Posts Tagged ‘Luke Skywalker’

Library of Congress Adds Movies to the 2011 Film Registry

January 5, 2012

What do Forrest Gump and A Cure for Pokeritis have in common? They are just two of the 25 films added to the Library of Congress’ Film Registry for 2011. The Film Registry was established by an act of Congress in 1989 and its mission is to preserve films that are “…culturally, historically or aesthetically significant…” This year’s group brings the number of films in the registry to 575 and to say that this bunch is a diverse lot is an understatement. In addition to Forrest Gump and A Cure for Pokeritis, there are films about addiction (The Lost Weekend) an early example of computer animation (A Computer Animated Hand) and Charlie Chaplin’s first full-length film (The Kid).

I must say that it is wonderful that the Library of Congress has a film registry and that those at the registry are working hard to preserve this part of American culture. In doing this blog, I’ve come to the opinion that as far as the United States is concerned, there should be no demarcation line between high culture and popular culture, since it all deals with our hopes and dreams as a people. Whether it is Huckleberry Finn trying to find his place in pre-Civil War Missouri or Luke Skywalker staring at the suns of Tattoine and wanting more than just the farm life with his aunt and uncle, American culture deals with a restlessness that comes from wanting to find out either what is around the bend or what a person is capable of doing or becoming. That’s one of the reasons why American culture is our best export, since the only limit is one’s imagination.

In case you are wondering, the films that made it on to this year’s list are:

  1. Allures (1961)
  2. Bambi (1942)
  3. The Big Heat (1953)
  4. A Computer Animated Hand (1972)
  5. Crisis: Behind A Presidential Commitment (1963)
  6. The Cry of the Children (1912)
  7. A Cure for Pokeritis (1912)
  8. El Mariachi (1992)
  9. Faces (1968)
  10. Fake Fruit Factory (1986)
  11. Forrest Gump (1994)
  12. Growing Up Female (1971)
  13. Hester Street (1975)
  14. I, an Actress (1977)
  15. The Iron Horse (1924)
  16. The Kid (1921)
  17. The Lost Weekend (1945)
  18. The Negro Soldier (1944)
  19. Nicholas Brothers Family Home Movies (1930’s-40s)
  20. Norma Rae (1979)
  21. Porgy and Bess (1959)
  22. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  23. Stand and Deliver (1988)
  24. Twentieth Century (1934)
  25. War of the Worlds (1953)

“It’s the stuff that dreams are made of.”

Sources:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/2011-national-film-registry-list-is-announced-gump-bambi-deemed-worthy/2011/12/27/gIQA56wbLP_story.html

http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2011/11-240.html

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Movie Characters You Wouldn’t Want to Meet in a Well Lit Alley

December 22, 2011

Never mind the saying that goes “I wouldn’t want to meet that person in a dark alley.” There are some movie characters that you wouldn’t want to meet in broad daylight. Who are some of these characters? Well, there’s…

Alex Forrest from Fatal Attraction
One of the most infamous movie of the 1980’s, which features the most psycho of psycho ex’s and is one of Glenn Close’s signature roles. There wasn’t even much a relationship for her to get worked up over. It was just a weekend fling with Michael Douglas’ character. Of course, when Michael Douglas’ character explains he’s married and things have to end, Alex isn’t just going to slink away and gripe about married men. Crank calls, acid on a car hood and a boiling pot that gives a whole new meaning to the phrase Rabbit Stew, all show how sick this woman is. In fact when this film was broadcast on television, I had to shut it off when I saw the pot-boiling scene. That scene scared me, because I knew immediately what was in there and I didn’t wait to see Anne Archer, who played Douglas’ wife in the film, lift the lid. I thought, “If this lady can kill some kid’s pet, who knows what she’s capable of and I don’t want to find out.”

Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada
Newly minted journalism graduate, Andrea Sachs, (Anne Hathaway) is hired as the assistant to the editor-in-chief of Runway Magazine, Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). Andrea soon learns that the job most gals would die for involves working for a boss who takes maliciousness to a whole new level. Miranda makes snide comments about Andrea’s sweater (“It’s not blue… it’s cerulean.”) and expects her to know what type of skirt Miranda means when she tells Andrea that she wants “skirts”. Yes, the boss is not only from hell, the boss also makes everyone’s life a living hell. Of course, it would be funny if there weren’t bosses like Miranda Priestly. Unfortunately for the majority of working folk, there are plenty of bosses, both male and female, like Miranda Priestly.

Avery Tolar from The Firm
If you’ve seen The Firm you’re probably wondering what’s so bad about Avery Tolar, who’s played by Gene Hackman? Yeah, he’s a lawyer, but he doesn’t make sarcastic remarks or threats. So, what’s the problem? The problem is that he is apathetically amoral. He knows that the law firm he works for is basically a tool of the Mafia. Maybe at one time he cared and thought about doing something about it. Unfortunately, he gave up and thought, “The hell with it.”  So, he just did his job, ate, drank and was merry and waited for what he thought was inevitable, death at the hands of the firm. That’s what makes his character so scary. He had lost hope and not having hope is scary.

Darth Vader from Star Wars Episodes IV – VI
Of course, I couldn’t leave out the baddest of bad guys. The man who killed his son’s adoptive parents, destroyed an entire inhabited planet, had his daughter tortured, had someone frozen in carbonite, was going to freeze his own son in carbonite, fought his own son in what was suppose to be a death match and cut off his son’s left hand. It’s pretty obvious the dude’s not to be messed with. Or is it? Remember Darth Vader started out as Anakin Skywalker, a noble Jedi Knight. Yet, as noble as he was, he was something of a lost soul. His mother had to stay behind on Tatooine while he went off to become a Jedi and she later died at the hands of the Sandpeople. He had to keep his love (and marriage) to Padme Amadala a secret. On top of that, somehow being a Jedi wasn’t enough and he was seduced by the Dark Side of the Sith. He lost Padme because of joining the Sith and never got to know his children. So, is he to be pitied, as well as feared? No, because in the end he redeems himself. In Episode VI, as the battle is raging in the space above and on the ground of Endor, Luke Skywalker, in the new Death Star, refuses to continue fighting Darth Vader. Therefore, the Emperor says, “So you shall die, Jedi” and starts zapping him. Luke cries out, “Father!” At that moment, Darth Vader picks up the Emperor and tosses him over a ledge. Vader is no longer lost. He sees that his son is in trouble and helps him. His love for son trumps any allegiance to the Sith and it brings him back to the way of the Jedi.

See, there is hope for all the bad guys out there to turn from their villainy. The thing is, they themselves have to see the error of their ways.

Sources:
http://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Attraction-Michael-Douglas/dp/B00005UPNS/ref=sr_1_4?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1323367591&sr=1-4

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093010/

http://www.amazon.com/Devil-Wears-Prada-Widescreen/dp/B000J103PC/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106918/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076759/

Most Pretty Items Have Little Value

December 1, 2011

Now that the holiday season is upon us and people are looking for gifts to buy for friends and family, I thought I would again write about the worth (or lack thereof) of many collectibles and what makes a collectible actually worth something. As much as I enjoy programs like the Antiques Roadshow and reading about toys that have become collectors’ items, not every toy or figurine will appreciate in value. That message seems to get lost in the glow of someone learning that their dumpster dived item is worth six figures.

Figurines
If you are of a certain age, you will remember seeing Hummel, Precious Moments and other porcelain figurines for sale in gift shops and department stores. Hummels are figurines based on the drawing of German nun, Maria Innocentia Hummel and Precious Moments started as greeting cards drawn by American artist, Sam Butcher and later the line expanded to porcelain figurines. Lots of people bought both Hummels and Precious Moments in their heyday of the 1960’s and 1970’s with the hopes they would appreciate in value. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to Easy Street. Once the original owners of these items died, tastes changed, their children were stuck with these things that no one else wanted. Taking Hummels as an example, Louis Kahn of Bakerstowne Collectibles, an appraisal and consignment service located in West Hempstead, N.Y, states that most of them sell for $50 or less. At those prices, you can’t exactly trade in a Hummel for a mansion and a yacht.

Collector Plates and Thomas Kinkade Paintings
Yes, those items advertised in the Sunday magazines of countless newspapers across the country where for just three payment of $29.99 you can own a collectors’ plate featuring a scene from a Norman Rockwell illustration or an illuminated Thomas Kinkade painting. Again, the trouble with these items is that so many of them were made that the supply is greater than the demand. So, if you come across a collection of collector plates or Thomas Kinkade paintings and decide not buy them, don’t feel bad. You came out ahead of those who bought these things with the expectation of a return on investment.

The Other Side
“Wait a minute.” You must be saying now. “There have to be some collectibles that have appreciated in value or else there wouldn’t be things like Hummels and collectors plates.” Yes, there are collectibles that have appreciated in value, the one thing that they have in common is rarity. For example, when Kenner’s Star Wars action figures first came to market, the Luke Skywalker, Obi-Won and Darth Vader figures had a telescoping light sabers built in. Well the mechanism didn’t work all the time, so Kenner redid the line and took out the mechanism. Since so few of them hit the market, the action figures with the  telescoping light saber are now worth between $6,000 and $7,000. (Why do I have a feeling that there will be a run on Star Wars action figures with the telescoping light saber feature?) Of course, the notion of rarity leading to increased value makes sense. If diamonds were available as a prize in  cereal boxes, would they be worth so much? The same goes for collectibles. As pretty and well made as some of the collectibles mentioned are, that doesn’t mean that they will be worth lots of money 20 or 30 years later.

So, let this be a warning to be careful which doo-dads to buy. Better yet, don’t buy them in the first place. Just stick your money in the bank. Money in the bank will grow via compound interest*. The only thing many collectibles will accrue is dust.

*Compound interest is where interest in earned on the initial amount invested, also known as the principal, and on the interest, as well. For example, if you invest $100 for 3 years at 5 percent compound interest, at the end of 3 years you would have:

$100 (1 + 0.05)3 = $115.76

So, your investment would have earned $15.76 in interest in 3 years time.

Sources:
http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/113722/worthless-collectibles-street;_ylt=ArznWSSbLtYR5SvZ2bklXZE40tIF;_ylu=X3oDMTBzZDJsbjltBHBvcwM0BHNlYwNhcnRpY2xlRmluYWwEc2xrAzE-

http://www.preciousmoments.com/content.cfm/precious_moments_history_timeline

http://games.yahoo.com/photos/most-valuable-action-figures-1319569716-slideshow/most-valuable-action-figures-photo-1319574722.html

http://math.about.com/od/formulas/a/compound.htm

My Moviegoing Pet Peeves

June 16, 2011

The Flavorwire blog put up a list of what not to do when going to the movies. This came about after news about a patron who was kicked out of a movie theater for texting, even though she was warned repeatedly to stop. Well, that got the wheels in my brain turning. (Uh-oh, you must be saying now). So, here are a list of my moviegoing pet peeves.

Comments about the action/characters/plot during the movie
In December 2010, I took my nephew to see Tangled. In one scene Rapunzel’s boyfriend is mortally wounded by the evil stepmother. As he lay dying, one person in the theater blurred out, “He can’t die. This is Disney.” Yes, I was thinking that too, still that comment ruined the suspense. Of course, there are films where audience participation is a part of the experience (i.e. The Rocky Horror Picture Show, campy B-movies) and, I admit it, I blurted out “Do something!” during a key scene in Return of the Jedi when Darth Vader looked on as Luke Skywalker was being zapped by the Emperor. Still, loads of people worked very hard to make the film you are watching believeable. Also, loads of people gave up their hard earned cash for a few hours of escape from their troubles.  Don’t ruin it for both parties. During the movie, keep your comments to yourself. Loads of people will be very grateful.

Overpriced snacks
Yes, the movie theaters make their money on the concessions, not on the box office. Still, do they have to charge so much for a small tub of popcorn and a drink. Also, do they have to sell such big tubs of popcorn and buckets of soft drink? Consuming oversized portions is one reason why so many are obese in the U.S. So, theater companies, redo your product mix. Go easy on the portions and how about offering some healthy snacks for a change, such as granola, dried fruit, maybe even sushi would be nice.

Sticky Floors
This peeve is directed at both movie theater management and the moviegoer. To the moviegoer, if you must get the supersized soft drink and the humungous tub of popcorn special, please be careful. Some of us, present company included, like to get moderately dressed up for the movies (nice shirt, nice pair of jeans or khakis, nice shoes). We don’t like having to either wade through sticky and crunchy floors, or fall victim to someone else’s carelessness and mess up our nice shirt, jeans, khakis and shoes. To the movie theater management, please remind your staff on the importance of keeping the movie theater clean. Not only will doing that improve the moviegoing experience for the patron, but it could also reduce the risk of lawsuits from people who slip, fall and injure themselves on sticky and crunchy floors.

Well, those are my pet peeves. What about you, gentle reader? Do you have any pet peeves regarding the moviegoing experience that you would like to share? Leave a comment and if I get enough peeves, I’ll share them in a future entry.

Movie Memories

November 24, 2010

Since this is my blog, occasionally I like to write about things from my life related to the blog’s focus. This will be one of those entries. Specifically, this entry will be about memorable movie watching experiences.  What made them so memorable? Read this entry and find out.

Snow White
I saw this in a movie theater on Christmas with my older brother when I was six. We went to church, opened the presents, ate dinner and there was nothing else to do. So, my brother and I went to see a movie. The movie theater wasn’t far so, we walked and Mom would pick us up afterwards. Mom being a good Italian Mom, packed a bag of pizzelles (waffle cookies) for us to eat during the movie. Me, the bratty younger sister, ate them all, much to the displeasure of my brother. (i.e. “You ate all the pizzelles and you didn’t give me one!”) As for the movie, I liked it.

Return of the Jedi
This movie opened in May 1983, on a Wednesday, and I along with a friend saw it that Saturday. Since this was the “last” film in the Star Wars trilogy, lines were around the movie theater at every movie theater in the country that showed this film. The theater we attended was no exception. I had seen the Star Wars films many, many times. (If you must know 8 for Star Wars, 6 for the Empire Strikes Back and 3 for Return of the Jedi and those are the number for the theatrical release of those films before George Lucas released updated versions in the late 1990’s.) My friend didn’t, so I brought her up to speed on the story while we waited for the movie. Then the movie started and I enjoyed the show, especially toward the end when the emperor was zapping Luke Skywalker and Luke cried out to Darth Vader “Father!”  I said aloud in the movie theater, “Do something!” At which point, Darth Vader picked up the emperor and threw him over a ledge. The whole theater cheered when that happened. That wasn’t just a movie I saw. It was a movie I experienced.

Lion King
This animated Disney movie came out in the summer of 1994. The movie got a lot of press for various reasons. One, it was a Disney animated film and that alone guaranteed it press. Two, it was part of the Disney animation renaissance of the 1990’s. Three, there was talk that the movie was a racist/imperialistic fantasy, since Simba was being groomed to be a King and the hyenas (the bad guys in the story) lived on the fringes of the grassland. All of this piqued my interest and I decided to see the movie to learn if any of the controversy was true. Once the movie started I was amazed. The animation was beautiful and I found the story of Simba, the happy go lucky lion who learned what it meant to be responsible adult, very touching. When the movie finished, the glow from the animation and story overshadowed the controversy. Of course, that’s why Disney is synonymous with animated movie.

While these are just my memories, these vignettes show that going to see a movie isn’t always a passive one-way experience. The viewer brings with him or her all sorts of expectations and life experiences when seeing a film. So, in the end, the viewer gives just as much as he or she receives.

The Sequel Strikes Again

April 29, 2010

Recently, it was reported on Empire Online that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are confirmed for Men in Black III and it will be a 3D film. The expected release date is May 30, 2011.

Since the late 1970’s, there have been sequels galore. Notable examples are the Star Wars films and Star Trek films. Yet, it wasn’t always like this. Up until the 1970’s a film was made, it was a success or failure and that was that. The characters were never revisited and the story was not continued. Of course, the exception was the James Bond films. The movie going public in years past were willing to accept that Elsa never saw Rick again, Dorothy never returned to the land of Oz and while Scarlett said that she was going to get Rhett back, it was seen as wishful thinking on her part.

My theory is the establishment of episodic television shows lead a desire in the movie going public to know what happens next. It wasn’t enough to have the main characters ride off into the sunset. People wanted to know if Luke Skywalker became a Jedi and defeated Darth Vader or if the crew of the Enterprise found Spock and saved the whales.[1]

I like sequels. There I said it. The Star Wars films are among my favorite movies. I saw Shrek and Shrek 2 and liked them both. I like the Star Trek films with the original television cast, the Next Generation cast and the J.J. Abrams reboot. Also, The Dark Knight was a blockbuster film that I felt was more thought provoking than most blockbuster films.

Of course, not every movie benefits from a sequel and after a while, the story gets old. The two Tim Burton Batman movies were great. Burton and Michael Keaton in the title role got the darkness and the tortured soul of Batman/Bruce Wayne right. When Joel Schumacher took over the franchise, the movies were just about some rich guy who dresses up and chases bad guys. Also, as many Trekkies know, some Star Trek films are better than others.

Still, the powers that be in Hollywood don’t want to mess with a good formula. So, if a movie made lots of money, more often than not a sequel is in order. As the engineers say, “If it works, it works.”

Source:
http://www.empireonline.com/news/feed.asp?NID=27639


[1] Star Wars Episodes IV-VI and Star Trek II & III respectively.