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.
#73 – Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Why is it here:
The flip side of the Steven Spielberg 70’s blockbuster coin. Left to his own devices and with a rare script he (mostly) wrote the director took the success of Jaws and wagered big time. And won bigger. A measured, wildly creative masterwork cooked slow and without cheapening itself at any moment. Richard Dreyfus is the epitome of obsession as voices and sights from beyond our known space begin to seep into ours. Spielberg is just on fire here, creating moments both beautiful and awe-inspiring and the special edition is packed to the gills with additional meat that slows the pace down but builds an already epic classic into something even more savory. Watch it in the middle of the day and remember before we got all busy and numb with our genre films.
Moments to savor:
Mashed potatoes ruined. Chasing the lights into the street. Tearing up the yard and throwing all the shit through kitchen window. A family getting wrecked from within. The discovery of alien communication. Devil’s Mountain.
Decent. The film is incredibly slow and the payoff moments aren’t big but no one should watch this movie with that intent. This is a slow burn. A beautiful, delicious slow burn.
The story about the movie that didn’t get made [Night Skies, read about it here] is almost as interesting as the one that did. I have a copy of Sayles’ script and remember liking it but knowing it would have made a 100th of the box office. Not that financials is the only metric that matters…