Ian McKellan

singing ringing tree

After all the thrill and adventure of The Desolation of Smaug, you’re going to wish there was more to watch. Well, there is, only it’s not necessarily more of The Desolation of Smaug (not until the extended editions on video, anyway). Instead, it’s other movies that I’ve selected as necessary viewing for those who’ve seen the new Hobbit movie. It doesn’t matter if you liked Smaug or not, because many of these titles are preferred predecessors and alternatives, anyway. Others consist of early movies starring prominent members of the cast or just movies that I was personally reminded of and have now made the excuse to share. From the very well known to the very obscure, the long and the short, there’s bound to be at least one title here for you to enjoy in however much time you have leftover following another lengthy trip to Middle-earth with Peter Jackson. This weekend’s list includes 13 titles, one for each of the 13 dwarves in the movie — though not every selection is necessarily tied to a dwarf. That was just my idea of being clever, plus the fact that such a long movie with a lot going on naturally got me thinking of more movies than usual. Check out my recommendations below and share any others you believe are relevant to mention. There are plot SPOILERS for Smaug after the jump, of course, since many of these picks are relevant to various parts of the movie.

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McKellen

It’s not enough that we already have three Sherlock Holmes TV series (that’s right, three- Sherlock, Elementary, and an upcoming Russian series) and Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films. As a society, we’re not running anywhere near our full capacity for producing Holmes-related media. There must be no stopping until we have entire world economies based around adapting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s works. Every TV channel, every theater and every bookstore will overflow with deerstalker caps, pipes, and magnifying glasses. Ian McKellen has the right idea. The actor has just signed on for A Slight Trick of the Mind, as an older, retired Holmes who investigates an unsolved case without the aid of Watson and with his famous intellect drifting away with age. Technically, it’s not actually one of Conan Doyle’s stories- it’s based off a novel originally released in 2005 by author Mitch Cullen, but McKellen fits so perfectly for this role that it’s more or less impossible to complain.

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Drinking Games

By now, you’ve probably seen The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and you may have stumbled out of the theater, feeling drunk from the effects of the HFR projection. Regardless of what you thought of Peter Jackson’s latest Middle-earth fantasy epic, you might be tempted to watch all or part of his previous trilogy The Lord of the Rings. This is a marathon session to endure, especially if you opt for the extended editions of the films, which totals close to twelve hours of movies. In short, you can start one movie with breakfast (or second breakfast, or elevensies) and be drinking your nighttime spirits by the middle of the second film. So whenever you plan on drinking during this batch of movies, there’s always time for this drinking game.

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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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