April 2008


Every Christian I know is a hypocrite.

I am a Christian.  I, too, am a hypocrite.  (more…)

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As Hollywood has expanded and bloated over the years, so have the number of long-running movie series it produces. A movie series, I have decided, is defined by having at least three movies:  by the third one, they are either trying to wrap up a storyline, or make a run at a cash-cow series.  It struck me recently that a lot of movie series either (a) never make it three installments, (b) make exactly three, but should have either stopped at two or gone to four, or (c) hit it out of the park with the third one. What follows, in no particular order, is my incomplete list of various “3rd” movies — this list is very incomplete, and your comments and contributions will no doubt better mankind.

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The Good (ones that got it right at three, or got it right and kept going)

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (beautiful scenery, awesome soundtrack, and a final confrontation that defines “tension.”)

Trois Colours: Rouge (If you’ve never seen this landmark series, make a point of it.  Beautiful stuff.  Rouge is by far the most complex, but maybe the best)

Goldfinger (maybe the best of the bunch, and they got it on the third try.  Go figure…)

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (while not technically the third movie overall, it’s the original third, and that’s good enough for me.  This movie defined all that was cool in my 4th grade existence)

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (OK, here’s the true 3rd movie, which got way too much flack for how well it was done)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (very fun film)

Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King (the series got better and better)

Rocky III (“Clubber, what’s your prediction for the fight?”  “PAIN…”)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkiban (the first of the series to really turn dark)

Bourne Ultimatum (I haven’t seen it, but enough other people have vouched for it, so it’s in!)

Army of Darkness (the only one of the Evil Dead series I really enjoyed)

Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (not so much “good,” but I’m just glad they made it.  Two go in, one comes out!)

Spider-Man 3 (for its faults, which all mention later, it’s really a beautiful story of forgiveness.  Plus, Peter Parker doing pelvic thrusts was pretty darn funny)

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The Bad (it’s not so much that these are bad, they just could have been so much better…)

Spider-Man 3 (way too much movie crammed into 2 hours.  Should have been two separate movies)

Superman III (the scrapyard Clark v. Superman fight was pretty cool…the rest was painful to watch)

Godfather III (speaking of painful: Sofia Copalla’s acting.  Ouch.)

X-Men 3 (bit off way more than it could chew…)

Shrek the 3rd (recycled the same jokes from 1 & 2)

Maxtrix: Revolutions (I don’t remember a thing from this movie.  That’s usually a bad sign.)

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (didn’t see it, but heard it wasn’t good)

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The Ugly (hardly worth the cyberspace it takes to mention them here…)

Back to the Future 3 (felt like a bad TV movie)

Rush Hour 3 (Justin told me it was terrible.  Go take your disagreements to him…)

Scary Movie 3 (many very satisfied 12-yr old boys after this one was made)

Austin Powers: Goldmember (again, those same 12-yr olds have reason to cheer)

Jaws 3-D (you know, there aren’t enough 3D movies anymore.  Maybe this is why)

Leprechaun 3 (this movie exists?)

Escape from the Planet of the Apes (the first one without Charleton Heston, thus marking its transition to silly self-parody)

Pokemon 3 (God help us…)

Jason, Freddy, Michael, or other bad 80s horror series

Anything in the torture porn genre (Saw III, and an advance rejection of Hostel 3, which I read about online)

Any terrible semi-pornographic series (Porky’s and American Pie come to mind)

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Your thoughts?

Having just watched An American in Paris, my mind is drawn to another time in our culture’s history…

In the early 50’s, America was still coming off it’s V-Day high: the sun was shining bright, and things looked nothing but good for the days ahead.  Most families didn’t have a TV (or, if they did, they still only had 2-3 channels), and hence children were forced to do things like play outside or be creative.  The U.S. economy was pretty stable, with new job growth, and a president (Truman) who was widely respected.  Gas cost $0.20/gal.; stamps cost 3 cents. 

…and the world was reaping the benefits of the Golden Age of Cinema (generally considered to be during the ’30s and ’40s, but I’ll throw in the early ’50s, too).  This was a time when studios produced grand pictures with lavish sets, beautiful soundtracks, and (get this) multitalented stars.  People would actually dress up to go to the cinema and, when they got there, they were met with plush seats, huge screens, and an organist who warmed up the crowd.  Moviegoing was an event, and crowds knew they would be treated to a show that dazzled their senses and made them feel better about the world than they did before they entered that fantasy world…

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As I write this, I’ve just watched an SNL skit where people laughed at a man being beaten to a pulp.  Minutes later, I overheard news reports about kidnappings, rapes, and rising gas prices.  Last night, I saw a movie which was preceded by multiple previews, most containing a scene from a strip club. 

Though ours was not a perfect world in the 1950s, I think I was born 40 years too late…

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(and, btw, An American in Paris is a great film.  Gene Kelly just has a way of putting a smile on your face, and Gershwin soundtracks alone are worth a watching.  You will enjoy yourself while watching this charming, beautiful film…)