Saturday, August 11, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: August Releases

For this weekend's edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we decided to try something just a little different; expand our creativity for the Genre/Category list. Since our Political Comedies list is already played out, we broadened things up this week and instead looked at some of the best films ever released in the last month of summer, August. There's no specific film this list was inspired by, since they all have the same release dates, but generally I'd say "The Bourne Legacy" would fit the mold for most of these lists more than any. Though, you can probably attribute such an abstract list to a lack of inspiration from all of this weekend's new films.


What seemed fun about this idea was how many different types of films, and amounts of quality films, were available for selection. August is a studio's last month to try and bank in the summer crowds. Generally you won't find any massive budget, high effects-driven blockbusters, but you will find a lot of films made from big studios, with notable actors, and still plenty of culturally popular themes (films that can get a wide audience, but many times couldn't compete with the big boys in June and July). Other than that, I know of no better way to preface this week's category.

There were literally hundreds of great films that could have made each of the lists below, so this should provide an interesting sampling of films. We're not sure of what message this list has to offer, but at the very least, it should provide a peak into each of our personalities, and give a little better idea of how we define what some of the best films are.

Hit the jump for this week's eclectic selection of titles!

Alex Schopp -
How to even narrow this list down? Again, and I think I'm really going to start trying to focus more on this, I approached this from a Watchability standpoint. These aren't necessarily my ultimate favorites ever to release in the month, but these are five that I think everyone needs to see/can enjoy.

     1. Signs (2002)
Pair the quality of this film with the nostalgia of it being one of my most memorable theater experiences ever, and it quickly climbs to the top of most lists. So emotional, so much tension. A near perfect movie in my mind.
     2. Halloween (1978)
Still one of my favorite horror movies of all-time. The atmosphere in this movie is phenomenal. If you can go the month of October without wanting to put this film on everyday, then you might not be a human.
     3. Unforgiven (1992)
This was the first Western I ever liked. I'll never forget watching this for the first time and thinking that westerns could actually be fun. Eastwood portraying a cowboy out for one last hurrah might be what turned me on to that theme so much.
     4. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
For me, Tarantino's comeback (most never thought he lost it with the Kill Bill movies or "Death Proof"). It's only been three years, but this film has aged wonderfully so far. The colors and the imagery stand out so much to me. This is a fun watch, also very masterfully crafted.
     5. Teen Wolf (1985)
How often do categories come around where we get to reference this little gem? A great 80's comedy with plenty of heart.

Ben Foutch -
Very difficult list. Nostalgia eventually became the glue that bound these titles together. It is sort of funny how a sense of familiarity can obscure a potentially objective paradigm.

     1. Fright Night (1985)

     2. Desperado (1996)

     3. Darkman (1990)

     4. Tin Cup (1996)

     5. The Fly (1986)



Derek Clem -
With so many movies to choose from I had to find a way to break this down. After many tries, the only way I could come up with was that the movie had to change the course of my life in some physical or highly significant way.

     1. Masters Of The Universe (1987)
This was the first movie I ever saw in the theater.
     2. The Blob (1988)
This was the first R-rated movie I saw in the theater.
     3. Double Impact (1991)
I did see this in the theater, but the important part is that this was the first movie poster I ever had hanging on my wall.
     4. The Muse (1999)
This movie really amped up my heavy interest in watching all the fictional movies about movie making that I could. Albert Brooks is hilarious!
     5. Milk Money (1994)
This movie is responsible for my undying love of Grace Kelly.

Nathan Hinds -
After trying to find a way to narrow down my field, I decided to go purely with my favorite five, no restrictions.

     1. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
This movie has shown up on a couple of lists for me already. It's my favorite spy movie ever, and in my Top 20 films of all time.
     2. The Fugitive (1993)
When we throw the term Watchability around on this site, this is one of the movies that has the entire package when it comes to that word.
     3. The Sixth Sense (1999)
This comes in right behind "Silence of the Lambs" as my all time favorite thriller. We all know it had one of the best surprise endings ever.
     4. Signs (2002)
August was a good month for Shyamalan movies. This movie has found its way onto a lot of Top 5 lists, and rightfully so. It's one of the best alien movies ever, it's one of the best sci-fi thrillers ever, and one of Mel Gibson's best movies ever. Anytime this movie is eligible for a list, it will most likely make it onto someones.
     5. Open Range (2003)
When westerns are really good, it's one of my favorite genres. The problem is that they don't make that many quality ones these days. "Open Range" is in my top five list for favorite Westerns, and the combo of Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall works perfectly in this film.

Andy Schopp -
I went with movies that I have in my collection.

     1. The Fly (1986)
Two weeks in a row this movie hits the top of my list. Maybe I'm just in a phase? Who knows. I don't. It really is a fantastic movie with a lot of unsettling things going on, plus as per usual, Goldblum is on the verge of perfection.
     2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
I realize that this movie just came out but it's quickly becoming on of my favorite movies. It has everything I really need out of a movie and was so surprising the first time I watched it. It became everything it never needed to be and I loved it.
     3. Signs (2002)
Do I enjoy this movie more than even I realize? Yes. Mel Gibson is one of the best actors of his time and whenever he gets to be a piece of the puzzle of emotion that happens on the screen I can't get my eyes off the screen.
     4. The Abyss (1989)
This movie did for me what "Jaws" did for most people. It made me terrified of what is beneath my feet while I'm in water. I understand that "scary monster aliens" isn't what Cameron was going for here but that's what I got as a child. Also Mr. Biehn with a mustache! Stamp of complete approval!
     5. Fright Night (1985)
While it is very corny and silly I have loved this movie since I laid eyes on it. I love the effects in it and I love the whole "Monster Squad" feel that goes on. It's funny and "scary" and just a pure delight all the way around. Chris Sarandon makes this movie what it is.

So that large variety of films is what we're looking at this week. Most notably, with the 21 different titles represented above, this does break the record for most titles represented in one of these posts (previously 18). That's always fun for us, though of course when that happens, there's a much lesser sense of definition and which films prove to be the best. But you can't have it all every week. And still, there were a couple of films that did provide for decent showings, even amongst all of the incredible competition. "Signs" is the only film that had three selections this week, also appearing in the #1 spot on one list. This M. Night Shyamalan film has just about everything that most of us at this site are looking for in a film of this nature, and rarely misses its mark. A definite must-see, regardless of which type of list you're discussion.

Outside of that though, there were only two other films with multiple selections, "Fright Night" and "The Fly", both appearing on only two lists. Again, great movies that deserve to be seen by all, no matter what venue we're putting them in. And I will say, even though those three films are all from separate genres, they do feel similar in certain tones and styles, and I think do provide a great collection of films for a general feeling we have towards movies over here. Each of those three films has, and will continue to get, plenty of attention at this site.

But anyway, as abstract as this weekend's list was, we hope that each of these selections helps you to expand your knowledge and appreciation of some of the best films that this month has ever had to offer, and guides you to better and more enjoyable all-around viewing experiences.

Happy watching!