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Summon for hire
Yup. This is also the Star Wars I voted for, on account of being the Ur-adventure in space.

Johnny Unusual

4. Back to the Future
I get the image from a purely metaphorical perspective but I don't think it's actually going to show him anything shocking.

If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour... you're gonna see some serious shit.
292 Points, 10 Lists, #2 Torzelbaum
Directed by:
Robert Zemeckis
Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson​

Marty McFly is a cool guy with some problems. His mom’s a drunk, his dad is a bullied pushover and his gifts aren’t appreciated in school. But one person who does appreciate him is Doc Brown, an eccentric scientist and inventor. And he has a surprise for Marty at the mall at the dead of night… a working time machine made out of a DMC DeLorean. But it turns out to get the fuel needed, Brown made some deals with some terrorists whom he ripped off. After Brown is shot dead, Marty escapes into the DeLorean, only to accidentally send himself 30 years into the past. Marty wants to get to his own time AND save Brown from his fate but he might have sealed his own by accidentally interfering with his mom and dad getting together. Can he save history before he’s erased from it?

I can’t think of a movie on this list that has elicited more “if this movie’s on TV, I have to drop everything and finish it.” And it’s interesting because I think Robert Zemeckis has some big weaknesses. His interest in technology resulting in weird dead-eyed CG creations, his general big baby boomer energy that becomes more apparent and weird in low-key and not-so-low-key ways in some of his films (wait, so a white guy created rock and roll and Chuck Berry just ripped it off?). Pinocchio. But Zemeckis is also one of the GREAT popcorn filmmakers. Truly great. And while Forrest Gump was the movie he won the Oscar for, Back to the Future might be his greatest achievement, a film that is both deceptively simple and also creative, clever and truly fun. It’s also oozing with charisma, shooting already popular TV actors Christopher Lloyd and Michael J Fox into legends, though without a slight to their abilities, neither were able to top this one.

It's interesting because it’s a sci-fi premise that both is very straightforward and yet could be told in so many ways; what were my parents like at my age? Would we be friends? Despite toying with some real oedipal stuff, it’s a really like breezy adventure but also has some great set pieces, like the final escape into the future. The other two films are actually really great two, with the second becoming a brilliant meta-adventure in the last half (it really is three great movies in one that never feels overstuffed) and a fun Western but as one of the great popcorn movies, Zemeckis directs everything in a way that is both captivating but somehow even when he gets a bit complicated with his mechanics, it is easy to follow and completely sucks you in. Is it without flaws? No, it has several (some tied to the era it was made in, some not) but great art, even big populist entertainment, doesn’t need to be. No flaws doesn’t mean a great work. And Back to the Future is a great work and ironically a film primarily set in the 50s is the most emblematic movie of the 80s.

Hero’s Journey: OK, I can get into one interesting flaw of the era. So Marty has no respect for his loser parents, gets to meet them, learn who they are and make their future better. The problem is a lot of his better future is purely… financially great? He gets a cool truck? This is such an 80s choice.
The rights to the film and its sequels are owned by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale. In a 2015 interview, Zemeckis maintained that no reboot or remake of the film would be authorized during his or Gale's lifetime.
Ready, Set, Piece

Last edited:

Johnny Unusual

We make our way into the theatre, only to find the viewing of Aztec Gold already ended. Reminder: movies were literally a minute long back then.

"Nyahaha! Now to bomb the theatre," Says the villain. "I, Hayes Code, will be the only person to ever see the movie! My mouldering brain is the only home to this film of historical import. And not to blow up the theatre! With these bombs!"

*Indicates bombs in the room in the classic bowling ball candle shape*

"And you can't stop me. Now to escape."

There was a moment of silence.

"Please move. Look, I have to admit, I wasn't foreseeing any resistance."

I look at him cockeyed. "But you set up a LOT of traps."

"I had a lot of free time before the film screened. Anyway, I do have one way to escape."

As you might have expected from such a hackneyed plot, he pulled out a pogo stick and immediately began trying to hop over us.

"Time for me to SPRING into action while you are pushed from your mortal COIL! NYAHAHAHA!"

At this point he jumped on and it turned out this only got him a few inches in the air per jump. Then he toppled over.

"My one mistake was not testing how effective a pogo stick is at bouncing."

In fact, he made more than one mistake.

The bombs were threatening to go off any minute and with one on each seat, putting them all out seemed impossible. We were a mere 20 seconds away from death.

No, 5. 4. 3. 2...
Another painful cut because variety. Didn't need my help anyways.

BTW Johnny your description makes it sound like Marty murders Doc in cold blood for a time travel car.


Another painful cut because variety. Didn't need my help anyways.

BTW Johnny your description makes it sound like Marty murders Doc in cold blood for a time travel car.
Who did you think tipped off those terrorists?

Johnny Unusual

3. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
You voted... wisely.

And in this sort of race, there's no silver medal for finishing second.
327 Points, 11 Lists, #1 Positronic Brain
Directed by:
Steven Spielberg
Harrison Ford, Denholm Elliott, Alison Doody (I’m using the Wikipedia infobox and weirdly Connery is sixth billed)​

Indiana Jones is once again lured into another dangerous and treacherous adventure, this time to find the literal Holy Grail, the cup used at the last supper and collected the blood of Christ. But this time there is an unexpected wrinkle; he must also find his father, who has gone missing searching for the Grail, his life’s work. While finding his father, Indiana learns he is competing with the Nazis for the cup, who believe it will give them the edge in their plot for world domination. But while the two want to stop them, they are also at odds on how to do it and long-simmering resentments the son had for his father begin to bubble up. Can the two Jones boys rescue the cup or will they discover something of an even greater significance?

Indiana Jones had two films under his belt. After a darker second tale, the third one is a much brighter, sunnier adventure and manages to keep up the quality of set pieces the series was known for but also mixes things up. After a fun “origin of Indy” opening with River Phoenix, we have a story that turns some elements on its head. The first two film have romantic subplots but in this one it fakes us out and really focuses on the complicated love between a father and son. Connery and Ford make for a great team and Connery manages to be both charming but also the film makes you realize that while Indy’s absentee parenting made him “self-reliant”, he clearly had a yearning an emotional availability for something is dad was terrible at providing. And yet, this is all done very efficiently within the film so it doesn’t eat up time for those fantastic action scenes.

This is also a film that means a lot to me. I learned the joy of fear. I watched this movie at age 6 and it really scared the shit out of me. The rats, the decapitation, THAT ONE SCENE! YOU KNOW THE FUCKING SCENE! But at the same time, Mom kept asking me if I wanted to leave and I said no. I was scared but despite hiding under the seats, I loved so much of it. I feel like I rarely get those highs anymore at the movies. I love a thriller and horror but I’m rarely actually thrilled or horrified or feel the level of being lost in the movies with joy. At least not in a way that is as visceral as I felt as a child or even a teenager. Weirdly, the aforementioned Tintin got me very close. But this film was so much fun, I wanted to stick it out through the scares so I could see Indy and his dad beat the Nazis and save the day. And I still do.

Hero’s Journey: Indy and his dad reconcile. Indy once again manages to get in touch with the spiritual while it is implied Jones Sr. has a bit more insight into his son.
As with the other Indiana Jones movies, Harrison Ford did many of his own stunts. According to stuntman Vic Armstrong, he had to pull Ford to one side and ask him to let him "do some work" because Ford was doing so much of the action himself. Armstrong later said, "If he wasn't such a great actor, he would have made a really great stuntman."
Ready, Set, Piece

That cut when young Indy looks down and when he looks back up it's growed up Indy on the boat gets me every time.

Johnny Unusual

2. Raiders of the Lost Ark
I said whip it.  Whip it good.

Asps... very dangerous. You go first.
356 Points, 11 Lists, #1 Alex, Issun and Johnny Unusual
Directed by:
Steven Spielberg
Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman​

Archaeologist Indiana Jones is a seasoned adventurer looking for lost historical treasure. When presented with a chance to look for the Ark of the Covenant and learning his old mentor was mentioned in a communication with the Nazis looking for it, Jones decides to follow the lead to the greatest historical find of all time. Jones doesn’t believe that it will let him use the power of God as some believe but he does know that it can’t end up in Nazi hands and ends up getting help from his mentor’s daughter, and his former lover, in order to find it in Egypt. But while there, he must outwit Nazi forces working with his old competitor Belloq. Can Indiana save the day and are the legends of the Ark true?

We always get excited about two top-of-their-game artists working together but rarely does it come out as anticipated and rarely still is it as perfect a match up, distilling the strengths of both creators so perfectly. Spielberg’s sense of scale, wonder and joy and Lucas sense of fun and ability to create wild scenarios ended up creating the film that both brought back and completely re-invented the adventure film. It was followed by imitators but very few could even touch the wonder that is Raiders, a film where it seems like all the stars aligned; writers, performers, characters, cinematography, choreography. It really is movie making firing on all cylinders. It was also taking classic adventure movies and serials, many seeming stale and slow-paced (and many just bad and corny) and making them live up to their own legend, with little wasted space.

I loved the Jones movies growing up and thought of the character as being like my dad, who was also a university professor who did a lot of travelling, taking us to strange lands and fun. I’ve bought the movie several times over and it always seems as bracing every time I watch it, from the opening sequence that is perfect to the John Williams score ending our film in a warehouse of treasures. Spielberg was a real hitmaker who seemed to constantly top himself (and… make 1941). Lucas had also made the most gamechanging film of all time. For them to come together to make something that is the love of film made into a single movie is a result that really captures the joy of fiction and of adventure.

Hero’s Journey: Indy doesn’t believe in fairy tales but having a little faith in the supernatural saves him and Marion.
The famous scene in which Indy shoots a marauding and flamboyant swordsman was not in the original script. Harrison Ford was supposed to use his whip to get the sword out of his attacker's hands, but the food poisoning he and the rest of the crew had gotten made him too sick to perform the stunt. After several unsuccessful tries, Ford suggested "shooting the sucker". Steven Spielberg immediately took him up on the idea, and the scene was successfully filmed.
Ready, Set, Piece

Raiders of the Lost Ark is my favorite movie, bar none. It is a racous adventure that never gets old, and when I finally got to see it on the big screen at a midnight showing about 15 years ago, I was grinning ear to ear nearly the entire time.


Summon for hire
I have no idea why BTTF wasn't on my list... I guess maybe the 50s/80s setting feels a little more commonplace (despite the time travel) than most of the stuff that immediately hits me as "Adventure!". It is, of course, a fantastic film that I love regardless.

I had Last Crusade at my #3, one of the all-time-greats. Because it was up there, I left off Ark, but also it's occurring to me that I've watched both Crusade and Temple much more recently - I should really give Ark another screening some time, I don't think I've watched it all the way through since I was a kid.


The famous scene in which Indy shoots a marauding and flamboyant swordsman was not in the original script. Harrison Ford was supposed to use his whip to get the sword out of his attacker's hands, but the food poisoning he and the rest of the crew had gotten made him too sick to perform the stunt. After several unsuccessful tries, Ford suggested "shooting the sucker". Steven Spielberg immediately took him up on the idea, and the scene was successfully filmed.
The swordsman was world-renowed actor, martial artist and stuntman Terry Richards and the fight scene was scripted to have a very elaborate fight choreography where he would have had the opportunity to really show off his swordplay skills. Things went as they did and Terry was known as "the guy Indy shoots" instead of "the world's best swordsman" for pretty much the rest of his life.

Johnny Unusual

I guess I was so motivated by adrenaline (the substance, not the forum member, though I have found him very supportive), that I didn't even notice that 20 seconds away I had scaled on of the walls and grabbed a rope and started swinging. It was my one most important takeaway from these movie; when in doubt, swing from something to save the day. I don't even know what this rope is for. Maybe just to keep in theme with everything else, it's just for adventure swinging. I swing to the chandelier (it's a big one), hang from it while getting out a lighter. I hold it to the smoke detector and pray to God that this will actually work.

Success! The entire theatre is made soggy and there is such a tempest of water that the fuses are extinguished. I fall but thankfully Abby and Cynthia catch me as best they can. As we are struggling on the floor, Hayes escapes! We run after him but it turns out a helicopter was waiting for him, carrying him away on a rope ladder.

"Nyahaha! I may not have gained the movie but I've seen it at least. But next time we meet, I'll destroy you!"

The helicopter soars away back to civilization.

Abby turns to me "Thank you, Johnny. You saved us and these old dudes working for what I assume is three hey-pennies an hour. So long."

At which point another helicopter comes along and the couple waves from the rope ladder, soaring off into the distance.

At which point I wonder were it came from or why they didn't let me join. And who was flying it? Ah, well, I paid my ticket it, I may as well enjoyed it. I realize the next movie showing is in a few minutes. I decide to take my seat (after pushing a cartoonish bomb off of it), get out free magazine the theatre offers (turns out celebrities are actually nothing like us. For one, they are famous) and have a few bites of the bulk store bag of cola gummies I snuck in and wait for the show to start...

Johnny Unusual

2600. HardBall!
I heard this one got at least one accolade.

DH= Designate Hitter
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Champs 3 3 0 5
All-Stars 1 2 3
Directed by:
Bob Whitehead
Allen, Jose, Miller​

Can Santos get to second base on a double or will Smith just walk him with balls?! No one knows and the crowd leans in to find out. As the game continues, the audience, emotionally and physically drain, feasts on peanuts and crackerjacks. Will they ever get back home or are they beyond the point of caring?!

HardBall is the great American past time but now for enjoyment in your living room. Why worry about beanballs, pulled hamstrings and substance abuse allegations that most little leaguers deal with on a daily basis when you can simply decide your perfect pitch with an up arrow. The sport has now been completely refined with the most advanced graphics, you can almost SEE the players’ dots that represent eyes. It’s got everything you love! Foul balls! Strike zones! Short stops! An umpire! But now you don’t need to go to a baseball field on game day or watch it on TV. Except you do have to do the last thing by playing HardBall! for Atari!

Hero’s Journey: Getting all the way to second base!
It was hard to get some but I think I found it on IMDB

Starting on CNBC in 1997 and changing to MSNBC in 1999, Chris Matthews asks the tough questions in gut-renching political and social debates with celebrity and non-celebrity guests.

Hmm… This seems not-correct. I also have other problems with the omissions of this trivia.
Ready, Set, Piece


Johnny Unusual




1. The Princess Bride
Sure, sure, I'll let you be on your way, sir.  Just... one more bedtime story.

As you wish
423 Points, 15 Lists, #2 Kirin and Wildcat JF
Directed by:
Rob Reiner
Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon​

While sick and home from school, a young boy has a visit from his grandfather. The grandfather gives him a book and reads him the story.

In the tale, a young farmgirl named Buttercup and a farmhand named Westley falls in love. But eventually, after Westley travels to seek his fortune overseas, his ship is attacked by pirates. Believing him dead, Buttercup eventually moves on and five years later is betrothed to Humperdinck, Prince of the throne of Florin by royal order. When Buttercup is kidnapped by three bandits with plans to start a war, the criminals find themselves being stalked by a masked man. The man manages to defeat a brilliant swordsman in a duel, overcomes a giant in a fight and outwit a self-described genius in a battle of smarts. The masked man, “The Dread Pirate Roberts” reveals his secret to Buttercup and together the two decide to escape Humperdinck. Can the masked man survive? Nope. But if the heroes are dead, how does this fairy tale keep going?

I can’t think of a better way to end things than this. Oh, I think in general Raiders is the platonic ideal of adventure but ending a list of fictional adventures with a metafictional adventure is kind of perfect. And not only is the Princess Bride a truly great adventure comedy, it’s actually doing something really interesting with its meta-tale. I think what makes it works is that it’s a movie that is both knowingly ironic and completely sincere. It sounds contradictory but it is a beautifully contradictory story that’s kind of about the value of stories that both do and do not represent our world. I’m not even just talking about fantasy but I mean it’s a world where good is always to win, true love IS a thing and it DOES conquer all. The power of true love is treated as sacred but it’s power is SO ridiculous, it manages to walk a line where it knows it is ridiculous but it still cares so much for its characters and the stakes. There’s humour and wit but there’s also love.

It's also a perfect #1 because it’s also about the joy of discover… the discovery of fiction. The grandpa is kinda like the writer to his audience, telling him to “trust me, you are going to love me”, even as he messes with him and his expectations. At one point he promise the villain will not be killed right after the hero dies, upsetting expectations… but it doesn’t make him less invested. But we always want our investment to pay off. And it not being quite as he expected allows the child to get some more clever narrative and sharing the story allow the audience and storyteller to grow closer. Art is communion and there are lots of valid tacts. You can even rebuke your own audience and take them to task. But this is about an introduction, one filled with love, the promise that things will be OK even when tricking you into thinking they won’t be and simply telling a beautiful lie but one based on our values and what matters to us. Love and looking to make the world a better place. Something we can take with our main adventure, one that is terribly mundane but someone all the more important… just living our lives, trying to be good people.

Hero’s Journey: Boy likes kissing book now.
When asked to name his favorite thing about making this film, André René Roussimoff replied, without skipping a beat, "Nobody looks at me." He felt he was treated as an equal, without people staring at him because of his size.
Ready, Set, Piece

The most quotable film of all time.

I figured this would be #1 when it hadn't shown up yet. What a timeless adventure. Thanks for running this list Johnny!


Let's Pock (Art @szk_tencho)
(he / his / him)

I love this movie and will share more when I'm not at work. I'm so happy it won!


Post Reader
When I was younger I avoided overtly feminine stuff, so a movie called "The Princess Bride" was right out. Then a bit later I watched it and I was like, oh, okay. This is fantastic. Kids are stupid.


????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
Yes! This was a pleasure to read. Thanks to all who submitted and special thanks to Johnny for all the work.

My list:
  1. The Rocketeer ❌
  2. Back to the Future ✔
  3. Pee-wee's Big Adventure ✔
  4. The Beastmaster ❌
  5. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ✔
  6. The Dark Crystal ✔
  7. The Abyss ❌
  8. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope ✔
  9. Willow ✔
  10. The Last Dragon ❌
  11. The Princess Bride ✔
  12. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure ✔
  13. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves ✔
  14. The Wizard ❌
  15. The Karate Kid Part II ❌
  16. Cloak & Dagger ❌
  17. The Grand Budapest Hotel ❌
  18. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory ❌
  19. Monty Python and the Holy Grail ✔
  20. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home ❌
  21. Battle Beyond the Stars ❌
  22. Stand by Me ❌
  23. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension ❌
  24. Ant-Man ❌
  25. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids ❌


Hero’s Journey: Boy likes kissing book now.
- His name is Inigo Montoya.
- He avenged his father.
- He must now prepare to live.

Anyway... what the hell DID I even vote for?

1. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom at 31
2. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
3. Raiders of the Lost Ark at 2
4. Star Wars (A New Hope) at 5
5. The Mummy at 17

6. Jumanji (video game not board game)
7. Jumanji 2
8. Labyrinth at 10
9. Dave Made a Maze
10. The Mask of Zorro (1998) at 37
11. Castle in the Sky at 13
12. Castle of Cagliostro at 6
13. Kong: Skull Island at 41
14. King Kong (original) at 35
15. King Kong (Peter Jackson) at 48

16. Explorers
17. Time Bandits
18. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen at 23
19. Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey
20. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (which I feel bad having so low because it's plainly excellent, says it right there!) at 20
21. The Three Musketeers (1993)
22. Muppet Treasure Island
23. Avatar
24. Pirates of the Caribbean at 9
25. Goonies at 11

Most of the differences are just me not even considering fantasy movies or Disney cartoons, but that said...

I'm shocked these didn't make it: Sky Captain, the modern Jumanjis, Time Bandits, Three Musketeers, Muppet Treasure Island, Avatar. Sky Captain especially. I know not a lot of people saw it, but I'd figure if it's on any lists, it'd be way up there.

I figure people just aren't aware: Dave Made a Maze, Explorers. The former is basically Labyrinth 2: This time, it's cardboard. The latter is just a baffling blind spot in so many people's recommendation of Kids On Bikes type movies worth filling in.

I feel the need to apologize on our collective behalf: None of us are apparently old enough to have loaded half the list with Erol Flynn. how did even I forget The Shadow? I only listed 2 Bill & Ted movies but it's not that I don't love 3 it just lacks for exotic locales.


Rated Ages 6+
(He, Him)
I feel the need to apologize on our collective behalf: None of us are apparently old enough to have loaded half the list with Erol Flynn. how did even I forget The Shadow?

  1. Labyrinth
  2. The Dark Crystal
  3. Golden Voyage of Sinbad
  4. Bumblebee
  5. Star Wars a.ka. A New Hope
  6. Short Circuit 2
  7. Back To The Future
  8. Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade
  9. Atlantis The Lost Empire
  10. The Shadow ⬅️
  11. The Last Starfighter
  12. The Great Muppet Caper
  13. The Phantom Tollbooth
  14. The Neverending Story
  15. Willow
  16. The Karate Kid II
  17. Krull
  18. Tron
My usual hit or miss percentage. Ah well.


Summon for hire
Thanks for a great list Johnny!

I’ll post my full list later when I’m back on my desktop but meanwhile fist bumps to Daikaiju for Phantom Toolbooth which I also voted for.