It’s looking as if I will probably not end up having school tomorrow due to the recent cold weather that we’ve been experiencing here in Central Texas. So naturally, I don’t have a whole lot on my plate right now. Since I’ve now had this new domain for a week now, and (hopefully) more and more traffic will be geared toward the website, I feel it’s necessary for me to let you know a little bit about myself. This is the beginning of a series of posts I will be making shortly, as I discuss favorites in Film, television, and even music. Today, I feel it’s appropriate to list my favorite films of all time. Now, first things first, I think top ten films of all time lists suck. I say this because my list is always changing, as I end up seeing classic films I had never seen before, or I end up having a difference of opinion on a certain film. In fact, my list will change once I post this, I can guarantee you that. So let’s get to it and list what I feel are the ten best films of all time.
10. Silver Linings Playbook
I love David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook. I have ever since I saw the film at the Austin Film Festival in 2012, when a few months later I declared the film as the best film of 2012. The film to me is a film that makes me feel positive about life and everything about it, even if the road to that declaration at the end of the film is quite crazy. Bradley Cooper gives the best performance of his career in the film, as well as Jennifer Lawrence, who won the Oscar for Best Actress a year ago. Yes, the film isn’t that old, but it doesn’t matter. This film is a revelation of modern day filmmaking, and David O. Russell has pulled off the great comeback in Hollywood, and is the best filmmaker under the age of 70 working today.
9. The Social Network
I remember seeing this film when I was in middle school on opening weekend. I was incredibly excited to see the film, as it paired David Fincher, one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of the medium, with screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, best known for his work on the television show’s The West Wing along with films like The American President, A Few Good Men, and Charlie Wilson’s War, not to mention the buzz the film had received before it’s release. My father and I saw the film opening weekend, and I was mesmerized, and it’s a feeling that I’ve had over three years later. I love The Social Network because the film is about being young and how naive we all can be at certain ages, and how many of those bad decisions in our lives could come back to haunt us. The film uses that theme to tell this fresh, exciting tale of betrayal, companionship, and isolation all perfectly. The film is also incredibly exciting to watch, as Fincher’s attention to detail in every frame of the film makes it feel like a trip back to the early 2000’s, and it’s nothing you’ll ever regret. Jeff Cronenweth, Fincher’s longtime cinematographer, beautifully shoots this film in a dark and sleek way that we have all been use to seeing in Fincher’s films. The score by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is a classic film score that feels modern and hip while also feeling like an instant classic. I’ve loved this film since day one, and I look forward to continuing to talk about it for several years to come.
8. The Departed
I saw The Departed only a few years ago, as it was given to me as a Christmas present. I sat down and watched the DVD, and was shocked that this modern day masterpiece by Martin Scorsese took me this long to see it. The film is a remake of a 2002 Hong Kong film entitled Infernal Affairs, and while I haven’t seen the original film, I’d say that this is the greatest remake in American cinema. Scorsese uses many of the filmmaking techniques he had aquried throughout the years, from the gritty and dirty style seen in Taxi Driver and many of his films from the 70’s, to the gritty but hugely entertaining and exciting Hollywood fare of recent like Goodfellas, Casino, Gangs of New York, and many more of his films. All of that is compiled into this masterpeice of American crime storytelling, which was so great that the Academy honored the film with Best Director for Martin Scorsese and Best Picture of that year, which was more than deserved of this film. The performances by the massive ensemble cast is extraordinary, and no matter what age he is, Mr. Scorsese has continued to make the most entertaining films of the past 30-40 years.
7. Pulp Fiction
I recently watched the film over the Christmas break on my new Blu-Ray, and I found the transfer of the film to be quite extraordinary. What I also discovered was the love that I have for Quentin Tarrantino’s masterful true crime epic that spans over one day in 1990’s Los Angeles. I can’t add too much to the conversation of this film that hasn’t already been said, but I could say that the film is unbelievably entertaining to watch and never even bothers to have a dull moment throughout it’s near three-hour run. The screenplay is energetic, exciting, also hysterical and funny as hell. The film is the reason why John Travolta still works in Hollywood, not to mention the rest of the massive ensemble that includes Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames, Tim Roth, and Christopher Walken. If you haven’t seen this film, good God, what;s the matter with you? It’s on Netflix, so watch it if you haven’t.
I’ve only seen Sidney Lumet’s Network one time the entire way through, and it was quite a long time ago. But ever since I saw the film, the idea of it has never gotten out of my head. The film was made in 1976, but it’s social commentary is something that has resonated with modern day media ever since the film’s release. The idea that a Network can make a ratings boom out of the ramblings of a mentally unstable man is an idea that’s extremely scary, but one that we are all so accustomed to in this day and age. The screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky is one that is satirical in the darkest way possible, but it’s a screenplay that’s also one of the finest ever written. It’s Sidney Lumet’s best film, yes even better than 12 Angry Men, and its one that I highly recommend that you must see.
5. The Godfather and The Godfather Part II
What’s there to say about Francis Ford Coppola’s brilliant anthology of American crime that hasn’t already been said? Many consider both films to be the greatest film of all time, and for good reason. It’s a film that does have a three hour run time of both films, they are films that you can just sit there in one sitting, and just be mesmerized by what’s happening on screen. The sequences of Michael Corlone in Italy, The flashbacks in Part II, etc. But while the film is a massive film with a big ensemble, the film’s at heart are a character study of Michael Corleone, one of the most conflicted and fascinating film characters in all of cinema. The writing in both these films are just so damn good and so damn fascinating, that it’s impossible not to like both these films. I love them, and whenever they play on AMC, I have to sit through it all. Quite possibly the greatest American film epic of all time, these are films that if you haven’t seen by now, you haven’t really experienced what Hollywood use to be back in the old days.
I’ve begun to fall in love with Roman Polanski’s Chinatown for the past few years now, as the film is the greatest classic film noir to ever come out of Hollywood. From the magnificent score by the late Jerry Goldsmith, to the highly influential and Academy Award winning script by Robert Towne, this is a film that feels like its looking through a time capsule, and the cinematography and score that blares through the film gives the film this nostalgic old fashioned Hollywood feel that many films have tried to imitate, but have failed horribly. Chinatown is a film that it’s mystery will keep you intrigued and on the edge of your seat until the very end of the film, which is unlike Hollywood, where everything works out in the end.
3. There Will Be Blood
This is possibly the greatest American film epic ever made, but it’s not the type of epic that you would think of. Paul Thomas Anderson’s flawless rendition of early 20th century oil drilling has this slow, burning feeling throughout the film,as you’re waiting for something explosive and out of the norm to happen. Daniel Day-Lewis gives a performance that words can’t do justice in the film as Daniel Plainview, a man who wants nothing but greed and power in this world, and will do whatever it takes for that to happen. It’s a fascinating character study that continues to make me in awe to this day. The unsettling score by Radiohead guitarist Johnny Greenwood is like a character in the film, and without it this film wouldn’t be quite the same. The religious undertones and overtones are ones that I can’t quite describe too well due to my lack of education in life, so I highly encourage you to find videos on YouTube that expertly examine the deeper meanings conveyed in PTA’s American masterpiece.