Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Top 20 Movies Of All Time: 4 To 1

What follows is a list of what I think are the best films of all time. Now rating films is a very subjective thing, and I have by no means seen every film ever made, so some of the films that you may think are the best might not be on this list. Feel free to suggest something that I might have missed, and if I agree with you I will amend my list and give you credit for introducing me to a new awesome movie. Other then that, enjoy and feel free to comment about my choices. Due to laziness, I will be using the synopsis's from, and then I will put in my two cents afterwards.

Ok, so since this is the final post of my top 20, I thought I would give you a list of 20 other movies that almost made the cut, some of your favorite films might be on this list, but then again, they may not, at any rate, here you go in alphabetical order no less.

Ben-Hur * Cloverfield * Finding Nemo * Gandhi * Ghostbusters * Hoosiers * Indiana Jones Trilogy * Inglourious Basterds * L.A.Confidential * Memphis Belle *  Miracle On 34th Street * Once * Pan's Labyrinth *Red Cliff * Saving Private Ryan * The Incredibles * The Prestige * High * Up * Wall*e

Now, onto the top 4.

4. The Usual Suspects
What It Is About - A massive explosion rips through a ship in a San Pedro, CA, harbor, leaving 27 men dead, the lone survivor horribly burned, and 91 million dollars' worth of cocaine, believed to be on board, mysteriously missing. Police detective Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) soon brings in the only witness and key suspect, "Verbal" Kint. Kint's nickname stems from his inability to keep his mouth shut, and he recounts the events that led to the disaster. Five days earlier, a truckload of gun parts was hijacked in Queens, NY, and five men were brought in as suspects: Kint, hot-headed hipster thief McManus (Stephen Baldwin), ill-tempered thug Hockney (Kevin Pollak), flashy wise guy Fenster (Benicio Del Toro), and Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), a cop gone bad now trying to
go straight in the restaurant business. While in stir, someone suggests that they should pull a job together, and Kint hatches a plan for a simple and lucrative jewel heist. Despite Keaton's misgivings, the five men pull off the robbery without a hitch and fly to Los Angeles to fence the loot. Their customer asks if they'd be interested in pulling a quick job while out West; the men agree, but the robbery goes horribly wrong and they soon find themselves visited by Kobayashi (Pete Postlethwaite), who represents a criminal mastermind named Keyser Soze. Soze's violent reputation is so infamous that when Kobayashi passes along a heist that sounds like suicide, the men feel that they have little choice but to agree.

Why It Makes The List - The Usual Suspects is one of those movies that was widely overlooked when it was released. Sure, some critics gave it praise, and it actually even got a couple of Oscar nominations, even getting Kevin Spacey a little gold statue for best supporting actor, (which makes no real sense to me seeing as he is the main character in the movie, but an Oscar is an Oscar none the less I guess*) but for the longest time it flew under the greater film goers radar, which is really sad, cause this film pretty much has everything you can want in a movie. It has amazing acting, from an awesomely put together cast, memorable characters,
 quotable lines, a compelling plot and an ending that to this day remains one of my favorites. Take all that, and consider it was director Bryan Singers first major film, which was completed in 35 days for around $5 Million, and you have a formula for one of the greatest movies ever made. So, if you haven't seen it, don't read anymore about it from anybody else, just go get a copy and be treated to one of the best movies that you will ever see. I will say this though, when watching it for the first time, PAY ATTENTION TO EVERYTHING, EVERY LITTLE DETAIL, cause it all comes back in the end, enjoy.

3. Braveheart
What It Is About - Mel Gibson, came into his own as a director with Braveheart, an account of the life and times of medieval Scottish patriot William Wallace and, to a lesser degree, Robert the Bruce's struggle to unify his nation against its English oppressors. The story begins with young Wallace, whose father and brother have been killed in a trap set by the English, being taken into the custody of his uncle, a nationalist and pre-Renaissance renaissance man. He returns twenty years later, a man educated both in the classics and in the art of war. There he finds his childhood sweetheart Murron (Catherine McCormack),
and the two quickly fall in love. There are murmurs of revolt against the English throughout the village, but Wallace remains aloof, wishing simply to tend to his crops and live in peace. However, when his love is captured and later killed by English soldiers the day after their secret marriage (held secretly so as to prevent the local English lord from exercising the repulsive right of prima noctae, the privilege of sleeping with the bride on the first night of the marriage), he springs into action and single-handedly slays an entire platoon of foot soldiers. The other villagers join him in destroying the English garrison, and thus begins the revolt against the English in what will eventually become full-fledged war. For his efforts, Gibson won the honor of Best Director from the Academy; the movie also took home statuettes for Best Picture, Cinematography, Makeup, and Sound Effects.

Why It Makes The List - I will start by saying this, at the beginning of this list I mentioned that there was a difference between Best movie of all time and Favorite movie of all time.
 Well, although it is number three on my best movie of all time list, Braveheart is number one on my favorite movie of all time list, so some of that favoritism might seep through onto this post, (if that is the case, all I can say is, TOUGH LUCK, this is my blog after all and you're not paying to read it, so you're just going to have to deal with it). So, Braveheart has to be one of the best modern day epics ever to be put on film. It is massive in scale, believable in its battle scenes and has incredible direction from Mel Gibson, (for some reason Mel seems to have gone nuts in the last couple of years, but I do not think that this should be held against Braveheart, William Wallace is not responsible for the man having some kind of mental breakdown. I will pray for you Mel, you are better then you are acting lately, Jesus loves you buddy**, and I am sure you will gather yourself soon). Then you also have the story, which is one of the greatest action, romance, drama pieces ever put together in one film. William Wallace was a great example of what
a man should be, he is passionate, loving, romantic, yet also brave and is pretty much as manly as you can get, (the scene where he refuses to swear loyalty to the king and is silent when they torture him, screaming out when he says the word, FREEDOM at the top of his lungs, it still moves me to this day when I watch it). Then add possibly my favorite soundtrack ever, which was composed and conducted by James Horner, it completes every scene so perfectly that I still see the images as I listen to it now. All these things and more, like the fact that I am part Scottish, make Braveheart one of the best films of all time, and without a doubt my favorite.

2. Lord Of The Rings
What It Is About - (As in Star Wars, I am writing the synopsis for this, since the, was too long, although I used Wikipedia as a guide line, so shout out goes to the great Wiki) Long ago the Dark Lord Sauron forged the One Ring to gain power over other rings held by the leaders of Men, Elves and Dwarves. He is defeated in battle, and the ring is then taken as a trophy and quickly lost. Over two thousand years later, the Ring comes into the hands of the hobbit Sméagol, who hides under the mountains, where the Ring transforms him over the course of hundreds of years into a twisted, corrupted creature called Gollum. Eventually he loses the Ring, and it is found by Bilbo Baggins. Meanwhile Sauron takes a new physical form and reoccupies Mordor, his old realm. Gollum sets out in search of the Ring, but is captured by Sauron, who learns that Bilbo has the Ring. Gollum is set loose, and Sauron, who needs the Ring to regain his full power, sends forth the Ringwraiths, his dark, fearsome servants, to seize it. The ring has been safe with Bilbo in The Shire for many years and is past to Frodo Baggins at his wizard friend Gandalf the
Grey's urging when Bilbo decides to leave the Shire. Gandalf learns of the Ring's history and advises Frodo to take it away from the Shire. Frodo leaves, taking his gardener and friend, Samwise ("Sam") Gamgee, and two cousins, Meriadoc ("Merry") Brandybuck and Peregrin ("Pippin") Took, as companions. After avoiding the Ringwraiths and leaving the Forest, they stop in the town of Bree, where they meet Aragorn, a ranger who joins them as guide and protector. They leave Bree after narrowly escaping attack, but the Ringwraiths follow them to the look-out hill of Weathertop, and wound Frodo with a magical knife. Aragorn leads the hobbits toward the refuge of Rivendell, while Frodo is taken by horseback by Arwen in hopes of being healed as he is gradually succumbing to the wound. Frodo recovers in Rivendell under the care of Elrond.
 The Council of Elrond reveals much significant history about Sauron and the Ring, as well as the news that Sauron has corrupted the wizard Saruman. The Council decides that the threat of Sauron is too great and that the best course of action is to destroy the Ring by returning it to Mount Doom in Mordor, where it was forged. Frodo volunteers to take the Ring, and a "Fellowship of the Ring" is chosen to accompany and protect him: Sam, Merry, Pippin, Aragorn, Gandalf, Gimli the Dwarf, Legolas the Elf, and the man Boromir, son of the Ruling Steward Denethor of the realm of Gondor. From there the heroes continue the quest to destroy the ring and two movies later give Sauron an eye ache by destroying the ring. During the quest all the fellowship are tested and grow, becoming better people and yada yada yada. That is all I will say, if you haven't watched to movies, then do it, yada yada yada.

Why It Makes The List - Ok, unless you have been living under a preverbal movie rock, then you already know why this is on my list (and if you have, stop that, it is bad for your posture). Lord Of The Rings is the EPIC to end all EPICS. Now just as in other "Trilogies" I count this as one movie, and just like Star Wars, it was actually meant to be just that. When LOTR (just incase you are clueless, LOTR is a short form universally referenced for Lord Of The Rings, and now you get to be in on one of the worst kept secrets in the world, welcome to the club, make sure to send me your $100 club entrance fee and I will send you your official
 "LOTR Worst Kept Secret In The World" button, signed by Orch number 4629 in the battle scene at Helm's Deep, Operators are standing by) was written it was one story, but it was broken up for several reasons which I will not go into here. So the movie is really one film, in three parts, mainly cause most people don't have time to watch all twelve hours of the story in one sitting, (most people, except my cousin Ryan "Duma Noctys Corvyd" McKay that is, big ups for being awesome Ryan). So, lets just quickly go over why this is number two on my list. Well, ................... have you seen LOTR, I am not even sure where to start. Ok, lets do this alphabetically, it has A) Action B) Bravery C) top notch Cinematography D) near perfect Directing from Peter Jackson E) Elves F) lots of Fighting G) Ian McKellen in his best performance and role ever as Gandalf H) Hilarious Helpful Hobbits (bam, I thought I would hit you will a little alliteration) I) it invokes an Intense emotional response (if you didn't feel for Frodo and Sam during this movie then you have no heart) J) Just the right amount of balance of humor, action, drama, romance and everything else to make it work on all levels K) Killer Orchs
L) Liv Tyler, as an elf, (Nuff Said) M) Magnificent sets and locations, truth be told LOTR's is kinda one big commercial for New Zealand, and I bet their tourism went up a whole heap after its release N) Nerve, it takes a lot of Nerve to tackle LOTR, it is a huge story and has incredible die hard fans, to not only make the movie, but to make it right, so lets just say that Peter Jackson must have a large set of spherical man parts*** for what he did O) Orlando Bloom and all the other good looking male actors, you have to have stuff for the ladies too you know P) Perfect casting, man they did a good job, even changing their choice for Aragon (Stewart Townsend is the guy who got axed incase you were wondering, I finally looked it up so now you don't have to) after 4 days of shooting, thus we have the incredible performance from Viggo Mortensen Q) Quality production value throughout the whole movie R) a completely Ridonkculas cast size, the amount of people this movie employed is, well, Ridonkculas S) the sheer Scale of the production, it is a movie that took more then 7 years to make, with attention to detail like no other movie ever made T) Terrific source material, you can't go wrong with J.R.R. Tolkien U) Unbelievable depth of character development, all the characters left this story different, but I am willing to bet that the
 cast did too V) Viggo (As with Liz, Nuff Said) W) Wonderfully choreographed fight scenes and battles, that many people doing that much stuff is a logistical nightmare X) Xtremely awesome special effects, the people at Weta made the impossible possible, and they deserve a heap of credit Y) You know LOTR rocks (Ok, I was having trouble coming up with something for Y, give me a break, I am writing this while on vacation) and Z) Zeal for what they were doing, maybe that is cause they are from New Zealand, (ha ha, I am so funny). The last thing I will add is the score is truly breathtaking to boot. Well, it is all that stuff and so much more. If you don't like it, that is fine, but as for me, it is the 2nd best movie of all time, but not number one, that title goes to.........

1. Ernest Goes To Camp

1. The Shawshank Redemption
What It Is About - In 1946, a banker named Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is convicted of a double murder, even though he stubbornly proclaims his innocence. He's sentenced to a life term at the Shawshank State Prison in Maine, where another lifer, Ellis
 "Red" Redding (Morgan Freeman), picks him as the new recruit most likely to crack under the pressure. The ugly realities of prison life are quickly introduced to Andy: a corrupt warden (Bob Gunton), sadistic guards led by Capt. Byron Hadley (Clancy Brown), and inmates who are little better than animals, willing to use rape or beatings to insure their dominance. But Andy does not crack: he has the hope of the truly innocent, which (together with his smarts) allow him to prevail behind bars. He uses his banking skills to win favor with the warden and the guards, doing the books for Norton's illegal business schemes and keeping an eye on the investments of most of the prison staff. In exchange, he is able to improve the prison library and bring some dignity and respect back to many of the inmates, including Red.

Why It Makes The List - Just as Usual Suspects flew under the radar for a long time, so to did the best film ever made, The Shawshank Redemption. So, why is Shawshank so much
better then all the others, including all the ones on this list? Well, I will try my best to help you understand. Now, I will start with what it is not. Shawshank Redemption is not an epic, it boasts no mind blowing special effects, did not win the Oscar for best picture the year it was released (it went up against the feel good juggernaut of a movie called Forest Gump that year, which at the time I thought deserved the award, but again, most people didn't actually see Shawshank Redemption till later, so I understand why it won), did not take a million people to make and has to this day, very little push and fan fare surrounding it. So, it is missing all those things, what makes it the best. Plain and simple, it moves people. Yep, thats it. Really. Well, ok, it has other things
 going for it, like an amazing cast, a terrific premise, well defined three dimensional characters, and amazing direction. So all those things help, but the reason The Shawshank Redemption has gone from unknown to being considered the best film of all time is that it moves people. At its heart, it is a story of hope and redemption, taking the viewer to the depths of despair and then lifting them to hope, and then to a place that many movies will never get close to reaching, ending in redemption and fulfillment. Shawshank, the movie that quietly went about its business, not boasting and strutting around like many other movies do, slowly and quietly got an audience, (it is kinda awesome in that it mirrors the journey of Shawshanks main character Andy
 Dufresne, if you have seen the movie then you know what I am talking about) and as I write this, it is rated as the number one movie of all time on the Internet Movie Data Base website. It is the little film that could, about a man sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit, and as far as I am concerned, it is the greatest example of hope ever to be put on film and in that, the greatest movie of all time.

So there you have it, my top 20 of all time, here are the links to
8 To 5   12 To 9  16 To 13  20 to 17, I had no clue that it was going to be as hard as it was to get through all of these, but I am glad I did, so now when people ask me that question that they always do, "What is the best movie of all time?" I am going to point them to my blog and say, been there, wrote that, read it if you really want to know. So thanks for reading everybody, I would still love feedback, do you agree with me, do you think I am wrong, did I miss a great movie, am I completely nuts and bloging to myself? Let me know, and until next time, I will leave you with one of my favorite movie quotes ever, from the lips of Andy, "Get busy living, or get busy dying!" Amen to that, blog at you later.

*I actually don't put much stock in the Oscars, they are too political and get it wrong way too much, although it is nice to have movies I love get awards.
**The fact that Jesus loves Mel is great, but remember, Jesus loves everybody, so he is not that special.
***This was the nicest way I could think of saying this.

1 comment:

  1. I got my mom shawshank redemtion for mother's day!