My movie-a-day year complete

At the beginning of the year, I set myself the ambitious goal of watching the equivalent of a movie a day in 2018. They all had to be movies I had never seen. I started on January 1, and am happy to announce that I just finished the feat tonight. It was a wild and time consuming ride, but worth it. I saw some great cinema along the way! Part of the reason I wanted to do this is that, as a movie buff, there were many classic films that I probably should have seen that I had never taken the time to watch. This challenge forced me to finally settle down and watch a lot of them. So you’ll notice that many of the titles are old school, before I was even born. It gave me a much needed appreciation for classic films.

And yes, I kept an online diary. If you’re interested in seeing what I watched, check it out here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Millennial’s List of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time: The Top 10


10) Star Wars (1977)


They say that movies have never been the same after Star Wars, but for Millennials, born after its release, they have always been very much the same. We shouldn’t take that for granted, because thanks to George Lucas and his cast of kooky characters in a galaxy far far away, we were incepted into a new plain of moviemaking, and it was a far greater one than any generation before us got to experience from day one.

9) Rear Window (1954)

Alas, after teasing you with four other Hitchcock films, we finally crown his greatest achievement. People often use the term Hitchcockian to mean unseen and mysterious, but, to us, the machinations of Rear Window is really what they mean: the camera as a character, a tool that doesn’t just show people but becomes them. It’s a tense and slow-burn thriller, with perfect performances from the timeless Jimmy Stewart and the incomparably beautiful Grace Kelly, but it’s also a conflicting study in voyeurism. Peeping is wrong, right? That is, until you use it to solve a murder.

8) Toy Story (1995)


For years, the Disney musical feature dominated animated cinema, until, one day, it didn’t. Thank Toy Story for that, the very first fully computer animated movie, and to this day, still the best. For Millenials, Pixar is the status-quo for the computer animated revolution, and it all started here, with Buzz and Woody, two endearing toys who taught us a thing or two about what it is to be real: you just need a “friend in me.”

7) Citizen Kane (1941)

Look at any other list of the greatest movies of all time, and 99% of the time Orsen Wells’ ageless classic is what sits atop the mountain. And it’s hard to argue. Citizen Kane is technically groundbreaking, seamlessly performed, and endlessly alive. But it’s hard for a Millenial to put it at the top, mainly because we have to look at the film more as an objective document of film, not as an experience. But it’s still a beautiful portrayal of twenty-something ideological angst, something any Millenial can appreciate. Or any generation, for that matter.

6) Jaws (1975)


The first “summer blockbuster,” and what’s maybe a little ironic about putting Steven Spielberg’s Jaws so high on the list is that it would appear to go against everything that Millenial movie culture stands for. Today, summer tent-pole movies are all about quick pacing, imported CGI, and brands. To look at Jaws now, one might say, how dare it take 90 minutes to reveal the shark, or use practical effects, or not have a super hero in it. But we’re smarter than we look. We understand that Jaws is maybe the most eerily suspenseful movie ever made because it rarely ever shows the shark. The “slow build” is something criminally underused in movies nowadays, and we need movies like Jaws to remind us of what’s missing.

5) The Big Lebowski (1998)

Yet another movie that rose from the ashes of indie movie purgatory and became one of the most quoted and re-watched touchstones of a generation. There’s laughs a plenty, but The Big Lebowski is more charming for its pure abstractness – a nourish caper built on sloth and cynicism. I think Millenials identify so well with the movie because its hero (or anti-hero), The Dude, amusingly reminds them of everything that older generations think they are—lazy malcontents who landed in the wrong place at the wrong time. He’s a purveyor of the “Millenial disease,” and The Big Lebowski is an unprofound middle finger to all those Millenial haters and their disciplined ignorance.

4) The Shining (1980)


We’ve seen our share of horror films on this list, and we cap it off, naturally, with the greatest of them all. The Shining is like that car accident you barely avoided—you don’t realize how scared you were until you start shaking hours later. It’s a nice exploration of madness, it’s beautifully staged and shot, and it’s the movie that used isolation to the very best suspenseful effect. It’s that, and it’s so much more. Stanley Kubrick took all the best horror mythologies, philosophies, and textures and mixed them into a depraved bowl of soup. Or should I say, an elevator of blood.

3) The Dark Knight (2008)

The action, the intrigue, Heath Ledger’s incomparable performance as the Joker. Yeah, we know all that. But never forget about how perfectly The Dark Knight captured the sociological unease of its time (our time!), using a flight of imagination to make our world newly recognizable. It’s not just the greatest action movie ever made, it’s not just the greatest super hero movie ever made, it may very well be the best time capsule perspective of the post-9/11 world that became our generational identity. The Dark Knight examines the way fear can change the mood of an urban population, and the way politicians and outlaws can stoke and exploit that terror. Sounds strangely familiar. And did I mention Heath Ledger?

2) The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Yes, the original Star Wars may have been a more principal moment in movie history, but anyone with an undergrad in movie-watching knows that The Empire Strikes Back is actually the better movie. It’s moodier, sharper, and much more intimate. It took the standard of filmmaking that Star Wars ushered in and tinkered with the finer points until something miraculously flawless lay before our eyes. The magic we had seen; the totally involving story, we had not. And they don’t get more involving than this. The Empire Strikes Back is so incomprehensibly good, it’s hard to find the words. So we’ll just settle for the obvious one: perfection.

1) Pulp Fiction (1994)


I saw controversy on the horizon as soon as I added the numbers and discovered that Pulp Fiction was going to be number one on this list. And that controversy, I decided, was going to come from a very simple place: Pulp Fiction is not for everyone. It’s violent; it’s postmodern; it’s about frenetic human beings. Since it’s measured so heavily based on taste, wouldn’t something more generally crowd-pleasing like Star Wars or The Wizard of Oz have been the safer choice? Well, yes, but in constructing this list, we had to look at everything, and there just was no movie that stood out as more inherently influential to, and symbolic of, Millennial culture than Tarantino’s ripe masterpiece. The film is so ADD, it has to constantly mangle it’s own storyline just to interest itself; the film is so meta, it uses language like a Tate Modern art form. It mixes the noir with the ridiculous; the crime saga with a MacDonald’s commercial. In short, it took every great movie that came before it and entangled them into our impeding 21st century culture. One of the greatest compliments you can give a movie is to say that it made everything that came after it seem derivative, and how many times have we heard, “It’s kind of like Pulp Fiction”? But there’s only one Pulp Fiction, and it has stacked every piece of its brilliance into one newly declared conclusion: to Millennials, it is the greatest movie ever made, whether they know it or not.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Millennial’s List of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time: 20-11

20) Titanic


For about a year, everyone thought Titanic was the greatest film ever made, and then, suddenly, everyone decided it was the worst. I think that’s partially because, for whatever reason, Titanic got entwined with teeny-bopper culture. I urge you to reinvestigate it and discover what is, and always was, brilliant about it—it’s timely view of class struggle, it’s eye-popping visuals, and the fact that, in a generation that tends to overcomplicate romance, Titanic dared to be innocent about love. Twenty years later, the sinking of that great unsinkable ship is one of the most jaw-dropping spectacles ever put on film, especially on the big screen.

19) Mulholland Drive

More than any other work by David Lynch, Mulholland Drive works on the level of an elegant, frustrating puzzle box (unlocked—and locked—with a blue key) and as the object of a surrendered dream. Erotic, fear-ridden, and beautiful, the primal imagery has the alluring pull of death itself.

18) The Silence of the Lambs

As the only horror film to ever win the Best Picture Oscar, you’d have to give most of the credit to Anthony Hopkins’ disturbingly controlled portrayal of Hannibal Lecter, and the beautifully antagonistic chemistry he has with Jodi Foster (they both also won Oscars for the movie). You could say the gore and the suspense are what makes it a horror film, but to us, it’s the terrifying psychological interplay between the two leads. Never before has simple banter been so scary.

17) Fight Club


Some call it the quintessential Millennial film. Wildly inventive, expertly acted, and undeniably controversial, there’s an endless list of subtexts and viewpoints which will fuel student pub debates for years. Fight Club is the rare film where the social satire actually matches that of the book it’s based on.

16) The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz is often the first “great” film that a person will see in life. That’s why countless kids can sit and watch it again and again, and keep doing it into their 80s. Knowing that it was made entirely by human ingenuity, without a single computer, makes it even more worth its marvel 75 years and an added dimension later. It’s the most magical film that has nary a trace of our present-day definition of “movie magic.”

15) Mean Girls (2004)

When compiling this list, there was nothing else that met with such all-around agreement: Mean Girls needs to be on it. It is, unquestionably, the quintessential high-school movie of the 21st Century. Sure, it perfectly captures the sticky interpersonal politics of our formative years, but it’s the little things that make every scene spill to the next with near-perfect cleverness: no way is “fetch” going to be allowed to happen; most people “don’t actually make a speech”; and the girl who doesn’t even go there. It’s all, like, totally fetch. (It happened!)

14) Jurassic Park (1993)


For Millennials born before 1990, in a way, this was our Star Wars—a trip to the movies that didn’t just impress our eyes, it took us somewhere. In this case, it was a tropical island where dinosaurs lived and breathed. And we believed in every acre of it. When we first saw that T-Rex, casually swallowing a goat’s entrails, we said, “This is the new standard for visual delight,” and we asked, “What will those visuals look like in 20 years?” The answer: about the same. That’s how amazing this movie was.

13) Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

From limbless black nights, fierce killer rabbits, and cattle tossing Frenchmen, Monty Python packed so much ridiculous comedy mayhem into their first motion picture that you have to wonder where they found the material for two more. At once an oafishly British farce and a deconstruction of dark aged chivalry, this is the Holy Grail of movie hilarity, and gets our vote as the best comedy of all time.

12) The Godfather (1972)

Yeah, there’s all that old stuff: Marlon Brando’s performance; the seamlessly human writing; the stunning cinematography. But may I be so bold as to say that The Godfather has entered this decade as a new generational touchstone? The movie is about the ugly side of the American dream, and Millenials are just starting to learn those lessons themselves. The Godfather simplifies our cutthroat capitalist world into something we all now understand: human violence is both real and metaphorical.

11) The Shawshank Redemption (1994)


It’s the movie that everyone loves, and the one that makes pretentious movie snobs hate them for it. I think the love for Shawshank can be explained pretty easily: it’s the rare movie that ceaselessly manipulates its viewer with violence and corruption and then actually rewards them for their endurance with a beautifully uplifting ending. But look closer and also see that it’s a fine-tuned period piece about dealing with overbearing authority, much like the world at the time dealt with the authority of racism and greed. That ending isn’t just for happy-tears, it’s also to convey progress, a better world forged from ill treatment and injustice.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Millennial’s List of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time: 30-21

30) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)


What’s that? You chose Indiana Jones’ third adventure as the best in the series? Yes . . . yes we did. While most critics won’t budge from their insistence that Raiders of the Lost Ark is the supreme film, Last Crusade has the edge for us. Don’t get us wrong, we love Raiders (it’s on the list, after all), but while it was a bit bleaker, and The Temple of Doom was a bit goofier, The Last Crusade finally got the balance just right. Plus, Sean Connery as Indy’s father? Yes please!

29) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

With a timely chemistry, Paul Newman and Robert Redford, as Butch and Sundance, respectively, gave birth to a film generation of wisecracking anti-heroes. It may be a Western, but it probably had a greater influence on heist films, those charisma-riddled vehicles where it’s cool to root for the bad guys.

 28) Apocalypse Now (1979)

“I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” That’s the line that gets all the credit, but Apocalypse Now is full of memorable quips that slyly acknowledge the derangement of the Vietnam War, both its violence and its psychology. My favourite is “Charlie don’t surf.” Napalm all around, and they’re thinking about surfing. Apocalypse indeed.

 27) Incendies (2010)

This may, to some, be the biggest head-scratcher on our list. But we had to save a place for a Canadian tour de force. And we give Incendies the honour of greatest Canadian film. Or at least, greatest Canadian film that only partially takes place in Canada. Suspenseful, mysterious, and ultimately gut-wrenching, Incendies may not be for everyone, but there’s no way you will come out of it feeling nothing. If you do, find a soul!

 26) Die Hard (1988)


We know it. You know it. Everyone knows it. Die Hard is the greatest action film of all time. Think of all the tropes that came after, and you can most likely trace it all back here—the hostage situation, the take-over, the body count, but most of all, the hero who is more concerned with making wise-cracks than saving the day. This is also where Alan Rickman started his tradition as the go-to villain in Hollywood, and he always played it well, but never as good as this.

 25) Psycho (1960)

Endless iconography. The shower scene, the shrieking score, and “mother.” It is grade A material, and yet I’d almost argue that Pyscho is the greatest B movie of all time. Or maybe it’s just the first B movie, which makes it more than worthy of its revolutionary status.

 24) Goodfellas (1990)

Scorsese’s crackerjack gangster drama, starring Ray Liotta as an up-and-coming mobster, is the filmmaker’s prime showcase. It includes his perfectionist craftsmanship (those tracking shots!), his morbid sense of humour, and his tendency, almost need, to make mobsters sympathetic.

23) Schindler’s List (1993)

Steven Spielberg’s black and white, documentary-style portrait of the holocaust is, 23 years later, still the quintessential film about genocide. It, better than any other film, shows the holocaust as a time when a group of people unshackled their ids and let true evil become a tangible reality. Liam Neeson, as Oskar Schindler, has never been better, partly because he understood that keeping Schindler’s motivations enigmatic is the film’s prime strength. It allows history to speak for itself—the ultimate “show; don’t tell.” Spielberg showed us the holocaust, and that did all his talking for him.

 22) Inception (2010)


At once a sci-fi spectacle, a basic heist film, and a gloomy lament about family, Inception may be, at once, both Christopher Nolan’s broadest and most intimate film. It’s also his plain coolest!

 21) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

For years, Jim Carrey just threw himself at his audience. Here, he sat back and breathed a little bit. Wouldn’t you know it?—it led to his greatest performance, and his greatest film. It’s a mind-bender, it’s sweetly romantic, but at its core is a majestically profound question: Is love powerful enough to endure even when you know its outcome? Decide for yourself.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Millenial’s List of the Top 100 Movies of All Time: 40-31

40) 500 Days of Summer (2009)

For years, romantic comedies came and came and came, and in the process, they got really bad, and never seemed to figure themselves out. We dare say that 500 Days of Summer is the greatest of them all. For once, a movie properly tapped into the ups, downs, and confusions of modern love. It’s bitter, it’s sweet, and it’s everything in between. And it has a hell of a soundtrack.

 39) Inside Out (2015)


Inside Out is the most recent film on our list. It may seem premature to ascribe such greatness to a film so early in its lifespan, but we happen to think it’s just that great. And we think that time will share the same verdict. While many manipulative movies from our youth like Bambi and The Land Before Time tried to force us to grow up by traumatizing us (no resentment there, clearly), Inside Out explores change and adolescence in the best way possible – with humour and heart.

 38) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

If not for The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek would not be what it is. The original series was not hugely watched, and the first film was a bore. This time, they got it right. Really right! William Shatner has never been better (and certainly never will be again), and our heartstrings have never been deeper pierced than by Leonard Nimoy’s climactic proclamation: “I have been, and always will be, your friend. ” Anyone have a tissue?

 37) Almost Famous (2000)

Every Cameron Crowe film is, in its own way, about romance and rock & roll, and his romance with rock & roll. So call Almost Famous his Sgt. Pepper of rock operas. It’s his greatest film, and that may be because it’s his most personal. And we’re still confused about how Kate Hudson didn’t win an Oscar for her role.

 36) King Kong (1933)


At the time, the visual effects were unprecedented, which is probably enough to make some Millennials laugh. But there is still an instilled innocence to the whole thing. There’s so much money and so much saturation in “big cinema” nowadays, movie magic has almost become a dying concept. The original King Kong is a hoot, but it also makes us nostalgic for the days of the Hollywood dream factory, when our eyes were so awed, it almost made us laugh.

35) Predator (1987)

Yes, it’s true – Predator is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s greatest film. A little passed-over at the time of its release, the film has gotten its dues and grown in popularity over the years, and now stands today as one of the signature action movies of all time. As far as one-on-one battles go, we’ll take Arnie vs. Predator over UFC any day.

 34) The Godfather Part II (1974)

As long as corruption and power remain society’s most destructive vices, the Godfather films will never NOT be relevant. The plotting is elliptical and the sweep is invigorating, making our second look at the Corleone family (almost) as intoxicating as the first.

33) Unforgiven (1992)

It’s like Clint Eastwood lived four decades of Western fun and ended it all by saying, “The old west was a terrible place.” At once harsh and eloquent, Unforgiven may be the 90s most profound statement about the nature of violence and revenge.

 32) Notorious (1946)

The most famous Hitchcock movie that isn’t really a famous Hitchcock movie. It’s also one of his very best. Ingrid Bergman and Carey Grant have unmatched chemistry as a spy and a civilian who infiltrate the house of an escaped Nazi in Brazil. At once suspenseful and sensually romantic, Notorious influenced spy films forever, and barely anyone noticed.

 31) A Clockwork Orange (1971)


Directed with assurance and filled with the cynicism, paranoia, visual flair (and lurid titillation) that characterised so much of Stanley Kurbrick’s work, this is not classic cinema for the glowingly deprived, it’s just classic.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

50) The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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