Here are the next five entries. I am comfortable now with this format and I will publish 10 at a time every other day or so from this point until I reach the top 20. Thanks for the comments so far. Looking over the entire list today, there is a mix of films I love, classics that make every list and some interesting entries you won’t see on other lists.
#95 “When Harry Met Sally…”
Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan
Original Release Date: 21 Jul 1989
Oscars: one nomination
OK, this is a chick flick. A guy friendly one but a chick flick nonetheless. And Meg Ryan at her Meg-Ryan-est would have never gone for Billy Crystal at his annoying whining-est. But those things aside, this movie is spot on perfect, with a wonderful script, ingenious cutaways and one of the most quoted an imitated scenes in history. (That’s Rob Reiner’s mother with the famous line). The theme of platonic friendship with sexual tension is nothing new, but here it is handled with wit and realism. We care what happens to these people. It’s a love letter to NYC. To give you an idea of the influence of this film, I once saw a biker, 6’9, likely 350+ pounds with a tatt on his forearm that said “Don’t Fuck with Mr. Zero.” Where else would he have seen that?!?!?
#94 “Wall Street”
Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen
Original Release Date: 11 Dec 1987
Oscars: Best Actor (Michael Douglas)
“Money never sleeps, kid”. Gekko was right, greed is good. Its nearly 30 years hence and he was right and nothing has changed. Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, based on the junk bond scandals of the 80s is equally relevant today. Michael Douglas plays the soulless, corporate raider perfectly. A man whose only focused is the deal and cares nothing for what gets destroyed in the process, simply because he cannot. Money is his focus. People are nothing more than a commodity in the trade. But really, Gordon Gekko is more interested in the win than the money. Wall Street was ahead of its time and although Daryl Hannah is woefully miscast, this is a great actors film. I’d love to see a stage adaptation. This film is a cross of great source material, script, director and acting.
Director: James Cameron
Stars: A bunch of people doing blue screen cgi stuff
Original Release Date: 18 Dec 2009
Oscars: 3 (Cinematography, Visual Effects, Art Direction), 6 other nominations
Haters gonna hate Avatar because it’s James Cameron and because of its success and rather puerile story line. However, Mr. Cameron did what no-one ever thought was possible – make a film with more financial success than Titanic. He did this by reinventing and revitalizing 3D and making a movie that simply had to be seen in theatres. For that alone, it deserves a spot on this list. But it is so much more. The end battle scene is brilliant, the special effects and motion capture works perfectly. It is a rare film where the effects serve the story and not the other way around. I would love to see a version of this written by David Mamet or Oliver Stone or anyone other than Cameron, but I love it and watch it over and over.
#92 “Star Trek : First Contact”
Director: Jonathan Frakes
Stars: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn
Original Release Date: 22 Nov 1996
Oscars: None, One Nomination
The only Star Trek on this list. And the best Trek. Say what you will about Wrath of Khan, this is the ultimate Trek movie. First of all, Picard over Kirk, 1000 times over. Second, the dual plot lines covering different time lines and bringing Earth into the federation while fighting the Borg… its easily the best story of the Treks. Take away Steppenwolf and you have close to a perfect film. A great film needs a great bad guy and has there ever been a better foe than the Borg? The Chris Pine reboot might make my list one day but for now, this is the best Trek film.
Director: Jason Reitman
Stars: Ellen Paige
Original Release Date: 25 Dec 2007
Oscars: Best Original Screenplay, three other nominations
Roger Ebert (the greatest of all film critics who I will quote often here) said that Juno, his #1 film of 2007 made him want to hug himself. What a great description. It’s a feel good film that handles tough material on with a balanced approach. The role of the father by JK Simmons (nazi leader Schillinger in HBOs Oz) is a revelation. Ellen Paige is perfect as a pregnant teen who is excited, casual yet scared to death. It features some exceptional music and is a rare film with no extraneous or mishandled scenes. The more I write, the more I think this should be higher on the list!