Saturday, February 27, 2010

FILM: My Favorite Trilogies

If you're ever snowed-in or even bed-ridden from an illness, I recommend popping in one of these trilogies to hold you over for a few hours.

Back to the Future (1985-90)
Story Arc: Ok so first he goes back in time to the 50s and almost breaks up his mom and dad before they even make him. Then he goes to the future and future-Biff steals the time machine and changes the past, forcing Marty to go back to the past to undo what he did. And then he goes way back in the past to the 1800s to save Doc from being murdered.
Why watch: You can marvel at how completely inaccurate the second film is when he visits 2015. That's five years from now. Well, I guess at the rate that Steve Jobs is going we could have hoverboards by then.

Beverly Hills Cop (1984-94)
Story Arc: We're introduced to Detroit Detective Axel Foley as he rolls into LA to investigate a murder, while pissing off resident cops Taggert and Rosewood. Then he's invited back to investigate their Chief's assassination attempt. And then he investigates a car theft ring and the attempted murder of his boss, which all leads to a death-defying…amusement park scene--I don't know why.
Why watch: It was Eddie Murphy in his prime, playing a smart ass, rebel cop.

John Hughes teen comedy trifecta:
Sixteen Candles / Breakfast ClubPretty in Pink (1984-86)
Story Arc: First Molly Ringwald falls for the hottest guy in school, then she becomes the hottest girl in school who falls for the baddest guy in school, and then she becomes too cool for school and falls in love with a rich guy. 
Why watch: Even though it's not a real trilogy, with recurring characters, you can pretend it's the evolution of the teenage girl--always faced with the choice of falling for the right guy or the popular guy. 

Ocean's Eleven (2001-07)
Story Arc: First, the boys rob a casino to get back at an old rival. Then they pull off three heists in Europe, creating a new rival. And then they help their formal rival one-up his rival and manage to screw three rivals at once. 
Why watch: Because all of their cons are impressive and it's fun to watch the guys goof around.

Rush Hour (1998-2007)
Story Arc: An American cop is forced to babysit a Chinese cop to keep him away from a high-profile kidnapping case. They eventually decide to work together, and ultimately become best friends. Then the American cop goes to China for a vacation, but it's immediately interrupted by a counterfeiting case. Then they both go to Paris to protect a woman who knows the identities of the Triad leaders.
Why watch: The slapstick, the martial arts, and the one-liners.

Scream (1996-2000)
Story Arc: A girl is being stalked by a masked murderer...for about most of her adult life, and each masked murderer wants to kill her for a different and increasingly inane reason.
Why watch: I know that it's supposed to be a horror movie, but there are way to many funny scenes for it to qualify as such. If you want to make it interesting, do a shot every time someone gets startled, gets killed, or screams. You'll be drunk half-way through the second film, which'll make the third one seem like a masterpiece.

Blade (1998-2004)
Story Arc: We're introduced to the half-human half-vampire and his quest to save the human race. Then he must team up with enemy vampires to fight off Reapers, who hunt and feed on vampires. Then he teams up with two humans to prevent the rise of Dracula. 
Why watch: While it's true that each film gets cheasier and cheasier, and Blade becomes more of a caricature than a badass, the fight scenes are always cool. 

The Bourne Identity (2002-07)
Story Arc: First we're introduced to the amnesiac with impeccable defense skills, who doesn't understand why people are trying to kill him. Then he gets framed for a CIA murder and has to become an assassin again to clear his name. Then by the end, he decides to finally investigate who he used to be and why they want him dead.
Why watch: Because it's like an ordinary guy who discovers one day that he's totally badass.

Jurassic Park (1993-2001)
Story Arc: We are given a tour of the beautiful Disney-like island where people will get to experience the Jurassic period of our world's history. Ooooh, amazing!...until we remember the giant, vicious carnivores who were the kings of that period. Following sequels involve opportunistic people who try to profit off the island, always forgetting how dinosaurs are rarely friendly.
Why watch: The suspense is bone-chilling.

The Lord of the Rings (2001-03)
Story Arc: I have to be honest with you. I kind of doze off every now and then, but from what I gathered: Frodo has to bring a demonic ring somewhere, Sam is the only one who can keep him on track, and everyone else is trying to fight off an invasion.
Why watch: Beautiful scenery, amazing battle scenes, heart-wrenching drama, and an epic tale that's made its mark on film history.

Mission: Impossible (1996-2006)
Story Arc: In the first film, an American agent has to find the mole in his organization to clear his name. Then he's sent to stop the distribution of a plague known as Chimera. And then he retires and resorts to training newbies. But he's eventually forced to un-retire when one of them gets kidnapped by an arms dealer with a dastardly plan.
Why watch: There are a lot of explosions--yeah, that's it.

The Mummy (1999-2008)
Story Arc: A librarian and her thieving brother solicit the help of a deserted soldier to search for an ancient, haunted city, unwittingly awakening an evil mummy. Then after they get married and have a kid, the mummy is shipped to London and tries to bring back his one-true love by putting her spirit inside the librarian. Then things get wonky when their full-grown kid faces his first mummy of Asian decent. 
Why watch: Quirky hijinks, fantastical legends, and gallant heroics.

Pirates of the Caribbean (2003-2007)
Story Arc: A lowly pirate falls in love with the governor's daughter. They bravely tackle every obstacle before them, especially the ones created by their kooky and untrustworthy pal Jack Sparrow.
Why watch: For the sword fights, aquatic battles, curses, double-crosses, and childish shenanigans.

Resident Evil (2002-07)
Story Arc: A bioengineered soldier is the sole survivor of an outbreak that turns everyone into agile zombies in an underground lab. She has to figure out how to get free before she gets infected. In the sequel, the company sends a team to wipe out the remaining infected in the city that the virus spread in. And in the last film, survivors of the over-run country try to migrate to Alaska for the last remnants of civilization, while trying to dodge the company who is hunting down the bioengineered soldier who has evolved substantially.
Why watch: Because Milla Jovovich is ten times cooler than Lara Croft.

Spider-Man (2002-07)
Story Arc: The hero develops superpowers and learns the ropes. Then he learns the real purpose of life and the power of acceptance while he battles Dr. Octavius. And then he faces his doppleganger Venom. Oh and somewhere in there he battles two Green Goblins.
Why watch: The web-work, the every-man storyline, the effects in general--all amazing.

Star Wars IV-VI (1977-83)
Story Arc: Luke Skywalker, a poor farm boy, trains to be a Jedi and becomes the defender of the Force and the universe against the nefarious Darth Vader, with the help of fellow warriors Yoda, Obi-Wan, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca.
Why watch: It's an epic coming-of-age tale with amazing action and twists that you'll never see coming...if you were born in this decade.

Underworld (2003-09)
Story Arc: The vampires and the werewolves are at war, each attempting to assert themselves as the dominant race. In the process, they accidentally create a superior being with human, vampire, and lycan genome. With the help of a female vampire he manages to survive the war. Then they both team up to unlock the secrets of their bloodlines to prevent an even more heinous war now that the immortals have awoken, falling in love along the way. And then we're brought back in time to learn about the original feud that started it all.
Why watch: Awesome fight scenes and a surprising amount of cross-breed romances.

X-Men (2000-06)
Story Arc: We're introduced to a race of superhumans with incredible gifts who face discrimination from everyone, including their families. Despite their isolation, they refuse to turn against the human race, and fight diligently against the all-powerful Magneto, who is hellbent on genocide. Then the mutants are asked to help catch the president's would-be assassin. And then a cure is found and the mutants must decide whether or not their gifts are truly apart of who they are.
Why watch: Who doesn't want to be a superhero when they're a teenager?


The Godfather (1972-1990)
Story Arc: It's the story of a man's desire to preserve his legacy, and maintain and pass on the family business.
Why watch: Francis Ford Coppola is the Betsy Ross of filmmaking, weaving together the tapestry of American history.

Infernal Affairs (2002-03)
Story Arc: An undercover cop infiltrates the triads and a triad member infiltrates the police department. Both spend the series trying to smoke the other out.
Why watch: It's the original tale of The Departed, except a little more intricate--and not in English.

The Addams Family (1991-98)
Story Arc: First some idiot tries to bamboozle the creepy gothic family, using a long-lost family member.  Then they go save the real uncle from his gold-digging, homicidal wife. And then they go on a search for their other relatives for a family reunion.
Why watch: Because, it's like the song says, "They're creepy and they're kooky / mysterious and spooky / They're altogether ooky (?) / The Addams Family." It's basically unapologetically malicious behavior that you can laugh at.

The Best of Jim Varney's Iconic Character
Ernest Goes to Camp / Ernest Goes to Jail / Ernest Scared Stupid (1987-91)
Story Arc: First he tries to befriend children at a camp, then a mob boss switches places with him to avoid the electric chair, and then he unleashes an evil troll on Halloween.
Why watch: Ernest is what you would call socially challenged. He's goofy, clumsy, and dopey. He's like Jerry Lewis, but without the self-respect.

High School Musical (2006-08)
Story Arc: The most popular jock in school falls in love with the most attractive theater geek in the history of teen comedies, and then "sacrifices" his popularity to sing with her in the school play. Then during the summer, he gets all confused about what he wants for his future: musicals or basketball. Then he runs that problem into the ground when he has to start applying for colleges.
Why watch: There's an attractive cast, great music, great dance numbers, and a few funny moments.

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989-97)
Story Arc: First a scientist shrinks his kids, then he turns his baby into a giant, and then he shrinks himself, his wife, and his friends.
Why watch: Because there's a surprising amount of trouble that a person can get into when they're only an inch high.

Look Who's Talking (1989-93)
Story Arc: We follow a "talking" baby as he searches for the perfect dad, then he gets a little sister and they squabble about their parents' arguments, and then they get two dogs who can "talk" too. In the middle of it all, the only people who can't seem to communicate are the adults.
Why watch: Babies are talking, and kids say the darndest things.

The Mighty Ducks (1992-96)
Story Arc: A team of teenage hockey players go up against the meanest and toughest in the sport.
Why watch: The camaraderie is very uplifting and the pratfalls are fun to watch. By the end you'll be chanting, "Ducks! Ducks! Ducks!"

Problem Child (1990-95)
Story Arc: An adopted kid torments his new parents. The father ends up ditching his wife and keeping the kid, so the kid has to make sure he doesn't get stuck with an evil stepmom and/or sister. And then he gets old enough to get bit by the lovebug too.
Why watch: He's quite the rambunctious little tyke. He's like Kevin in Home Alone, except the world is his torture chamber.

Shrek (2001-07)
Story Arc: A green ogre falls in love with another ogre, who happens to just be a cursed human. When she decides to stay an ogre, they are faced with the task of getting approval from her parents and figuring out how to rule the mostly-human kingdom.
Why watch: The sight gags, the donkey, Puss in Boots, the ass-kicking princess, and the twist on fairytales you grew up with.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990-93)
Story Arc: A talking, samurai rat teaches humanoid turtles jujitsu so that they can fend off their ultimate enemy Shredder, in order to stop him from using toxic waste to transform creatures into his mutant army. And then they go back in time to ancient Japan to learn how to be better samurais, and end up in the middle of a village uprising.
Why watch: Awesome fighting with a side of slapstick. It's like Jackie Chan in a turtle suit. Plus, there's a Vanilla Ice dance number. Come on?!!

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