Tuesday, May 26, 2020

MY TOP 100 MOVIES: 61-70

My Top 100 Movies – 61-70.
61. Aliens:  Sigourney Weaver defined bad ass. The most intense, scariest movie I’ve ever seen. Rare sequel that exceeded the original. “In Space, no one can hear you scream.”

62. Singing in The Rain:  Gene Kelly, Donald O’Conner and Debbie Reynolds in  glorious song and dance, capped off by Kelly’s unforgettable dance to Singing in the Rain.

63. 12 Angry Men:  Twelve jurors locked away to decide the fate of a teenager accused of murder. Anger, prejudice and reason are bantered about in a hot, steamy New York City jury room. A splendid ensemble cast led by Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley and Jack Klugman bring the confrontations and emotions front and center. It’s the way we like to think juries work, but they seldom do.

64. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Walt Disney’s Masterpiece. Until this movie, cartoons were 4 or 5 minutes long – something to run with the newsreels before the feature. The concept of a feature-length animated  movie was inconceivable. So many great Disney animated movies were to follow, but this was art and genius.

65. Monty Python and the Holy Grail:  The legendary King Arthur’s search for the Holy Grail would never be the same after Monty Python.  British humor run amok on the big screen. Bring out your dead (“I’m not dead, yet”), the Black Knight (“Tis but a scratch. Had worse.”) and the Guardian at the Bridge of Death (“What... is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?”).  It doesn’t get funnier.

66. Lilies of the Field:  For some reason, this classic movie seems largely ignored today. Sidney Poitier won the Best Actor Oscar, the first man of color to do so, for his role of Homer Smith, a drifting former Army Officer who stumbles in to a group of German nuns seeking to build a chapel in the middle of the American desert. “Consider the lilies of the field.”  Amen.

67. Duck Soup / A Night at the Opera:  Before there was Monty Python or Mel Brooks, there were the Marx Brothers. Their frantic humor comes  at you in such a rapid fire that you know you don’t catch it all – not until you’ve seen the movie two or three or even more times. There were 13 Marx Brothers movies, but Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera are the best.

68. Raging Bull:  Martin Scorsese’s brilliant but brutal film about the life of 1940s boxer Jake LaMotta. But for LaMatta, violence isn’t just in the ring. He battered his wife repeatedly, as his life and relationships dissolved around him. Robert Di Niro is brilliant in perhaps the most difficult role of his career, filming the movie at weights ranging from 145 pounds to 215 pounds for different periods of LaMatta’s life.

69. Rocky:  There have been so many Rocky movies over the decades, that sometimes it is easy to forget how good, how fresh and how original the first Rocky movie was. Before it became a cliché of itself, Rocky was a stellar movie that had audiences pulling for the down and out Italian Stallion, and left them cheering.

70. Easy Rider:  A low-budget movie, Easy Rider changed movies forever. The tale of two drug dealers making a big score, then heading across the country on their motorcycles, headed to Mardi Gras. Along the way, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper pick up a relatively unknown Jack Nicolson. It became the movie for an entire generation. “A man went looking for America . . . and couldn’t find it anywhere.”

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