Wednesday, April 22, 2009

To The Loser, Belong The Movie Spoilers.

Back in my early 20’s, I wanted to know every single thing that I could about movies.

In addition to the director, the screenwriter, the locations, the story, the plot and, ultimately, the ending, I read all of the spoilers on all of the movie geek websites. I read all of the leaked scripts and early test screening movie reviews. I wanted to be armed with all of this knowledge before I took one step in the theater to watch a movie.

Let me say that again. I wanted to know all of this information before I walked into the theater.

Why? I’m not sure. Maybe I wanted to brag about (which I didn’t too much). Maybe I was a little narcissistic thinking that I had a one-up on all of the other movie goers that night? Really, I'm not too sure what caused this crazy obsession.

However I do know one thing, in hindsight, it was dumb - and a bit of a let-down to boot.

Two years ago in September, I DVR’ed an Ohio State football game so I could participate in my son’s birth. After my healthy son was born, I called my Dad to tell me the good news and he accidentally told me the score of the game (Ohio State won). That night, I went home that night, started the Ohio State game, but wasn’t that pumped to watch it. Maybe because it was against Northwestern as well, but that’s beside the point. The excitement was gone.

That's exactly how I felt after watching a movie in my 20's...a little empty.

Which goes back to my underlying point, basically everything that you knew was going to happen in the movie, well….happened.

As I’ve stated in a previous post, when I was growing up, I remember judging a movie by the poster alone as to whether or not I wanted to see the film. It was a wonderfully innocent time, when the magic of movies surprised me at every turn.

Skip my alcohol-fueled late 20’s, and fast-forward to my current 30’s.

Maybe it’s my growing wisdom or the fact I’ve mellowed with age, but I’ve sort of turned over a new leaf when it comes to foraging for these little extra nuggets of film knowledge before I watch a film.
As a matter of fact, besides knowing the director, screenwriter, cinematographer, producers and the basic plot (e.g., A man witnesses a murder and the mafia hunts him down to silence him.), I take careful steps to avoid knowing any other information about the films I watch.

Perfect example, I was having a conversation with a fellow co-worker about Richard Bachman’s (i.e. Stephen King’s) novella The Long Walk. Good book check it out. The story reminded him of a 1969 movie called They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? about a depression-era dance contest directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Jane Fonda. Never heard of it.

He told me the basic premise and I was hooked. I tossed it into my Netflix queue, waited a couple days and watched, quite frankly, one of the best films I’ve seen in quite some time. And the cool thing was I didn’t know a god-damn thing about it. Didn't know the beginning, the ending, the actors, the actresses. Didn't know anything that was going to happen.

It was fucking awesome.

Oh, sure, I could have visited Wikipedia for a complete synopsis or visited some other spoiler websites, but - like a Biggest Loser contestant saying no to a cupcake - I shunned the temptation and decided to let the movie play out in front of my eyes with a complete blank slate in my head.

Of course, I scour critics top-ten lists and visit other movie-rating sites such as Rotten Tomatoes to get a gauge on what’s hot and what’s not. By the way, life’s too short to watch shitty movies. Most of the films I watch are chosen from critics top-ten lists, positive word-of-mouth, director, producer, screenwriter and, in a lot of cases, my intestines (that's right, the Eimer gut).

And, you know what? It’s working. I’m enjoying movies a helluva lot more than I used too. In this situation, and only in this situation, I’m going out on a limb and saying that ignorance is bliss.

That said, I came across this article in Wired magazine from J.J. Abrams, the creator of Lost and Alias, the writer/director of Mission Impossible 3, the new Star Trek and producer of Cloverfield.

It talks about the ruination of films through knowledge (i.e. internet spoilers) and the pesky vermin of geeks hell-bent upon ruining a movie with the simple goal of being the first to report on the big happening in the latest, greatest film.

It’s a good article. Hell, any article that brings up the trials and tribulations of spending useless hours trying to solve Super Mario Brothers 2 already gets kudos in my mind.

By the way, if you click the Super Mario Brothers link above, World 7-1 starts at 6:53. Read the article, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Sun, where art thou?

Today, this Bath-living resident is day dreaming.

I'm day dreaming of collecting enough money and heading South. Way South. Not Alabama or Florida. Farther. (or is it further?)

Keep going. Keep going. Keep going.

Too far. You hit Antarctica.

Head north. Go past the Equator. Just a smidge

In any event, I'm dreaming of a land. It's a warm land. Filled with adventure. Where I can wake up 365 days a year, walk outside, say hello to the snakes and have a cup of coffee with my shirt off.

Is that too crazy of a dream?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cities and Big Castles

My family (that's weird to say!) and I were driving up to Lakewood - from Bath - to visit the park and Lake Erie.

We were driving up 77 North and, there in the distance you could see the tall cement buildings of rundown Cleveland, Ohio.

"Wow," my daughter shrieked. "Big castle!!"

I imagined a weary traveller on horseback taking a swig of mead, and in the distance, noticing the tall spires of the castle.

Never really thought of it that way.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Eimer's 141 All-Time Favorite Films (so far)

Trying to figure out your favorite 141 movies is a very vexing experience.

First off, you have to rationalize why? Secondly, you are almost forced to knock out contenders who deservingly belong in the top 141 – but don't belong for reasons only to you.

For instance, some people will scream in outrage that I did not include Godfather 2 in my selection process. I liked Godfather 2 a lot but it didn’t move me enough to warrant a top 141 pick. For some reason Marlon Brando with an orange peel in his mouth having a heart attack moved me more. Same thing goes for the other two Lord of the Rings flicks.

I'm going to revisit this list often. But one thing strikes me as odd, out of the top 141 flicks - nine of them were made in 1982. In fact, a number of my favorite flicks were made in the 80's (53, I believe). Not sure why. Maybe, perhaps, I was between the ages of 7 and 18. Which are, as all teachers can attest, very formative years of one's life. Wouldn't you say?

So goes the top 141 list. It’s all subjective. However, if you want to get to know me better, take a look at my selections. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Oh yeah, besides Raiders of the Lost Ark - the rest of the list is in no particular order.

1. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
2. Creepshow (1982)
3. The Goonies (1985)
4. Evil Dead 2 (1987)
5. The Warriors (1979)
6. Time Bandits (1981)
7. Aliens (1986)
8. First Blood (1982)
9. The Thing (1982)
10. Pulp Fiction (1994)

11. Sunset Boulevard (1950)
12. A Place In the Sun (1951)
13. Paths of Glory (1957)
14. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
15. High Noon (1952)
16. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)
17. The Godfather (1972)
18. Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)
19. The Fisher King (1991)
20. Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter (1984)

21. On Golden Pond (1981)
22. The Graduate (1967)
23. Heathers (1988)
24. Highlander (1986)
25. The History of the World Part 1 (1981)
26. Jurassic Park (1993)
27. The Karate Kid (1984)
28. The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
29. The Natural (1984)
30. Psycho (1960)

31. Road to Perdition (2002)
32. Requiem For a Dream (2000)
33. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
34. Risky Business (1983)
35. Unbreakable (2000)
36. Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
37. The Terminator (1984)
38. The Truman Show (1998)
39. Unfaithful (2002)
40. The Untouchables (1987)

41. War of the Worlds (2005)
42. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
43. Say Anything (1989)
44. Bowling For Columbine (2002)
45. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
46. The Secret of NIMH (1982)
47. The Dark Crystal (1982)
48. Dead Poets Society (1989)
49. The Deer Hunter (1978)
50. There’s Something About Mary (1998)

51. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
52. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
53. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
54. Unforgiven (1992)
55. Searching for Bobby Fisher (1993)
56. Watership Down (1978)
57. 12 Monkeys (1995)
58. Blade Runner (1982)
59. Mississippi Burning (1988)
60. National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

61. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
62. The Mist (2007)
63. The Descent (2005)
64. A.I. (2001)
65. Adaptation (2002)
66. Amelie (2001)
67. American Beauty (1999)
68. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
69. Amores Perros (2000)
70. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

71. Black Hawk Down (2001)
72. Blazing Saddles (1974)
73. Braveheart (1995)
74. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
75. Citizens Kane (1941)
76. Closer (2004)
77. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
78. The Killing (1956)
79. Crumb (1994)
80. The Departed (2006)

81. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
82. Do The Right Thing (1989)
83. E.T. (1982)
84. Ed Wood (1994)
85. Election (1999)
86. The Exorcist (1973)
87. Fargo (1996)
88. Fight Club (1999)
89. Finding Nemo (2003)
90. The Fly (1986)

91. Fright Night (1985)
92. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
93. Se7en (1995)
94. Ghostbusters (1984)
95. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
96. Goodfellas (1990)
97. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991)
98. Hoosiers (1986)
99. The Hustler (1961)
100. Into the Wild (2007)

101. Jaws (1975)
102. Lethal Weapon (1987)
103. Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
104. The Naked Gun (1988)
105. The Matrix (1999)
106. Pee-Wees Big Adventure (1985)
107. Platoon (1986)
108. Predator (1987)
109. The Princess Bride (1987)
110. Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

111. A River Runs Through It (1992)
112. Bottle Rocket (1996)
113. Schindler’s List (1993)

114. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
115. Sideways (2004)
116. The Shining (1980)
117. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

118. Stand By Me (1986)
119. Star Wars (1977)
120. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

121. There Will Be Blood (2007)
122. True Romance (1993)
123. Wall-E (2008)
124. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
125. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
126. The World According to Garp (1982)
127. Apocalypse Now (1979)
128. Back to the Future (1985)
129. Blue Velvet (1986)
130. The Lady and the Tramp (1955)

131. A Few Good Men (1992)
132. Trainspotting (1996)
133. Crimes & Misdemeanors (1989)
134. Weird Science (1985)
135. The General (1926)
136. Defending Your Life (1991)
137. Funny Farm (1988)
138. Oldboy (2003)
139. Halloween (1978)
140. Boogie Nights (1997)

141. Hustle and Flow (2005)
142. TBD

So what do you think? Did I move you with my choices? Were they better than Yahoo's?