03/06/17: March Movie Madness Round 1, Part 1
Hello and welcome to March Movie Madness! Below you will find four matchups to vote on, along with a little more information about each movie from us and our esteemed guests. Be sure to vote and check out daily for updates!
1980’s #1 Back to the Future vs. #16 Stand by Me
Back to the Future: This movies is just totally joyful and timeless. Putting aside it’s objectively amazing script and story, the movie is just pure fun. The effects are dated, but it’s so easy to look past that because they are used well and service an excellent story. I can watch Back to the Future again and again and notice new details every time, because it’s so expertly woven together, and those details paying off is movie magic. –Scott Tennant
Stand by Me: Stand by Me is such a dynamic coming of age story, and is a great success because it can easily be enjoyed by children and adults alike. The kids feel like real kids in this movie thanks to a cast with lots of natural chemistry, and writing that feels truly real. Where so many other movies fail in their portrayal of children, Stand By Me’s success here helps set it apart, and become a key piece of this movie’s enjoyment. –Scott Tennant
1990’s #4 Pulp Fiction vs. #13 Schindler’s List
Pulp Fiction: Gratuitous violence while it was still new and novel. A harsh and glamorized view into the seedy underbelly of the 90’s. Brilliant Tarantino dialogue (also before that got worn out…). Constantly iconic scenes, characters, and one liners galore. A lot of people’s favorite movie and the gem of American Gen-Xer’s cinema crown. –Joe Leonard
Schindler’s List: Jerry Seinfeld proved that this isn’t the best date movie, but this Best Picture winner is arguably Steven Spielberg’s best, most mature work. The movie is tough to watch, not shying away from the staggering brutality of the events it’s depicting, but the film is also truly stunning visually and it’s use of color in the visual storytelling is some of the finest that I have ever seen. It’s as important as it is excellently crafted, and deserving of it’s spot in this list.
2000’s #8 Spirited Away vs. #9 Catch Me If You Can
Spirited Away: For many people Spirited Away was their introduction to Hiyao Miyazaki’s work, as this 2001 animated classic is the only non-American film to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, so this became a first taste for many, myself included. With it’s gorgeous visuals and it’s imaginative story and world, it’s no wonder that Spirited Away enchanted adults and children alike, and put Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli on the map for the critical and casual cinema-goer alike. –Scott Tennant
Catch Me If You Can: Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and this story of the life of Frank Abagnale is so crazy, that you couldn’t write a plot like this if you wanted to. This action/adventure/comedy/drama offers something for all audience members and is driven thanks to Steven Spielberg’s fine touch behind the camera, but is so incredibly engrossing thanks to the on screen duo of Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. Rarely do you see two stars of such caliber share the screen so well, and they outwit and outrun each other to dazzling effect in this one. It’s bright, it’s colorful, it’s endearing, it’s fun; it’s why we watch movies. –Scott Tennant
2010’s #2 Whiplash vs. #15 Creed
Whiplash: Rarely do we see such intensity and hypnotic focus in films that cover niche topics like collegiate jazz band, but Whiplash is no ordinary film. The launching pad of Oscar-winner Damien Chazelle’s career, Whiplash draws you in with editing and cinematography so tight and focused that when it’s done it feels like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Whiplash topped many critics best films lists in 2014, and took home a few Academy Awards for it’s trouble, largely thanks to the rhythm and swagger it shows in building a gripping story from a subject that seemed dry to me on the surface beforehand. –Scott Tennant
Creed: Like the champion they feature, just when you think the Rocky franchise can’t possibly get back up and land a punch, here comes Creed. Finally, Balboa is not in the ring (nor the main character), but this movie features a fresh approach to the played-out “fighter with something to prove” trope. Creed has to fight to be taken seriously, but through skill and perseverance he manages to pull through and prove himself to a skeptical world. Once again, life imitates art and this film manages to do the same for itself. –Joe Leonard
Thanks for participating! Keep your eyes on The Critical Breakdown for the next few weeks and help us narrow it down to the grand champion. And make sure to subscribe to our podcast for more from the podcast boys, every Tuesday.