Steven Spielberg

Back To The Future Appreciation

Last night I went to the Arclight Theater in Hollywood and watched Back To The Future. If you’ve never been to the Arclight you’re doing yourself a disservice. I love this theater - Assigned seating, good popcorn, ushers who announces the movie to you, people who respect movies, soundtracks playing when you walk in… Basically a great movie going experience. I should note that I had never seen Back To The Future on the big screen, only part 2 and 3, so this was somewhat of a great experience for me. I’m not just saying this to say it, but somehow the movie was better on a big screen, seriously.

While I was watching the movie for the 198th time I really appreciated how I thought this was a perfect movie. From an entertainment point of view it is near perfect and from a structure point of view it is basically perfect. Fuck! I love this movie.

In honor of me seeing the movie for the first time in a theater, below are some links to things that I consider relevant for Back To The Future. If nothing else this is an appreciation of sorts…

Tom Wilson’s (Biff) Back To The Future Song:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwY5o2fsG7Y&w=420&h=315]

Tom Wilson’s podcast on Nerdist talking about recasting Marty McFly: Podcast.

Video of Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly before being recast. BTW – How crazy is it that Michael J Fox wasn’t Marty McFly for any moment in time? I think there should be a documentary on this actor switch. I’d love to know where Eric Stoltz stands on this whole thing: I almost can’t take it.

A reunion video 25 years later: Reunion central

Back To The Future Pedia: This is a crazy website

Claudia Wells (Jennifer aka Marty’s girlfriend) interview on why she left Back To The Future. It’s weird because it always seems like Elizabeth Shue was in these movies: Claudia!

Crispin Glover (George McFly) talking about leaving Back To The Future. It’s also strange to think that original George McFly wasn’t in the sequels: George!

Eric Tan conceptual artwork: Tan

How to Reboot Back To The Future! Shameless plug. Don’t care, I love this trilogy: 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE8QLR8KLwk&w=560&h=315]

Tom Cruise: His Best Run

You have ten seconds to name a film that Tom Cruise didn’t run in… times up… you lost. There is no hiding what most people associate Tom Crusie with -

Outside of his movies his associations are:

Jumping on couches Being subject to multiple rumors His height Yelling at Matt Lauer Oh, and that one religion that is based around Scientolo- (Had to stop sentence due my life being destroyed by L. Ron Hubbard).

Inside of his movies his associations are:

Running. Just running.

—-

Reading the above it may sound like I have something against TC but truth be told I love his movies. As far as I’m concerned he’s still a massive action star and I’ll pretty much see anything he’s in. I recently checked out MI4 and loved it, I was relived when it finished because I had hope that for one second people would forget about all of the things that I listed above (I’m part of the problem) and remember him for being a great entertainer.

Somewhere along the line he surpassed Will Smith as “The guy who runs in movies.” The thing is – TC’s running is totally justified, odds are it’s an action movie. If there isn’t running in an action movie then I say it’s a bad action movie. I’m starting to wonder if his legacy will have something to do with running, seriously. Will we look back at Tom Cruise movies and say “oh yeah, that was the one with that one run scene”?

Side Note: The one confusing run scene that comes to mind is The Firm… I think that was him just gloating with his speed. Another side note: I want to race Tom Crusie.

In the world of TC running we have many options to choose from and decide which is the best. It’s basically like a buffet that serves different variations of the same thing. At that buffet I go to the one movie that is the future: Minority Report. And in this particular scene he’s barely running. It’s a combination of some running intertwined with other Spielbergian action.

Here’s the justification as to why this is the best TC Run: (Video Below)

- The scene involves flying. This run scene may have a slight asterisk next to it due to the massive amount of flight but it’s included because it starts with a run and at one point TC attempting to run on the side of the building.

- It has a cameo from Cameron Crowe (he’s holding the newspaper, no credit at the end, and yes Tom Cruise ran in both Vanilla Sky and Jerry McGuire – both directed by Crowe).

- It’s a totally and completely warranted run scene. It’s not like he’s trying to get somewhere faster than anyone else. He’s trying to elude the cops (who can fly!)

- On a grand scheme one things one of the themes in Minority Report is running (yes it is!). Dialogue between Tom Cruise (John) and Fletcher (played by Neil Donough)

Fletcher: John, don’t run. John: You don’t have to chase me. Fletcher: You don’t have to run. John: Everybody runs, Fletch.

- Did I mention how underrated this movie is? I shouldn’t really get into why this because I’m talking about running but I feel like it got shit on over time. If my memory serves me correct, this had production issues and an inflated budget, which usually is a sure sign of issues. The reality is, this movie is full of things that are ahead of the curve on future technological products. In this opening scene with Crowe reading the newspaper one of the stories is about “nano technology.”

Without further adieu I give you the scene:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta1HBizg0Yk&w=420&h=315]

After watching the scene if you don’t want to see Minority Report while in full sprint you’re nuts.

I enter Tom Cruise running to the same category as Harrison Ford fighting. I’ve always felt that when Ford fights in his movies he’s really giving it his all to look like he’s struggling. From Indiana Jones to The Fugitive… he throws and takes punches with more effort than a UFC fighter. I can even remember his fight scenes in Air Force One, just when you think he’s going to die… (More on Harrison a different day).

Honorable mention:

MI4: If you didn’t see it – do it. Once scene he basically convers all of India and is running through a sand storm.

Eh, all of the Mission Impossible movies.

Collateral: Vintage Tom Cruise sprints when chasing Jamie Foxx.

War Of The Worlds: While Aliens are disintegrating humans next to him, Tom Cruise runs fast… faster than the aliens actually.

Jerry McGuire: Slow Mo running to see the love of his life.

Far And Away: This was a good run for one reason and one reason only: He was running for his future and land.

To cap this off I include this video for your delight:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJdMDvjfyQ0&w=560&h=315]

Transformers - I quit you.

I had a bit too much to drink on Friday night, and for me “a bit to much to drink” is holding hands with me having a late night. I had to get up fairly early on Saturday morning and by Saturday night I was committed to not repeating my Friday night - told myself I’m taking it easy. Taking it easy meant that I was going to order a movie via OnDemand from Time Warner. Without much direction on what to get I had to know what I didn’t want, I didn’t want something that would make me think, I needed mindless entertainment.

After navigating through the Time Warner guide that can use some updating I had narrowed down my choices. First choice was – Fast5, it took only about 6 seconds to realize I’d have to be in the mindset of Friday night to purchase this. Second choice was – Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, the third installment to the series. The latter it was, and before I knew it Michael Bay and all his exploding glory was getting ready to play on my screen for the next… wait… how long… 144 minutes… um… almost 2.5 hours!?

5 minutes into the 144 I knew I might regret this purchase. Not sure if the regret came from the fact that they were intercutting actual footage from John F Kennedy’s 1969 space launch speech with a modern day actor, or the fact that Megan Fox had been replaced with someone who actually made me ask “Wait… what happened to Megan Fox?” It’s my own fault, I should have known this, I was warned twice…

Warning Shot #1:
Transformers (July 3rd, 2007)

I was traveling when this movie was released so I didn’t see it right away, but I remember being excited for it. The Transformers were my favorite toys as a kid and the trailers for this film made it looks like some justice may be served. This seemed like a perfect equation for a major reason… Michael Bay. Say what you want about Bay but he brings it when it’s time for action. The other things this had going for it –

Steven Spielberg: When I see Spielberg’s name on anything I still get excited to see it.

Shia LaBeouf: At this point he wasn’t the Shia he is today. This movie actually really helped bring him into the household name conversation. Before TF he had a surprise hit “Disturbia” which helped give him some weight and add to the “Oh we want to see him act discussion.

Megan Fox: I’m not about to give her acting credit but the fact is she added to this movie… yes, for aesthetic purposes. She was still relatively unknown, so we didn’t dog on her as much as we do now.

The Bad Ass Robots: It was cool to see Optimus Prime on the big screen trying to look real. The special effects seemed pretty cool too.

Seemed like a good equation? Yeah. A light-hearted family action movie that can be seen by various age groups and people. Kids, Adults, Comic lovers, Cartoon lovers – It’s a destined hit. And it was: $319 Million in the US and $719 Million worldwide. How can so many people be so wrong? This has to be good.

When I finally saw it about halfway into it’s theater run something happened that I didn’t expect – I didn’t really like it. It was just ehhh’ and from what I heard I thought I’d love it. It seemed as though everyone liked it. What happened?

I recall walking out and thinking it was corny, not terrible but ultimately corny. I specifically remember a scene when Shia’s Transformer is hiding around his house and Shia was trying to hide it from his parents. It was a goofy forced comedic moment that basically summed up the movie in a whole. But that’s to be expected in films that Spielberg has his name on. I just wasn’t ready for it.

The first TF – I give it a C+. Average film.

Warning Explosion #2:
Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen (June 24th, 2009)

Where do I being? How can I say this? This movie fucking sucked so bad. I’m honestly trying to wrap my head around this and figure out how to explain why and how this movie is bad. For starters I went and saw it with my girlfriend and good buddy who is a director and loves action/adventure films. That good buddy fell asleep during this movie and I contemplated walking out, in hindsight I don’t know how I didn’t. Seriously, my friend fell asleep in a movie that has insanely loud noises, Shia yelling a lot, robots, and action (to name a few).

That’s not a reason as to why this movie is so bad it’s just an example that the perfect storm of shit pushed us into a corner – a sleeping corner and a contemplative walking out corner.

Somehow this movie is the most profitable (in the US) out of the 3. It made $402 Million domestic and $836 Million worldwide, that is a lot of money. To confirm I’m not crazy – Rotten Tomatoes has it coming in at 20% - meaning 80% think this movie is as bad as I do.

I think it’s pointless to say what’s wrong with this film because it’s a list that’s so full it would look like that one scene in Charlie and the Chocolate factory when Willy Wonka asks the kids to read the rules before they enter his place. I think I can actually try and put some meat behind why this movie is so bad.

A) Megan Fox’s completely irrelevant ass posing while working at a car shop with her father, not only was it weird for her to be straddling a motorcycle the way she was, but she was dressed like Jessica Simpson in The Dukes of Hazzard.

B) Mid filming Shia was in a car accident, which required him to start wearing a cast on his hand. At minute who gives a shit, Shia inexplicably has this random cast he’s sporting. Seriously, it’s as if he was running in one scene and the next scene he’s got this cast on. Okay, that may sound like I’m loser nit picking but I think it says a lot. This movie gave up on the average from part 1 and decided to just make it all about the action. It’s kind of understandable… but is it?

I need to stop talking about this movie; it’s giving me a headache. The main thing I can do now is to ultimately tell you what I decided at the moment I saw that movie. I decided never to see another TF again. No way.

The second TF – I give it an F. Not just any F, one of those F’s that’s a low F, not scratching the surface for a D, F.

Enter Saturday and my detoxing body.

I didn’t hear much about TF3 but I did hear that it had more action than part 1 and 2, and it was also shot for 3-D. 3-D translates to higher ticket prices which translates to more $$$. In fact this movie made $352 Million in the US and $1 BILLION worldwide… 3-D makes cash. However, there was no Fing way I was going to go down that road so I stuck with old school 2-D.

Getting back to my regrets I mentioned above. How can any movie that doesn’t have Kevin Coster Dancing with Wolves be 2.5 hours? Bay has been treating these films as though they’re looking for an Academy Award for best picture. I guess, that’s actually kind of cool to a certain extent, but it takes up a lot of my time.

That time that was taken up with was filled with utter insanity. Insanity in the sense that I felt as though I was watching a real life video game unfold… seriously. I could see how kids would find this movie amazing – I talked to my buddy (buddy who fell asleep in part 2) and told him I could imagine this film as a ride at Universal Studios, and I don’t mean they make a ride for the film… The film IS the ride.

They tried so hard for there to be a plot – there is none. They tried so hard for comic relief – there isn’t. They tried so hard for a serious film – it isn’t. They tried so hard for the new chick to be a good actress – she’s not. This movie isn’t a lot of things, but it is a ride. That’s the main reason I didn’t stop watching it, If I stopped watching it I’d be one of those kids who leaves an amusement park because the rollercoaster’s are to scary. I wasn’t going to be that kid… It’s an experience and I wanted to show Michael Bay that I could handle this shit.

I did handle it, and truthfully I kind of hope this would be the last film in the series even though I don’t think it is. How could it be? Why stop when there is so much of a cash return? It just seems that we’ve watched all we need to watch with this, even Shia seemed like he was done with this blow em’ up shit.

To this movies credit I did walk away minus a headache. Granted I was reclined on my couch drinking Tea, but ultimately it did the trick and gave me mindless action that I was looking for. Which kind of makes me wonder if the whole point of this series is to dumb you down for 2.5 hours a piece while exposing you to more action than… well… a different Michael Bay film.

Shit, now that I think of it this movie served its purpose. My recommendation for watching any Transformer movie: Drink too much the night before so you’re forced to lie like a zombie. Like I said… it’s an experience.

A movie train-of-thought: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes.

It’s 11:30pm and I just watched Jonah Hill’s new trailer “The Sitter.”

Wow, they really put a twist on Adventures in Babysitting. This trailer seemed like Seth from Superbad was grown up and now babysitting kids, but the marketing team behind that movie knows as well as I do that I’ll see it. Oh wow David Gordon Green directed it? Hmmm, I saw Your Highness and it was terrible, interesting because any stoner role is built for James Franco, well, that and any James Dean role.

I think about what I would have done differently with Your Highness for about 8 minutes. Then-

Oh! James Franco. Hmm let me check out his IMDB page-

Checking…

Ah yes, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes.

I just told my girlfriend that I wanted to see this and she was a bit skeptical. We read the reviews of the film and it’s currently around 80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Wow, not so skeptical anymore. I go to arclight cinemas and purchase tickets that are 15 dollars each.

Holy shit! I really just paid 15 dollars for a movie ticket.

Not sure why this surprises me considering I’ve been going to the arclight for years now, I do anything I can to justify the ticket price.

Well I did just get arclight points, which means I’ll probably get free popcorn or something…right? Fuck it, the arclight is awesome. Lets not forget I’m seeing this movie in the Dome, what really compares to the Dome? Nothing. This is a capper to this summer, even though I thought Cowboys and Aliens was the capper, but this may be it… oh and 30 Minutes Or Less which is coming out next week, which may be the capper.

CLICK. I’m back on IMDB looking at random things about the Apes – The director, writer, and producer…

God, I hope these monkeys look real; you can be out of it in 2 minutes if the monkeys are on par to Ed starring Matt LeBlanc.

I laugh to myself.

Ed, that crazy movie about the baseball player monkey, what a interesting costume that monkey had, was there a midget inside that monkey costume? Who comes up with this?

For my own pleasure I was sure Ed had to be based off a comic book, because who would greenlight that movie? I typed in Ed and see that it isn’t based off of anything. I have to think that there was a moment in time when a conversation with Matt LeBlanc and Matt LeBlanc’s agent went a little something like this:

Matt: I want to get involved in movies, Friends is on of the biggest hits on NBC right now. Schwimmer is doing The Pallbearer with Gwyneth Paltrow, Perry is doing Fools Rush In with Selma Hayek… I want in.

Agent: You read my mind! But listen, they’re doing RomCom’s with leading ladies, what if I told you, fuck the leading lady, all I want to see is a leading man.

Matt: But, I’m not really a star, don’t I need a leading lady?

Agent: Monkeys.

Matt: Excuse me?

Agent: A fucking monkey. That’s your leading lady.

Matt: I like where this is going.

Agent: The same writer as Radio Flyer and The Sandlot just wrote a comedy about a baseball player named Jack ‘Deuce’ Cooper who gets stuck with a monkey and it’s actually a good pitcher, and through some problems, he makes you a better pitcher… And person!

Matt: You had me at Deuce.

6.2 million dollars later, Ed wasn’t a massive success.

Ed opened the can of worms into my monkey movie knowledge.

Can I think of monkey movies? Okay they don’t have to have the monkey in a starring role but it would at least feature a monkey. And here we go…

Ed: Tribianni as a ball player. See above.

Outbreak: Damn you little monkey that caused an airborne attack.

I’m convinced this monkey is the most successful primate in cinema history, seriously. There was a stretch when this little guy would pop up in anything that needed some really intelligent circus act or a quick laugh.

This movie by the way was pretty interesting and started the topic of conversation of “what if” – it’s basically a worse case scenario that nobody wants to deal with. Also, it’s interesting that this featured a solid cast – Hoffman, Freeman, Russo, Spacey, Gooding Jr., Sutherland, McSteamy I mean McDreamy I mean Patrick Dempsy.

Congo: RIP Michael Crichton. Like all books turned movie, the book was better, but that’s not saying much. I actually didn’t like either, and I really love MC.

This movie was essentially about a tribe of super monkeys living in… yes…. The Congo. A team heads out on an expedition to find another team and all hell breaks loose, monkeys go crazy and start killing humans, but in all fairness the humans intruded on their land.

12 Monkeys: Does this count? In all seriousness I don’t think so, but it’s a really cool movie.

In my opinion, this is one of Brad Pitt’s finer moments. He received an Academy Award nomination but truth be told it’s because he was snubbed by not getting a leading man nod for Se7en.

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls: Bumblebeetuna. Remember the plot to this? No, not many do. But there were silverback gorillas and Ace had his trusty little monkey with him, which was the “Outbreak” monkey.

Not even monkeys could save Jim Carrey’s overacting in this movie. In hindsight I’m really disappointed with this movie. I loved it at the time because Jim Carrey was a driving force for me to want to enter the entertainment industry, he made movies fun but… shit… you know what. I won’t do it. I won’t bash this movie. All I’ll say is that part 1 was better (and a classic).

Aladdin: Sure, it’s cartoon, but Apu was in it! Aladdin’s right hand man and comic relief, one might argue he made this movie. All I really remember from Apu is his little hat and his momentary jealousy of the magic carpet. This is the point and perfect use of monkeys in movies.

Monkey Trouble: I was a kid in the early 90’s and I wanted a monkey. Part of the reason was this Thora Burch movie and the trouble she got into with her pick pocketing monkey.

This plays into the Aladdin angle. Comic relief, had a funny hat, and was your friend. The catch with Monkey Trouble was that this monkey was a klepto and kept stealing from everyone, but just when Burch thinks it’s stole too much, the monkey redeems itself at the end.

I just looked at IMDB – how is this 12,186 on the IMDB meter?

Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull: Otherwise known as “The Indy movie made 20 years too late and should have never been made.”

You may not remember the monkeys in this movie but I do, and it’s one of the few times I actually hated them. In the final climactic 3rd act Indys son (which he didn’t know) Shia LaBeouf is caught in a bit of a pickle. He’s lost in the jungle without any escape plan.

Enter the monkeys and a very very bad case of CGI.

Little monkeys lead Shia out of the jungle to freedom assisting him by swinging on trees through the top of the jungle and right into freedom. Lets take a moment and think about the conversation between the writer, George Lucas, and director, Steven Spielberg, on just how they wanted this whole thing to play out:

Steve: George, I noticed that you had this scene with Shia swinging with monkeys in the jungle.

George: Who?

Steve: Huh?

George: What?

Steve: Shia, in the jungle. Do you really think he could swing out of the jungle like that?

George: Would Ewoks save him?

Steve: Lets have him swing out with monkeys.

I may have preferred the Ewoks.

King Kong: Too Easy. Big ol’ monkey. This reboot was 3 hours total and I vaguely remember Jack Black.

Mighty Joe Young: See King Kong. Minus Jack Black.

The Ape: The what? The Ape. Let me copy and paste a brief plot summary below:

Human resources drone and put-upon family man Harry imagines he could be the next Dostoyevsky if he could just get a little peace and quiet. When he moves into his own apartment to craft his masterpiece, his solitude is broken by an unexpected roommate-a foul-mouthed, Hawaiian shirt-wearing gorilla, eager to share his opinions on life, love, and animal magnetism.

Bullshit, right? Wrong. The above plot was a movie written, directed, and starring James Franco. I’m not sure what he was thinking when he made this movie but I give him credit for trying to make it. Maybe he knew that tossing a monkey in a movie would be a sure thing? But to Franco’s credit he does a lot in his career that people question and he just goes with the flow.

Although I haven’t seen The Ape, I hope Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes is better.

I stop thinking about monkey movies for a bit because my brain is a fried and I’m not sure how many more monkey movies I can tackle.

However, I don’t think Apes is a monkey movie, it seems like an origin story, and I love origin stories. How could a movie about Monkey’s taking over a planet go wrong? It just seems so right. I think the bigger question is why do I keep calling Gorillas, Apes, and Chimpanzees – monkeys? I’m that guy whose just bunching primates together. I should know more about the monkey species. Wait, my thought is getting off topic, I need to reserve my seats for the movie.

If this movie is good I may rent Ed and The Ape and watch them back-to-back.

The Free Pass Actor

Last week if you told me that Cowboys and Aliens and The Smurfs would be tied for the weekend top gross ($36,200,000) and that Crazy, Sexy, Love would come in 5th behind – Aliens, Smurfs, Captain America, and Harry Potter I would have been awfully skeptical and probably would have argued it. I guess since I’m not a parent I forgot that little kids like little blue things in CGI.

I basically had no faith in The Smurfs at all. I heard that it’s really bad… Rotten Tomatoes reviewed it at 20%, for a while it was 0%, which is unheard of.

I actually saw Crazy, Sexy, Love, this weekend and liked it. I didn’t love it but I liked it, I should note that I’m a sucker for romcom’s but the movie was solid – the acting, writing, directing, all of the above, but maybe a little long - on a side note I think that Ryan Gosling is going to win an Academy Award in his acting career.

Anyway, I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t check out Cowboys and Aliens this weekend. It’s got all the fixins that I like – Han Solo, James Bond, Spielberg, Favreau, Cowboys, Aliens… I mean why didn’t I see this movie? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I planned to see it on Sunday and drank too much on Saturday – but that’s a different story all in itself.

When I read that Aliens was on par with Smurfs I sat back and thought about this for a minute because quite honestly I think that the Aliens crowd should be bigger. The movie seems like an adventure and when you have blockbuster caliber attached to adventure you have a blockbuster. Did the Smurfy CGI kid thing really manage to bump the adventure offered from Aliens? I guess so, but really? I mean, when I think of Adventure I think of a few things:

1) Indiana Jones.

2) Steven Spielberg movies (producer of the film).


3) Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford movies.

I’m lingering on this whole thing, but I guess it just goes to show that the top dogs have lost some steam. If this were a different time any Harrison Ford / Spielberg movie would still have lines outside the doors. Right? But on the other hand they did make Indiana Jones part 4 which may have been one of the more forgettable movies in my movie going life. Which got me thinking…

It got me thinking about actors who no matter what they do will have a Free Pass by the movie going public. When I say free pass I mean that we forget they were even in a shitty movie, all we remember is that they killed it at one time or another. What got me thinking about this – Harrison Ford, of course. He’s the ultimate Free Pass actor, as far as I’m concerned Harrison Ford could make a bomb with Josh Harnett or Brendan Frasier and we would turn the other cheek… oh wait…

Which brings me to my list of actors who have a “Free Pass” they may have done shit… but we will forever forgive them.

1 - Harrison Ford: See above. But seriously, lets take a second think about how great this guy is and was. When I heard that Harrison Ford improvised the famous line in Empire Strikes Back when Leia says “I love you” and he says “I know” he pretty much sealed the deal for the biggest badass around.

He’s been in movies that have generated over 3 billion dollars for Hollywood and he’s one of the most iconic actors working. He can do garbage and act as disgruntled as he wants and I’ll always love this guy. For the record – I personally think he’s keeping his lame earring just to throw it back in our faces, which I love.

2) Bill Murray: “Come in Ray” yes, he’s Peter Venkman, not to mention he had Meatballs, Caddyshack, and one of the most underrated Bill Murray roles of all time – Ernie McCrackin in Kingpin. I could sit here and ramble about Groundhogs Day or all of the amazing Wes Anderson movies he’s been in but I’m going to focus on his actually life for a second.

Not sure if you’re aware but there is currently a Bill Murray legend building as you read this. Seemingly there are new urban legend stories popping up yearly, and it all started with (as far as I’m concerned) the story about him tackling some kid in the park.

As the story goes - a kid was walking and suddenly was tackled from behind, when the kid got up he looked at his attacker and it was none other than Bill Murray, Murray looked at him and said “Nobody will ever believe you” and ran away from him. And so it began…

Murray seemingly has these random stories popping up all around the country - from him driving drunk in golf carts, to him fighting at Chicago Bears games. Murray is everywhere. Oh, and one other side note about him – he doesn’t have an agent, which makes it very difficult to communicate with this guy. Society loves Bill Murray.

3) Meryl Streep: Come on. She’s the woman with more accents than there are countries. I can’t remember her last bad movie but if she ever does one we probably will forget.

4) Robert De Niro: Ahem… Rocky and Bullwinkle and Righteous Kill. BUT this guy was Vito Corleone for god sake aka The Godfather. Not to mention, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, Casino, Ragining Bull, Deer Hunter, and a bunch of comedy. De Niro has the ultimate pass and one may argue he’s in Ford territory.

5) Al Pacino: If a man has ever talked to much when accepting an award his name is Al Pacino but he’s still in the Free Pass club. He’s kind of in the De Niro category due to his earlier career but something about Pacino is different. He takes on more roles than De Niro, or so it seems.

What’s great about Pacino is that he’s entered the world of TV (most recently as Kevorkian for HBO) and also he was in Insomnia directed by Chris Nolan (just had to drop that in).

Although Pacino doesn’t have the De Niro comedy chops he’s a Corleone…

6) Johnny Depp: Hello Jack Sparrow. I like Depp, a lot of people like Depp, and Depp hasn’t done much bad over time (I haven’t seen The Tourist). Here’s the thing with the Depp man:

He does out-there roles – Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, Alice in Wonderland, Willy Wonka, and Pirates. But then he brings it back and reminds us that he’s a good actor and not just a character in things like Blow, Nick of Time (underrated), Finding Neverland (saw it alone and cried in a theater), and Chocolat.

Lets not forget he’s an attractive guy and has a ton of sex appeal. But seriously, the thing about Depp is that ever since he took on Jack Sparrow he became more than a house hold name – he became an international brand. Disney has taken The Pirates franchise and marketed it to the masses like no other movie in recent history.

Depp may be the one actor who appeals to men, women, kids, stoners, film geeks, auteurs, other actors, up and coming actors, people who want to act like their misunderstood, and anyone trying to make something commercial. He runs the gamut.

7) Leonardo DiCaprio: When this guy froze in the Atlantic Ocean and Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go on was cued DiCaprio locked this position down. Leo was sort of an actor version of Justin Bieber many years ago and managed to flex his talent muscle throughout his career.

I actually don’t know where to begin with this guy – He’s a legit Hollywood actor that can take on any role. I think for a while he was screwed because he’s always had this younger boy presence (which isn’t a bad thing) but it was difficult to believe everything he was doing. But now with age he’s able to be even more believable.

What’s especially great about Leo is that he had street cred with most Hollywood directors – I’m excited for his role in Django Unchained directed by Tarantino – coming out next year.

8) Will Smith: This is easy. He’s Will Smith. This man has worked his career like he’s a machine for the last 30 years, literally. He’s methodically become a superstar. Bill Simmons recently wrote a really good look into how this guy has become this guy.

Will Smith released a song call “Mr. NiceGuy” which pretty much sums up why he’ll always have a free pass.

9) Tom Hanks: In the 90’s this guy was the romcom king with Meg Ryan, he then went on to win back to back best actor awards and solidify himself as one of the most likable and bankable actors in Hollywood.

I love that Hanks has spread himself across most genres and platforms. Not to mention… he was in Radio Flyer (underrated).

10) George Clooney: Rounding out the Top 10 is George “I’ve probably slept with you” Clooney. I think Clooney is brilliant and I’ll tell you why:

Early in Clooney’s career, and after he broke out of ER, he did From Dusk Till Dawn, which was so totally out there and basically opposite smug doctor Clooney, it gained him some movie cred considering it was directed by Robert Rodriguez and co-written by Tarantino. But then Clooney said… I want to be a superstar and I want it now…

He jumped into One Fine Day, The Peacemaker, and Batman and Robin. Somewhere in those movies he smartened up and did Out of Sight with J-Lo but more importantly its was directed by Steven Soderbergh. I think it was this movie he said to himself “It’s better to work with good people rather than take the mainstream shortcut with easy films” (in those exact words).

From Out of Sight Clooney played it safe with his decisions all while taking on very difficult (smart) roles. He worked in films that had good/strong content. He surrounded himself with good people and even if a movie was crappy he always had the crutch to fall back on and say, “hey, it was a good story.” It’s like his movies have a fail safe if they’re bad… does this make sense?

Also – he’s a good director, and we all forgot he was in Leatherheads.

Bonus*

Tom Cruise:
I can’t believe he’s not in my top 10 but lets be honest here, his couch jumping really F’d him. Just recently Mission Impossible 4 got bullied by Sherlock Holmes 2, and MI4 moved their release date anticipating a Homes box office ass kicking, come on… How did that happen to Tom Cruise? Unfortunately, everyone wants to see him fail so he doesn’t have the free pass anymore.

Brad Pitt: Ehhh, he should maybe be in the top 10.

Matt Damon: See Brad Pitt

The entire cast of Ocean’s 11, 12, 13:
Soderbergh effect. See Damon.

Robert Downey Jr.: He’s getting to free pass status but he’s been down before and it could happen again, I need to see more.

Clint Eastwood: I had to put him here. Sure, he’s a director now but when he’s in a film he brings the goods, not to mention he’s a legend.

Sean Connery: Arguably the best 007 ever, also Indiana Jones’ dad. I think I have Indy Joes bias.

Honorable Mention:

Julia Roberts
Bruce Willis
Robin Williams
Russell Crowe
Marky Mark
Keanu Reeves
Michael J Fox
Eddie Murphy
Kevin Costner
Will Ferrell

I just read that Cowboys and Aliens edged The Smurfs by $800,000 —- There is hope for adventure.