Tag Archives: Alfred Molina

The Set of 400: #3 – My Favorite Nazi Monkey

Today! Because we have top men looking into it –

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Directed by Steven Spielberg (x13)

Starring Harrison Ford (x9), Karen Allen (x5), Paul Freeman (x2), Denholm Elliott (x3), John Rhys-Davies (x5), Ronald Lacey (x2), Alfred Molina (x5), Wolf Kahler, William Hootkins (x3), Fred Sorenson, Pat Roach (x2), Anthony Higgins, Vic Tablian, Eddie Tagoe

Many, many films from my childhood fought their way onto this list – some decent and still relatively high in my estimation, some Howard the Duck – but none wind up above the utterly perfect first Indiana Jones adventure. I haven’t the slightest idea the first time I watched this movie, and can’t even realistically guess how many times I’ve seen it, but despite the decades wearing on and all the changes in film and my personal preferences, the greatness of this movie has never abated. Even my reasons for liking it haven’t changed all that much. Figure, The Muppet Movie still finds a high rank due mostly to my enduring love of the brand – as a kid, I think it was a lot more the silliness and the songs. Jaws I don’t think I saw uncut until well down the road, so it’s kind of a different movie for me as an adult. But Raiders is the same slam-bang, non-stop action thrill ride its always been, and it totally still holds up.

As I think I mentioned back in Temple of Doom, for a period of time growing up I thought this was the second film in the series, as the concept of a prequel was beyond me and the establishing dates to open these films set them up in this order. I guess the logic was…they didn’t want us to wonder why Indy and Marion weren’t still together? Why they didn’t mention the Ark of the Covenant while battling possessed children and eating monkey brains? It seems like a concept overthought, really, because Temple doesn’t give us any added insight to Indy that informs something in Raiders, like most prequels do. I guess it was so we might like Willie better. Couldn’t Kingdom of the Crystal Skull have both Karen Allen and Kate Capshaw return? That might’ve been more interesting than the bizarre mess they hurled at us instead. Geriatric love triangles! At least they could’ve returned Short Round.

I would totally watch this re-teaming in Indiana Jones and the Valley of the Drunken Mummy or whatever

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The Set of 400: #23 – My Favorite Indoor Fireworks Display

Today! Because I think you have the job, but why don’t I make sure of something –

Boogie Nights (1997)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (x5)

Starring Mark Wahlberg (x2), Burt Reynolds (x2), Julianne Moore (x4), John C. Reilly (x7), Don Cheadle (x4), Heather Graham (x4), Philip Seymour Hoffman (x8), William H. Macy (x3), Ricky Jay (x2), Melora Walters (x3), Nina Hartley, Nicole Ari Parker, Thomas Jane (x4), Alfred Molina (x4), Luis Guzman (x5), Philip Baker Hall (x7), Robert Ridgely (x6), Joanna Gleason (x2), Jack Wallace, Michael Jace (x2), Jack Riley (x5), Robert Downey Sr.

My favorite movie from one of my favorite years, Boogie Nights kicked off my multi-decade love affair with Paul Thomas Anderson films, nearly all of which landed on this list. Sarah, who is not exactly a PTA fan, has proclaimed that his most recent film (as of this writing) Phantom Thread is the “only real movie I’ve ever seen.” Dissect that statement as you will! But it all began with what I would categorize as his most accessible, mainstream film, even if it is a period epic set in the porn industry.

The unceasing greatness of Rollergirl cannot be overstated

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The Set of 400: #217 – My Favorite Adult Braces

Today! Because it’s not going to stop/’Til you wise up –

Magnolia (1999)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (x4)

Starring Tom Cruise (x3), Philip Seymour Hoffman (x4), Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly (x4), William H. Macy, Jason Robards (x2), Melora Walters, Ricky Jay, Alfred Molina (x3), Felicity Huffman, Melinda Dillon (x2), Luis Guzman (x3), Philip Baker Hall (x3), Thomas Jane (x2), Michael Murphy (x3), Henry Gibson (x3), Neil Flynn (x2), Patton Oswalt, Jim Meskimen (x2), Jeremy Blackman, Michael Bowen, Cleo King, Clark Gregg (x3)

Like many people, my initial reaction to Magnolia was that I had a problem with the ending. For everything else going on in this movie – and there is a ton going on here – the natural takeaway, as it is the climax of the movie, is “What the hell is all this with the frogs now?” But, come on, how else was it going to end? Isn’t it obvious that the solution to all the crazy pent up drama is for the sky to open up and drench the city in biblically apocalyptic frogs? No?

I mean, this kid seemed to dig it

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The Set of 400: #235 – My Favorite Science Squid

Today! Because you’ve stuck your webs into my business for the last time –

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Directed by Sam Raimi (x2)

Starring Tobey Maguire (x3), Kirsten Dunst (x2), Alfred Molina (x2), Rosemary Harris (x2), James Franco (x2), J.K. Simmons (x4), Dylan Baker (x3), Bill Nunn (x3), Willem Dafoe (x3), Cliff Robertson (x2), Ted Raimi, Donna Murphy, Daniel Gillies, Bruce Campbell (x3), Elizabeth Banks (x4), Joel McHale, Elya Baskin, Daniel Dae Kim, Hal Sparks, Emily Deschanel, Louis Lombardi (x2), Joey Coco Diaz, Mageina Tovah

If you cast your mind back to the early ’00s, when there wasn’t a new superhero movie released every three months, the medium – while popular – still wasn’t regarded as one reliable for great storytelling. Everybody likes fun action movies, right? Especially the relatively bloodless superhero kind. And that’s what we’d been getting, for quite a while, somewhat infrequently.

Then in a one-two punch, we got the first sequels to X-Men and Spider-Man in ’03 and ’04, and all of a sudden you could see fully what was possible in this genre on the big screen. Epic, complicated stories with conflicted villains bent on more than just world domination or chaotic jokery. These films were the dawn of the modern tights-and-capes era we live in, and the pinnacles of their respective franchises.

Let’s not forget the debt of honor we all owe to Blade

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The Set of 400: #328 – My Favorite Explosive Matryoshka

Today! Because they had trouble with the surface to air missiles, so it’s in the shop –

The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997)

Directed by Jon Amiel

Starring Bill Murray, Joanne Whalley, Alfred Molina, Peter Gallagher, Richard Wilson, John Standing, Geraldine James (x2), Anna Chancellor, Terence Harvey, Eddie Marsan (x2), J.E. Freeman, Maxwell Caulfield

We finally reach the first film from future list frequenter William Murray, in what many consider one of his lesser efforts. Disagree! Sure, it’s kind of light, silly nonsense, but Murray’s committed performance as unwitting boob Wallace Ritchie, thrust into a real world spy adventure he thinks is performance art elevates what could’ve been trifling silliness to something often near absurdist brilliance. You don’t often think of Bill Murray as being overly adept at playing morons – his track record is mostly arrogant jerks rebelling against authority figures – but here and there across his filmography you’ve got Caddyshack and What About Bob? and The Man Who Knew Too Little and a few others, all solidly funny performances against type for the comic legend. Continue reading

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