Total Recall

Total Recall: In Honor of AVP:R, Memorable Cinematic Title Fights

Because writing out "versus" has become so cumbersome.

by | December 26, 2007 | Comments

This week, we’re taking it to the screen with Alien vs.
Predator: Requiem
, the latest mash up of modern sci-fi’s two coolest franchises
in a winner-take-all battle royale. Why are they duking it out on Earth? Why not?
Just check out some of our eternal feuds. Boys versus girls. Cats versus dogs.
The left versus the right. Fresh versus rotten. Seeing how the world loves to
crash opposites against each other and watch the sparks fly, here’s a sample of
10 more memorable title fights, all taking place in the silver screen coliseum.
Get your tickets (and DVDs) now!

Wife Versus Secretary (1936)

The set-up: Clark Gable stars as Van Stanhope,
magazine industrialist with a godsend of a secretary named Whitey (Jean Harlow).
Talk slowly bubbles that a secretary that gorgeous can’t be without some special
talents not listed on her resume, which begins to influence Stanhope’s wife,
Linda (Myrna Loy). Stanhope digs himself deeper into trouble with wife through a
series of delightful misunderstandings in this prime example of old Hollywood
upscale comedy and sharp ratatat dialogue.

Winner: Secretary. Everybody gets their happy ending, but I
honestly never trusted Clark Gable, what with his pomade-doused hair and creepy
thin mustache. The secretary gets the better deal — she drives off into the
evening with her beau, played by a little known actor named James Stewart.

Gamera vs. Monster X (1970)

The set-up: Never mind the mindless lumbering and
random fire belching of Godzilla, give me Gamera the turtle any day. Gamera has
motivations. Feelings. Now if only the helpless citizens of Japan
could figure out what those were. In Gamera vs. Monster X, excavations on a
small island accidentally resurrect Gamera’s nemesis, a scaled lizard that can
microwave buildings with a heat ray and shoot pointy things from its horns. In
comes Gamera to save the day, never mind that Japanese army is constantly trying
to murderlize his hide. The movie hits its high point when Gamera gets injected with
Monster X larvae and two children (children always sympathize with the
misunderstood gentle giant) take a mini-sub into his lungs for some emergency
surgery.

Winner: The global community. May we always have
enormous rubber
monsters and bugs to admire!

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

The set-up: A box office success, now somewhat
unfairly marginalized as one of those Best Picture winners that
stole the award from clearly superior movies (in this case, Apocalypse Now).
Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep star as Ted and Joanna Kramer, a New York couple
whose marriage is shaken when Joanna suddenly leaves Ted and their son, Billy.
Indeed, this is no Apocalypse Now. But it is a clean-cut melodrama with tense
domestic scenes as Ted and Billy slowly assemble a relationship. The title fight
refers to the third-act custody battle that ensues when Joanna returns as a more
whole woman and demands her child back.

Winner: Kramer.

Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)

The set-up: Tom Hanks made a lot of weird comedies
during his early "funny" period (The ‘burbs, Bonfire of the Vanities,
Splash), but none were weirder than Joe Versus the Volcano. After a
fantastically stylized intro depicting the daily grind of factory life, Tom
Hanks’ Joe goes to a Pacific island on a business trip where he meets Meg Ryan
(their first pairing), makes a raft out of steamer trunks (twice!), gets
married, and sacrifices himself to the volcano to appease island natives.

Winner: Tie. In a cute plot twist at the end, both
Joe and the volcano get their final comeuppance.

Godzilla vs. Destroyah (1995)

The set-up: Since only the most devoted geek can
keep track of all the Godzilla flicks since the 1954 debut, the franchise
reboots every several decades to renew interest and attract new fans. In the
final installment of this mini-series (which ran approximately from the mid-80s
to 90s), Godzilla faces one of his toughest (and most popular) enemies:
Destroyah, a crustacean mutated by the Oxygen Destroyer that defeated the
original Godzilla. Intriguing fact: 1995’s production values for monster movies
seem to be even less than in 1954.

Winner: In a rare TKO, Destroyah survives long enough to
witness Godzilla succumb to total nuclear meltdown. But then enters Godzilla
Junior…

The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)

The set-up: After shedding his lovable buffoon image
with Natural Born Killers, Woody Harrelson continued his hot streak playing
sleazy weirdos in The People vs. Larry Flynt. Garnering his only Oscar
nomination in the process, Harrelson portrays Hustler magnate Flynt beginning
with his origins running strip joints to his rise to infamy, his marriage to
Althea Flynt (Courtney Love), the assassination attempt that has left him
wheelchair-bound, and his various run-ins with the law, culminating in a
mega-publicized court battle with Jerry Falwell. Harrelson plays Flynt that
elicits from the audience a canny mix of disgust and curious empathy.

Winner: Larry Flynt, on appeal to the Fourth Circuit. But
with immature smut still available on newsstands at low, low prices, couldn’t
you say everybody wins?

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002)

The set-up: Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu star as Ecks and
Sever, two agents manipulated into killing each other. After some slo-mo action
shots and an overused techno soundtrack, Ecks and Sever realize they’re better
off working together. And then cue a lot more slo-mo action shots and more
grating techno music. All this without a single coherent moment. Rotten Tomatoes
normally isn’t in the business of recommending crappy movies (even in the name
of irony), but an exception will be made for the Worst-Reviewed
Movie of All Time
.

Winner: Drinking game participants who need something new
to endure, having already done Commando, Street Fighter, and Master of the
Flying Guillotine
.

Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

The set-up: After years of setbacks and writer’s blocks
looking for a plot that could host both Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, New
Line settled on a story about parents medicating their kids so they can’t dream
and fall prey to Krueger. The entire city? Without anybody knowing?
That’s the best they could come up with? Insane set-up aside, Freddy vs. Jason
gives exactly what horror fans want (decent kills, a bit of T & A) along with a
few surprises: the movie has some of the strongest characters in a Jason movie
since Crispin Glover‘s awkward loser in Friday the 13th: The Final
Chapter
.

Winner: Since the winking, ambiguous final shot puts into
question who wins, it boils down to a matter of opinion. People who like Freddy
think he won, while people who prefer (the far awesomer) Jason argue in his
favor.

The U.S. vs. John Lennon (2006)

The set-up: John Lennon‘s transformation from mischievous
musician/political activist to perceived national threat by the Nixon
administration is captured in this 96 minute cheer-a-thon for the former Beatle.
Though there’s little educational value in the documentary since few dissidents
are featured among the interviewees, this is an undeniably fun ride through pop
politics with rich archival footage and the image of a flustered Tricky Dick
frightened by a guy who stages bed-ins.

Winner: John. Books, albums, apparel and whatever else
Lennon merch Ono can farm out continue to sell. The best Nixon can hope for
nowadays is ripe Futurama caricatures.

Eagle vs Shark (2007)

The set-up: At an animal dress-up party, Jarrod, gussied up
as an eagle, and shark-sporting Lily hook up. What ensues is a back-and-forth
battle of twits as the two try to navigate a relationship amidst commitment
phobias and Jarrod’s half-baked plan to take revenge on a childhood bully. Popsters The Phoenix Foundation provides a well-used soundtrack and animated
interludes of a walking apple core flesh out the film. Eagle vs. Shark is often
cited as the virulent New Zealand strain of the Napoleon Dynamite epidemic,
which is a simplistic and rather lazy criticism. Sure, it’s quirky and full of
misfit characters, but framing the movie through the girl’s perspective gives
the movie unexpected poignancy that elevates it above indie genre fare.

Winner: A tie match. Even the apple gets its
sunset.

Tag Cloud

theme song Shondaland Marvel Britbox Tomatazos blockbuster TV One halloween tv Universal Pictures popular 2018 telelvision TCM Music 99% die hard critic resources DirecTV Schedule Film Festival Character Guide Shudder El Rey President Masterpiece all-time Rom-Com PlayStation medical drama remakes psychological thriller comiccon Black Mirror VICE comics Spectrum Originals Funimation NYCC toronto free movies parents dragons Sci-Fi 007 thriller Apple TV Plus BET Awards Apple Image Comics robots Paramount 2020 series Opinion Extras Star Wars transformers high school Syfy rt labs news cartoon Comic-Con@Home 2021 MSNBC Anna Paquin IFC OWN Ellie Kemper Food Network TCA 2017 diversity Writers Guild of America hispanic heritage month Disney kids Spring TV The Walt Disney Company ABC Family deadpool streaming movies AMC Turner USA Esquire Trivia Chilling Adventures of Sabrina scene in color Martial Arts ABC twilight universal monsters social media Crunchyroll Reality sag awards movies tv talk scary movies Watching Series ESPN halloween suspense child's play Alien Oscars razzies Marathons talk show Nickelodeon IFC Films james bond godzilla screenings debate WarnerMedia TruTV emmy awards The Arrangement Ghostbusters venice doctor who Showtime indie Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt new star wars movies TV Land FX cars TIFF Rocky VOD YouTube MCU Western OneApp strong female leads television ViacomCBS Premiere Dates Comedy revenge Hollywood Foreign Press Association Cartoon Network japanese indiana jones cooking RT21 21st Century Fox joker CBS Pop TV genre spanish language DC streaming service Exclusive Video Stephen King AMC Plus Musicals cinemax Instagram Live rom-coms olympics scorecard Country The Witch FXX YouTube Red spy thriller book USA Network Christmas New York Comic Con CMT streaming superhero kaiju A&E renewed TV shows Legendary Binge Guide asian-american zombie marvel comics spinoff sequel basketball space slasher hist Holidays stand-up comedy docuseries anime comic books Creative Arts Emmys sopranos RT History Black History Month 1990s know your critic San Diego Comic-Con Tarantino lord of the rings Photos Turner Classic Movies cancelled BAFTA Dark Horse Comics First Reviews toy story Elton John golden globes Tubi 2021 71st Emmy Awards period drama jamie lee curtis versus Logo franchise leaderboard Chernobyl live event The Purge trailers Certified Fresh ratings ITV children's TV Mudbound LGBT dc adventure Amazon Prime Trophy Talk Box Office crime drama book adaptation worst movies Hallmark Christmas movies Disney streaming service laika black comedy The Academy christmas movies YA VH1 based on movie Warner Bros. cancelled television art house documentary SXSW archives fresh Lifetime Walt Disney Pictures foreign Starz latino Cannes romance HBO crossover Reality Competition cancelled TV shows zero dark thirty Cosplay Hallmark justice league new zealand rt archives BBC Tags: Comedy political drama live action Horror vampires A24 Video Games Drama Podcast Summer Baby Yoda hollywood Amazon Studios PBS Sundance Apple TV+ casting Netflix Wes Anderson cults APB Travel Channel fast and furious Pixar Animation HBO Go Peacock Adult Swim Toys 73rd Emmy Awards reviews E! Teen Biopics Pop reboot SDCC football Winter TV quibi kong Mary Tyler Moore Valentine's Day Broadway a nightmare on elm street Family crime thriller Epix monster movies Kids & Family technology Endgame BBC America CBS All Access mob Paramount Network miniseries true crime Fox Searchlight Television Academy Polls and Games Sneak Peek elevated horror feel good dogs Arrowverse golden globe awards Amazon Prime Video cancelled TV series CNN black war CW Seed nfl Pride Month Mary poppins new york documentaries dreamworks comic unscripted wonder woman harry potter Columbia Pictures Set visit Hulu Awards Tour name the review National Geographic Quiz Mystery king arthur jurassic park Thanksgiving Paramount Plus HFPA green book Amazon docudrama 2019 E3 canceled Countdown Fox News comic book movie Mary Poppins Returns 4/20 Lionsgate romantic comedy GIFs aapi finale Sundance TV TBS blockbusters politics Holiday Netflix Christmas movies royal family SundanceTV Rocketman target binge FX on Hulu nature DC Comics Super Bowl comedies sequels NBC Emmys PaleyFest ghosts Marvel Studios Women's History Month Tokyo Olympics mission: impossible richard e. Grant Marvel Television BBC One FOX sitcom NBA discovery Tumblr cops hidden camera DGA Acorn TV posters action-comedy TCA Winter 2020 Awards Rock composers Prime Video 20th Century Fox south america boxing Interview Sundance Now biopic Spike festivals Action The Walking Dead See It Skip It Emmy Nominations TNT mockumentary satire boxoffice YouTube Premium Superheroes 45 award winner 2017 ID Grammys psycho Crackle international crime teaser Pet Sematary Pirates rt labs critics edition blaxploitation criterion 2015 DC Universe Superheroe cats women Sony Pictures directors History Fargo classics spain movie pirates of the caribbean dramedy aliens spanish Heroines australia Comics on TV Bravo Fantasy sports gangster animated rotten movies we love young adult Avengers LGBTQ GLAAD TV movies Pacific Islander game of thrones Nat Geo legend 79th Golden Globes Awards biography breaking bad natural history chucky HBO Max supernatural Nominations 90s 72 Emmy Awards batman dceu Disney Plus scary dark WGN obituary mutant witnail Winners ABC Signature king kong Universal concert japan spider-man GoT X-Men Lucasfilm stop motion what to watch The CW festival First Look Hear Us Out Star Trek 93rd Oscars Academy Awards 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Mindy Kaling Red Carpet trophy Lifetime Christmas movies Song of Ice and Fire Brie Larson game show 24 frames Trailer facebook films Discovery Channel Neflix Best and Worst Comedy Central nbcuniversal mcc Television Critics Association TV historical drama stoner disaster Vudu heist movie comic book movies dexter adaptation adenture Calendar worst Fall TV BET TCA best werewolf TCA Awards zombies saw french IMDb TV TV renewals video on demand police drama italian Ovation Disney+ Disney Plus travel spider-verse slashers science fiction anthology critics rotten screen actors guild serial killer American Society of Cinematographers Infographic vs. singing competition canceled TV shows Freeform Year in Review Election Classic Film prank marvel cinematic universe Film hispanic independent Musical TLC 2016 MTV Comic Book Disney Channel video superman Captain marvel