Top Ten Guilty Pleasure Movies

This was a confusing list to make. It’s one I’ve been wanting to make for a while, but I just wasn’t completely sure how to go about it. I don’t actually even like the title of the list because I certainly don’t feel guilty about loving these movies, I just do. As I stated before, this was a confusing list to make. That’s because I wasn’t quite sure where to draw the line between the masterpieces I call the best and the movies I love regardless of their flaws.

Making this list helped me realize that, in terms of movies, when you like the big picture, you’ll almost always look past any slight flaws because you’re enjoying yourself and vice-versa, when you don’t like a movie you’re going to look for flaws. At the end of the day, this is simply a list of  movies I love  that don’t hold a candle artistically and thematically to the many movies I would call my favorites.

10. Saw Saga

If I were to feel guilty about enjoying a movie (or series for that matter), I would probably feel guilty about enjoying the Saw movies. Of course the first one is my favorite, but I’m actually a big fan of the entire story. For some reason I really enjoyed watching the whole complex story pan out. It is the horror series of my generation and it entertains me to no end.

9. Star Trek

Star Trek is the newest film on this list and while I love most of these movies because of nostalgic reasons, that didn’t play a part with Star Trek. I had never seen anything Star Trek before this movie and I wasn’t expecting much, but with this new Star Trek film I was blown away. It was fun, exciting and everything just worked.

8. Sin City

By essentially recreating the panels of Frank Miller’s original stories Sin City tells a fast-paced collage of intertwining tales of brutality, crime, lust, etc. Like all of the movies on this list, I could pick up and watch Sin City any second and be whole-heartedly entertained. I might just add that, visually, this may be my favorite movie.

7. The Punisher

This is the movie that inspired me to make this list. After watching it recently I realized that every once in a while I should definitely take a break from what I see as art and just watch a movie and enjoy. Watching The Punisher again was like watching a combination of Batman Begins, Gladiator and Unforgiven. It doesn’t reach the amazing levels of those movies, but it is fun as hell.

6. Hot Fuzz

I was a big fan of Edgar Wright’s latest film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and I absolutely love Shaun of the Dead, but I don’t enjoy either of those films as much as I enjoy Hot Fuzz. The give and take of Nick Frost and Simon Pegg is ridiculous and when you match that with the great satire on cliché action movies what you get is a fantastic time through and through.

5. The Matrix Trilogy

From this point on, this list was nearly impossible to make. When I came up with the idea to make a list out of my top ten favorite guilty pleasure movies, the movies from five on came almost immediately to mind. I’m obsessed with The Matrix Trilogy, and I’d like to emphasize “Trilogy”. Like everyone, I’m a huge fan of the first and how it showed what an action movie could be, but I also love both sequels and The Matrix Revolutions holds a special place in my heart. I might even call it my favorite.

4. Death Proof

Quentin Tarantino is one of my favorite director’s to have ever made a movie. While Death Proof is no Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds or Pulp Fiction, I still can’t help the fact that I always feel the need to pick it up and watch it again because of how much I enjoy every single moment. No one writes dialogue as well as Tarantino and its just as good here, then there’s Kurt Russell as the awesome villain, Stuntman Mike and a fantastic two-part set up that builds to one of the greatest car chases in film.

3. Casino Royale

If I viewed all of the movies on this list the way I view most movies and take in every aspect, this could easily be called the best movie on the list. Daniel Craig fully embodies the James Bond for a new generation. This is new 007 series filled with realism and grit. This is a James Bond who can almost die, who has only his wits and strengths as a secret agent to save him, not a ridiculous array of gadgets. It manages to change almost every aspect of the series, while paying homage to the gimmicks you need from a 007 movie. In terms of execution, this is far and away the best movie on this list and it also manages to entertain from beginning to end.

2. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Before Christopher Nolan’s Batman series came into my life, I had never anticipated a movie more than I had anticipated seeing Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. I obviously didn’t enjoy The Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones  that much, but this one looked appealing. This was to be the final Star Wars movie that would not only connect the two trilogies, but also essentially tell the origin story of my favorite character in the series.

At the time, I was not disappointed. I loved every single moment. I couldn’t get enough. I had built this idea up in my mind of how amazing this film would be and some how it turned out to be just that. As I matured it became clear that this wasn’t the masterpiece I had made it out to be in my mind, but it still means so much to me and I can say with out a doubt that it entertains me more than any other Star Wars movie.

1. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

This is it, there is no other film that has ever been made that comes close to Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. There are many films that reach a level of perfection and I would call them my favorites for many different reasons. With Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, like no other film I can look past its flaws and be completely taken away by the swashbuckling adventure at hand.

One of the reasons it stands apart as my favorite guilty pleasure movie is because of the incredibly memorable characters. I have an unconditional love for what Geoffrey Rush did with the character Hector Barbossa, even Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley play some what of an important part to the epic that is At World’s End, Bill Nighy is fantastic as villain, Davy Jones, and every secondary character has something different to offer. Let us not also forget that Johnny Depp manages to offer one of the greatest characters in history with the now iconic, Captain Jack Sparrow.

I love the whole series, I really do. But I just wanted to emphasize how much I care for this single film in particular. Artistically and thematically this film pales in comparison to films I’d call my favorite films. However, for lack of a better phrase, this is the ultimate guilty pleasure movie in my mind. Sometimes you need some mindless fun. It’s nice that not every film is trying to say something broader, but merely trying to entertain. It’s nice to just have some escapism and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is one of my favorite forms of escape.

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Top Ten Horror Movies

This is a list I made a long time ago and looking back over it, I realized it definitely needed some touching up. I truthfully believe that I’ve matured not only as a movie viewer, but as a horror movie viewer since my last attempt at this list and it took me a long time to figure every finite detail of the list out, but I finally did it and right in time for October too.

There is a lot to take into account when it comes to Horror. Like any top ten list, I looked at the films not only for their entertainment value, but also from the view point of the filmmaking and the artistic aspects. With horror though you also have to look at how well the film succeeds in exactly what its trying to do, not just be a great movie, but be a great horror movie. That’s why you might find a movie like The Silence of the Lambs not exactly at the spot you’d expect because it may be one of the best movies on the list, it most certainly isn’t the best horror movie.

One last thing before I get into the list; I have a few honorable mentions. I was  displeased with the fact that I was not able to include four movies onto my list of “Top Ten Horror Movies”. After much moral and discomfiting debate I finally decided on ten films and these four just happened to unfortunately missed the mark. This is of course just one mans opinion and I could completely see why someone could put these films not only on a top ten list, but among the top three.

The first film is just a personal favorite of mine, “Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon”. This is the best example of combining both the horror genre and the comedy and it just barely missed my list. The other three are the ones I’ll get the most ridicule for. Three films that are amazing and just missed the mark for me are Jaws, Psycho and The Exorcist. All are great films that just list my list of “Top Ten Horror Movies”. I’ve been rambling long enough though so with out further ado here’s a list of my favorite horror movies…

10. The Hitcher

The Hitcher is an often overlooked and under appreciated horror and I’m oblivious to the reason because I love this movie. This is the slasher movie that should be praised over “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th” because behind the despicable antagonist you find a weathered villain looking for a way to go out in glory and in the films protagonist you’ll find a brilliant transformation from innocence to courageous.

9. 28 Days Later

Whether you want to call 28 Days Later a zombie movie or not, no director has ever executed a similar idea with such intensity, artistic flair and overall respect for the exact story they were trying to tell. And yes, by similar idea, I mean zombie movie. 28 Days Later fantastic in the way it never strays from its decrypted path and keeps you involved and craving more until its pitch-perfect ending. It truly is an unbelievably fascinating movie.

8. Insidious

Yes, Insidious, the movie that just came out months ago made it onto my list of the greatest horror movies of all time. The reason is simple, Insidious is a relentless journey into the dark and one that attempts to scare you not by showing a man chopping off someones leg with a chainsaw, but by showing you the things that go bump in the night. Insidious is a spectacular and enthralling roller coaster ride that shows truly great horror can still exist today.

7. Saw

It’s unfortunate that the original Saw may very well be the movie that instituted the idea that in order to make a horror movie now, it must include torture and disturbing gore. That’s strange because the original Saw, aside from the leg sawing, wasn’t nearly as brutal, not too mention awful, as its sequels. Unlike  its  sequels and the films it may have inspired, the original Saw is phenomenal. Where it has its moments of twisted terror it never fails to entertain. It is a staple in the genre of horror.

6. The Silence of the Lambs

While writing a review I usually save this word till the end, but I want to make this as clear as possible; The Silence of the Lambs is masterpiece. It has so much on its palette and has so much to offer and not all of it pertains to the genre of horror, so it barely misses the top five because it’s probably the second of third best movie on this list, but that’s not to say it’s among the best horror movies on this list. The Silence of the Lambs is however amazing in its portrayal of real characters in a horrifying story.

5. Halloween

To put it as bluntly as possible, Halloween is the greatest slasher movie ever created. The sub genre of the horror genre, slashers, as of lately has become some what of a joke with the overly sexualized main characters and the outlandish gore. Halloween is not the first slasher movie of all time, but this original horror masterpiece isa large part of the reason the sub genre, slasher, is so well known today. All other slasher movies should’ve taken note, because this slasher, with the amazing tension, the claustrophobic suburban atmosphere, the villain, is magnificent.

4. Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity is an unflinching excursion into the heart of terror and though modern it is justifiably one of the greatest horror movies ever created. Paranormal Activity is the most realistically executed ghost story ever put on screen and it works. It’s the little things that are the scariest, the door moving, a shadow in the form of a man, something falling in another room, etc. The film is brilliant in the way that it builds and builds, intensifying with each coming night, until the film comes to an end and it’s clear that you’ve just watched a masterfully crafted horror film  in every way imaginable.

3. The Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch Project is incredible, unequivocal in its craft, and unquestionably one of the greatest horror films in existence. If this was a list of top ten scariest horror movies, there would be no doubt in my mind that The Blair Witch Project would be number one. A horror movie might make you jump, it might make you squeamish from the gore, but rarely will a horror movie, just due to the events that transpire, instill the idea of actual fear and stay with you long after. Incredibly and terrifyingly, The Blair Witch Project is able to do just that. There is no other horror film that is as unsettling in its realism, beautiful in its simplicity and distinguishable in its terror. The Blair Witch Project is simply magnificent.

2. The Thing

The Thing is an unbelievably remarkable horror film that combines isolation, fear, paranoia, extraterrestrial terror, flame throwers, a hero who belongs in an action movie, and much more. The Thing for these reasons, among many others, easily finds its way into the top two of my favorite horror films ever made. The Thing, though being a remake (widely considered one of the greatest remakes in existence), manages to be completely original in the way that it’s a monster movie, only the thing of it is, this monster or “The Thing” has the ability to morph into its prey after killing it.

Once this idea sets in for both the characters in the film and the audience you slowly begin to realize that no one can be trusted and you have to expect the unexpected. These ideas are utilized flawlessly because the story is respected, yet told with such zest. Even though this is film about an alien that transforms into humans, it finds a way to be as real as possible. The characters have purpose yet can’t be called caricatures, the transformations, instead of happening in the blink of an eye, seem grotesque and mutilating, and the plot follows a well-thought out path that fits into the events that transpire before your eyes. John Carpenter is quite possibly the greatest director in regards to the horror genre and this is his masterpiece.

1. The Shining

Stanley Kubrick is unmistakably one of the greatest directors to ever work in cinema. He’s put his uniques spin on so many genres whether that be comedy, war, period piece, sci-fi, drama, heist and I could go on. It was with in one of the most under appreciated genres in film, that he made has magnum opus. Kubrick made so many amazing movies and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to find films like A Clockwork Orange or 2001: A Space Odyssey at the top of a list in regards to Kubrick movies, but for me it’s by far The Shining. The Shining is Kubrick’s best and not only the best horror movie ever made, but one of the greatest movies ever made.

Whether you’re looking at The Shining from the view point of a young boy dealing with the consuming darkness at hand, a man’s decay into madness in part due to isolation and writer’s block, but it also might have something to do with the ghosts, or your looking at the film as a simple haunted house story set in the perfect location, you really can’t go wrong. The Shining, like no other film, epitomizes the very idea of horror. The film is epic, it’s beautiful, it’s compelling, yet behind all that it is quintessentially nightmarish.

You don’t even have to be a lover of horror films when it comes to The Shining either. Yes, The Shining is first and foremost a horror movie, but all and all, fundamentally, it is an extraordinary movie through and through. I mean, at the end of the day, isn’t The Shining just a masterpiece about a father and son trying to connect? No, not at all. I did get one part of that statement right though, The Shining is a masterpiece. I love every aspect of The Shining and there was never a single question as to whether or not it would find a place right here as my favorite horror movie of all time.

Saw 3D (and Saw series) Review

In my review for what is supposed to be the final film in the Saw franchise, I’d like discuss not only Saw 3D, but the series as a whole. Lets first begin with Saw 3D. My biggest complaint regarding this film is its title and use of 3D. First off, I’d like to establish my hatred for the idea of 3D in general. This really isn’t the right place to discuss it, but 3D is unneeded, pointless, it doesn’t make a movie better and it never will so just stop. James Cameron is an awful person who makes terrible movies. Anyways, lets talk Saw.

Okay, go ahead and make your movie 3D, I’ll be a little frustrated, but I’m not gonna complain much. What I will complain about is the way the filmmakers felt it necessary to attach “3D” to the title as if thats what’s going to make me want to watch this movie. Because it makes me happy to have the feeling that I can reach out and touch someone’s severed spleen. I’m being sarcastic if you couldn’t tell. 3D didn’t add anything to this movie. Call it Saw VII because that’s what it is. Now, lets just chat about the actual movie.

Saw 3D was awful. It was absolutely atrocious. It was a movie filled with a corny plot, dreadful dialogue, terrible acting and dull direction. To tell you the truth, going in, I didn’t expect anything else. I knew whole-heartedly going in that what I was about to see was going to be a terrible movie. This statement begs the question: Why did I go see it at all then? Well, before I delve into that question, I’d like to give you my ranking of the Saw series (from least to greatest):

7. Saw II

6. Saw V

5. Saw VI

4. Saw IV

3. Saw III

2. Saw 3D

1. Saw

I feel the same way about Saw 3D that I do about the entire series. Its absolutely awful filmmaking on almost all accounts, but I can’t fight my feelings on the series any longer. I love the Saw movies. The Saw series is our generation’s Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween and I consider myself lucky cause, you know what, Saw’s better.

Don’t get me wrong. All those crappy slasher movie series, from Halloween to Scream are a blast, but I get more enjoyment out of the Saw movies. The Saw movies actually take their multiple killings and attempt to put a complex story and meaning behind them, sure it was corny and impossible, but it was a series that was fun to watch. It was interesting to see what would happen next. And I’m not talking about the traps, I’m talking about the plot of the entire seires that came to a great close in Saw 3D. Saw 3D made everthing make sense in a Saw sort of way and brought everything full circle and in that way it was pretty awesome. At the end, it was obviously corny and in no way could ever happen realistically, but that didn’t stop my heart from pounding and my lips from smiling.

So there you go, the Saw series is awful, but I’m not ashamed to say that I love it. I’m finding it very difficult to grade this movie, because even though I love it I can’t hide the fact that it was a terrible movie. So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to grade Saw 3D from the stand point of a lover of movies and a critic, but I will say this. The Saw series is essentially the ultimate guilty pleasure for me and that’s by far the best way I can put it.

Grade: D+ (with much love)

Saw 4

For a horror movie, it was creative and the writers are good at figuring out these traps and stuff, but c’mon they should have never killed the bastard off in the third one, that was soooooo stuped. So if you haven’t seen the movie yet, either yes he’s still alive or no, and somehow he’s pulling strings from beyond the grave. In the third one he dies at the end and if that were the ending for a serias, that would’ve been fine, but you can’t take away the only reasonably good actor in the movie and have the saga continue.

!!!SPOILER!!! if you haven’t seen the movie don’t read ahead

The ending sucked and with the ending of the last one I was expecting something as good as the first one, I did not get my wish.

!!!HUGE SPOILER!!!

The autopsy scene in the beginning actually is the ending after everyone dies, and there’s a completely new jigsaw. Give Me a Break. How did the detective get jigsaws body to the autopsy room and himself out of the huge metal door that the evil detective (New Jigsaw) locked. That was stuped and they never should have killed Tobin Bell off.

Grade: C-

Dead Silence

Dumb Movie. This movie was almost as stupid as the first Hostel. Basically no plot, has the retarded brother of a good actor, and is basically pitch black the whole movie. Never see this movie no matter how much you liked the first Saw.

Grade: F