Sunday, October 30, 2011
Top 100 Films of the Last 50 Years (1960-2010): Part XI
6. Raging Bull (1980) - How Ordinary People beat this film out for Best Picture in 1981 is still a mystery to me, as this Martin Scorsese boxing classic was his best film, a feat considering the career that he has had. The reason that Raging Bull rises so far above and beyond so many sports films is the fact that this is not a happy triumphant film about the heroics in the box ring ala Rocky. Instead, Raging Bull tells the story of an unlikable boxer, Jake La Motta, who goes on a self destructive rage that destroys his life as his boxing career takes off. Shot in black and white, Raging Bull is searing, at times hard to watch, and painful, yet if your willing to endure the pain on the screen, what you will find is an dark and brilliant masterpiece, featuring stunning direction by Martin Scorsese, and a career-defining role for Robert DeNiro. His performance is emotional, painful, and displays a depth that has become signature of his roles. By taking a different route from most sport's movies, Raging Bull distinguishes itself as a master-class and original film that truly is a modern American masterpiece, and the greatest boxing film of all time.
5. Pulp Fiction (1994) - This 1994 Tarantino classic topped my Top 100 Films of the Last 25 Years, and while it couldn't pull off the feat two times in a row, it still remains one of the best films, even with another 25 thrown in the mix. Tarantino films are not for everyone, and his back and forth story structure at times can be confusing and seemingly unneccessary. However, Tarantino does nothing half-ass, and every moment of his dense and brilliant screenplay has a purpose, everything is calculated right down to an art. And that is why Pulp Fiction has survived the test of time, it is absolutely perfect at being what it is: A pitch-perfect bow to B-movies of the past, a wildly entertaing and disturbing experience, and probably the best film without a clear and consise purpose. Tarantino builds out characters, plans a couple of storylines and lets his films flow, letting the audience take away from it what it chooses to. It doesn't hurt that Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, and John Travolta, as well as many others are at the top of their game, and embrace all of Tarantino's brilliant craziness. Whether you love or hate this film, it is important that at least you respect Tarantino's brilliance, his obscenities, and his own personal love of film. Because Pulp Fiction reprents the best of what he has to offer, and it's something that no one should miss.