Echoes Through Time: 45 Years of ‘Westworld’

Westworld Anniversary

Two men ride in on a train, dressed in casual clothes. They’re headed for a vacation, but we’re not sure where. Judging from the landscape passing out the locomotive’s windows, it’s easy to guess the American heartland. But that assumption would indicate that their destination is of natural creation – a product of God’s Design, crafted in a manner we’re still attempting to comprehend. No, entry to where these two well-off individuals are going includes a rather sky-high ticket price, as the arena was manufactured merely to provide them the greatest “violent delights”.

Welcome to Westworld. Leave your suit jacket by the door, as your “host” will see that you’re fitted for either cowboy boots, a Roman Toga, or a suit of armor, so that the adventure you’ve paid good money for can begin as soon as you march out into this artificial realm.

Westworld was born 45 years ago and it is, somehow, still alive and kicking and breaking minds today.

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Godzilla movies ranked

Yesterday, we began our journey of ranking every single Godzilla movie from worst to best. Today, we reach the grand finale: the 15 best movies starring the King of the Monsters.

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godzilla movies ranked

Take a minute to picture Godzilla in your head. What do you see?

For many, the image is elementary — men in elastic monster suits brawling with one-another amidst a shoddily built train set, stepping on miniature cars willy-nilly in the hopes of conveying a sense of obliteration on an apocalyptic scale. To the average moviegoer, King G is an icon of combative campiness; a monolithic figure akin to a green Hulk Hogan, wrestling other goofy kaiju for 90 minutes while tiny people point and scream “the monster is attacking the city!” 

Like most successful franchise front-men, the magnitude of Godzilla’s first appearance has been diluted by subsequent sequels, to the point that many now overlook the iconic monster’s original metaphorical meaning: a walking mushroom cloud, the otherworldly symbol of holocaust. Ishir? Honda’s colossal work of Japanese filmmaking still stands as one of the greatest filmic responses to the psychosomatic suffering caused by war, ranking with Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove as a defining piece of pop art derived from the utter devastation of the nuclear bomb.

Yet that doesn’t mean there isn’t a ton of enjoyment to be mined from the franchise. Just the opposite, in fact. Recently, the Criterion Collection bought the rights to many of Godzilla’s sillier franchise entries, and last year’s Shin Godzilla proved that there was still dramatic weight to be considered when bringing the big guy back to the big screen. So, with that in mind, it seemed like as good a time as ever to present you with the entire series, ranked from worst to best, acting as a guide to your kaiju viewing pleasure. Because there’s a lot of Godzilla out there to consume, and you’re gonna need some help deciding which chapters to devour first…

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Jackie Brown at 20

Pulp Fiction (’94) changed the face of cinema forever. Though that’s become something of a clichéd declaration amongst cinephiles, the statement nonetheless contains an immeasurable volume of truth. While Quentin Tarantino’s first completed feature, Reservoir Dogs (’92), underperformed in the United States – its foulmouthed, hyper-violent tendencies contributing to a notorious reputation and cult following on VHS – the Sundance darling was a gigantic hit in Europe, with London and Paris theatrical engagements running for months at a time. When Pulp Fiction landed at the Cannes Film Festival, it did so with the impact of an atomic bomb, blowing critics’ minds and making a rock star out of its video store clerk turned geek chic co-writer/director.

Pulp Fiction was produced for a cool $8 million, going on to gross over $200 million worldwide. It caused a ruckus at Cannes, winning the festival’s highest honor while one onlooker screamed “scandal!” from the back row, flipping its director the bird. Miramax Films was instantly dubbed “the house that Tarantino built,” as the indie label now had the clout (not to mention the capital) to start chasing Oscar contenders it became notorious for representing throughout the rest of its Weinstein-headed existence. A wave of imitators flooded in – just look at something like 2 Days In the Valley (’96) for the most shameless example – and everyone wondered what Tarantino would do to follow up his self-aware filmic pop amalgamation.

The answer wasn’t as simple as everyone thought when Jackie Brown (’97) premiered on Christmas Day three years later.

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