Super Bowl Appetizers

I have to admit, I'm not all that excited about the Super Bowl this year. The actual game almost never lives up to the hype, and the commercials haven't been particularly memorable in recent years either. However, one thing I am looking forward to is the elaborate spread of food at my sister's house. Here are the artery-clogging appetizers I'm planning to contribute.

Creamy Chicken & Red Pepper Wontons

Not long after Christmas, we had some leftover wonton wrappers and an odd assortment of other ingredients still in our fridge. I looked through a bunch of wonton recipes on the internet, but couldn't find anything that we had all the ingredients for, so I decided to just wing it with what we had. And wouldn't you know it, they turned out really good. I even made them a second time the other night for dinner, doing my best to recreate what I had thrown together. Now I have decided to write the recipe down, though I am guessing some of the amounts.

• 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced very small
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tsp sesame oil
• 1 tsp soy sauce
• 1/2 tsp ground ginger
• 4 oz cream cheese, softened
• 1/4 cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
• wonton wrappers
• oil for deep frying
• sweet & sour sauce

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken breast in olive oil. When chicken is mostly done, add garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, and ground ginger according to taste. Sauté a few additional minutes, then place chicken, cream cheese, and chopped red peppers in a mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer or food processor to combine.

Lay out wonton wrappers on a clean surface. Set aside a bowl of water to dip your fingers. Place about 1 teaspoon of the chicken mixture onto the center of each wrapper. Wet the edges by dipping your fingers in water, and wipe the edge of each wrapper. Fold over into triangles, and press to seal. Take the two opposing points of the triangle and fold around to join together.

Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or deep pan to 375 degrees F. Deep-fry several wontons at a time, turning as needed, until lightly browned. Remove to drain on paper towels. Makes 15-20 wontons. Serve with sweet & sour sauce.

Restaurant Style Buffalo Wings

We have made buffalo wings before using the recipe on the hot sauce bottle, which basically just says to bake the wings then smother them with hot sauce and butter. So we will see if adding some additional seasonings helps or hurts. The notes on allrecipes.com say this is similar to the hot wings recipe used by a "popular restaurant chain," but didn't specify which one.

• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/4 teaspoon paprika
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup butter
• 1/4 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce
• 1 dash garlic powder
• 10 chicken wings
• oil for deep frying
• celery sticks
• blue cheese or ranch dressing

In a small bowl mix together the flour, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Place chicken wings in a large bowl and sprinkle flour mixture until they are evenly coated. Cover dish or bowl and refrigerate for 60 to 90 minutes.

Combine the butter, hot sauce, and garlic powder in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir together and heat until butter is melted and mixture is well blended. Remove from heat and reserve for serving.

Heat oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees F. The oil should be just enough to cover wings entirely, an inch or so deep. Fry coated wings in hot oil for 10 to 15 minutes, or until parts of wings begin to turn brown. Remove from heat, place wings in serving bowl, and coat with the hot sauce mixture. Serve with celery sticks and bleu cheese or ranch dressing.


The Airing of Grievances Strikes Back

Many of you have aired your grievances to the world since my original invitation. Here is list of everyone that I could remember:

Rob 7.10.08
Krissy 7.16.08
Melissa 7.31.08
Caitlin 8.01.08
Becky 8.26.08
Eddie 9.17.08

For those of you who have yet to take this opportunity, the invitation is open-ended (but specifically, I would love to hear from Marc & Hali, Scott, Ben, and Jesse). Meanwhile, I have developed some new grievances of my own in the last six months.

"Brought to you in true high definition"

Look, I have no bone to pick with high definition itself. In fact, I am looking forward to the day when high definition is considered standard definition. Hopefully that way, viewers will no longer be inundated with all manner of graphics and announcements after every commercial break informing us that the local evening news (and the perfectly chiseled hair of Roland Steadham) is, in fact, being made available in the stunning, life altering clarity of HD.

People who come into the Salt City office and tell us how good it smells

Every vendor or salesman that stops in always prefaces their pitch with the same inane small talk. Really? You mean a scented candle business smells nice? Yes, that intoxicating scent of every candle we make, from Homemade Root Beer to Sweet Amber Musk, all blending together into one über fragrance is just lovely. I remember being almost knocked out by the overpowering aroma my first few weeks on the job, but over the last two years, my sense of smell has gradually been beat into submission.

DVD double dipping

Remember in the early days of DVD when all big new releases would receive 2 disc special edition treatment? Eventually they started releasing a single disc version with zero extras for the same price they used to sell the special edition, and the special edition would be several dollars more. But it didn't stop there. Now when you get home with your special edition that you had to pay extra for, you realize the bonus features are mostly fluff. THEN 6 months to a year later, a super ultimate collector's edition comes out with all the good stuff you used to get for free. I'm already fairly certain I'm going to have to buy The Dark Knight again.


Five Favorites

I figured that it was about time to do a follow-up to my American Literature post back in June. This version is dedicated to my five of my favorite British authors. Most of the classes I took in college were British Lit classes, if I could help it. The funny thing is that I had never read many of the classics until my last semester and beyond. I take it as a reflection on my poor experience with public education. Since graduating, I have made it my goal to catch up.

1. Charles Dickens

I had never read any of Dickens' work until my final semester of college when I took a class studying nothing but Dickens. I fell in love. I think we read 6 or 7 of his novels in the semester. My favorites so far are Bleak House and David Copperfield. I have made it a goal to read all of Dickens' novels by the time I'm 30. I'm currently working on The Old Curiosity Shop, which I got for Christmas. I highly recommend Dickens for anyone who has the patience to get into his narratives and an appreciation for dry wit.
Jarndyce and Jarndyce drones on. This scarecrow of a suit, has, in course of time, become so complicated that no man alive knows what it means. The parties to it understand it least; but it has been observed that no two Chancery lawyers can talk about it for five minutes, without coming to total disagreement as to all the premises. // Bleak House
2. Jane Austen

A few years ago, my aunt gave me five or six Austen novels for Christmas, and I quickly read them all (except Emma, which I can never seem to get through). After we moved to South Jordan and I started riding Trax, I listened to a couple more Austen novels on my iPod. I particularly enjoy Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. So romantic... And it's an added bonus that many chick flicks reference Austen in some way, like in You've Got Mail, "I get lost in the language... words like thither, mischance, felicity."
You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight and a half years ago. Dare not say that a man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. // Persuasion
3. George Orwell

I love the world Orwell has created in 1984, and the idea of Winston fighting against a world/institution even though he has absolutely no chance of winning. In some ways, it is a lot like Fahrenheit 451—a corrupt, totalitarian government forbids all independent thought while a few people try to escape and may or may not succeed. If you're into that kind of stuff, you could also try reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I don't like it quite as much as the others, but it is similarly disturbing.
People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: vaporized was the usual word. // 1984
4. J.R.R. Tolkien

When I first moved to Logan, it was the middle of the summer and I had no friends beyond my newlywed brother and his wife. I was broke and got a job shelving books at the Logan City Library (a job which I held for approximately a week before a higher paying job came along). While alone in the library in the early morning hours, I discovered all the Tolkien books I wasn't familiar with. I had read Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit already. But since I was friendless and trying to avoid an admirer I soon dubbed Creepy Stalker Boy (long story), I would lock myself in my room and read The Simarillian. I don't remember one thing about it. But I read it.
I have chosen Mr. Baggins and that ought to be enough for all of you. If I say he is a Burglar, a Burglar he is, or will be when the time comes. There is a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself. // The Hobbit
5. J.K. Rowling

I nearly forgot to include Rowling in the list, but luckily Dave reminded me. I fell in love with the Harry Potter books as they came out and I was pretty sad to see the end of the series come. Rowling does a great job at explaining things without preaching to the reader and wrote some pretty amazing character descriptions. I have heard complaints that the books later in the series have gotten "too dark," but it was only inevitable. Besides, the books grow up along with Harry, Hermoine, and Ron.
Wellit's just that you seem to be laboring under the delusion that I am going towhat is the phrase?come quietly. I am afraid I am not going to come quietly at all, Cornelius. I have absolutely no intention of being sent to Azkaban. I could break out, of coursebut what a waste of time, and frankly, I can think of a whole host of things I would rather be doing. // Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


U2 Discography: Stories For Boys

Well it sure seems like most of my favorite movie franchises and musicians have had new releases in the past year or so, conveniently parallel with the origins of this blog. Next in line is U2, with a new album "on the horizon" (March 2nd to be exact). Their brand spankin' new single "Get On Your Boots" is officially streaming right here, right now.

As part of my unique brand of blog hype, I have decided to write up my thoughts on every U2 studio album, organized by era. You should have seen the blank stare that Kristen gave me when I informed her of these plans. It's probably the same stare you are reading this little introduction with right now. Yes, I realize not everyone loves U2 as much as I do, but this band has provided the soundtrack to a large portion of my life, so I hope you will induldge me. Also, please indulge that cheesy "soundtrack of my life" metaphor. I have used stars and grades in past reviews, but what the heck, this time I am going to score out of 10.

Boy (1980)
A modest debut for the eventual biggest band in the world. What they lacked in talent, they made up for with raw, youthful energy. They really had no right being any good at this point, but what they didn't know didn't hurt them... yet. I was only 4 months old when Boy was released, so I didn't really get into it until a few years ago.
Highlights: I Will Follow, Out of Control, Stories For Boys, The Electric Co.
My Rating: 6/10

October (1981)
Ah, the infamous sophomore slump. The only truly mediocre U2 album in my opinion, this is where their naivety caught up with their ambitions. I'm not sure if I have ever managed to listen to the whole thing in one sitting. And look at that cover photo—yikes. I really only have a copy of October to appease the completist in me.
Highlights: Gloria, October, Is That All? (pun intended)
My Rating: 3/10

War (1983)
As the unforgiving snares of Sunday Bloody Sunday begin to pound, it is immediately apparent that U2 came from October with renewed focus, penning their first super hits in the process (Note: The band will repeat this pattern a few more times throughout their career). While I enjoy War, it isn't the first U2 album I reach for.
Highlights: Sunday Blood Sunday, New Year's Day, Two Hearts Beat As One, 40
My Rating: 7/10
Next Time: In God's Country


Intelligent Conversations with Kristen

Last year, I learned how to make baby quilts. Lately, I have been cooped up in the house, so I've started making baby quilts in my spare time. A friend of mine (who I know does not regularly read the blog, so I'm not worried about giving anything away) is having twins in April - a boy and a girl. So this morning, Eddie and I went to JoAnn to look for some cute fabric. This is the conversation I had with the cashier as she was ringing me up.

Note: This post format is inspired by Rob, who regularly posts funny conversations he's had with his kids. For the latest installment, click here.
Cashier: This is such cute fabric!
Me: A friend of mine is having twins.
Cashier: A boy and a girl?
Me: Yep.
Cashier: How fun! Are they identical?
Me: (blank look... awkward silence...)
Me: No, I don't think so.


Inauguration Sensation

Lost amid the plethora of tributes to the old Yankee Stadium (including my own) is that the Mets are also moving to a new stadium this year. Say, where were all the "SportsCenter Top Ten Greatest Moments at Shea Stadium" specials and "History of Shea" coffee table books? Anyhow, both teams have recently unveiled uniform patches commemorating their inaugural seasons in their new stadiums.

Talk about a microcosm of each franchise's respective history. The world wide web is already bristling with scathing critiques and snarky commentaries directed toward the downright ineptitude of the Met's design, so I will say no more. However, news of the uproar has made its way to Stephen Colbert, and is featured in his latest installment of "Tip of the Hat/Wag of the Finger." P.S. Be sure to stick around for the "Monkey on the Lam" segment at the end of the video.


Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Here is yet another Rachel Ray recipe that we enjoy, only we have simplified it quite a bit. We almost always have all the ingredients on hand, so we make these all the time.

• 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
• 1 tsp paprika
• 1 tsp chili powder
• Extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tbsp butter
• 1/2 cup Frank's Original Red Hot Sauce
• 4 sandwich rolls
• Blue cheese or ranch dressing
• Romaine lettuce leaves
• Celery sticks

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat chicken with a little olive oil, then sprinkle with paprika and chili powder. Pan grill, about 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.

Combine hot sauce and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until butter is melted. When the chicken is done, coat evenly with the hot sauce mixture and cut into slices.

Preheat your oven to broil. Toast rolls open-faced under broiler until golden brown. Slather rolls with dressing. Add chicken slices, and If you are feeling particularly saucy, drizzle with any leftover hot sauce. Top with crisp lettuce and serve with celery sticks.


Ten Things...

...I Have Learned From '80s Music Videos

After a three month hiatus, it is high time for a new installment of "Ten Things." We all know there is much to be learned from '80s movies (read all about it here and here), but I would be remiss if I didn't share some nuggets of wisdom gleaned from the dawn of the music video era. Let me know if your favorite video is missing from this list and I will see if I can work it into the eventual sequel. YouTube, what did we ever do without you?

10. Flower pots are an essential fashion accessory for any music video on a budget. Whip It // Devo

9. If a stranger ever approaches you and says "you totally remind me of George Michael in that Wham! video," it might be time to rethink your life—on pretty much every level. Wake Me Up Before You Go Go // Wham!

8. Dancing badly with Bruce Springsteen just might be your first step on the road to stardom. Dancing in the Dark // Bruce Springsteen

7. Worried your new video is repeating the last one a little too much? Don't sweat it, just fluff up your hair a bit more and get strapped into that flying harness! Livin' On A Prayer // Bon Jovi

6. Man, that David Lee Roth has an endless supply of charisma. I bet he could totally make it as a solo artist. Jump // Van Halen

5. Silly police, you can't shut down Bono, you can only hope to contain him. Where the Streets Have No Name // U2

4. If you ever find yourself saying "okay, now all we need are the stop motion dancing chickens," you may have reached your creative zenith as an artist. Sledgehammer // Peter Gabriel

3. Throwing over a table in a crowded restaurant is totally acceptable behavior—as long as your name happens to be Simon Le Bon. Hungry Like The Wolf // Duran Duran

2. When Michael Jackson explains to his date that he's "not like other guys," he means it. Thriller // Michael Jackson

1. The chasm between the real world and the animated world can only be bridged by true love. Take On Me // a-ha


Krissy's Desert Island Movies


1. Alice in Wonderland
For as long as I can remember, I have loved this movie. It seems funny because we didn't even own it when I was a kid. Luckily, it was released from Disney's vault when Dave and I were dating, so he bought it for me. It is wonderfully bizarre. My favorite characters are the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. And I love singing "The Golden Afternoon" to Dave, because you really can learn a lot of things from the flowers.
Alice: If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn't be, and what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?
2. Back to the Future Part II
I think as a kid I really believed we'd all have hover-converted cars by 2015. Maybe that's what the auto bailout will lead to. Let's keep our fingers crossed. I still love this movie. Although the original Back to the Future is great, I like Part II because it gives you a taste of both the future and the past... and an alternative present. I'm always on pins and needles wondering if Marty and Doc really will fix the space-time continuum or if they will end up destroying the universe.
Doc: The time-traveling is just too dangerous. Better that I devote myself to study the other great mystery of the universe: women!
Teenage Years

3. While You Were Sleeping
Sure the premise for this film is a bit silly (though not nearly as bad as some other chick flicks I've seen, like say, The Lake House), but I still love it. I think that Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman have surprisingly great chemistry, and you can't help but chuckle at Joe Jr.'s antics ("I know karate"). I would definitely need this one if I was stranded on a desert island. Besides, I'm already used to watching it alone.
Jerry: You're born into a family. You do not join them like you do the Marines.
College Years

4. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
I will admit that the first time I saw Fellowship of the Ring, I was bored out of my gourd. I think I fell asleep. But then I read the book and fell in love with the movie. For some reason, I have this strange compulsion to always watch the second movie of a trilogy, so whenever I have a small hankering for LOTR, I always choose Two Towers, even if it has no beginning or end.

Treebeard: You must understand, young Hobbit, it takes a long time to say anything in Old Entish. And we never say anything unless it is worth taking a long time to say.
5. Sleepy Hollow
This movie was released when I was still in junior high (I think), but I didn't see it until after I met Dave. I am not big on scary movies, so this is about as scary as I can handle by choice. I'll admit, I also have a crush on Johnny Depp (who doesn't?), so that helps. It does get a little dodgy toward the end with lame dialogue from Lady Van Tassel (like, "watch your head!"), but the rest of the movie makes up for it.
Ichabod Crane: I should like to say that I make no assumptions about your occupation nor your ways, Witch... which... which... which are nothing to me, whatever you are.
Married Life

6. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
I am a big fan of the Harry Potter books, but the movies took a bit of getting used to. The third book has always been my favorite (after the characters have grown up a bit, but before Harry becomes a mopey-pants), so naturally, the third movie has become my favorite so far. I enjoyed the director's choices to deviate from the happy magic of the first two and take a darker turn.

Cornelius Fudge: As the Minister of Magic, it is my duty to inform you, Mr. Potter, that earlier this evening your uncle's sister was located a little south of Sheffield, circling a chimney stack. The Accidental Magic Reversal department was dispatched immediately, she has been properly punctured and her memory modified. She will have no recollection of the event whatsoever so that's that and no harm done.
7. Pride & Prejudice
My friends were big Jane Austen fans when I was a teenager, but I somehow managed not to read any Austen until I was in my twenties. I read Pride and Prejudice after seeing this movie (and no, I have not seen the 6 hour version). I think they did a good job of cutting the story down to fit into two hours and cast some great people. This is another movie that I am used to watching alone. Apparently Dave is too sensible to appreciate the romantic exploits and misunderstandings of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Too bad for him.
Mr. Collins: What a superbly featured room and what excellent boiled potatoes. It's been many years since I had such an exemplary vegetable.
8. Casino Royale
Before Casino Royale, I had no appreciation for 007. I had seen parts of some of the older movies and had little interest in them. But when Dave told me that this was the James Bond movie for people who didn't like James Bond, I was intrigued. This was the first time that Bond actually develops as a character and... Ah, who am I kidding. You all know why I picked this one.

Vesper Lynd: How was your lamb?
James Bond: Skewered. One sympathizes.
9. The Bourne Ultimatum
Shockingly, here is a trilogy where I did not choose the second installment. However, it was a rough choice. I really like the Bourne movies because, as much as they are about a physical struggle, they're also about Jason's emotional and mental struggle. Ultimatum made the list simply because it isn't until then that you finally get some solid answers about Bourne's past.

Jason Bourne: Do you even know why you're supposed to kill me? Look at us. Look at what they make you give.
10. Groundhog Day
I realize that this movie came out when I was 8 years old, but I never got into it until Dave bought it one day and I started watching it all the time. I think living on a desert island would be a lot like living the same day over and over again. Let's just hope needle nose Ned Ryerson isn't stranded on the same desert island. Am I right or am I right? Right right right.

Phil: Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today.
Honorable Mention:
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Hudsucker Proxy
Batman Begins


Dave's Desert Island Movies

Hey, did I forget to mention there is a TV and DVD player on my desert island? In light of this revelation, I guess I better make a list of my favorite movies too (even though you could probably guess a majority of this list based on my blogging tendencies).

My rules this time around:

• Only one movie from a series
• Only one movie from a given director
• Limit the list to 10

Once again I have listed my selections chronologically according to when I originally discovered them. I look forward to reading similar lists on your blogs in the coming weeks.


1. The Empire Strikes Back

As a kid, I always thought The Empire Strikes Back was kinda boring in comparison to the ewok filled Return of the Jedi. But as a I grew up, my enjoyment of ewoks lessened considerably, and Empire eventually took its rightful place as my favorite Star Wars movie. I should mention that the version of the film I would want on my island doesn't exist currently. I would like the original film, with enhanced picture and sound, and maybe even with some of the optical effects and matte lines digitally polished, but none of the digital Cloud City sunsets and superfluous Darth Vader shuttle rides from the special edition. Is that too much to ask George?
Darth Vader: Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
Luke: He told me enough. He told me you killed him.
Darth Vader: No. I am your father.
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark

I have been non-committal about choosing my favorite Indiana Jones movie in the past, but doing the live blogs for each installment really cemented the superiority of Raiders to the sequels that followed. It has everything that makes Spielberg and Lucas great, with none of the self indulgent excess. For more of my thoughts on Raiders, go back and read the live blog.
Indiana Jones: I'm going after that truck.
Sallah: How?
Indiana Jones: I don't know, I'm making this up as I go.
3. Back to the Future

Doc Brown's tricked out, time traveling DeLorean is probably second only to the Batmobile as the most sketched/coveted vehicle of my childhood. While Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd unquestionably carry the movie, it's the supporting performances from Crispin Glover as hopelessly nerdy George McFly, and Thomas F. Wilson as lunkheaded bully Biff Tannon that really gives Back to the Future its heart. Parts II and III have their charms, but ultimately are inferior to the original. This series is potentially my next live blogging conquest.
Doc: 1.21 gigawatts? 1.21 gigawatts? Great Scott!
Marty: What the hell is a gigawatt?
High School

4. The Fugitive

Probably Harrison Ford's last truly great movie, The Fugitive has to be the ultimate action/suspense thriller. No one plays a likable everyman like Ford, and you couldn't ask for a better nemesis than Tommy Lee Jones as Deputy Sam Gerard, a role seemingly tailor made for his no-nonsense screen persona. Quite simply, this is a compulsively watchable film. Even though I have seen it a million times, and the DVD is sitting on my shelf, when I happen to run into it on TV while channel surfing, I still end up getting hooked and watching it to the end.
Dr. Richard Kimble: I didn't kill my wife.
Deputy Sam Gerard: I don't care.
5. Edward Scissorhands

Though I wasn't familiar with the term at the time, Tim Burton was the first director I came to appreciate as an auteur, imprinting a distinct visual and thematic style on all his work. Coming in the midst of his creative peak, Edward Scissorhands is arguably Burton's definitive and most personal work. I remember seeing parts of the movie as a kid and thinking it was so bizarre. When I watched it again in high school though, I was officially on the same wavelength. One thing is for sure, I can never look at suburbia the same way again.
Peg: Oh my. What happened to you?
Edward: I'm not finished.
6. The Nightmare Before Christmas

But wait you say, is this not my second Tim Burton movie, thus breaking one of my rules? Not so, Nightmare was actually directed by stop motion expert Henry Selick while Burton was off making Batman Returns (though Burton still gets his name above the title—how's that for a loophole). This movie has to be the ultimate pairing of the macabre and the sweet, and watching it is both a Halloween and Christmas tradition at our house. I would like to see more original ideas like Edward Scissorhands and Nightmare from Burton these days, rather than all of the remakes and adaptations.
Jack Skellington: There's children throwing snowballs instead of throwing heads, they're busy building toys and absolutely no one's dead!
7. The Hudsucker Proxy

I began to recognize and appreciate the unique voice of the Coen Brothers thanks to this film. Things get off to a blazing start with the unexpected suicide of Waring Hudsucker. Quite possibly the longest jumping off a building death ever committed to film, Mr. Hudsucker even has enough time to wipe a bug off his glasses and motion to the people on the street below to clear some space. From the corporate satire, to the rapid fire dialogue and art deco production design, this one has it all. The scene where a little boy innocently picks up a hula hoop for the first time is also an unquestioned highlight.
Norville Barnes: For instance, take a look at this sweet baby. I developed it myself. Yessiree, this is my big ticket upstairs. You know, for kids!

8. The Truman Show

A pitch perfect satire of television (and those who view it), the film's outlandish premise is grounded with understated humor and honest emotions. Jim Carrey knocks it out of the park in his first serious role, and has become the poster child for comedic actors successfully crossing over into drama. Partial credit certainly must go to director Peter Weir, who accomplished a similiar feat with Robin Williams in Dead Poet's Society. Looking back now, it is fascinating to see just how prophetic The Truman Show proved to be, as it preceded the reality TV craze by a couple of years.
Truman: Was anything real?
Christof: You were real. That's what made you so good to watch.
9. Rear Window

While still getting a handle on college life as an incoming freshman, I had a hole in my fall schedule to fill. I couldn't very well take Beginning Billiards twice, so I signed up for "Introduction to Film". As part of the class, we had a weekly movie screening at the library. Though the films we viewed were hit-and-miss, it was there that I was first introduced to Alfred Hitchcock by way of his classics North By Northwest and Psycho. I have seen close to 20 of Hitch's movies since then, and Rear Window is my personal favorite. It combines many of the Master's hallmarks, including the glamorous blonde (Grace Kelly), mischievous humor, challenging moral dilemmas, and of course, heart-stopping suspense.
Jeff: I wonder if it's ethical to watch a man with binoculars and a long-focus lens. Do you suppose it's ethical even if you prove that he didn't commit a crime?
Lisa: I'm not much on rear-window ethics.
Married Life

10. The Dark Knight

I know this selection may seem a bit hasty considering I have only seen The Dark Knight a handful of times, as opposed to the other movies on this list that I have watched over and over. Well, I need a Batman movie on my desert island, and it sure ain't gonna be Batman & Robin! But seriously, I have total confidence that this instant classic will successfully withstand the scrutiny of endless viewings. Now that the DVD is finally mine, I will be able to find out for sure. My complete analysis of the movie can be found here. Bring on the Oscars!
Alfred: Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.
Honorable Mention:
Casino Royale
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Matrix
O Brother, Where Art Thou?