Lazy Sunday CLXXXI: More Movies XXXIV: Portly’s Best Films, Part II

The countdown-cum-retrospective continues with my #7-#5 picks for the best films of all time.  I’m very satisfied with my picks for #6 and #5, although I think I would reconsider #7 and add it to my honorable mentions list.  I do think Krull (1983) is a fun film, but putting it among the best films is, perhaps, giving it too much credit.

Happy Sunday—and Happy Viewing!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Midweek Video Game Review: Pokémon Brilliant Diamond

Monday was the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., Day (and Robert E. Lee’s Birthday, for those so inclined), which meant that many folks here in the United States had Monday off for the federal holiday.  Yours portly was one of the many societal leeches suckling at the teat of this paid holiday, and I enjoyed it to the fullest.

While I was quietly productive on the day itself, the rest of the weekend saw me lolling about in indolence.  For whatever reason, the last couple of weeks left me exhausted, and I indulged in some relaxation Saturday and Sunday.  Besides some light housework, I kept myself occupied with an excursion back to my childhood:  Pokémon.

I managed to pick up a copy of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond, the 2021 remake of 2006’s Pokémon Diamond, last fall for half-price (around $30).  With work and lessons and what not, I hadn’t had time to play it, so I was more than a little excited to rip off the cellophane and pop this little baby into my Nintendo Switch Lite.

I vaguely remember playing some of Diamond on the Nintendo DS, but I know I didn’t finish it, and I’d forgotten a great deal of the game, beyond some of the starter Pokémon.  I have not finished the game—not by any stretch—but managed to put about eight hours into over the three-day weekend, and it was much like playing a classic Pokémon game.

That is both a good and bad thing.

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Ponty’s Top Ten Best Films: #4: Kill Bill: Volumes 1 & 2 (2003-2004)

Ponty always delivers some of the most thoughtful and poignant film reviews, and this week’s installment is no different.  He’s really nailed the essence of these films, which are properly understood as two parts of one larger film.

I’m also impressed with Ponty’s rigor in making his picks; he’s much more intentional about his choices than I am.  I’m impressed with the way he considers his picks carefully, and it’s apparent that he really struggled with what to put into this #4 slot.

But, wow, what a pick!  When these flicks came out in 2003-2004 I was just starting college, and managed to largely miss them.  I always thought (and still somewhat do think) that the title is stupid, but it does say what the flicks are about.

There’s where any stupidity ends.  The Old West meets The Mystical East, all with Uma Thurman slicing and dicing through baddies.  It’s grindhouse and kung-fu and everything trashy and awesome thrown into one super-long flick.

With that, here is Ponty’s review of 2003-2004’s Kill Bill: Volumes 1 & 2:

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Lazy Sunday CLXXX: More Movies XXXIII: Ponty’s Best Films, Part I

Last Sunday we looked at my #10, #9, and #8 picks for the best films.  Now we’re looking at Ponty’s choices for the same.  So far, I think Ponty has the better list, although I stand by (most of) my picks.

His first three are all in the horror genre, but all vastly different films.  They’re also exemplars of the genre, and are must-see films:

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Ponty’s Pen: Road Trips in the USA

Every now and then we get something for Christmas that really sparks our imaginations, allowing them to run—or, in this case, drive—wildly to other lands.  For a young Portly, it was receiving a copy of Sid Meier’s Civilization II from my aunt one Christmas.  That game opened up vast new worlds and incredible historical “what-ifs,” and was partially responsible for my decision to study and teach history for a living.

For Ponty, it’s an annual copy of Fodor’s Best Road Trips in the USA.

Travel guides have always been one of my favorite genres, too.  Sure, travelogues are more engaging and adventurous, but travel guides let us learn about places without a great deal of authorial embellishment.  We get the basics about an area, and then can put ourselves immediately into those places, imagining visiting the great sites and destinations—or the backwater burgs and forgotten byways—of the world.

Ponty captures that spirit of adventure and fun in this touching, personal, and engaging little piece about his imaginary—and, let us hope, someday real!—travels around the United States.

With that, here’s Ponty with some reflections on Christmas and road trips:

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Portly’s Top Ten Best Films: #4: The Cable Guy (1996)

The 1990s were the golden age of comedy films, churning out one classic, genre-defining masterpiece after another.  It was also the moment of Jim Carrey’s rise to comedy superstardom.

For a kid in the 1990s, Jim Carrey was a demigod.  His films were hilarious, cartoonish, madcap, irreverent, ribald, raunchy—and all must-sees.  Jim Carrey could do no wrong.

Then, in 1996—when yours portly was at the ripe old age of eleven—Jim Carrey made his first career misstep with The Cable Guy.  It still had all the great Carrey-esque antics we’d come to love, but the film’s dark comedy threw audiences and critics alike a curveball, and they weren’t quite sure what to make of it.  The flick was panned at the time, and the consensus is that it was a potential career-killer for Carrey.  Even The Simpsons decried the film as the one that “nearly ruined Jim Carrey’s career”:

But as is often the case—like with wearing masks in elementary schools and forcing toddlers to take experimental gene therapy injections—the general consensus was deadly wrong.  The Cable Guy (1996) was the best film of Jim Carrey’s 1990s output, and it’s my pick for my #4 best film.

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Lazy Sunday CLXXIX: More Movies XXXII: Portly’s Best Films, Part I

This cold, wintry season always makes me want to bundle up with a hot pizza and a cool flick.  What better way to kick back after a long day of mind-molding than with a classic gem (or a B-flick schlock-o-rama) and piping hot pie, drizzled in olive oil and dripping with cheese.  Oooooh, baby….

Erhem—but I digress.  That got me thinking that it’s time to start going back through the best films lists that Ponty and I now halfway through compiling.  Since I started off the list, I figured I’d look back at my #10, #9, and #8 picks first, then jump over to Ponty’s next week.

With that, here are the first three from my list:

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Myersvision: Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Audre Myers is offering up an unusual-for-her pick in this week’s edition of Myersvision—a comedy horror flick!  Given the time of year, it’s even more unusual, but who says yuletide can’t become ghoultide? [I originally had this review scheduled for the week leading up to Christmas, but pushed it to January due to the various Christmas movie reviews Audre, Ponty, and I wrote in December.  I liked my “ghoultide” pun too much to revise it, and it is technically still the Christmas season through 6 January 2023, Epiphany (and Audre’s birthday!). —TPP]

Ponty picked Shaun of the Dead (2004) as his Number 9 Best Film, so it’s interesting to compare his review to Audre’s.  Ponty (and myself, I should add) loves this film; Audre’s take is altogether different.

I don’t want to spoil too much of her—let’s call it “scathing”—review, but I’m going to chalk up the difference of opinion to the generation and gender gaps.  While I have known plenty of women who enjoyed Shaun of the Dead, it definitely has more of a “guy” vibe to it.  I find Pegg and Wright’s antics hilarious, and am a big fan of their so-called Cornetto Trilogy, of which Shaun is the first installment.

I also think that the title character does show some growth and transformation, going from being little more than a shuffling zombie himself to rising to the occasion to help save his friends.  The duress of a zombie outbreak forces this loser to change his ways to protect himself and his loved ones, even if he makes mistakes and reverts to old habits along the way.

But I digress.  Audre offers up a good counterbalance to the fanboyish enthusiasm of Ponty and myself.

With that, here is Audre’s review of 2004’s Shaun of the Dead:

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Myersvision: Million Pound Menu

Readers are getting a double dose of Myersvision this week, because had I stuck to the usual schedule of posting our dear Audre‘s pieces on Wednesdays, this plucky little review would have been left until midway through January 2023, and I can’t keep it from you (or Audre) that long.

Audre possesses a love for shows that require people performing at the height of their abilities in stressful situations, often with hard cash on the line.  This show sounds exactly like that, with an added twist:  the hopes and dreams of the would-be restauranteurs involved are also on the line.

Having money to invest is, surely, a wonderful thing, but it comes with the burden of investing it wisely.  We have all heard stories of friends or distant relations who made a good investment that reaped dividends in the long-run.  We’ve also heard the alternatives, where some poor cousin—usually hoping to get rich quick—has blown his savings on a buddy’s llama farm.

What makes this show sound particularly compelling is that the investors are not mega-wealthy, the types that can afford to lose a cool mill or two and not worry about their Ferrari getting repossessed.  These are people that we might call “country comfortable” that have some quid to toss around, but they can’t afford to see it all lost in a failed specialty grilled cheese restaurant in London.

Well, I’ve said too much, and prattled on too long—I think my introduction is now longer than Audre’s piece.  D’oh!

With that, here is Audre’s review of Million Pound Menu:

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