Monday, February 13, 2017

My Top 10 Movies of All Time List

I actually made this list up over a couple years ago now, but never got around to publishing it.  But now that I've just finished listing  my top 10 movies from the past ten years, I figured now was as good a time as any to hit publish on this.

I've actually forgotten why I made this list--other than the fact that I love making up these time-wasting self-indulgent lists, and it doesn't take much to get me to do it.  I think I came up with the idea for this one day on a long walk, and then spent the next couple days jotting down notes and coming up with this list just for fun.

The reason I didn't publish this list two years ago was because I fell into the trap of trying to explain why I liked all of these movies.
I started to write a little bit about each movie.  And then that little bit turned into a little bit more.  And pretty soon I was writing long essays about each movie on this list, and the project became too overwhelming.
So I've cut that all out.  I'm not going to write any explanations for any of these movies.

For now.  Although I may return at some point in the future and do retrospective reviews for these movies.

It's been in the back of my mind to do a series of posts detailing my favorite movies ever since Whisky Prajer did it back in 2006.  (One of the disadvantages of my current movie review project is that I only review new movies.  But since I'm old now, the new movies I see don't make much of an impression on me.   All the movies that really matter to me are movies I saw before I was 25.)

So, anyways, for now I'm not going to say anything about these films or try to justify why they're on this list.  I'm going to save all that for the future, if I ever get around to it.

Also, I ended up creating 2 lists instead of one.  Simply because I found it impossible to rank critically acclaimed movies on the same list as my favorite guilty pleasures.  So I decided to just split it up into two lists.  The first list is all my favorite respected critically acclaimed movies.  And then once that's out of the way, I just listed all my guilty pleasures.

The numbers within the particularly lists are meaningless.  (I haven't sorted out my definitive rankings yet, so at the moment these movies are in no particular order.)

Critically Aclaimed Movie List 
1. Citizen Kane
2. The Godfather
3. Casablanca
4. The Great Dictator
5. Gandhi
6. Malcolm X
7. The Third Man
8. Psycho
9. The Big Sleep (This is the only movie on this whole list that I've also reviewed in the last 10 years--see that review here).
10. Doctor Strangelove

The Guilty Pleasures List
1.  The Star Wars Trilogy (Yes, I'm cheating by counting the whole trilogy as one movie.  But I've always viewed these 3 movies as one entity.)
2. Peter Pan (1953 Disney version)
3. Indiana Jones Trilogy (Cheating again, but for the same reason as above)
4. Monty Python's Life of Brian
5. Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (Actually, really all of the old universal monster movies.  But if I had to choose just one, it would be Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman. )
6. Platoon
7. The Planet of the Apes (The original 1968 version, of course)
8. Aliens
9. You Only Live Twice (Actually really all of the Sean Connery Bond movies, but if I had to pick just one movie it would be You Only Live Twice.)
10. Gremlins

Bonus List:
Way back in 2002, I traded favorite top ten movie lists with my old college roommates on a Yahoogroups email.  (Remember Yahoogroups?  In the days before Facebook?)  Anyway, just for fun, I decided to dig around in my old email archives and pull that old email out to see how that list compares with my list now.

1. The Great Dictator
2. Duck Soup
3. Malcolm X
4. Easy Rider
5. Gandhi
6. Hard Day's Night
7. Help!
8. West Side Story
9. The Mummy Returns
10. Frankenstein meets the Wolfman

As you can see, a lot of the movies are the same.  Duck Soup got dropped from the list, but only because I haven't seen it for years now, and it's faded in my memory.  If I re-watch it one of these days, it might well get back onto my top 10 list.
The Mummy Returns was never a serious entry.  It was an inside joke, targeted at one of my old college roommates who really hated that movie.
Easy Rider I've outgrown.  It's a great movie to have on your top ten list when you're 23, but not so much when you're 38. Probably ditto for Hard Day's Night and Help!
As for West Side Story, I'm not sure why that no longer makes the cut.  I think I probably just got sick of it over the years.

Link of the Day
Noam Chomsky How to Deal with the Trump Presidency


Whisky Prajer said...

Man, I am not a fan of Attenborough's Gandhi. This is partially due to being forced to watch it as a testosterone-charged youth when it came out -- Mennonites, pacifism, blah blah blah. The REVENGE of The Jedi was going to come out in a couple of months, and it would blow this turgid five-hour sermon OUT OF THE WATER, man!

So many disappointments that year ('82). Thank God for Rambo. About whom, more later.

Back to Gandhi, I saw it again some years later and my opinion hasn't changed. Gandhi is right, and everybody else is a clod rolled into the scene to prove it. It obviously worked for a lot of people, though: Attenborough tried the same stunt again with Chaplin in the 90s.

I love your "guilty" list. You Only Live Twice is close to my heart as well (watched it again just the other night, actually), but I'd probably make From Russia With Love my go-to Connery Bond.

You'd put Aliens above the original? I remember seeing it in theatres back in the day, and everybody pretty much agreed we'd never seen anything so unremittingly intense. A couple of years ago I ran through the cycle with the girls, and was surprised by how much lesser the film felt in contrast to the first one. It still held up, but ... I think there are aesthetic choices that date it in ways the earlier film managed to avoid.

Hard to believe my list is nearly 11 years old. I don't think I'd take any titles out of it, but I'd add a few and shuffle them closer to the top. First Blood should really be in that list, as should Haywire and Children of Men. In fact, I'd probably give Children the top spot.

Joel Swagman said...

I hope someday to go through this list and give each choice the full justification it deserves. In long form.

In the meantime, though, I'll try to be brief:

The Ghandi movie was preachy, but I guess the fact that I largely agreed with what they were selling helped me to get on board with the movie.

I also wonder (and I'm somewhat thinking aloud here) if the movie helped to make Ghandi's reputation for subsequent generations.
When I was in high school, this movie was presented to us as if it was the truth about Ghandi. I never even heard it's truth claims debated. But apparently it was in debate at the time it came out.

A lot of the movies on my guilty pleasure list are there because of the nostalgia factor. You Only Lives Twice was the first James Bond movie I ever saw, so it made the biggest impression.
I remember From Russia with Love from your list.
I didn't really care much for From Russia with Love back when I first saw it (I was around 12 or 13, I think). It was much too slow paced for me.
I think even within the 1960s, the pacing of these movies changed a lot. The first couple James Bond movies, Dr. No and From Russia with Love were much slower paced. By the time of You Only Live Twice, they had gotten much crazier.
I re-watched From Russia with Love a few years back, and I had a brand new appreciation of it as a time piece--it was just so classic early 1960s classic cold war era kitsch. And it has a wonderful atmosphere to it.

From my perspective nowadays, I'd say it's a close 2nd as my favorite Bond film.

Alien versus Aliens is always a tough call. Both have a lot to recommend them. But I always thought the supporting cast in Aliens was much more interesting.
I thought it was particularly clever in Aliens that very few of the characters turn out to who you think they will be. Paul Reiser appears at first to be the person who rescues Ripley, but then he turns out to be the villain. Bishop appears as just another murderous robot at first, but then he risks his life for everyone. Bill Paxton appears to be the macho person at first, but then he turns out to be the coward. Etc.

And the special effects. Amazing what they were able to do in Aliens without any CGI.

Darrell Reimer said...

Yeah, the "initiation Bond" is the big one, usually. I have to say that for both these Bond films, the third act sucks. In fact, now that I'm on the subject I'm wracking my brains to think of a Bond flick with a third act that satisfies. Hmm...

Joel Swagman said...

I'd probably have to re-watch those movies before I started to break down the 3rd act structure. I don't remember having a problem with them at the time though. "From Russia with Love" bored me when I was younger, but when I re-watched a few years back I found it slightly slow moving, but very good atmosphere.

When I first saw "You Only Live Twice" at around 12, I loved the 3rd act. A huge fight scene with modern day ninjas storming a secret volcano lair? It was the coolest thing ever.

Darrell Reimer said...

If Roald Dahl didn't write that in his script (plus the monorail, PLUS the mid-way stop for a "self-destruct" button) I say he still deserves the credit for it. What kid doesn't thrill to that?