The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Spaceballs Barf and Lone Star

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a movie where we could go on and on with relevant recommended titles. Its main hero, Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), is a guy who spent his first 10 years on Earth enjoying a lot of movies and music. He’s a good representation of many people his age who are still Earthbound, because he’s focally nostalgic for ’80s pop culture and is always ready to make a reference to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or some other property that existed prior to his abduction in 1988 by the space pirates known as the Ravages. In addition to the direct allusions spoken or spotted on screen (it’s cool that Star-Lord is familiar with a classic like The Maltese Falcon and apparently had an ALF sticker in his backpack when taken), the movie is highly influenced by past movies, with some big antecedents such as Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark being too popular to bother including. And of course Guardians of the Galaxy is also reminiscent of the many followers of those two George Lucas productions. As John Gholson notes in his spot-on comic-strip review, the new Marvel movie “has more in common with Star Wars wannabes,” as he features posters for four examples: Ice Pirates, Battle Beyond the Stars, Serenity and The Last Starfighter. On top of all the movies we could urge the fans go back and watch, this release had me wanting to also do a whole list of TV series to watch after you’ve seen it. […]



It’s pretty clear that Edgar Wright and his sometime co-writer/star Simon Pegg are movie junkies. Their series Spaced was all about allusions to their TV and film favorites, while the first two installments of the “Cornetto trilogy,” Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, were tributes to zombie and action flicks, respectively. With The World’s End, the homage and referencing continues. Even though the message of the movie is to move forward not backward, and even though it’s apparently a veiled criticism of Hollywood’s own nostalgic impulses, it’s okay for a movie this clever to have its influences and predecessors as long as the acknowledgment is through nods to the past works rather than a recycling or cloning of them. One key difference between what Wright does and what the remake/reboot machine does is he provides a gateway to older movies and the machine creates a substitution, a replacement. As a true movie lover, Wright is known for hosting programs of beloved classics and cult classics, usually in hopes of introducing his fans to stuff they’ve never seen. He also likes to name other films that have informed his work and are worth checking out either prior to or after seeing his movies. The following list is not all selections that he has credited nor that he would necessarily endorse. It’s a combination of some of his picks (found mentioned elsewhere) and some of my own, some obvious and some not, some great and some just worth a look for […]


Martin Freeman Short Film

There’s a great short starring Martin Freeman making the rounds this week, and I recommend watching that two-year-old film, titled The Girl is Mime, when you get the chance. But there’s another short led by the actor that I’d like to showcase this weekend in anticipation of The Hobbit. Way back in 1998, before Freeman was in Sherlock or The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or Love Actually or even his breakthrough, the original UK version of The Office, he had two small yet notable gigs. One was appearing alongside Doctor Who‘s Shaun Dingwall in Vito Rocco’s music video for Faith No More’s cover of “I Started a Joke.” The other was starring in the 11-minute black and white film I Just Want to Kiss You. Written and directed by Jamie Thraves, best known for music videos he’s helmed for Blur, Radiohead and Coldplay, this French New Wave-style throwback has Freeman looking very young and very skinny and actually quite goofy as a guy just hanging out with his mate and meeting girls and getting into trouble with his dad. The goofiness is a bit surprising if you primarily think of Freeman as the straight man of The Office and Hitchhiker’s Guide and other such gigs. I certainly don’t know of him doing a lot of voices and vocal sound effects and the sort of spry physicality he exhibits in the short these days. Yet it does fit nicely alongside his completely physical performance in The Girl is Mime, and though he’s […]


Apocalypse Sooner or Later

We all know the basic staples of the approaching end of days – zombies, aliens, nukes, robots, viruses, asteroids, global warming – all those good things. When a movie uses one of these go-to death-day scenarios we can’t help but to shell out the cash to watch it all go to hell on the big screen. However it takes some real brainpower to pull away from these apocalyptic norms, and when a movie does come along toting some hip new way for us all to die – even if said movie doesn’t pan out – you have to respect their willingness to get creative. Here are some movies that took a chance and gave us an end we’d never see coming.



I agree with you, dear reader. I don’t write enough about Doctor Who. And today brings me the unique opportunity to not only muse about my favorite Time Lord, but to combine it with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, another personal favorite. It’s a sci-fi insider’s inside joke, but I’m sure some of you will get a good laugh out of this little video.



We all love seeing the Earth blow up in movies, even if it rarely happens. We’re in this fight together, and if we all pitch in just a little bit, we’ll be able to witness the complete death of our Earth many times during our lifetime.


But will it toast your bread?

With the launch of the iPad coming soon, I have to ask a fundamental question about Apple’s latest gadget: Will it toast your bread while you slice it?


We here in the fancy, cavier-filled world of online movie criticism know that the phrase “Deus Ex Machina” is Latin for “He Who Smelt It, Dealt It,” a concept that can apply to the endings of a number of great films.

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published: 01.25.2015
published: 01.25.2015
published: 01.25.2015

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