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.
#69 – The Graduate
Why is it here:
This is one of those classics you just “get”. Everything about it seems iconic now, from the marriage of film and music to the unforgettable Anne Bancroft to Dustin Hoffman’s one of a kind style that carries true to this day. Mike Nichols delivered in every way as a director and there are so many fun moments he and writer Buck Henry pulled out of what could have either been teen fantasy or extremely arch material. The result is a blissful and quintessential late 60’s movie and one of the last films made before the entire cinema world darkened and became extremely different.
Moments to savor:
When everyone at the hotel recognizes Benjamin. “Plastics”. The composition. Some amazing framing by Nichols, beginning with the very first scene. The initial seduction. The humor when they’re avoiding the elephant in the room. The goose chase for his younger Robinson.
Moderate. I think the makers of Mad Men watched this film more than once when prepping their show.
That’s a little more Simon and Garfunkel than I can handle in one sitting. I’d forgotten about Norman Fell in this. He is one of the great curmudgeons in film and TV history. They originally wanted to cast someone like Robert Redford in Hoffman’s role. Would have been ridiculous.