After a little vacation from this series it’s time to focus on the finish line. I realize that things here have been very much sportscentric as of late, and that there are citizens of The Manoverse who aren’t really into that sort of thing. However long time readers know that this tends to occur in the fall and have hopefully modulated their expectations. At any rate, today we present the four division final matchups. Since I have said just about everything there is to say about these films I think I’ll just do a tale of the tape sort of thing this time around. Don’t worry…you’ll get a chance to enjoy more of my sparkling wit next time. Specifically I’m looking at five areas of influence that are important factors in deciding the stature of any movie:
Re-Watchability – Is it on television a lot?? If it is on TV do I stop & watch??
Relevance – Does the story hold up well?? Or do modern societal norms & changes in technology make it feel dated??
Quotability – Fun, interesting, well-written movies of all genres are usually very quotable.
Cultural Impact – Is it one of those movies that everyone of a certain age has seen?? Is it familiar to multiple generations?? Do people still occasionally talk about it & watch it even many years after its release??
Pleasure – Do I enjoy watching this movie?? We’ve all read books or watched shows/movies just because we felt compelled to…because we wanted to be cool or seem educated. But what do you enjoy when no one else is around??
Dead Poets Society vs. This Is Spinal Tap
The Verdict: Dead Poets Society. I think it comes down to timing. If Spinal Tap would have come out a few years later or Poets been released a few years earlier the coin may have flipped the other way.
National Lampoon’s Vacation vs. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
The Verdict: Vacation. This is tough. Bueller probably deserves a better fate, but I have to be honest. Some might say that the invention of The Internet renders the conclusion of Vacation irrelevant, and I concede the point. In that one very significant way the film does not hold up well. However, I believe there is enough greatness there to balance out the one weakness. Bueller is a great time capsule that even modern high school students can enjoy, but I’m not sure it’s as relatable for adults.
The Breakfast Club vs. The Blues Brothers
The Verdict: The Blues Brothers. To be honest, this result surprises me. However, while The Breakfast Club is a great movie, its relevance & impact is limited to two demographics: high school students & those of us that were teenagers in the 80’s. Conversely, The Blues Brothers is a goofy comedy devoid of meaningful societal commentary, but it is jolly good fun for people of all ages. It is timeless in its own odd way, and has probably done more to advance interest in blues & jazz music than just about anything else in the past four decades.
Uncle Buck vs. Airplane!
The Verdict: Airplane!. With all due respect to the memory of the late, great John Candy, this wasn’t a fair fight. Uncle Buck is a nice, underrated, above average comedy, but it’s not the best work of Candy, John Hughes, or MacCaulay Culkin. Heck, it’s not even Amy Madigan’s best film. Conversely, Airplane! birthed an entire subgenre in which everything that has followed in the past 36 years STILL hasn’t measured up to the granddaddy of them all.