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March Movie Madness

03/15/17: March Movie Madness Round 1, Part 5

Maximilian Rivera March 15, 2017
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By Scott Tennant | @Breakdown_Scott

Welcome back to March Movie Madness! Here are the results from our last batch:

#2 The Shining defeats #15 Say Anything…
#9 Forrest Gump defeats #8 Fight Club
#11 No Country for Old Men defeats #6 Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
#14 12 Years a Slave defeats #3 Her 

Here is our next batch of movies to vote on. We’re halfway done with the first round. Descriptions of each below!

1980’s #4 Ghostbusters vs. #13 Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Ghostbusters: Possibly the most 80’s movie of all time. Is it a kids movie? Not really. A movie for adults? Hardly… but one that encapsulates the humor, styles, and sarcasm of a city and a decade that had much more to offer than Wall Street yuppies. Plus awesome traditional visual effects, and Aykroyd, Murray, and Ramis in their prime? What more could you want? — Joe Leonard

Raiders of the Lost Ark: What possibly can be said about Indiana Jones at this point that hasn’t already been said by it’s millions of adoring fans, successful and ongoing film series, and the numerous awards it has won? Harrison Ford is awesome here; every bit as cool as he needs to be, but also smart and cunning. His first trek here is the ultimate adventure film, that dozens of others have tried to emulate. Some have been good, but none can stand up to the legend himself.  — Scott Tennant
1990’s #1 The Shawshank Redemption vs. #16 Se7en
The Shawshank Redemption: The Shawshank Redemption is a total triumph of storytelling, character development, and catharsis in a movie. It is one of the few movies that successfully touches the viewer on many different emotional levels; while watching it’s hard not to feel the sadness, emptiness, and rage alongside Andy Dufresne in his situation, but it’s also impossible not to revel in the humor, in the little victories, and in the accomplishment as he pulls off his great escape. Wrap this all up in a visually satisfying and well-scored movie, and it’s easy to see how it became the top seed for the 90’s.  — Scott Tennant

Se7en: 
It’s rare that these number-replacing-a-letter-in-a-title productions end up being anything worthwhile (looking at you Fant4stic), but David Fincher’s Se7en is not only worthwhile, but helped put the director on the map and set him up for greatness. Crime mysteries have been commonplace since the noir days in the 1940’s, so for a movie like Se7en to come around and turn the genre on it’s head is really saying something. One of film history’s greatest endings give Se7en some staying power, but it’s impossible to ignore the creepy atmosphere that Fincher sets up utilizing color grading and fearless visuals. The performances of young Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, and the particularly haunting Kevin Spacey are all top notch and their delivery helps the story pack a huge punch, and stay with you for awhile.  — Scott Tennant
2000’s #3 The Departed vs. #14 Almost Famous
The Departed: This is the toughest Leonardo DiCaprio will ever be. A well-crafted film about corruption and appearances in police and politics. A perfectly cast bunch of characters, most of them pretty unpleasant. A 21st century classic that stands up to any noir cop movie of cinema’s Golden Age, with the grit and reality modern moviegoers have come to expect.  — Joe Leonard

Almost Famous: 
Personally, I can’t think of a better coming of age film than Almost Famous. While set in the 70s, the characters could be you, your friends, and anybody you’ve ever wanted to impress. If anything, what makes Almost Famous so great is that the protagonist is just kind of a nerd, as he should be. Memorable characters, quotes, and songs make this film such a hit. I would say this is Cameron Crowe’s finest work, and a piece that is rife with emotion from start to finish. Once you see this film, Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” will always bring a smile to your face (and make you want to sing at the top of your lungs, too). Almost Famous tours concepts like love, friendship, growing up, and betrayal, and invites you to join it on the ride. On top of that, Kate Hudson does a thing with her hand while saying “You are home,” that is next level.  — Max Rivera
2010’s #8 Room vs. #9 The King’s Speech
Room:  It’s almost better to go into Room knowing nothing about the film — as I did on my first viewing. From the first scene, you can figure out what is going on, and the picture masterfully builds a sense of dread that culminates in a harrowing escape. I thought my heart was literally going to shatter my ribs, it was thumping so hard. The nuanced performances of Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay captivate you the entire film, which respectfully looks at how a young girl forced into motherhood would cope with the terrors of being a victim, as well as the terrors of recovery. Most importantly, the hardest scenes of the film are told through the eyes of a child, allowing for subtleties, hints, and allusions to illustrate what is going on for the audience. If you haven’t seen Room, go grab the largest box of tissues you can, because it’ll jerk the tears right out of your eyes. — Max Rivera

The King’s Speech: Take one part period piece, one part personal story overcoming adversity, throw in a good old-fashioned British bromance, and add in dashes of splendid costumes, set design, and stirring music, and you get Best Picture winner The King’s Speech. A true story about overcoming obstacles, personal growth, and facing fear head on that really is inspirational, all thanks to the marvelous performances from it’s leading trio (Colin Firth, Geoffery Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter). These three propel the film to great heights and help the film ooze with style in it’s historical setting.  — Scott Tennant

 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.

Max is a marketing copywriter by day, filmmaker and screenwriter by night. He resides in Charlotte, NC, and loves his dogs, watching movies, building LEGO sets, and eating food. Lots of food.You can find Max at his personal website and twitter.