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Cool Movie Poster of the Week - American Beauty (1999)

Submitted by tom on January 9, 2015 - 8:40pm


American Beauty
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American Beauty (1999)
American Beauty (1999) at the IMDb
Directed by: Sam Mendes
Written by: Alan Ball
Featuring: Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening
Plot: Lester Burnham, a depressed suburban father in a mid-life crisis, decides to turn his hectic life around after developing an infatuation for his daughter's attractive friend.


Secretly Awesome - The Negotiator (1998)

Submitted by tom on November 28, 2014 - 9:24am


Samuel L. Jackson plays a good cop who gets framed for stealing money from the unit's pension fund in The Negotiator. So what does an honest hostage negotiator do when faced with jail time and a tarnished reputation? Yup, he breaks into the Internal Affairs office on the top floor of a skyscraper and holds some people hostage until he can figure out who's really to blame. It's one of those thrillers from the late 90s in which every character that speaks is played by a guy you liked in five other movies but still can't pull his name, guys who can elevate a standard police drama into an exceptional thriller because they know how to deliver lines and react to each other believably. The 90s were great because of these guys, and because when Sam Jackson was in a movie, there wasn't a 50% chance he was going to be playing a parody of himself.

Secretly Awesome
The Negotiator
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The Negotiator really gets moving when Jackson has Kevin Spacey called in, a negotiator from another department who is introduced in his home having trouble talking his wife out of the bathroom after his daughter called her fat. He comes in as a neutral party between Jackson and his former coworkers, some of which are his friends, some his betrayers. It's interesting to watch how these friends reconcile their orders and their loyalty to a friend, which is the main source of tension in the film. The opening scene shows Jackson negotiating, trying to get the hostage-taker near a window so a sniper can take him out, which is mirrored later in the film when Jackson is the man their trying to get to the window and an old friend is the one that has to take the shot. It's a fantastic sequence, and similar situations permeate the entire film. This constantly changing dynamic turns a somewhat mediocre premise into a great one as we watch Jackson and Spacey try to wade through all of the deception and figure out who it is each of them is really against.

The result is essentially a chamber drama in which a bunch of cops try to fool a guy who knows exactly what they're going to do. It's sort of like a low-rent Dog Day Afternoon, and I mean low-rent in a good way. It's pretty impressive to see how exciting it is, despite the fact that there is very little action. It's not a great film, but it's not really trying to be, either. It's just a solid thriller with an amazing cast playing noble cops and shady scumbags, and sometimes that's all we need.

The Negotiator (1998)
The Negotiator at the IMDb
Rated: R
Directed by: F. Gary Gray
Written by: James DeMonaco and Kevin Fox
Featuring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey and David Morse
Plot: In a desperate attempt to prove his innocence, a skilled police negotiator accused of corruption and murder takes hostages in a government office to gain the time he needs to find the truth.


Feature by Bradley Redder of This Week's Movie. Have a Secretly Awesome suggestion that you'd like to propose? Or have a past or present entry you'd like to argue about? Feel free to e-mail Brad at

Cool Movie Poster of the Week - E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Submitted by tom on November 14, 2014 - 12:31am


E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
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E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) at the IMDb
Rated: PG
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written by: Melissa Mathison
Featuring: Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore and Peter Coyote
Plot: A group of Earth children help a stranded alien botanist return home.


Secretly Awesome - Event Horizon (1997)

Submitted by tom on October 7, 2014 - 12:15am


Event Horizon follows a rescue team on a mission to investigate what happened to a portal-jumping space-ship that has just re-appeared after it was missing for seven years. It turns out the ship has been to some Hellish dimension and brought back some kind of energy force that drives people insane, and when the rescue team arrives, they find the bloody remains of the ship's crew. What may sound like a routine B-movie turns out to have some top-notch production value, a cast of under-used character actors, and some surprisingly reserved direction from none other than Paul W.S. Anderson, the man responsible for the Resident Evil franchise, which is anything but reserved.

Secretly Awesome
Event Horizon
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The first hour of Event Horizon is all tension build-up, and surprisingly effective build-up at that. Sure, we learn all of the things we expect to learn, and quickly realize that the crew members will be separated through a strange sequence of events and picked off one-by-one in the end, but what makes Event Horizon different is its amazing set design and art direction, as well as some eerie lighting effects. There's something creepy in every room and every corridor that sets a very unsettling tone that the rest of the film keeps pace with for a while, as the crew explore the ship, and come across places like the hatch that opens up into the green ventilation shaft maze. As this goes on, we start to see the crew's waking nightmares, which cause them to do some crazy things until the whole thing devolves into a big, bloody death-trap. And I say "devolve" there with love, because the last half hour is actually pretty satisfyingly gory.

A lot of this could have been terrible (I'd be interested to read the screenplay to see how bad it might be), but it was really well-cast. The actors take the material seriously enough and deliver the expository dialogue with enough gravity for me to be more than willing to suspend disbelief. And Anderson's direction is pretty subtle at times; he lets a lot of moments play out slowly, sometimes almost painfully slowly, like a scene in which a possessed crew-mate goes into the cargo bay with the intention of opening the hatch into space. The scene lasts for minutes as the powerless crew try to talk him down. It's pretty intense. And of course, Event Horizon ends like a 90s action film should, with a showdown in a random location. In this case, Fishburne faces a demonic ripped-faced Sam Neill in a literal bloodbath at the base of a spherical room which holds a spinning orb-like multi-dimensional portal, which is on fire. Not to be missed.

Event Horizon (1997)
Event Horizon at the IMDb
Rated: R
Directed by: Paul W. S. Anderson
Written by: Philip Eisner
Featuring: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan and Joely Richardson
Plot: A rescue crew investigates a spaceship that disappeared into a black hole and has now returned...with someone or something new on-board.


Feature by Bradley Redder of This Week's Movie. Have a Secretly Awesome suggestion that you'd like to propose? Or have a past or present entry you'd like to argue about? Feel free to e-mail Brad at

Classic Movie Quote of the Week - Caddyshack

Submitted by tom on September 25, 2014 - 3:17pm


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"The crowd is just, on its feet here...He's a Cinderella boy - tears in his eyes, I guess, as he lines up this last shot - he's got about 195 yards left and he's gonna - looks like he's got about an 8 iron. This crowd has gone deathly silent. Cinderella story - outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now...about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a's in the hole!"
-Carl Spackler, played by Bill Murray

Who doesn't love Caddyshack, and especially this quote? Be sure to click here to check out the YouTube video of this famous scene in its entirety.

Got a favorite movie quote? Post it in this thread if you would like to suggest one for next week. We'll try to pick one out of the thread each week and feature it on the front page!

Caddyshack (1980)
Caddyshack at the IMDb
Rated: R
Directed by: Harold Ramis
Written by: Douglas Kenney, Harold Ramis and Brian Doyle-Murray
Featuring: Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Cindy Morgan and Bill Murray
Plot: An exclusive golf course has to deal with a brash new member and a destructive dancing gopher.


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