Island Guy

And then there was one…

Our department is, at this moment, officially at two employees. However, seeing as how my partner-in-crime gave her notice last Friday, I am now firmly comfortable declaring myself the defacto winner of this game of Office Survivor. Sure, we’re gonna replace her soon, but I still won this round.

So with that Survivor Island theme in mind, coupled with the fact that a web columnist I read recently began soliciting readers for their Desert Island List of Favorite Wrestling Matches, I’ve decided it’s been too long since I’ve blogged anything of real unimportance, a fact which I am about to rectify. (Huh, huh… I said “rectify”) … (wait… that’s not really dirty).

You see, I love lists. I also happen to love charts and maps and graphs and stats. I love things that involve organization. I get a bigger kick out of going into my filing cabinet than most normal people do. But that’s neither here nor there. Like I said, I love lists. I’m a particularly big fan of “year end” lists and “all time” lists, and yes, the somewhat famous “Desert Island” lists. You know the drill; if you were stuck on a desert island and were only able to have with you ten albums / DVD’s / books / etc., which would you take with you in order to provide you with the most fulfilling collection during your stay. Mind you, the idea is to choose a good mix, as opposed to saying, “okay, these are my ten favorite movies of all time”. No need to bring Naked Gun 2 1/2 when you’ve already got Naked Gun. It’s repetitive and redundant and repetitive. One will get the job done. So with that, I’ve decided that over the next couple of weeks I am going to partake in some Desert Island fun, beginning with Movies. I’d say DVD’s, but that means I’d have to take into account the actual DVD sets and all the bonus features and bric-a-brac that they include, so for now, I’ll stick to movies. Maybe I’ll try DVD’s later and see if that changes anything.


In the order they popped into my head…

1) The Shawshank Redemption

The one pure slam dunk on my list, it’s my all-time favorite movie and the only real drama that I’ve ever been able to watch ad nauseum without getting tired of it. I love the story, I love the direction, I love the acting, I love IT. Period. With the possible exception being that some people (not I, mind you) think it’s a tad long, this movie is perfection. A wonderful message with some fascinating characters, top notch writing, breathtaking direction, you name it. If you hate this movie, I hate you.

2) The Hunt For Red October

I love sub movies. For some reason, of all the categories of war movies, sub movies are the ones I find myself drawn to. That being said, trying to decide between this and U-571 is incredibly difficult. They both have so much about them I like, and if I really tried to be diplomatic about it, I could spend pages upon pages debating this choice. But I don’t want to spend pages and pages, so I’ll go with one simple undisputable rule: Sean Connery is cooler than Matthews McConaughey. Always.

3) Clue

This is easily the film I’ve seen the most times in my life. Trying to explain my love for it to people who have never seen it (or seen it but ever appreciated it) is a tiresome struggle. It is quite simply the greatest collection of non-superstar comedic talent ever assembled for one film. The fact that it’s a take-off of my favorite board game ever is really just an added bonus. Being a theater guy, I’ve also always been a big fan of the “bunch of people trapped in an old house on a stormy night for a murder mystery” genre, and this one rules all, Murder By Death of course coming in a somewhat distant second.

4) Bull Durham

Gotta have a sports movie. Gotta have a *baseball* movie. And this is easily the best. It’s still the funniest, still has the best baseball scenes, and it’s completely devoid of formula. No “ragtag team wins it in the end” crap here. Plus, it’s aged surprisingly well. For a movie that’s near 20 years old, it looks like it was made this year. Impressive. Plus PLUS, it’s immensely quotable. Always a good thing.

5) The Princess Bride

Talk about a no brainer. I don’t know a soul from my generation who has seen this film and not fallen in love with it. It has every element that you could ever want in an escapist story. I’m not even going to waste any more breath on it because anybody I know would agree anyway.

6) Hellboy

I need a good sci-fi/action film for my list, and frankly, I’ve never been so blown away by the major epics (Star Wars et al). For some reason this is one I find I keep throwing in the ol’ DVD player. It’s enough sci-fi, enough action, enough comic book humor, that it works for me on a bunch of levels. If I took time to really pour over the genre, I might find a better choice, but for now, this is what I’m going with.

7) When Harry Met Sally

While I’m not sure it’s necessarily wise to bring a romantic comedy if I’m going to be alone on an island, I’ll ignore the idea because this is simply such a GOOD romantic comedy. It’s easily the best story of any of the genre (one that is single-handedly resurrected in the late 80’s). Good chemistry with the leads, lots and LOTS of humor, tons of quotable lines, and enough sweetness to warm your heart without making you gag. I mean, those vignettes with all the old couples are priceless. Who doesn’t appreciate that?

8) Toy Story

Pixar’s first and best, as far as I’m concerned. A brilliant concept, with amazing animation, and easily the best script of any of their films. They way they set up the rules of the toy world are sheer genius, and the collection of voices is top notch. I love all the Pixar films, but I doubt any of them will ever top Toy Story for me.

9) Saving Private Ryan

This makes the list for a number of reasons. One, I really want to have a good war movie on hand, and The Hunt For Red October doesn’t really count. Two, as harsh as it is, I’ve been amazed to find it easily re-watchable, unlike something like Schindler’s List which is as brilliant and important a film as has been made while being one I never care to see again. If I were creating a time capsule for films, Schindler’s List would be the choice, but if it’s one I’m gong to watch over and over again, it’s gotta be Ryan. Most of the stuff I like is pure escapism, but for those rare moments when I want to be reminded that there is a world out there bigger than me, this film grounds me.

10) Dazed & Confused

Finally, I needed to have one mindless comedy. I mean, truly something I could put in that would not require me to think or even appreciate, but which would just cause me to crack up from beginning to end. I wanted something fairly modern, like maybe Anchorman or The 40 Year Old Virgin, or something classic like Spinal Tap or Caddyshack, but in the end I went with Dazed & Confused because it remains a film I can put in anytime I don’t really want to pay attention but still want to be entertained. Great music, fabulous characters, no cumbersome plot. Just what the Doctor ordered.

Honorable Mentions

They didn’t make the cut, but they do get consideration.

Grumpy Old Men, Get Shorty, Good Will Hunting, L.A. Confidential, Galaxy Quest, The Naked Gun, Clerks, The 13th Warrior, High Fidelity, M.A.S.H.

I’m sure there are a ton more I’m forgetting, but off the top of my head, this would be my list. All I can say in retrospect is THANK GOD I don’t have to actually limit myself to just those films. Life would suck, indeed.


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