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Here's the thing. I'm watching one of these shows on the Cooking Channel featuring food trucks. There's a Scottish expat making fish and chips; in a thick brogue he somewhat wearily explains his irritation with Americans who habitually order a side of tartar sauce: "tartar sauce is basically gherkins." That's this blog. I claim no particular insight, no revelation. If you enjoy the flavor, great, but this blog is basically gherkins.

Entertainment Weekly's Top 100 Movies, 11-25

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


In the previous post, I considered 1-10 of the EW list of the top 100 movies of the past 25 years, here's the next section.

11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Not any complaints; I like it right here at number 11. It would be the second comedy in my list; my top comedy is Raising Arizona, which is not on the list. One assumes that with Fargo (too low) and No Country (a little high) the Coens were thought to be sufficiently represented. This is error. My list would also include Barton Fink and Millers Crossing. It might include Blood Simple. And Lebowski, while it wouldn't make it, wouldn't be far behind.

Oh - and a mockumentary that I'd like at about number 50 which isn't on this list - Bob Roberts.

12. The Matrix (1999)
I liked the Matrix. It wouldn't make my list, but I liked it. I've already mentioned that I'd put Dangerous Liaisons on my list - that might be the only Keanu that would make it, but River's Edge would be tough to leave off (it's not on the list). The other good Keanus - Parenthood, I Love You to Death, My Own Private Idaho, would miss by a little more, but I like all of them more than the Matrix. Speed, which I also liked, also makes this list, but shouldn't.

13. GoodFellas (1990)
Yup. And right here too. Departed, which I think is ranked correctly, is the only other Scorcese, meaning there's no Cape Fear on the list, which would be another very tough bottom list call for me. I also have an enormous amount of affection for Color of Money, which would have to find a bottom of the list spot.

14. Crumb (1995)
Hmmm. I liked Crumb and its an out of the box choice, but I don't think it makes my top 50 - I like it in the top 75 though.

The real problem is that there are only two documentaries on the list (Hoop Dreams, which is maybe a tick high) now, my bias is toward documentaries, but my list would conservatively have 10.

I'd like to have 15. Jim hearts documentaries.

4 Little Girls -
American Movie - which not only is on my list, it's in the top 20
Bowling for Columbine -
The Corporation -
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room -
Fahrenheit 911 -
The Fog of War
Hearts of Darkness
The King of Kong
No End in Sight
Roger&Me -
Spellbound
When We Were Kings
Why We Fight
The Thin Blue Line

That's 15 more. Plus the two on the list - that's 17. If I had to, I could cut that to 10, but 10 would be the fewest number of documentaries which should be on the list of the top 100 films of the past 25 years.

15. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
I liked it, it wouldn't make my list, but it would be close. Donnie Brasco and Ed Wood are also both on the list for Depp -- I don't know if I'd have any, they'd all be close, but might be victims of the documentary onslaught. Brasco would make it before the other two.

16. Boogie Nights (1997)
This is a top 5 film for me. It might even be number 3. In fact, let's go ahead and say it - Boogie Nights is the 3rd best movie of the past 25 years. There Will Be Blood is the other PTA on the list, it wouldn't make it for me - but Magnolia would and I'd also really have to consider Hard Eight.

17. Jerry Maguire (1996)
I'm willing to say Jerry Maguire belongs on the list, but in the 90s - I like it, I don't hate Cruise or Cameron Crowe, it's sweet and pleasant and all good things and I'm good with its being at the bottom of the list. But 17 is just silly. Risky Business and Rain Man (properly ranked) are the other Cruises on the list; I've already mentioned Magnolia and Color of Money as being on my list - I'm also of a mind that All the Right Moves is the most underrated sports movie ever, and not just for Lea Thompson. Okay, maybe just for Lea Thompson, but seriously, that's good stuff. In fact, actually, even as I write this - I think Moves is a better film than Jerry Maguire. I'm knocking Maguire out of the top 100 - putting in All the Right Moves instead.
Oh - I would have Say Anything not only on my list, but in the Top 10.

18. Do the Right Thing (1989)
Recall my comment about Pulp Fiction, that the only conversation was 1 or 2?

This is the other film in that conversation. 18 is nutty low. It's either 1 or 2 and there's really no discussion beyond that. It's the only Spike on the list and the only one which should be, as Malcolm X just misses for me - I've already mentioned 4 Little Girls which would be one of those 7 I'd cut to get my docs down to 10.

Why Entertainment Weekly ain't got no brothers on the wall?

19. Casino Royale (2006)
This is error.

I liked Casino Royale; it's the only Bond on the list or that should be anywhere near the list. But I wouldn't put it in the top 250. This choice won't hold up all that well, let me suggest.

I mean, JFK isn't on this list. JFK would be in my top 10. There's no argument that Casino Royale is a better film than JFK. And I liked Casino Royale.

20. The Lion King (1994)
See the Toy Story discussion for my thought about the merits of the big, sprawling kids movie. Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 movie that didn't make the list. I'm just sayin'.

21. Schindler's List (1993)
Since Jamelle Hill got thrown under the ESPN bus for making a Hitler joke last week, I wonder the degree to which I can criticize a movie about the Holocaust - but my favorite part of Schindler's List was when Jerry was making out with the girl who was on As the World Turns in the middle of it.

It wouldn't make my list.

There. I said it and feel better for having said it.

22. Rushmore (1998)
Loved me some Rushmore. I like it and like it right here. Lost in Translation (properly ranked) and Ghostbusters are the other Murray on the list (Ed Wood, too). I prefer Groundhog Day to Ghostbusters - and I like Kingpin more than a little bit, it wouldn't make the list, but I'd give it a wave.

23. Memento (2001)
Yup. And properly ranked. In fact, were it to be..21st...that wouldn't break my heart. Interestingly, not on the list is The Usual Suspects, a film with which Memento is often associated. Memento's better - but Suspects makes my list.

Appropos of absolutely nothing but it's in my head right now and I don't want it to slip away - Lone Star would also make my list.

24. A Room With a View (1986)
My favorite Merchant-Ivory was Howards End. I liked a Room With a View - I don't think either of them would make my list.

25. Shrek (2001)
-Rinse, repeat on the Toy Story discussion.

The only other Eddie Murphy on the list is Beverly Hills Cop; I don't know if that's better than Trading Places or not - I don't know if either of them should make the list - but that got me to think about Raw, which also shouldn't make the list - but, that, that makes me consider Stop Making Sense - and goddamn, that not only should have been in my list of docs - it would be in my top 100.

So, take out Shrek, put in Stop Making Sense.

25 down, I'll be back with more thoughts.

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