Time for everyone's Movie Dirty Dozen! Don't forget to visit the other blogs participating in the fun!
A note about the Twelve. I am such an unabashed movie fanboy that I could make a list of 100's or 1000's. It took me a while to choose the right films. My criteria was simple, I chose films that were inventive and memorable. But the crux of my choices rested on the questions: Can you watch this movie over and over without the film collapsing on itself? Does it get better with age... or worse?
See if you agree with at least some of these! 1. LOTR Trilogy - What an amazing piece of work from Peter Jackson and the team from Weta. Every frame has been lovingly crafted with intricate detail and care. It's quite apparent that Peter Jackson not only loved the LOTR books by J.R.R. Tolkien, but also poured so much effort into making films that appeal to the broad masses as well as the fanboys. Take the time and invest an entire day in the extended cut trilogy. 2. Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie - I am a huge fan of this great cult series. Joel, Mike and the bots have been like family since the shows inception, so I was so excited to see a big-screen version of my beloved show. Watching MST3K in the theater was such an amazing experience. For those of you unfamiliar with the show (shame on you), Mike and the bots (Tom Servo, Crow, Gypsy and Cambot) are trapped on the satellite of love and are forced to watch bad movies orchestrated by the evil scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester. The cinematic stinker that the crew skewers is "This Island Earth" and it is played up for big, big laughs. 3. Memento - Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight) burst on to the movie scene with this amazing, mind-bending film. Told in reverse, the story centers on a man (Guy Pierce) who is searching for his wife's killer while suffering from short-term memory loss (stemming from the attack on his wife). Most films require only a tiny amount of brain computing power (if any at all). Memento requires your entire brain stay focused on the events unfolding as you are asked to follow a narrative playing in reverse. Every time you think you know what is going on, the next scene deconstructs every notion in your head. A masterpiece.
4. Blazing Saddles - One of the most oft-quoted films is also one of the funniest movies of all time. Mel brooks spoof of the old west and a very telling play on racism is timeless and hilarious.
5. Blade II - I was trying to find the right Guillermo Del Toro film to add to my list. Hellboy, The Devil's Backbone and others were all great films but Blade II took a cool movie premise and turned it up to 11. This is one of my favorite experiences in a theater. The crowd was so into the film that I didn't mind the hoots and hollers. It just added to the vibe and ramped up the fun.
6. Serenity - It's like Christmas when one of my favorite Sci-Fi shows of all time ("Firefly") gets the big-screen treatment. The characters are great, the dialogue crackles with energy and wit and the show is given a wonderful send-off.
7. A Few Good Men - Another film with so many great lines and great performances. The ensemble cast is brilliant and rounded out by a truly memorable performance by Jack Nicholson who chews up every scene.
8. Jurassic Park - I remember reading the novel by Michael Crichton in about a day and a half and thinking there was no way they could turn this into a movie (but hoping they would try). Fortunately, Steven Spielberg picked up the gauntlet and ushered in a new age of summer blockbuster. So many jaw-dropping moments and amazing action set pieces. This movie took my inner child out for a two hour+ romp and I feel that way every time I watch it. 9. Aliens - James Cameron took a creepy, slow-paced, brooding film (Alien) and turned it into a non-stop roller coaster ride of action and excitement. If you’re a fan of this film (and who isn't) you quote lines from this movie all the time. This film is a non-stop juggernaut of action that keeps ramping up the excitement and tension. I'm a huge fan of all of Cameron's work but this one is truly epic.
10. Raiders of the Lost Ark - This is as close as it gets to the perfect movie. Great pacing, amazing set pieces, and wonderful characters. This movie had me grinning from ear to ear and remains one of my all time favorites. This should be required film school viewing when it comes to pacing and editing. Spielberg has so many great films to his credit that he must be considered as the finest director of all time.
11. Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Sporting a big budget and a cool twist, this sequel to "The Terminator" was an event movie. James Cameron took the world of Skynet and created an entire mythos that is still relevant in the minds of all fanboys and Sci-Fi aficionados alike.
12. Star Trek: First Contact - I had to include a Trek film. I have told my wife that I could watch the crew of the Enterprise sit around a campfire and belch for two hours. Fortunately, this film is so much better than that. With a great time-travel premise, an exciting enemy (the Borg) and the next gen crew this is my all-time favorite Trek. 13. (Baker's Dozen): Evil Dead II/The Crow - Love both films and couldn't decide which one to include so here they are. Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead II" is a work of pure, creative genius. Shot on a shoestring budget, Raimi employs every camera trick known to man, and a few he made up. Add to the mix an amazing performance by Bruce Cambell and you have a truly creative horror/comedy cult classic. From a graphic novel by J.O. Barr, director Alex Proyas crafted a stunning, visual feast of violence and revenge. What really sets the film apart is the work by Brandon Lee. For those of you who don't know, Brandon Lee was accidently killed during the making of this film when a prop gun was filled with live rounds. This tragedy has made an imprint on the film, which seems haunted and sorrowful. I left out so many films that I wanted to add, so check back Wednesday for a fresh list of movies that almost made the list.