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Halloween Movies for Scaredy Cats

Halloween is a holiday based around scary stuff – ghosts, monsters, supernatural beings, mean neighbors who won’t give out candy – so it’s not surprising that 99.999% of all Halloween movies are horror movies. But not everyone likes to be scared. There are some grown-ups who can’t sleep on their own if they’ve watched a horror movie in the last week. I believe everyone should be able to have a Halloween movie marathon with their friends and their leftover trick-or-treat candy, so I’ve compiled this list of Halloween movies for scaredy cats. Most of them are made for kids, but fraidey cat grown ups will like them too.

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Top Ten Fictional Film Pilots

I love airplane movies, especially fighter plane movies. There’s just something about dodging enemy planes at high speed five feet from the ground that screams “awesome!” But if there’s one thing I’ve noticed from years of watching movies, it’s that the best fictional pilots aren’t always in films that you could classify as plane movies. Sometimes they’re not even the main characters. Even if they’re only in a few scenes, even if aircraft aren’t the primary focus of the film, these pilot characters have mad skillz and they deserve to be recognized. So what follows is a list of the top ten most awesome, most skilled, most interesting movie pilots of all time.

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Top Ten Computer Animated Movies

Knicknack (1989) - one of the earliest computer generated shorts

In 1995, Pixar began the computer-generation trend in animated movies when they released Toy Story. Fifteen years later its second sequel, Toy Story 3, is in theaters. Between the first and third entries in the toy saga, hundreds of computer animated movies have been produced. Some were amazing box office titans, others were crappy straight-to-DVD releases that came packaged with children’s toys. If you’ve seen Toy Story 3 and are eager to go back through the ranks of its predecessors for some more animated fun, here are my personal top ten favorites in the computer animated movie category.

I based my choices on two things: how fun they are for both kids AND adults to watch, and how well the story manages to suck you in. Extra points were NOT awarded for being in 3-D or having famous voice actors or any of those other gimmicks.

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Valentine’s Day Movies for the Rest of Us

If you love romantic movies, there are about ten million possibilities if you want to watch a film on Valentine’s Day, most of which are helpfully packaged in pink and red at Wal-Mart to help menfolk who are out shopping for their ladies. Romantic movies run the gamut from tearjerking same-sex epics to wholesome teen musicals in an attempt to hit every possible demographic.

But what about the rest of us, who don’t like romantic movies? We who gag at the mention of Nicholas Sparks and have had to have our eyeballs surgically removed from the backs of our heads after watching Another Cinderella Story? What is there for us to watch on Valentine’s Day? Believe it or not, whether you’re a misanthrope or a serial killer, there’s a love story out there for you.

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Top 5/Bottom 5 Movies of 2009

First let me say that I’m not a professional movie critic. I actually have to PAY for all of my tickets, so naturally I haven’t seen everything, and I’m not putting movies on my list that I haven’t seen.

I was going to do Top 10 and Bottom 10 in separate articles, but then I realized that nearly half of the movies I’d seen would have to be on one list or the other (I counted, I’ve seen 42 movies this year, five of them more than once), so I pared it down to 5 of each.

There are some films (Hurt Locker and Bright Star in particular) that might have been on the “top” list if I’d seen them, but they never came to Sydney. I also tend to avoid movies if I think they’re going to be bad, so the ones on this list are the ones that slipped through my filters and/or I was dragged to by friends.

That said, on with the best and worst films I’ve seen in theaters in 2009.

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Ten Plane Movies That May Have Flown Under Your Radar

I recently read an article on Film.com about their favorite airplane movies. Their list contains eleven entries, some of which are undoubtedly shining examples of the genre:


Top Gun: arguably the greatest
airplane movie ever

Airplane! Arguably the funniest
airplane movie ever

However, some of the others were (at best) only tangentially related to airplanes, perhaps because they hadn’t seen enough movies that were actually about airplanes to fill up a list. In my book, a two minute crash sequence at the beginning does not an airplane movie make. Two of the most glaring examples were:


Alive, which is actually about survival and…

Fearless, which is about PTSD.

If you live by their lists, you’re missing out on some paragons of the aviation film genre, so I present to you these ten plane movies that have flown under the Film.com radar, and perhaps yours as well.

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Kitty Stereotypes and Fab Film Felines

This week I wanted to do a cat version of the article I did last week and lay out my top ten favorite movies about cats.

…And then I realized that I could count on one hand the number of movies I’d seen that were actually ABOUT cats, and most of them started with “G” and ended in “arfield.”

It’s not that I couldn’t be happy watching Garfield’s Halloween and Christmas specials on an endless loop…


hand over yer booty!

…but that might drive some other, weaker minds to eat themselves in a desperate attempt to end the agony.

So instead, we’re going to explore kitty stereotyping in film and some of my favorite exceptions to the Hollywood rule.

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Top Dogs: Ten Canine Stories to Watch With a Pal

When you’re sitting down with someone to watch a movie, whether it be a friend, a significant other, a pet, or a family member, there’s nothing better to put on than a film about dogs.

Why? Because watching a heartwarming story about friendship turns the experience from “killing a couple hours on the couch” to “bonding time.”

image by Rennett Stowe on Flickr
How could you look at this face and not think “yay camaraderie!”

I’ve ranked ten canine films based on their story and cute dog appeal, with extra ratings for sap factor (1 tree for heartwarming to 5 trees for dripping with melodrama), number of tears jerked (1 tear per sob worthy scene), and campiness (1 tent for serious, 5 tents for off the wall), which should help you decide what you’re in the mood for/what your kids can handle.

So pop some popcorn, pour some drinks, flop on the couch, and prepare to cheer for the underdog!

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The Top Ten Reasons Why Kids TV Was Better in the Early 90’s

I love the Fairly Odd Parents, Rugrats, and Spongebob Squarepants as much as the next cartoon fiend, but you gotta admit, we had it better when we were kids. Here are the top ten reasons why I think so.


10. There were actioney shows that didn’t induce seizures.

THEN


Let’s get in a space battle – in realtime!

NOW


Argh! In ten minutes when I throw the next blow you’ll be in trouble!


9. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had eyeballs.

THEN


Cowabunga, dudes! You can tell where we’re looking!

NOW


It’s okay, kids. It’s just a reflection of our inner soullessness.


8. The Popples didn’t have ebola.

THEN


Here we are all nice and healthy…

NOW


BAM! We got the pox!


7. There weren’t 17,000 redundant Care Bears.

THEN


Luck, Friendship, Sleepyness…

NOW


….and Propaganda??


6. The Scooby gang was (counterintuitively) older and more mature.

THEN


Zounds! In twenty years we’ll be…

NOW


….twelve??


5. Environmentalism was cool.


Ignore us. In twenty years drilling for oil in wildlife sanctuaries will be cool.


4. We’d actually heard of classic literature.


Thanks largely to dogs dressing up.


3. Educational TV made you smarter, not dumber.

THEN


LeVar Burton rocks my world.

NOW


Um…wait…I know this one…


2. We didn’t grow up learning ESL as a first language.

THEN


We could even make English words from OTHER english words!

NOW


Oh no! I am displeasure! My lip movements with my words do not match!


1. Cookie Monster wasn’t a hobo!!

THEN


Welcome to Monsterpiece Theater. My name is Alastair Cookie.

NOW


Who lives in a park? Honestly!

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