Monday, March 18, 2013

Frog Splash Monday: Top Ten Movie Countdown


Anyone who's been to Scouring Monk before knows that I love movies, and especially love ranking them (last year I was obsessed with Flickchart, for instance).  I've been working on yet another spin-off blog entirely about movies, Film Fan, which has been, like most of my blogs, on a hiatus in recent weeks, but that'll start up again soon.

So given all that, I couldn't just talk about any movies, my favorites or what have you, and considering that I'm starting a new set of formats for regular posts today, I really couldn't be random, because Frog Splash Monday means I'll be talking about professional wrestling every Monday.  I know, I know, everyone loves wrestling!  (Sarcasm sign in the air, folks.)  But it's a long tradition here at Monk that hasn't been done on any kind of regular basis for far too long.  I've always loved wrestling, and we're just weeks away from WrestleMania XXIX, WWE's Super Bowl, that will see company stalwart John Cena battle Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson for the second straight year, this time over the heavyweight title.

This is pretty exciting, since The Rock was a huge star for the company a decade ago, and his return was one of those things that seemed like it would never happen, like Bret Hart's reconciliation with WWE or Bruno Sammartino's agreement to enter the company's Hall of Fame, which I talked about earlier this year.

The Rock left, of course, because he realized that his magnetic charisma would work well in the movies.  He hasn't been the most consistently successful of actors, but he's been pretty great.  (After all, he is The Great One.)  So I figured my list would be:

The Top Ten Movies Starring The Rock

  1. The Rundown (2003) One of his earliest movies, and thus a lot of fun because not only is Hollywood really figuring out what to do with him, he's surrounded by a really great supporting cast, including Christopher Walken, Rosario Dawson, and Seann William Scott, who's just great in everything.
  2. Southland Tales (2007) Rock reteams with Scott in Richard Kelly's follow-up to Donnie Darko, also featuring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Justin Timberlake, another crossover artist trying to make a transition (though his best moment is an impromptu music video to a Killers song).  This is so good, and both Rock and Scott are completely different than you'd expect either to be.
  3. Be Cool (2005) This was Rock completely blowing away any assumptions about what he was willing to do, going straight for comedy, which wrestling fans would have expected but mainstream audiences would never have seen coming.  It's also a highly underrated sequel to Get Shorty, and features John Travolta and Uma Thurman together for the first time since Pulp Fiction, plus features Vince Vaughn in a typically show-stealing role, probably the one that helped make him a leading man.
  4. The Mummy Returns (2001) I love the first two Mummy movies (doesn't hurt that they star Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, who have too hard a time getting people to appreciate them in anything else).  The third one isn't too bad, but it doesn't feature Arnold Vosloo, even if bringing him back again would have been incredibly convoluted.  His comeback this time is fantastic, however, and really, this is better than the first one.  And it features The Rock in his first movie role, even if it's barely a speaking role and led to The Scorpion King, his first starring role, which you can probably skip.
  5. Fast Five (2011) I love the Fast series, how it evolved in such a crazy way but eventually got everything back on track and got better.  This is the first one to feature The Rock, as possibly the only rival Vin Diesel could ever hope to have in the movies.
  6. Race to Witch Mountain (2009) Growing up my family watched every conceivable Disney movie, including the originals in this rebooted series that saw Rock successfully combine his action and family-friendly modes.
  7. Get Smart (2008) Since it can sometimes be hard to figure out what to do with him in an era that's not always friendly to the action movies most people will expect from him, Rock tends to appear in a lot of ensemble movies, or sometimes strictly in a supporting role, where if you don't know he's in it you could just as easily enjoy the movie for its other stars, the ones you know definitely star in it.  This one features Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway, and it's a good mainstream flick for both of them.  Rock appears as one of those secretly villainous roles he could just as easily split with Matthew Fox.
  8. The Game Plan (2007) The most successful of his family films, Rock draws on his other athletic background in football as a big star who discovers he has a daughter, and hilarity ensues!
  9. Walking Tall (2004) A remake of a movie based on real events, with Rock getting to play the thoroughly Hollywood version of the story as a guy who single-handedly cleans up the corruption in a small town.  Also notable for co-starring Neal McDonough, who's so awesome that most movies can only contain him in villainous roles.  Do yourself a favor, though, and enjoy his best work in the short-lived TV series Boomtown, one of the best ever.
  10. Planet 51 (2009) This one's animated, so if you really can't get behind the concept of supporting an actor who is also a professional wrestler, you can totally pretend you're not watching him at all!

29 comments:

farawayeyes said...

Wow, a lot of movies I have never heard of. Guess I better crawl out from under my rock.

Nice to meet you.

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

Interesting list. Have not seen some of these.

Tony Laplume said...

I would guess that many of them to be unfamiliar to most people. I recommend each of them not just because I'm a fan of the actor, but because they're entertaining films in their own right.

D.G. Hudson said...

Esoteric Tastes, I must say. I know who The Rock is, and saw some of The Mummy films.

Interesting list.

Tony Laplume said...

I'm nothing if not esoteric!

Al Diaz said...

I had a blast watching the Mummy movies, both of them. The third one I didn't like that much, probably Rachel not being there anymore didn't work for me, but the other two really great!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Top movies starting the Rock - very clever! And Fast Five was the best of that series. Rock made Vin look tiny in comparison - the dude was pumped!
Thanks for participating in my blogfest.

Tony Laplume said...

At least Fraser and John Hannah were in all of them!

The Rock is the only movie star who could make Vin Diesel look small!

Tracey Joseph said...

I totally forgot about The Mummy and The Mummy Returns. They were a huge hit in my house. I can't even tell you how many times I've seen them.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I didn't realize he'd done such a variety.

Tony Laplume said...

The Mummy movies are so much fun to remember that you love!

And that's exactly the thing about The Rock. He's got incredible diversity.

Jay Noel said...

I think Walking Tall is one of those great underrated movies. Loved it!

Adriana Dascalu said...

the Mummy is just great! I always have so much fun when watching it!

Patricia Lynne said...

Great list, I think I've seen about half of them. A couple I remember when they came out and I wanted to see but for whatever reason never got to the theater.

Tina said...

I do enjoy a good view of The Rock, and I'd rather see him go head to head with Vin Diesel than a Toothfairy costume, that's for sure. We did like Gameplan, as a family (years ago when the boys were younger) and do own it. It's always nice to see a Dad appreciate his child.
Not into wrestling...sorry ;-)
Tina @ Life is Good
Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
@TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

Tony Laplume said...

I'm glad there's at least one other fan of Walking Tall!

I'd recommend to watch at least Southland Tales.

Tina, probably no one who reads this blog likes wrestling. Unfortunately, the blogger himself does!

Shaharizan Perez said...

Great list! I forgot to put the Fast and Furious on mine. Then again, we can only put 10. Race to Witch Mountain was a fabulous movie also.

Tony Laplume said...

Thanks for liking the list!

nutschell said...

great picks! I love the Mummy series.
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Michael Abayomi said...

It just dawned on me that I have never seen Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in a wrestling match. Ever! :(

Jeremy [Retro] said...

loving the love you have for the rock, i told him about your love and he returns the love... my favorite is from "the other guys" where the rock makes his small leap for mankind...http://youtu.be/Q86Rn4jETVk

i cannot stop watching this click..

sorry if i rambled a bit...

jeremy

MOCK! said...

Journey 2 is big in our household....but not on your list....hmmmmm....

Spacerguy said...

Great list Tony, I've only seen the Mummy Returns 2011 would you believe so I'll have to get rockin'

Tony Laplume said...

Michael, watch any of the three WrestleMania matches he had with Steve Austin for starters, or maybe the epic Hulk Hogan encounter at WrestleMania X8 from 2002 (there's a rematch from 2003, but the full effect is best felt in the first one).

Rock and Samuel L. Jackson are the hidden stars of The Other Guys!

MOCK!, Journey 2 isn't on the list because I haven't seen it. I haven't seen a lot of movies from the last few years that I want to.

It's awesome that so many people seem to love the Mummy movies!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Lots of movies on your list I need to see!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I loved Fast Five. That was my favorite of the bunch.

Tony Laplume said...

Elizabeth, I'm glad that I pointed out some movies for you!

I think my favorite Fast is still 2 Fast, one of two that doesn't feature Vin Diesel. It's just the bravado. (That's my word for the day!)

The Capillary said...

Just dropping by from the blog hop (late I know!) to say you've got some great picks. While "Walking Tall" isn't on my top 10 I remember enjoying it very much when I watched it a few years ago. :3

Tony Laplume said...

Better late than never! Walking Tall is just fun, and a perfect example of the bare minimum anyone would expect from a movie starring The Rock.

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