn good in this movie. One of my all-time favourite movie characters. Keanu became a surfer, Swayze became a spiritual guru, I think they really liked their characters. Without this, there is no Fast&Furious franchise, this was the blueprint for so many movies to come, which includes the best chase scene ever. The biggest crime against this movie is how late I was to it. I can only imagine how many times I would have seen it by now if I came across it about 10 years prior, stupid me. Here’s the infamous and best chase scene (on foot) of all time.
1992. Batman Returns. Release Date. June 16th, 1992. Director. Tim Burton. Box Office. 266.8 Million
” I don’t know about you Miss. Kitty, but I feel so much……yummier” – Catwoman
By far the most under-appreciated and underrated comic book movie ever made. Tim Burton’s follow up to the ‘89Batman is one of his crowning achievements in cinema. There have been so many renditions of Batman throughout my life, but no one, and I mean no one, understood the dark gothic aesthetics of not only Batman but Gotham City like Tim Burton. Not surprising that WB took so much influence from these incredible movies for their masterpiece cartoon, Batman The Animated Series. Burton just got the dark, gritty nuance of Gotham City, and he gave it an identity, some personality and that is important when creating a great Batman film. Again this was 92, you can’t compare Keaton’s version of Batman, to what we have seen after it. There are no grand epic action sequences or a ton of CGI; what this movie has going for it is its incredible characters. Keaton had the duality of Batman and Bruce Wayne down pat. It’s a crying shame we only got two performances out of him because the follow-up to this movie with Burton and Keaton would have been something special. Speaking of characters, Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfeiffer couldn’t be more perfect casting. Pfeiffer’s Catwoman is just one notch below Ledger’s Joker for the best on-screen portrayal of a comic book character in my mind. Selina Kyle’s transformation into Catwoman and just how different she becomes is one of my favourite comic book movie moments. She goes from a shy, intimated, lonely girl, to a badass, sexually charged, ass-kicking machine. The whole nine lives thing is just genius as well. The party scene when Selina and Bruce find out who each other really are, boy, it’s next level emotional stuff. Much like EdwardScissorhands, Danny Elfman brings it with such a fantastic score. The iconic Batman theme will always and forever be the best Batman theme and perhaps the best superhero theme. DeVito brings his A-game as the deformed Penguin. The play between Batman and Penguin is great, Bruce knows all too much about parents and the pain they can bring. So he at first feels for Penguin, only realizing later he would become one of his greatest foes. Just the look and feel of this movie is what I want in my Batman movie. If Tim Burton were to make a Batman movie today it could be really special. Especially if he tapped into his former self because he has gone off the rails, but I miss this Gotham City. You’re always left wondering what could have been. And what could have been, is, well, one of the best comic book trilogies ever made. Damn you, Hollywood!
1993. Jurassic Park. Release Date. June 9th, 1993. Director. Steven Spielberg. Box Office. 1.029 billion.
“God creates dinosaurs, God destroys dinosaurs. God creates Man, man destroys God. Man creates Dinosaurs” – Dr. Ian Malcolm.
The greatest blockbuster ever made. Period. Imagine saying that? A movie made in 1993 and it is the greatest blockbuster in the history of cinema. I hate to say it, but, they just don’t make em like they used to. Well, they simply don’t. Just look at the sequels that followed this up? All trying to recapture that magic, all failing miserably. They don’t even look better than the original. Animatronics and practical effects, they will take you far in this world. Movies tend to have about 3000 moments of CGI, for you know for your typical blockbuster. JurassicPark has 55 total. That is an insane thing to think about considering the magnitude and gravitas of this film. Spielberg knew what he was doing. The man made Jaws for peep sake. You can see a little Jaws in JurassicPark as well. Hiding the T-Rex, teasing him throughout the first hour of the film, much like he does with the shark in Jaws. Only for one of the most epic reveals ever. The thing that worked so well for this movie is the simplicity of it all. We don’t need hybrid dinosaurs, we don’t need a bunch of useless human characters. You knew this movie was made for Harrison Ford, but Sam Neil did such a great job as Alan Grant, his growth and character development are always so touching to watch as the film progresses. What makes this movie so scary, for me at least, is the fact that it’s seen through the eyes of two kids. That’s what makes the dinosaurs, especially the T-Rex seem even more frightening. When they are trapped in the car, that wouldn’t work if that’s two adults, but when the creature in a movie is just that much bigger than the victims it makes it that much more effective. We get the birth of peak Jeff Goldblum, who is a top-tier role player movie character. The definition of the cool guy aura, it’s a shame we never got to see this version again. I’m pretty sure he transformed into Ian Malcolm completely after this role and never looked back. All I’ve wanted is to go back to this wonderful place and feel the same way with the new JurassicWorld movies. But we are so far gone from this, that it just makes you sad. This was a place of wonder, a place where even the appearance of a dinosaur was met with awe and excitement. God bless John Williams and another one of his iconic movie scores. The man was put on this Earth to make us feel emotions during movies through the way of music. Now we need to have raptor friends and hybrid dinosaurs just to make a quick buck. I still feel the same way every time I watch this moment. It’s an all-timer movie scene for Nathan.
1994. Dumb and Dumber.Release Date. December 16th, 1994. Director. Peter Farrelly. Box Office. 247.3 Million.
“You sold my dead bird to a blind kid? Petey didn’t even have a head! – Harry Dunn
Okay, I get it. 94 was an absolutely loaded year. Pulp Fiction, Shawshank, Lion King and Forest Gump. That’s one hell of a lineup. But no comedy at the time hit me as hard as Dumb and Dumber. Perhaps the movie I can quote the most, so the movie I am most annoying to watch with. Arguments could be made that this should sit on the Mount Rushmore of comedies. It’s kind of the perfect comedy. This is at the very top of the mountain for Jim Carrey. My god, the man made this and Ace Ventura in the same year, he was the funniest person on the Earth at this point in time, and went on a run of epic proportions. Now throw in Jeff Daniels a man that was coming off Speed and Acrophobia, and really wasn’t known for his comedic chops. These two are like electric dynamite together. They play and feed off one another so incredibly well throughout this whole movie, it’s amazing they didn’t become real-life best friends. I think one of the biggest flaws of the movie now, is simply the fact that they decided to make a sequel. One of the rare occasions that I wanted to get up and leave the theatre. The first one, Lloyd and Harry were innocent and dumb, kind of naive. It’s the subtlety of their humour that makes it so damn funny. Not over the top nonsense. The funniest parts of the movie, are things you can’t even notice the first few times watching. The whole “how’s your burger?” diner scene is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. Just how Jeff Daniels delivers that line is pure comedic genius. Llyod thinking Aspen is warm, them spelling it wrong, and that Mary is going to plug them into the social pipeline, whatever that means! These are the hilarious moments. It also helps that I can pretty much quote this movie start to finish. Like if Llyod and Mary got married, she would be Mary Christmas……..need I say more?
1995. The Usual Suspects. ReleaseDate. January 25th, 1995. Director. Bryan Singer. Box Office. 34.4 Million.
“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” – Verbal Kent
Let’s clear the air first. I’m aware that Kevin Spacey didn’t turn out the way we all planned, but things happen in life. That being said, he’s still one of the best actors of this generation and deserves an insane amount of credit for this performance. He won an Oscar for this performance, he is simply remarkable as Vernal. Was this the first movie that had a jaw-dropping twist at the end? For me, obviously, it wasn’t, because I came across this movie much later in life. That feat belongs to The Sixth Sense. But for the people who saw this right away, I couldn’t even imagine the reaction in a packed theatre when all is revealed at the tail end of this cult classic. It made less than 40 million dollars, people didn’t rush out to see this film, but that’s part of its allure. A film about a bunch of misfits, with a cast full of misfits, but guess what? They both work extremely well. Bryan Singer got the best out of everyone for this, Stephen Baldwin, are you kidding me? He’s so phenomenal, you can make this movie 100 times over, you couldn’t get a better cast. No matter how many times I watch this, it amazes me every single time. It almost shouldn’t work; in today’s Hollywood, it doesn’t work. Plain and simple. A young Benicio Del Toro, come on, “give me the keys, you cock sucka!” That line and scene will never grow old with me. Even the small role players and there is a ton of them work flawlessly. The interaction between these 5 guys is so good, they have such immaculate chemistry, you can tell they really bonded during filming. Keyser Soze, two of films most fascinating words. Man or myth? You don’t exactly know until the final moments of the film. The build-up, all the backstory, this guy is like the Joker. No one truly knows his origin or why he came to be. The payoff of the actual reveal is still one of the most satisfying movie-moments for me. I remember just laughing because I was so thrown off, couldn’t believe it, kind of still don’t to this day. One more thing, Christopher McQuarrie, the guy making the Mission Impossible movies right now, won an Oscar for writing this bad boy. That is one talented human being.
“You can never have sex. You can never drink or do drugs. And never, ever, ever, under any circumstance say “I’ll be right back” – Randy Meeks
So I have an older sister. I’ll never forget it. She was having a birthday party/slumber party and this was one of the movies they had decided to rent and watch. Being, well, 8 years old at the time, let’s just say I wasn’t invited to the showing. However, I remember the poster to this movie that was on the rental case so vividly. I was enthralled by this movie for some bizarre and unknown reason. Over 20 years later and countless viewings later, Scream remains one of the all-time greats for me. Buckle up, this is going to be a doozy. First things first, when it comes to an opening scene of a movie, Scream is the gold standard. Probably the best first 12 minutes of any movie ever made, that could be a stretch but hear me out. This is pre-internet, Drew Barrymore is a pretty big star at this point, everyone going into Scream thought she was the main character. Killing her off in the first scene? That was unheard of. No one saw this coming, how could they, she was on the poster, not the star Neve Campbell. Scream is the most self aware movie ever made, it can be argued that it saved the horror genre. It was dead in the water at this point in history. Nothing but awful sequels were being made. No one had any great ideas. What I mean by self aware is that Scream is the first horror movie that acknowledges the existence of other horror movies. It’s so clever and reinvented the genre. People were finally talking about a horror movie again, and this movie was written in 3 days, I repeat 3 fucking days. It’s a great script and it’s actually a pretty fantastic story. The subtle references, and the perfect cast. Perhaps the most attractive young cast ever? Neve Campbell was born to play Sydney. She’s got the girl next door, mixed perfectly with a girl who could actually kick your ass combo down pat. It has the best movie mask in history and when they were scouting houses for filming they actually stumbled upon the Ghostface mask. They weren’t sure what to do at this point, isn’t that remarkable? Fate I tell you, all the stars align for this movie. Matthew Lillard is on another planet here, crazy to think he didn’t have a better career. He steals the whole movie, every time I watch it, I notice something different out of him. Scream kind of brought back the high school movie as well. There is a flux of high school movies that come out after Scream, this movie did so much for Hollywood. The double killer twist, the fact it was teenagers killing other teens. It was always adults as the killer. You can tell on the multiple viewings because well, Stu and Billy get their asses kicked a lot. The soundtrack, everything just holds up. There are just stretches of this movie that are top tier movie making, the more I think about it, the more I write about it. It could just be a top 5 movie for me ever. You always thought to yourself after seeing this for the first time. Would you survive a horror movie? I always thought I was Randy, so I know I’m surviving, until the sequel.
1997. GoodWillHunting. ReleaseDate. December 2nd, 1997. Director. Gus Van Sant. Box Office. 225.9 Million.
Do you like apples? – Will Hunting.
The movie that changed the game for me. Good Will Hunting literally made me fall in love with film. If you didn’t go to the theatre or rent a movie at Blockbuster, well you were shit out of luck. It wasn’t until I headed to university and came across the sharing platform DC ++. Every movie you could think of was at your disposal. So one night I put on Good Will Hunting and was so damn mesmerized by what I was watching. I remember it ending, and I kind of just sat in silence as I watched Will Hunting drive out to California to “see about a girl.” Does a little Harvey Weinstein shadow loom over this movie? Yes. Does it affect the way in which I watch this movie, or how I feel about it today? No. For me, why this movie has aged so beautifully, is the fact that Ben and Matt have aged so beautifully. When you watched this movie for the first time, you knew these two kids from Boston were going to make it. You knew they would be Hollywood royalty in no time. That’s exactly what happened, they certainly went at it in different ways, but both Ben and Matt have had tremendous success in Hollywood and in life. No matter which part the movie is at if I catch it on cable, I’m staying till the end, the movie still hooks me in. I still laugh at all the same jokes, I get emotional at all the same beats, and I notice new smaller great details with every rewatch. That’s the mark of a great film. No matter how many times you watch it, it still hits you like the first time on your dorm room bed. This will just never not be funny. Miss you Robin.
1998. BASEketball. ReleaseDate. July 31, 1998. Director. David Zucker. BoxOffice. 7 Million.
“First we get jobs, then we get the khakis, then we get the chicks”
I don’t care what anyone says. This movie is pure genius and genuinely one of the funniest movies ever made. It’s so on the nose, even more now than when it was made all the way back in 98. Trey Parker and Matt Stone might be a couple of odd ducks, but if they know one thing, it’s comedy. It’s parody, it’s in your face humour, these are the things that make them great. Maybe I love this movie, because well, as a teenager, I found myself playing BASEketball with my own group of friends. Anyone can play the game, you don’t need any skill, if you can shoot a ball, you’re golden. I think that’s what the movie and the real-life game so appealing. The opening moments where they are describing America’s landscape of sports encapsulates what they have actually become. Trey and Matt were totally onto something with this. They understood that sometimes people need to step back and just make fun of sports and why people take them so seriously and more than that, what they actually stand for. Al Michaels and Bob Costas genuinely perhaps have the funniest cameos of all time. Hearing the two talk about the filming and behind-the-scenes stuff is hilarious. Legends in their own rights, and having them involved is just another stroke of genius. Road Kill Caught On Tape needs to become a TV show. We have so much garbage television why not give the people what they want.
1999. FightClub. ReleaseDate. September 10th, 1999. Director. David Fincher. BoxOffice. 100.9 Million.
“First rule of fight club. You do not talk about fight club” – Tyler Durden
So I like movies with twists? Wanna fight about it? What an absolute psychedelic and psychological thriller. David Fincher with another dark noir thrill ride that left audiences stretching their heads. Who didn’t have a Fight Club poster in their dorm room? I don’t think Ed Norton has ever been better and at this point in his career, I don’t think he’ll do better. I can’t say this is peak Brad Pitt, because well he’s Brad freakin’ Pitt. When people think of Brad Pitt, their minds usually go to the 90s: he was a sex symbol, the man, and, on top of that, he was dating Jennifer Aniston. He was kind of on top of the world after Fight Club, even the name Tyler Durden is iconic. He was and forever will be the epitome of cool. A cult classic no doubt, Seven put David Fincher on the map, but this, this was his mark on the world. It solidified him as being one of the best working directors in Hollywood. Just like Norton’s character, this movie at times can be a blur. Bobbing and weaving in and out of scenes, chaotic dialogue, and stunning, weird visuals. What Fincher does better than anyone else, in my opinion, is dialogue (more on that later). His movies are like a pair of jackrabbits going at it: a fast-paced, high tempo talking that jabs and drags you in. It takes a while for Fight Club to get going, not until we are introduced to Tyler Durden does the movie really gain any real momentum. Things don’t really make a lot of sense until the end of the movie, you know where the steel curtain is finally pulled back and all is revealed. That holy shit moment, that no one saw coming. There are signs of the twist coming, but on first viewing, it’s near impossible to pick up. Norton and Pitt are in so many scenes together, that’s what makes the movie so brilliant. Fantastic role players here, Helen Bonham Carter has never been sexier than she is here. It also helps that she’s just fantastic. A super young Jared Leto that kind of put him on everyone’s notice. Finally the legend himself, Meatloaf. Also known as Bitch Tits Bob, he’s just such a corky dimwitted character, yet it works so flawlessly. Just the ultimate reveal that Pitt lives inside Norton’s head will always go down as one of the best “what the fuck” moments in my movie viewing career.
2000. Unbreakable. ReleaseDate. November 22nd, 2000. Director. M. Night Shyamalan. BoxOffice. 248.1 Million.
“Do you know what the scariest thing is? To not know your place in this world, to not know why you’re here.” – Elijah Price
I know what you’re thinking. Really man? Another movie with a twist? I can’t help it okay! Sometimes you just flock to a certain kind of movie, and for me, those movies happen to involve some sort of twist. But this is more than just a movie with a twist. It’s arguably one of the best comic book origin movies ever made. Incredible feat right? Considering this movie doesn’t have a single DC or Marvel character in it. Shyamalan did something so special here, creating a world before our eyes and not even realizing it. Yeah, it took 17 years for everyone to come to the realization that David Dunn who is portrayed but Bruce Willis would be part of a larger universe. When audiences around the world saw Split and witnessed David Dunn appearing on screen in the very closing moments of the movie. Fans everywhere rejoiced. But this is about Unbreakable, the movie that started it all. In a world without actual super powers or heroes, Shyamalan was able to do something extraordinary. Whenever I go back and watch Unbreakable, I always notice just how quiet the movie is. There are minutes that go by without practically any sound, the dialogue is low key, almost whispers in certain moments. Realizing that you have “gifts” and learning how to hone and use them can be fun to discover and watch. As David Dunn figures out, no thanks to Elijah Price played by Samuel L Jackson. There is always an opposite, so Elijah makes it his mission to find his. They call him Mr. Glass because his bones break with ease, David has never been injured in his life, even after surviving a train derailing. I think what makes this movie so special is the back and forth between David and Elijah or good vs evil. For me, this is Jackson’s greatest role in acting, because it’s so far out of his comfort zone, so far from what we have all become accustomed to. The true reveal that Elijah was, in fact, causing all these tragedies and mass murders to find his counterpart, that he is, in fact, an evil genius. Again shocking, to say the least, another great Shyamalan twist. Bruce Wills is also spectacular as the calm and quiet hero. Everything will conclude in 2019 in Glass, and I can’t wait to revisit these characters and see what they have become in almost 20 years. Could make for one the best trilogies ever made, and no one thought that was possible or even an option all the way back in 2000 when this was released.
2001. Oceans11. ReleaseDate. December 7th, 2001. Director. Steven Soderbergh. BoxOffice. 450.7 Million.
“Tess, I told you I knew what I was doing.” – Danny Ocean
First things first. Brad Pitt is the greatest movie snacker of all time. He never stops eating in this movie, and it’s actually amazing. The amount of different foods he eats always cracks me up. Perhaps the most rewatchable movie of all time? Without a doubt the movie I have seen the most amount of times in my life. No movie is perfect, but this damn near close. The cast, the score, the cinematography, the acting, and everything in between. Clooney, Pitt, Damon, García, Roberts, Cheadle, all mega-stars in their own rights coming together like the Avengers or something. The dynamic duo, Pitt and Clooney are euphoric together. Sparks fly, their chemistry is through the roof. Sometimes when you build a super team they don’t work out, or in this case, it’s a home run. The whole movie flows to perfection, everyone contributing at the right moments, everyone playing their part. Soderbergh works wonders here, being able to get the best out of every cast member is something special. Like Julia Roberts is in 5-6 scenes, maybe has about 7 minutes of screen time total. But there’s no way any other actress could have done this role. She’s perfect, she was at this time America’s sweetheart, and it’s just perfect casting. I just love how Danny and the gang are always one step ahead of Benedict, that they know the moves he is going to take before he even takes them. I could watch Damon, Pitt and Clooney converse all day every day. Clooney has had an impeccable career, but this role is his crowning achievement. This whole thing doesn’t work without him, he’s so charming and charismatic and no one else could have done it. Watching Pitt play second fiddle was is a nice change of pace. But again, Pitt and Clooney are gods among men. This will always hold the championship belt for cable movies. By that I mean, no matter which part is on, I’m sitting down and watching. I say this about a lot of movies on this list, but this is the best of the best. That’s because of how well made it is. Great scenes are sprinkled perfectly throughout, so there’s always one classic moment right around the corner. Pitt, Clooney, and Damon are the original team up. Now here’s a montage of Brad eating in Oceans 11.
2002. CatchMe If You Can. ReleaseDate. December 25th, 2002. Director. Stephen Spielberg. BoxOffice. 352.1 Million
“Two little nice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse, wouldn’t quit. He struggled so hard that he eventually churned that milk into butter and crawled out.” – Frank Abagnale Sr.
Leo vs. Hanks. Who knew that would be a fight of biblical proportions. God, I miss young Leo so much. What an all-time movie friendship between these two. Throw in the master Steven Spielberg directing and you have one of the best movies any of these three have been a part of. You know why the Yankees always win? It’s the same reason why this movie always wins. It’s got Leo and Hanks giving top-notch performances. Frank Abagnale Jr, what a man. Pilot, doctor and he passed the bar exam. This was no ordinary human being. I think that’s another reason why I fell in love with this movie so much, it’s based on true events. My man, the legend himself, Christopher Walken gives one hell of a performance. Nominated for an Oscar for this role, he’s just such a good loving father, who wants what’s best for his son. I’m a big fan of cat and mouse type movies. This is the top of the mountain for such genres if you ask me. It’s a sad story. About running away from your problems. About trying to be someone and something you’re not. Frank was always running, but deep down he wanted to be chased. He was just always trying to find his place in the world, but it turned out he was really good at being a criminal. One of the best con men the world has ever seen. The fact that they got Leo to play this guy, it doesn’t get much better. He just wasn’t a brilliant con man, he was sharp as a tack. I love when Hanratty asks him how he cheated on the bar exam. Turns out Frank studies for two weeks and passed. Frank could have been anything he wanted to be, a shame he turned to crime. But in the end, it led him to work for the very people trying to catch him. The bond that Frank and Hanratty develop is truly unique. Enemies at first, then start to appreciate one another, where Frank is always calling Hanratty on Christmas because he feels so alone. They ended up being lifelong friends and it’s just a special friendship captured by two world-class actors.
“Maybe Bed, Bath, & Beyond. I don’t know, I don’t know if we’ll have enough time!”- Frank Ricard.
FRANK THE TANK. FRANK THE TANK. FRANK THE TANK. Personally, this is Will Ferrell’s greatest performance. If you disagree that’s fine, but just know, you’re wrong. Picking a quote for this was extremely difficult. I went with one that is my favorite. Perhaps the most known quote from the movie, because every time you see that store, you can’t help be reminded or Ferrell and his bare ass while he wonders the streets wanting KFC. I can never get over how incredible he is in this, his comedic timing is perfect, and it’s before he was in a million other shitty comedies, so that’s why it’s the perfect role for him. Vince Vaughn shines like he usually does, I always feel like he’s freeballing all of his scenes. He tried to get serious after his breakout in Swingers but he was always meant for parts like this. He’s just so quick-witted and he’s just the perfect comedic sidekick. This is such a crazy premise for a movie, that today simply would not work. It came along at the right time. Comedies like this just don’t exist anymore. The language, the jokes, they just don’t fly anymore. Not saying that’s a bad thing, but nowadays, it’s just a different brand of jokes. Growing up in Canada there was a show called Popular Mechanics and it starred Elisha Cuthbert and then she disappeared. She pokes her head out finally in this breakout role and was the crush for millions of dudes. She literally became the girl next door. But the biggest reason I love this movie so damn much, well, it’s Dean Pritchard of course. Played by Jeremy Piven, he’s an all-time movie villain. His entrance to the movie could be the best 2 minutes of the entire film. So here is that clip. And never ever forget, YOU’RE MY BOY BLUE, YOU’RE MY BOY!
2004. Friday Night Lights. ReleaseDate. October 8th, 2004. Director. Peter Berg. BoxOffice. 62 Million.
“We’re gonna get laid. We’re gonna get drunk and we’re gonna win state but not tonight”. – Don Billingsley
Does it help that this incredible true story starts on the same day I was born? Yes, it does. Is this the greatest football movie ever made? Again, yes it is. I love this movie so god damn much. Does it help that Don Billingsley is one of my all-time favourite movie characters? Once again, yes. I can quote the crap out of it, I laugh and I still cry. There’s no other movie that I skip the same scene every time. I can not for the life of me watch Boobie Miles break-down in the car. Still to this day, one of the most painful things I’ve ever seen. Pete Berg just captures the essence and the feel for West Texas, it just feels so real. I think that’s why it hits me the way it does. I know the TV show is great, but the way he shoots everything is just so well done. Sometimes with sports movies, the actual sports scenes can be rubbish, but again they are excellent here. They feel powerful and lifelike, kudos again to Pete Berg. You just always cringe at Boobie’s story, it’s quite tragic. What could have been for that young man? But the cast is perfect, and Billy Bob is in rare form. But who gives the best performance? That award goes to Tim McGraw – CAN YOU TOUCH THAT, god he plays a deadbeat alcoholic Dad to a tee. His relationship with his son Don (Garett Hedlund) is an all-timer for Father/Son combos. Their story arc is just pure emotion, and that’s why I put the picture of them embracing after the state finals loss. It just so happens to have one of the most beautiful soundtracks of ever. It captures the emotions and the feelings that something like this would have on someone. So take a listen for yourself and get lost in all the magic.
2005. BatmanBegins. Release Date. June 15th, 2005. Director. Christopher Nolan. BoxOffice 375.2 Million
“Bats frighten me. It’s time my enemies shared my dread ” – Bruce Wayne
I will be the first person to admit that when I sat down to watch the beginning of Christopher Nolan’s epic Batman trilogy I was a little skeptical. It was a different time back then. It had been 8 years since the world saw Batman on the big screen. We all still had a pretty awful taste in our mouths from Batman & Robin. The superhero movie craze hadn’t begun quite yet, so I didn’t have the highest of expectations going into BatmanBegins. I even remember turning to my buddy in the theatre right before it was going to start wondering if we were even going to get to see Batman do any cool shit. Well, we all know what happened. Nolan knocked us all on our ass’s and we all once again became obsessed with the Caped Crusader. Grounded in his own little world, he made this Batman story almost seem believable. That what if, this was just an ordinary man trying to become something else, a legend. That he lived in a world with no superpowers or superheroes. No villains with powers, but rather, this story was told in the modern day. It worked so incredibly well, that well, countless other franchises soon began trying to adopt the “Nolan method.” I think this is the best version of Batman we have ever gotten, in terms of voice, costume and overall movie. The overhaul to both his costume and voice in The Dark Knight just didn’t do it for me, but I love the version of Batman we get in his origin story. Liam Neeson was perfect for Ra’s Al Ghul, it’s a shame this franchise was so grounded because exploring him further and his real mythos could have been really awesome to see. But he’s fantastic as Bruce’s mentor and his arch nemesis, and it came along right before he kind of became an action movie punchline. Obviously what made this franchise so successful was the all-around casting. Each serving a purpose and all fulfilling their roles so nicely, it’s what holds this universe together. I will also go on record and say I prefer Katie Holmes as Rachel, there I said it.
2006. TheDeparted. ReleaseDate. September 26th, 2006. Director. Martin Scorsese. BoxOffice. 291.5 Million.
“I am killing you” – Billy
Now, this is a super team. This is the Golden State Warriors of movie casts. It’s also probably the biggest dick measuring contest in the history of film among co-stars. Everyone is trying to one-up each other in every scene. We got Leo, we got Damon, we got Baldwin, we got Sheen, we got Nicholson and to top it all off; we got Marky Mark, who is trying his best to let everyone know that he’s the big dog on campus. My god is he good in this movie. Maybe 5-6 scenes, but each one is spectacular and you know he wants it bad. You know that Wahlberg wanted to let Leo and Damon know that they aren’t on his level. But we all know that not to be true, but I think he wins the movie? In the acting department and well being the only man left standing at the end of this bloodbath. They didn’t call it The Departed for no reason. I wonder if Leo was reading the script for the first time and was like hell yeah I’m going to be the hero and I’m going to get the girl! Then he flipped the next page and his jaw hit the floor and he says “Are you fucking serious Marty?” Talk about a death no one saw coming. I still get angry every single time I watch this movie because Leo deserves better than this. He goes through so damn much only for it to be over in a blink of an eye. Talk about a long opening, it’s about 12 minutes in before the title card appears. Scorsese, he finally does it here! He wins best director and this movie won another 3 Oscars. All the ones that signify an incredible movie. Only Wahlberg was nominated for an Oscar and rightfully so. As I said, this could be his best role ever, and he’s in about 15 minutes of the movie. His accent is so unbelievable, you gotta be tough, you gotta act tough in order to pull the Boston accent off and he does it to perfection. Others, like Jack, not so much. Even Vera Farmiga is great here. She’s really rolled around with the biggest studs in Hollywood. I’m just always amazed by the achievement of this film, they just don’t make em like this anymore if I’m being honest. I’ll be watching this one till the day I die.
2007. Zodiac. ReleaseDate. March 2nd, 2007. Director. David Fincher. BoxOffice. 84.8 Million.
“Just because you can’t prove it. Doesn’t mean it’s not true” – Robert Graysmith
The great American crime drama. Fincher’s masterpiece before his true masterpiece. Perhaps the greatest movie of the 21st Century? One of his movies is, more on that later. But ask 10 people, 8 of them have probably never seen this movie. David Fincher makes movies for me, he’s never done one that I didn’t think was unique and spectacular in some way. It’s known that Fincher is a legend when it comes to “takes” that’s what he is known for. He loves to do dozens or even sometimes close to 100 takes of a certain scene. That method almost killed Gyllenhaal and Downey. They were not used to his kind of filmmaking. The ironic and probably the most clever thing of all, I’m pretty sure Fincher did this on purpose. See the characters that they play, they become degraded and deteriorated by the end of it, trying to solve this irresolvable case of the Zodiac killer. So in order to fully become these men, Fincher needed to break them, break their spirit. That’s exactly what he did, and that’s the art of a true filmmaker. The who’s who on a cast, every “that guy” you can think of apparently makes an appearance, and they all do a bang up job. But the three stars, Gyllenhaal, Downey, and Ruffalo are just flawless. Fincher squeezes out one last Downey performance before he transformed into Tony Stark. Now that’s anything anyone sees when they watch him. But Fincher manages to capture something special from Downey, he’s terrific here. He’s such a big star, but 2/3 into the movie, poof, he’s gone. Vanishes, that simply does not happen with megastars like that in movies. Gyllenhaal has almost never been better. He breaks, just not his character but as the movie goes on, you get the sense that Jake himself, becomes a man obsessed, a man broken. Ruffalo gives another Oscar-worthy performance. All three of these guys are some of the very best actors of this generation. Them sharing the screen together before they all decided to suit up and join the MCU is something to behold. Just the level of detail that Fincher pours into his film is fascinating, he recreated 70s San Fransisco for peep’s sake. But this, this scene with Ruffalo and Gyllenhaal is, well, just watch for yourself. It’s the only scene in the movie, that gives you a sense of hope, a sense that this case could be cracked. In a dark and grim movie, full of darkness and blood and murder, this scene makes you feel that they finally solved it.
2008. TheDarkKnight. ReleaseDate. July 18th, 2008. Director. Christopher Nolan. BoxOffice. 1.005 Billion.
Why so serious?” – Joker
Imagine this. The tragic passing of Heath Ledger never happens. When the Joker escapes from prison and we get this beautiful shot of him riding in the back of the cop car, the screen fades to black. Chaos has won. The movie is over. Setting up the finale to this beloved trilogy. The bad guy wins, he overcomes good, evil is victorious. THAT NEVER EVER HAPPENS. Audiences would be shook, but sadly that never happened. That for me would have been perfect because almost everything that happens afterward could have either waited or is just meh for me. I just wrote about a 1000 words for this movie with the 10th anniversary, so go check that out. Until then, this remains the greatest comic book movie ever made. But this forever.
“Miracles. Events with astronomical odds of occurring, like oxygen turning into gold. I’ve longed to witness such an event, and yet I neglect that in human coupling, millions upon millions of cells compete to create life, for generation after generation until, finally, your mother loves a man: Edward Blake, the Comedian, a man she has every reason to hate, and out of that contradiction, against unfathomable odds, it’s you – only you -Â that emerged. To distill so specific a form, from all that chaos; it’s like turning air into gold. A miracle. Now dry your eyes, and let’s go home.” – Dr. Manhattan
Truly ahead of its time. That’s the first thing I always say when I talk about this film. It’s plain and simple, the world wasn’t ready for a movie like this by a film-maker like Snyder. He’s always been a complicated director, which people tend to either worship or loath, but one thing is certain when talking about him, he is a genuine visionary human being. Aesthetically, I believe that this is his best looking film, it’s beautiful. The colours, the imaginary, the costumes, just everything about Watchmen is simply mesmerizing. I remember being enthralled by the trailers, one was paired with Take A Bow by Muse and the other was Smashing Pumpkins song The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning. Both trailers capture the character of the movie so perfectly that I was hooked. A band full of misfits is one way to put it — only the die-hard fans knew about this beloved graphic novel. Since these heroes are not the most well-known it was clearly important to get the right actors/actresses to play them — which they nailed. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jackie Earle Harley, Patrick Wilson, and Milan Åkerman are all so brilliant. They simply carry this film, and I watch this not for the action, but for the performances. That is a rarity when you talk about a comic book movie, for Watchmen, It’s true. Billy Crudup who physically is in the movie for 5 whole minutes is magnificent as Dr. Manhattan, the most under-appreciated comic book character ever. So powerful, so wise, so tortured and so misunderstood, I just love all of the things his character goes through. But Jeffrey and Jackie carry this whole thing. The Comedian and Rorschach, I didn’t know after all these years, that they would remain at the top of my leaderboard for comic book movie performances. When the action hits, it hits hard, like really hard, like turn your head if you have a weak stomach hard. But that doesn’t take away from its brilliance. Zack knows how to shoot action sequences almost better than anyone. Next June will be the 10 year anniversary of its release. I believe there will be a ton of articles coming out praising and rejoicing in it. That people over time have come around on it and rightfully so. Like I said in the beginning, this was ahead of its time and now, audiences and its critics have caught up to it and have come appreciate it for the masterpiece it is. My only regret of this movie and people don’t agree with me on this. I wanted the giant squid at the end, I know they had to change the ending, make it different from the graphic novel because the squid just wouldn’t have worked. The new ending does work, but who didn’t want the Watchmen fighting a giant ass squid? WHO DOESNT WANT THAT IN ANY MOVIE? Not many scenes get me every time, make me feel the same way each time I watch them. It’s rare and there are a handful of scenes that do this for me, this is one of them.
2010. The Social Network. ReleaseDate. October 1st, 2010. Director. David Fincher. BoxOffice. 224.9 Million
“If you were the inventors of Facebook! You would have invented Facebook!” – Mark Zuckerberg
Who knew that a movie about Facebook, the social media device where you block all your annoying Aunts and racist Uncles, would turn out to be the greatest film of the 21st Century? I remember the awesome marketing campaign for this, “Creep” was being used in the trailers but it was being sung by an orchestra, and I was immediately hooked right in. Ambition, greed, the American dream, class consciousness were all themes that were touched on throughout this film. This could very well be one of the last prestige, mainstream studio movies that have ever gotten made. A movie with a budget, a movie star and a world-class director like David Fincher, where there is no studio interference, a smallish budget, but a movie that seems big. A movie that is about a true story, that is still relevant today, actually more than ever. Facebook is the worlds biggest advertising network in the world, and it’s funny how the whole idea about The Social Network is trying to figure out what “The Facebook” wants to be. Zuckerberg hates the idea of ads on his site, he wants to make “The Facebook” cool, and he believes adding advertisements for Mountain Dew would ruin the experience. Well, now you can’t be on the site for 10 seconds without seeing an ad. I find that notion very interesting and it’s one of the reasons I love the movie. There’s actually so much going on within this film, it feels like beauty, anxiety, and pain all meshing together to create something that is so unique and so heartfelt. That mixed with Trent Reznor’s hauntingly beautiful score, it manifests a near perfect film. I mentioned in my Zodiac review that Fincher is the master for multiple takes, and here is no different. 99 takes, that what it took to get the ideal one for the opening scene, between Mark and Erica at the bar. Imagine that, imagine having that much patience. Apparently when Sorkin wrote this screenplay, one of the best of all time I’d say. It was 162 pages long, a page usually equals a minute of screen time, not here. People are talking fast, I guess they even used a stop-watch when filming. This film introduced me to Armie Hammer, who I swore was an actual twin, that’s another thing, the CGI of Armie is incredible. something that goes under the table when discussing this. It just gives me all the feels, makes me want to accomplish something special, to work hard, no matter what it is. The score just wraps me up in so much emotion and everyone is so perfectly cast. Jesse Einsberg not getting an Oscar nomination will forever be a complete and utter failure by the Academy. Thank goodness Shia Labeouf dropped out because as interesting as that may have been, David Fincher would have broken that man.
2011. Moneyball. Release Date. September 23rd, 2011. Director. Bennett Miller. Box Office.110.2 Million
“How can you not be romantic about baseball” – Billy Beane
Much like the movie above, Moneyball hits all the right notes for me. These are two movies which I turn to whenever I’m feeling blue. Moneyball just isn’t a great sports movie, it’s a movie about going against the grain. Being different, no matter what the outside world may think of you. Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are both phenomenal here, feeding off one another really well. You wouldn’t think that a movie about baseball could get Jonah Hill an Oscar nomination, but it did. He’s just so comforting and sweet and genuine in this role, it really is something to behold. As usual, Brad is snacking throughout the entire film, I swear this man must love to eat or he always has the munchies because he does love his weed. We get Chris Pratt before he becomes well Chris Pratt, in probably his most down to earth character ever. It’s really great to see him just be kind of normal. Not joke about everything and just be in the background, but also gives a great performance. There are very few baseball scenes, but they capture the essence and the spirit of the game. This is about trying to do the impossible. The opening moments of it really set the stage for what you’re about to watch. Oakland’s journey really is David vs. Goliath and it’s hard not to root for the underdog in sports. Billy Beane is such a unique person and is story and history was fascinating to watch. I would love to see more sports movies like these that explore the inner workings of how things work, behinds the scenes. Football tried with Draft Day, but it was too commercial and was just bad. From the score, the performances and just how well the movie was made, this is a top-tier sports movie. One that I know I’ll watch for the rest of my life. One of the main reasons is this scene below. No matter how many times I watch, I still get chills.
2012. 21 Jump Street. Release Date. March 16th, 2012. Director. Phil Lord/Christopher Miller. Box Office. 201.5 Million
“Ya’ll some Justin Beaver, Miley Cyrus lookin’ mother fuckers” – Captain Dickson
Man, Jonah Hill really went on a tear – he still is – but he really needs to thank his agent, because this was a stretch of insane proportions. I truly believe this was the last “great” comedy that has come out. I know they made a sequel and everything, but it didn’t feel the same, and it is not even in the same universe as this. When the movie itself makes light of that situation, I know I’m right. It’s been a long time since a comedy as come along and floored me like this one. I remember being so excited to see Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum work together. Tatum wasn’t a made man yet, and this really put him on the map, and let everyone know that he had some serious acting chops. He steals the show, he really does. But their chemistry and the way they feed off one another, really makes you think that these guys did become really close friends during this. This movie does have star power as well, Brie Larson is almost unrecognizable in this, and whenever I turn it on, I smile just like Jonah does when we see her for the first time, because she’s excellent here, and I love her. Dave Franco and Rob Riggle, who eats his own dick. I clearly remember seeing this in theatres and when it was all over, a Mother stood up but she had a few kids with her, like maybe 13 at the oldest, and I said to my friend “they just witnessed Rob Riggle eating his own dick.” I even tweeted that at the man himself once I left. Not to mention, perhaps the greatest movie cameo of all time? Fucking Johnny Depp comes out of left field and his presence is felt immediately. But my god, the legend himself, Mr. Ice Cube. Words cannot express how much I appreciate this man in this movie. All of his lines are iconic and he’s just incredible. I can’t believe the career path he has gone down, and this part right here, tears every time. This will be a comedy classic, I think it already is, when 6 years have past and nothing even comes remotely close to this, well you have to be putting this is a small group of great comedy movies. Honestly, the closest movie in my opinion that has made me laugh the way this did the first time I watched it, was this year’s Game Night. I’m sad they stopped making these, but these two guys are Hollywood royalty now, but maybe in the future when this gets rebooted again, they will play the role of Depp, because that will be awesome sauce if it happens.
2013. Pacific Rim. Release Date. July 12th, 2013. Director. Guillermo Del Toro. Box Office. 411 Million.
“Today we are cancelling the apocalypse!” – Stacker Pentecost
Arguably my most enjoyable movie-going experience I’ve ever had in my life. This is not my favourite movie of all time, but when it comes to theatre experience, this ranks pretty close to the top, if not the top of the mountain. One other movie could stand in its way, more on that later, but for now, Pacific Rim. The trailers were always so loud, and friends would turn to me and almost be laughing at how ridiculous the movie looked, but not me. I knew this was right up my alley, I love monsters, I love beautiful things, I love the visionary expertise that Del Toro brings to all of his movies. The man has a serious sense of style and taste. He grew up loving monsters, probably just as much as I did, so when the opportunity came about to make a movie about 100-foot monsters (Kaiju) and 100-foot robots (Jaegers) he was fully on board. Who didn’t play with toys when they were younger and pretend the fate of the world was on the line, and imagine things were bigger and badder than you could possibly imagine? Well, Del Toro went right on ahead and made that exact movie. I think that’s why it resonates so well with me, because I was that child, and during moments of this film, it took me back to my childhood. On top of that, they got an excellent cast of characters and actors on board as well. I clearly remember being sucked into this universe, I was transfixed by what was happening on the IMAX screen before my eyes. Then the battle of Hong Kong occurred, and I was a 7-year-old kid again. I have never enjoyed a greater stretch on cinema in the theatre then I did the very first time watching that sequence. Usually, in big action movies, it’s so damn hard to follow the action, tell what’s going on. But Del Toro crafted something so breathtaking, that I was legit mesmerized. That is a movie-going experience that I will never ever forget, and I wish that feeling could occur more often then it does when I visit the theatre. So thank you, Del Toro.
2014. Edge Of Tomorrow. Release Date. June 6th, 2014. Director. Doug Liman. Box Office. 370.5 Million
“Come find me when you wake up” – Rita
This movie should have made over 500 million dollars. I’m going to start off by saying that this is one of the most underrated movies I’ve ever watched. No one, saw this movie opening weekend, it was all word of mouth that even got this to 370 million. Maybe it was the title of the movie itself that drew people away. Whatever it was, it was a real shame, because I remember walking out of it, and thinking that it was one of the best science-fiction movies my eyes had ever seen. Two of the worlds biggest stars, Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, kicking all sorts of ass, in incredible mech-suits. How could anyone not be hooked from the get-go? Throw in the late Bill Paxton, who like always gives a marvelous performance. This is a legit nonstop action thrill ride, and it’s simply one of the coolest concepts for a film. Yeah I know the movie Groundhogs Day exists, but they don’t blow up aliens in that movie, so this tops it. It’s written by Christopher McQuarrie, so there’s no surprise that it’s a fantastic story. I’m pretty sure it bombed opening weekend and I was in utter shock. Because well, movies like this, especially great science-fiction movies don’t come around too often. This is all you need to see, this trailer is one of my all time favourites.
2015. Mad Max: Fury Road. Release Date. May 15th, 2015. Director. George Miller. Box Office. 378.9 Million.
See all that shit going on? None of that, and I mean none of that is CGI. Yes, that’s a dude playing a guitar with fire coming out of it. Dear god, this movie is a pure adrenaline rush, it’s cocaine and dynamite for your eyes and ears. Visceral physical filmmaking at its finest, bow to the man who made Happy Feet, Babe, Babe: Pig In The City, and then MadMax: Fury Road. One of the craziest things about this film, it was shot in sequence, which means the started filming on page one and went through each script page in order. Very unorthodox in filmmaking, especially when discussing a movie like Mad Max. Arguably one of the most difficult movies ever made as well, because like I mentioned above, there is hardly any CGI in this film. I think that’s why I love it so much, Miller created something so beautiful, and awesome, and bat-shit crazy, but he did it all without using green screens and all the other tricks directors use now. Charlize Theron joins the ranks of some of the most badass women in film. We have Ripley, Rita, Sarah Conner and now Furiosa. Such a memorable performance and character. There aren’t too many words spoken in this, but we don’t need words, the action speaks louder than any words could conjure up. Take Max for instance. Tom Hardy doesn’t say much in this, he gives a great facial performance, but no one else could have played Max in my opinion. Hardy embodies the essence and soul of this character to a tee. Seeing this in IMAX was one of the more enjoyable theatre experiences of my life, it’s why I go to the movies. You are wrapped up in this world, and I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes. Knowing how many practical effects went into it and knowing all the hard work that goes into something with the magnitude of Fury Road. You can’t help but wipe your jaw off the floor when it was all said and done. Enough can’t be said about this masterpiece. The IMAX re-release in 20 years is something I’m already waiting to see. Without a doubt the hardest movie to pick a scene for. The whole movie is just fucking nuts.
2016. The Nice Guys. Release Date. May 20th, 2016. Director. Shane Black. Box Office 62.8 Million.
“You wanna see my dick?” – Yarn
I didn’t want to put this on my list, because I’m very angry at Shane Black right now. He just ruined one of my most beloved franchise Predator. Head over and check out my review of The Predator (spoilers – it’s awful). But that is a different movie, and this is TheNice Guys, and it’s fantastic. Another movie I was late on, another movie I wish I had seen in theatres, and a movie that not a lot of people have heard of, let alone seen. But my god, Shane Black does know how to do black comedy, and when you get Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe firing on all cylinders, it’s going to make for one enjoyable movie. I think the main reason I like this movie so much is due to Gosling and his performance. I already love the man to death, he’s my favourite actor working today, and it was really nice to see him talking and doing comedy for once. We have seen a ton of Ryan Gosling the mute lately, so him opening up and letting people know that he can do comedy was great. He’s just so goddamn funny in this movie, and his sidekick is also perfect. 2016 was a weird year for movies, for me at least. Going into the year, I would have called you crazy if you told me that Batman v. Superman wouldn’t have been my favourite movie of the year, let alone one of my favourite of all time. Well it doesn’t even crack my top 5 of the year and it got beat out by Ryan Gosling doing toilet humour, the world truly is a beautiful and unique place.
2017. Blade Runner 2049. Release Date. October 6th, 2017. Director. Dennis Villenuve. Box Office. 259.2 Million.
“To be born, is to have a soul I guess” – K
The most expensive art-house film ever created. And in my opinion, the most beautiful movie ever made. At least in my eyes, and that’s not because Ryan Gosling is the star of the show. Even the opening scene, the very first visual of the film is breathtaking. It was just last year I sat down to watch the original Blade Runner. Made by the legendary Ridley Scott, so people hold it in the highest regards, one of the best science-fiction movies this world has ever seen. I thought it was so-so. But when word got out that they were doing a sequel and Villeneuve was behind it, I was on board. The man hasn’t stumbled yet in his filmmaking career and was coming off the 2016 smash hit Arrival. Now toss in Jared Leto and Ryan Gosling? What could go wrong? This blows the original out of the water in my mind. I know the first set the standards and did all the groundwork, but this is just so damn beautiful. Just like Mad Max, the visuals here are simply stunning, and I have a hard time telling what is real and what isn’t. That’s always a great sign that you have made one hell of a movie. Ryan Gosling again shows new colours here, and proves he can be a “movie star.” The leading man for a franchise and he just gives one of his best performances. He can do so much, with doing so little if you know what I mean. The clip I will link down below is the best example of him doing just that. These are two movies that need to be on the bucket list of any film junkie, but getting to experience 2049 in glorious IMAX is something I won’t forget. This is just another example of a movie that didn’t get enough recognition, and not nearly enough people saw it. This could have had all the star power in the world and it wouldn’t have made a difference.
Well that’s all she wrote here folks. I know I said 30 films but 2018 isn’t over and I can’t decide on a movie now. I know my favourite is still to come, because 2018 has been pretty lackluster to say the least. Fingers crossed!
It’s been 10 years since Christopher Nolan’s comic book masterpiece. His finest work to date and still arguably the greatest comic book movie ever made.
Christopher Nolan – “You’ve changed things. Forever.”
Funny world we live in, can’t believe its been 10 years since I waited outside a packed theatre. The lineup was legitimately wrapped around the entire building. The hype was real, it was like nothing I had ever seen at this point in my life, and well Christopher Nolan and company didn’t disappoint. I saw The Dark Knight 9 times in the theatre, I couldn’t get enough of this experience. I was like LeBron James when he went to Miami – “Not one, not two, not three, not four.” It has everything you want in a movie, and I don’t mean just a comic book movie, this is such an enjoyable movie experience, it simply meets all your needs. One of the biggest takeaways all these years later, is that people forget that this just isn’t a comic book movie. It’s so much more. This movie simply changed the game, it changed everything. It took the world by notice, that comic book movies should be and can be taken seriously. Everyone saw this movie, even your Mom. People couldn’t stop talking about it, everyone wanted to be the Joker, everyone had their own Batman voice. Ever since this movie, other film makers have been trying to replicate this formula, without that much success (Power Rangers, Fantastic Four). Since the turn of the century this sticks out as one of the very best films we have set our eyes on, and remember you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.
Where does one even begin with this movie? The incredible opening scene, the best of any comic book movie to date. The way they introduce the Joker at the beginning of this film is so brilliant, and unique. Watching the bank heist in IMAX was such a treat. The whole premise of this bank job taking place with the Joker, yet the rest of the crew has no idea he’s sitting right in front of them, all while they are picking each other off one by one. I could rewatch this scene again and again and it would never get old. I think from the opening moments you knew that this would be something truly special. The way it was shot, the dialogue, everything about that opening scene was so different and transformative. It’s not like this is the only rewatchable scene in the movie, jesus the whole thing is rewatchable. Christopher Nolan was showing us moments that I will just never forget. The “sky-hook” scene and the 18-wheeler being flipped over are things that just blew me and the audience away. Speaking of the 18-wheeler, that entire sequence is one of my favourite in all of cinema. I remember seeing the trailers and knowing that the Batpod was going to make an appearance in the movie, and I kept waiting and waiting for it to show up, and when it finally does, and how they introduce it. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so hard during a movie. Gotta be one of the most “Batman” moments ever. Then the showdown between Batman and the Joker on the street – you know the one, HIT ME!!! Which ends with the reveal that Commissioner Gordon isn’t dead after all. Just next level movie making stuff. Dark, gritty, grounded are three words that surrounded this movie, it’s what Nolan built this franchise on. He took a character and moulded him the way he saw fit, and he didn’t rely on heavy CGI, insane action sequences to do so. When you think back to The Dark Knight, there isn’t much action to be had, in fact, for a summer blockbuster that just so happens to be a comic book movie, there is very little. His take on the Caped Crusader was so radical, that at first people didn’t know how to react. Since this trilogy, we have gotten another depiction of this character, which is more comic book like than Nolan’s approach. In Batman v. Superman and Justice League we see Batman fighting aliens from other worlds and teaming up with the worlds strongest heroes, that was not the reality in which Nolan’s universe took place. At the end of the day, I can never decide which version I like best. Scorn by critics alike, Ben Affleck’s Batman or “Batfleck” is incredible. People tend to forget that comic book characters are malleable. They can be shaped and formed however someone sees fit. Dark and gritty or fun and light. They can be part of a shared universe or not at all. These aren’t the things that make these movies special, it’s the vision, and having an idea about these characters that will, in the end, make them memorable. I say this because what followed Nolan’s Batman franchise was Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel movie, where you could tell from the trailers that it had a definite Nolan influence. Man of Steel turned out to be the greatest Superman movie ever made, and one of the best comic book movies made to date. People were thrown off about his interpretation of this beloved hero, but it was his take, just like Nolan’s take on Batman. The new Superman is just so different from Richard Donner’s 70’s hero, that people believed it was totally wrong. They can’t see that these characters can be whatever we want them to be, and if you can’t see where the artist is coming from, doesn’t mean the artist is wrong.
It all started with the legendary Batman Begins, at the end of the movie where they tease the Clown Prince of Crime. Batman tells Commissioner Gordon that “he’ll look into it,” and that was our first mention of the Joker. When that happened fans everywhere were on pins and needles to find out who would be playing Batman’s greatest foe. So when Heath Ledger was pinned as the Joker, the world didn’t really know what to think. He was a heartthrob, known for Brokeback Mountain and 10 Things I Hate About You. People were on the fence about the whole thing, they wanted this to be right, and some people didn’t think it was a great fit. Well we all know how that turned out, not only did Heath give us the greatest comic book performance we have ever seen, he even won an Oscar for his role. We all know the tragedy that comes with this movie, sadly Heath died shortly before the films premiere.
Some men just want to watch the world burn. Words can’t really describe how I feel about the Heath situation, for so many reasons. His performance is hauntingly beautiful, where it’s almost put a curse on this character because I just don’t see anyone ever topping it. There will be other interpretations no doubt, there’s already been one, but something about his is just magical. Here’s the other thing, if Heath doesn’t die, I don’t really know what happens over at WB. I know Nolan always had his vision for his Batman trilogy, but if he’s alive, there’s no way he’s not part of the final installment of the franchise. Maybe it keeps going. There’s no way we don’t get to see him in this iconic role again. It’s saddens me to say that, because it sounds selfish, but the way we leave his character, just hanging and laughing hysterically because he believes he has beaten the Batman. I just have always wanted more from this Joker, I want to know what happens to him, why he’s never mentioned again. I know these are all unanswerable questions, it’s just every time I watch The Dark Knight, this is always something that crosses my mind. One of films biggest “what-ifs” because I personally think the DCEU might not be where it is today if he were still alive. There was just to much story to flesh out with his character. I always dreamed of WB releasing never before footage or a scene of the Joker, maybe we will get something this week, it’s a pipe dream, but a man can dream.
The movie flows pretty flawlessly, I’ll admit though, the ending does get a little cloudy and messy. I just don’t believe everything that happens, from the ferry scene and the cell phone stuff. Something just seems off about that bit of the movie, but that is a serious nit-pick. Everyone is sitting atop apex mountain. Nolan, Bale, Caine, Eckhart, Ledger, everyone is firing on all cylinders. Comic book movies just aren’t written like this, the screenplay is just brilliant. Comic book movies didn’t tackle things like politics and and philosophical discussion that comes with being a hero and a villain. The interrogation scene, is one of the best Batman/Joker confrontations just not in the movies, but in all of history as well. Joker knows that Batman has one rule, and the way he manipulates and deceives Batman is incredible.
Harvey, Harvey, Harvey Dent. I’m so bittersweet about how they handled this amazing villain. The way he is introduced. I remember my first viewing and when Batman walks into his warehouse, and realizing that Rachel is about to die, it really made you think. It’s such a powerful moment, and happens with the voice over of Rachel telling Bruce that she is going to marry Harvey Dent. Within Nolan’s trilogy it’s by far the most vulnerable we see Bruce Wayne, he is crushed that she is gone, because he believes she was going to wait for him. Two-Face is one of many iconic Batman rogues, and I know when they were making this film they didn’t know what was going to happen to Heath, but again it’s a real shame that they killed off Two-Face at the end, because I think there was so much more to explore with him. They could have adapted The Long Halloween or another great Two-Face story.
What more can I say about this masterpiece of cinema. From Hans Zimmer epic score, to the cinematography, the acting, and everything in-between. It not only helped shape the landscape for movies but how the audience and Academy perceive them as well . The backlash that followed when The Dark Knight wasn’t nominated for best picture, ultimately led to the Academy expanding the best picture nominee category. It’s hard to imagine another comic book movie taking up the mantle of greatest of all time. Because this is more than just a comic book movie, it feels so real. There aren’t any super powers or even super heroes involved. That’s why it’s so special, Nolan was able to tap into something unique and make this so grounded, that it was just about a man in a mask and terrorist clown. It’s everything around that, that makes this a truly special piece of film. The Dark Knight didn’t just set the standard for comic book movies today, but it set a standard for movie making itself. It will never grow old and will be a timeless classic. It’s easy to forget why this movie is so special, because so many comic book movies have been made since. But for me, this is always looked at as a crime thriller-drama, that just so happens to have a man in a batsuit chasing a man dressed up like a clown throughout a city. These two are truly destined to do this forever.