(Alternate) Box Office Blockbuster Tourney: Even-Numbered Years Conference, Round One

So as explained previously, we are again playing a seeded tournament-style elimination game amongst each of the US domestic box office champion movies from the last 32 years, but this time with all-female judges.  Seeding was done via Rotten Tomatoes scores, with ties broken with Metacritic scores.  Three of our five judges will vote on each match-up of two films, with the winner advancing to the next round and the loser skulking off into obscurity, until we have our overall Champion!

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We continue things with our Even-Numbered Years Conference, Round One!  See the introduction to all of this, as well as Round One of the Odd-Numbered Years Conference here, and see the parallel round with all male judges here.

1. Toy Story 3 (2010)

vs.

16. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Robin:  Tough one. I disliked both of these films for different reasons. Being the Christmas fanatic that I am, and even though the film felt somewhat twisted at times, I will choose The Grinch to be my top choice of the two. It has a feel good happy ending. Plus the dog is cute with the huge antlers tied to its head, it made me laugh.

My Vote: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Kim: Toy Story 3 is the obvious winner here. While in both films, the characters are loved and the stories are classic, Toy Story 3 wins because it’s hilarious and colorful. The new characters are great, and the end scene gets me every time.

My Vote:  Toy Story 3

Beth: The Grinch is important because it reminds us of a time before Jim Carrey’s public and unsettling existential breakdown. It’s a classic Christmas movie and I will re-watch it every year until my brother stops paying for my Netflix subscription. But Toy Story 3 defied all odds to become an incredibly powerful and emotional sequel – possibly even better than the original. Credit to the filmmakers for not pulling any emotional punches and respecting their young audience enough to give them some real feels in what could have been a forgettable film about some wise-cracking toys.

My Vote:  Toy Story 3

The Winner: Toy Story 3

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8. Shrek 2 (2004)

vs.

9. Rain Man (1988)

Loey:  This one is surprisingly difficult. Shrek 2 is a lot of fun, certainly the best in that series, especially since Antonio Banderas gets to own the whole thing as Puss in Boots. But Rain Man is the kind of well-written, perfectly-acted drama that deservedly earns Oscars. It is, objectively, the better movie, even if it doesn’t make me laugh (much).

My Vote:  Rain Man

Kim: Rain Man. You got to give it to this film that won best picture. And the performances are great!

My Vote:  Rain Man

Beth: Puss in Boots is the most overrated animated character of all time. Rain Man however, gave us important one liners such as “Qantas, gotta fly Qantas,” and “K-Mart sucks”. It’s a heart-warming, superbly acted classic.

My Vote:  Rain Man

The Winner: Rain Man

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5. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

vs.

12. American Sniper (2014)

Kim:  I really enjoyed both these films, but Saving Private Ryan is the clear winner. Tom Hanks & Spielberg are my favorite film combo. They are a superb team and I love just about anything they do!

My Vote:  Saving Private Ryan

Beth: Spielberg vs Eastwood. How can you choose? Did you know that when filming Saving Private Ryan‘s opening scene, there was an extra who lied about being able to swim just to get the gig? He was so committed that he agreed to be thrown out of a boat wearing full army getup. He started to drown and Tom Hanks saved his life–winning Hanks and Oscar nomination and my vote in this (just as important) blog post.

My Vote:  Saving Private Ryan

Note from the Organizer:  Actually, we only had two judges who had seen both of these movies.  Rather than finding someone else, I found out that Kim and Beth both agreed on Saving Private Ryan and therefore new we could call this match-up with just two votes.  So there you go. 

The Winner: Saving Private Ryan

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4. The Dark Knight (2008)

vs

13. Home Alone (1990)

Loey: I can’t stand Home Alone. It’s too noisy, too dumb, too self-consciously adorable. The Dark Knight has Heath Ledger playing the best (and certainly most terrifying) version of the Joker ever filmed. Any movie that can make you forget about Jack Nicholson deserves the top spot.

My Vote:  The Dark Knight

Kim: This is a hard one. Both films stand alone are great in their respective categories, but The Dark Knight wins for me because I think Chris Nolan is a genius.

My Vote:  The Dark Knight

Beth: Don’t make me choose! The Dark Knight is well written, keenly acted and is one of only a handful of superhero films with a deep, philosophical heart. It is also the best of the Nolan trilogy. But Home Alone has Joe Pesci. Joe Pesci decided the best way to follow up his academy award winning performance in Goodfellas was to get hit in the face with paint cans and shot in the head with a BB gun. What a choice. What commitment. What a film..

My Vote:  Home Alone

The Winner: The Dark Knight

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6. The Avengers (2012)

vs.

11. Forrest Gump (1994)

Liesbeth: I enjoyed Avengers better. Forrest Gump just seemed like it was pretending to be a real story, but was so over the top that it was ridiculous…because this simplistic guy becomes a hero and a wild success in every single thing he does, and I think that’s really unrealistic. And this girl’s so stupid, who just wants to somehow be with losers. And if there’s a sweet, caring billionaire who wants to marry you, why don’t you just marry him? She’s and idiot. And it’s really long—they’ve used up every possible way of him becoming some kind of hero, and then they ended the movie.

The Avengers doesn’t pretend to be real in any way, and is thus a lot of fun and highly entertaining. And Avengers has Thor in it, so really, that’s a winner, and especially now that we’re personal best friends after I saw him twice on Rottnest Island.

My Vote:  The Avengers

Kim:  Forrest Gump! Despite it being problematic in today’s social and political climate, it’s a timeless classic and I love its take on events in American history. The lines in this film are incredible and life really is like a box of chocolates.

My Vote:  Forrest Gump

Loey:  The Avengers is one of the best comic book movies ever made. Forrest Gump has good performances, but it’s mostly an excuse for low-effort Baby Boomer nostalgia. I’ll take superheroes actually doing something over a guy who just wanders into big events and looks confused.

My Vote:  The Avengers

The Winner: The Avengers

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3. Aladdin (1992)

vs.

14. Independence Day (1996)

Liesbeth:  Aladdin is just so much fun, highly entertaining, great for the whole family, really well acted by Robin Williams…so funny. Even the guy who plays Aladdin is good. The whole film is so funny and so fun, and not pretentious.

Independence Day…that’s the one where the aliens attack America? We don’t see any other countries, which is pretty standard. I’m grateful that aliens don’t seem to want to attack Australia, but from an international perspective, it feels very egocentric.

I think it’s a really silly film. I think it feels like it’s trying to be really kind of epic…like in the original Star Wars when Luke is flying down the trench and blowing up the Death Star–it feels like a really bad remake of that when Will Smith has to fly into the ship.

From memory, it’ s a really long film. It feels like if I was to watch it again, I’d really have to find the wherewithal to be bothered with it. But with Aladdin…sure, I could sit through it and have a laugh and enjoy the funny lines. It’s well written with lots of great comedy.

My Vote:  Aladdin

Loey: Watching Aladdin, you can almost pinpoint the exact moment when Howard Ashman died. It’s somewhere between the insanely clever “Prince Ali” and the treacly “A Whole New World.” Independence Day is pure, silly fun all the way through. I never want to skip the boring parts – because there aren’t any.

My Vote:  Independence Day

Beth:  What we’re really asking here is does Will Smith + Jeff Goldblum = Robin Williams?  Guy Ritchie seems to think that the Smith to Williams ratio is basically a 1:1 but we all know that that’s a stretch; it’s more a 5:1 situation. That being said, modern inflation has increased Goldblum’s stock about 50% giving Independence Day greater nostalgic value and a higher valuation point. Nevertheless, the raw talent of Williams makes any real comparison redundant – he carries that movie and all of our hearts.

My Vote:  Aladdin

The Winner:  Aladdin

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7. Spider-Man (2002)

vs.

10. Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story (2016)

Loey:  Spider-Man is one of the better films in the non-MCU MCU, although it suffers from Origin Story Syndrome (how many times do we need to see Peter Parker get bitten by that spider?). Rogue One is the Star Wars prequel we didn’t know we needed. I love the way it fills in those key plot points before A New Hope begins, while bringing some great new characters into the story.

My Vote:  Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story

Kim: I remember watching Spider-Man in theater and thinking, wow. I cried, I laugh, and I thought, maybe I should read the comics? There’s definitely something special about the Spider-Man story, hence the several reboots.

My Vote:  Spider-Man

Beth:  I really want to like Spider-Man. I feel bad for Tobey Maguire – everyone’s third favourite Spider-Man. He will also be forever haunted by the emo dance scene in Spider-Man 3. He deserved better. Rogue One is not a great movie BUT the ending transition into A New Hope saves this from the trash heap. What an incredible scene and incredible hat tip to the original film. Amazing.

My Vote:  Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story

The Winner: Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story

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2. Black Panther (2018)

vs.

15. Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

Loey:  HAHAHAHAHA.

No, seriously. Dead Man’s Chest takes everything fun about the first Pirates and beats it to death. Black Panther is freaking Black Panther, possibly the greatest comic book adaptation of all time. I can barely justify this with a response.

My Vote:  Black Panther

Kim: Ugh, I really do not enjoy the Pirate of the Caribbean films. The cast are all so hokey to me. But I really loved Black Panther. I like how his story has been intertwined within the MCU.

My Vote:  Black Panther

Beth: Dead Man’s Chest‘s plot is so convoluted and confusing you need a PhD and a flowchart to understand what’s going on. The entire franchise shuttled Johnny Depp into irreverence and signaled the end of Orlando Bloom’s acting career. That being said, it’s hella fun. Black Panther is not so fun but, as a cultural artefact, it’s 100000 times more important than a Jerry Bruckheimer cash splash. I will forgive the war rhinos and the laboured Wakandan accents – Black Panther was Oscar nominated for Best Picture by sheer force of will and so for that, gets my vote.

My Vote:  Black Panther

The Winner: Black Panther

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And the judges have spoken!  Last time I said that there was only one vote that went differently from the original version of this Tourney, but I was mistaken–both Jurassic Park and Titanic managed to win where in an another reality, they were defeated (by Avatar and Hunger Games:  Catching Fire).  In this half of the round, Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story joins their ranks, defeating Spider-Man. I really wish the judges had been stacked differently so that Home Alone could have beaten The Dark Knight…just to really mix things up.  But unfortunately, the judges were already assigned semi-randomly before I learned of some of their preference for the 1990’s family comedy.

A couple of other notes:  I’m amazed at the consistent love that Rain Man got in both this and the all-men version.  And this is the third time one of our judges has mentioned Black Panther’s armored rhinos!

Anyway, we’ll move on with things soon, and when we do, this will be the match-ups we’ll be seeing:

Odd-Numbered Years Conference

1. Toy Story vs. 9. Titanic

4. Terminator 2 vs. 5. Star Wars–Episode VII:  The Force Awakens

3. The Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King vs. 11. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s / Philosopher’s Stone

2. Harry Potter & the Curse of the Deathly Hallows part two vs. 7. Jurassic Park

Even-Numbered Years Conference

1. Toy Story 3 vs. 9. Rain Man

4. The Dark Knight vs. 5. Saving Private Ryan

3. Aladdin vs. 6. The Avengers

2. Black Panther vs. 10. Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story

Looking forward to what our distinguished judges say next!

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