The Millenial’s List of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time: 50-41

50) The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

bdqa00_p_01_02

Wes Anderson reached his zenith with this quirky period piece, and he did it by, at last, perfectly mixing his signature visual delights with the human heart. Ralph Fiennes shines as a concierge who does side-work as a gigolo. His line readings are so perfectly aloof, he’s the scoundrel you can actually believe in.

 49) The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy received its Best Picture Oscar for its third go-around, which many thought was a way to celebrate the entire nine hour epic, but we think it got special recognition because, on top of the breath-taking visual spectacle, the actors finally got to invoke full catharsis with their characters. At the peak of Mount Doom, the emotions reached their peak as well.

 48) The Incredibles (2004)

. . . is incredible. With its first PG rating, Pixar amped up the intensity, and amped up the fun at the same time.

 47) Vertigo (1958)

vertigo-dangling

Some lists call it the greatest movie of all time. We didn’t go that far (to us, it’s not even Hitchcock’s greatest, as you’ll see), but given that the film’s portrayal of sexual politics and obsession are still timely today, Vertigo was a revelation in its time, and a darn suspenseful one at that.

46) Oldboy (2003)

With The Departed, Seven, and now Oldboy, it would appear the mid portion of our list was reserved for all the downer endings. A newly heralded classic, South Korea’s Oldboy mesmerized audiences with its rowdy fight scenes, its hypnotic violence, and its disturbing, and disturbingly perfect, resolution. Try looking at a hammer the same way again after this.

 45) Blade Runner (1982)

Sometimes reissues are actually a good idea (just not when George Lucas does them). A bit misunderstood when it first hit theaters, the stripped down director’s cut of Blade Runner made Ridley Scott’s mysterious, neo-noir futuristic thriller a deeper, and achingly human, sci-fi masterpiece.

44) Casino Royale (2006)

casino-royale-daniel-craig_758_426_81_s_c1

Was it the most memorable James Bond film? It’s hard to tussle with the iconography of movies like Goldfinger or From Russia With Love, with their flying hats and explosive boat chases, but we’re going to call Casino Royale the BEST Bond film. Daniel Craig honestly deserved an Oscar nomination for how convincingly he mixed Bond’s steely resolve with a layered humanity that we’d hardly, if ever, seen in the character before.

43) Spiderman 2 (2004)

Up there among the greatest superhero movies ever made, at this point what may be most appreciated about the second Spiderman film is that the villain enhanced the story of Spiderman, not the other way around. At the time, superhero movies tended to be about making the most impressive effects-driven antagonist. Here, Sam Raimi made both superhero and struggling young man equally compelling.

42) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001-A-Space-Odyssey

It’s almost impossible to keep a classic film called 2001 from the Millenials List of Greatest Films, even if its slow-burn pace and difficult symbolism are not exactly what our generation is known for. Then again, a space-opera about the folly of mankind is right up our alley, so we’ll just put it on the list and move on.

41) Gladiator (2000)

In Hollywood, they don’t make them like this anymore. Except that they did! Inspired by the epic period dramas of the 50s and 60s like Ben-Hur and Spartacus, Gladiator updated it all for modern audiences, and while people, some of them desperately, tried to write the film off as popcorn splurge and nothing more, a Best Picture Oscar and Best Actor Oscar for Russell Crowe silenced them forever. This is popcorn as high art, and it’s majestic.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Millenial’s List of the 100 Greatest Movies Ever Made: 60-51

60) Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark-Chamber

World, meet Indiana Jones. To Millenials, the name is synonymous with action, adventure, and mystical intrigue. And this is when were first met him. When it came out, movies had seen nothing like it. Since then, we’ve seen countless imitators, and none of them impressed us even half as much.

59) The Sixth Sense (1999)

Some of us guessed the ending (and have been holding it over people ever since), but the fact that The Sixth Sense is, to us, still a haunting and sad fable of quiet redemption goes to show that that famous “surprise” was just gravy. The whole thing is slowly mesmerizing, and scary in all the right places.

 58) Good Will Hunting (1997)

v1.bjsxMzI1ODU7ajsxNzI4MTsxMjAwOzEyMDA7OTAw

Try watching Good Will Hunting without then spending hours insulting your friends with a rowdy Boston accent. No? Okay, fine, you’re better than us. But also don’t forget that it’s smart, it’s funny, it’s heartbreaking—it rings of life.

57) The Lives of Others (2006)

The first foreign language film to grace our list (and the Oscar winner in that same category), The Lives of Others is a carefully constructed and quiet spy film, and what it lacks in Bond-esque car chases it makes up for in subtle chills, carefully administered through Ulrich Mühe’s haunting performance.

56) The Longest Day (1962)

Is it the greatest war movie ever made? If you don’t think so, you at least have to admit it’s the most ambitious. At three hours long, with dozens of characters and unceasing battles, the grandeur of the Second World War has never been better represented.

55) Juno (2007)

As Jon Stewart noted as host of the Oscars, “Thank God for teen pregnancy.” At a time when Hollywood suddenly and inexplicably turned dark dark dark (No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood, and the list goes on), Juno was a funny, honest, and endlessly sweet piece of levity, and it may have saved our souls.

 54) The Departed (2006)

departed-ifc

Martin Scorsese finally won his Oscar for this amped up crime saga, and, nice for him, it wasn’t merely a make-up win, it was more than deserved. In perhaps Leonardo DiCaprio’s most underrated performance, he plays an undercover cop who gets caught up with some shady stuff in Boston’s mob world. Then again, watch the final fifteen minutes to see why “shady stuff” is a gross understatement.

53) This is Spinal Tap (1984)

Insert obligatory joke about “turning it up to 11.” This is Spinal Tap is packed to the brim with cultish quotes about squashing dwarfs and licking love pumps, and if you’re not in on the fun, you’re missing out.

52) Seven (1995)

Most people usually just think of that ending (and for good reason), but be reminded of its overall morbid atmosphere of unease, its showcase of a city—and world—in eerie disrepair. You kind of have to be a cynic to get optimum enjoyment from Seven, so dare I ask, how could it not be a favourite of Millenials?

 51) Rocky (1976)

hqdefault

In some ways, it’s a shame that Rocky was practically sequeled into caricature. I mean, you may love Rocky IV’s camp, but let’s be honest, Ivan Drago was a cartoon. The first go-around was, however, a glowing tribute to the human spirit, and like the best sports movies, it was actually about the people doing the punching, not just the punching itself.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Millenial’s List of the Top 100 Movies of All Time: 70-61

70) Apollo 13 (1995)

We all knew the outcome (or should have), and yet we were glued to our seats, riveted to the last reel when the space shuttle Odyssey cleared through the atmosphere and landed in the pacific. Ron Howard, in his finest work, put the audience right on that spacecraft in Apollo13, and the result was part suspenseful thrill-ride, part uplifting human fable.

69) Scream (1996)

PD39809821_Rex-Features_497722a-Film-Scream-large_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqCzQ2nIadN9uOB-q1CtFlj3zLvAEylSLFCAAzciZnIrc

After Scream, self-referential horror movies almost became their own genre. But don’t forget where it all started—with this clever, hip, and endlessly scary slasher flick that told us what to expect, and then flabbergasted us anyway. For many millennials, Scream is where their love of horror started. And now it’s a never-ending love affair.

68) Memento (2000)

In 2000, the world was introduced to Christopher Noloan, and he has since gone onto become one of the most crowd-pleasing auteurs of “big” cinema. Memento, however, reminds us of just how effective he still was when he was small. A mind-bender to the extreme, Memento is proof of how satisfying a movie can be when it makes things really hard on us.

67) The Lion King (1994)

Beautifully drawn, complete with jaunty songs by Elton John and Tim Rice, The Lion King stands atop Disney’s glorious animated heritage.

66) The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)

That rare and beautiful combination – gut bustlingly hilarious, and innately sweet. Both Steve Carrell and Judd Aptatow became household names thanks to this raunchy, brutally honest tribute to sexual UNpromiscuity. We’re thankful they did.

65) Speed (1994)

83552ce520329f210189b8f5b99b1121

News flash: Keanu Reeves was good in a movie. Not just good – really good! It may have been because his blank stupor was so fitting with the character, but he brilliantly led this supercharged action thriller to its “explosive” extreme. This is what happens when you take a simple (and somewhat silly) conceit and turn it into adrenalized poetry.

64) All the President’s Men (1976)

It came out only two years after Richard Nixon resigned as President, making it a timely political drama. But All the President’s Men has aged beautifully because it is such a keen reminder of what journalism once was, and should still be—a lengthy and meticulous investigative process. Timely, sure, but also timeless.

63) The Exorcist (1973)

162525-horror-the-exorcist-screenshot

When people call it the scariest movie of all time, they really mean the “creepiest.” You may not jump from your seat, but you’ll be unsettled for days, and the psychological trauma may be everlasting. Is that exorcism scene the greatest in horror movie history? It has our vote.

62) The Sound of Music (1965)

You can love it as a kid; you can love it as an adult. Most importantly, you can love it forever. The classic musical has everything—history, romance, suspense, and a female deer.

61) It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

The most classic Christmas movie that isn’t really a Christmas movie. Frank Capra’s soul-churning masterpiece is regarded as feel-good, and it is, but it’s also darkly harrowing in a way that often goes unnoticed. The movie is more grounded in reality than all the cliché jolliness might suggest, which makes It’s a Wonderful Life worthy of all its praise that has gained a bit of an overcooked reputation.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Millenial’s List of the Top 100 Movies of All Time: 80-71

80) Anchorman (2004)

anchorman-012

Anchorman may be the most critically lambasted movie we have on the list, which of course makes us all the more proud to include it. Who can expect critics to see the goofy characterizations for what they really are?: pitch perfect encapsulations of our narcissistic culture. And it’s pretty damn funny, too.

79) Fargo (1996)

An uncomfortable and daring black comedy by one of the most consistently inventive moviemaking teams in film history, brothers Joel and Ethan Coen. Never before has quirk been so well immersed with violence.

78) Spirited Away (2001)

Both enchanting and beautifully crafted, Spirited Away is fairy tale that leaves you a little more curious and fascinated by the world around you.

77) The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Rocky_Horror_throne_screencap

Not just a cult movie, it’s THE cult movie. Rocky Horror isn’t as weird today as it was when it came out, which says many things about our present day culture. All of them good. It’s also a hell of a musical.

76) Rebecca (1940)

Alfred Hitchcock arrived on American’s shores with this dramatic thriller about a mysterious, and mysteriously dead, woman. It wasn’t his pinnacle (you’ll see that later), but it was the most worthy introduction we could have asked for. That housekeeper still tingles our spines 75 years later.

75) Forrest Gump (1994)

Now when we think of Forrest Gump, it’s usually just memes and parodies that come to mind. Don’t forget that the film itself is a masterful celebration of warm-heartedness, the idea that a person’s greatest gift to the world is sometimes just a simple mind.

74) Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

He came back. The results were bigger, smarter, and ultimately better than what came before. And don’t forget the groundbreaking CGI. T2 was the movie that convinced special effects wizards they could do anything, and we’re still feeling those effects today.

73) Dumb and Dumber (1994)

“So you’re telling me there’s a chance!” Yes, Lloyd, there was a chance you’d make this list, and you did. We’re prepared for some people to say that it’s a “dumb” choice, and that would be precisely the point. The Farley Brothers didn’t exactly have Shakespeare on the mind, they were more interested in laxatives and frozen snot. And they delivered. The result is one of the most endlessly quotable comedies of the past twenty years.

72) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

texas-chainsaw-massacre-987x750

Yes, of course we mean the original! Don’t get all contemporary on us. There’s a chainsaw involved, and cannibals, but Texas Chainsaw’s fright factor is almost entirely psychological. It’s the best example of how low budgets can work to your advantage.

71) Saving Private Ryan (1998)

You could talk about the performances, the camera work, the sheer ferocity, but Saving Private Ryan’s greatest accomplishment is the way it, in equal measure, showed the horror of the Second World War right along side its heroism. Most war movies usually just settle for one.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Millenial’s List of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time: 90-81

90) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

nightmare_before_christmas_quiz_result_04

We had never seen anything like it before, and, oddly, we have hardly seen anything like it since. With stop-motion animation that is a treat for the eyes, Nightmare is an innovative art film, an amusingly morbid fairy tale, and a delightfully ghoulish holiday musical that displays more inventiveness in its 75 minutes than those “real” people can manage in a full year.

89) Remember the Titans (2000)

We’ve seen this sports movie before, many times, but never as genuinely crowd-pleasing as Remember the Titans.

88) The Princess Bride (1987)

A fairy tale about fairy tales. The Princess Bride’s swashbuckling excitement and retro romance is so good its almost, well, “inconceivable.”

87) ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Still Steven Spielberg’s most intimate portrait of childhood, this touching tale of a homesick alien is still the rare film that puts you under a spell of youthful wonderment without turning expressly juvenile. If the alien doesn’t make you tear up, John Williams’s majestic score will get the job done.

86) Lost in Translation (2003)

Sophia Coppola faired better as a director than an actress. It turned out she had her father’s skill, but sharpened it with a style all her own. What did Bill Murray whisper into Scarlett Johansen’s ear at the end? Their performances are both so consuming, that question becomes the last thing on your mind.

85) Aliens (1986)

5e4598c3951f949da958af334596a62cbd710d98

James Cameron makes his first appearance on our list with the sequel that proved sequels could be good. Not just good—better! He took Ridley Scott’s great source film and left it in the cinematic dust. At once scary, exciting, and groundbreaking, Aliens single handedly sucked all the subtlety from action movies, and that was a great thing (at the time).

84) Back to the future (1985)

When you think 80s classic, you think Back to the Future. Ironic, since most of it takes place in the 50s. It was so refreshing to see a time-travel movie that never felt like it had to tailor to the audience’s intelligence. Michael J. Fox is endlessly good as the high schooler who’s forced to play match maker to his own parents. His performance, and the movie, is timeless (pun intended).

83) The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

It seems like every decade, horror movies have to write a letter to themselves that gently requests they get back on track and stop with all the lucre-baiting mediocrity. First it was Scream, then it was The Cabin in the Woods. Maybe never before has a horror film shown what horror does wrong while simultaneously doing everything so right.

82) The Third Man (1949)

ThirdMan1

We all know about what Orson Wells did for filmmaking techniques, but in The Third Man we’re reminded of what he did for acting. The famous carousel scene was one of the first to incite that old villainous cliché: is he evil, or just charming? Not knowing the answer has never been more tense.

81) Taxi Driver (1976)

Politics, philosophy . . . and a taxi. Robert De Nero gives perhaps his first great performance as Travis Bickle, the man who inspired 70s loner-ness. Or loner-ness for sociopaths, at least.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Millennials List of the 100 Greatest Movies Ever Made: 100-91

Are these the movies that most influenced Millennials? Are they the movies that best represent them as a generation? It may be those things, but for the most part, these are simply the 100 Greatest Movies as PICKED by Millennials. No more crotchety critics who only like black-and-white cinema verite; no more Hollywood elites who think modernism isn’t classy enough. These are the movies that effected us the most, that spoke to us the most. Dammit, these are the movies we liked the most. Naturally many of the choices herein will be hotly debated, but that’s part of the fun of a list like this. It focuses people’s attentions, gets them thinking about the things that really matter in film, the things that truly constitute greatness.

So, here it begins. I will spend the next ten days counting down the list, releasing ten titles at a time. Here we go…

100) The Social Network (2010)

38693281-the-social-network-wallpapers

To say that Millennials socialize in a digital way is a gross understatement, so how can we not include the movie that explored that wireless divide better than all others? Jesse Eisenberg plays Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as a socially dissonant outsider who set out to rewire who we are as communicators. Did he succeed? The jury is still out, but the movie is never less than gripping.

99) Boyz in the Hood (1991)

John Singleton, who was only 23 at the time, became the first black director in Academy Awards history to receive a Best Director nomination for this youthful tale of urban America. The film spawned many imitators after its release. None were as impactful, or as good.

98) The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

While still heralded by many as Wes Anderson’s best movie, we actually gave that distinction to another title that you’ll learn later. Still, this was perhaps the first time we became astutely aware of Anderson’s attention to detail, not to mention his gift for perfectly mixing the melancholic with the darkly comedic.

97) The General (1926)

20160806_arts_BusterKeaton_TheGeneral_as_zsgtvn

The General is the oldest movie on our list, making it all the more remarkable that there is still so much to discover every time you watch it. Today, all the risk in movies has been consumed by CGI effects, so Buster Keaton’s hilarious, exquisitely timed, death-defying stunts have attained new appreciation almost a hundred years later. The General is where movie magic started, and for that, we are forever in its debt.

96) Amelie (2001)

Though loved by many, Amelie landed on us right around 9/11, when feel-good movies were, at times, unfairly dismissed by certain groups. Age has helped it achieve its appropriate acclaim. Charming, and beautiful, and refreshingly optimistic, Amelie is the rare movie that can make you a believer of film’s transportive power.

95) Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Brokeback-Mountain.jpg

Westerns come with a lot of cliches, so who would have thought the genre would bring us one of the most revolutionary loves stories of its time? Politically, is showed us a world we all want (or should want) to be a part of, but as a simple cinematic feat, it is just plain beautiful.

94) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

“Bueller? Bueller?” It wasn’t the first slacker film, but it remains the most influential. Writer/Director John Hughes took teenage apathy and converted it into an almost philosophical treatise about how much school sucks, and made no apologies about it.

93) Before Sunrise (1995)

Perhaps the best representation of youth’s knowing need for profundity, especially in regard to romance, Before Sunrise is a movie about two people who talk, and talk, and talk. And in that talk is a bittersweet celebration of romantic brevity – those impassioned and fleeting snapshots of connection we experience that become lost in time.

92) Inglorious Basterds (2009)

Quentin Tarantino has been called a post-modern filmmaker, and Basterds, as dismissive of facts as it is of spelling, should be no exception. While it could be argued that Tarantino has made a film more about World War II movies than World War II itself, it’s actually best watched as an historical fairy tale, entertainment for lovers of the blissfully absurd.

91) The Matrix (1999)

0447e2b9fd8b58e735d6618292789043

It’s hard to imagine our generation without The Matrix, which practically gave birth to cyberpunk culture. It made philosophy cool; it made kung-fu hypnotizing; it made Keanu Reeves passable, for once. It was also arguably the first sci-fi film to adequately capture the feeling of the digital revolution. Were the “Agents” actually a precognitive metaphor for internet trolls? I think I may be onto something.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Art and Donald Trump: Where did we go wrong?

6e0711fb4290eec00a8fd3cd045952e2

Tomorrow, I get to wake up to two realities: one, on Tuesday, November 15, I am going to launch my first novel; and two, Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States. And while I’m still excited about the former, the latter has simultaneously enveloped the whole thing with the darkest, or maybe just dimmest, of shadows, for results like the ones we saw yesterday are enough to make you ask some serious questions about your own motivations, in life and in art.

I am, first and foremost, a storyteller, so I will be plenty happy if people pick up my book, give it a read, and feel as though they were entertained and stimulated. But a person doesn’t pick up a pen, put it to paper, and spend three years issuing heart and soul to characters, situations, and themes, without hoping that the words also offer some semblance of provocative insight into our flawed culture. A writer’s mind is occupied by many things while writing a book—some political, most philosophical—and it is inevitable that a certain worldview, even a temporary or ever evolving one, will work its way into the prose. A reader can decide whether they want to latch onto it or not, but the important thing is that the option is there for them. If they do latch on, the experience is bound to be more fulfilling, and in some cases, life altering.

But then, suddenly, Donald Trump happens, and you start asking yourself, what was the point? Because surely if someone whose brand is xenophobia and misogyny and anti-intellectualism can get elected to the highest office in the world, art’s basic message has failed. For who should art be directed at, the people who understand its fundamental power, or those who really need it? The people who appreciate art are the people who already appreciate its function: to act as a counterbalance to the mad, forceful realities we live with on a daily basis. Whatever the method—satire, history, or straight drama—art is a doorway to clairvoyance, to helping humanism meet its moral potential. But there’s a problem: it is people’s lack of exposure to art that makes them blind to art’s guiding hand, and they will retain that blindness as long as people like Donald Trump—fear monger, panderer, person who “loves uneducated people”—continue to actively propagate the idea that they don’t need artistic inspiration, they just need him.

 My friend Bryn, for her Master’s degree, wrote a thesis claiming that literature, at its best, can turn people into more morally upstanding and empathetic people. I believe books have that power, as I believe it about movies and music and theatre and paintings. For storytelling, in any form, is a way to transport an isolated mind into someone else’s. Experience a day in the mind of Oliver Twist, and learn some sympathy toward orphans. See things through the eyes of Offred, and better understand a woman’s voiceless day-to-day challenges. It is not perfect empathy, of course. It never can be. But it is better than merely standing by the whims of an authoritarian despot who simply “tells” you things, and has no interest in showing you.

Some people close to Donald Trump have implied that he hasn’t read a book in twenty years. Whether that’s true or not, one thing that cannot be argued is that the man is short on empathy, at least towards people who share much more than superficial differences with him, so I’m not shy to conclude that art is not a big presence in his life, unless, of course, he sees profitability in it. I’m sure he’d be happy to let art touch his wallet, not so much his soul. His book, after all, is called The Art of the Deal (which he didn’t actually write, by the way). Matt Good once said that “politics is the art of passable corruption.” I agree with that sentiment, mostly, except that it’s kind of hard to call Donald Trump passable. His racism isn’t passable, it was simply ignored. His misogyny isn’t passable, it was just underwhelming. To his supporters, that is. They weren’t interested in Trump’s horrors because they lacked the ability to identify with its effects. To the white man, he is no burden; to the uneducated, he requires small thinking.

And so I become depressed, because I am now faced with the reality that my book is unlikely to land in the hands of people who need to feel a better connection to their fellow man. They aren’t interested in such things. My readers will be mostly people who can sort through the madness and properly glimpse our problematic future. And, in a way, that’s fine—I’m happy to add to their arsenal of perspective. But I write because I want to speak to people, and many people just proved that they cannot, for now, be adequately spoken to. Spoken at, yes, but not spoken to. I finished my book thinking that I may have created something impressionable, something forward thinking, but the world just took a major step back, and I’m not sure if my book is about to land on store shelves or a fire pit in a town square. Surely, great literature has sprung from hard times, a reaction to the emergence of evil, but, at the time, the wrong people were reading it—only those who read because reading helped them cope. Trump supporters need to read, and watch, and listen, and let their insides become expanded from the experience. Oh how I wish they would pick up a copy of 1984 right now, but they are not going to—they are too busy wanting to keep things simple and marginal. There is a future, and art will have a place in it, but right now, as an artist, my place in the conversation is feeling limited. And there is no worse feeling than spending three years pouring blood, sweat, and tears into a work of art, and then find yourself asking, why did I bother?

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments