A couple of months ago I found a really interesting Youtube clip. It was Quinton Tarantino listing his top 20 films since he started in 1993 and I found it terribly fascinating. I mean this is one of my favorite directors talking about movies he’s enjoyed. Picking from the States and abroad he had an eclectic list of mainstream and genre flicks (a link to this at the bottom). With this in mind I decided to basically steal this idea and make my own list. Now obviously I don’t have any big milestones in my life. I mean a best movie since I got my braces off just doesn’t sound as cool. So I decided to use 1986 as my cut off point. I mean, it’s not like there’s any bigger event in life than your birth. Now please keep in mind, this list is of my favorite movies. The ones I can watch at any moment and be entertained every time. I’m sure if I looked at it critically it’d be nothing but the Schindler’s Lists and Shawshank Redemptions of the world. And really a blog where crap is a regularly used term doesn’t need to be the place for that. So without further ado here’s my Top 9 Best Movies since 1986. Why only 9? Because Tarantino is so awesome that he took away my right for 10 spots.
9- Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
The movie follows, naturally, Batman. He chases after a mysterious vigilante, The Phantasm, who is taking down mob bosses. Meanwhile Andrea Beaumont, a lost love of Bruce Wayne, enters his world once again. With her return Batman reflects on his decision to become the Dark Knight.
There are a lot of animated movies I could have picked. There’s the amazing work of Pixar, some Disney classics and even the occasional good Fox Animation Studios flicks. Okay the Fox Animation Studios didn’t do anything good but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway none of them can to this spin-off of the animated television series. What makes the movie really work for me is how it treats the audience. Like the television show it realizes that kids don’t need everything sugar-coated. It treats them like adults with a serious story, action and drama. Add in some great action and amazing voice acting and you have a hell of a movie. Also, who can resist Mark “Luke Skywalker” Hamill as the DEFINITIVE Joker?
8- Clerks II (2006)
As Quick Stop burns to the ground, Dante and Randall are finally free. With a new world on the horizon they make their way into a bright future. And by bright future I mean they work at the Mooby’s fast-food chain. With a new fiancé and opportunity in Florida, Dante seems to finally be out of his rut. Randall on the other hand is going through his own, existential issues.
No matter how many flops he’s had there’s one thing you can say about Kevin Smith, he’s a hell of a writer. Tapping into the fringe audience he has built a loyal following of nerds, slackers and outsiders. Considering I’m all of those rolled into one of course I’m a fan. More than that though it has a personal place in my heart. In my younger days (well a couple of years ago) I was a wilder guy. I wasn’t a party animal or anything but I drank, smoked pot, the typical burnout stuff. Then I got into some trouble with the law. With a DUI on my record I hit a new low. I had been arrested before but this was different. I was 23 and a grown up. I don’t want to build like I’m some sob story because really, I’ve had a good life. But still I was in a rough place. In my time without driving I spent a lot of time at home. I was watching Clerks II for like the hundredth time but this time was different. As I watched Randall, a character I unknowingly imitated, mature I did too. I know it sounds cheesy but the development of the character really clicked with me. Since then I’ve, again in an insanely cheesy way, turned my life around. For a constant man-child like me it’s a big leap. Also it’s the only film that has the balls to call out Lord of the Rings for being the most boring Academy Award winner ever. Add everything up and it’s an instant classic.
7- SPL: Sha Po Lang (2005)
Chan (Simon Yam) is a senior detective in the twilight of his career. He should be ready to retire but he has one more person to go after, the gangster Po (Sammo Hung). Even going so far as planting false and tampering with video evidence to convict the untouchable crime boss. Things get more complicated when Detective Ma (Donnie Yen) comes in to replace Chan. When an undercover cop in Po’s gang is killed, all bets are off.
I am a big fan of Chinese action movies; the heroic bloodshed subgenre in particular. Popularized in America by directors John Woo and Ringo Lam, these Hong Kong action movies are defined by their gunplay, gangsters, and tragedy. Almost like Noir for the MTV generation. Films like A Better Tomorrow and The Killer have influenced a wide variety of people; from directors Robert Rodriguez and Quinton Tarantino to rappers like the Wu-Tang Clan and even video games like Max Payne and F.E.A.R. Fast forward nearly two decades from A Better Tomorrow and we have SPL. Director Wilson Yip crafts an amazing vision of Hong Kong. An intriguing crime story full of twists and turns compliments Yip’s unique visual style perfectly. What puts all of this together though is Donnie Yen’s action choreography. With the help of the legendary Sammo Hung he creates some of the best action scenes of the past decade. The action is made even more amazing by a complete lack of “Wire Fu” and minimal amounts CGI. Mixing weapons, MMA and traditional martial arts, Yen’s action With action and story that would could embarrass John Woo, SPL is an absolutely perfect addition to not only the heroic bloodshed genre but to anyone’s video collection.
6- Face/Off (1997)
Sear Archer (John Travolta) is a FBI agent on a mission to capture Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage); the criminal mastermind that killed his son. When Sean is able to seriously injure Troy things seem to finally be ending. Unfortunately Troy planted a chemical bomb that will destroy Los Angeles. With a new face removing technology, Archer must impersonate Troy to get the location from Troy’s brother Pollux. Things are made worse when the real Troy awakens and forces the doctors to give him Archer’s face. With a limited amount of time Sean Archer must stop not only the bomb but also Castor Troy from ruining his career and family life.
The director, John Woo. The overacting players, Nicolas Cage and John Travolta. Individually, it’s alright. Each of these elements bring something to the table. But together we get the ultimate in cheesy, machismo oozing, adrenaline pumping action. Imagine the Schwarzenager movie Commando on crack. If it seems like I’m stalling, I’m not. I just can’t put into words how amazing this movie is. What director Woo does is orchestrate a symphony of destruction. But it’s not all blood and bullets. Despite it’s absolutely ridiculous premise the Cage and Travolta’s unique (yeah, I’ll go with that) acting style makes it work and seem downright plausible. That feat alone makes it worthy of this list. But alas, that’s not what makes it #7 on my list. I mean there are plenty of ridiculous action movies that fit the bill. What makes this one the best? Archer and Troy having the absolute manliest chase scene to ever be committed to celluloid.
That’s it for Part 1. Sure it’s not all Godfathers but really, who wants to only watch that? Anywho, I should have the rest finished soon. For the Tarantino clip as well as some of my favorite scenes, click the link (or jump or whatevs) below.
HEY! IT’S QUINTON TARANTINO!
9- BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM CLIP
8- CLERKS II CLIP
7- SPL: SHA PO LANG CLIP