Response to Empire Magazine’s ‘300 Greatest Movies of All Time’

I love a good list, but I really love taking a good list and tearing it apart. So seeing as Empire Magazine recently published the results of their readers poll, it’s time for me to tell you why it’s wrong.

The readers voted for their 300 favourite films of all time (I’ve seen 225 of them) and you can see the full list here (though strangely it’s slightly different to the printed version). But in the meantime …

Where Was …?

First, let’s look at the omissions. Personal favourites Ringu, Coraline, Serenity and Men In Black were all missing in action, but perhaps those were long-shots anyway. More shocking, was the absence of The Sixth Sense and This is Spinal Tap.

“I see dead people … because I’m going to kill every one of you that didn’t vote for my movie”

Sure, we all got sick of M. Night Shymalan over a decade ago, but it’s sad to see that people have forgotten just how fantastic his breakthrough was. Perhaps many of us only remember the twist ending, but if you re-watch it you’ll find that the twist is just a small part in the brilliance of the overall film. And then there’s Spinal Tap – the quintessential mock-umentary and the funniest film about music ever made.

It’s also the ONLY movie to be rated out of 11 on IMDB.com … It should go straight to the top 100 just for that.

This But No That?

Some personal favourites rated poorly or didn’t make it, yet lesser films by the same director were high achievers. Tim Burton scored highly but there was no Ed Wood or Nightmare Before Christmas, George Romero got a look-in but for the somewhat-silly Dawn of the Dead rather than his original masterpiece (Night of the Living Dead), Darren Aronofsky’s pompous mess was there (The Fountain) but no sight of the poignant simplicity of The Wrestler, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master was one of his highest rated films (no doubt helped by Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s tragic death) yet Punch Drunk Love was nowhere to be found.

No doubt hindered by Adam Sandler’s tragic later movies.

But most upsetting for me was the absence of Adaptation in the list – the amazing Spike Jonze/Charlie Kaufman effort about love, life, loss, creativity, depression and Nicholas Cage’s receding hairline. Instead, the only Kaufman films to make it were Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind at #78 (hooray!) and Synecdoche, New York at #197 (what?!). I mean, I like Synecdoche, but honestly it’s not even half the film that Adaptation is. Sadly, I think this might be another case of the recently-dead-actor effect, as Synecdoche was another showcase of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s talents.

What’s This Doing Here?

Now for the flicks that just had no place being in the list. Most of them can be explained away by their new-ness. Avengers 2The Hobbit Part 1, and Captain America 2 will surely lose their place when this poll is rerun in a few years time. But I’d argue that older films, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies, are in there only because people have mistaken nostalgia-value for quality. I rewatched both quite recently and I can confirm they aren’t nearly as good as we remember.

And yes this does include taking Chunk’s Truffle Shuffle into consideration

Some Sacred Cows Need to Be Slaughtered

This is the section that’s most likely to upset people so let’s get it over with quickly. It’s like a band-aid that has to be ripped off fast for your own sake.

Long-story-short; Jaws, Watchmen, Skyfall, The Social Network and Drive, aren’t as brilliant as people think. They’re all very good films but either; they have pacing issues that everyone overlooks (Jaws at #8), they aren’t nearly as good as the source material (Watchmen at #153), they’re outclassed by other instalments in their series (Skyfall at #45 while Casino Royale only made #160), or I’ve just never been able to understand why people went quite so insane for them (Social Network at #148, Drive at #49).

And while we’re at it, does The Dark Knight really deserve to be called the 3rd Greatest Film of All Time? Again, it’s a movie that I liked a lot but despite seeing it twice I feel like I must have missed something. It’s so intensely loved by so many people that every second person must have been thinking “OMG THAT WAS THE BEST THING EVER” as the credits rolled, yet my thoughts were more like “Well, that was quite good. What time’s lunch?”.

“There will be no lunch. Now that you’ve dissed Dark Knight, an army of fans will be at your location within minutes to stab you to death with pencils”

But On The Other Hand …

Despite all this, I’m generally very happy with the list. Personal favourites that I thought were seen as cult films without much mass appeal fared incredibly well, particularly The Big Lebowski at #24 and Donnie Darko at #84. Despite being such an oddity, Lebowski seems to pick up more and more fans as time goes on, and I’m happy to see that Darko’s reputation hasn’t been tainted by the fact that director, Richard Kelly, hasn’t made anything of much worth since.

“Wait a second, I also made … umm… and then there was … Damn, you’re right.”

A number of movies that I’ve rewatched many times finished in the top 100, namely There Will Be Blood, Gravity, Clockwork Orange, Memento and Back to the Future. I was also pleased to see Back to the Future Part 2 make it at #294, which I count as one of the best sequels ever made.

And speaking of incredible sequels – what about that number 1 (Empire Strikes Back)? This is the first time I’ve seen it top a poll like this (more commonly it’s The Godfather or Shawshank Redemption) but I think it deserves a turn in the premier position. It’s possibly the film that has impacted pop culture more than any (you can hardly go a day without seeing some kind of reference to it) and though Star Wars may have given us the modern day blockbuster, Empire gave us the modern day blockbuster with a sad ending – showing that movies could be true popcorn-fodder while still having depth and not always following a predictable formula. Of course, as a big Return of the Jedi fan I’m always a bit baffled by the fact that Jedi isn’t nearly as well loved but at least that made it into the list as well  at#120.

I know what you’re thinking, but come on, the Ewoks weren’t THAT bad.

So, I suppose you did a pretty good job, Empire readers. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll even forgive you for leaving out Spinal Tap.

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Agree? Disagree? What are your own favourite films? If you need something more to get you angry enough to comment, how’s this? – Dark Knight is really terrible and Heath Ledger was an awful Joker.

Want more like this? Try My Fave Films of 2014 or My Faves of Other Years.

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The HOTTEST Blog Post Ever (Part 1)

Today I didn’t know what to blog about. Luckily Start Blogging Online had 101 tips to make my blog so HOT it will burn another hole in the ozone layer.

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When will the Antarcticans learn? Their HOT blogs are causing havoc with that thing!

I didn’t know which one of the tips to use, so I figured it was safest to include all of them (well the first 50 for now).

HOT BLOGNESS HERE I COME!

 kjlkj

#1 Run a contest

First person to reply on this post gets a virtual egg. Do it. You know you want to.

#2 Review books/products/films

Birdemic is terrible. You should watch it now.

#3 Make comprehensive guide/tutorial

How to Make Toast: Put the bread in a toaster and push the thing down, you dummy.

#4 Interview someone

ME: So, do you like stuff?

WIFE: Shhh, MasterChef is on.

ME: Thank you for your time.

#5 Post a cool infographic

O

(The red portion represents the percentage of USA’s population that drive a hybrid. The white portion is everyone else. Standard error +/- 95%)

#6 Criticize a website/blog or a person

Donald Trump is not very good.

Tony Abbott is not very good.

Chad Kroeger is not very good.

Michael Mann is not very good.

Zack Synder is not very good.

Janet Albrechtsen is not very good.

… Damn I could have just done a whole post on this one.

#7 Make a post full of GIFs

I refuse to do this one. I know that it’s popular to make  “Goats I’d Fool around with” posts these days, but it’s just not my thing.

#8 Create a photo post

There you go. It’s now a photo post.

#9 Tell a personal secret

I once ate a piece of butter because I thought it was cheese.

#10 Write inspirational/motivational post with famous quotes

“When life sucks just remember that it’s okay because one day you’ll be dead anyway.” – Me.

#11 Share recent travel experiences

I rode my bike into the city today. I saw a swan.

#12 Host a giveaway

More prizes?! Ok, fine. Second commenter also gets a virtual egg.

#13 Write down a conspiracy theory

Theory: All conspiracy theorists are working together in a conspiracy to make themselves seem stupid and annoying, so that everyone else gets sick of them and sends them out into space, because that’s where they always wanted to live.

#14 Show log files of intense conversations

Person 1: You suck!

Person 2: No, you do!

Person 1: Woah this is getting intense.

Person 2: True. Maybe we should stop before things get out of hand.

Person 1: Good suggestion. Want some virtual egg?

#15 Write a short story

For Sale. Baby shoes. Never worn because some idiot bought us the wrong sized baby shoes for our perfectly healthy baby.

#16 Sing a song

Done that one.

#17 Create a list of something

Here’s a list of the keys I hit when I mash my palm against the keyboard  nbvbnmnbnjcbgnkj,mnmn

#18 Write down all the thoughts you had in mind today

Oh I’m awake.

*Censored*

Good night.

#19 Share your goals/dreams publicly

I want to finish this blog post. It’s taking a long time. I don’t know if I’ll ever achieve my goal.

#20 Make a link carnival and ask others to join

A what now? Well okay, here’s a link. Join in. Is it a carnival yet?

#21 Announce that you’ve turned the comments into “do-follow” so you can get more comments

I don’t get this one either. But hey it just says I have to announce it, not follow through with it. So …

I have turned the comments into a do-follow!

#22 Build your to-do list

To do: Finish this shit. Go to bed.

#23 Write a post in response to some recent post/news

The gay marriage Supreme Court decision in USA was pretty great. No joke here.

#24 Make a full case study about something

Hypothesis: These tips will make this a HOT blog. Stay tuned to find out whether it worked.

#25 Share your favorite blogs/bloggers in one post

Here’s a blog about cheese. That’s all you’re getting. Don’t be greedy.

#26 Invite your readers to submit guest posts

Yeah okay. They’d better be as good as that cheese guy’s posts.

#27 Publish the best comments that your blog has received throughout the history

I believe I’ve covered this.

#28 Share your blogs income + traffic numbers

Zero and pretty close to negligible.

#29 Tell a joke

Australia is in the safe hands of a brilliant leader.

#30 Bust a myth

MYTH: The Earth is hollow.

TRUTH: No it’s not, you idiots. Do really believe that? What the hell are you thinking? I mean, for f***’s sake, aren’t you embarrassed? I wouldn’t even be able to show my face among other conspiracy theorists if I believed that. Even the people that believe in Bigfoot must be shaking their heads in disbelief at you. Go take a long look at yourself. Come back when you’re ready to apologise.

#31 Produce or publish your art

==OO==

(An abstract portrait of Elton John)

#32 Publish a post about your success and epic failures

I once failed to interview Wife for this blog post.

#33 Ask your readers to tweet, like, and share the posts they like

Sure. Do it.

#34 Start a poll

Question: Can you ever be bothered answering poll questions?

Give your answers in the comments.

#35 Write a post about things you regret doing/not doing

I’m kind of regretting starting this post.

#36 Pose a rhetorical question in your blog post

How many roads must a man walk down before he admits that Bob Dylan wasn’t even that great?

#37 Post a picture that speaks more than thousand words

See the frog picture above. That tells the story of a tiny amphibian cowboy trying to find his way home in a hostile environment, and having a great time doing it!

#38 Publish some little or unknown facts

Did you know that 17% of facts are made up on the spot?

And 28% of facts are ripped-off from Simpsons quotes?

#39 Publish an In Memorian post

I kind of wanted to do this for Phillip Seymour Hoffman but was too lazy. Oh well, I’ve done it now. That was easy!

#40 Bring out the most important dates in history

This date once successfully defended a kitchen from a whole platoon of enemy prunes.

#41 Tell about your latest event experiences

I went to a Jazz Festival. I saw a swan.

#42 Publish your CV online

Well, it’s not really mine, but I think this is quite a nice looking check valve.

#43 Post an obvious lie

Start Blogging Online’s advice for this one …

“You can turn things upside down when you tell an obvious lie inside your blog post. People might get mad at you, but that doesn’t matter.”

Wait, so lying about things to purposely get attention and piss people off doesn’t matter?

Okay, I’ll take their advice … no it doesn’t matter.

#44 Write where you’d like to travel

To the centre of our Hollow Earth.

#45 Blog about marketing secrets

Keep all your money under your bed. Depreciation can’t get to it there.

#46 Write about the most important lessons you’ve learned in your life

Trust me – money under the bed.

#47 Tell your readers what they should do to succeed

Write better blog posts than this one. Watch Birdemic.

#48 Do a video post about your day

Okay.

#49 Show off your personal stuff; car(s), house, accessories

I was kidding. This really is my check valve.

#50 Build a list

What? Again? I’m sure we did this before. Well anyway … kalsjdhfkadjsfadskfpafdsh

lkj

Well, that’s done. Now to wait for the hotness to flow … See you next month when I’ll be the world’s HOTTEST blogger!

Posted in Just for Laffs | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

5 Reviews of Youtube Videos You’ve Never Seen

These days you can find reviews of almost everything.

Do you need to find out whether it’s worth watching that Latvian arthouse film you saw advertised on a single poster on the side of a rubbish bin down a dark alley? Don’t worry. There are 10,000 reviews for it on IMDB.

Want to know which tiny little burger place you should be telling your friends is way better than McDonalds, even though you had 7 Big Macs last week? It’s cool. Urban Spoon has you covered.

But it’s not enough.

Personally, I won’t rest until every single person in the world has shared their opinion on every single thing in the world … and I’m going to get the ball rolling by reviewing videos that practically no one has ever seen. I mean, someone has to review them!

1. Apartment Tour Video

Wow, we’re off to a great start! Sure, this video starts out a little slow – although you have to admire the use of space and the nice floral motif on the doors – but what about that surprise outdoor shot at the end?! Who saw that coming?!

Still the video could have fallen down at that moment if it wasn’t for the powerhouse performance that the mountain at the back of the shot puts in. Not since Marlon Brando appeared in The Godfather for about 20 seconds has an actor/inanimate object stolen the show so thoroughly with such little screen time. Inspirational work.

View Count: 18

2. For the Love of God, Please Buy This Chevrolet

I admire the effort that has been put into this video, but in the end it was just sad. The director was obviously so desperate for approval that they were blinded to the flaws of the film. I’m sure that not even they truly believed that anyone would ever be convinced to buy the car. Yet they continue to inundate the audience with shot after shot of the car from endless angles, as if maybe – just maybe – the constant bombardment will eventually cause a minor breakdown in the viewers and someone will buy the car in a moment of temporary insanity.

As I said … it’s just sad.

View Count: 25

3. Person Hits a Ball with a Bat

I love the suspense that is built over the first 3 seconds of this video. I was on the edge of my seat wondering whether or not she would hit the ball (though that isn’t 100% accurate because it takes me about 5 seconds to move to the edge of my seat on a good day). The creators made a wise decision not to keep the audience hanging for too long though, and by the fourth second I was flooded with relief that there was going to be a happy ending to this tale. The only pity is that the editors weren’t a little more ruthless. Clearly those last two seconds were just superfluous to the plot and should have been left on the cutting room floor.

View Count: 14

4. Video of a Yellow Car

I tore into the Chevrolet video, so you may expect me to give an equally unkind review to this one. Au contraire! For the difference here is cinematography. Where the Chevrolet video relied on dozens of Michael Bay-esque quick edits, this video is all about the old fashioned long-sustained tracking shot. If you were impressed by the long unedited takes in Birdman and Children of Men, you will no doubt be captivated by this.

View Count: 23

5. Pencher

At first I didn’t think I would enjoy Pencher. I was worried that I would find it too repetitive, too derivative, or perhaps just incomprehensible seeing as the only word in it is in a language I don’t understand. I needn’t have worried though. Once the video got going I found myself entranced by it. It didn’t matter that it was just one word repeated over and over with a simple graphic – I was hypnotised. Full credit must go to the set designer, as the use of stark black and white with just a splash of yellow was a genius decision. Not even Sin City managed to use colour so effectively.

View Count: 21

Well, I hope this post has been enlightening for you. Thank you to Petit Tube for making it possible!

Want more like this? Why not try this post about terrible things or this one about funny search terms?

Posted in Just for Laffs | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Adventures in Japan

Remember when I said that Japan was my dream destination? Well – as my pal Gabrielle once said many times in quick sucession – dreams do come true!

Let’s travel back in time and take a look at that very trip via. the magical power of photography. We started with the food-mecca of Osaka …

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… and visited the deer of Todaiji temple in Nara.

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Next we enjoyed sakura (cherry blossom) season at the newly re-opened Himeji Castle …

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… and took the bullet train to Hiroshima for the inspiring nearby Miyajima (where we watched a traditional wedding) and the horrible history of the Peace Memorial Park area.

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Next up was Kyoto, which was full of wonderful temples and shrines – plus more beautiful sakura …

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Then it was time for the intensity of Tokyo …

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… for the ridiculous fun of Shinjuku’s Robot Restaurant, …

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… the serious business of the Tsukiji tuna auction (got up 2 am for it!),

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… the unusual experience of a Maid Cafe, …

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… the insanely tall Tokyo Sky Tower (pictured: 50% of it), …

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… and the unique “manga cafes”.

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We also managed to get tickets to the Ghibli Museum (which I was obviously very excited about) …

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… and I sang public karaoke for the streets of Harajuku before hitting the picture booths.

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But did we see anything with that trademark Japanese weirdness? Well, yes, and for me this was the best example (also in Harajuku) …

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Thankfully we were also smart enough to take a break from Tokyo. We visited Lake Kawaguchiko which was sadly so foggy that we never saw Mt. Fuji – though it did give us a chance to discover the giant automatic organ of Kawaguchiko Music Forest …

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… and that was just a warm-up for the amazing Takaragawa Onsen (hot springs) – one of the best ways to finish up a hectic holiday ever.

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Till next time, Japan!

 

Want more travelly stuff? I’ve heard you’re curious about USA, Malaysia, Tasmania and Brisbane. How lucky that I happen to have posts dedicated to all those very destinations?!

Posted in Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

20 Best Music Videos of All Time

NOTE: This is a repost of a Facebook Note I published in 2010. I was reminded of it when I started talking about my fave music video over on my other blog. It’s a bit of a cheat for my “one-post-a-month” quota, so I will likely add something more for March. I haven’t thought too much about how my opinions have changed since 2010. If I did this list again there’d be a few differences here and there but most of it would be similar.

Music videos aren’t usually thought of as art – which is a fair call for the most part. The majority are either cheesy, trashy, poorly produced, cliche-ridden, containing only one under developed idea – or all of the above. But with genius’s like Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze making contributions, there are bound to be exceptions. So in the tradition of “Andrew’s Favourite Albums of All Time”, here comes my list of the most awesome music clips! Instead of writing essays on each entry I’m going to let the clip do most of the talking by putting in links, but like last time I’d love to hear your own opinions.

20. GOMEZ – WE HAVEN’T TURNED AROUND

Summary:

Guy runs around the city looking distressed. Is he trying to warn everyone of something? Why does he keep pointing to the sky?

What’s So Good About It?:

This is one of those clips where you spend the whole time wondering what on earth is going on. Naturally it’s all about the pay-off at the end, and I reckon it’s a pretty good one that suits this sombre tune to a tee.

Director:

Laurence Dunmore

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THI4U3OsDQY

See Also:

No suggestions … this is the only Gomez clip I’m familiar with.

19. JEFF BUCKLEY – SO REAL

Summary:

Jeff rides his bike around town before stopping at a cafe where he encounters some odd characters and some unexpected thieves. The rather odd and noisy bridge of the song is coupled with an equally odd break from the visual narrative, before we return to Jeff expressing his angst by stripping off.

What’s So Good About It?:

Despite the presence of some very comic elements, the overall feel of the clip is haunting (helped by the amazing song, of course).

Director:

Sophie Muller

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcaxrqhUJ4c

See Also:

None of Jeff’s other videos are that great.

18. FLAMING LIPS – DO YOU REALIZE???

Summary:

After a short intro involving a bench, a pig and a frog, we see Wayne walking the beat (presumably somewhere in Vegas) with two rabbits and four girls dressed in white. Sprinkle in some shots of an elephant and people smiling, and you have one of the most surprisingly effective videos around.

What’s So Good About It?:

Besides being an amazing use of colour and stunning white, the video manages to make what some may feel is a depressing song into a heart-warming experience. Simple things, like a close up shot of someones face breaking into a smile, become moments of true beauty.

Director:

Mark Pellington or James Frost. There are two versions and I’m having trouble finding which is which.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPXWt2ESxVY

See Also:

You Gotta Hold On, Yeah Yeah Yeah Song, The Golden Path, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Turn It On, Be My Head

17. THE CURE – CLOSE TO ME

Summary:

The band play the song on mini-instruments while crammed inside a wardrobe perched on a seaside cliff.

What’s So Good About It?:

It’s a fine example of a simple but great idea executed to near perfection. Just the right mix of fun, weirdness, and gloom that the song called for.

Director:

Tim Pope

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjvfIJstWeg

See Also:

Let’s Go To Bed, Boys Don’t Cry, Love Cats, Why Can’t I Be You?, Lullaby, Friday I’m In Love

16. AIR – ALL I NEED

Summary:

The clip follows a young real life couple in typical suburbia.

What’s So Good About It?:

Perhaps it’s a bit sappy, but something about this clip breaks through my coal black heart and brings one word to mind … Awwwwwwwww

Director:

Mike Mills

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aw8i28bNoYY

See Also:

Kelly Watch the Stars, Don’t Be Light

15. BJORK – IT’S OH SO QUIET

Summary:

Bjork walks through a dull tyre shop before the whole city bursts into a singing, dancing musical spectacular!

What’s So Good About It?:

It’s a blast to watch. The juxtaposition between the quiet verses and the bombastic choruses is amplified by the brilliant visuals.

Director:

Spike Jonze

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htobTBlCvUU

See Also:

Human Behaviour, Army of Me, Bachelorette, All is Full of Love, I’ve Seen It All, Triumph of a Heart

14. TOOL – SOBER

**At the time I actually chose the song Prison Sex (which the image is from) but I want to change my mind on this one**

Summary:

Not sure of the narrative, if there is one. But there’s lots of creepy stop-motion figures being creepy.

What’s So Good About It?:

It was hard to pick a favourite Tool clip as they’re all great, but kind of similar. I ended up choosing Sober because it doesn’t take as long to get to the point as some of their other videos.

Director:

Fred Stuhr

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hglVqACd1C8&

See Also:

Prison Sex, Stinkfist, Schism, Aenima, Parabola, Vicarious

13. MICHAEL JACKSON – THRILLER

Summary:

Everyone has seen this clip, though you may not have seen the full 14 minute version, which adds a werewolf story to the zombie theme.

What’s So Good About It?:

It’d be hard to find anyone who doesn’t like this one so I don’t really need to convince you. The drawcard is the brilliantly choreographed zombie dance near the end, but the rest adds up to easily the most ambitious and entertaining music video of it’s time.

Director:

John Landis

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOnqjkJTMaA

See Also:

Billie Jean, Beat It, Black & White ... there are some other decent clips but they probably aren’t worth your time unless you’re a fairly big MJ fan.

12. UNKLE (FEAT. THOM YORKE) – RABBIT IN YOUR HEADLIGHTS

Summary:

Guy talks to himself and acts crazy as he walks through a busy tunnel, in serious danger of being hit by the traffic.

What’s So Good About It?:

Despite the camera never leaving the man in the tunnel, the video keeps you intrigued until you’re left with a final shot that is unexpected, disturbing and strangely beautiful.

Director:

Jonathan Glazer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNWFHpPu1qs

See Also:

Burn My Shadow, Heaven

11. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE – GO WITH THE FLOW

Summary:

The band (in a semi-animated state) play on the back of a pick-up truck racing down the open highway. But there’s another truck on the road hell-bent on causing chaos, and when the two meet there will be spectacular consequences.

What’s So Good About It?:

Fast cars, desert landscapes, loud music, and a healthy dose of sleaze. Sounds like quintessential Queens. The black/red/white look of the clip is very cool, but the colourful explosion towards the end is brilliant.

Director:

Shynola (a collective)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcHKOC64KnE

See Also:

Feel Good Hit of the Summer, No One Knows, Burn the Witch

10. KORN – FREAK ON A LEASH

Summary:

All the kids in town sneak off at night to play hopscotch (for some unknown reason). A security guard goes off to investigate but drops his gun, and a bullet flies off toward a young girl. From there, the video follows the bullet as it causes havoc in various places.

What’s So Good About It?:

Not many people will admit to liking Korn or the whole nu-metal thing these days. But I gotta say, I always liked this video. It’s creative, a little creepy, and you can tell the band had a bit of cash to spend at this point – because it looks awesome.

Director:

Jonathan Dayton

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRGrNDV2mKc&

See Also:

Got the Life

9. APHEX TWIN – COME TO DADDY

Summary:

More freaky kids – but this time there’s something very wrong with them. In the clip they join forces with some kind of Aphex Twin/Satan hybrid to terrorise a granny and a few other civilians.

What’s So Good About It?:

It’s the surely the most genuinely frightening clip ever made. The song is a bit rubbish – but it does kind of suit the visuals.

Director:

Chris Cunningham

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWDAtMPoBHA

See Also:

Windowlicker, Donkey Rhubarb

8. SUPERGRASS – PUMPIN’ ON YOUR STEREO

Summary:

Supergrass as giant muppets!

What’s So Good About It?:

The sight of their heads attached to 10-foot colourful puppets is bound to put a smile on anyone’s face. And yes, it does stay entertaining for the whole 3 and a half minutes.

Director:

Garth Jennings

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQbVyWED6Ac&

See Also:

Alright

7. RADIOHEAD – JUST

Summary:

Man inexplicably decides to lay down on a city footpath. A bunch of people try to figure out why, while the band play in an apartment, watching the scene from above.

What’s So Good About It?:

Another difficult decision but I once again went for the “simple idea with wonderful execution”. There’s another very memorable closing shot, too.

Director:

Jamie Thraves

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIFLtNYI3Ls&

See Also:

Street Spirit, Paranoid Android, Karma Police, No Surprises, Knives Out

6. SMASHING PUMPKINS – TONIGHT, TONIGHT

Summary:

A couple set off on a trip to somewhere in space, but figure the moon looks pretty cool so they jump ship and land there. Apparently no one followed them because the moon is full of aggressive, pointy headed aliens.

What’s So Good About It?:

Choosing a favourite Pumpkins clip was the hardest decision of this list. ‘Today’ and ‘1979’ are both classics, but for sheer spectacle you just can’t beat ‘Tonight Tonight’.

Director:

Jonathan Dayton

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOG3eus4ZSo

See Also:

Today, 1979, Disarm, Rocket, Bullet with Butterfly Wings, Thirty Three, Ava Adore

5. FATBOY SLIM – RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW

Summary:

Evolution in all it’s glory, from single celled animals to a fat guy – with a dancing monkey man somewhere in between.

What’s So Good About It?:

It looks amazing. The right mix of big dollar effects and homemade rough-around-the-edges style.

Director:

Garth Jennings

See Also:

Praise You, Weapon of Choice

4. BLUR – COFFEE & TV

Summary:

A walking milk carton sets out into the city to find the missing member of a family, but soon finds the city can be a big scary place.

What’s So Good About It?:

That milk carton is so damn cute. His mis-adventures induce a big fat grin for me everytime, but there’s a slight melancholy and darkness to the whole thing, which suits the song perfectly.

Director:

Garth Jennings

See Also:

Song 2

3. WEEZER – BUDDY HOLLY

Summary:

Weezer as the feature-band on ‘Happy Days’ – even though the show was recorded 20 years before the song was released.

What’s So Good About It?:

Every effort has been taken to make it look like a a scene from a missing episode of ‘Happy Days’. The way they’ve made it appear like the band are interacting with characters like the Fonz is brilliant.

Director:

Spike Jonze

See Also:

Undone (The Sweater Song), El Scorcho, Hash Pipe, Island in the Sun (Spike Jonze version), Keep Fishin’, Pork and Beans

2. FOO FIGHTERS – EVERLONG

Summary:

A couple lay in bed, and dream of being attacked by the same two creepy guys. The husband (Grohl) defeats them in his dream, but in the real world he receives a phone call for help from within the woman’s dream.

What’s So Good About It?:

13 years before ‘Inception’ made the concept of dream-sharing cool, Michel Gondry made this genius clip. It’s comedic, but also very clever, and just surreal enough to be properly dream-like. It also features the best reveal of a hidden drum-kit ever.

Director:

Michel Gondry

See Also:

Learn to Fly, Big Me, My Hero, Next Year, Low, Long Road to Ruin

1. PEARL JAM – DO THE EVOLUTION

Summary:

Harpooned whales, suicidal businessmen, nuclear blasts, mind-controlling computers … basically every thing you can think of that’s f#*ked up is in there somewhere. The clip acts as a stylised map of where the human race has come from and where we’re going, but with almost every bit of optimism erased.

What’s So Good About It?

:If the apocalypse was distilled into 4 minutes it would look something like this. More than a little disturbing, but strangely exhilarating.

Director:

Todd McFarlane & Kevin Altieri

See Also:

Jeremy

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Apple

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Posted in Cartoons, Just for Laffs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Andy’s Movie List 2014

Hey there! I like movies and I like giving strangers my opinion on things. So I’ve combined the two by compiling this list of my favourite movies of 2014.

Oh, and I’ve also invited D.A. (Devil’s Advocate) along … though I’m not sure why I keep doing so. The guy is a bit of a downer.

(NOTE: This list is based on AUSTRALIAN release dates)

10. X-Men: Days of Future Past

“You didn’t tell me this event was semi-formal. They’re going to think I’m a right ninny!”

You’ve gotta hand it to the people behind the X-Men franchise. They’ve made 7 films now – all based on the same concept and characters – yet they manage to keep churning out the goods. They would have had a practically perfect track record if it wasn’t for X3:Everyone Dies, X4: Just Wolverine and X6: Even Wolverinier (okay, that’s actually a lot of exceptions). But getting back to Days of Future Past, I’ll admit that it didn’t stay with me very long after the credits started rolling and I felt like the ending was a bit of a cheat, but it sure was a fun ride while it lasted. Plus you got to see Professor X say the f-word.

DA Says: Two hours of disrespecting X-Men fans and intelligent movie-goers everywhere.

9. The Lego Movie

“Whaaaat?!? You only put us at number 10?!”

Movie-length advertisements for toys aren’t supposed to be any good. Sure, the first Transformers reboot was okay, and we could argue about whether Star Wars fits the description of a toy ad – but for every one of those grey area examples there are a dozen abominations like Battleship, Bratz, GI Joe, Garbage Pail Kids and The Barbie Diaries. Which is what made The Lego Movie such a surprise. It’s unashamedly full of product placement yet it’s also a really solid film. It’s funny, imaginative, and even has a few unexpected tricks up it’s sleeve that it pulls out near the end.

DA Says: An exhausting, unfocused, unengaging cynical cash-grab.

8. Nightcrawler

"Get a desk, weirdo!!"

“Hey! Get a desk, ya weirdo!!”

I find it easy to get behind any film that is critical of the news, so my enjoyment of this may come from a place of personal bias. But there’s more to it. As a critique on modern society it goes much deeper than just an attack on the 24-hour news cycle, and the atmosphere and tension make it gripping viewing – even for those who are allergic to preachiness.

DA Says: I might have been able to endure two hours with such an unlikable character if the film had an ounce of subtlety.

7. Calvary

“Dude! Don’t trust Littlefinger! Didn’t you see Game of Thrones?!”

Despite The Guard being pretty fantastic, I initially thought of director John Michael McDonagh as the less-talented brother of Martin McDonagh (director of In Bruges). But now that he’s added Calvary to his filmography, I’m ready to take him seriously – which is for the best because it’s quite a serious movie. The humour is still there but it’s as black as humanly possible, and there are as many moments of gut-wrenching pathos as there are laughs to be had.

DA Says: Joyless fare full of 2-dimensional, heartless caricatures.

6. Guardians of the Galaxy

“You realise you’re supposed to put the TALL guy in the middle for group photos, right?”

With Guardians, Marvel Studios took a gamble on an obscure comic full of seriously odd characters, but by now we know that if any studio can take a gamble and turn it into a super-enjoyable, mega-popular blockbuster – it’s Marvel. The resulting film is more fun than anything they’ve done before (which is quite a bold claim when you consider how hilarious The Avengers is in parts) yet it takes itself just seriously enough to not fall into  parody territory. Quite the balancing act.

DA Says: Childish, messy and ultimately dull.

5. Interstellar

… And that’s how Matthew Mcconaughey lost his favourite beach ball to a black hole.

Still reeling from the brilliance of 2013’s Gravity, I wasn’t expecting to be thoroughly won over by another space film in 2014, but that’s exactly what happened with Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. It’s an unashamedly ambitious epic, but when comparing it to Nolan’s other mind-bender (Inception) both the science and the human emotions are far more convincing. Much of the film takes place in the far reaches of the universe, yet it somehow still felt grounded (pardon the pun) … well, at least it did until a certain point near the end. Truth be told, it lost me a little at that point but I’m giving it a spot in my top 5 without hesitation, so I guess all is (mostly) forgiven.

DA Says: When I wasn’t being bombarded with ridiculous pseudoscience I was being bludgeoned over the head with sickly sweet sappiness.

4. Inside Llewyn Davis

“Oi! Why don’t you walk AROUND the snow, you jackass!?”

I have an odd kind of fan-relationship with the Coen brothers. My reactions to their films span the entire range; they’ve made some of my all-time favourites (Big Lebowski), some that I didn’t enjoy (A Serious Man), some that I thought were highly under-rated (The Hudsucker Proxy), and others where I just didn’t believe the hype (No Country for Old Men). Yet, despite the inconsistency, every time they bring out something new I get excited – because sometimes it’s going to be a film as good as Inside Llewyn Davis. Davis is their most surreal film since Barton Fink (1991) and their most melancholy since … ever … but it’s also funny and beautiful, despite being centred around a character who is often more repulsive than sympathetic.

DA Says: A hideous, boring, navel-gazing piece of crap featuring a loathsome character with no redeeming values.

3. Boyhood

“Once upon a time there was a princess who did some stuff. The end. Now go to sleep, for chrissakes!”

Idea: shoot scenes with the same cast every year for 12 years, then put it together into a feature film that shows a child growing up. It’s a great idea, so the fact that we haven’t seen it before means that either no one thought of it, or movie-makers just weren’t interested in making such a long commitment. But that’s a good thing, for what could have been a shallow film-experiment in the hands of a lesser director, was turned into a fascinating, poignant experience by Richard Linklater (now the certified master of slice-of-life filmmaking).

DA Says: A long, long movie about nothing where nothing happens.

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel

“Well, you see, just before the Little Miss Sunshine contest I faked my own death and run away to Hungary …”

Wes Anderson releases a movie every couple of years, and every couple of years I inevitably pick it as one of my favourites. This may make me the definition of a hipster, but what else can I do when he keeps making quality material like this? Anderson has a lot of recurring elements in his work, so the danger is that he’ll start making the same movie over and over. Yet, to my mind, he always manages to give his formula enough of a twist that it feels fresh. Grand Budapest sees him moving out of his comfort zone (at least in terms of the plot) as we’ve never seen him tackle nested storylines and themes of war before. He does so on his own terms, and the results are astounding.

DA Says: Pretentious, awkward and horribly disjointed.

1. The Wolf of Wall Street

The community marching band had to make drastic budget cuts. The uniforms were the first to go.

Like A Clockwork Orange or Taxi Driver, Wolf of Wall Street is a film about rather awful people that refuses to tell the audience just how they should feel about the characters. For me, there were genuinely disturbing and frightening scenes that gave me plenty to think about, yet it’s hard to deny that there was something thrilling about being taken for such a masterful ride through that world of debauchery, excess and moral bankruptcy. It’s a little worrying that some people are bound to watch it and see only the alluring gloss of such a life, but if we only made films about the world’s most upstanding citizens, the cinema would one of the most boring places in the world. But anyway, if you can get past such ethical dilemmas, the fact remains that Wolf is hilarious – and in the end that may be what matters most.

DA Says: A long, pointless glamourisation of greed that will guarantee a massive payday for a man who ruined countless lives.

Honourable mentions: Her, 12 Years a Slave, The Missing Picture, Charlie’s Country, Big Hero 6, Bad Neighbours.

Just a few on the ones I DIDN’T see: Whiplash, Edge of Tomorrow, The Babadook, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Nebraska, Dallas Buyers Club, Mr Turner…

Worst Movie (that I saw): Maleficent

“Shh. Don’t tell everyone how crappy my movie is”

Maleficent (from Sleeping Beauty) was arguably the most truly evil character in all of Disney’s animated films. This is a character that, at one point, screams at Prince Charming that he will have to deal with her and “all the powers of Hell”. So Maleficent could have been a fascinating example of Disney embracing their dark side, but instead, it is so spineless that it’s almost offensive. Plus, the effects are sub-par, the acting is ordinary, and the love story is about as convincing as a 80-year-old woman trying to get into a theme park for a children’s ticket price. Do avoid.

 

So, what did you think was the best movie of 2014? Please comment below and let me know!

 

Still in a movie mood? Why not also check out my lists from 2013, 2012 and 2011?

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments