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

Movies We Love

“Ricky Butler says they’re nocturnal feeders.” Tom Hanks became pretty much the biggest actor in the world once he turned to dramatic roles, but I’ve always preferred him back when he was goofy. The ‘burbs represents the pinnacle of his goofy period for me, as collaborating with a great filmmaker in Joe Dante allowed him to craft a unique, outstanding performance that anchored a unique, outstanding horror comedy. In this movie he drinks a glass of orange juice better than anyone has ever drank a glass of orange juice on film. He traverses a set of stairs after being blown up more artistically than even Wile E. Coyote in his prime. He owns his character and the screen. The ‘burbs tells the story of a sleepy, suburban cul-de-sac that gets disturbed when a new family moves in. You see; they’re a creepy group of three men. They never come out of their house. There are weird lights and smells coming out of their basement. Their name is Klopek. What is that, Slovek? Sure, we don’t know exactly what they’re doing down there, but it isn’t normal. At least when the Knapps lived there they mowed their lawn. So, all things considered, it’s up to Ray Peterson (Hanks) and his cadre of suburban sleuths to find out what’s going on, and what they’re keeping down in that cellar.

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Movies We Love

The year was 1998 and Michael Bay’s Armageddon was in the middle of sweeping the box office and Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan was just hitting it. But in a cluster of giant blockbusters sat a film from acclaimed music video director F. Gary Gray. It was his third feature and starred Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey. Yes, I’m talking about that amazing action/thriller known as The Negotiator. Danny Roman is the Chicago Police Department’s best hostage negotiator, and seems to be on an unstoppable reign of high profile cases. But things do a complete one eighty when his partner Nate is found dead in his car. Danny is now the prime suspect in a case that goes all the way to the top. His only recourse is to take over the CPD’s internal affairs headquarters in an attempt to unravel the mystery of his frame job. His only demand? A fellow hostage negotiator named Chris Sabian.

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Movies We Love

Throw Momma from the Train (1987) The night was humid. Synopsis Larry is a neurotic writer who hates his ex-wife for stealing his book and the fortune and fame that subsequently followed. Owen is a simpleton momma’s boy who takes Larry’s creative writing class and who hates his momma for being old and curmudgeonly. For separate reasons, neither one of them is able to write a good story: Larry, bitter and distracted, has writer’s block and Owen, simple and naive, just has no concept on how to write well. To help out his student’s pathetic attempt at a murder mystery, Larry offers a simple piece of advice – eliminate the motive – that Owen unfortunately interprets to mean if he murders Larry’s ex-wife, Larry will return the favor by murdering his momma.

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Adapted from the Henry James classic of the same name, Wayne’s World traces a young provincial girl’s journey toward self-realization and womanhood.

Not!

(It was necessary that a “Not” “joke” be worked into this at some point, so let’s just be thankful that we’ve gotten it out of the way this early.) Wayne’s World is, of course, the film adaptation of the seminal, 90s, Saturday Night Live sketch about two slacker BFFs, Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey). The duo host a wildly popular, Aurora, Illinois-based public-access show, broadcast from Wayne’s parents’ basement. The film elaborates on this premise by giving Wayne a robo-babe love interest, Cassandra (Tia Carrere), and introducing Benjamin (Rob Lowe), a smooth-talking television executive who plans to exploit “Wayne’s World’s” popularity and drive a wedge between Wayne and Cassandra.

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Movies We Love

Body Snatchers (1993) Abandon yourself and join us. Synopsis Brooding teenager Marti Malone is having the worst summer of her life. She’s stuck on an extended road trip with her stepmom, little half-brother and her dad — an EPA agent. Dad’s assignment is to inspect military bases in the South. What he finds at his final stop is worse than any Superfund site: Aliens are invading the earth by cloning us out of existence.

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Spartan (2004) You need to set your motherfucker to receive. Synopsis Val Kilmer plays Bobby Scott, a selection member for an elite and very secretive branch of the military. His methods are anything but traditional, but his results are definite. When he is called in to help the secret service search for the missing daughter of a high-ranking government official (you can just assume that official is the President, though it’s never openly said), Scott soon realizes there is anything but a standard kidnapping taking place. Why We Love It In a word: Mamet. The story behind Spartan could have been handled with the minimal amount of effort put into characters and dialogue, and it probably could have still worked given a decent director and fine actors. This being a David Mamet films, you know you’re getting more than anything typical especially in terms of dialogue. The lines in Spartan crack like a whip and give you much insight into the characters who are delivering them.

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Movies We Love

“Isn’t it funny? You hear a phone ring and it could be anybody. But ringing phone has to be answered, doesn’t it?” I don’t think there is anyone out there who doesn’t agree at this point that Joel Schumacher has lost his edge. But before falling of the face of the earth with films like The Phantom of the Opera and The Number 23, he delivered what would be his last great film: The 2003 morality thriller Phone Booth. Stu Shepard is a publicist working in New York City, and he’s everything except a decent human being. From his wife, to his “girlfriend” and his personal assistant, Stu takes advantage of everyone and everything at his disposal. Little did he know how everything was going to change once he picked up the phone today.

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In the year 1984 a cybernetic organism is sent back from the future on a mission to kill a present-day diner waitress named Sarah Connor who will play a major role in the development of a war between man and machines in a post-apocalyptic future, because her son leads a rebellion of soldiers on the cusp of destroying the machines once and for all. The mentality is that in order for the machines to save their existence they must erase Sarah’s son John Connor from ever having existed and so they send back one of their own in order to kill Sarah before she can give birth to John.

Sent back by John to protect his mother from the cyborg is Kyle Reese who stands as Sarah’s only hope for survival against a tireless killing machine that will not stop until she’s dead and the future of mankind along with her.

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Movies We Love

In the immediate wake of high-school graduation from Generic High-School Hoops McCann, an aspiring cartoon artist, is searching for a subject for his love story. Believing he’ll never find inspiration in Generic he decides to take his best friend up on his offer to spend the summer in Nantucket. On their way to the island Hoops helps save a small-time musician, Cassandra, from some motorcycle thugs and begins a friendship that soon develops into a romance. When his new summer love interest’s home gets threatened by a rich family looking to expand their estate Hoops, along with his newfound nerd compatriots on the island, come up with a plan to save Cassandra’s home and exact revenge on their tormentors.

While probably not as well known as writer/director “Savage” Steve Holland’s other ‘80s teen comedy Better Off Dead I will be bold and state that this follow up is funnier. It makes me laugh harder. Better Off Dead is one of the most imaginative teen comedies ever and holds up extremely well to repeat viewings without ever losing any of its potency, but if I’m going to pick one off my dvd shelf to watch seven times out of ten I’ll grab One Crazy Summer for one simple reason. Better Off Dead does not have Bobcat Goldthwait anywhere in the movie whereas One Crazy Summer has him almost everywhere in the movie, and if he’s in the scene at all that scene will be funny – and I will laugh until I feel like I’m about to throw up. He invokes involuntary bulimia in me.

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Movies We Love

“Let me correct you on a couple of things, OK? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not “Every man for himself.” And the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up.”

In the late-1980s a motley crew of criminals – made up of a ruthless Cockney gangster; his sexy, double-crossing moll; a dim-witted (but not stupid) former CIA operative; and a stuttering, animal-loving dog murderer – teamed up to pull off a diamond heist in London’s Hatton Gardens. The plan was simple and executed with precision, but in their rush to double-cross each other, things got thrown a little off-course.

So much for honor among thieves.

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Movies We Love

The year was 1999 and South Park was the thing to watch that would really piss your parents off. The show was in the heyday of its controversial content, and displayed no signs of slowing down. A group of four nine year olds had changed the face of television forever. The only question was, where would they go from there? Show creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker answered the question that summer with the movie version, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. The movie was expected to preform OK, and meet critical pan across the board. But instead the film became a major financial success and was met with impossible to predict praise that even the Academy recognized. Unlike most TV to movie adaptations, this film didn’t just deliver a ninety minute episode with saltier language. No, what Matt & Trey did was something so amazingly out of left field, that all anyone could to was sit back and enjoy.

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Movies We Love

I am not a gun. In 1999, we had fully embraced the future of animation. Toy Story and A Bug’s Life had already put Pixar on the map and Toy Story 2 was due out before y2k forced us to recreate all computer technology (or not). Because not only were fully computer-animated movies coming out (in addition to the Pixar collection, Antz was another fairly celebrated film and the first Shrek was just on the horizon), they had good stories. They had celebrity voices. They had the backing of major studios who were turning what was once known as kid’s movies into a behemoth the whole family could enjoy and pay full price admission for. This is why a brilliant film like Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant largely gets forgotten.

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I’m robbing a bank because they got money here. That’s why I’m robbing it. On Aug. 22, 1972, would-be criminal mastermind Sonny (Al Pacino) walks into a Brooklyn bank with his two inept accomplices. The instant the robbery is under way, one of the accomplices gets cold feet and bails. Then, Sonny discovers most of money has already left the bank. Plus, the security guard is having an asthma attack and the tellers want to go potty. It’s going to be a long night. Why We Love It Remember Pontius Pilate? He famously asked Jesus, “What is truth?” Jesus didn’t answer, so Pontius was like, “OK, wiseguy. It’s the cross for you!” (At least, that’s how I remember the story. It’s been a while since I read it.)

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Movies We Love

Monkeys? You think a monkey knows he’s sittin’ on top of a rocket that might explode? These astronaut boys they know that, see? Well, I’ll tell you something, it takes a special kind of man to volunteer for a suicide mission, especially one that’s on TV. Ol’ Gus, he did all right. Ol’ Gus is Gus Grissom, the second US man to be shot into space, though his ride becomes tarnished when he loses his capsule, the hatch blowing before it can be pulled from the water.

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Movies We Love

Now you’re looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because, of course, you’re not really looking. You don’t want to work it out. You want to be fooled. In the late 19th century, the magician Alfred Borden, “The Professor,” is on trial for the murder of rival magician, Robert Angier, “The Great Danton.” What the prosecution is trying to prove and what the consensus seems to say is that Borden, furious that Angier had stolen Borden’s “The Transported Man” trick, drowned Angier in a Chinese water torture cell on the evening of his final performance.

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Movies We Love

“Brenda, I don’t want to lie to you anymore. All right? I’m not a doctor. I never went to medical school. I’m not a lawyer, or a Harvard graduate, or a Lutheran. Brenda, I ran away from home a year and a half ago when I was 16.” Frank Abagnale Jr. isn’t an ordinary teenager. Distraught when his parent’s marriage ends in divorced he runs away when told he has to choose which parent to live with. With twenty five dollars in the bank Frank finds the world a pretty cold place as a sixteen year old runaway, but by posing as an airline pilot with a fake Pan Am ID and uniform the banks open their vaults to him.

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Road to Perdition (2002) This is the life we chose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see heaven. Synopsis In the world of Prohibition and mob-ruled financing, there are none more threatening than the enforcers who come to collect. Michael Sullivan is one such man. He is a hit man for Irish mob boss, John Rooney, a man he serves loyally almost as a son. Sullivan’s family stay separate from his nights of enforcement, but, when his oldest son, Michael Jr., witnesses a murder by Rooney’s biological son, Connor, the tables turn on Michael Sr. He takes his son away, and the bond they form on the road becomes just as strong as the revenge building up within the wronged hit man. Why We Love It Director Sam Mendes broke onto the scene of feature film making in 1999 with American Beauty. He had directed a few TV movies before that, but his stamp was made as soon as American Beauty got its release. It won Mendes an Academy Award for Best Director, and amazing feat for any director on his first theatrical film. Three years later, he would return with a film that many consider an underrated gem and even more consider Mendes’ best film to date.

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Movies We Love

I said no food.  I didn’t say there was nothing to eat. Captain John Boyd (Guy Pearce) is a coward.  After inadvertently (and indirectly based upon his cowardice) claiming an opposing stronghold during the Mexican-American War, he is relocated for his actions to an outpost in Sierra Nevadas.  There, he finds himself second in command of a rag-tag group of eccentric, fellow soldiers.  Things take a turn for the eerie when a stranger (Robert Carlyle), half-famished and near death, arrives at their door.  The stranger tells them of a lost wagon train he was a part of, and the unspeakable horrors the group resorted to in order to survive.  The soldiers take it as their duty to seek out the lost wagon train but not before their Native American guide explains to them the power of the Wendigo.  It is a myth that whoever partakes in the flesh of man will gain that person’s strengths and could very well become consumed with this cannibalistic act.  Horror and yes, a little bit of comedy ensue.

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Movies We Love

Abashed the devil stood / And felt how awful goodness is. It’s Devil’s Night in Detroit and the urban sprawl is in flames. Year after year the night before Halloween is known for the destruction brought upon by the gangster Top Dollar and his hired hands. Nothing goes down in the Motor City without Top Dollar’s say so and when the tenants of a particular apartment building refuse an edict to vacate, he sends a crew down to deliver a message.

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Movies We Love: Big

It can be tough to be a kid. That’s what 12 year old Josh Baskin learns when he’s told he’s too small to get on a ride at a fair. This is especially humiliating because he’s told he’s too short in front of the girl he has a crush on.

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