Sunday, April 1, 2012

"You've Got To Be Honest. If You Can Fake That, You've Got It Made." -- George Burns

Greetings to all of you wonderful people! And to all of the semi-wonderful ones as well. And, why not... welcome to the scalawags and turds as well... I bet your mothers are proud. I saw a bumper-sticker once that said "My Son was Scumbag of the Month at Chino State Penitentiary." I had a good laugh at that one. Other good ones I've seen are "We're staying together for the dogs" and (on a septic truck) "Have You Hugged Your Septic Pumper Today?"

OK, so, for the A To Z Challenge, I've noticed that some letters on my Favorites List have a ton of items on them, in total... B is one of those, so I'm going to dive in and see how far into the list I get before running out the door screaming, and sprinting up the street, pulling out tufts of hair, wearing only one sock and an addled expression... (That reminds me... if it comes to that, can I call you later to come bail me out of jail?)

Favorite Movies (B):

No, I don't mean "B Movies" silly... I mean movies that start with B...

Band of Brothers (2001): OK, I cheated on this one, I admit it. It's a 13-Episode TV series (HBO), but I'm going to lump it in with the Movies, since it doesn't belong in the same league as the likes of House, Burn Notice, LOST, Big Bang Theory and other shows I like and/or tolerate. Once this series gets past the opening episode (where they train for battle) and the action overseas starts in earnest, Band of Brothers is truly gripping. I'm a big fan of all things WW2 to begin with, plus I enjoy great acting, great writing and stories about "real men"... you know, otherwise-ordinary men who become extraordinary under the right circumstances... add all that up, and you can hardly be surprised that Band of Brothers registers so strongly with me. Lots of great cameos scattered through the series as well, adding to the enjoyment.

Batman Begins (2005): As much as I enjoyed Heath Ledger's performance as Joker in Dark Knight (2008), I have to admit that I think Batman Begins is the better movie. The development of Bruce Wayne's character was handled really well, I think, and the rest of the cast works so well together. I loved Cillian Murphy as the Scarecrow - it bothered me to no end the way his character was neutered in The Dark Knight - part of the reason I was down a bit on that film (that, and Dark Knight was about 20 minutes too long). I'm good with Bale as Batman, for the most part -- certainly better than any other actor who has tried his hand at the role -- but what sells the movies for me are the villains. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Tom Hardy does with Bane in the upcoming conclusion to the Batman Trilogy. Hardy is awesome.

The Breakfast Club (1985): Yes, it's not a perfect film by any stretch. The writing is memorable yet corny. It's purely dialog-driven. The characters are fairly stereotypical. And Molly Ringwald's hairdo changes radically from shot to shot for no reason! So why is this film a favorite? Well, it represents a certain time period of my life. It just hits a strong note inside me somewhere. It just means something to me, that's all! I must have watched this movie a hundred times growing up. In fact, my best friend Jason and I would routinely quote huge segments of it, for fun. I think we tried to quote the entire movie one time, from opening monologue to closing credits... don't recall if we made it or not, but I do remember we attempted it.

[Honorable Mention: Braveheart (1995), Big Fish (2003)]

Favorite Acting Performances (B):

Javier Bardem in Biutiful (2010): This ranks up there with the greatest performances I've ever seen. Best known (perhaps) for playing Anton Chigurh in the Coen Brothers Oscar-Winner, No Country For Old Men, I'm of the opinion that his portrayal of Uxbal, a dying man trying to get things right with his life and his family before dying, is by far the greater performance. Extremely powerful and moving. I've always been of the opinion that the key to stellar acting is what you do with your body when you aren't saying anything - with your eyes specifically. It's all about the eyes, and the micro-expressions that go with/between the words. Bardem's performance is an acting clinic. If you can handle subtitles, I highly recommend you steel yourself and watch this film.

Eric Bana in Chopper (2000): In his first real major film role, Eric Bana portrayed the famous Aussie criminal Mark "Chopper" Read, putting on 30 pounds and spending time in prison with the real Chopper Read. A mesmerizing, often unnerving portrayal of a man who is equal parts crazy, intelligent, violent and riveting. Again, it's the eyes and the micro-expressions that sell this for me. Not for the weak of heart/stomach, but if you fancy great performances, make time for this one.

Big fan of Eric Bana. Blackhawk Down, Troy, Munich... I even liked him as the Hulk (though no one else did...)

[Honorable Mentions: Marlon Brando (The Godfather), Adrien Brody (The Pianist)]

Favorite Comics (B):

Bloom County by Berke Breathed (1980 - 1989):

Growing up, I couldn't get enough of Bloom County. In fact, this one counts as 3 entries in the B list, for the name of the strip, the name of the cartoonist Berke Breathed, and the name of my favorite character in the strip, Bill the Cat...

Yep, that's Bill. Perhaps the first cartoon character I took the time to learn how to draw. Bill, Opus, Milo, Binkley, Steve Dallas, Portnoy... gah, the character list is far too extensive to list. It even featured a Basselope named Rosebud...

Yep, part Basset Hound, part Antelope...

Irreverent, hilarious, often political, but also filled with cultural references that have dated much of the archive. Lots of references to Ronald Reagan, and world/cultural events from the early- to late-eighties. Nevertheless, a very smart, witty, intelligent and most importantly hugely amusing strip, and a highlight of my high school years.

Click to enlarge, so you can read it. Good stuff.

People I'd Like To Meet (B):

Ed Bassmaster: Look, you know me... I enjoy my gas, what can I say? A nicely-timed blast of wind sets me to giggling like a typical junior-high male... I guess I'll always be a 6th grader at heart, at least in part. I've tried to change, but it ain't happening. I am what I am... all that said, Ed Bassmaster (and his pal Jack Vale) have provided more laughs per YouTube Clip for me the past few years than anyone else, and for that I'd like to shake his hand...

Maybe not his left hand, though... his Farting Santa clip is a fave as well...

[Honorable Mention: Bill Burr (comedian)]

Favorite Games (B):

Battlefield 2 (2005): According my BF2 stats page, I've played 640 hours of Battlefield 2... no, that isn't a typo... 640 hours... Anyway, this game is an online, multiplayer battle simulator that offered something for every type of virtual warrior. You could squad-up and capture control points as a team, you could go solo and camp a high spot as a sniper. You could grab a transport heli and ferry teammates around the map (usually under enemy fire), or grab an attack heli and dish out some pain. You could hop into a fighter jet and either dogfight enemy jets or strafe/attack ground units/control points. You could lurk in the shadows with your knife, be an engineer and repair broken equipment/vehicles, be a medic and heal/revive teammates... you could even be team commander and call in artillery and drop supplies on squads in need. Personally, I excelled at defending control points with my anti-vehicle weaponry, blowing up tanks, jeeps, armor vehicles and occasional helicopters. Endless fun.

[Honorable Mention: Boggle]

Favorite Songs (B):

Boy On A String (Jars of Clay):

[Honorable Mentions: Black & Blue (Christina Perri)
Blackbird (Alter Bridge)
Broken Wings (Alter Bridge)
But Not Tonight (Depeche Mode)]

Ooh, I was going to wrap it up, but I have to hit one more category...

Favorite Movie Characters (B):

Boromir (Sean Bean): Awww yeah! My man, Boromir! Something about Boromir really rings with me (pardon the pun). Yes, a flawed character, I get that. Maybe that's why I dig him so much. I think he was genuinely motivated by wanting to help his people and his city (rather than personal glory), and he sacrificed himself in perhaps the coolest death scene in fantasy film anywhere... You can like Aragorn, Legolas, Frodo, go for it... I'll take Boromir, warts and all.

[Honorable Mentions: Jason Bourne (Matt Damon, Bourne Trilogy)
Mr. Bennett (Benjamin Whitrow, in Pride & Prejudice (BBC 1995))
Bill the Butcher (Daniel Day Lewis, Gangs of New York)
Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca)]

Odds and Ends: 

Favorite Book Character: Bast (Name of the Wind, P. Rothfuss)
Favorite Bands/Singers: The Beatles, Margaret Becker
Favorite TV Characters: Jack Bauer (24)
Favorite Websites: Bits & Pieces (link is on sidebar)


Whew, that was a mouthful. Looks like less to wade through for C... So I guess I'll C you tuesday! BUAHAHAHA!!!!!

Dave the Baffled, Befuddled and Bewitched


Anonymous said...

WOW! I wish I had your memory. You can recall the names of characters in a book that begin with specific letters? Great post, you set the bar kind of high for yourself.

Second, I'm glad you said that about Band of Brothers. The last time you recommended it, I stalled at the opening episode, so I shall go back and give it another go.


Gwen said...

Woot! Boromir. I do find him to be a good character. Many of Tolkien's were rather flat in my mind, but he was well fleshed out and man does he redeem himself.

Linda Fischer said...

Man, What a bunch of "B"s! I'm very very impressed!
I'm smiling a lot because I'm known for having lots of favorite everythings! You sure filled up your post with favorites...
How about favorite color?
favorite jelly bean flavor?
favorite bible character?

Thanks for making me smile!

logankstewart said...

Holy moley, friend. Two posts filled to the brim, I say. Big Fish is an excellent film, and I love McGregor's performance in it. I've not watched Biutiful, but I want to. Looks absolutely tragic.

Looking forward to Tuesday.

Ethan Fowler said...

OKay ED BASSMASTER IS THE MAN!!!!!!!!!! WOOOO!! I have battlefield 2142 and well I have played a total of 0 hours on it. No that is not a typo... 0 Hours. I haven't been able to get it to work :'( Haha Boromir is my favorite Character too :D Dave oh mighty blogging one, Geez your posts are epic!

Konstanz Silverbow said...

I LOVE Batman Begins. My two best friends and I have an ongoing joke about my friend being Batman.

Konstanz Silverbow
A to Z c-host

Rebecca said...

Oh Boromir...I just marathoned LotR (again)and his death is one of the most touching scenes. I am also a fan of Big Fish, Batman Begins and Braveheart. Biutiful has been on my list to see for a while. Bardem's performances are so mesmerizing. I saw him in The Sea Inside several years ago, and was blown away by his acting.

Great post!

Abbie Josephsen said...

BOROMIR!!! love Sean Bean :)

And Batman Begins is definitely awesome!! nice post Dave, good to know your favs :)

David Wagner said...

Beth: Watched more Band of Brothers tonight... man, I dig that series. Lt. Spears is my hero...

Gwen: Members of the Boromir Fan Club, unite!

Linda: At first I thought you said, "what a bunch of BS", lol... color: green; jelly beans; I don't eat 'em; Bible character: wow, good question... I have to pick one? Hmm... better add a new category...

Logan: We'll see if I can last the month... by the time the end of April rolls around, I might be down to one-word posts.... "Uh, let's see... X... uhhhh.... X-Men? OK, I'm done, see you tomorrow." lol

Ethan: Ed Bassmaster is, in fact, the Man. Get BF2 and we'll play, eh! I'm a veteran...

Konstanz: Does your friend do the Batman voice?

Reb: I'll have to check out The Sea Inside... thanks for the suggestion...

Abbie: More favorites on the way... a LOT more... MUAHAHAHAH!!!

Cursed Armada said...

Good call on ol' Boromir... Idk how many times I watch it, that ending still makes me shed a tear. One of the best performances in ANY fantasy film EVER... IMHO of course...