Star Wars is the most iconic film franchise of all-time. The franchise’s fanbase is so diverse it doesn’t even need to market its movies. They just need to know the date of the release and fans will flock the cinemas in droves. With the 9th installment of the franchise showing this December, it’s only fitting we rank the movies from worst to best.
Many of you will agree to this list but if you disagree, let me know in the comments section.
8. Episode I: The Phantom Menace
7. Episode II – Attack of the Clones
6. Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Episode VII)
3. Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
2. Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
1. Episode IV – A New Hope
There’s no doubt the first three movies (episodes 4-6) were the best of the bunch. The special effects at the time were out of this world. And the whole world was put in commotion in the reveal of the Darth Vader’s relationship with Luke Skywalker.
The worst were episodes 1-3. They weren’t bad per se, but the casting and acting weren’t as good as the first three movies. The two new movies, Rogue One and episode 7 are great.
Hi, my name’s David Berkowitz. I’m a production designer for indie films. I’m a huge Star Wars fan with a huge toy collection to show for it. Visit my page to know more.
Nowadays, it’s no surprise that anime has such a huge following. But the road to its success is paved by classics in the genre like Akira and Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro.
Though casual Hollywood buffs would probably be more familiar with the Japanese director
’s other award-winning films like Spirited Away and Grave of the Fireflies, Totoro has become the face of Studio Ghibli, the director’s film outfit.
But what makes My Neighbor Totoro so appealing and loved by those who’ve seen it? One easy answer is that, while the narrative is driven by the fantastic, it offers a very human, realist take on family values, as well as tackles concepts like sibling rivalry, loyalty, devotion, and hope.
The plot revolves around sisters Mei and Satsuki, who moves to the country with their dad, a university professor in Tokyo. Soon Mei encounters the guardian of the forest near their new house, Totoro. The huge, cuddly, and magical creature proceeds to help the sisters cope with their situation and solve their problems, burdens which otherwise might be too great for children to bear.
This film is very poignant; while we might be wondering where their mother is, the film takes its time to give
us the reveal. It plays up its central themes of innocence and coming of age very well, leaving us haunted at the end.
My Neighbor Totoro is a must-watch, not only for fans of anime, but for the family and maybe even the entire neighborhood.
Hello! David Berkowitz here. I am a production designer for an independent film production company in Los Angeles, California. This job has been one of my wildest dreams since childhood. Do check out my Facebook page..
Chicago has provided numerous movies a great backdrop and setting for their story. Even the late director John Hughes made a career out of writing and directing many of his films in this great city.
Here are some of the best movies that were filmed in Chicago:
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
This 1986 classic told the story of a high school student named Ferris Bueller who decided to skip school to spend a day with his friends in downtown Chicago. The movie gave us great shots of Chicago’s iconic landmarks, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Wrigley Field, Sears (now Willis) Tower, Lake Shore Drive, and many more.
This 1932 film is different from the Al Pacino starrer most of us already know, although the latter is actually based on this movie. Scarface is a story about the rise and fall of an American Gangster during the time when Chicago’s very own Al Capone rose to fame for his exploits in the city. The movie also reenacted the infamous Saint Valentine’s Day massacre, which had just happened three years before the movie’s production.
The Blues Brothers
An homage to the great city, the musical crime comedy film starred Chicago native John Belushi, together with another great comedian Dan Aykroyd. The movie showed the wonderful sights of city, authentic Chicago accents, and a soundtrack that featured the likes of Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and James Brown.
Hello, I’m David Berkowitz, a movie buff from Chicago. If you want to read more articles about films, subscribe to this blog.
It is hard to examine the persona of Francis Ford Copolla and not tremble at the echo that accompanies the name, spanning a reputation for excellence in the art of filmmaking. Known for his sensitivities towards the cutting subtleties in real life, and how he is able to strike a chord in the hearts of many through a brilliant transference into film, FFC is truly a man who has been exposed to such realities. Here are some interesting facts about him.
1. Francis Ford Coppola is a native of Detroit, Michigan, but he grew up in the suburbs of New York.
2. He contracted polio at a young age. The lack of mobility during his quarantine gave him time to let his ideas brew, as he practiced puppetry and spent time watching movies.
3. After getting a drama degree from Hofstra University, the young and mentally energetic Copolla went on to receive an MFA in Film Production in UCLA in 1967.
4. Francis Ford Coppolla is one of the pillars of the vaunted New Hollywood wave of filmmaking, which includes names like Scorsese, Kubrick, Nichols, Spielberg, Polanski and Lucas. These filmmakers raised the bar high up in Hollywood.
5. He belongs to a family of filmmakers and actors who have made solid names for themselves. Among them are Nicolas Cage, Jason Schwartzman, and Sofia Copolla.
6. He is the owner of a very famous winery, simply named after himself, Francis Ford Copolla.
7. Hollywood legend has it that the character of Han Solo in George Lucas’ Star Wars is based on the persona of Francis Ford Copolla.
Michael Jordan was the face and the symbol of the NBA. He was considered one of the best basketball players who walked the face of the earth, and giving him a shoe line was just a simple form of acknowledging that fact. A few decades later, the Air Jordan remains a locker room staple. Here are the best (and perhaps, most coveted) Air Jordan models of all time.
Air Jordan I: Before the Air Jordan came into the picture, the NBA had a rule that players should only wear white basketball shoes. These colorful sneakers gave basketball a new twist and changed the game forever. Mike was fined $5,000 every time he wore these iconic kicks to the game.
Air Jordan II: Mike wore these sneaks after winning his first Slam Dunk competition. It was also the first Nike sneaker that did not have its logo. Cool, right?
Air Jordan XIII: This pair has great cushioning, which works well for those tired feet. It had a cool hologram and was used by Mike during his final season in the NBA.
Air Jordan III: This pair is known to be MJ’s favorite pair out of the whole line. Air Jordan III was the first pair designed by Tinker Hatfield and was the first Jordans to feature the Jumpman logo.
Air Jordan XI: These stylish, shiny, and classy sneakers are the first to showcase patent leather. MJ wore it after returning from his first retirement from the NBA.
Hi there, I’m David Berkowitz; a Chicago Bulls fan and indie film production designer. Check out my blog for more on MJ, film, and basketball.
In 2011, a short Korean anime called King of Pigs was released. It gained popularity in the local scene and was awarded several international awards for its gritty commentary on school life and bullying. Unfortunately, it never really hit the global market and has generally been unknown by Western moviegoers for some years now.
However, with the growing problem of political unrest and troubled teenagers, more people are turning to cartoons not only as a means of escape but also as a way to vicariously understand other people’s lives. One beautiful aspect of cartoons is that there is a sense of detachment. Most moviegoers see the film with the understanding that it is not real – even if the subject is relevant today. This is further exemplified in anime, where most scenes are exaggerated either through drawing or movement. Yet, anime can talk about topics that would otherwise be unpalatable in a real-life motion picture.
The “King of Pigs” is an excellent example of this. There are no big effects here, and the topic itself is quite disturbing. However, because it is a cartoon, moviegoers are not immediately turned off by it. At the end of the film, though, it does raise very serious questions about how people treat each other and the cumulative effects of interpersonal relationships. The movie provides an escape from the real world by delving into the mindset of a group of disturbed people. It sounds like a paradox, but there is a sense of catharsis in seeing other people’s lives and then applying it to one’s experiences.
It must be stressed that the “King of Pigs” is not a children’s film nor is the topic light and funny. Even on a visceral level, its entertainment value is one of violence and paranoia. Yet it is a wonderfully-made film and should be watched for what it shows of the human nature.
Hello, David Berkowitz here, Chicago Bulls fan and huge movie aficionado. Working in a film production company allows me to live out my passion for movies. I love to watch films, regardless of genre. Join me on a Twitter as I share my insights on various films (and sometimes basketball).
Although Rogue One: A Star Wars story is set to be released a year earlier than Star Wars Episode VIII, the latter is already making more buzz because of recent storyline leaks, making fans excited and hopeful at the same time.
Well, hopeful simply because The Force Awakens didn’t really live up to the hype. The movie has been, and still is, criticized for its lack of newer elements, saying everything looked familiar – from the costumes to the storyline. Its latest critic is Avatar director James Cameron who said that the movie very much lacked in the visual imagination department, which is basically the selling point of the six-movie installments prior to it.
That said, everyone seems to have high expectations for the upcoming movie, which is set to be released in December of 2017. Adding up to the excitement are the latest plot teasers from a press conference attended by Iain McCaig, concept artist of Star Wars.
As expected, Episode VIII will shed light on the origin of Rey. Is she the daughter of Luke Skywalker? It is said that George Lucas never intended for Luke Skywalker to marry, however, he didn’t say anything about never having children. Because Rey exhibited the force in the last movie, this theory is not far-fetched at all.
Another thing to watch out for in Episode VIII is the reappearance of Darth Vader / Anakin Skywalker. True-blue fans of this franchise are curious how Darth Vader will reappear. The hint is that he will appear as an apparition to control the Dark Side through Kylo Ren. How will the character be stretched in the new installments? Also, there’s been news that Darth Maul will also be back in the cinematic world either in Episode 8 or 9. Does this mean the Sith Army will be back, as well?
Meanwhile, another plot twist that people think will happen in Episode VIII is the death of Luke Skywalker. Either it’s a slip of the tongue or happening for real, Mark Hamill’s statement, “I finish Episode VIII, and then I’m out of work,” created the buzz of his death in the coming installment. However, before people continue to assume, he tried to clear things up, telling everyone not to overthink.
Everyone likes a good flashback, a surprise comeback from a well-loved (or well-loathed) character, and even an unforeseen turn of events. Are these things going to happen? No one knows for sure, except the creators. Plus, December 2017 is still far far away, so keeping the anticipation at the minimum is probably the best way to go, besides there’s Rogue One to keep the excitement for Episode VIII at bay.
Hi, I’m David Berkowitz. I work in a film production company. I love watching movies of various genres. If you love movies too, and want to read articles like this one, subscribe to my blog site.
One of the less popular films by Hayao Miyazaki is Howls’s Moving Castle. The lack of praise is mainly due to the plot being fanciful and strange. Unlike Spirited Away or My Neighbor Totoro, there is no innocence in the movie. The protagonists are likeable to a certain degree, but definitely not warranting pity or tender feelings. Despite all the criticism, this movie remains one of my favorites. Here’s why.
Howl’s Moving Castle teaches us a very realistic view on love. It’s never rational and it doesn’t make sense most of the time. In most of our daydreams about love, we imagine both parties being wonderful and sweet. We expect the two to end up together because they deserve each other and the world conspires to make it so. However, in Howl’s Moving Castle, this isn’t the case.
As I’ve mentioned before, both protagonists have their faults. Sophie is meek and accepts things as they are. When she is turned into an old woman, she just leaves without telling her family. She doesn’t fight for anything. Howl, on the other hand, is vain, impulsive, and childish. He believes that the whole world revolves around him. He doesn’t fight for anything either – and not because he is incapable (the whole film shows him to be a skilled magician) but because he is lazy and self-centered.
As the two get to know each other, you can see how they slightly change. Sophie becomes more assertive and Howl more forgiving. But let me make this absolutely clear: they still maintain their personalities. Love does not change their core personalities–it allows them to adapt to each other instead.
This is why I like the movie very much. It still has the signature Miyazaki “lightness” to it. Audience members can still criticize the movie for pure entertainment only, but I love the portrayal of the characters; inflexible yet adaptive. Or maybe I read too much into the film.
Hayao Miyazaki has always been one of my favorite filmmakers. Learn more about why I think so by liking this Facebook page. David Berkowitz here.
There has been very little debate as to which half of the Star Wars episodes are better. An overwhelming majority will always pick the original trilogy (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi) over the prequel trilogy (Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith). Here are three reasons the originals were superior.
The dialogue in the original trilogy stayed consistent and it didn’t try too hard. Luke sounded like a whiny teenager at times because he was in fact, a whiny teenager who wanted to see the rest of the galaxy. That was his dream. Anakin started off as a little jerk who thought he knew everything, the kind of kid everyone would find annoying at children’s parties. Annie grew up to be a Jedi, which was when he decided to be a whiny teenager. Why? Because the girl he had a crush on wanted him to wait a while longer.
There was a sense of urgency in the original trilogy that the prequels overexposed. When someone in the original trilogy activated a lightsaber, and the audience hears that sound and sees that beam of light, people knew something galaxy-changing was about to go down. Lightsaber scenes in the originals were few and far between, emphasizing the importance of the role of the sword in the story. The prequels had too many lightsabers and too many scenes with them in it, diminishing significance of the ultimate weapon in Star Wars lore. Good job George.
The cast of characters in the originals were a fun bunch. Sure the prequel trilogy had a ton of Jedis and a band of bad-ass Sith Lords, but they didn’t have Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, and all those other characters that gave an extra, enjoyable dimension to all that galactic strife.
David Berkowitz loves everything about film. He currently works in a film production company in Los Angeles, CA. To learn more about David and movies in general, read his blogs here.
In a galaxy far, far away, there are still people who are unaware of The Force. I know it’s hard to believe but I’ve met a few who don’t understand what’s so good about ‘Star Wars’. For friends of these uninitiated few, here are the three most important things they must know about the series:
“May the Force be with you” sometimes sounds like a religious benediction. However, The Force really is the omnipotent power in the Star Wars galaxy. According to Obi-Wan, it’s the energy field that binds the galaxy and all living things together.
Jedis and Siths
Basically, Jedis are the peacekeeping warriors who learned how to fight using the good side of The Force while the Siths are those from the dark side. The Jedis are the good guys while the Siths are the baddies. Not so difficult, right?
This epic movie boasts a long timeline beginning from the first movie that came out during the 70’s. With three movies each from the first three installments to the prequel trilogy, beginners might not know where to start. To prevent your friends from being thrown off guard with old-school effects, perhaps it would be good to start with ‘The Phantom Menace’ (1999). This installment is officially the start of the timeline.
The ‘Star Wars’ universe has a lot more to offer. If Yoda were to speak with these newbies, he’ll say, “Watch all movies, you must.”
Hello! David Berkowitz here. I am a production designer for an independent film production company in Los Angeles, California. This job has been one of my wildest dreams since childhood. I’m also a fan of the Jordan-era Chicago Bulls. If you share my interests, follow me on Twitter.