Wednesday, February 12, 2014

TOP 20: #702 - #801

It's hard to believe that when I watch one more movie, I'll only have a "hundred and some" movies left to watch. It seems like only yesterday when the tables were reversed and I'd only watched a hundred and had 800 to go. It really is a wonderful feeling to know that, barring my sudden demise, I WILL finish this journey and be able to flip through the book, throw my finger down on a random title and remember seeing that movie and be able to give my opinion on it. Anyway, let's not harp on all that. There's still 200 movies to be watched and what we're here to focus on today is the 100 that I just finished watching. That's right, it's TOP 20 time again!! For the newcomers, I'll explain what's happening. Every time I watch 100 movies from THE BOOK, I take the time to make a TOP 20 list. There will also be a section at the bottom of ten honorable mention films, called "Ten Worth Mentioning". When all is said and done, I'll take all thirty films from this list (the actual TOP 20 and the "Ten Worth Mentioning") and add them to my personal, 1.000 greatest films list and that's that. It's worth noting that this my 1,000th post on the blog, which is also kind of surreal. That means that on 1,000 different occasions, I've come to my computer to write something. Just unbelievable!

I want everyone to know that, like always, I put a lot of thought and effort into this TOP 20 list. I didn't just throw it together haphazardly. I actually put thought into what movies I wanted to be included (not just on the TOP 20 list, but also on the "Ten Worth Mentioning") and where they should place. Like the past few times, I've decided to just copy & paste segments from my old reviews, instead of writing twenty new paragraphs. However, this time around I MAY add in a new sentence or two under that, in italics. Let's be honest, that's a lot of work for me to rewrite twenty new paragraphs and I think what everyone really wants to see is the placing of the movies anyway. I think that's all that needs to be said, let's get down to business!

CLICK HERE TO SEE A COMPLETE LIST OF THE LAST 100 FILMS I'VE WATCHED FOR THE "1001 MOVIES YOU MUST SEE BEFORE YOU DIE" BOOK, INCLUDING MY INITIAL RATINGS OF THOSE FILMS

Note: I've revised some of the ratings for the following 20 films, as some of them needed a bit of tweaking.

20. Dirty Harry (1971) dir. Don Siegel  7.5/10
This is a seriously good movie, not just a popular one. It's amazing that back in the 70s what was popular is what was also good. Nowadays the mainstream, popular stuff is usually the worst stuff and it's the independent flicks that end up wowing us. Damn, do I love the 70s! It seems like anytime I watch something from that decade, I love it. What a great year that must have been to be a film fan.

It's interesting because, I don't think a '7.5' has ever made it to the actual TOP 20 list, which would make you think that this list is inferior to others. However, this is a damn fine list of films, so that isn't the case. Don't forget about Andy Robinson when watching this movie too, the guy you've never heard of who comes extremely close to upstaging Eastwood.


19. Three Colors: Blue (1993) dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski  7.5/10
Keep peeled eyes for the outstanding performance from Binoche, who performs a seminar on how to BECOME heartbreak and depression. There are some other people in there too, but let's be honest - this is a one woman show and that show is named BINOCHE. I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention the name Slawomir Idziak, the cinematographer of the picture and a brilliant one at that. You know you're watching the work of someone who knows what they're doing and not just some schmuck that had a degree.

Again a '7.5'. Both of these movies WERE great, I just couldn't bring myself to re-rate them at an '8', just because. In my review, I stated that "Three Colors: Blue" was a "tough nut to crack" and that I couldn't decide whether it was a masterpiece or a just really boring. What an outlandish remark for me to make, as this movie is FAR FROM boring. Might not go so far as to call it a masterpiece, but how about mini masterpiece?


18. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988) dir. Pedro Almodovar  8/10
THE BOOK tries to downplay the farcial/screwball aspects of this film, but that's what it is, plan & simple and I loved nearly every minute of it! Sure, it's also an Almodovar film, which means it also has unique, gorgeous cinematography; top notch writing/directing, fantastic dialogue and a story that not only serves the purposes of hilarity, but is also quality stuff. I may not have liked it as much as "All About My Mother" and I definitely didn't like it as much as "Talk to Her", but it's an early work from Almodovar and it's still really, really good.

I was surprised that something I just watched this past week also happened to make it to my TOP 20, but I just couldn't deny this movie. I loved it and when I thought about it, I just knew that multiple more viewings would be not only welcome, but wanted. Carmen Maura is gorgeous here and the story is just so ridiculous (in a good way), it has to be seen to be believed.


17. The Long Goodbye (1973) dir. Robert Altman  8/10
Elliott Gould appeared in twenty episodes of the sitcom Friends and I can tell you now that I'll never look at those twenty episodes the same again. Who knew that Mr. Gellar was such a bad ass? Well, a lot of you did, apparently - but I didn't! I have to say, I have to give a lot of credit to the opening hook of Marlowe trying to track down some cat food. I guess it made Marlowe seem more human and therefore, more relateable. I mean, we never saw Bogart going out of his way to try and fool his cat into thinking he bought the right brand of cat chow. Speaking of Bogart, was it just me or did Gould even seem to bear somewhat of a resemblance to Bogey? I think so. Bottom line, any enjoyment I got out of this film began and ended with Elliott Gould and he can kindly make his way to the list of actors that I want to see a lot more of, preferably his early work, as I'm sure now he's just phoning in here and there roles, cameos and what not.

One other Altman film will appear further down the list, but let's talk about why the others were omitted for a minute. After some thought, I didn't think quite as much of "Nashville" as I initially did and really, it was only the FABULOUS Henry Gibson performance that I took away from that one. I ALMOST gave "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" a "Ten Worth Mentioning" spot, but in the end decided to give it to something else. "The Player" was another one that came really close to nabbing the honorable mention, but again, I just had to go with other movies. I'd still consider all three of those films really good and recommendation worthy though.


16. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) dir. John McNaughton  8/10
Boy, I gotta' tell you, watching this after watching a handful of foreign films probably wasn't a good idea. For starters, I really liked this and because I really liked it, I kind of felt like a miscreant. I mean, the film really scrapes the bottom of the barrel, both in subject material and in production values and is probably the polar opposite of the beauty that Kieslowski and his cameraman were able to capture. Of course, the subject matter that we're dealing with shouldn't be told in the same way that Kieslowski's subjects should be, so I guess making a comparison between the two is unfair. With "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" we're talking about a film that had a $110,000 budget and inexperienced actors. I'm always fascinated by films with small budgets, the kinds of movies that turn chump change into a real life, moving picture - it's amazing. The acing, in my opinion, isn't that great - but again, the bad acting almost lends itself to the deplorable storyline and it all seems to make some sort of odd sense.

Just too gritty and memorable for me to not include here. I love Michael Rooker and let's face it, he knew how to pull off homicidal maniac. And Nanni Moretti, if you're reading this, I'm really sorry your "Dear Diary" now has to share a spot with this, on my personal 1,000 list. If you don't understand that comment, go watch "Dear Diary".


15. The Great Escape (1963) dir. John Sturges  8.5/10
I mean, the cast is great, the plot is outstanding and the excitement & suspense haven't been this present in a BOOK movie in quite sometime. I LITERALLY jumped when the guys were escaping and the air raid horn began to sound. I felt like I was at the other end of Hilts' rope, waiting for my turn to play groundhog, peek my head out and run to freedom. The film clocks in at just under three hours, but it's the easiest three hours you'll ever spend watching a film, I guarantee it. I defy you to find someone who doesn't like this movie, because everything I'm looking at, has everyone singing it's praises. Favorite member of the cast? Either McQueen or Garner, I loved them both. In fact, Garner's character's little back and forth with the guard Vernor was ONE OF my favorite moments in the film, but as THE BOOK points out, almost every scene is a memorable one. Oh and I loved the theme song too!

I'll gladly welcome any and all escape movies on to my personal 1,000 list, with open arms. This is one of the great ones, although I still consider "Le Trou" to be a better example of what it takes to bust out of the big house.



14. Crumb (1994) dir. Terry Zwigoff  8.5/10
Growing up and still today, my brother was a self professed comic book nerd, so I'd actually heard the name Robert Crumb mentioned a few times (not that my brother read any of Crumb's stuff - strictly superheroes for him). Also, gracing my DVD shelf is a copy of "American Splendor", a biopic starring Paul Giamatti, about the life of Harvey Pekar, who wrote the comic book of the same name, which was sometimes drawn by Crumb. With all that being said, I took to the subject matter and loved what I saw. Not only was it a straight up documentary about one man's rise to fame and his refusal to sell out, but also a portrait of his childhood, what sculpted his eccentric personality and the troubled lives of his two brothers. You don't have to have an interest in comic books to come out of this film with a positive critique. All you have to have is an interest in people and their - what can be sometimes considered weird - behavior.

This was the season of the documentary, as not only did this make it to #14, the highest spot a doc has ever taken, but you'll also find one floating around in the "Ten Worth Mentioning" section. Is this my favorite documentary of all-time. Well, I'd probably give that honor to "Bowling for Columbine", but I'm fine with calling this a close second.


13. Smoke (1995) dir. Wayne Wang, Paul Auster  8.5/10
Look, this is just a really easy to watch movie that I think a lot of you are going to love if you give it a shot. It's not one many of us have heard of, I don't think, so it's also got that hole in the wall factor, the kind of film that you can spring on people and make them think you uncovered this rarely seen, little gem. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for Harvey Keitel's big, at least ten minute monologue at the end, entitled Auggie Wren's Christmas Story, which is just a beautifully written piece. Whenever you can set a camera in front of someone and just let them go and they have the chops to pull it off, you know you've got talent on your hands and that's Keitel for ya.

I still absolutely LOVE that Keitel monologue. In my final thought for "Smoke", I said that the film wasn't "stellar or anything", but I think I was really wrong. It is pretty stellar, in fact, stellar enough to make it to #13 out of 100 films, which is pretty good.


12. Back to the Future (1985) dir. Robert Zemeckis  8.5/10
While looking over this film, I saw a comment that said "If you didn't like this film, then you just must not be ready for it yet. But your kids are gonna love it!". I say, if you didn't like this film, no matter your age, I'm flabbergasted, as it has elements that can easily appeal to both young and old. I mean, the story alone is so intricate and so clever that I just don't see how anyone couldn't at least get a kick out of it, let alone adore it. You've got the initial half hour or so, which sets up a lot of what we'll hear more about later - the meeting story of George and Lorraine, Mayor Goldie Wilson, Biff and his bullying of George, Uncle Joey - jailbird, the whole thing with the clock tower, etc, etc - there's just tons of stuff crammed into that first thirty  minutes, that we get to see played on later and stuff that you don't even think about that ends up either being a big plot point or just a subtle "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" moment. The film is filled with little subtleties. For instance, the news report at the beginning with the reporting of stolen plutonium and then a quick shot of the plutonium under Doc's furniture. I just can't go on enough about how genius this movie is and it totally sweeps me away every time. Not only is it clever, but it's also SO FREAKING SUSPENSEFUL. I still question whether or not Doc Brown is going to get that plug plugged in before Marty reaches the trip wire, at the end of the film! That's the sign of a good "edge of your seat" moment; when you've seen something countless times and still wonder what's going to happen.


11. Total Recall (1990) dir. Paul Verhoeven  9/10
You know what I really love about this movie? The fact that you can actually make a case for why it's so cliche and Hollywood. You see, in my opinion, nothing we view past Doug's visit to Rekall is actually really happening. It's all a part of his virtual reality vacation and the special, added secret agent feature. Therefore, since everything we're seeing is manufactured (fake), we have a reason why Doug, an ordinary man, is suddenly transformed into a super hero - because that's what he paid for. It also accounts for all the over the top special effects, excessive gun battles and the heroic ending. It's perfect. It's a loop hole that allows you to NOT roll your eyes at things that would normally be eye-rollable. Also, was it just me or did the plot to this remind anyone else of "Open Your Eyes"/"Vanilla Sky"? Man is unhappy with everyday life, so he goes to an agency that replaces reality with something more appealing. I'd have a hard time believing that the original author of the "Open Your Eyes" screenplay wasn't influenced by this, at least a little bit.

Still can't believe an Arnie movie won me over this hard. Oh well, because I stand by what I said about this one and am not ashamed to stick it at #11 on this list. Just a great movie and a lot of fun, which is what it's all about sometimes.


10. Forrest Gump (1994) dir. Robert Zemeckis  9/10
Who doesn't love "Forrest Gump", at least a little bit? Oh, I'm sure there's someone out there who can't stand Hanks' performance, the fact that it beat "Pulp Fiction" and "The Shawshank Redemption" for Best Picture or the overly sensitive directing of Robert Zemeckis. But it's such an easy picture to get lost in. Was Tom Hanks brilliant? I think so. Did it deserve the "big award" over the two aforementioned films? Nope. The honor should've gone to "Pulp" in my opinion and then "Shawshank", but I think we can all agree that 1994 was just a kick ass year for movies. Did the film go overboard on the sensitivity, just a little bit? Yes, it sure did...but, like I said, just a little bit. Actually, it didn't even bother me, but I can admit that it was just a little too sappy. I liked it, as I embraced the water welling up in the corners of my eyes during so many scenes. However, I think we all can admit that there's a big audience out there for sappy films like this and in that respect, it did what it set out to do. Not only did it blend comedy and drama perfectly, but it also scored home runs with it's score and it's performances. It also gave everyone something to identify with, with it's frequent uses of placing it's main character into the center of pop culture and U.S. history, with clever camera tricks that saw Forrest Gump sit side by side with the like of Lennon and Nixon. It made you feel each decade, not only with it's use of Jimi Hendrix and The Doors, but also through the images on the screen. I wasn't born in the 70s, but the film gives me a little taste of what it might have been like.

This was originally given a '10', but in retrospect I had to cut it down just a little bit. Actually, I think it was everyone making me realize what a bitch Jenny was that made me drop it a little. Thanks a lot people for ruining this for me!!!! Just kidding :) No, the film is just a tad too Hollywood for me to go whole hog on, but hey, it still nabbed a top 10 spot, right? My wife was mildly pissed when she saw that I downgraded this one, but she got over it.


09. Heat (1995) dir. Michael Mann  9/10
It's a crime flick, ladies & gentlemen - need I say more. There's cops, there's bad guys and they play like cowboys and Indians in the street and that's really all you need know. Plus it's got Pacino and De Niro; that should be more than enough to skyrocket this classic to the top of your Netflix queue, especially if you haven't seen it. Let's talk about Pacino and De Niro for a second and who comes off as the better actor. Well it may be the recent intake of "Taxi Driver", "Raging Bull" and other fantastic De Niro films, but I tended to lean more toward the De Niro performance here. Granted, I used to be Camp Pacino all the way, but, like I've said a thousand times before, THE BOOK will do wacky things to your cinematic taste buds and sometimes flip you to the exact opposite opinion. De Niro's Neil is a lot more reserved, cool, held back than Pacino's sometimes over the top Det. Hanna. De Niro knows when to turn up the volume and when to get a little more rambunctious and I liked that self control on his part.

As far as the story, like I said in the plot synopsis, the film never leaves you waiting for the next piece of the puzzle. It paces itself like a marathon runner, so that the viewer always gets a little something to tide them over until the next big rush of excitement. You've got the opening armored car heist then we get some story, then at about the halfway mark you get the bank robbery and the death of some key characters up to that point and then you get the rest of the story. It's beautifully paced and as someone who as seen a lot of long movies that haven't been well paced, I appreciated that.


08. Happy Together (1997) dir. Kar Wai-Wong  10/10
It might be hard for me to explain why I actually took to this movie so well, but I promise to try my best. As movie fanatics, we all know that wonderful feeling we get when we're watching something we really like. That feeling, where we're able to detach ourselves from the dialogue and action for just a millisecond, long enough to say to ourselves, "This is REALLY good". If you've seen a lot of movie and if you're picky, like me, then you know that feeling doesn't come along THAT often and when it does, it's one of the greatest feelings a movie fan can experience. It's the special feeling of seeing a movie that you just know is going to become a favorite, that you just know you're going to see dozens and dozens more times, for the first time. It's one of those movies that makes you want to consume as many more movies as you can possibly find, so that you can experience that feeling all over again and hopefully find another one and another one. "Happy Together" gave me all of these feelings.

It's worth nothing that all season, I only gave out three '10' ratings. This, "Forrest" and "Taxi Driver". Luckily, my feelings toward movies tend to change in retrospect (not always for the better) and thus, there are now eight movies that I'd consider flawless from the last 100 BOOK films I watched.


07. The King of Comedy (1982) dir. Martin Scorsese  10/10
The film also examines the expectations we put upon celebrities, that they have to be nice, polite and always sign our autographs, even if they're clutching their chest and claiming a heart attack. The lady who praises Jerry on the street and then seconds later wishes cancer on him always cracks me up, but also fascinates me. I feel sorry for celebs at times, how they're almost forced to live as prisoners, just because they wanted to pursue something that they were good at. How they can't even buy a gallon of milk without getting bombarded for a signature, a picture or a hug - something they probably once dreamed of, now just a hassle. The film explores a lot of fascinating ideas, holds great acting from both De Niro and Lewis, but also manages to be a laugh out loud riot. Scorsese proves with this and "After Hours" that not only can he make classics, but also classic comedies. That's versatility.

I'll never forget the first time I saw this, lying on the couch, at our very first apartment and knowing I was taking in something special. Back then, I wasn't as much of a Scorsese fan, so this was really my eye opening to the talent that Scorsese possessed. I have no problem upping this one to a '10' and calling it perfect.


06. Short Cuts (1993) dir. Robert Altman  10/10
Hell, there's even a few more characters, but I figure you're getting the picture by now. The film is a slice of life picture from the mind of Robert Altman, who doesn't paint Los Angelans to be a very noble people. What was my favorite story? Well, that's a toughie. I truly liked most of the stories equally as well, but if pressed to choose favorites, I'd rather choose favorite scenes. Perhaps my most favorite scene is the one that uses a substantial amount of Jack Lemmon, where he delivers a monologue to his son about the time he cheated on his son's mother. It's so brilliantly played by Lemmon, who manages to make clear the regret contained within his character. Perhaps, despite his cheating ways, Lemmon is the most noble of all the characters in the film, as he at least feels regret and TRIES to make amends for losing his son in the process. Other scenes that really stood out to me include: Chris Penn's character standing over a woman, a rock hoisted above his head, letting out a lifetime's worth of frustration; a character played by Lyle Lovett, a baker, becoming enraged that a customer hasn't come to pick up a cake they ordered, not realizing that the cake customers are the parents of the dying child who was hit by the car or perhaps the moment when you realize that two marriages are seemingly being repaired after a night spent having fun, drinking and letting loose. It's a beautiful film, filled with ugly characters and a world that I wouldn't want to live in, yet also coming with the realization that we all do live in this world.

I initially went '9.5', which is total bullshit. Why I didn't just pull the trigger and call it a '10' is beyond me, but I guess I do some nutty things sometimes. This one and everything that follows is so easily a '10', that it hurts! This is the easiest three hours you'll ever spend watching a movie, I promise. This should've been on the top of your Netflix queue yesterday!


05. Goodfellas (1990) dir. Martin Scorsese  10/10
This film was just FAR more interesting. The Ace Rothstein character of "Casino" did absolutely nothing to capture my interest, whereas I actually found myself, many times, wondering what it  must've been like to be Henry Hill, to live in that era, doing what he did, leading the life he lead. Oh and while we're talking Hill, let's not forget about Liotta, who has never really impressed me before, but this time really stood out to me. That one scene where he beats up the guy that tried to rape Karen - watch his face after he smashes the guy's face in and he's walking back across the street. He just looks like a killer. His facials are so brilliant, they're scary. Here's a guy - Liotta - who found himself shoulder to shoulder with one of the all-time greats (De Niro) and decided that he just had to bring his A game and that's just what he did. Kudos to Liotta! Bracco wasn't bad either, but tell me she doesn't look like Debra Winger's twin! I half kept waiting for the scene where we found out she had cancer and Shirley MacLaine showed up to give Henry guff about cheating on her.

Yeah screw "Casino", man! I, at no time, considered putting "Casino" anywhere on my list and looking back I almost want to cry at what a travesty that film was, despite such talent involved. Anyway, we're talking "Goodfellas", another one that I should have my head examined for not going full monty, '10' on. WHAT WAS I THINKING!?


04. Raise the Red Lantern (1991) dir. Yimou Zhang  10/10
Seriously, why couldn't THIS have been the film that ran for four hours?! I totally would've been down for even more of this and if I had to make one complaint it would be the ending. I know I shouldn't have expected a happy ending, but I really wanted one to emerge, somehow, some way. The mood and atmosphere are so bleak and dreary, however, that a happy ending here may have felt really artificial. Although, a faux happy ending, may have totally worked. By that, I mean just killing Songlian, because that's what she really wanted. Having her just go mad and wander around the palace for, seemingly, the rest of her days was a bit of a letdown, but I guess I can swallow that ending. Anyway, the film is pretty close to flawless, with some outstanding visuals that will surely leave your eyes thanking you for feeding them such beauty. The plot is totally there too and I was beginning to wonder if Chinese filmmakers even knew what an intriguing plot was. It was a breath of fresh air to see a Chinese film that didn't harp on the governmental oppression or the impact of historical changes on society and rather, just fed us a great film that I personally really feasted on. It was one that I gave a fair chance to, thank God, during a time when I had just watched a bunch of Chinese films that did absolutely nothing for me. It proves that you should NEVER short change a movie and always give a film a fair shake at winning you over.

Man, past me is such a bitch, isn't he? Pretty close to flawless? PRETTY CLOSE TO FLAWLESS??!! It is flawless you picky bastard!! Oh well, I'll be okay, I promise.


03. Chungking Express (1994) dir. Kar Wai-Wong  10/10
The thing that I love about "Chungking Express" is this: Just when I got used to the characters in the first story and not remembering that the film was split into two parts, the first story ends and the second one begins. It was at this time that I was kind of disappointed, as I wanted to continue to explore the detective and the criminal and see where things went. So then, the film has an obstacle: to make me forget about the first set of characters and make me fall in love all over again with the second set. It succeeded! In fact, as I said above, the second story was actually my favorite of the two and it wasn't until the film was all said and done and I reflected, that I realized that as much as I loved both stories, neither had enough meat to make up their own, full length movie - as much as we may have wanted them to.

This is one where I don't so much regret my initial rating (an '8'), but where I am happy to announce that this one just grew on me over time. I'm fine with the initial '8' and am also fine in saying that as time went by, I couldn't get this out of my head. I kept thinking about it and even wanted to re-watch it (which I didn't). A great movie that I think most will love and would work really well as an introduction to foreign cinema.


02. Raging Bull (1980) dir. Martin Scorsese  10/10
While it isn't quite as thought provoking or even as good as "Taxi Driver", I really think that this is the movie that put Scorsese on the map, thanks to the cinematography, the score and the subject matter. When you put "Raging Bull" side by side with "Taxi Driver", this is the one that looks a lot more professional and when watched, shows off memorable scene after memorable scene and just feels like something that should be lauded & praised. Whereas "Taxi Driver" looks a little more gritty and a little more underground; something that was made on a more personal level, "Raging Bull" looks like something that was made for the intention of turning heads and winning awards. Whether or not that was the intention or not, I do not know, but that's how it looks.

However a question came to mind while watching this: Would De Niro have been as successful without Scorsese and vice versa? Look guys, there's a reason some people call De Niro the greatest actor to ever grace the big screen and it's performances like this and "Taxi Driver" that prove those people right. With these two films, you get a chance to see two, completely different De Niro's and see what a versatile actor the man is. In "Taxi Driver" he creates a developed character, with inner torment and in "Raging Bull" he pours his heart out, no to mention the physical changes that must've been rough on him. Now then, take "Raging Bull", "Taxi Driver" and the rest of the Scorsese pictures out of De Niro's filmography and do we still have an actor that people worship? Maybe, but there's also a big "maybe not" on it too. Does Scorsese get the director acclaim that he's gotten without De Niro bringing the acting chops to the table for him? I think this one is a much easier to fathom "what if", because Scorsese IS talented, but I think he makes his name with other pictures and not TD and RB.


01. Taxi Driver (1976) dir. Martin Scorsese  10/10
 It's not a movie that really gives a whole lot to detail, but rather gives a whole lot to think about when the lights come up and you start filing out of the theater. The first time I saw "Taxi Driver", I didn't care much for it. It was definitely one of those films that, for me, took repeated viewings before I was finally able to peel back the layers and it's become one of those movies where every time I watch it, I get new ideas and pick up on new things. I've come to realize that the film isn't just about a nutty hack who cruises the streets. That it's probably the creation of one of the most interesting characters in all of film - Travis Bickle, of course. Not only is "Taxi Driver" a fantastic piece of character development, but also a superbly written (by Paul Schrader) inner conflict, probably the best inner conflict ever committed to celluloid.


Well, there it is. "TD and RB" are the big winners, not to mention Martin Scorsese who took four of the top 10 spots and cements himself as one of my favorite directors. From the moment, I re-watched "Taxi Driver", I said to myself "this is the #1 spot of the next TOP 20, until something better comes along". Well, nothing better came along. Some came close, but nothing managed to make me think as high of it, as I do of "Taxi Driver". What a film, what a performance and what a character to ponder! I already can't wait to watch this movie again and develop new ideas and new theories. Is Travis insane or is he the only sane one in a completely mad society? That's up to us to decide.


TEN WORTH MENTIONING: Mean Streets (1973), Prizzi's Honor (1985), Sherman's March (1985), Drowning by Numbers (1988), The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Babe (1995), The Usual Suspects (1995), Breaking the Waves (1996), Open Your Eyes (1997)


SINS OF OMISSION - ENTRY #4: BEFORE SUNRISE (1995) AND ENTRY #5: BEFORE SUNSET (2004)

Yep, so I decided to take this opportunity to add these two gems to my personal list. True, I haven't done formal, full length reviews for them yet, but we'll let that be something for me to do on a rainy day. For now, we'll rely on the mini reviews from the January recap to tide us over and be done with it. These two stuck with me so well, that I couldn't help but go ahead and just include them. I omitted "Before Midnight", however, because it's actually on my next list, so it will get another chance to make my list.


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Well, boys and girl, that about does 'er. I hope you guys enjoyed the eighth presentation of a TOP 20 list. This is the only time of year where I actually ask for comments, so feel free to let your thoughts fly and tell me where I went wrong and where I went right. I welcome any and all opinions, so don't be shy. I WILL NOT be taking a hiatus this time (as I normally do after making a TOP 20), as I just took one about a month ago. So expect reviews to be forthcoming as early as tomorrow. I think I will take the rest of the day off though, to get caught up on some DVR stuff that I've been neglecting.

It's worth noting that the next 100 will kick off with A DOUBLE SHOT OF HACKMAN, which will feature "The French Connection" and "The Conversation". I'm definitely looking forward to those two and who knows, they could both be key films in the next TOP 20.

February 12, 2014  1:31pm



2 comments:

  1. Oh, Andrew.. all that work into a post, and no replies yet.. sorry.

    I'm afraid I have steered clear till now as I'm afraid I found a lot to differ on..
    I even went back to see how I tried to, as diplomatically as I could, express just how much I dislike 'Forest Gump'
    I see I din't.. I took the cowards way out and avoided the issue and just picked up on one issue.

    You may also have noticed I waited some time to reply on that one as well, also wondering how I could put "I REALLY dislike Forrest Gump" in as nice a way as possible.

    Oh dear, I'm afraid I find little to passionately agree with in this top 20. I found the 'before..' films unconvincing.. i don't take to boxing films on the whole, I'm not at all keen on Arnie films..and taxi driver? well....
    I will agree that 'Goodfellas' has great moments. We can agree to give a thank you to 'Raise the Red lantern' and 'happy together' for giving an enjoyable Chinese film. I liked 'Smoke'... Oh.. sorry, I just realised 'King of Comedy' is in there.. great.. So lets go out on a good agreement..

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    1. It's okay Ray. These were the 20 best films I saw this season, but if they weren't your 20 favorites, I'm glad we can at least agree on a few. Maybe we'll do better this next round, as we already have agreed on "The French Connection". Maybe we should keep a running tally of how many times we agree/disagree within 100 films?

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SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #63: ALADDIN (1992)

Running Time: 90 minutes Directed By: Ron Clements, John Musker Written By: Ron Clements, John Musker, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Bu...