Why "How I Met Your Mother" Is A Terrible Name For The Show

Let me start off by saying I love CBS's show How I Met Your Mother. I've been on a HIMYM kick this weekend and probably have been watching every old episode on Netflix that I have never seen or have not seen in awhile. It's probably one of my all-time favorite television comedies. But the show has run its course and/or we need to fucking meet The Mother already.

The reason the show is poorly titled is because it sets up a premise it did not and does not need to. The whole premise of the show is Ted (slash Bob Saget) is telling his kids the story of how he and his wife met. Therefore, we have episode after episode and season after season of Ted explaining to his children how he met their mother. Think about this logically. Ask anyone how they met their significant other. Ask yourself how you met your significant other. It's a five minute story at most. Realistically, these kids (a.k.a. stock footage) would have walked out on this story four seasons ago.

The writers and creators of the show tried to extend the meeting of The Mother by explaining Ted's past relationships and how those relationships brought Ted in a place he needed to be in to where he could meet The Mother. This could make some sense. Still realistically kind of silly, but at least logical. However, at this point in the show's series, that ship has sailed.

The two relationships that are most important to Ted are Robin and Stella. Especially Stella. Leaving Ted at the alter was one of the most crushing experiences of his life. And Ted is madly in love with Robin but that relationship will never work out because the two just want different things out of life. Sure, Victoria telling Ted this in Season 7 was a good cue to the audience to hear this, but completely and utterly unnecessary.

After Ted dated Robin in Season 2 and Stella in Season 3 the show should have forced Ted to meet The Mother. We later learned that Ted meets The Mother at Barney's wedding and so the show the needed to put Barney at a place where he could not only be in a monogamous relationship but also willing to get married. It's extremely realistic to spend 7 or 8 seasons getting Barney to a place where he's willing to get married. It is extremely UNrealistic to put Ted in a similar situation. It was silly of the writers to have Ted meet his wife at a wedding and then it turns out to be a wedding that wasn't Marshall and Lilly's. Why did they choose that scenario for Ted to meet The Mother? He could have met her in any other way but they choose to make it a wedding and then choose not to make it Marshall and Lilly's. It just prolongs the inevitable and makes the audience furious when they don't need to be.
SIDENOTE: As a man who is soon to be wed, how is Ted the best man in BOTH Barney and Marshall's wedding as opposed to their brothers? Maybe it makes sense for Ted to be the best man in Marshall's because Marshall has two brothers and so choosing Ted wouldn't upset either brother but Barney only has one brother. It's a dick move on Barney's part not to make James his best man and Marshall should have made one his brothers Best Man. My mom has two sisters and she still chose ONE of them to be her Maid Of Honor. Sorry. That is all.

This brings me back to my point why "How I Met Your Mother" is a terrible name for the show. If the show only lasted four seasons or so then, yes, it's a fine name. Eventually by the 4th season we would meet The Mother and Ted's past relationships would make sense in his 2030 story. But since the show is going to at least last for eight seasons, if not more, it is a horrible name.

The reason the show works so well is because of the group dynamic. The show is just a reincarnation of Friends- and that show had a great name. The title of that show told you that it is just six friends hanging out and for 30 minutes every week you got to see a window into these characters lives. That's exactly how HIMYM is. You care deeply about these characters and enjoy how they interact with each other and the relationships they encounter.

But not only did HIMYM go on a tangent and give itself a name that really does not give the audience a good idea of what the show actually is, it gave it a name surrounding one of the "worst" characters of the show. Ted's character and storyline is probably the worst storyline of the series- no matter what the show's title is.

The best two characters on the show are Marshall and Barney. Some of the best episodes in the past two, terrible seasons of the show (A point I will get to later) are ones centering around Marshall and Barney- especially their relationship with their respected father.

Ted works the same way as J.D. did on Scrubs. He is the glue that holds everything together. You may not like the glue and really want to see everything the glue is sticking to, but you need the glue in order to see the other objects around it. It is because of him that he interacts with the rest of the other characters on the show and binds everyone and everything.

If the show had just some generic title, like Friends, then all of Ted's relationships do not matter, per se. In fact, the audience would care MORE about his later relationships. The show could work the exact same way except just take out the premise that Older Ted is telling his kids this story of how he met his wife. If Older Ted was just explaining to someone (hell, it could have been his kids) the story of his late 20's and early 30's and the fun and goofy things that happened in his life and we had the same plot lines then the show would still be growing strong in its later seasons. But it is not.

Part of the reason Season 7 was so bad was because of Ted's relationship with Zoey. If she is not The Mother then why do we care about this relationship? What's even more frustrating with these later seasons is that they are discounting everything they set up in the earlier seasons. Throughout the episodes where Ted is not in a relationship, the show alludes to how he met The Mother or how a particular event caused him to meet The Mother. For example, we learn that The Mother was a student in the Economics class Ted accidentally taught during his first day of teaching. We learn the fact that Ted runs into Stella and Tony with his yellow umbrella is an important milestone in his life (which did cause Ted to get the teaching job). Every episode ends with Ted explaining why this is some amazing event this in his life. But as we trek further and further along, these major plot points start to become irrelevant.

As we watch Seasons 7 and 8, the train is officially off the track and what we as an audience want to see- Ted meeting The Mother- isn't happening yet. We get a great insight into further delving into Barney's psyche that fact that he's willing to settle down and that he's reconciling with his father and we further develop Marshall's character stemming from the death of his father but the story lines revolving around Ted and Robin (nobody cares about Lily) in the later seasons are strenuous to watch. We know Barney is going to marry Robin so this relationship with Kal Penn and the fact that Robin is STILL staying with Penn is asinine.

Shows want to prolong relationships because audience love the tension between two characters who will soon be together but are not together yet. However, at some point, the tension becomes too unbearable for the audience and the writers need to shit or get off the pot. They need to make the characters come together. The Office (successfully) managed to keep Jim and Pam apart for three seasons but as Karen left and as the fourth season started to roll around, the writers realized they needed to make them come together. The show is trying to recapture that with Andy and Erin to get their old spark back (talk about another show that needs to end, but that's for another post) but that is not coming off as successfully as they would like. Parks and Rec (successfully) kept Leslie and Ben apart but after a season and half the show realized the two needed to come together and it's working very well. But for seven plus LONG seasons, the show has kept Ted and The Mother apart. The reason the other shows put characters together is because that was just the natural order to things and that is what the audience wanted and needed. When the show is entitled "How I Met Your Mother" the natural course of events should have been that sooner rather than later The Father and The Mother should meet. What a crazy notion!

A big part of me wants Jason Segel (Marshall) to leave the show and focus full time in movies. The Muppets was a great success and Forgetting Sarah Marshall is one of my all time favorite movies. With The Five Year Engagement and Jeff Who Lives At Home coming out soon and both looking great, I hope Segel has such great success that he chooses not to resign with CBS after his contract ends and the show comes to its natural resting place. Plus, it's extremely hard for any television program to last more than eight seasons and be good. Jokes and story lines eventually dry the well. I love the show as a whole but I would rather see it conclude properly than keep going on being mediocre at best.

Who Will Win The 2012 Oscars?

I will do three categories for each nomination. The first one is "What Will Win" which will be out of all the actual nominations which one do I think will actually take home the award. The second one is "What Should Win (Oscar Nominated)" which means out of all the actual nominations which one do I think deserves to take home the golden statue. The third one will be "What Should Win (All Movies)" which means out of every single movie of 2011 which movie or person do I think should take home the award, whether or not they were nominated.*

Best Picture

What Will Win: The Artist
What Should Win (Oscar Nominated): The Descendants or Moneyball
What Should Win (All Movies): Young Adult

Best Director

What Will Win: Martin Scorsese (Hugo)
What Should Win (Oscar Nominated): Martin Scorsese (Hugo)
What Should Win (All Movies): Bennett Miller (Moneyball)

Best Actor

What Will Win: George Clooney (The Descendants)
What Should Win (Oscar Nominated): Brad Pitt (Moneyball)

* Really though, I have no problem if anyone in this category wins it. All were great and no one really stood out above the rest

What Should Win (All Movies): Brad Pitt (Moneyball)

* I personally am a Brad Pitt fan and I would like to see him take home an Oscar

Best Actress

What Will Win: Viola Davis (The Help)
What Should Win (Oscar Nominated): N/A

*I've only seen The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I don't (along with the rest of America) watch movies that have Best Actress nominees in them

What Should Win (All Movies): Charlize Theron (Young Adult)

Best Supporting Actor

What Will Win: Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
What Should Win (Oscar Nominated): Nick Nolte (Warrior)
What Should Win (All Movies): Andy Serkis (Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes)

Best Supporting Actress

What Will Win: Octavia Spencer (The Help)
What Should Win (Oscar Nominated): Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)
What Should Win (All Movies): Shailene Woodley (The Descendants)

Best Original Screenplay

What Will Win: Woody Allen (Midnight In Paris)
What Should Win (Oscar Nominated): Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo (Bridesmaids)
What Should Win (All Movies): Diablo Cody (Young Adult)

Best Adapted Screenplay

What Will Win: Alexander Payne, Jim Rash, and Nat Faxon (The Descendants)
What Should Win (Oscar Nominated): Steve Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, and Stan Chervin (Moneyball)
What Should Win (All Movies): Steve Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, and Stan Chervin (Moneyball)

Best Cinematography

What Will Win: Robert Richardson (Hugo)
What Should Win (Oscar Nominated): Robert Richardson (Hugo)
What Should Win (All Movies): Magdalena Gorka (Paranormal Activity 3)

Best Animated Film

What Will Win: Rango

Best Foreign Language Film

What Will Win: Iran (A Separation)

Best Original Score

What Will Win: Ludovic Bource (The Artist)

Best Original Song

What Will Win: "Man Or Muppet" by Bret McKenzie (The Muppets)

Best Costume Design

What Will Win: Mark Bridges (The Artist)

Best Make Up

What Will Win: Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight, and Lisa Tomblin (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part II)

Best Visual Effects

What Will Win: Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler, and John Richardson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part II)

Best Sound Editing

What Will Win: Ethan van der Ryn and; Erik Aadahl (Transformers: Dark Of The Moon)

Best Sound Mixing

What Will Win: Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, and Peter J. Devlin (Transformers: Dark Of The Moon)

*NOTE: While I have not seen every movie in 2011 nor every Oscar nominated movie in 2011 I have seen most. The ones I actually will see from 2011 are: Drive, The Help, and Shame. This list will get updated accordingly once I have seen those flicks.

#2- The Matrix (1999)

Click here for Commenting Rules and how GOI's final list came together

Who's List Was This On
- Adam Kaplan: #3
- Bryan Hernandez: #5
- The 'Bright' One: #5
- David "MVP" Eckstien: #12
- Cubsfan4evr1: #20

Directed By: Andy and Lana Wachowski
Written By: Andy and Lana Wachowski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Ann Moss, Hugo Weaving, and Joe Pantoliano

The Plot

Infamous computer hacker Neo (Reeves) is "freed" from what we call the real world but is in actuality a computer program called the Matrix generated by robots to keep humans complicit while they use our energy to survive. A group of rebels in the actual world led by by their leader Morpheus (Fishburne) to try and find "The One" (and be believes Neo is "The One") to help stop the reign by the robots.

Why This Movie Is Great

I think The Matrix is great because it is the best science fiction movie of the past 25 years (and maybe ever). After first viewing of the film you loved what you saw but you're not quite sure what really just happened. The movie is purposefully complicated and full of symbolism (besides the obvious Alice in Wonderland references in the beginning of the film).

The Matrix toys with the idea of what is real and what is not. The world that we all know turns out just to be a computer program and a creation of our minds. The themes of reality versus dreaming run throughout the film and makes you question your existence.

Plus, the movie revolutionized special effects with "bullet time."

There's so much jam packed into one two-hour film that I could spend many posts and many paragraphs talking about the nuances of it. So I'm just going to spend some time talking about the symbolism of the names and an explanation of the end which is very confusing on first viewing.

Explanation Of The Names

- Neo: "Neo" in Latin means "new" and is an anagram for "one". Thomas Anderson (Neo's real name) relates to "doubting Thomas" in the Bible when he doesn't believe he is the One. Anderson also means "son of man" which is a messianic title.

- Trinity: An obvious religious reference to the Holy Trinity and actually means "three". The themes of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost run rampant throughout the film.

- Morpheus: In classic mythology it means "fashioner" or "molder" because of the shapes he calls up before the sleeper. He is the God of Dreams which ties into the theme of sleep and dreams throughout the film as well as Morpheus being responsible for "waking people up".

- Cypher: The classical betrayer, the Judas Iscariot. The word refers to a mathematical symbol denoting an absence of quantity, a zero. Also, someone with no value, a nonentity. Cypher can also be short for "Lucipher" which explains the Satan imagery Cypher has towards the beginning of the film when he's the only one wearing red and sporting a goatee.

- The Oracle: In Greek history, The Oracle was an intermediary between God and Man (instead in the movie God is robots). People could ask The Oracle questions and would often get answers in riddle format. Also, in The Matrix The Oracle says, "Do you know what that means? It's Latin. Means 'Know Thyself'" "Know thyself" is inscribed upon the Oracle of Apollo and attributed to the Delphic Oracle.

Explanation of the Ending



On the surface, The Matrix is about Neo's journey to become The One. Morpheus frees Neo from the Matrix because he believes that Neo is the only one that can stop the computer's reign of terror. Morpheus takes Neo to see The Oracle (Gloria Foster) to make sure Neo is The One.

The problem most people have on first viewing is that after the meeting we learn that Neo is not The One. However, as Morpheus tells Neo before the meeting:
Try not to think of it in terms of right or wrong. She is a guide Neo. She can help you find your path.
So let's dissect this conversation between The Oracle and Neo because the key to understanding this conversation is the key to understanding the ending.

First, we know going into it that we can not take everything she says verbatim, and we shouldn't. The Oracle's purpose is to guide her subject, not outright tell them. As we have learned from classic literature, mainly from MacBeth, being told the future could end up shaping it. If The Witches had not told MacBeth that he would have become king, would he have become king? MacBeth doesn't become king by waiting it out. He takes steps to kill all those in his way to become king and makes the conscious effort to become king only because of what The Witches prophesied. The same holds true in The Matrix. The Oracle can't just tell you the future but she can see into the future and she can help guide the person down the correct path. In fact, towards the beginning of Neo's conversation, The Oracle says don't worry about the vase. This causes Neo to turn and immediately breaks her vase. The Oracle then says, "What's really going to bake your noodle later on is, would you still have broken the vase is I hadn't said anything?"

So now that we have established we can't take everything The Oracle says as face value, let's deconstruct this conversation (and other conversations with other members of the crew) to help explain the ending.

In fact, let's jump to the end of the movie. After Cyphus (Pantoliano) betrays the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar, Agents chase Neo throughout the city and eventually catch up with him. In the end they actually kill Neo.

But then Trinity (Moss) comes over the console the body of Neo and says:
Neo I'm not afraid anymore. The Oracle told me I would fall in love and that... that man... the man that I loved would be The One. So you see, you can't be dead. You can't be... because I love you. You hear me? I love you!
This scene ties back in to two things The Oracle told Neo.

The first is that she says:
I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Being The One is like being in love. No one can tell you you're in love, you just know it. Through and through. Balls to bones.
She also earlier tells Neo, "You're cuter than I thought. I can see why she likes you."

We learn for sure that "she" refers to Trinity and we see throughout the film that Neo and Trinity both like each other and flirt with each other but it isn't until the end of the film that both fall in love with each other. (Maybe more appropriately Trinity knows for sure that she loves Neo).

But this still begs the question, "Neo died, how can he still come back to life?" Good question. First, keep in mind that we are still in the Matrix. While earlier we learn that if you die in the Matrix you die in real life because the body can not live without the mind. However, also keep in mind that The One can not die in the Matrix as well. As we learn from later movies, The One is the constant and a reincarnation and Neo is just the current reincarnation. This also brings us back to Neo's conversation with The Oracle. She says to him:
Sorry kid, you got the gift it looks like you're waiting for something
as it turns out its love
Your next life maybe who knows? That's the way these things go.
I believe that last line is literal. While Neo needs to fall in love first to become The One, I also believe he needs to die. In works of Friedrich Nietzsche, he says that one must climb an impossible mountain of thorns to become immortal, but in order to become immortal you must die. The same must happen to Neo. Plus, Neo's death triggers Trinity's love for him. It isn't until Neo is dead that her true feelings come out for him. Because Neo is a reincarnation of The One and because we're in the Matrix, after Neo's death he comes back to life as The One and kills all agents in his path.
One last thing before I go. I was reading Roger Ebert's review of this film and he originally gave it three stars- mainly because it turned into a Shoot 'Em Up movie in the third act. It's weird to hear him say that because when Inception originally came out my cousin had the same critique of that film as well. There's a lot (I mean A LOT) of similarities between The Matrix and Inception (besides that critique) and I just think it's extremely difficult to create a pure science fiction movie without having a Shoot 'Em Up climax. A lot of what The Matrix is is Morpheus explaining to Neo (and the audience) the construct of the world that currently exists and that can only go so far. You can only explain the trippy-ness of the situation before the movie starts to become boring and stale. While the film is a critique on modern society it is still a movie nonetheless and it still needs to keep audiences entertained. I think the Shoot 'Em Up aspect of The Matrix worked really well because the Agents capture of Morpheus is the trigger Neo needed to help him lead down a path to become The One. Plus, it fit into the double cross of Cyphus. Lastly, it was just cool.

Sexy Rexy's 2012 Oscar Nominations Rants

Like all my Oscar rants, I will say I have not seen all the nominated films and in this terrible, terrible year for films I probably will not see any more except for Drive (I'll see it when it comes out this weekend on DVD). But nevertheless considering I'm able to write posts on the best television shows of the year and some music and fantasy sports and able to hold my own in an Oscar conversation, I think the fact that I have not seen Albert Nobbs and We Need To Talk About Kevin should give me a pass.

- Young Adult was by far and away the best film of 2011. It was made by Oscar veterans Jason Reitman (Juno, Up In The Air) and Diablo Cody (Juno) and starred Oscar veteran Charlize Theron (Monster). Yet it garnered absolutely no nominations. Hollywood hated the film which is absurd. The movie is not for everyone because it is purposefully not a feel good movie and purposefully left a sour taste in people's mouths at the end but so did No Country For Old Men and yet that swept the Oscars. I knew Hollywood hated the film so I knew Reitman would get screwed for Best Director and the film would get screwed for Best Picture but at minimum I thought it would get Best Original Screenplay and I had hoped Theron would squeak in as the 5th Best Actress slot. Instead, that went to Rooney Mara for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Clearly, Hollywood did not see the great Sweedish original. Patton Osawlt also got fucked for his great, nuanced performance in YA. Overall, the film is walking funny, Lisbeth Salander style because of what the Academy did to it (Sorry, that might have crossed the line. My bad.)

- I knew Brad Pitt was going to get nominated for his portrayal of Billy Beane in Moneyball and while it wasn't a lock, no one was surprised to see Jonah Hill get nominated for his portrayal of Peter Brand/ Paul DePodesta. But I was pleasantly surprised to see Moneyball get nominated for Best Picture as well. I know my fellow GOI authors disagree with me on the film and all four of us are biased by the movie because of our intense love of the Michael Lewis book but the film was great. All sports movies are about the underdog willing their way to win at all in the end but Moneyball was different. It took the GM's perspective and (spoiler alert) they lost in the first round of the playoffs. It redefined sports movies and I'm glad it got its due. I would have liked to have seen Bennett Miller get nominated for Best Director because I loved his style but after all the other nominations I knew that was too much to ask.

- I love Gary Oldman and I'm glad he got his due for his years of great work by getting a Best Actor nomination for his role in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I also love Michael Fassbender but he did not get a Best Actor nomination for his role as a sex addict in the NC-17 rated Shame despite getting a BAFTA and Golden Globe nomination for his work. While I haven't seen Shame (it's extremely hard to see NC-17 rated movies because mainstream theaters refuse to show them and mainstream stores like Wal-Mart refuse to sell them) but when I do end up seeing Shame I'm sure I will say Fassbender got snubbed.

- Kristen Wiig can say she has an Oscar nomination! She and her writing partner Annie Mumolo get nominated for writing Bridesmaids. While I'm glad to see the Academy broadened their scope and nominated a raunchy comedy, I'm still a little bitter that it took them this long. Writers for The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and especially Superbad did not get nominated for Best Original Screenplay and all were much more deserving than Wiig and Mumolo. Melissa McCarthy also got nominated for her role in Bridesmaids for Best Supporting Actress although this was no surprise. Not only did she get nominated in everything before this and stole the movie but the Academy has always looked kindly towards comedic actors getting nominated in supporting roles. Robert Downey Jr. got nominated in 2009 for his portrayal of an actor undergoing surgery to become a black man in Tropic Thunder and Marisa Tomei won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1992 for her work in My Cousin Vinny.

- To much of people's dismay, Tilda Swinton did not get anything for her role in We Need To Talk About Kevin. Not that I was going to see the film anyways but now I definitely do not have to see it because it didn't get any nominations.

- The Artist is going to sweep the Oscars this year and to be honest it's hard to argue with it. It was very well made, the acting (especially by its two leads) were great, and I was surprisingly entertained by it. No one is going to get Hurt Locker'd this year. I will say that as good as The Artist is, I never want to see it again. It's a one and done for me.

- My girlfriend was trying to force me to see The Help when it came out in theaters. I said "no" because it looked stupid and cheezy and I said the only way I will see it is if it gets nominated for Oscars. Thinking only chicks would like the film and it wouldn't get anything, I was fairly confident I wouldn't have to see it. Now I have to go see it as it got nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress, and two Best Supporting Actresses. Damn.

#3- Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Click here for Commenting Rules and how GOI's final list came together

Who's List Was This On
- Cubsfan4evr1: #2
- David "MVP" Eckstein: #9
- Daniel Bennett: #10
- Bryan Hernandez: t-#11
- Adam Kaplan: #20

Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Written By: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Melanie Laurent, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger, and Michael Fassbender

The Plot

The movie centers around three main characters: American Lt. Aldo Raine (Pitt) and his misfit team of Jewish-American soldiers who call themselves "The Basterds". This guerrilla group is dropped into war torn Europe during the Nazi's reign in WWII and whose sole goal is to cause havoc on the Nazi's and to eventually take down Adolf Hitler. Raine's second in command is Sgt. Donny Donowitz (a.k.a. The Bear Jew) played by Eli Roth, a local boy from Boston, Massachusetts who's main purpose in the group is to beat the hell out of Nazi's with a baseball bat.

The second story line centers around Col. Hans Landa (Waltz), a fairly high ranking officer in The Third Reich. The Colonel's nickname is The Jew Hunter and it is his mission to help wipe out the Jewish race and to stop The Basterds.

The last main story line follows the life of Shoshanna Dreyfus (Laurent), a young Jewish girl who has managed to escape the grasps of the Nazi's and ended up owning a movie theater in Paris. Shoshanna is then befriended by a young Nazi soldier by the name of Fredrick Zoller (Daniel Bruhl) who's recent courageous acts have caused Joseph Goebbles (Sylvester Groth) to create a movie about him and Zoller wants his movie to be premiered in Shoshanna's theater.

Why This Movie Is Great

Tarantino movies are probably the hardest movies to analyze. After you first see the movie you love it. The film is so engaging and so exciting and so thrilling that you just can't help leave the theater with a smile on your face. The inherent problem (at least for me when trying to write a movie review) is to help explain the "why"? Why was the film so engaging and exciting and thrilling? Why did you leave the theater with a smile on your face?

Tarantino films do not delve deep into the human psyche like say a Martin Scorsese or Darren Aronofsky film would and his films do not portray a deeper message about the society we live in like a Steven Spielberg or Stanley Kubrick film does. In fact, his movies are most comparable to action movies where you like it because it's awesome. Tarantino gets most his influences from the crappy B movies he saw from his youth. But Tarantino makes the movie all his own.

If you saw any of Tarantino's films, especially Inglourious Basterds, you'd know it was a Tarantino film without seeing any of the credits whatsoever. QT has a movie style brand all of his own. It can not be copied or duplicated. You may try, but you will not succeed.

I think the real reason Inglourious Basterds is such a fantastic film is because Tarantino creates characters and scenes that are just so engaging and entertaining that you can't helped but be sucked in waiting for more. The scenes and characters may not necessarily have anything to do with the overarching plot, but because characters are so well developed and because they are so witty and engaging that you don't care. Two scenes from the film stick out to me that fit this description.

The first scene is the film's opening sequence between the French farmer (Denis Menochet) and Col. Hans Landa where the audience is introduced to the evil German. We get a sense of what makes this man tick and what his job entails. Truth be told, this scene is way too long if all the director wanted to accomplish was introduce characters but as the audience you love this scene. You don't care what another director would have done, you love what Quentin Tarantino did do. Plus, the length in the scene helps build tension for the final minutes of it. The build up and anticipation was not only fun to watch but well worth the wait.

The second scene is the entire sequence where Sgt Hugo Stiglitz (Til Schweiger), Archie Hicox (Fassbender), and Wilhelm Wicki (Gedeon Burkhard) meet up with the famous actress Bridget von Hammersmark (Kruger) in the basement of a local pub. Upon my last viewing of the film I timed how long the scene was and it went north of thirty minutes. The last five to ten minutes of the scene are the most important elements of it in order to advance the plot but you don't care how long the scene goes because these characters- especially Major Deiter Hellstrom (August Diehl), the Nazi soldier's commander- are so engaging and entertaining that you never want the fun to end. The vast majority of the scene are just people playing 20 questions but because of Tarantino's genius you love every minute of it.

The actor that steals the movie is Christoph Waltz who beautifully plays Col. Handa. Waltz's award for Best Supporting Actor was the only Academy Award the film received (because the film got Hurt Locker'd by Kathryn Bigelow and The Hurt Locker. The next year The Social Network got Hurt Locker'd by The King's Speech). If it wasn't for The Joker the year before in The Dark Knight Col. Hans Landa would be my personal favorite movie villain of all time. Col Landa's actions are reprehensible but he's so much fun to have a conversation with. ("That's a BINGO!") He's so playful and smart and witty and I throughly enjoyed every minute he was on screen.

Tarantino also adds his love of movies into Inglorious Basterds as it becomes a motif throughout the entire film. Archie Hicox is an English soldier who also happens to be a film historian and discusses in length to General Ed Fenech (Mike Myers) the history of German cinema, The Basterds mole within the German society is an German actress, and Shoshanna owns a movie theater and there is interest to have Fredrick Zoller's movie shown in her hall- just name a few examples of this motif. It's very meta and nerdy of Tarantino and I love it.

One last thing I'll say about Inglourious Basterds is that it was genius of Tarantino to make most of the movie in another language. Col. Landa is awesome in three languages. I think it's a cop out (most notably in Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Scorsese's Hugo) to set a movie in another country and yet all the actors speak English. Moviegoers are smart enough and well equipped enough to handle reading subtitles. When Landa is talking to Goebbles, he appropriately talks in German. When Landa initially meets the French farmer, he appropriately talks in French. What a novel concept! I appreciated the movie much more because it was in three languages as opposed to the entire thing being in English.

Inglourious Basterds is just a classic Tarantino picture and one that anyone can enjoy. He re-writes history that only Quentin Tarantino can and for that we here at Game Of Inches thank him by putting this 2009 epic #3 on our list of the 25 Greatest Films In The Past 25 Years.

#4- The Departed (2006)

Click here for Commenting Rules and how GOI's final list came together

Who's List Was This On
- David "MVP" Eckstein: #4
- Bryan Hernandez: #4
- Daniel Bennett: #9
- The 'Bright' One: #12

Directed By: Martin Scorsese
Written By: William Monahan
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Vera Farmiga, and Martin Sheen
Based Upon: The Hong Kong movie Infernal Affairs directed by Alan Mak and Andrew Lau.

The Plot

The Boston Police Department is on a manhunt to stop one of the city's most powerful gangs led by Frank Costello (Nicholson). To help stop Costello, the BDP places Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) as a mole in Costello's gang. On the other hand Frank Costello has a mole in the BDP- Colin Sullivan (Damon). The Boston Police Department promotes Sullivan to search for Costello's mole within the BDP. While leading the task force Sullivan searches out for the BDP mole within Costello's gang while Billy Costigan searches for Frank Costello's mole within the BDP. The movie turns into a double cat and mouse chase as Cositgan and Sullivan each search out to find the true identity of other one.

Why This Movie Is Great

Martin Scorsese's second appearance on this list (or first which ever way you want to look at it) is a certifiable bad ass movie. During one of the first scenes of the film, Billy Costigan gets accosted for drinking cranberry juice by a bar patron. "It's a natural diuretic. My girlfriend drinks it when she's get her period. What, do you got your period?" DiCaprio looks at the patron and then proceeds to smash his glass in the man's face and beat the crap out of him. The film slam on the gas and never lets up until the ending credits role.

The Departed is the ultimate cat and mouse movie. Billy Costigan is on the look out for Colin Sullivan while Colin Sullivan is on the look out for Billy Costigan while at the same time each men is on a search to find the mole: themselves.

Sullivan was raised by Frank Costello and was bred to be a gangster. In order to fulfill his "gangster duties" Costello sends Sullivan to be his personal spy within the Boston Police Department. On the other side, all Billy Costigan wants to do is be a police officer. After excelling in the Academy but before even becoming remotely entrenched within the BDP (therefore no cops will be able to recognize Costigan which makes Costigan the perfect mole) Billy's first assignment as a police officer is to become a gangster.

Not only does Scorsese tell an amazing story and keeps you on the edge of your seat as he navigates you through the twists and turns of this cat and mouse chase but the film gets another dynamic layer as Scorsese smartly chooses to set the film in Boston. Recently I ranked The Departed as the second best Boston movie of all time. The reason the film works so well in Boston is because the film has a motif of guilt running through it. Boston has one of the biggest percentages of Irish-Catholics in America and what are Irish-Catholics known for: guilt. Plus, Colin tells Madolyn one night, "what Freud said about the Irish is we're the only people impervious to psychoanalysis." The story works so well because the main characters are Irish-Catholic and there's no better place to set a story about Irish-Catholics (other than Ireland itself) than Boston, Massachusetts.

Both Sullivan and Billy struggle with their newfound roles that they have and both have to confide in police therapist Madolyn (Farmiga). Both men have grown up knowing one thing and now each one is conflicted by living a lie in a world in which they don't belong in while having that Irish-Catholic guilt wash over them.

Martin Scorsese FINALLY won an Academy Award for Best Director for his work on The Departed (the second best film he's ever made behind Goodfellas) which helped propel the movie to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

Other Notes
- Jack Nicholson's character, Frank Costello, was based after the most infamous man in Boston's history: Whitey Bulger . Bulger was finally captured in the summer of 2011 at the age of 81.
- I love Leo DiCapro but he's terrible at accents. He couldn't do one in Blood Diamonds and he couldn't do a Boston accent in The Departed. Jack Nicholson realized he couldn't do one so he just said "fuck it" and spoke normally.

#5- The Dark Knight (2008)

Click here for Commenting Rules and how GOI's final list came together

Who's List Was This On
- Adam Kaplan: #2
- Dan Bennett: #2
- David "MVP" Eckstein: #2

Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Morgan Freeman.

The Plot

In Batman Begins Bruce Wayne (Bale) attempts to get rid of the mob and corruption that riddles the streets of Gotham by creating a superhero alter ego- Batman. Batman has greatly affected the city as hope and change to start to flourish. The city elects a great District Attorney Harvey Dent (Eckhart) who starts to make legitimate changes cleaning up the streets of Gotham. The mob, who is none to thrilled with the changes that are occurring and seem powerless to stop it, turn to a no-named terrorist who calls himself The Joker (Ledger) to help stop the Batman. The Joker's antics and mayhem however go out of control as he turns the city of Gotham into a state of fear and panic and leaves Batman helpless to do anything about it.

The Dark Knight is all about escalation. The mob controls the city. Bruce Wayne then comes into town- as a masked and costumed vigilante- and starts to quell the mob's power. In response to a greater threat, the mob creates the greatest threat of them all- The Joker- in attempt to get rid of Batman. This film follows the tale of what happens when things spiral out of control and cause a city to turn on Batman and forces Bruce Wayne to do nothing about it.

Why This Movie Is Great

Heath Ledger and The Joker. It's that plain and simple.

The Dark Knight is an amazing film made brilliant not only because of how the Nolans wrote the character but because how Ledger played the character. Think about it. If either Ledger didn't play The Joker or if that character was even 75% of the awesomeness it is, this movie is just another Batman Begins. I'm a big fan of Batman Begins but it (nor really many other films) touch a candle to the greatness that is The Dark Knight. Without this amazing character, this movie dangerously borders into the X-Men category.

I could write a book on why The Dark Knight is so amazing (Seriously, if any publisher out there wants me to I would be willing to write you a treatment. I mean this without hyperbole that I could literally write a book on how great this film is). However, this post will only be dedicated to The Joker. I'm not even going to touch Harvey Dent, how he is the White Knight in comparison to how Batman is the Dark Knight, how everything the character Harvey says is brilliant, the moral and ethical dilemmas that Lucius Fox (Freeman) and Alfred (Caine) must face, or even about the mob and its head (Eric Roberts) deal with Batman. No, all I will focus on in this post is The Joker.

In my opinion, there is no greater acting job in the history of cinema that what Heath Ledger did with The Joker. Even despite all the hype and infamy that surrounded Ledger and his performance before the film was released (Ledger killed himself before the movie was released) you could not tell me that was Heath Ledger playing The Joker. I just watched the film again a few days ago and I still see no traces of Heath in there. He does such a fantastic job. His mannerisms, his voice, his look, everything is The Joker.

What is first and foremost great about The Joker is that you don't get a back story on him. There is no origin story on The Joker and frankly you don't care. In two different situations, he tells the audience of how he received his signature scars and both times he tells a different story. All you need to know is that this man is crazy. He is pure evil. After many viewings here is what I can gather on his background. I do believe his father messed him up. The first story we hear about The Joker's scars is how his father was a drunk and how one night his father struck him. Next, when The Joker crashes Bruce Wayne's party for Harvey Dent, before he tells Rachael that version of scar story, he meets an elderly gentlemen and he says, "You remind me of my father, and I *hate* my father." Although, one could make the argument that he tells a different story and says different things to different people based on who his audience is. He'll tell Rachael he got the scars about his wife because the person who he's talking to a PYT and he'll tell Gambol and an elderly party guest a story about his father because they're male. Either way, point is, the film never gives The Joker a back story and its better that it doesn't. The one true thing I think The Joker gives away is that he's been called "crazy" before and that's something that truly irks him. He doesn't mind being called a freak, in fact he constantly calls himself a freak, but what he does mind is being called crazy. When we first truly meet The Joker when he interrupts the mob's meeting in the kitchen, Gambol calls The Joker "crazy". The Joker responds by saying, "I'm not. No, I'm No*T*" Ledger plays that line like The Joker takes a huge personal offense to being called "crazy". It makes sense considering The Joker attracts mental unstable people and I'm sure he does have a diagnosable mental disorder.

Nolan did a fantastic job of not only writing the character of The Joker but also working with Ledger to bring the character to life. Heath Ledger's Joker is by far and away the darkest the character has ever been and is a cold-hearted, sadistic, terrorist through and through. This is why I ranked The Joker as the most evil movie villain in movie cinema of all time.

Nolan helped shape this evil character by helping shape the characters physical appearance. Nolan looked at the creepiest paintings throughout the art world to help shape where this character was going. The Joker's hair is purposefully grimey and stringy and even without the green hair coloring would just look gross. Heath Ledger insisted that he apply his own make up because he wanted to keep the authenticity of the character alive. Ledger also perfected The Joker's voice and does this very creepy lizard-like thing with his tongue. As if the character wasn't written evil enough Nolan and Ledger made great physical strides with The Joker to help enhance the movie character's awesomeness.

What's so great about the character of The Joker is that he's not just in it for the money, he's just a crazy person looking to perform social experiments on the city of Gotham. Alfred says to Bruce Wayne in the movie:
Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn
The Joker burns a huge pile of cash just because, he convinces a city to kill Reese and when they fail to he blows up a hospital, and what's "best" of all is that he kills a person everyday Batman does not reveal himself (and follows through on his plan) and as a result causes an entire metropolis not to turn on him but to turn on the city's savior instead. Truly there is no doubt that The Joker just wants to watch the world burn.

Heath Ledger rightfully won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor but it's an interesting debate I had with my roommate at the time- Why was Ledger only up for Best Supporting and not Best Actor? At the time my response was that this film is all about Batman and Joker is the supporting character in how he changes Batman. But over time, I've come to agree with my former roommate. The Joker admits to Batman that he doesn't want to kill him. I believe when the mob first enlists The Joker's help he had true intentions to carry out his original plan. But then he had so much fun killing people and bringing Gotham to its knees that he means it when he says to Batman:
I don't want to kill you! What would I do without you? Go back to ripping off mob dealers? No, no, you... complete me.
Batman changes but he does so because that's what Gotham needs him to do. The Joker changes because of Batman himself. Plus, as mentioned at the top of this post, this movie would be nothing without Heath Ledger's portrayal of the iconic character. Either way, I'm pleased Ledger was rewarded with the Oscar statute at the end of the day.

I think Nolan originally intended for The Joker to show up in the sequel. At the very end of the film when he says to Batman, "I think you and I are destined to this forever". Not only is it a shame that Heath Ledger died because it's a shame when any human life is taken but it's also a shame that Ledger can not be in The Dark Knight Rises. I loved the character as The Joker and I want to see Round Two between him and Batman.

FUN FACT: When the Mayor appoints Jim Gordon (Oldman) as the new police commissioner in the jail after capturing The Joker, Ledger ad-libed his sardonic clap while everyone else was clapping. Christopher Nolan loved it so much he decided to add it to the film.

ONE FINAL NOTE: I think it's a severe under-simplification to say that Heath Ledger's portrayal of The Joker killed him. I understand that he spent long hours in a room by himself to perfect his character and the voice but the man was a professional. I do think his preparation for this role was a factor in his death but not the sole cause. I never met Ledger and I am just speculating based on media reports but it sounded like Ledger had a mental problem or a mental disorder before he started filming and the role amplified his disorder. That being said I still wish Michelle Williams and everyone in The Ledger family my deepest condolences for their loss.

Why Wild Card Weekend Was A Bad Weekend For The Packers

Of course the Green Bay Packers who rightfully earned the #1 seed in the NFC did not play last weekend as they rested during their bye week. They are still in the playoffs. However, the worst case scenario happened last weekend. The two NFC teams that won their playoff game- the New Orleans Saints and the New York Giants- are the two teams that can have a chance at defeating Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions are good match ups for the Packers. While the Lions have the talent to beat Green Bay, Week 17's shellacking of the Lions against Matt Flynn and the Packers back ups in a game Detroit was trying in was all the proof needed to show that Detroit is still a year or two away from hanging with the big dogs. And while people may like Matt Ryan and the Falcons, there have been no evidence to suggest that Atlanta can either score with Aaron Rodgers or has the pass defense to stop Aaron Rodgers.

However, the Giants and the Saints do have the potential to defeat the Packers. If the Saints beat the San Francisco 49ers next week, the Green Bay Packers will have to face two teams that are bad match ups for them.

Why The New York Giants Are A Bad Match Up

The Giants front four and their ability to bring pressure on the quarterback is incredible. The same defensive formula that helped defeat the undefeated New England Patriots in the Superbowl in 2007 is still in place here in 2011. That 2007 Patriots looked like the best offense ever and it looked like nothing could stop them. As it turns out, Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Jutsin Tuck, and Mathias Kiwanuka could stop them. Replace Straham with potential Defensive Player Of The Year Jason Pierre-Paul and you still have a dominant pass rush. The Giants have the ability to rush effectively with four to stop Aaron Rodgers. This also allows them to throw seven back into the secondary to guard against the plethora of receivers Green Bay has.

Not only can the Giants stop Aaron Rodgers but they can also score with them. Eli Manning has stepped up his game and taken it into the elite level stratosphere. Led by wide receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, the Giants passing attack is explosive and they have the will and ability to score on anyone. Eli has been cool under pressure in the 4th quarter as well which does not bode well for the Packers.

The Giants lost to the Packers during the regular season back in early December where Green Bay barely scraped by with a win. Hakeem Nicks caught a touchdown pass with 58 seconds left to tie up the game and it took a Mason Crosby field goal to win the game as time expired in order for the Packers to win. Aaron Rodgers and The Pack essentially won because they had the ball last. They might not be so lucky the second time around.

Why The New Orleans Saints Are A Bad Match Up

First of all, it is no guarantee that the Saints will make it past the 49ers as the game is played in Candlestick Park, but either way, their win during Wild Card Weekend was still much worse for the Packers than if the Lions had won. However, if the Saints and the Packers do end up playing in the NFC Championship Game (which of course is now realistically possible considering New Orleans won on Wild Card weekend), the Green Bay Packers will yet again be faced with another bad match up.

While I dislike the Saints defense immensely and don't think they will be able to stop Aaron Rodgers in the slightest, I also do not believe the Packers will be able to stop Drew Brees either. Not only can Drew Brees throw the ball well (no shit, Sherlock) but they have a surprisingly good ground game as well. While their rushing offense might be split up between three running backs, the combination of Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas, and Chris Ivory is a lethal one for any team.

In 2009, when Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers faced Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals during Wild Card Weekend, Rodgers and The Pack were able to score 45 points. Unfortunately, it was not enough as the Cardinals scored 51 points and won the game. There was obviously no defense whatsoever but considering the Cardinals had the ball last, they won the game. If there was ever an offense that can put up 50+ points at Lambeau it is this 2011 New Orleans Saints offense.

Again, I believe the Packers will go to the Superbowl and will defeat the Saints if they play them but it will be an offensive explosion and it will not be a guaranteed win in the slightest.

Why The Packers Will Win The NFC

Despite the Giants and the Saints being bad match ups, the Packers are also a really bad match up for those teams as well.


The Giants secondary is atrocious. It's awful and now its weak and thin as well. It gets hidden from time to time because their pass rush is so good but it is still bad. Aaron Rodgers is mobile enough to elude the pass rush and accurate enough to be able to hit receivers, even with seven guys in the secondary. Plus, if no one is open, Rodgers will just run with the ball which in turn will cause less defenders in the secondary which means Rodgers will have more open receivers to hit as the game goes on. Plus, as good as Eli has been, I just think Rodgers can go up so big so quickly on the Giants that it will not be enough.


In a recent ESPN The Magazine article, Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders said that Drew Brees is terrible on blitzes- especially on corner blitz. The Packers have a little corner back named Charles Woodson who is fantastic at blitzing. Packers can get to Drew Brees and get to him early. Plus, the Saints are terrible outdoors and on grass. They look explosive and unbeatable at home and in domes but have a terrible track record on the road- especially in cold whether games. Just look to their loss to the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks in 2010. The Saints were by far the better team on paper but could not handle the arena in January. Even if the Saints do manage to defeat the 49ers outdoors I don't think they can win on the road twice in a row.