The Greatest Films Ever Made: The Top Thirty (#21-30)

Looking for a film to watch? Welcome to my can’t-miss list of the greatest films ever made. Rather than employ a convoluted set of criteria, citing genres, eras, directors, etc, I use two basic guiding principles: a) The immediate impact of the film and b) The compulsive need to see the film again and again. In other words, these films are not only entertaining but will leave a lifelong imprint on your brain. Without further ado, here are films #21-30…

21. Annie Hall (Woody Allen, US, 1976)

Indelible line: “How you got to teach a course in anything is amazing!” (Marshall McLuhan)

Lasting impression: A marvelous array of one-liners and gags

22. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, US, 1973)

Indelible line: “Yeah, let’s talk business, Mike. First of all, you’re done.” (Moe Greene)

Lasting impression: Anti-heroes bathed in golden light

23. Honeyland (Tamara Kotevska & Ljubomir Stefanov, Macedonia, 2019)

Indelible line: “I’m not dying. I’m just making your life misery.” (Hatidže’s mother)

Lasting impression: Isolation and silence

24. Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, US, 1989)

Indelible line: “The story of life is this: static.” (Radio Raheem)

Lasting impression: The heat of an intense summer day

25. Dead Man (Jim Jarmusch, US, 1995)

Indelible line: “You had the last philistine. This one’s mine.” (Benmont Tench)

Lasting impression: The nearest truth to the Wild West ever offered

26. Being There (Hal Ashby, US, 1979)

Indelible line: “Life is a state of mind.” (President Bobby)

Lasting impression: A fable for the digital world

27. Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater, US, 1993)

Indelible line: “Now me and my loser friends are gonna buy some Aerosmith tickets.” (Pink)

Lasting impression: It’s remarkable how accepted and cool bullying can be

28. Elephant (Gus Van Sant, US, 2003)

Indelible line: “Fuck, anyway, Mr. Luce. Whatever.” (Eric)

Lasting impression: Mundane life punctuated by brief and shocking violence

29. Gilda (Charles Vidor, US, 1946)

Indelible line: “Gilda, are you decent?” (Ballin) “Me?” (Gilda)

Lasting impression: Rita Hayworth, the epitome of soft focus and key lighting

30. Short Cuts (Robert Altman, US, 1993)

Indelible line: “Marian, you’re not wearing any pants!” (Dr. Wyman)

Lasting impression: Everyone’s life is an utter mess

How Stupid Can an Audience Get?

Hollywood Cookie Cutters can be a guilty pleasure, good as background chatter, to be glanced at between reading, writing and or having a nap. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot has an occasional edge. Straight Outta Compton has scenes with great music. straightoutta10 Cloverfield Lane has John Goodman. Midnight Special has domes of light. midnight special domesAnd Everybody Wants Some has the glimpses of what Richard Linklater used to do – make a decent film.everybodywantsssomeAnd yet each of these mind-numbing 2015/16 releases – desperately displaying arc points as they stumble derivatively through genre – scored an average rating of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. This begs the question: How did audiences get this stupid?ABC_donald_trumpOh, I forgot.

Top Five High School Movies

I’ve finished a first draft of my coming-of-age high school script and, in trying to avoid cliches, have often reflected on the best of the genre. By my reckoning, there is a pantheon of five films, all of which have characters, story and dialogue that ring true.

5. Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)Election104. Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater, 1993)dazed13. American Graffiti (George Lucas, 1973)graffiti122. Rushmore (Wes Anderson, 1998)rushmore-81. Superbad (Greg Mottola, 2007)superbadInterestingly enough, except for Superbad, these films were directed early in each filmmaker’s careers, all of whom went on to be nominated for Oscars. We’ll see what Mottola does next.