January 17, 2004

At the Movie Reviews

After commenting on his comments, I stole the link from Rodya who stole the link from Michele for IMDB's top 250 films. Herewith is my commentary. Bold means I've seen it, italicized means I own it.

And yes, it's true that while I have seen 206 of these 250 movies, I have never seen E.T. Remember as you go through this list that the cinema has been around for just over 100 years. That means that on average, 2.5 films a years should make it on to this list. Keep that in mind as you slog through the tripe that is less than 5 years old in this list. Not a single film from the Germans after Fritz Lang either. Bummer.

1 Godfather, The (1972) -- First rate.
2 Shawshank Redemption, The (1994) -- The inclusion of this film in the list, much less at #2, tends to invalidate the entire list, but I'll go on anyway.
3 Godfather: Part II, The (1974) -- First rate. So how is it that Godfather III was so bad?
4 Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (2003) -- Oh yes, it will be mine (next November).
5 Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002) -- Part of the best trilogy of films ever. yes, better than Star Wars Vol. 4-6.
6 Casablanca (1942) -- Marvelous.
7 Schindler's List (1993) -- A movie with a message, and the message is never again. Thank goodness Steven Spielberg isn't as looney as Oliver Stone, though.
8 Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001) -- See 5.
9 Shichinin no samurai (1954) -- Kurosawa makes lots of appearances in this list.
10 Star Wars (1977) -- Came out when I was a senior in high school. That was a significant factor in my appreciation of it, until LOTRs dusted it.
11 Citizen Kane (1941) -- A rosebud by any other name would smell as sweet.
12 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) -- Great movie, great cast.
13 Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) -- Stanley Kubrick made a number of incredible movies.
14 Rear Window (1954) -- So did Alfred Hitchcock.
15 Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) -- Luke, I am the voice of CNN.
16 Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) -- Remember when movies where fun?
17 Memento (2000)
18 Usual Suspects, The (1995) -- I like this movie a lot, though I thought it was a farce for Kevin Spacey to get the Best Actor Oscar for acting as though he was acting.
19 Pulp Fiction (1994) -- Quinten Tarentino's peak. It's all downhill now.
20 North by Northwest (1959) -- More Hitchock. Cary Grant's turn in the barrel (second time).
21 12 Angry Men (1957) -- Twenty years later we get Al Pacino screaming, "You're out of order, you're out of order...".
22 Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, Le (2001) -- Cute.
23 Psycho (1960) -- Still more Hitchcock. Tony Perkins vastly improves on his idea of crazy from Fear Strikes Out.
24 Lawrence of Arabia (1962) -- Come watch Zorba the Greek as a Bedouin sheik, and Alec Guinness as a young man, just in case Ewan McGregor had thrown you off in The Phantom Menace.
25 Buono, il brutto, il cattivo, Il (1966) -- So many quotable lines, "When it is time to shoot, shoot. Don't talk."
26 Silence of the Lambs, The (1991) -- Personally, I don't like fava beans, or liver for that matter.
27 It's a Wonderful Life (1946) -- Jimmy Stewart was one of the all-time great guys in Hollywood. I knew people that knew him, and he's was as genuine as they come.
28 Goodfellas (1990) -- Like Hobbes said, life is nasty, brutish and short.
29 American Beauty (1999) -- Good movie that spawned some of the most preening, pretentious movie reviews ever.
30 Vertigo (1958) -- Still more Hitchcock. And Jimmy Stewart.
31 Sunset Blvd. (1950)
32 Matrix, The (1999) -- The answer to whatisthematrix.com turned out to be nothing more than a really good movie that was followed by increasingly insipid sequels.
33 Pianist, The (2002) -- Good movie by Roman Polanski, who in case you have forgotten, drugged a 14-year old girl to have sex with her. This film will never rate this high again in any subsequent surveys.
34 Apocalypse Now (1979) -- Strange film that has acquired cult status. Frankly, I can take it or leave it. Comments heard from Coppola's accountants during filming, "The horror, the horror."
35 To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) -- Anyone who asks, "America, why are you so hated," should be forced to watch this before they say anything further. Then they can write a report on how their views can be squared with Americans holding up Atticus Finch as an ideal man.
36 Some Like It Hot (1959) -- Much better than the Power Station song of the same name.
37 Taxi Driver (1976) -- Take a walk on the wild side. This film can kick off some amazing commentary, but not here.
38 C'era una volta il West (1968) -- Sergio strikes again.
39 Third Man, The (1949) -- The ability to use the zither for the score and still be taken seriously is no small achievement.
40 Paths of Glory (1957) -- An early Stanley Kubrick effort. He got much better later.
41 Fight Club (1999) -- Brad Pitt is a much better fighter in Snatch (210). Snatch was a much better movie too.
42 Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001)
43 Boot, Das (1981) -- War is all hell.
44 L.A. Confidential (1997) -- This movie is top ten material.
45 Double Indemnity (1944) -- Still more Hitchcock. Good to see that Fred MacMurray settled down later and raised three nice boys.
46 Chinatown (1974) -- You gotta admit, Hollywood has made some really good flicks about Hollywood before it became Hollywood.
47 Singin' in the Rain (1952) -- If you took a film class in college, you h=would have had to rate this a lot higher.
48 Maltese Falcon, The (1941) -- One of several seemingly interchangeable movies with Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. Don't get me wrong, I like all of them.
49 Requiem for a Dream (2000)
50 M (1931) -- I wonder if its a coincidence that Peter Lorre's two most famous movies are so close in this list?
51 Bridge on the River Kwai, The (1957) -- Smart Alec is a little slow on the uptake.
52 All About Eve (1950) -- No, really, she does have Bette Davis' eyes.
53 Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) -- Sui generis.
54 Se7en (1995) -- Wouldn't it be nice if bad police work didn't generate the most of the plot twists?
55 Saving Private Ryan (1998) -- It's gotta be tough on the anti-war crowd to have to admit that there are good reasons to fight wars. Even when people die. How'd they ever find enough actors in Hollywood to film it?
56 Raging Bull (1980) -- Man, there were a lot of good films created when I was in college.
57 Cidade de Deus (2002)
58 Wizard of Oz, The (1939) -- Because, because, because, because, because.
59 Rashomon (1950) -- To borrow a phrase from Anheuser Busch, "True."
60 Sting, The (1973) -- One of my adolsecent favorites. And to think that Marvin Hamlisch started a ragtime revival with it.
61 Alien (1979) -- Like I said, my college years were a great time for movies.
62 American History X (1998)
63 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) -- Just in case anyone thought that today's politicians are any sleazier than they used to be.
64 Léon (1994) -- I like Jean Reno, but come on.
65 Vita è bella, La (1997)
66 Touch of Evil (1958)
67 Manchurian Candidate, The (1962) -- A real touch of evil.
68 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) -- As Jack Skelington said, "Interesting, but what does it mean?" Someone told me once that no one knows, since Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick each put their own pet freakiness into it without a lot of of coordination. To borrow a phrase from The Matrix, perhaps there is no spoon.
69 Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948) -- How does this make the list but not Key Largo?
70 Wo hu cang long (2000)
71 Great Escape, The (1963) -- Can you hear me whistling?
72 Reservoir Dogs (1992) -- Nice little indie, but wildly overrated.
73 Clockwork Orange, A (1971) -- For better, or probably worse, one of the most influential films I have ever seen. My wife despises it, which is why I don't own it.
74 Amadeus (1984) -- What ever happened to Tom Hulce?
75 Modern Times (1936) -- Did you know that the first actor to get $1,000,000 dollars for a film was Charlie Chaplin?
76 Annie Hall (1977) -- Let's be honest, when it comes to Woody Allen's aberrant behavior, the signs were all there long before it became public.
77 Jaws (1975) -- Starring the underappreciated Roy Scheider. And where in the hell is Marathon Man in this list?
78 Ran (1985) -- Time just flies by every time I watch this movie.
79 On the Waterfront (1954) -- You should see this movie, if for no other reason than to fully realize what a bunch of self-righteous pricks there were at the Academy Awards that snubbed Elia Kazan were a few years ago.
80 Braveheart (1995) -- Entertaining movie, but I just can't get over the author (Randall Wallace -- no axe to grind here) stating that he saw nothing wrong with embellishing history to get an emotial point across but then selling it as authentic.
81 High Noon (1952) -- Another mandatory movie for the America haters.
82 Apartment, The (1960)
83 Fargo (1996) -- You cannot go wrong with the Coen brothers or Steve Buscemi.
84 Sixth Sense, The (1999) -- Say good Night M.
85 Aliens (1986) -- It was good, but not this good.
86 Shining, The (1980) -- I never liked this one that much. Stanley Kubrick at his most obtuse, but let's not forget that he made Barry Lyndon as well.
87 Strangers on a Train (1951)
88 Blade Runner (1982) -- Multi-culty favorite.
89 Metropolis (1927) -- Thank God it's not the updated version with Queen music.
90 Duck Soup (1933) -- Wouldn't you like to attend a dinner party with Groucho Marx, Dennis Miller and Orson welles?
91 Finding Nemo (2003) -- Good family fair, but not as good a story as a lot of other Disney flicks. The animation is superb, but that won't be nearly as impressive 10 years from now, whereas Toy Story still will be.
92 Donnie Darko (2001)
93 General, The (1927)
94 Toy Story 2 (1999) -- No, this was not as good as Toy Story, sorry.
95 Princess Bride, The (1987)
96 City Lights (1931) -- Chaplin has held up well, hasn't he.
97 Great Dictator, The (1940) -- Like I said...
98 Lola rennt (1998)
99 Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
100 Notorious (1946) -- Still more Hitchcock. Cary Grant's first time in the barrell.
101 Sjunde inseglet, Det (1957) -- The ultimate foreign film laden with deep meaning.
102 Full Metal Jacket (1987) -- Lot's of style from Stanley Kubrick, almost no substance. Oooo, war is bad.
103 Nuovo cinema Paradiso (1989)
104 Rebecca (1940) -- Jumpin Jeebus, maybe we should just call this the Hitchcock list. Laurence Olivier's turn in the barrell.
105 Mononoke-hime (1997)
106 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) -- Sundance? Sundance? Where have I heard that before?
107 Big Sleep, The (1946) -- Noirest of the noir.
108 Graduate, The (1967) -- One word.
109 Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) -- Entertaining flick, but not as good as the original.
110 It Happened One Night (1934)
111 Manhattan (1979) -- Yawn.
112 Patton (1970) -- Anachronisms, the movie and the man. Just remember that General Omar Bradley was a consultant for this film as you watch it.
113 Deer Hunter, The (1978) -- Gosh, it seemed so deep and meaningful at the time, but it hasn't held up real well. What the hell ever happened to Michael Cimino?
114 Best Years of Our Lives, The (1946)
115 Searchers, The (1956)
116 Glory (1989) -- Sorry, no can do. people seem afraid to criticize this movie because of what it's about. Some good performances, but some real silly ones as well -- starting with the casting of Ferris Bueller.
117 Yojimbo (1961) -- Kurosawa everywhere, but no Truffaut. Clearly most of the people compiling this list never took cinema classes in college.
118 African Queen, The (1951) -- The made some pretty good movies back in the day.
119 Ladri di biciclette (1948)
120 Philadelphia Story, The (1940)
121 Forrest Gump (1994) -- Don't know much about history...
122 Bringing Up Baby (1938)
123 Cool Hand Luke (1967) -- Prisons have certainly changed a lot between Cool Hand Luke and Oz.
124 Ben-Hur (1959) -- Jeez, if Charlton Heston isn't making movies about the end of the world, he's making movies about a man whose return will herald the end of the world. Great flick.
125 Green Mile, The (1999) -- Really folks, Steven King novels just don't make for good movies.
126 Shrek (2001) -- See, there's a huge unmet market for family fare, otherwsie very average movies like this wouldn't rate so high.
127 Once Upon a Time in America (1984) -- Oh yeah, Robert DeNiro is a Jewish gangster, not an Italian gangster.
128 Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) -- The worst of the second best trilogy ever, which means it's still pretty good.
129 Hable con ella (2002)
130 Unforgiven (1992) -- I like Clint Eastwood a lot, but not this much.
131 Stalag 17 (1953) -- If war is all hell, imagine how much worse it must be for the prisoners of war.
132 Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
133 Grapes of Wrath, The (1940) -- Screw the sort of happy ending, read the book.
134 Gone with the Wind (1939) -- Should be much, much higher.
135 Night of the Hunter, The (1955)
136 Wild Bunch, The (1969) -- Finally, Sam Peckinpah makes a bloody appearance.
137 Straight Story, The (1999)
138 Elephant Man, The (1980) -- Anthony Hopkins plays a good doctor.
139 Christmas Story, A (1983) -- But you won't be able to see it if you put your eye out.
140 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) -- I love Indy, but it's not this good.
141 All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
142 Platoon (1986) -- Spare me.
143 Hustler, The (1961) -- Do the hustle.
144 Back to the Future (1985) -- I think this should be higher.
145 Young Frankenstein (1974) -- Easily Mel Brooks best film. Yes, better than Blazing Saddles.
146 Monsters, Inc. (2001) -- Oh yeah, about overrated family fare...
147 His Girl Friday (1940)
148 Die Hard (1988) -- Good lord, I heard there planning on another sequel.
149 Lost in Translation (2003)
150 Amores perros (2000)
151 Adventures of Robin Hood, The (1938) -- Put some swash in your buckle.
152 Grande illusion, La (1937) -- Has anyone outside of cinema buffs even seen this film?
153 Almost Famous (2000) -- Come on.
154 Spartacus (1960) -- Stanley Kubrick strikes again. Gosh, do you think Dalton Trumbo wore his beliefs on his sleeves?
155 Gold Rush, The (1925) -- Well, I dreamed I saw the knights in armor coming, saying something about a queen. Sorry, wrong media.
156 Charade (1963)
157 Life of Brian (1979) -- In retrospect its amazing that these guys generated so much quality work.
158 Conversation, The (1974) -- Coppola's made a number of good movies.
159 Gladiator (2000) -- What hype. Ben Hur is vastly better.
160 Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The (1962) -- Didn't like the song much.
161 Festen (1998)
162 Magnolia (1999)
163 Being John Malkovich (1999) -- Very clever. Definitely the most imaginative of the movie-making Spikes.
164 Sling Blade (1996)
165 Toy Story (1995) -- Should be much, much higher.
166 Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
167 Insider, The (1999)
168 Smultronstället (1957)
169 Roman Holiday (1953) -- From a long time ago.
170 Bronenosets Potyomkin (1925) -- Hey, there are a few film school voters in the mix after all.
171 Brazil (1985) -- Strange movie, gets better each time I watch it.
172 Night at the Opera, A (1935) -- If only Hollywood had paid more attention to the correct Marx.
173 Day the Earth Stood Still, The (1951) -- Mayeb the can get Al Gore to play Klaatu in the remake.
174 All the President's Men (1976) -- Good movie that has so much damage Cops are frequently accused of watching TV and then trying to act like TV Cops. The same goes for Big media, in spades.
175 Streetcar Named Desire, A (1951) -- There just don't make manly leading men like they used to.
176 Mulholland Dr. (2001) -- Lesbianism always raises the ratings. Strange, isn't it.
177 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) -- Like, totally awesome.
178 Mystic River (2003)
179 Exorcist, The (1973) -- Should be much, much higher. William Friedkin's Sorcerer should also be on any list like this.
180 Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
181 Killing, The (1956) -- Everybody just loves Stanley Kubrick. I like him too, but I'm beginning to wonder about ballot stuffing.
182 To Be or Not to Be (1942)
183 Quatre cents coups, Les (1959) -- Finally, Francois Truffaut makes the list.
184 Ed Wood (1994) -- I enjoyed it, and I'm a big fan of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, but this movie doesn't belong here. I'd much rather see the Nightmare Before Christmas on this list.
185 Terminator, The (1984) -- Arnold finally makes an apperance.
186 Stand by Me (1986) -- Yawn.
187 Twelve Monkeys (1995) -- I like this movie a lot.
188 Trois couleurs: Rouge (1994) -- A member of perhaps the most boring trilogy in the history of film.
189 Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922) -- Bloody marvelous.
190 Dog Day Afternoon (1975) -- Cool.
191 Adaptation (2002)
192 This Is Spinal Tap (1984) -- Seminal.
193 Harvey (1950) -- Hey, a Dowd I can appreciate.
194 Gandhi (1982) -- Probably should be higher.
195 Right Stuff, The (1983) -- Should be a little higher.
196 Trainspotting (1996) -- A little overrated. Nothing guarantees success in a list like this than a well done freak show.
197 Network (1976) -- Should be much, much higher. No one under 30 appreciates this.
198 Ying xiong (2002)
199 Miller's Crossing (1990) -- Those damn Coen brother are just too good.
200 Midnight Cowboy (1969) -- Come on people, get your head's out of your butts. This is easily top 20 material.
201 Lion in Winter, The (1968) -- The history's a little warped, and it probably works better as a play, but still pretty good.
202 Bonnie and Clyde (1967) -- Good flick. Perhaps started Hollywood's real love affair with and glamorization of violent criminals.
203 Groundhog Day (1993) -- I like it, but it's not this good. Maybe I'm wrong though. Check back tomorrow.
204 Rain Man (1988) -- Should be much higher.
205 Minority Report (2002) -- "I'm going to enjoy watching you die, Mr. Anderton." Sorry wrong movie.
206 Others, The (2001)
207 King Kong (1933) -- Well, only as a historical footnote.
208 8½ (1963) -- Holy crap. I was beginning to wonder if we'd ever get a Fellini entry. Now I'll hold my breath waiting for an entry by Vittorio De Sica.
209 Laura (1944)
210 Snatch. (2000) -- I like this film a lot more than it probably deserves.
211 Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) -- This one too. Hmm, both movies by Guy Ritchie come in right next to each other. These two are enough to make me forgive him for Swept Away.
212 Stagecoach (1939) -- Hollywood westerns at their very best.
213 39 Steps, The (1935) -- Gosh, it's been a while since Hitchcock made an appearance.
214 Traffic (2000) -- Steven Soderburgh makes good movies, but not great ones. His choice of topics is so politically correct as to make his films more popular than they deserve.
215 Hotaru no haka (1988)
216 Untouchables, The (1987) -- Brian De Palma at his best.
217 Whale Rider (2002) 7.7/10 (4203 votes)
218 Strada, La (1954) -- Should be much, much higher.
219 Beauty and the Beast (1991) -- The first time a Disney animated film shows up on the list. Silly list.
220 Big Lebowski, The (1998) -- Those damnable Coen's again.
221 Henry V (1989) -- I like it!
222 Rio Bravo (1959) -- Another classic Hollywood Western.
223 In the Heat of the Night (1967) -- What in the hell ever happened to Sidney Poitier?
224 Thin Man, The (1934) -- A light snack.
225 Todo sobre mi madre (1999)
226 Passion de Jeanne d'Arc, La (1928) -- Oh yeah. You need to see this one.
227 Planet of the Apes (1968) -- What is it with Charlton Heston and end of the world scenarios?
228 Fantasia (1940) -- College. Enough said.
229 Good Will Hunting (1997)
230 Die xue shuang xiong (1989) 7.7/10 (6692 votes)
231 Being There (1979) -- Like an REM song, only better.
232 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) -- Ten years from now, I guarantee this won't be making any lists.
233 Beautiful Mind, A (2001) -- More math, less crazy would have interested me more. But then again, the people that make movies understand crazy a lot more than they will ever understand math.
234 Clerks. (1994)
235 Red River (1948) -- With the proliferation of cable, there are a lot of movies we saw as kids that our kids may never see, like this one.
236 Bride of Frankenstein (1935) -- Anybody else growing up in Chicago remember Svenghouly (sp) and Creature Features, live from Berwyn?
237 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
238 X2 (2003) -- Entertaining flick by the usual suspects.
239 MASH (1970) -- Should be much higher. There is also no better example of why TV sucks.
240 Road to Perdition (2002) -- Please.
241 Man Who Would Be King, The (1975) -- Should be higher. After all, how many times do you get to see anything by Rudyard Kipling?
242 Sleuth (1972) -- Better play than movie.
243 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) -- People have such short memories. Should be much higher.
244 Quiet Man, The (1952)
245 Heat (1995) -- Sometimes I wonder if the movies that show up like this just made it because they've been on Showtime or HBO in the past month.
246 JFK (1991) -- The fine art of winning friends and influencing people. Not.
247 Birds, The (1963) -- Predating The Byrds by a few years. Much better too. And so Alfred Hitchcock completely dominates this list.
248 O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) -- I like this movie far much more than it probably deserves.
249 Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) -- It was a Spielberg/Lucas summer. Remember?
250 Sweet Hereafter, The (1997)

Posted by Charles Austin at January 17, 2004 03:48 PM