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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Dude Abides: My Answer to Sight & Sound's 50 Greatest Films of ALL TIME


It's an interesting time right now in the world that makes up my sports viewing consciousness. The Red Sox are proving more and more each day that they're nothing more than a .500 team; the Patriots have started camp, but are still a few weeks away from really grabbing my attention; and in an odd yet predictable turn of events, the entire world seems to be caught up in a major sporting event (the Olympics) that I find about as interesting as...well, about as interesting as an amateur track & swim meet...

That being the case, I'm turning the bulk of my allotted attention this week to the latest release of Sight & Sound's famous poll that, once every decade, ranks the 50 "best" films of ALL TIME. Needless to say, I've got some beef. And seeing as I've got the Interweb space to do so, I've decided to take to it and offer my own ranking. Granted, I didn't have the time I felt I'd need to to get to a proper and well thought out 50, but I did get to 30. Which is pretty damn impressive/pathetic when you consider I only started out intending to do a Top 10...

So, yeah. The Red Sox suck right now, and everyone wants to blame Bobby V (even though we all know the real problem is ownership). And the NFL season is just a few weeks away. That's why today, we're talking movies. So get you're popcorn ready, friends. And enjoy...

Like I said, this list was inspired by Sight & Sound's once-a-decade poll, and more importantly, driven by the fact that I haven't seen at least 80% of the films on that list. I'm not doubting their greatness, but the list is just full of movies that came out well before my time and, not being in color, fail to draw any of my interest. So, I figured I'd offer a list of my favorite films, almost all of which have been produced in my lifetime. There are a few exceptions, of course, but I feel this is a list that is much more representative of the modern day movie nerd than is the one provided by Sight & Sound...

Now, a little disclaimer. In my "haste", I wouldn't be shocked if I left a film or two off the list. So feel free to let me know if there's another movie that deserves inclusion. That's not an invitation to suggest that I overlooked "Slammin' Slamon', mind you. But there is a decent chance that I left a worthy film or two off the list, so feel free to speak up...

Now, without further dudes. Here you go... 


30. Office Space (1999)

Start 'em off with a joke, right? If there's a movie that better captures the essence of angst at the workplace, I've never seen it. If this movie could talk, I'm guessing it would say "Damn it feels good to be on this list"...

29. Mystic River (2003)

Lots of star power in this one (Penn, Robbins, Linney), but it's Marcia Gay Harden's performance in this Boston based murder mystery that sealed this films place on my list. She makes another appearance down towards the Top 10, as well...

28. Scent of a Woman (1992)

"Hooooo-Ahhhhh!" Great premise, great acting performances. And if that speech at the end doesn't elicit a standing ovation when you're watching from home, then you need a new TV...

27. Snatch (2000)

"Five minutes, Turkish." Lock Stock isn't too far behind, but Snatch gets the Guy Ritchie nod simply due to it's slicker production quality and plethora of fine acting performances. Namely Brad Pitt, although I'm also quite partial to Stephen Graham (Tommy), as well...


26. Fargo (1996)

When all is said and done, this will probably go down as the Coen Bros signature piece. That being said, it's the lowest ranked of their 5 films that I have in my Top 30. Yeah, I'm a Coen Bros.fan boy. Guilty as charged. And while that "Gee don-cha know" accent can be annoying at first, but once you adjust your ears, you're free to enjoy one of the most chilling (pun intended) films in recent history.

25. The Natural (1984)

Bobby Redford at his finest. Well, almost. I've got another film of his much higher on the list. Still, for my money no movie line is any better than "Pick me out a winner, Bobby."


Douglas getting high, and Holmes getting horny. What's not to love?
Oh and Tobey Maguire shoots a dog. It's awesome...
24. Wonder Boys (2000)

Katie Holmes finds herself on this list, but Denzel Washington does not (Philadelphia just missed). Weird. But it's the play between Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire and Robert Downey Jr. that makes this one tick. I always found it odd that people didn't like this movie more, too. I mean, people like Michael Douglas, they like smoking weed, and they like 2000-era Katie Holmes in a constant state of sexual arousal. Yeah, I still don't get it. But either way...

Dammnnnnnnnnnnn!
23. Friday (1995)

People think I'm joking when I say this, but I seriously think Chris Tucker should have been given some serious consideration for an Oscar for his performance as Smokey. Seriously. That's just some great acting right there. Comedic or not. "And you know this...mannnn!" ...

22. SE7EN (1995)

The first of the Kevin Spacey 'WTF endings' on the list, SE7EN really has it all. Great acting, great cinematography, an original story. That's a tough trio to attain, but this thriller has it and then some...

21. American Beauty (1999)

Back to back Spacey movies, and they couldn't be any more different. Another great story, though, and Chris Cooper and Annette Bening in the main supporting roles really help push this movie into the upper echelon. And yes, that plastic bag is pretty cool, too... 

20. Resevoir Dogs (1992)

I don't know about you, but I'd hate to be 'stuck in the middle' with Mike Madsen. I wouldn't want the nickname 'Mr. Pink', either...


19. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Ensemble casts can often be hit or miss, but this ensemble led by Gene Hackman and the Wilson brothers is a great example of how when they hit, they can hit it big. Easily me favorite Wes Anderson film to date, this family tale is wall to wall laughs, and wall to wall great music. That's a formula for making a great film if I've ever heard one...

18. LA Confidential (1997)

It got lost in the shuffle thanks to a certain movie about a sinking boat, but this is yet another ensemble cast that hits all the right spots. Another Kevin Spacey movie, too. With him prominently mentioning another imaginary character, nonetheless (Rolo Tomassi)... 

"Get busy livin, or get busy dyin'." Many are probably surprised that this isn't closer towards the top, but they're simply being obtuse...Nah. Obviously a great movie, it's just at this point, we're really just splitting hairs...

16. What About Bob? (1991)

"Roses are red. Violets are blue. I'm a schizophrenic, and so am I." Ahhh yes. Baby steps. If there's a funnier movie out there, I've yet to find it...although another Bill Murray comedy finds itself a little higher on the list. So maybe that isn't entirely true...

15. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)



Probably one of the lesser known films on this list (at least based on my research), but George Clooney's directorial debut about game show host turned alleged CIA hitman, Chuck Barris, is loaded with big names (Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, Julia Roberts), big performances, and my ultimate drug when it comes to movies, an original story. I mean, a movie based on the "unauthorized autobiography" of the accidental Godfather of reality TV? Yeah, sign me up for a large bowl of that. Probably gonna need a smoke afterwards, too...

14. No Country For Old Men (2007)

Perhaps the Coen's most cerebral work, their adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel is just a brilliant piece of film making for all the obvious reasons. Great acting, great story, and great cinematography. Javier Bardem is the real star, here. But his yin to Tommy Lee Jones' yang is the dynamic that gives this film such a powerful feel. It's open-ended nature also makes this a movie that you can watch again and again, whilst continuing to draw new and interesting conclusions...

13. Miller's Crossing (1990)



Back to back offerings from the Coen Bros' and the second offering from the aforementioned Marcia Gay Harden. It's John Turturro and Gabriel Byrne that carry this one, though. With Tuturro's performance being one of the best I've ever seen. Really glad to see AMC started including it this year as part of their 'Mob Week'. "Look in your heart!!!"..."What heart?..."

12. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Again, this one fits my trifecta for success. Great film making, great acting, and an original story. Or in this case, at least an original way of telling a story. Either way, this could very well be Tarantino's finest work. It's not his highest ranked offering on my list, but this seminal piece of 90's cinema belongs in everyone's Top 20...


11. The Godfather (1972)

"Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." Brando, Pacino, Caan, Duvall. You've seen it. And if you haven't, I'm rather shocked you've made it this far down my list...

10. The Blues Brothers (1980)

Easily the best movie to come out of Saturday Night Live, and while I know it's higher than most would expect, it's my penchant for classic R&B that gives this comedic classic that extra boost to cement itself in my Top 10. Probably one of the few movies that I would recommend you want to watch standing up. Seriously, you're gonna wanna dance. Or at the very least you're gonna want to do a slow walk back and forth across your room when the band strikes up Minnie The Moocher...


9. O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000)

Clooney's made it as a director, now he makes it as an actor. Turturro doesn't suck in this one either, a Depression Era remake of the Odyssey that will leave you humming old timey tunes and wondering how much you could get paid to "sing into a can"...

8. Goodfellas (1990)

Ever since I can remember, this has been a great freakin' movie. Like The Godfather, I'm not sure what to tell you if you haven't seen this or disagree with it's placement on the list. Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco carry the day, which is saying a lot, seeing as Joe Pesci received an Oscar for his performance as Tommy Devito...


7. Caddyshack (1980)

"So what? So let's dance!" Arguably the most quotable comedy of all time, it's even funnier when you consider Bill Murray and Chevy Chase refused to talk to each other during filming. But at least they were able to bury their egos long enough to produce some of the funniest moments ever to hit the big screen. So we've got that goin' for us. Which is nice...



6. Back to the Future II (1989)

I'm not usually one for massive plot holes, but for Doc Brown and Marty McFly, I'll make an exception. Sure, they should have ceased to exist the second "Old Biff" took the time machine back to 1955, but focusing on that ruins what is otherwise a fantastically crafted tale. I mean, come on. It's got a flying Delorean that travels through time, for crying out loud!. What's not to love? Not to mention all the gratuitous Huey Lewis and the News. Can't really go wrong there, either...

5. The Usual Suspects (1995)

I guess if you figured out that Spacey was Soze, then this movie wasn't that hot. But I didn't, and I loved every second of it. And in case you were counting, that's now 2 appearances from Gabriel Byrne (Dean Keaton), and still not a one from Mr. Leonardo Dicaprio. Which I only mention because I find it rather surprising myself...


4. Quiz Show (1994)

Bob Redford's back, but this time as a director. His work chronicling the "Quiz Show Scandals" is yet another tour de force by John Turturro, and a must see for anyone that's about to sit down to a smattering of "reality TV". When in doubt, I always give the nod to "historical fiction", and Quich Show is the best that genre has to offer...

3. Jackie Brown (1997)


The 2nd of 3 appearances in the Top 10 for Robert De Niro, and probably one of his least typical roles. Granted, he's just a bit player, but he does appear in several of the movies signature scenes."Your ass used to be beautiful!" Just a fantastic murder scene, right there.

Possibly another case of classic R&B music making me love a movie more than most, but what can I say? Classic R&B makes for some good movies. The Fighting Temptations not withstanding... 

2. The Godfather II (1974)

What can I say? I'm a sucker for sequels. And with De Niro and Pacino at the top of their games, there's little doubt in my mind that this is the greatest sequel of all time. Many thought it an impossible task to top the original, but in blending Vito Corelone's past with Michael Corlenone's present was a brilliant stroke of film making. IT made The Godfather II enough of it's own movie, that viewers wouldn't even be tempted to compare it to the 1st. When and if they did though, it wasn't uncommon for them to find it as simply a superior film, as I did here...   

Eight year olds, Dude...

1. The Big Lebowski (1998)

I've called No Country their most cerebral and Fargo their signature piece, but when it comes down to it, The Big Lebowski still reigns supreme. As quotable as movies come, with brilliant acting from virtually every role, top notch music and cinematography, I'm hard pressed to find any problems with this film. Probably why it ended up as #1...

I also credit this "story about bowling" with really opening up my eyes to a new brand of cinema. One that was focused more on the actual film making process, and all of the elements that went into making a truly great and interesting movie, rather than simply focusing of how much I was laughing or whether or not I liked the general plot of the story. It's why I went back and watched The Godfather, and The Godfather II, and other movies I wasn't exposed to in my youth. It may not have been a seminal piece for the Coens, but it was a seminal movie for me. And you know what? Nearly 15 years later, and it still stands the test of time. Still funny, still wonderfully directed. And still a movie I'd be more than happy to stand by and defend, for the rest of my days, as the greatest movie I've ever seen...

Ya know, unless I'm feeling differently next week...


just missed: Apocalypse Now; JFK; Casino; He Got Game; Hoosiers; Donnie Brasco; Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels; Munich; Back to the Future; Jaws; The Dark Knight; The Matrix; Memento; Gangs of New York; Wall St.; Last of the Mohicans; Dumb & Dumber; Philadelphia; Forrest Gump; Boogie Nights; The People Vs Larry Flynt; Fight Club; The Silence of the Lambs; The Boondock Saints


OK, so maybe I did eventually get to 50. Maybe even more. But a lot of those were more 'honorable mentions' than they were legitimate Top 30 contenders. That being said, still a lot of fine films on that just missed list, and I'm sure many more that I may have completely forgotten altogether. Which is where you come in. Got beef? Like I did with Sight & Sound? Then feel free to have at me. After all, there's nothing quite like talking about good movies. Hence why I decided to make this list to begin with...


Hope you enjoyed, friends. And I'll catch you again next week...


Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>

14 comments:

C. Hunt said...

Shawshank?

C. Hunt said...

Oh, sorry I missed it at #17...
The Shining?

Brett Ferruccio said...

Heeeeeeeeeere's Hunty? Yeah, good flick. Probably in the 40-75 range, though. Right after Pootie Tang.

Anonymous said...

First of all your delusional if Slammon Salmon didn't make the list..secondly, what about a top 10 sports movies list from you there aye rooch..so many good ones. Tin cup, above the rim, blue chips, these are not in order but etc etc...could be a fun list to look at. Have cuse bring that weak stuff to Cameron..Duuuuuke

Brett Ferruccio said...

Listen here, Bobby Hurley. There are already 2 sports movies on the list. That being said. 1. Caddyshack 2. The Natural 3. He Got Game 4. Rudy 5. A League of their Own 6. Hoosiers 7. Tin Cup 8. Raging Bull 9. Jerry Maguire 10. Bull Durham. BAM!

Now go find a house full of LAX players and start orderin' strippers, already.

JLee said...

you need to get yer hands on cool hand luke and badlands... forget slammin salmon, wheres the love for super troopers??? also, boogie nights and raising arizona have been egregiously omitted from a somewhat solid list...

Brett Ferruccio said...

Boogie Nights landed just outside the Top 30 (as noted), and as much as I enjoy Raising Arizona, it's probably closer to to 50 than 30. As for Super Troopers. It's not a bad movie, but I doubt it would even make a top 30 based strictly on comedies.

Anonymous said...

Wait what about the movie where will smith is a caddy? Pretty good stuff. No blue chips? One of those has to replace a league of their own. I mean decent movie if ur suffering from menstrual cramps or just need something in the background while your sewing.....you make me sick. I'm with u man. Don't understand the peeps that re big into olympics. I mean your telling me u can win medals for trampolining now? With that said two sports that I don't really watch,but would watch in the Olympics would be: UFC (be pretty bad ass to watch other countries beat the shit out of each other. Not to mention it would be cool to see diff styles of fighting....). And NASCAR would be kind of cool.....that is all

JLee said...

I only bring up super troopers in reference to all this slammin salmon talk... but if your gunna do a top 30 comedies I dont know how it wouldnt make that list...

Brett Ferruccio said...

Sure, Justin. Whatever you say. What's your top 5, though? "Regular" movies. Not necessarily comedies.

JLee said...

badlands
manhattan
boogie nights
cool hand luke
days of heaven
2001
fargo
harold and maude
no country for old men
mommie dearest

Brett Ferruccio said...

Badlands and Harold & Maude probably just have made my honorable mentions. Haven't seen a few other that you've got on there, I'll have to investigate.

JLee said...

mommie dearest isnt a top ten... but I think it'd satisfy your inner masochist...

Brett Ferruccio said...

My inner masochist could use some satisfying, too.

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