Movies We Love

Movies We LoveIt stands to reason that Film School Rejects wouldn’t exist were it not for a love of movies. We love movies, there’s no two ways about it. In fact, scientific studies have shown that at any given moment of any given day, a member of the FSR team is probably definitely watching a movie. Movies We Love is where we go to write about some of our favorites. New or old, critical darlings and guilty pleasures alike. These are the movies we adore. And chances are that you’ll probably like them, too.

Updates Every: Wednesday

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Clark W. Griswold (Chevy Chase) just wants to have a good ole’ fashioned family Christmas at his place, but Karma (or some other unstoppable, twisted force) is working against him.

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Back to the Future

All this week, Film School Rejects presents a daily dose of our favorite articles from the archive. Originally published in August 2011, Kevin Carr celebrates a Movie We Love, Back to the Future. Fitting, as today is November 12, the 58th anniversary of the famous Hill Valley Thunderstorm… Marty McFly is just your typical high school kid who has his own rock band, rides a skateboard to school every day and wants to make out with his girlfriend in his own car on the weekend. He also has a inexplicably close relationship with zany Doc Brown down the road, but that’s all okay because that guy has just invented a time machine out of a sports car. After the terrorists that gave Doc Brown the plutonium to get the time machine working come after them with big guns, Marty travels back to 1955 where he meets his parents, accidentally stops them from falling in love and must find a way to get them back together before he disappears from existence.

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Jurassic Park

After building a theme park populated by dinosaurs, eccentric old billionaire John Hammond invites two top dino-scientists, a rock star chaos theory expert, and his grandchildren to come check it out. Fortunately for everyone involved, a horrible security breach unleashes the dinosaurs, and their lives are all terribly threatened.

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A murder mystery, a sci-fi action movie, a family drama = Tom Cruise… in the future! Why We Love It There’s been a lot of shameful Phillip K. Dick adaptations. From John Woo’s comically bad Paycheck to the just plain bad Next, Dick’s prolific work does not always receive the best of treatments. However, Stephen Spielberg delivered one of those best treatments. In the vein of Blade Runner and Total Recall, I have no doubt that Minority Report will be regarded as a classic one day.

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Your mission, if you choose to accept it… During an undercover mission in Prague, IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) witnesses his spy team picked off one by one—including his mentor and friend, Jim Phelps (Jon Voight). With the blame of sabotage and treason on his head, Hunt goes on the run to clear his name, entrap the real conspirators and deliver the perfect dose of tentpole bravado.

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Movies We Love

Around the year 480 BC, an historical battle between a group of Greek city-states and a bullying Persian army began in a mountain pass of Thermopylae (literally translated to “Hot Gateway”). This epic war saw the Greeks vastly outnumbered by the self-appointed god-king Xerxes, who had spent years overthrowing other city-states to build up his human reserve. See, Xerxes is a classy king. He likes to send messengers to each threatening city-state, offering to spare the citizens in exchange for the allegiance to him. Well, when his trusty foot soldier ventured into Sparta, a town known for their militaristic nature and tough, no-bull-shit attitude, their refusal to join up with Xerxes was never heard. Spartan King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) all but told the offending Persians to fuck off and kicked them into a deep hole. Just like Helena before him, this kick ignited the fury of both the Greeks and Persians. Leonidas organizes 300 of Sparta’s best men to fight off Xerxes’ army, each man wanting the glory of dying in battle to defend their great city. While they’re out getting all hot and sweaty in just tiny pairs of war shorts, Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) remains in Sparta trying to drum up support of the Spartan council to ready troops for war only to prove just how fierce Spartan women are when she’s threatened, assaulted, and almost killed by Theron (Dominic West), a senator more interested in power than glory. Two stories diverge in the course of Zach Snyder’s […]

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Ever fired your gun in the air and yelled, “Aaaaaaah?” Former college quarterback Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) is a rookie FBI agent in the 98th percentile of his class at Quantico. On his first assignment, he’s sent to L.A. County – bank robbery capital of the world – to bust the notorious Ex-Presidents. This unstoppable gang of thieves has hit 27 banks in three years, working with speed and surgical precision. Pappas (Gary Busey), Utah’s veteran partner, suspects they’re surfers. Obviously, Utah is going to have to learn how to surf so he can go undercover, get the girl, and bring the bad guys to justice. Whoa.

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Speed Racer is the young, hotshot kid that’s going to shake up the world of racing. With the help of his loving family and hot girlfriend (?), he’ll be able to stop the stock scheme of some villain and change the face of race car driving forever. Will Speed find the will to defeat some evil corporate schmuck? Since this is intended to be a kid’s movie, yes, you bet he will! Why We Love It: Dick Tracy + Sin City + The Matrix + The Wizard of Oz + Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory + Wall Street (yes, that Wall Street) + whatever visually eye-titillating movie you can think of = Speed Racer. This film is totally “cool beans,” and that, while featuring flavors of those movies listed, is its own colorfully bombastic beast.

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A man eating, woman mauling, child munching Great White shark terrorizes beach goers off the coastline of a quaint little beach front town called Amity. It would seem a no brainer the town and tourists would be warned to stay out of the water but there’s money at stake. The shark looming out in the waters of this coastal town threatens not only swimmers, but the profitable July fourth holiday. Chief of Police, Martin Brody, Roy Scheider, is more than a little concerned when he sees the remains of the shark’s first known victim washed ashore after the first attack. But the Mayor, Murray Hamilton, doesn’t want to hear it. Too much money will be lost from tourism if the public is made aware of the man eater hunting off of Amity’s coast. A marine biologist, Richard Dreyfuss hears about the Great White and comes to warn the town of the danger they face. He’s also more than a little curious to see the giant man-eater that’s on the loose.

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A young scrappy pilot, conveniently, accomplishes what a non-freakazoid Howard Hughes (played by the Terry O’Quinn) and a few lackeys at the C.I.A. couldn’t do: create a flying man! That pilot, Cliff, becomes that gold helmeted flying phenom. This comic book adaptation is full of Nazis, a vain and villainous actor, and an ugly as hell goon. What more could you ask for?

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“I don’t believe in magic, a lot of superstitious hocus pocus. I’m going after a find of incredible historical significance and you’re talking about the Boogieman! Besides, you know what a cautious fellow I am.” Anybody who has watched any amount of the History Channel knows that Hitler was obsessed with the occult. What this movie presupposes is that he probably lost the war because he diverted too many of his resources towards the doomed goal of acquiring the Ark of the Covenant, which in case you didn’t know, is the chest that contains the original stone tablets on which the ten commandments were written. According to religious hocus-pocus, any army that marches while carrying the Ark would be unstoppable on the battlefield, as they would have the endorsement of the good Lord Himself. So what does the U.S. government do when faced with the task of racing the Third Reich to unstoppable power and endless influence? They hire an archeology professor from Marshall College, one of the most rough and tumble adventurers in the world, to go out and find it first. They get Indiana Jones. The only problem with the plan is that the key to finding the Ark is in the possession of one of his ex-girlfriends, and she’s kind of a crazy drunk.

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After their university’s dean forces them out of their cushy jobs in the world of academia, parapsychologists Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), go into business for themselves. They eradicate specters aka bust ghosts throughout New York City. Along the way, they’re hired by Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), a woman whose apartment is haunted by a demonic, ancient Sumerian demigod—an entity that is far more powerful and destructive than anything the ragtag Ghostbusters have ever faced.

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“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” On a desert planet on the far edges of the galaxy, a young farm-boy named Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) dreams of leaving his meager existence behind to join the Rebellion against the evil Galactic Empire.  When his uncle, a humble moisture farmer, purchases two unassuming droids that carry coveted secret Imperial data for a titanic space station, Luke finds himself thrust into the war much sooner than expected. Together with the reclusive Jedi, Obi-wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), an elderly warrior who used to be one of many guardians of peace in the galaxy, Luke sets out on a quest to deliver the plans to the Rebellion, learning more about the father he never knew, his inherent ability to control the Force, the mystical energy that gives all Jedi their supernatural abilities, and encountering a motley crew of characters along the way including the displaced Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher),  self-serving smuggler Han Solo (Harrison Ford), his 7-foot tall furry co-pilot Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), and master of the Dark Side of the Force, Darth Vader (David Prowse/James Earl Jones).

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All this Summer, Movies We Love is transforming itself (by getting into a bikini) to celebrate the movies we love that came out in the hottest months. This week, we fall in love all over again with X2. “Have you ever tried…not being a mutant?” Synopsis After a solitary mutant who can teleport attacks the President, a secret military squad led by a man named Stryker (Brian Cox) is given carte blanche to find and capture the students and teachers at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. But the mutants, especially Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), recently returned from his trip to the North, aren’t going to go quietly. Instead, the team made up of Storm (Halle Berry), Jean Gray (Famke Janssen), Rogue (Anna Paquin), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), and Pyro (Aaron Stanford) work to seek out the squad’s base where they are holding the captured Professor X (Patrick Stewart). But the X-Men aren’t alone. Joining in the hunt is the telaporting assassin, Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming), Magneto (Ian McKellan) and Mystique (Rebecca Romijn), who have called a truce with the team in what may be an inevitable war with the human race.

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Movies We Love

You did it, godammit. They just invited us to dinner. Synopsis A small band of American filmmakers departs for the Amazon to document the lives of warring cannibal tribes. Two months after they’ve vanished into the so-called Green Inferno, a rescue team led by anthropologist Harold Monroe (Robert Kerman) discovers the documentary crew died at the hands of the Yanomamo tribe. Monroe retrieves the crew’s footage and brings it back to New York. The found footage depicts an orgy of shocking sadism – perpetrated by both the cannibals and the “civilized” Americans.

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Movies We Love

In 1999 a group of disenchanted cubicle dwellers, led by apathetic office drone Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) stood up against the powers of authority to bring down a company and take a little piece for themselves. Hilarity ensued.

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Movies We Love

“We have decided how sad it is for others that they cannot appreciate our genius.” In 1954, a murder is committed by two girls who have formed a deadly friendship. The movie opens with the pair running for help while Pauline’s mother lies on a garden path, her head smashed in. Juliet Hume and Pauline Parker became each other’s entire world almost from the time they met when Juliet moved to Christchurch, New Zealand. The two girls, both outsiders, are obsessed with singer Mario Lanza and attracted to the dangerous Third Man character played by Orson Wells. Hollywood is their Mecca. They retreat into a fantasy called the Fourth World fueled by their stories of the mythical kingdom Borovnia. In Borovnia they are royalty, living with the figures in their imaginations. In the Fourth World their favorite movie actors are worshiped as saints.

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Movies We Love

The year was 2005 and Michael Bay was looking to try something new… Sort of. He was looking to try his hand at a genre he had never attempted before, Sci-Fi. So what did he do? Why, he surrounded himself with some of the people that do it best, of course. Some of those people being Steven Spielberg, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. And what did the combination of these four titans give us? Why, Michael Bay’s only box-office disappointment but most under rated film, The Island. I didn’t have the opportunity to catch The Island until three years later however when I was first starting to realize my passion for all things Michael Bay. But even on DVD I knew that this was a special film. It was a film that contained a little bit of everything and yet managed to make it, it’s own.

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Movies We Love

“It’s the size of Texas, Mr. President.” Does it get any better than that? Of course it doesn’t. Armageddon is without doubt one of the finest motion pictures ever created by humans. If that snippet of dialogue made audible by Mr. Billy Bob Thornton himself didn’t convince you, maybe this will. “You think we’ll get hazard pay for this?” I’m going to pretend you’ve been living under a rock since 1998 and summarize one of the greatest summer blockbuster films ever made for you. So Billy Bob Thorton is sort of the head honcho of NASA and one day he’s supervising a standard in-space satellite repair when all of a sudden a meteor shower rips his crew to pieces. We then cut to New York City, which seems to always be the city that gets destroyed in big budget disaster movies, and sure enough the meteors tear through the city demolishing Grand Central Station, decapitating the Chrysler Building [insert Unstoppable joke here] and finally, in a moment fraught with unintended significance, the camera slowly zooms out to show the twin towers of the World Trade Center on fire. Then we’re treated to quickly cut scenes of people yelling and running through hallways and trying to figure out why Keith David keeps calling. Essentially, a giant asteroid is on a collision course with Earth and no matter where it hits, it will wipe out all life as we know it. Jason Isaacs convinces the President that the best plan is to […]

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Movies We Love

Serve the public trust. Protect the innocent. Uphold the law. Synopsis Welcome to Detroit, sometime in the near future. The city’s a cesspool. Its streets are overrun by homicidal criminals. Greedy industrialists, charged with protecting the common good, are bleeding the place dry. Enter Officer Alex Murphy. He’s an honest cop, freshly transferred to the city’s anarchic Metro West precinct. He’s also one unfortunate cop, savagely cut down the first day on the job. Not to worry. Thanks to the miracle of cybernetics, Murphy will rise again as the city’s most unlikely savior.

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