Friday, February 24, 2012

A night to remember (and while we're on the topic of movies...)

Twenty years from now, I have a feeling that I'm going to look back at nights like tonight and wish I could relive them all over again.

My friends and I usually play basketball once a week. We decided that tonight was "basketball night". Even though I have next to no interest in watching basketball, I love playing it. Plus, it's great exercise.

After we got done playing, a couple of my friends and I decided to go to Denny's for a "midnight dinner". The food was great, but that's not the reason the night was memorable.

I always hear people older than I am rehashing those good times, when they were simply...young. Nothing to do, nowhere to go, just living life and enjoying it.

Tonight was one of those nights.

We didn't really do anything. We just talked. About whatever. Everything from recalling old stories from middle school ("Remember that time we dissected the pig in science class?"), remembering old friends that we no longer spoke to ("Whatever happened to that kid that punched a locker and broke his hand?"), and looking toward the future ("What are you planning on majoring in?").

It made me appreciate both being young and having great friends. When you're young, you don't often take the time to step back and cherish that.

But tonight, that's exactly what I did.

That's why it was a memorable night.

Anyways, sorry to get a little off the topic of baseball cards there.

As a result of being out a little later than originally intended, I didn't really have time to plan a post for tonight.

Since I mentioned that I had made a Top 25 movies list in my previous post, I figured I'd share it with my fellow readers.

I'll tie it in with a few of my baseball cards, since this is a baseball card blog, after all.

There's not a lot of "classic" movies on this list. No "Titanic", no "Citizen Kane", etc. Most movies I watch are comedies, and those take up the bulk of this list. I'd be glad to hear what my readers agree and/or disagree with from this list!


#25-- Wayne's World
#24-- The 40-Year Old Virgin

#23-- 61*

This film is about as factually accurate as possible. Director Billy Crystal is a huge New York Yankees fan, and he was in the prime of his childhood in 1961 when Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris were on pace to break the hallowed single-season home run record held by Babe Ruth.

By '61, Mantle was the definition of a "Yankee". Well-respected by his teammates and adored by the fans. As the "M&M Brothers" got further along in the race, they both realized that the New York fans only had room in their hearts for one home-run king. Maris was booed in his own stadium after hitting home runs.

Maris broke the record, although he was under extremely severe stress at the time. (His hair began falling out.) And the New York fans cheered him as he made his way around the bases.

#22-- Animal House
#21-- The Rookie
#20-- Napoleon Dynamite
#19-- Adventureland
#18-- Office Space
#17-- Duck Soup (Marx Brothers)

#16-- Miracle

One of the greatest stories in sports history is the tale of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. 

It's also one of the greatest moments in American history.

A bunch of ragtag college kids come together to pull of the unthinkable, beating the powerhouse Soviet Union team, who had won four straight gold medals before the '80 Olympics. 

It became apparent that it was so much more than a simple sports victory, however.

It was a reason for Americans to feel good about themselves, something that hadn't happened much in the years prior.

#15-- Juno

#14-- Eight Men Out

Even with its minor factual issues, "Eight Men Out" is still one of the greatest sports movies ever made.

The film tells the sad story of the 1919 Chicago White Sox, who "threw" the World Series in an attempt to earn some quick cash from gamblers. The team was severely underpaid by owner Charles Comiskey, who was known for being quite the cheapskate. (He made the Sox players pay to wash their own uniforms.)

Very few of the players actually saw any money, though. In a frightening array of double-crosses and death threats, the Sox did eventually lose the best-of-nine series to the upstart Cincinnati Reds.

The fix was uncovered, and the Sox players were eventually brought to court. Although they were exonerated by the judicial system, baseball commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis still banned the famous "Eight Men Out" from baseball for life. 

#13-- The Breakfast Club 
#12-- The Blues Brothers
#11-- Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

#10-- A Hard Day's Night

"A Hard Day's Night" captures the "Fab Four" in all their glory. (Although this card shows them during their "Help!" stage.)

Personally, I prefer the "moptop" Beatles over the later Beatles. Some of their best work comes from their later period, but I'm big on songs that are simply catchy. And that's what early Beatles songs are all about.

This movie has some of the greatest and most quotable lines ever seen in cinema. ("Stop being taller than me!")

And to top it off, it's got quite the soundtrack, featuring my personal favorite Beatles song, "I Should Have Known Better".

It captures a typical madness-filled day in the life of the four Beatles. All while having to look over Paul's "very clean" grandfather, who keeps managing to make trouble for the lads.

The film culminates with a typical Earth-shattering Beatles "concert", played to a bunch of screaming fans. 

#9-- High Fidelity
#8-- Dazed and Confused
#7-- Clerks
#6-- Monkey Business (Marx Brothers)

#5-- Superbad

Okay, I know this one probably isn't a favorite of many of the people who didn't go to high school when I did.

But let me tell you, it's exactly like what my high school was like. Or any other high school for that matter.

My dad says that "Dazed and Confused" paints a perfect picture of what high school was really like in the '70s. I like to think that "Superbad" is an updated version of "Dazed and Confused".

This is also one of the most quotable movies I've ever seen, but I can't really repeat a lot of the lines here. There's the whole "McLovin" thing, for one. 

The basic plot is three outcasts who have to get beer, go to a party, and, of course, chase girls along the way. But it also has a much deeper theme to it as well. Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera), best friends and the two main characters of the film, have to come to grips with the fact that they'll be forced to separate once college comes around. However, they have trouble coping with that fact, where it all blows up at the big "party" scene at the end.

(Spoiler alert!) They both "get the girl" at the end of the film, which means that their final summer together will be abbreviated with the fact that they both have girlfriends to deal with now.

Every time I watch this movie, I find myself wishing I was back in high school.

#4-- That Thing You Do!

Tom Hanks is one of my favorite actors, and this is my favorite film of his (which he also directed). 

It tracks the ever-so-short fame of a fabricated 1960's "one-hit wonder" group, who is fittingly called "The Wonders". Their song, "That Thing You Do!", skyrockets up the charts and garners the band unexpected fame. To put it in a nutshell, their singer gets to be a little too full of himself, which eventually leads to the breakup of the band, during which the members go their separate ways.

As Tom Hanks says in the film, "It's a common tale."

I've always said that the 1960's was the greatest decade of music.

These "one-hit wonders" are a major reason why.

#3-- The Big Lebowski

"Is this your homework, Larry?" 

"They've got some good burgers there, Walter."

Okay, this is the most quotable movie in history. (Again, I can't repeat a lot of the quotes, though.)

If you haven't seen it yet, please rent it. 

You'll develop a new appreciation for bowling, and I guarantee you'll start saying "dude" a lot more. 

There's not really much of a central plot to the film, only the fact that the main character, "The Dude", is tasked to recover a multi-millionare's kidnapped wife, screwing it up all the way through.

I could go on about this movie for a lot longer, but it's getting late.

#2-- Ferris Bueller's Day Off

I assume that most people have already seen this movie, so I won't go too much in-depth about it.

I'm sure we all ditched class at some point in high school. But was your day off as legendary as Ferris Bueller's?

I don't think so.

Another thing I love about this movie is that it's set in downtown Chicago, where I've been on many occasions. Every time I watch this movie, I find myself constantly saying, "Hey, I've been there! And there!"

#1-- The Sandlot

This is the movie.

All others pale in comparison.

This has been my favorite movie for as long as I can remember, and I doubt that will ever change. I'd guess that I've seen it around thirty times.

And it's always as good as the first.

Sure, the fact that it's centered around baseball is a major plus. But what makes it so great is that it captures what I talked about at the beginning of this post.

Savoring your younger days. 

This movie also has my personal favorite line from any film.

"You're killin' me, Smalls!"

Again, I'd guess that most people have seen this movie, so I won't go too much into depth. Because of this movie, I can visualize what playing on a sandlot on a beautiful summer day feels like. 

As a kid, I'm not sure anything beats that.


moremonkeys138 said...

With the exception of the two Marx Brothers movies (I haven't seen them), I have to agree that every movie on here is fantastic. With special exception to Superbad, Clerks, The Big Lebowski,Animal House, Dazed and Confused and Napoleon Dynamite being my favorites. Plus Juno and The Sandlot are two of my wife's favorites as well. Great picks!

Eric L said...

The Sandlot is a great choice for #1.
As for movies that capture high school, "Varsity Blues" could have been a documentary for my high school days.
Of the movies you listed, my top five would include The Sandlot, Animal House, Blues Brothers, Office Space, and Superbad.

CaptKirk42 said...

Pretty good list, there are only two movies of the ones I haven't seen that I have no interest in ever seeing, fans of those films will probably argue for their redeeming qualities to me till they are purple in the face, but I refuse to watch those 2 and they are Napoleon Dynamite (never interested in it at all and the lead guy gives me nightmares just looking at him) and The Big Lebowski even though people call it a comedy classic I just have never been interested in seeing it.

Dazed and Confused left me confused, but coming from someone who lived through the 70s it did get a bunch of things right on track. I think the whole "freshman hazing" stuff at the beginning was a bit far fetched but other than that from what I remember it was fairly true to the decade. I rented it years ago from Blockbuster on VHS before DVD renting was in full gear. I'll have to revisit it sometime because I'm a Milla Jovovich fan (she leaves me Dazed, but definitely not Confused)

night owl said...

I have a soft spot for '80s movies as that's when I was a teenager, so "The Breakfast Club" and anything like it takes me back. As for the more recent movies, there is a lot on that list I've never seen, and probably won't see as you get to my age and living in the past seems like the thing to do (trying to break myself of the habit a little)

The Baseball Card Snob said...

You wrote about eating at Denny's with your friends, well then you have to see "Diner", if you haven't already. That film will speak to a lot of people, it does to me. Good choices with the two Marx Brothers movies, especially Duck Soup, my all time favorite. Hail Freedonia!!

Nick said...

After telling my dad about my dinner last night, I swear he said the same exact thing. He said, "You should see that movie 'Diner'."

I've seen parts of it before, but now I'm thinking I should watch the whole thing!