If it's crap ... We'll tell you
And The $5 Bin lives to see another week! Thanks to everyone who commented on my first one and thanks to Spill for featuring my post, I've been thrilled by the response!
As Christmas quickly approaches it's getting harder and harder to get into Walmart. Tis the season I suppose. But I braved the great unknown to bring to you my latest picks from The $5 Bin.
First the Bad...
Wow where to begin with this one...
Video game movies have always been a source of controversy.There hasn't been a single one made yet that has pleased both gamers and critics... or either camp for that matter.
Gamers will point blame to the directors and screenwriters for not fully understanding the material (Uwe Boll anyone?) and critics will blame the lack of depth in the games themselves (well Super Mario Bros.)
Both are true.
But as long as these movies continue to make a profit movie studios will continue to ram them down our throats.
Which brings us to Super Mario Brothers. The year was 1993, Nintendo was 5 years apart from it's Super Mario 3 (1988) release and 3 years from Super Mario World (1990). They were riding high on the success, but were still 3 years away from their next Mario release for the then secretive Nintendo 64. So in order to keep fans interest in the series "Super Mario Brothers: The Movie" was born.
I'll be the first to admit the excitement a 7 year old me had upon hearing the news that I was going to the movies to watch Mario! But the excitement didn't last long... even at 7 years of age I could tell this movie stunk. It looked nothing like my games at home...
It was such a disappointment. Luckily for me, I didn't know who Dennis Hopper was at the time (c'mon I was 7!) otherwise it would have just added to the disappointment.
So let's knock this "plot", for lack of a better word, out of the way:
Mario (Bob Hoskins) and Luigi (John Leguizamo) are the Mario brothers, apparently separated by almost 20, years. They live in New York as plumbers and befriend a paleontologist named Daisy (Samantha Mathis). Daisy is captured and taken into a parallel universe where it's inhabitants have evolved from dinosaurs. "Dinohattan" (ugh) is run by King Koopa (Dennis Hopper) who plans to take over Earth. Can the plumber brothers rise to the occasion and save Daisy and the Earth from the evil clutches of King Koopa?... apparently yes they can.
Thankfully the general public listened to the critics on this one as the film brought in only $20 million about half of the film's actually budget. This also helped everyone avoid suffering from any meaningless sequels.
To their credit Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper have both expressed regret for making the movie, unfortunately that doesn't take away the pain my 7 year old heart felt after watching this atrocity.
And now the Good...
Letters From Iwo Jima is my favorite Clint Eastwood directed film.
How easy it is for us to forget that to every war there is another side.This film shows that other side. In this case it's the Japanese during World War II.
Letters From Iwo Jima follows two Japanese soldiers as they prepare for the imminent attack from US forces. The first is General Tadamichi Kuribayashi (played brilliantly by Ken Watanabe) who is given command of the forces on the island. The second is a poor civilian baker named Saigo (Kazunari Ninomiya). General Kuribayashi is torn between his inner feelings and the his sense of duty to his country. Saigo is just barely surviving the harsh regiment of the Japanese army and now faces the looming battle. The two find courage and strength as the battle progresses and leads to their two paths crossing in a gut wrenchingly emotional ending. Ken Watanabe was robbed of a Best Actor nod, even though I don't think anyone stood much of a chance against Forest Whitaker that year.
The emotional tolls and moral questions of war are showcased here, as it builds up to the inevitable defeat of the Japanese. But the true message here can be seen as how truly futile war can be.
Credit must be given to Clint Eastwood for understanding the impact the war had on both sides of the conflict and that the Japanese were not the soulless monster propaganda made them out to be. They were simply human beings. But it's like they say "Winners write the history books".
Also credit Eastwood for his directing. This is a truly gorgeous film to look at as well.
Letters From Iwo Jima rightfully received a nomination for both Best Picture and Best Director, but lost to The Departed and Martin Sorcsese respectfully. It did however win an Oscar for Best Sound Editing if that counts for anything.
Unfortunately it would suffer at the US box office mainly do to the majority of the film being in subtitles. It was however received greatly in Japan spending five weeks at the #1 spot.
Well that's it for this week's $5 Bin
So Until Next Time Spend Your $5 Wisely.....