Thursday, July 22, 2010

Top 100 Movies of the Last 25 Years (1984-2009): Part 8

30. Finding Nemo - Pixar has yet to make a bad movie, so it is up to the population to sort out which ones are simply better, and for me, few top the greatness that is Finding Nemo. The vivid colors of animation, the whimsical story of father and son, and the great adventure that it shows all make Finding Nemo one of the most incredible, funny, and inspirational movies of the last quarter century. Not only did it extend Pixar's incredible streak, but it also made many of us want to add a voiceacting Oscar for the incredible Ellen Degeneres, and the most memorable character of the last decade, the lovable, ditzy Dori.

29. Beverly Hills Cop - For all of those that detract from Eddie Murphy because of a few bad performances, may you should stop and look back at the great ones: Donkey in Shrek, Jimmy in Dreamgirls, and of course, his greatest role, Axel Foley in the infectious Beverly Hills Cop. In 1984, Eddie Murphy became forever engrained in American pop culture, with this absolutely laugh out loud riot, that is without a doubt, one of the best comedies and movies of the last 25 years, hell one of the best of all time...period. And all of that was possible because of Eddie...whose hating now?

28. Hannah and Her Sisters - Woody Allen has had his ups and downs, from Annie Hall, to Melinda and Melinda. But in 1986, Woody hit one of his highest points, with the family dramedy Hannah and Her Sisters. Like all Woody Allen movies, the combination of his surreal writing, and incredible acting is what makes it works. So some credit goes out to Barbara Hershey, Michael Caine (who won a Oscar), Carrie Fisher, Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest (Who also won an Oscar), Max von Sydow, Julia Louis Dreyfuss, Louis Black, and of course Woody himself, for taking this story to a whole new level of movie magic.

27. American History X - As a new battle over race heats up on the airwaves, maybe we should all go back and take a look at Tony Kaye's cult masterpiece, American History X. This brilliantly, tense drama is frighteningly vivid and surreal in a way that truly makes you think about the world around you. Revolving around Edward Norton's brilliant performance, American History X is a compelling whirlwind story that teaches us the valuable lesson that it is not what a person is that makes them good or bad, it is who they are. The sad thing is that even in 1998 when it was released, as well as twelve years later, this magnificent movie is still as relevant as ever.

26. Jurassic Park - For every boy who ever played with dinosaur toys as a child, this movie was their dream come true. Spielberg, like all good geeks, has given us a variety of incredible adventures based on his own love of subjects, and Jurassic Park was no exception. The magic and mystery of Jurassic Park made us all believe that we really could recreate dinosaurs, and the authentic of their look only made the screen even more vibrant. While its sequels never amounted to much, we will always be left with this enduring masterpiece.

25. sex, lies & videotape - Before he was an Academy Award winning director, Steven Soderbergh came flying onto the big screen with this independent masterpiece which earned him his first Oscar nomination for writing, and won four Spirit Awards. sex, lies & videotape today remains one of the greatest independent movies of all time, and marks the beginning of what has been a great, and still going, career of Soderbergh. This psycho-porno had some great performances, and mroe importantly tackled the issues of sex, fetishes, relationships, sibling rivalry, and a variety of other topics in such a direct and open manner, something the world needs more of today.

24. Boyz N the Hood - In 1991 John Singleton became the first African-American to be nominated for a Directing Academy Awards (and only one, Lee Daniels, since), for his modern urban masterpiece about the struggle of a group of friends in the Los Angeles, and the day to day struggle of their lives. Featuring a string of great performances from the likes of Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Morris Chestnut, Boyz n The Hood is a gritty, sometimes hard movie, to watch, but its overarching message that the struggle of life isn't a black or white problem, it is a human problem, is what made this classic rise above the norm and penetrate deep into the psyche of all that stopped for a viewing.

23. Heat - I think the thing about his modern crime classic, is that it didn't resort to flashy gang fights or mindless action. Instead, every scene, every character, every moment of Michael Mann's masterpiece is well-thought out, and contributes to the story. Anchored by some incredible performances including Robert De Niro, Jon Voight, Al Pacino, Tom Sizemore, and Ashley Judd, the true glory of this movie is how every character is important, and well thought out, and so developed, that their growth, interwined with brilliant action sequences, and tense dialouge combine brilliant to make what is quite possibly the best crime movie since The Godfather, and it has yet to be topped.

22. Slumdog Millionaire - It is hard to believe that this movie was almost relegated to the straight-to-DVD dump, considering it won eight Academy Awards and made over $140 million with not one bit of star power. Slumdog Millionaire is the story of an underdog, not unlike the story of the movie itself, that overcomes the odds to become a millionaire. On paper, an Indian-set movie with no stars doesn't sound like a crowd pleaser, but the uberly talented Danny Boyle turned a magnificent book, and created a fast-paced, adventure ride that expands your mind, entices your senses, and transports you to what seems like another world. Did I mention that it is a cinematic masterpiece?

21. Toy Story/Toy Story 2 - Unfortunately Toy Story 3 couldn't be included in this list, but it didn't make the time cut off. I was going to try to separate these two movies on the list, but simply couldn't. In their own right Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are masterpieces on their own, but together, they constitute one of the best continuing stories of the last 25 years, and I find it is best to watch them together. For most of us, what these two movies represent is the birth of Pixar, who after 15 years since Woody, Buzz, and the gang stumbled onto the silver screen, has become the most consistent studio in Hollywood, which has yet to make a bad film. Now that is worth celebrating.

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