Note – you may want to start with part one.
My Great Movie Draft Write up:
To start, I’ve seen (and own) all of my picks, and like them all quite a bit – this is more my list than a list built to win (although I think it represents well.) Because of the category nature of the draft, I was able to get some “top of my list” personal favorites late. I’ll also put the scores (1-20, with 20 being the best.) Ok, here we go:
1. The Seventh Seal
I love Ingmar Bergman, and The Seventh Seal is my favorite from him. Like many of his films, it’s about faith (or lack of), and constantly looks for answers, but doesn’t find anything concrete (maybe even brings about more questions). It’s also a beautiful film, with some exceptional imagery and portrayal of the Dark-Ages.
Ugetsu is a Japanese film that follows two brothers as they seek to make their fortune amongst the backdrop of warring Samurai and Feudal Japan. Honor, ambition, and loyalty to one’s family are brought into play, and in a surprise, the film actually turns out to be a ghost story. Surreal images (like the lake and castle scenes) contrast nicely with the dirt / poverty of the villages, and lend to the slight sense of forboding that ultimately comes to fruition. My favorite Japanese film.
You’ll see me say “my favorite” many times in this draft (you already have twice), and this is no exception. I love silent films, and this is the best (imho). Arguably the first science fiction film of note, this movie’s images are known to almost everyone. Even if you don’t know the film, you’ve seen the still shots of the robot that would become the False Maria. Epic in scale, this film used thousands of extras and elaborate sets, making it the pinnacle of German Expressionist movement. It could be argued that not until the 1970’s was this film’s look surpassed in terms of visuals. (scored a 16)
Hollywood Classics (1930-1969)
1. It Happened One Night
2. Sullivan’s Travels
3. The Thief of Bagdad
It Happened One Night was the first movie to “sweep” the Oscars: Best Actor (Clark Gable), Best Actress (Claudette Colbert), Best Director (Frank Capra), Best Writing Adaptation (Robert Riskin), and, of course, Best Movie. Gable was on loan, and at first wasn’t thrilled about making it. But the script grew on him, and he clearly relished the role (and served as the inspiration for Bugs Bunny). Excellent example of a classic screwball comedy. (scored a 14)
Sullivan’s Travels is one of the smartest comedies of all time (that still holds up very well today), and, to me, remains the best work of Hollywood veteran Preston Sturges. The dialog is clever, and the jokes are woven into the story in a rather understated way – just when you think the movie is getting serious, the line about “The Blowtorch Killer” comes in and winks at you. Plus, it has a drop-dead sexy Veronica Lake. (Scored a 12)
The Thief of Bagdad sets a high bar for storytelling and special effects. The classic tale has never looked better, with the obligatory “cast of thousands”, and bursting in classic Golden Age Technicolor. Roger Ebert calls this version “One of the most delightful fantasies ever put on film.” (scored a 10)
Modern Hollywood Movies (1970- 2009)
1. The Godfather, Part II
2. Taxi Driver
3. Glengarry Glen Ross
Can’t say much about GFII that hasn’t already been said. It’s my favorite movie of all time. I like it just a hair better than the original GF, probably because of the dual stories. The early NY time period was done really well, too, which I felt really added to the overall experience. Tim asked earlier which story I liked better – Michael or Young Vito. It’s really hard to pick – every time the film jumps, I’m a bit disappointed to be leaving that character, but then happy to be revisiting the other. (scored a 20)
Taxi Driver was a surprise – I got it in the fifth round, and I think it’s first or second round material. DeNiro is just superb, as is a young Jodi Foster. The rest of the cast is stellar (Harvey Keitel, Albert Brooks, Peter Boyle, Cybill Shepherd), and the director (Scorsese) needs no introduction. You talkin’ to me? (scored 18)
Glengarry Glen Ross has one of the finest casts in recent memory all nailing their parts, and an absolutely iconic cameo by Alec Baldwin. I originally picked this as my drama, but felt in the end it belonged here more. (scored 14)
1. Young Frankenstein
2. Mystery Science Theater 3000- The Movie
While I love most of Mel Brooks’ films, this one is my favorite. I think the addition of Marty Feldman as Igor, plus being shot in black and white, push this over the top for me. I’m also a big horror fan, so the Frankenstein aspect appeals to me as well. Put–the candle–back!!!
I’m a huge MST3K fan (going as far as owning every episode on DVD), so I had to have this. This pick is more or less homage to that. I don’t know how it will rank – it was the last comedy taken, but I think it’s funnier than at least half the list.
Rambo: First Blood Part 2
How did I get this in round 23? To me, this is a top 3 action film of all time – I would not have been surprised to see it in the first 5 rounds. Sure, it’s no Oscar winner, but what action film is? In the 80’s, the iconic image of Rambo (this film’s Rambo) prettymuch defined the action genre. (awful score – a 2. One judge just killed me. I think he purposely scored me low after I insulted him after his Solaris score)
The Remains of the Day
At one point, another poster mentioned that the dramas selected so far weren’t very “dramatic” (and he had a good point), so this pick was an attempt to fix that. This film has one of the saddest endings I have ever seen. Not only did they not get together, you realize Anthony Hopkins has completely wasted his life. And he realizes it too. (scored well – something like 16)
It’s been called “one of the most beautiful horror films ever made.” I like to consider myself a horror aficionado, and this is my favorite horror film by my favorite horror director (Dario Argento). I waited on it, simply because it’s not one that readily jumps to mind. But go to any serious horror discussion forum, and this film (and Argento in general – especially 70’s Argento) will rank high on almost every list. The use of color, lighting, and music make this a surreal experience – until the graphic violence, of course. Just an amazing movie (and one of the best trailers ever.) Oh, and the score by Goblin is incredible (worth owning on its own.) (scored an 8 – not as good as I hoped)
Iconic film with an iconic cast (James Dean at his finest, holding his own with Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson.) You can see just what was lost when Dean died – his talent is apparent. This was the third highest grossing film of 1956, which qualifies it for the blockbuster category. (this one scored a 3 – the same judge for action and sci-fi. He admits he didn’t even see this one. He needs to go back to ranking movies for People magazine)
I waited on this category because it isn’t my favorite, and when it came time to pick one, I was pleased this one was here, as it’s one I liked. In my opinion, this film represents a crossroads in animated films – it was the first one with a direct aim at entertaining adults as well (and the first Disney film with pop culture references, etc). Almost every big animated / kids feature that came after Aladdin did the same – Aladdin made it cool for teens and twentysomethings to go see an animated film. And, of course, parents enjoyed laughing along with their kids.
I love it, but I don’t expect it to do well (and it didn’t – it scored a 2.)
The Toxic Avenger
This, to me, is what a cult movie is all about. If I can’t have “Rocky Horror” (already drafted), I’ll take Toxie. It was a clear “B” movie that was at first ignored, but gained its legs through NYC Midnight showings / word of mouth (vital for cult status); it has an iconic hero (“Toxie”) who still makes appearances at conventions; and it spawned numerous fan clubs, various comics, and several musicals. It also single handedly put a studio on the map (whom “Toxie” is still prettymuch the face of.) Troma is still essentially living off of this one movie. (scored a 14)
Night and Fog
Don’t know how well this one will score, but you can’t watch this without being affected. For the first time, we really see what the concentration camps were all about. Shot ten years after liberation, Night and Fog shows deserted (and decidedly eerie) concentration camps (Auschwitz and Majdanek) while informing the viewer of what happened there and what life was like. In my opinion, the most important and stirring documentary ever made. Just haunting. (Scored a 20 with this one – the top documentary)
Russia’s answer to Kubrick’s 2001, this movie is what science fiction should be all about – the human condition amongst the fantastic and unexplainable. Director Andrei Tarkovsky is known for taking his time, and that’s very true here (nearly 3 hours). But get through the beginning (and the car ride) and go with Kris to the station orbiting the planet Solaris. You’ll see what all the fuss is about. It’s an experience, that’s for sure (and a visually beautiful film). (This one scored a 6. The judge confessed he didn’t see it, and won’t watch a “boring 3 hour Russian movie”… why even sign up to be a judge if your movie taste comes MSN.com or somesuch place?)
Based on Novel
Guilty pleasure. Good book, great movie. They nail the 80’s. Christian Bale is awesome as the insane Patrick Bateman. I have to return some videotapes (scored a 12)
My favorite Coen Brothers movie. Great story, great cast, great acting. Just a great movie all around. William H Macy plays one of the most pathetic characters ever put on film. (scored an 18)
The Longest Yard
Another guilty pleasure. Just a fun movie that also has the classic “sports movie” metaphor of the underdog winning. I defy anyone to pass this by while channel surfing – you can’t. Especially if you tune in during the game.
My favorite Civil War film. This is a long movie about (arguably) the single most important battle of the war (and certainly the biggest). It follows the characters detailed in the book “The Killer Angels”, and does an exceptional job with them. From what actually happened to costumes to reenactors being used as extras, it’s about as authentic as it can get. Great movie. And if you are at all interested, get yourself to the battlefield for a weekend – it’s time well spent. (scored a curious 6, although the judge admitted it was his favorite war movie.)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Another one I’ll be curious to see how it scores. It may sound strange, but it was right up there with Wizard of Oz in terms of excitement and required viewing when I was a kid (because you had one shot a year to see it… plus, I had a crush on “Truly Scrumptious” – can you guess Ian Fleming wrote the movie?) Now granted, it has not aged as well as Oz with me, but this isn’t the “grow old with you” category. (scored a 9)
Babes In Toyland (March of the Wooden Soldiers)
Laurel and Hardy at their best. This was on around Thanksgiving / X-mas on NY channel 11, and was another “required viewing” when growing up. It’s a holiday movie because A) it was always on during the holidays, and B) it depicts Toyland and Santa’s toymakers (the contracted ones, apparently) – heck, Santa is even in it. The title characters were a mistake – Santa wanted 600 1 foot tall soldiers. Stanly (Laurel) mistakenly wrote down 100 6’ tall soldiers. Oops. Good thing, though – the “March” at the end, where the soldiers defend Toyland from the Bogeymen, is nothing short of breathtaking. (scored a 7)
Big Trouble In Little China
What??? It’s got mystical Chinese magicians, evil martial arts experts, plenty of fights, some wire-work, good guys and bad guys, damsels in distress, and comedy as well. It’s also waaaay more fun than most martial arts movies I’ve seen.
High Plains Drifter
My favorite Clint Western (sorry TGBU). I like the supernatural undertones, and the absolute foreboding Clint’s “man with no name” portrays. He’s truly menacing – and hey, he literally paints the town red. (scored a 6. I didn’t expect much better, as I waited on this one.)
Godzilla vs. Megalon
The ultimate in a Cheesy Godzilla movie. Godzilla went full circle – at first he was dark, somber, and menacing. Then he became kind of a cool hero. Then he became a ridiculous sideshow (before going back to dark, somber and menacing.) This movie is the height of the ridiculous period. As if sheet wearing “Atlantians”, a silly robot who grows to hundreds of feet tall, and a giant beetle as the main villain weren’t enough, this movie featured the single most laughable scene ever shot – the infamous Godzilla Tail Slide. (scored a 14)
An amazing movie most aptly described as “Sci Fi Noir”. Paying homage to both Metropolis and Blade Runner, it’s twisted, dark, smart, exciting, scary, and a million other adjectives all rolled into one. It’s also a stunner visually, with a look that suggests both seedy decay and futuristic splendor. And the story is one that will stay with you, and offers up something “new” with every viewing. And yea, why is it never daytime??? (scored a 14)
As of this writing, judging isn’t over. I won’t “win” (the guy who killed me in sci fi, blockbuster, and action saw to that), but I should still finish in the top half.