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.
#82 – A Town Called Panic
Why is it here:
There is no film on the planet that makes me as giddy as this one. This jerkily animated Belgian masterpiece about an Indian, a Cowboy, and a Horse who live together and get into shenanigans works as well as a Saturday morning time killer with the kids as it does a Friday midnight joyride with friends. It’s ludicrous, hilarious, and wholly odd. And perfect. Especially in its native language with its manic delivery and extremely exaggerated performance. I can’t think of another celebration of freedom of the form as this. It’s goofy as hell but somehow it has the right ingredients to win over even the stiffest film snobs. A very special film.
Moments to savor:
That stuff between the opening credits and closing credits. Just watching the characters walk gets me.
This was the hardest film to put on my list. It’s just so out there and small that I think a lot of readers will roll their eyes or possibly create some expectation that’s unfair to meet. Except it isn’t. This film redefines my expectations. It MUST be on this list, because if one person is converted to it because of this entry then I’ve done a magical thing for someone. That’s enough for me.