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Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Top 15 best movies ever made. - Conroy Jointer's MySpace Blog |

 My Top 15 best movies ever made.

Because one of the prerequisites of the list is that I must have visually seen the movie in its entirety, a number of well deserving movies got left out i.e. "Lawrence of Arabia", "Vertigo", "Full Metal Jacket".

Since I LOVE all genres of film I will try to have a film from each category represented on my "Top 15" list.

Finally I would like you to keep in mind that this is my NOT my top 15 "favorite" movies, but movies that I feel will never be out done.  So they will appear in no particular order.

•    Epics/Historical:        "Ben-Hur"   Not the original but the Charlton Heston classic w/ Stephen Boyd as Messala.  What I love about this film is the direction of the events.  How each predicament happened and the reason why they happened. Friends turned to foe movies always intrigue me.  Then it is a movie about forgiveness and Love with enough action to satisfy.  The gorgeous landscapes and back drops for that film period are unmatched by any other film around that time, and the music…  The music, I feel, tops any other film ever made.  You get this 6 minute orchestral entrance before the movie starts with the back drop of Michelangelo’s Sistine chapel in the background.   This movie can be remade but this one will never be out done.  Favorites: Troy, 300, Gladiator,  V for Vendetta, The Count of Monte Cristo, The First Knight, The Passion of Christ, The Last Samurai, “The Ten Commandments”, and The 13th Warrior

•    Musicals:        "Sound of Music"  "The Wizard of Oz" deserved this spot but so did “The Blues Brothers” and “Singing in the Rain”.  These four films could easily make anyone else’s top 15 lists.  Unfortunately, it is the one top film for each genre that makes this list elite.  How does the “The  Sound of Music” trump the other 3?  For me, it’s the plight of the family fleeing World War II as Germany begins to claim Austria…  I remember the first time I heard the Captain sing “Edelweiss”.  I was too small to know what it meant, I just remember it was one of the most beautiful songs that I’ve ever heard and it was song by this highly over aggressive military disciplinarian.  By nature I HATE musicals but love music and movies...  Go figure!  These four movies embodied everything I loved about music and movies.  Favorites: “Blues Brothers”, “Purple Rain”, and “Black Snake Moan”

•    Drama:        "Casablanca” I can see "Citizen Cane" being argued over 'Casablanca” but to no avail. Casablanca is by far the best drama ever.  I took me awhile to appreciate it but I am here.  This is truly one of the rare films that actually looks better in black and white. Definitely has the whole film noir look and the whole love nostalgia thing going.  Certainly one of those films that I love more as I continue to rewatch it.  Favorites: “ Shawshank Redemption”, “Slumdog millionaire”,  the whole “Silence of the Lambs” anthology (except ‘Red Dragon’), “A Bronx Tale”, “Deep Impact”, “Love Jones”,” Misery”, “Do the Right Thing”, “The Man in the Iron Mask”, “The Barefoot Contessa”,“Titanic”, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “SugarHill”

•    Crime/Gangster:        "The Godfather I, II, and yes even III” The third installment was misunderstood by soooooo many people.  To me, the way the director chose to end the ‘Godfather’ franchise was authentic and very true to life.  This film changed the ways we watched movies and also changed the ways films were made ethically.  Alfred Hitchcock's ‘Psycho’ (1960) help shred the Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 (Hays Code) and replaced it with MPAA ratings, so that movie producers can continue to push the envelope.   In 1972 this movie stayed the course of film novelty then blew the doors off theater and stayed on your mind decades after.  Gorgeous film!  Real quick; the most daunting part was @ the beginning of Godfather II, when little Vito Corleone was being quarantined.  They stuck him in that little room (cell) and he sat staring out the window looking at the Statue of Liberty singing a song in Italian while swing his legs back and forth…  That scene I will never forget.   Favorites: “Scarface”,  “Casino”,  “Pulp Fiction”,  “A Bronx Tale”, “ New Jack City”, ”Fresh”,  “Menace to Society”, “Boys n da Hood”, and “Belly”.

•    Science Fiction:       "Star Wars" To me, this was THE best movie ever made. For any reason you would want to go the theater this movie had what you was looking for and more.  If you are not a Sci-fi person and can do without all the weird looking creatures and things I can understand that.  You have to appreciate the vision of unknown worlds and the creatures that may inhabit them according to the George Lucus’s mind.  I love the Muppetering of the monsters instead of animation mixed with motion picture images.  I wish they would bring Muppets back today instead of using this CGI all the blasted time.  “I am Legend” would have benefited from puppets tremendously!!!  (Why didn’t they just use live Lions for those two scenes?  Anyway…)    The struggle between good and evil has never been detailed so precisely.   I love how the film shows evil as simply a different point of view.  The last Star wars made, “Revenge of the Sith”, actually being the 3rd chapter of the franchise, exemplified evil perfectly.  Both sides [Good and Evil] had to resort to deception.  The good used it to expose the truth but Anakin didn’t know that.  He was confused.  I can honestly see how that can happen and it’s important to the story’s development and how it finally ends in “Return of the Jedi”.   One of the best lines I ever heard in any movie--- “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”- yoda    Favorites: “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, “A.I”, “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “Aliens”, “Robocop”, “War of the Worlds (2005)”, “D.A.R.Y.L”, “The Transformers”, “Independence Day”, “Back to the Future”, ”E.T”,  and “The Matrix”.
  •   Action:       "Terminator", “The Dark Knight”, “The Raid 2: Berandal” * list modified April 14, 2009 **modified again on 11/11/15 [TR2Berandal starts approximately 2 hours after the The RAID: REDEMPTION ends, so you have to watch both to fully appreciate TR2B… ]   It pains me so very much to omit the original "Predator" directed by John McTiernan with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, and Jesse Ventura from the top, then turn around and demote Terminator as THEE  best action flick ever but this last installment of the Batman legacy has been argued to be the best flick ever… and I like that argument.  Predator may be more a nostalgic nomination but the more I see it the more ageless it becomes; truly a masterpiece. Both “The Terminator 1 & 2” (especially 2) is as good as it gets when it comes to action films.  One type of film that I can’t stand is one with a whole lot of meaningless action and no realistic plot.  Everyone that knows me knows that my favorite type of film is an apocalyptic film. ** The Apocalypse happens to be the backdrop for a gorgeous and very smart action riddled film.  Terminator 1 is such a classic and you are instantly involved with the movie as the film begins its character development stage.  The characters in film that you care about what happens to them, you hope for them, and you never forget them. By the way, Bad Boys II is the most slept-on action flick of all-time.  The only ones that would argue are the ones that have not viewed it yet. Favorites:  Predator, Terminator, All the “007’s”, “The “Bourne” franchise, “Bad Boys II”, “The Professional”, “True Lies” “Rambo (2008)”, “Kill Bill”, “Metro”, “Speed”, “Superman II”, “Con-Air”, “Mortal Kombat”, “Armageddon”, “Rush Hour”, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Four Brothers”, all the “Mission Impossible” movies, “Smoking Aces”, “Spiderman II”, “Batman”, “Waist Deep”, “The Fast and the Furious” and “Death Proof”
See: The Dark Knight just murdered everything that you’ve seen thus far...       for my initial review of The Dark Knight.

•    Horror:       "Dawn of the Dead (2004 version)”   This is the only film on my list that may get outdone sooner or later.  Until it does, “Dawn of the Dead” is paramount in the Horror genre!  I had a struggle with this one because “The Shining” could have taken tops; it is a great horror film.  Again, what does Conroy like?  Apocalyptic films!!!  This one inserts you into the cockpit seat from the start!  Then it’s all about confusion and survival.  Never been a Horror/Scary movie type of person but I will watch it if it’s good…  This film is great and I feel Ving Rhames puts forward his best performance.  Favorites: “The Shining”,  the whole “SAW” franchise, all the “Final destinations”, the  original “Dracula”, the first “ Blade”, “Spawn”, “The Ring”, “The Sixth Sense”,  “Carrie”, “Face Off”, “The Blair Witch Project”, “From Dusk to Dawn”, “Vanhelsing”, “Interview with the Vampire” and “Cloverfield”

•    Comedy:        "O Brother Where Art Thou?"  Out of all the genres ‘comedies’ by far was the most difficult.  How do you gauge the best comedies?  You can’t go off which movie made you laugh the longest because those are rarely good movies.  For instance, I never laughed as often and as hard as I did in “Friday”.  I also recognize that this wasn’t the most carefully crafted film but it definitely did its job.  OBWAT (O Brother Where Art Thou) succeeds in every way a motion picture can, especially in laughs.  Very rare will you find such a talented cast, loads of great cinematography, and a great script work in a comedy but it does here.  This film came out before “Oceans 13” so the world hadn’t yet witnessed a vulnerable George Clooney character.  I must admit, that was a good chunk of what was so hilarious about the film! ( Always worried about his hair)  And the verbiage of all the characters was extremely funny.  Favorites:  “Liar Liar”, “9 to 5”, “Ghostbusters”, “Raw” and definitely "Coming to America"!!!, “48 hours”, “Trading places”, “All about the Benjamins”, “Kings of Comedy”, all of the “Fridays”, “Money Talks”, “Talladega Nights”,” Happy Gilmore”,  “ The Ladies Man”, “40 year old Virgin”, “ The Big Lebowski”, “My Cousin Vinny”, “ The Three Amigos”, “Vampire in Brooklyn”, “Norbit”, “The Ladykillers”, “The Pineapple Express” and “Kingpin”

•    Adventure:        Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom"    “Lord of the Rings” should have this spot but “Indy” is so iconic, so raw, and filled with so much energy and great music that I have to give Indy this spot.  Indian Jones has also created a perfect adventure film blueprint/format that every adventure film made from now on will be measured to.  Both movies [Indy & Lord of the Rings] have great scripts that allow the actors and actress to shine despite all the action going on around them.  However, at times L.O.T.R (Lord of the Rings) slows down whereas Indiana doesn’t.  The Indy team does their own stunts where LOTR uses a good measure of great, no, superior CGI.  Harrison Ford to play Indiana Jones has to be argued one of the best casting jobs ever!!!  His character maintains class as a college professor and researcher, while being able to convert to the rugged look at moment’s notice.  He’s able to be convincingly serious while being funny.  Remarkable.  One of my favorite films ever.  Favorites:  The trinity of “Lord of the Rings”, “Pan’s Labyrinth”, “The Mummy”, “The Game”, “King Kong (2005)”,“Cast Away”, “Legends of the Fall”, “Clash of the Titans” and “Forest Gump.

•    War:        "Saving Private Ryan"    "Letters to Iwo Jima" would have easily replaced Saving Private Ryan and almost did.  What saved "Saving..." is the first 15 to 20 minutes of the film.  These moments were hailed as the “most authentic” portrayal of war by World War II veterans.  I mean as soon as the movie projector emits light on the screen you are engaged.  Then you have sit through the  heart wrenching drama of other soldiers protecting this one soldier while still wanting to fight.  It’s a tale of extreme lost, brotherhood, and sacrifice.  Love this picture.
      I have to say this: “Crimson Tide” is the most underappreciated, and one of the most important films ever and it was mostly all shot in a submarine!  Yet the setting never gets repetitive or monotonous.  The decisions that crew had to make were unbelievable and the ending…  That ending defined the meaning of the word tense.  Lastly, the scariest part is that the ending could happen in real life.  Nuclear holocaust is  real and again, what does Conroy love?  You should know by now     Favorites: “A Soldier’s Story”, “The Siege”, “Firefox”, “TopGun”, “Pearl Harbor”, “Enemy at the Gates”, “The Last Castle”, “Dead Presidents”(Another very underrated, very important film), “Behind Enemy Lines”, "Letters to Iwo Jima", “Glory”, “Cold Mountain”, and “Three Kings”

•    Western:       "Tombstone" I’m not your typical Western lover that would be my Dad.  However, I have watched Tombstone so many times that  I could probably recite every line that Doc holiday so meticulously articulated in his immaculate southern accent in this grand of a Western.  I wasn’t around in that era but the screenshots and settings of Tombstone just look so authentic.  The movie was easy to watch, and even easier to love.  I really like Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday!  “Unforgiven” with the legend Clint Eastwood and “3:10 to Yuma” with two more legends in there own right, Russell Crowe, and Christian Bale could have been number 1.  Tombstone has everything those movies have plus Val Kilmer as Doc!  Favorites: “3:10 to  Yuma”, “Unforgiven”, ”Young Guns”,  and “Posse”

•    Animated Films:        Jurassic Park” I still remember the day my good friend LaMorris Bell came into class raving about this movie. Until opening night, the only visual of the movie that was released was the movie poster .  So it looked like a kid movie because it was well marketed as a family film.  Well, I’m a junior in High School and my boy comes in class early just crazed over this movie and won’t stop talking about it for the rest of the day.  “If you only seen what I saw.” he kept saying.  When I finally went and saw this masterpiece my mouth was open the whole time.  Talk about your jaw dropping literally, I couldn’t believe how real everything looked.  It was a superb adventure, it had a good number of surprises and it was a very smart film.  The reason I put Jurassic Park under animated films is because of all the CGI that they used.  Let me note that they did the CGI just right and incorporated robotic puppets and such so that the illusions of the dinosaurs were seamless.  Plus no way could I put JP in the adventure category and not give that crown to Indiana Jones.  Favorites: “Akira”, “The Lion King”, “Beauty and the Beast”, both “Final Fantasy(s)”,”Animatrix”,”Cars”, ”Monsters Inc”, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, “The Mask”,” Finding Nemo”, “Shrek”, “Toy Story”,” The Fox and the Hound”, ” Ratatouille” and “The Incredibles” speaking of The Incredibles…                  
•    Children/Kid/Family Films:        The Incredibles” This by far is the best kid’s movie ever; in fact I don’t really consider it a kid film.  Family film yes but kids?  Kids can enjoy it but adults really appreciate the adult situations.  This movie had the most fun out of all the films that I have mentioned so far.  Favorites: “The Grinch that stole Christmas”, “101 Dalmatians”, “Akeelah and the Bee”, “Chronicles of Narnia”, “Angels in the Outfield”, and “Bridge to Terabithia”

•    Sports Films:        Rocky” No contest here.  I think I was around 4yrs old when I saw “Rocky II”.  I remember me and my little sister up in the isles punching at the screen along with Rocky.  I was ridiculously shy back then so this was way out the normal for me and especially my baby sister.  Rocky is a great film and so is the rest of the sequels.  What more can you say?  You don’t even measure this by “Sports movies” standards, you gauge this among the best films ever made.  Favorites: “The Cinderella Man”, “The Gridiron Gang”, “Million Dollar Baby”, “Any Given Sunday”, “Friday Night Lights”, “Undisputed”, “Raging Bull”,  “Rudy”,  “Above the Rim”, and “Ali”

•    Documentary [style] Films:        Malcom X” This was Denzel’s greatest performance other than his role in “Glory” and “A Soldiers Story”.  Spike Lee really out did himself with this one.  I really wanted to put “When we were Kings” on the marquee because the producers of that film did a heck of a job exploring every aspect of the Ali-Foreman fight and the events leading up to and after that historic event.  I just feel like no other documentary style film will be able to out perform “Malcolm X”. Favorites: “The Hurricane”, “When we were Kings”, “City of God”, “The Lord of War”, “Tupac:Resurrection”, “Ray”, “Sicko”, “Fahrenheit 9/11”, "42", and “Blow”

** Biggest disappointment in apocalyptic film history was “End of Days” with Arnold Schwarzenegger

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