Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top Ranked Films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Rainer Werner Fassbinder
6 titles, 62nd in points with 12,837

German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder has 6 titles in the top 1000 (with one more making the polls), and is ranked 62nd among directors in points with 12,837. He's overranked to me, he's ahead of Michael Curtiz, Carol Reed, Ernst Lubitsch, and Wong Kar-Wai - also Ophuls, Demme, Melville, Ozu, and Nick Ray, each of whom are far more talented to me.

Somthing's just not right there. However, all his films but Ali have fallen in ranking since 2009, and that one has gone up only 25 spots, so he's declining in popularity over time.

These are all the films of German director Fassbinder’s that made the top 1000 in our 2011 update of the Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, all polls.

1. Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980) #279 a tv series, not a feature film; since it tells one long story, I included it as did most film polls - but by the same argument should one include the SF tv series "The Prisoner", which was about 3 hrs shorter, and was also one long continuous story? (and also much better than Alexanderplatz) - were this removed from the top 1000, Fassbinder would be ranked 91st, after Vincente Minnelli and before Brad Bird

2. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1971) #409
3. Marriage of Maria Braun, The (1979) #480
4. Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, The (1972) #601
5. In a Year with 13 Moons (1978) #711
6. Fox and His Friends (1975) #957

Out of the top 1000
7. Veronika Voss (1982) #1541

I tried to watch Berlin, which is not a feature film but a 16-part tv miniseries, but it failed to involve me at all in the first four episodes, so I gave up on it, assuming that, like his feature-length films, that it would ultimately be boring throughout and unrewarding in the end. It follows an ex-con's life after his release from prison in the late 20's, and the approaching war. This is also how Ali hit me (where was the boxing? Lol..), also Marriage, Bitter Tears, and 13 Moons - slow and uninvolving. Realism however, if that's what you're after; everyday people with your same problems. The feeling I usually get from his films (afterwards) is 'how does one make sense of such a harsh world, and how do you fit into this individually'?

Your results may vary - you may find his slow soul-searching interesting but so far I haven’t, and I’ve given him chance after chance. For me, Werner Herzog is an infinitely more interesting German director, and the best director ever named Werner. His films are usually about characters with a major personal obsessions, such as Fitzcarraldo (1982) and Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1972). Les Blank's excellent documentary Burden of Dreams (1982), about the making of Fitzcarraldo, exposes these same traits in Herzog himself and is one of the best films made about the creative process of filmmaking, along with Heart's of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse.

See the full list of top ranked 100 directors here: Top Ranked 100 Directors, 2011 Edition

This one photo is more interesting than any of his films

Saturday, November 26, 2011

One Millionth Page View

This happened earlier today and I grabbed a screen
shot from each blog, total = 1,000,812, but Google
started keeping these stats about a year after
I started these blogs, so this is half our real total

Thanks to all our visitors, we just crossed one million total page views on both film blogs combined, 860k here at World's Best Films, which is mostly poll results, award lists, and films by genre or director, and 140k at 1000 Dvds to See, which is our site for individual reviews of what I'm building as my top 1000 to view (around 810 so far), which includes feature length films, tv miniseries, concert films, and documentaries.

The miniseries all have an end, so the work can be viewed in its entirety - I've found that the best of these are often just 4-6 hours, or one long novel, like Lonesome Dove (1989), and on the long side don't usually exceed 10-12 episodes, such as Band of Brothers (2001), Brideshead Revisited (1981), and Into the West (2005), and I believe The Prisoner (1967) was 16, but from network tv so each only ran around 48-50 minutes, 2 of which were the same filmed intro to the series as titles that served as a story bridge to McGoohan's Secret Agent series, which preceded this epilogue.

Thanks for checking us out and for hanging out awhile, most of you are viewing 5+ pages - I'll have to admit there are lots of lists here to get lost in, I'm often finding ones I need to update, and we always welcome suggestions, especially for non-English films, we don't have enough of those yet in print in the U.S.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Top Ranked Comedy Films of All Time, 2011 Update

Comedy Films in the Top 1000, actually more than 150 titles in all, so we listed all of them.

Wall-E (2008)

I love comedies, and most say they don't get the respect they deserve in awards and polls. In all honesty, there are far more bad comedies than good ones, that's the real problem.

I think it's harder to make a really good comedy than a good drama. It takes a different kind of rhythm, a good pace, you can't overwhelm the audience non-stop (Airplane, In the Loop, though His Girl Friday pushes the edge) , nor can you spend forever setting up slow jokes (The Hangover, all Tati films). It's hard to define or everyone could do it, but you know it when you see it.

It helps if the film makes you care about the characters also (Singin in the Rain, Hannah and Her Sisters) than if you don't (Animal House, MASH), though sometimes just laughing without caring much is fun, too, like in Thank You For Smoking, which is about corporate lobbyists who brag about all the deaths they cause nationwide without repercussions. This film actually makes you laugh about getting the shaft from lobbyists and politicians working together to screw the public and rake in big money doing it.

These are all the comedies, even if just the sub-genre, ranked in Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, all polls, our 2011 update edition.

Rank – Title – Director - Country - Overall Rank
1. Modern Times (1936) [Chaplin, Charles, US] #9 For some reason, Chaplin doesn't make me laugh, and this film is a ripoff of Rene Clair's film A Nous La Liberte, whose producer even sued Chaplin
2. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) [Kubrick, Stanley, UK] #18 This is the best comedy film of all time
3. Singin in the Rain (1952) [Donen, Stanley/Gene Kelly, US] #32 great musical, great pacing, and the comedy is terrific too, "I ain't people, I am a shimmering star in the cinema firmament"

4. General, The (1927) [Keaton, Buster/Clyde Bruckman, US] #35 Keaton ran rings around Chaplin
5. Fanny and Alexander (1982) [Bergman, Ingmar, Sweden] #46 Out of character light and plesant film from Bergman, perhaps overrated
6. Gold Rush, The (1925) [Chaplin, Charles, US] #48 (zzzz..)
7. Duck Soup (1933) [McCarey, Leo, US] #53 another classic, the best of the Marx Bros, the mirror scene is perhaps the best in all of comedy and it's all silent
8. Some Like it Hot (1959) [Wilder, Billy, US] #66 Wilder is a genius, though this film now seems more of a one trick pony than it once did, maybe men like Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in drag  isn't as funny as it used to be
9. Manhattan (1979) [Allen, Woody, US] #67 very good, and for me he has two even better
10. Sherlock Jr. (1924) [Keaton, Buster, US] #69

11. Toy Story (1995) [Lasseter, John, US] #72 Love the whole series, I think 3 is the best yet

12. Annie Hall (1977) [Allen, Woody, US] #77 Terrific, best picture winner, great screenplay, "I believe there's a higher intelligence to the universe, except for certain parts of  New Jersey" [photo right]
13. Graduate, The (1967) [Nichols, Mike, US] #84 a modern classic, still hilarious, "are you here for an affair?" - "we don't want any outside agitators"
14. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) [Gilliam, Terry/Terry Jones, UK] #87 (argh! this reeks)
15. L'Atalante (1934) [Vigo, Jean, France] #88 Been trying to see this for years now, still haven't
16. Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The (1972) [Buñuel, Luis, France] #99 fun, but bizarre times in the suburbs
17. Cinema Paradiso (1988) [Tornatore, Giuseppe, Italy-France] #118 great story, very touching
18. Great Dictator, The (1940) [Chaplin, Charles, US] #131 for some reason I never found the Nazis funny targets for humor, so shoot me!
19. His Girl Friday (1940) [Hawks, Howard, US] #147 another classic, sparkling dialogue and pace, Hawks' best
20. Lady Eve, The (1941) [Sturges, Preston, US] #149 a classic! a con-artist film with Barbara Stanwyck pulling one on Henry Fonda with the help of Charles Coburn
21. Wall-E (2008) [Stanton, Andrew] #155 the best animated film ever made! it always makes me cry, when he gives Eva his plant
22. It Happened One Night (1934) [Capra, Frank, US] #160 another that didn't give me a laugh, I found it pedestrian and bland, Capra's worst film, Gable was never more wooden or uninterested (his studio forced him to do this as punishment and it shows); it obviously had little competition to win all those Oscars, there's just no onscreen chemistry between these two

23. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) [Gondry, Michael, US] #169 [photo above] underrated, Oscar-winning screenplay, great SciFi concept,  erasing the memory of bad relationships, Charlie Kaufman is brilliant (see Being John Malkovich as well)
24. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) [Hill, George Roy, US] #173 I was never a fan of western comedies, there's nary a good one (Blazing Saddles, Cat Ballou, argh!)
25. Groundhog Day (1993) [Ramis, Harold, US] #174 underrated, a great romance as well

26. Toy Story 3 (2010) [Lasseter, John, US] #180 Best of the series, possibly the best film of 2010
27. Hard Day's Night, A (1964) [Lester, Richard, UK] #181 a classic, innovative rock comedy, mindless fun!
28. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) [Hamer, Robert, UK] #203 a classic, members of a tontein are being murdered by one
29. Forrest Gump (1994) [Zemeckis, Robert, US] #205 I felt this film insulted people with mental disabilities, so it angered me
30. This is Spinal Tap (1984) [Reiner, Rob, US] #208 funny concept, but you have to hear the terrible music
31. Playtime (1967) [Tati, Jacques, France] #211 Tati is slower than asphalt drying, he makes Jerry Lewis look like a 'comic genius'
32. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) [Allen, Woody, US] #215 great Oscar-winning screenplay [photo right]
33. Ratatouille (2007) [Bird, Brad & Pinkava, Jan, France] #216 a rat cooking food in a gourmet restaurant, yep, that's a funny setup (yuck)
34. Bringing Up Baby (1938) [Hawks, Howard, US] #217 another slow, overrated supposed classic, I just want to kill Hepburn's character, no humor for me, just stress
35. Kid, The (1921) [Chaplin, Charles, US] #226

36. Finding Nemo (2003) [Stanton, Andrew & Unkrich, Lee, US] #236 Great one, all the way, even the acting from Albert Brooks and Ellen Degeneris, both funny and heartwarming [photo left]
37. Palm Beach Story, The (1942) [Sturges, Preston, US] #242 another Sturges classic comedy! Start with Lady Eve then view this one
38. Amélie (Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, 2001) [Jeunet, Jean-Pierre, France] #243 overrated, Jeunet's other films are better: Micmacs is a better comedy, A Very Long Engagement a better film than either, a classic epic war story and a rare WW1 film
39. Mon oncle (1958) [Tati, Jacques, France] #251
40. The Incredibles (2004) [Bird, Brad] #253 very good superhero spoof, even the screenplay got an Oscar nomination
41. Amarcord (1973) [Fellini, Federico, Italy] #254 like Bergman, Fellini's nostalgic comedy about growing up, this is better than Fanny and Alexander for me
42. Lost in Translation (2003) [Coppola, Sofia, US-Japan] #257 another Oscar-winning screenplay and a quirky platonic friendship, very realistic, this is the kind of stuff that happens, not Hollywood films
43. Big Lebowski, The (1998) [Coen, Ethan and Joel, US-UK] #260 another I didn't get, Raising Arizona however is a classic
44. Truman Show, The (1998) [Weir, Peter, US] #270 brilliant concept, and Weir proved that Jim Carrey could act in this prophetic fable
45. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) [Allen, Woody, US] #271 not one of his best, too serious, Match Point is a better crime film from Woody and it's recent and also has Scarlett Johansson
46. Producers, The (1968) [Brooks, Mel, US] #274 the only good Brooks' film to me, though Young Frankenstein is pleasant enough for one viewing, but totally hammy
47. Being John Malkovich (1999) [Jonze, Spike, US] #278 original story makes insanity fun as a tiny hole in a half-floor high office leads into the mind of actor John Malkovich for just 15 minutes; from the twisted mind of Charles Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
48. Back to the Future (1985) [Zemeckis, Robert, US] #281 fun science fiction, 1st is the best of the 3
49. Tootsie (1982) [Pollack, Sydney, US] #284 the supporting cast steals this movie of a cross-dresser, co-written by uncredited Bill Murray, who ad-libbed his lines; this is holding up better over time than Some Like It Hot, for men in drag films

50. Sullivan's Travels (1941) [Sturges, Preston, France-West Germany] #296 a classic! a filmmaker hits the road as a hobo to learn more life experience that what he's getting in tinseltown [pr still above]

51. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) [Hand, David, US] #298 more notable for the artwork than the rest, the first full-length animated film
52. Rushmore (1998) [Anderson, Wes, US] #305  amiable one, but I prefer Fantastic Mr Fox from Wes
53. Up (2009) [Docter, Peter, US] #306 for me, the worst of Pixar, they killed the best character 10 min. in, then the house got literally pulled along most of the cumbersome film
54. Princess Bride, The (1987) [Reiner, Rob, US] #321 good one with some goofy humor
55. Trouble in Paradise (1932) [Lubitsch, Ernst, US] #322 classic film, the best of 32 for me
56. Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928) [Keaton, Buster/Charles F. Reisner, US] #330
57. To Be or Not to Be (1942) [Lubitsch, Ernst, US] #331 this never made me laugh, and it's not serious either, not sure what this is - a comedy about Nazis? c'mon people, Lubitsch is far better than this
58. M*A*S*H (1970) [Altman, Robert, US] #333 best war comedy ever - "this is not a hospital, this is an insane asylum!", "Bring me the tall, sultry blonde with the pouty lips", "we, lady, are the pros from Dover"
59. Day for Night (1973) [Truffaut, François, France-Italy] #334 a pleasant trifle, like a French pastry
60. Pinocchio (1940) [Sharpsteen, Ben & Hamilton Luske, US] #337 if I said I remember this my nose would grow and it's long enough
61. Philadelphia Story, The (1940) [Cukor, George, US] #340 classic gem, best film of 40, still sparkling today, Grant's best, Stewart's Oscar, and Hepburn gets shoved down by the face, yesss!
62. Rio Bravo (1959) [Hawks, Howard, US] #346 is it a bad western, or a bad comedy, or both? whatever, with Ricky Nelson and Dean Martin as gunslingers, it sucks big time, perhaps the worst ranked film of all
63. I Vitelloni (1953) [Fellini, Federico, Italy] #348 translation "We, slackers" - invented the modern slacker!
64. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988) [Almodóvar, Pedro, Spain] #369 great early Almodovar film put him on the map in the U.S.
65. Diner (1982) [Levinson, Barry, US] #380 hilarious all-talk expose of the thick American male, these hang out at their fave diner and discuss women and football
66. Sideways (2004) [Payne, Alexander, US] #381 insightful romance won many awards, and got about 8 Oscar nominations also, a modern classic [photo left]
67. Sting, The (1973) [Hill, George Roy, US] #403 for me, just ok, a disappointing best pic winner, tv quality
68. Adaptation (2002) [Jonze, Spike, US] #416
69. Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, The (1943) [Powell, Michael/Emeric Pressburger, UK] #422 more a satire of stuffy colonial British attitudes than a real comedy, their gov't actually tried to ban the film as it was critical of the old line military minds
70. Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) [Jones, Terry, UK] #428 argh, this reeks
71. Night at the Opera, A (1935) [Wood, Sam, US] #435 more inspired insanity, this has the incredible stateroom scene, and when Chico starts playing the piano, Groucho says to the camera "Some of you may want to go out into the lobby until this blows over"
72. Life is Beautiful (1997) [Begnini, Roberto, Italy] #445 another comedy about Nazis? these people drink too much wine, though Begnini's is a good comic performance; for me, a bitter pill to swallow overall
73. Le Million (1931) [Clair, René, France] #447 ok, but way too much music
74. Harold and Maude (1971) [Ashby, Hal, US] #450 not really great, but Ruth Gordon is

75. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970) [Meyer, Russ, US] #452 a satire of soft-core porn, actually co-written by film critic Rober Ebert (I found it forgettable however, not very funny)
76. Mr. Hulot's Holiday (1953) [Tati, Jacques, France] #458 zzz.. wake me when these are over, four slow jokes in two hours; I suppose harmless, but also not very inspired
77. American Graffiti (1973) [Lucas, George, US] #461 this is ok fun, but like hot rods, making out, and surfing: overrated (you'll forget it soon after)
78. Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) [Edwards, Blake, US] #463 overrated Capote, he's much better; try In Cold Blood and A Christmas Memory (for tv, with Geraldine Page), start with the terrific holiday story based on his childhood
79. Barton Fink (1991) [Coen, Joel and Ethan Coen, US] #467 bizarre and hard to follow, never gels for me, and certainly isn't very funny either
80. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) [Zemeckis, Robert, US] #468 overrated, very good animation and clever but terribly paced; one great line from Daffy Duck about Donald Duck, "can anyone ever understand what this duck is saying?"
81. Ninotchka (1939) [Lubitsch, Ernst, US] #471 pleasant trifle, not much humor and Garbo laughed (quite heartily) in 32 in The Painted Veil so that was just p.r. bull
82. Toy Story 2 (1999) [Lasseter, John & Brannon, Ash, US] #485
83. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) [Anderson, Wes, US] #493 underrated, overlooked, terrific adult animation story as Meryl Streep and George Clooney play married foxes with typical problems; he steals chickens, she wants him "to get a real job"; they harangue each other like real humans
84. Awful Truth, The (1937) [McCarey, Leo, US] #515 another screwball classic with some great dialogue, should be ranked even higher
85. Dazed and Confused (1993) [Linklater, Richard, US] #530 ok stoned drunk teen boredom film, more notable for all the debuts by people now more famous (Milla Jovovich, Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey) - and was also an early film (7th of 78 so far) for Parker Posey [photo above]
86. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) [Hughes, John, US] #535 good-natured homage to the modern slacker
87. Punch-Drunk Love (2002) [Anderson, Paul Thomas, US] #536 ok, but not my fave Adam Sandler, that would be 50 First Dates
88. Being There (1979) [Ashby, Hal, US] #557 a more good-natured look at the mentally slow than Gump, this film has more respect plus Peter Sellers
89. Monsieur Verdoux (1947) [Chaplin, Charles, US] #560
90. Shop Around the Corner, The (1940) [Lubitsch, Ernst, US] #561 now this is classic Lubitsch, and the story was remade twice more (You've Got Mail was one)
91. Stand by Me (1986) [Reiner, Rob, US] #571
92. Royal Tenenbaums, The (2001) [Anderson, Wes, US] #572

Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell get crazy from
boredom in In Bruges, which also stars Ralph
Feinnes, all as hitmen in the medieval city

93. In Bruges (2008) [McDonagh, Martin, UK] #585 masterful crime comedy is one of the best ever, beautifully shot and McDonagh's debut, very underrated
94. My Fair Lady (1964) [Cukor, George, US] #586 underrated best picture, would've been better with original stage star Julie Andrews, who could sing the part already - leave it to box office casting
95. Gosford Park (2001) [Altman, Robert, US] #593
96. Shakespeare in Love (1998) [Madden, John, UK] #595 great romance, deserved its Oscars to me
97. American Splendor (2003) [Berman, Shari, and Pulcini, Robert, US] #611 unusual true story, very creatively told, mixes animation and real action, also mixes actors and the true characters
98. Little Miss Sunshine (2006) [Dayton, Jonathan & Faris, Valerie, US] #623
99. Dumbo (1941) [Sharpsteen, Ben, US] #625
100. Raising Arizona (1987) [Coen, Joel and Ethan Coen, US] #626 underrated classic, my pick, and a poll of standup comics, for funniest film ever made

101. El Verdugo (1963) [Berlanga, Luis García, Spain-Italy] #647
102. Mary and Max (2009) [Elliot, Adam, Australia] #653
103. Daisies (1966) [Chytilová, Vera, Czechoslovakia] #663
104. Cameraman, The (1928) [Keaton, Buster/Edward Sedgwick, US] #677
105. Limelight (1952) [Chaplin, Charles, US] #684
106. Navigator, The (1924) [Keaton, Buster/Donald Crisp, US] #688
107. It's a Gift (1934) [McLeod, Norman Z., US] #689 my fave W.C. Fields film
108. Loves of a Blonde (1965) [Forman, Milos, Czechoslovakia] #703 overrated Forman comedy, Fireman's Ball is a lot funnier, but this is an ok romance
109. Local Hero (1983) [Forsyth, Bill, UK] #707 good anti-corporate story uses humor to make a valid point about over-expansion of capitalism
110. Claire's Knee (1970) [Rohmer, Eric, France] #714 this bored me to longing for an appearance by master time-killer Jaques Tati, to mime some long, slow, lame humor a ten-year old can get

Bunuel's Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

111. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) [Capra, Frank, US] #727 doesn't everyone have some just plain wacky aunts who murder men who come around for tea? 
112. Snatch (2000) [Ritchie, Guy, UK] #730
113. Triplets of Belleville, The (2003) [Chomet, Sylvain, France-Belg-Can-UK] #738 awesome hand animation the old Disney way, an underrated and modern classic
114. Zelig (1983) [Allen, Woody, US] #741 overrated, a one joke film, told over and over
115. Our Hospitality (1923) [Keaton, Buster/John Blystone, US] #742
116. Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001) [Mitchell, John Cameron, US] #744
117. Up in the Air (2009) [Reitman, Jason, US] #745 affable bachelor comedy until it tries to get serious
118. Midnight Run (1988) [Brest, Martin, US] #750 Charles Grodin steals this film but Robert De Niro is the perfect straight man as a bounty hunter with Grodin an embezzling accountant who works for the mob
119. Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995) [Solondz, Todd , US] #754 odd little tidbit about teen angst does feature a 14 yr old Scarlett Johansson in her first film
120. Fish Called Wanda, A (1988) [Crichton, Charles, UK] #757 wacky modern heist classic, Kevin Kline steals an Oscar for supporting
121. In the Loop (2009) [Iannucci, Armando , UK] #758 this film is as insane as England backing the US in Iraq, which this helps explain in dialogue twice as fast as His Girl Friday - you'll need subtitles in the U.S. - it's all in British and half of that in slang
122. Topsy-Turvy (1999) [Leigh, Mike, UK] #759
123. Tom Jones (1963) [Richardson, Tony, UK] #761 overrated Oscar winning best pic with incessant harpsichord music - ok, we get it already, somebody shoot that joker! a boring novel makes a boring film
124. Almost Famous (2000) [Crowe, Cameron, US] #763 fun autobiographical stuff here, long live rock

125. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006) [Charles, Larry, US] #774 Cohen is brilliant and insane, surprised he didn't get killed making this, at the Golden Globes he said, "as I was laying there naked with my 350 pound naked costar sitting on my face, debating to take a breath from that part of his body that hasn't seen fresh air for 33 years, I thought I'd better win a bloody award for this!"
126. Happiness (1934) [Medvedkin, Aleksandr, Russia] #776
127. Monsters, Inc. (2001) [Dokter, Unkrich, Silverman, US] #780 just OK Pixar, not a great story but typically good artworkm
128. Love Me Tonight (1932) [Mamoulian, Rouben, US] #785
129. Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) [Leigh, Mike, UK] #787
130. Tulpan (2008) [Dvortsevoy, Sergei, Russia-Kaz] #801
131. Young Girls of Rochefort, The (1967) [Demy, Jacques, France] #806
132. My Life as a Dog (1985) [Hallström, Lasse, Sweden] #810 excellent and bizarre story about that particular time in a boy's life when he was the family dog
133. Mafioso (bw, 1962) [Lattuada, Alberto , Italy] #812
134. Chicken Run (2000) [Park, Nick & Lord, Peter, UK] #817 this one's overrated and eerily similar to a concentration camp - instead see #135, Curse of  the Were-Rabbit
135. French Cancan (1954) [Renoir, Jean, France] #818
136. Shaun of the Dead (2004) [Wright, Edgar, UK-France-US] #819
137. Seven Chances (1925) [Keaton, Buster, US] #826
138. Phantom of Liberty, The (1974) [Buñuel, Luis, France] #827
139. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) [Park, Nick & Box, Steve, UK] #836 ok, but Wallace and Gromit's Amazing Adventures are better, and 3 won Oscars®
140. Hot Fuzz (2007) [Wright, Edgar, UK-France-US] #840
141. How to Train Your Dragon (2010) [DeBlois (Dean), Sanders (Chris), US] #854
142. Breaking Away (1979) [Yates, Peter, US] #857 Oscar-winning screenplay, an all-time classic, Paul Dooley steals the film, "refund! refund!" and "I want some American food - gimme some French fries, dammit!"
143. To Die For (1995) [Van Sant, Gus, US] #858 Nicole Kidman's best performance, she's a chameleon
144. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) [Gilliam, Terry, US] #860
145. Say Anything… (1989) [Crowe, Cameron, US] #862 great teen-angst romance
146. Miracle of Morgan's Creek, The (1944) [Sturges, Preston, US] #868 another classic from Sturges

147. Room with a View, A (1986) [Ivory, James, UK] #870 one of cinema's great romantic films, a classic novel as well, this is way under-ranked [photo above]
148. Je rentre à la maison (I'm Going Home, 2001) [de Oliveira, Manoel , France-Portugal] #878
149. Purple Rose of Cairo, The (1985) [Allen, Woody, US] #886 another good one from Woody, as film characters get bored with their routine and come down off the screen and join reality

150. Circus, The (1928) [Chaplin, Charles, US] #894
151. High Fidelity (2000) [Frears, Stephen, US] #896
152. Christmas Tale, A (2008) [Desplechin, Arnaud, France] #897
153. 24 Hour Party People (2002) [Winterbottom, Michael, UK] #901 bland and boring, like partying 24 hour w a disco crowd
154. Party, The (1968) [Edwards, Blake, US] #914 overrated, boring slapstick
155. Life Aquatic w Steve Zissou (2004) [Anderson, Wes, US] #926 not Wes' best film
156. You Can Count On Me (2000) [Lonergan, Kenneth, US] #928
157. Savages, The (2007) [Jenkins, Tamara, US] #932
158. Knocked Up (2007) [Apatow, Judd, US] #941 overrated to say the least
159. Airplane! (1980) [Abrahams, Jim, US] #952 hilarious irreverent nonsense, "I picked a helluva week to give up smoking!" (or coffee, amphetamines, pot, heroin..) - "I want every available light poured on that runway"
160. O Brother, Where Art Thou (2000) [Coen Bros., US] #958 got it's title from Sullivan's Travels (they love Sturges), too bad it's not as inspired, it's incohesive babble to me without many laughs, a waste of a good caste
161. About Schmidt (2002) [Payne, Alexander, US] #959 I saw it, liked it, but can't remember it, and I'm a Payne fan (loved Sideways)
162. Funny Face (1957) [Donen, Stanley, US] #1001 as a rule, I avoid films with funny in the title

"We will select them
for their breeding

My Favorites on this list
  1. Dr. Strangelove This brilliant satire of war never gets old for me, because I respect the purity of my bodily fluids, as well as the property rights of the Coca-Cola company, and being the gentleman that I am, would never, ever fight inside the War Room! They say Kubrick killed the serious nuclear film genre forever by actually getting us to laugh at nuclear annihilation [photo above, the brilliant Peter Sellers, who deserved an Oscar, as a parody of former German scientists now working for the Allies. Strangelove can't control himself, occasionally shouting "Mein Fuehrer!", giving the Nazi salute, and at one point even choking himself with his uncontrollable hand. In other words, you can take the Nazi out of Germany but you can't take the Nazi indoctrination out of the man - and with no other victim they will even turn on themselves; brilliant!]
  2. Hannah and Her Sisters  Probably the best and most complex (and Oscar® winning) screenplay of any comedy, it inspired Ron Howard's Parenthood, also a brilliant comedy
  3. Raising Arizona Brilliant! Perhaps the best-paced comedy ever made
  4. Singin in the Rain Another with great pacing, and Jean Hagen is a scream
  5. Wall-E Brilliant story was the first envisioned by Lasseter for Pixar, but it took 15 years before the technology caught up with his vision and allowed this to be completed
  6. Cinema Paradiso {AA, foreign film} Another with great pacing, and Jean Hagen is a scream
  7. Shakespeare in Love {AA}
  8. My Fair Lady {AA}
  9. A Room With a View
  10. The Philadelphia Story
  11. Groundhog Day
  12. Annie Hall {AA}
  13. Toy Story 3
  14. The Graduate
  15. The General
  16. In Bruges
  17. His Girl Friday
  18. Finding Nemo
  19. Sideways
  20. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  21. Duck Soup
  22. M*A*S*H
  23. Breaking Away
  24. Kind Hearts and Coronets
  25. The Lady Eve
  26. Midnight Run
  27. The Triplets of Belleville
  28. Sullivan's Travels
  29. Lost in Translation
  30. Manhattan
  31. Tootsie
  32. American Splendor
  33. A Hard Day's Night
  34. Back to the Future
  35. To Die For
  36. Some Like It Hot
  37. Almost Famous
  38. My Life As a Dog
  39. Say Anything
  40. A Night at the Opera
  41. Trouble in Paradise
  42. The Palm Beach Story
  43. The Producers
  44. The Truman Show
  45. It's a Gift
  46. The Awful Truth
  47. The Purple Rose of Cairo
  48. Diner
  49. Fantastic Mr. Fox
  50. The Shop Around the Corner
  51. Being John Malkovich
  52. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  53. Toy Story
  54. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
  55. Stand By Me
  56. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
  57. Being There
  58. Fanny and Alexander
  59. Amarcord
  60. Toy Story 2
  61. Local Hero
  62. I Vitteloni
  63. Airplane!
  64. In the Loop
  65. Rushmore
  66. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  67. Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  68. The Royal Tanenbaums
[Note: I've still not seen L'atalante]

"Mom called us all Babe"

Missing in the top 1000, some of my favorites:

Babe (1995) Australia This is the best kids film, the best animal film, and the best film that doesn't make the polls (ranked 1135th, should be 11th!)
Election (A. Payne)- ranked 1034th, so it just missed
When Harry Met Sally (1989) one of the best romances, ranked 1695th (inexplicible), "I love that it takes you 45 minutes to order lunch"
Good Bye, Lenin! (2003) Germany ranked 1760th, won many awards, a great German comedy about a socialist who almost dies in a coma and whose son keeps the fall of communism a secret after she recovers, which even requires fake newscasts
Parenthood (1989) Ron Howard's complex and brilliant film was inspired by Woody's screenplay for Hannah and Her Sisters; both have about 4-5 related families whose stories are all connected in complex scripts that both seem to flow effortlessly; this has Steve Martin's hilarious "Cowboy Gil" party character ("Call me Gil - as in Gil T")

Big Deal on Madonna Street (Monicelli, Italy)- ranked 1308th - hilarious spoof of crime heist films; has one of the funniest scenes ever, ending with "getting something to eat", a must-see
Repo Man (Cox)- ranked 2120th insane repo man Harry Dean Stanton teaches young Emilio Estevez the biz while aliens intrude
The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming! (Jewison)- should be ranked, a Russian sub runs aground in Maine and the town goes wild in patriotic fervor. Alan Arkin is hilarious as the sub commander, who runs through the town yelling "Emergency! emergency! everyone to get from streets!"
The More the Merrier (1943) bw wartime comedy has overcrowded people in D.C. sharing apartments, in this case Joel McRea and ultra-cute Jean Arthur, who know how to wear a pair of shorts
The Loved One (T. Richardson)- a classic, pokes fun of Hollywood memorials
Singles (Crowe)- hilarious spoof of grunge rockers as Matt Dillon has a band "Citizen Dick", that's "big in Denmark"; this intertwines the lives of about six people in a small apartment complex
50 First Dates- both funny and touching, a gentle romance, easily Adam Sandler's best film because it's genuine and honest and doesn't try to be funny, so it succeeds

My Favorite Wife (Canin, 1940) - unbelievable that this isn't on any polls! a man finally gets a court granted divorce from a wife missing for 7 years so he can remarry, and of course his wife then returns; this is an oft-copied plot, but this has Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, and Randolph Scott as a Tarzan-esque rival who was on an island with his wife the whole time
Heathers (1989) brilliant black comedy about a high school clique of girls named Heather, 2038th who seem to be dying after Winona Ryder joins the group (and she's not even named Heather) - has the absolute best cigarette lighting in ciname history at the end
Blast From the Past (1999) a family, son Brendan Fraser, parents Sissy Spacek and Christopher Walken, are trapped in a nuclear fallout shelter for 35 years, then emerge into the modern world of violence and chaos (circa 1995); one of my favorites, Walken is hilarious and Alicia Silverstone enlivens any film
City Slickers (1991) some greenhorn city slickers do the dude ranch thing out west with an Oscar for cowboy Jack Palance (Bruno Kirby to Billy Crystal, after the latter flirts with a single woman on the ranch: "That's not 'good night', that's 'I love your ass, I want to wear it for a hat!'" - now that's funny!)
Thank You For Smoking (2005) terrific intellectual spoof of the lobbying industry, who brag about deaths they cause, this brilliant, underrated gem is way down at 2161st (it's close to my top 100, because I hate corporate capitalism and lobbyists, they've corrupted politicians and own them)

A Christmas Story (1983) If you don't like Jean Shepherd (the author and narrator), then you don't like America, he chronicled it's heyday, the 40's and 50's, in books of stories; this one is based on In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, which is far better than this entertaining film, which captures about 1/3rd of Shepherd's punch. Currently 1924th, this is really now the most popular Christmas film and it should be ranked in the top 1000. You'll never convince me more kids like It's a Wonderful Life than this; that film had no crass materialism that makes America what it is, and was totally dull by comparison; it had it moments but it all hinges on corn-pone sentimentality that is a utopian fantasy of America, it's not reality. What could be more realistic than a Christmas without angels or gods or other imaginary beings but only dreams of what materialist things can be yours on that special day, and in this case, a weapon - as Randy said "That's mine, that's mine!" ("Flick saw some grizzly bears down around Pulaski's candy store"; "My brother Randy looked like a tick about to pop") Here's my post on A Christmas Story Trivia and Sequels (there were 3 filmed sequels - well, films of more Shepherd stories, two for PBS)

One, Two, Three (1961) - Billy Wilder classic, currently 1969th, should be ranked pokes fun at both capitalism and communism; I have a feeling Wilder wasn't an 'ism' kind of guy, and knew they were all full of b.s. dreamed up by bureaucrats to control the masses
Micmacs (2009) France imaginitive French crime fantasy from Jeunet, director of Amelie and A Very Long Engagement, a group of wacky inventors seek revenge on an arms-maker
Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) - this was refilmed by Warren Beatty and Buck Henry as Heaven Can Wait, (see below) which should also be on this list (not to be confused with the Lubitsch film of that name). This is the one about a boxer who dies prematurely that is granted a new body by heaven's representative, Mr. Jordan, who admits to the screwup.
Heaven Can Wait (1978) the Warren Beatty-Buck Henry (who also co-stars) remake is just as good, this time a football player dies prematurely and gets a new body as an eccentric capitalist whose wife, Dyan Cannon, is trying to murder him with her lover and his pvt secretary, Charles Grodin, who is brilliantly understated as always. Here 'Mr Jordan' is played by James Mason, and the hot love interest is Julie Christie, so it's a terrific cast. Grodin tells Dyan Cannon that if she murders her husband, "you should be canonized" - what a great pun!
Defending Your Life (1991) in Albert Brooks hilarious view of the afterlife, you go on trial to see if you've conquered your fear, and of course Meryl Streep's trial seems to be going better than Brooks'

Alice (1990) Woody Allen's romantic fantasy is another great New York one, as a Chinese herbologist has herbs that make you disappear, or people fall in love with you
Broadcast News (1986) just out at 1022nd, James Brooks' brilliant look behind the scenes of network news with a cast of Holly Hunter, William Hurt, and James Brooks, all Oscar nominees, also Jack Nicholson appears; Hunter is great - for me, Brooks' best film
Mary Poppins (1964) c'mon, it's a good kids film, with great effects for it's time, though Dick Van Dyke is a bit much, Julie Andrews did win best actress for this
Morgan! (1966) David Warner is being driven mad with love for ex-wife Vanessa Redgrave, and becomes both a communist and a gorilla

Clueless (1995) great teen comedy, I can watch this film every year ("Project!"), and knockout Alicia Silverstone, "as if!", who was only 16 when she starred in this, and had to use a computer to match her school outfits. More women should direct comedies - kudos to Amy Heckerling. "Snaps to my best gf for fashion bravery!"
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) "freedom, baby, yeah!" - "I put the grr in swinger, baby!" - "It's my scene, baby, and it freaks me out!" - this is inspired lunacy, a spoof of both Jame Bond and Elvis films, you either get it or you don't; it's bad satire of bad cinema. The first is the best, the 2nd one sucked (let's get this straight: fat is not funny! it's the cinema equivalent of "pull my finger"), the 3rd was in between - "I will now kill you in a ridiculously long, excrutiating manner, giving you plenty of time to escape". These were co-produced by Demi Moore

The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953) A Dr. Seuss kid's film, wacky and fantastical, just like they oughta be, this is a mad piano teacher with a composition for 500 pianists [see photo below]

Dr.T has created a giant piano for 500 kids to play,
hence 5,000 fingers

Awwwwwwwwwlrighty then!! - Ace Ventura

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Top Ranked Films of Abbas Kiarostami

Abbas Kiarostami
7 titles (17th), but 67th in points with 12,625

These are all the films of Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami’s that made the top 1000 in our 2011 update of the Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, all polls. He actually tied for 17th among directors with this many titles, but the low rankings didn't add much to his point total.

1. Close-up (1990) #255
2. Taste of Cherry, A (1997) #522
3. Wind Will Carry Us, The (1999) #537
4. Ten (2002) #874
5. And Life Goes On (1991) #947
6. Certified Copy (2010) #907
7. Where is the Friend's Home? (1987) #948

also, just out of the top 1000
8. Through the Olive Trees (1994) #1011

I saw the top ranked film here, Close-Up, as my intro to Kiarostami, and was a bit disappointed. The film had a refreshing immediacy and seemed real, yet it was also amateurish, had terrible sound (at times unintelligible), and would not have made it to tv in the west just due to it’s lack of professional craftmanship. The film also reeked of propaganda, as an Iranian court was shown, which appeared to be thoughtful and fair (maybe they are, but not according to western media bias), so you also realize that the film had to clear Iranian censorship and likely could not be critical in any way.

I haven’t seen the rest of these, but will likely watch a couple more before I give up on Kiarostami’s professionalism, or decide that he’s an authorized shill for a psychotic regime that wants to further “God’s promised apocalypse on earth”. Not surprising that all these fundamentalist fanatics claim to follow God, yet they don’t trust in the deity to control events, so they want to cause the events themselves. (Because the long promised apocalypse has still never arrived, thousands of years later – maybe one day it’ll happen but so far it’s the worst prophecy in mankind’s history, as it’s zero for about 3000 years so far, and nearly every generation has claimed "this is the end time").

See the full list of top ranked 100 directors here: Top Ranked 100 Directors, 2011 Edition

Monday, November 14, 2011

Top Ranked Films of David Fincher

David Fincher
4 titles, 64th in pts w 12,755

Fincher should be rising in the polls over time as he's just hitting his stride. I predict he'll end up in the top 20 eventually, as will Christopher Nolan.

These are all the films of American director David Fincher’s that made the top 1000 in our 2011 update of the Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, all polls.

1. Fight Club (1999) #201
2. The Social Network (2010) #235
3. Se7en (1995) #300
4. Zodiac (2007) #723 Should have been a best picture nominee

Out of the top 1000
5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) #1538
6. The Game (1997) #2046 This should be ranked!

I found Fight Club to be hilarious, but I was the only one laughing in the theater – like the scene with Edward Norton beating himself in front of his boss. Then I saw an interview with Fincher about the film and he said “I make comedies, why does no one laugh in the theater?” I felt vindicated, at least I was on the same wavelength as Fincher, so I guess he’s one I feel that I understand. Fight Club also has an incredible cast and performances – loved Helena Bonham Carter in this, she deserved an Oscar®.

I don’t know how they can rank Seven so highly and The Game so lowly (a relentless film that never slows down except when you need a breather), they should be reversed. Seven is just basically a disgusting murder spree film - another of the category of "let's see how many ways we can kill a human". This formula was old in the 50's already - can we please give it a rest?

Zodiac (starring Jake Gyllenhaal, photo left) is also underrated, I found it far more riveting than The Social Network, though that one is a well-crafted film for business history, low on drama or existential meaning relative to humanoids, just “will our business survive”, so pretty light for subject matter compared to all the other Fincher films, the best of which are about human survival and meaning. Zodiac shed credible light on an old unsolved mystery, a series of killings in the San Franciso area that were accompanied by letters from the killer to the newspapers, as if taunting both the public and law enforcement.

In The Game, a wealthy, lonely CEO played by Michael Douglas has everything, so what does young brother Sean Penn give him for an important birthday? A fiendishly designed game, tailored for the individual recipient, who must first sign a legal waiver that they can't sue no matter what, so a gullible and trusting Douglas does just that, and his controllable reality is turned into a nightmarish fight for survival. This is as fun as movies get to me, if you're in the mood for mindless action, in this case danger fabricated for a price for the bored and jaded upper-class. Yet the film also has existential angst as a theme, embedded within the action, as do all his best three films. For me, an unforgettable scene of Douglas eating a meal in solitude and silence at home prepared by his cook says a lot about the real point of this underrated film.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button should have been better, the F. Scott Fitzgerald story is a great premise for a film, about a man born old who regressively ages toward childhood, so his age will criss-cross those he loves at some point, and only be the same age briefly. But it curiously lacks much passion, it's a little matter-of-fact in its treatment. Perhaps it’s hampered by length and poor pacing, something that worked in Zodiac’s favor, as that detective film was about a long, slow investigation into the Zodiac killings by a journalist well after the police have basically drawn a blank.

Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

For me, he has three great films, and four pretty good ones, five legitimate top 1000 films, with more on the way. (He's just remade the Danish film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). All are worth seeing, each has it’s moments of brilliance, and all are interesting stories, and well-crafted films. I don't think any have a lot of heart, he's more a product of the insanity of the modern world - the new milennia could be one of chaos and near-anarchy, so Fincher's films fit right in. Even Social Network was about business without rules, a computer hacker steals databases and builds a success story, apparently with legal immunity. What kind of world is this now?

I think he’ll later be considered one of the classic American directors, after he’s made about twenty films. He seems to be documenting in myth and fact-based reconstructions the decline and fall of western civilization as we know it.

These are all films I like, and here’s my order of preference for Fincher (and roughly where I’d rank the film):
1- Zodiac (125) - probably his most intelligent, literate film
2- The Game (140) - controlled chaos, what could be more accurate?
3- Fight Club (175) - ok, it's a little excessive and repetetive at first, still a great anachist statement
4- The Social Network (600) - where was the FBI during all the hacking and data theft? that's a federal crime.. interesting; I guess if the money outweighs legality and ethics, anything is possible
5- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (800)
6- Se7en (1200)
[In all honesty, I could flip-flop the top 3 after rewatching each one]

See the full list of top ranked 100 directors here: Top Ranked 100 Directors, 2011 Edition

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Top Ranked Films of D.W. Griffith

D.W. Griffith
3 titles, 58th in points with 13,198

These are all the films of classic American director D.W. Griffith's that made the top 1000 in our 2011 update of the Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, all polls.

1. Intolerance (1916) #148
2. Birth of a Nation, The (1915) #162
3. Broken Blossoms (1919) #247

Out of the top 1000
4. Way Down East (1920) #1779
5. True Heart Susie #1880

Griffith is primarily of interest to fans of cinema history, for he did create the 'modern epic' with some massive casts and sets, usually in historical films. His films were the archetype for the William Wylers and David Leans and others that followed.

I would say watch Intolerance and skip Birth of a Nation due to the Klan theme. Intolerance is an epic about times history was changed due to mankind's intolerance.

See the full list of top ranked 100 directors here: Top Ranked 100 Directors, 2011 Edition

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Top Ranked Films of Alain Resnais

Alain Resnais
5 titles, 59th in points with 13,162

These are all the films of French director Alain Resnais’ that made the top 1000 in our 2011 update of the Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, all polls.

1. Last Year at Marienbad (1961) #213
2. Hiroshima mon amour (1959) #246
3. Night and Fog (1955) #413
4. Providence (1977) #720
5. Muriel ou Le Temps d'un Retour (1963) #816

Out of the top 1000
6. Mon oncle d'Amérique (1980) #1144

Resnais is an acquired taste - artful but perhaps a little cold. Night and Fog is another important Holocaust documentary film however, only about an hour long but still should be included due to the subject matter.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Top Ranked Films of Preston Sturges

Preston Sturges
4 titles, 60th in points with 13,154

As a wealthy kid, he worked on staged productions for his mother’s friend, Isadora Duncan – in fact, his mother’s company made the scarf that strangled the famous dancer after it became entangled in the wheel of a sports car. Beat that for a background in the movies.

These are all the films of classic American director Preston Sturges’ that made the top 1000 in our 2011 update of the Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, all polls.

1. The Lady Eve (1941) #149
2. Palm Beach Story, The (1942) #242
3. Sullivan's Travels (1941) #296
4. Miracle of Morgan's Creek, The (1944) #868
5. Unfaithfully Yours (1948) #1187

Where is Hail, the Conquering Hero (1944)? The Great McGinty (1940)?
He could have several more ranked films.

I’d have him much higher than 60th on my director’s list, he’s a top 25 type of director because he was one of the best in the 40’s, on a level with the comedies of Capra. You can’t say that about any modern comedy directors – well, Woody Allen is ranked 20th but look at the rest. Preston did have 3 comedies in the top 300. Capra also has 3; Woody has 4, and two in the top 100.

Joel McRae and Veronica Lake
in Sullivan's Travels

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Top Ranked Films of Paul Thomas Anderson

Paul Thomas Anderson
4 titles, 53rd in points with 13,990

1. There Will Be Blood (2007) #150
2. Boogie Nights (1997) #212
3. Magnolia (1999) #320
4. Punch-Drunk Love (2002) #536

Out of the top 1000
5. Hard Eight (1997) #1630

Interesting that my favorite of his films, Hard Eight (1997), is the one not in the top 1000, but it’s an excellent con-artist film, and also Anderson's tightest film overall, it's lean and mean. John C. Reilly stars as a newcomer on the gambling scene in Vegas who’s shown how to game the system there by a cagey veteran gambler, played by Philip Baker Hall in probably his career best; Gwyneth Paltrow has a nice supporting role, so the cast is excellent.

After that, I guess these are ranked about right vs. each other, though I’d lower each film by about 100 places myself, and not rank Punch-Drunk Love (the only Sandler film I’ve liked is 50 First Dates (2004) – it’s very weak compared to the others, and to Hard Eight. I found the others excessive in one way or another, though still very good films; usually a bit too long (or they just lost pacing), each could use a little editing.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Top Ranked Films of Pedro Almodóvar

Pedro Almodóvar
5 titles, 57th in points with 13,429

I always enjoy every Almodóvar film. I agree with the rankings of these, especially the first four, only I'd have them all higher ranked. He has a great touch with films with nearly all-female casts, as are these first four. I first discovered him in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, which is probably his most comic film, almost out of character. It's an exercise in controlled chaos which works, it has an energy all it's own.

These are all the films of Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar’s that made the top 1000 in our 2011 update of the Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, all polls.

1. All About My Mother (1999) #206
2. Talk to Her (2002) #317
3. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988) #369
4. Volver (2006) #525 [photo above, w Penelope Cruz]
5. Bad Education (2004) #864

Outside the top 1000
6. Law of Desire (1987) #1271
7. Broken Embraces #1447

I agree that All About My Mother is his best work - for me it's a near top 100 film, very mature and moving. I also found Talk to Her and Volver fascinating. I loved the Oscar®-nominated performance of Penelope Cruz in Volver, who got a nod for best actress, and deserved it.

The first four films here have almost entirely female casts. Not so with Bad Education and Law of Desire, and for some reason I didn't like those films as much - maybe I'm biased, but he seems to have an uncanny affinity for the feminine characters he films. All About My Mother was dedicated to "all women, all women who played women, and all those who want to be women", and begins with All About Eve (1950) on a small television.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Top Ranked Films of Terry Gilliam

Terry Gilliam
4 titles, 52nd in points with 14,392

Gilliam came out the Monty Python's Flying Circus group that had a popular tv show on the BBC in England. Also in the group were comic actors John Cleese, Terry Jones and Eric Idle. Gilliam has gone on to make some of the most inventive and outrageous films ever. For me, the Monty Python ones are the worst of these, lame, sophmoric humor usually associated with lots of blood or pointless arguing by idiots (though this did lead to a great tv skit called "Argument Clinic", a satire of rehabilitation centers in general, this one feature various types of aguing).

The best are science fiction-fantasy films, like Brazil, 12 Monkeys, and Time Bandits, that place the viewer in a unique world that could only be imagined by Gilliam.

These are all the films of British director Terry Gilliam’s that made the top 1000 in our 2011 update of the Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, all polls. Ten titles in all made the polls, though the last four were on the bottom, barely mentioned.

1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) #87 [Co-directed with Terry Jones] I don't find religious humor funny (they're already funny enough on their own)
2. Brazil (1985) #145 This is a minor masterpiece
3. 12 Monkeys (1995) #429
4. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) #860 Stick with the writing of Hunter S. Thompson, while the novel is hilarious throughout this reeks by comparison

out of the top 1000:
5. Monty Python- Meaning of Life (1983) #1722 [you won't find it here]
6. Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009) #1926
7. Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) #2122
8. Fisher King, The (1991) #2192
9. Tideland (2005) #2192
10. Time Bandits (1981) #2192 Excellent comedy, this should be ranked in the top 1000

[Last 3 are tied for 'last' of all mentioned films with about 50 other films]

I like most of his films, they are all visual treats, though some are excessive bores (Baron von Munchausen). I think Brazil is a minor masterpiece, and features Robert De Niro in a small role as a rogue repairman the state calls a ‘dangerous terrorist’.

These are my favorites: (1) Brazil [photo left] (2) Time Bandits (3) 12 Monkeys (4) The Fisher King (5) The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus [Heath Ledger’s last film, he died during filming and his part was completed by Jude Law and Johnny Depp, who all played the same character!]

Time Bandits has the biggest heart, about a child who escapes in a fantasy world which is interrupted by dwarves who steal the map of time gates from God and carry the kid on their adventures. Shelly Duvall has a hilarious part as someone who is about to be kissed at various times in history when the group literally ‘drops in’ on her. This was the first film for George Harrison’s Dark Horse film studio.

Gilliam reminds me of the quote from the Pope in The Agony and the Ecstasy about Michaelangelo, "Of course, he's a raving madman, but we put up with him because he's also a genius"

See the full list of top ranked 100 directors here: Top Ranked 100 Directors, 2011 Edition