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.
#97 – Out of Sight
Why is it here:
As great as Justified is and as magical as Jackie Brown, Out of Sight is the best Elmore Leonard adaptation. If that statement causes you to gasp I can only assume you haven’t watched Out of Sight. It’s not only massively entertaining, artfully made, loaded with classic lines, the movie that changed George Clooney’s career forever, it’s also buoyant with effective warmth and features a convincingly sexy love story in its middle. Steven Soderbergh is on fire here, delivering a mainstream movie through a very artful process. The casting is impeccable from top to bottom and everyone shines from Albert Brooks to Don Cheadle to Steve Zahn to [gasp] Jennifer Lopez. It’s a magical bit of perfect timing, safely out of the shadows of other major crime films and smart enough to sneak Michael Keaton’s Ray Nicolette from Jackie Brown in. Just one of those rare classics that somehow still doesn’t get nearly the love it deserves.
Moments to savor:
For some reason when Ving Rhames tries to toss Clooney a drink and it goes out the window gets me ever time. I love the prison banter between Clooney and Cheadle, leading to the majestic “You might fall on something hard, like a shiv or my dick” and “reading is fundamental and shit” lines that help make the movie so great. Any time Clooney and Rhames are squaring off with Cheadle and his assorted goons is magical. When Luis Guzman is getting handcuffed and has to comment on Lopez’s shoes. Dennis Farina taking the piss outta Michael Keaton. The freeze frames. Clooney threatening Steve Zahn. Repeatedly. Legitimate chemistry between love interests, all too rare in films. The music.
Ridiculously high. Once a year. At least.
This movie was a catalyst for so much and I truly believe that the Soderbergh and Clooney we love exist because of this fortuitous pairing.