Thanks to my Nerd's Eye View co-host Andrew, I have been exposed to the tragically addicting website Flickchart. It's Sophie's Choice meets movie selection. Usually, it's a fairly easy assessment of a good movie vs. a great movie, but sometimes it ends up being two radically different great movies against each other. It's your turn to be Meryl Streep and choose which baby dies (oh shit, sorry, should've said *spoilers!*)
So as of May 19, 2011 at 2 PM and 10 hours of logging votes, here is my imperfect top 100. I really wish it could've been more perfect, but this website is flawed, but the assessment should make sense. Sadly, some spots are replaced by ultimate WTF choices. You'll see.
So, let's delve in at 100 and work our way up.
(P.S. - I am not linking to all of their Imdbs. That would be too tedious. I'm putting years instead).
100. PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE (2002)
Kicking us off at the bottom is one of my lesser favorite Paul Thomas Anderson films (though nothing will suck worse than Magnolia). However, it was my first and in my prime Adam Sandler adoration phase. I remember watching it and not understanding a lick of it. However, it has held up over time and with me actually getting more into PTA (as this list will show), I have come to respect it. The performances are stellar and thus is one I probably should revisit soon.
99. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946)
I really wanted Harvey to make this list, though when I saw this for the first time last Christmas, it was one of those rare movies that choked me full of emotion. It is tough to get me to feel warm inside, yet this movie managed to pull me from my large disbelief chamber and just make me feel good at the end. Also, being a personal burnout on Christmas movies, it was refreshing to see one that wasn't built on consumerism and instead morals and challenging the meaning of life. Also, James Stewart is just amazing sometimes.
98. HARD CANDY (2006)
I love Ellen Page, and this may be the build up. Post-Juno, she was just that actress in a great movie. However, when Analese recommended I watch this movie, I scoured to find it and was blown away.The performances from two faces that would go on to bigger (questionably) better things made for what is essentially a movie about characters under pressure, which somehow is one of my secret enjoyments. Though yes, it does get a little surreal sometimes.
97. THE LION KING (1994)
One of many on this list that has held over from childhood. While movies like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: the Movie didn't hold up well, I am surprised at how many did. It probably has to do with growing up in the third golden age of Disney. This movie is one of the few that is still amazing no matter how old I am and the orchestration by Tim Rice and Elton John is just amazing. I can remember waking up to "Circle of Life" on numerous occasions. However, it's one of the few movies I never cared to learn who voiced the characters, so you can surprise me by saying Whoopi Goldberg is in this.
96. RUSHMORE (1998)
The first Jason Schwartzman movie and it's also a really excellent Wes Anderson flick featuring Bill Murray. I keep coming back to this movie because it's a master of subtly and deals with the perverse student-teacher relationship in a clever, yet mature way that most would go off-the-wall with. I may not find Anderson's movies particularly funny, but damn if I don't love the characters. This is the first of many that I would consider his masterpieces.
95. THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP (1982)
Over time, I realize that I have grown up with Robin Williams (first cinema experience? Aladdin). However, as time went on, I realize that sure I loved his Mork and Mindy and stand-up routines, but where I was really impressed was his dramatic potential. I feel in Garp that he manages to show early signs of what would lead to Good Will Hunting: a deep understand and restraint of character. True, Williams is still a very funny man, but if you had to ask me, I love him as one of the great charismatic dramatic actors that he occasionally becomes (also, check out Moscow on the Hudson, PLEASE).
94. WAITRESS (2007)
A semi-WTF movie on this list. While I will admit that the charm and fun was there, I don't remember this being an amazing enough movie to make the list. However, the concept of baking pies to commemorate ex-boyfriends still seems like a great concept. The performances were rather solid, but overall, I can think of way better movies that should've been in this spot.
93. THE LIFE OF BRIAN (1979)
Oh, how I enjoy Monty Python. While this one took awhile to come around to, I have come to enjoy it's satirical take on the church without ever insulting it. True, you may thing gourde-worshiping people is an insult, but that says more for the characters and how ridiculous idols are over how stupid the church is. Also, I just love Eric Idle's closing number of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life." This movie ages very well, I think.
92. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS (2001)
It takes me awhile to realize why all of these movies are on this list when in fact I don't watch them that much. However, it becomes more apparent over time why it is. It's essentially the ultimate phenomenon of the 00's. While many people gushed over sneaking into the Matrix Reloaded, no one regrets seeing any of these movies. I remember the infamous longer cuts and how I never saw the original version of this one. True, they are not excessively played in my house, but when they are, I can guarantee my eyes are magnetically attached to the screen. They're just so amazing and have so many iconic moments in modern cinema.
91. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (2003)
I saw this for the first time the day it swept the Oscars. It was also the first movie that was over three hours that I have sat through. Oddly, it is my least remembered of the three, but still, I felt somehow these movies were significant in my social life somehow and I personally doubt I will ever see another film series that will hold as much of an epic feeling as these.
90. TROPIC THUNDER (2008)
Easily, this movie has the best opening of any film on this list. I remember watching it for the first time and being surprised by the satirical commercials. It was unexpected and ridiculous, yet somehow it set us up for the rest of the movie perfectly. To this day, I love that it's essentially the Blazing Saddles of war movies and brilliantly captures the war movie tropes while also tearing down actors at the same time. Also, Robert Downey Jr. is awesome in any role. This proves it.
89. TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN (1969)
My first Woody Allen film. I saw it on TCM on a double feature with Bananas. The awkwardly smart loser character may have been done a million times, but when I first saw it here, it was new, and odd. Also, the mockumentary style would come to be a favorite of mine, yet here Allen uses it to his advantage and makes into a ridiculous heist situations. It has plenty of the goofball charm of the earlier comedies and for that, it holds up really well (also, check out Sleeper).
88. ROLE MODELS (2008)
Easily Paul Rudd's best film. Also, with the State's David Wain directing, this is one of a scant amount of movies to break free of the Judd Apatow comparisons and be hilarious all on it's own. Rudd's deadpan cynicism is the real key to a lot of the humor, especially when played against Seann William Scott. Even the typical rude black kid is hilarious here, and somehow it manages to do it with character without ever seeming as rude. I remember seeing it on opening weekend and not being able to hear half the dialog. Sadly, it's overshadowed by the lesser the Hangover, but still, I would call it one of the best comedies of the past five years.
87. GARDEN STATE (2004)
The movie with the infamous soundtrack and Shins song. I may get shit for loving this movie, but whenever I'm feeling down, I can put it on and have a really good time. No lie, I think this may be what made me start to like Natalie Portman and I can respect Zach Braff as well. I put this in the same category as (500) Days of Summer where if you're into offbeat dramadies, then you'll probably like this. If anything, it captures my desire to be self reflective.
86. WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE (2009)
Another surprise spot. While I will say this is a solid movie, I don't know why it's on here. But, I have to admit that when I was rewatching it recently, I could manage to get captured in the child like wonder and watch as the kid and the Wild Things built a utopia and then fucked it up through emotional complications. I was actually really impressed by what I missed in this movie and am glad there are great kids movies being made, even if it's by avant garde music video directors like Spike Jonze.
85. LOVE AND DEATH (1975)
Woody Allen satirizes war in a movie that I feel works because Allen knows how to work alongside Diane Keaton. Their chemistry throughout the 70's was amazing and brought for some of the best romantic humor he ever produced. I remember this movie also for it's philosophical looks at love and death and how funny he managed to make it. I kind of miss the Allen who produced absurdist observations, and this is more of a reason why.
84. TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY (1991)
I cannot figure how this made it on here, but let's continue. Everyone likes at least one James Cameron movie. I daresay mine is T2. From when I was little, my dad would pop it on and those special effects blew me away. Occasionally, I pop it on when it's on TV and still am amazed, which is unique because I loathe special effects AND James Cameron. However, this is one of the few films that I feel that if I sat down and watched it again, I would really be captured by it's intensity.
83. BLAZING SADDLES (1974)
There's nothing like watching Blazing Saddles for the first time. Not knowing what to expect, I went in and immediately heard "The sheriff is a nigger!" and my first gut reaction was to be offended. The ending also should go in the books as one of the greatest, if most absurd. Over time, I've come to like this movie for being ridiculous and in fact an accurate mockery of westerns. It's sad, however, when I hear other people telling me to see it, because in truth, I'd like to think this movie transcends through the different generations.
82. ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY (2004)
While I'm growing tired of Will Ferrell (and to an extent, this movie), I can remember how impacting this movie was on my generation. I couldn't turn a corner without hearing a reference. It made us all a community, and watching this was our prayer service. While I can still recall majority of the dialog from really old memory, I feel that it's time to find a new movie to quote to death. However, for what it is, it's still really hilarious.
81. NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST (2008)
Aww... Kat Dennings and Michael Cera are a couple travelling in a modern New York City late at night. This is essentially what modern John Hughes looks like for me. Somehow, the thin plot succeeds in creating one of the better romantic stories of young love I have seen in the past decade. Also, it remains some of their best work. I also enjoy the characters that are captured int his picture, whether they be gay musicians or homeless dudes, everyone is unique and really interesting.
80. ADAPTATION (2002)
It's amazing what Nicolas Cage can do if he just tries every now and then. This movie hits close to home, for I am a 15-year writer who still struggles with writer's block and considers some ideas too stupid. While the story is simple, it's nice to know Spike Jonze has a way of bringing everything to life perfectly without patronizing the writing crowd. Next to American Splendor, I consider this necessary viewing for writers.
79. ALMOST FAMOUS (2000)
So many great moments that remind me of when I read Rolling Stone frequently and listened to records. There was some fantasy that I felt was greatly captured in this movie, and it features so many great moments that have stuck with me. This is essentially what it means to fall in love with music and to live it. Oddly, I've moved on to movies, but everytime I hear "Tiny Dancer," I look back at this movie and cry a little, not because it's Kate Hudson's only good movie, but because that moment is one of the best written I've ever seen.
78. EVITA (1996)
Ultimate WTF moment. Sure, I liked this, but you know what should be here? West Side Story. Now THERE is a great musical.
77. GROSSE POINTE BLANK (1997)
One of the best 80's soundtracks not from the 80's. Also, if briefly, it reminded me of why I really liked John Cusack. Even as a hit man, he's got charm and his ability to channel the 80's and kill people to Nena is still some of the most inspired editing I've seen. While I cannot say it's the funniest, it's definitely one of my favorite Cusack movies that balances the violent with the light in a way that makes me enjoy it without feeling perverse.
76. WHEN HARRY MET SALLY... (1989)
You cannot say you didn't see this coming. One of the ultimate romantic comedies of all time captures Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in their best movie. I have never been in a long term relationship, but I feel that this captures their chemistry beautifully and brings it to life over decades until it gets to one of the most beautiful New Year's Eve scenes ever committed to celluloid. There's nothing new I can add to this, so please, if you haven't seen it, just do.
75. GHOSTBUSTERS (1984)
One of the ultimate sci-fi comedies of all time. I feel that the entire cast shines and even when it goes for some ridiculous laughs, it manages to be done in a clever, double-entendre way that makes this a slightly perverse, but always fun kid's movie that I feel exceeds the quality of even some of it's references. Also, the theme song. If you don't know it, shame on you.
74. GOODFELLAS (1990)
While I am not nearly as die hard a fan of Martin Scorsese as I let on to be, I still really like his obvious classics. This movie has one of his best casts that manage to bring to life the life of an up and coming gangster and the consequences that follow. The way this movie is shot. The music that's played. The fact they got old Henny Youngman to play young Henny Youngman convincingly is also impressive. The rest star? Sure, probably Joe Pesci, though I'd also say Derick and the Domino's "Layla Intro" makes the movie even better (also, please check out King of Comedy).
73. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS (2002)
My favorite of the three, if notably for Andy Serkis' CGI work on Golum. I cannot figure out why, but that character has always perplexed me. Even when everyone was imitating him, I felt he was the real star of the movie and proof that CGI could be really good. Again, this is part of a phenomenon that probably will hype it to greatness when I get old, but still, of the three, I enjoy the story in this one the best, even if it's really just an hour featuring Ents.
72. AIRPLANE! (1980)
A really obvious choice that you don't want to include, but you know, this movie still holds up. Like Anchorman, the references and performances are so commonplace that you're kind of sick of it, but don't let that keep you from realizing how great the movie is. I mean, the least obvious selections to be the funniest, including Peter Graves and Leslie Nielsen, help redefine comedy parodies for the next 30 years. It's just hard to notice how impacting it is when so much has been done against this movie in it's name.
71. DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978)
I don't get zombies at all. However, after Andrew lent me this movie, I was totally into it. The consumerism metaphor was also really excellent. If anything, it was a rush of references that now made sense because I knew where "The Gonk" came from. Also, I kind of felt for the characters and wondered how they would escape. There's not much new I can say besides this may be one of the few horror films that won me over after years of losing me with the likes of Zombieland.
70. EVIL DEAD 2 (1987)
I remember seeing this in Film Analysis class a few years back, and it has stayed with me ever since. No real reason why, but I was not expecting to see it. The graphic violence, Bruce Campbell's performance. Everything about it was so bizarre, yet interesting. I laughed, I cringed. This movie was amazing and I hate myself for not seeing the bookends to this. Also, it's awesome to know that this is where the Coen Brothers got their start, working for Sam Raimi. Good job.
69. RAGING BULL (1980)
Another excellent Scorsese movie. It's hard to hate on a movie that features arguably one of Robert De Niro's most complex roles. His passion definitely helps carry this movie through the stratosphere. The emotion, the lack of color, everything about this is so perfectly edited that for two hours, I'm kind of sure that I like boxing. In fact, after a movie like this, De Niro probably has a lifetime pass to never lose weight for a role ever again.
68. PINEAPPLE EXPRESS (2008)
Don't ask me why, but I love this movie a lot. I remember seeing it three times on opening weekend. Byfar, it is the most referential Judd Apatow movie I have ever seen. I also love the chemistry between Seth Rogen, James Franco, and Danny McBride. It's so funny, and I love rooting for them, even when perverse violence gets in their way. Also, this is director David Gordon Green's follow up to the amazing Snow Angels, and despite the shift in tone, I think this is a plausible next move.
67. SUPERMAN II (1981)
Hate on me all you will, but this movie has a lot of aspects that I just love in a movie. The score by John Williams is so heroically dated, yet works. Also, it's THE Clark Kent played by Christopher Reeves in a way that's immediately corny and serious. I just love the dynamics to this, and even Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor is interesting again. Everything feels like it's better than the previous movie, even with General Zod and his army. I love this movie because it's immediately of it's time with clearly dated effects. Yet, it's so ambitious and kind of drops short of extraordinary in a great way. It's just so much fun.
66. UNBREAKABLE (2000)
Easily the best M. Night Shyamalan movie of all time (which is looking more sure every year). Where I feel the Sixth Sense is kind of overrated, I have been exposed to this movie, and immediately I was reminded of Heroes, but kind of better. The performances were excellent and the twist ending? Better than the Sixth Sense. I really wish that he made more movies like this for us to cherish, but I am fine with him quitting, which would be the greatest twist of all.
65. STAR WARS (1977)
Okay, let me put it out there. I like Star Wars. I don't love Star Wars. I can vaguely tell you the plot to the movies, but I will not dissect the small characters. To me, this is just a really good movie, another one that I watched when I was a child all the time on TV. While many think the new ones have diminished the old ones, I don't feel that way. I kind of like this one because of it's presence in my life and it's ability to not be named Episode I.
64. HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE (2004)
Again with stoner comedy, Tom? Let's be honest, I have been first and foremost a fan of comedy. It has shifted into character studies as of late, but when I was younger, I was exposed to this movie and yes, every character was really weird, and Neil Patrick Harris was great. However, it's the wacky situations that really make this movie thrive and by the end, you don't care about how they got to White Castle, just that they aren't dead. While the sequel/s doesn't live up to the energy this one has, these are some funny characters.
63. BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997)
Mark Wahlberg's best movie. Also, I never thought a two and a half hour movie about porn would be so interesting. Again, a lot of this is because of character studies and not penetration. Throughout the movie, I felt connection to some of the characters in their desperate attempts to remain viable. Also, PTA really has a strong sense of how to edit a soundtrack together. With such a big, unique cast, there are enough interesting character moments to make it memorable and by the end, you never realized how beautiful the Beach Boys could be used in a montage of former porn stars.
62. BARTON FINK (1991)
Another great movie about writing. The Coen Brothers capture the essence of working in Hollywood, down to metaphorical walls. Their weird style was at it's peak in the early 90's with this being one of their best. John Turturro brings the movie to life and by the end, after encountering some weird folk, the absurd ending kind of seems plausible. If you're a writer of any kind, you probably should check this one out.
61. KING KONG (1933)
Like Superman II, the dated technology makes this extra lovably campy. Yet, I think the story is what holds up better. Watching a claymation gorilla storm up the side of the building never looked so epic. While bestiality may have seemed gross in later movies, it's purely romantic here. No amount of technology could make this story any more interesting (as Peter Jackson proved). It's just amazing to begin with.
60. THE JERK (1979)
Ahh, yes. No list is complete without this one. I feel that from the start, Steve Martin was a brilliant man. Whether he invented Opti-grabs or named his dog Shit Head, the wild, random journey of Navin Johnson is an interesting one that leads him from rags to riches to rags. It's essentially a comedy with a thinly veiled plot. However, if that stops you, you will miss out on "The Thermos Song" and an excellent Bernadette Peters.
59. HOT FUZZ (2007)
Just like Shaun of the Dead with zombie tropes, this movie shows just how much I like Edgar Wright. He takes action movie tropes and creates an action movie that makes fun of action movies. With a ton stellar cameos and references, the energy is high packed from beginning to end, and best of all, with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the ultimate black humor shines through. It almost makes you wish they did more work together.
58. THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS (2001)
One of the greatest taglines ever: Family is not a work, it's a sentence. This movie is the essential masterpiece of Wes Anderson. It manages to bring a whole cast of characters, no matter how quirky, into one dysfunctional family and explore how they can't stand each other. It's entertaining, it's tragic, and I feel it's one of the best examinations of wealthy families that I have seen in awhile.
57. THE FISHER KING (1991)
More proof that I think Robin Williams is amazing. This is essentially what happens when you let him go crazy while staying dramatic. Under the watchful eye of Terry Gilliam, Williams plays a homeless guy with some crazy issues that is pure Gilliam and Williams simultaneously. The story is bizarre and interesting, and thank God Jeff Bridges plays the straight man. There's too much to say on this movie, so I'll just tell you to watch it instead.
56. WAYNE'S WORLD (1992)
I cannot remember why this was part of my early cinema as a child, but I remember watching a lot with my father. Since, I have gone into society and discovered everyone else used to like Mike Myers, too. This is one of the funnest movies I have had the pleasure of holding over since childhood. It has the musical desires that I still have mixed with my current desire to be on a local TV station in Aurora, Illinois. However, this movie wouldn't be perfect without "Bohemian Rhapsody." If you can't hear Queen and not think of this movie, shame on you.
55. RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983)
Okay, so I like Star Wars, yet loathe the fans. I saw this one way later than IV and I, so it helped me to like it better. Actually getting to see Yoda and the most spoiled twist ending ever. I still find it fun and while I haven't seen it since, I will admit that it's an above standard sci-fi flick for me. Just wish the fans weren't so enthusiastic about it.
54. SIN CITY (2005)
Robert Rodriguez's best movie, no doubt. The adaptation of Frank Miller's books are not only perfect looking, but also well acted by a cast of dozens of familiar faces, including a co-directing scene by Quentin Tarantino. It's gritty, it's dark (literally), and it's one of the more enjoyable violent pieces on this list. I mean, how often to do you get yellow bastards, hookers, and swastika star fishes?
53. CADDYSHACK (1980)
It's hard to believe they got a dynamic cast together for this, let them go loose, and turn out gold. This is another one of those examples where it's not about the plot, but just the characters going crazy with their little niches. To imagine anyone in the place of Bill Murray or Rodney Dangerfield is a little preposterous. Even if the Kenny Loggins tracks seem a little dated, it still works when dealing with the best hand puppet not involved with Frank Oz.
52. RESERVOIR DOGS (1992)
There's not much new to say about this movie other than it proves that I am okay listening to Madonna, as long as I'm named after a color. In truth, I've come to admire the narration of this story, as it laid the groundwork for his later films. The jump cuts are especially effective, and a heist movie lacking a heist is also a very smart move. If anything, these are some violent, interesting people that may kill you, but it's hard not to like them from afar.
51. CLOVERFIELD (2008)
So I avoided this one when it came to theaters on the account that I thought director Matt Reeves was doing a Blair Witch Project gimmick. Boy, was I wrong. I love the shaky cam work and the ability to mix lo-fi technology with special effects. True, there are some things that may seem blasphemous, but this movie is still intense and fun. I may not be an expert on monster movies, but of what I've seen, this is one of the best.
50. ADVENTURELAND (2009)
A great example of what nostalgia has on me. Director Greg Mottola's best work to date. His ability to capture the essence of youth, employment, and romance all in one movie without pandering is amazing. I also love that the characters are all essentially similar to people I know and the work at carnivals parallels my experiences, if a little exaggerated. It's also Jesse Eisenberg's best movie to date. I cannot imagine any good human not enjoying this movie if they had to experience part time jobs. It's just too true.
49. MEMENTO (2000)
The breakout Christopher Nolan movie that still manages to make me say "What?" The iconic backwards story still manages to work, if notably for Nolan's ability to decipher past from present with such great detail. Also, these are arguably his strongest characters (next to Insomnia probably) and their journey through these events help to take a bogus story and fill it with life. It may not be as respected widely as his later work, but there's plenty of promise that can be seen right here.
48. APOCALYPSE NOW (1979)
I have an odd obsession with this movie. I have seen all adaptations of it, including the documentary Hearts of Darkness and I just love the history behind this movie. Francis Ford Coppola's direction on this movie is insane, and the story is almost meta to the process. It's also weird that I actually like a war movie like this, but in truth, I feel like this captures emotion so beautifully that it almost ignores the war and just focuses on the ways to avoid insanity, which is something I enjoy. Kudos Coppola.
47. THE SIMPSONS MOVIE (2007)
It's WTF if just because I like the show and the movie is not better than most of the ones I just listed. I think this is more a representation of the show, this spot. But it's still a really solid 70 minute movie that takes the characters and makes them slightly more raunchy and funny. Yet somehow, it never captured the vibe that the show has (as recent as two months ago).
46. SPIRITED AWAY (2001)
I also really have come to enjoy Hayao Miyazaki's movies. This Oscar winning movie is not my first, but I have come to like it because I personally believe that anything marked Miyazaki is demanded to be beautiful. I love the visuals, and the story is interesting, too. It's ability to make me lose myself into this weird world is also an achievement. I cannot imagine why I don't own any of his movies yet, but to me, they're life changing and fun.
45. FIGHT CLUB (1999)
Now, a nitty gritty movie about a bunch of guys fighting? That doesn't sound like me. In fact, for the most part, violent gore bothers me, even if I'm desensitized to it for the most part. However, I do like me some David Fincher movies. This story not only challenges masculinity, but our general tastes of consumerism in a fresh and dark way that I find to be very entertaining, though at times disturbing. Also, great performances all around from Brad Pitt, Eddie Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter. Finally, excellent score Dust Brothers. Do another one.
44. THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993)
I find it weird that this is one of the few movies I grew up with that didn't consume my life. While I see Skellington sweat shirts everywhere I go, I don't obsess over this movie like majority of people. I do find the stop capture animation style very interesting and endearing, but it's really the songs that have stood the test of time. Since I was single digits, I have sung "What's This?" and imagine the choreography of dancing to it in my head. It was my first real exposure to Danny Elfman's voice, which has since become a mainstay in my radio with Oingo Boingo every now and then. While I don't think this movie made a dark, perverse sucker, it holds a special place for me because of how well it's been instilled in my head.
43. MARCH OF THE PENGUINS (2005)
So what if I love penguins AND Morgan Freeman's narration? I go soft every time this comes on. I feel for them and their journey. While I should really be exploring less mainstream documentaries, this one has stayed with me simply because of a lifelong love of penguins AND Morgan Freeman's voice (thus why I also dug Shawshank Redemption).
42. BRAZIL (1985)
Probably one of my Top 20 favorite directors, Terry Gilliam AGAIN knocks it out of the park with this bizarro tale. He understands weird and does it right, with a coherent narration and plenty of that humor you may recognize from Flying Circus days. While this is considered his best, I argue for Twelve Monkeys, if just because that was my first, and somehow, it made a deep impression on me.
41. SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004)
The Edgar Wright-Nick Frost-Simon Pegg trifecta's cinema debut proves that I may not like zombies, but that doesn't mean I don't like movies that just so happen to have zombies. They manage to bring their patented deadpan, dark humor to a really basic story and blow away the competition with quick cuts and one of the most memorable uses of a Queen song since Wayne's World. I also adore how true it is to the genre without ever once flat out insulting it.
40. BLACK SWAN (2010)
Probably the only Darren Aronofsky movie I will ever admit to loving. I don't know what it is about dancing, but Natalie Portman's dark, depressing character was so interesting. With a great score by Clint Mansell, I was encapsulated in every moment of jealousy and pain, wondering fact from fiction. While my Portman catalog is a little light, I consider this to be my favorite of hers and love that every time I watch this, I honestly lose myself.
39. THE NAKED GUN (1988)
Oh, Leslie Nielsen. While 2 1/2 was the first of this series I saw, the original is probably my favorite. In numerous scenes, not only is there brilliant satire on crime noir, but the choreography to several of the slapstick jokes are inspired. A scene early on at the dock is especially impressive as the laughs manage to hit every beat perfectly. It's ashame they don't quite have the ability to make great, off the wall comedies like this anymore.
38. ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (2004)
This is one of the ultimate downer movies for me, in a good way. As I have watched it over the years, I have realized the complexity in the romance and the concepts presented throughout are so well constructed that this may be the most popular art house movie of the decade. Also, I realize that as a writer, I may never write anything so complicated and beautiful. I mostly watch it as a reminder that sometimes there are good writers out there and hopefully one day, I will be amongst them, writing something half as good as this.
37. GHOST WORLD (2001)
Since I saw Thirteen, I have been in love with angsty females. This may as well top that list. If anything, it made me love Thora Birch (whose parents fucked up her career) for playing that lovable misfit that kind of looked like Ellen Page and showed more range. True, Scarlett Johanson was excellent and shared great chemistry, but the odd people you see around town are exemplified perfectly in Birch's comments. The humor, the obscure music, and Steve Buscemi are all great and my only complaint is that Birch deserved better post-American Beauty.
36. DONNIE DARKO (2002)
On the other end of the spectrum is the male angst. True, this movie had way more going for it than Jake Gyllenhaal's bizarre behavior. The reason this movie stood out was because in a sense, you wanted to understand him and felt that he was being mislead by hallucinations. I love the bizarre imagery and his rant on the Smurfs. Overall, his rebellious nature was the least impressive of his features. And closing with the "Mad World" cover? Brilliant.
35. THE SHINING (1980)
An epic journey through an empty house with Jack Nicholson. There's something eerie about this movie, and I just love it. Whether it's the iconic typewriter scene or the hedge maze finale, this movie's slow, creeping pace builds up perfectly until you can see the madness take form under Nicholson's brow. This movie lacks showy imagery, but director Stanley Kubrick knows how to operate a scene, and I feel this is one of his best examples of how to do it with characters.
34. MULAN (1998)
It's weird when I can remember being in the theater watching movies as a child. I can only recall a handful, and this is one of them. Since, the movie has taken a deep root inside me, as I oddly related to Mulan's identity crisis. Even when she sang "My Reflection," I cried a bit and felt one of my first moments of zen involving meta. The action is also pretty awesome for a Disney movie and the songs are byfar some of the best since the Lion King. I love that it feels like a modern princess that fights for her rights, which is something Disney rarely does. If anything, this made me have faith in female lead characters at a young age.
33. REALITY BITES (1994)
How this ranked so high, I don't know. However, one of the reasons I found this movie inspirational was that in my early venture into writing, I was writing epic and complicated stories. I wasn't satisfied. Then suddenly, I watched this movie and it became clear that I was going against my strength in a bad way. This movie inspired me to just write characters instead of going for art house nonsense. Also, it's pretty funny and kind of makes me believe that Winona Ryder was pretty cool.
32. FOUR LIONS (2010)
Another ranked too high. However, I find this to be one of the best dark comedies in recent times. It's essentially a buddy comedy, but with terrorist. The ability to just make us laugh and enjoy hearing them insult each other while failing to properly make bombs is no easy feat, and I feel that Chris Morris did an excellent job of striking the right balance. I just wish more comedies showed ambition to be more than safe harboring rehashed jokes.
31. CLERKS (1994)
The mother of my writing career. Alongside Annie Hall, I remember watching this late at night and realizing that maybe writing was in my future. I was impressed by the simple dialog quips of Star Wars and roofing as well as my favorite: the Chewlie's Gum advertiser. This is by no means my favorite from director Kevin Smith, but his work remains a strong inspiration for me because of this movie.
30. THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007)
This is considered the ultimate Paul Thomas Anderson film, and why would you say otherwise? It's large in scope, and Daniel Day Lewis' portrayal is so iconic from scene to scene as he destroys competition against a Jonny Greenwood score. The slow reveals and career-motivated mindset of Lewis is really impressive and rivals the Shining for slowest, yet greatest, character development in popular movie history. After a few views, it's hard not to appreciate the effort behind this.
29. MEN IN BLACK (1997)
Easily the best thing Will Smith has done to date. When I was young, I was immersed in the Men in Black culture. The TV show kept me company on school days while the Burger King toys impressed me for minutes. I was always a fan of it for some reason, as I felt it surpassed Ghostbusters in mixing sci-fi and comedy perfectly into something special. Also, the theme song at the end is still in my head, even when I hear the original "Forget Me Nots."
28. 12 MONKEYS (1995)
That was some inspirational film class. After seeing this, I was almost immediately a Terry Gilliam fan. I was in love with Brad Pitt's performance, and the characters immediately made me question what was going on. It was something I had yet to expose myself to, and by the end, I was amazed at what movies could do. It also makes me feel that even on lower budgets, you can make a movie look twice as cool as anything with CGI.
27. DOGMA (1999)
As a man who has been Catholic since birth, I was already familiar with the subject matter. However, one of the few exceptions is that as a loose Catholic now, I still feel this is a strong analysis on why faith structure may be wrong, but the ideas are really good. I feel that the characters embody humanistic emotions and director Kevin Smith manages to show religion from exactly every angle. I feel it's his most realized movie and almost feel that if he showed this much ambition in his later work, he may be doing better in life.
26. CHINATOWN (1974)
Another great performance out of Jack Nicholson. I feel that this movie needs to grow on me a little more, but for the most part, I really dug the crime noir elements and features the coolest band-aid-on-nose look I've ever seen. I just wonder why it's hard to make movies about water supplies like this. If anything, it's also my first Roman Polanski movie, which hopefully is a sign of greater movies to come.
25. KILL BILL: VOL. 1
Holy shit, is this movie insane. After a few views, I slowly began to realize just how much I was in love with this movie. Despite my lack of interest in slasher movies, I was smirking during the final battle scene. The numerous references, the multilingual narration, the anime... this was a movie with so much sensory joy that it's hard to remember that the story is also pretty excellent. I'll get flack, but this may be my favorite Quentin Tarantino movie just because it's the most enjoyable for me.
24. SNATCH. (2000)
One of the most quotable movies that is also not as appreciated as much as it should be. I feel that this is Guy Ritchie's best effort to date and with a catchy taste in soundtrack as well as an eclectic cast of characters, he manages to create a heist movie and raise it into obscure entertainment. While I feel Jason Statham's narration may be the glue to this, Brad Pitt is my favorite, and I still feel the need to talk like a Pikey every time I mention this gem.
23. L.A. STORY (1991)
I hope you didn't forget that Steve Martin used to be great. This may be his best work as he manages to get clues to life from a traffic sign and have a gun fight on the freeway. This is essentially a passionate letter to Los Angeles that also analyzes it's flaws. Martin essentially creates his West Coast version of a Woody Allen flick, and he does it so perfectly. He has never been this romantic or funny since.
22. THE TRUMAN SHOW (1998)
What do I think of reality TV? This was my first exposure to reality TV when my mom Netflixed it so many years ago. Maybe it also stemmed from seeing the billboard by my house for awhile. I found it odd, but eventually I grew to admire how realistic this movie could be in a sense. It was Jim Carrey's best role (next to Eternal Sunshine and Man on the Moon) and I felt that his quick change of comedy to drama benefited the quick reveals of fact from fiction. By the end, I kind of wish this wasn't the predecessor to current TV.
21. A SERIOUS MAN (2009)
After much deliberation, I came to the conclusion that this was my favorite Coen Brothers movie. I feel that more than anything, it had a lot to do with the philosophical depth to it. Somehow, I can look past the religious factors and realize this is just a man torn to do the right thing when his world is turning to shit. The writing is outstanding and captures a more dramatic side of the Coens that I hope they return to.
20. THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010)
I cannot figure why this ranked so high, either. However, I do like this movie quite a bit. It's what got me to recognize David Fincher's direction. The story may be common to most folk, but I feel the way this is orchestrated is just so perfect that it's Daniel Plainview 2.0 Jr. The characters turning on each other and the courtroom drama all were edited so well together that I don't care how true this movie is, it's just so cleverly subtle in humor and tone that I'm having a good time.
19. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST (1975)
The ultimate Jack Nicholson movie for me. Whenever I look at people's list, I secretly hope this one is on there. There's something about his performance here that just blows me away, and his ability to carry a group of mental deficient characters through some pretty wild concepts is inspiring. I think Nicholson set the bar rather high for ambiguously mental characters that has only been raised by Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. As for the most part, this is just a great story and I feel that even with the downer ending, it's pretty heartwarming.
18. SUPER (2011)
This movie just has so much going for it. Right off the bat, it's the ultimate makeshift superhero film. While Kick-Ass may have had more flair, this is really a low budget superhero. In a perverse world where they have to use their own appliances, this captures the characters in a dark and clever way. The performances are top notch and I feel more than anything, it has more right to be wrong than most other heroes, because they essentially are.
17. THE DARK KNIGHT (2008)
On the other end of the spectrum, this is one of my more favorite superhero flicks. In truth, I think it had a lot to do with the phenomena surrounding it. I saw it on the screen five times and remember the tragedy of Heath Ledger's death. Essentially this movie was doing press in every way for a good seven months in advance. The action may not be the tightest, but the overall layout is beautiful and by the end, you can almost forget there was any other Batman in existence. I think this movie will hold up just because of what it meant at the time.
16. WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (1971)
The greatest movie I remember from being a kid. No movie can make me raise offense faster than this one. I am quick to point out the differences in title between this and the Tim Burton remake as well as numerous things I disliked (though the Great Glass Elevator was legit). I love this movie and can easily quote it while getting lost in it. The Oompa Loompas, the fact my childhood nickname came from Charlie, a lot of my sense of wonder was based on my experience with this movie. And surprisingly, it holds up better than majority of everything I have watched since.
15. FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL (2008)
Again, how is this so high? I like Knocked Up and 40-Year-Old Virgin better than this, and yet it didn't make the list. True, I think Jason Segel helped to save romantic comedies with this movie, but it doesn't hold a lot of essence with me. Despite the great Russell Brand role, I cannot find much reason to rate it this high.
14. MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (1975)
I remember watching this at my Aunt's house for the first time and immediately wondering what the hell was going on. Luckily by about the tenth time I saw it, that didn't matter. I was already in a world I felt more familiar with than Star Wars and proud that others got it, too. I also enjoy that I attended Spamalot and could find the differences and improvements from the movie. This is one of the few medieval comedies I also like.
13. HAPPY GILMORE (1996)
It's hard to explain why this movie has been my favorite for awhile. Every time I pop it on, the same Bob Barker fight scene has made me laugh. It's one of the few movies that lasted from the Adam Sandler phenomena of my youth, and I still can quote the hell out of it. It's probably my favorite sports comedy and in general one I'm sure I get shit for, but damn do I love it.
12. BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935)
One of my recent obsessions has been old school monster movies. There have been numerous entries into favorites, but I feel that it's probably this one that tops them all. While I love the original, it's this one that manages to capture what I love about this genre. The simplistic stories about characters mixed with emotional ploys are all good, especially with the incoherent Boris Karloff playing the Monster. I also love the Invisible Man if you ever get the chance to see it.
11. PRINCESS MONONOKE (1997)
So many Miyazaki movies to count. While nothing will ever top watching Howl's Moving Castle for the first time, I think it's this one that made the biggest impression on me. Everything seemed grand in scope and the eventual payoff was excellent. I love Miyazaki's attention to detail and to turn obscure imagery into key devices in the plot. I really want to watch this one again more than the others. However, I don't feel this should be rated this high despite it's greatness.
10. TRAINSPOTTING (1996)
The best Danny Boyle/drug movie I have ever seen. Besides a rave of a soundtrack, the quirky narration, this movie managed to have characters that despite their addiction, were very interesting, gritty, and paved the way for directors like Guy Ritchie. Even the scene with a baby was really awesome. I love most of all that Boyle can make anything really ugly into something beautiful. This is just one hell of a journey that's as addictive as drugs, even with great anti-heroes.
9. THE BLUES BROTHERS (1980)
There's no denial that I am a fan of the John Belushi/Dan Aykroyd duo of comedy. This also captures the passion I feel when listening to music, mixed with the best car chase, and a comedy. This is a trifecta of genre mashing and few have managed to make it so anarchic and fun at the same time. I root for these guys on their mission from God and hope that the guy eventually gets his Cheez-Wiz.
8. HIGH FIDELITY (2000)
This may be the reason I love John Cusack. It's also one of the best romantic comedies of the decade. Despite a really bogus narration style, I am in love with it and adore every single one of his count downs. I long to capture the romantic energy that Cusack has and be able to apply it to pop culture so beautifully. Every scene mixes interests with relationships so perfectly and I only long for another round of the scene with "I haven't seen Evil Dead 2... yet."
7. THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984)
The greatest music satire of all time. I feel that this may be what started my love for Infant Sorrow and the Lonely Island. Every single scene is ripe with rock star tropes that have now been perfected. It's impossible to improve upon this model, no matter how hard you try. Even the spontaneous interviews show the cast at their peak. It also doesn't hurt that the music is actually really good.
6. SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD (2010)
So far, Edgar Wright's best film. His ability to capture the youth culture in such a groundbreaking way is still amazing to me. I never found the editing to be too much of an issue until I watched it with my mother, who saw only two minutes of a phone conversation scene and was immediately dizzy. I don't know that it will define our generation, but it was pretty entertaining and colorful and should be in the top 5 of that list.
5. AMERICAN PSYCHO (2000)
This is way too high, but damn do I really enjoy this movie. I have come to admire Christian Bale as an actor, and this is easily my favorite. His snarky remarks as he kills you to Huey Lewis is inspired and remains one of the greatest dark comedy moments I've ever seen. I'd like to think Bale will do more dark and funny roles like this in the future, but if he wants to go skinny dramatic, I have no problem with that.
4. ED WOOD (1994)
Another great film rated too high. However, this is the best work by Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. Not only does it serve as a history lesson for the titular director, but it turns it into an homage by making it look like an old Ed Wood movie. However, what makes me love this movie is the essential passion to make movies, despite no talent and no budget. The first time I saw the ending, I kind of felt sad and sympathetic for Depp. This is a tragedy wrapped in a good comedy.
3. ANNIE HALL (1977)
Now, the big guns. This is essentially one of the best movies I've ever seen because it captures relationships so perfectly. I feel that even when Woody Allen puts in every style he's ever used into this movie, he makes it count to the story's narration. Even his neurotic behavior serves purpose. I can only hope to be as spontaneous, insightful, and funny as this movie. Also, more proof that Diane Keaton was the best thing to happen to Allen.
2. TAXI DRIVER (1976)
One of the ultimate movie experiences is seeing this on the big screen. Every detail on this movie is just as interesting as the story. Almost immediately, the movie is funny and violent, unreliable narration, yet very honest. I also feel that Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle may be one of the greatest characters committed to celluloid. His slow mental downward spiral is very well done and by the time he becomes the ultimate anti-hero, we feel sympathetic and proud of his achievements.
1. CHASING AMY (1997)
My favorite thing that Kevin Smith has ever done. As my list will show, I am a sucker for romantic comedies. This is essentially a case study of romantic comedies and homosexuality. It explores being in love in the modern age when people are any way but loose. I feel that the imagery and the jokes all work in a respecting way that reveals more about personal identity and what it means to be alive. Also, it helps to be really funny.