2106 was a hard year for celebrities. We lost a lot of greats. Going into 2017 there was the hope that we wouldn’t lose as many people but it seems like it hasn’t stopped. Especially after the 16th when we lost George A Romero AND Martin Landau. It made me want to do something, but I couldn’t think what. So I thought I’d share with you my favorite movies from both of them. Are these the best movies they ever did? No. But they’re movies that I love. These won’t be reviews so I won’t go in depth or give a score. Instead I’ll just talk a bit about them. So here we go.
George A Romero passed away after a long battle with lung cancer with his wife and daughter by his side. He was the father of zombies. True, he didn’t name them. He considered them ghouls, but he sure set the basic rules for them. He is to zombies as Isaac Asimov was for robots. The obvious choice for this legend is Night of the Living Dead, the one that started it all. The original black and white version from back in 1968. But that’s not what I’m going with. I’m going with Land of the Dead from 2005 staring Simon Baker (The Mentalist), John Leguizamo (Romeo + Juliet), and the late Dennis Hopper (Easy Rider).
This may be an unpopular answer as it’s not a highly rated movie at all. True, none of his movies were critically acclaimed at all, but this one is widely viewed as mediocre or even bad. But I liked it because it was stupid fun, which is exactly what I want out of a zombie movie.
In this film a large group of humans live inside a walled city and send people out in raiding parties. All is not well in the city though as people threaten to revolt against the iron handed leader. All this starts to go down as a group of zombies head for the city. Zombies that have recently become smarter.
The only reason I bought this film was because it was on sale. It was one of those. One of those films that would never have graced my shelves if it wasn’t for the super cheap price. But you know what? I’m really glad I saw it. If you want to be a buzz kill there are a ton of things you can pick this movie apart for but what really matters is that there’s one good thing that you can focus on. It’s fun.
Simon Baker plays a very unlikely zombie movie hero and John Lequizamo plays exactly who you’d expect him to play. Picture his character from John Wick, but younger and, you know, surrounded by zombies.
I think everyone should give this movie a shot. Will you like it as much as I did? Probably not. But it’s worth a watch because it’s a zombie movie written and directed by George A Romero, the father of zombies. That sounds like some Game of Thrones title. Mother of Dragons, meet Father of Zombies. Check out Land of the Dead, it’s just good dead fun and then revisit your favorite George A Romero movies in memory of the man who started it all.
Martin Landau was a legend with over 170 credits to his name including being a regular character on the Mission: Impossible show back in 1966, to Ed Wood in 1994, and to Entourage in 2006. He passed away at the age of 89 in Los Angeles.
With such a plethora of work to pick from I didn’t actually have that hard of a time narrowing down my favorite role of his. It all came down to two movies, the first was Ready to Rumble but the movie I had to go with was The Majestic. This movie was from 2001 and starred Jim Carrey (Dumb and Dumber), Laurie Holden (The Walking Dead), and of course Martin Landau.
Once again I find myself talking about a movie that wasn’t widely loved. A movie that was missed by a lot of people. A movie that was laughed off by an equally large number of people seeing as it was one of Jim Carrey’s first attempts at a serious role, even though it had a touch of comedy. And it was a movie that critics hated. But all that being said, when I find people who have actually seen the movie, they really like it. Of course, they’re not douchey critics, they’re not naysayers who are quick to judge, they actually sat down and gave the movie a shot and came out surprised.
This is a film about a guy named Peter who was attempting to flee from the Red Scare, back when Hollywood was under fire and suspected of having tons of communists in their midst. While he tries to flee he crashes his car off a bridge and wakes up down river in a small town with no memory. He’s taken to the town where he’s believed to be a man’s long lost son who was supposed to have died in the war. During the film, Peter becomes close with the soldiers father and helps him restore an old theater the two used to work at. All the while the authorities are looking for him.
It’s a simple plot but what I loved about it was just that. It was a wholesome familiar story with some great performances in it. It’s one of my favorite performances from Jim Carrey ever and back in 2001, it served as a reminder of why Martin Landau was one of the best. The role of an old man may not have been a stretch for him, but the emotions he portrayed in the film were amazing.
It’s a pain that almost everyone can relate to, losing a loved one. But something we can’t all relate to is then getting that person back. Landau gave a great performance in what is unfortunately a mostly forgotten movie. People like me, people who watched and loved this movie, we’ll always remember, we’ll always pick it back up and give it a watch, but for too many people out there, this movie might as well of never happened and that’s a shame.
If you’ve never seen this film I highly recommend it. It’s a good movie with a simple plot, great performances, and lessons on how we need to remember what really matters in life.
Also, why not take a trip down memory lane and rewatch your favorite Romero and Landau movie? Do you already know what it is? Comment on this blog or on facebook. Hit me up on twitter @BilliamSWN or email me BilliamReviews@gmail.com. I want to start doing this. Sharing my favorite memories when celebrities pass away and I hope it’s not a blog series that I’ll have to add to often, but when times takes it’s tole, when we lose a favorite actor or actress, I’ll be here to tell you why I loved them.
Never forget Sal Bandini
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