james spader

Stargate

Year: 1994
Directed By: Roland Emmerich
Written By: Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich

RYAN’S REVIEW

When I was 10 years old this was one of the movies playing at the Uptown theater when I went to visit my dad in Washington D.C.. That theater’s single giant screen was my babysitter in those days and I spent plenty of time sitting in front of it during those visits. No theater has ever come close to being quite as magical as the Uptown was to me as a 10 year old. I would sit on the first row of the balcony and watch whatever was playing over and over again. I’m partial to all the movies I saw on that screen but it really helps that this one is so cool.

I really like the idea behind this movie. They don’t make such original science fiction anymore, or at least I haven’t seen anything like it. I like that the military has been keeping this ancient technology under wraps for decades trying to figure it out. When they get it operational the adventure begins and some of Earth’s greatest mysteries are there to be discovered. It’s a portal to another world and the military is sending a team through it into the unknown. The blending of ancient Egyptian culture, the military, and aliens is just awesome. Really cool idea that was ahead of its time. Unfortunately it’s one of the many that are destined for the eventual reboot that will probably just sully the original.

I really hope a reboot never comes to fruition. They could never top this one, and why even try? Where the hell are they gonna find anyone who can rock a flat top and beret like Kurt freaking Russell? Can’t do it! It didn’t work when they rebooted Total Recall. It didn’t work when they rebooted RobocopThey keep trying to carry on The Terminator franchise to no avail. Alien keeps trying to hang on with new movies and clearly that isn’t working. There’s just no way they should even try to remake this movie because it’s a bad idea. This movie is fine the way it is and it left its mark in the science fiction genre. We need movies like this, but not this. Certainly there are still people out there coming up with interesting ideas, we need more original science fiction these days and more than simply reboots and sequels to older properties.

I think this is one of, if not the, best movies made by Roland Emmerich. He has almost become like a gimmick director at this point specializing in disaster films. While those movies have become redundant I still like him as a director. After all, those disaster flicks aren’t terrible, I’d easily say that were worth watching one time as a rental. Maybe none of those disaster flicks qualified for our collection but I have a couple of Emmerich’s movies on the shelf and I’m quite fond of them. Independence Day is a very popular film but I have always had problems with it and never watched the sequel.

I think the music in this movie is exceptional. The theme they use anytime Ra is on screen is particularly compelling with its sinister sound. I am not very familiar with the film’s compser David Arnold, but I really like what he came up with. Sometimes a musical score can make or break a film. I don’t think the score here did either but it greatly enhances the film.

As I am want to mention I grew up in an action movie fanatic household. So, naturally I think Kurt Russell is awesome and I really like him in this movie. He rocks the shit out of that beret Demolition Man style. Dressed all in black and wearing that beret he should have been called Colonel John Spartan in this movie but I’ll let it slide. Kurt Russell is just too likable delivering lines like “Give my regards to King Tut asshole.” I’ve never been a big James Spader fan but I liked him in this movie. He apparently thought the movie was going to be awful but took the part for the money. Spader wasn’t the only one not really invested in the film as the actor who portrayed Ra, Jaye Davidson was apparently very difficult to work with. As a matter of fact he never acted again after this. I thought he was good though, of course all his lines are dubbed with that badass voice and all he had to do was look really evil.

This has been a fairly influential film in a way I am generally unfamiliar with. It inspired a television series that has been around a long time, I guess. I don’t know very much about it but I understand there is some minor crossover between the film and show. I only bring it up because this movie also inspired something that I cherish. There was an awesome direct reference to the film in one of the South Park Imaginationland episodes:

 

This is the best scene I could find on YouTube but you can see the Stargate and hear Kurt Russell as he is attacked by the Woodland Critters. Earlier in the episode Kurt Russell asks why he is there with this military crew and the response is “because you were in that movie that was kind of like this.” Hilarious, if you haven’t seen Imaginationland you should seek it out, some of the funniest stuff South Park has ever done.

This movie is special to me because it gets me all nostalgic over magical childhood memories. It’s a good movie aside from that though and there are plenty of reasons to like it. It’s got a real Chariots of the Gods feel to it and people love those wild theories. If you are a fan of science fiction this is a must see and I think the movie is easily worth your time to see it.

NEXT MOVIE: Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

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The Office Series Finale

I was watching old episodes of this show recently and it reminded me how good it used to be.  Seasons 1-3 are solid gold and still have me laughing years later and after multiple viewings.  Since then I wouldn’t say it all went downhill because there were many great episodes afterwards and many that were just good enough to keep us going.  I always thought the show got a bit too silly in the later years as Steve Carell prepared to exit the show.  Once he was gone I was surprised to find that the show seemed to get a bit better for a while before dragging again.  I did not like the James Spader episodes and thought enough was enough for Dunder Mifflin.  However this past season has been a pleasant surprise.  I think Clark Duke has been an excellent addition to the cast and Ellie Kemper just keeps getting better and better.  The show is winding down now and will be over for good in merely a couple of weeks.  This show may not be as great now as it once was but I will still miss it.  I have been an avid viewer for over eight years now and it’s always hard to say goodbye to something after that long.

I have read only a little about the series finale but I know it will involve a wedding.  There are many guest appearances in the episode including Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak so I am making what I would call a safe assumption in that the episode will involve a wedding between Ryan and Kelly.  I suppose the finale wouldn’t be fitting without some closure to that long standing relationship.  I do not know this but simply feel safe in assuming that is what will happen.  The big question as to the final episode is of course “Will we see Michael Scott again?” I have read conflicting reports in regards to this.  Steve Carell was not on the list of guest appearance I read and his people have said more than once that he is not returning.  Recently there has been speculation though that he is making some sort of small guest cameo during the last episode.  I hope it is not like the cameo we saw of him in Life’s too Short in which he simply appeared through FaceTime on Ricky Gervais’s computer.  That would be horribly disappointing, nearly as disappointing as an ending to this show without an appearance from one of its best characters.

I thought Michael Scott got way too over the top long before his exit from the show and I did not miss him when he was gone.  However having seen so much without him I have found that I do miss the character and the presence of Steve Carell on the show.  I was actually watching season 3 the other day just to kick back and enjoy the good old days of the show when I decided to write this. I hope the finale episode of The Office is one that makes us all laugh like we did in season 3 when the show was the best of the best.  I also hope we do see Steve Carell, because the show wouldn’t be closed right without him.

While I’m on the subject I would like to go over something that’s been on my mind about Jim and Pam.  The show got everything it could out of this relationship years ago and everything sense has been monotonous.  To be perfectly honest I don’t really think John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer even have good chemistry with one another.  As two lovers divided by circumstance I think they were great.  They loved each other from a distance and seemed to be perfect for one another but once they actually got together I thought the fire was burned out.  I don’t think they came off as a real couple or two people who actually loved each other even before this season threw a wrench in their relationship.  All the teasing of infidelity and divorce was awful too.  I always have a problem with the show I watch to laugh getting awkward or dramatic.  This show has always done far too much of that but I felt they really went too far with the Jim and Pam thing.

UPDATE**

Let me kindly revoke a few things I said earlier today about Pam and Jim.  The episode that has aired this evening has been nothing short of incredible and I particularly admire how the writers brought something from the past back into the backbone relationship of the show. The letter from the tea kettle was particularly brilliant and I really thought it was awesome.

Also, it appears I am mistaken about the wedding in the season finale.  I assumed too soon that it would be Ryan and Kelly getting married but I am happy to be wrong when it means something better is in order. I had always hoped for a reuniting of Dwight and Angel but eventually felt they went too far to make it happen.  In truth I still feel they have gone too far to make this a happy ending for either Dwight or Angela.  We are meant to overlook several things in order to see the love the show ultimately built up to but I don’t buy it.  The show got too weird with Angela’s character over the years to make this a seriously happy ending.  Since it is in the final end of the show though I will excuse it and simply laugh at what is to come. I was really impressed by tonight’s episode and I realize I underestimated the writers.  I shouldn’t make any assumptions now and should trust in the potential ahead of us.