FilmJerk Favorites

A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| Buster Keaton |||
Buster Keaton

If you like Chaplin you will absolutely love Keaton, who is widely acknowledged for being one of the greatest directors of all time, a great screen legend and one of our finest actors, as well as one of the three top comedians in silent era Hollywood, and a true pioneer for the independent filmmaker; producing, controlling and owning his films.

Offered as one of three films in the Buster Keaton Collection, The Cameraman is Buster at his deadpan funniest. After becoming infatuated with a pretty office worker for a Newsreel company, Buster picks up a movie camera and sets out to impress the girl, which makes for some very interesting, visually groundbreaking and cleaver footage, capturing the essence of what it was like to be an innovative cameraman.

Based on a true incident, “The General” is a classic of silent screen comedy. Keaton is a Southern engineer whose train is hijacked by Union forces, which leads to a classic locomotive chase and some truly impressive and hilarious stunts, some of which could only be produced by CGI today.

Sherlock Jr is one of the comic's most inventive efforts (introducing a concept oft repeated) depicting a movie projectionist entering the film he's running in order to solve a jewelry theft. Known for doing his own stunts as well as filling in for his costars, Keaton actually fractures his neck on screen as the water from a basin flows from a tube and washes him onto the track.

Recommended by CarrieSpecht

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Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed

By BrianOrndorf

March 24th, 2004

"Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed" picks up exactly where the original "Doo" film left off in 2002: as a brutal cinematic experience that is disrespectful to the source material, contains needless drug references and endless flatulence jokes, and is a generally unpleasant experience all around. Save for Linda Cardellini's winning portrayal of Velma, there's no reason for anyone to step back in the "Doo" for another adventure.


The opening of the new Coolsville Museum of Ghosts has brought out its main donors: the gang of Mystery, Inc. As Fred (Freddie Prinze, Jr., driving the ascot joke into the ground), Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Velma (Cardellini, the only thing worthwhile in these films), Shaggy (Matthew Lillard, unforgivable), and bumbling canine Scooby-Doo make their way around the artifacts from their previous cases, a new, mysterious threat crashes the party and announces his intentions to destroy the town with a new outbreak of ghosts. With a cantankerous local (Peter Boyle), the museum curator (Seth Green), and a nosy, continually slanderous news reporter (Alicia Silverstone) as the main suspects, the gang set out to gather clues and help prevent a tidal wave of trouble when the ghosts start taking over their beloved town.

While there was an ocean of ideas and performances to hate about 2002’s detestable “Scooby-Doo,” one of my biggest complaints was that the film was taking a cartoon, turning it into a live-action feature film, then proceeding to make a cartoon of it again, complete with Toontown-appropriate sound effects. Where’s the sense in that? “Scooby-Doo 2” picks up exactly where the last film left off: at the bottom of the family film creativity barrel. But “Doo 2” actually accomplishes the unthinkable, and is perceptively worse than its predecessor.

There’s not much substance to the new “Doo” adventure. With the characters already established, along with Scooby’s crappy CG look (with Scoobs looking NOTHING like his cartoon incarnation) found in the first film, returning writer James Gunn (the current “Dawn of the Dead”) and director Raja Gosnell show a great deal more confidence in terms of exploring the Coolsville world a little more intricately this time around. “Doo 2” is less of a sequel and more of a fully realized Gunn and Gosnell “Doo” adventure, where the original film was constantly unsure whether its bizarre aesthetic would translate to mass audiences.

With that newfound confidence comes belief that the undemanding comedy bits that destroyed the fun factor of the first, and admittedly profitable, “Doo” are the true selling points of the franchise. Forget that the beloved cartoon never stooped low to entertain kids. The PG rated “Doo 2” is steeped in smashed testicle gags, vomiting, another alcoholism-inducing round of endless flatulence humor (guess how the fire-breathing ghost is dispatched?), and two very unfortunate and unnecessary drug references that make me just flat-out angry at James Gunn for including such needless subtext.

“Mommy, why is Shaggy sucking on a whip-cream can?” That’s right, parents, get ready to explain whippets to your children.

“Doo 2” is reliably low-ball in every aspect of production (who does this serve?), including unattractive set design, dreadful special effects (again, why does Scooby look nothing like his cartoon counterpart?), and just piles on the volume and random ghosts when true inventiveness has been depleted. The two “Doo” films are aimed at children, but it’s a weak argument to dismiss them in such a fashion. These are vile productions that tarnish the image of the original Hannah-Barbera cartoons, as well as lower the bar for tastelessness in family entertainment. Not even a Scooby Snack could fix this crud.

My rating: D-