You can always tell when the holidays roll around by the plethora of “Top Ten” lists showcased on magazine covers, entertainment shows, websites and newspapers. It seems that within the world of “journalism/editorial” that everyone and their mom are coming out with quickie fluff pieces which rate, from one through ten, what to buy your girlfriend for Christmas, how to look stunning at your company party, and which type of friend you should ask to hold your hair back when said company party is complete.
I am no exception. At this point, its literally a matter of counting down the hours before I can unchain myself from my desk and get the eff out of here. So, for this edition of WWJCD, I’ll be following in the footsteps of the other vacation-bound columnists and enlightening you with my very own “Top Ten.”
However, this “Top Ten” will be served to you with a twist. Instead of showcasing what you should or shouldn’t buy for your significant others this holiday season, I’ll be giving you the “Top Ten Movies That You Should Have Seen By Now. Whether you choose to stuff one of these titles in someone’s stocking or dreidel is your call.
Top Ten Movies You Should Have Seen By Now:
(In no particular order of importance....because all of these movies are radtacular).
10.) Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure: Back before Paul Rueben’s spent his free time in darkened theaters and underappreciated in his latest movie roles, he starred in an amazing and fabulous movie about a boy in a grown man’s body (oh, the jokes I could type right now...) named Pee-Wee who launches himself head first on a quest to find the love his life: his red bicycle. After a psychic tells him that it can be found in the Alamo’s basement, Pee-Wee sets forth on his quest, meeting people even crazier than himself. Make sure and check out the “Large Marge” montage for some quality CGI.
8.) The Great Outdoors: When big city Chicagoite, Chet Ripley, takes his family out to a lakeside resort in order to commune with nature and enjoy a family vacation, his hopes for relaxation are dashed when they’re joined by his wife’s sister, her annoying husband (Roman Craig) and their two kids. After know-it-all Roman manages to single-handedly drive Chet insane, the real reason why the Craig’s crashed the family vaycay is brought to light. This plot doesn’t sound like much, I know, but when comedy powerhouses Dan Aykroyd and John Candy get together, good things are sure to happen.
7.) Mannequin: Back when Kim Catrall was hot, she starred in a movie where she played an ancient Egyptian somehow “placed” within a 1987 mannequin’s body. Going by the name “Emmy” (because all Egyptians sound like they’re named after characters from a Jane Austen novel) and falling in love with a common window display artist (Jonathan Switcher), Emmy helps Jonathan gain a smidgeon of fame and notoriety for his displays, thereby allowing him to keep his job and make enough cash in which to support Emmy for the rest of their lives (that last half was sarcasm directed at women who scam men into marriage. LOL).
6.) Strange Brew: Before Beerfest, there was Stange Brew. Following the intricate and complicated lives of Bob and Doug McKenzie on their never-ending quest for thirst quenching , life giving, beer. When some questionable activity goes down at the Elsinore Brewery, Bob and Doug find themselves knee deep in a conspiracy as thick as unprocessed hops. Why is this movie a must see? 3 words: renegade hockey players.
5.) Dune: This movie ‘tis the rad. Rival families, The Atreides and The Harkonnens are battling out for control of the spice mining operations on Planet Arrakis. When the Harkonnens pull off a semi-successful assassination attempt on House Atredies, Paul Atredies and his mother, Lady Jessica, barely manage to escape with their lives. Hiding out on Planet Arrakis, they find shelter with the Arrakis locals and Paul learns that he may be more than the average man.
I absolutely love this movie, and could go on and on about it forever. But I’m not going to. Instead, let me just recommend that when you check out Dune, make sure and watch the Director’s Cut for the full Dune experience (you might also want to read the books).
When three out of work actors are approached by some innocent and misinformed Mexican villagers to come to their town and “perform,” Dusty Bottoms, Lucky Day and Ned Nederlander think that it’s pennies from Heaven. Little do they know that they villagers aren’t asking them to perform on stage but in real life against El Guapo (the bad guy). Mistaken identities and cha-cha outfits only add to this movies underappreciated hilarity.
3.) Dangerous Liaisons: Back before the dishwater teenage version featuring Ex-Mr. Witherspoon made the Hollywood circuit, a quality film by the same name starring John Malkovich, Glenn Close and Michelle Pfeiffer created a decent amount of buzz, and rightfully so.
Two bored, rich aristocrats (Close and Malkovich) amuse themselves by meddling and destroying other people’s lives. When even this game becomes a tad tedious, they up the stakes by wagering against each other. The bet? Valmont (Malkovich) must seduce and destroy the virtuous Madame de Tourvel (Pfeiffer). The proverbial you-know-what hits the fan though when Valmont realizes that he’s bit off more than he can chew. Revenge, seduction, and straight up a-holery make this classic a must see!
2.) The Professional (Leon): Leon’s a hitman with a heart of gold. Having saved his twelve year old neighbor, Mathilda, from being killed when a dirty cop and his crew come to take vengeance on her family, Leon finds himself acting as father figure and friend to the pre-teen girl. Teaching her his profession and agreeing to help her get revenge on the dirty cop, Stansfield, (played amazingly well by Gary Oldman) who killed her family, things come to a head when Leon faces off against Stansfield...all for the sake of Mathilda.
1.) Sleepaway Camp: Back before stupid teenage horror films like ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer For The Fourteenth Time,” caught the imagination of your average 9th grader, there were some quality slash-and-hacker films. Most people instantly think of Halloween or Friday the 14th but forget about Sleepaway Camp. Easily a blood and guts classic!
The first (and best) of a series, Sleepaway Camp tells the unfortunate story of Angela, a shy girl whose family was tragically killed in a boating accident a few years earlier. Now living with her Aunt, Angela is sent to summer camp where she is viciously made fun of by the other teenagers. It’s not long before her taunters start dying off in brutal and mysterious ways.
**Note: It’s the ending that makes this movie such a joy! Don’t miss out on this one!
Hopefully this list will keep you guys busy during your holiday breaks. I am now free and plan to leave LA and head off to fun and frivolity in my hometown of Detroit. Yay. *sarcasm*
Have a safe and happy holiday season and I’ll see you guys next year!