Due to my recent relocation, I've been unable to finish this week's Twilight update. So, in the meantime, I thought, well, everybody loves lists! They're meaningless and people always think they're wrong, but we keep making them anyway. They generate discussion, at least, and if there's one thing this blog needs, it's decent writing and something insightful to say. Sorry, that's two things. Well, amongst the things this blog needs is discussion, so I'm putting forward a number of my own personal top five lists. You'll note that, with the rare exception, all choices are mainstream with (allegedly) A-list talent. The obvious reason for this is it's hard to get discussion going when I'm tossing out people and films no-one's heard of. The less obvious reason is that, especially for the "worst of" lists, it's no fun beating up on small fry with no money and lots of heart. I mean, if I didn't have this rule, the Five Worst Movies could be any random sample of Uwe Boll films. I thought it would be more interesting to take the piss out of films with millions of dollars made by people from whom, rightly or wrongly, we expect better. So here goes:
Best Movies of All Time, Ever, Objectively True and Correct:
5. Blade Runner--Possibly the most visually influential film of all time. (Yes, I've seen Citizen Kane.) Also has the dubious honor of popularizing the "director's cut".
4. The Road Warrior--The template for seemingly every post-apocalyptic genre film of the last 40 years. Only The Road Warrior's apocalypse looks more likely with each passing decade.
3. Dr. Strangelove, Or, How I Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb--For years, I heard this was the greatest satire of all time. It is.
2. The Godfather--The Mafia never looked so cool. Brando gives the greatest performance of his career, and his isn't even the strongest in the film.
1. Memento--Great acting, great mystery, and a twist ending that's both shocking and unexpected and completely believable and in keeping with the rest of the film. Seen it eight times, and every time I caught new nuance. Even the Gap-Toothed Woman of CSI fame can't ruin this movie.
The Worst Movies of All Time:
5. Wanted--An adolescent male fantasy for sociopaths. Forces Morgan Freeman to share the screen with Angelina Jolie's lips.
4. Princess Aurora--If your child is murdered as a result of your neglect, you're perfectly justified in killing everyone the child encountered that day to assuage your own guilt.
3. The Constant Gardener--A morality play about how if your politics are right, you can't do anything immoral.
2. Goodfellas--Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci playing gangsters? You don't say! I wanted the main character to die throughout the film. He never does.
1. Southland Tales--See my review here.
The Worst Movies I Had the Best Time Watching:
5. Lady Terminator--A blurry photocopy of The Terminator, only the Terminator is an Indonesian sex demon who humps men to death with her serrated sawblade-vagina. Or shoots them. Both methods work.
4. The Room--You're tearing me apart, intarwebs!
3. Dragonball: Evolution--Definitive proof that crappy anime should never be done in live-action. Shockingly offensive example of Lead Actors are White. I laughed at the villain's bad make-up job every single time he appeared onscreen.
2. Birdemic: Shock and Terror--Hands down, the worst acting you've ever seen. And special effects. And everything else. Deserves to make the next list, but it's just too funny.
1. The Happening--Who knew tree-induced suicide could be so hilarious?
The Most Incompetent Excuses for Movies That Hardly Deserve to be Called Movies:
5. The Last Airbender--See my review here.
4. Any of those Resident Evil things--The only entertainment to be had from this abominable series is figuring out which real movie each entry is ripping off. Subsists entirely on young boys obsessed with somewhat-attractive women in tight black leather shooting machine guns. (See also the Underworld series. Better yet, don't.)
3. Redline--Made me appreciate the care and craft that went into The Fast and the Furious films. Yes, I'm fully aware of what that statement entails.
2. Jack and Jill--Less a movie than a scam to bilk investors out of $70 million. More product placement than The Price is Right. A worse Adam Sandler movie than Going Overboard.
1. Disaster Movie--I only intended to watch maybe 15 minutes of this but resolved to continue until I saw a scene that wasn't worse than the previous one. I finished the whole movie.
The Most Overrated Directors:
5. Quentin Tarantino--A screenwriter of talent, if limited range. Would love to see a screenplay of his directed by anyone but himself. Wait, that was True Romance. Never mind.
4. David Fincher--Disowned Alien 3, easily the best film he made. Yeah, I went there.
3. Oliver Stone--Revealed by the films he makes to be insane. Allowed Kevin Costner to be in his film.
2. Peter Jackson--The Frighteners was decent, but everything else he's made has been the worst piece of crap ever produced (Bad Taste) or unbelievably dull (Lord of the Rings) or that godawful King Kong remake (Godawful King Kong Remake).
1. Martin Scorsese--Making films dirty does not make them good. Michael Mann does everything people keep telling me Scorsese does, only Mann doesn't suck. Best work of his career: Michael Jackson's "Bad" video.
Three-Name Actors Who Earn the Right to Use Three Names:
5. HBC--The best there is at playing the role of HBC.
4. Jada Pinkett-Smith--I have three words, one for each of your names: Fire your agent.
3. James Earl Jones--I'm a big fan, even if he did assassinate Martin
Luther King, Jr. Makes even a Tennessee Williams play watchable.
2. Tommy Lee Jones--Is there anything the man can't do? (Answer: He can't be bad in a role, even when directed by Joel Shootmenowmacher.)
1. Edward James Olmos--God walks among us.
Three-Name Actors Who Haven't Earned the Right to Use Three Names:
5. Sarah Gellar--Even fans tell me she's the weakest part of Buffy. (What? Like I'd watch that.)
4. Catherine Jones--Gives a good performance as an elitist socialite who isn't half as brilliant or witty as she thinks she is. But any actor can play herself.
3. Richard Anderson--Who needs charisma to headline not one but two TV dramas?
2. Stiffler--This is the only role he plays, so why not credit him as such?
1. Jennifer Hewitt--"Love" isn't the four-letter "L" word that explains her career.
The Worst Actors to Pollute My Movie Screens:
5. Sam Worthington--See any of his films--Whatever of the Titans, Terminator: Enough Already, pick any one you want--and see if you can distinguish him from the CGI backgrounds. Ha-ha! I'm kidding, you can't.
4. Clooney--I refuse to use his full name. Plays the role of "smug, vaguely handsome jerk" in Every Film Clooney Has Been In. Thinks smiling and nodding constitutes acting. Is generally a horrible person.
3. Sean Penn--Someone tell this man that shouting your lines is not the same thing as giving a dramatic performance. Also generally a horrible person.
2. Kevin Costner--Will be remembered long after his death for delivering the worst Robin Hood of all time. Russell Crowe weeps nightly that his awful Robin Hood will be forgotten while Costner's lives on. "Because I'm a survivor" indeed.
1. William Hurt--This man won an Oscar. That sound you hear is the award's credibility going down the toilet.
The Bestest Actors Ever:
5. Guy Pearce--From action hero to insurance investigator to dopehead to Andy Warhol, he just oozes screen presence, sex appeal, and sensitive-guy machismo. American accent was so good I got the vapours when I found out he's Australian. Oy!
4. John Malkovich--He's weird, he speaks fluent French, and he starred in Being John Malkovich. Oh, and his surname is Malkovich. Come on, that's just evil-sounding and wicked.
3. Samuel L. Jackson--Known for shouting, obscenities, and shouting obscenities, yet he can deliver subtle performances in great films (Unbreakable) and terrible films (Sphere), no matter how badly directed he is. Well, okay, except by George Lucas.
2. Jack Nicholson--Yeah, I'm a sucker for Jack doing Jack. Still, for the haters, see Wolf or About Schmidt. He's capable of subtlety when he bothers to act. (See also Brando, Marlon.)
1. Christopher Walken--Does just fine giving a normal performance, but for my money, give me that old Walken Weird! How many times has he walked into an otherwise crap film and Walkenised, giving the audience a respite of awesome for that brief moment he's on screen? (Answer: Uncountable.)
Most Underrated Films:
5. Cube--An English-language Canadian film that's taut, suspenseful, chilling, and thought-provoking. Hey, where are you going? Yes, this is a real film! Oh, come on, get back here! It's got Ezri Dax not sucking!
4. Save the Green Planet!--Features a towering performance from Paek Yun-sik. Pays homage to a number of different films--both good and bad--yet still has its own voice. A truly subtle and fascinating ending.
3. The Ref--Stars Kevin Spacey as Kevin Spacey, Denis Leary as Denis Leary, and Judy Davis as HotSexyAwesome!!!. A funny black comedy about a couple that hate each other. (Alternate title: The Movie The War of the Roses Tried to be And Failed.)
2. Prophecy--Christopher Walken as the archangel Gabriel, lots of Bible-quoting, an almost-priest with a crisis of faith, and Amanda Plummer? How could I resist? (Hint: I couldn't.) I was happy to see this movie ripped off by that atrocious Ghost Rider sequel. Hey, it means somebody saw it besides me!
1. Demon Knight--Great performances from William Sadler, Billy Zane (stop laughing), and Jada Pinkett-Smith Pinkett. Also okay are Thomas Haden Church, Dick Miller, and CCH Pounder. The demons look good, the backstory is straightforward and clear, the villain's motivations are suitably nefarious and simple, and the final showdown shows some moxie from a sassy heroine.
Most Overrated Films:
5. Se7en--M0rg4n Fr33m4n i$ gr34t 4$ 4lway4$, but th3 r3$t i$ ju$t unr3m4rk4bl3. Oh, and the "twist" is as shocking as a closet homosexual Republican. Remember what I said about the twist in Memento? Yeah, this is nothing like that.
4. Equilibrium--Noteworthy if you've never encountered dystopia. For
everyone who has, the only fun is figuring out the sources the film's
pilfering from. Oh, and Sean Bean dies (by which I mean, Sean Bean is in this movie).
3. Jacob's Ladder--The ending not only renders the entire movie pointless, but it's cheap and derivative. Plus, Tim Robbins sucks.
2. The War of the Roses--Thinks it's a sharp, witty deconstruction of marriage, but it's really just a crass exercise in misogyny and unfunny. An utterly unbelievable exercise in ludicrous violence and Michael Douglas "acting".
1. Every film Martin Scorsese has ever made. Yes, including the ones I haven't seen (i.e., most of them).
There! I hope you enjoyed this installment of "Things I Like or Dislike Arranged into Groups of Five". If you agree with any of my choices--and God help you if you do--please leave a comment. If you don't, then I kindly invite you to leave a long, angry rant explaining that I'm fat and stupid and probably gay and/or a furry that in no way addresses anything I said. And for the one reader out there for whom making lists like this accounts for approximately 42.7% of our conversations--and you know who you are--I know you're thinking, "Alas! What will we bicker pointlessly about now?!" Fear not! Print a copy of these lists, along with your own annotations, and bring them to our next meeting for further pointless bickering.