Tuesday, July 31, 2007

my beer personality?

You Are Corona

You don't drink for the love of beer. You drink to get drunk.

You prefer a very light, very smooth beer. A beer that's hardly a beer at all.

And while you make not like the taste of beer, you like the feeling of being drunk.

You drink early and often. Sometimes with friends. Sometimes alone. All the party needs is you!

masculine or feminine?

You Are 59% Feminine, 41% Masculine

You are in touch with both your feminine and masculine sides.

You're sensitive at the right times, but you don't let your emotions overwhelm you.

You're not a eunuch, just the best of both genders.

Top 25 Influential Business Leaders

The past 25 years have been a period of dazzling growth for the U.S. economy, powered by innovative companies led by brilliant — and sometimes notorious — entrepreneurs and CEOs and one Federal Reserve maestro.

These leaders — with products ranging from coffee to microprocessors — are the 25 most influential business leaders of the past 25 years, as ranked by USA TODAY's Money section editors and reporters.

AFP/Getty Images

1 Bill Gates, Microsoft

Gates co-founded Microsoft and used tough business tactics to dominate PC operating systems. But his most lasting influence may be in philanthropy as he gives away his $56 billion fortune.

By H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY

2 Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve chairman

Greenspan was the maestro who presided over the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. His words moved global markets and still do, even out of office.

By Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

3 Steve Jobs, Apple

Co-founder of Apple, Jobs was ousted in a boardroom coup in 1985. But he prospered in exile, buying Pixar, the company that redefined animation. He returned to Apple in 1997, and the rest is history: iMac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone.

By Ben Margot, AP

4 Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google founders

The two Stanford University grad students founded Google in 1998, and in less than a decade, the innovative search company has grown to dominate online searches and advertising.

Bloomberg News.

5 Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines

Kelleher, now chairman, expanded low-cost airline Southwest's service nationwide over the past 25 years and created a fun-loving corporate culture that changed the flying experience for millions of people, on top of saving them billions on fares.

By Jack Gruber, USA TODAY

6 Andy Grove, Intel

Grove popularized the phrase "only the paranoid survive," but the paranoia paid off: Grove's leadership helped create tech behemoth Intel with a market cap of more than $150 billion.

By Todd Plitt, USA TODAY

7 Jack Welch, General Electric

With Welch as CEO from 1981-2001, GE's market value grew from $14 billion to $410 billion. But his most enduring legacy may be the lieutenants who left to run other companies, such as Boeing's James McNerney.

Getty Images

8 Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway

The Sage of Omaha pushed the price of Berkshire Hathaway, his holding company, up more than 14,000% the past 25 years, and his public statements, particularly his annual reports, are read more closely than any other document in business.

Bloomberg News

9 Charles Schwab, investments

Schwab saw the promise in a no-frills, low-cost brokerage and ran with it, making stock trading affordable to a new generation of investors. Today, he's probably the nation's most visible advocate of do-it-yourself investing.

By Fred Prouser, Reuters

10 Michael Milken, junk bonds

Milken may conjure up images of inside trading (he served two years in prison for violating securities laws), but his legacy is providing financing to entrepreneurs. He raised money from investors in the form of high-yield debt (junk bonds) to finance start-ups such as MCI.

By Marcus R. Donner, AP

11 Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com

Bezos helped ignite the dot-com boom when he founded Amazon.com to sell books online. Amazon weathered the dot-com bust, and is one of the most popular Web retailers

By Mike Segar, Reuters

12 Rupert Murdoch, News Corp.

The last and most polarizing of the larger-than-life megamedia moguls, Murdoch has left his mark on TV, movies, newspapers, books, sports, the Internet and,if Dow Jones accepts his $5 billion acquisition offer, The Wall Street Journal.

By Rogelio Solis, AP

13 Frederick Smith, FedEx

Smith founded Federal Express in 1973, creating the business category of overnight delivery. Now, the Memphis-based company is a $35.2-billion-a-year global operator that includes heavy freight, trucking and supply-chain management, plus the FedEx/Kinko's retail stores.

By Jack Smith, AP

14 Phil Knight, Nike

Knight re-imagined sneakers into pricey, gotta-have-em jock wear. He plopped a pair of Nikes onto young Michael Jordan, and both took off and never stopped running. Bo, Lance and Tiger followed. Just do it. He did it.

By Jessica Kourkounis, AP

15 Ken Lay, Enron

Ken Lay was the public face of the energy company that became the poster child for bad corporate behavior in the 21st century. After Enron's collapse in an accounting scandal, similar frauds surfaced at WorldCom and elsewhere, leading to the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the most sweeping reform of securities laws in 70 years.

By Charles Rex Arbogast. AP

16 Oprah Winfrey, Harpo

Oprah was the first woman to produce and own her own TV show and that led to a media empire that includes TV, Broadway-show production, O magazine, a website and mini-series production.

Bloomberg News

17 Michael Dell, Dell

Why waste your college years on beer if you can create a giant company in your dorm room? At 19, Dell took $1,000 and started a computer maker he named after himself. A decade or so later, it was the world's largest maker of PCs.

By David McNew, Getty Images

18 Meg Whitman, eBay

Meg Whitman left her job as general manager for Hasbro's preschool division to join eBay as CEO in May 1998. Today, she's still leading one of dot-comÕs biggest successes. EBay, a marketplace for buyers and sellers across the world, has become one of the Web's most-imitated phenomena

AFP/Getty Images

19 Howard Schultz, Starbucks

Schultz was first to have the chutzpah – or foresight – to turn a cup of coffee into a $4 luxury. And he's doing it worldwide. Only question is if he can turn Starbucks into a McBrand as McBig as you-know-McWho.

By Shawn G. Henry

20 Edward C. "Ned" Johnson 3d, Fidelity Investments

Johnson may not have invented every innovation in the mutual fund industry, but he brought them to more investors than anyone else. Discount brokerage, sector funds, money-fund check writing, charitable endowment funds and more helped propel Fidelity to its place as the largest fund complex in the USA.


21 Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

Stewart created a business segment based on how-to crafts and lifestyle information. Not even a conviction for lying could destroy Martha's popularity.

By Eileen Blass, USA TODAY

22 John Bogle, The Vanguard Group

Bogle founded The Vanguard Group in 1975 with the radical notion that funds should be owned and managed by shareholders. A tireless advocate of low-cost index investing, Bogle has won a cadre of adoring loyalists called "Bogleheads." At the same time, he drove Vanguard to second among all mutual fund complexes.

By Diane Bondareff, AP

23 Robert Johnson, BET

A trailblazer for minority entrepreneurs, Johnson founded cable's Black Entertainment Television in 1979. He sold it in 2002 to Viacom for $3 billion, making him the first African-American billionaire. Other firsts: first black-owned business to go public on the NYSE and first African-American to wholly own a professional sports team, the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats.

By Gregory Bull. AP

24 Barry Diller, Expedia, IAC

Hollywood thought the man who greenlighted hits including Beverly Hills Cop was crazy in 1992 when he became a TV home-shopping mogul. But the business evolved into e-commerce, and Diller created an Internet power that includes Ticketmaster, Citysearch, Match.com, Evite and LendingTree.

By Marty Lederhandler, AP

25 Steve Case, AOL

Case was a marketing guy who rose through the ranks at AOL and was CEO for a decade before the ill-fated merger with Time Warner in 2001. He didn't run AOL Time Warner as chairman and later resigned. But his original AOL Web portal introduced millions of non-techies to the Internet with its simple, goof-proof format. And that's his legacy.

Top 25 Medical Moments

Since 1982, Americans have witnessed some significant medical advances, but also a fair number of setbacks and challenges.

USA TODAY's medical staff looks back at the top 25 medical developments.

AIDS quilt in D.C., USA TODAY


In 1982, the government selects AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, as the formal name for the deadly disease then known as gay-related immune deficiency, or GRID. That same year the first cases were reported in Africa and an alarmed Congress held its first hearings on the new disease. AIDS now afflicts 40 million people worldwide, about 900,000 of them in the USA.


2 Quitting the habit

Fewer Americans are lighting up, which means more lives saved. A report from the American Cancer Society in 2006 said that men's death rates from cancer dropped 16% from 1991 to 2003; women haven't experienced that dramactic drop off because smoking rates in women have dropped more recently than among men.

Gannett News Service

3 Obesity epidemic

Although fewer Americans are smoking, more of them are hitting the buffet lines. Roughly 32% of adults over 20 are obese, or 30 or more pounds over a health weight. Researcher has shown that the extra pounds increases the risk of some types of cancer, diabetes, heart diease and other ills.

4 Cancer screening

More patients are opting to try to find cancer early. In 1987, only 39% of women over 40 had had a mammogram in the past two years. By 2005, 66% had been screened in the past two years. Although experts say they don't yet have evidence that the PSA test saves lives from prostate cancer, 58% of men over 50 had gotten the screening by 2003, up from 41% in 2000.

Getty Images

5 Prozac anyone?

Eli Lilly and Co.,'s Prozac hit the U.S. market in 1988. It was the first of a new class of drugs that were touted as safer than older antidepressants. Primary care doctors began prescribing the pills, and use quickly soared. The Food and Drug Administration has recently ordered the makers of all antidepressants to update their labels, warning of an increased risk of suicide in children and young adults taking the drugs. Still, doctors wrote 227 million prescriptions for antidepressants in 2006, making them the most popular U.S. medicine.

Getty Images

6 Declining infant mortality

The infant mortality rate fell by nearly half from 1980 to 2004, to 6.8 deaths per 1,000 newborns. Experts credit advances in treatment of the sickest and smallest babies, as well as the falling rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.

7 Statins

In 1982, Merck & Co. begins human trials of the first successful cholesterol-lowering drug, lovastatin, and learn it can heart risk by about 30%. Since then, companies have developed a whole class of so-called statins, which are among the world's top selling drugs.

8 Cancer vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration in June 2006 approves the first vaccine specifically designed to prevent cancer. The Merck vaccine, Gardasil, blocks infection by two types of the human papillomarvirus (HPV) that account for about 70% of cervical cancer cases. The debate about whether the vaccine should be mandatory for preteen girls continues.


9 The rise of the AED

Hundreds and perhaps thousands of cardiac arrest victims are saved each year by folks using an AED, which delivers a shock to a dying heart. The first models were sold for home use in 1986, but it was in the early 1990s when the device became so simplified with voice prompts that even children could use one to save a life.

10 Are you having trouble ...

TV ads for prescripton drugs have long been legal, but, until the FDA issued guidelines in 1997, manufacturers were uncertain about how to meet the agency's requirements for including information about side effects, contraindications and effectiveness. The guidelines said commercials could fulfill the obligation of alerting consumers to risks by referring them to their doctor, a toll-free number, a print ad and a Web site for more information. New TV stars, like purple pills, talking stomachs and a chess-playing beaver, were born.

11 Donor egg baby

In 1983, doctors at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, took an egg from one patient and fertilized it with sperm from the husband of a 25-year-old woman who'd gone through premature menopause. The resulting embryo was placed in the womanÕs uterus, resulting in the worldÕs first baby conceived with a donor egg. Many recipients of this technology are now younger women whose ovaries failed prematurely or who carry a genetic disorder they don't want to pass on..


12 Human blueprint

The first draft of the human genome, our genetic blueprint, was published on Feb. 11, 2000. The scientific undertaking raises hope of finding causes for many diseases as well as potential cures.


13 Nasty bugs emerge

First it was West Nile virus, which made it's U.S. debut in 1999. Then came the international epidemics of SARS and bird flu, along with the emergence of new strains of drug-resistant bacteria. Partly fueled by globalization and misuse of antibiotics, nasty bugs are on the rise.

14 Medical technology

Spectacular innovations in technology have changed the world of medical diagnosis and research. For instance, PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, rapidly makes millions of copies of DNA from the tiniest samples, enhancing crime detection and forensics, allowing DNA fingerprinting and ushering in a new era of genetic research.

15 Minimally invasive operations

Wider use of laparoscopic surgery has drastically reduced the recovery time for patients undergoing a number of surgical procedures.

16 Hormones begone

Hormone therapy was once thought to be a fountain of youth for postmenopausal women, but a landmark study in 2002 found that estrogen plus progestin raises the risk of breast cancer, heart attacks, stroke and blood clots. Women stopped taking the hormones in droves, and today, they're prescribed only for relief of hot flashes and other symptoms.

17 Johnny's little helper

Children considered hyperactive or unfocused began to take prescription pills. Ritalin, the first drug for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, became widely used in the last 20 years. Now there are more drugs for ADHD, such as Strattera and Concerta.

18 Targeted cancer therapies

Doctors are slowly replacing traditional chemotherapy – which kills all growing cells, both good and bad – with "targeted" cancer drugs designed to block the deadly effects of specific genetic mutations. Herceptin, approved in 1998 for certain breast tumors, and Gleevec, approved in 2001 for rare leukemias, led the way.


19 C-section rates

The U.S. C-section rate hit an all time high of 30.2% in 2005 -- a 46% increase over 1996. Growing numbers of older mothers, multiple births and labor inductions are thought to be some of the reasons.

20 Drug safety

Arthritis drug Vioxx was taken off the market in 2004 because of increased heart attack risk. That would led to concern over the safety of a number of other drugs in the medicine cabinet.

21 Child health, safety

Lawmakers have gotten serious about protecting kids on the roads. Since 1993, 21 states and Washington, D.C., have passed laws requiring kids to wear bike helmets, which reduce the risk of serious brain injury by 85%, according to the National Highway Safety Administration. And all states now require car seats for children, which cuts their risk of dying in an accident by more than half.


22 Lasik

Since 1990, roughly 8 million Americans have ditched their eyeglasses or contact lenses for this high-tech laser surgery to correct their eyesight.The first laser was approved for LASIK by the FDA in 1998, so there is no long-term safety and effectiveness data about the popular eye surgery.


23 Shunning the sun

Americans, who once slicked with baby oil and used reflective shields to enhance their tans, have learned that it's safer to cover up. Many beachgoers now coat themselves with sunscreens – and even clothing lines – that offer sun protection factors of 55 or more.


24 Viagra

The little baby blue pill came onto the U.S. market in 1998, and erectile dysfunction, or ED, became a part of the American vernacular. Viagra pushed ED (formerly known as impotence) out of the bedroom and onto the television screen. Viagra was the first pill for ED, but it now faces competition from Cialis and Levitra.

25 Botox

Even before the FDA approved Botox for cosmetic use in 2002, Americans were shelling out hundreds of dollars for injections of the stuff, aka botulinum toxin.The shots temporarily paralyze muscles that cause expression lines, which, fans say, creates a more youthful appearance.

Top 25 Ads We Can't Get Out Of Our Heads

Even in a TiVo world, some TV commercials just can't be zapped from our cultural psyche. But selecting the 25 most-memorable TV commercials from the past 25 years almost caused USA TODAY's Ad Team to blow a tube.

Here are the 25 TV spots — love em or hate em — that left the most indelible marks on our collective memory. But don't touch that dial.

1 Life Alert: I've Fallen, and I Can't Get Up! (1990)

The best-remembered (and most-parodied) commercial phrase of the past 25 years isn't for a cola or sneaker. It comes from that elderly woman using the Life Alert gizmo around her neck to call for help. It is the ultimate product-as-hero ad.

2 Apple Macintosh: 1984 (1984)

The ad all others have aspired to be. Never mind that it aired once nationally, on the Super Bowl and that few recall much besides that very buff woman wielding a sledgehammer. It sold Macs.

3 Wendy's: Where's the Beef? (1984)

The same year Apple went over-the-top to tout its Mac, Wendy's went under-the-bun to tout its burger. Crusty ol' Clara Peller ranting "Where's the Beef" became ingrained in pop culture. It may be the most effective fast-food ad ever. Sorry, Ronald.

4 Isuzu: Joe "Trust me" Isuzu (1986)

Joe Isuzu ranks among the most memorable auto pitchmen. He (David Leisure) was a remarkably likable liar making outrageous claims about the Isuzus. Joe's job as slimy hawker wasn't to sell cars, but to familiarize consumers with the then-little-known Isuzu name. Did he ever. Trust us.

5 Energizer Bunny (1989)

Energizer stole Duracell's drum-beating bunny, put it in motion and never looked back. For this campaign, Energizer can beat its own drum. And it's still going and going and going.

PR Newswire

6 Bartles & Jaymes: Thank You for Your Support (1985)

Frank Bartles and Ed Jaymes perfected the art of sitting on the front porch step and shooting the breeze. (OK, Ed never spoke.) They convinced millions that the new wine cooler was from a coupla country geezers - never mind that wine giant Gallo was behind it.

7 California Raisin Advisory Board: Heard it Through the Grapevine (1986)

The ad wasn't just the birth of the dancing raisins. It also was the birth of Claymation - clay animated figures that could move and groove. And it was the original better-for-you snack pitch: raisins instead of sweets?

8 Budweiser: Croaking Frogs (1995)

Perhaps the most fondly remembered Super Bowl campaign from Anheuser-Busch starred a trio of talking frogs in a dark swamp croaking: "Bud. Wei. Ser." It was so widely mimicked and so wildly successful, the King of Beers made it a series with talking lizards and ferrets.

9 Bush campaign: Willie Horton (1988)

Who can forget that mug shot? The ad tried to link Democratic presidential opponent Michael Dukakis to a prison furlough for the Massachusetts convict during which Horton raped a woman and stabbed her boyfriend. But Dukakis felt the knife.

10 California Milk Processors Board: Got Milk? (1993)

What could be stickier than to have an entire peanut butter sandwich stuffed into your mouth - and have no milk to wash it down? This first ad was a springboard for Got Milk? - and Aaron Burr - into pop culture.

11 Partnership for a Drug-Free America: "This is Your Brain on Drugs" (1987)

To scare teens off drugs, this public-service ad compared an egg in a frying pan to a brain on drugs. Any questions? Yes: Got cholesterol?

12 Ikea: Gay Men Shopping (1994)

Major marketers were too timid to court gays on TV until Ikea broke the barrier. Two male actors portray a couple shopping for a dining room table. IKEA was bold, but not so much that they shopped for other rooms.

13 McDonald's: Nothing but Net (1993)

With a Big Mac at stake, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird play the most famous game of h-o-r-s-e ever captured on film. Each proposes - then swishes - increasingly improbable shots in this Super Bowl ad. For McD's, it was nothing but net.

14 Pepsi: Michael Jackson on fire (1984)

This ad is remembered not for its wonderfully 1980s capture of the Jackson mystique, but for its pyrotechnics gone awry. Jackson's hair caught fire, and nothing else mattered - not even the fact that the Gloved One refused to be seen in the ad actually holding a Pepsi.

15 Reagan Campaign: Morning in America (1984)

Here's a rarity: a positive political ad. The ultimate feel-good spot boasted of things President Reagan had done, while showing waving flags, happy kids, smiling brides. Only thing missing was a puppy.

16 Nike: Bo Knows (1989)

Super jock Bo Jackson proved he could play pro football and baseball and wear Nikes, all at the same time. But Bo Jackson, you're no Bo Diddley.

17 Nike: Revolution (1987)

Nike changed the world - at least, the ad world, by being first to feature an original Beatles recording in a TV spot. This resulted in a predictable (for Beatles music) flurry of lawsuits, including one for Nike. But in the end, the love you take is equal to the ads you make.

18 Pardon Me, Would You Have Any Grey Poupon? (1984)

Ah, the beginning of a condiment class system. Out with the yellow mustard, in with the brown Dijon. Pardon me, got any purple Heinz ketchup?

19 Federal government: Crash Test Dummies (1985)

It took a coupla dummies (Vince and Larry) to persuade Americans to buckle their seat belts. We all learned a lot from these dummies.

20 Playtex: Model (1987)

Playtex showed some skin - if you can call it that - in the first TV spot showing a bra on live models. No more mannequins in lingerie - cross your heart! It's the grandmother to the Victoria's Secret fashion shows.

21 Chevrolet trucks: Like a Rock (1991)

Most car and truck ads are entirely forgettable. Chevy made its truck ads entirely memorable by cozying-up to singer Bob Seger's Like a Rock anthem. The ads made Seger richer and Chevy truck ads hummable.

22 New Coke: Max Headroom (1986)

He was one part computer chip, one part cult hit and one part goofy while interviewing a nervous Pepsi can. Max Headroom hyped New Coke as the better-than-Pepsi. Uh-oh. Where's New Coke now? Right pitchman, wrong product.

23 Pets.com: Because Pets Can't Drive (1999)

Pets.com was a dot-com victim, but its silly sock puppet was the dot-com darling. What better way to promote an online pet supplier than with a puppy sock puppet with button eyes?

24 Reebok: Dan & Dave (1992)

It was gonna be the perfect Olympic hype. The Reebok ad had the two Americans favored to face off for decathlon gold in Barcelona. But Dan didn't even make the team. And Dave mustered only bronze. Oops.

25 Taster's Choice soap opera (1991)

What will that coffee lead to? That's what the Taster's Choice campaign seemed to pose in a series of titillating, soap opera-like ads that left viewers clamoring for the couple's next installment. Will they ever kiss?

Top 25 Movies With Real Impact

In 1982, Gandhi won the Oscar and E.T. phoned home. Since then, Hollywood continued to entertain while embracing change.

With picks by USA TODAY's movie staff, Susan Wloszczyna recounts the 25 top milestones.

New Line Productions

1 The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03)

New Line Cinema risked it all by entrusting low-profile New Zealander Peter Jackson with the audacious task of spinning Tolkien’s dense literary fantasy into cinema gold. The result: 17 Oscars, a box-office gross of $3 billion worldwide and the birth of two superstars — one virtual (Gollum) and one pointy-eared (Orlando Bloom).

Walt Disney Pictures

2 Toy Story (1995)

Pixar pioneers Buzz and Woody took the feature-animation genre that Disney created with 1937’sSnow White and the Seven Dwarfs and blasted it into the digital future with a cutting-edge combo of heartfelt wit and computerized wonder. Now, nearly every studio does 3-D cartoons. Just not as well.

Miramax Films

3 Pulp Fiction (1994)

B-movie fanatic Quentin Tarantino crammed guns, drugs, molls and a killer John Travolta into a post-mod Molotov cocktail of a plot while slicing the action into shuffled fragments. And writers are still ripping off his narrative.

Universal City Studios

4 Do the Right Thing (1989)

Spike Lee earned the title of America’s most influential black filmmaker when he did the controversial thing, focusing on urban violence born of simmering racial tensions.The film was feared to be incendiary enough to ignite a real riot; instead it inspired a new generation of black directors.

Paramount Pictures

5 Titanic (1997)

It loomed as a titanic disaster, with delays and a budget that bloated to $200 million. Luckily, audiences were enraptured by the steamy romance between Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, whose presence led to repeat viewings by teens.It remains king of domestic box-office grosses at $600.8 million.

Paramount Pictures

6 Fatal Attraction (1987)

A date movie for the AIDS era. A cautionary tale of a woman scorned turned psycho hit home by mixing frank sexuality and nightmarish horror, as Michael Douglas’ fling with Glenn Close endangers his family. The rare popcorn thriller deemed Oscar worthy (six nominations).

Twentieth Century Fox

7 There’s Something About Mary (1998)

The PC police surrendered when those comic barons of bubbling crude, the Farrelly brothers, launched their assault on good taste. The public gladly giggled and gagged along, while Ben Stiller cemented his loser persona and the world was made safe for R-rated movies like American Pie and 40-Year-Old Virgin.

Tristar Pictures

8 Philadelphia (1993)

Before that rendezvous on Brokeback Mountain, straight stars Tom Hanks and Antonio Banderas were gay lovers in this groundbreaker about an AIDS-afflicted lawyer who sues over job discrimination. Hard to believe that this was the first major studio movie to deal with the disease.


9 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

E.T.’s glowing heart? Good. A beating heart ripped from a man’s chest? Not so much. Parents protested the intense violence found in Steven Spielberg’s PG-rated follow-up to 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. In response, the Motion Picture Association of America established the PG-13 rating.

Warner Bros. Pictures

10 Batman (1989)

Superman came first in 1978. But director Tim Burton’s neo-gothic caped crusader was a distinctly adult version of a comic-book thriller.Batman’s brooding cool made it safe for a Joker like Jack Nicholson to cavort in a costume caper, and the film’s dark vision has influenced nearly every cinematic superhero since.


11 The Cable Guy (1996)

Audiences rejected it. Critics jeered it. But Jim Carrey’s nasty black comedy became infamous as the film to break the $20 million salary barrier. You’d think studios would have reconsidered the value of star power. But the bucks didn’t stop there. Tom Hanks is supposed to get $35 million for a Da Vinci Code prequel.

Icon Productions

12 The Passion of the Christ (2004)

Mel Gibson’s controversial and highly profitable interpretation of the last days of Jesus didn’t just reveal the movie idol’s devotion to religion and bloodletting. It also showed there is a profit to be made from preaching to the faithful, a community that BC (before Christ) was rarely served by Hollywood.

Touchstone Pictures

13 Pretty Woman (1990)

Disney’s only fairy tale about a street walker solidified Julia Roberts’ big-hair, huge-smile mystique and began her run as the industry’s most powerful actress.Roberts, who turns 40 this year, continues to be the incandescent standard against which each new ingénue is measured.

Paramount Pictures

14 Mission: Impossible III (2006)

Jumping the couch is the new jumping the shark, thanks to Tom Cruise’s not-quite blockbuster that inadvertently turned into a case study of the harm that erratic behavior can do to a star’s appeal.

Dimension Films

15 Scream (1996)

Endless rehashings of teen slashings had sucked the genre dry. But a transfusion of self-referential irony injected hipness into a tired premise.The twist: Scream was stocked with stalked high-schoolers well versed in lame horror conventions. Two sequels and many copycats followed, including the dumbed-down Scary Movie franchise.

Lions Gate Films

16 Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)

Michael Moore’s Bush attack couldn’t halt the president’s re-election. But his diatribe grossed almost $120 million, a record for documentaries, and made the genre safe for mass consumption.

Tri-Star Pictures

17 Total Recall (1990)

Most would look to the first twoTerminators as the sci-fi outings that molded Arnold Schwarzenegger’s multiplex muscle. But in this stylish exercise in violent excess directed by ever-canny Paul Verhoeven, Arnie exhibited real acting skill in a dual role.

By Jim Cooper, AP

18 El Mariachi (1993)

The catalyst for an el cheapo revolution. Robert Rodriguez spent just $7,000 to shoot this Spanish-language action thriller.The Sundance hit grossed $2 million, spawned two sequels and led to such low-budget landmarks as Clerks.

Sony Picture Classics

19 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Who’s afraid of subtitles? Not fans of this poignant Chinese fable about a stolen sword, which mixed star-crossed lovers with gravity-defying martial artistry. The most successful foreign-language film ever, grossing $128.1 million, and the most Oscar-nominated (10).

Warner Bros.

20 The Matrix (1999)

The first sci-fi thriller that felt like a portal into a 21st-century mind-set. The Wachowski brothers melded new (hacker culture, time-freezing action moves) with old (Buddhism, Lewis Carroll) for a cool high-tech aesthetic.

Warner Brothers

21 Goodfellas (1990)

The Departed? Fuggedaboutit. Martin Scorsese deserved an Oscar for this Mob classic, subbing the grandeur of The Godfather with the grubbiness of lowly sociopaths. The Sopranos would have been in the dark without it.

DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures

22 Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Not only did Steven Spielberg’s D-Day epic open a dialogue between generations about the harrowing events of World War II, but few sequences have depicted the horror and chaos of combat as authentically as the landings at Omaha Beach.


23 Star Wars: Episodes I-III (1999-2005)

The reptilian embarrassment of Jar Jar Binks and oak-like emoting by Hayden Christensen as headstrong Jedi warrior Anakin Skywalker detracted from what was an achievement in effects (Yoda unbound!), digital filmmaking and pure iconography.Not up to the thrills of the original trilogy, especially without Harrison Ford as Han Solo. But time might prove kinder than critics.

By Bob Marshak, USA Films

24 Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)

The fallout from this voyeuristic study of tangled relationships in camcorder-saturated times went beyond being one of the first breakouts of the Sundance Film Festival. The $1.2 million drama that grossed $25 million gave birth to a mightier Miramax, Steven Soderbergh and the indie gold rush.

Warner Bros.

25 The Bodyguard (1992)

What set this formulaic showbiz opera apart was its knockout soundtrack topped by Whitney Houston’s soaring I Will Always Love You. It sold 17 million copies, bumped Saturday Night Fever as the No. 1 all-time film soundtrack and showed how to squeeze big money from a so-so movie.