The MoFo Top 100 Neo-noir Countdown

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Welcome to the MovieForums Top 100 Neo-noir Countdown!

The OFFICIAL one-stop spot for your dose of violent, lurid, and revenge-filled list of films in the Neo-noir realm, as voted for by our violent, lurid, and revenge-filled members.

47 ballots were submitted, almost all of them at full capacity (25 entries), which doesn't put us at the top of the MoFo countdowns, but rather where we need to be; in the darker recesses of the forum, in the gutters scraping our way through, so thanks to each and every one of you that has pushed us and kicked us into that gutter because, trust me, you're gonna be in that gutter with us for the next months.

The Voters: John W Constantine, Holden Pike, Balor, seanc, Allaby, GulfportDoc, Tugg, MovieFan1988, Citizen Rules, Diehl40, mrblond, Harry Lime, Miss Vicky, Thursday Next, Fabulous, Yoda, Cobpyth, Torgo, Frightened Inmate No. 2, PHOENIX74, Wigram, stillmellow, SpelingError, LAMb EELYAK, Hey Fredrick, John-Connor, beelzebubble, CosmicRunaway, ScarletLion, culliford, Little Ash, crumbsroom, WHITBISSELL!, Siddon, Ash TheStrangeOne, cricket, honeykid, Kaplan, edarsenal, KeyserCorleone, rauldc14, Sedai, Wyldesyde19, ApexPredator, CaptainT, Thief, Iroquois

284 movies were voted for, some sure-shot choices, some puzzling choices?, and some really great choices that were left off. But rather than piss and argue about how X or Y film "isn't really neo-noir!", let's focus on "WHY someone saw it as neo-noir". Like I said in the preliminary thread, all of the films complied with our eligibility requirements, which means that somebody – here or there – saw some flavor of "neo-noir" in it. So let's use this as an opportunity to both read what others have to say and write what we have to say, but in a respectful manner. Use it as an opportunity to catch up on great films, regardless of their classifications and see why someone else loved it enough to vote for it.

So as we get ready for the countdown to begin, feel free to chime in with any prediction, comment, trivia, tidbits and reviews as we reveal each film, or any healthy discussion about it. Just DON'T share your full list until the end.

So, without further ado...

Let's Go!

Acknowledgment: As usual, I want to thank all the voters for choosing to put up with me, but I also wanna thank @Citizen Rules for spearheading this interesting parallel experiment. Finally, I want to thank @Yoda for once again holding our hands through the process.
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The Neo-list

100. The Friends of Eddie Coyle (35 points)
99. The American Friend (36 points)
98. In the Heat of the Night (36 points)
97. The Manchurian Candidate (36 points)
96. The Talented Mr. Ripley (37 points)
95. Shallow Grave (38 points)
94. Purple Noon (38 points)
93. The Hustler (39 points)
92. Fireworks (39 points)
91. Infernal Affairs (40 points)

90. Dead Again (40 points)
89. La Haine (41 points)
88. Red Rock West (41 points)
87. The Man from Nowhere (42 points)
86. Shutter Island (43 points)
85. The Hot Spot (43 points)
84. Following (45 points)
83. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (45 points)
82. Blue Ruin (46 points)
81. Brick (46 points)

80. Dirty Harry (47 points)
79. The Driver (47 points)
78. Mona Lisa (48 points)
77. Manhunter (51 points)
76. Under the Silver Lake (52 points)
75. The Silence of the Lambs (54 points)
74. Cape Fear (55 points)
73. One False Move (55 points)
72. Point Blank (55 points)
71. Branded to Kill (56 points)

70. Basic Instinct (56 points)
69. Body Double (57 points)
68. Mystic River (57 points)
67. Mother (57 points)
66. Killer Joe (59 points)
65. Strange Days (60 points)
64. Gone Baby Gone (60 points)
63. Klute (60 points)
62. The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (61 points)
61. The Dark Knight (62 points)

60. True Romance (63 points)
59. Bound (63 points)
58. The French Connection (65 points)
57. Alphaville (66 points)
56. Thelma & Louise (67 points)
55. Lost Highway (67 points)
54. Pale Flower (71 points)
53. The Departed (74 points)
52. Oldboy (75 points)
51. The Naked Kiss (77 points)

50. You Were Never Really Here (79 points)
49. Get Carter (80 points)
48. Blast of Silence (81 points)
47. The Player (81 points)
46. A Simple Plan (84 points)
45. The Grifters (86 points)
44. Blade Runner 2049 (92 points)
43. To Live and Die in L.A. (92 points)
42. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (96 points)
41. Inherent Vice (96 points)

40. Night Moves (100 points)
39. The Nice Guys (103 points)
38. The Big Lebowski (104 points)
37. Pulp Fiction (104 points)
36. Dog Day Afternoon (106 points)
35. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (112 points)
34. Gone Girl (114 points)
33. Collateral (115 points)
32. Heat (125 points)
31. Angel Heart (129 points)

30. Zodiac (129 points)
29. Thief (132 points)
28. The Conversation (137 points)
27. The Man Who Wasn't There (137 points)
26. Sin City (140 points)
25. Memories of Murder (141 points)
24. Dark City (143 points)
23. Le Cercle Rouge (146 points)
22. Body Heat (152 points)
21. Nightcrawler (155 points)

20. The Usual Suspects (156 points)
19. High and Low (164 points)
18. Jackie Brown (183 points)
17. Blow Out (188 points)
16. Reservoir Dogs (191 points)
15. Miller's Crossing (193 points)
14. Drive (205 points)
13. Blue Velvet (210 points)
12. No Country for Old Men (229 points)
11. Fargo (242 points)

The Top 10

10. Mulholland Drive (256 points)
9. Blood Simple (288 points)
8. Memento (308 points)
7. Le Samouraï (310 points)
6. Seven (319 points)
5. The Long Goodbye (389 points)
4. Taxi Driver (407 points)
3. L.A. Confidential (440 points)
2. Blade Runner (450 points)
1. Chinatown (554 points)

The MoFo tradition is to honor the One Pointers. What are those? Well, those are films that received exactly one point, meaning that a single person had them in their last spot of the ballot (25th), with no votes from anyone else.

In a countdown about films that lay in the darker recesses of films, these one-pointers are probably the darkest of the darkest. The scum that gets stuck in the sewer rust, but we shine our flashlight on to see what the heck they are; a rather obscure film? a "hidden gem"? or just a bizarre nomination just for kicks? For this countdown we ended up with only 16 one pointers, so we'll get over it quick!
  • Affliction (1997)
  • Blackhat (2015)
  • The Chaser (2008)
  • Johnny Handsome (1989)
  • Kill Me Again (1989)
  • The Laughing Policeman (1973)
  • The Little Things (2021)
  • Long Day's Journey into Night (2018)

  • Mirage (1965)
  • The Ninth Gate (1999)
  • Portrait in Black (1960)
  • Pulp (1972)
  • Reindeer Games (2000)
  • Série noire (1979)
  • Swoon (1992)
  • Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995)

Here's another funny game. Try to guess who voted for what, as people claim their one pointers

Reindeer Games = A Christmas movie, my guess = Moviefan88 or Tugg

Affliction = seanc

The Ninth Gate love it, my guess = pahaK

The Little Things = CaptainT

Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead = culliford

Long Day's Journey into Night = ScarletLion

Série noire = Little Ash

The Chaser = CaptainSpaulding

The Laughing Policeman = Gulfportdoc

Trouble with a capital "T"
Portrait in Black (1960) I was going to say, 'that sounds like something I'd vote for.' Then I checked my neo noir ballot, I did vote for it. A one pointer but a film I really like. I haven't seen it in a long time, I should check it again.

I won't immediately say what my one-pointer was in case anyone else wants to guess which films belong to whose list while we wait for the first reveals. But I will say that it was one of the last films I watched for this Countdown, and while I really liked it, it was also quite depressing and put me into a rather sullen mood for a bit. I wanted it on my list somewhere, and knew I'd probably be the only one to vote for it, so I put it at the very end to give it a little nod in case it ended up on the one-pointers list - which it did.

Johnny Handsome (1989) is mine!

Being fans of both Walter Hill and Mickey Rourke, I dashed to the theater to see Johnny Handsome and I loved it from the get-go. In New Orleans a good-natured criminal (In the Heat of the Night's Scott Wilson) and his deformed friend (Rourke) with the ironic nickname of "Johnny Handsome" team up with a dangerous pair (Lance Henriksen & Ellen Barkin) for a jewelry store robbery. Things get bloody in a double cross, leaving Johnny for dead. But he lives! In jail a surgeon (Forest Whitaker) makes him an offer - let him try new, radical reconstructive procedures in an attempt to reverse his Elephant Man-like facial deformities, and in turn they will give him a new identity. The local detective (Morgan Freeman) suspects Johnny only wants this to track down the cohorts who murdered his friend and got away with the loot, but Johnny agrees and when he emerges from the bandages and prison, he looks like the Mickey Rourke we know and love. Of course he does go straight for the betrayers, who now don't recognize him. He also meets a straight woman (Elizabeth McGovern) and he must choose between the prospect of a truly new life or revenge.

Released in 1989, it reminds me of a lot of a solid B-Picture from the '40s or '50s, populated with some top-flight character actors, led by Freeman and Whitaker whose careers had both started to take off already but still turn up in small, flavorful roles here. The immortal Ry Cooder supplied the music for just about every single movie Walter Hill ever made, and this blusey soundtrack is one of his very best.

Well-used New Orleans locations and everybody involved having a ball playing in this genre adds up to a pretty great little flick. The plot is very straightforward, which may be about the only negative thing I can say about Johnny Handsome. But knowing where this train is headed even before it leaves the station doesn't make the journey any less fun.

25. Johnny Handsome (DNP)

"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra

*sorry, didn't see some were making a guessing game matching up the one-pointers to the MoFo
You ruined it, Holden!!

Nevermind we got a game going on here.
"Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

So I won't say which of the one pointers was mine...oh but that implies one of them is from my list. That's a clue.

And woohoo the countdowns have begun! What's better than a Mofo Countdown? Two Mofo Countdowns. Thanks for running the show, Thief. I'm sure it will be a good one.

Out of the one-pointers, I've only seen Affliction and Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead. It's been really too long since I saw them both, but Christopher Walken's performance as a quadriplegic crime boss always stuck with me. Should probably revisit it. I also get the feeling that I might have seen The Ninth Gate, but I tend to get that one confused with Secret Window (that's the one with Turturro, right?)

Apparently I wasn't alone in voting for the movie I put at #25. No one-pointer for me.

Of the ones that did make the One-Pointers, I've only seen The Ninth Gate. I absolutely hated it.

Society ennobler, last seen in Medici's Florence
Obviously, I'm not alone supporting my #25, nevertheless, I don't have a hope it'll apear in top 100.

Out of the one pointers, I've seen:

Affliction (1997) - I like Nick Nolte a lot. It is a good film, need to rewatch it.

Johnny Handsome (1989) - I like Mickey Rourke a lot too but this film was a big disappointment for me back then and I put it into oblivion.

The Ninth Gate (1999) - This one was close not to be one-pointer since it strongly gravitated around my #25-30.
Saw it in theater when it was released and remember liking it a lot. Polanski is a master filmmaker. Mysterious, Thrilling, Interesting, moreover I'm heavily into that stuff of antiquarian collectables. I plan rewatching it.
"Population don't imitate art, population imitate bad television." W.A.
"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." M.T.