Monday, May 26, 2008

My most epic work ever, don't pass it by!

Essentially nothing eventful happened to me over the weekend. I got to go home an hour early on Saturday on account of there being little to do at work and still get paid for it. Not bad. I also had Sunday off, though I of course didn't get paid for that. At least I got some sunning done, it was a lovely day. Also talked to hot paint department girl a little. I suppose it went marginally better, but that's not saying much. I tried so hard to be cool and be myself and all that shit, but I don't think it's working. Unrequited love is never easy. Just for once I'd love for it to go both ways...forget it, I'll shut up about it for now. Did have a rather satisfying enchilada dinner though, so the day wasn't a total loss.

On a totally unrelated note, here is part 3 of my Top 100 Films of All-Time. Perhaps no one cares (save a couple of people) and perhaps I really did put too much effort into this, but I figure since most of it is already done, I'd might as well see it through to the bitter end.

Also I fucked up the last entry, somehow skipping from # 73 to #71, as I pointed out in a previous comment. But if you missed it, I've simply amended the thing and now The Producers finds its way onto the second part of the list at # 61, instead of #60. A minor note, but please don't neglect this fine film that you might otherwise think I forgot about!

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Films #60-41

60. Unforgiven (1992) dir. Clint Eastwood- Clint's downbeat and elegiac revisionist Western proves why he is not only one of the best Hollywood actors of all-time, but also one of its great directors, a man who truly deserves his two Best Director Oscars. Violent and sad it’s one of the best ever using the old theme about a man trying to escape from his past instead to be trapped by it. The four leads are all outstanding, especially Gene Hackman as the ruthless Little Bill, determined to maintain law and order at any cost.

59. The Great Escape (1963) dir. John Sturges- If there was ever a rousing winner of a film this is it. Of course the story is the classic "escape from the Germans" bit, but one can’t imagine any escape movie being told with as much zest and character as this one. You root for the heroes at every corner and can’t help but hum along to Elmer Bernstein’s iconic score for most of its three hours. Everyone of course remembers Steve McQueen’s awesome motorcycle chase, but this one is a triumph through and through.

58. Almost Famous (2000) dir. Cameron Crowe- Transcendent movie about music when it was great, there’s likely never been as good a movie made about rock n’ roll. Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical tale about his days as a very young Rolling Stone journalist is a pleasure throughout and guaranteed to put a smile on your face. The music is great, the performances are great (especially Billy Crudup) and “Tiny Dancer” sequence is an instant classic. If you love rock music, this one is a no-brainer.

57. Superman: The Movie (1978) dir. Richard Donner- Thirty years on, it’s still the benchmark by which all other superhero movies are judged. From the overblown but Brando-rific opening to his childhood in Smallville through to the great scenes with a scene-chewing Hackman’s even up to the deus ex machina ending, one thinks it should fail, but in actuality it never does hit a sour note. The sequel is almost as good and there are plenty of other great comic book adaptations but somehow none of them seem to be able to surpass this one.

56. Stagecoach (1939) dir. John Ford- The film that made John Wayne a star, as well as his first major collaboration with director John Ford, one which would prove to be among the most fruitful in movie history. The story is of course pretty straightforward with a mismatched group of folks taking the ride on the titular vehicle while avoiding those pesky Injuns. But it’s a hell of a ride with some of the best cast the Duke has ever worked with. If you're not a fan of westerns and want a nice accessible place to start, this is it.

55. Sherlock Jr. (1924) dir. Buster Keaton- Very cool film within a film. Buster Keaton plays a movie projectionist who imagines himself entering the very film he’s showing in order to solve the crime of which he’s been falsely accused. Really neat metafiction, the whole thing doesn’t waste a single minute, coming in at under 45 minutes in length! If you’re a silent film novice, try starting here. It not only breezes by, it’s also a load of fun.

54. The Wizard of Oz (1939) dir. Victor Fleming- Yes, it’s not only for gay men and young children. Judy Garland beyond charming and the opening of the door to reveal the merry old land of Oz in all its glorious Technicolor is still stunning. The dog is adorable, the villain is despicable, the songs are great and the message is timeless. Hard to think of a better film for the whole family to enjoy.

53. Grand Illusion (1937) dir. Jean Renoir- Perhaps the original POW movie, this Renoir masterpiece is really an outstanding examination of social class in a rapidly changing world and really about human relationship in general. Many touching moments, but the best is the quite matter-of-fact conversation between the aristocratic German and French soldiers, as one of them lies dying. Truly before its time, it shatters any conceptions of the romantic notion of war.

52. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) dir. Robert Hamer- Easily the funniest movie ever made about mass murder. Perfectly droll British comedy about a young man who stands in line to inherit a dukedom. The only problem? There are eight people in line ahead of him. The Solution? Kill them off of course! If you want dry British wit at its best here it is. Alec Guinness plays all eight victims with nary a fat-suit in sight.

51. 12 Monkeys (1995) dir. Terry Gilliam- Totally beyond trippy adaptation of the 1962 short film La Jetée (which is really worth seeing as well), Bruce Willis is actually very good and the twists and turns just keep coming at you from all over the place. Brilliantly existential and wholly confusing, there’s no way you’re going to pick up everything from just one viewing. And the final line is too perfect.

50. The Ten Commandments (1956) dir. Cecil B. DeMille- There’s a reason why ABC continues to run this fifty-year-old movie every year during Easter every single year. Yes it’s close to four hours in length and when you factor in the commercials, it’s usually around midnight and they’re only getting to the parting of the Red Sea (an effect which still inspires a sense of wonder). Despite this and the fact they ‘format it to fit your screen’ (ugh) it remains a winner year after year, thanks to the indescribable sense of wonder it continues to project and Heston’s unwavering performance which hold the whole thing together

49. Sunrise (1927) dir. F.W. Murnau- Gorgeous, stylized silent masterpiece by German Expressionist filmmaker, F.W. Murnau., it blends the best of that school with the splendor of old Hollywood. Silent and containing very few inter-titles, it’s a stunning example of the old term ‘motion picture’ (remember that?), one that allows the stunning imagery to do the only talking that’s necessary.

48. Being There (1979) dir. Hal Ashby- Peter Sellers proves once again his comic genius as the simpleton whose entire breadth of knowledge comes from watching television, yet somehow rises to the pinnacle of American society. Sellers brilliantly lets everything happen around him, only re-acting in this most subtle and mesmerizing of performances. That final shot? Well, discuss it amongst yourselves.

47. Young Frankenstein (1974) dir. Mel Brooks- Another brilliant Mel Brooks comedy, it’s a wonder this is the same guy who made Spaceballs and Men in Tights. A genius send-up of the old Universal horror flicks of the 30s and 40s, it’s probably Brooks’ most subtle film, but the laughs don’t ever stop. Gene Wilder has never been better and the blind hermit scene with Gene Hackman is probably the funniest sequence in movie history.

46. King Kong (1933) dir. Merian C. Cooper- Remade in 1976 (ugh) and in 2005 (pretty well), this is still the original special effects epic, with a fun story and set pieces that still are still instill wonder today. Light years ahead of its time, it no doubt amazed audiences in 1933 and still holds up to this day. Plus no one screams like Fay Wray did.

45. The Godfather (1972) dir. Francis Ford Coppola- Well of course. IMDB has it as their number one and AFI had it as number two in their latest list. Undeniably a classic, with unforgettable sequences at every turn and brilliant performance all around. Pretty much everything that could be said about it already has been, so there’s no use adding my two-cents. So why do I rate it so (relatively) low? Because the sequel is even better. Anyone who actually bothers to sit down and watch the two together knows that. Duh.

44. A Hard Day's Night (1964) dir. Richard Lester- Basically just a day in the life of The Beatles with the boys playing themselves and singing a whole ton of great songs. There’s no real plot to speak of, it’s just sort of the Fab Four having a crazy time in early, madcap days of Beatlemania. Some of the most inspired silliness ever captured on celluloid, it’s been called a revolutionary film and there’s a good reason for that.

43. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001, 2002, 2003) dir. Peter Jackson- I know this is a bit of a cheat but they really do need to be seen and judged as a whole. Besides it’s not until you do see all three films that you really appreciate the epic scope of this wonderful adventure. From a book that was thought to be unfilmable, the guy who directed The Frighteners somehow pulled it off and how. The epic battles are a sight to behold but there are also so many great little moments dispersed throughout as well. Also do yourself a favor and watch the extended editions, they’re well worth the extra time.

42. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) dir. Nicholas Meyer- No, I’m dead serious. The fact that this a Star Trek movie or even science fiction doesn’t subtract from the fact that this is a superb meditation on the nature of friendship, on growing old and of course, whether or not the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few…or the one. The epic battle between Kirk and Khan is magnificent and the James Horner score is appropriately stirring. Forget sci-fi or Star Trek or any of that nerdy shit, this is a great movie!

41. The Maltese Falcon (1941) dir. John Huston- The first of the always-brilliant collaborations between Bogart and John Huston. Bogart became an icon with his spot-on portrayal of hard-boiled private eye Sam Spade in this never dull and totally captivating mystery that keeps you guessing until the end. The cast is awesome and the dialogue razor sharp. Truly the stuff that dreams are made of.

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Okay, so it looks like we're really getting into the homestretch here....the very best movies ever made are coming up, so if you're not reading on you're doing yourself a huge disservice!

7 Comments:

Blogger Natmac said...

All great choices. I have nothing to complain about this round. :)

May 26, 2008 11:05 AM  
Blogger J said...

hey david, here is that site i was talking about where i made the extra cash this summer, it's pretty cool... anyway,
check it out ..

May 26, 2008 1:37 PM  
Blogger Kid Icarus said...

Good stuff!

And I'm not David.

May 26, 2008 9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great work.

but i have another challenge (albiet smaller)

the top ten movies that are so bad they are good list

drock

(ie. rambo III, ect...)

May 26, 2008 10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boo to everyone who isn't chastizing Mike for ranking the Godfather so low. Just because some people consider the sequel better it doesn't mean that the first film wasn't a masterpiece. This is an absolute travesty.

(heart) Coop

May 26, 2008 11:06 PM  
Blogger Daphne said...

Loving the list so far. So many I haven't seen!

May 27, 2008 9:25 PM  
Blogger Kid Icarus said...

D Rock: Not such a bad idea! One of the things I was actually interested in was a "Bad Movies" film course back when I was taking some cinema studies classes. Sadly there was no such thing.

Coop: The Godfather most certainly is a masterpiece and as you can see, I've ranked it among the greatest films ever made. For now though, there are 44 films that I happen to like better.

While I was considering giving it a higher ranking and concede that perhaps it does belong a few slots higher, its ranking wouldn't change THAT much, it still wouldn't make its way into my top twenty, for instance.

That said, it's a hell of a picture and one I never tire of watching. Perhaps the fact that Part II is still to come does have some effect on where I placed it, that I will concede.

Daphne: Glad you're liking it, but this means you have lots of catching up to do in terms of movie watching!

May 27, 2008 10:13 PM  

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