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BraedenG33's Top 50 Favorite Films of All Time

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38. Reservoir Dogs

Tarantino's first film, arguably his best, and my personal favorite, Reservoir dogs is a brilliantly small film, with great use of unity of space and time (keeping things confined to a single setting and a small timeframe). The story is of a heist gone wrong, starring Harvey Keitel as the de facto protagonist, Mr. White, Tim Roth as Mr. Orange, Michael Madsen as Mr. Blonde, Steve Buscemi as Mr. Pink, Edward Bunker as Mr. Blue, and Quentin Tarantino himself as Mr. Brown. There's an undercover cop among the group of nameless (for now) criminals and the story plays out trying to figure out who it is that gave them up.

Tarantino does an excellent job with this film, his renowned screenwriting ability on full display as there is a lot of talking in this film and the dialogue all comes off organically, and all the performances are great too as every line is delivered well. I'm a big fan of Tarantino's work (it was difficult not to have more of his films on the list), and the reasons why he's so respected are on full display in this film. His trademark nonlinear storytelling is also utilized well in this film, as the film bounces from plot point to plot point efficiently and out of sequence in a way that you wouldn't expect but remains engrossing the entire way through.

Often it is debated what Tarantino's best film is between Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction (and even a few of his other films) and while I love both I think I'd give the edge to Reservoir Dogs simply because I think it's a more tightly written story. Pulp Fiction is a very different film from this one in how it's narrative is structured, and while that definitely was successful as Pulp Fiction was fantastic, I think Reservoir Dogs just works a bit better and is more entertaining overall. It goes by much quicker (obviously in part because of a significantly shorter runtime) and was more engaging for me when I watched it. I think it really comes down to preference but to me the best film Tarantino has made thus far is Reservoir Dogs.

An extremely exciting and intense crime film with great dialogue, performances and music, Reservoir Dogs was fantastic from start to finish.




37. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue or Ignorance)

Birdman was an experience unlike any other. FIlmed to appear as if it was filmed almost entirely as one long take (though if you have ever done any editing it's pretty easy and fun to pick out where they hide the edits in the film, there are only a few), the film follows the story of a former movie star (Michael Keaton) plagued by his past endeavors portraying the superhero Birdman (clever since Keaton played Batman and is just now gaining more respect as a dramatic actor). He is trying to gain more respect by putting on a broadway play that he hopes will put new life into his career, as he's kind of washed out after Birdman.

First of all, to even attempt a movie like this is just absolutely absurd and we'll probably never see another movie like it, particularly not one as well done as this one. The combination of Emmanuel Lubezki and Alejandro Inarritu is one of my favorite director-cinematographer combinations working today (Lubezki is my favorite cinematographer period), and what they were able to achieve with camera movement in this film is simply astounding. To be able to achieve the appearance of one long 2 hour take and maintain visual interest in the manner that this film does is unbelievable.

The performances in this film are also all top notch from a stellar cast that included the aforementioned Keaton, Emma Stone, and Ed Norton (one of my favorite actors), as well as a surprisingly good dramatic performance from Zach Galifianakis. Everyone working on this film was firing on all cylinders, and it shows in this astounding best picture winner (though I actually don't think it should have gotten the oscar, the film I wanted to win that year will show up much much higher on this list).

There are many naysayers to this film saying that it's a bit gimmicky or that the surrealistic aspects of the film come off as pretentious. I understand where that comes from but I don't agree. The surreal aspects of the film work for me since we're dealing with a main character who is very clearly insane, and to me the film itself was so good that the style of filmmaking only enhanced it, not acted as a gimmick or crutch for a weak film. Instead the unique and frankly crazy style the film was shot in added to an already great film.




36. The Terminator

My favorite James Cameron film, The Terminator is a d*mn good film. What they were able to accomplish with such a small relative budget on this film is unbelievable. A sci-fi horror film that was truly original for it's time, it tells the tale of a killer robot going back in time to kill the mother of the man who will lead humanity in a war against the machine overlords of the future, meanwhile, a soldier is sent back in time to protect her. Horrifying and action packed, building to an epic conclusion, it's vintage Cameron at his best. The script is also incredible tight and the story is perfectly paced, never dull for even a moment.

Most people will say that Terminator 2 is an improvement on this film but I would disagree. T2 is a significantly more important film in the scope of cinema history with how it revolutionized visual effects (liquid metal), and while the effects are better and the action is bigger, I feel like the first Terminator film is better, in that it's narrative is much tighter and more concise, and the horror feel works better to me than the bigger action feel of T2. T2 also lags a bit in the middle in my opinion.

The entire look and feel of the film is great, from the atmosphere at night to the death and destruction evident in the post apocalyptic future, to the great techno score that fits perfectly with the film's visual tone. The performances, while not the centerpiece of the film, are more than adequate, especially Michael Beihn's Kyle Reese, who was my favorite part of the film.

It's a very intellligently made simple high concept classic in the sci-fi genre, and perhaps James Cameron's best work, and a must watch.




Honorable Mention - Terminator 2: Judgment Day

I addressed my feeling about this film in my T1 review. Great, really really important movie, but not quite as strong as the original, just missing the cut for my list.




35. Iron Man

The one that started it all. Iron Man is the first film in the MCU and one of the best films they've made so far. It's the beginning of Tony Stark's journey (and the MCU's journey at large) from rich *sshole to rich *sshole with a mech suit. I'm kidding of course Tony's character has gone through a lot of growth and change throughout the span of the MCU in fact it could be argued that the Tony that shows up in Captain America: Civil War could not be more different to the guy that starts this movie, and the seeds of those changes began here, when he gets attacked by that fated missile with his name on it.

The story, as almost everyone knows, follows the story of Tony Stark gets kidnapped by terrorists and escapes by building a weaponized metal suit powered by an arc reactor in his chest which is keeping him alive after shrapnel gets inside his body from the missile the terrorists launched, which, as previously mentioned, was a missile he sold to them. Upon his return stateside, he improves his suit and becomes the superhero, Iron Man.

I rewatched this movie recently I remembered just how good it is and how real it felt. It's definitely unique from the other marvel films in that it feels a lot edgier and in some ways darker than other films in the series (the same could be said of Iron Man 3, though for different reasons and to less success). While the Dark Knight, which came out that same summer, achieved realism through a very grounded tone, Iron Man feels without being as serious.

It was unlike any other superhero film before it in that it wasn't campy or comic bookish like some of the early batman films or even the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man franchise, and yet it was still truer to its comic book roots than other films at that time that went for a realistic feeling like the X-men and Nolan Batman films. It struck a perfect balance of lighthearted action and realism that the comic book hadn't seen at that time, and set the stage for pretty much every comic book film since then.

You can't talk about this film and the MCU as a whole without talking about Robert Downey Jr.'s incredible portrayal of Tony Stark. He owned the role and defined it like very few people have and that began in this movie. At that time coming off of former drug issues his career had stagnated and it was a big risk to star him in this film. That risk paid off in spades though as this film was both a critical and box office hit, and rightfully so.




34. Deadpool

I saw this movie in theaters twice and have seen I think 4 times now in total and it never gets old. Deadpool is this perfect storm of passionate creators, non-intrusion by the studio, talented people working at their best, and great source material to draw on that all came together in what was instantly a classic both in the comic book genre and the action-comedy at large. Ryan Reynolds was born to play this character (and play it correctly, X-Men Origins: Wolverine notwithstanding).

What impresses me most about this movie was not the great action or the hilarious comedy (so many quotable lines in this movie), but how well written the film is. The story itself isn't terribly original on its own, a romance revenge story, but the manner in which the story is presented is incredibly inventive, using the flashbacks and fourth wall breaks that Deadpool is known for to perfection. The characters are also very well developed (with the exception of the villain, who is kind of meh) and there is a very strong emotional thread tying the story together that helps make the movie meaningful which makes the jokes land even better.

It also works very well as Deadpool's origin story without feeling too much like an origin story. While we do see Wade Wilson go from just a regular mercenary to the super 'hero' (he's not really a good guy, but he's not really a bad guy either) that he would later become, but that all feels very much like a matter of circumstances for the story, as the real heart of the film is his romance with the love interest of the film, Vanessa (played by Morena Baccarin). While the love story plot may turn some people off from a film that is action based, it works so well in this film that it doesn't even matter, because it's so well written.

The highlight of the film for me is the action sequence on the highway with the numbered bullets which was such a cool and unique action sequence. The opening credits are also great, though for those that haven't seen the movie I won't spoil why, but they're hilarious, and set the tone for the rest of the film so you know exactly what you're getting into right from the first frame.




33. Blade Runner

I liked this film a lot more an hour after watching it than I did upon immediate viewing. While I was watching it, I appreciated the visuals of the film and found the story interesting enough but it wasn't exactly a film that immediately grabbed my attention or excited me, at least not as much as I thought it would. I didn't know anything about the film and I went in expecting more or less a science fiction film that would be a little bit more action oriented I suppose. But the more I thought about and processed the film as it went along and especially shortly after finishing it the more I fell in love with it. It's such a deep thought provoking film and there's so much there to talk about with what it means to be human. I love films that have deeper meaning on top of being a great film and this is one of the deepest films I've ever seen.

It follows the story of a man named Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, who is forced to take up his old job as a blade runner, someone who hunts replicants which are kind of like artificial people, by the police after four replicants had escaped from the colonies and returned to earth. The film itself is much more complex than that but that is the premise at its most basic level.

Ridley Scott is one of my favorite directors of all time (probably in the top 3, but that's a different list), and on display in this film is what I think his best quality is as a director which is the ability to create a world and an atmosphere around the film that really helps transport you into another world. This is especially true in the grimy, lived in neo noir future world in Blade Runner which is one of the finest films in terms of production design ever, and no doubt that Scott have a huge part to play in providing the vision to bring it to life in the impressive way that this film does.

While there are films that I may have felt more emotional attachment to or been more entertained by, as a film, this is certainly one of the best and most well made films I've ever seen, if not the best. An incredibly deep and powerful film, Blade Runner is a masterpiece.




32. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

I am one of the biggest Indiana Jones fans out there. I remember the first time I watched them as a kid when I was seven years old on DVD at my grandparents house in the den. It wasn't long before I was humming along to the theme song and asking my mom to buy me a whip (which, shockingly and probably mistakenly, she did eventually get me for part of my halloween costume, since I dressed up as Indy on Halloween that same year, I actually got pretty good with the thing too). It's one of those film franchises (the others being Star Wars and then the Disney and Pixar films) that I've watched more times than I can count over the years.

As a kid The Last Crusade was my favorite of the three (and I went to see kingdom skull in theaters which at the time I enjoyed, I was 10, and even then I could tell it wasn't as good as the originals), but now I'd give the edge to Raiders (which will appear on the list) both of which are lightyears ahead of Temple of Doom (which is still good but a significant step down from the other two).

I remember loving watching Indy and his dad interact (which I had no idea at the time that was Sean Connery who was a guy equally as famous if not more famous than Harrison Ford at the time, but Ford was my favorite actor, I mean the guy played Indy and Han he basically owned prime real estate in my childhood) and the puzzles and stuff near the end of the film while trying to get the holy grail were very entertaining.

The film holds up to countless rewatches and is ceaselessly entertaining, Spielberg's expertise with pacing is evident here. Each Indiana Jones film has fantastic set pieces and this one is no different, with fantastically directed and incredibly entertaining action. The acting is probably the best in the series, as well as the writing, as this film has a bit more to it thematically than the original. I can definitely see why so many people hold this as their favorite film in the franchise. Again, while I'd still personally take Raiders first, this is a very close second.




31. The Avengers

This is another one of those movies that I will never not watch if it's on cable. It's one of the most purely entertaining films I've ever seen. While Iron Man started the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this was the film that came through on the promise of it, seeing the characters from all the preceding films (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Thor) come together as a team in this huge ensemble superhero action film. Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Hulk all come together to face the biggest foe yet, a massive army of aliens from a whole in space led by Loki.

This film is the definition of a popcorn flick, and it revels in it, with high flying action, quippy dialogue, and rapid pacing. It balances giving every character their due (except maybe Hawkeye) without feeling unfocused. Loki is the most compelling villain the MCU has had thus far and he's at his best in this movie. The dialogue is well-written and well-delivered by the cast who all play their parts very well.

Joss Whedon did an outstanding job with this film (certainly better than Age of Ultron, which was a bit disappointing for me). He did a great job handling the character and making sure that they all still felt human in spite of their extraordinary abilities, and they all got a decent bit of development in the film (save for Hawkeye). The action is very well-executed and well shot and the effects are top notch as you would expect from a film of this type (and budget). It's a spectacle film, and does so spectacularly.




Apart from Harry Potter and the Marvel films, we've got pretty close tastes in movies so far
Loving this list so far.
__________________
Originally Posted by doubledenim
Garbage bag people fighting hippy love babies.

Bots gotta be bottin'



Apart from Harry Potter and the Marvel films, we've got pretty close tastes in movies so far
Loving this list so far.
Thanks! I'm kind of a huge nerd so for me the Marvel films are like heaven but I'll be the first to admit that save for the very very best of them it's not like they're great great oscar-worthy films or anything I just love the characters and find them really entertaining. There are certainly better films out there it's more of a personal attachment thing, I don't really grade them on the same scale as I would other films simply because I'm really biased toward them. Like even the ones I don't like as much like the Thor films or Avengers 2 or Iron man 2, I still enjoy just because they're fun. Harry Potter is the same thing I just have a personal attachment to them, i don't think they're incredible classic films or anything I love them personally, but they're not for everyone. I'd say two of the Harry Potter films (3 and 5) and three of the marvel films (Cap 2, Cap 3, and Avenger 1) are genuinely great films, the rest are just very entertaining films with characters I love in worlds that I love, if you don't have the same attachment I do, they're just regular everyday pretty good popcorn flicks.



^ that is exactly why I'm liking this list... the personal attachment thing.
I did the same thing with my own 100, whereas a lot of people tend to put in arty films and stuff like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Psycho simply because of the reputation of the films.


Lists like yours are genuine favourites lists



Honorable Mention - Snowpiercer

I've seen this movie twice now and it's truly fantastic. I think I have a soft spot for this level of medium-budget independent filmmaking as some of my favorite films come from there (as you'll see later on on the list) and this original piece of science fiction goodness is one example of that. It was hard to leave it off the list and if I made it again it might just squeak on there. Not as well known, so if you haven't seen it yet, you definitely should!




^ that is exactly why I'm liking this list... the personal attachment thing.
I did the same thing with my own 100, whereas a lot of people tend to put in arty films and stuff like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Psycho simply because of the reputation of the films.


Lists like yours are genuine favourites lists
Exactly. I wanted this list to just be the films that speak to me as a lover of the medium and an aspiring filmmaker. Of course I could sit here and put Citizen Kane at the top of the list because it's great and everyone knows it's great, but why? It's not like I'm gonna sit down and watch Citizen Kane on a random rainy day. I like Citizen Kane and I appreciate the greatness and historical significance of the film, but it's not a personal favorite. There will be a couple of historical classics on here because those specifically spoke to me but I think it would be silly to cram extra acclaimed films on their for sake of the appearance of refined taste.

Maybe one day I'll put on my critic hat and make a formal 'best' list once I've seen more movies, but that day is not today. Today I'm gonna keep loving my marvel nerdgasms and just talk about what speaks to me.

Though I will say, the top film on the list is also in my opinion the best film I've ever seen, it just so happens that the best film is also my favorite, but we'll get to that later



30. Rear Window

Speaking of classic critically acclaimed films, Rear Window is one that does make the list. In fact, I've already written a review on it, so I'll just quote that here:

I think you'll find that as I finally delve into Alfred Hitchcock's filmography this week (I will be watching and reviewing 7 of his films) you will see a whole lot of me raving about how incredible these movies are (to nobody's surprise, as so far everything I've seen from him has been truly magnificent). I know it sometimes seems redundant to say 'I loved this movie' and such especially when it comes to these films which are already lauded universally as among the greatest ever made, but I really can't help myself. So far these films are absolute masterpieces in every sense of the word. Rear Window is no different, and is certainly my favorite so far.

Rear Window is a story about a man named LB Jefferies who, after suffering a broken leg that leaves him incapacitated and stuck in his apartment, uses a camera with a telephoto lens that allows him to peer through windows to see into the personal lives of his neighbors. During this process, he sees things go on in an apartment across the street that makes him believe a murder may have been committed. As the story unfolds we are left to watch the story unfold in bits and pieces as we can see through the perspective Jefferies, who soon gets his girlfriend Lisa and his nurse Stella sucked into the mystery with him.

The way in which Hitchcock has the narrative unfold is brilliant, innovative, and entirely unique. Leaving us essentially trapped in the apartment to only see from the perspective of Jefferies heightens the suspense of the film in how the story unfolds and Jefferies, and thus we the viewers, piece together what has happened. Hitchcock uses this technique of storytelling masterfully in how it is shot (the intercuts between Jefferies and what he is seeing in his camera) as well as how it is written, with the dialogue being used sparsely and only when necessary allowing the visuals to tell the story, which helps to build on the tension of the story further. Hitchcock's use of diegetic sound (sound which is not scoring the film, but actually exists in what is going on in the shot) also helps to build the atmosphere of the film.

This is the most thematically strong film I've seen of Hitchcock's. It touches on themes of the perverse and voyeuristic tendencies we all have, and the limits of personal privacy. These themes are ever-prevalent to this day, as personal safety vs personal liberty as it pertains to the government is an ongoing topic of debate today, with so much information readily available as technology has progressed, and also governments have become more invasive of personal privacy as the result of terror attacks such as 9/11 inciting great fear in citizens for their safety. As Stella says in the opening of the film "We've become a race of Peeping Toms." The film also touches on themes of marriage and commitment, as Lisa wants desperately to get Jefferies to marry her, but he doesn't think they're right for each other, that she is too perfect and he is too rugged. In Jefferies' observation of his neighbors he is seeing marriage in it's different forms: from the excited newlyweds pulling down the blinds in their new apartment to the bickering older couple who can no longer conceal their loathing for one another. And it isn't until he confronts the absolute worst case scenario of marriage that he is able to come to terms with settling down.

Overall, Rear Window is a fantastic, suspenseful, thrilling, entertaining, and deep film with an engaging story, interesting characters, and some of the best suspense ever put on screen, while also being equally brilliant on a technical level and in the uniqueness of the concept behind it. I absolutely loved Rear Window, and it is one of the best films I have ever seen.

Rating:



29. Star Trek (2009)

I talked already about my opinion of the new Star Trek franchise in my review of Into Darkness, so I'm gonna focus less on that and more specifically about why I love this film so much.

First of all, I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love JJ Abrams's style of filmmaking it really speaks to my sensibilities as a filmmaker. This isn't going to be the last Abrams film on the list. The way he uses camera movement in this film to add a dynamic feel to every scene (the camera is almost never still for very long) is something that I absolutely appreciate, as that cannot be easy to pull off with heavy camera equipment on multiple takes. If I ever make a favorite directors list (which I'm strongly considering) he'd definitely be on it somewhere. Every one of his films is a visual treat.

I think the best part about this film is the script. It comes as no surprise to me that this screenplay is used in many film schools to teach screenplay structure and the Hero's Journey in film, because this is the quintessential hero's journey for James T. Kirk, and the script is so spectacularly economical and well written (I've read a few different drafts of the screenplay to this film as well as seen it a couple times) and it really allows for the film to flow incredibly well and pace quickly without being jarring.

It's very much a Captain Kirk story, and does a good job of revamping and rebooting the star trek universe without disrespecting the old canon. The late great Leonard Nimoy makes a cameo as Spock from the original timeline and he's very well utilized, while Zachary Quinto is also great as the new Spock. Of course, Chris Pine is great as Kirk too, being a likable and personable hero (if a bit of a jack*ss at times) and really showing some growth throughout the story.

The action is well done, the story and characters are well written and compelling, and it all comes together for a very well made and entertaining movie.