Iro's Top 100 Movies v3.0

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Victim of The Night
#17. Heat
(Michael Mann, 1995)



"All I am is what I'm going after."

Michael Mann's career-long focus on telling stories about highly driven professionals inflicting their own vast interiority on the world around them reaches its apotheosis in the form of Heat, at its simplest a cops-and-robbers joint about a veteran thief (Robert De Niro) and the detective (Al Pacino) hot on his trail. That it weaves together a sizeable ensemble cast to populate its sprawling L.A. crime epic is no small feat, especially in how it attempts to balance even the slightest of arcs (a memorable instance of this being Dennis Haysbert as the ex-con trying his best to go straight) in telling what is ultimately a tragic story about two men on opposite sides of the law who are much more alike than they might like to admit. Or maybe they would, if the fact that they're willing to sit down for coffee with one another halfway through the film is any indication. Outside of the densely-layered drama, Mann is still able to deliver technically astonishing thrills - easy enough to point out that iconic end-of-second-act shoot-out, but even smaller moments such as a late-night stakeout or a hotel assassination are brimming with the kind of craftsmanship that one would expect from Mann, as much an efficient professional as the characters he depicts.

2005 ranking: #79
2013 ranking: #31
I will just never get it.



I'll say the same thing I do whenever Heat comes up. I like to watch it a lot more than I think it's good. I simply enjoy watching and looking at the damn thing.
__________________
5-time MoFo Award winner.



Sorry kid, no toothpicks. Ask me instead.
Will Heat 2 make the next list? Stick around and find out!



Welcome to the human race...
#16. The Godfather Part II
(Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)



"My father taught me many things here - he taught me in this room. He taught me: keep your friends close, but your enemies closer."

My experience coming to the Godfather films was a strange one - I borrowed Mario Puzo's source novel from a relative and read it, then ended up seeing this film before the first one. At least the fact that the book featured the adventures of young Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) as he rose from orphaned immigrant to underworld power player made this sizeable epic somewhat easier to follow, but it took a while longer to properly parse the narrative and thematic complexities that surround his heir apparent Michael (Al Pacino) as the family plans to expand their business interests by joining a new syndicate with interests in pre-revolution Cuba. All manner of betrayals large and small become obstacles for Michael to overcome, each a greater test of the ruthlessness he's supposedly had to develop in the name of protecting not just the family business but the family itself (a factor that is only tragically compounded by the conflicts he has with his closest loved ones). For the longest time, I had this ranked higher than the original - though it still depends on a familiarity with the original to truly work, it is an understandable sentiment given how it expands the scope and deepens the concept behind its predecessor.

2005 ranking: #49
2013 ranking: #41
__________________
I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.
Iro's Top 100 Movies v3.0



Welcome to the human race...
#15. The Godfather
(Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)



"I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse."

Out of all the franchises on this list where I've acknowledged that they can't simply be represented by a single feature, this is easily the most obvious one - much like the Before series, it's at a point where the films in question practically demand to be ranked and posted alongside one another (and in both cases they also have lesser but still appreciable third entries, but that's neither here not there). As mentioned, having read the book first might have made it harder to appreciate at first (look at the rankings on previous lists) but I've eventually come around on treating these as the classics they well and truly are. It's not without its languid moments (during the 50th anniversary screenings earlier this year, it was amusing to see how much of the audience members had apparently timed their trips to the snack bar or toilet to coincide with the film's sudden departure from New York to Sicily), but for the most part it's a relentlessly compelling dive into the world of a crime family that really puts the emphasis on family to a fundamentally operatic and tragic degree. Coppola's difficulties in making the film are the stuff of legend, but the end result speaks for itself as a masterclass ensemble is matched by some of the most assured filmmaking ever to come out of the cinematic supernova that was New Hollywood.

2005 ranking: #74
2013 ranking: #47



Great development here..
Going by the stats, 8 to 10 years from now, you will have The Godfather 1 & 2 properly placed at #1 & 2.
This really makes me curious to find out what films are next on this list.




Victim of The Night
I'll say the same thing I do whenever Heat comes up. I like to watch it a lot more than I think it's good. I simply enjoy watching and looking at the damn thing.
That's actually a really interesting perspective and one that I think I can understand.



That's actually a really interesting perspective and one that I think I can understand.
Thanks, Wooley. Though you might want to check yourself. Agreeing with me is one thing (that's only natural) but understanding? That might mean severe trouble for you.



Victim of The Night
Thanks, Wooley. Though you might want to check yourself. Agreeing with me is one thing (that's only natural) but understanding? That might mean severe trouble for you.
I'll be careful.



Welcome to the human race...
#14. Aguirre, the Wrath of God
(Werner Herzog, 1972)



"That man is a head taller than me. That may change."

Herzog is one of those filmmakers who is about as fascinating as the films he makes (if not more so), throwing so much of himself into making them that the behind-the-scenes stories become the stuff of legend (especially this film spawning the tale of him pulling a gun on an uncooperative Klaus Kinski). Of course, the work still has to speak for itself - while he has made more than his fair share of classics, this one has always endured for me. On paper a dramatisation of the titular conquistador (Kinski) and his expedition to find the fabled "El Dorado", Herzog makes it a quasi-documentarian journey through the jungles and down the rivers of South America that centres Aguirre as a wild-eyed warrior who carves his way through enemy and ally alike (mostly the latter), issuing increasingly insane demands as the party's resources dwindle and tempers flare. At the same time, there is a certain ineffable beauty to the Amazonian backdrop that is only accentuated by Popol Vuh's atmospheric synthesisers - a fine enough contrast against the brutish and foolish colonisers who seek nothing more than fortune and glory but instead plunge themselves deeper and deeper into a hell of their own making.

2005 ranking: N/A
2013 ranking: #32



Welcome to the human race...
#13. The Big Lebowski
(Joel Coen, 1998)



"That rug really tied the room together."

Maybe the most boring possible pick not just for a favourite Coen brothers film but also for a token entry on this list, but it's not like it hasn't earned it. I'll certainly admit it's not their best - films like Fargo or No Country or Barton Fink are arguably more evocative of what makes them such brilliant filmmakers, but for now The Big Lebowski maintains its strangehold while so many other of my quote-unquote favourite comedies have fallen by the wayside. The reasons why are not necessarily so self-evident - the mash-up of classic noir tropes with the eccentric populace of early-'90s Los Angeles certainly sounds like a funny combination on paper, though the extremely precise way in which the brothers construct the syntax used by their characters can be a bit of a hard sell, to say nothing of how the central kidnapping mystery eventually turns into an absurd little roundabout full of red herrings and slapstick mishaps. Then again, is that not the kind of stupefying atmosphere that Sam Elliott's mysterious stranger alludes to in his opening narration as he raises this tale of Jeff Bridges' bumbling slacker to a mythical height through gravitas alone (a factor similarly demonstrated through everything from Roger Deakins cinematography to grandiose soundtrack picks)? I definitely wonder if this will go the same way as other comedies and/or Coen movies and I'll replace it with something else, but for now it's hard to go past this kind of burnt-out brilliance.

2005 ranking: #38
2013 ranking: #14



I need to rewatch The Big Lebowski. It was somewhat foisted on me by a fan of the film when I was a teenager and I don't think I was in the right mindset for it. I did enjoy some of the humor of it (to this day, years and years later, just thinking about the ashes-spreading sequence makes me laugh out loud).



Sorry kid, no toothpicks. Ask me instead.
The Dude seems to be the closest to Bridges’ real persona that I know of. That may be part of the secret sauce that helps this endure.

And Tara Reid.



Welcome to the human race...
#12. Raiders of the Lost Ark
(Steven Spielberg, 1981)



"You're not the man I knew ten years ago."
"It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage."

Ain't that the truth. Dropping this from the top 2 to just outside the top 10 somehow feels harsher than if I'd put it all the way down the list or even booted it completely, but it's Indiana Jones. He can weather it. I opted not to include the sequels because, as much as they have their strengths, this really is the one that nails all that matters about the character as cinematic icon. Seeing Harrison Ford's intrepid archaeologist struggle against all manner of obstacles - dungeons riddled with booby-traps, treacherous colleagues, a smugly corrupt rival (Paul Freeman), literal Nazis, even the feisty ex-girlfriend (Karen Allen) he needs to team up with - makes for about as classic an adventure film as you could ask for thanks in no small part to Spielberg really operating at the top of his blockbuster game (to clarify, this is distinct from Jaws being a comparatively small killer animal thriller compared to this film's all-out period-piece pursuit). Every setpiece fires on all cylinders, whether it's something as simple as a Nepalese bar fight or a relentless convoy chase (the temple trespass that opens the film practically goes without saying), but it's all for naught without one very human protagonist at the centre of proceedings whose shortcomings are many and can easily be criticised (you can miss me with the "he didn't need to do anything" take on this film) but without which this wouldn't be the timeless classic that it is.

2005 ranking: #1
2013 ranking: #2



Victim of The Night
#12. Raiders of the Lost Ark
(Steven Spielberg, 1981)



"You're not the man I knew ten years ago."
"It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage."

Ain't that the truth. Dropping this from the top 2 to just outside the top 10 somehow feels harsher than if I'd put it all the way down the list or even booted it completely, but it's Indiana Jones. He can weather it. I opted not to include the sequels because, as much as they have their strengths, this really is the one that nails all that matters about the character as cinematic icon. Seeing Harrison Ford's intrepid archaeologist struggle against all manner of obstacles - dungeons riddled with booby-traps, treacherous colleagues, a smugly corrupt rival (Paul Freeman), literal Nazis, even the feisty ex-girlfriend (Karen Allen) he needs to team up with - makes for about as classic an adventure film as you could ask for thanks in no small part to Spielberg really operating at the top of his blockbuster game (to clarify, this is distinct from Jaws being a comparatively small killer animal thriller compared to this film's all-out period-piece pursuit). Every setpiece fires on all cylinders, whether it's something as simple as a Nepalese bar fight or a relentless convoy chase (the temple trespass that opens the film practically goes without saying), but it's all for naught without one very human protagonist at the centre of proceedings whose shortcomings are many and can easily be criticised (you can miss me with the "he didn't need to do anything" take on this film) but without which this wouldn't be the timeless classic that it is.

2005 ranking: #1
2013 ranking: #2
Great movie and I don't wanna sideline that over a social issue, but the thing with Marion being underage during her and Indy's previous relationship was something I had missed completely the first time around (probably because I was young myself). When she says, "I was a child!", I didn't take it literally. Then, as it became a significant talking point about the movie in, I guess the 2000s, it actually troubled me. And I wondered if that was why Debra Winger turned down the part. And then I discovered that Karen Allen actually came up with that part herself as she did background work on her character and Spielberg went along with it even though it significantly alters perception of their relationship and casts a certain shadow over Indy's character.
Turns out to be a lot more complicated of a single line in a movie than most I can think of.



Welcome to the human race...
I thought that aspect was part of the script from the get-go and Spielberg was the one who wanted Lucas to walk it back so it wasn't meant so literally.



I'm not as huge on Raiders of the Lost Ark as much as I used to, but I still enjoy it quite a bit. As for the thing with Marion being underage, several of us discussed that aspect when the film was nominated for a semi-recent Hall of Fame here (I had never thought of that criticism before), and hearing about that did sour my opinion on the film to a degree, I must admit. However, not enough to ruin the film.



Victim of The Night
I thought that aspect was part of the script from the get-go and Spielberg was the one who wanted Lucas to walk it back so it wasn't meant so literally.
I dunno, I just re-read that it was Allen's idea.



I've heard about Lucas' creepo ideas regarding Marion in the script writing process, but even still, I find it pretty easy to not take the child comment literally in the context of the film. Regarding the actual film, it's almost completely irrelevant. Artists have all manner of lousy or dumb or bad intentions in the genesis of creation, and we don't have to drag them into how we perceive the actual film itself. If it's a case of not being unable to unsee something pnce we've seen it, I guess I get it, but as someone who already sees the worst in everything, I'm pretty good at not adding to my burden when watching a film. Especially Indiana Jones.



As for what the **** Lucas was thinking in the first place trying to bring that into the backstory of his protaganist, that's more than understandable to want to dissect and find even more reasons to actively dislike him.