Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fredd's Choice Awards: Top 10 films ever made

These flicks have everything a red blooded American could ever ask for in a film: Good guys wasting bad guys, or in the case of The God Father, bad guys wasting good and bad guys. Note the absence of any over riding love interests in the Top 10: I relegate those movies to the "Chick Flick" genre, and therefore they are absent here.
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Without further ado, here are Fredd's selection of the Top 10 Films Ever Made in descending order:
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10. Robocop. Set in the future in crime-ridden Detroit (no change from the present), police officer (portrayed by Peter Weller) is gunned down by scumbags, dies and his corpse is refitted with state of the art weapons, computer brain and great lines: 'dead or alive, you're coming with me.' Unbeknownst to Robo's creators, a bit of his human memory containing morals and ethics flickers within the computer brain, and in the end the bad guys get theirs. A true feel good flick, this film is one for the ages.
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9. Electra Glide in Blue. Good hearted motorcycle cop (lead role by Robert Blake decades before he became a murderer) is promoted to detective, then is witness to lawlessness by his mentor. He rats his boss out, returns to his motorcycle beat and meets an odd end. The photography in this movie is outstanding, considering its age (1973).
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8. The Unforgiven. A brilliant Clint Eastwood film (he played the lead and directed this one) about justice meted out in the old west town of Big Whiskey. Gene Hackman is also outstanding as the small town thug sheriff 'Little Bill,' who also gets his in the end. Great lines throughout, such as 'a man's got to know his limitations.' Also, Little Bill to Clint's character: 'you just shot an unarmed man!' To which the great reply goes 'well, he shoulda armed himself.'
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7. Jaws. Another great movie, where primordial monster shark devours any and all hapless New Englanders who splash about in its waters. Best line: Roy Scheider to vessel skipper Robert Shaw, when spotting the beast in their 20-something foot fishing vessel: 'we're going to need a bigger boat.' Indeed.
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6. The Godfather. Need I say more? Some say this is the best ever, I say phshaw. It is indeed a good flick, with the bad guys portrayed as having a twisted sense of moral virtue in their murderous pursuits of money and power, but the best ever? Nope. Great line: "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
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5. Kelly's Heroes. Another Clint Eastwood jem, a savvy U.S. WWII soldier gathers a team of other greedy GI's to snag a fortune in gold from a bank behind enemy lines. Star studded, and memorable performance from Donald Southerland as 'Oddball.' Catchy little sound track of 'Burning Bridges' is well done in conjunction with the entire production.
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4. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Russell Crowe does a truly superb job as commander of a British War ship of the line during the Napoleonic War era, and historical attention to detail is magnificent in every way. The relationship between the ship's doctor and the captain is also engaging. Great lines at the captains dinner table, including the 'weevil' joke. A real keeper, this one.
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3. The Outlaw Josie Wales. I have included this one (yet another Clint Eastwood beauty) because of the righteous vengeance wrought upon so many wicked and deserving adversaries. Josie loses his family to a merciless and brutal raid on his homestead while he is away in the Civil War fighting for the Confederacy. When he returns to find the slaughter, watch out. This film has got to be the record holder for most killings by one guy (I lost count after the 'Gatling Gun' segment). Chief Dan George also hilarious in his role as Indian side kick.
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2. Fargo. The Cohen Brothers can really come up with some sick stuff at times, but put it together in a most compelling fashion. Homey, pregnant northern Minnesotan police officer tracks down homicidal maniacs hired by moron struggling car salesman trying to pull off hostage scam, things go completely awry.
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1. Shane. This film, although dated (1953) has everything a great film requires: good guys (Alan Ladd) prevail over slimy bad buys (Jack Palance) in this sod busters vs. cattle barons setting based roughly on the Johnson County War in Wyoming circa 1892, and was primarily filmed in the spectacular Grand Teton setting near Jackson Hole. Great film effects, and the attention to historical detail merits mention. Just a great feel good flick, this one will definitely stand the test of time.
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You will note that all of these films (with the exception of Shane) are from the 1970's on. Some might say that this list suffers from the 'error of recency' where the rater will favor more recent films than those 'great' films of the past. Not so, since a great flick absolutely must be filmed in color (Technicolor was the gold standard going way back). "Citizen Kane," for example, was left off the list: black and white just doesn't cut it with Fredd. Sorry. That, and any films with romance as the main attraction must be included in a 'Chick Flick' category, not 'Greatest Ever.' So, you see, if you disagree with my list, you are simply wrong.
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That, or your choice is in the Top 20, where I have omitted the 11 through 20 films simply because my fingers are getting tired of typing.

38 comments:

Christopher said...

Well Fredd that may be your list but my #1 is actually a tie;

'Band of Brothers' and 'Passion of the Christ'.

Neither of which could ever be considered "chick-flics".

The_Kid said...

Personally, I gravitate to the comedies. My top films there, in order are:
Blazing Saddles
Animal House
Team America: World Police
It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
(Several come in at the 5 spot).

fwiw - Unforgiven, Fargo, Josey Wales are very powerful films imo..and the rest are very good films.

I didn't see passion, but I did see Band of Brothers and especially given that it is a true account by the the men who lived it, an extremely good film and story.

Anything from Clint has to be near the top of anyone's list. Heck, the Dirty Harry series didn't even start getting questionable until around episode 4..

A western I'd add to the list is "Hombre" with Paul Newman. Very lifelike.

Christopher said...

Thinking more,,,Robocop? That had to be one of the worst movies ever made!,,lol

The original 'Red Dawn' was way better. Speaking of which I cannot wait to see the remake, filmed all over the place here in and around the Detroit area.

Fredd said...

Good thing that Fredd is the rater, here, Christopher. Passion: subtitles never make the Greatest list. The story in general, sure, greatest ever told, but not as a movie.

Band of Bros: this falls into a different genre, war flicks. Kelly's Heroes makes it on the Greatest list, because it is more of a comedy set in a war zone. Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, Apocalypse Now, Saving Private Ryan, all merit high standing in the war list, but not on The Greatest.

See how this all works? ;-)

Fredd said...

Kid: comedies, same as above, separate list is held for comedies unless they touch Fredd's heart(such as Kelly's Heroes). I wavered on 'The Coneheads' and 'Animal House', but left them off.

FYI: Animal House was filmed in my hometown of Eugene, OR, and also has a special place in my heart, just not on my Greatest List.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, with Zero Mostel, along with a few Monty Python films would certainly make the comedy list.

Fredd said...

Christopher:

Robocop was the worst ever!?! Sputter, cough, ....arrgh! This comment is like a stab to my heart!

(a moment of silence here to regain my composure)....

Ahem. You may have a point. It was one of those movies that was so bad, it was great. Similar to Rocky Horror Picture Show. Bad but good (no, Rocky Horror was not great).

Speaking of 'Rocky,' now THAT was a great movie. Nobody gets wasted in it, however. Best line from Burgess Meredith to Rocky: 'women weaken legs.'

Or leg breaker to Rocky: 'take her to the zoo.'

Войска ПВО said...

Fredd,

Bravo!

I am a sucker for these lists and while I do not share your opinion on some of these being "top-ten" films (whatever the hell that is) I love the "personality" of the list.

Blathering on, too many times we are treated to the obligatory inclusion of films like Casablanca or Citizen Kane or other such works. How can one get worked up over a nightclub owner and his former flame protesting Nazis shutting down his floor show and then running off to help the Frogs fight -- who? -- their own Vichy government? Christopher's suggestion of Band of Brothers is apropos because that was what WWII was about: GIs slogging across Frog Country killing Germans (er, excuse, Nazis) while the Frogs skulked in their cellars clad in pre-beatnik turtlenecks and berets, emerging only to have their women pedal along railroad tracks planting C-4 charges.

Or some stolid film biography about William Randolph Hearst and his ambiguous yearning for his childhood sled. Orson Welles was a genius, to be sure, but I get it, the Martians were fake and it was Halloween already. I personally prefer my doses of Welles running around in the sewers of Vienna and in the 30-minute reprises of Harry Lime's life in the radio drama series.

Come to think of it, Fredd, maybe a top Old Time Radio drama list -- from which The Shadow and The Lone Ranger are banned.

The telling selection in your list is Robo Cop. While a little pedestrian, it has absolute moments of sheer cinematic delight. [after shooting perp the in groin] "Your move, Creep!" and "They'll fix you. They fix everything." Verhoeven's digs at contemporary events and phenomena like the the Dan White SF shoot-up (the guy's pounding down a ton of candy bars while insisting on an escape car with "really shitty gas mileage") and the bathing beauty slathering herself with blue goo to avoid a sun burn.

Oh my, I have gone on. Sorry.

But damned good list.

Fredd said...

Войска ПВО:

Finally someone who 'gets' Robocop. You just have to scrape off a very thin veneer of cheese, and you get to the juicy stuff of this film. I also love the use of popular slang that they created based on one of the plot's future idiotic TV shows, where the main character's red meat line is 'for a dollar I will.' And this line is repeated by several of the members of the cast from time to time as a general catch phrase, similar to phrases of the past such as 'where's the beef,' or SNL's Wane's World line 'he's brilliant....NOT.'

Fredd said...

Войска ПВО: I forget to mention your analysis of the ubiquitous Top 10 listings of Citizen Kane and Casablanca, et al, and my purposeful snubbing of them on my all encompassing, Greatest List that cannot be debated (with any credibility).

While both of these films have featured past heavy weights such as Orson Wells (pun intended), Bogey and Hepburn, I am much more inclined to enjoy films whose actors employ 'method acting' techniques, rather than the droll, hammy studio stuff of the past. Garbo, Hepburn, Gable, and the studio production actors were too dang stiff (ham bone).

Once actors started to research and dive into their characters,a viewer could relate to that character much more than the hams' stale deliveris of the past. Take for example Sean Penn (hate his politics); he completely immersed himself in the role of Jeff Spicoli in 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' for a month or two prior to filming began, Penn completely nailed the personna of the stoner/slacker of the 80's SoCal/San Fernando Valley teenager. If you ever lived in SoCal, you have known more than a few Jeff Spicolis in your time. None of those studio hacks could have ever pulled off something like this. Never.

In summary, that is why Casablanca, Ben Hur, Gone with The Wind, blah blah blah have no place on the true Greatest List.

Hambone, studio, 'old school' acting was distracting, and thankfully this dreck style went away by the end of the 1960's. Am I suggesting that Peter Weller is a better actor than Orson Welles? Or Clarke Gable? Yes. Yes I am.

Silverfiddle said...

I agree with you on unforgiven, but that's about it. What about The Ten Commandments? or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?

Still loved the list. Rock on man!

Войска ПВО said...

Fredd,

Fairly put. Weller may not be as great as Bogey, Welles, Hepburn (who drives me to distraction, by the way), or the others, but he plays a mean jazz trumpet and is/was in a band with Jeff Goldblum.

Your list is of value because it thumbs its nose at those insufferable cinema-critics lists that appear all the time.

Besides, we are all entitled to our own opinions. My top five run, inexplicably, to Amadeus, Ferris Beuller's Day Off, and any other three that suits the mood I am in.

the malcontent said...

Good list.
My Number one and number two would be The Godfather... and Godfather Two

They Say/We Say said...

Call me anything but late for dinner. But the Number UNO Is....Kujo.
Exaggerated just enough for the big screen; but real enough that it could really happen.
Not to but it in a category (horror-sifi, etc)
Just a real life film. That could really happen!

Susannah said...

Here's a black & white one for ya: Schindler's List.

Most moving thing I've ever viewed...Never saw Passion of the Christ. My husband did & was mesmerized. As my friend told me - & I agree - I don't need to see that brutality to know what my Savior did for me.

Also, I would have to add Forrest Gump.

We're discussing it right now & here's what my husband says: Apollo 13, Fletch, Braveheart, Top Gun, The Patriot & Driving Miss Daisy. I agree - all except Drv. Miss Daisy.

I ABSOLUTELY agree w/ Braveheart & The Patriot. Braveheart, b/c I'm Scots & William Wallace was one of the original heroes, & The Patriot b/c I'm an American & EVERY American should see it. Especially now.

Susannah said...

Fredd, I like the way you think. I'm going to post my own list & link back to you. Let's see what people say as their favorites! ;)

Happy New Year!

Fredd said...

Silver Fiddle: 10 Commandments still had actors from the 'old school.' In other words, hams. Bad acting. Not on the list, sorry. Unlike Sean Penn (hate his politics), Charleton Heston (love his politics) couldn't act his way out of a wet paper bag.

Chitty: wow. Your kidding me, right?

Fredd said...

Войска ПВО:

Ferris: most definitely up there, also filmed in Chicago, a plus. Amadaes, also great stuff.

Fredd said...

Mal: yes, there are those who say that Godfather I and II are among the best screen plays, best acting, best cinematography, best, best, best...

While it is great entertainment to see these goombas waste Moe Green, et al, BEST? Maybe.

Fredd said...

They/We: Kujo was good, Stephen King is a righteous screenplay guy, but if we are going for 'greatest' King stuff, let's go with ''Christine, love that car, cuz you can't go wrong with those humonguous fins.

Fredd said...

Susannah:

Braveheart was exceptional, too. And I generally like all of Mel Gibson's stuff, especially Road Warrior.

Apollo 13, I must have seen this one 10 times at least, love it each time. And Tom Hanks is a real talent as well. Those astronauts way back when had more guts than anyone realizes. And working with the technology then vs now, it is even amazing that those spacecraft even got off the ground.

Let's insert Apollo 13 as #11, happy?

Susannah said...

Fredd~ My list of films is up. Thanks for the fun!

As for Apollo 13, #11 suits just fine. I think it made #12 on our list...

Enjoy, all!

Right-Wing Libertarian said...

Of course there's not enough room and subjectivity makes for a boatload of comments ... I'd have snuck "The Shootist" and "The Day The Earth Stood Still (original)" in there somewhere!! Great post, Fredd!!

Christopher said...

Fredd, Did not mean to "stab" ya my friend,,lol,,but I cannot take more than 5 min. of that film Robocop. But you must have many like you as it is replayed constantly???

As to 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' I agree it is so bad it was good and admit to to seeing at least 100 times (played every weekend) in a small theatre in Grosse Pointe,MI as it was a fun,cult thing to do at the time (High School). I think the theatre name was The Punch & Judy?.

But what can be said about it compared to 'Robo' is that it had some decent music, Meatloaf ringing in my ears right now,,lol.

Fredd said...

Right Wing: I am OK with John Wayne, but that's about as far as I take it: he's old school, too.

Day the Earth Stood Still: into of Robbie the Robot (Rhod's icon) in this flick, black and white, tho: disallowed. Sorry.

Silverfiddle said...

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang had Dick Van Dyke, Benny Hill and a flying car. What more could a movie goer want?

We agree on the Sean Penn assessment. A great actor but a political retard. Why must the two go together so frequently?

Led Zeppelin The Song Remains the Same was also excellent...

Fredd said...

Silverfiddle:

As an afficienado of old cars, Chitty had that going for it. Dick Van Dyke, not so much, I always appreciated his brother Jerry way more than Dick in the short lived 'My Mother the Car,' and especially as the weirdo asst coach Luther Van Damm in 'Coach.' Benny Hill (God rest his soul) wasn't exactly an Academy award winning talent, but for a Brit he was OK. As far as Brit humorists go. Mark Styne has way more on the ball in the funny department than Benny ever had.

Led Zepellin: Robert Plant always had pants that were way too tight, if you ask me. And a voice way too high. And hair way too long.

Other than that, he was a good rocker.

Amusing Bunni said...

Excellent List, Fredd!
I agree that Braveheart and The Patriot are right up there. Also, for comedy, a newer one "The Hangover" had me laughing alot.
This is the perfect weather to stay home and pop in a film in the DVD. Also, lots of these older ones can be found at your library. I reserve online then they notify you when they come in. One of the few good things in Chicago my tax dollars pay for.
PS: Thx for your nice Birthday wishes on my blog.

Fredd said...

Amusing B: Those were good flicks, I like Mel Gibson in most of his stuff, particularly in 'The Road Warrior.'

I will likely do something of this sort again, but will list "Greatest Chick Flicks Ever' (I like chick flicks, believe it or not), or perhaps 'Greatest War Flicks Ever,'

I am not up to speed on the newer stuff, such as the Hangover. I wait until they are dirt cheap at Blockbuster, or even hit TV, so I may be a year or two removed from any recent good stuff.

Fredd said...

Amusing Bunni: PS> on my Chick Flick list, the best of all time has to be 'Message in a Bottle,' with Kevin Costner, hands down.

Amusing Bunni said...

I never saw that, I"ll have to find it. Even though I'm a chick, I don't really like chick flicks all that much! Maybe romantic comedies, nothing sad or having to do with people terminally ill! I'm more of an action film lover. Mad Max, now that was a great one!

I have done numerous movie reviews on my blog,
I think I remembered to tag them all "bunni's movie reviews" I saw Hurt Locker the day it came out and predicted it would be up for LOTS of awards, and it is...that's a very good action flick.

Professor of Life said...

Movies? I forgot all about "Good Movies" I stopped going to the movies ever since the Liberal crowd took them over. What ever happened to John Wayne and Gary Cooper?
Wake me up when it's over will ya.

Fredd said...

Professor: just FYI, John Wayne couldn't act his way out of a wet paper bag.

And yes, liberals have been making movies since the commies took over the studios in the 1930's, but liberals can pump out a pretty good flick from time to time.

the malcontent said...

Fredd said...

Professor: just FYI, John Wayne couldn't act his way out of a wet paper bag.

And yes, liberals have been making movies since the commies took over the studios in the 1930's, but liberals can pump out a pretty good flick from time to time.


Yes, but he sure looked good compared to the pussies on today's screen.

Fredd said...

Mal: my knee jerk reaction to your last comment was to come up with an example of a 'non-pussy' actor today who compares to John Wayne's stage presence....

(crickets chirping).

OK, you got me there.

Mark said...

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
A Clockwork Orange.
The Cheaters.
Lord of the Rings (all three).
The Man Who Wasn't There. (Cohen Brothers)
The Passion of the Christ.
The Oxbow Incident.


Yeah, I agree with Fargo.

Mark said...

The above is just a partial list of my favorites, in no particular order, but, just re-thinking here, I don't know how I excluded Braveheart, True Grit, The Shootist, McLintock, High Noon, Psycho, The Birds (almost all Alfred Hitchcock films, in fact), The Quiet Man, and almost all the Cohen Brother's films not already mentioned.

Fredd said...

Mark:

You and I are sympatico with the Cohen Bros. stuff. I love their sense of humor, and briefly checked out the films you listed on your profile and saw 'Big Lebowski' and 'Raising Arizona' (well OK, then).

I also saw 'Beetlejuice' on your list, that's a fine film in it's own right as well. Just seeing the title makes me want to reach for a Zagnut bar.

Your other choices? Well, as Borat would say, 'not so much.'

Fuzzy Slippers said...

Toga! Toga! Toga! I'm with Kid, that has to be in the top 10!

Mine are (off the top of my head and therefore in no particular order):

Animal House
Jaws
Birth of a Nation
Fargo
Pulp Fiction
Braveheart
Shawshank Redemption
Walk the Line
Bridget Jones' Diary
Gone with the Wind
Blair Witch Project

(that's eleven, but wth)