Tag Archives: movies

My 15 most influential movies

One of The Auteur’s Facebook friends challenged another friend to list their 15 most influential movies.  I’m posting about this on my alter-ego Facebook page, but I decided to take the opportunity to expand on said list.  Challenge accepted.  So here are my 15 most influential movies…

Fight Club – the great existentialist story of our time.  A real man’s-man’s movie.  This movie and book’s influence on me is evident by clicking here.

Star Wars – my first true movie-love.  Star Wars taught me how to dream.

Rocky (Any of them, or all of them) – The ultimate underdog story of our time.  Any, or all of the Rocky movies will suffice.

The Matrix (the first one only) – In addition to being the most influential sci-fi movie of the last 25 years, this movie reminds me that the only limits are one’s imagination.  There is no spoon, indeed…

Napoleon Dynamite – another underdog story.  A surprisingly powerful story about love, family, friendships and perseverance.

Dead Poet’s Society – The movie that really made me fall in love with English Literature and made me want to be a teacher.

Silver Linings Playbook – A story about a less-than-perfect guy trying to rebuild his life.  ‘Nuff said.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – Before the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, no other movie had done as good of a job of transporting me to another world since Star Wars.  “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

Swingers – another great guy movie.  This one taught me that sometimes you are are money, even if you don’t know it.

Singles – A movie that captured a great moment in time:  the Seattle musical movement of the early 1990s and a series of great inter-connected love stories.

Pulp Fiction – By far, the most influential American movie, of any genre, of the last 30 years.  Timeless and yet so relevant.

Finding Nemo – A modern day version of The Odyssey, and a great father-son story about a father who takes on an a nearly-impossible task of finding his son; and becomes a man along the way.   I don’t care what anyone says, Finding Nemo is Marlin’s story.  Period.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High – another movie that really capture a moment in time for me.  It follows the real calendar by which young Americans live…the academic school-year calendar.

Field of Dreams – A man who go to any lengths to answer his inner calling.  A true father and son story, and it revolves around baseball.

Superman: The Movie – Yes, I’m a Batman guy, but this is still, the stick by which all other superhero movies are measured.

There’s my 15.  Thoughts…?

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Rob Reviews: Don Jon

JGL as  juice-head in "Don Jon".

JGL plays a juice-head in “Don Jon”.

As some of you may have noticed, I like to review movies or books that I find to be interesting or thought-provoking.  In keeping with the origins of this blog, I also like to review “guy books”  or “guy movies”. In this entry, I will review the latter…

A few weekends back, I chose to finally sit down and watch Don Jon .  Don Jon, the writing/directorial debut of Joseph Gordon Levitt ended up being a mixed bag.  I remember the ads for this movie as it was  being released theatrically.  They made it looked like a straight-up fratire-style comedy.  I expected this to be a bawdy “guy movie”.  In the beginning it was, only  to turn into something much different.

JGL (as The Auteur calls him) plays John, a stereotypical Italian-American “juice head” in the tradition of John Travolta’s Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever.  He loves his clothes, his car, his apartment, his family and his church.   On the surface John is a Lothario, bedding women left and right and is definitely the alpha-male of his entourage.  However behind closed doors, John is a closet porn addict.  In fact, he admits to liking porn better than actual sex –  much to the chagrin of his in-movie girlfriend Barbara – played by Scarlett Johansson.

At this point, I expected John to spend the rest of the movie trying to win back Barbara in typical romcom fashion, but the story takes a few different turns.  At Barbara’s behest, John returns to college.  There, he meets Esther (Julianne Moore).  John and Esther have some May-September chemistry that ultimately turns physical.  Their tryst is therapeutic for both of them:   Esther comes to terms with her own personal losses; John ultimately learn the difference between casual sex and making love, thereby enabling him to pursue deeper more meaningful relationships.

The movie’s ending is anti-climactic.  We never see John find Ms. Right, or even a Ms. Maybe for that matter.   Ultimately, Don Jon is a slice-of-life personal narrative.  It isn’t happily ever after tale  it was portrayed as in commercials.  It simply tells the story of a young man and an experience that made him a better person.  It was one of those unusual experiences where advertisers sell us one story and the filmmakers tell us a better one.

Rob goes to the movies: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Really, I'm not being paid for this.

Really, I’m not being paid for this.

Although I’ve never read the books, I loved Peter Jackson’s the Lord of the Rings movies So much, that I’m one of those viewers who wishes they were  actually longer (yes, even longer than the extended editions).  watching those movies, I was thoroughly convinced that Middle-earth was a real place – and that these movies were filmed there.  In fact, not since the original Star Wars have a I had a movie-watching experience as fulfilling as the first time I saw “The Fellowship of the Ring”.   So it goes without saying that this review may be a little biased.

One thing to keep in mind is “the hobbit” is a different, smaller-scale story than the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.  The book on which “…Hobbit” was based is around 300 pages.  Excluding it’s appendices, The Lord of the Rings clocks in at well over 1100 pages. At times, it is a more light-hearted, and slower-paced story, the last hour of “An Unexpected Journey” is  just as intense as any sequence of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

For the techies: I saw the movie in 3D (my first choice, 3D IMAX, was sold out). One of the things I loved about LOTR is how real things felt. When I first saw those movies, everything – the scenery, the clothing, the weapons, the makeup and the special effects all looked like a very real, very lived-in place. I didn’t have that feeling this time. I particularly noticed with the scenes set in The Shire.  Computer generated monsters and parts of scenery jumping in and out of the screen in 3D only reminded me that Middle Earth doesn’t really exist.  I have heard that the HFR format provides the best 3D effects.   If I see it again in theaters, I’m definitely seeing it in 2D.  I like the idea of suspending my disbelief when watching a movie.  The easiest format is that which most movies of the last 100 years have been shot in:  2D, 24 FPS.
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