Christopher Nolan’s Joker – Greatest Villain in Cinema History?

Last night I saw the midnight screening of the Dark Knight at the new GardenWalk in Anaheim; it was sensational. I’m sure there will be review after review praising this film and I’m sure I’ll agree with what is said. I’m not going to write about the film in general. The question I’d like to raise is this: is Christopher Nolan’s Joker the greatest villain in Cinema History? Let’s go through and check:

Darth Vader – is now just a winy teenager. Even without the destruction of the Darth Vader character via the new 3 Star Wars episodes this Joker would give him a run for his money.

the Terminator – Unfortunately he’s only been a villain 33.4% of the time (he’s the hero of the 2nd and 3rd film). He falls behind the Nolan’s Joker as well.

Silas Lynch – from The Birth of a Nation, 1915. While he is worth mentioning, he falls behind the Joker as well – he’s not near as disturbing as the Joker, nor is he as evil.

the Wicked Witch of the West – she’s been made into the misunderstood good guy by “Wicked.”

Phyllis Dietrichson – in Double Indemnity, 1944. It’s true she’s crafty and can’t be trusted but compared to the Joker she’s like Mother Teresa. She causes nowhere near the level of destruction, and by comparison, she is not feared. The Joker strikes terror into th hearts of an entire city.

Henry F. Potter – from It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946. Just nowhere near the same level – I think you’d all agree.

Mrs. Iselin – from Manchurian Candidate, 1962. She’s on the list because she’s twisted and devious – the Joker has her beat in both categories.

CatwomanBatman Returns, 1992. Catwoman is probably the most comparable person on the list simply because she too comes from the Batman universe. The Joker will leave you disturbed and rattled. Catwoman is more of a typical superhero villain – almost playful. Joker wins, hands down.

Out of all the villains I can think of, the only one who truly rivals Nolan’s Joker is Hannibal Lecter. It’s a very close call but there are a few things to consider: think about the amount of havoc the Joker brought upon the city. Think about the volume of people who were terrified of him. Think about his motives. The most frightening thing about the Joker is that he really does not have any motives – he’s just a “dog barking at cars.” He loves doing what he does. Though it’s a close call, I believe the Joker wins again.

Heath Ledger was perfect and I’m not exaggerating. It’s fair to say (while we are on the Hannibal subject) that he gave an “Anthony Hopkins” worthy performance – he’ll go down in history.

So that’s my point – I think a strong case could be made for the Nolan Joker to be the greatest villain of all time. What say you?

-David May

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The Real NFL

A few weeks ago I was serving as a judge for Humorous Interpretation of Literature at the National Forensic League‘s 2008 National Tournament and I was incredibly impressed by the incredible talent of the competitors. While I naturally can’t disclose my personal recommendations or remarks, I can say that it was an incredibly tough round (in a good way) to judge. Other judges included Anthony E. Zuiker, Michael Urie, Jen Kober, Susan Anton, and about 11 other incredibly talented judges that I will soon remember and update…

I had not experienced the “NFL” since High School. I participated in Speech and Debate my sophomore, junior, and senior year in high school (wish I did it my freshman year too) and was fortunate enough to qualify for Nationals all three years (yes, the judges must have been crazy). Speech and Debate is one of my fondest memories of High School.

I’ve got tons more I could say about all of this – perhaps in the near future I’ll do another post.

-dm

Power to the short people!

My friend sent this story to me.  Enjoy.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=5314996&page=1

http://members.shaw.ca/harbord/heights3.html

Famecast Profile

Apparently I’m in the mood to join new websites latley – –

I’ve been writing music since high school and I’ve never really taken it too seriously.  When I’m in the right mood, or when I have some free time sometimes I’ll feel like writing one.  I’ve decided I like writing music and I’m going to try to take it a bit more seriously.  There are some spec movie scores, some techno stuff, and some songs with lyrics.

I’ve had a page with myspace music for a while but am not totally satisfied with the way it’s set up.  A friend of mine, Justin Lutsky, is on famecast.com and I recently created a profile.

CLICK HERE to navigate to my page.

Let me know what you think.  I’m really looking to learn – the page is more for my education than public edification.  I’m still learning how to write music and would love some feedback.

Thanks!

-David May

Quarterlife.com portfolio

I created a new profile on quarterlife.com – typically I’m against joining every single social network that comes along, but for some reason I really liked this one! It’s geared toward artists and provides a great place to post photography, videos, writing, music and so on.

http://www.quarterlife.com/yamdivad

-dm

Common/Universial College Applications

The University that I work at is switching to the Common Application this year and overall I feel pretty good about that.

I am in the Las Vegas airport coming home from the WACAC conference right now and one of the sessions I went to was about the Universal Application which is similar to the Common Application in that it is an application that students can fill out once and submit to many schools. It is possible for a College or University to use only one of these applications making them an “exclusive member” of that particular application group, or it’s possible for a College or University to use these applications (both in some cases) as well as their own applications providing students many different ways to apply.

As someone who reads applications for a University, I think it’s interesting to watch the evolution of applying to colleges. Back in the day, the students would have to fill out a number of different applications and the College/University would only have to read an application in the form they were use to. We seem to be moving in a direction where the students have to fill out only one application and the Admission Counselors at the College/University are going to be expected to read various types of applications; familiarizing themselves with multiple formats which will (even just a little) slow down the reading process.

I don’t have any serious issues with the world moving in this direction. I do think it should be as easy as possible for folks to apply to college, and I don’t mind if that means I have to read various types of applications but it is interesting to watch that transition.

-dm

One of the funniest things I have seen in a while

Weiner Poopie!

-dm

Who do you think I look like?

Who do I look more like… Donny Osmond, Fred Savage, Jud Law, or Ryan Seacrest?

(this is me)

David May

(Donny Osmond)

Donny Osmond

(Ryan Seacrest)

Ryan Seacrest

(Fred Savage)

Fred Savage

(Jude Law)

Jude Law

These are the most common folks people tell me I resemble.

-dm

Top Ten Date Movies?

I was listening to Hugh Hewitt’s 1/25/08 podcast and he had a guest on that was talking about the movies. One of the topics was “Top Ten Movie Rentals for early dates (1-3).” I’m going to provide the list, and some other lists that may be more… accurate.

*side note*
The guest said this in reference to 22 to 30 year olds in Hewitt’s Audience:

“Do you actually think there’s somebody in that demographic that listens?”

The answer is yes! I’m 24 and I’m sure there are more of us – give us some credit, eh?

Top Ten Date Rentals (approximately 3rd date)
(according to Hugh Hewitt’s show on 1/25/08)

10) Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000) – bad idea
9) When Harry Met Sally (1989) – good idea
8 )Far from Heaven (2002)
7) Notting Hill (1999) – my skin crawls just thinking I may one day have to watch this movie again.
6) The Philadelphia Story (1940)
5) the African Queen (1951) – what? the African Queen as a date movie? Not in this dating generation.
4) Some Like it Hot (1939) – alright, I could see that.
3) It Happened One Night (1934) – I could see that too I guess.
2) Casablanca (1942) – cliche… don’t do it.
1) the Notebook (2004) – I have not seen it but know what it’s about… I don’t know about that for a date early on.

March of the Penguins (2005), Mad Hot Ballroom (2005), Last of the Mohicans (1992), – Pride and Prejudice (the six hour one) were also mentioned by listeners. I could see Last of the Mochicans and I’ve never seen Mad Hot Ballroom, but the other two are terrible ideas.

What would my top pick be? The choice is clear: Princess Bride (1987). Charming, funny, and romantic.

Happy Valentines Day folks,

-dm

Other top 10 date movie Lists:
About.com
Askmen.com

There Will Be Blood…? 8 nominations… really?

A modern day Citizen Kane. These are words that I would NEVER USE to describe this film.

I liked Magnolia. I have not seen Paul Thomas Anderson’s other films but I am sure I would like a few more of them. I liked what I saw of Boogie Nights. And you know, I’m sure he’s probably a really nice guy on top of everything else.

I did not like There Will Be Blood. Not even a little. In fact, I’ve never been so frustrated in a movie in all my life (and I’ve seen Valentine). I’ve only been moved to write a review about two films. This one, and Star Wars Episode III. I did not like Star Wars Episode III at all, but I prefer it 100 fold over There Will Be Blood.

At no point am I going to rag on any particular individual involved with this film. I will say that in my humble opinion, nothing really worked. Again, not trying to be a jerk – just in my opinion nothing really worked… at all.

BEING UN-CONVENTIONAL
The friends that I saw this film with said It wasn’t bad, it was “un-conventional.” Let me explain something. If you make a film that is un-conventional, that does not give you a free pass to avoid criticism. Movies can be un-conventional AND terrible. There is an important category that must be paid attention to. The quality category: that is “good” and “bad.” An example of a “good” and un-conventional movie would be Memento.

THE PERFORMANCES:
Daniel Day-Lewis is incredible. I loved his performance, and nothing bad can or should be said about it. Not too excited about anyone else. I guess the translator was pretty good.

THE SCORE:
It sounded in some sections like the THX logo was about to come up. In other sections it sounded like a musician fell into a closet full of instruments. No kidding… at one point a teenager came into the theater ringing some Christmas bells and… I am seriously not kidding… I thought it was part of the movie. Totally out of place, completely strange and I didn’t even realize it was not supposed to be there. No kidding.

THE STORY:
Movies are storytelling. Some stories are not worth telling. Maybe I’m crazy… maybe I’m alone in this but I just didn’t care. If someone walked up to me at a party and started to tell me this story about this guy who was a gold miner and then got into oil drilling and went from town to town looking for land that had oil under it and one day he found a crazy religious guy who caused him no end of trouble but he took his advice anyway and then made a lot of money but- right about here I’d probably just give them the back of my head and walk away. I don’t care about this story. At two hours into the movie, I still didn’t care.

THE CHARACTERS:
Everyone was a Jerk. I couldn’t root for anyone; I didn’t care about anyone, and I really didn’t care what happened to them. So incredibly boring.

THE GOOD PARTS:

TWO HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BAD PARTS:

  • Whenever the characters started to get violent with one another the majority of the folks in the theatre I was in began laughing. I don’t blame them. It came off funny. I don’t know if it was supposed to; I really don’t think so, at least not most of the time.
  • Why did I have to watch him look for gold in the beginning? I suppose to show that he started a man by himself; just a one man show that by the end has a mansion and tons of money? I feel like we would have gotten that anyway. If not cut that, then please cut something – or pick up the pace. Way too slow; way too long.

I feel like I’ve ranted enough for now. Long story short, great performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, but that’s all I have to say. He was a flower growing out of a pot of dirt (no offense to anyone – just saying it like it is). Yes, I know it was nominated for lots of awards. I have two words for you: English Patient. Not many folks liked that movie, but it still won Best Picture in 1996 over Jerry Maguire.

Where am I going wrong here?

-dm