Today’s portion of the list leans heavily on the romantic side, with 6 of them containing heavily romantic elements. There’s also only two movie from before I was born. And it leans towards the generic side, with 2 period epics, a rom-com, a courtroom drama, a con film, a 2 crime dramas, and 2 films about artists and their works. And dinosaurs.
Directed by Martin Scorsese. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day-Lewis
That’s what preserves the order of things. Fear.
Another mini-epic, this film survives thanks to strong performances by DiCaprio and Day-Lewis and remarkable directorial work by Scorsese. He’s not a favorite of mine but here everything works. It is forgotten all too easily.
Directed by Josef von Sternberg. Starring Marlene Dietrich and John Lodge
I want to play with my toys!
This telling of the story of Catherine II is probably the best looking film on this list, at least in terms of set design. The opulence on display is overwhelming, and Dietrich’s performance matches it. Then there’s the hilarious Sam Jaffe’s over-the-top Grand Duke Peter, amping everything up to 11.
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Starring Adam Sandler and Emily Watson
I didn’t ask for a shrink – that must’ve been somebody else. Also, that pudding isn’t mine. Also, I’m wearing this suit today because I had a very important meeting this morning and I don’t have a crying problem.
The best Adam Sandler film takes the typical Adam Sandler shtick and puts it in the real world. Mostly. It’s funny and romantic and thrilling and sad. All the things you want a movie to be.
Directed by John Ford. Starring Henry Fonda and Marjorie Weaver
By jing, that’s all there is to it: right and wrong.
More great Henry Fonda, more great John Ford. And there is another on the way. This one shows a small part of the beginnings of Abe Lincoln’s career. It’s mostly a courtroom drama, and a great one at that.
Directed by Rian Johnson. Starring Rachel Weisz and Adrian Brody
The perfect con is the one where everyone involved gets just what they want.
I’ve not seen a great deal of con movies, though I have seen some of the big ones. This one has a lot more heart to it than any of the others. It’s also hilarious and all of the con stuff works. The ending is super great. So’s the middle and the beginning.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh. Starring George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez
It’s like seeing someone for the first time, and you look at each other for a few seconds, and there’s this kind of recognition like you both know something. Next moment the person’s gone, and it’s too late to do anything about it.
Cool and hot, this movie has it all. Clooney’s on top of his game and Jennifer Lopez has never been this good since. A tale of impossible love and criminals, there’s a lot of humor and violence. That’s how you know it’s a good romance.
Directed by Darren Aronofsky. Starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis
Perfect? I’m not perfect. I’m nothing.
A movie about art, the pursuit of perfection, and going crazy. There’s much melodrama in this film, everything is black or white. It’s not subtle, but I love it. The final performance is one of the best things I’ve seen recently.
Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Starring William H. Macy and Frances McDormand
There’s more to life than a little money, you know. Don’tcha know that? And here ya are, and it’s a beautiful day. Well. I just don’t understand.
Sometimes you just gotta laugh at some of the silly things that people do. The Coens know this, which is why their seminal Fargo is at once real and hilariously un-real. The accents just enhance everything to another awesome level.
Directed by Tarsem Singh. Starring Lee Pace and Catinca Untaru
You should ask someone else. There’s no happy ending with me.
A movie about storytelling and why we do it. With two amazing performances at the center, filmed all over the world in what must be the most beautiful places, this film is something to get wrapped up in. The story within the story doesn’t always make sense, but it shouldn’t, really. The ending is, again, amazing.
Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Sam Neil and Laura Dern
But with this place I wanted to show them something that wasn’t an illusion, something that was real, something they could see and touch. An aim not devoid of merit.
Dinosaurs always fascinated me. Things that did exist but don’t any more. But Jurassic Park gives us a glimpse at what might happen if we weren’t the top of the food chain anymore. It’s thrilling and thrilling and thrilling. Also, Jeff Goldblum is amazing.
The other parts of the list: