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March Movie Madness

03/26/17: March Movie Madness Round 2, Part 2

Maximilian Rivera March 27, 2017
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By Scott Tennant | @Breakdown_Scott

Round 2 is underway and the sparks are flying. These matchups are TOUGH! Here’s the results from part one:

#13 Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark defeats #5 The Princess Bride
#1 The Shawshank Redemption defeats #9 Forrest Gump
#3 The Departed  defeats #11 No Country for Old Men
#10 Guardians of the Galaxy defeats #2 Whiplash

And today’s matchups are just as tough. Check em out,  descriptions of each below!

1980’s #1 Back to the Future vs. #8 Blade Runner
Back to the Future: (Defeated #16 Stand by Me)
This podcaster’s favorite movie is just totally joyful and timeless. Putting aside it’s objectively amazing script and story, the movie is just pure fun, for kids and adults alike. The effects are clearly aged, but it’s so easy to look past that because they are used well and service an excellent story. Truly, the writing in this movie is arguably some of the best of all time; I can watch it over and over again and still notice new details every time, because it’s so expertly woven together, and those details paying off is movie magic. 
 — Scott Tennant

Blade Runner: (Defeated #9 Aliens)
As we prepare for a sequel to this 80’s sci-fi hit, the importance of Blade Runner cannot be understated. The adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is not only an excellent narrative worth revisiting, but is also largely responsible for the popularization of this dystopian aesthetic; the neon lights, the darkness and shadow, the tainted sheen of technology. Blade Runner utilizes excellent world building to drive a powerful narrative within it. The moody soundtrack, grounded yet still impressive visual effects, and the beautifully shot film all help build on the compelling story and make excellent use of the world it lives in. Here’s hoping Blade Runner 2049 is as good. — Scott Tennant
1990’s #2 Saving Private Ryan vs. #7 The Matrix
Saving Private Ryan: (Defeated #15 Fargo)
When Saving Private Ryan opened, there was an uptick in PTSD cases reported around the country, thanks to the accurate and frenetic war scenes that feel like they are spilling off the screen. While it’s a long film, Saving Private Ryan is well-paced and captures your attention while showing you the horrors of war. And horrifying it is; we join this band of troops as they risk life and limb to retrieve (and send home) one soldier whose brothers have all already died in the war — the titular Ryan, who is played by a young Matt Damon. If you’re of the belief that Tom Hanks isn’t one of the greats of our generation, his performance here will seal the deal for you. — Max Rivera

The Matrix: (Defeated #10 Heat)
Upon its release, we realized The Matrix was like nothing else we had ever seen. With its high concept science fiction set pieces, well-crafted real and CGI aesthetics, and memorable ensemble of characters, The Matrix became a staple of pop culture almost at once. So much of what the Wachowskis did in this film has been replicated in every sci-fi and action film since then, yet they never manage to tap into what made this film work. Yeah, it was bonkers, but it was new — and after your first viewing, you were ready to wake up in the real world, too. 
​— Max Rivera

2000’s #4 Gladiator vs. #5 Children of Men
Gladiator: (Defeated #13 Wall-E)
Gladiator balances drama and action to pose one big question about its brutal subject — Are you not entertained? As one of Ridley Scott’s essential films, Gladiator has all the makings of a classic, from exotic locals to thrilling action and even strong characters. Not only that, but the arena fights aren’t just mindless action, they’re victories for Maximus, as well as the audience. Not only does Russell Crowe play his character to a tee, but Joaquin Phoenix takes villainy to new heights with his creepy, incest-happy Commodus.  — Max Rivera

Children of Men:
(Defeated #12 Pan’s Labyrinth)
With Children of Men, we get a look at the future that feels more and more like today with every viewing. This could be billed as the quintessential film for director Alfonso Cuaron’s, whose films always feature long, uninterrupted shots, thrilling action-packed sequences, and grandiose, hyper-realistic set pieces. I can’t think of too many other films that can have you sitting at the edge of your seat and yet also emotional over the amazing-yet-heartbreaking quality that is the human condition. Watch Children of Men for the spectacle — and then think it over a few dozen times over the next few days.
 — Max Rivera
2010’s #11 Spotlight vs. #14 12 Years a Slave
Spotlight: (Defeated #6 Nightcrawler)
Rarely does a film of this caliber come out, deliver it’s message, while also demonstrating some of the highest quality film making of the decade. The movie is one of the rare films that truly has no weakness. The cinematography is not flashy with extreme long takes or superfluous visual effects, but it serves the film well without getting in the way. The editing and pacing are top notch and drive the film in the absence of an action plot, remaining gripping throughout. The writing is a triumph; a seemingly slow but touchy subject matter are treated with maturity and poise and everything else around the movie serve to build the delivery of it’s story. It’s a tough movie to recommend and some were surprised it won Best Picture, but once you start watching it, the excellence of the film on display will keep you around.  — Scott Tennant

12 Years a Slave: (Defeated #3 Her)
Probably the best movie that you’ve only seen once… and that’s okay. It’s very powerful stuff, and hard to stomach for the faint of heart; director Steve McQueen pulls no punches and doesn’t embellish anything for the sake of sensation. If you can handle it, the movie has an excellent and inspiring narrative amidst the brutality of it’s story. The movie is lauded for it’s historical accuracy, but that’s not all; a wide and talented ensemble shows off their talents here with excellent displays all around, powered by the excellent writing and powerful direction from McQueen. Coming off the biggest upset in the tournament, 12 Years a Slave may be this bracket’s Cinderella story. 
–Scott Tennant

More and more movies are starting to get eliminated, and it’s all thanks to your voting! Make sure to tune back in later this week and keep voting.  Follow us at 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.