Monday, November 20, 2017

Justice League Review

I was driving home from the theater, daughter in the back seat behind me, and we discussed what we thought of the new film Justice League. We both agreed that it was a fun, enjoyable time at the movies, myself applauding the fact that there was surprisingly no bloat whatsoever on it (although maybe it actually could have used some, but I will get to that later), as this superhero team up picture runs less than 2 hours and moves briskly with plenty of very entertaining scenes. The kid continues to love Wonder Woman, and who can blame her, although I will take Gal Gadot teaming up with director Patty Jenkins over her fighting alongside Batman and Superman any day, and she thought The Flash was really funny.

After our mini discussion ended, I thought about it for a second and I looked in the rear view mirror and asked, "Do you remember a single thing the bad guy does or says the entire movie?".

She couldn't. Neither could I.

That villain is Steppenwolf and frankly, he's terrible. The sub-genre is riddled with examples of completely uninteresting bad guys, so it isn't solely a DC issue, but if they want to tell compelling stories they are going to need some new actually interesting blood on that side of the fight going forward. Man of Steel cast Michael Shannon as General Zod, and I love Michael Shannon a whole hell of a lot so I assumed that would be assume, but it really wasn't. He was fine, certainly not the worst of the bunch, but I can't fathom anyone walking out of a Man of Steel screening saying "Zod was so awesome!". Batman v Superman went the best direction with Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor in concept at least, playing him as a young ego-maniacal billionaire who's lost his damn mind was a cool idea, but I didn't care for the performance as I found him to be too much, too often. Suicide Squad is entirely made up of bad guys and it is an atrocious film, so that is a good example of bad villains. Wonder Woman is a great film with so-so bad guys, sort of stock World War I evil characters and one super villain in disguise, but the rest of the movie is so beautifully handled that I completely forgive it for lacking any form of epic opposition.

All of those examples though, even the awful Suicide Squad, are better than two specific characters that have popped up in the two team up pictures. First it was Doomsday, who was basically a giant, ugly pile of shit but he isn't enough to really bring BvS down any notches because he isn't THE bad guy, he is just A bad guy. Steppenwolf is the worst failure of a adversary thus far in the DCEU because he is the force that the Justice League is fighting throughout the entire film, and he is just a total waste. He's another grey CG thing thrown into the frame, as aesthetically and narratively exciting as watching someone paint a room beige, and I legit couldn't remember a single interesting thing he did throughout the movie. Nothing.

Let me get another issue I have with this movie out of the way right now. I remember like 18 months ago when a Facebook/Twitter debate was whether or not Ben Affleck was the best Batman. On November 18th, 2017, I exited the theater and declared his portrayal of the Bat deceased. I have zero interest in seeing him continue the character in any way. No life, no charisma of any kind to be found in Justice League and even the demons that haunted him in BvS seem to have vanished, as I gave him some credit in the previous film for seeming tortured and complex. I'm the one who feels tortured now trying to figure out some way to enjoy my personal favorite comic book character in this movie, because he gave me nothing. Let's move on to someone else for Matt Reeve's The Batman, thank you.

I mentioned in the first paragraph how perhaps Justice League could have used a little bit more fat on his bones in terms of its story because it flies by so fast basically, well, without a story, but I'm not sure I mean that. I have no issue with the fact that there wasn't much story to tell here, honestly, which sounds odd but maybe I just really wanted an action spectacle that hit the right notes for me, and a lot of the time Justice League did. The problem here is that you can't do a film with no story while introducing 50 percent of the league without previous origin story solo films. You just can't, as proven this weekend, it doesn't work. Aquaman lives and fights in the ocean and Amber Heard plays someone, I'm sure we will learn more about that next year when his movie comes out. The Flash has no friends and his dad is in prison, which sounds like it could be the foundation for a story that I would care about, but when you dedicated roughly 7 minutes to building it up, it is hard for me to feel anything in the end when they spend 2 more minutes on it again wrapping it up with a nice little bow. Cyborg is a machine monster man who ended up that way because of an accident that also killed his mom, but that's the extent of information we gather on him. I guess we will know more when Cyborg hits theaters in 2020!

Despite all of this complaining I have done for multiple paragraphs here, I liked Justice League? No, no question mark needed. I liked Justice League. It was a lot of fun, some of the action sequences specifically involving the Flash were extremely well done, but being totally honest, this isn't a good movie. It's fun, which is something that couldn't be said about the DCEU until Wonder Woman came along, and the characters are all good minus a kinda brooding but mostly boring Batman, but removing my own desire to be entertained and accomplishing that, this is otherwise a misfire.


Friday, November 17, 2017

A Ghost Story Review

It has been one week since the first time I sat down and watched A Ghost Story, and exactly 90 minutes less than that since the second time I watched it. For the first time since my first viewing of Stanley Kubrick's masterful war film Paths of Glory (not comparing the two works, just stating a fact), I sat in the same spot and watched the same film twice consecutively and my mind never even skipped a beat as to wondering whether I should or not. There was no, but my time could be spent better doing this or that, or I could watch something else instead. I couldn't. My mind was swimming through a vast ocean of WTF after witnessing this extraordinary film from writer/director David Lowery (Ain't Them Bodies Saints, Pete's Dragon), and I knew instantly I needed more time to dive in and try to understand everything. All I knew through my first 90 minutes was that I absolutely fucking loved it.

A young couple is shown living in a small home, C (Casey Affleck), a struggling musician and M, (Rooney Mara) his wife. Early on in the film they are awoken to a loud bang sound on their piano but upon closer inspection, there doesn't seem to be a explainable reason as to what caused it. They return to bed, and based on the title of the film, if you didn't know the type of narrative you were about to explore with A Ghost Story, you might have thought that the piano scene was the beginning of a typical horror genre picture, one that sets the table slowly and builds the terror. Nothing about A Ghost Story is typical, horror, or a genre pick of any kind. This is a wholly original, fascinating work.

The camera cuts to a straightaway look at their home, with a bit of smoke floating through the frame from the right hand side, and we pan over to see what is creating it: a car accident. C is the driver of one of the vehicles, his lifeless body resting on the steering wheel, and Lowery lingers his shot on him to make it abundantly clear that this is not a wreck he will be walking away from (alive, at least).

The film is slow paced, focusing on love and what it means to lose it, how much it hurts, and how it can haunt those left behind, in more ways than one. I'm certain that some viewers will be turned off by the way time can seemingly stand still during specific moments on the film, like watching M break down eating an entire pie, and we just sit and watch like a fly on the wall seeing something deeply private, deeply personal. Time is a tricky thing through A Ghost Story, the way a moment can feel like an eternity and an eternity can bounce by in a blink.

I found every damn second of A Ghost Story to be ravishing, a film that touched me personally and honestly quite profoundly. It's why I had to watch it twice back to back and why I haven't stopped thinking about it for a week now. It might just be the best movie of 2017 thus far.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Let's Do It Again: My 100 Favorite Films of All Time #30 - #21

Getting closer here, entering my top 30 favorite films. If you're not familiar with the image above, then you obviously weren't as haunted and confused by this scene as I was growing up. Either that or you haven't seen the film, which if that's the case lord what are you doing, go watch it right now.

30. The Matrix

I recall actually wondering after seeing The Matrix for the first time, which crazy enough was already 18 years ago, whether or not it would withstand the test of time. Sure, for 1999 standards it felt like a piece of revolutionary filmmaking, but eventually what we were seeing would not only become the norm but it would continue to be outdone. What's truly remarkable is that it not only holds up, it hasn't lost a step. 

29. Zodiac

The box office performance of David Fincher's Zodiac is a god damn tragedy. 33 million domestic on a 65 million dollar budget and the film is a work of art. The good news is, the picture seems to be appreciated now 10 years after its release, finding a home in a lot of collections which is good considering it deserves numerous rewatches in order to catch as much of the nuance as possible. If you still haven't seen Zodiac, see Zodiac

28. No Country for Old Men

2007 was a terrific year for film, with back to back entries here coming from that year and another pretty substantial piece of cinema that was featured much lower on my list also being a 2007 release, that movie being There Will Be Blood. No Country for Old Men is a masterful adaptation of a great book by Cormac McCarthy with the Coen brothers channeling the perfect tone and all the necessary substance from the page to the screen while still managing to make it their own. 

27. Mad Max: Fury Road

I admitted a few films ago that when I first saw The Matrix, I had doubts as to whether it would hold up over a long period of time. I have no such doubts about George Miller's batshit crazy action masterpiece Mad Max: Fury Road, as it absolutely will stick around for the long haul, a dizzying, brilliant movie that leaves you feeling bruised and tasting the dirt and dust of the landscapes in your mouth even though you watched it from a theater or the comfort of your own home.

26. Pulp Fiction

On the last list of ten I included Inglourious Basterds and I mentioned that I not only understand with some recent complaints about the work of Tarantino, I actually agree with some of them. Pulp Fiction, however, is pretty much a perfect film, the one piece from his filmography that continues to rise above the rest and will likely always be regarding as his most important masterpiece.

25. The Shining

Still won't be done with Kubrick on this list, even after his horror masterpiece The Shining makes the cut at the back end of my 25 favorite films of all time. If you haven't been paying attention to my previous lists, you might assume that 2001 is the remaining film of his. You would be wrong as that checked in at number 37. No, I have a favorite Kubrick that most people are shocked by, and many consider to be a lesser achievement of his. Obviously I disagree.

24. Psycho

Back to back horror classics make the cut with Hitchcock's incredible Psycho just in front of The Shining. Just an iconic film in every sense, while much like The Shining isn't my favorite Kubrick, Psycho isn't my favorite Hitchcock...

23. Aliens

Ranking Aliens in front of the original Alien feels like an invitation to be asked what the hell is wrong with me. To be fair, it's not like it's an easy decision or a clear cut preference as I had Alien ranked only 9 spots lower, but Aliens always seems to gain the edge for me, probably because of the nostalgic value of it. When I was a kid, it was Aliens all the way, watching it on repeat while Alien gathered dust. It wasn't until I got older that I figured out why the first film was a masterpiece, but 25 years after seeing it for the first time Aliens still hasn't lost a single step, a horror action extravaganza that utilizes expert tone and pacing to deliver every possible thrill at exactly the right moments.

22. Boyhood

How the hell is Boyhood three years old already? I just realized this. Seeing it for the first time feels like yesterday. Richard Linklater's masterful 12 year cinematic experiment paid off beautifully, a heartfelt and astoundingly real feature that told the story of a boy growing up, but the greatest aspect of this was that Linklater didn't feel compelled to focus in on all the expected "big moments" in life but rather the little, quiet ones in between the cracks that seem like just another day at the time but shape who we become. 

21. Metropolis

This film is 90 years old. I repeat, 90 years old. Fritz Lang's brilliant science fiction wonder of a film Metropolis was far ahead of its time, a stylized and insane silent experience that amazes me each time I watch it. Obviously I wasn't alive when this was released, but I have to imagine at the time Metropolis was a pretty mind blowing peak behind the curtain as to what cinema was capable of achieving in the future.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Let's Do It Again: My 100 Favorite Films of All Time #40 - #31

Alright, let's keep this going here. I've got some rare time to kill and a chance to list movies, two things that go together extremely well.

Moving into the top 40 films of all time:

40. Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko rolled into my life the same year as David Lynch's Mulholland Drive and both introduced me to a style of narrative that didn't feel compelled to assemble all of the pieces for the audience in the end, and it took me some time to realize that this wasn't just okay, it was welcome. It wasn't until maybe the 3rd or 4th time that I watched Donnie Darko that I formed an opinion as to what it actually all meant, and who knows if I am even remotely correct? It doesn't really matter. The beauty of ambiguous storytelling is it allows each person to form their own theories while wondering if writer/director Richard Kelly was going down that same path.

39. Taxi Driver

It wasn't until recently, maybe a couple of years ago, that I realized with a rewatch that Taxi Driver was a stone cold masterpiece. Scorsese's crime drama about a Vietnam war veteran suffering from mental instability and insomnia, seeing a world around him that pushes him closer to violence with each day, is a piece of astonishingly effective cinema.

38. Jaws

Jaws is a film that literally never gets old. I don't think it's possible for this one to wear out its welcome with me, as I have seen it lord only knows how many times and I can still watch it any given day with the same enthusiasm as years ago. The first of two Spielberg films to make this set of ten.

37. 2001: A Space Odyssey

For the longest time this was my favorite Kubrick, a cliché pick to be certain but one that was only cliché because it is so worthy of the recognition from so many different people or publications. It no longer is my favorite from quite possibly the greatest filmmaker of all time, but that doesn't take anything away from the greatness that is this master class example of abstract, brilliant science fiction.

36. Inglourious Basterds

I haven't always been on board with Tarantino in regards to his most recent work. Django Unchained is a pretty excellently crafted film from top to bottom but my initial huge praise after my first viewing has toned down a bit, and I flat out didn't enjoy The Hateful Eight all that much, a piece of his filmography that I cannot promise I will ever feel compelled to revisit. For me, we are 8 years removed from the second best film he has directed, and potentially (but hopefully not) his last great picture. Inglourious Basterds is a treasure from the opening frame to the final shot.

35. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

I am still such a sucker for this franchise, although I am sure it would surprise many that the only film of three to not make my top 100 is Return of the King, the piece that dominated the Oscars and is likely the top choice of the majority. For me that is The Two Towers, but we will get to that later. This trilogy just feels like a wonderful, epic cinematic event, a sweeping, magical and exciting set of films that for some odd reason I always feel compelled to revisit around the November/December time of the year. Something about the weather outside getting cold and having no where to go for hours makes me think of getting comfortable and popping in The Fellowship of the Ring.

34. The Shawshank Redemption

One of the biggest victims to the online push to declare various forms of art as "overrated" has been The Shawshank Redemption, a film that got pushed to the top of the IMDB top 250 list and therefore has become a popular thing to hate (why people take the IMDB ranking seriously, I have no idea, every popular new movie that comes out immediately becomes a top 50 all time). My love has never even slightly shifted because I don't concern myself with where movies are ranked in other places or what people are saying about them. The Shawshank Redemption is a spectacular, beautiful film with one of my favorite final acts of all time. From the moment Andy crawls through the river of shit and comes out clean on the other side, to that final shot on the beach, is peak cinema for me.

33. Jurassic Park

Saying they don't make them like they used to is an overused phrase that probably leads to some eye rolling, but in regards to Jurassic Park, really, they don't make them like they used to. The pitch perfect summer blockbuster feels almost impossible these days, but back in 1993 this one hit theaters and has cemented its spot in the history of cinema forever.

32. Alien

My oh my what an incredible film Alien is. I got a chance to see it at midnight a few years ago at the old classic theater near my home and that was an experience I will never forget. The movie that started a franchise that is still going today, that introduced us to characters like Ripley and Ash, a creature as menacing as the xenomorph and an iconic ship like the Nostromo. 

31. Rear Window

A Hitchcock classic rounds out this list of ten, the unforgettable film Rear Window that took a single set piece and a man in a wheelchair with binoculars and managed to create incredible tension thanks to one hell of a screenplay and perfect performances. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Blade Runner Review

"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 tears in the rain..."

The year was 2007, and it happened on a cold, rainy November evening. My daughter was born only a month earlier, and with a whopping 30 some days of true adult responsibility under my belt I felt it was mandatory I go out and spend way too much money on myself. My wife agreed. We were young and dumb, and credit cards felt like a piece of plastic that opened a portal to free, flashy goods. Fucking monthly minimum payments and obscene interest rates weren't even on our radar. It was glorious.

My sights were set on obtaining my first flat screen television, but no chance I could spend that kinda scratch unless I could match it in the direction of the Mrs., whatever she wanted that could match the intoxicating splendor of dazzling images pouring into my rods and cones. Two years earlier in 2005, I had proposed to her but money was, to put it lightly, limited. She understood that I couldn't do much in the department of jewelry, so a dirt cheap ring slipped onto her finger, a symbol of love but not something one would rush to show off to their friends or family. That brings us back to that cold, rainy November evening. A ring. She wanted an actual ring, still none of this three months salary bullshit but one that at the very least might sparkle under the right light. She got a ring, and I got my big, beautiful TV. I know priorities differ from person to person, but I still feel like I got the better end of that deal.

Do you remember the high definition physical media format war? I sure do. Everyone knows what Blu-ray is, and hell, some of you have even moved onto 4K discs, but back in 2007 there was competition that went by the name of HD-DVD created by the brand Toshiba. I remember it well because I was one of the losers of the format war. I chose wrong. That very same November evening that I went home with a television, I also had an HD-DVD player and a few films to jump start a collection. The very first one I watched was Blade Runner, and my god it was so beautiful. A black screen with white font opening credits plastered across it never looked so sexy, and then it cuts to the glow of city lights and bursts of fire blasting from smokestacks scattered among buildings that seem never ending. Why not christen my new beloved high definition media player with a visually stunning masterpiece? It was the perfect choice.

The HD-DVD's are long gone, but I will always remember them and the way the rain felt coming in sideways across my face on that November evening thanks to Blade Runner, Ridley Scott's work of futuristic science fiction brilliance that transported audiences all the way into the year 2019. If only they knew back in 1982 just how little the world would look like the one an imagination was able to conceive of, but that isn't a complaint. Sure, the 1980's had me anticipating a future filled with flying cars, but witnessing the decay of a metropolis past its prime isn't exactly my cup of tea. What can I say, I am a suburbs kinda guy.

Lead by Harrison Ford with terrific supporting work from Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, Daryl Hannah and easily one of my favorite film villains of all time, Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty, the most remarkable thing about Blade Runner is the fact that the film hasn't lost a single step despite being released 35 years ago. I wasn't even born for another two years after audiences got to take their seats in the theater to witness this picture, and yet nothing feels dated. I will watch movies released 10 to 15 years after Blade Runner hit the cinemas that present a world that was designed to be mocked down the road, one that lived and breathed in its moment only with no prospects to survive into the future, yet Scott, cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth and writers Hampton Fancher and David Peoples managed to cohesively craft something that was destined to be a classic. 

Thousands of days have gone by since that night in November when I unwrapped my brand new electronics and gave Blade Runner its first HD spin, so many moments lost in time, like tears in the rain, yet I can still vividly remember that feeling of seeing this film look more stunning than I could have ever imagined. Maybe I can chalk it up to being such an exciting feeling, going out and doing something financially ill-advised and completely spur of the moment at a time when I quickly transitioned from a lifetime of total freedom to a sea of dirty diapers and middle of the night feedings and the terrifying realization that my existence had transferred from being about me to meaning so much more.

I wonder though, what if I had watched some shitty, forgettable film that night? Would it have tainted the memory I now have? Would I remember it at all? Perhaps none of it resonates without Blade Runner.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Let's Do It Again: My 100 Favorite Films of All Time #50 - #41

Alright, time to continue with this list. I haven't been writing as much lately, but that is not indicative of any lackluster enthusiasm for film or television. On the contrary I have been watching more content then ever, already crossing 110 films seen that were released in 2017 and we are only now hitting the prime meat and potatoes of late in the year, Oscar season material. I have also watched more television shows then I ever thought was possible thanks to streaming content and the ability to take it on the go. No, the reason for less writing can be boiled down to one reason: I no longer force myself to do it. I used to say, now I HAVE to write something about every film I would watch, and often times what I just witnessed does little to inspire putting words down, so now I wait for the times I WANT to write something. To be clear though, even if I don't write something that isn't an indication that I didn't care for the film. My favorite film of the year thus far is Dunkirk, and I am still yet to put a single word down on it months after seeing it. I'm thinking that will happen when I put out my best of list early next year. The new It is a tremendous horror film, currently in my top 5 of the year, yet no review from me. Didn't feel like putting my thoughts down, instead they remain in my head, bouncing around everytime I think of Pennywise.

I am thinking about writing about Blade Runner before a review of Blade Runner 2049 later this week though, so keep an eye out for that.

Anyways, on to the list, into the top 50 films of all time.

50. Lawrence of Arabia

The first time I ever saw this beautiful, bold, sprawling epic of a film was during the last time I was posting my top 100 films a few years ago, and I was so taken aback by Lawrence of Arabia I had to bend my own meaningless rules by adding it into the top 10, essentially making it a 101 favorite films list. The overwhelming immediate love affair reaction has clearly cooled a bit as this is no longer sitting in the top 10, but it is still one of the great cinematic achievements ever and worthy of a top 50 spot. 

49. La La Land

It's entirely possible you see something like Lawrence of Arabia ranked 50th and then a film like La La Land ranked right ahead of it and roll your eyes at my list. I get it. I also don't care. I am well aware of the typical backlash that occurs when a film becomes an Oscar favorite, and La La Land was certainly subjected to that social media hate followed by rejoicing when Moonlight took home Best Picture (which I was just fine with because Moonlight is a terrific film). I absolutely fucking love La La Land and to be honest, the only reason it isn't ranked even higher is because it needs to withstand a bit more of the test of time before I can elevate it to the level occupied by movies I have seen 20 or more times. Even I am curious where I will rank La La Land the next time I put one of this lists together down the road.

48. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

What an absolute shame this magnificent, cold slice of brilliant filmmaking will never get a true sequel, and before you say it, yes I am aware the entire trilogy was filmed internationally and exists for me to watch, I have seen them. They aren't Fincher. 

47. Cinema Paradiso

This is a film that simply hearing the title makes my entire body feel warm, in a good way. Cinema Paradiso is a beautiful, moving treasure of a picture, a love letter to both cinema and the way we nostalgically reflect upon our childhoods and the people and things that shape who we are.

46. Good Will Hunting

1997 was one hell of a year for cinema. Titanic, As Good As It Gets, L.A. Confidential, Jackie Brown, Boogie Nights, Contact, Starship Troopers and Con Air (okay, I threw in that last one for shits and giggles, the rest are actually great). My favorite film released that year, however, is Good Will Hunting, featuring an emotionally arresting performance by the late great Robin Williams and an Oscar winning script that is pitch perfect.

45. Before Sunrise

In the past, literally every month I may have answered differently when asked which of the Before series by Richard Linklater is the best film of the trilogy. I have now settled on a pretty permanent answer that Before Sunrise, the first of the bunch, is my favorite, but honestly I'm not sure why. Maybe I appreciate the optimism behind a young, flourishing love with that hint of sorrow behind every moment because of the unknown. That feeling of absolute magic while not knowing, will they ever see each other again? All three are excellent movies for different reasons, filmed 9 years apart so the audience aged right there along with the characters and when we reconnect with them reconnecting, we are different people as well, yet oddly the older I get the more I find them at their youngest to be the most compelling.

44. Cloud Atlas

This is a love it or hate it polarizing film, and I think you know where I stand considering it lands on this list. I read the novel the film is based on prior to seeing it and I thought it would be impossible to adapt it into a cohesive, interesting picture, and yet I continue to marvel at the work done by the Wachowski sisters and Tom Tykwer both writing and directing this masterful epic. I hope over time Cloud Atlas finds its audience and is appreciated. It deserves to be seen.

43. Memories of Murder

Chances are you probably haven't seen Memories of Murder, and it isn't the easiest film to track down, although these days I'm sure you can rent it on Amazon or something. Do that. Do that as soon as you can. A bone chilling South Korean film from filmmaker Boon Joon-ho based on the true story of the first ever serial killer in the country, murders that took place between 1986 and 1991. Such a tremendous work all the way until an extremely memorable final shot.

42. Prisoners

Director Denis Villeneuve might be a household name soon thanks to Blade Runner 2049 likely blowing up the box office, but I implore absolutely everyone to go back and watch all of his films, from his devastating true story school shooting film Polytechnique to last year's Best Picture nominee Arrival (disclaimer: I have never seen his debut feature length film Maelstrom from 2000, hence why I am starting the Villeneuve clock after that). Everything he has done has been incredible, but Prisoners is my favorite of them all, a super dark and painful look at child abduction and the lengths a father will go to to find his daughter. 


41. 12 Angry Men

Closing out this list of ten is the classic masterpiece 12 Angry Men, a film that utilizes a single setting and brilliant acting to carry it the whole way through. Directed by the great Sidney Lumet, this look at 12 jurors sweating through a hot summer day inside a room deliberating a murder case is a perfect example of just how much can be done with a terrific concept and script and the perfect performances to bring it all to life.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Let's Do It Again: My 100 Favorite Films of All Time #60 - #51

Continuing on with my favorite films list, including a Star Wars opinion that I wrote about a while ago and I stand by it today.

Let's crack into that top 60, shall we?

60. Spotlight

The 2016 Academy Award winner for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay is a terrific, compelling and insightful film with a focus on outstanding journalism and why we should give a shit when the President insights anger towards the media. Spotlight tells the true story of the team at the Boston Globe that uncovered a massive scandal of the sexual abuse of children at the local Catholic archdiocese. This country needs reporters like the Spotlight team, and director Tom McCarthy delivers one hell of a film about them.

59. The Insider

This set of ten films kicks off with back to back pictures that shine a, well, spotlight on journalism, this time with Michael Mann's spectacular dramatic thriller The Insider, based on the true story of a man named Jeffrey Wigand whom after being fired by a big tobacco company decides to come clean about some of the industry's best kept secrets to the television series 60 Minutes, facing pressure and threats to himself and his family to keep his mouth shut. Hard to believe this one is 18 years old now, I recall seeing it in the theater and being blown away. Multiple viewings later, nothing has changed.

58. Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Released when I was 7 years old, T2 was an instant classic for me at a very young age and these days I consider it to be a slice of iconic action filmmaking. Sometimes you watch something as a kid and look back at it later on and wonder what you loved about the movie. If anything, I actually love Terminator 2 even more today.

57. Inside Out

The 2015 Pixar film Inside Out, over the course of two years and a handful of viewings, has become my favorite animated film of all time. That simple. Funny, heartfelt, joyous and deeply, profoundly moving, this one is a true treasure.

56. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

Return of the Jedi is my fourth favorite Star Wars film, and it still manages to rank 56th on my all time favorites. Safe to say I love the franchise.

55. Fargo

One of a few masterful films from the Coen brothers, the 1996 crime drama Fargo doesn't feature a single misstep over its 90 or so minute duration. It's dark, disturbing, fascinating and really fucking funny. 

54. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

It's funny how I agree with every complaint I hear about regarding The Force Awakens and yet it just doesn't matter. Sure, it's a beat by beat remake of A New Hope, without a doubt, but maybe that's exactly what the Star Wars universe needed, a dose of history repeating itself while knowing exactly the right recipe to bring fans that were dismayed by the prequels back into the fold. I love the characters, new and old, I love the tone, I love the dialogue so, so much. I love this movie a ton.

53. The Godfather Part II

An often asked question and one that the answer given typically causes a debate is which Godfather film do you prefer? The original or the sequel? For me the answer is the first one, and we will get to that masterpiece eventually, but that isn't a slight to the stunning follow up The Godfather Part II by any means. Two tremendous, iconic works of cinema.

52. Full Metal Jacket

Stanley Kubrick and the subject of war, which he was clearly not a very big fan of, results in some exceptional cinematic experience. My list already included the film Paths of Glory and Dr. Strangelove, and now it is time for Full Metal Jacket to get the recognition it so deeply deserves.

51. Unforgiven

It took a long time for me to fall in love with westerns, only recently discovering some of the Sergio Leone classics that define the genre, but all along, ever since it was first released when I was a wee little child, I have loved Unforgiven, the best picture winning film both directed by and starring Clint Eastwood.