Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas Wishlist

This was originally intended to be posted last night while taking a study break and watching an ep of South Park (it was the ep where Ike has an affair with his kindergarten teacher and runs afoul of Cartman, aka the Dawg.) Thanks to Firefox taking a shit right as I was putting the finishing touches on, it's being posted tonight, before I go to bed, while watching an ep of South Park (the one where Stan's dog is gay and the boys have to play in the Homecoming game against their big middle school.)

Anyway, my Christmas Wishlist...I'm actually rather simple. Give me a good well thought out action-drama movie (preferebly directed by Michael Mann) and a book or three on counter-insurgency and I'm rather happy. Without further ado, this wishlist...


Taut, fast paced thriller that doesn't waste any time on demanding you feel for its major characters. Either you do or you don't, but that's not the point. This movie makes you feel what life is like for them on the visceral level. This might just be Michael Mann's most visually pleasing film, and that's saying something considering he did Heat, Collateral, and The Last of the Mohicans. It also has the greatest movie shoot-out scene. Ever. (Better than the bank heist in Heat...barely.) Plus with not one, but two Barret .50's featured in two separate scenes, what's not to love?

Collateral is the first Mann film I ever saw. I actually caught the last third on HBO late/early while on vacation in Florida, and I was absolutely blown away. Continues the love affair with L.A. Mann started in Heat. The cinematography is gorgeous, as always, and Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise couldn't be better. This is one of the few films I will watch Cruise in, and I honestly think that Foxx should've won his Oscar for this film, instead of Ray. He's that friggin' good.

Heat. The Mann masterpiece. If you haven't seen this movie, you're doing yourself a great disservice. There is really no reason not to love this film. It has great acting from a plethora of extremely talented stars, an incredible story, an in depth look at what exactly makes professional criminals and the detectives that chase them tick, well done action sequences, including one of the greatest movie shoot-outs, and since it's Mann, you know it's going to be a work of art, literally. There is a scene near the end when Robert DeNiro's character is driving through a tunnel and the lights of the tunnel hit the car in just a certain way...I can't even describe it. It's incredible.

Batman Begins continues the trend of remaking action heroes to be modern and hip. However, Batman Begins goes a little further than the standard. It is actually a good film on its own merits, not just a good superhero film. I've said for a while that Christian Bale is one of the most talented actors around, and this film simply proves that point. Add Michael Caine to the mix, along with direction by Christopher Nolan, and you can't go wrong. We get to see how Batman came to be who he is, and we get to see him as a real individual, warts and all. While you're watching keep in mind that all the stunts involving the batmobile were performed in real life, using a custom-built vehicle worth about $500,000.

Tom Hanks. Paul Newman. Father-surrogate son/Father-son relationship. Did I mention that it features Hanks and Newman? A well done drama that focuses on two different father-son relationships set to the background of the violence ridden world of a gangster in the '20s.

The submarine classic. No movie has ever done a better job of telling the story of life on a submarine, and very few have done a better job of conveying the general hopelessness and waste of war. The best war movies are, by their very nature, anti-war movies. This is no exception.


Books: No commentary on these because I haven't read them yet.


First, the Stephen Colbert's Alpha Squad 7: The Adventures of Tek Jansen t-shirt. If you watch the Colber(t) Repor(t) you get it...if not, I'm not even going to try to explain.

Finally, courtesy of the folks over at Flex Your Rights, the t-shirt for every lover of the Constitution, freedom, and apple pie. Has text of the 4th Amendment on the back. (h/t: Radley Balko.)