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Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Ron Howard Lists

Dan Here:

Time for another round of Best Of Lists.

Previously we have listed the Best Of Concert MoviesMovie BarsMatt DamonJohnny Depp

Today, Academy Award winning director Ron Howard's new film, RUSH hits theaters.
It's an action flick set around 1970's Formula 1 racing and focuses on the rivalry between the sport's two top drivers, James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl).
The South of North/South Film, Chris Henson, has already seen it and given it high praise.
You can read his full 4.5 Star Review here.

For some folks, Ron Howard is an actor.
He's Opie from 'The Andy Griffith Show' or Richie Cunningham from 'Happy Days'.
Those shows were beyond belief huge and ubiquitous in a way that is impossible to duplicate.
Over 30 million people saw Fonzie "Jump The Shark", and that only gave it 3rd place that week.
He was a huge star as an actor, but his transformation into a top director is how I think of him.
So it's time for . . .


Dan's Top 5

#5. The Paper


A good movie about the inner workings of a newspaper office.
It's fast paced and has a great ensemble (Robert Duvall as always, kicks ass).
Plus, it got a nice three-and-a-half star review from our hero, Roger Ebert.
This was third time Ron Howard partnered with Michael Keaton.
The first was NIGHT SHIFT (also starring Howard's buddy, The Fonz, Henry Winkler).
The second was GUNG HO which is all kinds of awful, but I kinda like it.
THE PAPER is the best of the bunch and is on Netflix Instant, so check it out on a rainy day.

#4. A Beautiful Mind

Ron Howard "ignored the blonde" and this won Best Picture at the 2002 Oscars.
It also gave Howard one of Hollywood's most coveted prizes: The Best Director Oscar.
It's a quality film and was a deserving winner in a so-so year.
Plus, Four Stars from Ebert.

#3. Backdraft

So happy to be able to post the BACKDRAFT trailer. 
If they gave Oscars for trailers, game over.

#2. Willow

I love WILLOW. 
I was the perfect age when this hit on VHS/TV. 
It has a good story, fun characters (Kevin Pollak and Billy Barty), a scary-ass witch and of course, the incredible, Madmartigan (played by, the always dope, Val Kilmer). 
Kilmer is so great in this movie. 
WILLOW was his first film after playing Iceman in TOP GUN and only his fourth overall. 
After this, Kilmer was everywhere. 

#1. Apollo 13

Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise and Ed Harris.
Ron Howard teamed up this group of power actors and delivered an all-time classic.
It was nominated for nine Oscars and won two.
It did not win Best Picture, but I will take APOLLO 13 over BRAVEHEART any day.
Also, Ed Harris could have won for Best Supporting Actor, but Kevin Spacey as Verbal Kint in 
THE USUAL SUSPECTS is pretty hard to argue against.
If APOLLO 13 is on TV, I will watch it, no matter how far into the movie I start.
That's the mark of greatness.


FAR AND AWAY- Cruisey is a bare knuckle, Irish brawler looking for a home. Good stuff.
EDTV- Basically Ron Howard predicted the future of television. Fun flick.

Chris's Top 5

First off, we all know that the best thing Ron Howard ever did was Executive Produce/Narrate the TV-show Arrested Development (a close second is producing a super cute offspring in Bryce Dallas Howard). But since he did not direct AD (or his daughter, technincally), we move onto the movies lists.

As usual, a few disclaimers: I have not seen Backdraft, so take that into account, I guess. And I hated Frost/Nixon (okay, I didn't hate it, but it was/is highly overrated).
# 5 - Parenthood

My mom and sister love this movie, so I have seen it a fair few times over the years. It is quite funny and holds up pretty well despite being made almost 25 years ago. Great ensemble cast (including Steve Martin, before he went off the deep end, or "jumped the shark" in his own career *cough* The Pink Panther *cough*). Heck, it even spawned a TV series decades later, which I have heard is pretty good (from my girlfriend, who also watches all the Real Housewives shows - so maybe not).
#4 - A Beautiful Mind

Despite winning four Oscars, its seems that I like this movie a lot more than most, especially movie critics/bloggers/etc (Dan not included apparently, which is good). Sure it plays fast and loose with the actual history, but what movie doesn't? In my opinion Russell Crowe gives his career best performance here, as the does the highly under-appreciated Paul Bettany. The rest of the cast is great too - Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Christopher Plummer, etc. I thought Howard took a fairly mundane, by-the-books Oscar-baity story and turned it into a highly creative and exciting film.

#3 - Willow

If you ask my mom, she will say in an instant that this was my absolute favorite movie when I was a little kid. And how could it not be? Warriors, witches, magic, dwarves, talking animals, Val Kilmer? What is not to love. I still watch it every few years and feel like a kid again. I even watched Warwick Davis' mediocre HBO show Life's Too Short because I love Willow so much. A Beautiful Mind is, of course, the better film, but nostalgia pushes Willow over it on my list.

#2 - Rush 

Going into it, I did not expect to like Rush - and certainly not as much as I did. It is a fun and exciting movie. I highly recommend it. Check out my review here:   

#1 - Apollo 13 

By far, Ron Howard's best movie. Not even close really. Great cast. Great story. Great script. Great drama. Great effects. Just all around great and memorable. A wonderful throwback to bygone era of American history and discovery.

Honorable Mentions:

Splash - You can rarely go wrong with young Tom Hanks (or old Tom Hanks) and/or John Candy in anything
The Missing - Tommy Lee Jones, Cate Blanchett, and more Val Kilmer in a period Western. Flawed, but decent.

Those Are The Lists!
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