A few days ago, I went Old Testament on our collective 90’s ass and its inferior love of bubblegum music. I was hooked on vim and vigor for my cause. It was not a pretty sight.
As I was redrafting the boundaries of our lives, re-sketching our horizons and trying earnestly to erase the madness that’s our adolescence from our musical palate, it suddenly dawned on me.
Yes, we might have been lobotomized hedgehogs when it came to our records’ collection, but when our silver screen icons came to bare, we were freaking scholars!
We were enamored of the Indiana Jones saga; prostrated ourselves every afternoon before the altar of Big Trouble In Little China, constantly quoted Spock, turned a blind eye to shoddy Back To The Future dialogue, could flip any conversation into a Goonie filibuster, applauded Nicholson when he said: “never rub another man’s rhubarb,” although it made absolutely no sense. We waited hours in line, to witness the rapidly growing excrement festoon-creek that the holy trilogy would become. And even, in those dreary days, we felt a magnetic pull towards Tony Montana and Vito Corleone. A preternatural attraction we couldn’t explain. Inadvertently, despite the fact that certain movies were taboo for our tender minds, we had breached the collective zeitgeist somehow. Almost by osmosis, we could imagine Al Pacino waving a giant assault rifle, wacking dozens of Colombians and compensating for “something”.
Was it taste? Was it style? Was it kismet? No matter what we called it, it was true and pure. Our musical proclivities may have been lacking sound or reason. Our malformed brains might have actually thought that Schnapps was the nectar of the Gods. We might have actually believed that Bart Simpson was funnier than Homer. But, we had an innate ability to judge what an instant classic was. Hell, by the time I was eleven, I already believed, fervently, that Killer Klowns From Outer Space and Buckaroo Banzai were cult classics. I still remember saying that term: “Cult Classics.”
“Mom, dad, you just don’t get it, Office Space is a Cult Classic!”
“That’s nice Max… Now please, stop hitting the fax machine,” my mom would tell me while my dad was on the phone with the parish priest.
“Father, we need an intervention… I think my kid has joined a Satanic Cult.”
Those were the days. Especially after they had me tested and the Vatican-approved priest determined that “the power of Christ,” did not compel me.
Then, unfortunately, we were temporarily brainwashed. College came about and, just like that, we were labeled philistines. Our adoration of Han was first taken out back and shot under the watchful eye of Citizen Kane. Our love for Caddyshack, or National Lampoon, ridiculed by Billy Wilder’s, The Apartment. Our enthusiasm for Freddy Krugger sucked dried by Nosferatu. Amazingly, everything that tasted like nighttime NyQuil was not only a classic but superior to our adrenaline pumping friends. You were ostracized, burned at the stake and shunned by society if you suddenly caught yourself saying: “can someone explain to me what the F@#k happened at the end of 2001?”
Thankfully, we are now in 2015. A magical era. An epoch of nerd enlightenment. A time-period where we can appreciate the technical brilliance – of its day – of a film like The Birth Of A Nation. Yet where we can go to a midnight screening of Rocky Horror, and not be labeled by our peers as “the inbreed monster of the lowest common denominator.” Someone actually called me that, during my Film School years. My offense? Having spent a portion of my fast-food pay on a bootleg copy of RoboCop.
So, with that intro in place, it is time to get our BluRay on, and build a decent film collection. Something that hits all the right notes: the sharp twang of coolness, the heavy thud of sophistication, the playful report of silliness, and overall the orchestral majesty of passion.
I’m going to break this down in categories and offer my suggestions for a kick-ass movie collection.
One should always have a trilogy. Three distinct films that tell the world: “I have the consistency to watch a marathon. You can count on me.”
Mine? The Holy Trilogy. Forget the prequels, they did not happen. It was just a bad dream. Like Obi Wan said: “these are not the droids you are looking for.” Now, just supplant droids for films and you’re golden. There are so many options nowadays, but, if you pick the one where they digitally replace Sebastian Shaw’s Darth Vader for mellow-yellow Christensen, then you are dead to me.
That one Oscar-winning spectacle that marks a period of your life. Shawshank Redemption, Forrest Gump, Amadeus.
American Beauty: Lester’s midlife crisis is as funny as it is poignant. It’s the sort of suburban nightmare 70% of us will one day face. So, we might as well start practicing.
This is a category onto itself. Simply get the collection, period.
The whole trilogy is just one huge film. It’s an offer that you can’t refuse.
The historically inaccurate jumble of entertaining Hollywood trash
Amadeus, Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line.
Braveheart’s my pick: “They will never take our freedom…” and all that other rubbish. Plus let’s be honest -Wallace really did get the last laugh. Not only did he inspire rebellion but he also booby-trapped Isabella of France’s womb.
The Action Extravaganza
Something that reminds the world you have a pair of testicles between your legs. Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, Predator.
Face-Off: It’s ridiculous, it’s absurd, but Travolta’s and Cage’s manic energy goes into ground-zero mode when they act as Castor Troy.
The Cool Factor
All Tarantino films. The ones he wrote, starred in, directed or was marginally responsible. They are all stellar and worth multiple views. True Romance; Natural Born Killers; From Dusk Till Dawn; Pulp Fiction; Reservoir Dogs; Kill Bill; Jackie Brown… Etc, etc, etc.
Cause it has a baked Al Pacino with an M-16, a tiger, and a slinky Catwoman.
Go on and get Gladiator and Aliens, watch them drunk and intertwined. Whammo, you are instantly gifted with a pissed-off Russel Crowe, shouting excellent war-cries while walloping hundreds of face huggers to heck and back. Mister Scott, you want a follow-up to Prometheus? Look no further.
This is self-explanatory. Good example: Groundhog Day, Hangover, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters.
Zoolander and Tropic Thunder. You need something that’s both deep and idiotic -that somehow breaks those borders apart. Something, that no matter the day will draw a smile to your face.
The Religious Statement
That one flick that’s dogmatic to you. That piece of theologically important masterpiece that’s holy script… That gives life lessons on every scene. Mine’s: The Big Lebowski (the dude abides). Other possible alternatives: Ghostbusters (the nature of the afterlife); Bill and Ted’s (quantum physics and the dynamics of time); Toy Story (philosophy 101).
Everybody needs a romantic comedy. That piece of aphrodisiacal celluloid glory, to spring out on dates.
High Fidelity, for me, is that film. It’s the only time, where we yanks haven taken a British icon and haven’t mucked it all about as we pigeonhole it into modern day America. Plus, the soundtrack is a thing of absolute beauty.
The Testosterone Affair (Fight Club)
Cause you are constantly reminded that you are not a unique snowflake and, when that happens, you just want to break something. Live vicariously through this film.
The Holiday Favorite
It’s Christmas time, the turkey is ready, the relatives are antsy, the carrols are driving you insane. You have two choices, it’s either John McClane or Jimmy Steward… What’s it going to be? “Yippee-ki-yay, mother…” You can also pick Chevy Chases’ Christmas Vacation or Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas.
The Horror Classic.
That film that still gives you nightmares or at the very least, makes you uncomfortable in the dark.
My Favorites: Aliens, Silence Of The Lambs, The Shining.
The Ace in the Hole
That one movie that shines in your soul. That enigmatic movie that just adds an air of profound meaning to the mask that is yourself. This is a personal token that speaks directly to your heart, and only you understand. Mine: Wonder Boys with Micheal Douglas.
The Princess Bride; Back To The Future; Batman; The Dark Knight; Jurassic Park; Jaws; Indiana Jones; Ferris Buller; Monty Python’s The Holy Grail; Man On Fire; Terminator Judgement Day; Toy Story; Raging Bull; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly; Lord of The Ring Trilogy; Favorite James Bond film; Leon; Blade Runner.