March Movie Madness: Round Two


We’d like to thank the three people who read our last post all the way through. As a reward, the round two breakdown has significantly fewer words. (And, subsequently, significantly fewer diatribes from Rachael about combining fruit and chocolate. If she wanted fruit, she’d eat fruit! If she wanted chocolate, she’d eat chocolate. Thank you very much!) Anyway, on to the picks…

(In case you missed them, you can read the introduction here and results of round one here.)


I have to admit, I’m still reeling from the first round picks. So many good movies were lost, not to mention one of my all-time favorite movies, Rebecca, didn’t even make the bracket. I guess that’s the way the cookie crumbles. You have to crack a few eggs to make an omelet, and so on and so forth.

The Princess Bride vs. Romeo & Juliet is too easy. Princess Bride for the win. What movie can beat The Princess Bride? Maybe we’ll find out in the next round. Maybe we’ll never know. It’s just that good.

Choosing between Harry Potter and Field of Dreams is tough. While the wonderfully fantastic world of Harry Potter is entertaining, I can’t bring myself to eliminate Field of Dreams. From the Archie “Moonlight” Graham story line to Kevin Costner’s simple question—“You wanna have a catch?”—I could cry just thinking about it.

Although I will always love The Count of Monte Cristo, the movie is just no match for The Shawshank Redemption. This is surprising for me, as I enjoy both movies about people seeking revenge and movies with happy endings. You’d think this would go a long way toward Monte Cristo’s victory, but that’s the charm of Shawshank.

It hurts me to say it, but Jurassic Park takes down the Twilight franchise. You know what would have made Twilight better? Dinosaurs. Maybe the Cullens keep one as a pet? Maybe the Volturi use them to dispatch vampire justice. You have to admit that I might be on to something here.


Things in this category have cleared considerably since the last round. The first round was pretty rough but, now that the initial cuts have been made, round two is a breeze. As of now, my strategy is still to choose winners based on overall beard strength.

Obviously, The Fugitive and The Amityville Horror lose to Hagrid in Harry Potter and The Lord of the Ring’s Gandalf. No contest. It’s not really fair to Harrison Ford or James Brolin to go up against such epic beards, but no one said bracketology was fair. Similarly, Rocky III only advanced because Mr. T has impressive grooming skills. That kind of dedication to personal appearance will get you far in this bracket, but not to the Sweet Sixteen. Tom Hanks in Cast Away advances.

The last match almost doesn’t matter because whoever advances will have to be strong enough to take out Tom Hanks’ Cast Away beard, which is nearly impossible. Neither Will Ferrell in Anchorman nor Bill Murray in Life Aquatic is up to the task. Since I have to choose, I’m going to take a cue from Rob’s first round and write in a completely new choice. And, ladies and gentleman, this is how we find Laurence Olivier from Rebecca in our Movie Beards category. No, he doesn’t have a beard. But he has the world’s most handsome mustache and that has to count for something, right? Regardless, it’s mostly because I’m still upset about Rebecca not making it to our Books to Movies category. You made it to the bracket, Rebecca! You made it!


Three things dramatically hurt Ride With the Devil’s chances in its second round matchup against Gone With the Wind:

1. Ang Lee is a hit and miss director. For every Life of Pi there is a Hulk. What’s really interesting is that he alternates back and forth. Good movie, bad movie. Good movie, bad movie. I’m not going to tell you which one Ride With the Devil is, but let’s just say that the movie Ang Lee directed before it was Sense & Sensibility and the movie after it was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Both were nominated for best picture.

2. Jewel made her acting debut in Ride With the Devil. Yes, that Jewel. It was the first and the last feature film (other than a cameo in Walk Hard) she would ever make. So…there’s that.

3. Every time I type Ride With the Devil I start humming “Running With the Devil” by Van Halen.

Ride With the Devil (Ah-hah! Yeah!) is fine, but Gone With the Wind moves on with relative ease. Heck, Rhett Butler sits his starters midway through the first half. Also moving on with ease are Glory and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The toughest call is the #3 / #4 matchup between Gettysburg and Dances With Wolves. It reminds me of a Wisconsin/Marquette game – good teams with great defenses who can’t shoot a lick. Both movies are incredibly well done but are both incredibly long. What’s weird is that they are both still very re-watchable. If I stumble across one  on television on a random Saturday afternoon I’ll watch until it’s over. Actually, I’ll watch, fall asleep, wake up, and watch again. At least, I used to before I had children. Now I don’t even remember what random Saturday afternoons felt like. Or naps. Or television. In the end, Gettysburg pulls out a one point victory on a controversial call. Only 12 of Dances With Wolves’ 180 minutes are spent on the Civil War. Gettysburg spends all 6,524,396 minutes on one battle of the Civil War. (On a side note, this matchup features some fantastic beards.)


As predicted, Annie is no match for the steamroller that is Singin’ In the Rain. But don’t worry, Annie. The sun will…oh, you know.

When I made my Top Five list of movie musicals last year I wrote: “I used to hate The Sound of Music. I was forced to watch it year after year as a kid until I couldn’t take it anymore. For twenty years I proudly proclaimed that I hated The Sound of Music. It was, I told people, the musical equivalent of asparagus – and I hated asparagus. And then I had a daughter. Then I had two daughters who, somehow, both learned the song “Do-Re-Mi.” So, because I love my daughters, I got the soundtrack from the library. For the better part of a year my daughters listened to nothing but that CD. All day. Every day. From the moment they woke up in the morning until they finally went to bed at night. I lived my life to the jaunty melodies of Rodgers & Hammerstein. Finally, after months of begging, we brought the movie home from the library. And you know what? It’s fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And asparagus isn’t that bad either.” Well, nearly a year later I still feel the same way about The Sound of Music. (I do not, however, feel the same way about asparagus. It’s awful.) Sorry Mr. Feeney, The Sound of Music moves on. So does My Fair Lady. The Lion King is a joy to watch, but My Fair Lady is iconic.

And then there is The Wizard of Oz vs. The Muppet Movie. I’ve tried to write this paragraph about 15 times and have subsequently deleted every single one. I’ve tried to compare it to Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, the Louisville/Notre Dame five overtime game, Roald Admunsen & Robert Falcon Scott, and Winnie Cooper and the ridiculously attractive girl in Kevin Arnold’s French class named Madeline. I even wrote a ten page essay on what is the better rainbow song: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” or “Rainbow Connection.” Ultimately, both are wonderful, wonderful films that make us feel like a child again. So you have to ask yourself a question: If you were six, which movie would you like to watch? For me, it’s no contest. I’d put on my Kermit pajamas and watch The Muppet Movie. Pack up the Studebaker, the Muppets are headed to the Sweet 16.


As always, click on any of the links to find out the availability of the movie at SJCPL. Check back tomorrow to find out who advances to the Elite Eight. And whether or not we’ve received any positive comments! (We’re still waiting for our first.)


  1. Field of Dreams over Harry Potter?!?!

  2. In the next round you have a difficult choice – Glory vs. Gone with the Wind. In one case you have the most beloved movie of the 20th Century (and, if you’re looking at dollars adjusted for inflation, one of the box office champs). Gone with the Wind is going to be many people’s sentimental choice.

    By choosing Glory, you are choosing the following understandings: in the Civil War the Southern Cause was neither romantic nor honorable, during the war black people did more during the war than cook for Southern white families and smile, and much of the Civil War actually included armies meeting on battlefields.

    Because frankly my dear, we do give a damn.

  3. Hmmm…the Muppets over the Wizard?

    And yet you call My Fair Lady iconic? Indeed it is, but favoring the comedy of manners that is My Fair Lady over the great truths in The Lion King? We’ve been robbed.

    I’m just sayin…

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