Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The T&C 100 - #s 60-69

As I indicated before, the numbering is going to get a bit wacky here, given that I am adding some films I forgot and am too lazy to go back and renumber stuff. This is why there's a random #72 in here for this edition. It doesn't replace the original #72, it just gets added - call it a tie.

72. The Constant Gardner (2005)
I still mean to go back and read the novel this film was based on; the story and characters impacted me that much. I thought the filmmakers did an excellent job of bringing the audience into this very unfamiliar African world, with a wonderful sense of time and place created. The story is a heartbreaking one, and Rachel Weisz, in her relatively short time on screen, is luminous.
Favorite moment: When Justin is told that his wife is dead. Fiennes does a fine job of delineating the man's shocked grief that's neither under or overstated.

69. Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace (1999)
I'm one of the few who make no bones about loving the prequel trilogy. So there. And while this may be the weakest of the three, it's really not the film's fault - as the first film in a six-film series, it has a lot of setting up to do. I do wish Lucas had done some things differently (I'm not sure why we need to meet Anakin as such a young boy, especially considering the truly dreadful performance Jake Lloyd gives), but what gets lost in the endless criticisms is how much he got right- seeing the Jedi in action, the introduction of R2D2, the parallels to the original film, Darth Maul, that final lightsaber battle.
Favorite moment: Seeing Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon demonstrate their effortless skill in the opening sequence. I still remember the palpable thrill I got in the theater eight years ago when I first saw that scene.

68. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
A taut, bloody, profane, and very close-to-the-bone crime drama, with great performances by Harvey Keitel and Tim Roth. I love how the frame never widens, how we never see the police responding, or the victims, or anyone besides the criminals involved in the heist and anyone who comes into that circle. For the record? Still can't watch Madsen sever that cop's ear.
Favorite moment: When the Tim Roth character reveals himself to be a cop. Didn't see it coming.

67. Crash (2004)
I still think that a lot of the blowback this film got from the critics and on-line film buffs was a matter of good liberals simply not liking the message - that we are all racists in some way, whether we like it or not. But what I love about the movie is how it takes a modern message film told through many viewpoints (a la Traffic) and puts it through a very deliberately Dickensian classic storytelling mode, full of coincidences and last-minute revelations. Genius.
Favorite moment: When the Thandie Newton character realizes who is saving her.

66. Toy Story II (1999)
Few cinematic moments are as sad as Jessie the Cowgirls song and flashback. And that fact - that a moment involving a kids' toy singing about its owner is so profoundly moving - is all that really needs to be said about how good Pixar is.
Favorite moment: Just described it.

65. Moonstruck (1987)
Such a re-watchable movie, so well-written and so well-realized (try to watch it and not get a craving for good Italian gravy). I don't typically care for Cher at all, but here she's just great. I love movies set firmly in the real world that aren't afraid of a little poeticism.
Favorite moment: Loretta meets Ronny.

64. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
I worshipped this movie as a child. I've always thought that a lot of the criticism that gets made against it in comparison to the other two Indy films has a lot to do with the fact that the "magic" here is based in Eastern religion, and not good-ol' Christianity. That sequence in the club in the beginning is a classic set piece, and the last half-hour or so of the film pretty much never lets up.
Favorite moment: When Indy, having snapped out of his trance, winks at Short Round. Awesome.

63. Spider-Man (2002)
OK, so they messed up the Green Goblin a little, and kinda mushed Gwen and Mary Jane together into one character, but Spider-Man himself was perfect, and, more importantly, so was Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker. And to actually see Spider-Man webslinging through Manhattan? A geek dream come true.
Favorite moment: When Parker goes after the carjacker, learning to websling on the fly.

62. Notting Hill (1999)
A charming, sweet, and very funny romantic comedy with a pretty unique premise - what happens when the average bloke falls in love with a huge movie star?
Favorite moment: Anna and William's first night together. Played very sweetly.

61. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
I love how this film, more than anything, is a tragedy about two characters, and how little it's about "homosexuality" in any overt way. Ang Lee astonishes me with his range - he's now done a Western, a martial arts film, a Jane Austen period piece, a super-hero film, and a 70s suburban drama. What can't he do?
Favorite moment: Ennis smelling Jacks shirt.

60. Dances with Wolves (1990)
Isn't it kind of funny that seventeen years later so few films have addressed Native Americans as openly and honestly as this one? Grandly epic, beautiful, and inspiring, with an all-time great score.
Favorite moment: Dunbar being rescued from the soldiers near the end. Thrilling.

Until Whenever


Roger Owen Green said...

OK, don't tell anybody, but when that Jessie the Cowgirl scene came up with the Sarah McLachlan vocal, I got a little teary.

Tosy And Cosh said...

I'll raise you - as I'll describe when I get to it, I can't even THINK too much about the moment in Monsters Inc. when the little girl is reunited with Sully, never mind watch it, without getting misty.