Perhaps you’ve read my past rants regarding holiday specials, the best scary movies I’ve seen or the warnings I’ve given about the films you need to avoid. As we wind down 2011 it seems only fitting that I’ve saved the best for last. So I’ll use this post to inform you of what I believe are the greatest movies of all time.
Let’s be honest right up front: I’m no movie mogul. I have no degree in movie watching and for the most part I can sit through pretty much anything. I like the thriller, comedy and action movie all equal. In other words, I’m not a hard person to entertain (I mean, I watch Godzilla for goodness sakes).
My judgement on these movies has nothing to do with box office success either. Truth be told I didn’t care much for Avatar (way too long) and Titanic and Transformers didn’t make my list either ( no offense Mr. Cameron or Mr. Bey). The criteria I use to determine if a movie is great or not is simple, much like me:
#1 – The film must have a fantastic story line. (as most great films tend to do)
#2 – The movie must not drag on and on. There are plenty of movies that are worthy of being called great but they seem to drag on longer than they should (Avatar and Batman: The Dark Knight both quickly come to mind). I prefer movies that tell the story quickly and makes you want to watch it again.
#3 – I’ll give bonus points to a movie that meets the first two criteria and also has a twist or is unique for the year it came out. For example, according to the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest movies of all time the #1 film by far is Citizen Kane and I would tend to agree with that statement. For a film that came out in 1941 there’s no doubt it meets all of my criteria to a tee. Everything about it deserves top honors. But since neither I nor my parents were around in 1941 to witness this masterpiece first hand I’ve instead created my own list with some information from Wikipedia included.
So dim the lights, grab some popcorn and let’s go:
5. The Sixth Sense (1999): This film made my list because I, like most others, fell for the twist at the end. I love movies that get you thinking one way and then pull the rug out from under you at the end. Hollywood tried to copy the twist from this movie many times since but always came up short.
This film also gave director M. Night Shyamalan a green light to make a half-dozen bombs following it’s release. (See, well on second thought DON’T see, The Happening, a film which made my WORST list).
4. Raiders of The Lost Ark (1981): Harrison Ford at his finest. This film is an adventure of biblical proportion. It pits Indiana Jones (Ford) against a group of Nazis who search for the Ark of the Covenant because Adolf Hitler believes it will make their army invincible. Contains non-stop action, a love story and even the Nazi’s getting an ass-whooping. What more could you ask for?
3. Forrest Gump (1994): Tom Hanks was a freaking genius. One of the first actors to for go his salary in exchange for a take of the box office. The story depicts several decades in the life of Forrest Gump, a native of Alabama who experiences firsthand, and contributes to, some of the defining events of the latter half of the 20th century while being largely unaware of their significance due to his below-average intelligence. Run Forrest, RUN!
2. Star Wars (1977): Episode 4 for those keeping score, this film clocks in at 90 minutes and is the movie that started the whole Star Wars craze. I’ll even give props to Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi as far as coolness goes but nothing beats the original.
and by now you should already know….
1. JAWS (1975): Without a doubt the greatest movie ever made. The only film that if I can (and have) watched every day and it never gets old. I used to be able to quote this entire movie line for line, much to the chagrin of my parents and siblings. “You all know me, know how I earn a living…”
JAWS won three Academy Awards and should have won the Best Picture but lost out to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest when the academy had a Jack Nicolson bias. Don’t get me wrong, Cuckoo was a good film but certainly not better than JAWS.
Honorable Mentions: These are films I highly recommend you see. Right now if possible. You have my permission to take the rest of the day off.
In no particular order:
Platoon (1986), The Usual Suspects (1995), The Green Mile (1999), Memento (2000), The Lord of the Rings Series, Groundhog Day (1993), Can’t Buy Me Love (1987), Fight Club (1999), A Christmas Story (1983).
Your turn. What are some of your favorite movies of all time?