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What I have seen or looking forward to see in the movie theaters.

Best Pictures 2018-1930

February 24, 2019

Tonight is the Oscars. Meh. Don’t really care. I have seen most of the movies nominated for best picture and, of the films nominated, I would give it to ROMA. Not my favorite movie of the year, but at least it was a unique and cinematic experience. That got me thinking about past years. And if I had to pick one film each year for my favorite movie, what would I choose? So, I did just that. Going back to 1940. Why? Mostly boredom and procrastination techniques (which I am an expert at.) I had to pick a film I had seen (duh) and thought was worthy enough to be considered my favorite of that year. Some years, I had nothing. I am looking at you 1965 and 1943. For the 1930s I just picked my favorite films for that decade. My Favorite movie of the year is listed first with an alternative below (if I had one).

Year
Best Movie
Alternate

2018
First Man
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
2017
Blade Runner 2049
It comes at night
2016
Midnight Special
Arrival
2015
Sicario

2014
Ex Machina
Edge of Tomorrow
2013
Her
The Worlds End
2012
Seeking a Friend For the end of the world
Moonrise Kingdom
2011
The Cabin in the Woods
Super 8
2010
The Fighter
Winter’s Bone
2009
The Road
(500) Days of Summer
2008
The Dark Knight
Cloverfield
2007
No Country For Old Men
Pan’s Labyrinth
2006
Children of Men
The Fountain
2005
Serenity
V For Vendetta
2004
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Shaun of the Dead
2003
Adaptation
LOTR: The Return of the King
2002
Road to Perdition
LOTR: The Two Towers
2001
The Royal Tenenbaums
LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring
2000
Almost Famous
High Fidelity
1999
American Beauty
Fight Club
1998
The Thin Red Line
The Big Lebowski
1997
Life is Beautiful
Good Will Hunting
1996
Swingers
Fargo
1995
Braveheart
The Usual Suspects
1994
Ed Wood
Immortal Beloved
1993
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
The NIghtmare Before Christmas
1992
Reservoir Dogs

1991
Beauty and the Beast
The Silence of the Lambs
1990
Goodfellas
Misery
1989
Crimes and Misdemeanors
Say Anything
1988
The Naked Gun
Die Hard
1987
Empire of the Sun
Princess Bride
1986
Hannah and Her Sisters
Little Shop of Horrors
1985
Brazil
Back to the Future
1984
Ghostbusters
The Natural
1983
A Christmas Story
Return of the Jedi
1982
Blade Runner
The Thing
1981
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Excalibur
1980
The Empire Strikes Back
Raging Bull
1979
Apocalypse Now
Manhattan
1978
Halloween
Watership Down
1977
Star Wars
Annie Hall
1976
Network
Carrie
1975
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
1974
The Godfather Part II
Young Frankenstein
1973
The Exorcist
American Grafitti
1972
The Godfather

1971
Harold and Maude
Willy Wonka and the Chocalate Factory
1970
Scrooge

1969
A Boy Named Charlie Brown

1968
2001: A Space Odyssey
Night of the Living Dead
1967
Cool Hand Luke

1966
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

1965
N/A

1964
Dr. Strangelove
Mary Poppins
1963
Charade

1962
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Trial
1961
Breakfast at Tiffany’s

1960
Psycho
Inherit the Wind
1959
North by Northwest
Some Like it Hot
1958
Touch of Evil
Vertigo
1957
Paths of Glory
12 Angry Men
1956
The Searchers

1955
Rebel Without a Cause
To Catch a Thief
1954
On the Waterfront
Rear Window
1953
Roman Holiday
The War of the Worlds
1952
Singin in the Rain
High Noon
1951
A Streetcar Named Desire
The Day the Earth Stood Still
1950
Sunset Boulevard
Harvey
1949
The Third Man

1948
Rope
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
1947
The Lady from Shanghai

1946
It’s A Wonderful Life
The Stranger
1945
The Picture of Dorian Gray

1944
Double Indemnity
Gaslight
1943
N/A

1942
Casablanca
The Magnificent Ambersons
1941
Citizen Kane
The Maltese Falcon
1940
The Great Dictator
Pinocchio
1930s
M
Duck Soup

Favorite Halloween Movies

October 29, 2018

Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year. It takes place in my favorite month, allows people to dress up in fun costumes, and, most importantly… SCARY MOVIES! I love a good scary film. Unfortunately, finding a new, good, movie to watch around Halloween should be simple, but I usually end up watching the same ones every year. I prefer atmosphere and suspense, over jump scares and straight out horror. That means most modern movies, bore me. Not that I don’t get their appeal, I mean they can be fun, in a packed theater on opening night. But, after the jump scares, there is nothing left. But, this isn’t a treaty on the aspects of modern horror films. It’s a list of my favorite films to watch on Halloween. Not the scariest films I’ve seen. Just the ones I usually watch this time of year.  Without further ado…

MY FAVORITE HALLOWEEN MOVIES

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Poltergeist (1982)

This is the first scary movie I saw and it terrified me. It still does on some level. The combination of a Spielberg family movie mixed with the horror of Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) somehow works. And works for the better. The scene with the clown is enough to drive any child into fits of paranoia. And once the psychic (Zelda Rubinstein) with the disturbing voice arrive I am petrified. Seriously, this movie is just creepy. And I love creepy. Special shout out to Poltergeist II (which is nowhere near the quality of the first one,) and the old man who is without a doubt one of the creepiest characters of all time.

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To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

Wait? What? How can To Kill a Mockingbird be considered a good movie to watch around Halloween? Let me explain. The first half is about a group of kids obsessed with a haunted house, where a character named BOO lives. The second half is about the scariest group of people in America, doing horrific things: poor white folk. And the last scene takes place after a Halloween performance.  I may be on my own with this one, but I always love to watch my favorite movie of all time, and Halloween is the perfect time to do it.

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Evil Dead 2 (1987)

This one is just so much fun. Is it scary? Sure. But, it’s also fun and gross.  A classic, that I always try to rewatch this time of year.

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The Witch (2015)

One of the newer horror films from A24, that lives on atmosphere and suspense. I truly loved it. All imagery, suspense, and atmosphere.

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The Conjuring  (2013)

This one by James Wan is my favorite of the modern horror genre. It has jump scares, but it also has plenty of creep and good performances. Watching at home with a good surround sound system, makes this one stand out.

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The Exorcist (1973)

What’s to say about The Exorcist that hasn’t been said before? Again a classic horror film that relies on atmosphere and tension not manufactured jumps. The first half is an excellent look at a family slowly unraveling, before the horror kicks in.

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The Shining (1980)

Probably the scariest film ever made. Kubrick took Stephen King’s novel about a family going insane and reversed it. Instead of watching the family go insane, Kubrick tries to make the audience go insane. He embarks on a mission to scare the crap out of the audience. Everything is designed to make you feel uneasy. It works.

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The Thing (1982)

This is one of those movies that is so good I’m surprised by how little I knew about it growing up.  John Carpenter is a master at the slow burn. He waits and waits, and then all hell breaks loose. Again, the suspense is the key to any good horror movie.

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Halloween (1978)

Surprise! I bet you didn’t think this one would be on the list. I love this movie. It’s pretty tame by modern standards, but the way John Carpenter frames every shot and moves the camera is beyond artistic, it’s beautiful. This is the pinnacle of low-budget horror and in the hands of a quality filmmaker, it works beyond expectations. Also, I hated every single sequel. All of them. Even H2O, which isn’t as bad, but still feels cheap. The new Halloween, was actually well made and got within spitting distance of the original, but still had some issues that didn’t work for me.

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Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

The one film I try to watch every Halloween if I don’t have the time for others. It’s fun, scary and perfectly sums up the joy and fear of the holiday. The interconnected stories, all work together, to create a tapestry of the holiday. This is the film, that John Carpenter envisioned as a sequel to Halloween. An anthology series that took place on the holiday, not Michael Myers coming back over and over again (See Halloween III). Trick r’ Treat is not my favorite scary movie. It, probably, wouldn’t make it on my top 100 films, but it is my favorite film to watch on Halloween.

Others: The Sixth Sense, Carrie, Sweeney Todd, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Scream, Psycho, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Ed Wood, 28 Days Later, Oculus.

My Top 100 Movies: #80 – #71

January 24, 2018

My top 100 movies. 

#100 – 91
#90-81

Don’t take the order of the top 100 movies too seriously. I move them around constantly.

On to the list…

#80 – Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

One of my favorite Woody Allen films (more will arrive on the list later); Hannah and Her Sisters, is a highly intelligent and witty comedy with a magical script and perfect portrayals of well-rounded characters. With amazing characters, all fully developed and beautifully performed (both Michael Caine and Dianne Wiest won Supporting Actor/Actress Academy Awards), the story never slows down, jumping from one character’s story to the next, showing the troubles accompanying real people (sure, wealthy New Yorkers, but they are still real… I think) trying to survive in a challenging world.  They are portrayed at their most vulnerable, their most eccentric, and their most human, and being as funny as they are profound.

#79 – Halloween (1978)

Halloween is a film that started a whole genre: The Slasher film. What makes it work, while others of its ilk,  not so much? A simple story, a great director, and a minimalist approach. Halloween is about the young, smart, girl, trying to survive evil incarnate.

There is no explanation for Michael Myers. The only thing information we receive is when Loomis says, “I met him, fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding; even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and, the blackest eyes… the *devil’s* eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… *evil*.”  Damn. What more do we need?

Halloween is a visceral, well-crafted film, that defined a genre and is an annual tradition in my household.

#78 – No Country For Old Men (2007)

A Coen Brothers film about something. Or maybe nothing. A man finds the aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong. Finds some money. Takes money. Crazy man with 70s hair looks for money and kills innocent people along the way. Cops try to find both. They don’t. A lot of people die.  Amazing film.

Loretta Bell:How’d you sleep?
Sheriff Ed Tom Bell: I don’t know. Had dreams.
Loretta Bell: Well you got time for ’em now. Anythin’ interesting?
Sheriff Ed Tom Bell: They always is to the party concerned.
Loretta Bell: Ed Tom, I’ll be polite.
Sheriff Ed Tom Bell: Alright then. Two of ’em. Both had my father in ’em . It’s peculiar. I’m older now then he ever was by twenty years. So in a sense he’s the younger man. Anyway, first one I don’t remember too well but it was about meeting him in town somewhere, he’s gonna give me some money. I think I lost it. The second one, it was like we was both back in older times and I was on horseback goin’ through the mountains of a night. Goin’ through this pass in the mountains. It was cold and there was snow on the ground and he rode past me and kept on goin’. Never said nothin’ goin’ by. He just rode on past… and he had his blanket wrapped around him and his head down and when he rode past I seen he was carryin’ fire in a horn the way people used to do and I could see the horn from the light inside of it. ‘Bout the color of the moon. And in the dream I knew that he was goin’ on ahead and he was fixin’ to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold, and I knew that whenever I got there he would be there. And then I woke up…

 

#77 – Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Paranoia, insanity, and nuclear bombs don’t mix. This absurdist satire, directed by Stanley Kubrick, hits too close to home. It’s crazy, right? Nothing like this could ever happen? And if it did, I think I would laugh, at the absurdity of it all. Peter Sellers’s gives a brilliant performance in three separate roles: A British officer, the U.S president, and Dr. Strangelove. George C. Scott is hilarious as the war-mongering, General ‘Buck’ Turgidson. This movie is so smart, and humorous at the same time it hurts my head as I look on in horror as I laugh hysterically.

#76 – Cool Hand Luke (1967)

“What we got here is a failure to communicate…” A film about the lost soul, rebelling against the system. Sometimes when you see inequality, injustice performed by those in charge, those at the top level of the system, all one can do is rebel.

Cool Hand Luke is Paul Newman at his best (or second best). So many famous faces grace the screen in this film. This could have been one of the best films of all time, the script is terrific, the actors superb, so why isn’t it? There is just something off, about the pacing and direction. A bland visual experience. In my opinion, the acting and story bring this movie to such a high level, it belongs on the list for greatest films of all time.

#75 – Alien (1979)

Alien is another example of the theme of these ten films. Simple. KISS. Keep it simple stupid. Especially when it comes to plot.  An alien is let loose on a spaceship. It is claustrophobic,  it is atmospheric. It is frightening. It is horror. I love this film. Ridley Scott does what Ridley Scott does best, create a world, lived in, dirty, grimy and realistic. The other Alien movies can’t match this film, and it’s not even close.

#74 – Fargo (1996)

Fargo, another Coen Brothers film, about nothing. Or something. I mean, its hard to analyze the brilliance of a movie like Fargo. Either it’s your thing, or it’s not. You either laugh along or look around at those laughing and wonder what’s so funny. The Coen brothers films emphasize the variety of America better than any other filmmakers in cinema. They examine the little, unique worlds that exist without judgment and shine a light on the quirks of each society.

Marge Gunderson: [to Gaear] So, that was Mrs. Lundegaard on the floor in there. And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper. And those three people in Brainerd. And for what? For a little bit of money? There’s more to life than a little money, you know. Don’tcha know that? And here ya are, and it’s a beautiful day. Well. I just don’t understand it.

#73 – (500) Days Of Summer (2009) 

The scene above shows the moment I fell in love with this movie. What I love about this film is the POV character. Like a great 1st person novel, this story is delivered to us by an unreliable narrator. We don’t understand why Summer left, even though she repeatedly told Tom she wasn’t looking for a serious relationship. I love the fact that Tom gets it wrong from the beginning. He sees what he wants to see, from the start. I can go on forever about this film because it works so well as an examination of Reality vs. Expectations and unrequited love.

Summer: Well, you know, I guess it’s ’cause I was sitting in a deli and reading Dorian Gray and a guy comes up to me and asks me about it and… now he’s my husband.
Tom: Yeah. And… So?
Summer: So, what if I’d gone to the movies? What if I had gone somewhere else for lunch? What if I’d gotten there 10 minutes later? It was, it was meant to be. And… I just kept thinking… Tom was right.
Tom: No.
Summer: Yeah, I did.
Summer laughs
Summer: I did. It just wasn’t me that you were right about.

#72 – Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy (1996)

Oh Brain Candy, let me count the ways I love you. From the comedic geniuses, who make up The Kids in the Hall, Brain Candy is a chaotic comedy about the pharmaceutical companies and the drugs they create. It is funny, unrepentant and a perfect introduction to the world of KITH.

But. But, it doesn’t come close to the absurdism of the show. Otherwise, this would be higher on my list. The plot, which is simple for most of the films this week, is complicated and strange in Brain Candy. The Kids in the Hall, like the Marx Brothers, work best when the plot is shoved aside for the insanity of the individual characters. This film needed to not care about the plot and just highlighted these weird characters. In spite of the plot encroaching on these odd characters I genuinely love this movie.

Scientist: I’ve invented a pill that gives worms to ex-girlfriends.
Don: Uh, right, and what’s positive about that?
Scientist: Well, it’s a pill that gives worms to ex-girlfriends.
Don: Couldn’t it also give worms to ex-boyfriends?
Scientist: This is a drug… for the world… to give worms to ex-girlfriends.
Don: Well, great. Thanks for stopping by.
Scientist: You just don’t get it here! Huhoooo!

#71 – The Thing (1982)

 

Many films and TV shows have tried to copy what works so well here: isolated, nowhere to run, tense paranoia. The practical special effects are beyond amazing. Gross, yet so over the top, it reaches another level of fascination. John Carpenter made some weird films, some I love, some I don’t, but this one works all the way around, and I love it.

I do know one person who didn’t like this film, my Siberian husky, Strider. He sat on the couch when I watched this, many years ago, and was fascinated by the Husky running in the white snow. As he watched,  his eyes never left the screen… and then the creature burst from the dog on the screen, killing all the Huskies and Strider looked over at me and seemed to shake his head as if to say, “Sicko, what is wrong with you?” He jumped off the couch and went into the kitchen and never sat and watched a movie with me again.

Thanks for reading. Think I wouldn’t know what a good movie was if it hit me in the face? Leave a comment below. #70-61 next week.

My Top 100 Movies: #90 – #81

January 18, 2018

Back again. My top 100 movies. Once more, with feeling. 

There will be a countdown once a week until we are finished. Ten movies at a time. Don’t take the order too seriously. I move them around constantly.  And if you read any of my previous blog post about my top 100 films the placement may be slightly different. If you were patiently waiting for me to continue the list, I apologize and hope you stick with me, as this will be completed.

On to the list…

#90 – Inherit the Wind (1960)

At #90 is Inherit The Wind, a 1960 film, directed by Stanley Kramer. The film stars Spencer Tracy, Fred March, and Gene Kelly. It’s a movie about the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925, except it’s really about McCarthyism and intellectual freedom.

Inherit The Wind, is a fascinating look at the ramifications and potential pitfalls of zealous religious ideas trumping over free thought and science. A film as relevant today as it was 55 years ago.

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” – Thomas Jefferson.

#89 – High Fidelity (2000)

High Fidelity, is a 2000 film, directed by Stephen Frears. The film stars John Cusack, Jack Black, and Iben Hjejle. It’s a movie about love and the top five, side one, track ones.

This is a film I can’t help but love. It’s about a guy in his thirties, who owns a record store. Talks music with his weird friends. Creates top 5 list, before they were the thing to do on the internet. Hell, there is no mention of the internet at all. He pretends to talk to Bruce Springsteen about what came first; the break-up song or the break-up? Did the fact he enjoyed sad, pop music, make him sad? These are questions I have had to ask myself as well. Did the music I listened to, influence me so much, that it affected my life in negative ways? I don’t know, and this is not my psychiatrist office, so I will move along.

#88 – The Naked Gun (1988)

The Naked Gun is beyond analysis. It is to be enjoyed not studied, which presents a problem when counting down my top 100 films and analyzing the reasons why a film is on my list. How do I express my love of a movie, besides just saying it made me laugh my ass off? Especially, my thirteen-year-old self. So much so, that it inspired, along with other Zucker brothers films, my friends and I to make blatant rip-offs with my buddies parents VHS camcorder.

#87 – Pan’s Labyrinth (1994)

Pan’s Labyrinth, is a modern fairy tale by the talented director, Guillermo Del Toro. The contrast between the Fairy Tale and the extreme violence of the real world, makes this film stand out. Ofelia discovers a hidden world where she is destined to be a princess, while her mother has brought her to live with a sadistic Army officer. This story is beautiful and sad. The ending is, apparently, up for debate, which I never understood. I thought it was pretty clear what the film was trying to say; that there is no definitive reading of the ending. See the video above for a fantastic analysis of the film.

#86 – Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is another film that surprised me. One of those, I guess I will check it out, movies that I really enjoyed. It is right up my alley. An end of the world film which makes you laugh, cry and just enjoy the wonder of life.

When an unstoppable asteroid is on a collision course with the Earth, Steve Carrel has to decide what he wants to do with the time remaining. He meets up with Kiera Knightley, and they go on one last adventure. I just loved this movie.

#85 – Dead Man (1995)

 

A dream? A look at death? Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man is a surreal nightmare. A wonderfully hypnotic, dream-like film about a dead man. This is a western, that deconstructs the classic western while evoking all of its tropes. A masterful film, with Johnny Depp in his prime, playing a blank slate. From Edward Scissorhands to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Johnny Depp acted in some great films, and this is one of his best. It is also, in my humble opinion Jim Jarmusch’s best film and with a score by Neil Young and his solo guitar, it ranks as one of the best films of the nineties.

#84 – The Goonies (1985)

When I was nine or ten, I told my parents, I only wanted one thing for my birthday: a copy of The Goonies, on high-quality VHS. Now, at the time (1985) I was unaware that purchasing a VHS tape cost in the neighborhood of $79.95 to $89.95. Yes, you read that correctly. Of course, when I found out, I still begged my parents to get it for me, promising that I would never ask for anything else the rest of the year. I got my VHS copy of The Goonies, and I was forever grateful. I guess I am trying to say, that I loved this movie and I still do. I can see its flaws, but it doesn’t matter.

#83 – The Fighter (2010) 

Christian Bale is a talented actor. One of those actors, who can combine fame and still disappear into a role. The Fighter shows off this acting display in dramatic fashion. Based on the true story of Micky Ward, and directed by David O. Russell, this is a powerful film about family and what it means to be in a broken family and a final shot at redemption. Amy Adams is terrific as well in this movie.

#82 – Her (2013)

This film is wonderfully shot and is a joy to behold. Everything from the clothes to the futuristic, modern, Los Angeles skyline is well done. Spike Jonze creates a vivid and frighteningly possible future. I could go on and on about this film, the depth of the performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson the way the music plays an integral, yet subdued part in the film, the myriad of questions it asks, but never answers. This is the type of film I love.

The scene above is the most crucial scene in the film.

A side note: After what happens with all the operating system’s in the film, the sequel would be Terminator 2.

#81 – Reservoir Dogs (1992)

I have a weird relationship with Tarantino films. Everyone loves Pulp Fiction. Yet, it is one of my least favorite films he has made. In fact, I sometimes wonder if Tarantino tried not to make a Tarantino film, what greatness he could create. His dialogue can be pointless, yet amazing.

Reservoir Dogs is the perfect balance of Tarantino and storytelling. While it’s not my favorite Tarantino movie, it is the one I enjoy watching the most. The characters, the setting and the acting are all top notch. What works for me, is it’s completely dialogue driven. Like a play. The fact that this was his first film makes it all the more impressive.

 

Thanks for reading. Think I wouldn’t know what a good movie was if it hit me in the face? Leave a comment below. #80-71 next week.

 

My Top 100 Movies of All Time: #100 – #91

January 9, 2018

Back again. My top 100 movies. Once more, with feeling. 

Four years ago, I had a grand vision for a YouTube video series breaking down my top 100 films. A series that explored the ins and outs of each film and why I thought they were so great. But, there was an issue. Making a video with the quality needed for it to be successful, took time. A long time. So, I thought once I created this blog, well, hey, I can now break it down here. But, writing the damn post took a lot of time as well. To sum up: I just didn’t feel the time necessary to do the breakdowns justice was worth the effort. I want to write fiction, not blog post breaking down my favorite films… like I am doing right now.

Why bother at all? Because I really want to let the world know what I think are the greatest films of all time. I am kidding. Sort of. It’s just fun. I like actually breaking down things and discovering what it is I truly enjoy about them.

There will be a countdown once a week until we are finished. Ten movies at a time. Don’t take the order too seriously. I move them around constantly.  And if you read any of my previous blog post about my top 100 films the placement may be slightly different. If you were patiently waiting for me to continue the list, I apologize and hope you stick with me, as this will be completed.

On to the list…

#100 – M (1931)

M, is a gripping and, surprisingly relevant film, about a city on edge trying to catch a child killer. While it is not a ‘who-done-it’ film; as the murderer’s identity is known to us almost at once. It is still chilling and suspenseful.

Since Lang came from the silent era, his ability to tell a story thru images is creatively used and tells us all we to know.

It, also, offers a view of history thru Lang’s film, at a depressed Germany, in 1931. Two years before the Nazi regime. You can see elements of a society that would welcome a firm hand and less freedom. For a safer world, a world that would cast blame on others, and announce itself as the master race. In the film, you see a broken down, tired, angry people. A society ripe for a dictator with delusions of grandeur.

#99 – Winter’s Bone (2010)

Winter’s Bone is the tale of, young Ree, played by Jennifer Lawrence, looking for her missing father, who used the family home as collateral for his bail. This leads Ree to break the local code of conduct by confronting her kin about their conspiracy of silence. Should she fail to track her father down, Ree, her younger siblings, and their disabled mother will soon be homeless.

What I really like about this film, is, like some of the great Coen Brother films, is it takes the viewer and drops us in an entirely, realized, unique view of a particular American society. This community, in the rural Ozark Mountains, which is full of secretive, criminal, meth-addicted members. Where the unwritten rules, rule.

Winter’s Bone is a modern tale of a young woman doing whatever she can to protect her family. I cannot give high enough praise for Jennifer Lawrence and her portrayal of a naive, yet determined young girl.

#98 – It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

I do love this film. I think it has gotten a bad rap because of its oversaturation, and it’s unfortunate placement as a Christmas movie. But, this is a movie that almost every person can relate to. It is a wonderful film.

#97 – Clerks (1994)

Clerks is a film about the day in the life of two Quick Stop Clerks: Dante and Randall. Dante works at the Quick Stop and has to deal with dumb questions like this. “What do you mean you don’t have any ice? You mean I have to drink this coffee hot?” Randall works at the connected video store and has to deal with dumb questions like this. “Do you have any new movies?”

This movie does not contain a typical plot. It is, mostly, a bunch of connected skits. It’s a funny film that has a heart and a theme that can resonate with anyone in their drifting years after High School.

#96 – Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly. Kelly also stars along with, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor. Yes, it is a musical, and I love every minute of it. Well, almost every minute of it. This is a feel enjoyable, fun and highly entertaining movie. From the very beginning, you laugh and just enjoy the technicolor. I am a sucker for a good musical. While most of the songs are pretty good. What really impresses me, is some of the dance numbers in this film. The “Make ’em Laugh” number, with Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor, is a classic. Another favorite is with the three of them in “Good Morning.” Look at what Debbie Reynolds is doing… she is in heels! Apparently, she had to be carried to her dressing room afterward.

Unfortunately, you can tell the script was written after the songs, and so the writers had to generate a plot into which the songs would fit. This is one of my primary criticisms of the film, the songs don’t always fit into the plot of the movie. But, this is a great comedy, musical film, that stands the test of time and passes the re-watch-ability test with flying technicolor.

#95 – The Usual Suspects (1995)

One of the main reasons, The Usual Suspects, is on my list, is because of the theatricality of the director, Brian Singer. It is highly stylized, modern, noir film,  that plays well within the story. The cinematography and editing are well done, for the ‘lower’ budget of the film.

For a suspense, noir film, it plays subtle and character-driven, which is what makes it stand apart from others in its genre. While it is a character-driven story, especially Keaton and Verbal, we have to remember everything we saw could be a lie. Verbal is the one weaving the story.

This is a highly stylized, entertaining, and suspenseful film. The fact that this movie was made for a “mere” six million dollars says alot about Bryan Singer and his ability as a director to tell an entertaining, yet well made, stylized film at that price point.  It is tough to review this movie without spoiling it so I will stop now.

#94 – Carrie (1976)

Directed by Brian DePalma and based on the novel by Stephen King, this film stars Sissy Spacek, proving that yes; high school is hell.

Carrie is a genuinely disturbing look at the hell kids put each other through in High School. While it is considered a horror film, and it is, it is also a very poignant, human portrait.  What makes this film stand out to me, is that for the first hour of this movie, it is just a film about a quiet, isolated, girl, just trying to get by. She isn’t mad about not being popular, or not having a date to the prom. She just wants to be left alone.

Carrie won’t scare you out of your seats, and for a modern audience, it may be a little slow. But, that is what I like about it. It has a slowly developing, character-driven plot, excellent acting,  and, of course, John Travolta.

#93 – Road to Perdition (2002) 

This film stars, Tom Hanks and Paul Newman. It’s a movie that reminds us that family is more important than “the family.”

When I first saw this film, in the theater in 2002, I was skeptical of its premise. Tom Hanks as a hitman for an organized crime family? But, I was already a fan of Sam Mendes work after seeing American Beauty, a few years prior. So I gave it a shot. This film did not disappoint. It felt like an older film. The pace. The camera work.  Everything about it made me think of the great films of the past. This movie felt old. And I mean that in the most complimentary way.

This is a stunning, well-made film. Sam Mendes took a story that, in its raw form, could’ve been made into an action/adventure pulp film, and turned it into a work of art.

#92 –  2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Directed by Stanley Kubrick, 2001 is a movie about… hmm… well, there is an A.I. and…umm. Hell if I know.

2001: A Space Odyssey, is one of those films that requires you to check your brain at the door. Not in a dumb, action movie way. But, in a way that can stop your brain, from saying “What is going on?” every ten minutes. You need to experience this film. Then experience it again. And again.

In truth, I still don’t understand completely what this film is “about.” It’s an allegory upon an allegory.  The visuals create a stunning, visceral experience, far ahead of its time. Stanley Kubrick is a visionary director, an artist of the highest caliber. One of the few in the 100-year history of cinema. His movies, all of them, are works of art. I may not ‘like’ all of them, but I always respect the artist intent. This is a film that everyone should see at least once. Then spend some time thinking about it, over drinks, alone in your room or on a message board. This film requires discussion, and for that alone; it should be on everyone’s top Films list.

#91 – Once (2006)

Once stars Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová as two struggling musicians in Dublin, Ireland. It’s a low-budget film about two people who love music and develop a loving relationship.

I don’t remember what compelled me to find and watch Once. I saw it before online streaming. Before thousands of movies were at my fingertips, so I must’ve gone out of my way to watch it. I am glad I did. It instantly hooked me with it’s low-budget and grounded characters.

Once is a perfect low-budget film. Excellent characters, good music, and a beautiful story. One thing to mention is in the credits and something I didn’t notice while watching the first few times: We never know the names of the characters. Glen Hansard … Guy. Markéta Irglová … Girl.

Thanks for reading. Think I wouldn’t know what a good movie was if it hit me in the face? Leave a comment below. #90-81 next week.

 

 

My Top 100 Films: #86 – Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

July 13, 2017

At #86 Pan’s Labyrinth


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