What did you think this list would be? Can't comedies be great movies? Sorry, this one still makes me laugh, and I've seen it over 20 times. I suppose there are a lot of other great comedies I could name, like Tommy Boy or Naked Gun, but this one actually tried to be a movie with a plot and as far as that goes it did "a pretty d*mn good job if I do say so my d*mn self, thank you." (That's a line from the movie by the way, and somehow, like every other line, Chevy Chase makes it funny). Ok, seriously now...
This is on the American Film Institute's top 100 all time and so it is recognized as a great film and for me it was like the pinnacle of my childhood movie viewing and was a favourite for me for years after. A lot have tried to do what it did but none have come close. Probably everyone has seen it so I don't have to say what's so good about it.
This one is frightening, but strangely quite wholesome. I mean, there is some violence and weirdness to it but the scary part is that it is all too realistic. Nothing occult or gory. Just plain scary. A shrill of terror goes up my spine still as I think about it. Fantastic movie with basically two characters. Very well done. Very underrated movie. Not on anyone's top 100 film lists that I've seen but deserves to be.
2. Dead Poet's Society
I never see this on film lists, so I'm probably off base here. But this movie itself has become an icon in the thinking of so many people of my generation. It certainly has had maybe a bigger role in shaping who I am than any other movie I've ever seen. I'm not sure how, but I just know it made an incredible impression on me. Again, many copycats since, but none compare.
1. Twelve Monkeys
I just realized that there should be some M. Night movies on this list, but whatever, they are in a league of their own. 12 Monkeys is in a weird genre. Sort of an apocalyptic thriller I guess. But it combines elements of the Fugitive, Outbreak, and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest as well. Only it does it all edgy and different and the three main characters played by Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, and Madeline Stow are just so well done. Christopher Plummer is in it too, and since Sound of Music should probably be on one of my lists its nice that I can have in here somewhere. I love this movie.
5. Through a Glass Darkly
I have to confess that I am not worthy to compile a list such as this since I have only scratched the surface in my viewing of foreign and obscure films. Jeff C or Dave McG are the guys to check with. I just watch what they tell me too. However, I've seen a few now, and this one by Ingmar Bergman is just amazing. Its about a family. There is a plot and a point to it but really it is just about the rleationships of this Dad and his son, and his daughter and her husband. The first 20 minutes I though constituted a masterpeice.
4. Tokyo Story
Again, this one is about a family, except in Japan. What is amazing to me is that for some reason I underestimated how much Japanese people were just like North American people. The family dynamics in this film are almost painful to watch, but Ozu, the director, makes it all very beautiful to watch and lulls you into thinking there will be no climax. But there is. And along the way, every scene is a work of art.
3. Winter Light
Ingmar Bergman's dad was apparently a pastor, and so when he did this film about a priest it was quite personal. Apparently he and his dad together did some of the preparation for the movie and debated how to end it. This movie is one of the few to look sympathetically (at least I think it does) at the behind the scenes life of a pastor/priest. Its very real and honest. This could be the bridge for many a discussion, this movie, but I'll leave it at that. There is a long monologue in this one by the leading lady that is really quite an incredible peice of acting.
2. Remains of the Day
This was a beautifully crafted and wonderfullly acted film and I'm not sure why it isn't on other film lists. I have touted it for many years and had no success in getting anyone to watch it so I guess it is just plain boring. I think it such a good story and so well done and I am just a sucker for Anthony Hopkins. Besides, the scene with him standing in the rain (if you watch it you'll know it when you get there) just really affected me and made the movie different and so good at the same time. Following up on Dead Poets, this movie has really shaped much of my approach to life since. Crazy to talk of a movie that way I suppose, but its true. Anyway, this one is highly underrated, in my books. Maybe because its audience expected it to be like other American movies.
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
Watched this again last night and man is it an incredible film. I actually fell asleep part way through and picked up again later so I know it will put a lot of people to sleep. But if I was to name the top 5 scenes of all time probably 4 of them would be from this film. The monolith's appearance, the monkey playing with the bone, the monolith photo op on the moon, the showdown with HAL: these sound almost silly but are truly astounding scenes. And its like 22nd on AFIs film list so I know I'm not alone on that one. A masterpeice.