We Defend the Indefensible
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is better than Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Yeah, right we hear you shout. Sometimes, a classic isn’t as good as it’s made out to be, and sometimes a film that people write off as a howler is actually… good.
You’ve seen the headline and you’re probably set to punch your screen, but hear us out. We would never go as far as to say that Steven Spielberg’s 1981 archaeology-em-up, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, is bad.
Who doesn’t love seeing young Harrison Ford heft bags of sand, get sweaty, and play with his whip? But…we will go as far as to say this: The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is better.
Public opinion isn’t exactly on our side. Raiders of the Lost Ark has a 96% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, which is quite frankly ridiculous.
No film is that good. While Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’s 54% leaves it lagging, we think it’s an unfair reflection of this neglected gem. Why? Hold our hand and read on.
1. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull made more money internationally
Here’s something worth remembering: films exist to make money. Yes, they can be works of art. Yes, they mean a lot to people. But they’re big business, and if they do big business at the box office, they’re a success no matter what you think.
The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull made over $790 million worldwide. Admittedly, Raiders made more overall when adjusted for inflation but a whopping 63% of those earnings were domestic.
Whereas around 60% of Kingdom’s takings were from international cinema-goers. For us, this indicates a wider appeal. It indicates that more people got more out of the 2008 film.
And as well as showing financial success, it suggests that the film was better able to cross boundaries and bring people together, which in the modern world, can only be a good thing. So, thanks for the love-in, George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg.
2. Nazis are cheating
Yes, Major Toht (the Gestapo agent with the round glasses) is a good baddie in Raiders. The weird voice, the breathing thing he does when he gets excited about burning Marion.
But he and the other key bad guys in that film are NAZIS. Come on. It’s too easy to take the most evil people in 20th-century history (and perhaps beyond) and stick them in your film.
It’s like saying something happened because ‘God did it’. And, come to think of it, Raiders sort of does that too…
In Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, by contrast, the film has to work much harder to come up with bad guys. Yes, the Russian mafia are not exactly nuanced baddies, but the FBI and the US government don’t exactly come out strongly on the side of good in the film either.
And it’s much braver to make the USA an ambiguous presence in a film like that.
3. Old Indy
One of the reasons that The Last Crusade is quite possibly the best of the original Indy trilogy is the performance of Sean Connery as the older Dr Jones.
It’s not just that he’s a good actor, it’s that he brings pathos to the film with his physical frailty and the sense of those lost years of a father-son relationship.
OK, 2008 Harrison Ford was in far better shape than Connery in 1989 and he plays the Indy of Kingdom with impressive vigour. But the years are etched into his features.
The jowls, the craggy face. The bulkier build, the way he breathes more heavily after an action sequence. Life and adventures have taken their toll on our hero. He’s not a superman any more, and perhaps he never was.
On top of that, we have the emotional reunion of Indy and Marion after years apart. And Karen Allen (who plays Marion in both films), while wonderfully preserved for a woman of 60, is also visibly aged.
What’s more moving than the reunion of lovers when they’re no longer young and beautiful?
Can you honestly say that when you took a seat in that cinema to see Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for the first time you weren’t excited by the potential of what was about to happen? By this point you knew who Indy was, you knew what he’d been through.
Back in 1981 before you saw the movie you wouldn’t have had that feeling, it was all new. The feeling of anticipation gifted to you by Kingdom of the Crystal Skull would’ve been worth its weight in gold.
Look, you may not agree with us. You don’t have to, it’s your right as an argumentative human being on the internet. But this is our hill, and while we at TheCultureCrossing.com aren’t willing to die on it, we are willing to put it on the internet and wince. And what’s braver than that?
There you have it, that’s our argument for why Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is better than Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Is there anything we missed out that you think could’ve been on this list or are we way out of our depth with this argument? If so, leave us a comment below.
Read more defend the indefensible articles HERE.
Read IMDB information about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull HERE.
9 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies
There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.
1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)
Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.
2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.
3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)
You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.
4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.
5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)
Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.
6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)
I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.
7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)
This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.
8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)
We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.
9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.
That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.
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