Category: Trivia

Top 10 Hitmen from Movies, Novels & Comics!

I was reading a discussion between Andy Rausch and Michael Gonzales titled HOW TO WRITE A MEMORABLE HIT MAN: A CONVERSATION AMONG CONNOISSEURS.  If you’re a crime fiction fan, especially the sub genre of hitmen, then you’d enjoy the post by Michael Gonzales.

At the end of the article Gonzales listed his Top Ten Hitman List from popular culture.  It’s a good list, so I decided to come up with one of my own (listed in alphabetical order):

  1. Arthur Bishop played by Charles Bronson in The Mechanic
  2. Jackie Coogan played by Brad Pitt in Killing Them Softly
  3. John Rain written by Barry Eisler from his Hitman Series
  4. John Wick played by Keanu Reeves in the John Wick movies
  5. Keller written by Lawrence Block from his Hitman Series
  6. Leon played by Jean Reno in Leon aka The Professional
  7. Luca Torelli from the Torpedo Graphic Novels written by Enrique Sánchez Abulí and drawn by Jordi Bernet
  8. Michael Sullivan played by Tom Hanks in Road to Perdition based on the graphic novel written by Max Allan Collins and drawn by Richard Piers Rayner
  9. Robert Rath played by Sly Stallone in Assassins
  10. Vincent played by Tom Cruise in Collateral

M. Knight Shyamalan’s Films From Best to Worst!

Chris Evangelista at /Film took a swing at ranking M. Knight Shyamalan’s Movies From Worst to Best.  Evangelista took into account all of M. Knight’s films including his newest (Old – which I haven’t seen) and his earliest work (that didn’t see wide release).  I decided to rank Evangelista’s top five to see how we’d compare.  I also included my thoughts on some of M. Knight Shyamalan’s films that didn’t make the top five.

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5. Split 5. The Village: I liked The Village up until the twist. It just didn’t work for me.
4. Signs 4. Unbreakable: I enjoyed Unbreakable but not as much as most. I need to revisit it.
3. Unbreakable 3. Split: I thought Split was surprisingly good.
2. The Village 2. Signs: I really love Signs, great cast and fun story with scares along the way.
1. The Sixth Sense 1. The Sixth Sense: Absolutely loved it. Proud to say I figured out the twist early on.
  • Lady in the Water: I’ve seen this once and remember liking it better than most folks.
  • Old:  I haven’t seen this and am in no rush to.
  • The Happening:  I had really high hopes for The Happening.  The trailers were creepy and I was excited to get to a theater to experience it.  What a let down The Happening turned out to be. I do remember that the scariest part was the old lady.
  • The Visit: I am a fan of The Visit.  I thought it was pretty good.  The tension builds and builds. It had the M. Knight twist near the end that he is known for.  I’d have included in this in the top five.

The All-Time Scariest Sci-Fi Movies!

Phil Pirrello decided to rank The 25 Scariest Sci-Fi Movies Ever Made.  I decided to play along using just his top five to see how we’d compare.  The results are below…

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1. The Thing (1982)

1. Alien: Because we had never seen a creature like this and because anyone in the cast could die the scare factor was increased.

2. Alien (1979)

2. The Thing: Watch the blood test scene and tell me that The Thing doesn’t belong in the top two. I dare ya!

3. The Fly (1986)

3. Aliens: If the colonial marines can’t stand up to them, what can? (Congrats to Sigourney Weaver for making the top 3 with two different directors!)

4. Aliens (1986)

4. The Fly: Equal parts scary and gory.

5. The Invisible Man (2020)

5. The Invisible Man: was much better than I thought it would be.

Other films in Pirrello’s list that I would have rated higher: Pitch Black; 10 Cloverfield Lane; Us; Predator; A Quiet Place; and Terminator.

“Get Shorty” Trivia!

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Rob Hunter at Film School Rejects posted 29 Things We Learned from Barry Sonnenfeld’s ‘Get Shorty’ Commentary.  Before you click over here are three of my favorites and my thoughts on each…

They did about thirty takes of the scene where Chili (Travolta) punches Bones (Dennis Farina).  (It always surprises me when I read about shots that require so many takes.  30 seems like a lot to film a scene of a guy getting punched.  It’s not like the actor’s are forgetting dialogue. – Craig)

Sonnenfeld is also a producer on the film because he brought the film to Danny DeVito‘s attention after reading the novel on a cruise. He envisioned DeVito as “the perfect Chili Palmer,” but they went with Travolta who ended up being the perfect Chili Palmer. DeVito bought the rights, and they were off to the races. (DeVito as Chili Palmer?  Even DeVito didn’t see that.  Travolta was the right choice. – Craig)

Preview audiences were asked what their least favorite scenes were, and their number one pick was Ray hitting Fay (Hart) because you should never show a man hitting a woman. “My feeling was, first of all, it’s okay for them not to like this scene. You’re not supposed to hit a woman… (Exactly.  The audience shouldn’t like that scene, but it should stay in the movie.  What kind of bad guys do we end up with if they never do anything the audience doesn’t like? – Craig)

What is Best at the Top 25 USA Restaurant Chains?

Michele Debczak at Mental Floss posted the list of America’s 25 Biggest Restaurant Chains.  I thought it might be interesting to share my favorite food or drink at each.  Perhaps we have the same taste…

  • McDonald’s: Believe it or not, I go to McDonald’s almost every day for the Sugar-free French Vanilla Coffee.  I love it (even if I sometimes have to doctor it up with a bit of Monk Fruit.)
  • Starbucks: I never go there unless it is through the drive-through with/for my wife.  I find Starbucks to be
    over-priced and snooty.  Grande, indeed.
  • Taco Bell: Another place I seldom go.  I used to like the 7 layer burrito, but it has gone the way of Burger Chef.
  • Chick-fil-A: I go to Chick-fil-A on a weekly basis (at least). For breakfast; Egg white grill (egg, grilled chicken on an English muffin). For lunch: Grilled chicken sandwich & cup of chicken noodle soup.  They have the best staff and service time no matter the location.
  • Wendy’s: I love that you can get chili there year round.  Their grilled chicken sandwich isn’t bad either.  Want to splurge?  Get the Baconator.
  • Burger King: Their Whopper used to be the best fast food burger going.  It is still awesome, but the service at BK (no matter the locations) make the experience less than pleasurable.  I hope for a BK comeback some day.
  • Subway: I don’t eat there as often as I used to, but when I do, I get the BMT with lettuce, pickle, onion, mayo, mustard, plus a little oil and vinegar.
  • Dunkin’: I don’t eat at Dunkin’ unless there is nothing else.  Then I get a cinnamon roll.
  • Domino’s: I don’t eat at Domino’s but when I did it would be pizza with pepperoni and extra cheese.
  • Panera Bread: Any of their soup and sandwich choices are good.
  • Chipotle: I eat at Chipolte pretty regularly.  I like the burrito bowl.  Be sure and get the chips and salsa!
  • Pizza Hut:  I don’t eat at Pizza Hut but when I did it would be barbeque pizza.
  • KFC: They have great slaw and their biscuits aren’t bad either!
  • Popeyes: Their chicken sandwich is amazing.
  • Sonic Drive-In: I love that you can always get a hot dog or corn dog there… and they ain’t bad.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings: Go with what is in the name – get wings and a Diet Coke then watch some sports.
  • Arby’s: Get the Arby’s classic loaded with roast beef and add some horsey sauce.
  • Little Caesars: I don’t do Little Caesars.
  • Dairy Queen: Either a M&M Blizzard or an old fashioned chocolate milk shake made with vanilla ice cream and Hershey’s chocolate syrup.
  • Jack in the Box: I don’t eat at Jack in the Box.
  • Panda Express: Get the Honey Walnut Shrimp!
  • Olive Garden: Unlimited Soup, Salad and Breadsticks!  Switch up the soup if you go for seconds.  Oh, and be sure and add a side of Alfredo sauce for the breadsticks.
  • Papa John’s:  I don’t eat at Papa John’s.
  • Chili’s: They have a good bacon burger.
  • Applebee’s: I used to get the Club House Grill but it has gone the way of Lum’s, so I don’t eat at Applebee’s very often.

“Terminator 2” – Surprising Facts!

Terminator 2 is consider by many to be not only the best film in the Terminator series, but also the best movie that Arnold Schwarzenegger ever made.  It’s interesting to note that initially James Cameron had no interest in a sequel, Arnold didn’t like the idea of playing a good terminator and Linda Hamilton just wanted to be crazy.  You’ll learn the reasons behind these facts and a whole lot more if you click over to Todd Gilchrist’s 20 Facts About Terminator 2: Judgment Day at Mental Floss.  Before you do, here are three of my favorites and my thoughts on each…

JAMES CAMERON WANTED BILLY IDOL TO PLAY THE T-1000.  (Cameron wanted a different body type for the T-1000 and Billy Idol was his first choice.  Idol was in a motorcycle wreck that led to Robert Patrick getting the part.  I believe that Idol’s celebrity would have taken from the impact of the T-1000 and it would have looked like stunt casting.  I also believe that Patrick was a better choice for the role – he’s an excellent actor! – Craig)


TERMINATOR 2 ESSENTIALLY MADE ITS MONEY BACK BEFORE IT EVEN PREMIERED. (This is an amazing fact when you consider that Cameron was paid $6 million dollars, Arnold was paid $15 million, Linda Hamilton got $1 million and the total budget was $102 million dollars. – Craig)

SEVERAL VERSIONS OF T2 HAVE BEEN RELEASED, BUT JAMES CAMERON HAS A FAVORITE. (It’s the theatrical release and I agree. – Craig)

 

J. Edgar Hoover – Some Surprising Facts You May Not Know!

J. Edgar Hoover is an interesting character.  The fact that he was the head of the FBI and able to stay in office for decades, that even President’s feared him, and that he had “the goods” on anyone who was anyone has always intrigued me.  He wasn’t a good guy and there are many rumors that surround his personal life. 

Scott Beggs touches on many of these things and more in 20 Surprising Facts About J. Edgar Hoover.  Before you click over, here are three of my favorites and my thoughts on each…

.J. EDGAR HOOVER DIDN’T HAVE A BIRTH CERTIFICATE UNTIL HE WAS 43.  (This was the same year his mother died and there is speculation “that Hoover, who persecuted Black civil rights leaders, had a secret African-American heritage.” Wouldn’t that be something?  I wonder if the rumors are true. – Craig)

RICHARD NIXON WAS AFRAID OF J. EDGAR HOOVER.  (Hoover apparently had “dirt” on every President and they were afraid to fire him.  It is especially telling that “Richard Nixon, thought Hoover might ‘bring down the temple’ if he were sacked.”  We have learned over the years the indiscretions of many of our Presidents but Hoover had the goods at the time. – Craig)

J. EDGAR HOOVER HAD WHAT WAS POSSIBLY THE WORLD’S LARGEST COLLECTION OF PORNOGRAPHY. (Reportedly it contained photos of celebrities and politicians. The craziest rumor about it: That it contained nude pictures of Eleanor Roosevelt given to him by W.C. Fields!?  Really??  Also, why would he keep the collection — perhaps for his own enjoyment or more likely to have something on these folks should he ever need to it. – Craig)

The All Time Best Female-Led Action Movies!

Daniel Kurland at CBR.com came up with his list of the 10 Best Female-Led Action Movies.  Kurland’s list is a good one, so I thought I’d compare my rankings (using his choices) to his.  Here is how things shook out:

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10/10. Aliens

*** Hanna
*** Alita: Battle Angel

9/10. Kill Bill, Volumes 1 & 2

 

8/10. Underworld

8/10. V For Vendetta

7/10. Terminator 2: Judgment Day

7/10. Underworld

6/10. V For Vendetta

06/10. Kill Bill, Volumes 1 & 2

5/10. Hanna

05/10. The Resident Evil Series

4/10. Atomic Blonde

4/10. Atomic Blonde

3/10. Alita: Battle Angel

3/10. Aliens

2/10. Mad Max: Fury Road

2/10. Terminator 2: Judgment Day

1/10. The Resident Evil Series

1/10. Mad Max: Fury Road

I hadn’t seen Hanna or Alita, so I didn’t rank them.

My top four could possibly change spots depending on my mood. I believe them to be the cream of the crop.

I would have found a spot in my top ten, probably at #5 for Gena Davis and The Long Kiss Goodnight and at #6 Gina Carano for Haywire.

1970 – 1979: Each Year’s Best Marvel Character’s Debut

George Marston at GamesRadar posted his choices for 1970 – 1979: Each Year’s Best Marvel Character’s Debut.  Comparing his choices to mine looks like this:

Year

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Other Options

1970

Valkyrie

Conan the Barbarian: How could any of these characters be picked over Conan? He seemed the obvious choice to me and by a wide margin. Agatha Harkness, Howard Stark, Red Wolf, Kull the Conqueror
1971

Man-Thing

Morbius the Living Vampire: was my choice but Man-Thing would be in my 2nd slot for 1971. Mockingbird, Doc Samson,
1972

Luke Cage

Luke Cage: We agreed on this choice. That first issue blew me away. I’d have gone with Werewolf by Night in my 2nd slot. Werewolf by Night, Adam Warlock, Dracula, Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Night Nurse, Shuma-Gorath, Tigra, Shanna the She-Devil
1973 Howard the Duck Shang-Chi: started good and got better when Moench and Gulacy arrived. (And don’t discount the Moench & Mike Zeck run!) Moondragon, Drax the Destroyer, Thanos, Mantis, Blade, Brother Voodoo (Doctor Voodoo), Daimon Hellstrom, Killmonger
1974 Wolverine Wolverine: The obvious choice and we both agree. I’d put the Punisher in my 2nd slot. Jackal, Punisher, Iron Fist, Deathlok, Colleen Wing
1975 Storm Misty Knight: This was a tough choice for me. I like the Misty Knight character just a tad more and feel she has even greater potential to become a major player. Korvac, Jamie Madrox (Multiple Man), Colossus, Krakoa, Nightcrawler, Gamora, Moon Knight, Moira MacTaggert
1976 Rocket Raccoon Star-Lord: would be my pick in a tough year without any real standouts. I almost went with Nova so he’d get my 2nd slot. Hellcat, Bullseye, Jack of Hearts, Black Tom Cassidy, Union Jack, Nova (Richard Rider), Captain Britain, Eternals
1977

Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew)

Sabretooth: gets my vote. Arnim Zola, Corsair, Machine Man, Godzilla King of the Monsters, Deathbird, Gladiator (Kallark), Henry Peter Gyrich
1978

Mystique

Ben Urich: A non-superpowered character gets my top slot for 1978. Arcade, Paladin, Quasar (Wendell Vaughn), Moon-Boy and Devil Dinosaur, H.E.R.B.I.E.
1979

Northstar

Ant-Man (Scott Lang): easily gets my top spot for 1979. My 2nd slot would go to James Rhodes. Shadow King, Justin Hammer, Cassandra Lang, Black Cat, Rom the Spaceknight, James Rhodes

Burger Chef: Reasons We Miss You!

If you’re old enough to remember Burger Chef restaurants, you probably miss them.  I used to be surprised at how much love the fast food joints had built up with those that ate there.  The first Burger Chef opened in 1954 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  By their peak year in 1973, there were over 1,000 locations throughout the US and Canada.  Less than 15 years later the last Burger Chef closed.  

The fine folks at MeTV posted 10 Reasons We Really Miss Burger Chef Restaurants.  Before you click over, here are thoughts on three of my favorites…

The Works Bar.  Burger Chef was the first to come up with the idea of a works bar.  It contained all the items you could want for your sandwich – lettuce, pickles, onion, tomato, as well as condiments.  This allowed customers to customize to perfection.  We had customers who would come in, order a sandwich and drink then would go to the works bar and make a salad using the items for sandwiches.  

Star Wars Posters.  Burger Chef was ahead of the other fast food joints when they began including Star Wars posters with the purchase of a meal.  If you don’t know my Mike Kott/Burger Chef/Star Wars posters story, it’s worth a click over.

The Big Shef (and Fun Meals).  The Big Shef was Burger Chef’s signature sandwich.  It was basically a Big Mac without sesame seeds, pickles, onions or special sauce (Thousand Island dressing).  What was their true claim to fame were Fun Meals. geared towards kids. Each Funmeal came with a sandwich, small fries, small drink and a toy! Five years later McDonalds started serving Happy Meals using the same concept.

I worked at Burger Chef for a couple of years while in college.  Those were fun times.  Yeah, I miss Burger Chef restaurants.  

The All-Time Greatest Action Movies!

Matthew Jackson, at Mental Floss, posted his list of The 30 Greatest Action Movies of All-Time. I took Jackson’s list and compiled my top ten (using just choices from his 30 greatest).  Here are how things shook out.  (Jackson’s list is by year and mine is alphabetical — they’re all great action movies.)

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1. THE WAGES OF FEAR (1953)

1. DIE HARD (1988)

2. SEVEN SAMURAI (1954)

2. ENTER THE DRAGON (1973)

3. GOLDFINGER (1964)

3. FIRST BLOOD (1982)

4. SHAFT (1971)

4. JOHN WICK (2014)

5. ENTER THE DRAGON (1973)

5. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015)

6. THE DRIVER (1978)

6. THE MATRIX (1999)

7. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)

7. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT (2018)

 

8. FIRST BLOOD (1982)

8. POINT BREAK (1991)

9. ROBOCOP (1987)

9. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)

10. DIE HARD (1988)

10.TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY(1991)

There are 4 in his top 30 that I haven’t seen: THE WAGES OF FEAR (1953); DRUNKEN MASTER II (1994), BATTLE ROYALE (2000) and THE VILLAINESS (2017).

There are two on his list that I saw and didn’t like much at all: CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (2000) and ONG-BAK: THE THAI WARRIOR (2003).

Here are some movies that didn’t make Jackson’s list but would have made mine: Predator; Casino Royale, Atomic Blonde; Aliens; and Army of the Dead. (And those are just off the top of my head!)

Al Capone: Interesting Trivia You May Not Know!

Sean Hutchinson at Mental Floss recently posted 17 Facts About Al Capone.  You know the drill, before you click over, here are three of my favorites and my thoughts on each…

AL CAPONE GOT THE NICKNAME SCARFACE FROM A BARROOM FRACAS. (It’s not surprising to note that Capone hated the nickname Scarface.  Even more interesting is that he preferred friends to call him Snorky.  Somehow Snorky doesn’t seem as threatening as Scarface, and you can be sure if Capone was around and he wanted to be called Snorky, Snorky it would be. – Craig)

AL CAPONE’S “CHICAGO OUTFIT” MADE A LOT OF MONEY.  (Reportedly Capone’s outfit made $100 million in 1920.  Today the equivalent would be $13,352,700,000.00.  That’s 13 Billion plus dollars!  Wowzers! – Craig)

AL CAPONE RAN A SOUP KITCHEN DURING THE DEPRESSION.  (You’d think that this showed that Capone had a good heart.  Remember this was the same guy who beat to death three men with a baseball bat after serving them dinner, and the same guy who killed or had killed many, many people.  The soup kitchen was done to win public good will for his upcoming trial! – Craig)

The Best 21st Century Zombie Movies!

Daniel Kurland over at CBR.com listed his choices for the 10 Best Zombie Movies Of The 21s Century (So Far).  I decided to play along so here are Kurland’s and my choices (using just his list) and some thoughts at the end.

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10. Overlord

*** Anna And The Apocalypse (Haven’t seen)

9. #Alive

*** One Cut Of The Dead  (Haven’t seen)

8. Dawn Of The Dead

8. Rec 

7. Dead Snow

7. Dead Snow

6. Anna And The Apocalypse

6. Alive

5. Shaun Of The Dead

5. Shaun of the Dead

4. One Cut Of The Dead

4. Overlord

3. Train To Busan

3. Dawn of the Dead

2. [REC]

2. Train to Busan

1. 28 Days Later

1. 28 Days Later

If I was creating my own list I would include World War Z and Army of the Dead.

RIP: Gavin MacLeod

 

Gavin MacLeod, best known to fans as either the the loveable Captain Stubing of The Love Boat, or the witty Murray Slaughter from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, died yesterday at the age of 90.  MacLeod, who was born Allan George See, but changed his name for show biz.

Gavin MacLeod began his acting career in 1957 and he alternated with smaller roles in television and movies.  In 1962, he became a regular on McHale’s Navy.  After two seasons he left the series and took a role in The Sand Pebbles staring Steve McQueen.  MacLeod followed that role with guest appearance on many popular television shows including (but not limited to): The Munsters, Rawhide, Gomer Pyle, The Man from UNCLE, The Andy Griffith Show, The Rat Patrol, Ironside, Hawaii 5-0, Hogan’s Heroes, Love American Style.   Along the way Mr. McLeod also appeared in feature films including his role in Kelly’s Heroes with Clint Eastwood.

In 1970, Gavin MacLeod began playing Murray Slaughter when The Mary Tyler Moore Show premiered  After the show ended, he accepted the lead as Captain Merrill Stubing in The Love Boat.  That series ran for ten years as well as a tv movie and a spin-off series: The Love Boat: The Next Wave.  Gavin MacLeod continued to act until 2014. 

I was a huge fan of Gavin MacLeod’s Murray Slaughter.  Often he was the funniest on a show full of talented comedians.  I always love when he turns up in any show or movie that I’m watching and perhaps my favorite surprise appearance is in Compulsion (an under-rated movie) where he plays an assistant to the DA.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gavin MacLeod’s family, friends and fans. 

“Army of the Dead”: Things You Might Not Know

Izak Bulten at CBR.com posted Army Of The Dead: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Zack Snyder’s Zombie Franchise.  You know how much I enjoyed Army of the Dead and how much I like lists… so, before you click over, here are my three favorite facts from Bulten’s list and my thoughts on each…

The Theatrical Opening Was Netflix’s Biggest Ever. (I think it is cool that Army of the Dead was given a limited theatrical release, and cooler still that it ended up with Netflix’s biggest opening ever.  Hopefully this will help guarantee a sequel or three. – Craig)

There’s A Making-Of Documentary For The First Movie. (I always love to go behind the scenes on movies to get a look at the thoughts that go into making them.  The Making-Of Army of the Dead is available on Netflix.  I’ve seen it and it is worth a look. – Craig)

The Main Cast Will Reprise Their Roles For The Animated Series. (This is a cool idea.  Not only will the original cast voice their characters, but Zack Snyder is set to direct a couple of the episodes! – Craig)