By Doug Crooks, Independent
Since this summer movie season has been less than great,
now is a great time to catch up on some films you may have
overlooked in theaters. Below is a list of the Top 5 movies
that I just can't take out of my DVD player.
5. Tora! Tora! Tora!
If you sat through Pearl Harbor and craved something
other than US 'popcorn' History, than check out Tora! Tora!
Tora! for answers. Tora! Tora! Tora! (The Japanese signal
to attack) features a joint US and Japanese effort to film
one of the greatest war pictures to date. The unique thing
about this film is it chronicles both sides of the Pearl
Harbor story (and not just a 'cartoonish' version of the
Japanese brass). The war scenes are eerily accurate, and
you get a sense of how the Japanese felt "awaking a
sleeping Giant." This is a must see for both action
enthusiasts as well as History buffs
4. Spike Lee's 'Do the Right Thing' Criterion Collection
This double disc set is what DVD players were made for.
Not only does this disc feature a pristine picture, but
the extras on this disc are amazing. You get the now 'standard'
commentary you've come to expect from a special addition
set. To those not in the know, Criterion is a mark of
the highest quality of DVD, showcasing foreign films as
well as modern artistic and independent films. Plus,
you get Spike Lee's home-video footage of everything from
casting rehearsals to the wrap party, several making of
documentaries, the 1989 Cannes Film Festival press conference,
original storyboards for the riot scene, Public Enemy's
video for "Fight the Power," and a few other tid
bits. If you've never seen this film, it's worth a look
just to see what all of the controversy was all about (this
is the film that caused theater riots in the late 80's and
early 90's, and has a VERY controversial ending). This is
a perfect example of story telling at it's finest, and now
you can view it in a beautiful format.
3. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
While a lot of us may be tired of the hype, you can't argue
that this movie doesn't deserve the attention it's been
getting. This movie not only feature some of THE most exciting
action sequences ever shot, but it a beautiful love story.
A film both guys and girls can get into! And if you hesitated
to see in the theaters due to it's subtitles, you can rent
it on DVD and watch it in English. This is one of the
best dubbed movies I've ever heard, since a large portion
of the cast speaks English. I won't hype up this movie any
more than it's already been hyped, but take my word for
it: you DO NOT want to miss seeing this film!
2. Being John Malkovich
While this movie may not be for everyone, it's undeniable
that this is one of the most original movies ever made.
It features John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, and John Malkovich
starring in the role he was born to play! I can't go into
the plot without giving away the beauty of this movie. It's
best seen 'fresh' and original; the less you know, the more
you can marvel in it's originality. I will tell you that
Cusack is a puppeteer who takes an office job as a filer
and soon discovers a portal into the mind of John Malkovich.
You can actually be Malkovich for about fifteen minutes
before you're shot out of his head and onto the New Jersey
turnpike. I know it sounds weird, but you will be the
hippest guy around the water cooler when you mention seeing
(and hopefully liking) this flick!
1. Almost Famous
This was my pick for best movie of last year by a long
shot. Favorite director Cameron Crowe writes the pseudo-story
of his life. Almost Famous is about a smarter than average
boy (William) who is fifteen and goes on the road with a
big time rock and roll band. While this movie is rated R
(which is absurd), this movie has some of the best morals
I've seen in a main stream movie in years. William is surrounded
by sex, drugs and rock 'n roll, yet upholds the good morals
that his college professor mom has taught him. He doesn't
give in to the temptations of the road, and he stays a good
kid! A film like this should be shown to high school kids
all over and seen as a triumph of the mind over the tempations.
The sound track is great (some of you older folks will
dig the familiar songs of the 70's) and has one of the
most memorable sing-alongs in movie history. I almost always
get misty eyed, and ALWAYS get a big grin on my face watching
the bus full of musicians, roadies, and hangers-on sing
"Tiny Dance." To me, it's a reminder that some
of the biggest fights can all be solved when we just sit
back and remember how close good friends can be, and it
reminds us that friendships and relations are stronger than
So, if you're like me scratching your head and wondering
what to do with all of this free time you USUALLY would
spend at the multiplex, just visit revisit (or discover)
some great 'classics' that you may have missed!
Have fun, and I'll see you in line for Lord of the Rings!
Crooks, Movie Critic
Just so you know how I rate my movies:
||Rush out and see this movie immediately
||See this movie soon, but on your own time
||See this movie at a matinee or with a free pass, save
a couple of bucks
||Video store or cable TV special
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