The Movie Location Game (Round 2)

The game is simple: I post a picture of a movie location, you guess which movie it’s from. Hints will appear after the picture; highlight them to read. Using TinEye or Google in ANY WAY is cheating. There are no prizes, other than bragging rights. There are three pictures this week; we’ll start easy and get harder as they go along.

LOCATION #1 – For most guys in the 30-50 age bracket, this film EASILY ranks in their top 5.

Movie Location #1
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HINTS (highlight to view): This scene is one of the most talked about in modern film history. This because of how the scene was shot, not the content. The scene (and its filming) are discussed in several other movies.

LOCATION #2 – Although set in one city, this film was mostly filmed in another. This is one of the few scenes that was actually shot in the story’s city.

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HINTS (highlight to view): The film spawned not one, but two soundtrack albums. Combined, these two albums rank at #7 on the “best selling soundtracks of all-time” list. The film is set in the UK.

LOCATION #3 – I hope you can remember who lives here!

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HINTS (highlight to view): This building is in Paris; the scene in which the building is used is also set in Paris.

Answers after the jump!

Continue reading “The Movie Location Game (Round 2)”

The Movie Location Game

So… this past Friday I “invented” a new game on Facebook: I’d post a picture of a location from a movie, and I invited people to guess which movie it was from. People seemed to like it, so I thought I’d post it here, too.

The rules, such as they are, are quite simple:

1) The movies must be “popular”, in that most people have either seen them, or at least heard of them. I’m not going to try to sneak some obscure 1960s Bulgarian art film past you, or some “direct to DVD” film no one has ever heard of.

2) The locations must be “prominent” in the film. I’m not going to “cheat” by posting a picture of one of the houses Ferris ran through near the end of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, which were only on the screen for second. Having said that, remember that buildings change over time, or might have been embellished for the film.

3) Where needed, I will obscure writing on buildings which might identify them. This is to prevent you from googling a quick answer.

4) Using TinEye is considered cheating!

Here we gooooooooooo!

LOCATION #1 – The grey building in the center of the picture was prominently featured in a popular 80s film. If you’re 35 or older, you’ve almost certainly seen this movie.

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HINTS (highlight to view): The film was based in Washington DC. The building has been repainted since the film came out.

LOCATION #2 – This church was seen into two films: a late 80s classic and an early 2000s rom-com. Name either film.

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HINTS (highlight to view): The first film was not directed or written by John Hughes. Julia Roberts was not in the second film. Both films featured young blonde actresses who died unexpectedly.

LOCATION #3 – This house was featured in a super-popular 80s film. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t seen this movie.

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HINTS (highlight to view): The film was set in Chicago. The lead actor became one of the biggest movie stars in the world because of this film.

Answers after the jump!

Continue reading “The Movie Location Game”

Thursday’s News Roundup

– The FBI finally arrested Whitey Bulger yesterday after a 16 year hunt. It only took ten years to track down Bin Laden. What’s next? Finding Jimmy Hoffa?

– The Archbishop of Canterbury was guest editor New Statesman, a position he used to criticize the British government’s austerity measures. Which is funny, because the Archbishop of Canterbury is the last person who should be critical of the leadership of others. The Anglican Communion has imploded on his watch, yet he has time to criticize David Cameron for cutting programs to keep the British government from drowning in debt. It’s like Herbert Hoover complaining about Jimmy Carter’s “leadership skills”.

– North Carolina’s gas tax is set to become the third highest in the nation. Maybe it’s because the state is shrinking (thanks to Jill Wagner for the link!).

– Is Gordon Ramsey’s star waning? So few people turned up to audition for his show MasterChef that producers “enhanced the crowd” by digitally copying the people who did. Nice.

– When a California man’s cable went out, he called Cox Cable and threatened to kill himself. The Cox technician, taking no chances, called the cops on the man.

– Someone is leaving huge bags of vomit outside a Bed Bath & Beyond store in Philadelphia. Police don’t know if the perpetrator(s) have a beef with the chain, or are perhaps paid to dispose of the waste and are just being lazy.

– Ever seen a $156,679 bar tab? Now you can, as someone took a picture of the receipt from when the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins recently visited the Foxwoods Casino.

– Lastly, New York magazine has a good “nostalgia piece” about the 1988 film Heathers. How has it aged? Read the article and find out!

31 MORE Great 80s Movies!

This list from the Old Stuff Archive. Per my post from the other day, I’m going through the archive and re-posting a bunch of old items that didn’t make the cut when I migrated this site from FrontPage to WordPress. Enjoy!

The following is a list of some of my favorite 80s films. When I originally wrote this article, it was a follow-up list of “Honorable Mentions” to this list of my 31 favorite 80s films. As such, the descriptions are much shorter and don’t include IMDB links or pictures.

Amazon Women on the Moon – A hilarious comedy from 1987. There’s no “plot” to this film; the movie is just made of bits and pieces that go back and forth, as if you were flipping through the dial trying to find something to watch. While the film is still funny, it’s extremely dated. And if you’re under the age of 30 you might miss much of the humor altogether since you weren’t around during the “VHS vs. Laserdisc”, “Celebrity Roast” and “The Late, Late Night Movie” era.

Back To The Future – A hugely popular trilogy of films in the 80s, starring Michael J. Fox as the time-traveling teenager that must go back and make sure his parents stick together. It’s still good family entertainment (although the quality of the films decreases at they go on), but I didn’t include it on my list since most of the action takes place in the 1950s.

Beetle Juice – Lots of people love this film. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I just don’t like most Tim Burton movies. I’m sorry, make me hand in my “cool people’s card” if you will, but I just don’t care for them. This one’s pretty funny, though.

Continue reading “31 MORE Great 80s Movies!”

31 Great 80s Movies!

This list is from the Old Stuff Archive. Per my post from the other day, I’m going through the archive and re-posting a bunch of old items that didn’t make the cut when I migrated this site from FrontPage to WordPress back in 2007. Enjoy!

The following is a list of some of my favorite 80s films. It’s not a “best of” list. I originally got the idea for this from talking to a much younger friend of mine who’d only seen a couple of films on this list. And while it’s not a “best of” list, the films are listed in rough order of preference.

Also, keep in mind that this is a list of “80s films” and not a list of “films made in the 80s”. There were plenty of great films from that time that have nothing to do with 80s culture, like Amadeus and Chariots of Fire. This list isn’t about them. It’s about movies that capture what life was like – directly or indirectly – in the 1980s.

The links are to the IMDB page for each film.

#31 Videodrome (1983) – Videodrome stars James Woods as Max Renn, the sleazy owner of a soft-core porn channel in New York City. Renn is always on the lookout for new material that’s both “cheap” and “edgy”, so when his chief engineer Harlan (Peter Dvorsky) finds a new program called Videodrome from Malaysia on the station’s pirate satellite dish, he’s excited. The program is simple: women are brought into a room, tied up, and are beaten until they die. There’s just something about the show that Renn cannot resist. He watches every second of it and comes in every morning begging Harlan for more.

Little does Renn know what’s really going on: an evil corporation called Spectacular Optical produces Videodrome, and embedded within the show’s transmission signal is another signal which causes brain damage in every person that watches it. This damage – which causes massive hallucinations – can then be manipulated by the company to get any person to do anything they wish. Spectacular Optical’s president, Barry Convex, and Harlan (who was working for Convex the whole time) “program” Max to kill his partners and give the company control over CIVIC-TV, Max’s station. Which Max does. After this, Max is “re-programmed” by Bianca O’blivion, the daughter of Brian O’Bilvion, a “nutcase” (or is he?) that only communicates through television itself. Max then takes on the leaders of Spectacular Optical with a single hand grenade, then later kills himself.


I initially watched this movie for Renn’s crazy hallucinations and the “trippiness” of the whole story. I recently saw it again and realized just how dated the “hallucinations” look now.

However, watching it again also made me think of what director David Cronenberg was trying to say. Is TV evil? Or do corporations have too much power over our lives? Or both? Are there really people in the government that would be willing to look the other way if a similar technology were used by a private company? These are the questions the film raises. New Wave fans will enjoy Debbie Harry, who stars as Nikki Brand, Renn’s masochistic lover. If you’re a fan of Skinny Puppy, Front 242, Ministry, or any of the “Wax Trax” bands, you should see this film immediately, as every single one of those acts sampled this movie in at least one of their songs!

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My 2011 Oscar Picks

Below are my picks for the 2011 Academy Awards. Keep a few things in mind when you read the list: a) this is a list of my personal preferences, not a list of who I think will win; b) only the “big” categories are listed; c) missing nominees means that it didn’t see the nominated film; d) the numerical score listed after the nominee is a completely made-up weighting system of my own design, intended to show my relative likes and dislikes. It’s based on the standard 1-100 scale.

Best Motion Picture of the Year

The Social Network (99)
The King’s Speech (98)
True Grit (85)
Inception (79)
Black Swan (70)
127 Hours (65)
The Fighter (50)

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Natalie Portman (Black Swan) (100)

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) (99)
Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) (98)
James Franco (127 Hours) (90)
Jeff Bridges (True Grit) (75)

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You Can’t Handle the Cute!

In 1959, Audrey Hepburn made a movie called Green Mansions (IMDB link). One of her co-stars in the film was a baby deer named Pippin. Hepburn adopted the little guy, nicknamed him Ip, and took him everywhere she went.

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[The other pictures that used to be in this post were removed at the request of the copyright holder]

In Memoriam: Brittany Murphy

I always felt a kind of… bond with Brittany Murphy. Sure, she was really cute and everything. But even though it sounds silly, I always thought it was kind of neat that we were both born the same hospital, albeit six years apart.

Murphy’s rise to fame started with her appearance in Clueless in 1995. I loved her in the criminally underrated 1996 film Freeway was Reese Witherspoon and Keifer Sutherland. Roles in Drop Dead Gorgeous and Girl, Interrupted (both 1999) led to her first major starring role in Don’t Say a Word (2001), a thriller with Michael Douglas. This led to her role in 8 Mile, which made her a bona fide movie star. She appeared in many films since then including Just Married, Uptown Girls, Sin City, The Groomsmen, Love and Other Disasters, Happy Feet, and The Ramen Girl.

Murphy also had aspirations of being a pop singer. In 2006 she released the single “Faster Kill Pussycat” with British DJ Paul Oakenfold. The tune hit #1 on the Billboard dance chart in the US, and #7 on the UK singles charts. She also sang two songs on the Happy Feet soundtrack. For the past couple of years, Murphy’s Wikipedia page mentioned that she was working on an album of her own, although that was edited out of the page in the months before she died.

The one thing I’ll really remember Brittany Murphy for was her longtime role as Luanne Platter on the animated series King of the Hill. Some folks seemed surprised that it was Murphy’s voice on the show. I think it was unmistakably her.

It might seem crass, but I wanted to post a few pictures of her. She really was quite pretty, don’t you think?

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The Boat That Rocked

I don’t write much about movies on this blog these days, mainly because I just don’t watch a lot of movies any more. The Internet has made geographic location irrelevant, and it’s now possible to watch TV shows from Canada, Australia and the UK minutes after they air in their home countries (not days or months like it used to be). And there’s just too much good TV out there to waste time on movies.

I did see one good movie the other day though – The Boat That Rocked. It’s the story of a pirate radio station broadcasting rock and roll into Britain from a boat in the North Sea in 1966. Although completely fictitious, much of the core of the story is based on (or influenced by) Radio Caroline, a real pirate station that played rock and roll all night and all day at a time when the BBC continued to stick to classical and jazz. Such pirate radio stations became immensely popular, with 20+ million Britons tuning in every week.

What makes this film is the cast: legendary British actor Bill Nighy plays Quentin, the owner of the station. Kenneth Branagh plays an uptight government official determined to get that “pornographic filth” off the airwaves. Jack Davenport (of Coupling and Swingtown) plays Branagh’s eager assistant. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays “The Count”, a bombastic American DJ. Nick Frost (of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead), Rhys Darby (of Flight of the Conchords), Tom Wisdom (of Mile High), Ralph Brown (of Life On Mars), and Chris O’Dowd (of The IT Crowd and FM) round out the cast of misfit DJs (many of whom are loosely based on real DJs). There are also cameos by Emma Thompson and, most importantly, Mad Men’s January Jones:

January Jones - The Boat That RockedRawr!

It’s a good, but not great movie. It’s at least entertaining and something different. I didn’t care for the ending which, although somewhat based on actual events, is filled with enough triumphant orchestral music and fist pumping by the characters that you expect them to scream “O Captain, My Captain” at any moment.

As for availability, you can order the R2 DVD from Amazon UK here, or order the Blu-Ray disc from Amazon US (for $75.49!) here. It’s also “out there”, if you know where to look.