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:

Okraina

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.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2009/12/30/top-10-greatest-soviet-films/

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

Read more: http://listverse.com/2008/10/20/top-10-family-friendly-halloween-movies/

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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Read more: http://listverse.com/2008/03/02/top-10-worst-neighbours-in-movies/

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.

Shaunofthedead

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.

Officespace

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.

Happygilmore

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.

Ace-Ventura04

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.

Babesintoyland

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.

Lebowski

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.

Napoleon

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.

Thejerk

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.

Animalhouse

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

Read more: http://listverse.com/2008/03/18/top-10-comedy-performances-to-remember/

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

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-Pic

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.

Ron-Howard(1)

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.

Kevin-Smith-2

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.

Tim-Burton1

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.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2011/08/17/top-10-filmmakers-who-werent-always/

Top 10 Best Rappers Turned Actors

After hearing the news that popular rapper Common had been cast in the upcoming 4th Terminator movie, Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, I started to think about all the other successful rappers that have tried their hand at acting. It became evident that some are pretty good at doing both. So here is my Top 10 List of the Best Rappers Turned Actors.

Eminem

Marshall Mathers is a Grammy and Academy Award-winning rapper, record producer and actor. Having sold over seventy million albums worldwide, Eminem is one of the highest-selling rappers of all time. Turning to acting in 2002′s 8 Mile, Eminem hasn’t resurfaced since. His debut was loosely based on his own life, so that probably helped his critically praised performance. Can he hold his own in other projects? I’d like to find out.

Hit Songs: Forget about Dre, The Real Slim Shady

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Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr. is an rapper, songwriter, producer, actor, philanthropist and co-CEO of Grand Hustle Records. With his 2006 performance in ATL and more recently his supporting role in American Gangster, T.I. holds his own on screen. Now if he can just stay out of trouble we might get to see more of him.

Hit Song: Be Easy

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Chris Bridges is a Grammy Award-winning rapper. He is also the highest-selling Southern hip hop artist of all time with over 11 million records sold in the United States. Though not very seasoned in the acting profession, Ludacris was surprisingly well regarded in his supporting role in Crash and Hustle & Flow and also his guest role in an 2007 episode of Law & Order. As such, I’ll give him a pass for being involved in Fred Claus. He is cast in the upcoming movies Max Payne and RocknRolla.

Hit Songs: Yeah!, Stand Up.

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Tracy Marrow is a Grammy Award winning rapper, actor, and author. He is credited with helping create gangsta rap in the late 1980s and created more controversy in 1993 with the release of the song Cop Killer. After well received performances in New Jack City, Surviving The Game and Trespass he did a stint of straight to DVD and low budget movies. In 2000 he settled into the role of a police officer on the hit TV series, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He is cast in the upcoming movie Thira.

Hit Songs: Colors, Cop Killer

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Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. is a Grammy Award Winning hip hop artist, model and actor. He starred in significant roles in such films as Smokin’ Aces, Street Kings, American Gangster, and Wanted. Not that I followed much of the guy’s music, but Common immediately piqued my interest as a bodyguard in Smokin’ Aces. There’s something about the guy’s voice and delivery that is so cool you can’t turn away. He was also cast as the Green Lantern/John Stewart character in the live adaptation of The Justice League.

Hit Song: Love of My Life

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James Todd Smith III is a Grammy Award winning rapper and actor. LL Cool J stands for “Ladies Love Cool James.” He is one of a few hip-hop stars of his era to sustain a successful recording career for more than two decades. He has had starring roles in the movies Any Given Sunday, Deep Blue Sea, Rollerball and The Last Holiday as well as his own long running TV show In the House. As a seasoned actor, LL Cool J easily excels in both fields.

Hit Songs: Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out.

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Dante Terrell Smith has been nominated for Golden Globe, Emmy, and Grammy Awards. This is a guy I enjoy in just about anything. In 2002, he played the role of Booth in Topdog/Underdog, a Tony-nominated and Pulitzer-winning Broadway play. He also starred in Monster’s Ball, 16 Blocks, The Italian Job,The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Be Kind Rewind. He won critical acclaim for his portrayal of Vivien Thomas in the HBO film Something The Lord Made. His next movie is Cadillac Records as the famed Chuck Berry.

Hit Song: Universal Magnetic.

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Dana Elaine Owens is a rapper, singer and actress. Latifah’s work in music, film and television has earned her a Golden Globe award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Image Awards, a Grammy Award, six additional Grammy nominations, an Emmy Award nomination and an Academy Award nomination for the hit movie Chicago.

She’s starred in Set it Off, Jungle Fever, Barbershop, The Bone Collector and The Last Holiday. She also starred in the long running TV series Living Single. She is currently a Cover Girl model and Jenny Craig spokesperson. Her latest movie was The Secret Life of Bees.

Hit Song: Ladies First.

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O’Shea Jackson is a rapper, actor, screenwriter and producer. Regarded as one of the greatest hip hop artists of all time he began his career as a founding member of the rap group N.W.A. Much like Ice-T and LL Cool J, Ice Cube has been around for a while and certainly has credibility with fans. He had starring roles in smash hits Boys in the Hood and Friday as well as starring roles in Anaconda, The Players Club, (which he directed), Three Kings and Are We There Yet? He produces movies under his Cube Vision production company. His next movies are The A-Team and the title role in Welcome Back, Kotter which he is also producing.

Hit Songs: No Vaseline, Today was a Good Day

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Willard Christopher Smith Jr. was half of the wildly successful hip-hop duo Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince. He was the first rapper to win a Grammy Award. He then made the successful transition to TV in 1990 and starred in the slightly biopic hit sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He was also the first rapper to receive an Academy Award Nomination and the only rapper to receive 2 nominations.

This is a guy that keeps churning out great movies like Men in Black, Bad Boys, Independence Day, Ali, I,Robot, The Pursuit of Happiness and Hancock. The only bad choice he made in his acting career was turning down the role of Neo in the mega hit movie Matrix to accept the lead role in the flop Wild,Wild West. He is now considered one of the most powerful people in Hollywood and with his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith currently produce TV and movie projects.

Hit Songs: Parents Just Don’t Understand, Git Jigga Wit it.

Contributor: MT

Read more: http://listverse.com/2008/10/09/top-10-best-rappers-turned-actors/

55 Academy Award Achievements

With the Oscars right around the corner I thought it would be fun to put together an Academy Award list. Because there are so many Oscar lists out there I wanted to do a unique list in a hopefully fun and entertaining format. This bottom to top list (10 to 1 with a bonus of 0) will have the number representing the number of achievements and lists those achievements accordingly. So I guess you could say it’s a list within a list. All accomplishments on this list are prior to the results of the 82nd Academy Awards scheduled for March 7, 2010.

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Achievement: Ten Oscar Winners that Have Appeared in 3 Oscar Winning Best Picture Films

1. Donald Crisp Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) , The Life of Emile Zola (1937) and How Green Was My Valley (1941)

2. Clark Gable, It Happened One Night (1934) , Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) and Gone With the Wind (1939)

3. John Gielgud Around the World in 80 Days (1956) , Chariots of Fire (1981) and Gandhi (1982)

4. Hugh Griffith, Ben-Hur (1959) , Tom Jones (1963) and Oliver! (1968)

5. Dustin Hoffman, Midnight Cowboy (1969) , Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Rain Man (1988)

6. Diane Keaton The Godfather (1972) , The Godfather Part II (1974) and Annie Hall (1977)

7. Shirley MacLaine, Around the World in 80 Days (1956) , The Apartment (1960) and Terms of Endearment (1983)

8. Meryl Streep, The Deer Hunter (1978) , Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Out of Africa (1985)

9. Morgan Freeman, Driving Miss Daisy (1989) , Unforgiven (1992) , Million Dollar Baby (2004)

10. Jack Nicholson, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) , Terms of Endearment (1983) , The Departed

Interesting Fact: In the film Million Dollar Baby Morgan Freeman was originally approached to play the lead role of Frankie Dunn. But even before Clint Eastwood took on the directing and starring role he decided to take the part of Eddie “Scrap-Iron” Dupris.

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Achievement: Nine Actors to Win a Tony Award and an Oscar for the Same Role

1. José Ferrer in Cyrano de Bergerac (1947/1950)

2. Shirley Booth in Come Back, Little Sheba (1950/1953)

3. Yul Brynner in The King and I (1952/1956)

4. Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady (1957/1964)

5. Anne Bancroft in The Miracle Worker (1960/1962)

6. Paul Scofield in A Man for All Seasons (1962/1966)

7. Jack Albertson in The Subject Was Roses (1965/1968)

8. Joel Grey in Cabaret (1967/1973)

9. Lila Kedrova, and did it the other way around. She won an Oscar for Zorba the Greek, in 1964 and 20 years later won a Tony for the same role in Zorba in 1984.

Interesting Fact: In the film The King and I, three musical numbers were filmed and then deleted from the movie. They were: “My Lord and Master” (a ballad sung by Tuptim shortly after her arrival in the palace) – “Shall I Tell You What I Think of You?” (a soliloquy for Anna, in which she comically expresses her anger towards the King) – “I Have Dreamed” (another duet for Tuptim and Lun Tha) – It was felt that “My Lord and Master” and “I Have Dreamed” didn’t do much to advance the plot, and the number “Shall I Tell You What I Think of You?” would make Anna sound too whiny and nagging.

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Achievement: Eight Times Actors Have Been Nominated Posthumously

1. Jeanne Eagels, The Letter (Nominated Best for Actress) 1928/9

2. James Dean, East of Eden (Nominated for Best Actor) 1955

3. James Dean, Giant (Nominated for Best Actor) 1956

4. Spencer Tracy, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Nominated Best Actor) 1967

5. Peter Finch, Network (Won for Best Actor) 1976

6. Ralph Richardson, Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan (Nominated for Supporting Actor) 1984

7. Massimo Troisi, Il Postino (Nominated for Best Actor) 1995

8. Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight (Won for Supporting Actor) 2008

Interesting Fact: In preparation for his role as The Joker, Heath Ledger hid away in a hotel room for about six weeks. Ledger delved deep into the psychology of the character. Ledger’s interpretation of The Joker’s appearance was primarily based off of the look of punk rocker Sid Vicious combined with the psychotic mannerisms of Malcolm McDowell’s character, Alex De Large, from A Clockwork Orange.

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Achievement: Seven Oscar Nominations for a Non-Speaking Role

1. Jane Wyman, Johnny Belinda (Won for Best Actress) (1948)

2. Patty Duke, The Miracle Worker (Won for Best Supporting Actress) (1962)

3. John Mills, Ryan’s Daughter (Won for Best Supporting Actor) (1970)

4. Marlee Matlin, Children of A Lesser God (Won for Best Actress) (1986)

5. Holly Hunter The Piano (Won for Best Actress) (1993)

6. Samantha Morton, Sweet and Lowdown (Nominated for Best Supporting Actress) (1999)

7. Rinko Kikuchi, Babel (Nominated for Best Supporting Actress) (2006)

Interesting Fact: In the film The Miracle Worker, for the dining room scene, Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke wore padding beneath their clothes to prevent serious bruising during the intense physical skirmish. The nine-minute sequence required three cameras and took five days to film. You can watch the scene here.

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Achievement: Six Winning Oscars for Performing in a Spoken Language Other Than English

1. Sophia Loren, Two Women (Italian) 1960

2. Robert DeNiro, The Godfather Part II (Italian) 1974

3. Roberto Benigni, Life Is Beautiful (Italian) 1997

4. Benicio del Toro, Traffic, (Spanish) 2000

5. Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose (French) 2007

6. Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Spanish) 2008

Interesting Fact: With Penelope Cruz winning an Oscar for her role as Maria Elena in the film Vicky Cristina Barcelona it continues a trend of young actresses winning Best Supporting Actress Oscars in Woody Allen films. Previous winners were Mira Sorvino in Mighty Aphrodite (1995) and Dianne Wiest in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and Bullets Over Broadway (1994) .

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Achievement: Five Actors Winning Back to Back Oscars

1. Luise Rainer: Best Actress for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and Best Actress for The Good Earth (1937)

2. Spencer Tracy: Best Actor for Captains Courageous (1937) and Best Actor for Boys Town (1938)

3. Katharine Hepburn: Best Actress for Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner (1967) and Best Actress for A Lion in Winter (1968)

4. Jason Robards: Best Supporting Actor for All the President’s Men (1976) and Best Supporting Actor for Julia (1977)

5. Tom Hanks: Best Actor, Philadelphia (1993) and Best Actor for Forrest Gump (1994)

Interesting Fact: Not only is Luise Rainer (Pictured above) the first woman to win two Academy Awards and the first person to win them back to back she is also the oldest living Oscar winner. Rainer was born of Jewish parents in Dusseldorf, Germany and made three German movies. Because of the rise of the Nazis in her home country, she accepted a contract from M-G-M in 1935and departed with her parents to Hollywood. She now lives in London and on January 12, 2010 she celebrated her 100th birthday. You can watch a 100 year birthday tribute here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVCWkOh_KHY

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Achievement: Four Woman Nominated for Best Director

I found this hard to believe because there have been so many talented woman directors over the years. No woman has won an Oscar for Best Director and only four have been nominated.

1. Lina Wertmuller for Seven Beauties (1976)

2. Jane Campion for The Piano (1993)

3. Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation (2003)

4. Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2008)

Note: The Hurt Locker was first released theatrically in Italy in 2008. It was then released in the United States in 2009 and will be eligible for the upcoming Academy Awards. So Kathryn Bigelow could be the first woman to win an Oscar for Directing.

Interesting Fact: Lina Wertmüller’s films are highly reflective of her own political commitments, with the main characters either dedicated anarchists, communists, feminists (or all) .

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Achievement: Three films winning for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Writing

In the Biz this is known as “The Big Five” or the “Oscar Grand Slam”.

1. It Happened One Night (1934) Director: Frank Capra Actor: Clark Gable Actress: Claudette Colbert Writing Adaptation: Robert Riskin

2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) Director: Miloš Forman Actor: Jack Nicholson Actress: Louise Fletcher Writing Adapted Screenplay: Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman

3. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Director: Jonathan Demme, Actor: Anthony Hopkins Actress: Jodie Foster, Writing Adapted Screenplay: Ted Tally

Interesting Fact: Clark Gable gave his Oscar for It Happened One Night to a child who admired it, telling him it was the winning of the statue that had mattered, not owning it. The child returned the Oscar to the Gable family after Clark’s death in 1960.

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Achievement: Two Directors that Directed Themselves to an Acting Oscar

1. Laurence Olivier, Director of and Best Actor for Hamlet (1948)

2. Roberto Benigni, Director of and Best Actor for Life Is Beautiful (1998)

Neither Olivier or Benigni were awarded the Oscar for Best Director

Interesting Fact: In the film Hamlet, Olivier played the voice of Hamlet’s father’s ghost himself by recording the dialog and playing it back at a reduced speed, giving it a macabre quality. You can hear the voice at 2 minutes and 49 second into this clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gu46pOY0itc

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Achievement: One Actor Winning 4 Oscars

Katharine Hepburn holds the current record for the most acting Academy Awards won by an individual. The movies are: Morning Glory (1933) Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) The Lion in Winter (1968) On Golden Pond (1981) All 4 Oscars are for best actress. You can see all four of her Oscars here.

Interesting Fact: Another one and only achievement is the only actor to win an Oscar for playing a real-life actor who has received an Oscar. Ironically it is Cate Blanchett for winning Best Supporting actress in the 2004 film The Aviator, in which she played Katharine Hepburn.

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Achievement: Zero Science Fiction Films Winning Best Picture

Sci-fi movies have never been a big favorite for the Academy. District 9 and Avatar are both up for best Picture for this year’s academy awards and a win from one of the two would mark the first best picture Oscar for a science fiction film. There have only been a few nominated science-fiction films for best picture in the past, including A Clockwork Orange (1971) , Star Wars (1977) and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) .

Interesting Fact: There are several legends attributed to the “Oscar” nickname. Betty Davis claimed to have dubbed the statue with the name because its backside reminded her of Harmon Oscar Nelson, her husband. Another story claims the Academy’s first librarian, Margaret Herrick, named the award because it reminded her of her uncle Oscar. Columnist Sidney Skolsky lays claims to making a vaudeville reference when he coined the name in the press. The Academy began officially calling the award Oscar in 1939.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2010/02/24/55-academy-award-achievements/

Top 10 Record Setting Programs On American TV

Television has become a staple part of life for the majority of people and in some countries television is now regarded as an essential human right (ridiculous in my opinion). Through the years, many shows have come and gone, but some have stuck around and become world record setters. This list looks at 10 of those programs.

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Record: Longest running cooking show.

Originally airing in October 1989, and continuing to the present, “Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito” has been running on public television stations coast to coast in the US and also worldwide for 20 years. Host Mary Ann is responsible for all the content on the program, and she has to avoid certain recipes that wouldn’t hold up well under the hot lights of a television studio. She has also published 10 cookbooks covering Italian cuisine and focusing on Sicilian and Neapolitan favorites.

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Record: Longest running scripted drama.

“Gunsmoke” was an American television staple for 20 years between September, 1955 and September, 1975. The show, set in Dodge City, Kansas in the 1870’s, was an extension of a highly popular radio program of the same name, but the TV show featured a different cast. Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) was faced every week by western despots who had no respect for the law or his friends, Chester, Festus, Doc, and Miss Kitty.

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Record: Longest running scripted comedy.

Animator Matt Groening originally created “The Simpsons” as a series of short clips to be featured on The Tracey Ullman Show in the late 1980’s. The show became one of the first ratings hits for the fledgling Fox Network when it was expanded into a weekly half-hour primetime show in December, 1989. “The Simpsons” initially focused on juvenile rascal Bart, but eventually switched to the lovable Homer as the star of the show. In 2007, “The Simpsons” was released as a full-length feature film, and the television show is currently still going strong in its 20th season.

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Record: Longest running game show.

Although “The Price is Right” originally aired in 1956 with host Bill Cullen, it was discontinued in 1965. When it returned in September, 1972 with new host Bob Barker (coming over from “Truth or Consequences”), the new version found unprecedented longevity. “The Price is Right” changed hosts with the retirement of Bob Barker in 2007, but it has continued to outlast a changing television landscape for 37 years, and has survived to the present, largely due to a resurgence of the show’s popularity on college campuses.

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Record: Longest running children’s program.

The Children’s Television Workshop and muppet creator Jim Henson combined to create a powerful children’s show in 1969 that featured education and entertainment. The show originally aired in November, 1969 and has continued to the present for an amazing 40 years. Many of the “jokes” in the programming are intentionally aimed at adult viewers, and “Sesame Street” has the unique ability to attract both toddlers and their parents.

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Record: Longest running program filmed in Hollywood.

Although it is set in Port Charles, New York, daytime drama “General Hospital” is the longest West Coast production on American television. The show debuted in April, 1963 as a half-hour program, and expanded to a full hour in 1978 to remain a constant fixture on ABC for 46 years. The show’s highest point was achieved in the early 1980’s with the marriage of Luke and Laura (the highest viewership of any daytime drama for a single episode), and a wacky plot involving secret agents, world domination, and a mysterious object known as The Ice Princess. When popular Laura (Genie Francis) left the show briefly, she was replaced as Luke’s love interest by a young and savage Demi Moore.

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Record: Longest running sports program.

This event originally aired in 1962, and was an extension of the Professional Bowlers Association. The “Pro Bowlers Tour” was highly responsible for the popularity of bowling in America during the 1960’s and 1970’s, and the championship game regularly drew many more viewers than did college football. When ABC ended its yearly run with the “Pro Bowlers Tour” in 1997, it was briefly picked up by CBS and then the Fox Sports Network through 2000. Finally, ESPN gave it a permanent home in 2001, where the “Pro Bowlers Tour” has been able to continue enjoying its uninterrupted run for 47 years.

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Record: Longest running daytime drama.

Soap opera “Guiding Light” made the jump from NBC radio to CBS television in June, 1952 and is scheduled to air its final episode in September, 2009, giving it a run of 57 years. The show has survived and rolled with many marketing swings (color television, African American characters, expansion from half-hour to full-hour, etc.), but was finally axed on April 1, 2009 by CBS. Although the last official episode will air on September 19, host Proctor & Gamble is still in negotiation to move the program to another venue and perhaps keep the series alive at a new home.

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Record: Longest running network newscast.

Originally airing in August, 1948 with anchor Douglas Edwards, the “CBS Evening News” has been the flagship program for the CBS network for 61 years. The anchor desk is extremely stable, and has featured only six news anchors during its entire run. The venerable Walter Cronkite followed Douglas Edwards, and Cronkite was eventually succeeded by Dan Rather. Following a brief pairing of Dan Rather with Connie Chung in the mid-90’s, Rather continued as the sole anchor until a scandal forced him to resign in 2005. He was briefly replaced by Bob Schieffer, and the current anchor desk is held by Katie Couric.

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Record: Longest running show in worldwide broadcast history.

“Meet the Press” is a Sunday morning talk show that began in November, 1947, and features a moderator and topical guests discussing everything from politics to the economy to foreign affairs. Eleven moderators have graced “Meet the Press,” including original moderator Martha Rountree, Roger Mudd, Chris Wallace, and its longest-serving moderator of 16 years Tim Russert. When the ever-popular Tim Russert died unexpectedly in 2008, he was briefly replaced by a retired Tom Brokaw, and finally by David Gregory, which all adds up to an amazing 62 years of continuous television broadcasting.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2009/05/05/top-10-record-setting-programs-on-american-tv/

10 Frighteningly Disturbing Movie Scenes

Listverse offers a host of lists that refer to “most disturbing movies,” but this list is dedicated for specific scenes that viewed in and of themselves are disturbing to watch. This list does not claim to highlight the most gory or disgusting scenes (e.g. scatological terrors from 120 Days of Sodom), but rather, scenes that due to their content or taboo subject matter are the most psychologically disturbing. Not all films would be traditionally labeled “horror.” Though some directors have a host of disturbing movie moments, I have limited the list to only one film per director. Films are arranged in no particular order.

Please note:

1. The following list contains spoilers. Do not read if you do not wish to know plot details of these films.
2. Incase it wasn’t already obvious, video clips depict disturbing content, so watch with caution.
3. Movie lists are always subjective, so bear in mind that I claim no definitiveness to this list. Feel free to comment with your own selections.

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Describing the plot of a David Lynch film is always a challenge, but loosely, Mulholland Drive follows the troubled romantic relationship of two actresses. In the final scene, Diane (Naomi Watts) is chased into her bedroom where she subsequently commits suicide by a menacing old couple for no apparent reason. The husband and wife, were introduced early in the movie as a happy and benevolent couple. The scene is disturbing for a variety of reasons. One: the old people enter her apartment as miniaturized versions climbing underneath her front door. They are clearly figments of her imagination, but are terrifying nonetheless. Two: the exaggerated expressions of the old people. They smile ghoulishly, reaching their arms out in a stereotypically menacing form and subsequently scare the shit out of Diane. Anyone who is familiar with David Lynch knows that his movies are full of weird-ass stuff, but this scene takes the cake. If you peruse the internet you will find a multitude of websites dedicated to analyzing his art, but regardless of any interpretations, it’s a freaky scene. The full scene is not currently available online.

In this class film by critically acclaimed Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, the character of Karin (Harriett Andersen) suffers from schizophrenia that leads her to believe that people are talking to her through the wall of her attic. She claims the people are awaiting the coming of God, who will enter through a closet door. The film gives hints as to the seriousness of Karin’s delusions, but it is not until this scene that the audience is able to see the full extent of her madness. In the jarring scene, Karin rushes upstairs to speak with the “voices,” who inform her that the time has come and that God is coming. As she waits, the vibrations of a nearby helicopter coming to the island to take her back to the mental hospital inadvertently causes the closet door to slowly swing open, seemingly of its own accord. Seen as a tangible confirmation of her beliefs, Karin waits with elation, but upon seeing what lies behind the door experiences a complete schizophrenic breakdown. What she sees or believes she sees is not revealed until later, but the realistic portrayal of schizophrenia, paired with Andersen’s stellar acting ability, make it a rather disturbing scene. The full clip is available above, but readers are encouraged to watch this fabulous film!

The Last House on the Left was recently (2009) remade, fitting with the current “torture porn” trend in Hollywood horror films. Yet this is one of the rare instances in which the original film by Wes Craven was actually more disturbing than the remake. The film follows two young women who are captured and tortured by a group of four criminals led by a sociopath named Krug (David Hess) who has recently broken out of prison. Banned at the time in several countries, the film is filled with blood and guts, including close-up shots of a disembowelment, but the scene I have chosen is the one I found the most psychologically disturbing. While the rest of his group holds her down, Krug carves his name into Mari’s (Sandra Cassel) chest, and then brutally rapes her. Following the rape, the group allows Mari to get up and put her clothes back on. Obviously traumatized and almost dysfunctional, Mari wanders despondently into a nearby river, where Krug shoots her in the head. There have been numerous films that have depicted rape scenes, but what makes this scene particularly disturbing is the attitudes of the group once the rape is completed. The audience observes in Krug a look of regret over his actions, suggesting that he is ashamed of his behavior but powerless to stop it. The only female in the group, a woman named Sadie, looks almost bored, and mechanically goes about trying to clean up after the rape. This is paired with a beautifully morose soundtrack sung by David A. Hess (who plays Krug himself), that seems wildly inappropriate given the context of what has just happened. The full film is available on YouTube at the above link, but this disturbing scene occurs around the 49 minute mark.

In this classic science fiction/horror film, Edward Jessup (William Hurt) is a university professor of abnormal psychology who is obsessed with other states of consciousness. Jessup travels to Mexico to participate in an indigenous psychedelic ceremony, and after tripping on an unknown substance takes a large amount back with him to the states for “formal research.” This scene is the second of Jessup’s “extreme trip” sequences, which occur while he tests the drug inside of a water oxygen-deprivation chamber. An attempt to describe this scene in detail would be pointless, but let’s just say there is a brief crucifixion sequence where a man’s head is replaced with that of a ram’s. Full scene above.

Casino, a classic film by an acclaimed director with a star-studded cast, is often mentioned in movie lists. Sam Rothstein (Robert De Niro) is a Jewish-American top gambling handicapper who is called by the mob to oversee the day-to-day operations at the Tangiers casino in Las Vegas. The mob also sends Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) to ensure that money from the Tangiers is skimmed off the top to profit the mob. Santoro proves over time to be a huge liability both to Rothstein and to the mob itself, and in typical Las Vegas fashion, Santoro and his brother are eventually taken to the desert and killed by mob bosses. Two things make this scene disturbing. One: up to this point Santoro had narrated the majority of the film, yet his narration is cut off mid-sentence when he is hit from behind with a shovel and then viciously beaten. This is surprising to the audience, as it contradicts the old-age assumption that any narrator, whether in movies or in print, must survive the story. The second reason it is a disturbing scene is the method used to kill Santoro and his brother. After being brutally beaten to the point of complete helplessness, the mob dumps their still living bodies to be buried alive in the Nevada desert. Though Pesci’s character was a nuisance, it is a tragic and violent end to a character who provided some comic relief for the film. Full scene above.

Creepshow, directed by George A. Romero, the famous director of the “Night of the Living Dead” films, collaborated with Stephen King on this anthology film, who even has a small (but comical!) role himself in the second sequence. The film presents five horror stories in a “comic book” type fashion, and though it is intentionally campy and melodramatic at times, it nevertheless contains some true horror. The (arguably) creepiest scene of the film is “Something to Tide You Over,” based on a short story written specifically for the film by King. In this sequence, Richard Vickers (Leslie Nielson) exacts a cold and calculated revenge against a man named Harry Wentworth (Ted Danson), who has been carrying on an affair with Richard’s wife. Richard drives Harry to a nearby beach, claiming that he has captured Becky (Richard’s wife) and that she is in serious danger. Once they arrive, there is no sign of Becky, but Richard goads Harry into burying himself up to the neck in the sand with the promise that once he does this he will get to see Becky. True to his word, once Harry is completely trapped, Richard reveals to him a live-streaming video screen, with which Harry sees that Becky is also buried up to her neck in sand and is able to watch him on a similar video screen. Trapped and total immobile, Richard calmly informs Harry that the rising tide will soon drown him, and then leaves.

For any viewer (like myself) who is in the habit of imagining themselves subject to the experiences of the people in films, this was a particularly horrifying scene to watch, as the slow reveal of the plan makes it that much more frightening. It is also disturbing to see Leslie Nielson, a man famous for his comedy performances (e.g. Airplane, Naked Gun) take on a role as a sadistic killer. I first saw this film about ten years ago and this scene has stuck with me since then as a particularly unfortunate way to die. Though the full scene is not available, you can watch a short clip from the sequence above.

Though the notorious film, The Human Centipede, is perhaps lacking in the artistic quality of the other film’s on this list, it would seem a gross miscarriage of justice to not give it a mention, as “disturbing” is pretty much the only way to describe it. Directed by Tom Six with the deliberate intention of creating a film so over-the-top and grotesquely shocking, the film succeeds with its premise alone. For anyone not familiar with the plot, an insane German doctor develops an obsession with the idea of creating a “human centipede,” by literally stitching humans together, asshole to mouth, which he successfully achieves after kidnapping three incredibly unlucky victims. The implications of this surgery in terms of the digestive tract are obvious but are too gross to detail here, so I will leave it up to your imaginations. Surprisingly, but perhaps due to its already profoundly disturbing content, viewers have noted that the film itself is not particularly gory or bloody (the same could not be said for the abomination that is The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence), but rather uses camera tricks and subtleties to show the “centipede” post-op. In light of this, I have chosen as the most “disturbing scene” from this film as the one where the doctor slowly and methodically explains to the three victims what he is about to do to them, complete with visual diagrams and a professional presentation. Needless to say, the victims are not excited. Trailer above.

I hesitated to include Clockwork in this list simply because it is so obvious a choice, but in truly thinking about it, it has earned its reputation. A Clockwork Orange depicts a futuristic London where youth gangs run rampant and law and order have come to a virtual halt. The film focuses on a youth named Alex De Large, who is the leader of a gang of four whose regular nightly activity consists of terrorizing the public as much as possible. The scene most often referenced, which I give credence to here, involves Alex and his gang breaking into the house of a middle-aged couple, for no reason but to cause general mayhem. Alex severely beats the man while singing and dancing to the classic “Singin’ in the Rain,” and then brutally rapes the man’s wife while he watches, which later results in her death. The scene is remembered for it’s over the top violence, and its use of what had been to that point a classic, innocent song that has been steeped in more sinister connotations ever since. What is most disturbing about this scene is the utter joy with which Alex and his friends go about their task, and the contrast of this joy with the abject terror of their victims. Despite the large numbers of “criminals,” we have in our modern prisons, as a whole as a society we generally draw the line between crimes that are done for necessity (robbery) and those that are done purely for the joy of it. It is for this reason that this scene is so jarring – the horrifying violence and rape are just seen by Alex and his group as a typical nightly outing.

In the academic world, Deliverance is often viewed as a subtle critique of the introduction of unwanted industrialization to the rural South, yet for the majority of men, it is remembered for an entirely different reason. The plot follows four Atlanta businessmen who decide to take a leisurely canoe trip into the remote Georgia wilderness. Expecting fun and adventure, they are instead met with hostile, inbred hillbillies who do not welcome the invasion of their territory and do not appreciate the men’s condescension towards them. In an infamous scene that qualified the film for this list, a hillbilly forces Bobby (Ned Beatty) to strip in the woods, then humiliates and brutally sodomizes while instructing him to “squeal like a pig.” Though female rape has been depicted countless times in film, the inclusion of a male rape scene was far more shocking and a more “taboo” subject, as male rape and homosexuality in general have long held an even greater societal stigma. Thus, this is a scene that has made males squirm ever since the film first came out, and is one of the main reasons why the film is remembered today. The scene is also memorable for John Voight’s rather blasé reaction to the rape, which adds an element of comic relief.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, with its countless sequels, prequels, and remakes, is a well-known staple of the horror genre, yet most films never top their original. The modern TCM movies generally revolve around blood and guts, and while the original had some of that too (but to a lesser extent), the first “kill” is a classic example of how subtlety can be more effective than gore. Kirk, one of five hapless teenagers whose car breaks down on a road trip, is the first one to be killed by the infamous “Leatherface.” Wandering into the home in search of help or a phone, he notices an open door at the end of a hall that reveals a red wall studded with what appear to be bones and other ritualistic objects. Kirk, overcome with curiosity, continues through the hallway, where suddenly Leatherface appears, slamming him in the side of the head with a mallet. Kirk is reduced to a quivering/twitching mass on the floor, and he is dragged into the red room by Leatherface, who slams the door abruptly behind him. We never see Kirk again.

This scene works on a psychological level. First of all, its suddenness catches the viewer off guard. While anyone watching a movie called the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” of course realizes there will be violence, Leatherface’s entrance is so abrupt it is truly frightening. Secondly, the scene works because it doesn’t show us exactly what happens, leaving our minds to do the rest of the work. Unimaginable horrors lie behind the locked door, and we are easily convinced that Kirk’s fate is pretty much the worst thing that could ever happen to you from walking into a stranger’s house. These features as a whole make it a memorable scene. Full video above.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2012/10/01/10-frighteningly-disturbing-movie-scenes/

Top 10 Best And Worst Shark Films

The date was June 20th, 1975, when milestone film Jaws made a splash in the entertainment business. Steven Spielberg’s larger than life movie dragged audiences from their seats into the depths of the ocean for the thrill ride of their lives. The movie profoundly affected our desire to stay away from beaches, and revolutionized Hollywood films, by producing the first ever blockbuster hit. Today’s list is dedicated to the legacy Jaws spawned. We’re honoring the best, and worst, shark movies in different categories.

It should be no surprise that the most expensive film on this list had the greatest special effects. The mako sharks looked authentic thanks to director Renny Harlin’s intelligent use of both animatronics and CGI. Their proportions weren’t too exaggerated, their movements were fluid and their skin had a rubbery, realistic appearance. Additionally, the action sequences were choreographed smoothly, so the explosions, the flooding of the lab (which will scar claustrophobics) and the encounters with the sharks were each epic and distinct, without being repetitive and overtly cliche. Deep Blue Sea was a surprise hit for shark fans and stands as the second best shark movie out there.

Interesting Fact: Makos are one of the few shark species in which cases of embryophagy has been recorded. This means that, in the womb, the strongest embryo will consume its brothers and sisters. This form of cannibalism is meant to give the reigning embryo enough food and nutrients needed until it’s born. Yikes.

The promise of 3-D is good, right? Wrong! Jaws 3-D decided to revisit the classic tale, and beat the dead horse even more, or in this case, the dead shark. Our favorite giant killer was reduced to cheap, formulaic shots, giving the impression that very little effort was put into its creation. He’s left looking like a submarine (even more so than the actual submarine in the film), eliminating all chances for it to look realistic; it’s a three foot robotic tank that glides. Furthermore, the film was comprised of many opening and closing mouth clips, plumes of red water and countless tired, mechanical movements. The production crew behind this film relied far too much on the superficial satisfaction of 3-D graphics, thus further blemishing the good name of Jaws. This movie were insulting to audiences and sharks alike.

Honorable Mention: Megalodon. Almost the entire movie is CGI and it’s far from any worthwhile special effects.

This is cheating but hear me out first. 12 Days of Terror was a docudrama, released by the Discovery Channel, which focused on the true events that happened along the New Jersey shore in 1916. People were subjected to twelve days of (you guessed it) terror, as there appeared to be a man-eating shark in the river. Four swimmers were mauled to death and a fifth was seriously injured, reaching national headlines by the third week and capturing the attention of audiences everywhere with this unfounded news. That leaves 12 Days of Terror with the best plot. It’s simple, it’s real and it had a chilling mystery (the species of the killer[s] was never scientifically verified).

Interesting Fact: Such an event was unheard of up to this incident. People began to fear sharks as dangerous man-eaters, creating a panic that resulted in full-scale shark hunting parties. This event also inspired Peter Benchley to write the novel aptly titled Jaws.

Two alien spaceships collide with one another, causing a generator aboard one of the ships to fall into the Bermuda Triangle. The device was powered by space crystals, which produce a negative effect on the sharks, awakening their killer instincts and driving them mad. The sharks attack an underwater research lab, cutting out the power and oxygen. The Navy sends specialists to rescue the people trapped inside, only to discover a black-ops team within the lab that have their own secret agenda.

Did that confuse you as soon as the aliens were mentioned? Raging Shark’s plot was contrived, cheesy, predictable, awkward and just plain ridiculous.

Honorable Mention: Blood Surf – athletes, looking for the latest extreme sport, cut themselves before surfing in shark infested waters to entice the vicious creatures to chase them. Little do they realize the real killer in the water is a man-eating crocodile. You’re promised sharks and get a reptile instead. Total bummer, dude.

Jaws 2 didn’t surpass the quality and suspense of its predecessor, but in comparison with other shark sequels, it’s the best. Director Jeannot Szwarc returned with the original film’s protagonist, Martin Brody, to further explore the waters of Amity Island. There’s blood, there’s brutal deaths and plenty of shark footage to boot. Certainly not as well rated, Jaws 2 didn’t meet the expectations of audiences, but provided enough of a mediocre thrill that it was moderately satisfying.

Interesting Fact: If confronted with a shark, remember these tips. Do not to flail around; instead swim rhythmically. Keep them in your sight and pretend you’re ready to fight (most sharks will avoid prey that appear as if they’re able to attack). Be sure to stay calm. Panicking will frighten the shark and make you look vulnerable, a combination that would be fatal. And if it does attack, fight back. Use any object with you and aim for its eyes and gills.

Jaws 4: The Revenge is the worst shark sequel for three reasons. The first pertains to the “revenge” this movie is named after. Protagonist Ellen Brody, now a widow, believes the great white in the water has a vendetta against her family. This point she’s certain of when she leaves Amity Island and travels to the Bahamas, only to find the shark has followed her. Now correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t the shark die in the first, second and third films? So what vendetta would this shark have against the Brody family?

The second reason is the climatic ending. Ellen is out on a boat, ready to confront the beast. As the shark swims toward her, she begins to have flashbacks of the iconic scene from the original film when her husband valiantly shot the tank in the shark’s mouth and saved the day. She remembers this vividly, even though she wasn’t there when it happened. The beauty of the scene, however, is the moment the Jaws 4 shark jumps out of the water, only to be harpooned and then explodes… for no reason. No tank of gas. No explosives. No electrical wiring. The shark explodes because it was stabbed.

The final reason is perhaps the most simple of details but a big one nonetheless. The shark roars with a T-Rex-like growl but sharks don’t have vocal cords. You do the math. This was a terrible film and an even more awful ending to the Jaws legacy.

Honorable Mention: Shark Attack 2 – the sharks growl like lions. Enough said.

Two people, out with a scuba diving group, are left behind when the crew fails to do a proper headcount. The couple is stranded out in the ocean with no signs of land in any direction. They soon realize that they aren’t alone. Surrounding them, both jellyfish and sharks inhabit the area. They are left with few options as they struggle to survive the harsh open waters.

In real life, the people in charge of scuba diving trips and tours are very careful, taking every precaution to prevent situations as the one described above from happening. That being said, being stranded in the middle of the ocean is not unheard of, and it is speculated that this movie is based on the real life disappearance of Tom and Eileen Longergan, in similar circumstances, while diving the Great Barrier Reef. Out of all the shark movies, this circumstance has the highest probability, unless aliens start dropping crystals in the Bermuda Triangle or sharks explode randomly.

Interesting Fact: Tiger and bull sharks are ranked as the most dangerous predators. Both species have indiscriminate tastes and are known to hunt along the surface and shores. Not to mention both these sharks are naturally curious about all moving objects.

A megalodon and giant octopus find themselves frozen in the midst of an colossal battle, back when the Earth was still young. The two giants remain frozen until the present age, when the results of global warming thaw them out and unleash them back into the waters. The megalodon and giant octopus wreak havoc across the globe, attacking bridges, drilling platforms and even jets. Scientists decide the only way to defeat these beasts is by pitting them against each other, in one final epic battle.

Debunking this movie is simple: sharks back out of fights if their opponent appears capable of defending itself and octopodes avoid fights altogether by use of camouflage. Sorry, folks. We’ll never see a battle of this monstrous proportion in real life.

Honorable Mention: Hammerhead – a devastated scientist implants hammerhead shark DNA into his son to keep him alive after he’s diagnosed with cancer. The DNA turns him into a horrible beast that attacks- actually, there’s no need to go on because that tells you enough already.

What other shark movie had you lifting your feet off the ground in the movie theater? Which one made you nervous to take a shower? What film changed the audience viewing experience forever? Jaws is, and always will be, the best shark story ever told. This classic had it all: the cast were each three-dimensional, the effects were impressive, the plot was original, it was scary, heartbreaking, thrilling and eye-opening all at once. Jaws accomplished what no other shark film has been able to do since its debut.

Interesting Fact: The famous animatronic shark was named Bruce, after Steven Spielberg’s lawyer. It was also referred to as the Great White Turd and Flaws, for the many times it broke down. Bruce now tours museums, while Bruce II can be found at Universal theme parks, in the backlot tram ride.

Think of everything that was great from Jaws and then picture the exact opposite, all compiled into one movie; that’s Shark Attack 3 in a nutshell. The acting was horrendous, leaving characters bland and unrealistic. The effects were lazy, resulting in laughable footage, rather than bone-chilling and iconic moments. And the plot has been seen hundreds of times before. There’s nothing new, exciting or worthwhile in this film. Why it was even made is the biggest concern you’d be left with after viewing this mocking shark movie.

Honorable Mention: Sharks in Venice. Think of it as Snakes on a Plane, except with sharks and in Venice.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2010/06/28/top-10-best-and-worst-shark-films/