September 17, 2006

Watch It - Top 5 All Time

It is a daunting task, attempting to choose the top 5 movies of all time. Nothing could be more subjective than this type of thing and each movie watching experience itself can be affected immensely by factors like the mood I'm in, or the company I watched it with. It would be much easier to compile a top 5 of each genre or to just say these are 5 of my favorite movies ever but I will be bold and unapologetic in my attempt to list the 5 best movies I've ever seen. Bear in mind I've attempted to hit on more than one genre and that these are merely the 5 best movie experiences I've had, I'm not trying to say these are the greatest movies ever made. That is a different list altogether and one that would be impossible to create.

So without further ado here they are:

5) Swingers
Trent thinks he knows everything about life and everything that he wants out of it, Mike is never sure of himself in any way. The two are friends and aspiring actors in LA who spend the bulk of their time trying to find the best party and debating the rules about picking up women. Mike tries to imitate the successful strategies of Trent but slowly discovers himself and realizes along the way he really doesn't want to mimic his shallow friend. This movie made me laugh as much as any movie ever has and it also affected me in a way that is hard to explain. There are moments in this movie where I was so embarrassed for the socially awkward Mike that it's hard to watch. It is these moments that make his eventual self discovery that much more meaningful.

4) Almost Famous
William Miller is a 15 year old aspiring music critic who happens into a job writing for Rolling Stone in the 70's. He is sent on tour with a popular rock band, all the time fooling the magazine and the band into thinking he is much older than he really is. There are some classic coming-of-age elements in this movie which is intertwined with great acting and great music. It is rumoured that this is based on the true story of a summer in writer/director Cameron Crowe's teenage life.

3) The Big Chill
A group of old college friends are brought back together in their adult life, after years apart, by the suicide of a member of their group. After the funeral they all spend the weekend in an old country house and catch up on old times, they wrestle with the big meaning-of-life questions brought on by their attempt to deal with the death of their friend. Nearly every human emotion is experienced and portrayed in this movie. The Big Chill offers what I consider some of the best writing, acting and dialogue in any movie I've ever seen.

2) Unbreakable
David Dunn discovers supernatural powers in himself that he is unaware of when he is the lone survivor of a horrific train crash. In turn he also discovers the purpose for his life, the absence of which had nearly torn his life apart. He is aided in finding his purpose by Elijah Price, a man with a medical disorder wherein his bones are brittle and break easily. Price is obsessed with comic books and a theory that if the human race contains those who are handicapped, there must exist the polar opposite - people with better than normal abilities, essentially real superheros. This movie is slow and thoughtful and I thoroughly enjoyed watching Dunn discover his abilities and wrestle with what he should do with them. I am an unabashed M. Night Shyamalan fan and to me this movie is the best example of his unique style and thought provoking writing.

1) Twelve Monkeys
It is 30 years in the future, a virus has wiped out 99% of human life. Those who survived live underground. Prisoners are used as "volunteers" to go to the surface and gather samples of life. They are also used in attempts to perfect time travel as modern scientists attempt to get a sample of the virus in the time before it wiped out humanity so they can invent a cure. James Cole is one of those prisoners and the movie follows him as he goes back and forth in time attempting to find the origins of the virus. Cole is played brilliantly by Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt gives a dynamic supporting role as a fellow inmate in the mental institution Cole is put in when he is sent back to 1990. I've lost count of the amount of times I've watched this movie and I discover something new each time I watch it. Twelve Monkeys makes you work to keep up with the plot as it bounces between time periods. This is truly a great movie.


Coutts said...

love it! i can't believe i haven't even seen 3 or your top 5! so i can't debate it, even if one could propose to debate something so subjective.

i have to agree with you on 12 monkeys. it would probably be top 3, maybe even #1, for me, on both my favourites list and even my greatest of all time list. what a fantastic film. no one can do the apocalytic genre again without being compared to this one.

and unbreakable, while not my fav of the shyamalans, takes the comic genre and gives it a gritty reality that makes superman just look silly. as a result this is probably the only comic book movie besides the first Batman that I've ever really liked, and even that one it blows out of the water. i love that you can have an insecure superhero in a poncho rather than some macho-man in tights who is nothing more than the sum of his gimmicks.

great list, although i have to see the other 3 now to be sure.

Tony Tanti said...

"...insecure superhero in a poncho..." That was a great line Jon. Thanks for the comments. I bought 12 monkeys recently and watched it again yesterday. Awesome!

If I may suggest, see The Big Chill first out of the other three. Everyone should see that movie.

Coutts said...

nice new format. i like it. hey maybe you should review tv here too. it would give you more material and then i could make more fun of csi.

Tony Tanti said...

Good idea about the tv reviews. Stay tuned for it soon.