Wednesday, May 27, 2020

My Top 100 Movies: 51-61

My Top Movie List – Day 4.  Here are the films from 51-60.

51. Treasure of the Sierra Madre:  A down and out American played by Humphrey Bogart joins two other desperate Americans  in a search for Mexican gold in the Sierra Madre mountains. They  end up fighting Mexican bandidos, the Federales and each other.  John Huston directs.  “We don’t need no badges”

52. Star Wars:  George Lucas’ space opera exploded into movie legend. Luke, Leah, Hans, Chewy, Obi-Wan and of course Darth Vader. Forty-five years later, the franchise is still going strong. “Luke, I am your father.”

53. . American Graffiti: A decade after the fifties died, this film captured the essence of an era through a single night of cruising, gangs, drag racing and rock ‘n roll. Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfus, Harrison Ford and Wolfman Jack. “Where were you in 1962.”

54. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind:  Some love is eternal, even in a world where memories of affairs gone bad can be erased.  The movie effectively uses time skipping, drawing the audience in to the love affair and breakup of Kate Winslet and Jim Carey, in his in finest movie role.  “How happy is the blameless vestal's lot? The world forgetting, by the world forgot: Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each prayer accepted, and each wish resigned.”

55. Modern Times / City Lights:  No list of best movies is complete without a nod to Charlie Chaplain and the Little Tramp. These two are Chaplain’s best.

56. King Kong:  Only five years after the first talkie, and three years after the Empire State Building was completed, Merian Cooper brought to the screen the king of all monster stories. Nearly 90 years, two remakes and countless imitations, this 1933 film remains unequaled. Fay Wray remains timeless. “’Twas beauty that killed the beast.”

55. The Last Picture Show:  When I first saw this stark black and white movie about people in a small Texas town that the world had passed by, I was a sophomore in college. I knew it was outstanding film making and great acting, but I didn’t really “get it.” Decades later, I sat down and watched the entire movie again – and I did get it.  Everything, from Ben Johnson’s Academy Award-winning performance as Sam the Lion to Cloris Leachman’s haunting portrayal as a sad, lonely coach’s wife. From the pool party to the pool hall, every line and every frame of this movie is a gem.

58. Atonement: A glimpse of  love by a precocious young girl who tells her elders about what she thought was an assault, turns the world of everyone involved upside down. Decades later, when the little girl is a successful writer, she is interviewed about her latest book, written as atonement for her sins.  

59. Das Boot:  German movie about a U-Boat crew during WW II. The movie captures the tensions and claustrophobic conditions of a crew serving on a German U-Boat. One of the most remarkable movies about men at war ever made.

60. From Here to Eternity:  Based on Norman Mailer’s best-seller, this movie deals with romance, bullying, prejudice, hubris and hatred on an Army base in Hawaii leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Montgomery Cliff is outstanding as the championship boxer who won’t fight. The love scene with waves crashing over Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr remains among the most sensual in all  of film.

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