A Personal Journey with The Gunslinger45 through the Movies: A Top 50+

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I felt so good that other people watched it because of me and it also entered into their favorites lists. Too bad Nausicaa failed to do the same in the 1st Hall of Fame.
I liked Nausicaa, but it was just a good movie. This was an unforgettable experience!



This is it MoFos, my top 10 favorite movies of all time! These are the movies that I feel in their own way, are my favorite of favorites! What best show my particular tastes and leanings as well as having very personal connections with me in many cases. Hope you have enjoyed the ride so far as we come to the end of the road!



10.



It’s a Wonderful Life: 1946 (NR) NEW
USA / Liberty films
94% (CF)



If people ask me what I personally think is the greatest movie ever made, this is the film I tell them. Stalker may be the greatest film I have seen as an art form, but in the more traditional terms of characters, story, arcs, themes, and especially the overall message of the movie this Frank Capra classic takes the cake. I originally saw this toward the end of my “Complete the AFI Top 100 List” period. I purchased the film on DVD (could not rent it from iTunes), so I popped it in one day thinking this would be just another notch on my cinematic belt. Boy was I wrong.

It is a charmingly uncomplicated movie about one guy’s life. Not only in how ordinary it is, but also how very special it is in its own way. Told from his childhood to his adult life we watch George Bailey grow up in Bedford Falls. A man with aspirations of wealth and dreams of travel; but due to fate, responsibility, and strange circumstances never leaves his small town. We see him marry, have kids, and care for the family business. We literally see him grow up on screen. But misfortune strikes and George is at a cross road where we begin the famous part of the movie where George sees what would have happened had he never been born with the help of his guardian angel Clarence. A scene that has been reimagined in countless TV shows.

What really makes this special is the final message which I believe is INCREDIBLY beautiful. The message that YOU ARE SPECIAL. That’s right you. The person watching the film and reading this post. You are special and you do matter in life. No matter how small or unimportant you think you are, you matter to someone and have done something very special in someone’s lifetime. That my friends, is a very beautiful message, one that echoes very loudly in the final scenes. And I admit it, as soon as George Bailey starts running through the streets of Bedford Falls screaming Merry Christmas, the tears start running down my face until I am weeping like a baby.

I recently got to see this movie on the big screen this past Christmas, and I had to leave the theater with my sunglasses on to hide the fact I was bawling my eyes out! This is a fantastic film with the classic pairing of James Stewart and Donna Reed; an inspirational story and ending. One I will be rewatching plenty of times more come the holidays. With plenty of tissues of course.




9.



The Avengers: 2012 (PG-13) -1
USA / Paramount
92% (CF)



Fellow MoFos let it be known I am a HUGE nerd and fanboy! And one BIG fandom is my love for comic book superheroes! Warner Brothers owned the rights to DC and had two great films with Superman and Tim Burton’s Batman. But let me tell yeah, for a long time the pickings were really slim when Marvel was concerned. And while I love DC and Batman is my favorite super hero, I like Marvel as a universe better overall. And the only good Marvel media outside of comics tended to be either cartoons (the X-Men animated series on Fox Kids), a collection of animated shorts I was able to rent on VHS from Blockbuster, or the old re runs of the Incredible Hulk TV show on the Sci-Fi Channel. Any movies made however, tended to be *****. They range from likeable schlock with Dolph Lungren as the none Skull draped Punisher…



To renting episodes of a forgettable Spider Man TV series from Blockbuster…



To Reb Brown in a HORRIBLE Captain America outfit in not one but two terrible movies!



Not to mention dealing with two crappy made for TV movies of The Incredible Hulk with horrible interpretations of Daredevil and Thor!





But yeah know what? I watched them all. I wanted something more than just comics and cartoons. I wanted my favorite characters from my favorite comic company to come to life. I had to wait a bit, but I eventually saw that happen. It started with Blade, got hot with Bryan Singer’s X-Men, and then hit new peaks with Sam Raimi’s Spider Man. Starting the comic book boom that is still going strong.

But the peak of this boom has come from Marvel Studios when they created the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A film series that has proudly embraced its source material; not a “super hero set in the real world” Nolan-esque series. This is pure comic book fun on the big screen, and they have managed to snag BIG TIME talent! Starting off with Robert Downy Jr. as Tony Stark in Iron Man, and building a universe with The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger. Movies also introducing other characters like Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Loki, and Agent Coulson of SHIELD. The end product of the five films was the cinematic equivalent of a comic book crossover, THE AVENGERS!

By far still the most fun I have had in the theater and the film I say is the best film based on pure entertainment (eeking out an old childhood favorite by a hair). The humor, the action, the scale, and the much lighter tone as compared to the Nolan Batman films makes this an absolute joy to watch for any proper fanboy. Not to mention the fact that the cast has their screen time perfectly balanced so everyone gets to shine in the movie. I could go on and on about this movie. And I did for my last top 50. So if you want the complete fanboy ramblings, here is the link to that post entry.

Click here for Fanboy rambling

Just know that these movies made a little kid’s dreams come true.




8.



Clerks II: 2006 (R) -2
USA / Weinstein Company
63%








From big fun and entertainment to the man who has a direct line to my funny bone. This is my favorite comedy. It makes me laugh the hardest, and has what I believe to be the funniest scene in any movie. I think anyone who has seen this movie knows what I am talking about.

Now this is the sequel to the cult classic film made over ten years before this film was released. Needless to say there was some fan backlash with its announcement. I was not one of those people. I was always very excited to see this movie. This movie meant a return to the movies I loved as a teenager. I was more than happy to give this flick a shot. And I was spectacular! Not only has Kevin grown as a director (IE he moves the camera a lot more), but the maturity in his filmmaking allows him to do bigger jokes. If you had told me there would be a Kevin Smith movie that had a dance number in it right after I saw Clerks or Mallrats I would call you a damn dirty liar. Lo and behold cut to 2006, we have a dance number in a Kevin Smith movie. And it was pretty damn good. Not to mention Smith did a lot more showing then telling. Obvious to see in one scene where instead of Dante just saying “I love her”, you get to see him say it with just Brian O Halloran’s facial expressions and the camera movement. Not to mention the characters have matured as well. Each has grown since the last film and have their own unique issues to face. But despite these growths they are still the same knuckle heads I have been fans of since I was in high school.

Finally, I love the humor. Kevin Smith style humor is just my cup of tea, lots of vulgarity but with plenty of heart. And this film delivers there. In one scene we get elements of a bromance, hetero love, and “interspecies erotica” and it works perfectly well together. A feat owned entirely to Kevin Smith’s writing. The end result is a film that touches you in all the right (and wrong) places.




7.



Seven Samurai: 1954 (NR) -4
Japan / Toho
100% (CF)






It is appropriate to talk about this movie after Clerks II because Seven Samurai was my first real introduction to Akira Kurosawa, and it was Kevin Smith who provided the introduction! I know what you are asking, “How the hell did the Clerks Guy get you into a classy director like Kurosawa?” Well let me tell you. I got my first “taste” of Kurosawa in college thanks to said basic film class. I say “taste” since I did not see the entirety of a one of his films. We covered Kurosawa by watching a vignette from his film Dreams. I say again… a SINGLE vignette from Dreams. Not even the whole movie, just one vignette. While a good film, given what I have watched I find this one vignette a criminal under representation of Kurosawa’s oeuvre. I mean hell I had to suffer through Pierrot Le Fou but the professor could not throw up Rashomon or Yojimbo? Seriously, what the hell teach? Anyway the name did not register from that class and I completely forgot Kurosawa’s name. I did not truly get my first introduction to Akira Kurosawa until I heard his name in the most unlikely film, Kevin Smith’s Zack and Miri Make a Porno. I was rewatching Zack and Miri for like the 6th time (great flick by the way) and the name Kurosawa kept popping up. Not even kidding. Here is an excerpt from one of the scenes. Zack and company have just wrapped their first day of shooting their dirty movie and Zack asks the camera man

Deacon how the footage looked.

Zack: Hey how’d it look?

Deacon: How’d you think it looked? It looked like ***** going into other sh!t… in focus.

Zack: What an artist. That was Kurosawa’s motto I think. ***** going into other *****

So I asked the question, “who the hell is Kurosawa?” I was watching this movie on my laptop and did a Wikipedia search and found his page. Read up on the guy and decided to give him a shot. Decided to try what seemed to be his most well received film, Seven Samurai. The rest is history.

Seven Samurai was the film that helped me really appreciate foreign films beyond Godzilla, and started my attempts to seriously seek out other great foreign filmmakers. A very significant accomplishment when you consider that while attending that basic film course I was first introduced to filmmakers like Bergman, De Sica, Josef Von Sternberg, Jean Renoir, and other very highly regarded filmmakers. But Kurosawa was the one who kicked it off. Now as I said before I did need to rewatch this film a second time to really get into the flick, but it is my favorite of his movies. I love the scale, the character arcs, the epic battles, the fact that the final battle is over an hour in film time and several days for the characters. Not to mention it has my favorite performance by Toshiro Mifune. This started a love affair with samurai movies and Japanese period pieces, especially the later Kurosawa flicks I watched. Rather odd since it was Kevin Smith of all people who was my gateway to world cinema. All the more reason to be appreciative of him.




I got my first “taste” of Kurosawa in college thanks to said basic film class. I say “taste” since I did not see the entirety of a one of his films. We covered Kurosawa by watching a vignette from his film Dreams. I say again… a SINGLE vignette from Dreams. Not even the whole movie, just one vignette. While a good film, given what I have watched I find this one vignette a criminal under representation of Kurosawa’s oeuvre. I mean hell I had to suffer through Pierrot Le Fou but the professor could not throw up Rashomon or Yojimbo? Seriously, what the hell teach?
haha. it could be so cool, to teach a class on movies

in fact now that you bring it up, i recall i took a class in high school called Novel & Movie. it was in this class that i first saw movies such as Apocalypse Now, All the President's Men, & our teacher took us to see Million Dollar Baby in the theater for a field trip

your teacher definitely should've gone with Rashomon or Yojimbo




haha. it could be so cool, to teach a class on movies

in fact now that you bring it up, i recall i took a class in high school called Novel & Movie. it was in this class that i first saw movies such as Apocalypse Now, All the President's Men, & our teacher took us to see Million Dollar Baby in the theater for a field trip

your teacher definitely should've gone with Rashomon or Yojimbo

Closest I got to something that awesome was watching Mulan in History and The Godfather in English class. Wish I had one of those classes in high school. Oh well, I had college for that.



I still like Clerks II. As you know, Honeykid and I just did a commentary for it the other night. However, I still need to see Clerks I.



6.



Apocalypse Now: 1979 (R) NEW
USA / United Artists
99% (CF)



I have to say this up front I love the theatrical version far more then the Redux. The original cut is perfect, and any other addition to the film is unneeded.

Usually when you watch a film you love there is an instant connection; sometimes though you have to revisit the film after a while. Maybe you were too young to fully grasp or appreciate the film the first time around. That was the case here. Saw the film as a teenager and thought it was good. Not great, just good. I really liked a few scenes but not so much the whole film. Fast forward a decade, rewatch the film again, GENIUS!

This film has one of the greatest production designs in film, not to mention one of the greatest (ie troubled) production histories ever. A movie created in chaos and insanity, about story dealing with chaos and insanity. And it really shows on screen. Starting in Saigon, we see Martin Sheen as Captain Willard takes a river boat ride up to assassinate Colonel Kurtz. We establish the Captain has some problems from the get go (and so does Sheen as he was fighting his own demons while filming). And as the mission progresses we start to see that the closer we get to Kurtz, the more insanity seems to reign. The story is told in part through voice over narration by Willard as he details his thoughts on the mission and the man Kurtz himself. A man’s decent into insanity in a hostile area all the while told via voice over? Why do I like this format so much?

In addition to the decent into madness, the film is a visual beauty with a fantastic score. And the writing is superb! Co-written between Francis Ford Coppela, Michael Herr, and John Milius; the film has some incredible scenes and fantastic dialogue and speeches.



Now quite a few people have debated whether this film is an anti war film or a glorification of war. And to be honest it has elements of both. Coppela is the director and the scenes like the bridge being blown up or where they board the Vietnamese sampan do have a feel of a negative view of war. The bridge scene feels a commentary on pointless missions from idiot higher ups and the sampan scene the senseless taking off lives. But then you have the scenes where Milius had a heavy influence on the writing, namely the “Ride of the Valkyries” scene. Seeing a swarm of Huey helicopters rain down on a VC held village with Wagner blasting over the speakers is pure glorification of war! And from a grunts point of view this is a scene that gets you pumped up! I have to restrain myself from kicking in doors and clearing rooms after watching this scene. This gets a fighting man’s blood pumping!

What makes this film even more spectacular is that this film is such a masterpiece but was made under the most chaotic and stressful circumstances. Having to borrow military vehicles from the Philippine government while they are fighting insurgent groups; Martin Sheen’s personal demons and heart attack; Marlon Brando being fat, insane, and having not read the script; typhoons and floods; sets being destroyed; and the prevailing feeling by Coppela that this movie was going to be terrible! But thanks to some brilliant editing and scoring of the movie this movie was not only good, it was a masterpiece, and netted Coppela his second Palme d’Or. These coincidences and insane blessings, turns those months of Hell into a damn near perfect film.




Clerks is great, but I still prefer Clerks II. The donkey show scene is the funniest scene I have seen on film.
That's great, but I've gotta say... see more funny films.



I have to say this up front I love the theatrical version far more then the Redux. The original cut is perfect, and any other addition to the film is unneeded.
Indeed.

Usually when you watch a film you love there is an instant connection; sometimes though you have to revisit the film after a while. Maybe you were too young to fully grasp or appreciate the film the first time around. That was the case here. Saw the film as a teenager and thought it was good. Not great, just good. I really liked a few scenes but not so much the whole film. Fast forward a decade, rewatch the film again, GENIUS!
Same thing happened to me. I watched it for the first time when I was around 16 and I was expecting a film like Saving Private Ryan, and I was always awainting for the final "boss fight" with Kurtz. So I wasn't "prepared" for what I had watched at the time.

This film has one of the greatest production designs in film, not to mention one of the greatest (ie troubled) production histories ever. A movie created in chaos and insanity, about story dealing with chaos and insanity. And it really shows on screen. Starting in Saigon, we see Martin Sheen as Captain Willard takes a river boat ride up to assassinate Colonel Kurtz. We establish the Captain has some problems from the get go (and so does Sheen as he was fighting his own demons while filming). And as the mission progresses we start to see that the closer we get to Kurtz, the more insanity seems to reign. The story is told in part through voice over narration by Willard as he details his thoughts on the mission and the man Kurtz himself. A man’s decent into insanity in a hostile area all the while told via voice over? Why do I like this format so much?

In addition to the decent into madness, the film is a visual beauty with a fantastic score. And the writing is superb! Co-written between Francis Ford Coppela, Michael Herr, and John Milius; the film has some incredible scenes and fantastic dialogue and speeches.



Now quite a few people have debated whether this film is an anti war film or a glorification of war. And to be honest it has elements of both. Coppela is the director and the scenes like the bridge being blown up or where they board the Vietnamese sampan do have a feel of a negative view of war. The bridge scene feels a commentary on pointless missions from idiot higher ups and the sampan scene the senseless taking off lives. But then you have the scenes where Milius had a heavy influence on the writing, namely the “Ride of the Valkyries” scene. Seeing a swarm of Huey helicopters rain down on a VC held village with Wagner blasting over the speakers is pure glorification of war! And from a grunts point of view this is a scene that gets you pumped up! I have to restrain myself from kicking in doors and clearing rooms after watching this scene. This gets a fighting man’s blood pumping!

What makes this film even more spectacular is that this film is such a masterpiece but was made under the most chaotic and stressful circumstances. Having to borrow military vehicles from the Philippine government while they are fighting insurgent groups; Martin Sheen’s personal demons and heart attack; Marlon Brando being fat, insane, and having not read the script; typhoons and floods; sets being destroyed; and the prevailing feeling by Coppela that this movie was going to be terrible! But thanks to some brilliant editing and scoring of the movie this movie was not only good, it was a masterpiece, and netted Coppela his second Palme d’Or. These coincidences and insane blessings, turns those months of Hell into a damn near perfect film.
Indeed.



Finished here. It's been fun.
I first viewed Apocalypse Now when I was 15. I didn't think it was all that great, but with my recent rewatch I can see how wrong I was. An easy
film, a true masterpiece. It really has to be seen at least two times to fully grasp.



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
Apocalypse Now is awesome, but I always preferred The Deer Hunter. It's been a few years though; I'm going to watch both again before the 70's list is due. I also love It's a Wonderful Life. I haven't seen Clerks 2, The Avengers, or The Seven Samurai yet.