Blogs > Tuned in to Pop Culture

They’re not standing around the watercooler, but Cheryl Sadler, Mark Meszoros, Mark Podolski and Nicole Franz are talking about what they’ve been watching, listening to and playing during their free time.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Compilation of 2011's viral videos

I'm clearly not so good at keeping up with the popular things on the Internetz because I didn't recognize most of the videos in Videogum's compilation of the best viral videos of 2011.

Check it out below (or watch it here):

My favorite is the first one.

Wondering about the viral videos you missed? Check out the list of all the videos included.

Also, sorry I got "Friday" in your head (because it's only Thursday - so just come back and watch this again tomorrow).

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl


Learning to count, Star Wars style

4, 5, 6 ... 1, 2, 3?

Thank you, George Lucas.

As my 3-year-old boy Samson gets to the stage of his life when he's learning to count, before I know it, the time will come when I'll introduce him to one of the greatest movie franchises in history: The Stars Wars trilogy, times 2.

Here's the difficult decision: Do we start with Episode IV: A New Hope (aka, Star Wars), then onto Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: The Return of the Jedie? Or do we start with Episode I: The Phantom Menace, then Episode II: The Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith?

Easy as 1, 2, 3, right? Not so fast.

How could I deny my boy the excitement of where it all began in 1977, when I, as a 7-year-old, could hardly contain myself in anticipation for the original? How I could I deny my boy the moment when Darth Vader reveals to Luke he is his father in Empire?

(Note: I brought this up to my wife a while back. She just shook her head, and had to be thinking, "Who is this dork I married?)

Numerically, it makes sense to start with The Phantom Menace, but Samson's venture into the Star Wars saga will begin with A New Hope. The numbers will be jumbled, but he'll figure it out, and enjoy it all the more.
- Mark Podolski

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

DJ Earworm's "United State of Pop 2011"

DJ Earworm has made a compilation of some of the year's biggest hits to create "United State of Pop 2011 (World Go Boom)". Check out a video of the compilation below:

If you liked that, you can download an MP3 of the mix.

(Truthfully, I like this compilation better than most of these songs on their own.)

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Monday, December 26, 2011

'Mission: Impossible' cruises to No. 1 at weekend box office

Looks like the holiday weekend was pretty good at the box office. I might have forgotten to post the estimated totals yesterday, so instead today you get the actual totals, and lots of numbers, and the top 20 instead of the top 10.

From The Associated Press:
The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Monday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by are:
1. “Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol,” Paramount, $46,210,000, 3,448 locations, $13,402 average, $78,645,000, two weeks. (Review by The News-Herald's Mark Meszoros)
2. “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” Warner Bros., $31,810,000, 3,448 locations, $9,226 average, $90,564,000, two weeks. (Review by Meszoros)
3. “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked,” Fox, $20,000,000, 3,734 locations, $5,356 average, $56,940,187, two weeks. (Review by The AP's Jake Coyle)
4. “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” Sony, $19,400,000, 2,914 locations, $6,658 average, $27,716,000, one week. (Review by Meszoros)
5. “The Adventures of Tintin,” Paramount, $16,100,000, 3,087 locations, $5,215 average, $24,107,000, one week. ("'Adventures of Tintin' finally in U.S. theaters" by The AP's David Germain)
6. “We Bought a Zoo,” Fox, $15,600,000, 3,117 locations, $5,005 average, $15,600,000, one week. (Review by The AP's Christy Lemire)
7. “War Horse” (opened Sunday), Disney, $15,025,000, 2,376 locations, $6,324 average, $15,025,000, one week. (Review by Lemire)
8. “The Darkest Hour” (opened Sunday), Summit, $5,500,000, 2,324 locations, $2,367 average, $5,500,000, one week.
9. “New Year’s Eve,” Warner Bros., $4,950,000, 2,585 locations, $1,915 average, $34,287,000, three weeks. (Review by Coyle)
10. “The Descendants,” Fox Searchlight, $3,425,000, 813 locations, $4,213 average, $33,716,552, six weeks. (Review by Lemire)
11. “The Muppets,” Disney, $3,355,000, 1,752 locations, $1,915 average, $76,911,000, five weeks. (Review by Meszoros; Q&A with Kermit the Frog by The AP's Derrik J. Lang)
12. “Hugo,” Paramount, $3,300,000, 1,256 locations, $2,627 average, $44,927,000, five weeks. (Review by Meszoros)
13. “Arthur Christmas,” Sony, $3,100,000, 1,804 locations, $1,718 average, $44,062,000, five weeks. (Review by Germain)
14. “The Sitter,” Fox, $3,000,000, 1,786 locations, $1,680 average, $23,488,202, three weeks. (Review by Germain)
15. “Young Adult,” Paramount, $2,775,000, 987 locations, $2,812 average, $8,184,000, three weeks. (Review by Lemire)
16. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1,” Summit, $2,150,000, 1,603 locations, $1,341 average, $270,951,901, six weeks. (Review by Meszoros)
17. “The Artist,” Weinstein Co., $1,402,000, 167 locations, $8,395 average, $2,900,430, five weeks.
18. “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” Focus, $1,210,160, 55 locations, $22,003 average, $2,311,670, three weeks.
19. “My Week with Marilyn,” Weinstein Co., $888,000, 602 locations, $1,475 average, $7,307,196, five weeks.
20. “Puss in Boots,” Paramount, $685,000, 389 locations, $1,761 average, $143,935,000, nine weeks. (Review by Lemire)

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

My favorite 100 movies ... again

Since we spent the last four days ranking one man's 100 favorite movies, 25 at a time, here's a final recap:

1. Jaws (1975)

2. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

3. Rocky (1976)

4. Star Wars (1977)

5. The Dark Knight (2008)

6. All The President's Men (1976)

7. King Kong (1933)

8. Die Hard (1988)

9. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

10. Glengarry Glenn Ross (1992)

11. Midnight Run (1988)

12. The Natural (1984)

13. The Godfather (1972)

14. A Few Good Men (1992)

15. Halloween (1978)

16. Goodfellas (1990)

17. Raging Bull (1980)

18. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

19. Rocky III (1982)

20. Silver Streak (1976)

21. Batman Begins (2005)

22. Predator (1987)

23. The Karate Kid (1984)

24. My Cousin Vinny (1992)

25. The Paper (1994)

26. Major League (1989)

27. The King's Speech (2010)

28. The Breakfast Club (1985)

29. Breaking Away (1979)

30. Citizen Kane (1941)

31. Back To The Future (1985)

32. Hoosiers (1986)

33. Aliens (1986)

34. First Blood (1982)

35. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

36. Wall Street (1987)

37. Rudy (1993)

38. Planet of the Apes (1968)

39. The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

40. Rain Man (1988)

41. The Untouchables (1987)

42. The Graduate (1967)

43. Casino (1995)

44. The Godfather II (1974)

45. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

46. Heat (1995)

47. The Game (1997)

48. Total Recall (1990)

49. Used Cars (1980)

50. Bull Durham (1988)

51. American Beauty (1999)

52. Groundhog Day (1993)

53. Ferris Beuller's Day Off (1986)

54. Dazed and Confused (1994)

55. Rocky II (1979)

56. 48 Hrs. (1982)

57. The Right Stuff (1983)

58. The Usual Suspects (1995)

59. Caddyshack (1980)

60. Forrest Gump (1994)

61. Frost/Nixon (2008)

62. The Social Network (2010)

63. Eight Men Out (1988)

64. The Seven-Year Itch (1955)

65. Scarface (1983)

66. V for Vendetta (2006)

67. Minority Report (2002)

68. Superman: The Movie (1978)

69. Cast Away (2000)

70. Sea Biscuit (2003)

71. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

72. Letahl Weapon (1987)

73. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

74. Three Kings (1999)

75. Coming to America (1988)

76. Jurassic Park (1993)

77. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

78. Victory (1981)

79. Foul Play (1978)

80. Funny Farm (1988)

81. The Rock (1996)

82. Escape From New York (1981)

83. Field of Dreams (1989)

84. Miracle (2004)

85. Tin Cup (1996)

86. Rocky IV (1985)

87. Casino Royale (2006)

88. Night Shift (1982)

89. Spider-Man 2 (2004)

90. Mr. Baseball (1992)

91. Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

92. City Slickers (1991)

93. The Rookie (2002)

94. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

95. JFK (1991)

96. When Harry Met Sally (1989)

97. Fatal Attraction (1987)

98. Pumping Iron (1977)

99. The Goonies (1985)

100. The Full Monty (1997)

- Mark Podolski | @mpodo

Michael Buble's "Christmas Duets" on SNL

After blogging last week about Michael Buble's Christmas album, I was tipped off by my colleague Matt Skrajner about his scheduled appearance on "Saturday Night Live" with guest host Jimmy Fallon, whom I also enjoy. So I set the DVR and finally caught up with it a few days later. The episode was pretty good and included several appearances by former castmembers. If you didn't catch it, head on over to Hulu to watch the full episode.

The highlight for me was a sketch on Michael Buble's Christmas duets, featuring appearances by Sting, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Kesha and more. Subsequent viewings are making me laugh just as hard as I did when I initially watched it.

Click the play button below to watch:

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Favorite movies: 25 to 1

Let's continue with one man's 100 favorite movies. Sunday through Tuesday, 100 to 26 were ranked. Wednesday, it's 25 to 1. Here we go: 

25. The Paper (1994): Michael Keaton wants the big scoop in this highly entertaining film about the inner workings of a New York newspaper.

24. My Cousin Vinny (1992): Marisa Tomei won the Oscar for best supporting actress, but Joe Pesci was just as good, and hilarious to boot.
23. The Karate Kid (1984): "We do not train to be merciful here. Mercy is for the weak. Here, in the streets, in competition a man confronts you, he is the enemy. An enemy deserves no mercy!"

22. Predator (1987): This is the ultimate man's film. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura, a kick-butt alien, awesome action ... A guy could not ask for more. 
21. Batman Begins (2005): Thank you Christopher Nolan for this wonderful reboot. Caped crusader fans are forever in your debt.

20. Silver Streak (1976): Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor in the bathroom scene is one of the funniest scenes you will ever watch. 
19. Rocky III (1982): "Prediction? Pain." Best smack talk ever. Clubber Lang, Thunderlips, Apollo Creed, The Italian Stallion. Sure, the film is a bit cheesy, but it's highly entertaining, and I pity the fool who says otherwise.

18. Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (1989): Sean Connery knocks it out of the park as Indy's father, and who doesn't love watching the Jones' kick Nazi butt?
17. Raging Bull (1980): This is not a film with a happy ending, but it is a great one. Robert DeNiro as boxer Jake LaMatta is at times scary good. 

16.  Goodfellas (1990): An addictive look at the mob in New York City. An A+ effort by Martin Scorsese. 

15. Halloween (1978): That music and that mask. One guess the time of year this is required viewing for me.

14. A Few Good Men (1992) Tom Cruise's and Jack Nicholson's court room scene is a top 10 all-timer.
13. The Godfather (1972): It's The Godfather. It has to be up here. 

12. The Natural (1984): One of the most beautifully shot movies of all-time. Kudos to cinematographer Caleb Deschanel. And kudos to Robert Redford's equally beautiful baseball swing as Roy Hobbs. 

11. MIdnight Run (1988): Another Robert DeNiro classic, this buddy-buddy film has a touching ending. This is rare to find on the likes of TNT, AMC and TBS, so if you haven't seen it, it's worth the buy or rent.

10. Glengarry Glenn Ross (1992): "Put. That. Coffee. Down! ... Coffee's for closers only."
9. The Shawshank Redemption (1994): Doesn't Shawshank seem to get better every time you watch it? You just can't turn off  this film. 

8. Die Hard (1988): This is Bruce Willis at his witty, wise-cracking finest. Die Hard has some of the best action sequences you'll ever witness on the big screen - without the computer graphics. 

7. King Kong (1933): Some movies stay with you forever, and this is one of them for me. Final scenes don't get much more iconic than that of Kong on top of the Empire State Building.

6. All The President's Men (1976): As a newspaper man, this film, starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, resonates. It's a fascinating tale of journalism. 

5. The Dark Knight (2008): Heath Ledger as the Joker. Enough said. 

4. Star Wars (1977): I will never forget Darth Vader's grand entrance on the big screen. I was 7, and my father took me - just me - to my first ever screening of George Lucas' classic. As one of six children, that was a big moment in my life, my dad and I at the cinema as I was blown away, not really sure what I just watched. I just knew I would forever love Star Wars.

3. Rocky (1976): The film is so raw, and so good. It's not a boxing movie, it's a movie about a relationship, but in the end it does teach us the old sports axiom: it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.  

2. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981): The first 15 minutes of this film hits you over the head with everything it's got, and leaves you waiting and wanting for the next joyride. 

1. Jaws (1975): This movie is not just about the shark. It's about the characters. Brody (Roy Scheider), Quint (Robert Shaw) and Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) work so well together. The shark is a bonus. And there's always the great line: "You're gonna need a bigger boat."

To read 50 to 26, click here

To read 75 to 51, click here

To read 100 to 76, click here

- Mark Podolski | @mpodo

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My favorite movies: 50 to 26

Let's continue with one man's 100 favorite movies. On Monday, 75 to 51 were ranked. On Tuesday, it's 50 to 26. Wednesday, it's 25 to 1. Here we go:

50. Bull Durham (1988): The tagline says it all: A major-league love story in a minor-league town.

49. Used Cars (1980): A young Kurt Russell is the best used car salesman of them all.

48. Total Recall (1990):  Arnold Schwarzenegger on Mars? It's perfect.

47. The Game (1997): David Fincher's thriller starring Michael Douglas takes you places you would never expect.

46. Heat (1995): We finally see Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino together on the big screen.

45. The Empire Strikes Back (1980): I beg to differ when critics say Empire is the best of George Lucas' franchise, but Darth Vader's big reveal at the end of the film can't be topped.

44. The Godfather II (1974): Not as good as the original, but it's close.

43. Casino (1995): It's Goodfellas in Las Vegas, and almost as good.

42. The Graduate (1967): A young Dustin Hoffman pulls you in.

41. The Untouchables (1987): Kevin Costner and Sean Connery are perfect together taking on Al Capone (Robert DeNiro) during the prohibition era. 

40. Rain Man (1988): Dustin Hoffman is amazing as an autistic man reunited with his brother played by Tom Cruise.

39. The Poseidon Adventure (1972): Gene Hackman is great in this visually-stunning film about a capsized cruise ship and a small group of passengers trying to survive.

38. Planet of the Apes (1968): "Take your stinking paws off me you damn, dirty ape!"

37. Rudy (1993): Before Sean Astin made his mark in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, he was that little dude trying to make it as a tackling dummy for the Notre Dame football team. All joking aside, this is an inspirational true story.

36. Walll Street (1987): Greed is good, and so is Michael Douglas in this Oliver Stone classic.

35. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935): Treat yourself to this classic Universal horror film next Halloween. Or next week.

34. First Blood (1982): Before Sylvester Stallone's John Rambo became an over-the-top character, the original kept it relatively real.

33. Aliens (1986): "Game over, man! Game over!"

32. Hoosiers (1986): Gene Hackman as Coach Norman Dale is magical. Favorite quote: Jimmy Chitwood, "I'll make it."

31. Back To The Future (1985): A joyride from start to finish. 

30. Citizen Kane (1941): For years, many have insisted Orson Welles' Charles Foster Kane is media mogul William Randolph Hearst. That's up for debate, but this film is a fascinating tale of one man's rise and fall. 

29. Breaking Away  (1979): Four teen-agers come of age in Bloomington, Ind., in this underrated sports film. A high recommend.

28. The Breakfast Club (1985): There's an argument for this as THE teen film of the 1980s. Since I was a teen-ager in the 80s, you will get no argument from me. 

27. The King's Speech (2010): Colin Firth's portrayal of a stuttering King George VI of Britain is an all-time performance.

26. Major League (1989): How great would it have been had Roger Dorn actually played third base for the Indians in the late 1980s? 

To read movies 100 to 76, click here

To read movies 75 to 51, click here

- Mark Podolski | @mpodo

The Maccabeats sing for Hanukkah

Last year I found this gem of a video: An a cappella parody of Taio Cruz's "Dynamite" performed by The Maccabeats called "Candlelight." It's too good not to share again in celebration of the season (Hanukkah begins at sundown today).

But wait! There's more!

The Maccabeats have a new song: Matisyahu's "Miracle":

Yes, that's an entirely a cappella version of Matisyahu's song. I love these guys.

AND even more reason to love them: The group is encouraging its fans to donate to donate to the Miracle Match Campaign to raise money for Gift of Life, a bone marrow registry to link people with bone marrow transplants. According to the Maccabeats website, the group is "partnering with Gift of Life to raise $80,000 – $10,000 for each night of Chanukah – to make sure that as many swabs as possible can be processed and added to the registry." (The swab is a cheek swab to test if someone is a bone marrow match.) If you're feeling the need to be charitable and like what you heard in the above videos, maybe the Miracle Match Campaign is where you'll make a donation this holiday season.

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Monday, December 19, 2011

The Dark Knight Rises trailer is out

Get ready, Batman fans. The final chapter of director Christopher Nolan's reboot of the caped crusader franchise will hit theaters this summer.

Until then, treat yourself to the trailer for "The Dark Knight Rises." It's quite interesting, but I am a bit confused why a football field collapses in the upcoming film. As a fan of Batman, the villain Bane isn't up there with the likes of the Joker and Two-Face, but he looks menacing nonetheless.

Check it out below:

- Mark Podolski | @mpodo

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My favorite movies: 75 to 51

Let's continue with one man's top 100 favorite movies. On Sunday, 100 to 76 were ranked. Monday, it's 75 to 51. Here we go:

75. Coming to America (1988): Some movies never get old. This Eddie Murphy classic is one of them.

74. Three Kings (1999): This film starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube as U.S. soldiers at the end of the Gulf War attempting to steal gold from Kuwait is a hidden gem.

73. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971): Sorry Johnny Depp. One man was born to play Willy Wonka and it's not you. It's Gene Wilder.

72. Lethal Weapon (1987): Had someone said in 1986 Mel Gibson and Danny Glover would make a great pair as L.A. cops, I would have said no way. They do.

71. Beverly Hills Cop (1984): How cool is Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley? Very cool. How funny? Very funny.

70. Sea Biscuit (2003): Most know the story of Secretaritat, but if you haven't watched the story of Sea Biscuit, it's well worth your time.

69. Cast Away (2000): This film was a one-man cast for most of it, and the great Tom Hanks pulled it off superbly.

68. Superman: The Movie (1978): Music can make a movie and John Williams does not disappoint with this score.

67. Minority Report (2002): This thriller starring Tom Cruise is one of Steven Spielberg's most underrated films.

66. V for Vendetta (2006): "Remember, remember the fifth of November."

65. Scarface (1983): This tale of an up-and-coming drug lord played by Al Pacino is not for the faint of heart, but will forever remain a classic.

64. The Seven-Year Itch (1955): Two words: Marilyn Monroe.

63. Eight Men Out (1988): Director John Sales' film is a riveting tale of the 1919 Black Sox and the corruption of the World Series. It stars Charlie Sheen, Christopher Lloyd and and John Cusack.

62. The Social Network (2010): The story about Facebook provides questions about who deserves the credit for its creation, but the answers are up to you.

61. Frost/Nixon (2008): Frank Langella (Richard Nixon) was nominated for an Oscar, but didn't win. He should have.

60. Forrest Gump (1994): It seems almost un-American not to have good 'ole Forrest on this list.

59. Caddyshack (1980): This might be the most quoted sports film of all time. Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield and Chevy Chase grab most of the headlines, but Ted Knight is right there too.

58. The Usual Suspects (1995): The fun part of this suspense thriller is predicting the ending. Good luck trying.

57. The Right Stuff (1983): This film about America's first venture into space won four Oscars. It's can't miss.

56. 48 Hrs. (1982): The on-screen chemistry between opposites Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy is perfect.

55. Rocky II (1979): If you can stomach the first 90 minutes, the epic rematch between Rocky and Apollo make it worth it.

54. Dazed and Confused (1994): Ben Afleck, Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey are barely recognizable in this hilarious 1970s high school comedy.

53. Ferris Beuller's Day Off (1986): Eveyone loves this film - the sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wasteoids and dweebies.

52. Groundhog Day (1993): Bill Murray is stuck in the same day over and over again, and each day is funnier and funnier.

51. American Beauty (1999): Kevin Spacey's Lester Burnham is a true classic movie character.

Coming Tuesday: 50 to 26

To read movies 100 to 76, click here:

- Mark Podolski | @mpodo

Sunday, December 18, 2011

'Sherlock Holmes' No. 1 at weekend box office

The latest Sherlock Holmes flick easily beat out the latest Chipmunks movie for first place at the weekend box office - thank goodness. And don't worry that you didn't see "Mission: Impossible" at your local theater this weekend; it will begin playing here this week.

From The Associated Press:
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” $40 million ($14.7 million international). (Review by The News-Herald's Mark Meszoros)
2. “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked,” $23.5 million ($14.5 million international). (Review by The AP's Jake Coyle)
3. “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” $13 million ($68.2 million international). (review coming early this week)
4. “New Year’s Eve,” $7.4 million. (Review by Coyle)
5. “The Sitter,” $4.4 million. (Review by The AP's David Germain)
6. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1,” $4.3 million. (Review by Meszoros)
7. “Young Adult,” $3.7 million. (Review by The AP's Christy Lemire)
8. “Hugo,” $3.63 million. (Review by Meszoros)
9. “Arthur Christmas,” $3.6 million ($9.7 million international). (Review by Germain)
10. “The Muppets,” $3.5 million ($600,000 international). (Review by Meszoros; Q&A with Kermit the Frog by The AP's Derrik J. Lang)

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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My favorite movies: 100 to 76

As sports editor of The News-Herald, sports is obviously one of my passions. Another is movies. The movie-going experience is awesome. When talking about or writing about my favorite movies, three factors come into play: 1. Rewatchability, 2. Entertainment value and 3. the PUMAAP (picking up a movie at any point) factor.

With that in mind, I've ranked my 100 favorite movies of all-time. Remember, these are my favorite movies of all-time. Some might think a few movies here stink, but this is only one man's list. We'll run 25 at a time Sunday through Wednesday, then the complete list on Thursday. Here we go in descending order:

100. The Full Monty (1997): The premise - a group of unemployed men who secretly put on a striptease show to earn money - seems ridiculous but it works here.

99. The Goonies (1985): This movies brings back great memories of when I was 15 and saw this classic adventure about a group of kids searching for a mysterious treasure at the theater.

98. Pumping Iron (1977): This documentary about the weight-lifting craze put Arnold Schwarzenegger on the map.

97. Fatal Attraction (1987): One word for this thriller starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close: Intense.

96. When Harry Met Sally (1989): Can a man and a woman just be friends? Check out this comedy with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan to find out.

95. JFK (1991): Oliver Stone's film about the mysteries surrounding the death of John F. Kennedy makes you think.

94. Full Metal Jacket (1987): A disturbing look at the affects war can have on a soldier's mind. Stanley Kubrick's classic is must-see.

93. The Rookie (2002): Dennis Quaid has been in a lot of sports movies, but this one is right at the top.

92. City Slickers (1991): Jack Palance is so good as a grizzled, bitter cowboy he won the Oscar for best supporting actor.

91. Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992): Gary Oldman as the prince of darkness is breathtaking and horrifying at the same time.

90. Mr. Baseball (1992): This is a hidden gem starring Tom Selleck as a past-his-prime baseball player who is shipped from the Yankees to play in Japan.

89. Spider-Man 2 (2004): It's rare when a sequel outdoes the original, and as big of a fan I am of the original, I'll take Dr. Octopus over the Green Goblin.

88. Night Shift (1982): Henry Winkler proved he's more than just the Fonz from Happy Days as the timid Chuck. This is one of Ron Howard's earliest films. Michael Keaton is great as Winkler's co-star, and there's even a tiny part by Kevin Costner as Frat Boy #1.

87. Casino Royale (2006): Daniel Craig as 007 is fantastic in this reboot of the spy franchise that doesn't have the camp of Roger Moore and is much edgier than Pierce Brosnan's James Bond.

86. Rocky IV (1985): This is an 80s cheesefest at its finest, but I dare you to turn the channel when the Drago-Balboa 15-round slugfest begins.

85. Tin Cup (1996): Roy McAvoy is exhibit A why you always go for the green when you're hacking away on Sundays.

84. Miracle (2004): The great sports moment in U.S. history deserves a spot somewhere in my top 100.

83. Field of Dreams (1989): If you've lost your dad, then you can't make it through the end of this Kevin Costner classic with dry eyes.

82. Escape from New York (1981): Snake Plissken (played by Kurt Russell): The toughest guy in action movie history.

81. The Rock (1996): Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery have great chemistry in this action flick about a group of marines that take hostages at Alcatraz and threaten San Francisco with bio weapons.

80. Funny Farm (1988): Trouble awaits at every corner when sports writer Andy Farmer (Chevy Chase) and his wife move to the country.

79. Foul Play (1978): There once was a time when Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase were a smash hit on the big screen. This was their funniest film.

78. Victory (1981): If you can get past Sylvester Stallone as an elite soccer goalie and Michael Caine as a world-class midfieler without a chuckle, you will love this tale of prisoners of war trying to escape a Nazi camp during World War II.

77. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968): This epic sci-fi film's ending stills confusing me after countless viewings, but it's mesmerizing to watch nonetheless.

76. Jurassic Park (1993): In the movie dictionary next to Juarassic Park, it should read, "A true moviegoing experience."

Coming Monday: 75 through 51.

- Mark Podolski | @mpodo

Friday, December 16, 2011

Michael Buble's "Christmas"

I love Christmas music, and I love Michael Buble. So it should go without saying that I love Michael Buble's Christmas album, aptly titled "Christmas." If you -- or someone who still needs a gift -- enjoys both of those things, you can't go wrong with this album.

I love the entire album (and have been listening to it pretty continuously). But my favorite track might be his cover of Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas is You," a song that has been seemingly untouchable since it was released in 1994. Buble really transforms it into his own song. It's similar to Carey' version, but Buble's voice with it sounds natural, not like a cover.

Get a sample of the album with the medley clip below (then go out and buy it [or download it], and curl up with some hot chocolate to enjoy the entire thing):

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

BuzzFeed's 12 Extremely Disappointing Facts About Popular Music

If you like what has traditionally been considered good music and aren't much of a fan of today's popular music, you'll be thoroughly depressed by BuzzFeed's 12 Extremely Disappointing Facts About Popular Music.

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl


Sunday, December 11, 2011

This weekend's box office was baaaad

What's keeping people from going to the movies? Nothing good out?

According to The Associated Press:
Hollywood’s holidays are off to a dreadful start: Fewer people went to the movies the last two weekends than during the box-office hush that followed the Sept. 11 attacks 10 years ago.
Domestic revenues tumbled to a 2011 low of about $77 million this weekend, when the star-filled, holiday-themed romance “New Year’s Eve” debuted at No. 1 with a weak $13.7 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
It’s the worst weekend in more than three years, since the weekend after Labor Day in 2008, when revenues amounted to $67.6 million, according to box-office tracker And it comes after an $81 million total a week earlier that had been this year’s previous low.
“It’s unbelievable how bad it is,” said analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

What are people doing instead of going to the movies?

More from The AP:
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. “New Year’s Eve,” $13.7 million ($12.9 million international). (Review by The AP's Jake Coyle)
2. “The Sitter,” $10 million. (Review by The AP's David Germain)
3. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1,” $7.9 million. (Review by The News-Herald's Mark Meszoros)
4. “The Muppets,” $7.1 million ($1.2 million international). (Review by Meszoros; Q&A with Kermit the Frog by The AP's Derrik J. Lang)
5. “Arthur Christmas,” $6.6 million ($14.3 million international). (Review by Germain)
6. “Hugo,” $6.1 million. (Review by Meszoros)
7. “The Descendants,” $4.4 million. (Review by The AP's Christy Lemire)
8. “Happy Feet Two,” $3.8 million. (Review by Germain)
9. “Jack and Jill,” $3.2 million. (Review by Coyle)
10. “Immortals,” $2.4 million. ("You can see the next Man of Steel in theaters now swinging a sword in 'Immortals'" by Lang)

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Book about "Alien" film a good buy

Ridley Scott's science fiction horror film "Alien" is a classic.

Sequels have kept the franchise alive, but much like "Jaws" the first is almost always the best. Some prefer James Cameron's "Aliens" but there is no mistaking when fans saw "Alien" for the first time, they had not seen anything like it. Most notable is the chest-bursting scene. If you don't know what I'm talking about, see the movie, or read "Alien Vault: The Definitive Story of the Making of the Film."

Fans of the original, which hit theaters in 1979, are steadfast, and cling to it, and for good reason. "Alien" is riveting tale of a mining ship crew that discovers a strange creature has inhabited its vessel. In the book, Scott says, "Alien is just a haunted house movie ... Fundamentally, it's a B-movie, but a pretty good one."

It's suspense, without much gore, at its finest, and the book details all the behind-the-scenes nuggets that helped bring the idea to the big screen.

It's loaded with concept drawings, storyboard art and behind-the-scenes photos. Some of the best photos are that of 6-foot-10 actor Bolaji Badejo, who donned the alien suit.

That's just the start. "Alien Vault" tells the story of how the film was made and much more.

- Mark Podolski | @mpodo


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Oops or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About the Mistake and Just See 'The Descendants'

I made a mistake.

(I’ll wait while you collect yourselves following this shocking news.)

OK, truth be told, I, like most humans, make mistakes all the time. Of course, we all try to limit our mistakes professionally. And here in the newspaper world, we have wonderful people called copy editors who spend a good bit of their eight-plus-hour shifts catching and fixing mistakes by the rest of us. (Know that when they have the AUDACITY to cause mistakes themselves, we lose our minds and give them heck. We are nothing if not unfair.)

But a copy editor wouldn’t catch this mistake, and, to be fair to me, it wasn’t a big one. On Wednesday, Nov. 23 – the day before Thanksgiving – four movies were set for wide release, aka they’d be playing in most theaters across the country.

Or so I thought.

Turns out that one of the four, the very promising-looking “The Descendants,” starring George Clooney, was being released in only a few theaters here or there. Not noticing it wasn’t listed when I scanned the advanced advertisements of the theaters in Lake County, I ran the Associated Press’ review of “The Descendants.”

Turns out the movie was – and still is – playing only at Cedar Lee Theatre in Cleveland Heights and the big Cinemark theater in Valley View, both about a 35-minute jaunt from Willoughby. 

I have no doubt that “The Descendants” will go wider. And when there’s a movie that isn’t being released initially in Lake County, I sometimes hold the review until it’s playing closer to home. Other times I do run it, listing the Northeast Ohio theaters where the film can be seen, as the movie will not show up in the movie ads in TGIF.
So that’s, as they say, a look at how the sausage is made and a long way of saying I’m sorry about causing confusion for anyone who read the review and wanted to see the movie.

It’s also a long way of introducing the fact that I did in fact hit the aforementioned Valley View theater, on the way back from Columbus, over the weekend to see “The Descendants.”

Clooney plays Matt King, a Hawaii-based real estate lawyer and head of a family trust that must decide to do with prime chunk of Hawaiian land before their right to it expires. More importantly, Matt’s wife, Elizabeth (Patricia Hastie), is in a coma, leaving Matt to deal with his two minor daughters, the younger Scottie (Amara Miller) and the older Alexandra (Shailene Woodley), both rebellious and generally problematic. And if all that wasn’t enough, Alexandra drops a bomb on her father: Mom was cheating on him. 

Matt decides he must confront the other man (played by Matthew Lillard, an interesting casting choice), so he takes his daughters, along with Alexandra’s seemingly dimwitted boyfriend, Sid (Nick Krause), from one of Hawaii’s islands to another for an unusual adventure and a bit of family bonding. 

 Fox Searchlight
Shailene Woodley, left, George Clooney, Amara Miller and Nick Krause share a scene from "The Descendants."

“The Descendants,” directed by Alexander Payne (“Sideways”), isn’t the best movie you’ll see all year, but it is worth seeing. 
Here’s hoping it’s at a theater nearer to you really soon.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

'Twilight' No. 1 again, but 'Muppets' not so far behind.

I think this is the first week since I started posting the weekend box office about a year ago that the top 10 movies are the same top 10 movies from the previous week, though in a different order. I'd like to see a handful of these. What are your movie recommendations?

From The Associated Press:
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1,” $16.9 million ($40.2 million international). (Review by The News-Herald's Mark Meszoros)
2. “The Muppets,” $11.2 million ($1.8 million international). (Review by Meszoros; Q&A with Kermit the Frog by The AP's Derrik J. Lang)
3. “Hugo,” $7.6 million. (Review by Meszoros)
4. “Arthur Christmas,” $7.4 million ($11.4 million international). (Review by The AP's David Germain)
5. “Happy Feet Two,” $6 million ($16.3 million international). (Review by Germain)
6. “Jack and Jill,” $5.5 million ($3.2 million international). (Review by The AP's Jake Coyle)
7. “The Descendants,” $5.2 million. (Review by The AP's Christy Lemire)
8. “Immortals,” $4.4 million ($4 million international). ("You can see the next Man of Steel in theaters now swinging a sword in 'Immortals'" by Lang)
9. “Tower Heist,” $4.1 million ($4 million international). (Review by Lemire)
10. “Puss in Boots,” $3.1 million ($23 million international). (Review by Lemire)

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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