Friday, June 11, 2010

Top 100 Movies of the Last 25 Years (1984-2009): Part 3

80. Requiem For a Dream - Darren Aronofsky made a soaring sports movie with grit and heart called The Wrestler. While it didn't make this list, his older, yet better (if thats possible) film does. Aronofsky has a knack for the quirky, and his choppy, fast-forwarded style combined with a touchy subject of drugs combines for a disturbing, yet brilliant, and original work that shocked viewers, leaving our jaws dropped. It doesn't hurt that Ellen Burstyn, one of the finest actors of all time, gave one of her best performances. But that is just icing on the cake.

79. The Thin Red Line - While it's no Saving Private Ryan, in its own way, Terrence Malick's look at Guadalcanal during World War II stands on its own as a great cinematic achievement. What it does achieve is showing us the bonds between soldiers, especially when the battle is tough, tedious, and more importantly, significant. Led by a great cast of Adrien Brody, Sean Penn, George Clooney, John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, and Nick Nolte, The Thin Red Line is an epic and emotional tale that sticks with you long after you left the theater.

78. Dead Poets Society - There's a line from one of Meredith Grey's voiceovers on Grey's Anatomy that says "the damn poets urging us to seize the day". While the quip might have had a ring of animosity to it, you can't deny the impact of that single line from this incredible movie. Back in the day, Robin Williams used to make incredible movies, and this one was no exception. His tenacity and enthusiasm that he brought to the film made us truly believe. It's doesn't hurt to have a great supporting class and a soaring storyline that makes you want to stand up and cheer at the end.

77. Speed - Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, and Keanu Reeves engage in a high speed race for life, as a cop tries to save the passengers on a bus, knowing that it cannot go below a certain speed, or its over. If it sounds intense, your right. And for all of us that watched Speed grasping our chairs, holding our breath, and becoming fully enthralled by its suspense, we couldn't have asked for more. It wasn't the most emotionally deep movie, or the most romantic movie, but it did what it aimed to do. Way too many movies try to be more than they are. Those that make movies like that should go back to Speed, and see how great commercial entertainment is made.

76. Se7en - Darren Aronofsky and David Fincher should have a contest to see who can make the wierdest, darkest, and most disturbing movies. At this point, I wouldn't have a clear winner. But for what it's worth, Se7en should be added to the competition. The story of a young and old cop who go after a killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his MO, is taut, thrilling, complicated, and absolutely the most mind boggling of the last quarter century. It doesn't hurt that you have two of the most talented actors in front of the camera, Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. In all aspects, it is a modern masterpiece.

75. A Fish Called Wanda - It is not often that a purely comedic performance wins an Academy Award. But in 1989, the Academy broke rank and gave an Oscar to one of the finest actors of our time, Kevin Kline, for one of the most brilliant performances of all time as Otto. The story of four individuals who doublecross each other after committing armed robbery was one of the quirkiest, wittiest, and most British movies of the last 25 years, and that is a complement. It doesn't hurt that John Cleese and Jamie Lee Curtis are the shit. I give it high marks for simply being hilarious, with not too much forced, something all directors should take note of.

74. Working Girl - 1988 was apparently the year for comedies, cause Mike Nichols also has a knack for creating brilliant comedies, and did so with this office-politics-comedy that showcased the talents of Melanie Griffith. While it only won one Oscar for Carly Simon in the Original Song category, it will go down as one of the best movies of the 80's, and one of the funniest, and most romantic movies of all time. Add in some Sigourney Weaver, Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin, Joan Cusack Oliver Platt, Olympia Dukakis, and Kevin Spacey and you have pure movie gold. Plus, there isn't a better story than a working-class American using their own cunning to get back at their greedy boss. It's a story that survives the test of time.

73. The Fugitive - Before Speed even thought of changing the thriller movie game, this 1993 thriller gave us two great performances, and some of the best cat and mouse chasing ever put on the screen. It is one of the few movies where the supposed bad guy, turns out not to be bad at all. A wrongly accused wife murderer seeks to clear his name by becoming a fugitive that must combine skill, tenacity, and the art of begging to stay on the run, while try to convince the feds of his innocence. This combination of heart and pulse creates a wildly entertaining plot that has depth and purpose.

72. The Little Mermaid - Disney was broken in 1980, as you can see in the wonderful new documentary called Waking Sleeping Beauty. But with this brilliant little movie that brought a classic tale to life, Disney itself was brought back to life to began the now almost twenty year run of greatness. The Little Mermaid may have been based on an old story, but with humor, music, romance, and a little darkness, it hypnotized viewers with vivid animation and an incredible story that to this day is one of the best animated films of all time. Oh to hell with it, it is one of the best films of all time...period.

71. Lost in Translation - This movie was surprisinly left off my list from last summer that covered only the 2000's, and after such a huge mistake, I had to make sure that this one made the list this time. Bill Murray gave the performance of a lifetime, as a down-and-out commercial actor that travels to Japan to sell liquor, and ends of finding himself lost in the tall buildings, millions of people, and bright lights of the Tokyo skyline. It doesn't hurt that he falls for a much younger woman that offers him a beautiful escpae from reality. Scarlett was great as well, and the direction and writing by Sofia Coppola meant that in less than a month, this gem was shot, now that is a feat.

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