My top 100 movies.
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.
Summer: Yeah, I did.
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.