Top Cat’s Tuesday Top Ten: Greatest Opening Credits/Scenes

I’ve made no qualms about telling anyone and everyone about my love for movies. I love the theater/movie going experience just as much as I love sitting at home in my recliner, watching a movie with my family. Heck. I even enjoy watching those movies that no one else would want to watch right by myself. Movies are made up of so many things that intrigue me and one thing that is important to me is that first five minutes of film: the opening scene.

As I was re-watching the emotional roller coaster that is Apocalypse Now for probably the 20th time, I realized how completely amazing that the intro to the movie was. I then began to think back to other movies that had you hooked from the first seconds of the movie. The movies that literally make you say: “okay…sit back and prepare for something amazing”. This movie phenomenon can be produced in a comedy, sci-fi thriller or even a Disney cartoon. So I would be able to break these up into genres and do a top ten for each one but I decided to just do an overall list first. You’ll find that I’ve tried to find the video for you to watch, so if you haven’t seen the movie…you’ll want to after viewing these opening scenes.

So I hope that you enjoy Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Greatest Openings Credits/Scene

10. Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End (Pirate Song at the Gallows)

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9. The Lion King (Introduction of the Lion cub Simba – The Circle of Life)

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8. Easy Rider (Born to be Wild)

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7. Contact (Zoom out)

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6. Up (Carl and Ellie’s Montage)

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5. Apocalypse Now (Jungle of the Mind)

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4. The Good, the Bad, The Ugly (No need for words)

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3. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Blankness of Space)

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2. Star Wars IV: A New Hope (A Long Time Ago…)

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1. James Bond 007 movies (1962-Current) (Bullets and Blood)

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Honorable mentions: The Matrix (Trinity), Inglourious Basterds (The Harboring Farmer), The Godfather (I believe in America), Pulp Fiction (The Diner Robbery), Patton (Speech to the Third Army), The Dark Knight (Never Trust a Joker), Kill Bill (The Bride’s Side), A Clockwork Orange (Me and My Droogs)

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Top Cat’s Tuesday Top Ten: Most Influential Celebrity Deaths

Last week held the 20th anniversary of the death of one of the most influential rap artists in music history: Tupac Shukar. Remembering his death’s anniversary caused me to think about all of the other influential celebrity deaths that I have bore witness to over the years. Because of our increased love of entertainment, we have more and more celebrities that are relevant to our every day lives and therefore lead to these pop culture icons become idolized and popularized. We as a populous are met with an over saturation of popular culture figures. We see them on TV and movies, can watch their personal lives unfold on Instagram, can see their antics on Snapchat, or anything else that allows us to delve deeper into the lives of our idolized popular culture figures. In our modern society, we know of actors; musicians; politicians; athletes; talk show hosts; and many other people whom we idolize or just enjoy what they do. There is a sad truth to life though: Death. Our favorite popular culture figures are not exempt from this sad reality. The world goes into a frenzy when one of our beloved popular culture figures meets an untimely demise.

I have made a list of the most influential celebrity deaths that I have ever experienced. I use the term celebrity to encompass all facets of ‘people’ because as I have stated earlier…..we know about a lot of people.  (I am excluding any influential people that died before I was born; despite how much I may hate that Elvis Presley died before I could see him in concert. Or witness another movie starring Bruce Lee.)

So here is Top Cat’s Top 10 Most Influential Celebrity Deaths

10. Michael Jackson

(Died June 25th, 2009)

michael-jacksonThe undisputed King of Pop was a worldwide, pop cultural phenomenon. Sadly his contributions to music, dance, and fashion are sometimes overshadowed by the controversial and sometimes questioned lifestyle that he lived. But no one can deny the influence that Michael Jackson has left behind in the gigantic wake that his life left in the ocean of pop culture.

9. Philip Seymour Hoffman 

(Died February 2nd, 2014)

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I’m not sure that I could fully get the disturbing image of a sweaty, overweight Philip Seymour Hoffman open mouth kissing Mark Wahlberg in Boogie Nights until Hoffman’s rendition of one of my favorite pop culture characters: Truman Capote. I read “In Cold Blood” while still in college and the year of my graduation comes The Capote movie. It was remarkable and Hoffman’s Capote was just as remarkable as the man himself was. Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of those actors that made the movie that they were in and his death was a sad loss for the movie industry.

8. Tupac Shakur 

(Died September 13th, 1996)

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I was a freshman in high school when we saw that 2pac had been murdered. I had been a 2Pac fan since hearing his work with the Digital Underground (thanks to the 1991 Dan Aykroyd cult comedy classic “Nothing but Trouble” starring Chevy Chase and a then gorgeous Demi Moore) and then on to his solo work. 2pac’s music as well as his poetry (since not only do I love it but I minored in poetry in college) will live on through the ages in our CD players and has definitely joined the pantheon of greatest American musicians.

7. Patrick Swayze 

(Died September 14th, 2009)

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So, Patrick Swayze may have been a heart throb because of Ghost and Dirty Dancing but he was a bad-ass, womanizing, karate-kicking, night club cooler from one of my top 5 favorite movies of all time: Road House. Patrick Swayze fought pancreatic cancer for many years and his death was a blow to everyone…especially me.

6. David Bowie 

(Died January 10th, 2016)

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The make up drawn lightning bolt on the face of Ziggy Stardust will stay forever entrenched in my mind. Even as a small boy I remember placing the needle tipped arm down on to record after record of rock and soul music. I remember the beginning crackle of the record before the gift of music was placed into my ears. It wasn’t music that drew me to David Bowie at first…it was the Labyrinth. Oh the times that I watched Jim Henson’s classic movie. It was and still is one of my favorite movies. Ah…but the music. The music drew me to David Bowie and a world of songs started to be placed at my finger tips. From “Space Oddity” to “The Man Who Sold the World” (which would be remade and becoming one of my favorite songs of all time and houses one of the most beautiful guitar solos of all time), I loved his music. Much to the chagrin of my Motown-grooving father.

5. Dusty Rhodes 

(Died June 11th, 2015)

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The man of the hour, the man with the power. The hit-maker, the record-breaker. He had style and grace with a pretty face. He could make your back crack, and make your liver quiver. He was tough enough to rip off your head and dance down your tonsils. The polka dot clad American Dream Dusty Rhodes was quite possibly the most charismatic personalities that the wrestling world has ever or will ever see. If ya will.

4. Robin Williams 

(Died August 11th, 2014)

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From Popeye to Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams and his multi-faceted acting ability has been one of my favorite actors to watch since I was old enough to be able to watch TV with understanding. His stand-up comedy routines, appearances on night time talk shows, TV/movies roles, and his humanitarian work (which includes his work performing for the troops overseas {thusly dubbing him the new Bob Hope} and Comic Relief: the non-profit charity organization which raised money for the homeless) will cement his place in the annals of pop culture and will keep his beautiful spirit alive for all time.

3. Brandon Lee

(Died March 31, 1993)

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Bruce Lee’s movies were some of my favorite growing up, so when I heard that his son was starring in a movie opposite the actor who played my favorite cartoon character of all time, He-Man; I knew that it was time to watch Showdown in Little Tokyo. In a time of Jean Claude Van Dam and Steven Seagal movies were the rage, this movie fit right in and thrilled my heart. About a year later, eastern North Carolina was thrown into a whirl when Brandon Lee was accidently killed while filming what would grow into one of my favorite movies of all time: The Crow. The violent nature of Brandon’s death added to the hype of an already amazing movie.

2. Chris Farley 

(Died December 18, 1997)

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Chris Farley’s loud, charismatic style immediately drew my attention when he was catapulted onto Saturday Night Live in 1990. I constantly accidently woke up my parents while watching the on screen collaborations of Farley, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, and David Spade. Farley’s SNL characters, as well as his movie roles, skyrocketed him to the top of my favorite’s list. Growing up, I idolized Chris Farley because despite being a bigger guy; he made people laugh. Chris Farley truly inspired me in my life….despite the negative aspects of his life.

1. Kurt Cobain 

(Died April 5th, 1994)

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Kurt Cobain (from MTV’s Unplugged Live from New York)

“Smells like Teen Spirit” metaphorically bursted my ear drums as it groundbreakingly pushed itself to the top of the music scene. Kurt Cobain rose to be an influential figure in the youth scene of the early 90s and I was right in the middle of it all. I had my Nirvana T-shirts. I listened to all the songs. I watched all of the videos. I drew x eyed smiley faces every day. For 4 years, Nirvana was on top and I was their biggest fan. I remember that April 5th, 1994 was a Friday. I came home from school, turned on MTV (as you did back then) to see live footage being shot of Kurt’s Seattle home. I still remember the tears that fell when Kurt Loder (MTV news anchor) announced that Cobain was dead in what was an apparent suicide. I remember the disbelief that the captain of the flagship band of Generation X was gone. I still am one of those fans that believe that his wife Courtney Love had him killed but however it happened….a generation lost a leader and the world lost a pop culture phenomenon.

 

Honorable Mentions: Heath Ledger (Died 2008), Prince (Died April 21th, 2016), Notorious BIG aka Biggy Smalls aka Biggy aka Christopher George Latore Wallace (Died March 9th, 1997), Muhammad Ali (Died June 3rd, 2016), John Pinette (Died 2014), Ryan Dunn (Died 2011), Gene Wilder (2016), Roddy Piper (Died 2015), Leonard Nimoy (Died 2015), Jim Varney aka Ernest P Worrell (Died 2000), Lemmy Kilmster (Died December 2015), Paul Walker (Died 2013)

Wolverine’s Wednesday Whips presents the Top 10 TV/Movie Cars

Since TV/movies are such an important part, its not foreign to believe that the vehicles that the movie stars drive would become just as iconic as the characters themselves. Sometimes the cars themselves more synonymous than the human characters themselves. Wolverine’s Wednesday Whips is combining its collective intelligence with Top Cat’s Tuesday Top Ten and Time Machine Time to bring you:

Wolverine’s Wednesday Whips presents the Top 10 TV/Movie Cars

10. The 80s was full of terrible movies and even though Sylvester Stallone has written and starred in A LOT of memorable movies, Cobra isn’t really remembered for its cinematic wonder or the masterfully written script. I myself remember Cobra because of Detective Marion Cobretti (codenamed ‘Cobra’)’s souped up 1950 Mercury. From the modified grill and hood scoops to the rims and lowered stance, the car was truly one of a kind.

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Cobra – 1950 Mercury 

9. On the roof of a building in New York City, Dr. Ray Stantz says that “I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something I loved from my childhood. Something that could never, ever possibly destroy us. Mr. Stay Puft.” Even though this movie caused the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man to become an iconic figure from my childhood and iconic figure in the pantheon of pop culture images but the 1959 white Cadillac Miller-Meteor limo-style end-loader with ambulance conversion known as the Ecto-1 is one of those memorable things for me. The sound of the siren, the lights and the classic 1950s lines make the Ecto-1 a beautiful ride.

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1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor limo style end-loader with ambulance conversion

8. After the success of the Fast and Furious movies, Vin Diesel was popping up everywhere. The movie XXX tried to be my generations version of a James Bond style spy film but the odds of an action sports star magically becoming the world’s greatest spy and saving the world from a nuclear attack was just a little far fetched for some of us. I loved the movie and 50% of that was due to the gorgeous modified 1967 Pontiac GTO. As I have stated before, my dad owned a 1967 Pontiac GTO and regrets the day that he sold that car. I regret the day that he sold that car even though it was before I was born. The stylings and power of this car are perfect and if you add that to the fact that XXX’s version of James Bond’s Q outfitted the car with more firepower than a Sherman tank.

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1967 Pontiac GTO

7. B.A. Baracus always said that “I ain’t goin’ on no airplane,” and that must have been why the A-Team decided to drive around in a bad to the bone Modified 1983 black and metallic gray GMC Vandura van. The A-Team ruled the 80s TV scene and turned Mr. T into a household name. The crack commando unit sent to prison for a crime they didn’t commit turned themselves into soldiers of fortune. It was Rambo with less killing. The show was great and the blacked out GMC van just added to the awesomeness of this A-Team.

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Modified 1983 GMC Vandura van

6.“Michael Knight, a lone crusader in a dangerous world. The world of the Knight Rider.” Add part modern day cowboy  to part spy to an advanced artificially intelligent computer inside of a souped up muscle car = all bad ass. In the early 80s, Knight Rider was the bees knees. Heck, people still talk about Knight Rider and the Pontiac Trans Am KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) is a huge part of why this show is remembered as well as it is. Well KITT and the heart-throb (all-be-it less alcoholic) David Hasselhoff.

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1982 Pontiac Trans Am

5. “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” I still remember the anticipation of waiting for Back to the Future 2 to FINALLY come out in theaters. The three Back to the Future films were a huge success and have held a cult following ever since and you would be remiss to think that the Modified DeLorean DMC-12 magnified the movie’s long lasting popularity.

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Modified DeLorean DMC-12

4. In the 1980s, TV was huge. I admit that I spent too much time in front of a TV set but it was the bridge jumping, hood sliding antics of the Duke Boys on the Duke’s of Hazzard that fueled a lot of that seat time. Well…a lot of reason for watching was General Lee, the Duke Boy’s 1969 Dodge Charger. The high flying, 2 wheel side ways driving roll cage equipped race car was enough reason to watch the Duke’s of Hazzard but as an added bonus…I got to gaze my eyes upon the gorgeous cousin of the Duke Boys: Daisy Duke.

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1969 Dodge Charger (the General Lee)

3. The Batmobile has had just as many changes as the caped crusader himself has. From the iconic Batmobile used in the 1960s Batman live action TV show to the low and sleek Tim Burton Batmobile used in the Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) movies to our current Batman in which we saw in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Suicide Squad (2016) but my personal favorite Batmobile is the ‘Tumbler’. Bruce Wayne utilizes a prototype bridging vehicle created for the military by Lucious Fox and Applied Sciences division at Wayne Enterprises. After being painted black (of course), the Tumbler not only had the strength and durability of a Sherman Tank but had the horsepower, maneuverability and sleek appearance of a Lamborghini.

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2. In 2000 I was a senior in High School and was just beginning to tinker with the horsepower and appearance of my 1993 Ford Mustang but after watching Nicholas Cage and the 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (named Eleanor) from the Gone in 60 Seconds, I knew that my car was completely inferior. The car was a modified and stylized version of the 1967 GT500 which was a modified Ford Mustang Fastback. That’s a lot of modifications and the appearance and power of the car proved it.

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1967 Ford Mustang GT500 Fastback

1. “Breaker breaker for the Bandit.” My parents went to the drive-in movie theater 3 times to see Smokey and the Bandit in 1977. The film was the second grossing film of 1977; only losing out to Star Wars. I can only guess that Jackie Gleason’s portrayal of Sheriff Burford T. Justice of Portague County, Texas along with the 1977 Pontiac Trans Am drove the movie into cult like status. Since my parents loved the movie so much, I was raised watching Smokey and the Bandit all the time which fueled not only my love for muscle cars but an unequivocal yearning to be as whitty as the Bandit. I think it worked. 🙂

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1977 Pontiac Trans Am

 

Honorable Mentions: 1955 Ford F100 from The Expendables, 1976 AMC Pacer from Waynes World, 1961 Ferrari GT250 from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1968 390 CID V8 Ford Mustang Fastback from Bullitt, 1958 Plymouth Fury from Christine