Saturday, December 12, 2009

45 - 41

Top 100 Film's I Can't Live Without

45. Terminator 2 (1991)
Directed by James Cameron

From start to finish Terminator 2 is one of the greatest action films of all-time. Outside of the stunning and epic action finale, Cameron has packed the film with several other terrific action beats as well. While there isn't much depth, there is at least an interesting play on the theme of fathers that keeps the whole film from lacking any thematic strength. Stocked with iconic characters (has anyone's run been more memorable than Robert Patrick's), quotes, and sequences, Terminator 2 is one I wouldn't want to do without.

44. Unforgiven (1992)
Directed by Clint Eastwood

Fully deserving of it's Oscar win, Unforgiven is the best western I've ever seen. Like many of Eastwood's films, Unforgiven deals squarely with the topic of violence and its consequences. The script is unusually smart and self-aware and the actors inhabit the characters completely. Though the film is stocked with many of the Western cliches, it simultaneously embraces and transcends them. By the time "the big shootout" comes around, we cheer (as the cliche typically brings), but also mourn for the shootout is a moment of sadness, tragedy, and insight. If you can only watch one Western film, make it Unforgiven.

43. Forrest Gump (1994)
Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Forrest Gump is one of those films you don't merely watch, but you experience. I've always enjoyed watching it, finding me and my friends quoting it incessantly. Forget the naysayers and critics on this film, it's not a whitewashing of history and it's not ignorant of history. It's the world through the eyes of a particularly optimistic character that allows the audience to see things in ways we might have never viewed them. Incredibly creative and entertaining, Forrest Gump is too great to live without.

42. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The second straight film from 1994 is another epic drama (both with epic run times as well). Unlike Forrest Gump however, I discovered Shawshank Redemption years later on one of it's umpteenth showings on TBS or TNT. A great story about hope and perseverance; it never fails to comfort and inspire me greatly by the time it's finished. How can one deny the power when Andy finds his freedom from prison or when Red meets Andy on the beaches. Well I can't deny it, and it's why it is included here on the list.

41. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
Directed by Peter Wier
While it seemingly might not feature as much drama and insight as the previous films on my list, Master and Commander is actually a film of uncommon depth. The film explores and intertwines the themes of science and faith as well as authority and anarchy. While I truly enjoy those themes, its the fully immersive world of Master and Commander that truly brings the rewards this film has to offer. The visual effects, sound design, production design, costume design, score, performances and script all work together to transport me into a fascinating and thrilling world. Throw in incredible sea battles as well as one of Crowes finest performances and you see why this film made the list.