I know, I know. There are three LOTR movies and to put them all together as one would be cheating. I agree. But you’re forgetting the cardinal rule: it’s my list. If you want to get particular about it, I would say the The Fellowship of the Ring is the strongest entry in the trilogy, but this is not Star Wars: Episodes I-III. This is one story and one vision being created at one time. They were just released separately, that’s all.

#8 is low on any list, but of all the films on here this is the one that defines movies. Nevermind redefining — people throw that word out there all the time with little regard for what it means — The Lord of the Rings is a prime, if not the prime example of what movies are, can be, and do.

The expansive nature of the land and the way the camera captures it, the music being a character in the film (see #9). In the 1980s, we had Raiders of the Lost Ark and Back to the Future and Batman. What do we have now for bombastic music scores? What film do you go see and then can’t get the main title track out of your head? It doesn’t happen any more, but Howard Shore pulled it off with LOTR.

The performances are amazing, the cinematography is stunning and (spoilers) if you don’t cry at “You bow to no one” at the end of The Return of the King, I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe try The Hottie and the Nottie?

I said something out loud to my father after the last time we watched The Untouchables together.

“If someone walked up to me and told me that The Untouchables was the greatest movie ever made, they would be wrong. But I would never, ever correct them.”

Brian de Palma’s 1987 version of the Eliot Ness / Al Capone story is a marvel of a film. Thanks to a still-giving-a-shit Kevin Costner and an Oscar-winning performance by Sean Connery, the film just speaks to me. The unsung hero of the film is the score, which Italian master Ennio Morriccone composed. I still think it’s the greatest end title music in any film ever.

While Robert de Niro is great as Capone, it’s not his movie. It’s the titular foursome and their dynamic that sells it, with the mission to remove corruption from Chicago at its heart.

(Spoilers) If you don’t tear up when Malone is gunned down in his home, when he speaks with his dying breath to Ness “What are you prepared to do?!?” I can’t say there’s much hope for your soul.

de Palma has made some good movies — Carrie, Mission: Impossible — and some stinkers — The Black Dahlia, Scarface [sorry, Italian-American culture (which is also weird, as Tony Montana is Cuban) it’s not very good] — but The Untouchables is his brush with greatness. Do yourself a favor and watch this movie. Right now. Like, stop reading, and go do it. I’ll wait.

 

 

 

Now wasn’t that awesome?

Just as is the way with lists, sometimes that #10 just squeaks in. This is a film that I’ve loved ever since I was 10 years old and it was released. It’s one of those things where the filmmaking is really unimportant — it doesn’t look fantastic, isn’t shot amazingly well or even edited great. But it’s got a rapid-fire pace that never lets up, is charmingly funny and is insatiably quotable.

It’s Ron Howard’s The Paper.

Released in 1994, The Paper shows us a day in the life — actually 24 hours — of the fictional New York Sun newspaper, and its lead is Metro Editor Henry Hackett (Michael Keaton). The film was marketed both as a drama — the story is about two youths who are falsely accused of murder — and a comedy, as the workplace environment lends itself to. It does both very well, and the supporting players are top notch. Marisa Tomei is Hackett’s wife, Randy Quaid is a columnist, Glenn Close is the man-eating Managing Editor and Robert Duvall is the Editor-in-Chief.

I’ve seen this film over a dozen times, and each time I get more and more sucked into the world that these characters live in. In fact, I think a lot of the reason I want to work at a newspaper stems from this film. I know real life isn’t like the movies, but wouldn’t it be swell if it was?

So this blog started out as one thing and has evolved into another. That’s okay. It happens.

I was intent on discussing blogs in the movie biz and their impact, but let’s be serious, folks. Everyone loves lists. I am drawn to them. They prompt discussion or dissent. It’s loads of fun.

I’ve begged the question* for years of what my Top 10 is. How could I ever? I know what I have said my top 2 are, and I know what are “top 10” movies, but I’ve never formulated a solid list. It’s too hard. 10 movies? Out of the 1000s I’ve seen and hundreds I truly, truly love?

The other problem is that there’s what I used to say things were but that may not be true any more. I had many opinions which just mirrored that of my father, and my own took years to come into … their own. And there are also films that nobody would say are top 10 worthy. But they may show up. Because it’s my list.

There’s an important distinction. When people say “these aren’t the best movies, they’re my favorite” they’re talking shit. To think for a second that we have anything else — anything objective — to say about this art form is to render yourself completely useless. Your favorites are the best — to you.

Okay, okay, I know. Stop bitching and get on with it. Here’s what I think I’m going to do. Each post is going to count down my Top 10 of all time. It’s gonna take a little while to put it together, but I already know what number ten is. So here goes.

 

* Actually the proper usage of that idiom. Got schooled a year ago on it. Never get to use it. Win.

While I was doing that last post, I saw that there is a tab I have never noticed before. I was viewing the “best” movies, but there’s a button for “worst.” This has got to be interesting.

What are the alleged worst movies that I have both seen and not seen?

These are the one’s I haven’t seen.

10. Steel

9.Basic Instinct 2

8. The Lawnmower Man 2

7. House of the Dead

6. The Love Guru

5. The Man

4. Bratz

3. Hollywood After Dark (I’ve never heard of this)

2. Battlefield Earth

1. The Hottie and the Nottie

 

That’s a pretty rough list. I can’t say I have any desire to see any of those, but Battlefield Earth has got to be a mesmerizing train wreck.

I couldn’t comment on any of those really, since I haven’t seen them. But what about the ones I HAVE seen? This is gonna be awesome.

10. Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever. This movie gets a lot of shit, and while my 18 year old self does not remember loving it at all, I don’t recall it being the absolute train wreck that everyone calls it. But it is one of the stupidest titles ever.

9. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Okay, I take it back. That is the worst title ever. I saw this in the theater as an 8 year old and never have to see it again. That says something.

8. Mr. Wrong. When you’re 12, every movie is supposed to be awesome. Not so much with this. I almost walked out. But I would have been stranded, as my mom still had to come pick me up.

7. BloodRayne. One of two Uwe Boll movies on this list (he also did House of the Dead above), it is magically horrible. Vampires and Nazis. Just not good.

6. Speed 2: Cruise Control. Wait. It’s a boat that can’t stop moving? But it’s not moving that fast, right? Once again — 13 years old, and one and done. No need to sit through this one again. Life is too short.

5. Alone in the Dark. Uwe Boll part 2. This is one of the most amazing exercises in ineptitude I have ever seen. Think Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist in The World is Not Enough was bad? Try Tara Reid as a scientist. Nuff said.

4. Son of the Mask. I actually enjoyed this one, kinda. Alan Cumming as Loki is a hoot. But Jim Carrey is 3 for 3 on ditching sequels to his movies (see Evan Almighty and Dumb and Dumberer).

3. Date Movie. I don’t even count this as a movie. It’s just not fair to the other shitty movies vying for spots.

2. Catwoman. Yep, it’s bad. Like really bad.

1. Gigli. Here’s the twist ending, folks. I loved this movie. I thought it was funny, I thought it had some great character development in Jennifer Lopez, and Christopher Walken and Al Pacino both show up. It has issues, sure, but it is one of the most unfairly maligned movies in history. Though that’s my 19-year-old self defending it. I should watch it again. I really have nothing to lose, other than an unpopular opinion.

So what follows is going to be the Top 10 “Unseen” movies on my Flickchart list. This means a couple of different things.

Flickchart keeps track of global rankings, insomuch as the percentage of times a film beats another film. So, for instance, Star Wars is the number one best ranked film in all of Flickchart because it wins 77% of the time.

Now there is also the “Unranked” category, and this simply means I haven’t told Flickchart either that I’ve seen it or haven’t. There are bound to be many movies that fall into either category in this list, but in the past year I have used this list to garner more movies seen (1706 currently, which I think is a small number) and rankings given, or clicks, which is 6111.

So what are the Global Top 10 Movies I haven’t seen? I don’t know. Let’s find out.

10. Paths of Glory

This is a 1958 war film with Kirk Douglas and directed by a young Stanley Kubrick. My father, to whom I owe most of my film history, is not big on Kubrick. That explains, a bit, why I haven’t seen it. But it’s time. And I also lied to a coworker last week about seeing it. Go figure.

9. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. John Huston films? We don’t need no stinkin’ John Huston films. I’m sure it’s awesome though. Bogie? Come on.

8. Full Metal Jacket. Late Kubrick. See #10.

7. A Clockwork Orange. Seeing a pattern here?

6. Night of the Hunter. One of those that just slipped by. Love Laughton. Love Mitchum. I’m an idiot.

5. Apocalypse Now. This isn’t true. I saw it a month ago for my Independent Study. But to go back and edit now would be pointless, right?

4. Blade Runner. I don’t know how this has never passed by my eyes.

3. The Apartment. Ditto for this. I often call Billy Wilder my favorite director, and it won Best Picture for God’s sake.

2. The Third Man. Orson Welles. Mystery. I’m there. Just not yet.

1. Seven Samurai. It’s like 7 hours long. But I love The Magnificent Seven. It’ll happen one day.

 

I used to be what I called a professional moviegoer. My friend Chris and I started a thing back in late high school called “Tuesday Movie Night,” and it was as simple as it sounded. We saw the same movie on the same day (apart, while we were at college) and discussed afterwards. This went on for over 5 straight years.

When my movie compadre and I broke up, my moviegoing dwindled but I still went out and saw a lot. Between 2002 and 2004 I went to the movies between 150-200 times a year. But now?

I’m lucky if I’ve seen 30 movies this year. Such is life, I suppose, and the real world does get you down a little bit. It’s not as easy to spend every other day at the theater when you have work and rent and obligations outside of the collegiate realm.

But part of this cataloging project that I’ve been doing, in some form or another for the last year plus, is to get a better handle on all the things I haven’t seen and to try and lock in a home-movie time to catch up on what I’ve missed. That’s not just about the last few years, but about my cinema education in general.

I’m going to open up Flickchart and Letterboxd and see what some of the more egregious gaps in my movie history are. More posts to follow.

 

I feel a little like the fictionalized Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network creating Facemash right now. Except way less intelligent.

Sorry it’s been so long, folks. I could complain and explain, but that would only serve to piss you all off.

Anyhow, I recently got turned onto the newest and coolest website (it’s actually been around for a while, but it’s still in beta) that is going to ultimately help me catalog my lifetime moviegoing.

The website is Letterboxd (sic) and it’s not about pitting movies against one another the way Flickchart is, but rather rating them, sharing them and cataloging them. It really is the social media website for film.

The idea is simple. You click on movies to tell the system that you’ve seen it, and you can also add in a star rating. You can also blog (it’s called a diary) and share your films with others. You can make lists and share those with people, and it of course can be linked to your Facebook and Twitter.

Now, I have been trying to click my way through massive lists and amass a huge library or collection of “what I’ve seen.” The only problem is that there is no alphabetical list — only the compiled lists of OTHER users that you can see if you like. The best I’ve come up with so far is sorting them by year and going in manually. But I think this will be the way of the future for my ultimate movie list.

 

I should really stop cataloging and just see more. I live in the past a lot.

 

P.S. You have to be invited to join. Let me know if you want an invite.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted — sorry for that — but I just got reinvigorated thinking about one of my favorite movie-related websites. It’s kind of like a game, in that it’s so addicting, but it has many social media attributes to it.

It’s called Flickchart, and the best way to describe it would be that it’s “Hot or Not” for movies. Basically, you log in and you are presented with a choice between two movies. It could be anything. “Rocky” vs. “American Pie.” “Schindler’s List” vs. “Happy Gilmore.” “Spider-Man” vs. “Spider-Man 2.” The point is to simply pick the one that you prefer the most, and you move on to the next choice. 

What the website does, though, is as you click it systematically ranks your picks in an order so you can get an idea of what your favorite movies of all time are. It’s not a perfect system, of course, but it does paint a pretty nice picture.

It will catalog every time you’ve clicked, every movie you’ve seen and also every movie you haven’t seen. How’s that, you ask? Well, if you were presented with “Fargo” vs. “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” and you hadn’t seen the latter, you’d click the button below it that says “haven’t seen it” and that movie will never show up again unless you go back in and rank it.

This helps and hurts. It’s nice that you don’t have to continually say “no” to movies that you know you haven’t seen, but if it’s been a while since your last log in and you’ve seen a bunch of movies, you need to go to your “haven’t seen it” list and rank again.

I could go on for hours and hours about this — I’ve clicked 6,000 times or so — but it’s best to check it out yourself. 

I’ve read this website for some time, mostly through articles linked from Slashfilm and the like. However, I stumbled upon today (via surfing, not via StumbleUpon) a section of the site called Overrated/Underpraised. These features do a very good job of setting up arguments about films that have been lauded for years without much to back it up and films that fell under the radar for whatever reason. For instance, here are a few of the topics:

Why ‘The Last Boy Scout’ Deserves a Spot in the Buddy Cop Pantheon Right Next to ’48 Hrs.’

Did ‘Speed’ Steal the Thunder From ‘Die Hard With a Vengeance’ By Getting Released a Year Earlier?

Would ‘Hook’ Be a Classic On Par With ‘The Wizard of Oz’ If It Were Released in 1939?

 

What I enjoy most from these articles, even if I disagree with some of them (very, very few) is that the reporting is fair. The writer(s) take the time to set up both arguments and show them in a balanced light. Each piece starts with a brief description of the problem at hand and their common bonds. Then we find out why X is overrated, why Y is underpraised and finally conclude with a section called “Evening the Odds.”

FSR has long been been one of the better movie blogs out there, and discovering this feature has further cemented that notion. Next time we’ll tackle the good, the bad and the ugly of Ain’t It Cool News