ahwell's Top 100 Movies - 2020

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What?..no mention of The Third Man music score Not a fan of the zither I guess? That zither score drives me up a wall. The first time I seen The Third Man I thought it was pretty great (except for the zither!) but for me it's one of those movies that once I know how it ends, I don't then really need to watch it again. Orson was great as Harry Lime, no doubt about it.
Aww. I love the paradoxical zither. I think the movie has aged better without customary classic thriller cues backing it up. To me, the zither seems like a desperate attempt to trick one into being happy amid a crumbling & cruel environment, which gives it a bittersweet charm.



Great list so far, and a wonderful review.





57. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Once Upon a Time there was a hero. A cowboy who rode from town to town, and rooted out the evil. Once the evil in that town had been rooted out he went riding away to face the next evil, never to be seen again by the townspeople; into the vast, never-ending sunset of the Wild West. He was the epitome of cool; He was a force untamed by nature, a fearless martyr - yet he never seemed to die.

Once Upon a Time there was a villain. He lusted for power and for women. He, too, rode from town to town in search of people to terrorize. He owned the saloon, or at least owned the owner of it. He had a gang, he had spies, and he had control over everyone's lives - he was the epitome of evil. He existed, perhaps in Western lore/film, for our hero to shoot him down someday.

But what happens when things become, well... not so black and white? When our villains can be the heroes of their own stories, and vice versa? Perhaps the world has decided its had enough with this way of life, and that no "hero" is needed for the "villain" to be defeated.

Well, then, as a hero, ask yourself; what's your purpose? You are now irrelevant, a feather in the wind. Do you have personal grudges, or perhaps a loose end you'd like to tie them up? Then go ahead and do it. But then what? It's back to wandering the big wide plains of the West, but there are no villains left to defeat. You no longer matter.

There is a quiet resignation of that sort in Charles Bronson's character in Once Upon a Time in the West. He's not as good looking as Clint Eastwood, and while both have no name and in many ways act the same, he isn't nearly as "cool" or likable. He's rough with everyone, including women (although, thankfully, not sexually aggressive). He always has a confident smirk on his face, but by the end you realize it's a smirk of - "I've won the West, yet there is no longer the West". He's done his last chore, killing the man he had been longing to all those years... but now as we see him wander into the distance there is such a sadness.

We even see the villain, Henry Fonda's character - Frank, have this sort of mentality. Except a villain would never quietly accept it - instead, Frank, realizing his increasing irrelevance, strives to be a businessman, someone who uses money to get what they want and not guns. He wants to be the future. But, deep down, both he and Morton, his "boss", know that's not who he is.

The whole idea of the train continually being built along the West is also especially indicative of this entire change in the mindset of everyone living there. No longer is the West endorsed for it's wildness, but it is being tamed. Horses are fading, although still used. People are moving there that one would never expect - take the central character in the film (although not the protagonist), Jill, a prostitute from New Orleans.

She is not a "Western" archetype - she's beautiful, graceful, yet strong willed. She draws in every man around her, and some unfortunate things happen to her throughout the story. But in the end she holds her dignity, and the last shot of the film is of her... She is the new. The replacement for old men staring at each other. So while Once Upon a Time in the West is a reflection of the destruction of the old, it is also an endorsement of the new. Farewell, it says - this era was memorable, but it's time to move on.

With all it's problems (many of them, however, falsely exaggerated in racist/sexist early Western movies), there is a mysticism about the old West that I think we would all want to experience. To ride an untouched plain, knowing no one on the face of the planet has been there before. To set up a home, in the middle of nature, with no one around for miles, except you, yourself, and perhaps your family. There are so many problems with that (not to even mention how we pushed Native Americans out of their homes), but I also ache for it, something so absolutely pure and crystal.

Well, although he would make another Western several years later, this seemed to be farewell for Leone. A farewell to the Western genre itself, which was beginning to fade at the time. All four of his Westerns that I've seen (the Dollar Trilogy and this) are entertaining, groundbreaking, and thrilling. But only Once Upon a Time in the West has that surreal quality of transcending the genre into a commentary on the passage of time - and how our life roles change with that time. Makes the title of this movie seem so much more profound than I had originally passed it off as. Don't miss this one. It's Leone's best.

ALSO - THAT SCORE. Probably one of my favorite scores of all time?? And easily Morricone's best?? I could listen to the entire hour long soundtrack any day of the week.
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I appreciated the technical aspect a lot on the first watch but it was only on the second watch that I fell in love with the movie as a whole.

Been meaning to give it that third spin, especially since I just saw TGTBATU again recently...



I've seen Once Upon a Time in the West twice. I liked it quite a bit the first time, but struggled a little with it the second time. I still liked it overall and voted for it for the countdown, but it's definitely not a favorite.



What?..no mention of The Third Man music score Not a fan of the zither I guess? That zither score drives me up a wall. The first time I seen The Third Man I thought it was pretty great (except for the zither!) but for me it's one of those movies that once I know how it ends, I don't then really need to watch it again. Orson was great as Harry Lime, no doubt about it.
I too am actually a fan of the zither score! It really transcended the time period for me, but I could see people not liking it.



I too am actually a fan of the zither score! It really transcended the time period for me, but I could see people not liking it.
Fair enough! Have you ever seen Forbidden Planet (1956)? It has an all electronic music score that was the first of it's kind. I think it's not only effective, it's down right bone chilling. A total classic, must see film too.

The Barrons: Forgotten Pioneers of Electronic Music



Fair enough! Have you ever seen Forbidden Planet (1956)? It has an all electronic music score that was the first of it's kind. I think it's not only effective, it's down right bone chilling. A total classic, must see film too.

The Barrons: Forgotten Pioneers of Electronic Music
Yes I’ve seen that! I actually don’t remember the score too well, but I will have to check it out again.



You mean me? Kei's cousin?
Ah, if it isn't the legendary Sergio Leone.
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56. Inside Out (2015)

This is one of my favorite Pixars, it's so re-watchable, fun, and a great look into what it means to grow up.



The Franchise (1944-2020) R.I.P.


56. Inside Out (2015)

This is one of my favorite Pixars, it's so re-watchable, fun, and a great look into what it means to grow up.

Inside Out isn't my favorite Pixar movie, but it's definitely near the top of the list. My favorite characters are Bing Bong and Anger.
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55. The Seventh Seal (1957)

"Now I'll be leaving you. When we meet again, you and your companions' time will be up."
"And you will divulge your secrets."
"I have no secrets."
"So you know nothing."
"I have nothing to tell."


More than the question of God's existence, more than the tragedy and absurdities of humanity in the Seventh Seal, is the underlying fear of nothingness. The sensation that nothing you do in life matters, since there is nothing after it; and that nothing... is eternal blackness. You're not even conscious. It's like being asleep with no dreams.

Even the poster of the Seventh Seal - which I love - evokes that sort of mysticism. Part of Antonius's face is concealed; it fades away into the blackness of death. The scary thing about it is whether or not death knows or cares what he is leading his victims to.

Imagine being the girl on the pyre. She frantically grasps for an answer to a question she had never thought to ask; only now does she realize her moments are slipping away. She doesn't have time to come to a conclusion, and perhaps that's for the better. Most of us would be only too happy to live life without knowing.

Even more depressing are the moments of utter terror when we look up to the sky and ask if all this really means something? There's nothing worse than discovering you have no purpose in this life; or rather, that your purpose is purely biological (to reproduce, balance the environment).

Do I cling on to my faith and my love of God so that I don't have to question this? Is knowing believing; if you met God and he told you all his secrets would you really "believe" in him? Maybe I'm just too afraid to dig deeper into life - and death - and I want to stay comforted with all the things I've been told to believe in and hope and pray are real.

There is something so mystical about medieval movies that I love so much. Especially those that take place in Russia/Northern Europe. It's something about the timer period and the place and the culture that just makes me in awe. Pagan groups lived in Russia and Scandinavia for hundreds of years. Think about that. Generations of living, growing, out in this huge barren wilderness. It's so... poetic to be honest. The arrival of Christianity adds a whole new level of amazement. It's like a mist shrouds this time period (although we do know quite a bit about it). Where knights really can meet Death and have a game of chess. Where there are miles and miles with nothing but the trees, the sky, and the lakes. Where a girl can be executed for having the "Devil". It's a land I both want to live in and am scared away from.

The Seventh Seal gives no easy answers, and really doesn't ask easy questions in the first place. There's something both so uplifting and disheartening about it. It's ironically incredibly relevant today, what with the Black Plague being a huge role in the story. We see the culture completely change because of this looming death threat. It changes people's mindsets, and they begin whipping themselves in fear that God is punishing them with the plague. Perhaps back then - when the Bible was taken even more literally than today - they weren't too "insane." God in the Bible did send the plagues down to Egypt, and he flooded the world; they are afraid people, beginning to realize that sometimes there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Dancing a sort of "Dance Macabre". Much like at the end of the Seventh Seal, they dance Death's tune, whipping - or preaching - themselves to death, hoping to truly forget what real, disheartening, thoughts about life might crop in their head.

They'd rather believe than know.

It is finished.



I loved Inside Out so extremely much on first watch. It was one of those magical moments for me. I really thought it was inventive, creative, original, brave and it truly tugged on the heartstrings. Obviously the following rewatches won’t match that, but it’s still a great film.

Seventh Seal I’ve watched bits and pieces of before but only just saw it in full recently. Really enjoyed it a lot. And it has the most brilliant opening words...

Vem är du?

Jag är Döden.



I had to watch The Seventh Seal in Film class and instantly loved it. Personally, I find great comfort in nothingness. Frankly, the thought of going on forever is truly terrifying to me.
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54. Modern Times (1936)

This is probably my favorite Chaplin film, and probably my favorite silent film too. It's so funny, but a little bit depressing, so wild, but sweet and innocent too. Chaplin is at his best with acting and stunts in this movie too, with scenes like the roller skating, dancing in the restaurant, and we get to see him get high and drunk too! (of course to no choice of his own). And inside this fun bundle of adventures, we get the truth that life is hard, and it's best to just get on with it.