Five Movie Moments That Made Me Literally ROTFL

In recent months I have written for REO about Five TV Moments That Made Me Ugly Cry, Five TV Moments That Made Me Literally ROTFL and Five Movie Moments That Made Me Ugly Cry. So the next logical step in this series is what we have today.

Five times I was watching a movie and ended up on the theater floor laughing. Yes, it’s happened five times. It’s actually happened 20 times and probably 20 more at home watching on my couch. I’m just wired to lose it laughing. The acronym ROTFL was made for people like me. So here’s the culpable list:


The Movie: “Dumb and Dumber” (1994)

The Moment: The Snowball Fight 

I have never ever laughed at a movie like this one and have always said I watched it in the theater twice because I missed about 40% of it the first time laughing so hard. And I doubt there is a stretch of even three minutes in this movie where I don’t laugh. But two scenes caused the fall out the chair laugh. One can be endearingly termed “The bathroom scene”. What can I say? I was 16 years old at the time and nearly 25 years later I still find it hilarious. The other was when Mary goes on her date with Harry and playfully throws some snow at him and he responds by rearing back and pelting her with a snowball so fierce it knocks her to the ground. I don’t think there was a single person in the theater that didn’t laugh and many, like me, were literally rolling.

Four years after this movie was released, and multiple viewings later, I was watching it in my college dorm with a handful of guys who had to stay on campus an extra day or two at Christmas for work. And when we got to this scene we kept having to rewind it because we all kept losing it and we could not continue until we all got it together. What a moment. Jim Carrey had most of the best one-liners (“Tic-tac, sir?”) but Jeff Daniels had the best scenes. Admire the acting as his face subtly changes from playful to menacing…


The Movie: “My Cousin Vinny” (1992) 

The Moment: The Public Defender vs. Mr. Tipton 

This is truly one of the great Joe Pesci performances and Marissa Tomei won an Oscar for this movie (as verified by Seinfeld), yet Austin Pendleton has by far the laugh of the movie to me and my family.

Stan doesn’t trust Vinny so at first, he goes with the public defender, John Gibbons. Because he has no idea that the guy suffers stage fright and develops a severe speech impediment when he has to interact with the witnesses and the jury. And his showdown with Sam Tipton, the first witness, steals the show. He can’t speak well enough to discredit him and yet he tries anyway, first by pointing out that Tipton wasn’t wearing his glasses when he ID-ed the defendants. Except Tipton destroys that argument by claiming they are reading glasses. And the camera pans to Gibbons’ stunned face. He attempts to throw up a Hail Mary and asks him to identify the defendants’ eye colors. “Brown. Hazel Green,” comes the reply as the camera again cuts to Gibbons’ face, which looks like it was just hit with a frying pan. He then concedes by saying, “No more questions.” Pools of laughter.


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The Movie: “Mean Girls” (2004)

The Moment: “She doesn’t even go here.” 

I’m almost certain I saw this movie when it came out but it wasn’t until last summer than I fell on the floor laughing at this moment. My wife was teaching English to Chinese children on the internet upstairs and I had done all I needed to do for the day so I watched this movie.

I’ll spare all the plot details but near the end all the girls in the high school get together in the gym, led by Tina Fey, to discuss the vicious drama that has been tearing apart the school. They are supposed to face each other and confess their transgressions, in full view of the other girls. And one syrupy girl stands up in front of everyone and says, “I just wish we could all get along like we used to in middle school. I wish that I could bake a cake out of rainbows and smiles that we could all eat and be happy.” To which Damian, having snuck into the meeting with a hoodie and sunglasses (as he always did), pipes up, “She doesn’t even go here!” And Ms. Norbury (Fey) asks, “Do you even go here?” And this random girl, in a mixture of tears and smiles, responds, “No.”

When my wife heard me laughing and came down later to find out why I explained it. And she said, “I bet I could put that quote on Facebook and people would know it.” And I thought, “No way.” But she was right. Apparently “She doesn’t even go here” is a cultural phenomenon.


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Image result for She doesn't even go here GIF

Image result for She doesn't even go here GIF



The Movie: “O Brother Where Art Thou?” (2000) 

The Moment: Delmar is convinced Pete is a toad. 

After our three “heroes” lose consciousness from too much corn whiskey offered to them by beautiful, seductive women, Delmar and Ulysses Everett wake up to find Pete is gone, leaving behind only his clothes. And a toad. The women had really turned him over to the police but Delmar is absolutely convinced they did something worse: “Them sireens did this to him. They loved ‘im up and turned ‘im into a horny toad.” (Ulyssis: I don’t think that’s Pete. Delmar: Of course it’s Pete, look at ‘im.”) The whole thing is laugh out loud funny but the ROTFL clincher is later in the car when Delmar says “We got to find some kind of wizard can change ‘im back.” Delmar probably really believes there are wizards.

Later, when they reunite with Pete, Delmar confesses, “We thought you was a toad.” Which brings it full circle and gives this hilarious plot development closure. Without a doubt my favorite role by Tim Blake Nelson ever. Anyone who doesn’t find this funny gets an “I don’t get it, Big Dan” from me.


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The Movie: “Dickie Roberts” (2003)

The Moment: School bullies get straight up ethered by Dickie.

My friend Matt is a peer now, but 15 years ago I was his youth pastor. And we celebrated his 16th birthday by going for pizza and watching this movie. And during this scene, I got laughing so hard, and Matt got to laughing at me laughing so hard, that the entertainment in our theater ceased to be the movie and began to be the spectacle of us, me on the floor and Matt all but.

The scene is rather simple. Sam is being mocked by some bigger kids after school. Dickie comes in and lays down an epic verbal beating punctuated with “I’ll tell you what…Red, Tub of Goo, Freak of Nature, why don’t you guys run home, pee your pants, slap each others’ bottoms, cry your eyes out, get up, have an eggo, come back and we’ll do it all again.”

As far back as when Chris Farley was still alive, David Spade’s schtick has fit perfectly in my comedy wheelhouse. He just has it. His quit wit, facial expression and mannerisms slay me. And this scene is a grand slam of those things.


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Honorable Mention: The post-funeral boat scene in “Tommy Boy”…


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…and the Mutants at Table 9 scene in “The Wedding Singer”.


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So, that’s my list. I’m sure many of our readers don’t literally ROTFL like I do, but perhaps you have laughed uncontrollably. Feel free to share below.







5 Reasons to Celebrate Groundhog Day by Watching Groundhog Day

To me and mine, 1993s Groundhog Day is the absolute perfect movie for a wide range of ages and both genders, a potent blend of chill bump romance, tear-jerking storytelling and ROTFL comedy that does so with essentially no sex or language. We have written about this movie before in a blurb here but we decided that a movie this incredible deserves its own article.

On to the list!

1. It’s the 25th Anniversary of its release!

This is what Americans do. We celebrate anniversaries. Of everything. Facebook alone is proof.

2. The Patriots are going to win another Super Bowl. So like 98% of us need something to bring us joy this weekend.

Let me save you the torture. New England will win. The commercials will be mediocre. Watch something this weekend with a happy ending and no dead spots.

3. You may laugh uncontrollably several times.

True Story…sometime around 2004 on New Year’s Eve, the twenty-somethings and teenagers of my church gathered at my friend Chris’s house as per our tradition. We watched movies to ring in the new year and included in that year’s line up was Groundhog Day. At least three times, we had to pause the movie because someone got going laughing quite loudly and for a disproportionately long time. It was a riot. Normally I am the one who does this but this time I wasn’t the only culprit. Now, I did lose it for a long time when Phil starts driving the car on the railroad tracks. But my friend Joel lost it when Phil steals the Groundhog. My friend Tommy lost it when Phil got Ned to leave him alone by warming up to him, so to speak. I bet it took us two hours to watch this 100-minute movie because people just could not get it together.

Another True Story…in 2011 my 20-member family was at the beach for vacation. About half of us sat down to watch this movie. The scene with Phil, Gus and Ralph got my mother going like I’ve never seen. When Phil asks Ralph, “Do you want to throw up here or in the car?” and Ralph replies, “I think, both” she got started. When Gus says, “You know Phil if we wanted to hit mailboxes we could let Ralph drive,” she was crying laughing. By the time they crash and the cop comes up to the driver’s side door and Ralph orders flapjacks, my mother was beating her knees with her hands and stomping her feet on the floor laughing. To this day if you want to make someone in my family laugh, you just have to ask, “Too early for flapjacks”?

You deserve a good laugh this weekend. Watch this movie.

4. Bill Murray gives a performance for the ages.

This is truly one of the most moving performances that I have seen and one thing that makes it different from others in that category like Heath Ledger as the Joker is that he makes it look so easy and normal. It’s not a big or loud or extravagant role. It’s just a normal man reacting to insane circumstances. And it’s one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.

If you got to see Larry Bird shoot a 20-foot jump shot or pre-2010 Tiger Woods putt, and then tried to do those things yourself, you’d realize how they make something very hard look very easy. That is what Bill Murray does with this role. He barely changes facial expression or decibel level the whole time. The scene where he kidnaps Groundhog Phil to drive him off a cliff, Bill Murray is just in a car, deadpan face, cracking wise with Phil the groundhog. And yet it causes people to fall on the floor laughing. How does he do it?

And then there are the serious moments. The romantic ones are the core of the movie and it is not just his “You love boats but not the ocean” speech that shows how good Murray is at monologues. He  brings the goosebumps again when he tells her he doesn’t deserve her as she is falling asleep and doesn’t hear him. What a heart-wrenching moment that is. Bill Murray makes you feel it this movie.

Andie McDowell is cute as the love interest and Steven Tobolowsky is unforgettable as Ned the Head, Needle-Nose-Ned Ryerson. But make no mistake–this is Bill Murray’s movie. And he gives us a Joe Montana needing 92 yards to win the Super Bowl performance.

5. It’s the rare movie that gets better with multiple viewings.

I don’t know if anyone really knew back in 1993 what a timeless cultural phenomenon this movie was going to be. Roger Ebert didn’t and humbly admitted so. It offers such a poignant commentary on what really matters in life and in the most unique set of circumstances. It is absolutely about character transformation, which I have written on numerous occasions is perhaps the most beautiful thing in fiction and real life.

Beyond the significant scenes already mentioned, it is relentless in its entertainment in the minor, in-between moments and many are more noteworthy to me after the second or third viewings. Like when Phil tries repeatedly but cannot save the homeless man. Or the hilarious execution of small time loop moments, like when Phil encounters the large “Off to see the Groundhog?” guy as soon as he leaves his room. Or when we are treated to LOL moments by minor characters as when Phil is changing the old ladies’ flat tire and one of them thinks it’s an earthquake. And, on top of it all, we even get Sonny and Cher every few minutes!

So do yourself a favor and watch it. Do it to laugh until it hurts. Do it to count how many people were in it who also had guest spots on Seinfeld. Do it to watch Ned get punched one more time! But by all means, watch this masterpiece of film this weekend. You will thank us later.


500 Words or Less Reviews: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

I watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty in August of 2014. It was a passion project for Ben Stiller, the director and lead actor on the film. It is an adaptation of the short story by James Thurber. It is a very sincere film. If earnestness gets on your nerves then you probably won’t like it. It was rejected by most filmgoers and I am unsure why.[1. The film was not well received, scoring only 51% at Rotten Tomatoes and grossing only $58 million in the US box office on a $90 million budget.] It’s not perfect and there are a few missteps along the way, but overall, I think the film accomplishes what it sets out to do.

Walter Mitty is a negative assets manager for Life MagazineLife is in the process of publishing their final edition – and the negative that is intended to be the cover photo is lost. Walter is tasked with finding it. The film is an interesting blend of reality and whimsical, day-dream type fantasy. Walter loves his job but he yearns for his life to matter more – to be more fulfilling. As the film progresses we get to watch Walter step out of his comfort zone and start to live the life he has long lived in his dreams.

Few films have challenged me the way this one did. I wrote the following after watching it:

“I have a job that I don’t love. I would rather be doing something else, though I don’t know what. I am not unhappy with my current job. In fact, I am more content at work now than I probably have ever been in my adult life. Yet sometimes, I feel like I ought to be doing something more spiritually rewarding. At least, that is how I feel when I hear Christians talk about jobs and careers.

This movie helped me take stock of my life. I don’t find my identity in my career. I find it in relationships. My standing with God. My relationship with my wife, my kids, my family and my friends. I find my identity in service in my church and outside of it. But, I still feel like there is something more that I should or could be doing.

So, I am going to try to figure that out. I loved how Walter pushed himself and discovered new ways of viewing his life. I want to try to push myself in ways that might make me uncomfortable at first. How that will look is beyond me right now, but I’m going to try to figure it out. I am very comfortable and I don’t think that is a place that God really wants any of us to be. So, I am going to change that, if I can.”

While it was still a year before any real changes happened, this movie was the impetus to getting Rambling Ever On off the ground. It was an idea we had toyed with for some time, but this movie pushed me to make it a reality. Depending on your opinion of REO, you can thank or curse Walter Mitty.


Five Movies I’ll Watch Every Single Time They are On

This is not a “best-of” list. These are not my five favorite films of all time. I might be weird (don’t say anything) but there are certain films that I am drawn to. Films that no matter how many times I have seen them, if I happen upon them while scrolling through my channels, I will sit down and watch them. Every time. My guess, based on what I have observed, is that many others are the same way. Our lists are likely completely different, but most of us have our go-to films. Once again, not our favorites. Not the best. Just the films that work on us each and every time. Here are five of mine. In the comment section below, tell us about yours.

National Treasure

This one might be THE go-to film for me. I remember years ago, my wife and I would go to my parents’ house every Sunday afternoon for lunch. At that time, my parents had a decent cable package and inevitably, at some point in the afternoon, I would be in the living room in a comfortable recliner, flipping my way through their channels. I lost track of how many times I would stumble upon National Treasure and get sucked in. It didn’t matter that I already knew the story – the grand mystery behind it all. I knew the jokes, the action beats, the insanity of Nicolas Cage. If National Treasure was playing on television, I was watching.

My oldest son and I watched it a few days ago. I soaked it all up again. It never fails.

The Shawshank Redemption

I’m pretty sure this film might be the G.O.A.T.[1. For those keeping score at home, this means Greatest Of All Time.] of all go-to films. There are endless jokes online about how often this film is always shown on TBS or TNT. (I have no idea which one, since I don’t have cable and those channels, seem pretty interchangeable to me.) All I know is that if someone is watching Shawshank and I walk in the room, I am also watching Shawshank. There is a rhythm and effortless charm to the film. It’s set in an ugly and harsh prison, and it still feels as much like a “feel-good” film as any I can find. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman are perfect in their roles and their film friendship is a thing of movie legend. The movie is endlessly quotable and the resolution is brilliantly conceived and executed. I’ll spend time with these prisoners many more times before I die.


This one might feel a little weird for this article. It’s a sci-fi, horror film. It’s much more sci-fi than horror, but the final 20 minutes or so do fall into the horror category pretty neatly. Directed by Danny Boyle, of Slumdog Millionaire fame, Sunshine is the story of a desperate attempt to “restart” our sun. A spacecraft heads on its mission to the sun to detonate the largest nuclear bomb ever made in hopes that it will cause a chain reaction that will allow the sun to once again fully heat the earth. Without this, the human race and the earth itself only have a few years left. This is a film that I did not love on my first viewing. I saw it again a few months later and liked it a lot more. I saw it shortly after that, and I loved it. Each time, I couldn’t really figure out why I felt compelled to watch it again, but that didn’t stop me. I keep coming back to it like a moth to a flame. Or a spaceship to the sun…


Based on the Clive Cussler series, Sahara had been Matthew McConaughey’s pet project for years. After a lot of time and money, he finally got it off the ground and completed the film. It was a complete box office disaster. Doesn’t matter to me at all. I enjoy this film every time I see it. I love the chemistry between McConaughey and Steve Zahn. There is nothing groundbreaking about the film – it borrows all sorts of things from other, “better”, adventure films. But the cast is affable and the film is exciting. For this type of film, what more could you want?


I love this retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood story. It’s not perfect – the animation is just not great even though they do some things with it that is inventive and very striking. The story does lag a little at the end and the climax is not nearly as satisfying as the first 45 minutes. But even with those minor complaints, the film is a resounding success. The story is familiar yet told in such a unique way that you feel like you are really getting the best of the old and the new. I love the format that they use to tell the story. The four different, yet somewhat similar, viewpoints are a great conceit to really give the film some good laughs. The wolf is my favorite character, but all the characters have their moments. And the film is full of Fletch references, so you can’t go wrong with that.[2. If you don’t know Fletch, then you really need to fix that immediately. Now that I think about it, Fletch probably belongs on this list as well. When you decide to watch it, just charge it to the Underhill account.] I get pulled in anytime my kids start watching this one. It’s just that good.



Debating Snape


Recently, in an undisclosed location, the REO staff had a meeting. Present were Phill, Ben, Mike, Dave, Nathan, Mark and me. We ordered pizza and as the doorbell rang signifying its arrival, Phill rolled a die to see who would have to get it, counting off each of us seated at a round table as a number. I informed Phill that by casting the die he was then creating a world with six alternate timelines. One where each of us has to get the pizza when the die lands and seals our numerical fate.

In one of the timelines–let’s call it The Darkest Timeline–things go berserk thanks to some terrible luck, a Norwegian troll doll and an Indiana Jones diorama. People get hurt. Things catch on fire. Apocalyptic chaos ensues.   

Thankfully we don’t live in that timeline, unless you get on Twitter where apparently everybody is in a perpetual state of cataclysm. But due to a Dreamatorium created and shared by Mike and me, Darkest Timeline Gowdy has a chance on occasion to interact with our timeline. Today, I, Regular Gowdy (RG) invite Darkest Timeline Gowdy (DTG) to my house to have a debate over one of the most controversial and complex figures in recent fantasy literature: Severus Snape. 


RG: Thank you for joining me today. Nice goatee. Very Spock-like in the Star Trek Original Series Season 2, Episode 4, “Mirror, Mirror”.

DTG: Nerd. 

RG: We’re basically the same person.

DTG: I don’t have a plush Dobby doll…

RG: It’s a collectible!

DTG: It’s a nerd doll. I bet you also own a wand from Universal. 

RG: It chose me!

DTG [Giving RG the same look Hermione gave Ron when he concluded that no one could feel all that Cho was feeling or “They’d explode”]: I’m sure it did. 

RG: It was made with a Phoenix feather! Give me a break. You’re just as big a nerd as I am.

DTG: I love Harry Potter and Star Trek but nerds cite episodes and buy toys. 

RG: Regardless, you know these works as well as I do.

DTG: I know more than you. Nerd.

RG: We will see about that. Our topic here today: Is Severus Snape more hero or villain? J.K. Rowling herself has said that Snape is all grey. You can’t make him a saint or a devil. So our aim is not binary. We want to discuss what he was more of. I’ll fire the opening salvo: Professor Snape is an extraordinarily written, gut-wrenching plot twist of a character. For 4000 pages, Rowling makes you hate him, before pulling the rug out from under us to reveal a remarkably intricate yet no doubt good-soul of a man who gave his life to help bring down the Dark Lord. His love for Lily is one of fiction’s great tragedies, and yet he did not let it go to waste, using it as inspiration the rest of his life to truly repent and join the anti-Voldemort movement. He is absolutely more hero.

DTG: In my opinion, Snape…

RG: Professor Snape….

DTG: Calm down, nerd. Snape [pauses, gives RG the same condescending look as before] is a petulant child who happens to have adult responsibilities. He tortures innocent children because of grudges and house affiliation, plays mind games with them, and is the model of someone who abuses power with no sense of justice. Additionally, his love for Lily is vastly – VASTLY – overrated…

RG: Oh come on! You’re telling me that you don’t think “After all this time?” “Always” is one of the most beautifully sad exchanges ever? The way Snape felt about Lily was something completely relatable and hits you like a stomach punch. Everyone gets unrequited love.

DTG: He was in love with another man’s wife and never moved on. That’s not romantic; that’s pathetic. 

RG: But it was his motivation for doing good in the world!

DTG: I can separate actions and motivation. Some of his actions were admirable; the motivation was creepy and reeked of an adult living in his mom’s basement scrolling Facebook pictures all day.

RG: He truly loved her. The movie interpretation of him crying over Lily’s death, holding her body and losing it, that was tear-jerking to me.

DTG: That’s not a hero, though. It’s a sap to be pitied. He loved her but was a complete jerk to her son and most everyone else. He once tore a Potter family picture in half to keep Lily’s half and left the other half with James and Harry. What twisted narcissist does that to a happy family? That’s selfish. What a loser! 

RG: Well it’s not like he ever tried to really break up the marriage.

DTG: As if he could. James was a stud and once Snape called Lily “mudblood” he had no chance. So he pined like a sniveling, unthinking beast. 

RG: James wasn’t innocent. If hadn’t been so antagonizing to Snape at Hogwarts, maybe Snape would not have been so cruel to Harry.

DTG: I don’t take that as an excuse for one second. I won’t defend James completely, but Snape had decades to move on from that. And Harry, no matter how much he looked or acted like his dad, did not deserve such a vindictive spirit thrust at him, especially his first day in class. 

RG: You don’t buy that Snape wasn’t apologizing to Harry for Lily’s death with the first questions he asked him in the first book? You know, all that about asphodel and wormwood and bitterness and sorrow?

DTG: If that was Rowling’s intention then I admit that is very cool. But you can apologize without being a bully at the same time. Which Snape was that whole scene, taunting Harry as a “celebrity” even though Harry had done literally nothing to earn that scorn besides be his father’s son. And besides, way beyond the first day Snape is terrible to Harry and his friends. Remember when he gave Harry a zero for a simple misread of the instructions for the Draught of Peace while he ignored the poor work of several other students? That’s petty and immature. 

RG: But lest we forget, he also saved Harry’s life his first year when Quirrell tried to kill him during his first Quidditch match. That’s noble and heroic.

DTG: Barely. He did so at no risk to his own life or safety and with a small effort for a wizard of his pedigree.  It was a good thing, but the insults and boorish behavior towards Harry far outweigh it. 

RG: I don’t think saving a person’s life can be devalued quite that easily. He saved Harry’s life out of a deal he made with Dumbledore, which proved he was truly a good guy and no longer a Death Eater. And much of what he did in this role as a spy, as a result, was at risk to his own safety and life. A true hero absolutely would use his skill at occlumency to deceive Voldemort, the greatest Legilimens of his time. You had to figure Snape knew at any moment Voldemort could figure him out. But he stayed exactly where Dumbledore put him. Perhaps that was part of why he played his role as a villain to Harry so believably.

DTG: The point about dealing with Voldemort may have some value but he still went overboard in his treatment of Harry and it was obvious that he did it because he hated James 10 to 20 years later. When he gave Harry detention for using Sectumsempra on Draco (which Harry deserved), he forced him to read James and Sirius’s old detention notices. That was spiteful. 

RG: Sectumpsempra is a good example of how Harry was far from innocent. Much of Snape’s disdain for Harry was for being out of bounds at night and breaking school rules.

DTG: Yes, but you are comparing teenage Harry trying to accomplish noble and reasonable things in secret and under darkness with Snape, a grown man and a teacher, exacting revenge on a child shamelessly and in public.  

RG: I hate to sound like Lupin talking to Harry, but it sounds like you are determined to hate Snape. You keep going back to his treatment of Harry when Snape was far more than that. You didn’t even respond to my point about his use of occlumency on You-Know-Who.

DTG: Only nerds say “You-Know-Who”. Actually, Ron-type nerds say it. You’re not cool enough to be a Hermione nerd.  I said his sacrifice to risk Voldemort discovering him had value. But I’m not going to classify him a hero based on how skilled he is. There is zero doubt that Snape was one of the three most adroit wizards in the series, behind Voldemort and Dumbledore. But abilities do not make for a hero. Actions do.

RG: No argument there. I just happen to see his actions as a double-agent far more crucial to his character than his actions as Harry’s teacher.

DTG: Snape as Harry’s teacher is like 80% of Snape in the series. I bet the majority of Snape’s spoken lines before the very end of Book 7 are insults to Potter or his friends. 

RG: But that’s the genius of the plot twist; she had to make us believe Snape was evil and the true heroism of Snape, in large part, goes unsaid in the series. Doesn’t Jesus teach that it is right to do good without getting credit? Also, if everything we discover in “The Prince’s Tale” chapter at the end of The Deathly Hallows was known ahead of time, it would destroy how incredible that chapter is. That chapter ravaged millions of fans in the profound and shocking way possible.

DTG: I don’t know that I agree. I think spoiler type moments can be overvalued and that she could have told just as good as story, or perhaps better, with us knowing ahead of time what Snape really was. We sort of knew anyway. She just sacrificed hundreds of pages of character development for a “A-ha!!” moment. I’m not sure it could not work the other way. 

RG: I completely disagree.

DTG: Exceptional counterargument. 

RG: Well, I have Harry in my corner, calling Snape probably the bravest man he ever knew.

DTG: From the epilogue. Barf. 

RG: Well, can we at least agree that Alan Rickman’s portrayal of Snape in the movies is immaculate and on the short list for greatest film interpretation of a character ever?

DTG: Yes, we can. Which reminds me, you realize Die Hard is a Christmas movie, right? 

RG: Get out.



Five Way Over the Top Comedic Villains

Loud, spiteful, completely selfish, and downright bad to the bone, some villains are so over the top bad it is hilarious. That’s a good thing if that is intended to be the case. Here are five great comedic over the top villains who gloried in the depths of their own fiendish badness and made us love them for it.

Madam Mim from The Sword in the Stone

There are a lot of reasons to love the 1963 Disney masterpiece, The Sword in the Stone. Take Merlin for example. He is grumpy, funny, powerful, and wears Burmuda shorts. Or you could praise the songs. They are memorable, catchy, and actually develop the plot, the themes, and the characters.

But any worthwhile list of the positives found in this film has to include Madam Mim. She is spectacularly disgusting. She is stupendously conniving. She cackles, screeches, and waddles her way through her scene-stealing, scenery-chewing appearance. She proves to be a formidable foe to the wise and powerful Merlin and it takes him plundering the depths of his wisdom and knowledge to defeat her in their “Wizards’ Duel.” – Phill Lytle

Evil from Time Bandits

The 1981 film, Time Bandits, is a comedic, science fiction, time travel adventure British film that is very reminiscent of Monty Python. There is a good reason for that since it was written by two former Monty Python cast members. In fact, the two say they based several of the main characters on their former MP co-conspirators. There are a lot of reasons to love this gem. Possibly my favorite reason is the way over the top comedic villain, Evil, who is portrayed by the perfectly cast, David Warner. Evil can’t leave his Fortress of Ultimate Darkness so is forced to spend all day with his dirty, buffoonish minions, Robert and Benson, bragging about how wonderfully, truly evil he is:

“Evil: Oh, Robert, Benson. I feel the power of evil coursing through my veins, filling every corner of my being with the desire to do wrong! I feel so bad, Benson!

Benson: Good! Good!

Evil: Yes, it is good, for this is the worst kind of badness that I’m feeling!”

— Ben Plunkett

White Goodman from Dodgeball

After the roaring with laughter ’90s and its timeless, laugh a minute classics like Tommy Boy and Dumb and Dumber, the first part of this century lagged behind in the comedy movie category. With a couple of major exceptions. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, a riot of LOL moments, was one.

There are several reasons why this movie works to me. Dodging wrenches, Cotton and Pepper, and a totally random and completely unforgettable Chuck Norris sighting among them. But not to be outshined is Ben Stiller as the superbly named White Goodman, owning every scene he is in as the trash talking fountain of hubris who wants nothing more than to vanquish the Average Joe’s with a few dodgeball shots to the cabeza (White has been thinking of opening up a gym in Mexico City, so he’s boning up on his Spanish). With trailer-worthy quotes like “Nobody makes me bleed my own blood” and epic verbal putdowns like “Your gym is a skid-mark on the underpants of society,” White fills our cup with nectar of the comedy gods.

White is better than other over-the-top villains and he knows it. And for that reason, he makes our list. –Gowdy Cannon

Professor Fate from The Great Race

Unkempt, mean, selfish, dressed all in black (complete with a top hat), Professor Fate (played by Jack Lemmon) is intended to embody the stereotypical classic villain. And he does just that with comedic flair. Fate lives the life of a daredevil whose all-consuming passion is to defeat his archrival, the clean, flawless, completely white-clad, and all around perfect, stereotypical classic hero, The Great Leslie (Tony Curtis). With the assistance of his loyal minion, Max (Peter Falk), Fate challenges Leslie to a race around the world. A number of other racers are involved in the race as well, but it is really between the two of them. As devious and underhanded as he is, Fate has tampered with the cars of most of his opponents to ensure their early exit from the race. All fall except for the car of Maggie Dubois (Natalie Wood), who was not given any chance whatsoever to win anyway, so Fate didn’t bother. She joins forces with Leslie and thus finishes the race. After everything, Fate ends up winning, but that doesn’t do it for him. Beating Leslie at daredeviling is just an excuse. He really just hates the perfectly good and clean Leslie with every fiber of his being:

“I hate you! You I hate! You and your hair that’s always combed, your suit that’s always white, your car that’s always clean! I refuse to accept! I challenge you to another race!”

–Ben Plunkett

Shooter McGavin from Happy Gilmore

If your film’s protagonist is an over-the-top, loudmouth, buffoon, then your antagonist has their work cut out for them. Fortunately for all lovers of this Adam Sandler classic, Shooter McGavin is more than up to the task. From the popped collar and arrogant strut to the terrible comeback insults, Shooter is a villain that takes a back seat to no one.

One hallmark of memorable films is that the bigger the villain the greater their inevitable fall. And Shooter McGavin’s fall is just one more fortuitous blessing provided by the film. His mad dash with the Gold Jacket as he is being chased by a mob led by Mr. Larson is a thing of poetic and comedic beauty.

–Phill Lytle

That’s our list. Now it is your turn. Who are some of your favorite comedic villains? We would love to read about them. Post your thoughts in the comment section below.

Why “The Last Jedi” is the Most Christian “Star Wars” Movie Yet

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
(Jesus quoting Isaiah in Luke 4:18-19)


Warning: There are some spoilers ahead.

Star Wars has always had a logical problem on its hands, a paradox created by George Lucas that has forcefully resurfaced in The Last Jedi. The problem is that the Force, with all its eastern dualism and Buddhist amoral mysticism is pointedly antithetical to what makes the movies so powerful—our overwhelming passion to see moral good stand up to moral evil. While the Force may be able to make rocks (and even princesses) float, good’s struggle against evil gives us a necessary reason to want to see it happen.

It is because of this profoundly moral theme that Star Wars movies have felt familiar to Christians, like myself, who see that ultimate reality is a battle between moral good and moral evil. It is our deepest desire (and even eschatological hope) to see good destroy evil which explains why we love Star Wars. While the philosophy behind the Force was foreign and even off-putting, the destruction of the Death Star, and Vader’s change of heart speak our language. Our greatest Saint, once hunted Christians down in vicious persecution. And once he saw the light, he couldn’t stop himself from preaching Jesus’s defeat of death (I Corinthians 15).

The power of good verses evil does not only appeal to Christians. It appeals to all of us because it is something we all long for. There is certainly something fundamentally unsettling about living in a world where the Empire (or the first Order) calls the shots, but our desire is not for a balance between good and evil. Our desire is for the end of the darkness. This is not a uniquely Christian idea, it is a human longing that the Christian faith proposes a solution to.

The Last Jedi delved deeper into the eastern dualism, mystical humanism, and even veganism linked to the Force, and in so doing, it may achieve the distinction of being the most religious Star Was movie to date. Like with all the Star Wars films, The Last Jedi may espouse religious ideas far from the Christian faith, but its themes tell a different story.

More than any other movie in this franchise, The Last Jedi links the cause of right with the cause of poor, suffering and oppressed. We even find those suffering to be children that the resistance fighters are able to offer hope to. We find that the rebellion, like the Kingdom, belongs to such as these. For Christians, this speaks to the core of who we are and Jesus’ own mission statement. Jesus came to preach the good news of God’s Kingdom to those being oppressed by the strong hand of the Roman Government and the powers of sin and death that stood behind that institution. (See Luke 4) The cause of the needy is a Christian cause; its our storyline.

The makers of The Last Jedi fittingly settled the question of Rey’s origins. After two years of online debate and speculation, we find out that she comes from nowhere. Her parents we paupers. For my money, this was one of the most brilliant choices made by the movie. A choice that is profoundly Christian, when all humanity expected a savior from a powerful family, God provided his people with Gideon from the smallest family and the smallest tribe. When the prophet sought a King, God provided the youngest son, a shepherd named David. When Israel wept for a Messiah, God sent them a man from Nazareth, a place that apparently nothing good could come from. In The Last Jedi we find out that Rey, whose names means king, actually comes from nowhere. Maybe this really is a Christmas movie after all!

The Star Wars Movies have always come from the mind of leftist thinkers. Lucas wanted to exalt eastern meditation, critique the American Empire, and denounce the Vietnam War. Similarly, Disney is using Star Wars for the purposes of social commentary and ironic criticisms of capitalism and greed. I’m sure the makers of the movie are convinced that the film is sufficiently liberal in its themes, and perhaps they are right (or should I say left).

In the end, however, the reason The Last Jedi (or any good Star Wars movie) is so compelling is not the politics or “hokey” eastern religions. The story works because it has some of the same beauty that all people long for. It’s the beauty that Christians celebrate every Sunday, of every race, in every country, in nearly every language. It’s the beauty of God choosing the least likely people for his purposes, of good opposing evil, of hope for the oppressed, of death destroyed. It’s the beauty of the Gospel. It’s a beauty that The Last Jedi reminds us about–a beauty, that fortunately, our culture can’t escape.

Five Outstanding Westerns that You Should Literally Watch this Very Second (or ASAP)

Hollywood is full, FULL, of outstanding westerns from its beginning to current day. There are many that deserve all too well to be on any list of great western recommendations. This is a Five, so we wanted to highlight five of our personal favorites and a few that may not be so well known but totally should.

1. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

My formal education did not include a ton of movies so it is amazing to me that both in Spanish Class in High School as well as History Class my first year at USC, my instructors showed my classes this film. A 1948 classic that has transcended time, it more or less did for me with westerns what Sergeant York did for war movies. I’m not a sincere fan of either genre but I can’t get enough of these movies.

Humphrey Bogart is magnificent and in this role as Dobbs earns the fame still associated his name 70 years later. Yet there is a plethora of other characters that make this movie so memorable, people most Americans have never heard of like Tim Holt, Walter Huston and Alfonso Bedoya has “Gold Hat”. And speaking of him, I would feel amiss not to mention one of the most famous lines in the history of American cinema. A line that has been referenced literally dozens of times in TV, other movies, music and other media. But I cannot mention it without getting it right, because I sense like many other famous lines, it is misquoted. It’s:

“Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges!”

Note that the word “stinkin” isn’t until the last line. But this movie is way more than a quote. It’s a thrilling adventure of that teaches us a lot about injustice, greed and what it means to trust others when we’re in desperate circumstances. It gets real at times. And it does not have a sentimental Happy Madison type ending. Yet the conclusion still leaves me very satisfied and wanting to watch the whole thing again. Isn’t that the premiere mark of a great film? (Gowdy Cannon)

2. The Big Country

I am a huge fan of the western genre. I love films whether very old or brand new. There are many, many great ones that could be named. While I could list one that is a well known and justly deserved fan favorite, I will lend my praise to a relatively ignored classic: The Big Country. The Big Country is one of the most underappreciated movie treasures out there. The big names to match this Big County and big film include Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, Burl Ives, and Jean Simmons. Most of the reviewers I have read seem to think it okay at best. While the musical score is almost universally applauded, the film is supposedly too long, too ambitious, is too pretentious, and contains way too much empty space.


I honestly doubt that half the reviewers I read have watched it in its entirety. Many of them contain glaring plot errors in their descriptions. I imagine most of them just watched a few clips and wrote the rest of their reviews based on other reviewers who did the same thing. I will agree that the premise of The Big Country is not all that original. But unoriginality does not always make a bad film. Hollywood history is chock full of classic unoriginal films. Chock full. And The Big Country is part of that “chock.” Filled to the brim with great music, filming, acting, and writing, it’s an unrecognized western classic. (Ben Plunkett)

3. The Shakiest Gun In The West

The Shakiest Gun in the West

Many grew up watching Don Knotts in The Andy Griffith Show. I grew up with Threes Company and watching him and Tim Conway over and over again in a 1980 movie called The Private Eyes. I watched it probably 50 times and for years could quote the whole thing, complete with character accents.

But eventually people started pushing me to broaden my Don Knotts horizons and I did, taking in The Apple Dumpling Gang (also with Conway) and a 1968 Comedy Western called The Shakiest Gun In The West.

And it was quite the addition to his filmography. It’s classic Don Knotts as the bumbling, clueless, lovable almost hero and filled with memorable scenes and lines. My favorite is when Knotts’ character Jesse Heyward is getting ready for a showdown with Arnold the Kid and after practicing five shots he wastes his final bullet putting his gun back in his holster. I can hear my brother Jeremy in my head saying, “Two at the can…two at the sign…one in the skillet…and one in the pants.” We laughed about it dozens of times. I laugh right now just thinking about it.

The supporting cast is great, highlighted by Bad Penny and we even get a glimpse of Pat Morita in the only role I’ve seen him in that didn’t feature the words “Karate Kid” or “Happy Days” in the title. The movie also has an unforgettable song that plays during the opening title sequence and sets the mood for the show you’re about to experience.

So if you’re looking for a western big on laughs and a lead character that bears no resemblance whatsoever to John Wayne or Clint Eastwood, this is a movie worth watching. (Gowdy Cannon)

4. True Grit

To my knowledge, there are only two film versions of True Grit: the 1969 and 2010 versions. While the 1969 version is not bad and is a pretty accurate retelling of the novel, the 2010 version is much, much better in just about every way. The only place where both match in greatness is with their Rooster Cogburn actors: John Wayne and Jeff Bridges. While they may be equal in this manner, Bridges wins out because he is surrounded by excellence in every single other aspect of his film. In my opinion, there is not one thing in the film that is shoddily done. The music, the acting, the film work, the dialogue, the attention to detail, the thorough capturing of the novel’s spirit. Everything. Matt Damon deserves a particularly loud bout of praise for his portrayal of the cocky but goodhearted Texas Ranger, Laboef. Bridges and Damon are accompanied by an amazing cast of characters, some of whom only appear onscreen for a handful of minutes. I’m not sure that I can overstate my love for this movie. I strongly believe that it would belong in a top ten list of the greatest westerns ever made. (Ben Plunkett)

5. Open Range

There is a lot to love about Open Range. First, Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall are a fantastic duo in the film. They have an easy chemistry and are given plenty of room to inhabit their roles. Second, the cinematography is open (no pun intended) and expansive; really giving the viewer an appreciation for the untamed and wild Montana landscape. While the film has plenty of other elements to celebrate, for Open Range, it all comes down to the climactic shoot-out. After a film that unhurriedly moves along, the final gun-fight is bold, shocking, and edge-of-your-seat filmmaking. Kevin Costner, pulling double duty as the director, expertly stages the fight with plenty of moving pieces, a concise and understandable geography, and a fair share of “hero” moments for our main characters. It’s an intense sequence that allows this slow-burn of a film to end with a blaze of glory – classic Western motif and homage all in one. (Phill Lytle)



Five Movie Moments That Made Me Ugly Cry

In what has developed into a series of sorts, I have previously written about Five TV Moments That Made Me Ugly Cry and Five TV Moments That Made Me Literally ROTFL.

Today I tackle movies with scenes that brought the tears, and I don’t mean a single tear falling down the cheek.  Being Christmastime I felt it would be an appropriate topic. Even though I feature no Christmas movies below, there are many of those that fit this category for many people, especially the Hallmark movies I keep hearing about on Facebook! Please feel free to share your moments below.  On to my list…


The Moment: The Wedding During The Closing Credits

This movie is a landmine of cry moments. One of my family members that shall remain nameless told me he bawled when Chick’s ex-wife told their son, “That’s not a salesman, that’s your father.” Many people in my theater openly sobbed during Harry’s goodbye to Grace. But I made it all the way through the actual movie, just to completely lose it during the closing credits. As Grace’s real-life father and his band sing “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing,” we get a glimpse of her wedding to AJ and the camera pans to the front row where you see Bear, Chick, Rockhound and rest, along with huge blown up pictures of Harry and the others who died. Just emotional torture.

I have heard scathing critiques of this movie for nearly 20 years now but they don’t bother me. It’s a superb blend of action, drama, comedy, suspense, and romance to me. And it closes with an unforgettable heart-wrenching moment.


Rocky III

The Moment: Rocky’s Reaction to Mick Dying

I wasn’t old enough to see this movie in the theater and I will never forget the first time watching it with the family in Tookeydoo, SC when I was around six years old. Watching Rocky come to the realization that Mick was gone, his loud crying and tears in response moved me so deeply I got up and left the room, and had a good, long, sympathetic cry myself. I put on sunglasses and came back as though I were fooling everyone else about what just happened.

This film is a perfect installment of the Rocky canon. From the first note of “Eye of the Tiger” in the opening credits to the stunning twist with Apollo training Rocky to Eye of the Tiger reprising at the end with Rocky giving Apollo his “favor,” it continues the Rocky narrative exceptionally. The tragic loss of Rocky’s manager in the first act is a masterpiece stroke of plot development, complete with A-level acting by Stallone and Talia Shire and an exceptional musical arrangement by Bill Conti (appropriately titled “Mick”). A poignant moment in a movie series filled with them.


Return of the King

The Moment: “My Friends…You bow to no one.”

I love these books but here is one of several film moments that elicits deep emotion in a way the books do not, at least to me (while the reverse is often true also). Tolkien told a story of a fantasy Hobbit race that conveyed biblical ideas like ‘The last will be first” and “The humble will be exalted”. And at this moment Peter Jackson brought it to life in a powerful way. A heartwarming, joy-filled, tear-jerking way. These halflings were not warriors like Gimli or Legolas or royalty like Aragorn or magically powerful like Gandalf. Yet they destroyed the ring, saved Faramir and helped overthrow Saruman, and braved all manner of hell on earth to do so.  And in a moment where all was right in the world (albeit a complex fantasy world), they appropriately attempted to show honor.  But were given it instead.

Storytelling does not get better than this. The first time I saw it I could do nothing other than bow my head and shamelessly weep. They were tears that expressed a satisfaction and pleasure I long for in real life but rarely experience.


Bruce Almighty

The Moment: Bruce Prays for Grace

Even though it is a bit irreverent at times, there are moments in this movie where I think they capture what God is like. And in this moment they capture what it means to truly love someone, to the point that you want what is best for them even if it means losing them. Bruce asked God for someone to see Grace always, as he sees her now, “through Your eyes”. What a moment. What a prayer. Tears on top of tears for me. If there was any doubt that Jim Carrey could act, The Truman Show ended it and this moment obliterated it.

I’ll be honest, before I met Kayla and when I met Kayla I prayed this prayer for every girl I went out with or wanted to go out with. It is a hard prayer to pray. When you’re 35 and single, it’s perhaps the hardest. I even downloaded the soundtrack with the music that plays behind this scene and listened to it regularly. It had that big an impact on me.


Cast Away

The Moment: Kelly Has to Go Home Now

It had a lot to do with my life circumstances at the time and not just the plot development of the movie, but I have no doubt that when I watched this scene in March of 2003 that I cried longer and harder than at any other on this list or any list.

I was struggling in real life with personal loss. My roommate and de facto psychiatrist Josh Crowe encouraged me with “Who knows what the tide could bring?” from this movie. So I rented it and watched it that night. Kelly had given up on Chuck being alive. She was married to another man. And when Chuck visits and goes to leave and she runs after him in the rain they have the following exchange: “I love you Chuck! You’re the love of my life!”  “I love you, too, Kelly. More than you’ll ever know” And then after a moment in the car he tells her, “You have to go home now.” That destroyed me. It was too real. But the mourning was therapeutic. And Josh and I relive this series of events often even to this day.

So that’s my list, at least for today. I should mention that, as I said when I reviewed Finding Dory, that Finding Nemo would be on this list but it made me cry like twelve times so it wouldn’t fit.

Please comment on moments you feel similarly about if you wish!



Why We Can’t Get Enough of the ’80s

Within the span of a few weeks in Summer of 2010, Hollywood gave us movies by the name of The A-Team and The Karate Kid wrapped around a 7-game NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. I posted to Facebook “I’m going to miss the 80s when the Summer is over!”

Oh, 1980s. We love you so much. We love you so much that we’ve never truly let you go.

The meteoric rise of the TV Show Stranger Things has proven this true. Don’t worry; this isn’t another article about the show. It’s just to say that for all the hoopla, one recurring theme you hear fans talk about is the nonstop ’80s references. For people like me, who love the ’80s, it is absolutely part of the appeal. Even Will’s bowl haircut.

But Stranger Things isn’t even close to alone on this. As people my age have begun to become producers in Hollywood, the love for the decade has become common. There are so many 80s references in Psych I cannot even count them or catch all of them. But there’s no mistaking why Ralph Macchio has a guest spot on the show or why Shawn once said “ding ding” to Carl Weathers.

I have often and loudly proclaimed the ’80s as the best decade for just about everything. It was, in a phrase of the times, rad. Here is why:


The Music

I’ll brawl to the death over this one. The only time I have ever felt cool in the history of my life was in second grade riding in the back of my brother Tracy’s T-top Mustang on the way to school, listening to “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straights. And “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News. And “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor.

Does life get any better? I submit that it does not!

I grew up dreaming about the day I would dance with my wife to “Can’t Fight This Feeling” by REO Speedwagon and “Lost In Your Eyes” by Debbi Gibson. And you better believe I fulfilled this dream with Kayla in 2014. I can take you to the exact spot in Walker-Gamble Elementary when I first heard “Every Rose Has Its Thorns” by Poison. And who among us doesn’t automatically feel like dancing without inhibition when we hear “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” or singing in unison with a huge group of people during “Come On Eileen”?

Some of my favorite memories ever are being at karaoke hearing Josh Crowe sing “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. Or singing “You Spin Me Right Round” at the top of my lungs at 9 years old without an ounce of self-consciousness. And to go all Hebrews 11 on you, What more can I say? Time doesn’t permit to tell you about Bon Jovi, Tom Petty, Aerosmith, U2, Prince and Guns N’ Roses.

I’m positive in a Top 100 song decade vs. decade battle, the ’80s would annihilate the competition. And if you still doubt that I offer up the following as a mic drop:







I’ll be honest: in any list of my favorite shows of all-time, the #1 show (Seinfeld) is from the ’90s and most of the rest of the Top 10 will be from this century. Yet despite this, back then we still had no shortage of shows that were perfect for that time. Family Ties, Who’s the Boss?, Growing Pains, The Cosby Show and even lesser known shows like ALF (I had the lunchbox in 4th grade) and 227 (with Hal Williams as Lester Jenkins) were weekly viewing for my family. I have often said that I know my parents made us work when we were children, and we played outside a lot but it seems like if you name a show from the 80s, we watched it. And we loved it. Who didn’t love Tuti from Facts of Life?




TV Theme Songs and Intros

Half of our TV Theme Song Top 10 list features shows from the ’80s. Because that decade was the golden age of introducing shows by putting the perfect music with the actors’ names in real life. Some told epic background stories (The A-Team), others gave welcoming, feelgood invitations (Cheers), some were impossible not to sing along with (The Jeffersons) and others just played cool music over cool video (Magnum PI, Miami Vice). They just don’t make TV Intros like they used to.



Saturday Morning Cartoons 

Here is another category where the ’80s dominates the field. It’s hard to fathom the fact that for a short time in my life I got to watch ThunderCats, He-Man, Muppet Babies, Transformers and G.I. Joe all in the same week. We all grew up not just watching these shows, but playing them outside, pretended to be the characters, owning the action figures and using our imaginations in a way that seems foreign these days.



And it wasn’t just make believe that we learned. We all learned wisdom and life knowledge and that “Knowing is half the battle.” (G.I. JOE!!!)


GIJoe Knowing Is Half The Battle GIF - GIJoe KnowingIsHalfTheBattle TheMoreYouKnow GIFs


A few years later brought the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Duck Tales, cementing this decade as the most prolific cartoon decade of all-time.




Again, other decades can compete in this category but any decade that gave us Back to the Future, Die Hard, The Goonies, Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, Rambo, Beverly Hills Cop, Indiana Jones, The Princess Bride, Top Gun and The Terminator has to be on the short list for best ever. Not to mention that many consider Rocky III and IV to best the best of those movies and the ’80s introduced us to Yoda and a more authoritative, finalized version of Darth Vader. And that there is widespread belief that Empire is the greatest Star Wars film.

Beyond that the 80s brought us timeless coming of age pieces like The Breakfast Club and 16 Candles, child acting legends like Corey Haim and Corey Feldman, and some of the best fantasy ever in Labyrinth and The NeverEnding Story. David Bowie was a legend that probably didn’t put his pants on one leg at a time. And man I had a crush on Jennifer Connelly. And it’s a shame that kids today will never know the thrill of going to the local video rental store and getting Spaceballs for the 17th time. Ridiculous speed! My hometown had 300 people growing up, one traffic light and zero fast food places. But we had two video rental stores!

And again, lest there be any doubt, go find Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and watch it. I rest my case.




Professional Wrestling 

Ric Flair and Four Horsemen…Hulk Hogan slamming Andre the Giant…Dusty Rhodes, The Road Warriors, The Ultimate Warrior, Hacksaw Jim Duggan (HOOOOO!!!!), The Rock N Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express, Randy Macho Man “OOOH YEAH” Savage (wrestlers made a lot of random, boisterous sounds but they were super cool), chairs thrown in the ring, steel cages, referees getting knocked out, bad guys cheating, heroes dashing in from the dressing room…what a time to be alive! If my dad wanted to me punish me, a very effective way was to take away Saturday wresting.

3 GIF - WWE Wrestling HulkHuogan GIFs



NBA Basketball

There were great moments all across sports this decade by people like Jordan, Montana and Kirk Gibson, but all decades have great moments. Only one decade has ever given us Lakers vs. Celtics, Celtics vs. 76ers, Lakers vs. Pistons, Celtics vs. Pistons, and Larry vs. Magic. The modern NBA era is close, closer than any other. But the NBA in the ’80s is about as white-hot as any league could be. Somewhere between Bird telling all of the Lakers he was going to make a three in all their faces in a Finals game and Kevin McHale giving Kurt Rambis a Russian Sickle (classic 80’s wrestling move), the league entered rarefied realms of entertainment. Hearing the Garden Crowd chant “BEAT L-A!! BEAT L-A!!!’ is something I’m thrilled to have witnessed live.



Video Games 


And before that there was John Elway’s QB. And before that “Ten Yard Fight”. And before that the Atari football game where you had to make the block men face forward before each play. What an evolution!

Image result for gif of Tecmo Bowl


And there is so much more! In some ways, I miss the 80s the same way Toto misses the rains down in Africa. Yet in others, I don’t really have to. Thanks to Stranger Things and Psych and the magic of the internet, I can transport myself back in time on a whim.


Do you remember the ’80s? What did you love most about it?