Tag Archives: Lists

This Is 50…And Counting…Happy Golden Anniversary To Mick, Keef And The Rolling Stones

From Rolling Stone Magazine

From Rolling Stone Magazine

Lezbeonest. I don’t care what it is (or who, for that matter). Doing it (or him or her) for 50 years…in a row…is worthy of significant celebration. It is a rare feat, celebrating a 50th anniversary of any kind. And the half century the Rolling Stones have endured and bestowed upon us is no exception. In fact, it borders on incredible…the stuff of myth. I mean, the band had to overcome the incarceration of its two primary songwriters (in 1967, Mick and Keith were jailed for drug possession and shortly thereafter were released on bail), the “firing” and subsequent death (by drowning but due to drug abuse) of a founding member and close friend (Brian Jones), the resignation of another band mate and talented guitarist (Mick Taylor), the ubiquitous shadow of the Beatles the Stones were relegated to live in (the band was basically labeled the “evil” or dark yang to the Beatles light, angelic yin and were viewed as ruffians parents should never let their daughters date, a characterization these well-schooled middle class musicians took a few years to fully embrace), the unfortunate and horrifying experience that was Altamont (where unruly, drunk and drugged up Hell’s Angels provided “security” (read: incited a riot) while a fan was murdered by throngs of out of control concert-goers and the band feared for their own lives), a self exile to the South of France for financial reasons (mostly exorbitant back taxes owed), a massive heroin problem that enveloped some members of the band (notably Keith) as well as many important crew members, and finally, the imprisonment in Canada of Keith for heroin possession (he faced a lifetime sentence, but was released upon a vow to go straight)…and that was all in the first 15 years of the band’s existence. The subsequent 35 years were similarly rife with highs and lows, the worst of it stemming from a tumultuous and deteriorating relationship between Richards and Jagger, the de facto leaders of the band.

And yet here they are, fifty years later…mostly intact, and somehow still churning out the best soundtrack you are likely ever to hear at a Golden Anniversary party (not that there’s anything wrong with a one-man band’s rendition of In The Mood, The Way We Were, Unforgettable, I’ve Got The World On A String or any of Frank Sinatra’s great love ballads). So in anticipation of the American leg of the Stones 50 & Counting mini-tour, which will culminate with a Pay Per View-streamed performance on Saturday, December 15 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, I felt it was high time to give the original bad boys of rock and roll their due. Having already dedicated a post to that other mega-success story of a band from England, the timing couldn’t be better to roll out the red carpet, and fittingly paint it black, for the only other band in history besides the Beatles that arguably deserves its own wing in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Sure, scoff all you want. Insert a joke or two here under your breath regarding said wing that evokes images of a nursing home…the wing should be in Florida; its snack bar should offer an early bird special; hope there’s round the clock medical staff on call. Blah, blah, blah. If you could throw down on stage like the Stones at any age, you would, and you know it.

While I agree that the Stones are old (arguing this fact would be as foolish as arguing that water is not wet), the band’s two stalwarts, both nearly 70 years of age, continue to defy the odds. Mick, who inspired a song regarding his moves, has the energy of a man fifty years his junior, and the waistline of an anorexic supermodel. And Keith…what can I say? What can anyone say really? He is a medical marvel that continues to mystify… with blatant disregard for logic and the laws of science.  (To get a taste, I do recommend his autobiography, Life, if you haven’t yet read it.) So perhaps it isn’t such a conundrum that these relics continue to bring it while on stage.

So in honor of the centuries of combined rock experience that is the Rolling Stones, I felt a list was in order. Lists are great because they demand thought, from both the writer and reader(s). There is always room for debate, particularly in a good, well-reasoned list, but generally the conversation is lively and worthwhile. And that is why we’re here, right?  At least it’s why I’m here. Tapping on the keys like Thelonius Monk in the wee hours of the morning, eyes bloodshot, head pounding, but thoughts racing…ahh. And the Stones are incredibly list-worthy. Exile on Main Street could be its own list. So could Let It Bleed. So in the spirit, of Rob Gordon from High Fidelity, from whom music-themed lists seemed to flow like cheap beer at a frat party, we begin.

My top ten Stones tunes of all time (at least for today):

10) I had a hell of a time choosing among Miss You, Emotional Rescue and Salt Of The Earth, but for the sake of a clean list, I am going with Emotional Rescue. Perhaps my list would be different on any other day. I dig the disco influence. And the tune is catchy as hell. This is not your typical Stones song, but that doesn’t make it a bad song.

9) Sweet Virginia. Raw, gritty and heartfelt. This will not be the lone gem from Exile to crack my top ten, but a great tune in its own right.

8) As Tears Go By. An oldie but goodie. Penned by the Jagger/Richards dynamic duo, this classic was first recorded and released by Marianne Faithful in 1964, and then by the Stones a year later. Just a beautiful song, emotional and powerful despite the restraint that was a trademark of that era. I would put this tune up against almost any from the mid-60s, and it holds up well, even today.

7) Loving Cup. Just give me little drink. Please.

6) Shine A Light. Wow. Just Wow. Maybe this one should be higher on the list (probably), but the bottom line is, it needs to be on the list. Such a powerful message. Marty Scorsese named his 2008 Stones documentary after this tune, and we all know what Marty thinks of the Stones.

5) Gimme Shelter. That creaky floorboard percussion effect is eerie as hell. And speaking of Marty Scorsese, we all must thank him for recognizing the genius in the Stones in this tune, and for marrying its theme to your own particular genius (Scorsese used this song in 3 of his films…thus far). Violence and war is everywhere; not just on the battlefield, but on the mean streets of every city across the world.

4) You Can’t Always Get What You Want. Can’t help but think of The Big Chill opening here, but the message is clear and pure, and the melody is perfection personified. Interestingly, it seems Brett Morgen, the director of the most recent Stones documentary, Crossfire Hurricane, drew inspiration from Lawrence Kasdan as he used this song during his own post-death funeral procession music to honor Brian Jones’ passing.

3) Sympathy For The Devil. Perfection in capturing and breathing life into a theme by overlaying incredible lyrics on transcendent music. Timeless.

2) Waiting On A Friend. Profound emotional ballad capturing man’s need for companionship after his wild oats have been sown.

1) Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’? Here’s the thing…I love music. And even before this tune kicked off the great mini-mix on my iPod shuffle that ushered in the greatest day of my life, it would have topped this list. The meaning behind the song is murky, like the drug-addled paranoia some of the lyrics evoke. But if your ears could smile, this song could have that effect on them, from start to finish. The jam toward the end of that track is so incredible it has moved me to tears on numerous occasions. Everything was clicking there, from Keys’ blistering sax solo to Richards’ guitar. And then Mick Taylor steals the show with a completely improvised virtuoso performance lasting nearly 4 minutes to end the song. There are hints and influences of numerous other great musicians and musical genres intertwined in the rich, mellifluous orgy of musical delights. To quote Richards, “the band’s music was influenced by everyone from Mozart to Marley.” That is clearly evident in this song alone, a virtual microcosm of the Rolling Stones vast and impressive oeuvre. And make no mistake, Charlie gets the last “word,” which is quite fitting for a tune titled “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’?”

So that’s my list. Hope nobody was offended by my selections. I would love to hear some of yours, so feel free to share below.

As always, thanks for reading.

Happy holidays,

IDROS

Oh, and for another blogger’s take on the same subject matter, feel free to click here.

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Onions! And Other Musings on the Madness of March…

Most of us who work in an office love this time of year. Even if we didn’t attend a college with a competing interest in the NCAA tournament, we all have a favorite or two. And gambling makes sure this is true. Hard core fans (read: gamblers) suddenly come down with some rare strain of influenza or Montezuma’s revenge or laryngitis that renders them incapable of making it into the office for the first Thursday and Friday of the big dance, and they sit on their couches or head out to the local sports bar and medicate their “ailments” with beer and chips and wings as they devour twelve hours of hoops each day in absolute heaven.

OR, for those less fortunate (read: those who have too much responsibility to bail on work, those who frivolously used up their personal/vacation days in the first two months of the year, or those who fear getting fired in such a bad economy), millions of other fans of college hoops sit in their cubicles or offices, glued to their computer screens, toggling between their work and every sporting website their office firewall allows them to open, following the action as best they can, counting down the hours till five, when they too can join the throngs in front of the boob tube.

That time of year has arrived when productivity hits a wall, where focus is completely lost and a lack of effort likely erases whatever progress or momentum had been achieved in January and February. Even the most anti-sports and/or unknowledgeable or ambivalent about anything sports related has a fighting chance, or more accurately, is among the favorites to win their respective office pools. They pick based on uniform colors or school mascots, or let their six year old children fill out their brackets…and invariably, much to the testosterone-fueled sports nuts’ chagrin in every office across the USA, they win the pool. (Read this recent article about How to Intelligently Talk About March Madness – Even If You Sort of Don’t Care)

I remember during my time in a past life, working in a Wall Street office that loved to gamble on anything and everything. We had a pool for every sporting event, including golf. We had pools for office eating contests, including one horrific Friday where the brass bought like a thousand White Castle sliders and the winner of the bacchanalia (whoever ate the most) took half of the pot…the other half went to those who bet on the correct “victor.” We even had pools within pools, or allegorical pools as I fondly recall christening them.

One day, one of the elevators in our building got stuck during lunch time. Two of our staff were on board during the mishap. This was before cell phones, mind you. We got a call from the lobby that an elevator lost power between the 15th and 16th floors, and that they believed two of our employees were among the stranded (they got a call from the elevator phone relaying the info). Anyway, of course this bit of bad luck for the two on the elevator quickly morphed into opportunity for the rest of us. We started a pool for picking the precise time the elevator would be fixed and our colleagues would make it back into the office…Price Is Right rules, closest to the time either of our men stepped into the office without going over would win the pot. I did not win. They finally emerged, together, three hours and 23 minutes later, at 3:36pm. I had wagered on 2:50. Oh well.

(This article highlights some other humorous office pools some have participated in over the years)

But I digress. I love March Madness. It’s a great sporting event that truly mimics the entropy of real life. Anything can and does happen. Every year, millions root for one of many underdogs, and we all get rewarded. And every year we get amazing match ups with heart-stopping finishes. And we get to gamble…and lose…to a person we know in our office that has no business winning.

So, in honor of March Madness, please find my unofficial list of all things that evoke images of Madness from the annals (two “n”s for the sick-minded) of pop culture, sports, politics and general trivia. I wanted to make a bracket so you all could pick match ups and crown an eventual winner, but alas, I am a simple blogger with very little technical know-how. So I give you a list, ranked from least madness inspiring to most. Feel free to make your own brackets. Or print it out and use it as kindling. Or completely ignore it. As usual, the order of our entries is debatable, and I welcome friendly discourse:

26) Mad Cow Disease – A horrifying scourge worthy of the most pessimistic writers of Hollywood and fiction novels alike, it gave us quite a scare back in 2001 and still lurks in the darkest corners of civilization as some of the best fodder for the anti-carnivorous set and even companies like Chick-Fil-A.  So awful, in fact, that it couldn’t make the top 25 of this list;

25) Mad Dog – that awful vomit-inducing budget pseudo liquor some of us were unfortunately introduced to in our college days, and a staple of many a homeless drunk;

24) Reefer Madness – 1936 film which dramatized the evils of Mary Jane. But what about the evils of this film, or those hypocritical politicians who continue to hide behind the Constitution when it comes to guns, but fail to recognize that our forefathers, the same brilliant men who wrote and fought for that very document, also grew and smoked chronic themselves?

23) This blog article called Lent Madness from 2010 (you need to scroll down a little);

22) Or this one about My Little Pony Madness  – actually, some of the inventions captured here are pretty cool;

21) It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World – 1963 star-studded comedy not unlike the Cannonball Run/Gumball Rally movies about a race for a large sum of money – in this case, stolen money.  It features Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Buster Keaton, Peter Falk, Jimmy Durante, and many more;

20) Space Madness;

19) Mad Love – 1995 film starring Chris O’Donnell (fresh off his Scent of a Woman acclaim) and Drew Barrymore. Not a bad account of mental illness wrapped up in a love story if you are into that sort of thing.

18) Mad Dog and Glory – 1993 film starring Bill Murray, Robert DeNiro and Uma Thurman. Underrated, in my opinion, but still, not in the respective top five films of any of the principles.

17) Mad Money, now in its eighth season, is a finance television program featuring the frenetic histrionics of Jim Cramer. I am not a big fan, but realize some of you might be and thus this ranking is up for debate;

16) Madmortigan – Val Kilmer’s warrior in the notable George Lucas semi-flop Willow. Love hearing the eponymous dwarf’s genuine awestruck giddiness as he says, “Madmortigan, you are great!”

15) Mad About You – One of very few successful tunes a drugged out Belinda Carlisle was able to muster without her other Go-Go girls (from her first solo album, Belinda, released in 1986, and topping out at #3 on the Billboard charts).

Also, a moderately successful if over-hyped sit-com featuring Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt. I prefer Carlisle’s tune to this schlock, but judging from its 7-year run during NBC’s glory years, millions would probably disagree.

Finally, Mad About You is a lesser known track off of Sting’s album, The Soul Cages;

14) This blog entry on top movie descents into madness, even though it fails to mention Apocalypse Now, Barton Fink and Falling Down….so wrong. It’s a good list, but greatness eludes it for what it fails to recognize. Omitting those three films on a list of descents into madness is the very definition of madness;

13) Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters – Elton John song from 1972 Honky Chateau, in which Bernie Taupin lyrically recalls his first visit to New York City, during which he hears a gun go off near his hotel window, and responds to a Ben E. King song called “Spanish Harlem” with a negative bent;

12) The oddity that is the Mad Martian Museum of Modern Madness;

11) Madness, the 1980s British band that brought us “Our House” (and fittingly, also had an album named Mad Not Mad);

10) This collection of journal entries, “March Mad-NESS,” from Funny or Die;

9) The Madness of King George, another of 1994’s incredibly rich stable of films, starring Nigel Hawthorne and Helen Mirren, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. The film also won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay;

8) M.A.D.D. – Big ups for mothers who care. Hard not to side with moms on this one. As a one-time member of S.A.D.D. myself, I debated putting this one higher on this list. So yes, this was a hard-eight;

7) Mad Max – Mel Gibson is a douche. But in 1979 we didn’t know that. So if you can take yourself back to that simpler time, pre-anti-Semitic meltdown, and marvel at the genius of the character, you have to admit Mad Max was a post-apocalyptic bad-ass;

6) Mad World – Perhaps my favorite Tears for Fears song, chillingly remade by Gary Jules for the movie Donny Darko, and also covered most recently by surprise phenomenon Susan Boyle;

5) Mad Dogs and Englishmen – Joe Cocker’s 1970 live album of mostly cover songs, including The Rolling Stones (Honky Tonk Women), Traffic (Feelin’ Alright), The Beatles (She Came in Through the Bathroom Window), Leonard Cohen, Isaac Hayes and Otis Redding;

4) Mad scientists: Portrayed in hundreds of books, movies and television shows, from Dr. Frankenstein to Dr. Jekyll to Dr. Moreau to Jeff Goldblum’s Brundle in The Fly (check out this link…and this one);

3) Mad Men;

2) The Mad Hatter – One of Lewis Carroll’s most frighteningly awesome characters, Carroll never actually dubs The Hatter with the crazy modifier. Rather, both the Hatter and March Hare are referred to as “both mad” by the Cheshire Cat. Both characters first appear in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, in the seventh chapter titled “A Mad Tea Party.” The phrase “mad as a hatter” pre-dates Carroll’s works; and,

1) MAD Magazine – Always a reminder of my care-free youth, this ad-free humor mag featuring Alfred E. Newman, Spy vs. Spy, celebrity lampooning at its infantile best AND…my first foray into centerfolds, takes me back to days at summer camp, when a care package filled with candy and a few issues of MAD proved just how lucky I was to have the best parents ever.

See you in April,

IDROS

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Movies by the Numbers…

In the spirit of Oscar season and because I love movies as much as the next person, I figured I would take the time to compile a list of sorts for your entertainment. I am sure similar lists and themes have been explored before, but hey, why can’t mine be better? Not every idea has to be original to succeed (go watch most movies or television shows and this will be obvious) – creators, authors, actors, directors and even singers only need to bring a fresh perspective or add value to an old and/or tired premise to breathe new life into it and find an audience.

So here’s my list of the greatest movies of all time, with a numerological bent.

I will count down from twelve, the movies that in my opinion are the best of all time AND include the number on the list to which they correspond – i.e., number twelve must contain the word or number twelve (12) in its title, and number eight must contain the word or number eight (8), etc.

Why twelve, you may ask? Well because beyond twelve the options become limited, if available at all, and I wanted the list to be cohesive, consecutive and contain films that could actually be included on a list defined with the words “greatest” or “best” and not evoke laughter, ridicule and scorn.

Just to be clear: This is not a list of my favorite movies of all time (or someone else’s).

The rules follow:

Numbers that represent sequels do not count. If they did, The Godfather II and Star Wars Parts IV and V would clearly represent their respective numbers…so allow this example to acknowledge those great films without clouding our list.

Homophones do not qualify – especially nauseating plays on words and puns, ala Look Who’s Talking Too, and yes, I know this particular example also violates the first rule above anyway; but in terms of actual contenders, we cannot consider Hitchcock’s classic, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The WWII epic A Bridge Too Far, nor Clint Eastwood’s For A Few Dollars More.

Numbers that are part of larger numbers are impermissible. This unfortunately disqualifies classics such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1984, 48 Hours, 300 and A Miracle on 34th Street.

Ordinals, or words representing the rank of a number, do count for our purposes, so movies featuring words like “first,” “second” or “third,” etc. are fair game.

Any movie starring Vin Diesel is automatically disqualified (and yes, there were a couple decent movies in his filmography, but none of them had numbers in its title).

So here goes:

12) Ocean’s Twelve was the worst of the Ocean’s trilogy. 12 Monkeys was underrated and almost won my vote. Brad Pitt, who must enjoy movies with numerical titles, was in both. But for my money, Sidney Lumet’s courtroom drama, Twelve Angry Men takes this slot in a split decision.

(I will give props to The Dirty Dozen because it is a great film worth noting and remains one of the best WWII movies ever made. But we can all agree that though dozen is another word for twelve, it is not the word twelve, the number 12 or the ordinal, twelfth, and thus can’t win).

11) Ocean’s Eleven. Maybe I am out of line here, but I prefer the remake to the original.

10) There are really only two candidates worth considering here: Ten and The Ten Commandments. As good as Bo Derek looked in her hair beads, this one wasn’t much of a contest. The late champion of our Second Amendment right to pack heat, and his epic Old Testament tale of Exodus is one of the more treasured American films as is evidenced by its annual run on national television each spring around the celebration of Passover. (Other films that were considered and immediately discarded were 10 Things I hate About You, Heath Ledger RIP, and 10 To Midnight, one of Charles Bronson’s weaker vehicles.)

9) There will be widespread disagreement here. I know it, and frankly, I invite it. There are a slew of movies that could contend here, but not one is jaw-droppingly strong. To me, this quickly became a three horse race between a workplace comedy, an underrated and smartly written science fiction movie and perhaps the sexiest movie ever made.

9 to 5 is a very good movie. I enjoyed it. I am sure you all did too. But after serious consideration, I couldn’t crown it, even with the extra pressure exerted by Dolly’s assets. And 9 ½ Weeks, awesome as it was, really violates our third rule, which eliminates numbers that are part of larger numbers. Without that rule, I think the best soft-porn movie ever made would have nailed down this slot. But alas, rules is rules.

So our winner is District 9. What? You may be thinking. Some of you are seething. The sappy among you might even be singing the praises of 9 Months, or the musical romp 9. But District 9 was a great movie. Sure it was violent, and science fiction is not for everyone. But neither are musicals and Hugh Grant movies. District 9 was a solid metaphor for Apartheid policies and atrocities that plagued South Africa for centuries, and that still linger today throughout the African continent. And it was a funny, poignant and wildly entertaining movie.

(I also considered The Whole 9 Yards for like a second. Very good movie. But after recalling Rosanna Arquette’s awful French accent and Matthew Perry just playing his Canadian dentist role as Chandler, I simply couldn’t associate this movie with the three contenders above).

8) Another three horse race here. This one features three dark, edgy movies: one about our national pastime, one about the hard-scrabble life of a down-on-his-luck gambler, and one about the mean streets of Motor City. 8 Mile was gritty and surprisingly well-acted by Marshall Mathers. But despite being strong enough to contend, Eminem’s free-style rap film should be happy to have even been considered alongside the two other stalwarts.

Eight Men Out masterfully captured the Black Sox scandal and a shocking era of sports and corruption in America. But my guess is that only 50% of our population really appreciates this film. And for that reason…

Hard 8, the coming out party and first full-length feature film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, was and still remains an underrated and underappreciated movie. Glimpses into PTA’s genius bombard us from the moment Philip Baker Hall approaches a downtrodden John C. Reilly outside the diner. Samuel Jackson was still riding his Pulp Fiction high, and Clementine was really the first substantial role for Gwyneth Paltrow, who was dating the numerical movie title king, Brad Pitt, when Hard 8 hit theaters.

(Of course I considered Fellini’s 8 ½, but for the same reason 9 ½ Weeks was disqualified above, Fellini’s opus failed to make our list.)

7) There are five legitimate contenders here, one of which features Brad Pitt. And there is another movie that failed to live up to the top five, but that is good nonetheless, and also features Brangelina’s Y chromosome.

Se7en is awesome. It has the word AND the number seven in its title, and Brad Pitt in its credits. It should win this slot just on those merits. But it doesn’t. At least not in my opinion.

The Seven Year Itch, featuring Marilyn Monroe as the temptress next door, is a very good film with a terrific premise.

The Magnificent Seven AND The Seven Samurai, on which the former is based, are both brilliant films in their own rights. Kurosawa arguably created his masterpiece with The Seven Samurai. I am certain few would argue if I posted either film in this slot.

But I have a soft spot for timeless classics that appeal to the widest audience possible (and Disney movies in general), and so, by the narrowest of margins, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs prevails.

(As previously alluded to, Seven Years in Tibet, starring Floyd from True Romance, was briefly considered, but fell short of the mark.)

6) It’s a shame, really, about our third rule. It would have been nice to get the late John Hughes on this list, and Sixteen Candles would have been tough to beat here. That leaves us with four valid entries, and only two real contenders for the six slot.

Will Smith was eerily compelling in Six Degrees of Separation, but the clear victor here is The Sixth Sense. M. Night Shyamalan, the writer and director of The Sixth Sense has never been able to recapture the brilliance of his first movie. It can’t be easy when your first movie is this good.

(The Governator’s sci-fi non-classic, The 6th Day, and the inexplicably watchable but irritating Harrison Ford and Anne Heche action comedy, Six Days and Seven Nights, were noted…and disregarded).

5) A retread reemerges to contend here, and runs into a weak adaptation of a literary classic, a wild sci-fi thriller and a best picture nominee starring one of Hollywood’s all time leading men.

Slaughterhouse Five was an amazing novel, arguably Vonnegut’s best. But it just didn’t translate well to film. The Fifth Element was fun, offering some memorable scenes and a hilarious role for Dylan McKay, but it simply can’t overtake two better films for this slot.

And once again 9 to 5 comes up a little short, running into an Oscar-nominated film starring Jack Nicholson in his prime. And so Five Easy Pieces nails down the five spot.

(I did consider Five Minutes of Heaven here, which was critically lauded, but I haven’t seen the movie yet, and so really couldn’t put it on my list. Feel free to comment below if you believe this film deserves to be included.)

4) Two Oscar nominated films battle for this slot: Four Weddings and a Funeral, which really was part of the undercard in the incredible 1994 Oscar race, and Born on the Fourth of July, which fiercely contended in a very good 1989 Oscar race.

The nod goes to Oliver Stone and Tom Cruise here as their film took home a lot more hardware. I realize this may not be fair, as the competition in 1994 was far superior to that of 1989, but overall, Born on the Fourth of July is just a slightly better movie with a much more powerful message.

3) This is where the competition becomes clouded with many worthy entries. I narrowed an early seven film race down to a realistic three film contest, which seemed fitting…this being the three slot.

The Three Musketeers has been done to death, occasionally with decent results. Threesome was a surprisingly fun and entertaining college movie, focusing on sexuality, coming of age and experimentation in ways those themes had not previously been explored. Three O’Clock High was as watchable as it was bizarre, becoming a minor cult classic and leaving us with a quintessential ‘80s movie villain in Buddy Revell.

And then there is Three Men and a Baby. As hard as I try, I can find nothing negative to say about what should have been one of the worst movies of all time. I try to think of the production company brass listening to the initial plot pitch, politely nodding with glossed over looks in their eyes and summarily dismissing the writers, and yet somehow having the stones somewhere down the line to say “fuck it…let’s do this.” It even featured Steve Guttenberg…and killed.

But as good as all of those movies were, they can’t hold a candle to the three that ultimately vie for this slot: Three Kings was one of the most underrated movies of the 1990s. Not your typical war movie, David O. Russell’s Gulf War classic injected a high adrenaline and touching plot into a war-torn region and it worked extremely well.

Three Amigos needs its own paragraph. They just don’t make comedies like that one anymore. Martin Short, Steve Martin and Chevy Chase, all still in their comedic primes, took a formulaic and pretty tired plot and simply owned it, milking laughs out of the freaking sand their horses rode upon. And El Guapo, I do know what a plethora means, and there were a plethora of laughs in this gem.

As good as all of those films are, one of Spielberg’s many masterpieces, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, is better.

(An honorable mention to Three Days of the Condor, which my friend Murray claims is a great flick, but that I unfortunately am unable to corroborate. It is high on my list of movies to see.)

2) Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Two Days in the Valley are great movies. If you haven’t seen them, you should.

But this one goes to the middle installment of perhaps the second best trilogy of all time. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers may not have been to this trilogy what Empire was to Star Wars, but it wasn’t what Temple of Doom was to the Indiana Jones saga either. In fact, it was much closer to the former than the latter.

(Just an FYI…I came across this review for LOTR: The Two Towers and felt compelled to share the hilarity.)

1) One Fine Day and Air Force One are both very good, entertaining movies featuring bankable movie stars and that hold up beyond their release dates.

But this is a two horse race between the best two movies on this entire list. Sure, some of you might argue that point, but I will tell you who won’t…Oscar. Both movies won all of what are known as the big five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Adapted Screenplay. Pretty remarkable when you think about it. In fact, to date, only one other film ever achieved that feat: Silence of the Lambs, in 1991.

It Happened One Night is a great love story starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert and directed by Frank Capra, who delivers one of his trademark feel-good stories. Excellent performances and writing propelled this movie to unparalleled status (the first film ever to sweep the big five Academy Awards).

But the winner here is the second film to ever sweep the big five. The difference is that my choice for the number one slot also garnered four additional nominations (Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Film Editing and Original Score), and is considered among the top ten or twenty movies of all time on most lists that matter (not that this one doesn’t).

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, based on Ken Kesey’s masterful novel, is one of the few examples of a book adaptation which might actually rival the book upon which it is based. Nicholson and Louise Fletcher certainly earned their Oscars and Brad Dourif, Sydney Lassick, Christopher Lloyd, William Redfield, Danny DeVito and Will Sampson (as the Chief) headlined an incredible supporting cast.

(Oh, and for those who want a mention of One Night at McCool’s and The First Wives Club…umm yeah.)

Thanks for taking the time to read this list. I hope it primed those interested for the upcoming Oscars. Go Midnight in Paris, for whatever that’s worth. And please feel free to disagree with any of the above using the comments feature below and to add any films you believe I forgot (or more likely purposely omitted).

IDROS

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If you try sometimes….You realize a rock singer-songwriter from Indiana is a genius…

Nobody likes to come up empty handed. The best of us shoot for the stars, but not all of us are armed with this:

And so some of us settle, or at least grasp at the lower hanging fruit.

Countless songs have been written over the years about our hopes and dreams, our true desires, and our basic necessities for survival.

This entry focuses on two primary categories – The best songs ever written about what we “want” and the best songs ever written about what we “need.”

The rules are simple:  The word “want” (or an acceptable variation) or “need” must be in the title of the song (sorry to the likes of “Box of Rain,” “Somebody,” “Where the Streets Have no Name,” “Just a Friend,” “Dead or Alive,” and “Young Lust” – all great songs with lyrics featuring our buzz words, but alas, rules is rules).  Also, the song must be great – at least in your humble author’s opinion – sorry if my taste in music offends you.

We will begin with the best songs with “want” in their titles – these songs greatly outnumber those with “need,” well, because we all desire more in life than we actually require to get by.  So without further delay, please find the top 25 songs in recent memory that focus on our wants, counting down to the best from number 25:

25)   I Want to Break Free – Queen

24) Tie: All She Wants to Do Is Dance – Don Henley /

What Do You Want From Me – Pink Floyd

23)   I Want It That Way – Backstreet Boys

22)   All I Want For Christmas – Mariah Carey

21)   Tie: Any Way You Want It – Journey /

I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing – Aerosmith

20)   If You Want Me to Stay – Sly and the Family Stone

19)   Baby I’m-A Want You – Bread

18)   I Wanna Rock – Twisted Sister

17)   Wanna Play That Game – Hall and Oats

16)   I Want Candy – The Strangeloves

15)   All I Want Is You – U2

14)   I Want to Hold Your Hand – The Beatles

13)   You’re the One that I Want – Grease Soundtrack

12)   I Want You Back – Jackson Five

11)   I Want to Know What Love Is – Foreigner

10)   I Want You to Want Me – Cheap Trick

09)   If You Want to Sing Out – Cat Stevens

08)   Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ – Michael Jackson

07)   I Want a New Drug – Huey Lewis and the News

06)   I Want Your Sex – George Michael

05)   Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cindy Lauper

04)   I Wanna Love You – Bob Marley

03)   Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want – The Smiths

02)   I Want You – Bob Dylan

…And the greatest song of all in this category, the one that inspired this entry in the first place and the perfect segue into the next section….

01)   You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones

As previously mentioned, based on the slim pickins of song titles that feature them, our needs are evidently not nearly as prolific as our wants.  Or at least they aren’t as interesting for the creative minds of lyricists and song writers.  I had a great deal of trouble finding enough gems to balance our lists, and so I did the best I could creating a smaller (but no less impressive) list of songs about what we need in life.  Below are the top fifteen, starting with number 15:

15)   I Need Somebody To Lean On – Elvis Presley

14)   I Need A Doctor – Eminem Featuring Dr. Dre

13)   Baby I Need Your Loving – The Four Tops

12)   I Need You – America

11)   All I Need – Jack Wagner

10)   You’re All I Need to Get By – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

09)   Tie: I Need A Hero – Bonnie Tyler /

Need You Now – Lady Antebellum

08)   Love’s In Need of Love Today – Stevie Wonder

07)   I Need You Tonight – INXS

06)   I Need to Know – Tom Petty

05)   I Need Love – LL Cool J

04)   I Need A Miracle – Grateful Dead

03)   A Man Needs A Maid – Neil Young

02)   All You Need Is Love – The Beatles

01)   I Need a Lover (That Won’t Drive Me Crazy) – John Cougar Mellencamp

You might find you got what you needed from today’s ramblings.  Or maybe not so much.  Either way, I am sure you are fuming over some of your author’s selections and rankings. Still, if you have any opinions, feel free to voice them below.

Til next time,

IDROSA

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