Top 10 Heroic Films

Gregory Peck To Kill a Mockingbird

Only the Brave Movie Poster

“Only the Brave” is the latest in a long line of films celebrating hero’s.  With that in mind, let’s take a look back at the 10 Best Heroic movies ever made.  For this list, I have excluded superhero, sci-fi, and biblical based movies.  Even though these are works of fiction, they must take place in the real world.  All of these films are classics, and score a 0 out of 7 on my SUCK FACTOR.  That being said, take a look at my heroic list…

10. “Three Kings” – 1999

Three Kings Movie Poster

Perhaps the most underrated war movie of all time, “Three Kings” is about why we go to war.  To help people.  George Clooney leads a team of disillusioned soldiers during the gulf war on a hunt for Saddam Hussein’s lost gold in the desert.  Instead of a lifetime of riches, these soldiers find a group of people in serious need of help from an oppressive government.  They do the right thing, they help.

9. “12 Angry Men” – 1957

12 Angry Men Movie Poster

Despite taking place in one room, “12 Angry Men” is riveting.  11 sweaty, tired jurors just want to sentence a clearly guilty man to death so they can go home.  Juror #8 has other ideas, and questions if an innocent man is being accused for a crime he did not commit.  One at a time, the jurors who were so certain of the story they were told in court begin to have doubts.  “12 Angry Men” is a fantastic example of an individual being able to make a difference and fight for justice.

8. “Dunkirk” – 2017

Dunkirk Movie Poster

Clearly the newest film on this list, and could potentially move up as the years go on.  “Dunkirk” does two things incredibly well.  First, it presents its conflict with urgency and humanity instead of through choreographed speeches.  Second, the film confuses you the same way being a soldier in the middle of battle becomes confused.  This is the greatest film about raw survival ever made.

7. “High Noon” – 1952

High Noon Movie Poster

One of the giants of the western genre, “High Noon” keeps things very simple.  A former sheriff has just married and plans on riding into the sunset.  Then word comes that a group of outlaws are coming to his town for revenge.  Instead of running, Gary Cooper chooses to stand and fight for what is right, even when no one in the town will stand with him.  Doing the right thing can often be very lonely, but also makes for the best hero’s.

6. “Rocky” – 1976

Rocky Movie Poster

Everyone knows this movie.  A relatable underdog story about a poor, un-educated, forgotten boxer named Rocky Balboa who gets a shot to fight the world champion in front of a national audience.  Rocky has no desire to be a hero, which is why he is the savior the every-man needs.  Multiple sequels have diluted the story of Rocky, but this original classic remains a movie everyone can root for.  No matter what your background is, you are crossing your fingers for Rocky to win.

5. “The Best Years of Our Lives” – 1946

“The Best Years of Our Lives” is about what happens to hero’s when they return home and attempt to live normal lives again.  Made in 1946, it tells the story of three World War II vets returning to their families and communities, both of which are not the same as they remembered.  Pop culture likes to build up battles and conflicts to glorify their hero’s, but sometimes it takes greater strength to try and become a normal person again.

4. “To Kill a Mockingbird” – 1962

To Kill a Mockingbird Movie Poster

Atticus Finch is a colossal figure in film and literature.  Taking place in the depression-era south, “To Kill a Mockingbird” centers around a black man wrongly accused of raping a white girl.  With an all white jury and a whole town against him, Atticus chooses to defend the rights of a fellow human being in hopes of saving the man’s life.  We have taken great strides, but racism in America remains a huge problem.  This film is important for every generation to see and never forget what black people have had to struggle with throughout history.

3. “On The Waterfront” – 1954

On the Waterfront Marlon Brando

“I coulda been somebody.  I coulda been a contender.”  The famous words uttered by Marlon Brando, playing a man that simply never made the right decision in life.  Terry Malloy, a once promising boxer turned longshoreman, moonlights as muscle for the local corrupt union bosses.  It doesn’t happen all at once, but eventually Malloy can no longer watch the corruption in his community and stands up against powerful men, even if it could cost him his life.  Shunning even his own corrupt brother, he sacrifices everything to do what’s right.  That is a true hero.

2. “Schindler’s List” – 1993

Schindler's List girl in red

Very little heroism came out of the Holocaust, one of the most horrific chapters in human history.  Oskar Schindler was a businessman who initially wanted to use Jewish workers as free labor for his factories.  He soon witnessed the gravity of what was happening to these innocent people, and decided he had to save as many lives as he could.  Through his actions, Schindler was responsible for saving the lives of thousands of Jews, and will be remembered as one of the small pieces of hope in an otherwise awful time in history.

1. “Casablanca” – 1942

Casablanca Movie Poster

Throughout the years, “Casablanca” has become known more for it’s romantic moments and classic lines.  Yet, when you really think about this film, its about a man that sacrifices his own happiness to do the right thing.  He sends off the woman he loves to be with another man, and in the process assists in getting important information for the French war effort out of Natzi occupied Casablanca.  “Here’s lookin’ at you kid” sounds very romantic in a card, but in the film it’s a heartbreaking moment of sacrifice that Bogart’s character must make.  He is a true hero, just don’t try to tell him that.

Written by Byrd

Did your favorite heroic film make it on my list?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Top 10 Stephen King Film Adaptations

"The Shining" Jack Nicholson Here's Johnny

“The Dark Tower” is one of Stephen King‘s most beloved book series, and the new film hitting theaters this Friday is the latest in a long history of movies based on his writings.  No other author has had more of his stories adapted to the big screen than King.  Though mostly known for his horror tales, he has written in a wide variety of genres.  The following films are a great example of the range this legendary writer has shown throughout his career.  King has been very vocal about his distaste for some of these adaptations, but they all would not be possible without his ideas.


10. “Children of the Corn”- 1984

Who would have thought kids were so creepy?  “Children of the Corn” is one of King’s most metaphorical stories, in many ways a commentary against organized religion.  Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton play a young couple in love who show up in the wrong town at the wrong time.  They encounter a strange cult of children who want to kill anybody over the age of 18.  The film itself is often times ridiculous, and the acting is not exactly Juliard.  Still, “Children of the Corn” is a passable movie based on a much better book.

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

9. “1408”- 2007

“1408” is one of the better haunted house movies I’ve seen.  It’s a simple concept, making it a very effective horror film.  John Cusack plays a a man haunted by the death of his loved ones, and has become famous for disproving locations said to be haunted.  The Dolphin Hotel has room 1408, a room nobody has ever survived the night in.  He checks in and is plunged into a world of increasing terror.  Yes the ending is ridiculous, but it’s still a standout in the world of low-brow horror fiction.

Suck Factor: 3 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

8. “Carrie”- 1976

King made a classic female character with “Carrie”, the story of an innocent girl who refuses to be bullied any longer.  She’s teased for not knowing what her time-of-the-month is, shut in and abused by her mother, and humiliated at the school prom.  Her powers are not clearly defined, she simply has the power of rage inside her.  And when that rage comes out, be somewhere else.  Many people consider this film a classic.  I hate using this argument, but the film feels very dated, and up until the climax it tends to drag.  Still, “Carrie” is a great lesson to all the bullies out there, don’t mess with the wrong girl!

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

7. “The Running Man”- 1987

Believe it or not, 1987’s cheesy Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick is based on a short story by King.  In the near-distant future, America’s favorite gameshow throws convicted felons into a gauntlet of death traps and armed killers as they fight to win their freedom.  Schwarzenegger plays a man wrongly accused, fighting to survive a rigged game.  This movie is so 80’s, from the costumes to the music to Arnold himself, you can’t help but have fun watching it.  It’s also an interesting commentary on the media, and remains relevant to this day.  You just have to get past the fact that it’s a very silly action movie.

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

6. “The Green Mile”- 1999

King released this story of Death Row guards and inmates as a series of short novels.  Director Frank Darabont teamed with Tom Hanks to combine the books into one epic film.  Hanks plays Paul Edgecomb, the head guard of a death row prison in rural America in the 1940’s.  A huge black man accused of murdering and raping two children comes to the mile, and seems to have mysterious gifts.  While still dabbling in the mystical, “The Green Mile” is one of King’s most empathetic stories, questioning the morality of the death penalty and the value of a human life.

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

5. “Misery”- 1990

“Misery” is the ultimate horror film for anybody who’s famous enough to have maniacal fans, and in a lot of ways is probably something that scares even King himself.  Kathy Bates (in an Oscar winning role) plays Annie Wilkes, a woman who lives alone and is obsessed with her favorite author Paul Sheldon.  After a fateful car crash, Annie rescues her idol and nurses him back to health.  However, it quickly becomes apparent that he is a prisoner in the twisted fantasy of a crazy fan.  The ankle breaking scene still haunts me to this day!

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

4. “The Dead Zone”- 1983

Definitely the most overlooked movie on this list, “The Dead Zone” is an unsung classic from director David Cronenberg.  A young Christopher Walken stars as Johnny Smith, a man who awakens from a coma only to discover he has the ability to see the future by simply touching a person.  He starts off helping local law enforcement track down a killer, and by the end must stop a man from being elected president and destroying the world with nuclear war.  It’s a very poignant film even today, and an interesting look at how gaining newfound power can drive you insane.

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

3. “Stand by Me”- 1986

“Stand by Me” is King’s most personal story to date, and a heartfelt look at the loss of childhood innocence.  It’s the story of four friends who set out to find the body of a child killed by a train, having the innocent belief that this has something to do with otherworldly forces.  Also in search of the body are the town bullies, leading to the films famous heart-wrenching climax.  The film and novel both display a great level of reflection, the same way that we reflect on the events that helped to shape our lives.  Belongs in the group of classic coming-of-age cinema.

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

2. “The Shawshank Redemption”- 1994

Similar to a movie like “The Godfather”, I have never met and never expect to meet somebody who doesn’t love this film. It shows the lives of prisoners and tells their story with poetic beauty.  Tim Robbins plays Andy Dufresne, a man who has been sentenced to life for a crime he did not commit.  In there he befriends Red, a seasoned inmate who knows how to sneak things in, and together they try to survive years of horror at the Shawshank prison.  “The Shawshank Redemption” is one the greatest movies ever made about the triumph of the human spirit, telling a sprawling story over decades.  “Get busy living, or get busy dying” -Andy Dufresne

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

1. “The Shining”- 1980

Stephen King and many of his loyal fans are very critical of this movie for not being anything like the source material.  They aren’t necessarily wrong, I just think they’re jealous.  “The Shining” is the best horror movie ever made, directed by the greatest filmmaker to ever live.  Stanley Kubrick took King’s idea of a family watching over an isolated hotel for the winter and created one of the most terrifying experiences in cinema history.  No matter how many times you’ve seen it, “The Shining” is one of those rare films that you always find something new that you never saw before.  Jack Nicholson is iconic as Jack Torrance, a man pushed to the brink of insanity by mysterious forces so powerful that they convince Jack to turn on his own family.  If you somehow never saw this classic then watch it immediately.  Just don’t watch it alone.

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.  

Don’t agree with my list?  Share your thoughts about your favorite Stephen King movie below.  Or just send us a message if there is something you want to hear more about.  & Don’t forget to sign up for updates in the sidebar to the right so you never miss a post!

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Top 10 Badass Women In Film History

Sigourney Weaver in Aliens

“Atomic Blonde” hits theaters this Friday, and actress Charlize Theron plans on delivering a killer action flick!  We only get a handful of female-centric films a year (the “Resident Evil” or “Underworld” series don’t count as real movies, sorry).   I wanted to take a look back at my top 10 BADASS! women in film history.  They don’t always use their fists, but there’s one thing for certain, don’t mess with these ladies!

Atomic Blonde Movie Poster

10. Bonnie Parker – “Bonnie and Clyde” 1967

Bonnie and Clyde Movie Poster

“Bonnie and Clyde” changed the way youth films were viewed, and gave college kids a reason to say they’re movies were better than their parents.  It begins as a simple story about a boy who comes to the rescue of a pretty girl.  Once they start robbing banks, it’s clear that Bonnie Parker is running the show.  She’s intelligent, ruthless, and just a “girl in love with a boy”.  Actress Faye Dunaway plays the innocent princess perfectly, knowing full well that she’s in charge of the infamous real life Barrow gang.  Bonnie will stop at nothing to protect what she holds dear, money and/or her love.  I’m not sure which comes first in her eyes.

9. Furiosa – “Mad Max: Fury Road” 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road Poster

A sequel/remake of a cult movie series from 30 years ago that should have been a huge box office bomb.  “Fury Road” was so great it somehow got an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.  What’s even crazier is our title character Max isn’t that important!  Charlize Theron takes over the movie as Furiosa, a woman who will stop at nothing to keep innocent girls from becoming sex slaves in this crazy post-apocalypse.  It’s an adrenaline rush of a movie, and the only person who can keep it together is Furiosa.  Don’t underestimate her, even if she only has one arm.

8. Joan of Arc – “The Passion of Joan of Arc” 1928

The Passion of Joan of Arc Sadness

Way, way, way back when, “The Passion of Joan of Arc” was a revolution in cinema history.  A silent film shot completely in close-up, shocking audiences at the time.  The true story of Joan of Arc is known throughout the world, but never has it been told with such immediate impact.  The film deals strictly with the trial and eventual burning-at-the-stake of Joan.  Having been shot all in close-up, we experience first hand a jury of angry old white men sentencing a true saint to death by fire.  Actress Maria Falconetti doesn’t battle them with fists, she battles them with indifference.  You can see in her face that she will not give up, even when she knows she’s doomed.

7. Rose – “Titanic” 1997

Titanic Movie Poster

I know what you’re thinking, Rose is the scared little rich girl who got saved by a tough man on a boat.  I call bullshit!  On the surface, Rose is an innocent young debutant who’s rescued by an impoverished working class pretty boy.  Let’s look at the facts here.  Rose defies her mother, her soon-to-be-husband, her wealth, and her society just to be with somebody she truly loves.  And after Jack dies, she gets rescued, lives a full life, and at 87 is able to tell this amazing love story.  And let’s not forget, she survived the sinking of the Titanic!  Kate Winslet is an amazing actress, commanding to be seen on screen from the very start.  You can see in her eyes determination unlike anyone, that’s why Rose survived that boat.

6. Leeloo – “The Fifth Element” 1997

The Fifth Element Movie Poster

What planet did this movie come from?  No list of top female characters is complete without mentioning Milla Jovovich as Leeloo.  After all, she’s the “perfect being”.  Director Luc Besson made this shot to the gut of a Sci-Fi film back in 1997, and he made the movies savior a woman.  It’s three-hundred years in the future and a huge black ball of evil is barreling towards earth.  The only thing that can stop it is “The Fifth Element”, or the perfect being.  Bruce Willis might be the star of the movie, but he can’t do a damn thing without Leeloo.  This is the only woman on my list who actually saved the world!

5. The Bride – “Bride of Frankenstein” 1935

Frankenstein and the Bride

After the success of 1931’s “Frankenstein”, the first horror movie to really scare the hell out of people, Universal demanded a sequel.  What they got was a feminist movie directed by a gay man.  The monster survives the fire from the first movie, and he wants someone to share his pain with.  He forces his creator, Dr. Frankenstein, to build him a mate.  The two male characters have created what they think is the ideal undead woman, and when she sees her “perfect match” in the monster, all she can do is scream.  The Bride is one of the greatest allegorical characters in all of cinema.  Men want a woman to do their bidding, and her only instinct is to fight back.  Remember, this was way back in 1935.

4. Maude – “Harold & Maude” 1971

Harold and Maude Movie Poster

When old age eventually hits me, I hope I’m as cool as Maude.  A classic counter-culture film of the 60’s/70’s, “Harold & Maude” is about a young boy who’s obsessed with death.  He falls in love with an old woman he meets at a strangers funeral.  Sounds ridiculous right?  Wrong.  Nearing the end of her life, Maude is one of the most vibrant human beings you could ever hope to meet, and gives our main character a reason to live again.  She makes sure every day is an adventure, and isn’t afraid to steal a police officers motorcycle if it’ll make the day more interesting.  One of the most genuine characters in movie history.

3. Clarice Starling – “The Silence of the Lambs” – 1991

The Silence of the Lambs Movie Poster

Clarice Starling is the best “Deer in Headlights” characters ever, mainly because she survives no matter what.  The movie opens with Clarice struggling to complete a tough FBI training course, and from the beginning we see her determination.  Hannibal Lecter is an iconic movie character, but his intelligence is no match for the sheer will Clarice has to find a serial killer that tortures and skins young women.  Nobody other than Jodie Foster could have played this character.  Instead of seeing evil people like Lecter or our serial killer Buffalo Bill as enemies, she sees them as puzzles to solve.  Unwavering, determined, Clarice has no quit in her.

2. Marge Gunderson – “Fargo” – 1996

Fargo Movie Poster Frances McDormand

Nothing is better than Bacon, eggs, 4 flapjacks, and a cup of coffee in the morning.  The warm embrace of your husband as you walk out the door for work.  That’s how Officer Marge Gunderson starts off each day.  She’s six months pregnant, plagued with foolish co-workers, and about to solve a crime that everyone is blind to see.  Nobody epitomizes the everyday “woman” better than Frances McDormand does in the role that won her an Oscar.  She can examine a crime scene with a cup-o-joe in her hand and a smile on her face.  You’ll never see Marge coming, that’s how good she is.

1. Ellen Ripley – “Alien” – 1979

Aliens Ellen Ripley Sigourney Weaver

Was there even a question?  When the original “Alien” movie came out, nobody knew who was going to survive.  Lt. Ellen Ripley was the last person you’d have guessed.  Since the first encounter, Ripley went to war against these Aliens with acid for blood.  She was a survivor in the first film, the leader of an army in the second film, and the destruction of the species in the third.  What makes Ripley #1 on my list is the fact that her drive to keep going defeats even the most ruthless of creatures.  “GET AWAY FROM HER YOU BITCH!”  All time great line.

Written by Byrd

Who’s your favorite BADASS! woman in film history?  Let us know in the comment section 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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Ranking All 9 Christopher Nolan Movies

Chris Nolan Behind the Camera

Christopher Nolan: Ranking all 9 of his Films

Award winning director Christopher Nolan is one of the most popular filmmakers working today.  From small indies to big budget blockbusters, Nolan continues to stretch the limits of moviemaking.  His new film, the highly anticipated war drama “Dunkirk”, hits theaters nationwide this Friday.  Here’s a look back at all 9 of his feature length films, and where they rank on my Suck Factor!

9.  “Interstellar” 2014

Interstellar Movie Poster

Definitely Nolan’s weakest movie.  Basically a poor man’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”.  Absolutely nothing happens in the first hour, then Michael Caine shows up and explains the entire plot in five minutes.  But he’s British so it sounds intelligent.  Then the movie lingers in space, floating from various different plot points that never really go anywhere.  The ending is a really unique idea, having time itself as a palpable object.  But instead of allowing the audience to experience and interpret this on their own he has Matthew McCounaghy narrate and explain the whole thing.  It’s like Nolan is afraid to just be profound because he thinks his audience is too stupid to understand.  If Christopher Nolan’s name was not attached to this movie I guarantee it would not be considered a classic in the eyes of many people.  It’s nothing more than a knock off version of a thinking man’s movie.

Suck Factor: 5 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

8. “The Dark Knight Rises” 2012

The Dark Knight Rises Movie Poster Bane

Nolan totally went off the rails when he ended his beloved Batman trilogy.  This movie is simply trying too hard, sacrificing a cohesive story with over the top action scenes.  The climactic showdown with all of Gotham police battling Bane’s henchmen in the streets is filmed like a 17th century battle scene from “Braveheart”, making it completely laughable.  And don’t even get me started on the bomb that blows up the football stadium behind the player running to the end zone, ’cause that shit was ridiculous!  There are plot holes everywhere, like when Batman recovers from a broken back in a matter of weeks because he has “a strong will”.  And when you really think about it, Bane’s plot to take over Gotham makes no sense.  The opening scene is a good indicator as you can almost hear Nolan whispering to himself “please be better than the last movie, oh pretty please be better”.  You almost made a great trilogy Chris, you were just short by one bad movie.

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

7. “Following” 1998

Following Criterion Collection Cover

Shot in stark black-and-white with a budget of just $6,000, Nolan’s feature film debut is a tense cat-and-mouse type thriller where the audience is never really sure who’s conning who.  Scenes are not shown chronologically, think “Pulp Fiction”-esque, giving us a twisty narrative that is fresh from start to finish.  Recently restored on Blu-Ray by the esteemed Criterion Collection, “Following” is a brisk (only 67 minutes long) noir thriller well worth a watch.  A solid directorial debut.

Suck Factor: 3 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

6. “Batman Begins” 2005

Batman Begins Movie Poster

“Batman Begins” was a comic book film the likes of which we had never seen before.  Nolan takes the character 100% seriously, showing us how Bruce Wayne became Batman.  It’s dark, brooding, and completely faithful to the source material.  Christian Bale is an excellent Bruce Wayne/Batman, even if his deep “Batman Voice” is a bit ridiculous.  Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Gary Oldman are just some of the phenomenal supporting actors Nolan brings in to keep the film from being just another super hero romp.  This film really launched Nolan into that exclusive class of top directors in all of Hollywood.

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

5. “The Prestige” 2006

The Prestige Movie Poster

For his follow up to the hit “Batman Begins”, Nolan brings us back to England at the turn of the 19th century.  Two magicians (Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, both excellent) square off in a long-standing competition to constantly out do the other.  Nolan creates literal magic with this film, constructing an excellent thriller that engages its audience.  The script is top notch, at one point even involving the legendary inventor Tesla (a well cast David Bowie) in this tricky game of life and death.  The ending is the right kind of twist, changing the way you see the rest of the movie while still making total sense.  While it never quiet crosses over the line to greatness, “The Prestige” is a complex story that gets better with repeated viewings.

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

4. “Inception” 2010

Inception Movie Poster

People were blown away when this mind-bending sci-fi flick hit theaters in 2010, myself included.  It was the hot movie that everyone had to see, and everyone had their own opinion on that ending.  After repeated viewings, “Inception” is not as mind blowing as the initial shock of seeing it in theaters.  Beneath all the “dream world” technical speak, “Inception” is essentially just a heist movie.  However, that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the best heist movies ever made.  From entire cities folding in on each other, to rotating hallways, the action and effects are stunning to watch.  The cast is fantastic all around, led by megastar Leonardo DiCaprio.  What keeps “Inception” from being a perfect action movie is Nolan’s insistence on explaining everything that is happening on screen while it’s happening.  Another example of his need to dumb down the ideas in his films.  Still a must see for any action or sic-fi fan.

Suck Factor: 1 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

3.  “Insomnia” 2002

Insomnia Movie Poster

I’ve always wondered why this movie isn’t more popular.  After releasing his breakout hit “Memento”, Christopher Nolan was the new hot director in Hollywood.  A remake of the 1997 Norwegian film of the same name, “Insomnia” is a dark thriller set in the dreamlike landscape of Alaska.  Al Pacino is classic as a Los Angeles detective sent to a town where the sun never sets to investigate the brutal murder of a local teenager.  Robin Williams is diabolically great as the serial killer, a very different type of role for him.  What makes “Insomnia” so good is the relationship between Pacino and Williams.  It goes far beyond the simple story of a cop chasing a killer.  The cinematography is top notch, particularly during a chase scene set in a dense cloud of fog.  If you’re a fan of Christopher Nolan and haven’t seen this movie yet, do yourself a favor and buy it immediately!

Suck Factor: 1 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

2. “Memento” 2000

Memento Movie Poster

This movie made Nolan a star, and is probably the best written of all his films.  Guy Pearce plays Leonard, a desperate man searching for his wife’s killer.  Oh, and did I mention, he has a rare brain disorder where he cannot make new memories, so every 10 minutes or so his brain basically resets.  I should also mention that the film is told in reverse, and still somehow manages an ending (or beginning depending on how you look at it) that you will never see coming.  I won’t say any more about the plot, you just have to see it, and see it now!  “Memento” is so well done that it should be taught in film classes as an example of a perfectly made thriller.

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

1. “The Dark Knight” 2008

The Dark Knight Movie Poster

Every great director has at least one “crowning achievement” film, as I like to call them.  A movie that is the sum of everything brilliant about what the filmmaker brings to the table.  “The Dark Knight” is the perfect Christopher Nolan movie.  The action is terrific, the story is spot on, and most importantly we are blessed with Heath Ledger playing The Joker, one of the greatest villain portrayals in history.  This movie is simply iconic.  Whenever you ask someone what their favorite part of “The Dark Knight” was, they don’t cite some action scene, they say The Joker.  That is what makes it so great, it’s character first and action second.  Arguably one of the greatest comic book films ever made, “The Dark Knight” is without question Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece.  A great example of combining intelligence with entertainment.

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.  

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“Planet of the Apes” – Ranking All 8 “Apes” Adventures

With “War for the Planet of the Apes” hitting theaters this Friday, I’m taking a look back at all 8 “Apes” films in the almost 50 year history of the franchise.  Ranked from worst to best, I’ll tell you which “Planet of the Apes” movies are worth a watch, and which ones really SUCK!

8. “Planet of the Apes” (2001)

Tim Burton, what the hell happened?  You’re so much better than this movie.  2001’s “Planet of the Apes” is a train wreck, complete with one of the dumbest twist endings of all time.  Mark Wahlberg is not a great actor, but can be good when his “talents” are directed the right way.  In this movie, Wahlberg looks lost and confused, similar to how the audience felt watching this crap.  With a huge budget, Tim Burton was given free reign to usher in the franchise for a new generation.  He failed miserably, making one of the worst summer blockbusters of all time.  This was the beginning of the “Apes” series taking itself way too seriously.

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

7.  “Battle for the Planet of the Apes” (1973)

The tail end of the original “Apes” franchise, this movie is a mess top to bottom.  By the time “Battle for the Planet of the Apes” was released, American audiences were tired of the concept.  One can understand why the franchise went dormant for over 20 years after this picture.  At least Roddy McDowell was still getting a paycheck playing the Ape Caeser.

Suck Factor: 6 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

6. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011)

I was certain this movie would be a bomb.  Boy was I wrong.  “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” was the beginning of the modern day “Planet of the Apes” franchise that has become a summer movie juggernaut.  Yet if you really look back on it, this movie is incredibly silly.  Yes the effects are great.  Andy Serkis does some fantastic motion capture work as the main Ape Caeser.  But in the end, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” forgets how ridiculous the concept really is and never has fun with itself.  Tell me you didn’t start laughing when Caeser launches his “smart juice” gas to make the rest of the apes self-aware.  I mean seriously people!  Plus James Franco is the star, never a good sign.

Suck Factor: 6 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

5. “Beneath the Planet of the Apes” (1970)

Hollywood has always tried to suck the tit of their box office hits.  “Beneath the Planet of the Apes” is a classic example.  Charlton Heston refused to star in a sequel to a movie that needed no sequel, so they just replaced him.  People went because the first one was so good, and a powerhouse franchise was born.  Never mind that this movie is terrible, and a huge digression from the original classic.

Suck Factor: 6 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

4. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (2014)

It’s hard not to be amazed by the visuals of this movie.  The Apes look so close to real, and Caeser is a full-blooded lead character at this point.  But in the end, the first 20 minutes just being about CGI Apes talking to each other with hand signals is totally empty.  This is a silly concept to begin with, and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” treats it like a life or death drama.  Many critics have compared this film to the likes of Shakespeare or classic war films.  Seriously!?  It’s a movie about Apes taking over the world, people!  My heart goes out to all of the fallen CGI Ape soldiers who died while making this film…

Suck Factor: 4 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

3. “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes” (1972)

A flawed movie with half the budget of the previous “Apes” movies, “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes” has some very progressive thoughts behind it.  Our hero Caeser leads the revolt against humanity, having lost all sympathy for the human race.  This movie is a great allegory for the Civil Rights movement, and in a lot of ways ahead of it’s time conceptually.  Too bad the production values are so weak.

Suck Factor: 3 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

2. “Escape From The Planet of the Apes” (1971)

The third entry in the franchise, “Escape From the Planet of the Apes” was the first attempt to bring the world of Apes into the modern day.  It’s a breath of fresh air as it has so little in common with the first two “Apes” films.  It put two ape characters from the original film front and center, and is a great twist on the original idea.  This is the movie most directly responsible for making “Planet of the Apes” the franchise it is today.

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

1.  Planet Of The Apes” (1968)

The original.  The Best.  One of the greatest sci-fi movies ever made.  Way before the invention of the internet, “Planet of the Apes” was the original hot movie everyone had to see.  That ending, right!?  What makes the twist so great is that it makes complete sense in the world of the movie.  Charlton Heston goes full Charlton Heston with extra bravado, particularly when he bellows the words “Get your stinking paws off of me you damn dirty apes!”.  One of those rare movies to reach the status of iconic.  No “Apes” film since has even come close to touching this masterpiece.

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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