RETRO-RANK: Top Ten Songs of the Naughts

Originally posted January 11, 2010.

A little musical interlude because at this point I should be pretty much back to do these things live…or as live as these posts can be. So I hoped you’ve enjoyed re-reading some of these oldies as much as I liked resharing them. If not, well…we’ll just pretend none of this had ever happened. Rock out to what I thought were the best songs of the 2000s.

10. Feel Good Inc. – Gorillaz (2005)

In a decade where CGI came into it’s own, it’s no surprise that one animated band would break the top 10. Gorillaz are the innovative brainchild of Blur’s Damon Albarn and co-creator of Tank Girl, Jamie Hewlitt. This catchy dance number was a follow up to it’s widely successful self-titled debut album which featured “Clint Eastwood.” Take a listen and enjoy this Grammy Awards mash-up with honourable mentioned “Hung Up” by Madonna.

9. Crazy – Gnarls Barkley (2006)

I remember, I remember, I remember when I first heard this song on the radio. Not only did I go crazy for this song but so did everyone else that summer. Also, I give props to anyone who can use inkblots as a viable concept to a video.

8. Hurt – Johnny Cash (2002)

One thing I can’t remember is when a cover of a song became more successful than the original. Johnny Cash’s haunting take on the Nine Inch Nails’s 1994 release was slower and oozed more pain and sadness than the original. And people dug it up. Perhaps because withered and wrinkled Johnny Cash sung it as if it was his own eulogy and a testament to a lifetime of pain. Regardless, he created a hit. Such a hit, even lead singer of NIN has been quoted saying “This song doesn’t belong to me anymore.” I still get goosebumps.

7. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes (2003)

Two band members, two basic instruments, two colours reminiscent of candied mints, and a riff that wont leave your head once it catches you. The White Stripes have made a business of unrelenting punk/blues tunes set to a backdrop of Jack White’s wailing lyrics and Meg White’s addicting beats. Who would’ve thought hit music could be made so simply in an age of overcomplication?

6. Time to Pretend – MGMT (2008)

MGMT (short for “The Management”) has been making quite a bit of waves in the music scene as of late. No small feat for a group just arriving on the scene to crack the top 10 without any true established background. You may think you’ve never heard them before but from the opening synthesizer, you probably have…you just don’t know where. Also, MGMT is up for a 2010 Grammy for their new song “Kids”…Possibly a contender for the next decade? We’ll have to wait and see.

5. Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day (2004)

In 2004, Green Day proved that they’re more than a left over ’90s band and moved themselves up the echelon of musical longevity. The song arose from their album titled “American Idiot” during the turning point in American views of their President. This somber melody really does show the dismay towards the establishment of it’s day. As time marches onward, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” will no doubt prove to be their greatest song. So says I…

4. Single Ladies – Beyoncé (2009)

Never has a song the past decade empowered women so much to get up and dance, and never has a video spawned so many parodies. Check out this future classic SNL sketch starring Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Andy Samberg, and Bobby Moynihan. The video alone would be tied for top spot for the Naughts (you’ll see the one that it’s topped with later on) but this is about the song. Powerful. Yes. Best. Not quite.

3. Jesus Walks – Kanye West (2004)

Before Kanye went all silly on the world and took on poor Taylor Swift or decided to make Mike Myers go all queasy in his boots, he actually put out a great selection of hip hop in the mid 00`s. From the acclaimed album “The College Dropout” which also produced the Ray Charles inspired GoldDigger, Jesus Walks proved that as long as you had a good beat and great rhyme, anything could catch on. This won for best Rap song in 2005 Grammy Awards.

2. Lose Yourself – Eminem (2002)

An Oscar and Grammy winning song, spent a record 12 weeks on the top of the charts in 2002, and over four times Platinum equals an obvious number 2 spot on this list. This inspirational tune solidified Eminem’s status as one of the greatest poets of his time. Pushing aside his juvenile vulgarities and party tracks, Marshall Mathers does produce songs which make you think that end up being ignored. Stan and Beautiful to name but two. From the opening piano, it’s difficult not to feel hopeful.

1. Hey Ya – Outkast (2003)

In 2003, the two members of Outkast (Andre 3000 and Big Boi) decided to change up what makes up a rap album. They produced a dual album entitled “Speakerboxx/The Love Below”. One half entirely of nardcore heavy hip-hop Big Boi tracks (Speakerboxx). The other a more ethereal loved based Andre 3000 spitting rhymes (The Love Below). The “Speakerboxx” half of this album would`ve been good enough for it to win Best Album of the Year with winning hits like “The Way You Move“. But it’s one single song on The Love Below side that propels this album to being one of the best albums of all time: Hey Ya!

A catchy chorus, upbeat rhythms, and one of the best videos of all time with Andre 3000 playing every role in the band. It would be difficult to pick any other song better than this one. Now go pump this track, get on the dance floor and shake it like a Polariod picture. Why? Because this is so cool, it’s ice cold!


RETRO-RANK: The Twelve Flicks of Christmas

Originally Posted December 4, 2008

With only one month left before Christmas, I felt that it was now safe to share this oldie but goodie. Like the animated How The Grinch Stole Christmas, this one seems to get better with time and is one of my faves. So throw another log on the fire, make that nog a little stronger (you can still smell the nutmeg over the rum!), and find your most cozy position because Christmas movies get the full Rankatron treatment.

A friend of mine had asked me a few weeks ago, “Why don’t you rank up a list of best Christmas Movies of all time?”
I thunk to myself…yeah…why not?

Compiling and deliberating on this festive flick list took a lot of time, sacrificed candy canes, and soul searching.

The next question was: Should I include all those TV specials with the actual movies?

Those great and awesome stop-motion classics like Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, or The Year Without Santa. How about the cartoons we all grew up with? Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas, or A Charlie Brown Christmas (poor tree!). Or what about A Muppet’s Family Christmas where all the Muppets hooked up with the Fraggles and the Sesame Street gang at Fozzy’s mom’s house for some festive joy? Or the more recent Shrek the Halls or Colbert Christmas? Or the entertainingly offensive South Park offering Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo?

No…I’ve decided, much like how Santa rules with a velvet red gloved iron fist over the North Pole, to make this list purely movies…ones that have hit theatres at one point and have grown fond in our hearts as we grow older.

Also, as one caveat, I would like to say that I have not seen every Christmas movie in history. So people who will jump on me and say: “Where’s Babes in Toyland???” or “You didn’t include Bad Santa???” or, “Hey, I expected to see Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s To Grandma’s House We Go!”. To them, I say I’m only one man with one pen and one blog. If I do see them between now and then, I will be sure to see if they fit anywhere on this list. So get off my backs, Humbugs! 😛

So here are the TWELVE FLICKS OF CHRISTMAS all Ranked Up (and click on the titles for the trailers and other stuff!):

12. DIE HARD (1988) 7.5 Yippee-ki-ya-yay’s out of 10

Did I mention that this was my list and I’ve got Authorial Dictatorship of this? Besides, name one review that isn’t based on opinion. Regardless, this movie wouldn’t normally be considered a typical Holiday movie but it makes the list because it takes place over the Christmas Season. It’s a kick-ass action movie wrapped up in a gift with a Bruce Willis nougat centre. The original and still the best of the Die Hard series. Not only does this movie hold up after 20 years as an action movie, it actually makes you feel good at the end…and isn’t that what Christmas movies are all about?

11. THE SANTA CLAUSE (1994) – 7.8 Chubby Fat Suits out of 10

Many years ago, during the height of Tim Allen’s popularity, he made this: his first big screen flick. And with the exception of TOY STORY, probably his best. For the uninitiated, Tim Allen takes over as Santa Claus due to a “clause” at the North Pole which states that if the original Santa can no longer do his duties, the first to find him must take over. So Santa happens to slip off Allen’s roof and dies. A dark beginning but the movie does pick up from there with nutcracking laughter and festive cheer as Allen stumbles through a world that he hasn’t believed in since he was a kid. Well, believe in me when I say that it’s worthwhile to sit down and watch this on a nice holiday afternoon.

10. POLAR EXPRESS (2004) – 8 Golden Tickets out of 10

A train that magically rides anywhere and picks up kids…really? That you can really ski down on its roof while it goes down a hill…really? That can somehow lose control and pick up speed on an ice lake and manage to get back on a track perfectly while the ice cracks behind it…really really? Really. The magic about this movie isn’t its fantastically unrealistic sequences (really what movie isn’t unrealistic to some degree). The magic is in the characters as a boy learns to believe in Santa again thanks to a friendly conductor and a cast of wacky friends. This is a classic animated flick that holds up better than the previews give it credit for. Worth the watch. Really.

9. HOME ALONE (1990) – 8 Joe Pesci burning scalps out of 10

So a kid is left home alone for the Holidays while his parents and his Mormon-sized family shuttle off on a plane for Paris. This movie is an ultimate dream-come-true for any kid needing to get away from his family and the ultimate horror movie for any parent. Kevin (MacKaulay Culkin) fends off hunger, loneliness, and the dumbest thieves in the history of cinema in a rollicking sleigh ride for the Holidays. Like DIE HARD, HOME ALONE makes pain funny on Christmas. A nice movie with fun action.

8. THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993) – 8.2 spooky Santa’s out of 10

Back in 1993, Tim Burton introduced us to the dark morbid world of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King. A world where Jack wants to spruce up Halloweentown and decides that kidnapping Santa would be the best way to figure it out. The cult flick is filled with catchy songs like “What’s This?” that will make you root for Jack as he uncovers the true meaning of the Holidays. If you’ve ever been curious over who’d win in a battle between Halloween and Christmas, sit down and watch this during that cold transition month called November.

7. SCROOGED (1988) – 8.5 spiked eggnogs out of 10

Remember that wonderful Dicken’s classic “A Christmas Carol”? Ever wonder what it would be like in the mind of Bill Murray? If you said “anal-rentative spirits, antlers stapled to mice heads, nuclear explosions, a zombie ex-boss, and Bobcat Goldthwaite carrying a shotgun”, you’d be exactly right. Not only would this movie make you laugh, its light-hearted horror makes you truly feel for Bill Murray’s character even though you think he deserves everything coming to him. Only weakness to this film is the gratuitous yet all too forced singing ending. But I can let it pass.

6. THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL (1992) – 8.7 Cheeses for your Meeses out of 10

The last truly good Muppets Movie and a classic of a classic retold through the eyes of a weirdo named Gonzo and his rat buddy, Rizzo. Kermit and friends try to make ends meet at Christmas while Michael Caine’s Scrooge survives the onslaught of three creepy Muppet ghosts, one of which is probably the single best muppet ever created to this day. We’ve got Muppet comedy that will beckon you back to childhood, an album of some of the best Muppet tunes since THE MUPPET MOVIE, and a warm Fozzy feeling at the end. Sniff…

5. A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1951) – 9 tombstones out of 10

Yes, I know I did three versions of the Christmas Carol back to back to back but this is THE definitive version of the story. Alastair Sim shall always and forever be Ebeneezer Scrooge no matter how many other versions come afterwards. Whether you’re watching the original black and white version or the remastered in Technicolour version, you’ll feel the spirit of Christmas flowing through you like a nice festive version of ale. For those of you playing a drinking game at home: version.

4. MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947) -9.3 beard tugs out of 10

I wish more court cases where decided by people’s opinions being mailed via US Postal Service. Think of the OJ trial back in ’95…imagine if the prosecutor, realizing that he has no way to truly win the case received millions of letters all addressed to OJ saying that they know he’s guilty, and imagine the judge saying “Well, if the US Postal Service thinks he’s guilty, then I say he’s guilty,” then we wouldn’t have the second OJ trial today. But I don’t need the US Postal Service to confirm that I’m a guilty sucker for this movie. Right up to the end where you see ol’ Kris Kringle’s cane leaning against a wall in that empty house. You’re left knowing without a doubt that this is a special movie for all ages.

3. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) – 9.5 bailout loans out of 10

This Christmas movie about a banker losing money and faith in life right after the end of the Great Depression speaks volumes in today’s current economic climate. Mark my words, when we see the light of day at the end of this recession, there’s going to be a remake of this movie starring Jim Carrey. A remake of this movie has him all over it. Seriously. The brilliance of this movie is it’s simple story of love, life, and finding true happyness. I swear if Jimmy Stewart came to my door with his puppy dog eyes, I’d give him my home to save his business. A story of how bad things happen to good people and how good people find the strength and faith to carry on. This movie is a must-see at least once a year.

2. NATIONAL LAMPOONS CHRISTMAS VACATION (1989) – 9.8 shorted light circuits out of 10

For as long as I can remember, this here has been my favourite Holiday movie of all time. Chevy’s in his prime, the soundtrack is awesome, the action is hilarious, and you get Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Juliette Lewis, Randy Quaid, and Doris Roberts before they were famous. On any given scene, I could walk in and know exactly where we are in the movie and most often what the next line is going to be. And this movie is one of my staples. It’s over-the-top kitschy humour is what makes this movie so worthwhile and brings me coming back and begging for more dried turkey. And if there’s one scene that sums up this movie, it’s this one. Do yourself a favour and watch it before you end up in the nut house!

But regardless how good this movie is…this one trumps all…

1. A CHRISTMAS STORY (1983) – 10 Red Ryder BB Guns out of 10

I only saw this movie for the first time a couple years ago. I don’t know why it took me so long to see this movie. My friends all have said that this was their favourite Christmas movie. “Better than Christmas Vacation??? Nothing’s better than Christmas Vacation! How can a movie where the trailer looks this cheesy (click here) be any good!!!!” I thought with absurd wonder.

Well, in the past couple years, this movie has grown on me and has tied for Christmas Vacation. The reason I place it above Vacation is simply because this IS the perfect Holiday movie. Fraught with Wonder Years-esque dialogue before there was a Wonder Years, filled with the sweaty, smelly, gritty Christmas cheer that we all experience this time of year at the malls, and teeming with child-like wonder, all Christmas movies should be seen through a child’s eyes like this one. There is no single bad scene and they’re all incredibly quotable:

RALPHIE NARRATING (on seeing he just got a pink bunny pyjamas from his Aunt): Aunt Clara had for years labored under the delusion that I was not only perpetually 4 years old, but also a girl.

And if all that doesn’t sway you, I’ll let Siskel and Ebert try to bring it on home.

Well, that’s it! My top 12 Christmas Movies of all time!!!!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Freakin’ New Year…

…awww, heck…one more Ralphie clip for the road: Fa-Ra-Ra-Ra-Ra!!!!

RETRO-RANK: JUNO goes for the Oscar

Originally posted January 8, 2010.

I’m very careful giving out a perfect 10. This was the first (and so far only) perfect 10 I’ve ever given out since I’ve decided to do this thang online. The only other movies I’ve previously given a perfect 10 where Shawshank Redemption (until the Ultimate Rankatron got a hold of it), Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction and one movie from 1983 that shall be a surprise for Wednesday …so it’s been a LONG time.

I’ve been a fan of movies and TV shows that flex their literary and verbal muscles since I’ve seen Dr. Joel Fleishman show up in the town of Cicely, Alaska in that early 90s hit Northern Exposure. Up until that time, I never fully realized how smart words can be. A witty turn of a phrase, two or more characters sparring and spewing fast-paced dialogue full of one-liners that hit you like a one-two punch and leave your reeling before you know what happened…and only fully appreciated when you take a breath and listen with undivided attention. Many movies and TV shows since that tale of a neurotic doctor trapped in northern Alaska have followed this model: Gilmour Girls, any Kevin Smith movie (especially Clerks), Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs…just to name a few…and there are too few of these movies. Juno IS one of these types of movies.

Ellen Page, as Juno MacGruff, dances through the heavy and controversial subject of teenage pregnancy with the easy of a prima ballerina. She deals with her ordeal with grace, common-sense, and wisdom beyond her years. She doesn’t treat her pregnancy like a curse and takes anyone who thinks as such with a grain of salt. Independent and strong she figures the best and simplest overall solution and excludes nothing as an option. She has no vices against abortion or adoption. She bases her decision on logic and feeling.

With such a serious subject matter, humour comes surprisingly easy in this quirky movie. Not laugh out loud comedy found in another “Unplanned Pregnancy” flick such as Knocked Up. This humour will make you smile and feel good inside. Juno will light up your soul with her apt points of view that make you wonder why everything has to be so complicated.

Her boyfriend/father of her child, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera of Superbad and Arrested Development fame) is quiet, caring, and breaming with boyish charm. He supports her despite his fears of being a father in High School.

Jennifer Garner (Vanessa) and Jason Bateman (Mark) are a married couple both following their dreams: One about to be realized and another to be pushed aside into a small room in the basement. They play Juno’s saviours and, in turn, become saved by Juno in ways you wouldn’t completely expect.

Juno’s father, Mac MacGruff (played by JK Simmons – you’ll recognize him as J.Jonah Jameson from Spiderman), treats and supports Juno with unwaivering paternal understanding without masking his disappointment. Yet, he doesn’t allow this to interfere with helping Juno do what needs to be done. Juno doesn’t fall to far from the tree in this sense.

Ellen Page, for her range and her courage to take on such a role, deserves the Oscar. And even if the movie itself doesn’t win Best Picture this year, I will honour it by giving it my highest score ever, a perfect 10…take that Academy!!!

10 jugs of OJ out of 10.

RETRO-RANK: “Tremors 4: Three Tremors Too Many!”

Originally posted September 29, 2007.

This isn’t so much a review as a rant about a movie franchise that shouldn’t have happened. Because of this, I shall never remember Michael Gross as the dad off of Family Ties. Jump on the Rant-train to Rantsville as I go on about Tremors.

This proves that sandsnakes love Bacon.

OK…these past few weeks I’ve been busy with various things…wondering when the new baby would arrive, fixing my car, going to the hospital for the birth of my lil’ one, worrying about my physical state (turns out that I’m still ok), and learning how to care for a little child (it’s awesome when they cuddle up to you…)…during these past 4 weeks, I always found myself up at about 2am on Friday watching the Space channel’s Friday Fright movie. 

Three weeks ago it was Tremors. You all remember Tremors right? It was that 1990 horror flic starring Kevin Bacon, Kris Kristofferson, Reba McIntyre, and Michael Gross (Michael Keaton from Family Ties fame). It involved this little run down town in the middle of the desert called Perfection that ended up getting terrorized by these giant elephant-sized man-eating car-crushing house-demolishing worms that lived underground. They hunted by feeling the vibrations of where you walked. Great flick! Scary the first time you see it. And incredibly creative. Recommend it for anyone who hasn’t seen it.

Two weeks ago, on the same channel I find Tremors 2:Aftershock. I’ve seen this “straight to video” movie before expecting a good time…my first clue that it wasn’t going to be a wild ride was that the only star to reprise a role was Michael Gross. We’re in the same town again. This time the underground monsters are back…this time they’re called Graboids (horrible name)…and this time the worms turn out to just be pods that give birth to packs of these two legged hyena things that hunt by sound only. Yes…it gets worse. These little two legged things multiply a la Gremlins except when you feed them…and that they apparently can sense heat like infrared. So…this was a bad movie that should’ve killed the series…it didn’t…it got much worse.

One week ago: I’m surprised to see Tremors 3: Back to Perfection. Michael Gross is back in Perfection to find that the town has gone Graboid crazy!!! The town has turned into a cheap promotion spot luring tourists to catch a glimpse of the worms like looking for whales on the ocean. So the worms are back…so are the little hyena things…and THEY mutate into these flying creatures which are called…I couldn’t make this up…”Ass-Blasters” because they can now fly and shoot fire from their butts. It ends with the last Ass-Blaster being eaten by a friendly albino Graboid…yes…you read that right. That should’ve been the end of this crazy series…but it wasn’t…sigh…

Tonight…lo and behold…Tremors 4: The Legend Begins. But it really shouldn’t have. We go back to somewhere in the 1800s and the town of Perfection (called Rejection) has a silver mine owned by the ancestor of Michael Gross’s earlier character…also played by Michael Gross. The mine is attacked by the worms for the first time EVER!!! (Forget about the first movie that was supposed to be the first time…this one is the REAL first forgotten time) Yep…predictable…boring…and I can’t believe I watched the whole thing…and a little part of me has died inside. 

And get this!!! There’s a Tremors 5 in the works…if there’s a God in Heaven…or some kind of higher being watching over us like the Director in the Truman Show…or a grand and great Wizard of Oz…please oh please don’t let this movie happen…I beg of you!!!! [RETRO-NOTE: Prayers answered. This has been shelved.]

End rant.

RETRO-RANK: Best…Movie…Ever!

Originally posted July 30, 2007.

So I might’ve overblown this review in retrospect but I stand by the hilarity of the movie. It’s a true gem and probably the last truly good thing the Simpsons will do before they go off the air. It’s like Bret Favre: way past his prime but still able to bring his A-game once in awhile.

No 3D Glasses Required...unless they're prescription.

From the opening credits where Homer stands up in a movie theatre declaring, “Why would anyone pay to see something that they can get for free on TV?” Then looks directly at the audience…I knew this was going to be something special. I felt like what Bart must’ve felt like to see the Itchy and Scratchy Movie (who, by the way, makes an appearance along with pretty much everyone else in Springfield). I felt like I was watching a defining movie of my generation.

The Simpsons movie not only lived up to my overbloated Comic-Book Guy expectations…it provided a seamless storyline riddled with machine-gun-like humour that I came to expect and love from the Simpsons. No avenue is safe from Homer, Bart, Lisa, Marge, and Maggie. Taking jabs at Al Gore (“An Irritating Truth”), President Bush (“I’ve been elected to lead, not read”), and organized religion (“There are no answers in this book.”), you’ll find yourself laughing like Dr. Hibbert.

Now…I’d love to go on a quote-fest from the movie…and like any great Simpsons episode…this won’t take away from anything because the beauty of the Simpsons is that you can watch it over and over again without getting tired (at least Seasons 1-9). The delivery is so perfect. Having said that, I’m not going to quote every line of the movie…some things just deserve to be a surprise (sorry, Tara).

No funny movie since Office Space (or maybe as far back as Wayne’s World) will spawn a slew of catchphrases which will be heard until the end of time. Such as “Spider-Pig” or “Thank you, Boob-lady!” or Ralph saying “I like men now.” Or Bart: “This is the worst day of my life.” and Homer replying “This is the worse day of your life SO FAR.” (OK…I promise…I’ll stop the quotes.)

So, if you’re a fan of the Simpsons, irreverent satirical humour, or just like a good funny story with a lot of heart, this one’s for you.

Just a side note to the writers: Writers…if you could pull off a brilliant piece of comic hilarity like this gem that would rival any early episode, why don’t you invest some of that talent in the current episodes?

One last thing: stay during the credits…consider yourselves warned.

9.7 frames of Bart’s Doodle out of 10 (consider yourselves warned again)

RETRO-RANK: “1408: An Evil F’n Room”

Originally posted June 24, 2007.

I can’t officially claim this to be my first ever movie review but it was the original that I can discern in what was soon to become the seeds of the Rankatron. This appeared June 24, 2007 on my ‘cleverly’ named blog, FLICKED UP Reviews. Why FLICKED UP? Because if you look at the title quick enough, it looks like FUCKED UP. Yep. Not my best work but you throw stuff against the wall just to see what sticks sometimes. Well, here’s the Grandaddy of them all…a review of Stephen King’s 1408.

Soooo, lemme get this straight, you want your money back for 2012; a movie that hasn't even been made yet?

1408 isn’t what you’d call your typical horror movie. It’s not like any of the gorefests that have frequented the cinemas over the last few years such as Final Destination, Thirteen Ghosts…or any other “more blood equals more scary” movies that you can name. This movie is pure psychological mind f**k on the scale of The Shining (had to keep this review PG because I dropped the F-bomb once or twice the last time and felt like it was over used; on a side note, it’ll be used one more time in this review). There is minimal gore…lots of blood though…you’d have to see it to understand how that could happen.

Speaking of The Shining (or as Willy would say on the Simpsons “The Shinin'”), this movie was based on a story by the master of terror, Stephen “I think all writers drink too much” King. And you can tell by the screwed up characters that even if you didn’t know that, you could smell the King fourty million creepy rooms away. However, unlike his other horror stories turned movies (with the exception of the Shining), this movie doesn’t suck! It doesn’t stand up to The Shining but 1408 is cut from the same mold and is his best “horror” movie since. King has had a lot of other better movies from his stories like Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Stand by Me…to name a few…but his horror movies never live up to his stories.

John Cusak (not normally a fan of his) does well as the writer of a series of books chronicling the most haunted hotels in America who doesn’t believe in ghosts because he’s never seen one. He likes to believe that there is an afterlife because his daughter passed away from a disease but he has no proof of it. This is the underlying theme of the whole movie. It’s a rollicking ride through his mind as we see him teeter from disbelief in monsters to totally losing his mind and back again as he tries to make sense of everything. Though, I’ve always found Cusak kind of wooden here…some parts weren’t that engaging.

Also, Stephen King runs through the gambit of every possible horror genre cliche (like Cusak’s just dreaming, or he’s drugged, or it’s all in his head) to get us to the end…and there’s a lot of false endings…you never know if the room still has you. At the actual ending, you’re still left wondering…what if I’m still in that creepy hotel room in Scarborough back in 2000 where someone was killed a few rooms down that night? (True story)

As the show stealer Samuel L. Jackson commented: “It’s just an evil f**king room.” (He should’ve been the main character in the room…that would’ve put this movie over the top)

Fun freaky movie, not a lot of “jump” type scares like I was expecting…but overall, an entertaining and fast paced flic. Didn’t feel the time pass at all. Wanted it more frightening though.

7 Sam Jackson gratuitous profanities out of 10.

Rankatron On Hiatus

High Ate Us

Like Conan O’Brian, I’ll be going on hiatus on my Ultimate Rankatron except it won’t be for nine months. Instead it’ll be much sooner…and it has nothing to do with any particular network.

The reason? I’m taking up Ultimate Fighting because I realized that I truly can run an Ultimate Rankatron unless I’m as Ultimate as I can be.

But don’t fret…in the meantime, I’ll be releasing Rankatron Retro articles: old articles from my archive that I thought were half decent. This’ll come out every Wednesday and Saturday until the beginning of December. The first one will be tomorrow…with my VERY first Rankatron (that’s been posted online.)

Then I’ll be back on the saddle to bring this baby on home.