Movies That Changed Everything: The Complete 12 Part Series

March 30, 2012 at 9:22 am

Movies That Changed Everything: The Complete Series

I’m an aspiring filmmaker and like every filmmaker out there, I have a lengthy list of films that have inspired me along the way.

Movies  That Changed Everything is a twelve part series examining the films that changed the way I looked at movies forever.

The Shawshank Redemption

The Lord Of The Rings

The Matrix

Pulp Fiction

Pan’s Labyrinth

There Will Be Blood


A Few Good Men

The Sixth Sense

The Dark Knight

Good Will Hunting


What films inspired you?

10 Flicks: Box Office Favorites

January 21, 2012 at 8:39 am

10 Flicks Movie Lists

I’m a proud movie nerd.

We’ve covered that so it shouldn’t surprise anyone who reads this blog that I follow box office numbers closely.  The only place I go for box office information online is Box Office Mojo.

Recently, I was checking the all time domestic numbers and decided to see if I could narrow the top 100 down to 10.  Can you?

Click here to see the Top 100

So here are my 10 favorite box office moneymakers.

Honourable Mention: Avatar, 300, The Sixth Sense, Saving Private Ryan

Star Wars

Star Wars Episode 4

#4 – $460,998,007

I adore the original trilogy and enjoyed the prequels but A New Hope will always be my favorite. (Followed closely by Empire Strikes Back.)

XTRA | If I Could Only Recommend ONE Science Fiction Film



#9 – $403,706,375

It may not be my favorite superhero movie of all time but it certainly paved the way for some of the most entertaining movies in history.

“Go web go!”

Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King

Lord Of The Rings

#12 – $377,027,325

It’s tough to pick one movie when all three are in the top 100.  I look at the series and see one giant incredible movie but I had to pick one so ROTK was the winner.

XTRA | Movies That Changed Everything: The Lord of the Rings


Transformers Optimus Prime

#22 – $319,246,193

Even though I absolutely hated the sequel, the original is one of the most entertaining popcorn movies I’ve ever seen on the big screen.  It had giant fighting robots and some of the best and most complex visual effects ever created.

XTRA | Transformers 3?  Apology accepted Michael Bay

Independence Day

Independence Day Area 51 Attack

#30 – $306,169,268

Will Smith is my favorite actor.  I’m one of the reasons his movies always make 100 million+ in theaters.  Independence Day will always be one of the greats.  ID4 is a perfect example of a huge box office blockbuster.  Big stars, big FX and big thrills.

XTRA | Wouldn’t it be awesome if Independence Day 2 was about…



#70 – $227,966,634

I talk about Signs a lot on this site. I even thought about leaving it off this list to avoid ‘Signs fatigue’.  However, I simply couldn’t bring myself to leave my all time favorite movie off the list.

The Matrix Reloaded

The Matrix Reloaded Trinity

#41 – $281,576,461

It’s ambitious, it’s explosive, it’s cool and it’s confusing.  It was once the record holder for most anticipated movie until it was toppled by The Dark Knight years later.

XTRA | What THE MATRIX screenplay taught me


Twister Helen Hunt Tornado

#61 – $241,721,524

Twister may surprise some people but I’ve always loved this movie.  When I was a kid, I used to be terrified of tornado warnings.  This eventually ignited an interest in weather and this movie came along right in the middle of that childhood obsession.  Twister is a fun movie. Plain and Simple.

Jurassic Park


#15 – $357,067,947

To this day, I’m still fascinated by how well the effects stand up compared to today’s standards.  Such a fun movie.

The Dark Knight


#3 – $533,345,358

My second favorite movie ever.  I’ve never been so excited to see a movie in my entire life and to have the film deliver on all the hype was amazing.

Try narrowing down your own list of 10 box office favorites.  It’s not that easy.

10 Flicks: Horror Movies With Great Stories

October 27, 2011 at 7:03 am

10 Flicks: Horror Movies With Great Stories

I love horror films. There’s nothing like genuinely being scared at the movies.

It’s like riding on a roller coaster: You’re terrified to ride it but in the end you’re always happy you did.

Note: Except the rides that spin. Those shouldn’t exist.

Many non horror fans complain that most horror films are too gory or pointless. That the stories are never good. They say that characters only exist so the killer can fold them in half.

I agree that some horror films are like that.  They simply don’t give you a chance to connect to the characters before they meet their gruesome end. Stories merely exist to get you from one kill to the next.

However, there are fantastic horror movies out there that have incredible stories to back up the thrills. That’s why this post exists.

Here are my top 10 horror movies with great stories:

The Ring

10 Flicks: Horror movies with great stories

Every once in a while a movie comes along and does things differently.  There are so many ‘messed up demon kid’ stories out there. (Some are classics)  The Ring came along and put a modern spin on it and scared the crap out of me. Something about that horse going crazy still gives me the creeps.


10 Flicks: Horror movies with great stories

You can’t make a list like this and not include one of the greatest horror stories of all time. I saw this movie for the first time in college simply because I avoided it until then.  Needless to say, it still terrified me but it was the story that resonated…  Okay I’ll admit that girls messed up face did as well.

The Shining

10 Flicks: Horror movies with great stories

So many people adore this film.  Horror fans especially.  How can you not be pulled into a story featuring a crazy Jack Nicholson and made by the legendary Stanley Kubrick?


10 Flicks: Horror movies with great stories

Alien is a phenomenon.  Those acid filled jerks have terrified millions of people for years and inspired so many films since it’s release.  Alien made the list for pairing a great story with one of the scariest creature designs in movie history.


10 Flicks: Horror movies with great stories

When I was asking around for people’s ideas on this list, many turned their noses up at Scream.  I think they’ve blended all three together in one film.  I told all of them to think about how much fun it was to watch the original for the first time. I didn’t know who the killer would be.  Did you?  The mystery was also wrapped up in countless movie references and nods.  Scream deserves to be on this list.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

10 Flicks: Horror movies with great stories

This movie stuck with me long after I left the theater. Films that deal with this subject have always fascinated me and this one stood out because of it’s court room premise.  It’s a horror movie but also a drama that forces you to choose who you believe.  Audience participation in a horror film.  Genius.   Also, when she speaks as 6 different people at once I almost cried.  Just saying.

Silence Of The Lambs

10 Flicks: Horror movies with great stories

Arguably the best film on this list with Uncle Oscar backing it up.  Who knew delving into the mind of a psychopathic killer would be so much fun.  It’s truly fascinating to watch the exchanges between Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster on screen.  They are filled with intensity and fuel the horrifying scenes to come.   Brilliant flick.


10 Flicks: Horror movies with great stories

I’ll be honest.  When I made this list, I completely forgot about Jaws and then kicked myself for my lack of respect for one of the greatest movies ever made.  People who haven’t even seen the movie are afraid of it.  That’s how powerful the story is.  Thankfully, I smartened up before posting and avoided any hate mail it may have caused.


10 Flicks: Horror movies with great stories

The moment the big ‘twist’ is revealed my face dropped and I actually yelled “What!” in the theater. Normally that’s rude but people around me were just as shocked.  All of the sudden the death traps, gore and mayhem meant more than just the usual ‘horror candy’ we love.  This movie is on this list purely because of how much fun I had watching it and learning about Jigsaw’s world.

The Sixth Sense

10 Flicks: Horror movies with great stories

Speaking of incredible twist endings.  This film was ruined for me and yet I was still captivated by the story. It’s a shame that M. Night Shyamalan is too afraid of being type cast as I would gladly welcome his talent back into the genre.  He’s not making too many friends in the other genres anyways.  Come back Night!

10 Flicks Movie Lists

Movies That Changed Everything: The Sixth Sense

October 7, 2010 at 8:25 am

Movies That Changed Everything: The Sixth Sense

I’m an aspiring filmmaker.  Like every filmmaker out there, I have a lengthy list of films that have inspired me along the way.  This series will examine twelve of the films that changed the way I looked at movies forever.  Films that have greatly influenced the filmmaker I hope to become someday…

The Sixth Sense

Movies That Changed Everything: The Sixth Sense

M. Night Shyamalan is one of my favorite directors…

I’m sensing a lot of people rolling their eyes but I stand by my statement because 4 of his films are spectacular.

Love him or hate him, you can’t doubt that at one point, he was one of the most entertaining and original filmmakers out there.

It’s movies like The Sixth Sense that gave him the fame he has (or doesn’t have) today.

Why is it a movie that changed everything?

Pacing.  Story.  Character development .

Most importantly:


The entire film is essentially one giant build up to it’s phenomenal twist ending.  However, such a giant plot point has to be carefully setup without giving too much away.

Watch the film again…  It wasn’t easy but Shyamalan pulled it off.

From the very first shot he is skillfully planting the seeds he needs to sell the incredible finale.  From the cold breath to setting Bruce Willis’ character up as a sympathetic child psychologist.  Everything is important.

Personally, I think it’s one of the best openings sequences in film history.

From there, the director tows a fine line as he builds up his characters and raises hairs on the backs of your neck.

I love how this film is paced.  Very slow yet deliberate.

Sometimes, slow paced movies can become long and boring but The Sixth Sense is as entertaining as thrillers get.  Beyond that, it’s an intelligent film that gets you thinking about what is possible after this life.  It’s gets you to think about what frightens you.

Great movies tell stories that resonate.  Stories that ignite conversations between friends.

The Sixth Sense achieves all that and more before blindsiding you with a legendary twist.  M. Night Shyamalan wasn’t given the key to Hollywood for nothing.

He earned it by creating one of the best thrillers of all time.

I watch that movie and immediately, I’m ready to write simple yet effective stories that get all the details right.  It sounds simple enough but it’s a balance that’s hard to nail.  When I feel like I’m not getting there I always look to movies like The Sixth Sense for inspiration.

It’s definitely a movie that changed everything.

All Time Best: Twist Ending

January 28, 2010 at 12:12 pm

No need to worry about spoilers.

All Time Best Movie Moments

There have been a thousand million twist endings. (That’s a real number by the way)  Trying to come up with my all time favorite was actually pretty easy.  It was simply a process of elimination.

Here are some of the contenders that just missed.


Swing away

People will disagree with this.  So many people I’ve talked to about movies were shocked to learn that Signs is my favorite movie.  The number one comment I hear is how they loved the movie until the end.  I thought it was a fantastic ending.  Shyamalan set things up perfectly.  Whether you liked it or not is up to you.

However, it’s not my favorite twist ending.



That was my reaction in theaters when I saw this movie.  Normally, studios feel the need to sell a movie based on it’s epic twist ending.  I find that when you go in expecting a twist, you’re more likely to spot the hints.  I had no idea this twist was coming and it shocked the hell out of me.

Still, Saw doesn’t win my award today.

The Sixth Sense

A real jerk ruined it for me.

The ending of this movie was ruined for me by one of my “friends”.  I was devastated and didn’t bother seeing it in theaters.  When I finally rented the movie, I regretted that decision because Shyamalan’s story still kicked my ass.

Had the ending not been ruined, this film would have probably been my favorite twist.

Adopting an NFL Team


What’s in the box!

Whoa.  Easily one of the best movies ever written.  (In my humble opinion) I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t see this movie until a couple years ago.  I had no idea what I was in for.  When the final scene began, I had absolutely no idea what to expect.  Those are the best kinds of twists. The ones that blind side you.  I’m an even bigger fan of the movies that wrap up quickly after the big reveal.  It leaves you stunned in your seat trying to figure out how the filmmakers managed to manipulated you so easily.

All time best twist ending: Seven.