The heap Presents: The 30 Most Influential Sci Fi Movies (2-3)

Finally, the next segment of the list is here. It’s been a long weekend of celebration as the Rays finally wrapped up the AL East crown. And thanks to avid the heap. reader Michael Rodriguez, I may have a ticket to Game 5 of the ALDS. Let’s hope it doesn’t get there.

Anyway! The here are 5 more honorable mention films and the next 2 on the list!

Honorable Mention Films

Independence Day Will Smith seems to always pop up. Great call for world unity against extraterrestrial extermination. Bill Pullman might be the most badass prez of all time.

Solaris (1972) Another alternative reality movie… this time we follow the adventures of psychologist Kris Kelvin and his own interaction with this strange realm in space…

Contact Apparently, intelligent life also uses radio waves as a means of communications. They also really, really want to talk to us. Maybe we’re the aliens!

Galaxy Quest Simply Hilarious. A nice little spoof on cult sci fi series a la Star Trek and Star Wars. Actors having to really play a space traveling crew? Tim Allen pulls it off… perhaps one og his best films

Starship Troopers Paul Verhoeven has had a strong showing on the list. ST could have easily made it… but we had to chose. A disturbing commentary on current state of affairs, and an equally frightening view of a totalitarian militaristic future.

3. Minority Report (2002)

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In 2054, murder has been virtually eliminated in Washington D.C. thanks to the implementation of the “Pre-crime” unit. So basically, agents such as Tom Cruise’s character John Anderton work quickly to create a case against the foretold perpetrators as well as actually determining the location of the uncommitted crime. He believes in the system, and is a huge promoter of it going national, because it could have prevented the kidnapping of his son in the past. The of course, things change when it is he who is predicted to murder a man he doesn’t even know, yet. What ensues is a frantic attempt to escape the judicial prophecy of the “Precogs” and a action packed effort to change his slated fate. what makes the film so applicable is the way it comments on the post 9/11 hysteria of citizens as well as government, as obvious invasions of citizen privacy were being mulled. IMDB: 7.7 Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

2. E.T.: The Extraterrestrial (1982)

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Spielberg’s E.T. might be one of the most powerful existential epics of all time, and certainly the most notable in the Sci Fi genre. ET is left behind after his spaceship leaves unexpectedly. He is eventually found and taken in by Eliot and his siblings. ET becomes their secret, as they try to keep him safe from the real world, the world of possible exploitation and science- a world of adults. He wants to return to his planet, as we are constantly reminded by “ET phone home.” But during his time with the earthlings, he is able to preach a message of love, compassion, and understanding, as his emotions start to become synonymous with those of Eliot and visa versa. Also, Spielberg creates a dynamic contrast between the innocent stage of being a kid, full of imagination and the dull pessimistic reality of adult life. The most memorable scene (thanks in part to John Williams’ delectable musical arrangement) is when Eliot is able to fly on his bike with ET in the basket, the ultimate tribute to fantastical possibility and unhindered imagination… much like the film itself. IMDB: 7.9 Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

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Some Thoughts: Purdue @ Notre Dame

I’ve been having a hard time finding pictures from the game online. Usually ESPN has a nice gallery of pictures from the game. Today I only found one: you know, your typical Jimmy Clausen picture, basking in pass protection glory, where he is about to throw the ball. I guess we’ll have to put it up.

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Notice the lack of luscious locks. I’m torn. But I have to admit, that buzz cut gets the job done.

And Clausen certainly got the job done this week against a challenging defense, going 20/35 for 275 yards and throwing 3 TDs. That’s over that crucial 50% mark we talked about in the preview, especially f the running game proved to be ineffective. Clausen’s success is also the offensive line’s success, surrendering only 1 sack, and giving Clausen plenty of time to throw.

As opposed to the Michigan State game, the o-line provided an effective and dominant running attack this week! Could the Purdue game be considered Armando Allen’s coming out party? The boys pounded 201 yards on the ground… the most since who knows when… and 134 of those belonging to Allen on 17 attempts- a punishing average of almost 8 a carry. We’ll need continued success on the ground to post expected victories against Stanford and the Washington Willinghams.

While after the first quarter the offense was firing on all cylinders, the defense also played a phenomenal game. Countering that Purdue spread, the boys used the nickel defense for most of the afternoon, which came armed with a vast array of confusing blitzes and coverage packages. While the D didn’t register a sack, they had Purdue QB Curtis Painter on the ground most of the game. The pressure certainly affected his overall effectiveness. It was bend but don’t break, as we surrendered 360 passing yards, but the D made the stops when they had to be made.

The return game was good again, as Allen almost broke a few kickoff returns for TDs. Nevertheless, Notre Dame often had excellent starting field position. Maust only had to punt twice, but he averaged 46.5. That’s excellent. One of the punts pinned Purdue inside the 20. Walker was perfect on extra points, but he did miss one close FG. Good thing it didn’t matter. He made one of 41 yards. Keep it goin’ Irish. We’ve matched the win total from last year. We can only continue to go up! Half way to bowl eligibility!

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Game Day: Purdue @ Notre Dame

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After a tough 23-7 loss at Michigan State last week, it is imperative that the Irish come out and flex their muscles on both offense and defense. This week Notre Dame play instate rival Purdue at Notre Dame Stadium.

The jury is still out on Purdue, though they often field a strong, athletic team, and I can guarantee you they get pumped up to play any instate opponent… but especially Notre Dame. This year, the Boilermakers trounced Northern Colorado and then fell in overtime to ranked Oregon, only to follow with an underachieving close game against Central Michican. They have yet to open their Big Ten schedule, but the rest of their games are just that.

The series always has memorable moments. Who can’t forget Kyle Orton’s 98 yard touchdown pass while the receiver “tooted a train whistle” for about 50 of those yards. Then of course, Samardzija’s one handed grab. Then of course, when they finally beat us last year, along with everyone else who hadn’t beat us in a long, long time.

Curtis Painter always poses a potent threat in the passing game, though he has only thrown for 3 TDs this year. Most of the damage has been done on the ground with Kory Sheets averaging over 5 a carry, and 6 TDs in 3 games. Hopefully the run defense improves from last weeks performance as Ringer ran all over the defense for 201 yards.

Then of course, there is our running game. Present for SDSU and Michigan, and obviously lacking in productivity against MSU. Clausen also has to improve, and hopefully complete more than 50% of passes. It should be a close game, but in the end, it’s that home field mystique qhich allows ND to prevail. tune in at 3:30 ET on NBC. ND 27- Purdue 24.

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9=8… Rays Win the American League East

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The chase for the division is over. The Rays will sit atop the hardest division in baseball at the end of the regular season. It had been 11 years since anyone BUT the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox had been division champs. That streak ends, at least for one year. Who else is ready to join the Rayvolution? Are you feeling the heat already? The winner of the AL Central most certainly will when either the White Sox or Twins begin a best of 5 against the Rays Thursday night at Tropicana Field, where the Rays have the best home record in all of baseball. Rumor is that BOTH games are sold out. The Rays are undefeated in the last 20 or so when the crowds at home are over 30,000. You do the math.

I just wanted to share my enthusiasm, obviously, but also Tampa Tribune’s Martin Fennelly’s column. He’s one of my favorite journalist because of his style of writing. It’s unique… almost mirroring a sort of stream-of-consciousness. You simply could not sum up the season any better than how he does t in this piece. Enjoy reading it!

By MARTIN FENNELLY | The Tampa Tribune

Published: September 27, 2008

Updated: 02:40 am

DETROIT Most of them left the visitors clubhouse without knowing whether they owned a flag or not. The franchise that has waited 11 seasons to plant one in the Red Sox and Yankees had to wait a little longer.

Many of the amazing Rays departed Comerica Park after losing to the Tigers on Friday night. Their magic number for clinching the American League East remained 1. The Yankees were clobbering the Red Sox, but doing it in and around rain delays at Fenway Park.

So Rays scattered, some to the team hotel, others to a nearby casino; the latter seemed appropriate for the team that had beaten all the odds. Rays manager Joe Maddon lingered in the clubhouse with his coaches and a small platoon of his miracle men.

But one by one, or three by three, the others came back to the stadium.

They had to be together.

It’s like that grand old man, Cliff Floyd said.

“We’re a team, after all.”

The clock struck midnight.

And the magic number turned to none.

The Red Sox were crushed by the Yankees.

Actually, it was 12:52 a.m., Destiny Time, when the pumpkin turned into a coach all over again.

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They sprayed champagne and poured beer on their AL East caps and shirts, they smoked big fat cigars (eventually setting off stadium smoke alarms) and screamed “9=8,” the Maddon-made mantra that became the running theme – nine men competing for nine innings equals one of the eight playoff teams.

There’s something about a group of sloppy Rays forming a circle around Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria as they dance cheek to cheek that, well, never gets old. Or maybe it was the skipper himself parting the sea of celebrants, holding aloft a bottle of Patron tequila as if was a holy relic.

“Jon?”

Maddon was calling Rays mad dog Jonny Gomes.

Gomes seized said tumbler.

And it was on.

Here are your Rays, Tampa Bay.

They are tickling America’s nose as much as any bubbly could.

Forget the presidential debate.

Move over, McCain and Obama.

Meet the real candidates of change.

And the new Beast of the East.

It had been 11 years since anyone other than the Yankees or the Red Sox had won the American League East. We figured it would be another 111 before that changed.

These Rays believed different.

Never mind that the combined Red Sox and Yankees payrolls resembled some sort of federal bailout plan, or that Rays players earned less than the left side of the New York infield. That whining sap, Yankees sort-of owner Hank Steinbrenner, is right. It isn’t fair being the AL East.

How are you going to beat the Rays?

People, stupid people, will say that Joe Maddon’s guys backed in, seeing as they’d lost two straight to the Tigers.

Let me tell you something:

When you go from worst to first, when you go from 96 losses to 96 wins, from fantasy to reality, there’s no such thing.

You don’t back into a mountaintop.

“You don’t back into something like this,” Pena said.

Amen, brother.

If you own a car horn, honk it.

If you own a frying pan, bang it.

If you love an underdog, bark at the moon.

The story that couldn’t be beat couldn’t be beaten by the Red Sox, either.

“We stared everyone down,” Rays reliever J.P. Howell said the other day.

Every single Ray, big names, no names, any name, chipped in.

And believed.

rays win 3

“You’ve got to believe it before you see it,” manager Joe Maddon said.

Yes, they would have liked to have clinched it their way. The Tigers would have none of it, and that includes Tampa son Gary Sheffield, who hit the 498th and 499th home runs of his career.

But it happened anyway.

No one could stop the Rays.

They stared everyone down. They lost Longoria and Carl Crawford to injuries and they kept staring. They lost Troy Percival and B.J. Upton and they kept staring. They lost seven in a row before the All-Star break and they kept staring. They lost that first game at Fenway a few weeks ago and kept staring. And believing, even when others didn’t.

“If you weren’t here to see it, you wouldn’t believe it,” said Dan Johnson, who probably got the biggest hit of the season, that ninth-inning home run off Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon to tie a game that the Rays eventually won.

Dan who?

Tampa Bay who?

The Beast of the East, that’s who.

We once questioned how they were doing all this.

Now there’s only one question:

Why not the Rays all the way?

“Why not us?,” Floyd asked. “Nobody wants to play us.”

Why not the Rays over the Twins or White Sox, or Angels and Red Sox? Why not their pitching, defense, bullpen and enough hitting to make you think someone upstairs has just come downstairs and is doing the backstroke in the Rays tank?

We’ve spent a season wondering just when these cats were going to crack, and right now we could walk from here to the postseason on Rays champagne corks.

Why not the Rays?

And to think, there was a time when a lot of Rays wanted no part of the AL East. The Red Sox and Yankees were menaces.

Gomes, who was the life of the celebration, remembered the first time Maddon told his Rays that the AL East was the best place for the Rays.

“We thought he was high,” Gomer said.

And so they are – high, oh, so high.

And the Red Sox can only look up.

And there’s a moral to the story.

“I bet every team with a payroll like ours can take something from this,” Floyd said.

I bet someone slugging it out for seven bucks an hour can take something from this.

“In this day and age, where most everything seems to be measured by the amount of money you put into it, people can identify with good play, with effort,” Maddon said. “They can identify with putting something together, with coming together, with unity, trust and accountability.”

Gomes added, “It’s the story of the kid who keeps getting his lunch stolen by the bullies until he punches back, and he keeps all his money.”

There’s a lot of kid in these amazing Rays. Before Thursday’s game, Carl Crawford smiled like he was waiting on a parade.

“And now we got a flag to wave,” Crawford said.

“This is only the start,” Maddon said.

Believe it.

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WaMu goes Wawaa…

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Just in case you HAVEN’T heard, your neighborhood friendly financial giant Washington Mutual is the latest casualty of the slumping financial trend here in the US. I know that it’s not too funny, but I can’t help but laugh when scouring news sites and seeing a headline like “WaMu is the biggest bank failure EVER!” I just imagine someone saying it very exaggeratingly… ironically its true. Anyway, here’s the news release if you are interested in reading.

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Washington Mutual Inc was closed by the U.S. government in by far the largest failure of a U.S. bank, and its banking assets were sold to JPMorgan Chase & Co for $1.9 billion.

Thursday’s seizure and sale is the latest historic step in U.S. government attempts to clean up a banking industry littered with toxic mortgage debt. Negotiations over a $700 billion bailout of the entire financial system stalled in Washington on Thursday.

Washington Mutual, the largest U.S. savings and loan, has been one of the lenders hardest hit by the nation’s housing bust and credit crisis, and had already suffered from soaring mortgage losses.

Washington Mutual was shut by the federal Office of Thrift Supervision, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp was named receiver. This followed $16.7 billion of deposit outflows at the Seattle-based thrift since Sept 15, the OTS said.

“With insufficient liquidity to meet its obligations, WaMu was in an unsafe and unsound condition to transact business,” the OTS said.

Customers should expect business as usual on Friday, and all depositors are fully protected, the FDIC said.

FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said the bailout happened on Thursday night because of media leaks, and to calm customers. Usually, the FDIC takes control of failed institutions on Friday nights, giving it the weekend to go through the books and enable them to reopen smoothly the following Monday.

Washington Mutual has about $307 billion of assets and $188 billion of deposits, regulators said. The largest previous U.S. banking failure was Continental Illinois National Bank & Trust, which had $40 billion of assets when it collapsed in 1984.

JPMorgan said the transaction means it will now have 5,410 branches in 23 U.S. states from coast to coast, as well as the largest U.S. credit card business.

It vaults JPMorgan past Bank of America Corp to become the nation’s second-largest bank, with $2.04 trillion of assets, just behind Citigroup Inc. Bank of America will go to No. 1 once it completes its planned purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co.

The bailout also fulfills JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon’s long-held goal of becoming a retail bank force in the western United States. It comes four months after JPMorgan acquired the failing investment bank Bear Stearns Cos at a fire-sale price through a government-financed transaction.

On a conference call, Dimon said the “risk here obviously is the asset values.”

He added: “That’s what created this opportunity.”

JPMorgan expects to incur $1.5 billion of pre-tax costs, but realize an equal amount of annual savings, mostly by the end of 2010. It expects the transaction to add to earnings immediately, and increase earnings 70 cents per share by 2011.

It also plans to sell $8 billion of stock, and take a $31 billion write-down for the loans it bought, representing estimated future credit losses.

The FDIC said the acquisition does not cover claims of Washington Mutual equity, senior debt and subordinated debt holders. It also said the transaction will not affect its roughly $45.2 billion deposit insurance fund.

“Jamie Dimon is clearly feeling that he has an opportunity to grab market share, and get it at fire-sale prices,” said Matt McCormick, a portfolio manager at Bahl & Gaynor Investment Counsel in Cincinnati. “He’s becoming an acquisition machine.”

BAILOUT UNCERTAINTY

The transaction came as Washington wrangles over the fate of a $700 billion bailout of the financial services industry, which has been battered by mortgage defaults and tight credit conditions, and evaporating investor confidence.

“It removes an uncertainty from the market,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital in Sydney. “The problem is that markets are in a jittery stage. Washington Mutual provides another reminder how tenuous things are.”

Washington Mutual’s collapse is the latest of a series of takeovers and outright failures that have transformed the American financial landscape and wiped out hundreds of billions of dollars of shareholder wealth.

These include the disappearance of Bear, government takeovers of mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the insurer American International Group Inc, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc, and Bank of America’s purchase of Merrill.

JPMorgan, based in New York, ended June with $1.78 trillion of assets, $722.9 billion of deposits and 3,157 branches. Washington Mutual then had 2,239 branches and 43,198 employees. It is unclear how many people will lose their jobs.

Shares of Washington Mutual plunged $1.24 to 45 cents in after-hours trading after news of a JPMorgan transaction surfaced. JPMorgan shares rose $1.04 to $44.50 after hours, but before the stock offering was announced.

119-YEAR HISTORY

The transaction ends exactly 119 years of independence for Washington Mutual, whose predecessor was incorporated on September 25, 1889, “to offer its stockholders a safe and profitable vehicle for investing and lending,” according to the thrift’s website. This helped Seattle residents rebuild after a fire torched the city’s downtown.

It also follows more than a week of sale talks in which Washington Mutual attracted interest from several suitors.

These included Banco Santander SA, Citigroup Inc, HSBC Holdings Plc, Toronto-Dominion Bank and Wells Fargo & Co, as well as private equity firms Blackstone Group LP and Carlyle Group, people familiar with the situation said.

Less than three weeks ago, Washington Mutual ousted Chief Executive Kerry Killinger, who drove the thrift’s growth as well as its expansion in subprime and other risky mortgages. It replaced him with Alan Fishman, the former chief executive of Brooklyn, New York’s Independence Community Bank Corp.

WaMu’s board was surprised at the seizure, and had been working on alternatives, people familiar with the matter said.

More than half of Washington Mutual’s roughly $227 billion book of real estate loans was in home equity loans, and in adjustable-rate mortgages and subprime mortgages that are now considered risky.

The transaction wipes out a $1.35 billion investment by David Bonderman’s private equity firm TPG Inc, the lead investor in a $7 billion capital raising by the thrift in April.

A TPG spokesman said the firm is “dissatisfied with the loss,” but that the investment “represented a very small portion of our assets.”

DIMON POUNCES

The deal is the latest ambitious move by Dimon.

Once a golden child at Citigroup before his mentor Sanford “Sandy” Weill engineered his ouster in 1998, Dimon has carved for himself something of a role as a Wall Street savior.

Dimon joined JPMorgan in 2004 after selling his Bank One Corp to the bank for $56.9 billion, and became chief executive at the end of 2005.

Some historians see parallels between him and the legendary financier John Pierpont Morgan, who ran J.P. Morgan & Co and was credited with intervening to end a banking panic in 1907.

JPMorgan has suffered less than many rivals from the credit crisis, but has been hurt. It said on Thursday it has already taken $3 billion to $3.5 billion of write-downs this quarter on mortgages and leveraged loans.

Washington Mutual has a major presence in California and Florida, two of the states hardest hit by the housing crisis. It also has a big presence in the New York City area. The thrift lost $6.3 billion in the nine months ended June 30.

“It is surprising that it has hung on for as long as it has,” said Nancy Bush, an analyst at NAB Research LLC.

On facebook, I just saw my friend’s status which reads, “(friend) is a J.P. Morgan Chase account holder now. Awesome?” Classic.

Well, I am now off to the downtown Rays watch as they take on the Detroit Tigers to hopefully CLINCH the AL EAST. I’ll try to begin the Austin storytelling tonight through TTMC III: Austin Edition, which should be a multi-part deal. And we’ll finish the sci fi list by this weekend, thank God. ND vs. Purdon’t tomorrow as well… we’ll have a nifty preview.

Go Rays. Read the heap.

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Rudy’s Newest Endeavor

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Everyone at Notre Dame knows about the magical, tear-jerking story of the infamous Rudy Ruettiger and his undying desire to make the Notre Dame football team. Heck, because of the movie released in the 1990’s, it seems that Rudy has become a defining image of the team. Countless times I’ve seen “Rudy Sucks” shirts, and just as many times I like on a flight or wherever I “school drop” where I went to, people are like, oh yeah, Rudy right? I think part of the four year experience at Notre dame is bein inundated with such imagery, references, and if you’re lucky, Rudy himself being a pep rally guest speaker.

Well, our lovable little guy is now fighting the same fight, only this time it’s in the sports drink industry. That’s right heapsters., Rudy has started his own sports drink! This is something you have to see to believe. It’s hilarious. Thanks to PV for sending the link.

Rudy’s Drink Website!

The testimonials are great, like from Doug Williams.

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Check out the flavor names. My favorite is BLUE FUEL!

So be on the lookout for this. Of course you have to order them for now!

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The heap. Presents: The 30 Most Influential Sci Fi Movies (4-5)

The list is back! Only on the heap. can you expect to find a list so ridiculously delayed and drawn out… We all know that I could have given you all 30 at once. But I really don’t think the world could have handled that much omnipotent opinionated knowledge at once! We’ll start off with 5 movies from the honorable mention list! Then you’ll see the usual movie poster and interpretation of the movie’s importance of number 5 and then 4! You know how it works!

Honorable Mention Films
Total Recall – Another good AHnold flick. Violent… very violent.
A Clockwork Orange – A defining work by Stanley Kubrick. A futuristic world where good and evil are grossly intertwined
I, Robot – Another good Azimov book, and an interesting adaptation. Man vs. Rebelling superior Machine motive.
The Abyss – When aliens actually live here on Earth… or rather, UNDER us in the greatest depths of the sea… this can only spell impending doom.
Soylent Green – A nice little commentary on social structure. One of the biggest plot twists of ALL time.

5. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

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Perhaps the greatest “old” sci fi film of all time,The Day the Earth Stood Still, like many of its contemporaries, manages to encapsulate the feelings of hysteria regarding the American perception of “the Outsider” within the realm of a film dealing with human-alien relations. Not to mention, the film boasts a mightily inflated anti-weapons and anti-war message, and emphasizes the vast importance of global unity, and the end of prejudice and disparity. The other option is termination. The film is a product of post WWII sentiment, as well as an expression of extreme caution regarding escalating conflict with the Soviets and in Korea. A remake of this film comes out later this year starring Keanu Reeves. If he plays Klaatu’s robot, he would be perfectly cast (He’s actually Klaatu). IMDB (205 out of 250 top films): 8.1 Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

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Jim Carrey is one of my favorite actors, and I feel he is often underrated and even forgotten. This is one of his best films, as well as Kate Winslet’s. Memories is the hot topic of the film, and we see applicable science’s attempt at manipulating memories, mainly by essentially erasing them from the minds of patients. Most of the film is in fact the memories Jim Carrey’s character wishes to rid but instead wants to hold on to regarding his relationship with Clementine. Despite his best efforts, science wins and the procedure works. Yet, what we discover is that the two become attracted to each other again, suggesting the trumping of nature, and perhaps the will of God, over the controls of science and human desire. Sci fi mixed in with a little chick flick action… you CAN’T lose with this one. IMDB (57 out of 250 top movies): 8.5 Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

Finally down to the last three films! 2 and 3 should be up tomorrow. Stay Tuned!

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