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 10 – 6! https://jordanandeddie.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/jordans-top-30-movies-of-all-time-10-6/
1994 – Directed by Kevin Smith
A day in the lives of two convenience clerks named Dante and Randal as they annoy customers, discuss movies, and play hockey on the store roof.
Made for roughly $25,000, Kevin Smith’s lewd; generation-x defining indie classic is proof that a great script, uttered by endearing characters, is all that’s needed to create a lasting and beloved cult film.
It’s hard to imagine a day spent at a convenience store in New Jersey could be as memorable as this, but from the moment our luckless hero Dante is called in on his day off (a point he makes very clear throughout the duration), the laughs come just as frequently as the feeling of satisfaction prompted by the inspired and unrelenting dialogue.
If you have ever considered the fate of the construction workers on the unfinished Death Star destroyed by the Rebel Army, then Clerks is the movie for you – in fact, that example of aimless but thoroughly enjoyable conversation speaks for the entire View Askew catalog. Kevin Smith may never win an Oscar, but through this, as well as Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, he has won the hearts of teenage boys and the young at heart everywhere.
4. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
1975 – Directed by Milos Forman
Upon arriving at a mental institution, a brash rebel rallies the patients to take on the oppressive Nurse Ratched, a woman more dictator than nurse.
One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a flawless film and the result of two great minds bursting with talent at the start of their respective careers. Director Milos Forman would later make another masterpiece with Amadeus and the accomplished The People vs. Larry Flynt, while Jack Nicholson, having already staked his claim for greatness with Easy Rider and Chinatown, was still yet to play what his arguably his most iconic role of Jack Torrance.
The film follows Randal P. McMurphy, a petty criminal admitted to a mental institution who, being shocked at the listlessness and controlled nature of his fellow inmates, incites a rebellion against the lawful dictator Nurse Ratched. Though McMurphy does succeed in granting his peers a taste of freedom, ultimately the repressive nature of life takes its course, and a metaphorical ending suggests that perhaps freedom is a state of mind.
The films tagline, relating to our non-conformist, Cool Hand Luke inspired hero, sums it up perfectly; ‘If he’s crazy, what does that make you?’
3. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
1984 – Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Warrior/pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet.
Nausicaä is one the finest heroes of Japanese animation, and Hayao Miyazaki’s pre-Ghibli masterpiece is in many ways his most immense and significant achievement. Through her complex character, being at once a warrior and a pacifist feeling immense sadness at the tendency for humankind to look to war for resolution or response, Miyazaki pioneered all that the studio would represent; stories that lean to hope and optimism in the face of adversity and loss. The sudden murder of her father at the hands of the conniving Officer Kurotowa enrages her to slay several of his guards, before the legendary swordsman Lord Yupa intervenes, and the devastation she emits is palpable as she falls to the floor. She seeks safety for her people and is ashamed that her own hands are capable of violence, seeing parallels to the nature of the creatures who are angered only when threatened and otherwise live in peace.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is the type of immersive science-fiction journey you wish would never end, with a tone all to itself crafted from the courage of its hero and alien environments pre-dating Planet Zebes of Metroid. Every ounce of dialogue and lore feels important, as do all the flora and fauna that populate the dense, mysterious forest, making Miyazaki’s second feature film his most influential, and perhaps his true masterpiece.
2. The Night of the Hunter
1955 – Directed by Charles Laughton
A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he’d stolen in a robbery.
Beautifully strange, and subtly unnerving; Charles Laughton’s sole directorial effort The Night of the Hunter is at once a classic fable of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and a portrait of the essence of nature – both human and animal – detailing the roles of the hunter and the prey.
After sharing a prison cell with condemned murderer and thief Ben Harper, who reveals that he gave the $10,000 he stole to his son John, Reverend Harry Powell sets out to marry his widow and obtain the money at any cost. John recognizes the carefully concealed evil lurking inside of Powell, and after a series of traumatizing events, flees with his little sister on a raft down the river, with the determined and nightmarish reverend tracing each step that they take.
Misunderstood and Ignored upon original release, The Night of the Hunter has since garnered cult status and now comfortably rests in the upper echelon of film noirs from Hollywood’s golden age; with renowned film critic Roger Ebert labelling it “one of the greatest of all American films.”
1. The Usual Suspects
1995 – Directed by Bryan Singer
A boat has been destroyed, criminals are dead, and the key to this mystery lies with the only survivor and his twisted, convoluted story beginning with five career crooks in a seemingly random police line-up.
A hijacked truck in Queens sets in motion a series of events eventually culminating in the introduction of Keyser Soze, an enigmatic villain whose identity, and very existence, is questioned relentlessly by the array of cops and criminals that find themselves a part of his intricate plot.
Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects is in all aspects a triumph. Christopher McQuarrie’s Oscar winning original screenplay is one of the best ever written for the crime thriller genre, spinning a delicate web of deceit and suspense as it unfolds before our captivated, unwavering eyes. The script is also perfectly delivered by all involved; Benicio Del Toro and Stephen Baldwin are deliciously deviated as partners-in-crime Fenster and McManus, and Kevin Spacey’s iconic portrayal of lowlife conman Verbal Kint remains arguably the milestone of his decorated career.
Now unfairly remembered mainly for its notorious twist ending, The Usual Suspects has depth and intelligence that sets it apart from its often mediocre counter-parts, and remains a filmic success and a true classic of contemporary American cinema.
Thanks for reading my top 30! Please feel free to comment with your thoughts!