The List, Part 2: Greatest Movies Ever

Today I present my Top 10 Movies of all time:

10. The Maltese Falcon (1941)

They just don’t make movie stars like Humphrey Bogart anymore.  He’s such a bad ass, such an asshole, how can you not love him?  And The Maltese Falcon is one of his best roles.  The plot doesn’t even make that much sense, but this film is the very essence of film noir and the genre of the hard-boiled detective.  And that’s good enough for me.

9. Wedding Crashers (2005)

The best comedy ever made.  Vince Vaughn has done a ton of great movies dating back to Swingers, but this is his best.  Most comedies struggle to keep a storyline compelling enough to bridge the gap between jokes.  Wedding Crashers has no such problem, providing laughs from beginning to end.

8. The Lives of Others (2006)

A brilliant and disturbing look into the East Germany secret police, the Stasi.  This film gives just a glimpse of the evil that was the communist system and its state security apparatus charged with controlling the masses.  In reality, the Evil Empire was much, much worse than portrayed in the film, but after a bajillion movies about how terrible the Nazis were it’s nice to see at least a glimpse of the terror that resided behind the Iron Curtain.  Of course it’s a German film; no way Hollywood would make such an ardently anti-communist film in this day and age.  Hope you don’t mind subtitles!

7. Casablanca (1942)

Bogart returns, this time in a beautiful piece of pro-American, pro-war propaganda.  Too bad Hollywood doesn’t make films like this anymore.  A great story of love, sacrifice and standing up to the evils of the world.  My only complaint is that that sniveling Vichy Frenchman Captain Renault doesn’t get what’s coming to him.

6. The Godfather, Part III (1990)

The final installment of the greatest cinema story ever told.  The tragedy that is Michael Corleone’s life comes full circle in this gut-wrenching spectacle.  It’s not as good as the first two, but it’s still pretty fucking amazing if you ask me.  Andy Garcia does a spectacular job replicating the mannerisms of James Caan, the illegitimate father he never knew.  Al Pacino’s pain and guilt is palpable, and the tie-in to the actual death of Pope John Paul I is a clever twist as well.

5. The Usual Suspects (1995)

One of the most brilliantly written films ever.  You can watch this movie a hundred times and you’ll spot something new every time.  Trust me, I’ve seen it almost that many times.  Brilliant performances by Kevin Spacey, Benicio Del Toro and really everyone else.  Keyser Soze will forever be the boogeyman as far as I’m concerned.

4. Conan the Barbarian (1982)

No, not the crappy remake from last summer.  The original, back when Arnold Schwarzenegger could barely speak English, is an action classic.  Blood, gore, sex and a healthy dose of not-so-subtle conservative ideology.  What more could a man ask for?  Director John Milius is a genius, and James Earl Jones is creepily good as the head of the snake cult of Set (who wouldn’t be taken in by that voice??).  If you haven’t seen this movie, go watch it immediately.  However, stay away from the sequel, Conan the Destroyer.  I’m not sure there’s ever been a bigger drop off from original to sequel.

3. The Godfather, Part II (1974)

The saga of the Corleone Family continues in this beautiful and haunting epic that stretches from Nevada to New York to Cuba.  I love how it takes the real life events of the Cuban Revolution and the Senate hearings on organized crime and weaves them into the fictional story.  Watching Michael Corleone deteriorate into a paranoid, vicious mob boss is equally sad and terrifying.  One of my favorite quotes in movie history comes from this film: “I don’t feel I have to wipe everbody out, Tom.  Just my enemies.  That’s all.”

2. Seven (1995)

David Fincher is one of my favorite directors, with films like The Game and Fight Club to his credit.  But Seven is his masterpiece, dark and raw and utterly disturbing.  Amazing performances by Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman and an uncredited role by Kevin Spacey.  I usually find serial killer films to be kinda corny, but each murder in this film serves a purpose in the story, building to a devastating climax. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this film, and the ending still gets my heart pounding.

1. The Godfather (1972)

It’s really hard to make a top 10 list when three of your ten are all part of the same series.  The original Godfather is so good nothing else even comes close.  There isn’t a bad performance or a slow scene in the entire movie; James Caan, Robert Duval and Al Pacino all got Supporting Actor Nominations, splitting the vote and no doubt costing each other the Oscar they all deserved.  One of the rare movies that is better than the novel (which ain’t bad either).  I could watch this movie on loop for the rest of my life and never get bored.

Honorable Mention: Apocalypse Now (1979); Dr. Strangelove (1964); The English Patient (1996); The Game (1997); Man on Fire (2004); Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985); Spy Game (2001); Swingers (1996); V for Vendetta (2005)

Advertisements

Boba Fett, Apollo Creed and Luca Brasi Walk Into a Bar…

Ok, ok, I admit it.  The title of this blog is a shameless attempt to drive internet searches to my site.  But I do have a serious point to make.  Have you ever seen a movie where a minor character just jumps out at you and makes you wish the whole movie was about them?  Or at least that there would be a spin off to delve further into their bad-assedness?  I’ve put together my Top 5 list of such characters.

 —

Honorable Mention: Frank The Tank —

This one was actually a little tough for me, because since this iconic character Will Farrell has gone on to be the lead in several movies (Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers) that don’t even come close to the high comedy of Frank The Tank in Old School.  I’ve come to the conclusion that Ferrell isn’t really cut out to be a leading man, he’s better as a sidekick.  And that’s why he doesn’t make the list.

But… if ever there was a Ferrell character that could carry a movie, it’s gotta be Frank The Tank.  Who wouldn’t want to see more of the screaming, streaking, beer bonging life of the party?

Best Quote: “It’s so good!  Once it hits your lips it’s so good!”

 —

5. Otto West —

The classic stereotype of the “ignorant American.”  If you haven’t seen A Fish Called Wanda you’re missing out.  Obnoxious, full of himself, unable to drive on the right, er, left side of the road, Otto is an inspiration and role model to all Americans who know we’re better than everyone else everywhere.  So don’t call me stupid.

Best Quote: “Oh, you English are so superior, aren’t you? Well, would you like to know what you’d be without us, the good ol’ U.S. of A. to protect you? I’ll tell you. The smallest fucking province in the Russian Empire, that’s what! So don’t call me stupid, lady. Just thank me.”

4. Fenster & McManus —

Cheating a little bit here by using two characters, but other than Keyser Soze himself who do you remember most from The Usual Suspects?  Such an odd pairing, the flaming gay Fenster; and McManus, the kind of violent criminal who seems more likely to perpetrate hate crimes against gays than partner up with them.  If they could get the same writer I’d love to see how these two criminals came to be so tight.

Best Quote (McManus): “Gimme the fuckin’ keys you fuckin’ cocksucker motherfucker alaghhhh!”

Best quote: (Fenster): “Oh, is that the one about the hooker with the dysentery?”

 —

3. Boba Fett —

No, I’m not a Star Wars nerd.  I mean, I like the movies and all, but I’m not obsessed with them or any other sci-fi flick for that matter.  But Boba Fett is still pretty bad ass (although he was admittedly more so before the second trilogy kind of douched him and his dad up).  Think about it, Boba Fett is the only character besides the Emperor that ever popped off to Vader and didn’t get immediately Jedi-choked.  He’s also the only character that Vader ever had to warn not to be too violent (“No disintegrations.”).  All in all, Boba is really the only anti-hero in the series, despite the best efforts to make Han Solo into one.

Best Quote: Not many to choose from, but we’ll go with “He’s no good to me dead.”

 —

2. Luca Brasi —

How tough do you have to be to be the chief enforcer for Don Corleone?  How tough do you have to be to scare the Godfather himself?  Pretty goddamn tough I’m guessing.  Luca is big, imposing, none-too-bright, and just reeks of violence.  If you’ve read Mario Puzo’s novel, where Luca’s backstory is elaborated upon a bit, you know he’s also pretty much a sociopath (I won’t give it all away, but let’s just say there’s a baby stuffed into an oven).  I’d pay to watch him kill people for two hours.

Best Quote: “Don Corleone, I am honored and grateful that you have invited me to your daught– ter’s wedding… on the day of your daughter’s wedding.  And I hope that their first child will be a masculine child.”

1. Apollo Creed —

Apollo is by far my favorite supporting character in all of movies.  He’s just so complex; think about it, we see a new side of him in every movie.  In the original Rocky he’s the heavyweight champion of the world; undefeated, never been knocked down and never had anyone go the distance against him.  He’s smart, educated, a businessman conscious of his brand.  He harbors no ill will towards Rocky, it’s just a marketing stunt.  Until… After the toughest fight of his career, his legacy threatened, Apollo becomes nasty in Rocky II.  Now he’s the ultimate bad guy athlete, determined to defend his legacy, everything else be damned.  By Rocky III, now retired, he shows his compassion by befriending his once-nemesis, helping Rocky climb back on top.  And to top it all off, come Rocky IV he proves himself to be not only a family man and a good friend but a patriot as well.  (Who would’ve thought, when you saw him dressed as George Washington in the original Rocky, that it was more than just a marketing stunt?)  When he dies in the ring at the hands of Drago it is a truly gut-wrenching moment.

Best Quote: “Get your cameras ready, he’s goin’ down!”

Well, that’s my list.  Who would you like to see?

Random Thoughts

No story this time, just some random thoughts that have been buzzing around in my head.

The Godfather is the greatest movie ever made.  It’s not even close, nothing else is even in the same league.  They should make a new name for what kind of art The Godfather is, because trying to compare it to other movies is like comparing Michael Jordan’s basketball skills to my rec league’s talent pool.  Part II is also in the top 5, and Part III, for all the criticism it receives, is still top 10.  Too bad Mario Puzo died before they could complete the story for Part IV.  Puzo said in an interview that it would have been similar to Part II, with two storylines, one a continuation of Vincent’s story and the other a flashback to Don Vito’s ascension to power during Prohibition.  Who wouldn’t watch that?

–Why are Indian mascots the only ones that are considered offensive?  What about Vikings, Spartans and Trojans?

–Ray Lewis killed a man and still gets TV endorsements.  Maybe Old Spice should change their marketing slogan to, “We can even get the smell of blood off you.”

–No woman has ever been able to make me climax from just a blow job.  And yet, I consider the BJ to be the most important skill a woman can possess in the bedroom.

–I am the Cleveland Browns of fantasy football.  I’ve won a championship but it was so long ago no one remembers it.

Yeah it looks like a shithole, but it's a great place to drink at 3am.

–It’s an insult to call Reno a poor man’s Las Vegas.  An insult to Vegas, that is.  Las Vegas is paradise on earth, a bastion of sin and depravity and debauchery.  Reno is a mid-sized city with a couple casinos.  But if you ever find yourself in Reno, I suggest a bar called Tonic.  It’s an easy cab ride from the casinos and it’s open long past when the casino bars shut down.  One night in Tonic I was witness to an amazing trifecta.  My boss was making out with a guy who wasn’t her boyfriend.  Another co-worker was making out with a guy who wasn’t her fiancee.  And my lesbian friend Shane was making out with a guy who wasn’t a girl.  I’ll let you figure out which of those three lucky guys I was…

–Why are Indian mascots the only ones that are considered offensive?  What about Cowboys, Miners and Lumberjacks?

–How did we survive before cell phones?  I’m not even talking about the convenience of having a phone on you at all times, for emergenices or being able to make changes to your plans on the fly, yada yada yada.  Forget all that crap.  I mean how did we survive before drunk texting?  And before I call send pictures of my penis to girls?  Not to mention being able to avoid assholes at work by simply whipping out your cell phone and pretending to talk to someone?

–I love freckles but moles feak me out.  I know, it’s a fine line, and I couldn’t explain it to you if I had to.  But freckles on a girl are hot, especially on the cleavage.  Moles on the other hand… well, I swear they start talking to me when I’m drunk.

–I was a Jenn Sterger fan long before that douchebag Brett Favre made her famous.

Jenn Sterger

–The first four girls I slept with all had names that started with the letter S.  For a long time I thought I was cursed.  My game is bad enough as it is, if you cut my odds to 1/26th I might as well just give up.

–I’m not afraid of dying alone.  But drinking alone depresses me.

–The only movie I’ve ever cried at is Rocky III.  How could it not break your heart when Mick is dying in the locker room while Rocky is getting bludgeoned by Clubber Lang?  And then after the fight when Balboa, bloodied and beaten, lies to Mick in his last moments, telling him he won?  If that doesn’t get to you then you’re some kind of robot.

–Why are Indian mascots the only ones that are considered offensive?  What about Canucks, Ragin’ Cajuns and Fightin’ Irish?

–I might just be the world’s biggest Jewel fan.  Go ahead, laugh all you want. I’ve heard it all before and I don’t care.  Jewel’s music is magical.  I’ve seen her in concert seven times (and it’d be more if I hadn’t moved to End Of The World, UT), and I have approximately 250 Jewel songs on my iPod.  I know, it doesn’t exactly fit with all my stories of drinking, swearing and attempted fornicating.  What can I say, I’m a complicated man.

–Muhammed Ali is the most overrated fighter in boxing history, and possibly the most overrated athlete ever.  (And no, I’m not just saying that because I hate draft dodgers and Muslim terrorists.)  Everyone talks about how Ali beat Joe Frazier two out of three times, but they never mention that both boxers were pretty much washed up and at the end of their careers for the last two fights.  In the only fight that truly matters, the first one, when both fighters were undefeated, Frazier beat Ali soundly, nearly knocking him out in the 15th round and winning on all three scorecards.  Smokin’ Joe is the greatest fighter of that era, it’s not even up for debate.

–In the first 30 years of my life the extent of my criminal record consisted of one speeding ticket.  That’s it.  But then I moved to Utah.  Within 3 months I had been arrested for DUI (later plead down to reckless driving, thank you very much.)  Then I got a public urination.  Oh yeah, and I’ve gotten another speeding ticket.  If I stay here in Mormonland much longer I’ll have to stop making jokes about Ray Lewis.

–I’m not really into lesbian porn.  I like to see hot girls getting fucked by guys.  Some people might think that’s gay.  But my fantasy is to fuck a busty blonde pornstar, not watch her fuck another girl (not that that would be all that bad either).

–The greatest line in movie history comes from V for Vendetta: “People should not be afraid of their governments.  Governments should be afraid of their people.”

–Why are Indian mascots the only ones that are considered offensive?  What about Friars, Demon Deacons and Crusaders?