10 Flicks: Movies With Awesome Training Scenes

March 25, 2010 at 10:44 am

10 Flicks Movie Lists: Movies With Awesome Training Scenes

Statement: Watching people training hard for things is entertaining.

A quick scan of this list will reveal a group of movies with vastly different types of training and while some may not be incredibly inspiring, they are each entertaining in their own way.

Here are 10 movies with awesome training scenes:

Remember The Titans

Remember The Titans Movie

In the category of inspirational, Remember The Titans is right up there with the best of them.  Watching the team train on screen and then cheering them on to victory is what makes these types of movies sensational.

The Recruit

The Recruit Pacino Farrell

It was clear to me when I started this list that spy movies would be represented in some way. What I love about The Recruit is how well the training sequences are integrated into the overall story.  Plus, I can watch Al Pacino in just about anything.

Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers Neil Patrick Harris

This is probably a surprise addition to some but I find this movie entertaining.  It definitely wins the award for most original training scenes.

“Get your hand on that wall!”

The Guardian

The Guardian Movie Costner

This movie came out of no where and really impressed. Some of the best movies with training sequences take place in specialty schools where exceptional people excel.  The Guardian takes you through the grueling training the coast guard puts it’s new recruits through.  It’s fascinating to watch.

The Mighty Ducks

The Mighty Ducks Quack

Take your pick.  D1 and D2 both provide some pretty great training sequences.  They are some of the funniest training scenes you’ll ever see.  The Mighty Ducks is one of my favorite sports movies but I give the edge to D2 this time.

Check out Rainy Sundays: The Mighty Ducks

Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby Boxing

Nobody should be shocked that a boxing movie made this list.  Million Dollar Baby is a prime example of the heights dedication allows you to reach. Being passionate about something and putting in the work will always bring results.

Is it weird that I feel like jogging right now?

The Matrix

“I know kung fu.”

The Matrix Neo

Easily the coolest movie on this list. Who wouldn’t want a giant needle rammed into their skulls in order to learn how to fight in a matter of seconds?  Imagine the possibilities.

Full Metal Jacket

And the award for bad ass training goes to…

Full Metal Jacket Hartman Training

I’m fairly certain I’ve never seen this movie all the way through but I’ve definitely seen the first 30 minutes about a million times.  I honestly don’t know what I would do if I was in that unit and had to deal with Sergeant Hartman.

I think I would have laughed.  Which would have had drastic effects on my well being.

The Karate Kid

karate kid ralph macchio mr miyagi

I’ve written a lot about those who are training on this list but what about the trainers?  Who doesn’t love Mr. Miyagi!

When I was a kid, I considered the crane kick a part of my fighting arsenal.  Who’s with me?

Karate Kid Crane

Rocky

Rocky Training

Boxing.  The kings of the training movies. How could I leave Rocky off of this list.  A series of 5 movies about defying the odds and becoming a champion.  Rocky is one of the most inspirational characters in history. Watching him train is equally inspirational.

All Time Best: Unfortunate Movie Death Scene

March 22, 2010 at 10:45 pm

All Time Best Movie Moments

I’m aware this is probably one of the most random topics for an All Time Best post but I really feel bad for poor guy.

The scene is from The Rock and it definitely ranks as one of the most unfortunate death scenes any character has ever suffered.

The Rock Gas Rocket

In case you haven’t guessed by now, the scene in question involves a no name character who unfortunately demonstrates the awful effects of being exposed to VX Poison Gas. Essentially, he’s a part of a team looking to steal 16 rockets to hold San Fransisco hostage so Sean Connery can reverse-escape Alcatraz. (Otherwise known as… The Rock)

During the theft, one of the shiny green balls breaks releasing deadly gas into the room.

The results aren’t pretty. Basically, your skin melts off.

Be warned.  I’ve included the clip so beware of spoilers and/or gross face melting.

You’ll feel bad for him. Who wouldn’t?  I wouldn’t want to be exposed to VX gas.  That’s probably why the movie’s premise worked so well.  No one wants an entire city to suffer what this poor guy does.

If that doesn’t qualify as a high ranking ‘unfortunate’ movie death scene, I don’t know what will.

PS: I have a feeling this post will get a sequel someday soon.  I’ve already thought of more.

Thought of a better one? Be sure to comment.  I’m sure there are millions of examples.

The Tale Of A Fictional Movie Company

March 21, 2010 at 11:08 am

When I was growing up, I surrounded myself with movies and dreamed of becoming a screenwriter and a filmmaker.

But when you’re a young filmmaker, the first order of business is to create a movie production company and a sweet logo.

Step 1: Create Movie Company

One of the first I was a part of was a partnership called Tag Team Productions. Interestingly enough, my old partner is now a producer on our upcoming short film, Strings. (Visit his blog here)

Throughout my two years studying English in University, I wrote several short scripts but never made any movies.  So I decided it was time to create my own company and get started on a short film called: Broken.

I named my unofficial company 3 Twelve productions. 3 because it was my number when I played sports and 12 because it was the number I took if 3 was already taken.

It’s amazing how something as little as creating a fictional movie company can inspire creativity. It gave me a renewed sense of purpose and dedication to filmmaking.

Step 2: Make A Movie

Broken wasn’t the most spectacular short film I’ve ever produced but it taught me one important and valuable lesson: Making movies is fun!

This revelation led to a series of life changing events.

First, I no longer wanted to be an English teacher.  I didn’t want to rely on film so I decided that television would be a worthy industry to try.  So I transferred schools and two years later, I was a professional editor working for a major canadian sports network.  Excellent decision. I now work in a creative medium everyday and it allows me tons of time to work on my screenplays and film projects.

But that’s not the only change that 3 Twelve triggered.  During college, I met up with 2 individuals and together, we started 17 West Productions.

A real company!

Step 3: Repeat Step 2

Since then, we’ve produced 6 short films with 2 more in pre-production and multiple projects planned in the future.

It’s funny how everything worked out.

You have to start somewhere.

17 West Productions Toronto

No Budget Filmmaking: Producing A Short Film

March 16, 2010 at 10:25 am

17 West Productions Toronto

Currently, 17 West Productions is producing 2 short films with drastically different approaches to financing.

We’re co-producing a short called Strings with UnoPark and Director Mat Cousineau.  The musical/drama is being produced in Sudbury, Ontario and boasts some extremely talent artists and performers.  Producer Ian MacDonald is hard at work making sure our budget is met and we can meet our target shooting dates this coming August.

Click here to find out more about Strings.
Check out Ian’s blog here.

No Budget Filmmaking

I’ll be at the helm of our second project, The Climb.  A film that is purposely being produced for as little as possible.

The Climb Short Film Toronto

The last film I directed carried a budget of over $12,000 that we raised ourselves.  The film, Playing Through, was an incredible learning experience for me and when it came time to deciding what I would do next, a no budget short film was welcome change of pace.

The Climb has been in pre-production since August of 2009.  We were originally supposed to make the film in September before delaying until Spring 2010. With our May shooting dates approaching quickly, I thought it would be nice to dedicate a post to how we plan to pull it off with a tiny budget.

Our main approach to The Climb is to produce a short film simply because we love to make movies. Find a weekend and some friends and have a blast being creative. A no budget approach easily lent itself to this project.

The Script

The screenplay for The Climb was written a few years ago and I’ve always been eager to see it made into a short film.  Producing the script was obviously cheap but there are difficult decisions to be made when you consider an official shooting draft of a low budget short film.

I’ve rewritten the screenplay several times to smooth out the story and all the little details. Yet, when it came time to lock the shooting draft of the script, I had to go over every single detail and truly ask myself if it was essential to the movie.

Several major cuts were made. You simply make different decisions when you know the money isn’t going to be there.  Some may see this as a negative but I consider it a chance to be creative within a set of boundaries.  This approach made the tough cuts easier.

I eliminated several scenes, locations and characters to simplify not only the production but the story as well.  The end result was a much tighter script and a more efficient way to tell the story.

Casting

There are many cheap avenues to finding actors to be in your film.  For Playing Through, we posted casting announcements on many well known sites such as Craiglist, Mandy and more…  We had press releases sent out to local papers where we were holding auditions and had an amazing turn out.

For The Climb, we decided to stick with talented actors we have worked with before. It was important to me to work with Alyssa LaPlume and Michael Clarke again because they easily fit the roles, work hard and back everything up with ability.  I’m definitely pumped they agreed to set aside a weekend to make a movie with us.  I know they are just as excited as we are.

The Climb Short Film

The Crew

The Climb has a very small crew which is huge when it comes to numbers on a spreadsheet.  We’ve once again gathered talented individuals we’ve worked with before.  Working on set will be an absolute blast with these people.

The Locations

I think creating a low to no budget short film depends highly on the locations in the script. The Climb functions well as a low budget short because it has very few locations and all of them are exteriors.  This decreases the cost because all of our locations are real places that do not require any major changes.

As a result, locations scouts will be vital to the success of the film.

We’re lucky that 70 percent of the film takes place in one park that we’ve already found.  I had been to the park several times before I started writing the script so it was easy to incorporate it into the production.

The Schedule

Eric and I broke down the script recently and decided it was very possible to pull it off in a single weekend.  Originally, we had decided to shoot the film on two separate weekends but it made sense logistically and financially to shorten the shooting schedule.

We have a small cast and crew and plan to shoot very close to my apartment so we don’t have to worry about moving the equipment and crew around too much. Everything will be accessible.

Accessibility = cheap

The script itself is basically a series of conversations between two people living on the streets so much of the shooting will center around a few key scenes.  Our plan is to shoot the difficult scenes first and accomplish the smaller scenes afterwards to make sure we spend the appropriate amount of time on the difficult scenes.

We’ve grouped our scenes together to avoid any and all complications as it relates to locations, make-up and our crew’s personal schedules.  It’s an efficient approach and we’re confident we’ll be able to get all the work done.

The Equipment

I suppose it pays to have friends who own cameras.  If you don’t have a camera or a friend that does, renting equipment is always an option but it adds a big expense to the bottom line.  I decided to extract everything we can out of the equipment we already have access to.  Again this will mean achieving a high level of creativity within a strict set of boundaries. The rest of our equipment will be comprised of tools we already have in our possession.

In the end, we just want to make a movie. We’re fortunate to be able to pull it off without having to rent anything overly expensive.

The X-Factor

In every low budget production, there is always going to be an x-factor that will cost you no matter what.  It’s the one element of the story you simply cannot avoid spending money on.  The Climb is no exception as our lead female actress will has to have tattoos on her face.  The tattoos are currently being designed by Alex Rotundo and we’re definitely not looking to save money here.  This special make-up is vital to the story.

I’ll never sacrifice story for budget concerns.  Never.

Post Production

Post is always expensive when you are dealing with a budgeted short film.  There’s really no way around it.  In this way, we are lucky again as I am a professional editor and I obviously plan on editing the film.  I’ll be using my Final Cut powered iMac as always to assemble the footage.

Now, many people out there don’t have the software or the experience to edit a film.  I recommend teaching yourself.  There are tons of options out there to edit a film cheaply.  Many computers these days come with simple editing programs.  Beyond that, there are billions of tutorial sites, books and resources out there to attain the editing skills you need.  Consider it a personal challenge or at the very least a cost saving venture.

The final step in the post process for Playing Through was color correction done by the talented Adam Hunt.  I made sure to pay attention as he worked and I’ll be doing the color correction myself in order to learn more about Final Cut’s Color.

I’m very excited about The Climb’s post-production process because it represents several skills I have to learn in order to achieve.  I’m looking forward to gaining the knowledge needed to pull it off.

It’s all about becoming a better filmmaker.

Planning

This is the single most important element when producing a no budget film. Every film production will encounter curve balls here and there.  A film with a budget can solve some of those problems without too many headaches.  A no budget film doesn’t have that luxury.

Preparation is the key. I’m about to start storyboarding the film so I can have a clear vision once we get on the set. We have rehearsals, make up tests, locations scouts and more planned in the weeks leading up to the shoot.  The trick is to stay ahead of the game.

It’s a lot of work but for me it helps that producing a short film is an absolute blast.  Whether there is a budget or not, the process is always fun.

One of my favorite quotes is:

“Find a job you love, never work a day in your life.”

Damn right.

I love being an editor and a filmmaker.  I have a need to be creative and there’s no better outlet that producing a film.

Director Wars: Nolan vs Shyamalan

March 11, 2010 at 12:57 am

Christopher Nolan M. Night Shyamala

M. Night Shyamalan has been my favorite director for years.  Signs is by far my favorite movie of all time and The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and to a lesser extent The Village are all solid and original movies.

That’s why he became my favorite director.

However, few would argue that he has been stumbling lately.

Christopher Nolan is a genius. The man behind The Dark Knight (My second favorite movie) deserves all the credit he has received over the years.  Memento, The Prestige to the Batman films are some of the most well made and entertaining films of all time.

With Inception, Batman 3 and even mentoring the new Superman movie on the horizon, he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

So the title of Favorite Director is officially up for grabs.

The Battle Begins This Summer

Nolan’s Inception is my most anticipated movie of 2010 for about 2 million reasons. (Click here to read a few of them)  The movie just looks cool.  There aren’t many stylized action films with this level of originality, mystery and hype.  The last one I can think that had me this excited was The Matrix.

I can’t wait to see Inception.

M. Night Shyamalan also has a new movie coming out this summer.  The Last Airbender looks decent but it can’t claim half the hype that Inception has.  However, it does look like an incredibly fun ride.  I honestly think this movie will be a return to form for the director.

Both filmmakers are basically tied at this point but as the summer approaches, I’ll be allowing the film fanatic within to determine which film inspires me the most.

When the dust settles, Mr. Shyamalan may remain my favorite director. He’ll always be the director who truly inspired me to pursue screenwriting as more than just a hobby.

On the other hand, Mr. Nolan has created some of the most memorable film moments in recent history.

Who will win?

Movies inspire me. I’m loyal to directors who fuel my passion for films so this is definitely a difficult call.

I’ll be a fan of them both for the rest of my life no matter who comes out on top.  Having said that, there must be a winner of this epic battle.  I’ll let there movies do the talking this summer!

In the mean time, check out these slightly related articles:

Click here for part 2.