Saturday, December 27, 2008

I suddenly remembered my Charlemagne. Let my armies be the rocks and the trees and the birds in the sky...

Back around 1990, McDonald's would sell VHS tapes. Why, I'm not quite sure, but I remember them doing so. I remember seeing commercials for them and at one point, on sale was Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade. I was too young at that point to see it in the theater, but had seen Raiders of the Lost Ark on TV a bunch and had a new hero in Indiana. My sister and I talked my dad into buying the VHS and thus an all time favorite was born. Although Raiders remains the best of the movies, with it's old-school style of set-piece action scenes and all over the world adventuring, something about Last Crusade will always remain my favorite. What makes it different and better is the relationship between father and son. It has sentiment and comedy without being overtly cheesy (that was left to the crap sentiment and overly flat and boring failed attempt to recharge the franchise in Crystal Skull.)

Adventure films were always my favorite as a kid. What young kid didn't want to be James Bond or Indiana Jones or Batman growing up? The ability to travel the world, get into life & death situations, yet ultimately be able to get out of them, meet awesome people, find romance and ride off into the sunset? Who didn't want to fight a tank when they were a kid?

Or punch a Nazi in the face and throw him out of a Zeppelin?

The options of adventure are endless. There are boat chases, running amongst sewer rats, going through dungeons and chambers to find the Grail, flying planes, landing them...well, as best as one can or just destroying things using God's creatures. Even getting Hitler's autograph! Last Crusade has it all.

The most important thing for me about Last Crusade is the relationship between father and son. Not only is it a great vehicle for a lot of the action and suspense in the movie, but it has some of the best back and forth dialogue of the series. The chemistry between Sean Connery and Harrison Ford is perfect. They are at times silly and sometimes serious. Their relationship is the anchor to the movie giving it a little more feeling and connection then the other films in the Indiana Jones series.

The history may be completely far fetched, but learning about things like Grail lore through film and seeing Indiana learn by exploring was definitely intriguing to me. It made me want to learn about history even if that meant I wanted to be like Indiana Jones and travel the world and fight bad guys at the same time. Of course, none of that would ever happen, but it's a good thing that a movie like this could inspire me to learn more about history and make it seem interesting to a kid. For that, Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade is very important in the movies of my life.

1. Cinema Paradiso (1988) dr. Giuseppe Tornatore
2. Rushmore (1998) dr. Wes Anderson
3. Jurassic Park (1993) dr. Steven Speilberg
4. It's A Wonderful Life (1946) dr. Frank Capra
5. Trust (1990) dr. Hal Hartley
6. Donnie Darko (2001) dr. Richard Kelly
7. On The Waterfront (1954) dr. Elia Kazan
8. Monty Python & The Holy Grail (1975) dr. Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam
9. Do The Right Thing (1989) dr. Spike Lee
10. Stop Making Sense (1984) dr. Johnathan Demme
11. Trekkies (1997) dr. Roger Nygard
12. Fight Club (1999) dr. David Fincher
13. The Sting (1973) dr. George Roy Hill
14. Ghost Busters (1984) dr. Ivan Reitman
15. This Is Spinal Tap (1984) dr. Rob Reiner
16. Better Off Dead (1984) dr. "Savage" Steve Holland
17. Robin Hood (1973) dr. Wolfgang Reitherman
18. Mad Max (1979) dr. George Miller
19. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975) dr. Milos Forman
20. Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade (1989) Steven Speilberg

Up Next: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) dr. Stanley Kubrick

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