Sunday, August 13, 2006


Inspired by The Little Professor.

1. Best comic book movie that diverges entirely from its original. Constantine. The original, from the series Hellblazer, is a selfish blond-haired British dabbler in dark magic who looks like Sting and whose name rhymes with 'on the line'. The movie is about a not-so-selfish dark-haired American exorcist who looks like Neo and whose name rhymes with 'in between'. But, while rather uneven, it still manages to do well (even though the writers apparently thought that I Corinthians has 'acts' rather than chapters and that Catholic doctrine treats suicide as a mortal sin in cases of mental disorder).

2. Best movie based on a video game. Mortal Kombat. This movie isn't the perfect movie, by any means, but it takes a rather silly and unpromising premise and does almost everything right with it. The opening of the movie is a good example; within ten minutes we know all three major heroes, their basic storylines, the character flaws they will have to overcome by the end of the movie, most of the major supporting characters, and the basic premise of the movie. And this is all done in a way that's clear, clean, and straightforward. The director responsible for this gem, Paul Anderson, also directed the tolerable Soldier and Resident Evil and the utterly intolerable Event Horizon and Alien vs. Predator, all of which are unpromising ideas directed well (but usually not well enough to compensate for the original lack of promise).

3. Best science fiction movie. Solaris. The Tarkovsky version, of course.

4. Best science fiction movie almost no one has seen. Riddler's Moon.

5. Best science fiction movie in which almost nothing happens. Setting aside Solaris, The Cold Equations, based on the classic short story by Tom Godwin.

6. Best movie about the early modern period. Ridicule

7. Coolest comic book character. Nightcrawler.

8. Best place to eat in New Mexico. La Fonda's, in Artesia.

9. Best Pat Benatar song, according to me. "Love Is a Battlefield."

10. Greatest Victorian novel. Romola, because I'm weird.

11. Best Borges story. El Sur.

12. Strangest work in early modern philosophy that's worth reading. Berkeley's Siris, of course.

13. Pat Benatar song with the catchiest chorus. "All Fired Up."

14. Best place to eat in the area of Portland, Oregon. Czaba's Bar-B-Que, in North Portland (5907 N Lombard Street). Get ribs and succotash.

15. Creepiest cemetery sign I have ever seen. REST ASSURED; WE HAVE ROOM.

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