Sunday, March 17, 2013

Top Ten Movies and the Tree

Today is the FREE! release of "Part Seventeen: The Tree of Light"
Make sure you pick up your copy! (And more on that in a moment...) And notice the wonderful new cover by the fabulous Rusty Webb!

It's also the day of Alex Cavanaugh's Top Ten Movie thing (click the link for the list).
Let's get the movies out of the way first.

As per usual, I'm breaking the rules a bit. Many of the movies I list will be franchises rather than movies. Mostly, because devoting six of 10 spots to Star Wars seems a little redundant, and, well, even the least of the Star Wars movies is greater than most other movies. This will allow for more variety on my list. Oh, and I should also say that I kind of hate making lists like this, because, if I were to make the same list next week, it might be slightly different. That's why I have a "significance" page not a "favorites" page. The things that have been significant don't change. But enough of that; let's get to it...

Daredevil (2003) -- This was one of my top super hero movies until Marvel got into the game for real and started making their own movies. I still think it's one of the most watchable and is a great adaptation at the same time. It's completely underrated.

Ladyhawke (1985) -- During high school, my best friend and I spent the better part of a year watching this movie virtually every weekend. It almost made the actual top 10, but it's probably been too long since I've seen it to really know where it stands.

Fellowship of the Ring (2001) -- Fellowship was a great movie, perfectly captured the spirit of the books, and it deserves to be in the top 10. However, it fell off the list, because I don't feel compelled to put the other movies up there along with it, and it wasn't strong enough to stand next to the other top 10s all by itself.

Goonies (1985) -- This was the movie that my brother and his best friend watched almost every weekend for the better part of a year, and I often sat and watched it with them. [I know, you'd think I did nothing but watch movies when I was in high school, but most of this movie watching happened after midnight when it was too late to do anything else.] Then there was a period where my kids wore out this video, too.

10. Robin Hood (1973) -- The Disney version of Robin Hood was the first movie I ever fell in love with. And I did. I wanted to be Robin Hood, and he was the hero of my boyhood, along with Spider-Man, prior to Luke Skywalker.

9. Better Off Dead (1985) -- The other movie my best friend and I spent the better part of a year watching virtually every weekend. Even more than Ladyhawke. It was the most quoted movie of my high school career, especially, "Man, now that's a real shame when folks be throwin' away a perfectly good white boy like that."
And "I want my two dollars!"
And "Gee, I'm real sorry your <whatever bad thing just happened> blew up."
And... I need to stop, or I'll just quote the whole movie.
However, I do still use on my kids whenever we're having something they don't like for dinner, "It's got raisins in it... you like raisins."

8. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) -- Not quite as quotable as Better Off Dead but so much more tapped into the souls of us all who grew up in the 80s. No one really wanted to be Lane Meyer, but we all wanted to be Ferris.

7. Toy Story (1995/1999/2010) -- One of the greatest movies about friendship ever made. And they just kept getting better. The third one made me cry. I don't know that there's more to be said than that.

The Incredibles (2004) -- My feelings about this movie can be summed up in the line, "When everyone's special, no one is." If you don't understand, you probably won't understand.

Ratatouille (2007) -- Similar in theme to Incredibles but with the addition of not dismissing someone because you think they know who they are.

6. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) -- The second movie to ever make me cry (the first was The Fox and the Hound, which almost made the list) and possibly the event that nudged D&D into cultural awareness in any real sense. I'm still hoping, though, that Spielberg doesn't cave and make a sequel.

5. Iron Man (2008) -- The second virtually perfect super hero movie. I saw it three times its opening weekend (not, actually, on purpose) and could have gone back for more. Downey (whom I had been following since the 80s (Less Than Zero, anyone?)) was amazing. "I am Iron Man."

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) -- The third virtually perfect super hero movie. Chris Evans was absolutely perfect for the role, and I was so relieved when they went with him (they almost didn't because of his portrayal of Johnny Storm). As with Iron Man, Marvel really captured the character and threw him up on the screen.

The Avengers (2012) -- I don't even know what to say about this one. Whedon tied all the other movies together perfectly. It stands as the masterpiece of superhero movies.

4. Spider-Man (2002/2004/2007) -- The movie I waited my whole life to see. Spider-Man has always been my favorite superhero. Always. I remember playing Spider-Man when I was four, maybe even three. He was always so cool with all the jokes and stuff, and, really, is there a better set of super powers? Not when you throw in how smart he is, there's not. Sam Raimi was the very first (director) to capture the essence of a comic book hero and throw it up on the screen for us to see. [Admittedly, Hugh Jackman's Wolverine was the very first perfect performance of a character in 2000's X-Men. Unfortunately, the X-Movies have been pushed too far down to make the list.] And it had the line "With great power comes great responsibility," unlike some lesser Spider-Man movies.

3. Indiana Jones (1981/1984/1989/2008) -- The greatest adventure movies ever made. Period. Adventure does have a name...

2. Dead Poets Society (1989) -- I left high school completely tired of math and science and being told I had to do something in math or science, or math and science. I was tired of having my math test scores waved in my face all the time. Drawing had already been squashed out of me, but writing had not. I was good at it. On the sly, my English teachers would let me know how good at it I was without talking about math or science. So I went on to college and immediately declared English as my major... only to have all of my advisors start yelling at me. But I held to it. I never doubted my decision, but that doesn't mean  that you know that you know that you're right. I walked out of DPS after my first year as an English major, and I knew that I knew that I'd made the right decision.

1. Star Wars (1977/1980/1983/1999/2002/2005) -- What can I say? Star Wars changed my life. Not that it didn't change the lives of lots of kids. Watching it that first time was like being in a darkened room, only you don't know that it's dark, and having someone flip on the light. It opened my mind and my imagination. And I watched it do that same thing to both of my boys. The flip of a switch. It was more gradual with my daughter, but it's there for her, too. It's the most quoted movie in our house. It's the most quoted movie of my life.
How could expect there to be anything different in this spot?

Shadow Spinner

Today is a big day for Shadow Spinner! It's the halfway point of the story, and there are some significant revelations. But no spoilers. Go read it if you want to know; after all, it's FREE! Well, today it is. And tomorrow. Here's the list of today's FREE! parts!

FREE! on Monday, March 18 and Tuesday, March 19:
"Part Seventeen: The Tree of Light"
FREE! only on Monday, March 18:
"Part Sixteen: The Dark Tree"
"Part Fifteen: Food of the Garden"
"Part Fourteen: Anger and Laughter"
"Part Eleven: The Kiss"
"Part Ten: The Broken Window"
"Part Nine: The Shadow of the Tree"
"Part Eight: The Cold and the Dark"
"Part Seven: The Moth and the Shadow"
"Part Five: The Police Car"
"Part Four: The Cop"
"Part Three: The Bedroom"
"Part Two: The Kitchen Table"
"Part One: The Tunnel"
Look at that! That's 14 out of 17 parts for FREE! But that's not all, because you can also get little tale that started all of this off:
"The Evil That Men Do"

As an added bonus, you can also find "Christmas on the Corner" available for FREE! To quote one reviewer's response to the novella, "What I liked best, and what surprised me most about this story was the amazing depth of emotion." Make sure you pick it up while you have  the chance to get it FREE!

And that will just about do me for today. Enjoy the movie list and pick up the FREE! stuff. Who can say no to FREE!, right?


  1. I like your idea of adding an honorable mention. Ladyhawk would have made it on my list, too.

  2. A very intriguing list of choices :). I would love to take you to a movie...should you ever come to Europe :)>

  3. Whenever I think "Better Off Dead" I par it with "One Crazy Summer", which has been my "Retro" site header for a year now... no one noticed...

    Jeremy [Retro-Z]
    Howlin' Wolf

    ps. my retro site: Oh No, Let's Go Crazy

  4. Agree on half of the Star Wars.
    Better Off Dead is such a cult classic. So many memorable lines.
    Thanks for participating in my blogfest!

  5. I have Indiana Jones on my lists. And love Better Off Dead, a cult classic IMHO.

  6. Yay for The Avengers!!!

    Off to snag my copy of The Tree of Light. Love the new cover!

  7. We have two-ish in common, though you picked the wrong Robin Hood. I also had Raiders of the Lost Ark on my list. Could have easily put most of the rest of those on my list too, depending on my mood.

  8. "Goonies' and 'Ferris" how could I have forgotten those two. Great list.

  9. I love Indiana Jones, but what did you think of the newest one? Is that one worthy of being included on that list with the rest of them? Between the aliens, and the bad CGI graphics, and surviving a nuclear blast in a refrigerator, and, and, and... I think my blood pressure just went through the roof, and I feel like it shouldn't even be included with the others, aka the classics.

  10. I loved Ladyhawke too.

    Great selection might have chosen some of those too.


  11. I couldn't help it, I had two lists. I love anything Indiana Jones and yet I forgot to put him on my list.

  12. I just love ET and watch it every time I see it on TV. Do you know I must be the only person on the planet who has never seen Star Wars? Don't judge.

  13. I broke the rules too. What can you do, ten is just not enough.

    Some great choices. I had one cross over, but would have had about ten more had I been allowed a few more choices. I already regret not having Avengers and Goonies on my list. They were, and then they weren't, and then they were, and then they were cut. It was too hard.

    Excellent list.

  14. Star Wars is a good choice for you, not only because they are great movies, but you're so intimately connected with LucasFilm getting screenings there, knowing people who work there, etc. You basically ARE an employee of Lucasfilm, you just don't get paid.

  15. Nice to see some love for Ladyhawk, though I'm curious why LOTR is the one franchise you only list one movie for.

  16. I loved Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) too, and totally forgot to put this, along with a few other 80's cult faves on my list. I love that you bent the rules, too. So did I. :)

  17. I love Pixar movies. The Incredibles Toy STory & Ratatouille are in my Top 5 for sure!

  18. Hi,

    Love, love every movie you listed. Iron Man is so great. Lady Hawke I loved and watched it continually. We must be from the same generation.

    Thanks for sharing. Check out my list at:

    PS I plan on following you. I love the books on your site. Please follow me too. I appreciate the support.

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. Hey, two of my picks are on yours! Seems like we have great taste in movies, I'd wager. :)

  21. I'm the same way about lists. They can change from week to week, but there are always a few that stay at the top.

    E.T. is a wonderful film and the Indiana Jones franchise is highly entertaining viewing that I'm due to revisit.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  22. Dead Poet's Society was such a good film. But Ferris Bueller, what a fun flick! Would be fun to see them revisit the story. Same characters, same actors, just older.

  23. Jenn: Well, I just had too many to list.

    unikorna: I'm not sure Europe is on my schedule. Maybe when I go on my world tour!

    Jeremy: I really liked One Crazy Summer, too, but it was never the staple that Dead was.

    Alex: I had to hold myself back on the quotes from it. I probably could have put half the movie down.

    Stephen: It is. I think it's under appreciated, though.

  24. M.J.: It's great, isn't it. I need to post the optional cover he sent, which I almost went with.

    L.G.: No, I picked the best Robin Hood, because it's the one that lead me to the one you listed. The Disney one is the one I own.

    farawayeyes: I don't know? I forgot a lot, too.

    ABftS: I like the newest one. You want to know what's interesting, the refrigerator thing is scientifically sound. I felt like you when I first saw it, but Lucas researched it somewhat extensively, and, pretty much, most of the scientist said, yeah, he'd have a pretty good chance of surviving that way. I sort of felt compelled to go with it at that point.

    Jo: I need to watch it again. I still haven't shown it to my kids!

    Teresa: It's hard to remember everything!

  25. JKIR,F!: No, I know some other people. It's just proof that you people came from off planet, though.

    S.L.: I think most everyone broke the rules. How do you get to 10 unless you just don't watch movies?

    Michael: heh I wish... I probably would work there without getting paid. At least for a while, anyway.

    Matthew: Because the first one is the only one I felt Jackson really captured. As he went on, he kept putting more and more of himself into the movies that he kept saying were faithful adaptations. It all starts with the elves at Helm's Deep and gets worse and worse. So, even though I enjoy the movies, I don't feel the others really live up to Fellowship.

    Shah: I'm sure there are still more movies that I've forgotten about that I will run across today.

    nutschell: Breaking down the Pixar movies is so hard. I mean, I left off Monsters, Inc.!

  26. Mary: Thank you so much and thanks for stopping by!

    David: I agreed with you until I saw Nimh on your list. :P Now, it's kind of questionable.

    Lee: Yeah, my top 3 are always my top 3. Everything else has been subject to placement issues.

    Nancy: They've been talking about doing that for a long time. I'm not sure if there are any steps being taken in that direction, though.

  27. Bueller! Bueller! Such a good movie! Dead Poet's and Star Wars - you've got a nice collection here, Andrew!

  28. I forgot The Fox and the Hound! Man, I forgot so many movies. It's driving me up a wall. Great list. Loved all these films. And yes, adventure does indeed have a name. No matter what they do from here on out with the franchise, I will always love Indiana.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  29. I saw the Disney Robin Hood when I was very young, but it is still one of my favorite animated movies of all time. That version of the robin hood character was just so likeable.
    I'll have to second your top three placement of Indiana Jones, when will they make a movie series that is as cool?

  30. I forgot about ET when I was making my list. I'm surprised I haven't seen it on more blogs today. A true classic.

  31. I love that your list has so many 80's movies. I'm surprised I didn't see Dungeon Master on that list though. Disappointing.

    I loved every single one of these. I got my copy of today's release, and a few back issues I didn't have too.

  32. M.J.: Thank you! I thought so, too!

    Shannon: I can't wait to see what they do with the next one. From what I've gathered, it was supposed to be about Indy's "retirement," but, evidently, there's some question about Shia, so I don't know what the current status is.

    Winopants: I'm not thinking they'll ever make another series like that, because it would take another Harrison Ford, and there doesn't look to be another one of those coming any time soon.

    LD: I know! ET just wasn't getting the love he deserves!

    Rusty: Awesome! And I answered the Dungeon Master thing on your blog, although, now, I'm not sure if you were being sarcastic or not...

  33. I totally forgot about Ladyhawke! I used to be obsessed with that movie.

  34. Your serial seems to be going well. Congrats :)

    Great list of movies.


  35. A great list,liked Ratatouille and Star Wars. Will never tire of scifi movies or animated movies.

  36. Missed: I just remembered War Games! It hasn't aged well, but, man, in the 80s, it was a Broderick staple.

    Donna: Thank you! Today has been especially good for it.

  37. What a beautiful cover Leon! I missed Dead Poet's Society and Goonies on my list - loved those movies. ;)

  38. When sarcasm is done well - no one can be sure if you meant it or not. In my case, it was sarcasm. I still get a kick over that exchange we had about that movie.

  39. Ratatouille is the cutest darn thing.

  40. Loved your list! though 10 weren't enough!

  41. Kimberly: It is a great cover, but, then, Rusty tends to do great work.

    Rusty: Ah, okay. >phew< Because I had thought you'd forgotten before I realized you might just be yanking my chain.

    Callie: It is!

    Adriana: Well, no, not even near enough.

  42. Great movie list - some real classics in here! Some of them I haven't seen though, and would like to :)

  43. Well, now I want to know which of them you possibly couldn't have seen!

  44. yeah!! another love of the goonies! rock on baby ruthhhh!

  45. Tammy: And then I made this sound...