Wednesday, February 25, 2009

62-80 of the 98 movies everyone should see

Real Genius

Val Kilmer at his early best. No other movie has ever raised geeks to such an awesome level. With lines like the following, you can't go wrong.

Susan: Can you hammer a six-inch spike through a board with your penis?
Chris Knight: Not right now.
Susan: A girl's gotta have her standards.

Silent Running

A rather sad scifi tale that really is not see enough. Fan's of the recent BSG series should check out this take on the human condition in space.

64. 65. 66.
The sixties gave us some great westerns. In the 70s, the rise of the anti-hero and the super violent westerns put the genre on the back burner and Hollywood for the most part stopped making westerns. In the mid 80s to the early 90s a small resurgence of the western arose and gave us some great films. Three that I feel should be viewed are:


A great ensemble cast with a fairly standard plot. The only thing that matters really is that this is a well produced production that you could just tell that everyone had a great time filming it.

Quigly Down Under

Tom Selleck proves that he can carry himself on the big screen just as well as on TV. An interesting western that is actually not set in the standard "west." This one takes place in Australia. Alan Rickman stars as the bad guy.


Wyatt Earp and the gunfight at the OK Corral have been staples of Hollywood for just about as long as the industry has been around. Kurt Russel gives a commanding performance in what I consider the finest film made of this piece of american history. However, as great as the film was and the other performances throughout, Val Kilmer starring as Doc Holiday steals the film.

Silver Streak

The first pairing of Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. This is your typical "drop the common man into a dangerous situation and see how he reacts" story but it executed very well. Almost an homage to Hitchcock, Gene and Richard manage to keep the film serious but add a wonderful amount of comedy.

68. 69. 70.
If any films could be considered the foundation for my love of cinema, it would have to be these three. The other day the wife was pondering how long had I been into movies. Was it only when I was older did I ever begin to look past the visuals and find the extra bits? Have I always torn movies apart for deeper meaning and connections? Speaking to my mother on this her only answer was "well, when did you see your first Star Wars movie? Because thats when it started"

So thank you George Lucas. I may damn you to the hell of boiling oil these days, but 31 years ago you helped start me on this path. I would like to point out that the only way these films should be enjoyed is in their original theatrical versions. So no Greedo shooting first, no need to see the Wampa or see Vader call for his shuttle, and leave Lapti Nek alone.

Star Wars

Age First Saw: Two years old. This one officially doesn't count because I fell asleep in the movie right after they got to Tatooine and then woke up right when the Death Star blew up. Apparently I cried because I thought the empire were the good guys.

The Empire Strikes Back

Age First Saw: Five years old. This would be the one that really started it all. My mother, brother and cousin went to see it one day but it was sold out. We went to my great aunt's house instead and had coffee ice cream. We went the next day and I carried my Han Solo in Hoth Gear action figure the whole time:

My friends were all into Luke and thought the Jedi were the greatest thing. I knew at 5 that ancient weapons and hokey religions were no match for a blaster at your side. Plus, he got the girl.

Return of the Jedi

Age First Saw: 7 (almost 8) I will fully admit that I was of the appropriate age at the time, but dammit....I love the ewoks. Cute, cuddly and bad ass forest warriors. We saw this at the Fremont (on opening night! I don't know how my dad got tickets) and my friend Ryan and I were allowed to go sit by ourselves near the front away from our parents. We went out for pizza after and Ryan and I ran around the pizza hall re-enacting scenes the whole night.

Repo Man

"The life of a repo man is always intense"

Really, this isn't actually a good movie. I would rate it as fairly bad. However, its uniqueness awards it heaps of praise for me. I do not think anything I can describe about this film would make sense so it just gets the Movie Geek seal of approval as something worth viewing.


As plot wise goes its fairly predictable but this tale gives us a great spin on things. It also helped shepherd in a new era of screen violence.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Other than one small minor plot hole, this film gets the distinction of being the most perfect film. Action, romance, mystery and intrigue. This one has it all. What Lucas and Spielberg wanted to do was a simple little homage to the action adventure films they grew up on. Little did they know they would create a huge franchise and cement Harrison Ford as a power house performer.

The Quiet Man

The only John Wayne movie one needs to see to experience him. And it is not even a western. Wayne plays an Irish American boxer who after accidentally killing someone in the ring decides to go back to Ireland and reclaim his family land. He of course falls in love and has to deal with being the "yank." A beautiful little film showcasing the Irish countryside. A family tradition of viewing on St Pats day in my house.

Run Lola Run

This film still leaves a smile on my face. Hard to classify but a thrill to enjoy.

Running Scared

The BEST buddy cop film ever made. Who would have thought that Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal could actually pull off being Chicago Detectives? They manage to keep the action serious but still inject an acceptable level of believable humor.


Dickens's classic christmas tale has been told many many times. To me however, this modernization of the tale and Bill Murray's stellar performance ranks it high and gives it a reason to be seen. This film also gets the distinction of the only movie quote with a swear word in it that my mother will use: "The bitch hit me with a toaster."

Shaolin Soccer

Take one part underdog sports story, one part martial arts and one part slapstick comedy. Mix together and you get a great outing from the wonderfully talented Stephen Chow. A team of martial arts students form together with a fallen soccer hero to mix their shaolin style of kung fu to become a superior soccer team. Just imagine the high flying awseomness of Crouching Tiger but at the World Cup.


Just look at that cast. Some major players involved here. A nice little mystery plot surrounding a security company who's only purpose is to break into companies to find weaknesses in their security.

So I Married and Axe Murderer

Oh Mike Meyers, what ever happened to you? After your break out success on SNL you gave us this gem of a murder mystery romance film. At that point we thought you were the second coming of Steve Martin. Smart humor that could approach a broad audience. And then you degraded into a world of shit.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

45-61 of the 98 movies everyone should see

Mister Roberts

Another WWII film. This time a drama-dey set on a Naval supply ship. The deck officer (played by Henry Fonda reprising the role from his run on Broadway) dreams of serving on an actual fighting ship and not just a supply ship that never goes anywhere. The captain is an ass and the crew a bunch of miscreants. Jack Lemmon offers an awesome performance as the young ensign in charge of Laundry and Morale.

Mitchell: The MST3k version

Original film was Joe Don Bakers response to Shaft. And boy is it a stinker of a film. Fitting that the crew of the Sattelite of Love chose it to be the last film seen by Joel before he left the show. Some of my favorite ever quips from the bots come from this film.

47. 48. 49
An old tried and true cornerstone of Hollywood, the underdog sports story. You take yourself a team that has no chance of getting anywhere and by the end they have won the championship, or at least the hearts and minds of their fans. I offer to my list, three of the best examples of the genre.

Major League

The film that restarted the genre. Sure it's just baseball but manages to actually be funny (you can even see Wesley Snipes before he became too full of himself) and some great lines.

Mystery, Alaska

One of the few sports I actually enjoy watching; Hockey. We have here a small town in BFE Alaska who has their own team and plays a nice game of pond hockey. For a ratings pull, the sports network decides to get the NY Rangers to come play the team. An actual touching film looking at small town life. The coldness of the Alaskan winter shown in the film makes it a great movie to watch on a hot summer day.

Men With Brooms

Curling. The sport of Kings. Candian film about a ragtag group of Curlers trying to honor their dead coach (whose ashes are implanted in the teams curling rock) by winning the tournament. A noble effort from our neighbors to the north to give us a underdog sports story. Plus, it's got Leslie Nielsen high on mushrooms for the entire film. You can't go wrong with that.

50. 51. 52.

Anime. Some people love it. Some don't get it. If after introducing someone to the world of anime through the film Laputa (see # 39 on my list) they feel they want to experience more, I offer them the following three films. Each film offers a wider variety to the art styles used and more examples of the different approaches to story telling the Japanese use.

Neo Tokyo

A movie in three parts where each part is really just it's own mini film.

Part 1 is an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. I actually don't care for this sequence much. Visually it is beautiful but the story doesn't do much.
Part 2 is something many people might have seen before. In the early 90s, MTV had a little show called Liquid Television One short they showed was this same segment called "The Running Man" the story deals with a reporter investigating a race car driver who has outlived every other driver in the league. A very dark but finely crafted tale.
Part 3 is my favorite. "The Order to Stop Construction" Out in the jungle of some unnamed south american country, a Japanese company has been given permission of the locals to create an industrial city to harvest the natural resources. The entire construction site is run by robots with one human director. A military coup occurs and the company is asked to leave the country. Having lost contact with the original director, a new man is sent in to shut the place down. Unfortunately, the robot in charge can only follow his initial orders to continue building no matter the cost.

Robot Carnival

Think of the Japanese version of Fantasia. Except every short focuses on robots. Some scenes are funny, some are strange and some are emotionally moving. To get the broadest sense of animation styles, this is the film to watch.

Plastic Little

This one gives us a look into the world of "Fan Service" A loose scifi plot gives us a fun little popcorn adventure with one dimensional bad guys, wicked cool explosions and boobies.

Office Space

What can be said about this that hasnt already been said. It main inclusion to the list is for its truthfulness.

54. 55.
Sergio Leone and his magnificent westerns. The man has made some awesome films and these two are his best westerns.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Three men, all looking for buried treasure. An awesome soundtrack as well.

Once Upon A Time In The West

Much better in plot to GBU. A deep complicated story that actually took me a couple viewings to get everything that goes on. Plus, its got Henry Fonda as the best bad guy ever.

56. 57. 58.

Ok, I will admit it, I love a good musical. Too many to admit actually. However, there are three out there that should be seen by everyone. Even if you don't like musicals.

Paint Your Wagon

A treat from the late 60s. Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood star in a musical set in the gold rush days of California. They manage to form a poly relationship with a woman and sing alot. Yes, Lee Marvin sings. It's awesome.

Little Shop of Horrors

A remake of a crappy roger corman scifi film. This manages to be quite entertaining. It's got a singing plant.

Reefer Madness - The Movie Musical

Making a musical out of the original Reefer Madness seemed like a terrible idea to me at first. However, after viewing the film I have come to believe it is the greatest musical ever made. In the end it appears to be very pro-pot but at its core it is a strong case against fear-mongering and propaganda.

POTC: Black pearl

One would never think that a movie based off of a ride at Disneyland would be any good. Johnny Depp manages to elevate this film from ok to great. Never taking itself too seriously (it's a pirate film...with cursed pirate zombies) this swashbuckling adventure never fails to please me. However, I do recommend avoiding the sequels.


If it bleeds...we can kill it. Schwarzenegger leads a military rescue team through a south american jungle who are then hunted by a intergalactic big game hunter. Once again John McTiernan delivers a taunt action thriller with a perfect blend of scifi.

The Prestige

All you need to know is this film stars Batman (Christian Bale) against Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) as magicians. Thats it. Just see it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

32-44 of the 98 movies I think everyone should see

Hell in the Pacific

An early film from John Boorman (before he made you squeel like a pig) that gives us the powerhouses (powerhousii?) of Lee Marvin and ToshirĂ´ Mifune in a WWII film in the pacific. We see the story of an American pilot and a marooned Japanese navy captain are deserted on a small uninhabited island. There, they must cease their hostility and cooperate if they want to survive. Unfortunately the film suffers from a weak ending but the performance of Lee and ToshirĂ´ are well worth it.


Another wuxia film to add to the list. Plot is a little weak (and can be construed to be very Patriotic Communist China) but the visuals are a treat. The use of color in each scene are beautiful. Deserves to be considered in the "motion picture as painting" category.

Hot Fuzz

A truly unique spoof yet homage to the buddy cop film. If you enjoy buddy cop films or british humor, then please view this great film.

The Incredibles

Later on we will be discussing 3 other superhero films but this one takes top prize as the most perfect superhero film ever. Plus it's the only Pixar film with a body count. (seriously, alot of henchmen die in this film and it is vastly ignored)

Johnny Dangerously

Another spoof film this time lambasting gangsters. Micheal Keaton once again shows us that he is a wonderful comedic actor.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

This one came out of left field and surprised the crap out of me at how good it was. Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr. together in this dark comedy modern noir mystery film.

L.A. Story

Back when Steve Martin was funny. Now I just am very sad when i see him come out with something. A bit dated now, but still very representative of the weirdness that is LA.

Laputa: Castle in the Sky

My favorite anime. This is the film I always use if I even need to introduce someone to the world of anime (and especially to those who think it is all pokemon and hentai)

40. 41. 42.
I now present three films to which I consider to be the quintessential British gangster films.

Lock, Stock, and two Smoking Barrels

This film ressurected a once thought dead genre and gave it a unique twist. Guy Ritchie has yet to show he can do much else different than this but this film is a definite shining gem.

Layer Cake

Originally Guy Ritchie was going to handle this one as well, but his producer decided to step up and direct it. An excellet plot with some great twists. This role alone is what convinced the Bond people that Daniel Craig was the only man to fill 007's shoes.

Get Carter

A very raw and at times very representitive of the early 70's this film is amazing. Michael Caine as the shotgun wielding anti hero out to avenge his brothers murder. Yes, Michael Caine as a not good guy. It's amazing.

Logan's Run

RENEW! RENEW! RENEW! A decent little scifi flick. A future idyllic society where pleasure is your only purpose. Only one catch, you can't live past 30. Considered a bit cheesy by todays standards, it was pretty awesome when it came out. SEXIST PIG NOTE: It's also got Jenny Agutter naked in it which is always a good thing.

Master Of The Flying Guillotine

If you like martial arts films and want to see the pinnacle of the martial arts films in the 70s, this is the film to see. The bad guy has this basket like device on a rope that he throws onto your head. He then pulls back on the rope, blades come out and slice off your head. The good guy is a one armed chinese boxer. Thats pretty much all you need to know. See it.