We are cutting through critically acclaimed movies with reckless abandon now. Almost down to the Sweet 16! Here are the results from the last batch:
#3 Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back defeats #11 Full Metal Jacket
#5 Jurassic Park defeats #4 Pulp Fiction
#2 The Dark Knight defeats #10 Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
#1 Inception defeats #8 Room
Today is the last batch of round 2. Next week, only sixteen teams remain, and the matchups get twice as hard. Here are the movies to vote on today, descriptions below!
1980's #2 The Shining vs. #10 The Breakfast Club
The Shining: (defeated #15 Say Anything!)
The Shining has had a strange history, released to critically tepid response, and slowly building momentum until it has risen as one of the finest horror/thrillers of the 1980's. Stephen King may not love this adaptation of his novel, but audiences seem to, as The Shining has proven to please horror fans, cinefiles, and the casual audience member alike. It's hard not to admire the way Kubrick shows Jack Nicholson's Jack Torrance unravel over the course of the film, and the way the creepy environment builds a sense of dread just draws the audience in. Iconic scenes from Nicholson and Shelley Duvall make it memorable and timeless. — Scott Tennant
The Breakfast Club: (defeated #7 Do the Right Thing)
No matter who you are, The Breakfast Club is designed to appeal to you. We all faced SOME sort of adversity in high school, after all, and this film has a character archetype that you identify with. We’re introduced to a nerd, a jock, a prep, a reject, and a delinquent, and we watch as they grow from strangers to fast friends. Sure, it carries the hijinks you expect from an 80s teen film, but the group therapy session takes this film to a new height. If the raw emotions displayed as each actor takes us through their own story doesn’t get you right in the gut, I’m not sure why you’re even watching movies. While all the other Brat Pack films are fun, The Breakfast Club is everything you could want from a teen film and more. — Max Rivera
1990's #3 Toy Story vs. #11 The Lion King
Toy Story: (defeated #14 Goodfellas)
The birth of the Pixar computer animation revolution, and quite possibly their finest work even still, this Disney classic has become a behemoth in the world of family animation, with video games, toys (duh), and spin-offs galore. And it's a franchise that deserves it. It all started here, with a great voice cast, and extremely novel idea, and more humor and heart than most children's movies can muster. It's so very apparent that there was lots of talent on this team, especially when you see Joss Whedon and Joel Cohen amongst the writing team, Randy Newman doing the composing, and a totally loaded voice cast from top to bottom. It's perfect (RottenTomatoes agrees). — Scott Tennant
The Lion King: (defeated #6 Good Will Hunting)
How do you describe a movie as a movie like The Lion King, a movie that every 80's and 90's kid grew up with, that ever parent watched with them, that saw it's soundtrack in the cassette player of every minivan on the highway for years and years? The Lion King is loaded to the brim with great music, colorful characters brought to life by their outstanding voice acting, and a Shakespearean story that is familiar enough to understand the beats without much thought, but fresh enough to keep everyone's interest. I think you just don't describe it. You put the soundtrack in and you smile and sing along. Hakuna Matata. — Scott Tennant
2000's #1 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind vs.#9 Catch Me If You Can
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: (defeated #16 Up)
How can you describe this film? It's both the best and worst thing to watch when you're happy in a relationship and when you've just had your heartbroken. With the offbeat but steller performances from Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, gorgeous visuals and direction from Michel Gondry, the romantic and dreamy Jon Brion score, and a heartfelt and creative screenplay from Charlie Kaufman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is everything cinema should be. It's haunting, it's heartwarming, and it's unlike anything you've ever seen before. Even with the surreal walk through the mind the film takes us through, I can't think of a single film I've seen before or since that feels as real as Eternal Sunshine. — Max Rivera
Catch Me If You Can: (defeated #8 Spirited Away)
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and this story of the life of Frank Abagnale is so crazy, that you couldn't write a plot like this if you wanted to. This action/adventure/comedy/drama offers something for all audience members and is driven thanks to Steven Spielberg's fine touch behind the camera, but is so incredibly engrossing thanks to the on screen duo of Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. Rarely do you see two stars of such caliber share the screen so well, and they outwit and outrun each other to dazzling effect in this one. It's bright, it's colorful, it's endearing, it's fun; it's why we watch movies. — Scott Tennant
2010's #4 Mad Max: Fury Road vs. #5 Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Mad Max: Fury Road: (defeated #13 The Wolf of Wall Street)
The post-apocalypse is no longer drab. It is now oversaturated, kinetic-as-balls, and SHINY and CHROME. While it might look fucking bonkers, Mad Max: Fury Road is no joke. It's not just pro-feminism, it's not just anti-war, at its best, it's a thesis on why toxic masculinity will be the death of us all. After some brief introductions, we learn the simplest, concise fact about the women of this film- they are not things. Buckle up, grab your chrome spray, and prepare for George Miller's apocalyptic masterpiece. — Max Rivera
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: (defeated #12 The Grand Budapest Hotel)
It’s impossible to exaggerate the incredible impact of the Star Wars franchise on Western culture, and this entry is no different. Once again, the Star Wars saga reintroduces itself to a new generation, but unlike the late 90's trilogy, this one lands hard with both kids new to the saga and long time fans. An almost impossible feat, made possible by stellar casting, excellent Disney production quality, commitment to the canon of the original series (aided by the return of some classic characters). It is a stand alone feature that has all the elements of a great film, sci-fi or otherwise, but works well within the series as well. — Joe Leonard
And with your vote here, round 2 will be in the books. Stay tuned to The Critical Breakdown for the next few weeks and help us narrow it down to the grand champion. We will post updated brackets with our sweet 16 teams advancing. And make sure to subscribe to our podcast for more from the podcast boys, every Tuesday.
By Scott Tennant | @Breakdown_Scott
Round 2 is in full swing and we saw a couple real close matchups in our last batch. Here's the results from last time:
#1 Back to the Future defeats #8 Blade Runner
#2 Saving Private Ryan defeats #7 The Matrix
#4 Gladiator defeats #5 Children of Men
#11 Spotlight defeats #14 12 Years a Slave
More great movies will be eliminated today. Check em out, descriptions of each below!
1980's #3 Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back vs. #11 Full Metal Jacket
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: (Defeated #14 The Thing)
As arguably the best of the original trilogy, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is an influential film across the board. Directed by Irvin Kershner and written by Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett, Empire introduced audiences to an enriched set of Star Wars mythos — Luke and Vader's paternal connection, the haunting-yet-playful Imperial March, and even a holographic glimpse of the Emporer himself. The sets are outstanding and the plot is riveting, but the subtle romance between Han and Leia and "downbeat" ending really drives the film into the hearts of the viewers. — Max Rivera
Full Metal Jacket: (Defeated #6 ET: Extra-Terrestrial)
Yet again, Stanley Kubrick proves he can handle any subject matter with the confident style he is known for, as 1987's Full Metal Jacket is an iconic portrayal of the Vietnam War. It embraces the fact that the war was controversial, and pushes further with Kubrick's display of the military complex. With excellent performances and Kubrick's writing, this film delivers a moral message that doesn't just home for everyone, but is still relevant today. — Scott Tennant
1990's #4 Pulp Fiction vs. #5 Jurassic Park
Pulp Fiction: (defeated #13 Schindler's List)
You know what is great about Pulp Fiction? It leveraged gratuitous violence while it was still new and novel to audiences. As a harsh and glamorized view into the seedy underbelly of 90's cinema, Tarantino's dialogue, iconic set pieces, and memorable characters make this a lot of people's favorite movie — as well as a gem upon American Gen-Xer's cinema crown. — Joe Leonard
Jurassic Park: (defeated #12 Silence of the Lambs)
With Jurassic Park, Steven Spielberg crafted a masterpiece of modern science fiction. With iconic scenes, a sense of humor, and amazing animatronics, viewers embark on an island tour full of cloned dinosaurs —as well as rampant carnage. If you’re one of the 3 people on Earth who haven’t seen Jurassic Park, then our advice is to hold on to your butts — you’re in for a treat. — Max Rivera
2000's #2 The Dark Knight vs. #10 Lord of the Rings:Fellowship of the Ring
The Dark Knight: (defeated #15 Big Fish)
As a crime thriller that just so happens to feature Batman and the Joker, The Dark Knight blows away viewers with a stylish-yet-sincere narrative from Christopher Nolan. The Dark Knight is best known for the show stealing performance of Heath Ledger, which is earned since Ledger redefined the character with this performance. While a sequel, The Dark Knight surpasses the original to craft a masterful story that is as well-paced as any crime thriller out there. A beautiful score and solid performances all around take The Dark Knight into movie fame, setting it miles ahead of other comic book affairs. — Max Rivera
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring: (defeated #7 Inglourious Basterds)
When I first saw The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, I sat on a sticky theater floor just to make sure I didn't miss what would go on to become a cultural event. Fellowship — and its cast and crew — take the subject matter with complete sincerity, creating what is arguably a work as important to pop culture as the novels themselves. With a beautiful score, detailed sets, and heartfelt performances all around, the pieces come together to create a rewarding experience that only gets better with every new viewing. — Max Rivera
2010's #1 Inception vs. #8 Room
Inception: (defeated #16 Ex Machina)
Time and again, Christopher Nolan has proven to be a masterful modern filmmaker — and Inception is able to gather accolades and impact science fiction and action franchises ever since. Take the the Inception "trailer sound," for example, since by now you've heard it in other works at least dozen times. The reason Inception has such an impact is because it's simply put, a really good film. The story is original and fresh, the characters are lovable crooks, students, and billionaires, and the action is enthralling. With memorable set pieces and dazzling visuals, everything builds up to a fantastic ending that leaves you wondering one thing. Did the top topple? — Scott Tennant
Room: (defeated #9 The King's Speech)
On my first viewing of Room, I went in knowing very little. It only takes a few scenes for this picture to masterfully build a sense of dread that culminates in the harrowing escape of a young child. While I felt my heart was literally going to shatter my ribs at points, the nuanced performances of Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay repeatedly take you to the lowest lows before restoring your faith in humanity. Thankfully, the hardest scenes of the film are shown through the eyes of a child, allowing for subtleties, hints, and allusions to illustrate what is going on for the audience. If you haven’t seen Room, please, go do that right now. — Max Rivera
Your vote counts! Keep your eyes on The Critical Breakdown for the next few weeks and help us narrow it down to the grand champion. And make sure to subscribe to our podcast for more from the podcast boys, every Tuesday.
By Max Rivera | @MaxRiveraFilm
Premise: A paleoclimatologist must make a daring trek across America to reach his son, who is trapped in the cross-hairs of a sudden international storm which plunges the planet into a new Ice Age.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 45%
You hear it all the time — climate change is going to ruin our world. But what does that mean? How will it play out? Will it look anything like the 2004 smash hit by Roland Emmerich, The Day After Tomorrow?
With a good disaster film, you’re gripping the edge of your seat, wincing at the mayhem rolling across the screen, all while rooting for at least one of these characters to survive. But is The Day After Tomorrow a good film? With all things considered, it’s a popcorn flick with some cool visuals, but it isn’t going to ever be more than that.
Let’s look at what works alright in this film — there is good mayhem, the actors are ones we know and like, and it’s an easy enough premise — the weather has gone to shit and a father needs to save his son.
It could be compelling, but Emmerich squanders that potential on stupid execution instead. From the get go, we do have some of the more electrifying moments in a disaster film. Something has gone wrong and we don’t know what that means for us yet.
By the time we find out what is happening to our world, it is too late.
The real problem with this film is that the plot is too dumb on a science level, as well as on the personal level. NASA found the climate science laughable, while the film focused on an A-plot about Jake Gyllenhaal’s teenage love life. Meanwhile, Dennis Quaid treks through a winter a horrorland to save his son from impending doom — and that becomes the background noise.
We’re joined by a special guest this week — Jodi, my wife and an avid fan of disaster films. The three of us discuss what makes a good disaster picture, as well as some of our favorite ones out there. As always, we bite into the plot and try to make sense of it.
As an exercise in futility, we even go around discussing what COULD have made this picture better. Like starting with the awesome premise of the United States of America being frozen and we are now the immigrants moving into foreign countries. What a place to leap off of!
In case you missed it, we're running March Movie Madness. Check it out and vote before it's too late!
By Scott Tennant | @Breakdown_Scott
Round 2 is underway and the sparks are flying. These matchups are TOUGH! Here's the results from part one:
#13 Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark defeats #5 The Princess Bride
#1 The Shawshank Redemption defeats #9 Forrest Gump
#3 The Departed defeats #11 No Country for Old Men
#10 Guardians of the Galaxy defeats #2 Whiplash
And today's matchups are just as tough. Check em out, descriptions of each below!
1980's #1 Back to the Future vs. #8 Blade Runner
Back to the Future: (Defeated #16 Stand by Me)
This podcaster's favorite movie is just totally joyful and timeless. Putting aside it's objectively amazing script and story, the movie is just pure fun, for kids and adults alike. The effects are clearly aged, but it's so easy to look past that because they are used well and service an excellent story. Truly, the writing in this movie is arguably some of the best of all time; I can watch it over and over again and still notice new details every time, because it's so expertly woven together, and those details paying off is movie magic. — Scott Tennant
Blade Runner: (Defeated #9 Aliens)
As we prepare for a sequel to this 80's sci-fi hit, the importance of Blade Runner cannot be understated. The adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is not only an excellent narrative worth revisiting, but is also largely responsible for the popularization of this dystopian aesthetic; the neon lights, the darkness and shadow, the tainted sheen of technology. Blade Runner utilizes excellent world building to drive a powerful narrative within it. The moody soundtrack, grounded yet still impressive visual effects, and the beautifully shot film all help build on the compelling story and make excellent use of the world it lives in. Here's hoping Blade Runner 2049 is as good. — Scott Tennant
1990's #2 Saving Private Ryan vs. #7 The Matrix
Saving Private Ryan: (Defeated #15 Fargo)
When Saving Private Ryan opened, there was an uptick in PTSD cases reported around the country, thanks to the accurate and frenetic war scenes that feel like they are spilling off the screen. While it's a long film, Saving Private Ryan is well-paced and captures your attention while showing you the horrors of war. And horrifying it is; we join this band of troops as they risk life and limb to retrieve (and send home) one soldier whose brothers have all already died in the war — the titular Ryan, who is played by a young Matt Damon. If you're of the belief that Tom Hanks isn't one of the greats of our generation, his performance here will seal the deal for you. — Max Rivera
The Matrix: (Defeated #10 Heat)
Upon its release, we realized The Matrix was like nothing else we had ever seen. With its high concept science fiction set pieces, well-crafted real and CGI aesthetics, and memorable ensemble of characters, The Matrix became a staple of pop culture almost at once. So much of what the Wachowskis did in this film has been replicated in every sci-fi and action film since then, yet they never manage to tap into what made this film work. Yeah, it was bonkers, but it was new — and after your first viewing, you were ready to wake up in the real world, too. — Max Rivera
2000's #4 Gladiator vs. #5 Children of Men
Gladiator: (Defeated #13 Wall-E)
Gladiator balances drama and action to pose one big question about its brutal subject — Are you not entertained? As one of Ridley Scott’s essential films, Gladiator has all the makings of a classic, from exotic locals to thrilling action and even strong characters. Not only that, but the arena fights aren’t just mindless action, they’re victories for Maximus, as well as the audience. Not only does Russell Crowe play his character to a tee, but Joaquin Phoenix takes villainy to new heights with his creepy, incest-happy Commodus. — Max Rivera
Children of Men: (Defeated #12 Pan's Labyrinth)
With Children of Men, we get a look at the future that feels more and more like today with every viewing. This could be billed as the quintessential film for director Alfonso Cuaron’s, whose films always feature long, uninterrupted shots, thrilling action-packed sequences, and grandiose, hyper-realistic set pieces. I can’t think of too many other films that can have you sitting at the edge of your seat and yet also emotional over the amazing-yet-heartbreaking quality that is the human condition. Watch Children of Men for the spectacle — and then think it over a few dozen times over the next few days. — Max Rivera
2010's #11 Spotlight vs. #14 12 Years a Slave
Spotlight: (Defeated #6 Nightcrawler)
Rarely does a film of this caliber come out, deliver it's message, while also demonstrating some of the highest quality film making of the decade. The movie is one of the rare films that truly has no weakness. The cinematography is not flashy with extreme long takes or superfluous visual effects, but it serves the film well without getting in the way. The editing and pacing are top notch and drive the film in the absence of an action plot, remaining gripping throughout. The writing is a triumph; a seemingly slow but touchy subject matter are treated with maturity and poise and everything else around the movie serve to build the delivery of it's story. It's a tough movie to recommend and some were surprised it won Best Picture, but once you start watching it, the excellence of the film on display will keep you around. — Scott Tennant
12 Years a Slave: (Defeated #3 Her)
Probably the best movie that you've only seen once... and that's okay. It's very powerful stuff, and hard to stomach for the faint of heart; director Steve McQueen pulls no punches and doesn't embellish anything for the sake of sensation. If you can handle it, the movie has an excellent and inspiring narrative amidst the brutality of it's story. The movie is lauded for it's historical accuracy, but that's not all; a wide and talented ensemble shows off their talents here with excellent displays all around, powered by the excellent writing and powerful direction from McQueen. Coming off the biggest upset in the tournament, 12 Years a Slave may be this bracket's Cinderella story. --Scott Tennant
More and more movies are starting to get eliminated, and it's all thanks to your voting! Make sure to tune back in later this week and keep voting. Follow us at The Critical Breakdown for the next few weeks and help us narrow it down to the grand champion. And make sure to subscribe to our podcast for more from the podcast boys, every Tuesday.
By Scott Tennant | @Breakdown_Scott
Round 1 is in the books! Here are the results from the last batch of the first round:
#3 Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back defeats #14 The Thing
#11 The Lion King defeats #6 Good Will Hunting
#10 Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring defeats #7 Inglourious Basterds
#1 Inception defeats #16 Ex Machina
The winners re-enter the battlefield now. If you thought the first round was hard, just wait until you sink your teeth into these matchups. Here's the latest ballot! Descriptions of each below!
1980's #5 The Princess Bride vs. #13 Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark
The Princess Bride: (defeated #12 Die Hard)
What on the surface seems like just another kissing story (as Fred Savage best described it) turns out to be arguably the greatest and most timeless comedies ever made. Rob Reiner's classic tale is incredibly creative, beautifully shot, and features iconic performances from a deep and talented ensemble. There are comedic moments that are totally iconic in the genre, as well as the small moments between scenes and in the backgrounds that keep the audience buzzing. It's physical comedy, funny dialogue, and situational comedy all coming together to create a perfect storm of humor, that today's comedy films just can't compete with. Inconceivable! — Scott Tennant
Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (defeated #4 Ghostbusters)
What possibly can be said about Indiana Jones at this point that hasn't already been said by it's millions of adoring fans, successful and ongoing film series, and the numerous awards it has won? Harrison Ford is awesome here; every bit as cool as he needs to be, but also smart and cunning. His first trek here is the ultimate adventure film, that dozens of others have tried to emulate. Some have been good, but none can stand up to the legend himself. — Scott Tennant
1990's #1 The Shawshank Redemption vs. #9 Forrest Gump
The Shawshank Redemption: (defeated #16 Se7en)
The Shawshank Redemption is a total triumph of storytelling, character development, and catharsis in a movie. It is one of the few movies that successfully touches the viewer on many different emotional levels; while watching it's hard not to feel the sadness, emptiness, and rage alongside Andy Dufresne in his situation, but it's also impossible not to revel in the humor, in the little victories, and in the accomplishment as he pulls off his great escape. Wrap this all up in a visually satisfying and well-scored movie, and it's easy to see how it became the top seed for the 90's. — Scott Tennant
Forrest Gump: (defeated #8 Fight Club)
Tom Hanks at his best (and that's saying a lot). A coming of age story for one man, and all Baby Boomers on the way. A movie that ditches stereotypes of people with disabilities. A movie that glorifies the achievements of this country without ignoring the problems along the way. A tearjerker that will make you feel happy to be alive, and to long for a simpler time that admittedly was not so simple after all. A piece of Americana that does not glamorize or sugarcoat. — Joe Leonard
2000's #3 The Departed vs. #11 No Country for Old Men
The Departed: (defeated #14 Almost Famous)
This is the toughest Leonardo DiCaprio will ever be. A well-crafted film about corruption and appearances in police and politics. A perfectly cast bunch of characters, most of them pretty unpleasant. A 21st century classic that stands up to any noir cop movie of cinema's Golden Age, with the grit and reality modern moviegoers have come to expect. — Joe Leonard
No Country for Old Men: (defeated #6 Lord of the Rings: Return of the King)
Everyman welder Llewelyn Moss happens upon the remains of a drug-deal-gone-bad and walks away with several million dollars in a briefcase. That briefcase becomes a flame attracting some very interesting moths throughout the course of the film. No Country for Old Men does not have much of a score or a clear-cut moral resolution but the Coen Brothers' mix of tension and dark humor make this crime drama my dark horse pick in the 00s bracket. Moss happens upon the remains of a drug-deal-gone-bad and walks away with several million dollars in a briefcase. That briefcase becomes a flame attracting some very interesting moths throughout the course of the film. No Country for Old Men does not have much of a score or a clear-cut moral resolution but the Coen Brothers' mix of tension and dark humor make this crime drama my dark horse pick in the 00s bracket. — Jon Darling
2010's #2 Whiplash vs. #10 Guardians of the Galaxy
Whiplash: (defeated #15 Creed)
Rarely do we see such intensity and hypnotic focus in films that cover niche topics like collegiate jazz band, but Whiplash is no ordinary film. The launching pad of Oscar-winner Damien Chazelle's career, Whiplash draws you in with editing and cinematography so tight and focused that when it's done it feels like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Whiplash topped many critics best films lists in 2014, and took home a few Academy Awards for it's trouble, largely thanks to the rhythm and swagger it shows in building a gripping story from a subject that seemed dry to me on the surface beforehand. — Scott Tennant
Guardians of the Galaxy: (defeated #7 Interstellar)
The favorite Marvel film for many movie fans, it's quite amazing that in a world where seemingly every comic book superhero to ever exist has it's own film franchise, that this oddball bunch has such a loud and loyal following. It's a testament to just how good the movie is. Firstly, it's colorful and visually dazzling. Every action movie these days utilizes heavy amounts of CGI and special effects, but Guardians deserves an extra special shout out for it's imaginative work. The cast has a lot of natural chemistry and Chris Pratt's charisma is utilized to full effect here. It's a superhero movie that breaks many genre tropes and entertains wildly. — Scott Tennant
Thanks for participating! Keep your eyes on The Critical Breakdown for the next few weeks and help us narrow it down to the grand champion. And make sure to subscribe to our podcast for more from the podcast boys, every Tuesday.
The Critical Breakdown
Join hosts Max Rivera & Scott Tennant as they start at the bottom of Rotten Tomatoes and work their way to 100% Fresh.
The Critical Breakdown
THE PODCAST WHERE WE START AT THE BOTTOM OF ROTTEN TOMATOES
The Critical Breakdown
THE PODCAST WHERE WE START AT THE BOTTOM OF ROTTEN TOMATOES
AND WORK OUR WAY TO 100% FRESH.