Saturday, June 26, 2004


How the hell did you guys do this? It's hard. I decided, after coming up with 22 movies and knowing that I wasn't done yet, to make a Top 25 list. Then I cheated. What's funny is that the list is in alphabetical order, but the ties really would be ties.

Movies shot as one movie count as one movie no matter how they were released.

These are all movies that I consider good and that I am fond of. A lot of movies belong in one of those categories, but this list is only movies that fit in both.

Directors are listed mainly because some of the movies are only one of several versions and I'd hate for anyone to think that I meant Jan de Bont's trainwreck or Gene Kelly as D'Artagnan (though I do love that version) or, GOD FORBID, Keifer Sutherland as Athos. Besides, I knew almost all of them without looking them up, and I'm a show-off.

Without further ado:

1. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert dir. Stephan Elliot
Dude. It's a musical (sort of) about drag queens in the Australian outback. Even if it was awful, I'd probably love it (as long as Patrick Swayze wasn't in it). But it isn't awful. It's touching, funny, and a damn tight picture.

2. The Big Sleep dir. Howard Hawks
I prefer the unreleased 1945 cut of the movie, available on the DVD. However, even the 1946 version provides one of the most entertaining detective stories ever committed to film. And even though Bogart was not the ideal Phillip Marlowe, he was damn good in the role.

3. Black Hawk Down dir. Ridley Scott
The quintessential war movie.

4. Charade dir. Stanley Donen
It's a thriller AND a romantic comedy! And it doesn't suck!

5. The Devil's Backbone dir. Guillermo del Toro
This chilling, lovely ghost story is first and foremost a coming-of-age story. Every frame is gorgeous.

6. Dodgeball: A TRUE Underdog Story dir. Rawson Marshall Thurber
This movie knocked BASEketball off the list. If you know me, you know how much I love BASEketball.

7. Down By Law dir. Jim Jarmusch
I love Jim Jarmusch. I also think he is very weird and I might not want to sit next to him at the bar. While Dead Man, Mystery Train and Ghost Dog are all excellent movies, my love for Down By Law just runs a little bit deeper.

8. Equilibrium dir. Kurt Wimmer
Holy crap! This is the single most kick ass movie ever made. For one thing, it takes place in a distopian future that kind of makes sense. For another, it has gun-kata. And if that doesn't convince you, it stars Christian Bale. Trust me on this one.

9. Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn dir. Sam Raimi
The first time I watched this movie, I had to rewind three times because the Evil Hand scene made me fall on the floor and miss stuff.

10. [tie] Farewell, My Concubine dir. Kaige Chen
I'm not 100% positive whether this movie belongs on the list. I haven't seen it in nearly ten years because it made me too emotional the first (and only) three times I watched it. Strikingly beautiful. Very sad.

10. [tie] The Haunting dir. Robert Wise
The limitations of the time period (1963) may be what made this movie as good as it is. No special effects worth mentioning, just hand-gripping terror.

11. Lonesome Dove dir. Simon Wincer
I'm cheating a little bit with this one - it's a six-hour mini-series. But fuck it, it's also my favorite western of all time.

12. The Lord of the Rings dir. Peter Jackson
If I have to explain this one, you aren't paying attention. (That isn't to say, dear readers, that you have to like it; just that I think everyone can understand at least in part why it is so beloved.)

13. Love and a .45 dir. C.M. Talkington
This one is sort of a sentimental favorite. But I do think it's a pretty great example of a crime spree movie. And it has Dinosaur Bob.

14. The Man Who Would Be King dir. John Huston
Words cannot express how much I love this movie, so I am not going to try.

15. Notorious dir. Alfred Hitchcock
My only complaint about Notorious is that I don't like the way Ingrid Bergman plays drunk. But that is hardly reason enough to dislike the movie with the greatest ending of any movie I have ever seen. And the rest isn't exactly shabby. Plus, Hitchcock famously dodged the "Hayes" Code in the kissing scene (but don't worry, it isn't a Kissing Movie).

16. Once Upon a Time in the West dir. Sergio Leone
For me, this movie falls more on the side of good than favorite, though I liked it a lot. But it would make the list for the opening sequence alone.

17. Paper Moon dir. Peter Bogdanovich
This movie is pretty much the definition of charisma and charm. It's sort of a buddy movie, except the buddies are a con man and a little girl.

18. Raiders of the Lost Ark dir. Steven Spielberg
OK, Spielberg, you cutting-me-off-in-traffic, walky-talky bastard. I give you this one.

19. Ravenous dir. Antonia Bird
Man vs Man. Man vs. Nature. Man vs Self. All in one excellent movie. With cannibalism. (Almost as good as Cannibal! The Musical.)

20. Secondhand Lions dir. Tim McCanlies
I did NOT expect to love this movie. I wasn't even sure I'd like it. But oh, man.

21. Singin' in the Rain dir. Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly
Look, this movie is too long and the "modern" ballet in the middle is pointless and annoying. But it is not only a life-long favorite of mine, it is also fascinating historically. It was written around the songs. It pokes fun at itself and Hollywood relentlessly.

22. The Three Musketeers/The Four Musketeers dir. Richard Lester
First of all, Oliver Reed can buckle my swash any day. Or, you know, he could if he wasn't dead. The first movie makes a plot of simple intrigue; the second has one of the best monologues ever in film. And they both have swashbuckling!

23. Touch of Evil dir. Orson Welles
If you can get over the fact that Chuck Heston plays a Mexican, and the bad guys "shoot up" marijuana, this movie is perfect.

24. Waking Ned Devine dir. Kirk Jones
When I walked out of the theater after seeing this movie, I felt more delighted to be alive than I had ever felt or have ever felt since. This is a heartwarming, feel-good movie, in the purest sense.

25. [tie] The Wizard of Oz dir. Victor Flemming et al
This movie should be such a gigantic mess, but instead it is pretty much the classic movie.

25. [tie] X2: X-Men United dir. Bryan Singer
I didn't think that comic book movies got any better than X-Men. I was mistaken.