14 January 2005

All Time 10 Best Movies

    Following a lengthy discussion over on Ratboy's Anvil, I've decided to post what I believe were the 10 Best Movies Ever:

  1. Waking Life (2001)

    A wonderfully dreamy, thought-provoking film about a person's lucid dream-journey, full of philosophical discussions with some of the great modern minds. The film's animation is unique, having been created by drawing over actual shots of actors. (Each segment was drawn by a different artist and therefore exhibits a different style.)

  2. The Matrix (1999)

    The first film was brilliant. The sequels unfortunately suffered from excessive funds. (What do you do when you spend thousands on creating a startling new effect? You play it repeatedly for 5 long minutes, even if it detracts from the plot). A Buddhist friend of mine who saw the first film repeatedly, remarked how the plot was a wonderful metaphor for the Bodhisattva path as put forth in Mahayana Buddhism.

  3. Hair (1979)

    You should really go see the musical first, but the movie is great too. It does a great job of capturing the exuberance and idealism of the 60s and correctly situates what was happening within the tense atmosphere of the Vietnam War and the draft. The entire movie centers around a couple days that a patriotic mid-western all-American kid spends in Brooklyn with a group of draft-dodging hippies.

  4. Gattaca (1997)

    I always felt that this was a great example of a science fiction film that didn't blow all its money on needless effects but instead relied on an intriguing and absolutely realistic plot.

  5. Quest for Fire (1981)

    I'm sure no one else will agree with this pick but I loved the boldness of this film for its serious attempt to show primitive humans in a realistic manner. The film follows a couple members of a tribe that goes out on a "quest for fire" after losing their fire (taken from a fire occurring in nature) in the aftermath of a battle. Throughout the film, the characters speak a reconstructed Indo-European tongue (without subtitles).

  6. Vanilla Sky (2001)

    I realize that this was a remake of the Spanish Abre Los Ojos, which most film officionados found superior. But sometimes I love the dreamy Hollywood visuals and wonderful sound-tracks.

  7. There's Something Special About Mary

    By far, the funniest comedy I've ever seen. The film has a lot of over-the-top sexual comedy but unlike most American films, it never devolves into crass prison-humor. Anyone who likes this film should also see the less well-known My Best Friend's Wedding.

  8. Jacob's Ladder

    This film's not for everyone. It's one of those bewildering movies that you have to be in the mood to watch. The film is enigmatic with few people agreeing on the significance of its conclusion.

  9. Titanic (1997)

    Perhaps this is Hollywood fluff but sometimes we must give credit where credit's due. Who could resist this great epic told in grand style with the beautiful Kate Winslet starring along side Di Capprio, who seems to have been born to play the role of the romantic young American?

  10. Forrest Gump (1994)

    This film incorporated a huge number of scenes which were well integrated into a central story. The film's hilarious, but beyond the humor, I felt it had a wonderful message. I remember critics tearing it up as a manifestation of American anti-intellectualism, but I saw it more as praising a particular personality type, the type of person who is always able to make lemon-aid from lemons.

I'll give honorable mention to The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980), Memento (a great pschological thriller), and The Game.


Anonymous said...

Well, I don't agree with all your choices, but such is life. Do agree with several of them. To your list I would add:

Fanny & Alexander (by Bergman). Flat out brilliant stuff. Life in a 3 hour capsule.

Jesus of Montreal. Multi-layered re-telling of the passion play, at all its levels of meaning, including how modern religious institutions would not be able to stand Christ now anymore than the institutions 2000 years ago could. My religious path is not Christian, but I found a profound message in this film.

Scott Lamont

Mick said...

I must say your list surprises me a little. First, I note that for a Best Ever list, there isn't a film on it that was made before 1980. Are you sure this isn't a Best In My Lifetime list?

**Hair is not a great film and doesn't capture the 60's at all--it's a caricature. Forman was slumming (altho Tharp's choreography is superb and almost saves the picture). You wanna know what the 60's were about, Arthur Penn's Alice's Restaurant is much better--much more honest, better writing, better performances, superb editing.

**Mary is very funny in a mindless, over-the-precipice kind of way, but funnier than Duck Soup or The General or Modern Times or even The In-Laws? I don't bloody think so. It's not even in the same league and I suspect the Farrelly's would agree.

**Forest Gump isn't just high-brow trash, it's profoundly offensive. The main message is to glorify the ultra-conservative, anti-poor mantra that if you aren't successful in America, it's your own damn fault and you ought to quit whining and Look on the Bright Side (ignore that man behind the curtain pulling the strings). Every character in it who isn't afraid to acknowledge complexity or attempt to deal with it is painted in broad brush strokes as seriously flawed or even insane. There's a reason Reagan loved that movie.

**Jacob's Ladder, which I actually share your fondness for, is nevertheless a mess. It's a noble failure but it's a failure just the same. The direction is hackneyed, the script has enough holes in it to pass as Swiss cheese, and the editing is--to be kind--pedestrian. It could have been a classic of the genre but it never gells. Flatliners is much closer to the standard here, altho it doesn't have the energy or the ambition of JL.

**Titanic? Ok, yeah, well. It bored me to tears the first time I saw it. A half-hour in, I started checking my watch. I know it was huge but I still have no idea why. The only visual worth seeing was the actual sinking--which, I admit, was stunning--the story was trite (The Countess of Hong Kong remade as a disaster film? Please.), the acting was rarely better than average, and the plot was--no point mincing words here--unbelievable and stoopid. Even as a Guilty Pleasure, I don't get the appeal of this film. For me, it was like sitting through a root canal without the eventual reward. I didn't leave that theater--I escaped from it.

The rest of your choices are arguable, certainly, (especially as Best Ever), but they show a real sophistication and appreciation for the possibilities of film (I understand why JL is there despite its flaws). It's as if this list was put together by 2 entirely different people.

I can only conclude that either you have a real weakness for popular trash, or you're a latent schizophrenic, filmically speaking, because you would have to jettison everything you believe makes one half of this list great in order to choose the other half.


Kevin said...

You do have a strange selection. So do you like movies that are more conceptually artistic? ...

Karlo said...

I enjoyed reading Mick's comments. I'm fully aware that from a critical perspective, my selections are extremely subjective (and indefensible). And I could probably come up with 10 other films that I enjoyed just as much. I think you and others were a bit harsh on Hair. It may be an "ideal" view of the 60s but in my view that's what the 60s really were about--ideals. People felt like they could change the world immediately--an idea that the modern cynical age has a hard time with. I admit, my love of many of the films is probably simply because I was in the mood for a movie the particular day I saw them. I fully confess to putting out a very low-brow sort of list. And the lack of old movies is a personal weakness--I've found myself unable to appreciate most old film as much as I try. The only old film I remember off-hand really loving was Chaplin's The Dictator and I can't exactly explain why.

Kevin said...

I like the Dictator. One of Chaplin's best.

Karlo said...

I actually much preferred it to modern times. The part with Chaplin bouncing the globe up and down was hilarious. I don't understand comedy. Sometimes it just clicks. Other times, it's just a little off and not funny at all. Chaplin definitely had a talent.

Gail said...

Cool! You've got both my favourites on your list - Waking Life and The Gods Must Be Crazy.

I've got a soft spot for Himalaya.Hmmm.. what else... I re-watched Baghdad Cafe at xmas - I'd forgotten how good that was.

Karlo said...

I can't believe how many people I run into who say they loved Waking Life. Since it wasn't number 1 at the box office, I'm assuming that only the small slice of eccentrics that I associate with must have liked it. (: Bagdad Cafe was an interesting flick that definitely broke the mould.