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.
#64 – The Thing
Why is it here:
This is my favorite movie of all time. Were this a list of “Nick’s Favorite Movies” you’d have 36 days to wait for the write-up. I don’t think it’s the best movie ever made but I do believe that time has proven that this is a very unique and special film and there’s something here that is so much more valuable and timeless than the cursory glance would lead us to believe. It’s John Carpenter’s best movie. It’s not his most accessible. It’s not his most fun. But with all the checks and balances in place it devastates the beloved Halloween, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Fog thanks to its singular and unforgettable package. The sense of dread. The confidence. The coldness. The amazing group of characters from Kurt Russell’s grumpy pilot to Wilford Brimley’s descent into madness to Donald Moffatt’s stoic leader to Keith David’s utter badass. The characters are so subtly given life and cast so well that as this unspeakable terror besieges them you actually give a shit. Coupled with Morricone doing his best Carpenter homage and Rob Bottin’s still perfect effects it’s the total package and a movie I watch at least four times a year. It’s magic in a cold, ruthless shell.
Moments to savor:
The blood test. The autopsy. The dog pen. The odd little self-contained moments, like when the dog enters the room and we see a man’s shadow notice it. The Norwegian visit. “Back off… WAY OFF!” Basically every moment.
This came out the same goddamn day as Blade Runner. Two all-time bests for their genre on one day. Both underperformed. Shows what a bunch of assholes we were. They’ve made up for lost time.