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

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Okay I am going to have to explain this one a bit. Do anyone else have one film they felt was made specifically for their own tastes? Well this is the film that I feel was made just for me. It is a post apocalyptic movie with an excellent setting and production design, has religious themes, a BIG twist at the end, and stars one of my all time favorite actors Denzel Washington. Plus it is also an action movie! Holy crap do I think this movie is awesome! And while it has taken the biggest drop on my list, it does not take away from how much I love it.
Now I know this movie will not show up on many other people’s Top 50’s or 100’s, but that suits me fine. This movie just appeals to a wide range of my tastes. And I admit a lot of people can be put off by the end twist, (which I go into much deeper review of in my last top 50) but thanks to the fact I saw this on iTunes, it did allow me to rewatch it again with my brother so I could watch it again with the ending in mind. And the twist is pretty well foreshadowed. Probably a bit too subtly foreshadowed, but better too subtle then too obvious. Either way, Denzel messing up wasteland raiders and bad guys with religious symbolism makes for a rocking good time for me!

Don't forget the fantastic music score throughout the film, one of the highlights of The Book of Eli for me:

I still have to see The Ten Commandments.
Overly long biblical epic, with Charlton Heston? Strangely, depending on my mood, I quite like it. I'd recommend it. So much better than the horribly dull, sorry GS, Ben-Hur, which can be described in the same way. For some reason, The Ten Commandments can work in a way Ben-Hur never gets close to.

That girlfriend of his -- who recorded him -- was a bitch. I have no sympathy for her.
You have no sympathy for the woman he abused? Nice. I'm not saying she should be deified or anything, but he's a horrid person who treated her terribly.

King Kong vs Godzilla: 1962 (NR)
Japan / Toho + RKO
Either way even though Godzilla lost this fight,
Hey! Spoiler alert!
I like your list of honorable mentions much more than I like your list of favorites.

I can't say I'm surprised in the slightest.

People's obsession with zombies have ruined zombie movies for me.
It started because of the affordability and quality of digital cameras. Once you go there, horror, and zombie films in particular, are very cheap and easy to make, which is one of the reasons there are so many of them and why you get so many sequels. After that, the success of any of those films feeds the machine and more and more are made. Shaun Of The Dead was a good example and showed a different way of doing it, but it's Blair Witch that really kicked the current trend off, simply because it was such a magnificent example of what I previously described. Forget about arguments of art, craft or quality. Horror, like porn and any other exploitation genre is about the money men and, unlike the top end, they're not looking to make $100m's, they're looking for a profit.

Come on! And you all want a zombie apocalypse? Do you all really want to go chasing around all kinds of people to eat them?
No, it's about playing out ID fantasies. Running round, shooting people and, possibly, it not only being 'allowed', 'getting away with it' or 'possible/legal', but 'a good thing' The nuances of each individual maybe far more complex, however, as a phenomenon, it's a pretty basic desire. Both in terms of complexity and human desire.

Fat people, old grannies, the handicapped, the severely ugly -- you'd be wanting to eat every last bit of their flesh? This is the world we live in? Where people want this?
This, however, is pure SC and I love it.

I agree with this, although there are plenty of good zombie flicks. Night of the Living Dead, for example, is pretty fantastic.
Really? Plenty? I'm certainly not a connoisseur, but, like good werewolf films, I'd be surprised if you can get into double figures. Personally, I get stuck at about 5 for either sub-genre.

That is why a nice, simple little death in a nuclear holocaust would be much more practical, sane and enjoyable than dying and undying in a zombie apocalypse.
Yeah, unless you're standing pretty close to the blast zone, "a nice, simple little death in a nuclear holocaust" isn't going to be as easy as you appear to think it is, either. Check out Threads.
5-time MoFo Award winner.

Oldboy 2: Youngman
Really? Plenty? I'm certainly not a connoisseur, but, like good werewolf films, I'd be surprised if you can get into double figures. Personally, I get stuck at about 5 for either sub-genre.
Night of the Living Dead
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Day of the Dead
Land of the Dead
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Shaun of the Dead
28 Days Later
28 Weeks Later
Dead Snow
Return of the Living Dead
Planet Terror

There. Double figures.

Tales of Blockbuster Video: Or how I used to walk up and down aisles in a video store to rent a movie

Back before internet streaming, torrents, and video on demand, there was a time where we had to go to a store to rent movies. And part of trying to find a good movie was spending 10 to 20 minutes cruising the aisles and checking out the box covers. The flashier the box cover the greater the chance you would investigate the movie further. Blockbuster was an almost magical place for me as a kid. A large hub of movies we did not have to buy and could return it when we were done. A place so vivid I can remember many of my trips there, the layout of the store, and even the smell. Strange I know but I do miss the days of the video store. Not that I can complain with Hulu or E-Pix, but it is just not the same. Call me a nostalgic old fart but I do miss Blockbuster Video. And these films help to represent some of my most frequent rentals in this place.

The Wolf Man: 1941 (NR)
USA / Universal

As a young boy I had a deep love for monsters, a love started by Godzilla. But then Toho took a back seat to classics from Universal Studios when I discovered the Universal Monsters videos available for rent. And the names of Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and Lon Chaney Jr. became as recognizable to me as Harrison Ford.

We started off first with The Creature from the Black Lagoon, but it was The Wolf Man that was the personal favorite for me and my brother. Frankenstein being a very close second. What I really liked about this movie was the very memorable transformation sequence and make up effects given to show Lon Chaney Jr. transforming under the full moon. Not only did we rent all the solo monster features, our heads exploded when we realized they crossed over into other movies. From Frankenstein meets The Wolf Man to when they meet Abbott and Costello, if these monsters were in it I was there. They also made for an awesome attraction when we visited Universal Studios in Orlando. Can’t talk about classic tales from Blockbuster then my first taste of the horror genre.

Tremors: 1990 (PG-13) (Ex Top 50)
USA / Universal

I remember walking down the aisles of the local Blockbuster Video and one VHS cover that REALLY stood out to me as a kid. Even before I saw the movie I was very familiar with this box cover. And when I finally saw it thankfully the movie lived up to the box cover! The movie is set in Perfection Nevada, where the town is under siege by “Graboids” subterranean slugs of gigantic proportions and very carnivorous. This is a cheesy horror movie in that throw back to 50’s monster movies sort of way. This film is my favorite Kevin Bacon movie AND favorite prepper couple Burt Gummer and his wife Heather played by Michael Gross and Reba McEntire. Burt to this day continues to be one of my favorite movie characters. The movie plays out as a gigantic struggle for survival where the town must fight to avoid the creatures picking off the inhabitants one by one. My favorite scene is where a graboid enters the recreation room of Burt and Heather. A recreation room with a wall of various firearms, lots of ammo, reloading equipment and the elephant gun! It is fun, suspenseful, and knows when to make a joke. There is just something awesome about a man whose favorite phrase is “Just a handful of household chemicals in the proper proportions.” If you have not seen it, I say it is worth a shot.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula: 1992 (R)
USA / Columbia
78% (CF)

I think you can see a trend in what I liked to rent when I was young. Having already been familiar with Dracula via Bela Lugosi, I then learned that there was another Dracula movie out that was made recently. And wouldn’t you know it this became my introduction to Francis Ford Coppela.

Wow did this have some great production design! Especially in the castle and during the first few minutes when Dracula is still a mortal. Riveting stuff when paired with that fantastic score! And while Dracula as a character does get romanticized a bit, he is still shown as a monster. There is blood, decapitations, and hideous transformations in this movie! And I love it!

A lot of people like to complain about Keanu Reeves in the movie, but honestly he never bothered me, neither did Winona Ryder. I was too impressed with the rest lf the film.

Army of Darkness: 1992 (R)
USA / Universal

This was my very first introduction to the Evil Dead franchise and my second favorite installment of the trilogy. I was first introduced to this film through my older brother. A friend of his suggested this movie because my brother (a long time gamer) was a big fan of the video game Duke Nukem 3D. In the game one of the many one liners Duke throws out is “Groovy.” We did not know where the hell that came from until my brothers friend told him it was from a movie called “Army of Darkness.” So one day we rented it from Blockbuster Video. Needless to say it was an awesome movie! I loved the horror and comedy elements (though there was much more emphasis on the laughs here). Bruce Campbell is awesome as usual and there is the plethora of one liners. Hell the movie quote I say the most comes from this movie. And while I do not use the quote line for line, I get enough out of it so you can tell what I am referencing.

I use this line a lot especially during my time in the military. If asked what is going on, I always go to the line, “Two things: Jack and *****, and Jack left town.” You will be surprised how often you can use it; just not so much in polite company.

Halloween: 1978 (R)
USA / Compass International Pictures
94% (CF)

Even as I grew older into a teenager I would still frequent the horror section of Blockbuster video. And as we got old enough, we were given the okay to rent slasher flicks. Having seen all of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, and the majority of the Friday the 13th, Puppet Master, Howling, and Hellraiser series, the clear victor and my favorite slasher movie still remains Halloween. Freddy was certainly fun and all, but there is something about a silent stoic killer who will never stop until his target is dead that creeped me out. And what separated Michael Myers from the likes of Jason Voorhees, was well… he did it first. Also it took Jason to show up in the 2nd movie before he started killing people, and the third movie to gain his signature look. In Halloween this movie hit the ground running. Myers has his iconic look, his modus operandi, and Jamie Lee Curtis was in his cross hairs. Add in the score by John Carpenter and you have one of my favorite horror movies ever. But it is not the scariest movie ever…

The Exorcist: 1973 (R)
USA / Warner Brothers
88% (CF)

As a good Catholic boy of course The Exorcist will be the scariest movie I ever saw. It’s THE DEVIL! None of the other slasher villains scared me. Serial killers? More then a little freaky but still mortal men. But the Devil? Okay now ya got me scared. Is it any wonder my fear of corruption and going to Hell dominates my nightmares? The mood for this film is spooky as hell and some of the imagery is more than a little controversial. But dammit all to Hell (no pun intended) it is really effective!

My first copy of Halloween on VHS was bought at Blockbuster and it even said "Blockbuster" on the cover, which also featured Michael Myers.

Actually, here it is:

Great tape. Watched it to death.

now THAT'S an awesome set of honorable mentions.. the original Halloween, the Exorcist, Army of Darkness AND the Wolf Man

Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
1. The Book of Eli felt much weaker the second time. Still a
2. I probably mentioned it already, but I love The Road!
3. Read the book if you haven't.
4: Weird fact: I cried at the end of both film and book.
In the strictest sense lesbians can't have sex at all period.

Re: Mel Gibson's girlfriend.

You have no sympathy for the woman he abused? Nice. I'm not saying she should be deified or anything, but he's a horrid person who treated her terribly.
She sounds like she's playing with him when I've heard these tapes of Mel screaming and her talking with him. I believe it's a psychological game. She acts like a victim and gets the respect for it. Women can easily do this. Men can do it, too, which is why I know this happens. Look at this woman's biography -- she's after money. Every time she turns around, she sues someone. I don't believe she's merely just an abused girlfriend. She recorded him -- she was out to ruin him. I know how people in relationships can be -- they can act like they're innocent victims and everyone believes what they say. They win that way. I feel like Mel Gibson was played.

Finished here. It's been fun.
Whenever I think of Blockbuster, it brings forth a feeling of nostalgia. I recall going there almost every Friday night to choose a few films to watch, and maybe a game as well If I played my cards right. I loved the feeling of walking down the aisles and picking out the films that look the coolest. I'd choose the movies, stroll down to the snack area and grab some grub for when I indulge in cinematic heaven over the next couple hours.

Yeah,yeah Blockbuster was rather overpriced and the late-fees could be tiresome. But there's just something so glorious about the entire experience.


The Hunt for Red October: 1990 (PG) -10
USA / Paramount
96% (CF)

This is a movie I discovered walking through the aisles of Blockbuster Video back in the day. And needless to say it has stayed as one of my all time favorite flicks for a long long time. I love Cold War themed movies, and this one is one of my all time favorites. Based off the Tom Clancy novel of the same name, this shows what happens when the two biggest kids on the block look each other down in possible nuclear war. All of this is spurred by the hunt for a rogue sub named the Red October captained by Sean Connery. And there is just something so awesome about Connery where he is not even trying to do a Russian accent and he still looks badass as the Russian skipper.

But let’s be honest, in a John McTiernan movie you want a movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat, and this Cold War thriller certainly delivers. The naval warfare scenes are bad ass, the drama aboard the Red October is gripping and claustrophobic, and the scenes with Alec Baldwin are pretty damn good as well. But what really sells this movie is the score! Holy crap is the music for this movie awesome! It is a classically scored movie with a great deal of it aided by a chorus singing in Russian! This really ups the drama of the movie and just sounds awesome! But what do you expect from the guy who scored Conan the Barbarian?


The Wolf of Wall Street: 2013 (R) NEW
USA / Paramount
77% (CF)

Okay this one should come as no surprise to anyone. It was my most anticipated film of the past year, I was really hyped to see the movie, and saw the very first showing on the opening day of the film. Hell I wrote an in depth proper review of the movie.

See Review Here

And as you knew then, I LOVED this movie! To know that Scorsese is capable of making movies of this caliber even now at his age is fantastic!

My sense of humor can be pretty dark and also pretty vulgar, so Scorsese being able to combine both in one movie is pretty awesome! Leo puts on a fantastic comedic performance as does Jonah Hill. Everyone nails some very clever dialogue; you have a bit of satire of the stock broker culture; but then occasionally someone will do one too many Quaaludes, whip their d!ck out and publically masturbate, or get a candle shoved up their ass. And this goes on… for three hours! As I said the quickest way to my heart is with laughs. And the more laughs the better. And this one certainly takes the cake for number of laughs via the length of the film. A very rare feat when you think about it. But the master filmmaker Scorsese ensures it never overstays its welcome. Hell I have incorporated the humming bit into my way of getting calm and focused.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Super Bowl 55 Champs!
I don't know if I'll like Ben-Hur but I'm trying to watch all the big classics, so I'm going to try it.

I haven't seen The Book of Eli yet; I will.

I shut The Road off after about 20 minutes because my wife didn't like it. I'll try that one again.

I saw The Hunt for Red October at the movies when it came out. I didn't like it, but I was extremely drunk. I love Crimson Tide so maybe I should try it again.

Hell the movie quote I say the most comes from this movie. And while I do not use the quote line for line, I get enough out of it so you can tell what I am referencing.

I use this line a lot especially during my time in the military. If asked what is going on, I always go to the line, “Two things: Jack and *****, and Jack left town.” You will be surprised how often you can use it; just not so much in polite company.
this! along with 'My name is Ash, and I am a slave. as far as i can tell, the year is 1300 A.D and i'm being dragged to my death. it wasn't always like this. i had a normal life... once' -cut to grocery store-
'hardware, aisle twelve. shop smart: shop S-Mart!'

this movie is just so quotable, period.

'Klaatu Barada Nikto'
'Well, repeat them'
'Klaatu Barada Nikto'
'i got it, i got it! i know your damn words alright!'


Terminator 2: Judgment Day: 1991 (R) -5
USA / Tri Star Pictures
92 % (CF)

One of my favorite sections to rent from in the days of Blockbuster video was from the action movie part of the store. And being a young kid and adolescent I was raised on the movies made when the action genre was at its apex. The mid 80’s to the early 90’s when the genre had its towering action movie heroes. Days of Stallone, Willis, Van Damme, Segal, Lundgren, and my personal favorite of the bunch Arnold Schwarzenegger! Arnie was always my favorite action star, not just because of his massive build, but his unquestionable charisma! You have him on screen and you knew you were going to have a good time! He may not have Laurence Olivier style acting chops but dammit the man has presence! And this is the movie that caters best to what he has. A massive frame, an accent, and does not require a great deal of acting.

Terminator 2 is my favorite movie from this era of action movies. It has Arnie in his best role, it has a very awesome villain, Sarah Conner is a badass and not a damsel in distress, and the effects for this film hold up a lot better than the first movie. But being a time travel movie it does have plenty of plot holes and flaws. But a great movie is not based on the number of flaws. All movies have flaws. What makes a movie great is creating a film that immerses you in the movie world and makes you ignore the strings of the puppet master. And Arnie’s presence helps you dial into the movie very easily.


Tokyo Story: 1953 (NR) -6
Japan/ Shochiku Eiga

I first watched this movie after I joined this site and wanted to expand my Japanese cinema palate. It was also my first film directed by Yasujiro Ozu. And this is pound for pound one of the best movies ever made. An easy top 10 if I were to do an objective best movie ever list. Yasujiro Ozu knows how to do so much with so very little with his films. He was a master at getting the right emotional response from his films. His movies are not grand epics or action spectaculars, his movies are little slices of life films dealing with life in post WWII Japan; covering the themes of modernization, the role of women in the new Japanese society, and family. And the fact that he was able to get so much emotion out of me with this film given the very bare bones camera movement and his framing really shows his talent as a director. Definitely one of the greats of any time period.


Team America: World Police: 2004 (R) -10
USA / Paramount
77% (CF)

One my favorite kinds of comedies is satire. And there are no better modern day satirists then the guys who do South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. I have been a fan of their work ever since I saw my first episode of South Park, which was either Scuzzlebutt or the very first episode with The Visitors. And there is something about a bunch of foul mouthed elementary school kids that get into all kinds of wacky adventures that really appealed to me as a middle school student. Probably the vast amounts of very inappropriate humor. Either way after the success of their cinematic version of South Park, their next feature project was Team America: World Police, a satire on the War on Terror. Saw it in the theater when I was living in Tallahassee, AND IT WAS HILARIOUS!

This movie had all their raw humor plus extremely clever writing and analogies that only they can make, plus the very unique decision to do it all with puppets makes this a VERY memorable movie. And as I said before, the quickest way a movie can endear itself to me is to make me laugh and laugh hard. This movie did plenty of that! I remember sitting in the theater and in the row in front of me were two old ladies. I half expected these women to storm out of the theater in disgust (especially after the puppet sex scene). But instead they howled in laughter as much as I did! And the presentation of various overly righteous liberal Hollywood celebrities as bad guys was extremely unique and funny! And not really done much too since a lot of these celebrities have no sense of humor. Especially Sean Penn who was very upset at his portrayal in the film. Needless to say these guys have balls, and they continue to deliver the funny with their own brand of humor.