Monday, June 1, 2020

My TOP 100 MOVIES: 31-40


31. Key Largo:  Humphrey Bogart as veteran trying to recover from the war; Loren Bacall as the widow of Bogart’s wartime buddy; Lionel Barrymore as her wheel-chair bound father-in-law and innkeeper of the Largo Hotel, Edward G. Robinson as the gangster Johnny Rocco and Claire Trevor as Rocco’s boozy girlfriend. All of them locked together during a tense hurricane in the Florida Keys. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore. “Just like Bogie and Bacall . . . Sailing away to Key Largo.”


32. Stagecoach: Director John Ford and John Wayne, a good-hearted prostitute, a drunk doctor, a gambler, Indians and the cavalry riding to the rescue, all against the backdrop of Monument Valley. Before any of these were clichés, there was Stagecoach, the iconic American western.


33. Schindler's List:  Steven Spielberg’s tour de force about the Holocaust. Based on the true story of industrialist Oscar Schindler (played by Liam Neeson), who could not save them all, but was determined to save as many Jews as possible from death in Hitler’s Concentration Camps. Spielberg’s girl in the red coat is one of the true moments of genius in the history of film.



34. Pulp Fiction: This is Quentin Tarantino’s crown jewel. The movie revived the career of John Travolta, caused everyone to see Bruce Willis in a different light, and made superstars of Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman. Told out of chronological order, it pulls the audience in to put the story together. It is filled with unforgettable scenes and genius dialog. “And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee!"


35. M*A*S*H:  Before the more sanitized television show, there was perhaps the best anti-war movie ever.  Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) is bloody, irreverent, profane and laugh-out-loud funny – all with the while showing the personal cost and insanity of war. “Suicide is painless.”


36. Young Frankenstein:  Mel Brooks strikes again in what I believe is the best comedy ever made. The movie is filled with memorable performances by Gene Wilder (“That’s Fron-ken-steeen”), Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Peter Boyle and Gene Hackman. The genius script was written by Brooks and Wilder. Also noteworthy, Brooks tracked down and used the original laboratory props from Bride of Frankenstein. “What knockers!” “Oh, thank you, doctor.”


37. Network: Peter Finch gives one of the great supporting performances in the history of film as lunatic broadcaster Howard Beale, who decides to improve ratings by committing suicide live on his final news broadcast. But the movie is much more than a single performance, offering a seething commentary on modern society. William Holden and Faye Dunaway, are outstanding. “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.”


38. The Hours:  This movie won’t make many people’s lists, but it is a film that touched me deeply. It follows three women who are touched by Virginia Woolf’s book “Mrs. Dalloway.” The movie deals with choices about suicide and life, but in the end, is remarkably life affirming. The movie is filled with shining performances by Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and Ed Harris. Not a choice for a romantic dinner and a movie. “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.”


39. 42nd Street:  A 1932 backstage musical about producing a Broadway show made during the height of the Depression. Nearly 90-years later, the closing number of 42nd Street, choreographed by Busby Berkeley and featuring performances by Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell, is in my opinion, the finest single musical number ever put on film. "You're going out there a youngster, but you're coming back a star.”


40.  The Apartment:   Made in 1960, The Apartment tackled what was considered a largely taboo topic of corporate executives and their mistresses. Jack Lemmon is a insurance junior exec who allows his apartment to be used by his boss, Fred MacMurray, for his illicit affair with young Shirley MacLaine. Somewhere along the line, Lemmon finds a backbone and falls in love with MacLaine. If you have overlooked this movie, put it on your MUST WATCH list.

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