“Die Hard” Classic Movie Review

Die Hard John McClane

“Die Hard”

Dir; John McTiernan.  Starring; Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia.  1988.  R.  Color.  132 min.

Die Hard Movie Poster

At the time of it’s release, “Die Hard” was expected to be a failure.  Bruce Willis was a running joke after the awful TV series “Moonlighting”.  Fox Studios owner Rupert Murdoch insisted on giving Willis a five million dollar contract, money that was almost unheard of for an actor at the time.  American audiences had no reason to take this movie seriously.  How could this man be the lead in an action movie?  America was so wrong.  Bruce Willis says to all of us “Yippie-Ki-Aye Mother Fucker”,  and the rest is history.  “Die Hard” is the greatest pure action movie ever made.

Like all action farce before or since, “Die Hard” is a chess match between the hero and villain.  Before this film, chess matches were between a slick hero ala James Bond and a stereotypical bad guy bent on world domination.  John McClane is a burnt out alcoholic husband trying to save his marriage.  Hans Gruber, while he appears to care about issues in Russia, is strictly after a quick money grab.  They are the ultimate anti-hero and anti-villain.  This changed action movies.

Before Alan Rickman became famous for playing Professor Snape in the “Harry Potter” series, he was Hans Gruber.  Director John McTiernan saw Rickman in a stage performance of “Dangerous Liaisons” and instantly knew that he had found his villain.  Hans Gruber goes beyond the simple “Bond” villain archetype.  He is menacing, smart, diabolical, yet never lacks a sense of humor.  His plan is perfect, he just could not account for John McClane showing up.

John McClane is a washed up cop from New York.  His wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) has moved across the country to Los Angeles for a better job with the hope that their two children will grow up in a healthier environment.  John is desperate to save his marriage, and flies out to L.A. for Christmas.  After a long flight, John takes a limo to surprise Holly at her work, only to find that she is enjoying the company Christmas party without her estranged husband.  A bitter fight ensues, typical of any married couple on the verge of divorce.  Just when things cannot get any worse, Hans Gruber and his team invade Nakatomi tower and hold everyone hostage.  Everyone except our washed up cop.

Initially, everything is going as scripted for Hans.  His crew is ready for the inevitable arrival of the police and F.B.I.  This elaborate takeover is all a set up to buy time so that his main hacker can crack the vault and extract millions of dollars worth of Nakatomi stocks and assets.  It will make national news of course.  Before the police even realize what just happened, the bad guys will be “Sitting on an island making 20 Percent”.  Too bad they messed with the wrong guy.

McClane instantly goes into action after the first gunshots are heard.  He is in desperation mode, hoping to protect his wife first and foremost.  As the plot thickens, John realizes he must stop these terrorists from blowing up a building and killing hundreds of people in the process.

John instinctually calls the police at his first opportunity.  It’s Christmas Eve, so his 9-1-1 call seems like a joke.  A chubby police sergeant named Powell (Reginald VelJohnson from “Family Matters” fame) is knee deep in doughnuts when he receives the order from dispatch to go investigate Nakatomi Plaza.  Sgt. Powell enters the building, but of course Gruber already has men stationed as fake security guards to make everything seem normal.  Powell decides the call is a hoax, shaking his head as he gets back into his patrol car.  McClane can’t believe it, and as Powell is pulling out of the parking lot, he tosses a dead body of one of the terrorists 20 stories down directly onto his police car.  “Welcome to the Party Pal!”

The police, F.B.I., and local media swarm the building within a matter of minutes.  This is not quite how Hans expected everything to go down.

At no point does this film seem far-fetched or ridiculous.  Obviously it is an action movie.  Bad guys have an endless supply of bullets and explosives.  Yet, In the context of this genre, you will never question what is happening in front of your eyes.  Typical music cues or slow motion “look-how-cool-this-guy-is” tropes do not exist here.  Believe it or not, this movie actually cares about the story it is telling instead of telling you how slick it is.

Established Hollywood archetypes state that ultimately every hero is smarter than the villain.  John McClane is not smarter, wiser, or better than his adversary.  He is, however, a driven human being.  For the first time, the audience was asked to root for a regular guy as their hero.  McClane embodies what everyone hopes they would do when placed in such a situation, and that is the brilliance of this film.

Numerous famous lines and scenes have come from “Die Hard”.  You could say “Now I have a machine gun Ho, Ho, Ho” or “SHOOT THE GLASS!” or “It looks like the police have an RV” or the famous “Yippie-Ki-Aye Mother Fucker“.  People will instantly know what film you are referring to.  Fox wanted to make a big budget action picture.  They had no idea they were creating an iconic masterpiece.  Most classics don’t know that going in.

Several action series have tried to mimic this formula since its release in 1988.  The “Fast & Furious”, “Mission: Impossible”, and “John Wick” franchises come to mind.  None of these come close.  “Die Hard” gave every guy who wanted to see a “guy movie” the argument to his girlfriend of how those types of films can actually be great if done well.  The next time you are having a bad day, just think of John McClane.   Picking glass out of his feet, off of a 12 hour flight, desperate for a cigarette, all the while being hunted by Hans Gruber.  That is the hero we need and deserve.

Suck Factor: 0 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

Written by Byrd

*The Suck Factor! – How it Works

I’ve flipped the switch on the standard rating system for film criticism. Instead of rating a movie with stars or letters representing how good a film is, I rank films from 0 to 7 to tell you how much a movie SUCKS! So if the film is a masterpiece, like “The Godfather” for example, then it gets a 0 on my scale, meaning the movie gives 0 SUCKS! If the movie is absolutely terrible, for instance every Michael Bay film, it scores a 7 so you know to avoid it at all costs.

For all other movie review requests, feel free to comment here, or send us a message! & Don’t forget to sign up for updates in the sidebar to the right so you’ll never miss a review!

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“Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” Classic Film Review

The Empire Strikes Back Darth Vader

“Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back”

Dir; Irvin Kershner.  Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher.  1980.  PG.  Color.  124 min.

The Empire Strikes Back Film Poster

My favorite story from behind the scenes of “The Empire Strikes Back” is that Mark Hamill was sitting in the theater for the premier screening of the film at the famous Hollywood Chinese Theater.  Darth Vader says the classic line “I am your father”.  Harrison Ford turned to Hamill and said “You didn’t tell me that was gonna f-ing happen!”.  Before the internet, before spoilers, “The Empire Strikes Back” was the original twist ending.  “Star Wars” was a sensation that everyone had to see.  The sequel made the series iconic.

The visual effects on “The Empire Strikes Back” are unparalleled.  George Lucas, after the surprising success of the first film, was given free reign to do whatever he wanted.  Lucas walked away from directing duties, and Irvin Kirshner made the best Star Wars film of all time.  Together, these two filmmakers employed models and old school film trickery to create excellent action pieces.  CGI is great, but seeing real life things battle each other looks so much more real.  It ages better.

The Hoth planet battle instantly kicks you in the ass.  The resistance has been forced to a snow planet.  Vader will stop at nothing to find Luke Skywalker.  He sends his army of mechanical soldiers to destroy the resistance.  Our main characters are plucky and fun as we expect.  Then, this battle happens.  The bad guys win, and Vader has to watch Han Solo fly away in the Millennium Falcon before his eyes.

Luke Skywalker escapes as well, and he goes to a swamp planet where he meets Yoda.  Quite possibly the best character in “Star Wars” lore.  Luke is young, and out of nowhere he finds his greatest teacher.  Yoda forces our main character to face his biggest fear, becoming his father.  The “Star Wars” films are simple kids stuff.  “Empire Strikes Back” made the series adult.

There’s Lando Calrissian and his “Sky City”.  He was a friend of Han Solo, and betrayed the man in order for his city, and his money, to be protected from the Empire.  All Darth Vader asks for is to lure Luke to an inevitable end of becoming evil.  Why?  Because the dark side is better.  Luke leaves his training from Yoda in hopes of protecting his friends.  This is the wrong decision, but it is the best thing he can do at the time.  An iconic lightsaber battle ensues.  Vader makes Luke chase him around the inner workings of the city, and Luke must find a way to stay strong and not succumb to the dark side. Good vs. Evil, and evil is so much easier.

The surprise from “The Empire Strikes Back” will never be achieved again.  Audiences today have no idea what its like to stand in line at your local theater with no idea of what to expect.  The “Star Wars” series is not going anywhere.  The series is a juggernaut of cinematic enjoyment.  It started with “A New Hope”.  It became iconic with “The Empire Strikes Back”.  Not just a great geek movie, one of the greatest Sci-Fi films ever made.

Suck Factor: out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

Written by Byrd

*The Suck Factor! – How it Works

I’ve flipped the switch on the standard rating system for film criticism. Instead of rating a movie with stars or letters representing how good a film is, I rank films from 0 to 7 to tell you how much a movie SUCKS! So if the film is a masterpiece, like “The Godfather” for example, then it gets a 0 on my scale, meaning the movie gives 0 SUCKS! If the movie is absolutely terrible, for instance every Michael Bay film, it scores a 7 so you know to avoid it at all costs.

For all other movie review requests, feel free to comment here, or send us a message! & Don’t forget to sign up for updates in the sidebar to the right so you’ll never miss a review!

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“Space Jam” Film Review

Space Jam Michael Jordan Bill Murray

“Space Jam”

Dir; Joe Pytka.  Starring; Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny, Bill Murray.  1996.  PG.  Color.  88 min.

Space Jam Movie Poster

“Space Jam” is a silly movie.  It is one of the greatest silly movies ever made.  One cannot deny the iconic status this film has in American pop culture.  It was the perfect storm of the greatest basketball player of all time, combined with the greatest cartoon characters ever conceived.  Add in Bill Murray and a famous song by R. Kelly, you get an unlikely classic that every child hoping to play in the NBA loves.

Michael Jordan plays, well, Michael Jordan.  After winning three straight championships, Jordan left the game when his father was murdered for no reason outside of a truck stop.  He left the game of basketball at the height of his career, after three straight championships, so that his father would see his final game.  Jordan relegated to baseball, a game his father loved.  Needless to say, Jordan was awful at the sport.  He returned to the NBA and won three straight championships again.  “Space Jam” takes place during the time when Jordan was out of basketball and lost in life.  This film creates popcorn fun out of a tragic event without being disrespectful.

The Looney Tunes are being attacked by a group of aliens.  The aliens have sucked the talents out of other current NBA players and created a team known as the Monstars.  A basketball game stands between the Looney Tunes being destroyed and sending the invaders home.  The only hero who can help is Michael Jordan, the best player in the world.  Bugs Bunny has a plan, to lure Michael Jordan to play with his Tune Squad.  Using a cartoon magnet, he sucks Jordan through a golf hole and brings him into the world of animated characters.

This film is perfect for kids growing up with the hope of being a professional athlete. During halftime of the big game, Jordan gives Bugs Bunny and the “Tune Squad” bottles of Jordan juice to inspire them.  They find out its just water.  Greatness and winning comes from inside of you is the message here.  This is a thought that is simple, but also inspires people.

Adding Bill Murray is a stroke of genius.  He is the greatest ironic actor of all time.  My favorite quote comes when Murray is playing golf with a retired Jordan.  He asks Jordan how can a white guy succeed in the NBA.  Jordan refers to Larry Bird, the greatest white NBA player of all time.  Murray instantly responds with “Larry’s not white, Larry’s Clear”.  Silly humor parents can enjoy along with their kids.

“Space Jam” is a nostalgia film.  The last gasp of how important the Looney Tunes series was.  When talk of doing a “Space Jam 2” with LeBron James has come up, I always say no!  This would not have the weight of what Michael Jordan and his father went through.  The Looney Tunes are not as important as they once were.  This is not a masterpiece, but it’s an iconic piece of American cinema history.  There are many classic films I am amazed people have not seen.  I rarely meet a person who has not seen “Space Jam”.

Suck Factor: 2 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

Written by Byrd

*The Suck Factor! – How it Works

I’ve flipped the switch on the standard rating system for film criticism. Instead of rating a movie with stars or letters representing how good a film is, I rank films from 0 to 7 to tell you how much a movie SUCKS! So if the film is a masterpiece, like “The Godfather” for example, then it gets a 0 on my scale, meaning the movie gives 0 SUCKS! If the movie is absolutely terrible, for instance every Michael Bay film, it scores a 7 so you know to avoid it at all costs.

For all other movie review requests, feel free to comment here, or send us a message! & Don’t forget to sign up for updates in the sidebar to the right so you’ll never miss a review!

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“Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” Classic Movie Review #11

Perfume Ben Whishaw

“Perfume: The Story of a Murderer”

Dir; Tom Tykwer.  Starring; Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman.  2006.  R.  Color.  147 min.

Perfume Movie Poster

“Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” goes beyond your normal cinema experience.  It is palpable, engaging your senses from start to finish.  The 1985 German novel by Patrick Suskind was considered un-filmmable.  How does one tell a story centered around the human sense of smell?  Director Tom Tykwer does not simply film this story, he breathes it in through his nostrils and releases it to us slowly through his mouth.  From the cinematography to production design to performances, “Perfume” captures how sensations create emotions.

The film is cyclical.  It opens with the stories end, at least we are lead to believe that.  Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Ben Whishaw) is imprisoned in 18th century Paris for crimes we are not yet aware.  An angry mob is pulsating at the prison doors, and the guards drag Grenouille out on the balcony to face the crowd.  A frightened lawman declares that Grenouille will be tortured and killed the next day, keeping the angry mob from tearing the building down.  We know that our main character will die, and now we must know why.

Our narrator (the forever wise John Hurt) takes us back to Jean-Baptiste’s unlikely birth.  We begin in the foulest place in all of Paris, the city fish market.  A place rampant with filth, disease, and the most awful of stenches.  Grenouille’s poor mother works there.  She has given birth to several still-born babies.  In the middle of chopping up fish guts, Jean-Baptiste flops out of her uterus onto a pile of dead fish.  Assuming he must be dead, she continues with her duties.  This child is special, refusing to die.  The infant starts to cry, the mother tries to run, and she is hung for abandonment.  The first “words” out of his mouth lead to the death of Grenouille’s mother.

Sent to an orphanage, Jean-Baptiste fails to fit in.  Unable to speak until the age of five, Jean-Baptiste lives his life through his nose.  The child has a sense of smell far beyond that of any person the world over.  After spending the next 15 years in slavery, he makes it back to the city where a world of smells awaits.  He meets an over-the-hill perfumer named Giuseppe Baldini (the always enriching Dustin Hoffman), who sees the gifts Grenouille’s nose holds.  With his new apprentice, Baldini’s dormant perfume shop quickly becomes the talk of Paris.  Baldini teaches Grenouille in the art of extracting smells.  Grenouille goes from fascination to obsession, attempting to extract smells from glass, rocks, and metals.  Baldini thinks this is madness because these items do not have a scent.  To Grenouille, everything has a scent.  Everything except for himself.

This obsession brings Jean-Baptiste to Grasse, the center of beauty, life, and luscious smells in France.  After some trial and error, he discovers a way to capture humanity, in particular the intoxicating smell of a beautiful woman.  Thus begins his madly driven killing spree of women as he extracts, drop by drop, the ingredients to make his concoction.

“Perfume” is a macabre tale about the pursuit of perfection.  For Grenouille, perfection comes in the form of physical beauty, at least the smell of that.  Can he capture this, and if he does will he be satisfied?  If he shares his creation, what will it do to the rest of the world?  This story lives in the recesses of the mind we find uncomfortable visiting.

Director Tom Tykwer scrounges up an eighteenth century world that is disgusting and raw, while juxtaposing it with sensations and locals that mirror the most beautiful of all paintings.  The streets and people populating them are so disgusting that we feel dirty watching.  Luscious fields of roses go from being red to a metaphorical bed of joy.  These concepts do not belong in the same film, yet work perfectly here.

Ben Whishaw plays Grenouille not as a villain, but as the dark person we could all become if given such a gift.  Watching him walk into a perfumers laboratory for the first time we see intoxicating love, not the beginnings of a monster.  The power of Hurt’s narration throughout the film allows us to feel and breath the sensations other films only dare us to watch.

The ending of “Perfume” is one of the best in cinema history.  In any other film, such a finale would be ridiculous.  Here, it is the perfect culmination of everything we have experienced, everything Grenouille has worked for.  It will certainly send more conservative viewers to the exit door, but if this film has engulfed you by the time the climax arrives, you will know you are experiencing perfection.  That is exactly what Jean-Baptiste wanted to share.

It is obvious why there was not much of an audience for “Perfume”.  It compares the sublime with the devious, then mixes them together in uncomfortable ways.  At dinner party conversation, one could make a case why this film is bad faster than I could defend it being a masterpiece.  It does not test, but rather pokes you, almost daring to see what you are made of.  From Tykwer to Whishaw and all the way down, being a part of making this took guts.  The film is unlike any I have seen, an experience that pushed against me and allowed me to push back.  I invite anyone to watch and keep an open mind.  The story of Jean-Baptist Grenouille is, like the man himself, one of a kind.

Suck Factor: out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

Written by Byrd

*The Suck Factor! – How it Works

I’ve flipped the switch on the standard rating system for film criticism. Instead of rating a movie with stars or letters representing how good a film is, I rank films from 0 to 7 to tell you how much a movie SUCKS! So if the film is a masterpiece, like “The Godfather” for example, then it gets a 0 on my scale, meaning the movie gives 0 SUCKS! If the movie is absolutely terrible, for instance every Michael Bay film, it scores a 7 so you know to avoid it at all costs.

For all other movie review requests, feel free to comment here, or send us a message! & Don’t forget to sign up for updates in the sidebar to the right so you’ll never miss a review!

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“Blade Runner” Classic Movie Review #10

Blade Runner Harrison Ford

“Blade Runner: The Final Cut”

Dir; Ridley Scott.  Starring; Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Darryl Hannah.  1982.  R.  Color.  

Blade Runner Poster

“Blade Runner” is a game changer.  25 years of modern sci-fi films would not exist without this classic.  It lives in a dystopian future that isn’t too far away from reality today.  From “The Matrix” to “Children of Men” to “The Handmaid’s Tale”, the future being an awful thing is a cool topic because of this movie.  We want to think that the next generation is promising, unfortunately we’re wrong.

Harrison Ford was at the peak of fame in 1982.  In between two of the most colossal franchises in movie history, “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones”,  he found time to play Rick Deckard in a strange picture directed by Ridley Scott.  Deckard is a 1940’s inspired gumshoe detective, called a “Blade Runner”.  His only job is to retire rogue replicants.  Why is he called a blade runner?  Because it sounds cool.  A great example of the films influence is the fact that I never told you robots were involved.  I used the word Replicant, and you instantly knew what I meant.  Similar to the word “Muggle” in the Harry Potter series.

“Blade Runner” is a visual experience unlike any film before it.  You could write the movie’s plot in a paragraph, but spend the length of a novel explaining a single frame.  From the matte painting backgrounds to the use of Xenon lights, you will be drawn to its beauty.  What I respect most about “Blade Runner” is that its future world simply exists.  Other than a basic title card before the film, nothing is explained.  It assumes this is a way of life similar to any film taking place in the real world.

The question of what it is to be a human being is at the center of “Blade Runner”.  You ask yourself, does a machine designed to be a slave deserve the right to live?  Can a corporation like Tyrell become untouchable because they created machines society needs?  Do I root more for our cop Deckard or our machine?

A commercial failure upon its initial release, “Blade Runner” has become the mother of all cult classics.  From the theatrical cut to the work print to the re-release cut to the directors cut to the final cut. Man is this movie full of itself…  I mean that in the best way possible.  I wanted to write a typical classic movie review here, and I went through several versions of what that should look like.  Then I realized no matter what I said, you should just see “Blade Runner” for yourself.

What I respect most about “Blade Runner” is that its future world simply exists. Whether it’s the first or fifteenth time you’ve watched “Blade Runner”, expect to ask questions.  It engages you the way a great class or teacher or life experience does.  This is an all time masterpiece…

Suck Factor: out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

Written by Byrd

*The Suck Factor! – How it Works

I’ve flipped the switch on the standard rating system for film criticism. Instead of rating a movie with stars or letters representing how good a film is, I rank films from 0 to 7 to tell you how much a movie SUCKS! So if the film is a masterpiece, like “The Godfather” for example, then it gets a 0 on my scale, meaning the movie gives 0 SUCKS! If the movie is absolutely terrible, for instance every Michael Bay film, it scores a 7 so you know to avoid it at all costs.

For all other movie review requests, feel free to comment here, or send us a message! & Don’t forget to sign up for updates in the sidebar to the right so you’ll never miss a review!

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“Jerry Maguire” – Classic Movie Review #9

Jerry Maguire Tom Cruise

“Jerry Maguire”

Dir; Cameron Crowe.  Starring; Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, Cuba Gooding Jr.  1996.  R.  Color.  139 min.

Jerry Maguire Movie Poster

“Jerry Maguire” tells the story a man who has everything, then loses it all when he decides to grow a conscience.  Tom Cruise plays Jerry, a highly successful sports agent who represents top athletes in all the major american sports.  He’s getting married to a gorgeous woman, is one of the most powerful figures in his industry, and everybody loves him.  One day a client of his, a top tier hockey star, is advised by doctors to retire.  Another injury could kill him, but he’s so close to a huge contract bonus that it’s impossible to think beyond dollar signs.  When the players son goes to Jerry and begs him to get his dad to stop, all Jerry can say is how tough his dad is, knowing full well that a bonus for him means a bonus for Jerry.  Disgusted, the son tells Jerry to go to hell.  A spark goes off in Jerry’s head, and he decides that what he is doing is wrong.

Unable to sleep, Jerry writes a “mission statement”, detailing what should change in the sports agency business.  Fewer clients, more attention to the lives of the athletes, less attention to dollar signs.  He sends this off to everyone in the office, and the executives promptly fire his ass.  Jerry goes from being the most desired agent in the business to the black swan of his own company.  Realizing how stupid it is to have human decency in this business, Jerry scrambles to grab all his high profile clients before they drop him too.  His co-worker Bob Sugar (Jay Mohr) smells blood and begins contacting and scooping up every one moments before Jerry can.  After a grueling afternoon, all thats left on his side is a crazy diva Wide Receiver who made Jerry promise to “Show Me The Money!”, a single-mother office secretary who was inspired by the words in his mission statement, and the office goldfish.

In a business where it pays to be ruthless, Jerry has committed the ultimate sin of humanity.  His fiancee is quickly out of the picture because she doesn’t date losers.  Thus begins the slow journey of rebuilding ones life.  The wealthy privileged character falling from grace is one of Hollywood’s favorite story lines.  Here, writer/director Cameron Crowe focuses squarely on making this character human and relatable.  This film works because we never despise Jerry.  He can be selfish and egotistical, but at his core he is a good man.  It just takes time and the wisdom of others for him to realize it.

Even though he was fired, Jerry remains in high spirits.  He was able to retain his top client, the #1 draft prospect quarterback golden boy Frank “Cush” Cushman (a young Jerry O’Connell).  His only other client, Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr. in an Oscar winning performance), reluctantly joins Jerry the night before the NFL draft so he can run Rod through the gamut of newscasters and team owners, reminding the sports world who Rod Tidwell, all-star wide receiver, really is.  Having spent his career being overlooked, this night is a dream come true for Rod.  They part ways, and Jerry is off to his big time client.  Everything is going to work out.

Until Jerry goes to see “Cush” and his family in their hotel room.  The star’s father has decided to go with Bob Sugar and drop Jerry.  Shocked and desperate, Jerry begs the man to reconsider.  They inform Jerry that they dropped him because he spent so much time parading around with “The Black Fella”.  Even after being fired, he cannot escape the ugliness of this business.  You can see rock bottom in Cruise‘s eyes in this moment, and it’s a brilliant piece of acting.

So focused on his career, Jerry almost forgets that his personal life is destroyed as well.  A serial committer, Jerry is alone for the first time in his life.  It is at this point he begins to set his sights on that office secretary who was so inspired by his mission statement and left the firm to stick with him.  Renee Zellweger plays Dorothy Boyd, a pure-hearted single mother desperate to find inspiration in a world that has repeatedly beat her down.  In Dorothy’s mind, a guy like Jerry must be way out of her league.  But he’s desperate, so he clings to Dorothy and her adorable son.  As their business is crumbling, Jerry convinces Dorothy to marry him before leaving for another job.  Remember, he’s still learning who he is, and can’t shake off some of the impure tactics he employed when doing business.

At the wedding it is clear Jerry is nervous.  The passion between the two is clearly forced, as Jerry simply doesn’t see the invaluable love and happiness standing right in front of him.  For the first time life is not about dollars, and that scares the hell out of him. It does not take long for Dorothy to ask Jerry for a divorce.  Never blaming him as much as understanding that she let him settle.  Meanwhile, Rod is driving Jerry nuts because he’s the only client that has ever been real with him. When Jerry tries to justify his relationship with Dorothy, Rod scolds him repeatedly, trying to wake him up and realize that she and her son are the best thing that has ever happened in his life.

Most romantic comedies expect you to buy into the characters because of course there will be a happy ending.  “Jerry Maguire” is about people that have to earn it.  These aren’t cliche characters in a Hollywood romance, they are real people attempting to sort through all the crap life throws at them in hopes of finding what happiness really looks like.

Today, “Jerry Maguire” has become one of the most iconic and quotable movies of all time.  The beautiful song “Secret Garden”, performed by Bruce Springsteen, has become a staple love tune played at weddings.  Cuba Gooding Jr.’s Rod Tidwell is full of classic one-liners, the most well known of course being “Show me the money!”  And who could possibly forget that ending scene.

Jerry has just had the best night of his career, but it meant nothing without Dorothy.  He rushes home and arrives to find Dorothy’s sister hosting an anti-men women’s therapy group in his living room.  At this point, nothing will stand in his way.  Tom Cruise makes his speech to win his wife back, and it is the most vulnerable moment of the film.  He tells Dorothy “You complete me” and she responds by telling him to shut up, saying “You had me at hello.”  Yes this is a genre cliche, but here these characters have earned it.  All Jerry has known is success, and for the first time none of it matters without Dorothy.  All Dorothy has known is disappointment, and for the first time happiness has found her.  One would have to be pretty cold hearted not to find such a scene touching.

“Jerry Maguire” is the perfect storm of a movie.  Many things I cringe at in other romantic comedies are done to utter perfection here.  Tom Cruise is at the top of his game, and the entire cast works because they make these characters into real people.  Every time I return to this film, a feeling of joy comes over me, and I’m always smiling by the end credits.  Similar to true love in a way, I cannot fully explain why “Jerry Maguire” is so perfect.  It just is.

Suck Factor: out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

Written by Byrd

*The Suck Factor! – How it Works

I’ve flipped the switch on the standard rating system for film criticism. Instead of rating a movie with stars or letters representing how good a film is, I rank films from 0 to 7 to tell you how much a movie SUCKS! So if the film is a masterpiece, like “The Godfather” for example, then it gets a 0 on my scale, meaning the movie gives 0 SUCKS! If the movie is absolutely terrible, for instance every Michael Bay film, it scores a 7 so you know to avoid it at all costs.

For all other movie review requests, feel free to comment here, or send us a message! & Don’t forget to sign up for updates in the sidebar to the right so you’ll never miss a review!

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“The Thing” – Classic Movie Review #8

The Thing Kurt Russell

“The Thing”

Dir; John Carpenter.  Starring; Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David.  1982.  R.  Color.  109 Min.

The Thing Movie Poster

Paranoia.  Fear.  Nowhere to go.  These are the themes that make John Carpenter‘s 1982 horror masterpiece “The Thing” so exhilarating to watch.  A crew of 12 men are stationed at a remote research outpost in Antartica.  They are alone and, other than a radio, completely cut off from the world.  Suddenly, a strange dog comes rushing to their camp, followed by a Norwegian helicopter.  Everyone is stunned.  The Norwegians start shooting.  The group quickly takes cover. They soon realize that they aren’t shooting at them, they’re shooting at the dog.  A botched grenade goes off, destroying the helicopter and killing the Norwegians.  What the hell just happened?  This opening sets the tone for how the entire film will play out.  Everything seems normal, until some “Thing” comes out of nowhere to shake the confidence of everyone involved.

This normal dog, by all appearances, is brought into the camp by Clark (Richard Masur), the stable master of the group.  The groups leader MacReady (Kurt Russell), decides to go investigate what he assumes must be another Norwegian camp, bringing two other crew members, Palmer (David Clennon) and Vance (Charles Callahan) along with him.  After choppering over to the other location, the group expects to find a similar research facility.  Instead, they find a graveyard.  After doing some digging around, they find that the Norwegians discovered some type of alien space craft buried under the ice for what must have been thousands of years.  Under the ice, they awoke an alien life-form that can imitate any other person/creature it comes in contact with.  They bring back a strangely deformed burnt corpse in order to study it.  Meanwhile, the dog from the beginning still wanders the camp.

They go over the Norwegian data as well as examine the corpse.  The group discovers exactly what this life form is, and how dangerous of a situation they suddenly find themselves in.  But before they realize what’s happening, it’s too late.  The dog is placed in the kennel with the other dogs and, with nobody watching, this “Thing” attacks and mutilates all the other animals.  The group burns and destroys this horrific creature, thinking the threat to be neutralized.  It’s not, and now everybody is a suspect.  Who’s human and who’s not?  It’s impossible to tell.

John Carpenter enjoyed one of the most ah, let’s say eclectic, careers of any director.  He made a wide range of films such as the slasher classic “Halloween”, the ridiculous B-Movie homage “Big Trouble in Little China”, the excellent 80’s post-apocalyptic “Escape From New York”, and the Roddy Roddy Piper (yes, the WWF wrestler) starring cult hit “They Live!”.  Carpenter has always said that his best film is “The Thing”, and he’s right.  It is the greatest film about paranoia ever made.

Back in 1982, “The Thing” was a critical and commercial failure.  Many reasons contributed to this.  For one, it opened the same weekend as another Sci-Fi masterpiece, Ridley Scott‘s “Blade Runner”.  This was also the same summer Steven Spielberg released his classic children’s film “E.T.”, one of the biggest blockbuster hits of all time.  People were in lovey-dovey alien mode.  Terrifying rip-your-head-off aliens, not so much.  Critics were put off by some of the blood and gore, which by today’s standards seem tame.

The film has since grown in stature to be considered one of the greatest sci-fi/horror films in existence.  For the past 20 years on June 21st, all British Antartica research stations watch “The Thing” as the centerpiece of their Midwinter Festival.  “The X-Files” did an entire episode in their first season as an homage to it.  The films poster by legendary Poster artist Drew Struzan is one of the most iconic images in film history.  And in my personal experience, every time I ask someone if they have ever seen “The Thing” the response is always “Oh that movie is awesome!”

Kurt Russell collaborated with Carpenter 4 different times, typically playing the rough-tough hero.  Here, his character Mac isn’t trying to be the hero, he’s just trying to survive.  When things begin to close in on him, Mac turns and screams the famous line “BACK OFF!  WAY OFF!”  The best scene in the film comes after the surviving group members have turned on MacReady and left him for dead in the cold.  After managing to get back into the camp and take control again, he ties everyone up and tests their blood to determine who is human and who’s an imitation.  This scene is spine-tingling as the audience has no idea who to trust, just like MacReady himself.  Mac isn’t trying to be a badass character, he is a badass because there’s simply no other option.

The practical creature effects in the film created by Rob Bottin, who was only 22 at the time, are a benchmark in film history.  Younger viewers might find the motions of the various monsters a little jarring as they’re use to seamless action created in a computer.  But guess what, everything you’re seeing on screen is actually real!  Carpenter was known for scoring his own films, but for “The Thing” he was able to get legendary composer Ennio Morricone to create the hauntingly simplistic theme that slowly builds tension the same way the story does.

From the opening frame to the last, “The Thing” keeps you on edge.  The ending is one of the rare great twists that actually makes sense.  John Carpenter would go on to sink deeper into the bizarre and down-right silly with his later films, never matching the raw intensity he captured here.  The film seems to slowly creep up on you, yet at the same time never gives you a moment to breath.  This is not a must watch movie for horror fans, it is an essential film that anyone would not soon forget.  In a genre that is riddled with stupidity, “The Thing” doesn’t try to scare you, it is about the experience of terror itself.

Suck Factor: out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

Written by Byrd

*The Suck Factor! – How it Works

I’ve flipped the switch on the standard rating system for film criticism.  Instead of rating a movie with stars or letters representing how good a film is, I rank films from 0 to 7 to tell you how much a movie SUCKS!  So if the film is a masterpiece, like “The Godfather” for example, then it gets a 0 on my scale, meaning the movie gives 0 SUCKS!  If the movie is absolutely terrible, for instance every Michael Bay film, it scores a 7 so you know to avoid it at all costs.  

For all other movie review requests, feel free to comment here, or send us a message!  & Don’t forget to sign up for updates in the sidebar to the right so you’ll never miss a review!

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“The Lord of the Rings” – Classic Movie Review #7

The Lord of the Rings the Ring of Power

“The Lord of the Rings”

Dir; Peter Jackson.  Starring; Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellan, Sean Astin.  2001-2003.  PG-13.  Color.  178 min, 179 min, 201 min.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Movie Poster     The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Movie Poster     The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Movie Poster

Long before J.K. Rowling took us to Hogwarts or George R.R. Martin gave us “A Song of Fire and Ice”, J.R.R. Tolkien gave us “The Lord of the Rings”, one of the most beloved book series in history.  He created middle-earth, a land full of wizards, elves, orcs, monsters, and hobbits.  Most other novels dealing in this subject matter never go beyond the realm of silly kids stories.  Tolkien takes this 100% seriously, and tells a grandiose tale unlike any before it or since.

For years, Hollywood tried to bring these novels to the big screen, at one point making a sub-par pair of animated movies in the 80’s that are now considered cult classics at best.  Steven Spielberg was attached to direct, but dropped out shortly afterwards.  I’m so glad he did.  Director Peter Jackson grew up loving the books, and knew that he was the right man for the job.  Studios turned him down over and over, and who could blame them?  Making not one but three hugely epic movies simultaneously, directed by a no-name like Jackson, would be a ginormous risk.  Jackson tried to pitch it as two movies, until the executives at New Line cinema asked him “Aren’t there three books?  We should make three movies then!”  And thus one of the greatest epic movie series ever made was born.

Jackson shot the trilogy over two years in his home country of New Zealand.  The beautiful landscapes were a perfect stand in for the mythical world of middle-earth.  His casting choices were questioned constantly.  Elijah Wood was still seen as a child star, and nobody believed he could carry such a colossal project.  Viggo Mortensen, like Jackson, was a virtual unknown, and tasked with playing the heroic Aragon.  For the wise wizard Gandalf, Jackson chose Ian McKellan, a gay British actor known more for his roles in Shakespeare productions than for big budget action.  People were outraged.  How could Gandalf possibly be played by a gay man?  Before the December release of “The Fellowship of the Ring” in 2001, many critics were guaranteeing the movie to flop, with the sequels destined to be two of the most expensive straight to video movies ever made.  Then it came out, and the rest is cinematic history.

The greatest element to “Lord of the Rings” is the fact that, in the end, it comes down to a small mans bravery, and how he loses.  The evil is defined, the good guys are recognizable, but its all about Frodo and his will to do whats right.  It takes a selfish act by a deformed creature named Gollum to set this world free.  That is deep.

In the first film, we establish a fellowship of characters made up of elves, wizards, dwarves, hobbits, and men, who will deliver the ring of evil to the only place it can be destroyed.  Seems very simple.  We see a journey that seems obvious.  Suddenly, everything breaks down.  A man succumbs to the temptations of the power of the ring. We realize that Frodo is on his own.

In the second film we follow several storylines.  The fellowship is broken, and the battle for middle-earth begins.  Truly good characters are separated from each other.  They must begin to pick up the pieces.  As an audience, we are blessed with the famous “Battle of Helms Deep”.  This is one of the most awe-inspiring sequences ever committed to film.  It rivals any battle sequence ever, fictional or not.  Yet the best part of “The Two Towers” is Gollum.  He is a shell of a human being, hunting Frodo for his one true love, the ring of power.  Motion actor Andy Serkis somehow makes you care about a character that is completely digitized the way you would care about a family member.  Why would Frodo want Gollum around?  Because he sees what he could become.

The third film admittedly goes a little over board.  The huge battle sequence lacks depth, as it ends with the heroes showing up with an unstoppable army.  In the end, Frodo cannot destroy the ring.  He is too corrupt.  It takes Gollum’s greed and unlucky decisions to bring us to the climactic moment we have all been waiting for.  “Return of the King” has multiple endings after its climax, and is flawed for not knowing when to just stop and roll the credits.  Yet I cannot blame Peter Jackson for this.  How can you possibly let go of a masterpiece?

“The Lord of the Rings” is the last example of great epic filmmaking by Hollywood.  A genre that has been almost forgotten.  It is the only movie series where every film made more money than the previous installment.  I don’t know what it was like to see the original “Star Wars” in theaters for the first time.  I also don’t understand why people are so excited to see the new “Avengers” movies on the big screen.  What I do know is that I will never forget seeing “The Lord of the Rings” in theaters for the first time.

Written by Byrd

Suck Factor: 0 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

*The Suck Factor! – How it Works

I’ve flipped the switch on the standard rating system for film criticism.  Instead of rating a movie with stars or letters representing how good a film is, I rank films from 0 to 7 to tell you how much a movie SUCKS!  So if the film is a masterpiece, like “The Godfather” for example, then it gets a 0 on my scale, meaning the movie gives 0 SUCKS!  If the movie is absolutely terrible, for instance every Michael Bay film, it scores a 7 so you know to avoid it at all costs.  

For all other movie review requests, feel free to comment here, or send us a message!  & Don’t forget to sign up for updates in the sidebar to the right so you’ll never miss a review!

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“Amadeus” – Classic Movie Review #6

“Amadeus”

Dir; Milos Forman.  Starring; F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge.  1984.  R.  Color.  160 min.

Amadeus Movie Poster

Since it’s initial release, people who have not seen “Amadeus” are hesitant because they have a preconceived notion that it’s a boring, overlong period piece. Yet every time I convince somebody to sit down and watch it, they are amazed by just how good it is.  This is not a film about the composing genius of Mozart, it is about the man obsessed with destroying him.  Salieri was a good composer in his own right, but not in the same class of brilliance as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  He knew it, and was driven mad because, in his mind, he deserved it more.  You do not have to be a fan of classical pieces to be enthralled by this music that has lasted for hundreds of years.  “Amadeus” isn’t a biopic, it’s the story of becoming obsessed with the need to see others better than yourself fail.

In 1984, “Amadeus” swept the Academy Awards, and was a commercial hit.  Just like today, almost nobody listened to classical music regularly, but the films soundtrack soared to the top of the charts.  So how was a period piece about a classical composer so popular?  Because instead of making a standard biopic about a larger than life figure, Director Milos Forman presents us with an Amadeus that is a goofy pre-hipster with a high pitched voice and a fondness for women and drinking.  He is that arrogant drunk kid at a frat party, until you hear his music, his beautiful music.  That is what drives Salieri insane.  This man does not deserve the gifts that have been bestowed upon him from God, and he will stop at nothing to destroy him.  The film is not satirizing Mozart, it is showing that true geniuses find it hard to take their work seriously because it comes so easily to them.

F. Murray Abraham won an Oscar for his portrayal of Antonio Salieri, a composer that could best be described as pretty good.  The film opens with Salieri attempting to kill himself, and he winds up in a mental hospital.  There, a young priest comes to visit him in hopes of saving the old man’s soul.  Salieri is so bitter that he is beyond saving, and begins to tell the story of how he is the man that killed Mozart.  Telling the story all in flashback is a brilliant stroke, creating an angry sense of reflection throughout the film.

As a younger man, Salieri is an esteemed composer for the Emperor Joseph II (Jeffrey Jones).  Mozart has been a well known musical phenom since he was a child, his talents praised throughout Europe.  Mozart has been invited to play before the Emperor in hopes of having him compose a new Opera.  Salieri, being a lover of music, is giddy to meet this young genius.  He attends a swanky party in which Mozart will showcase his talents.  He’s nervous, the same way anyone would be meeting a genius in the field they love.  He looks around the room, wondering if brilliance can be easily spotted.  Eventually, he makes his way into the room where all the delicious food is stored.  Without anybody watching, he starts eating cake and other decadent sweets.  Suddenly, two young lovers rush into the room in hopes of having sex in privacy.  Salieri hides and watches.  The man is a buffoon, chasing the girl around so he can get under her skirt.  Suddenly, in the background, we hear music playing.  The young man stops and says “That’s my music.  They’re starting without me.”  He rushes to the party, stumbles, fixes his shirt, approaches the piano, and without hesitation, begins to play beautiful music.  This is Mozart!  How could this man be the genius Mozart?  Salieri’s anger and bitterness begins.

At first, Mozart’s music is celebrated.  His Opera’s show before sell out crowds, and the bureaucracy loves him.  But, like any great artist, people eventually don’t understand him.  By his third opera,  Emperor Joseph gives out a yawn, condemning the piece to just a few showings.  After the initial showing, the Emperor’s criticism to Mozart is “Too many notes.  Just cut a few and it will be perfect!”  What?  Thus begins Mozart’s decay into booze and self loathing.  How can people not understand how good this is?  Mozart’s father is like a black cloud over his life, constantly pushing him instead of basic parental acceptance.  His father cares little for his wife or drunken lifestyle, only that the music pleases the rich.  Salieri sees an opening, and that is how he will destroy Mozart.

The most moving scene comes as Mozart is on his death bed, composing his final masterpiece “Requiem”.  Salieri is transcribing, never capable of keeping up with the brilliant mind of Mozart.  He has driven this genius to the brink of death, but is still in awe of the music that flows from his mind.  Salieri regrets nothing because of his jealousy, and he loves music so much that he will squeeze every last drop out of Mozart.

The production design, costumes, cinematography, and score are all superb.  Attention to detail is a key to the films success.  Musical professors have studied “Amadeus” and written that every key an actor hits on a piano, every chord the orchestra plays, and every motion actor Tom Hulce makes as Mozart while conducting, are the exact notes and movements that would be made for the music playing.  Cinematographer Miroslav Ondricek uses only available light, making the audience feel like they are really there during these grandiose Operas.  The costumes are beautiful to look at, and the multicolored wigs Hulce wears as Mozart add to the character’s childish nature.  The music, the wonderful music, doesn’t just play in the background.  It seeps through the minds of the people remembering or performing it.

Having a passion for your craft is something we all aspire and work for.  When that craft comes natural to somebody else, our reaction is to despise them.  Every basketball player wants to be Michael Jordan, but they just aren’t.  “Amadeus” plays on that emotion in the most beautiful of ways.  You will recognize several pieces of music in this film, as Mozart’s music has been used in countless films and commercials.  And yet, it’s only human to find it frustrating because it was so easy for him.  Perhaps the greatest film ever made about envy, “Amadeus” confronts a side of our egos that we refuse to accept.

Suck Factor: out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

Written by Byrd

*The Suck Factor! – How it Works

I’ve flipped the switch on the standard rating system for film criticism.  Instead of rating a movie with stars or letters representing how good a film is, I rank films from 0 to 7 to tell you how much a movie SUCKS!  So if the film is a masterpiece, like “The Godfather” for example, then it gets a 0 on my scale, meaning the movie gives 0 SUCKS!  If the movie is absolutely terrible, for instance every Michael Bay film, it scores a 7 so you know to avoid it at all costs.  

For all other movie review requests, feel free to comment here, or send us a message!  & Don’t forget to sign up for updates in the sidebar to the right so you’ll never miss a review!

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“Schindler’s List” – Classic Movie Review #5

Schindler's List girl in red

“Schindler’s List”

Dir; Steven Spielberg.  Starring; Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley.  1993.  R.  B&W/Color.  195 min.

Schindler's List Movie Poster

Steven Spielberg somehow found a way to make an awful chapter in human history approachable with his 1993 masterpiece “Schindler’s List”.  Critics have claimed that this film is too commercial, turning the Holocaust into a well-told story instead of just depicting horror.  The Holocaust is a subject too unexplainable for any movie or novel to reasonably encapsulate.  Instead of focusing directly on utter sadness, he chooses to tell a story that hope is possible when everything around you would say otherwise.  There is no storybook ending by any means.  The Nazi extermination of millions of Jews is depicted with brutal honesty.  There are many other hero’s that saved thousands of lives during the Holocaust as well, some much more moral than Schindler himself.  That is not the point of this film.  Spielberg chooses to focus on a man who didn’t originally intend on saving anybody, but when surrounded by atrocities, he did the right thing.

Liam Neeson plays Oskar Schindler, a magician at convincing the Third Reich how important he and his factories full of Jewish workers are to the war effort.  The first time we meet him is at a nightclub, where he starts off by buying the leading Nazi officers and their friends some expensive champagne.  The officers ask “Who is that man?”, and the well tipped waiter responds “Why that’s Oskar Schindler!”  Soon after, Schindler is the life of the party as he drinks with the Nazis, knowing full well that in this cruel world they are the ones with all the power.

Schindler has no intention of saving lives at first, he’s a con artist who sees an opportunity to swindle the Nazi’s and put money in his own pocket.  But he is not an evil man, and as things get worse, he uses his powers of distraction to keep people alive.  Every day his factory stays open is a small miracle.  Not before, during, or after the war did Schindler have any success in actually running a business.  His strength was in making himself look like the most important man in the room.  He starts off producing pots & pans, then changes over to producing ammunition, almost all of which are cheap and useless.  Yet it appears that his workers are essential.  When one Nazi soldier wants to ship off the children working in the factory to a concentration camp, Schindler explains that they’re tiny fingers are essential to polishing bullet casings, saving the children’s life.

His business associate and accountant is a Jew named Itzhak Stern, played by the amazing Ben Kingsley.  Stern knows that he is employed simply because he’s good with numbers, and because he’s free labor.  He is often reminding Schindler that the numbers don’t add up, or that the products being produced are mostly useless and do not help the war effort.  Of course Schindler knows this, and wants nothing of use to the war effort to come out of his factories.  When he realizes what’s actually going on, Stern begins to just do his job at making the numbers appear to be right for the Nazi’s.  At one point, Stern is almost taken to Auschwitz.  He is on the train, and just before it leaves, Schindler appears and saves his life.  How?  By yelling at the commanding officer, taking down his rank and name, and threatening to report him to his superiors.  Of course Schindler has no real power, this soldier could just shoot him right there, but he is convinced in a matter of seconds that he must release Stern.  One more life is saved by Schindler.

What Schindler is actually doing is never spoken about until the final act of the film.  He works all night with Stern to make a list of over 1,000 workers that he will transport from Czechoslovakia in exchange for a great deal of money.  When it is done, Stern, almost speaking to himself, says “This list is an absolute good.  This list is life.”  That is what Oskar Schindler did.  He was not a perfect man by any stretch of the word, but he kept people alive for years.

As I said earlier, this film does not skirt around how awful the events of the Holocaust were.  We see thousands of Jews forced like cattle into ghettos and concentration camps.  Soldiers arrive in the middle of the night to slaughter countless people as they try to hide in the walls and floor boards.  Five men are lined up in a row, a soldiers shoots and the bullet kills the first three, then cocks his gun again and shoots the last two.  Young children being taught hate yell “Goodbye Jews!  Goodbye Jews!” as they watch these people marching to their certain deaths.  Concentration camps, in particularly Auschwitz, are a world of chaos where it doesn’t matter if you try to escape or follow orders, you will be killed.  Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski shoots in stark B&W, creating a look of harsh reality to the unspeakable sadness happening before our eyes.

This evil is encapsulated by Commandant Amon Goeth, played as the devil incarnate by Ralph Finnes.  He is at first in charge of the Krakow ghetto, then later the camp they move the Jews into.  He is a psychopath.  One day he wakes up, goes to his balcony, and starts picking off random Jews simply doing the work they are forced to do.  In any sane world this act would be deplorable, but in war shooting random people is just morning target practice.  A Jewish prisoner and former architect pleads with the Commandant that a building being constructed must be re-built as it is structurally unsound.  Goeth has her shot, then commands that the building be re-done to her specifications.

Goeth and Schindler of course cross paths as Schindler needs more workers for his factories.  Goeth doesn’t buy into the wine and dine approach that his other colleagues have.  What he does by into is his own greed, and without wealth Schindler probably would have been slaughtered just like the rest of them. Besides, Goeth has so many more Jews to torture and kill, what’s a 1,000 here and there.

One thing that made Hitler so powerful is that he wasn’t alone.  He had men like Goeth to carry out these awful crimes.  I am glad Spielberg chose to make him pure evil instead of a complex man just following orders and regretting some of his actions.  The Holocaust was pure evil, plain and simple.

The film ends with the Russians having liberated the country.  Schindler must flee as he will be considered a war criminal because this whole time he was a member of the Nazi party.  The factory workers are abandoned in a land many of them do not know.  A Russian soldier rides up on horseback.  One man asks “Where do we go now?” and the soldier says “Isn’t there a town over there?”.  The survivors march, and Spielberg fades from B&W to color as we see all of the real life surviving Schindler Jews and the actors who portrayed them visiting the gravesite of Oskar Schindler.  It is a heartbreaking reminder of how much good one man has done, and how we can never forget the evil that human beings are capable of.  Today we are still surrounded by evil and bigotry.  Our current President believes in leading us with hatred and not compassion.  Let this film remind us that a simple list can be an absolute good, that it can be life itself.

Suck Factor: 0 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

Written by Byrd

*The Suck Factor! – How it Works

I’ve flipped the switch on the standard rating system for film criticism.  Instead of rating a movie with stars or letters representing how good a film is, I rank films from 0 to 7 to tell you how much a movie SUCKS!  So if the film is a masterpiece, like “The Godfather” for example, then it gets a 0 on my scale, meaning the movie gives 0 SUCKS!  If the movie is absolutely terrible, for instance every Michael Bay film, it scores a 7 so you know to avoid it at all costs.  

For all other movie review requests, feel free to comment here, or send us a message!  & Don’t forget to sign up for updates in the sidebar to the right so you’ll never miss a review!

Follow on Bloglovin
Continue Reading