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The Rough Cut 5/25: When the going gets tough, the tough watch movies

May 25, 2012 - Keith Frederick
This week, we published a 32-page, Travel version of Go. Doing this section annually is probably my most difficult week of the year.

So, as you hold this testament to my fragile mental health, this week’s column is about my favorite movies to watch to de-stress.

You’ll notice there are no dramas on this list. That’s because if you watch “Schindler’s List” or something to relax, you have issues and you should get yourself checked.

Favorites Movies to De-Stress

* “Ghostbusters” — I considered just putting “anything with Bill Murray” here, because he honestly makes any comedy instantly better by an insane degree. (For example, Murray is even hilarious in “Space Jam.” “Space Jam”!!)

But “Ghost­busters” as a whole is just a perfect action comedy movie. Murray rules, of course, as a brilliant scientist whose girlfriend is turned into a drooling, levitating host for a demon dog. But Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis and even Ernie Hudson have awesome lines throughout (“Ray, if someone asks you if you are a god, you say ‘yes!’”)

Nothing is as relaxing after a tough week as a good laugh.

* “The Princess Bride” — Speaking of a good laugh, I give you one of the funniest movies of all time. It is physically impossible for me to not watch this movie if it’s on television. It doesn’t matter that I own it, it doesn’t matter that I know every line — it’s just addictive. Comedy crack.

Every time I watch, I find a new “favorite” part. Fred Savage in full, pre-voice change charming mode as the little kid, Wallace Shawn’s “inconceivably” good performance as Vizzini, Andre the Giant’s droll humor, Cary Elwes’ quick wit, Mandy Patinkin screaming “Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” ... I need to stop before I fill this page.

* “Love Actually” — This is one with a proviso: I’ll only watch it while chilling out with my wife. It’s a fantastic movie, but you don’t really watch a movie in which love conquers all by yourself. (Although it may be different for women. I really don’t know.)

In my mind, this is the perfect romantic comedy. Nothing sappy. Nothing pandering. Nothing censored. It’s just an honest portrayal of every aspect of love, starring basically every great British actor who doesn’t have “Dame” or “Sir” in front of their name.

And let’s hear some special love for Bill Nighy, who steals the movie as forgotten rock star Billy Mack with lines like, “Hiya kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don’t buy drugs. ... Become a pop star, and they give you them for free!”

* “The Matrix” — I’ve seen “The Matrix” approximately 8,000 times. Well, it’s hard to turn the channel when it’s on TNT nightly for months at a time. But I’d watch it 8,000 more.

The only time most people have truly enjoyed Keanu Reeves, this film is just perfect modern popcorn entertainment. Action, action, action and truly great performances from Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Joe Pantoliano and especially the truly creepy Hugo Weaving.

I own all the “Matrix” films, but they could have stopped here.

* “Die Hard” — Have I ever written a movie list column that didn’t include “Die Hard”? I’m not sure I have. Oh well. If you don’t like it, write your own column.

Bruce Willis has never been better than in the movie that catapulted him into superstardom. “Die Hard” set the standard for today’s action movies. Big explosions? Check. Wise-cracking, put-upon, reluctant hero? Check. Eclectic group of villains fulfilling every stereotype? Check. Tough damsel-in-distress? Check. Quirky, cowardly sidekick that proves a hero? Hello, Argyle.

After watching Bruce Willis “Yippie-ki-yay” his way through a skyscraper full of terrorists, just TRY and stay in a bad mood.

Mirror Staff Writer Keith Frederick’s column runs monthly in Go. You can reach him at 946-7466 or by email at kfrederick@altoonamirror. com.

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"Who you gonna call?! Ghostbusters!"