This is a blog which primarily gives some attention to movies that I find were overlooked (for whatever reason) or are simply underrated. I also comment on other, mainly movie-related issues as well. I welcome any suggestions for films to be added to this distinguished list.

One word of warning: The films listed below contain spoilers, so caution during reading is required.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Good Grief, More Underrated Movies Lines

Here's the fourth in our series of lines from known films which aren't as quoted as often as I think they should be.

1. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984):
I can certainly understand why some would view this film as a copout since it revived Spock (Leonard Nimoy) after the character heroically sacrificed himself in the previous Trek film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). However, I still give this film a lot of credit for still being able to entertain and, like Khan, end on a bittersweet note, even though it was clear from the beginning that Spock would return.
Kirk (William Shatner) and the rest of the crew go through hell thanks to the Klingon Kruge (Christopher Lloyd) in order to get their pal back.
Once Kruge has been vanquished, they take Spock's body to Vulcan, where the Vulcan Priestess T'Lar (Dame Judith Anderson) begins a ritual which will restore Spock's mind to his body. When she tells Spock's father, Sarek (Mark Lenard), that this ancient ritual carries the risk of killing Spock, Sarek, while from a race that contains its emotions, replies with a line that is full of compassion:
"My logic is uncertain where my son is concerned!"
One person who was against Spock returning was Khan director Nicholas Meyer. But his dissatisfaction didn't stop him from co-writing the next film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), which Nimoy directed (as he did with Spock), and from directing and co-writing (again with Nimoy) Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991).
In his review of Country, Confused Matthew rightly called Nimoy and Meyer the dream team of the original Trek films. How wonderful it would have been if they had gotten their hands on The Next Generation films.

2. Basic Instinct (1992):
If I had to pick my favorite 'guilty pleasure' movie, it would be this one. The plot twists are absolutely ludicrous, but its stars and the nice Jerry Goldsmith score give it a lot of atmosphere.
When police detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) is interrogated in relation to the death of a fellow detective Nilsen (Daniel Von Bargen), whom Curran was not on good terms with, he points out that it would have been foolish of him to kill Nilsen since he confronted him earlier that same day.
The interrogators then point out that the confrontation may have been insurance that Curran wouldn't be a suspect in the murder, which reminds them of their earlier questioning of Catherine (Sharon Stone), who wrote a book depicting a murder which, at the beginning of the movie, played out in the same way.
When one of the detectives asks what book they are referring to, another answers:
"Private joke, asshole!"
In a review of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), it is pointed out that overusing profanity causes it to lose its purpose, which, according to the reviewer, is to shock. I believe that profanity, when used sparingly, can also provoke laughter at certain times, and (while Instinct has a lot more profanity than this) this line certainly did that for me. A similar tactic was later employed in the movie...

3. Eyes Wide Shut (1999):
Stanley Kubrick's final film got mixed reviews, but I thought it ended on an appropriate note. When Bill (Tom Cruise) and Alice (Nicole Kidman) are discussing the events which Bill has gone through in the movie's final scene, Alice states that their marriage is still intact and tells Bill that there is something they need to do as quickly as possible. That something is:
The screen then goes black and the end credits begin. I find it appropriate that the final scene in Kubrick's final film would raise one's eyebrows in such a subtle way.

4. Jason X (2002): As I've noted elsewhere, the last word I would use to describe the Friday the 13th series is 'good,' but it can be fun to watch if you are willing to turn off your brain for a while.
Apparently, the producers of the series started feeling the same way as it went on because, while the first Friday the 13th (1980) had a nice atmosphere to compensate for its plot holes, each sequel seemed to embrace the fact that the premise of a serial killer who keeps being resurrected again and again was nonsense and, as such, ran with that.
Perhaps that was never more evident than in Jason X, the 10th film in the Friday series, which sees Jason in space, where (you guessed it) he kills off a ship's crew, which is comprised of (mainly) sex-obsessed dimwits.
At one point, one of that crew, Janessa (Melyssa Ade), is hanging on for dear life when the ship's hull is breached. Just before she's pulled out into space, Janessa says what could be viewed as a perfect summary of the series.
"This sucks on so many levels!"
Granted, she is not the first movie character to give a smart remark while faced with certain death, but this film, like most of the others in the series, can best be described as 'dumb fun.' This contrasts it with another 2002 movie set in space, Star Wars: Episode II-Attack of the Clones, which was just plain 'dumb.'

5. The Dark Knight (2008): Needless to say, this film and its predecessor Batman Begins (2005) were everything both Tim Burton's and Joel Schumacher's Bat-films should have been. As a result, they match Superman (1978) and Superman II (1981) in terms of quality. In a sad bit of irony, the respective third films in these series-Superman III (1983) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012)- proved less than satisfying.
Heath Ledger's posthumous Oscar win for playing the Joker was well-earned, but, unlike Jack Nicholson's Joker in Batman (1989), he didn't dominate the proceedings at the expense of the other actors.
This is especially true of Batman (Christian Bale), who has nice moments in this film where he questions himself. During the climatic fight scene between these two characters, the Joker anxiously awaits the moment when one or both of the boats he's rigged with explosives will blow up. He had previously given the crews of both ships the means to blow up the other, or he would blow up both himself.
When neither ship goes up in flames, the Joker moves to carry out his threat until Batman gets the upper hand. He then asks the Joker:
"What were you trying to prove? That deep down, everyone's as ugly as you?! You're alone."
This reminded me of an exchange between these same two characters in the graphic novel The Killing Joke. In that story, the Joker paralyzes Gordon's daughter and then kidnaps and tortures the Commissioner in order to drive him insane. When Batman arrives, he tends to Gordon who, while shaken, insists that the Caped Crusader take the Joker in by the book. Batman then finds the Joker and tells him that Gordon is still sane and that the Joker may be the exception rather than the norm.

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