For the Love of Popcorn

“If you find yourself dealing with an unexpected backstory and a preponderance of exposition, then the sequel rules do not apply because you are not dealing with a sequel, you are dealing with the concluding chapter of a trilogy. That’s right, it’s a rarity in the horror field, but it does exist. And it is a force to be reckoned with because true trilogies are all about going back to the beginning and discovering something that wasn’t true from the get go. Godfather, Jedi, all revealed something that we thought was true that wasn’t true.”

~ Jaime Kennedy, Scream 3


Today’s post is going to be the last for For the Love of Popcorn; I’ve finished the IMDB Top 250, the AFI 100 Years 100 Movies list and seen every movie that’s won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Are there still movies to see? Of course. There are countless films out there I have yet to watch, and I intend to see as many as possible, but the goal of the blog was very clear and defined and I’ve reached it.

Besides, if we look at the three lists I went through as some kind of a trilogy, then when is a part 4 ever really good? And don’t throw Star Trek IV in my face because that was a rare instance where they reached a part 4 when only one of the movies that preceded it was any good!

That being said if this is the concluding chapter of a trilogy, then based on Jaime Kennedy’s rules, I owe you an unexpected backstory and the discovery of a truth that goes back to the beginning. So here goes…

For the Love of Popcorn is actually pronounced frustrated as though you were saying “Oh, for the love of God!” I really can’t remember why… it’s been two years since I named it.

I’m just kidding (although that is true, again, I can’t remember why). But the real reason I started this blog was not to be able to say I’ve seen thousands of movies and be a better film fan, it was to get my mind off of my life while my wife was in and out of the hospital with thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer is very treatable, so I shouldn’t have been too crazy, but she had it twice in a calendar year and I just needed something to do to get my mind off it all or I would really have lost it. And I’ve always loved movies. Seeing 250 films from one list, 100 or so from another and 83 from one more seemed like a fairly gargantuan enough task and it did the job well.

So well, in fact, that when she was finally out of the woods about a year ago, I kept at it… even though she hated the movies I was watching, and continuing probably annoyed her more than anything else.

But I started something big and it was important to me that I finish it. I know it sounds weird, but now that this is done, I feel a real sense of accomplishment. I know that I’m a much bigger movie fan than I was two years ago with a greater knowledge and appreciation for the history of the medium and the many films and people that have contributed to its rich history over the past century.

I’ve been introduced to films I’d have never seen otherwise, like Casablanca, Life is Beautiful, All About Eve, Some Like It Hot, Harakiri, Rope, The Wages of Fear, The Intouchables, Apocalypse Now, and The Seventh Seal (just to name a handful), that will stay with me for the rest of my life as new favorites to interweave into always and forever repeated viewings of Star Wars and Back to the Future. But what I’ve really learned from this experience, having watched hundreds of films in contention for the greatest movie ever made, is that the best movie of all time is none other than your own favorite film.

It’s the movies that captivate our imagination when we’re kids that stick with us and whether that film is Citizen Kane or Mean Girls, never let anyone tell you that your favorite movie is any less valid, or lower brow, than countless others on the lists I’ve watched. Having seen all of these, I’m probably just as qualified as anyone to tell you that (objectively) Casablanca is maybe the greatest movie ever made, but no matter how many movies I watch, I’m confident nothing will ever dethrone Back to the Future as my favorite film.

It’s funny, I feel like I went on this odyssey and watched hundreds of films in search of a new favorite, just to wind up right back at home in Ithaca with the movie I started out with. But I guess that makes it that much more special, that I’ve seen the Lawrence of Arabias and Ben Hurs of the world and can now respect and appreciate my love for Back to the Future that much more.

If you’re looking to try this, which I would certainly recommend, then the best piece of advice I could give would be to go in some kind of an order. Doing it the way I did, where every given night you just pick a remaining movie off the lists that sounds most appealing, invites the third act of your quest to be filled with 3.5-hour movies you’re the least interested in seeing. Still, it’s those ones you’re least interested in watching that have the greatest potential to open up new doors for you.

When I started this, I had about as strong of a prejudice against westerns and anime as you could possibly muster; today, I consider The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Interstella 5555 to be among my favorite films. And if I can say that, then I have truly left my comfort zone and expanded my viewing palate, and this whole thing was worth it.

I’ll see you at the movies.


Cavalcade… the last one.


Yesterday I watched Cavalcade, the last remaining film I needed to see to finish off the Academy’s Best Picture winners list… as well as the last movie I needed to see to finish off every movie I wanted to watch in the scope of this blog (the IMDB Top 250, both editions of AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies and all 85 of the winners of the Best Picture Award at the Oscars).

That being said, I really don’t have much to say about Cavalcade. It’s not bad, but it’s more than a little dry. Even clocking in at under 2 hours (1:48) doesn’t do much for this 1933 British drama about life in the first quarter of the 20th century. This probably explains its conspicuous lack of a US DVD/Blu ray release outside of a $500 box set of 20th Century Fox’s most memorable films. (I had to order the Hong Kong release on eBay in order to watch it.)

Just to give you an idea of how bland it is, despite being really excited to see this as it would finish off two years’ worth of work at completing this goal, I still found it to be pretty boring. Boring enough that because my Blu ray player wouldn’t play it, I had to watch it on my laptop with my headphones on (long story short, my laptop rarely produces sound from its speakers) and about 45 minutes from the end, my wife started watching The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II (a film I found to be largely unnecessary) on the TV in the same room… prompting me to frequently pay more attention to that than Cavalcade.

Yeah, I know.

But that’s what happens when you watch these things not in a specific order, but in an order of what appeals to you most first. By the time you reach the end, you’re really left with the stuff you had no interest in watching in the first place… or in this case… the stuff I wasn’t interested in watching that I had to watch on a possibly bootlegged DVD with VHS-looking visuals and Old Time Radio sounding audio.

Still, it’s great that I finally finished this list off. There’s nothing about the winners of the Oscar for Best Picture that necessarily scream “the greatest movies ever made”—the reality is actually quite to the contrary—but as a film fan, it’s still really cool to be able to say that I’ve seen them all for the historic value of it.

But that about wraps up all of the movies I wanted to see for this and, unlike the most intense sufferers of sequelitis (looking right at you Stallone), I have no intention of dragging this out after the goal has been reached. So be sure to come back tomorrow for my final post.


The Clip Show

Our time together is rapidly coming to an end :(

It’s been really amazing getting to share this quest with you, but I’ve only got one more movie left to check off, and I just watched it. Before I write up the post for the last movie though, let’s take a look back at some of my favorites from the last two years.

In no particular order, I give you links to my 11 favorite posts (a true Spinal Tap special). You may or may not see “0 Comments” written at the end of each link, depending on how you’re viewing this (I can’t figure out how to get rid of them) so just roll with it and come back tomorrow for the write-up on Cavalcade.

Warm Bodies: Adventures on Valentine’s Day

Out of Africa: Capturing how it feels to watch a movie bored

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: Fun with the Google Translator

Rebecca: The story of my life

The Last Emperor: If I ruled the world at 3 years old

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring: Because everything always comes back to Star Wars

Terms of Endearment: The day I accidentally conned my wife into watching a tear-jerker

Electroma: Because I liked Daft Punk and gay marriage before Random Access Memories!

X-Men: First Class: When I poured my heart out about being a geek and not one single one of you hit the like button!

The People vs. George Lucas: Lucas is such a heinous dick!

The Seventh Seal: My dog vs. My wife’s laptop

How can you shoot a Superman movie without… Superman?


Being misunderstood is the fate of all true geniuses.
Howard Stern, Private Parts
As you wish.
Cary Elwes, The Princess Bride
And there will be peace. There will be peace when the people of the world want it so badly, that their governments will have no choice but to give it to them. I just wish you could all see the Earth the way that I see it. Because when you really look at it, it’s just one world.
Christopher Reeve, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.
Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca
Where's SWAT?
Axel: Boss, I cancelled the SWAT team.
Todd: YOU WHAT?! I wouldn't raid a church bingo game without SWAT!
This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You truly are incorruptible, aren’t you? You won’t kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won’t kill you because you’re just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever.
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight