I do enjoy the ‘tag’ posts, a concept I came across when exploring the world of writing and the challenge of these topics of conversation, they are a good natured and revealing discussion that allows you to invest as much or as little of yourself as you wish to expose. I enjoy watching and discussing movies and films for the simple truth today’s media, not in perhaps impact or legacy is our equivalence of plays or theatre in days gone by and a reflection of our moral standpoint. Today’s list comes courtesy of Michelle of A Geek Girl’s Guide and her original Movies Tag post the questions are at the end of the post if you feel so motivated. An enjoyable set of questions to reflect on some of my more enjoyable titles and releases and give a little insight into my own personal tastes. So, as Gandalf once entrusted in Shadowfax to show him the meaning of haste, without further ado, lets begin.
1. Prefer to Watch Movies At Home or In Theaters?
A fun one to start and I’ll get straight to the point. I do loathe, with a passion, large crowds, I always have. Having worked in my early teenage years at concerts and sports events, I can’t say why I just feel incredibly uneasy surrounded by large throngs of people unable to move freely, especially given my larger 6’5 frame there is something incredibly restrictive about being in a large mass of bodies. As such, I’m very much an insulated individual, preferring the company of a few close friends or my partner and as such I do enjoy watching movies on my sofa with a bowl of appropriate snack and drink to accompany. That said, regardless of how I feel deep down, there is something special about watching the latest release on the big screen with the best sound around you, a great visual experience. That said, people annoy me with their phones lit up every few minutes, sound bleed from other screens in a particularly quiet moment or just annoying people talking through out. So, perhaps something down the middle here, I enjoy the big screen, but without people, a nice empty cinema, yes please. And short of becoming rich the only way to have that is to visit the cinema during work hours so…
2. First Movie You Saw In Theaters
This was a difficult one to remember, I wouldn’t bet my life savings on this being the first movie I saw at the cinema however it is the clearest memory I have of visiting the local complex with my mother and sister and throwing up having eaten a lot of candy and deciding it was a sensible to lie down with a stomach full of sugar and chocolate. Now, I do have a vague memory of watching Fievel An American Tail although a quick search reveals this was released in 1986 and I would have been 3 at the time so will have to file that under a maybe. So as a safe bet I will go with Hook, as much as I managed to watch before my candy incident. A solid choice for children of my generation with a great performance from Williams and Hoffman playing gleefully off against each other. I vaguely remember being aware of the Peter Pan stories at that age but in true I don’t think I had ever read the books before seeing this film, I had a basic understanding of the plot so as far as I was aware this was the continuation or adaptation of that original novel. Of course I didn’t have a huge level of choice when I watched the movie, I was 8 at the time however as a film it was and still is a solid couple of hours of entertainment and stands up today as one of Robin Williams greats.
3. Favorite Movie Genre
It should come as no surprise my favourite genre of films is a staple and foundation of my life, science fiction. From my earliest steps into the cosmos as a child with repeated viewings of D.A.R.Y.L and Flight of the Navigator and forward, into the future with the Star Trek universe, these myriad of tales have charted a path through the unknown quite often depicting contemporary morality plays and stories through the prism of the final frontier. I past the point of defending my tribe and going out to bat for these films, honestly if all you see when you watch The Wrath of Khan for example are dodgy wooden sets and rubberised aliens then that says more about your interpretation of a classic film than anything else. Long before Captain Marvel became the ‘first’ empowering female action hero Ripley and Sarah Conner had taken that mantle some three decades previously. Not every sci-fi movie or series is some deep and meaningful interpretation of modern day suffering and persecution, however over the years I have been a fan of this genre, I have seen a great many depictions of the human condition it does feel at times a genuine shame and loss these stories and ideas aren’t given as much merit and praise as their contemporary rivals. Also, I really love cool looking Starships.
4. Least Favorite Movie Genre
I can’t say whether this is an official genre in its own right but hell it’s my list so my rules, and as such, for my least favourite genre I propose contemporary parody films. There are a great many critical points to be made, lack of originality, half baked jokes that rely entirely on seeing a certain movie or understanding a trope that’s exploded into popular culture for the brief few seconds before YouTube and twitter move on. Now, one of my favourite comedy films which still to this day generates a chuckle despite multiple views is Hot Shots part deux, a riff on various war and action films of that period but a great comedy picture in its own right. I just found the multiple of parody films that emerged at the turn of the millennium were just poor and uninspired. For their faults, parody films in the 80’s such as Hot Shots and Naked Gun at least had a tangible plot of some kind even if they were direct rips from other titles. The insipid, rank monstrosities that followed Scary Movie in 2000 stripped away any element of plot and just become an assortment of isolated joke scenes with no seeming connection. I loathe these cheap contemporary parody films and do find myself being grateful they have fallen out of vogue in recent years. If the modern political and social climate is a parody in itself, you don’t need weak poor comedy films adding to that tinder box of feelings.
5. Favorite Animated Movie
This was a tricky one as I don’t tend to watch a lot of animated movies, obviously I enjoyed the classic Disney hits as a child such as the Lion King but they always felt more like films I watched with others as opposed to something I would willingly pick myself. Going into my teenage years in the mid to late 90s the range of animated titles, certainly in the West decreased to some extent in contrast to the growth and expansion of anime in the East. One title that did stand out that I still make a point of watching to this day is Titan A.E. Released in 2000 it didn’t have a great impact at the box office but was an interesting take on the post apocalyptic story of humanity, dispersed into the stars with the destruction of Earth and forced to find their place as third class citizens. In contrast to the depiction of humanity in shows such as Star Trek it was an interesting take, with a great cast of actors certainly something a little different, for me anyway in contrast to the more simplistic Disney films of that period. Visually, its style fluctuates somewhat mixing basic animation techniques with interesting visual effects creating somewhat of a hodgepodge of styles but its enjoyable.
6. Worst Movie You Have Seen in Theaters
Ok, to quote Deadpool, ‘Pump the hate brakes Thanos’, take off your tribal colours and put your objective cap on. The Last Jedi, was a ‘divisive’ movie that split the fan base, some adore it, I genuinely hated it, one of the few times I have considered walking out of the cinema part way through, and wishing I had stuck to my convictions and left before the credits rolled. Ignoring for a moment the virtue signalling environmentalism casino sequence, Super Leia and her magical abilities to fly through space and a weird love hate relationship between Rey and Kylo that rivals the incestous kiss of Leia and Luke for awkward forced Star Wars romances, it was just the overarching message of a director where the past is irrelevant, as observed through the death of the legacy characters and we should all embrace the future. It’s a short sighted message to push on an impressionable audience. Instead of embracing feedback or acknowledging concerns, to then alienate a vast swathe of your audience by criticising their intentions and attitudes, that anyone that disliked the Last Jedi was a sexist, racist misogynist was a bizarre marketing strategy to pursue. And to no surprise, Solo flopped. Honestly, the only way Episode Nine could draw me back to the cinema at this point is a Dallas style sequence where Luke steps out of a sonic shower aboard the Falcon to a waiting Han and reveals it was all just a dream.
7. Most Recent Movie You’ve Watched
I’m going to post this on a technicality, it is the most recent film I have watched as of writing, thank you the digital Gods of post scheduling. One of the joys of being a responsible adult, you do still occasionally get a call to look after the offspring of your siblings. This week staying at my sisters for a couple of days I indulged in a few Marvel films that happened to be showing on Sky, first Avengers Infinity War and then on the second night the first Guardians Of The Galaxy. It’s been a while since I’ve watched it, probably not before watching the two most recent Avengers films. In retrospect it’s fun to watch these set up films for the small details and scenes that built up to the finale of the saga. Certainly the inclusion of Thanos front and centre as the key overarching villain brought him to the forefront of the series in contrast to his end credits teaser scenes he had been witnessed. The impact and devastation of the Infinity Stone is probably just about consistent although given the impact in the final pictures certainly it could have been dialled up a notch. Either way a fun, enjoyable movie with a memorable soundtrack and certainly signalled to the powers that be in the house the mouse built audiences were prepared to accept movies situated away from Earth, America specifically.
8. Your Guilty Pleasure Movie
Oh boy, do I have many contenders for my guilty pleasure movie of choice, but arguably, if I had to pick one film that was so bad it actually has redeemable qualities, it would be the sequel title in the series, Under Siege 2.There is a great deal wrong with this film that can legitimately be ripped to shreds, from reused effects quite literally ripped out of context from other films, a morally questionable off screen relationship between its leading stars to some of the worst, wooden acting committed to screen. Whatever mud or worse, you want to throw at this film, it will stick, it isn’t a great film, I won’t ever try and defend the worst aspects of it. That said, as the great man once said, it does exactly what it says on the tin, a train is under siege and its up to Seagal to save the day in his trademark lethargic mix of martial arts and dead pan puns. Also, as a saving grace one of my personal favourite soundtracks that is criminally unavailable in its entirety. Unless you know where to look in the dark shadows of the internet… If you like action and great music, it has redeemable aspects. And here’s my entirely subjective argument in defence of Under Siege 2, the ‘youths of today’ go to clubs and bars and gain pleasure from dancing to rubbish music. Hence, I see no shame in enjoying watching action films from the 90’s with great music. Its a tenuous argument but one I can find peace with.
9. The Movie You Have Watched The Most
As a by product of tradition this has probably become my most watched film over the years, entirely because every year, on July 4th, I watch this movie with a hot dog and budweiser and celebrate Independence Day. As a half English, half American citizen of the United Kingdom, it does sometimes feel like a conflicting celebration to remember but honestly, who doesn’t become slightly stirred when Bill Pullman begins his iconic and memorable Presidential speech to an awaiting audience. The score from David Arnold, the visual effects that for the most part still look impressive over twenty years later. There are faults of course, this isn’t the greatest film ever, the acting is dubious, the shooting locations do swiftly transition into New Mexico. As a rule, I do have to watch the Extended Cut every year so whenever I see the movie on TV which plays the theatrical cut it feels, unfinished and rushed, some of the scenes add a moment of depth or resonance to the characters, others such as the virgin speech in the middle of the attack are just odd. Regardless, it’s a triumphant, bombastic celebration of American pomp and military prowess overcoming the threat and challenge of the alien race, the allegory and symbolism of the vietnam war played in reverse perhaps a little on the nose but as the music bursts out with the fireworks exploding on the screen, you do feel a little patriotic.
10. Favorite Movie
A movie I’ve long enjoyed and respected, one of my all time favourites that consistently appears near or at the top of my list, the sequel to Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger. I’ll make a contentious statement here, I enjoyed Indiana Jones, Han Solo did little for me, it was in the early 90s I really started to enjoy the work of Harrison Ford, his more grown up years with a string of movies that I regard highly from The Fugitive to Witness, Patriot Games, Air Force One and of course my all time favourite film, Clear and Present Danger, an adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel of the same name. It’s a long, political thriller tacking the ever present drug cartel issue of the period and the everyman character Ford portrayed so brilliantly at that period in his career. I enjoyed Indiana Jones over Han Solo to an extent and certainly in Temple of Doom, attempting to overcome and liberate slavery and Last Crusade, rescuing his father and overcoming familial demons and regret where you felt a touch more gravitas and grounding in his delivery, Ford in Raiders may as well have been the same character in Star Wars. But the later political era of his career was where he became a great for me, someone you could relate to who used intellect and morality to overcome and persevere in the face of challenge and adversity.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the post, a great set of questions as always from that talented writer and certainly showcasing my love of sci-fi and an apparent man crush of 1990s Harrison Ford amongst other things. Want to do this tag? Here are the prompts and of course, why not link back to the original post from Michelle for creating these questions:
- Prefer to Watch Movies At Home or In Theaters?
- First Movie You Saw In Theaters
- Favorite Movie Genre
- Least Favorite Movie Genre
- Favorite Animated Movie
- Worst Movie You Have Seen in Theaters
- Most Recent Movie You’ve Watched
- Your Guilty Pleasure Movie
- The Movie You Have Watched The Most
- Favorite Movie
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