My Top 10, by the numbers:
1: Directors with multiple films on the list
2: Sports movies on the list (neither are the same one from my last top 10)
3: Movies starring Robert De Niro
5: Films in the exact same spot as before
6: Different decades represented (3 from the 1990s)
7: Movies not mentioned on my power rankings series
Others Receiving Votes:
15. Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)
14. American Graffiti (George Lucas, 1973)
13. The Usual Suspects (Bryan Singer, 1995)
12. Leaving Las Vegas (Mike Figgis, 1995)
11. Kill Bill (Quentin Tarantino, 2003-2004)
10. Sullivan’s Travels (Preston Sturges, 1941)
This is one of those movies that I am even surprised at how highly I have it ranked. If not for a 20th Century American History/American Film course one of my college instructors created, I may not have even come across this movie yet. It is certainly a highly entertaining and quietly hilarious movie, but it is also an imperative movie that takes us back to a time in American history as seamlessly as any movie I have ever seen. It is the quintessential movie about the Great Depression, but it is also a comedy. It is an ironic, beautiful, and important film from a truly original cinematic voice.
Previous Rank: 40
Previous Rank: 22
Previous Rank: 17
Previous Rank: 10
6. Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990)This is one of those movies that absolutely has no equal. It took the well-worn sub-genre of gangster movies and flips it on its ear. It almost feels like a documentary when watching it, due to its fascinating attention to detail and realistic characters. It does not shy away from the unflattering scenes that make the mafia members less heroic. It absolutely stays true to its nonfiction source material and vision of its incomparable director. It is a frantic, absorbing, painfully hilarious, and absolutely thrilling film to watch.
Previous Rank: 6
5. A Man Escaped (Robert Bresson, 1957)
Thank you AFI for that series of YouTube clips asking stars what their favorite movie is. Oddly enough, it was Paul Dano who mentioned A Man Escaped in such a nonchalant and fleeting way that forced me check it out. Never did I imagine that it would eventually turn into a top 5 film for me. It is absolutely mesmerizing to watch, but even more mesmerizing to hear. It is the greatest achievement in sound that I have ever come across. So much of the action happens off-screen, yet we feel like we saw it all. It is filmed in such a bare-bones fashion that to just watch it might be slightly underwhelming. But to take in the whole experience is as amazing and gratifying as any movie. As much as I love The Shawshank Redemption (#55 on my top 100), this is the greatest prison movie of all time. Sorry, IMDb Top 250 voters. Go watch this and adjust accordingly.
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
Previous Rank: 4
You would think that at some point this movie would move up, considering my addiction to it. I just cannot justify moving it above this spot yet, partially because it took a few viewings to actually climb into consideration for a top list. As I have mentioned several times, I watch this movie frequently. I can never find an actual flaw in it. Basically, Sideways is life. It is among the most honest, realistic, refreshing, heartbreaking, and funniest movies I have ever seen. For me, it sets the standard as far as comedy-dramas go. I have gotten to the point that I do not even want to call a movie a dramedy at risk of comparing it to Sideways. PS: If anyone has a flaw that they have found in this movie, let me know. I would love to hear/ debate it.
Previous Rank: 3
Roger Ebert famously stated in his review of this movie that it is so lovely that he was almost hugging himself while watching it. That is exactly how I am. I watched this movie for the first time on TV in a commercially-interrupted basic cable format, and it still almost immediately became my favorite movie. I ended up buying it that day and watched it an additional 6 times in the following week. It has gotten to the point that I can simply think about any part of the movie and it will instantly put me in a good mood. No movie, other than perhaps Toy Story and Good Will Hunting, can even come close to accomplishing that. For anyone who has ever had a dream, this movie is essential viewing. For anyone who has a thing for music, you have got to see this. It is maybe the most widely-appealing, effortlessly hilarious, and irresistible movie I have come across. I can watch it at any time and never get tired of it. In fact, hold up. I am going to put it in right now…
Previous Rank: 2
There is no experience like watching The Deer Hunter. Oddly enough, like Almost Famous, I watched this for the first time on a similar basic cable, commercially-interrupted and edited 4 hour version. About halfway through, I knew I was watching the greatest movie of all time. And it only got better. If I see even a minute-long segment of any part of the movie, I feel like I have to watch it all the way through. It is an emotional roller-coaster. It features the greatest acting of any movie, including Christopher Walken’s astonishing, breathtaking, Oscar-winning performance. It has one of the simplest, most haunting musical scores of all time. It is edited in a way that makes every moment vital to the overall impact and payoff. As far as Vietnam War movies go, this is the gold standard. Platoon may be the best battle picture. Full Metal Jacket may have the cult status. Apocalypse Now may be the classic, but this is the complete Vietnam experience. It is the complete movie experience as well. It has everything you could ever want in a drama and more. There is no movie like it anywhere, and even though I am open to seeing some movies on this list dethroned, I just cannot ever picture a movie with that #1 next to it for me. So, if I never see a better movie in my life, it will not be a disappointment. If I do see a better movie, I cannot even imagine what might happen to me.
Previous Rank: 1
So, there you have it. Thoughts? Comments? Your top 10? What other power rankings would you like to see? Let me know below!
Previous Power Rankings:
Cheers – Most inspiring movies
Peers – Best on-screen couples/pairs
Fears – Scariest movies
Tears – Most emotional movie experiences
Laughs – Funniest movies