Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Top 20 Movies (10-6)

Okay I'm striving to get this list completed so I can move on to other things.  Here comes numbers 10 through 6. 

#10 - Schindler's List

What can be said about this one that hasn't already been said. More than just about any other movie dealing with the subject, this movie personalizes the horrors of the Nazi work and death camps. This movie is beautiful and hard to watch all at the same time, but it is completely worth it in the end when all of that suffering is redeemed through the generosity of Oskar Schindler.  Liam Neeson brought great depth to the title role and Ralph Fiennes was nearly demonic as the ruthless commander of the work camp.

This one was a passion project for Steven Spielberg and you can sense it in every frame. 

#9 - Billy Madison

I know it's a shock, but Billy Madison did not win any major awards.  It might have picked up a Razzie or two, but I don't care. This movie and Happy Gilmore are about the only two Adam Sandler comedies I find watchable. This one made the list simply because it was the first comedy that my kids and I bonded over.  We can quote nearly every line in it and still chuckle at its stupidity and absurdity. 

#8 - The Usual Suspects

I love this movie.  I recorded it months ago off one of the pay movie services and it is the only recording on my DVR that never gets deleted. 

Kevin Spacey won his first Oscar for his portrayal of Roger 'Verbal' Kint, so nicknamed because he never shuts up.  The movie is propelled by his interrogation over a massive heist gone wrong at the docks where he was the only one lucky enough to make it out alive.  We are treated to the story through flashbacks as Verbal provides more and more details to Agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri).  Along the way Verbal tells the story of legendary criminal Keyser Soze who blackmailed he and his fellow criminals into participating in the doomed heist. 

This one might have one of the best closing lines of all the movies on my list. "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was making the world believe he didn't exist. And then *poof* he was gone."

#7 - Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge is one of those love it or hate it kind of movies.  I obviously fall on the love it side.  This one scratches two of my favorite entertainment itches: musicals and love stories. 

The music in this one is presented in Baz Luhrmann's own inimitably psychedelic way.  That's the main thing that turns off most people who dislike the movie.  You kind of have to survive the neck snapping exposition of the first half an hour or so before it turns into one of the most beautifully told love stories.  I get choked up every time I watch it, but I straight up sobbed at the end of the movie when Ewan McGregor's Christian cradles the lifeless body of his beloved Satine then looks to the sky and cries out in complete and utter misery.  (FYI...I didn't really spoil anything there since the opening scene is Christian writing the story and the narration begins, "The woman I love is........dead.")

Side note: Who knew Ewan McGregor could sing so well?  Who knew Nicole Kidman could not? 

#6 - The Silence of the Lambs

Of course this one is most famous for Sir Anthony Hopkins' iconic portrayal of Hannibal Lecter.  He takes creepy and sinister to a whole new level.  I mean, he murdered somebody by basically talking them into suicide and then cut off another dude's face to use as a mask! His intelligence and intuition make him and even more frightening villain.

This one is most impressive to me, though, for the climactic suspenseful ending.  Clarice desperately feeling around in the pitch black while Buffalo Bill watches her through night vision goggles and even reaches out to stroke her face is enough to make anybody afraid of the dark.

Side note: If your local watering hole has one of those jukeboxes that connects to the internet, see if you can find and play "Goodbye Horses" by Q Lazarus and then watch everyone squirm and ask each other, "Where do I know this song from?"  And then watch the horror as they realize it is the song that Buffalo Bill played while tucking back his junk and imagining how good he is going to look as a woman in his new Catherine Martin costume. 

Hopefully I can get 5-1 out by the end of this week, but I have a very busy next few days coming up.

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