Although I never cry, these are the five things that brought me closest to that fatal tear.
5. The Wrestler (2008)
Randy "The Ram"'s final match in The Wrestler was such a triumph. The excellence of Rourke's performance was solidified in this scene.
4. Toy Story 3 (2010)
This was just so frickin' sad. The scene in the town dump in particular was tearjerking. It's quite simply, Pixar at their collective finest.
3. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Legolas' and Gimli's exchange at the Black Gate. "I never thought I would die fighting next to an Elf." "How about next to a friend?" "Aye.". Over the course of the trilogy, it's so rewarding to watch their friendship develope. It all comes down to this scene. The ending where they sail into the West with the sunset is also pretty darn sad.
2. Lost, "The End" (2010)
The Lost finale was one of the best episodes of a TV show I've ever seen. It was epic. It had that "It's the end" vibe to it. When the credits rolled, I felt like, "Wow, it's really over." It ends in the most perfect way imaginable, the same way it began. The final scenes were incredible. The spring, the church, the bamboo forest. All of it was just amazing and rewarding in every imaginable way. If only every show could be this good.
1. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
For much of the same reasons Lost is here, "It's the end." The end of the greatest pop culture phenomenon ever. The closing shot was utterly perfect. Owen Lars watches that legendary Tatooine sunset with John Williams' brilliant score. It was an ending thirty years in the making. And it couldn't have been more perfect. Sure, the movie as a whole wasn't perfect. The acting was mediocre, and the story ran into the traditional prequel problems. At least those twin suns haven't changed.
So those are my tearjerkers. If you have any of your own, put them down in the comments, I'd love to hear. See you all next time!
This might be an interesting year at the Emmys with a promise to shake some things up. There's some great new shows to disrupt winning streaks, and chances for epic comebacks. These are the who I want to win for some of the major catagories. I will also say who I think should have been nominated in that catagory.
Outstanding Drama Series
My pick: Lost. To me, Lost is one of the finest shows ever produced, and the final season this year pulled out all the stops to impress. The finale brought me insanely close to tears.
What should have been nominated: Fringe. Fringe consistantly shows that it is, in fact, excellent. It's intelligent, intriging, and engaging.
Lead Actor in a Drama Series
My pick: Matthew Fox as Jack Sheppard in Lost. So yes, Lost gets this one too. Fox stopped his heavy breathing and brought true, tearjerking emotion to his character.
Who should have been nominated: This one's a tough call. The academy pretty much got it right here.
Lead Actress in a Drama
My pick: unsure. Out of the dramas that I watch, non were nominated here. Marishka Hargitay has the only show that I watch (Law and Order: Special Victims Unit), and I don't think she really deserves it.
Who should have been: close call between Anna Torv as Olivia Dunham in Fringe and Evangeline Lilly as Kate Austen in Lost. Torv plays one of the few strong female characters that I actually believe could kick my ass. Lilly brings a good amount of emotion to Lost, deserving of a nod.
Supporting Actor in a Drama
My pick: Terry O'Quinn as John Locke/The Man in Black in Lost. He is far and away amazing in this role. It's incredible how well he balances being the friendly Locke and the sinister Man in Black. Michael Emerson also got his annual nod for playing Ben Linus in Lost, but he won't get it next to O'Quinn. Emerson got considerably less screen time than usual, and he never wins.
Should have been: John Noble as Walter Bishop in Fringe. I just really like Fringe, and Noble is frickin' good.
Supporting Actress in a Drama
My pick: I don't watch any of the nominated shows. Probably because only like two shows are nominated.
Outstanding Comedy Series
My pick: 30 Rock. This is a no-brainer in my mind. 30 Rock is the funniest, and one of the finest, shows on TV.
Should have been: Community. Although it's frequently over the top, and might I say lame, it's also funny.
Lead Actor in a Comedy
My pick: Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy in 30 Rock. Another no brainer. Baldwin at his best.
Should have been: Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford in Parks and Recreation. Also just hilarious. It's called peacocking.
Lead Actress in a Comedy
My pick: Tina Fey as Liz Lemon in 30 Rock. Won last year, should win this year too.
Should have been: Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesley in The Office. She was decently good and worthy.
Supporting Actor in a Comedy
My pick: I just don't know. Maybe one of the Modern Family nods.
Should have been: Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation. Wow. The most hilarious part of the show.
Supporting Actress in a Comedy
My pick: Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney in 30 Rock. Yeah, another 30 Rock win. I'm cool like that.
Should have been: I don't quite know.
Other awards that I care about...
Outstanding Direction in a Drama Series
If Jack Bender doesn't win this for the Lost finale I will vomit.
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
If Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse don't win this for the Lost finale I will vomit.
Outstanding Musical Score
If Michael Giacchino doesn't win this for Lost I will puke.
That's all folks! I hope you enjoyed reading my diverse picks, share your own in the comments!
To me, the fourth installment in the Elder Scrolls series is the finest game ever produced. It's a game that gives you complete and unrestricted freedom in what you do and what you become. In the many save files I have for it, my characters are many different things in life. One, is a powerful human wizard that could simultaneously kick the asses of Harry Potter, Saruman, and some other miscellaneous wizard you could think of. Another is a devout crusader, an absolute goody two-shoes that helps every one, and kicks lots of ass doing it. Another is a sinister assassin (and the leader of the Dark Brotherhood, more on them later) who has a cover as a good guy in the Mages' Guild. And yet another is a walking, talking lizard who swims underwater looking for treasure and fish to sell, then gambles that money away and sleeps on the street at night. That's right, you can do that. The story is yours. Well, almost anyway. There is a main story to follow (if you choose of course, only one of the characters above has), that has a strong, compelling story element and memorable locales and characters. It basically follows an invasion of Tamriel (the natural world for non-lore buffs) by Mehrunes Dagon ((the Daedric Lord (a group of gods) of destruction) and his armies of Oblivion (the underworld). It has an epic (!) finish as well. Also for the more story inclined people out there, there are four faction quest lines to follow as well. There's the mostly good Fighters' Guild (sort of like lawmen or rangers), who enforce the law beyond the reach of the city guards. The story here is one of the weaker overall stories, but still good nonetheless. There's the also mostly good Mages' Guild, who enforce the laws and practice of magic throughout Tamriel. There's the Robin Hood esque Thieves' Guild, who officials insist doesn't exist, but we know otherwise, don't we? Finally there's the Dark Brotherhood, or the assassins' guild. They are more or less a religious group who kills to appease their lord. There's also countless minor factions who you can join after completing like one or two smaller quests. In terms of quests, they are just about all fantastic, and there's a lot of them. Even I, who put hundreds of hours into the game, have not completed all of the games things to do. It's all just up to you to do.
In case you didn't know, which you probably didn't, Oblivion is an open world role playing game. That open world is the Tamriellic province of Cyrodiil. It is frickin' HUGE. It is the best open world I've ever played it, far defeating Fallout's wastelands and Grand Theft Auto's cites. It's detail rich, and expansive; it doesn't let anything closed off (it may be locked, but you can always pick the lock, or if you skill be not high enough, steal a key, or if you're a goody two-shoes, find a legal way in) to you. Every NPC (Non-Player Character) in the game has a full personality and complex schedule to follow that's unique to them. In one city (more on the cities in a bit) there's a feud between two families; something that no one would ever find out unless they just talk to everyone and follow some people back to their houses in a really creepy way. Some people travel between cities on certain days, to conduct business, visit friends, and dig up the past. As for the cities, there's nine of them and they're all great. My only gripe with them is that they don't always feel big, but there's so much to do and see that you don't notice it.
As for the gameplay, it too is great. Combat feels far more natural than it did in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (review forthcoming), magic actually works, and stealth has been greatly improved. The role playing elements are the best you'll find, as I mostly detailed in the first paragraph. There are just choices everywhere. Things to see and do everywhere. Something everywhere. The only thing I don't really like about the gameplay, which is something that all RPGs suffer from, is that in the late game, when you get to the higher levels, enemies just get more health added, making it take longer to kill them, rather than making them a new challenge. It just makes them a tougher challenge.
But something else has to be wrong with it, right? Well there sort of is. If you play for hundreds of hours like me you're bound to find a few bugs. None of them are game-breaking, the worst of which just makes the NPCs silent when they talk, but the subtitles are still there so you know what they're saying.
The senses have to be appeased, too, right? And they are! The sound it utterly fantastic, for one. The music (by the great Jeremy Soule, look him up) is some of the best you'll hear in a game. The sound effects make you feel as if you are in Tamriel. A wooden bridge creaks when you walk over it. The clang of your armor echoes from the stone floor of an abandoned (most likely occupied by bandits or marauders of course) fort. Just amazing. Visually, it's not the best out there, but bringing the fact that the gameworld is huge and it came out in 2005, it's amazing. That's all I'm saying there.
Final Score: 98/100
Knights of the Nine
The first expansion to Oblivion is a small one, that adds a new faction (titular) and a new quest line to go along with it. A demon-king called Umaril has come back and is attacking the Church of the Nine. Spoiler alert, this guy wants you to stop him. It doesn't really add tons of content, but it's still fun, and you get some great equipment for your character out of it. It comes free with the original PS3 version of the game, and with all of the "Game of the Year" editions. It can be purchased aftermarket as well.
KotN final score: 75/100
The Shivering Isles
This is the Big One. The Shivering Isles expansion adds a whole new game world (titular), that although not as big as the original, it is still so original in its own right that it is amazing. There's a new main story, as well as a whole slew of new extra quests filled with tons of good old fashioned role playing decisions. I consider it to be one of the best, if not the best, expansions ever. If you play it, I can guarantee that you won't regret it. It comes with Game of the Year editions, and can be purchased separately by download and by disc.
Shivering Isles Final Score: 87/100
So, my first video game review that I'm posting on RT, and I'm reviewing my favorite game of all time: StarCraft. StarCraft is a sci-fi reat-time strategy (RTS) made by Blizzard Entertainment and released in 1998. It chronicles the wars between three races (and a plethora of factions) in the Koprulu Sector of the galaxy. The races are the Terrans (humans), the Zerg (creepy, insectoid aliens), and the mighty Protoss (space elves). The Terrans are relative newcomers to this sector, and are here because Earth was overcrowding. They sent their criminals and other, more savory types, to expand into this region. Upon arriving, they run into a centuries-old war between the technologically superior yet traditional Protoss and the organic, animalistic Zerg. StarCraft's story picks up many years after the Terran's arrival, when they have lots of colonies set up and the age-old war is still going on. We start on the sleepy colony-planet of Mar Sara, where Zerg are now being found; and with the Zerg, where there's a few, there's many (like, hundreds of thousands-millions many). Confederacy marshall Jim Raynor is in charge of these parts, and he needs to take care of them. The story involves to be more complex, and vast in scope, leading up to an epic climax. That does it for the Terran campaign. The Zerg campaign comes next. It is considerably more sinister as you follow the aliens in their war with the Protoss. All in all, this is the weakest of the campaigns, with the smallest amount of complexity and depth. Then comes the Protoss campaign. It is the best in my opinion. The Protoss are at a crossroads in their society, torn between tradition and necessity. The Zerg are evolving quickly to meet the challenges of battle, yet the Protoss, like the Samurai, are clinging to the old ways. They have the technology to teleport across the galaxy in an instant, but on the field of battle they still use melee weapons. Leadership is unwilling to change, ensured that the same ways have worked for thousands of years, and there is no need to adapt. What rises is a story of greed, corruption, a hero coming forth. The only weak part of the campaigns is the delivery of them. The game gives you story in a difficult to follow way, and I only figured it out after several playthroughs (which, with thirty campaign missions, takes a long while).
Obviously, in a game, the gameplay itself is the most important aspect. Needless to say, StarCraft's is the best gameplay ever. It's the fastest paced (pros have been known to click hundreds of times per minute) RTS out there. The three factions are completely asymmetrical in play, though they are perfectly balanced enough to be religiously played twelve years (!) after release. Their units are all different, the build styles are all different, just, everything is different! It's capable of unlimited play (I return to it frequently) and extended play sessions (I once had a battle that was five and a half hours long). Overall, just superb.
As far as more technical aspects go, it's a mildly mixed bag. The sound is utterly superb, being the best sound effects and the best music ever in a game. The voice acting's also pretty good. Also on the good side, performance is flawless. Just about any computer on the world should be able to play it, as it had low system requirements, even for '98. Bringing the techno-stuff down a little, are the graphics. They were only decent for 1998. It's only a small complaint, however, as it never really bothers me.
Overall Score: 98/100
Expansion: Brood War
The expansion Brood War takes place after the events of the original StarCraft and improves on what made it great. I compare the story to that of The Empire Strikes Back. Where the original Star Wars had a more traditional sci-fi tale, Empire took a darker, more serious turn. Brood War does the same. There's revenge, betrayal, and all the more unsavory things of the world. This time around, the Terrans have the standout campaign. Thanks to the addition of new units, there is also even better balance between the factions. Also: Dark Templar!
Brood War Overall Score: 98/100
This past school year, in the fine required class of World Cultures, we watched a variety of films for each section. It is unknown why this is (teacher laziness, perhaps?), but it left me more cultured, if only in the area of film. Here, I catalogue all of the films we watched and give my thoughts on each.
We start with the Americas, where we, being in the United States, only discussed Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. If I remember correctly, we didn't watch any actual films. We did watch an enlightening History Channel documentary about Fidel Castro. If we actually did watch a film here, ben m., comment to remind me.
Section--The Middle East
Next we moved to the Middle East, and like the Americas, no movies here, either. There was just another History Channel doc, this one about the Taliban. It was...interesting.
Section--The India Subcontinent
Now we get to the good stuff. Here, we watched Richard Attenborough's fine biopic Gandhi. I haven't written a review of it, but I rated it a fine ninety. It was reletively slow, but brought to life by a fascinatingly convincing performance by Ben Kingsley as the titular figure.
We sure do have an interesting world, don't we? Apparently, genocide is a part of our culture. Fascinating. All we really did here was watch Hotel Rwanda, which was fine by me. I wrote a review of it, check it out if you haven't already. It got a solid eighty by my view.
Moving from genocide in Africa to the whole of Africa, we inevitably ran into the South African apartheid. For this we watched another Richard Attenborough film, Cry Freedom. No review here, but I rated it a decent seventy. It was a good movie overall, but it felt a little long. Kevin Kline gave a strong performance, and Denzel Washington was excellent and charismatic as Steve Biko.
We started Asia with not one, but two documentaries about North Korea. Well that was grim. We moved on to a much brighter doc about China, which I actually found interesting, even though I think Ben and I were the only ones not sleeping in that room. To cover Japan, we watched The Last Samurai. Tom Cruise as usual overacted, but surprisingly didn't run, so that was neutral. It also had some great action and the guy who played Dogen on Lost, so...WIN!!! 90%
We cap off our world journey with the fine continent of Europe. After a depressing video about the Black Plague, we got around to the real stuff. Because the course teacher was a big fan of Poland (his wife is Polish), we focused a lot on eastern Europe. We ended up watching Roman Polanski's The Pianist. It was a moving story of the Holocaust. I gave it a ninety, rounded down from a low-mid ninety. Why can't we give more precise scores around here? The only thing that bothered me is that there were other things that happened in Europe (like the Black Plague?), we could have taken more class time by watching Kingdom of Heaven or something, but The Pianist was fine by me.
Thanks for reading, folks! Hope you all enjoyed it! See you around, everybody.
These are just my favorite songs ever, nothing more, nothing less. Enjoy!
15. "Killer Queen"--Queen
Notable Movie Appearance: None really. Just plain sad.
14. "Anything Goes"--Cole Porter
Notable Movie Appearance: Willie sings it in Mandarin in the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. More recently, you can listen to it on Galaxy News Radio in Fallout 3
13. "Homeward Bound"--Simon and Garfunkle
Notable Movie Appearance: None that I can remember. If you want to remind me of any...Comment!
12. "1812 Overture"--Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovski
Notable Movie Appearance: In V for Vendetta, V plays it when he does some revolution.
11. "The Times, They are A-Changin'"--Bob Dylan
Notable Movie Appearance: The fantastic opening credits of Watchmen.
10. "Street Fighting Man"--The Rolling Stones
Notable Movie Appearance: The closing credits of V for Vendetta.
9. "Mrs. Robinson"--Simon and Garfunkle
Notable Movie Appearance: A version of it was used in The Graduate, other than that, not much else.
8. "Ride of the Valkyries"--Richard Wagner
Notable Movie Appearance: Apocalypse Now, what else?
7. "American Pie"--Don McLean
Notable Movie Appearance: I can't think of any...comment.
6. "Bohemian Rhapsody"--Queen
Notable Movie Appearance: When Wayne, Garth, and the rest of the crew are rocking out in Wayne's World.
5. "Jumpin' Jack Flash"--The Rolling Stones
Notable Movie Appearance: None that I know of.
4. "Tom Sawyer"--Rush
Notable Movie Appearance: None that I know of, although it was featured prominantly in an episode in the second season of Chuck.
3. "(I can't get no) Satisfaction"--The Rolling Stones
Notable Movie Appearance: None that I know of.
2. "The Sound of Silence"--Simon and Garfunkle
Notable Movie Appearance: Various spots in The Graduate.
1. "You Can't Always Get What You Want"--The Rolling Stones
Notable Movie Appearance: None that I know of.
Honorable mentions: "Relax"--Frankie Goes to Hollywood (featured in Zoolander); "Start Me Up"--The Rolling Stones (no movies); "Another Brick in the Wall"--Pink Floyd (no movies)
These are, in order, the best musical scores in movies. The placement is based on the quality of the music itself, how well the music "captured" the film, and how iconic or recognizable the music is. Note that a score and a soundtrack are different.
15. Pirates of the Caribbean (2003-2007), composed by Hans Zimmer
Zimmer's score for 'Pirates' really makes the film better. If anyone else would have scored it, the movie might have lost it's feel, which is important, right?
14. Jurassic Park (1993-2001), composed by John Williams
This score, coupled with the panorama of the island with the helicopter approaching, made that movie great.
13. Gladiator (2000), composed by Hans Zimmer
Those shots of Maximus and his men cavalry-charging in the opening scene was just an incredible combination of Sir Scott's directing and Zimmer's undoubtable musical talent.
12. Harry Potter (2001-2004), composed by John Williams
Williams perfectly captured both the magic and exitement that made the early Potter films great.
11. The Incredibles (2004), composed by Michael Giacchino
Did you here those trumpets? Damn, just damn.
10. The Terminator (1984-1991), composed by Brad Fiedel
Not only were those bass drum hits ominous, they are iconic. Images are conjured of the scorched playground.
9. Moon (2009), composed by Clint Mansell
Moon's simple score was both subtle and dramatic. Even the closing credits were great because of this.
8. Batman Begins/The Dark Knight (2005/2008), composed by Hans Zimmer
Unforgettable as Gordan rushes to 250 52nd St.
7. Star Trek (2009), composed by Michael Giacchino
When those production credits rolled, Giacchino's beautiful score is heard softly. We know were in for a new Trek.
6. Jaws (1975), composed by John Williams
Ominous barely describes Williams' iconic score. I still turn the bass on my surround sound up every time I watch it. It just never gets old.
5. The Man with No Name (1964-1966), composed by Ennio Morricone
This score perfectly captures the spirit that was the West. Gangs, bounty killers, and all.
4. The Godfather (1972-1990), composed by Nina Rota
The same motive is used over and over again for a variety of purposes. It's suspenseful, dramatic, sinister, and countless other moods, as well as being darn near unforgettable.
3. Indiana Jones (1981-2008), composed by John Williams
If this one gets stuck in your head, it stays there.
2. The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003), composed by Howard Shore
One of the most diversely scored movies you'll ever have the pleasure of watching. Those panoramas of the beacons being lit are just plain awesome.
1. Star Wars (1977-2005), composed by John Williams
Did you really expect anything else at the number one spot? Star Wars not only held the most iconic scores ever, but also some of the best. The Main Theme provides the same feeling as it did more than 30 years ago. The Imperial March is unmatched in terms of evilness. That sunset still brings people to tears. Every moment of the series is made more perfect by this music.
As I've recently seen a movie with a great opening scene, I've decided to list/rank some great opening scenes. The current order is subject to change. Any suggestions in the comments would be appreciated.
1. Star Wars, "The Boarding of the Tantive IV"
2. The Godfather, "The Day of His Daughter's Wedding"
3. Raiders of the Lost Ark, "The Temple Search"
4. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, "The War of the Last Alliance/One Ring to Rule Them All"
5. The Matrix, "Trinity's in Trouble"
6. Star Trek, "The Destruction of the USS Kelvin"
7. Gangs of New York, "Battle of Five Points"
8. The Dark Knight, "What Doesn't Kill You Only Makes You Stranger"
9. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, "The Bridge of Khazad Dum"
10. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, "Club Obi-Wan"
11. Casino Royale, "Selling Secrets on the Side"
12. Blade Runner, "Los Angeles, 2019"
13. Watchmen, "Just About Time"
14. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, "The Precious"
15. X2: X-Men United, "Attack on the White House"