On Friday, January 20th, one of the most controversial inaugurations will take place. Many people will not be tuning in as a form of protest, or because they are simply over the stress of the intense political battles occurring over the last two years. Whatever your reasons, if you are not watching, here’s a list of movies to consider watching instead. Since it’s been such a crazy journey, the suggestions range from a bit off beat, to downright crazy, to sing along classics. Break out the popcorn and the drink of your choice, cuddle up to a fellow rebel and check out a few of these films:
Galaxy Quest (1999): I’m betting most of you know every line of this classic nerd movie, but the film never loses its charm. The cast is excellent, with Tim Allen as a washed up actor turned intergalactic savior, Sigourney Weaver as the token buxom female, the late Alan Rickman as the guy in prosthetics who is just so over it, Tony Shalhoub as the love-struck crew member, Enrico Colantoni as the alien leader (“Those poor people”) and Sam Rockwell as the guy who’s always cannon fodder. By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Worvan, you shall be avenged! (You know you want to hear him say it!!).
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989): With education going down the toilet, you might want to brush up on your history, reminisce about the good old days, and have some laughs over a comedy that has stood the test of time. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are two young esquires who dream of forming a band. But if they don’t pass their history assignment, they will be separated and sent off to harsher climes. With the help of a wise alien (the late George Carlin) and a magic phone booth, the boys travel back in time and kidnap historical personages such as Napoleon, Joan of Arc, Billy the Kid, and So-Crates. The scene with the people from the past running loose in a mall still makes me laugh til I pee. And remember the message: Be excellent to each other. Party on, dudes.
Deathgasm (2015): This new Zealand horror comedy is almost guaranteed to make you wet your pants. Starring a crew of former Power Rangers, including Milo Cawthorne, James Blake, and Kimberley Crossman, the film is about two teenage boys who inadvertently summon a demon with a set of ancient lyrics and grinding guitars. It’s a love song to heavy metal and all of the tropes associated with it. Yes, it is over the top bloody and gory, but also contains one of the most fall on the floor funniest scenes I’ve ever seen. Pay attention to the weapons Brodie and Zakk use to fight off Brodie’s aunt and uncle. Just make sure there are no kids in the room!!
Flypaper (2011): A twisted caper comedy starring Patrick Dempsey and Ashley Judd. Dempsey is just brilliant as an idiot savant with OCD. He gets caught up in a bank robbery – a hold up by not one, not two, but three sets of bank robbers. As the gang of hostages, including bank teller Judd, try to figure out how to escape and who the criminal mastermind is who keeps murdering people, the one-line zingers fly non-stop (“You know what they say. Normal’s just a cycle on the washing machine” and my personal favorite, “Give one blowjob in prison and you never live it down, never”). Yes, keep the kiddies out of the room for this one, too.
Mamma Mia (2008): You know you want to watch it. It’s ABBA. You’re compelled to sing along. It’s Meryl Streep (so not overrated). It’s a rom-com with exotic locations, love stories, and happy endings. The story is a simple one of a bride-to-be (the ever lovely Amanda Seyfried) trying to find her birth father (by inviting all three of the possible candidates to her wedding without her mother (Streep) knowing) told using hit songs by the popular ’70s group ABBA. Co-starring Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and a young and sexy Dominic Cooper. Put on your PJs, grab your hairbrush microphones and cut loose. You are the Dancing Queens (and Kings)!
Paul (2011): Simon Pegg and Nick Frost star in this hilarious, spot on, homage and love song to all things geek. After attending San Diego Comic Con, friends Graeme and Clive set off in an RV to visit all of the sites of possible alien encounters. They didn’t expect to meet a real alien. Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) is the original alien from Area 51, now on the lam because his usefulness to the government has ended and they now plan to slice and dice him. The friends agree to aid and abet, and along the way encounter a wacky waitress (Jane Lynch) and a repressed, religious zealot (Kristen Wiig). It’s a race against time as Agents Gus, Jake and Zoil (Jason Bateman) are always hot on their tails. This is another one full of hilarious zingers (“*Why* does everyone always assume that? What am I doing? Am I harvesting farts? How much can I learn from an ass?”)
We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story (1993): I polled my daughter for this one – I asked her for the zaniest animated movie she could think of, and this popped into her head right away. For this one, yes, you can bring the kids. The story goes like this: Captain New Eyes travels back in time and feeds dinosaurs his Brain Grain cereal, which makes them intelligent and non-violent. They agree to go to the Middle Future (this era) to grant the wishes of children in New York City. They are to meet Dr. Bleeb of the Museum of Natural History, but get side-tracked with their new friends and run into the Captain’s evil brother, Professor Screw Eyes, who has other plans for the dinosaurs. Musical numbers abound! With vocal performances by John Goodman, Martin Short, Rhea Perlman, and Jay Leno, this funny yet touching film is also filled with good one-liners (Rex the Dinosaur: “This was a long time ago, you understand? A LONG time ago. I was a real terror then. I was a real animal. And I was hungry, ALL the time!”) Other animated suggestions include Megamind (Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt) and Monsters vs. Aliens (with Hugh Laurie, Seth Rogen, Reese Witherspoon and Kiefer Sutherland).
Despicable Me (2010): This animated film gets its own entry because, well, do I have to say it? Maybe it would be more obvious if it were called Deplorable Me! Despite the title, though, Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) wants to be the worst bad guy in the world, but he is always out-villianed by Vector( Jason Segel). Even though Gru has hundreds of (utterly adorable) minions, he can’t catch a break. Things seem to get worse when a trio of little girls are dropped on his doorstep. Gru feels doomed to insignificance, but it turns out that the love, hope, and trust of his three wards are just what he needs. May our own current situation have such a happy ending.
Titanic (1997): You want just to sit down and cry, I know you do. And there’s nothing better than this overblown, melodramatic sobfest starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio based on the sinking of the unsinkable passenger ship, Titanic. There are some great actors in the film in addition to DiCaprio and Winslet – Kathy Bates as Molly Brown, Bernard Hill as Captain Smith, and Victor Garber as ship designer Thomas Andrews. There’s also some great social commentary, most obviously about the immigrants seemingly deliberately trapped in steerage as the ship goes down. The ending sequence always gets me; corny or not, I end up sobbing my eyes out. This is the 20th anniversary of the film, and it will be returning to theaters this year, but why wait? We want to cry right now!
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015): Charlize Theron steals this movie as badass nasty woman Furiosa, who even “disabled” with one arm, manages to drive like an MF and kick some serious bad guy ass (make fun of that, why don’t you!). Tom Hardy plays Max, a “Blood Bag” for the post-apocalyptic humans who live in caves, who joins Furiosa’s team of women who have escaped Immortan Joe’s tyrannically run breeding harem (insert your own socio-political commentary here). Chased across the wastelands of what remains of our planet (hint, hint ya’ll) by Joe’s goons, hoping to find the green place of peace Furiosa remembers from the past, this is a stunning piece of work from director/writer George Miller. The visuals are so outstanding (I still can’t get over the badass playing the flame-throwing guitar), the chase scenes so exciting, you’ll find yourself holding your breath. You might not want to think about this as our possible future, but as is the case with the Zombie Apocalypse, it doesn’t hurt to always be prepared! Witness Me!!!
Some other selections include Deadpool (2016) because, well, there’s nothing more fun than watching fictional gratuitous sex and violence while trying not to think of real world gratuitous sex and violence. Besides, who’s hotter and funnier than Ryan Reynolds, right? Mystery Men (1999) teaches us that even dorks and losers can be superheroes and lastly, Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), my own personal Xanax film because we need you Starlord! We need you Drax! And Rocket Raccoon, we need you most of all, because you get the best lines in the movie (“Well now I’m standing. Happy? We’re all standing now. Bunch of jackasses, standing in a circle.”) Ooga-Chaka, ooga-Chaka….
Whatever you choose to do this Friday, be safe, be sane, and remember that in the end, love trumps hate.