1) Ideally I should have seen the movie more than once.
2) The movie should hold a special place in my movie-loving heart.
3) The movie should be so good that I can really only describe how awesome it is by making a exhaling/gasping sound...a sound that suggests "it's just that awesome."
There will be six blogposts covering my top films of all time - all time being up to the end of 2008, that is.
Each post will list 10 films - a Top 10, Top 20, Top 30, Top 40 and Top 50, plus an "Honourable Mentions" 10 ... however, while these segments of ten are in an order, the films within each 'block of ten' are not in any particular order - it was as close as I could get. With a personal collection of almost 1,500 films (at the time of writing), it's the best I could do - it was simply hard enough just getting the 'blocks of ten' organised!
So without further fuss...
(the films that didn't quite make it into my Top 50):
(the films that didn't quite make it into my Top 50):
* Seven (1995):
Visually striking, perfect direction, and one of the few movies I've ever seen which STILL creeps me the fuck out even after every viewing - just thinking about the guy in the bed alone wigs me out, not to mention the gluttony victim. A film so relentlessly dark, gritty and tough, that it can only be admired and feared at the same time.
* Vanishing Point (1971):
One of the best car movies ever made, and while I've only seen it once so far (I plan to re-watch it soon), it gripped me throughout, and let that gaspy/exhaling impression on me. It embodies the indie spirit of seventies cinema, the Dodge Challenger is a gorgeous slab of vehicle, and it's simply a pure joy to watch.
* From Dusk Till Dawn (1996):
It's a shame we never got to see the Joe Pilato/Robert Kurtzman version of this movie - the promo, accompanied by AC/DC's "Hell's Bells", suggested pure class would have followed...but regardless, the combination of Rodriguez and Tarantino is 100% gold. Few movies that are so clearly split down the middle of their running time end up working spectacularly well, but FDTD is a gleefully gory romp - a bit budget, modern day grindhouse extravaganza.
* American History X (1998):
Testament to the power of this controversial film, the mere use of suggestion and audio to convey the skull-crushing boot stomp of Norton's pre-prison neo-Nazi, is enough to make me recoil every time. Atmospheric and gritty black & white mixes well with the present day colour portions, while the performances are powerful across the board. There are few films out there which exhibit this amount of power to move - to anger - to demoralise - to uplift - to induce sorrow, and pity.
* Animal House (1978):
I saw this R-Rated comedy genre hallmark after having seen many films and TV shows which were inspired by it (or which ripped it off), and yet despite being fairly familiar with the formula (as a result of those previously-seen movies), Animal House still raised guffaws-a-plenty. A comedy classic.
* The Warriors (1979):
The script couldn't have been particularly thick, nor that deep, but the involving atmosphere of a gang-ridden New York at night - replete with funky 70's soundtrack - is surprisingly good. Such a film, if made today, would no doubt be trash ... but there's just something about The Warriors which consumes you as you watch it. Plus it further exhibits that fast-and-loose 70's cinematic vibe that produced so many genre classics during the decade.
* Last House on the Left (1972):
It's only just been released fully uncut in the UK in 2009, but this has only added to the sheer power of Wes Craven and Sean Cunningham's down and dirty, sleazy slice of fleapit horror. Plenty of kiddywinks obsessed with SAW V and shoddy remakes of classics will no doubt mock the film, but so what - the true fans (of the film, but also of the horror genre in general, as well as cinema full stop) recognise the importance of this Vietnam-weary glut of perversion. The backstory to the film itself is the stuff of cinema legend, let alone the film itself ... enough said really.
* In Bruges (2008):
Few black comedies really work ... they're not particularly funny, nor especially dark (like Observe & Report, for instance) ... but the wonderfully foul-mouthed and non-PC In Bruges is truly hilarious and truly, moment-freezingly dark. A brilliant script and a superb array of actors further cemented this film as one which made me laugh uproariously one moment, and then gasp in shock the next, before effortlessly making me split my sides all over again.
* Lord of the Rings (2001 - 2003):
I've never read the book, and only got to see Two Towers in the cinema, but regardless - what really sticks with me about these films is the massively impressive job Peter Jackson did of directing this epic saga throughout. To command such an intricate story, and such an elaborate production, is nothing short of stunning ... and the films are good too!
* Napoleon Dynamite (2004):
I was introduced to this movie by one of my housemates in the final months I spent at university - and specifically, right in the midst of the fallout of "a bit of a to-do" between myself and another housemate (long story) - and yet this little indie chuckler trampled through the tension in the air and dispelled it permanently. We all gained so much joy from it in our house, that we watched it repeatedly - quoting it near-verbatim from start-to-finish - for weeks upon weeks until we all parted company when uni was over. As such, I have never re-watched the movie since; only watching the odd clip whenever it's on TV ... for me I guess, the movie burned very bright for a very short period of time, and as such it is one of my all-time most memorable films.