Sunday, February 13, 2005

Yet Another Top Ten List...

There is nothing more meaningless than making up 'Top Ten' lists. However, it can be quite a bit of fun, so without further ado, my 'Top Ten' movies of all time.


  2. I first saw this movie when I was 16, late one Saturday night on television. I thought it was awesome and talked about how great it was for days. Only three years later, when I was finally able to see the movie again, did I learn it was considered such a classic.


  4. It was hard to decide which one should be second, but I chose this one. This is the best and strongest illustration of what "show biz" is really like. It also features some fantastic snappy dialog, a cameo by Marilyn Monroe and arguably Bette Davis' greatest role ever.


  6. A good list should mix it up a little from node to node. So given how the first two speak of obsession and futility, I thought this classic was well placed at third. This film is the standard bearer for farcical comedy on film. This is proven by Groucho Marx's superb timing and delivery, to the ridiculous musical numbers, to the physical comedy routines that have been lifted and borrowed so many times in tribute to it.


  8. Orson Welles makes it twice to my list and why not? This movie is not well liked and is probably the first controversial pick on my list. It's generally disliked because it takes Kafka's novel and changes both the tone and theme quite liberally. I thought the end result was stunning and so apparently did Mr. Welles, he was once quoted as saying "Say what you like, but THE TRIAL is the best film I ever made".


  10. I find a lot of discussion and reviews of this film so cerebral that I don't understand what they are saying. The film itself however, is riveting. I am not an academic, I'm just a slob with an opinion. My opinion of this film is that it is best examination of mortality, religion and the question of God, ever put to film.

  11. BRAZIL

  12. I could not devise a list like this and not pay homage to Terry Gilliam. This could easily have been one of Terry's other wonderful films. I chose this one, because it was the first of his that I really began to realize how much his films mean to me. Not just thematically (where they are strong), but also just from the perspective of sitting back and enjoying a wonderful story unfold on the screen.

  13. ROPE

  14. Similar to the last entry, this is more about Hitchcock as whole than anything. However of all his work, this is my favorite. It's a skillful film technically, but it also has a fantastic story with some chilling tension and suspense. I also find it very believable, I think I know some people in my life that have it in them to pull a stunt like this.


  16. A lot of art snobs and film academics are probably thumbing their noses at this entry. However, the universal appeal of this film is undeniable. To me, there's a bevy of prison films that I find fascinating. Of all them, this is my favorite. The film's strength is Morgan Freeman, who grabs the role of narrator and polishes it to a performance that I will never forget.

  17. GANDHI

  18. I know, a very controversial choice given Casablanca, Taxi Driver, The Bicycle Thief and so many other pieces of genius work have failed to make my list. But, I am a sucker for historical epics and I am also a sucker for superb performances. I believe Ben Kingsley's performance in this film to be one of the greatest ever and since it takes place in a grand, Attenborough epic about the rise of independent India, I adore this film.


  20. I thought about Crimes and Misdemeanors here or Malcolm X. I thought about Wizard of Oz, Woman of the Year, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, Life of Brian, Maltese Falcon, The Player or even Amadeus. I haven't even mentioned Godfather, which is ridiculous given how strong that film is. Truth is, what makes these lists stupid is not what they include, but what they exclude. I chose Raging Bull again based primarily on the strength of the performance by Robert Deniro and also its unique combination of grit, horror, humor and pathos.


      On any give day any of these films could have easily made this silly list of mine, here they are in no particular order:

      • Sleuth

      • Bicycle Thief

      • Life of Brian

      • Crimes and Misdemeanors

      • Wizard of Oz

      • Malcolm X

      • Godfather I

      • Godfather II

      • Apocalypse Now

      • African Queen

      • Woman of the Year

      • Bridge over River Kwai

      • Amadeus

      • Being There

      • Rear Window

      • Arsenic and Old Lace

      • Maltese Falcon

      • The Caine Mutiny

      • Bull Durham

      • Annie Hall

      • The Player

      • Taxi Driver

      There's probably a host of other great films that elude me right now.

      Yeah the more I think of it, these lists are pretty silly after all.

    Light and Meaningless

    My last two blog entries were kind of heavy and preachy. I can get that way sometimes.

    So I am going to make this one rather light and quite meaningless. Here are ten things I can think of that fit that bill:

    1. I like City of Heroes more than World of Warcraft.

    2. I like the Seattle Seahawks football team, despite their utter lack of success for 29 years.

    3. My kids are awesome, and yes, I know all parents say that.

    4. I watch Charlie Rose sometimes, especially if he has a good guest.

    5. My wife made me a scrabbled egg bagel today with cheese. It tastes better than an Egg McMuffin.

    6. I don't like reading books. That upsets a lot of people when I say that, but I just don't. I think its because I used to read all the time when I was a kid.

    7. I can see Puget Sound and downtown Seattle from my living room window.

    8. I can see Mount Rainier on a clear day too from the same window.

    9. I have this ridiculous collection of D&D Miniatures. Which makes me the biggest nerd I have ever met.

    10. The thing is, I like being a nerd. In fact, I've done it for so long, I think I've learned how to be quite happy as one. That also upsets some people when I say that.

    Wednesday, February 09, 2005

    Atheism is a Faith of its Own

    I am an atheist. It took a while to get here, I was agnostic for a long time, but I'm an atheist now and that provides a great deal of comfort to me.

    I have respect of course, for all religious philosophy and I'm not so obsessed with my atheism that I need to mock or cajole other religions. My 'faith' brings me comfort and that's enough for me.

    Yes, I did just say 'faith', because ultimately any personal answer to the question of God, requires faith, yes, even atheism.

    Ultimately the 'science' behind life's existence will never be exact, but you can't prove or disprove God's existence with logic anyway.

    Ultimately, the question of whether you think God exists or not, isn't really a scientific question at all. It's a philosophical question. As such, it should be intepreted by the individual, for the purpose of finding 'peace' and a personal outlook on the universe as a whole.

    Does God exist? If you answer "I don't know", I am not so sure (with all due respect) that you fully understand the question.

    You probably *do know*, you just need to search your heart for the answer. It may not be important enough for you to conduct that search and that's fine, I respect that, but the answer to the question is there and it lies within you.

    My answer to the question, after some thought and reflection is NO, God does not exist.

    That answer gives me great peace, great solitude and provides me with a framework with which to conduct my life. It's this peace, that lets me know I've found the right answer, at least for myself. I wouldn't dare inflict it on someone else.

    How do I know God does not exist? Because, I couldn't live in a world where God did exist, it would be, without meaning to me, and life would lose a lot of its beauty and purpose. Basically I have faith that she doesn't exist, its as simple as that.

    You might notice these answers are similar to what a religious devotee would offer to his or her own faith. That's why and how I can respect all those with religious sentiments.

    The question of God cannot be proven or disproven scientifically, because as I say, God isn't a scientific question to begin with, its a personal and philosophical one.

    The 'truth' that is arrived by so many of us, be it Christianity, Islam or in my case Atheism, is a personal truth. It speaks to us, it comforts us and thus we adopt it. Sometimes its adopted through generations of tradition, sometimes its adopted after a personal search to the answer. Either way, the answer is valid.

    The key, in my opinion is not to promote that truth as universal, or suggest it is the singular answer to what ultimately is a very personal question.

    So if you are reading this and you think I am out to lunch, or my viewpoint is senseless, or flawed, then good for you. It means you are already adopting or sticking to your own religious convictions, whatever they may be and I personally think that can be a very healthy thing.

    Just don't try to convert me to your own philosophy. It won't work for me, mostly because the one I have now, suits me just fine and provides me with the peace I need to conduct life the best way I know how.

    That answer, as I say, for me personally, is atheism.

    Thursday, February 03, 2005

    Right vs. Left

    I want the right and the left to stop screaming in my ear.

    It seems to me if you are left wing or liberal or whatever term you want to use, then you seem to want to endlessly preach the following:

    1. Republicans are evil and just want to make lots of money

    2. The war on terror, is being usurped to send the US into tyranny and corporate fascism.

    3. Bush, Rice, Rumsfeldt, Cheney and the so called "Neo-Conservatives" are all idiots. They are also evil and cannot be trusted in any shape or form. (NOTE: Seems to me, the left always insinuates that people right of the spectrum are less intelligent than they are. I find that most insulting of all).

    4. You seem to suggest constantly, that Republicans want to pollute and destroy the Earth and sometimes suggest there is a massive conspiracy, to keep people on the right side of the spectrum in power.

    Turning the tables to the other side, it seems to me, that if you are right wing, then you seem to want to preach endlessly that:

    1. The left hate America and blame America for everything.

    2. The left are naive, foolish and don't know how the "real world" works.

    3. The left are Godless, faithless, cheat on their spouses and cannot be trusted in any shape or form. (NOTE: The right always insinuate the left is immoral and out of touch with how "real" America feels, I find that most insulting of all).

    4. The left just want to tax everyone so they can get rich. They are evil liberals who live in the Northeast US, they hate everyone and think they are better than everyone else.

    You know quite frankly, I'm sick of both of you. The next time I read a political column I'd like it to be about ideas, solutions and analysis, why is that so hard to find these days?

    It's not sports, its not "us vs. them," its not Packers vs. Bears, its not Arsenal vs. Chelsea. Its political dialogue and it seems sadly lacking in real thought and analysis these days.

    So, I have news for the so-called left and right of this country:

    I find the notion, that one prevailing side of the political fence is always right, while the other is always wrong to be childish and quite frankly, tiresome.

    Liberals, please shut up, you don't own the patent on human compassion, mercy, charity and progressive thought.

    Conservatives, please shut up, you don't own the patent on patriotism, common sense, thrift and morale values.

    I wish I could send both of you to bed with no supper, until you can learn to play together like human beings, with respect and tolerance for those who don't think like you do.

    I Am a Raible God

    I am a Raible God.

    I am on a Raible card, for real, no lies.

    Alas, I cannot tell you what that actually means, what card it is, or how it got there. That would get people in trouble.

    But trust me, I am on a Raible card, for real. Thus, I am a Raible God.