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.
#77 – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Why is it here:
A trippy and brutally emotional film that showcases both the mad genius of Charlie Kaufman but also how well his material works in the hands of a visionary director (albeit one who never matched this quality again). The idea of having your memories of a partner you’ve fallen out of love with is a great one, and watching a bunch of very talented people go through the emotional and visual ringer courtesy of Michel Gondry. Jim Carrey is so much better here than he was in The Truman Show and the entire supporting cast shines as the love story of Joel and Clementine is shared, ripped apart, and then smashed together again. A weird blend of drama, science fiction, romance, and at times horror. Such a weird and amazing movie, one that pushes daggers into your heart with grace and then blows your mind to distract you from the nature of the whole thing. This is one for every collection.
Moments to savor:
Those times in the movie where Joel’s memory is being altered as he goes. People disappear, ice becomes a street, and further Michel Gondry magical acts. Mark Ruffalo and Kirsten Dunst dancing on the bed, equally sexy and goofy. Kate Winslet, complicated and beautiful. Jim Carrey playing a role with literally none of his usual crutches.
Moderate. It’s deep and emotional but a creative explosion to savor more than once and more than twice.
Backstage at Comic Con the year we were there promoting Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark we bumped into Fast and the Furious magnate Rob Cohen backstage. He had a seemingly embarrassed and sheepish man with him. Because Guillermo del Toro was with us, a lot of excited introductions happened. The sheepish man was Michel Gondry and they were there for The Green Hornet. He really seemed shy and sort of not wanting to be there. While I kinda liked that film it must have been an odd time with them obviously knowing what shape their movie was in. Gondry was so out of place there, but a terribly nice guy.