A Personal Journey with The Gunslinger45 through the Movies: A Top 50+

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Evil Dead II: 1987 (R) -1
USA / Rosebud Releasing
98% (CF)

The man… the legend… The chin. My friends this is the perfect blend of two awesome genres; horror and comedy! With all the blood and practical effects of a slasher flick with all the slapstick of The Three Stooges; and when you add in the charisma and sheer awesomeness of Bruce Campbell and some one-liners; you get a pretty spectacular movie. If the premise of a man reading from an ancient tome that resurrects undead beings called the Deadites in a cabin in the woods, and he has to fight them off with a chainsaw and a boom-stick does not appeal to you, you can pass on this one. It is just as it sounds, and I absolutely love it!

This is another movie that was discovered on the shelves of Blockbuster Video. Though it was not through this movie, I was first introduced to this series via Army of Darkness. Fell in love with the premise and character, and eventually saw the other two movies. But my clear favorite is this installment. A reimaging of the first Evil Dead rather than a true sequel, this is a fan favorite for any true fan boy.
this is pretty much exactly my experience of this movie as well. saw Army of Darkness first, thought it was a cool premise, and then LOVED Evil Dead II on first impact... you rented yours from Blockbuster Video, i rented mine from my school's library

loved all the gags, & my favorite 'inside joke' about this movie is that Ash is foolishly taking a trip to a cabin in the woods for a second time.. summons demons into our world through a supernatural book for the second time. sure, maybe his girlfriend gets possessed, he loses a hand, and gets sucked into a time-warp that sends him to medieval times ~ yet the way it is conveyed makes me want to foolishly return & do the adventure again too!

demon-book, laughing deer, chain saw - sawed-off shotgun combo, CHIN!

Obviously I approve of Evil Dead II, but my experience with the trilogy was a little different. Iwatched Army of Darkness first, loved it and continued to love it most after seeing the other two. Evil Dead II is my second favorite of the three.

Most everyone loves Raiders! Hope you like Dogma!
Not me! I find it, for the most part, dull and uninteresting. That's not to say I can't watch it, I can, but I'd rather not.

The man… the legend… The chin. My friends this is the perfect blend of two awesome genres; horror and comedy! With all the blood and practical effects of a slasher flick with all the slapstick of The Three Stooges
And right there is the problem for me.

and when you add in the charisma and sheer awesomeness of Bruce Campbell
That'd be nice. Shame he has none.

Despite that, I'm loving this list. Personal is almost always more interesting, IMO, so even when I'm not interested in the film, I can still often enjoy the story, as it has nothing to do with the film. That said, I skipped most of the Disney stuff. There are limits.

Looking forward to the rest.
5-time MoFo Award winner.

That'd be nice. Shame he has none.
You are so, so very wrong about that. Bruce has charisma in spades and not just in his movies.
And he is pure awesome.

Let the night air cool you off
I love Bruce Campbell.....in Army of Darkness. The first two Evil Dead movies are dookie though. You are a good MoFo though, so I will let this one slide, Gunslinger.


Serenity: 2005 (PG-13) NEW
USA / Universal Pictures
82% (CF)

Not only is this one of my favorite movies, but it is a continuation of my all time favorite TV show. A TV show that strikes a perfect balance between the genres of science fiction and the western, but also manages to bring in plenty of funny moments as well. Which is to be expected considering this is a Joss Whedon production who is the master at inserting quick comedic beats into his works (whedonisms).

Now as the unashamed fanboy that I am, I surprisingly do not get the same fangasm from Joss Whedon in the same way I get one from say Scorsese, Lynch, or Kurosawa. I was never a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the spin off Angel. I had seen a few of the episodes for both shows, and never cared to check out the series in its entirety. In fact I only checked out this series on the recommendation of online critic, internet personality, and fellow Florida State alum, Eric Rodriguez aka The Blockbuster Buster. E-Rod is from one of my favorite websites That Guy with the Glasses.com, and one of his reviews was an April Fools episode for the movie Serenity. At the end of the review he highly recommended the movie, but only after watching the TV show. On his recommendation I watched the show first, and I loved every second of it! It would go on to become my favorite TV show of all time, and I could not wait to see the movie. Needless to say, the film blew me away! Not only was this a great sci-fi flick it brought closure to the TV show’s story lines. In addition after I saw this movie in late 2011, a lot of the anxiety I had about Joss directing The Avengers movie was alleviated.

But on its own it is still a great film. It is blessed with an excellent cast, an awesome story, and with the budget greatly increased over the TV show, allows for some fantastic imagery and effects. And it is just a whole lot of fun to watch, and a film I will rewatch many more times to come. After I rewatch the series of course.


Vertigo: 1958 (PG) -19
USA / Paramount (original) now Universal
98% (CF)

It’s kind of hard to proclaim yourself to be a true cinephile and not have seen at least one of Hitchcock’s movies. If Hitchcock is not your thing, we can agree on differences, but you have to at least give the man a try. And my personal favorite film from Hitchcock is Vertigo.

A while back before I joined this fine website, I resolved to watch every movie that is on the current AFI Top 100 Movies list. I had seen about half of the films when I started this quest, and after I was done quite a few of these movies wound up becoming some of my all time favorite films. Vertigo was one of them. I first saw this movie during a month long detail, where I worked 12 hours on, and had 12 hours off with only one day off during the week. Needless to say, the detail stunk. On one day off I decided to watch this movie I had rented via iTunes on my computer. By the end of the film my eyes were glued to the screen and my jaw was on the floor. Excellent cinematography, fantastic twists, and the film oozed fear and suspense. In my opinion it is the perfect psychological thriller. Very glad I saw it.


The Road Warrior (AKA Mad Max 2): 1981 (R) -19
Australia / Warner Brothers

This ladies and gentlemen was a film I first saw in my early years of college. And at one point in time it was also my favorite movie. But times change and while still a much loved film, the stock has taken a hit. Sadly part of that was slightly due in part to certain Mel Gibson scandals.

But as a film itself this film boasts an absolutely brilliant production design and concept. From the look of Max’s Ford Falcon (one of the best movie vehicles ever), the desert scenery, to the costumes for Humongous and his band of raiders, this movie set the standard for post apocalyptic fiction. The film would go on to influence everything from Fist of the North Star, Fallout, to countless Italian rip-offs. And as a rookie college prepper, my fascination with post apocalyptic fiction was due in large part to the Mad Max world. And this movie is action galore with vehicular carnage! And all the stunts are done with practical effects and no unnecessary CGI. Which is always a good thing.

Throw in plenty of unique characters like the Gyro Captain, the Feral Kid, and Humongous himself and you got a pretty memorable movie! Fun times for all!

The Road Warrior (AKA Mad Max 2): 1981 (R) -19
Australia / Warner Brothers

And at one point in time it was also my favorite movie. But times change and while still a much loved film, the stock has taken a hit. Sadly part of that was slightly due in part to certain Mel Gibson scandals.
Oh, not you, too!

I hate the hatred towards Mel Gibson.

I love this movie after having recently rewatched it on Blu-ray. It's the best Mad Max movie and I think it's a fantastic, powerful film in general.

It is not a hatred, more of a realization that the Hollywood image is just that, an image, and they too have very glaring flaws. All be it better hidden. I got over that stuff years ago. But by the time that happened the damage had been done. I still watch his movies a lot.

But yeah The Road Warrior is still an awesome movie.

It is not a hatred, more of a realization that the Hollywood image is just that, an image, and they too have very glaring flaws. All be it better hidden. I got over that stuff years ago. But by the time that happened the damage had been done. I still watch his movies a lot.
That girlfriend of his -- who recorded him -- was a bitch. I have no sympathy for her.

Honorable Mentions #2: Fun Times with VHS! Adventures in home entertainment!

Time for more honorable mentions folks! As I said during the Disney retrospective I spent the first 5 years of my life living in Asia. As such, all we had for video entertainment was a bunch of VHS tapes sent by my grandparents. Now a big chunk of that was Disney, but we had plenty of other videos we watched during this time. These are a few of my most favorite movies I watched as a kid from the period that ranged from my time in Seoul, to when we moved to Illinois and Maryland. Prepared fro a great diversity of films here folks...

Superman: 1978 (PG)
USA / Warner Brothers
93% (CF)

Here is a real doozy of a childhood favorite. SUPERMAN! Loved comic book characters as a kid (like that has changed any), but this was my first introduction to the character in live action. I did endless laps around the couch screaming with a blanket for a cape to the soundtrack on the folk’s stereo system. Christopher Reeves to this day is Superman for me the same way that Kevin Conroy is Batman. It goes without saying why this movie shows up as an honorable mention. It was my first comic book movie! And in my opinion still the best movie version of the character.

Back to the Future: 1985 (PG)
USA / Universal
96% (CF)

Another of the film series I watched when I was a kid via a VHS box set sent to us by Grandma and Grandpa; it is kind of hard to talk about fun movies without mentioning this series. The quintessential time travel movie. Classic characters Doctor Emmitt Brown and Marty McFly travel back to 1955 in the coolest movie vehicle EVER and nearly undue Marty’s existence by nearly having Marty’s mom… fall in love with him. Yeah this was back when there was a lot more cursing and adult content in PG films. And between this and Star Wars potential incest was a surprising theme in my early movie days. God bless the 80’s!
Sure these kinds of movies are filled with plot holes, but you are here for the story and the ride, not scientific facts. Fantastic effects, fun characters, and one of the biggest movie douche bags getting what he gets coming to him. Also, back when it was an attraction, Back to the Future: The Ride was probably the greatest thing at Universal Studios in Orlando.

Ghostbusters: 1984 (PG)
USA / Columbia
96% (CF)

I was introduced to this film at a very young age. Looking back I was probably too young for some of the subject matter. This was when you could get away with a lot more stuff in a PG movie. But just like a lot of movies some of the more adult themes went over my head and I was focused on what made this movie awesome. Bill Murray, Dan Aykryod, Harold Ramis (RIP), and Ernie Hudson running around New York City catching a bunch of monsters and ghosts! What more can a kid ask for? Not to mention it has one of THE best opening themes EVER MADE!

Who Framed Roger Rabbit: 1988 (PG)
USA / Touchstone Pictures
98% (CF)

This movie deserves special credit as actually one of my early childhood favorites. However having seen it since I was a kid, and even just going on what I remember this was a movie that dealt with more than a few topics not suitable for my 5 year old self. And I am surprised so many of the jokes went over my head. Then again I was five. Had no clue the baby was THAT much of a perv. But then again I was all about the cartoons anyway. I mean come on, Disney and Warner Brothers cartoons in one movie? I loved it! Especially the dueling piano bit between Daffy and Donald.
Now that I think about it, arguably this was my first noir film, or at the least my first neo noir. You have the PI, a femme fatale, crooked villains, and a seedy (or as seedy as they could show for PG) side of Hollywood. And the blend of animation and cartoons was excellent! Plus Bob Hoskins is in it as well as Christopher Llyod. Also I know I was only 5 at the time, but between Jessica Rabbit and Princess Leia in that slave outfit in Jedi, I knew from a very young age what felt right. Though I had no idea exactly why… I just knew.

The Great Muppet Caper: 1981 (G)
USA / Universal

Okay who the hell did not love the Muppets as kids? I mean seriously, you show me someone who hated the Muppets and I will show you someone with an unhappy childhood! And of all the Muppet movies I watched as a kid this one was my favorite growing up. I have not seen this movie since I was a kid, but I can still remember the heist aspect and a number of the musical numbers. Like Hey a Movie and The First Time it Happens. Also the water ballet with Miss Piggy. One part musical, one part crime drama, set in England, but pure Muppet entertainment.

The Land Before Time: 1988 (G)
USA / Universal

In addition to Disney, I was exposed as a kid to a heavy amount of movies from former Disney animator Don Bluth. I watched everything from All Dogs Go to Heaven, An American Tail, and ultimately what was probably my favorite of his films, The Land Before Time. I loved dinosaurs when I was a kid, so an animated feature with talking dinosaurs, and all of whom seemed to be around my age really connected with me as a kid. I put heavy emphasis on the AS A KID part. Not going to lie, any time I have tried to revisit something Don Bluth related the movies REALLY do not hold up as well as I remembered. Disney seems to fare better in that regard. So yeah this is one of those movies I mention in regards to my growth as a cinephile, but have no chance in hell of making my top 200 let alone my top 50. Sorry Miss Vicky.

King Kong vs Godzilla: 1962 (NR)
Japan / Toho + RKO

One of the things I took away from living in Asia was a love of old kaiju movies, and Godzilla was the king of them all! Long before I came to love Kurosawa, to me, Toho meant GODZILLA! I must have seen at least a dozen or so Godzilla flicks multiple times when I was little. And the one that not only do I still have very clear memories of, but was still pretty awesome in a very campy sort of way was when Godzilla fought King Kong. I mean come on, two of the most recognizable giant monsters fighting each other in a movie? My 5 year old brain nearly exploded from the awesome! I love crossovers like this!
Sure looking back now those movies were silly, but they are childhood classics to me. I didn’t care it was a bunch of people in rubber suits, they still were better than that crappy Roland Emmirech movie! I remember how they would get King Kong to go to sleep by getting him drunk and having the natives sing him a song. Either way even though Godzilla lost this fight, it is still a very memorable film for me even to this day. Nothing says fun like giant monsters beating the crap out of each other!


Night of the Living Dead: 1968 (NR) -4
USA / Public Domain
96% (CF)

Speaking of being a college prepper, let talk about the other kind of fiction I like in that regard, the zombie movies! Of all the ways for the world to end, the zombie apocalypse is one of the most popular and looked forwards to way to go. Socioeconomic collapse, war, and totalitarian governments with itchy trigger fingers and nukes are far more likely, but the zombies are just seen as more fun! And the best kinds of post apocalyptic fiction are the kinds that allow you to insert yourself into the world presented. And one of the best films in that regard is Night of the Living Dead. The film presents a very boots on the ground feel to the movie. You see the characters building fortifications, gathering weapons, inventorying supplies and weighing their options for escape and survival.

Now there is also subtext dealing with racism, and how the movie is a metaphor for the revolution that never happened in the 60’s, old worlds being swallowed up by the new, and things of that nature. And while it does make for a richer picture, I admit I watch these movies over and over again for the reasons I have state, and less to do with the intended message Romero made. It is a scary zombie movie that I will be watching many more times in the future.

The best part of the movie: The girl slaps the guy.

He bitchslaps her and makes her fall unconscious.

Preserving the sanctity of cinema. Subtitles preferred, mainstream dismissed, and always in search of yet another film you have never heard of. I speak fluent French New Wave.