Monday, December 19, 2011

World's Greatest Golfer Dies

Rest in peace, Kim Jong-il. I'm pretty certain your incredible record eleven holes in one during one round of golf will never be surpassed. Not even Tiger Woods has set out to surpass you, opting instead to set his sights much lower, like breaking Jack Nicklaus's total major victory record.

Monday, December 12, 2011

My 5 Favorite Christmas Movies of All Time

You asked for it (no, you didn't), so here it is. Brian O'Rourke's five favorite Christmas movies of all time:

5) Lethal Weapon. Richard Donner, Shane Black, Danny Glover, and Mel Gibson make buddy-cop movie history in this tightly-plotted actioner that combines all the cliches in the book and rises above the trappings of the genre. And, uh, it's set around Christmas.

4) Trading Places. Old school Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, er, trade places in this comedy set in Philly during the holiday season. Murphy's a homeless grifter/self-proclaimed "karate man," while Aykroyd's a yuppie stock guru who's next in line to run the big firm and marry the buttoned-up, but not exactly prudish, blue-blood. Aykroyd's bosses orchestrate a switch for both men, elevating Murphy out of the slum and tossing Aykroyd into the gutter, and hilarity ensues.

3)Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. It's no coincidence that Shane Black shows up on this list more than once, given his penchant for setting action flicks around Christmas. This one's part deconstruction, part glorious homage, to action movies and private eye stories of old. Eat your heart out Raymond Chandler. My favorite line from the film is delivered by Val Kilmer, who plays a gay PI named, uh, Gay Perry: "Merry Christmas. Sorry I f--ked you."

2) Ernest Saves Christmas. The inexplicable juggernaut that was Jim Varney reached its cinematic peak with this film. Okay, that's not saying much, but still I fell in love with this movie growing up and tuned in faithfully each week to Ernest's Saturday morning show. Sometimes nostalgia trumps quality, and this is one of them times.

1) Die Hard. A total anomaly: an action movie set during Christmas not penned by Shane Black. And a total triumph. The 80s were all about heavily-muscled supermen, like Arnie and Sly, who were able to mow down hundreds of faceless enemy soldiers (not that there's anything wrong with that) and take a few bullets while hardly breaking a sweat, till Bruce Willis showed up on the scene. Officer John McClane is very real, very in over his head, and very much a resourceful, everyman wise-ass who just might save the day. Directed by John McTiernan, this flick went on to become the quintessential action movie, much imitated and never matched. Alan Rickman nearly steals the show as one of the greatest villains of all time. And always remember, it's Gary Cooper that rides off into the sunset with Grace Kelly.

Honorable Mention: Scrooged, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation,