Kennie Bass' Top 10 (oops, 13) Movies
In alphabetical order, here are my favorite baker's dozen (13) of movies.
- Aliens (1986) "This time it's war."
- Sigourney Weaver reprises her role as Ripley, the only survivor of the Nostromo. Set 57 years after the original, James Cameron's sequel is a muscle-packed action-adventure. Ripley finds herself going back to the alien world, this time with a group of rough and ready Space Marines. It's fun, fast and furious. Also starring Michael Biehn as Corporal Hicks, Paul Reiser as the slimy company man, and Carrie Henn as the child "Newt."
- Army Of Darkness (1993) "Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Low on gas."
- This is the third movie in the cult classic "Evil Dead" series. This time, our hero Ash (Bruce Campbell) finds himself stranded in the 13th century. Armed with only a chainsaw and his trusty shotgun, Ash must find the book of the dead to get back home. It's funny and filled with battles against the evil "Deadites." Ash gets off some of the greatest one liners in movie history. "Come get some!" I can never pass this one up when it's on. Also starring Embeth Davidtz as Sheila, and directed by Sam Raimi.
- Batman (1989) "The Dark Knight"
- Director Tim Burton turns in one of the very few comic book adaptations to get it absolutely right. Although many questioned the casting of Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne, it turned out to be a brilliant move. Keaton captures both sides of a very complicated man, much in the same manner as Christopher Reeves incredible performance in the first Superman movie. (Which almost made this list.) Born out of tragedy, Batman must defend Gotham City against the maniacal Joker. While Jack Nicholson gives one of his best performances as the clown prince of crime, Danny Elfman's music sets a perfect tone. Although the series suffered with some inferior sequels, watch the original again. There's nothing wrong with this movie. Also starring Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale.
- Bull Durham (1988) "A movie about America's other favorite pastime."
- Director Ron Shelton combines sex and sport in this romantic comedy that shows how life in the minor leagues really is. Kevin Costner stars as Crash Davis, a journeyman catcher sent to the lowly Durham Bulls to educate a hot prospect. Tim Robbins as Nuke Laloosh has a lot to learn about baseball and life. But Crash isn't his only teacher. Susan Sarandon completes the triangle as baseball groupie Annie Savoy. This movie is rough and crude at times, but very funny. And it also contains some messages about love and relationships, and about what's important in life. Besides, my mom lived in Durham for a while, and a made a few trips to the home of the real life Durham Bulls. I even have a Bulls baseball cap. This is a great flick.
- Die Hard (1988) "Yippee-Kai-Yay!"
- Bruce Willis as New York cop John McClane battles a building full of terrorists. His wife is among the hostages as he wages a one-man war for their survival. Another action-adventure on my list, the tension builds as Willis tangles with the bad guys one by one. Alan Rickman is a top villain as the slick and suave Hans Gruber. The special effects are great, and this movie kicked off a whole genre of thrillers, (Die Hard on a Boat "Speed 2", Die Hard on a Train "Under Siege 2", etc, etc...) Also starring Bonnie Bedelia as Holly McClane.
- Field Of Dreams (1989) "If you build it, he will come."
- Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) didn't have a very good relationship with his father. But unlike the rest of us, he gets a second chance to make things right. A mysterious voice tells him to plow under part of his cornfield and build a baseball diamond. He does. And with the family farm on the line, he follows the mysterious voice to fulfill a dream, and repair his family. Also starring James Earl Jones as Terence Mann, and Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe Jackson.
- The Matrix (1999) "What is the Matrix?"
- Keanu Reeves stars as Neo, and somehow manages to leave his surfer dude persona behind to make you believe that he could actually save the world. In a future where machines rule, and use mankind as a power source, Neo leads a motley crew in the fight to free all humans. He is "The One." But will it be enough to disrupt the matrix? Also starring Lawrence Fishburne as Morpheus and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity.
- O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000) "They have a plan, but not a clue."
- George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson star in this loose adaptation of Homer's epic poem, "The Odyssey." They play three escaped convicts in search of a buried treasure. Filled with humor and plenty of great bluegrass music, including the instant classic "Man of Constant Sorrow." "O Brother..." is the best effort by Ethan and Joel Coen to date.
- Patton (1970) "Old Blood and Guts"
- My all-time favorite war movie, edging out several starring John Wayne. George C. Scott is riveting in his portrayal of the controversial World War II general. He shows Patton as an avid student in the art and history of war. And also lets the weakness of his flamboyant and egotistical streaks come through. Without a doubt, a great example of the patriotism and sacrifice of America's soldiers during the European campaigns. Also starring Karl Malden as General Omar Bradley.
- Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981) "The return of the great adventure."
- A rip-roaring salute to the serials of the 1940s. Steven Spielberg directs Harrison Ford as archeologist Indiana Jones. He's a globe-trotting adventurer out to save the world's artifacts for his university's museum. Indy gets called into action by the US government to find the fabled ark of the covenant, before Hitler and the Nazis do. Also starring Karen Allen at Marion, Denholm Elliott as Dr. Marcus Brody and John Rhys-Davis as Sallah.
- Robin Hood, Prince Of Thieves (1991) "Robbing the rich and giving to the poor."
- Okay, so the critics hated this one, and Kevin Costner's English accent may have been the worst ever, but this is a fun, fast-paced action movie. The traditional tale of Robin Hood starts in the Middle East, where Robin is a prisoner of war. But he escapes and makes his way back to England with a newfound Moorish friend Azeem, played by Morgan Freeman. They go on to battle the evil sheriff (Alan Rickman) and free the people of Nottingham. Also starring Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Maid Marian and Christian Slater as Will Scarlet.
- Star Wars (1977) "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..."
- This is the one. The list may be in alphabetical order, but this is the one on the top of the heap. George Lucas opens an entire galaxy of adventure, introducing us to Jedi Knights, an evil empire and a cast of heroes and villains that continue to inspire fans more than two decades after the movie's release. Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher bring a human touch to a movie populated by aliens and droids. A timeless classic.
- The Terminator (1984) "No pity, no pain, no fear."
- Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as the unstoppable machine trying to change the future by changing the past. His portrayal as the emotionless terminator was chilling. His first villainous role, "The Terminator" helped propel the former body builder into movie star status. Linda Hamiltion costars as Sarah Connor, the woman who's baby is destined to grow up and fight the machines. Also starring Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese, the time traveler who tries to save Sarah.
Those are my selections. (I can't believe there wasn't room for Superman, Star Trek, James Bond and so many others.)