Cries&Whispers Top 100

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Okay, I've been putting this off for a couple weeks now, but I'm going to try to do a Top 100 Favorite Movies List. I have a tentative list made up, I just need to work out the order and make sure I don't have any glaring omissions.

I'm not going to go by what I consider the 100 greatest movies, just my 100 favorite movies.

I'll try to do a few a day or so, starting soon.
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"I want a film I watch to express either the joy of making cinema or the anguish of making cinema" -Francois Truffaut



I'm not going to go by what I consider the 100 greatest movies, just my 100 favorite movies.
That's what every 'poster' Top 100 list should be, IMO. Good luck with it, C&W.



Good stuff. You seem to be very knowledgeable about films, so this should be good, hopefully loaded with many films I've not yet heard of, but will get to know through your list.



Nice to meat you. If you know what i'm saying.
You have a cigar guy from an old gangster movie, you have seen every movie ever made. I'm looking forward to the list of films that you yourself have written and directed.
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Okay, I've added, omitted, included, excluded, and rearranged just about as much as I could. I'm still not completely satisfied with the order, but I think more or less all of my favorite movies are represented here. You will certainly notice the absence of many classic films on here that I still consider favorites. I have excluded them because we all know they're in our favorites and I wanted to bring attention to some lesser known movies that I think many of you will enjoy.

Well, enough preparation, here's 100-91!

100. Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972)



Ambition, indulgence, obsession, and madness both in the film and on the set. Klaus Kinski's towering performance guides Herzog's visually astounding masterpiece. It's on my list because I admire Herzog's authenticity and honesty. In making a movie about conquistadors traveling through hellish
rain forest landscapes and rapids, he hires hundreds of extras and has them travel through a hellish rain forest and violent waters. This realism gives the entire movie a sense of immediacy and makes the danger and the emotions palpable.

99. Blood Simple (1984)



Here is a modern day film noir where the contrivances don't seem contrived, the noir cliches seem wholly original, and the characters' outrageous actions seem plausible. Every single shot in every single scene is constructed with deliberation and every performance is calculated yet grounded in realism. The Coens insist upon their improbable story, and I went along with it. This is on my list because I love film noir, and it uses every noir convention there is to craft an ingenious plot.

98. Vanilla Sky(2001)



The first few times I watched this movie, I focused on superficial components--I tried to piece together the labyrinthine story, I dissected scenes for nods to some of my favorite French New Wave films, I appreciated the Bob Dylan references... Somewhere around my fourth visit, I looked past the beautiful cinematography and complex plot and realized Cameron Crowe was sincerely and maturely confronting the elegiac nature of true and unrequited love, vanity, humility, and friendship. This movie is an allegory of vice and virtue, dressed in a flashy head-trip, and filled with a love for art in all its forms. And that's an accomplishment in itself.

97. Rachel Getting Married (2008)



Rarely do I leave a theater feeling as trusting in the power of love and hopeful for humanity as I did with this picture. Sounds cheesy, but I'm serious; this film moved me. Everyone's favorite Jonathan Demme movie is
Silence of the Lambs, but for my money, I'd rather attend Rachel's wedding than Dr. Lecter's dinner. Anne Hathaway, not an actress I particularly love, leads this film with an honest performance anchored in pain and deep regret. And Demme films the catharsis in a natural, home movie-style manner. When he studies the uncomfortable, poignant, and deeply personal moments between his characters, his camera is inquisitive without being intrusive. The interaction between actors seems genuine. It's as if there was no written dialogue, just the story, and the actors constructed their words and mannerisms from within, exploring their own feelings. This is unique, penetrating filmmaking.

96. L.A. Confidential (1997)



You don't need me to tell you why this is a great movie. Like
Pulp Fiction or A Clockwork Orange, it demands attention with every shocking scene. This is the second of many films noir on my list, and it's one of the most expertly crafted. Curtis Hanson's movie is so slick in pacing and so stylish in period detail and character mannerism that I usually forget how great the story itself is and how exceptional the performances from its ensemble are.

95. Dark City (1998)



Alex Proyas' visionary dystopian-Expressionistic-science-fiction-noir is, in my unpopular opinion, better than
The Matrix. It demonstrates nothing less than pure creation, with shape-shifting buildings, phantasmagorical imagery and cinematography that breaths with life. The stunning imagery seems to leap forth directly from Proyas' imagination, taking form right before our eyes. If this movie had no story, it would still be a great example of film art. But it does have a story, and one of the most engaging, thought-provoking ones I have ever seen. More than a decade later, this film's influence can still be seen in major motion pictures, right up to Inception.

94. 3 Women (1977)




Robert Altman's surreal study of relationships is an unabashed instance of cinematic theft from the great Ingmar Bergman. Yet, it's an entirely original and personal work. More than just an analysis of three individuals, it's a portrait of an entire personality
type and an examination of identity itself. If that sounds vague, then you're getting an understanding of what the movie is like. I imagine this is one of the lesser-known films on my list, and it definitely isn't for everyone. But it's here because I enjoy a movie with nuanced performances, I like to ponder themes that are grander than any literal movie could encompass, and I adore Bergman.

93. In the Mood for Love (2000)



What a lush, gorgeous movie this is. I think more often than not, Wong Kar-Wai concerns himself so much with aesthetic appeal that he forgets to make a realistic story with relatable characters. It's arguable whether he does that with this film, but I don't really care. His storytelling here relies completely on the aesthetic. Scenes work like verses in a song, repeating actions and emotions in slightly different ways each time; his camera moves lyrically through hotel hallways and apartment complexes, indulging in the passionate red palette that overwhelms every scene. With each cinematic refrain, Nat King Cole's seductive baritone reappears on the soundtrack as the two forbidden lovers are torn apart again. The movie also features understated, superb performances from Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung. The use of popular music and vibrant, dynamic imagery have always been Kar Wai's forte, but never has he applied the two so usefully or effectively as here.

92. A History of Violence (2005)



David Cronenberg's movies have always been interested in the visceral, the violent, and the graphic. I think he is usually more preoccupied with presenting this on film than explaining it. This works to his advantage usually, evoking a strong physical response from his audiences. But with this film, the strongest emotion we feel is not tactile, but psychological. In Cronenberg's study of violence in all its forms--sexual, emotional, physical--we are forced to question our basic nature. If survival is our primary motivation as living beings, is violence a natural, acceptable response to threat? I'm not deep enough to know, and I don't think Cronenberg knows, but he poses these questions elegantly in a story told simpler than it looks.

91. The Haunting (1963)



This movie is downright scary. Robert Wise was that rare director who fit naturally in any number of genres, making movies that often transcended their genre to become masterpieces of film in general. This is a perfect example of such a movie. Canted camera angles, deep focus photography, and atmospheric scenery make this one of the best (maybe not the scariest) pure thriller ever. It builds suspense as good as any Hitchcock film, and has a payoff worthy of its buildup. And that scene where the protagonist walks hand in hand with a specter...






Damn right it's a good start. I'm going to watch Blood Simple over the next couple of days. And yes, Dark City is pretty good. It's been a long ass time since i've seen it, but I remember liking it a lot. Very interested to see what's coming next. Good work thus far, Cries.



If you love Vanilla Sky, what did you think of the original, Abre Los Ojos (1997)? All Crowe did was re-shoot it, essentially. Props to him for not really changing anything, I guess. But it's still a remake nonetheless.
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We are both the source of the problem and the solution, yet we do not see ourselves in this light...



I would rep you twice if I could for including two personal favourites of mine: Blood Simple and Vanilla Sky. I rank Blood Simple in my top 3 Coen flicks (though never higher than 2), and that's saying something.

Looking forward to the rest.



If you love Vanilla Sky, what did you think of the original, Abre Los Ojos (1997)? All Crowe did was re-shoot it, essentially. Props to him for not really changing anything, I guess. But it's still a remake nonetheless.
There's the main reason why I avoid the original... no poiunt in seeing something which is exactly the same.. I might still give it a try coz I've been told it's better directed than Crowe's version



There's the main reason why I avoid the original... no poiunt in seeing something which is exactly the same.. I might still give it a try coz I've been told it's better directed than Crowe's version
Agree with PW, it's still worth seeing the original. Abre Los Ojos takes the edge over Vanilla Sky for me, Penelope Cruz was so much more natural in the Spanish original and why remake it anyway?



I have seen Abre los ojos and I honestly think it is a better movie than Vanilla Sky. I held that sentiment without question the first few times I saw Crowe's remake, always taking for granted that Abre los ojos was better. But, like I said, this film grew on me, and affected me on a more personal level, mainly because I relate more to Crowe's references to some of his favorite movies, songs, paintings, etc... I just happen to have a lot in common with him. And looking past this, the movie still stood as a great achievement on an emotional level.



90. The Breakfast Club (1985)



Anyone who wasn't moved by this movie on at least the most basic level wasn't paying attention during their adolescent years. John Hughes made a lot of poignant teenage angst movies, but none have been as truthful as this. He takes on the impossible task of turning archetypes into real, multidimensional people, and exceeds expectations. Every one of these students is painted so vividly that, even though I may not relate to their individual problems in detail, I can empathize with their feelings of frustration at the way adults misunderstand and under-appreciate them, and the immense pressure they feel to be something they're not while struggling to find who they are.

89. The Double Life of Veronique (1991)



Another film I don't expect many people to know, this one's even more esoteric than
Three Women. Imagine one day you're walking down the street and you see yourself boarding a train-not someone who looks like you, but someone you feel a startling connection to who in some other dimension, is you; imagine the confusing, fantastic back story needed to explain how someone could arrive there. This is Krysztof Kieslowski's starting point. It's the story of two women who are identical in both appearance and circumstance, though they never come face to face. Yet, when one dies, the other feels a tangible loss in her life. Even with all its impressionistic ambiguity and its impenetrable plot, I think we can all understand it on a deeper level. It's a movie not so much about a specific person or incident as an expression of a feeling that can hardly be expressed, the feeling that we are all connected, that there is something out there that completes us or makes us whole. And Kieslowski expresses it beautifully.

88. Day for Night (1973)



I'm a sucker for movies about movies, and this is about as good as any ever made. Truffaut plays, in essence, himself, a movie director in love with the process of moviemaking. I like Roger Ebert's review of the film, in which he compares this to
Boogie Nights and Ed Wood. The directors portrayed in these films don't really care about the finished product--it's the process that enchants them. The magic that comes when lighting, effects, sound, and acting all come together. And all those things come together in this movie to make it my favorite Truffaut work.

87. Repulsion (1965)



I don't really know why I love this movie so much. Roman Polanski specializes in movies with compelling characters who feel confined or imprisoned mentally or literally.
Knife in the Water had a couple trapped in a small boat with a mad man, we've all seen Rosemary's Baby and The Tenant, and even his latest film, The Ghost Writer, features similar motifs. In this movie, he pulls out all the stops, with surreal imagery reminiscent of Jean Cocteau, canted angles, intense close-ups, and his trademark sexual perversion. Catherine Deneueve does a great job of portraying a sexually repressed woman at wit's end, but I really just appreciate the movie as a pure exercise in directing style.

86. Y tu mama tambien (2001)



This is a road movie about friendship, coming of age, sexual awakening, and all of Mexico. Alfonso Cuaron is one of my favorite directors of all time, because he's auteured two exceptional movies, directed a half dozen very good movies, and made every one he's made wholly his own. This is Cuaron's best screenplay, and the actors deliver each line with conviction and honesty. The story resembles
Jules and Jim on the surface, but the relationship between these three people is entirely Cuaron's creation, and seems much closer to actual human behavior. There is no simple conflict and resolution, but a realization at the end of the film that I feel the characters will carry into life even after the closing credits. The characters seem real. And the direction, seemingly straightforward, is deceptively complex and technically brilliant. Above all, the photography of the beautiful country is astounding.

85. The Wrestler (2008)



This movie is heavy. Every minute of it. Writing spontaneously, I will say that it is the greatest character study of the last decade, and it rivals any of the portraits of bruised, troubled men examined in any Scorsese film. Darren Aronofsky's movie actually mirrors
Raging Bull and Taxi Driver in many ways. Mickey Rourke's portrayal of washed-up wrestler Randy "The Ram" recalls De Niro's performances as men who know only one thing, and can find no way to communicate or express themselves other than within this framework that defines them. For Randy, that means violence. But while Jake LaMotta seemed to take beatings to get some warped form of absolution, Randy does because it's the only way he can elicit a positive human response. Every significant relationship he has fails, except for the connection he feels when fans cheer his name, or ask for his autograph. His fans want theatrics, pain, and real blood, so Randy eagerly obliges. The movie's driving toward it's inevitable conclusion from the moment we meet Randy, but when it delivers, I still wish I could change things.

84. Elephant (2003)



Gus Van Sant's best movies have a way of inspiring deep thought on profound questions without ever actually asking them. Movies like
My Own Private Idaho, Paranoid Park, and especially Last Days don't really offer any traditional narrative arc, feature flashy action scenes, quotable dialogue, or eroticism, or even come to any real conclusion. This is a movie made in that independent tradition. It all occurs in one mundane school day, following several students chosen at random, all unwittingly living the last day of their lives. Their individual stories aren't as important to Van Sant as establishing that they are average high school individuals, some with friends, some with no friends, but all with problems unique to themselves. Then the Columbine massacre happens. Van Sant films the shootings in just about as natural a way as possible for the material. We are given no background of the shooters, no reasons why they snapped, no imagery or dialogue to set them apart as antagonists. In essence, we are given nothing except a portrait of an ordinary high school day, ruined by an extraordinary event. I really like movies where the director doesn't force a belief or explanation on the viewer, just the facts. It is much more meaningful for me as a thoughtful film watcher to draw my own conclusions.

83. Cache [Hidden] (2005)



Michael Haneke has made some extremely disturbing movies, and at least two others could have easily made my list. But his style is so similar in all of them that I think one is sufficient. And this is his best movie. It takes a simple creepy idea-that someone is being watched-and runs with the premise to a shocking conclusion. It is impossible to discuss the movie without giving away more than Haneke would want to, so I'll just say that disturbing imagery and imposing mise en scene frightened me in subtle ways. Everything was just so...eerie. Haneke's great directorial achievement is using these effects in static shots that run for minutes. His camera remains unflinching, usually at a comfortable distance, and captures every suspenseful moment in real time. After it ended, I still wasn't sure I understood it. But I definitely loved it.

82. Inglourious Basterds (2009)



I think Quentin Tarantino is getting better as a writer and a director. His most creative writing outings were his first few, as is the case with many good filmmakers. But his talent for directing his signature clever, lyrical dialogue is at its best here. I thought the story was a little much, but it is undeniably good fun. Brad Pitt's clearly having fun with it, so hell, I went along too. And with Col. Hans Landa, Tarantino creates his best character to date, and that's saying something. But again, this one's all about the directing for me. Tarantino knows just how to frame a shot, where to move his camera and at what time, and when to edit a scene. Every frame in this movie is thoughtfully crafted. If the entire movie were only that first scene on LaPadite's farm, this movie would still make my list.

81. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)



Here is the first of many installments from the Master, Alfred Hitchcock. Yet another film noir entry, this one boasts Joseph Cotten's best performance and some of Hitchcock's coolest scenes. In every one of his movies, there will be at least one scene that stands out from the rest, one where Hitch seems to be telling us, look at this. This scene usually becomes the trademark of the film.
Saboteur had the Statue of Liberty conclusion, North by Northwest had the crop duster sequence and the Mt. Rushmore climax, Strangers on a Train has the merry-go-round showdown, Psycho has the shower scene, and The Birds has the gas station explosion. This movie has none of those. Hitchcock films the story with a focus on character this time, and makes very few attempts at giving his audience a release. He dealt with mature subject matter many times in his career, but never as maturely as with this movie. The subversive jokes we've come to expect from Hitch carry a darker meaning, the photography is unrelentingly bleak, and the conclusion is not what most would call a happy ending. In other words, it's an essential film noir.