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.
#75 – Young Frankenstein
Why is it here:
If this were a list of my personal favorites, as in the movies that make me tingle inside that are like time machines to the years when I was free of responsibility, this would be in the top five. It’s a perfect comedy and the best showcase of Mel Brooks’ genius on all cylinders. Blazing Saddles may be funnier and The Producers may be more iconic but this is the tip of the speak. Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr, and Madeline Kahn are absolutely pitch perfect and the movie is a love note to a bygone age of film. It looks the part and is beautifully shot, staged, and edited so that it truly is a timeless work of art. And seriously funny. Diversely funny. It’s something we’ll never have again, a perfect marriage of satire and love of the medium. A must own for anyone with a pulse.
Moments to savor:
The “Werewolf/Where Wolf” discussion. Abby Normal. Frau Blücher. The late, great, and utterly perfect Madeline Kahn. Marty Feldman’s eyes. All of Marty Feldman.
High as it gets. It’s so beautiful, so funny, and so dead on. It works for ANYONE. That’s rare to be that old of a film and still click.
Marty Feldman in this movie was a gateway for me. I saw this very young and I have to think that his freedom and fearlessness were liberating to me and seeing my father react to this truly was a big eye-opener for me. I’ll always watch this with Dad in mind and that’s a good thing indeed.