We’ve finally made it to the TOP 10 Films of All Time! (Well, at least the films that I personally think are the top)
I’ve broken the Top 10 up into two parts since I tend to get a little long winded on explaining why these films are my favorite.
Here is the first part with films 10, 9, 8, and 7. And as a bonus I’ve included clips this time. Let’s get to it!
10. Blade Runner (1981)
Why? This movie was so ahead of it’s time that it took like 15 years for people to say, “Wow. Blade Runner actually is a damn good movie!” I think the film got off to a bad start – with Harrison Ford talking shit about it and about Ridley Scott (the two of them did not get along during the filming and at one point Harrison was about to kick Ridley’s ass and had to be held back by some friends). Plus the studio didn’t like Ridley’s vision of the film and cut it to hell and added a narration by Ford that Ridley hated. All in all Blade Runner was poorly marketed and it bombed at the box office. I’ll admit, when I first watched this movie, not much long after Empire Strikes Back, I was not a fan and hated Harrison Ford in it. I wanted that Han Solo coolness that he had in Empire. Instead I got one pissed-off, jaded, bad haircut wearing detective, that only used his cool gun one time. Ahh youth. Now I recognize Blade Runner, and even Harrison’s portrayal of Deckard, as truly ground-breaking cinema. All science fiction films that followed owe this movie a debt of gratitude. Ridley Scott can make bathroom at the AM/PM look like the most beautiful place you ever laid eyes on – just give him some high-powered lights, smoke, and a wind-machine and you will see it transformed into a remarkable location. Here in Blade Runner he turns the grime of a derelict and condemned Los Angeles of the future into something both stunning and wretched. Mixing the old with the new, this “Film Noir / Neo-L.A” is the probably the most honest depiction of the future put to screen. Sure the movie takes place in 2019 only 7 years away from now, and we have yet to have flying cars – but still, I can see the future that Blade Runner depicted actually coming true one day.
(side-note: There are about 50 different versions of Blade Runner out there but you are best off with just watching 2 of them. The first would be the original theatrical cut with the narration by Harrison Ford, which gives the film an even more Film-Noir feel to it. And the second version you should watch would be the “Final Cut”. This is Ridley Scott’s own personal cut of the film – the way he wanted the film to be when it first came out. There is no narration and a the ending isn’t as “happy” )
Best Scene? The opening scene – the black screen suddenly comes to life with exploding flames that shoot up from exhaust towers, casting a hellish light over the landscape of Los Angeles. We see a flashing light getting closer, a flying car rushes by just as a bolt of lightening strikes. The tone is now set for the next 2 hours. Unforgettable.
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain… Time to die.” – Roy Batty
9. Nosferatu (1922)
Why? Vampires have always scared the shit out of me. More then zombies, werewolves, ghosts, and mummy’s, the vampire was the monster that kept me up at night as a kid with the covers pulled up over my neck. Something about a human being that use to be a loving, caring person, maybe even a family member, coming back from the dead to feed on you just always struck a nerve within me growing up. These days my nights are no longer filled with terror and I can watch Christopher Lee suck the shit out of some busty blonde and sleep like a baby, but back when I was a kid my bedroom window at night held the most unimaginable horrors – right outside behind that glass – waiting for me to pull back the curtains and see their yellow eyes. The first film adaption of Bram Stokers novel Dracula, Nosferatu still stands as one of the best even 90 years later. This silent film had to change the names of Stokers characters due to never getting the rights from Stokers widow, thus the vampires name is now Count Orlok and Harker is Hutter, so on and so on. But the story is the same and director F.W Murnau does a fabulous job of retaining much of the novels key moments and overall tone – that of complete dread. There are beautifully creepy scenes here that play with shadows and light, invoking the dreariest of the German expressionists. But the real star of this movie and the key to it’s long lasting success and following is actor Max Schreck, who played the vampire Count Orlok. He is quite simply, the most terrifying film vampire ever. Schreck embodies everything that the undead should – complete evil and absence of humanity. Schreck plays the Count as something not of this realm, something that has awoken in our world and brings with him the foulness of the dark place he is from. He is an abomination.
Best Scene? Johnathan Hutter has come to Castle Orlok to handle some business with the Count. One night he hears something out side his bedroom door. When he opens it to investigate, there is Count Orlok down at the end of the hall – staring right at him. Hutter quickly shuts the door and runs to the window but he is too high up to escape. The bedroom door opens by itself and in enters the Count. Hutter is fucked.
“We will go no further, sir. Not for a fortune! We will go no further. Here begins the land of phantoms.” Thomas Hutter’s coach driver
8. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Why? Want your mind fucked? Just pop in 2001 into the ol’ DVD player, sit back, and get prepared to be thoroughly screwed. It took me about 39 times of watching this movie to finally get some inclination of just what the hell was going on – in all fairness the first time I watched this film was around 13 or so, and there is no way a kid that rushes home from school to make sure he catches part 3 of G.I Joe “The Pyramid of Darkness” on channel 40 is going to truly apperacate Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece. But by the time I was out of school and stopped playing with action figures in the bathtub, I began to see Space Odyssey in a new light. There is no other film that comes close to the cerebral exercise of mans journey through time and space then 2001. Taking Arthur C Clark’s novel of the same name, Kubrick adds his own flair to the story, as he does to every story he adapts for the screen, and travels down star-gates that Clark only hinted at in his tale. Combining such heavy ideas with stunning visuals and music, 2001 transcends the media of film and becomes something else entirely. This like no other movie made before or since, and even on viewing number 40, I’ve still only scratched the surface of it’s meaning.
Best Scene? “Open the pod-bay doors Hal.”
“Look Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.” – HAL
7. The Deer Hunter (1978)
Why? Michael Chimio’s masterpiece. I love this movie. This, along with the #3 film on my list, was one of the last great 70’s films were a director got to do what he wanted – make what he wanted – say on screen what he wanted. The Vietnam war fucked this country up, and The Deer Hunter is the closest film I’ve seen that captures that “fucked-up-ness”. It’s hard grasp the feelings of those times back in the 70’s, when the counter-culture WAS making a difference in art and music and movies. People’s minds were being opened to the bullshit of Washington and this very wrong war. Chimio joined in the fray with a touching portrait of a group of good friends, 3 of which were heading to Vietnam. We first meet these friends during a wedding for one of them. This scene really sets the pace for this movie – it takes its time to tell the story. The Deer Hunter wants you to experience everything the characters do, even the mundane parts, which will all pay off at the end of the film. You feel like you have become one of the guys by the time you make it to the end scene. De Niro is like your uncle now, that has that look in his eye like he has seen some shit that you don’t want to know. But we DO know. We were there when he pulled the trigger on that gun, pointed at his own head, with 3 bullets in the revolver. We saw the look on his face. War is hell.
Best Scene? Without a doubt it’s the Russian roulette scene. And without a doubt this is the most intense 10 minutes ever shown on the silver screen. I’m not sure how he did it or what methods Micheal Cimino used to create this scene of such brutality (there were rumors he put a live blank round on the revolver the actors were using. And if you don’t think a blank can kill, see what happened to Brandon Lee in The Crow), but he captured on film a moment I can guarantee Robert DeNiro and Christopher Walken have never experienced since – or would even want to. There is a part during this scene when the Vietnamese leader slaps DeNiro over and over again. On the last slap DeNiro seriously almost loses it and wants to kill the actor that is hitting him – there is no “acting” here, that is just pure rage.
“I feel a lot of distance, and I feel far away.” – Michael
Watch this scene again. dude.
For some reason EVERY Deer Hunter clip I’ve tied to embed here has been disabled and won’t work. So you’ll have to go to You Tube yourself and watch the Russian Roulette scene. But’s it’s worth the hassle.
Here’s a link to get you there faster: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukT5MFQsv94&feature=related