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Posts Tagged ‘William Shatner’

I love movies. To me, they are the ultimate entertainment form. They combine music, photography, performance and storytelling into one big glossy bowl of wonder. That’s why I went to film school, to learn more about the magic. And while my naïve little eyes were opened wide by the experience, it also gave me an unparalleled appreciation for the art form. Never mind that a part of me still wants to dissect every aspect of a movie, from shot angles to casting to how much catering must have cost. Sometimes it’s best not to see behind the curtain.

Writing for movies is a whole ‘nuther animal from novel writing. I was okay at it, but screenwriting was never going to be my best creative avenue. I’m too wordy, too detail oriented, too into the minds of my characters, too control-freaky. Once I came to accept that fact, and the fact I was never going to be awarded anything besides a pat on the back (oh, the fantasies children have of golden statues and piles of money…), I was able to sit back and just be happy writing to my strengths. And I was able to watch movies just for fun again. I have a few favorites that I keep going back to. Not because they’re Great Films, but because they’re great escapes. As I thought about them, I realized I haven’t shared much about my tastes in movies here, despite bragging about my film school education. So get some popcorn and a big drink and sit back for my top five.

1)        Blade Runner

Blade Runner

My favorite of all time. Directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer. The tone and texture of this thing is just beyond anything else I’ve experienced. A commentary on what it means to be human, it is a feast for the eyes with exquisite detail and a subtle depth in its storytelling. I’ve never cared for the soundtrack – my tinnitus and electronic tones don’t get along – but I can overlook that for everything else it offers. I’m one of the few who actually saw it in the theater when it was released and I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve watched it since.

My favorite scene:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_saUN4j7Gw

2)        The Omega Man

 The Omega Man

Charlton Heston at his badass best. I remember seeing this at a drive-thru with my parents. I think it was part of a double-header, but it’s been awhile so forgive me if the details are fuzzy. This thing haunted me for weeks afterward. Okay, it still haunts me. Probably why it’s one of my favorites.

Based on the Richard Matheson novel “I Am Legend,” (which has spawned several other movie versions as well), it’s more than just a monster movie or a tale of survival. Just check out Chuck’s not-so-subtle position at the end:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhPOEFnQkw8

3)        Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Star Trek II

The best of the original series/cast movies, in my not-so-humble opinion. Ricardo Montalban (and his amazing chest – he was 62 when this thing was released) gave us one of the most memorable science fiction villains in modern history. And William Shatner proved that he was more than just a caricature for comedians to make fun of. Subtle performances combined with sharp writing gave us fans a fitting big screen entry. A beautiful story of friendships and sacrifice, Spock’s final scenes still have me reaching for the Kleenex. Too bad the studio couldn’t leave it alone, and the sequels cheapened the experience.

Since there’s too many good scenes to pick just one, I’ll give you the pretty bitchin’ extended trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBpwPfW1Lsw

4)        Gladiator

 Gladiator

Another Ridley Scott entry. The man is a friggin’ genius and I’m still mad he didn’t get a Best Director Oscar for this one. But Russell Crowe garnered his first for acting, in a performance that can only be termed breathtaking. Grand and tragic and noble and heartbreaking, his character lives the motto of “Strength and Honor” right to the bitter end. This one is more than a movie; it’s also a FILM, so be ready to actually pay attention.

Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack is haunting and its own work of art, while the opening battle sequence is worth the price of admission all by itself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AP7XCCUcug

5)        Die Hard

 Die Hard

The definitive action movie. There was a collective moan of horror when it was learned Bruce Willis had been cast as the lead because he was only known as the wisecracking David Addison in Moonlighting at that point. Did he ever prove the naysayers wrong. And then there was Alan Rickman, who gave the villain Hans Gruber such depth he’s become the gold standard for bad guys everywhere. Sharp writing, tight action and stellar performances make this my go-to escape whenever I feel the need to see some justice in action. But let’s just forget the sequels, shall we?

Just in case you need a reminder, here’s where the catch phrase we’ve all added to our lexicon originated:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEOVNmSR7_c

So there you go. Some rainy afternoon time wasters for your perusal. I hope they bring you as much fun escapism as they have me. Yippee ki yay….

 

© 2014   Cheri K. Endsley   All Rights Reserved*

 

*         Except for the movies themselves. I’m just passing them on and don’t claim any rights to them or the creation thereof. Those rights stay with the original creators. Please don’t sue me. 😉

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I hope you’re happy now. I’m taking valuable time away from my Hulu viewing schedule to spend time with you. All the episodes of the various permutations of Star Trek are free until the end of March in honor of William Shatner’s birthday. I could watch three or four episodes in the time it takes me to write whatever this is for this week, escaping the mundanity that makes up most of my days.

There are a lot of nice morality lessons in Star Trek, everything from race relations to drug addiction to what happens when you meddle in the affairs of mortals. Star Trek was ground breaking in so many ways. Too bad more people didn’t pay attention. To this day there is still a large section of our populace who consider it little more than fictional fluff, good for a laugh or an idea for their next Halloween costume. Tell that to a whole generation of scientists out there, on your touch pad smart phone…

There are articles aplenty on the cool things we have today because somebody watched a silly Wagon-Train-in-Space back in the ‘60s, so I don’t need to address those. No, what I want to point out are the things we DON’T have yet, things that were everywhere in the Star Trek universe, things that gave us the best examples of what humanity could achieve. Things like manners, common sense, compassion and personal responsibility.

Turn on the television, read the news, follow the trends on Facebook and Twitter and you’ll see what I mean. Hell, just go to the grocery store and experience our society’s lack of the social graces up close and personal. While you’re at it, don’t forget to eat some fruit without paying for it, talk loudly on your cell phone while your child is screaming in his stinky diaper, block the aisle with your basket and six unsupervised kids, ignore the elderly lady with the cane trying to reach for something off a high shelf, be rude to the check out clerk because your coupons are expired, leave said dirty diaper on the ground ten feet from the trash can, and abandon your basket one parking spot over from the cart rack. Oh yeah, I love grocery shopping.

That’s the kind of stuff that boggles my mind. It’s also why I don’t like leaving the house. It’s not that I’m agoraphobic in the clinical sense of the word; I just don’t want to go to jail. Because that’s likely what is going to happen if I’m continually exposed to the kind of rude, senseless, crap that goes on out there. I fear that one day I will snap and you’ll see me featured on the evening news. I’ll be the one in the anatomically correct breastplate, swinging a sword at the fleeing crowds of clueless masses, screaming about the end of the world because someone dropped that one last cigarette butt on the sidewalk right next to the ash can. Believe me, I’ve come awfully close already.

And the grocery store is just the tip of the iceberg. Just in the last few days I’ve encountered stories about seals on a California beach beaten by humans because the latter don’t want to share what wasn’t theirs to begin with, kids on bicycles running over a cat for fun, and a teenager burned to death as the result of a “prank.” WTF, people???

That’s why aliens haven’t openly visited us yet – we’re a bunch of heartless assholes. We’re not progressing as fast as a species as our technology might indicate. We don’t have the ethics and morals to play with the big kids out in the grandeur of space yet, so we’ve been quarantined until we learn how to play nice (Fermi’s Paradox, anyone?).

We tend to worry about the “big” issues of our world – nuclear armaments, famines, war, crashing economies – things most of us don’t have a direct impact upon. We put our two cents in by voting for the people we think will take the steps we want in the direction we want, but that’s about the best we can hope for on the big stage. We tend to forget about the little things we can do, the ordinary courtesies that can help us grow to be a better people. One cigarette butt on the ground may not seem like a big deal. Neither is one paper cut. But there are over seven billion of us on this planet. Even if just one percent of us didn’t care where our trash landed, that’s seventy million dirty diapers in parking lots somewhere. Translate that to paper cuts and then tell me it doesn’t feel bad.

That’s why I hide in my nice little house, playing with string, watching a version of the future that I hope we can achieve, and writing about the things we can do to get there. Sometimes I include my lessons in my fiction, just like Star Trek did, and sometimes I just lay it out right in front of you right here. Now it’s your choice as to how you proceed. Just remember, my sword is never far from my hand…

 

© 2013   Cheri K. Endsley   All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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