BOP 25 of the Holiday: Selections 15-11
15. SpongeBob SquarePants
Although the appeal of this peculiar cartoon is lost on some adults, it nonetheless has managed a solid following from kids of all ages even though for an extended period of time, no new episodes were created. SpongeBob, a little yellow sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea, exemplifies that time in our lives when we're just on the brink of adulthood, and as such, it's easy to relate to the little guy. The writing on the show is consistently clever and uproariously funny, and the characters and animation are colorful, buoyant and upbeat. The best reason to see the movie version of SpongeBob SquarePants, though, is that the primary villain is a little character known as Plankton. For those unfamiliar with his work, all you need know is that this iniquitous little creature is almost contagiously evil. Proof that big things really do come in small packages, he takes meanness to an entirely new level.
14. Hotel Rwanda
Another actor getting rave reviews for an outstanding performance this year is Don Cheadle in this film centering around the tragic ethnic cleansing that took place in Rwanda during the '90s. Usually an actor who appears in more supporting roles, Cheadle portrays luxury hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina, a man who devoted himself to assisting Tutsis during their horrific struggle against the deadly Hutu militia. The film will bring well-deserved attention to a situation that was all-too-sadly ignored by countries that might appropriately have intervened, including the United States. In the meantime, the book We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, by Philip Gourevitch, can provide a background as to the history that took place during these events.
13. The Aviator
After it became fashionable to hate Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio fell out of favor just ever so slightly with North American audiences. As a result, subsequent films such as The Beach and even Gangs of New York seemed to suffer somewhat at the box office. That all changed with DiCaprio's memorable performance in Catch Me If You Can, a film that allowed the talented young actor to play cat-and-mouse with one of the greatest actors performing onscreen today, Tom Hanks. Having scored a victory working alongside Spielberg, DiCaprio returns to the fold of Martin Scorsese. Their newest project is a biopic centering around the early years of iconic movie producer Howard Hughes.
The trailer for the film evokes an extremely stylish, epic-looking project that looks to allow DiCaprio to shine once again. Hughes is a fascinating historical figure, and his obsession with flight translates nicely to a big screen story. We'll be keeping an eye on DiCaprio as a dark horse contender for an Academy Award.
12. National Treasure
This is a production where the concept is the chief selling point. It would seem that certain nefarious shadowy thieves like Sean Bean are in the process of trying to discover the secrets left on titular national treasures like the Declaration of Independence and the Liberty Bell. The good news (?) is that a group of intrepid heroes led by Nicolas Cage are around to find the treasure before the evil dudes can get there. All they have to do is steal the Declaration of Independence first. Admittedly, the concept is a bit utilitarian, but the action appears to be top notch. BOP can swallow the presence of Cage if it allows us to witness such a clever idea for a chase film.
11. Meet the Fockers
When Meet the Parents became a big hit, there was no doubt there would be a sequel. But where to go with it? We'd already met her very scary parents, so how do you follow that up?
The logical answer was to meet his wacky parents. But that wouldn’t be any fun without Robert De Niro reprising his role as Jack Byrnes, the intimidating dad of Ben Stiller's fiancée, so we're treated to not only seeing the awkwardness of the betrothed meeting the parents, but both sets of parents all at the same time. To say that the Fockers are the polar opposites of the Byrnes is an understatement, and of course the filmmakers are betting that when the uptight Byrnes clan, especially Daddy Byrnes, meets the hippie-dippy Focker clan, hilarity will ensue. Certainly they've stacked the deck a bit by getting Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand to play Bernie and Roz Focker, and the trailers do look like they're loaded up on the wacky, so it would seem there's a good chance that Ben Stiller will have yet another film this year that scores at the box office.
Read selections 25-21
Read selections 20-16
Read selections 15-11
Read selections 10-6
Read selections 5-1