Jordan’s top 30 Movies of all Time (30 – 26)

With a world full of cinematic treasures, ranging from the silent expressionism of Robert Wiene in the 1920’s to J.J. Abrams’ current vision for science fiction, deciding on a top 30 films of all time is no easy task. After much time and plenty of thought however, here it is for the world to see.

Plot summaries from IMDB

Reviews by Jordan

30. Resident Evil    

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2002 – Directed by Paul W. S Anderson

A special military unit fights a powerful, out-of-control supercomputer and hundreds of scientists who have mutated into flesh-eating creatures after a laboratory accident.

Paul W. S. Anderson’s Resident Evil is more than just an illogical/insensible viral outbreak movie, or a translation of one of the most beloved game series of all time; it is a highly enjoyable, speedily paced horror gem responsible for bringing Zombies back into mainstream cinema.

When a team of Umbrella Corporation commandos are sent deep into ‘The Hive,’ an experimental weapons research facility, to uncover why the sinister super-computer ‘the Red Queen’ killed all the workers, they are confronted with a cop out of his depth, a mysterious stranger and Alice (Milla Jovovich – a sexy amnesic who is perhaps the key to solving the disaster that becomes bluntly apparent), as well as the hordes of flesh eating undead and revolting T-Virus creations.

As you can attain; not a lot goes right.

Resident Evil may not rate a mention in many other films lists (apart from ‘worst of’ lists perhaps), but I unashamedly promote it for the loud, violent and chaotic movie pleasure it is.

29. Watchmen

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2009 – Directed by Zack Snyder

In an alternate 1985 where former superheroes exist, the murder of a colleague sends active vigilante Rorschach into his own sprawling investigation, uncovering something that could completely change the course of history as we know it.

One of Time Magazine’s ‘Top 100 Novels of All Time,’ Alan Moore’s Watchmen is a true masterwork of the graphic-novel medium; a stunning example of superior story telling populated with characters and situations of such complexity a second reading is almost made essential… it is now, thanks to Zack Snyder, also one of the best films of the last 10 years; complete with outstanding cinematography, acting and plotting and a music track list as iconic as that in Pulp Fiction.

28. Badlands

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1973 – Directed by Terrence Malick

Based on the Starkweather-Fugate killing spree of the 1958, in which a fifteen-year-old girl and her twenty-five-year-old boyfriend slaughtered her entire family and several others in the Dakota Badlands.

Terrence Malick is by far the most enigmatic director currently working. His output, starting with his debut Badlands in 1973 through to his recent sumptuous visual treats The Tree of Life and To the Wonder (2011, 2013) has inspired fierce critical dissection and subsequent appreciation, and while such reception would likely result in egotistical tendencies being formed, Malick remains as humble and media-evasive as ever.

Badlands, a based-on-a-true-story film about two young lovers on the run from the law and murdering anyone who would stand in their way is an undeniably important film which helped continue a trend of violence in mainstream films, pioneered by the likes of Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Pretty Poison (1968 – in which a mentally disturbed young man convinces a high school girl that he’s a secret agent, and craving excitement, the two embark on a killing spree). Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek provide instantly iconic performances in Kit and Holly, whose irresponsible love for each other dooms those who would dare intercede.

Between Badlands and The Tree of Life Malick directed a sparse three movies; Days of Heaven (1978), The Thin Red Line (1998) and The New World (2005), indicating his desire to work solely on ideal scripts at the perfect time… he is one of very few directors to never have a misstep, and is lucky enough to work his craft with complete creative control. Badlands in my opinion remains his best film, not just because watching it is witnessing the start of an amazing chapter in modern film history, but because as a stand-alone narrative it is told with absolute clarity, backed by a beautiful, effective score and features subtle but mesmerizingly effective performances from its two perfectly cast leads.

27. True Romance

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1993 – Directed by Tony Scott

Clarence marries hooker Alabama, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood, while the owners of the coke try to reclaim it.    

Review written 19/2/2013

Prompted by Valentine’s Day (the date, not the movie), I recently started considering the romance film, and more importantly, if there were any I loved enough to write a review on.

Chasing Amy has always been a favourite of mine, but the volatility of the relationship between the mains eventually renders it more of an anti-romance; and while Let the Right one in does have its share of touching moments between the troubled Oscar and his new girlfriend, ultimately she is a vampire, and the grim sense of impending doom that hovers over their situation displays that it really is a horror movie, and a disturbing one at that.

Eventually, after nearly conceding that the genre just isn’t for me, I remembered the title of my 27th favourite movie and realised a truth that I’ve possibly been avoiding since first watching it. Yes, True Romance is full of action and undiluted machismo, but above all it’s about the ever-enduring love of its two protagonists in the face of unimaginable obstacles, and the lengths they go to in order share a ‘happily ever after.’

Based on a script by young upstart Quentin Tarantino (which lends heavily from Terrence Malick’s 1973 classic Badlands), and directed by maverick filmmaker Tony Scott (Top Gun, The Last Boy Scout), True Romance tells the story of Clarence (Christian Slater) and Alabama (Patricia Arquette) who after meeting in less than ideal circumstances fall in love and decide to do whatever it takes to not only stay together, but stay alive, with an array of both low life criminals and powerful mob figures hot on their heels. Slater and Arquette combine to create an explosive couple of immense likability, and the rest of the incredible cast including: Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman, James Gandolfini and Brad Pitt relish their roles with equal abandon. A conversational standoff between Hopper’s Clifford Worley (father of Clarence) and Walken’s Vincenzo Coccotti is one of the most intelligently spine-tingling scenes of the ‘90’s.

So, if you’re in the mood for a bit of romance, but also want to see Samuel L. Jackson playing a character called ‘Big Don’ then True Romance is the movie for you. I can guarantee you that whatever it lacks in Channing Tatum and Kate Hudson it more than makes up for in gun fights, Elvis mentors and a couple you actually care about.

26. Magnolia

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1999 – Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

An epic mosaic of several interrelated characters in search of happiness, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley.

Things fall down. People look up. And when it rains, it pours. Paul Thomas Anderson (not to be confused with Paul W.S. Anderson) perfectly captures this sentiment in what remains his most accomplished film; the immaculately constructed Magnolia.

Tracing a day in the lives of several broken-hearted and conflicted souls, including a guilt stricken wife (Julianne Moore), depressed former boy genius (William H. Macy), well-meaning police officer (John C. Reilly), masochistic self-help guru (Tom Cruise), middle-aged nurse (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Self-loathing estranged daughter (Melora Walters) as well as others, Anderson’s three-hour epic regarding the turmoil of modern living is an essential drama, inspired by the works of melancholic singer/songwriter Aimee Mann, that challenges it audience right through to the audacious and much-hyped finale.

Perhaps the film’s most outstanding sequence; a moment of reflection occurs in the dark of night while each character is at their most venerable, and as they draw close to reaching the crux of their respective narratives they memorably sing along with Mann herself; ‘It’s not what you thought when you first began it, you got what you want, now you can hardly stand it though, by now you know, It’s not going to stop, ‘till you wise up.’

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21 responses to “Jordan’s top 30 Movies of all Time (30 – 26)

  1. Pingback: Jordan’s top 30 Movies of all Time (25 – 21) | Jordan and Eddie·

      • Favourite opening? Hard one!
        I’d say it’s between Magnolia, Blue Velvet (the song, the heart attack, and the zoom beneath the grass…) and perhaps Watchmen.
        With lots of runners up, ha. The Michael Parks monologue to start From Dusk ’till Dawn deserves a mention also.
        Yourself?

      • Nice choices. You’re right. A lot of the intros are about the flair of the camera. Blue Velvet is especially wonderful and Watchmen wonderfully sumarised their backstories too. I love the opening line of A Civil Action (I quoted it at http://www.alexraphael.com), and Up but mine would probably be The Godfather. The book was wonderful but the film found an immediate way to stand out.

  2. Pingback: Classic Review – Magnolia (1999) | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

  3. Cool list, man. Interesting that you have ‘Badlands’ and ‘True Romance’ back to back. I love both of those films but I only saw ‘Badlands’ this year and realised that ‘True Romance’ uses the score from ‘Badlands’! Trippy, right? Have you ever watched them back to back? I will endeavour to do so myself sometime.

    • Thanks mate. I absolutely love the connection that Badlands and True Romance have, the same story told by 2 completely opposite directors in different periods of time, and both equally as brilliant. But no, I haven’t yet watched them back to back! That will definitely be amended…
      Jordan

  4. Watchman’s original comic is even more epic than the movie (one of my favorite books so far actually) 🙂 you should check it out

  5. Pingback: Classic Review – The Last Boy Scout (1991) | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

  6. I agree that Resident Evil is possibly underrated due to its rather lowbrow reputation; I actually really liked it as well, and while it likely wouldn’t get near my own ‘all-time’ list, it would certainly be in the top 2 or 3 ‘movies adapted from video games’ (the first Silent Hill movie is another one I have a somewhat guilty fondness for). Slightly surprised not to see any Chris Nolan films in the list as I thought you were a big fan? Haha… though I only say that because Memento is in my top 3 all-time favourite films (admittedly none of his others would qualify). Really glad to see some Dr Strangelove appreciation too!

  7. Interesting list — top X lists are always very personal, so I cannot criticize any of your choices for that reason alone, in spite of having many differences with it (I’ve never quite understood why “Night of the Hunter, for example, is considered a classic, but it is, so that’s on me, not you). I’m glad that someone else really liked Badlands and remembers it. (I don’t know where it would fit on a personal list of mine, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s around the same position).

    As far as your horror choices are concerned, I’d have dropped Suspiria (which made so little of an impression on me that to this day, I can’t remember much about it — I think I fell asleep watching it, which would explain a lot), and include “The Exorcist” instead. Admittedly, there are a mere handful of horror movies that I’ve enjoyed, but “The Exorcist” came into my life at just the right time to make a deep and lasting impression. It probably would be the only horror film (with a possible exception of the original “Poltergeist”) that would make my top 30.

    • Thanks for the comment, appreciate your input! As you can probably tell, when I first started getting into films horror was the genre that stood out, mostly for its more daring sense of ambience through music and imagery. Night of the Hunter and Suspiria are both very different, but are like macabre fairy tails and I have very fond memories of first watching them and they still retain their power to me today.
      Agree that Exorcist and Poltergeist are both tremendously scary and well-crafted films.
      Jordan

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