Saturday, June 19, 2010

Top 100 Movies of the Last 25 Years (1984-2009): Part 4

70. Mulholland Drive - While the events that occured in this film are still fuzzy to this very day, and we still have no idea what really happened, the images and themes of David Lynch's masterpiece are still burned into our hearts and minds. While some find Lynch as pretentious and too damn wierd for his own good, it is impossible to not get swept up in the blending of mystery, fantasy, and reality, as a young woman tries to piece together the confusion of a car wreck. While this doesn't top his 1980's classic Blue Velvet, it gets pretty damn close.

69. Back to the Future - What Star Wars was for children of the 70's, Back to the Future, and its successors, was for children of the 80's. In 1985, Robert Zemeckis created a time machine that, when stumbled upon by a young Michael J. Fox, could eliminate his whole existence. The whimsical blend of comedy and fantasy, plus an over-the-top performance from Christopher Lloyd only add to the surprising depth and adventruous nature of this 80's classic. Not only does it tackle the issue of ones parents having sex (a little humor), but more importantly, shows us the dangers of some fantasies coming true.

68. A Few Good Men - "You can't handle the truth!" This exclamation from the always fantastic Jack Nicholson was just the icing on the cake, as A Few Good Men is a stunning drama about the honor and loyalty the armed forces, and the steps they take to protect those American ideals. I just realized that I sounded like a Republican and it scared me, so for now I will just say that this movie was a tense legal tumble that shows us the secrecy of our goverment and the trials of a whistleblower, something we should all take notice of.

67. Boogie Nights - In 1997, Paul Thomas Anderson tackled probably the biggest taboo subject in popular culture: porn. Boogie Nights is the story of a young man with a particularly large asset, and the trials and tribulations that he faces on his quick rise in the adult film industry. With a biting script that captures the campiness of most porn, with the psychological effects it can have on its stars, Boogie Nights put Anderson on the map. It didn't hurt that some excellent performances from Mark Whalberg, Burt Reynolds, Heather Graham, William H. Macy, Don Cheadle, Julianne Moore, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

66. Little Miss Sunshine - The story of a little girl participating in a child's beauty pageant didn't sound like my type of fare, but I buckled down and paid for the ticket, and have yet to regret it. The ensuing adventure that deals with issues such as vehicle problems, beauty issues, the crushing of dreams, and the death of a love one, is one of the funniest, yet heart-felt stories of the last 25 years. Add an incredible cast of Greg Kinnear, Steve Carrell, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, Paul Dano, and Abigail Breslin, and Little Miss Sunshine is a winner.

65. The Big Lebowski - To date, it still remains one of the best Coen bros movie ever made, and features "The Dude" aka recent Oscar winner Jeff Bridges in the role that made him a cult phenomenon. Like Dazed and Confused, and many others, The Big Lebowski is the non-existant, yet somehow fluid story about the ultimate slacker, and his journey to remain...well, an ultimate slacker. It is one of those movies where noting happens, yet the humor, performances, and sharp writing make it one of the best non-movies of all time.

64. The Truman Show - When Jim Carrey's Truman finds out that his entire life is really a reality TV show, he decides to find a way out of his personal hell. Peter Weir's The Truman Show can be called a modern masterpiece for its in depth look at our overly televised world, and how the stories that absorb us could all be a lie. More importantly, it makes all of us take a look at the lives we lead, and wonder if our world is really a fantasy or not. Jim Carrey and Laura Linney give fine performances, and Andrew Niccol's masterful script is funny, yet hearfelt, combines with Weirs tactful direction to create absorbing filmmaking.

63. Pan's Labyrinth - This 2006 masterpiece was grossly overlooked by many, and for all those that hated ten nominees, I can’t help but wonder if there had been ten in 2006, this brilliant gem (which won 3 Oscars) might have gotten the recognition it deserved. Set in Fascist Spain in 1944, it presents an alternate reality to the cruel world of one young girl, and brings us a dark, compelling, and gripping drama that as a war movie alone is brilliant, but with Guillermo del Toro’s imagination was completely transformed.

62. JFK- Even my bleeding liberal self thinks that Oliver Stone is a whack-job. However, I am also happy to say that he is an incredibly talented whack-job with a knack for conspiracy theory, that has yet to be matched in modern cinema history. This particular conspiracy deals with a New Orleans DA who thinks he has discovered more to the JFK assassination. Even in 1991, that horrific event still left a scar on Americans, and Stone's suggestion of us knowing absolutely nothing rattled a few brains, but it was all worth it with a taut political thriller that was extremely well written, and enthralling entertainment.

61. Ghostbusters - A Bill Murray classic in the works here, and this one is a doozey. Once again combing effortless, laugh out loud humor, and fantasy is not easy work, but Ivan Reitman (who recently received a long-overdue Oscar nod for producing Up in the Air with his son Jason), Bill, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, and Rick Moranis), manage to find an inherent balance between the two genres creating one of the most classic films of the 80’s, and one of the best comedies and fantasies of all time.

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