Improbable Adventure

Separated from the standard “action adventure” by your need to suspend disbelief to enhance enjoyment, the Improbable Adventure has a “whoa, how’s he going to get out of this one” at least every five minutes. Here are a few, non-Bond* films to exhibit this entertaining plot rollercoaster.

Goonies

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You know, this seemed like an improbable adventure, until we read about Oak Island. Now it seems like an elaborately guarded treasure trove could be just around the corner. Assuming the corner is near the seven seas we’ve been hearing so much about.

National Treasure

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This movie requires so much suspension of disbelief that there should be a disclaimer, not just at the beginning, but every five minutes throughout the film. The acting is excellent, in spite of the ridiculous script. We imagine the outtakes reel is a spectacular laugh riot. The plot… well, it’s The DaVinci Code set in America with Ben Franklin as Leo and a pile of treasure as the Grail. Begin car chase now; watch for falling plot twists.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

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What could be better than a Nick Cage film? Well, how about a sequel to a Nick Cage film? For the first time ever, Nick reprises a role. And somehow they talked Helen Mirren into joining them on the romp.

The Da Vinci Code

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See Nat’l Treasure above. Also, briefly skim bible. Try not to take it too seriously, especially if you belong to a religion.

Jumaniji / Zathura

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We’ll list these two together because they’re the same movie. And, both based on books by Chris Van Allsburg. Nice originality Chris. We guess he sat down to write the first book and couldn’t decide between the jungle and space as an interceding setting. So, you made money once, just do it again. Sounds good to us!

Sahara

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Like Indiana Jones, Clive Cussler’s Dirk finds himself constantly running from large rolling boulders and confronted by massive groups of militant locals. On top of all that the film comes together in a tremendous coincidence, the kind of, “wow it’s a small world ain’t it” climax that leaves you wondering just how tiny that Sahara desert is anyway (3.5 million square miles, actually). For improbably adventures, this is an action packed, laugh a minute romp with all the character archetypes covered. The only change we would make would be some kind of animal battle sequence, can you imagine McConaughey fighting a lion? Good times.

*All James Bond films are exempt from this category. Everyone knows Bond can escape any situation, no matter how tight, so there’s no need to suspend disbelief when 007 is on the screen.


Savin’ Da World

delorean.gifOne man (or woman) (or small team of mixed gender, race and backgrounds) puts their life (or lives) on the line to save the whole planet, galaxy or in some cases, the universe.

Armageddon

Who are you going to call when there’s a giant asteroid hurtling through space towards Earth? Bruce Willis! Bruce shows that asteroid who’s boss with some unlikely help from his motley crew of roughnecks. Not only does he save the world with style, but he does it to a bitchin’ soundtrack by Aerosmith.

The Abyss (Extended Version)

Ed Harris must have been livid when he found out they’d edited the last scenes of the film, demoting him from planetary savior to mere everyone-at-the-bottom-of-the-ocean savior.

Star Wars (Various Episodes)

We’ve seen it a million times: maniacal Sith lord has his finger hovering over the big red button on a fully functional battle station, and directly down the barrel of the laser canon is an innocent planet populated by cute fuzzy muppets and a few rebels. Who’s gonna stop him? Somebody with a light saber! Risking life (and quite often limb) these fearless Jedi repeatedly put it all on the line to protect a planet from being lased.

Men In Black (and MIB2)

The special effects are pretty good. We don’t think anyone goes into a Will Smith / Tommy Lee Jones film thinking “Oscar.” Everyone knows these films are dumb, so there’s no need to badmouth them here. The point is, these guys save the world, usually several times in each film. That’s movie innovation. Also, look for David Cross in both films, playing one character with two very different jobs.

Moonraker / The Spy Who Loved Me

The same film really, where James Bond saves the planet from a man bent on ending life on earth and starting it again, with a select group of people stowed away on a self-sustaining space station or sea lab, respectively.

Independence Day (ID4)

Oh look, Will Smith is back. And this time, Jeff Goldblum is helping out. Because, boy, that Goldblum is a leading man you can get behind. Actually, we think he might have saved the world in Vibes also. Sorry for putting in that link; don’t watch that film. So, ID4. The most remarkable thing about this title is the geographical inaccuracy. Get a map, and mark the Grand Canyon and Area 51. Lovely walk in July’s Nevada sun.

The Fifth Element

Lus Besson directing Bruce Willis (again!) and Milla Jovovich decked out in Gaultier. Need we say more? Watch it! If you can rip your eyes from a scantily clad Milla Jovovich, you’re in for a treat. Not only is Luc Besson’s vision of the future totally sweet, but we get to see flying cars in super-tall NYC. The unique thing about this film is that Bruce and Milla save the entire universe.

Die Hard 4, Live Free or Die Hard

Did someone say “Bruce Willis?” In the past, John McClane hasn’t saved the whole world in his efforts to prevent crimes. But in this film, the villain wanted to cause so much trouble, that one might argue that it was in fact, saving the entire world… from economic destruction. Okay, technically it’s mostly just America that’s getting shut down. But here in the US, that’s all that matters.

Amnesia Films: The Ones to Remember

Television soap operas, which must employ unprecedented numbers of medical technical advisors, truly own this fascinating cranial condition. Lucky for us, a few examples of this affliction have made it to the big screen…

It’s almost a mystery how screenwriters are able to lay off of this character building goldmine! Here are just a few of the finer examples of this brilliant plot device:

Clean Slate

Dana Carvey in a lead role! What better way to excuse a poorly developed main character, than by relieving him of his memory? This film has a few cute jokes and comically recurring lines, “What happened to your thumb?”, and I’ve deemed it worthy of three viewings!

Memento

Wait, would it be a plot spoiler to call this an amnesia film? I can’t remember. I do remember that it would be an evening spoiler to let you watch this movie, so I’m going to recommend you don’t. Unless you’re having a big amnesia night.

The Jacket

I haven’t seen this film, but I read the plot summary, and I think it’s a lot like Rambo: First Blood… if Rambo had amnesia instead of a survival knife. I’ll watch it soon, and write an update.

The Majestic

It’s another one of those blacklisting, McCarthy era things… only this one has amnesia. And it’s got excellent cinematography. And a freaky monkey doll. Oh, and Jim Carrey keeps the facial contortions to a minimum.

Regarding Henry

Harrison Ford gets shot in the head and when he’s done with his coma, he can’t remember he’s an asshole lawyer. Personally, I find it hard to believe you could stop a lawyer from being an ass just by shooting him in the head, but I suspended my disbelief for this heart-wrenching 180-flick…

The Muppets Take Manhattan

Kermit gets amnesia and ends up the ad biz. Who better to write jingles than someone with no memory? Of course, he’s missing from the broadway show he’s supposed to be putting on, so the other muppets need to track him down in the big city. You know what, if Miss Piggy kept trying to get in my non-existent pants, I’d probably feign amnesia too.

Finding Nemo

Apparently the usage of amnesia in this film, through the character Dory, is considerably more accurate than amnesia in other films. A doctor told me so. It’s still pretty damn funny, even if it is medically accurate. Though, I always thought Ellen Degeneres’ character was only met to embody that story about goldfish swimming in circles continually because they have only a three-second memory… not to raise awareness of the horrors and hilarities of memory problems.

Overboard

Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell come together for this amnesiac, fish out of water, revenge flick. It’s got everything… and rowdy kids too.

Resident Evil

Like every net-gen male, I’m looking for three things in my woman:

  1. Supermodel
  2. Passable acting
  3. Ability to protect me from zombies

Meet Milla as video game character Alice. Check, check, check and swoon. Also, if said ultimate woman also had amnesia, she might not remember that she’s way too good for me.

50 First Dates

If you think Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler would make a nice couple, and that they should be living in Hawaii, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised! Because they do! And they are! And Drew’s got that daily amnesia thing, antereograde amnesia, like is used in Clean Slate and Memento. That’s a cool kind of amnesia. I really enjoyed this film–if you rent one amnesia film this year, make this the one.