Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My top 25 movies

I was mentioning recently that I should attempt to make a top 25 of my favourite movies. Now, before anything else, I should say that this is a very dynamic top and hence, it is my top 25 movies at this very moment: for instance, a year ago it looked a bit different and there are still dozens of movies (both old and very recent) on my "must see" list (I really did not see that many...), which could jump anywhere in this top (by the way, your suggestions are very welcome!). Next to that, this ranking below is not very rigid: if you see a movie for the second, third...nth time, you might get to quite different conclusions about it. And last, but not least important, each of the movies in this top are certainly my number 1 on certain specific criteria, otherwise they wouldn't have made it on the list to start with! Thus, the relative ranking of the movies below is flexible and, in fact, I divided my top 25 in five sections of five movies each, so that I do not have to rank the movies in each of the five-movie categories (and even so, jumps between categories, according to which characteristics receive more weight, are very possible). And a (obvious) note: the ranking of the movies does not in any way imply a ranking of the actors in the leading roles, for instance, or a ranking of my favourite movie directors, in general (for those we need a different analysis...).

For each of the movies, I'll place links next to the corresponding entries, on both IMDb (a) and RottenTomatoes (b), so that everybody can immediately follow them and eventually read more.
  • places 1-5: Amadeus (a, b); The Godfather I (a, b); Dangerous Liaisons (a, b); Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain (a, b); Waking Life (a, b)
  • places 6-10: The Shawshank Redemption (a, b); Pulp Fiction (a, b); Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (a, b); Underground (a, b); Hable con Ella (a, b)
  • places 11-15: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (a, b); Léon (a, b); A Clockwork Orange (a, b); Crna macka, beli macor (a, b); Se7en (a, b);
  • places 16-20: Memento (a, b); Donnie Darko (a, b); American Beauty (a, b); The Pianist (a, b); Apocalypse Now (a, b);
  • places 21-25: Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo (a, b); Trainspotting (a, b); Snatch (a, b); Good Night, and Good Luck (a, b); La Vita è Bella (a, b);

In a future post I will continue with the next 25 places (which- of course- could eventually replace movies from the list above; the (cumulated) differences among the first 50 positions are after all very small).


Update, 21st of March: As I stated also in the comments section below, as answer to some of the excellent suggestions (in this particular case, of Dan, who followed my example- I am contagious :-) - and published his own top of favourite movies), I discovered that I really left out one of my all time favourite movies and that was Leaving Las Vegas (IMDb entry, RottenTomatoes entry). So the changes are the following: Leaving Las Vegas enters on places 6-10; as a consequence, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind goes down to places 11-15, Crna macka, beli macor goes down to places 16-20, Donnie Darko goes down to places 20-25 and Good Night, and Good Luck is pushed on the immediate next level, thus I will enter it again when I will continue my top from position 26 onwards. It is very unlikely that I've omitted something else, in top 10 at least, among the movies that I have seen. Of course the most important list will be the one of "must see movies- greatest potential", which I will also publish in the near future and where the comments of my readers have been already very helpful.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

hey sebi you are really mising the following from your 25: braveheart, shichinin no samurai and fargo.

MM.

Dan Anghel said...

Well, except Pulp Fiction, Underground, Chat noir chat blanc, American Beauty, A Clockwork Orange and One Flew Over the Cockoo's Nest we don't overlap:) And for the last two since I read the book before seeing the movie it's tough for me to decide if I like the movie because I like the book or I like the movie for what it really is. And I still have to figure the rest of the top 25, which I never did. But definitely there's a high ranking place for : Bad Boys, Leaving Las Vegas, The Unforgiven, Lord of the Rings trilogy, 12 Angry Men, Face Off, Saving Private Ryan (I am a Call of Duty fan), Batoru Rowaiaru (Battle Royale), Brother (aka Aniki mon frere), Don't Come Knocking, Dobermann (1997 with Vincent Cassel), Lost Highway, Dog Day Afternoon, Midnight Cowboy and a bunch more:)

Sorry for not putting the imdb link:)

Sebi Buhai said...

Very good suggestions (and I already got more via email from friends :-)). And I am looking for more.

So, let's see fast... The first thing I notice is that "my must see" list is getting bigger. I definitely have to see (again, I saw it a long time ago) shichinin no samurai (M & M's :-) suggestion) and, from Dan's, 12 Angry Men, Saving Private Ryan (which are on my list for ages now!) and then these others Batoru Rowaiaru, Dog Day Afternoon, Brother, Dobermann, Midnight Cowboy, Lost Highway (wow, I did not see most movies mentioned by this guy :-))
So I cannot say anything more about these, they might enter my top 25 after I see them and replace somethign else (but they have to be damn good for that, it ain't so easy, reading fast some imdb and rottentomatoes reviews I am not so sure about all of the above, I mean they can be very good movies but to make my top 25 or top 50 they really have to be exceptional; with very little prior, I would speculate that the highest chances to get in my top 25 or maybe in my top 50, that is more likely, are for Shichinin no Samurai and 12 Angry Men ).

Now about the others: Braveheart and Fargo are likely in my top 50 (so second set of 25). Don't Come Knocking and Unforgiven are also in there most likely (but I still have to make that top) but I am really not sure about Face Off and certainly not Bad Boys, this cannot make it even in my top 200, I think, there are so many better movies :-).

But there was one movie in Dan's list which now I think it should have been clearly in my top 25 and even in my top 10 and I simply forgot about it. And that is the masterpiece "Leaving Las Vegas". So I will make a note of it and I will put it as an update at some point. Yes, clearly this goes in positions 6-10, but now it is too late for me to decide on throwing anything out of there :-). Let me see, possibly I put Good Night, and Good Luck on position 26 then.

PS. Other suggestions I got already. From Miguel, who is really a master in choosing movies: "21 grams" (surely in my top 50 and depending on my moods, could make it to top 25) and "foreign land" (this one I have to see again, so it just entered on my "must see list", it was a long time ago and I do not remember it very well). From Ana: "trois couleurs: bleu" (certainly in my top 50 as well as at least another one the trois couleurs, will say more when I post the new top), "le grand bleu" , "before sunrise" and before sunset" (all of them are in my must see list and they have a great potential), "marie-antoinette" (it is not on my to see list, but I am not sure about its potential to break through, after reading fast some impressions :-)) and lost in translation (hmm, that could enter my top 50, maybe maybe, but not so likely, there is a lot of competition)

More?

Sebi Buhai said...

Oops, I forgot The Lord of the Rings trilogy among Dan's suggestions. I think that could enter my top 50, although maybe not the whole trilogy (and it also has to compete with the two remaining from the Godfather trilogy :-)), for instance).

Aurora said...

Both Amadeus and Le fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain are also in my top five :) However, besides the movies already mentioned by others, these are the ones that make my day:

The Station Agent, Fight Club, The Usual Suspects, The Legend of 1900 (about 10 times better than The Pianist!) , Amores Perros, Lucky Number Slevin, Gadjo Dilo (a must see!) and Titus (with Hopkins brilliant as always).

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is good, but the only one I would put on my list is Lord of the Ring: Two Towers (I like it best because it's the darkest of the three).

Sebi Buhai said...

Aurora: amazing, somebody that overlaps with me twice inasmuch as top 5 is concerned. Truly amazing! I wonder whether there is somebody who intersects my tastes in at least 3 of the top 5... Now that would be what I'd call compatibility :-)

I am really really curious now about "The Legend of 1900" or "La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano" as I see they call it officially), particularly since you say it is 10 times better than The Pianist(!!!), that means it should really make my top 5 easily! But I in doubt over that, The Pianist is a truly exceptional movie (it could for instance easily go up, even more, on my dynamic top 25...); in particular, and this is only one superlative feature, I could have bet with anyone that Brody would get the Oscar for the leading male role, as soon as I saw that movie. I would find it rather cumbersome to have a movie 10 times better :-). Hence, I make my top priority watching this 10-times-better-than-The-Pianist movie :-)


Fight Club, Amorres Perros and Titus are all three of them for sure in my top 50, and all of them very close to the 25, so it wouldn't be so difficult to slide in there...

Other must see with a lot of potential (skimming fast through imdb and rottentomatoes reviews and having heard a lot from people who saw them): "The Usual Suspects" and "Lucky Number Slevin" (indeed, these two are on my list of to see movies for a long long time and I am really ashamed to have been so ignorant and not to have seen them yet...); Gadjo Dilo (heard a lot about it so it is on my to see list, but ex ante I am not convinced it has a potential to break into my top 25, perhaps in my top 50, if at all); The Station Agent (this was not on my list of must see initially, so very interesting suggestion).

I have to see about the Lord of the Rings 3 parts, as I said. I certainly don't believe that all of them can make my top 50 but I would expect one or maybe even two to make it...

Aurora said...

Well, you have to remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder...The Legend of 1900 is 10 times better ...in my eyes :) I honestly thought The Pianist was overrated. However, as I learned recently in Warsaw, Polish people are very proud of it and very keen on telling you all they know about the real Wladyslaw Szpilman :)

Anonymous said...

The Pirates of the Caraibbean series!

Dan Anghel said...

I'm very glad to come with some useful input:) I have a very strange relationship with Leaving Las Vegas. I first saw it in German, then in English, afterwards in French and once again in English. But even if I don't understand very much German, words were not needed:)

Sebi Buhai said...

Fair enough, Aurora. Nevertheless, I will have to judge with my own eyes as well :-). So far I see that both IMDb and RottenTomatoes (the critics) are unanimous about the qualities of The Pianist (and don't forget that Polanski was in a "low" period when he came up with The Pianist, so while everybody was following him, this, if anything, should have biased the evaluations negatively- but both public and critics were impressed- and, as I'll repeat below, it is not that, but the fact that I was very much impressed), while there are some divergencies over the other one (see the rottentomatoes review, far below what I would have expected in fact). That being said, I will always watch a movie if I feel like watching it and make up my own mind. This is the only thing that matters.

Yeap, the Pirates, I am sure at least one of them should make my top 50. In fact, if I could just isolate the acting of Johnny Depp and judge a whole movie by that, more than five movies where he played the leading role would make my top 25... So I wouldn't be surprised to get more of Johnny Depp movies in my top 50, but that will depend on the competition...

Sebi Buhai said...

Dan: I have even a weirder experience with Leaving Las Vegas. Teh first time I saw it, I saw it on TV (I saw it once more on DVD) and I didn't catch the very beginning so in fact I really didn't know what am I watching but it looked so interesting and so captivating and so totally amazing and better than most things I've seen that I just watched the rest of it without bothering that I missed the first minutes...

kolozsvari said...

How about
Taxi Driver 1976
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels 1998

kolozsvari said...

I almost forgot ... Balanta with Maia Morgenstern
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103969

Sebi Buhai said...

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is an amazing movie and indeed I was thinking whether it could enter top 25 (I would see it fitting very nicely around masterpieces like Trainspotting or Snatch, for instance). It is certainly very close to the first 25, in my top 50.

Taxi Driver- I know I saw it at some point, but I would have to see it again, it was a long time ago (from what I remember and what I just recalled by browsing via IMDb and RottenTomatoes it does have a great potential- though more for my top 50, where it would have to compete still...). But excellent suggestion, this enters my must see list.

Sebi Buhai said...

Balanta- that is an interesting one. I have seen the movie twice and the first time I was far more impressed than the second. And that is not a good thing :-). I would say it is a good movie, very good if you consider what was produced in Romania before (but at a global level, in an overall top, that sort of judgment should not influence you), but it cannot enter my top 50 and I would doubt it enters even my top 250... Talking about Romanian movies now, there are a few on my must see list (all with quite some potential...) and among them priority is given to Filantropica and Moartea Domnului Lazarescu (I've seen the second partially and I cannot make a full judgment before watching it once again, with full attention).

Aurora said...

If you ever get the time to watch them, there are another two movies I would like to recommend to you, both of which are in my top 25 (even though they are hidden gems, because most people have never heard of them :). These are: Ikingut (an Icelandic children's movie) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0271003/) and Kukushka (http://imdb.com/title/tt0308476/).

Look at what one reviewer has to say about Kukushka:

"If you are tired of washed up crap that Hollywood has been feeding the masses for years and years, and are looking for a fresh and original alternative, check this movie out. Exceptionally well made, powerful, and yet humorous. This movie is easily on the level of other foreign masterpieces I've had the pleasure of watching in the past couple of years - Elling, Amores Perros, Amelie, Y tu mama tambien. Watch it, and you will not be disappointed."

Sebi Buhai said...

Bon, three other movies on my "must see" list (Ikingut, Kukushka and Elling). Although I would not be able to mix Amores Perros, Amelie and Y tu mama tambien. For me the ranking there is pretty clear, there is a clearcut difference between them and I don't think any shock would change their relative position: Amelie is in my top 5, Amores Perros in my top 50 (but prolly top 30 or 35 and it could slide into top 25), while Y tu mama tambien, I don't know, it could enter my top 50 but I have to see.

Dan Anghel said...

Yes, Kukushka, reminds me I have to see it:) There's also Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal" or "Breaking the Waves" (starring the same Emily Watson from Equilibrium).