Thursday, July 18, 2013

Top 100 Films of the 20th Century – Part 2: 100-96

Rank: 100
Title: Rushmore
Release Year: 1998
Genre: Comedy
Director: Wes Anderson
Plot Summary: Max Fischer loves his school Rushmore. He is the president of dozens of school clubs, but that does not leave much time for his schoolwork. Additionally, he develops a crush on one of the school’s teachers Rosemary Cross and a friendship with one of the school’s benefactors Herman Blume. Max’s world starts to collapse around him, however, when he is expelled trying to impress Mrs. Cross, and to make matters worse Blume also has a crush on her, putting Max and Blume at odds.
What Makes It Special: Wes Anderson introduced himself to the world with Bottle Rocket, but that film did not wholly exhibit his unique style and gift for aesthetics. With Rushmore, Anderson changed American independent cinema, influencing almost every indie dramedy made since by young filmmakers (Anderson himself is heavily influenced by past filmmakers as well – most notably those of the French New Wave). In addition to being a one of the most important films in the rebirth of both American independent film in the 1990s and American auteurism, Rushmore is simply a very funny movie featuring wonderful performances from Schwartzman (launching his career) and especially Murray (serving as his comeback performance in many regards).
Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray

Rank: 99
Title: Ghostbusters
Release Year: 1984
Genre: Comedy/Supernatural Adventure
Director: Ivan Reitman
Plot Summary: After being kicked out of grad school for doing seemingly bogus research, three unemployed parapsychology professors decide to go into business for themselves setting up a ghost-removal service.
What Makes It Special: While George Lucas and Steven Spielberg invented the blockbuster (with films such as Jaws – the first true summer blockbuster – Star Wars, and Raiders of the Lost Ark), Ghostbusters infused the developing genre with comedy (and great special effects) while still maintaining all the adventure and fantasy aspects. Blockbusters have since strived to be big, fun, entertaining, and family friendly with equal portions of laughs and action. Ghostbusters is an essential piece of cinema in the study of how to make a brilliant summer movie (and a big part of many childhoods – mine included), influencing every filmmaker who approaches the genre today.
Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray and Streaming

Rank: 98
Release Year: 1998
Genre: Comedy/Detective Mystery
Director: The Coen Brothers
Plot Summary: Deadbeat Jeffrey Lebowski, who goes by The Dude, is pulled into a kidnapping mystery when he is mistaken for a millionaire of the same name. Seeking restitution for a ruined rug, The Dude tries his hand at being a private detective, hoping to get a new rug and maybe some money out of it.
What Makes It Special: When The Big Lebowski first came out, many did not know what to make of it and it mostly went unnoticed. However, it has since become a cult classic and a staple of modern pop-culture. Auteur writer-directors The Coen Brothers have taken the hardboiled detective genre and molded it into a farce of sorts on early 1990s Gulf War Era America, resulting in a hilarious and endlessly quotable film (that seems to never deteriorate in quality with each additional viewing).
Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray and Streaming

Rank: 97
Release Year: 1953
Genre: Thriller
Plot Summary: Hoping for a better life, many foreigners traveled to South America, only to find nothing but famine and hopelessness. Now marooned in one such decrepit village, some of these foreigners jump at the chance to escape – the problem is that to earn the money to buy their freedom they must transport an urgent shipment of nitroglycerine (which is highly unstable) many miles in unsafe equipment. It is a suicide mission, but that is how desperate four men are to get out.
What Makes It Special: With The Wages of Fear, Henri-George Clouzot has made one of the most psychologically engaging thrillers in cinema history. It is unflinching in its ability to keep its viewers very nervous while watching it. However, what makes it all the more interesting is Clouzot’s study of his characters. The best and worst of humanity are beautifully explored in the film. It is also interesting to see the other side of imperialism as many foreigners are reduced to stranded beggars, unable to find work or afford transport home (something also very present in John Huston’s Treasure of the Sierra Madre).
Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray and Streaming

Rank: 96
Release Year: 1953
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Director: William Wyler
Plot Summary: Princess Ann is bored of being trapped in her very structured and restrictive life. So, while on an official tour through Europe, she decides to escape for a night to experience the world as a commoner. Newspaper man Joe Bradley comes across her and at first sees it has his big break – an exclusive story about the Princess in Rome – but as he spends time with her he begins to fall in love.
What Makes It Special: William Wyler is maybe Hollywood’s greatest filmmaker, with the ability to make wonderful films in any genre and on any scale. Roman Holiday is maybe the best romantic comedy ever made, building off the great screwball comedies of the 1930s and 1940s but adding more emotional depth. After all, this is not a romantic comedy that sees its leads end up together in the end (as much as we want them to). The film also launched the career of one of the great actresses: Audrey Hepburn.
Trailer: Here
Available on: DVD and Streaming

No comments:

Post a Comment