Help! (1965) vs. A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

October 20, 2012 Shelly Goldstein

Four Working Class Heroes, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, landed on our shores on February 7, 1964, exactly six weeks to the day after an assassin’s magic bullet claimed the life of President John F. Kennedy and threw the U.S. into mourning. America needed to party and try to forget, and these longhairs from Liverpool provided the soundtrack.

Hollywood wanted the “mop-tops” onscreen, and fast! The result was two United Artists films over two years: A Hard Day’s Night (1964) and Help! (1965). Both were devoured by legions of fans, spawned must-have albums and brought America and rock music, back to life.

Hollywood knew there was big money to be made putting teen idols onscreen and selling the finished product to screaming fans. The film studios had already castrated the King of Rock Elvis Presley after he came back from the army, by cramming him into a series of forgettable romps, re-traced more than they were written. The bar of quality wasn’t exactly high.

But the Beatles managed through talent, pluck and timing to rise above the sheer craven commercialism of the enterprise and make a couple of gems that are still well worth watching today. Our Smackdown then: Which one — A Hard Day’s Night or Help! — packed the definitive pop punch for the ages? Read on… A splendid time is guaranteed for all… […]

Footloose (2011) -vs- Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)

October 17, 2011 Ben Silverio

Mixed Martial Arts is often used inside the squared circle to throw off an opponent in a match. It includes many styles, such as boxing, wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, muay Thai, kickboxing, karate, and judo. But for this Smackdown, in this ring, we get a whole new style of combat: dance.

Two titans of dance-flick franchises, Footloose and Dirty Dancing, are squaring off. […]

Glee: The 3D Concert Movie (2011) -vs- Hanna Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert (2008)

August 5, 2011 Robin Estrin

In Hollywood, America’s most beloved shark tank, nothing is more important than staying relevant. Singers can’t just sing; actors can’t just act. You’ve got to quickly become some sort of triple-threat, world-sensation or watch Hollywood unleash the sharks, which will do to you what they did to Aaron Carter (remember him?) or the Jonas Brothers (who?) as soon as their record sales started to fade. You know what they say: What goes up must come down, and all that matters is how entertaining the crash will be. […]

Bright Star (2009) -vs- Impromptu (1991)

January 26, 2010 Sherry Coben

Ah, consumption. That most romantic and cinematic of slow fades. Think Camille. Two wildly talented love objects with fatally bad lungs compete for this particular smackdown crown. It’s Frederic Chopin versus Bright Star John Keats in a death-baiting battle of ill-fated geniuses, fighting for every breath, playing fast and loose with history, and winning lovely lady hearts as they struggle for ours. I dare you to find two more gorgeous grandees, two saintlier objects of obsession in all filmdom. Go ahead. I’ll wait here.
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Pirate Radio (2009) -vs- Love Actually (2003)

November 13, 2009 Rodney Twelftree

Love, or something like it, is in the air. And British director Richard Curtis seems to want us all to know about it. His penchant for films featuring multiple story-lines and a vast array of characters is well documented, especially with the two films featured today. So with the release this week of “Pirate Radio” across US cinema screens, we thought we’d put Curtis’s latest up against one of his classics.
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