The 25th Anniversary Edition 1992 Version: Movies

It’s time once again for the Anniversary Edition. This is a series where we highlight the 25th anniversary of some of our favorite things. These include movies, TV shows, video games, comics and music that came out during the year of 1992. A lot of big things debuted or made a huge impact that year and so we highlight some of those in this series.

We have previously looked at the year in music and video games in 1992. We now turn to the movies of 1992. This was another huge year at the box office. There were some pretty big landmark films that released in 1992. You remember them? Let’s check them out.

Of the top 10 movies of 1992, what was the highest grossing film that year? Both the domestic and worldwide number 1 film was Aladdin ($507 million worldwide).  It was released on November 25 and became the first full length animated film to gross $200+ million.  Interesting tidbit, it took the 5th weekend of its release before it was #1 at the box office.

What film was number 1 at the box office for the longest consecutive amount of weeks? It was actually a tie between The Hand that Rocks the Cradle (released on January 10th) and Wayne’s World (released on February 14th).  They both spent 5 weeks at number 1 on the box office.  Wayne’s World would go on to be #8 domestically & number #10 worldwide box office with $183 million.

What were the other top films in the top 5 worldwide released in 1991.  They were The Bodyguard (Released November 25th, 2nd worldwide with $411 million), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (Released November 20th, 3rd worldwide with $358.9 million) Basic Instinct (Released March 20th, 4th worldwide with $352.9 million) and Lethal Weapon 3 (Released May 15th, 5th worldwide with $321.7 million).

The rest of the top 10 worldwide grossing films include Batman Returns (June 16th), A Few Good Men (December 9th), Sister Act (May 29th), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (November 13th) and Wayne’s World.

Other big films that released in 1992 were White Men Can’t Jump (March 27th), Patriot Games (June 5th), A League of Their Own (July 1st), Unforgiven (August 3rd), Sneakers (September 11th), The Last of the Mohicans  (September 25th), and Under Siege (October 9th).

Which of the films listed was your favorite? Obviously there were so many more films that came out in 1992. Is there a film not listed that came from 1992 that you enjoy? Leave a comment and share them here. Next time, we will look at the year in TV shows in 1992. Until then, crank up the old VCR and enjoy some classic movies.

Reflections on “The Hero”

There are few movies that I see a trailer (of a film I did not know about) and I immediately go “I have to see that film.” The Hero was one of those films.  I saw the trailer a few weeks ago and it captivated me.  So today I went and saw it.  And I’ll go on record saying it is one of the best films of 2017.

The film stars Sam Elliott, Laura Prepon, Nick Offerman, Krysten Ritter & Katharine Ross.  Elliott plays Lee Hayden, an actor best known for his starring role as “The Hero”, a western film released nearly 40 years ago.  These days he’s doing voice work for commercials and passing time by smoking weed with his former co-star in a short lived TV series Jeremy (played by Offerman).  During the course of the film, he deals with the estranged relationship he has with his daughter Lucy (played by Ritter), the burgeoning friendship/romantic relationship with a comedienne named Charlotte (played by Prepon) and the coming to terms with the diagnosis of cancer that hangs over him.

The film gives an honest portrayal of a man who is in the latter stages of his life reflecting back on it while at the same time looking ahead at what’s still in front of him.  Lee is someone who is defined by many people as “The Hero” and is recognized as such with a lifetime achievement.  But he is also someone who is broken, with a failed marriage and the loss of a relationship with his daughter.  And the journey that Lee goes through in the film (and we are along for the ride) is one that feels real and emotional.  Your heart breaks for him while at times feeling frustrated with him.  It’s a well rounded connection.

The director for this film also did I’ll See You in My Dreams (a film in which Sam Elliott also starred).  There were moments in this film that felt similar to that film.  I think the word that best describes this film is poignant.  It is a very poignant film.  It is also very compelling.  The acting in this film was very good.  The characters feel real and they have a lot of depth.  They make you go through a gamut of emotions with them.

As I walked out of the theater, I thought of two things.  One, it is important that there are films like The Hero because they aren’t “franchise” films but are at their root storytelling films.  Two, The Hero come award season should be recognized for the performances and work done by the director and actors/actresses.  If you get a chance (it is an independent film so it’s not showing everywhere) you should see this film.

The End of the Adventure? Thoughts on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

I finally saw the new film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and as I walked from the theater there were some thoughts that struck me. (There may be minor spoilers)

Overall I thought it was an okay film.  On it’s own it’s a fun little adventure.  But since it is the 5th film of the franchise it asks to be judged as part of the whole  In that instance I will say it’s not as good.  But I don’t think that’s the fault of this film.  It is asking a lot of a film franchise that initially started in 2003 and wasn’t even planned at the time of being a film franchise when the first.

I’ll always say the first Pirates film is my favorite.  I still remember seeing the first one in a movie theater up in Alaska where I was spending the summer working at a youth camp.  The story of Jack Sparrow, Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan was a compelling one.  But with each successive film, it seemed to lose the heart of the first film.  By the time of the fourth film On Stranger Tides it really felt like it hit bottom.

I made the comparison on Twitter that Dead Men Tell No Tales feels an awful lot like Rocky Balboa to the Rocky series.  The reason why I thought that as I walked out of the theater was because how this film has been somewhat portrayed in trailers as the “final adventure”.  It seems to try and “right” some of the “wrongs” of the last film and finish off the story of Jack Sparrow.

For those that don’t remember, Rocky Balboa came nearly 16 years after the last Rocky film (Rocky V).  To me Rocky V is one of those movies that doesn’t exist in my personal canon of films because it’s so bad.  It was always a bad way to send off Rocky.  But then Rocky Balboa released and was a better sendoff to the franchise and the character.  And while Creed has spun off and done it’s own thing, there was closure with the Rocky series.

I think On Stranger Tides is the Rocky V of the Pirates series.  There is no Will Turner or Elizabeth Swan in that film.  The story itself feels a little disjointed and there wasn’t any closure.  Dead Men Tell No Tales at least delves back into the history of Sparrow.  It helps bring the Turner/Swan story back through Will & Elizabeth’s son Henry (as well we get cameos of Orlando Bloom & Keira Knightly) and we get Jack Sparrow sailing off at the end of the film.  Granted given the after credits scene they could spin off and do more with Will/Elizabeth/Henry and Carina in a Creed type spinoff, but I think the story (at least of Jack Sparrow) should end here.

It’s been said of musical or comedy acts that one should always leave the audience wanting more.  You don’t want to overstay and the act get boring or not entertaining.  In some ways stories can be that way as well.  There should be at the end of the story a desire to want more but at the same time leave it to the imagination as to what that more is.  Granted it’s a balance between telling more of the adventure and leaving that desire to dream of what’s there.

Could there be more adventures out on the seas for Jack Sparrow?  Possibly, but sometimes it’s good to leave those up to the imagination of the audience.  There may be a new adventure on the horizon for the Black Pearl but I’m happy to stay in port and remember the old ones.

Carrying Pain: Some Thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

I just saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and it did not disappoint.  There were a lot of great moments in the film and it reminded me why I loved the first one.  It has joy and heart and humor and when it’s serious it connects.  And at the heart of it is hope.

There are a lot of things that could be talked about in this film but there was one point that really resonated with me once I left the theater.  (Minor spoilers but nothing major)

One of the underlying plot points in the film carries over from the first film.  This is the rivalry/fight between Gamora & Nebula.  In the first Guardians, Gamora had the chance to kill Nebula and didn’t.  In this film, Nebula returns at the beginning.  She is first captured by the Guardians and then later escapes.  Later she finds Gamora with the expressed intent of “besting her”.  She comes in guns ablazing (literally) in a spaceship and crashes with Gamora having to save her again.

Later on, Nebula expresses all the rage and anger she had to Gamora was because Thanos would “repair” Nebula with cybernetics when she lost to Gamora and that’s why she hated Gamora.  Nebula raged because deep down she didn’t want to win.  She wanted a sister.  And so that pain built up inside Nebula and made her what she became in the 1st Guardians film and bled into this one.  And Gamora realizes that and tells Nebula that she was just trying to survive.  She didn’t mean to hurt Nebula.  And there’s a great scene where Gamora hugs Nebula and at first Nebula is stiff but finally she returns the hug.

Nebula still carries the pain of her past.  And at the end of the film, she doesn’t let it go just yet as she jets off to go after Thanos.  And Gamora lets her know that she’s welcome with them because she is family.

We all carry pain of some kind.  We are all hurt by people.  Sometimes the pain is unintentional and sometimes unfortunately it’s very intentional.  However we are hurt, we each carry that hurt with us.  Sometimes that pain can be used for good.  We see how we are hurt and we care for others so that they do not feel that kind of pain.  Peter Quill throughout the films carries the pain of seeing his mom die and fights for others.  Nebula rages with anger at the pain she carries and while she is not the same as she was at the beginning of the first film, she still is consumed by the pain and the anger that comes from it.

Like I said earlier, what I love about this series is that at the heart of the films is hope.  Hope for change.  Even if one carries such deep pain, there is hope for change.  I am very much looking forward to Vol. 3 and seeing how the character of Nebula is carrying her pain.  Because it reminds me of the pain that I carry and how I can’t let it carry me.

Thoughts on the “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” Trailer

Today the first trailer for Episode 8 in the Star Wars Trilogy The Last Jedi released.  It was a long time waiting for a trailer compared to Episode 7 The Force Awakens.  Since this is a first trailer this is just a glimpse into what’s in store but I do have some thoughts:

1.) There is an “Empire” feel to this trailer.  It feels like Rey will have her “Dagobah” time with Luke.  From the training to the “what do you see”? I do hope at some point if it’s this film or Episode IX that she builds her own lightsaber.  Every one else in the saga has built their own lightsaber, it would make sense and only be right that she constructs a new lightsaber just for her.

2.) There looks like there will be some sweet space battles.  That was one thing lacking in The Force Awakens was great space battles.  Hopefully that will be remedied in this film.

3.) Finn in stasis (or whatever that was) reminded me of Han in carbonite freeze.  I wonder how much of Finn in this film will be still unconscious/recovering and how much will be him participating.

4.) I’m guessing there will be more Poe which hopefully will be connected to the space battles.  More time with him and Black Squadron will be a definite plus.

5.) The “Jedi to end” line is the one that has me scratching my head and partly concerned with the track of the film (and Episode IX).  Granted that’s what the director Rian Johnson wants is to leave it so vague like that.  What I hope is that it doesn’t actually mean the end of the Jedi.  I think that would be a mistake and would be wrong.  In a way if that happened, the Emperor would have succeeded.  He wanted to get rid of all the Jedi and if Luke sees to its end then what the Emperor wanted to happen would’ve happened.  Maybe it’s a moment of crisis and with Rey the Order is restored.  I don’t know.  Out of all the things in the trailer that concerns me.

There are a lot of feelings.  I think the main one (and I tweeted a GIF of it) was “What?”  There are a lot of “what?” moments.  To be honest given how things are I’m very excited but I’m also a little anxious.  It feels like trusting someone to handle a very priceless artifact and seeing them carry it to you.  You’re excited to get it but at the same time worried they might get careless and drop it.  The verdict will come in December.

Communication: Thoughts on “Arrival”

This week I picked up Arrival on Blu-Ray.  I saw the film in theaters back in November and in my “year in review” for my favorite films of 2016 said this was my film of the year.  So needless to say I was excited to watch it again (as well as all the special features documentaries).

Arrival poster

At the heart of this film is communication.  Communication between humans and aliens.  Communication between humans to each other.  The importance of having good communication.  How bad communication can be ineffective or disruptive.  Communication can be something that unites or it can be something that divides.

The main character of the film is a linguist.  Dr. Louise Banks (played by Amy Adams) is called in by the Army to help with trying to communicate with the aliens.  She is able to connect with the heptapods and after many times of meeting and struggling is able to develop a line of communication with them.  It takes time and patience to understand even the basic things that the heptapods are trying to communicate.

Louise also has to communicate with the Army to tell them why she has to be so basic with the heptapods at the start.  One scene that was apropos was when she writes on the whiteboard at the base “What is your purpose on Earth?” and then goes into description of how each word has to be understood (as well as understanding what a question is) before being able to ask the question to get an appropriate response.  But through the course of the film Louise and Ian Donnelly, a theoretical physicist (played by Jeremy Renner) are able to establish communication with the heptapods “Abbott” and “Costello”.

Arrival Louise and Ian

But it’s not just communication between the humans and the heptapods important in the film, communication between humans to each other is important.  We see the struggles between the Army and Louise and Ian.  We see it between different countries as they are sharing (or not sharing) info with their encounters with the heptapods.  We see it with the media reporting the news.  The disconnection between different countries almost lead to aggression and even to the bring of war.

We live in a world today where there is instant communication.  The internet and social media has connected people around the world in ways that were not imaginable a generation ago.  But even with this advancement in communication, there is a lot of miscommunication.  We can turn on the TV or turn on our computers and see a huge disconnect in people communicating with one another and that can lead to people getting hurt.

Even though Arrival is science fiction, there is a lot of truth in it.  We as humans long to connect with others.  But really connecting with people takes time and it’s messy because we’re broken.  Our sin makes us broken.  To really communicate is to open oneself up and share themselves.  Many times we’re scared to do that because in our vulnerability we are worried people will take advantage of that and hurt us.  It takes a level of trust to be open in communicating with someone and that comes through relationships.  Louise built a relationship with “Abbott” and “Costello” which by the end of the film not only affected her but the entire world and the heptapods as well.  She trusted the heptapods but that didn’t come overnight.  It took time and work and also sacrifice.  But in the end, that trust led to better communication.

Arrival is a very timely film and one that gets to the heart not only of who we are as people but what it means to be human.  To be human both in our virtues and our flaws.  The beauty in how God created us and the sin which hinders and hampers us.  How we struggle to communicate with one another and how that affects our relationships with one another and how we’ve been given a gift (in Jesus Christ) that can unite all people together.

I said before it was my film of the year last year and seeing it again reminds me not just how good it is as a film but how thought provoking it is.  It is a good reminder that communication is key and we all could do a better job of it.