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.
#22 – Glengarry Glen Ross
Why is it here:
Note: Remember that the first 80 are in no particular order.
One of the most quotable movies of all time. One of the oddest in structure. One of the most dependent on casting. One of the most entertaining, despite its bleak nature. Just a very special movie that takes David Mamet and distills it to perfection, probably due to the presence of a great filmmaker in James Foley who knows how to let his actors run wild and not cloud the mixture in style or a bland TV presentation. The cast so good, devouring the machine gun brutality of David Mamet’s writing, and a film that has been sadly turned into some sort of guidebook for absolutely the wrong kind of salesmen. I saw this on opening day at the arthouse theater here in Atlanta and there were maybe eight of us in the theater and the film was anything but a classic to everyone but me and my buddy. We were laughing, digesting, in awe, really. Others were offended, bored, or just baffled but time has proven what we knew all along. This is a vital movie and one loaded with riches despite its rough edge and depressing worldview. And Alec Baldwin earned lifelong immunity for all the dumb shit he does thanks to this and Miami Blues coming out in the same era. A masterclass.
Moments to savor:
The entire Baldwin scene, obviously. When Pacino unloads on Spacey. Lemmon and his stammer. Conniving with Ed Harris. Ricky Roma’s hairstyle. Alan Arkin’s repetition. Any moment not involving the painful to watch (not because it’s bad, just sad) Pryce subplot.
Imagine if David Mamet didn’t go crazy right wing on us, the other great movies we’d have had.