Tag Archives: Stephen Spielberg

The Ten Greatest Movies Ever Made Part 2

Every day we’re cutting ten movies from our original list of 45 of the Greatest Movies Ever Made until we’re down to ten. Brian and Matt will each chop five from the list.

Here are the movies that didn’t make the grade.

Brian’s vetoes

Life is Beautiful — A comedy about the Holocaust where a father tries to convince his son that he’s having a game with the Nazis? Wayyyy too overly sentimental to even be considered.

The Kid — Brilliant but dated and Chaplin has better films, namely “City Lights” and “The Gold Rush.”

Gone With The Wind — A classic film that really comes down to being a 3 1/2 hour soap opera. She loves him but he doesn’t love her and he loves her but she doesn’t love him until later when he decides he doesn’t love her but then she decides she really loves him….boring!!

Duck Soup — Funny but forgettable. Yes, the Marx brothers were great but hardly enough to be considered a top 10 film ever.

Rear Window — A great, classic suspense film that I love but it’s not even Hitchcock’s best.

Matt’s Vetoes

Braveheart – Too sentimental, the directing wasn’t that great, and the dialogue isn’t as strong as the movies that did make the cut.

Star Wars – It’s one of my favorite movie series of all time. I love it, and hold it close to my heart. But let’s be honest, these movies have wooden dialogue, stiff acting and the series was killed by the prequels (namely Jar Jar).

Inception – Great movie. The second best of 2011. It’s original, brilliantly directed, and I love it. However, the character development was held up by too much explanation of the complex story.

Schindler’s List – It’s the kind of movie you watch once, say, “It’s great.” Then don’t go back to it again. To be in the ten best ever, it has to be a movie I can watch over and over.

Clockwork Orange – LOVE LOVE LOVE Stanley Kubrick. Favorite director ever. However, this was not his best and there are movies I hold closer to my heart on this list. Tough choice to veto.

Movies remaining on our list:

Forest Gump
Seven Samurai
Wizard of Oz
Paths of Glory
Pulp Fiction
Taxi Driver
Raging Bull
The Exorcist
The Shawnshank Redemption
The Wrestler
Born Into Brothels
Spirited Away
On the Waterfront
8 1/2
Boogie Nights
Passion of the Christ
Singin’ in the Rain
Black Swan
Citizen Kane
It’s a Wonderful Life
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Saving Private Ryan
Blade Runner
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Bridge on the River Kwai
Apocalypse Now

Top 5 directors of all time

This is our case for the Top 5 directors of all time. We took a lot of elements into consideration, skill with the camera, knowledge of narrative, respect for the actors, and a strong body of work. Francis Ford Coppola is a great director, but since “The Godfather” trilogy, he’s fallen off the map (although his wine is excellent). Sergio Leone, of the spaghetti western fame, made some spectacular films, as has Clint Eastwood, John Ford, Orson Welles, Quentin Tarantino, Billy Wilder, Frederico Fellini and Woody Allen. But this isn’t a top 20, it’s a top 5. So, here they are.

5. Steven Spielberg: We’re fully aware that Spielberg is blacklisted as a popcorn-movie making golden boy who sold out his contemporaries by being a studio bitch. We just don’t see it that way.

There is no other director that has done the wealth, variety and quality of films that Spielberg has. Granted, he’s had some misses, like “1941” and his decision to produce “Transfomers” and its sequel. But Spielberg understands narrative storytelling and delivers uniquely told stories that capture our imagination and stand the test of time. There are few directors who would make “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” and “The Color Purple.” Or how about “Jurassic Park” against “Schindler’s List.” “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and the emotion of his Kubrick lover letter “Artificial Intelligence: AI.” In time, he will be respected by the movie snobs. The rest of us — the audience — will keep loving his movies.

4. Alfred Hitchcock:Is a master storyteller who churned out movies like it was his job… which it was. Over a 50 year career, he cranked out nearly 70 films as a director, plus he wrote and produced his own television series and other films. But he will be remembered most as a director for his uncanny ability to capture suspense, play with our minds with stunning visuals, and create iconic images in films like “Psycho” “The Birds” “North by Northwest” “Vertigo” and the list goes on. He set the stage for other directors in a genre he brought respect to.

3. Akira Kirosawa: Ironically, Kirosawa was panned in Japan in his early days for being too influenced by western directors, like John Ford, and for bringing too much emotion to his pictures. But that was his strength. He captured both the action of war and its drama. He paid exquisite detail even to the most mundane characters, and brought humanity to war and famine. “The Seven Samurai” “Yojimbo” “Rashômon” and “The Hidden Fortress” continue to influence directors to this day.

2. Martin Scorsese: He came out of the NYU film school, and lead a generation of directors that bucked the Hollywood system and its traditional film-making techniques  and story lines. He made movies, like “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull,” that challenged the viewer and put them in an uneasy chair. His mafia movies, like “Good Fellas” and “The Departed,” are unmatched in the genre. He approaches film humbly, and understands stories and imagery like no other (except our number one choice). We love Scorsese, and we hope he never retires.

1. Stanley Kurbick:Kirk Douglas, after the making of Spartacus, said, “Stanley Kurbick is a talented shit.”

He only made 15 films in his career, which was one of his regrets as a director, but he was a perfectionist and his pictures were a reflection of that. His last film, “Eyes Wide Shut,” took five years to make. No other director has been given that freedom, and for good reason. Every Kubrick film is a masterpiece.

There has never been a director who understood a camera better. He was a still photographer before he became a motion picture director and his use of light and how it impacts stories and characters as a storytelling vehicle is extremely thoughtful. His story telling skills are superb, but he never used narrative stories, or rarely did. His movies made you feel the story. They never handed it to you on a silver plate. He challenged viewers with his stories and portrayed them with stunning beauty. There has never been a better director. He was the Mozart of film making.