A friend recently posted her top ten movies list and asked us to consider ours - which is what I've done. After coming up with my list I noted its a really blokey list but I'm ok with that. So with no further discussion here it is:
Godfather 1 and 2. Where to start? Virtually perfect movie(s). The stories are really solid, characters complex, acting from Pacino, Brando, De Niro at the peak of their powers. Wonderful direction, sublime editing, haunting sound track. But ultimately its the script. Tom Hanks says it best in the Rom Com 'You've got mail': "It is the I Ching. It is the sum of all wisdom." Francis Ford Coppola's mob opera is the modern guy's indispensable guide to surviving with honor in a dog-eat-dog world.
Lord of the Rings 1,2,3. A brilliant movie of a book thought impossible to film. Weaves multiple threads of a complex tale without ever losing track or pace, intelligently edits out bits of the book that werent needed, but more than anything is a visual feast.
LA Confidential. You may not (or may) like Guy Pierce and Russell Crowe as guys but as actors they are two of the best going around over the past twenty years or so and in this movie they play to their strengths. I love the contrast between the glamour of the time we usually get with the gritty reality. We want to do the "right thing" but we also want to get something out of it personally (either promotion or the satisfaction of beating up some bad guys) and whats wrong with that?
Unforgiven. Life is tough, hard and unfair. There are no heroes. We do what we have to and sometimes it sucks but we never hide from the realities of what we do, pretend its all right or minimize the consequences for others. A movie that gives a man a code to live by.
Snatch. Funny, violent, fast, unpredictable, killer sound track. What more can a guy want?
Slapshot. There are so many great sports movies (Hoosiers, Rudy, Rocky etc) but this is my favorite. I saw this as a kid and wanted to a) be Paul Newman and b) learn to play ice hockey. Neither happened but I watch this movie over and over.
The Iron Giant. There are so many great Pixar and Dreamworks CGI movies but I think the best animated movie ever made and a one I never tire of watching is The Iron Giant. It’s a beautifully drawn, intelligent, and thoughtful film.
Le Mans. I think the first dialogue in this movie is almost 20 minutes in and frankly none of the dialogue is really worth listening to but ooooooh the sound of those cars on the start line and the scenes in the last 15 minutes of Porsches and Ferrari's duelling bumper to bumper have never been equalled even after all these years and make the entire movie an experience I repeat once a week every week. Someone may make a better car racing movie one day but until then this is in my top ten.
The Bourne Identity 1,2,3. Deep in our hearts a lot of us blokes want to be Jason Bourne. The mystique, the weapons, the fact that you are a killing machine, or whatever; Bourne owns the food chain. But Bourne movies don’t rely solely on Jason Bourne kicking the crap out of people. Bourne builds relationships with himself and others that keep the films from crossing over into cliché but steer clear of the boring maudlin stuff that has me reaching for the remote to fast forward . Oh, and he kills guys with pens and/or magazines.
High Fidelity. I have a real soft spot for Rom Coms. When Harry met Sally, Four Weddings, Love Actually - they all do it for me. But in the end High Fidelity is THE ONE. Perhaps its because is primarily a bloke's movie and it captures the tension between the fantasy we get sold and the reality we live while being funny, smart, and rocking it with great music.