Taylor’s BEST X-Men Characters Explained

T371731his week our Ranking Games were about which X-Men characters are our favorites. It should be made clear that the X-Men are some of my favorite characters from anything ever, so picking and ranking only 5 of them was really difficult for me. I was forced to leave out some pretty awesome people like Professor X, who was my runner up, and Storm, Gambit, and Jean Grey! When you read the Ranking Games and this, just keep in mind that my top 5 are kind of really all my number 1’s in one way or another. For those of you who love X-Men like I do and were surprised or curious as to how I picked my top, I decided that I should go into a little more detail about them than the Ranking Games allows me to do. Plus, I’ll take any opportunity I can get to talk about X-Men. So here is a little bit more information on who my top 5 X-Men characters are and why, with extra emphasis on the characters in the X-Men movies as well.

shadowcat5. Shadowcat- Young little Kitty Pryde has always been one of my favorite characters. Her innocence and ignorance are enduring in a way that only she can achieve, and I’ve always been slightly reminded of myself by her (hence why my gamertag is xSHaD0WKiTTeNx). Her powers are pretty awesome, I mean who wouldn’t want to be able to phase through anything anytime you want?

I was slightly disappointed in her portrayal in the first X-Men trilogy, mostly because she wasn’t given enough of a chance to show off how awesome she is. She had a few cool moments, but nothing that exciting. I’m not letting that get me down though as I can’t wait to see what she gets to do in X-Men: Days of Future Past since she plays such an important role in the comic story line. I’m excited to see what all she gets to do in the movie.

3172751-nightcrawler-nightcrawler-7305243-275-2754. Nightcrawler- How can you not love Nightcrawler? He’s my number 4 choice because he has awesome powers and an awesome story to go with it (I’m admittedly a fan of the idea of him being Mystique and Azazel’s little lovechild.). His faith is another differentiating factor for him because he is so devout and faithful, and the irony of his demon-like appearance is ingenious in itself. I also have a thing for Germans, so that helps too.

As if his comic book character isn’t awesome enough, they heaped on even more coolness with his character in the X-Men trilogy. That White House scene in X2 is by far one of the best scenes in the whole trilogy, and I’ll argue that with anyone who wishes to.

tumblr_inline_n0cs4m27Az1r24r6r3. Rogue- Though she may not be as universally loved as some of the other characters, I have developed quite a fascination with Rogue. Even so much so that when asked which character I’d most like to be, I often choose her. Some people say that I have a cop out reason for it, but saying that is saying that she is a cop out mutant– because my reason for it is that she can have anyone’s powers that she wants at any moment, and guess what, that’s real, she can. Of course I would choose to be her post-learning to control her powers because I genuinely believe that there is some way that she could. Plus, if I had to pick a mutant boyfriend, Gambit would probably be my choice too.

I approve of what they did with her in the movies for the most part, except for a few minor issues. One, Anna Paquin? No. No. No. Two, she took the freaking cure.

3498814-7061009170-Wolve2. Wolverine- This one was a toughie to put in 2nd place because he really deserves to be tied for 1st. My long-term favorite hero, the one and only Wolverine (X-23 is a chick, so he’s still a one and only, ok). I’ve honestly spent more time reading and learning about him than I have probably any other character from anything else ever. He’s just plain and simply awesome and interesting. I’ve dreamed about having healing powers and being made of adamantium… My toothbrush even has him on it, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, Bub.

I’m a huge fan of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, and he’s probably the only live actor I’ll ever support as him. He is fantastic in the trilogy, and his cameo in First Class was priceless. I will admit that I wish they would have just not done X-Men Origins, but obviously I watched it anyway and still loved seeing him, no matter how bad of a movie it was. The Wolverine was a much better attempt at a movie of his own, and I approve. Especially that credit scene that leads you into DoFP.

magneto-mvc31. Magneto- My 1st place X-Men character is technically not an X-Man at all, so let’s say my 1st place mutant. Magneto is the bad ass of all bad asses, and the villain of all villains. I’m a firm believer in the theory that behind every good villain is an emotionally enthralling backstory that will make you feel more than the original story even does– and Magneto is the epitome of that.

His portrayals in the trilogy and in First Class were both spot-on. Ian McKellen is one of my favorite people, and he plays him with the class and sassiness that exudes from every fiber in Sir Ian’s body. And then Michael Fassbender. He brings more to the character than I’ve ever seen anyone bring to a so-called villain. By the end of First Class I was crying for both Professor X and him, and that’s a big deal when you’re supposed to believe that he is wrong and bad and someone you aren’t supposed to believe in at all. But it isn’t the actors’ fault, it’s purely just the fact that he is such a deep character with so many layers. He’s just a really, really good character.

And that’s how the mutant’s cookie crumbles.


BEST X-Men Characters

In honor of the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past movie, we’re going to rank the best X-Men characters.


kitty-pryde-cover1_1240435639              Nightcrawler_Vol_3_3

5— Shadowcat                             5— Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler_Vol_3_3               17-7

4— Nightcrawler                               4— Wolverine

rogue-comic-2               550w_comics_uncanny_x_men_emma_frost

3— Rogue                            3— Emma Frost

17-7                gambit-comic-1-ace

2— Wolverine                                2— Gambit

magnetogreatest5                   magnetogreatest5

1— Magneto                       1— Magneto

And the Runner Ups

PROF X                 phoenix2

Professor X                                    The Dark Phoenix

Taylor’s 2013 Awards

Worst Films:

5. After Earth

4. City of Bones

3. The Host

2. Beautiful Creatures

1. Movie 43


Visual Effects:

3. Prisoners

2. The Hobbit

1. The Great Gatsby


Sound Design:

3. The Hobbit

2. Conjuring

1. 12 Years a Slave



3. American Hustle

2. Wolf of Wall Street

1. As I Lay Dying


3. Prisoners

2. The Great Gatsby

1. 12 Years a Slave


3. 12 Years a Slave

2. The Book Thief

1. Frozen


Supporting Actress:

3. Sarah Paulson—12 Years a Slave

2. Rooney Mara—Side Effects & Her

1. Lupita Nyong’o—12 Years a Slave



3. Brei Larson—Short Term 12

2. Amy Adams—American Hustle

1. Emma Thompson—Saving Mr. Banks

Supporting Actor:

3. Tom Hanks—Saving Mr. Banks/ Bradley Cooper—American Hustle

2. Jared Leto—Dallas Buyers Club

1. Michael Fassbender—12 Years a Slave


3. Leonardo Di Caprio–

2. Christian Bale– American Hustle

1. Chiwetel Ejiofor– 12 Years a Slave

Best Cast:

3. Short Term 12

2. American Hustle

1. 12 Years a Slave


Adapted Screenplay:

Honorable Mentions: The Book Thief, As I Lay Dying, Wolf of Wall Street, and The Spectacular Now

3. The Hobbit

2. The Great Gatsby

1. 12 Years a Slave

Original Screenplay:

Honorable Mentions: Prisoners and The Place Beyond the Pines

3. Short Term 12

2. American Hustle

1. Her

Best Director:

Honorable Mentions: Derek Cianfrance—The Place Beyond the Pines and Denis Villeneuve—Prisoners

3. Spike Jonze—Her/ David O Russell—American Hustle

2. Martin Scorsese—Wolf of Wall Street

1. Steve McQueen—12 years a Slave


Best Kid’s Movie:

3. Jack the Giant Slayer

2. Monsters University

1. Frozen

Best Action:

3. Trance

2. 2 Guns

1. Catching Fire

Best Horror:

3. The Purge

2. VHS 2

1. The Conjuring

Best Fantasy:

3. Wolverine/ 47 Ronin

2. Thor 2

1. The Hobbit

Best Sci-Fi:

3. Riddik

2. Star Trek

1. Her

Best Romance/Romantic Comedy:

3. Her

2. The Spectacular Now

1. The Great Gatsby


Best Comedy (Dramedy?):

3. Way Way Back

2. Kings of Summer

1. Saving Mr. Banks

Best Drama:

Honorable Mentions: Place Beyond the Pines, As I Lay Dying, American Hustle, Prisoners, and The Book Thief

3. Wolf of Wall Street

2. Short Term 12

1. 12 Years a Slave

Best Films of 2013:

Honorable mentions: Prisoners, Frozen, Side Effects, and the Bling Ring

10. Her/ The Spectacular Now/ The Conjuring

9. The Great Gatsby

8. As I Lay Dying

7. Dallas Buyers Club

6. Wolf of Wall Street

5. American Hustle

4. Place Beyond the Pines

3. Short Term 12

2. Saving Mr. Banks

1. 12 Years a Slave

Garret’s 2013 Awards

Worst Films:

Dishonorable Mentions: Pacific Rim, You’re Next, Stranded, Elysium, and Much Ado About Nothing

10. After Earth

9. Iron Man 3

8. City of Bones

7. A Haunted House

6. Movie 43

5. InAPPropriate Comedy

4. The Host

3. Beautiful Creatures

2. Hammer of the Gods

1. Crystal Fairy


Best Visual Effects:

Honorable Mentions: 47 Ronin, Star Trek: Into Darkness/ 12 Years a Slave, Riddik, and The Conjuring

3. Welcome to the Punch /Upside Down/Man of Steel

2. Thor: The Dark World

1. The Great Gatsby


Best Sound Design:

3. Trance/Riddik

2. The Place Beyond the Pines

1. 12 Years a Slave


Best Editing:

Honorable Mentions: The East, 12 Years a Slave, Trance, Prisoners, and As I Lay Dying

3. The Counselor/Broken City

2. Gangster Squad

1. Side Effects


Best Cinematography:

Honorable Mentions: The Conjuring, Side Effects, Gangster Squad, Prisoners, 12 Years a Slave, and 47 Ronin

3. Welcome to the Punch/ Upside Down

2. The Counselor

1. The East


Best Music:

Honorable Mentions: 12 Years a Slave and Spring Breakers


3. The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug

2. Frozen

1. The Place Beyond the Pines


Best Supporting Actress:

3. Patricia Clarckson– The East

2. Evangeline Lilly– The Hobbit

1. Penelope Cruz– The Counselor


Best Actress:

3. Emma Thompson– Saving Mr. Banks/Noomi Rapace– Dead Man Down

2. Roony Mara– Side Effects

1. Vera Farmiga– The Conjuring


Best Supporting Actor:

Honorable Mentions: Leonardo DiCaprio– The Great Gatsby, Javier Bardem–The Counselor, Bradley Cooper– American Hustle, and Tom Hanks– Saving Mr. Banks

3. Geoffrey Rush– The Book Thief

2. Jared Leto– Dallas Buyers Club

1. Michael Fassbender– 12 Years a Slave


Best Actor:

3. Matthew McConaughey– Dallas Buyers Club/ Chiwetel Ejiofor– 12 Years a Slave

2. Christian Bale– American Hustle

1. Joaquin Phoenix– Her


Best Cast:

Honorable Mentions: Now You See Me, The Place Beyond the Pines, and Side Effects

3. Broken City

2. 12 Years a Slave

1. American Hustle


Best Adapted Screenplay:

3. As I Lay Dying

2. The Book Thief

1. The Great Gatsby


Best Original Screenplay:

3. Prisoners

2. The Place Beyond the Pines

1. The Counselor


Best Director:

Honorable Mentions: Steve McQueen– 12 Years a Slave, Denis Villeneuve—Prisoners, James Franco- As I Lay Dying, Ridley Scott– The Counselor

3. David O. Russel– American Hustle

2. Michael Bay– Pain and Gain

1. Derek Cianfrance– The Place Beyond the Pines


Best Kid’s Movie:

3. Jack the Giant Slayer

2. Escape from Planet Earth

1. Frozen


Best Action:

Honorable Mentions: Killing Season, Catching Fire, and Phantom

3. 2Guns

2. Welcome to the Punch

1. Trance


Best Horror:

Honorable Mentions: VHS 2, Insidious 2, Mama, and Evil Dead

3. Lords of Salem

2. The Purge

1. The Conjuring


Best Fantasy:

3. The Wolverine/ 47 Ronin

2. Thor 2: The Dark World

1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug


Best Sci-Fi:

3. Europa Report

2. Star Trek: Into Darkness

1. Riddik


Best Romance/Romantic Comedy:

Honorable Mentions: Admission and Drinking Buddies

3. Upside Down

2. The Great Gatsby

1. Her


Best Comedy:

Honorable Mentions: We’re the Millers and Dealin’ With Idiots

3. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

2. This is the End

1. Pain and Gain


Best Drama:

Honorable Mentions: Prisoners, The East, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Book Thief, and As I Lay Dying

3. Dallas Buyer’s Club/ 12 Years a Slave

2. American Hustle

1. The Place Beyond the Pines


Best Movies of 2013:

Honorable Mentions: Prisoners, Dallas Buyers Club, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Purge, Trance, Lords of Salem, Broken City, Gangster Squad, The Book Thief, and Phantom

10. As I Lay Dying

9. The Counselor

8. Her

7. The East

6. 12 Years a Slave

5. Pain and Gain

4. Side Effects

3. The Conjuring

2. American Hustle

1. The Place Beyond the Pines

Overall Film Awards for 2013

With the Academy Awards in less than a month, it is the time of the year that we reflect back upon all of the movies we watched over the past year. We both managed to watch over 70 movies released in 2013, so the competition within each of our lists was strong. We rank movies in 23 categories, ranging from genres to cast to design. There are ten best pictures slots, and three for every other category. Each of our awards will be posted soon.

Derek Cianfrance on Place Beyond the PInes

*there might be spoilers to the movie*
My choice for best director and best film of 2013. It’s a long interview, but really good.

Taylor’s Best Picture Noms Reviews


Having seen over 75 new movies that were released in 2013, it is a little bit crazy to admit that I didn’t get a chance to see all of the Academy Award’s Best Picture Nominees. Movies that received a lot of attention like Gravity and Captain Phillips somehow managed to never make it on to my “watched-list”. And then there were the other movies that seemed to slip through some of the cracks like Nebraska and Philomena. I have heard and read some really great things about those movies and promise to try to watch them one day.

With all of that being said, I did get to see 5 of the nominees, so let’s talk about those.

First up—The Wolf of Wall Street.

noms 1

We’ll start here because out of these movies I saw it first (and maybe also because it was fantastic, I mean come on.) The Wolf of Wall Street is a too-exciting, overly-energetic, and slightly (only slightly?) ridiculous portrayal of Jordan Belfort’s real-life story. Under my main man Marty—ahem, Mr. Martin Scorsese’s—direction, the brilliancy of Leonardo DiCaprio being, well, a terrifically fun, somewhat insane Leo, is brilliant indeed.

Now, I’m not sure if this would be a real review if we didn’t at least touch on the Lemmon Quaaludes scene… The hilarity and craziness this entire scene captures is top-notch material, and that camera work on the stairs—perfection.

Aside from the always-lovely Leo and always-surprising Jonah Hill, there’s Margot Robbie, and if Margot Robbie didn’t accomplish what she was casted to accomplish, then I don’t think any female ever will.

While the story isn’t all that different from other Wall Street tales, the truth is—no one asked it to be.

I should say that I walked into this movie with already very high expectations, which can sometimes make or break a movie watching experience. In this case, my mostly met expectations turned out to be a big positive.

The Wolf of Wall Street gets 4 bright and shining Leo stars from me.


Next—American Hustle.

noms 2

I’m going to start off here by saying that I did not have the highest of expectations for American Hustle, mostly because everything I saw and heard about it was almost exclusively about Jennifer Lawrence, and don’t get me wrong, I love Jennifer Lawrence, but I am not a fan of marketing a movie solely on the pretty female character. BUT! Fortunately I was very surprised and ended up being pretty happy with this movie.

So, it’s no secret that what makes this movie so exciting is the cast. With Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and yes, Jennifer Lawrence (and who could forget about Robert De Niro and Louis C.K.), it would be pretty hard to make anything but a good movie. Christian Bale manages to soar above pretty much everyone else here, with his beer-belly and hair piece, and makes the whole experience something you kind of just want to revel in. I mean really, how often do you see Batman sporting a style like that? He proves, as always, that he’s right where he needs to be. There’s also Amy Adams, who really surprised me here. After seeing her in Man of Steel earlier in the year (in which I really wasn’t impressed with her), it was nice to see her trying a little bit harder. And it was just that little bit of try that bumped her up into one of my favorite female spots of the year.

Aside from the brilliant cast, we also get a refreshingly original and amazingly well-written script, as well as a pretty picture. You get to follow along on this exciting scandal, while also just enjoying the dialogue and scenery. Really, A+ work David O Russell.

And to top it all off, the ending. You can call me a little bit of a sucker for good, unexpected endings, and this one really got me.

American Hustle gets 4.5 stars. You go David O Russell.


Moving on to—Her.

Spike Jonze and Joaquin Phoenix on the set of Her

Her was undeniably the movie I was most skeptical about going in to it. I wasn’t really convinced that a love story between a man and Siri (for the most part) was something I could believe in or even enjoy watching. And I’m not going to lie, I was not a fan of The Master, and that was the last thing I had associated with Joaquin Pheonix. So you could easily say that I went into this movie with fairly low expectations.

Spike Jonze made me a believer (for the movie’s sake, at least). I don’t think it would be normal or acceptable by any means for someone to have a relationship like Theodore and Samantha’s, but this movie made me believe in theirs. Between Joaquin’s impressive acting and Scarlett’s lovely voice, I was captured. I wanted to know what was going to happen, I felt invested in their relationship. It was the most perfect love story set in the most unusual circumstances.

And if all of that lovey-doveyness wasn’t enough, this movie also successfully made me excited for the future in technology. The ear piece that reads you all of your messages, the virtual video games, and a Siri that would actually be able to help you do things… Of course those “things” should strictly be contained to handling computer and phone type jobs, but still. Any movie that can touch on my love of technology is a good movie indeed.

4 stars for Her.


And then—Dallas Buyers Club.

noms 4

This one had a fairly clean slate for me going in because, I’m going to be honest here, I had no idea who Ron Woodroof was or what this movie was even really about. All I knew was that Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto (one of my favorites) was in it, and that Jared had recently been posting pictures of himself dressed as a girl. But it turns out that that ignorance that I had is exactly what this movie was striving to clear up, and clear it up it did.

Even from the very first opening (pretty ridiculous) scene, Matthew McConaughey kills it as this sex-addicted, drunk and drugged, homophobic loon. Though that sounds like a person you probably shouldn’t care much for, you somehow do. He makes you believe in his cause and in his character transformation throughout the movie. And that is coming from someone who has never been a huge fan of Mr. Alright, Alright, Alright. He somehow manages to take you away from his McConaugheyness for just enough time to see the Ron Woodroof within, and that is a pretty freakin’ big deal for him. Good job, man.

And you literally can not talk about acting in this movie without bringing up how incredible Jared Leto was in this. I have watched countless interviews from Jared, and have even seen him live twice, but I have most definitely never seen him like this. Not only is he… well… Rayon, he’s also just emotionally and creatively on point the whole time. Never once do you stop and question “is this really happening? Is he really doing this?” because you just believe it. This was, no doubt, a perfect role and a perfect execution to come back to acting with.

The movie successfully did what it sought out to do and managed to instill in every single viewer  a deeper enlightenment on AIDS, medicinal drugs, and life. I have to say, personally I was pleasantly surprised and most certainly impressed with this movie.

Dallas Buyers Club gets and most definitely deserves a beautiful bunch of 4 stars.


And last but most certainly by no means whatsoever least—12 Years a Slave.

noms 5

This is a great place to end because honestly it was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. The cinematography, the sound, the script, and the acting were all unquestionably outstanding. The story takes you through a normal, free life in New York, to a highly emotional and raw slave life in the south in 1853.

Chiwotel Ejiofor brings Solomon Northrup’s wrenching memoir to life in the most alive way. I felt his anger as he was abducted, I felt his pain as he was hanging from that tree, and I felt his hope as it was finally restored to him. And dammit I felt Michael Fassbender’s villainy, which is a big deal for a huge Michael Fassbender fan like myself because it’s pretty tough to see someone you adore be that cruel. But he did it, and he did it well.

Steve McQueen somehow managed to get a huge, amazing group of actors and actresses to work together in the most cohesive and complimentary way. Chiwotel, Michael, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong’o, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sarah Paulson, Paul Giamatti– all brilliant, and they all fit together like beautiful little pieces falling into place along with the screenplay, together building a captivatingly inspiring movie.

The raw unglamorized scenes are enough to make you want to look away, but I found myself completely unable to. I watched every bit of it, every bit of suffering. It all told the story of a man that needed his story to be told, and it did it with every single ounce of respect and sorrow that it deserved.

And 12 Years a Slave gets all the stars from me. Bravo.


Reservoir Dogs Rehersals

Reservoir Dogs Rehersals—-Quentin doing Mr. White while Steve Buscemi rehearses.

BEST Trilogies

We’re taking “trilogy” pretty lightly as some franchises have continued to expand, though their main story really concluded with three installments. This Ranking Game focused on which Trilogy, with all three movies considered, comes out as our favorite.

TAYLOR’S PICKS                     GARRET’S PICKS

Alien-Movie-600x375 key_art_back_to_the_future

5.—ALIEN                                                     5.—BACK TO THE FUTURE



4.—STAR WARS (original)                                   4.—STAR WARS (original)


3.—THE DARK KNIGHT                                                   3.—THE DARK KNIGHT

x-men-logotrilogy- the matrix

2.—X-MEN                                                               2.—THE MATRIX 


1.—LORD OF THE RINGS                                        1.—LORD OF THE RINGS

Well there you have it folks, a unanimous(ha, 2/2) votes for Lord of the Rings as the Trilogy King.

Taylor’s Runner-Up:                                              Garret’s Runner-Up:

110                Blade-4-movie

Honorable Mentions include—–The Godfathers, The Evil Deads, The Dollar Movies, The Bournes, Predators, The Lion Kings, the Star Wars prequels.
What do you think should have claimed our top 5?