Seeing as how every other online critic seems to have a numerical countdown of his own all-time favorites, there’s a case to make for The Author’s Files publishing its own. Not a numerical one, of course, on one hand because rearranging all the entries to accommodate a new one would be a real pain in the arse, on the other because all the films that would make it onto such a list deserve better than to be pitted against each other in a competitive, mostly subjective ranking system. There’s simply no definitive scientific way to claim that Memento is a ‘better’ movie than Interstellar by 0.24 points out of five. I may draw slightly more entertainment or intellectual stimulation from one than from the other, but both represent the pinnacle of storytelling in their respective genres, so it’s kind of frivolous and stupid to say that one is factually superior to the other.
Video games and television are constrained enough in quality that I could likely make a top-fifteen list for each and systematically rank all the contenders with confidence, but the worlds of literature and film are so expansive in style and theme that it’s utterly vain to give them the same treatment. So here’s part one of my alphabetically arranged rundown of movies that uncommonly affected, stirred, or motivated me to think. Think of it as an inconclusive list of movies for any adult who loves all sorts of movies. The criterion for inclusion is basically anything that left me thinking, “Whoa,” or, “That was really good.” Some of these I had to watch twice before I got them.
About Time –
The Abyss –
A Beautiful Mind –
A Knight’s Tale –
Man of Steel and its 40-minute ending battle, you probably won’t like Chronicle, which has about 10 minutes of violence in total and fills the rest of its runtime with character development. If, like me, you’re sick of superhero origin depictions and need something to restore your belief in the artistic merit of the genre, Chronicle proves that they can be as intelligent and empathetic as any other drama.
Saying nothing of the action, what a phenomenal ending does this movie have.
Full review here. A surprisingly monkeyavellian war film that incidentally has nothing to do with gun control.
I tried complaining about the swearing in Descendants when I first watched (and reviewed) it two years ago; in retrospect, this was mainly due to the lack of anything else that really warranted complaining. Later on, upon venturing to Beatissima and watching it again with fresher ears, I realized there’s barely any swearing worth noting in The Descendants, even from Shailene Woodley, who may have then hit the peak of her talent and natural beauty before moving on trashy YA junk. Everything about it works: the music, the writing, the actors, the scouting, Sid’s retarded younger brother. Not for people who prefer their movies happy and uplifting, but very moving and deftly executed all around.
The worst thing to be said about District 9 is that it gives up the documentary feel halfway through to look like a normal sci-fi movie. That is actually the worst thing anyone has said about District 9. CG prawns blend seamlessly with the scummiest of urban landscapes, ideas on apartheid/racism are powerfully stated, and masterful acting by Sharlto Copley sells the most hideous and poetic of external transformations.
I don’t know if Donnie Darko will stay on this list by the time I get around to finishing it again (the DVD broke down 40 minutes in on my second viewing), but as an experimental time-travel mystery it certainly rewards careful thought and conversation, which is all I ask of a movie aimed at grown-ups. I don’t recall it being very flattering towards political conservatives, but the originality of its structure makes up for that in my mind. The thing I especially admired about Donnie Darko by the end was its depiction of a truly selfless sacrifice by a man, a deed done not for the sake of looking like a better person but with full knowledge and acceptance that his noble deed will go unnoticed by the whole world and, more crushingly, by the one he loves enough to do it in the first place.
Fast-travel to other parts: