Thursday, March 31, 2011

Top 10 Zombie Movies

10. 28 Days Later (2002)

28 Days Later introduced the world to genius idea of sprinting zombies. Honestly, how did zombie movies exist for over 30 years without them? In addition to that, it has one of the most suspenseful openings to any zombie movie and a unique interpretation of a post-apocalyptic world.

9. Dead Alive (1992)
Dead Alive makes the list as one of the goriest and most insane movies ever made. I realize the term "zombie" is being stretched a bit here, but let's define it as any being that is either deemed undead or infected with some kind of disease that causes mass hysteria. The origin of the zombies in Dead Alive with the Sumatran rat-monkey is both funny and original, and the movie has developed an impressive cult following. The lawnmower scene at the end is one of the greatest in zombie movie history. 

8. 28 Weeks Later (2007)

I was very surprised at how good this sequel was since it came out five years after the original and wasn't directed by Danny Boyle. But 28 Weeks Later packs even more punch that the first installment. It's shorter, more focused, scary, and realistic. The opening scene when Don abandons his wife and flees by boat is shocking and subtly hilarious. Sprinting zombies are just a lot more fun.

7. Evil Dead 2 (1987)

Sam Raimi's second installment in the Evil Dead trilogy is different from the first in that Raimi obviously has a lot more fun with this one. While the first Evil Dead is dark and stylistic, this movie is downright hilarious. The scene where Ash chases his detached hand around the house (A Farewell to Arms) would fit right in in a typical Three Stooges episode. Groovy!

6. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Dawn of the Dead has one of the greatest ideas in zombie movie a post-apocalyptic world where zombies roam free and are eating people alive, where would people take refuge? In a mall, of course. Equal parts social commentary and brilliant suspense move, the main characters are trapped inside a familiar place, free to roam through multiple floors full of stores and merchandise. It would be a dream to most people, only there are hundreds of zombies trying to break inside and eat you alive. The first great zombie movie to come out after Night of the Living Dead.

5. Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Return of the Living Dead probably added more to the genre than any other zombie movie other than Night of the Living Dead. The zombies are different in this one. They are corpses re-animated by a chemical leak and are faster, stronger, and more intelligent. These are also the first brain-eating zombies, who needed to consume human brains to maintain their re-animated state. Tarman might be the greatest zombie to ever appear on the big screen.

4. The Evil Dead (1981)

The first installment in Sam Raimi's trilogy is the number one cult zombie movie of all time. The Evil Dead also features the finest protagonist in zombie movie history in Ash Williams, who has to have killed more zombies that any other character in movie history. In this movie, Ash and his friends resurrect fallen spirits after reading from the Book of the Dead, who go on to demonize Ash's four friends. Ash is forced to kill his sister and his girlfriend by the time the bloody night is over. A gory, stylistic, masterpiece of horror. 

3. Dawn of the Dead (2004)

It's amazing that a zombie movie that came out over three decades after the genre's inception can contribute so many new and exciting ideas, but Dawn in the Dead truly stands out among the zombie movie bunch. The beginning with the little girl gets my vote for greatest zombie movie opener. And these are the best zombies ever. They sprint and carry a much greater intensity and hunger than any zombies before them. The movie also features a zombie baby in the womb and celebrity zombies! The most exciting zombie movie ever made. 

2. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

This is the one that started it all. The first great zombie movie of all time. Every zombie movie made since Night of the Living Dead has taken something from it or paid homage to it in some way. The zombie daughter who's mother is forced to kill her. Removing the head or destroying the brain. The protagonist gets killed by the army after surviving the zombies. It has everything, and stands the test of time as one of the greatest zombie movies ever.

1. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Shaun of the Dead is my choice for the greatest zombie movie of all time because unlike any other movie on this list, it's more than a zombie movie. The tagline for the film is, "A romantic comedy...with zombies." This is the funniest, most creative, and most entertaining zombie movie ever made. And you can tell that the filmmakers love zombie movies more than anyone. They manage to pay homage to the genre while simultaneously transcending it, no small feat for such a prolific collection of movies. The love triangle between Shaun, Liz, and Ed is truly heartfelt and unique to the genre, and ultimately is what makes Shaun of the Dead stand out. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Top 10 90's TV Theme Songs/Openings

For my first post, I figured I'd do an easy one. This list is based mostly on the nostalgia that coincides with growing up in the 90's, so sorry to any older folk who may disagree. I included videos from YouTube to bring back some memories. I did not include any "close calls"- shows that ended in the 90's, but were primarily known for being in the 80's (i.e. The Wonder Years and Cheers- two noteworthy openings as well.)

10.) Baywatch
Face it, who didn't run in slow-motion pretending to be a hunky/sexy lifeguard with this song in the back of their head?

9.) Dawson's Creek
Before the days of Gossip Girl and Skins, this was our first taste of pure teen sexuality themed by the now-classic Paula Cole single.

8.) Are you Afraid of the Dark?
Honestly, if you grew up in the 90's, you cannot deny that this creepy intro did not give you chills- and the perfect mood-setter for this terrifying (yes, terrifying- don't tell me you don't still think about that creepy clown episode) series.

7.) Family Matters
Ahhh, such a catchy, jazzy tune to introduce us to the Winslow family and Urkel's crazy antics.
*Could not find actual theme video*

6.) Saved by the Bell
Rarely can a 90's kid resist singing along to this tune.
*Could not find actual theme video*

5.) Step-by-Step
Who could forget the classic theme-park opening to this TGIF starter show??

4.) Beverly Hills: 90210

Even without lyrics, this song still lives embedded in the minds of those who pine over the Peach Pit days.

3.) Full House
The list wouldn't be complete without this opening to one of the 90's most wholesome classics.

2.) Friends
One of the biggest shows to come out of the 90's and launch the careers of many- and giving The Rembrandt's something to be known for- This tune will forever go down in nostalgic slideshow history.

1.) The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
No explanation is even needed for this one- You can not have grown up in the 90's and not know this verbatim.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Top 10 Sports Games in Movies

10. The Bourbon Bowl
Mud Dogs vs. Cougars
The Waterboy

Game Description: Cougars are up big at half time before Bobby shows up and brings his team back. Boucher throws a touchdown pass on the final play to give the Mud Dogs the win.

Why it's on the List: The Waterboy makes the list over other Adam Sandler sports comedies (Happy Gilmore and The Longest Yard) because it features an exciting game and a protagonist that is very easy to root for. 

MVP: Bobby Boucher. The kid plays all three sides of the game. He is the defensive MVP, forces a key fumble on special teams, and makes the game-winning play on offense.

Best Moment: When Bobby shows up at at halftime and wills his team to victory.

Quote: "Remember the time Bobby Boucher showed up at halftime and the Mud Dogs won the Bourbon Bowl do ya?"

9. The Toon Squad vs. The Monstars Basketball Game
The Toon Squad vs. The Monstars
Space Jam

Game Description: The Monstars take advantage of their physicality to take a "Kinda One-Sided Ain't It?" lead at halftime. But Michael Jordan and the toons use their "secret stuff" to come back in the second half, and with a little help from Bill Murray, they pull off the upset with a Jordan buzzer-beating dunk.

Why it's on the List: Space Jam is such an underrated movie. What's better than Michael Jordan and cartoons? This game is so much fun to watch because it combines two extremely successful mediums (basketball and The Looney Tunes) and adds another exciting finish to the Michael Jordan resume.

MVP: Michael Jordan. According to Deadspin, Jordan scored 44 points (24 on dunks), didn't miss a shot, and made the impossible game-winning dunk.

Best Moment: When Bill Murray shows up at the end and runs a play to come up with a key steal.

Quote: "Woah! Woah! Woah! I didn't know Dan Aykroyd was in this picture."

8. Giants vs. Cowboys Football Game 
Giants vs. Cowboys
Little Giants

Game Description: After the Ice Box enters the game following an injury to Junior Floyd, the Giants overcome a 21 point deficit and Becky makes a game-saving goal line stop in the final seconds. On the last play of the game, the Giants run the Annexation of Puerto Rico and go 99 yards to score the game-winning touchdown.

Why it's on the List: It's so extremely easy to root for and love the Giants. It might be the biggest upset on the list. And features the greatest play on the list in the Annexation of Puerto Rico.

MVP: Junior Floyd. He carries the team offensively the whole game and is the most important part of the Annexation of Puerto Rico.

Best Moment: The halftime speech delivered by Danny that convinces the team that it only takes one chance to beat the Cowboys.

Quote: "Don't be talkin bout my momma!"

7. ADAA Invitational Championship Match 
Average Joes vs. Purple Cobras
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

Game Description: Average Joes battles back after being a 5-1 man disadvantage and force sudden death. In a Peter/White one-on-one showdown, Peter blindfolds himself and eliminates White to win the tournament for Average Joes.

Why it's on the List: A totally different kind of sports movie. Manages to make dodgeball very exciting and still is able to pit the protagonist (Peter) vs. the antagonist (White) with the game on the line. The post-game scenario in which we learn that Average Joes will buy out Globo Gym is also very unique and rewarding.

MVP: Peter LaFleur. Peter gets a key elimination on Me'Shell before winning it in sudden death.

Best Moment: When Chuck Norris votes yes to allow the championship game to take place.

Quote: "I'm being told that Average Joe's does not have enough players and will be forfeiting the championship match." "It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for 'em." 

6. Junior Olympics Gold Medal Game
Team USA vs. Team Iceland
D2: The Mighty Ducks

Game Description: Team USA battles back from a four point deficit and tie the game on Russ Tyler's knucklepuck goal. Julie the Cat makes a glove save on Gunner Stahl's triple deke in a shootout to seal the win for the Ducks.

Why it's on the List: One of the most fun movies on the list. Features a band of characters that we came to love in the first movie and it's very enjoyable to see them succeed again in the sequel.

MVP: Russ Tyler. His fake out knucklepuck goal forces overtime.

Best Moment: When Goldberg and Russ change equipment to trick Team Iceland and set up Russ' game-tying shot.

Quote: "Let's go shake their hands."

5. Indiana State High School Basketball Championship Game
Hickory vs. South Bend

Game Description: Hickory is matched up against a taller and more athletic team in South Bend. But behind their terrific shooting, Hickory manages to stay in the game. Jimmy Chitwood hits a game-winning shot in the final seconds to give the Hoosiers the win.

Why it's on the List: Hoosiers is the prototypical sports movie. It created what is now a familiar story with pressure on the team to succeed from the community and the town drunk father of one of the players. It also featured the first ever halftime speech and the inspirational ending is now a trademark to the genre.

MVP: Jimmy Chitwood. According to Deadspin, Chitwood scored 40 points in addition to hitting the buzzer-beater at the end. 

Best Moment: Coach Dale's speech at halftime remains to this day one of the greatest sports movie halftime speeches of all time.

Quote: "Jimmy's wet."

4. Virginia State High School Football Championship Game
 T.C. Williams vs. Marshall
Remember the Titans

Game Description: Marshall outplays the T.C. Williams in the first half, using their advanced offense to pick apart the Titan defense. After several halftime adjustments, the Titans are able to come back in the second half. Julius Campbell forces a key fumble in the closing minutes and Jerry "Rev" Harris comes off the bench to score the game-winning touchdown as time expires.

Why it's on the List: The ending of the game involves all of the main characters from the movie. Julius makes the strip, Petey recovers the fumble, and Sunshine and Rev make the final play. Puts a perfect cap on an inspirational movie.

MVP: Ronnie "Sunshine" Bass. Sunshine brings the team back on offense in the second half and makes several key blocks on the final play to clear the path for Rev's game-winning touchdown.

Best Moment: After Campbell makes a great play on defense to force a fumble, Petey recovers the ball to give his team a chance to win it on offense.

Quote: "Fake 23 blast with a backside George reverse. Fake 23 blast with a backside George reverse like your life depended upon it!"

3. World Heavyweight Championship Bout 
Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed

Game Description: Rocky goes toe-to-toe with Apollo for the full fifteen rounds. He becomes the first boxer ever to knock Creed down and refuses to quit, even after Mickey tells him to stay down after a knockdown. Creed wins in a split decision.

Why it's on the List: One of the most iconic sports matchups of all time. This fight is the best of all the Rocky movies because it goes the full fifteen rounds...and Rocky doesn't win. Rocky is a smart movie because it knows it can make an impact on the audience even if the hero loses.

MVP: Both boxers give it their all in an evenly matched fight, but let's recognize Mickey for putting Rocky in a position to go the full fifteen with the heavyweight champ.

Best Moment: Rocky comes into the fight an overwhelming underdog; and despite the fact that Creed had never been knocked down before, Rocky catches Apollo with an uppercut in the first round to put him on the canvas. 

Quote: "He doesn't know it's a show. He thinks it's a damn fight!"

2. American League Pennant Game
Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees
Major League

Game Description: The game is scoreless until the seventh, when the Yankees score two runs in the top half of the inning. After Roger Dorn gets on in the bottom of the eighth, Pedro Cerrano ties the game with a two-run home run. Ricky Vaughn gets out of a bases loaded jam in the ninth and Willie Mays Hayes scores from second on Jake Taylor's bunt in the bottom of the ninth to win it for the Indians.

Why it's on the List: Major League has probably the most exciting finish to a sports movie ever. There is drama with Cerrano's home run, Vaughn's strikeout, Mayes hit/steal, and Taylor's final play. And it feels 100% authentic.

MVP: Jake Taylor. Taylor calls the game from behind the plate and gets the game-winning hit at the end.

Best Moment: Ricky Vaughn faces his nemesis, Haywood, with two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth. Vaughn fires three fastballs by Haywood, the last one reaching 101 MPH, and gives his team a chance to win it in the bottom of the inning.

Quote: "I'm pissed off now, Jobu. Look, I go to you. I stick up for you. You don't help me now. I say 'Fuck you,' Jobu, I do it myself."

1. AAGPBL World Series, Game 7
Rockford Peaches vs. Racine Belles
 A League of Their Own

Game Description: The game remains scoreless until the bottom of the eighth when Racine scores to take a 1-0 lead into the ninth. Dottie Hinson gets a two-RBI single off her sister Kit to take a one-run lead into the bottom of the inning. Kit comes up to bat in the ninth with a runner on and two outs and hits an 0-2 high fastball deep into the outfield. Kit ignores a stop sign at third base and collides with Dottie at home, who drops the ball and gives the game and the World Series to Racine.

Why it's on the List: A League of Their Own is number one because it is a truly unique sports movie ending in that although the events that unfold are unexpected, you feel happy with the result. You realize at the end that you were rooting for Kit all along.

MVP: Kit Kellar. She pitches eight innings of shutout ball and gets the championship winning hit at the end.

Best Moment: Kit's hit at the end. Dottie tells Ellen Sue to throw high fastballs to Kit, which brings the foreshadowing at the beginning of the movie full circle. Kit misses the first two before driving the third deep into the outfield for the World Series winning hit.

Quote: "Henson dropped the ball! Henson dropped the ball!"

*The list criteria were sports games that were created by a screenwriter. This leaves out true stories with realistic depictions of the game (Miracle) but can include true stories with games that were dramatized by the screenwriter (Hoosiers and Remember the Titans).