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. 


  1. Wow, another great section, another "That's only ##?" type of reactions. I feel like Jurassic Park would have been a little higher up for me. That film is just...perfect. No other way to describe it. As for Tarantino I just can't get into his work. Tried watching Resevoir Dogs and Pulp fiction, turned them off at the half way mark and never looked back. I did see all of Hateful 8, and while I liked it it never blew me away from all the buzz film critics have and love for Tarantino. Lastly, Rear Window. Yes.

    1. You are certainly not alone when it comes to Tarantino, I have friends who would sneer instantly at seeing any film of his ranked on my list. I still have a soft spot for a few of his, including the new list of 10 I just posted with Pulp on it.

      Jurassic Park is one of the greatest blockbusters of all time, and it being ranked all the way up as high as #1 on anyone's list would be totally understanable.

      Yes. Rear Window. Yes. Haha. What a film, right?