Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Favorite Actresses Right Now - 2009 Edition

My friend Amy recently asked me to name my favorite actresses. I stopped and thought about it for a long time, and had some real difficulty coming up with more than five people that I could truly stand behind as favorites. It's been nagging at me ever since (I think I could only give her about three at the time), so I decided to come up with 10 and vaguely justify my choices. These are not in any specific order.

[Note that these are actresses currently working in film today. No Lauren Bacall's or Barbara Stanwyck's here, though they clearly deserve the highest honor. Also note that this list is based mostly on acting prowess and not looks, otherwise it would be filled with "Jessica's," "Scarlett's," and "Mandy's." Although I must be honest - if you're ugly (Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, etc.), you coincidentally don't fall into my "favorite actresses" category. That's not a conscious decision, but an accurate correlation regardless. You want 'em? Here we go.]

Kate Winslet

Favorite Performances: Titanic, Revolutionary Road, A Kid in King Arthur's Court
This woman has got it. I don't know what it is, but there's a remarkably charming quality about her on-screen persona in most of her films that just gets me. She's got range and she can play heavy drama with the best of them. Not to mention that sexy accent.

Diane Lane

Favorite Performances: Murder at 1600, Lonesome Dove, Hardball
Few actresses over 40 earn my respect like Diane Lane. I haven't seen her really shine in anything recently, but she's been a consistent favorite over the years and doesn't appear to be slowing down any time soon. I'm still stoked for her new movie Killshot which should finally be released soon, after almost two years of distribution trouble.

Natalie Portman

Favorite Performances: V For Vendetta, Garden State, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
I'd say that Natalie is the actress on this list with the most potential. She's only four years older than me and has chosen her film roles carefully thus far, establishing a respectable career and graduating from Harvard at the same time. I love smart girls. Rock on, Ms. Portman.

Jennifer Connelly

Favorite Performances: The Rocketeer, Blood Diamond, Hulk
I must be honest here - JC makes this list mostly for her turn as the lovely Jenny Blake in the 1991 classic The Rocketeer. Unlike Cameron Diaz, whose pretty-face-introduction to the world of film (The Mask) was the only good thing she's ever done, Jennifer has moved on to become an "A-list" actress whose career I actually admire. While starring in things like Dark Water certainly won't help, I'm hoping Jen can take things to the next level in the next couple of years - preferably in a supporting capacity instead of trying to carry a whole film by herself. We all saw how that worked out for her in the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still (or did we? Burn!).

Catherine Zeta-Jones

Favorite Performances: The Mask of Zorro, Entrapment, The Phantom
Her Welsh heritage and solid performances over the years earn her a spot on this list. While I haven't seen her Oscar-winning turn in Chicago, I don't think it's necessary; I've seen The Mask of Zorro so many times I've almost got it memorized and she was near perfection in that one. Anyone who can hold their own against Billy Zane AND Sean Connery has a cemented spot on this list.

Rachel Weisz

Favorite Performances: The Fountain; The Mummy; Definitely, Maybe
I feel like Rachel is one of the most underrated actresses out there. She hardly gets any loving from the media, but that's because she's a pretty private person as far as I can tell. Good for her - keep your privacy as long as you can. Her performance in The Fountain was extremely intimate and I think she brings a great mix of humor and gravity to her roles. I'm really looking forward to watching her play the eccentric crazy girl in The Brothers Bloom later this year.

Michelle Monaghan

Favorite Performances: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Gone Baby Gone, Eagle Eye
She's a relative newbie to the business, but she tore it up in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Hopefully that was enough to really boost her into the starring roles she deserves. She's got the ability to play the cute girl next door (see: Made of Honor. I didn't) or the serious cop with a heavy heart (Gone Baby Gone). Let's see what else you're made of, Michelle.

Rachel McAdams

Favorite Performances: Red Eye, Wedding Crashers, Mean Girls
Another rookie, Rachel has blown up over the past few years only to find her career slowly taking a dip in the past two or three. Luckily she's returning to high-profile films like State of Play and Sherlock Holmes this year to reconnect with audiences who loved her the first time around. Like Monaghan, she can play the serious or the vapid with equally enjoyable results.

Elizabeth Banks

Favorite Performances: Invincible, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Meet Bill
Talk about blowing up. Elizabeth was in an astonishing 6 films and 2 television shows in 2008 alone. Impressive. She plays the "girl who's one of the guys" part better than almost anyone right now, and she's now got her feet in the camps of both Judd Apatow and Kevin Smith - a smart move for any actress who enjoys comedic performances.

Isla Fisher

Favorite Performances: Definitely, Maybe; Wedding Crashers; The Lookout Come on, who didn't love her as the crazy chick opposite Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers? Holding her own against that crew deserves a standing ovation. And she's so dang charming - especially in Definitely, Maybe. Now if only she'll jump off the chick flick train and start doing some respectable movies again...

There you have it. It's not much, but it's a start. It got me thinking - why did I have such a hard time coming up with 10 women that I actually enjoy watching on screen? I could EASILY pump out 20 that I despise, but it was pretty tough to make a positive list. I wouldn't have near this much trouble coming up with a "favorite actors" list. Is that because I watch more male-centered films than chick flicks? Or because actors are more prominently main characters in American films than actresses, giving them more opportunity to showcase their performances rather than blend into the background? I've seen a lot of movies, so I'd like to think I have a vast array covered, but who knows? Interesting things to consider.

So are there any I missed? Leave some of your own favorites in the comment section, and tell me why I should have included them in this list. Until next time...

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Terminator

Countdown From Judgment Day - Part 4

All right readers, this is it - the last entry in our wildly popular (at least with the writers) Terminator Omnibus, appropriately titled Countdown From Judgment Day. In case you missed any of the action, you can catch up on our First Impressions of Terminator Salvation, thoughts on television's The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and reviews of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator 2: Judgment Day at the links provided.

The Terminator
Co-Writer/Director: James Cameron
Starring: Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger

This was the one that started it all for James Cameron. The film was remarkably low budget in today's terms, only costing $6.8 million to make but earning $78 million at the box office. Trivia: Arnold was originally up for the role of Kyle Reese, but after meeting with Cameron they decided Arnie would be a better fit for the villain.

The film, made in 1984, has no shortage of then-contemporary-but-now-ridiculous costumes and set designs, mostly neon colored. The 80's mentality is best encapsulated in Sarah Connor's best friend and roommate Ginger, who displays a "go with it" lackadaisical attitude and is quickly killed by the Terminator before the halfway point in the film. At one point in the movie, Sarah hides out in a club called Tech-Noir; this name was created by Cameron specifically to define this new style of film he had contributed to.

If for some god-awful reason you don't know the plot of this film, you should go rent or buy it immediately - but for recap's sake, I'll give you a brief rundown. In the year 2029, a group of artificially intelligent machines have taken over the world after they instituted a nuclear war against the humans. The machines are run by a computer system known as Skynet; when the machines realize that they will eventually lose the war, they desperately make a last ditch effort to stop the human victory. By sending a "terminator" back to the year 1984, they attempt to kill Sarah Connor before she can birth the leader of the resistance. But the humans discover their plan and send one of their own, Kyle Reese, back to protect Sarah from the terminator. Thus concludes one of the coolest premises in science fiction history.

More than any other character, The Terminator is about Sarah Connor. This is our introduction to her, and she is the conduit through which the audience watches the film. She is the relatable one, the person who can't believe this is happening to her, the innocent woman caught in a plot way too complicated for her to understand. She starts out as a normal woman, but is changed into a warrior by the end thanks to her relationship with Reese. She realizes the magnitude of what she has to do, and accepts that responsibility to train her son and prepare him as best she can for the upcoming war. Sarah's transformation is interesting to watch as the movie progresses and, while some may argue a couple of points about it (she moved on pretty quickly after her best friend died), Linda Hamilton did a solid job inadvertently laying the groundwork for her performance in Terminator 2.

One of the coolest aspects of this movie is its ability to blend the horror and sci-fi genres together. Schwarzenegger shares some qualities with the horror icons Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers - a hulking physique and an inhuman determination to kill his female prey - but appearing as a cybernetic organism provides just enough separation so we're not constantly reminded of those other characters. I could spend some time talking about Schwarzenegger's acting abilities, but we all know that this was an early role for Arnie and he wasn't exactly at the top of his game here. (I'm not saying that he's a "good actor," but his improvement over the years can't be denied.)

Michael Biehn's performance is believable and urgent, a welcome human juxtaposition to Arnold's metallic personality. Sarah's character is reminiscient of Jamie Lee Curtis' character in Halloween; like JLC, Sarah becomes the "final girl" who confronts the antagonist as the only person left alive in the scenario and lives to tell the tale. Sarah's adoption of this role is taken to new extremes in T2, where her character shifts from innocent bystander into hardened warrior. Strong female characters are common in Cameron's work, ranging from Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) in Aliens to Rose (Kate Winslet) in Titanic.

The Terminator was recently entered into the National Registry as a work of cultural, historical, or aesthetic significance, and it's easy to see why. The film inspired a new generation of science fiction, jump-started the careers of both its villain and director, and (most importantly) - it's just a freaking cool movie. Little did James Cameron know that the story he created would be living on for years after his involvement ended.

That's it - we've reached Judgment Day, and I want to thank everyone for coming along for the ride. Remember to keep checking back here at Ben's Movie Reviews (we just started The Fast and the Furious omnibus) for more reviews, daily news at Ben's Daily Movie News, and every other pop culture need over at The Solar Sentinel. Until next time...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Fast and The Furious

For those who haven't seen The Fast and The Furious since its release in 2001, you can check out my Point Break review and insert driving references every time you read anything about surfing. Basically a revved-up remake of the aforementioned 1991 action classic, The Fast and The Furious is not quite as entertaining - but still fun to watch.

The Fast and The Furious
Director: Rob Cohen
Starring: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez

It's striking how many similarities there are in the two films - both feature lead actors with monotone voices (are Paul Walker and Keanu Reeves brothers?), prominent gangs who specialize both in overly ridiculous criminal actions and a specific "X-treme" sport, the love interest female serving the main character food at a restaurant, the standard "cop who gets too far undercover" storyline, busting the wrong gang (skinheads in PB and Johnny Tran's group in TFATF), and almost the exact same ending. It's understandable that the filmmakers would want to jack the plotline of Point Break - it's a freaking brilliant piece of cinema*. Films do this all the time - Speed is a derivative of Die Hard, etc. - so there's no shame in trying to make something that has already worked succeed again under different parameters. Sometimes this can be fun (The Rock, Sudden Death, Cliffhanger, Air Force One), and other times it can suck somethin' awful (Passenger 57, Under Siege 2, Executive Decision). Luckily for the audience, Rob Cohen doesn't take his film very seriously and allows us to enjoy it rather than picking apart the nonsensical actions of the characters.

Undercover agent Brian O'Conner (Walker) is searching for a team of drivers who use black Honda Civics to hijack semi-trucks and sell their payloads to the black market. Being a competent driver, he gets hooked into the underground racing scene and meets the "Bodhi" character of TFATF - Domenic Toretto (Vin Diesel). After saving Toretto from arrest following a busted late-night street race, O'Conner earns the trust of Toretto and falls in with his group of friends, hoping to use Dom's connections to learn the identities of the hijackers. With the cops on his case, and Dom's distractingly hot sister on his mind, Brian realizes (SPOILER ALERT!) that - whoa - it's actually Dom and his cronies who are responsible for the robberies! Has Brian gone too far undercover to do his duty as a policeman, or will he sacrifice duty for honor and keep a promise he made to Dom in the beginning of the movie?

The aspects of The Fast and The Furious that make it worth watching are the directing abilities of Rob Cohen and (predictably) the driving sequences featured throughout. Cohen built his resume directing Dragonheart (Sean Connery as a dragon) and Daylight (Stallone as Kit Latura) before hitting it big with this flick, and his style and flashiness are on full display here. Strangely, while Cohen's over-the-top nature and camera tricks would be considered overkill in most movies, it actually works well within the confines of this particular story. The first race scene is a great microcosm of the whole movie: Brian challenges the leadership of Domenic to prove his worth, and using a series of sweeping camera tricks and a mix of CGI and practical effects, Cohen and his editor piece together an adrenaline-fueled stacatto of clutch, gear shift, NOS, and finish line that comes together quite well. The editing can't be ignored here - it's one of the reasons why the movie feels sleek and not overly cheesy (during the race scenes, anyway). The plot elements of this movie could easily make a horrible direct-to-DVD film in the wrong hands, but Cohen and Co. crafted an unexpected summer blockbuster in 2001. The stunts (especially the train sequence at the end) were well orchestrated and enjoyable, so they succeeded in more ways than one with this flick.

Diesel's performance gave audiences an introduction to the "Vin Diesel" persona that most people associate with the actor nowadays - previous to this movie, he starred in Spielberg's highly acclaimed Saving Private Ryan and wasn't considered a ridiculous "extreme" actor yet. Paul Walker's fame fell to new depths after the release of TFATF, finding the actor starring in films like Into the Blue (terrible) and Timeline (one of the worst). Interestingly, his 2006 film Running Scared was actually surprisingly solid - I'd highly recommend it for both Walker's performance and some really cool camera work.

Another thing this movie accomplished (that even Point Break couldn't) was creating a sense of family around Toretto and his group of friends. Part of this is probably because of the brother-sister relationship of Dom and Mia, but overall there was a palpable bond between the members. There's Jesse, the ADD-suffering computer tech/mechanic; Leon, basically hired muscle who has like four lines in the whole movie; Vince, Dom's friend since childhood; and Letty, Dom's manly-but-still-a-chick girlfriend. By simply giving the audience a small look into their home life through a BBQ scene and a montage featuring the group working on Brian's new car, the filmmakers solved the problem that Point Break had - we didn't care about any of the minor characters because we didn't know anything about them. If only the writers had written the side characters in TFATF to be more than one-dimensional caricatures, this movie might be viewed more favorably in the public eye.

While this film undoubtedly influenced the amount of rice burners we see on the streets - not a good thing in my opinion - it still should be seen as a fun summer flick that is worth watching if you're looking for a masculine jolt of energy. Stay tuned for reviews of the sequels over the next few months before the new film comes out this summer. Until next time...

*I use this term loosely. The ridiculous performances from Reeves, Swayze, Busey, and McGinley played a huge factor in my overall enjoyment of that movie, but on a serious note - it's really a solid action flick with a cool premise. I'll support it until the day I die.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Academy Award Nomination Reactions

The Academy Award nominations came out today, so that's probably worth talking about. Here are my thoughts so far.

Michael Shannon's nomination for his performance in Revolutionary Road is a nice surprise and totally warranted, even though the category will most certainly be deservedly won by Heath Ledger in a month when the awards are announced. I find it a little strange that Kate Winslet wasn't nominated for Best Lead Actress in Revolutionary Road (she was incredible), but she did lock down a nomination for The Reader (which I didn't see), so at least she's getting some DAP. DiCaprio, on the other hand, was left out for his performance in that same film (also incredible).

Fanboys are fReAkInG oUt about The Dark Knight not getting nominated for Best Picture - but honestly, think about what you're asking. The Academy, primarily made up of a bunch of old people, voting for a comic book movie for the highest film honor in the world? I don't think so. I do believe that Nolan deserved a Best Director nomination, though, and he's probably pretty pissed about not being included in that list.

Speaking of pissed, how about Darren Aronofsky? The guy goes against type and directs a small, extremely personal film about a down-and-out wrestler (with no camera tricks or CG like his previous films have relied heavily on) and he's not nominated? I haven't had a chance to see The Wrestler yet, but from what I understand it's universally appreciated - probably not Best Picture material, but worthy of a nomination for Director. And by all accounts, Bruce Springsteen's song that plays during the credits is nearly as great as the film itself - but it wasn't nominated for Best Song. Double shafted.

I'm kind of put off by all the nominations for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Frost/Nixon. While I didn't see Ben Button, I did get a chance to check out Frost/Nixon and I'm telling you right now - there's no way it should have been nominated for Best Picture OR Best Director. Sorry Ronnie - you've made better, and the only thing that should have been recognized about this film was Frank Langella as Richard Nixon (he got a Best Actor nomination).

Good to see my girl Anne Hathaway up for Best Actress for Rachel Getting Married (I wanted to see it, but just didn't make it before it left theaters). She'll probably lose to someone stupid like Meryl Streep, but at least now in all those trailers they'll be able to say "Academy Award Nominee Anne Hathaway."

Eastwood got overlooked for Best Actor in Gran Torino. Shame - that movie was excellent, and his performance was funny and heartfelt throughout the whole thing.

I'm also really glad to see In Bruges up for Best Original Screenplay - it was one of my favorite films of the year and I hope it takes down the only award it's nominated for.

Of the three nominees for Best Visual Effects (Ben Button, Dark Knight, Iron Man), I truly believe that Iron Man should win. I haven't even seen TCCOBB, but the effects in Iron Man were just THAT good. Let's hope we don't have a repeat of last year, where Transformers was beaten out by The Golden Compass (what a freaking joke).

The only other thing I'm upset about is Cloverfield not being nominated for Best Sound Mixing or Best Sound Editing. I understand that it's not the type of movie to be nominated for any of the bigger awards, but I thought the sound was so well done in that film. Wanted gets nominated for sound, but not Cloverfield? Give me a break.

Here's the part where I go Jay Drylie on you and give you my early predictions.

Picture - Slumdog Millionaire
Director - David Fincher
Actor - Sean Penn
Actress - Meryl Streep
Supporting Actor - Heath Ledger
Supporting Actress - Penelope Cruz
Original Screenplay - Martin McGonagh for In Bruges
Adapted Screenplay - Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire
Animated Feature - WALL*E
Foreign Language Film - Departures
Art Direction - The Dark Knight
Documentary - Man on Wire
Documentary Short - The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306
Animated Short - Presto
Live-Action Short - New Boy
Visual Effects - Iron Man
Costume Design - Australia
Makeup - Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Film Editing - Slumdog Millionaire
Sound Mixing - The Dark Knight
Sound Editing - The Dark Knight
Original Score - A.R. Rahman for Slumdog Millionaire
Original Song - "Down to Earth" from WALL*E

So that's it. Exhausting, I know. Feel free to post your own comments, thoughts, and predictions below. The complete list of nominees can be found here. Until next time...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Countdown From Judgment Day - Part 3

When I think of the 1990's in film, I believe T2 is one of the defining moments and clear high points of the entire decade. Its groundbreaking visual effects, combined with a well-crafted storyline, flawlessly continue the saga set forth in the 1984 predecessor and make this one of the few sequels that is (arguably) better than the original. James Cameron's direction and attention to detail paid off, and some consider this movie to be one of the best action movies of all time.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Writer/Director: James Cameron
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick, Edward Furlong

Since we're heading backwards in time with this countdown series, it's difficult to recap what's going on without directly referencing events that took place in the first film (yet to be reviewed), but let's be honest - T2 came out in 1991, so there's no excuse for having not seen it by now. In short, the film follows John Connor as a ten year old (Furlong) as he tracks down his mother Sarah (Hamilton) and frees her from a mental institution with the help of a Terminator (Arnold) that looks identical to the one that attempted to kill Sarah eleven years earlier. They try to stop Judgment Day - the nuclear destruction of billions of people and the start of Skynet's takeover - and avoid being assassinated by the T-1000 (Patrick), a new kind of Terminator with the ability to morph parts of his body into sharp objects.

The Terminator franchise has done a brilliant job of balancing a great action-based storyline with serious subject matter. The films raise valid questions about humanity's reliance on technology, and Hamilton's performance allows the audience a physical representation of one who has factual knowledge of the future but is deemed insane because of her isolation in that knowledge. Scenes involving Miles Dyson, the computer engineer who would have created Skynet if not for Sarah's interference late in the film, look at deeper issues: how would you react if you discovered your well-intentioned actions would be responsible for the deaths of billions of people? Questions like these and many more are what separates Terminator 2 from being "just another action movie." I really enjoyed the scenes with Dyson (Joe Morton) - I thought his acting was the best in the film.

Cameron has complete control over this whole movie, and it doesn't drag for a second. Every scene is necessary to the story, and the action more than makes up for the slower sections of the film (Sarah's dreams, etc). The scene that most stands out in my mind is the one where John first sees the Terminator in the back hallways of the mall. The Terminator pulls a shotgun out of a box of roses and steps on the flowers as he walks closer, metaphorically crushing any doubt in John's mind about his mother's sanity and effectively changing his life forever. The ensuing chase scene on the motorcycle through the flood control channel is a high point in the movie, and (aside from the - spoiler alert! - massive explosion of Cyberdyne Systems at the end) probably the one that people most remember from this film.

The acting in this movie was solid, if not slightly over the top. I guess you're allowed to be over the top in a film featuring time travel, molten lava, and cybernetic organisms. Linda Hamilton buffed herself out nasty style for this movie, slimming down to a soldier physique as opposed to her normal girl look from the first film. Robert Patrick was predictably robotic as the T-1000, who had very few lines and didn't need any more than he had. His poker face must be amazing, because that guy barely blinked in the whole movie and he looked like he could kill someone just by looking at them. His small stature and speed made for a good matchup against Arnie's brute strength. Schwarzenegger was much better in this film than the original Terminator, and not just because he plays the hero this time - you could tell he was much more comfortable as an actor, since his role in the first came very early in his career. Arnold played the surrogate father role to the young John Connor, mixing humor with curiosity while following his programming and getting the job done when necessary.

I kind of have mixed feelings on Edward Furlong's take on John Connor. It's hard to rank him against the other portrayals of John Connor in the media because Furlong was stuck playing the character at his youngest age. In this regard, I feel he did a good job transitioning the character from whiny brat child into a kid who slowly accepts his role and his destiny as a leader. I'd probably rank him higher than Thomas Dekker's version in The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV show, only because Dekker is more of an emo pansy who never really does anything action-oriented. At least Furlong's Connor could tamper with electronics.

Now, straight from Wikipedia, a little trivia for you. James Cameron originally wanted singer Billy Idol to play the role of the T-1000, but Idol had a motorcycle accident around the time they wanted to start production, so Robert Patrick was chosen instead. Linda Hamilton has a twin sister, and she doubled for her in T2 during dream sequences and the times when the T-1000 took her form. The movie was made for about $100 million, which was the most expensive movie ever at the time, and was the highest-grossing film of 1991. Here's a link to the full script of the movie, in case you're into that kind of thing.

So where does T2 stand in the hierarchy of the franchise? Firmly at the top, and it doesn't look to be shaken off any time soon. McG's new take looks promising, that's for sure - but it's going to be extremely difficult to top one of the best action movies of all time and even harder to become as entrenched in pop culture as James Cameron's classic has over the years. How many times did you hear people say "hasta la vista, baby?" in the 90's? OK, maybe that's a bad example - but there's no denying T2's influence on the sci-fi and action genres over the past 15ish years. Stay tuned for the final entry in the Countdown From Judgment Day series. Until next time...

Friday, January 9, 2009

What I've Been Watching, Episode 1

What I've Been Watching Ep. 1 from Ben Pearson on Vimeo.

Sorry about the bad video quality - I'll try to boost it next time. Oh yeah, and I think I say the word "awesome" about 160 times in this video. Somebody do a count for me, and you'll receive a free high five next time I see you. Until next time...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Take Three

Instead of starting off the new year with a regular review, I thought I'd switch it up and introduce a new segment I'm going to call "Take Three." The segment lists a number of categories and I give three answers to each category off the top of my head. These answers are in no particular order. What are we waiting for? Let's do it.

Sequels That Never Happened, But Should Have
1. Buckaroo Bonzai Against The World Crime League
2. The Rocketeer 2
3. ID4Ever (Independence Day sequel)

Most Satisfying Cinematic Endings
1. Shawshank Redemption
2. Rocky III
3. Field of Dreams

Top Historical Films

1. Gladiator
2. Glory
3. The Three Muskateers

Best Foreign Films
1. City of God
2. Slumdog Millionaire
3. Pan's Labyrinth

Best Fourth Installments In A Franchise
1. Live Free or Die Hard
2. Rambo
3. The Enforcer (Dirty Harry)

Most Consistent Franchises
1. Back To The Future
2. Lord of the Rings
3. Die Hard

Favorite Performances
1. Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in Tombstone
2. Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep
3. Jack Nicholson as Col. Nathan R. Jessup in A Few Good Men

You see how this works. Here's the thing - I'm going to need you guys to help me come up with new category names and as soon as I get enough, I'll put together another Take Three (I'm thinking like once a month.) Sometimes I'll recycle categories, but I'd like to have your ideas so I don't have to. Let's hear what you've got - Worst Eddie Murphy Movie? Best Soundtrack? The floor is yours. Until next time...