Lists are great. They inspire discussion, create arguments, and tend to spiral off into fun new lists. When you do a list about the “BEST” of anything it goes from being fun to becoming a hotbed for arguments. There’s no such thing as a definitive list but I’ve decided to pull from my rather extensive life of film watching and put it to good use.
This is not the “film critic’s top 100” list. There’s no guarantee Citizen Kane or The Bicycle Thief will be in the top echelon or even on the list. This is the 100 movies I would put my name on as my top 100. If I died tomorrow this would represent the 100 films I find most vital, special, or ones that bonded to whatever it is that makes me me. I’m not including documentaries, though that might make for a nice supplemental list.
The first 80 will be in no particular order. The last 20 will be in very particular order. One a day, you have my word.
#99 – 25th Hour
Why is it here:
25th Hour is definitely right on the brink of cracking my top twenty if this were to be a fully sequential list. There’s something about the tone, the perfectly balanced cast, and the odd pairing of David Benioff and Spike Lee that makes it a very unique kind of film. It’s not structured like a typical film. It’s not acted like a typical film and with Terence Blanchard’s melancholic score it’s this little snapshot of life that has an energy all its own. A tale of a drug dealer on the brink of a long prison term is a cinematic one but there’s nothing typical here. Especially when this arrived right at the end of the wave of crime films influenced by Quentin Tarantino’s arrival. It’s sober, sad, but somehow exhilarating tone poem on friendship, love, and the company we keep.
Moments to savor:
Any moments where the three friends are together as well as any father and son moment featuring Brian Cox and Edward Norton. The famous mirror monologue. Rosario Dawson in that metallic silver dress. Monty Brogan and his dog. Basically the whole goddamn movie.
High. This film is like a warm blanket, a perfect companion for a night where a movie is needed but not one that’ll numb the senses.
9/11 affected so many things but when the book’s author turned his already very deeply New York story into a somber meditation on 9/11 on top of its already weighty subject matter it became something more. And frankly, this was the perfect vehicle for Spike Lee to invest his still raw emotions into the issue without going over the top. That David Benioff (who used to contribute to CHUD and Movie Insider lists!) went from this to Troy to Game of Thrones hints that we have no idea how versatile and great that guy can be.