While my publisher for my Family Movie Night column took her annual vacation, I took a break from writing about movies directly.
Next week will see the return of my Friday posts of the column. It is already written but as it does not publish till next week in the paper, I felt it fitting to wait to post it up here.
However, this week I thought I would take the time to post what I think are some of the best movies ever made. I would ask that you do not consider this a definitive list but one that requires comments and discussion. After all, I could be wrong or forget about something that is truly great.
This is my criteria. The movie has to be one that makes you think about it, even years after seeing it. It may or may not be ground breaking in its genre but it is the one of the best examples in its genre. It may or may not touch a special place in your heart but the feeling upon seeing the movie should be one of transcendence, as if you were transported and have a difficult time re-adjusting to life as you know it for awhile.
1. Citizen Kane (1941) While some may dismiss this movie for not being evergreen, you cannot dismiss the fact that this movie would influence film-makers for decades. I am not sure what is more interesting – the movie or the stories behind the movie. People have been debating the true meaning of ‘rosebud’ for ages. I will stop and watch this movie whenever it is on because I love watching Joseph Cotton and Orson Wells battle it out on screen.
2. Psycho (1960) The scariest movie ever made – still. Alfred Hitchcock put more scares in a movie that had the least amount of blood I have ever seen. Maybe it is Tony Perkins’ disarming youth that makes him the perfect villain. What I know is that it has been years since I have seen this movie and it still gives me chills.
3. Jaws (1975) A movie with a lot of terror and great little scenes throughout. Plus the music has become a universal note of danger. Bah-bum, bah-bum. And then … gotcha!
4. It Happened One Night (1934) It was one of the first screwball comedies that would lead to romantic comedy and it remains one of the best out there. Perhaps only When Harry Met Sally… surpasses this movie for greatness. One thing to look for when watching the movie; Colbert believed her ‘best’ side was her left and seldom gave a right profile.
5. Singin’ In The Rain (1952) This is the gem of all movie musicals, even with the ‘Gotta Dance’ sequence that stops the action. But really who cares? Cyd Charisse is dancing and it is incredible. It is one of those rare movies that exudes joy.
6. No Country For Old Men (2007) This movie remains one of those that I can never stop thinking about. It was a movie that made us realize there is an actor in Josh Brolin and that Javier Bardiem was a character with a strange set of principles. I still find various images coming to me and feeling sorry for all of the people who came into contact with Anton.
7. Toy Story (1995) Pixar figured out how to make perfect movies without relying on Disney’s formulas of missing parents. Instead they create a movie with complete characters, exciting action sequences and non-stop fun. Tim Allen and Tom Hanks captured the essence of buddy relationships in this movie that speaks to its audience, not down.
8. Spirited Away (2001) If there was ever a reason to argue for Anime, this movie is it. Hayao Miyazaki creates animation by hand that is incredibly beautiful with stories that are deep and spiritual. Some scenes looked like black and white poetry while others were as wonderful as a Monet painting. The story is of a girl who works at a spa for the gods of Japan in an effort to save her parents who mistakenly ate the food of the gods. Incredible, beautiful, breathe-taking.
9. Nosferatu (1922) Made during the silent era, this is the vampire movie of all time. The shadows, the eerie creature, the consequences. Forget Twilight , this is the real deal of the fascinating and horrors of life with a vampire.
10. Animal House (1978) A crazy, crude movie that lives on and on and on. I have not seen it in years but whenever I see a picture of John Belushi, I think of this movie. The movie is based at a university and the house is the home of the wildest craziest fraternity.