Tag: Spike Jonze

Top 100 Films: The _3’s

Today’s portion of the list has more horror, more action, and more foreign language films. There’re two movies by one director, three movies about making movies, 5 adaptations of books, and only 3 movies from before I was born. Enjoy!

93. [Rec] (2007)

Directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza. Starring Manuela Velasco and Ferran Terraza

What happened to her eyes?

Though this is no longer my favorite of the found footage genre (that’d be Troll Hunter), [Rec] is one of the most intense films I’ve ever seen. I watched it late at night in my bedroom and every little sound made me jump. I enjoy the simplicity of the story – people trapped in a house, zombies – so the sequels that claim to expound on the mythology have nothing to give me. For a heart-racing good time, call [Rec]

83. Mother (2009)

Directed by Bong Joon-ho. Starring Kim Hye-ja and Won Bin

There’s a meridian point that can loosen the knots in your heart and clear all horrible memories from you mind.

A mix of revenge and whodunit, Mother is mostly about a woman who learns how far she will go to protect her son. Kim Hye-ja gives one of the best performances in recent memory, and the final scene where she deals with the things she has done is superb.

73. The Godfather (1972)

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Starring Al Pacino and Marlon Brando

Just lie here, Pop. I’ll take care of you now. I’m with you now. I’m with you.

You’ll notice that I have two mafia movies on my list. In general, the genre does nothing for me. I don’t care to see stupid people making stupid decisions and dying stupidly early because of them. The Godfather, despite being the best known of the genre, is not your typical mafia film. Michael Corleone doesn’t want to be the head of a mafia family, nor does he even want to be a part of it at all. But through tragic circumstances he gets pulled into a world he doesn’t want to be a part of. That’s interesting. It’s also why I don’t care for the sequel. By then he’s all about keeping control of his empire, which isn’t anything I care to see ever again.

63. Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks

Ah, people only know what you tell them, Carl.

This movie isn’t just set in the 60’s, the golden age of flight and all that jazz, it feels like a movie from the 60’s. Tom Hanks nails the no-nonsense FBI agent and DiCaprio comes into his own as the con man with plenty of confidence. With a bevy of other cameos and co-stars and a stunning look provided by Spielberg and Janusz Kaminski, this movie is fun and supremely well made.

53. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Directed by Wes Anderson. Starring George Clooney and Meryl Streep

You should probably put your bandit hat on now. Personally, I- I don’t have one, but I modified this tube sock.

I used to call this the only good Wes Anderson movie until I recently rewatched (post the creation of this list, if that means anything) The Royal Tenenbaums. It’s still his best film, stop-motion claymation allows him to be as meticulous as he craves to be, and Roald Dahl is the perfect match for his dry humor. With an all-star voice cast and a fun and moving story, Fantastic Mr. Fox is a modern masterpiece of children cinema that’s just as great for adults.

43. The Prestige (2006)

Directed by Christopher Nolan. Starring Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman

The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything.

Nolan’s best film by far, The Prestige allows for the narrative trickery that he likes to use. The story jumps back and forth through time and diaries and tricks and illusions. It is, at it’s heart, about storytelling and movie making. It’s a love letter to the way stories make us feel. That’s my bag.

33. The Thing (1982)

Directed by John Carpenter. Starring Kurt Russell and Keith David

You guys think I’M crazy! Well, that’s fine! Most of you don’t know what’s going on around here, but I’m damn well sure SOME of you do! You think that thing wanted to be an animal? No dogs make it a thousand miles through the cold! No, you don’t understand! That thing wanted to be US!

The ultimate paranoia film, in The Thing you never know who’s who. Is your roommate an evil alien creature? Probably. The practical special effects are wonderful and make everything feel very real. It’ll be interesting to see how the remake/prequel does in this effect. Half of the trailer seems like a straight remake, copy and pasting scenes and dialogue. But then there’s some weird and interesting stuff towards the end that hopefully leads towards something new. Anyways, the original will always be a top-notch horror film.

23. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Directed by Edgar Wright. Starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost

Just look at the face: it’s vacant, with a hit of sadness. Like a drunk who’s lost a bet.

The epitome of the comedy/horror film, Shaun of the Dead is called a Zom-com by its creators and that’s a pretty apt description. I had no clue what I was getting into when I first saw it and that the film could go from beating a zombie up with pool cues to Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now to a serious scene about a character’s death was surprising and fascinating to me. It’s a truly remarkable film.

13. Adaptation. (2002)

Directed by Spike Jonze. Starring Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep

I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion. I want to know what it feels to care about something passionately.

Charlie Kaufman is known for having big ideas and somehow making those ideas work within a film but I don’t think he gets enough credit for the emotional elements of his films (outside of Eternal Sunshine, I suppose). Adaptation is about the impossible task he had to turn a book without a real story at the center into a film script. Adaptation is technically an adaptation of The Orchid Thief, but it’s really about the struggles of “Charlie Kaufman” and the characters in his film to find meaning and purpose in their lives.

3. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Harrison Ford and Karen Allen

I don’t believe in magic, a lot of superstitious hocus pocus. I’m going after a find of incredible historical significance, you’re talking about the boogie man. Besides, you know what a cautious fellow I am.

The best straight-up action movie ever made, Raiders is a perfect movie. There’s not one element out of place, nothing that I would change. It’s the best time you can have at the movies.

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

Top 100 Movies: The _0’s

What kind of crazy title is that? A good question. It’s that time of year again. The time to stress over which movies will and will not make the cut when it comes to making the definitive list of movies you really like. But I’ve done it three times before! It’s getting a little boring, right? WRONG! In addition to whatever new movies might end up on the list I’ve devised a clever (stupid) way to present them to you, my adoring public. Instead of giving you them all in one or two or three goes and counting down from 100 to 1 as you would expect, I’ll be giving you the list in groups of ten, based on which digit is in what we in called the “ones spot” in kindergarten. This means that today you’ll get numbers 100, 90, 80, 70, 60, 50, 40, 30, 20, and 10.

Why present them this way, you might ask. First, I’ll refer you to the previous paragraph where I said I was bored. But it’s also a bit of a commentary on the arbitrary nature of this whole excercise. Why not, that’s the real answer. And it’s more suspenseful. Or whatever. Here goes nothing.

100. Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

Directed by Ridley Scott. Starring Orlando Bloom and Brendan Gleeson

It is a kingdom of conscience, or nothing

Good enough in the Director’s Cut to make this list, this mostly forgotten epic is both big and small. It also contains one of the only good Edward Norton performances in an uncredited role as King Baldwin IV.

90. I’m Not There (2007)

Directed by Todd Haynes. Starring Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale

Yes, it’s chaos, clocks, and watermelons – you know, it’s – it’s everything.

Perhaps a gimmick to show all the “sides” of Bob Dylan as different characters, but it’s done with a crazy electricity that elevates it above criticism towards transcendence.

80. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

Directed by Robert Mulligan. Starring Gregory Peck and Mary Badham

There’s a lot of ugly things in this world, son. I wish I could keep ’em all away from you. That’s never possible.

One of the best adaptations of one of the best books of all time. Gregory Peck is Atticus Finch and the man every boy wants to grow up to be.

70. The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch. Starring Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart

There might be a lot we don’t know about each other. You know, people seldom go through the trouble of scratching the surface of things to find the inner truth.

Sullavan and Stewart are one of the great screen couples of all time and this wonderful Christmastime romance plays to their strengths. Later remade as You’ve Got Mail, AOL ain’t got nothing on good old fashioned mail boxes.

60. The Mortal Storm (1940)

Directed by Frank Borzage. Starring Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart

I’ve never prized safety, Erich, either for myself or my children. I prized courage.

Famously the movie that made Hitler stop Hollywood films from being shown in Germany, this coincidentally placed film has all the heightened romance and beautiful photography that you expect from a Borzage movie.

50. The Incredibles (2004)

Directed by Brad Bird. Starring Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter

We’re dead! We’re dead! We survived but we’re dead!

Simultaneously one of the better super hero films and one of the best kid’s movies ever. The style is astounding and the score gives everything that 60’s spy sheen.

40. Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

Directed by Spike Jonze. Starring Max Records and James Gandolfini

Well, look: thsi used to be all rock, and now it’s sand, and then, one day, it’s going to be dust, and then the whole island will be dust and then… well I don’t even know what comes after dust.

A movie about childhood that is more for those remembering it than those experiencing it. Sometimes you make friends and sometimes they hurt you and sometimes you hurt them.

30. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

Directed by John Ford. Starring John Wayne and James Stewart

I know those Law books mean a lot to you, but not out here. Out here a man settles his own problems.

Perhaps the beginning of the revisionist western. But what a swan song! The film starts with John Wayne as the presiding force in town but ends with bookish James Stewart the only one left alive.

20. Toy Story 3 (2010)

Directed by Lee Unkrich. Starring Tom Hanks and Tim Allen

Now, you gotta promise to take good care of these guys. They mean a lot to me.

The end, for now, of the franchise that grew up with me. Though I was out of college by the time Andy was just leaving for it I still empathized completely with his situation. The good news is that there’s always another generation waiting to play with your old toys.

10. The Searchers (1956)

Directed by John Ford. Starring John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter

From now on, you stay out of this. All of ya. I don’t want you with me. I don’t need ya for what I got to do.

Ok, maybe this is the beginning of the revisionist western. Anyways. It’s about a man whose ways are outdated and must leave the community in order to make it stronger. Sounds like John Ford to me.

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