Rank ’em: Christian Bale Films

Aside from Howl’s Moving Castle (which is animated anyway, so it doesn’t count), I realized that I’ve seen every single one of Christian Bale‘s films since the year 2000; in which he finally made a name for himself with American Psycho. I have seen a couple of his pre-millennium works, but other than Empire of the Sun (which I don’t really love), there isn’t much to write home about. But since American Psycho, there have been some bona fide ‘new classics’ in the filmography (and admittedly some garbage).

Many faces of Christian Bale

So here is a ranked list of all films that star Christian Bale post-1999 (ranked by film quality, not performance quality):

15) Shaft (2000)
14) Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001)
13) Reign of Fire (2002)
12) Harsh Times (2005)
11) 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
10) The Machinist (2004)
9) Equilibrium (2002)
8 ) The Prestige (2006)
7) Batman Begins (2005)
6) The Dark Knight (2008)
5) Laurel Canyon (2002)
4) I’m Not There (2007)
3) Rescue Dawn (2006)
2) The New World (2005)
1) American Psycho (2000)

Rank ‘Em: Robert Downey Jr. Films

A little older. A little wiser.

Since this is officially The Summer of RDJ, let’s get a little discussion going on the man and his movies. Everybody knows about his run-ins with the law, the times he spent in prison, his career being all but over after being given so many chances. Some of these younger folk that are now beginning to idolize him this summer don’t realize that Robert Downey Jr. has been prevalent in the business since the mid-80s (did you know he even spent a season on Saturday Night Live in 1985?). Decades from now, we’re going to see a biopic made of this man and all of his struggles, because really, he is one-of-a-kind.

So, without further ado, here’s my top ten.

Would you like to know more…?

Rank ‘Em: Kevin Smith Films

Kevin SmithJust finishing up watching the film, An Evening with Kevin Smith. If you don’t know, the film is basically just a bunch of edited together clips of Kevin Smith speaking in a Q&A format at different college campuses around the country. While it isn’t edited together particularly well (very obviously questions asked at one University and then the question answered by Smith at another location), it doesn’t really matter as Smith’s answers are generally not really answers, but very entertaining, interesting, pretty damn funny and… long stories. Particularly his story about the time he was asked to write the Superman script for Warner Brothers. Seriously, the guy could be a stand-up comic. Maybe he should be.

Anyway, I decided on two things after finishing the movie. (1) Don’t try to be funny when stepping up to the mic before Kevin Smith. He’ll eat you up and spit you out. Even if you’re not trying to be funny, he seems to like to make jokes and put people down in a public format; even if those people are his fans. (2) Smith hasn’t really made that many movies and I’ve seen them all. So what a great idea for an volume of “rank ’em.” If for no other reason than to take jabs for not think Chasing Amy is all that great or poignant. So here they are… all of Kevin Smith’s directed films in order of my least favorite to most favorite.

7) Mallrats
6) Jersey Girl
5) Chasing Amy
4) Clerks II
3) Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
2) Dogma
1) Clerks.

It seems that the more juvenile the film is, the more I like it. Except Mallrats. Aside from a couple of moments, I think that movie is just stupid. To be fair, 1-4 are pretty much interchangeable. I think all those movies are about equal in terms of laughs. So there it is. Go to town with it.

Who is Your Favorite New Line?

NewLine LogoWith New Line Cinema recently being folded into its parent corporation and its founders being put to pasture after 40 years of running the company (!), I thought I’d offer out the question of what the row three folks favourite New Line offering is. But that may be putting the cart before the horse. Do folks out there pay attention to studio logos at the front of their films? (I’m asking you). In the early 1990s, seeing the Miramax logo pop up often meant something, same with the early 2000s with Lionsgate. I still get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I see the Focus Features logo, and lately Paramount Vantage has rocked, but I get cold and uncomfortable (usually) upon seeing many Sony Screen Gems features.

Anyway, New Line seemed to be all over the place in their projects. Certainly their early claim to fame was the Nightmare on Elm Street films then the Austin Powers franchise before culminating with the Lord of the Rings Trilogy where it made history in terms of how to shoot expensive blockbusters, how to film a large book or series, how to keep putting out Special Editions (OK, that trick was taken from George Lucas) and ultimately how to get everyone on your back through bad accounting and dirty pool.

But I digress. New Line may not have exactly been high brow as studios go, but they were more or less independent and autonomous for most of their 40 year life. The studio spanned the range from John Waters scat-spliotation to the Pleasantville; Evil Dead to Glengarry Glen Ross; The Hidden to The New World; and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Boogie Nights (and lets not forget the glorious Critters franchise!).

Here are three of my favorites:

Dark City
Dark City Still

Birth Still

Magnolia Still

Rank ’em: Characters from “Heroes”

Heroes cast

While I don’t want to turn this into a television blog, I had a fun idea for a “Rank ‘Em” post this morning. So here’s the deal, I was thinking about making a ranked list of my favorite characters from “LOST.” Then I realized that I still haven’t posted my “LOST” Discussion thread yet (because I haven’t figured out a way to keep it spoiler free in the recent comments section on the right hand side of this page). Eventually it’ll get done though and I don’t want two “LOST” posts. So then I got to thinking that a way better list would be for me to revel in my recent love of “Heroes.” This is the perfect show to talk about who your favorite characters are and why. With all of their most triumphant super powers, it’s easy for everyone to have a favorite or two.

Here’s the movie tie-in just so I feel justified to my co-writers in posting this. You know all the comic book movies you pay $10 to see at the theater and they all suck ass (Spider-Man, Hulk, Superman, Batman & Robin, etc)? This show more than makes up for all those with its fun characters and interesting storyline. It’s the comic book movie that never was. For Free. On TV.

Anyway, I’m only through season 2 of the show, so here is a ranked (NON spoilerific) list of almost all of the main characters throughout the first two seasons. Criteria: They must have been on at least 5 episodes and, with the exception of two choices (#1 and #15), they must have super-powers…

1) Noah Bennet – Ironic that my favorite character is non-superpowerific. This guy is bad ass as he seems to be able to hold his own against any of the others. He’s mysterious and a family man at the same time. And he has style to boot. I seriously dig those glasses.

2) Hiro Nakamura – Though his role got a bit predictable, I like his fun (bordering on annoying) attitude towards life and his “mission.” Plus in the very beginning of the series, we get to see what Hiro ultimately becomes: a wicked warrior.

3) Peter Petrelli – He’s got an aura of coolness about him, despite the weird facial “tweak” to his right side. Plus, of all the super powers you could be gifted with, it’s pretty obvious why his is easily the best.

4) Maya Herrera – She’s super hot. The black tears of death are pretty rad too though.

5) Nathan Petrelli – Peter’s older brother. Though he’s a dick politician, at least we know where we stand with him… not on the ground.

6) Sylar – Your show is only as good as your villain. Sylar rips balls. Though he’s a coward at heart, with all that power backing him up he’s damn near unstoppable.

7) Matt Parkman – The guy on the show I would want to sit and have a beer with. Well… as long as he turned off his mind reading ability for a little while.

8 ) Monica Dawson – Though I haven’t spent a lot of time with this character yet, I think her power is AWESOME. I’d spend a load of time watching TV and internet stuff if I had her power. You go girl!

9) Elle Bishop – Always happy to have more Kristin Bell (Veronica Mars, Deadwood) in my TV viewing. Remember Raiden from the Mortal Combat game? He ain’t got nothin’ on Elle.

11) Claud – Invisible. Nice. Plus he gets bonus points for being in “Dr. Who” and 28 Days Later.

12) Claire Bennet – Again, hotness factor is always a plus. I would also say her power is one of the better ones to have. Though not very offenseive, it is a mighty fine defenseive power.

13) Micah Sanders
14) The Haitian
15) Mohinder Suresh
16) West Rosen
17) Niki Sanders (aka Jessica)
18) Adam Monroe
19) D.L. Hawkins
20) Molly Walker – an annoying character. Despite how important her power is in the shows story arc, it’s not the power I would choose.
21) Alejandro Herrera – not exactly sure what his deal is yet, but he’s obviously important.
22) Isaac Mendez – Yay. You can paint.

I believe that’s all of them. Honorable mention goes to Mr. Linderman (who breaks the rules of my criteria, but I do like him for obvious reasons).
Anyone else watch this show? Who’s your favorite character(s)?


Rank ’em: Paul Thomas Anderson Films

Alright, an easy one today. After my revisiting of PT Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love last night and with There Will Be Blood getting massive critical acclaim and Oscar nods, I thought it appropriate today to rank PT Anderson’s directorial films.

PT Anderson in my opinion is maybe the best American director working today; certainly in the top 5 anyway. He seems to be very versatile with a perfect eye for cinema. It’s unfortunate he only releases a film once every fifth blue moon. On the other hand, maybe that’s why his films are so great – he takes the time to craft them to what he wants them to be. Not what Hollywood thinks they should be. Anyway, on to the list…

This is not including his TV stuff or the early, short works that later became films (Cigarettes and Coffee or The Dirk Diggler Story).

5) Hard Eight
3) tie: Punch Drunk Love
3) tie: There Will Be Blood
2) Magnolia
1) Boogie Nights


Rank ’em: Cameron Crowe Films

Cameron CroweBecause the early part of the year is devoid of real quality films to discuss and news has been slow lately, I’ve decided to put together a new feature here at RowThree called “Rank ’em.” Yes, it’s really just another excuse for me to make lists, but this is slightly different in that it’s not necessarily a top 5 or a top 10. It will be ranking various film elements or directors or whatever else I can think of.

So my friend (and regular reader) emails me the other night raving about how he just saw Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown (my review) and how much he loves it. He then proceeded to rank all the Cameron Crowe films for me in his flawed opinion. So I decided not only would I also rank them, I’d start a new feature here that I can easily put together in a short amount of time and quite often. Anyway

Here are the six films (I haven’t seen the Tom Petty thing he did) that Cameron Crowe has directed ranked by my preference:

6) Elizabethtown
– – I hate Orlando Bloom, but this picture definitely has its moments.

5) Singles
– – Cute, quirky take on twenty-somethings coping with life. Unfortunately it’s a bit dated with the whole Seatlle grunge thing as a back-drop.

4) Say Anything
– – One of my favorites from my youth. And of course John Cusack in his prime.

3) Jerry Maguire
– – Being up for best picture at the Oscars was pushing it, but I’ve grown to love this movie; despite pucker-face and Cruise’ antics as of late. Let’s be honest though, this movie is all about the cute kid and Cuba Gooding Jr when I thought he had a promising career.

2) Vanilla Sky
– – Probably a devisive choice and a film I didn’t care much for coming out of the theater. But on repeat viewings, this movie has really grown on me and eventually crept into my top 100 of all time. Oh yeah, and the Penelope factor helps too.

1) Almost Famous
– – One of my favorite movies of all time. Great characters, great dialogue, nice setting for a story and has maybe my favorite scene of all time as well.

So that’s it. Looking forward to throwing more of these together in the future. Maybe next I’ll dive into something a little more expansive and rank all of the Michael J. Fox movies. Yeah.