Sunday, May 24, 2020

My TOP 100 MOVIES: 81-90

My Top Movie List – Day 2.  Here are the films from 81-90.

81. A Streetcar Named Desire:  Tennessee Williams classic was brought to life by Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski and Vivien Leigh as the aging Blanche DuBois.  Despite the omission of the rape scene in the play, it is packed with raw emotion ready to explode. Remarkably, Brando did not win the best acting award, which went to Humphrey Bogart for The African Queen.  “I have always counted on the kindness of strangers.”

82. Die Hard:  Christmas movie or not, this is a near-perfect modern thriller. Bruce Willis is the right mix of hero and smart ass, and Hans Gruber, played by Snape himself, Alan Rickman, is the perfect bad guy.  Yippee ki yay.

83. . The Shawshank Redemption: Drawn from the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, this is the best prison movie without any competition.  

84. Fiddler on the Roof:  Chaim Topol was a surprise pick to play Tevia in the movie, but he ended up being the perfect choice. The heart, pain and joy of life is captured through a changing life that he does not fully understand. The music is  unsurpassed. The older I get, the more poignant this movie becomes.  “To life!”

85. Dead Poets Society: Robin Williams soars in this movie of a free-thinking teacher trying to encourage his poetry students to see into themselves through poetry. “Oh, Captain. My captain.”

86. Dr. No / From Russia With Love / Goldfinger:  My guilty pleasure. Goldfinger was my first glimpse at Ian Fleming’s dashing spy.  I saw it in the spring when I was in seventh grade. I followed that by seeing a Dr. No / From Russia with Love double feature that following summer. And I was hooked. They changed my life, sparking an interest in the books, writing and music.  Even today, when one of these first three Bond movies comes on television, I will stop and watch even though I know every scene and every piece of dialog by heart.

87. Capote:  A marvelous biopic. Phillip Seymour Hoffman becomes Truman Capote. He floats across the New York social scene while working on what would become his greatest work, In Cold Blood. At the same time, Capote succumbs to
jealousies over his researcher and childhood friend, Harper Lee, who has reached stunning success with her first novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. Epic photography turns stark Kansas countryside into another main character.

88. Avatar: Once in a great while, a movie breaks through barriers and changes the movie making business. That was true with James Cameron’s Avatar. The computer techniques which Cameron worked on for a decade reset movie making nearly as much as the first talkie.

89. Lord of the Rings Trilogy:  Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy of J.R.R. Tolkien is a feat of staggering proportions. In the end, I thought the initial Fellowship of the Ring was the best. For me, as the trilogy went forward, they began to all run together, and the climaxes look remarkably similar.

90. The Reader:  A young boy meets and becomes the lover of an older bus driver in post-WWII Germany. Years later, when he is an established lawyer, the woman is charged with war crimes. But there is a secret the woman is desperate to keep, even at the cost of being convicted. Kate Winslet is remarkable.

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