100 Incredible Films (Vol. 8 ~ 30-21)
A WORD ABOUT MY redicuLISTS!
Before I reveal the next 10 films, I'd just like to explain my intent here. I am not ranking these films in order of their greatness, nor am I saying that these are the best films ever, this is purely entertainment. My lists are designed only to prevent you from seeing films that lack artistic quality without being redundant.
What's the point of my going on & on about Taxi Driver or A Clockwork Orange when so many other cinephiles already have. And if you need me to tell you about Star Wars or The Godfather, then you are either very young or beyond my help.
Ya know what? I'm just gonna reveal all the "way too obvious for this countdown" films right now...WE, THE PEOPLE, FIND THESE FILMS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT!
- APOCOLYPSE NOW
- A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
- COOL HAND LUKE
- DANCES WITH WOLVES
- DIE HARD
- E.T. - THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL
- THE EXORCIST
- THE GODFATHER
- THE GRADUATE
- THE GREAT ESCAPE
- LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY
- THE MATRIX
- MEAN STREETS
- MIDNIGHT COWBOY
- MY LEFT FOOT
- THE NATURAL
- PULP FICTION
- RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
- RAIN MAN
- RESERVOIR DOGS
- SCHINDLER'S LIST
- THE SHINING
- THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
- STAR WARS TRILOGY
- THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
- TAXI DRIVER
- TOY STORY MOVIES
- WALK THE LINE
Now I realize that this is a very small list, but there are a lot of "GREAT FILMS" that just don't resonate with me, like Blade Runner or The Deer Hunter. So take it for what it is, a list of films that I love and think that you'd be crazy to miss.
As Casey Kasem used to say,
"...on with the countdown!"
- 100 Incredible Films (Volume 1 ~ #s 100-91)
Welcome to my countdown! If you are arriving late and want to start at the beginning you can do see by hitting the linky.
#30 ~~~ I Heart Huckabees (2004)
Mark Wahlberg discusses I Heart Huckabees w/ James Lipton
There is no way around it, this movie is frickin' brilliant! The very idea of the studios giving writer/director David O. Russell money and a greenlight to make an existental comedy seems impossible. When however, you have already made avant-garde cinema classics like Spanking the Monkey, Flirting with Disaster & Three Kings, eventually they are going to believe in you. Well, their faith has been rewarded with this incredibly intelligent and groundbreaking film.
The Story: Albert (Jason Schwartzman) is having an existential crisis surrounding the coincidence of meeting the same african man in three random places. In order to solve his abstract problem, he hires a couple of existential detectives (Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin) to solve his case.
Still with me?
Albert is weary though of the detectives interfering with his work situation, namely an environmental group known as "Open Spaces" who is battling corporate development on forests and marshes with bad poetry. His biggest nemesis is the department store known as HUCKABEES which has a beautiful model (Naomi Watts) as their spokesperson and a twerp executive (Jude Law) who are dating and ruining his life.
If you are still reading this, I might as well tell you that...
Their relationship is threatened by Tommy (Mark Wahlberg) who can apparently transcend space and time in the throws of passionate understanding of our addiction to petroleum. I don't even want to get into the blanket theory, the bonnet or the ball of infinite wisdom that you acheive if someone bashes you in the face with a kickball.
# 29 ~~~ Short Cuts (1993)
How does one go about describing this epic film by the master director Robert Altman? Well it's about a whole bunch of people (22 lead roles) who live in Los Angeles and how the little twists of fate and/or circumstance connects them all. The dialogue for the scenes are based on the writings of Raymond Carver.
The Story: The Finnegan family is dealing with a sudden injury to their son, when the crank calls start coming. A philandering cop steals his own kid's dog and tries to seduce women in full clown make-up just to make himself feel better. A cellist and her neglectful mother are going the distance as are the waitress and her drunken boyfriend. Then we have the sex-phone hotline mom and her ticking time-bomb husband who you don't wanna meet in the park during an earthquake.
Oh yeah, one more thing. A naked dead girl can really ruin a fishing trip!
# 28 ~~~ Primer (2004)
There have certainly been enough science fiction movies about time travel that we now have a blueprint of how the story goes. Man travels back to correct some mistake OR to gain financial prosperity and destroys the future/past. One aspect of this scenario that has not been explored however is the reality of time travel as it relates to the people who actually create it. If you and your best friend created a time travel device, do you think that you could share it? Is there any possible scenario where they don't double-cross each other for sole rights to the invention or whatever? You'll have to rent this one to find out. The writer / director / star Shane Carruth is a former mathematician and engineer who apparently had no interest in dumbing down the script for the audience.
This film makes it seem not only plausible, but it examines the fall-out in such a creative style that we have to watch it over and over again just to try and understand it better.
# 27 ~~~ Network (1976)
I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT
GONNA TAKE THIS ANYMORE!!
Howard Beale is in my opinion the most important fictional movie character in all of time and I know I'm right for one big reason...he became non-fictional! Like Pinocchio he has come to life and now it is our leaders whose nose grows longer every day! THAT is why this film is never shown on television. Because it tells you all the dirty little secrets about TV that they don't want you to think about.
Paddy Cheyefsky's Academy Award winning satire of network news shows (and the propagandist's who run them) has not only come to fruition, it has proven prophetic in it's accuracy. You will want your kids to see this movie so they don't grow up thinking the lies AND OMISSIONS that they hear on the news are real.
Don't Believe The Hype! It's a sequel.
We don't hear about the deaths of soldiers in a meaningless war that has potentially bankrupted our country because Kanye West broke a camera or Lindsay Lohan might be a lesbian. How many hard questions are being asked about the qualifications of Sarah Palin? None. Why, because those types of journalistic methods will get you fired. There is only one truth and it comes with instructions so reporters are not required.
Watch it with WAG THE DOG for the ultimate eye opening double-feature!
# 26 ~~~ The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The origin of the holidays is examined here as Jack Skellington, King of Halloween Town tries to give Santa a year off by pulling off his own Christmas. If you like imaginative children's entertainment, you will be in bliss here. The plot, asthetics, and characters are all top notch. The music of Danny Elfman is the weak link but there are a few good songs. Oingo Boingo's "Dead Man's Party" has apparently one real big fan in Tim Burton cause that's what this movie is essentially. The treacherousness of Halloween culture wreaking havok on the fuzzy red and white world of Christmas is a lot of fun and my favorite character is Mr. Oogie Boogie! I also have a soft spot for Zero, Jack's dead dog.
# 25 ~~~ Six Degrees of Separation (1993)
This was the first time we realized that Will Smith might just be an actor with serious potential. Rappers just do not take risks like the one he takes here. Playing a cunning homosexual hustler who becomes emotionally and spiritually linked to one of his female victims is a lot of layers as an actor. It is not only difficult to pull off this type of acting but your weaknesses will be profoundly exposed if you try doing next to greats like Stockard Channing and Donald Sutherland (who are both superb in this). Scripts like this can only come from plays. Poetic arguments and lyrical storytelling, amid such a stuffy environment and then there's Will Smith, the "Fresh Prince", the vulnerable fish out of water and he is winning us all over.
# 24 ~~~ Kolya (1996)
Plot: This heart-felt story is about a Czechoslovakian concert cellist who, after losing his place in the state orchestra finds himself in deep financial debt. He is a ladies man and a devout bachelor but his lack of finances push him into reluctantly marrying a Russian woman for cash in exchange for her legal Czech papers. She then emigrates to West Germany to be with her lover while leaving her son with the boy's grandmother. However, when grandma dies soon after little Kolya is taken to his unsuspecting new stepfather.
It is easy to fall in love with a cute kid, and the mismatched pair is certainly nothing new in terms of story arc but it is difficult to find a movie that uses both of them so naturally. Kolya is a beautiful film for all age groups, in fact this is a GREAT film to show your kids once they are old enough to understand it.
# 23 ~~~ City of God (2002)
THIS FILM WILL LEAVE YOU...
# 22 ~~~ Brazil (1985)
LONG BEFORE "THE MATRIX",
THERE WAS "BRAZIL".
In this retro-future science fiction film by Terry Gilliam, the government is obsessed with counter-productive methods in fighting terrorism. One day a young bureaucrat named Sam Lowry discovers an error in his daily paperwork. This error leads to the wrongful arrest of an innocent man named Buttle and when Sam tries to correct the mistake he finds the truth leads him a terrorist named Tuttle (Robert De Niro) and the literal "girl of his dreams" Jill. However, soon the government is accusing Sam himself of illegal involvement and he spins out fleeing into his own limitless imagination.
# 21 ~~~ Hoosiers (1986)
The true story of Norman Dale and the little Hickory team that went all the way to Indiana state finals is in my mind the greatest sports film ever made. It's even better than The Natural, which is a close second. This film has no action scenes, no sex scenes and no profanity. It is a film about basketball and yet there are no slam dunks or alley-oops either and in terms of fashion, these are the ugliest uniforms that you can imagine and yet, we are not bored. We're enthralled by practices where no one even shoots a ball! Riveted by conservative town hall meetings and even a pep rally gone silent which you can see in the clip.