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Diner (1982) -vs- The Apartment (1960)

December 26, 2008 Sherry Coben 9

The Smackdown There are a surprising number of worthwhile New Year’s Eve-themed films to consider watching, should other more social-type plans fail to materialize for you. I’m no drinker, no party animal; subsequently, New Year’s […]

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) -vs- Forrest Gump (1994)

December 25, 2008 Bryce Zabel 3

When “Forrest Gump” hit the theaters in 1994, it was a pure original: nothing quite like it had come before. Tom Hanks got the title role and basically hit it out of the park playing a man-child with an IQ of 75 who manages to be involved in every major happening in America between the 1950s and the 1980s. As directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film manages to move forward relentlessly in its narrative scope and, before it’s over, Tom Hanks has taught Elvis, made JFK laugh, been a hero in Vietnam, opened up China with his ping-pong skills, run across America and had a girlfriend die of AIDS. The bases are covered every which way but it’s Hanks’s dignified, down-to-Earth performance that sets it totally apart. It might be a comedy or a drama, I’m not really sure.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) -vs- My Left Foot (1990)

January 31, 2008 Bryce Zabel 5

If you’re looking for a film that will make you feel a little better about your own life, try either of these. They’ll also make you feel better about the “human spirit” and other noble thoughts but, basically, you will realize that all the crap you complain about every day really is just crap and that you should take a chill pill and try to realize how good things really are. Both “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” and “My Left Foot” which preceded it by almost two decades feature lead characters who are suffering through horrific physical challenges which make it nearly impossible for them to communicate but, because they are just as alive inside their brains as any of us and maybe more so, they rise above their fear, pain and sadness to communicate anyway. In the end, in both films, it turns out to be less about what they say than the fact that they said anything at all that is so inspirational.

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