Monday, June 30, 2008

More On My Favorite Movies

So I finally got my favorite movies list published here. It is something that everyone should do. Examining cinema over the years to find what impressed you, for various reasons, is a lot of fun. After all, movies come up in every day conversation all the time.

I know a few of my choices will make people say "What the f---?"...but I don't care; it's my list and I have my reasons. I won't get into all 50+ here but I would like to explain my Top 10. But before I do that I have a bit of statistics for you.

The Best Year (By Number) - 2001; 5 in my Top 50 and 1 Just Missed (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; Black Hawk Down; Monster's Inc.; Shrek; Pearl Harbor; Ocean's 11)

The Best Year (By Rank) - 2003; #5 (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl), #7 (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), and #16 (Finding Nemo) released

The Best Decade (By Number) - 1990s; 20 of my Top 50, however the 2000s have 19 with 1.5 years remaining in the decade (to be released in 2008 or 2009: The Dark Knight, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Transformers 2)

The Best Decade (By Rank) - 1980s; includes my Top 2 (3 of Top 10)

The Best 10-year Run - 1995 through 2004; 30 of my Top 50 (14 of Top 25, 6 of Top 10)

Some random stuff...
  • A movie has joined my Top 50 every year since 1993
  • The oldest movie on my list is Disney's animated Robin Hood from 1973 (#39)
  • The newest entry is Pixar's WALL-E, which I saw yesterday and is now ranked at #28
  • The longer the title, the better? 13 of my Top 25 have 4 words or more in their title. Slots 2 through 9 are quite verbose. Coincidence? Probably but still interesting.
  • Ghostbusters will never be beaten.
And now my commentary on the Top 10...

10. Twister (1996)
I'm a weather junkie. I had liked the weather for a long time (I usually approximate my age as 8 when I considered becoming a meteorologist) and this movie made my interest rise. I was 11 when the movie came out. Though not all of the movie is possible or believable it is still ridiculously entertaining. By today's standard the special effects are below average but in 1996 they looked good. Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt are great. This will remain one of my favorite's my entire life. I don't doubt that.

Best Moment - The first chase scene with Bill (Paxton) and Jo (Hunt) in her yellow truck.

Favorite Quote
- "The Suck Zone. It's the point basically when the twister... sucks you up. That's not the technical term for it, obviously." --Dusty to Melissa

9. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
It's hard not to enjoy the Indiana Jones movies. They have everything I look for in a movie: action, suspense, mystery, history, fiction, science, and comedy (I guess a bit of romance, too). The exchanges between Harrison Ford and Sean Connery are spot on. I didn't see this movie in the theaters (I wasn't quite 5) but it is still an exciting adventure that ages well. Also, any movie poking fun at the Nazi's gets bonus points.

Best Moment - When it appears that Indiana Jones goes down with the tank over the cliff. Everyone is in mourning looking at the wreckage and Indy crawls up and looks down at it as well. Classic.

Favorite Quote - "What's this?" "Ark of the Covenant." "Are you sure?" "Pretty sure." --Elsa and Indiana Jones

8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
Having been born in the 1980's it was inevitable that a movie or two from that illustrious decade make the list. OK well this is actually the second consecutive one. And technically the movie came out in 1990. But this actually reminds me of the '80s. The Turtles were a part of every child's day back then; everyone had a favorite character (mine was/is Donatello). The original movie was great. It's nice to see a Turtles renaissance of sorts in the last few years but the new cartoon and movie aren't the same as the originals. They just don't make children's cartoons like the use to. Oh and every time I watch the movie I have to, absolutely have to, eat pizza. The opening gets me every time; a pizza will be ordered within 10 minutes of the opening credits.

Best Moment - The Turtles having to hide in April's apartment when her boss comes over.

Favorite Quote - "A José Canseco bat? Tell me you didn't pay money for this." --Raphael to Casey Jones

7. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) The first semi-recent movie on this list. The end of The Lord of the Rings "trilogy" is stupendous. The special effects are top notch and the dialogue is true to Tolkien. The characters are almost fully developed by this point (movie-wise) and the action just takes over. The Battle for Minis Tirith is great. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and The Return of the King delivers. Peter Jackson is a genius. Let's hope he does The Hobbit. And soon.

Best Moment - When Aragorn jumps off of the commandeered ship of the Men of the West with only Gimli and Legolas visible. They charge and the Dead Army appears to fight.

Favorite Quote - "I summon you to fulfill your oath." "None but the king of Gondor may command me. That blade was broken!" "It has been remade. Fight for us... and regain your honor. What say you?!" --Aragorn and the King of the Dead

6. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)
The conclusion of the second Star Wars trilogy has its ups and downs. Though many rip on it for the mediocre dialogue, I (and others) applaud it for its creativity, effects, and content. It really tied the entire saga together well and that is what it was meant to do. Despite some minor plot and acting shortcomings Revenge of the Sith still delivers. It's use of Clone Troopers and the presence of Order 66 make it interesting on a personal level. It also has a lot of sentimental value having been the only Star Wars film I have ever seen at midnight.

Best Moment - The execution of Order 66. It shows the ultimate demise of the Jedi that we knew had happened for decades.

Favorite Quote - "You were the chosen one! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them. You were to bring balance to the force, not leave it in darkness!" --Obi-Wan Kenobi

5. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
A blockbuster masterpiece from Disney. The movie was anticipated by many but once it was released became an instant hit. I remember seeing it in theater's at least twice (something I only normally do for Star Wars movies). Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow is one of the best movie character's ever. The plot was flawless, the action was magnificent, and the candid humor was refreshing. Oh, and the music kicked ass. Unfortunately, the sequels Dead Man's Chest and At World's End were nowhere near as polished as Pearl was.

Best Moment - Jack Sparrow docking what's left of his boat and the following sequence where he admires the Dauntless with Mullroy and Murtogg.

Favorite Quote - "You cheated." "Pirate." --Will Turner and Jack Sparrow

4. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
The first part of Tolkien's most famous work was a welcoming change of pace to the movies that had been our recently. Fellowship actually had a plot and a story to tell. It is my favorite of the "trilogy" because of how it builds up the character's and endears them to you. The casting for the saga is top notch and it really shows during this first part. If Fellowship would have flopped, The Two towers and The Return of the King would have as well. This is another prime example of amazing music and what it can do for a movie.

Best Moment - When the Fellowship is walking up the mountains, specifically the shot where the group walks by to the main theme of the movie.

Favorite Quote - "Are you frightened?" "Yes." "Not nearly frightened enough. I know what hunts you." --Aragorn and Frodo

3. Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)
Following the disappointing debut of The Phantom Menace (hey, I liked it but many didn't), the expectations for Attack of the Clones was lower. It still wasn't as well received as the original trilogy installments but seemed to get better reviews than Phantom. The prequel story was still being built and Episode II really added to Star Wars lore. The introduction of the Clone Army and clarifying their allegiances altered the perception of the saga immensely. Since I have such a soft spot for Clone Troopers it is easy to see why this is my favorite movie of all 6 of the current Star Wars films. Attack of the Clones opened up the endless possibilities of the Clone Wars in the expanded universe.

Best Moment - When the living Jedi are surrounded in the Geonosis arena and the Clone Army descends. The arena battle and the ensuing Battle of Geonosis is my favorite part of Star Wars lore.

Favorite Quote - "I have to admit that without the clones, it would have not been a victory." "Victory? Victory you say? Master Obi-Wan, not victory. The shroud of the dark side has fallen. Begun the Clone War has." --Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda

2. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Though this movie was released 3 years before I was born, the original Indiana Jones story is the best. Many people agree with me. Even critics and the American Film Institute. This adventure film combined history and religious myth with incredible action and witty dialogue. Harrison Ford is a better Indiana Jones than Han Solo...and Ford agrees. The humor is ageless. It will be hard to bump this movie out of the Top 5.

Best Moment - Indy, Sallah, and the slaves digging in the sands to uncover the Well of the Souls, where the Ark rests.

Favorite Quote - "Indy, why does the floor move?" "Give me your torch. Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?" "Asps. Very dangerous. You go first." --Sallah and Indiana Jones

1. Ghostbusters (1984)
Here is another movie that I did not see in theaters due to the fact that I wasn't even born yet. But because of the presence of the cartoon and the sequel (which I did see in the theater) the original is priceless. The cast is one of a kind and their deadpan and unscripted lines just fit so well. This movies effect on pop culture is astounding. For the upcoming release of the video game, Sierra did a worldwide test of the Ghostbusters "no ghost" symbol. The conclusion of this research was that the Ghostbusters symbol was the 2nd most recognizable symbol in history behind only Coca-Cola. Wow. This movie ties in with my childhood and just reminds me of all of those sweet toys. I don't see Ghostbusters being moved from #1...ever.

Best Moment - The trip to the first call. From the bell ringing to their entrance at the hotel. Awesome.

Favorite Quote - "Hello, Ghostbusters... Yes, of course they're serious... You do?... You have?... No kidding! Just gimme the address... Oh sure, they will be totally discreet. Thank you! WE GOT ONE!!!" --Janine Melnitz

So there you have it. My Top 10 is broken down and my true feelings are put out there for all the internet to see. Remember this ranking is not what I think are the best movies but are just my favorites. Even if some have massive plot holes or awful dialogue they can still be enjoyable. These are my favorites.

1 comment:

Al said...

Did you know that Twister was the first movie released on DVD? I just found that out recently. I remember watching it in the theatre and being so super excited about it, and watching it on HBO almost every time it came on. Yay weather nerdiness.