Welcome to my screening room. Here I present for your viewing enjoyment a selection of both my favorite and antifavorite movies. This area will always be under perpetual construction. Look for lots of expansion and improvement as time goes by.
***** A one-in-a-million flick; a movie of
the very highest caliber!
**** A very good movie
*** A good flick, though not great
** A so-so flick
* Save this for when you're bored
 A poorly-made flick
[x] A bad movie
[xx] A very bad movie
[xxx] An EXTREMELY bad movie
[xxxx] A GUT-WRENCHINGLY HORRIBLE movie!
[xxxxx] Assassinate the director!
My Top Ten Most Favorite Movies
- The Neverending Story ***** This is my all-time favorite movie. It not only lays forth directly, succinctly, accessibly, the cancers and evils which are eating away at the souls of all of us who have the fortune/misfortune to be part of "modern civilization", but it even prescribes remedial action, something no other movie I've ever seen does. This movie bids you set aside your fears and doubts, and dare to do what you dream.
- Gandhi ***** A beautiful telling of the life of visionary Mohandus K. "Mahatma" Gandhi. It was filmed on a "shoestring" budget of a few hundred thousand dollars, and yet it has an epic grandeur greater than many movies costing 100 or even 1000 times as much money! (It costs a cool half-billion bucks to film a typical "blockbuster" these days. Richard Attenbourough made this flick on a thousandth of that!) This movie is a historical epic. It is very long, and it is full of uncomfortable ideas that actually make you think. Those expecting fast-paced, non-stop, slam-bang action will be sorely disappointed. But it is my all-time number-two favorite movie, because of the important and compelling ideas in it: that we human beings can learn to tolerate each others' differences, that we can live together in peace, that war is ultimately unnecessary, that we can solve our conflicts by negociation rather than aggression, that we can be assertive without being hurtful. This movie compellingly illustrates these powerful ideas in a non-preachy way, making it (in my opinion) one of the greatest movies of all time.
- Koyaanisqatsi ***** Koyaanisqatsi is one of the most bizarre movies ever filmed. It is also, in my opinion, one of the best. It is a feature length motion picture, yet it has no dialog and no plot. Koyaanisqatsi is about nature versus modern civilization, balance versus imbalance. The title, koyaanisqatsi, is a word in the Hopi language meaning "life out of balance". This film shows that imbalance very poignantly, even without dialogue or plot, at about 5 times normal speed. Beyond that, it's indescribable. You'll just have to see it.
- Star Wars ***** One of the best-ever tellings of the ancient story of the on-going battle between the forces of good and evil in the universe. This movie is about courage, honor, loyalty, betrayal, and faith in a higher power. Certainly one of the greatest movies of all times. I saw it the day it first came out back in 1977 and it changed my life forever.
- Star Trek: First Contact ***** Since the days of Copernicus and Galileo, when humankind first learned that we are living on a small, insignificant planet, orbiting a very ordinary star, far out on the edge of a very ordinary galaxy among millions of other galaxies, as far from the "center" of things as imaginable, one overwhelming question has seared the mind of anyone who looks up at the night sky contemplatively: "Are we alone? Have we no friends out there?" The answer comes to those of us who are honest with ourselves: "We are probably not alone. There are almost certainly others out there, friends or enemies. But where are they? Why have they not come? And what would I do, one lonely human, if they did come, and they landed in my backyard, and one of them stepped out of his spacecraft and said 'hello', and raised a hand in a gesture of peace, or a weapon in a gesture of hate?" That is the main point in First Contact. The whole movie leads up to that moment when the young space traveler from a distant star -- the first-ever visitor to Earth from another planet -- raises his hand in greeting to Zephrim Chochran and says... well, I won't tell you what he says! See it yourself!
- Titanic ***** This movie is the best of all the movies about the Titanic. Titanic works very well on many different levels, including scenic grandeur, maritime action-adventure, historical epic, love story, disaster story. Titanic features incredible, breathtaking cinematography, especially in the external shots of the ship. These scenes were filmed using a combination of live-action, scale models, and computer animation, but you can't tell! You'll swear you're really there. While Titanic does include some fictional story details, all of the main events of the real-life Titanic disaster are accurately portrayed. This movie presents the tale of the life and death of the greatest ocean-going ship ever built in a way that is more real, more compelling than any other Titanic movie I've ever seen. I was also greatly moved by the fictional but deeply-moving love story between Jack and Rose, a tale of a love which transcended even death itself. The very last scene of the movie is especially poignant. But more than anything, this movie is a historically-accurate tale of how people reacted to one of the most horrifying maritime disasters of all time. Courage and cowardice, poise and panic, murderous greed and selfless sacrifice -- all are portrayed in this movie as they actually happened on that tragic night. Come take the boat ride of your life; but be sure to reserve a seat in the lifeboat!
- The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King ***** Director Peter Jackson's first two episodes of JRR Tolkien's classic tale The Lord Of The Rings were good, but not great. This episode, however, is truly one of the greatest movies ever filmed. (It is also the fifth-longest movie ever filmed in all of human history.) This third episode adheres to both the details and the spirit of Tolkien's original tale much more closely than Peter Jackson's first two episodes. It also has much more coherence, better acting, better directing, better continuity, better emotional "rightness", better pacing... hell, better everthing. It is simply the best Tolkien movie ever made, bar none. It blows anything else ever filmed out of the water. Intensely exciting, ravishingly beautiful, deeply moving. Two thumbs up! Way to go, Peter Jackson and crew!
- The Untouchables ***** A badly titled movie, in my opinion. But a very good movie, none-the-less. This is all about the battle between a small band of men ("The Untouchables"), who include US Treasury agent Eliot Ness (well acted by Kevin Costner) and a street-smart Irish cop (one of Sean Connery's greatest performances), against gangster Al Capone (Robert DeNiro). This movie is about courage, and the will to fight evil at all costs, and the tenacity to keep on fighting until the battle is won. As Eliot Ness says near the end of the movie, "Never give up! Never give in! Never stop fighting until the fighting's done!"
- Casablanca ***** A lovely b&w flick about love, loss, jealousy, bitterness, and redemption, among other themes. Well-made, and well-acted by Humphrey Bogart. The song "As Time Goes By" is one of my all-time favorite movie songs.
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day **** This movie is a warning of the dangers of letting technology, power, and money get in the way of more important human values on a national/global level. The first scene shows the Third World War in progress, children bursting into flames in a schoolyard as a million watts of gamma rays (from a thermonuclear weapon which just detonated a mile away) suddenly sear their flesh from their bones. The next scenes show a nightmare of post-holocaust war. Then the rest of the movie goes back to the present day, and shows hints of what lead us to the war in the first place. The protagonists then have the task of preventing that war. A sometimes-gruesome, but eminently watchable flick. The "father-son" relationship between Arnold Schartzenegger's "Terminator" character and the little boy is especially touching.
- Schindler's List **** This movie earned Director Steven Spielberg his first OSCAR for Best Director, an honor the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had wrongfully withheld from him on several different occasions because of the Academy's bias against Science Fiction and Fantasy, Spielberg's usual genres. But in Schindler's List, Spielberg tells the story of World War Two villain/hero Herr Schindler, the wealthy Nazi businessman who specializes in profiting from the war by selling munitions and other supplies to Hitler's Nazi armies, but finds to his dismay that the Jewish slaves working in his plants are just as human -- sometimes more so -- as the Germans. He finds himself increasing appalled at the cruelty of the Nazis and other Germans towards the Jews, and finds himself, little by little, doing what he can to thwart the Nazis' campaign of torturing and murdering Jews. He manages to save several hundred lives, at least. And yet, at the end of the movie, he remains a loyal Nazi, believing in the basic principles of the Nazi philosophy, if abhorring the brutal excesses. I admire the makers of this movie -- director, producers, writers -- for not over-simplifying Herr Schindler and trying to make him out to be either a simple hero or a simple villain. He was neither, as the movie so beautifully points out. This movie is highly emotional due to its unemotionalism. That is, it is very moving precisely because it sticks to accurately portraying the historical facts without sentimentalizing them. A "must-see" movie for mature adults! However, BE WARNED: This movie contains extremely-graphic scenes of extreme violence. In one scene, for example, a Nazi officer is standing in an open square, in broad daylight, with a young Jewish woman, about 20 years old, his prisoner. The young woman says something the Nazi officer doesn't like, so he pulls his pistol out of his holster and blows her brains out. I still don't know how they did that flying-brains effect. The scene has no music or sound effects (other than the sound of the gun going off), and the camera does not zoom in or out, or cut away. The camera holds study on the whole scene, from before the officer shoots the young woman, to afterwards, as he walks away, ordering someone to "remove this garbage". That scene gave me nightmares for weeks. This movie is not for young children, or those with weak stomachs.
- Aliens **** A wonderfully frightening science-fiction/horror story. I especially love the scene where Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) is in the elevator, going down to the basement to rescue her little girl from the evil clutches of the alien monsters. All the way down, she's assembling, loading, and readying her weaponry. When the elevator door finally opens on the bottom level, there she stands with loaded-and-cocked armor-piercing machine gun, grenade launcher, idling flame thrower, and other goodies; one look at her face, and you can see she's a woman who's out to kill whoever dared to abduct her little girl, and death to anyone or anything that gets in her way! A great scene.
- Twister [****] A one-of-a-kind movie. There are other movies about tornadoes, but no other movie comes this close to reality. This movie is terrifying because of its sheer realism. The viewer is taken on a tour of tornado country, during the heart of tornado season, and gets to ride with the tornado chasers in their cars and vans as they put themselves in harm's way. In the movie, the tornado chasers get very close to the tornadoes indeed, far closer than they intended to on a couple of occasions. The tornadoes in the film were mostly computer-generated, but much of the winds, rains, and thunderstorms were real. The movie was shot almost entirely on-location in the Oklahoma/Kansas area, and contains hours of footage of this beautiful countryside, all shot in sharp, realistic color in broad daylight. You'll feel like you're really there. This movie is a partially-fictionalized version of the true story of the VORTEX team's tornado research in the early 1990s. A very frightening movie.
- Fatal Impact [xx] I don't know what this movie was about because it was so boring that I slept through most of it. An extremely inept attempt at "spoofing" various other movies. Its allusions were difficult for me to figure out, and most of its jokes left me wondering where the punch-line went to. Play this flick on your VCR if you want to fall asleep! As good as Sominex.
- Clueless [xxxx] This movie was so just-plain-stupid that it made me sick to my stomach! It is an insult to the intelligence of the movie-going public. Did the people who made this think we don't have brains in our heads?
- Monty Python's The Life of Brian [xxxxx] This movie makes-fun-of and trivializes everything I believe in and hold sacred: Love, truth, logic, goodness, honor, ethics, courage, compassion -- it makes a mockery of all these things, and hence I despise this film as I despise no other movie. Here this foul and hideous movie sits, at the very BOTTOM of my list of movies, and here this revolting gob of garbage will sit till hell freezes over. I think all of the negatives, prints, and videos of this filthy, disgusting misuse of celluloid should be rounded up and burned, and the persons who made it should be assassinated! That's how much I hate this vile and contemptible flick! (Oh, and whoever wrote that nauseating song "Look on the Bright Side of Life" should be crucified, slowly and painfully.)