Jabin's Movies Page

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MY FAVORITE MOVIES

This is a listing of my favorite movies, in no particular order. We'll start with the comedies, and the non-comedies are below.

There really is nothing like a great comedy - except a mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, when the mutton is nice and lean...

Zoolander

 How do you live?!!!

How do you live?!!!

A couple of friends of mine, for argument's sake let's call one "Derek" and the other one "Hansel," really didn't like this movie. But I said, what's the dealio-yo?  Who you tryin' to get crazy with, ese? Don't you know I'm loco?  Bottom line is that some people actually *could* find this stupid, but that's the whole point. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson pair up for a tremendous run as male models Derek Zoolander and Hansel (he's so hot right now, Hansel).  I laughed my chiseled abs off throughout this movie, then bought the DVD and laughed again. And again. Not the most mature movie fare you will ever come across, but so what?  It's a laugh riot, and over-the-top campy/funny.

Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery

Yea baby! It's Shaggalicious. I'll be honest, I wasn't crazy about this Mike Myers vehicle when I saw it the first time. But I found myself thinking back and laughing at several funny scenes. I then rented it again ... and again, and now it's quickly on its way toward becoming a cult classic.

Dumb & Dumber

Check your maturity at the door for this one, folks. It's not exactly Bill Shakespeare, far from it. The Ferrelly Brothers (There's Something About Mary, Kingpin, Fever Pitch) gave Jim Carrey a script and then just let him go. Carrey, as Lloyd Christmas, and Jeff Daniels, as Harry Dunn, are hysterical together as they make their way to Aspen to return a briefcase to Mary Sampsonite, er, Swanson. This movie has too many hysterical moments to mention, but suffice it to say, "I like it ah lot."

Animal House

Oh boy, is this great?! National Lampoon's classic is the all-time champ, in my humble opinion. The collection of funny scenes and great quotes from this movie is overwhelming. Often imitated, never duplicated. Better listen to me, I'm pre-med. At right, the Deltas celebrate with a new group of pledges (he can't do that to our pledges ... only *I* can do that to our pledges).

Caddyshack

A darn close second. This movie features timeless performances by the late Ted Knight ("How 'Bout a Fresca?"), Bill Murray, Chevy Chase ("I like you Betty") and of course, Rodney Dangerfield ("Hey Whitey, nice hat!"). This movie documents the hilarious goings-on at Bushwood Country Club (where gambling is illegal), and quickly became a cult classic. Just once I'd like to play a round of golf without making a "Caddyshack" reference. Not in this lifetime.  This movie also wins the prize for worse sequel -- Caddyshack II was so bad it's not even worth making fun of (Dan Akroyd, what the heck were you thinking?).

Back to School

Speaking of Rodney Dangerfield, how can anyone leave this one out? It's Rodney being Rodney for a good hour-and-a-half, with some great supporting performances, including a classic one by Robert Downey Jr., and a cameo by Kurt Vonnegut (hey Kurt, do you read lips?).  Wonderful role by the late Sam Kinnison as an excitable history professor (ok, not really Sam "acting," but damn it was funny), and some darn good quotes.

Vacation

Chevy Chase delivers a powerful performance in this, the second-funniest National Lampoon movie of all time. Clark W. Griswald and family trek across the country in the family truckster, and the laughs ensue. The sequel (European Vacation) really sucked, but they rebounded quite nicely with Christmas Vacation (although the kids kept changing). Still, the original was by far the best.

Fletch

As good as Chevy Chase was in Vacation, he far surpassed that performance as reporter Irwin M. Fletcher, tracking down bad guys including Tim Matheson (Animal House). How many lines have come from this movie? ("You and your wife are currently alive, are you not?" "What kind of name is Poon?" and "Come on guys, it's all ball bearings nowadays.")...I could go on, but I think you get my point. If you'll excuse me, I've got an appointment with Dr.RosenRosen.

Stripes

Who could forget this timeless classic, written by one of the same guys (Harold Ramis) who collaborated on Animal House. Bill Murrray and Ramis are magic together, with John Candy (Ox) delivering one of the finest performances of his career. And who could forget Sgt. Holka, the big toe? (Welcome to It'ly, gentlemen.) That was for you, Dave.

Night Shift

An underrated movie, but one featuring excellent comedic performances by Michael Keaton and Henry Winkler. Our heroes play two NYC morgue guys who become pimps (that old story, but it works!). Keaton is especially hilarious as Billy Blazejowksi (especially the scene in the barber shop "I wash my hands and feet of you!"). This movie also features a cameo by the young Kevin Costner (look for him next time).

Spinal Tap

This rock documentary (this rockumentary, if you will) featured the hilarious escapades of Britain's loudest rock n' roll band trying to squeeze the last precious moments out of their careers. Nigel, David, and Derek (Smalls, he wrote this) get tons of laughs, and deliver some hilarious quotes ("I don't want this, I want LARGE BREAD"; "There's a fine line between clever and stupid"; or "No we're not going to f---ing do Stonehenge tomorrow night!"). Directed by Rob "Meathead" Reiner, this movie also has tons of great cameos.

Bull Durham

This movie is billed as a "romantic comedy," and it certainly was that, but it was so much more. The main plot line is a romantic involvement between Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon, but to me, the "other" parts of this movie make it the classic that it is. It's full of great quotes, great comical moments, and great dialogue.

The Big Lebowski

Take er easy, Dude.  Not only does this movie supply its audience with a cornucopia of great quotes, it is just funny from beginning to end. 'Vere'z the money, Lebowski.' And I'm sorry, but any movie with Nihilists has to be funny.  That's a rule.  Anyway, Jeff Bridges is great as "The Dude." John Goodman gives what I think is the finest performance of his career, and Steve Buscemi and John Terturro shine in smaller parts. Throw in a couple of carpet urinators and the above-mentioned Nihilists, and let the laughter ensue.  How good is this dialog? -  "Darkness washed over the Dude -- darker 'en a black steer's tookus on a moonless prairie night."

Check out the Big Lebowski "Random Quote Generator Page" -- it's as good as the name implies.

Meet the Parents

Are you a pothead, Focker? ... The circle of trust. ...  I've got my eyes on you. ... Bolivian wormwood. ... Puff the Magic Dragon. ... I've quite simply LOST TRACK of the amount of quotes I use from this movie, which was absolutely hysterical. Who knew DeNiro could be funny?  As he was wacking guys or playing his various dramatic roles, I never saw this side of him, but he has the gift of comic timing, great facial expressions ... the whole package. Throw in a great performance from Ben Stiller, an unforgettable small performance by Owen Wilson, and it's just a great comedy from beginning to end.

Johnny Dangerously

This was an underrated movie that was suggested to me by a couple of friends, and thinking back on it, I just had to include it. A bunch of great lines came out of this movie, including: "My mother hung me on a hook once.  Once!" or the ramblings of Roman Moroni (You fargin' iceholes!), and the "grapevine" gag when Johnny is in prison is one of the funniest moments I've seen in a long time. Also, the priest walking Johnny to the electric chair was hilarious! Throw in a great performance by a well-cast Joe Piscopo, and this is just a great movie.

Groundhog Day

That's right, woodchuckers, this comedy tour de force by Bill Murray makes the list as well. Our buddy Bill plays a Pittsburgh weatherman sent to cover Punxatawney Phil's annual rite of late winter, but is trapped to repeat the same day over and over and over again. Directed by Harold Ramis (Animal House writer, great director), this one packs a lot of laughs. Plus, it features one of the funniest bit parts I've ever seen on film, turned in by Stephen Tobolowsky as one Ned Ryerson. Bing!  Watch out for that first step, buddy, it's a dooousy!

Finally, it has one of the best lines ever in a movie -- "Do you ever have have Deja Vu, Mrs. Lancaster?" to which Mrs. Lancaster responds: "I'm not sure but I could check with the kitchen."

The Princess Bride

Truly one of my favorites, for a bunch of reasons. So many great lines -- and great cameos.  Billy Crystal, although on screen for only 5 minutes, is tremendous as Miracle Max ("True love is indeed the greatest thing, except maybe a mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, when the mutton is nice and lean.").  Wallace Shawn - "You fell for the one of the classic blunders. The first is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less known is this, never go in against a Sicilian, when death is on the line!" The funny lines just keep coming. Great performances by Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon and Christopher Guest cap off this wonderful comedy.

Naked Gun I

This is the finest work, in my opinion, by the people who brought you Airplane, Hot Shots, and the Police Squad TV series. It has so many hysterical moments, they defy listing here.  But the thing I like the most about it is the maturity of the entire film. Isn't that right, Mr. Poopy Pants?  And as if that wasn't enough, it features the best closing speech of any film, ever. "It's a topsy-turvy world Jane, and the problems of a couple of people probably don't amount to a hill of beans. But this is *our* hill. And these are *our* beans."  Pure genius!

How Leslie Nielsen didn't win an Academy Award for this role, I will never know. 

I know I'm leaving some fine comedies out, but the line has to be drawn somewhere.


 

DRAMAS

But even I admit that you can't laugh ALL the time (just most of the time).  Nothing moves you like a good movie, and here are some of my favorite, well, let's just call them non-comedies.

Miracle

I have to admit to my bias, as I was a humble lad of 14 when the 1980 Olympic hockey team upset the Russians, and it was one of the most vivid memories of my sports-watching life. So when Disney made this movie in 2004, I wanted to like it going in. That being said, it is one heckuva movie -- great story, great acting, and great hockey action. Kurt Russell does a remarkable portrayal of Herb Brooks (up to and including the accent), and the cast of players are phenomenal, both as actors and as players. Watch the Eruzione goal against the Russians, and think of how close the action is to the real thing.  It's almost eerie. Finally, I double dog dare you not to cry at the ending. "Do you believe in Miracles? Yes!" I watched this on an airplane once and the entire cabin applauded when we (yes, I still say "we") beat the Russians. Now *that's* a movie.

Apollo 13

This movie is remembered for supplying one of the most famous movie quotes of all time ("Houston, we have a problem.")  But it is so much more than that. Ron Howard directs a stellar cast that tells a great story of an amazing couple of days during the Apollo 13 mission.  Tom Hanks is great, as usual, Ed Harris is superb, and too many other outstanding actors to mention. But to me, the best part is the ending. Not to spoil anything, but when they make it, you see the 'chute open, Tom Hanks says "Houston, it's good to see you again," and the music comes up ... well, I'm reachin' for the hankies.  Just a tremendous finish to an unbelievably well-done movie.

Gladiator

Unbelievably well-done movie. From the opening battle scene to the many gladiator fighting scenes, this movie grabbed you from the get-go and kept you entertained throughout. Russell Crowe was fantastic as Maximus, the General who became a slave who became a gladiator (who writes this stuff?). Great quotes from the beginning "At my signal, Unleash Hell," and "What we do in life ... echoes through eternity" get the testosterone going, and the battle scenes are really well done. Throw in an excellent soundtrack, and you've got yourself one helluva movie.

Saving Private Ryan

Speaking of realism? Check please.  The opening scene of this movie -- the D-Day invasion of Normandy -- was said to be so intense and realistic that some battle veterans could not watch it. It's definitely the most intense 10 minutes of film that I've ever seen. Some people said that the movie went downhill after that (hey, kind of like the Nazis!), but I disagree. I think it was an excellent film from beginning to end, and the cast was just fantastic. Tom Hanks is the finest actor of his generation, and that's all I have to say about that.

Braveheart

This one stands out as one of my all-time favorites because, well, it's got just about everything -- great music, realistic battle scenes, and a very moving ending. Mel Gibson -- before he got all kookie -- plays William Wallace, a hero of Scotand's fight for independence, and also directed this instant classic, which won the Oscar for Best Picture. See it not, and all of you will die here today. Sure it takes some liberties with the history, but it's a movie, not a documentary.

The Godfather Series

The only movie -- and sequel -- to both win Oscars, Francis Ford Coppolla's Godfather Series is a cinematic masterpiece. How many great lines have come from these movies?  "Leave the gun, take the cannoli." "It's not personal ... it's just business." "I know it was you, Fredo."  "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse."  One loses count. Sensational performances by too many actors to mention. Sure, the third installment was a pale comparison to the first two -- I still can't follow that plot -- but the first two were just incredible.

Goodfellas

Sticking with our 'wise guys' theme for a moment, this one from director Martin Scorsese is also a classic. Ray Liotta delivers a great performance as Henry Hill, teaming up nicely with Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and many other fabulous actors in an instant classic. Pesci is just incredible in this. "I amuse you how?" And when you watch it again after the Sopranos, it's fun noticing that Michael Imperioli is Spider before he became Chrisopher Moltisanti. Scorsese uses violence, drama, and music all brilliantly intertwined to create a great movie that is enjoyable again and again.

Glory

Another underrated movie. Directed by Ed Zwick and starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman (he's in everything, isn't he?), and Cary Elwes, this Civil War movie has one of the most emotional endings of all time. "Give 'em hell, 54th!" Great music, and a fantastic performance by Denzel.

Jaws

From a pure cinematic standpoint, this might be the finest movie ever made. I think it gets overlooked because it is considered a "fright" film by some people, but it has everything. It changed the swimming habits of an entire generation. Unbelievable performances by too many actors to mention, and perhaps the finest directorial performance of Steven Spielberg's career (sorry Schindler's List). I have this movie on DVD, but it's one of those that I have to watch every time I come across it while channel surfing. Because I'm only listing favorites here, I won't bring up the sequels. 2 was ok, but Jaws 4, the Revenge? Mario van Peebles, "It's a shark, mon!" Puh-leeze. Talk about milking a franchise.
A bunch of sounds from Jaws

Die Hard, Die Hard II

These two movies marked the rare occurrence of the sequel being just as good, if not better, than the original. Both of them had tons of great action sequences, and some snappy dialogue from Bruce Willis. I wasn't as crazy about 3 and 4, but they were not in the same class as the first two.

Glengarry, Glen Ross

Third prize is your fired. This underrated movie featured one of the finest performances I've ever seen. It was by Jack Lemmon as Shelley "The Machine" Levene, and he absolutely stole this movie. Also featuring Alec Baldwin, Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris, and Kevin Spacey. If you like shoot 'em up car chases, move along, there's nothing to see here. But if you like a great, dialogue-driven movie, there are few better.

The Usual Suspects

Speaking of Kevin Spacey, he won an Oscar for his portrayal of Verbal Kint (for one) in this one, which is a little slow to get going but ends with a flourish. I think it's a must-rent from the local video store. Then tell me you're not afraid of Keyser Soze.

Shawshank Redemption

It's easy to classify this one as a "prison" movie, but it was so much more than that. It had a great story of a man's fight (Tim Robbins) to keep hope alive and find his freedom. His friendship with Red (Morgan Freeman) is the centerpiece of the movie, and the pair (as well as the rest of the cast) weave an incredibly uplifting story. The fact that it's written by Stephen King shows the writer's flexibility (and I'm not just saying that because he's a Red Sox fan).

Star Wars

This whole series (Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi) was simply awesome. So many great characters, a great storyline, unbelievable music, and of course, great special effects. They simply have it all. Now I'm getting to re-live the whole thing through my kids, who are just crazy about the 'prequel' series. The only problem is, the kids have a different number system. When I say "the first Star Wars," I mean the one where Luke Skywalker blows up the first Death Star at the end. "No Dad, the first Star Wars is 'Phantom Menace,'" I am reminded. Oh well, all six of them are just fantastic.

Men in Black

This movie snuck up on me, to be honest. I missed it in the theatres, but when I finally saw it, I loved it! Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones were sensational together, and the story was great. Vincent D'Nofrio was also superb. Sure, it was all pretty unbelievable and a little campy, but that was the idea. Just a great movie.

Field of Dreams

If you build it, he will come. Ease his pain. Go the distance. Totally cornball, but if you just "go with it," it is one of the best movies of all time. A tremendous baseball movie, but also a very sweet, sappy tale of a man's redemption and his blind faith in the seemingly impossible. Kevin Costner is simply great in this movie, and James Earl Jones is excellent as well. Tell me you don't tear up at the end when he says "Hey Dad, wanna have a catch?"  Be honest.

Hoosiers

In my humble opinion, the best sports movie of all time. Most sports movies are so cheesy, as the underdog defeats the big, bad, mean guys in the end, but this one is actually based on a true story. Anyone that can watch this movie and not be inspired should check with their cardiologist. Gene Hackman delivers a powerful performance as Coach Norman Dale, who takes over a small 1A high school in Indiana, and leads the team to the state championship (and in Indiana, there's no such thing as divisions, they play the big schools). Tell me you don't get inspired as Jimmy Chitwood hits the winning shot in one of the best closing sequences ever put on film. Some of the basketball scenes were a little suspect, but overall it was just fantastic.

Hunt for Red October

For my money, the finest movie featuring a Scotsman playing a Russian sub captain ever made.  But that's just me. Seriously, this movie kicks you-know-what, mostly because of the compelling storyline -- based on one of Tom Clancy's best novels -- as well as a superstar cast. Alec Baldwin stars as the original (and still the best) Jack Ryan, the above-mentioned Scotsman -- Sean Connery -- stars as Captain Ramius, Sam Neill is fantastic as Connery's No. 2 sub dude, and James Earl Jones, Scott Glenn, and Richard Jordan round out just a fantastic cast.

Quiz Show

Robert Redford directed this very smart and well-done movie about the quiz-show scandals of the 1950s.  It's very well-written, interesting, and features some fantastic acting performances.  Rob Morrow is great as the lead congressional investigator in the case, but Ralph Fiennes (pronounce that name how you will) is simply incredible as Charles Van Doren.  You don't know whether to cheer for the guy, feel sorry for him, or throw stuff at the screen.  There is one scene in particular, where Charles Van Doren finally tells his father (played by the extremely well-cast Paul Scofield) the awful truth, that is the highlight of the film for me ("Your name is my name!")  Great stuff!

The Untouchables

Kevin Costner takes a turn as crime-fighter Elliott Ness in Prohibition-Era Chicago in this intelligent drama, taking on Al Capone, brilliantly played by Robert DeNiro. Sean Connery gives one of the finest performances of his career as the good cop in a sea of police corruption, helping Ness. But DeNiro is so damn good in this, you almost root for Capone -- until you see some of the evil stuff he does. Andy Garcia, in his big-picture debut, is also great as "George Stone." Brilliant cinematography, great music, and a compelling story combine to make this a thrilling ride.

Blood Diamond

Just an incredibly moving and powerful film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou about conflict diamonds and how they find their way out of Africa.  DiCaprio delivers, I think, the finest performance of his career, and that's saying something. Just his accent alone is enough to win me over. Not the nicest character, but he turns out well in the end. Throw in some great writing, a powerful soundtrack, and some of the best damn cinematography I've seen in a while, and you've got yourself one heckuva film.

Deja Vú

Great performance by Denzel Washington as a New Orleans ATF agent investigating a terrorist bombing. Using some newfangled secret government technology, Denzel and his buddies try to solve the case, but you have to see this one to believe it.  Very high production value, and a great story, although some of the technical stuff is pretty laughable.  If you can check any science knowledge you gained after the 4th grade at the door, it's an enjoyable ride.

Fallen

Staying with our Denzel theme for a second, this was an under-rated movie from 1998 with a great cast, and an equally great story line.  Denzel plays a Philadelphia cop battling more than he knows (although he figures it out in the end). John Goodman, Donald Sutherland, and even a pre-Sopranos James Gandolfini join him on the force, but will they be enough to deal with Azazel? Just a tremendous flick.

 

Well, those are my favorites. Do you agree, or disagree? Email me your thoughts, because I love to discuss movies, or submit your own picks or comments below.

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