The T&C 100 - #s 50-59
59. Love, Actually (2003)
This may well be (I'm actually too lazy to ALT-TAB over to my full list and check - pretty impressive, no?) my favorite romantic comedy. What surprises me so much is that the "anthology" approach of putting dozens of loosely related characters in one movie and telling all of their interconnected stories works so well in this genre. The plot thread with Liam Neeson and the little kid may well be my favorite - I love how it hinges on throwing reason to the wind and how it never deigns to mock the child for his feelings.
Favorite moment: The bow-tying ending, scored to the majestic organ sounds of "God Only Knows," when we see all of the characters at the airport.
59. The Sixth Sense (1999)
I, alas, saw this after having had the ending spoiled, so wasn't able to experience that thrill of awareness at realizing what has been going on. That the movie still spooked, moved, and engrossed me speaks to the fact that it is more than just a simple twist ending that made the film such a hit.
Favorite moment: Haley-Joel Osment's monologue to his mother near the end when they are stuck in traffic. Just a wonderfully acted scene by both Osment and Toni Collette.
58. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
I've seen precious few films that communicate sheer joy and happiness so well. The plot is dopey and kind of pointless, but the singing and dancing make us not care a whit.
Favorite moment: Donald O' Connor defying the laws of gravity. Try to watch that dance and not smile. Can't be done.
57. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
That Harris kind of trashed the character of Hannibal Lecter in follow-up novels has been well-hashed out; but this film stands up extremely well on its own, divorced from its sequels and prequels. The chemistry between Foster and Hopkins makes what could have been a pretty straightforward thriller into something much more.
Favorite moment: Lecter's gory escape from his cell. Still can't think about it without getting mightily creeped out.
56. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Roger Ebert's oft-quoted line about how this film should be mandatory viewing for teenagers is none the less true for its ubiquity - never have the destructive and rapturous qualities of drugs been more brutally depicted.
Favorite moment: The quick-cutting, horrific climax, set to that hypnotic bit of scoring from Clint Mansell.
55. The Truman Show (1998)
I don't think Jim Carrey has ever been better - even in Eternal Sunshine, where it's really Kate Winslet who carries the day. I love both the high concept and the dedication to that concept shown. (my favorite detail being the notion that musicians improv themes live to Truman's life to play along with the TV show, much like the silent film organists of yore. I also love that, while the film is scored by Burkhard Dallwitz, it is Phillip Glass who we see on the keyboards, and who provides the score-within-a-score that the Truman Show audience hears.)
Favorite moment: when Truman figures out (kind of) what is going on, and freaks out accordingly.
54. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
As a teenager (I was fourteen when the film was released) I didn't notice the faults that I've, as a grown-up, come to understand and regret (the cartoonification of Sallah and Marcus, the retread of so much Raiders material), but the film still has much so much to recommend it that I can't help but love it anyway. Ford plays the weariness of Jones so well, the sense of having been through all of this too many times before; it makes me positively giddy over how well he'll be able to convey that sense of aged wisdom and exhaustion in the upcoming epilogue. And the casting of Connery (burr notwithstanding) was a coup - he and Ford play remarkably well together, and the fleshing out of Jones' history is engaging and earned; I like learning more about this guy.
Favorite moment: Jones' disbelieving reaction to surviving the plummet of the tank and still being alive; it's easy to forget how well Ford portrayed Indiana Jones as a man surprised by what he does, as opposed to a coolly confident action hero.
53. X-Men II (2003)
The best of the trilogy, and a great superhero film. Very well constructed, with some stellar action sequences and (mostly) great casting. Jackman, Stewart, and McKellan form a trio of actors so well-suited to their parts that it's easy to forget how easily it could have gone another way.
Favorite moment: Jackman leaving Stryker - the man responsible for torturing and brainwashing him - to die. Well-played.
52. Star Wars: Episode VI—The Return of the Jedi (1983)
I probably loved this more as a ten-year old than I do now, but for all of its faults, there are moments in here that I will treasure always. I still haven't gone back and rewatched the six Star Wars films as one long story; when I do, seeing how the climax to the whole series - Vader killing the Emperor to save his son - plays will be seven flavors of awesome.
Favorite moment: The unmasking of Vader, and his quiet death, scored to a haunting, pianissimo rendition of Vader's theme.
51. The Iron Giant (1999)
It's here, at 51, after just a week. I suspect that if I did this again a year from now it will have moved up some. See here for my thoughts from last week; suffice it to say I cannot stop thinking about this film.
50. Jaws (1975)
A pretty much perfect film, with just the right blend of suspense, gore, character moments, and drama. Put all together, it feels effortless, but if just one element were out of balance the whole thing would have failed.
Favorite moment: A cliche, but can you blame me? Quint's monologue.