Opinion | Opinie 19/02/2010; movies

And today for something completely different… not sure I really have time for this post but giving it a go anyway.

My best movies

Now, this is a difficult subject – or easy, depending on how you view things. In short, I like too many different movies to say that there is one that is really the “bestest”. I’ll just give a list of movies that I can watch again and again and impress me each time; that’s as close to “best” as I can get. In no order except the one in which they popped up in my head.

The Usual Suspects

Immensely intelligent crime/thriller, and watchable even after knowing the plot thoroughly. All-star cast with Kevin Spacey as primus inter pares

Das Boot

Amongst many powerful war movies, this one stands out for me (Bridge on the River Kwai would be another top fave of mine). Different for its lack of action rather than a focus on blood-and-gore, written from the perspective of the “wrong side”, and not in English too.

Citizen Kane

Pioneered (or at least perfected or taken into the limelight for the first time) many things we now take for granted as far as cinematography is concerned. Non-linear story-telling, odd camera angles. A classic story of how money does not make happy, told with wit and conviction. Would take this to a desert island if I could only bring one movie. Maybe.

The Lord of the Rings [trilogy]

Not much to say about this one that hasn’t been said elsewhere. Everything works in this fantasy masterpiece, especially in the expanded versions on DVD.

2001: A Space Odyssey

One of several Kubrick movies in my list; the Shining could easily be in here, too, except I am not the greatest fan of horror and there are already two of him in here. Lots of things don’t happen in this movie, and you’re just left staring into space. Deliberately slow, but sooo beautiful. Also gets you to think about the man-machine relationship (for that reason I left out another sci-fi cracker about a similar subject, Blade Runner). Cheaper than an acid trip but with the same effect.

A Clockwork Orange

Both easy on the eye, a tribute to the seventies and Beethoven, as well as a disturbing view into the mind of a violent youth, and a social commentary on the power of government. Total win. The competition for Citizen Kane to be brought to the desert island. Maybe I’ll try to smuggle one of them in my butt crack.

The Matrix

Despite two largely failed “sequels”, the original is still the best action sci-fi movie around due to a clever plot with enough depth to keep you thinking, the use of “bullet time” (IIRC), and lots of nice action in general. It does sit on the edge of the list though.

Finding Nemo

Among so many Pixar hits, I pick this one… it’s got everything and it’s got little to no weaknesses. Up runs it close second though, and would be better if it wasn’t for its weak middle section with talking dogs and suchlike nonsense.

Fargo

To me, still the best Coen brothers effort. More jokes than you can poke a pointy stick at, biting humour, great acting, hilarious script. Re-watchable to the nth degree.

Second tier: good but not great

These are the movies that I do really like but lack something (don’t ask me what) that prevents them from entering the Walhalla. I think it’s that all movies up there are good in more-than-one way, in my opinion; they combine for instance really good action with interesting philosophy, or very good acting with a very good script. In this second list the outstanding qualities tend to be limited – still IMHO – to only one “category”.

The Shining

But this should maybe be in the list above. Jack Nicholson runs away with this movie that is witty, scary, and very well executed. Another Kubrick classic.

The Holy Grail

&

The Life of Brian

The former I find has more cracking jokes; the latter wins in the “social criticism” department. Two extraordinarily funny Pythons, worth seeing over and over and over until you know every fecking joke in there… and still piss your pants while synching them.

Memento

Even more clever than the Usual Suspects, and taking non-linearity to extremes, it does lack in the acting department, preventing it from being “up there”. Still an amazing movie.

Princess Mononoke

or

Laputa, Castle in the Sky

(or Nausicaa, or Spirited Away, or yet another Studio Gibli)

The pinnacle of Japanese anime, each of these movies are amazing. But until I’ve seen all of them I find it unfair to put any one of them up in my top list. Laputa is truly marvellous, but I’ve heard Nausicaa may even be better. Better? Wow.

Casablanca

Very good, yes, very good… but romance is not my forte. Brownie points scored for featuring chess in a positive way.

Once Upon a Time in the West

Maybe not even the best western that I know, but for that I would need to see the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly a few more times. Until then, this is of course very very good. Minutes of nothing happening, the score, and massive lead roles. Gripping.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Of all Kaufmann’s movies, I find this one to stand out. Carrey shows he can act like an adult if he needs to (as in The Truman Show). Insanely clever, combined with energetic lead roles and good supporting ones. More twists and turns than a road through the Alps.

Bridge on the River Kwai

and

Blade Runner

as explained above

I’m sure there are more but this should be OK for a while. What have I forgotten…?

7 thoughts on “Opinion | Opinie 19/02/2010; movies

  1. still haven’t seen das boot although people keep telling me to (my list of should-see’s is depressingly long as you’ve noticed, but i prefer to spend my time talking to friends rather than watching movies, i don’t like one-way communication.. but i know, i should, i will watch it), but anyway at least i’ve been on a ferry trip called das boot! :) it was an ebm concert trip with several bands playing including vnv nation. yay! do you like them?

  2. Never heard of VNV Nation, I’ll Spotify them!

    To be pedantic, I didn’t tell you that Das Boot is a movie you should watch.
    …but actually, yes, you should watch Das Boot, I’m telling you now :p.

    I always find a good combination is to watch a movie with friends, then discuss the movie and its themes afterwards. If it works it gives you the best of both worlds.

  3. Some of my movies that are among my top favorites but are not even on your list are the following:

    – Chinatown (1974)
    – Heat (1995)
    – Groundhog Day (1993)
    – Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
    – Office Space (1999) (how can you NOT have this in your list dude!! :P)
    – The Bear (1988)

    just some examples…

  4. Most of them I haven’t seen, so that explains a bit :-).
    Groundhog Day, yeah that could be in there, can’t quickly think of a better comedy. Chinatown I didn’t like much.

    I should put a Vietnam movie in there, maybe – Apocalypse Now, probably.

    You give too many 10s by the way :p. And Trainspotting a 4? Dude :O!

  5. I’ve been told before that I give too many 10s. :) But I consciously choose to be a little easy-going with that. Basically, whenever I can’t find anything that can be improved about the movie, I choose to give it a 10.

    Yeah, I really hated Trainspotting! These people were just disgusting (I was particularly freaked out about the scene with the toilet) and I couldn’t see the point of all the “filth”. I only watched the movie for about 30 minutes. After that, I couldn’t bear with it any longer. :)

    BTW, my favorite movie by the Coen brothers is “No Country for Old Men. :) Damn, that movie is good…

  6. Re Trainspotting, fair enough, we all have movies that we just don’t get. I liked it, not brilliant, but at least a 7. La Pianiste was one I found appalling (rated it a 2).
    Re NC4OM, yeah it was good… just that Fargo I think is better. But yes, it’s one of the Coens’ best.

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