July 28, 2006

Ninja > Pirates

[In response to Lady Jane Scarlett's passionate defense of Pirates yesterday, I asked Kapgar for a Rebuttal. This is what he came up with....]



I posted on my site last week a conversation I had with a friend about the merits of ninja over pirates. I, personally, believe ninja are superior. Clearly, I'm right.

But, just as additional support, I'm posting ten reasons why ninja are superior for your reading pleasure...

10. Gods of timeless fashion. Black never goes out of style.

9. Did you ever hear Jerry Seinfeld whine, "but I don't wanna be a ninja"? Nope. 'Nuff said.

8. Cooler weapons. And more of them. And they know how to use them. Pirates have swords, but very few seem to know how to use them. At least Hollywood would have you believe that.

7. As I said on my site, "butt ninja" was never an insult bandied about by high school jocks, now was it?

6. Did G.I. Joe ever have a pirate action figure? I don't think so. Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes would've just kicked his ass for no reason other than they could.

5. Remember that scene in The Bodyguard with the katana slicing cleanly through a silk scarf that floated down on it? Yeah, they're that sharp. Now if only Whitney had pushed a little. And he had pushed back. "Cut! Our leads are dead. That's a wrap, folks."

4. Kill Bill never could have happened with pirates. Seri0usly.

3. Ninja are the ultimate mystery. While pirates may use their garishness to scare people, ninja use their mystique.

2. Pirates rely on stories of fear told by survivors to carry on their legend; ninja leave bloodied, headless corpses as their calling card. Which is more fearsome?

and the number 1 reason why ninja are cooler than samurai...

1. You'll never hear an actor claim that Keith Richards was the inspiration for their portrayal of a ninja in a movie.



Kapgar also did a Top Ten Ninja list, but somehow it got destroyed in transfer. If I can get it back I'll post it. In the meantime, here is a collection of well known awesome Ninja. If you don't know at least 6 of them you suck. (And no, Raphael is not included. He's cool, but rude.)







July 27, 2006

PIrates > Ninja

[Lady Jane Scarlett is always going on and on why Pirates are better than Ninja. "Prove it." I challenged her, and so she did, coming up with a Top Ten List of why:]



Top ten reasons why pirates are better than ninja


10. The frilly shirts belie their cold heart and guts of steel. Plus, they are cooler when it is summertime because all the ruffles better catch the warm summer breeze.


9. Pierced ears are cool. In moments of great need, pirates melt down their earrings and mold it into bullets.


8. Nowhere is there a statement in the pirate code of conduct that rum is forbidden.


7. Pirates are obviously more intelligent, as evidenced by their overwhelming support for Jean-Luc Picard.


6. Pirates have first-mates, who also can kick ninja butt.


5. Their mode of transportation is way cool. Big boats…with guns...and lots of rum! How can jumping from tree to tree beat that?


4. Pirate gear is made for all-purpose butt kicking. Check out the peg leg, the hook, the eyepatch, the talking parrot, the SWORDS!


3. Swashbucking just sounds fun


2. It is always more fun spending other people’s money, especially if obtained through ill‑gotten means


1. Making your enemies walk the plank will make you feared amongst your enemies, loved amongst your fellow pirates, and big smash with the ladies.


[As a bonus, Lady Jane told me that "Now that I've established how much cooler pirates are than Ninja, I should tell the Readers who the best pirates are." And she did:]


Top Ten Pirates ever!


10. Shawn Fanning. aka “the Napster dude”.



9. Captain Morgan. Great provider of Pirate Rum



8. Blackbeard


7. Anne Bonny. Let’s hear it for the ladies (for more, see Anne Bonny's Bio.)



6. The Dread Pirate Roberts



5. Captain Hook



4. Robin Hood-ok ok. So he didn’t have a ship, or an eyepatch. But he stole booty with the best of ‘em!


3. Sir Francis Drake. With the name Francis, he must have been a most excellent pirate! (For more see Sir Francis Drake's Bio.)



2. One-eyed Willy. Those booby traps were awesome eh?

[Hyperion's Note: Not having seen GOONIES, I had no idea who "One Eyed Willy" was. The only time I'd ever heard the expression was vulgar slang for....well, you figure it out.]



1. Captain Jack Sparrow!


Up Tomorrow: Kapgar rebuts, with his reasons why Ninja are better than Pirates

July 24, 2006

ELESSAR'S SUMMER SONGS

[Elessar couldn't just send in a few summer songs, and had to do an entire list, so we obliged him and gave him his own day]

ELESSAR'S SUMMER SONGS

ok, buddy, you asked for them, here you go. I'll limit them to 10!

  1. Beach Boys--I Get Around
  2. Trashmen--Surfin' Bird
  3. Kirsty MacColl--10 weeks of Summer (think that's the name--doin' this on the fly...)
  4. Lovin' Spoonful--Summer In The City
  5. Blues Magoos--(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
  6. Beach Boys--Surfer Girl
  7. Cowsills--The Rain, The Park, And Other Things
  8. Tori Amos--Smells Like Teen Spirit (yes, the Nirvana song)
  9. Ventures--Penetration
  10. Chantays--Piepline

but I have made several 46 minute mixes of summery songs, so I could carry on with ease. Just songs that make me think summer. like:


  1. Mungo Jerry--In The Summertime
  2. Bob Marley--Waiting In Vain (For Your Love)
  3. Eddie Cochran--Summertime Blues
  4. Madness_Night Boat To Cairo
  5. Janis Joplin--Summertime
  6. Jan & Dean_Popsicle
  7. Freddy Cannon--Palisades Park
  8. Christine Lavin--(All I have To Do Is) Dream/A Summer Song/Mr. Sandman
  9. Astrud Gilberto & Stan Getz--The Girl From Ipanema
  10. Frank Sinatra_Summer Wind

so..hey, it's HOT out there. and these songs feel right!
[don't make me name 50 more]

If you aren't satisified just suggesting some songs to me, go ahead and fill out your own list and send it in!

July 19, 2006

Mariemm3 is confused

After reading her site and liking it, I asked Mariemm3 (0f A Take on the World) to come up with a top ten list, and she chose to look at baffling things. (I told her if I was doing my list, one of the things I don't understand is how someone can have a number at the end of her name, but I digress. Enjoy her list.)



THE TOP TEN THINGS IN THE WORLD I DON'T UNDERSTAND (by Mariemm3)






1) Earwax - Everything in the body has a rhyme and reason; I don’t know the reason for earwax.




2) Girl’s and Boy’s bikes – Doesn’t this seem backwards somehow? Girls have the empty space and boys have a bar on their bikes...




3) Brussels Sprouts – do we really need miniature cabbage?




4) Traffic on Interstate Highways without accidents – endless road and cars are at a standstill? I know this a math equation but math has never been a strong suit.




5) The California Real Estate Market – I wanna buy a house on a dirt hill that comes with a view of a house above me and house below me. You say the last mudslide was four years ago? A million dollars? SOLD!!





6) Ravel and Unravel – part of their definitions mean the same thing. Look it up.





7) Cruising for a Spot in the Gym parking Lot – People can’t walk the extra 20 steps by parking a few more feet away? Isn’t the purpose of being at the gym getting an extra amount of exercise?




8) Mosquitoes – do they have a purpose?




9) The white marks that appear on folded black clothes even if they have never been worn. What the..?





10) Bjork.

Marie assures me that NOBODY can do a better job than she at a top ten list, but if you have an idea for one you think might compete, let us know!

July 14, 2006

Best Movies of 1995 (Part 3)



We have been looking at the best Movies of 1995

Part 1 (#20 - #11)

Part 2 (#10 - #6)

Yesterday we got down to #6, and I was almost astounded that HEAT, SEVEN and TOY STORY didn't make the Top Five. I mean, how strong a year is it when those films don't make the cut?

Before we get to the Top Five I want take a moment for an

Honorable Dishonorable Mention: SHOWGIRLS - I can't argue that the film is cheesy (and gets more so with the passage of time), but it deserves special recognition for its landmark status in pop culture. When the MPAA came up with its idiotic NC-17 (why oh why can't we have a simple "A" ?), there were a few artsy attempts, like THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE AND HER LOVER and more infamously HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER. While both have merit, they barely registered outside of the film school congnoscenti. But in 1995 two films made an attempt to craft mainstream Adult Entertainment (not porn, but just subject matter for adults). KIDS was such a great film I put it in my Top Ten list, while SHOWGIRLS...was the first (and only) NC-17 movie to hit #1 in the Box Office. While not a great movie, it was very entertaining, which explains why people went to see it. We could have ushered in an age where movie makers weren't scared by the X-rated associations and would venture to make adult movies...except somehow the tide turned and people were too embarrassed to admit what a fun movie it was, and SHOWGIRLS became a laughing stock. It's too bad, because I doubt there was a better time in the theatre all year.

Okay, on with the

TOP FIVE MOVIES OF 1995







#5 RICHARD III -Before Baz Luhrman thought of it Ian McKellan took Shakespeare and put it in a more modern timeframe. (Although, I'm not sure there was ever a Nazi England in the '30s. Oh well.) The result is fantastic, with McKellan giving the performance of his life (yes, LOTR fans, you read that right), and Annette Benning and Robert Downy Jr. and Kristin Scott Thomas adding to the fun. They even throw in a Christopher Marlowe poem as a night-club song! III is a Shakespeare lover's delight.




#4 THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH - A perfect movie. As per my review, recommended for anyone and everyone. Such a wonderful story. Sigh. I could go on and, but just read the review for more.




#3 BRAVEHEART - When an epic like BRAVEHEART only makes #3 you know you're in a killer year. I love everything about the film. The first real attempt to get hand to hand combat right. An epic love story (I love arguing with people over which girl you'd rather have). Heroic sacrifice, the mother of all speeches, and some nice tasty bums too. BRAVEHEART has it all, and you can't fault the Best Picture victory. And even though in retrospect Mel Gibson's torture obsession may well have started here, I can well forgive him for such passion, power and purpose.




#2 THE USUAL SUSPECTS - We owe so much to this little film, like the resurgence in legitimate twist endings, a rebirth of noir, ensemble character acting, of course the coolest movie character in history that you never meet; Keyser Soze. I would call THE USUAL SUSPECTS the second best script of the decade (behind PULP), and the second best movie in a killer year

And the number one film of 1995 isÂ…..



#1 SENSE AND SENSIBILITY - I know. Your jaw just dropped to the floor. I passed over BRAVEHEART and THE USUAL SUSPECTS for a period piece? Hear me out. First of all, I am NOT a Jane Austen fan. I can't stomach her books and never bought into the cult of P&P. That said, Emma Thompson has made one of the greatest adaptations in history (easily top 15 of all time) to bring this work alive. She won a richly deserved Oscar, and easily could have doubled up with her fantastic performance of a woman forced to put her responsibilities over her heart. Kate Winslet should have won an Oscar herself with a mesmerizing performance as MaryAnne. Alan Rickman is awesome, as is Hugh Grant, and even Hugh Laurie in a precursor to Greg House! Even if you're not a period piece kind of guy, you need to give SENSE AND SENSIBILITY a try. Even if you find the trials and tribulations of rich people just silly-as I do-you need to give it a try. Ang Lee (one of the great modern directors) delivers a wonderful fantastic movie.

July 13, 2006

Best movies of 1995 (part 2)

Read Part 1

We continue our look at the best movies of 1995.

I feel a little bad about trashing so many movies in yesterday's intro. There were some great "Regular Movies" that were very enjoyable, films like OUTBREAK, BATMAN FOREVER, CRIMSON TIDE, DESPERADO, WATERWORLD, SPECIES, ASSASSINS, CASPER, GET SHORTY, COPYCAT and DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE.

There were also several small Independent movies that had a spark all their own, like LIVING IN OBVLIVION, CANADIAN BACON, HACKERS, MALLRATS, FOUR ROOMS, and DEAD PRESIDENTS.

Finally, honesty compels me to admit that 1995 contains an extraordinary number of movies that would have a great shot at the top 20...if I'd only seen them! I keep whittling the list down, but as of yet I have not seen such worthy movies as: DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS, RESTORATION, DEAD MAN WALKING, CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY, OTHELLO, GEORGIA, POWDER, CARRINGTON, THE CROSSING GUARD, WILD BILL, PAYBACK, MURDER IN THE FIRST, CIRCLE OF FRIENDS, DOLORES CLAIBORNE, LAST OF THE DOGMEN, MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS, WILD BILL, IL POSTINO, THE BASKETBALL DIARIES, PERSUASION, A LITTLE PRINCESS, CLOCKERS, and LOSING ISAIAH.

Anyway, let's move into the top ten. Today we look at #10 - #6:






#10 THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT - How many times have you seen at least part of this on TBS? 40? 50? Great performances from all involved, and so clearly a precursor to WEST WING; the speech patterns are the same, even some of the actors! There are many great lines, but I think my favorite is "Come Children, let us away."



#9 KIDS - This movie is a smack in the face. I need to write up a review soon, because director Larry Clark is the man. There is no one in movies today that gets kids more than he. I love Breakfast Club and Ferris and all, but Clark actually understands what's going on. Kids assaults you from word go, but is so well done I have friends who think Telly is cool! Every parent should watch this with their 12 year old (and then lock them in their room for the next ten years).



#8 HEAT - Too long, too many subplots, and a slight lack of focus, or we might put HEAT up there with THE GODFATHER. DeNiro (back when he cared) and Pacino at their best and on screen together! Val Kilmer, a smoking hot Ashley Judd, Natalie Portman on the cusp of hotness, Tom Sizemore, President Palmer Diane Verorna, Tone Loc, Jon Voigt, Waingro, man! I could go on forever. DeNiro has never been more the man than here, and neither has Pacino. See it just for them, but man is there so much more.



#7 SE7EN - The ending to this film is so brilliantly and grotesquely perfect that it's worth seeing just for that, but Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt and killer direction by David Fincher seal the deal. Is there a more atmospheric movie this decade? Shudder.



#6 TOY STORY - When I realized that TOY STORY wasn't going to make the top five I almost threw up. How can one of the Best animated movies in history only be the sixth best movie of a year? When you have an unbelievable year; that's how. TOY STORY was the first real jump into computer animation, and though it may seem quaint with today's product, at the time it was Star-Wars revolutionary. Much more important, there's a great story with great characters, and pantheon level voice work by Tom Hanks and especially Tim Allen. To Infinity and Beyond!

Up tomorrow: The top five movies of 1995

July 12, 2006

Best of the '90s #2 (1995)

When I first started looking at 1995 I thought I'd made a horrible mistake; how could I judge it the second best movie-year of the '90s with all the mediocre-to-terrible films? So many supposed hits failed to go anywhere, movies like TO DIE FOR, FATHER OF THE BRIDE II, THE QUICK AND THE DEAD, NEVER TALK TO STRANGERS, JADE, JOHNNY MENMONIC, FIRST KNIGHT, BAD COMPANY, DANGEROUS MINDS, A VAMPIRE IN BROOKLYN, ACE VENTURA: WHEN NATURE CALLS, THE NET, HIGHER LEARNING, and JUST CAUSE.

1995 had many romances that didn't connect either, movies like FORGET PARIS, NINE MONTHS, DON JUAN DEMACO, MAD LOVE, THE ENGLISHMAN WHO WENT UP A HILL BUT CAME DOWN A MOUNTAIN, THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY and THE SCARLET LETTER.

There were several films supposed to garner awards (and many that did), that I felt were perhaps enjoyable, but overrated, films like BABE, SABRINA, JEFFESON IN PARIS, and APOLLO 13. I'm not hating on these movies, but they just don't seem to be worth the fuss they got.

Then there were the absolute worst movies ever (EVER!): TOMMY BOY, TANK GIRL, BILLY MADISON, A BRADY BUNCH MOVIE, JAWBREAKER, STUART SAVES HIS FAMILY, STRIPTEASE, EMPIRE RECORDS, CONGO, JUDGE DRED, BAD BOYS, and CUTTHROAT ISLAND.

I was almost starting to despair. Was 1995 just a terrible year for movies? Well, you see the carnage above; it's not pretty. If you were making a league of teams, 1995 would get crushed by 1998 or '97, or even 1999. But an all-star team….this is where 1995 comes into its own. (I'm probably the only person in the world that looks at movies that way, but that's just me.)

1995 has some absolutely stellar movies at the top; all over the map and rich in texture meaning and quality. There were so many that I couldn't do a top ten, or even a top fifteen. For 1995 we get a top 20.


THE TOP TWENTY MOVIES OF 1995



#20 POCHAHONTAS - the part I like best is how they kept true to the real history. Although the formula has not largely been abandoned, I see nothing wrong with great animation, good voices, cute animals and nice songs. I too strive to paint with all the colors of the wind.



#19 WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING - The only good Sandra Bullock movie ever; works in spite of the silly premise



#18 THE BROTHERS MCMULLEN - How this movie works is beyond me, but what a sweet film about family. Not as glossy as SHE'S THE ONE, but more down to earth and watchable.



#17 CLUELESS - Never in my life have I been so wrong about a movie. That'll Teach me to prejudge. (In my defense, the marketing for this film was awful; I had no idea it was based on Jane Austen's Emma.) A truly delightful film.



#16 FRENCH KISS - Probably my favorite Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline performances. Wickedly funny (and quotable!), while still sweet and charming. A total winner.



#15 GOLDENEYE - I'm just going to say it and you all can deal: Pierce Brosnan is the best Bond ever, and GOLDENEYE is arguably the best Bond movie ever. EVER!



#14 LEAVING LAS VEGAS - I should rank this higher, but had such an awful experience watching it (with my little sister and my mom's friend!) that this is as high as I go. You know that scene where she's sucking his thumb but you can't tell it's a thumb right away? Try sitting through that with a 12 year old.



#13 NIXON - Anthony Hopkins eschews simple mimicry and goes for the heart of the man. With Oliver Stone you never know how much is real, but a fantastic movie all the same.


#12 12 MONKEYS - Perhaps Bruce Willis's best work, and outstanding work from Brad Pitt (totally robbed of an Oscar Nomination). Madeline Stowe's best work too. This is one creepy cool movie, and the ending is still up for interpretation.



#11 ROB ROY - Totally overshadowed by that other Scottish epic, but still a fine movie in its own right with plenty of great performances. One of the great realistic sword fights of all time.

Up Tomorrow: The Top Ten



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