(Alternate) Box Office Blockbuster Tourney: Round Two

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!

Terminator 2

We are now in our (Alternate) Round Two–having reduced our movies to the Top 16 entries.  Of those 16, 13 are the same as the original version of this round, with Titanic, Jurassic Park, and Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story occupying the slots that used to belong to Hunger Games:  Catching Fire, Avatar and Spider-Man.

We now continue with Round Two!  Votes for each context are listed in the order I received them, except when it made for better suspense to mix them up.

Odd-Numbered Years Conference

1. Toy Story (1995)

vs.

9. Titanic (1997)

Kim: Of the choices, I prefer Toy Story to Titanic. Merely because in the classic scenario of if I were on a deserted island I could only bring one these two films, I would watch Toy Story over and over again and easily take a hard pass on Titanic‘s 3-hour long film. Titanic is beautifully directed, and it’s really interesting the lengths James Cameron went to build the sets to match the original Titanic ship, but the love story is just too much…I can’t even deal. Toy Story, on the other hand, wins simply because the story of friendship and coming of age always prevails because it’s more inclusive.

My Vote:  Toy Story

Robin:  For nostalgia reasons, Toy Story takes the cake for this battle. In 1994 I was 13. I was at that point in my life where I was no longer a little kid but this movie brought back all the feels of childhood. Imagination, favourite toys, the sadness of losing said favourite toy, the joy of the reunion, moving house; it was cute. I still like watching it to this day….even without my kids in the same room.

My Vote:  Toy Story

Liesbeth:  What do I think?  I like Toy Story better.  I think Toy Story is a more honest look at friendship–even though they are fake, the friendships are more real than the love story on Titanic, which is supposed to be real but actually feels fake.  However, having said that, Titanic is very visually stunning, where Toy Story is a cartoon–I prefer live action.  But I like Toy Story’s story better.  Toy Story has got a lot of heartfelt moments and you feel a deep sense of empathy, you really get to like the characters.  Whereas in Titanic, I feel like you really get to hate the characters, because they are just so annoying.  And in the end, when–Jack, is it?–when Jack sinks into the cold black ocean, you wonder why he doesn’t just get on a little floating piece of ice that she’s on.  It seems so pointless, it’s a highly dissatisfying ending.

My Vote: Toy Story

The Winner: Toy Story

 

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4. Terminator 2 (1991)

vs.

5. Star Wars–Episode VII:  The Force Awakens (2015)

Beth:  Look, I know everyone’s going to vote for The Force Awakens because they’ve been bitten by the JJ bug. But they’re wrong. In Terminator 2, James Cameron hit every single emotion known to man – he made you care about a two-dimensional robot named Arnold, he gave everyone reoccurring nightmares of being incinerated in a school yard playground, and he turned a simple thumbs up into the holiest cinematic hand gesture to ever grace the silver screen. Speaking of silver – the T-1000 – how did they DO that in 1991? Respect where respect’s due, guys.

My Vote:  Terminator 2

Kim:  Rey is one of my favorite protagonists. She’s smart, scrappy and is a great underdog. I have to pick Star Wars Episode VII, because I love that character so much. I will say though, the classic look-a-like / who’s the bad guy element in Terminator 2, is always a fun story disrupter, and at the time of the film, not that cliche. The Force Awakens may be tainted with “Disney” undertones, it has a better cast and is the better film.

My Vote:  Star Wars Episode VII:  The Force Awakens

Loey:  Terminator 2 is the rare sequel that surpasses the original. With its heightened action, groundbreaking special effects, and super-badass Linda Hamilton, it has a high place on the list of great movies with a 2 attached to them. As much as I enjoyed The Force Awakens, it’s just not on the same level.

My Vote:  Terminator 2

The Winner: Terminator 2

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3. The Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King (2003)

vs.

11. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s / Philosopher’s Stone

Beth:  Let’s start by acknowledging that Kim is contractually bound to vote for Return of the King because her company, Weta, was formed in the fires of Mount Doom and is sustained by the elvish bread of its success. I’ve also previously disclosed the blood bond I made to the Scottish hobbit after hearing him sing his sweet song in the second act so there’s no real fight here. We loves it.

My Vote:  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Loey:  The weakest Harry Potter movie against Peter Jackson’s masterpiece? No contest.

My Vote:  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Kim: Ooo, this is a tough call. Both films to me are in this same genre of fantasy based on fiction where the stakes are high, but good prevails over evil in the end, as it should, if not just to make us, the audience, feel good. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a fun, relatively light-hearted film with a really scary bad guy and a classic JK Rowling twist of the lesser baddie not actually being a bad guy in the end, but totally misunderstood. Return of the King is the final chapter of the LOTR and brings audiences to the point of the deepest low, and just when all hope is lost for our heroes, a man back from the dead on a white horse saves the day. When it comes down to it, the filmmaking is so much better in the Lord of the Rings.

My Vote:  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Winner: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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2. Harry Potter & the Curse of the Deathly Hallows part two

vs.

7. Jurassic Park (1993)

Beth:  As I write this, J.K. Rowling is sending a tweet, letting us know that the T-Rex in Jurassic Park is actually in a relationship with the Hungarian Horntail that appears in Goblet of Fire. But really, the robotics and VFX that Spielberg conjured in 1993 are legitimately awe-inspiring, terrifying and beautiful. 18 years later, Deathly Hallows still dazzles, but has got nothing on the creativity and technical brilliance of those dinosaurs. Add a dash of Jeff Goldblum and, abracadabra, you have true movie magic.

My vote: Jurassic Park 

Loey
As solid as Deathly Hallows 2 is, nothing quite matches the thrill of Jurassic Park. All these years later, it’s still one of the best big Hollywood movies ever made.

My vote:  Jurassic Park 

Kim: Harry Potter may be a wizard, but Jurassic Park is so much more magical. It’s so beautiful. The location is stunning, the film is totally thrilling, the child actors are way more believable (and delightful), and dinosaurs are so cool.

My vote: Jurassic Park

The Winner:   Jurassic Park

 

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Even-Numbered Years Conference

1. Toy Story 3

vs.

9. Rain Man

Beth:  Toy Story was the first movie to be entirely computer-animated. Toy Story 2 made us fall in love with Sarah McLachlan. Toy Story 3… gave us an irrational fear of baggage carousels? Rain Man, on the other hand, boosted Qantas stocks and was, according to some psychiatrists, the greatest thing that ever happened to autism. Though the dangers of stereotyping mental illness should be discussed – Rain Man opened a floodgate for medical research funding and was PR gold for Autism Spectrum Disorder which, before then, was supremely misunderstood in the West. In terms of legacy – there’s a clear winner.

My Vote:  Rain Man

Loey: Rain Man is a very good film. Toy Story 3 is magical. It also has more emotional resonance that most live-action efforts (and that includes its competition here). Pixar triumphs again.

My Vote:  Toy Story 3

Robin:  Since I loathed Toy Story 3 because it was dark and irritating, Rain Man takes the win. I’d go into greater depths as to why I liked Rain Man but I’m tired. Like so tired my eyes are burning. Tired. Rain Man for the win.

My Vote:  Rain Man

The Winner: Rain Man

 

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4. The Dark Knight (2008)

vs.

5. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Beth:  I’ve seen Saving Private Ryan multiple times. I even voted for Saving Private Ryan in the last round. But I couldn’t tell you anything that happened in it besides that 1000 extras made a good living off that opening scene alone. You want to know what happened in The Dark Knight? Heath Ledger made a pencil disappear, he survived a truck flipping over, he beat Batman in a game of chicken, he blew up a hospital, and he slow-clapped his way into our hearts. He’s not a monster, he’s just ahead of the curve.

My Vote:  The Dark Knight

Loey:  Without Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight is merely very good. Saving Private Ryan is a brilliant visceral experience, even beyond its legendary opening battle scene. Even when it gets as hokey as an actual ’40s war movie, it somehow still feels authentic.

My Vote:  Saving Private Ryan

Robin: I love Tom Hanks. I don’t think think I dislike any of his films. I have to acknowledge that this comment might cause some of you to snicker. I realise Tom Hanks is the voice of woody in Toy Story 3 which I did not like but I’m not counting this in my consideration. Besides, it was “Lotso” the bear who ruined it for me. Aaaanyway. Back on topic–I choose Saving Private Ryan.

My Vote:Saving Private Ryan

The Winner: Saving Private Ryan

 

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3. Aladdin (1992)

vs.

6. The Avengers (2012)

Loey:  Aladdin has never been a favorite of mine, so this one is easy. The Avengers showed how high our expectations for Marvel’s cinematic universe could go. It’s clever and action-packed, and doesn’t have a single annoying musical number.

My Vote:  The Avengers

Kim:   These films are really 20 years apart? That’s crazy.  I love the Marvel Universe, and all the characters and films they have squeezed out of it. It is brilliant how they have weaved together all those characters to fight this dark, evil mastermind, but the charm and beautiful artistry of classical animation in Aladdin is something to admire. Aladdin does offer some of the first digital CGI in films with some incredible fx work with the lava. I think it is fair to say, The Avengers storytelling relies heavily on CGI and stands on the shoulders of the technology developed in Aladdin to do those effects. I’m gonna pick Aladdin here. Maybe it’s nostalgia or an appreciation of classical animation, but in my opinion, Aladdin is more pretty to watch.

My Vote:  Aladdin

Liesbeth:   I’ve got to go with The Avengers.  They are both good films, they’re both very fun, the characters are both likable, the dialogue in both of them is smart.  None of the characters are real, so they don’t have to feel like they are.  Both of them are about heroes who don’t take themselves too seriously, and I like that.  It’s a tough call, but if someone asked me if I want to watch Aladdin or if I want to watch Avengers, I’m going to go with the Avengers.  Even though Aladdin is probably funnier, it’s been done to death by my kids, I can’t really watch it anymore.  And no doubt, soon Avengers will feel that way too.

My Vote:  The Avengers

The Winner: The Avengers

 

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2. Black Panther (2018)

vs.

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

Beth:  Hi everyone. Rogue One is a boring movie and the death of all the main characters is not sad, it’s a relief. Thanks.

My Vote:  Black Panther

Loey:  Black Panther showed how well Marvel could surpass the expectations set by The Avengers. It’s not just a great comic book movie, it’s a great movie, period. Rogue One is a good (maybe great?) Star Wars movie, but that’s all.

My Vote:  Black Panther

Kim:  Hands down Black Panther. That film was an American cultural revolution and brought us an amazing soundtrack and the coolest scientist character ever. I do feel both films are too mickey-mouse, and Disney is playing us all in their ploy for world domination. But aside from that, Black Panther is cool and Rogue One is sad, and maybe should have been left as a footnote?

My Vote:  Black Panther

The Winner: Black Panther

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And another Round is finished, with some more cool surprises!  Jurassic Park and Terminator 2 are both still in the game, in spite of not even making it to this round last time.  Joining them as an unexpected winner is Saving Private Ryan, which has beaten out the original champion, The Dark Knight.  I couldn’t be happier–even though I supported The Dark Knight the first time around, I’m excited that we can know for a fact that our final result will be different this time.

The next set of match-ups will be our Elite Eight, and are as follows:

Odd-Numbered Years Conference

1. Toy Story vs. 9. Terminator 2

3. The Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King vs. 7. Jurassic Park

Even-Numbered Years Conference

5. Saving Private Ryan vs. 9. Rain Man

2. Black Panther vs. 6. The Avengers

I’m looking forward to how all this pans out.

 

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