More stupid, stupid lists…

August 14th, 2008

More stupid, stupid lists. This time AOL’s the offender, with “10 Movies To See Before You Die.” Unlike the recent American Film Institute nonsense (top 10 across 10 categories), this one’s a bit more straightforward: 10 categories, 10 movies:

Drama: “The Godfather”

Romance: “Titanic”

Classic: “Gone With the Wind”

Action: “Batman Begins”

Sci-Fi: “Star Wars”

Horror: “The Sixth Sense”

Teen: “The Breakfast Club”

Musical: “Moulin Rouge”

Comedy: “The Naked Gun”

Foreign: “Amelie”

Never mind most of these flicks are from the last 30 years (and probably available at Target for $9.99). Never mind foreign films are, yet again, lumped into one category, as if foreign filmmakers don’t know how to make comedies, musicals or romances.

I get this soapbox once a week to write about my obsessions and interests. So, yet again, I’m hitting you over the head with comics. As dumb as the AOL list is, here is mine, even dumber.


» Drama: “Watchmen” is as much of a superhero comic as “The Godfa-ther” was a crime movie. Here’s the real question: Can director Zack Snyder do to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s comic—often considered the best ever made—what Francis Ford Coppola did to Mario Puzo’s novel?

» Romance: Forget trash romance comics like “Millie the Model.” As far as I’m concerned, a good romance story is a good story about relationships, and “Box Office Poi-son” is an unflinching look. Set in early 1990s’ Brooklyn, an ensemble cast of 20-somethings navigate dead-end jobs and bad dates (think “Friends”). It’s also my all-time favorite comic. Added bonus: creator Alex Robinson isn’t afraid to push bounda-ries with his art. 

» Classic: “Maus” won the Pulitzer, so it has to be good. A Holocaust testimony with animal allegory (Jews are mice, Germans are cats, Poles are pigs, etc.), Maus also chronicles author Art Spiegleman’s strained relationship with his survivor father. Heart wrenching to say the least.

» Action: “The Dark Knight Returns” is widely considered to be one of the best su-perhero comics ever written. This, about an old Batman coming out of retirement, was the comic that showed readers used to a “Bam!”, “Pow!”-type hero that comics could be deadly serious—and very smart. But forget all of the metaphors and societal critiques and enjoy Batman’s final throw down with Two-Face and the Joker. Added bonus: you’ll also get the definitive answer to every nerd’s question: Who wins, Batman or Superman?

» Sci-Fi: “Y: The Last Man” is one of those rare stories that cross just about every genre (romance, adventure, action, comedy, tragedy), but its premise—a mysterious plague that wipes out every living creature with a Y chromosome—is stuff of science fiction. Goofball Yorick Brown and his pet capuchin Ampersand are the only surviving males—and must contend with crazy lesbians, pirates, robots, astronauts, cowgirls, the Israeli Army. Need more convincing? This book helped Creator Brian K. Vaughan land a writing gig on “Lost.”

» Horror: “The Walking Dead” is an ongoing zombie survival story. It’s a brutal showcase of what you can do in comics that you can’t do in movies (watch out for the spoon… you’ll see…). I’m not a horror fan, but writer Robert Kirkman knows how to create an intensely scary adventure… where humans can be far worse than the zombies.

» Teen: Spider-Man is the obvious choice, but let’s go with something you might not have heard of: “Runaways.” Simple premise: teenagers discover their parents are secretly super villains, go on the run and unlock powers of their own (simple metaphor: don’t trust adults). This comic has few peers in any form of teenage fiction… I’d place it with Harry Potter in terms of memorable characters, sense of humor and danger. In simpler terms: Run-aways is to teenage superheroes what Potter is to teenage fantasy.

» Musical: “Freddie & Me: A Coming Of Age (Bohemian) Rhapsody” isn’t a musical in the sense that the characters sing and dance across the page to show tunes. But, c’mon… Queen is pretty close to Broadway theatrics. This comic is a 300-plus page mem-oir about creator Mike Dawson’s obsession with Queen. It’s funny, poignant and does the impossible: It’ll even make you care about Michael Bolton. 

» Comedy: “Fortune and Glory” is an autobiographical account of writer Brian Michael Bendis’s experiences pitching crime comics to Hollywood. Be it an HBO exec who doesn’t understand how to follow the panels in a comic or a studio underling who hires Bendis to write a teen slasher flick without any kind of permission, the amount of idiocy Bendis encounters is pretty staggering… and hilarious.

» Foreign: Probably the dumbest category of the bunch. It’s absolutely ridiculous to com-pare one foreign comic to another, solely on the basis that they were produced outside America. So, here’s my arbitrary choice, based soley on the fact it’s the last great foreign comic I read: “Exit Wounds,” by Rutu Modan, about an Israeli cab driver’s search for his father who may have died in a suicide attack.

Staff writer Josh Eiserike can be reached at 703-878-8072 or jeiserike@potomacnews.com.


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