Monday, March 18, 2013

TEN THE HARD WAY


I know that this is not a music post, but when I saw the badge for Alex's blog-fest (blog-hop?-not sure what the right term is these days), I thought, why not?

This blog-fest is giving me a strange case of deja-vu…didn’t we do this one already?

As it turns out, we did-a few years ago Alex, the OTHER blogger with the surname Cavanaugh, hosted a blogfest on our top twelve movies.

I did a baker’s dozen back then, so I am now going to have to whittle that list down to ten and hope no new ones need to be there.

Picking my favorite movies is still a challenge as I’ve gotten older as staying awake for an entire movie is a challenge, and remembering movies after I have seen them is a challenge. I simply do not have the time to watch movies multiple times any more. That makes it pretty hard for new ones to get onto the list.

As a result, my list of favorite movies looks pretty similar to the last two iterations (including the time I did a list for Stephen T. McCarthy).  

For those of you with photographic memory….well it reads similar as well (sorry). Like the last time, the movie titles link to a film trailer or scene.

And it will be new to some of you, so away we go!


This excellent film opens with the sounds of romance in the Bronx (“Marie! Get in the f*&king car!”). There are a few violent scenes, but mostly the story is about a boy who is drawn to the local gangster against the wishes of his bus-driver father.

All the important life lessons are in this film: how to pick your spouse (“if she doesn’t unlock your door by the time you get around the car, dump her”), what to do when a quasi-friend stiffs you (“for twenty bucks, he’s out of your life-you got off cheap”).

The names of the mobsters are excellent. Frankie Coffee Cake (named because his face looks like a Drake’s Coffee Cake), Jo Jo The Whale (you didn’t walk with Jo Jo, you walked among him), Leo The Mush (everything he touches turns to mush).

DeNiro shines on screen and behind the camera in his directorial debut.



The original, that spawned four sequels and a television series that ran for six years.

Violent, with sword fights, loud rock music from Queen, and a showdown between immortal enemies Christopher Lambert and Clancy Brown. Oh, and Sean Connery is in it as well.

I’d skip the sequels. The TV series had some good episodes, though.

But in the end, there can be only one.


Come on! I’m from Philadelphia!

It was either this make this list or have one of the movies where Todd Rundgren did the soundtrack on there. I guess I could swap this out for “Dumb And Dumber.”

Besides, it’s a great film. Stallone has spent almost forty years trying to make another great one.

He should have left well enough alone, “A Bullet In The Head” in the can, and quit while he was ahead.






There’s a couple of scenes in this one that I still love after more than thirty years.

One is when Paul Dooley and Dennis Christopher are walking through the college, and Paul Dooley is talking about how after he and his coworkers raised the buildings, they felt like they did not belong.

The other is when Paul Dooley announces that there will be another mouth to feed.
“I didn’t know people your age could-“

“Boy, the next words could be your last”

This was a low budget film that everyone should own a copy of.




HEAVEN CAN  WAIT

In this one, the Rams beat the Steelers in the Super Bowl!

Sadly, they did not in 1979.

This movie had to tide me over until they did win one at the dawn of the new millennium.

It was a great script, great cast and an improvement over the original.

Buck Henry's dry delivery will keep you in stitches!



Even in the silly movies that preceded “The Crow,” you could see that Brandon Lee was going to be something special. His death was very tragic.

“The Crow” was a good film, especially considering it was adapted from a comic book (in the days when that was actually unusual).

It is a dark and violent tale of revenge, but it worked.


THE SEVENTH  SEAL


There’s a scene in this Bergman film where Death comes for a woodsman who tries to bargain for his life.

“But my contracts?”

“Annulled.”

A classic film that reminds you your inbox won't be empty when you go to the great beyond.

The film is in Swedish, with subtitles, so it's a little more effort to watch, but the scene at the end where the newly dead dance across the hills is the great payoff.

We've all got it coming.

This life is just a ride. Enjoy it!


Arnold did not need to speak to be menacing in this movie.

It was unanimously panned when it was released, but when the sequel made gazillions, the reviews of this first film were mysteriously all rewritten with a bunch of stars.

When it came to 1980’s action films, Arnold surrounded himself with people who knew what they were doing and put out the best product (IMHO).









JACKNIFE

Another DeNiro film makes my list, with stellar performances from Ed Harris and Kathy Baker.

There were a plethora of Vietnam-vet films in the late seventies through the eighties.

For my money, this was the best of the bunch.

My favorite scene is where DeNiro tells Kathy Baker about how he found religion.

This film did not make much of a splash, but was quite good. You'll want to check it out...



This was my favorite of the John Hughes’ wave of “wrong side of the tracks” romances, and I can’t tell you why.

Certainly “The Breakfast Club” was a better film, but there was something about this one.

I think it was the father and son scene over the son withdrawing his college savings and blowing it on a pair of earrings.

My dad and I had a similar argument, but I blew the money on mint copies of the out-of-print Nazz lp’s and another rare Todd Rundrgen album (The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren)…I can’t even blame it on a girl!

I miss my dad (he died last year).  If your parents are still alive, treasure each moment-even ones where they're complaining about that crap you listen to. I'd give anything to hear him trash rock music again, let alone still be able to discuss things with him.

But Dad was wrong that time. It WAS my money, and I made it through college anyway (on my own dime), and I still have those albums!  Dad, if you're reading this, look for a turntable up there and give "The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren" a spin...

So now, the credits are rolling, as we have reached the end of my list.

Interestingly enough, scene clips were harder to find this time-I guess the studios made You Tube take them down....I'd have thought them a good promotional tool. Most of what I am linking to up above are trailers.

A lot of other movies were considered.
From the prior list, “Diggstown,”  “The Lord Of The Rings” trilogy, and “The Legend Of 1900” got bumped.
“A Few Good Men,” “The A-Team,” "Sin City" and "Pulp Fiction" were all seriously considered (again).  

I gave thought to “The Bucket List,” as well as “The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao.” (That was a movie I’d forgotten about, until a McCarthy post (maybe even his list last time), and have rewatched a few times since).

Even though it got bumped from the list, I do want to post this link to the piano duel scene in “The Legend Of 1900.” Stephen T. McCarthy turned me on to this film mainly for this scene, and it is CLASSIC!.

The first clip is the final song, which has a dramatic moment at the end that is the big payoff...about four minutes to watch, but the payoff is WORTH IT! This is for you impatient ones....





Here's the whole scene in HD...some of you who watched the short version would still probably enjoy the whole scene, although you already saw the end...


43 comments:

  1. I mixed mine up a bit. T2 almost made the cut. The Crow is a powerful film with an equally awesome soundtrack.
    Thanks for participating in my blogfest, Mr. Cavanaugh!

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    1. Alex-

      I was a little lazy-did not venture far from my last go-round.

      Thanks for hosting, Mr. Cavanaugh!

      Delete
  2. You've got some good ones. Nothing wrong with Rocky. I'm pretty much a sucker for the who Stallone series for that matter. I really liked the last one with Rocky as an old guy. I could identify with that one. The old part, not the getting in shape and fighting part.

    Lee
    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

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    1. Lee (got your name right this time!)-

      That last Rocky was, in my opinion, by far the second best of the series, but I have a soft spot for all of them just because of the Philly nostalgia.

      You put a lot more thought into your post-I liked the spin.

      LC

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  3. The Crow and the Terminator are two of my favorites. I also liked Some Kind of Wonderful much better than Pretty in Pink.

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    1. Diane- all the John Hughes' films were good, though-I thought he really did depict the emotion of the high school experience quite well.

      Delete
  4. The only one I've seen from your list is Rocky which was a lot of fun!! I've have to check out some of the others one of these days! :)

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    1. Jemi-He goes the distance and gets the girl! Stallone really could have just retired after that film-no way to top it!

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  5. Excellent list. No list with The Crow on it could be bad, and I agree about Brandon Lee. He really could have been something. I feel like the world was robbed when he died. And for me, I was never able to watch the TV version of Highlander. Lambert was the only Highlander for me.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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    1. Shannon-Brandon was a true loss.

      The TV Highlander took a little bit for me to get into-I'd watched the first episode and was underwhelmed, but happened to catch the second year-it was on at a wierd time that worked-I was always near a TV-and I got hooked.

      A guilty pleasure....

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  6. Some Kind of Wonderful was just wonderful and Heaven Can Wait delightful. It's so much fun to see what others choose.
    karen

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    1. Agreed, Karen-most lists give you that 'what was I thinking moment" when you see a movie you'd forgotten!

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  7. Rocky is a Great movie! I like the series!

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    1. Well of course..."Yo Adrienne" is just like "Yo Adriana".....only different!

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  8. Great list, Rocky, Highlander and Terminator are all favs, forget Highlander 2 though, blah to that haha

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    1. Did you see they're re-doing Highlander? I'm not sure how I feel about that-why mess with a good thing?

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  9. What an eclectic collection!! I like the diversity!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by-usually this list is all about music, but today was a nice diversion.

      Delete
  10. DR. DISCDUDE ~
    I was seriously thinking that tonight I'd get to that Email I owes ya (with that Todd Snider lyric), but maybe not, since I want to explore a few of these Blogfest lists, plus I have a little editing to do on a couple of my own blog bits.

    'The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao':
    Good, interesting movie, but no, never on one of my Top 25 Movie lists. Definitely one of the quirkiest Western movies ever, though. (In one sense, almost the pre-Kung Fu 'Kung Fu'.)

    Funny, just this last weekend, Nappy and I were returning from somewhere in my truck, and one particular scene from 'A Bronx Tale' came up. I was yakking about how great that part was where the mobster says to the bikers, after the doors got locked, "Now youse can't leave." The look on the bikers' faces: Oh... shiii...!

    So, you gave me THAT scene, like I gave you the scene from 'The Legend Of 1900'.

    You probably won't remember this but, way back when, when you first put together your Top 25 Movie list for me, originally you had 'Rocky' (1976) in the "second fifteen" rather than in the "first ten". I remember thinking you wuz punch drunk and said something like: What iz youse thinkin'?! Even I have 'Rocky' in my Top Ten, and I ain't even from Philly!

    You later bumped it up... having come to your senses.

    BTW, 'Rocky' (1976) would STILL be in my Top Ten.

    A few of your movies here I have not seen, but there's some excellent stuffs here (I did put 'Breaking Away' on my Top Ten Sports Movies list).

    One thing I want to clear up though, for any of your readers that may not know: Regarding 'HEAVEN CAN WAIT', you wrote: "It was a great script, great cast and an improvement over the original."

    I totally agree with all of that. BUT, the original (which you are referring to), as you know, was NOT titled 'Heaven Can Wait'. The original, from 1941, was called 'Here Comes Mr. Jordan' (and the Warren Beatty version is indeed superior - one of the rare times a remake surpassed the black & white original).

    But there is ANOTHER movie, from 1943, titled 'Heaven Can Wait', starring Gene Tierney and Don Ameche. This 'Heaven Can Wait' has nuttin' to do with sports, is extremely funny, and will make any heterosexual man have impure thoughts about Gene Tierney.

    I just didn't want any of your readers to mistakenly think the '43 'Heaven Can Wait' is the original version of the Warren Beatty 'Heaven Can Wait'. They are two totally different storylines, but both are wonderful in their own right.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Good catch, Stephen-I always forget the original was titled differently, and did not know until you told me (probably when I did the list for you) about the other "Heaven Can Wait."

      I should revisit "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" just because it has been so long.

      I know you were the one who reminded me of "Seven Faces," and I thought it was in a blog post.

      Did you maybe do one on westerns? I may go back and peruse "Stuffs."

      And finally, so man scenes in "Bronx Tale," but that one is great.

      The narration as the camera pans around the room showing the biker's faces, ending with "this time, they knew they picked the wrong bar."

      Classic!

      Delete
    2. DR. DISC ~
      You are correct, sir; I DID mention 'The Seven Faces Of Doctor Lao' in an old 'Stuffs' blog bit. However... I had ENTIRELY forgotten that fact until you mentioned it above. And then I thought: Uhp! He's right!

      I just did a quick search on 'Stuffs' from my Dashboard and found it immediately. Here's the URL:

      http://stephentmccarthysstuffs.blogspot.com/2010/08/lost-dutchmans-mine-20-little-western.html

      Yak Later, Bro...

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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    3. That's the post! I knew I was not crazy...well, not certifiably, anyway!

      Delete
    4. Bummer-I just tried to add "The Grey Fox" to my Netflix queue, but they don't have it.

      Delete
  11. Looks like you just inspired some additions to my Netflix queue.

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    1. Glad to help! If you can only watch one, it'sn got to be "A Brox Tale!"

      I always tell people if they do not like it, I'll reimburse them for the rental and have never had a taker!

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  12. Oh you just couldn't resist sneaking in a few more film names, could you? Thats okay, neither could I. Go cutters!

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    1. Nicki-

      Wasn't that a great movie? Paul Dooley (as the father) was awesome!

      "Refund? REFUND?"

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  13. Highlander! I've only watched the first movies though, I have yet to check out the rest of the series.
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. I liked the series, but nothing beat that first movie with Lambert and Connery.

      "There can be only one"

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  14. I was here earlier today and your blog ate my comment. Actually it was probably me. Between a dumb blonde behind the wheel and my hinky Caribbean connection anything is possible. Been having a lot of trouble lately.

    Anyway...I said something like; quite an eclectic list. I rally liked 'Highlander' and although not a big fan of 'Arnold' I recently viewed Terminator and T2. T2 was an assignment for a screenwriting course I was taking at UVI. The instructor thought the screen play has the perfect structure. Who woulda thunk? I liked them both.

    Very interesting list, even if it is recycled. Besides, that's supposed to be a good thing, right?

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    1. I think I have always admired Arnold for two reasons.

      One, he's always been told he'd fail at things (lose money in real estate, never be an actor, never be elected governor) and he perseveres and succeeds.

      Two, he was smart enough to know he has limits as an actor and surrounded himself with people who knew what they were doing. In doing so, most of his films were pretty good (considering the genre).

      Or at least that's my opinion!

      Delete
  15. Didn't see a lot of your selections, Highlander I read the book, I loved Rocky - enjoyed all of them actually.

    JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

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    1. Jo-do you mean the novelization of the Highlander movie script?

      There is a series of Highlander books that are popular that I believe are unrelated to the movie I'm referring to.

      Delete
  16. I'm not familiar with a number of these, but I like Terminator and The Crow. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your comment made me smile.

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    1. Natasha- Glad you thought it was amusing-I wondered would you stop reading after the first part of the sentence and write me off as a nut!

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  17. The Crow was a great film and Highlander...so bad its good. Great list!
    HMG

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    1. Thanks for dropping in, Heather-obviously, I loved both films! Didja know Heather was the name of the highlander's Scottish wife?

      LC

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  18. Fellow "The Crow" fan! Love your list. :3

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    1. Couldn't you just see in that film how big a start Brandon was going to be?

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  19. Nice selection, though I haven't seen a lot of them. Love The Crow and Terminator, though I was more of the T2 ilk :)

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    1. Trisha-

      Don't get me wrong-I liked T2 as well...but it's hard for a sequel to top the first film for me. Even Alien/Aliens-I still like the original better, because the first time I saw it, I didn't know what was coming.

      LC

      Delete
  20. Some of these I haven't even heard of and need to watch! I'm an AtoZ #warriorminion rep and can't wait to see what you'll be posting about in April! I'll be stopping by.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Some of these I haven't even heard of and need to watch! I'm an AtoZ #warriorminion rep and can't wait to see what you'll be posting about in April! I'll be stopping by.

    ReplyDelete