Since the Oscars are approaching
quickly (tomorrow actually), I thought I would post my top movies. These are
not my picks for who will win Best Picture—I called the winner last year
and I am going out on a high note.
top 10 lists—one for this year and one for all-time—are in no way
authoritative. I am not an actor, I am not a critic, and I have never lived in
Los Angeles. But I love movies (who doesn’t? It’s like all the other forms of
art and entertainment combined, and it only takes two hours to ingest), and I
think I have reasonably good taste. While I try to be objective, weighing the
merit and skill involved in each film, I think the “My” in the title of this
post betrays just how subjective it all really is. Hopefully, though, you will
be able to garner some movie suggestions and have a starting point for
developing your own list. Without any further ado, my top 10:
Top 10 Movies for the
10. Noah – Since it took an obviously
ludicrous approach to its depiction of Scripture, this biblical epic has
received a lot of flack. But the movie is undoubtedly entertaining and boasts
the intimacy and psychological-depth that Aronofsky is known for.
9. Captain America: Winter Soldier – As
with most Marvel films, this one was solid—nothing flashy, just good solid
movie making. Its only extraordinary quality is the humility and piety of its
8. Selma – Though it can never live up
to listening to a real speech by the Doctor, it was a well-crafted and
7. Grand Budapest Hotel – I am
notoriously cynical when it comes to Wes Anderson, but I found this installment
to be particularly poignant and entertaining. To be honest, though, just seeing
Mr. Murray on the screen is enough to make me smile.
6. X-Men: Days of Future Past – This
movie took everything good from the X-Men franchise and put it in one place. I’ve
come to very much appreciate Michael Fassbender, and the Quicksilver scene was
5. Guardians of the Galaxy – This film
took the irreverent hilarity of The Avengers and amplified it a hundredfold,
maintaining still its action-packed suspense and occasionally moving scenes.
4. Boyhood – This movie reminds me of
three others: the Truman Show, Before Sunrise, and Seven Up!—all
of which were better than this one. Still, I enjoyed the coming-of-age story,
relishing in the frequent scenes that captured mundane life in its grandeur and
3. Gone Girl – Though this chilling,
dark comedy has an iffy ending, what it is able to do with my emotions and
stress level is absolutely amazing.
2. Birdman – My favorite part of this
movie was the never-ending shot—it was one virtue among many, but it brought
everything together. The story woven around the ironically familiar superhero
actor was touching at times and enthralling all the way through.
1. Interstellar – Sitting on the edge
of my seat, I could not help but wonder how Nolan had stolen all of my
childhood dreams. His newest film, Interstellar, has finally brought to
the big-screen everything I had hoped for and imagined about space in my
younger years—it did this with added creativity and suspense. The movie adds to
Nolan’s tasteful commentary on ethical systems and gives us McConaughey’s best
performance to date. With the exception of the last 3 minutes, I admit that I
found most of the last third to be a bore and inconsequential to the movie's
grandeur. Still, Nolan has done something fantastic here.
were some other movies that I saw this
year that were good, just not good enough to go on the list. There were some
others that I didn’t see, that I imagine would have made it to the list. And
there were also some movies I saw that shouldn’t be on any list—and probably
should have never been made.
10. On the Waterfront (1954) – No one
is cooler or smoother than Marlon Brando’s Terry Malloy, but you cannot help
but weep for the poor fool. We must watch as Terry and the others on the
waterfront march upward and onward, escaping the life of a D&D bum and
reminding us of how things still have to change.
9. Beauty and the Beast (1991) – The
greatest of all the Disney films, Beauty and the Beast captures all that
is enchanting and fairy-tale magic, while still being thrilling and witty.
8. Inherit the Wind (1960) – This
courtroom drama depicts the timeless battle of liberal versus conservative—a
battle that has found new charge in the Scopes Monkey Trial. The performances,
here, are electric and no one comes out a hero.
7. American Beauty (1999) – I greatly
appreciate movies that can balance multiple genres at once, like this comedy
meets tragic-drama. Its sad commentary on middle class life and complacency is
6. Decalogue (1989) – Greater than any
of its technical achievements is its thematic word. The Decalogue reimagines
what it means to live out God’s revelation to humankind on Sinai, making it
frighteningly closer to our hearts.
5. The Searchers (1956) – Westerns have
a history of simplification and, for a long time, needed a more thorough
tackling of the genre. That is why John Ford’s darker undertaking starring the
Duke, himself, is both a relief and the greatest revisioning of the heart of
4. The Godfather, pt. 1 & 2 (1972,
1974) – All of the artistic elements of filmmaking come together here and make
an unmistakable masterpiece. It is an epic centered on a family, and the love
and the cruelty therein.
3. Jurassic Park (1993) – Though most
of the screen time is filled with cold-blooded dinosaurs, this movie is really
a heartwarming tale of old birds. Nonetheless, the action thrills and
raptor-suspense is incredibly entertaining.
2. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – It
deserves more credit than being a holiday classic. It is a moving story about a
selfless man, drawing up sympathy from the well of my soul.
1. Raging Bull (1980) – Though rough on
the edges and far from pleasant, Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull is a
beautiful and clear window into the weightiest regions of a man’s being. In
this drama meets biographical-sports film, we watch on as Giacobbe “Jake”
LaMotta takes a beating. With his brother Joey LaMotta at his side, Jake is one
of the most talented boxers in his weight class, but it seems every fight
begins with his face being punched to a pulp. Ironically, in the home he uses
his strength to batter his second wife, Vickie LaMotta, and bully his brother.
Jake LaMotta is an unloveable creature—yet we understand him, and some might
even sympathize with him. For in Raging Bull, we see that Jake LaMotta
is more than an abusive and violent monster—we can see the sexuality, the pain,
and the masochism that plague his soul and give this film unparalleled depth.
Honorable Mentions include: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The
Avengers, 2001: A Space Odyssey, 12 Angry Men, Ocean’s 11,
There Will Be Blood, Before Sunset Series, Indiana Jones:
Raiders of the Lost Ark, City of God, Fargo, and Lawrence
of Arabia. It’s so hard to narrow down all the great films out there to
just ten, so this is my way of getting around it.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Labels: American Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Birdman, Decalogue, Godfather, Gone Girl, Inherit the Wind, Interstellar, It's a Wonderful Life, Jurassic Park, movie, On the Waterfront, Oscars, Raging Bull, Searchers, Top 10