My Top 100 Movies – Part 2: #90 – #81
About the list
And so I’ve decided to tackle the great white whale and try to come up with the list of my 100 favourite movies. This was not easy, but I decided to try anyway.
Please note that these are my favourite films, and as such some choices will be based on a personal sense of nostalgia (especially the top 5, once we eventually get there). There are movies that I have connections to that may rank them higher than you might expect. That being said, if there are films here you disagree with, don’t hesitate to argue them in the comments, and if there are choices you do agree with, feel free to show your support. If you think something it too high or too low, let me know. I’m not going to resort to the “well its my opinion” argument.
Keep in mind that this list is not made in stone, and some films in the future may go up or down in my estimation, as is wont to happen. Also, there may be films that I haven’t seen yet which may take a spot on the list later. I guess what I’m saying is that this is my 100 at the present time, though its a pretty good indicator of my taste in films.
I discovered Gattaca while researching a high school biology paper on genetic engineering. Its one of those great sci-fi films which takes an interesting future premise, such as the fact that humans can actually engineer their children’s genes, and really explores the implications of it. And its also just a great human drama about the endurance of the human spirit, as two of my favourite scenes can attest to; the treadmill and the swimming scenes.
89. Blazing Saddles
I thought I loved Mel Brooks, and when I was a kid I did. But looking back on his films, the only one which I consider to be great is that western spoof classic Blazing Saddles. Such great humour that while it does feel old-fashioned in a sense it never gets old. That toll booth gag kills me every time.
88. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
There are a few sequels on my list, and I think that Last Crusade is worthy to be one of them. Including Indy’s dad played by Sean Connery was a stroke of genius. I also love the three trials at the end to get the grail.
87. The Thing
What a great thriller. The premise of an alien who an imitate humans has infiltrated this small band of scientist, as it plays around a lot with paranoia and mistrust. The special effects are impressive, but they can be pretty gross. Still the tension is well earned and I love that its set in Antarctica. Top notch horror.
86. American Graffiti
American Graffiti fits a certain niche of film wherein there is no real plot, you are just hanging around with a group of characters for 90 to 120 minutes. And as long as the setting and the characters are interesting, those types of films can be great. This is a perfect example. It truly does feel nostalgic, even if you didn’t grow up anywhere near that time period. The characters are great and the atmosphere is and tone of teenagers hanging out on a busy Saturday night is very prevalent.
85. All the President’s Men
In the background of this fantastic political thriller is the constant “clack clack clack’ of typewriters. This is a very detail oriented film, which works heavily in its favour. Its not flashy, but it is smart and savvy. Both Redford and Hoffman are great as Woodward and Bernstein, possibly the two most famous reporters in the American public consciousness.
84. Good Will Hunting
I know its easy to make fun of this movie, but I still think its a really strong drama. Gus Van Sant gives it a certain subdued tone which clashes with the tough characters and setting. Robin Williams is awesome as the therapist. There’s a lot of great moments in this movie, but pretty much any scene with Will and Shaun is just awesome.
As I am writing up this list, I realize just how much in common Zodiac has with my #85 choice All the President’s Men. Both are based on real stories in the 70s, both are detail-heavy procedurals, and both are awesome. Zodiac is a film about obsession, in particular the obsession with finding the identity of one of the most notorious serial killers. The mystery of the Zodiac is incredibly intriguing, and this movie captures that intrigue in spades. This is the film where Fincher really showed his weight as a filmmaker.
I think in the last post I mentioned my love for historical epics, so Ridley Scott’s Gladiator in 2000 was pretty exciting for me. It brought back the feel of those classics like Ben-Hur and Lawrence of Arabia, while still being very modern. It still looks great and its easy to immerse yourself in this ancient world. And there’s lots of great kills.
81. United 93
When United 93 came out in 2006, only 5 years after the attack, I didn’t see it. I wrote it off as being a part of that wave of sentimentality which followed in the wake of that tragedy and assumed it would be melodramatic garbage. But a few years later I caught it on TV, and before I got up to change the channel, it ended up grabbing me. This isn’t a sentimental film, but instead it plays out the events of that day straight, and by doing so really managed to take me back to that fateful day that everyone remembers. This is a brilliant film that really captures the confusion and sadness of 9/11.