Tag Archives: star wars

There is no Wayne’s World 1

One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone inserts 1 into the title of the first film of a franchise. You often hear people say that Wayne’s World 1 is way better than Wayne’s World 2. Or that Rush Hour 1 was the best movie in the trilogy. I hate that. There is no Wayne’s World 1. It’s Wayne’s World and Wayne’s World 2. Rush Hour has two sequels. Yes, it’s the first movie but it’s not called Rush Hour 1. It’s simply Rush Hour. You can check IMDB.com if you don’t believe me. Don’t even get me started on people who say Die Hard 1 or Star Wars 1.

There are a few exceptions like History of the World, Part I and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. But there is no History of the World, Part II and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 was the seventh film of the franchise, not the first. The moral of the story is there is no Wayne’s World 1. So don’t say it.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens (SPOILERS!!)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the seventh installment of the Star Wars franchise. It’s the first film of the newest trilogy, and the first truly great Star Wars film since The Empire Strikes Back (Return of the Jedi was a glorified toy commercial and a bit of a letdown. It’s still better than the prequel trilogy though). J.J. Abrams takes over the director’s chair and breaths fresh life into the series. There are new characters, new planets, new aliens, but with enough nostalgia to bring a smile to the most cynical of Star Wars fans. If you don’t like this film, you don’t like Star Wars and I feel bad for you. You have no sense of fun or adventure and you bring everyone down around you.

I didn’t have the chance to see The Force Awakens on opening night. I finally got to see it yesterday. It was worth the wait. I almost teared up as the introductory text crawl appeared onscreen. It’s been a long time since we visited Luke Skywalker and friends. To find out he was missing was surprising. Instantly you wonder what lies ahead. The first action sequence was overwhelming and you knew that you got your money’s worth right away.

I don’t want to talk too much about the plot. I don’t think the plot is all that important. Star Wars was always more about the characters. If you don’t care about the characters, you won’t care about what happens to them. John Boyega plays Finn, a stormtrooper that quickly finds his conscious and joins the resistance. You can see his reluctance to kill before you ever see his face. Daisy Ridley play Rey, a fierce and tough scavenger who is thrust into an adventure she never planned for but is completely capable of handling. The most important new character is arguably BB-8, the droid that dominated the Christmas toy market. He is a robot that beeps and boops like R2-D2 and seems like a mechanical puppy a lot of the time. If you don’t buy him, you won’t like the film. He’s like Wall-E. He’s a mechanical object that has more emotions than a fourteen-year-old girl.

The new characters aren’t all good guys either. You have to have some bad guys for them to fight against. The Force Awakens has bad guys in spades. There’s Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, a masked villain who inevitably reminds you of Darth Vader, yet is still relatable. It helps that he takes his mask off and you find out his backstory in this film as opposed to waiting a few years for the sequel to discover who he is. He reminds me of Tom Hiddleston as Loki in the Marvel cinematic universe. Andy Serkis portrays Supreme Leader Snoke, the mysterious master of the dark side who is pulling the strings behind the scenes. We have a lot more to learn about him. Domhnall Gleeson plays General Hux, the Grand Moff Tarkin of the new trilogy. He’s a bad guy, but he’s a bureaucrat as opposed to an evil Jedi.

I haven’t even started talking about the returning characters. Harrison Ford and Peter Mayhew returning as Han Solo and Chewbacca was worth the price of admission alone. They had a much bigger part than I thought they would. I was expecting a glorified cameo. It was anything but. They drove the plot forward. Carrie Fisher returned as Leia Organa. She’s a general as opposed to a princess now. Anthony Daniels returns as C-3PO, although he’s almost unrecognizable with his new red arm. You also see a lot of former background characters reappear. I won’t lie, it was awesome seeing Admiral Ackbar and Nien Nunb again. I didn’t know that I missed them. I did.

The best thing about The Force Awakens is that it feels like a new Star Wars film. You get to catch up with old characters but the focus is on the new characters and nothing feels forced about it (enjoy that pun). There’s a passing of the torch. It’s not about Luke, Leia, and Han anymore. That’s a good thing. You don’t want to live in the past. Well, maybe you do but you shouldn’t.

You need to see this movie and it’s best to see it with other Star Wars nerds. It’s much more enjoyable to share a look and a comment with a friend when you both catch an obscure reference. It’s not a perfect movie, but no movies are. It’s still exciting and it hooks you in and leaves you breathless until the end. There are only a few characters and scenes that seem out of place but it all seems like is building up to something in the sequels. I will testify that we sat in the theater when the film ended and talked about everything we witnessed as the credits rolled. It’s not often that you want to immediately go back and watch what you just saw. That’s a testament to how satisfying The Force Awakens was. I could write a lot more about this movie. I’m going to drink a beer instead.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Don’t Trust Anyone Who Hasn’t Seen Star Wars

I don’t trust anyone who hasn’t seen Star Wars. I’m talking Episode IV: A New Hope, the original film that started it all. There’s really no excuse for not seeing it. It’s only two hours long and it’s been out for nearly forty years now. Everyone’s had plenty of time to catch up. Star Wars is a huge part of pop culture. Everybody knows about lightsabers and Darth Vader and that Luke made out with his sister. The film transcends the cinema, it’s more than just a movie. So I think that everyone should watch it at least once. If you don’t like it, that’s fine. At least you watched it. And if you do like it, then there are tons of sequels, spinoffs, and a whole extended universe for you to explore.

Not watching Star Wars is like living under a rock. And people shouldn’t live under rocks. They should live in houses with Blu-ray players and Star Wars on Blu-ray. I’m not saying you’re behind the times if you haven’t seen Star Wars. I’m saying you’re way behind the times. They finished the original trilogy. Then they finished the prequel trilogy. Now they are starting a whole new trilogy. It’s the perfect time to jump on the bandwagon. And I won’t talk to you scruffy-looking Nerfherders until you do.

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Watching a Classic Movie with Someone That’s Never Seen It Before

My friend came over the other day to hang out and we ended up watching a movie. We debated on what to watch for a while before settling on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. A couple minutes into it, I mentioned how much I loved this movie. She confessed that it was her first time watching it. My mind was blown. How can you go through your life without seeing Ferris Bueller? It’s an iconic teen movie that’s still relevant thirty years after it was made. It’s a part of pop culture. And she had never seen it before. WTF, bro? But watching a classic movie with someone that’s never seen it before is a good way to determine how good the movie actually is.

A lot of your favorite movies from your childhood were pretty terrible and you only like them because you look back on them with fond memories. She was a clean slate. She had no attachment to the movie, no reason to appreciate it. But she did. She loved it. And she’s quoted it and talked about it nonstop since then. It’s become a little annoying quite frankly.

I’ve seen Star Wars a thousand times. The only way that I can watch it now is with someone who hasn’t seen it before. It makes it more interesting. It makes you remember what it was like to watch it for the first time. It’s hard to recreate that magic. You have to experience it through somebody else. It’s the best way to re-experience a classic flick.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser Trailer

The first official teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens has arrived in theaters and online and nerds everywhere can rejoice. The trailer is only a minute and half long but there are lots of things that stand out, particularly the return of the Millennium Falcon, X-wings, and TIE fighters. There’s also a seemingly-Sith villain carrying a new type of lightsaber with a laser cross-guard. There are stormtroopers and they have actual, physical armor costumes again, none of that shoddy CG armor that we saw in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. One thing I noticed is the title is simplified. It’s just Star Wars: The Force Awakens. They omitted the episode number for some reason. It’s like they want us to forget about the dismal prequel trilogy and return to the spirit of the original trilogy. This first glimpse looks fantastic; I have full faith in J.J. Abrams and his vision. December 2015 needs to hurry up and get here already.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Jake Lloyd

Jake Lloyd is a former child star most famous for playing young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. He’s blamed (along with Jar Jar Binks) for ruining the movie. Never mind the fact that George Lucas wrote the script, directed the film, and had ultimate control over everything. It’s the kid’s fault for destroying everyone’s favorite film franchise. Jake Lloyd was a decent actor for a little kid, but it’s hard to create a satisfying movie persona when you’re working with CG characters and green screens and a shitty script. The negative response to the flick was enough to cause Lloyd to quit acting and drop out of the public view. He occasionally pops up at conventions to make a quick buck, and he has no qualms about admitting how much he hates being associated with Anakin. The Phantom Menace ruined his life, but then again, that movie ruined a lot of peoples’ lives.

Critically Rated at 6/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Star Wars Day

May 4th is Star Wars Day, a day to celebrate Star Wars. Why May 4th? Because May the Fourth is vaguely reminiscent of “May the Force be with you.” It’s a bit of a stretch, but it works. There’s no set way to celebrate this holiday. Most people repost a Star Wars related meme on Facebook, but there are lots of other ways to celebrate. You can watch the original trilogy and pretend that there is no prequel trilogy. You can speak backwards all day like Yoda. You can style your hair like Princess Leia. You can try to communicate by only speaking in Star Wars quotes. It’s just a day to release your inner nerd and not be judged for it. Star Wars Day has become so popular that it even has a sequel holiday on May 5th, known as Revenge of the Fifth. Nerds love bad puns.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Lightsabers

You’re not a real nerd if you’ve never wished that lightsabers were real. They are the ultimate badass sci-fi weapon. It’s a fucking sword made of laserbeams! It can slice through almost anything except for another lightsaber. Which brings me to my next point: Everybody always wants one lightsaber and that’s stupid. You need two lightsabers. Half the fun in lightsabers is hearing the sound of them clashing together, and you have Ben Burtt to thank for that. He’s the sound designer who created the distinctive humming and menacing crackling sound effects that made the lightsabers seem real. They look badass but they sound even cooler. No Star Wars movie is complete without a lightsaber battle, and no childhood is complete without a mock lightsaber battle. I could nerd out and tell you all about the mythology of the Jedi’s preferred weapon, but I think you should explore Wookieepedia for yourself.

Critically Rated at 17/17

Written, Rated and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Star Wars Episode II Cereal

Star Wars Episode II Cereal was a promotional cereal released by General Mills. It’s probably my favorite cereal of all time, and I only had it for a few glorious weeks before it vanished from store shelves. It was sweetened corn puffs with marshmallows shaped like clone troopers, little Yodas, space ships, little R2-D2s, and lightsabers… it was basically Kix with marshmallows. And it was Star Wars related, which makes it exponentially better. It was so good that they rehashed it for Episode III. The only difference is that the Episode III Cereal included R2-D2, C-3PO, and lightsaber-shaped marshmallows. I remember going into a Big Lots in December of 2002 and seeing a whole aisle of discounted boxes of Episode II Cereal for 99¢ each. I bought fifty boxes and finished my Christmas shopping at the same time. I wish there was a way of knowing you’re in the good old days before you left them. I miss that cereal.

Critically Rated at 17/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Red Letter Media’s Phantom Menace Review

I am a nerd and every few months I get the inkling to watch Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. That’s a mistake and I know it, so whenever I started fiending for that shitty prequel I go online and search for Red Letter Media’s Phantom Menace review. This is a comprehensive and humorous video review that showcases and highlights all the things wrong with the movie. You always knew that The Phantom Menace was a terrible movie, and Red Letter Media explains why. They go into detail bashing the story, the lack of a main character, the rest of the characters, the plot holes, and how George Lucas started powertripping and lost his vision. And once you watch it, you can never look at Episode I the same way again. They have a lot of valid points and any film buff would appreciate watching this scathing review. The review is narrated in voiceover by an unseen creepy old man with a penchant for kidnapping young white females. It’s a seven-part video; each segment is about 10 minutes long. It’s better than watching The Phantom Menace and you learn way more than you would with the DVD commentary. Now you can get your Phantom fix without suffering through the actual movie.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Sleeping Bag

A sleeping bag is a bag that you sleep in. You use them when you go camping or have a sleepover. It’s essential camping gear. Most of them roll up or get stuffed into another bag. I don’t know what you call the bag for the sleeping bag, but there has to be a name for it. Quality sleeping bags are made of down or synthetic insulators to keep you warm in freezing temperatures. You can’t climb Everest without a sleeping bag. Mummy sleeping bags are the best because they provide the most protection from the cold. The second best one is the Star Wars Tauntaun sleeping bag, because that’s the best idea for anything ever.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Luke Skywalker and his friends are back in the conclusion to the original trilogy. Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas wrote the screenplay and Richard Marquand directs. This was the last good Star Wars movie, even though the second half of the film kind of sucks. I blame the Ewoks. It’s pretty obvious they were just included to sell toys and appeal to kids. They are the Jar Jar Binks of the original trilogy, only without being blatantly racist and overly annoying.

            The film opens with the dramatic rescue of Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, where Luke must use his Jedi skills to beat the bad guys and save his friends. There are quite a few iconic moments and characters in this part. There’s the Rancor, the Sarlacc, Jabba the Hutt, green pig guards, and Princess Leia in a gold bikini. It’s one of the best sequences in sci-fi cinema. Princess Leia in a gold bikini. Just reflect on that for a moment.

            The Rebel Alliance finds out that the Empire is building a new Death Star and that the Emperor himself is going to oversee the final preparations. The Rebels decide that this is their time to strike. They hatch a plan to destroy the shield generator on the forest moon of Endor, which will allow their star fleet to blow up the Death Star. But they don’t know that it’s a trap. It’s just one part of the Emperor’s plan to convert Luke to the Dark Side of the Force.

While Han, Leia, Chewy and the gay robots are busy playing with teddy bears, Lando is leading the aerial assault on the Empire, and Luke is dealing with his Darth Vader daddy issues. Needless to say, all the conflicts get resolved, most of the loose ends are tied up, and the story ends with our heroes celebrating their victory.

            It’s a pretty satisfying ending to the original trilogy. It’s not as good as A New Hope or The Empire Strikes Back, but it’s a million times better than the prequel trilogy. George Lucas keeps on tweaking this movie and now Hayden Christensen is in it at the end. I wish I still had a VCR so I could watch the real movie again.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back is the best chapter in the Star Wars saga and one of the best sequels of all time. George Lucas hands the directing responsibilities to Irvin Kershner, and the resulting performances from the actors are more dynamic and layered. This sequel takes everything good about the original and expands upon it. It’s faster, darker, and more interesting. Plus it has a better, more intense lightsaber duel.

            The main characters all return, and we meet a few new characters: Yoda and Lando. Billy Dee Williams plays the shifty Lando Calrissian, a former friend of Han’s. Lando is cool, but it’s all about Yoda. Muppet guru Frank Oz provides the voice and brings Yoda to life. The real Yoda is a puppet, not a computer animated abomination with a little lightsaber.

The Empire Strikes Back is a little different from most blockbusters. The big action scene happens in the beginning with the invasion of Hoth. The film ends with an emotional climax. Han Solo is trapped in carbonite and sent to Jabba the Hutt and you find out that Darth Vader is Luke’s dad. I really hope you knew that already.

            Star Wars was a revolutionary film that changed cinema in a lot of ways. The Empire Strike Back is step forward for the franchise. It’s more adult and it has deeper themes. It still has one of the best cliffhanger endings ever. You want to watch Return of the Jedi as soon as the credits start to roll.

The only thing that weirds me out about this movie is when Leia made out with Luke. Galactic incest is still incest.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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R2-D2 and C-3P0

R2-D2 and C-3P0 are the lovable droids in the Star Wars films. They were faithfully serving the Rebellion in the original trilogy, and they were doing whatever they did in the prequel trilogy. In the ‘70s and ‘80s the two robots were the epitome of technology. But now, in whatever year this is, you see how outdated they are. First off, you’re living in the past if your iPhone is more than 12 months old. C-3P0 was built by a ten-year old Anakin Skywalker and somehow was still working and serving Skywalkers at the end of Return of the Jedi. It’s cool that he’s still working but he’s at least thirty years old. It might be time for a new protocol droid.

R2-D2 is just inefficient. He communicates through bleeps and bloops and has a hell of a time handling stairs. He might be the worst designed robot of all time. Siri can talk to you. R2-D2 doesn’t even have text display capability. He is terribly designed and looks like an inefficient vacuum cleaner without a hose.

The creepiest thing about them is that they are intelligent. They can trick and manipulate people. They can scheme and plan things out and improvise when things go wrong. They are Skynet without the evil. And even though it would be a simple upgrade to get R2 to talk, they don’t ever do it.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Star Wars

Star Wars is one of the best movies of all time. It might have been officially renamed Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, but it will always be Star Wars. George Lucas was a genius once, and this was his directorial highlight. Some people will say Empire Strikes Back is better, and I will tell them that Irvin Kershner directed Episode V, and that maybe they should shut the fuck up and let the real nerds talk about Star Wars.

There are three types of people in the world. People who have seen Star Wars and love it, people who have seen Star Wars and hate it, and people who have never seen Star Wars. The people who either love or hate Star Wars can agree on one thing: you are a freak if you haven’t seen Star Wars. I don’t even know how it’s possible to have not seen Star Wars at this point. It practically is pop culture.

Even if you haven’t seen Star Wars you know that Luke Skywalker has some sort of beef with Darth Vader. You know that Han Solo has a man-dog friend named Chewbacca. And you know that Princess Leia has cinnamon buns for hair. You also know the basic plot: a boy must grow up and face his destiny and embarks on the classic hero’s quest. There’s the everyman, the rogue shifty ally, the damsel in distress, the old wizard/mentor, and the villain with a powerful weapon. There are swords, knights, honor/chivalry, and space ships, robots, and aliens. And don’t forget about the fucking lightsabers, bro.

Star Wars was supposed to be a flop. The idea was so ambitious and the technology was so limited, it didn’t seem like it could possibly be a success. But the story and characters resonated with the audience. John Williams created music as iconic as the visuals on the screen. The world was changed. This was the first true sci-fi blockbuster. Movies are supposed to be an escape. Star Wars took you to a whole new universe and the movie stays with you long after you see it. Some people devote their lives to Star Wars. I can’t blame them because reality bites but Star Wars is awesome.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Actors in Multiple Movie Franchises

Some movies make a lot of money. And people like money, so they decide to make a sequel to make even more money. And if that sequel makes money they might make a third movie. And three movies in the same series makes a trilogy, and (for the purposes of this article) a trilogy is a film franchise. So if an actor appears in three or more movies in the same franchise and three or more movies in another franchise, then they will appear on this list. Unless I forgot about them. Sorry forgotten celebrity.

Harrison Ford starred in the original Star Wars trilogy and the Indiana Jones trilogy (and that shitty fourth movie that I try to forget about). He’s also rumored to come back in the new Star Wars movies.

Tim Allen starred in the Toy Story trilogy and the Santa Clause movies.

Michael J. Fox went Back to the Future three times and voiced Stuart Little three times.

Matt Damon was Jason Bourne three times and was in Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen.

Eddie Murphy was Donkey in four Shrek movies and Axel Foley three times as a Beverly Hills Cop. Mike Myers was Shrek in the Shrek flicks and Austin Powers and Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies.

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Orlando Bloom was Legolas in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and he’s reprising his role in The Hobbit movie. He was also in the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies too.

Sir Ian McKellen has saved the world as Gandalf in three Lord of the Rings movies and will do so again in The Hobbit trilogy. He’s also threatened the world three times as Magneto in the X-Men franchise.

Patrick Stewart played Captain Jean-Luc Picard four times on the big screen and played Charles Xavier in three X-Men movies with a cameo in the Wolverine movie.

Crazy anti-Semite Mel Gibson has been in four Lethal Weapon Movies and was Mad Max three times. You know he hates Jews right?

Warwick Davis was in six Leprechaun movies (about half were direct-to-video) and was also in all eight Harry Potter Movies playing duel roles as Professor Flitwick and Griphook.

Sylvester Stallone was Rambo four times and Rocky Balboa six times. I have a feeling he might be Expendable three times too.

Vin Diesel sucks a lot of balls, but he’s been in four Fast and/or Furious movies (one of them was just a cameo), and he will play Riddick again in 2013. I’m sure that there are at least four people who will pay to see that shit.

Ben Stiller has played Gaylord Focker in three movies and loaned his voice to three Madagascar movies.

Gary Oldman played Sirius Black in Harry Potter 3, 4, 5 and 7.5 and has been James Gordon three times in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

Bruce Campbell has played Ash in the Evil Dead movies and had cameos in all of Sam Raimi’s Spider-man movies. That might be a stretch, but it still counts.

Antonio Banderas has been Puss in Boots in three Shrek movies and one spinoff and was in four Spy Kids movies (his scene was cut in the fourth one. Yes, there are four Spy Kids movies). He was played El Mariachi in two out of the three El Mariachi movies, so he doesn’t get any points for that.

John Cho has hung out with Kumar three times as Harold, and he was in American Pie, American Pie 2, American Wedding, and American Reunion. Cameos count. Right, Bruce Campbell?

Samuel L. Jackson was Mace Windu in Star Wars Episode I-III. He also played Nick Fury in Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers, which are all part of the same universe, so he gets included.

Jackie Chan has three franchises under his belt. Three Rush Hour movies, four Police Story movies, and he’s loaned his voice to two Kung Fu Panda movies with a third coming out in 2013.

Christopher Lee played Fu Manchu three times, he was Dracula in a bunch of movies. He was Count Dooku in Episodes II and III and the animated Clone Wars movie. He was in Lord of the Rings too.

Hugo Weaving has also been in three franchises. He threatened Neo three times as Agent Smith in the Matrix trilogy. He loaned his voice to Megatron in the Transfomers movies. And he was Elrond in the Lord of the Rings movie and will reprise his role again in one of the upcoming Hobbit movies.

So that’s my list. I think it’s pretty complete. If you see anyone that I’m missing leave a comment. And I’ll either correct you or add it to my list. I don’t know how to rate this so I will just settle for something like this:

Critically Rated at 12/17

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Ahmed Best

Ahmed Best is an actor and musician. He’s released a few albums with his group The Jazzhole, he’s performed nationally on stage in Stomp, and he was in the biggest movie of 1999. He did everything right in order to become a successful working actor…. But he played the worst character in cinematic history, in one of the most disappointing films of all time. Ahmed Best is Jar Jar Binks.  What movie ruined the Star Wars franchise? The Phantom Menace. Why did the Phantom Menace suck so bad? Because George Lucas fucking hates me. And Jar Jar Binks was in it. Stupid, racist, annoying, CG stereotypes can make a bad movie even worse. And Ahmed Best will tell you that shitty parts mean a shitty career.

Critically Rated at 7/17

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