Jordan’s top 30 Movies of all time (20 – 16)

With a world full of cinematic treasures, ranging from the silent expressionism of Robert Wiene in the 1920′s to J.J Abrams’ current vision for science fiction, deciding on a top 30 films of all time is no easy task. After much time and plenty of thought however, here it is for the world to see.

Plot summaries from IMDB

Reviews by Jordan

Click here for 25 – 21!

20. Dazed and Confused

dazed and confused

1993 – Directed by Richard Linklater

The adventures of incoming high school and junior high students on the last day of school, in May of 1976.

It can be magical when a movie is so accurate and absorbing that it feels truer than any documentary. Stand by Me, Hoosiers and Into the Wild are some accomplished examples of this, but in my opinion the most wonderfully nostalgic and subtly detailed look at real life is Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused.

Charting the last day of school in May of 1975, Dazed and Confused follows an assorted group of students lead by Randall ‘Pink’ Floyd (Jason London) as they look to come of age in an environment full of authority figures seemingly trying to supress them; the school’s football coach even forcing the players to sign a waiver stating they will abstain from alcohol and frivolous activities throughout the summer. Also putting in great performances at the beginning of their respective careers are Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy), Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil, The Fifth Element) and Matthew McConaughey (The Lincoln Lawyer, Killer Joe) – each utilising their craft to achieve the un-equalled authenticity the film delivers.

There are some films that aren’t for everyone. Dazed and confused is not one of those films. It is a lovingly made film that will endure forever, and should be viewed by everyone in high school, just out of high school and even those that have never been to high school.

19. 48 Hrs.


1982 – Directed by Walter Hill

A hard-nosed cop reluctantly teams up with a wise-cracking criminal temporarily paroled to him, in order to track down a killer.

After Jack Cates (Nick Nolte) survives a shoot-out involving the death of his partner and other officers, he is forced to team up with small-time criminal Reggie Hammond to track down the killers and restore his credibility in the process. While this proves a testing ordeal for Cates, whose patience is pushed to the absolute limit by Murphy’s troublesome con, it is an absolute comic goldmine for the viewer; the now routine “straight-man paired with a joker” scenario portrayed at its absolute finest.

Though Murphy and Nolte are irresistible, playing roles perfect for them at the peak of their careers, the real man of note (in this very gender minded film) is director Walter Hill; the unassuming force behind some of the action genre’s most beloved titles in The Driver, The Warriors and The Long Riders. Hill is acutely aware of what male audiences want and delivers in spades, whilst still maintaining a high standard of story-telling and viewer involvement.

48 Hrs. may not be as critically successful as other titles on this list, but it provides a guaranteed good time and is an essential work in the buddy-cop cannon.

18. Withnail & I


1987 – Directed by Bruce Robinson

London 1969 – two ‘resting’ (unemployed and unemployable) actors, Withnail and Marwood, fed up with damp, cold, piles of washing-up, mad drug dealers and psychotic Irishmen, decide to leave their squalid Camden flat for an idyllic holiday in the countryside, courtesy of Withnail’s uncle Monty’s country cottage.

Holidays are one of life’s great experiences. Whether you’re traveling the globe, exploring the country or just perusing the State, the sights seen and memories made can often be unforgettable. While there are a lot of movies that bear witness to this, there are certainly some that recommend the best way to view the great outdoors is through the window or on the television.

In 1977 Wes Craven flipped the all-American campervan holiday on its head in the most extreme fashion with The Hills Have Eyes, Nicolas Roeg showed us that Venice is a bad place to grieve in his 1973 masterpiece Don’t Look Now, and anyone who’s seen Robert Hiltzik’s cult horror curio Sleepaway Camp, released in 1983, will think twice about sending their children to Summer camp. In my opinion however, the penultimate anti-vacation film is Bruce Robinson’s hilarious and highly re-watchable Withnail & I.

Released in 1987, Robinson’s film tells the story of two out of work actors, Withnail (played with absolute ingenuity by a constantly intoxicated Richard E. Grant) and Marwood (Paul McGann) who decide they need a break from their cold, squalid Camden flat and ‘go on a holiday by mistake’ to Withnail’s uncle Monty’s cottage in the English countryside.

Once there, not a thing goes right.

The locals are hostile, there is no food, the rain doesn’t stop, Withnail becomes increasingly unbearable to live with and a very persistent Uncle Monty arrives… There are also many lessons to be learnt from the situations our two protagonists find themselves in, such as: shooting for fish in a creek doesn’t always work, the ‘finest wines available to humanity’ aren’t located in a small-town tea room and its always best to kill a chicken before it starts trying to make friends with you.

I could fill this review entirely with memorable quotes, but I’ll restrain myself and go with just one:

Marwood: Right, now we’re going to have to approach this scientifically. First thing we’ve got to do is get this fire alight, then we split into two fact finding groups. I’ll deal with the water and the plumbings; you check the fuel and wood situation.
[A few minutes later, Withnail re-enters the cottage holding a wet stick]
Marwood: What’s that?
Withnail: The fuel and wood situation. There’s nothing out there except a hurricane.

The ending is actually rather meditative and substantial, but the time spent on holiday: brilliantly horrible.

17. Apocalypse Now


1979 – Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

During the on-going Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade Green Beret who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe.

Francis Ford Coppola has often said of his 1979 war opus Apocalypse Now that is isn’t a film about the Vietnam War, it is the Vietnam War; once witnessing the unprecedented and still unmatched level of chaos and destruction (both of a country and the souls of the soldiers sent there) it’s hard to disagree.

Here is a movie of such significance its legacy will continue to live on for as long as there is discussion about the ‘unwinnable’ war, created from a production of such intensity the lead actor had a heart attack and the director a nervous breakdown. Captain Willard’s journey into the Heart of Darkness to terminate Col. Kurtz with ‘extreme prejudice’ descends into a nightmarish dreamscape of gods and monsters, the proud and the damned, as he gets closer and closer to his increasingly unattainable objective.

There have been many accomplished films based on the horrors of Vietnam; Platoon, Hamburger Hill and Tigerland just to name a few, but none as remarkable as this.

16. Dr. Strangelove, or: how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb


1964 – Directed by Stanley Kubrick

An insane general starts a process to nuclear holocaust that a war room of politicians and generals frantically try to stop.

Stanley Kubrick’s favourite thesis is as follows: that all our most humane instincts, our capacity for love, tenderness and self-denial can never win out against the ego-driven tendencies that mar our species; our push for war, repression and cold technological achievement. It is ironic, then, that he chose to convey this theory not in drama or thriller in alignment with his expected style, but in comedy, although perhaps that’s a statement in itself.

When General Jack. D. Ripper, adamant that the Soviets are poisoning America though fluoridation of the water supply, orders an un-authorised nuclear strike on the Soviet Union, it is discovered that the B-52 bomber carrying the bomb cannot be recalled without the specific code known only to Ripper. To further exacerbate matters, President Merkin Muffley is made aware by the Russian President that the country holds a doomsday device, which when triggered by an act of war such as a nuclear strike, has the capacity to destroy every living thing on earth. Originally planned as a straight adaption of Peter George’s novel Red Alert, Kubrick could see the situation presented was coated in such believable absurdity that he hired Terry Southern to co-write the screenplay, and what was originally planned as a humourless affair became a pitch-black comedy now frequently referenced as a staple of the sub-genre.

It is also worth mentioning just how inspired Peter Sellers is in his three roles of Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake, President Merkin Muffley and the ex-Nazi Dr. Strangelove; his razor sharp performances further heightening the film’s undeniable brilliance.

8 responses to “Jordan’s top 30 Movies of all time (20 – 16)

  1. Pingback: Jordan’s top 30 Movies of all time (15 – 11) | Jordan and Eddie·

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