Lafe's All-Time Favorite Movies

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I've seen the original three films dozens of times, and have lost count. I remember seeing the first Star Wars movie when I was 9 years old. My sister and I wanted to go see a movie about a silly dog named Benji, but our stepfather wanted to see a movie called Star Wars instead. It was at a drive-in. It's a good thing we saw it, because I thought it was the best movie ever!

I remember seeing the trailers for The Empire Strikes Back after Star Wars: A New Hope and began guessing what all the scenes were about. I also read the Marvel comic adaptation of Empire before I actually saw it, so I knew what to expect.

My friends and I skipped afternoon gym class in grade 10 to line up for the first showing of Return of the Jedi. The line-up wasn't as long as we had thought, but still went around the block. This movie had its sad moments.  I got upset when Han suspected Luke and Leia were having an affair. It really choked me up when Luke removed Darth Vader's mask in his final moments of life. The saddest scene of all was Anakin's funeral pyre, with the music and the slow zoom-in to Darth Vader's mask burning. It was touching to see Ben, Anakin and Yoda's ghosts at the finale. A very emotional experience for me. What I didn't  like the Star Wars saga going out with a song and a dance -- and I'm sure George Lucas felt the same way when he was doing the Special Edtion.  I didn't care much for the overly-cute Ewoks, which were designed mostly for kids. Why couldn't it had been Wookies? The space battle scenes were tremendous, and made up for the silly scenes of the Ewoks beating on the Imperial Forces. No, Return of the Jedi isn't my favourite Star Wars movie.

On May 12th, I stood in line 8 hours for Phantom Menace Tickets. It was well worth the wait. I attended the first 12:01 screening; it was my destiny.  The excitement in the air was unbelievable. People went nuts at certain moments: when the logos came up at the beginning, when R2D2 saved the day, when Darth Maul was beaten, when Yoda, Jabba and C3P0 first appeared, and when Anakin and Obi-Wan first met.  As for the effects -- wow! The CGI computer effects were so well done.  The Pod Race and Battle-times-four was totally exhilharating.  My favorite character was Watto the Junk Dealer.  I saw it 10 times at the theatre. Since then, the excitement has faded. It's probably the worst Star Wars movie ever.

Attack of the Clones was the best Star Wars movie yet!
Again, I went on opening night with advance tickets. It had everything that I was looking for in a Star Wars movie. There were so many scenes that moved me. I've seen it four times at the theatre.

I'd rate the Star Wars movies in this order:
1. Attack of the Clones
2. A New Hope & The Empire Strikes Back (tied)
3. Return of the Jedi & The Phantom Menace (tied)
Revenge of the Sith --- we will have to see.

There are many Star Wars Home Pages on the Internet. If you're a fan like I am, you probably have found some of them.


Batman Forever

(1995, Warner Brothers)

In my opinion, the best Batman movie. It was a masterpiece in every regard. Joel Schumacher did a superb job of directing this blockbuster film. Val Kilmer was an excellent choice for the role of Batman. Chris O'Donnel made a perfect Robin. Nicole Kidman played a good heroine. Tommy Lee Jones was a twisted Two-Face. But, I'm sorry to say, Jim Carrey steals the show as the Riddler. I've seen Batman Forever over twenty times. A very slick production! The whole thing is like a rock video. Highly impressive.

You can download a MIDI file of the U2 song "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me". This song was only played during the end credits of the movie.


TRON

(1982, Disney)

The best videogame movie ever made! Jeff Bridges is Flynn, a videogame programmer who had his game stolen. He attempts to get it back, but in doing so, is pulled inside a computer world, where he must play video games for real. It's as almost exciting as Star Wars.

The visual effects of this movie are truly unique, with a mix of live-action, optical effects and computer-generated effects. The look of the movie is wonderful. It's a shame I never got to see this movie on a big screen.

The music by Wendy Carlos is wonderful. It hasn't been released on CD yet, unfortunately.
Luckily, MP3s and bootleg CDs exist of it.

There's a superb TRON Homepage that you've gotta check out.


Hawk the Slayer

(1980, ITC Films)

At the height of the Dungeons & Dragons craze of the late 70's and early 80's came such films as The Sword and the Sorcerer, Conan, Clash of the Titans, Dragonslayer and The Dungeonmaster, my favourite of the batch was Hawk the Slayer. Probably never released in theatres, this U.K. film was totally cool.

The special effects had much to be desired. Jack Palance was an excellent as Voltan the villain. John Terry was Hawk, the hero. There were plenty of bears to be seen in this film :> The British humour made this film stand out. The synthesized music was neato. I enjoy watching and re-watching this sword-and-sorcery tale. 
 tale.


The Neverending Story

(1984, Warner Brothers)

This movie is sure to become a timeless children's classic. The synthesized music by Giorgio Moroder is stunning. The look of this film is truly magical. It's beautiful to watch. The world of Bastian's storybook is almost alien. I'm glad I saw it on a big screen. I remember seeing trailers for this film years before it was released in theatres.

I pay no attention to the second and third movies, nor do I care to watch the animated 1995 TV series - all pale imitations.

You can download the MIDI version of the Neverending Story Theme Song.

There was a Neverending Story computer game made for the Commodore 64 by Ocean Software. It was an interactive text adventure game, where you typed in all of your commands. Wonderfully-drawn pictures accompanied the text. The plot of the game was taken from the first film.


TOYS

(1992, 20th Century Fox)

This movie came out close to Christmas. I actually fell asleep the first time I saw it, because I had a long day. The look of the movie design was artistically beautiful. The soundtrack was good too, with Enya, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Thomas Dolby and Grace Jones. The plot and humour of the movie were its weak points. I can watch this movie again and again without any ill effects. There's a TOYS cult out there, and I'm possibly one of its members.

There's a TOYS video game for Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis out, which did not get very good reviews. It's very hard to play. I couldn't take out any of the video cameras, and there are 18 of them to disable before moving on to the battle with the General. The graphics and sound is quite good. The character of Leslie looks very much like Robin Williams. All of the backgrounds and objects look like a scene right out of the movie. Too bad it's too hard. A Game Genie is probably the only way to get through this game.

This is one movie that Fox definitely needs to release on DVD (for me anyways) --
anamorphically enhanced and a 5:1 soundtrack would be awesome.


Ten Who Dared

(1960, Disney)

The mapping of the Grand Canyon by a group of ten frontier men. Most of them are hairy bears. It's a story of survival and group dynamics. I still wonder about those three men who got lost in the desert and never returned. This movie was based on historical fact, and the handwritten accounts of Major Powell. Obtaining this video isn't easy. I've seen a few copies on DVD. Will Disney ever release it on DVD???

 


Labyrinth

(1986, Tristar Pictures)

This movie rocks! Sure, it's for kids. It's one of those Jim Henson Muppet movies, but it's also got live actors. A girl must find her way through the Labyrinth to rescue her baby brother from the Goblin King (played by David Bowie). He's perfect in the role, with his punk hairstyle and sorcerer costume. He sings many of the songs too: Underground, Magic Dance, and As the World Falls Down. The synthesized incidental music is wonderful too. The soundtrack alone is worth having if you're into 80's music. The special effects and puppetry are pretty cool. It's an unforgettable fantasy adventure.

There was a great Labyrinth Nintendo game, but it's all in Japanese.


Flash Gordon

(1980, Universal)

This movie rules! Like TRON, I've kicked myself for not seeing it on a large screen. Once again, it's got a rockin' soundtrack -- this time by Queen. The plot and acting is cheesy, but it doesn't take itself too seriously. I think the guy who plays Flash won an award for being the worst actor. The action in this movie is very engaging. The sets, costumes and special effects have a cartoonish look to them.

There was a Flash Gordon Atari 2600 Video Game which used the artwork from the movie, but had gameplay nothing like the movie. It was instead a clone of a computer game called "Spider City". I'd recommend it because of how fun it is to play.


Lost in Space

Yes, I know that many people weren't fond of this movie. Yes, I know it's in all the bargain bins of the video stores. But I really like this movie. It gets downright confusing and boring when they get to the weird planet. But it's a movie about a family who become a lot closer when they're thrown into several life-threatening situations. I am definitely not a fan of the original TV series. I enjoyed it as a kid. But this movie upgrades that show and gives it a whole new life.  I wish they hadn't cut out the scenes with Penny's pet Blarp making her transformation into a big monster. I liked the wide-open ending; too bad there probably won't be a sequel, because it didn't rake in enough at the box office or video store -- and I've read many people's thoughts on how badly this movie stinks. But I'm a big fan of it -- I've seen it about a dozen times. It would be as watchable as Star Wars, but I don't find stories concerning Earth and Earthlings enough of an escape.


The Velvet Goldmine
This movie explores the glam-rock craze in 1970's England. The character of study is a pop-star named Brian Slade (Johnathon Rhys-Meyers). The plot concerns the search for Slade after he suddenly disappeared by a newspaper reporter named Arthur (Christian Bale).  Clues to Slade's whereabouts come from interviews with his ex-wife (Toni Collette), ex-manager (Michael Feast) and ex-boyfriend (Ewan McGregor as Curt Wild). Other weird characters, like Jack Fairy and new manager Eddie Izzard appear along the way. Yes, this movie is steeped in homoeroticism - that's what makes it so interesting.  The story sometimes gets confusing because it jumps back and forth in time. I found that this "Pulp Fiction" method of storytelling kept my interest. The costumes, music and performances are worth the price of admission alone. Each time I watch this movie, I'm seeing and hearing something new. Some of you might find the pop star's decline into madness a bit depressing, but the revelation at the end is redeeming and shocking.


Guilty Viewing Pleasures of Mine ---

Popeye, Evita, Cannibal The Musical, Hook, Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man, The Pirate Movie, Batman and Robin, Xanadu, The Wiz, Mary Poppins, Wild Wild West, Space Jam, The 10th Kingdom, Muriel's Wedding, The Brady Bunch Movie, Sweet Talker, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Star Crash, Jumanji, Young Guns, Desperate Living, Infra Man, Alice in Wonderland (1985), Horse Opera


MOVIE FAVORITES (new!)

Favorite James Bond Movie: Live and Let Die
Favorite James Bond Song: License to Kill
Favorite James Bond Actor: Roger Moore
Favorite Classic Movie Monster: The Wolfman
Favorite Modern Movie Monster: Jason Voorhees
Favorite Movie Soundtrack: The Neverending Story
Favorite Film Studio: 20th Century Fox
Favorite Movie Snack: Fresh Fluffy Crunchy Popcorn with Layers of Real Butter
Favorite Movie Memory: Standing in long lineups for each of the Star Wars films
Favorite Star Wars Episode: Attack of the Clones

This page was last updated on July 25, 2004