Sunday, June 21, 2009

Movie list

In 2007, we had a lively family debate on the top films of the century (kicked off by a list my brother started). I'm pasting the results below for my list, with suggestions from my family, but only using movies I've seen (the person who originally suggested the film is denoted with an initial: R – my brother, D – father). I've included some extra suggestions for the last 2 decades (which I know best):

1930's
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Grand Hotel (1932)
R: Duck Soup (1933) The best of the Marx's films, splendidly blending slapstick and witty dialogue, most of Groucho's quotes come from this one. (I'd personally put in a Buster Keaton film rather than a Marx brothers, but I don't remember which of his films is which, so I've left him out for now.)
D: The Thin Man (1934)
It Happened One Night (1934) Clark Gable’s best.
R: King Kong (1933) The fun thriller that still is a good watch, even if the graphics aren't fantastic, Kong entertains in the classic scenes.
R: Bringing Up Baby (1938) Hepburn and Grant have to take care of an unruly leopard in an amusing romantic comedy.
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) I'm a sucker for swashbuckling.
R: The Wizard of Oz (1939) Flying monkeys, a cowardly lion and great songs in an engaging plot of Dorothy's quest to find the Wonderful Wizard.


1940's
His Girl Friday (1940)
R: Fantasia (1940) One of Disney's best cinematic pieces, brilliant animation of mushrooms, dinosaurs, and a Night on Bald Mountain compliments the classical music.
R: The Philadelphia Story (1940) Hepburn, Grant and Stewart co-star in this witty romantic comedy, Hepburn and Grant’s chemistry can't be beat.
R: The Maltese Falcon (1941) Sam Spade was written as a lean, blonde wolf of a man, and Bogart pulled him off perfectly in this caper chock-full of great lines and suspense.
Double Indemnity (1944)
D: Beauty and the Beast (1946) Visuals stay with you all your life
Key Largo (1948) For being the best Bogey and Bacall. (The Big Sleep gets an honorable mention, but isn’t the best because the original crime is never solved.)

1950's
R: An American in Paris (1951) Gene Kelley takes the title role in a romantic musical comedy featuring great dance sequences and Oscar Levant's masterful piano pieces.
R: 12 Angry Men (1957) Suspenseful film shot all in a jury room where twelve men have to decide if a kid lives or dies.
R: Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) Alec Guinness' best role as the British officer holding on to his principles in a Japanese POW camp that is trying to break his spirit.
Vertigo (1958) I prefer Vertigo to Rear Window, although both along with the following are brilliant.
R: North by Northwest (1959) Thrilling mystery with Hitchcock's great cinematography and Grant's battle of wits against James Mason.
R: Sleeping Beauty (1959) The only thing more captivating than the level of art in this animation is rooting for Maleficent, Disney’s most frightening and best villain.

1960's
R: West Side Story (1961) With Bernstein's score and the dramatic dance scenes the Romeo and Juliet in New York plot is escalated to theatrical heights.
R: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Growing up in the South, Scout looks to her father Atticus, played superbly by Gregory Peck, as a moral compass surrounded by inequality.
R: The Great Escape (1963) Steve McQueen and Richard Attenborough team up with other prison inmates in a WWII German POW camp with one aim: escape, and get everyone out with them.
R: The Pink Panther (1963) Peter Sellers is the bumbling Inspector Clouseau battling against the sharp wits of the renowned 'Phantom', resulting in brilliant comedic acting and dialogue.
R: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) Sellers plays three roles in Kubrick's black comedy: a British officer, President of the United States, and his advisor, the eponymous Strangelove as the world may be ending.
R: Goldfinger (1964) Connery is everyone's favorite 007, and in this film he gives his best performance, says some of his best lines, and has to fight off Odd job handcuffed to an atomic bomb.
R: My Fair Lady (1964) Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison co-star in a romantic comedy musical with fast wit and great numbers complementing the two actors' performances.
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) Just think, the forerunner paving the way for today's hyper-violent Tarantino and Rodriguez films. All kidding aside, it crosses a lot of genre boundaries and was incredibly innovative.
The Graduate (1967)
Cool Hand Luke (1967) "What we have here…"


1970's
R: Fiddler on the Roof (1971) Topol plays Tevye raising his daughters Jewish in pre-Revolution Russia, accompanied by his wife and fantastic musical numbers.
Cabaret (1972) The best musical ever, ever made. Ever. And one of the best films.
The Godfather (1972)
R: The Day of the Jackal (1973) The Jackal has been hired for one last job, the job that leads to automatic retirement: assassinate Charles de Gaulle before the inspector can catch you.
American Graffiti (1973)
The Sting (1973)
R: Blazing Saddles (1974) Wilder and Cleavon Little co-star with Madeline Kahn in the farcical depiction of life in the West, at least as it appears on the back lots.
R: Chinatown (1974) Jack Nicholson is trying to unravel a few mysteries at once, while keeping his nose out of trouble investigating conspiracy and murder.
Jaws (1975) Still brilliant and scary, even when you know the sharks going to jump out. Plus it paved the way for blockbuster marketing.
Nashville (1975) Not my favorite Altman (see 2000s), but the expansive narrative is amazing.
R: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) For Arthur and his K-nig-its to find the Holy Grail leads to obstacles such as the Knights who say 'Ni!', murderous bunnies, and silly Frenchmen.
R: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) Transsexual transvestite aliens, lead by Tim Curry, abduct and corrupt the youths Brad and Janet, singing catchy tunes while doing so.
Network (1976) Still depressingly relevant.
R: Star Wars (1977) Luke, Han, and Leah join the Rebellion under the guidance of Obi-Wan and assistance of wookies and droids to fight the Empire, and it's masked face: Darth Vader.
R: National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) "What is college like?" "Have you ever seen 'Animal House?" "Yeah." "It's nothing like that." Would that it were for the laughs alone.
R: The Muppet Movie (1979) Henson's familiar Muppets join on a road trip to Hollywood to 'make millions of people happy', while avoiding Doc Hopper and encountering the greatest comedians of the decade.

1980s
R: The Dark Crystal (1982) Henson's high-fantasy story traces the characters of Jen and Kira, gelflings who have to defeat the vulturous Skeksis despotic rule of their planet.
R: Koyaanisqatsi (1982) With no conventional plot, or documentary theme, 'kooyanisqatsi' translates from Hopi as 'life out of balance', as exposed by the images and music.
R: The Big Chill (1983) A story of the lost hope of the generation, old friends, a particularly stunning cast, reunite and reevaluate their lives in the 80's.
R: Brazil (1985) Gilliam's masterful story of a man in the future, played by Jonathan Price, who needs to unravel a mystery and discovers the unpleasant underbelly of his society.
R: Clue (1985) All-star cast represents the characters of Miss Peacock, Col. Mustard, and Professor Plum in the comedic caper trying to discover who killed Mr. Body.
Out of Africa (1985)
Silverado (1985)
D: Labyrinth (1986) David Bowie and music superb; great tale and wonderful visuals.
R: The Princess Bride (1987) True love between Buttercup and Wesley must overcome a pirate, a Spaniard, a giant, and a Sicilian, all before entering the Fire Swamp, joking along the way.
R: A Fish Called Wanda (1988) Kevin Kline is the brilliant gem surrounded by Cleese, Palin, and Curtis in a romantic comedy caper that's not safe for fish or small dogs.
R: Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) Mixing animation and live action wasn't new, but it also had never been so funny, or had a plot that actually draws you in for more than seven minutes amongst grown-up 'toons'
R: Dead Poets Society (1989) When all teachers are the same and don't care about their students, Keating, played by Robin Williams, is a breath of fresh air and inspiration.
R: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) Harrison Ford reprises his Indiana Jones role with 'dad', Connery, in a race for the Holy Grail itself against the Nazis.
Henry V (1989) Not only is it probably the best of all Kenneth Branagh's Shakespeare adaptations, it has Derek Jacobi, the greatest Shakespearean actor around, as the Chorus!


1990's
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (1990)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991) So, so brilliant and really scary.
Thelma and Louise (1991)
R: Reservoir Dogs (1992) Six men are needed to rob a diamond store, but only four come out unhurt after a police ambush leading to the rest to wonder who is the informant.
Chaplin (1992) More a brilliant performance than all over movie, but still very good.
R: Jurassic Park (1993) Sam Neil and crew are trapped on an island where dinosaurs have been brought back to life, when things start to go suspensefully wrong.
R: The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) Claymation never looked so good: Skellington lives in Halloweentown, where the repetition bores him, leading to the desire to become St. Nick.
Schindler's List (1993) Deserves all of its accolades. It’s still unbelievable to me that anyone was able to make a film that covered the Holocaust so well.
The Piano (1993)
R: The Shawshank Redemption (1994) Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman find themselves prison mates in Shawshank, where they bond and lift each other up and out into hope.
Ed Wood (1994) My favorite Tim Burton outside of Nightmare. I watch Sleepy Hollow more, but the acting in this one is better.
Leon: The Professional (1994) A hitman takes in a young girl when her family is killed. Also featuring crazy Gary Oldman.
Interview with a Vampire (1994) Hee.
R: Twelve Monkeys (1995) Bruce Willis is in a bleak future of disease and recurring nightmares, where he is chosen to go into the past and fix the future.
R: The Usual Suspects (1995) Verbal Kint tells the story of an explosion leaving 27 men dead due to five criminals and the unknown Kaiser Soze, criminal mastermind and nemesis of NYC police.
Sense and Sensibility (1995) One of my favorite period pieces and Emma Thompson did a great job on the script.
Braveheart (1995) FREEEEEEDOOOOOOM!
Dead Man (1996)
R: The Fifth Element (1997) In the future the aliens responsible for the Pyramids revisit Earth attempting to contain the balance of Good and Evil, but things go wrong and Bruce Willis needs to save humanity.
L.A. Confidential (1997) Such a good noir film. I still get tense watching it, even when I know whodunit.
Lawn Dogs (1997) Quite possibly my all time favorite film. A small independent movie about a young girl who is bored with her gated suburban life, and the friendship she strikes up with the man who mows the suburbanite’s lawns.
Titanic (1997) It really is brilliant.
Shakespeare in Love (1998) Really clever, funny, and gorgeous.
American History X (1998) The most awful, violent film ever, but really incredible.
R: The Big Lebowski (1998) The Dude doesn't want to do much but drink White Russians, listen to Creedence and go bowling with his buddies, but gets mixed-up in a kidnapping caper.
R: The Truman Show (1998) Truman lives a normal life, but soon it starts to unravel, as he discovers and comes to terms with the knowledge his life is a show, inevitably leading to the question: can he escape?

1999 (quite possibly the best year ever for movies)
Go (1999) and Run Lola Run (1999) 2 of my all time favorite films, both with recurring narratives.
R: Dogma Banished to Wisconsin two fallen angels find a loophole in Catholic dogma that allows them to re-enter heaven; the consequences might lead to the end of the world. (Kevin Smith's Best)
The Matrix Ok – pretend the sequels didn't happen. This was one of the most mind-blowing experiences I've ever had in a movie. And I still love re-watching it.
American Beauty I've been feeling a little less kind to this film recently, but for years it was one of my favorites. And Alan Ball's screenplay is really touching and the acting is great (Annette Benning should've won…)
Fight Club
A Midsummer Night's Dream I don’t like all of the way this one was done, but there is some brilliant casting, including Stanley Tucci as Puck, Sam Rockwell as Flute, Rupert Everett as Oberon, and Christian Bale as Demetirus.
Runners Up: Girl, Interrupted, The Green Mile, The Sixth Sense, Office Space, Being John Malkovich, Cruel Intentions (although maybe you had to be in prep school when that came out to truly appreciate it)

2000:
American Psycho Also a performance film, but it is darkly funny hysterical and its take on the 80s is brilliant.
Runners up: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Almost Famous, O Brother Where Art Thou
2001:
Gosford Park
My favorite Altman. A take on Upstairs/Downstairs and the weekend manor house mystery.
Moulin Rouge Heart-breaking, lush, and with dazzling visuals, Baz Luhrmann updates musicals.
Runners Up: Lord of the Rings - the Fellowship of the Ring, Memento, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the Royal Tenenbaums, Mullholland Drive, Enemy at the Gates
2002
Adaptation
This movie is hysterically funny. And I think it’s the last time Nick Cage has done a good job of acting, sadly…
Chicago A brilliant version of a fabulous musical (even if Renee Zellwegger desperately needs to heat a cheeseburger)
Runners up: Y Tu Mama Tambien, Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, The Hours
2003
Angels in America
Ok - not technically a movie, but it's too brilliant to leave off. One of the finest pieces of art ever made (as a book, play, or miniseries)
Lost in Translation A lovely tale of strangers forming a bond while feeling alienated in Tokyo.
R: Triplets of Bellville Near-silent French animation tells the story of a grandmother and her boy whose dream is to ride the Tour Du France; his kidnap leads her to recruiting the odd triplets in her search for his rescue.
Finding Nemo My favorite Pixar. I think it has the best story and graphics.
Runners up: Mystic River, The Magdalene Sisters, Kill Bill Vol. 1, X2 (what? It’s a good action film! And Brian Singer added social relevance without coming off as preachy. It’s good! Shut up!)
2004
Howl's Moving Castle
I prefer this one to Spirited Away. A fairytale about a girl turned into an old woman by a witch’s curse and a boy sorcerer.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Charlie Kaufman, the most brilliant screenwriter around, tops himself in an incredibly crazy, poignant take on relationships.
Runners up: La Mala EducaciĆ³n, House of Flying Daggers, I heart Huckabees
2005
The New World
Ok – Colin Farrell isn't brilliant in this one, but the film itself is dreamy, impressionistic take on the colonization of America.
Good Night and Good Luck I'm torn between this one, with its relevant media warnings, and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, with its off-kilter take on Chuck Barris. For both, George Clooney does a great job of directing.
Brokeback Mountain
Runners up: Capote, Wallace and Gromit - Curse of the Were-Rabbit, the Constant Gardener, Pride and Prejudice, Jarhead, Match Point, King Kong, Batman Begins, the Merchant of Venice, Mysterious Skin
2006
The Departed
The Wind that Shakes the Barley
The story of the Irish war of Independence. Won the Palme D’Or at Cannes. It’s amazing.
Children of Men The film that basically got no US distribution, sadly. But it’s an amazing tale of a not too distant future when humans have stopped bearing children. In addition to the great story, acting and art direction, has a couple of astounding camera shots.
Runners up: Pan's Labyrinth, Perfume, The Prestige (like that alliteration?), Casino Royale, Inside Man, Brick, Hard Candy, V for Vendetta, The Queen, the Fountain, the Painted Veil, The Last King of Scotland
2007
Zodiac
David Fincher’s take on the police procedural. Incredibly good, and Robert Downey Jr. gives a great supporting performance
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford The cinematography in this movie is gorgeous, and Casey Affleck shines in a great ensemble cast.
Runners up: Atonement, I'm Not There (An almost biography of Bob Dylan), Infamous (As good as Capote and sadly overlooked), A Mighty Heart, Rescue Dawn (Christian Bale so should have been up for an Oscar for this one), Stardust (awww… I love this one! Swordfights, pirates, witches, and a fallen star.), Sunshine (Visually gorgeous), Across the Universe, Persepolis, Joshua (AAH! SCARY!) and Snow Angels
2008
The Fall
Possibly the most visually stunning film I’ve ever seen. Every frame is a work of art.
In Bruges Martin McDonagh is my favorite playwright. He is really dark and funny, and Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, and Ralph Fiennes all give great performances.
Runners up: Slumdog Millionaire, Frost/Nixon, Milk, Gone Baby Gone, Sweeney Todd, Waltz with Bashir, Let the Right One In (A Swedish coming of age tale, with a vampire), Persepolis, the Dark Knight, Cloverfield (which was a really interesting new way of filming a story)
2009
Best so far of 2009? Moon, The Brothers Bloom, Watchmen, In the Loop, 500 Days of Summer, Coraline, The Escapist (does not have a US release scheduled yet), La Mission, Star Trek. I really enjoyed RocknRolla, although I wouldn't say that it is great, but it is very stylish. I happened to quite like the International (done by the same director as Run Lola Run), but not many people felt the same way.

6 comments:

Roscoe said...

Man is that an old list. I forgot that it was that list that kick-started my watching good movies. Here's my updated 101:

My top 101 Movies by year

1920's + 30's 15

Sherlock, Jr. (1924)
Buster Keaton directs and stars in this under an hour comedy as the young, extremely agile, film projectionist. The sight gags are some of the best (and most copied) in cinema.

Sunrise (1927)
Moving story of a couple's romance, the camera transports the viewer through film, photo and painting in a hallucinatory, but beautiful, reverie.

The Last Command (1928)
The tragedy only deepens since it's cast as a farce: a general of the Russian army banished after the Revolution finds himself playing himself in a movie in Hollywood.

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
Falconetti's brilliant portrayal of Joan and the visually stunning shots and close-ups make for one of the most beautiful and moving films ever made.

A Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
Incredible cinematography documenting modern Soviet Russia, no other film has such a unique and powerful structure, rewriting the language of how to view film.

M (1931)
Fritz Lang's psychological thriller was initially a docudrama of current events, which has subsequently become an allegory of public and private madness.

Grand Hotel (1932)
This is as close to Chekhov as I can get: A series of character portraits performed but some of the best actors of the day as they cross paths in the Grand Hotel: Garbo, Beery, two Barrymores, and Crawford.

Duck Soup (1933)
The best of the Marx's films, splendidly blending slapstick and witty dialogue, most of Groucho's quotes come from this one.

King Kong (1933)
The fun thriller that still is a good watch, even if the graphics aren't fantastic, Kong entertains in the classic scenes.

Camille (1936)
Greta Garbo's best performance as a social climber who is torn between the lap of luxury and true love, each scene is gripping as the plot develops.

Dodsworth (1936)
The finely mature story of a husband and wife's respective, and very different, midlife crises.

Modern Times (1936)
Chaplin's best performance blends humor with social satire (the first images are of sheep juxtaposed by people leaving a subway) in a light-hearted romance.

Olympia (1938)
One of the most stunning documentaries ever made by Leni Reifenstahl brilliantly portraying the human physique.

Ninotchka (1939)
Splendidly humorous story focuses on Garbo's cold Soviet exterior melting in Paris, surrounded by amusing characters in outstanding situations.

The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Flying monkeys, a cowardly lion and great songs add to an engaging plot of Dorothy's quest to find the Wonderful Wizard.

1940's 8

Fantasia (1940)
One of Disney's best cinematic pieces, brilliant animation of mushrooms, dinosaurs, and a Night on Bald Mountain accompany the classical music.

His Girl Friday (1940)
Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell compliment each other in one of the funniest and best written romantic comedies ever about reporters fighting for a story.

Citizen Kane (1941)
Watch this for Orson Welles' performance. The story is intriguing enough, and the cinematography is, on average, good. But Welles' acting makes viewing worthwhile.

Casablanca (1942)
If you've not heard of this film, or quote it, then you must've been living under a rock.

Children of Paradise (1945)
Brilliant acting about a troupe of actors in France in the 1830's who are trying for love, fame, or to just get by.

Notorious (1946)
The Grant-Bergman romance is passionate yet bitter amidst the undercover spy suspense in Rio.

The Third Man (1949)
Film Noir peak with supreme acting by Orson Welles as the mysterious Harry Lime.

White Heat (1949)
Cagney's brutal character will keep you on the edge of your seat as his tragic story relentlessly plays out.

Roscoe said...

1950's 15

An American in Paris (1951)
Gene Kelley takes the title role in a romantic musical comedy featuring great dance sequences, Gershiwn's score, and Oscar Levant's masterful piano pieces.

Ikiru (1952)
Kurosawa's story of an elderly bureaucrat who looks back and realizes his life has been of no consequence, leading to redemption; the counter 'It's a Wonderful Life'.

Umberto D. (1952)
The entire cast is comprised of non-professional actors, a fact no one could figure out on their own. The moving story of an aging pensioner's struggle accompanied by his dog.

Stalag 17 (1953)
The suspense of an American prison camp in WWII: someone is leaking information, but who?

Ugetsu (1953)
The story of two couples, neighbors, and their various fortunes in war: all four take different paths in the chaos and have their own trials to overcome.

Seven Samurai (1954)
Kurosawa's epic of the seven samurai without a leader who must protect a farming village from gangs.

The Apu Trilogy (1955, 56, 59)
Satyajit Ray's magnificent three-part film tells the story of a child, an adolescent, and a young man's hardships and triumphs.

Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)
Bergman claimed he had two options that summer: "Write Smiles of a Summer Night or kill myself." Luckily he chose the path of endearing romantic comedy.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
It's hard to see this sci-fi horror as more than just a glorified 'B' movie or allegory of rampant McCarthyism. But it succeeds in terrifying the viewer with an original, frightening depiction of humanity.

12 Angry Men (1957)
Suspenseful film shot all in a jury room where twelve men have to decide if a kid lives or dies.

Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Alec Guiness' best role as the British Officer holding on to his principles in a Japanese POW camp that is trying to break his spirit.

Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Great drama doesn't require over the top sceanrios: Tony Curtis is a small-time press agent up against the giant of his world: a columnist who refuses to make him.

Vertigo (1958)
Jimmy Stewart's great performance as the retired detective who investigates the split personality and past of a beautiful woman with whom he falls in love.

The 400 Blows (1959)
The story of a youth growing up and his progression from a kid who cuts up in class to being taken into state custody as a 'delinquent'.

Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)
Identities, place and memory are all up for grabs in this landmark film about unlikely romance at the epicenter of the post-modern world.

Roscoe said...

1960's 17

La Dolce Vita (1960)
Marcello Mastroianni (playing Marcello) would in his later collaboration with Fellini portray the director in his autobiographical, surrealist 8 ½. In this Marcello is far more human, rarely engaging, but bemusedly observing the reckless behavior of the rich and famous.

Psycho (1960)
The ultimate mystery suspense thriller captures one of the most terrifying personalities ever created in brutal black and white shots.

Yojimbo (1961)
Kurosawa delivers a one man tour d' force satire western: the plot is standard (one man cleans up a corrupt town) but the performance, humor, and stark visuals are way beyond par for the course.

Jules and Jim (1962)
Perhaps the best love triangle portrayed in film. Or the best story of two men's friendship. Or the story of France and Germany's love-hate affair. You decide.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Peter O' Toole stars as T.S. Lawrence who attempted to single-handedly unite the Arab world, surrounded by great co-stars and sweeping cinematography.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Angela Lansbury shines as the villainous over-bearing mother who wants to put a sleeper in the White House, leaving Sinatra to stop her son from an assassination.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Growing up in the South, Scout looks to her father Atticus, played superbly by Gregory Peck, as a moral compass surrounded by inequality.

8 1/2 (1963)
The ultimate movie about making a movie, a director loses his inspiration and struggles to come up with the means to express himself.

The Great Escape (1963)
Steve McQueen and Richard Attenburrough team up with other prison inmates in a WWII German POW camp with one aim: escape with as many as they can take with them.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Sellers plays three roles in Kubrick's black comedy: a British officer, President of the United States, and his advisor, the eponymous Strangelove, as the world may be ending.

A Hard Day's Night (1964)
It's been a while since a movie has really captured my spirit, but the partial documentary, starring the Fab Four, is not just fun, it's cinematographically mesmerizing.

Battle for Algiers (1966)
The extreme grittiness of this film is found in the deception of cinematography making you forget it's a drama and not a documentary of the uprising in Algeria against the French colonials.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966)
The story of treasure lures you in with the three outlaws, against the background of the Civil War. The cinematography and production would be beat only by Leone's own efforts two years later.

Persona (1966)
An actress' lack of speech finds her being cared for by a young nurse. Their cottage retreat turns from an isolated holiday to a painful co-dependence and jealousy of each other's afflictions.

Mouchette (1967)
The bleak tale of what may be the most wretched little girl in cinema history, the stark pain is elivated by the realization that she has lost all capacity for emotion.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Beyond the apes and technicolor swirlings is the bulk of the film: an astronaut's race to beat an evil supercomputer, the HAL 9000, from destroying his ship and himself.

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Sergio Leone's cinematography can be beat only by the score and Henry Fonda's role as 'Frank' in this Western epic of how the West was really won.

Roscoe said...

1970's 15

A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Rape, ultraviolence, and Beethoven are Alex de Large's loves, and he indulges in them freely until caught and put through prison and twisted 'reform'.

Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
Topol plays Tevye raising his daughters Jewish in pre-Revolution Russia, accompanied by his wife and fantastic musical numbers.

A Touch of Zen (1971)
The greatest of Kung Fu masterpieces, not for it's amazing fights (the inspiration for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) but for it's engrossing plot, acting, and cinematography.

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
A surrealist look at the French bourgeoisie where it is unclear if what is portrayed is dream, reality, production or something else. The cast just goes along with it, whatever it is.

The Godfather Parts I+II (1972, 74)
The second half is superior to the first. The two combined creates a story told in three compeling narratives, portrayed by top actors of the rise, and fall, of America's most powerful family.

Day for Night (1973)
Capturing the process of making a film the cast, crew, and director (who is played by the director Truffaut himself) exemplify the hysteria, pleasure and drama of a movie set.

Blazing Saddles (1974)
Wilder and Cleavon Little co-star with Madeline Khan in the farcical depiction of life in the West, at least as it appears on the back lots.

Chinatown (1974)
Jack Nicholson is trying to unravel a few mysteries at once, while keeping his nose out of trouble investigating conspiracy and murder.

Barry Lyndon (1975)
Lyndon's tragic arc plays out slowly, yet you can't imagine telling the story at a different pace. The shots are truly picturesque: freeze-frame and you could hang them on your wall.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
For Arthur and his K-nig-its to find the Holy Grail leads to obstacles such as the Knights who say 'Ni!', murderous bunnies, and silly Frenchmen.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Transsexual transvestite aliens, lead by Tim Curry, abduct and corrupt the youths Brad and Janet, singing catchy tunes while doing so.

Taxi Driver (1975)
Gritty realism? Maybe. Yet shot after shot confirms Scorsese's talent with the camera and scene after scene DeNiro's psychotic persona captivates.

Star Wars IV: A New Hope (1977)
Luke, Han, and Leah join the Rebellion under the guidance of Obi-Wan and assistance of wookies and droids to fight the Empire, and it's masked face: Darth Vader.

National Lampoon's Animal House (1978)
"What is college like?" "Have you ever seen 'Animal House?" "Yeah." "It's nothing like that." Would that it were for the laughs alone.

Apocalypse Now (1979)
A man is sent up river in Cambodia to find Col. Kurtz, Marlon Brando, who has gone AWOL during the height of Vietnam; the further up river the more primitive the world becomes.

Roscoe said...

1980's 10

Mon Oncle D'Amerique (1980)
Is it a documentary on behaviorist psychology? A drama of three individuals mid-life crises? The answer is, pleasantly, both.

Blade Runner (1982)
Harrison Ford is specially trained to track down replicas that have gone astray in the future, and has to find four particularly difficult cases and battle with his own conscience.

The Dark Crystal (1982)
Henson's high-fantasy story traces the characters of Jen and Kira, gelflings who have to overcome the vulturous Skeksis despotic rule of their planet.

Koyaanisqatsi (1982)
With no conventional plot, or documentary theme, 'kooyanisqatsi' translates from Hopi as 'life out of balance', as exposed by the images and music.

Twice Upon a Time (1983)
Visually stunning animation not for kiddies tells the story of Ralph and Mumford trying to be heroes and save us from the nightmares concocted by vile 'Synonamess Botch.'

Brazil (1985)
Gilliam's masterful story of a man in the future, played by Jonathan Price, who needs to unravel a mystery and discovers the unpleasant underbelly of his society.

The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
A nervous, desperate woman, who finds her escape in movies during the depression, is jolted into a real on and off-screen romance.

The Princess Bride (1987)
True love between Buttercup and Westley must overcome a pirate, a Spaniard, a giant, and a Sicilian, all before entering the Fire Swamp, joking along the way.

Wings of Desire (1987)
The story of an angel who feels the need to see more than the colorless, weightless spiritual world in which he cannot intervene, who breaks through to humanity.

A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
Kevin Kline is the brilliant gem surrounded by Cleese, Palin, and Curtis in a romantic comedy caper that's not safe for fish or small dogs.

Roscoe said...

1990's 14

Goodfellas (1990)
The brilliant trifecta of Mafiosos (De Niro, Pesci and Liotta) execute Scorsese's peculiar wish to blend a mob movie with a "rollicking road picture".

Farewell My Concubine (1993)
The story of two stage brothers, king and concubine, whose lives are a reflection of the opera they perform and the turbulent times they live through.

Groundhog Day (1993)
Bill Murray is the cynical newsman who finds himself reliving the same day of his life over and over, especially comedic are his attempts to off himself before redemption.

Jurassic Park (1993)
Sam Neil and crew are trapped on an island where dinosaurs have been brought back to life, when things start to go suspensfully wrong.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Claymation never looked so good: Skellington lives in Halloweentown, where the repetition bores him, leading to the desire to become St. Nick.

Chungking Express (1994)
Chinese 90's romance never looked so good: Parallel stories revolve around lovesick cops and fast food, in an atmosphere of Hong Kong noir.

Clerks (1994)
Two clerks bitch about their jobs and lives, with minor escapades and great comic dialogue during a hard day at the store.

Pulp Fiction (1994)
Three interwoven stories: A hit man taking the boss' wife for a night of fun, a boxer trying to avoid the boss, and the hit man and his accomplice needing some assistance with body removal.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman find themselves prisonmates in Shawshank, where they bond and lift each other up and out into hope.

Ulysses' Gaze (1995)
A man's journey to find the first film leads him to retrace his own childhood steps in the war-torn Balkans.

The Fifth Element (1997)
In the future the aliens responsible for the Pyramids revisit Earth attempting to contain the balance of Good and Evil, but things go wrong and Bruce Willis needs to save humanity.

The Big Lebowski (1998)
The Dude doesn't want to do much but drink White Russians, listen to Creedance and go bowling with his buddies. But he gets mixed-up in a kidnapping caper.

The Truman Show (1998)
Truman lives a normal life, but soon it starts to unravel. His quest to come to grips with what is reality would ironically precursor the 'reality television' movement of the next decade.

2000's 8

Snatch (2000)
Guy Ritchie infuses comedy into a gangster film full of boxing, guns, dogs, pikeys, and a diamond the size of your fist.

City of God (2002)
The slums of Rio provide a horrific breeding ground for gang warfare where the gangsters running the streets are mere children.

Talk to Her (2002)
Subtle and enchanting it's only after viewing that you realize how brilliant the modern love story is, from the cinematography to messages it cares to share.

Triplets of Bellville (2003)
Near-silent French animation tells the story of a grandmother and her boy whose dream is to ride the Tour D' France; his kidnap leads her to recruiting the odd triplets in her rescue mission.

Zatoichi (2003)
The story of the blind samurai Zatoichi, played by Takeshi Kitano, who joins unusual companions in ridding a town from rival gangs.

The Incredibles (2004)
In the Pixar debate 'Incredibles' will likely be seen as the victor: The story is well-animated, funny and exciting, moved by the engaging characters.

Steamboy (2004)
Otomo's most famous work will probably always be 'Akira', but for a more coherent, stylish, and visually enjoyable film 'Steamboy' raises the bar for the genre.

Mirrormask (2005)
Incredible visuals bring to life Gaiman's novel, with bright, funny characters in a fantastic story about the girl who grows up in the circus and wants to escape to the normal world.


Ones I'm considering getting rid of (upon review): Great Escape, Stalag 17, Bridge on the River Kwai (three POW films seems a bit much, 5th Element, Fiddler, and Animal House (next to go, once I find something replacement-worthy).