Top 10… Michael Shannon Films

I recently appeared on the As You Watch podcast with Nick of the Cinematic Katzenjammer and Vern of Vern’s Video Vangaurd [sic] and Vern’s Video Vortex (unfortunately their co-host, Joe of Two Dude Review, was unable to make it). The show, which was a ton of fun, was dedicated to one of my favourite actors working today, Michael Shannon. We each gave our top 3 Michael Shannon performances, but I felt that didn’t scratch my Shannon itch, so I’ve compiled my list of his films instead. This is a completely different list to that of the podcast (though there’s some crossover) so be sure to check the podcast out on the link above.
00 Man of Steel
Why is Shannon one of my favourite actors? Well, he’s really great at playing complex characters – usually ones that are either potentially insane or devoted and driven by some moral compass that leads to powerful, passionate performances from even his smallest roles. He improves anything he’s involved with – even disappointing efforts like Man of Steel, and is always an interesting presence on screen. Now remember, this is a list of his best films, not necessarily his best roles, he just happens to be in them somewhere… Continue reading

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Top 10… Breakfast Scenes

As I mentioned the other day, I recently started writing for French Toast Sunday, so to celebrate here’s a top 10 list of my favourite movie scenes involving breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day, and as such it’s been widely represented within film. Here’s my run-down of the top scenes that take place at breakfast-time:

Honourable Mention: Falling Down
breakfast1I’m not a massive fan of Joel Schumacher’s love letter to the working class, but I will admit that it’s buzz-cut head and shoulders above the rest of Schumacher’s work. Michael Douglas plays D-Fens, a seemingly normal engineer who, during one normal morning commute, suddenly snaps and goes on a rampage across Los Angeles, taking to justice a myriad of issues that plague the existence of him and the white collar guys he works with. I’m fine with this, as the points he makes are ones I’ve thought myself, but my issue comes at the end [SPOILER ALERT] when he is caught by Officer Prendergast (Robert Duvall), and it is revealed that D-Fens is actually a crazy person, thereby implying that I, having agreed with him thus far, am also crazy. Anyway, the breakfast scene. One of the first stops of his journey sees D-Fens attempting to acquire some sustenance to fuel his quest, and he opts to do so at fast food restaurant Whammy Burger, and orders his breakfast, but unfortunately they’ve just switched to the lunch menu three and a half minute ago, so he’s out of luck. This displeases Fens, so he pulls a gun, accidentally fires it into the ceiling, and couldn’t you know it suddenly the staff become a little more co-operative. However, the burger he receives looks nothing like the picture on the menu. This kind of thing has always irked me – thought I try to eat less fast food these days – but technically Fens doesn’t actually have any breakfast, hence why this is only an honourable mention. I could have gone with the french toast scene in Road Trip (which makes me nauseous just thinking about it), or the never-ending sea of grease that is Pleasantville’s breakfast scene, or when Jack Nicholson tells a waitress to hold the chicken between her knees in Five Easy Pieces, but I opted for Falling Down, because Douglas gives such a great performance. Continue reading

Top 5… Bill Murray Films

It’s Bill Murray’s birthday! The guy is a prime contender for a future Film-Makers Career Review, but until I see all of his work, here’s my favourite of his films. Now, in my looking back at his career I noticed Murray has tended towards two kinds of roles, leads/major parts, or brief cameos, so I’ve made two lists to celebrate this fact:

5a. Caddyshack
I’m fairly sure the main reason this film is remembered as a comedy classic – by me at least – is because of Murray’s breakthrough role as the deranged gopher-hunting groundskeeper Carl Spackler. His scene in his shed, talking to the little clay models of squirrels and rabbits he intends to use to destroy the golf course terrorising rodent is just wonderful, even if the gopher himself looks like one of the worst puppets ever put on screen.

5b. Get Smart
OK, so the film is pretty terrible, but Murray’s cameo as the tree-dwelling lonely sad sack Agent 13 in this lacklustre spy reboot is one of the few watchable moments, and came as such a surprise to me when I watched the film that it almost made the experience worthwhile. Almost.

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