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.
#39 – A Fish Called Wanda
Why is it here:
Note: Remember that the first 80 are in no particular order.
I worship Monty Python, but none of their movies made the list. This one did. Because it’s a perfect comedy. It’s a distillation of the Palin/Cleese half of Python merged with a polish and accessibility that is an impossible achievement. Hilarious in so many ways, ridiculously quotable, sexy, and bold. It’s perfect. Kevin Kline won a deserved Oscar for his work here and his Otto is one of the classic movie characters ever. This guy could have excelled in Chaplin’s era or any other and this is his role that’ll cement his status. Cleese is just as good and a surprisingly adept romantic lead to boot. Palin goes nuts and deep into his character and Jamie Lee Curtis does what she always does: rules. A must own for anyone with skin.
Moments to savor:
Literally everything. “Wake up Limey fish!” John Cleese naked embarrassment. “You’re the vulgarian you fuck!” Jamie Lee, adorable always. Just a charming, brilliant movie.
Yes, I think it’s better than Life of Brian. Not more important or smart. But better.