August 2008 - Posts
Happy Birthday, Steven!
I certainly remember where I was 4 years ago today. Ugh.
Top 20 All-Time Favorite Movies (10-6)
See #15-11 here
10. Office Space (1999)
Far from a box office smash, Office Space has gained a cult following by hitting very close to the home (or office) of many Generation X cubicle dwellers. Although the satire takes its aim at computer programmers during the impending Y2K disaster, the references, humor, and situations can easily be appreciated by anyone who has had a job or a “case of the Mondays.”
Highlighting the peculiarities of work environments, including employees: “Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking. Just a moment,” bosses: “Yeahhhh. Did you get that memo?” and daily conversations: “Well at least your name isn't Michael Bolton,” the classic lines are endless. Life is quirky and jobs can be too. We love Office Space because it makes us laugh more and more with every viewing, and reminds us to never be short on flair.
--Kevin Pletcher, Online Marketing Manager
9. The Matrix (1999)
In 1999, a small, independent flick was quietly released to theaters. Given the almost non-existent marketing budget, this modest film with sci-fi and fantasy elements was destined to linger in “B” Movie Purgatory. But on opening night, there was a lone, awkward geek, who emerged from the theater and shouted “THAT WAS AWESOME!” in a voice that carried further than a pair of Klipschorns. After that, it was wall to wall in the theater and The Matrix exploded like an atom bomb.
A meticulous observer of pop culture will see the film as being derived from many sources. It’s essentially a science fiction messiah myth with Eastern philosophy window dressing hung all over it. But while its artificial depth is easy to see through, the earnestness of the performances, the cool factor, the hard core action, and the truly inventive special effects cannot be denied. The Matrix is sweet candy for the mind and the eye. Like any good roller coaster, you want to get in line over and over again. While the two sequels drew mainly tepid reactions, the original Matrix remains a mainstay in DVD libraries to this day and is destined to be counted as a classic.
"Even Keanu Reeves can't harm this fresh yet somehow retro science fiction masterpiece."
--Don Inmon, Sales
8. Forrest Gump (1994)
Forrest Gump succeeds where many films involving American pop culture and major historical events fail: it is able to show us an unbiased and non-judgmental perspective by using a character who does not judge. He is an observer and a commentator who describes exactly what he sees, in the simplest terms.
The moral statement is not a subtle one. Forrest embodies the American spirit, from love and family to patriotism and capitalism, with great successes, while Jenny represents the counter-culture of the 60s and 70s with dire consequences. While reality is not always so clear-cut, the simplicity of the story about love and friendship, and its message to “do the best with what God gave you,” lends to its broad appeal, no matter your religion or nationality.
“I enjoyed his innocence throughout the movie. Forrest always saw the good in people, even though they themselves could not. It is a lesson we all can learn in life: to show kindness to everyone.”
--Paul Dedert, Customer Service Representative
You-Probably-Didn’t-Notice Fact: In all photographs of Forrest, his eyes are closed.
7. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
A throwback to classic serial films, Raiders of the Lost Ark captivates and thrills the kid in all of us, with the most skillfully executed action scenes and identifiably rousing musical score of any film in recent memory. It is a nostalgic look at a time when the line between good and evil was clearly defined. Indiana Jones is a flawed superhero in human form, one that could possibly be your teacher, neighbor, father, or uncle. This familiar nature creates a strong emotional connection, rare in action movies, lending to the films continued appeal, three decades and three sequels later.
“Raiders has two of my all time favorite scenes: the boulder chase and the fight around the airplane, which they act out at Disney World’s MGM Studios. When I think about movies from my childhood, Indiana Jones is what I think about.”
--Chris Shelton, Customer Service Representative
Thank-goodness-that-didn’t-happen fact: Tom Selleck was originally cast as Indiana Jones.
6. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Among the most beloved films of all time, The Shawshank Redemption is a moving story of one man’s journey from despair and anguish to hope and freedom. It features wonderful acting and great period detail as we move through almost 20 years in which he and a tight-knit group of fellow inmates spend in the yard, dining hall, offices and claustrophobic cells of Shawshank prison. The great spirit of the main character reminds us of the power of patience and persistence. If you have access to the TNT cable channel, chances are you’ve seen it 13 or 14 times.
“I liked The Shawshank Redemption because of its powerful message of perseverance and hope. Great acting, smart dialogue, and an inspiring theme: ‘Get busy living, or get busy dying.’”
--Dan Sullivan, Accounting Manager
Trivia: During the scene where Brooks fed his pet crow a maggot, the American Humane Association objected on the grounds that it was cruel to the maggot, and required that they use a maggot that had died from natural causes. One was found, and the scene was filmed.
The Friday before long holiday weekends is always a bit strange at Klipsch. Seems as though half the people are gone, while the other half wander around in a daze wondering why they are here. I happen to be one of those in a daze, so I'm making today's blog an easy one.
For those of you who are curious, yes, I did make it to the Colts game last night. A drive that usually takes me a half an hour to maneuver turned into an hour and a half joy ride with a four-year-old in tow, who was not only hungry and had to potty, was clueless about where we were going or why we had to go. Which never goes over well with small children.
It was completely worth it when we arrived, and not just because we had fantastic parking. Or fantastic seats. Or a fantastically awesome new stadium to marvel over. Or that overall Steven was a good little football fan and enjoyed himself immensely (although we did manage to annoy a few people around us). The best part for me, and I think for Steven as well, was running into Grandpa -- realtor by day, Conseco Fieldhouse/Lucas Oil Stadium usher by night.
Plus he was wearing an awesome color.
Top 20 All-Time Favorite Movies (15-11)
See #20-16 here
15. Sixteen Candles (1984)
Even if you weren’t a Samantha Baker, Jake Ryan, Caroline Mulford, or Farmer Ted, you undoubtedly could find yourself somewhere among the other angst-ridden high schoolers in this classic teen comedy. Writer/director John Hughes had an amazing knack for capturing the turmoil of suburban youth in the 1980s with movies such as Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Some Kind of Wonderful, but it’s this classic “ugly duckling” fairytale which has captured our highest affection.
The one-day journey from Samantha’s forgotten birthday to the Jake Ryan-Porsche fantasy realization, mirrored by Ted’s evolution from geek to stud, gives hope to misfits everywhere. And let’s face it, all teenagers are misfits, which is why this movie works. The classic situations along the way including The “Donger,” sister Ginny’s impending nuptials, and Twilight Zone-dwelling grandparents, combine to create an unforgettable, and sometimes all too familiar, coming of age story for the post-Baby Boom Generation.
--Meredith Rule, Marketing Manager
Sibling Fact: The second of 10 films that includes an appearance by both John and Joan Cusak.
14. The Green Mile (1999)
The second Steven King adaptation in our list set within prison walls, and also directed by Frank Darabont, is The Green Mile. On the surface it’s a story of a wrongly accused man, which could be construed as a statement about the injustice of capital punishment, the shortcomings of our legal system, and extreme racial prejudice during the Depression Era. But if you look beyond the surface, you’ll find a more meaningful interpretation concerning religion, the supernatural, and the true representation of evil. We can be fairly certain that the initials of the wrongfully prosecuted man are no accident.
“I choose The Green Mile because it is a powerful and moving film. Tom Hanks gives an outstanding performance.”
--Melissa Fry, Engineering Assistant
Movie-Time-Line Fact: Mr. Jingles, the mouse, would’ve been at least 64 years old when Paul introduced him to Elaine. Mice typically live about 5 years in captivity.
13. Blade Runner (1982)
Blade Runner is a one of the great dystopian masterworks of cinema. A ravaged planet, rampant crime, media saturation to the extreme, Earth is in a post apocalyptic state and the nature of humanity is the obsessive question asked by the struggling civilization. Bred for hard labor in “off-world” mining colonies, robotic humanoids known as “replicants” have been upgraded to be nearly indistinguishable from humans, but the newest models are also superior in strength, intelligence, and agility. What previous models lack is empathy… and notice that when Deckard (Harrison Ford) tests Rachel (Sean Young) to determine if she is human, he uses a machine designed to measure empathy. Through the discovery of a capacity for true emotional connection within the replicants, Deckard questions what it means to be human, and our responsibility to these new living beings humanity has spawned.
“I am a big Philip K *** fan, and this is a one of my favorite stories of his. What makes the movie great is the production design. It’s film noir from the future which has influenced countless other sci-fi films. Did you know that a company in LA is going to place giant video ads on skyscrapers just like the movie? The future is now!”
--Robert Land, Customer Service Representative
12. Goodfellas (1990)
My ex-wife—the last one—was the first huge Goodfellas fan in our household; I had to watch it twice to become totally hooked. After that, it was a staple for the holidays(!) By far my favorite of the Scorsese films (though I still enjoy the underrated black comedy After Hours), it sets the American dream on end. Henry Hill’s line “As far back as I can remember, I've always wanted to be a gangster." perfectly sets the tone for a darkly funny, violent and oddly satisfying film.
It features “high water mark” performances from Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci—and one of my favorite Di Niro roles…not to mention one of the most brilliantly integrated soundtracks in the history of film. All in all, its one of my very favorite films—and one that has held up remarkably well over the last 18 years.
--George Wilson, Copywriter
It’s-a-family-thing Fact: Director Martin Scorsese’s parents both make appearances—his mother plays Tommy’s (Pesci’s) mother, and his father is the prisoner who puts too much onion in the sauce.
11. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
The greatest of WWII movies; arguably the greatest of all war movies, Saving Private Ryan is an emotionally wrenching journey into occupied France, beginning with the disturbingly realistic opening scene at Normandy. The quest to find James Ryan becomes secondary to the plight of the dedicated men sent to find him, but we are no less ecstatic when he is finally retrieved. His determination to remain with “the only brothers I have left” is moment that will forever define the relationship between combat soldiers for those who will never experience that unique bond.
Astonishing sound and visual effects combine with a remarkable story and cast to make this one of the most memorable and honorable films ever made devoted to our Greatest Generation, which moves us all to “Earn this.”
"The best, most realistic, and heart felt war movie I have ever watched."
--Steve Donalson, Senior Engineering Compliance Technician
History-on-film Fact: Two authentic WWII landing crafts were used in the film’s opening scene on Omaha Beach.
One of the perks of working for Klipsch is the tickets to local sporting events and theater productions that sometimes come our way. I was the lucky receipient of Colts tickets for tonight's preseason game against the Bengals at the brand new Lucas Oil Stadium. Row 5.
I haven't decided yet, but I'm thinking about taking Steven to his first football game ever as an early birthday present. Could be a wonderful time or a complete disaster. Depends who is sitting next to him. Whoever you are, if you are reading this, I apologize in advance for the small child next to you, repeatedly kicking the seats, leaning on you as he stands up every five minutes, and throwing food in your general direction. He really is a sweet boy. Really.
At Klipsch, we’re passionate about movies. From our state of the art professional cinema line to our compact home theater speakers, every surround system we engineer is dedicated to the love of movies, for achieving the best possible sound is essential to the ultimate cinematic experience.
Because of this, I have asked the employees of Klipsch to come together to offer you their top 20 favorite movies of all time, as well as their top 20 favorite movie soundtracks (coming soon). Over the next 4 days, I'll reveal the list in blocks of 5, starting at the bottom.
I have included links to trailers or scenes, as well as quotes from my fellow employees stating why they chose a particular film.
Top 20 All-Time Favorite Movies (20-16)
Note: The movies in this category were chosen not necessarily because they are considered “the best films of all time,” but because they are personal favorites we find ourselves enjoying over and over.
20. Braveheart (1995)
Braveheart is an epic historical war movie in the vein of Lawrence of Arabia or Saving Private Ryan, but set in 14th century Scotland. Mel Gibson brings life to Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace, who raises an army to drive out King Edward Longshanks and win Scottish independence from England. Although Gibson’s age is suspect for playing the role, his direction is not. Characters in this film are three dimensional and often sympathetic, and the women are surprisingly powerful. Gibson’s attention to detail is strong, especially in combat. The film is lauded for its meticulous recreation of the weapons, armor, war paint, and tactical techniques of the era.
Despite one’s position of the film’s accuracy of historical events, the sweep of this epic is breathtaking and the narrative demands attention as it unravels. For heroism, realism, and emotional impact, Braveheart deserves a spot in any film lover’s collection.
“The raw emotion prior to the battle scene, when he screams ‘… but they will never take our freedom!!!’ is some seriously powerful stuff. Overall, the movie is great because how it portrays real people and I felt as though their emotion and sacrifice for the cause was real.”
--Andre LaRouche, Acoustic Engineer
19. Caddyshack (1980)
Among the most quoted movies of all time, Caddyshack is a genre-inspiring comedic tour de force. With all the laughs generated, it is easy to forget the touching coming-of-age story at its heart. We can all relate to the tough decisions faced after high school. Will Danny find himself at the college of his dreams, or right in the lumberyard? In the end, he discovers what we all should: that it doesn’t really matter, as long as you live well. And laugh often.
“Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and the rest of the cast are all at the top of their game. My favorite scene is the timeless candy bar in the pool scene-- I couldn’t eat candy bars for a week.”
--Travis Turner, Customer Service Representative
Little-known-gopher fact: The gopher sound effects were actually that of a dolphin.
18. Christmas Vacation (1989)
Two lines from this movie are in constant use around my house, ‘Are you serious, Clark?’ and ‘I don’t know, Margo!’
The scripting is fantastic; there is nothing wasted. Every line is a joke or a setup for a joke. There is no time wasted developing characters, and no wasted scenes… even the touching scene when Clark is watching the old home movies, he is dressed in drag while he sheds a tear, only to fall down the hole of the attic stairs when the family returns home.
And isn’t this how we all feel after the long holiday weekend?
--Andy Wickham, Electrical Engineer
I’ve-Heard-That-Voice-Before Fact: The charming late actress Mae Questel, also known as Aunt Bethany, provided the voice for such iconic characters as Olive Oyl and Betty Boop.
17. The Notebook (2004)
The Notebook rises to the forefront of the “tearjerker” genre with wonderful acting and a combination of art direction and cinematography that allow us to experience a tale of love that spans more than fifty years, and it a testament to the strength of that love. The movie’s great spirit carries us along and transcends the familiar nature of the story. Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling can be considered among the best actors of their generation.
--Neda Boushehry, Sales
Sentimental Fact: Nick Cassavetes (son of the venerable John Cassavetes) directs his mother, renowned actress Gena Rowlands.
16. Rear Window (1954)
With the exception of a handful of shots, Rear Window originates entirely from the apartment of the main character, giving us the same claustrophobic and helpless feeling as the debilitated hero, played by the quintessential Everyman Jimmy Stewart. Although this would seemingly limit the plot, Hitchcock still manages a very suspenseful and creepy atmosphere, one that captures our attention immediately. It really makes you contemplate the things you can learn about your neighbors if you just stop and observe. Not to mention I enjoy Grace Kelley’s costumes!
--Lori Crist, Sr Collections Specialist
Exhibit C: Jim Nabors Sings Love Me With All Your Heart
Although not from Indiana, this beloved and honorary Hoosier has been singing Back Home Again at the opening ceremonies of the Indy 500 almost every year since I was not quite 2 years old. The day would not be the same without him.
I have always been a wand'rer
Over land and sea
Yet a moonbeam on the water
Casts a spell o'er me
A vision fair I see
Again I seem to be
Back home again in Indiana,
And it seems that I can see
The gleaming candlelight, still shining bright,
Through the sycamores for me.
The new-mown hay sends all its fragrance
From the fields I used to roam.
When I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash,
Then I long for my Indiana home.
Fancy paints on mem'ry's canvas
Scenes that we hold dear
We recall them in days after
Clearly they appear
And often times I see
A scene that's dear to me
--composed by Ballard MacDonald and James Hanley
When you work for a speaker manufacturer, it is sometimes difficult to come up with compelling content for web pages, box art, press releases, sales kits, newsletters and advertisements. I mean, really, how many different ways can you gush about a box that makes noise? But somehow, our two clever writers are able to accomplish it, time and time again. And now with four brands under their belt.
I'm sure it has nothing at all to do with this completely creepy voodoo doll that Sarah has tucked away in her cube...
...or does it?
Yes, Crocs are all the rage, and yes, I try to avoid being a conformist...especially when the current "rage" is this weird looking. But Steven has longed for these shoes since the beginning of the summer, and he finally wore me down yesterday. I had to resist the urge to try some on myself because I was afraid I'd fall in love with them.
If you'll remember, I talked about these extremely large, beautiful yellow R909 speakers from Jamo a while back, and mentioned Steven's affinity for yellow. I've never seen anything like it. He'd rather play with a piece of yellow paper than the coolest some-other-color toy in the world. I began wonder what this might have to do with Steven's personality, and after a brief history in strange comic strip characters, I stumbled upon this site, whose analysis is surprisingly accurate.
What does your favorite color say about you?
But who will find it first?
The search begins.
Exhibit B: Leroy Gomez, Gypsy Woman
Gotta love those boots.
We do a lot of A/B comparisons during the course of developing products, whether it is between existing Klipsch speakers or competitors. It's important to scrutinize what's out there with what's up next to maintain the "Best in Class" mantra that we take pride in.
The good news about Klipsch speakers is they are highly efficient, meaning they do not require the same amp power to reach the same volume as others. The bad news about this efficiency is it can be very difficult to compare accurately when you are manually matching output levels.
The solution? A custom made A/B switcher box, seen here as a work in progress.
Geeky, I know, but I thought it was cool that we are making our own. Smart people amaze me daily around here.
As mentioned in a previous blog, one of the highlights of this past June's Pilgrimage was the contribution of hundreds of vintage vinyl by forum member Artto. After the pilgrims rifled through them like kids in a candy store, the remaining stash was left for Klipsch employees. The result of this generosity is some of the most interesting cubicle-art this company has ever seen.
Exhibit A: Sharie Lynn And Her Show-fers. Upon trying to locate information on this pink-clad big-haired dynamo and her back up quartet of stunt motorcyclists, I came across a lone reference on this hilarious blog, which has a collection of such "vinyl oddities." Go ahead, take a look. I guarantee you won't be able to keep a straight face either.
I took Steven to see WALL·E on its opening weekend. I loved it. Steven -- not so much. The lack of dialogue was just too much for his restless mind to endure. He wanted to leave 10 minutes in, but I held firm. When he fell asleep 10 minutes later, I cheered inside, as did the man sitting next to him, I'm sure.
When he woke during the credits, he delightfully shouted "That was a great movie! What happened?" A film critic, he is not. If he was, he'd tell you the sound was fantastic and the visuals were nothing short of stunning. But what would you expect from Pixar? I can't wait to watch it on my home theater, which for some reason sounds better than most cinemas. Maybe because any popcorn-crunching near my ear will only be done by me.
Since that weekend if we see a sight such as this, whether it be binoculars, a viewfinder, or a center channel speaker, Steven shouts "WALL·E, WALL·E!" as if he actually enjoyed the movie. And yes, I broke down and got him the licensed WALL·E bubble bath that we came across at the grocery store this past weekend. I'm such an enabler.
More Posts Next page »