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.
#61 – King Kong
Why is it here:
It’s goddamn King Kong. You think about where we are today and where we would be if it hadn’t been for this movie. No Godzilla. No Harryhausen. No Sam Raimi. No Peter Jackson. I firmly believe it. Merian C. Cooper’s genre-altering 1933 classic is so many things but outdated isn’t one of them. It’s still remarkably effective considering how archaic so many of the techniques are. The stop-motion by Willis O’Brien is still amazing and fantastical, with great creature designs and so much personality. Kong himself is a majestic creation and the human story is actually effective.
It’s a movie we’d watch on Christmas Day when I was a tot and one that still brings joy. I don’t know how anyone cannot love this thing.
Moments to savor:
Skull Island in its entirety. New York in its entirety. King Kong’s sometimes adorable expressions during moments a giant ape would be making different expressions. The siege on the Empire State Building.
I find stuff to like in both remakes and Peter Jackson’s Kong vs. the T-rex stuff is amazing. A shame the majority of the rest of the film is so wooden.