11 Mar 2010

Countdown 20 - 1

Doing things a little different for the end of the countdown with a wee bit about each film and why its so high on the list.

Also want to say a bit about how the list made itself. For me it's not about the most watchable films, funniest films, experimental films, obscure films, criticallly acclaimed films or popular films.

For instance whenever Dantes Peak is on TV I watch it. I love its corn, the cheese and the fact it does not attempt to engage with me. But it would never be near this list because its cinematic candy which I can switch in and out of with no regret. Need a cup of tea, away I go. Want to watch another channel for 20 minutes, will do and the return in comfort.

But in this top 250 there is La Fracture du Myocarde and Yojimbo. I have seen the first once and the second twice. However, they are so memorable I can still remember the excitement and emotion of watching them before heading to school to tell everyone about them. Not sure I would be in such a rush for Dantes Peak.

So basically this is list of films that changed my cinema horizons, made my laugh so much I got a stitch, had me hiding behind my hands, welling up into a tear waterfall and hoot 'n' roar for a hero. Maybe some of them are as pretentious as my little chat but I doubt it.

IMDB (but hopefully you wont need the link for this 20)

1. The Wild Bunch

Sam Peckinpah's masterpiece. Cool, action packed and tragic. The perfect bridge between John Ford and revisionist westerns. How many films have you in tears for a group of murderers who leave a trail off blood wherever they go.

2. 12 Angry Men

This film should be shown to all children and young adults. Its like a blue print for rational thought. Thanks to my dad for telling me constantly to watch this.

3. Assault On Precinct 13

It was late on a Sunday night. A film began with some youths walking down a passageway. Cops suddenly kill them all. Then the awesome sound of John Carpenter on a casio keyboard rumbles in. And then the sound of silencers.....

4. Jaws

Totally terrifying to watch as a kid. Now totally thrilling as an adult. Brilliant form the start but as soon as Quinn, Brody and Hooper get on the boat it takes off to perfection.

5. The Searchers

An old skool western which was basically already hinting at the revisionism of the 60s and 70s. John Wayne hate filled beast of a character was his best and like a lot of this top 20, it always makes me cry at the end. Also best opening/closing sequence ever.

6. Taxi Driver

This reeks of the the malaise, cynicism and corruption of 1970s America. A film full of menace and literally dripping in the disturbed thoughts of Travis. Scorcese's greatest moment, the whole experience is addictive.

7. Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid

A broken disjointed classic. Peckinpah's world was falling apart as he made this and it shows. However, it all falls together and once again for a film of violence and betrayal it has moments of great humour and sadness.

8. Blazing Saddles

Funniest and most quotable film of all time. He's the new sheriff and he's black. Let's roll.

9. A Matter Of Life And Death

This was made in the 1940s but feels like some 1960s breakthrough piece of drug fuelled creation. Is it heaven? Is it another world? Or is David Niven in coma? Visionary.

10. Badlands

Another late Sunday night find. This was not like a dream but more like a daydream. Moments of beauty and tenderness or spliced with our dark side which flits in and out of reality.

11. Planes Trains And Automobiles

You laugh for 89 mins. Cry for 1 min. Smile through the credits. This is a John Hughes film that makes the rest of his films feel like John Hughes films.

12. The Godfather

Surely this cannot be nearly three hours long. The big boss of gangster films. Better than its sequel until the moment I change my mind again.

13. The Godfather Part Two

This is all about Michael and his descent from bady guy to evil dude. The scariest character created for film.

14. Chinatown

Born out of the same machine as the Godfather this again is an almost perfect film with a dense pot which has a real shock value.

15. Amelie

The happiest film I have ever seen. And a film about falling in love with a french girl called Audrey.

16. Airplane

Slightly behind Blazing Saddles in terms of quotableness but only because BS has cowboys. At 400 gags per minute all records are broken.

17. A Fistful Of Dynamite

Considered a weak Leone film I believe its his best. Steiger and Coburn are a great double act despite their awful Mexican and Irish accents. A real sad film full of huge set piece action, dark humour, rage against the machine and a little model train.

18. Annie Hall

Where Woody Allen made you laugh and think without one drowning the other. A tour de force (what's a tour de force) of New York jewish comedy. (whats jewish comedy)

19. The French Connection

New York pops up all over this list and its this 70s thriller that feels so down and dirty. Don't often root for cops but gotta love popeye. And no the car chase is not overrated.

20. Indiana Jones Raiders Of The Lost Ark

The best hero created. Clever, handsome, brave, a nazi hater, a snake fearer with the ability to laugh at himself. And Marion.

Hope this list was of some interest. Feel free to mock, challenge and debate. A list is born to be talked about and disagreed over and not live in some vaccum wwhere everyone agrees to differ. Of course we differ but lets talk.

So on that point I reccommend checking a friend of Pontiac Dream mario.blog for his own Top 250 which could not be more different but is just as interesting.

1 comment:

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