Joe’s Random Movie Trivia: “The Duellists” (1977)

The hairstyles of the main characters are historically accurate. During Napoleon Bonaparte’s reign it was required of French officers, if they could, to grow their hair long and braid it on the sides. The idea was that the hair might be thick enough to protect their face from a sabre slash. As swords were still very much part of warfare.

Joe’s Character Analysis: Johnny Smith from Stephen King’s “The Dead Zone”

It is been said that a film is only as great as it’s villain. This can be true in many cases. It certainly is the truth in many of the works of author, Stephen King. In most of the films that have been adapted from his work, we have various and very memorable villains. It could be very easy to forget heroes which he has also written in his books. People forget, especially in the world of movies, that is the human elements which give the story it’s true strength, and not necessarily the supernatural parts. Stephen King’s human heroes are really where the power of his stories comes from. But in all fairness the scares are a pivotal part as well.
 Enter Johnny Smith. From King’s story, and David Cronenberg’s film adaptation in 1983, of “The Dead Zone.”

 In the story , Johnny Smith is a simple schoolteacher who is the result of going into a coma five years, awakens with psychic powers. One touch, and he can see someone’s past, present, and future. In the story, it has Johnny uncovering cases and going through certain events in his new life discovering both who he is now in the world, and what his powers can accomplish. This includes solving murder cases, and political conspiracy.

 There are many layers to Johnny as the story goes farther and farther. It’s worth mentioning first and foremost that he is a reluctant hero . He did not ask for these powers, and there are probably parts of the story where he regrets having to use them. But in using them and in accomplishing the deeds that he does , he discovers a little bit more more about himself.

The very name Johnny Smith implies that he is the everyman. Therefore as a representation of the average person, it’s fair to say that he in fact is a representation of every individual audience member who either watches the movie, reads the book, or even watches the TV series that is loosely based off of both. 

 As the story continues, Johnny Smith becomes less of the average, everyman and more more of an outsider.

 What else is very fascinating about the character of Smith, is that he follows a sort of character arc not too dissimilar from Brandon Lee’s portrayal of the undead hero Eric Draven, in “The Crow”. Smith is a man who was awoken from a coma after five long years. It really begs the question, how exactly does somebody reintroduce themselves into a world, and into a life, that is essentially already learned how to live without them? So Johnny’s mission in life is not only finding out how to use his powers, but also how to find a new meaning in his life . This quality makes him one of the most sympathetic heroes ever created by Stephen King . As stated before, it is the human elements and not necessarily the supernatural ones that make, not just Stephen King stories, but also horror, mysteries, thrillers, etc. into good movies and good stories altogether.

Joe’s Random Movie Trivia: “Saving Private Ryan” (1998)

In the film, there is a scene of two German soldiers surrendering, but the Americans kill them anyway and laugh it off.

The two soldiers were not speaking German, they were speaking Czech. They were trying to explain that they were forced by the Germans to fight for them.

Joe’s Random Movie Review: “Get Out” (2017)

It’s very easy to see , how horror movies are undoubtedly changing in this day and age. Horror movies are becoming deeper, more psychological. And have very strong social messages to deliver to the audience. We’ve seen this in films like “The Babadook” and “The Witch”. It seems almost like the very genre of the horror film is changing into an entirely new animal. And this film from comedian, Jordan Peele, is no different. This is a horror film for the ages.

In the film, a black photographer named Chris is going with his white girlfriend to meet her family. Even with the reassurance that they’re Liberal and have no qualms about their relationship, but something suspicious is definitely going on.

 Horror, much like how one would use metaphor and satire, can be used to tell the truth in such a way that actually telling the truth could never do. It actually forces the audience to confront the issues that they seem uncomfortable with dealing. It seems plainly obvious, but the more conservative the situation or more conservative society becomes, the more extreme horror movies tend to become. In that case, “Get Out” is a film that definitely has a place in today’s world.

 The film definitely has a Stepford Wives-like vibe about it. Almost like the entire film is plotted around the idea of a twist ending. Meaning that use an audience member discover more and more about the film the more you watch it. More clues become known to you . And even more clues make themselves known to you the more you watch this film. This is a product of good writing and there are only a few horror movies that have actually successfully done this. A good example would be Roman Polanski’s 1968 film “Rosemary’s Baby”.

 Another point worth mentioning is its approach toward racism. Stereotypically racism against African-Americans would be shown as coming from white conservatives. But the genius of this film and it’s writing is a doesn’t target white conservatives. It actually targets white liberals. And it really extends to the idea that racism and objectification actually comes in many forms. And it also helps to clarify that it stems from the inability to understand one another. By presenting these issues in a horror movie, the filmmakers are actually able to get you to confront the issues of today through the symbolism of what appears on the outside to be a scary movie. 

Great acting, and excellent writing. This is a film that will scare everyone, and is definitely a film for the ages.

Final Score: 9.5/10

Joe’s Random Movie Trivia: “The Big Lebowski” (1998)

One of the thugs sent by Jackie Treehorn after Lebowski (The Dude) is played by actor Mark Pellegrino. Who would later play Lucifer on the tv show Supernatural.

Joe’s Random Movie Review: “Wonder Woman” (2017)

At long last the DC Cinematic Universe has given us the origin story we’ve all been waiting for. First came “Man of Steel” then the sequel “Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice” and then the film “Suicide Squad”. It’s fairly obvious, even to non comic book film fans, the DC cinematic universe was going down dark terrain, especially with the previous film release . But Gal Gadot’s introduction as the infamous Wonder Woman in the film Dawn of Justice, certainly shows that there is a brighter origin story to be shown.

 One thing that really works really good for this movie, is Gadot’s acting. One woman is shown as a character with very obvious character flaws. She’s somebody who trusts her own capabilities a bit too much and even going against her own family to take matters into her own hands. She is somebody who is still in the process of learning about herself, and also coincidently learning about the outside world itself. Which is extremely sympathetic to the audience. It also makes her more believable as a character.

Another thing that works for the film is the setting. The World War I era.
Something most people need to remember is that WW1 was a very different environment than WW2. In many ways it was a more chaotic war. Which parallels, not only Wonder Woman’s mission, but her introduction to the outside world from the comfortable home she once knew.

All in all, Wonder Woman is a terrific movie. A great addition to the DC Movies. Great acting, good story. Definitely one of the best superhero movies they’ve made so far.

Final score: 8.5 out of 10