Top 10 Food Fiascos in Film

There are some foods you should read the label on before you buy. Fortunately for characters in films they usually have a man with a white beard and words of wisdom to warn them not to eat that food. And inevitably, they do. Here are some of the most memorable and iconic shouldn’t-have-swallowed scenes in cinematic history. They’re not the best because of the number of victims they reap, but the ones that make us clutch our throats or laugh till our stomachs hurt even after the movie is over.


Young Ofelia must go through many trials in a mythological underworld to help her sick mother recover. One trial is where she must pass a feast table full of delicious food, and not to take a single bite. It’s easier promised than done, as she must pass gourmet roasts, berry pies, and exotic fruits piled on gold and silver dishes. After she has fetched the magical item and ensured that the frozen monster is harmless, she eats a grape. And then she eats another, and another, as the monster staggers to life, pushes bloodshot eyes into its hands and staggers up behind her for its meal.


You can’t eat that candy, you can’t have that cake. For some reason the acquisition of sweets is a huge theme in Matilda. Bruce Bogtrotter filched a slice of cake belonging to the school president. And worse, he did it from Trunchbull who is one of the most villainous school presidents of all. She’s beefy, she’s tyrannical, and she locks kids in a nail studded closet when they get on either of her bad sides. Happily, this cake eating ends in Bruce’s victory as he waves his plate triumphantly and the school roars with approval. However, the audience will still be groaning as he eats bite after nauseous bite.


Alice has carelessly eaten more food in Wonderland. In this case, it’s a bowl of cookies and sweets that, with each bite, makes her grow larger. The white rabbit gets to his house in time to see that a large-as-life Alice has taken up his entire abode. Does Wonderland food have a unique effect on Alice? Or did the white rabbit carelessly leave his growth candy in a bowl for guests, rather than locked tightly in a closet? It takes a vulture, a lizard, a rabbit and his carrot to finally free Alice from the house. Always make sure to eat your vegetables.


Throughout the Harry Potter movies and the books we see Dumbledore as wiser than Merlin, stronger than a dragon, and touting a heart of gold. So it’s all the more tragic when we watch this great wizard crying for death as he drinks a weakening poison. It makes him relive his worst memories. And Harry has to help him do it, even tricking him into taking one horrible swallow after another. And yet afterwards weakened and exhausted, Dumbledore still manages to fight off an army of reanimated corpses. This is the only consumer on this list who knew full well the suffering he was about to endure, and did it for the greater good.


Tim Burton just couldn’t resist doing an exact transformation of the 1973 cinematic version of Violet Beauregarde turning into a blimp-like human blueberry. While Burton took many other liberties with the woeful fates of the children touring his chocolate factor, we got to watch twice Violet foolishly chewing the experimental three-course gum and expanding the exact same way. She chewed and chewed until her face turned blue and she swelled up. In the end, the real first laugh was when we got to see Mel Stuart’s Oompa Loompas rolling Violet (an ominous name, to be sure) out the door.


Avid readers have read time and again Edmund falling prey to the enchanting addition of the witch’s sweets. The movie does its fair share of justice to this and then some as Edmund closes his eyes in ecstasy, gobbling down each piece with growing obsession. He doesn’t notice how the White Witch is staring at him entrancingly, or that once he is finished with the drinks and sweets they revert back into snow. One wonders whether it was a strict diet or moral reversal that put him on the right path. More than one person has tried Turkish delight after seeing Edmund eating it as if it were the end of the world.


Spirited Away is made by the best anime film director Hayao Miyazaki, in which Chihiro’s family wanders into the spirit world. There, her parents start gobbling delicious food. Chihiro wisely refuses to eat the food. It’s seemingly unattended as her father assures his daughter, “Don’t worry, you’ve got Daddy here. He’s got credit cards and cash.” It’s too bad he didn’t have some pig-reversal cure, which Chihiro has to earn by working at a spa resort run by the evil witch Yubaba. Her parents are left to await a crispy, fried end if she doesn’t. That’s what you get for gobbling up other people’s food like pigs.


The only magical element about the poisoned wine in Princess Bride is the intellectual monologue delivered by the crafty, squinty-eyed Vizzini. In a movie where Westley must out-fence an expert swordsmen and tackle a giant, it’s only fitting his last challenge is a battle of wits. Westley challenges the villain to guess which goblet of wine is poisoned, at which time they’ll both drink. Vizzini goes through a comical speculation of roundabout logic, which ends when he does the old switcheroo with Westley at the last second. When they drink Vizzini starts laughing in triumph, only to fall dead with a grin on his face.


Snow White’s poisoned apple is a kinder version of Eve eating the fruit of the devil. Snow White doesn’t know that this woman is up to no good… but shouldn’t she? As the witch snickers wickedly, and gestures with claw-like fingers she not only looks evil but speaks evilly. Between wishing for a prince and holding the juicy apple, we see the dwarves and various forest animals rushing to warn her. When Snow White finally succumbs to the poison it’s all the more dramatic when we only hear her dying voice off screen, and then it abruptly cuts to her dead, limp hand. Snow White has made millions of viewers urging Snow White to not take that bite.


The real Holy Grail will cure any mortal wound. One of the many false grails will turn you into Christopher Lloyd from Back to the Future if he achieves the age of 150. If his vocal chords weren’t deteriorating perhaps Donovan would have said, “Now I know why you had me drink it first!” This is one of the most iconic moments in the Indiana Jones series as Walter Donovan drinks from a jewel studded, golden grail rather than the grail of the ‘penitent man.’ And since Indiana Jones is one of the most iconic action series of all time, this is among the greats of drink-gone-wrong scenes. He chose poorly.

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15 Great Short Films

Over the last century, cinema has played an increasingly important role in popular culture, combining visual media, soundtrack, and dialogue to mix together three of the biggest components of art: visual art, music and prose. However, with all the attention given to feature length films, short film is often overlooked. These tiny little gems tell marvelous stories in a distinctly short time, making them the visual equivalent of a good short story, a small morsel that can really be viewed and appreciated without devoting hours of your time. This is by no means the best in short film, because it is possibly even more subjective than feature-length film appreciation, but these 15 shorts are all worth a look. WARNING: Some offensive language, adult themes and mild nudity follow

A very eerie, surreal film along the lines of David Lynch. This is a challenging insight into a bleak, unstable world that exists within the realm of imagination, but aside from its absolute insanity, it’s very well done.

This is a short moral-based film that was made in Australia, and won the Melbourne Film Award. It carries some religious overtones, but is still thought-provoking.

This is a beautiful little film that touches on concepts of mortality. It is very well made, and quite moving, although somewhat sad.

Although based upon fairly adult concepts, this is not a particularly visual film, but rather uses dialogue and implied visuals to tell a passionate story.

A fairly light-heartened, fast-paced film. It is remarkably well put together, and is very unique. The camera-work is particularly stunning.

A short, but heart-warming animation from Pixar. Although this one is quite well-known, and over ten years old, it does not fade with age, and is brilliant in each retelling. A remarkable piece of work.

Winner of a French short film festival, this is a very light-hearted comedy/action animation, which retells part of the Matrix story, with a slight difference. Full of humour, but never breaking its film-noir backdrop, this is a great little film.

Almost certainly the most celebrated Pixar short, this is widely-received as one of the best animated shorts ever. Very well made, and very humorous, this can be enjoyed by all ages.

Another unique and bizarre film, this follows a Halloween story… from the perspective of the pumpkin. It is quite funny in its utter bizarreness, and has won numerous awards in its time.

The story of the little bird that could (not entirely unlike the little country that could it originates from) this follows the plight of a kiwi, and shows that even the biggest of dreams can be realized. This is my favorite animated short by far.

A fairly recent (2000) film, despite the cinematography, it averages 2 frames per second, and pays homage to the old silent movies with their black and white cinematography, lack of dialogue and grainy quality. Quite simply, one of the best and most unique short films ever made.

A simple, heart-warming Spanish short film. This is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, no matter how bad a day you’ve had. It’s simplicity is its hook, it has no fancy techniques, just a tale to tell.

Before 300, Gerard Butler was the star of this award-winning short film, starring as a the protagonist in this emotional film. It is an amazing film, and it is in no way difficult to see why it has won awards.

Another award winner, this quaint little film follows the antics of the staff at a supermarket during the night shift. It is unequalled for originality, artistic quality and execution.

One of my personal favorite short films, this was ranked as Europe’s best short film. It is a very moving, brilliantly filmed film, the majority of which is filmed in one, long take. You will think about this film long after its conclusion.

This was included in a piano-related list a month or two ago, but this time it merits entry for the video used. A lovely creation.

Contributor: carpe_noctem

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10 Movie Sets That Came With A Curse Or Ghost

There is always a buzz of activity on a movie set. Directors, actors, and stage hands work tirelessly to make the set come to life on screen. Sometimes, however, a different kind of energy takes over—one that makes everyone pause for a moment as the hairs rise on the backs of their necks. This list names 10 instances where people involved in certain movies have experienced a taste of the bizarre. Some are no longer alive to tell their tale.


1- waterworld

Waterworld was supposed to be the Avatar of the ’90s. Starting out with a budget far below $5 million, the movie ended up costing around $200 million. So clearly it was a blockbuster, right? Not even close—Waterworld only made $88 million at the box office in 1995.

The movie ran into trouble right from the start. The first producer, Roger Corman, was used to working with a low budget, and when he saw that the movie would need sets that could float, he passed up the opportunity to work on it. He couldn’t fathom the budget of the film going over $5 million. They ended up spending that amount just on the main set.

Furthermore, bad luck seemed to be stalking the Waterworld production: Cast and crew suffered seasickness. One of the sets floated away and got stuck underwater. Strong winds brought filming to a halt on more than one occasion. Kevin Costner’s stunt double nearly lost his life while doing a diving stunt. Crew members were stung by jellyfish. On top of all this, the crew members’ unions demanded compensation for what it described as labor violations. It’s a wonder the movie made it to the big screen at all.

9The Passion Of The Christ

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They say that lightning never strikes twice. Well, tell that to the guy who did get struck twice by lightning while filming The Passion of the Christ—Jan Michelini, assistant director on the set.

The main actor, Jim Caviezel, had his own problems as well. He had a piece of his flesh ripped out during the “fake” whipping scene, and he dislocated his shoulder while carrying the wooden cross. Caviezel was also struck by lightning—smoke literally came out of his ears, to the shock of others of the set. Witnesses of the incident said that Caviezel’s whole body looked like it was illuminated.

And it doesn’t end there. Caviezel also suffered hypothermia, a lung infection, and severe pneumonia while filming. He also got terrible headaches and skin infections because of the long make up sessions he had to sit through.

8The Possession

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The Possession is an unconventional horror movie that includes rabbis and a cursed Dybbuk box that attaches itself to a young girl. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, one of the stars, is no stranger to playing roles in paranormal flicks or TV series. He is well known for his role as the dad on Supernatural. Morgan has been an actor for 25 years now and has never had anything weird happen while filming a movie. That is, until he started working on The Possession.

Morgan admits to being a skeptic, but couldn’t help being freaked out by some of the things that happened on set. This included lights exploding for no good reason and chilly breezes wafting through closed sets. It only seemed to happen when integral scenes were in the process of being filmed.

The creepiest incident, however, was when the storage facility where all the props were being stored caught fire and burned to the ground. An investigation into the blaze confirmed that it could not be blamed on arson or an electrical fault. The Dybbuk box used in the movie was destroyed in the fire. There is, of course, a real-life Dybbuk box out there, and its owners offered to bring it to the set. Being as spooked as they were, the cast and crew refused to allow the box anywhere near them.

7The Matrix

Shots from the set of The Matrix

What is known as the “Curse Of The Matrix” culminated in a heartbreaking fashion when star Keanu Reeves’s girlfriend, Jennifer Syme, gave birth to a stillborn. Unable to cope with the loss, they broke up soon after. Not long after the breakup, Syme died in a car accident. Shortly after this tragedy, 22-year-old Aaliyah lost her life in a plane crash. She was in the middle of filming her role as Zee in the movie. This tragic event threw everything off course, and filming was postponed by a few months.

Not long after, another cast member passed away—Gloria Foster, who played the role of The Oracle. At one point during all this drama, Reeves himself landed in the hospital after a motorbike accident. Later during filming, he went right back to the hospital after sustaining a foot injury on set. His sister also suffered a relapse in her struggle against leukemia, and Reeves rushed to be with her.

The cost of making the film also continued to spiral to the point where Keanu Reeves agreed to sign away $24 million of his own paycheck to keep the entire production from collapsing. Luckily, the movie did very well at the box office despite the bad luck that haunted it.

6The Ghost Of Goodnight Lane

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This horror movie was inspired by a haunted movie set owned by Media World Company in Texas. The producer of the film, Alin Bijan, knew that the staff had had visions of an unknown male while on set. Film equipment was moved when no one was around, and someone even got a slap in the face by an unseen hand. These types of unnerving incidents had been going on for quite a while. Bijan confirmed that he and his crew actually kept a record of all the unexplained incidents. In 2010, paranormal investigators confirmed that the set was haunted based on the results from several tests and EVP recordings.

The producer was inspired by this and started working on the script for The Ghost of Goodnight Lane. He also thought it would be a good idea to use the same haunted set to film the movie. The cast and crew reported flickering lights while they were on set, as well as fixtures falling from the ceiling without warning. Perhaps the creepiest of all, some of the crew heard their names being called by disembodied voices.

5The Omen

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Most people would agree that the kid who played the role of Damien in the 1975 version of The Omen was seriously creepy. The movie is seriously creepy, too. It relates the story of an American ambassador who gets the shock of a lifetime when he realizes that his son (Damien) is no ordinary boy. He just so happens to be the Antichrist.

Unfortunately, bad things didn’t only happen in the movie, but on set as well. The tragedies began when the son of Gregory Peck, who had the lead role, committed suicide two months before filming was scheduled to start.

When production started, a crew member was in a car accident. Luckily, he survived. The scriptwriter’s plane was struck by lightning, then the plane in which Gregory Peck and the executive producer of the movie were traveling was also struck just eight hours later.

In a tragic turn of events, the crew decided to hire a private plane to use in a couple of scenes. However, their scheduled flight had to be postponed because a couple businessmen needed it. Just after takeoff, something went wrong and the plane crashed onto a road, hitting a car which then crashed at high speed into another vehicle. Everyone involved in the accident was killed.


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Over the years, plenty of tragedies and accidents have been blamed on the “Batman curse.” The Colorado cinema shooting in which 12 people died was the most recent and one of the most famous: Moviegoers were just getting into the action of a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises when a gunman wearing a gas mask suddenly got up and set off a tear gas canister, then began firing into the crowd.

Four years earlier, the sudden death of Heath Ledger shocked Hollywood and the world. Ledger played the role of the Joker in The Dark Knight. Jack Nicholson warned him against taking the role, but Ledger found out the hard way that this was no easy part to play. He averaged only two hours of sleep a night and was fighting a battle against depression. Ledger also kept a diary to help him prepare for the Joker role. Chillingly, he wrote the words “Bye Bye” on the last page next to a photo of himself in the Joker makeup.

On the set, a technician died in a truck accident while filming a stunt. A stunt double lost her balance and crashed into filming equipment during a scene. Luckily, she was not injured.

The curse of Batman didn’t stop here—in 2008, Morgan Freeman was in a serious car accident. Adding insult to injury, he and his wife separated and filed for divorce not long after.

3The Ghost Whisperer

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Granted, The Ghost Whisperer isn’t a movie, but technically they still use a set to film on. And this set is said to be haunted. Or at least, that’s what Jennifer Love Hewitt told Ellen Degeneres in 2007. She even had footage to back up her claim.

Jennifer was busy shooting a scene of the popular TV series when the film crew noticed something strange going on behind her. It seemed like something was moving around in a shadowy spot just over her shoulder. Eager to find out what it was, they replayed the footage that had just been filmed. To their shock, they saw what looked like a ghost turning around right behind Jennifer. It all happened in just a few seconds.

Other instances of paranormal activity on the set included cast and crew members feeling something tug on their clothes. Hewitt herself felt something tug at her dress. Some of the lights moved around on their own, and one or two even exploded over actors’ heads. Objects vanished without a trace only to turn up elsewhere. Jennifer confirmed that these events have made other actors and actresses think twice about agreeing to play a guest role on the show.

2The Conjuring

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This horror movie is based on the true story of the Perron family, who experienced unexplained ghostly activity in their home in Rhode Island in the ’70s. The family actually visited the movie set a few times, but could not convince Carolyn Perron to set foot near the place. Carolyn is the wife and mother in the family.

Strange events surrounded the making of the movie. Once, while the Perron family were on set, a strong wind came up and seemed to swirl around them. Members of crew standing nearby noticed that the trees just opposite them were not moving. At the same time, Carolyn, who stayed home in Atlanta, felt a strange, evil presence in her house. The next moment she fell down and had to be taken to the hospital.

Things went from bad to worse. Just a couple days later, the hotel the actors and movie crew were staying in caught fire and everyone had to be evacuated.

James Wan, the director of the film, recalls working late in his office one evening when his dog started growling at something. Getting up to investigate, Wan couldn’t find anything that would antagonize the dog. However, the puppy kept growling and seemed to focus on an unseen entity across the room.

Vera Farmiga, who plays the role of a paranormal investigator in the movie, refused to take the script home with her as she said it made her feel uneasy. She also couldn’t read it at night because she became paralyzed by fear whenever she tried. She remembers opening her laptop once and seeing three slashes across the screen, as if some creature had dragged its paw across it.

1The Amityville Horror

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The first Amityville movie was made in 1979 and starred James Brolin. It was also based on a true story. Brolin was not too keen on doing the movie and only accepted it after something strange happened. While reading the script in the early hours of the morning and getting to a frightening part of the story, a pair of Brolin’s pants suddenly fell off a hanger, causing Brolin to leap out of his chair in terror.

The movie was remade in 2005. Just before filming was due to start, a dead body washed up on shore right by the movie set. Ryan Reynolds starred in the remake and claimed that members of the crew kept waking up at a quarter past three each morning while filming. This was also the time that the real murders took place.

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Top 10 White Collar Criminals In Cinema

The term white collar crime was coined by Professor Edwin Sutherland in 1939, and defined as ‘a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation’. The ‘high social status’ of white collar criminals means that the effects of their crimes are usually a lot further reaching than those of the average street thug. Cinema has depicted many white collar criminals, from unscrupulous share traders to scheming industrialists. These are ten of the most memorable and Machiavellian white collar criminals the movies have ever given us.

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Dan Mahowny is modeled on the real-life Brian Molony, who stole $10 million from the Canadian bank at which he worked to fund his gambling addiction. The film’s Mahowny is entrusted with access to multi-million dollar accounts, which he steals from to fund regular gambling expeditions to Atlantic City. Treated like a celebrity by casino owner Victor Foss (John Hurt), Mahowny’s actions become increasingly reckless as his employers and girlfriend Belinda (Minnie Driver) come ever closer to discovering his secret.

Fun With Dick And Jane - 3 - 450 - Jim Carrey And Alec Baldwin

Both 1997’s original Fun with Dick and Jane, and the 2005 remake, depict upper-middle-class couples whose desire to maintain their lifestyles in difficult financial circumstances drives them to madcap crime sprees. The remake saw the titular couple lose their jobs at the Globodyne corporation, as its share value goes into meltdown, parodying the real-life collapse of Enron. The film version manages to find a happy ending, with Dick and Jane tricking Jack McCallister (Alec Baldwin), the unscrupulous CEO responsible for the company’s collapse, into signing a cheque that reimburses the pension funds of all the former Globodyne employees. It’s a shame real-life white collar criminals aren’t this easily duped.


This film adaptation of a David Mamet play depicts the machinations at a real estate company when the owner’s lackey, Blake (Alec Baldwin), announces that all but the top two salesmen will soon be fired. Slick top-seller, Roma, preys on clients weaknesses and cons them into deals they can ill-afford. Struggling to compete with Roma, and desperate to keep up payments for his sick daughter’s medical care, Levene resorts to breaking into the office and stealing strong sales leads. The scheming of both men winds up destroying them, as manager John Williamson (Kevin Spacey) hands them just enough rope to hang themselves. The stellar cast make the most of Mamet’s sharp-witted, foul-mouthed dialogue in a searing indictment of unscrupulous sales tactics.

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Ukranian-American gunrunner, Yuri Orlov, does business with dictators and drug lords, capitalizing on situations like the dissolution of the Soviet Union to acquire his arsenal. Few films deal with the massive global arms trade, and Lord of War drew the support of Amnesty International for highlighting it. The immorality of Orlov’s profession is apparent as he supplies weapons to both sides during the 1982 war in Lebanon. Though Orlov begins to question the morality of his actions in typical Hollywood fashion, the film maintains a bleak and realistic worldview. Orlov is eventually apprehended by Interpol agent, Jack Valentine (Ethan Hawke). Orlov’s claims that the governments of the world’s leading nations regard his profession as a necessary evil is soon proven true, with Orlov being quickly released. The film is a rarity in mainstream cinema, as it is heavily critical of the roles the world’s most powerful nations play in international politics.


White collar crime doesn’t necessarily mean non-violent crime. As with the Brett Easton Ellis book on which it’s based, the film chronicles the obsessions of Wall Street hotshot Patrick Bateman, which include eighties pop music, business cards and murdering colleagues, prostitutes and kittens. This dark satire of materialism and superficiality features many surreally memorable moments, such as Bateman discussing his preference for the sound of Huey Lewis and the News’ earlier songs as he butchers a workmate. Bale plays the narcissistic American Psycho with aplomb. The only time Bateman betrays the slightest hint of emotion is when a colleague shows him the slick design of his new business card.


Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film tells the incredible real-life story of Frank Abagnale Jr. Running away from home following his parents’ divorce, the teenage Abagnale funds a lavish lifestyle through an incredible aptitude for confidence tricks and cheque fraud. Abagnale eventually finds himself pursued by FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks). By the time Hanratty finds Abagnale in France, he’s conned his way into millions of dollars, and has posed as everything from a doctor to an airline pilot. Abagnale is so good at what he does that he lands a job creating unforgeable cheques that pays million following his inevitable arrest.

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Rivalling Patrick Bateman in terms of sheer sickness, Noah Cross is a wealthy industrialist involved an elaborate plot to dump gallons of water, whilst 1930s Los Angeles suffers a drought. Private investigator J.J. Gittes (Jack Nicholson) begins working for a woman claiming to be the wife of the L.A. Department of Power and Water’s chief engineer, Hollis Mulwray (Darrell Zwerling). His initial brief is to discover whether Mulwray is having an affair, but the film’s labyrinthine twists and turns eventually lead Gittes to discover Cross’ scheme and disturbing secrets. The finest film of director Roman Polanski’s oeuvre, Chinatown is perhaps the bleakest and most unsettling detective movie ever made, thanks in no small part to the twisted truths Gittes eventually discovers about Noah Cross.


Few white collar crimes shocked the world to the degree the Watergate scandal did. The film follows Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) and Bob Woodward (Robert Redford), as they put their careers and the Post’s reputation on the line to uncover the truth about a break-in at the Watergate Hotel offices of the Democratic Party. Piece-by-piece, they discover enough information to implicate President Nixon in the burglary and force his resignation. This is the brilliantly told true-story of the bravest and boldest investigative journalism the world has ever known. The shockwaves this sent through American culture can still be felt, with every scandal that has broken since being tagged with the ‘-gate’ suffix.


Gecko’s ‘greed is good’ mantra has become the ultimate symbol of eighties excess and the original Wall Street encompasses all that is right and wrong about the ‘g’ word’. Ambitious young stockbroker, Bud (Charlie Sheen), idolizes Gecko and gives him inside information on the airline at which his father, Carl (Martin Sheen) works. Gecko takes Bud under his wing and soon brings him all the trappings of success. Bud is eventually torn between two father figures as Gecko plans to takeover and tear apart the airline. Gecko’s greed finally undoes him as Bud chooses blood over money and initiates a chain of events that sends them both to prison. Gecko is released in the sequel Money Never Sleeps, assured of a place as cinema’s most convincing financial bad boy.

Large Tobacco

White collar crimes that bring down presidents, make hundreds of millions or require the implied consent of the world’s governments may seem big, but the crime at the heart of The Insider is bigger. Over a thousand million people worldwide smoke cigarettes. The Insider tells the true story of reporter Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) and tobacco company employee Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe). Wigan knows that the CEOs of the seven main tobacco companies that make up the grouping known as ‘Big Tobacco’ have committed perjury in denying any knowledge of nicotine’s addictiveness before the United States Congress. Bergman eventually convinces Wigand to go public and appear on 60 Minutes. The power of Big Tobacco becomes apparent as the interview is initially only allowed to be shown in massively edited form. Bergman himself turns whistleblower, and exposes the television network’s censorship to the press. The crime at the core of The Insider simply has to top this list due to the staggering percentage of the world’s population that can be considered Big Tobacco’s victims.

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Top 10 Face-offs in Fiction To Make You Cry

Almost every story has an ultimate showdown. The hero and the villain having their last hooray, two old friends finally settling their differences, or even a family squabble. The best confrontations have more than just fists swinging; they have emotional weight behind them. Characters involved often have everything riding on it; they’ve been through hell and put each other there. What follows is a list of some of fiction’s best Final Showdowns that are jam packed with feeling.

Naturally this list has its fair share of spoilers. If you see a title for an entry and don’t want it ruined, skip it!


After the death of Simba’s father Mufasa, the young king-to-be gets a serious case of survivor’s guilt and, following the advice of his uncle Scar, exiles himself to a jungle far from home. While Simba learns to live a life of peace with his good friends Timon (a meerkat) and Pumbaa (a warthog), Scar has taken to ruling the roost back at Pride Rock. Over several years Scar and his hyena cohorts slowly work the pride to near starvation, hunting more than they need and ultimately ruining the land for miles around.

Eventually Simba runs into an old friend and fellow lion, Nala. Nala pleads with Simba to come home and take his rightful place as king. Simba, having become a free-spirited bachelor of the jungle, denies his heritage, refusing to return and leaving Nala to head back to the pride solo. Fortunately another old friend, the baboon Rafiki, soon catches up with Simba and teaches him some import life lessons.

Upon Simba’s return to Pride Rock he finds a barren wasteland, the citizens miserable and his uncle Scar ruling with an iron paw. A confrontation ensues, Scar blaming Simba for the death of Mufasa, a fact he doesn’t deny, as he still feels guilty all these years on. With the pride watching on, Scar backs Simba to the high edge of Pride Rock causing the young lion to slip. Remembering his brother’s death by way of cliff face, Scar quietly confesses it was in fact he who killed Mufasa. Fueled with a newfound thirst for vengeance, Simba leaps up and pins Scar to the ground, forcing the older lion to confess his crime.

What follows is an almighty battle between Simba’s pride and Scar’s army of hyenas. While the battle and fiery storm rage around them, the two kings trade blows atop the peak of Pride Rock. Fueled by the truth of Scar’s various wrong-doings, the least of which not being the wrongful guilt he’s carried for years for his father’s demise, Simba finally defeats his uncle, kicking him clean off Pride Rock. In the end, Scar’s desire to rule couldn’t match Simba’s fury and noble cause.

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While not a rivalry between two characters, this showdown is definitely one of the more emotional in fiction due more in no small part to what occurs around it, than directly in it. A member of Rome’s mighty Thirteenth Legion, Titus Pullo is their most brutish, insubordinate and violent legionnaire. He’s also tremendously skilled in the ways of battle and is a solider through and through, living life to its fullest – drinking, fighting and whoring his way to legend. Over the course of the series, Pullo slowly makes an uneasy friendship with his superior officer, Lucius Vorenus.

Despite their vastly different personalities, Vorenus and Pullo get in a series of grand adventures, becoming brothers through battles, triumphs and great personal loss. After falling in love with a slave girl who he’d once rescued and is now owned by Vorenus, Pullo frees her with the intent to make her his bride. Unfortunately, it turns out the slave girl is already engaged to a fellow slave. Less than pleased with the news Pullo kills the slave girl’s fiancée. An argument follows between Vorenus and Pullo and the once mighty warrior of the Thirteenth soon finds himself on the street.

Pullo takes work as a hitman but lacks the finesse needed for such an underworld occupation and quickly gets arrested. As punishment for his heinous crime Pullo is sentenced to death in the arena. Vorenus, still furious at his friend, is given strict instruction by Caesar himself to not intervene. Accepting his fate, Pullo refuses to fight, at the behest of the gladiators. The gladiators provoke Pullo, but it’s not until they begin to insult the Thirteenth Legion he finally takes a stand. What follows is one of the bloodiest and most brutal fights in TV history, Pullo butchering every man sent before him.

As Pullo fights screaming ‘Thirteenth’ to the crowd over and over again, his friend and brother-in-arms Vorenus watches heartbreakingly from the sidelines. Pullo is soon bested by a giant gladiator, disarmed and near death. Unable to watch his best friend killed, Vorenus leaps into the arena and fights the giant warrior, saving Pullo. Vorenus and Pullo stagger from the arena to the cheers of an excited crowd.


At the tender age of 11, young Inigo Montoya lived in Spain with his father Domingo, a great sword maker. One day, Domingo was approached by a nobleman, the six fingered Count Rugen. Rugen commissioned Domingo to make him a custom sword, a project Domingo took on with great pride and passion. When the sword was complete, Rugen reneged on the original price and as a matter of principal, Domingo refused to sell it. This moral stand angered the count, and he cut down Inigo’s father. The young boy attempted to fight the count, but was quickly defeated and given a scar for his trouble.

Swearing revenge, Inigo spent many years training under some of the world’s greatest swordsmen. After over a decade of training, Inigo begins to search for his father’s killer. The search is long and ultimately fruitless, leading the young swordsman to fall into a deep depression. Drinking away his troubles Inigo becomes entangled with a group of criminals, and they are hired to kidnap ‘the princess bride.’

While hunting the princess bride, Inigo faces off against a man named Wesley, who it is attempting to rescue the princess. Wesley, amazingly, defeats Inigo at swordplay but allows him to live. Depressed at the defeat Inigo resorts to drink, only being set right again by his good friend and fellow criminal, the giant Fezzik. Fezzik and Inigo go on to rescue Wesley, saving his life and the three decide to go after the evil Prince Humperdinck directly. As luck would have it, Count Rugen happens to work for the evil Prince and Inigo finally gets his shot at revenge.

Uttering the now famous words ‘My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.’ The young swordsman chases Rugen through Humperdinck’s castle, his vengeance seemingly assured until Rugen stabs Inigo. Defeated for what appears to be the final time, at the hands of his father’s killer no less, Inigo watches as the six fingered count readies his killing attack. Instead of immediately killing Inigo however, Rugen takes a moment to poke fun at the young man’s life long quest for revenge thus giving Inigo the fuel he needs to block Rugen’s assault. The two enter into one of cinema’s most powerful duels.

Inigo repeats his words, dueling with the count, matching his every blow. Again and again Inigo repeats the same phrase causing Count Rugen to angrily respond ‘Stop saying that!’ only to receive two skillful stab wounds from the younger swordsman. Inigo then toys with the count, telling him to offer him money, offer him anything he asks for. The count complies ‘Anything you want!’ he says, desperate to live, Inigo then stabs Count Rugen directly in the belly and say ‘I want my father back, you son of bitch.’ Then drives home the final, vengeful blow.


Anakin Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi were Jedi a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Recruited at a young age into the Jedi order by Obi Wan’s master, Qui Gon Jin, Anakin is thought to ‘bring balance to The Force,’ the universal power that gives life to all things in the galaxy. Shortly after leaving his mother, a slave on their home planet of Tatooine, Qui Gon Jin is killed while battling a Sith thus leaving Obi Wan to train Anakin in the ways of the Jedi.

Throughout the next decade or so, Obi Wan and Anakin travel together, training and having many grand adventures. In The Battle of Geonosis, Anakin would fight alongside Padme Amidala, his long time friend and senator of the planet Naboo. The battle would be one of the key events to kick-start what would later be called The Clone Wars. During this period, Anakin would also be reunited with his mother who was dying when he found her. Using his skills as a Jedi, Anakin lay waste to the tribe responsible, including the women and even children. Although forbid by the Jedi, Anakin and Padme marry in secret.

During The Clone Wars Anakin excelled, becoming an undisputed war hero and mighty leader. Despite his valiance, Anakin always struggled with his darker side, often influenced by his friend, the manipulative senator and secret Sith, Palpatine. Palpatine’s influence of Anakin would come to a head when he talked the young Jedi into decapitating an unarmed enemy. Shortly after this, Anakin learned Padme had become pregnant, and he was soon plagued by visions of her death during child birth. Palpatine’s influence grew stronger over Anakin, eventually causing the young Jedi to turn to the way of the Sith in hopes of saving Padme from the fate of his visions.

While on a mission for Palpatine, Obi Wan confronted Anakin on the volcanic planet of Mustafa. Having fought side by side countless times, Obi Wan pleads with Anakin to stop his mad mission, however the man who now calls himself Darth Vader would not be convinced. Extending their lightsabers, the two brothers duel furiously, Obi Wan eventually leaving Anakin horribly wounded and burned in the fires of Mustafa.


Barely a year old, poor baby Harry watches his parents die before his eyes. While he doesn’t remember the event, he is left with a lightning shaped scar across his forehead. Without parents, the young boy is raised by his aunt and uncle, along with his snot-nosed cousin, none of whom are very nice to him. Throughout his childhood, Harry becomes something of an outsider, made worse by the occasional and seemingly unexplainable events that tend to occur in his presence. Around the age of 11, Harry discovers that he is in fact a wizard and begins going to school at the magical Hogwarts School of Wizardry.

Throughout his time at Hogwarts, Harry and his classmates get into numerous adventures, all the while hearing of the dangerous ‘He Who Must Not Be Named.’? It later transpires that the unnamed man is in fact a fellow called Tom Riddle, better known by the name Voldemort. Voldemort, it turns out, is the man who killed Harry’s parents and gave him the lightening shaped scar under the belief that Harry would one day kill him. The scar is not only a reminder, but a magical connection to Voldemort himself, the two able to feel one another’s emotions and even see what the other sees.

Roughly a month before his 15th birthday, Voldemort restores his body and kidnaps Harry and Harry’s friend Cedric. Cedric is killed by one of Voldemort’s minions and an angry Harry duels the dark wizard, barely escaping with his life. Over the next year, Voldemort would begin causing all kinds of trouble, breaking many of his old allies out of prison and killing anyone who might threaten his cause including several people close to Harry. At one point, Voldemort even attempts to possess Harry, failing only due to the fact that Harry can comprehend what Voldemort cannot, love.

Their rivalry finally comes to its climax when Harry willingly walks into Voldemort’s camp in a place ominously called The Forbidden Forest. Voldemort strikes Harry down and has the boy’s lifeless body taken to Hogwarts to be put on display. Fortunately the young wizard isn’t actually dead and the two bitter enemies duel for the final time, Harry ultimately victorious and putting a stop to the dark wizard once and for all.


Beatrix Kiddo, otherwise known as the deadly assassin ‘Black Mamba,’ was a member of The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, a snake themed group of world-class killers run by a fellow named Bill. At some stage in her career, Beatrix and Bill became romantically entwined. After finding out she was pregnant with Bill’s baby, Beatrix decided she didn’t want her child growing up in the world of violence, which it no doubt would with two assassins for parents, and disappeared.

Sometime within 9 months of Beatrix disappearing, she began living under the alias Arlene and was engaged to marry a young, unassuming young man and record store owner named Tommy. On the day of their wedding rehearsal, the pregnant bride-to-be enjoyed the day with her relatively new friends until the arrival of Bill, who had finally tracked her down. While friendly towards one another, Bill’s intentions remain unclear at first – he even goes so far as to meet Tommy. However Bill was not alone, he had bought the rest of The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad along with him and then the crew of assassins set about killing everyone within the small church. Beatrix manages to utter out the words ‘Bill, it’s your baby,’ right before Bill shoots her in the head.

Miraculously, Beatrix survived the gunshot to the head and later wakes up in hospital after several years in a coma. Beatrix wakes to discover that the baby she had carried is long since gone, and swears bloody revenge on her former squad members with Bill the final name on her list. After nursing herself back to health, Beatrix travels to Japan where she has a custom sword made and then begins to work her way down the list. Through several violent encounters, Beatrix kills each and every assassin who killed her fiancé and friends, bar Bill’s brother Budd who is killed by Bill’s current lover, Elle Driver. Elle and Beatrix also fight, however Beatrix does not kill Elle, only leaves her blinded.

Beatrix’s long hunt finally comes to an end when she finds Bill and also her daughter B.B, who is very much alive. After spending time with B.B, Beatrix puts her daughter to bed and goes to confront Bill. The two reiterate how they’ve both wronged one another terribly and eventually come to blows, a brief fight which Beatrix wins. The two assassins forgive each other before Bill staggers five steps and then collapses, dead.


In 1815, a young sailor named Edmond Dantes returns home to Paris to marry his fiancée. With him, he brings a letter to a mystery recipient. On the night before their wedding his fiancé’s cousin, Fernand and a fellow sailor called Danglars send a nameless note to the deputy crown prosecutor accusing Dantes of being a traitor. The deputy is at first unwilling to follow through with the baseless accusations, however he soon reads a letter meant for his father that reveals his father is in fact a traitor, the same letter Dantes had intended to deliver. In order to keep his father’s traitorous nature quiet, the Deputy destroys the letter and sends Dantes to life in prison at the Chateau d’If, a fortress turned island prison.

Dantes would spend the next 14 years in prison, living a miserable life of starvation and torment, the only saving grace being his good friend and fellow inmate, Abbé Faria. Over time Abbé lets Dantes in on his escape plan and often speaks of a great treasure. Dantes and Abbé spend years digging a secret tunnel, all the while Abbé continues talking about the grand treasure and teaches Dantes a great many things. Growing old and near death, Abbé finally tells Dantes the location of the treasure and after the old man passes, Dantes escapes.

Several months passed before Dantes found the treasure and got himself to the island of Monte Cristo. After learning his father died in poverty, Dantes buys the island and the title of Count, all the while plotting his revenge. Over the course of many months, Dantes begins to live the life of disguise as The Count of Monte Cristo, fooling everyone, including the three men who put him in prison.

What follows are a series of elaborate schemes, including destroying Danglars considerable fortune, revealing the crown prosecutors darkest secret and driving Fernand to suicide. After ruining his reputation and fortune in the stock market, Danglars is driven to near madness, finally confessing his crimes for which Dantes ultimate forgives him. The final showdown is not a fight, but a confrontation between the crown prosecutor and The Count, where Dantes at last reveals his true identity. The prosecutor is ultimately driven insane.


At the age of eighteen, restless farm boy Luke Skywalker dreamed of leaving his home world and leading a life of adventure. After a chance meeting with a mysterious local known only to Luke as ‘Old Ben,’ the teenager would soon learn that Old Ben not only knew Luke’s father, but fought alongside him in the Clone Wars. Luke’s father, it seemed, was slain by the infamous Sith lord, Darth Vader. Shortly after their meeting Luke and Old Ben discovered Luke’s aunt and uncle, the people who raised him, had been killed by Imperial Storm Troopers working for none other than the same man who killed Luke’s father.

Joining Old Ben, whose real name was Obi Wan Kenobi, Luke began to receive training in the ways of the Jedi. Embarking on an adventure to rescue the princess of a destroyed planet, Luke and Obi Wan teamed up with a pair of smugglers to rescue the princess from a gigantic space station called The Death Star. On board the Death Star, Obi Wan separated himself from the group, dueling with Darth Vader and ultimately sacrificing his life. With Obi Wan dead, Luke and his new friends set off to join the rebellion against Darth Vader, the Emperor Palpatine and their evil empire.

Over the next couple of years, Luke would rise in power as a Jedi and also become a hero of The Rebellion. When his friends were in trouble on Cloud City, captured by Imperial forces, Luke rushed head first into a trap where Darth Vader waited for him. The two dueled, matching blow for blow until Vader finally sliced one of Luke’s hands clean off. Vader attempted to sway Luke over to The Dark Side, to join him and overthrow the Emperor, even go so far as to reveal that he was in fact Luke’s father. Now sorely tempted to join him, Luke ultimately leapt from the bridge, which they were on, down to almost certain death.

Luke and Vader would meet again one final time when Luke willingly gave himself up in the hopes of bringing his father back to the Light Side. Vader and Palpatine would once again try to sway the young Jedi to their side, suggesting that he could save his friends and fellow rebels if he would only kill Palpatine. Buckling to the threats, Luke lashed out toward the Emperor only to be stopped by Vader. Vader and Luke dueled, ending with the removal of one of Vader’s hands. Palpatine then urged Luke to end his father’s life, but Luke refused. Palpatine attacked Luke, defeating him easily and would have killed him except Vader finally found the Light Side once again and saved his son, sending Palpatine falling to his death.


While definitely the shortest conflict on the list, the climax of Se7en is easily one of the most powerful. Soon to be retired Detective Somerset and over-confident new transfer Detective Mills are put together for the first time on a case that would make the career of any cop. A mysterious serial killer is preying on people he deems sinful, always killing in a manner that he believes suits their individual sins. Following the Seven Deadly Sins, the man known only as John Doe plays out each and every kill with brutal efficiency, always managing to stay one step ahead of the police.

As Mills and Somerset follow the killings over the course of a week, the two detectives grow to be fast, albeit unlikely friends. Mills’ loving wife Tracy even invites Somerset to their apartment for dinner and in the evening that follows, the two detectives prove that in spite of their differences they both ultimately want the same thing, a good life and justice for the innocent.

The two detectives eventually manage to track down the killer’s apartment, however in a brief chase and exchange of gunfire the killer manages to get the upper hand over Mills. Sparing Mills life, John Doe escapes leaving Mills bloody and beaten in a rainy alleyway. Shortly afterward Doe arrives at the police station, turning himself in and confessing his crimes. Doe threatens that there are two final victims and unless he is allowed to lead the detectives to their location, he will plead insanity. The two detectives begrudgingly agree to Doe’s demands, and drive him out into the desert.

Once in the location decided by Doe, Somerset and Mills have an uneasy wait, their backup too far away to do anything should something dangerous happen. A delivery van arrives and Somerset approaches, receiving a box and sending the courier driver on his way. Now with some considerable distance between them, Doe is able to begin telling Mills the final part of his terrible plan. Somerset meanwhile opens the box to find the head of Mills’ wife, Tracy. Doe tells Mills how he entered his home and killed his wife and unborn child, which Mills did not know about. Somerset attempts to calm Mills down but the distraught detective ultimately concedes to Doe’s wishes and shoots the serial killer through the head.


His soul bonded with that of Genesis, the all-powerful spawn of a demon and angel, the reverend Jesse Custer sets off on a quest to find God. God, Jesse learns, abandoned heaven and all his people the moment Genesis escaped its angel-built prison and with the help of his gun-toting girlfriend Tulip and new friend Cassidy, intends to make the Almighty answer for his sudden departure. Though Cassidy is a vampire, he and Jesse become good friends sharing the same sense of humor and sense of what’s right and wrong.

Together in their hunt for God, Jesse, Cassidy and Tulip share in a series of violent, dangerous and, more often than not, bizarre adventures. Saving each other’s lives again and again the trio grow closer and closer until one day Cassidy admits his love for Tulip. Keeping Jesse in the dark for fear of ruining their good thing, Tulip carries on as normal until a giant battle in the desert results in a nuclear bomb exploding. Escaping in a small airplane, Jesse falls from the door but is caught by Cassidy who begins to burn in the midday sun. Jesse tells Cassidy to drop him, but his friend refuses. Knowing they’ll both be killed, Jesse uses his God-like powers to make Cassidy drop him from the plane.

With Jesse thought dead by all, Cassidy manipulates Tulip into becoming his. For the next six months, Tulip is kept drugged and out of her mind with grief while Cassidy drags them across America under the ruse that their enemies are still after them. Meanwhile, unbeknown to anyone, Jesse has survived by divine intervention and later discovers his best friend and his girlfriend are now together, although misreads the situation completely and leaves them alone. Jesse does eventually reunite with Tulip, only to discover the terrible state Cassidy has kept her in. Curious about his friend, Jesse begins to investigate and discovers Cassidy is much worse than even Tulip knows.

Armed with the knowledge of Cassidy’s true nature, Jesse and Cassidy meet in Texas and together participate in one last bar fight for old times sake. After their brief team up, Jesse orders Cassidy to fight him. Cassidy warns Jesse that due to his superhuman vampire strength, Jesse wouldn’t stand a chance but Jesse ignores this, uses his unusual powers and orders Cassidy to ‘fight like hell.’ When the time comes, the two best friends fight before dawn outside the Alamo, arguing as they exchange blows. With Cassidy beaten, his strength no match for Jesse’s skill, the hard drinking vampire extends a hand and asks forgiveness. Reluctant at first, Jesse takes Cassidy’s hand and forgives his friend only to get knocked down. Cassidy then stands wide armed and waits for the sunrise, with Jesse too injured to stop him from burning in the rising daylight.

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Top 10 Greatest Soviet Films

The realm of Soviet cinema is woefully underrepresented here on Listverse, and is in general not as well known as Italian or French cinema. The Soviet Central Government primarily viewed film as a way to control the masses, and employed censors to make sure films adhered to party policies of social realism. That being said, many directors risked severe punishment in order to produce films that might not fit with official party lines, but were important nevertheless. I have only highlighted one film per director, but where possible I have included their other notable works. The list, in no particular order:


Boris Barnet’s first sound film is an underrated classic. The plot is set in 1914, and revolves around a German prisoner of war who is sent to a remote Russian village. The story is told in a series of episodes that depict the lives of the villagers as well as the soldiers on the front lines, as they deal with the war and the coming revolution. The colorful characters and impressive use of sound make this a must see for any fan of 1930’s cinema. Other works by Barnet include The Girl with the Hat Box and By the Bluest of Seas.

Director Dziga Vertov paved the way for cinéma vérité, or ‘truth cinema’ (think Woodstock, Hoop Dreams, and countless other documentaries) as a style of filmmaking, and nowhere is this more evident than in his experimental film Man with a Movie Camera. A film with no plot and no actors, Vertov attempts to show Soviet citizens at work and at play through the unfiltered lens of his camera. Vertov employed numerous techniques, including extreme close ups and tracking shots, to demonstrate his belief that film could go anywhere. The original release was silent and was accompanied by live music in theaters, since then various soundtracks have been added on (the soundtrack of the version on Netflix is very good – the one in the clip above is by Michael Nyman). Other works by Vertov include his Kino-Pravda newsreel series and Three Songs About Lenin.

The third film in Alexander Dovzhenko’s “Ukraine Trilogy” (along with Zvenigora and Arsenal), Earth is a symbolic silent film that deals with life, death, sex, violence, and other issues in a Ukrainian farming village. The farmers have to deal with greedy Kulaks (wealthier peasants), industrialization, and collectivization as their way of life is drastically changed. Dovzhenko’s use of montage is well done, and his ambiguity concerning the Soviet Revolution not only got him in trouble with the censors, but makes his film that much more important. Along with the other two movies of the Ukraine Trilogy, Dovzhenko is known for Ivan and Aerograd.

Like Earth, Storm Over Asia is a silent film that forms part of a trilogy. Vsevolod Pudovkin’s “Revolutionary Trilogy” consists of Mother, The End of St. Petersburg, and Storm Over Asia; while all three are considered masterpieces and would have been suitable for this list, I personally enjoyed Storm Over Asia the most. The story takes place in 1918 and focuses on a Mongol herdsman who suffers at the hands of the British occupiers. He joins forces with Soviets fighting the British, is discovered to be a direct descendent of Genghis Kahn, and eventually leads a resistance movement to drive the occupiers out of his country. Despite being a propaganda piece, Pudovkin’s use of montage and engaging storyline about the power of the individual make for a great movie.

One of Sergei Parajanov’s two masterpieces (the other is The Color of Pomegranates), Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is a highly symbolic, beautiful film. The story is set in the Carpathian mountains, and has been described as a Ukrainian Romeo and Juliet- if Romeo had lived after Juliet’s death. Ivan falls in love with Marichka, the daughter of the man who killed his father. As his mother’s only surviving child, he leaves the village to work as a hired laborer and provide for her. However, before he can return to Marichka, she falls to her death while attempting to rescue an errant lamb. The story then follows Ivan through his descent into despair, marriage to the sensual Palagna, and Palagna’s inevitable betrayal. The film is shot in the Hutsul dialect and portrays Hutsul life and culture. Parajanov’s mesmerizing camerawork and color palette make this movie unforgettable.

This film won the Palm d’Or at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival, one of only two Soviet films to do so. Mikhail Kalatozov’s anti-war movie depicts the trauma and suffering the average Soviet citizen went through during WWII. Veronica and Boris are happily in love, until the war tears them apart. Boris is sent to the front lines, and everyone quickly loses touch with him. Meanwhile, Veronica tries to ward off existential despair while Boris’ draft-dodging cousin, who is in love with her, makes increasingly forceful advances. The Cranes are Flying is a superb drama; Kalatozov’s other famous work, I Am Cuba, has previously been featured on Listverse and is also great.

The only movie on this list I haven’t seen, but I felt it deserved a place here if only because of the sheer enormity of the project. The film took seven years to shoot, at a cost of over $100 million (with inflation taken into account it would cost over $700 million today, making it the most expensive film ever made). The original Soviet release was in four parts, totaling 484 minutes (8 hours!); subsequent releases shortened the film somewhat. According to the Guinness Book of World Records one battle scene used 120,000 soldiers, making it one of the largest battles scenes ever filmed. Sergei Bondarchuk’s epic was nominated for two Academy awards, winning one of them and a Golden Globe in the category of Best Foreign Language Film in 1969.

Definitely not for the faint of heart, Elem Klimov’s Come and See is a psychological war movie that makes Apocalypse Now look like child’s play. Florya, a young Belorussian boy, eagerly signs up to fight the Nazis invading his homeland during WWII. As the film progresses, he witnesses horror after horror as his naïve eagerness to fight gives way to disgust at the chaos around him. The visual and sound effects are amazing, and the acting is terrifyingly good. Brutal and unflinching, Come and See is probably the war movie that comes closest to accurately depicting the phrase “War Is Hell”.

The movie that put Soviet Cinema on the map, Sergei Eisenstein’s The Battleship Potemkin is routinely cited as one of the most influential propaganda films of all time, and was even named the greatest film of all time at the World’s Fair in Belgium in 1958. The movie presents a dramatized version of the rebellion in 1905 when the crew of the Potemkin revolted against their Tsarist officers, and is often seen as an initial step towards the Revolution of 1917. One of Eisenstein’s many masterpieces, along with Strike, October, Que Viva Mexico, Alexander Nevsky, Ivan the Terrible Part I, and Ivan the Terrible Part II.

The film that inspired this list, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris is a science fiction classic, and is one of my favorite movies. Psychologist Kris Kelvin is sent to a space station orbiting the planet Solaris, in order to check up on the crew and evaluate the mission, which has stalled because of the crew’s emotional stress. Once Kelvin reaches the station, he begins to experience strange hallucinations. The narrative moves slowly at times, but there is no denying the skill with which Tarkovsky deals with complex issues such as religion, humanity, and the nature of consciousness. Natalya Bondarchuck’s acting is also superb. Tarkosvky’s other films include Ivan’s Childhood, Andrei Rublev, The Mirror, Stalker, Nostalghia, and The Sacrifice.

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Top 10 Family Friendly Halloween Movies

Halloween is just around the corner and with it comes loads of candy, movies, costumes, and fun! Because we already have a list of the top 10 horror movies, we thought it might be a nice idea to do a list of halloween movies that are suitable for all ages – something the kids and adults will both love. I have tried to pick a good balanced selection of movies – not just horror movies, but movies that contain halloween themes: witches, ghosts, and all things spooky. I have intentionally excluded movie series (such as the Harry Potter series) and Halloween versions of popular shows (such as the Spongebob Halloween special). If you haven’t seen any of these movies, you definitely should. Be sure to tell us what movies you will be watching this halloween! This list contains a competition – further details at the bottom of the list.

More than 300 years ago, 3 witches were sentenced to die in Salem, Massachusetts and a boy was turned into a cat (a black cat, naturally). Now it’s Halloween, and the witches (who fly on – I kid you not – vacuum cleaners) are back. This time, they’ve got their eyes on immortal life and have turned their wrath on trick-or-treaters and it’s up to the 300-year-old cat to save the day.

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When an arranged marriage between Victor Van Dort and Victoria Everglot reaches the rehearsals, Victor starts to worry. Spending time alone in the forest, Victor decides to practice on his own. Everything seems to go well, until he accidentally puts the ring upon the hand of a corpse. Before he knows it, Victor is in the land of dead and now has a corpse bride. Whilst everyones worries about who Victoria will marry in the land of the living, Victor desperately finds a way to get back.

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Furious that her late father only willed her his gloomy-looking mansion rather than his millions, Carrigan Crittenden (Moriarty) is ready to burn the place to the ground when she discovers a map to a treasure hidden in the house. But when she enters the rickety mansion to seek her claim, she is frightened away by a wicked wave of ghosts. Determined to get her hands on this hidden fortune, she hires afterlife therapist Dr. James Harvey (Pullman) to exorcise the ghosts from the mansion. Harvey and his daugh- ter Kat (Ricci) move in, and soon Kat meets Casper, the ghost of a young boy who’s “the friendliest ghost you know.”

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In a land of monsters, James P. Sullivan is king. He and his coworker/ friend Mike Wazowski are two of many monsters that work for Monsters Inc. a utility company that generates power for a very paranoid and nervous city of monsters. This power, oddly enough, is generated from the screams of children, which is produced by scaring them in their sleep. One night, however, Sully uncovers a devious plot to rid Monster city of it’s power problems, but in all the wrong ways. Together, ironically, Sully and Mike will fight to protect the innocence of the children they scare every night.

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A young boy, recently orphaned, is taken to England by his grandmother. At a hotel in which they are staying, a group of witches have gathered to prepare a plot to rid the world of all children. This movie is based on the wonderful book by Roald Dahl and stars Anjelica Huston and Rown Atkinson. This is a film that the kids will definitely love. This film was produced by Jim Henson.

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In a small anywhere town in any state in America, two young boys- quiet Will Halloway and somewhat rebellious Jim Nightshade-enjoy the ever-shortening days of autumn. When the boys hear about a strange traveling carnival from a lightning rod salesman, they decide to see what it is all about-but Will is fearful, as most carnivals end their tours after Labor Day. When the ominous Mr. Dark, the Illustrated Man, rides into town on a dark midnight, setting up his massive carnival in a matter of seconds, the boys are both thrilled and terrified. A great film by Ray Bradbury.

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Originally a television program, the Pufnstuf film was a real gem and has outlived the series. One of the best things about this film is that it stars Mama Cass (Cass Elliot) from the Mamas and the Papas, as Witch Hazel. The show and the film were both notable for bright colors, fast edits, sped-up film, musical segments and pop culture in-jokes, and appealed to young adults almost as much as children. Central to the film is young Jimmy and his magic flute, and a group of wicked witches who want to capture the flute for themselves. The series and movie are named after one other important character, a friendly dragon.

Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween Town, is bored with doing the same thing every year for Halloween. One day he stumbles into Christmas Town, and is so taken with the idea of Christmas that he tries to get the resident bats, ghouls, and goblins of Halloween town to help him put on Christmas instead of Halloween — but alas, they can’t get it quite right.

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After Barbara and Adam Maitland were killed in a car crash, they find themselves trapped as ghosts in their beautiful New England farmhouse. Their peace is disrupted when a yuppie family, the Deetzs, buy their house. The Maitlands are too nice and harmless as ghosts and all their efforts to scare the Deetzs away were unsuccessful. They eventually turn to another ghost ‘Beetlejuice’ for help…

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Three odd-ball scientists get kicked out of their cushy positions at a university in New York City where they studied the occult. They decide to set up shop in an old firehouse and become Ghostbusters, trapping pesky ghosts, spirits, haunts, and poltergeists for money. They wise-crack their way through the city, and stumble upon a gateway to another dimension, one which will release untold evil upon the city. The Ghostbusters are called on to save the Big Apple. This film is a timeless cult classic.

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If this list reaches 200 comments, one commenter will be selected at random to win a mug, shirt, or cap from the List Universe Store. In addition, the winner will be allowed to pick any one of the movies above to be included with their prize! The winner must be a registered user. As usual, comments must be related to the list and not designed just to increase the count or your chances of winning. Every comment is counted – so you can comment more than once. For those who can’t wait to get some merchandise, the store prices have now all been discounted! So be sure to check it out. All products sold at the List Universe Store are of a high quality. Shipping takes 7 – 11 days.

Sources: Some synopses are courtesy of IMDB, the Internet Movie Database

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Top 10 Worst Neighbours in Movies

Neighbours are something that most of us have to deal with in real life – sometimes they become friends, sometimes they become our bitter enemies. Movies over the years have given us many “neighbours from hell” and this list is the pick of the ten most evil! So here is our list of the 10 worst neighbours in movies.

Sure – the quality of this movie is not the best, but it really epitomizes the neighbour from hell genre in the ’80s. Carter Hayes (played by Michael Keaton) moves in to an apartment in a nice townhouse in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights then refuses to pay rent. Not only that, he locks himself in his room and begins to tear the place apart. Then he begins introducing thousands of cockroaches in to the house! His aim? To make the house unliveable so the owners are forced to move out of it and sell it. You should definitely watch this film for the great satisfaction you get at the end – you won’t regret it!

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Black comedy directed by Danny DeVito, starring Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore as striving yuppies who leave the city and find the perfect brownstone on the perfect quiet street — only upstairs is this little old lady who, it turns out, is the ultimate unrelenting neighbor from hell. Sure, she’s in her 80s but she makes more noise than a rock band (she and her senior friends enjoy brass instruments); she constantly demands favors; she interferes with the happy couple’s privacy; and, despite all hope, shows no sign of quieting down (or, better, dying) any time within a century. Pic isn’t especially good – in fact it’s often cliché-ridden and unfunny. But it offers periodic moments and, if you want an example of an old lady pain-in-the-butt neighbor, Duplex is definitely a place to visit.

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In the small English village of Midwich everybody and everything falls into a deep, mysterious sleep for several hours in the middle of the day. Some months later every woman capable of child-bearing is pregnant and the children that are born out of these pregnancies seem to grow very fast and they all have the same blond hair and strange, penetrating eyes that make people do things they don’t want to do. Unfortunately, the adult neighbours of these children are incapable of dealing with their super powers – or are they?

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A Coen Brothers pic. John Turturro is Barton Fink, a “playwright” selling his soul in 1940s Hollywood, trying to write a crappy (but elusive) screenplay. Day by day Barton deteriorates into writer’s block, desperation and weirdness. Unfortunately for him that’s the good news — compared to the antics and ultimate threat from his next door neighbor (John Goodman) in the seedy hotel they’re living in. Goodman plays a seemingly amiable insurance salesman friend who, it turns out, is really not such a good friend; in fact he’s a bad friend, actually evil, and, as Satan as his witness, is going to make sure things don’t end well for Barton and his ambitions.

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What could be worse than having all your neighbors taken over – their bodies inhabited — by predatory aliens who ooze out of pods (that look like brussel sprouts) and who want to do the same to you? Original was a bit cheesy but much more engaging, authentic, and scary than the watered down 2007 Hollywood remake.

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So your neighbors are Devil worshippers who want your first born as the ‘next’ Devil. At least your husband, a struggling loser TV actor, is starting to get more TV gigs. All he had to do was join the Satanists – no problem there apparently – and sacrifice you and your baby to these freakazoid cultists and possibly bring down humanity as we know it. Hey, jobs are tough and your neighbors only want what’s best… to accelerate the rise of Hell and Satan on earth. In truth, the pic is excellent, directed by Roman Polanski, way better, more suspenseful and complex than the novel by Ira Levin, and genuinely scary.

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Sergeant Neil Howie arrives on a Scottish island looking for a missing teenager girl, Rowan Morrison. The place belongs to Lord Summerisle and is famous because of their plantation of apples and other fruits and their harvest. Sgt. Howie realizes that the locals are pagans, practicing old rituals, and Rowan is probably alive and being prepared to be sacrificed. The end of the story is a tragic surprise as Howie’s neighbours on the island select him as their next victim.

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This film is a Hitchcock classic. A guy in a wheelchair, a photographer, house bound and incapacitated observes his neighbors across the way through the apartment windows. He sees one, he thinks (maybe), who killed his (the neighbor’s) wife. Not a good time to be stuck in a wheelchair, especially when the unhappy neighbor (played by Raymond Burr, who ironically would soon spend years in a wheelchair in his starring role in the TV series, Ironside) realizes he’s been watched and naturally wants to “take care” of the snoopy, suspicious voyeur (Jimmy Stewart). Film was the partial basis for Brian De Palma’s, Body Double (1984) which, while gory and sometimes suspenseful, isn’t in the same league as Hitchcock’s beautifully paced, eerie original.

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Upon moving to Britain to get away from American violence, astrophysicist David Sumner and his wife Amy are bullied and taken advantage of by the locals hired to do construction. When David finally takes a stand it escalates quickly into a bloody battle as the local neighbours assault his house.

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Wired-too-tight Marine officer (Chris Cooper) lives next door to Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) who’s in the middle of a midlife crisis, trying to find himself. Not a good time for him to be experimenting sexually, getting involved in drugs and hanging with teenagers (including the Colonel’s son). Because the good Colonel has his own issues: repressed rage, overwhelming confusion at the social changes around him, and some serious (and, for him, intolerable) and explosive sexual dysfunction and identity problems. Oh yea, he’s into guns – he is military – and when all of the Colonel’s issues get too big, this man, who may not be fundamentally bad but is fundamentally disturbed, snaps.

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Top 10 Comedy Performances To Remember

This list isn’t about the ten best comedies ever. There are so many different types of comedy movies that any list like this is going to have its fans and huge detractors. What is hard to deny is when an individual actor puts one such a strong showing that the comedy succeeds on their shoulders alone. So this list is of ten of the best comedic performances to remember, performances where the star or stars made the comedy what it was.


Simon Pegg plays the leading role of Shaun, a normally average man, on the verge of being a loser, who is likable and easy to relate to. From the start, Pegg’s personality dominates this great horror/satire/comedy. From the opening scene with his groggy waking up moan to his interaction with his flat mates, Pegg’s performance is commanding, and he consistently steals the scene. This is a fantastic movie, and I can’t imagine any other actor being able to pull this character off to the same level.


Ron Livingston plays a fan favorite in character Peter Gibbons. A hero to many an overworked cubicle white collar worker, Livingston’s portrayal of the hypnotized don’t care you can’t push me around worker helps this film by making every understated joke hilarious, adding depth to every punch line. By not going over the top, by just being normal, Livingston has a gravitas in this film that you usually don’t get from a hero who says I just don’t want to do anything. If he had messed up this character even a little, this movie wouldn’t have worked at all.


Adam Sandler makes this film. This may have been one of his best roles, and probably his best comedy. This character of Happy Gilmore is intense, strange, and has that edge that makes him crude yet likable, rebellious and a little scary. That touch of instability is what makes him work, and this is a popular comedy that doesn’t work with anyone other than Adam Sandler—something that can’t be said about most of his other films.


A lot of people will argue with the statement I’m about to make, but this was a really dumb movie. Still, Ace Ventura is an extremely original character, and this movie has a lot of fans for only one reason: Jim Carrey. Jim Carrey took his slapstick physical comedy to its most extreme levels in this movie, and love him or hate him, the role is an unforgettable performance.

Naked Gun

Leslie Nielsen is known for a series of these films, but I really do believe the first one was by far and away the best, since in later movies they kept dumbing his character down more and more. The physical humor and timing of gags were at their funniest here, before a lot of imitators dumbed these types of movies down. While I don’t care for any of the sequels, Leslie Nielsen’s performance here made this movie, and the franchise of sequels to follow.


I remember as a kid watching this Laurel & Hardy movie during the holidays and loving it. Years later I worried it wouldn’t hold up, but I should have known better. Babes in Toyland is Laurel & Hardy at their slapstick best. Every expression, every line, every gag is a joy in this film, and no other duo could pull off the movie the way these two could.


This film has the distinct honor of having two actors who gave amazing, memorable, comedic performances. While everyone knows Jeff Bridges was absolutely amazing as The Dude, and his acting of that character is one of the best comedic performances ever, in my opinion it’s only the second best of the movie.

John Goodman as Vietnam veteran and hilariously dysfunctional person Walter Sobchak takes the cake. From pulling a gun at a bowling alley because he was over the line, to jumping out of a car with an Uzi, to not watching the wind while scattering the ashes: everything has to go back to ‘Nam, and this character gives the movie and extra boost that makes it extraordinary.


I have never seen a movie so affected by the generation gap as this one. If you’re 30 and younger, you generally love it. If you’re older, you generally hate it. John Heder is amazing as the dorky but likable Napoleon Dynamite, coming out as one of the most original characters. He nails the performance, and carries this film on his back. I just can’t imagine this movie being anything but a flop without Heder’s fantastic comedic acting and great portrayal of the poor American dorks. Alas, this movie brought back memories of high school. I feel the pain.


This movie more than any other allowed Steve Martin to display his acting skills in an understated, yet hilarious comedic performance. It may not have been his best movie, but as far as one actor carrying a film, this is Steve Martin putting in a great performance of timing and self-deprecating humor. The end scene especially is one that has me laughing so hard tears roll down my face, and I just can’t believe he pulled it off. As a singular performance, Steve Martin was amazing in this one.


This movie is full of great characters, but John Belushi may hand in the best comedic acting job in history with this incredible performance. Every time Belushi is on screen he is the focus of attention, from his great rants about Germans bombing Pearl Harbor, to the famous ladder scene, Bluto is an unforgettable character who is charismatic, hilarious, and intense. Without him, this is just another forgotten college comedy. With him, this is one of the all time classic comedy films.

Contributor: Shane Dayton

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Top 10 Filmmakers Who Weren’t Always

A calling is just that: a calling. The universe maintains no request line when it comes to living purposes, and anyone doing anything but what they originally intended will confirm. As such it usually takes a lot of dabbling in vast possibilities before any one path is settled upon. For instance, it took actor Mark Wahlberg two years rapping with his shirt off as a member of the “Funky Bunch” to realize music just wasn’t for him. While many get it right the first time, mostly by honing in on their craft and mixing passion with a fastidious dedication, others simply wander until they stumble upon something they thrive at. Many a filmmaker has only taken a seat in the director’s chair after much exploration elsewhere; here are ten of such explorers.


Mel Gibson is best recognized, other than as a belligerent bigot, as a versatile actor and Hollywood’s most ruggedly handsome hunk in the late 80s-early 90′s. His most iconic role is as wild card cop and partner to Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon, if not as William Wallace in Braveheart (“They can take our lives, but they’ll never take our FREEDOM!”), which he directed and won two Oscars for. In recent years, however, Gibson has avoided screen time (with a few very recent exceptions) in favor of being a director. While Passion of the Christ may have seemed like Christian indoctrination, it did earn record gross profits. And his guilt-free projects have been equally seat-packing. Even if it seems he hides behind the camera, putting his toes in the water on occasion, when his public reception is less then warm, there’s no denying his abilities on either side of the lens.


David Lynch is a bit of a renaissance man, but originally he wanted more than anything to paint. He studied painting at the Boston School of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the latter where he was most “inspired,” and the former where he was least so. He even hopefully, however unsuccessfully, ventured to Europe to be trained by an impressionistic painter. It was when he desired to see his pictures move that he collaborated with an animator to make his first short film Six Men Getting Sick. In addition to still painting, he is a musician and photographer, composing and producing several of his own film scores with Angelo Badalamenti, and has been featured in art galleries. Collaborating with Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse, a multimedia project entitled Dark Night of the Soul features his photography and music, in addition to that of myriad other guest musicians and singers.

Rob Zombie Askmeany

Rob Zombie used to make demented grunge-metal with hyper-violent, disturbing subject matter as part of the band White Zombie. Now he makes demented movies with hyper-violent, disturbing subject matter as a filmmaker, notably in his films House of 1000 Corpses, the Devil’s Rejects, and Halloween remakes. In them he also produces the music and lives in a haven of undead glory, reeling in blood and completely id-driven self-indulgence. As long as his fans share his grisly fantasies, he will likely keep on doing what he does best.


Before he became an Oscar-raking filmmaker, directing the likes of Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, and the Da Vinci Code, he was Opie Taylor and Richie Cunningham. Always the innocent ginger, he was an oft-typecast actor, always playing someone with no spine. In the big chair, he has not only spine, but great visual command, the kind that doesn’t come about by hitting a camera with the back of your fist. Meanwhile, the Fonz goes on to get stabbed to death in the first Scream film, and Don Knotts continued to live and die in sitcom hell.

7372926 Duncan

Duncan Jones, a.k.a. Zowie Bowie, son of David Bowie, did anything but wear his father’s golden slippers. He made no attempt at constructing a musical legacy; instead, he got a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, and aimed towards a PhD before alternately going to film school. Now, he is a critically acclaimed filmmaker, rearing the sci-fi space-drama Moon and most recently the time travel-thriller Source Code. His lack of convention and otherwise strangeness can, if nothing else, be traced back to his father, the undisputed King of Weird.


Before he made low-budget movies with aimless plots and even worse sequels and romantic movies aimed at sellout-status commercial success, Kevin James was a comic book geek. He is a convention regular, and has lived his dream by writing stories for several comic book series, most notable the Marvel’s Dare Devil. In addition to scribing others’ characters, he has developed his own and adapted comic versions of Jay and Silent Bob. He also co-created the animated television series, which lasted a little while. While he’s had critical and cult hits with Clerks and Dogma, he has announced his retirement as a filmmaker following his self-championed Red State, which merges comic culture, religious fanaticism, and subversive filmmaking (and claims to be driven by true, wide-eyed passion and not the usual complacent greed that’s come to define Smith).

11406-Curse Terry Gilliam Point Quit

Terry Gilliam is the visionary behind the surreal epics Brazil, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and the Fisher King. Before his imagination was channeled into a live action medium, it was uncapped in purely animated terms. He was initially a cartoon strip artist and children’s show animator (alongside future Monty Python cast members), before he stepped aboard the Flying Circus. As part of the outfit, he was the show’s animator and principal aesthetic director, designing everything in between all the wonky sketch comedy. Co-directing and also animating sequences in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, he acquired his chops in making full length features. Thereafter, he would only become more refined and eccentric, dabbling in more than just the historical topics of his earlier works, the common inspiration for a lot of droll British humor. Gilliam’s progression was also a regression in many ways: he evolved insomuch as he tapped into deeper, uninhibited sectors of his child-like imagination.


Growing up, Tim Burton’s imagination was always finding its way outside of his messy head, where others might find it. Well when it fell on a piece of paper, and eventually into a pencil-drawn animated short called “Stalk of the Celery Monster,” Disney found it and recruited him as an animator and conceptual artist. Eventually he was deemed incongruous to Disney’s essentially style (an imaginably more cheery one as opposed to his death-obsessed gloomy one). From there, he produced films in his own rite, in accordance with his quintessentially gothic flair, such as the Vincent Price-narrated short Vincent (which foreshadows the imagery and stop-motion animation that would comprise the much obsessed-over Nightmare Before Christmas). Already two mediums down, it would take little effort for the visionary to lend his visual storytelling to a medium populated by living humans, wherein which his darkly fertile imagination would thrive under big lights. Let cinematic masterpieces as Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Batman, and Beetlejuice stand as proof (ignore his remake-rampage of recent years) that he works best when he gets to fixate on the unbearably worst.

21 Gondry Lgl

This French connoisseur of DIY filmmaking didn’t always make quirky little indy movies. He used to be a drummer in a band called Oui Oui, for which he also made clever little animated music videos. Given that, it comes as little surprise that he would foray into a career as a music video director, directing such notable acts as the White Stripes, Radiohead, Beck, Foo Fighters, the Rolling Stones, and Daft Punk. His conceptual brilliance found itself right at home in peculiar full-length (Science of Sleep and Be Kind, Rewind) films and in the arms of brilliant, existential screenplays by Charlie Kaufman (Human Nature and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). Michel Gondry has proven in the most literal sense that he marches to the beat of his own drum.

Frank Oz

With a name like Oz, fantasy and unbelievability are evoked. Before directing movies like The Dark Crystal (with Jim Henson) and the Muppets Take Manhattan, Frank Oz was a muppet himself: he supplied the voices and characters of Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Grover, Cookie Monster, and Bert amongst others, not to mention Yoda from the Star Wars franchise. Looking at his photograph, what appears is less man than muppet. Branching out, he’s directed mostly light-hearted movies, as the man seems not to possess an ounce of seriousness in his fleshy makeup, movies such as Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, What About Bob?, Bowfinger, a remake of the Stepford Wives, and Death at a Funeral. While he seems incapable of shaking the urge to be perpetually silly, Oz has certainly come a long way from animating felt corpses with his hand like a goofy version of Jeffrey Dahmer.

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