Number 15: “The Social Network”

“The Social Network” coming in at Number 15 may surprise some people.  But anyone that knows me would not be surprised atol.

Throughout my life I have been significantly impacted by a great number of films.  Some artistically, some politically, and others philosophically.  I have come to understand there is something about storytelling that is very engaging and good at keeping my attention.  Something about setting up interesting character/s, in challenging situations and witnessing the outcome is so compelling I can hardly wait till the end and must binge watch thirteen episodes straight.  I’m looking at you “House of Cards” Season two.

But back to the movie.  This movie is insanely well done, a super cool compelling story that quite literally launched me into the world of entrepreneurship.  After I saw a bunch of “idiot” Harvard kids create a website that then made them into billionaires in a matter of months I knew I needed to throw my hat in the ring.  I didn’t quite understand the world of startups but it had this really exciting and adventurous vibe to it.  Something my accounting position for the government just didn’t contain.

I had recently read “The Four Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss as well and couldn’t have been bursting from the seems more to do something in this vein.  The way I saw it I was going to work my ass off either at a job or doing my own thing; might as well gain the maximum benefit from my efforts.

So after reading “The Four Hour Work Week” and seeing “The Social Network” I decided to move to Chicago and see what trouble I could hustle up.  Would I create the next great social network?  Probably not.  Would I have a shit load of fun and meet a ton of interesting people while doing what felt right in my core?  God yes.

I got to Chicago with $1,000 in my pocket.  I slept on my friends floor for about six weeks while slowly deciding where I would make my mark.  I did odd jobs on Craigslist until I noticed a trend.  I was above average at writing and enjoyed it as well.  One client in particular really liked how I ran their social media channels.  It was then I realized you didn’t need any products or money to start a social media marketing company.  Not even a website really.  You just needed people to pay you to do the job.

I was so sure of this I even convinced my best friend who was between jobs to join with me on the adventure.  And three plus years later I’m still at it.  Boy what an adventure it has been and continues to be.

But back to the film.  I love David Fincher’s style.  Everything is so dark and brooding.  You can barely see anyone’s eyes in his films.  Not to mention this movie is tight as a drum.  Typical Aaron Sorkin writing.

The fact that it lost the best picture race to “The King’s Speech” makes me dark and brooding with rage.  What will have a more lasting impact on our culture and art: a movie about a king from eighty years ago who gave a speech or a film about the catalyst for the biggest shift in our worldwide culture since the printing press?  If you’re a member of the academy you’d choose the former.  But being someone who was DIRECTLY INFLUENCED TO TAKE ACTION by this film I would choose the ladder.  You decide.

If you think “The King’s Speech” is the most important film to come out since WW2 then come on down to the Staged Reading of my Psychedelic Cyberpunk Film Noir screenplay “Mum Knows Best” on Sunday August 9th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Annoyance Theatre & Bar because we’ll be starting WW3!

Number 16: “X-Men”

Having grown up a massively massive comic book fan I was overwhelmingly overwhelmed to find out they were launching a live action, super legit version of The X-men.  Who were basically my favorite group of super heroes of all time.

From the time I was about six to oh around fourteen I legitimately thought, and hoped, that I would get special mutant powers.  From watching the shows and reading* the comics I learned that once you hit puberty that’s when your special powers began to show.  I was super stoked and would always dream what my powers would be.  Would I have claws and super healing power like Wolverine or shoot webs like Spiderman or just have wicked sweet and wise mind powers like Professor X.  In any case I knew my super angst filled life would be worth it as long as I got those sweet sweet powers.

Well I waited and waited and waited and waited and nothing ever came.  Though I did get some pretty sweet acne and an intense desire for members of the opposite sex so strongly that I couldn’t relax if there was one in the tri-state area.  So that’s kind of a special power.  Though not nearly the one I was hoping for.

So I didn’t get powers at fourteen but I did get the coolest, most legitimate, entertaining and accurate comic book movie I had ever seen in my long fourteen years. HOLY SHAT! I was excited.  Wolverine was literally Wolverine.  They built a comic book machine, went inside and kidnapped Wolverine to star in this movie.  Dude is legit! And carved out of ‘pissed off’ granite.

And the universe they were in was super legit, dark, and straight up real!  Mystique, who I’d never been a huge fan of, was the hottest woman on earth, Rebecca Romijn, wearing nothing but a thick smattering of blue paint.  And the film had wicked relevant social commentary about the race and sex issues in America.

The opening shot with a young Magneto being separated from his family to be forced into a Nazi concentration camp was so real and powerful it moved me to tears.  Which was difficult because I was a hard fourteen year old for sure.  I hardly let my Mom cut my meat anymore thank you.

The only issue I had with this film was Rogue, who was my goddess above all goddesses, with her perfectly proportioned impossible body, was played by this young, kind of regular looking girl.  WTF are you doing? Rogue is the hottest woman on the planet and she talks with a wicked sexy southern drawl.  She’s the ultimate beauty with a heart of gold and fists of depleted uranium.  She can simultaneously steal your heart and your life force with a single touch.  The ultimate off limits beauty; not because her dad or husband will get you but because her power will pull it from you until you die.  And she’s played by this young moody and normal looking chick.  Could not dig that unfortunately.

But they made it work.  And the combination of all my other favorite characters like Cyclops, Storm, Magneto, Sabretooth, and such, the film was so high in my ‘book of awesome’ that not even a frumpy Rogue could bring it down.

And if YOU get mad when your fantasy of all fantasies are played by normal looking ladies (or Men!) than come on down to the Staged Reading of my Psychadelic Cyberpunk Film Noir screenplay “Mum Knows Best” on Sunday August 9th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Annoyance Theatre & Bar ‪#‎Chicago‬https://www.facebook.com/events/875860632494808/ because the real and super hot version of Rogue will be there (she won’t be there).

*The reason I say “Reading” is as a boy I never had the attention span to really read many comic books.  I don’t know if it was ADD or anxiety but they were way more fun for me to collect and store away.  So when I say “Read” I really mean look at the perty pictures and read a few of the words.  It wouldn’t be until years later that I finally discovered the amazing and complex stories, character developments, and wondrous nature of these fine stories.

Number 17: “Jurassic Park”

Oh man what a flick! I honestly can’t tell you a movie I was ever more excited to see than Jurassic Park. HOLE EEEE SHIT! I was excited to see this film.  I was what eight years old when it came out?

Steven Spielberg said he wouldn’t let his kids see this film.  That made my ultra violence loving behind want to see it even more.  It confirmed my suspicions that dudes got straight up eaten in this movie. OMG was I excited.

Then I heard they were going to have a midnight showing on the Thursday before it opened.  I begged and pleaded for my Mom to take me.  I must have offered my very soul to her and she amazingly, and possibly for the first time in my life, said “no.”  I was stunned.  I was always able to “negotiate” for that extra toy or video game or even to stay home from school but now this relatively simple request of taking an eight year old to see an ultra violent PG-13 dinosaur movie at midnight on a school night was denied.  I was livid and would see to it that I was the one who got what was rightfully mine!

After exhausting my eight year old brain I came up with nothing.  My dad DEFINITELY wasn’t going to take me and my brother was 5 and an idiot.  So I asked my Mom what she recommended.  “Well you could call and ask your friends and family.”  EUREKA!

So that’s what I did.  I called every person whose number we had and asked if they would like to accompany me to the world premiere of Jurassic Park.  Now I thought my enthusiasm for this great film would carry me through and well past the finish line.  But would you believe it?  Not one of my aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, teachers, friends, mailmen, milkmen, grandparents, strangers, creepers with white vans, not one would agree to take an underage kid to see an ultra violent dinosaur movie at midnight on a school night. The NERVE!

So I did what any overprivileged young chap would do.  I sulked and bitched and wined and moaned until I eventually fell asleep.  I of course still had to go to school the next day and suffer while so many lucky fools we’re watching this amazing film.  It felt like the night before Christmas times the day before summer starts.

But after six miserably long hours that final school bell rang and I was off to the races.  My mom picked me up from school and we went right to the theater and saw the HELL out of that movie.

It was amazing!  Now normally as an eight year old, you see an ad for a toy, video game, movie, whatever and it looks AMAZING!  And then you get it, open the box and it’s just a fucking toy.  But this movie BO MY GOD!  It was better than my wildest eight year old fever dreams could have ever imagined.   It had the T-rex in full nineties CG end of the world screaming glory.  The wicked smart velociraptors (which if I may say is the COOLEST NAME FOR A SOULLESS KILLING MACHINE OF ALL TIME!).  And this crazy island filled with other dinosaurs and unsuspecting visitors.  IT WAS AMAZING!!

And as we we’re walking out we ran into my cousin Timmy (the only person I could not get a hold of in my desperate attempt to hitch a ride to the midnight show).  He was also walking out of the theatre.  My Mom said “Yo Tim! Wha’d ya think of the movie?”  To which he replied “Oh man it was even better the second time!” Oh so he must have seen an earlier show that day or something I thought.  “Oh yeah I saw the midnight showing last night.  Craziest movie of my life! I’ll never have an experience like that again!”

My blood began to boil and I imagined savaging him like my spirit animal the velociraptor.  But alas I calmed myself as my Mom informed him of my desperate search for a ride.  He laughed and said “oh sorry little buddy but I didn’t check my messages before we went.”

Just breath I thought.  Someday you’ll own a flock of Velociraptors and you can enact terrible vengeance (Just like in Jurassic World!). As we parted ways I made peace with the fact that I had just witnessed the greatest cinematic event of my eight years and likely the rest of my days.  I then proceeded to see the movie nine more times in theaters and countless times on vhs.  It was truly an amazing film.

And if you love dinosaurs so much you’d sit through a staged screenplay reading come on down to the Staged Reading of my Psychadelic Cyberpunk Film Noir screenplay “Mum Knows Best” on Sunday August 9th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Annoyance Theatre & Bar ‪#‎Chicago‬https://www.facebook.com/events/875860632494808/ because we’ll have a live dinosaur in the studio audience! (We will not have any dinosaurs in the studio audience).

Number 21 “Fitzcarraldo”(But Also “Men…”/”Aguirre: Wrath of God”)

The real title of this post should be my “How much I loved German Film Class my Junior year of college.”  Cause I never would have seen any of these films without that amazing little class.  And I never would have become aware of Werner Herzog, who outside of say Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, and Christopher Nolan is my MOST FAVORITE FILMMAKER OF ALL TIME!

The dude is the coolest MFer on the planet.  He’s got this wicked sweet german accent and to hear him describe the agony and the ecstasy associated with “Fitzcarraldo” is enough to make your head explode.  The amount of pain and anguish this one single person withstood to make that film is astounding.  I was so enthralled with the film I watched it four times.  Once with the regular english dubbing.  Then with the commentary.  Then with subtitles (Over German).  And then a fourth time in Dutch with subtitles because in the commentary he claims this is the truest version for some reason.

This movie is fucking mind blowing.  It’s all about the rubber trade in South America in the 1800’s.  The rubber barons down there had so much money they would feed it to fish.  Fitzcarraldo wanted to build a magnificent opera house in the jungle. But he needed to raise more money.  He intended to earn this money by taking a short cut on the river by transporting a giant steamship over a mountain.  So they legitimately moved an entire steam ship over a mountain to the river on the other side.

In “Burden Of Dreams” we find out all the insane terrors that went down during filming.  Herzog stepped into a mud pit filled with broken glass.  One of the crew who was chainsawing a tree was bitten by the most poisonous snake in the jungle and instead of waiting for the doctor and likely dying he simply chainsawed his own foot off.  And most wonderfully was his stories of working with Klaus Kinski.  An incredibly talented insanely moody and awful person to work with (Check out Herzog’s film “My Best Friend”) who is also Natasha Kinski’s father.  They made a bunch of movies together and Kinski is amazing in this film.

Next up on the German film class roster was a little film called “Men…” (German translation was “Der Men”).  It was a pretty dated looking movie from the 80’s, with dumb haircuts and dumber outfits but there was something special about this film.  It was unlike any American movie I had ever seen.  It carried true male emotion and vulnerability.  Something not really allowed in normal “American” films.  The main character was a typical workaholic who took everything in his life for granted.  One day he comes home to find out that his wife has left him.  He tracks her down and sees she’s now shacking up with a local musician.  Blind with jealousy he somehow manages to become roommates with the musician and hire him to work for his own company.  This could have gone many stupid and cliched routes but it didn’t.  It stayed on a path the was true, felt right, and connected with me something fierce.  You just felt like you knew the characters and could completely relate to what they we’re going through.  Can’t recommend this film enough.  See it if you can find it.

Last but not least, another masterpiece from my main man Werner Herzog “Aguirre: Wrath of God”.  Good God this movie is awesome!  And to top it off I was really into the Marz Volta at the same time I was into this movie so I decided to hit mute and crank up “De-loused in the comatorium”.  Wow did they go well together.  I’m not saying it’s better than “Dark Side Of The Moon” over “The Wizard Of Oz” but it totally is! Seriously give it a try sometime.

And if you enjoy German cinema than come on down to The Annoyance Theater 851 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL on Sunday Aug 9, 2015 from 5:30 PM to 7 PM for my staged screenplay reading!  And because Werner Herzog will be giving an authentic German accent lesson! (Werner’s not going to be there nor giving German accent lessons).

Number 22: “Apocalypse Now”

“Apocalypse Now” my favorite war movie ever that’s not really about war.  #ChrisTop30Films

I was introduced to this movie at a very young age.  I remember obsessing about the level of detail and the crazy freaky world of Vietnam in the sixties.

As a boy I was raised with the motto that America was always right, true, and for the good of humanity. Watching “Apocalypse Now” you quickly realize none of that is true.  We we’re out for number one through and through.  The amount of horrid catastrophes and unforgivable atrocities in this war is so high it’s almost comical.  And a perfect setting for a remake of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart Of Darkness”.

Which I have attempted and failed to read on three separate occasions (add/anxiety/lol).  That’s how freaking good this movie is.  It inspired me to go to Barnes and Noble.  Find this book (on sale for $4.99 what luck!) and then attempt to read it.  Holy jeeze this is dense and not really anything like the awesome, funny, violent, and insanely well made movie with which I was inspired by in the first place.

I can’t imagine seeing this film in theaters in 1979 in some run down theater filled with disco coke heads.  What an experience!  The projector, the color, the sound, the amazing characters!

And the story behind the movie is practically better than the film itself.  With the apt title “Heart of Darkness.”  Thomas Lennon in his book “Writing Movies For Fun and Profit” he says to watch “Heart of Darkness” and “Burden of Dreams” to squash any aspirations of wanting to become a film director.  I watched these films (loved them!) and was deeply terrified of becoming a director.  Definitely a wakeup call but unfortunately I still really really want to be a film director.

Anyway back to the film.  This movie is long as fuck!  A quick google search claims it’s four hours and forty nine minutes long. Good grief!
I remember buying the extended edition and being super stoked to watch it.  I popped it in and enjoyed the scenes I had already enjoyed.  Then noticed there was like forty five minutes of this odd scene with a french family who had lived in Vietnam for generations.  I was like “wow I’m kind of glad that wasn’t in the movie.  It throws the pacing all off and there is no payoff whatsoever.  It’s just some social commentary.  Which is important I suppose.”

I love the soundtrack to this film.  I didn’t realize it until years later but it’s just one song, “This is the end” by The Doors.  I was obsessed with The Doors for a few years in High school and college.  What a perfect song for this film.  Matches the tone and message perfectly.

My favorite pop culture reference among the dozens I’ve personally noticed is a later episode of The Simpsons when Marge referred to Marlon Brando, who is supposed to carry the weight and presence of God in “Apocalypse Now”, as “the comic relief.”  That never clicked with me until I saw “Heart Of Darkness” and realized Brando showed up one hundred pounds overweight.  Like WTF! How is that even a thing that exists?

And this was just like the umpteenth horrible obstacle to jump up Francis Ford Coppola’s butt during this production.  Truly my hat is off to that genius for completing this film.  What an inspiration.  And thank God he did.  Because this movie is insanely entertaining, genius, and brilliant.

If you want to be insanely entertained, become a genius, and maybe pat someone on the back for being brilliant than come on down to The Annoyance Theater 851 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL on Sunday Aug 9, 2015 from 5:30 PM to 7 PM.  I promise it will be a million times easier than making “Apocalypse Now” or “Fitzcarraldo”.  #ChrisTop30Films

Number 23: “Lost In Translation”

I love “Lost In Translation”! And not just because Bill Murray is in it.  Though he will be making at least one other major appearance in this list #ChrisTop30Films

This movie appeared to me at just the right moment.  It was my first semester at the University of Central Florida.  I was a pending film major.  Pending because I hadn’t been accepted nor was I sure I wanted to be accepted (more on that to come).

I was super gung ho about becoming a filmmaker but also super insecure about my work and socializing in general.  I could walk up to any girl and strike up a convo but talking to another dude or person of similar interest was bizarrely terrifying to me.

Luckily I had already met some really cool people in my freshmen orientation.

The leader of the pack was Mr. Michael Dennis.  With his last name starting with a “D” and mine with a “B” we we’re delightfully placed right next to each other in our orientation class.

I being the first to speak to someone new, always (because it’s easier than sitting in awkward silence in my opinion).  I must have said “hey man what’s up” or something like that and then somehow or another one of us muttered a Simpsons quote and the other immediately finished it.  Sparks flew as rockets launched, ships went out to see, and the ticker tape parade began.  It was best friends at first Simpsons quote.  And we’ve been best friends ever since. Twelve plus glorious years.

It was Mr. Michael Dennis who inevitably invited me to see this masterpiece of simple yet extremely complicated emotionally driven relationship cinema.  We had to drive all the far theater in a super nice area of Winter Park.  I being the wannabe lady killer invited a girl and we met Michael there with another friend from film class.  Phil I believe.

I had already heard amazing things about this movie.  At this point I didn’t even realize what a Bill Murray fan I was.  It embarrassingly wouldn’t be until 2007’s “ZombieLand” that I finally realized what a MASSIVE Bill Murray fan I am.  The dude is a god damn living legend times savior.  Love him!

The movie starts and I am just drawn in to the atmosphere and the location.  Tokyo is unlike anyplace I have ever seen.  It’s dark, crowded, filled with flashing lights, and quite beautiful.  There is a young girl who is just flat out gorgeous.  Like classy pin up gorgeous multiplied by Marilyn Monroe (who would later become the world’s sexiest woman Scarlett Johansson; go figure).  And then Bill shows up and he’s brooding!  He’s not happy go lucky problem free Bill Murray.  He’s problem filled Bill Murray.  And he’s fantastic.

The movie goes on like this orbiting their beautiful non-age appropriate and growing relationship.  And it perfectly elicits the excitement and wonder of every relationship I’ve ever had while on a trip.  Every girl I ever had a crush on and wasn’t sure liked me back. The dizzying highs when you are around them, the terrifying lows at the thought of them leaving, the muddling middles where you’re not sure where this is going or where it should go.

They both need exactly what they get in this movie.

I like to think they never saw each other again and just enjoy the memories and wonderful experiences they had together.  Cause sometimes that’s enough.

Bill Murray is fantastic in this film.  He’s super funny and just real.  He’s a real person with real feelings and he’s fucking sensitive about shit.  I’m so glad he decided he could do roles like this.

Whenever I’m in need of a vacation or an exciting fling I put this film on and enjoy our memories.

And if you want to make some great new memories to enjoy come to the Staged Reading of my screenplay “Mum Knows Best” at The Annoyance Theater on Aug 9th at 5:30 pm.  Bill Murray is gonna be there! (Bill Murray will 99.9% NOT be there). Here’s the Event Brite as well! 

Number 27 “Tommy Boy” (#ChrisTop30Films)

Tommy Boy! Where to begin.  This was probably my most favorite movie from like age ten to when he died two years later.

I remember reading about how all of his SNL cast members we’re worried about his hard partying ways.  I told my mom how funny I thought Chris Farley was and how worried I was that he might die.  She said I should write him a letter and tell him.  I thought that was a great idea. And planned on doing just that but video games and slight attention deficit disorder got in the way so I never did.

So maybe it’s about time I wrote that letter:

“To Chris,

From your biggest fan who is also named Chris.

I love your movie “Tommy Boy”!  I’ve watched it like at least twenty times.  Every time I find something new or just laugh at the same jokes and scenes I’ve always laughed at.  One time I watched it with my dad and he laughed so hard he kicked the popcorn up into the air and it went everywhere.  He didn’t even stop laughing to pick it up.  He just kept laughing and stomping his feet.

I’ve tried pausing the scene where that hot girl skinny dips in the pool and I’m pretty sure I’ve got it paused on her naked body but the shadow is really dark so it’s hard to tell if she’s really naked.  But it’s still awesome.

That song “Fat Guy In A Little Coat” is maybe my favorite song ever.  I sing it all the time!

You are my favorite actor and I’m worried about you.  I hear that some other SNL members say you are a very hard partier and don’t care about your health.  Well I’m here to say that I really care about your health.  Your comedy makes me so happy and forget all my problems.  I would be very sad if anything ever happened to you.  I hope you know how happy you make me everyday when I see “Tommy Boy” or any of your hilarious SNL characters.

I love you on SNL when you fall on things or yell.  Or when you we’re the lunch lady. That absolutely killed me.  I don’t know most of the famous people you get really excited about interviewing but it makes me laugh all the same.

And when you we’re the fat girl at the mall who was on the diet and then you ate the fries and said “Lay off me I’m starving!”  That was one of the hardest I’ve ever laughed.

Or when you we’re playing the wrestler “El Nino” and someone asked what that translated to and you said “It stands for… THE Nino” oh my gosh I’ve never laughed so hard.

I even like your other movies “Black Sheep” and “Beverly Hills Ninja”.  They are really funny movies and I’m even looking forward to seeing “Almost Heroes”.

My favorite scene from “Black Sheep” is when David Spade mocks you for saying “I got top bunk!” and then your bed breaks and falls on his bed.  You guys are such a good team.

Well anyway I hope you understand how much your comedy and performances mean to me.  They bring me so much joy and happiness.  My friends and I quote you all the time.

I hope I’ll be able to watch you for years to come.  Please stay safe.  I love you.

Love, Chris”

Yeah so it would have gone something like that.

But I never wrote or sent it.

I remember when they announced he had died.  He was the same age as his hero John Belushi.  I was twelve and I was on a ski trip with my family in Colorado.  I remember hearing it and I was just numb.  I almost wasn’t even surprised.  I had still been planning to write that letter and now I knew that I never could.

That was a hard day.

I’m sure nothing would have come from my letter but at least I would have tried to save someone I loved.  To save some beauty. That is a very hard reality to accept.

I wish I would have…

But on to the movie haha this is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time.  It is so damn funny!  It had Chris Farley at the absolute top of his game.  He was just coming off an amazing couple of seasons on SNL playing the funniest most energetic and memorable characters I had ever seen.

At ten years old I could not have imagined a funnier movie to watch.  I must have watched it fifty times.  Often back to back with my friends.  I could quote every line.

I didn’t realize it at the time but it may be one of the many reasons I moved to Chicago. And then once I got here I realized he actually went and performed on the main stage of improv Olympic and Second City.

One of my improv teachers at The Annoyance actually said “Chris Farley was hilarious because no matter what he was doing he always committed 100%”.  I try to think about that whenever I am improvising.  And though I don’t think I or 99% of people will ever match his intensity and hilarity I do hope that the next ten year old who is inspired beyond words and beyond pain by a performer will let him know.  And maybe that will help to keep some of the beauty in this world for longer than a couple seasons and a couple of movies.

And if you think that trip down tear soaked memory lane was fun wait till you hear THE LIVE READING of my film noir screenplay “Mum Knows Best” at The Annoyance Theater 851 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL on Sunday Aug 9, 2015 from 5:30 PM to 7 PM.

It will be almost as fun as watching Chris Farley perform “Fat Guy In A Little Coat”!

Fat-guy

Number 29: “Road Trip”/”Old School” #ChrisTop30Films

Ok I know, I know this is technically two movies but hear me out.  These movies have the same director, some of the same actors (Sean William Scott, Todd Phillips, and Matt Walsh!), the same writer, and they are both deeply embedded in the pantheon of great college movies.

Oh and I have been deeply influenced both comedically and life directionally by these two fantastically hilarious films.

Without these two unbelievably hilarious films I might never have gone to a state school, drank as much, or developed such an “open minded” sense of humor.  So yeah these we’re kind of important movies to me.

I saw “Road Trip” when I was a freshmen in high school and “Old School” when I was a junior and man oh man did they get me excited for college.  I had one thought in my mind and it was “dude don’t fuck this school thing up because no matter how much high school sucks you’ll still have four plus years of totally awesome college.  And if it’s one tenth as fun as Road Trip and Old School than OH SHIT are you going to have an amazing time!”

And as luck would have it I did not fuck that school thing up. Even though I was not the biggest fan of high school I still did what I had to do to get really good grades and a sweet scholarship to the school that most resembled the college experience in these two movies.

“Road Trip” and “Old School” showed me a world of endless possibilities, great friends, and the prettiest/friendliest ladies I had ever seen on the silver screen.  I wanted this experience more than anything I had ever wanted (and I got an N64 for Christmas as an eleven year old!).

This was a difficult concept to take in while still of high school age.  You see I was not the greatest with the opposite sex from ages let’s say 0 to 18.  I was pretty funny and could get some solid laughs but once the laughs stopped I was like “uhhh so… Do you like stuff? No? Ok… Gotta go! Bye!”  So that didn’t help to satisfy the urges.

But these two movies showed me relatively normal dudes who, like me, came out of their shells in college, learned a thing or two, and had the time of their lives.

From “Road Trip” I learned to always be up for adventure, be yourself, and the best times you can have are with your best friends doing something relatively stupid.  Also that you shouldn’t have a long distance relationship while in college.  Since I had no prospects coming out of high school this would not be an issue.

From “Old School” I learned that college is apparently the best time of your life and you should enjoy every moment to the absolute fullest.  Which I did my absolute best at.  If there was an attractive woman in the cafeteria, class, hall, sidewalk, video store, restaurant, Best Buy, football game, bar, neighbor, pool, driving, school clinic, friend’s house, etc I never hesitated for even a second to go up and commence conversation.  Even though I was still wicked anxious I figured, like these movies clearly displayed, there we’re plenty more where those came from.  I got rejected A LOT.  But I also figured out that I was a pretty good conversationalist and I was FUCKING FEARLESS!  None of my buddies would DARE go up to some unsuspecting girl and commence conversation.  So for a brief moment I was kind of the man.

Sure most of them didn’t pan out and I eventually succumbed to a girl friend during the second semester of college (big mistake!), this first semester of college was so heavily influenced by these amazing movies I wasn’t sure if I’d have enough time for Bed Bath and Beyond in the morning!

Ok back to the review. Since this is technically a review I’ll give you my top ten favorite scenes from these two movies:

10. “It’s so good when it hits your lips!” Frank – “Old School”

9.“Barry’s last name is Manilow… Barry’s name is Barry Manilow” – “Road Trip”

8.  “Please STOP!… OK keep going!” E.L. – “Road Trip”

Best college movie ever
Best college movie ever

7. “We’re streaking! Everybody’s doing it!” Frank – “Old School”

6.  “I was just calling to see if you’d be up for an entire meal of food.” Frank – “Old School”

5. “You know because it’s your dog!” – Kyle “Road Trip”

4. “But we will give nothing back to the community, and that is a promise.” Beanie – “Old School”

3. “Yeah I play golf on the weekends… but I hate golf!” Walsh – “Old School”

2.“Dear Mitch, if you’re holding this letter you already know. The house has been boarded up. The doors. The windows. Everything. We’re at the Comfort Inn. Room 112. I love you. Frank.”

1. (While performing the iron cross and smoking a cigarette) “Still holding! Still Holding!” – Beanie “Old School”

The influences from this movie weren’t all great.  One could make a pretty convincing case that these films with their slick portrayal of the college party life could have stunted my growth as an artist.  For years all I focused on was the bare minimum in class and the bold maximum in partying.

But alas perhaps that was instrumental in my deciding what I was going to do with the rest of my life.  Even with a pursuit as fun as “Drink the beer” and exciting as “Talk to as many women as you can” these inevitably come up hollow and you must search for something of more substance.  Which I eventually did ie My amazing girlfriend Sarah, digital marketing business, and pursuits as a filmmaker.

Anyway, SEE THESE MOVIES!  They have had a profound impact on my life, my story telling ability (plus the stories I experienced while being under the influence of these films), and my comedic timing. As well as keeping my mind fresh by quoting the shit out them whenever I have the chance.

“We’re at the Comfort Inn. Room 112. I love you.”

Chris

And don’t forget how good the PUBLIC SCREENPLAY READING of “Mum Knows Best” will be when it hits your lips at The Annoyance Theater 851 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL on Sunday Aug 9, 2015 from 5:30 PM to 7 PM.  Join us!

 

Number 30: “The Princess Bride” #ChrisTop30Films

To start the countdown of my thirty favorite movies of all time let’s begin with arguably the easiest movie to love “The Princess Bride.”

This is one of those films that I simply cannot tell you when I saw.  I feel like I was just born having seen it.  But it’s stayed with me in my lexicon of favorite movies ever since.

The film begins with a young Fred Savage, who is home sick from school.  His grandfather comes over to keep him company and read him a great story.  First of all, who doesn’t love that?  Getting to hang out with your wise and cool grandpa when you’re home sick from school. I can’t tell you a more relaxed and fun mind state for me than when I got to hang out with my grandpa.  And then he’s telling me an awesome story too? Come on!  Best day ever.

As the story unfolds you realize it has everything!  Action, romance, excitement, great characters, epically quotable and swooning dialogue.  Oh man I’m in!

It has a dashing Cary Elwes who is damn near as pretty as the gorgeous and fresh faced Robin Wright.

And the dialogue is so damn romantic and moving.  Whenever I’m at a loss for something to say to my girlfriend all I have to do is drop an “As you wish” and all is right with the world.

And that’s just the tip of the classic line iceberg: “Inconceivable” and “My name is Enigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die!”  So classic and so quotable!

I’ve always been a big Cary Elwes fan as well.  I loved him in “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” (used to rent it every time I went to the video store) and he was hilarious in the video game “The Bard’s Tale” (back when I allowed myself to play video games).  I don’t think he got a fair shake at the acting game.  Poor bastard even had to play the doofus unfunny step dad to Jim Carrey’s awesome dad in “Liar, Liar”.

But I digress, this movie is freaking awesome!  It makes me incredibly happy every time I watch it.  I think the core message, dialogue, characters, and set pieces hold up in flying colors to this day.

Not being a massive wrestling fan growing up (it was just boring to me) this was basically the only exposure to Andre The Giant I had.  And man did I love that guy.  At school we used to tell stories about him.  This was pre-internet so the origin and truth of these stories was unreliable at best.  But we didn’t care.  We’d hear a story about how he could bench press a car and then we’d add other elements when we told the next kid.  That he out ate Yokozuna in an eating contest.  That he could drink an entire keg.  And best of all that his best friend was a dwarf!

So I loved seeing him in this movie and hearing his booming impossibly bassy voice.  He was a super hero in my mind.  Larger than life.

Then top it off with the great character of Westley (Cary Elwes) who could out swordfight Inigo Montoya with his weak hand? Get out of here!  And defeat Fezzik’s (Andre the Giant) brute strength using only his cunning mind and quick feet? Come on now!  This is one of the best characters ever to grace the cover of a VHS.

Quick tangent: how cool of a name is Westly?  Answer: like the coolest name ever!  First of all it starts with “West” and second it kind of sounds like Wesley but there’s that “T”.  Come on!  I’m naming my kid that just for the sheer audacity.  Someone in his school will be like “Is there a Wesley here?”  And my kid will be real cool so he’ll wait a few beats.  “Uh if you mean Wes-T-ly, than yeah I’m here.”  Then all the young chicks in his class will start swooning.  Man that would be badass.  And then any girls that saw the movie would immediately assume my son was a huge bad ass, if they didn’t know already.

Anyway, after we establish what an incredible bad ass Westly is they almost immediately take away all of his power.  He’s this incredible character who can take on any challenge and then they just break him down so all that’s left is his mind.  Dude can barely stand up.

When I was a kid this always pissed me off.  I wanted to see him fight more dudes and kick more ass.  It wasn’t until I reached the age of slightly elevated film criticism that I realized they did this to show how deep his well of talent and drive to rescue the princess went.  This dude could not be stopped. They took away his body but that didn’t slow him down a bit! With the help of his new and awesome friends he storms the castle, defeats the king, and runs off into the sunset with his true love Princess Buttercup.  Come on!

And then like all great stories it ends.  We return to Fred Savage’s room and his grandpa closes the book.  Fred is so enraptured with the story he asks him to read it again.  I have never done this, and I don’t know why, but I feel like I could easily watch the movie again just like Fred Savage.

It’s that enjoyable of a film.

Now I could look up some trivia and other people’s analysis or it’s effect on our culture in general but I’m not gonna.  I just want to talk about how this movie made and makes me feel.  I have watched this movie with every girl I’ve so much as held hands with (probably).  And the girls who liked it the most, I have seemingly had the best relationship with.  My current girlfriend and likely life partner into infinity, who doesn’t really care for most of the movies on this list, fucking loved this movie!

Very rarely does she trust me enough to pick out a movie plus she hates any movie that could be considered “old” so for her to watch this with me and express her deep regards for the film just confirms how lucky I am to have enjoyed this movie so many times and to have her wondrous presence in my life.

All through my life I have loved this movie.  I can’t wait to show it to my kids, grandkids, and anyone else who will hangout and watch movies with me.

I feel it’s one of those movies that nobody was sure would be good.  I’m sure it looked great on paper but tons of bad movies have as well.  This movie was a shot in the dark that connected thru the bullseye of the bullseye of the bullseye.

In conclusion, go watch this movie right now with someone you love!  You’ll feel fully in the moment, connected and super stoked just like the kid making up amazing stories about Andre the Giant.

And if you want to watch me make up stories live come to my PUBLIC SCREENPLAY READING of “Mum Knows Best” at The Annoyance Theater 851 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL on Sunday Aug 9, 2015 from 5:30 PM to 7 PM.

It’s a Film Noir, Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure and it should be a rollicking good time! Plus free food and such.

As always, thanks for reading, and don’t forget to tell the important people in your life just how important they are to you.

Love Chris.

Tune in tomorrow for number my number 29 best movie of all time!

My Top 30 Films of All Time Countdown

Hey Everybody and welcome to the blog announcing “My Top 30 Films of All Time Countdown”.  You can use #ChrisTop30Films to tell me how brilliant/silly I am via social media.

Each day around noon I’ll be releasing a new film review blog in the countdown from my thirtieth favorite film all the way to my first favorite film.

Is this to celebrate the fact that I’m now thirty and can no longer drink, sleep, have sex, have as much hair, think, or overall act like I did when I was in my twenties? GOD NO! It’s to announce my “PUBLIC SCREENPLAY READING”. Click the link or scroll down for more info 😉

From this countdown you’re gonna get some action films, some romance, some drama, but mostly you’re gonna get ME telling YOU not only why these movies are awesome but how deeply they affected and literally changed the direction of my life.

Quick preview of “#6” Blog to come:

I saw my sixth favorite film of all time “Fight Club” in 1999 when I was fourteen years old. This film said very clearly “Hey! You will NOT be satisfied working in an office and should think long and hard about your many alternatives.” I was fourteen and already like “Man that office salary cubicle life is bull shit!”. And I didn’t even have to work for forty years or have a stroke to realize it. This amazingly slick propaganda film convinced me in vivid ultra violence that when the time came I should explore other possibly non-traditional ways to make a living. And I didn’t even need to start a Fight Club :B

So you’ll not only get my “expert” analysis of the film but also the deep and fun ways it affected my life.

How neat is that??? (crickets)

And if my math is correct the last blog post will come out on exactly the day of my “PUBLIC SCREENPLAY READING” which I am totally stressing and freaking out about.

But in light of my inability to withstand criticism of any weight directed at my chosen art I would love you to come watch the performance read by actual actors (how awesome is that?!)!

The reading is at The Annoyance Theater 851 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL on Sunday Aug 9, 2015 from 5:30 PM to 7 PM. It should be a rollicking good time!

Or if you are lucky enough to live in a place without the worlds weirdest weather (i.e. Chicago) you can tune in to the Periscope live broadcast and watch from the comfort of your own home. #SweatPants!

But either way you can RSVP at the Facebook event here!

We will have free snacks and the Annoyance Theater has a full bar!

Hooray!

So stay tuned cause I’m going to post a new blog errrday until the Big Day that is the Unveiling of my “Master Work” titled “Mum Knows Best.”

It’s a combination of “Blade Runner”, “The Maltese Falcon”, and “Inception.” With tons of other elements from the film noir, sci-fi, action, and comedy genres that I love so much!

But Chris aren’t all three of those movies like basically the same thing? YES, YES THEY ARE!

Well how is your movie going to be any different? I DON’T HAVE A CLUE! But maybe if you come you can tell me and we’ll make it better together! #TeamWork!

Well thanks for reading, I’d love you to come or watch from afar and join me in celebrating the best movies this thirty year old “man” has ever seen.

Love ya!

Chris “Praying This Screenplay Comes Out Remotely Decent” Brodhead