Thursday, May 10, 2007

Matt's Top 10 Movies

I decided to take a little time to update my list of "Top 10 Favorite Movies," just for the sheer hell of it. I've taken the last year or so to come to some finer conclusions regarding my favorite movies, and have added a few to the list ;)

You'll also note that I have not included ANY Godzilla or straight-foreward Kaiju flicks in this list, simply because they are in an altogether seperate category in my mind, and that way I can include movies that aren't just about screaming Japanese and rubber-suited stuntmen.

10. 300 (2007) -
Yeah, yeah yeah, "It's too simplistic," and "it's all machismo bullshit," but there's a consensus out there that agrees that 300 is possibly the most BADASS comic-book film out there, and certainly the most visually compelling. Ready-made movie lines and a wonderfully tasteful sex sequence make this one for the ages.

Easily one of, if not the best animated comedy of all time, it's just the sort of quirky flick with some of the best characters in Disney history. Even though it's fallen victum to the "Sleeper Sequel Syndrome" (an unexpected hit has a bunch of random follow-ups/sequels made), it really holds up well. Kronk is a timelessly hilarious character.

8. THE LAST SAMURAI (2003) -
During the "Asian Invasion" of the early 2000's, this little doozy starring the now-despised Tom Cruise tore up the big screen in this somewhat Dances With Wolves-inspired period piece. I personally have a great deal of affinity for the samurai code, and while I don't particuarly agree with it, I can admire the dedication that such individuals had to a single ideal. The sheer amount of detail and emotion that went into this film is something everyone can appreciate, I believe, and Cruise really does do a bang-up job, regardless of everyone's opinion of him. As well, the film introduces us to Ken Watanabe, a FANTASTIC actor who just plain steals the show. Each character also represent wonderful archetypes that are familiar to both sides of the Pacific, but are endearing nonetheless.

7. DRAGONHEART (1996) -
A rare gem of a flick if there ever was one, Dragonheart is an exciting story in the form of a "buddy picture," between Bowen (Dennis Quaid) and Draco (Sean Connery). Building off of the FX of Jurassic Park, Dragonheart features one of, if not the absolute first totally CGI film character (with a few props here and there), and even in 1996, the effect is most impressive. While Quaid's acting ability could be called into question, Connery's vocal role as a quirky and charming dragon is just plain fantastic. The story and setting in medieval Europe are very well done, the characters are memorable, and overall it's a unique film with a lot of heart (no pun intended).

Being incredibly disjointed and full of weird plot holes doesn't stop this from being one of the most entertaining animated films ever made. I mean, sure it's little more than an hour-and-a-half commercial for new toys, but the excellent animation and wildly awesome "geekgasm" moments (from Shakespeare references to friggin' LEONARD NEMOY) solidify this on my Top 10.

5. ACE VENTURA (1994) -
Basically my favorite comedy of all time, and more of an influence on my personal attitude towards life than most adult role-models.
I can quote the movie line-for-line. 'Nuff said.

4. JURASSIC PARK (1993) -
Being a big dinosaur fan since my very early youth, I have learned a newfound appreciation for these beasts which flood our minds. Jurassic Park was such a film that brought the former lords of the Earth to a new light, and out of the campy, useless view that the mainstream public had taken them in for so long. Featuring ground-breaking SPFX and great characters with fluid storytelling and a solid message behind it, there’s little to fault Jurassic Park. As well, it features the undisputed king of movie dinosaurs, the Jurassic Park T-Rex (and NUTS to Spinosaurus or any other upstart Theropoda).

3. SPIDER-MAN (and Trilogy, 2002-2007) -
If there was a film that made me into a REAL comic book fan (and eventually an artist for said industry), the first Spider-Man would have to be it. Of course, the original also stands for the subsequent two films. The first was a nearly perfect "comic book film," the second was an excellent mix of mainstream drama and comic mentality, and the third, while a mess of good and bad, maintained many of the same moments that brought back at least some of the excitement of the first two. The original, however, stands out most in my mind for keeping the wise-cracking, smartass Spider-Man, but keeping a dorky and shy Peter Parker.

My personal favorite of Miyazaki’s films, being the first that I had seen, Princess Mononoke blew me away in my freshman year of high school. The characters of Ashitaka, San, Lady Eboshi and Jigo were all just dynamite, and the spectacular animation flew through my heart and mind. What really struck me was also the strong message against humankind’s arrogance, something that I take to heart very seriously.

1. KING KONG (2005) -
I never thought I would claim anything but a Godzilla movie as my favorite all-time flick, but I’ve made an exception for a movie of the caliber of brilliance that is Peter Jackson’s King Kong. Personally, while I do love the original, I never had the sheer devotion to it that many do. However, Kong ‘05 is on such a level that it begs for the place in my heart as my favorite movie. Sure, the battles and SPFX are all incredible, and the whimsical escapism that it embodies is wonderful, but it’s the development of such a fantastic love story that speaks to me as a human being on a level that can hardly be described in words.

I've got plenty of "honorable mentions" which are essentially in my Top 20 and Top-whatever lists:
- The SpiderMan trilogy
- Batman Begins
- Ferris Bueller's Day Off
- Crash
- One Million Years B.C.
The list goes on for awhile, so let's leave it at that, shall we? ;)