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The mafo's MoFo 100 List

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And is everyone else privy to the fact that Temple of Doom is a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark? I had no idea whatsoever. And how did you know mark?

^^^^ What Iroquois said.
It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
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5. Little Big Man (Arthur Penn, 1970)

My favorite western involves 121-year-old Jack Crabb (Dustin Hoffman) who relates his adventures, beginning 111 years earlier, to a historian (William Hickey) who hears things which border on the unbelievable. Jack Crabb was adopted by the "Human Beings" (in this case, the Cheyenne) and raised in their culture by Old Lodge Skins (the wonderful Chief Dan George). Eventually, he ends up back in white society where he learns about sex and sin but is comforted by his newly adoptive "mother" (Faye Dunaway). The film covers lots of ground as things eventually lead up to the Battle of Little Big Horn.

Some people might call this an anti-western because it makes the Indians the heroes and the whites the Bad Guys. It basically rewrites some of the history that was taught (or deleted) when I was in school and turns it into what is mostly taught now to my daughter. But at the time, it had some heads shaking. Some people think that it's not really a western at all, but an allegory about the Viet Nam War and genocide. Whatever way you take the film, I generally take it as a highly-stylized, hilarious, heartbreaking journey through the history of our nation at a time when the culture clash of the West in the 1870s was coming to a head. I find all the parallels to American life in the late 1960s to be just frosting on the cake, yet it's true that this film probably only would have been made during a relatively small window of time, and thank God it was.

It's also a very episodic film because Jack Crabb went through several "phases"; among those are his religion phase, his gunslinger phase, his Indian fighter phase, his adventures as a snake oil salesman, his attempt to become a legitimate businessman and a married man, his long search for his white wife after she's been kidnapped by the Indians, and his many confrontations with the dangerously psychotic Custer (Richard Mulligan). Sometimes I see Forrest Gump as a film which took its storytelling style from Little Big Man. However, I find this film to have more genuine humor and tragedy to it. For being as fantastically entertaining as it is, it seems almost unreal that it's such a wonderful history lesson too. Whether you think it's real history, movie history, or just a series of tall tales told by that self-proclaimed liar Jack Crabb is up to you.

EDIT: I just watched this again, and I might have underrated it.

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OK. My thread has become a wasteland, except for darlin' nebbie, but what the hell...

4. Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977)

Lucas takes a little bit of Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress and a whole lot of The Wizard of Oz, blends it with Buck Rogers serials, throws in a hip sense of humor, and voila! It's a nice combination of old veterans Alec Guinness and Peter Cushing with the "newcomers" Hamill, Ford and Fisher, plus it gives you James Earl Jones' ominous voice inside the covered-up bod of David Prowse (the weightlifter/bodyguard in A Clockwork Orange). I was there in the theatre on May 25, 1977, to see the opening of Star Wars. It was already a phenomenon. In fact, even though my bro and I bought our tickets 90 minutes in advance, we went to the book store to wait instead of standing in line. That meant that when we returned, there was only one seat available, so I let my younger brother sit while I stood in the back. It didn't matter. My mind was blown, plus we just stayed for a second show afterwards anyway. Then, when we walked out to my car, I had flyers for buying 20th Century stock from a local business. Well. I tossed those, even if I lost a pretty penny right there. I seem to recall the company's stock rising 50% the first week.

What else can you say about the original Star Wars? To meatwad, I want to tell you how terrific this film looked on the bigscreen. You can talk and talk about improvements in the video/DVD/changes by Lucas, etc., but trust me, over 30 years ago, Star Wars was a mind-blowing experience. People in the audience cheered, laughed and gasped, often all at the same time, and there is no way in hell, you'll convince me that moviegoers were less-sophisticated 30 years ago. Hell, back then, the audience at least required a film to have a script and some decent acting! (and yes, why would anybody wanna rag on Star Wars for the acting? If you do, you must live in some flippin' shell. Ha! Don't worry, I'm not dangerous, YET.)


I don't know what else to say about Star Wars which you don't already know. Everyone, except me, realizes that The Empire Strikes Back is far superior because it digs deeper into the mythos and creates "shocks". However, I still don't buy it. The Empire Strikes Back, my #80 film on this list, is a beautiful film and highly worthy of praise, but just like Godfather II, it needs some legs to stand on, and even then, it doesn't quite reach the heights of its predecessor. I know that puts me in the minority, but look at it this way; I've been in the minority for a LONG time.

P.S. I'm so crazy that under normal circumstances, I would have put Return of the Jedi in my list. It just keeps reminding me of so many films I haven't included. I guess I could start a mafo Maxwell Smart's Top 100: "Missed it by that much..."

Your thread is far from a wasteland good sir, I've been enjoying it quite a bit actually.
We are both the source of the problem and the solution, yet we do not see ourselves in this light...

5. Little Big Man (Arthur Penn, 1970)

I really need to watch this again.... Love your list...
You never know what is enough, until you know what is more than enough.
~William Blake ~

AiSv Nv wa do hi ya do...
(Walk in Peace)

I remember seeing Little Big Man and A Man Called Horse on a double bill at the local flicks in the days that people could sit through two films without filling their gobs with popcorn every few seconds ..mind that was also the days when you had to sit under a smoke haze

Good choice there Mark

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3. Midnight Cowboy (John Schlesinger, 1969)

Sometimes you watch a film and it literally changes the way you perceive cinema, art and life. It might be a gradual process and take several viewings, but you understand, from the first time through, that you are witnessing a kind of storytelling genius which you have never seen before and, while being very entertaining, it just hits you in your psyche on a uniquely-deep level. Midnight Cowboy would be that film for me. I haven't read James Leo Herlihy's novel, although I'm sure that it's a powerful book, but I find it hard to believe that it's told in the same manner as director Schlesinger and scripter Waldo Salt fashioned for this film. The story itself is quite simple. Naive young Texas rube Joe Buck (Jon Voight) decides to head to New York City where he plans to parlay his looks and lovemaking skills into becoming a rich stud for hire. After a misadventure with an older woman (the hilarious Sylvia Miles) who lives in a penthouse apartment, he comes across a health-challenged hustler named Enrico Salvatore Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman) whose known as Ratso by his enemies. Ratso quickly becomes Joe's enemy.

We find out, actually on the bus ride from Texas to NYC, that Joe is carrying some major baggage in the form of a couple of traumatic experiences which happened to him earlier in his life. These scenes are presented quickly, with no explanation and almost surrealistically, so it might confuse the first time viewer as to what their true meanings are. However, I find the scenes to be a brilliant directorial device to help us get into the heart and soul of Joe Buck. I wouldn't argue with you if you think that Schlesinger is showing off in these hauntingly-dazzling scenes, which come off as a sort of cross between the techniques of Fellini and Alain Resnais. However, I will argue that they certainly strengthen the film, and if you breathe a little and give them time to accumulate, I believe you will find that they work semi-subliminally to tell the story better in a pure cinematic fashion. As I said above, this movie altered my perceptions on what film can communicate.

Eventually, Joe finds Ratso and would like nothing better to do than kill him for his cheating ways. Instead Ratso offers Joe a place to stay. Neither one has any friends, and NYC is a particularly harsh place to try to live on your own in the winter, especially when you have no visible signs of income. Joe turns out to be a bust as a ladies' man, so he has to try his luck on "the other side of the tracks", and Ratso seems to be getting sicker, especially living in the condemned building the men share.

The strength of the film lies in the way that you slowly see how two dysfunctional people can come together to honestly care about each other. Deep down, Midnight Cowboy is a love story. True, it's between two men, but it's strictly platonic, and it's almost amazing how you see them slowly reaching out to help each other even while they continue to bicker about which of them is the more pathetic. Joe Buck's desire to get Ratso on a bus to Florida to improve his health always gets to me. Plus Voight and Hoffman give toweringly-brave performances. By the way, I haven't mentioned this more than once, but this film is very funny. I realize that it's a serious drama, which some may find as too bleak, but most of the films in my Top List I find to have high levels of wit, and this one is near the top in that department. It also has wonderful music, beginning with Nilsson's version of "Everybody's Talking", through John Barry's affecting score, and the awesome harmonica solos of Toots Thielemans. As usual, I left out many important elements and characters which only add to the film's richness and complexity. I truly love this movie, and I hope you do too.

Welcome to the human race...
Midnight Cowboy...I haven't seen it in three years. Time to see it again.
I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.
Iro's Top 100 Movies v3.0

Nice list, tho shame aren't really any foreign films in it. Midnight Cowboy has cemented what i imagine NY to be like, wonderful film.

But now that there is an amazingly clear DVD transfer - what would you rather watch ?

As well I didn't grow up with the original Star Wars like you - I grew up with the
special edditions.

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Nice list, tho shame aren't really any foreign films in it. Midnight Cowboy has cemented what i imagine NY to be like, wonderful film.
There are actually eight films from countries where English isn't the primary language. They are Allegro non troppo, Jesus of Montreal, The Seven Samurai, Night and Fog, Metropolis, Wild Strawberries, Z and War and Peace. They're all spoken in another language with subtitles, except for Metropolis which has no spoken dialogue.

I had a really tough time listing my favorite films and limiting it to 100. I love Cyrano de Bergerac (1990), Festen, My Father's Glory, Europa Europa, Oldboy, To Live, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Come and See, The Two of Us (1967), The Marriage of Maria Braun, Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, Divorce - Italian Style, Diabolique, One Deadly Summer, Ran, The Killer, and tons of others. If I can actually make it through THIS list, I may someday start another one with strictly non-English language films. Until then, here's some places around the site where I have discussed these films:

3. Midnight Cowboy (John Schlesinger, 1969)

I truly love this movie, and I hope you do too.
I most definitely do. The final scene hit me hard when I first saw it, and still does everytime I watch it.
TOP 100 | "Don't let the bastards grind you down!"

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2. Elmer Gantry (Richard Brooks, 1960)

Sinclair Lewis' novel Elmer Gantry is basically an exposé of the corruption in the 1920s Midwest of religious charaltans who prey on their victims at revivals. Lewis mentored writer-director Richard Brooks (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Professionals, In Cold Blood) and hoped that he would adapt his novel to the screen, and that's what happened. However, Brooks took something which was satirical, yet painted in a more black & white pallete and turned it into something more complex, where people's motivations and behaviors are much more open to interpretation. I'll say straight up that some people will have a tough time watching Elmer Gantry. It confronts people's core beliefs about God, Christianity, corruption in high places, what makes a person "good", personal responsibility, etc., and it does it very melodramatically. However, if you pay close attention, Elmer Gantry is probably the most subtle melodrama ever made because I don't believe anybody can clearly tell me which characters, if any, are truly good or evil.

The film's opening scene has Gantry (the overpowering, Oscar-winning Burt Lancaster), a drunken, womanizing traveling salesman, drinking it up on Christmas Eve with the boys in a speakeasy, but when a woman comes in asking for donations, Gantry remains in his salesman persona while pitching Jesus as someone who deserves respect and alms because he "would have made the best little All-American quarterback in the history of football". Gantry seems like a scumbag, and in many ways, he is, but as the film progresses, it becomes apparent that he has a strong spiritual yearning and truly believes in God. Sure, he screwed up at the seminary, seducing the deacon's daughter, Lulu Baines (Shirley Jones, another Oscar), thus turning her into a hooker, but that was many years ago.

Gantry gets out of town on Christmas on a freight train, and his first stop is an all-Black church, where his soulful rendition of a gospel song sends everyone into spiritual heights. It's after that when he meets Sister Sharon (Jean Simmons, in her best performance), the sincere preacher of a traveling revival. Sister Sharon is petite but full of the Spirit, and not only does she move her attendees, she turns Elmer Gantry on in more ways than one. He finagles his way past Sharon's honest business manager Bill (Dean Jagger) and is able to get a job with her revival. He proceeds to preach fire and brimstone under the revival tent but enrages Bill and gains the unwanted attention of the agnostic, Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist, Jim Lefferts (Arthur Kennedy), who is following Sister Sharon and reporting for his big city newspaper.

Eventually, numerous crises arise, and relationships are strengthened and shattered. The thing I love about Elmer Gantry is that it paints an even-handed side to the story and its characters. I honestly believe that this film has the best script of any movie I've seen. By that, I mean that it's non-stop, straightahead storytelling, combined with sparkling dialogue and characters who seem to grow by the second. The acting is uniformly awesome. I just wish I could find some decent shots of Arthur Kennedy and Dean Jagger or maybe an audio link of Gantry (yeah, it's really Lancaster) singing "On My Way".

The above is a weak one with Kennedy where Lancaster tells him that Jagger wants to give him some "secret information". Gantry sure has a way with people. He often seems and is sincere. Now, my question is, how many people are or know Elmer Gantrys, at least this one in the film? How many have friends or family who seem and oftentimes are, completely sincere, yet "backslide" constantly? Do you still love them or do you cut them loose? Or does anybody else, besides me, see Elmer Gantry when they look in the mirror? (I'm not a womanizer though; I left that to somebody else in the family.)

Will your system be alright, when you dream of home tonight?
I despise that movie because it took the Oscar away from Janet Leigh :
I used to be addicted to crystal meth, now I'm just addicted to Breaking Bad.
Originally Posted by Yoda
If I were buying a laser gun I'd definitely take the XF-3800 before I took the "Pew Pew Pew Fun Gun."

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Certifiably troglodytic.
Great list here mark....many that I need to see.....

80. The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner, 1980)

The Plot thickens as new relationships are formed and revealed.
....and Yoda, the way he should be and will always be in my mind.

Wow, Elmer Gantry looks really really good mark, I think I have that here somewhere I may have to see if I can find it. That is the kind of movie I really get in to. Fantastic review!

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1. Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)

I considered making this post all visual and with no words. I find Jaws to be the most-visual movie I've seen, so it seemed appropriate, but I also find it to have wonderful dialogue, the kind which not only shows its characters to be flawed humans but also to be warm and witty about it. Yep, this is my ultimate movie and has been ever since it basically saved my life in the Summer of '75. Before Jaws, I deeply enjoyed movies; after it, I was obsessed with them.

From its opening scene, Jaws proves itself to be a film full of tension and unafraid to show you things which you've never seen before. The scene where unfortunate Chrissie Watkins goes for a swim and encounters a shark still has never been topped or even approached.

I truly love all the characters of Jaws, but my fave is Chief Brody (Roy Scheider). Saddled with an irrational fear of the water, he is forced to come to the aid of his family and his town. Roy Scheider gives an incredible performance, full of frailty and wisdom.

The grizzled shark fisherman Quint (Robert Shaw) offers to try to pull the community of Amity out of its potential financial losses due to shark attacks, but the "town fathers" refuse to accept that there's a problem.

Rich ichthyologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) is called in by Brody to prove that something is still rotten in Amity, despite the protests of Mayor Vaughn (Murray Hamilton). Too bad Matt dropped that tooth the size of a shot glass he found in Ben Gardner's boat.

Things come to a head when the Fourth of July turns nasty, and Vaughn is forced to accept that there IS a shark problem. As the shark claims its fourth victim, it narrowly misses Brody's older son.

Well, the first part of Jaws is certainly nerve-wracking and humorous, but when Brody, Quint and Hooper go out on Quint's boat Orca to hunt the shark, the movie definitely takes several steps up the scary adventure scale. John Williams score, which heretofore has mostly been a scary theme similar to Psycho turns more classically adventurous. Much of Jaws wonderful music reminds me of an Errol Flynn swashbuckler.

The characters' individuality come even more into the forefront in this part of the film. Quint, who's harboring a secret about his hatred of sharks, tries to put Brody in his place because he knows the Chief knows nothing of seamanship, but the sailor also tries to put Hooper in his place because he feels he knows too much, despite the fact that Quint considers him a rich brat. This certainly adds to the tension on board the Orca.

Jaws just seems to be such a fortuitous combo of events. The shark wouldn't work, so what do they do? Film the scenes without the shark. Borrowing from Val Lewton, Spielberg makes things scarier by showing less. The novel was a potboiler. It was thrilling, but bogged down with adulterous subplots. What do they do? Streamline the whole thing. Toss out everything which isn't directly related to how the characters relate to the specific situation at hand. In other words, how do we kill the shark before it kills us? How do we work as a team?

Jaws flows all the way through for me. I don't usually use the word "pacing" because it really doesn't convey anything, but I will say that there is not one scene I would cut from Jaws. If I were to cut scenes, it would lose some of its power and entertainment value. No, it's not perfect; but it's the closest I've seen to perfection.

Just when you think things couldn't get more personal, Quint goes ahead and drops his bombshell. Sure, the three are enjoying a drink and comparing "war wounds", but then Quint reveals that he was a crewmember of the U.S.S Indianapolis. Robert Shaw is riveting delivering his self-written monologue about what it was like to be stuck in the water with numerous sharks when the ship was torpedoed after delivering the Hiroshima bomb. You want to see world-class acting?

From here on in, Jaws escalates once again, and I'm not going to talk about the plot anymore. Hopefully, these photos will bring back memories and not ruin anything for anyone who hasn't seen it. Somehow, I don't think they are super spoilers.

I will say that of all the films I've seen in the theater, this one had the greatest crowd reaction. It's hard to believe that it could top the participation of Star Wars, but I have to say that it did. I can't tell you why. Of course, I believe this to be the better film, and it did come first, so maybe that's part of it. But even though this film is as much of a fantasy as Star Wars, it seems to be more about real people which you can relate to. I'm not saying that I don't fully relate to the characters in Star Wars, but Brody, Quint and Hooper truly seem like members of my family, so in that way, yeah they're uniquely human for me.

For all its cinematic invention, suspense and special effects, Jaws is a film about people, Real People. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when the mourning Mrs. Kintner approaches Chief Brody on the dock, and upon learning who he is, she slaps him and reads him the Riot Act. This immediately makes Brody feel lower than he already feels, but the film quickly segues to a poignant scene around the dinner table where the Chief silently "plays" with his younger son by making faces and gestures which his son copies. It brings a tear to my eye, and then ole' Matt Hooper shows up to start eating off people's unfinished dinner plates, and I'm back to laughing.

I could do a commentary on Jaws, but it would be from the viewer's perspective and not the makers'. I wonder which one would ultimately have more of an impact on the average film buff?

Please be open to feel free to love movies and share your love about them, especially here at this site. I feel secure that even if somebody doesn't believe you (think: Mayor Vaughn), eventually enough of the other members will rally to your aid to solve your personal shark problem. Of course, it always helps if you know which way is up and how many barrels your shark can drag under your boat. Happy fishing!