Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Greatest Trilogy Ever Made

Now there are have been many epic trilogies in the past. Immortal classic three-part movie trilogies like the Godfather, Harry Potter (although it counts as a heptology. i think i just made a word up), Star Wars parts IV-VI, and the Matrix (okay maybe not the matrix.). But none of them can stack up to the ultimate, most epic, greatest trilogy ever made in movie history: The Lord of the Rings.

Now if you haven't seen it, I don't even know what to do with you. You're only missing out on what has to be the best story ever told adapted to a beautiful three part epic that people all around the world hail as a movie masterpiece. It's so legendary, that every story that comes forth from this day forward, borrows some kind of aspect from J.R.R Tolkien's trilogy. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, The Two Towers, The Return of the King were originally best-selling novels written by Tolkien and quickly became one of English literature's most amazing feat. Set in the world of mirth and magic, Middle-Earth is the ultimate fantasy lover's realm, combining elements of nordic mythology with celtic lore and folktales.

This is by far the best movie trilogy I have EVER seen and will EVER see. This is the movie of movies. LOTR actually got me into the whole movie business and really sparked the acting soul inside me. Prior to this film, I was likened to movies like The Flinstones or 3 Ninjas, but after seeing this, my whole mind just opened up to new horizons and I could not believe that what I was seeing was a movie. A movie of this grand scale and incredibly epic proportions blew me away and continues to up to this very day.

The plot of LOTR is probably the most universal one ever made. Anyone can relate to the struggles that the Fellowship goes through on their quest to save the world from evil. The story is perhaps the best ever told and hits on all aspects of humanity and life even in the most fictional place; that of Middle-Earth. The soundtrack of this movie is harmonic and downright beautiful. Howard Shore outdid himself by creating a soundtrack that truly coincided with the mystical yet touchingly human realm of the Lord of the Rings. The music tells a story in itself and greatly enhances the things going on screen. Not to mention, this was one of the most visually outstanding movies the world had ever seen in its time. Groundbreaking special effects, amazing cut scenes and digital animation just put the cherry on top of this already incredible movie. The acting was perhaps the most brilliant I've ever seen in the movie as everyone was at the top of their game, making people feel they were really transported into the Tolkien's world.

What I think I adore most about this movie is its personal effect on me and how its shaped the person who I am today. I know it sounds corny and kind of melodramatic but LOTR really has. I want nothing more than to be an actor and to be involved in the film industry making movies that really matter; and it all started with this. The memorable quotes and incredible, true to heart dialogue featured in the movie is one that stands the tests of time and has truly inspired me as a person. I constantly quote things from the three movies and consider myself a huge Lord of the Rings fanatic. My closest friends and family members also share this affinity towards the film and has become sort of a staple in who I can talk to the most. Continuing to find hope where hope is nowhere to be found is one of the main morals of the movie and really touches the hearts of many.

I don't know what else I can say at this point. I can go on and on if you'd let me but I'll save you the trouble and leave you from here. It truly the greatest story ever told and the greatest film trilogy ever made. Bless you J.R.R Tolkien for giving us this wonderful, timeless classic. It has truly changed the lives of many and made us appreciate the world we live in, and everything good around us.

As Master Samwise Gamgee once said in a time of hopelessness,

Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

I am and will always be a Lord of the Ringer. The story remains very preciousssssssss in my heart and it will continue to have a special place for as a long as I live. Frodo Lives. The White Wizard come'th. The Fellowship has not failed. And the when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer.

These are the stories that stay with us, these are the tales that really mattered.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Rico's Thirteen [# 1]

1. The Shawshank Redemption

"Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free."

Originally considered a flop at the box office the first time it came out, The Shawshank Redemption has become one of the most critically acclaimed movie of our generation; being considered the best movie ever made. I mean it has held its ground on iMDB's Top 250, so besides all that, it has be doing something right. And indeed it does.

Shawshank is about a man wrongly convicted for a crime he did not commit. A story firstly written by Stephen King called "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" made into a blockbuster film. The movie follows the story of Andy Dufresne and his absolute redemption in life in the most ironic place possible, inside of a high-security state penitentiary: Shawshank prison. I won't spoil anything for you but this is a movie unlike any other. It does not have any high budget special effects sequence or an all-star cast of characters. What carries it through is its already outstanding directorial perspective and its heartfelt plot and witty dialogue. The performances given by the likes of Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman are truthful and believable; making it seem like they were in that prison far longer than imagined. This is truly a genuine movie, being faithful to what it is, and succeeds greatly. Please do yourself a favor and be enlightened and enriched by this movie masterpiece. This is without doubt the best movie of all time.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Rico's Thirteen [# 2]


Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Ken Watanbe, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

"Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange."

They say that an idea is the most resilient parasite. Once a seemingly brilliant idea gets into someone's head, it is near impossible to get rid of it. It takes a hold of you, you obsess over it, and you try to spread it to everyone you can. This is  Inception, where the dream is real and your mind is the scene of the crime.

Going into this movie, I remember feeling excited and giddy as a schoolboy because two of my favorites were finally teaming up: Leonardo DiCaprio and Christopher Nolan, both titans in the movie industry of today. But at the end of the day, I remember being absolutely stunned silent and speechless; realizing that what I had just seen might be the modern day epic of our generation and one of the best movies I have ever seen. 

I can go and on and on about what makes this movie click for me but I will spare you and only go for the bare essentials of it. Dreams are the realm of the impossible. Anything goes in our lunatic paradise that is the dreamworld. If one can harness the unlimited power of our dreams, then one would make one hell of a movie. That's exactly what Nolan and the cast and crew of Inception did, making for a fantastical film extravaganza. I've only see INCEPTION once but the impact it had on me was next to none in terms of being awestruck and utter amazement. (Although I am attending the midnight release of the Blu-Ray Version which comes out, on my freaking Birthday. It must be a sign) I really can not put to words how much I love this movie. Like literally, if I could get married to this movie I would in an instant. I'm sure most of you have seen this colossal epic, and if you haven't, well, it's only a matter of time before Cobb and his crew incept your mind into watching this. This a thinking man's movie and forcefully challenges the mind and heart in parts untouched before. Everything about this movie was just so good. Music, Acting, Direction, Cinematography, Design, everything...This is definitely an instant classic and will continue to challenge the minds of many, for many years to come.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Have you guys heard of a little big movie company called NetFlix? It's a relatively new company that specializes in the art of video rental. "So? We got Blockbuster and whatnot. What makes this so special?" You may ask. But my friend, NetFlix is the future of how we, hard working movie-goers, purchase, rent, and watch our beloved movies.

If you haven't heard, the rental titan Blockbuster is in a financial decline. They are currently in second place in the revenue scale behind the rapidly growing NetFlix. (Stats do not lie, dude)

But hold on, why the hell am I writing a blog about NetFlix and Blockbuster? I know you're disappointed by the lack of my last two favorite movies of all time since my Top Thirteen list is getting more dramatic each post (oh yes i did.) But because I just signed up for a NetFlix account! This past weekend! Wooo!

I'm telling you guys NetFlix lives up to the hype. We human beings are lazy. It's true. And we don't want to go all the way to the movie place to rent a movie, watch it once, and return it ourselves. No, we'd rather have it shipped directly to us at our on convenience; and THAT is what NetFlix has going for them. But the biggest, baddest, most amazing feat that NetFlix has reached, is giving the consumers the ability to watch a movie anytime, anywhere, through online streaming of their large collection of movies. Imagine that. A movie at your convenience streamed directly to your laptop or computer at high resolution DVD quality. That is just amazing. Groundbreaking even. Sooner or later, there won't even be hard copy discs anymore, but everything will be digital and compressed for even more convenience. I personally have already watched over seven movies this weekend alone compared to none these past two months. It's just amazing. And the best part? It's only $ 8.99 a month. FUCKYEAH!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rico's Thirteen [# 3]

3. Fight Club

Directed by: David Fincher
Starring: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton & Helena Bonham-Carter

The first rule of Fight Club. You don't talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club. YOU DON'T TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB. Immortal words from the legendary prophet of our generation: Tyler Durden. This movie is, for lack of a better world we live in, pretty effing awesome. Revolutionary even at its core ideas, and enlightening in its philosophical  beliefs. You know, looking at the poster, and just the way its perceived, one would think it is but a random, violent, testosterone-driven type of film, but it is SO MUCH more than that. Writing this review right now is so hard because of the enigmatic nature of this unique flick. Cause first of all, I'm not even supposed to be talking about Fight Club in risk of getting the crap beat out of me by Brad Pitt, but also I don't want to give any detail of the plot away because of its major twists and turns throughout the movie (and believe me there are a lot of them.) So these are one of those movies that you have to watch yourself and experience because it truly is a classic tale of our urban, modern "civilization."

On a technical standpoint, this was David Fincher's defining film, propelling him into elite directorial status in the eyes of the film world. The performances Brad Pitt and Edward Norton gave in this flick ranks among one of their very best with each having strong chemistry which worked well in their numerous dialogues. Controversial to critics and movie goers alike, this movie took the imperfections of our current society, showed it to everyone's faces and shoved it down our throat; something that took big cojones to do.

Just do yourself a favor and watch this movie, please. It's friggin awesome.


Tyler Durden: Fuck damnation, man! Fuck redemption! We are God's unwanted children? So be it!

Narrator: If you wake up at a different time in a different place, could you wake up as a different person? 

Narrator: We have front row seats for this theatre of mass destruction.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Random Task: Return to High School.

So for the weekend, I came back to SF to visit my family after not seeing them for almost 3 months. Aren't I such a good son? So after five hours of travelling, I finally made it back home and boy does it feel great. Like honestly, I didn't how much I missed my mom's home cooking (such a great escape from the ever so delicious dorm food. not.) or just how much I missed having my own room again. It's great to be home. But, at the same time, I think I need to be back in Long Beach soon. Let me explain...

Last night, I went to visit my old high school to watch their school musical. I was an avid performer for my high school back in the day and was really excited to see the show. I promised them I would so that's what I did. But mainly, I just wanted to see my old friends again and catch up on what they were doing. I imagined the night to be spectacular; with the show being a marvelous hit, my friends glad to see me but not making too much of a fuss about it, and for me to just feel at home again with them, hopefully as if I'd never left. Unfortunately that wasn't the case.

1. First of all, I got lost on the way there because I kept jumping back and forth between highways I had no clue I was on. Other than the fact I haven't driven for over three months since I got to college (damn shuttles and buses), I don't know why my driving was so poor. When I got to the high school, I already had the feeling I wasn't supposed to be here. I will explain further.

The play was alright. Mediocre even. Seeing as how I was one of the prouder alumna of my high school's theatre corp, I was disappointed to see an ordinary piece of work from an extraordinary department. I'm not sure if it was the lack of actors, energy, or passion (which is absolutely needed if you want to stage a great show), but it was just lacking something and the show never really drew me in like I expected it to. I got to catch up with my former acting coach, director, and mentor; which was really the highlight of the night and the big reason I came back in the first place. I could see in his face how stressed out and fed up he was with the school and I could tell, just by looking at him, that he was not going to be here for long. He asked how college was and I said "It was great." He asked me if his teachings and acting program helped me prepare me for college, and I genuinely answered "It did. I feel like I'm very well prepared. Thanks to you." He smiled and that was all I wanted from him. We said our goodbyes, and that was it, he went back inside the theatre and I went back into conversing with some old relations. I'm not sure if I'll ever see him again, but if that was the last time, then so be it; it couldn't have ended any better.

...To be continued. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Rico's Thirteen [# 4]

4.  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Originally a short story written by the iconic F. Scott Fitzgerald, Benjamin Button is a beautiful piece that truly and genuinely encompasses the amazing journey of a man who ages backwards through time. Brad Pitt as the lead character of Benjamin, delivers a performance for the ages, counting among one of his best ever. David Fincher (Fight Club, The Social Network) comes through again with another marvelous movie further increasing his reputation as a inconsistently amazing director, using innovative techniques and working on a wide variety of different movies that display his directorial flexibility. Just a gorgeous plot line and enthralling moments with a unique group of characters. And although this movie is often compared to a little small time classic called Forrest Gump (sarcasm intended) for its similarities (I'm looking at you southern accent and chronological life order), Benjamin stands on its own as its own separate entity and in my opinion, outshines its competitor. I really don't want to spoil anything for you so just please do yourself a favor and watch this movie yourself. I promise you, it is incredible. I think the most beautiful thing about this movie is even if Benjamin was one of his kind, his struggles, his hopes, and his dreams are so relatable to any common man, that you can't help but sympathize with Benjamin and feel fully engaged in every moment he lives through. This was just one of those movies that you never wanted to end. A magical, humbling, and just a truthfully selfless movie experience awaits this curios case.

Memorable Quotes:

Benjamin Button: "It's a funny thing about comin' home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You'll realize what's changed is you." 

"Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss."

"You can be as mad as a mad dog at the way things went. You could swear, curse the fates, but when it comes to the end, you have to let go."

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rico's Thirteen [# 5]

Can you feel it? Can you feel it in the air? Something epic lurks in the deep horizon. With the radiance of a thousand suns and the divinity of the heavens, it has come. Are you ready? ARE YOU?

It's my Top Five!

5. Mystic River

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Underrated. Under-appreciated. Amazing. Appropriate words to describe this hidden gem of a piece of work. This movie was one of few that had my complete attention from beginning to end. The all-star consisting of Sean Penn and Laurence Fishburne, truly shined in this movie and each actor had something brilliant to bring to the table. The plot in this movie was one of darkness. It's about three men who knew each other since they were children and several years later, they grow apart as they become adults but get caught up in a crime that severely threatens each other's lives. It was really hard to watch this movie because of the strong guilty emotions that this movie provokes and just the gloomy atmosphere and theme it has. All the while it is still a movie to watch. From an actor's point of view, the performances displayed by the actors in this movie was just phenomenal. Each character has a different style and motive to their actions and its just very interesting to see the different routes they take to try and solve the supreme problem in the story. Direction was good, making the most out of a very hard movie script. It seemed like I was watching a really good play rather than a low budget movie. If you haven't seen this, please go see it, trust me, it's a little hard to watch and makes you uneasy at some points, but it is truly, one of the greats. (I mean cmon it was nominated for multiple awards, 64 to be specific, and won two oscars. That HAS to mean something.)

Memorable Quotes:

Dave: "I'm walking to my car, and this guy comes up to me. Asks for a light. I say I don't smoke. He says neither does he. So then my heart starts clocking a buck fifty, 'cause there's no one else here except me and him. So then he pulls the knife on me. Says, 'Your wallet or your life, bitch. I'm leaving with one of them'. So I try to brush past him, and that's when he slices me." 

"Maybe some day you forget what it's like to be human and maybe then, it's ok."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

News Flash: Mel Gibson to cameo in 'Hangover 2'

Mel Gibson. I kind of feel bad for the guy. It is a fact that he is a very talented and innovative film actor, director, producer, and entrepreneur. Have you seen Apoclaypto? You have to admit that was a work of art (more of blood, guts, and glory; but art nonetheless!) I mean who else could have pulled playing a half naked Scotsman covered in war paint screaming "Freedom!" ? No one? I thought so. But all this recent controversy that has been haunting him wherever he goes and has been taking a toll on his career and his life.

What controversy you may ask? Well, if you live under a rock in a deep, dark cave, then you probably haven't heard of "Crazy" Mel's recent exploits. The most controversial one, arguably, were his recorded messages he sent to his wife that contained very vulgar language and dangerous threats. He, at one point in all five tapes, threatens to hit, sexually abuse, and disown her if his personal needs were not met. He also commands her, at multiple times, to "blow him" (which means to give him oral sexual pleasure, in case you didn't know. yea) To top it all off? He even adds a couple of racial slurs against African-Americans and blatantly displays his apparent Anti-Semitism while screaming his lungs out in most of the messages.

The funniest craziest thing about the tapes is he seems to get crazier and angrier as each message tape progressed, really making people worried about his state of mind and his medically approved bipolar tendencies and alcohol problems.

Like I said, I feel bad for the guy and I'm sure his wife must have done something to him to get him       THAT wound up, and THAT psychotic, and we are only getting a one-sided view of the whole issue.
          So please people, find it in your heart to try to understand Mel's....well, insanity. 

Oh and (as of right now) he's on track to making a cameo appearance in Warner Bros.' The Hangover 2 (AW HELL YEAH). Quick note: This reminds me of Tom Cruise and his crazy days. Remember when he declared his undying love for Katie Holmes on Oprah and started losing control of himself; jumping on couches and screaming like a madman? But see, when he played that one fat dude in Tropic Thunder people suddenly forgot he was crazy. So this will help Mel's career and make people forgive and forget!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Who is YOUR favorite actor and why?

This is more of a open forum discussion than an actual post, really, but I'm curious:

who are your guys' favorite actors / actresses?

I want to know who you think is really good and what makes them so interesting to you. They're different for everyone so the question is: What do YOU look for in a splendid acting performance?

Are they exciting to watch? Are they unpredictably amazing? Is this actor believable and truly immersive in his role? Do you admire this actor for his/her stunning looks? Are you impressed by the way this actor handles himself in society and makes for a good role model? Do you like the controversial types? Are you entranced by the types of movies these actors tend to work in? Does this actor play different roles contrasting each of his performances; making for a chameleon-like persona? These are most of the main qualities I look for in determining my favorite on-screen actors.

Now don't feel the need to pick just the ONE favorite actor. Among all these talented artists from the past and present, it can be REALLY hard choosing just one as an all-time favorite. I personally can't even make a top five list of my favorites, let alone picking my favorite one of all time! So just list some actors you admire, why you admire most about them, and what movies they've starred in that you really like. This will do two things, get to know what people like to see if my movie tastes are up to par, and to explore my horizons to different kinds of movies and actors I may not have heard of before.

SO PLEASE feel free to have at it at the comment box below.

Thank You! :)

I will leave you off with a collage of photos of some of my favorites. Enjoy.

1st Row (L-R) - James Dean, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Johnny Depp
2nd Row - Leonardo DiCaprio, Rachel McAdams, Tom Hanks, Robert Downey Jr
3rd Row - Ken Watanabe, Anne Hathaway, Heath Ledger, Morgan Freeman

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rico's Thirteen { # 6 }

6. Terminator 2: Judgment Day

If my last post didn't give this one away, then "obvious" does not apply to you. Or it may have been a coincidence. Either way, this action packed extravaganza is deserving to be on this list because of many reasons; mainly, because it is James Cameron's best work up to date (Screw Avatar. You heard me). This movie had a little bit of everything and a whole lot of crazy spectacles. I grew up with this movie. The iconic scene where the T-1000 chased a John Connor who had yet hit puberty in the long, abandoned sewer canal with Arnie coming in on his Harley carrying a single barrel shotgun to save the day was one to remember. The most remarkable thing about this movie is that it had all the elements to be a one-hit, action pack gimmick of a movie: guns, explosions, not to mention a certain rising action star guy named Arnold Schwarzenegger (i had to spell that 3 times). But James Cameron's marvelous story-telling and a strong well developed plot helped drive this movie to greatness. Who would ever think that a bond could be formed between man and machine, so beautiful, as to make one give their life up for the other? Terminator 2 was ground breaking in many aspects; both special effects wise and just overall story wise.

Memorable Quotes:

Terminator: "Come with me if you want to live."

Sarah Connor: "Watching John with the machine, it was suddenly so clear. The terminator wouldn't stop, it would never leave him. It would never hurt him or shout at him or get drunk and hit him or say it was too busy to spend time with him. And it would die to protect him. Of all the would-be fathers that came over the years, this thing, this machine, was the only thing that measured up. In an insane world, it was the sanest choice.

Honorable Mention:

- The Matrix
- Titanic
- Die Hard

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Viral Videos 2: GET TO THA CHOPPA!

Oh 1980's action movies..How I miss you so. But not really. I think we can all agree that during those times, these movies were the shiz. Over the top, explosive action flicks such as Commando, First Blood, Predator, and the ever-acclaimed Kindergarten Cop, captured the audience's aggressive imaginations and presented them on-screen. Starred by big-muscled, borderline roiders and the very talented,  Big-time names such as Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, and the Governator were admired as gods. These action stars embodied what the spirit of action movies and the audience, for some unknown reason at the time, just loved seeing them beat the the crap out of someone or causing random explosions just for the sake of blowing shit up. I remember when I was kid and watching Last Action Hero and Terminator 2. I just thought those were the coolest movies and I pretended to be one of them, having playful, imaginary gunfights, with the occasional mouthed sound effects of "BANG!" or "WOOSH!" and recreating moments from the scene in my bedroom set. I miss these movies. Sure, in today's standard, they may seem corny, lame, and even comedic almost, and sure their not what some may call "masterful arts of work" and these eye-candy films can't contend with an Inception or a Citizen Kane, but boy, these movies know how to entertain and get you amped up for the thrill of the ride.

So this is my homage to the action flicks of years past. I salute you random explosions. I salute you undeveloped story line that makes up for sex and gunfire. And most of all I salute you cheesy one-liners. You are greatly missed.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rico's Thirteen { # 7 }

Picking up where we left off, next up in line are movies lucky number 7. This is an odd place in this movie list, or in all lists. We are at the median point of the list but don't underestimate it because this movies is far from mediocracy.

Honorable Mentions

The Lion King
Happy Feet

7. Toy Story 3

Ah! An animation movie! You didn't expect this one to make the list did you? Frankly, I didn't expect it to either! This definitely my inner kid coming out right now. I grew up on Toy Story. I even owned my own Buzz Lightyear action figure equipped with jet wings and all. A time, when we didn't have a worry in the world. Those were the days weren't they? But enough my nostalgic reminisces. Last summer when this movie came out, my friends wanted to watch it and I was like "Are you serious?" I decided to go and you know those people in the movie theatre that start balling at the end of a sad movie, well I became one of them. It's funny actually. I was so busy trying to "grow up" in my later stages of high school that I took my youth for granted. I admit, I weeped at the end when Andy had to go to college and leave his toys behind. I had no trouble at all relating to that since I was on the leave to college too. This movie touched me in so many different ways and came at the right time. This movie symbolized a farewell to my childhood and closed one of the greatest animated sagas ever.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Viral Videos: Japanese Game Shows

Have you ever seen a Japanese game show? If not, you are missing out on the funniest shiz ever. I don't even know what exactly is so funny about the absurdly random things they do. The thing is I don't even follow Japanese TV, I only watch random viral videos on YouTube for a good laugh. I mean who in the right mind would think a mob of 100 people running like they're about to kill simultaneously at a random person in the street, utterly hilarious? It just is! I know this isn't really much of a "movie" blog but I just thought and I would really like to see, scratch that, i would definitely see a film about Japanese game shows; just the idea of it is already starting to make me chuckle.

Here are some of my favorites:

Imagine it as a Jackass movie only in Japanese Game show form. Or better yet, a movie about the making of one and what work goes into producing one. There must be some crazy things that go on backstage that could make for pure comedic excellence.

(To whom it may concern, DO NOT STEAL MY IDEA. This is copyrighted, kind of, or at least get me on the project, because if watch a movie and see a trailer based on Japanese game shows one day, I'm gonna be PISSED.)

I personally find these shows a lot more entertaining than reality shows and other bullshit of the sort. I mean, honestly, okay it's basically stupid and non-sensical but you have to admit it is some good entertainment. And that's kind of what this blog post is really about. It's amazing how some people strive to make movie "art" or perfection, when sometimes this kind of slapstick, over the top comedy, is what people really want. We find joy in the simplest and strangest things in life; and sometimes all we need is a good laugh!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Rico's Thirteen { II }

All right, now we get into the big dogs. My top 10. I'm going to be honest, it was really hard trying to condense my huge list of favorite movies into an ordered list of all-time greats. I don't think I've ever successfully done it before, so if that's true, this is going be the world premiere of my top 10, even for me! Let's get to it:

Ocean's Thirteen
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Bourne Ultimatum
Pulp Fiction

10. Ocean's Eleven
Casinos, Thousand-dollar suits, Jazzy funk music, and Las Vegas. A true gentleman's movie. This movie just resonates with the ideal modern man. I mean who wouldn't want to look as good as George Clooney while heisting $ 150,000,000? This movie contains an all-star cast; Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Andy Garcia to name a few; and is really well written, providing for moments of dry comedy and witty humor. I really liked the style this movie was directed to, with the suave, smooth-talking dialogue to the bright lights of Sin City. Great jazzy soundtrack, and excellent performances by each actor. This movie defines "cool."


9. Castaway
I know what you're thinking, "Castaway? Really?" Yes, really. I don't know why this movie is so under-appreciated, but this is definitely, in my humble opinion, one of the modern classics of our time. Now it may not be eye-catching (although the island setting is gorgeous) as Avatar, or as explosive as your run off the mill action extravaganza, but it is still a very great movie to that's true to what the movie is about; and THAT my friends is what makes it so good. From an actor's point of view, this was an incredible performance by Hanks (who is one of my favorite actors) because there was no dialogue 3/4 of this movie. His body language, facial expressions, and reaction to his surroundings was acted to perfection and his transformation from a city slicker to a survivor was powerful, causing one of the best, pure acting performances I've ever seen. Not to mention, this is still the only movie that made me feel sympathetic towards a volleyball. WILSOOOOOON!

8. Inglorious Basterds
Ah yes. Inglorious Basterds. Perhaps the first big-name blockbuster to pop up so far in the list. Me, not really being an avid Tarantino fan (although i did enjoy Pulp Fiction) because he's...well...kinda crazy, I went into this movie not having any clue what to expect. Now I don't know about you guys, but this movie was balls-to-the-walls off the hook. I mean, this was the shiznit (oh yeah i did). It's a movie that's so deep, so layered, and so hard to explain that you really have to watch it to be able to really experience this crazy film. The whole plot of the movie is divided into three parts, a Tarantino signature, and is each is very unique and thrilling in its own way. I can't say anything about the core of this movie better than Brad Pitt, or should I say Lt. Aldo Raine did when he said...

"... We're gonna be dropped into France, dressed as civilians. And once we're in enemy territory, as a bushwhackin' guerrilla army, we're gonna be doin' one thing and one thing only... killin' Nazis."  

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Quick Little Rant: The Social Network

Alright, this is just going to be a really quick little rant (hence the title) of a blog post and i know you're disappointed about it and all; but has anyone seen "The Social Network" yet? If you haven't, I really recommend you go and see it; especially at this point of the cinema season, where not many awesome movies are out (all are preparing for the epic winter season, of course). If you have, I think you'll agree with me when I say the movie wasn't bad at all. In fact, I truly think this movie was one of the top sleeper-hits of this year. Why do I say this, you may ask? Because it's better than I (and I'm sure a lot of other people) expected it to be! Facebook: The Movie, as its more ridiculously called, is pretty self-explanatory; it's the story of how the online drug known as Facebook was created. I remember reading a synopsis of the movie and wondered "Who and Why the hell would I spend money to watch how friggin FACEBOOK WAS CREATED?"

But lo and behold, on Friday night, I was bored, had nothing to do, and was itching to go in a movie theatre and just watch whatever random movie was there. A couple of dorm mates and I took the passport to the AMC and decided which movie to watch. It then became between The Social Network and Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole. Yeah, I think I'll go watch Facebook: The Movie.

I was expecting shit to be quite honest, but man was I wrong. The story had a lot of depth in it, and although the regular plot outline still seemed pretty dumb, there was a lot more conflict and events that led up to the creation of Facebook that I never even knew happened. Like, did you know Justin Timberlake was originally the co-founder of Napster and had helped the creators Facebook as a "social advisor," while fighting a crack/cocaine addiction and had a fetish for young girls? .....Oh what? Oh he was just acting? Hmph. I couldn't tell.

But all "Pop-Stars becoming Actor = failure" jokes aside, the movie is really dramatic. It entertains you with some hilarious character exchanges and really keeps you focused on what's going on since this movie is driven by dialogue, which was pretty fast-paced. Another part of the movie (or should I say character) that really impressed me was Andrew Garfield's performance as Eduardo Savrin. In case you don't know who Andrew Garfield is, he was recently cast as the new Peter Parker, and has had brief stints in TV shows and movies (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus). His splendid performance really drives this movie forward and is by far, the most interesting character in the whole movie. I'm really excited what this young, strapping, up-and-coming actor can do as the new Friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. SO YEAH, if you like long, catchy dialogue and are interested in the origins of our social network, please go and see it. And I was just kidding about my boy J.T., he actually held his own in this movie and has really improved his acting. Can anyone say, he's bringing "SexyBack"?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rico's Thirteen { I }

Rico: All right, so here's the plan, we're going to Las Vegas and...

You: Wait hold on a minute, you're gonna knock over a casino?

(Rico smiles and mouths the word "three")

You: Well if we're going to do this we have be to nuts and we're gonna need a crew as nuts as we do you got in mind?

(Insert catchy, jazzy David Holmes interlude here)

...Okay I'll end it right there. As much as I would love to star in a Las Vegas heist movie with you, along side the amazing George Clooney and bad-ass Brad Pitt, this is not was this blog about! Rico's Thirteen, although not as catchy as Ocean's Thirteen, is my prestigious list of the thirteen best movies I have seen..ever. I decided to lay off continuing my previous blog series: MASTERPIECE this week in order to let you guys know what type of movies I enjoy, what genres I prefer, and directing / acting styles that really appeal to me. Why thirteen? I guess I like the number. And it's funny because no matter what I do or how hard I try, I just can't narrow my favorites to a top 10 list.

Again this is a very personal blog, you don't have to agree with my list. It just gives you an idea of my  preferences.  And, please criticize, scrutinize, even insult me if one of YOU'RE favorites didn't make the list or didn't even get mentioned at all. I admit, there are a lot of classics and indie films I have yet to watch and my taste is mostly of contemporary pieces. List movies that you think should have made this list on the comment box and I will make sure to watch them and probably make on of these soon in the future. Plus your criticism will expand my movie mind so please please speak up!

I will be dividing this into a 4 part blog series, culminating with my favorite movie of all-time. I am doing this for two reasons: 1) To make it suspenseful and hopefully make you come back for more. 2) So I can post continuations fulfilling my 2 posts every week. YEAAA.

Rico 13:


Reservoir Dogs
Full Metal Jacket
Tropic Thunder
Slumdog Millionaire

13. The Bourne Identity

And we start with a bang! Originally, a espionage novel written by Robert Ludlum, The Bourne Identity, starring Matt Damon and directed by Doug Liman, follows the journey of a man who can't remember who he is or where he is going. But he does remember how to beat the crap out of bad guys, climb walls ala Spider-Man, and escape on a mini-cooper whilst being chased by an entire police force, so it all works out. Matt Damon delivers an excellent performance in this top rate thriller as the spy-no-more with a great cold persona. This movie was also set around beautiful locations in Europe such as Paris, Rome, Switzerland, and Munich, serving as a temporary European tour of the continent. Great movie. And in my opinion, much more sympathetic than that other spy movie franchise...

12. American History X

Perhaps the most controversial and most powerful movie since The Birth of a Nation, Edward Norton plays a disgruntled Neo-Nazi whose racism and inhumanity drives him to commit violent acts against non-whites in preservation of "white supremacy." His nazism takes him to an all-time low in life; with him being incarcerated to a maximum facility prison and having broken family ties. We follow this man's journey as he strives to leave his past behind him and start a new life, saving as much people from committing the same mistake made. This movie mainly deals with the underlying, and sometimes dangerous, topic of racism and violence in the modern age and puts it right in front of the audience, who otherwise feel uncomfortable talking about anything race-related. This was, in my opinion, Edward Norton's best performance up to date. His transformation in the role was amazing and touched the lives of many.

11. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

How can you not like Pirates of the Caribbean? You have pirates, the beautiful Caribbean, flintlocks and cutlasses, cursed treasure gold (or "booty" in pirate terms. i took Piracy in high school. yeah), amazing ships and naval battles, and Johnny Depp. All of that plus a little Jerry Bruckheimer action, and some of Keira Knightley and a bearded Orlando Bloom equals all kinds of success. Okay, parts 2 and 3 were kind of a disappointment; and when I say "kind of a disappointment" I meant "a total flop." But that doesn't change the fact that "Pirates" was a great movie. I think it was so good because it was much better than many people had anticipated it to be. I mean the movie was a inspired by a DisneyLand ride after all, right? Instead of just a popcorn one-hit wonder, the movie was filled with humor, action, and entertainment. It also a great plot going for it, along with numerous interesting and occasionally hilarious subplots (Jack's escape from the island using turtles and his back-hair). Johnny Depp delivers a performance to remember as Captain Jack Sparrow, and turns him into one of the most iconic characters in film history. 

- movies 10,9,8 coming next blog...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

MASTERPIECE -- what makes a great movie [part 1]

In this first of a three series blog entry, I will cover the makings of a cinematic masterpiece. Now I want to just point out that I am clearly not a Steven Spielberg and that I lack the qualifications in order to expertly plan out what a great movie should be. But I have watched more movies than almost anyone you know. I am basing this off what I see in my favorite movies (which I all consider to be masterpieces)  and what I would like to see if I were directing, writing, producing, and acting in a movie myself. So hopefully you will share my views and artistic expression in respect to the greatest man-made invention of our time, movies. Crew is ready? Actors are ready? Good. Because it's "lights, camera, action!" Here are the top three things I look for when I sit down with my pack of Bunch-A-Crunch and watch a flick.

1. A Compelling Story

  • It is truth universally acknowledged that a great movie needs to have a great story. Why do we watch movies? To get lost in the world the movie creates and to sympathize with the characters, comparing what they go through to our own individual lives. And to be entertained of course, almost forgot that! If we can't fully believe what is going on, or can not at least in some degree, relate with the events of the story, all is naught for the movie makers and the audience members. A convincing, engaging, and a truthful plot line is key for a movie's ultimate success. 

  • Now the story need not to be too realistic for an audience to feel connected to it. Take the blockbuster trilogy The Lord of the Rings, which has been mentioned as the the greatest movie trilogy of our time, as an example. All three films are set in a place called Middle-Earth filled with mirth and magic and is inhabited by outlandish creatures such as elves, orcs, hobbits, and wizards. The setting may have been fictional, but the trials and tribulations each character had to go through and the emotions felt and shared through each dramatic event really spoke volumes to each individual audience member. When Frodo, the least likely creature imaginable, volunteered to uphold the task of destroying the one ring, he had so many chances to give up and turn back, but he kept in going, finding hope where hope seemed desolate. A message many of us can appreciate. The emotional aspect and the morality of LOTR made it an almost perfect movie experience. Not to mention the amazingly epic war scenes (see Helm's Deep / Pelenor Fields) and stunning, over the top special-effects. Speaking of special FX...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


  • Movies are magic. Or at least the closest thing we have to it. With the power of the camera, we are able to be transported to worlds far beyond our imagination. We may make believe, at least just for the time we are in the cozy, dark theatre, that toys can talk to each other. That a galaxy far, far away is not too far if you own a Jedi X-Wing Starfighter equipped with hyperspeed. Or that our whole lives might be just a computer simulation run by machines of the future as Keanu Reeves uses kung-fu to thwart evil men who wear office suits to ensure the survival of the human race. All right, I might have went a little too far there but the point I am making is: anything is possible in the realm of cinema.

[Neo kicking some major a** in The Matrix Reloaded]

  • Fantasy is a great tool to entice the audience to immerse itself into the world a movie maker is trying to create, but an even more powerful tool is the use of reality. A bit of action here and a pinch of fiction there is fine and make for great eye-candy but if the audience can not relate to what message the movie is trying to send to them, then the movie is entirely for lost. Movies that use simple, everyday life to connect with people and make them think that they are not alone, that reach out to the heart and move an audience emotionally (not necessarily make them cry; the emotion could even make an audience member feel uneasy or even slightly disturbed) are truly what make a masterpiece of a movie. A simple, light-hearted conversation between the best of friends can be much more effective than gunfire and explosions. The trick is to find the right balance of both a great story and some amazingly stunning visuals.

[Great, emotional scene from The Basketball Diaries. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a teenage basketball prodigy turned heroin addict]

  • Just in case you didn't know yet, this blog will be about my thoughts and opinions about what makes a great movie, which direction the movie industry is going, and just about all aspects of cinema you can think of. So please continue reading my blog entries and join me in appreciating, studying, and utterly enjoying the awesomeness that is movie-making!