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Paul O'Regan said on June 15th, 2009 at 9:31 am

Now moved to the top of my Netflix queue.

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karellan said on June 15th, 2009 at 10:08 am

Three kings is one of my favorite movies and has been since it first came out. It’s the movie that made me take George Clooney seriously.

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Chris Russell said on June 15th, 2009 at 10:22 am

Jarhead is another good movie set in the first Gulf War. I wouldn’t say it’s on the same level as Three Kings, though, which I loved.

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“Jarhead” is also a Gulf War I movie, and pretty good. But I think you’re right about “Three Kings.” Very good, always underrated.

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Got no high school, that is rough. I watch this movie compulsively whenever it’s on tv. I always think of it as more comedic than dramatic or, um, actionic, but that’s just because Spike just steals the show for me.

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MadHierophant said on June 15th, 2009 at 10:39 am

Apparently it’s retroactively based on a true story…

http://www.cracked.com/article_17370_7-completely-unrealistic-movie-plots-that-came-true.html

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Brian Danger Hicks said on June 15th, 2009 at 10:57 am

While I don’t disagree with anything you said about the movie, I do disagree with your calling him “Mark Wahlberg”. His name is Marky Mark. There’s no way I’m letting him ever live that down.

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I’ve got this on DVD, but haven’t watched it in a dog’s age. I’ll have to give it another spin tonight.

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I passed this up when it was in theaters because the trailer completely misrepresented it as Yet Another Action Film. I saw it on DVD some years later after being badgered, and was not upset.

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Lister Sage said on June 15th, 2009 at 11:47 am

Kingpin: Never seen the whole thing, but wasn’t impressed with what I did.
Titanic: Refuse to see it due to the hype and the fact that I know how it’s going to end.
American Beauty: Only seen in the ending, it’s on my list. (At least I think it’s on my list.)
Saving Private Ryan: Good movie, should have won the Oscar.
Dances With Wolves: I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen this, not because I personally enjoy it, but because my Mom constantly watched this whenever it was on tv.
Goodfellas: Haven’t seen it, on the list.
Schindler’s List: See above.
Unforgiven: A friend of mine liked it and recomended it, but I haven’t seen it.
Fargo: Not seen it. Might be on my list.
Pulp Fiction: Tarentino is the most overrated hack in Hollywood, which is a town full of hacks, both overrated and not. Every movie of his I’ve ever seen has been a piece of shit. This, Reseviour Dogs, Death Proof; they all suck.
The Silence of the Lambs: I’ve seen pieces of it.
Three Kings: I’ve seen pieces and I remember the tv spots pretty well. Unfortunetly the stuff I saw came near the end where they seem to abadon the stealing gold plotline and I was really lost. I just bought a bunch of DVDs over the weekend so the odds of me getting to this is slim. I’m just more interested in seeing In the Mouth of Madness right now then a action/comedy/drama.

I’m sure no one cares, but this is what I got over the weekend:
In the Mouth of Madness
The Addams Family
Addams Family Values
Captain Blood
Assault on Precinct 13 (the original)
The Fifth Element
Bordello of Blood
Demon Knight
Dog Soldiers
Bride of Re-Animator
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

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Agreed. Caught it flipping channels on cable this weekend (’cause that’s the exciting life I lead, man) and dove right in.

Minor nitpick: I’m pretty sure Taghmaoui’s interrogator character had a son, not a daughter.

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Couple of minor disagreements here: Saving Private Ryan’s themes are a little more complex than you’ve made out (essentially it’s “Being sentimental in the middle of a war is a great way to get yourself killed”), and I disagree that the 90s were a great time for movies. Sure, there were *some* great movies produced in that decade, but that’s true for every decade. The vast majority of stuff produced in the 90s felt like one of two extremes: incredibly stupid and formulaic action movies with lots and lots of explosions (this is the decade in which Michael Bay got his start) or annoying, would-be-quirky indie dramas shot for a buck ninety-five and trying desperately to be Tarantinoesque. Well, and stupid romcoms and Disney animation and moronic comedies featuring SNL players. I’ll grant you that 1999 was a killer year for movies, but to me that marked a transition away from the lousy decade we’d just had. As bad as movies can be, now, a decade on, they’re usually at least a little more distinctive and creative, and there have been several really good blockbusters, something I wouldn’t say about the 90s.

By the way, something that always bugged me about this movie: who, exactly, are the three kings? The movie’s about four soldiers.

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Lister,

Tarantino is good at being different but it doesn’t necessarily make his different films good. Pulp Fiction however was one of the best movies to come out in the past twenty years and an excellent revision of the film noir style of storytelling as each character had the chance to play both protagonist and antagonist.

The biggest problem with Death Proof is that it was too much like a genuine grindhouse movie – low production cost and a really, really bad storyline. In truth, its success in imitating the style was its downfall.

Reservoir dogs was indeed overrated.

That said, I would contend that the Coen Brothers are the biggest hacks in Hollywood today. Fargo was a pile of shit. It was a female Columbo solving a made for tv movie plot, all wrapped in the “novelty” of a northern Minnesotan accent. The only decent scene was when Steve Buscemi gets stuffed in a wood chipper.

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Brad Reed said on June 15th, 2009 at 12:33 pm

There was so much right about that movie. Also worthwhile is watching it on DVD with the commentary track on. David Russell gives an excellent one.

The “worse than death” sequence makes my throat close up every time. It felt true.

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Three Kings is a fantastic movie. Very strong stuff.

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Lister:

Of your list,

Dog Soldiers: Pretty good. It’s got a somewhat different take on the werewolf genre, although it tends to rely on a lot of fake blood and entrails in order to induce the effect of horror (I guess). In short, different, but gory.

Fifth Element: Classic Bruce Willis type stuff. Die Hard with a sci-fi skin.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: Better than it sounds.

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DistantFred said on June 15th, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Said Taghmaoui is actually Berber, not Arab.

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Oh, man, Dog Soldiers. That would’ve been a much better film without the crap visual effects. Werewolves always look so janky on film & tv. But it reconizes the righteous fact that Dr. Who’s son can totally just super glue his guts back in and he is good to go.

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Lister Sage said on June 15th, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Zenrage: While I maintain that Tarantino is the worst, I don’t disagree that the Coen’s are made way to big a deal of. I’ve seen three of their films: The Hudsucker Proxy, The Big Lebowski and O Brother Were Art Thou? and really I think they’re all overrated, especially Lebowski. I can’t remember why I saw Proxy and I can’t say anything more then that really. The Big Lebowski has some great one liners, but unfortunately doesn’t have a story good enough to frame them upon. If the movie had been a half hour long with all the funny scenes strung together I would have enjoyed it more. As it stands now it always feels like I’m wasting my time watching it, waiting for the next good joke to appear. O Brother Were Art Thou? has some good music, which as someone who dislikes country in general is some praise. And yes boys, very clever updating the Odyssey, but its another case of the set pieces being better then the general narrative.

CB:
I caught some of Dog Soldiers late one night on SciFi. I liked what I saw and have heard really good things about it so I figured I’d just buy it. It was cheap too.

I’ve liked the Fifth Element since I first saw it and this copy was the special edition with “two hours of special features”, mostly making of type stuff, but that’s the stuff that interests me the most. Plus there’s a great RiffTrax for it.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: I suppose. I was more or less aware of what I was getting into when I bought it, which I’m afraid to say was still not enough for what I paid for it. There are some funny bits, the one I got the biggest laugh out of was the black disguise expert in a not really convincing Hitler outfit. For anyone going “What?”, trust me just try and find it on YouTube. Words cannot do this justice. I found the theme song rather catchy. The only other things of note where two goofs they, for some reason, left in the movie. One, when two characters are talking one of them fumbles and drops her sunglasses and I sat there laughing because I couldn’t understand why it was left in the film. The other was two characters were laid out on the sidewalk dodging gunfire, they get up to leave, there’s the sound of a gunshot and one of them, in an attempt to push his friend back down to avoid the shot, smashes his face in the sidewalk! And again they keep filming! I don’t believe his nose was broken, remarkably, but I’m pretty sure he was crying in pain.

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Craig Oxbrow said on June 15th, 2009 at 2:56 pm

I saw Three Kings a few years late, just in time for “George Bush wants you to free Iraq!” became too damn topical again.

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@Prankster: what’s wrong about Disney animation in the 90s? Seriously: Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin freakin’ Lion King were made during the nineties (and both Toy Stories, which you may or not count as Disney) these are top notch musical films and have great stories and animation. Yes, they got lampooned a lot, and are now cliched and what-not, but c’mon they were AWESOME. I doubt any child of the late 80’s early 90’s didn’t watch ‘Be our guest’ or ‘Hakuna Matata’ a couple hundred times

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squishydish said on June 15th, 2009 at 4:15 pm

For those in the U.S., American Movie Classics is screening the film at 8 p.m. Eastern time (I don’t know if Canada gets the AMC channel.)
http://movies.amctv.com/schedule/
Three Kings: Gulf War soldiers (George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube) follow a treasure map.

Hmmm, why did they sandwich this movie between Highlander and Batman Begins?

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Chris Russell said on June 15th, 2009 at 4:32 pm

DVR, activate!

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The title refers to a scene in which one of the soldiers starts singing “We three kings be stealin’ the gold”.

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I always thought Three Kings was secretly the A-Team movie, with Clooney as Hannibal, Marky Mark as Face, Ice Cube as Mr. T and Spike Jonze as Murdock.

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invisiblemoose said on June 15th, 2009 at 6:08 pm

How the hell do people figure out a shitpiece like Kingpin is a good movie, let alone one of the ten best in an effing decade??

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ps238principal said on June 15th, 2009 at 6:53 pm

A friend of mine had a brilliant idea that the “A-Team” remake could just be a sequel to “3 Kings.”

But Hollywood isn’t that awesome, sadly. :(

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If No Country for Old Men had a soupcon of action, then Jurassic Park had a soupcon of dinosaurs. The whole cat-and-mouse plot was – well, I don’t know how to describe it without sounding like a Markov chain of blurbs. It was very actiony, though.

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People are trashing the Coen Brothers. That shit must end.

Al: I actually am a fan of Disney, but for most of the mid-90s they were churning out pompous crap like Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. They didn’t really start to get interesting again–and then, only slightly–until Tarzan, which was….yep…1999. Obviously I’m exempting Pixar from this.

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Kingfisher said on June 15th, 2009 at 8:59 pm

AMC was kind enough to air the movie right after I read this article. Instant gratification is a wonderful thing.

AMC also recommends that if I like Three Kings I’ll like Braddock 3: Missing in Action starring Chuck Norris. I’ll take that under advisement, AMC.

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I recognize that the next phrase is almost always the mark of that sort of meaningless elitism bred into most geeks, but it’s still worth noting in this case: the Coen bros. are, in fact, rather difficult to “get” in any proper sense.

If you expect a comedy, you will almost always be disappointed, as even their funniest films are still driven more by character quirks than they are by typical wit or setpieces. The key to appreciating their films is to appreciate the genre pastiches, of fundamentally unimportant people (not in a pejorative sense, mind) dropped into more traditional narratives. Thus we have Fargo, a criminal-mastermind scheme plotted by, starring, and defeated by people who don’t quite understand their functions within the “ideal” story, or The Big Lebowski, in which the vast majority of humor derives from the noir concepts that drive the entire ridiculous plot. It’s easy to see where No Country, in many ways a parallel to Fargo, fits into this pastiche, as well as other recent works such as Burn After Reading.

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@Lister

The Big Lebowski is the only Coen Brother movie I can actually stand to watch. Mostly because of the quotes and the fact that Maude Lebowski is the only genuinely interesting character of any of the Coen Brothers films.

Return of the Killer Tomatoes is much, much better than the original. Its aged some, but even the walking-while-falling-in-love montage is not boring – especially if you can make out the lyrics. Its worth the price just to see George Clooney in his younger years.

I still maintain that RotKT is one of the best films that George Clooney has ever acted in – including Three Kings.

(HA! Back on topic!)

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3 Kings is probably criminally underrated, but what does that make Out of Sight? Kick-ass cast (Clooney, JLo, Cheadle (at the absolute height of his powers), Zahn, Farina, Brooks), killer dialogue (do yourself a favour and pull up the IMDB quotes from this movie), written by Scott Frank (working, thankfully, pretty closely to the Elmore Leonard book), and directed by Steven Soderbergh. AND it was good. Now that’s underrated. I’d love to see an MGK breakdown, and if so, please do not forget Tuffy.

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squishydish said on June 15th, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Kingfisher, for a much more similar movie (at least regarding the plot hook, if not the tone), consider “Kelly’s Heroes” instead. [U.S. soldiers in WWII try to steal Nazi gold.]

IMDB says Clooney’s role in Three Kings was originally written for Clint Eastwood. IMDB doesn’t seem to make the connection, but Eastwood actually played Pvt. Kelly in the 1970 movie (which also had Donald Sutherland, etc.).

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So MGK, does this article mean you’re going to be doing “Movies You Have Not Seen But Etc.” in the future? Because I have missed this desperately. You’ve called my opinions on four of the last five movies I saw in theaters, and every movie you’ve covered in this series sounds awesome. This all goes on my list.

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So MGK, does this article mean you’re going to be doing “Movies You Have Not Seen But Etc.” in the future?

Yes, but I don’t have any planned schedule for them or anything. There isn’t any master database of Awesome Movies That Most People Have Missed Out On, after all, and this one is probably the most mainstream one yet – it was borderline but I decided what the hell because I wanted to write about it a bit.

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Nice to see Cliff Curtis getting proper respect! His continual casting an Arab is a bit of a joke here in NZ.

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Thank you MGK! Stil the best Gulf War movie made IMO

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Probably a lot of the problem was the trailer, it made this out to be some kind of wacky heist comedy. Which it was…in bits, but it is a complex movie, more drama than comedy, more black comedy than drama.

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re: 10footBongz
About Out of Sight, damn right it was one of the best films of the 90s. Farina shoulda gotta an Oscar nom as the snarky dad. But you forgot to mention GUZMAN!!! who was totally awesome in that movie (go re-watch the scene where Lopez arrests him, wicked funny). Got my friends to rent the movie once, they were surprised they never got to see in the theaters…

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“In short, it should be on more top ten lists.”

I strongly agree with this statement.

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The best part was Mark Wahlberg, marveling at the strange places his life has taken him, muttering the lyrics to “I Get Around” to himself as a cow’s head bounces off the hood of the Humvee.

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Saw Three Kings at the movies with a mate using the “that poster looks alright, haven’t heard anything about it but lets just go to that” approach. Not the movie I was expecting at all, really blew me away and became one of the first DVDs I ever bought. Still a great movie, vastly underappreciated. Everyone I talk to that hasn’t seen it just thinks its a dumb action movie about some soldiers stealing a bunch of cash, because that’s the way it was marketed.

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What is wrong with you people?! Ice Cube throws a football strapped with C4 at a helicopter and blows it up! How does that sound like a good movie?

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“Ice Cube throws a football strapped with C4 at a helicopter and blows it up! How does that sound like a good movie?”

I… don’t understand the question. How does that sound like a BAD movie?

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“I… don’t understand the question. How does that sound like a BAD movie?”

Well, it’s really all relative. Let’s suppose that instead of a football he had to throw a vibrator that Jonze had to fix to use the vibrating mechanism as a way to set off the C4 somehow. You see now how the throwing a football could make the movie relatively bad compared to what it could have been.

no but seriously. the movie was good enough, it was enjoyable, had some nice one liners, but any decade that it was top ten material for would have been an especially crappy decade.

Its worse part was the end though, with the where are they now sequence. ugh.

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If No Country for Old Men had a soupcon of action, then Jurassic Park had a soupcon of dinosaurs.

Matt, this page is currently the only Google result for “soupçon of dinosaurs.” Today, you have enriched the Internet, and I salute you.

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I saw it in theatres and have purchased it twice (once on VHS and once on DVD). I was gonna fall asleep to the background noise of Galaxy Quest, but I’m goin’ Three Kings instead.

Good catch, there. It’s one of those movies that still holds up when I think of it in terms of modern war reportage like Generation Kill, the War Nerd articles, Imperial Life in the Emerald City and Full Spectrum Disorder.

I still think you’re far off base when it comes to American Beauty, though. We can hash that one out sometime.

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I saw it on your recommendation, and you were right: damn good movie. I can’t believe that’s Spike Jonze! It’s no Private Ryan, though.

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