March 24th, 2009

Yahoo’s 100 movies to see before you die

I’m pleased to see that “Groundhog Day” made the cut.

But no “High Noon?” For shame, for shame!

And whatever is the transcendently schlocky “Titanic” doing there? Special effects and teenage heartthrobs should only get you so far. As for “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” I’ll grant that it’s a fine movie. But if there’s room for only one Monty Python offering on the list, shouldn’t it be “Life of Brian?”

“Raise the Red Lantern” was okay, but mostly forgettable. I think it’s only there for the diversity angle. And although I haven’t seen “Fast Times at Ridgmont High,” I find it nearly impossible to believe it’s one of the 100 must-see movies of all time—or, for that matter, a must-see movie at all.

Why isn’t “Wuthering Heights” listed? I’m sorry guys, but at least one classic chick flick should be part of the mix, and that’s the best. And although I can’t say I’m surprised that one of my non-chick-flick favorites, “Midnight Run,” is missing, it ought to be there too.

As should “The Great Escape.” No one would ever call that one a chick flick, but its all-male cast is very easy on the female eyes.

I’m also stunned to note that I, a relative non-moviegoer, have managed to see eighty-seven and a half of these films. The half? “The Lord of the Rings.” I tried, but just couldn’t sit through the whole thing.

66 Responses to “Yahoo’s 100 movies to see before you die”

  1. huxley Says:

    Not a bad list.

    I’d take Young Frankenstein over Blazing Saddles, add Aliens and lose half the foreign films.

  2. vanderleun Says:

    “The half? “The Lord of the Rings.” I tried, but just couldn’t sit through the whole thing.”

    Understandable since the whole thing would be about nine hours long.

  3. Artfldgr Says:

    they are picked for the embedded messages in them. nihilism, etc.. they are NOT piced for what they mean culturally, educationally, etc. of course when your going to make a list, all of them are not going to be thsi way…. but can anyone list whats missing that should be there?

    rather than get sucked into it… why not look at what they are picking in realtion to what they arent or didnt..
    check them off on categories like family values, nihilism, cultural damaging, propaganda promotion etc..

    groundhog day is nihilistic and removes all purpose to life, it says that purpose is an illusion created by death…

    blazing saddles was funny, but why and what messages were constant? well that blacks were considered worthless, less than a train car, and where were the chinese that built the railroads? etc. waht did it say about the migration west?

    it all depends on whether you want to look at them as only entertainment pices, or if you want to look at them as things that are political.

    [edited by neo-neocon]

  4. GJC Says:

    No. It should be “Monty Python And The Holy Grail.”

  5. Artfldgr Says:

    the silent movie “greed” is nine hours long in its abridged version…

    excellent movie that would never make lists like this… niether would charlie chaplain, or buster keaton…

    in fact, such lists tend to be a testimony to public forgetfulness and meaning. (atlas shrugged not on the list, greed, the general, etc)

    and neo… delete my prior post..
    its way too long, and i forget n o one cares.

  6. neo-neocon Says:

    Aftfldgr: I shortened your long comment rather than deleting it.

    I have to differ with you very strongly, however, on the message of “Groundhog Day.” The protagonist finds meaning in life (in his case, for the first time) despite the absence of death in the surreal world in which he’s living for most of the movie. There is no suggestion in the film that the purposes he finds (love, doing good for others, appreciating the creation of music, for example) are illusions.

  7. Ron Says:

    No Fred and Ginger? Disgraceful.

  8. Don Janousek Says:

    neo-neocon: I agree with you as to “Life of Brian” over “Holy Grail” and the absence of “The Great Escape.” “Duck Soup” was great, but “A Night at the Opera” was the Marx Brothers’ masterpiece. And speaking of masterpieces, where is “The Verdict” with Paul Newman?” Newman in top form, IMHO. As to “period” pieces and sagas, “Dr. Zhivago” was light years ahead of “Titanic.” “The Best Years of Our Lives” is absent, but shlock like “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” made the list? Also agree with you on “Groundhog Day,” one of the few Bill Murray works that really showed acting skills on his part. Of course, as with all such lists, I could go on and on. No Fred and Ginger work? Having been in ‘Nam, “Full Metal Jacket,” to me, conveys the reality of that war much more than “Apocalypse Now,” a Hollywood attempt at “existentialism” that is really just bad science fiction. And, on a simply personal level, “Arsenic and Old Lace” with Cary Grant and “Harvey” with James Stewart should be on there as examples of how some American movies were once just plain fun to watch – no angst, no message, just fun. Not many of those around anymore. Cold, windy and grey here today – might watch one of those to warm the night. And, finally, even though it is a “short” rather than a full-length film, shouldn’t “Disorder in the Court,” the Three Stooges great be given a place? What kinda world would this be without three funny-lookin’ guys who hit each other alot? “Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck! Why you…I oughta….!” I rest my case.

  9. neo-neocon Says:

    That’s true, Ron. At least one Rogers/Astaire movie should have been there.

    But I just realized that “Gone With the Wind” (an overhyped and overrated movie, in my opinion) was left off the list. That’s probably because it’s no longer PC, though.

  10. Don Janousek Says:

    neo-neocon: Also, “Song of the South,” which made Uncle Remus a hero to kids everywhere in the ’50′s when I grew up, and contained some very fine animation with the unforgettable Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox, has also become very un-P.C., so much so that it is difficult even to get Disney to admit is was made anymore. Sure, sure – slaves hardly spent their time singing and telling tales, but it was still a delightful movie, IMHO>

  11. Ron Says:

    Apocalypse Now isn’t existentialism; it’s opera buffo!

    I like to think the Martin Sheen from Apocalypse Now is the one who wound up President on The West Wing…

    Rogers/Astaire are one of the few movie pairings we feel comfortable enough to call Fred and Ginger…

    A vote from me for Sweet Smell of Success.

  12. huxley Says:

    I too found the Lord of the Rings series quite tedious in the movie theater and often nodded off while watching with my family.

    Recently I managed to get through the trilogy via Netflix in 30 minute chunks while exercising.

    I loved the books and the BBC radio dramatization, but Peter Jackson directed the movies with the intensity knob always cranked to 11 and it just became dreary.

  13. Don Janousek Says:

    Ron: I think “existentialism” fits “Apocalypse Now.”
    “NOUN: A philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe” – from the American Heritage Dictionary.
    Of course, it is “existentialism” after being “schmoosed” through the Hollywood schlock machine, so Martin Sheen swimming in glop and a 300 pound Brando have, like, deeep meaning, man! Best scene in “The Departed” – Martin Sheen is thrown from the top of a building in Boston! Got chewed out for shouting “Yeah!” in a crowded theater. Must have been after his time in the White House. And, finally, I was not aware that someone composed an opera based on “Buffy the Vampire Killer.” Thanks for the tip! Is already on my “Must See” list. Cheers and salutations!

  14. Mark Says:

    “The Good Earth”, which didn’t make the list, is one of my all-time favorites. Who can forget the locust scene?

    Martin Sheen being poisoned with arsenic by a young Jodie Foster in “The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane” was much more enjoyable.

  15. Martin Bebow Says:

    I don’t think any list of 100 top movies should include anything from Hollywood. I only watch foriegn made movies now. Japanese, Italian, Polish, Iranian, even Soviet Russian movies are all more real than anything coming from Hollywood. The reason of course is money. Americans know how to make money and know how to make money making movies, but they don’t know how ot make movies (or they do but won’t because they don’t make money.) I think Japanese after the war are the best. Apparently losing does something good to your perspective.

  16. Martin Bebow Says:

    Could it be the Republicans will get a better perspective??

  17. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    buster keaton

    That man could make me laugh harder and longer than anyone for an entire movie…without saying a word. Jim Carrey gets a nod for that with the boardroom scene from Liar, Liar.

    And her…SLUT!

  18. huxley Says:

    I hit my threshold with foreign films in 1985 when one of my progressive artist friends demanded that we go see the latest Agnes Varda film, “Vagabond.”

    It was about a vague young female who wanders around the country having disconnected or traumatic interactions with various strangers, then freezes to death in a ditch.


  19. jon baker Says:

    What? No “Serenity”? Ok , I realize it did not have a wide appeal. But it has this underlying theme about the struggle against a centralized authoritarian system that is trying to make the populace into peaceful Sheep to be controlled….you would just have to see it. And what about “The 13th Warrior”? and more recently the WWII movie “Defiance” which follows the struggle of some Russian Jews?

  20. neo-neocon Says:

    A wonderful recent foreign film that is a must-see is “The Lives of Others.” I plan to write about it at some point.

  21. Alex Bensky Says:

    A bit top heavy on the contemporary, isn’t it? No “Birth of a Nation,” “Intolerance,” “Sunrise,” “Duck Soup,” or “The Thief of Baghdad.”

  22. FredHjr Says:

    One movie I would put on that list because I really like it – so many of the characters, particularly the Sioux – are just so richly developed.

    The movie: Dances With Wolves

    I also really like “Gladiator” with Russel Crowe. The only thing I would change about that movie, since I’m a history buff and really like anything about the Roman legions, would be to develop, just a little more, the campaign against the Allamanni that Marcus Aurelius was engaged in up there on the Danube.

    I tend to like historical novels, thus movies that are also somewhat in those themes.

  23. kcom Says:

    Neo-neocon, I totally support your love of “Midnight Run” and supported you strongly in your post about it awhile back. But I’m honestly not sure it belongs on a Top 100 list, even though it is one of my favorite movies.

    Martin Bebow: “I only watch foriegn made movies now.”

    I think that’s a little over the top, Martin. Number one, keep in mind that not all American movies are Hollywood movies and number two, foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. You’re only punishing yourself by setting a starndard that rigid (and arbitrary).

  24. Don Janousek Says:

    Foreign films? How can anyone forget “Rochelle, Rochelle,” a young woman’s erotic journey from Milan to Minsk?

  25. FredHjr Says:

    The problem I have with “Apocalypse Now” is the obvious political bias behind its creation. It portrays special forces guys as a breath’s away from going nuts and our military as incompetent and goofy. None of the Vietnam vets I know like it from that standpoint. I mean, they just take the movie for what it is. I like the opening scene with Jimmy Morrison’s “The End” playing with the Huey chopper’s whup, whup, whupping and then the street scenes in Saigon.

    I forgot to mention a movie that is truly touching, accurate, and based on a true story. It portrays our Air Cav soldiers as they really were. The book was marvelous and I read it twice. Mel Gibson’s “We Were Soldiers.” About the first part of the battle in the Ia Drang Valley up in the II Corps area near the Laotian border.

    The movie will move you to tears. The movie closes with music that I really love – and it was a song that Michael Reagan chose as the Recessional hymn at his father’s funeral: “Mansions of the Lord.”

  26. neo-neocon Says:

    kcom: No doubt you are right about “Midnight Run.” Nevertheless, it’s on MY list of favorites. And it’s a lot higher than number 100.

  27. br549 Says:

    “Patton” should be on the list. Without a doubt.

  28. Lee Says:

    All the “dirtys” are missing:
    “The Dirty Dozen”
    “Dirty Harry”
    “Dirty Dingus McGee”
    No “Tora, Tora, Tora”
    No “Fritz the Cat”? No “Beavis and Butthead Do America”?
    What a shame, no “Kelly’s Heroes”.

  29. Lee Says:

    And don’t forget “Heavy Metal”.

  30. Don Janousek Says:

    “Patton” and “We Were Soldiers?” Why, those films are about violence and war and patriotism and brotherhood and all that icky stuff. Next you’ll be proposing “The Patriot” and some horrid old anti-Japanese, racist movies like “Guadacanal Diary!” Sounds like the old Reagan “cowboy” mentality! What we need are more movies about REAL cowboys, like “Broke Back Mountain.” (Tongue in cheek so far it is going to pop through to the other side if I don’t stop now) On a saner note, and as a ‘Nam vet, my beef with “Apocalypse Now” is that it portrayed the guys there as basically psychos. Weren’t true
    a-tall, then or now.

  31. kcom Says:

    “Nevertheless, it’s on MY list of favorites. And it’s a lot higher than number 100.”

    Yeah, me, too. :) It’s probably in my Top 10 and certainly in my Top 20.

    And speaking of foreign movies, the French movie “Diva”, which came out about 1981 or so, was my favorite movie for many years. There’s a point about five minutes in where it just sucked me in (kind of unexpectedly) and never let go.

  32. Ymarsakar Says:

    I saw the Lives of Others based upon a recommendation by Laer at cheatseekingmissiles.

    I think NRO rated it as their number 1 conservative movie in their list.

  33. Ymarsakar Says:

    THey get Epic Fail for not listing Serenity.

    I also went and watched Groundhog day due to the NRO brief description.

  34. bill Says:

    De gustibus, and all that. Heck, I liked Howard The Duck — and I appear to be the only one who did, as its regularly used as an example of a perfectly terrible movie.

  35. Artfldgr Says:

    ah… i see neo (and thanks for the edit!)

    i was more interpreting the things that his actions make one think or conclude.. not necessarily what the actors actually say.

    in advertising a way to sell with sex, and yet never actually have sex in the image is to leave things in the image that if one took the time to look and analyse one would notice that there is a pair of shoes on one place, a tie in another and a bra someplace else… but the whole picture was nothing but deep rich earth tones and one didnt notice these things unless one was looking for them.

    so its not necessarily how the character in the movie deals with things and how it turns out for them, its what the thoughts and things that such can induce or rather the conclusions one can get from such… its more about an attitude than a message…

    in this way, all these attitudes wear you down, so when the right person comes up with the right message, we will respond to it… maybe something like hope, after nihilism…

    Groundhog Day (1993)
    The film makes the most of the sentimental possibilities in Phil’s rehabilitation. (Viewers who notice Phil ignoring a panhandler on his first Groundhog Day will surely know where that setup is headed.) But it also has fun with the nihilism. Phil eagerly explores every self-destructive possibility now open to him, from jumping off buildings to smoking cigarettes to overeating and refusing to floss; at one point he even casually robs an armored truck, just to see if he can. “Well, what if there is no tomorrow?” he anxiously asks someone. “There wasn’t one today!”

    our brains werent made to make distinctions between real and fake… we use other means to do that. you dump images in someones head, and your head will start catchin the threads and working out things from it. yes the watching is enjoyable, because your brain thinks your learning… but a lot of it is stuff that was critical to survival, who is the top dog, what are their emotional ups and downs (or they take it out on everyone), etc… we see movie people and television people as freinds. (and have fewer freinds in the real world because of it)

    so when i see movies i see them on many levels. the level at which i enjoy them as much as anyone else… but i also see how other people take them in, and how they think or what it would make them think…

    once we stopped making art for uplifting, and it all had to have a message to the cause, i just started looking at how they were or werent promoting that in some way…

    sometimes it was overt and hidden in plain sight, like antz, other times it wasnt there other than some deep facts it let you know that you would have been better off exposed to by reading their sources… like matrix…

    groundhog day is philosophical what if… like a teacher who would lecture you and say… what if? and then provide the parameters and what happens… and then leaves the class to conclude about things AFTER the fact of the presentation… what if you couldnt die? what if you had a fresh start every morning?

    would life have meaning? not really…

    and then he like the student returns to real life and he has meaning… why?

    and so it leaves you in a dissonant state where the movie character finds meaning, but does the viewer?

  36. Ymarsakar Says:

    Neo, concerning your point about the protagonist, it would be apparent to me that at the end, those things were not illusionary if only because of that particular ending.

  37. Ymarsakar Says:

    The protagonist of Groundhog day is our modern day narcissist. Which is nice, if you need to learn how to deal with narcissists.

    And Neo, like Bookworm, may also like those plots concerning time warps and repetitions. I know Book loved the plot arcs in Star Trek concerning that theme.

  38. SteveH Says:

    No Forest Gump? WTF?

    “Miss Gump. his legs is as strong as ive evah seen…but his backs as crooked as a politician”

  39. stu Says:

    What about Dr. Zhivago or The Pawnbroker? I fell in love with Julie Christie in the former. God she was beautiful.

  40. SteveH Says:

    “Empire of the Sun” should be there too.

  41. FredHjr Says:

    Julie Christie in “Dr. Zhivago” was amazing. The cinematography was also amazing. Especially around Yuriatin and Varykino, the train going through the Ural Mountains. Very well done film.

    Now, I’m going to pitch one of my all-time favorites. The plot, the character development, dialog, and the sometimes minimalist setting: “A Man For All Seasons”

    Paul Schofield deserved all the praise he got for that role.

  42. stu Says:

    I’m with you regarding “A Man For All Seasons”. They don’t make them like that any more.

  43. Charles Says:

    Neo – yes, tell us what you think of “The Lives of Others.” I have watched it a couple of times now and find it absolutely stunning – stunning in a frightening way, that is.

  44. OlderandWheezier Says:

    I’m pleasantly surprised to find several fellow “browncoats” on here. I loved the movie enough to order the short-lived TV series “Firefly” sight unseen.

    Two films that should be on anybody’s list imo (but didn’t make Yahoo’s) are “City Lights” and “Ikiru.”

  45. kamper Says:

    Geez, I’ve seen 76 of these movies, but then I probably spend way too much time in darkened rooms.

    Godfather I and II are probably the best movies ever made, in my opinion. By the way, Apocalypse Now is based on Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and is not meant to be a realistic Vietnam film at all.

    By coincidence, saw The Searchers last night and can attest that it belongs high on the list.

    Some of these are chosen for their cultural impact rather than as films in and of themselves. I mean, Enter the Dragon? It’s there because it spawned several generations of kung fu movies, but as a movie it’s pretty lame.

    The Exorcist is grossly overrated, pure shock value.

    Nice to see a Pixar movie on the list, though I’d've gone with The Incredibles instead of Toy Story.

    Sort of surprised there’s no Werner Herzog movies on the list. Fitzcarraldo is a masterpiece both as a movie and as a feat of engineering. Herzog dragged an 80 ton steamboat over a mountain with no special effects. Herzog’s Aguirre: the Wrath of God also belongs on the list, probably my fave of all time.

  46. Roy Lofquist Says:

    Now for my $18.75 worth (two cents when I was a wee lad).

    The Pawnbroker was Rod Steiger’s finest performance. It certainly had a major impact on me and my friends.

    To my mind the best movie evah is “The Hustler” with Paul Newman, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott and Jackie Gleason.

    George C. Scott famously refused to appear at The Oscars to accept the best actor award for Patton. Why? He thought that his role in “The Hustler”, as supporting actor, was his best. He was furious that “West Side Story” had swept the previous year.


  47. Elise Says:

    It’s unbelievable the list doesn’t include “The Lion in Winter”.

    And I would have put “Terminator” (possibly the best B movie ever made) on the list instead of “Terminator 2″.

  48. Jim C. Says:

    I don’t know why “The Sound of Music” is on the list. Yes, it’s an okay movie and its message is uplifting, but one of the top 100?

    I agree “A Man For All Seasons” should be there. It unquestionably deserved the Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Screenplay Oscars. Great play by Robert Bolt, very little changed for the movie, including More’s very dry but pointed wit. Great acting all around, not forgetting Orson Welles’ wonderful scene as Cardinal Wolsey.

  49. FredHjr Says:

    And while we are on themes from British history, does not anyone remember the great acting by Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton in the movie “Beckett” ?

    In history could there ever be a more antagonistic pair of such strong personalities as Henry II and Thomas Beckett?

    The movie is a keeper. All the movies I’ve cited in this thread I own copies of. I don’t buy a DVD unless I really like the movie and intended on enjoying it again multiple times.

    I own some of the movies on that list neo cites, as well as some others that have been rightly recommended in this thread.

  50. strcpy Says:

    “i was more interpreting the things that his actions make one think or conclude.. not necessarily what the actors actually say. ”

    I would even say that the actions end up being quite anti-nihilist. He only gets to move past that day when he fully accepts life and learns to live with joy and compassion for his fellow man (or woman), when he realizes that other people count and it is each persons responsibility to be a good citizen (and that there is such a thing). That seemed a VERY christian message to me, definitely not nihilist. Indeed he is at his most unhappy during the near pure nihilist period of nothing really matters. Narcissism and nihilism is what he had to learn to leave behind.

    As for the movie list – bleh. I’ve seen maybe half of them at best and of those I wish I had never bothered to see 3/4 or more. But then my taste in movies are different. Were it mine it would be filled with genre defining fantasy, sci-fi, and animation. Bu then I have a decent amount of …shall we say contempt… for the pretentious attitudes of many of the movies listed there.

    Typically I do not like stories that give me life lessons – I live life and I’m smart enough to figure it out thank you very much. Some, like Groundhog Day, I do enjoy (in fact that is one of my favorite movies of all time), but it wasn’t a pretentious snob telling me something I already know and thinking I should be glad they deigned to come down out of the clouds for us mere mortals. Others also have entertainment value if I ignore the “art” part (Dr. Zhivago). But those are rare.

  51. strcpy Says:

    BTW, if you happen to wonder what I consider “genre defining fantasy, sci-fi, and animation” I would say the following is a good example (some are one the list too – this is from looking over at my DVD collection)

    Seven Samurai
    Lord of the Rings
    Princess Mononoke
    The Dark Crystal
    Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
    Clash of the Titans
    The Seven Voyages of Sinbad

    Sadly since this is limited to movies I can not list too much anime as the tv series is where they shine (Cowboy Bebop, Escaflowne, Neon-Genesis Evangelion, The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (otherwise know in the US as the first story arc of Robotech)).

  52. Nolanimrod Says:

    I think “Being There” ought to be on the list. Talk about life imitating art!

  53. rickl Says:

    I haven’t studied the whole list, but I have to put in a good word for “Titanic”.

    As a long-time Titanic buff, the ship is the real star of that movie, IMO. And of the dozens of Titanic movies that have been made, it is the only one to feature the grand old lady herself.

    (Titanic trivia: The first Titanic movie made was a silent film made in 1912, just a couple of months after the disaster. It starred a minor Hollywood actress who was an actual survivor. She wore the same dress she was rescued in. Alas, no known copies of the film exist; only a few still photos.)

    I also choose “Holy Grail” over “Life of Brian”. It’s an all-time classic.

  54. spoot Says:

    8 1/2 to me is an overrated Fellini film, I would have chosen La Strada, that is my all time favorite movie, every frame is filled with childlike wonder at the world. It puts me in a trance every time I watch it.

    Also where is Red River?

    And I agree, The Lion in Winter belongs there!

    And in the Musical category – My Fair Lady. And Cabaret.

    And where is Spartacus?

    And Saturday Night Fever?

    And Sophie’s Choice.

    And great punk in Road Warrior.

    And Louie Malle’s ‘Hair’. I remember knowing that this film was special when, during the Hippy song in Central Park, the two mounted police and their horses joined the dance. Magical.

    Coppola’s The Conversation.

    How about caper movies? The Sting? Topkapi?

    I could spend hours on this…

  55. huxley Says:

    Well, one hundred movies is not that many with so many more to choose from. The list creators seemed intent on covering a range of genres, stars, directors, time periods, and countries while avoiding duplication.

    Hence, Holy Grail but not Brian, Butch Cassidy but not The Sting, Goodfellas but not Casino, Maltese Falcon but not The Big Sleep, Pulp Fiction but not Reservoir Dogs.

  56. huxley Says:

    Re: Titanic — I can understand disliking Titanic, but I see no way it could have been left off the list.

    It’s a huge movie with just about everything — action, romance, spectacle, conflict, big stars, big sets, comedy, great music, tight plot and ticking clock plus the message, much as Groundhog’s Day, to live one’s life to the fullest.

    Millions of people loved it, including myself, and it remains the top-grossing film (almost two billion dollars) by a long shot.

  57. dane Says:

    I noticed kcam mentioned Diva – one of my favorite “under the radar” films. I must disagree on the MP thing – Holy Grail is far better in my opinion. The Black knight scene may be one of the funniest things ever.

    I would go for the original Terminator rather than terminator two – better story.

    More comedy would have been better. If you were looking for something incredibly funny that dripped with satire of the times there was a movie called “Serial’ back in the 70s.

  58. Artfldgr Says:

    That seemed a VERY christian message to me,

    on the way in this morning i realized this point too..

    that if you had a Judeo/Christian upbringing the outcome of your thoughts would be different than if you were truly secular.

    in other words, all those with religious backgrounds, at least in knowing if not believing, would associate things with lessons that would then expand to a more postive outcome.

    but for a secular person, they would sit there, and they will be in their own lives. whining and unhappy about almost everything… and in front of them is this man who finds meaning with what they have that gives them no meaning (because they dont understand what meaning is).

    what made me think of this was how it parallelled some of the great theologians in explaining why god didnt make the earth a heaven or utopia..

    like Antz this then makes for a double wump, where those in the know, or with culture, walk away renewed in some ways… but those who dont have that, see it as in your face sugar coated bs….

    of course not everyone, and many will desire to put a positive spin.

    and i will point out that the VAST matjority will not even think in these terms till you ask them the question! in other words the question begs SOME answer, so we spit one out… the range of our ablity to just spit out answers confidently from literally nowhere is legend.. and it takes practice to actully realize what one knows and where one knows it from.

    dont get me wrong, i can see the positive story too, i can also see other lesser angles, but for the most part i see that movies are not a singular message that we globally collectively itnerpret.

    but they are a synergystic thing that vastly depends on what you know or think you know as well as whats being presented.

    so with antz the kids have no knowlege of the defunct and bankrupt system called communism and socialism, as do the parents. so one cant say that a movie means X, unless one wants to assert we are all equal and not individuals, and that other interpretations are wrong. if i am orange and you are blue, adding red will be different for both of us.

    though in case you ahvent noticed the majority of our adventure excitment movies do not actually portray an american theme!!!!!

    the lone man and woman struggling against the machine is a soviet realism thing… not the american origins thing… (just as apple pie and chevrolete which is now an americanism was originally a joke which humored nazi war posters!)

    go here and note the graphic of the man and woman with the hammer. thats a very famous statue… (no the bodies below it are not part of it). the statue embodies the immortal struggle of man and woman against… yada yada..

    better place to look is here..
    its Vera Mukhina’s – Worker and Kolkhoz Woman (1937) also called ‘Rabochy i Kolhoznitsa’

    viewed in this way, movies like terminator become man against progress… they make us desire the revolution that will tear everythint apart… it becomes something inside us that we yearn for, since all our representations seem so cool as we are all the key players. and given that women are the core of a revolution cause men do what women want ultimately, even the terminator series courts them!!!

    apply this definitino of film and let me know how many of our films are really just great works of this type?

    Social Realism, also known as Socio-Realism, is an artistic movement, expressed in the visual and other realist arts, which depicts social and racial injustice, economic hardship, through unvarnished pictures of life’s struggles; often depicting working class activities as heroic.

    the formulea is easy… the avereage working joe, maybe a cop, maybe an office worker, gets caught up in the wheels of greater things… and through rising to the struggle, achieves success and even gets the girl.

    the childrens themese are scarier today.. anyone besides me notice that all the characters parents are dead or gone? that in order to have a great wonderful life and adventure, you shouldnt have parents. while such was traditionally a horror put in in old stories (when children would starve to death without parents), today its interesting to note how many of these include it even if the original stories didnt.

    Aladdin (Aladdin)
    Lilo (Lilo and Stitch)
    Snow White and all seven of the Dwarves (who adopt her as a mother-figure) (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves)
    Cinderella (Cinderella)
    Quasimodo (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame)
    Esmerelda (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame)
    Mowgli (The Jungle Book)
    Peter Pan and the Lost Boys (who adopt Wendy as a mother-figure) (Peter Pan)
    Tarzan (Tarzan)
    Arthur (The Sword in the Stone)
    Tod (The Fox and the Hound)
    Jasmine (Aladdin)
    Ariel (The Little Mermaid)
    Belle (Beauty and the Beast)
    Pocahontas (Pocahontas)
    Pinocchio (counting Geppetto as a ‘father’) (Pinocchio)
    Jane (Tarzan)
    Bambi (Bambi)
    Simba (The Lion King)

    and thats just disney… and to show how thsi subtly changes..

    the boy andy in toy story has no dad… nemo has no mom, linguini in ratatouille is an orphan.

    if the revoltuoin admonishes you to kill your parents, what does a constant fair ofs tories like this with one common theme do? what if its reinforced by idiocy? so now the dad is an idiot and we dont care if the idiot is dead?

    Pollyanna, Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, Harry Potter, the wizard of Oz, Heidi, Eight Cousins (and Rose in Bloom), Chronicles of Narnia, and as one can tell i can go on.

    the number of movies with a healthy family is so minimal its akin to the number of movies truthfully portraying soviet history.

  59. Ca1ppy Says:

    Generally agree with the list, but Godfather 2 could be replaced by a better movie.

  60. waltj Says:

    I can’t say I’m a huge movie buff, much preferring more active forms of entertainment, but I do have a few that I’d like to see added to the list:

    Zulu (1964) — The defense of Rorke’s Drift by a company of the British Army against 4000 Zulus in 1879. 11 of the defenders win the Victoria Cross (still the most for one battle in history). Lots of liberties taken with the historical characters, but the battle scenes are very gripping (although nowhere near as graphic as they are these days), the South African landscapes add an element of authenticity, and the film also featured Michael Caine in his first major role.

    The Enemy Below (1957) — Robert Mitchum and Curt Jurgens square off as the WW2 captains of an American destroyer escort and a German U-boat, respectively. Watch them match wits and gain respect for each other as the movie goes on. One of the few war movies of that era that doesn’t treat the Germans one-dimensionally as either bloodthirsty Nazi brutes or Sgt. Schulz-type dolts.

    Becket (1964) — Peter O’Toole as King Henry II and Richard Burton as Thomas Becket illustrate that old saying about bureaucracies, “where you stand depends on where you sit”. King Henry appoints his confidante and carousing buddy Becket to the post of Archbishop of Canterbury, expecting thus to be able to control the Church in 12th Century England. Surprise! Becket fiercely defends the Church’s prerogatives and ends up getting murdered by some of Henry’s nobles. Trivia: O’Toole a few years ago admitted that he and Burton were in fact stinking drunk during most of the filming. They could still act, though.

  61. Scott Says:

    Speaking of the “F” category, Why Fast Times instead of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum? The funniest movie of all time. And also why no Leni and Triumph of the Will?

  62. Stphnd Says:

    Days of Heaven, the Terry Malick film comes to mind for its beauty alone, if the story won’t appeal to some. Amarcord too was a beautiful piece of work. In an Altman vein, McCabe and Mrs. Miller has not only stunning cinemaphotography but a score dominated by Leonard Cohen tunes and, and the awe-inspiring beauty of Julie Christie!

  63. Davidd Says:

    Hey Neo, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on „The Lives of Others“!
    I’ll throw in some of mine. Agree or object, both are ways of deepening our understanding.
    It’s about a fundamentalist in regard of his belief-system and some hypocrits who became utmost cynical, but use the system smartly on their behalf.
    Evidently, the Socialist belief-system is logically broke:
    Herbert Spencer’s „Survival of the Fittest“ yielded us, the human beings.
    This is an axiom in the Socialist’s (and secularist’s creed), a fundamental dogma.
    But of course, this struggle for survival and the proclamation of equality among people are perfectly antithetical.
    No wonder, people end up as cynical egotists by trying to live up to this zen koan.
    And, as shown in the movie: „the truth is: people do not change“: To believe in making angelic characters by social engineering and governmental force, is a leap of faith, too broad for many.

    If you belong to the faithful, and believe that stirring and shaking of the primordial slime could bring about such an entity like a single cell, with it’s high complexity in (engineers, please listen closely!) in sophisticated diversity, if you have this faith in a Godless miracle, then keep your logic in flow:
    Mother Theresa can’t be your hero anymore. She didn’t spread her genes, just loved people. She was an evolutionary failure. Now, here comes your hero:
    Your role model will be rather Genghis Khan who knelt over the wives and daughters of the defeated, while the fat of the vaquished would nourish the fires of their perishing cities ( see Genghis Khan’s bragging about his destruction of Peking). It is estimated that his progeny is about 17 million people: quite a player in the gene-pool of mankind.

    The ‘survival-of-the-fittest’ fundamentalists among you should really get rid of the impediments of their unconsciously ingrained Judeo-Christian values; it’s not just in respect of sex: you need comprehensive liberation – while we others have to understand: THIS is the truely dangerous fundamentalism.
    „The Lives of Others“ will show you, where bad fundamentals can lead. Our future is won or lost in the philosophical realm, politics is just ‘getting things done’.
    Was this Orwellian vision only temporary or will it return, will it also enter the shores of Northamerica? You decide.

  64. grackle Says:

    La Strada and Nights of Cabiria should be on the list. Both movies were perfectly cast and directed with absolutely no sentimental compromises. No one could have played the role of Zampano, in La Scala, as well as Anthony Quinn. Ditto Giulietta Masina, who starred in both movies.

    On the homefront, my vote goes to Shane and the more recent offering of Clint Eastwood’s, The Unforgiven. I was glad to see that The Searchers was included on the list. They all prove that westerns can be serious cinema.

    Another that deserves a mention: Drums Along the Mohawk.

    There are many others that are more deserving than most on the list.

  65. Ymarsakar Says:

    My favorite animes are Naruto and Bleach. Tron had a great storyline, though, and if it had been animated, it could be contrasted as better than Princess Mononoke.

  66. grackle Says:

    I totally forgot about Being There. Here’s a totally hilarious out-take clip that played after the end as the credits were rolling. One of the best parts of the movie.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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