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.
#20 – This is Spinal Tap
This is the top twenty. These are in order.
Why is it here:
The one that really started it all. So much of what people love today owes a great debt to this movie, whether it be Parks and Recreation, The Office, or the many great films Christopher Guest has done since. What is astounding is how well everyone did without a net. Though they shot an incredible amount of improvisational and scripted stuff that didn’t make the cut (but are available on previous home video incarnations), this movie is chock full of insanely timeless moments. The distillation of stereotypes from the music industry here portrayed to perfection by the three leads is not only spot-on but done in a way that somehow insults and pays respect to those being skewered. There’s a special kind of grace to this movie. I saw it for the first time right when it hit home video. My cousin who’s about ten years older than me was living with us and we watched it on a whim. And even though 50% of it went over my head, the stuff that didn’t sang to me. In fact, I probably was the only kid in middle school singing “Listen to what the flower people say”. And it got better and better with every viewing since.
Moments to savor:
The discussion about Stonehenge choreography. “It is green.” Marty goes over their album covers. Drummer dispatches. Nigel absolute lunacy. Those bits where you know they had to cut or else someone was going to lose their shit.
High. New laughs even after all these years.
I even like the stuff they did after the movie. Break Like the Wind has some great tracks on it.