Top 100 Films: The _8’s

Today brings the films in my top 100 whose spots end in the digit 8! Arbitrary-ocity!

In today’s list we have two films that have two female leads (and one with no women at all), two or three horror films, and one movie by a bad director! And now, the list.

98. In the Loop (2009)

Directed by Armando Iannucci. Starring Tom Hollander and Peter Capaldi

Well, I don’t want to be accused of micro-managing, but I cannot understand why I Heart Huckabees is on a list of DVD’s considered suitable for armed-forces entertainment. That self-indulgent crap is not suitable for combat troops.

The fastest movie since His Girl Friday, In the Loop is a hilarious look at the run-up to a war in the Middle East. Peter Capaldi’s frothy, foul-mouthed string-puller who has lost track of which strings are which is the breakout star of the film, and Tom Hollander plays a guy who seems to have risen to a position that he is horrendously unqualified for. It’s complicated, swift, and one of the best comedies I’ve seen.

88. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

Directed by Rob Reiner. Starring Michael McKean and Christopher Guest

As long as there’s you know, sex and drugs, I can do without the rock and roll.

The best of the faux-documentaries I’ve seen, This Is Spinal Tap is widely loved. There are so many great segments, and the frame of a documentaries makes everything even funnier. If you haven’t, check out the DVD commentary track, which sports the guys in character complaining about how poorly the movie makes them look. It’s almost as good as the  regular movie.

78. How Green Was My Valley (1941)

Directed by John Ford. Starring Roddy McDowall and Maureen O’Hara

Huw, I thought when I was a young man that I would conquer the world with truth. I thought I would lead an army greater than Alexander ever dreamed of, not to conquer nations, but to liberate mankind. With truth.

Notorious as the movie that beat Citiczen Kane for the Best Picture Oscar, How Green Was My Valley gets too little credit for being a great movie in its own right. A coming of age movie and a love letter to Wales, it feels like an epic while being a study of this family. It’s also impeccably directed, as you would expect from John Ford.

68. RoboCop (1987)

Directed by Paul Verhoeven. Starring Peter Weller and Nancy Allen

Let me make something clear to you. He doesn’t have a name. He’s a program. He’s a product.

Much like his other films (Total Recall, Starship Troopers, and even Showgirls) RoboCop is steeped in genre elements and is a darkly comic satire. And let’s throw a little Christ imagery in there, too. Also, lots of blood and stuff.

58. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Directed by George A. Romero. Starring Duane Jones and Judith O’Dea

Now get the hell down in the cellar. You can be the boss down there, but I’m boss up here!

This is, I think, the only film on my list that is directed by a bad director. George A. Romero has continued to go back to his zombie filled universe with diminishing returns. I feel like he almost lucked into this one, working within such limited constraints can sometimes get you a better result than when you have even a little more freedom. Unlike any of the sequels, this movie is terrifying, oddly pretty, and the message is hidden rather than the raison d’être, which is a problem with all of his other movies. But this one is awesome.

48. Mulholland Dr. (2001)

Directed by David Lynch. Starring Naomi Watts and Laura Harring

It’ll be just like in the movies. Pretending to be somebody else.

I feel like I understood this movie less and less as it went along. Then I mostly understood it directly after watching it. And now I have no clue. I do know that it’s a fascinating film to watch, at times funny, strange, scary (the Winkies man still haunts my dreams) and gorgeous. Most of it probably doesn’t happen or something, right? If none of this makes any sense I suppose the writeup will emulate the film.

38. 12 Angry Men (1957)

Directed by Sidney Lumet. Starring Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb

I don’t believe I have to be loyal to one side or the other. I’m simply asking questions.

12 guys yelling at each other in a room. None of them have names for most of the film, and you can really get to understand the people behind the juror number. Henry Fonda is, as always, an amazing actor, and Sidney Lumet gets a lot out of his single setting. It feels as claustrophobic as it should. And it’s a cool look at the U.S. justice system.

28. 127 Hours (2010)

Directed by Danny Boyle. Starring James Franco and a rock

This rock has been waiting for me my entire life. Its entire life, ever since it was a bit of a meteorite a million, billion years ago. In space. It’s been waiting, to come here. Right, right here. I’ve been moving towards it my entire life. The minute I was born, every breath that I’ve taken, ever action has been leading me to this crack on the out surface.

That’s a really long quote, so I’ll be brief here. A movie about being alone and the necessity of other people. James Franco’s performance practically is the movie, and although he’s a bit hit and miss in general, he’s truly great here. And Danny Boyle’s camera adds so much to the film, going crazy when Franco’s being frenetic, settling down as his body starts to slow. Check my review.

18. The Exorcist (1973)

Directed by William Friedkin. Starring Ellen Burstyn and Linda Blair

You’re telling me that I should take my daughter to a witch doctor? Is that it?

I have a lot of horror on my list and, though there are a few more above this one, I don’t know if any are as objectively terrifying as The Exorcist. Sound design really makes this one tick. And Ellen Burstyn’s performance grounds the film in a mother’s love and fear for her daughter. It’s as real as a horror movie gets.

8. Lucky Star (1929)

Directed by Frank Borzage. Starring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell

You’re a cannibal and a dirty, no-good low-down little thief!

Borzage does transcendent romance so well, everybody else might as well give up. The tale of an injured soldier and a lovable scamp, the two must fix each other through the power of their love. When filmed with Borzage’s wonderful, poetic camera you believe that true love will conquer all.

The other parts of the list:

The _0’s section

The _9’s section

The _8’s section

The _7’s section

The _6’s section

The _5’s section

The _4’s section

The _3’s section

The _2’s section

The _1’s section

Advertisements

22 thoughts on “Top 100 Films: The _8’s

  1. Yo A.Tom (you still go by A.Tom, right?) are there any additional Hawks, Ford or Borzage that you would recommend (or any that you have seen) that did not make Bob’s final cut? Particularly with Borzage; after rewatching A Farewell to Arms and Moonrise on the ‘Flix, it has been a lot easier to get a feel for Borzage’s style on my own terms (no offense to Bob, Borzage can be a hard nut to crack with so much unfettered emotion). I know Street Angel is on my To-See list.

    1. It’s A.Thomp, thank you very much.

      I haven’t gone much outside Ford and Hawks from what we watched in class, but for Borzage I can recommend Desire and The Spanish Main.

  2. How Green Was My Valley! Lucky Star! RoboCop! The Exorcist! Fun stuff. Surprised how high you placed 127 Hours. Didn’t realized you loved it that much. Also, more old things, which is good.

    I’ll be interested to see how much more Borzage you fit into your top 100. 😉

  3. Desire looks like something my speed. Not a fan of pirate movies no matter how voluptuous Maureen’s cleavage is.

      1. Psshh, don’t believe you. Though I did see a little bit of The Black Swan (no, not that one) on TCM. Not that I’m making a recommendation.

  4. Nice to see 127 hours get such a high rank. I liked it a lot too, even though it hasn’t made it into my 100 list. Yet. Maybe it will grow even more with some distance. Some movies do that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s