Sunday, August 26, 2007

My All-Time Favorite Films: #30-21

#30: Spirited Away (2002)
Seeing Spirited Away was my first experience with the work of Hayao Miyazaki and boy, did I have no idea what I was missing. Not only are the visuals stunning, but the story is a bit more grown up than I was expecting and the journey way more fantastic.

#29: Pirates: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
I recall being skeptical to see this movie when it arrived in theaters four years ago, but ended up heading back at least twice to see it again. I was caught off-guard by Johnny Depp's amazing performance and the surprising humor in the script. Oh yeah, and Keira Knightley is hot.

#28: Rear Window (1954)
It's hard not to enjoy Alfred Hitchcock movies, or finding yourself bored at the end. One of the things that I love about this movie is that it takes place entirely (except for one shot) in the apartment of Jimmy Stewart's character. If you're not nervous at the end, check your pulse.

#27: Seven (1995)
What is so intriguing about Seven is that I, like most kids raised in a Christian home, was familiar with the seven deadly sins, and thus with a major part of the plot. The genius of the movie was knowing what was coming but not HOW it was coming.

#26: A Mighty Wind (2003)
The second Christopher Guest film to make my top 50 list, I just couldn't leave this off. Everytime The Folksmen are on screen, they say something that just makes me howl. And the music, while funny, is actually quite good (had to buy the soundtrack!)

#25: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
This movie is downright hilarious from start to finsh, and I think it will stand the test of time, like "A Christmas Story," because everyone has had similar experiences over the holidays. "He worked hard, grandpa." "So do washing machines."

#24: The Bourne Identity (2002)
Now I haven't read Ludlum's "Bourne" books, so maybe that gives an advantage by not having the books to compare the movies to. I loved the constant adrenaline rush of this movie, the kickin' martial arts, the car chase, as well as the whole 'espionage' undertone.

#23: Appleseed (2004)
Appleseed is in here for one reason and one reason only: I am a huge sucker for CGI. The film is actually a fusion of computer-generated images and cell animation, and the result is what I think to be a landmark in filmmaking. The potential for more movies like this is salivating.

#22: Best in Show (2000)
This movie was actually my first Christopher Guest experience, and it set a bar that has not been dropped in any of the other films. Being a dog owner, I can definitely relate to some of the elements in the movie, and can definitely laugh at all of the others.

#21: Amelie (2001)
As I said about Big Fish, I love movies with an unbridled imagination and I certainly felt this movie had that in spades. After seeing this movie, I probably felt geniunely happier than I had after any other movie that I have ever seen, and it's rare that a movie affects me so positively.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

My All-Time Favorite Films: #40-31

#40: Mission: Impossible (1995)
I've probably seen Mission: Impossible eight or ten times now, and I think it's only now that I'm beginning to figure out what happened! It's an intriguing movie that I always enjoy watching, no matter how often I've seen it, because I'm always picking up something I hadn't seen before.

#39: Black Hawk Down (2001)
I will freely admit that I knew nothing about the Somalian conflict, and that I still don't, but for some reason I was hesitant to watch this movie. It is extremely well made, and after I finish watching it, I almost feel like I need to wash the blood, sweat and dust off.

#38: Office Space (1999)
I don't think I really even need a reason to put this one on here. It simply is one of the funniest movies of all time (I think most people would agree), and one of the biggest and greatest movies to show someone giving the boss the F-U the way everyone has wanted to at some point.

#37: Quiz Show (1994)
I think everyone has wondered whether or not game shows are rigged. Quiz Show shows us why, when Charles Van Doren, one of the nation's up-and-comers, shocked America by cheating on the show 21. Even knowing the outcome, I still find myself saying, "he won't do it."

#36: This is Spinal Tap (1986)
Possibly the most shining example of "women want him, men want to be him," for high schoolers, anyway. Every kid caught in school wishes he or she was able to pull Ferris Bueller's day off, and be loved for it. Not necessarily funny, but fun.

#35: Dances with Wolves (1990)
This movie paints a very real portrait of the West, as the white man and the Indians invariably came to conflict. Fighting a faceless enemy is easy, as John Dunbar shows us, but knowing the enemy may reveal them to be not the enemy they were perceived to be.

#34: Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)
This classic line sums it up: "I could sit in meetings for hours on end with a smile on my face and when people ask, 'how do you do it?' I would say, 'because I've been with Del Griffith,' and they would say, 'I know what you mean.'" Need I say more?

#33: Ghostbusters (1984)
This may have been my favorite movie when I was a kid. I had all of the toys, I watched the cartoon, and I memorized all of the lines in the movie. I lived and breathed Ghostbusters, and even seeing it today still makes me happy.

#32: Millions (2005)
Wow, what a great movie. Two brothers playing outside stumble on a bag of British pounds, about to become worthless as England switches to the Euro. But one boy wants to spend it on himself and the other wants to help others. A heartwarming movie I highly recommend.

#31: Big Fish (2003)
I'm not normally a huge fan of Tim Burton movies, but I absolutely loved the imagination and true sense of wonder about this movie. We've all heard embellished stories, but the sense of storytelling in this movie is unparalled; that's all the movie really is, and it's great because of that.

More to come soon...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My All-Time Favorite Films: #50-41

#50: This is Spinal Tap (1984)
This is Spinal Tap is a spear into all of the hair metal bands of the 80's. I didn't grow up during the hair metal era, but the documentary feel of the movie helps people like me to believe that these band members could have really said things like "This one goes to 11!"

#49: Bend it Like Beckham (2002)
Of course I had to have a soccer movie on my list, and Bend it Like Beckham makes it on here at #49. It's surprisingly funny, moving and engaging and this film's ability to catch me off-guard like that is part of why it got on. Oh, and Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley are hot.

#48: The Beach (2000)
The first time I saw The Beach, I didn't think it was that great. But I've seen it a few more times since then, and it's grown on me every time, working it's way onto this list. The actual beach sets are some of the most breathtaking I have ever seen.

#47: No Man's Land (2001)
This 2002 Best Foreign Film Oscar winner was one of the surprises of my college war film course. Set against the Bosnia crisis, a Bosnian and a Serb are caught in a trench in no-man's land, and the result is both hilarious and horrifying.

#46: Mallrats (1995)
Although I didn't see it until about four years after it came out, I think this movie rang as so funny because I felt it relatively closely resembled my own experiences. I can easily hear people I know yelling "I LOVE the smell of commerce in the morning!"

#45: Batman Begins (2005)
I've been a fan of the Batman superhero through the old TV show and the more recent animated TV show, but never the movies. This movie seemed to really put a more human touch on the character, beyond the "BAM"s and "POW"s of the comic books.

#44: Ocean's Eleven (2001)
I'm not quite sure what this film's genre is, but the best way to put it is a 'caper' film. There's an intricate crime to pull off, and a loveable cast of characters who make it work with wit and wisdom, as the details of the crime unfold in front of you. Truly enjoyable.

#43: Fast and the Furious (2001)
A delightful popcorn flick that I've seen way too many times. I know the acting's terrible and the plot's full of holes, but I honestly do love looking at the fast cars and the fast women, regardless of how shoddy everything around them are.

#42: Matchstick Men (2003)
Matchstick Men is sort of another 'caper' style movie for me, although the main character, played by Nicolas Cage, is a much more flawed, humanized 'criminal'. Cage is helped by great acting from Sam Rockwell as his con partner.

#41: Borat (2006)
I've been a huge fan of Borat Sagdiyev since I first caught season one of Da Ali G Show a year or so ago. Giving Sasha Baron Cohen 80+ minutes with this character all across the country is absolute comedic gold. I laughed to tears on several occasions, not that I'm proud of it!

I'll try to continue posting the higher ranking movies, but can't promise any sort of defined time period as it really depends on how much free time I get. But please comment on everything so far; I'm always open to discussion!