Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark. It holds up the best of the original trilogy. I feel Iike the Marion Ravenwood character still hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves – Karen Allen is great. Watching as an adult you realize that Indy is… often not very good at what he does. Still gorgeous and fun and it’ll be that way for years to come.

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park. Damn this movie is good. One of those movies where just skimming through search results looking for a good headline image had me smiling. Dr. Sattler is up there amongst the best heroines of the last couple decades. Smart, tough, funny, bold, decisive. (“We can discuss sexism in survival situations when I get back.”) There’s a lot of humor I’d forgetten in this one.

“Are these characters… autoerotica?”
“No, we don’t have any animatronics.”

Some catchphrases (“Hold on to your butts.”), and a few great monologues, like…

I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here, it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you’re selling it.

Also nice to see an action/thriller that, despite it’s crazy dinosaurs, is very human. It isn’t heavily reliant on overt evil, just self-interest and shortsightedness that devolves (see what I did there) in just about the worst ways possible. And the heroes are pretty regular people, out of their depth, but thinking on their feet and for the most part working together. Even the kids make some good decisions.

Maybe the best sequence in the whole thing is where that teamwork is undercut by each group working with limited information. Dr. Grant and the kids are making their way back to HQ, while the folks at HQ are working to get the power back on. It’s brilliant. Each group is separately in danger, each one needs to succeed, and the success of one group of good guys, at the wrong time, is really gonna screw over the others. I’m surprised more movies don’t do something like that – the same team accidentally working at cross-purposes.

If you haven’t seen this in a while… fix that.


“I get that same queasy, nervous, thrilling feeling every time I go to work. That’s never worn off since I was 12 years-old with my dad’s 8-millimeter movie camera. The thrill hasn’t changed at all. In fact, as I’ve gotten older, it’s actually increased, because now I appreciate the collaboration. When I was a kid, there was no collaboration, it’s you with a camera bossing your friends around. But as an adult, filmmaking is all about appreciating the talents of the people you surround yourself with and knowing you could never have made any of these films by yourself. My job was constantly to keep a movie family going.”

— Steven Spielberg


Lincoln. The best movie about the legislative process released this year! For real, historical biography isn’t my thing (Lawrence of Arabia excepted), so I liked that the condensed timeline here moved it more into political drama with horse-trading and cajoling and backroom negotiation. I have my complaints (over-teaching; soft-focus soap opera lighting; lens flare; tokenism; etc.), but still… DDL is the man. His storytelling, along with the other individual performances, make it worthwhile.