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.
#40 – Zodiac
Why is it here:
Note: Remember that the first 80 are in no particular order.
This movie may be misunderstood for all time but it’s as vital and special as any on this list. A procedural and illustration of obsession in the wake of a horrific crime spree, David Fincher’s movie features no clean resolution and no major moments but still manages to be as engaging as any thriller. Robert Downey, Jr. is in peak form, Mark Ruffalo and an entire supporting cast of character actors surround a solid Jake Gyllenhaal in a twisty and moody look at one of the great unsolved cases in history. Fincher balances extreme restraint with some really inventive uses of CGI to recreate the period and tell a story from interesting perspectives but it’s never showy like Panic Room or Fight Club. It’s also meticulously researched and as an investigative film (writer James Vanderbilt and producer Brad Fischer put a year of their lives into building the story) it has a life of its own. Perfectly created, it’s a weird little masterpiece that will only become more valuable as Fincher’s legacy and profile grows.
Moments to savor:
Aqua Velva, drink of champions. The interrogation. Charles Fleischer’s house. The ending. Hurdy Gurdy Man. The lady with the bad wheel. Overhead shots of cars. Donal Logue, Anthony Edwards, Dermot Mulroney, Elias Koteas, and Mark Ruffalo working.
Monthly. Don’t judge me.
I’m reading THIS BOOK right now and I’m beginning to doubt that the book negates this movie. I don’t care either way, the movie’s still a fucking classic.