Harrison Ford

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Year: 1989
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Jeffrey Boam, George Lucas, and Menno Meyjes


Let’s face it, Indiana Jones is at his best when he is fighting Nazis and I thought this movie really brought the franchise full circle and made it what it was. I think when your first sequel runs amuck you go back to square one and do things right the next time around.  That’s exactly what this movie did when it went back to fighting Nazis and brought back a couple of characters from the first film. Opening the movie with somewhat of an origin story was an excellent touch that went on to spawn a television series that I remember watching in my youth.  This was an altogether better film than Temple of Doom, and I will even go as far as to say that it rivals Raiders of the Lost Ark in the franchise.  Raiders is hard to top, but this comes as close as it gets and did plenty to create the marketability of the franchise.

I really think it is awesome that the franchise went back to the Nazis in the third film, being set in 1938.  It really disappoints me how the fourth film played out.  I have always thought that the greatest story line for a continuation of the franchise would go back to the Nazis again.  Sometime during WWII specifically.  I mean, what was Indy doing during “The Great War”? As a big time American enemy of the Nazis there should be little doubt there was a story line there.  Unfortunately we got something at a later date that ultimately settled around aliens.  Two thumbs way down on that. I can’t remember where I heard it but I remember being told George Lucas was to thank for the direction of the fourth film.  Another reason I despise the man that so many people love.

I think they really got back to the Indiana Jones roots in this movie, literally in fact.  River Phoenix was great as the young Indiana Jones.  This movie specifically is what I know the actor from and growing up knew his brother Joaquin much better.  I am a big fan of Joaquin Phoenix actually, despite his problems.  I expect nearly every day to find out he followed the same path as his brother and died from some kind of overdose but am always grateful when it doesn’t happen.  River Phoenix of course died of an accidental drug overdose at the age of twenty three with all the promise of a successful and fantastic acting career ahead of him.  His brother Joaquin shares his talents as well as his tendencies towards drugs unfortunately. His troubles are well known but I am a fan nonetheless, I think he is a great actor.  River could have been a great actor as well, and this movie as well as any he was in proves as much.  I thought he owned the role of the young Indiana Jones and I like how they explained the scar on his chin, a scar Harrison Ford got on his own that has been with him forever.

Harrison Ford again is great in the title role, he is the man that so many of us grew up with and idolized.  People will argue that Han Solo was a better role but I don’t think it got any better than Indiana Jones for Harrison Ford. It was the role of a lifetime and he was very good at it.  I really like that they brought back Denholm Elliott and John Rys-Davies for this movie. It made their characters more important to the franchise and I liked that.  Alison Doody served well enough in the female lead despite her name. She was beautiful and played her part well but it never took her anywhere.  I really liked Sean Connery in the part as Indy’s father, although it doesn’t make much sense for our ultra-American hero to have a father with an English accent.  Connery was one of the actors that proved age couldn’t slow down someone who was good at what he does and this movie played a big part in that. Harrison Ford plays a really strong character in Indiana Jones and it took a strong actor to play the part of the man that humbled him.  I think Connery did that in the deft fashion of a seasoned actor who knew his trade.  He brought a lot to the movie while not stealing the scene and I think it set the stage for all his roles to come over the following ten years.

For what Julian Glover lacks in the role of the lead villain Michael Byrne makes up for in spades.  General Vogel was evil and intimidating while Walter Donavon was just a weasel.  It was a bit of a twist when Dr. Schneider turned out to be bad but Indy should have been smarter than to fall for a beautiful blonde with a German accent. I do think it is weird that the movie implies that she had a relationship with both father and son but I suppose that was her job.

Indiana Jones jousts with a Nazi in this movie on motorcycles while he is armed with a flag against a machine gun and Indy wins, need I say more? This movie did as much as  Raiders of the Lost Ark for the Indiana Jones franchise and it is more than worth your time. I grew up with this as the completion of the series and it turns out that things would have been better off that way. I was really disappointed with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull despite how much money it made. There were parts that appealed to me as a fan but overall it was a disappointment and I wish the franchise had simply been left with this.  It is an awesome movie and proved to be incapable of being outdone twenty years later.

NEXT MOVIE: Inglousious Basterds (2009)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Year: 1984
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: George Lucas (story) Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz (screenplay)


As a child this was my favorite of all the Indiana Jones films, but as an adult I see it as the weakest of the original three.  It has more of a James Bond feel to it that makes it too campy for an Indiana Jones film at times.  Having a child side kick and the most annoying woman in the world tagging along also give this movie a bit of a silly tone that I think brings it down.  This tone doesn’t fit in as well with the rest of the franchise as both Raiders and The Last Crusade were much more serious films.  I see this as the Indiana Jones that George Lucas was given way too much creative control over, and until the most recent edition it was the weakest of the franchise. I also think there are several things in this movie make me ask questions about what Spielberg was thinking when he made the movie.

Harrison Ford is great as usual in the role but his supporting cast does tend to take away from his cool factor in this one.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it is awesome that Indy is friends with one of the Goonies, but “Short Round” is a poor substitute for the badass Marion Ravenwood.  It’s one thing to have him driving the getaway car in the beginning but quite another to have him tag along the whole movie.  Indy just doesn’t seem quite so much a badass when he is fighting side by side with a preteen child.  Not only was “Short Round” a bad edition to the film but Indy’s love interest is awful. I mean no disrespect to Spielberg because Kate Capshaw is his wife, but she is horrible in this one.  She has a very whiny tone to her voice that isn’t helped by the fact that she is screaming for the majority of the movie. I think it was a horrible decision to have such a great female character like Ravenwood in Raiders followed by the hopeless and helpless Capshaw.

I see this movie as having too much creative control from Lucas because so much is so wrong with the story; naturally Lucas is the one I am inclined to blame.  There are so many things about this movie that are just weird.  What’s up with the sudden tap dancing routine at the beginning of the movie? Why do they make the Indians look so barbaric and uncivilized during the dinner scene? I am fairly certain that on the other side of the world they don’t actually dine on live snakes or monkey brains, much less eyeball soup. What’s up with the strange burning spot they are lowering people into during the ritual scenes? Are these burning pits something common in India? Somehow I doubt it. Why is the rail cart system in the mines set up like a roller coaster? Seems inefficient for production to me, how do you transport your goods when they are traveling at such high speeds?

I do think the scene in which Indy chops the rope bridge in the end is one of the best in the movie, but why does Mola Ram continue walking up the bridge even as it is completely obvious what Indy is about to do? Mola Ram is one of the saving graces of this film as far as I am concerned.  He is such a great bad guy.  He has wicked head gear and he literally rips the hearts out of people.  Can a bad guy get any better? I also like that monster Indian that Indy fights in the mines, really good find when casting the villain’s henchman.

This movie may be a bit much to stomach as an adult but it was my absolute favorite as a child.  It’s so exaggerated and exciting that it filled all my wildest expectations as a really young child.  They literally jump out of plane in a raft and that’s only the beginning of the wild ride.  From the point of view of a five year old that is pure awesomeness.  This isn’t the best of the Indiana Jones movies but it’s still Indiana Jones, and that makes it worth your time.  These are classic movies.

Raiders of The Lost Ark

Year: 1981
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Lawrence Kasdan (screenplay) George Lucas and Philip Kaufman (story)


When I was in college I wrote a fifteen page paper on this movie for one of my classes.  It was a very in depth critical analysis in which I praised Steven Spielberg as one of the greatest directors of all time and accused George Lucas of being a hack that only did one good thing and fooled millions of people into thinking he had talent.  I made an A on the paper and I still stand by those positions today.  Spielberg has continued to make incredible movies and George Lucas has continued to destroy his greatest creations and ruin their legacies.  Not even this franchise was safe from Lucas’ meddling but nevertheless he did play a large role in making this movie, and it is a legendary movie.  This movie is so iconic and so awesome that it remains relevant even after more than thirty years since its release and in time I think we will find it still relevant in yet another thirty year period.

I’m not going to spend too much time talking specifically about how good this movie is because everybody out there already knows that.  If you are young and managed not to see this movie growing up you should confront your parents and demand an explanation.  This movie is exciting, interesting, timeless, and action packed.  Indiana Jones is a total badass and true American hero. He made boys all over the world want whips they could combat anything with. I like Jones as the hero because he is a strong character.  He is educated, secular, practical, and brave.  He doesn’t give credence to superstition. He follows his mind and not his heart. He does what needs to be done, and he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.  The guy can fistfight with the best of them and still be in class the following day blowing off the doe eyed babes trying to hit on him.  He rocks the shit out of that hat too, and it makes his silhouette one of the most memorable ever.  Another thing that makes him a great American hero is his hate for Nazis.  Indy is great at beating up Nazis and how can any red blooded American out there not love him for that?

The character of Indiana Jones was in fact created by George Lucas, but he originally named the character Indiana Smith.  When he and Spielberg were discussing the film Spielberg told him he loved the story but he wasn’t crazy about the name Indiana Smith.  So Lucas came up with the oh so clever second attempt of Jones which was what stuck.  Lucas couldn’t use the most popular name in the nation so he went with the second most popular.  I think that, in a nutshell, sums up the capabilities of George Lucas as a creative writer.  I cannot explain Star Wars because he did create something exceptional there, in the beginning, but I maintain he is a hack despite Star Wars.  I think the success of this movie and franchise is 100% because Spielberg was behind the camera.  He is one of the greatest directors of all time and he is in his element making movies like this.  Spielberg has a great imagination for action sequences and nobody films them with such an exciting impact as he does.  

He has always made great use of composer John Williams as well to his great advantage.  Williams is an incredible composer and has created a number of memorable scores.  The score for this movie alone will live on forever and that’s only one next to several very successful films over the last 30+ years.  His music has played a significant role in setting the tone for Spielberg movies such as this one, E.T., Jawsand Jurassic ParkWilliams was also the key composer for all Star Wars films and The Harry Potter franchise as well.  He has had a career for the ages and will be remembered for all time.

Karen Allen was nothing short of awesome in this movie.  As Marion Ravenwood she plays such a badass woman who will drink you under the table and stab you if you underestimate her.  I was really hopeful for her return to the franchise in the fourth film because I thought it certified that the movie would be awesome and tie them all together.  I was really disappointed with the fourth movie though, which I still think had the potential to be everything all of us wanted it to be.  Naturally, I blame George Lucas for what was ultimately put on the screen but I am biased in that regard.  Paul Freeman played the part of the lead villain well enough but Ronald Lacey showed him up as a bad guy.  For the longest time this was the only movie I knew John Rhys-Davies from and was shocked when I realized he was the man who played Gimli in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Years ago I wrote so much about this movie that I found it difficult to do it this time because I hate to be redundant.  This is a movie and franchise really important to me though because as far back as I can remember I was watching Indiana Jones and loving every minute of it. These movies are timeless and I sincerely hope they are still being enjoyed by the rising generation today.  All three of the first three movies are worth your time but this one more than any other.  You have undoubtedly seen it already but if you haven’t I don’t know what you are waiting for.


This movie is a classic. It’s almost blasphemous to say anything derogatory about it. Here is the poster:


Spielberg was obsessed with this style back in the day. This takes me right back to my Goonies review. I think what they are going for is this “adventurous” style so they make it all sketched out. I really don’t like it all. He has a super cheesy look on his face, the font for Raiders looks like it is bad word art (of course all word art is bad) and on top of that it is filled with a gradient! This movie may be a classic and this poster probably stands out in the minds of those who love it, but I hate this poster. It is definitely one of my least favorite.

NEXT MOVIE: Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (1984)

Blade Runner

Year: 1982
Directed By: Ridley Scott
Written By: Philip K. Dick


When Christopher Nolan got ready to start shooting The Dark Knight he gathered the crew together for a screening of this movie.  When it was over he told them that this was how he wanted to make the next Batman movie.  That was what finally got me to sit down and really pay attention to this movie, to recognize how great it really is.  It’s weird but I intentionally avoided this movie for a long time.  I had always heard how great it was but found it slow and vague when I tried to watch it. I would not call myself a big science fiction fan and this movie was always too much science fiction for me. What I mean is that I like science fiction intertwined with real life, a la Terminator or Jurassic Park. These movies are set in real-time and real life with fictitious elements of scientific nature.  A movie like Blade Runner is the whole nine yards, it’s in the future with robots and flying cars and new technology still unknown like the Voight-Kampff machine.

It wasn’t just the heavy science fiction nature of the film that kept me away though, that isn’t usually a problem.  This film is a thinker, and I have never found it enjoyable enough to give it that much effort.  People are literally still debating parts of this film today, 30 years later.  Was Deckard a replicant or not? Who knows? I don’t and while I can see the quality and excellence of this film now I still don’t like it enough to put that kind of time into it. This is the kind of movie you can watch 25 times and analyze over and over again but you have to love a movie to do that and I do not love Blade Runner.  I merely recognize and respect it as a classic, I have heard some call this one of the greatest movies ever made.  I can’t say I agree with that but I can see why people could feel that way, the movie is well made and iconic.

There was apparently a lot of tension between Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford on set during the filming of the movie.  I think at times you can see Ford’s frustration and you can plainly see that he isn’t comfortable in the part. Sean Young is good in this film, though she would go crazy about 10 years later.  I believe she confronted Tim Burton on the set of Batman Returns in a homemade Catwoman suit in an effort to win a part already cast, or something like that.  This is easily one of the best performances from Daryl Hannah, she looks great as Pris. Rutger Hauer also looks great as Roy Batty, this is his best performance as well. This was very early in the career of Ridley Scott, he made this movie right after Alien. You could see early on that he was going to go on and do great things. Blade Runner looks great and it’s very visionary, but I find it boring to an overwhelming point at times.

You should watch this movie because it is a classic.  It is worth your time to see it at least once.  It can be hard to follow and if you are seeing it for the first time it’s easy to get lost or confused. I think that is because this movie has been released in so many formats.  We own the four disc collectors edition, I don’t know what year, but that is only one of I think 6 or 7 editions of the film released over the past 30 years.  However, if you can make it to the second half of the film it gets much better.

Just one final thought, on the Deckard debate.  I can see why people would think that he is a replicant.  Deckard dreams of a unicorn and Gaff makes the origami unicorn indicating that he knew what Deckard dreamed of blah blah blah.  I don’t buy it though, Deckard is always getting his ass kicked.  He is way too pathetic to be a replicant, all the replicants were badass and he was lucky to beat any of them.  If he was a replicant wouldn’t he be designed and built with the capabilities to do his job better?


Oh my god, Ryan wrote way too much about this boring, boring movie. I have tried to watch it three times now and every single time I have fallen asleep. It is the most slow-moving movie in history. Every time that I would wake up for a little bit it would be on some scene playing some ridiculous music and people would be staring at each other hence making me fall asleep once again. This has got to be one of the most boring movies ever made. All I know about it is that Harrison Ford is a Bladerunner, who apparently is someone who chases down and recognizes who a “Replica” is, which is like a human replica that’s not really a replica. I don’t know what else happens but I just assumed at the end he was a replica himself. How is that for irony for a boring ass movie?

NEXT MOVIE: Blast From The Past (1999)