Movie Fights: Real Genius, The A-Team and other underdog answers

I was a little late to this week’s Movie Fights (and if you don’t know what that is, check my first post about it), but better late than never.  Sunday’s video featured Michael Barryte of Belated Media (What if Star Wars Prequels Were Good?); Davis of Hair of the Warp Zone and Hal Rudnick, Screen Junkies show host.

As with last week, I listened to the question and gave myself a little bit of thinking time then three minutes of writing time*. Then I watched the fight and gave myself a minute and a half for follow-up thoughts before watching who won the fight on the show and moving on to the next one. I’ve done a little bit of cleanup on these answers  for spelling and whatnot but refrained from reworking them to strengthen or rethink my pick. What you see is basically what you get in four and a half minutes after a question was posed. So, let’s fight!

ROUND ONE**: What Current star should reboot an 80s movie?

Proportions shmroportions, it's Don Glover's head on Val Kilmer's body.
Proportions shmroportions, it’s Don Glover’s head on Val Kilmer’s body.

Donald Glover as Chris Knight (a role formerly occupied by Val Kilmer) in Real Genius.  I feel like we’ve seen pieces of the Chris character through Glover’s role on Community, but Real Genius gives him an opportunity to bring them all together as the guy who loves fun but is also a legitimate genius who leads a young protege as they build something wonderful and awful and then thwart their conniving instructor and the campus jerk.

Mentioned in the video: Idris Elba in Rambo, Christian Bale in Robocop, Dwayne Johnson in The Running Man

Follow-Up: In addition to thinking Glover can carry a starring role with that same charisma that Kilmer oozed, I think Real Genius is a type of movie we don’t really see any more. Sure, we get stoner movies, and we get Pitch Perfects with underdogs going to competitions, but this is a solid film about students who are building something — using their minds in fun ways — fighting bad decisions of The Man and coming into their own, both with Chris, who is forced to get a little serious without losing who he is and whatever young nerdy kid you get for Mitch who learns to lighten up.

Full disclosure: I felt like I was pushing my rules’ limits here, because I spent a lot of time looking at a list of 80s movies and trying to think of people to fill those roles. But once Real Genius and Donald Glover struck me as feasible, I started the countdown for pondering why.

ROUND TWO: Best spy movie, excluding Bond films

These were the days...
These were the days…

Mission Impossible. It has just about everything you could want. It’s got action, it’s got heists, it’s got an unreal level of deception, and just enough cool gadgetry to not feel *too* out of the realm of possibility. Plus, who DOESN’T know and love that scene where Tom Cruise dangles from the ceiling, less than inch away from touching a floor rigged with alarm sensors? It also cleared the way for more spy movies. The Bourne Identity. Mr. and Mrs. Smith (which I hated, but apparently everyone else loved), and say what you will about some of the sequels, the franchise is still going strong and poised to keep going long after Cruise leaves. The first Mission Impossible did almost the impossible by not only reviving an old series for a new audience, but giving it what it needed to carry on for coming up on 20 years.

Mentioned in the video: Kingsman, Bourne Identity, Top Secret!

Follow-up: I have none.

ROUND THREE: Best singular film made from a TV show***
The A-Team. Because it’s fun. You sit down in a dark room with a bowl of popcorn and just enjoy the hell out of it. You don’t have to have Big Thought about it — in fact, it might be better if you go into without big thought — you just accept that these folks can fly a tank, break out of prison like its nothing, and pull off a shell game with shipping crates all while looking good and spouting funny lines. Plus — spoiler alert — the fan favorite doesn’t die at the end, unlike the OTHER movie that was a contender for this question from me. Also, Jessica Biel. I smile every time a 7th Heaven kid gets work post that train-wreck of a show.

Mentioned in the video: South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut; Monty Python and the Holy Grail; Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

Follow-up: This is the part where I have to give full disclosure, and say I didn’t watch The A-Team show, because I just wasn’t interested in it. But I never got the impression that it was this bastion of drama and realism, but rather it was a big dumb show that flows nicely into a big dumb movie. And really, is there a higher praise for a big dumb adaptation movie than “I’ve never seen this show, but man I want to see this movie”?

ROUND FOUR: Best inspirational speech in a film
Leave No Doubt – Remember The Titans
Are there bigger speeches? Sure. Are there grander speeches inspiring more important feats? Definitely. But is there a 35-second speech that is as rousing as the one in the middle of this three minute clip? I say there is not.


Mentioned in the video:
“Get out of here,” Cinema Paradiso; “Our Independence Day,” Independence Day; “Our Freedom,” Braveheart

Follow-up: The speeches in the video are all great, but they also all mostly required a ton of build-up to get to. I felt like I’d seen Cinema Paradiso by the time Michael got to the speech he wanted to share. Whereas, what do you need to know about Leave No Doubt? A football team is being called unfairly but damn, they’re going to go out and win anyway. Plus, Coach Yost had the harder job. Those boys KNEW they were victim to bad calls, and Yost couldn’t tell them he’d just done a little more inspirational speaking to get them called fairly. But knowing that, he still gets through to them (Petey notwithstanding) and they get the job done, clearing the way for the offense to rack up points. And it doesn’t sound like Yost just got back from a Poetry 101 class.

There are a few questions I didn’t answer, because I just didn’t feel qualified to do so. Those are:

What director should make a superhero movie
Best first movie by a director
Speed round questions

Do you agree? Disagree?  And if you watched the video, how do I stand up against the big guys? Let me know in the comments. Now for some footnotes:

* I might change my rules from here out, and give my answers based on word count rather than time limit. Not necessarily because I want more time to make better choices, but because I want more time to better defend the choices I’ve made. Because really, sometimes half the fun is defending an underdog choice, regardless of whether it’s an answer you really believe in or it’s just the first thing you thought of.

** My rounds don’t match up with the video because I skipped the superhero director question. Once the video gets going, if you click “Pick Your Fight” you can jump ahead to the appropriate question if you want.

*** I misunderstood this question to mean the best movie based on a TV show that didn’t become a franchise

Leisure Time is on Twitter! Follow @TheLTtweet for post updates and smaller fannish thoughts.

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