Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Mayo!

Mexico Duh, Winning!

      Today, we celebrate our Independence Day! Actually, that is entirely untrue. I just really admire Bill Pullman's character in Independence Day. The common misconception about Cinco de Mayo is that it's Mexico's Independence Day. I hate to be the one to dispel the glaring misnomer, but Mexico's Fourth of July actually occurred 50 years earlier in the month of September. Instead, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla. On that fateful day in history, May 5, 1862, 5000 inadequately trained, ill-equipped Mexican peasants fought against a sizable regiment of French soldiers. Unfortunately, the French eventually occupied Mexico and defeated the Mexicans. But the Battle of Puebla showed the Mexican people that bravery and conviction could serve as lynchpins for a country yearning for unity and teetering towards nationalism. 
      Oh yeah, one other thing. Why does the U.S. even care? Well, May 5, 1862 marked a time when my country was embroiled in its own war. May 5th is a date that we commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of our American Civil War.

Thus, in honor of great military resolve, I'm listing my Five Favorite War Movies. Enjoy!

Saving Private Ryan - It is a modern-day masterpiece with Spielberg at his best; brimming with brilliant storytelling, an enthralling visual composition, devastating accuracy and a mesmerizing score.

Apocalypse Now - It's a grand ode to storytelling from a visionary filmmaker. Francis Ford Coppola lays out for every moviegoer, the harrowing costs of war and the universal truths of self-discovery. 

Lawrence of Arabia - A gift for the annals of classic cinema, David Lean's pièce de résistance is a breathtaking spectacle of epic scale and remarkable execution.

Full Metal Jacket - Stanley Kubrick in his finest form—visually enrapturing and uncompromisingly vicious in his examination of violence and war.

"they may take our lives, but they'll never take.....OUR FREEDOM!"

Braveheart - The Mel Gibson we loved and admired—endlessly entertaining and relentlessly fascinating. "Sons of Scotland! I am William Wallace."


      And because we all like to drink excessive amounts of tequila on this glorious day, I'm listing the Five Worst Movies I've ever seen. My rationale is quite simple. These movies are so bad that even the drunk you can't bear witness plus the heavy alcohol consumption will likely lessen or deflect any disagreement you may express over my more reasoned choices above. 

 They don't look too happy. Neither did anyone who watched it.

Gigli - This J-Lo/Affleck production is pure torture (and I generally respect Affleck). It should be used as an interrogation technique in our fight against terror. No one wants to be subjected to this piece of work. In fact, Affleck's smart enough...he's probably already burned every DVD/Blu-Ray in circulation. 

From Justin to Kelly - It's simply one of the worst movies you'll ever see, but don't get any ideas about the "seeing" part. Simon Cowell would have eviscerated every second of footage, leaving it—where it deserves to be—on the cutting room floor. 

Glitter - This movie is so bad, Kramer's attorney from Seinfeld, Jackie Chiles would slap a suit on it—"it's outrageous, egregious, preposterous." 

Who's Your Caddy? - The idea that this film is Caddyshack with an "urban twist" is just plain offensive not only to gopher hunting Carl Spackler (who's merely a greenskeeper), but to African Americans in general. It's a comedy malaise—not even remotely deserving of the former comparison—and a loathsome depiction of the latter claim.  

Alone in the Dark - You can't have a "worst of list" without at least one Uwe Boll contribution.


  1. i had to laugh at "duh, winning!"
    great post =)

  2. I'm glad it was your eyes and not mine that watched those last five movies. There isn't enough tequila to make those look good. :P

  3. I've never heard of that Mexican holiday :)
    I also don't like war movies, probably because I survived one too many in reality.

    And ALONE IN THE DARK really was the oddest film ever. However two worst films I've ever seen are still DARK KNIGHT and I'M NOT THERE.

  4. @ Tara

    It was perfectly fitting for a day that engenders great debauchery...well, because we know Charlie Sheen likes his Mexican beverages among other notable vices.

    @ L.G. Smith

    Excellent point. I'm forever pained by those experiences. You're the better person for avoiding them.

    @ Dezmond

    Whoa. Be careful what you say about The Dark Knight. You'll ignite a Nolan, comic book fanboy firestorm. I loved that movie. But I know all too well, it's not your style or substance. I'll leave it at that.

    And haha, I'm glad you saw Alone in the Dark for the truly terrible film it is.

  5. I'm going to throw in The Longest Day, and match your Christian Slater flick with another - Untamed Heart - a truly wretched piece of romantic drivel that would have been the first movie I ever saw totally alone in a theater - but I brought a friend. I am glad to say I have seen none of the other four worsts - and like all your war pictures! Cheers and double Cheers Matty!

  6. Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

    Great post! I shake my head at how many people think that Cinco is the Mexican version of July 4.

    Your choice of war movies have some of the finest ever made. I love the genre and would also include Glory, All Quiet On The Western Front, The Longest Day and Black Hawk Down.

    LMAO on the worst movies. Can we include Twilight, The Green Hornet and The Village?

  7. Happy Cinco de Mayo, buddy! It would be so awesome to spend the day and watching some of those great war movies. And it will be more special with some guacamole or salsa and drink micheladas ;)

  8. "Saving Private Ryan" is amazing. Period. I would ass "Platoon" to this list.

    Believe it or not, I haven't seen "Braveheart". It's a shame, I know...

    "Alone in the Dark" was absolutely dreadful. What was Boll thinking?! I was like WTF?, than laugh, than WTF?, then laugh again.. :) Thank God, I haven't seen "Gigli", "Glitter" and "Who's Your Caddy".

  9. The U.S. cares about Cinco De Mayo for the same reason that it cares about St. Patrick's Day, New Year's Eve, and Arbor Day. It's just an excuse to party.

  10. @ Craig

    Thanks man! Sadly, I have not seen The Longest Day. But since both you and Melissa recommend it, I'll have to nab a copy.

    Haha, thankfully I've managed to avoid Untamed Heart, but I reckon there's enough despicable films up there to make up for that missed experience.

    @ Melissa

    Happy Belated Cinco de Mayo to you as well and thanks!

    Glory introduced me to Denzel and it remains one of my favorite performances by him. What an awesome movie.

    And I strongly considered All Quiet on The Western Front. I should've made a top 10 list because I had to leave out some war films that I absolutely love.

    Haha go for it. I didn't watch The Green Hornet (I read enough sour reviews to avoid it) and please include Twilight or Village if you make a list!

  11. @ Jaccstev

    Thanks! Happy Cinco de Mayo to you too!

    I had my fair share of Mexican cuisine yesterday, but I didn't re-watch any of the above war films. I got nothing but time, so this weekend may involve a Kubrick, Coppola, Gibson, Lean or Spielberg viewing! Wow, did I really just include Mel Gibson's name amongst those directing greats. I digress.

    @ Nebular

    Thanks! Platoon is awesome and one of my favorite Oliver Stone films. It deserves to be in my list.

    Haha, Alone in the Dark is just deplorable. Glad you're in agreement. And thank your better senses for avoiding the others.

    @ Jeff

    Valid point. I'm in complete agreement. It's purely a commercial "holiday."

    I just wanted to take a brief moment to address the history of it because too many people I know misunderstand the historical ramifications; i.e. that it celebrates Mexico's independence.

  12. Good choices. My husband is watching "Transylvania 6-5000". The great bandleader and musician Glen Miller was challenged to make a song out of a random NY phone #. This was the song he came up with, and you will have to locate it yourself. Then this movie was made, using the title, and numerous references to many good movies.
    Have you ever seen "The Hill" with Sean Connery, Ossie Davis?
    Like reading your blogs.

  13. Thanks Susan!

    You may be a bit disappointed, but I have not seen either Transylvania 6-5000 or The Hill. Thanks for the recommendations though. I IMDB'd The Hill and it seems like my kind of war film. I'll be on the look out for a copy. It's a fitting suggestion given Lumet's recent pasing.

    Thank you so much!

  14. Well, now. I didn't know any of this about Cinco De Mayo. Thanks for that, Matt; I LOVE learning new things. AND thanks for being such a fab movie reviewer; which is how you ended up being the feature for my post today. I found you through the reflections hop and am so happy to "meet" you :)

    Cheers :)

  15. Awww, thanks so much! You're awesome. I'll check out your write-up shortly.

    It's nice to meet you as well!