Unlike video games, movies tend to be more universally accepted. Regardless of genre, if you keep an open mind, you should be able to find incredible cinematic genius in any category of filmmaking. The Artist proved that by winning the Best Picture Oscar last year which was quite the feat considering the movie was a silent film. And while that film doesn’t make our list of the top ten films, we can certainly appreciate the work it took to craft a movie like it. So with that, we begin our latest Eggplante Top Ten: Best Movies of All Time. And yes, we’re cheating by including entire movie franchises as a single title or this list might be 22 spots long.
10 ) Star Trek (2009) – The 2009 reboot of the classic Gene Roddenberry series was as good as reboots get. Our initial worry when watching it was that the film quality would simply be too good and the sets look too retro for the movie to be a cohesive blob of anything. Somehow, J.J. Abrams managed to pull it off and direct an incredible first film in the new series of Star Trek that we can expect over the next few years. We also managed to get some hands-on time with the new Star Trek game due out in 2013, and while we didn’t fall in love with it, there were some good things to say! Take a look at our impressions of Star Trek at E3 2012 here!
9 ) Cast Away (2000) – When we first got wind of Cast Away, we weren’t super excited. Sure, the movie has Tom Hanks in it, and he makes everything better, but the thought of being on an island for practically the entirety of a three-hour movie just didn’t seem like the film’s biggest selling point. And then we saw the movie and it instantly became a classic. If you haven’t seen it, you really ought to treat yourself. It gets off to a great start and slows down half way through so that the audience can really digest what’s going on. It is always a treat to watch Tom Hanks think on film. He has such a screen presence that he really can carry the entire film on his shoulders. And what a great job he does with it.
8 ) The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – Rated as the top movie of all time on IMDb’s Top 250 Movies list, The Shawshank Redemption has always been one of our favourites. Like Cast Away, it stars one of our favourite actors, Morgan Freeman, who ends up making nearly every character he plays an iconic one. Not usually our style, Shawshank is actually one of the most heartfelt and endearing stories you may ever have the pleasure to watch on a screen. Oh, and with a guy named Red played by one of the best actors of our generation, how could this not be on the list?
7 ) Top Gun (1986) – As the de facto standard for a movie with serious homosexual undertones, Top Gun is probably one of the most underrated films of all time from an actual filmmaking standpoint. Sure, it has a ton of corny dialog (it was the eighties, after all), and some of the characters are down right goofy, but the lengths that the film’s director Tony Scott went to in order to get the footage he did for this film was incredible. He was able to obtain footage of real F-14 aircraft in flight and an actual missile launch that are now used as stock footage for other films that won’t get US Air Force clearance to get their own shots. That in and of itself needs to be applauded, but it certainly doesn’t hurt that the movie kicks ass, too.
6 ) Iron Man (2008) – Another film that we weren’t extremely excited about was Iron Man. We never really had any close ties to Tony Stark in the comic books in the same way we did to Peter Parker in Spiderman or Bruce Wayne in the Batman series, but we saw the movie, and yes, we were pleasantly surprised. So much so, in fact, that this film has become one of our favourites from a technological standpoint. The amount of sheer imagination in these movies, including the origin story of Iron Man and how he became the hero is fascinating and somehow relatable. Iron Man and Iron Man 2 also set the stage for an incredible set of films like Captain America and Thor, and of course the mash-up of all of them, The Avengers, which in itself is a fantastic film.
5 ) James Bond (1962 – 2012) – The James Bond films are classics in their own right. Sure, it could be because of Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan, or the fact that Bond represents the best of the best in British super spies, but we’re more likely to believe that it has to do with awesome gadgets, incredible vehicles, stunning ladies, wicked car chases, multiple martinis, stunning ladies, global locales, and of course, stunning ladies. Oh, did we mention the stunning ladies? Maybe it’s all just awash; James Bond might just be freaking awesome because James Bond is freaking awesome. ‘Nuff said.
4 ) Harry Potter (2001 – 2011) – Another British series, it is no wonder that Harry Potter has taken over the world the way that it has. On the one hand, the book sounds very child-targeted. However, getting past the third book (or film, in this case) in the series will yield you some pretty heavy topics: facing the death of one’s child, curses that control beings, and of course, death itself and the eradication of evil. This series is up in the air for a lot of people, but if you let yourself believe the fiction, it is quite obvious why it would be on our list. It is also worthy to note that the series has gone through four directors, each putting their own touch on the series while maintaining a flow between chapters.
3 ) Toy Story (1995 – 2010) – This might seem an odd addition to the list considering how the other movies on it are live-action drama- or action-based titles. Of course, the fact that the Toy Story series is at number three on here speaks volumes for how an animated comedy from a then-nothing company can become one of the best films of all time and steal the hearts of millions of people. Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the toys are worth watching on screen, and be sure to look out for the jokes that no kid would ever understand, but adults will certainly pick up on. The fact that this seemingly-childish movie also has voice talent from the likes of Tim Allen (Buzz Lightyear), Tom Hanks (Woody), and Don Rickles (Mr. Potato Head) certainly doesn’t hurt its street cred, either.
2 ) The Dark Knight & The Dark Knight Rises (2008 – 2012) – There is something to be said for Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy of Batman films. We might be alone in this camp, but we just weren’t fans of Batman Begins. Poisoning the city’s water supply is hardly an awesome way to kill people, to say the least, and while Rises certainly had its flaws, it and the middle child of the series were so well put together that it makes the first title look downright bizarre. Either way, all three films are good, but the latter two are superb. The Dark Knight was certainly a thrill in entertaining us as well as making us believe that incredible and horrible things are possible, while The Dark Knight Rises reaffirmed it with even more incredible cinematography.
1 ) The Bourne Series (2002 – 2007) – Our favourite movies of all time revolve around Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne. We first fell in love with the character in 2002 in The Bourne Identity, but that film’s two follow-ups, Supremacy and Ultimatum, continued to raise the bar for the Bourne series. What is so fascinating about this series is how we watch the rebirth of a character who is trying to discover himself while being thrown in some pretty remarkable situations. Through it all, we have a mild love story and some pretty tragic losses to round out the action. We’ve seen each movie around a dozen times or so (seriously) and have yet to get over the magic and the mystery that is the fast-thinking every-man hero like Jason Bourne (or David Webb, or Gilberto di Piento, or whatever his real name is)!
Some honourable mentions not on this list include Inception, Finding Nemo, Armageddon, The Day After Tomorrow, Finding Forrester, and both the Indiana Jones and Mission: Impossible series.
My only concerns are Star Trek and Cast Away. And the bourne series as #1??? Really??? Other than that the other selections are good.